The Excellent Model of the Prophet’s (saas) Life
You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much. (Surat al-Ahzab, 21)
Islam has two fundamental sources, the Qur’an and the Sunnah, neither of which can be separated from the other. If they were separated, we would be unable to grasp Islam’s real meaning. In order to attain true happiness in the Hereafter, believers should have a very good understanding of these two sources and practice them correctly. The Sunnah of the Prophet (saas), who embodied the Qur’an’s morals, is a live interpretation of the Qur’an.
In one hadith, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
The time heralded by the Prophet (saas) appears to be close. In order to deserve this promised reward, it is vital that all Muslims embrace his Sunnah. In the conduct of his daily life, our Prophet’s (saas) excellent moral values and practices set the best example for believers. Each one of his acts is under Allah’s (swt) protection.
The Prophet’s (saas) Moral Excellence and Good Manners
In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) told our Prophet (saas): “Indeed you are truly vast in character” (Surat al-Qalam, 4). According to one hadith al-sharif, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “I am sent only that I may perfect moral virtues” (al-Bayhaqi), stressing that his life abounded with examples that all believers had to adopt.
The Messenger of Allah (saas), who had displayed the best examples of moral excellence even before Allah (swt) blessed him with prophethood, also set an example for humanity through his distinguished personality and moral excellence while spreading Islam. Ever since that time, various sections of humanity have done their best to follow his example.
Aisha (ra) reported:
Her answer to a question about the Prophet’s (saas) morals is very revealing in this regard:
“O mother of the believers, please describe the Messenger of Allah’s (saas) morals.” She answered: “Can you recite Surat al-Mu’minun? Read its first ten verses. The Messenger of Allah’s (saas) morals were just like these verses.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Prophet’s (saas) words, “The best of you are those who possess the best of manners,” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim) stress that every Muslim should strive to reach this goal. Thus, believers should avoid all evil in their lower selves and strive to attain this moral excellence.
“As hot water melts ice, so a good temper melts and annihilates one’s sins. As vinegar decomposes honey and makes it inedible, so a bad temper spoils and annihilates one’s worships.” (at-Tabarani)
“The dearest to me among you, and the nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who displayed the best manners.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“In Allah’s sight, there is no sin worse that having evil qualities, for one who has such qualities falls into sin before being able to get out from the other.” (al-Isbahani)
“The one with good morals and characters already owns the best of this world and the Hereafter.” (at-Tabarani)
“A believer with good manners and good moral disposition gets the same reward as he who spends his nights in prayer, and observes fast during days, always.” (Abu Dawud)
“On the Day of Resurrection, the most weighty item in the Scales of the Deeds will be good manners.” (Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi)
Our Prophet (saas) made the following supplication before performing his prayer:
The Virtue in Being Forgiving
It is stated in the Qur’an: “… But if you pardon, exonerate, and forgive, Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Surat at-Taghabun, 14). Thus, Muslims should be very tolerant and forgiving of each other.
The Prophet (saas) stressed the importance of forgiving others and said that doing so would help consolidate feelings of mutual goodwill among believers. In addition, he did not bear any grudge toward anyone and forgave even his enemies.
Indeed, the Prophet (saas) said: “Modesty increases one’s ranks. Be modest so that Allah may increase your ranks. Forgiveness only increases one’s honor. Forgive, so that Allah may give glory to you.” (al-Isbahani)
Muslims should waive their rights over each other. Thoughts of animosity and revenge should have no place among them. Forgiveness, which increases one’s rank in both worlds, helps to develop feelings of solidarity. Allah’s Messenger (saas) said:
“Maintain your relationship with one who cut it off from you, give to one who disappointed you, and pardon one who oppressed you.” (al-Bayhaqi)
“Show mercy, and you will be shown mercy. Forgive, and Allah will forgive you. Woe to the vessels that catch words (i.e., the ears). Woe to those who persist and consciously continue in what they are doing.” (Ahmad Dhiya’ al-Din, Ramuz al-Ahadith, 1:70/10)
Encouraging Commerce and the Virtue of Truthfulness
Great Islamic scholars present the Prophet’s (saas) truthfulness as a major quality of his prophethood. Both the Muslims and the Makkan polytheists accepted the truth of his honesty. With the rise of Islam, the Prophet (saas) called upon all people to be honest in their lives:
“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and evil-doing, and wickedness and evil-doing lead to the (Hell) Fire.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“Observe truthfulness as a duty and always speak the truth, for truthfulness puts you on the path of virtue, and virtue leads you to Paradise, and when a person tells the truth as a rule, and makes truthfulness a way of life, he attains the place of sincerity and faithfulness, and, with Allah, his name is written as a truthful. And stay strictly away from falsehood, for falsehood puts you on the path of immorality, and leads you to Hell, and when a man takes to lying, the sequel is that his name is written, with Allah, as a great liar.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Nine tenths of provision (rizq) comes from trading.” (Gharib al-Hadith)
Countless hadiths state that those involved with commerce should pay great attention to truthfulness. For example, the Prophet (saas) gave the good news that an honest trader will be together with martyrs in the Hereafter. Those who do not give priority to truthfulness will meet with inconceivable difficulties in both worlds.
“The traders will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection with the sinners except those of them who were Allah-fearing, pious and truthful.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“On the Day of Judgment, the truthful merchant will be under the shadow of the Great Heavens.” (al-Isbahani)
“The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“The one who sells his goods attains provision; the one who withholds and hoards them, to raise prices, becomes subject to Allah’s curse.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Abstain from swearing much while selling (your goods), for though it may help to push up the sales, ultimately it will destroy blessings.” (Sahih Muslim)
While Muslims engage in commerce, it is important that they do not neglect their prayers and other religious duties. Indeed, if they do so, while trying to attain this world’s blessings they may endanger their life in the Hereafter. Our Prophet (saas) said:
“Allah did not tell me to collect goods and become a merchant. Rather, He told me to remember Him, to become one who prostrated [in prayer] and worship until death comes.” (Ibn Mardawayh)
“Whoever sold a defective thing to anyone without disclosing the defect to the buyer would be caught, permanently, in the wrath of Allah.” (Ibn Majah)
All acts of a believer that comply with Allah’s (swt) statements are considered acts of worship.
In Abu Bakr’s (ra) era, Muslim merchants traveled as far as the Philippines to spread Allah’s message. Muslims living there today are the descendants of the first generation of Filipino Muslims who were converted by those long-ago merchants. As this example shows, as long as people do not forget their duties to Allah (swt), they can be useful to Islam regardless of in which position they may be.
“The cleanest food is that which has been earned by the labor of one’s hand.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Virtue of Generosity
The characteristic which most befits a faithful Muslim is that of patience when he is in a grave situation and in a state of deprivation. Even then, the one who firmly believes in Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saas) will use whatever means he has at his disposal in the best way, in Allah’s (swt) Way. In the Qur’an, our Lord warns people not to be deceived by satan’s plots – for many have a fear for the future to the degree where they become stingy with their worldly possession:
Those who are tight-fisted with the bounty Allah has given them should not suppose that that is better for them. No indeed, it is worse for them! What they were tight-fisted with will be hung around their necks on the Day of Resurrection. Allah is the inheritor of the heavens and the Earth and Allah is aware of what you do. (Surah Al Imran, 180)
The Prophet (saas) made a very clear distinction between generosity and waste. He did not say “no” to the wishes of those who asked for anything, and tried to meet the requests of people who asked him. Due to his natural kindness, he did not turn aside the person who asked for assistance or guidance. In a hadith it is stated that our Prophet (saas) recommended a person in need to take on debt in his name.
Ali (ra) described our Prophet’s (saas) generosity:
Some of our Prophet’s (saas) words about generosity:
“Allah is generous, He likes generosity and virtuous conduct, and does not like evil conduct.” (al-Kharaythi)
“Generosity is a tree among the trees of the Garden. Its branches have hung down to the Earth. Whoever holds on its branch, that branch leads him to the Garden.” (Ibn Hibban)
“Allah created all His virtuous servants generous and with good manners.” (al-Daraqutni)
“There are two traits that Allah likes and two traits that He dislikes. Those He likes are; generosity and moral excellence. Those He dislikes are; stinginess and evil conduct.” (al-Daylami)
“Offering people a lot, saluting everyone and speaking good words are among those traits deserving [Allah’s] forgiveness. Allah has some servants who are given fortunes to be spent for the good of the public. If any of these fail to give them away, He takes those fortunes from them and gives them to others.” (at-Tabarani)
“A generous-hearted man is nearer to Allah and men, and he is close to Paradise and far away from Hell. The miser, on the other hand, is distant from Allah and men, distant from Paradise but close to Hell.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The Virtue of Cooperation
Cooperation had a great place in our Prophet’s (saas) life. He informs us that the best of all aids given are the ones given in secret. Our Prophet (saas) says:
“Seven are (the persons) whom Allah would give protection with His Shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him (i. e. on the Day of Judgment, and they are): … a person who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right hand does not know what the left has given: and a person who remembered Allah in privacy and his eyes shed tears.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 005, Number 2248)
Satan inspires fear for future in people so as to hinder them from giving away from that which Allah (swt) has blessed them with. This way, he drifts them into stinginess. Our Prophet (saas) says that this is a great danger for believers.
“Spend and do not calculate, (for) Allah would calculate in your case; and do not hoard, otherwise Allah would be withholding from you.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 005, Number 2244)
“He who gives time to one who is financially hard up (in the payment of debt) or writes off his debt, Allah will provide him His shadow.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 042, Number 7149)
“If any owner of gold or silver does not pay what is due on him, when the Day of Resurrection would come, plates of fire would be beaten out for him; these would then be heated in the fire of Hell and his sides, his forehead and his back would be cauterized with them. Whenever these cool down, (the process is) repeated during a day the extent of which would be fifty thousand years, until judgment is pronounced among servants.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 005, Number 2161)
The Virtue of Modesty, Detriments of Arrogance
The Prophet (saas) was the highest example of what humanity was meant to be. His modesty served as a wonderful example for all of his people.
At the time of hajj, he fulfilled his duties just the same as his followers; he rode on a camel like everyone else, or he would be mounted on a mule, he visited the sick, participated in the funerals of Muslims who has passed away and did not make any distinction between the poor and the well-off; he accepted slaves’ dinner invitations. While many leaders of communities consider themselves to be above their peers, and regard certain jobs and tasks to be beneath them, people saw the Prophet (saas) repairing his own shoes or mending his clothes. When he saw kids playing around, he greeted them with a smile.
