Sunday, April 20, 2014

Good Manners Towards Neighbours and Guests

Good Manners In Speech; Behaviour Of Muslims Towards Neighbours and Guests

By Imam Nawawi

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger


Abu Hurayrah, (radiyallāhu 'anhu), reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), said:

“Let whosoever believes in Allāh and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in Allāh and in the Last Day honour his neighbour. Let whosoever believes in Allāh and in the Last Day honour his guest.”

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Background

This hadith contains the rulings concerning the tongue and the behaviour of Muslims towards others. It also emphasises that we are responsible for what we say.

Imam Haithami points out that this hadith is very similar in meaning to Hadith 13 that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), said: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” The Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) says that everyone is a neighbour to someone else. Therefore if this hadith is properly practiced and applied, then there will be a strong bond and love within the society or community.


Lessons

The responsibility of the Muslim regarding what he says is mentioned in the Qur’ān:

“Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready to record it”

[Surah Qaf,50:18].

There are also other hadiths which state that the Muslim should be careful about what he says. His words can either, if they are pleasing to Allāh, raise him to a higher level; or if his words displease Allāh, they may cause him to be thrown into the Hellfire - as stated in a hadith recorded by Imam al-Bukhari. This shows that what we say can have a direct effect on whether it will benefit us or not.

One hadith which illustrates the example of a bad consequence resulting from what a person says. The Prophet, Sallallāhu ‘layhi wasallam, said that a pious man from Bani Israel use to see his fellow man always committing sins. On day the pious man swore to the sinner, “By Allāh, He will never forgive you.” Allāh Almighty was displeased with what the pious man said because it is only Allāh that knows what is one’s destiny, whether someone will end up in Paradise or Hell. It is because of this, when the two men died, the pious man was punished and put into Hell and the sinner was forgiven by Allāh. [Sunan Abu Dawud]

What we can learn here is that either we say something beneficial and good or else we should keep silent.

There are many Islamic guidelines which help us to say good things and to refrain from saying bad things, or things which displeases Allāhh Subhana wa ta'ala. When we talk to others, whether it is relatives, friends, neighbours, etc., we should select the best terms or words and say them in a nice way. We should ensure that what we say is clear and easily understood. If we are not careful and we do not choose the right words, what we say may be misinterpreted and may lead to conflicts.

As a listener, we have to listen positively and interpret what we hear in a good way. We should not ‘over interprate’ what we hear; we should not try to read between the lines’ far too much that entails misconstruingit. Thus, as a speaker we say things in a positive manner and as a listener we interpret things in a positive manner. By doing so Islam encourages us to minimise disputes and conflicts.

If we find ourselves in the middle of a dispute between two people, e.g. between relatives, we should not take sides. We should try to help and reconcile the differences; try to resolve the problems and end the dispute.

If we are being consulted by someone and asked for our advice, we should try our best to give good advice. What we say should help the person and not add to his confusion or doubt. If we do not have enough knowledge and we cannot provide proper advice, then we should keep silent.

Even if we have information which, as a result, may add to the person's confusion, we should keep it to ourselves.

We should keep away as best as we can from unnecessary or non-beneficial talk. People can talk or chat for hours but a lot of what is said is unimportant or trivial and does not benefit anyone. It wastes our time and this continuous talking may even lead us into areas where we might say something which displeases Allāh subhana wa ta'ala.

When it comes to saying good things, there are many examples available: dzikrullah (remembrance of Allāh), reciting the Qur’an, du’a, giving advice, etc. These are all things which are pleasing to Allāh.

When we meet people who are sick, sad, feeling down, in a low frame of mind, etc., we should say things that will make these people feel better, have patience in facing their calamity, be positive, be strong, etc. This is known as al-muasah - to say good things of encouragement to help those facing problems; to not make them panic. The scholars have defined sabr (patience) as 'to refrain from panicking' - to refrain from being out of control - and to refrain the tongue from complaining.

