Good and Righteous Company

         .قال الله عز وجل: {يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ} التوبة 119

Allah -the Exalted- says: {O you who believe, fear Allah, and be with those who the truthful} (Surah 9, verse 119).

    وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « الْمَرْءُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ، فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ» .  رواه أبو داود والترمذي والحاكم وأحمد، بإسناد حسن

   Narrated Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The person takes after the habits of his companion, so beware of the company you keep.”  Related by Abu Dawood, Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Hakim, and Ahmad, with good (hasan) narration.


In the verse above, Allah -the Exalted- instructs the believers to accompany the righteous and pious people so as to take after their ways and learn from their example.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- explains that people tend to follow the ways of their close companion; a good companion prompts his friend to be good, and a bad companion tempts his friend to be evil.

     In Islam, we focus a lot on the stories of the righteous and pious people before us.  Indeed, in Quran, we are given the stories of the Prophets in detail and their true faith is represented to us.  The story of Prophet Adam and Hawwa’ (Eve) is given in detail and their true repentance is presented to us as a lesson and an example to follow for their progeny.

The story of Prophet Noah and his patience and endurance is shown to us when he continued to invite his people to God for about a thousand years, never showing any sign of despair or annoyance.

The story of Prophet Ayoob (Job) is described with such beautiful words that we can appreciate the hardships and pain he endured, and how his great patience led to the favor of Allah when he restored his health and wealth in double to him.

The story of Prophet Dhun-Noon is described in minute details when he despaired of his people and went on the ship, but was swallowed by the whale, and his true faith and reliance is represented to us through his calling to God while he was inside the belly of whale, and how Allah accepted his call and moreover guided all of his people.

The story of Prophet Ibrahim is given in many places in Qur’an and we can appreciate the great morals and true faith of the ‘Father of Prophets’ and the ‘Close Slave of God (Al-Kheleel)’.  We see how his true faith and reliance upon God, made the fire cool and peaceful for him.  We see his endurance and righteousness in every aspect of his life.

The stories of Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus are given and we see their strength and determination in the face of widespread evil and corruption.  Both persisted, and while Prophet Moses was granted victory over the evil Pharaoh, Prophet Jesus was raised to heavens to be sent down later.

The story of our beloved prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- is given in numerous places in Qur’an, and we see his patience, endurance and the highest level of morals that God took him as “Habeeb Allah” or his Beloved Slave.  And the list goes on.

On the other hand, Qur’an also mentions the stories of evil people and their demise is given as an admonition to turn back to Allah and repent to Him.

We recite the stories of the people of Noah and how they used to make fun of him and his ways, and then we read about the Great Flood and how it destroyed them.

We read the story of the people of ‘Aad, the giants who took houses in the mountains and spread injustice on earth, and then we read how the wind destroyed them.

We read the story of Pharaoh and his arrogance, and then we read how he and his men drowned in the Ocean by the will of Allah, the Almighty.  All of these stories are given to warn us of the other life to come, and urge us to prepare for it as well.  Allah -the Exalted- states in Qur’an:

{ Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for those of understanding. It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Divine’s Books before it [the Torah, the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah], a detailed explanation of everything, and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe} (Surah 12. Verse 111).

Scholars too learned from the example of Qur’an and compiled volumes upon volumes of biographies of righteous people.  The Muslim scholars and historians gave special attention to the righteous people of this generation.  Thus many books have been written about sahabah or the Companions of the Prophet, about Tabi’een or the generation that came after sahabah, and about contemporary righteous people.

The idea behind these true story compilations  is that we should consider their high degree of righteousness and piety and try to emulate their example.  Indeed, the Companions of the Prophet or Sahabah gave us the best example in true faith, in piety, in patience and endurance, in generosity, in good morals, and in every aspect of our daily lives.  The following hadith gives us a glimpse of that:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “The most merciful of my nation towards my nation is Abu Bakr, the staunchest of them in the religion of Allah is Omar, the most truthful in shyness of them is Othman, the best judge among them is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the best recite among them of the Book of Allah (Qur’an) is Ubey Ibn Ka’b, the most knowledgeable among them of the lawful and the unlawful in religion is Mu’ath Ibn Jebel, and the most knowledgeable among them of the distribution of heritage is Zaid Ibn Thabit.  Indeed, for every nation there is a trustworthy person and the trustworthy person of this nation is Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Hibban.

