The Essence of Being Mindful of Allāh
By Ibn Daqiq Al-‘Id
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.
On the authority of Abu ‘Abbas ‘Abdullāh Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhum) who said: One day I was behind the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) [riding on the same mount] and he said:
“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be Mindful of Allāh and Allāh will protect you. Be Mindful of Allāh and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allāh [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allāh [alone]. And know that if the Nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allāh had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allāh had already prescribed against you. The Pens have been lifted and the Pages have dried.”
[Related by At-Tirmidzi: Good and Sound Hadith]
Another narration, other than that of At-Tirmidzi, reads:
“Be Mindful of Allāh, and you will find Him in front of you. Recognize and acknowledge Allāh in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity. And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”
The Explanation of the Hadith
The virtues and outstanding traits of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhum) are more than what can be enumerated and the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) supplicated for him and said: "Oh Allāh! Grant him understanding (fiqh) of the religion and teach him the interpretation", and he also supplicated for him that he be given wisdom twice over. It has been narrated that he [Ibn ‘Abbas] said that he "saw Jibril (‘alaihis-salam) twice", though this narration is mursal and is not established. Ibn ‘Abbas (radiyallāhu’anhu) is the ocean of knowledge of this Ummah, and its learned scholar. The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) considered him to be worthy of carrying a legacy or advice from him despite his small age, and so he said to him: "Be Mindful of Allāh and Allāh will protect you", and its meaning is "be obedient to your Lord, ordering whatever He has ordered and forbidding whatever He has forbidden".
Also the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) statement: "Be Mindful of Allāh and you will find Him in front of you" means "perform your actions for His sake out of obedience to Him, and let yourself not be seen to oppose or disobey Him, then you will find Allāh with you in times of difficulty", as happened to the three men who fled to a cave to seek shelter from torrential rain, whereupon a huge rock descended upon the entrance to the cave and sealed it. So they said to one another: “Look to the pious actions that you have performed [in the past] and ask Allāh Almighty by them, for verily He is the only One who can save us from this.” So each one of them mentioned a good action that they had performed previously, purely for the sake of their Lord, so Allāh removed the rock that was blocking the entrance to the cave, and they were free from their imprisonment, and their story is well known from the Sahih [of Muslim].
As for the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) statement “If you ask, then ask Allāh [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allāh [alone]”, it guides us to having trust and reliance upon our Protector, and that we should not take any deity except Him, and that we should not depend upon or be attached to anyone other than Him in all our affairs, no matter how small they may be. Allāh Almighty says: “And whosoever puts his trust in Allāh, then He will suffice him”. [At-Talāq, 65: 3]
So according to the degree by which a person relies upon others than Allāh in his desires and by his heart, or in his hopes, then proportionately he has turned away from his Lord to those who cannot hurt nor benefit him. Moreover, one should not fear others than Allāh, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) emphasised: “And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allāh had already prescribed for you”. And this is the essence of iman in qadr (divine will and destiny), and having iman in it is obligatory, the good of it and the evil of it. Once a believer has conviction (yaqin) in this then he sees no benefit in asking from others than Allāh or seeking help from them. Similar to this is the answer of al-Khalil, Prophet Ibrahim (‘alaihis- salam), to the question of Jibril (‘alaihis-salam) when he was in the air having been thrown towards the Great Fire: "Do you have any need?" to which he replied: “As for from you, then no. As for from Allāh, then definitely.”
As for the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) statement “the Pens have been lifted and the Pages have dried”, it further emphasizes what has preceeded, and there is no contradiction with that by way of abrogation or change.
The next statement “and know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship” informs him (Ibn ‘Abbas) to consider that man in this world will be presented with trials and misfortunes, especially the pious, due to the statement of Allāh Almighty:
“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabireen (the patient ones); who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "Truly! To Allāh we belong and truly to Him we shall return". They are those on whom are the salawāt (blessings) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones”.
[Al-Baqarah, 2: 155-157]
Allāh Almighty also says:
“...Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account”.
[Az-Zummar, 39: 10]
The Summary of the Hadith
- It is allowed for two people to be seated on a mount if it does not over-burden the animal.
- If one takes care about Allāh's rights, then He takes care of him.
- If one takes care of Allāh's rights, then He helps him.
- One must ask of Allāh only, and seek His help only.
- We cannot be harmed or benefited by anything or anyone, no matter how large they are in number or strong they appear, except by the will of Allāh.
- What Allāh has allowed in our destiny will definitely occur.
- One should remember and take care of Allāh's rights in times of ease, and Allāh will take care of him in times of difficulty.
- Victory comes with patience.
- Relief comes after suffering.
- Ease comes after hardship.
And Allāh Almighty knows best.
[Via On Islam, Thursday, 21 April 2011 as excerpted with slight editorial modifications, from www: abdurrahman.org]