Obsession and Preoccupation with the Worldly Life

          If we reflect back to our childhood and the old days, we will see one thing standing out: the easy, cheerful and carefree time we used to enjoy.  Move to present day and one wonders what happened to our world.  Now many people seem to be preoccupied and afflicted with worries of all types.  No longer can one enjoy a peaceful life away from anxieties, fears, dreads, and outright panic and stresses.  Modern life is a lot more advanced, but it seems there is a negative side associated with it.  Does Islam have any remedy for that?

Indeed, Islam defined the purpose of this life from the outset, and encouraged the believers to try to fulfill and reach that real goal of life.

God -the Exalted- says in Qur’an: {

  1. And I (God) did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me (alone).
  2. I seek not any provision from them nor do I ask that them to feed Me.
  3. Verily, God is the All-Provider, Owner of Power and Strength} (Surah 51, verses 56-58).

Thus, God declares that the real purpose of this life is to worship Him alone, obey His commands, and believe in all of His true messengers (From Prophet Adam, to Prophet Noah, Prophet Abraham, Prophet Moses, Prophet Jesus, to Prophet Muhammad).  Whoever does that, then God has promised him a peaceful life in this world and an eternal bliss in Paradise.  But when a human forgets that fact and starts focusing on the worldly life, then that peace is lost and new worries and anxieties start developing.

There is a famous proverb that states: ‘Too much bursts the bag’, and if we think about it we see how true this statement is.  Too much food turns out to be bad for health, too much water can have fatal consequences, and so on.  Excessiveness always leads to negative effects and undesirable consequences.

The same is true for the worldly life.  When we become too engrossed in the world and start forgetting and neglecting the real purpose of life, we are struck with new worries and anxieties that did not afflict us before.  When we give preference to this life over the Hereafter, we start losing faith and peace of mind and soul, thus shattering our sense of tranquility and contentment.  And when we devote our attention and focus to this world and forget the other world, we start losing the real blessings from heavens and must contend with new traits that we didn’t have before like covetousness, greed, rivalry, envy, sadness, depression, and others.

Indeed, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned against this engrossment in the worldly life (dunya) and foretold its dire consequences:

    عن زيد بن ثابت رضي الله عنه قال: سمعتُ رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقول: « مَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ فَرَّقَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرَهُ، وَجَعَلَ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ، وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَا كُتِبَ لَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الْآخِرَةُ نِيَّتَهُ جَمَعَ اللَّهُ لَهُ أَمْرَهُ، وَجَعَلَ غِنَاهُ فِي قَلْبِهِ، وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ ‏رَاغِمَةٌ» .  رواه ابن ماجه والطبراني وابن حبان.

   Narrated Zaid Ibn Thabit -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- say: ‘Whose ever concern is the worldly life (dunya), God will separate him from his goal, place poverty before his eyes, and nothing of the worldly life will come to him except what was preordained for him.  And whose ever intention is the Hereafter, God will fulfill his goal, place richness in his heart, and the worldly life (dunya) will come to him unwillingly.’ ”  Related by Ibn Majah, Al-Tabarani, and Ibn Hibban (Authentic narration).

We see the truth of the Divine message of Prophet Muhammad in his many hadith.  This is one of them, how true his words came out to be.

Nowadays, when some people became too engrossed in the world, and forgot everything else, they are struck with a sense of greed and covetousness that is never satisfied.  They work day and night, and still feel the need to work more.  They occupy themselves the whole time, and still feel anxious and are besotted with worries about the future.  They devote their attention and effort to this life, but they end up feeling empty and purposeless at the end of the day. Moreover, their endless worry and anxiety result in new diseases and psychological illnesses that were rare before, like heart disease, depression, nervous breakdowns, and others.

Their condition becomes just like one of the companions of the Prophet described:

    عن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه، قال: ( ويل لكل جمَّاع، فاغر فاه كأنه مجنون، يرى ما عند الناس ولا يرى ما عنده، ولو يستطع لوصل الليل بالنهار، ويله من حساب غليظ وعذاب شديد).

   Narrated Abu Ad-Darda’ -may Allah pleased with him- said: “Woe to every collector (of wealth), open-mouthed greedy like a mad person, who regards the possessions of other people and disregards his own, and if he could work continuously all day and night he would have done so; woe to him from severe reckoning and painful punishment (by God).”

While the Muslim is instructed to work for his world and earn a good permissible earning, he is also instructed to make his main focus the Hereafter and the soon to come real life.  While the Muslim should be struggling and working for this life, his attention and focus should be devoted to his Hereafter.  The Muslim should be concerned and preoccupied with following God’s commands as best as possible, and relegate the worldly endeavors to second position.  The Muslim should find some time for this deen (religion) and do his best to fulfill his religious obligations first, and then think of his worldly duties.  Indeed, if this balance is broken, then the peace of mind and soul are shattered with it.  On the other hand, when this order is maintained then God Who is the real Provider, will provide for him both in this world and the Hereafter.  The Muslim must struggle for this world, but he should struggle harder for his other world to come to gain success in both.  And Allah knows best.



Morality and Good Character


     قال الله تعالى: { إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ} سورة النحل، آية 90.

      Allah -the Exalted- says: { Verily, Allah orders justice, kindness, and giving (help) to the relatives.  And Allah forbids immoral sins, evil, and oppression.  He admonishes you that perhaps you may take heed} (Surah 16, verse 90).

     وعن أبي الدرداء رضي الله عنه أن النبيَّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « مَا مِنْ شَيْءٍ أَثْقَلُ في مِيزَانِ المُؤْمِنِ يَوْمَ القِيَامَة مِنْ حُسْنِ الخُلُقِ، وإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبغِضُ الفَاحِشَ البَذِيءَ» .  رواه الترمذي وابن حبان.

     Narrated Abu Ad-Darda’ -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “There is nothing heavier in the Scale of the faithful (Mu’min) on the Day of Judgment than good morals (Husn Al-Khuluq).  And Allah dislikes the indecent, foul mouthed.”  Related by Al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban.


Good morals and conduct is what distinguishes the son of Adam from other creatures.  While the law of the jungle gives the power and authority to the strongest and may entail violating the rights of the weak and old (a lesson from we which we can learn), the rules of Islam and religion dictate fairness and justice to each individual and in every aspect of the human life.  Not only is the Muslim supposed to have the best morals and code of honor, but he is also supposed to protect the rights of the weak and the old as well.  Thus, not only is the Muslim a fair and just person who strives to be good and do good to others, but the whole community is composed of individuals who take care of each other and look after one another.

As the above hadith shows good morals are one of the greatest good deeds in Islam.  Islam encourages the Muslim to have good morals in every aspect of his life, and with every person with whom he deals.  The true Muslim is characterized by honesty, truthfulness, patience, generosity, justice, kindness and good manners.  These characteristics give the Muslim his identity and reflect his true inner faith in God.

       A true believer or Mu’min is someone who firmly believes in the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment; therefore, he strives to have good morals and rid himself of bad characteristics or vices.  The believer knows the blessed effects of good morals both in this life and in the Hereafter, and therefore tries hard to cultivate his good morals.  Good morals lead to peace and happiness in this life, and to Paradise in the Hereafter.  A Muslim with good morals not only leads a happy contented life, but also projects that happiness and contentment to others around him.

On the other hand, the Muslim understands the effects of vices on one’s faith and the recompense of such a bad deed both in this life and the Hereafter.  As for faith, vices and bad characteristics work to weaken faith, until the person becomes immoral and loses his moral sense.  This leads the person to immorality and sin, which leads to misery and different kinds of anxieties and depression.  In the Hereafter, vices and bad characteristics lead to Hell-fire, as much as they destroyed one’s sense of morality and faith.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned that as time passes by and we draw near to the Day of Judgment, faith will weaken, and immorality will appear and become widespread.  What used to be considered wrong before starts to be considered right; what used to be considered shameful before starts to be accepted; what used to be considered socially unacceptable before starts to be seen commonly; what used to be considered unjust before starts to be practiced by many; and so forth.  The Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- warned that when such a time appears, then torments and disasters would appear as well.

Indeed, when basic values and principles are no longer respected and applied, when the laws of God are no longer followed, and when the commands of God are violated, then natural forces are given permission to take their course and that may lead to natural disasters and calamities.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned against this inversion of morality and values, and talked about the consequence of such actions in the following hadith: 

   وعن أبي هريرة  رضي الله عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: «‏ إِذَا اتُّخِذَ الفَيْءُ دُوَلًا، ‏وَالأَمَانَةُ مَغْنَمًا، وَالزَّكَاةُ ‏مَغْرَمًا،‏ ‏وَتُعُلِّمَ لِغَيْرِ الدِّينِ، وَأَطَاعَ الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ، ‏وَعَقَّ ‏‏أُمَّهُ، وَأَدْنَى صَدِيقَهُ، وَأَقْصَى أَبَاهُ، وَظَهَرَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ فِي المَسَاجِدِ، وَسَادَ القَبِيلَةَ فَاسِقُهُمْ، وَكَانَ زَعِيمُ الْقَوْمِ أَرْذَلَهُمْ، وَأُكْرِمَ الرَّجُلُ مَخَافَةَ شَرِّهِ، وَظَهَرَتِ ‏القَيْنَاتُ ‏‏وَالمَعَازِفُ، وَشُرِبَتْ الخُمُورُ، وَلَعَنَ آخِرُ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ أَوَّلَهَا، ‏‏فَلْيَرْتَقِبُوا ‏‏عِنْدَ ذَلِكَ رِيحًا حَمْرَاءَ، وَزَلْزَلَةً وَخَسْفًا ‏‏وَمَسْخًا ‏‏وَقَذْفًا، ‏‏وَآيَاتٍ ‏‏تَتَابَعُ ‏ ‏كَنِظَامٍ ‏‏بَالٍ ‏قُطِعَ سِلْكُهُ فَتَتَابَعَ» .  رواه الترمذي.


   Narrated Abu Hurairah -may Allah be pleased with him- that Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “

  • When the booty (public money) is taken by some people apart from others,
  • When the trusted item is taken as a loot,
  • When charity is regarded as penalty,
  • When the knowledge (of religion) is acquired for other purposes,
  • When the man obeys his wife and disobeys his mother,
  • When the man brings close his friend and keeps away his father,
  • When people speak loudly in the houses of worship,
  • When the dissolute sinful person dominates over his tribe,
  • When the most vile person becomes the ruler of his people,
  • When the man is honored for fear of his evil,
  • When female singers and music instruments become prevalent,
  • When wines are drunk abundantly, and
  • When the late of this nation curse the early of this nation,
  • Then let them watch and wait for a red wind, earthquake, landslide, figure deformation, pelting from the sky, and successive signs that will appear like falling beads from an old necklace that has broken so its beads continue to fall one by one.” Related by Al-Tirmidhi.


          Thus, Good Morals and conduct not only create a peaceful and just society that lives in peace and prosperity, but good morality also dispel calamities and disasters and keep them at bay.  The Muslim should always strive for good morals and should cultivate good characteristics such as justice, patience, kindness, forgiveness, and others.  The Muslim should also try to rid himself of bad characteristics or vices like pride, injustice, jealousy, greed, covetousness, and others.   Good morals is the identity of the true Muslim and reflects his inner true faith.  And Allah knows best.



Ingratitude and Complaining


     قال الله تعالى: { أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْاْ مِن قَبْلِكُم مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَآءُ وَالضَّرَّآءُ وَزُلْزِلُواْ حَتَّى يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ مَعَهُ مَتَى نَصْرُ اللَّهِ أَلاَ إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ} سورة البقرة 214.

      Allah -the Exalted- says: { Do you think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the help of Allah” Yes! Certainly, the help of Allah is near!} (Surah 2, verse 214).

    عن أبي يَحْيَى صُهَيْبِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « عَجَباً لأمْرِ المُؤْمِنِ إِنَّ أَمْرَهُ كُلَّهُ لَهُ خَيْرٌ، وَلَيْسَ ذَلِكَ لأِحَدٍ إِلاَّ لِلْمُؤْمِن: إِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ سَرَّاءُ شَكَرَ فَكَانَ خَيْراً لَهُ، وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ ضَرَّاءُ صَبَرَ فَكَانَ خيْراً لَهُ» .  رواه مسلم .

   Narrated Abu Yahya, Suheib Ibn Sinan -may Allah be pleased with him- that the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: “How wonderful is the case of a believer for there is good in every affair of his, and this is not the case with anyone else except for the believer.  When a good thing happens to him, he thanks Allah and that is good for him; and when a trouble befalls him, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.”  Related by Imam Muslim.


Allah -the Exalted- created the humans and jinns to worship Him and obey His commands. Allah -the Exalted- says in Qur’an:

{And I (Allah) did not create the jinns and humans except to worship Me (Alone)} (surah 51, verse 56).

Then those who obey God will have the reward of Paradise, and those who disobey God and reject His commands will have the punishment of Hell-Fire.  Therefore, this life is a test for humans and jinns; whether they believe or disbelieve, whether they obey or disobey the commands of God, and whether they show thanks and gratitude or impatience and ingratitude.

The test of the worldly life includes having problems, trials and tribulation that the son of Adam must go through in order to distinguish between the true believers and the hypocrites and disbelievers.  As the above verse mentions, in order to get the greatest Reward of Paradise the believer must pass a test.  Everyone must pass through this test, both past generation and present, both righteous and sinners, and both old and young.  These tests come in the form of problems, trials and tribulations.  The test may afflict the person in his health, wealth, family, life, or worse of all in his religion.

When the test afflicts the son of Adam, his reaction and responses are recorded.  Then the recompense is tended based on that.  For the believer who stands firm in the face of these calamities, bears them patiently, returns to Allah and seeks His help, the result is great reward and the promise of peace of heart and contentment in this life and Paradise in the Hereafter.  But for that who complains and shows impatience and ingratitude, the recompense is more misery in this life and punishment in the Hereafter.


Many times we forget the real purpose of the worldly life and as soon as a problem befalls us, we tend to complain and show signs of impatience and ingratitude.  Some people go further and ask: Why this happened to me?  When a natural disaster strikes, some wonder: why us?

But how soon the son of Adam forgets his own actions and ignore the consequences of his bad deeds until it is too late.  Allah -the Exalted- states in Qur’an: {And whatever befalls you of disaster, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much} (Surah 42, verse 30).  Ali Ibn Abi Talib said: “Hardships befall you in the world because of your sins.”  Instead of complaining and showing ingratitude, the believer must first repent of all sins and ask Allah’s forgiveness.  Second, the believer must remind himself of the test of trials and tribulations of this world, and then bear the problem patiently, seeking Allah’s help.  And third, the believer must surrender to Allah’s will and accept Pre-destiny, believing that God has judged this way and the slave must accept it while in the meantime try his best to find a solution.

The believer must remember that previous nations went through the same trials and tribulations and now they are being tended the reward or punishment of their actions (in their graves).  One day we will be considered a past generation and we too will see the results of our actions in the Hereafter after death.   And just like when previous nations indulged in sins, they saw the effects of that in their worldly life, so will we.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- warned of such sins:

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ أَقْبَلَ عَلَيْنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ خَمْسٌ إِذَا ابْتُلِيتُمْ بِهِنَّ وَأَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ أَنْ تُدْرِكُوهُنَّ لَمْ تَظْهَرِ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي قَوْمٍ قَطُّ حَتَّى يُعْلِنُوا بِهَا إِلاَّ فَشَا فِيهِمُ الطَّاعُونُ وَالأَوْجَاعُ الَّتِي لَمْ تَكُنْ مَضَتْ فِي أَسْلاَفِهِمُ الَّذِينَ مَضَوْا ‏.‏ وَلَمْ يَنْقُصُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ إِلاَّ أُخِذُوا بِالسِّنِينَ وَشِدَّةِ الْمَؤُنَةِ وَجَوْرِ السُّلْطَانِ عَلَيْهِمْ ‏.‏ وَلَمْ يَمْنَعُوا زَكَاةَ أَمْوَالِهِمْ إِلاَّ مُنِعُوا الْقَطْرَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَلَوْلاَ الْبَهَائِمُ لَمْ يُمْطَرُوا وَلَمْ يَنْقُضُوا عَهْدَ اللَّهِ وَعَهْدَ رَسُولِهِ إِلاَّ سَلَّطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوًّا مِنْ غَيْرِهِمْ فَأَخَذُوا بَعْضَ مَا فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ ‏.‏ وَمَا لَمْ تَحْكُمْ أَئِمَّتُهُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَيَتَخَيَّرُوا مِمَّا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلاَّ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ بَأْسَهُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ ‏”‏ رواه ابن ماجه والحاكم والبيهقي، بإسناد حسن.

