Chapter 5: Watchfulness
allah, the exalted, says:
"who sees you (o muhammad (pbuh)) when you stand up (alone at night for tahajjud prayers). and your movements among those who fall prostrate (to allah in the five compulsory congregational prayers)". (26:218,219)
"and he is with you (by his knowledge) wheresoever you may be". (57:4)
"truly, nothing is hidden from allah, in the earth or in the heaven". (3:5)
"verily, your rubb is ever watchful (over them)". (89:14)
"allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal". (40:19)
60. 'umar bin al-khattab (may allah be pleased with them) said: once we were sitting in the company of messenger of allah (pbuh) when there appeared a man dressed in very white clothes and having extraordinary black hair. no signs of fatigue of journey appeared on him and he was known to none of us. he sat down facing the prophet (pbuh) leaning his knees against the knees of the prophet (pbuh) and placing both of his palms over his two thighs and said, "o muhammad (pbuh)! tell me about islam". he (pbuh)replied, "islam is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but allah, and that muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of allah; that you observe salat (prayers), pay zakat, observe saum (fasting) of ramadan and perform hajj (pilgrimage) of the house, provided you have resources of making journey to it.'' he replied: "you have spoken the truth". we were surprised to see that he had asked him and confirmed the correctness of the answers. he then enquired: "tell me about iman". he (pbuh) said. "it is to believe in allah, and his books, and his messengers and the last day and that you believe in foreordainment, its bad and good consequences.'' he said, "you have spoken the truth.'' he then enquired: "tell me about ihsan.'' he (pbuh) said, "it is to worship allah as if you are seeing him; and although you do not see him, he sees you". he enquired: "inform me about the hour (i.e., the day of resurrection)". he (pbuh) replied, "i have no more knowledge thereof than you". he said, "inform me about some of its signs". he (pbuh) said, "they are - that a bondswoman gives birth to her own master, and that you will find the barefooted, naked, poor shepherds competing one another in the construction of higher buildings". then he departed. the messenger of allah kept silent for a while then he said to me, "o `umar! do you know who the questioner was?'' i replied, "allah and his messenger know better". the prophet (pbuh) said, "he was jibril (gabriel); he came to you to teach you your religion".
commentary: this hadith is known as 'hadith jibril'. it mentions the basics of islam the details of which are known to every muslim. al-qadr (divine foreordainment) means that allah already knows and had recorded everything that will happen until the day of resurrection. now whatever happens is in accordance with that knowledge and writing. what is meant by its good and bad consequences can be illustrated by saying that tranquillity, prosperity and abundance of crops come in the category of good consequences. famine, calamities and troubles, etc., fall in the list as evil consequences. but we regard them good or bad according to our own understanding; otherwise, every action of allah has some wisdom and expedience which are known to him alone.
61. abu dharr and mu`adh bin jabal (may allah be pleased with them) reported that: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "fear allah wherever you are, do good deeds after doing bad ones, the former will wipe out the latter, and behave decently towards people".
commentary: virtue obliterates vice means that virtue becomes an atonement for sin. but this applies to minor sins only because major ones will not be forgiven without sincere repentance. similar is the case of encroachment on public rights which will not be forgiven without their compensation.
62 ibn abbas (may allah be pleased with them) said: one day, i was riding behind the prophet (pbuh) when he said, "o boy! i will instruct you in some matters. be watchful of allah (commandments of allah), he will preserve you. safeguard his rights, he will be ever with you. if you beg, beg of him alone; and if you need assistance, supplicate to allah alone for help. and remember that if all the people gather to benefit you, they will not be able to benefit you except that which allah had foreordained (for you); and if all of them gather to do harm to you, they will not be able to afflict you with anything other than that which allah had pre-destined against you. the pens had been lifted and the ink had dried up".
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "safeguard the commandments of allah, you will find him before you. remember him in prosperity and he will remember you in adversity. be sure that which you miss, was not to hit you; and what hits you, was never to miss you. remember that the help of allah is obtained with patience, and relief emerges after distress, prosperity follows adversity, and hardship is followed by ease".
1. no one has the power to change the decision of allah.
2. whatever trouble one has to suffer in this world, it does not last for ever. every trouble is followed by prosperity, pleasure and happiness.
3. one should never ask other than allah anyone's help in supernatural way because it amounts to ascribing partnership with allah. if a person is mindful of the rights of allah, then allah, in return takes care of his needs and helps him.
63. anas (may allah be pleased with him) said: you indulge in (bad) actions which are more insignificant to you than a hair while we considered them at the time of messenger of allah (pbuh) to be great destroying sins".
commentary: the less fear of allah, one has the more disobedient he becomes to him. as the fear of allah decreases, one becomes more bold in committing sins. as the companions of the prophet (pbuh) were intensely fearful of allah, they were afraid of committing even very minor sins.
64. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, 'verily, 'allah, the exalted, becomes angry, and his anger is provoked when a person does what allah has declared unlawful".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: commitment of unlawful acts calls for the displeasure and wrath of allah.
65. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) said that: he heard the prophet (pbuh) said: "there were three men among the banu israel, one leper, one bald and one blind. allah wanted to test them. he therefore, sent to them an angel who came to the leper and asked him what he would like best. he replied: "a good colour, a good skin and to be rid of what makes me loathsome to people". he (the angel) rubbed him and his loathsomeness vanished and he was given a good colour and a good skin. he then asked him what type of property he would like best. the leper replied that he would like camels - [or perhaps he said cattle, for ishaq (one of the subnarrator of the hadith) was uncertain, either said: 'camels,' or: 'cattle']. he was given a pregnant she-camel. the angel invoked for allah's blessing on it. the angel then went to the bald man and asked him what he would like best and he replied: "good hair and to be rid of what makes me loathsome to people". the angel ran his hand over him and he was given good hair. he then asked him what property he would like best. he replied that he would like cattle, so he was given a pregnant cow. the angel invoked allah's blessing on it. the angel then went to the blind man and asked him what he would like best, and he replied: "i wish that allah restore my sight to me so that i may see people.'' thereupon the angel ran his hand over him and allah restored his sight. the angel then asked what property he would like best. he replied that he would like sheep, so he was given a pregnant ewe. flocks and herds were produced for the three men, the first having a valley full of camels, the second one, a valley full of cows and the third one full of sheep. then the angel came in the form of a leper, to the one who had been a leper, and said: "i am a poor man and my resources have been exhausted in my journey, and my only means of reaching my destination are dependent on allah and then on you, so i ask you by him who gave you the good colour, the good skin and the property, for a camel by which i may get to my destination". he replied: "i have many dues to pay.'' the angel then said: "i think i recognize you. were you not a leper whom people found loathsome and a poor man to whom allah gave property?'' he replied: "i inherited this property through generations". the angel said: "if you are telling a lie, may allah return you to your former condition". the angel went in the form of a bald man to the one who had been bald, and said the same as he had said to the former and received a similar reply. so he said: "if you are telling a lie, may allah return you to your former condition". the angel then went to the one who had been blind and said: "i am a poor traveller and my resources have been exhausted in my journey. my only means of reaching my destination are dependant on allah and then on you, so i ask you by him who restored your eyesight for a sheep by which i may get to the end of my journey". he replied: "yes, i was blind. allah restored my eyesight, so take what you wish and leave what you wish. i swear by allah that i shall not argue with you today to return anything you take, as i give it for allah's sake". the angel said: "keep your property. you have all simply been put to a test, and allah is pleased with you and displeased with both of your companions".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith tells us that abundance of property and wealth is also a trial. he alone succeeds in this trial who in the midst of his riches does not forget about allah's status and his own status. rather than becoming proud of his wealth, he takes pleasure in spending it in fulfilling the needs of people and expresses gratitude to him in practical terms. those who take an opposite course are regarded unsuccessful because on account of their wrong attitude, they tend to falsehood, pride and miserliness which cause the displeasure of allah.
66. shaddad bin aus (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "a wise man is the one who calls himself to account (and refrains from doing evil deeds) and does noble deeds to benefit him after death; and the foolish person is the one who subdues himself to his temptations and desires and seeks from allah the fulfillment of his vain desires".
commentary: this hadith highlights the importance of the accountability of one's self. mere desires which are not coupled with practical efforts are of no avail because allah grants reward on good deeds and not on yearnings and desires which are not supported by noble actions.
67. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "it is from the excellence of (a believer's) islam that he should shun that which is of no concern to him".
commentary: this hadith lays down a very important principle that one should avoid senseless talk and actions. if one acts upon this principle, he can save himself from many sins and evils.
68. `umar (may allah be pleased with him) reported that: the prophet (pbuh) said, "no man shall be asked for the reason of beating his wife".
commentary: this hadith is also reported by ibn majah and ahmad. sheikh al-albani* has classified this hadith as `weak' since its narration is not authenticated, therefore its contents are also not valid. islam has not given the husbands absolute right over their wives and that they will not be questioned in the hereafter or that they should not be questioned for their action and misbehaviour with the wives. on the contrary, islam has stressed upon them to be lenient and tender in relation with wives; and this means that they will be taken to task for any wrong and injustice done by them to their wives.
* sh. al-albani is the leading authority in the science of hadith.