on the authority of mu'aadh bin jabal (radiallaahu anhu) who said :
||i said : o messenger of allaah, tell me of an act which will take me into paradise and will keep me away from the hell fire.
he said : you have asked me about a great matter, yet it is easy for him for whom allaah makes it easy : worship allaah, without associating any partners with him; establish the prayer; pay the zakaah; fast in ramadaan; and make the pilgrimage to the house.
then he said : shall i not guide you towards the means of goodness ? fasting is a shield; charity wipes away sin as water extinguishes fire; and the praying of a man in the depths of the night. then he recited : "[those] who forsake their beds, to invoke their lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in allaah's cause) out of what we have bestowed on them. no person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do." [soorah as-sajdah, 16-17]
then he said : shall i not inform you of the head of the matter, its pillar and its peak ?
i said : yes, o messenger of allaah.
he said : the head of the matter is islaam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihaad.
then he said : shall i not tell you of the foundation of all of that ?
i said : yes, o mesenger of allaah.
so he took hold of his tongue and said : restrain this.
i said : o prophet of allaah, will we be taken to account for what we say with it ?
he said : may your mother be bereaved of you, o mu'aadh ! is there anything that throws people into the hell fire upon their faces - or : on their noses - except the harvests of their tongues ?
it was related by at-tirmidhee, who said it was a good and sound hadeeth.
explanation of hadeeth number 29
his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "you have asked me about a great matter, yet it is easy for him for whom allaah makes it easy" is referring to the one whom allaah grants the ability to act, then guides him to worship him with sincerity, and without associating any partners with him.
"establish the prayer" means performing it by completing all its requisites in the most perfect manner. then after this, he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) mentioned the other pillars of islaam, namely the zakaah, fasting and hajj, and then he asked "shall i not guide you towards the means of goodness ?"
"fasting is a shield" - here 'fasting' is referring to the fasting other than that of ramadaan, as that has already been mentioned. what is implied here is observing many voluntary fasts. and the protection of fasting is like a shield and covering from the fire.
"charity wipes away sin" - what is meant by 'charity' here is that which is beyond the obligatory zakaat.
then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said : "and the praying of a man in the depths of the night" and he recited the verses from soorah as-sajdah. all this means that the one who stands in the middle of the night, abandoning the pleasure of his sleep, prefering instead that which he hopes from his lord, then his reward shall be as mentioned in the verse : "no person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do". and it has been transmitted in some narrations that "allaah ta'aalaa boasts about the one who stands in worship in the darkness of the night, by saying : "look at my slaves who stand in the darkness of the night, when none except i see them; bear witness that i have granted for them the abode of my favour and generosity""
and then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said : "shall i not inform you of the head of the matter ? ...". so he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) likened 'the matter' to a male camel and made islaam its head, as any animal cannot live without a head. then he said "its pillar is the prayer" : the pillar of something is that thing by which it stands, and remains unstable without it.
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and the peak of its hump is jihaad" : the peak of anything is its uppermost part, and the peak of the hump of a camel is its uppermost tip. and jihaad is an action which is not matched or equalled by any other, as has been narrated by abu hurairah (radiallaahu 'anhu) that a man came to the messenger of allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and said : "guide me to an action equal to jihaad", to which the messenger replied : "i do not find one". then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said : "are you able, when the mujaahid leaves his house, to enter the masjid and pray continuously without breaking, and fast continuously without eating [until the mujaahid returns] ?", to which the man replied "and who is able to do so ?"
and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "shall i not tell you of the foundation of all of that ? ..." is encouragement first upon jihaad against kufr, and then the greater jihaad, which is the jihaad against the nafs (soul), and restraining it from speech which will harm it and bring about its downfall. for he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) indicated that most of the people will enter the fire because of their tongues, whence he said : "may your mother be bereaved of you, o mu'aadh ! is there anything that throws people into the hell fire upon their faces - or : on their noses - except the harvests of their tongues ?" and it has already been mentioned in the authentic hadeeth that "whosoever believes in allaah and the last day, then let him speak good or keep silent", and in another hadeeth "whosoever guarantees for me (ie safeguards) that which is between his jaws (ie his tongue) and that which is between his legs (ie his private parts), then i shall guarantee for him paradise".
that seeking paradise and seeking to be saved from the fire is a matter of great importance and seriousness, and this concern should have the correct priority in our lives
that this hadeeth confirms that if one fulfils the requirements of all the five pillars of islaam then one is guaranteed paradise
that the first pillar incorporates abiding by all the compulsory acts and avoiding all that which is forbidden
that living islaam is easy when allaah makes it so
that the five pillars constitute the indivisible whole that is islaam; therefore denying any one of them is kufr that bars us from paradise
that fasting, giving in charity and praying tahajjud lead to goodness in this world and the next
that fasting protects us from sins, develops in us piety, thus acting as a shield against the fire and evil in this world
that giving in charity wipes out our sins
that praying tahajjud develops us spiritually and makes our islaam stronger and more sincere
that the head of our affair in life is living islaam
that the prayer is the central pillar that holds up our islaam, and without which there is no islaam in our lives
that the peak of islaam is jihaad in the way of allaah, and this is the highest form of worship
that one must use ones tongue with extreme caution, as wrongful use of speech will be held against us on the day of judgement and can land us in hell fire
the messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) did not mean the words "may your mother be bereaved of you" as a literal supplication, but it was a custom of the arabs