Thus, the true stories of the righteous before us is a treasure for us; it is our heritage; it is our identity; and it is our model that we aspire to emulate.  The Muslim should read these true stories and consider these righteous people as his true companion and example.  We should both learn from and emulate the righteous people before us, and pray Allah to forgive us, accept from us and reward us like He forgave, accepted and rewarded the righteous people before us.  And Allah knows best.

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A True Story about Iman or True Faith (1)

      عن ابن عَبَّاسٍ رضي اللَّهُ عنهما، قال: ( دَخَلَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم على عمرَ ومعه أناس من أصحابه، فقال: « أَمُؤْمِنُونَ أَنْتُم ؟»  فسكتوا – ثلاث مرات- فقال عمر في آخرهم: نعم، نؤمنُ على ما أتيتنا به، ونحمدُ اللهَ في الرَّخَاءِ، ونصبر على البلاء، ونؤمن بالقضاء، فقال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « مُؤْمِنُونَ وَرَبِّ الكَعْبَةِ»).  رواه الطبراني والهيثمي.

      Narrated Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with them- said: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- once visited Omar and few of his companions were with the latter, so the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- asked: ‘Are you Mu’minoon (Faithful believers)?’  They kept silent.  He asked three times so Omar replied after the last time: ‘Yes, we believe in the message you were sent with, thank (Allah) during ease, bear patiently during hardship, and believe and accept pre-destiny.’  So the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘True believers (Mu’minoon) by the Lord of Ka’bah.’ ”  Related by Al-Tabarani, and Al-Heithami.

   The Trial of the Fire

Narrated Sherhabeel Ibn Muslim said: “When Al-Aswad Ibn Qais Al-‘Ansi, the apostate, the imposter, claimed to be a prophet falsely in Yemen, he sent for Abu Muslim Al-Khawlani.  When Abu Muslim was brought to him, Al-Aswad, the imposter, asked him: ‘Do you testify that I am a messenger of Allah?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘I can’t hear what you say.’  He asked Abu Muslim: ‘Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘Yes, I do.’  Al-Aswad repeated the questions, and Abu Muslim replied the same.  So Al-Aswad asked his men to make a great fire and throw Abu Muslim into it.  But the great fire did not harm Abu Muslim (by the will of God).  It was said to Al-Aswad: ‘Send him away, or he will drive away your followers.’  So he asked Abu Muslim to leave.

Abu Muslim went to visit Al-Medinah, while Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- had passed away, and Abu-Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was elected as caliph.  Once in Al-Medinah, Abu Muslim left his mount at the door of the Great Mosque of the Prophet, then went inside the mosque and started praying behind a pillar.

Omar saw him, so went to him and asked: ‘Where is the man (you) from?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘From Yemen.’  Omar asked: ‘Then maybe you are the one whom the imposter threw into the fire?’  Abu Muslim hedged: ‘That was Abdul-Allah Ibn Thowb [Abu Muslim’s real name].’  Omar said: ‘I beseech you by Allah, are you that person?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘Yes, that is me, by Allah.’  So Omar embraced him, and cried.

Omar then took Abu Muslim to the Caliph Abu-Bakr, and seated him between himself and Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with them, and then said: ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not take my soul until I had seen among the nation of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- a person who was treated the same as Prophet Ibrahim, the close friend of the Most Merciful (Khaleel Al-Rahman).’ ”  Related by Abu Nu’eim in Hilyatul Awliya‘ (The Ornament of the Saints).

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A True Story about the Fear of Allah -the Exalted (2)

 

   عن عَائِشَةَ رضي اللَّهُ عنها زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قَالَتْ: ( مَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ضَاحِكًا حَتَّى أَرَى مِنْهُ لَهَوَاتِهِ، إِنَّمَا كَانَ يَتَبَسَّمُ. قَالَتْ وَكَانَ إِذَا رَأَى غَيْمًا أَوْ رِيحًا عُرِفَ فِي وَجْهِهِ، قَالَتْ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا رَأَوْا الْغَيْمَ فَرِحُوا رَجَاءَ أَنْ يَكُونَ فِيهِ الْمَطَرُ، وَأَرَاكَ إِذَا رَأَيْتَهُ عُرِفَ فِي وَجْهِكَ الْكَرَاهِيَةُ؟ فَقَالَ: « يَا عَائِشَةُ مَا يُؤْمِنِّي أَنْ يَكُونَ فِيهِ عَذَابٌ عُذِّبَ قَوْمٌ بِالرِّيحِ، وَقَدْ رَأَى قَوْمٌ الْعَذَابَ فَقَالُوا: {هَذَا عَارِضٌ مُمْطِرُنَا}[الأحقاف 24]»). متفقٌ عليه.

