Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Internal Controlling System

Internal Controlling System

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

Al-Nawwas bin Sam’an, (radiyallahu’anhu), reported that the Prophet, (Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam), said:

“Righteousness is good character, and sin is that which wavers in your heart and which you do not want people to know about.”


According to Wabisah bin Ma'bad, (radiyallahu 'anhu), who said:

I came to the Messenger of Allah, (Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam), and he said: “You have come to ask about righteousness ?” “ Yes,” I answered. Rasūlullāh (Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and sin is what creates restlessness in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast, even though people give you their opinion ( in your favour) and continue to do so.”

[A good hadith transmitted from the Musnads of the two Imams, Ahmad bin Hanbal and Al-Darimi]


The first thing that should be pointed out is that even though the second hadith is weak by itself, due to supporting evidence it is raised to the level of hasan (authentic). These two hadiths state the meaning of righteousness and sinfulness.


Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) states that the term 'bir' (righteousness) which is used in this hadith is actually used in two senses:

(a) treating others in a good manner, and

(b) all acts of good deeds and worshipping Allah.

Based on this, the first statement in the first hadith can be interpreted as meaning the most essential aspect of righteousness is good character. And Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) extends this meaning by saying that good character can be interpreted as all good manners mentioned in the Qur’ān. Consequently, according to Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah), the two meanings of bir are there.

Allah has created us with a pure innate or natural disposition that is called fitrah, as mentioned in other hadiths. This means to love the truth and the good and to hate falsehood and evil. Consequently, good believers with pure fitrah should never confuse truth with falsehood.

The second hadith guides us to consult our heart regarding doubtful matters. If the heart is in tranquility, that implies that it is bir or righteousness. If the heart is not tranquil, one should abstain from carrying out such an act or doubtful matter. However, it should be noted that fitrah is subject to corruption and can be spoiled due to the influence of bad environment - a person may start to like and appreciate what is bad or evil and dislike truth and goodness. Here, the heart is diseased or even dead. Such a person cannot use his heart as a measure to judge what is good and bad because the fitrah is already corrupted.

Sin is what wavers or trembles your soul. This portion of the hadith defines a sinful act as an act for which its performer deserves blame. Imam Qurtabi (rahimahullah) gives the previous interpretation. Ustaz Jamaludin Zarabozo states that in this hadith the Prophet, (Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam), gave very important signs of sin. The first one is an internal sign within the human being. It is the feelings of the soul with respect to any particular act. The second sign is also about the internal feelings but it deals with the outward reaction to the act itself. Sin causes a wholesome soul to be uneasy and troubled. The soul is unhappy and worried about sin and its consequences. These signs occur because the person is naturally disposed to favour what leads to positive results and avoid what leads to negative results. The commentators of this hadith stress that the 'people' referred to here are the respected and righteous people.

The two hadiths reveal a significant aspect of Islam that is an internal controlling and guiding system that is established as a result of several factors:

1.     The pure fitrah (natural disposition). Allah created everybody with a pure fitrah and not just Muslims. The Prophet, (sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam), mentions many factors in the environment that play an influential role in subjecting the fitrah to corruption.
2.     The realization of tawhid. This means practicing all the essentials of tawhid like loving Allah, seeking His Help as the only refuge, depending on Him (tawakul), asking for His Mercy, and many other essentials associated with the idea of tawhid.
3.     Adhering to shari'ah instructions.
4.      Seeking knowledge.
5.      Tazkiyah and tarbiyah - that is the purification of the soul and the heart of the Muslim.

The above mentioned factors and many others are interrelated and altogether lead to the establishment of the internal controlling system. However, this system needs to be 'updated' and 'upgraded' regularly by educators and da'ies. It is very important that the educators and da'ies pay attention to the individual's and the community's built-in system. They have to create awareness about contemporary challenges. They should plan future strategies to deal with such challenges.

This internal system is very important for Muslims today. They should know about it in order to activate it. Only through such proper reconstruction of the consciousness can we be certain about the validity and effectiveness of the internal controlling system. Muslims need to be aware of this fact and have to activate their system in order to be sensitive towards doubtful acts and sinful matters. Unless this system is 'upgraded', the person may not act in the right way. It is like 'installing' an 'anti-virus software' within ourselves. With such a 'software' in place, our internal system will prevent 'viruses', i.e. bad or evil acts, from entering our thoughts or hearts.

