Heart Melting Traditions: The Reality of Your Wealth

Part Three: The Reality of Your Wealth

Based on the course by Shaykh Abdullah Misra

This is the third article based on the series, The Heart Softeners from Kitab al-Riqaq from the Mishkat al Masabih, presented by Shaykh Abdullah Misra. In the previous article, we learned about the temptations of this world.

Our world can be viewed from the lens of a trial; in both good times and bad, the potential to develop cynicism and callousness exists. It is our duty as Muslims to always remain vigilant such that we do not forget Allah Most High’s blessings and mercy.

For this purpose SeekersGuidance scholar Shaykh Abdullah Misra chose the documented work of Imam Khatib al-Tabrizi; Mishkat al-Masabih (The Niche Of Lamps) to deeply explore the topic of a soft heart. Imam al-Tabrizi gathered sayings and practices of the Prophet (hadiths) found in the six canonical books such as Bukhari, Muslim, and others on a multitude of topics. Throughout this nineteen article series, each hadith is put forward with an explanation.

Article One: Reality of This Word 

Article Two: Temptations of This World

Hadith Eleven – Successful People

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Successful is the one who embraced Islam, was blessed with just enough provision for every day and who was made content with that by Allah.” (Muslim)

Shaykh Abdullah informs us that the ultimate success is in attaining the goal of reaching Allah Most High in His good pleasure and attains paradise (Janna). Achieving this goal lies in the three components outlined in this Hadith.

One. To embrace Islam is to direct one’s life towards Allah Most High, to submit to His commands, and to take Allah as their Lord. This path is not automatic by virtue of being born into a Muslim home, practicing Islam from birth. Instead, one makes this conscious decision having lived for some time, understanding the world to some degree.  

Two. Everything we have: be it food, clothing, shelter, or financial wealth was given to us by Allah Most High. A successful person receives sustenance (rizq) is a measure of neither more nor less than what is required and Allah Almighty causes them to be satisfied and fulfilled.  

Three. Contentment is not within a human being’s control. Rather, it is a gift created in the heart and bestowed upon them by Allah Most High. A contented person is more thankful and his breast blessings increase. Examples of such blessings include striving harder without feeling tired, deriving greater output from efforts made, and being filled with internal happiness and peace.

Hadith Twelve – True Wealth

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The servant says, “My wealth! My wealth! Yet the only things that he truly owns from his wealth are three: That which he consumed and finished, that which he dressed in and wore it out and that which he gave away [for the sake of Allah] and saved up [for the Hereafter]. Other than that, he is soon departing and leaving it behind for other people. (Muslim)

Shaykh Abdullah explains that true wealth is what we personally consumed, wore, and enjoyed, followed by that which we gave in the path of Allah Most High for purposes such as charity, education, and philanthropy. Spending for the sake of Allah Almighty is considered the wealth of the Hereafter.

Consequently, any remaining resources not consumed or spent at the time of death will no longer be ours because they will be utilized by our inheritors.

Hadith Thirteen – Our Actions Remain With Us

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Three things follow a dead person [up to the grave], and two [of them] return and only one remains. His family, wealth and actions follow him, but his family and wealth turn back, while his actions remain.” (Muslim)

Shaykh Abdullah reminds us of the reality that when we die, our family, friends and well-wishers may attend our funerals and supplicate but after we are buried, they leave the graveyard.

Our wealth might have been used to purchase our shrouding and perhaps the funeral prayer is said at our home, but yet again, as soon as we are buried our wealth switches ownership into the hands of spouses and children. Our actions or deeds are the only things that stay with us and can be a source of comfort in this next phase of existence.

Hadith Fourteen – Inheritor’s Wealth

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) once asked, “Which of you loves the wealth of his inheritor more than his own wealth?” They answered, ‘O Messenger of Allah! There isn’t any one of us but that his own wealth is more beloved to him than the wealth of his inheritor!’ The Prophet replied, “Then certainly, his own wealth is only what he sent forward and the wealth of his inheritor is what he kept back.” (Bukhari)

As was mentioned in Hadith #12, the largest component of true wealth is what was spent in the path of Allah Most High. Shaykh Abdullah clarifies the wealth not sent forward to the Hereafter is left for the inheritors and will be of no benefit to the deceased. Therefore no one would choose the wealth of his inheritor (wealth left behind) over his own wealth (wealth saved).

Hadith Fifteen – Forwarded Wealth

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) related that, “When someone dies, the angels ask: what did they send forward?” And the people ask, ‘what did they leave behind?’ (Baihaqi)

Shaykh Abdullah encourages us to adopt the attitude of the angels and concentrate our efforts on the wealth sent forth.

Hadith Sixteen – Richness of The Soul

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Being rich is not having a lot of things, but rather being rich is the richness of the soul.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

Shaykh Abdullah expounds on the concept of riches and affluence which means to be free of need from what others possess. When one examines their life, a rich person feels contentment in his soul and is not disturbed or envious concerning what he doesn’t have. 

Episode three of the Heart Softeners urges us to break our attachment to our wealth in our hearts and instead redirects us to spend it in doing good and on the things pleasing to Allah Most High. 

Utilizing wealth in this way will be forwarded to the Hereafter in our account and any unused wealth will be allocated to our inheritors, without us deriving any benefit. 


Watch the full episode:



About the Author

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focussed his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.


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When Hearts Go Hard – Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Hadiths to Revive the Heart

Part  One: The Reality of This World by Shaykh Abdullah Misra


Our world can be viewed from the lens of a trial; in both good times and bad, the potential to develop cynicism and callousness exists. It is our duty as Muslims to always remain vigilant such that we do not forget Allah Most High’s blessings and mercy. For this purpose SeekersGuidance scholar Shaykh Abdullah Misra chose the documented work of Imam Khatib al-Tabrizi; Mishkat al-Masabih (The Niche Of Lamps) to deeply explore the topic of a soft heart. Imam al-Tabrizi gathered sayings and practices of the Prophet (hadiths) found in the six canonical books such as Bukhari, Muslim and others on a multitude of topics.

A soft heart is one that has not fallen into despair and whose intimate relationship with Allah Most High and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) is safeguarded. Throughout this nineteen article series, Shaykh Abdullah explains each hadith focused on softening the heart. 

This is the first article based on a series of online podcasts by SeekersGuidance scholar – Shaykh Abdullah Misra – called When Hearts Grow Hard.

Hardness of the Heart is an affliction that happens to everyone at some point in their life, but what exactly is this hardness? We may feel a sense of despair when experiencing different life events such as illness, loss of wealth, and even uncertainty in a pandemic. We become selfish and lack a sense of empathy as our only concern is this worldly life, when instead, we should be striving for the Hereafter.

The heart is cured by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in numerous hadiths. These are the heart softeners which open our souls to the Divine Wisdom of our Creator, Allah Most High. Our means of reaching Allah is through the heart, and it must be purified before His guidance can penetrate it. 


Five Hadiths on the Reality of this World

  1. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “There are two blessings that most people are cheated from good health and free time.” (Bukhari)

In our youth, we are unencumbered with responsibilities, and as a result, we have more free time. Instead of wasting it on social media, partying, or idle talk, we are encouraged to seek beneficial knowledge that will lead us to Paradise. Free time is a resource that is limited, and it parallels good health. A person in retirement has more free time but lacks the good health of one’s youth. One may want to spend more time in the remembrance of Allah but is not always physically able due to illness in old age. We must not cheat ourselves of the limited blessings of free time and good health.

  1. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) narrated, “ I swear by Allah this world compared to the Hereafter is like if one of you dipped his finger into the sea; let him see how much water he comes back with.” (Muslim)

This world, dunya in Arabic, is the lowest form of life because it is temporary, compared to the Hereafter which is everlasting. The scholars have mentioned that life in this world is a fleeting moment, like an hour of time. We must strive to make it an hour of obedience and worship to Allah. 

  1. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) passed by a dead lamb that had no ears, and asked, “Which one of you would like to have this for a silver coin?” Those present said, “We wouldn’t want that for anything!”. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) replied, “ Then I swear by Allah, this world is more insignificant to Allah than this carcass is to you all.” (Muslim)

All the affairs in this world are meaningless to Allah  Most High –  yet man obsesses over the pursuit of wealth, love, or fame. Allah in His infinite wisdom taught us the Hereafter will never end, and we must aim for Paradise with our good deeds.