   It was narrated that Abdul-Allah Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- turned to us and said: ‘O group of the Muhajireen )the migrants), beware of being afflicted with five characteristics, and I seek refuge in Allah of them befalling you:

  1. Adultery  never appears among a group of people to such an extent that they commit it openly, but plagues and diseases that were never known among their predecessors will spread among them.
  2. They do not cheat in weights and measures but they will be stricken with famine, hardship in provision, and the oppression of their rulers.
  3. They do not withhold the Zakah (charity) of their wealth, but rain will be withheld from the sky, and were it not for the animals, no rain would fall on them.
  4.  They do not break their covenant with Allah and His Messenger, but Allah will enable their enemies to overpower them and take some of what is in their hands.
  5. And unless their leaders rule according to the Book of Allah and seek all good from that which Allah has revealed, Allah will cause them to fight one another.’”  Related by Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim, and Al-Beihaqi.

 Then the sensible person should reflect upon his action when afflicted with a problem or a calamity.  The believer should remind himself of the purpose of the life and the test he must pass through to attain Paradise.  The Muslim should always think of trials and tribulations as something that will absolve him of his sins and increase his reward; therefore instead of complaining and showing ingratitude, he should bear the problem patiently, turn to Allah and seek His help, and surrender to Pre-destiny and accept Allah’s Judgment while trying his best to find a way out of his trouble.  We ask Allah to guide us to the Right Path, and make us die on Iman.  And Allah knows best.



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.


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).


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).




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).



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).





Actions and Consequences

قال الله عز وجل: { أَفَمَنْ كَانَ مُؤْمِنًا كَمَنْ كَانَ فَاسِقًا لَا يَسْتَوُونَ * أَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ جَنَّاتُ الْمَأْوَى نُزُلًا بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ * وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فَسَقُوا فَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ كُلَّمَا أَرَادُوا أَنْ يَخْرُجُوا مِنْهَا أُعِيدُوا فِيهَا وَقِيلَ لَهُمْ ذُوقُوا عَذَابَ النَّارِ الَّذِي كُنْتُمْ بِهِ تُكَذِّبُونَ * وَلَنُذِيقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَى دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَكْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ  } سورة السجدة 18-21.

God the Exalted says: {Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal. As for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them are Gardens of Abode as an accommodation for what they used to do. But as for those who defiantly disobeyed, their abode will be Hell-Fire. Every time they wish to emerge from it, they will be returned to it, and it will be said to them: “Taste the torment of the Fire which you used to deny.” And verily, We will make them taste of the near (worldly) lighter torment prior to the greater torment, in order that they may return} (Surah 32, verses 18-21).

وعن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « إنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ قَدْ يَئِسَ أَنْ تُعْبَدُ الأَصْنَامُ فِي أَرْضِ العَرَبِ، ولكِنَّهُ سَيَرْضَى مِنْكُمْ بِدُونِ ذلِكَ، بِالمُحَقَّرَاتِ، وهِيَ المُوبِقَاتُ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ» الحديث.  رواه أبو يعلى والطبراني والبيهقي.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Satan despaired of idols being worshipped in the Arabian Peninsula, but he will pleased with less than that from you: with the belittled sins (muhaqirat), and they are the destructive sins (mubiqat) on the Day of Judgment. ”  Related by Al-Tabarani, Abu-Ya’la and Al-Bayhaqi.

When we consider peace and order in worldly communities and societies, we find that order cannot be achieved except through laws and regulations.  Thus, a minor offense is prevented by imposing monetary fines on such transgressions, while more serious offenses receive greater sentences as a preventive measure. Those who commit these crimes are then handed prison sentences as a punishment for the offender and as a deterrent for others. Most often these offenses and transgressions entail harming oneself and/or others. These laws and regulations are implemented to protect the individual and the community as a whole. Those who try to harm themselves or other individuals in the community are punished. Those who disrupt the harmony of the community and try to bring disorder and violence to the community by breaking these rules and regulations are disciplined.  Thus, every member of the community has responsibilities and rights that must be observed, and when any member of the community violates these rights, there are consequences. Those who keep the law and order are lauded as good community members who are eligible to take leading roles, while those who violate these rules are considered disruptive members who must face the consequence of their actions so that they may then reform and act righteously.

The same analogy applies to religion.  God in His Most Wise and Divine Knowledge and Authority prescribed certain rules and regulations to be followed. Most of these regulations are in the form of sacred texts revealed to prophets and messengers; many of these center on worshiping God alone and obeying His commands. Just like laws and regulations are important to keep the community safe, religious rules and regulations are essential to keep humanity harmonious.

Among the rules that God revealed to all prophets are the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments were revealed in the Torah, the Bible, and the Qur’an.

Narrated Ka’b Al-Ahbar: “The first thing that was revealed of the Torah are ten verses, and they are same ten verses mentioned in Surah Al-An’am (Qur’an): {Say (O Muhammad): “Come, I will recite what your Lord has prohibited to you:

  • Do not join anything in worship with Him;
  • Be good and dutiful to your parents;
  • Do not kill your children out of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them;
  • Do not come near to shameful deeds (adultery), whether committed openly or secretly;
  • Do not kill anyone whom Allah has forbidden (to be killed), except for a just cause: thus does He command you, that you may use wisdom.
  • And do not come near the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full maturity;
  • Give full measure and full weight with justice – We do not burden any person but that which he can bear;
  • Whenever you speak (testify), speak justly even if a near relative is concerned;
  • And fulfill the Covenant of Allah: thus does He command you that you may remember} (Surah 6, verses 151-153).”

The Ten Commandments ensure justice and peace on earth, but when they are violated injustice and mischief spread through the land. And like the violation of worldly laws results in consequences, violation of the rules of God also results in consequences.

God the Exalted says:

{And verily, We will make them taste of the near (worldly) lighter torment prior to the greater torment, in order that they may return} (Surah 32, verse 21).

Ubayy Ibn Ka’b said: “The near worldly torment are problems and troubles in the worldly life.”  Therefore, when the commandments of God are violated, and His rules and regulations are broken, torment in this life is sent in the form of troubles and problems that strike the son of Adam and leave him in pain and agony.  And if the son of Adam continues as before and insists on violating the rules of God, then there is punishment after death in the grave and in Hell–we seek refuge in God from that.

Nowadays, there is a general trend of dissociating the consequences from their actions. Some people may violate more than one rule of God, and may be given a reprieve and a chance to repent at first. But when they insist on committing the sin, they may be punished for it and afflicted with a calamity. Instead of reflecting on their previous actions, they wonder why they were affected in particular and why that problem afflicted them. But the true believer understands that problems and troubles are a test and an expiation. Problems remind the Muslim of the need to return to God and to repent of all sins. Troubles urge the Muslim to seek the help of God and get closer to Him, and they remind the Muslim of the life to come and the need to prepare for that eternal life.

Thus, God is the Most Merciful and Most Kind and always gives His slaves a chance after chance before punishment.  God, the Lord of the Worlds, screens the sinning slave at first and gives him a chance to repent and return to religion. God the Exalted with his vast mercy forgives and continues to forgive, but when the son of Adam insists on turning away and committing sins then the slave is punished. And even then, God’s mercy surrounds the slave and He in His Most Glory awaits the slave’s repentance patiently and expectantly.  The Almighty God says in Qur’an:

{And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much} (Surah 42, verse 30).

The scholar Ibn Kathir said: “The verse means: ‘Whatever disasters happen to you, O mankind, are because of sins that you have committed in the past.’ (And He pardons much) means: ‘He does not punish you for all of your sins, rather He forgives much.’

Narrated Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘If a person commits many sins and has nothing that will expiate for them, Allah will test him with some grief that will expiate for them.’ Related by Imam Ahmad.”

As the first verse states, the obedient believer and the sinful are never equal, just like the law abiding person is not equal to the criminal. The Mu’min is characterized by having fear of Allah that makes him loathe sins and stay away from them. And in case he slips, he soon repents.  Allah the Exalted says:

 {And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins. And none can forgive sins but Allah, and they do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know}

(Surah 3, verse 135).

Al-Baghawi said: ‘They remember the punishment of Allah and that He will ask them about their actions (so they stop themselves).”  Thus, the Mu’min is the person who doesn’t insist on a sin. It is true that humans are weak and prone to slips and falls, but the Muslim remembers the consequences of disobeying Allah both in this life and the Hereafter, and thus repents of the sin as soon as possible. The Muslim shows regret and remorse and promises Allah never to commit that sin again. And in case he commits another sin (whether the same or different), then he repents a second time, and a third time, until he repents of all sins. When the Muslim reaches this state, then Allah with His Great Mercy and Infinite Forgiveness will erase the sin from his record and grants him purity and sweetness of faith.

The Prophet ﷺ instructs us in the hadith above never to belittle sins, no matter how minor they are. SubhanaAllah, in our age some have started to belittle even the major sins! Some started considering major sins as minor sins and do not think much of committing them. We need to consider the severe consequences that may follow such behavior.

Narrated Ubada Ibn As-Samit, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, a group of my nation will spend the night in merriment, wantonness, play, and forbidden entertainment, and so they will get up in the morning transformed into monkeys and pigs for considering lawful (and violating) the things Allah has forbidden, for taking on female singers, for drinking wine, eating usury, and wearing silk (for men).” Related by Ahmad and Al-Tabarani.

We see the direct cause-effect relationship between actions and their consequences in this hadith. The righteous people among the first Muslim generation (Sahaba) showed great concern over even minor sins and took great pains to avoid them. But now we show even less concern for major sins, and do not consider the enormity of disobeying the Mighty One.  The remedy of this affliction lies in frequent pondering and reflection.  Every day the Muslim should think of the sins he committed during the day and night, and should then make istighfar (ask Allah’s forgiveness) for them.  Only then will the Muslim realize his negligence and shortcomings.  Once he realizes that, then the Muslim should strive to please Allah by obeying His commands and staying away from things He has forbidden.  The Muslim should always keep in mind the good consequences of following Allah’s commands (both in this life and the Hereafter), and the dire consequences of disobeying Allah’s commands (both in this life and the Hereafter).  We pray Allah to guide us to the Right Path and grant us Paradise, and Allah knows best.

The Highest Level: Ihsan

قال الله عز وجل: { هَلْ جَزَاء الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ} سورة الرحمن 60.

God the Exalted says: {Is the reward for good (Ihsan) anything other than good?} (Surah 55, verse 60).

Narrated Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him: “Once while we were sitting with the Messenger of God ﷺ, a man appeared before us, dressed in pure white clothes, with dark black hair, without any sign of travel. None of us recognized him. He sat with the Messenger of God ﷺ, resting his knees against the knees of the Messenger of God ﷺ, and placed his palms on the thighs of the Messenger of God ﷺ, and said: ‘O Muhammad, inform me about Islam.’  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: ‘Islam is to testify that there is no god worthy of worship but God and that Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of God, and to establish prayer, to pay Zakah (the obligatory charity), to fast the month of Ramadan, and to perform pilgrimage to Makkah if you are capable of it.’ The man said: ‘You have said the truth.’  Omar said: We wondered at him, first asking and then confirming it as the truth!

Then the man said: ‘Inform me about faith (Iman).’  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: ‘It is to truly believe in God, in His angels, in His Books, in His messengers, in the Hereafter, and in the Divine Decree, the good of it and the bad of it.’

The man said: ‘You have said the truth. [Now] inform me about Ihsan.’  The Messenger of God ﷺ said:

‘It is to worship God as if you are seeing Him, for though you do not see Him, He, verily, sees you.’

The man said: ‘Inform me about the Hour (of the Day of Judgment).’  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: ‘The one asked about it knows no more than the inquirer.’ The man said: ‘Tell me some of its indications and signs.’  The Messenger of God ﷺ said: ‘That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and master, and that you will find barefooted, destitute goat-herders vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings.’  Omar said: Then the man went on his way and I stayed with Prophet Muhammad for a long while.

The Messenger of God then said to me: ‘O Omar, do you know who the inquirer was?’ I replied: God and His Messenger know best.’  He said: ‘That was Angel Gabriel who came to you in order to instruct you in matters of your religion.’ ”

(Related by Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad).


In this beautiful and eloquent hadith, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ summarizes the main tenets of Islam and its major foundation.  The scholars said this incident occurred towards the end of the Prophet’s life, to clarify and summarize the important pillars of this deen.  Angel Gabriel and the Prophet ﷺ divided the tenets of Islam into three levels: Islam, Iman (faith), and Ihsan.  If we think of them as levels, then the basic level is Islam, the middle higher level is Iman, and the highest level is Ihsan.  Like any other structure, the highest level can be reached only after perfecting the levels before it.

The three concepts of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan are not limited to the spiritual heart; rather, they are firm beliefs of the heart but also actions by the limbs.  In other words, the belief in the heart must translate into good deeds and acts.  For example, one of the pillars of Islam is the Prayer. So the Muslim must believe in the importance and obligation of the Five Daily Prayers, but his Islam would not be perfect until he physically perfects his prayer.  Likewise, one of the pillars of Iman is the belief in Qadr (Divine Decree or pre-destiny), but Iman would not be perfect until the Muslim learns not to complain in the face of adversaries and calamities but instead to bear them patiently and seek God’s help. Finally, the Muslim has firm belief in the concept of Ihsan, and that God the Exalted is always watching him and his actions, but the Muslim’s Ihsan would not be complete until he translates that belief into action and starts fulfilling God’s commands by performing obligations (wajibat) and avoiding actions God has forbidden (sins).


One of the ninety-nine Honorable Names of God is: الرقيب (the Ever-Watchful).  God is also: البصير (the All-Seeing), السميع (the All-Hearing), العليم (the All-Knower), and الخبير (the All-Aware).  That is, every creature is under the constant watch and continuous surveillance of God, the Exalted.  This watch never ceases and is never interrupted, as God is the Perfect God and neither sleeps nor slumber ever affects Him.  Furthermore, God the Almighty has assigned two angels for every human, who write his good and bad deeds in a special record that will be presented to the slave on the Day of Judgment.  Thus, nothing of the slave’s actions is ever missed by God, the Lord of the Worlds.  God the Exalted says in Qur’an:

{Truly, nothing is hidden from God, in the earth or in the heavens} (Surah 3, verse 5).

This sense of being under the constant watch of God the Most High, and the resulting attention to one’s actions, is called Ihsan.  Ihsan has two parts: First is the belief that we are being watched by God the Exalted all the time. And second is the sense of shyness and the effort to follow God’s commands and avoid sins that results from realizing God is watching at all times.


Once the Muslim realizes he or she is under the constant watch of God, the Muslim tries his best to show respect and reverence to the One Who is watching. The Muslim feels shy of disobeying the Mighty One who is watching. Moreover, the Muslim tries her best to be in the best form and shape before the Only Lord and true God. So the Muslim tries to do as many good deeds as possible and do them only to please God Who is watching him during the day and night, during the morning and evening, in public and in private and on all occasions. This then develops into him a deep and heightened sense of Divine awareness that brings with it a higher level of piety (taqwa), righteousness (salah), and Iman (faith) such that he feels close to God all the time and spends most of his time trying to please his Lord by doing good deeds and avoiding sins. This condition then is called Ihsan, and it is as mentioned above the highest level of the religion.

This elevated level of Ihsan requires struggle and fending off the desires of the Evil tempting Self and the temptations of Satan and the devils.  Ihsan requires perfecting the stages of Islam and Iman (faith) first, then gradually building one’s Ihsan. Ihsan requires constant reminder of this continued watch by making Dhikr and glorifying God all the time, as well as daily repentance and frequent istighfar (seeking forgiveness from God) and asking God for the favor of this special state.

It is not an easy task, but God’s rewards are not cheap, either. In return for this struggle, God provides blessings both in this world, represented by a peaceful contented life, and in the Hereafter through the highest levels in Jannah or Paradise.  We pray God to guide us to the Right Path and grant us from His Favor.  And God knows best.

Reward and Punishment

قال الله عز وجل: { وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَنْ كَثِيرٍ} سورة الشورى 30.

Allah the Exalted says: { And whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned, but Allah pardons much} (Surah 42, verse 30).

