al-Bukhaari and Muslim report that Ibn ‘Umar said, “I saw in a dream that two angels came to me. Each of them was holding a whip of iron in his hand. Then I met (another) angel who was also holding a whip of iron in his hand. They said, “Do not worry, you are a good man; we just wish that you prayed more at night”. They took me to the edge of Hell, which looked like a well with horns: between every two horns stood an angel holding a whip of iron. I saw men hanging upside-down, held with chains, and I recognised some men of Quraysh. Then they led me away, towards the right. I told Hafsah about my dream, and she told the Messenger of Allah (saw) who said, “Abdullaah is a righteous man”. (at-Takhweef min an-Naar, p.51)
ALI BIN ABU TALIB said: “Narrate to people what they can understand; do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved?” (Al-Bukhari)
Ibn Hajr said in Fath Al-Bari, “(In this narration) there is evidence that ambiguous knowledge should not be mentioned amongst the general public.”
Sheikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Uthaymeen explained this very important and often misunderstood point beautifully. After mentioning the instruction of Ali, he states:
It is therefore an aspect of wisdom in da’wah (calling others to Allah) that you should not surprise people with things they are not able to comprehend. Rather, you should call them in stages, bit by bit until their minds settle…”
He goes on to say:
“(The statement of Ali) ‘Do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved?’ is a rhetorical question, posed as a criticism of such behavior. It means: by narrating to people things they cannot understand do you want Allah and His Messenger to be disbelieved? This is because in such cases when you say, “Allah said, and His Messenger said” they will say you have lied if their minds cannot comprehend what you are saying. Here, they are not disbelieving Allah and His Messenger, but they are disbelieving you because of this speech that you have attributed to Allah and His Messenger. Thus they will end up disbelieving Allah and His Messenger – not directly – but by way of the one who transmits this knowledge (i.e. you).
“Now if it is said: Should we stop telling people things they cannot understand even if they need to know? The answer is: no, we do not leave this knowledge altogether, but we should tell them in a way that they will be able to understand. This is done by telling them in stages – bit by bit – until they can accept the speech we want them to know and they can feel comfortable with it. We do not abandon knowledge that people cannot understand and just say ‘this is something they will reject or dislike so we will not speak about it.’
“The same is the case with acting upon a Sunnah that people are not used to and which they might find objectionable. We should act by this Sunnah, but only after informing people about it, such that they will be able to accept it and feel comfortable about it.
“We learn from this narration that it is important to employ wisdom in calling to Allah, and that it is incumbent upon anyone who calls to Allah to consider the level of understanding of those he is inviting, and that he should put everyone in their proper place.”
– Majmoo’ Fatawa Ibn Uthaymeen, vol.10 pg. 140.
Every Muslim who has reasonable knowledge of his religion knows that being a believer in Islam represents a great blessing from God. Islam is a religion that gratifies human nature in the best way it can be gratified. It seeks to establish perfect harmony between man’s life in this world and the universe around him. Thus a Muslim does not see himself in conflict with nature, and does not feel his main task to be the conquering of nature. Indeed he looks at natural forces as friendly forces, created and set into operation by God to ensure a good balance in the universe. They serve human life, making it possible for human existence to continue and progress.
Islam also establishes a mode of human life that ensures that the best qualities of man will flourish and achieve their best results. When a Muslim compares his life under Islam and human life under other systems or religions he finds the gulf too wide to imagine. This gulf is best described by Jaafar ibn Abu Talib, the Prophet’s cousin, who explained to Negus, the king of Abyssinia, the teachings of Islam and the reasons for the opposition and persecution the new Muslims had to endure from their people, the Quraysh. Jaafar said: “In our recent past we were ignorant people: we worshipped idols, ate carrion, committed all sorts of sins, attached little value to maintaining good relations with our kinsfolk and behaved badly to our neighbors. Our overruling maxim was that might was right. This continued to be our situation until God sent us, from among ourselves, a Messenger whose good name, honesty, sincerity and integrity were well known to us. He called on us to believe in God, the one and only God, and to stop worshipping all idols, which we and our forefathers used to worship alongside Him. He commanded us always to speak the truth and be honest, to be good to our relatives and neighbors, to preserve life and shed no blood, to refrain from sin, perjury, robbing the property of orphans entrusted to our care, and making false accusations against honorable women. He also commanded us to devote our worship to God alone, ascribing to Him no partners of any sort. He further commanded us to pray regularly, to give away certain purifying alms and to fast, etc. We gave him a favorable response, believed in him and gave him our full support. We followed these Divine commandments he conveyed to us. We began to worship God alone, refraining from what He forbade us and accepting what He made lawful for us. Our people, however, assaulted us and subjected us to physical torture to compel us to revert to idolatrous worship and to indulge in the sinful practices we used to indulge in. Having been overpowered, oppressed and denied the freedom to choose our faith and practice it, we sought refuge in your country, choosing you in preference to all other rulers, hoping that in your refuge we would suffer no injustice.” Negus immediately recognized the truth of Jaafar’s statement and guaranteed that the Muslims would stay in his kingdom unmolested and unharmed.