  1. “This world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  (Muslim)

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was blessed with the brevity of speech, containing meanings that have a lasting impression. As Muslims, we do not indulge our base desires as this can lead to immoral behavior and consequently punishment in the Hellfire. Disbelievers view a Muslim’s life as restricted,  akin to a prison. A disbeliever is ungrateful for Allah’s blessings and pursues the forbidden pleasures of this world, which give him a false sense of happiness like a paradise. Our goal, as Muslims, is to please Allah Most High, even if we must sacrifice our inner desires.

  1. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “ Allah does not deal unjustly with a believer for even one small good deed; for it, he is given good in this world and rewarded for it in the Hereafter also. As for the ungrateful disbeliever, he is given things in this world as a reward  for the good works they did for Allah’s sake, until they reach the Hereafter without a single good deed to be rewarded for.” (Muslim)

A Muslim is rewarded in this life and in the Hereafter for any single good deed that he has performed, whereas a disbeliever is only rewarded in this life for any good he has done. The ingratitude of the disbeliever for Allah’s bounties will lead him to doom on the Day of Judgment.

In conclusion, we must not take our good health and free time for granted and understand that Allah Most High created us to obey and worship Him. This world is insignificant compared to the permanent abode of the Hereafter. By heeding the advice of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), may Allah guide us to soften our hearts, so we can accept His Divine guidance.


Biography of Shaykh Abdullah Misra

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration, and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies, and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focused his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.


Watch the full video here: 



A Commentary on the Hadīth of Women’s Intelligence

A Commentary on the Hadīth of Women’s Intelligence

By Iman Badawi


The Messenger of God (peace and blessing be upon him) was no ordinary man.  His words were no ordinary words.  Even as the Quran is inimitable in both Word and Meaning, the Prophetic Speech carries miraculous elements of it’s own.  A miracle is an occurrence that is a break from observable convention, sent as a Divine Sign, to substantiate the truthfulness of the one for whom God wills to send it.


As there is, in the Word of God, a Divinely Transcendent element, so there is, in the words of the Perfect Man, a humanly transcendent element.


Abu Sa`id al-Khudri relates [1] (may Allah be pleased with him):

Allah’s Messenger went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of ‘Eid . Then he passed by the women and said, “O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the you are the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire.”

They asked, “Why is it so, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “You curse frequently and deny the reminiscent good.”

He said, “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.”

The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?”

He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence.”

He said, “Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.”



In Relation to the General Principles of Islam


There is no evidence in any of the Sources of the Sacred Law to substantiate a disparaging view of women. It is highly suspect to interpret this report in any way that contravenes the definitively established principle of the honoring of women in Islam. Rather, the sound methodology of interpreting revelatory texts is to understand those that are unclear, implicit, indirect, or singular in accordance to those that are clear, explicit, direct, and repeatedly confirmed.


The Quranic Guidance on the rightful authority within the home and State is, in no way, a contradiction of this principle.  The assigning of authority is not to be conflated with the essential quality of a thing and its due importance.



In the Context of Textual Interpretation


Every scholar must know their audience and objective.


The refuting of deviant interpretations, from those within and without, albeit an important task, is not a prerequisite of Faith for the Muslim laity and never should it be.


The proper approach of the layman to the revelatory texts is what I have coined as the “Siddiq principle” [2]   that is, an unconditional belief in whatever the Prophet said and taught, upon the establishment of correct attribution.  It was with this attitude that the Companions gave ear to the Prophetic Guidance and with this mind that they posed inquiries.


Here, then, comes the role of the scholar – as an inheritor of the Prophet – to input the correct interpretation, with mind to a receptive audience, not a belligerent interlocutor (peace and blessings be upon him).


Ibn Hajar alone can be said to have derived over 18 points of benefit from this Hadīth.  How many articles are found on the internet translating and expounding these points? — zero. How many articles can be found giving a cursory look into the Hadith from a mainly defensive angle? — many.


The substantive writings of the previous generations of Islamic Scholarship, in justification of their stances, bear little resemblance to the apologetics of today. They built upon an encompassing and solidified Knowledge of the Traditional Sciences, such that even through their engagement with the prevalent epistemological innovations of their time, they produced new contributions to the field. How could the attempts by modern Muslims Intellectuals, better trained in the disciplines they seek to refute, be of any comparison.


Those confused souls in whose heart the Messenger of God is accused are not the reference point for understanding the Revelation, let alone those who falsely accuse God, Himself. Likewise, a woman – just because she is so – is not automatically more versed in the Sunnah than the Classical Hadith Commentators. Political or social leanings must not detract from the authority and respect due to Traditional Islamic Scholarship.


If the scholars of today continue to employ defensive rhetoric in explaining revelatory texts to the laity, they will only reinforce the latent accusations insidiously planted in their minds. It is critically important to proactively model and teach the correct attitude, first.


Yes, Muslim Scholarship has, and should, respond to its detractors. That, versus reducing Scholarly Teaching to the juvenile dictates of social media or the pompous discourse of Academia or the sophistry of the Atheists, is a different matter altogether.



Womens’s Intellect


This Hadith is often misunderstood to represent a comparative contrast between the intellect of women and men.  In fact, the intended comparison is internal to the nature of women, themselves. All human beings are formed of different components and capacities. The meaning would thus be that the rational component in women is comparatively less than their emotional component. This interpretation is in line with the established principles of Islam as well as what is known about the natural disposition of women.



In the Context of Female Perfection 


The perfection of all things lies in their reaching the potential of their Divinely-inspired primordial nature (fitra). A bee that spins silk or a worm that produces honey is not an optimum — it is an aberration.  Thus, the preponderance of the female emotional capacity over her rational capacity is an aspect of her human nature, not a deficiency in the least.  This superior emotional capacity is an integral part of her femininity, the loss of which would be the deficiency.  It is this element that, in fact, distinguishes her from men, in her soul.  It is a characteristic that is beautiful and valuable in the sight of those of sound intellect and refined taste.


It is only when humans are reduced to their animalistic component that the nature of men and women becomes defined by anatomy alone. It is no wonder, then, how easily the magic of hedonism can produce the illusion of changing the human soul by changing the outer form. What God created as a female soul will remain so. What God created as a male soul will remain so.  Yet we wonder, still, why so much of our world is suffering from mental illness?  The human soul – despite compounded layers of deceit – will forever sense a breach of its sanctity. [3]



In the Context of Male Perfection


Among the signs of Divine Oneness (Tawhid) is the creation of all things in pairs [4]. This dual facet in Creation serves as a reminder of the Transcendent Distinctness of the Creator, Who is One, Without Partner.


The innate nature of men is the mirror image of that of women.   In direct contradistinction, the male rational  component outweighs his emotional component. This symmetry of created pairs indicates to their interdependence and thriving on complementary roles.  Further, it points to the danger of pitting the male and female components against each other — both internally and externally.  Such is a tug-of-war that can only lead to the rope’s snapping.


At its peak, this reality also displays – in Beatific Majesty – the Uniqueness of Divine Unity and Self-Sustenance.



In the Holistic Human Context


The question may arise as to why — in the Islamic Tradition and others — that the characteristics of strength, determination and courage are often associated with men, while characteristics of mercy, gentleness, and self-sacrifice are associated with women.  This Hadith offers great insight into the answer.


The rational capacity of the human being is the component that represents outer strength, a power that manifests to others and by which people exercise sound thinking, agency, and strong will.


The emotional capacity of the human being, on the other hand, is the component that represents inner strength, a power that is hidden.  It cannot be said that it’s concealed nature makes it weaker, any more than we could dare to say that Allah’s Magnificent Attributes of being adh-Dhahir (the Outwardly Manifest) and al-Batin (the Inwardly Manifest) are of such comparison.


From this, we understand that the association of certain qualities to a particular gender rests in their preponderance in the nature of men and women and in no way precludes their existence in both.


Rather, it is because they are human strengths – not specific to one gender – that their duality reinforces the holistic understanding of what it means to be human. Neither one, in absence of the other, is praiseworthy.