There are many issues today where people are in total doubt about whether something is allowed or not. In many areas such as insurance, food, medicine, trade, and technology, there are no definite answers - or the people themselves are not aware of the Islamic approach. This may lead to moral conflicts. Unfortunately, even some people who teach akhlaq and moral values are sometimes not even aware of these conflicts.

In this era we have several clashing values. Muslims should be exposed to the Islamic point of view of the issue in order to go for the right value. Works about such issues should be published and translated for all Muslims. Books and magazines should be available to all Muslims. If the existing works are very long, we need to summarize the findings and translate them into major Muslim and international languages. Exposing Muslims to such findings will minimize disputes among them regarding certain issues. They will at least know what to do and what not to do. This will lead to unity and remove anything that can lead to disputes.

Another thing is that educators and da'ies should not simply use the traditional approach. If we want to talk about siddiq, tazkiyah, and tarbiyah, we should not limit ourselves to one scholar or website. We should compare knowledge and information between different scholars. For example, if we compare the works of Al-Shaikh Zarrouq and Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) on tazkiyah, we will notice differences; the work of Al-Shaikh Zarrouq is totally different from Imam Ghazali's. His books of “Qawaed Al- Tasaruf” and “Udat Al-Boroud Al-Sadiq” use totally different approaches from Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah). Al-Shaikh Zarrouq addressed the people of his time. We can read these books and benefit from them but we should use a more suitable approach that is more convenient to the challenges of our time. This means that we should have different ways of presenting these issues about tazkiyah and tarbiyah. It is only by this way can we 'upgrade' our internal controlling system.

We should interpret the Qur'anic texts and hadiths in the light of what we have today. This cannot happen unless the internal system is 'upgraded'. Otherwise we may get lost. The system has two sides: positive and negative. We must use the positive side. We have to know how to be honest in this era. It is the responsibility of the educators and da'ies of today to 'upgrade' the internal controlling system of the Muslims in general and the young generation in particular.

We should also be aware of the recent advancements in technology. For example, nowadays there are filtering software that are developed by non-Muslims. We can download these software and have control over some of the negative elements that can reach us through the Internet. We should develop this type of software to suit our needs as Muslims. We have to maximize the positive side of information technology. We need to do this to enable Muslims to access the Internet and use their time in the right way.

One more area that we need to be aware of is that of intellectual slavery - that is when people try to benefit from technology through globalization. There are some people who want to influence others in order to affect the akhlaq and ideology. They use cognitive psychology and other branches of knowledge where they can manipulate the mind. They practice brainwashing and Muslims are not aware of this. This is a very great challenge to Muslims since this may lead us to question our beliefs and moral values. Educators need to address this crucial issue. They should do something to 'upgrade' the above mentioned internal controlling system in order to prevent ourselves from being brainwashed.


Without a 'fully functioning' internal controlling system, people will have different attitudes which may lead to problems such as extremism. Extremists will increase in the Muslim community if issues like those mentioned above are not resolved. Muslims may end up with multiple personalities. They are Muslims but they commit haram (forbidden) and many other negative things. They are not aware that they are doing anything wrong and they start acting in strange ways. These people are victims of the new system of globalization. Our strategy to face such challenges is to 'activate' and 'upgrade' our internal system. Then Muslims can live their lives in tranquility and without confusion. Other solutions will merely be short term because there will be no tranquility.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from “Hadith No: 27 – “Internal Controlling System, 40 Hadiths Of Imam Nawawi,” Via I C Truth]

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Concept of Wilayah

Hadith 38: The Concept Of Wilayah
(The Closer Servants of Allāh)

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:

“Allāh the Almighty has said: 'Whosoever acts with enmity towards a closer servant of Mine (wali), I will indeed declare war against him. Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) solah so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.'”



