on the authority of abu 'abbaas 'abdillaah bin 'abbaas (radiallaahu anhumaa) who said : one day i was behind the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) [riding on the same mount] and he said :
o young man, i shall teach you some words [of advice]: be mindful of allaah and allaah will protect you. be mindful of allaah and you will find him in front of you. if you ask, then ask allaah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from allaah [alone]. and know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what allaah had already prescribed for you. and if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what allaah had already prescribed against you. the pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.
it was related by at-tirmidhee, who said it was a good and sound hadeeth.
another narration, other than that of tirmidhee, reads :
be mindful of allaah, and you will find him in front of you. recognise and acknowledge allaah in times of ease and prosperity, and he will remember you in times of adversity. and know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. and know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.
explanation of hadeeth number 19
the virtues and outstanding traits of 'abdullaah bin 'abbaas (radiallaahu anhumaa) are more than can be enumerated, and the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) supplicated for him and said : "oh allaah! grant him understanding (fiqh) of the religion and teach him the interpretation", and he also supplicated for him that he be given wisdom twice over. and it has been narrated that he [ibn 'abbaas] said that he "saw jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) twice", though this narration is mursal and is not established. and ibn 'abbaas (radiallaahu anhu) is the ocean of knowledge of this ummah, and its learned scholar. and the messenger of allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) considered him to be worthy of carrying a legacy/advice from him despite his small age, and so he said to him : "be mindful of allaah and allaah will protect you", and its meaning is "be obedient to your lord, ordering whatever he has ordered and forbidding whatever he has forbidden".
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement : "be mindful of allaah and you will find him in front of you" means "perform your actions for his sake out of his obedience, and let yourself not be seen to oppose or disobey him, then you will find allaah with you in times of difficulty", as happened to the three men who fled to a cave to seek shelter from torrential rain, whereupon a huge rock descended upon the entrance to the cave and sealed it. so they said to one another : "look to the pious actions that you have performed [in the past] and ask allaah ta'aalaa by them, for verily he is the only one who can save us from this." so each one of them mentioned a good action that they had performed previously, purely for the sake of their lord, so allaah removed the rock that was blocking the entrance to the cave, and they were free from their imprisonment, and their story is well known from the saheeh [of muslim]. [note: this story shows that one of the permissible, and indeed recommended, forms of tawassul, or seeking waseelah to allaah, is through the good actions that one has performed.]
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement : "if you ask, then ask allaah [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from allaah [alone]" guides us to having trust and reliance upon our protector, and that we should not take any ilaah (object of worship) except him, and that we should not depend upon or be attached to anyone other than him in all our affairs, no matter how small they may be. and allaah ta'aalaa has said : "and whosoever puts his trust in allaah, then he will suffice him" [at-talaaq, 3].
so according to the degree by which a person relies upon other than allaah ta'aalaa in his desires and by his heart, or in his hopes, then proportionately he has turned away from his lord to those who cannot hurt him nor benefit him. and similarly in the case of fear of other than allaah, and the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) emphasised this when he said : "and know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what allaah had already prescribed for you", and similarly in the case of harm. and this is the essence of eemaan in qadr, and having eemaan in it is obligatory, the good of it and the evil of it. and once a believer has conviction (yaqeen) in this then he sees no benefit in asking from other than allaah or seeking help from them. and similar to this is the answer of al-khaleel [ibraaheem] alayhi as-salaam, to the question of jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) when he was in the air having been thrown towards the great fire : "do you have any need ?" to which he replied : "as for from you, then no. as for from allaah, then definitely."
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement : "the pens have been lifted and the pages have dried" further emphasises what has preceeded, and there is no contradiction with that by way of abrogation or change.
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement : "and know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease" informs him [ibn 'abbaas] to take note that man in this world will be presented with trials and misfortunes, especially the pious, due to the statement of allaah 'azza wa jall :
155. and certainly, we shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to as-saabireen (the patient ones) 156. who, when afflicted with calamity, say: "truly! to allaah we belong and truly, to him we shall return." 157. they are those on whom are the salawaat (blessings) from their lord, and (they are those who) receive his mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.
and allaah ta'aalaa has also said :
only those who are patient shall receive their rewards in full, without reckoning.
that it is allowed for two people to be seated on a mount if it does not over-burden the animal
that if one takes care about allaah's rights, then he takes care of him
that if one takes care of allaah's rights, then he helps him
that one must ask of allaah only, and seek his help only
that we cannot be harmed or benefitted by anything or anyone, no matter how large they are in number or strong they appear, except by that which allaah allows
that what allaah has allowed in our destiny will definitely occur
that one should remember and take care of allaah's rights in times of ease, and allaah will take care of him in times of difficulty
that victory comes with patience
that relief comes after suffering
that ease comes after hardship