Chapter 51: Hope in Allah's Mercy
allah, the exalted, says:
"say: o `ibadi (my slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! despair not of the mercy of allah: verily, allah forgives all sins. truly, he is oft-forgiving, most merciful". (39:53)
"and never do we requit in such a way except those who are ungrateful (disbelievers)". (34:17)
'(say:) `truly, it has been revealed to us that the torment will be for him who denies (believes not in the oneness of allah, and in his messengers), and turns away (from the truth and obedience of allah)". (20:48)
"and my mercy embraces all things". (7:156)
412. `ubadah bin as-samit (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "he who bears witness that there is no true god except allah, alone having no partner with him, that muhammad is his slave and his messenger, that `isa (jesus) is his slave and messenger and he (jesus) is his word which he communicated to maryam (mary) and his spirit which he sent to her, that jannah is true and hell is true; allah will make him enter jannah accepting whatever deeds he accomplished".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration in muslim is: the messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "whosoever testifies that there is no true god except allah and that muhammad is the messenger of allah, allah (swt) saves him from the fire (of hell)".
commentary: this hadith confirms that all prophets of allah were men and thus refutes those who attribute divinity to them and exclude them from the category of men or regard them a part of allah, as christians believes prophet `isa (jesus to be christ) by regarding him allah or his son, or the jews do prophet `uzair by venerating him as son of allah. the misconception has also taken hold of a sect of the muslims. they have invented the belief that prophet muhammad (pbuh) is "light from the light of allah". thus further considering to be of him with divine qualities. they exclude him from the category of men. this hadith tells us that the belief that prophets were men constitutes part of faith and denial of it is the denial of a part of faith and amounts to evasion from tauhid - oneness of allah.
prophet `isa (jesus) has been referred in the qur'an as "kalimatullah" (the word of allah) (4:171). what these words really mean is that he was born in an unusual manner, without being fathered by anyone, only on the express fiat of allah.
this hadith shows that a major sin does not cast a muslim out of the fold of islam, as is believed by certain deviant sects who have gone astray. such a person does remain a muslim and his eligibility for admission into jannah also remains intact but his admission entirely depends on the pleasure of allah. he may forgive a sinful muslim and send him to jannah even in the initial stage or keep him in hell for sometime and then send him to jannah. thus, when it is said that muslims are protected against hell, it means that they will not abide in hell for ever. it will be a temporary phase varying with his sins. when that punishment comes to an end, or even before it, when almighty, allah, wills, he will be removed from hell to jannah.
413. abu dharr (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "allah, the almighty, says: `whosoever does a good deed, will have (reward) ten times like it and i add more; and whosoever does an evil, will have the punishment like it or i will forgive (him); and whosoever approaches me by one span, i will approach him by one cubit; and whosoever approaches me by one cubit, i approach him by one fathom, and whosoever comes to me walking, i go to him running; and whosoever meets me with an earth-load of sins without associating anything with me, i meet him with forgiveness like that".
commentary: this hadith mentions the infinite compassion and mercy of allih to his obedient slaves and a special expression of which will be made by him on the day of resurrection. on that day, he will give at least ten times reward for each good deed. in some cases it may be far more than that, seven hundred times or more, as he would like. such benevolence on his part warrants that a muslim should never lose hope of his forgiveness.
414. jabir (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a bedouin came to the prophet (pbuh) and asked him, "o messenger of allah, what are the two imperatives which lead to jannah or hell". he (pbuh) replied, "he who dies without associating anything with allah will enter jannah, and he who dies associating partners with allah will enter the fire".
commentary: this hadith also holds promise for a muslim that being a muslim and muwahhid (believer in the oneness of allah) he will be at last sent to jannah. whether he goes straight to jannah or after suffering the punishment of his sins in hell, is a separate issue, but he will not remain in hell for ever. eternal punishment in hell is reserved only for pagans, polytheists, and infidels.
415. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: mu`adh bin jabal was riding on the beast with the prophet (pbuh), when he (pbuh) said to him, "o mu`adh!'' mu`adh replied, "here i am responding to you, and at your pleasure, o messenger of allah.'' he (pbuh) again called out, "o mu`adh.'' he (again) replied, "here i am responding your call, and at your pleasure.'' he (messenger of allah) addressed him (again), "o mu`adh!'' he replied, "here i am responding to you, and at your pleasure, o messenger of allah.'' upon this he (the prophet (pbuh)) said, "if anyone testifies sincerely that there is no true god except allah, and muhammad is his slave and messenger, truly from his heart, allah will safeguard him from hell.'' he (mu`adh) said, "o messenger of allah, shall i not then inform people of it, so that they may have glad tidings.'' he (pbuh) replied, "then they will rely on it alone (and thus give up good works altogether).'' mu`adh (may allah be pleased with him) disclosed this hadith at the time of his death, to avoid sinning for concealing.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: imam at-taibi says that the honesty of heart means firmness of faith and arrangement of actions which will provide evidence of tauhid and risalah (oneness of allah and the prophethood of muhammad (pbuh)). al-hafiz ibn hajar states that imam at-taibi has made this elaboration to remove the ambiguity which arises from the wording of the hadith because it is generally held by ahadith that one who bears witness to tauhid and risalah will not go to hell, while ahlus-sunnah hold that it stands proved by concrete arguments that sinful muslims will be consigned to hell and then brought out from it by intercession. it shows that for the determination of real meanings of this hadith we shall have to keep in view other related arguments as well. these meanings are riveted with good deeds. in other words, one who bears witness to tauhid and risalah and fulfills islamic injunctions and obligations and requirements of faith and fear of allah, will not be consigned to hell. some scholars are of the opinion that this hadith refers to such people who truly repented and renounced kufr and shirk and wholeheartedly professed tauhid and risalah but died soon after that and thus did not get an opportunity to do good deeds. such people will certainly go to jannah.
this hadith leads to the conclusion that ordinary people should not be told things the true meanings of which they find difficult to grasp and accomplish evil deeds relying on such glad tidings.
416. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) or may be abu sa`id al-khudri (may allah be pleased with him) reported: on the day of the battle of tabuk, the muslims were hard pressed by hunger and they asked messenger of allah (pbuh): "o messenger of allah, grant us permission to slaughter our camels to eat and use their fat". he (pbuh) accorded permission. on this `umar (may allah be pleased with him) came and said: "o messenger of allah, if it is done, we shall suffer from lack of transportation. i suggest you pool together whatever has been left and supplicate allah to bless it.'' allah will bestow his blessing upon it. messenger of allah (pbuh) agreed and called for leather mat and had it spread out, and asked people to bring the provisions left over. they started doing it. one brought a handful of corn, another brought a handful of dates, a third brought a piece of bread; thus some provisions were collected on the mat. messenger of allah (pbuh) invoked blessings, and then said, "now take it up in your vessels". everyone filled his vessel with food, so that there was not left a single empty vessel in the whole camp. all of them ate to their fill and there was still some left over. messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "any slave who meets allah, testifying there is no true god except allah, and that i am his messenger, without entertaining any doubt about these (two fundamentals), will not be banished from entering jannah.''
commentary: this hadith mentions a miracle of the prophet (pbuh) and the effect of his prayer by means of which a small quantity of food sufficed the whole army. the exact number of muslims who took part in the battle of tabuk is not mentioned in any reliable account. al-hafiz ibn hajar has stated, with reference to some narratives of fath al-bari mentioned in connection with the biography of the prophet (pbuh) and the wars he had fought in the way of allah, that they numbered thirty to forty thousand men.
although these figures are open to question but one can safely infer from these figures that their number was very large. according to sahih al-bukhari: "a large number of muslims participated with the prophet (pbuh) in this war. their number was so large that they could not be described in a register. it was difficult for the prophet (pbuh) to discover who was absent except that he was informed about him by allah.'' (sahih al-bukhari, kitab al-maghazi, bab ghazwah tabuk, hadith ka`b bin malik). this extract goes to prove that although the number of muslims who took part in this war was very large the provisions weighing a few seers only sufficed for them all.
we also learn from this hadith that one who is blessed with the grace of allah, can offer advice to a person who is superior to him on this account. similarly, the one who is superior in virtue should listen to the advice of those who are inferior to him because there is every possibility that their advice may offer something better. it does not harm either of them. neither does it detract from the superiority of the superior nor can it be regarded an affront of a junior.
