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

One should not harm others

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It was related by Imam Ahmad and other compilers of hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “One should not harm others nor should one seek benefit for himself by causing harm to others.”

Allah has forgiven the Muslims for their honest mistakes and what they are forced to do against their will

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Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has pardoned my nation for their mistakes, their forgetfulness, and what they are coerced into doing.” Graded Hasan (fair) according to Ibn Taymiyyah. (Sunan Ibn Majah 2043)

 

You cannot be a true Muslim until you think all humans are deserving of kindness

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Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “You cannot be a true Muslim until you are kind among yourselves…Kindness is not this that you sympathize with your companion, but kindness is this that you think all men deserving of it.” [Tibrani]

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).

The Prophet was more modest than a virgin in her chamber

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Narrated Abu Sa`id:

The Prophet (ﷺ) was more shy (from Haya’: pious shyness from committing religious indiscretions) than a veiled virgin girl. (Sahih al-Bukhari 6119)

Narrated Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri:

The Prophet (ﷺ) was shyer than a virgin in her separate room. And if he saw a thing which he disliked, we would recognize that (feeling) in his face. (Sahih al-Bukhari 6102)

Abu Sa’id said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had more modesty  than a virgin in her tent. When he disliked something, that could be seen in  his face.” Graded Sahih by Al-Albani (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 599)

Abu Sa’eed Khudari Radiyallahu ‘Anhu says that Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam was more bashful than a virgin girl in her veil (purdah). When Rasulullah Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam did not like something, it could be seen on his face. (Because of his excessive Modesty he did not mention it). (Shama’il al-Muhammadiyyah/Tirmidhi, Eng., Book 48, Hadith 341)

Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was more modest than the virgin behind the curtain (or in the apartment), and when he disliked anything, we recognised  that from his face. (Sahih Muslim 2320)

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri said:

“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was more modest than a virgin in her chamber. If he disliked something, that could be seen in his face.” Graded Sahih by Al-Albani (Sunan Ibn Majah, Eng. Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4180)

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.”

 

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.