The translation of the term wali that is mentioned in the hadith is a closer servant (awliya') of Allāh or a believer rather than a closer friend. There are many verses in the Qur'an that talk about the concept of wilayah. These verses talk about the qualities or attributes of awliya' and their status in the sight of Allāh. In this hadith Allāh mentions the status of the wali even before He talks about His attributes. This status is mentioned in the beginning (i.e. Allāh will declare war against whoever acts with enmity towards one of His closer servants) and in the end (i.e. Allāh will answer their du’a and will give them refuge). This shows the status of awliya’ in the sight of Allāh. In the middle of the hadith, Allāh tells us the qualities of His closer servants.

The hadith also tells us that Allāh loves those who are the closer servants to Allāh. This is a natural result of what they do. Allāh tells us about their actions upon which they deserved to be loved by Allāh. We will see that there are two levels of servants of Allāh: The first level is those who fulfill the obligations and avoid the prohibitions (muharramat). The second level is those who not only do this but also perform the preferable acts (nawafil).

The concept of wilayah (awliya' Allāh) is based on the verses of the Qur’an and this hadith. In the Qur'an there are three verses in Surah Yunus - Ayah 62, 63 and 64.

No doubt verily the awliya' of Allāh (the closer servants of Allāh) no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed and used to fear Allāh much, for them are the glad tidings in this life and the Hereafter.

Based on these three verses and this Hadith Qudsi, we can say that the concept of wilayah comprises of the following:

1.      The love of Allāh
2.      Fearing of Allāh
3.      Belief or faith in Allāh and his Messengers
4.      Devotion, honesty, and sincerity
5.      Obedience to Allāh and following His instructions - this include performing good deeds. This motif of this obedience is based on fear of Allāh, repenting to Allāh and submission to His will.

The origin of wilayah is closeness to Allāh and the enmity is being far away from the path of Allāh. Based on this, the awliya' of Allāh are those who are obedient and perform the good deeds which make them closer to Allāh. The enemies of Allāh, on the other hand, are those who are evil doers. Their ill deeds distance themselves away from Allāh and this will make them far from Allāh's blessing, support, and love.


In to the first portion of the hadith  it states, “Nothing endears My servant to Me than doing of what I have made obligatory upon him to do. And My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory (nawafil) prayers so that I shall love him.”. In relation to this, Allāh classifies His servants into two categories:

1.      The first category are those who get closer to Allāh by fulfilling the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions. This is a moderate level that has been described in the Qur’an as “ashab alyameen”. This is the minimum level of wilayah. In other words, wilayah is achieved just by fulfilling the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions. This level of wilayah is expected from all believers.
2.      The second category of people are those who are closer to Allāh by being “competent (al-sabiqeen)” in their worship and effort and strive to be close to Allāh. This category of people are not satisfied only of performing the obligations and avoiding the prohibitions but they go further by performing the preferable acts. They also avoid the non-preferable acts. Consequently, they will reach “the degree of wara' and wilayah” that will make Allāh love them. Allāh mentions this explicitly and that His love will be granted for these competent people.
Some of the early people (salaf) used to say that it is not a big matter whether you love; the biggest matter is to be loved by Allāh. If you are loved by Allāh, then you are granted with His mercy and blessings. You are going to be granted with His support and guidance.

The Prophet, (sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), used to say the following in his du’a: "O Allāh I ask You that You love me and the love of those who love You and to enable me also to love every act and deed that may bring me closer to You". That is the reason why some of the early scholars say that the actions and the worship that are based on the love of Allāh will continue and never be depressed or frustrated. Some others say that the one who loves Allāh will not get fed up or bored of getting closer to Allāh. He never feels that he is bored of doing good deeds and acts that will get him closer to Allāh. Other scholars say that for the one who loves Allāh, his heart is purified and he always remembers Allāh. He always seeks and strives to do good deeds and acts that will get him closer to Allāh. He does all of this with pleasure.

The early scholars also say that the one who loves Allāh should obey Him, otherwise he is only claiming to love Allāh. Scholars say that among the preferable acts (nawafil) that make a person become closer to Allāh, is the nawafil al-salawat (the preferable prayers that the Prophet,(sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), used to pray every day). Another thing is the recitation of the Qur'an and listening to it with full attention and understanding. Also part of the preferable acts is the remembrance of Allāh where what the tongue says matches with what the heart believes, and the love of other good Muslims who are closer to Allāh.