Complaining, e.g. simply saying that the weather is hot, will lead us to impatience; it can affect our attitude and hence our work. If we want to lament we should lament only with Allāh. If we do it with Allāh it is munajah - it will turn into ‘ibadah. If we do it with others it will be complaining (tashakki) - we will be violating the ‘ibadah itself, which is sabr. So, we should learn to minimise and ultimately eliminate the act of complaining.

We should refrain from saying bad things or things which may be untrue. When we hear some news, we should not simply repeat it or spread it without first verifying if the news is true. This could lead to us spreading lies or rumours. We must refrain from:

·        spreading rumours, especially those that will cause harm to the community.
·        slandering, back-biting, etc.
·        sarcasm and making fun of others - this is one of the most common social ills today. It is a sin to make fun of others.

Sometimes we may encounter a situation which involves fitnah or al-fitan. We have to be careful of what we say. There are people who will take advantage of the situation and they may say things which may worsen the situation. When there is fitnah, people are in a panic and might believe anything. That’s why we have to be careful of what we say because it may add to the people's fears and problems. What we should do is to help by saying positive things that will give the people hope; to uplift them and motivate them to face the problems; and not to make it worse.

The second part of this hadith stresses on being courteous and generous to our neighbours and guests. This is stated in the Qur’ān:

…do good to parents, relatives, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hand possess.”

[Surah An-Nisā’,4:36]

In one hadith, the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), said: Jibril kept advising me concerning the neighbour to the point that I thought that he would inherit from his neighbour.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In another hadith also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), said: “Whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour.”

Another hadith records the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), as saying that the person who does not have complete faith (iman) is the one from whose affairs the neighbour is not safe. Al-Bukhari and Muslim also records another hadith which (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), said: “When you cook stew, you should add a little bit more water and give some to your neighbours”. This sharing of food between neighbours can strengthen the relationships between them. We should be nice to our neighbours and share our food even if they are not Muslims.

We should be patient with our neighbour even if he causes annoyance to us. In a hadith, the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “There are three types of people whom Allāh loves. One of them is a person who has a neighbour who causes him harm or annoyance but he remains patient and tolerates the neighbour.”

The “guest” mentioned in the last part of the hadith is generally interpreted as a travelling visitor who has come to stay for a short while. One hadith the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said : Whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day should be generous to his guest. His special gift (to the guest) is one day and night. He (the guest) is to be entertained for three days. Whatever is beyond that is an act of charity. It is not lawful for a guest to stay with his host to the extent that he makes things difficult for him (the host).” [Al-Bukhari]. Thus, the visitor should not take advantage of a generous host.

Regarding this ruling, the majority of the scholars are of the opinion that hosting, in general, is recommended (mustahab) and not obligatory(wajib), even though it is a great and noble act.

According to many scholars, the recommended act of hosting does not extend to evildoers or heretics. But some great scholars of today say that we should entertain even evildoers. This is because if we are good Muslims, when we host them and be good to them, we might influence them and cause them to change and become better people. But we should be very cautious if we were to host these sorts of people - we should only do so if we know there will not be any harm that may be inflicted on us.

Hosting evildoers would be following a general principle of Fiqh which allows us to tolerate a minor harm (e.g. allowing an evildoer to stay with us) in order to attain a major benefit (e.g. influencing him into becoming a good Muslim).

Conclusion

This hadith teaches us the proper manners pertaining to speech and entertaining guests. Following the advice given by the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), will lead to a more peaceful life and harmonious Islamic society in this life, and attaining the pleasure of Allāh in the Hereafter.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.



[Excerpted from “Commentary of Hadith No.15 - Good Manners In Speech; Behaviour Of Muslims Towards Neighbours and Guests”, 40 Hadiths Of Imam Nawawi,” Via I C Truth]

Friday, April 18, 2014

How Deeds Are Recorded

How Deeds Are Recorded

By Imam Nawawi

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, is His Messenger

Ibn Abbas, (radiyallahu’anhu), reported that the Messenger of Allah, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), related from Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala):

“Verily Allah has recorded the good deeds and the evil deeds.” Then he clarified that: “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it down as one single evil deed."

