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Knowing Allah
  
  

   

in saheeh al-bukhaari, humayd ibn abi humayd al-taweel reports that he heard anas ibn maalik (may allaah be pleased with him) saying:

“three people came to the houses of the wives of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), asking about how the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) worshipped. when they were told about it, they thought that it was little. they said, “who are we, compared to the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)? all his sins, past and future, have been forgiven.” (they thought that the one who does not know that his sins have been forgiven needed to go to extremes in worship and do far more than the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), in the hope that their sins might be forgiven). one of them said, “as for me, i will pray every night from now on.” another said, “as for me, i will fast for the rest of my life and will never break my fast.” the third said, “as for me, i will have nothing to do with women and i will never marry.” the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) came to them and said, “are you the people who said such-and-such? by allaah, i am the one who fears allaah more than anyone, but i fast and i break my fast, i pray and i rest, and i get married.”

muslim reported from anas that a group of the companions of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) asked the wives of the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) about what he did in secret. one of them (those sahaabah) said, “i will never marry women.” another said, “i will never eat meat.” another said, “i will never sleep on a bed.” [the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him)] praised and thanked allaah, then he said,

“what is the matter with some people who say such-and-such? but as for me, i pray and i sleep, i fast and i break my fast, and i marry women. whoever turns away from my sunnah has nothing to do with me.” (saheeh muslim, no. 1041).

here we may note the following points:

          the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) came to them and addressed them directly; when he wanted to teach all the people, he did not refer to them by name or expose them, he merely said, “what is the matter with some people…?” in this way he was gentle with them and covered up for them whilst at the same time acting in the common interest by teaching everybody.

          the hadeeth describes finding out about the action of good people and seeking to emulate them. investigating such things is the sign of a sound mind and efforts to improve oneself.

          this report indicates that when it comes to useful matters of religion, if it is not possible to learn them from men, it is permissible to learn them from women.

          there is nothing wrong with a person talking about his deeds so long as there is no element of showing off and it is for the benefit of others.

          we also learn that going to extremes in worship may cause a person to get bored, which in turn could lead him to stop worshipping altogether; the best of things are those that are moderate. (see al-fath, 9/104).

            mistakes generally come about as a result of misconceptions; if the ideas are put right, mistakes will decrease. it is clear from the hadeeth that the reason why those sahaabah adopted those concepts of extreme worship and monasticism was that they thought they had to go beyond the prophet’s actions in worship in order to attain salvation, because he had been told that all his sins were forgiven, but they did not have this advantage. the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) set them straight, and told them that even though he was forgiven, he was the most fearing of allaah among mankind, and he commanded them to follow his sunnah in worship.

a similar thing happened to another sahaabi, whose name was kahmas al-hilaali (may allaah be pleased with him), who narrated his story:

“i became muslim and came to the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) and told him that i had become muslim. i stayed away for a year, during which i became very skinny, and when i came back, he looked me up and down. i said, ‘do you not know me?’ he said, ‘who are you?’ i said, ‘i am kahmas al-hilaali.’ he said, ‘what happened to you?’ i said, ‘after i saw you, i never spent a day without fasting, and i never slept at night.’ he said, ‘who told you to torture yourself? fast the month of patience [i.e., ramadaan], and one day of every month besides that.’ i said, ‘let me do more.’ he said, ‘fast the month of patience and two days of every month besides that.’ i said, ‘let me do more, i am able for it.’ he said, ‘fast the month of patience and three days of every month besides that.’” (musnad al-tayaalisi. reported by al-tabaraani in al-kabeer, 19/194, no. 435. also in al-silsilat al-saheehah, no. 2623).

some misconceptions may be based on how one judges people and regards them. the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) was very keen to correct this and put people straight in this regard. in saheeh al-bukhaari, there is a report from sahl ibn sa’d al-saa’idi who said:

“a man passed by the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), so he asked a man sitting by him, ‘what do you think of this man?’ he said, ‘he is one of the noblest of the people. by allaah, if he proposes marriage he deserves to be accepted and if he intercedes he deserves to have his intercession accepted.’ the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said nothing. then another man passed by and the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) asked the man with him, ‘what do you think of him?’ the man said, ‘o messenger of allaah, he is one of the poor muslims. if he proposes marriage he does not deserve to be accepted, if he intercedes he does not deserve to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he does not deserve to be heard. the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said, ‘this man is better than an earth full of men like the other man.’ ” (al-fath, 6447).

according to a report narrated by ibn maajah: a man passed by the messenger of allaah (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him), and the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said (to his companions),

“what do you think of this man?” they said, “we think that he is one of the noblest of people. if he proposes marriage he deserves to be accepted, if he intercedes he deserves to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he deserves to be heard.” the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said nothing. another man passed by and the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) asked, “what do you think of this man?” they said, “by allaah, o messenger of allaah, he is one of the poor muslims. if he proposes marriage he does not deserve to be accepted, if he intercedes, he does not deserve to have his intercession accepted, and if he speaks he does not deserve to be heard.” the prophet (peace and blessings of allaah be upon him) said, “this man is better than an earth full of men like the other one.” (sunan ibn maajah, ‘abd al-baaqi edn., no. 4120)




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