وعن بريدة الأسلمي رضي الله عنه قال: سمعتُ رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يقولُ: « ما أصابَ رجلًا من المسلمين نكبةٌ فما فوقها- حتى ذكر الشوكة- إلا لإحدى خصلتين: إلا ليغفرَ الله من الذنوبِ ذنبًا لم يكن ليغفرَ الله له إلا بمثل ذلك، أو يبلغَ به من الكرامة كرامةً لم يكن يبلغها إلا بمثل ذلك».  رواه ابن أبي الدنيا والبيهقي.

Narrated Burayda Al-Aslami, may Allah be pleased with him: “I heard the Prophet ﷺ say: ‘Whatsoever small misfortune or greater than it–he even mentioned a thorn–befalls a Muslim for two reasons: Either so that Allah forgives a sin that He would have not forgiven except for that, or to make him attain honor that he would not have attained except for that.’ ”  Related by Ibn Abi Ad-Dunya and Al-Bayhaqi.


In the Qur’an, Allah the Exalted states that He created this life as a test for belief and disbelief, for obedience and disobedience, for righteousness and evil. Part of the test is that this worldly (dunya) life is never perfect: beside its happiness there is sadness; beside its richness there is poverty; beside its fortunes there are misfortunes, and beside its pleasures there is adversity. Then the human is tested in how he acts in every situation–the levels of her faith, piety, patience, and devotion to God are measured and recorded.  Based on the actions of the human and the Perfect Judgment of God, humanity is then either rewarded with Paradise or punished with Hell on the Day of Judgment.

This worldly life is not a lawless place where man can rule free; rather, in every era, Allah the Exalted sent messengers with Divine instructions to lead mankind to guidance and to the path of eternal bliss in the Hereafter.  The Qur’an mentions many prophets and their Divine messages.  We read about the story of Adam, whom Allah created with His Own Exalted Hand from mud and blew the soul into him to bring life to him. We read about the first instruction to humans in the form of staying away from the forbidden tree.

Due to human nature being prone to slips and falls, Prophet Adam was tempted by Satan and ate from the tree, and was then moved from Paradise to the earth. But just as human nature is prone to slips and falls, it is also inclined to righteousness and repentance. Indeed, just as there is a dark side to the soul, there is a countering good side as well. Thus, Prophet Adam spent forty days on earth in prostration, crying in repentance to God. Allah the Most Merciful bestowed His mercy and forgiveness upon Adam and Eve and instructed them to act righteously on earth. Ever since, every nation and generation has received a Messenger and an accompanying Divine book with the instructions and commandments of God. There were many prophets who came as warners to their people, including Prophet Noah, Prophet Moses, Prophet Isa (Jesus), Prophet Abraham, Prophet David, Prophet Solomon, and many others. The last Prophet and Messenger of Allah is Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the seal of prophets who has been sent to humankind at large until the end of time.

If we read about previous nations, we see that some nations followed the guidance their prophets brought them from God and gained eternal bliss, while others refused to obey and were punished both in this life and the Hereafter. In the Qur’an we read some of the stories of the people who were punished, like the story of people of Noah who were destroyed with the Great Flood, the story of the people of Thamud who were annihilated with the Piercing Cry, the story of the people of Aad who were destroyed with the Violent Wind, the story of Pharaoh who was drowned, and many others.

Allah the Exalted mentioned the stories of the nations before us in Qur’an so that we take heed and act righteously. These true stories are great lessons for us, and forewarn us of the consequences of our actions. Indeed, we see the effects of our actions in this life before the Hereafter.  In the above verse, Allah the Exalted states that a lot of corruption and evil we see on earth is a direct consequence of disobedience to God.  These consequences can appear in the form of misfortunes and adversity (though we should realize that misfortunes can also be a test for the righteous).  Therefore, we are instructed to repent to Allah and seek His forgiveness frequently during the day and night, but more so during times of difficulty and adversity.  Allah the Exalted says:

}وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَى أُمَمٍ مِنْ قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ * فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُمْ بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا وَلَكِنْ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ{

{Verily, We sent (Messengers) to many nations before you (O Prophet Muhammad). And We seized them with poverty and hardship so that they may believe with humility.

Then why, when Our Torment reached them, did they not believe with humility? Instead, their hearts became hardened, and Satan made attractive to them that which they were doing} (Surah 6, verse 42-43).

Thus, Allah the Exalted instructs us to turn back to Him during time of difficulty and adversity, and to seek His forgiveness and mercy with greater degree of humility and pleading.  But that must be accompanied by repentance, true repentance that dictates leaving the sin or sins that may have led to these consequences. When struck with a calamity or difficulty, the Muslim is instructed to seek forgiveness and mercy from Allah, to repent of sins, and then to seek His help and aid.

The time of difficulty is a time of reflection, a time of looking back at our actions, a time of carefully considering which rules of Allah we aren’t following.

As the verse above states, sometimes adversity and difficulty are just a reminder for the Muslim to abandon sins and repent to Allah. But when the human continues to act as before and tries to ignore the consequences of bad actions and finds no link between the two, then the situation may worsen–we seek refuge with Allah.  On the other hand, when the Muslim takes heed and starts by purifying his own self and then seeks Allah’s help, Allah will find him a way out of every difficulty and provides him from whence he doesn’t expect, a promise by Allah:

{And whoever fears Allah (by following His Commands and staying away from sins), He will make for him a way out (of difficulty).  And He will provide for him from where he does not expect} (Surah 65, verses 2-3).

In conclusion, we see a common habit of dissociating actions from their consequences. The Prophet ﷺ  mentioned in the hadith above that adversity and difficulty could be a direct result of some sin the Muslim is committing or it could be an elevating test for the pious person. And the above verses make it abundantly clear that happiness and calamity in both worlds have a direct link to human action. Therefore, in all difficulties, the Muslim is instructed to reflect upon his actions, repent of his sins, seek the forgiveness and mercy of Allah, and then seek help and aid from Allah, the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving.  And Allah knows best.

Feeling Superiority

قال الله عز وجل: { إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ مُخْتَالًا فَخُورًا} النساء 36.

Allah the Exalted says: { Verily, Allah does not like those who are proud and boastful} (Surah 4, verse 36).

وعن جندب بن عبد الله رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « قالَ رَجُلٌ: واللَّهِ لا يَغْفِرُ اللَّه لفُلانٍ، فَقَالَ اللَّه عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: مَنْ ذا الَّذِي يَتَأَلَّى عليَّ أنْ لا أغفِرَ لفُلانٍ إنِّي قَد غَفَرْتُ لَهُ، وَأَحْبَطْتُ عمَلَكَ» .  رواه مسلم.

قال الْإِمَامُ مَالِكٌ: إذَا قَالَ ذَلِكَ مُعْجَبًا بِنَفْسِهِ مُزْدَرِيًا بِغَيْرِهِ فَهُوَ أَشَدُّ هَلَاكًا مِنْهُمْ،‏ لِأَنَّهُ لَا يَدْرِي سَرَائِرَ اللَّهِ فِي خَلْقِهِ‏.‏

Narrated Jundub Ibn Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “A man swore: ‘By God, Allah will not forgive such and such person.’  Thereupon, Allah the Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swears about Me that I will not forgive so and so; indeed I have forgiven him and abolished your deeds.’ ” Related by Imam Muslim.

Imam Malik said: “If he said so out of self-conceit and contempt of others, then he is the one who is ruined because he has no knowledge of people’s inner side and future intention.”

عن عبدِ اللَّهِ بن مسعُودٍ رضيَ اللَّهُ عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « لا يَدْخُلُ الجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ»، فقال رَجُلٌ: إِنَّ الرَّجُلَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَكُونَ ثَوْبُه حَسَناً ونَعْلُهُ حَسَناً، قال: « إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الجَمَالَ، الكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الحَقِّ وغَمْطُ النَّاسِ» . رواه مسلم والترمذي.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whosoever has a grain of mustard worth of pride in his heart shall not enter Paradise.’  A man asked: “Indeed, a person loves that his dress should be fine and his shoes should be fine.”  The Prophet ﷺ replied: “Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and having contempt for people.”  Related by Muslim and Al-Tirmidhi.

As the above hadith specifies, feeling superior to people is part of kibr (pride), which is a major sin. Indeed, pride is the greatest sin because through it Satan was banished from the Heavens and cursed.  When Allah the Exalted created Adam, He asked the angels to prostrate to him. The angels obeyed while Satan (who used to worship among the angels, and was even known for his great worship to Allah) stood aside and did not prostrate. When asked why he did not prostrate to Adam, Satan replied: ‘I am better than him; I was created from fire while he was created from clay.’  So Allah banished and cursed Satan for his disobedience.

The same concept applies when someone feels superior to other people because of his wealth, social status, intelligence, or any other trait.  We must understand that any blessing is granted by Allah alone, and He bestows it to whomever He wishes. Thus, there is no justification for feeling superior when the distinction is a blessing granted by Allah, and can instantly be taken away if Allah so wishes. Rather the Muslim is instructed to show humbleness and humility, and express his gratitude and thanks to Allah for His special favors. In Surat Al-Kahf, we read the story of a rich man who owned two orchards full with fruits and with a running river. He was once in his green and lush orchard, and looked around with pride and said I don’t think all of this will ever end, and when I die I will get better than this. His companion admonished him not to feel pride and superiority, but to instead thank Allah for His Blessings; but he persisted in his arrogance. That night, lightning struck his orchards and he lost everything because of his pride.

The same is true for religious status. When someone appears more adherent to the rules of Allah and thinks highly of himself or looks down upon others, then he might end up worse than them because he harbors the greatest sin of pride. Indeed, it is only Allah who granted him this gift, but when he attributes his worship to his own effort and looks down on others, then he has fallen in the same trap as Satan. We should abhor and prohibit the sin, but should have goodwill and compassion for the human.  When the Muslim sees a sin being committed, he should advise the wrong doer but should never look down upon the sinner or belittle him, but instead should maintain a positive opinion of him while wishing him guidance and goodness.

Indeed, the Muslim does not reach the full level of Faith (Iman) until he purifies his heart from vices like jealousy, worldly rivalry, hatred, pride, feeling superior to others, belittling others, and the like. In the following hadith, the Prophet  describes the best of people:

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Amr, maybe Allah be pleased with them: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked: ‘Who among the people is best?’  He replied: ‘Every person with a makhmum heart and  a truthful tongue.’  The companions asked: ‘We know the truthful person, but who is the one with a makhmum heart?’  The Prophet ﷺ  replied:

‘He is the one who is pious and pure, (in whose heart) there is neither sin, nor transgression, nor malice, nor envy.’ ”

(Related by Ibn Majah and Al-Bayhaqi with a good narration).

Pride led to Satan’s downfall, and it is this same pride that leads to problems in this world and destruction in the next. Arrogance and pride are among the most difficult of traits to remove, but our lives must be permanent, persisting efforts to do just that. By realizing our fragile position and by glimpsing at Allah’s majestic grandeur, we can achieve a level of humility that allows us to fix our relationships with the people and with Allah. We ask Allah for tawfiq.

A Righteous Woman


    عن عبد الله بن زيد بن أسلم، عن أبيه، عن جده أسلم قال: ( بينما أنا مع عمر بن الخطاب وهو يعس بالمدينة إذ أعيا، فاتكأ على جانب جدار في جوف الليل، فإذا امرأة تقول لابنتها: يا ابنتاه قومي إلى ذلك اللبن فامذقيه بالماء، فقالت لها: يا أمتاه، وما علمت بما كان من عزمة أمير المؤمنين اليوم؟ قالت: وما كان من عزمته يا بينه؟ قالت: إنه أمر مناديه فنادى: أن لا يشاب اللبن بالماء، فقالت لها: يابنتاه قومي إلى اللبن فامذقيه بالماء فإنك بموضع لا يراك فيه عمر ولا منادي عمر، فقالت الصبية لأمها: يا أمتاه، والله ما كنت لأطيعه في الملأ وأعصيه في الخلاء، وعمر يسمع كل ذلك، فقال: يا أسلم: عَلّم الباب واعرف الموضع، ثم مضى في عسسه، فلما أصبح قال: يا أسلم إمض إلى الموضع فانظر من القائلة؟ ومن المقول لها؟ وهل لهما من بعل؟ قال أسلم: فأتيت الموضع، فنظرت فإذا الجارية أَيّم لا بعل لها، وإذ تيك أمها، وإذ ليس لهم رجل، فأتيت عمر بن الخطاب فأخبرته، فدعى ولده فجمعهم فقال: هل فيكم من يحتاج إلى امرأة أزوجه، ولو كان بأبيكم حركة إلى النساء ما سبقه فيكم أحد إلى هذه الجارية؟ فقال عبدالله: لي زوجة، وقال عبدالرحمن: لي زوجة، وقال عاصم: يا أبتاه، لا زوجة لي فزوجني، فبعث إلى الجارية فزوجها من عاصم، فكانت جدة عمر بن عبد العزيز الخليفة رحمه الله).   قال أهل السيرة: فولدت لعاصم بنتا، وولدت البنت عمر بن عبد العزيز.

Abdullah Ibn Zaid Ibn Aslam narrated from his father, who narrated from his grandfather: “One night, I was in the company of Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab during one of his secret night visits to survey the condition of his people. Umar felt tired and leaned against a wall late at night. He overheard a woman saying to her daughter: ‘My daughter, get that milk and mix it with water.’ The daughter replied: ‘My mother, do you not know the resolution of the Leader of the Believers (Amir Al-Mu’mineen, Umar) today?’  The mother asked: ‘What was his resolution, daughter?’  She replied: ‘He ordered his caller to announce: the milk should not be diluted with water.’ The mother said: ‘My daughter, get the milk and mix it with water, for you are in a site where neither Umar nor his caller can see you.’  The girl said to her mother: ‘My mother, by Allah I would not have obeyed him in public to disobey him in private.’

Umar heard all of that, so he said: ‘O Aslam, mark the door and remember the place.’  Umar then continued with his night watch.

When it was morning, Umar said: ‘O Aslam, go to that place, and find out: Who was the speaker?  Whom did she address?  And does she have a husband?’  Aslam said: So I went to the same spot, and found out that the young woman was single with no husband, and the speaker was her mother, and they did not have any male relative.  I went back to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and told him.

Umar called all of his sons, and asked: ‘Does anyone of you need a wife, so I would get him married?  Indeed, had your father been desirous of women (he was old then), nobody would have superseded him to this young woman.’  So Abdullah (the eldest son) said: ‘I have a wife.’  And Abdul-Rahman said: ‘I have a wife.’  But Aasim said: ‘My father, I do not have a wife, so get me married.’

Umar sent for the young woman and married her to Aasim.  So she was the grandmother of the (fifth) Caliph Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, may Allah have mercy on him.”

The historians said: She gave birth to a girl from Aasim, and the daughter gave birth to Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz.

Accounting for Deeds in Both Worlds


     عن أبي بَرْزَةَ رضي الله عنه أن رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « لا تَزُولُ قَدمَا عبْدٍ يَومَ القِيامَةِ حَتَّى يُسْأَلَ عَنْ أَرْبعٍ: عَنْ عُمْرِهِ فِيمَ أَفْنَاهُ، وَعَنْ عِلْمِهِ مَا عَمِلَ بِهِ، وعَنْ مالِهِ منْ أَيْنَ اكْتَسبهُ وَفِيمَ أَنْفَقَهُ، وَعَن جِسْمِهِ فِيمَ أَبْلاه» .  رواه الترمذي وقال: هذا حديث حسن صحيح.

Narrated Abu Barza, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of God ﷺ said: “The two feet of any slave on the Day of Judgment shall not move on until he is asked about four things: About his age, how he spent it; about his knowledge, how he acted upon it; about his money, from where he earned it and how he spent it; and about his body, how he wore it away.”   Related by Al-Tirmidhi with an authentic narration.

In our daily struggle with the worldly life, we tend to forget or postpone thinking about and preparing for the Hereafter.  Man often considers only what is in front of him, while ignoring that which comes later. Man considers his immediate future yet postpones plans for the distant future. But the wise person is he who considers both the immediate and distant future. The wise person sees what is in front of him, but also what is lying ahead behind the curve. The wise Muslim prepares not only for this life, but also struggles as hard for the other world soon to come.

Indeed, as soon as one dies, the veil is lifted from his eyes and he starts seeing and experiencing the real truth for the first time.  After death, man starts seeing the world as never before. He starts seeing the recompense of his actions, he starts seeing and experiencing the bliss of Paradise or the punishment of Hell-Fire, he starts seeing the angels of mercy or the angels of punishment, and he starts seeing the end results of the righteous people and the evil unjust people. He is truly seeing the world for the first time.

