“And it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.” [2. Surah Al-Baqarah: Ayah 216]
Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.[57. Surah Al-Hadid : Ayah 20]
And this world’s life is naught but a play and an idle sport and certainly the abode of the hereafter is better for those who guard (against evil); do you not then understand? [6. Surah Al-An’am : Ayah 32]
And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life– did they but know. [29. Surah Al-‘Ankabut : Ayah 64]
The life of this world is only idle sport and play, and if you believe and guard (against evil) He will give you your rewards, and will not ask of you your possessions. [47. Surah Muhammad : Ayah 36]
O men! surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not the life of this world deceive you, and let not the arch-deceiver deceive you respecting Allah. [35. Surah Fatir : Ayah 5]
Nay! you prefer the life of this world, While the hereafter is better and more lasting. [87. Surah Al-A’la : Ayah 16-17]
In most societies, the normal practice is that the prospective husband will propose marriage. A woman normally holds back from suggesting marriage, feeling that she should be sought after. This applies to families as well. The woman’s family would not initiate a proposal unless the woman’s father or guardian is certain that, if he were to suggest marriage, his proposal will be received well by the man concerned. The Prophet received proposals from several women who thought that they could not do better than being married to him. This normally took the form of the woman saying to the Prophet that she would gift herself to him. It is understood that the gift is one of marriage. In Islam, a woman cannot gift herself to a man in this way, but this was allowed for the Prophet only. The Prophet could take her as a wife, but he normally decided her case as her guardian. This special privilege given to the Prophet is stated in the Qur’an, in a verse that outlines women who are lawful to marry. The verse says in this particular case:
“And any believing woman who offers herself freely to the Prophet and whom the Prophet might be willing to wed: (this latter) applies to you alone and not to other believers.” (33: 50)
Needless to say, at the time when a proposal of marriage is made, the man and the woman will need to meet and discuss matters in order to carry the proposal forward or withdraw it. Sahl Ibn Saad reports: “A woman came to the Prophet and said: ‘Messenger of God! I have come to offer myself to you as a gift…’ The Prophet repeatedly looked up and down at her, then he lowered his head. When the woman realized that he has made no decision concerning her, she sat down.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.) Another version of this Hadith adds that the Prophet said to her: “I have no need for women nowadays.”
Commenting on this Hadith, Imam Ibn Hajar, who wrote an extensive commentary on Al-Bukhari’s authentic anthology in 14 large volumes, says: “This Hadith gives us several important points… One of these is the permissibility of looking carefully at a woman’s attractions when one is thinking of marrying her, even though such thoughts of marriage were not entertained earlier, nor was a proposal made. We see that the Prophet looked repeatedly at the woman, moving his looks up and down. The Hadith is stated in a way that implies a serious, long look. Needless to say, the Prophet did not consider marrying this woman prior to her proposal. He indeed told her that he had no desire at the time to go into a new marriage. Yet he looked seriously at her, which suggests that had he seen in her something that was attractive to him, he would have married her. Otherwise, he would not have looked so intently at her.”
Ibn Hajar suggests that the Hadith may be understood in other ways. We, however, prefer the view we have quoted because this is supported by other Hadiths that encourage looking at a woman if one intends to marry her. The present case is not dissimilar to that of a man making a proposal. This is supported by the following Hadith: “When the Muslims from Makkah arrived in Madinah, the Prophet established a bond of brotherhood between them and the Muslims from Madinah. He made Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Awf and Saad Ibn Al-Rabie brothers. Saad said to Abd Al-Rahman: ‘I am one of the richest people among the Ansar. I will share my wealth equally with you. I also have two wives. Look at them and tell me which one you prefer. I will divorce her and when she finishes her waiting period, you can marry her.’ Abd Al-Rahman said: ‘May God give you much blessing in both your family and your wealth…” (Related by Al-Bukhari.) Ibn Hajar comments that this Hadith confirms that it is proper that a woman looks carefully at a woman when he wants to propose marriage to her.
Perhaps we should add here that Abd Al-Rahman was as noble as his brother. He declined to take any money but started a business of his own to earn his living. Nor did he take the offer of marrying one of his brother’s wives after she is divorced. When his business took off, he married someone else.
It is also permissible for a woman to propose marriage to a man whom she thinks to be a good husband. Thabit Al-Bannani reports: “I was at Anas’ place, with one of his daughters present. Anas mentioned that a woman came to the Prophet offering to marry him. She said: Messenger of God! Would you like to marry me?’ Anas’ daughter said: ‘How shameless of her!’ He said to her: ‘She is better than you. She wished to marry the Prophet and she went to him suggesting that.” (Related by Al-Bukhari.)