[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In thier Sahihayn they related it in these words:

“So look! My brother, may Allah help us, and take note of how great is the kindness of Allah ta’ala! Reflect on this, how that His saying “with Himself” points to His great care with regard to it, and His saying “complete” is for emphasis, not to point to the intensity of His care with regard to it. With regard to the evil deed which one intended but then abandoned, He says: “Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed”, emphasising this by the word “complete” (kamilah); whereas if he performs it, He records it down as “one evil deed”, where by the word “one” He emphasises its being made little of, since He does not emphasise it here by the word “complete”. So to Allah be praise and grace. Glory be to Him! Our praises to Him we cannot count. With Allah is success.”

Background

This hadith is considered as a Hadith Qudsi even though the text of the hadith does not show that clearly or explicitly. The hadith with this text is a clarification from the part of Prophet (Sallallahu ‘layhi wasallam), about the way of recording deeds. There are other versions of this hadith that have been recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim in the same form of Hadith Qudsi and in a very clear manner.

One of these is the following version that has been commented upon by Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah).

Allah has said: “If My servant considers doing a sin, do not record it against him. If he acts upon it, record it as one sin. If he considers doing a good deed and does not do it, record it as one good deed, and if he actually does it, record it as 10 good deeds.”

[Recorded by Imam Muslim]

One may ask how this is considered a Hadith Qudsi where its text does not explicitly show so. The multiplication of good deeds and that the one who commits one sin is recorded as only one sin, is a well-known principle in Islam that has been emphasised in both the Qur’an and Sunnah: Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 245 and 261; Surah an-Nisā’,4: 40; and in Surah al-An’am,6:160. Allah says:

“Whoever shall come before Allah with a good deed will gain 10 times the like thereof, but whoever shall come with an evil deed will be requited with no more than the like thereof.”

Lessons

What has been mentioned above is a general rule. However, there are some exceptions because the sin is sometimes considered greater due to certain reasons. One of these reasons is the honour of time or place such as the four months (Al-‘Ashhor Al-Hurum). This is the view of Ibn Abbas, and Qatadah (radiyallahu’anhum). For the month of Ramadhan there are two claimed hadiths but which are considered not authentic according to Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) who states that sins are considered greater during Ramadhan and during the Hajj (pilgrimage). This is stated in Surah al-Baqarah,2:197.

In terms of place, for example Makkah, Allah says in Surah al-Hajj,22:25:

“And whoever is inclined to evil action therein (in Makkah) or to do wrong, him we shall cause to taste from a painful turmoil.”

It is because of this verse, the companions of the Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), used to avoid doing certain actions in Makkah.

Another criterion for considering sins as great is the nobility of the person who commits the sin. This is because, as Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says, since he is a person of knowledge of Allah and His attributes, his closeness to Allah should prevent him from committing sins. If he commits sins, his sins will be considered greater than normal people.

The hadith mentioned four types of deeds:

1.Doing good deeds: The result will be a multiplication of rewards.

2.Doing evil acts: This will be recorded as one sin for one sin.

3.The intention of doing good deeds: This will be recorded even if it is not done as one deed. ‘Intention’ here means that we have a great eagerness and a very strong determination to do a certain deed - and not merely thoughts of doing it.  Some examples of this type, as mentioned by Ibn Rajab, (rahimahullah)  are:

3.1.If someone has intended to wake up in the middle of the night to perform the solat Tahajjud but he did not do so because he overslept.

3.2.If someone intended to observe solat or fast.

3.3.If someone intended to do jihad or umrah.

3.4.If someone intended to perform the Hajj.

So if any Muslim intended to do any of the above and had a strong determination to do them, it will be recorded as if he has done them. But this does not compensate the obligation of doing them when there is an opportunity to do so.

4.The intention of doing a bad deed or committing a sin without actually doing it: This means that one has made the decision to do it,but did not carry it out as Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo puts it. Other scholars relate it to the intention (niyyah). And there is an overlap between intention and decision because when we decide, we have the intention.

