“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (former name of Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for al-Alameen (the mankind and Jinns). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqaam (place) of Ibraheem (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security.” [Soorah al-Imran (3): 96-97]
Al-Masjid al-Haraam was the first house of worship ordained for mankind on Earth. Allah has placed several blessings in it, for e.g. the Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam has increased rewards in comparison to the Salaat prayed anywhere else. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “One Salaat in my Masjid is better than 1,000 Salaat anywhere else except in al-Masjid al-Haraam.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] and: “One Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam is better than 100 Salaat in my Masjid.” [Musnad Ahmad]
The Blessing of the water of Zam-Zam: Zam-Zam is the name of the famous well in al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is situated at a distance of thirty cubits away from al-Kaa’ba. This well sprung up when Isma’eel u, (the son of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and Hajar), as an infant struck the Earth with his heels, in thirst. His mother looked for water, but could not find any. She climbed to the top of Mount Safa and prayed to Allah for help, and then she climbed Mount Marwa and did the same. Allah responded to her supplication and sent Jibreel u to dig out the well of Zam-Zam. It is from the virtues of the well of Zam-Zam that it is situated in Makkah, which is desert land. Today, even with all the advanced scientific technologies, no well can be dug in the land of Makkah, where Zam-Zam is fresh and gushing forth water in abundance.
Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) said: “Zam-Zam water is the best and noblest of all waters, the highest in status, the dearest to people, the most precious and valuable to them?” The scholars agree that it is Mustahabb (recommended) for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah in particular, and for all Muslims in general, to drink from the water of Zam-Zam because Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is reported to have drunk water of Zam-Zam in a number of true Ahaadeeth. [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
It is the water of Zam-Zam, with which Jibreel (alaihi as-salaam) washed the Prophet’s (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) heart before the Night Journey (i.e. Isra wal-Miraaj). Al-Haafiz al-Iraaqi (rahimahullah) said: “The reason why the Prophet’s chest was washed with Zam-Zam water was to make him stronger so that he could see the kingdom of Heaven and Earth, Paradise and Hell because one of the special qualities of Zam-Zam is that it strengthens the heart and calms the soul”
It is reported in Saheeh Muslim, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu), who had stayed near the Kaa’ba and its coverings for thirty days and nights with no food or drink other than Zam-Zam: “How long have you been here?” Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I have been here for thirty days and nights.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Who has been feeding you?” He said: “I had nothing but Zam-Zam water, and I have got so fat that I have folds of fat on my stomach. I do not feel any of the tiredness or weakness of hunger and I have not become thin.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Verily, it (the water of Zam-Zam) is blessed, it is a food that nourishes (or satisfies).” [Saheeh Muslim v: 4, no: 1922] In another narration: “…and a healing for sickness.” [Al-Bazzaar (1171, 1172) and al-Tabaraani in al-Sagheer (295)] Thus, drinking from the water of Zam-Zam is nourishment and a cure for sickness. But this needs full faith and sincerity in Allah, the all-Mighty, Who has placed such immense blessings in this water
Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: “Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and saw wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of Allah. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not feel hunger; he performed Tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zam-Zam water for forty days and he had the strength to sleep with his wife, to fast, and to perform Tawaaf numerous times.” [Zaad al-Ma’ad, 4/319, 320]
It was reported from Jaabir Ibn Abdullah (radhi allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Majah vol: 2, no: 1018 (see al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah by al-Sakhaawi, p. 359)] Therefore, the scholars recommend that one should make lots of Du’aa while drinking the water of Zam-Zam and he should drink it for a purpose that will benefit him in this world and the next.
The Salaf and Ulama acted upon the (above-mentioned) Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger and thus when Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak went for Hajj, he came to Zam-Zam and said: “O Allah, Ibn Abil-Mawaali told us from Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir from Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu) that Your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” I am drinking it to quench the thirst of the Day of Resurrection.” [(Hasan) Sunan Ibn Majah (al-Manaasik, 3062)]
It was reported that when Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) drank from the water of Zam-Zam, he said: “O Allah, I ask you for beneficial knowledge, plentiful provision, and healing from every disease.”
Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said: “You should have the intention of what you want to gain by drinking this water. You should drink your fill, i.e., fill your stomach with it until it is filled to the ribs because this water is good. A Hadeeth has been narrated concerning this (which mentions that) the difference between the believers and the hypocrites is drinking one’s fill of Zam-Zam water. [Narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Manaasik, 1017; al-Haakim, 1/472 (Al-Boosairi said it is Saheeh)] Therefore, Zam-Zam water is not sweet; it is little salty, and the believer only drinks this salty water out of faith, believing that there is Barakat (blessing) in it. So when he drinks his fill of it, this is a sign of his faith (in Allah). [Sharh al-Mumti’, v: 7. pp. 377-379]
Some Fuqaha mentions it a Sunnah to drink the water of Zam-Zam to one’s fill. Scholars explain it to be Mustahabb and from the etiquettes of drinking water to sit, say Bismillah, pause to take a breath three times, and say Alhamdulillah after drinking, as one should do when he takes any other kind of drink. Regarding the Hadeeth of Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu), who said: “I gave the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) water of Zam-Zam to drink, whilst he was standing.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 3, no: 492] This Hadeeth should be understood in the sense that even though it is encouraged to drink water whilst sitting, it is not Haraam (unlawful) to drink whilst standing.
