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Knowing Allah
  
  

Under category The Prophet’s Methods for Correcting People’s Mistakes
Creation date 2007-11-14 01:45:15
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when the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) saw or heard about a mistake, he would show his anger, especially if it had to do with matters of belief (‘aqeedah). this includes indulging in disputes about al-qadar (divine decree) and the qur`aan. in sunan ibn maajah there is a report from ‘amr ibn shu’ayb from his father from his grandfather, who said:

“the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) came out to his companions, who were disputing about al-qadar, and it was as if a pomegranate seed had burst on his face, i.e., his face was red with anger. he said, ‘is this what you were commanded to do? is this what you were created for? are you using some parts of the qur`aan to contradict others? the nations before you were destroyed by this!’ ‘abd-allaah ibn ‘amr said: ‘i never felt happy about missing any gathering with the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), but i was happy about missing that gathering.’” (reported by ibn maajah, no. 85. he said in al-zawaa’id: this is a saheeh isnaad and its men are thiqaat. it says in saheeh ibn maajah: hasan saheeh. no. 69).

according to ibn abi ‘aasim in kitaab al-sunnah:

“the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) came out to his companions, and they were disputing about al-qadar, one quoting one aayah and another quoting another aayah. it was as if a pomegranate seed had been thrown in his face [because it was red with anger]. he said, ‘is this what you were created for? is this what you were ordered to do? do not use parts of allaah’s book against other parts. look at what you are commanded to do, and do it, and what you are forbidden to do, avoid it.’” (al-sunnah by ibn abi ‘aasim, edited by al-albaani, no. 406. he said: its isnaad is hasan).

another example of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) becoming angry at the denial of one of the basic principles was what happened in the case of ‘umar (may allaah be pleased with him), with regard to sources. ahmad (may allaah have mercy on him) reported in his musnad from jaabir ibn ‘abd-allaah that ‘umar ibn al-khattaab came to the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) with a book which he had got from some of the people of the book. the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) got angry. he said,

“are you confused about it, o son of al-khattaab? by the one in whose hand is my soul, i have brought you [the message] pure and white, so do not ask them about anything, lest they tell you something true and you reject it, or they tell you something false and you accept it. by the one in whose hand is my soul, if moosa (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) were alive, he could not but follow me.” (musnad ahmad, 3/387. classed by al-albaani as hasan because of corroborating reports in al-irwa’, no. 1589).

the hadeeth was also narrated by al-daarimi, may allaah have mercy on him, from jaabir, who said that ‘umar ibn al-khattaab came to the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) with a copy of the tawraat (torah), and said, “o messenger of allaah, this is a copy of the tawraat.” [the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)] did not say anything. [‘umar] began to read it, and the face of the messenger of allaah changed [i.e., he was angry]. abu bakr said, “may your mother lose you! do you not see the expression of the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)?” ‘umar looked at the face of the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and said, “i seek refuge with allaah from the anger of allaah and the anger of his messenger (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him). we are content with allaah as our lord, with islam as our religion and with muhammad as our prophet.” the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said,

“by the one in whose hand is the soul of muhammad, if moosa were to appear among you and you followed him and left me, you would go astray from the straight path. if he had lived until the time of my prophethood, he would have followed me.” (sunan al-daarimi, no. 441, al-muqaddimah, baab maa yutaqqaa min tafseer hadeeth al-nabi (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) wa qawli ghayrihi ‘inda qawlihi (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him). the editor, ‘abd-allaah haashim yamaani, said: it was also narrated by ahmad with a hasan isnaad, and by ibn hibbaan with a saheeh isnaad).

among the corroborating reports is the hadeeth of abu’l-darda’, who said: “ ‘umar brought some pages of the tawraat to the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and said, ‘o messenger of allaah, (these are) some pages of the tawraat which i took from a brother of mine from bani zurayq.’ the face of the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) changed, and ‘abd-allaah ibn zayd – the one who was shown the adhaan in a dream – said: ‘have you gone mad? do you not see [the expression] on the face of the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)?’ ‘umar said: ‘we are content with allaah as our lord, with islam as our religion, with muhammad as our prophet and with the qur`aan as our guide. the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) relaxed and said:

‘by the one in whose hand is the soul of muhammad, if moosa were among you, and you followed him and left me, you would go far astray. you are my share among the nations and i am your share among the prophets.’” (al haythami said in al-majma’: it was reported by al-tabaraani in al-kabeer, and it includes abu ‘aamir al-qaasim ibn muhammad al-asadi, and i have not seen anyone giving his biography, but the rest of its men are mawthooq. al-majma’ 1/174).