Wherever we have an issue or principle where there are many versions of the hadith which scholars compare the text of the hadith. In another version that is narrated by Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu’anhu), Allah says: “He gave up committing the sin for the cause and sake of Allah.” Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says this implies that the interpretation of this portion of hadith is that the one who has the intention to do the evil act and is able to do it, refrained from doing so for the sake and fear of Allah. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says this person will be rewarded for that. It will be considered a hasanah (a good deed) because refraining from doing that evil act with this good intention is really a good deed by itself. Consequently, Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) mentions other different situations:

4.1.The one who decides or just has the intention to do the evil act but then he refrains from doing it because of his fear of the people or does not like to be blamed by them, Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says that some scholars say this person will be punished.

4.2.The person decides to do the evil act but was not able to perform it because of external factors (qadar). For example, a person decides to break into a house to steal, but he does not succeed and runs away because a police car is driving around the area. Some scholars say that he will be punished though he did not steal.

4.3.Someone who decides and has the intention to do the evil act, makes the effort but is not able to perform it because of his lack of strength or capabilities. Scholars say this person will be punished. For instance, if two Muslims fight each other with the intention of killing each other, as stated in the well-known hadith, both the killer and the one who has been killed will be in the Hellfire. The Companions asked: “O Messenger of Allah, this is the killer - what about the poor person who has been killed?” The Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), said he had the intention to kill his friend or brother but was not able to because he was killed himself.

4.4.Someone has the intention to do an evil act and talks to others about it but does not do it. Some scholars say that he will be punished just because of his bad intention. Other scholars say he will not be punished unless the sin itself is the impermissible kind of speech like slander, backbiting or lying.

4.5.Someone who has the intention to do an evil act but later on changes his mind because his eagerness to do the evil act has weakened and decreased.One may ask whether this person is subject to punishment or not. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says this situation can be classified into two categories:

4.5.1.The intention to commit the sin was just a thought - it has not been placed or committed in the person’s heart - and he dislikes or regrets the thought straightaway. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says this person will be excused. For instance, if a person sees cool water during the hot month of Ramadhan and he simply has a thought of drinking but then refrains himself. This person will be forgiven because the place of the sin is not in his heart.

4.5.2.The evil thought has been placed in the heart and the person keeps thinking about it. Scholars say that this can be classified into two categories:

4.5.2.1.The action of the heart involves doubts about Allah’s Oneness, the Prophethood or the Day of Resurrection. Scholars say this person will be punished. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) also says that there are other sins which are related to the heart such as loving what Allah hates or hating what Allah loves, arrogance, envy, and suspicions for no valid reason. All these are punishable.

4.5.2.2.The actions of the limbs such as adultery, stealing, drinking wine, killing etc. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says in this category, if the person persists on doing such an act and has the eagerness and willingness, he will be punished. There is another view that says he will be excused because he has not actually done it. The third view is the same as the second view in that he is excused, but with one exception and that is if it is done in the Al-Haram Mosque in Makkah.

4.6.Someone committed a sin once and then has the intention of repeating it whenever possible. That is this person is persisting on disobedience and is subject to punishment because of his bad intention even if he does it years later.

In one version of the hadith, Allah says that for the one who commits a sin, Allah might record it merely as one sin, or He might omit the sin because of repentance by the sinner, or because of the sinner performing good deeds - as mentioned in Hadith 18: "Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people."

Conclusion

In one of the versions of this hadith it says that the one who fails to be saved is of great loss. This means that the one whose bad deeds outweigh the good deeds is a failure. Why? After all this mercy and grace from Allah where Allah multiplies good deeds up to 700 times, after all the chances and opportunities that Allah gives us, if a person still persists on disobedience and commits evil acts and in the end his bad deeds outweighs his good ones, then he is truly a big sinner and transgressor. He has no intention of doing good deeds. He has no one to blame but himself.