People who visit Makkah and Medina should take the water of Zam-Zam with them back to their countries because it is blessed and a cure for the sick. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) reported that she took the Zam-Zam water home with her in bottles, and she said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) took some of it away with him, and he used to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink.” [at-Tirmidhee vol: 4, no: 37]
Al-Hafiz al-Sakhaawi (rahimahullah) said in Al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah: “Some people said that the virtue (of Zam-Zam water) remains only so long as it is in its place (of origin) and that when it is taken away, it changes. This is an idea that has no basis. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) wrote to Suhayl Ibn Amr: “If my letter reaches you at night then do not wait until morning, and if it reaches you during the day, do not wait until evening, to send me some Zam-Zam water.” He sent him two containers full, and at that time he was in Medina, before the conquest of Makkah. This Hadeeth is Hasan because of corroborating evidence. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) also used to take Zam-Zam water away with her, and she reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to do this; he used to carry it in small vessels and buckets, and pour it onto the sick and give it to them to drink. Whenever a guest visited Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) he would honor him by giving him Zam-Zam water to drink. Ata (radhi allahu anhu) was asked about taking Zam-Zam water away, and he said: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), al-Hasan and al-Husayn all took it away with them.” [see Fath al-Baree vol: 3, no: 493; al-Mughni, vol: 3, no: 445, Nihaayat al-Muhtaaj, Shifa’ al-Gharaam bi Akhbaar al-Balad al-Haraam, by al-‘Iraaqi vol: 1, no: 258]
Another Blessing of Masjid al-Haraam is al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone), from where the Tawaaf (circumambulating) initiates and ends. Hajar al-Aswad is a stone of Paradise and it was as the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The black stone descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the descendants of Adam made it black.” [Musnad Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee no: 2577. The latter stated it as Hasan] Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: “The fact that it (has turned) black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater.” [Fath al-Baree, 3/ 463]
From the virtues of al-Hajar al-Aswad is that touching it causes the (minor) sins to be forgiven, Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 959 and (Saheeh) by al-Haakim, vol: 1, no: 664] Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: “I have seen Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it.” He further said: “I know that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was especially very particular about it.'” [Saheeh Muslim] Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to come to Ka’bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.) [Musnad Ahmad]
Kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad is from the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). This kissing is a manner of honoring this noble Stone of Paradise. It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukharee (1520), Saheeh Muslim (1720) that Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: “I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) kissing you, I would have never kissed you.” So, the Black Stone is a blessing from Allah because one erases all his past (minor) sins merely by touching and kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad.
The Black Stone will come forth on the Day of Resurrection and will testify in favor of those who touched it in truth. “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it (al-Hajar al-Aswad) forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favor of those who touched it in sincerity.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 961]
Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, the Exalted, says:
‘And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility.’ (17:109)
‘Do you then wonder at this recitation (the Qur’an)’ And you laugh at it and weep not’. (53:59-60)
446. Ibn Mas’ood radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said to me: ‘Recite the Qur’an to me’. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Shall I recite the Qur’an to you, when it has been revealed to you” He Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam replied, ‘I love to hear it recited by others’. So I recited to him a portion from Soorat An-Nisaa’. When I reached the Aayah:
‘How (will it be) then, when We bring from each nation a witness and We bring you (O Muhammad as a witness against these people”. (4:41)
He Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Enough for now’. When I looked at him I saw his eyes were shedding tears. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth tells us that besides the recitation of the Noble Qur’an, a Muslim should also listen to it from others so that he can contemplate further on it. It also makes one weep when one listens to the Noble Qur’an.
447. Anas bin Malik radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam delivered a Khutbah to us the like of which I had never heard from him before. In the course of the Khutbah, he said: ‘If you knew what I know, you would laugh little and weep much’. Thereupon those present covered their faces and began to sob. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth has been mentioned in this chapter for the reason that it furnishes positive proof of the fact that the Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to weep out of fear of Allah when they heard sermons and preachings. It induces us to follow them.
448. Aboo Hurayrah radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam said, ‘One who weeps out of fear of Allah, will not enter the Hell till milk returns back in the udder; and the dust raised on account of fighting in the path of Allah and the smoke of Hell will never exist together’. [At-Tirmidhi].
1. A person who has such a fear of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala that he weeps on account of it, cannot be disobedient to Allah. Obviously, his life will generally be spent in the obedience of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and strict abstinence from sins. It is very true to say that it is as impossible for such a person to go to Hell as the return of milk to the udders.
2. Similarly, Jihad is a highly meritorious act for a Muslim. A Mujahid, who fights for the sake of Allah, is perfectly safe from Hell because the dust that falls on this way on him, cannot mix with the smoke of Hell.
449. Aboo Hurayrah radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said, ‘Seven people Allah will give them His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but the Shade of His Throne (i.e., on the Day of Resurrection): And they are: a just ruler; a youth who grew up with the worship of Allah; a person whose heart is attached to the mosques, two men who love and meet each other and depart from each other for the sake of Allah; a man whom an extremely beautiful woman seduces (for illicit relation), but he (rejects this offer and) says: ‘I fear Allah’; a man who gives in charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the left-hand does not know what the right has given; and a man who remembers Allah in solitude and his eyes become tearful’.
[Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth has been included in this chapter for the reason that it highlights the merits of weeping for fear of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. The fear of Allah keeps one away from the disobedience of Allah, the reward of which in the Hereafter is Jannah – a world which abounds in the Bounties and Pleasure of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
450. ‘Abdullah bin Ash-Shikhkhir radhiallaahu`anhu reported: I came to the Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam when he was performing prayers. He was sobbing and his chest sounded like a boiling kettle. [Aboo Dawood and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: This Hadeeth tells us how the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to weep in prayer out of fear of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. To weep in the course of supplication and at the thought of one’s appearance before Allah reflects piety.
451. Anas radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam said to Ubayy bin Ka’b radhiallaahu`anhu, ‘Allah (SWT) has ordered me to recite to you Soorat-Al-Baiyyinah (98): ‘Those who disbelieve …’
Ubayy radhiallaahu`anhu asked, ‘Did He name me” The Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam replied in the affirmative. Whereupon Ubayy radhiallaahu`anhu began to weep. [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadeeth highlights the following:
1. The permissibility of crying out of joy when a certain bounty has been bestowed upon one, and out of fear that one fails to show gratefulness to the Bestower of the bounty (i.e., Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala).
2. The superiority of Ubayy bin Ka’b radhiallaahu`anhu and the high position he occupies with regard to his recitation and memorization of the Qur’an.
452. Anas bin Malik radhiallaahu`anhu reported: After the death of the Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam, Aboo Bakr radhiallaahu`anhu said to ‘Umar radhiallaahu`anhu: ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman radhiallaahu`anha as the Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam used to visit her.’ As we came to her, she wept. They (Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar radhiallaahu`anhum said to her, ‘What makes you weep’ Do you not know that what Allah has in store for His Messenger Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam is better than (this worldly life)” She said, ‘I weep not because I am ignorant of the fact that what is in store for Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam (in the Hereafter) is better than this world, but I weep because the Revelation has ceased to come.’ This reply moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her. [Muslim].
Commentary: Here, this Hadeeth has been reproduced to furnish justification for weeping on the departure of virtuous people because their presence is a source of many blessings. With their departure from this world, people are deprived of many graces. Pious people are certainly very much grieved on their death.
453. Ibn ‘Umar radhiallaahu`anhu reported: When the illness of the Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam became serious, he was asked about the leading of Salaat and he said, ‘Ask Aboo Bakr to lead Salaat.’ Whereupon, ‘Aishah radhiallaahu`anha said; ‘Aboo Bakr is very tender-hearted. He is bound to be overcome by weeping when he recites the Qur’an.’ Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam repeated, ‘Ask him (Aboo Bakr) to lead Salaat’.
In another narration: ‘Aishah radhiallaahu`anha said: ‘When Aboo Bakr stands in your place, he will not be able to recite the Noble Qur’an to the people on account of weeping.’ [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim].
1. This Hadeeth brings into prominence the distinction of Aboo Bakr As-Siddiq radhiallaahu`anhu. It was because of this distinction that the Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam selected him as Khalifah (caliph) after the death of the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam. On this occasion, ‘Umar radhiallaahu`anhu said, ‘Should we not like him for our (worldly life) political leadership when the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam had chosen him for our Deen’.
2. The justification for weeping at the time of the recitation of the Noble Qur’an. This was a special virtue of Aboo Bakr As-Siddiq radhiallaahu`anhu which was a mark of his perfect Faith.
454. Ibraheem bin ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf reported: Food was brought to ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf radhiallaahu`anhu when he was observing Saum (fast) and he said: ‘Mus’ab bin ‘Umair radhiallaahu`anhu was martyred and he was better than me, but only one sheet was available to shroud him. It was so small that when his head was covered; his feet remained uncovered and if his feet were covered, his head remained uncovered. Then the bounties of this world have been bestowed upon us generously. I am afraid that the reward of our good deeds have been awarded to us in this world.’ On this, he began to sob and left the food untouched.
Commentary: This Hadeeth tells us about the hospitality of the Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam and the respect they had for each other.
Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf radhiallaahu`anhu was one of the figures of ‘Al-Ashratul-Mubash-sharun bil Jannah (the ten Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam who were given the glad tidings of entering Jannah during their lifetime). For this reason, he is superior to Mus’ab bin ‘Umair radhiallaahu`anhu, but he acknowledged him superior on the consideration of his martyrdom and poverty through which he had passed. He holds Mus’ab bin ‘Umair radhiallaahu`anhu better on the grounds that he had confronted the infidels in extremely difficult circumstances and sacrificed his life for the sake of Allah.
The second point which this Hadeeth brings out is the fear which Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf radhiallaahu`anhu felt at the abundance of wealth and property, although he used to spend his wealth and riches in the way of Allah and Jihad. Today, the only purpose of our wealth is that we waste it either on foolish customs and ceremonies of marriage or construction of buildings and their decoration. It was this abundance of the wealth of which the Companions of the Prophet Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam were afraid. The Prophet Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam had himself expressed great anxiety over it.