Also to note, is that these are general realities within which there is observable variation. The exact composite of strengths and capacities within every man and woman is a distinct aspect of their creation.



Bringing Balance to the Force 


The male-female human counterbalance is like a glue that binds creation.


Men appreciate in women their emotional capacity, in that it gives life to their own, thereby bringing about balance.  Women appreciate in men their rational capacity as it supports their own, thereby causing their counter-capacities to achieve balance.


This reality also speaks to the centrality of the social drive in human beings.  The need for connection, whether it be to the Divine or to loving human relationships, is merely an extension of the desire to become whole. Optimally, this process of drawing upon the counterbalance to achieve wholeness occurs in all nurturing relationships —parent and child, husband and wife, teacher and student, friend and friend.


The symmetric preponderance of male and female components also leads to an understanding of the different struggles men and women face in becoming spiritually polished.


Men, when consumed entirely by the rational, can become very harsh, cold, and materialistically-focused. Thus, the process of male perfection lies in fostering their emotional side.  The spirituality of a man has much to do with harnessing the emotional against his rational. This brings balance. Practically, the extent to which he shows love, care, and decency with the women in his life — of his kin and otherwise — is an indicator of his spiritual polishing.  The female characteristics of humility, mercy, gentleness, and self-sacrifice that the ignorant consider to be inferior to their male counterparts, are the very means by which men became true men.


Women, when consumed entirely by the emotional, can be rash, verbally abusive, impractical, and blinded from seeing the good done to them by others. Thus, the process of female perfection lies in modulating her emotional flow through the rational.  The spirituality of a woman has much to do with employing the male power — of strong will — in achieving mastery over her emotional self. A true women, not dominated by her “weakness”, is a master equestrian, in full control of the reigns.


Thus, the true element in human perfection lies not in being male or female, but in achieving balance between our innate human capacities and harnessing them in their proper outlet.  Neither an androcentric nor a gynocentric view of the world will yield the optimum.  Rather, a God-centric view of ourselves and the world around us is what will lead to the triumph of the human soul.


This balance, when achieved without pretense, and Guided by Divine Light, in spite of its incomplete nature, is the signature of human perfection.



In the Context of Comparing Men and Women


It is critical to note that highlighting the preponderance of the female emotional component does not, in any way, detract from her rational capacity in comparison to men.  It may be that a woman – even with her preponderant emotive power – exceeds the intellect of millions of men – even as their rational side preponderates.


The most cogent example of this is our Lady Aisha (Allah be well pleased with her), whose intellect undisputedly rivals that of the majority of creation – male and female. In reverse, her brilliant mind did not detract from her emotional capacity.  She became jealous.  She was sometimes reactionary.  She would indicate to her husband – our beloved Prophet – her displeasure by calling upon the “Lord of Ibrahim”. He loved her for this, not in spite of it.


Likewise, the pharaonic fallout of a male soul gone awry will be met with the discipline and humiliation of a Queen, Our Lady Asiya (Allah be well pleased with her). He could not break her.  Allah broke Him.


Balance is not a mathematical nor materialistic proposition.  It is the rectitude resultant from being deeply in touch with one’s self and one’s Lord, through sincere and persistent devotion.  Only then, will the soul come to know Him and embark on the journey of elevation.



Gender, Community and Divine Unity


The Highest Foundation of Islam is Divine Oneness, Tawhid.  This creedal cornerstone permeates through every aspect of Islam’s inward and outward dimensions.


The optimum state of all things is in their mirroring of the Divine Imperative.  Thus, unity is a central aspect of human perfection.


The achieving of balance between the human capacities represents the inner unity of the individual. So does this unity outwardly manifest in the group. 


The importance of the collective is highly prevalent in Islamic cultures, in specific, and most Eastern cultures, in general.  This collective, then, inspires unified diversification. Islam draws for us a holistic conception, based on both individual and collective rights.


The latter are sometimes referred to as the “Rights of God”, due to their returning to a meaning which is shared by all. It follows, that the breach of such collective rights, due to the pervasiveness of their reach, is of even greater consequence.


The individual struggle of every human being, in doing their part to achieve internal balance, does have direct bearing on others. A conception of “freedom” that denies the interconnectedness of our collective moral course as a species is a destructive one. The Sacred Law is elevated above this conception, for it is — not a limited human view of individual rights — but, rather, a holistic Divine prescription for the triumph of all humanity, at all times.


Thus, it is imperative to recognize that the honoring of women and according them due status is a human reality, not a human-ism, and thus cannot be properly claimed by anyone except its Creator.  Truth is to be realized, not weaponized. So, beware, O believers, of the one-eyed.



The Magnificence of the Messenger of God


God granted His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) succinctly comprehensive eloquence [5]. This is a Divine Secret in the Prophetic Speech for which eternity would not suffice to unravel. The report at hand weaves together the themes of  Tawhid, Unity, Balance and Faith with uncanny coherence.



    1. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri relates : Allah’s Messenger went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) of Eid [6] Then he passed by the women and said,



The occurrence of this report converged upon two important events — the Day of Eid and the Farewell Sermon.  Each of these time contexts signifies Tawhid.  The Day of Eīd is a day of recognizing God’s Favor.  The Day of the Farewell Pilgrimage – a sign of the impending death of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) — signifies the continuation of his Mission by the Ummah, for the sake of the One Who never dies.  Additionally, both the Ka’bah and the Hajj are associated with Ibrahim, the Hanif, meaning the one who leans away from all association of partners with God, the upholder of Pure Monotheism, the father of the Prophets.


In the context of the Farewell Pilgrimage, we may also draw upon an important contextual clue. In this monumental Prophetic Address, on the Holiest day of the year, the Day of ‘Arafah, the Prophet directly addressed men, exhorting them to uphold good conduct with their women, saying : [7]


“Be conscious of God in your dealings with women, for you have taken them by the Divine Trust…I have left with you a thing, if you adhere to it, never will you go astray — the Book of Allah.”


“You will be asked about me, so what will be your reply?” They said, “We testify that you have conveyed, and fulfilled, and given true counsel.”


Then he said, while raising his finger to the heavens and pointing it to the people, “O God, I call upon you to bear witness. O God, I call upon you to bear witness.”


It was not until the next day that the Prophet addressed the women. This yields further supportive evidence that the admonition in these reports, on matters related to male-female relationships, was intended for the rectification of the community as a whole.


2. O women! Give alms, as I have seen that you are the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire.”


The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) gathered the womenfolk to solicit donations for an upcoming military campaign. In this way, the women would participate in the communal obligation of Jihad. This indicates to the Prophet’s keenness to encourage women to contribute to the Mission in their own way. The Early Muslim Community was immensely cohesive.  One Mission. One Leader. One Sunnah. Unity.


It has also been reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had intended to set aside times solely for the instruction of women. Commentators say that this was one such occurrence. [8] Thus, this report shows the Prophet’s keenness for women to receive religious education and to be afforded opportunities for deeper inquiry. If women were of  “deficient intellect”, why bother?


Our Lady Aisha, who instructed droves of male Companions, is reported to have persistently inquired about any matter of religion that she did not understand [9].  This was among the ways that she achieved erudition in religious scholarship.



  • …as I have seen that you are the majority of the dwellers of the Hell-Fire. They asked, “Why is it so, O Messenger of Allah? He replied, “You curse frequently and deny the reminiscent good”


Commentators state [10] that the “denial of the reminiscent good” is a reference to a woman’s rejection of her husband’s consistent favors provoked by emotional rashness upon seeing one disliked thing. This impulse, he duly noted, also often leads to women cursing their husbands.


The Prophet admonished women for this behavior because he wanted our families to be unified.


The use of hyperbole in admonition [11] in stating that “women make up the majority of the inhabitants of Hell” should not detract from the main objective.  Again, belief is our reference point. If we were to reject all that we know about the Prophet’s truthful conveyance from God and his exemplary character based on a mere idea, suggested by the ignorant, would we not fall under the very category of those who “deny the reminiscent good” that he, himself, warned us against?


Further, it can be easily argued that the Hadith bears no indication of ingratitude being inherently associated with women. Any decent human being recognizes that the denial of favors is a deplorable act, in any context.  However, in a context with such far-reaching ramifications as family, there is apt cause for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to exert extra emphasis as a deterrent.