There is a saying for ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (radiyallahu’anhu): “Woe to the one whose sins outweigh his good deeds”. The Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), said to his Companions: “Whom do you consider as a bankrupt?” They said: “The one who does not have a dinar or dirham (money).” The Prophet,(Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), said: “The real bankrupt is the one who comes with mountains of good deeds but he also comes with many bad deeds that are related to attacking and harming the people.” In this case, the bad deeds are not easily omitted because they are related to the rights of human beings. This person may wrong others by slander, backbiting, killing, etc. As a result, his good deeds will be taken from him in the Hereafter as a matter of just. In addition to that, the Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), says part of the bad deeds of the people whom he has wronged will be added to his record and the result would be that he will be thrown into the Hellfire.

We need to imagine just how horrible the situation is. We need to reflect on this hadith and not to wrong, belittle or fail other Muslims or non-Muslims in the same way. We should also be kind to animals as the Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), said that a woman will enter Hellfire because of her mistreatment of a cat. The Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), also mentions about a woman who is very pious and did good deeds but she annoyed and bothered her neighbours - she too is in the Hellfire.

Muslims need to be careful when it comes to dealing with other people. Unless we receive forgiveness from others, we will be held responsible for wrongdoings towards others. This has to do with our akhlaq and values as Muslims. We need to be concerned about this if we want to achieve any success in this life or the Hereafter.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.


[Excerpted from “Commentary of Hadith No. 37: How Deeds Are Recorded”, 40 Hadiths Of Imam Nawawi,” Via I C Truth]

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Every Person's Joints There is Sadaqah

Every Person's Joints There is Sadaqah 

By Imam Nawawi

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger


Abu Hurayrah, (radiyallāhu 'anhu), reported that the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), said :

"On every person's joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is sadaqah (charity) every day the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it is sadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer is sadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Dzarr Al-Ghifari (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, When you get up every morning charity is due from every joint bone of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allāh's Glorification (i.e., Subhānallāh) is an act of charity, and every utterance of praise of Him (i.e., Al-hamdulillāh) is an act of charity, and every utterance of profession of Faith (i.e., Lā ilāha illallāh) is an act of charity, and every utterance of His Greatness (i.e., Allāhu-Akbar) is an act of charity; and enjoining good is an act of charity and forbidding what is disreputable is an act of charity; and two rak’ah of Solāh which one offers in the forenoon (Ad-Dhuha) will suffice for all this.”[Recorded by Muslim]

Background

The content of this hadith is the same as the previous one, Hadith 25. One possibility why this is so is that Al-Imam An-Nawawi (rahimallāh) wanted to emphasise the importance of sadaqah (charitable acts) so he decided to repeat the meaning of the previous hadith. Another possibility is that this hadith may contain more examples of sadaqah than what was mentioned in the previous one. A third possibility is the influence of Al-Imam Muslim on Imam Nawawi (rahimullāh), who has written commentaries on Sahih Muslim. Imam Muslim (rahimallāh) recorded many hadiths which address the issue of sadaqah. It can be concluded that what has happened is due to the influence of Imam Nawawi's involvement in this great scholarly research on explaining and interpreting Sahih Muslim.

Ibn Rajab (rahimallāh) quotes other hadiths with similar meanings. Two were recorded by Imam Muslim (rahimallāh). From this a possibility of influence can be derived. A third hadith is recorded by Imam Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) and Imam Muslim (rahimallāh) where the hadith mentions the number of bones as 360. In this hadith the number is not mentioned. It only mentions every small joint (bone).

In the second hadith, the performance of the Solah Dhuha  is a substitution of some charitable acts. The Prophet Muhammad,(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), said that the solat of al-Dhuha has the same reward of doing these charitable acts. In the hadith that is related by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim, (rahimahullāh)   it mentions something that is not mentioned in the previous hadith. One more charitable act that is mentioned by Ibn Rajab (rahimallāh)  is helping the one who is in need. Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), emphasized this idea: if a Muslim cannot help the one who is in need, he should abstain from evil and not harm others.

Lessons

The hadith shows the great creation of man which has been emphasised in many surahs in the Qur'ān. Ibn Rajab (rahimallāh) says when the Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), mentions these small bones or joints, he is emphasizing their structure and creation which are great bounties of Allāh subhānahu wa ta'ala. The Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), calls upon us to be thankful to Allāh by doing charitable acts for each one of these bones.