These known words of Abu Bakr (ra), our Prophet’s (saas) closest friend and the first caliph, indicates that he took our Prophet’s (saas) modesty as model:
“O people! I have been made your leader albeit I am not the best among you. But the Qur’an has been revealed and Allah’s Messenger’s (saas) Sunnah is apparent. All I can be is to be his humble follower. I will certainly not open a new era. If I act virtuously, be around to help me. If I go astray, correct me. I put an end to my words here by asking for forgiveness both for myself and for you.” (Mevaziu’s-Sahaba [Cases of the Companions of the Prophet (saas)], p. 17)
The Prophet (saas) said: “He who humbles himself to Allah a degree, Allah elevates him because of that, and if anyone expresses a degree of haughtiness before Allah, Allah will lower him a degree because of that till He renders him the lowliest of the lowly.” (Ibn Majah)
During a conversation, Allah’s Messenger (saas) said, “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” A person (amongst his hearers) said: “Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine.” The Prophet (saas) remarked: “Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0164)
“Allah elevates the one who shows modesty towards his brother in Islam. And he degrades the one who shows superiority.” (at-Tabarani)
Zayd bin Thaabit (ra) said:
The Prophet (saas) treated every believer equally, showing every one of them respect.
“Allah’s messenger (saas) did not pull out his hand until the one who shook his hand left his.” (Ibn Majah)
“I never said that when any man brought his mouth to the ear of the Messenger of Allah (saas) and he withdrew his head until the man himself withdrew his head, and I never saw that when any man took him by his hand and he withdrew his hand, until the man himself withdrew his hand.” (Abu Dawud)
The Prophet (saas) said:
“The proud and the boastful cannot enter the Garden.” (Abu Dawud)
“Three (are the persons) with whom Allah would neither speak, nor would He absolve them on the Day of Resurrection: the cruel ruler, the rich who does not give the alms and the proud destitute.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“Shall I inform you about the people of the Fire? They comprise every cruel, violent, proud and conceited person.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 97)
“Allah herds anyone with a grain of mustard-seed of pride in his heart headlong into Hell.” (al-Bayhaqi)
Our Prophet (saas) had a dignified way of speaking and one could always see a smile on his face. He never broke anyone’s heart or hurt their feelings by speaking harshly to them. Anas ibn Malik (ra) tells how our Prophet (saas) set the best example to all people with this noble trait:
“I remained in the service of the Messenger of Allah (saas) for ten years. He never once told me ‘Oof.’ When I did something, he never asked me, why did you do so? When I did not do a certain task, he never asked me why I did not do it. (al-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (saas) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the boastful will be gathered together under feet like grains. Anything considered to be little will be above them and bigger than them. Then they are cast into a dungeon of Hell. Hell’s fire surrounds them all. They are watered from the corpses of the people of Hell that burn and melt.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Just as how Allah increases the forgiver’s grandeur and honor, He glorifies the ones who show modesty.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Allah has revealed to me that you must be humble, so that no one oppresses another and boasts over another.” (Abu Dawud)
“Allah certainly glorifies the one who shows modesty for His sake.” (Sahih Muslim)
In the Qur’an, honoring trusts is indicated to be a distinctive characteristic of believers.
Allah (swt) states in the Quran that “[Believers are] those who honor their trusts and their contracts” (Surat al-Muminun, 8).
Above all other people amongst mankind, believers should particularly be precious about keeping their promises and honoring trusts which have been put in them by other people. Setting an example in displaying these manners is among our Prophet’s (saas) Sunnah.
Ali (ra) relates that he witnessed one of our Prophet’s (saas) conversations with one of his Companions:
“O Allah’s Messenger, tell me the easiest and most difficult aspects of this religion.” Our Prophet (saas) answered: “The easiest is to attest that there exists no deity but Allah (swt), that Muhammad is His servant and messenger; what is most difficult, however, is honoring trusts, for those who are not meticulous in matters of trusts have no religion. Neither their prayers are accepted, nor their alms (zakat).” (al-Bazzar)
“… speak the truth when you speak; fulfill a promise when you make one; render back honestly when a trust is placed in your charge…” (al-Bayhaqi)
“Just as how it is not possible to talk about the prayer of someone with no ablution, it is not possible to talk about the [perfected] faith of someone who does not honor his trusts.” (at-Tabarani)
“The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he is false; when he promises, he fails; and, when he is trusted, he betrays.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
Allah (swt) reveals the following in the Surat an-Nahl:
Be true to Allah’s contract when you have agreed to it, and do not break your oaths once they are confirmed and you have made Allah your guarantee. Allah knows what you do. (Surat an-Nahl, 91)
The Virtue in the Remembrance of Allah (swt)
The essence of all acts of worship is to remember Allah (swt). All obligatory acts incumbent upon us have in essence the remembrance of Allah (swt) at their core.
Indeed, the Prophet (saas) said:
“Allah will give shade, to seven, on the Day when there will be no shade but His. (One of these seven persons is) … a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes are then flooded with tears.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
Yet in another hadith, the virtue in saying the kalimah (“There is no deity but Allah”) is explained thus:
“Allah said, ‘Were the seven heavens and their inhabitants, and the seven earths put in a pan and the kalimah in the other, the kalimah would outweigh them.’” (at-Tabarani)
In one way or another, the Prophet (saas) always occupied himself with the remembrance of Allah (swt). He said that the best way of being with Allah (swt) is His remembrance. Related verses read:
[People with intelligence are] those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth... (Surah Al ‘Imran, 191)
Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully, without loudness of voice, morning and evening... (Surat al-A‘raf, 205)
During his life, our Prophet (saas) strictly adhered to the teachings of the Qur’an and acted on the special knowledge which Allah (swt) had blessed him with. As the Islamic collections of hadith reveal, he did not neglect to occupy himself with Allah’s (swt) remembrance while sitting, walking, eating, before sleep, during ablution, putting on his clothes, traveling, entering a mosque, in brief, at any time.
Allah’s Messenger (saas) said:
“Allah (swt) has said: ‘I am with My servant when he remembers Me and his lips move mentioning Me. If he remembers Me inwardly, I shall remember him inwardly. If he remembers Me among an assembly, I shall remember him among an assembly that is better than they are. If My servant approaches me for a span, I approach him one arsin (a unit of length – app. 68 cm or 26.7 in.). If My servant comes to Me walking, I run towards him; that is, I quickly answer his wishes.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“Shall I not tell you the best of your deeds and the purest in the estimation of your Lord, through which your ranks are raised highest, better for you than spending gold and silver and better for you than that you meet your enemy and Allah’s enemy and they kill you?” They said, “Yes, Messenger of Allah, do show us this precious deed.” He said, “It is to remember Allah.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The Virtue in Commitment among Believers
Do those who take the unbelievers as protectors, rather than the believers, hope to find power and strength with them? Power and strength belong entirely to Allah. (Surat an-Nisa’, 139)
In another verse it is told that believers should be like well-built walls – strong and resolute (Surat as-Saff, 4). Believers differ from other people in their trust, sacrifice and commitment they feel for one another. Those who try to experience these virtues outside the community of believers will face great disappointment both in this world and beyond. Indeed, the Prophet (saas) said the following about this issue:
“Whoever retreats from our congregation a span, he would be taking the bond of Islam connecting him to the religion out of his neck.” (Abu Dawud)
“It is not permissible for a Muslim to shun his brother for more than three nights, that is they meet, and this one turns away and that one turns away. The better of the two is the one who says the greeting first.” (Malik, al-Muwatta’, Book 47, Number 47.4.13)
Muslims do not disclose one another’s faults. This is an indication of their commitment to one another. What is becoming to a true Muslim is to support other Muslims in correcting their errors, rather than disclosing them and humiliating them before others.
The following words of Prophet Muhammad (saas) verify these:
“He who sees something which should be kept hidden and conceals it will be like one who has brought to life a girl buried alive.” (Abu Dawud)
“Every Muslim is a Muslim’s brother. He should neither harm him himself nor leave him alone when others treat him unjustly. Whoever will fulfill the need of a brother, Allah will fulfill his need, and whoever will remove the distress of a Muslim, he will find a distress of his removed on the Day of Requital, and whoever will hide the secrets of a Muslim, his sins will be hidden from others’ view by Allah on the Last Day.” (Sahih Muslim)
Muslims should love one another only for Allah’s (swt) good pleasure. An understanding of love based on one’s earthly desires is incompatible with the Qur’an and the Prophet’s (saas) Sunnah. Our beloved Prophet (saas) said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, the Lord will proclaim: ‘Where are the servants who love each other because of My Power and Glory? Today, when there is no shadow save Mine, I shall give them a place under it.’” (Sahih Muslim)
“None will have the sweetness (delight) of Faith till he loves a person and loves him only for Allah’s sake…” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“The one with perfected faith loves the one he loves not because he has an interest but only for Allah’s sake. This is true faith.” (at-Tabarani)
“If an individual loves someone for Allah and tells him that he loves him for Allah, both of them enter Paradise. The degree of the one who loves is greater.” (al-Bazzar)
“Among the servants of Allah there are those who are neither prophets nor martyrs whose position in relation to Allah will be an object of desire by the prophets and martyrs on the Day of Resurrection.” The people said, “Messenger of Allah, tell us who they are,” and he said, “They are people who have loved one another for Allah’s sake and were giving gifts to one another without being related or having (common) property. I swear by Allah that their faces will be light and that they will be placed upon light, neither fearing when men fear nor grieving when men grieve.” (Ahmad)
“You will not enter Paradise till you believe and you will not believe till you love one another.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Whoever helps for Allah, avoids help for Allah, loves for Allah, marries for Allah and helps those who marry for Allah, then his faith attains perfection.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Always befriend believers, offer your food to believers who fear Allah.” (Ibn Hibban)
“A man is with whom he loves (or will be caused to be with him on the Day of Final Judgment).” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
“In kindliness and affection, the Muslims are like a single body. If any part of it is stricken with disease, the whole body develops fever and feels restless.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
Allah (swt) reveals the importance of the believers’ devotion to one another as follows:
Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and those who believe: those who perform prayer and give the alms, and bow. As for those who make Allah their friend, and His Messenger and those who believe: it is the party of Allah who are victorious! (Surat al-Ma’ida, 56)
Not to Harm Another, to Hinder Those Who Cause Harm
Believers act against those who cause harm, just like they do not inflict harm upon their surroundings either. For this reason, they set an example of goodness for other people; displaying this not just in their words but in their deeds and good manners also. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) charges believers as follows:
Let there be a community among you who call to the good, and enjoin the right, and forbid the wrong. They are the ones who have success. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 104)
There are numerous examples regarding this point to be found in the Prophet’s (saas) life. Some of his relevant sayings are:
“Allah will harm the one inflicting harm upon a believer, Allah will also give troubles to the one who causes troubles.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“It is beyond doubt that Allah will torment those who afflict the people in this world.” (Abu Dawud)
“He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hand; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue, and if he has not strength enough to do it, (even) then he should (abhor it) from his heart, and that is the least of faith.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0079)
Damages Caused by Polytheism (shirk) and Insincerity (riya’)
Insincerity means to seek people’s approval rather than Allah’s (swt) good pleasure in acts of worship and beneficence. This seriously compromises the purity of the deeds performed. Only when worship and pious deeds are performed solely for the approval of Allah (swt), they will be acceptable as a true worship and beneficence. If one engages in apparently religious acts for reasons other than the desire to please Allah (swt), then these deeds may not be acceptable; they may even be a hidden form of polytheism (shirk). In the Qur’an, it is stated that insincerity is a portent for hypocrisy:
The hypocrites think they deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. When they get up to pray, they get up lazily, showing off to people, and only remembering Allah a very little. (Surat an-Nisa’, 142)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
“The most dreadful thing which I fear about my ummah is that they will commit the crime of ascribing partners to Allah. I’m not saying that they worship the Sun, the stars, or the Moon. But they will perform some of their acts of worship for somebody other than Allah and will desire a secret yearning.” (Ibn Majah)
“He who commits insincerity in his acts of worship, Allah will punish him for his insincerity. He who makes his acts of worship public for reasons of ostentation, Allah will make his intent public.” (Ibn Majah)
The Temporality of Worldly Life
Among the biggest deceptions of satan is to deceive people into thinking that the life of this world and its blessings will never come to an end, that the dunya is eternal. Believers need to be very careful in the face of this deception. Indeed, Allah (swt) states the following in the Qur’an:
The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The Hereafter is better for those who have taqwa. So will you not use your intellect? (Surat al-An’am, 32)
Some of the Prophet’s (saas) hadiths on the subject are:
Ali (ra) related: “O servants of Allah, you are no different from those who have passed away from this world. They lived longer than you, were stronger, and possessed more prosperous lands and immortal works. But, after a few generations, their voices became less strong and eventually became completely silenced. Their corpses decayed, their lands became empty and their works disappeared. They exchanged their glorious palaces, their comfort and satin mattresses with embroidered pillows for tombs made of ruins covered with earth. Their dwellings are tight and the occupants abandoned. There they are in the midst of those who are lonely, who have no one to confide in and who are not close to one another.”
