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

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Characteristics of the Hypocrites and Their Destination

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Verily, those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe (again), and (again) disbelieve, and go on increasing in disbelief; Allah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (right) way. Give to the hypocrites the tidings that there is for them a painful torment.Those who take disbelievers for friends instead of believers, do they seek honor with them? Verily, then to Allah belongs all honor. And it has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in talk other than that; certainly, in that case you would be like them. Surely, Allah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell. — Quran 4:137-140

Allah states that whoever embraces the faith, reverts from it, embraces it again, reverts from it and remains on disbelief and increases in it until death, then he will never have a chance to gain accepted repentance after death. Nor will Allah forgive him, or deliver him from his plight to the path of correct guidance. This is why Allah said,

لَّمْ يَكُنْ اللَّهُ لِيَغْفِرَ لَهُمْ وَلاَ لِيَهْدِيَهُمْ سَبِيلاً

Allah will not forgive them, nor guide them on the (right) way…

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that his father said that Ahmad bin `Abdah related that Hafs bin Jami’ said that Samak said that `Ikrimah reported that Ibn `Abbas commented:

ثُمَّ ازْدَادُواْ كُفْراً

…and go on increasing in disbelief

“They remain on disbelief until they die.” Mujahid said similarly.

Allah then said:

بَشِّرِ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً

Give to the hypocrites the tidings that there is for them a painful torment.

Hence, the hypocrites have this characteristic, for they believe, then disbelieve, and this is why their hearts become sealed. Allah describes the hypocrites as taking the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, meaning they are the disbelievers’ supporters in reality, for they give them their loyalty and friendship in secret. They also say to disbelievers when they are alone with them, “We are with you, we only mock the believers by pretending to follow their religion.”

Allah said while chastising them for being friends with the disbelievers:

أَيَبْتَغُونَ عِندَهُمُ الْعِزَّةَ

do they seek honor, with them

Allah then states that honor, power, and glory are for Him Alone without partners, and for those whom Allah grants such qualities too.

Allah said,

مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعاً

Whosoever desires honor, then to Allah belong all honor

and

وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَـكِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

But honor belongs to Allah, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not.

The statement that honor is Allah’s Alone, is meant to encourage the servants to adhere to their servitude to Allah and to be among His faithful servants who will gain victory in this life and when the Witnesses stand up to testify on the Day of Resurrection.

Allah’s statement:

وَقَدْ نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِى الْكِتَـبِ أَنْ إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ ءَايَـتِ اللَّهِ يُكَفَرُ بِهَا وَيُسْتَهْزَأُ بِهَا فَلاَ تَقْعُدُواْ مَعَهُمْ حَتَّى يَخُوضُواْ فِى حَدِيثٍ غَيْرِهِ إِنَّكُمْ إِذاً مِّثْلُهُمْ

And it has already been revealed to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah being denied and mocked at, then sit not with them, until they engage in talk other than that; certainly in that case you would be like them.

The Ayah means, if you still commit this prohibition after being aware of its prohibition, sitting with them where Allah’s Ayat are rejected, mocked at and denied, and you sanction such conduct, then you have participated with them in what they are doing. So Allah said, concerning the burden they will earn:

إِنَّكُمْ إِذاً مِّثْلُهُمْ

(But if you stayed with them) certainly in that case you would be like them.

Allah’s statement,
﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَامِعُ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ وَالْكَـفِرِينَ فِى جَهَنَّمَ جَمِيعاً﴾
(Surely, Allah will collect the hypocrites and disbelievers all together in Hell.) means, just as the hypocrites participate in the Kufr of disbelievers, Allah will join them all together to reside in the Fire for eternity, dwelling in torment, punishment, enchained, restrained and in drinking boiling water

Teach your families the religion and good behavior

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O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded. — Quran 66:6

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported from Ibn `Abbas: “Protect yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell).” He said, “Work in the obedience of Allah, avoid disobedience of Allah and order your families to remember Allah, then Allah will save you from the Fire.”

Mujahid also commented on: “Protect yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell)” saying, “Have Taqwa of Allah and order your family to have Taqwa of Him.”

Qatadah said, “He commands obedience to Allah, to not disobey Allah, he orders his family to obey His orders and helps them to act upon His orders. When one sees disobedience, he stops them and forbids them from doing it.”