Additionally, the Prophet’s religious instruction (peace and blessings be upon him) to the women was not always in the form of admonition.  Rather, he also gave them glad-tidings. [12]


To the doubters we say : These words are ambiguous.  The “majority” in relation to whom? The men of all time or people of all time? The people of that time or all times? In another report, the Prophet informs that of the Signs of the Hour is that the ratio of men to women would be 1 to 50 [13]. Now, we forget statistical analysis?


Likewise, what is your underlying premise? Are you claiming that God must judge humanity in such a way that derives a 50-50 distribution of the inhabitants of Hell? — a ridiculous assertion beyond warranting refutation.  Or do you claim that God is unjust to his servants? Well, then. 


There is a universe of difference between the superimposing of human failures on the Divine versus beholding Divine Perfection in humanity.  One worships God. The other plays God.



3. “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you. The women asked, “O Allah’s Messenger, what is deficient in our intelligence and religion?” He said, “Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?” They replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during menses?” The women replied in the affirmative. He said, “This is the deficiency in her religion.”



This was said by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) with a light tone as an indirect reference to the femininity of women. In his insight, humility and beautiful character, the Prophet balanced addressing the female rational capacity – in its receptiveness to the Prophetic admonition – with addressing the female emotional capacity through playful jest.


Proof that his words were not intended seriously? The matter of “decreased” religious responsibility has absolutely nothing to do with women, nor their base nature.  A man, for example, while traveling or sick or unconscious or under duress, is of “reduced” legal responsibility. This is a relative matter which has no essential bearing on either men or women. [14]


Nor do the rulings related to court testimony have any such bearing, as there are cases in which only the testimony of women suffices. Thus, the Prophet’s intent (peace and blessings be upon him) was clearly not literal, but entailed much more.


Subsequently, a “woman of excellent character” [15] asked a question.  The ensuing conversation between her and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is pregnant with meaning.


First,  the inquiry of the Female Companions unveils a profound reality within them (may Allah be please with them all). They were so entirely engrossed in their quest to please God, evident by their desire to understand what must be avoided to deflect the Divine Wrath, that they were completely distracted from the allusion to their feminine beauty.


Had they responded with raw emotion (as many do today), their attention would be drawn away from the objective. Instead, their faith intelligence led them to direct their emotional strength accordingly. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was speaking to them about their inner beauty and they reflected it right back to him through their undying devotion.


His consequent statement, “I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you” — if we have gained any understanding thus far — was actually meant in praise and admiration.


Second, the Prophet’s response brilliantly teaches us the practical application of his words. [16] (peace and blessings be upon him)


He did not tell her that she didn’t understand.  He dealt with her in a gentle, respectful manner.


“Be gentle with the crystals”, he said in another narration [17], a metaphor further clarifying the nature of women and how they should be dealt with.  The emotive component of a woman makes her transparent.  Like glass, her inner shines through.  As for the indication to delicate beauty and fragility, it is more than obvious.


Further, the theme of beautiful transparency is highlighted in another report [18]. In describing the Women of Paradise, their skin is described as being sheer. Another report completes the imagery, “if one of them were to look upon the world, her beauty would enlighten what is between the heavens and the earth, and fill them with the smell of musk. Her head veil is of greater value than the entire world and all that it contains” [19]


Would you, O men, wish to treat women so harshly that they grow a “thick skin”? Abhorrent character in men rears reptiles, not women.


What the Prophet did do, was exhibit inexplicable modesty (haya’) (peace and blessings be upon him). His answer was meant as a diversion from the underlying meaning in his allusion and as a practical directive.


The correlation between the hidden nature of feminine strength and the command to veil herself, set by the Sacred Law, is of no coincidence. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered her in such a way that was in keeping with her modesty. This meaning is alluded to in other reports. [20]


So, when he was compelled to veil the inner reality of his words, he did so with the “veil” of the Sacred Law. Have we begun to gain some semblance of the Prophetic Genius?


Within the Messenger of God converged the meanings of potent power and strength with those of iron integrity and rectitude.  A true man, in every sense of the word.  Such is the secret of the Prophetic Heart. Allah’s infinite peace and blessings be upon him and his folk.


He was their Sun, and they – the Companions – his rainbow; a refraction of his complete light into all its dazzling colors. May Allah be ever pleased with them and reward them all on our behalf.


Islam guides to the most refined way of thinking and being.  So it is that a staple feature of the revelatory address is to exhibit modesty in matters related to women through the use of figurative or indirect language. This sublime sophistication of subtlety in the revelatory texts is almost extinct in the literary style of today.


Lastly, the Prophet’s words contain a gentle, implicit hint to women, that they can be only one of two :

Either an agent for good in the community and a balancing element in the lives of men, or an agent for evil and a volatile element for all. He was just so decent that he could not say it directly (peace and blessings be upon him).


Do reflect on the fact that one cannot truly be a devout Muslim without being a decent human being.


The task of the Classical Commentators is to expound on both the direct and indirect indications within the reports through linguistic and cross-textual examination. However, when the objective is to derive a comprehensive understanding of the Character of the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him), it is indeed a matter so great, that even with deep study, perhaps only the imagination might reach [21]. What a massive amount did the predecessors leave for the later generations to unearth. We have much to learn about how to live Islam in our times.



Timeless Faith


In conclusion, dear Brethren in Faith, note that belief is also based on the harnessing of the dual human capacities of heart and mind.


Their parable, in relation to faith, is that of a true love between a man and a woman.


When he loves her, it will abound in such a way that will restrict his rational capacity. Is this not the way we love and submit to our Lord?


When she loves him, she looks to him to create a fortress of provision, protection, and care around her. Is this not what we desire from our Lord?


The Sunnah is that love story.


Reading the Sunnah with a critical, skeptical mind — wrought with the weeds of modern doubt — will not bring about a happy ending.


Read the Sunnah with your heart.  Defend it with your mind.


About the Author


Iman Badawi is an American-Muslim female scholar of Egyptian decent. During her undergraduate years, she founded and became the first president of her university’s Muslim Student Association. Upon making the decision to pursue Sacred Knowledge and starting a family, she left her medical career to focus on studying, teaching, and rearing her children.


She has studied in the US, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. She holds an ijazah (license) in the recitation of the Quran. She has studied Arabic, Poetry, Tajwid, Aqidah, Quranic & Hadith Studies, Tasawwuf, Shafi’i Fiqh and Usul. She specializes in Hanafi Fiqh & Usul, but also has deep interest in Hadith Studies and Quranic Exegesis. She continues to pursue more advanced studies.


She has experience teaching adults, youth, and children for over 15 years.  She is the founder of Halaqat-un-Nur (the Circle of Light), a study circle and community service initiative for women.


She has spoken internationally at several Islamic conferences and college campuses. She has also been an advisor to textbook publishers on the sections related to Islam and Muslims.


She currently resides in Chicago with her three children.






[ 1 ]

رواه البخاري في  كِتَابٌ : الْحَيْضُ – بَابُ تَرْكِ الْحَائِضِ الصَّوْمَ. من  حديث أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ ، قَالَ : خَرَجَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي أَضْحًى أَوْ فِطْرٍ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى، فَمَرَّ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ، فَقَالَ : ” يَا مَعْشَرَ النِّسَاءِ، تَصَدَّقْنَ ؛ فَإِنِّي أُرِيتُكُنَّ أَكْثَرَ أَهْلِ النَّارِ “. فَقُلْنَ : وَبِمَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : ” تُكْثِرْنَ اللَّعْنَ، وَتَكْفُرْنَ الْعَشِيرَ ، مَا رَأَيْتُ مِنْ نَاقِصَاتِ عَقْلٍ وَدِينٍ أَذْهَبَ لِلُبِّ الرَّجُلِ الْحَازِمِ مِنْ إِحْدَاكُنَّ “. قُلْنَ : وَمَا نُقْصَانُ دِينِنَا وَعَقْلِنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ؟ قَالَ : ” أَلَيْسَ شَهَادَةُ الْمَرْأَةِ مِثْلَ نِصْفِ شَهَادَةِ الرَّجُلِ ؟ “. قُلْنَ : بَلَى. قَالَ : ” فَذَلِكِ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ عَقْلِهَا، أَلَيْسَ إِذَا حَاضَتْ لَمْ تُصَلِّ، وَلَمْ تَصُمْ ؟ ” قُلْنَ : بَلَى. قَالَ : ” فَذَلِكِ مِنْ نُقْصَانِ دِينِهَا “

اختصره المؤلف هنا، وقد ساقه في كتاب الزكاة تاما. وقد تقدم في كتاب العلم من وجه آخر عن أبي سعيد أنه كان وعد النساء بأن يفردهن بالموعظة فأنجزه ذلك اليوم، وفيه أنه وعظهن وبشرهن.