417. `itban bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported, who was with messenger of allah (pbuh) in the battle of badr: i used to lead my people at bani salim in salat (prayer) and there was a valley between me and those people. whenever it rained, it became difficult for me to cross it for going to their mosque. so i went to messenger of allah (pbuh) and said, "i have weak eyesight and the valley between me and my people flows during the rainy season and it becomes difficult for me to cross it. i wish you to come to my house and offer salat at a place so that i could reserve that as a musalla (place for prayer).'' messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "i will do so". so messenger of allah (pbuh) and abu bakr (may allah be pleased with him) came to my house the (next) morning after the sun had risen high. messenger of allah (pbuh) asked my permission to enter and i admitted him. he did not sit before saying, "where do you want us to offer salat in your house?'' i pointed to the place where i wanted him to offer prayers. so messenger of allah (pbuh) stood up for the prayer and started the prayer with takbir and we aligned in rows behind him; and he offered two rak`ah prayer and finished them with taslim, and we also performed taslim with him. i detained him for a meal called khazirah which i had prepared for him. (khazirah is a special type of dish prepared from barley flour and meat soup). when the neighbours got the news that messenger of allah (pbuh) was in my house, they started coming till a large number of men gathered in my house. one of them said, "what is wrong with malik, for i do not see him?'' one of them replied, "he is a hypocrite and does not love allah and his messenger". on that messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "don't say this. haven't you seen that he testified that there is no true god except allah,' for allah's sake only.'' the man replied, "allah and his messenger know better, but by allah, we never saw him but helping and talking with the hypocrites.'' messenger of allah (pbuh) replied, "no doubt, whosoever testifies that there is no true god except allah, seeking by so professing the pleasure of allah only, allah will safeguard him against (hell) fire.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith highlights the following four points:
1. one can offer salat at home if one has a lawful reason for it.
2. in the event one is obliged to offer salat at home it is well to reserve a place for it.
3. it is not permissible to suspect a muslim on the basis of mere doubt.
4. in the end, every muslim will be sent to jannah. this point has already been elaborated.
418. `umar bin al-khattab (may allah be pleased with him) reported: some prisoners were brought to messenger of allah (pbuh) amongst whom there was a woman who was running (searching for her child). when she saw a child among the captives, she took hold of it, pressed it against her belly and gave it a suck. messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "do you think this woman would ever throw her child in fire?'' we said, "by allah, she would never throw the child in fire.'' thereupon messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah is more kind to his slave than this woman is to her child".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: al-hafiz ibn hajar states that the musnad ismai`li has the following additional words in the narrative: "after continuous search, she finally found her baby. she took the baby and hugged him".
it is permissible to illustrate by example what one cannot make others understand by means of reason and senses, the way the prophet (pbuh) did it in the present case. since it was not possible to describe the immensity of allah's mercy, he cited the example of that woman to illustrate his point.
419. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "when allah created the creatures, he wrote in the book, which is with him over his throne: `verily, my mercy prevailed over my wrath"
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "(allah wrote) `my mercy dominated my wrath".
still another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "(allah wrote) `my mercy surpasses my wrath".
commentary: imam al-khattabi states that here the word "kitab'' (translated here as `book') means the decision of almighty allah which he has already made, an instance of which is the following verse of the noble qur'an:
"allah has decreed: `verily, it is i and my messengers who shall be the victorious". (58:21).
in this ayah the arabic word "kataba'' is used in the sense of "qada' (decided);'' or the word "kataba'' signifies "lauh mahfooz'' on which he has recorded everything. almighty allah is on the 'arsh' (the throne of allah) and this book is with him. (fath al-bari, kitab at-tauhid, bab: wa kana arshuhu `alal-ma'.)
420. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah has divided mercy into one hundred parts; and he retained with him ninety-nine parts, and sent down to earth one part. through this one part creatures deal with one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it".
[al-bukhari and muslim]
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah has one hundred mercies, out of which he has sent down only one for jinn, mankind, animals and insects, through which they love one another and have compassion for one another; and through it, wild animals care for their young. allah has retained ninety-nine mercies to deal kindly with his slaves on the day of resurrection.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration in muslim is reported: by salman al-farisi: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah has hundred mercies, out of which one mercy is used by his creation for mutual love and affection. ninety-nine mercies are kept for the day of resurrection.''
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah created one hundred units of mercy on the day he created the heavens and the earth. each one of them can contain all that is between the heaven and the earth. of them, he put one on earth, through which a mother has compassion for her children and animals and birds have compassion for one another. on the day of resurrection, he will perfect and complete his mercy". (that is he will use all the hundred units of mercy for his slaves on that day).
1. we learn from this hadith that kind and compassionate treatment is liked by allah and is in fact his blessing and benevolence. this is the reason he has given a part of it to his creatures, and a person who is so hard-hearted, that he is not even aware of it has a defect which is extremely displeasing to allah. moreover, it is a sign that such a person is deprived of divine blessing and mercy.
2. on the day of resurrection, almighty allah will bestow upon the believers hundred mercies. this news has great hopes and joy for his slaves.
421. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "allah, the exalted, and glorious said: `a slave committed a sin and he said: o allah, forgive my sin,' and allah said: `my slave committed a sin and then he realized that he has a rubb who forgives the sins and punishes for the sin.' he then again committed a sin and said: `my rubb, forgive my sin,' and allah (swt) said: `my slave committed a sin and then realized that he has a rubb who forgives his sin and punishes for the sin.' he again committed a sin and said: `my rubb, forgive my sin,' and allah (swt) said: `my slave has committed a sin and then realized that he has a rubb who forgives the sin or takes (him) to account for sin. i have granted forgiveness to my slave. let him do whatever he likes".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
the last sentence "let him do..". means, as long he keeps asking for forgiveness after the commission of sins, and repents, allah will forgive him because repentance eliminates previous sins". (editor's note)
commentary: this hadith tells us that so long as the heart of a muslim remains free from willful disobedience of divine injunctions and he does not deliberately neglect his religious duties, that is to say he goes on committing sins and each time wholeheartedly begs pardon for them, almighty, allah will forgive him. the reason being that he is penitent for his wrongs and does not insist upon them for fear of accountability. this condition of his shows that his heart is full of awe and majesty of allah and he does not feel any disgrace in showing his utter humbleness before him. now this is a merit of the sinful which is pleasing to allah. thus, he says that so long as his slave continues submission and prostration he will go on forgiving him.
on the contrary, there is a person who goes on committing sins but he neither repents for them nor seeks pardon for his wrongs; nor has any fear of accountability. obviously, he is altogether different from the kind of muslims mentioned before, and he will be therefore treated differently by allah. the conduct of the former is of a muslim who, in spite of his sins, is liked by allah while the second is of that of a rebel for whom he has kept severe punishment ready. may allah rank us among the former category of people.
422. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "by the one in whose hand my soul is, were you not to commit sins, allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and then seek forgiveness from allah; and allah would forgive them".
commentary: this hadith also tells us that allah has a profound liking for such people who are penitent and seek pardon for their sins from him. so much so that if such people cease to exist who neither commit sins nor seek pardon from him, he will create people who will do so. it does not, however, mean that he likes sins or the sinful persons. what it really means is that he likes penitence and the penitents. this is the true purport of this hadith.
it also means that it is natural for man to commit sins, and that allah loves whenever a slave commits a sin to rush and beg for his forgiveness. (editor's note).
423. abu ayyub khalid bin zaid (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "were you not to commit sins, allah would create people who would commit sins and ask for forgiveness and he would forgive them".
424. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: we were sitting with messenger of allah (pbuh). abu bakr and `umar (may allah be pleased with them) were also there among the audience. in the meanwhile messenger of allah (pbuh) got up and left us. we waited long for his return: when we were worried about his safety, and got scared, we got up. i, therefore, went out to look for messenger of allah and came to a garden which belonged to the ansar. he (pbuh) said to me "go and give glad tidings of jannah to anyone who testifies `la ilaha illallah (there is no true god except allah),' being whole-heartedly certain of it"
commentary: this hadith also tells us that ultimately a muslim will be awarded jannah. whether he will go there in the first stage or after suffering the punishment in hell, is a matter that depends entirely on the will of allah.
425. `abdullah bin `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) recited the words of allah, the exalted, and the glorious, about ibrahim (pbuh) who said: "o my rubb! they have led astray many among mankind. but whosoever follows me, he verily, is of me". (14:36) and those of `isa (jesus) (pbuh) who said: "if you punish them, they are your slaves, and if you forgive them, verily, you, only you, are the all-mighty, the all-wise". (5:118). then he (pbuh) raised up his hands and said, "o allah! my ummah, my ummah,'' and wept; allah, the exalted, said: "o jibril (gabriel)! go to muhammad (pbuh) and ask him: `what makes you weep?" so jibril came to him and asked him (the reason of his weeping) and the messenger of allah informed him what he had said (though allah knew it well). upon this allah said: "jibril, go to muhammad (pbuh) and say: `verily, we will please you with regard to your ummah and will never displease you".
commentary: this hadith makes two points clear:
firstly, the kindness and mercy which the prophet (pbuh) had for his ummah, a full manifestation of which will be seen on the day of resurrection.
secondly, the love that allah has for his prophet, muhammad (pbuh). both these benefits will then go to the advantage of the faithful muslims as they will be then blessed with mercy and forgiveness of allah. may allah include us among them.
426. mu`adh bin jabal (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i was riding a pillion with the prophet (pbuh) on a donkey. he (pbuh) said, "o mu`adh, do you know what is the right of allah upon his slaves, and what is the right of his slaves upon allah?'' i said: "allah and his messenger know better". upon this the messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah's right upon his slaves is that they should worship him alone and associate nothing with him; and his slaves' right upon him is that he should not punish who does not associate a thing with him.'' he (mu`adh) added: i said to the messenger of allah: "shall i give the glad tidings to people?'' he (pbuh) said, "do not tell them this good news for they will depend on it alone".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith tells us that ordinary people, who are generally unable to understand the meanings of things in their context, will think that mere verbal profession of tauhid and risalah is sufficient to attain forgiveness, and it is not necessary to do what this profession entails. with this notion, they become unmindful of the obligations. verbal profession does give them the security that they would not abide in hell forever for ultimately they will go to jannah. our people are generally under the impression that all sinful muslims, like the perfect muslims, will go to jannah in the very first instance. according to proofs furnished by other injunctions of shari`ah, this is not so. this point has been already discussed at length earlier. in any case, the point made here is that no muslim will go to hell means that no muslim will abide in hell for ever. it does not at all mean that however sinful a muslim may be, he will not be sent to hell or suffer its torments.
427. bara' bin `azib (may allah be pleased with them) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "when a believer is questioned in the grave, he testifies that, `there is no true god except allah and muhammad is the messenger of allah.' about him the words of allah, the exalted, are: `allah will keep firm those who believe, with the firm statement (the testimony of faith) in this world and the hereafter)". (14:27)
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith mentions both the parts of the shahadah together, that is to say "la ilaha illallah, muhammad-ur-rasulullah'' (there is no true god except allah, and muhammad (pbuh) is the messenger of allah).
the questioning in the grave is beyond question and is a part of muslim belief. every muslim will, by the grace of allah, give their correct answers in respect of tauhid and risalah.
428. anas (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "when an infidel accomplishes any good deed, he is rewarded for it in this world; and in the case of a muslim, allah stores up his good acts for him in the hereafter and provides him with subsistence in this life due to his obedience.''