Similar was said by Ad-Dahhak and Muqatil: “It is an obligation for the Muslim to teach his near family members and his male and female slaves what Allah has made obligatory for them and what Allah has forbidden for them.” There is a Hadith that confirms the meaning of this Ayah. Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ar-Rabi` bin Sabrah said that his father said that the Messenger of Allah said,

There is a Hadith that confirms the meaning of this Ayah. Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ar-Rabi` bin Sabrah said that his father said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Protect yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell),” saying, “Have Taqwa of Allah and order your family to have Taqwa of Him.”

 

The prohibition of baseless suspicion

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Allah the Exalted forbids His faithful servants from being suspicious, which includes having doubts and suspicions about the conduct of one’s family, relatives and other people in general. Therefore, Muslims are to avoid suspicion without foundation.

The Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “Never think ill of the word that comes out of your believing brother’s mouth, as long as you can find a good excuse for it.”

Malik recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that Allah’s Messenger said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; do not spy on one another; do not look for other’s faults; do not be jealous of one another; do not envy one another; do not hate one another, and do not desert (shun) one another. And O Allah’s servants! Be brothers!” The Two Sahihs and Abu Dawud recorded this Hadith.

Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Do not shun each other; do not ignore one another; do not hate one another, and do not envy one another, and be brothers, O servants of Allah. No Muslim is allowed to shun his brother for more than three days.” Muslim and At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith, who considered it Sahih.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is sin. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.

Quran 49:12

Allah said, “And spy not”, on each other. Tajassus, usually harbors ill intentions, and the spy is called a Jasus. As for Tahassus (inquiring), it is usually done for a good reason. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said that Prophet Ya`qub said, “O my sons! Go you and inquire (Tahassasu) about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s mercy.” (12:87)

Both of these terms, Tajassus and Tahassus could have evil connotations. In the Sahih it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said, “Neither commit Tajassus nor Tahassus nor hate each other nor commit Tadabur. And be brothers, O servants of Allah.”

Al-Awza`i said, “Tajassus means, to search for something, while Tahassus means, listening to people when they are talking without their permission, or eavesdropping at their doors. Tadabur refers to shunning each other.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded this statement.

Allah the Exalted said about backbiting; “neither backbite one another”, thus prohibiting it, which was explained in a Hadith collected by Abu Dawud that Abu Hurayrah said, “It was asked, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! What is backbiting?’ He said, ‘Mentioning about your brother in a manner that he dislikes.’ He was asked, ‘What if my brother was as I mentioned?’ He said, ‘If he was as you mentioned, you will have committed backbiting. But if he was not as you say about him, you will have falsely accused him’.” At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said Hasan Sahih.

Backbiting was sternly warned against, and this is why Allah the Exalted and Most Blessed compared it to eating the flesh of a dead human being:

“Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it.”

Just as you hate eating the flesh of a dead person, on account of your nature; so hate backbiting, on account of your religion. The latter carries a punishment that is worse than the former. This Ayah seeks to discourage people from backbiting and warns against it. The Prophet used these words to discourage taking back a gift that one gives to someone, “He is just like the dog that eats its vomit.” after saying, “Ours is not an evil parable.”

Using various chains of narration, the Sahihs and Musnads record that the Prophet said during the Farewell Hajj: “Verily, your blood, wealth and honor are as sacred among you as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this town of yours.” Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

Abu Dawud recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
“All of the Muslim is sacred to the Muslim, his wealth, honor and his blood. It is evil enough for someone to belittle his Muslim brother.” At-Tirmidhi collected this Hadith and said Hasan Gharib.

Al-Hafiz Abu Ya`la recorded that a cousin of Abu Hurayrah said, “Maiz came to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! I have committed adultery,’ and the Messenger turned away from him until Maiz repeated his statement four times. The fifth time, the Prophet asked him, ‘Have you committed adultery?’ Maiz said, ‘Yes.’

The Prophet asked, ‘Do you know what adultery means’ Ma`iz said, ‘Yes. I have illegally done with her what a husband legally does with his wife.’ The Prophet said, ‘What do you seek to accomplish by this statement?’ Maiz said, ‘I intend that you purify me.’