[ 2 ]

On the occasion of the Night Journey and Ascension, when the Quraysh thought it preposterous that the Prophet could have travelled from Mecca to Jerusalem in one night – let alone to the highest heavens – they approached Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) with the news hoping to dissuade him from faith.  In response to their incredulity he said, “By Allah, if he did say it, then he is truthful….Indeed, I believe in what is greater than that. I believe him regarding the revelation…”

فعن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: لما أسري بالنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى المسجد الأقصى؛ أصبح يتحدث الناس بذلك؛ فارتدَّ ناس ممن كان آمنوا به وصدقوه، وسعى رجال من المشركين إلى أبي بكر رضي الله عنه، فقالوا: هل لك إلى صاحبك يزعم أنه أُسري به الليلة إلى بيت المقدس؟ قال: أو قال ذلك؟ قالوا: نعم قال: لئن قال ذلك لقد صدق، قالوا: أو تصدقه أنَّه ذهب الليلة إلى بيت المقدس، وجاء قبل أن يصبح؟ فقال: نعم، إني لأصدقه ما هو أبعد من ذلك، أصدقه في خبر السماء في غدوة أو روحة. فلذلك سُمِّي أبا بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه. رواه الحاكم وعبد الرزاق في (المصنف)

[ 3 ]

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا ۚ فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا ۚ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah. That is the correct religion, but most of the people do not know. (Quran 30:30)

[ 4 ]

وَخَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا    And We created you in pairs (Quran 78:8)

[ 5]

صحيح البخاري – كِتَابُ التَّعْبِيرِ – بَابُ الْمَفَاتِيحِ فِي الْيَدِ – حديث أبي هريرة قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ : ” بُعِثْتُ بِجَوَامِعِ الْكَلِمِ، وَنُصِرْتُ بِالرُّعْبِ، وَبَيْنَا أَنَا نَائِمٌ أُتِيتُ بِمَفَاتِيحِ خَزَائِنِ الْأَرْضِ، فَوُضِعَتْ فِي يَدِي “. قَالَ مُحَمَّدٌ : وَبَلَغَنِي أَنَّ جَوَامِعَ الْكَلِمِ، أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَجْمَعُ الْأُمُورَ الْكَثِيرَةَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ تُكْتَبُ فِي الْكُتُبِ قَبْلَهُ فِي الْأَمْرِ الْوَاحِدِ وَالْأَمْرَيْنِ أَوْ نَحْوَ ذَلِكَ.

[ 6 ]

قوله: ( في أضحى أو فطر ) شك من الراوي. [فتح الباري]

[ 7 ]

صحيح مسلم في كِتَابٌ : الْحَجُّ. – بَابٌ : حَجَّةُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.

(…فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ فِي النِّسَاءِ، فَإِنَّكُمْ أَخَذْتُمُوهُنَّ بِأَمَانِ اللَّهِ، وَاسْتَحْلَلْتُمْ فُرُوجَهُنَّ بِكَلِمَةِ اللَّهِ، وَلَكُمْ عَلَيْهِنَّ أَنْ لَا يُوطِئْنَ فُرُشَكُمْ أَحَدًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ، فَإِنْ فَعَلْنَ ذَلِكَ فَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ ضَرْبًا غَيْرَ مُبَرِّحٍ ، وَلَهُنَّ عَلَيْكُمْ رِزْقُهُنَّ وَكِسْوَتُهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ، وَقَدْ تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمْ مَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدَهُ إِنِ اعْتَصَمْتُمْ بِهِ ؛ كِتَابُ اللَّهِ وَأَنْتُمْ تُسْأَلُونَ عَنِّي، فَمَا أَنْتُمْ قَائِلُونَ ؟ ” قَالُوا : نَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ قَدْ بَلَّغْتَ وَأَدَّيْتَ، وَنَصَحْتَ، فَقَالَ بِإِصْبَعِهِ السَّبَّابَةِ يَرْفَعُهَا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ، وَيَنْكُتُهَا إِلَى النَّاسِ : ” اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَدِ، اللَّهُمَّ اشْهَدْ “. ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ…)

[ 8 ]

فتح الباري بشرح صحيح البخاري

قوله: ( باب عظة الإمام النساء ) نبه بهذه الترجمة على أن ما سبق من الندب إلى تعليم الأهل ليس مختصا بأهلهن، بل ذلك مندوب للإمام الأعظم ومن ينوب عنه. واستفيد الوعظ بالتصريح من قوله في الحديث: ” فوعظهن ” وكانت الموعظة بقوله: ” إني رأيتكن أكثر أهل النار لأنكن تكثرن اللعن، وتكفرن العشير “. واستفيد التعليم من قوله: ” وأمرهن بالصدقة “. كأنه أعلمهن أن في الصدقة تكفيرا لخطاياهن.

[ 9 ]

صحيح البخاري – كِتَابٌ : الْعِلْمُ – بَابُ مَنْ سَمِعَ شَيْئًا فَرَاجَعَ فِيهِ حَتَّى يَعْرِفَهُ.

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ أَبِي مَرْيَمَ ، قَالَ : أَخْبَرَنَا نَافِعُ بْنُ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنِي ابْنُ أَبِي مُلَيْكَةَ أَنَّ عَائِشَةَ زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَتْ لَا تَسْمَعُ شَيْئًا لَا تَعْرِفُهُ، إِلَّا رَاجَعَتْ فِيهِ حَتَّى تَعْرِفَهُ، وَأَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : ” مَنْ حُوسِبَ عُذِّبَ “. قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ : فَقُلْتُ : أَوَلَيْسَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : {فَسَوْفَ يُحَاسَبُ حِسَابًا يَسِيرًا } قَالَتْ : فَقَالَ : ” إِنَّمَا ذَلِكِ الْعَرْضُ، وَلَكِنْ مَنْ نُوقِشَ الْحِسَابَ يَهْلِكْ “.

[ 10 ]

عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري  :  (باب كفران العشير وكفر دون كفر)

[ 11 ]

وفيه إطلاق الكفرعلى الذنوب التي لا تخرج عن الملة تغليظا على فاعلها؛وقوله في بعض طرقه: ” بكفرهن ” كما تقدم في الإيمان، وهو كإطلاق نفي الإيمان، وفيه الإغلاظ في النصح بما يكون سببا لإزالة الصفة التي تعاب [فتح الباري]

[ 12 ]

كِتَابٌ : الْعِلْمُ – بَابٌ : هَلْ يُجْعَلُ لِلنِّسَاءِ يَوْمٌ عَلَى حِدَةٍ فِي الْعِلْمِ ؟

حَدَّثَنَا آدَمُ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنِي ابْنُ الْأَصْبَهَانِيِّ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ أَبَا صَالِحٍ ذَكْوَانَ يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ قَالَتِ النِّسَاءُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : غَلَبَنَا عَلَيْكَ الرِّجَالُ، فَاجْعَلْ لَنَا يَوْمًا مِنْ نَفْسِكَ، فَوَعَدَهُنَّ يَوْمًا لَقِيَهُنَّ فِيهِ فَوَعَظَهُنَّ، وَأَمَرَهُنَّ فَكَانَ فِيمَا قَالَ لَهُنَّ : ” مَا مِنْكُنَّ امْرَأَةٌ تُقَدِّمُ ثَلَاثَةً مِنْ وَلَدِهَا، إِلَّا كَانَ لَهَا حِجَابًا مِنَ النَّارِ “. فَقَالَتِ امْرَأَةٌ: وَاثْنَتَيْنِ ؟ فَقَالَ : ” وَاثْنَتَيْنِ ”     رواه الشيخان، والترمذي، وابن ماجة.

