He who studies and teaches religion is superior to he who devotes his life to worship

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Abu Umamah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said, “The superiority of the learned over the devout is like my superiority over the most inferior amongst you (in good deeds).” He went on to say, “Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth, and even the ant in its hole and the fish (in water) supplicate in favor of those who teach people knowledge.”

Learned person or ‘alim here means scholar of the Quran and Hadith, who adheres to Faraid and Sunnah and remains busy in learning and imparting knowledge. The devout worshiper or ‘abid, on the other hand, is one who spends most of his time in the worship of Allah. The benefit of his voluntary prayer and remembrance of Allah is restricted to his own self while the benefit of knowledge of the scholar reaches others also. Hence, of the two, the latter is far superior.

Any action void of the remembrance of Allah is either a distraction or heedlessness except for four actions

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The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) praised health-promoting physical activities. In an authentic hadith, which is narrated in At-Tabarani, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Any action which is void of the remembrance of Allah is either a distraction or heedlessness except for four actions: Walking from target to target, i.e. during archery practice; training a horse; playing with one’s family; and learning to swim.” Most of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned in this hadith are physical activities that promote one’s physical strength and overall health.

Desirable acts on the day of Eid

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The Sunnahs that the Muslim should observe on the day of Eid are as follows:

1 – Doing ghusl before going out to the prayer.

It was narrated in a sahih hadeeth in al-Muwatta’ and elsewhere that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to do ghusl on the day of al-Fitr before going out to the prayer-place in the morning. Al-Muwatta’ 428.

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that the Muslims were unanimously agreed that it is mustahabb (recommended) to do ghusl for Eid prayer. The reason why it is mustahabb is the same reason as that for doing ghusl before Jumu’ah and other public gatherings. Rather on Eid the reason is even stronger.

2 – Eating before going out to pray on Eid al-Fitr and after the prayer on Eid al-Adha:

Part of the etiquette is not to go out to pray on Eid al-Fitr until one has eaten some dates, because of the hadeeth narrated by al-Bukhaari from Anas ibn Maalik, who said that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used not to go out on the morning of Eid al-Fitr until he had eaten some dates… of which he would eat an odd number. Al-Bukhaari, 953.

It is mustahabb to eat before going out to emphasize the fact that it is forbidden to fast on that day and to demonstrate that the fast has ended.

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) suggested that the reason for that was so as to ward off the possibility of adding to the fast, and to hasten to obey the command of Allaah. Al-Fath, 2/446

Whoever does not have any dates may break his fast with anything that is permissible.

3 – Takbeer on the day of Eid

This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of Eid because Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allaah [i.e. to say Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar: Allaah is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

It was narrated that al-Waleed ibn Muslim said: I asked al-Awzaa’i and Maalik ibn Anas about saying Takbeer out loud on the two Eids. They said, Yes, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to say it out loud on the day of al-Fitr until the imam came out (to lead the prayers).

It was narrated in a sahih report that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami said, “They emphasized it more on the day of al-Fitr than the day of al-Adha.”. Wakee’ said, this refers to the takbeer. See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/122/

Al-Daaraqutni and others narrated that on the morning of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Ibn ‘Umar would strive hard in reciting takbeer until he came to the prayer place, then he would recite takbeer until the imam came out.

Saying takbeer when coming out of one’s house to the prayer place and until the imam came out was something that was well known among the salaf (early generations). This has been narrated by a number of scholars such as Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd a l-Razzaaq and al-Firyaabi in Ahkaam al-Eidayn from a group of the salaf. For example, Naafi’ ibn Jubayr used to recite takbeer and was astonished that the people did not do so, and he said, “Why do you not recite takbeer?”

Ibn Shihaab al-Zuhri (may Allaah have mercy on him) used to say, “The people used to recite takbeer from the time they came out of their houses until the imam came in.”

The time for takbeer on Eid al-Fitr starts from the night before Eid until the imam enters to lead the Eid prayer.

Description of the takbeer:

It was narrated in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he used to recite takbeer during the days of tashreeq:

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu akbar, Allah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is most Great, there is no god but Allaah, Allaah is Most great, Allaah is most great, and to Allaah be praise).

It was also narrated elsewhere by Ibn Abi Shaybah with the same isnad, but with the phrase “Allahu akbar” repeated three times.

4 – Offering congratulations

The etiquette of Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another Taqabbala Allaah minna wa minkum (May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “Eid mubaarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations.

It was narrated that Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: When the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) met one another on the day of Eid, they would say to one another, “May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you.”

