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Knowing Allah
  
  

   

allah, the exalted, says:

"worship allah and join none with him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, al-masakin (the poor), the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess". (4:36)

"and fear allah through whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)". (4:1)

"and those who join that which allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship)". (13:21)

"and we have enjoined on man to be good and dutiful to his parents". (29:8)

"and your rubb has decreed that you worship none but him. and that you be dutiful to your parents. if one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour. and lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: `my rubb! bestow on them your mercy as they did bring me up when i was young". (17:23,24)

"and we have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. his mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years- give thanks to me and to your parents". (31:14)

312. `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i asked the prophet (pbuh) , "which of the deeds is loved most by allah?'' messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "salat at its proper time.'' i asked, ``what next?'' he (pbuh) replied, ``kindness to parents.'' i asked, ``what next?'' he replied, ``jihad in the way of allah.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  performance of salat at the stated time means its performance in earliest prescribed or at least its regularity. one should not give preference to mundane affairs over it. salat and jihad are the two most meritorious duties of a muslim. when nice treatment to parents is mentioned along with salat and jihad, it gives further importance to this injunction.

313. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "no son can repay (the kindness shown by his father) unless he finds him a slave and buys him and emancipates him".
[muslim].

commentary:  this hadith also brings out the eminence of parents and outstanding importance of their rights.

314. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "he who believes in allah and the last day, let him be hospitable to his guest; and he who believes in allah and the last day, let him maintain good the ties of blood relationship; and he who believes in allah and the last day, must speak good or remain silent".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: this hadith is mentioned here to highlight the importance of kindness to relatives. it enjoins considerate treatment to relatives and stresses that one should maintain relationship with them at all costs. so much so that even if they misbehave and sever relations with him, one should make efforts to restore not only relationship with them but also their rights. this is what kindness to relatives really means. islam has laid great stress on it. relatives include both paternal and maternal relatives.

315.  abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah created all the creatures and when he finished the task of his creation, ar-rahm (ties of relationship) said: `(o allah) at this place i seek refuge with you against severing my ties.' allah said: `that i treat with kindness those who treat you with kindness and sever ties with those who sever ties with you.' it said: `i am satisfied.' allah said: `then this is yours". then messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "recite this ayah if you like: `would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and sever your ties of kinship? such are they whom allah has cursed, so that he has made them deaf and blinded their sight". (47:22,23).
[al-bukhari and muslim].

the words in al-bukhari are: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah (swt) says: `he who maintains good ties with you, i maintain good ties with him; and he who severs your ties, i sever ties with him".

commentary: this hadith also stresses the importance of proper treatment with relatives for the reason that this is a special means of attaining the nearness and mercy of allah. a conduct contrary to it, that is to say, devouring the rights of relatives and continuation of estrangement with them, is the cause of displeasure and wrath of allah.

316. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a person came to messenger of allah (pbuh) and asked, "who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?'' he (pbuh) said, "your mother". he again asked, ``who next?'' "your mother", the prophet (pbuh) replied again. he asked, "who next?'' he (the prophet (pbuh)) said again, "your mother.'' he again asked, "then who?'' thereupon he (pbuh) said,'' then your father.''

in another narration: "o messenger of allah! who is most deserving of my fine treatment?'' he (pbuh) said, "your mother, then your mother, then your mother, then your father, then your nearest, then nearest".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: this hadith tells us that the rights of the mother are three times more important than that of the father for the reasons that:

1 she is weaker than the father.

2. the following three troubles are borne exclusively by the mother while the father does not share them with her:

a) she carries the baby in her womb for nine months,

b) the labor pain which she suffers.

c) two years' period of suckling which disturbs her sleep at night and affects her health. she has also to be very cautious in her food for the welfare of the baby.

317. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "may he be disgraced! may he be disgraced! may he be disgraced, whose parents, one or both, attain old age during his life time, and he does not enter jannah (by rendering being dutiful to them)".
[muslim].

commentary: the word ``ragham'' means soil. when a person's nose is soiled, it is a mark of his extreme humiliation. this metaphor carries a curse for an unfortunate person who does not win the pleasure of allah by serving and obeying his parents. in fact, it is a malediction as well as a prediction of someone's inauspicious end. service of parents is essential at every stage of their life - whether they are young or old. but this hadith mentions their old age for the reason that in that period of their life they stand in greater need of care and service. it is a very callous offense to leave them at the mercy of circumstances when they are old, senile and depend on others for their needs. to neglect them at that stage is a major sin for which one deserves hell-fire.

318. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man said to messenger of allah (pbuh): "i have relatives with whom i try to keep the ties of relationship but they sever relations with me; and whom i treat kindly but they treat me badly, i am gentle with them but they are rough to me.'' he (pbuh) replied, "if you are as you say, it is as if you are feeding them hot ashes, and you will be with a supporter against them from allah as long as you continue to do so".
[muslim].

commentary:  this hadith has three important lessons:

first, the misbehaviour of one's relative is no justification for the misbehaviour of another, let alone the severing of relations on that account.

second, the person who treats his relatives nicely in all events and circumstances is blessed by allah who will send from heaven helpers to support him.

third, the consequence of denying compassion and kindness to relatives is as woeful as the eating of hot ashes.

319. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "he who desires ample provisions and his life be prolonged, should maintain good ties with his blood relations". [al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  one who is benevolent and compassionate towards one's own relatives, stands to gain at least two definite advantages in this world besides the reward in the next. these two advantages are the increase in his subsistence and longevity of life.

increase in subsistence means that almighty allah will increase the quantity of his worldly goods or his means of subsistence will be blessed by him. similar is the case of longevity of life. the life of such person is either actually increased (in terms of years) or his life is graced with the blessings of allah. both interpretations are correct.

320. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: abu talhah (may allah be pleased with him) was the richest among the ansar of al-madinah and possessed the largest property; and among his possessions what he loved most was his garden known as bairuha' which was opposite the mosque, and messenger of allah (pbuh) often visited it and drank from its fresh water. when this ayah was revealed: "by no means shall you attain al-birr (piety, righteousness - here it means allah's reward, i.e., jannah), unless you spend (in allah's cause) of that which you love,'' (3:92). abu talhah came to messenger of allah (pbuh), and said: "allah says in his book: `by no means shall you attain al-birr, unless you spend (in allah's cause) of that which you love,' and the dearest of my property is bairuha' so i have given it as sadaqah (charity) for allah's sake, and i anticipate its reward with him; so spend it, o messenger of allah, as allah guides you". messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "well-done! that is profitable property. i have heard what you have said, but i think you should spend it on your nearest relatives.'' so abu talhah distributed it among his nearest relatives and cousins.
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: this hadith has already been mentioned in the chapter which deals with the merits of spending of what one loves best in the way of allah. it has been repeated here in support of benevolence to the relatives. its repetition makes it clear that while spending in the way of allah, one should always first of all consider his relatives and help those of them who deserve assistance. after fulfilling their needs, if anything remains then it can be given to others.

321. `abdullah bin `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with them) reported: a man came to the prophet (pbuh) of allah and said, "i swear allegiance to you for emigration and jihad, seeking reward from allah.'' he (pbuh) said, "is any of your parents alive?'' he said, "yes, both of them are alive.'' he (pbuh) then asked, "do you want to seek reward from allah?'' he replied in the affirmative. thereupon messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "go back to your parents and keep good company with them".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

in another narration it is reported that a person came to messenger of allah (pbuh) and sought his permission to participate in jihad. the prophet (pbuh) asked, "are your parents alive?'' he replied in the affirmative. the prophet a(pbuh) said, "(you should) consider their service as jihad.''

commentary: under normal circumstances, jihad is fard kifayah (collective duty -- which means that if some people observe it, the rest of the muslims will be exempted from its obligation). in such circumstances permission of parents to participate in jihad is necessary because their service is fard-ul-`ain (individual duty -- an injunction or ordinance, the obligation of which extends to every muslim in person), and the former cannot be preferred to the latter. this hadith explains such a situation. in certain circumstances, however, jihad becomes fard-ul-`ain and in that case permission of the parents to take part in jihad is not essential because then every muslim is duty-bound to take part in it.

322. `abdullah bin `amr al-`as (may allah be pleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "the person who perfectly maintains the ties of kinship is not the one who does it because he gets recompensed by his relatives (for being kind and good to them), but the one who truly maintains the bonds of kinship is the one who persists in doing so even though the latter has severed the ties of kinship with him".
[al-bukhari].

commentary:  this hadith makes clear the essentials of kindness to relatives. those kinsmen who respect and honour you, would obviously be treated by you fairly. it goes without saying that people usually reciprocate sentiments showed to them. but this is not maintaining the ties of kinship but kindness for kindness. on the opposite side, there is a kinsman who is rough and rude and is always bent upon severing relation with you, but you tolerate his excesses with patience and perseverance, return his harshness with politeness, maintain relationship with him in spite of all his efforts to break it, then what you are exercising is maintaining the ties of kinship. this is what islam actually demands from a muslim. but this is the excellence of faith which one must try to attain. there is nothing remarkable in exchanging dry smiles.

323. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the bond of relationship is suspending from the throne, and says: `he who keeps good relations with me, allah will keep connection with him, but whosoever severs relations with me, allah will sever connection with him".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  the discourse on compassion to relatives mentioned in this hadith is not impossible because almighty allah is omnipotent and is thus capable of doing what he likes. he can create perception, consciousness and power of speech in everything. an instance of it has already been mentioned in a hadith quoted earlier.