“You are close to reaching the realm of the dead and to staying there as hostages for what you have done. A grave will cover you as well . . . Do not become one of those who hope for the Hereafter without working for it, who chase after lengthy ambitions while postponing repentance, who speak like the ones who do not love this world, yet who act and work like those who do love this world, who are not satisfied with what has been given to them and who complain when they are not given any.”
The Messenger of Allah (saas) explained in no uncertain terms:
“Renunciation of the worldly things does not lie in making lawful things unlawful and in squandering the property, but the lowness of the world is this that (the property) you have in your possession is not more reliable for you than that which is in Allah’s Hands and that you should be more pleased with the reward of the calamity, when it befalls you, than that it does not befall and is left for you.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 4100)
“He who is concerned with the world, Allah will disorganize his affair for him and will make his poverty between two eyes (i.e. every one will hold him mean and destitute), and whose intention is focused at the Hereafter Allah will settle the state of his affairs for him and will ingrain richness in his heart.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 4105; at-Tabarani, al-Bayhaqi)
“A person whose chief aim and ambition will be the seeking of the Hereafter, through his effort and exertion, Allah will grant him contentment to his heart and remove his distress and the world will come to him humbled by itself. But a person whose chief aim and ambition will be the seeking of this world, through his effort and exertion, Allah will produce the marks of want in the middle of his forehead and on his face and make his condition miserable…” (al-Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad, al-Darami)
“The one who wakes up in the morning thinking only of worldly matters, and thus neglects his acts of worship, will receive no help from Allah.” (at-Tabarani)
“If the son of Adam were to possess two valleys of riches, he would long for the third one. And the stomach of the son of Adam is not filled but with dust. And Allah returns to him who repents.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 005, Number 2282)
“O humanity, fear Allah and sum up (your efforts) in acquiring (worldly riches) for no one dies till he gets full measure of his provision even if he is slow-paced in it. So fear [and respect] Allah and act decently in acquiring (the world).” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Business Transactions)
“Whenever anyone of you sees a person who is better than him in wealth and in face and figure, he should look at someone who is inferior to him in these respects.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
Envy is defined as not being happy with somebody else’s blessing and to hope that this blessing will eventually end. People engage in envy regardless of whether or not they have actively striven to remove that blessing. Envy among believers negates solidarity among Muslims and is forbidden in the Qur’an. In order to be saved from this, one has to pray to Allah (swt). Believers should only covet each other’s piety. The outcome of envy and unnecessary dispute among believers is explained in the Qur’an:
Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves, lest you lose heart and your momentum disappears. And be steadfast. Allah is with the steadfast. (Surat al-Anfal, 46)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
“There is no envy except in two people: a person to whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person to whom Allah has given wisdom (i.e., religious knowledge) and he gives his decisions accordingly and teaches it to the others.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 24, Number 490)
Certainly, the concept of envy here is not hoping that something bad will happen to the one who has been blessed, but to desire that such blessings come to oneself.
“Guard yourselves against envy for envy eats up good deeds as fire eats up wood.” (Abu Dawud)
“Do not hate one another, be jealous of one another, or desert each other. And, O Allah’s worshipers, be brothers.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Suppressing One’s Anger
A most important manifestation of a believer’s reliance on and closeness to Allah (swt), as well as of one’s faith in destiny, is suppressing one’s anger when enraged. One who knows that all good and evil comes from Allah (swt) will always trust Him, no matter what, and will not become enraged. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) reveals that:
Those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people – Allah loves the good-doers. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 134)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) has left us many hadiths:
“No one drank a draft superior, in Allah’s sight, to the draft of anger that was drunk with the intention of earning His good pleasure.” (Ahmad)
“He is not a wrestler who overpowers his rival, but he who keeps himself under control when roused to anger.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
“Whoever swallows his anger when he is in a position to quench it solely for Allah’s sake, although he can give vent to his feelings, and refrains from visiting his wrath upon the person who incurs it, Allah will call him to Himself, in the presence of everyone, on the Day of Resurrection and tell him to choose whichever bride he likes from among the brides of Paradise.” (Abu Dawud)
“There is a gate of Hell through which only those who have overcome hatred and violent temper in order not to rebel against Allah will pass.” (Ibn Abi al-Dunya)
“One who flies into tempers will find himself dragged into Hell.” (al-Bazzar)
“When any of you are roused to anger, sit down if you are standing. If the anger subsides, well and good; if it does not, lie down.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) gave the following advice to those who, not being able to control their temper, flare up in anger: “Anger is roused under satan’s influence. Satan has been created from fire, and fire is put out with water. So when any of you are seized with anger, perform wudu’.” (Abu Dawud)
The Virtues of Marriage
Muslim scholars are unanimous on the virtue of marriage. Umar (ra) said that “only weakness and poverty hinder men from getting married.”
Allah (swt) reveals:
[Believers are] those who say: “Our Lord, give us joy in our wives and children and make us a good example for those who have taqwa.” (Surat al-Furqan, 74)
Abd Allah ibn Abbas has said that “a person’s worship can only come to perfection with marriage.”
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
The following prophetic hadiths encourage marriage:
“Marriage is a sunnah of mine. So, whosoever does not act upon my Sunnah has no relation with me. And marry women, for I shall outnumber the ummahs on account of your large number.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 1846)
“O young people, whoever among you can marry should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty. Whoever is not able to marry should fast, as fasting diminishes his lust.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 4)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) explains what believing men should look for when choosing a wife:
“Do not marry women for the sake of their beauty, for their beauty may lead them to ruin. Do not marry them for the sake of their riches, for their riches may cause them transgress. Rather, marry them for their (devotion to) religion.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 1859)
“A woman is married for four things, namely, her wealth, family status, beauty, and religion. So you should marry the religious woman, (otherwise) you will be a loser.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 27)
“Verily the world is a property, and nothing of the property of the world is better than a righteous woman.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 1855)
“Among Muslims, his faith is more perfect whose behavior toward (everyone) is good, and (particularly) toward his wife is [a manifestation] of love and kindness.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“No believing man hates his believing wife. If there is a bad quality in her, there will also be a good quality.” (Sahih Muslim)
“The man who can bear his wife’s bad tempers will be rewarded by Allah in the same way as Ayyub (as), who endured sickness, was rewarded. The wife who can bear her husband’s bad tempers will be rewarded by Allah in the same as Asiya, the wife of Pharaoh, was rewarded.” (Ihya)
“Among Muslims, those are more perfect in faith who are perfect in morals, and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Have fear of Allah in how you treat women, for He has entrusted them to you.” (Abu Dawud)
The Mutual Responsibilities of Children and Parents
One of the most important responsibilities of married believers is to raise their children properly. The Messenger of Allah (saas) stated that he will be proud of his large community in the Hereafter. In addition, the children’s supplications will be most helpful in the next world to the parents who raised them. The best gift that a child can receive is being taught Islamic morality in the most accurate and finest way possible.
The Prophet (saas) said:
Once a person asked the Prophet (saas): “Who has the greatest claim on me with regard to service and kindly treatment?” The Prophet (saas) replied: “Your mother; and again, your mother; and once again, your mother. After her, your father, and after him your near kinsmen, and then the kinsmen who are next to them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
“Small children are the fowls of Paradise. If one of them meets his father (or his parents), he would take hold of his cloth. And he (the child) would not take off (his hand) from it until Allah causes his father to enter Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6370)
“He who has three daughters and is patient with them, feeds them and gives them water to drink, and clothes them out of his (labor and) riches, there will be a curtain against the fire (of Hell) for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 3669)
“He who brought up two girls properly will be (together) with me on the Day of Resurrection (and he interlaced his fingers to indicate the degree of nearness between him and that person).” (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6364)
Sins that will be hardest to forgive on the Day of Resurrection will be, among others, rebellion against one’s believing parents.