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah does not wrong a believer a good deed because he is given blessings for it in this world and will be rewarded for it in the hereafter. but the infidel is given in the world the reward for good deeds, he has performed for the sake of allah and when he comes to the hereafter, there is no good deed for which he can be rewarded".
commentary: the infidels also do in this world many works which are for public welfare, or which come under the category of good deeds. almighty allah gives them reward for such good deeds in this world in the form of wealth, sound health, or saving them from some trouble, because belief is precondition for reward in the hereafter. since an infidel is deprived of it, he will also be deprived of their reward in the hereafter. thus, we learn that belief constitutes the basis of every action and is a precondition for the acceptance of any good deed by allah.
429. jabir (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the five daily salat (prayers) are like a great river running by your door in which you take a bath five times a day.''
commentary: this hadith mentions the merits of performing the five-times prescribed salat (prayer) punctually. a person who takes bath five times daily, cannot have any dirt on his body; similarly, one who performs salat regularly is washed of all the minor sins. if he repents and makes penitence, his major sins are also pardoned. one who is meticulous about salat and other obligations, generally does not commit any major sin but if at all he commits it, he does not stick to it. he is sorry for it and abandons it. his minor sins are washed away by his salat.
430. ibn `abbas (may allah be pleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "any muslim dies and forty men who do not associate anything with allah (in worship), perform his funeral prayer, allah makes them intercede for him".
1. the acceptance of intercession here means that allah grants the prayer which they (intercessors) make for the deceased and forgives him, provided he is worthy of it.
2.aa large number of muwahhidun (believers in the oneness of allah) in a funeral holds greater promise of the pardon of the deceased.
431. `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: there were, about forty of us with messenger of allah (pbuh) in a camp when he said, "aren't you pleased that you will constitute one-fourth of the inhabitants of jannah?'' we said, "yes". he again said, "aren't you pleased that you will constitute one-third of the inhabitants of jannah?". we said: "yes.'' upon this he (pbuh) said, "by him in whose hand muhammad's soul is, i hope that you will constitute one-half of the inhabitants of jannah; and the reason is that only muslims will be admitted into jannah; and you are no more compared to the polytheists than as a white hair on the skin of a black ox, or a black hair on the skin of a white ox.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith reveals the following two points:
1. as compared with the believers and the faithful, there will be a large number of infidels in hell.
2. as compared with the followers of other prophets, there will be a larger number of muslims in jannah, to the extent that half of its occupants will be muslims. this hadith has glad tidings for the muslim ummah and bestows great respect and honour on them. (may allah include us among them.)
432. abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "on the day of resurrection, allah will deliver to every muslim, a jew or a christian and say: `this is your ransom from hell-fire.'''
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "there would come people amongst the muslims on the day of resurrection with sins as heavy as a mountain, and allah would forgive them".
commentary: "this is your ranson'' is interpreted by the hadith of abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him):
"there is a place for everyone in both jannah and hell. when the believer occupies his place in jannah, an infidel will take his place in hell on account of his infidelity. this also means: "you believers were exposed to fire, but this infidel is your ransom. because allah has prepared a number of his creature for hell, so when the infidels occupy it on account of their sins and infidelity, they are considered as ransoms for the believers. allah knows best.'' (editor's note)
commentary: this hadith tells us about the auspicious end of the believers and a bad one of disbelievers.
433. ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "a believer will be brought close to his rubb on the day of resurrection and enveloping him in his mercy, he (swt) will make him confess his sins by saying: `do you remember (doing) this sin and this sin?' he will reply: `my rubb, i remember.' then he (swt) will say: `i covered it up for you in the life of world, and i forgive it for you today.' then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith tells us about the believers who will be treated with special favour by allah. (may allah include us among them.) it also shows that the admittance of the sins leads to having them forgiven by allah. the hadith also encourages us to cover the sins of the believers as best we can.