The second portion of this hadith  “When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk." implies that, as Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) says, whoever strives, struggles and makes the effort to get closer to Allāh by doing the obligations and performing the preferable acts, Allāh will get him closer to him, support him, and take him from one level into another until this servant of Allāh reaches the degree of Ihsan where this believer will be able to practice muraqabeh. That is he worships Allāh as if he sees Him, and his heart will be full with love of Allāh.

Not only will Allāh grant him love of Allāh but he will also be helped to glorify Allāh and granted with satisfaction. This will be strengthened by performing the preferable acts until the heart is full of these acts where nothing else will enslave or capture the heart. The heart is fully devoted to Allāh. When that status is reached by the believer, the limbs of that servant will act only in accordance to what Allāh loves. Then he will be seeing, hearing, and doing what Allāh sees, hears and does. He will be walking towards what Allāh wants and likes. The early salaf say that he cannot even commit a sin. Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) quotes Ali who said that they used to believe that Omar's Satan was so frustrated to do any sin or disobedience. This is one of the secrets or the real fruits of tawhid. This is because "La ilaha illa Allāh" means that we should only worship, glorify, obey, and love Allāh and fear Him the most. When this realisation of tawhid is achieved, then he says the heart will have no place for anything that may displease Allāh. What will be in the heart is only what Allāh loves. In this case, that person will never commit a sin or any kind of disobedience. Committing sins takes place only if the person loves what Allāh hates or that person hates what Allāh loves. It also takes place when self interest is given a priority and dominance over the love of Allāh. The result will be that the obligations of the tawhid will not be complete. The person will be led to delay obligations or to commit sins.

The third portion of this hadith  “And if he asks (something) of Me, I shall surely give it to him, and if he takes refuge in Me, I shall certainly grant him it.” Implies that the closer servant of Allāh has a special status in the sight of Allāh. This special status will lead to that whatever he asks of Allāh, Allāh will give him and his du'a will be attended to. If he seeks refuge from anything, he will be given that.

In Sunan Al-Imam Al-Nisa'ei, there is one chapter on iste'azeh. There are many hadiths in this chapter that tell us the sayings that the Prophet,(sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), used to say to seek refuge of Allāh to be saved from things such as poverty, ignorance, the turmoil of the grave, sadness and depression of this life, and various diseases. The closer servant of Allāh is granted to be saved from the above mentioned things and many others. As Muslims we have to realise the importance of this portion of the hadith especially for those who are hearing the hadith for the first time. It is better that we learn from the Prophet, (sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), what to seek refuge of Allāh from. We should try to memorise some hadiths which are in the form of du'a. In that way we will be granted the love of Allāh and we will be given the status of awliya'. Consequently, we will be granted with the bounty that whatever we ask for, Allāh will give us. Moreover, we will be saved from the harms that are mentioned above.

The last thing that we need to point out is the misconception of wilayah. After the early centuries of Islam, this concept has been misunderstood to the extent that there came a time when the attributes of the wali is not what is mentioned in the Qur'an and hadith. It is actually by claims. We look at the person and his attitude and worship of Allāh and we are shocked to see a big difference. We are surprised to see that the actions do not match with the Islamic teachings. How, then, can this person be a wali? He is not a closer servant of Allāh. The real closer servant of Allāh will not abuse wilayah and use it for promotion because it is not what he claims but it is in the heart and love of Allāh. This should be corrected because until today some Muslims are still confused about wilayah. Imam Shatibi sets a number of criteria for wilayah or karamah because they are granted only if the person is close to Allāh. Awliya'u Allāh are shy to claim that they are closer to Allāh because this contradicts with the idea of ikhlas (sincerity).


We notice that Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) brings this hadith which states the main fundamental concepts or principles of Islam in a clear way. By studying this hadith, one comes to know what the concept of wilayah or closeness to Allāh means and what he should do. We also know the status of awliya'.