“Allah will postpone punishment for certain sins until the Day of Resurrection, but the punishment for rebelling against one’s parents will also be given in this world before one dies.” (al-Hakim)
“One’s father is the middle door of the doors of Paradise. So, lose this gate or guard it.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 3663)
Protecting Family Ties
The Prophet (saas) recommends that one start with family members when giving financial or other help and spreading Islamic morality. According to the Sunnah, one should not break ties with Muslim family members. However, those relatives who oppose the believers on points of religion are not considered “family members,” as that term is defined by the Messenger of Allah (saas).
The Messenger of Allah (saas) has left a number of hadiths on this topic:
“Whoever violates the rights of kinship shall not go to Paradise.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
“Give greetings when you go to your family. It will be a source of blessing to you as well as to them.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Truly, people’s deeds are offered up to Allah on Friday evening. However, the deeds of the one who has broken off family ties will not be accepted.” (Ahmad)
“Whoever wants an increase in his sustenance and that his footprints remain for a long time in the world (i.e., he has a long life) should be kind and helpful to his relatives.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
The Orphans’ Rights and Caring for the Poor and the Elderly
Allah (swt) has revealed the following regarding the orphans’ rights:
People who consume the property of orphans wrongfully consume nothing in their bellies except fire. They will roast in a Searing Blaze. (Surat an-Nisa’, 10)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) has reiterated many times that the orphans’ rights should be safeguarded and that those who abuse their rights will be punished severely in both worlds:
“(As for) the person who took an orphan from among the Muslims and shared his food and drink with him, Allah will allow him to enter Paradise provided that he is not guilty of an unpardonable sin.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“The best Muslim home is one in which an orphan lives and is treated in a loving and affectionate manner. The worst Muslim home is one in which an orphan lives and is treated badly or cruelly.” (Ibn Majah)
“O Allah, I forbid the (waste of) right of two weak persons: an orphan and a woman.” (Ibn Majah)
In our society, the indigent and the elderly also need our interest and help. The Sunnah states that every Muslim should care for any person in such a position:
“Whoever strives to relieve the widow, the distressed, and the needy is as one who, in Divine reward, struggles in the path of Allah and who fasts permanently during the day and spends the night in prayers.” (Sahih Muslim)
“For the young man who honors an old man because of his years, Allah will appoint men who will honor him in his old age.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“To show respect to elderly people is due to the respect to Allah.” (Abu Dawud)
The Neighbors’ Rights
In the Qur’an, neighbors are singled out as people deserving to be treated well by Muslims:
Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him. Be good to your parents and relatives and to orphans and the very poor, and to neighbors who are related to you and neighbors who are not related to you, and to companions and travelers and your slaves. Allah does not love anyone vain or boastful. (Surat an-Nisa’, 36)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) always helped his neighbors and treated them well so that they might lead a good life. He was very friendly with them and frequently asked about their well-being. He was always the first to help anyone in need of material or spiritual help in his circle:
“Jibril (as) counseled me so persistently about the rights of the neighbor that I felt he was going to declare him an heir.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) advised Muslims to behave properly toward their neighbors, to watch and protect them, and to help them as much as they could. Probably nobody else has ever given so much attention to the rights of neighbors. This can be easily comprehended by looking at his hadiths. The believers’ obligations toward their neighbors are put on the same footing as those held toward parents and spouses.
“Whoever believes in Allah and in the Day of Judgment must be kind and gentle to his neighbors, and must entertain his guest with kindness and generosity.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
Aisha (ra) related:
Visiting the Sick
Among the times when Muslims most need each other is when they are sick. Visiting sick people is important, for this increases feelings of unity and gives hope to the sick person.
“One who visits the sick is, in fact, like one who is in the fruit garden of Paradise until he returns.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6227)
The Prophet (saas) used to visit sick people and strengthen them with his words. He told his community that all of them must do this. In the first years of the Islamic era, it became a tradition to inform the Prophet (saas) of who was about to die so that he could ask for forgiveness for him or her. He would visit the deceased person’s house, pray for him or her, and then perform the ritual funerary prayer.
Whenever the Messenger of Allah (saas) visited a patient or a patient was brought to him, he would call upon Allah (swt), saying: “Take away the disease, O the Lord of the people. Cure him, for You are the One Who cures. There is no cure but Yours, a cure that leaves no disease.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number 579)
He used to tell sick people: “Don’t worry. If Allah wills, it will be expiation (for your sins)” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number 560). But he would not be pleased if they would talk bad or complain about their disease.
“One who visits his Muslim brother when he is sick, hoping for a blessing, will be removed from the fire the same distance that it would take him seventy years to walk.” (Abu Dawud)
Social Customs of Meeting and Hospitality
Whenever the Prophet (saas) joined a gathering, he would sit with dignity and grace. All of his people would observe his exemplary behavior with great attention, and listen attentively and full of respect whenever he spoke.
The Prophet (saas) never interrupted anyone. Some poor bedouins would come to talk about their troubles, disregarding the rules and proprieties of meeting. The Prophet (saas) would listen to them without interrupting and admonish them politely after they had finished.
He took part in his Companions’ conversations; whatever they were talking about, he would talk about. He joined in their jokes, but warned those who would say jokes in the manner of Days of Ignorance (jahiliyyah). Conversational gatherings were generally concerned with religion, morality, and information that could help people in their daily lives.
In the Qur’an the importance of greetings is stated in the following way:
When you are greeted with a greeting, return the greeting or improve upon it. Allah takes account of everything. (Surat an-Nisa’, 86)
In other words, a believer should respond to a greeting with a more beautiful or at least equal to the one given:
A man asked the Prophet: “What Islamic traits are the best?” He replied: “Feed the people, and greet those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 74, Number 253k)
“One who brings these things together in his person will have gathered his faith together: not to abandon justice, even if it were against his own self; to greet everyone; and to give charity, even though he is poor.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
Greeting everyone is a manifestation of humility, for the person who greets shows the one being greeted that he is not proud. The person greeted is, as indicated in the Qur’an, to display an example of humility by responding with a more beautiful greeting.
When the Prophet (saas) approached a door of a house, he would not turn his face directly toward the door, but would draw to one side and say twice: “As-salaamu alaykum” (Abu Dawud). In this way, he would give those inside enough time to get themselves and their house ready to receive him. After giving his greeting, he would wait to be invited inside.
He accepted those greetings that were sent to him and responded by saying “wa alaikum al-salaam.” For those who were not present, he would send his greetings to them through their relatives (Sahih Muslim). Another of his habits was to say “wa barakatuh” at the end of his greeting. Moreover, he would repeat his greetings three times, thereby ensuring that everyone heard it and could respond in kind. Upon meeting someone, he would greet them and respond loud enough for the other person to hear.
The Messenger of Allah (saas) has also said:
“O people, worship Allah, the Beneficent; feed His servants and spread greetings far a wide; and you will reach Paradise in safety.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“When anyone arrives at a gathering, greet those who are present and then sit down if you want to. Afterwards, salute again upon leaving. The first salutation is not superior to the second salutation.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“The rider should first greet the pedestrian, the pedestrian [should greet] the one who is seated, and a small group should greet a larger group.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 026, Number 5374)
Praying on the Prophet (saas)
Allah and His angels call down blessings upon the Prophet. O you who believe, call down blessings upon him and ask for complete peace and safety for him. (Surat al-Ahzab, 56)
Scholars are divided over how much one should call down blessings and peace on the Prophet (saas) when he is mentioned. But the Ahl al-Sunnah’s scholars believe that doing so is virtuous and will result in his intercession for believers in the Hereafter. Praying upon the Prophet (saas) is a very rewarding and valuable deed. Those who perform it a great deal will be elevated by Allah (swt) in the Hereafter; those who do not do so will be deprived of many bounties in the next world. Some of the Prophet’s (saas) sayings on this subject are:
“The people nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who have said the most prayers on me.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“If anyone conveys blessings on me once, Allah will bless him ten times.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Call down a lot of prayers on me on Friday. Your prayer is shown to me. There is no Muslim who blesses me but that an angel conveys it to me.” (Abu Dawud)
“Bless me wherever you are. Your prayer will reach me.” (at-Tabarani)
The recommended times to call down prayers on the Messenger of Allah (saas) are as follows:
1) When the call to prayer is heard:
The Prophet (saas) said:
2) Upon entering and leaving the mosque:
The Messenger of Allah (saas) would call down blessings whenever he entered or left a mosque. Ali (ra) said: “When you enter the mosque, call down blessings on the Messenger of Allah.” (Ahmad)
3) At funeral:
According to the Sunnah, a prayer (Allahumma salli and Allahumma barik) is said on the Prophet (saas) at the end of the funeral service.
4) At the end of a supplication:
Umar (ra) said: “Supplication and prayer are suspended between heaven and Earth, and none of it rises to Allah until you pray on the Prophet.”
5) On Fridays:
The Prophet (saas) said:
Some hadiths discuss table manners, proving that the Prophet (saas) was very sensitive on these proprieties. The limited resources of his community did not prevent him from stressing this matter. Some examples of his table manners are:
1) Washing one’s hands is sunnah:
Washing hands before and after a meal is very important for our health. The Prophet (saas) encouraged all believers to acquire this habit:
“Washing hands before a meal will eradicate poverty; washing them after a meal will eradicate sins.” (at-Tabarani)
“Whoever retires for the night with food on his hands and some harm comes to him because of it has only himself to blame.” (Abu Dawud)
“To wash one’s hands and mouth before and after a meal is a source of blessings.” (Abu Dawud)
2) It is a sunnah to open a meal by saying Bismillah and to end it by saying Alhamdulillah.
“When anyone of you intends to eat, he should say, Bismillah. In case he forgets, he should say Bismillah Awwaluhu wa Akhirahu at the end.” (Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi)
Aisha (ra) relates that while the Messenger of Allah (saas) and six of the Companions were eating, a bedouin entered and ate all of the food in two bites. The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “If he had said Bismillah, it should have been sufficient for all.” (al-Tirmidhi)
3) The Prophet (saas) advised people to begin a meal with dates, salt, or water.
The Messenger of Allah (saas) never found fault with a meal brought to the table. If food he did not like was served, he would remain silent and simply not eat it.
4) It is a sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saas) to eat with right hand and to eat from the sides of the dish.