324. it has been narrated that maimuna bint al-harith (may allah be pleased with her) had set free a slave-girl without the prophet's permission. when her turn came (the prophet (pbuh)  used to visit his wives in turns), she made mention of that to him saying, "did you know i have set slave-girl free?'' he said, "have you, indeed?'' she replied, "yes''. he (pbuh) then remarked, "had you given her to your maternal uncles, you would have your reward increased".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  this hadith brings out the following two points:

1) a woman is free to spend anything of her own property without the permission of her husband, but not of things owned by her husband.

2) to spend on the needy relatives is more meritorious than to set a slave free because to set a slave free is a sadaqah (charity) only, while paying sadaqah to a kinsman has a double merit as it carries the reward of sadaqah as well as "maintaining the ties of kinship.''

325. asma' bint abu bakr as-siddiq (may allah be pleased with her) said: my mother came to me while she was still a polytheist, so i asked messenger of allah (pbuh), "my mother, who is ill-disposed to islam, has come to visit me. shall i maintain relations with her?'' he (pbuh) replied, "yes, maintain relations with your mother".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  the woman mentioned in this hadith had come from makkah to al-madinah. what this hadith signifies is that it is essential to be kind to parents even if they are mushrikun (polytheists) and kuffar (disbelievers). this has also been clearly ordained in the noble qur'an: ``... but behave with them in the world kindly". (31:15).

326. zainab ath-thaqafiyah (may allah be pleased with her) the wife of `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: when messenger of allah (pbuh) told the women that they should give sadaqah (charity), even if it should be some of their jewellery, i returned to `abdullah bin mas`ud and said, "you are a man who does not possess much, and messenger of allah (pbuh) has commanded us to give sadaqah. so go and ask him if giving to you will serve the purpose; otherwise, i shall give it to someone else.'' he asked me that i should better go myself. i went and found a woman of the ansar at the door of messenger of allah (pbuh), waiting to ask a similar question as mine. the prophet (pbuh) was endowed with dignity, and so we could not go in. when bilal (may allah be pleased with him) came out to us, we said to him: "go to messenger of allah (pbuh) and tell him that there are two women at the door who have come to ask him whether it will serve them to give sadaqah to their husbands and to orphans who are in their charge, but do not tell him who we are. bilal (may allah be pleased with him) went in and asked him, and messenger of allah (pbuh) asked him who the women were. when he told him that they were a woman of the ansar and zainab, he asked him which zainab it was, and when he was told it was the wife of `abdullah bin mas`ud, he (pbuh) said, "they will have a double reward, one for maintaining the ties of kinship and another for sadaqah".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:

1. we learn from this hadith that a woman can also give sadaqah and zakat to her husband, provided he is poor. but its opposite is not permissible. that is to say, a husband cannot pay zakat to his wife because he is responsible for her maintenance while wife is not obliged to do it for her husband. so, the principle deduced from it is that one who is bound to pay zakat under the shari`ah is not permitted to pay it to his dependents.

2. in case of need, a woman can go out of her house subject to the condition that she observes the restriction of the veil prescribed by the shari`ah in this behalf.

3) like men, women should also take, keen interest in religious matters. they should not feel shy of doing it.

327. abu sufyan sakhr bin harb (may allah be pleased with him) mentioned heraclius in a long hadith and said: heraclius asked me, "what does this prophet (pbuh) teach you?'' i said, "he orders us to worship allah alone and not to associate a thing with him in worship, to discard what our ancestors said, to perform the salat (prayer), speak the truth, and maintain the ties of kinship".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary:  besides tauhid (oneness of allah), this hadith enjoins punctuality in salat and excellence of character. in all the forms of worship, salat is the most important, and the best in the nobility of character is righteousness. after professing faith in tauhid and belief that muhammad (pbuh) is the last prophet of allah, a muslim should be punctual in salat and make himself a model of excellent character.

328. abu dharr (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "you will soon conquer a land where people deal with qirat.''

 and according to another version: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "you will soon conquer egypt where al-qirat is frequently mentioned. so when you conquer it, treat its inhabitants well. for there lies upon you the responsibility because of blood ties or relationship (with them)".
[muslim].

commentary: in this hadith, the prophet (pbuh) has urged his companions to treat the egyptians nicely for the reason of maintaining the ties of kinship and for the fact that egypt was the country of his in-laws (mariyah, the mother of ibrahim, and one of the prophet's wives was from that place). this is why this hadith has been included in the present chapter which deals with the subject of maintaining the ties of kinship. this hadith is also a prophecy of the prophet (pbuh) due to the fact that the prophecy he had made came true. a short time after his death, egypt became part of the muslim empire.

329. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: when this verse was revealed: "and warn your tribe (o muhammad (pbuh)) of near kindred". (26:214) messenger of allah (pbuh) called the quraish; when they gathered, he said to them: "o sons of `abd shams; o sons of ka`b bin lu'ai, rescue yourselves from the fire! o sons of murrah bin ka`b, rescue yourselves from the fire! o sons of `abd manaf, rescue yourselves from the fire! o sons of `abdul-muttalib, rescue yourselves from the fire! o fatimah, rescue yourself from the fire, for i have no power (to protect you) from allah in anything except that i would sustain relationship with you".
[muslim].

commentary:
1. this hadith tells us that lineage in the hereafter will not help anybody. so much so that even one's relationship with messenger of allah (pbuh) shall not carry any weight on that day. the only thing that will then help in salvation will be one's good deeds. people for whom the prophet (pbuh) and pious men will intercede will be believers with some sins in their account and not the disbelievers devoid of faith and good actions. neither will anybody intercede for the infidels, nor will the infidels find salvation.

2. in preaching religion, priority must be given to one's own close relatives. they deserve it more than anyone else, and for this reason divine injunctions should be first of all conveyed to them.

3. even if a muslim's relatives are pagans and polytheists, their rights of kinsmen and the demands of "maintaining the ties of kinship'' enjoined by islam must be fulfilled. the first and foremost demand of their rights is that they should be invited to the right path so that they will be saved from hell-fire.

330. abu abdullah `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with them) said: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying openly not secretly, "the family of so-and-so (i.e., abu talib) are not my supporters. my supporter is allah and the righteous believing people. but they (that family) have kinship (rahm) with whom i will maintain good the ties of kinship".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: messenger of allah (pbuh) had made it absolutely clear that although such persons were his near relatives, he did not have any affection and friendship with them because there cannot be any affection between a pagan and a muslim. friendship and affection can only be for allah and those who have faith in him. one can accommodate the non-muslim relatives to the extent permitted by "maintaining the ties of kinship'', provided they are not at war with the muslims.

331. abu ayyub khalid bin zaid al-ansari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man came to messenger of allah (pbuh) and said, "direct me to a deed which will admit me to jannah and take me away from the fire". the messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "worship allah and associate no partner with him, perform as-salat, pay zakat, and maintain the ties of kinship".
[al-bukhari and muslim].

commentary: this hadith indicates the actions which constitute the means to attain jannah and salvation from hell. thus, it makes evident that jannah cannot be achieved by wishful thinking. one cannot get it without faith and good deeds. in the absence of these two factors, intercession of any person will be of no avail.

332. salman bin `amir (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "when you break fast, you should do it with a date-fruit for there is blessing in it, and if you do not find a date-fruit, break it with water for it is pure.'' messenger of allah (pbuh) added: "charity towards a poor person is charity, and towards a relation is both charity and maintaining the ties (of kinship)".
[tirmidhi].

commentary: we learn two points from this hadith:

firstly, it is more rewarding to break the fast with date-fruit or water. secondly, payment of sadaqah to one's poor relatives carries a double reward.

333. ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: i had a wife whom i loved but `umar (may allah be pleased with him) disliked her. he asked me to divorce her and when i refused, `umar (may allah be pleased with him) went to messenger of allah (pbuh) and mentioned the matter to him. messenger of allah (pbuh) asked me to divorce her.
[at-tirmidhi and abu dawud].

commentary:  if parents' order to divorce one's wife is based on the principles of shari`ah and morality, it must be obeyed, as is evident from this hadith. if their order is founded on other factors, then one should try to convince them politely so that they agree with one's view on the issue. here ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with him) loved his wife for love's sake, but his father `umar bin khattab (may allah be pleased with him) disliked her basing his decision on religious grounds. this is why the prophet (pbuh) ordered ibn `umar to obey his father.

334. abud-darda' (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man came to me and said, "i have a wife whom my mother commands me to divorce". i replied him that i had heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "a parent is the best of the gates of jannah; so if you wish, keep to the gate, or lose it.''
[at-tirmidhi and ibn majah].

commentary:  the word "walid,'' applies to mother as well as father. as the word "walidain'' is a dual form and covers mother and father both; similarly the noun "father'', also applies to both. this hadith also stresses that obedience of parents and submission to their order must have preference over the love for the wife as long as this order of theirs is fair and just.

335. al-bara' bin `azib (may allah be pleased with them) reported: i heard the prophet (pbuh) saying: "a mother's sister is equivalent to (real) mother (in status)".
[at-tirmidhi]

commentary:  this hadith tells us that one should be as respectful to one's aunt (mother's real sister) as one is to mother, as it is a virtue as well as "a form of maintaining the ties of kinship".




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