455. Aboo Umamah Sudaiy bin ‘Ajlan Al-Bahili radhiallaahu`anhu reported: The Prophet Sall Allah `alayhi wa sallam said: ‘Nothing is dearer to Allah than two drops and two marks: A drop of tears shed out of fear of Allah and a drop of bloodshed in Allah’s way. Regarding the two marks, they are: Marks left in the Cause of Allah and a mark left in observing one of the obligatory acts of worship of Allah, the Exalted’. [At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: This Hadeeth mentions the merits of the following:
1. Weeping out of fear of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
2. The blood which flows in the way of Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
3. The marks of injuries that are left on the bodies of those who take part in Jihad.
4. The marks of wounds received in the performance of obligations.
The Ahadeeth on the subject are many.
456. Al-‘Irbad bin Sariyah radhiallaahu`anhu reported: One day the Messenger of Allah Sall Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam delivered us a very eloquent Khutbah on account of which eyes shed tears and hearts became softened. [Aboo Dawood and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: Even in the relevant chapter, the author has only given a reference of this Hadeeth and not its full text. This has, however, been stated in chapter 16, bearing the title ‘Observing the Sunnah and the manners of its obedience’.`
You cannot escape it. The discussion about habits is all around you: Mom and Dad are constantly telling you to break your bad habits; your teachers are telling you to develop good habits; your friends are pressuring you to adopt their habits, and the television and media are influencing you to explore new and supposedly cool habits. “You will never be successful,” the constant refrain goes, “unless you drop your bad habits and develop some good habits.” In the end, it’s all up to you. You have to decide what your habits are going to be. Have you given this matter some thought?
If you are alive and breathing, you should constantly be engaged in an inner struggle to develop habits that draw you closer to Allah Most High. Success in this world is directly related to the strength of your relationship with Allah. The farther one is from Allah and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), the less likely one is to achieve success in this world and, for sure, even less likely to achieve success in the hereafter. Is it not time for us to reflect upon Islamic teachings to discern the necessary habits of highly successful Muslim youth?
Here are at least seven habits indispensable for highly successful Muslim youth, derived entirely from the Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Being truthful is not always easy, especially when we make a mistake. We fret over whether or not to disclose exactly what happened. We sweat, we are afraid, we feel nervous and anxious. We are often afraid that if we tell the truth about what we have done or said, we will be in trouble with our parents or friends. What we forget is that whether we tell the truth or not, Allah Most High knows exactly what took place, even those things that were never manifest or visible to people around us. Despite how burdensome telling the truth might seem, all of us are aware of the feeling of relief we experience when we tell the truth, even if the consequence of telling the truth is punishment. Casting the telling of truth and the fate of the truthful in terms of profit and loss, Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an
[This is a day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are gardens, with rivers flowing beneath — their eternal Home: Allah well-pleased with them, and they with Allah. That is the great salvation, (the fulfillment of all desires).] (Al-Ma’idah 5:119)
So much is to be gained from being truthful as opposed to escaping punishment or blame because of not being truthful. Not being truthful, in fact, leads us down a slippery slope, guaranteeing that with one lie, more lies must be told. Being truthful is not an option for Muslims, but rather an obligation, because our goal in being truthful is Paradise. The beloved of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), said, as narrated by `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him),
Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to al-fujur [wickedness, evil-doing], and al-fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #73, Hadith #116)
Ultimate success is therefore achieved by living one’s entire life — the youthful years, the adult years, and the elderly years — being truthful.
Who do you rely on? Of course, Allah. He is indeed the Most Trustworthy. But among humans, who do you rely on? Who can you trust to come through for you all the time? Do people rely on you? Are you considered trustworthy? Moving ahead in life, achieving ultimate success, requires that people consider you trustworthy and reliable. Being trustworthy should not be an arbitrary activity but rather a habit so that you can be relied upon in all instances, big or small, convenient or inconvenient, easy or difficult.
In colloquial terms, we often hear “I’ve got your back,” implying, in the most literal sense, that people cannot see what is behind them so they need to rely on their friends to cover that angle, just in case a threat occurs from the back. Just imagine what it would be like if a friend were climbing a tree and was heading out onto a very thin branch to get a kite that got stuck there. She asks you if you “have her back.” In this instance, she is relying on you entirely to hold on to her in case the branch breaks. There is no room for joking around or for being distracted: your friend is trusting you with her life.
When we say Allah is the Most Trustworthy, we are coming to terms with the fact that Allah Most High will never let us down, will never leave our side. He, Most High, says about someone who willingly accepts Islam,
[Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah Heareth and Knoweth all things.] (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
Indeed, the prophets of Allah were all trustworthy people and Allah attested to the trustworthiness of those who were doubted by their communities. Prophet Hud, appealing to his community, declared to them,
[I but fulfill towards you the duties of my Lord’s mission: I am to you a sincere and trustworthy adviser.] (Al-A`raf 7:68)
Practice daily developing the habit of being trustworthy. Accept responsibility and then fulfill it. When others trust you, do not betray their trust.