434. `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man kissed a woman and he came to the prophet (pbuh) and made a mention of that to him. it was (on this occasion) that this ayah was revealed:
"and perform as-salat (iqamat-as-salat), at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night [i.e., the five compulsory salat (prayers)]. verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds (i.e., small sins)". (11:114)
that person said, "o messenger of allah (pbuh), does it concern me only?". he (messenger of allah (pbuh)) said, "it concerns the whole of my ummah".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith brings out the following three points:
1. minor sins are forgiven by virtue of salat.
2. one must not expose one's sins.
435. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: a man came to the prophet (pbuh) and said, "o messenger of allah, i have committed a sin liable of ordained punishment. so execute punishment on me". messenger of allah (pbuh) did not ask him about it, and then came the (time for) salat (prayers). so he performed salat with messenger of allah (pbuh). when messenger of allah (pbuh) finished salat, the man stood up and said: "o messenger of allah! i have committed a sin. so execute the ordinance of allah upon me". he (pbuh) asked, "have you performed salat with us?'' "yes", he replied. messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "verily, allah has forgiven you".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: the person who had committed the sin came to the prophet (pbuh) to seek punishment for his wrongdoing is said to have been abul-yusr ka`b bin `amr whose story was also mentioned in the previous hadith. the sin he had committed was not a major one that is why by salat it was wiped out.
436. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "allah is pleased with his slave who eats a meal and praises him for it; and takes a drink and praises him for it".
commentary: one should always say "al-hamdu lillah'' (all the praise and thanks be to allah) after food and drink.
this hadith has been mentioned in the present chapter for the reason that it holds fear as well as hope. if one remembers allah in the meals, he can hope for the pleasure of allah. one should also bear in mind that it is he who gives everything. if he likes, he can forefeit all those things or in spite of providing all the riches, deprive one of hunger and thirst, as it does happen in certain diseases. may allah protect us from such deprivations.
437. abu musa (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "allah, the exalted, stretches his hand during the night so that those who commit sins by day may repent, and he stretches his hand in the day so that those who commit sins by night may repent. he keeps doing so until the sun rises from the west".
commentary: this hadith has been mentioned before.
allah's stretching of his hands is one of his attributes, and as muslims we have to believe in this without reasoning, as is the case with his other attributes. this has been the stand of our pious predecessors (as-salaf-us-salih). the process of acceptance of penitence by allah will continue until the day of resurrection when the sun will rise from the west and repenting or accepting islam will not avail. therefore, one should not make any delay in penitence.
we must add here that, we must not name or qualify allah except with what he or his messenger (pbuh) has named or qualified him; without changing them or ignoring them completely or twisting the meanings or giving resemblance to any created things:
"the most gracious (allah) rose over the (mighty) throne". (20:5) above the seventh heaven; and he only descends to the first (nearest) heaven during the day of `arafah (hajj, i.e., the 9th dhul-hijjah) and also during the last third part of every night, as mentioned by the prophet (pbuh), but he is with us by his knowledge only, not in his essence (bi dhatihi): "there is nothing like him, and he is the all-hearer, the all-seer". (42:11)
438. abu najih `amr bin `abasah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: in the pre-islamic period of ignorance, i used to think that people who used to worship idols, were deviated and did not adhere to the true religion. then i heard of a man in makkah who was preaching a message. so i mounted my camel and went to him. i found that (this man who was) messenger of allah (pbuh) remained hidden because of the persecution by his people. i had entered makkah stealthily and when i met him i asked him, "who are you?'' he (pbuh) said, "i am a prophet.'' i asked; "what is a prophet?'' he said, "allah has sent me (with a message)". i asked, "with what has he sent you?'' he said, "he sent me to strengthen the ties of kinship, to destroy idols so that allah alone should be worshipped and nothing should be associated with him". i asked, "who has followed you in this?'' he said, "a freeman and a slave". (at that time only abu bakr and bilal (may allah be pleased with her) were with him). i said, "i shall follow you". he said, "you can not do that now. do you not see my situation and that of the people? go