Umar ibn Salmah narrated that “during my childhood, the Prophet (saas) advised me to say Bismillah, eat with the right hand, and from (the part of the dish that was) in front of me.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Eat from the sides of it and do not put your hand in the middle, for barakah descends on the middle.” (al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
5) Muslims should sit together during the meal, for eating together is more blissful:
“Sit down to eat together and recite the name of Allah. There will, then, be greater barakah for you in the meal.” (Abu Dawud)
6) Food should not be taken too hot:
“There is no barakah in a hot meal, for Allah does not feed us fire. Eat your food after allowing it to cool down.” (al-Bayhaqi)
7) Some points need to be considered when drinking:
Holding the glass in the right hand, one should breathe three times in the course of a drink without breathing into the glass. As Prophet Muhammad (saas) said: “The best drink in this world and the Hereafter is water. When you are thirsty, drink it by sips and not gulps, for gulping produces a sickness of the liver.” (al-Daylami)
Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) related that the Messenger of Allah (saas) forbade breathing or blowing air from the mouth into the drinking vessel (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah).
The Messenger of Allah (saas) breathed three times (outside the vessel) in the course of a drink and said: “It is more thirst-quenching, healthier, and more wholesome” (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 5030).
When distributing something to drink in a crowd, it should be moved to the right and held with the right hand. The Prophet (saas) would always share his drink with those nearby, whenever he was drinking milk or sweet juice. The glass would always be moved to the right.
Anas ibn Malik (ra) reported that to the Messenger of Allah (saas) was given a cup of milk mixed with water. On his right was a desert Arab, and on his left was Abu Bakr (ra). He (the Prophet) drank, then gave it to the desert Arab and said: “(Give it to the one) who is on the right, then again (to one) who is on the right.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 5032)
The Prophet (saas) loved to eat in the company of many people. As the food was served, he would say: “O Allah, make this food among the provisions, thanks for which is already paid and has become a means to attain the blessings of Paradise.” He did not like food that was too hot; he would wait for it to cool down of its own accord and then eat it.
The Prophet (saas) recommended that believers should invite each other to eat together. Islamic scholars have decreed that Muslims, unless they have a valid reason or excuse, must accept an invitation from a fellow believer:
“When any one of you is invited to a feast, he should accept.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, and al-Tirmidhi)
Abu Hurayrah (ra) used to say: “One who does not come to the feast disobeys Allah and His Messenger (saas).” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“When two people come together to issue an invitation, accept the one belonging to the door that is nearer. But if one of them comes before the other, accept the invitation of the one who comes first.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 27, Number 3747)
“He who presents himself for a meal without being invited is a fasiq, and it is unlawful for him to partake of the food.” (al-Bayhaqi)
“Verily, there are lofty rooms in Paradise in which their outside can be seen from inside and their inside from the outside. They are for those who use soft speech, feed food [to others], and spend the night in voluntary prayer while people are asleep.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Whoever feeds his brother in Islam the food he desires, his sins will be forgiven. Whoever pleases his brother in Islam pleases Allah.” (at-Tabarani)
It is an important aspect of a believer’s good manners to treat the person who accepts an invitation with respect.
Food the Prophet (saas) Liked
The Messenger of Allah (saas) did not discriminate against any food. He did not find fault with the food he did not want to eat at that time; he would simply leave it. Gourds were the Prophet’s (saas) favorite vegetable dish. He also praised meat dishes.
“O, A’isha, when you cook a stew put in plenty of gourds, for verily it strengthens the heart of the grieved.” (Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din)
“Meat is the most superior food in both worlds. It enhances the hearing ability of one’s ears. If I would have beseeched my Lord to grant me to eat meat everyday, it would have been granted.”
Anas (ra) relates:
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari reported:
Health and the Importance of Cleanliness
The Messenger of Allah (saas) placed great importance upon his people’s health and cleanliness. He said that a healthy person is above a person who does not take care of himself and impairs his health: “A strong believer is better and more lovable to Allah than a weak believer.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6441)
In the Qur’an, the following is stated regarding Yahya (as):
And [We gave Yahya] tenderness and purity from Us – he had taqwa. (Surah Maryam, 13)
The Prophet’s (saas) advice to wash one’s hands before and after a meal, his fastidiousness regarding ablution, and his traditions on bodily cleanliness show just how much importance he attached to one’s personal health and cleanliness. In the Qur’an, importance is given to the cleanliness of the place where one is to pray as well as to the one praying. Believers need to be meticulous about cleanliness, for one cannot pray with a dirty body or while wearing dirty clothes. The Prophet (saas) said: “Cleanliness is a part of faith” (Sahih Muslim). For this reason, cleanliness is just as important as other matters of faith and creed.
Prophet Muhammad (saas) made several recommendations regarding wudu’:
1) Using a miswak:
As related by Abu Hurayrah (ra), our beloved Prophet (saas) said: “If I did not fear that my followers would be put to much hardship, I would have made it compulsory for them to use the miswak at every prayer-time.” (Sahih Muslim)
Certain benefits from using miswak:
It makes the teeth shiny, strengthens the gums, secures the mouth’s health, removes bad breath, strengthens the teeth, combats plaque, strengthens the stomach, and thus helps prevent stomach disorders. It also secures an easy digestion. By its use, one follows the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) and pleases Allah (swt).
2) Washing one’s hands:
“Whoever wakes up from his sleep should wash his hands before putting them in the water for ablution.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 4, Number 163)
“When one of you wakes up from sleep, he should wash his hands three times.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 002, Number 0544)
3) Cleaning the nose:
“When one of you performs ablution, he must snuff water into his nose and then clean it.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 002, Number 0458)
4) Washing the beard and between the fingers and toes:
“Perform ablution in full, make the fingers go through the beard…” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 1, Number 0142)
Al-Mustawrid ibn Shaddad narrated: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (saas) rub his toes with his little finger when he performed ablution.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 1, Number 0148)
5) Rubbing the ears:
“Al-Rubaiyi’ ibn Muawwiz (ra) said that she saw the Prophet (saas) insert two fingers into his ear-holes while performing ablution.” (Abu Dawud)
6) Not wasting water:
Once Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqas (ra) was performing wudu’. The Messenger of Allah (saas) happened to pass by him and asked: “What extravagance is this?” “O Messenger of Allah,” replied Sa‘d, “can there be a waste of water even in wudu’?” “Yes,” said the Prophet (saas). “It is wastefulness even if you are performing the ablution on the bank of a running stream.” (Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
7)Wiping the face dry:
It is related on the authority of Mu‘az ibn Jabal (ra) that: “I saw that when the Messenger of Allah (saas) performed wudu’, he wiped his face with a corner of his robe.” (al-Tirmidhi)
When a person was sick, the Messenger of Allah (saas) gave precedence to doctors. He said that, even though he was knowledgeable about the matter, it was always advisable to see a doctor first.
A man was wounded in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saas). The blood clotted in the wound, and the man called two men from the Banu Ammar tribe. They looked at it and claimed that the Messenger of Allah (saas) asked them: “Which of you is the better doctor?” They asked: “Is there any good in medicine, O Messenger of Allah?” Zayd claimed that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “The One Who sent down the disease sent down the remedy.” (Malik, al-Muwatta’, Book 50, Number 50.5.12)
The Prophet (saas) said that there is a cure for each disease and therefore advised Muslims to seek adequate treatment:
“Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease. So treat yourselves medically, but do not use anything that has been prohibited.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 28, Number 3865)
“Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely, old age.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 28, Number 3846)
“There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 582)
Our Prophet (saas) said: “There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time for doing good” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 421). Muslims should never forget that being healthy is a great blessing. Like the Messenger of Allah (saas) said, free time that is ill-spent leads to disappointment, and one can understand what a great blessing good health is only after it has been lost.
According to a tradition related by Abu Hurayrah, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “If one were to eat honey every morning for a month, then he will not suffer any heavy affliction.”
“Whosoever begins the day secure in his home, healthy in his body, and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Ask Allah for certainty and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.” (Ibn Majah)
The Prophet (saas) saw an advantage in eating certain foods. First among them, which is mentioned in the Qur’an, is honey. He recommended that the following items should be eaten:
“If somebody eats seven ‘Ajwa dates in the morning, neither magic nor poison will hurt him that day.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 664)
“Truffles are like manna (i.e., they grow naturally without one’s care), and their water heals diseases.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 609)
Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reported that Allah’s Messenger (saas) asked his family for some condiments. They replied: “We have nothing but vinegar.” He asked for it, began to eat it, and then said: “Vinegar is a good condiment, vinegar is a good condiment.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 023, Number 5093)
A man came to the Prophet and said:
Our Prophet (saas) wore light and thin clothes most of the time. His favorite item of clothing was a kurta (shirt). His turban was generally medium in length and not so long that it would cause a headache. His favorite color was white.
He told Muslims not to boast among themselves about their clothes and admonished those who became haughty on account of their clothes:
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at the person who drags his garment (behind him) out of conceit.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 675)
Other than the company of believers, the Prophet (saas) would take great care of his outfit and preferred to wear particularly magnificent clothes when he was with foreign envoys. He would not reject expensive and ostentatious clothes sent by other tribal leaders and kings; rather, he would wear them. He advised Muslims always to wear clean clothes.
Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated:
Our Prophet (saas) would make the following supplication when putting on new clothes:
“Praise and gratitude be to the Lord Who gave me this to wear. O Allah, I beg from You the good of it and the good of the purpose for which it is intended. And I beg from You refuge from its mischief and from the mischief of the purpose for which it is intended.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) prohibited all that was produced from silk and gold for Muslim men:
“No one wears silk in this world except those who will not wear it in the Hereafter.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 720)
“Gold and silken clothes are allowed to Muslim women and forbidden to Muslim men.” (al-Tirmidhi)
It is in his practice to enter a mosque or a gathering in the most beautiful and clean manner possible. The Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “Allah loves anybody who dresses up to appear before a congregation or in front of his friends.”
“The Messenger of Allah (saas) wore a silver ring and placed its stone toward the palm of his hand.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Importance of Tawakkul (Trusting Allah [swt])
It is not compatible with the belief of the Ahl al-Sunnah to think that coincidence, as well as Allah’s (swt) decreed destiny, rules people’s lives. Believers trust Allah (swt) because they know that everything comes from Him and that nothing occurs by chance. For those who fear and respect Him, there is only goodness in anything that happens.
Great Islamic scholars have said that heart is the place of tawakkul. As long as people believe that Allah (swt) provides everything, what they do in this world do not contradict the tawakkul they nourish in their hearts. Allah (swt) creates everything, provides whomever He wills with whatever He wills, and takes whatever He wills from whomever He wills. There is no other power than Him.