Al-Bukhari enters this Hadith under the heading: “A woman’s proposal to marry a good man.” In his commentary on this Hadith, Ibn Hajar quotes Ibn Al-Muneer: “A subtle note by Al-Bukhari is that realizing the special privilege involved in this Hadith, he highlighted what is generally applicable, representing no privilege, which is the permissibility of a woman making a proposal to a good and pious man, thinking that she will be happy with him because of his piety.” Ibn Hajar adds: “There is nothing to be taken against a woman who wishes to marry someone who is in a better position than hers, particularly if her motive is a good one, either because the man is virtuous, or because she admires him to the point that it is feared that something wrong may happen unless such a proposal is made.”
We may add here a verse from the Qur’an mentioning a proposal made to a man by the father of a pious woman. The man concerned is Moses, but this took place long before he became a prophet. He had fled from Egypt where he was in danger of being killed. In Madyan, he helped two girls give water to their sheep. Then one of them invited him to meet her father, who was a pious man. When the father learned Moses’ story, he offered one of his daughters to him in marriage. “(The father) said: ‘I will give you one of these two daughters of mine in marriage on the understanding that you will remain eight years in my service. If you should complete ten years, it will be your own choice. I do not wish to impose any hardship on you. You will find me, if God so wills, an upright man.” (28: 27)
Moses accepted the proposal, married the girl, and spent ten years helping her father. Needless to say, had there been anything unacceptable in this story, the Qur’an would have made that clear.
[Quran – 17:105] “We have sent down the Qur’an with the Truth, and it is with the Truth that it has descended.”
QUR’AN Described by Ali (May ALLAH Be Pleased with him), the 4th Caliph of Islam
“Kitabullah (The Book of ALLAH) is the way, for it contains information of what happened before you, news of what will come after you a decision regarding matters that will occur among you. It is the Distinguisher and is not jesting. If any overweening person abandons it, Allah will break him, and if anyone seeks guidance elsewhere ALLAH will lead him astray. It is ALLAH’S stalwart rope, the wise reminder, the straight path; it is by which desires do not swerve nor the tongue becomes confused, and the learned cannot grasp it completely. It is not worn out by repetition nor its wonders ever cease. It is that of which the jinn did not hesitate to remark when they heard it: ‘We have heard a wonderful recitation which guides to what is right, and we believe in it; he who utters it speaks the truth, he who acts according it is rewarded, he who pronounces judgment according to it is just, and he who invites people to it guides them to the straight path” [At-Tirmidhi, Sunan, Fada’il al-Qur’an:14, Hadith #2906]
Abu Dharr al-Ghifari and Mu`adh b, Jabal relate that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fear Allah wherever you are. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will blot it out. And deal with people in a good manner.” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhi ]
The importance of this hadith:
Ibn Rajab says: “This is powerful advice, bringing together the rights of Allah and the rights of His servants..”
The fear of Allah
The Arabic word for the “fear of Allah” is taqwa. It comes from the root word meaning “to protect from something, to prevent”. Indeed, a person exhibits the fear of Allah by seeking to prevent Allah’s punishment by carrying out what Allah has commanded of him and abstaining from what Allah has prohibited him.
Allah had called upon all people in every era to fear Him. Allah says: “And We had enjoined upon those who were given the Scripture before – as well as yourselves – to fear Allah.” [ Surah al-Nisa’ : 131]
It is Allah’s right over His servants that they fear Him as He ought to be feared. Allah says: “O you who believe! Fear Allah as He ought to be feared and do not die except as believers.” [ Surah Al `Imran : 102]
Ibn Mas`ud explained what it means to fear Allah as He ought to be feared by saying: “It means that He is to be obeyed not disobeyed, remembered not forgotten, and shown gratitude, not ingratitude.”
The fear of Allah is the path to forgiveness, salvation, and the attainment of Allah’s mercy. Allah says:
“Indeed, Allah is with those who fear Him and those who do good.” [ Surah al-Nahl : 128]
“And My mercy encompasses all things, and I shall decree it for those who fear Me.” [ Surah al-A`raf : 156]
“He is worthy of being feared and worthy of granting forgiveness.” [ Surah al-Muddaththir : 56]
“And whoever fears Allah – He will pardon him his sins and grant him a great reward.” [ Surah al-Talaq : 5]
“Indeed, those who fear Allah will be among gardens and rivers, in a seat of truth near an All-Powerful Sovereign.” [ Surah al-Qamar : 54-55]
Allah promises those who fear Him that He will provide for their needs and grant them a way out of their worldly difficulties. Allah says: “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out, and provide for him from whence he could never imagine.” [ Sûrah al-Talaq: 2-3]
This is Allah’s promise. We should draw strength from it when we are tired in life with difficulties that tempt us to resort to what Allah has forbidden.
The relationship between knowledge and the fear of Allah
Allah says: “It is only those who have knowledge among Allah’s servants who fear Him.” [ Surah Fatir: 28]
There are two ways in which knowledge and the fear of Allah are related. The first is that true fear of Allah comes about as the result of having proper knowledge of Allah and His perfect attributes.
Ibn Abbas said about this verse: “They are those who know that Allah is capable of all things.”
He also said: “The verse means: The only people who fear me are those who know my power, my might, and my dominion..”