Al-Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo highlights the significance of the word 'salameh', the small bone, when he refers to the small bones in the hands and feet and how they are put together. Once again, we notice how scholars may be influenced by each other. It is not strange to notice that Ustaz Jamaludin is influenced by Ibn Rajab (rahimallāh) since he translated most of his work. He asks the Muslims to see how these bones are magnificently put together. It is their interaction that allows the dexterity and speed that the creatures possess in their hands. It also gives proper balance to the feet.

Al-Shaikh Al-Bitar (rahimallāh), one of the commentators on An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith, states that these bones are some of the keys to the progress and civilization of man. These bones enable human beings to move, grasp, construct and build things. Most of what people perform and what has been manufactured is due to these small and minute bones that have been created by Allāh in this impressive and marvelous way. Therefore, he continues to say, these are great blessings for which a Muslim must be thankful to Allāh. We can be thankful by doing the above mentioned charitable acts: to do good deeds, to help others, and to benefit the community.

Ibn Rajab (rahimallāh) mentions that doing these charitable acts mentioned in the hadith is an obligation upon each Muslim. Moreover, he classifies thankfulness to Allāh into two categories:

1.Obligatory (wajib) thankfulness. Muslims are required to fulfill the obligations (wajibat) and refrain from the prohibitions (muharramat). This is the minimum level of being thankful to Allāh. To be thankful to Allāh requires one to refrain from disobedience (ma'siah) to Allāh, to strongly disapprove sin, and not to misuse or abuse any of our limbs (jawareh) or whatever Allāh has bestowed upon us. Man has been given one of the most important bounties from Allāh and that is sight. Man must not use it in disobedience. Allāh bestowed us with the bounty of hearing and we should use it in a beneficial way.

2.Preferable (mustahab) thankfulness. This is for Muslims who seek to be among the righteous and competing believers. This type can be classified into subcategories:

  1. What is beneficial to the community such as what is mentioned in this hadith.
  2. Limited to the person who performs it, as mentioned in Hadith 25.
Though the above mentioned classifications may be perceived positively or negatively, it should not take us away from the great meaning of the charitable acts where we can look at them from a different angle. Not from the angle of whether they are preferable (mandoub: if we do it, we will be rewarded and if we do not do it, we will not be blamed) or obligatory (wajib). Sometimes preferable things become obligatory. For instance, if a blind man wants to cross the road and you are the only one to help him, helping him becomes obligatory. If every one of us is expecting someone else to help the blind man, he will end up with nobody willing to help him. This sort of attitude will weaken the bonding within the community. There are many negative examples that can be seen today. The recklessness of some Muslims who do not help needy people is often noticed in the Muslim community these days. As a result, the Muslim is blamed when he is the only one who is capable of doing that action but does not do it.

This hadith aims to emphasize the charitable acts that benefit the society since they are great deeds and the people who do them are rewarded. Most Muslims forget these charitable acts. Another hadith emphasises that Muslims are like one body where they care for each other. We should set ourselves as models in our morality, behaviour, values and qualities in order for others to follow our steps and listen to us. Only by this will the level of confidence be increased in the community. People will listen to each other when they see good examples and this is what meant by the verse that the Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), is a good model for Muslims

As Muslims, we have to observe the charitable acts. We should do as much as we can without making any commitment to any of them. These charitable acts are not done regularly as the obligatory five daily solat. We do them on our convenience and according to our ability. By performing these acts regularly, we will be closer to Allāh. When every Muslim exercises these charitable acts, we will end up with a harmonious and cooperative society. By doing this, we contribute to the increasing of goodness and the minimising of evil - this is the main purpose of da'wah.