Offering congratulations was something that was well known among the Sahaabah, and scholars such as Imam Ahmad and others allowed it. There is evidence which suggests that it is prescribed to offer congratulations and good wishes on special occasions, and that the Sahaabah congratulated one another when good things happened, such as when Allaah accepted the repentance of a man, they went and congratulated him for that, and so on.

Undoubtedly these congratulations are among the noble characteristics among the Muslims.

The least that may be said concerning the subject of congratulations is that you should return the greetings of those who congratulate you on Eid, and keep quiet if others keep quiet, as Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: If anyone congratulates you, then respond, otherwise do not initiate it.

5 – Adorning oneself on the occasion of Eid.

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that ‘Umar took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 948.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) agreed with ‘Umar on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk.

It was narrated that Jaabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had a cloak which he would wear on the two Eids and on Fridays. Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1756,

Al-Bayhaqi narrated with a saheeh isnaad that Ibn ‘Umar used to wear his best clothes on Eid.

So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for Eid.

With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-mahram men. It is also haraam for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship.

6 – Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another.

It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to vary his route. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 986.

Do not ask about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble

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Allah says in Surah Al-Mai’dah (interpretation):

“O you who believe! Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if you ask about them while the Quran is being revealed, they will be made plain to you. Allah has forgiven that, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.” — Quran 5:101

This verse forbade the believers to ask the Prophet about matters concerning which Allah had not said anything in His Book and had not said anything concerning them; splitting hairs and asking too many details about them might lead to them being prohibited, which would cause them hardship. It also forbade them to ask about things that were hidden from them and if they came to know about them it would upset them, such as how sound their attribution to their fathers was. And that indeed happened.

Al-Bukhaari (540) and Muslim (2359) narrated from Anas ibn Maalik that the Messenger of Allah came out when the sun had passed its zenith and led them in praying Dhuhr. Then he stood on the minbar and spoke of the Hour, and said that momentous events would occur during it. Then he said: “Whoever would like to ask about anything, let him ask; you will not ask me about anything but I will tell you about it, so long as I am standing here.” The people wept a great deal, and he kept saying: “Ask me.”

‘Abdullah ibn Hudhaafah as-Sahmi stood up and said: “Who is my father?” He said: “Your father is Hudhaafah.” Then he kept saying, “Ask me.” Then ‘Umar knelt up and said: “We are pleased with Allah as our Lord, Islam as our religion, and Muhammad as our Messenger.” [The Messenger of Allah] fell silent, then he said: “Paradise and Hell were shown to me just now, on this wall, and I have never seen anything as good (as what I saw in Paradise) or anything as evil (as what I saw in Hell).”

A number of things are known from this:

Firstly, the prohibition mentioned in the verse applies specifically to the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), which was the time when Revelation was still coming down, unlike times that came after that. Hence this does not mean that we should not seek Islamic knowledge and learn that which will benefit us or that we need to know with regard to matters of this life and the hereafter.

Secondly, the things that they were forbidden to ask about were:

  1. Things that had no bearing on their actions and were of no benefit in religious terms
  2. Things that Islam said nothing about, out of mercy to people, not out of forgetfulness, because asking too many questions about that could lead to them being forbidden, which would cause hardship for people.
    • Al-Bukhaari (6745) and Muslim (4349) narrated that Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “One of the worst sins a Muslim could commit is asking about something that was not prohibited to the Muslims, but it became prohibited to them because of his asking.”
  3. Things that were unknown to those who asked about them, which if they were made plain to them would cause them trouble, as we have seen above in the hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn Hudhaafah.

Thirdly, with regard to matters that are connected to the explanation of a shariah ruling, Allah has instructed us to ask about them, as He says (interpretation): “So ask those who possess knowledge if you do not know.” — Quran 16:43

Greater reward awaits those who memorize the Quran and act upon it

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At-Tirmidhi (2914) and Abu Dawood (1464) narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: ‘Read, and ascend, and recite as you used to recite in the [previous] world, for your status will be according to the last verse that you recite.’”

Shaykh Muhammad Shams al-Haqq al-‘Azeemabaadi (may Allah have mercy on him) said [1]:

“It will be said”: i.e., when people are admitted to Paradise

“to the companion of the Qur’an” i.e., the one who consistently recites it and acts upon it, not the one who reads it and does not act upon it.

“Read and ascend” i.e., to the higher levels of Paradise or of closeness to Allah.””and recite” i.e., do not be hasty in your recitation in Paradise

“as you used to recite” that is, in your reading

“in the [previous] world”.

From this hadith, it may be understood that this greater reward will not be attained except by one who memorized the Qur’an and learned how to recite it properly and in a precise manner, as it should be done.

[1] ‘Awn al-Ma‘bood fi Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood (4/237).

