Chapter 6: Piety
allah, the exalted, says:
"o you who believe! fear allah as he should be feared". (3:102)
"so, keep your duty to allah and fear him as much as you can...'' (64:16)
this second verse explains the meaning of the first one.
"o you who believe! keep your duty to allah and fear him, and speak (always) the truth". (33:70)
"... and whosoever fears allah and keeps his duty to him, he will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). and he will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine...'' (65:2,3)
"if you obey and fear allah, he will grant you furqan [(a criterion to judge between right and wrong), or (makhraj, i.e., a way for you to get out from every difficulty)], and will expiate for you your sins, and forgive you; and allah is the owner of the great bounty". (8:29)
69. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: it was asked, "o messenger of allah! who is the most honourable amongst mankind?'' he (pbuh) said, "the most honourable of them is one who is the most pious of them.'' they said, "we are not asking about this". he said, "then, the most honourable of men was yusuf (joseph), the prophet of allah, the son of allah's prophet, who was the son of the prophet of allah, who was the son of the khalil of allah (i.e., ibrahim (pbuh))' they said, "we are not asking you about this.'' he enquired, "are you then asking me about the classes of the arabs? the best of them in the pre-islamic period of ignorance are the best of them in islam, provided they comprehend the religious knowledge".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: we come to know from this hadith that the families which enjoyed popularity and prestige for their eminent qualities (like generosity, chivalry, honesty, etc.) in the pre-islamic period were also credited for these values after their acceptance of islam. but now their respect was qualified with their religious knowledge and practice. their capabilities, self-respect and other qualities were turned towards a different direction. these qualities which were previously used for paganism were now devoted for islam.
70. abu sa`id al-khudri (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "the life of the world is sweet and green. allah makes you generations succeeding one another so that he may try you in respect of your actions. so beware of the beguilements of the world and those of women. the first trial of banu israel was through women".
commentary: wealth and property of this world are favourites of everyone like the fresh fruit which is sweet, delicious and attractive for all. everyone likes them and is attracted towards them. the most delicious fruit of this world is woman but at the same time it is the most baneful. one who inclines towards wealth and women and ignores the islamic legal injunctions, has at stake both his deen and faith; and one who benefits from them keeping oneself within the bounds of islam, would be safe from their ruinous effects.
71. `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported that the prophet (pbuh) used to say: "allahumma inni as'alukal-huda wat-tuqa wal-`afafa wal-ghina (o allah! i ask you for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency)".
commentary: this hadith contains four words, the meanings and implications of which constitute its essence. these words are guidance, piety (fear of allah), chastity and sufficiency. guidance here means guidance at every turn of life and steadfastness on the path of truth. fear of allah is the greatest means of piety and strongest defense against sins. chastity is the state of being free from what is unlawful. self-sufficiency is the antonym of poverty and here it means the self-contentment. what it implies is that one should not care for what people possess. in view of all these qualities, the prayer of the prophet (pbuh) mentioned in this hadith is very comprehensive and valuable.
72. `adi bin hatim at-ta'i (may allah be pleased with him) said: i heard the messenger of allah (pbuh) say: "he who has taken an oath (to do something) but found something else better than that (which brings him closer to allah), then he should do that which is better in piety (and he should expiate for the breaking of oath)".
commentary: this hadith emphasizes the importance of having the fear of allah. so much so that if somebody has made a vow to commit some sin he should break it, arrange for its expiation and keep himself away from that sin or any other act that contravenes the fear of allah.
73. abu umamah (may allah be pleased with him) said: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) during the sermon of the farewell pilgrimage saying, "be mindful of your duty to allah; perform your five daily salat, observe saum during the month (of ramadan) , pay the zakat on your properties and obey your leaders; (if you do so) you will enter the jannah of your rubb".
commentary: the word wada`, means to say farewell. the farewell pilgrimage was the last pilgrimage, the prophet (pbuh) performed, and on this occasion he bade farewell to the people and for this reason it came to be known as hajjat-ul-wada`. obedience of the rulers is stressed but it is conditional, that is to say, they are to be obeyed only if their orders are not against the injunctions of allah. similarly, their obedience is obligatory till such time that they do not do anything which amounts to open disbelief. if any of these two things occurs, then no obedience would be due to them.