When human life is set on the basis Jaafar outlines in his superb presentation, it represents a great blessing indeed. Yet this marked difference between Islamic life and life under other systems is not the only blessing Muslims enjoy as a result of believing in Islam. Ibn Abbas quotes the Prophet as saying: “‘Anyone of my community who suffers the death of two of his children, God will admit him into heaven.’ Lady Ayesha asked: ‘What about a person of your community who suffers the death of one child?’ He said: ‘May you be granted success! This applies to them as well.’ She asked: ‘What about the ones who do not suffer the death of any children?’ He said: ‘I am the one whose death they suffer. Indeed they will never suffer the death of anyone like me.'” (Related by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Baghawi.)
The Prophet teaches us in this Hadith to accept whatever calamity may happen to us. Perhaps no one suffers more grief than loving parents when they lose a child. The Prophet tells such parents that they should not let their grief get the better of them. They should realize that God will reward them richly for their patience in such adversity. When they accept their loss as an act of God’s will, they will be forgiven their sins and are sure to be admitted into heaven.
We note how Ayesha continued to question the Prophet about the loss of children when she herself had no children of her own. The Prophet stated first that admission into heaven is certain for anyone who loses two of their children. She asked about the loss of one child and the Prophet confirmed that the same applies to such parents. They need, however, to accept their loss with resignation, knowing that it is God’s will. When she asks about those who do not suffer such a loss, the Prophet tells her that all Muslims suffer the death of the Prophet, as they lose the guide who always shows them the right way and the guardian who always takes good care of them. He says: “They will never suffer the death of anyone like me.” Who could be like him? Blessed be he in life and in death, and in the life to come.
This is further explained in an authentic Hadith in which Abu Musa Al-Ashari quotes the Prophet as saying: “When God wishes to bestow mercy on a community, he causes their prophet to die and they survive him. Thus He makes their prophet’s death a calamity they suffer with patience and for which they are rewarded. On the other hand, when God wants to destroy a community, He lets His punishment befall them with their Prophet alive, looking at them as they are destroyed. Thus, He will give him the satisfaction of seeing their punishment for denying his message and disobeying his instructions.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.)
This Hadith is highly authentic, as it is related by both Al-Bukhari and Muslim, each of whom quoting narrations by a large number of the Prophet’s companions. Thus it aspires to the highest degree of authenticity. Moreover, it is confirmed by what the Qur’an states about the punishment of earlier communities who denied their messengers and refused to accept God’s guidance. The people’s of Ad, Thamud, Lot, Madyan and Pharaoh were all destroyed during the lifetimes of their prophets. By contrast, when the children of Israel accepted Moses’ message, Moses died and they prospered under other prophets, such as David and Solomon, who guided them to implement the divine message given to them. The same applied to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Muslim community. May it long prosper under the Prophet’s guidance, and may it long implement God’s final message.
Al-‘Ibaadah (worship) which we are commanded to perform includes the meaning of humility and love, it contains intense humility before Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa – Glory be to He, Allah, the Most High) together with the intense love for Him. The uppermost level of love is the adoration (Tatayum) and its lowermost level is the interest, because the heart is first interested in the beloved. After the interest comes the affection, then the love, and finally the adoration. In Arabic “Taym-u-Allaah” (the adorer of Allah) is used to mean “Abd-u-Allaah” (the worshiper of Allah) because the adorer is the one who yields completely to their lover.
One who submits to someone with hatred is not worshiping him. And one who loves someone without submitting to him is likewise not worshiping him; this is like a man who loves his son and friends. Therefore, neither love nor submission alone are sufficient in worshiping Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa). Allah must be loved most by Al-‘Abd (the slave) and He (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa) must be the greatest of all in his sight. Nothing deserves complete love and submission except Allah . It is a futile love when anything has been loved for other than the sake of Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa). And whatever has been highly regarded without it being by the Command of Allah, its glorification is rejected.
The love for Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa) and Ar-Rasool (the messenger Mohammed) [sallallaahu ‘alayhee wa sallam – may the peace & blessings of Allah be upon him], should override any other love.
Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’alaa) said:
“Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and Fighting in His Cause; then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the rebellious folk.” [At-Tawbah:24]
Thus, the essence of love should be due to Allah and His Messenger, so too with the obedience. For the obedience is due to Allah and His Messenger, and pleasing is due to Allah and His Messenger,
“But it is more fitting that they should please Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad) if they are (true) believers.” [At-Tawbah:62]
Allah gifted His Messenger (peace be upon him) with all sublime morals. In this context, Almighty Allah says: And verily, you (O Muhammad) are on an exalted (standard of) character (68:4).
On his part, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “I was sent (by Allah) to perfect the sublime morals.”
`A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) described the Prophet (peace be upon him), saying, “His morals were the morals of the Qur’an.”
He (peace be upon him) had the best morals among people. He used to say, “O Lord! As You have beautified my image, so beautify my morals.” Furthermore, he used to supplicate to Allah, saying, “O Lord! I seek refuge in You from miserliness, hypocrisy, and bad morals.”
Following are some of his characteristics:
Almighty Allah guided the Prophet (peace be upon him) to abide by these morals saying: Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish [i.e. don’t punish them. (Al-A`raf 7: 199). Whenever he (peace be upon him) was given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chose the easier as long as it was not sinful.
He (peace be upon him) never avenged himself, but if Allah’s laws were violated he would enforce them. The people of Makkah tortured him but he said, “O Allah! Guide my people since they do not know!” It is well known that the more the ignorant people used to abuse the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), the more the latter met their insults with tolerance and pardon. Once a man said to him, “Load my two she-camels with the property you have, for it is not yours, nor your father’s, but it is Allah’s.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) kept silent, then said: Surely, the property belongs to Allah and I am His servant.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people, particularly in Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) would never deny anything he was asked for. Furthermore, he (peace be upon him) said, “I do not like to possess (what equals the mount of) Uhud of gold and that three days expire while I still have (even) a dinar (without spending it in the cause of Allah) except something I save for my religion.”
One of the sins Islam has strongly opposed is gossip – speaking evil about the other behind his or her back, even if it be true. Sheikh Husayn Al-Awaishah has strong words on this trait (excerpt from his book Gossip and Its Adverse Effects on the Muslim Community):
If any of us hear gossip about one of our brothers, we are enjoined to oppose it, and correct the speaker – gently, politely, and with wisdom. This is in accordance with the various ways of changing a bad deed which were described by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), which we should try to do to the best of our ability.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever of you sees an evil deed should change it with his hand [by acting], or if he cannot do that, then with his tongue [by speaking out], or if he cannot do that, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” (Sahih Muslim)
The least of these is opposing the wrong deed in our hearts, which in this case should make us leave the gathering where the gossip is taking place. Let us think about the words of Allah, the meaning of which is:
“When you see men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection, do not sit in the company of those who do wrong.” (Qur’an, 6:68)
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 49:12)
Let those Muslims who relish gossip beware! The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordered those who hear gossip to reject it, but these Muslims are indulging in this pastime with pleasure! Woe to you! Are you not thinking about where you will end up? It is as if you think you were created only for fooling about and committing sins!
[ALLAH’S Quran – 36:38 ] “And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.”
The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has said:
[Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0297] “It is narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) one day said: Do you know where the sun goes? They replied: Allah and His Apostle know best. He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Verily it (the sun) glides till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it falls prostrate and remains there until it is asked: Rise up and go to the place whence you came, and it goes back and continues emerging out from its rising place and then glides till it reaches its place of rest under the Throne and falls prostrate and remains in that state until it is asked: Rise up and return to the place whence you came, and it returns and emerges out from it rising place and the it glides (in such a normal way) that the people do not discern anything ( unusual in it) till it reaches its resting place under the Throne. Then it would be said to it: Rise up and emerge out from the place of your setting, and it will rise from the place of its setting. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said. Do you know when it would happen? It would happen at the time when faith will not benefit one who has not previously believed or has derived no good from the faith.”
At the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him), there was a young man named Alqamah. He was very diligent in obeying Allah by engaging in prayer and fasting and spending in charity.
Then he fell ill and his illness became serious.
His wife went to the Prophet and said, “My husband, Alqamah, is on his deathbed. I therefore came to tell you, Messenger of Allah, about his condition.”
The Prophet (then) sent for Ammar or Suhaib and Bilal, and told them to go to him (Alqamah) and have him repeat the Shahadah. Thereupon they went to him and found him in the agony of death.
They asked him to say, “La illaha illa Allah,” but his tongue was unable to pronounce it.
At that, they came and told the Messenger of Allah that he was unable to repeat the Shahadah.
The Prophet asked, “Is either of his parents alive?”
He was told, “Messenger of Allah, his mother is, but she is very old.”
The Prophet sent her a message that if it was convenient for her (that is, is she was able to go out), she should come to him; otherwise she should stay in her house and the Prophet would come to her.