There is a Difference between a Believer and a Muslim

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Allah chastises the bedouins who, when they embraced Islam, claimed for themselves the grade of faithful believers. However, Faith had not yet firmly entered their hearts,

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

The bedouins say: “We believe.” Say: “You do not believe, but say, ‘We have submitted,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”

This honorable Ayah provides proof that Faith is a higher grade than Islam, according to the scholars of the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah. This is also demonstrated in the Hadith of Jibril, peace be upon him, when he questioned the Prophet about Islam, then Iman then Ihsan. Thus moving the general matter to one more specific, then even more specific. Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, “The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, `O Allah’s Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.’ The Prophet said,

Imam Ahmad recorded that `Amir bin Sa`d bin Abi Waqqas said, “The Messenger of Allah gave (something to) some men and did not give one of them. Sa`d said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger, you gave to so-and-so and so-and-so. However, you gave nothing to so-and-so, even though he is a believer.’ The Prophet said, ‘Or say, a Muslim.’ Sa`d repeated his statement thrice each time the Prophet answered, ‘Or say, a Muslim.’ The Prophet then said, ‘I might give some men and give nothing to others, even though the latter are dearer to me than the former. I do not give them things for fear that they might be thrown on their faces in the Fire.'” This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

Therefore, the Prophet made a distinction between the grade of a believer and the grade of a Muslim, indicating that Iman is a more exclusive grade than Islam.

So this proves that the bedouins whom the Ayah mentioned were not hypocrites, rather they were Muslims in whose hearts Faith was not yet firmly established. They claimed a higher grade for themselves than the grade that they earned, and they were taught a lesson as a consequence. This meaning agrees with the meaning given by Ibn `Abbas, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Qatadah and that preferred by Ibn Jarir. These bedouins were taught a lesson:

قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ

Say: “You do not believe, but say ‘We are Muslims,’ for Faith has not yet entered your hearts…”

This means, ‘you have not yet achieved the reality of Faith.’

Allah the Exalted said,

وَإِن تُطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لاَ يَلِتْكُمْ مِّنْ أَعْمَـلِكُمْ شَيْئاً

But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds…

This means, ‘He will not decrease any of your rewards,’ as Allah said; “We shall not decrease the reward of their deeds in anything.” (52:21)

Allah said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

…for those who repent and return to Him.

Allah’s statement,

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah . It is those who are the truthful.

The believers did not have doubts and their Faith was not shaken. Rather, their Faith remained on conviction. They gladly gave away their life and the most precious of their wealth in obedience to Allah as a means of seeking His pleasure.

Investigating the reliability of the news conveyed by wicked people

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Allah the Exalted ordered investigating the news that sinners and the wicked bring, to make sure of its authenticity. Otherwise, if the sinner’s word is taken for granted and a decision is based on it, regardless of whether the information is true or not, the authorities will be taking the lead of the sinners.

Allah the Exalted and Most Honored forbade taking the path of the corrupted and sinners. This is why groups of the scholars of Hadith refuse to accept narrations from narrators whose reliability is unknown, for they might be from among the wicked people, in reality.

 

Reference: Tafsir ibn Kathir: Surah Al-Hujurat 49:6

Not a moment of this life should be wasted in the disobedience of Allah; One should always be conscious of his accountability to Him

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Abu Barzah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Man’s feet will not move on the Day of Resurrection before he is asked about his life, how did he consume it, his knowledge, what did he do with it, his wealth, how did he earn it and how did he dispose of it, and about his body, how did he wear it out.”
[At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary:
1. This Hadith, first of all, highlights the importance and value of this transitory life, every breath of which is invaluable. Not a moment of it should, therefore, be wasted in the disobedience of Allah because one shall also be made to account for it.
2. Man shall also be answerable for his knowledge. Here, we find an inducement for acquiring religious knowledge because that alone is beneficial for him. He should make use of his knowledge for winning the pleasure of Allah. If he does not do that then he must think about the justification for not doing so. He must also think how he would be facing Allah on the Day of Resurrection.
3. The question in respect of wealth raised in this Hadith clearly shows that one should earn wealth by legitimate means only and spend it strictly in a lawful manner. If he takes to unfair means of income or squanders it, he will be sinful and required to account for the violation of the Divine injunctions.
4. One should protect his body from everything that is unlawful and force himself to submit to the Divine injunctions. When he is asked to account for neglecting them, it will be difficult for him to escape the consequences of accountability.
In short, this Hadith makes one conscious of the accountability so that one keeps it all the time in view so that he will be saved from humiliation on the Day of Resurrection. How nice would it really be if one bears the accountability of the Day of Resurrection always in mind!
[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 407]