You can read in the beautiful biography of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) how people used to entrust him with their valuables, knowing that upon their return they would find their valuables safe and unharmed. His personal and business practices were commendable to the degree that he was known for it in his community, even before he became aware that he was the Prophet of Allah, literally one who is most truthful and trustworthy.
Have Self-Restraint and Be God-Conscious
Perhaps the most difficult challenge while navigating adolescence is to restrain oneself from falling victim to one’s desires — especially one’s lower desires.
Our success in life depends to a great extent on how well we are able to restrain ourselves and to be moderate in what is permissible, as well as how capable we are of distancing ourselves from what is impermissible.
Why is self-restraint so critical? Satan’s goal is to make you a slave of your desires to the extent that you eat until you are actually uncomfortable; that you consume without restraint beverages made of caffeine, sugar, and artificial flavors; that you find yourself longing for sleep more than prayer; and that you yearn to satisfy your sexual desires. Developing self-restraint as a habit entails making self-restraint your second nature — something which is done almost without thought, without too much effort. We are reminded by Allah Most High,
[And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint, — none but persons of the greatest good fortune.] (Fussilat 41:5)
In seeking to be highly successful Muslim youth, that is, youth deserving of the greatest fortune, it is imperative that you develop self-restraint.
An interesting parallel is that, throughout his Qur’an translation, the late Abdullah Yusuf Ali translates taqwa as self-restraint. While taqwa is most commonly translated as “God-consciousness,” one realizes without much effort that the height of self-restraint is full and complete understanding that one is indeed conscious of one’s duty to one’s Lord. How awesome will it be if you can look back at your life and say to yourself, all praise is due to Allah that I did not succumb to my lower desires and instead exercised self-restraint consistently!
Look around your room. How many unfinished projects do you have? When you work on homework, are you likely to rush through the assignment just so you can be done with it, or are you more likely to take your time, to check your work, and most importantly, to be thorough?
Often teachers will grade a report based on how well and to what extent the student covered the topic at hand. Being thorough is not a habit that is developed overnight. The opposite of being thorough is being incomplete, being rushed, and working in haste without any regard for accuracy or quality. The most perfect is Allah Most High, Who perfected creation, Who perfected our religion, and Who guided His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to be the most perfect among humans in behavior and in character.
We read in the Muwatta of Imam Malik “Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘I was sent to the perfect good character'” (Book #47, Hadith #47.1.8).
To be thorough stems from a desire to be perfect to the extent that this is humanly possible. Seeking perfection in our actions and speech from an early age helps us to develop a keen eye, not only for thoroughness in our own life but also for thoroughness in the lives of those around us. Being thorough in prayer, for example, teaches us to be patient and to concentrate upon the words we are reciting and the different positions of the prayer.
One thousand ideas go through your head the moment you stand up for prayer. Is that you? Really? What do you make of those ideas? Do you process them? What about when you are sitting in class? Do you find your mind wandering, daydreaming, and unable to focus on the lecture at hand? Are you likely to use any excuse whatsoever to leave what you are doing?
Developing the habit of being focused ensures that you are awake, alert, and totally motivated to work on and complete the task at hand, whatever it may be. Being distracted early on in childhood by video games, fast-paced imagery, and constantly changing scenes on television shows contributes to an inability to concentrate, to focus. Among the best ways to develop focus is to practice praying with deep concentration to the extent that you are almost unaware of your surroundings. Allah Most High tells us in the Qur’an that the believers are
[those who humble themselves in their prayers] (Al-Mu’minun 23:2)
The humility referred to here results from total focus and concentration on the fact that one is in the presence of Allah, standing before Him, Most High. Do your best to develop focus, no matter what activity you are engaged in — whether in prayer, in academics, in athletics, or some other pastime.
Stop saying over and over again that you are late because of “Muslim standard time,” or the “standard time” of your particular ethnicity. The last thing we should attribute to Islam is the notion that its teachings somehow make us late, slow, slugging, and anything but punctual. What a sad state of affairs, indeed, that we attribute our own weaknesses to our religion or ethnicity!
Highly successful individuals, be they Muslim or not, understand and appreciate the value of not only their time but the time of everyone else with whom they interact. Keeping people waiting for hours on end is neither something to be proud of nor a habit that has a place in the mindset of a person who tries to be successful.
One of the central pillars of Islam is prayer, and Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has given us clear reminders that we are to establish prayers at their due times.
When `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) asked “which deed is the dearest to Allah?” the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #10, Hadith #505).
If indeed your day is to be considered successful, you must have prayed all the obligatory prayers at their established times and as many voluntary prayers as possible. If your day is planned around the times of prayer, you should not pray exactly at the time when you are to pray but then come late to all other appointments. Being punctual is a habit that, when perfected, demonstrates to others the tremendous value that Islam places on time — not only ours but that of everyone else with whom we interact.
Apart from all the habits listed above, perhaps the one that is sure to help you become a highly successful Muslim youth is that of being consistent. One cannot be truthful one day and a liar the next; one cannot be trustworthy in one instance and totally unreliable in the next, and so on for each of the other habits. A Muslim understands from an early age that it is easier to do something once or whenever we feel like it but much harder to do something regularly and consistently.