This hadith emphasises the significance of certain deeds: bringing about justice between two people and reconciling them. Getting people who deviated in their thoughts back to the community is part of islah (reconciliation). When the Khawarij started thinking of fighting their own community, ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu 'anhum), went to them and had a dialogue with them. He tried to remove any misconceptions. He was successful in getting two-thirds of them into the Muslim community. This is one meaning of charitable acts. Another meaning is to give help to those who are in need for help. We should not wait until we are asked. We have to offer help when we see people in need. This is what is meant by wala' (loyality) to the community.

Saying a good word is a charitable act, as mentioned in Hadith 25. There are many ways that we can do this. For example, when we notice that someone is unhappy, we can bring pleasure to him by saying a good word to him and relieving his sadness or worry.

Another deed is the step to solāt. We know that solāt is obligatory, but by walking to solāt we perform a charitable act in every step. When Muslims keep this in their minds, they will be encouraged to do such deeds.

The last charitable act that is mentioned in this hadith is removing a harmful thing from the road or from someone's pathway. Some people may look at this as insignificant or unimportant. But this does not mean that the act is degrading. In the sight of Allāh it is a great act and we will be rewarded for doing it. Doing such an act may prevent a terrible accident from happening. For example, omitting a nail from the street may prevent car accidents and consequently keep the safety of our community. We should not care about the comments of others because we are doing it for the sake of Allāh. The more we have the intention that we are doing these charitable acts for the sake of Allāh, the more will be the reward from Allāh subhānahu wa ta'ala.

Conclusion

Islam calls for and encourages its followers to build a caring society, where members of the society care for one another, support one another and help one another. Social charitable acts discussed above are considered obligatory daily activities which form ways and means of being thankful to Allāh. This concept needs to be promoted in the classroom, masjid and the media in every possible way.

Unfortunately, contemporary media plays a negative role in this sense. Movies promote negative values which lead to an uncaring society, resulting in, for example, selfishness, greediness and ego-centric personalities.

One way of changing this negative role to a positive one is to change the existing concept of entertainment. Another alternative is to initiate new branches of communication such as educational communication and psychology of the media.

Allāh Almighty says: "Verily, the Abrar (pious and righteous) will be in Delight (Jannah).And verily; the Fujjar (the wicked, disbelievers, sinners and evildoers) will be in the blazing Fire (Hell)." [Al-Infitar, 82:13, 14]

Thus the believers must constantly supplicate to Allāh Almighty for his guidance to the straight path, righteous in our deeds and steadfast in Ad-Deen.

The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) taught the ummmah to seek Allāh’s forgiveness, guidance, steadfast and hasanah.

‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: We counted Messenger's saying a hundred times during one single sitting: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb ‘alayya innaka antat-tawwābul ghafūrur-raheem’ (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Accepter of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful). [Recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi].

‘Abdullah bin Mas`ud (radiyAllāh u‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu`alayhi wasallam) used to say: "Allāh umma inni as `alukal-huda wat-tuqa wal-`afafa wal-ghina (O Allāh ! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency)". [Recorded by Muslim].

Guidance here means guidance at every turn of life and steadfastness on the path of truth. Fear of Allāh  is the greatest means of piety and strongest defense against sins. Chastity is the state of being free from what is unlawful. Self-sufficiency is the antonym of poverty and here it means the self-contentment. What it implies is that one should not care for what people possess. In view of all these qualities, the do’a of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned in this Hadith is very comprehensive and valuable.

Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) who said: “The supplication most often recited by Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam):Rabbana-ātina-fid-dunya hasanah, Wa fil-ākhirati-hasanah, Wa-qina-`ādzabānnār (O Lord! Bestow upon us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the punishment of the Fire).’” (Al-Baqārah 2:201) [This is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Muslim, and Tarmidzi]. Tarmidzi (rahimullāh) said: “Hasanah is very comprehensive and includes in all kinds of good and benefits of this world and of the Hereafter. Good health, wealth and satisfaction of the world and good status in Jannah, forgiveness from sins and Allāh’s bounties and favours in both worlds are included in this duā’” [Recorded in Jāmi’ At-Tarmidzi]

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.



[Excerpted from “26 - Charitable Acts II”, Forty Hadiths of Imam Nawawi, By Imam Nawawi, via IC Truth]