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:

When someone of you dies, then his day of judgment begins.

Related by Ibn Abi al-Dunya and Al-Daylami.

Indeed, when man dies, the angels take his soul, and either ascend with it to heavens or descend with it to the pits. Before that, the Angel of Death appears in either of two forms: a beautiful and inviting shape with which he captures the soul of the believers, and an ugly and terrifying form with which he captures the soul of the disbelievers. Soon after, the angels of mercy or punishment take over according to one’s deeds. And once the dead person is lain in his grave, the two angels, Munkar and Nakir, come to him and question him, asking him to account for every single deed and action he performed in the world.

Thus, our daily actions do not go without notice; rather, every action or deed is recorded and we will be asked about it. The major guideline and rule is: is this action in accordance with God’s rules?  Does it violate any of God’s commands?  This then sets the path to the Hereafter.  Obedience to God is rewarded with bliss and happiness in the Hereafter, while disobedience and sin may be punished in the grave and Hell. In the above hadith, the Prophet gives us a glimpse of the accounting that man would undergo after death.  After death, man will be asked about his age, his knowledge, his wealth, and his body. When man dies, he will be asked how he gained and used those four matters, and whether he follow God’s rules and commands regarding each. Then his reward or punishment will be served based on his actions–but God’s mercy is great.

If we ponder upon the things mentioned in the hadith, we will find that they encompass every deed of the son of Adam in this life:

First, the son of Adam will be asked about how he spent his age i.e. his time. Did he spend his time doing something permissible, did he spend his time doing something useful, or did he just waste his time? Did he take advantage of his time to do good deeds or was he too preoccupied with enjoyment and desires?

Second, the son of Adam will be asked about his knowledge i.e. the knowledge of Islam.  Did he learn about his deen (religion), did he learn about the commands of Allah or His obligations and forbidden things, did he act upon that knowledge, and did he teach it to others?

Third, the son of Adam will be asked about his wealth i.e. money. How did he earn his money? Did he steal, did he cheat, did he rob others, or did he earn from a permissible source? And how did he spend that money? Did he spend it on sins, did he waste it away, or did he give to the poor and the needy?

And fourth, the son of Adam will be asked about his body i.e. his limbs. Did he use his body to worship God or to instead commit sins? Did he guard his body from bad substances like drugs and alcohol or did harm himself? Did he fast for the sake of God? And how did he use his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his mind, his hands and his feet?  Indeed, he will be asked about every limb.

The sensible person should consider these four questions and should prepare answers for the accounting to come. The Muslim is forewarned; God the Exalted says: { And let every soul consider what it has presented for tomorrow, and fear God, verily God is well aware of all that you do} (surah 59, verse 18). The Muslim should take heed, as the following hadith prompts:

وعَنْ أبي يَعْلَى شَدَّادِ بْن أَوْسٍ رضي اللَّه عنه عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « الكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وَعَمِلَ لِمَا بَعْدَ المَوْتِ، وَالعَاجِزُ مَنْ أَتْبَعَ نَفْسَهُ هَوَاهَا وَتَمَنَّى عَلَى اللَّهِ» .  رواه التِّرْمِذيُّ وابن ماجه وأحمد والحاكم .

Narrated Abu Ya’la Shaddad Ibn Aws, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ ﷺ said: “The sensible person is he who takes account of himself and works for what comes after death. And the foolish person is he who lets his self follow its desires, and then indulges in wishful thinking about God.”  Related by At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad and Al-Hakim.

The golden rule to follow to pass this accounting is to follow the rules of God in everything and to stay away from all sins.  In case the Muslim slips and commits a sin, he should return to God in repentance and ask His forgiveness as soon as possible. Thus, when he dies, he will be able to answer faithfully and with sincerity, and pass the accounting with ease.

Finally, the Muslim should not feel overwhelmed by the accounting for deeds, but should put his trust in His God and hope the best from His only Lord, for indeed God is the Most Merciful and Most Forgiving. The Muslim is asked to try his best and then leave the rest to God, provided the Muslim keeps asking God’s forgiveness and keeps returning to Him after every slip. Indeed, the son of Adam is weak and wrongful, but the door of repentance is wide and the bounds of God’s mercy are limitless–yet the sensible is the one who exerts effort and only then expects and hopes for the best from his Lord.  And God knows best.

The True Prophet


     عن هشام بن حُبَيش بن خويلد صاحب رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: ( أنَّ رسولَ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم خرج من مكة مهاجرا إلى المدينة وأبو بكر رضي الله عنه ومولى أبي بكر عامر بن فُهَيرة ودليلهما الليثي عبد الله بن أريقط، مروا على خيمتي أم معبد الخزاعية، وكانت امْرَأَةً بَرْزَةً جَلْدَةً (أي خلا لها سن، فهي تبرز وليست بمنزلة الصغيرة المحجوبة) تَحْتَبِي (هو أن يَضُّمّ الإنسان رجْلَيْه إلى بَطْنه بثَوْب يَجْمَعَهُما به مع ظَهْره) بفناء الخيمة ثم تسقي وتطعم، فسألوها لحما وتمرا ليشتروه منها، فلم يصيبوا عندها شيئا من ذلك، وكان القوم مُرْمِلِينَ (أي نفد زادهم) مُسْنِتِينَ (أي داخلين في السنة، وهي الجدب والمجاعة)، فنظر رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إلى شاة في كِسْرِ الْخَيْمَةِ (أي جانبها)، فقال: مَا هَذِهِ الشَّاةُ يَا أُمَّ مَعْبَدٍ؟  قالت: شَاةٌ خَلَّفَهَا الْجَهْدُ (أي المشقة) عن الغنم.  قال: هَلْ بِهَا مِنْ لَبَنٍ؟  قالت: هي أجهد من ذلك.  قال: أَتَأْذَنِينَ لِي أَنْ أَحْلُبَهَا؟  قالت: بأبي أنت وأمي، إِنْ رَأَيْتَ بِهَا حَلْبًا فَاحْلُبْهَا.  فدعا بها رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم، فَمَسَحَ بِيَدِهِ ضَرْعَهَا، وَسَمَّى اللَّهَ تعالى، ودعا لها في شاتها، فَتَفَاجَّتْ عَلَيْهِ وَدَرَّتْ فَاجْتَرَّتْ (أي وسَّعت ما بين رجليها، وصبت اللبن، وفوق ذلك أخرجت العلف من جوفها إلى فمها لتمضغه)، فدعا بإناء يُرْبِضُ الرَّهْطُ (أي يرويهم، والرهط ما بين الثلاثة إلى العشرة)، فَحَلَبَ فِيهِ ثَجًّا (أي سيلا) حتى علاه البهاء (أي بريق رغوة اللبن)، ثم سقاها حتى رويت، وسقى أصحابه حتى رووا وشرب آخرهم حتى أَرَاضُوا (أي رووا)، ثم حلب فيه الثانية على هَدَّةٍ حتى ملأ الإناء ثم غادره عندها ثم بايعها وارتحلوا عنها.  فَقَلَّ مَا لَبِثَتْ حتى جاءها زوجُها أبو معبد ليسوق أَعْنُزًا عِجَافًا يَتَسَاوَكْنَ هُزَالًا (أي يمشين مشيًا ضعيفًا) مُخُّهُنَّ قَلِيلٌ (أي عمهن الهزال). فلما رأى أبو معبد اللبن أعجبه قال: من أين لك هذا يا أم معبد والشاء عازب (أي بعيد في المرعى) حائل ( أي لم تحمل، فلا يكون بها لبن) ولا حلوب في البيت؟  فقالت: لا والله، إلا أنه مر بنا بِنَا رَجُلٌ مُبَارَكٌ من حاله كذا وكذا.  قال: صِفِيهِ لِي يَا أُمَّ مَعْبَدٍ.

قالت: رأيت رجلا ظَاهِرَ الْوَضَاءَةِ (أي ظاهر الجمال)، أَبْلَجَ الْوَجْهِ (أي مشرق الوجه مضيئه)، حَسَن الخَلْق، لم تَعِبْهُ ثَجْلَةٌ وَلَمْ تُزْرِيهِ صَعْلَةٌ (أي ليس بمنتفخ ولا ناحل)، وَسِيمٌ قَسِيمٌ (أي حسن وضيء)، في عينه دَعَجٌ (أي السواد في العين)، وفي أشفاره وَطَف (أي طويل شعر الأجفان)، وفي صوته صَهَل (أي بحة)، وفي عنقه سَطَع (أي طول)، وفي لحيته كثاثة (أي كثيف شعر اللحية)، أَزَجُّ أَقْرَنُ (أي دقيق وطويل الحاجبين). إن صمت فعليه الوقار، وإن تكلم سماه وعلاه البهاء، أَجْمَلُ النَّاسِ وَأَبْهَاهُ مِنْ بَعِيدٍ، وَأَحْسَنُهُ وَأَجْمَلُهُ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ. حُلْوُ الْمَنْطِقِ، فَصْلٌ لَا نَزِرٌ وَلَا هَذِرٌ (أي وسط ليس بقليل ولا كثير)، كَأَنَّ مَنْطِقَهُ خَرَزَاتُ نَظْمٍ يَتَحَدَّرْنَ، رَبْعَةٌ (أي ليس بالطويل ولا بالقصير) لا تَشْنَأَهُ مِنْ طُولٍ (أي لا يُبْغَض لفرط طوله) وَلَا تَقْتَحِمُهُ عَيْنٌ مِنْ قِصَرٍ (أي: لا تحتقره العيون لقصره)، غُصْنٌ بَيْنَ غُصْنَيْنِ فهو أنضر الثلاثة منظرا، وأحسنهم قَدْرا، له رفقاء يحفُّون به (أي يستديرون حوله ويحدقون به)، إن قال سمعوا لقوله، وإن أمر تبادروا إلى أمره، مَحْفُودٌ (أي مخدوم) مَحْشُودٌ (أي محفوف)، لا عابسٌ ولا مُفْنِدٌ (أي لا عابس الوجه ولا معتد)- صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم.

 فقال أبو معبد: هَذَا وَاللَّهِ صَاحِبُ قُرَيْشٍ الَّذِي ذُكِرَ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِهِ مَا ذُكِرَ، ولقد هممتُ أن أَصْحَبَهُ، ولَأَفْعَلَنَّ إن وجدت إلى ذلك سبيلا).  رواه الحاكم والطبراني.

وروي أن أبا معبد وأم معبد أسلما وهاجرا إلى النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم. ذكره البيهقي وأبو نعيم.



Narrated Hisham Ibn Hubaysh Ibn Khuwaylid, the companion of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ: “Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq migrated from Makkah to Al-Madina, along with ‘Aamir Ibn Fuhayra (the freed slave of Abu Bakr) and their guide Abdullah Ibn Urayqit Al-Lithi.  They passed by two tents of the known hostess, Umm Ma’bad.  She was an elderly lady who had devoted herself to serve the travelers; she would squat before her tent and offer food and drink to the travelers. They asked Umm Ma’bad if she had any meat or dates that they could purchase from her, but it was a drought year and she had no provisions.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ saw a sheep at the side of the tent, so he asked: ‘Why is this sheep here, O Umm Ma’bad?’  She replied: ‘The sheep is too fatigued to join the rest of the herd.’  He asked: ‘Does it have milk?’  She replied: ‘She is too exhausted for that.’  He asked: ‘Would you allow me to milk it?’  She replied: ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you, if you could milk it then please do so.’

The Prophet ﷺ called for the sheep, wiped its udder with his hand while mentioning God’s name, and prayed for His blessings.  The sheep drew apart its hind legs and its udder swelled and flowed forth with milk.  Moreover, the sheep ruminated and started chewing. The Prophet  ﷺ asked for a container large enough for the group, and milked the forthcoming foamy milk until the container was full. He then handed the container to Umm Ma’bad who drank her fill. He then handed it to his companions until all of them were sated. The Prophet ﷺ was the last one to drink. He milked the sheep again and filled the container a second time, and left it with her.  He then took her pledge and the travelers continued on their journey.

After a short while, her husband Abu Ma’bad came back herding, before him an emaciated flock of sheep that was swaying from weakness.  When Abu Ma’bad saw the milk, he was surprised and asked: ‘Where did you get this milk, O Umm Ma’bad, while the sheep were out grazing and there is no milk in the tent?’  She replied: ‘Indeed, by Allah there passed by us a blessed man who did that.’  She related to him what happened, so he said: ‘Describe him to me, O Umm Ma’bad.’

Umm Ma’bad said: ‘I saw a handsome man, with bright countenance and fine form, not marred by plumpness or leanness.  He is graceful and of beautiful countenance, with deep black eyes, long eyelashes, deep voice, long graceful neck, thick beard, and long arched eyebrows.

When he is silent, dignity surrounds him; and when he speaks, eminence and splendor attach to him.

He is the most beautiful and delightful of people from a distance, and the best and most pleasant from up close.

He is well-spoken and articulate, and his speech is neither too brief nor too long, but flows forth like a perfect string of pearls.

He is of medium fine proportions, being neither too tall whose height the onlooker despises nor overly short whose shortness the onlooker disdains.  He is the middle branch between two other branches, so he is the most striking and prominent of the three. He is surrounded by companions who listen carefully when he speaks, and hasten to obey when he commands.  He is well served and attended, but he shows no sign of haughtiness, frowning or vanity.’

Abu Ma’bad exclaimed: ‘By Allah, this is the companion of Quraysh whom we were told about.  And indeed I intend to follow and accompany him, and I shall do so whenever I can.’  Related by Al-Hakim and Al-Tabarani.


Al-Bayhaqi and Abu Nu’aym related: “Both Umm Ma’bad and Abu Ma’bad embraced Islam and migrated to Al-Madina to accompany the Prophet ﷺ.”

Birr al-Walidayn: Islam’s Emphasis on Parents

عن أبى هُرَيْرَةَ عنِ النَّبِي صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: « لَمْ يَتَكَلَّمْ فِى الْمَهْدِ إِلاَّ ثَلاَثَةٌ: عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ ، وَصَاحِبُ جُرَيْجٍ. وَكَانَ جُرَيْجٌ رَجُلاً عَابِدًا، فَاتَّخَذَ صَوْمَعَةً، فَكَانَ فِيهَا، فَأَتَتْهُ أُمُّهُ وَهُوَ يُصَلِّى. فَقَالَتْ: يَا جُرَيْجُ.  فَقَالَ: يَا رَبِّ أُمِّي وَصَلاَتِي. فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَى صَلاَتِهِ، فَانْصَرَفَتْ.
فَلَمَّا كَانَ مِنَ الْغَدِ أَتَتْهُ وَهُوَ يُصَلِّي، فَقَالَتْ: يَا جُرَيْجُ. فَقَالَ: يَا رَبِّ أمي وصلاتي، فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَى صَلاَتِهِ، فَانْصَرَفَتْ.
فَلَمَّا كَانَ مِنَ الْغَدِ أَتَتْهُ وَهُوَ يُصَلِّي، فَقَالَتْ: يَا جُرَيْجُ . فَقَالَ: أَي رَبِّ أُمِّي وصلاتي، فَأَقْبَلَ عَلَى صَلاَتِهِ.
فَقَالَتِ: اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تُمِتْهُ حَتَّى يَنْظُرَ إِلَى وُجُوهِ الْمُومِسَاتِ.
فَتَذَاكَرَ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ جُرَيْجًا وَعِبَادَتَهُ، وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَةٌ بَغِىٌّ يُتَمَثَّلُ بِحُسْنِهَا، فَقَالَتْ: إِنْ شِئْتُمْ لأَفْتِنَنَّهُ لَكُمْ. قَالَ: فَتَعَرَّضَتْ لَهُ، فَلَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ إِلَيْهَا. فَأَتَتْ رَاعِيًا كَانَ يَأْوِي إِلَى صَوْمَعَتِهِ، فَأَمْكَنَتْهُ مِنْ نَفْسِهَا، فَوَقَعَ عَلَيْهَا، فَحَمَلَتْ. فَلَمَّا وَلَدَتْ ، قَالَتْ: هُوَ مِنْ جُرَيْجٍ.
فَأَتَوْهُ فَاسْتَنْزَلُوهُ، وَهَدَمُوا صَوْمَعَتَهُ، وَجَعَلُوا يَضْرِبُونَهُ، فَقَالَ: مَا شَأْنُكُمْ؟ قَالُوا: زَنَيْتَ بِهَذِهِ الْبَغِي فَوَلَدَتْ مِنْكَ.  فَقَالَ: أَيْنَ الصبي؟  فَجَاءُوا بِهِ، فَقَالَ: دعوني حَتَّى أُصَلِّىَ، فَصَلَّى. فَلَمَّا انْصَرَفَ أَتَى الصَّبيَّ فَطَعَنَ فِى بَطْنِهِ، وَقَالَ: يَا غُلاَمُ مَنْ أَبُوكَ؟  قَالَ: فُلاَنٌ الراعي.
قَالَ: فَأَقْبَلُوا عَلَى جُرَيْجٍ يُقَبِّلُونَهُ، وَيَتَمَسَّحُونَ بِهِ، وَقَالُوا: نَبْنِي لَكَ صَوْمَعَتَكَ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ.  قَالَ: لاَ أَعِيدُوهَا مِنْ طِينٍ كَمَا كَانَتْ، فَفَعَلُوا» . رواه البخاري ومسلم.
قال النووي: وفي حديث جريج هذا فوائد كثيرة؛ منها عظم بر الوالدين، وتأكد حق الأم، وأن دعاءها مجاب.  وأنه إذا تعارضت الأمور بدئ بالأهم.  وأن الله تعالى يجعل لأوليائه مخارج عند ابتلائهم بالشدائد غالبا . قال الله تعالى: {وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجًا} [الطلاق 2]، وقد يجري عليهم الشدائد بعض الأوقات زيادة في أحوالهم، وتهذيبا لهم، فيكون لطفا .


Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “None spoke in the cradle except three (persons): Jesus the son of Mary, and [the second one is] the companion of Jurayj.  Jurayj was a man [from the Children of Isra’il] who devoted himself to worshiping God.  He confined himself in a hermitage and used to worship God in it.  His mother once came to him as he was busy in prayer and called him: ‘Jurayj.’  He said: ‘My Lord, my mother [is calling me while I am engaged in] my prayer.’  Then he chose to continue with the prayer, and she left.

She returned the next day and he was busy in prayer, and she called him again: ‘Jurayj’.  He said: ‘My Lord, my mother [is calling me while I am engaged] in prayer,’ and he chose to continue with the prayer, and she left.

She came back the third day as he was busy in prayer and called him: ‘Jurayj.’  He said: ‘My Lord, my mother [is calling me while I am engaged in] my prayer,’ and he chose to continue with the prayer.  So she said: ‘My Lord, do not let him die until he sees the faces of prostitutes.’

The Children of Isra’il talked about Jurayj and his great worship. There was a prostitute who was known for her beauty who said [to the people]: ‘If you like, I can entice him.’  She presented herself to him but he paid her no heed.  So she went to a shepherd who used to live near the hermitage and offered herself to him. The shepherd shared bed with her and she became pregnant.  When she gave birth to a child she said: ‘This is from Jurayj.’

People went to Jurayj, asked him to get down, demolished his hermitage, and began to beat him.  He said: ‘What is the matter with you?’  They said: ‘You have committed fornication with this prostitute, and she has given birth to your child.’  He said: ‘Where is the baby boy?’  They brought the baby boy and he said: ‘Let me offer prayer to my Lord.’  He observed prayer and when he finished, he went to the baby boy.  Juriaj struck his stomach and said: ‘O boy, who is your father?’ The baby boy spoke and said: ‘So and so the shepherd.’  Thereupon, the people turned towards Jurayj, kissed him and touched him [seeking blessing].  They said: ‘We will construct your hermitage with gold.’ He said: ‘No, just rebuild it with mud as it had been,’ and they did that.” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.



The above hadith indicates the great emphasis Islam has placed on the obligations and rights of parents.  In Islam the concept of gratefulness to God is stressed time and again. Thus, the Muslim should feel and express gratitude to Allah, Who has granted him innumerous blessings and countless favors.  As mentioned in the hadith, each blessing requires thankfulness and gratitude.  And the more the slave thanks Allah and admits his constant need of Him, the more Allah grants the slave; meanwhile, the ungrateful slave will find his recompense both in this life and the Hereafter.

Parents have been given such high status in Islam partially due to the concept of gratitude.  It is logically explained in the Qur’an that as the mother bears her child for nine months, and endures the hardships throughout her pregnancy, and then both parents take care of the baby while he or she is growing up, the parents deserve a similar attitude of care and respect from the child. In the Qur’an, Allah the Exalted states: { And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful and good to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years.  Be grateful to Me and to your parents, unto Me is the final destination} (Surah 31, verse 14).

Thus, Allah the Exalted ties giving thanks and being grateful to Him, to giving thanks and being grateful to one’s parents. The scholars said that this verse indicates that the opposite is true, too. So the person who does not thank his parents and does not express gratitude by taking care of them, and does not show respect and reverence to them–that person has not expressed real gratitude to God. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ called undutifulness to one’s parents a major sin, and one of the seven deadly sins in Islam. The following hadith in fact tells us that the greatest major sin after disbelief is bad treatment of parents (‘uquq):

عن عبد اللَّهِ بنِ عمرو بن العاص رضي اللَّه عنهما عن النبيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « الكَبَائرُ: الإِشْرَاكُ بِاللَّهِ، وعُقُوقِ الوَالِديْنِ، وقَتْلُ النَّفْسِ، واليَمِينُ الغَمُوسُ» .  رواه البخاري.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The major sins are: Associating any partner in worship with Allah (shirk), undutifulness to one’s parents (uqooq), killing the soul, and taking a false oath that will take him deep into Hell (Al-Yameen Al-Ghamoos).”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

Despite this emphasis in the religion on parents’ rights, we see some abandoning this Divine command and preferring self-interest and personal family needs over their parents’ needs.

It is as if they have forgotten the extra care their parents took and the years they spent to raise them.

Thus, not only do they neglect an honorable duty and a moral obligation, but they also end up committing a major sin whose consequences are felt both in this life and the Hereafter–may Allah keep us safe.  The following hadith conveys some of the gravity of the matter:

عن جابِرِ بنِ سَمُرَةَ رضي اللَّهُ عنه قالَ: ( صَعِدَ النَّبِيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم الْمِنْبَرَ فَقَالَ: « آمِينَ، آمِينَ، آمِينَ». فَلَمَّا نَزَلَ سُئِلَ عَنْ ذَلِكَ ؟ فَقَالَ: « أَتَانِي جِبْرِيلُ، فَقَالَ: رَغِمَ أَنْفُ مَنْ أَدْرَكَ رَمَضَانَ فَلَمْ يُغْفَرْ لَهُ، قُلْ: آمِينَ، قُلْتُ: آمِينَ.  وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ ذُكِرْتَ عِنْدَهُ فَلَمْ يُصَلِّ عَلَيْكَ، قُلْ: آمِينَ، فَقُلْتُ: آمِينَ.  وَرَغِمَ أَنْفُ رَجُلٍ أَدْرَكَ وَالِدَيْهِ أَوْ أَحَدَهُمَا فَلَمْ يُغْفَرْ لَهُ، أَوْ لا يُدْخِلانِهِ الْجَنَّةَ، قُلْ: آمِينَ. قُلْتُ: آمِينَ»). رواه البزار واللفظ له، ورواه الترمذي وابن حبان والطبراني وأحمد.

Narrated Jabir Ibn Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Prophet ﷺ climbed the pulpit once and then said: ‘Amen. Amen. Amen.’  When he climbed down, he was asked about that, so he replied: ‘Gabriel came to me and said: ‘Humiliated is he who attained the month of Ramadan, but was not forgiven, say Amen.’  I said Amen.  He said: ‘Humiliated is he in whose presence you are mentioned, but he does not send prayer upon you, say Amen.’  I said Amen.  He said: ‘And humiliated is he who is with his parents or one of them, but was not forgiven, or they did not make him enter Paradise, say Amen.’  I said Amen.’ ”  Related by Al-Bazzar (his narration), as well as Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, Al-Tabarani, and Ahmad with good narration.

Respect for parents extends to the degree that Allah has prohibited us from even expressing annoyance to them.  Rather, the Muslim should be patient with his parents and swallow any anger or frustration he may feel and remember their great rights and obligation. Allah the Exalted says: {And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents.  If one of them or both of them attain old age while with you, say not to them a word of disrespect (uff), nor reprimand them but address them in terms of honor.  And lower to them the wing of humility and mercy, and say: “My Lord, bestow upon them Your mercy as they brought me up when I was young.”} (Surah 17, verses 23-24).

Ibn Kathir said: “The meaning of the verse is: Do not let your parents hear any bad speech from you, not even to say ‘Uff’, which is the mildest level of disrespect and bad speech.

On the other hand, a great reward and good recompense is promised to the one who treats her parents with good manners, obeys them, and tries to fulfill their needs.  Such a dutiful child is promised goodness in this life and great reward in the Hereafter, as the following hadith shows:

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « مَنْ سَرَّهُ أَنْ يُمَدَّ لَهُ فِي عُمُرِهِ ويُزَادَ فِي رِزْقِهِ فَلْيَبِرَّ وَالِدَيْهِ وَلْيَصِلْ رَحِمَهُ» .  رواه أحمد.

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Whoever wishes for his age to be extended, and for his livelihood to be increased, then let him be dutiful to his parents and maintain relationship with his kin.”  Related by Imam Ahmad.

This goes to the extent that some scholars said that being dutiful to parents erases major sins.  It is related that Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said: “Dutifulness to parents is an expatiation of major sins.”   And great stories have been narrated of the Companions of the Prophet and how they used to respect their parents and do everything they could to serve their parents and fulfill their needs.  Indeed, the righteous people realized the great reward in treating parents with good manners and being dutiful to them, and learned of its benefits both in this life and the Hereafter, so they took every effort to fulfill their parents’ needs and spent what they had to serve their parents.

Finally, we see the keenness of Companions to be dutiful to their parents even after death, as the following hadith shows:

‏عن أبي أُسَيْدٍ مالكِ بنِ ربيعةَ السَّاعِدِيِّ ‏قال: بَيْنَا نَحْنُ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم إِذْ جَاءَهُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ ‏بَنِي سَلَمَةَ فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ هَلْ بَقِيَ مِنْ بِرِّ أَبَوَيَّ شَيْءٌ أَبَرُّهُمَا بِهِ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهِمَا؟ قَالَ: « ‏نَعَمْ الصَّلَاةُ عَلَيْهِمَا، وَالِاسْتِغْفَارُ لَهُمَا، وَإِنْفَاذُ عَهْدِهِمَا مِنْ بَعْدِهِمَا، وَصِلَةُ الرَّحِمِ الَّتِي لَا تُوصَلُ إِلَّا بِهِمَا، وَإِكْرَامُ صَدِيقِهِمَا».  رواه أبو داود وابن ماجه.

Narrated Abu Usaid Malik Ibn Rabi’a Al-Sa’idi : “While we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, a man from the tribe of Bani Salama came to him and asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, is there anything of filial devotion left with which I can be dutiful to my parents after their death?’  He replied: ‘Yes, praying for them, asking Allah to forgive them, fulfilling their pledge after them, maintaining relationship with the kinfolk not maintained except by them, and honoring their friends.’ ”  Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.

Islam has thus placed enormous emphasis on respect for and obedience to parents, with great rewards promised to righteous children, and severe punishment in both lives warned of those who mistreat their parents. We ask Allah to forgive us in our shortcomings to our parents, and we ask Him to reward them and raise their ranks for all their services on our behalf.

Eternal Bliss and Transient Pleasure: Insights on Fasting

قال الله عز وجل: { وَيَوْمَ يَحْشُرُهُمْ كَأَن لَّمْ يَلْبَثُواْ إِلاَّ سَاعَةً مِّنَ النَّهَارِ يَتَعَارَفُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ قَدْ خَسِرَ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِلِقَآءِ اللَّهِ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ} سورة يونس 45 .

Allah the Exalted says: { And on the Day when He shall gather them together, (it will be) as if they had not stayed (in the life of this world and graves) but an hour of a day. They will recognize each other. Ruined indeed will be those who denied the meeting with Allah and were not guided} (Surah 10, verse 45).

عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « يُؤْتَى بِأَنْعَمِ أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَيُصْبَغُ فِي النَّارِ صَبْغَةً، ثُمَّ يُقَالُ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ هَلْ رَأَيْتَ خَيْرًا قَطُّ؟ هَلْ مَرَّ بِكَ نَعِيمٌ قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ: لَا وَاللَّهِ يَا رَبِّ، وَيُؤْتَى بِأَشَدِّ النَّاسِ بُؤْسًا فِي الدُّنْيَا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ فَيُصْبَغُ صَبْغَةً فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَيُقَالُ لَهُ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ هَلْ رَأَيْتَ بُؤْسًا قَطُّ؟ هَلْ مَرَّ بِكَ شِدَّةٌ قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ: لَا وَاللَّهِ يَا رَبِّ مَا مَرَّ بِي بُؤْسٌ قَطُّ وَلَا رَأَيْتُ شِدَّةً قَطُّ». رواه مسلم.

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “A person among the people of Hell who had led a life of ease and plenty in the world will be brought forth on the Day of Judgment and immersed only once in Hell. Then he will be asked: ‘O son of Adam, did you ever experience any comfort in your life? Did you ever get any material blessing in the world?’  He will reply: ‘By Allah, no, my Lord.’

And then a person among the people of Paradise who had led the most miserable life in the world will be brought forth and immersed only once in Paradise.  Then he will be asked: ‘O son of Adam, did you ever experience any misery in your life? Had you any hardship in the world?’  He will reply: ‘By Allah, no, my Lord, never did I experience any misery or face any hardship.’ ”  Related by Imam Muslim.


When it comes to emotions and feelings of faith, the Muslim is most conscious of them while fasting, and especially so during the blessed month of Ramadan. When the Muslim stops himself from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, he feels a special bond and closeness to his Lord since he does so only to obey his Lord and please Him. And soon enough, through this struggle, the Muslim realizes that fasting involves deeper meaningful purposes and aspects beyond merely refraining from food and drink.

Indeed, the objectives and purposes of fasting are numerous.  Fasting is a discipline and a training exercise for the Muslim, for when the Muslim stops himself from the permissible, it is even easier to avoid the forbidden.

Thus, while he starts out by avoiding food, he ends up abandoning sins.

Furthermore, when the Muslim devotes more than half of his day for this sacred worship, he realizes the importance of paying attention to his hereafter.  And when the Muslim feels the pangs of hunger or yearns to quench his parched throat, he starts tasting the sweet taste of faith as never before, and is eager to do more to please his Lord.

Everyone is familiar with hunger and thirst, but these feelings are heightened during the long fast. Yet the Muslim sacrifices his will to eat and drink to obey and please his Lord. Not only that, but when the Muslim breaks his fast at sunset, he is rewarded with the sweet taste of faith (Iman) which brings him closer to his Lord and makes him more aware of God.  This moment of happiness will be followed by another joyous moment in the Hereafter, as mentioned in the following authentic hadith:

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم  : ( كل عمل ابن آدم يضاعف: الحسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف. قال الله تعالى: “إلا الصوم، فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به؛ يدع شهوته وطعامه من أجلي”.  للصائم فرحتان: فرحة عند فطره، وفرحة عند لقاء ربه. ولَخَلُوف فم الصائم أطيب عند الله من ريح المسك. والصوم جُنَّة. وإذا كان يوم صوم أحدكم فلا يرفث ولا يصخب، فإن سابَّه أحد أو قاتله، فليقل: إني امرؤ صائم). متفق عليه.

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah said: ‘Every good deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied ten times to seven hundred times except fasting, which is for Me and I will reward for it accordingly; for he abandons his (sexual) desire, food, and drink for My sake.’

Verily, there are two moments of joy for the fasting person: one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time of meeting his Lord (in the Hereafter).

Verily, the altered smell emanating from the mouth of the fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the scent of musk.  Fasting is a shield (with which a servant protects himself from the Fire). When one of you is fasting, then he should avoid shameless and loud idle talk. And if someone calls him bad names or fights with him, then he should say: ‘I am fasting.’”  (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Thus, there are two joyous and pleasurable moments for the fasting person: one when he breaks his fast and the other one in the Hereafter when he meets his Lord.