Indeed, the Mother of the Believers `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrates that “the most beloved action to Allah’s Apostle was that which is done continuously and regularly” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #76, Hadith #469).
Regular and consistent actions show that a person has thought about it, has intended to do it, has planned to do it, and therefore does it.
We urge you to be as consistent as possible, especially in those areas of your life which need constant improvement, such as your prayers, your fasting, your manners, your studying habits, etc. Do not say, I am going to pray all day every day, or fast voluntarily all of the days of every month, or study all night every night because such actions cannot be humanly sustained over a long period of time. Say, on the other hand, I am going to be sure to read at least one part of the Qur’an every day, or I will strive to help my parents with at least one household chore every day, or I will try to study at least one new item every week so that I can be ahead of the lesson plan.
Finally, Muslims aspire to develop all of these habits because, in doing so, we draw nearer to Allah Most High. If you are intent on being a highly successful Muslim youth, then you owe it to yourself to reflect upon your own life and see how many of these habits are already a part of who you are and how many you need to further develop or acquire.
We end with a reminder that developing these habits will help you to emulate the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). His message and his life are summarized well in a narration of `Abdullah ibn `Abbas:
Abu Sufyan told me that Heraclius said to him, “When I enquired of you what he (Muhammad) ordered you, you replied that he ordered you to establish the prayer, to speak the truth, to be chaste, to keep promises, and to pay back trusts.” Then Heraclius added, “These are really the qualities of a prophet.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book #48, Hadith #846)
Strive to develop the seven habits listed above and many others from the Islamic teachings so that you will be among the highly successful Muslim youth.
By Altaf Husain
Marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is something that has been clearly prohibited in the Quran and Sunnah, thus not permissible in any way. The only exception to this general rule is the marriage of Muslim men with Christian and Jewish girls, and that also with certain conditions.
Allah Most High says:
“Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe. A slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though if she attracts you. And not marry (your girls) to unbelievers until they believe. A man slave who believes is better than an unbeliever, even though if he attracts you. Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire but Allah beckons by His grace to the garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His signs clear to mankind; that they may receive admonition”. (al-Baqarah, 221).
The above verse of the Holy Quran along with many other statements of the Quran and Sunnah clearly mention the impressibility of Muslims marrying non-Muslims. Therefore, a marriage between a Muslim and someone from another religion will not be lawful or even valid according to Islam. The exception, however, is mentioned in the following verse:
“Lawful unto you in marriage are chaste women who are believers and chaste women among the people of the book”. (al-Maidah, 5).
Thus, it would be permissible, in principle, for Muslim men to marry women from the people of the book (ahl al-Kitab) namely Christian and Jewish girls. However, this is also subjected to certain conditions.
The reason behind this is that, marital relationships demand mutual love, affection and intimacy and without this, the purpose of marriage is left unfulfilled. If such close relationship of love and intimacy is established with a non-Muslim, it may emotionally incline a Muslim towards disbelief (kufr) or, at least, the abhorrence of Kufr and Shirk may not remain in the heart. Consequently, it may lead one to disbelief and eventually the fire of Hell. This is why Allah Almighty said towards the end of the verse of Surah al-Baqarah quoted above:
“Unbelievers do (but) beckon you to the fire but Allah beckons by His grace to the garden (of bliss) and forgiveness, and makes His signs clear to mankind; that they may receive admonition”. ( 221). (See: Maarif al-Quran, 1/ 540).
Therefore, the fear that a Muslim man or woman may well be affected with his/her partner’s religion, thus go on to a path that leads to the fire of hell, is the main cause for this prohibition. Hence, a Muslim woman will not be allowed whatsoever to marry anyone besides a Muslim man, and even if she did, the marriage will not be valid in Islam. Similarly, a Muslim man will not be allowed to marry any non-Muslim girl, such as a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, or any other non-Muslim woman. However, it will be permissible for him to marry a Christian or a Jewish girl. This is explained in the following section.
Marrying Christian and Jewish girls
Islam has allowed Muslim men to marry women from the people of the book (ahl al-Kitab). This permission is explicitly mentioned in the verse of the Quran already quoted:
“Lawful unto you in marriage are chaste women who are believers and chaste women among the people of the book”. (al-Maidah, 5).
However, there are certain points that need to be taken into consideration here:
Firstly, the exception of Christian and Jewish girls is because the difference in belief between the people of the book and Muslims is relatively lesser and lighter as compared with other non-Muslims. They are all monotheistic religions and known as the Abrahamic faiths. The basic difference between Islam and the other two religions is the belief in the last Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace). Therefore, the fear and danger of corruptibility is less as compared to marrying with women from other faiths, thus Islam gave this permission for Muslim men to marry Christian and Jewish girls.
A question may arise here, that if the difference between Muslims and people of the book is considered to be lighter as compared to other faiths, then why is it unlawful for Muslim girls to marry Christian and Jewish men?
The answer to this question is that, women are somewhat weak and emotional by nature. Then the husband has been given a care taking and controlling role over the wife. As such, it is very likely that the Muslim wife may fall prey and become impressed with her husband’s faith. The chances of the husband becoming affected by his wife’s faith are remote, thus the difference between the two situations is clear.