   Narrated ‘Aisheh -the wife of the Prophet may Allah be pleased with her- said: “I never saw Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- laugh to such an extent that I could see his uvula; he would only smile.  And when he saw dark clouds or wind, distress could be seen in his face.  I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, when people see the dark cloud they rejoice, hoping there will be rain in it.  Yet when you see it, distress is seen in your face?’  The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- replied: ‘O Aisheh, what will assure me that there is no punishment in it? People have been punished by wind. Some people saw the punishment [concealed in a dark cloud] and said: {This is a rain cloud coming to us} (Surah Al-Ahqaf, verse 24).’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Omar Ibn Al-Khattab:

Narrated Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Isa said: “There were two black shadowy lines on the cheeks of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab as a result of his weeping (For fear of Allah, the Exalted).”

  Ali Ibn Abi Talib:

It is narrated that when it was the time for prayer, the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib -may Allah be pleased with him- used to shake and become pale. He would be asked: “What is the matter with you, O Leader of the Faithful?” He would reply: “The time has come for a trust that Allah offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they declined to bear it, but I have carried it.”

   Aishah Bint AbiBakr:

Narrated Al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu-Bakr As-siddeeq said: “Whenver I went out in the morning, I used to start by visiting the house of Aishah [wife of the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- and Al-Qasim’s aunt] -may Allah be pleased with her.  One day I passed by her in the morning and found her praying, making tasbeeh and reciting the verse: {So Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire} [surah 52, verse 27].  She was praying, and repeating the verse while crying.  I waited for her until I got tired, so I went to the market to get my needs.  When I went back, she was still standing in prayer and crying.”  Thus related in the “Sifetul-Sefweh” (Characteristics of the Righteous).

 

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A True Story about Morals and Akhlaq (3)

     قال الله عز وجل: { وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَى خُلُقٍ عَظِيم} سورة القلم 4.

     Allah -the Exalted- says: {And Verily, you (O, Muhammad) are of an exalted moral character} (Surah 68, verse 4).

    وعن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: ( خَدَمْتُ النَّبِيَّ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم عَشْرَ سِنِينَ فما قالَ لِي أُفٍّ قَطُّ، وما قالَ لِشَيْءٍ صَنَعْتُهُ لِمَ صَنَعْتَهُ وَلَا لِشَيْءٍ تَرَكْتُهُ لِمَ تَرَكْتَهُ، وكان رسولُ الله ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مِنْ أَحْسَنِ النَّاسِ خُلُقًا، ولا مَسَسْتُ خَزًّا قَطُّ ولا حَرِيرًا ولا شَيْئًا كَانَ أَلْيَنَ مِنْ كَفِّ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم، ولا شَمَمْتُ مِسْكًا قَطُّ وَلَا عِطْرًا كَانَ أَطْيَبَ مِنْ عَرَقِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم). رواه الترمذي، وأخرجه الشيخان.

   Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “I served the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- for ten years, and he never said a word of displeasure to me (Uff), nor did he ever say to me concerning something I had done: ‘Why did you do that’.  And he never said to me concerning something I had not done: ‘Why did you not do this’. He had the best character, and I never touched any silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him.  And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi, also related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

 

   ‘A Man from Paradise’

 

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “While we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him, he said: ‘A man from the people of Paradise will come out to you now.’  So a man from the tribe of Al-Ansaar came out, whose beard was dripping from his ablution, and he had hung his shoes in his left hand.  When the next morning came, the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said the same thing, so the same man came out like the first time.  On the third day, the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said the same thing again, and the same man came out in the same first condition.

When the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- left, Abdul-Allah Ibn Amr followed the Ansaari man and said to him: ‘I have quarreled with my father and I have sworn to avoid him for three days, so if you could let me stay with you until they pass.’  He replied: ‘Yes.’