This hadith is a warning to those who may harm believers in general or the closer servants of Allāh in particular. Allāh declares war against the one who acts with enmity towards His awliya' (closer servants). This is a message to all Muslims and people not to harm others or to be enemies with Allāh by harming the believers. That is how the situation will be, if not in this life, it will be in the Hereafter. Moreover, Allāh knows better what is in our favour and what is not in our favour. That's why sometimes the closer servants of Allāh may ask for something and Allāh does not attend to their du'a because the things they may ask for may cause them some harm . But still because of their du’a, there will be the blessings and mercy from Allāh in similar situations. The blessings of du’a will be also granted in the Hereafter.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from a Commentary of Hadith 38: “ The Concept of Wilayah (The Closer Servants Of Allāh)”, 40 Hadiths Of Imam NawawiBy Dr. Jamal Ahmed Badi, via IC Truth]

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Good Manners Towards Neighbours and Guests

Hadith 15: Good Manners 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." 

[Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


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

Imam Haithami (rahimahullāh) points out that this hadith is very similar in meaning to Hadith 13 : Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik, (radiyallāhu 'anhu), who was the servant of the Messenger of Allāh, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), reported that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), said: "None of you truly believes (in Allāh and in His religion) until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself"[Al-Bukhari and Muslim] He 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.


The responsibility of the Muslim regarding what he says is mentioned in the Qur’an. Allāh Subhānahu wa ta'ala Says: "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) states that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam), said: “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 was displeased with what the pious man said because only Allāh knows what is our 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. [Recorded by 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 Allāh Subhānahu 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 interpret' what we hear; we should not try to 'read between the lines'. 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: dzikirullah (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 known as munajah with Allāh - 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 violating the 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 shouldn't simply repeat it or spread it without first verifying if the news is true. This could lead to us spreading lies or rum ours. We must refrain from:

1.      Spreading rumors’, especially those that will cause harm to the community.
2.      Slandering, back-biting, etc.
3.     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.

Allāh states in the Qur’an (what means): “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allāh; indeed, Allāh is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” [Al-Hujurat, 49:12]

Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) once asked: "Do you know what backbiting is?" His companions (radiyallāhu’anhu) replied: "Allāh and His Messenger know best." He (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) then said: "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked: "But what if what is said is true?" The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) replied: "If what you say about him is true, then you have backbitten him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." [Recorded by Muslim]

‘Aishah (radiyallāhu’anha) narrated that she said to the Prophet, Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam, ‘Do you see that Safiyyah(another wife of the Prophet, Sallallāhu alayhi wasallam,) is such and such?’ meaning that she was short. The Prophet, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, replied, ‘You have spoken a word such that, if it were mixed in the water of the ocean, it would darken it.’ [Recorded by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, and Al-Baihaqi]

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'an “…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." [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In another hadith it is stated: "Whoever believes in Allāh and the Last Day should not harm his neighbour." [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Another hadith the Prophet, (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) were reported as saying that the person who does not have complete faith (iman) is the one from whose affairs the neighbour is not safe. [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In another hadith which states that “when you cook stew, you should add a little bit more water and give some to your neighbours.” [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim] The 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 that there are three types of people whom Allāh lovesOne of them is a person who has a neighbour who causes him harm or annoyance but he remains patient and tolerates the neighbour. [Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

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 states:"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)." [Recorded by 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 (mustahabb) 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).


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.

Jabir (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be one who is the best of you in manners; and the most abhorrent among you to me and the farthest of you from me will be the pompous, the garrulous, and Al-Mutafaihiqun.” The Companions asked him: "O Messenger of Allāh! We know about the pompous and the garrulous, but we do not know who Al-Mutafaihiqun is." He replied: "The arrogant people." [Recorded by At-Tirmidzi].

Islam states that it is the responsibility of each individual to treat all creations with respect, honor and dignity.  The most deserving of respect is the Creator Himself.  Respect begins with loving and obeying the commandments of God Almighty and from this respect flow all the manners and high standards of morality that are inherent in Islam.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from a commentary on Hadith 15: "Good Manners in Speech; Behaviour of Muslims towards Neighbours or Guests", 40 Hadiths Of Imam Nawawi By Dr. Jamal Ahmed BadiVia IC Truth]