we may note from these reports that the educator (the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)) had support from the other people present when they noticed how his expression changed and took their stance based on what they saw. there is no doubt that this combination of events had a great impact on the person who was being reprimanded.

the process went through the following stages:

firstly, the anger that welled up in the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), so that his expression changed even before he spoke.

secondly, [abu bakr] al-siddeeq and ‘abd-allaah ibn zayd noticed this and pointed it out to ‘umar.

thirdly, ‘umar realized his mistake and hastened to put it right and to apologize for what he had done, seeking refuge with allaah from the anger of allaah and the anger of his messenger, and reaffirming the basic principle of being content with allaah, his messenger and his religion.

fourthly, the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) relaxed and calmed down when ‘umar retracted and realized his mistake.

fifthly, the prophet’s comment confirmed and reinforced this basic principle by reaffirming the obligation to follow the way of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and warning against taking any other source of guidance.

another example of the prophet’s anger when he saw something objectionable was reported in saheeh al-bukhaari (may allaah have mercy on him) from anas ibn maalik, who said that when the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) saw some spittle in the mosque in the direction of the qiblah, he was so upset that it was clearly visible on his face. he wiped it with his hand and said,

“when one of you gets up to pray, he is talking to his lord, or his lord is between him and the qiblah, so he should not spit in the direction of the qiblah, but to his left or under his feet.” then he took the edge of his garment, spat on it and rubbed part of it against another part and said, “or he can do this.” (fath, 405).

an example of the prophet’s anger when he heard a mistake that led to wrongdoing was also reported by al-bukhaari, from abu mas‘ood al-ansaari, who said: “a man came to the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and said, ‘o messenger of allaah, i am going to go late to the prayer tomorrow because of so-and-so, who makes the prayer too long for us.’ i never saw the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) more angry in his rebuking than on that day, when he said,

‘o people! some of you are putting others off. when any of you leads the people in prayer, let him keep it short, for among them are the elderly, the weak and those with pressing needs.’” (fath, 7159).

another example is for the mufti to show anger towards the person who is asking questions when he starts to nit-pick in a ridiculous fashion. zayd ibn khaalid al-juhani (may allaah be pleased with him) said: “a bedouin came to the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and asked him about lost property that he finds. he said,

‘announce it for a year. remember the description of its container and the string with which it is tied, and if someone comes and claims it, and describes it correctly, give it to him, otherwise, utilize it.’ he said, ‘o messenger of allaah, what about a lost sheep?’ the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said: ‘it is for you, for your brother (i.e., its owner), or for the wolf.’ he said, ‘what about a lost camel?’ the face of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) became red (with anger), and he said, ‘you have nothing to do with it. it has its feet, and access to water, and can eat trees.’” (reported by al-bukhaari, fath, 2436).

the educator may show anger in proportion to the mistake at the time when the mistake is made, or when he sees or hears it, in such a way that the anger may be seen in his face or recognized from his tone of voice. this is a sign that his heart is alert to wrongdoing and will not keep silent about it, so that the others present will feel afraid of making the same mistake. speaking out when you are angry can have a greater impact than remaining silent and waiting until things have cooled down, because then the impact of your comments will be lost.

on the other hand, it may be wise to delay commenting on a regrettable incident or seriously mistaken words until all the people have been called together or until a time when they meet, because of the seriousness of what is involved or because there are not enough people around to understand and convey the information to others. there is nothing wrong with addressing an individual immediately and delaying general discussion of the matter until later. according to saheeh al-bukhaari, abu humayd al-saa’idi reported that the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) appointed someone (to collect the zakaah). when he had finished his work, he came and said,

“o messenger of allaah, this is for you, and this is what was given to me as a gift.” he said, “why don’t you sit in your parents’ house and see whether anyone brings you a gift or not?” in the evening, the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) stood up after the prayer, pronounced the shahaadah and praised allaah as he deserves to be praised, then he said, “what is wrong with an employee whom we appoint, then he comes to us and says, ‘this is for you and this is what i was given as a gift”? why does he not sit in his parents’ house and see whether anyone brings him a gift or not? by the one in whose hand is the soul of muhammad, no one of you unlawfully withholds something from us, except he will come on the day of judgement carrying it around his neck: if it is a camel, he will bring it bellowing, if it is a cow he will bring it mooing, and if it is a sheep he will bring it bleating. i have conveyed (the message).” abu humayd added, “then the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) raised his arm so high that we could see his armpit.” (fath, 6636)




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