Anas said: Abdul-Allah related that he slept those three nights in the man’s house, and he did not see him praying any voluntary prayer at night.  However, whenever he woke up, he would roll over on his bed and mention Allah -the Almighty- and say Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) until the dawn prayer.

Abdul-Allah said: ‘But I only heard him speak good.  When the three nights had passed and I almost scorned his deed, I said to him: O Abdul-Allah, there was not any quarrel or abandonment between my father and me, but I heard the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- say three times about you: `A man from the people of Paradise will come out to you now,`  and you came out on the three times.  So I wanted to stay with you and find out about your deed, and do likewise.  But I did not see you doing any great deed, so what made you reach what the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- had mentioned.’

He replied: ‘I have nothing except what you saw.’  When I turned to leave, he called me back and said: ‘I have nothing except what you saw, but I do not find within myself any deceitfulness for any of the Muslims, and I do not feel jealous toward anyone for any good that Allah has granted him.’  So Abdul-Allah said: ‘This is what made you reach that degree.’ ”  Related by Ahmad with a narration based on Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim, and Al-Nasa’i, Abu Ya’la, and Al-Bazzar (Who named the obscure man as Sa’d).

 

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A True Story about Shyness and Chastity (4)

  عن أبي سعيد الخدري، قال: ( كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم أَشَدَّ حَيَاءً مِنْ الْعَذْرَاءِ فِي خِدْرِهَا، وَكَانَ إِذَا كَرِهَ شَيْئًا عَرَفْنَاهُ فِي وَجْهِهِ).  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

   Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- was more shy than a virgin in her private room.  And if he saw a thing which he disliked, we would recognize it in his face.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

   ‘Suleiman Ibn Yasar and the Bedouin Woman’

It is related that Abu Haazim said: “Suleiman Ibn Yasaar once set out from Al-Medinah on a journey along with a companion of his.  They stopped at a place called Al-Abwa’ on the outskirts of the city to rest.  His companion took the food bag and went to the market to buy supplies, while Suleiman stayed in the tent.  Suleiman was one of the most handsome and wonderful of people.

A Bedouin woman spotted him from the hilltop while she was in her tent.  When she saw his handsomeness and beauty, she came down to him, still wearing her veil (niqab) and gloves.  She came before him and removed the veil from her face, which was as beautiful as the moon.  She said: ‘Take me.’  Suleiman thought she was asking for food, so he got up to give her what remained of the meal.  She said: ‘I do not want that food; I want what a man shares privately with his wife.’  He replied: ‘Satan has sent you to lead me astray.’  He then put his head between his arms and started weeping.  And he continued to weep in earnest.  When she saw that, she veiled her face and left slowly with regret to her tent.

His companion returned after buying their supplies.  When he saw Suleiman’s swollen eyes and hiccups, he asked him: ‘What makes you cry?’  Suleiman said: ‘Nothing, I just remembered my children.’  His companion said: ‘No, there is something else, for you just saw your children three or so days ago.’  He continued to press him until Suleiman told him about the Bedouin woman.

His companion put down the food bag and started himself weeping profusely.  So Suleiman asked him: ‘Now what makes you cry?’  His companion replied: ‘I deserve to cry more than you.’  Suleiman: ‘And why is that?’  He replied: ‘Because I am afraid if I was in your place, I would not have refrained from touching her.’  So they both continued to weep.

When Suleiman reached Makkah, he performed Umrah, then went and sat in Al-Hijr (north part of Ka’bah).  He wrapped his clothes around him, and fell asleep.  He saw in a dream a tall, beautiful, handsome man with nice appearance and good smell. Suleiman asked him: ‘Who are you, may Allah have mercy on you?’  The man replied: ‘I am Yoosuf Ibn Ya’qoob (Joseph son of Jacob).’  Suleiman asked: ‘Prophet Yoosuf, the truthful one?’  He replied: ‘Yes.’  Suleiman said: ‘Your dealing with the wife of Al-Aziz (Potiphar’s wife) was amazing.’  He replied: ‘Your dealing with the Bedouin woman at Al-Abwa’ is more amazing.’ ”  Related by Abu Nu’eim in “Hilyatul Awliya” (The Ornament of the Saints).

 

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