[ 13 ]

رواه مسلم  في كِتَابٌ : الْعِلْمُ – بَابٌ : رَفْعُ الْعِلْمِ – من حديث أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ، قَالَ : أَلَا أُحَدِّثُكُمْ حَدِيثًا سَمِعْتُهُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، لَا يُحَدِّثُكُمْ أَحَدٌ بَعْدِي سَمِعَهُ مِنْهُ : ” إِنَّ مِنْ أَشْرَاطِ السَّاعَةِ أَنْ يُرْفَعَ الْعِلْمُ، وَيَظْهَرَ الْجَهْلُ، وَيَفْشُوَ الزِّنَى، وَيُشْرَبَ الْخَمْرُ، وَيَذْهَبَ الرِّجَالُ، وَتَبْقَى النِّسَاءُ، حَتَّى يَكُونَ لِخَمْسِينَ امْرَأَةً قَيِّمٌ وَاحِدٌ “

[ 14 ]

وليس المقصود بذكر النقص في النساء لومهن على ذلك؛ لأنه من أصل الخلقة، لكن التنبيه على ذلك تحذير من الافتتان بهن، ولهذا رتب العذاب على ما ذكر من الكفران وغيره لا على النقص، وليس نقص الدين منحصرا فيما يحصل به الإثم بل في أعم من ذلك. قاله النووي؛ لأنه أمر نسبي، فالكامل مثلا ناقص عن الأكمل، ومن ذلك الحائض لا تأثم بترك الصلاة زمن الحيض لكنها ناقصة عن المصلي. [فتح الباري]

[ 15 ]

)امرأة جزلة) أي: تامة الخلق، أو: ذات كلام جزل؛ أي قوي شديد. زيادة وردت في رواية : مسلم  في كِتَابٌ : الْإِيمَانُ – بَابٌ : نُقْصَانُ الْإِيمَانِ بِنَقْصِ الطَّاعَاتِ وابن ماجه في كِتَابُ الْفِتَنِ – بابٌ : فِتْنَةُ النِّسَاءِ

[ 16 ]

وما ألطف ما أجابهن به – صلى الله عليه وسلم – من غير تعنيف ولا لوم، بل خاطبهن على قدر عقولهن، [فتح الباري]

[ 17 ]

رواه البخاري في كِتَابٌ : الْأَدَبُ – بَابُ مَا يَجُوزُ مِنَ الشِّعْرِ وَالرَّجَزِ وَالْحُدَاءِ وَمَا يُكْرَهُ – و بَابٌ : الْمَعَارِيضُ مَنْدُوحَةٌ عَنِ الْكَذِبِ من حديث انس رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ

رواه مسلم في كتاب : الْفَضَائِلُ – بَابٌ : رَحْمَةُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِلنِّسَاءِ، وَأَمْرُ السَّوَّاقِ مَطَايَاهُنَّ بِالرِّفْقِ بِهِنَّ من حديث أنس بن مالك

رواه  أحمد في  مُسْنَدُ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ

نقل ابن حجر: عن الرَّامَهُرْمُزِيُّ:كَنَّى عَنِ النِّسَاءِ بِالْقَوَارِيرِ لِرِقَّتِهِنَّ وَضَعْفِهِنَّ عَنِ الْحَرَكَةِ وَالنِّسَاءُ يُشَبَّهْنَ بِالْقَوَارِيرِ فِي الرِّقَّةِ وَاللَّطَافَةِ وَضَعْفِ الْبِنْيَةِ [فتح الباري]

قال ابن بَطَّالٍ : وَهَذَا مِنَ الِاسْتِعَارَةِ الْبَدِيعَةِ، لِأَنَّ الْقَوَارِيرَ أَسْرَعُ شَيْءٍ تَكْسِيراً، فَأَفَادَتِ الْكِنَايَةُ مِنَ الْحَضِّ عَلَى الرِّفْقِ بِالنِّسَاءِ فِي السَّيْرِ مَا لَمْ تُفِدْهُ الْحَقِيقَةُ لَوْ قَالَ: ارْفُقْ بِالنِّسَاءِ [فتح الباري]

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رواه الترمذي في السنن- أَبْوَابُ صِفَةِ الْجَنَّةِ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. – بَابٌ : فِي صِفَةِ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ من حديث عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ : ” إِنَّ الْمَرْأَةَ مِنْ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ لَيُرَى بَيَاضُ سَاقِهَا مِنْ وَرَاءِ سَبْعِينَ حُلَّةً، حَتَّى يُرَى مُخُّهَا؛ وَذَلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَقُولُ : {كَأَنَّهُنَّ الْيَاقُوتُ وَالْمَرْجَانُ } ، فَأَمَّا الْيَاقُوتُ، فَإِنَّهُ حَجَرٌ لَوْ أَدْخَلْتَ فِيهِ سِلْكًا، ثُمَّ اسْتَصْفَيْتَهُ ؛ لَأُرِيتَهُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ “. وفيه ضعف

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رواه البخاري  في كِتَابٌ : الرِّقَاقُ – بَابُ صِفَةِ الْجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ – من حديث  أَنَسٍ ” غَدْوَةٌ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ رَوْحَةٌ ، خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا، وَلَقَابُ قَوْسِ أَحَدِكُمْ أَوْ مَوْضِعُ قَدَمٍ مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ، خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا، وَلَوْ أَنَّ امْرَأَةً مِنْ نِسَاءِ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ اطَّلَعَتْ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ، لَأَضَاءَتْ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا، وَلَمَلَأَتْ مَا بَيْنَهُمَا رِيحًا، وَلَنَصِيفُهَا – يَعْنِي الْخِمَارَ – خَيْرٌ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا فِيهَا “

ووقع في حديث ابن عباس عند ابن أبي الدنيا: ” ولو أخرجت نصيفها لكانت الشمس عند حسنها مثل الفتيلة من الشمس لا ضوء لها، ولو أطلعت وجهها لأضاء حسنها ما بين السماء والأرض، ولو أخرجت كفها لافتتن الخلائق بحسنها ”  [فتح الباري]

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حديث (رُوَيْدًا سَوْقَكَ بِالْقَوَارِيرِ ) رواه مسلم : كِتَابٌ : الْفَضَائِلُ – بَابٌ : رَحْمَةُ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِلنِّسَاءِ، وَأَمْرُ السَّوَّاقِ مَطَايَاهُنَّ بِالرِّفْقِ بِهِنَّ. اه. وفي هذه الأحاديث جواز الحداء ، وهو بضم الحاء ممدود ، وجواز السفر بالنساء ، واستعمال المجاز ، وفيه مباعدة النساء من الرجال ، ومن سماع كلامهم ، إلا الوعظ ونحوه [المنهاج شرح صحيح مسلم بن الحجاج]

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وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍAnd you are surely on an excellent standard of character. (Quran 68:4)




The Month of Sha’ban: Prelude to Ramadan – Imam Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir

* Courtesy of Imam Zaid’s Facebook page

Sha’ban is a month of good that introduces the great month of Ramadan. The Prophet, peace upon him, used to fast voluntarily during this month more so than in any other month. One of the motivations for that, as we will mention below, is that Sha’ban is the month during which the deeds performed by the servant ascend to God.

Usama b. Zayd relates: “The Prophet, peace and mercy of God upon him, used to fast so many days in succession that we said, ‘He will never break his fast.’ At other times he would go without fasting for so long until we said, ‘He will never again fast;’ except for two days, which he would fast even if they occurred during the times he was not fasting consecutive days.

Furthermore, he would not fast in any month as many days as he fasted during Sha’ban. I said: ‘O Messenger of God! Sometimes you fast so much it is as if you will never break your fast, at other times you leave fasting for such a long stint it is as if you will never again fast [voluntarily]; except for two days that you always fast.’ He asked: ‘Which two days are those?’ I replied: ‘Monday and Thursday.’ The Prophet, peace upon him, said: ‘Those are two days in which the deeds are presented to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds are presented while I am fasting.’ I said: ‘I do not see you fasting in any month like you fast during Sha’ban.’ The Prophet, peace and mercy of God upon him, said: “That is a month occurring between Rajab and Ramadan that many people neglect. It is a month in which the deeds ascend to the Lord of the Worlds, be He Mighty and Majestic, and I love for my deeds to ascend while I am fasting.” Related by Imam Ahmad and Imam Al-Nasa’i.