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
“Seventy thousand of my followers will be admitted to Paradise without reckoning. They will be those who do not take recourse to sorcery or augury, but place reliance on their Lord and Creator.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)
“The heart of the son of Adam has a piece in every wadi: anyone who trusts in Allah He will supply enough for all the pieces.” (Ibn Majah)
“Do not despair of your provision when you get older, because the mother gives birth to a baby with no clothes on it, and then Allah provides for the baby.” (Ibn Majah)
Fear of poverty and belief in ill-fortune are examples of how satan misleads people. Everyone has probably received unexpected help at times of difficulty that enabled him or her to overcome them. One thing that should definitely not be forgotten is that help comes solely from Allah (swt), the Almighty.
The Prophet (saas) is a model of courage, for he trusted Allah (swt) and felt endless tawakkul. When he was healthy, he participated in all battles on the front line and his reliance on Allah (swt) has been a model for all believers.
When the Makkans’ oppression became unbearable, the Prophet’s (saas) uncle Abu Talib told him: “Can’t you just stop preaching these ideas? Have faith on your own, but do not get up to [spread it to] other people. If you continue preaching, you will make the prominent people angry and put both yourself and us in danger.” The Prophet Muhammad (saas) replied: “O uncle, if they were to put the Sun in my right hand and the Moon in my left hand to stop me from preaching Islam, I would never stop.”
There are countless examples of such trust in the Prophet’s (saas) life. Some are as follows:
“I would not lag behind any expedition undertaken to fight in the way of Allah, the Exalted … By the Being in Whose Hand is my life, I would love to be killed in His way and then be brought back to life and be killed again in His way.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Hadith No. 4631)
“To guard Muslims from unbelievers in Allah’s cause for one day is better than the world and whatever is on its surface…” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Hadith No. 142)
In traditions, it is related that Muslims dispersed at first at the Hunayn battlefield when confronted with a barrage of the enemy’s arrows. The Messenger of Allah (saas) called them to return to the front. Those who did so attacked the enemy and were victorious. Al-Bara’ ibn Azib, who witnessed the event, said: “The Messenger of Allah (saas) did not retreat. … When the battle grew fierce, we, by Allah, would seek protection by his side, and the bravest among us was he who confronted the onslaught: the Prophet (saas)” (Sahih Muslim, Book 19, Hadith No. 4389).
The Importance of Patience
The Prophet’s (saas) whole life is a model of patience and steadfastness. Not only were the twenty-three years of his prophethood full of difficulties, but so were the earlier forty years of his life. Being orphaned at a young age and growing up in tough conditions did not prevent him from being known as a respectable and reliable person among his people.
The importance of steadfastness is highlighted in many Qur’anic verses:
O you who believe, be steadfast, be supreme in steadfastness, and be firm on the battlefield. Fear and respect Allah, so that, hopefully, you will be successful. (Surah Al ‘Imran, 200)
After Allah (swt) bestowed prophethood upon him, the Messenger of Allah (saas) confronted the attacks of the polytheists and hypocrites and never acted hastily. In fact, Allah (swt) advised him to be steadfast:
So be steadfast as the Messengers, with firm resolve, were also steadfast. Do not seek to hasten it for them… (Surat al-Ahqaf, 35)
Indeed, the Messenger of Allah (saas) said:
“Allah will bestow patience upon those who want to be patient. Nobody is given anything better and more immense than patience.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Strange are the ways of the believers, for there is good in all of their affairs. This is not the case with anyone else. If the believers feel delight, they thank (Allah). Thus there is some good for them in it. If they get into trouble and resign themselves (by enduring it patiently), there is some good for them in it.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Hadith No. 7138)
“If any servant (of Allah) who suffers a calamity says: ‘We belong to Allah and to Him shall we return. O Allah, reward me for my affliction and give me something better than it in exchange for it,’ Allah will reward him for the affliction and give him something better than it in exchange.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Hadith No. 2000)
Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger (saas) came to a woman who had been weeping for her (dead) child and told her: “Fear and respect Allah, and show endurance.” She (not recognizing him) replied: “You have not been afflicted as I have been.” After he had departed, someone told her that he was the Messenger of Allah (saas). Deeply shocked, she went to his door and did not find any guards. She said: “O Messenger of Allah, I did not recognize you.” He said: “Endurance is to be shown at first blow.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 4, Hadith No. 2013)
“No fatigue, disease, sorrow, sadness, hurt, or distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick one receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of that person’s sins for that.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Hadith No. 545)
Anas ibn Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (saas) said: “Endurance is to be shown at the first blow.” If believers trust Allah (swt) fully, they may see every event as good from the beginning.
Avoiding Extremism in Religion
All throughout history, there have been some who went to the extremes among some of the peoples who received Allah’s (swt) revelation. Allah (swt) created Muslims to be a moderate people so that they would be a model to others. Muslims should comply with this and avoid all kinds of extremism:
Say: “O People of the Book, do not go to extremes in your religion, asserting other than the truth. And do not follow the whims and desires of people who were misguided previously, have misguided many others, and are far from the right way.” (Surat al-Ma’ida, 77)
In the later years of the Prophet’s (saas) life as well as during the period of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, the Kharijite sect emerged. Although committed to their prayers, its members became extremists and thus strayed from the Prophet’s (saas) Sunnah. The Prophet (saas) told the Muslims to contend with the false ideas of such people.
The Messenger of Allah (saas) did not tolerate those who tried to portray some of their deeds, which were not part of Islam, as part of it under the guise of fearing and respecting Allah (taqwa). His sayings contain warnings against excess in religion. For example:
“There is enthusiasm in every deed, and there comes a time when that enthusiasm ends. If people feel that enthusiasm in their deeds, they act in a moderate way. If they carry on in this moderate manner, hope that they succeed. If one has gone to the extremes and attracted attention in this manner, do not consider them as one of the righteous.” (al-Tirmidhi)
Aisha (ra) narrated:
“People will continue to question one another until it is asked: ‘Allah created all things, but who created Allah?’ Those who find themselves confronted with such a situation should say: ‘I affirm my faith in Allah.’” (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadith No. 242)
The Qur’an’s Grace and the Honor of Reciting It
Reciting the Qur’an is an important act of worship. The Messenger of Allah (saas) used to say: “I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan, from his puffing up (nafkh), his spitting (nafth), and his evil suggestion (hamz)” before he would start reciting the Qur’an. (Abu Dawud)
Our Prophet (saas) stressed reciting the Qur’an and the honor of teaching others how to do so. He considered this to be the initial step of practicing it:
“Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite it.” (Sahih Muslim)
“On the Day of Resurrection, the Qur’an will be brought with the people who used to act by it in this world, preceded by Surat al-Baqara and Al ‘Imran, arguing on behalf of those who knew them.” (Sahih Muslim)
“The best among you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 545)
“Not to wish to be the like except of two men. A man whom Allah has given the knowledge of the Book and he recites it during the hours of the night, and a man whom Allah has given wealth, and he spends it in charity during the night and the hours of the day.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 543)
“Recite and ascend [through the levels of the Paradise]. Recite slowly as you did in the world. Your station will be at the last verse you recite.” (Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi)
“… those persons who assemble in the house among the houses of Allah (mosques) and recite the Book of Allah and they learn and teach the Qur’an (among themselves) there would descend upon them the tranquility and mercy would cover them and the angels would surround them and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him…” (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6518)
“On the Day of Judgment, before Allah, no other intercessor will have a greater status than the Qur’an, neither a Prophet nor an angel.” (at-Tabarani)
“Whoever does not recite Qur’an in a nice voice is not from us.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 618)
The etiquette when reciting the Qur’an:
1) Perform the ablution (wudu), face the qiblah and sit humbly and modestly as in salat.
2) Our Prophet (saas) said that those who finish the recitation of the Qur’an in less than three days cannot understand its commandments. Therefore, when reciting the Qur’an, the meaning should be considered fully and reflected upon deeply by the reader.
3) Each verse should be read duly. Our Prophet (saas) always took refuge in Allah (swt) when he was reading the verses that involved pangs of Hell and asked for His mercy when he was reading verses that involved mercy.
4) The Qur’an should not be recited in a way that could be interpreted as showing off or distract people while they are praying. Our Prophet (saas) said that reciting the Qur’an quietly is superior to reciting it aloud as a charity given secretly is superior to the one that is given publicly. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
5) One should try to recite the Qur’an in a pleasant tone. The Prophet (saas) said: “Beautify the Qur’an with your (good) voices.” (Mishkat) The more pleasant the reciter’s voice the more impression it creates in the listeners.
6) The reciter should feel in his heart the Qur’an’s greatness. He should keep this in mind, keep his heart prepared for it and not be heedless of its true meaning.
To Learn and Teach Knowledge (‘Ilm)
Prophet Muhammad (saas) said, “The ulama [people of knowledge] are the heirs of the prophets.” It does not make sense to say: “I am following the path of Allah’s Messenger (saas)” while persisting in ignorance.
He also said, “Seek knowledge even [as far as] China” (at-Tabarani), and “Seeking after knowledge is an ordinance obligatory upon every Muslim – man and woman” (Ibn Majah). Therefore every Muslim is obliged to expand his knowledge; first of all, he must establish knowledge on the fundamental rules of Islam, to such an extent as to be able to represent the religion.
Our Prophet (saas) said:
“The prophets do not endow gold coins, nor silver coins. They only endow knowledge, so whoever takes hold of it has taken an ample share.” (Abu Dawud)
“Belief is naked and its garb is piety. Its adornment is modesty; and its fruit, knowledge.” (al-Hakim)
“Should the day come wherein I increase not in knowledge wherewith to draw nearer to Allah, let the dawn of that day be accursed.” (at-Tabarani)
“Whoever learns knowledge by which the Countenance of Allah should be sought, yet learns it only to attain some worldly provision, will not find the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawud)
Our Prophet (saas) said, “those who learn knowledge will be provided for by Allah from where they don’t expect.” Satan may try to prevent people from the path of knowledge by making them worry over earthly future and become absorbed in the life of this world. The truth is, however, that Almighty Allah (swt) protects those who strive to learn knowledge for His cause both in this world and the next.