Moreover, by marrying a Christian or a Jewish man, the status of the Muslim wife would be affected, for the wife normally takes the nationality and status given by her husband’s law. A Christian or a Jewish woman marrying a Muslim man would be expected eventually to accept Islam, while the possibility of a Muslim woman changing her faith to that of her husband is very likely. Therefore, only Muslim men were given this permission of marrying with women from the people of the book.
Secondly, women who are Christians and Jews merely by name, and do not really believe in any religion, like a large number of people in the west, cannot be termed as people of the book (ahl al-Kitab). They are atheist in reality and it will not be permissible for Muslim men to marry them.
Therefore, one must first make sure that the woman is truly a believing Christian or Jew, and then consider contracting marriage with them.
Thirdly, it should be remembered that the meaning of the permission of marrying Christian and Jewish women is simply that, if a marriage contract was performed with them, it would be valid according to Islam and the children born out of this wedlock will be considered legitimate.
However, there are various narrations that establish its undesirability. A Muslim man is advised in the Hadith to select a life partner who fully observes the injunctions of Islam, so that she becomes a means of attaining piety. If that is the case, then marrying Christian and Jewish girls would be disliked.
This is the reason why Sayyiduna Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) prevented many such marriages in his lifetime because of what he had seen of the corruption that resulted in Iraq and Syria. (See: Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, Kitab al-Athar).
Finally, this permission is only when one is confident that he himself or his children will not be affected by this marriage. In the early days, Muslims were duly equipped with adequate Islamic knowledge and an unshaken commitment towards their religion. As such, there was no risk of the husband being affected by his wife’s religion. Rather, the wife would see the glory of Islam, thus enter into the fold of Islam.
Therefore, if a Muslim male is confident that marriage with a Christian or Jewish girl will have no affect on his and his children’s Islamic identity and commitment, then there is no bar against such marriages. However, if he is not so confident, he must avoid entering into such marriages.
Morality, like worship, forms an important branch of religion. In a way, it is more important than the other branches because it is here that man has within his grasp the opportunity of functioning as God’s deputy and vicegerent. Good morals are Devine attributes and it is demanded of us to produce them in ourselves as far as our humanity allows. A Tradition of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) says, “Let the virtues of God be your virtues.”
To appreciate fully the distinctive merit of good morals it is of advantage first to know as a basic principle that human deeds that are capable of caning God’s pleasure and on which there is a reward from him are divided into four groups.
The first group includes acts a man performs to express and affirm while paying his tribute to the Glory and Worship fullness of God, his own utter helplessness before and complete submission to him. The acts of worship fall within this category.
The second includes acts a man is compelled to perform by the very nature of his being and the material wants of his earthly existence, but if they are performed according to the wishes and dictates of the Lord, they become worthy of his approbation and reward. For instance, a man engages himself in an occupation for the purpose of earning his daily sustenance or he gets married because their is a natural urge to be fulfilled, but God has laid down certain rules in respect of these activities; now, if he pays due regard to the Divine ordinances while pursuing his profession or in the conduct of his married life, everything that he does in these spheres becomes an act of religion and entitles him to a reward from God. This aspect is characteristic of acts we sun up under the two headings of Muamalat (monetary affairs) and Muasharat (social conduct).
The third includes functions like the propagation of the faith, religious preaching and instruction, the rendering of assistance to the sacred cause, the acceptance of trial and suffering in its path, the making of sacrifices for its victory and the forbidding of evil and the ordering of good deeds, which are in reality the province of the prophets, and when men other then them make these duties their own they get elevated to the status of the deputies and agent of the Divine Apostles. They then operate as successors to the Holy mission of those closen servants of God. These deeds are very pleasing to the Almighty and there can be no doubt about the great reward that is on them. What is more, they engender in the doer of them a resemblance with the Prophets (Peace be upon him) which cannot be acquired in any other way.
The fourth includes deeds that are associated with the vice gerencey of God. This is the grand distinguishing feature of moral virtues. For example, mercy is a virtue that is essentially a Divine attribute. It is because of this attribute that he is glorified as the most benevolent, the most compassionate, and his wish is that his servants should also cultivate the noble quality and behave with mercy and compassion towards his deserving creatures. Similarly, forgiveness and the hiding of the faults and sins of others are Divine virtues and we men are required to produce them in ourselves as well. The same is the case with the other excellent moral qualities like modesty. temperateness, beneficence, charity, generosity, justice and fair-mindedness, and the capacity to admire what is good and to despise what is wicked. All these are Divine qualities that we are called upon to furnish ourselves with.
In brief, in the field of morality alone, among all the fields of human endeavor, does man operate as the vicegerent of God in its domain he does what God himself doth do. This destination is shared by no other department of man’s existence. Hence, the intrinsic superiority of morals over the rest of the aspects of human conduct.