And herein is a great lesson and reminder for us.  After fasting the whole day, after experiencing hunger and thirst the whole day, and after waiting long hours, within minutes of eating and drinking at sunset all of that hunger and thirst is gone!  We no longer remember the long hours of waiting but enjoy the food in front of us. Indeed, the long day is forgotten and we feel like our fasting lasted only a short time. The same feeling will be experienced on the Day of Judgment.  The many years of struggle on earth will be remembered as one day, one morning, and even one hour.

The Muslim should take heed of the shortness and transience of the worldly life and should give preference to the long and everlasting Hereafter, while fulfilling the necessities of the worldly life. Just like fasting the whole day is diminished at the time of breaking the fast, so this worldly life will be diminished after death and will be felt like a short time only.  But the Hereafter continues on and on forever.

The Muslim should take care to avoid sins in this world just like he prevents himself from food and drink during the day–and he should expect Allah to grant him happiness at the end of his life just like he experiences happiness at the end of the fast.

One of the scholars said, “Live your entire life as if it were Ramadan; your death will be like Eid!”

On the other hand, indulgence in sins will be greatly regretted on the Day of Judgment.  If the whole worldly life will seem like an hour on that Day, then forbidden pleasures would seem like seconds or even parts of a second, and the regret will be much greater that a person compromised on so much for the sake of seconds. But it will be too late.

Allah the Exalted gives us a contrast of the two conditions and their recompense very clearly in Qur’an, and urges us to be forewarned and act righteous.  He says:

{35.The Day when man shall remember what he strove for.

  1. And Hell-fire shall be made apparent in full view for (every) one who sees.
  2. Then, for him who transgressed (the bounds of Allah by disobeying Him),
  3. And preferred the life of this world (by following self-desires and lusts),
  4. Verily, his abode will be Hell-fire;
  5. But as for him who feared the standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from evil desires and lusts,
  6. Verily, Paradise will be his abode} (Surah 79, verses 35- 41).


Indeed, the temporary forbidden pleasures of this world can never be compared to the eternal real bliss of the Hereafter.  What seems like years and years now will feel like a short time on the Day of Judgment.  What seems like a long life now, will seem as an hour on that great Day.  And any comforts enjoyed and hardships suffered will be forgotten. Only devotion to the Lord will remain as the only criteria for the final Judgment.  May Allah guide us to the Right Path and grant us Paradise.  And Allah and His Messenger know best.


The Repentant and the Command to Repent


عن أبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قالَ: قالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: «‏ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَوْ لَمْ تُذْنِبُوا لَذَهَبَ اللَّهُ بِكُمْ وَلَجَاءَ بِقَوْمٍ يُذْنِبُونَ فَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ اللَّهَ فَيَغْفِرُ لَهُمْ».  رواه مسلم وأحمد.


Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if you were not to commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from Allah; and He would forgive them.”  (Related by Muslim and Ahmad).

Allah, the Creator and the Most Knowledgeable, describes the son of Adam in His Holy Book as follows: {And man was created weak} (Surah 4, verse 28). The word ‘weak’ aptly describes the son of Adam, no matter how lofty he considers himself and how arrogantly he tries to elevate himself.  Not only is man weak in his body, but he is also weak in the face of temptations and self-desires.

When disease strikes the son of Adam, only then does he realize the limitation of his strength; when sickness cripples his limbs, only then he realizes the fragility of his health; and when old age overtakes him, only then he realizes the little power he possesses. Likewise, in the face of strong temptations and desires, man realizes how weak he is in controlling his inner self–except for those whom Allah gives strength.

Thus, the Muslim is urged to seek Allah’s help in all of his affairs, to present his needs before the Mighty One, and to ask for His forgiveness and pray for redemption. While Allah is Most Merciful to His creation, the son of Adam is asked to follow Allah’s commands and refrain from disobedience.

But since man is weak and will inevitably commit sins, the Prophet ﷺ instructed the Muslim in the hadith above to seek forgiveness from Allah the Exalted, as soon as one slips and commits a sin. The Muslim is urged to repent of his sin and promise His Lord to abandon that sin. The Muslim is also commanded to ask for Allah’s forgiveness and to feel regret over his slip and transgression.

There are two common misconceptions concerning the above hadith. First, this hadith is not an invitation to commit sins; indeed, Allah is displeased when His commands are violated and has created Hell for those who disobey Him. Instead, the hadith is an invitation towards repentance: Allah loves repentance so much that He would rather see weak people inevitably slip and repent, instead of seeing strong people who never slip and thus have no need to repent. Thus, this hadith should not be considered an excuse to commit sins; rather it should be looked at as encouragement to abandon sins whenever they happen, to repent, and to return to Allah and fulfill His obligations.

The second misconceptions is the notion that whoever commits sins is in Hell. The hadith dispels this notion by reminding the Muslim of the great mercy of Allah and of his vast forgiveness. Indeed, an inkling of this limitless mercy can be seen in the following authentic hadith:

عَنْ أَبِي مُوسَى، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: « إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ النَّهَارِ، وَيَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِالنَّهَارِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِيءُ اللَّيْلِ، حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا».  رواه مسلم.

Abu Musa reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, stretches out His Hand during the night so that the sinner of the day may repent; and He stretches out His Hand during the day so that the sinner of the night may repent. (He accepts repentance) before the sun rises from the west (i.e. before the Day of Judgment).”  (Related by Muslim).

Allah’s mercy has no bounds; it is limitless and eternal. Part of seeking Allah’s mercy is repenting to Him, as the following hadith urges:

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « لو أخطأتم حتى تبلغ خطاياكم السماء، ثم تبتم لتاب عليكم». رواه ابن ماجه.

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “If you committed sins until your sins reached the sky, then repented, Allah would accept your repentance.”  (Related by Ibn Majah).

Thus, the Muslim should never despair of the vast mercy of Allah, but should always seek it and do his best to receive it. The Muslim is urged to return to Allah and to take advantage of this great bounty before it is too late. Now there is time for repentance while we are alive. As for those who indulge in sins and ignore Allah’s commands, then they may be punished.  Allah the Exalted has given us this warning in Qur’an in the most gentle way. Allah says:

53.{Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins), do not despair of the Mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

  1. And turn in repentance to your Lord and submit to Him, before the punishment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.
  2. And follow the best of that which is revealed to you from your Lord (i.e. this Qur’an, do what it orders you to do and keep away from what it forbids), before the punishment comes upon you suddenly while you do not perceive!
  3. Lest a person should say: “Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allah (i.e. I have not done what Allah has ordered me to do), and I was indeed among those who mocked [at the truth]”.
  4. Or (lest) he should say: “If only Allah had guided me, I would have been among the pious and righteous (Muttaqun).”
  5. Or (lest) he should say when he sees the punishment: “If only I had another chance (to return to the world) then I should indeed be among the doers of good (Muhsinun).”} (Surah 39, verses 53-58).

Thus the sensible Muslim is the one who takes heed of the warning of His Lord and tries his best to follow His command to get His reward. The prudent Muslim is the one who is forewarned and tries to resist temptations and self-desires to attain eternal bliss, and if he slips and commits a sin then he soon repents and returns to Allah the Exalted. And the wise Muslim is the one who repents to Allah during day and night, and tries to get the greatest share of Allah’s limitless mercy by constantly asking His forgiveness and vast bounty and by trying his best to follow Allah’s commands and avoid things He has forbidden.  And Allah knows best.

“Preserve God’s Commands, He will Preserve you!”


عن ابنِ عبَّاسٍ رضيَ اللَّه عنهمَا قال: كُنْتُ خَلْفَ النَّبِيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم يوْماً فَقال: « يَا غُلامُ إِنِّي أُعلِّمُكَ كَلِمَاتٍ: احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ، احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ، إِذَا سَأَلْتَ فَاسْأَلِ اللَّهَ، وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْتَ فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ، واعلَمْ أَنَّ الأُمَّةَ لَوِ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفعُوكَ بِشيْءٍ، لَمْ يَنْفعُوكَ إِلاَّ بِشَيْءٍ قَد كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَكَ، وإِنِ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوكَ بِشَيْءٍ، لَمْ يَضُرُّوكَ إِلاَّ بَشَيْءٍ قد كَتَبَهُ اللَّه عليْكَ، رُفِعَتِ الأقْلامُ، وجَفَّتِ الصُّحُفُ».  رواهُ التِّرْمذيُّ.

Narrated Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father: “I was riding behind the Prophet ﷺ once when he said: ‘O boy!  I will teach you some words (so learn them).  Be mindful of Allah; He will protect you. Safeguard His obligations; Allah will be on your side. If you ask for assistance, ask Allah, and if you seek help, seek it from Allah. Know that if all people gather their strength to benefit you, they will never benefit you with anything except that which Allah has foreordained for you.  And if all of them gather their strength to harm you, they will never be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah had pre-destined against you.  The pens had been raised, and the ink had dried up.’” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi).

The Prophet ﷺ gave his young cousin Abdullah Ibn Abbas–who went on to become the learned scholar of this nation–advice that should be written with ink of gold and engraved on stone so it can be remembered forever. This hadith is one of the Jawami’ al-Kalim: ‘Concise and Comprehensive words’ of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, full of the eloquence that indicates the true message of the Prophet ﷺ.

Indeed, every word of this hadith deserves a volume by itself, but here we briefly focus on the statement:

(احْفَظِ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْكَ، احْفَظِ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَكَ)

 Preserve (the Commands of) Allah, He will preserve you. And keep the rules of Allah, He will be there for you.


If we ponder upon this statement, we will find that it contains the path to success in both this life and the Hereafter. This worldly life has been created with troubles and tribulations as a test for the son of Adam, and he then chooses to believe and show patience and gratitude or to disbelieve and display ingratitude and impatience.  As Allah the Exalted states in Qur’an: {He (God) is the One Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft- Forgiving} (Surah 67, verse 2).  Thus, every person experiences some troubles and difficulties in his daily life, some minor and some major.

But Islam also teaches us how to deal with these problems and troubles. In the above hadith, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ explains that the first step to overcome problems is to obey the commands of Allah and observe His rules in everything. Consequently, just as we try our best to preserve the commands of Allah, Allah will preserve us and be there for us when we need Him.

Indeed, when the Muslim is afflicted with a calamity or trouble, the first thing he does is raise his hands to Allah and seek His help. And as the Prophet ﷺ explained in the above statement, the pious Muslim’s call for help is answered faster, and his need is fulfilled sooner–as a result of his safeguarding of Allah’s obligations. Despite how severe his calamity may be, sooner or later a solution or a way out of his trouble is found for him.  As Allah the Exalted states: {And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out (of difficulty).  And He will provide for him from where he does not expect} (Surah 65, verses 2-3).  Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said concerning this verse: “Allah will deliver him from every difficulty of this world and the Hereafter.”

Consider the other situation, when a man is busy with sins and following self-desires; when calamity or trouble befalls him, he is left with no support and no real help. Naturally, he too turns to his Creator and seeks His help.  But the help may or may not come, and it may come at a much later point, leaving him anxious, worried, and depressed. More significantly, this anxiety may raise self-doubts and ungrounded assumptions in the weak person’s heart. Thus, his initial lack of obedience becomes a cause of the weakening of his faith. This is in contrast to the pious person who is firm in his belief and has full trust in his deliverance and aid from his Lord.

But it is never late to return to Allah, the Most Merciful.  Indeed, troubles sometimes act as a reminder to the slave to get back to his Lord. And when the Muslim repents of his sins and observes Allah’s commands, the limitless mercy of Allah encompasses him, and it is hoped that he will find a way out of his trouble despite his sinful past. As Allah the Exalted states in Qur’an: {Say: “O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins), do not despair of the Mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” And turn in repentance to your Lord and submit to Him, before the punishment comes upon you, then you will not be helped} (Surah 39, verses 53-54).

Thus, we see the effects of the statement: “Preserve (the Commands of) Allah, He will preserve you.  And Keep the rules of Allah, He will be there for you,” both in this life and the Hereafter. In this life, the pious Muslim experiences the blessings of steadfastness and firmness in religion and full trust in Allah in the face of difficulties and troubles, as well as a forthcoming solution for his troubles that soon materializes by the Will of the Almighty (though the Muslim is asked to take every effort to consult the people of knowledge and find a solution). And in the Hereafter, the pious Muslim wins the Pleasure of Allah, along with Paradise and the Eternal Bliss. To paraphrase Ibn Abbas, through this piety a person thus gains the happiness of this world and the next. We ask Allah to grant us this gift.  And Allah knows best.

Most Beloved

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent some cavalry towards Najd. They captured a man from the tribe of Bani Hanifa, who was called Thumama Ibn Uthal, and he was the chief of the people of Yamama.  They tied him to one of the pillars of the Mosque.

The Prophet ﷺ went to him and said: ‘What do you have, O Thumama?’  He replied: ‘I have goodness, O Muhammad. If you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed somebody, and if you should set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful, and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.’  The Messenger of Allah ﷺ left him for two days.

He ﷺ then came back to him and asked: ‘What do you have, O Thumama?’  He replied: ‘What I have already told you: if you should set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful; if you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed somebody; and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.’  The Messenger of Allah ﷺ left him until the next day.

He ﷺ then came back to him and said: ‘What do you have, O Thumama?’ He replied: ‘I have what I have already told you: if you should set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful; if you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed somebody; and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.’  Upon that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Set Thumama free.’

So Thumama went to a garden of date-palm trees near the Mosque, took a bath, and then entered the Mosque and said: ‘I testify that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger.  By Allah, O Muhammad, there was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved face to me.  By Allah, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now your religion (of Islam) is the most beloved religion to me. And by Allah, there was no city most disliked by me than your town, but now your town is the most beloved city to me. Your cavalry captured me (at the time) when I was intending to perform Umrah. So what do you think I should do?’

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ gave him good tidings (congratulated him) and instructed him to proceed with Umrah.

When Thumama reached Makkah, somebody asked him: ‘Have you renounced your religion?’  He replied: ‘No, rather I have embraced Islam with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. By Allah, you will not get a single grain of wheat from Yamama until the Messenger of Allah ﷺ gives permission for that.’ ”

(Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

We see the high moral character of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in many aspects of this story. Thumama was already wanted by the Muslims as he had killed some of them, and yet the Prophet received him calmly and in the best manner. It is related in another narration that the Prophet displayed hospitality and ordered his own camel to be milked for Thumama.  In addition to that, we see the amiable demeanor of the Prophet ﷺ with his captive; he showed him no signs of threat or aggressiveness or torture.  Quite the opposite: the Prophet treated his captive with honor, generosity, and forgiveness.

In the face of such treatment and high moral code, Thumama was captivated by this noble character and had no choice but to admit to the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad’s Divine Message.  Thumama then made his famous statement and expressed his true feelings:

By Allah, O Muhammad, there was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved face to me.  By Allah, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now your religion is the most beloved religion to me.

Indeed, what great words, and what wonderful meanings they contain.  For indeed, whoever comes to know Allah and His Messenger ﷺ will find inner peace, enlightenment, and true happiness that sustain him throughout life and after death, such that he attains pleasure in both this world and the Hereafter.  It is this great feeling that Thumama expressed in his words and this beautiful meaning that he tried to convey.  Thumama also expressed his appreciation of his new faith in action as well.  Ibn Hisham reported that when Thumama was a prisoner, he used to complain of the little food they brought him although the Muslims served him as much as they could.  But when they presented the same food to him after he embraced Islam, he ate little and showed contentment. The Muslims wondered at his change of behavior, so the Prophet ﷺ alerted them to the fact that his Islam now took precedence.

Finally, it is related that Thumama, who was the chief of Yamama, stopped all supplies and provision from reaching Quraysh in Makkah for their ill treatment of the Muslims, until they suffered shortage of food due to that embargo. Quraysh sought the aid of the Prophet ﷺ in this matter, beseeching him to maintain their kinship. Again we see the high moral code of the Prophet ﷺ and his high level of compassion: he wrote to Thumama asking him to let supplies pass to Quraysh. Thumama did so, appreciating the mercy, compassion, and true human feelings of the Prophet of Allah, prayer and blessings be upon him.

Thus, we see many lessons in this story that the Muslim should learn and try to emulate.  Indeed, as shown by both words and action of the Prophet ﷺ, positive morals and exceptional manners are an integral part of our religion of Islam. In this story, we see the embodiment of mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and morals in the best way possible. These traits and characteristics should be the target and goal of Muslims in their daily lives. And Allah knows best.

