Chapter 45: Visiting the Pious Persons, loving them and adoption of their company
allah, the exalted, says:
"and (remember) when musa (moses) said to his boy-servant: `i will not give up (travelling) until i reach the junction of the two seas or (until) i spend years and years in travelling''' (up to) "... musa (moses) said to him (khidr): `may i follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by allah)?". (18:60-66)
"and keep yourself (o muhammad (pbuh)) patiently with those who call on their rubb (i.e., your companions who remember their rubb with glorification, praising in prayers, and other righteous deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking his pleasure.'' (18:28)
360. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: after the death of messenger of allah (pbuh), abu bakr (may allah be pleased with him) said to `umar (may allah be pleased with him) : "let us visit umm aiman (may allah be pleased with her) as messenger of allah (pbuh) used to visit her". as we came to her, she wept. they (abu bakr and `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said to her, "what makes you weep? do you not know that what allah has in store for his messenger (pbuh) is better than (this worldly life)?'' she said, "i weep not because i am ignorant of the fact that what is in store for messenger of allah (pbuh) (in the hereafter) is better than this world, but i weep because the revelation has ceased to come". this moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.
commentary: umm aiman (may allah be pleased with her) belonged to ethiopia and was a slave-girl of the prophet's father (`abdullah bin `abdul-muttalib). after the death of `abdullah, umm aiman (may allah be pleased with him) remained with the prophet's mother, aminah, and took great care in his upbringing. subsequently, the prophet (pbuh) set her free and then she was married to zaid bin harithah (may allah be pleased with her) this hadith holds justification for weeping over the death of the pious and also shows that it is desirable to visit such persons to whom one's friends go to pay respect. the incident mentioned in this hadith also shows the love that the companions of the prophet (pbuh) had for him.
361. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "a man set out to visit a brother (in faith) in another town and allah sent an angel on his way. when the man met the angel, the latter asked him, "where do you intend to go?'' he said, "i intend to visit my brother in this town.'' the angel said, "have you done any favour to him?'' he said, "no, i have no desire except to visit him because i love him for the sake of allah, the exalted, and glorious.'' thereupon the angel said, "i am a messenger to you from allah (to inform you) that allah loves you as you love him (for his sake)"
commentary: this hadith points out the following:
1. the great merit of visiting muslims for allah's sake.
2. the bond of brotherhood in islam is much stronger than the bonds of blood relationship and worldly interests and, therefore, comes before them in preference.
3. whoever loves someone for allah's sake, allah will love him in a manner that suits his majesty.
362. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "whosoever visits an ailing person or a brother of his to seek the pleasure of allah, an announcer (angel) calls out: `may you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you be awarded a dignified position in jannah".
commentary: this hadith highlights the merit of visiting the sick and muslim to gain the pleasure of allah.
363. abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard the prophet (pbuh) saying, "the similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. the owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith enjoins that one should sit in the company of the pious persons and avoid the impious ones because the former has the quality of a perfume seller and the latter of a blacksmith. in the association of pious men, one stands to gain all the time and ultimately becomes like them. in bad company one is out-and-out a loser and can never hope to gain any benefit from them.
364. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "a woman is married for four things: for her wealth, for her lineage, for her beauty or for her piety. select the pious, may you be blessed!".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: only a pious woman is in the true sense faithful and obedient to her husband of good conduct. such a couple not only lead a happy life but its future generation is also brought up on the right lines with the help of such a woman. the women of the remaining three types are generally a source of trouble for their husbands and spoil their future generations. for this reason, while selecting a wife, one should give preference to religion over all other qualities.
365. ibn `abbas (may allah be pleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said to jibril (gabriel), "what prevents you from visiting us more frequently?'' thereupon was revealed the ayah: "(the angels say:) `and we (angels) descend not except by the command of your rubb. to him belongs what is before us and what is behind us, and what is between those two". (19:64)
commentary: this hadith tells us about the prophet's desire for meeting angel jibril (gabriel) to have that knowledge which was revealed to him by means of wahy (revelation).
it also tells us that angels descend to earth for certain mission by the command of allah. they have no say of their own in any matter. it also indicates that it is permissible to enquire about muslim brothers after a long period of time as this is a sign of true love.
366. abu sa`id al-khudri (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "keep only a believer for a companion and let only a pious eat your food".
[at-tirmidhi and abu dawud].
commentary: this hadith forbids muslims from befriending infidels and stresses that they should establish a bond of friendship and fraternity with the pious persons only.
the above hadith signifies that taking believers for company has good consequences on the muslim. while feeding only pious people compels the muslim host to provide only halal or lawful foodstuff for his household as well as his guests. (m.r. murad)
367. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard the prophet (pbuh) saying, "man follows his friend's religion, you should be careful who you take for friends".
[at-tirmidhi and abu dawud].
commentary: this hadith also induces one to avoid the company of impious people and seek the association of the pious persons.
368. abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "a person will be summoned with the one whom he loves".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration is: the prophet (pbuh) was asked; "what about a person who loves a people but cannot be with them?'' (i.e., either he cannot attain their lofty position of righteousness or that he has not met with them in this life). he (pbuh) replied, "a person will be in the company of those whom he loves".
commentary: besides bringing to eminence the high merit of entertaining the love for the pious persons, this hadith tells us about the mercy and blessings of allah which he will shower upon those who love the pious people. because of this love, allah will elevate even the inferior people and include them among those whom he loves. this hadith also serves a warning that association and love with the impious people is extremely dangerous as one can meet the same bad end which is inevitable for them. may allah save us from it.
369. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a bedouin came to messenger of allah (pbuh) and said to him, "when will be the hour (i.e., the day of resurrection)?" he (the prophet (pbuh)) said, "what preparation have you made for it?'' he said, "only the love of allah and his messenger.'' then messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "you will be with those whom you love.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
the narration in muslim is: the man replied: "i have made no significant preparation with regard to salat (prayer), saum (fasting) and sadaqah (charity) but i love allah and his messenger".
commentary: the love of the companions of the prophet (pbuh) for allah and his prophet (pbuh) was not verbal only, as is the case of present-day muslims. their love was full of obedience and submission to allah in the true sense. this is what the bedouin mentioned in this hadith really meant when he said that he had not amassed a large treasure by way of salat, saum (fasts) and sadaqah for presentation on the day of resurrection. what he meant by them was voluntary acts and not the obligations. the reason being that the obligatory acts like salat, saum and zakat are incumbent on every muslim and no one can claim to be a true believer and lover of allah and his prophet (pbuh) who ignores them. any muslim who entertains true love of allah and his prophet (pbuh), makes it evident in his practical life by his strict performance of the duties and obligations enjoined by allah and demonstrated by his prophet (pbuh) through his sunnah. even if such a person does not have to his credit a large amount of voluntary acts, he will be declared successful by allah. this is the real import of this hadith, otherwise a muslim's claim for the love of allah and his prophet (pbuh) will be void if he does not fulfill his religious obligations. in fact, without the fulfillment of religious obligations, his claim will be nothing short of self-deception. his claim for the love of allah and his prophet (pbuh), which is not supported by his actions will carry no weight before allah. this is what the following ayah of the noble qur'an enjoins: "say (o muhammad (pbuh) to mankind:) `if you (really) love allah then follow me (i.e., accept islamic tauhid, follow the qur'an and the sunnah), allah will love you and forgive your sins. and allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful.''' (3:31)
370. ibn mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man came to messenger of allah (pbuh) and said, "o messenger of allah! what do you think of a man who loves some people but does not go any nearer to their position?'' he (pbuh) replied, "a man will be with those whom he loves".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: "lam yalhaq bihim" means that he has not been able to come close to them in righteousness and good deeds but in the next world almighty allah will, by his grace and mercy, elevate him and bring him on par with the righteous and the pious persons because of his love for them.
371. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "people are like gold and silver; those who were best in jahiliyyah (pre-islamic period of ignorance) are best in islam, if they have religious understanding; and the souls are like recruited soldiers, they get mixed up with those similar with them in qualities and oppose and drift away from those who do not share their qualities".
1. metals differ from each other. some of them are precious and others worthless. similar is the case of the people's conduct and actions. there are people of both kinds in the world. if good persons of the pre-islamic period (who were distinguished for their noble character) embraced islam, and understood and acted upon the injunctions of islam, they were entitled to the same distinction which they were holding previously (in the pre-islamic period). there would be no reduction in their prestige and status with their conversion.
2. the words "souls are like recruited soldiers'' signify the natural difference of nature and temperament in people. those who are noble, would be introduced to the pious ones; and others who are fascinated by evil, will be introduced to the mischievous ones. people of each kind will maintain contact with their own fellows, as is indicated by a proverb:
`birds of a feather flock together, pigeons go with pigeons, hawks with hawks.'
some scholars have pointed out that a person who hates the righteous people must find out its cause because it is a dangerous symptom of one's bad end. after discovering its cause he must try to change it.