“… he who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him…” (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6518)
“Whoever is overtaken by death while seeking knowledge wherewith to strengthen Islam; between him and the prophets in Paradise is but one grade.” (ad-Darimi)
“They will, on the Day of Resurrection, intercede [before Allah]: the prophets, then the learned, then the martyrs.” (Ibn Majah)
“… whom Allah wants to do a favor, He grants him an understanding of religion.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 020, Number 4720)
Our Prophet (saas) has divided the people of learning into two groups; those who learn for the life of this world and those who learn for the Hereafter. The former have the intention of having assets, high positions and good reputations. Those who do not act in line with the knowledge they attained are ultimately hypocrites because they have failed to put into their hearts what they affirm in words, and tried to deceive Allah (swt). The Messenger of Allah (saas) has informed that these people will be punished in the most severe way in the Hereafter. Our Prophet (saas) said that “The person who shall have the most severe punishment on the Day of Resurrection shall be the scholar who did not benefit from his knowledge.”
The Prophet (saas) also said:
“Whoever increases in knowledge yet fails to improve his morality gains nothing but distance from Allah.” (al-Daylami)
There is a big responsibility on people of knowledge. A believer who has piety should share this blessing granted on him with other believers. This way, the beauty of knowledge can be shared with the ummah.
“Whoever has any knowledge but conceals it, will, on the Day of Resurrection, be bridled with a bit of fire.” (Ibn Majah)
“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, … [one of them being] knowledge (by which people) benefit…” (Sahih Muslim, Book 013, Number 4005)
The Grace of Supplication (Du`ah)
The Prophet Muhammad (saas) was the most predominant among all creation in remembering Allah (swt). He never refrained from the remembrance of Allah (swt) and supplication at any time during the day, whatever he was engaged in. Through his beautiful character, he always remained entirely focused on religion and the Hereafter, the intended target of all sincere Muslims. In the Qur’an, it is revealed: “Say: ‘What has my Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?.’...” (Surat al-Furqan, 77). The Messenger of Allah (saas) never stopped praying and remembering Allah (swt), no matter what.
We can better comprehend the importance he attached to supplication in his own sayings:
“In the sight of Allah, nothing is more honorable than supplication.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“The servant of Allah receives at least one of the three in his supplication: either his sin is forgiven or he receives a reward in this world or achieves the reward in the Hereafter.” (al-Daylami)
“Ask Allah to grant from His bounties for Allah loves to be asked.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“Man is closest to Allah when he is prostrating. Call upon Allah much in prostration.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Your Lord, may He be blessed and exalted, is Kind and Most Generous, and He is too kind to let His servant, if he raises his hands to Him, bring them back empty.” (al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
“Call upon Allah with firm conviction that He will answer. Know that Allah does not answer a supplication that comes from a negligent and heedless heart.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“The supplication of one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and say ‘I supplicated my Lord but it was not granted.’” (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6594)
During the day, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) often used to supplicate as follows: “I have set my face towards the Originator of the heavens and the earth sincerely [in Islam] and I am not among the polytheists. Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds: no partner has He. With this I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims (those who submit to Him). O Allah! You are the King, none has the right to be worshipped but You, You are the Most Perfect and all Praise is for You. You are my Lord and I am Your servant. Forgive all my sins, for no one forgives sins except You. Guide me to the best of characters, to which no one can guide except You, and save me from the worst of characters, from which no one can save except You. I am here and happy to serve You. You are blessed and exalted. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You. O Allah, Creator of the heavens and Earth, Knower of all that is hidden and open! It is You Who will judge between Your servants in those matters about which they used to differ. Guide me by Your Grace to the Truth concerning that about which they differed, for indeed You guide whomsoever You wish to a path that is straight.” (al-Tirmidhi and Sahih Muslim)
The supplication of the Prophet (saas) when he woke up:
“All praise is due to Allah Who gave us life after He took it away from us, and unto Him is the Resurrection. There is no deity but Allah. He has no partner. The Kingdom is His. Praise be to Him. He is the All-Mighty. Glory be to Allah. There is no deity but Allah. He is the most Sublime.” (Sahih al-Bukhari and al-Tirmidhi)
Supplication of the Prophet (saas) on leaving his house:
“In the Name of Allah, I have relied upon Allah. O Allah, I take refuge with You lest I should stray or be led astray, or slip or be tripped, or oppress or be oppressed, or behave foolishly or be treated foolishly.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The supplication the Prophet (saas) made when he entered the mosque:
“O Allah! Open for me the doors of Your mercy.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet’s (saas) supplication on entering his house:
“Praise be to Allah Who protects and shelters me. Praise be to Allah Who feeds me and gives me drink. Praise be to Allah Who is good to me and increases favor. O my Lord, I ask You to save me from Hell.” (Abu Dawud)
Another supplication of the Prophet (saas):
“O Allah, I take refuge in You from all sorts of uncleanness, seen and unseen, material and spiritual. I seek refuge in You from the accursed satan.” (at-Tabarani)
The supplication the Prophet (saas) made when he heard the call to prayer (adhan):
“O Allah, Lord of this perfect call and the established prayer, and the word of piety. Make me die on this faith, make me live in adherence to it, and make me among those who have this faith on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Bayhaqi)
The Prophet’s (saas) supplication after eating:
“Praise be to Allah, Who fed us and gave us drink, Who have not made us in need but pleased us. You guided us and brought us to life from dead. Praise be to You in return for the blessings You have bestowed on us!” (Ahmad)
The necessary adab when supplicating is explained in the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (saas) as follows:
1) Seeking precious times:
The following are the period of time in which the Prophet (saas) engaged in much supplication to Allah (swt): eves, the month of Ramadan, Thursday nights and the time of dawn.
2) Supplicating at times that are important in Allah’s sight:
Our Prophet (saas) said:
In another hadith, it is related: “A fasting person, upon breaking his fast, has a supplication that will not be rejected.” (Ibn Majah) Paying attention to supplicating at such times is important in terms of both the acceptance of the supplication and compliance with the Sunnah.
3) Turning to the qiblah when calling on Allah (swt), raising hands, turning the palms toward the face is sunnah.
When our Prophet (saas) called upon Allah (swt), he raised his hands until his armpits were seen and did not point with his fingers during the supplication. (Sahih Muslim)
4) Supplicating in secret, in a low voice:
Abu Musa reported:
5) Avoiding affected words when supplicating:
The one who calls upon Allah (swt) should ask in modesty and reverence, and avoid false pretences. In one of his hadiths, our Prophet (saas) said: “There will appear some people among you whose prayer will make you look down upon yours…” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Number 578) Those who supplicate must express that they are in need of Allah (swt), avoid meaningless wishes.
6) Supplicating with fear of Allah (swt), hoping it to be answered and with insistence:
“Call upon Allah with firm conviction that He will answer. Know that Allah does not answer a supplication that comes from a negligent and heedless heart.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“The supplication of one of you is granted if he does not grow impatient and say ‘I supplicated my Lord but it was not granted.’” (Sahih Muslim, Book 035, Number 6594)
But if anyone repents after his wrongdoing and puts things right, Allah will turn towards him. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Ma‘ida, 39)
Repentance is an important opportunity to get clear of the former sins and blemishes. Believers should practice this opportunity at any moment of the day. Ali (ra) said, “I feel surprise when those perish although they had such remedies of salvation as repentance (tawba) and seeking forgiveness (istighfar).” The people who are defeated by satan’s cunning and are not able to retrieve their errors, these people do not, in reality, have any other means of salvation than repentance and praying. It is only in this way, the way of sincere repentance, that an individual may achieve happiness both in the life of this world and the life to come.
Our Prophet (saas) said:
“Allah gives relief from every trouble to those who continue repenting and He provides for him from where he least expects.” (Abu Dawud)
“O people! Turn in repentance towards Allah and ask His forgiveness, for I turn in repentance to Him a hundred times a day.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah (saas) continuously said:
“O Allah, glory be to You, free from all imperfection. I wronged myself, did evil. There exists no Might except You to forgive my sins. Allah forgives anyone who asks for forgiveness even if he has sins as many as raiding ants.” (al-Bayhaqi)
“O Allah, place me among those who, when they do good, are glad, and when they do evil ask for forgiveness.” (Ibn Majah)
The repentance recommended by the Prophet (saas):
“O Allah, You alone are my Lord. There is no deity save You. You have created me, and I am Your servant. I will abide by Your covenant and promise as best as I can. I seek refuge in You from the evil of what I have done. I acknowledge to You Your favor which You have bestowed on me and I confess my sins and disobedience to You. So, forgive me, my Lord. Pardon my sins. For, none forgives sins but You.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
The Great Danger of the Tongue: Worthless Talk
[Believers are] those who turn away from worthless talk. (Surat al-Mu’minun, 3)
Our Prophet (saas) used to choose the best of words for his ummah. He immediately warned those whose way of speaking he did not approve of and never allowed believers to verbally hurt each other.
The Messenger of Allah (saas) said that one’s silence is more useful than talking without any real purpose. In another hadith, he said, “The silent one is saved.” (al-Tirmidhi) There are many hadiths on this topic.
“Whoever is protected from the evils of his stomach, his lusts and his tongue is safeguarded from all evils.” (al-Daylami)
“The good news is upon that person who has kept the excess of his words and gave away the surplus of his possessions.” (al-Bazzar)
“Withdraw your tongue from what is not good; only that way you can overcome satan.” (at-Tabarani)
“Allah is near everyone’s tongue; He knows every word spoken. So, may one fear Allah in the words he utters.” (Hatib)
‘Uqba ibn ‘Amir said:
Thinking before uttering a word is what is becoming to a Muslim. A word spoken without thinking may sometimes be interpreted in undesirable ways and it may hurt the people you value. If your speech contains an Islamic topic, then you need to be even more careful. Our Prophet (saas) said:
“A believer’s language is beyond his heart. Before he says something, he first contemplates and then talks. Contrary to this, a hypocrite’s heart is beyond his tongue. When he says something, he says without thinking.” (Haraiti)
One should not drag something out while speaking. The subject should be described briefly and concisely. Thereby, the listener’s time is not wasted and also the Sunnah is followed.
“Beware! Those who speak in a long-winded manner unnecessarily will be subject to destruction.” (Sahih Muslim)
“A time will come when human beings will babble the words as if cows chew grass.” (Ahmad)
Wicked, slang and obscene language must be avoided. Such speech may lead to the hardening of the hearts and the spread of speech to actual deeds. Indeed the Messenger of Allah (said) said:
“Beware not to speak any ugly and filthy words; indeed, Allah does not love ugly words and filthy language.” (al-Hakim)
“A believer does not make anybody feel ill at ease, execrate, say ugly words or disparage.” (al-Tirmidhi)
Believers should be careful in the accusations they make towards one another. If an accusation is incorrect, one may face it in the Hereafter as a violation of a fellow man’s rights.
