Hadeeth 7 : The Religion is Naseehah (Sincere Advice

Auther : Abu Zakaria An-Nawawi

on the authority of abu ruqayya tameem ibn aus ad-daaree (radi allaahu anhu) that the prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

'the deen (religion) is naseehah (advice/sincerity)'. we said 'to whom?' he said 'to allah and his book, and his messenger, and to the leaders of the muslims and their common folk.' [related by muslim]

explanation of hadeeth 7

this is the only hadeeth narrated by tameem ad-daaree (radi allaahu 'anhu). and 'naseehah' is a comprehensive word, whose meaning implies the desire for all possible good for the one being advised. and this word 'an-naseehah' is most concise in speech, and there is no other single word in the arabic language that completetly and precisely explains its meaning, just as it is said that regarding the word 'al-falaah' (the success) that there is no other word in the arabic language that more precisely and succinctly describes the good of both this world and the next.

and the meaning of his (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "the deen is naseehah" is that the main pillar of the religion and its straightness lies in this concept of naseehah. and this is similar to the prophet's sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam statement "the hajj is 'arafah", meaning the main pillar of the hajj is the standing in the plain of 'arafah.

as for the detailed explanation of naseehah then al-khattaabee (rahimhu allaah) and others from amongst the 'ulemaa have said:

naseehah to allaah ta'aalaa refers to belief in him and the negation of all shirk, and leaving heresy and disbelief in his attributes, rather describing him with the perfect and complete attributes, all of them, and freeing him of all deficiencies. and it further implies being firm upon his obedience and keeping away from sin, and loving for his sake and hating for his sake, and waging jihaad against those who disbelieve in him. and recognising his favours and thanking him for that, and having sincerity for him in all our affairs, and supplicating to him with all of his names and attributes that he has mentioned, and encouraging others upon that, and courteous behaviour with the people.

al-khattaabee also said:

and the reality of these characteristics return back to the slave himself, in his advising himself, for verily allaah subhaanahu wa ta'aalaa is in no need of any advice/counsel from his slaves.

and as for the naseehah to his book, then this is by believing it to be the speech of allaah ta'aala, and what he has sent down as revelation, and that there is no similarity between the speech of allaah and the speech of mankind. and that no one from amongst the creation is able to produce anything like it. and further, glorification of his book and reciting it as it should be recited and fulfilling its rights, beautifying the recitation and having khushoo' (humility, submissiveness) while doing so, and establishing the correct pronunciation of its letters. and also, defending the qur'aan from the false interpretations of the innovators, and having faith in all that is in it, and understanding its sciences and examples, and accepting its mutashaabih (hidden, unclear), and making du'aa by it.

and as for the naseehah to his messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) then this involves believing in his messengership, and having faith in all that he came with, and obeying him in all that he ordered or forbade, and helping him both in his life and after his death, and having enmity with all those who have enmity with him, and having allegiance to all those who have allegiance with him, and fulfilling his rights, and honouring him, and reviving his manner and sunnah, and responding to his da'wah, and spreading his sunnah, and understanding its meanings and sciences, and calling towards it, and being eager in studying it, and showing respect when it is mentioned, and refraining from speaking about it without knowledge, and mixing amongst the people of the sunnah, and behaving with the character taught by the sunnah, and showing love towards the members of the prophet's sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam household, and his companions, and keeping away from those who innovate in his sunnah or those who reject/oppose any one of his companions, or anything like that.

and as for the naseehah to the leaders of the muslims, then this involves helping them in the truth, and obeying them, and ordering them with the truth, and reminding them of it with kindness and gentle words, and notifying/advising them of that which they have neglected, and informing them of the rights of the muslims, and not rebelling against them with the sword, and gathering the hearts of the people upon obeying them, and praying behind them, and fighting in jihaad along with them, and making supplication for their correction.

and as for the naseehah to the common folk of the muslims, and they are those who are other than the rulers, then it involves guiding them towards that which will correct their affairs of both this life and the next, and helping them in that. and it involves protecting them from harm, and helping them in times of need, and acquiring what is beneficial for them, and ordering them with al-ma'roof (good) and forbidding them from al-munkar (evil) with kindness and sincerity, and showing mercy towards them. and it involves honouring and respecting their elders, and showing kindness to their youngsters, and supporting them with good advice. and leaving cheating them or having jealousy of them, and that one loves for them what one loves for oneself of goodness, and that one hates for them what one hates for oneself of evil, and protecting their wealth and honour, and other than that from speech and action. and it also involves encouraging them upon all that we have mentioned above of the various types of naseehah, and allaah knows best.

and giving naseehah (advice) is a fardh kifaayah, such that if a sufficient number of people perform it then the obligation is lifted from the community as a whole, and it is obligatory according to the ability of the individual.

and in the arabic language 'naseehah' means 'purification/clarification', as it is said: "i purified (nasahtu) the honey", and it is said that it means other than that. and allaah knows best.


that one cannot worship allah sincerely without being sincere to what he has revealed, and to the people according to their station in life. also one has to respect and honour his messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam), which is to respect and honour what he said, did, approved of or recommended, and to love him for who he was and what he was.
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