–  Imam Zaid Shakir


Below is Imam Zaid’s recent visit to SeekersGuidance, click below to watch.

About Imam Zaid Shakir

Imam Zaid Shakir is a co-founder, and senior Faculty Member of Zaytuna College located in Berkeley, CA. He is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.

Born in Berkeley, California, he accepted Islam in 1977 while serving in the United States Air Force. He obtained a BA with honors in International Relations at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his MA in Political Science at Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he led a successful campaign for divestment from South Africa, and co-founded New Brunswick Islamic Center formerly Masjid al-Huda.

After a year of studying Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, he settled in New Haven, Connecticut and continued his community activism, co-founding Masjid Al-Islam, the Tri-State Muslim Education Initiative, and the Connecticut Muslim Coordinating Committee. As Imam of Masjid Al-Islam from 1988 to 1994 he spear-headed a community renewal and grassroots anti-drug effort, and also taught political science and Arabic at Southern Connecticut State University. He served as an interfaith council Chaplain at Yale University and developed the Chaplaincy Sensitivity Training for physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital. He then left for Syria to pursue his studies in the traditional Islamic sciences.

For seven years in Syria, and briefly in Morocco, he immersed himself in an intense study of Arabic, Islamic law, Quranic studies, and spirituality with some of the top Muslim scholars of our age. In 2001, he graduated from Syria’s prestigious Abu Noor University with a BA in Islamic Sciences and returned to Connecticut, serving again as the Imam of Masjid al-Islam, and writing and speaking frequently on a host of issues. That same year, his translation from Arabic into English of The Heirs of the Prophets was published by Starlatch Press.

In 2003, he moved to Hayward, California to serve as a scholar-in-residence and lecturer at Zaytuna Institute, where he taught courses on Arabic, Islamic law, history, and Islamic spirituality. In 2004, he initiated a pilot seminary program at Zaytuna Institute, which was useful in Zaytuna College’s refinement of its Islamic Studies curriculum and its educational philosophy. For four years, students in the pilot program were engaged in the study of contemporary and classical texts. In 2005, Zaytuna Institute published, Scattered Pictures: Reflections of An American Muslim„ an anthology of diverse essays penned by Zaid Shakir. He co-founded the Lighthouse Mosque, Oakland, CA. in 2007. He authored an award-winning text, Treatise for the Seekers of Guidance, a translation and commentary on Imam Harith al-Muhasibi’s work, Risala al-Mustarshideen in 2008. He is co-founder and chairman of United For Change since 2009. The mission of United For Change is, through modern discourse, to create awareness of the broadest and most consuming topics within the Muslim community. The aim is to leverage the diversity through cooperation and goodwill and address the obstacles that have proven to be divisive.  His most recent work is Where I’m Coming From: The Year In Review, a new collection of his essays from 2010. Imam Zaid has also authored numerous articles and research papers on a wide range of topics.

He is a frequent speaker at local and national Muslim events and has emerged as one of the nation’s top Islamic scholars and a voice of conscience for American Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Imam Zaid has served as an advisor to many organizations, and influential leaders. He is ranked as “one of America’s most influential Scholars” in the West; by The 500 Most Influential Muslims, edited by John Esposito and Ibrahim Kalin, (2009). Imam Zaid is a signatory along with religious and spiritual Leaders from around the world who presented the UN Secretary General with a declaration in support of the Paris Climate Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, marking the largest number of nations ever signing an international agreement. Inspired to work with religious groups on sustainable living and climate change in 2017, Imam Zaid is a Green Faith partner in action for the earth. The mission is to inspire, educate, organize, and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental action. In 2018, CNN listed him among 25 influential American Muslims.

While many have cited Imam Zaid as example of Islamic moderation, his critics have questioned his moderate credentials by citing his expressed hope for the conversion of America to Islam and adoption of Islamic law in America. Dr. Ingrid Mattson stated that Imam Zaid is solidly grounded in the Islamic legal, ethical and intellectual tradition, which all Muslims share, as well as his personal understanding of the current political context.


Adab 11: The Proprieties of Speech

Ustadh Tabraze Azam gives a detailed account of the adab or proprieties of speech according to the Sunna.

One day, a man was sitting with Qadi Abu Yusuf, a senior companion of Imam Abu Hanifa. After a period of extended silence, which was strange given that Qadi Abu Yusuf was the chief justice and an imam in Sacred Law (fiqh), and people wouldn’t usually remain silent around him for too long, the Qadi said to him, “Do you have a question?” The man, fearing a missed opportunity, mustered up enough courage to remark, “Of course! When does a person stop fasting?” Qadi Abu Yusuf replied, “When the sun sets,” The man paused for a moment, then said, “But what if the sun doesn’t set until half the night has passed?”

Sometimes, silence is just better. The Beloved Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, gave us a central principle with respect to speech when he said, “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him say the good or remain silent.” (Muslim) In fact, there are so many traditions (ahadith) which point out the risks of speaking without due thought, and more importantly, need, that anybody who reads them regularly would begin to fear for his hereafter. In an age of social media where everybody has a voice, it’s imperative that we take a moment to step back, recall what our Lord wants from us, and recognise that we have two ears and one tongue, namely, that our listening should be twice as much as our speech.

1. The Rulings of Speech

The first thing to remember is that speech, like all other actions, has rulings. When the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, told our Master Mu‘adh to “Restrain this,” namely, the tongue, he replied, “Will we be taken to task for what we say?” The striking, vivid, prophetic answer should suffice all of us as a reminder of the danger and harm we can reap with our tongues: “Is there anything that topples people on their faces – or he said their noses – into the Hellfire other than the harvests of their tongues?” (Tirmidhi)

Thus, speech may be divided into that which is (1) obligatory, (2) recommended, (3) permissible, (4) disliked, and (5) unlawful. 

Obligatory speech is speaking up to command the good, or to correct the wrong by forbidding some vice, when the conditions have been met. Remaining silent in such cases would be impermissible, just as actually engaging in wrongful speech is impermissible. Examples of the latter include engaging in slander, talebearing, lying, and the like of which we’ll see more of shortly.  Similarly, fulfilling many of the rights of your fellow believers is mandatory, such as responding to their greeting of salam, or praying for them after they’ve sneezed, for instance. 

It is recommended to speak when the speech will be recitation of the Qur’an, other remembrances (adhkar), or supplication for oneself or another. Another praiseworthy action is bringing joy to the heart of a fellow believer, or simply saying something pleasant to him because this is a form of “charity.” (Bukhari) On the other hand, it is disliked to speak whilst (a) using the bathroom, (b) undressed, or (c) engaged in intimate relations and the like. Likewise, it is unbecoming to speak when the benefit in doing so isn’t clear, or to speak during discouraged times such as after the nightfall prayer (‘isha). 

As for permitted speech, it is that which is devoid of any resultant reward or sin. An example would be to ask somebody to bring you some tea, or to tell your child to avoid something harmful. Of course, whenever the permissible is conjoined with an intention for Allah Most High, it transitions from the merely permissible to the recommended. 

2. The Golden Rule of Silence

Some of the scholars explained that speech is of four types: (a) harmful, (b) beneficial, (c) harmful and beneficial, and (d) not harmful nor beneficial. Eternal consequences matter, and whenever something harmful and beneficial conjoins, the harm is considered to preponderate over any potential good. Accordingly, this rules out two types of speech. As for that which is not harmful nor beneficial, it is unnecessary and a waste of one’s effort and energy as one finds oneself in the loss of Sura al-‘Asr. The only thing left is beneficial speech and even that has otherworldly danger, namely, because it may lead to showing-off or pride or other blameworthy traits. 