372. usair bin `amr (ibn jabir) reported: when delegations from yemen came to the help of (the muslim army at the time of jihad) `umar (may allah be pleased with him) would ask them, "is there owais bin `amir amongst you?'' (he continued searching him) until he met owais (may allah be pleased with him). he said, "are you owais bin `amir?'' he said, "yes". `umar asked, "are you from the qaran branch of the tribe of murad?'' he said, "yes". he `umar (may allah be pleased with him) again said, "did you suffer from leucoderma and then you were cured from it but for the space of a dirham?'' he said, "yes". he `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said, "is your mother still alive?'' he said, "yes". he `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said, "i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, `there would come to you owais bin `amir with the reinforcement from the people of yemen. he would be from qaran (the branch) of murad. he had been suffering from leucoderma from which he was cured but for a spot of a dirham. he has a mother to whom he is very dutiful. if he were to take an oath in the name of allah, allah would fulfill his oath. and if it is possible for you, ask him to ask forgiveness for you.' so, ask forgiveness for me". he owais (may allah be pleased with him) did so. `umar (may allah be pleased with him) then said, "where do you intend to go?'' he said, "to kufah.'' he `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said, "let me write a letter for you to its governor,'' whereupon he owais (may allah be pleased with him) said, "i love to live amongst the poor people". the following year, a person from among the elite (of kufah) performed hajj and he met `umar (may allah be pleased with him). `umar (may allah be pleased with him) asked him about owais (may allah be pleased with him). he said, "i left him in a state with meagre means of sustenance in a decayed house.'' (thereupon) `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said, "i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, `there would come to you owais bin `amir of qaran, a branch (of the tribe) of murad, along with the reinforcement of the people of yemen. he had been suffering from leucoderma which would have been cured but for the space of a dirham. he has a mother to whom he is very dutiful. were he to swear, trusting allah, for something, allah would fulfill his oath. if you can ask him to pray for forgiveness for you, do so". this man went to owais (may allah be pleased with him) and asked him to pray for forgiveness for him. owais (may allah be pleased with him) said to him, "you have just returned from a blessed journey, it is you who should pray for forgiveness for me; and did you meet `umar?'' the man said, "yes". `owais (may allah be pleased with him) then prayed for forgiveness for him. people became aware of the high status of owais (may allah be pleased with him) and he set out following his course.
another narration is: a delegation from kufah came to `umar (may allah be pleased with him). among them was one who used to make fun of owais (may allah be pleased with him). `umar (may allah be pleased with him) enquired, "is there anyone among you who is from qaran?'' so this man stepped forward. then `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said, "i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, `a man will come to you from yemen named owais. he will have left in the yemen only his mother. he was suffering from leucoderma and prayed to allah to be cured of it. so he was cured except for a space of the size of a dinar or a dirham. whoever of you should meet him should ask him to pray for forgiveness for him.'''
another narration is: `umar (may allah be pleased with him) said: "i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, `the best one of the next generation (at-tabi`un) is a man called owais, he will have a mother and he will be suffering from leucoderma. go to him and ask him to pray for forgiveness for you".
1. this hadith is one of the clear miracles of the prophet (pbuh) because he not only told the name of owais (may allah be pleased with him) but also some of his special qualities and characteristics which tallied with the description given by him.
2. it tells the virtues of simplicity, and anonymity.
3. the merit of nice treatment to mother.
4. this hadith is also a proof on owais being the best of the successors to the prophet's companions (i.e., at-tabi`un).
5. the humbleness of `umar (may allah be pleased with him) and his desire for goodness despite being in the position of the leader of the believers.
373. `umar bin al-khattab (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i sought permission of the prophet (pbuh) to perform `umrah. he granted me leave and said, "dear brother! do not forget us in your supplications". (`umar added): this is something i would not exchange for the whole world.
another narration is: he (pbuh) said, "include us, my dear brother, in your supplications.'' [abu dawud and at-tirmidhi, who categorized the hadith as hasan sahih. sheikh salim al-hilali in his book "bahjatun-nazireen, sharh riyad-us-saliheen'' classifies it as "da`if'', the reason being that `asim bin `abdullah is "weak'' in narration].
commentary: it is mustahab (desirable) to request such a person for prayer who is proceeding on a journey, especially one who is going with the intention of hajj or `umrah. the reason being:
1. prayer for someone in his absence is imbued with sincerity.
2. the places a pilgrim visits in the course of hajj are such that prayers made there are accepted by allah.
3. it is also mustahab that during the course of hajj when a pilgrim supplicates on special sites and occasions, he should not pray for himself alone but also include his relatives and friends in his supplications.
4. the act of praying for others goes to prove the eminence of religious fraternity of the muslims. the prophet (pbuh) is the spiritual father of the entire muslim community, and is the most superior in nobility and excellence in the whole universe, but in respect of faith, he is also a brother of all the muslims and all the muslims are his brothers. it is illustrated by the fact that he called `umar (may allah be pleased with him) his brother.
374. ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) used to visit quba', either mounted or on foot and would offer two rak`ah prayer in the mosque there.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration is: the prophet (pbuh) used to visit the mosque at quba' every saturday (i.e., every week) either mounted or on foot, and ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) used to do the same thing.
1.quba' was a village about two miles away from al-madinah. now, it is a part of the city. according to a hadith, the prophet (pbuh) has regarded the performance of one salat there equal to an `umrah. (at-tirmidhi, al-jami` as-saghir).
2. this hadith also shows the passion which ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) had for following the sunnah for which he is well-reputed.