The Prophet asked, ‘Have you gone into her just as the stick goes into the kohl container and the rope goes into the well)?’ Ma`iz said, ‘Yes, O Allah’s Messenger!’ The Prophet commanded that Maiz be stoned to death and his order was carried out. The Prophet heard two men saying to one another, ‘Have you not seen the man who had Allah cover his secret, but his heart could not let him rest until he was stoned to death, just as the dog is stoned?’

The Prophet continued on and when he passed by the corpse of a donkey, he asked, ‘Where are so-and-so? Dismount and eat from this donkey.’ They said, ‘May Allah forgive you, O Allah’s Messenger! Would anyone eat this meat?’ The Prophet said; ‘The backbiting you committed against your brother is worse as a meal than this meal. By He in Whose Hand is my soul! He is now swimming in the rivers of Paradise.'” This Hadith has an authentic chain of narration.

Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah when a rotten odor was carried by the wind. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Do you know what this odor is? It is the odor of those who backbite people.'”

EVIL is the name of wickedness after having faith

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Allah the Exalted forbids scoffing at people, which implies humiliating and belittling them. In the Sahih, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said, “Arrogance is refusing the truth and belittling people.” And in another version, “And despising people.”

It is forbidden to scoff at and belittle people, for the injured party could be more honored and dearer to Allah the Exalted than those who ridicule and belittle them. This is why Allah the Exalted said,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ

O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at (i.e. ridicule) another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former.

The above statements from the verse states the prohibition for men and then women.

The statement of Allah the Exalted,

ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

Nor defame yourselves

This statement of Allah forbids defaming each other. He among men who is a slanderer, and a backbiter, is cursed and condemned as Allah states: { Woe to every Humazah, Lumazah } (104:1)

Hamz is defamation by action, while Lamz is [defamation] by words.

Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, { Hammaz (defaming), going about with slander. } (68:11) meaning, he belittles and defames people, transgressing and spreading slander among them, which is the Lamz that uses words as its tool.

Allah’s statement here, { Nor defame yourselves, } just as He said in another Ayah, { Nor kill yourselves } (4:29), meaning, nor kill one another.

`Abdullah bin `Abbas, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said that the Ayah, { Nor defame yourselves, } means, none of you should defame each other, while,

وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ

Nor insult one another by nicknames

means, ‘you should not address people by nicknames that people dislike.’

Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Jabirah bin Ad-Dahhak said, “This Ayah was revealed about us, Banu Salamah; When the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, every man among us had two or three nicknames. When the Prophet called a man by one of these nicknames, people would say, ‘O Allah’s Messenger! He hates that nickname.’ Then this Ayah, { nor insult one another by nicknames. } was revealed.” Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.

The statement of Allah the Exalted and Most Honored,

بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ

  Evil is the name of wickedness after faith

This means the names and descriptions of wickedness are evil; meaning, ‘to use the nicknames that were used by the people of Jahiliyyah, after you embraced Islam and understood it.’

وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

And whosoever does not repent (from this sin), then such are indeed wrongdoers.

Reference: Tafsir ibn Kathir: Surah Al-Hujurat 49:11

 

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

Between a man and polytheism and disbelief is the abandonment of salah

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It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that he heard the Apostle (may peace and blessings be upon him) saying: “Verily between man and between polytheism and unbelief is the negligence of prayer.” (Muslim)

He (peace be upon him) also says:

“The covenant between us and them (i.e. the disbelievers) is prayer, so whoever neglects it has become an unbeliever.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhee, Nasaa’ee])

In addition, Allah the Exalted says:

“[And asking them], ‘What put you into saqar (one of the names of Hell (Jahannam) as mentioned in the Quran)?’ They will say, ‘We were not of those who prayed…'” (Quran: Al-Muddaththir: 42-43).

 

 

The least tortured man on the Day of Resurrection will think that he is the most tortured when he is not

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Nu`man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The least tortured man on the Day of Resurrection is one underneath whose feet will be placed two live coal, and his brain will be boiling, and he would think that he is the most tortured, while he is the least tortured.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:

According to the narration in Muslim, the straps of shoes to be worn by the inhabitants of Hell would be of fire which will make their brains boil like a cooker placed in an oven. Some narrators have stated that the man alluded to will be Abu Talib, the real uncle of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and his most kind and sympathetic supporter. But since he had died as a polytheist, he will be sent to Hell. May Allah save us from it.

[Riyad as-Saliheen, Book of Miscellany, Chapter 50, Hadith 398]