The Prophets messenger came to her and informed her of the Prophets message.
She said, “May my life be a ransom for him, it is my pleasure to go to him!”
She then stood up, leaning on her walking stick, and came to the Prophet and greeted him.
One day we might not have anything, and the next day we might have much more than we need. One day, a person has a great job and a fat pay check, yet the next day, something happens and he does not have that job anymore and loses his source of income. So, the wise person uses his richness before he becomes poor. He invests for his future.
As for the investments of this world, then the Muslims and non-Muslims are somewhat same, in the sense they both invest in it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) would store staple food items up to a year. Sometimes he would store barley and grain for a whole year for his family. This is obviously something Halaal as the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself did it, and we should do it too. We should make sure we have enough money for our family, so we do not turn beggars. There is no doubt that this is part of our Shariah.
But while we do this, let us not forget that we should also invest for the hereafter. Should we not think about investing money so we can pluck its fruits in the hereafter, where we will need it far more than currently in this world? We should invest for the real future – in our life after death.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked his companions, “Who amongst you loves his inheritors’ money more than his own money?”
A father, for example, will love his own money more than his son’s money. This is something natural. Every person will love his own money more than other people’s money.
The Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah, all of us love our own money more than we love the money of our inheritors. We all love our own money. We guard it and protect it more than the money of our inheritors.”
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, the money that you spend in charity is your money, and the money that you leave behind is the money of your inheritors.” (Al-Bukhari, 4/217)
Ponder over that Hadith for a while. How true it is. Do we not realize that all our lifelong savings enough to feed generations of people will be of no benefit to us? It will all be our inheritors’ money. But the money we spend in our lifetime for the sake of Allah will be ours permanently.
Remember that feeding your family is a type of worship if you are doing it for the sake of Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whatever you spend in Allah’s Cause, you will get reward for it, even for the morsel of food which you put in your wife’s mouth.” (Al-Bukhari)
Now everybody feeds his family. But will everybody be rewarded? No. Because only the one who does it remembering Allah, thinking about Allah, and doing it for the sake of Allah will be rewarded.
Ask yourself if the last time you went shopping, was Allah in your mind? Did you think of doing this for Allah? When you picked up the milk and the bread, was your heart thinking,
“O Allah, I am buying this food through Halaal money, and this is Halaal food, because I want to feed my family and this is an obligation that You have put upon me, therefore, I am doing it for your sake.” Who amongst us has this in the mind?
When we say, “Money that is spent for the sake of Allah,” we are not just talking about Zakat and charity. They are among the most virtuous deeds no doubt. But do not forget that the majority of income we spend can all be for the sake of Allah if we have the right intention. Such consciousness of Allah all the time will also prevent us from extravagance and wasting our money.
None but the unbelievers dispute God’s revelations. Let it not deceive you that they seem to be able to do as they please on earth. Before their time the people of Noah rejected the truth, as did other groups and communities after them. Each of these communities schemed against the messenger sent to them, aiming to lay their hands on him. With false argument they strove to refute the truth, but then I took them to task. How awesome was My punishment! Thus your Lord’s word shall come true against the unbelievers: they will be the dwellers in the fire of hell.
(The Forgiving, Ghafir; 40: 4-6)
The opening of the surah established the truth of God’s oneness and His divine attributes. The surah now makes clear that this truth is accepted by all creatures. It is, in fact, firmly rooted in their nature and directly related to the nature of the universe. Only the unbelievers dispute these signs and argue about God’s revelations. Thus they are a class apart, choosing to be at odds with the universe and all other creatures within it.
“None but the unbelievers dispute God’s revelations.”
Throughout the entire expanse of the universe, only the unbelievers stand apart, deviating from the true path. In relation to the whole universe, they are weaker and less significant than an ant in relation to planet earth. When they stand on their own disputing God’s revelations and denying His signs, the rest of the universe declares its acceptance of Him and recognizes His oneness, deriving its strength from Him. With their odd attitude, the unbelievers’ fate is sealed, no matter how powerful, affluent and mighty they may appear to be: “Let it not deceive you that they seem to be able to do as they please on earth.”
They may be able to move about, gather wealth, enjoy their power and revel in easy living. However, they are ultimately doomed. The battle, if there could ever be a battle between them and the Creator of the universe, will lead to its inevitable end.
There were in former times communities that followed the same path. Their fate should make clear to the unbelievers what happens in the end to anyone who tries to stand against the power of the Almighty: “Before their time the people of Noah rejected the truth, as did other groups and communities after them. Each of these communities schemed against the messenger sent to them, aiming to lay their hands on him. With false argument they strove to refute the truth, but then I took them to task. How awesome was My punishment!”