Chapter 95: Excellence of Conveying Glad Tidings and Congratulations
allah, the exalted, says:
"so announce the good news to my slaves. those who listen to the word [good advice la ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but allah) and islamic monotheism] and follow the best thereof (i.e., worship allah alone, repent to him and avoid taghut).'' (39: 17, 18)
"their rubb gives them glad tidings of a mercy from him, and that he is pleased (with them), and of gardens (jannah) for them wherein are everlasting delights.'' (9:21)
"but receive the glad tidings of jannah which you have been promised! " (41:30)
"so we gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.'' (37:101)
"and verily, there came our messengers to ibrahim (abraham) with glad tidings.'' (11:69)
"and his wife was standing (there), and she laughed [either, because the messengers did not eat their food or for being glad for the destruction of the people of lut (lot)]. but we gave her glad tidings of ishaq (isaac), and after ishaq, of ya`qub (jacob).'' (11:71)
"then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in al-mihrab (a praying place or a private room), (saying): `allah gives you glad tidings of yahya (john).''' (3:39)
"(remember) when the angels said: `o maryam (mary)! verily, allah gives you the glad tidings of a word [`be!'- and he was! i.e., `isa (jesus) the son of maryam] from him, his name will be the messiah `isa.'' (3:45)
708. `abdullah bin abu aufa (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) gave glad tidings to khadijah (may allah be pleased with her) about a palace of hollowed pearls in jannah, free from noise and toil.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith throws light on the excellence of khadijah (may allah be pleased with her) and also mentions the glad tidings given to her by messenger of allah (pbuh) about her blessful place in a heavenly abode in the hereafter.
709. abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) reported: one day, i performed my wudu' in my house and then set forth with the determination that i would stick to messenger of allah (pbuh) and spend the whole day with him. i came to the mosque and asked about him. the companions told that he (pbuh) had gone in a certain direction. abu musa added: i followed him inquiring until i came to bi'r aris (a well in the suburb of al-madinah). (there) i sat down at the door till he (pbuh) had relieved himself and performed wudu'. then i went to him and saw him sitting on the platform of the well with his shanks uncovered and his legs dangling in the well. i greeted him and returned to the door of the garden, saying to myself, "i will be the doorkeeper of the messenger of allah today.'' abu bakr (may allah be pleased with him) came and knocked at the door. i said; "who is that?'' he said: "abu bakr.'' i said, "wait a moment.'' then i went to the messenger of allah (pbuh) and said, "o messenger of allah! abu bakr is at the door seeking permission to enter.'' he said, "admit him and give him the glad tidings of jannah.'' i returned and said to abu bakr (may allah be pleased with him): "you may enter and messenger of allah (pbuh) has given you the glad tidings of (entering) jannah.'' abu bakr (may allah be pleased with him) came in and sat down on the right side of messenger of allah (pbuh) and suspended his legs into the well and uncovered his shanks, as the messenger of allah had done. i returned to the door and sat down. i had left my brother at home while he was performing wudu' and intending to join me. i said to myself: "if allah intends good for him (i.e., to be blessed to come at this time and receive the glad tidings of entering jannah), he will bring him here.'' someone knocked at the door and i said, "who is it?'' he said, "umar bin al-khattab.'' i said, "wait a moment.'' then i proceeded towards messenger of allah (pbuh). i greeted him and said, "umar is at the door, seeking permission to enter. he said, "let him in and give him the glad tidings of entering jannah.'' i went back to `umar (may allah be pleased with him) and said to him, "messenger of allah has given you permission as well as glad tidings of entering jannah.'' he entered and sat down with messenger of allah (pbuh) on his left side and dangled his feet into the well. i returned to the door and sat down and said to myself: "if allah intends good for my brother, he will bring him here.'' someone knocked at the door and i said, "who is it?'' he said, "uthman bin `affan.'' i said, "wait a moment.'' i went to messenger of allah (pbuh) and informed him about his arrival. he said, "let him in and give him glad tidings of entering jannah together with a tribulation which he will have to face.'' i came back to him and said, "you may enter; and messenger of allah (pbuh) gives you the glad tidings of entering jannah together with a tribulation that will afflict you.'' he got in and saw that the elevated platform round the well was fully occupied. so he sat on opposite side. sa`id bin al-musaiyab (may allah be pleased with him) a subnarrator has reported: the order in which they sat down indicated the places of their burial.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration adds: abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him) said: the prophet (pbuh) ordered me to guard the door. when `uthman was told (about the misfortune) he praised allah then said: "allahu musta`an (his help is to be sought).''
(the interpretation of sa`id bin al-musaiyab is that the graves of abu bakr and `umar (may allah be pleased with them) are by the side of the prophet (pbuh), in the same position they took when they sat next to the prophet (pbuh) while the grave of `uthman is away from their graves, in the public graveyard of al-madinah known as baqi` al-gharqad).
commentary: this hadith brings four points under our consideration. first, in certain cases, a glad tiding is given about the future life. second, the prophet (pbuh) himself gave the good news to the first three rightly-guided khulafa' (caliphs) that they would go to jannah. now only an inborn wretch can doubt their faith. third, the riot foretold by the prophet (pbuh) with regard to `uthman (may allah be pleased with him) took place in the concluding days of his caliphate. influenced by the wicked and baseless propaganda of a jew, `abdullah bin saba', a splinter group blockaded `uthman's house and finally put him to death. the incident reveals the prophet's truthfulness. fourth, things are also interpreted while one is awake, and the power of intuition is of course the basis of such a state. yet, a vision is not necessarily commensurate with the external reality in all cases. however, the first two caliphs, as envisioned by abu musa al-ash`ari (may allah be pleased with him), are eternally resting, along with the prophet (pbuh), in `aishah's room, while `uthman (may allah be pleased with him) is buried in the al-madinan graveyard of baqi` al-gharqad.
710. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: we were sitting in the company of the messenger of allah (pbuh), and abu bakr and `umar (may allah be pleased with them) were also present. all of a sudden the messenger of allah (pbuh) got up and left us. when he was late to return to us we began to worry lest he should meet with trouble in our absence. i was the first to be alarmed and set out in search of him until i came to a garden belonging to banu-najjar (a section of the ansar). i went round it looking for an entrance, but failed to find one. however, i saw a stream of water flowing into the garden from a well outside. i drew myself together like a fox and slinked into the place and reached the messenger of allah (pbuh). he said, "is it abu hurairah?'' i replied in the affirmative. he asked, "what is the matter with you?'' i replied, "you were sitting with us and then you left us and delayed for a time. fearing you had met with some adversities we got alarmed. i was the first to be alarmed. so when i came to this garden, i squeezed myself like a fox and these people are coming behind me.'' he (the prophet (pbuh)) gave me his sandals and said, "o abu hurairah! take these sandals of mine, and whoever you meet outside this garden testifying that la ilaha illallah (there is no true god except allah), being assured of it in his heart, give him the glad tidings that he will enter jannah.'' (abu hurairah then narrated the hadith in full).
commentary: as explained earlier in detail, a believer will definitely go to jannah, provided he/she sincerely believes in allah without associating anyone with his divinity, either he/she is very likely to be admitted to jannah in the first stage, or otherwise after being chastised depending on his or her sins. his eternal abode will be in jannah and not in hell-fire, in sha' allah.
711. ibn shumasah reported: we visited `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with him) when he was in his deathbed. he wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall. his son said: "o father, did not the messenger of allah (pbuh) give you the good news of such and such? did he not give you glad tidings of such and such?'' then he (`amr) turned his face towards us and said: "the best thing which you can count upon is the affirmation that: la ilaha illallah (there is no true god except allah), and that muhammad is the messenger of allah. i have passed through three phases. i remember when i hated none more than i hated the messenger of allah (pbuh), and there was no other desire stronger in me than that of killing him. had i died in that state, i would have definitely been one of the dwellers of fire (hell). when allah instilled the love for islam in my heart, i went to messenger of allah (pbuh) and said, `extend your right hand, so that i pledge allegiance to you.' he (pbuh) stretched out his right hand, but i withdrew my hand. he said, `what is the matter, `amr?' i said, `i wish to lay down same conditions.' he asked, `what conditions do you wish to put forward?' i replied, `to be granted forgiveness.' he said, `do you not know that (embracing) islam wipes out all that has gone before it (previous misdeeds). verily, emigration wipes out all the previous sins, and the hajj (pilgrimage) wipes out all the previous sins.' thereafter, no one was dearer to me than messenger of allah (pbuh), and none was more respectable than him in my eyes. so bright was his splendour that i could not gather enough courage to look at his face for any length of time. if i were asked to describe his feature, i would not be able to do so because i have never caught a full glimpse of his face. had i died in that state i could have hoped to be one of the dwellers of jannah. thereafter, we were made responsible for many things and in the light of which i am unable to know what is in store for me. when i die, no mourner, nor fire should accompany my bier. when you bury me, throw the earth gently over me and stand over my grave for the space of time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that i may enjoy your intimacy, and in your presence ascertain what answer can i give to the messengers of my rubb (the angels in grave).''
commentary: this hadith tells us about three phases of the life of `amr bin al-`as (may allah be pleased with him), that is, pre-islamic period, post-faith period and the governorship period. of the last one, when he shouldered heavy responsibilities, he feared that he might have committed some lapses and for that he might be subjected to accountability before allah. the hadith invites our attention to the following points:
first, amr's vehement hostility of pre-faith days was transformed into intense love for the prophet (pbuh) upon embracing islam. second, the greatness of the prophet (pbuh) was ingrained in the companions' hearts. third, the fear of error and the hope of divine mercy may cause one to shed tears at the moment of death. fourth, it is desirable on the part of relatives and friends to do something for the comfort of a dying person by giving him the glad tidings of allah's mercy. fifth, islam wipes out all previous sins, but afterwards, life should be led according to the dictates of true faith. in the same way the minor sins are pardoned on account of hijrah, and hajj, but a sincere repentance with all its conditions is indispensable to the remission of major sins. sixth, lamentation over a dead body is forbidden. seventh, one may desirably make a will before death, particularly with regard to the anti-shari`ah heresies and rites to which the bereaved people are likely to take recourse. eighth, there is an affirmation of the orthodox belief that munkir and nakir (two angels) appear in the grave and question the dead person about his or her religious beliefs. ninth, to stand over the grave and to pray for the salvation of the dead person is a desirable act, as the dead person enjoys the intimacy and the visit of the righteous to his grave. this hadith, therefore, recommends believers to pray for the firmness of the dead person.