“If somebody accuses another of fusuq (by calling him a fasiq [a wicked person]) or accuses him of kufr (i.e., unbelief), such an accusation will revert to him (i.e. the accuser) if his companion (the accused) is innocent.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 71)
“O people, think about me while thinking about my people, my brothers and those close to me and do not talk against them. O people, when someone dies, remember him not with his evil acts but his good acts.” (Musnad)
“Whoever shames his brother [in religion] for a sin [from which he repented] will not die until he does it too.” (al-Tirmidhi)
“A most serious form of betrayal of faith is that you tell a lie to a brother while he believes that you are truthful in what you say.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
“Fie upon him who tells lies to make people laugh.” (Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi)
In our religion, lying is defined as something definitely forbidden. The Messenger of Allah (saas) told that there could be no distinctions as little or big lies, and that he condemned every kind of lying. His pray on this matter is as follows:
“O Allah, cleanse my heart of strife, my private parts of fornication and my tongue of lies.” (Hatib)
“If somebody tells a lie, due to its bad smell, the angels run several miles away from him.” (al-Tirmidhi)
In the Qur’an, backbiting (ghibah) is considered equal to eating one’s dead brother’s flesh. In some hadiths of the Prophet (saas) it is said that backbiting kills the brotherhood among believers and causes one to incur the payment for violating the rights of fellow men. Besides that, prying into a believer’s affairs whilst seeking to identify flaws is another great sin akin to backbiting itself. Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) related a telling event that he has faced during ascension:
“When I was taken up to heaven I passed by people who had nails of copper and were scratching their faces and their breasts. I said: ‘Who are these people, Jibril?’ He replied: ‘They are those who were given to backbiting and who aspersed people’s honor.’” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 4860)
“O community of people, who believed with their tongues, but into whose hearts faith has not yet reached! Do not backbite the Muslims, nor seek out their secrets! For, whoever seeks out the faults of his brother, Allah will seek out his secrets. And, if Allah seeks out the fault of anyone, He disgraces him even [if he hides] in his house.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 4862)
Allah’s Messenger (saas) said:
“Whoever averts [an attack] from the honor of his brother, Allah will avert the fire from his face on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Tirmidhi)
The Prophet’s (saas) Farewell Sermon (Khutbat al-Wada`)
The Prophet (saas) delivered the Khutbat al-Wada` to more than a hundred thousand pilgrims (hajjis) during his first and last pilgrimage to Makkah. The fact that so many people listened to it helps to show that the ensuing hadiths, known as mutawatir (consecutive, denoting the number of trustworthy sources), are correct. Rationally speaking, such hadiths cannot be incorrect. No point that our beloved Prophet (saas) made in this sermon can be doubted. Its contents constitute a concise summary of Islam, for it communicates all things that need to be done in both worlds.
The Prophet (saas) intimated here that he would never make another hajj, meaning that his death was imminent. Later, when the true nature of his words was proven, this pilgrimage became known as the Hajj al-Wada` (the Farewell Pilgrimage) and this sermon as the Khutbat al-Wada` (the Farewell Sermon).
However much this sermon is seen as a single sermon, it was delivered in parts: on Mount Arafat, at Mina, a day later at Mina on the day preceding the Eid al-Fitr, and on the first and second days of Eid. As a result, it has been reported differently by those who heard it. Some people or groups did not hear each part. Thus, in order to gather the complete sermon together, the various hadiths were gradually collected and put into the form of a single khutbah. In Surat at-Tawba, which was revealed to the Prophet (saas) a year before this event, it is stated:
O you who believe, the idolaters are unclean, so after this year they should not come near the Masjid al-Haram. If you fear impoverishment, Allah will enrich you from His bounty, if He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (Surat at-Tawba, 28)
Since idolaters had been declared unclean and thus were forbidden to approach the Masjid al-Haram, only Muslims were present and listened to the Farewell Sermon. This also ensured that idolaters could not make any additions to the relevant hadiths. In fact, following the conquest of Makkah so many polytheists converted to Islam that only a handful remained, and they left the city. The Prophet (saas) and approximately 100,000 Companions left Madinah to make hajj. The Prophet (saas) proceeded to teach Muslims the necessary principles and rituals by personally performing them, and thus completed all of the acts related to hajj. Verses indicating that Islam had now been fully established were therefore also revealed during the Hajj al-Wada`.
During the Age of Ignorance (Ayyam al-Jahiliyyah), pilgrims who had come from afar used to stand at Mount Arafat, while the Qurayshi leaders stood on the open area of Muzdalifah to indicate that they regarded themselves better than other people. The Prophet (saas) abolished this custom and stood on Mount Arafat for the waqfah (the ritual of standing before Allah at Mount Arafat), like all other pilgrims did. To indicate Islam’s completion, this verse was revealed:
… Today those who disbelieve have despaired of overcoming your religion. So do not be afraid of them, but be afraid of Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed My blessing upon you, and am pleased with Islam as a religion for you… (Surat al-Ma’ida, 3)
While all Muslims rejoiced at Islam’s perfection, only Abu Bakr (ra) understood that this was a sign of our Prophet’s (saas) imminent passing, and thus he cried. The Prophet (saas) only lived for eighty-two days after this event.
The Prophet’s (saas) Sermon:
While sitting on the back of his camel Qaswa, he delivered this sermon on Mount Arafat:
After praising, and thanking Allah (swt), he said:
Listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present today.
Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib [the Prophet’s uncle] shall henceforth be waived.Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib.
The unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are sacred, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban. Beware of satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
It is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. It is your right and they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste...
Listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth. Perform hajj if you can afford to.All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, take heed and do not turn apostate after me, striking at the necks of one another.
No prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore,
and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of Allah and my Sunnah, if you follow them you will never go astray.All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.
Toward the end of his sermon, the Messenger of Allah (saas) asked his listeners:
“O people, have I faithfully delivered unto you my message?” A powerful murmur of assents “O Allah! Yes!” arose from thousands of pilgrims and the vibrant words “Allahumma Na`m,” rolled like thunder throughout the valley. The Prophet (saas) raised his forefinger and said: “O Allah, bear witness that I have conveyed Your message to Your people.”
The Messenger of Allah (saas) stood for waqfah until the sun set. Right when he was about to come down from the mount, the third ayah of Surat al-Ma’ida was revealed. Later, mounting his camel, set off for Muzdalifah. Here he joined the maghrib and isha’ prayers with one adhan and two iqamahs. After praying, he rested. In the morning, he prayed fajr in congregation and, after the dawn had truly broken, went to the jamrat al-`aqabah. After stoning satan, he went to Mina and gave his second sermon, which was similar to the previous one. Afterwards he went to the area set aside for sacrifice and sacrificed the sacrificial camels. After, his son-in-law Ali (ra) offered sacrifice. A piece of meat was taken from every camel that has been sacrificed, cooked and then eaten. The Messenger of Allah (saas), who shaved his head afterwards, took of the ihram and circumambulated the Ka`bah (performed tawaf). After praying dhuhr, he went to Zamzam and drank water that was offered to him. After that, he returned to Mina and spent three more days for the throwing of stones, where he also preached to the Muslims.
“When Allah’s help and victory have arrived and you have seen people entering Allah’s religion in droves, then glorify your Lord and ask His forgiveness. He is the Ever-Returning.” (Surat an-Nasr, 1-3)
He recited Surat an-Nasr, which was revealed at that time, and also advised them in his sermon. The Messenger of Allah (saas), who again mentioned the security of each person’s life, goods, and honor, reminded the Muslims again and again of these rights, which constitute the basis of all human rights.
The Importance of the Farewell Sermon
The Farewell Sermon is important for several reasons:
Before everything else, one has to recognize that the Prophet (saas) delivered this sermon in 10 AH, when he was enjoying the last months of his life. The third verse of Surat al-Ma’idah was also revealed during this hajj:
... Today I have perfected your religion for you and completed My blessing upon you and I am pleased with Islam as a religion for you… (Surat al-Ma‘ida, 3)
Its contents are very important, for it touches upon important issues and ends quite a few non-Islamic practices that had not been elaborated upon until then (e.g., blood feuds and usury), discloses the law governing marital relations, explains how to perform hajj, as well as many other issues. A number of writers nowadays see the Khutbat al-Wada` as the Islamic declaration of human rights and women’s rights. It is true that the affirmation of the inviolability of people’s property, life, and honor was proclaimed here for the first time in history. Although the declaration of human rights accepted by the United Nations contains many more fine distinctions, these have never been practiced in reality. In his Farewell Sermon, however, the Prophet (saas), who was sent to the worlds as a mercy, was able to graft his values to his people’s consciences, souls, minds, and ideas. As a result, people have always lived in total freedom, secure in their lives, property, and honor in Islamic lands, even when Muslims were at their most powerful and splendid.
Even though human rights have developed slowly over time, they only achieved their full expression with Islam. The Khutbat al-Wada` carries a huge importance as the first declaration of human rights. As history shows, human rights only appeared in the West during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries of the Christian era.
The Principles Introduced to Social Life by the Khutbat al-Wada`
The Prophet (saas) primarily touched upon the following points in his sermon:
- In every undertaking, one should always praise and thank Allah (swt).
- One’s lower self always commands evil. Thus, one has to seek refuge in Allah (swt) from the evil of the self.
- Life, property, and honor are sacred. The right to life is a natural right. Honor, respect, dignity, and property are additional rights that are protected.
- Un-Islamic traditions have been abolished. Therefore, people should stop doing blindly what they have been accustomed to doing.
- Usury is prohibited.
- Pursuing a blood feud is prohibited.
- What is entrusted to others has to be returned to its proper owners. One should never betray this arrangement.
- One should not listen to satan in small or big, unimportant or important things.
- Men and women have mutual rights, duties, and responsibilities.
- Both men and women should avoid adultery.
- One should treat slaves and servants well.
- All Muslims are brothers and sisters. Every form of class difference or privilege has been abolished. One can only be superior to another through the practice of virtue.
- One needs to refrain from oppression, using the people’s property in an unjustified manner, or using it without the owner’s permission.
- Muslims should refrain from fighting each other.
- Those who obey the Qur’an and the Sunnah will never be corrupted.
- One should not stray from pure Islam or go to extremes.
- Muslims should worship Allah (swt), pray the five daily required prayers, observe the Ramadan fast, and follow the Messenger of Allah’s (saas) recommendations. Those who conform to these regulations will insha’Allah go to Paradise.