to your people, and when you hear that my cause has prevailed, come to me". so i went back to my people, and while i was with my people, messenger of allah (pbuh) emigrated to al-madinah. i continued to ask people about him till some of my people visited al-madinah. on their return, i asked them, "how is that man who has arrived in al-madinah faring?'' they said, "people are hastening to him. his own people had planned to kill him but did not succeed.'' then i went to al-madinah and came to him and said, "o messenger of allah, do you recognize me?'' he (pbuh) said, "yes, you are the one who met me in makkah.'' i said, "o messenger of allah, tell me of that which allah has taught you and of which i am unaware. tell me about salat first.'' he (pbuh) replied, "perform the fajr (morning) salat, then stop salat until the sun has risen up to the height of a lance, for when it rises, it rises up between the horns of the devil, and the infidels prostrate themselves before it at that time. then perform salat, for salat is witnessed and angels attend it, until the shadow becomes equal to the length of its object; then stop salat, for at that time jahannam (hell) is heated up. then pray when the shadow becomes longer, for the prayer is witnessed and angels attend it, until you perform `asr prayer; then stop salat till sun sets, for it sets between the horns of a devil. at that time the infidels prostrate themselves before it.'' i then asked the messenger of allah to tell me about wudu', and he (pbuh) said, "when a person begins the wudu' and washes his mouth and nose, the sins committed by his face, mouth and nostrils are washed out. then when he washes his face as commanded by allah, the sins of his face are washed out with the water from the sides of his beard. then when he washes his hands up to elbows, the sins of his hands are washed out through his fingers with water. then he passes his wet hands over his head and the sins of the head are washed out through the ends of his hair with water. then he washes his feet up to the ankles, the sins of his feet are washed out through his toes with water. then, if he stands up for salat and praises allah, glorifies him, proclaims his greatness as he deserves and devotes his heart wholly to allah, he emerges sin free as the day he was born".
when `amr bin `abasah (may allah be pleased with him) narrated this hadith to abu umamah (may allah be pleased with him) a companion of the prophet (pbuh), the latter said to him, "watch what you are saying. o `amr bin `abasah, a man will be getting all of this in one shot?'' `amr (may allah be pleased with him) replied, "o abu umamah, i have attained old age, my bones have become dry, my death is approaching and there is no need for me to tell lies concerning allah and his messenger (pbuh). had i not heard this from the messenger of allah only once, twice, thrice (and he counted up to seven) i would never have reported it. indeed i have heard this frequently".
commentary: this hadith makes the following seven points:
1. the preacher should be concerned about the safety of his followers. it is for this reason, the prophet (pbuh) stressed upon `amr bin abasah (may allah be pleased with him) to stay at home and keep his conversion to islam secret.
2. no matter how unfavourable are the circumstances and how tough is the opposition, a preacher should always have firm hope of help from allah and be confident about his victory over his enemy. that is why, the prophet (may allah be pleased with him) asked `amr (may allah be pleased with him) to come to him when he received information about his domination.
3. it is a proof of his prophethood that what eventually happened was exactly according to his prophecy.
4. angels attend the salat. one should, therefore, perform salat not only with peace of mind but also with utmost humility and fear of allah, so that it is reported and becomes more meritorious.
5. the times when salat is unpraiseworthy are as follows:
a. after the salat of fajr to the time of sunrise.
b. at the time when the sun begins to decline.
c. after the salat of `asr to the time of sunset.
d. when the sun is rising or setting.
6. wudu' and salat expiate for sins. for this reason this hadith has been mentioned in this chapter.
7. even in the days of ignorance (pre-islamic period), pious and right-minded people were averse to idolatry and thought it a deviation from the right path.
439. abu mu sa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: the prophet (pbuh) said, "when allah intends to show mercy to a people, he collects their prophet before them and makes him a herald to happiness for them in the hereafter; and when he intends to destroy a people, he punishes them while their prophet is alive, and destroys them while he is alive and watches them and makes him witness their destruction because they disbelieved in him and disobeyed his commands".
commentary: this hadith tells us about a divine law in respect of prophets, which is meant to deter people from opposing the prophet (pbuh) and commands us to follow his footsteps, so that we can benefit from his intercession on the day of resurrection.