Ibn Kathir says in his commentary of this verse: “The only people who fear Allah in the true sense are those who are knowledgeable about Allah. This is because the more knowledge a person has about the Almighty, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing, who possesses the attributes of perfection and the best of names – the more perfect and complete this knowledge is – the greater and more total his fear of Allah will be.” [ Tafsir Ibn Kathir ]
The second way that the fear of Allah and knowledge are related stems from the fact that the fear of Allah is to seek to prevent Allah’s punishment by carrying out Allah’s commands and abstaining from His prohibitions. Consequently, a Muslim needs to have knowledge of these matters in order to fear Allah properly. An ignorant Muslim may have a sense of fear, but he will not be able to fully carry out what that fear requires of him.
Ibn `Abbas said: “To have knowledge of the Most Merciful is to be someone who associates nothing as a partner with Him, who deems lawful what He has made lawful, who prohibits what He has prohibited, who preserves what He has enjoined upon him, and who has certainty that he shall meet Him and that his actions will be accounted for.”
Follow up a bad deed with a good deed
The Prophet (peace be upon him) tells us that performing a good deed wipes away the sin incurred from perpetrating an evil one. Scholars have disagreed whether the “good deed” being referred to here refers specifically to the context of repentance or whether it is general for all good works.
The strongest view is that all good deeds can wipe away evil deeds. Allah says: “And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good works do away with evil deeds. That is a reminder for those who take heed.” [ Surah Hud: 114]
A man once came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and informed him that he had contact with a woman like a husband has with his wife, except that he did not go so far as to fornicate with her. This man had just prayed the Fajr prayer. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Have you prayed with us the Fajr prayer?” When he replied that he had, the Prophet (peace be upon him) recited: “Indeed, good works do away with evil deeds.” [ Sahîh al-Bukhârî (526) and Sahîh Muslim (2763)]
However, a believer should always repent for his sins. Allah says: “And those, who when they commit an indecency or wrong themselves, remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who forgives sins except Allah – and then do not knowingly persist in what they have done, for them is forgiveness from their Lord and gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they shall abide forever. How great is the reward for those who work righteousness.” [ Surah Al `Imran : 135]
A believer should follow up his sincere repentance with the performance of good works. This is what Allah wants from us. He says: “Indeed, I am Most Forgiving to whoever repents, believes, and works righteous deeds and then continues upon guidance.” [ Surah Taha: 82]
Allah also tells us: “Except for those who repent, believe, and work righteous deeds. For those, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds, and Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [ Sûrah al-Furqan: 70] This is especially true for major sins. A Muslim must never leave a major sin to go without repentance, for Allah’s promise of forgiveness is for those who turn to Him in sincere repentance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A servant, if he acknowledges his sin and then repents, Allah will forgive him.” [ Sahih al-Bukhari (4141) and Sahîh Muslim (2770)]
And deal with people in a good manner
Allah tells us repeatedly in the Qur’ân to observe good manners in our dealings with others. He says: “Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad), and enjoin kindness, and turn away from those who are ignorant.” [ Surah al-A`raf : 199]
Allah says: “Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better. Then he between whom and you there had been hatred will become as though he were your dear friend.” [ Sûrah Fussilat : 34]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is the perfect example of what it means to possess good manners. Allah says, describing him: “Indeed you are of a great moral character.” [ Surah al-Qalam : 4]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized how good manners are of paramount importance in Islam when he said: “I was sent only to perfect good manners.” [ Musnad Ahmad (8952)]
Indeed, he tells us those good manners are part of faith. He said: “The believers with the most complete faith are those who have the best manners.” [ Sunan al-Tirmidhi (1162) and Sunan Abî Dawud (4682)]
Among the good manners that we should cultivate is to be sensible in our dealings with others and not to react hastily when they do that which displeases us. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Ashajj `Abd Qays: “You possess within yourself two qualities that Allah loves: discernment and forbearance.” [ Sahîh Muslim (17)]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Convey from me even if one ayah (verse) for it may be that the one being informed will comprehend better than the one listening (at present).” (Al-Bukhari)
We learn from these words of wisdom that this Hadith encompasses the entire religion of Islam with respect to speech, belief, and actions. Likewise, from the perspective of acting upon it with knowledge and from the perspective of calling towards it as much as one is able to. The Prophet (peace be upon him) implemented all of this – by speech, action, belief, and giving Da’wah, i.e. his entire life was based on knowledge, acting on knowledge, and calling towards it.
Regarding this, Allah said: “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad, peace be upon him) to the way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur’an) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His path, and He is the Best Knower of those who is guided.” (Qur’an, 16:125)
Da’wah was the mission of all Prophets, from the first to the last of them. All of them called people to Allah’s religion. Their Minhaj (methodology) was knowledge, implementation, application, and propagation. They called people by their speech and by their actions because people are such that if you call them by speech which your actions contradict, they will not accept that Da’wah.
When you give Da`wah and your actions agree with what you are calling to, then people will accept the message.