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Knowing Allah


on the authority of abu hurairah (radiallaahu anhu) that the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said :

whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, allaah will remove from him one of the griefs of the day of resurrection. and whoever alleviates the need of a needy person, allaah will alleviate his needs in this world and the hereafter. whoever shields [or hides the misdeeds of] a muslim, allaah will shield him in this world and the hereafter. and allaah will aid his slave so long as he aids his brother. and whoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, allaah will make easy for him a path to paradise. no people gather together in one of the houses of allaah, reciting the book of allaah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah (tranquility) descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and allaah mentions them amongst those who are with him. and whoever is slowed down by his actions, will not be hastened forward by his lineage.

it was related by muslim in these words.

explanation of hadeeth number 36

this is a great hadeeth that encompasses all the branches of knowledge, and the principles [of the religion], and the excellent manners. in it is found the virtue of fulfilling the needs of the muslims, and benefitting them, from what is possible for one, of knowledge, or wealth, or aid, or guidance towards that which will correct their affairs, or advice. or other than that. and the meaning of "alleviates the need" is removing it.

and as for his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "whoever shields [or hides the misdeeds of] a muslim", then 'shielding' here means to hide his slips and lapses, and the intended meaning here is hiding the lapses of those who are of upright and pious character, and those like them who are not known to be evil-doers. and this is with regards to hiding the sins that they may have committed in the past, and which are over. on the other hand, if they are caught red-handed performing a sin then it is obligatory to admonish them and forbid them from it. and if they are unable to do so, then they must raise the matter to the authorities, if they do not fear any evil repurcussions from this. thus, in such cases the correct action is not to shield them, as this may tempt them to perpetrate more evil, to cause more harm, to enter into more forbidden matters, or to encourage others upon what is similar to this. so it is desired that one raises the matter to the leader, as long as he does not fear any further evil from doing so. and similar to all this is the disparagement and criticising of the narrators of hadeeth by the hadeeth scholars, and of the witnesses [to contracts], and the trustees of the wealth to be distributed in charity and the awqaaf, and those who look after the wealth of the orphans, and what is similar to that. then in all such cases it is obligatory to expose their evil actions if required, and it is not permissible to hide their sins if one sees from them that which is reproachable. and this is not considered to be from the forbidden backbiting, rather it is part of the obligatory naseehah [sincerity, advice].

and as for his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and allaah will aid his slave so long as he aids his brother" then this is a generalisation whose detailed explanation must include the case where the slave [of allaah] resolves to help his brother muslim [by admonishing him], whereupon it becomes required of him not to be cowardly of speaking the truth to him, believing, all the while, that allaah will help him and protect him from any evil repurcussions of doing so.

and in this hadeeth is mentioned the virtue of fulfilling the needs of a muslim, and of striving in the path of seeking knowledge, and this includes the virtue of being pre-occupied with knowledge. and what is intended by knowledge here is the knowledge of the sharee'ah. and all this requires that one intends by it the face of allaah ta'aalaa, just as this is a condition in every act of worship.

and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "no people gather together in one of the houses of allaah, reciting the book of allaah and studying it among themselves" is a proof for the virtue of gathering in the masjid for the recitation of the qur'aan. and regarding the word 'sakeenah' mentioned here, then some people have said that it means 'mercy', but this interpretation is weak due to the separate mention of mercy in the next part of the hadeeth. and it has been said that it means tranquility, peacefulness and dignity, and this is better.

and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "no people gather together" is in the indefinite, general form, as though he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) meant to say "any people" who gather for this, then they will receive all of the virtue what he has mentioned. and he (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not lay a condition here that the people must be scholars, or ascetics or possessors of high stations. and the meaning of "and the angels surround them" is similar to that mentioned by allaah ta'aalaa in his noble book : "and you will see the angels surrounding the throne (of allaah) from all round" [soorah az-zumar, 75], that is they will encircle and encompass them from every side. and so it will be as though the angels will be so close to them, so as to completely encircle them, and no gap will be left between them through which shaytaan may enter.

and as for his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and mercy envelops them" then the word 'envelop' is not used except when all the parts of the object are completely covered from all sides. and shaykh shihaab ad-deen bin farj said : "and the meaning of this, from what i see to be correct, is that the envelopment of his mercy is such that it encircles and embraces all previous sins, in shaa' allaah ta'aalaa".

and his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and allaah mentions them amongst those who are with him" implies that the mentioning of allaah ta'aalaa is amongst the prophets and the most honourable of the angels, and allaah knows best.

summary :

  • that this hadeeth contains encouragement to help each other for our own benefit
  • that any muslim who makes a muslim happy will receive the mercy of allaah on the day of resurrection, and he will remove one of his griefs that day
  • that any muslim who sees to the need of another muslim, will have his own needs seen to by allaah
  • that any muslim who protects another muslim will be protected by allaah
  • that allaah will help us as long as we help each other
  • that one who strives to gain knowledge of the deen will be helped by allaah in acting upon it
  • that the mosques should be used to gather in to study the deen and to recite the qur'aan collectively
  • that such groups of people receive the peace and mercy of allaah, and are surrounded by the angels, and are mentioned by allaah to those near him
  • that this is true for any group of muslims, whether or not they are scholars or very pious individuals
  • that when we remember allaah, he remembers us and makes mention of us
  • that if one becomes lax in his religious duties, his lineage or ancestry will not avail him anything before allaah
  • seeking knowledge of the deen entails acting upon it and propagating it

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