A True Story of Generosity, Honor, and Forgiveness

Related Shayba Al-Dimashqi: “During the reign of Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (an Umayyad Caliph), there lived a man from the tribe of Bani Asad whose name was Khuzayma Ibn Bishr. Khuzayma was rich and was well-known for his honor, generosity, and help of the needy. He continued to be so generous that one day he himself became needy. As a result, Khuzayma was obliged to seek the aid of his brothers whom he used to help out and do favors. His brothers helped him for some time, but eventually they grew weary of him. When he noticed their change in attitude, Khuzayma said to his wife: ‘O cousin, I see a change in my brothers, and I have decided to stay in my house until I die.’ He then locked his door upon himself, and lived on what he had until it was depleted, and he was bewildered what to do.

Ikrima Al-Fayyad was the ruler of the island, and while he was sitting in his ruling place surrounded by a group of the peers of the city, Khuzayma was mentioned. So Ikrima asked: ‘In what condition is he?’ They replied: ‘He is in the worst of conditions and has locked himself in his house.’ Ikrima refrained from speaking any further on the topic.

When it was nighttime, Ikrima took four thousand Dinars and placed them in a single money pouch. He then went out secretly, disguised, until he stopped at Khuzayma’s door.  He knocked and Khuzayma came out.  Ikrima said to him: ‘Use this to improve your conditions.’  Khuzayma took the pouch and found it heavy, so he caught the reins of his night visitor’s mount and asked: ‘Who are you, may I be sacrificed for you?’  Ikrima said: ‘I did not come out disguised at this time to be recognized!’  Khuzayma said: ‘I will not accept it until you tell who you are.’  Ikrima said: ‘I am Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable).’  He then left.  Khuzayma went inside his house in disbelief, feeling the pouch and the money inside.

Ikrima returned to his house and found that his wife had sensed his absence and had become suspicious. She slapped her cheeks, and when he saw her like that, he asked: ‘What is wrong with you, O cousin?’ She replied: ‘Your mistreatment of your cousin. The ruler of the island does not go out at night secretly without his servants except to go to a wife or a mistress!’ He said: ‘Allah knows that I went out for neither.’ She said: ‘Then tell me why you went out.’ He replied: ‘O woman, I did not go out at the time except that I wanted nobody to know about me.’ She said: ‘You must tell me.’ He said: ‘Then keep it a secret.’ She replied: ‘I will.’ So Ikrima told her the whole story and she said: ‘My heart is at rest now.’

In the morning, Khuzayma paid out his debts and improved his condition. He then set out to visit the Caliph Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. When Khuzayma arrived there, he asked permission to enter. The Caliph Sulayman gave him permission, for he had heard of his honor and generosity. Sulayman asked him about his condition and the reason for his delayed visit. Khuzayma told him about the story of the night visitor, so Sulayman asked: ‘Did you know recognize him?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘No, by Allah, because he was disguised. I only heard him saying his name was Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable).’ Sulayman was eager to know his real name and said: ‘If we come to know him, we will help him for his generosity.’ He then said: ‘Get me a scepter (ruling spear).’ And he appointed Khuzayma as a ruler for the island in place of Ikrima Al-Fayyad. Sulayman gave Khuzayma many gifts and bade him to go back to the island.

Khuzayma went back to the island. When he got close, Ikrima and the peers of the city came out to receive him, and the men all returned together into the city. Khuzayma took lodgings at the ruling house and ordered that Ikrima be questioned and called to account.  Ikrima was accounted for and was found to owe a significant sum of money.  Khuzayma asked him for the amount, and Ikrima replied: ‘I have no access to such an amount.’  So Khuzayma had Ikrima imprisoned.  Khuzayma later called him to pay and Ikrima replied: ‘I am not among those who protect their money at the expense of their honor, so do whatever you wish.’  Khuzayma had him chained in iron and constrained him. Ikrima stayed like that for one month, and the iron chains wore him out and caused him harm.

Ikrima’s cousin–his wife–heard about the trouble, so she called a wise servant girl of hers and said: ‘Go at this hour to the door of this ruler and say: ‘I have advice that I will say only to the ruler himself.’ And when you go inside, ask him secretly: Was this your reward to Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable), that you harm him, imprison him, and put him in chains!’ The servant girl followed through with this procedure.

When Khuzayma heard her words, he said: ‘My shame! My opponent is Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable)?’ She responded in the affirmative. Khuzayma immediately called for his mount to be saddled, rode to the peers of the city, gathered them and then took them all to the door of the prison. Khuzayma opened the prison door and saw Ikrima Al-Fayyad at the bottom of the cell, so different from his normally honorable look and worn out. When Ikrima saw Khuzayma and the peers, he felt ashamed and bent his head. Khuzayma approached him and bent down, kissing his head. Ikrima raised his head and asked: ‘What is the reason for this?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘Your honorable deeds and my ill-reward.’ Ikrima said: ‘May Allah forgive us and you.’ Khuzayma then ordered Ikrima’s chains to be removed and placed around his own feet. So Ikrima asked: ‘Why do you want to do that?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘I want to experience the same harm that you experienced.’ Ikrima said: ‘I swear by Allah on you not to do so.’

They left together until they reached Khuzayma’s house, so Ikrima bade him farewell and wanted to leave, but Khuzayma did not let him. Ikrima asked: ‘And what do you want?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘I want to change the condition in which I see you.’ He then had the washing quarters emptied and they went inside. Khuzayma then himself served Ikrima. He asked him to travel together to see the leader of the believers (Caliph Sulayman) and he agreed.

They set out together until they reached the Caliph Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. Sulayman was worried by the fact that Khuzyama was visiting so soon, and without warning. He permitted Khuzayma to enter. When he did, Sulayman asked before any greeting: ‘What is the purpose of your visit, O Khuzayma?’ He replied: ‘Something good, O leader of the believers. I have found Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable), and wanted to make you happy since I know your eagerness to see him.’ Sulayman asked: ‘And who is he?’ He replied: ‘Ikrima Al-Fayyad.’ So Sulayman gave Ikrima permission to enter. Ikrima entered, and said salam to him. Sulayman had him sit close and said: ‘Your good deed to him was a trial for you.’ Sulayman then fulfilled his needs, and gave him ten thousand Dinars. He asked for a scepter (ruling spear) and appointed Ikrima as the ruler of the island, and of Armenia, and of Azerbaijan. Sulayman then said to him: ‘Khuzayma’s rule is in your hand; if you wish you can let him stay, and if you wish you can discharge him.’ Ikrima said: ‘I would rather let him go back to his rule, O leader of the believers.’ They then left together, and they stayed as rulers for Sulayman during his reign.”

Related by Ibn Hijja Al-Hamawi in his book Thamarat al-Awraq.

Women’s Rights in Islam


A general misconception today is that women do not hold the same status as men in Islam. Some people may perceive women as being suppressed in Muslim families and as members whose voices are not heard. But far from that, Islam has in fact recognized women’s rights at its inception fourteen centuries ago.  Islam recognized women as the other half of men and men as the other half of women, and gives women respect and regard as mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters. At a time when the male heir used to get the whole inheritance, Islam recognized the female’s due share, and moreover allotted her with full possession of her wealth to spend as she pleases. Furthermore, Islam recognized women as important partners in the Muslim community and urged taking care of their needs and allowing them to participate in the community’s public life.

The best way to understand and present the real status of women in Islam is to consider the way the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad ﷺ, treated women, as well as his advice to his companions regarding women.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ gave a concise and eloquent statement regarding the treatment of women in Islam.  These words act as a main tenet of Islam:

   عن أبي هُرَيْرَةَ رضي الله عنه قال: قالَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « أَكْمَلُ المُؤْمنينَ إِيمَاناً أَحْسنُهُمْ خُلُقاً، وَخِيارُكُمْ خيارُكُم لأهلِهِ» .  رواه أبو داود والترمذي وابن حبان، والبيهقي إلا أنه قال: « وَخِيارُكُمْ خيارُكُم لِنِسَائِهِم» .

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The most perfect of the believers in faith are the best among them in moral character.  And the best among you are those who treat their family the best.”  Related by Abu Dawud, Al-Tirmidhi, and Al-Bayhaqi.

Al-Bayhaqi said: “And the best among you are the best to their wives.”.

Not only did the Prophet ﷺ say these words, but he also exemplified them in action. Indeed, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was the best of people in good treatment to his family.  If we consider his treatment of his wife A’isha, we notice this kind and respectful treatment. A’isha herself admitted to his superior treatment of her. And who is a better judge than a wife to attest to the kind of treatment she receives from her husband.

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها،‏ ‏قالت: ( قال رسولُ الله ‏ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « ‏إِنِّي لَأَعْرِفُ غَضَبَكِ وَرِضَاكِ»، قَالَتْ: قُلْتُ وَكَيْفَ تَعْرِفُ ذَاكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؟ قَالَ: « إِنَّكِ إِذَا كُنْتِ رَاضِيَةً قُلْتِ: بَلَى وَرَبِّ ‏ ‏محمَّد،‏ ‏وَإِذَا كُنْتِ سَاخِطَةً قُلْتِ: لَا وَرَبِّ ‏إِبْرَاهِيمَ»،‏ ‏قَالَتْ قُلْتُ: أَجَلْ، لَسْتُ أُهَاجِرُ إِلَّا اسْمَكَ) . رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated A’isha , may Allah be pleased with her: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me: ‘I know your anger from your pleasure.’  I asked: ‘And how do you know that, O Messenger of Allah?’  He replied: ‘When you are pleased you say: ‘No, by the Lord of Muhammad,’ but when you are angry, you say: ‘No, by the Lord of Ibrahim.’  I said: ‘You said the truth, I only leave out your name.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

We find here the gentleness and kindness the Prophet ﷺ maintained in his treatment with A’isha.  The Prophet ﷺ did not express anger or displeasure when A’isha left out his name; instead, he good-naturedly informed her of his awareness of her behavior. Upon such gentleness, she professed her deep regard of him while at the same time admitting the truthfulness of his statement.

We can clearly see the same high manners of the Prophet ﷺ with his wives in many other occasions.  Many of these occasions had been described by A’isha herself as a lesson for the nation and as an example for other men. Indeed, the Prophet used to go out of his way to accommodate his wives and make them happy within his means, as shown in the following hadith, also narrated by A’isha:

وعن عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ، قال: ( قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ: وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُومُ عَلَى بَابِ حُجْرَتِي، وَالْحَبَشَةُ يَلْعَبُونَ بِحِرَابِهِمْ فِي مَسْجِدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَسْتُرُنِي بِرِدَائِهِ لِكَيْ أَنْظُرَ إِلَى لَعِبِهِمْ، ثُمَّ يَقُومُ مِنْ أَجْلِي حَتَّى أَكُونَ أَنَا الَّتِي أَنْصَرِفُ، فَاقْدِرُوا قَدْرَ الْجَارِيَةِ الْحَدِيثَةِ السِّنِّ حَرِيصَةً عَلَى اللَّهْوِ).  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated ‘Urwa Ibn Az-Zubayr: “A’isha said: ‘By Allah, I remember the Messenger of Allah ﷺ standing at the door of my apartment screening me with his mantle to allow me to see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their daggers in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah. He would keep standing for my sake until I had enough and then I would return.  Thus you can well imagine how long a girl of tender age who is fond of sports (could have watched it, while the Prophet ﷺ waited patiently for me).’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim.

Again we find here the utmost degree of affection and kindness that the Prophet ﷺ showed to his wife.  He would wait for her to watch the people play until she was the one to say she had enough.  One may ask: were her rights violated and was she kept a prisoner in her home, or did she enjoy her rights as much as any free women would? Indeed, A’isha not only related the way of the Prophet ﷺ, but also the etiquette of Islam regarding women.

Islam urges on the highest code of morals and manners, and chief among them is the kind treatment of one’s family and wife.  Therefore, the Prophet ﷺ mentioned in the hadith above that the highest of people in faith are the best among them in morals and manners, and the highest among people in regard and reward are the best among them in manners and good treatment of their wives.

But at the same time, Islam also urges women to take serious their responsibilities and try to be effective members of the community.  Islam commands women to follow the orders of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and also to show respect to the husband, as summarized in the following hadith:

عَنْ ‏عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ رضي الله عنه‏ ‏قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ‏ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « إِذا صَلَّتْ الْمَرْأَةُ خَمْسَهَا، وَصَامَتْ شَهْرَهَا، وَحَفِظَتْ فَرْجَهَا، وَأَطَاعَتْ زَوْجَهَا، قِيلَ لَهَا: ادْخُلِي الجَنَّةَ مِنْ أَيِّ أَبْوَابِ الجَنَّةِ شِئْتِ» .  رواه أحمد.

Narrated Abd ar-Rahman Ibn ‘Awf, may Allah be pleased with him, that that the Messenger of Allah said:  “If the woman prayed her five daily prayers, fasted her month (of Ramadan), guarded her private parts, and obeyed her husband, it would be said to her: Enter Paradise from whichever door of Paradise you wish.”  Related by Imam Ahmad.

Thus, we see that, contrary to what some may claim, Islam recognizes the rights of women and puts great emphasis on their kind treatment.  This is not to deny any abuse or mistreatment of women that may happen on an individual basis; instead, the point is that the religion’s teachings have always maintained a consistent, principled stance in support of the honor, dignity, and happiness of women. Islam recognizes them as members of the community and as important partners and essential members of the Muslim family.  The Muslim family in turn is seen as one unit where both husband and wife strive to be kind to each other and recognize each other’s rights in order to bring about a happy family blessed with the obedience of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ, as well with good in this life and the next.

Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia)

Editor’s note: The post is a follow up on the previous post on Umm Ayman. Both posts illuminate the important role played by black people in Islam’s early years, serving as important reminders for the need of establishing racial harmony and eliminating racism in Muslims.

Narrated Umm Salama Bint Abi Umayah Ibn Al-Mughira, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ: “When we immigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), we were received by the best of hosts, Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia), who offered us sanctuary to practice our religion, so we worshipped Allah the Exalted with no harm or hateful objection. But when the tribe of Quraysh heard about the peace the Muslim migrants enjoyed under the protection of Al-Najashi, they made plans to try to extradite them back to Makkah. Quraysh decided to send two powerful men with valuable and much sought after gifts from Makkah to Al-Najashi and to every single member of his clergy.  Al-Najashi used to like tanned leather, so the Qurashites gathered a large quantity of it and sent everything with two men, Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a Ibn Al-Mughira Al-Makhzumi and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas Ibn Wa’il Al-Sahmi. They explained the mission to the two men thus: ‘First, present to every bishop his special gift before you talk to Al-Najashi, then present to Al-Najashi his gifts, and then ask him to turn over the Muslim group to you without giving him a chance to speak with them.’

The two envoys set out to Abyssinia until they reached Al-Najashi, whose hospitality and security we [the Muslims] were enjoying. The two men first presented every bishop with his special gift before talking to Al-Najashi, and confided to each one of them: ‘Indeed, there have defected to the King’s land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe have sent us to the King seeking their extradition, so when we speak with the King about that, counsel him to deliver them to us without talking with them, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’  The bishops agreed to do so.

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas then presented Al-Najashi with their gifts, which he accepted. The two men then talked to the King and said to him: ‘O King, indeed there have defected to your land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe including their parents, uncles, and clansmen have sent us to you seeking their extradition, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas wished for the King to not converse with the Muslim group and hear their speech. So the bishops spoke up and said: ‘They speak the truth, O King. Their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their wrongdoing, so send them back with the two men who would return them to their country and people.’

Al-Najashi became quite angry at that and said: ‘No, by God, I will not turn them over to these two men and will not dishonor a group of people who are my guests and who have chosen my protection over all others, until I call them and ask them about whatever these two men accuse them. If they are like what these two men have said, then I will hand them over to them. But if they are not so, then I shall offer them my protection and hospitality as long as they wish to remain with me.’

Al-Najashi then sent for the Muslims asking them to come to him.  When the King’s message reached them, they gathered and consulted with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King when you stand before him?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what we know of the truth and of the commandments of our Prophet ﷺ, no matter what.’  When the Companions of the Prophet went to the court of Al-Najashi, they found that he had called his bishops who were seated around him with their Scriptures open before them to ask the Muslims about their beliefs.

Al-Najashi asked the Muslims: ‘What is this religion with which you have renounced the religion of your people, and have turned away from my religion and the religion of other nations?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib acted as spokesperson and said: ‘O King, we were a group of people living in ignorance and immorality (Jahiliyya); we used to worship idols, eat the flesh of dead animals, engage in all kinds of debauchery, sever the ties of kinship, break the rights of neighbors, and the strong among us would take away the right of the weak.