We will now see what great importance has the Prophet (Peace be upon him) attached to moral virtues. He says:
“The Lord has sent me down as his Apostle that I may evolve moral virtues to the highest perfection.” ( Mishkat)
“Muslims who possess better morals are the most perfect in faith .” ( Mishkat)
“On the day of judgment, the moral virtues of a Muslim will (prove to be) the heaviest item in the scales of Deeds.” (Ibid)
Yet, inspite of these clear pronouncements, a majority of even those among us who may be said to be men of religion present a most disappointing picture : they do show some awareness of the importance of worship, but where the Divine commands governing social and moral behaviour and the conduct of monetary affairs are concerned, they pay little head to them. Many of them, indeed, seem to labor under the impression that these commands are meant for those who expire for exceptional spiritual advancement while for salvation only the Namaz and Roza are enough, although moral rectitude is as much necessary for deliverance in the Hereafter as worship.
In the Quran and the Traditions, the same stress is laid on good morals as on worship, and moral transgressors have been given the warning of chastisement as equally severs as that promised to the defaulters in the matter of prayer, fasting etc., For instance, stinginess is a moral fault. Now, see how strongly has it been condemned by the Quran :
“And let not those who covetously withhold of the gifts which God hath given of his grace think that it is good for them : soon the things which they covetously withheld be tied to their necks like a twisted collar, on the Day of Judgement.”
(Quran : Aal-i-Imran, 18)
In like manner, in Sura-i-Humaza, the Quran gives the tidings of hell for moral diseases like excessive love of wealth, contemptuous upbraiding, double-dealing, scandal-mongering, and malicious back-biting.
“Woe to every (kind of ) scandal-monger and backbiter who pileth up wealth and layeth it by thinking that his wealth could make him last forever! By no means! He will be sure to be thrown into that which breaks to pieces.”
(Quran : Humaza, 1)
So, also, does the Prophet (Peace be upon him) of a number of moral vices he has emphatically stated that they are sure to plunge one into the all-consuming fire of the hell. Take vanity. About it he says :
” He who harbors vanity in his heart even by an atom shall not enter Heaven.” (Muslim)
Or, read these Traditions of his :
” Anyone who engages in malicious fault-finding or pries into the secrets of others and gives publicity to them shall not be admitted into the Paradise.” (Bukhari)
” On the last day the biggest loser will be the hypocrite, who, when he goes to one party talks in one voice and, when to the other party. Talks in another voice. (Muslim)
” God will show no compassion to him who shows no compassion to his fellow-beings.” (Bukhari)
” A woman will find her way into the Hell simply for the reason of her cruelty to a cat which she had lead in captivity and gave it not a morsel of food till it died of starvation.” (Muslim)
In contrast to the above two Traditions, those who are kind and merciful have been given by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) the assurance of a rich reward :
” God will have mercy upon them that are merciful. Show compassion to those who dwell on the earth: He who dwells in the Heavens will show compassion to you.” (Abu Dawood)
In another Tradition, we are informed that “A woman was granted remission of her sins because her heart melted at the sight of a dog who was dying of thirst, and, she saved its life by drawing water from the well, at great pains to herself, and giving it to drink.”
Apart from the Traditions giving the warning of dradful chastisement in the Hereafter to those who cherish wrong moral ideals and behave accordingly, there are in which it is plainly stead about certain moral vices that their presence in a man is enough to disqualify him from a being a Muslim. Thus, it is related that once the Prophet (Peace be upon him) declared with great feeling that “I swear by God in whose power lies my life that no one can be a believer unless he attains the state of desiring for his brother what he desires for himself.”
On another occasion, it is reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spoke out the following words: “By God, he is not a Muslim, by God, he is not a believer, by God, he is devoid of the wealth of faith.”
“Who?” the Companions inquired. “The III-fated man”, the Prophet ( Peace be upon him) replied, “from whose mischief his neighbors are not secure.”
There also occurs a Tradition to the effect that, ” That callous, unfeeling person is not a Muslim who eats to hissatisfaction while his neighbor, by his side, goes without a meal.”
Now, in these Traditions the vices for which the chastisement of Hell has been promised or which have been described as destructive of faith or inimical to salvation all belong to the realm of morality. This will show in what great value does Islam hold good ethical conduct……..To quote from Ibn-i-Taimiyah in Kitab-i-Imam : “The position of things about which it is said in the Traditions that whoever is guilty of them will not be admitted into the Heaven or that he is devoid of faith is, at the minimum, that they are prohibited in the Shariat and it is the duty (of a Muslim) to abstain from them.”
Be that as it may, normal virtues are not the ultimate objectives one may strive after only if the aim should be to become a saint or a spiritual luminary. They are essential to the condition of faith, it being as much indispensable for the saving of the soul to develop good moral qualities and avoide moral evils as are the offering up of prayer and the observance of fasts. Particularly unnecessary is the acquirement of virtues on which special stress has been laid in the Quran and the Traditions, like fortitude, the reposing of trust in the will of God, truthfulness, honesty, and integrity, the keeping of promises, sincerity, genuine and wholehearted love of God and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) wishing well and thinking nobly of others, and maintenance of secrecy over their faults and misdeeds, compassion, forgiveness, suppression of anger, generosity, justice, and fair-mindedness, humility and meekness and love and hatred not for self-satisfaction but for the sake of God. In the same way, it is of utmost importance to purge oneself clean of the reverse qualities, known, in common parlance, as vices.
By Maulana Manzoor Numani