We remained so until Allah sent to us a Messenger from amongst ourselves, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and chastity were already well-known to us. So the Messenger ﷺ called us to worship Allah the Exalted alone and to renounce the stones and the idols that we and our forefathers used to worship besides Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ commanded us to speak the truth, to keep our promises, to keep good ties with relatives, to be kind to neighbors, to avoid all forbidden acts and bloodshed.  He prohibited and warned us against all kinds of debauchery, against false testimony, against taking over an orphan’s property, and against false accusation of chaste women.  He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, to establish the prayer, to give Zakah and to fast the month of Ramadan (he mentioned all pillars of Islam).

So we believed in him, affirmed his message, and followed his commandment. We worshiped Allah alone without associating any partners with Him, we avoided what has Allah has forbidden for us and did what He allowed us to do.  But our people persecuted us, so they subjected us to all kinds of torture to make us recant our faith and return to the worship of idols and the previous condition of immorality. When they subdued and oppressed us, made miserable our lives, and prevented us from practicing our religion, we sought refuge in your land, choosing you over others, desiring your protection and hoping to live in justice and peace under your rule, O King.’

Al-Najashi asked Ja’far: ‘Do you have anything with you that was revealed to your Prophet by Allah?’ Ja’far replied: ‘Yes.’  Al-Najashi said: ‘Then recite it to me.’  Ja’far recited for him the first portion of Surah Maryam which describes the story of Jesus and his mother Mary.

Umm Salama said: By Allah, when Al-Najashi and his bishops heard the verses of Quran, he wept until his tears moistened his beard, and his bishops cried until their tears moistened their Scriptures.  Al-Najashi then said: ‘The message of your Prophet and that of Prophet Moses come from the same lamp and source.’  He then turned to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas and said: ‘Go, for by God, I will never turn them over to you and will never bring them any harm.’

But when the two men left the King’s court, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a: ‘By God, I shall return to the King tomorrow and bring up something of their belief that will destroy them completely.’  Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a, who was the kinder of the two men, said: ‘Do not do so, for they are our relatives even if they renounced our religion.’  Amr said: ‘By Allah, I will tell the King that they claim Jesus, the son of Mary, is a servant of God.’  The next day, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Al-Najashi: ‘O King, the group of the Muslims say a terrible thing about Jesus, the son of Marry. Send for them and ask them what they say about him.’

Al-Najashi sent for the Muslims again asking them what they said about Jesus.  When the King’s message reached the Muslim group, they were apprehensive and gathered to consult with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King if he asks you about Jesus?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what Allah the Exalted has said about him and what our Prophet ﷺ said, no matter what.’

When the Muslims went to the court of Al-Najashi, he asked them: ‘What do you say about Jesus, the son of Mary?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, stepped forward and said: ‘We only say regarding Jesus what has been revealed to our Prophet ﷺ, that Jesus is the servant of God, His Messenger, His spirit, and His word which He cast into Mary the Virgin.’

So Al-Najashi struck the ground with his hand and picked up a small stick then said: ‘Jesus, the son of Mary, is no more than what you said about him except as much as this stick.’ The bishops around him snorted in disagreement, so Al-Najashi admonished them saying: ‘Even if you snort!’  He then turned to the Muslims and said: ‘Go, for you shall be safe and secure in my land. Whoever abuses you shall be punished, whoever abuses you shall be punished, and whoever abuses you shall be punished.  For by God, I would not like to have a mountain of gold while anyone of you should come to any harm.’  Al-Najashi then said: ‘Return these two men’s gifts for I have no need of them.  By God, when Allah returned my reign to me, He did not ask me for ransom, so I will not take ransom for this group, and people did not obey me then so I would not obey them against His pleasure.’

Umm Salama said: So Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas left the court of the King, humiliated and rejected, while we lived with the King, in the best hospitality and protection.”  Related by Imam Ahmad with a good (hasan) narration.


And it is related that Al-Najashi did testify to the Oneness of Allah and the true message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.  Therefore, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ performed the funeral prayer on him in absentia, and called him a righteous man, as seen in the following narrations:

عن أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه: ( أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى النَّجَاشِيَّ فِي الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي مَاتَ فِيهِ، وَخَرَجَ بِهِمْ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ، وَكَبَّرَ عَلَيْهِ أَرْبَعَ تَكْبِيرَاتٍ)‏.  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Messenger of Allah informed us about the death of An-Najashi on the day he died. He went out with us to the prayer site and we aligned in rows behind him.  The Prophet then led the funeral prayer for An-Najashi and said four Takbirs.”   Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

وعن جَابِرٍ رضى الله عنه، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حِينَ مَاتَ النَّجَاشِيُّ: (‏ مَاتَ الْيَوْمَ رَجُلٌ صَالِحٌ، فَقُومُوا فَصَلُّوا عَلَى أَخِيكُمْ أَصْحَمَةَ).‏ رواه البخاري.

Narrated Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him: “When An-Najashi died, the Prophet said: ‘A righteous man has died today. So get up and offer the funeral prayer for your brother Ashama.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

What a tremendous honor, to have the Prophet pray funeral prayers on someone despite him not being there! These men and women received such blessings because of their sincerity, struggle, and sacrifice for the truth. May Allah allow us to experience even a small portion of that zeal for faith.

True Shyness: Haya’


In today’s world, the term ‘shyness’ sounds almost strange and invokes negative connotations for many people.  A shy person is seen as socially deficient and is encouraged to shed that shyness away. But in Islam, moral shyness is a commendable trait and a sought after characteristic. This is shown in the following hadith:

عن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما أن رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مَرَّ عَلَى رَجُلٍ مِنَ الأَنْصَارِ وَهُوَ يَعِظُ أَخَاهُ في الحَيَاءِ، فَقَالَ رسُولُ اللَّه صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « دَعْهُ فإِنَّ الحَيَاءَ مِنَ الإِيمانِ».  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed by a man of the Ansar who was admonishing his brother regarding shyness (haya’) [discouraging him from being excessively shy].  So the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

‘Leave him, for shyness (haya’) is part of Faith.’ ”

(Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Let us consider this moral shyness (as opposed to social shyness) and the reasons for its high regard in Islam.

The celebrated hadith scholar Ibn Hajr Al-‘Asqalani mentioned in his book Fath al-Bari (Grant of the Creator: A Commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari):

“Shyness in linguistic terms is a change and embarrassment that comes over the person for fear of being criticized or exposed.

In religious terms, shyness is a characteristic that prompts one to avoid bad deeds and prevents him from neglecting the rights of others.  Shyness is part of faith because it induces righteous deeds and prevents misdeeds.”

Thus, Allama Ibn Hajr explained the reasons that Islam places such emphasis on this trait. Moral shyness is a trait that prompts one to stay away from shameful acts by him or herself, let alone in front of others.  And committing such acts before others leads to an even greater level of shamefulness.  Such a trait only leads to increased Iman, because moral shyness in this case prevents the Muslim from committing shameful acts and encourages him or her to avoid sins and misdeeds. Therefore, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ described shyness as being part of Faith.

The Prophet ﷺ further explained the meaning of shyness in this Hadith:

عن عبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « اسْتَحْيُوا مِنَ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ»، قال قلنا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا ‏نَسْتَحْيِي وَالحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ، قال: « لَيْسَ ذَاكَ، وَلَكِنَّ الإِسْتِحْيَاءَ مِنَ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الحَيَاءِ أَنْ تَحْفَظَ الرَّأْسَ وَمَا وَعَى، وَالبَطْنَ وَمَا حَوَى، ‏وَلْتَذْكُرِ المَوْتَ وَالبِلَى وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الآخِرَةَ تَرَكَ زِينَةَ الدُّنْيَا فَمَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدِ اسْتَحْيَا مِنَ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الحَيَاءِ» .  رواه الترمذي وأحمد والحاكم والبيهقي.

Narrated Abdullah bin Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Feel shy of Allah as is His due.’  We replied: ‘O Messenger of Allah, Praise be to Allah, we do feel shy.’  He said: ‘Not that, but it is to guard the head and what it holds and the belly and what it contains, and to remember the graves and the decay.  Whoever seeks the Hereafter, then he should leave the adornment of the worldly life.  Whoever does all of that, then he has fulfilled the shyness that is due to Allah.’ ”  (Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Al-Hakim, and Al-Bayhaqi)

Thus, the concept of shyness in Islam is deep and involves other aspects as well.  Shyness is not only a trait that makes the Muslim loathe shameful acts and stay away from them, but it also involves observing Allah’s obligations and limits in everything and feeling conscious and guilty when any of them are violated or broken.

The Muslim should have a sense of shyness before his Lord who is observing him at all times. Just like a child who acts in the best terms under the supervision of a disciplinary father, the Muslim should have this sense of being watched by Allah all the time and should feel shy of breaking His rules or violating His rights. This sense of shyness then leads the Muslim to the obedience of his Lord and to an increase in piety and faith.  Therefore, the Prophet  described shyness as being part of faith.

Finally, we can see great examples of true shyness in the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and his companions. Among his companions, Uthman Ibn Affan was especially well-known for his shyness, to the extent that even the angels felt shy of him!

Uthman Ibn Affan’s moral shyness contributed to his level of Iman and high status in this nation, as shown in the following hadith:

عن عائشة رضي اللَّه عنها ‏قالت: كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم مُضْطَجِعًا في بيتي كاشِفًا عن فَخِذَيْهِ ‏أو ساقَيْهِ، فاستأذنَ أبو بكرٍ ‏فَأَذِنَ له وهو على تلك الحالِ فَتَحَدَّثَ، ثم اسْتَأْذنَ عمرُ ‏فَأَذِنَ لَهُ وهو كذلكَ فَتَحَدَّثَ، ثم استأذنَ عثمانُ فَجَلَسَ رسولُ اللَّهِ ‏صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ‏وسَوَّى ثِيَابَهُ -‏ قَال ‏محمَّد: ولا أقولُ ذلكَ في يومٍ واحدٍ- ‏فدخلَ فَتَحَدَّثَ، فلمَّا خَرَجَ قالتْ ‏عائشةُ: ‏دخلَ أبو بكرٍ ‏فلمْ ‏تَهْتَشَّ ‏لهُ ولم تُبَالِهِ، ‏ثم دخلَ عمرُ فلم ‏تَهْتَشَّ ‏له ولم تُبَالِهِ، ‏ثم دخلَ ‏عثمانُ ‏فَجَلَسْتَ وسَوَّيْتَ ثِيَابَكَ؟ فقالَ: ‏« ‏أَلَا أَسْتَحِي مِنْ رَجُلٍ تَسْتَحِي مِنْهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ». رواه مسلم.

Narrated Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her: “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was lying in bed in my house with his thigh or his legs uncovered.  Abu Bakr sought permission to come in. The Prophet ﷺ gave him permission to enter, and conversed with him while he was in the same state (the Prophet’s thigh or leg uncovered). Then Umar sought permission to come in and it was given to him and he conversed in the same state. Then Uthman sought permission to come in; the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sat down and set right his clothes.  [Muhammad (one of the narrators) said: I do not say that it happened only once]. Uthman then entered and conversed.  After Uthman left, Aisha inquired from the Prophet ﷺ: ‘Abu Bakr entered and you did not stir and did not observe much care (in arranging your clothes), then Umar entered and you did not stir and did not arrange your clothes, then Uthman entered and you sat down and set your clothes right?’  Thereupon the Prophet ﷺ said:

‘Indeed, should I not feel shy of a person of whom even the angels feel shy.’ ”

(Related by Muslim)

In our day and age, we face serious challenges in preserving our Din and the Din of our children. Knowing the strong link between haya’ and Iman should instill in us the importance of actively preserving our haya’: keeping our haya’ is among the most important keys to maintaining our Faith.

Families of the Righteous

When the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions migrated to Medina, the Ansar tribe welcomed them with open arms and incredible hospitality.  Not only did they make the Muhajir migrants feel welcome, but the Ansar shared their homes and wealth with them. This happened to such an extent that Allah the Exalted praised their act of altruism in the Holy Qur’an: {And those who, before them, had homes (in Medina) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given, and give them (the emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need. And whosoever is saved from the covetousness of his soul, then it is those who will be the successful} (59:9).

One of the leading Ansari families in Medina that showed such warm welcome and utmost altruism was the family of Umm Sulaym, may Allah be pleased with her.  When the Prophet ﷺ arrived at Medina, Umm Sulaym went to him with her son Anas Ibn Malik in tow.  Umm Sulaym was among the first group to accept Islam in Medina, and when Abu Talha proposed to her, she made his acceptance of Islam as her only dowry.  Having this strong faith, she offered the Prophet ﷺ the most precious gift as seen in this authentic hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ immigrated to Medina when I was ten years old.  When he arrived at Medina, my mother Umm Sulaym took me to the Prophet ﷺ and said to him:

‘This is Anas, my young son.  I have brought him to serve you.’

So the Prophet ﷺ accepted her offer.”  (Related by Ibn Hajr Al-‘Asqalani in his book Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz As-Sahaba.)

What a great sacrifice by a mother! But she did it for the sake of Allah and in seeking His pleasure.  But ultimately, it was she who benefited most, for what greater blessing is there than being with the Prophet, listening to his blessed speech, and observing his noble action nearly all the time?

Umm Sulaym was also a great manifestation of patience and wisdom.  When her young son died, she did not wail and despair, but was calm and took matters into her hands to break the news to her husband Abu Talha in such a gentle and appealing way that the Prophet invoked Allah for her, as seen in the following hadith:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “A son of Abu Talha who was born of Umm Sulaym died. Umm Sulaym said to the members of her family: ‘Do not tell Abu Talha about his son until I do so.’  When Abu Talha came home, she presented supper to him, and he ate and drank water.  She then embellished herself as best like she did not do before, and he (Abu Talha) shared bed with her that night.  When she saw that he was full and had slept with her, she said: ‘O Abu Talha, if some people lent something to another family, and then they asked for its return, could the second family stop its return?’  He said: ‘No.’  She said: ‘Then seek the reward of the death of your son.’  He was angry, and said: ‘You did not inform me until I lay down with you and then you told me about my son.’  He went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and informed him about what happened.  Thereupon the Messenger ﷺ said:

‘May Allah bless both of you in the night you spent together.’ ”

(Related by Bukhari and Muslim.)

Ubaya bin Rufa’a said: “Afterwards, I saw seven sons of that young boy. All of them had memorized the Qur’an.”

Umm Sulaym’s son, Anas Ibn Malik, benefited greatly from his association with the Prophet ﷺ, not only in terms of religious knowledge but also in worldly blessings.  Anas learned much while serving the Prophet ﷺ, and narrated over 2000 hadiths.  He is considered the third most prolific narrators of hadith (after Abu Hurayra and Ibn ‘Umar).  One of the greatest aspects he narrated of the Prophet ﷺ was his high morals and noble manners:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “I served the Messenger of Allah ﷺ 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 silk or anything else that was softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.  And I never smelled any musk or perfume that had a better fragrance than the sweat of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”  (Related by Al-Tirmidhi, also related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

Umm Sulaym
then asked the Prophet  to invoke Allah to grant blessings upon her son, and so he did.  And Anas saw the result of that supplication in his life:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him: “My mother, Umm Anas, took me to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, having dressed me in upper and lower garments made from her headdress, and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, this is my son Unais; I have brought him to you to serve you. Invoke Allah’s blessings upon him.’ Thereupon the Prophet ﷺ supplicated: ‘O Allah, make abundant his wealth and progeny.’  Anas said: ‘By Allah, my fortune is huge and my children and grandchildren are more than one hundred today.”  (Related by Muslim.)

So Umm Sulaym was the one who gained most from her offer.  Indeed, not only did she see her son prosper in wealth and progeny, but she herself gained a high status with Allah.  She continued to obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ and do all in her power to serve the Prophet.  She was given the glad tidings of Paradise by the Prophet ﷺ himself:

Narrated Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“I entered Paradise and heard the sound of footsteps.  I said: ‘Who is that?’  It was said: ‘This is Al-Gumaysa’ Bint Milhan, the mother of Anas Ibn Malik.”

(Related by Muslim.)

Such people demonstrated the reality of having a good opinion in Allah (husn al-dhan billah), knowing that what little sacrifice they offer will result in blessings in both worlds, and that Allah will never put any deed to waste. Allah says: Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds. (Qur’an 18:30).

May Allah be pleased with them all.