It behooves anybody, then, to recognize that speech should only be used when there is some good in it. If you don’t have anything good to say, you should remain silent as this is the sunna. Interestingly, the Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, instructed us to say the good, not the truth. Now, this isn’t permission to lie, obviously, but it gives us something of prophetic wisdom to work with. The prescriptions of the Sacred Law are always beneficial to us, whether we can see the good in them or not. Many of the early Muslims had much to offer in terms of directing believers towards silence. So twenty years from now, and when your husband asks how he looks in what used to be his wedding suit, be kind!

Imam Qushayri writes in his Risala that silence is the basis. But speaking when there is a manifest need is the manner of real men (namely, in the spiritual sense, so it applies equally to women.) He continues by stating that Abu ‘Ali al-Daqqaq, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Whosoever remains silent when truth is required is a blind devil.” Therefore, when speech is required, you must speak.

3. Excellence in Speech

We were directed to observe excellence in all of our dealings. Consequently, excellence, or ihsan, towards ourselves and others entails that we speak normally with others, without trying to put on heirs. Moderation, too, is generally the emblem of piety. When speaking, avoid being too loud or too quiet, or speaking too quickly or slowly, or speaking sternly when encouraging towards the good and with gentleness when warning against evil. However, this latter point must be contextualized and stated in the correct manner lest that it be a means of pushing people away from religion. Moreover, and as an aside, the sunna is to be attentive to the speaker whilst he is speaking as this nurtures respect and minimizes unbecoming outcomes from “hearing” things that weren’t said or other misunderstandings.

Equally, it is important to train oneself to see the good in things and speak accordingly, turning a blind eye to the ugly. Allah Most High says, “When they come across falsehood, they pass it by with dignity.” (Sura al-Furqan 25:72) It is reported that some of the disciples were walking with the Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, and they came across the carcass of a dog. One of the disciples then remarked, “What an awful stench!” The Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, said, “It would have been better if you had said: ‘How white its teeth are!’” Regardless of the soundness of the report, we can learn something about dignity from it. 

In the same vein, one of the righteous used to say “good morning” to wild pigs and stray dogs that he passed, and when asked about it, he commented that he was getting himself accustomed to saying the good! It is also reported that a group of the corrupt were paddling by in a stream besides Ma‘ruf al-Karkhi and his companions. The companions asked Ma‘ruf to pray against them as they were drinking wine and playing unlawful instruments. So they raised their hands, and Ma‘ruf said, “O Lord, make them glee with joy in the hereafter as you have made them joyful in this life.” Astonished, they asked him how he could make such a supplication given the impermissible they were engaged in. He replied, “Their rejoicing in the hereafter will come about because of their repentance in this life.” May Allah be pleased with him!

The Beloved Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “If a person says, ‘People have gone to ruin,’ he is the most ruined of them all.” (Muslim) How so? Because of his conceitedness with respect to his state and actions, and his causing believers to despair from Allah Most High’s mercy. 

Another sunna is to be brief with one’s words so as to speak only to the extent of the need. Going beyond that can lead to situations which may comprise one’s religious comportment, or worse, make one say something which will be a source of later regret. Note, as previously explained by Imam Qushayri, speaking is the dispensation, or rukhsa, so the basis is in using it sparingly or at least with wisdom. There is nothing like safety, as Imam Nawawi, may Allah be pleased with him, noted. 

4. Self-Control in Speech

When clear benefit has been ascertained, the sunna is to engage others with excellence, holding oneself to standards of decency that befit a believer who is striving to emulate his Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and especially if he claims love. As such, foul language needs to be completely shunned, not only because it is impermissible and interdicted, but because it is at odds with the manner, or adab, a strong, faithful believer is trying to uphold. The Noble Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The believer is not given to reviling, cursing, obscenity, or vulgarity.” (Tirmidhi) If you are habituated to using such language, ask Allah Most High to free you from its shackles and grant you the ability to express joy or disappointment in a manner that is pleasing to Him. 

Modesty is from faith,” (Bukhari) said the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. The way of the Qur’an and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is to avoid explicit references to matters that are unbecoming, such as when referring to the nakedness (‘awra). This is why the Qur’an alludes to the publicly undignified, specifically in the context of ablution (wudu) and cleanliness, and also intimate relations, by saying, “But if you are ill, on a journey, or have relieved yourselves, or have been intimate with your wives and cannot find water, then purify yourselves with clean earth.” (Sura al-Ma’ida 5:6) The scholars explain that a proper islamic education brings about a sense of refined decorum and modesty which prevents a person from mentioning certain things inappropriately and without express need. 

When it comes to self-control, a number of matters require attention. Unsurprisingly, these are the matters whose implications are religiously quite serious, namely, oaths, vows, promises and divorce. If you find yourself making too many oaths or promises, or threatening your spouse with divorce, you need to work on your self-restraint. Neglecting promises is one of the signs of hypocrisy, and failing to uphold the contents of oaths has expiatory consequences. But neither is encouraged unless you have the full conviction to carry out what you say, and the details of both may be sought elsewhere. The Companions (sahaba) were people of their word, and this is one of the traits of true believers. 

5. Unlawful Speech 

Something that was touched upon earlier was the impermissibility of certain types of speech. Practically, this means that it is not permitted to engage in any of it without a genuine, shari‘a-countenanced reason. The honour of your fellow believer is sacred and inviolable, as our Beloved Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, informed us. (Muslim

Generally, there are two types of impermissible speech: that which relates to another, and that which relates to yourself. The former is more dangerous because it affects the rights of others, and its harm may reach you in the hereafter. The Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The bankrupt from amongst my community is the one who will come on Judgement Day with his prayers, fasts and alms, yet he swore at so and so, wrongfully accused so and so…” (Tirmidhi) The remainder of this lengthy tradition (hadith) apprises us that those wronged will come to receive their rights by taking this person’s good deeds. For anybody who believes in the reality of the hereafter and divine justice, this should make us all at least think twice or three times before reeling off a word or two by which one falls into the divine wrath. (Bukhari)

The types of speech which fall into this category are numerous, but some of the most important to keep in mind are as follows: (1) slander (ghiba), namely, to mention a fellow believer in their absence with words that they would dislike; (2) talebearing (namima), namely, saying words which worsen relations between people, or that which entails the divulging of something private; and (3) lying (kadhib), namely, to deliberately say something false. Finally, one of the cancers affecting the community of believers (umma) is anathema (takfir). This is something that must be left for the Muslim judge (qadi), or at the very least, senior jurisconsults (muftis), because ordinary people do not understand subtleties and intricate rulings. Condemning people to the Hellfire is extremely dangerous, the peril of which is palpable for everybody to see, both in our times and in recent history. 

6. Dignified Joking and Jest 

The condition for the permissibility of joking is that it is free of lying. Thereafter, it should be in moderation, like with all things, and it should certainly not turn into mockery or ridicule. Insulting one’s fellow believers is not permissible as many verses and traditions attest to. When free from the undignified, making believers laugh, bringing joy to their hearts and putting a smile on their face is a tremendous action worthy of a huge reward, particularly when coupled with an intention for Allah Most High. There are a number of traditions (ahadith) which record the humour and joking of the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace. 

We pray that the All-Merciful overlooks our many shortcomings, increases us in presence and sincere following, and grants us the clarity and capacity to make speech-judgements that are in line with our next-worldly goals and hopes. All blessing and facilitation is from Him, Most High.

And Allah alone gives success.


Giving Life to the Night of the 15th of Shaaban and Its Virtues – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

In this talk Ustadh Amjad highlights the virtues of the night of the 15th of Shaaban, and encourages everyone to seek it out and to give life to that night.


The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present

The Arba‘iniyyat Genre between Past and Present: Basis, Origin, and a Contemporary Example

By Massoud Vahedi


This overview aims to analyze a number of topics pertaining to the arba’iniyyat genre, which refers to the centuries-old practices of compiling forty-hadith pamphlets. This will be achieved by briefly looking at a contemporary forty-hadith series on Prophetic Parenting by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. To properly elucidate the style and content of this series, beforehand there will be some discussion on the arba‘iniyyat genre, its legal authorization, and its most famous example, namely that of Imam al-Nawawi. All of these issues contain rich debates and discussions which remain unexplored in the English language. Thereafter, a discussion on a specific subset of Shaykh Rabbani’s commentary on his own collection will follow.

Until the present age, arba‘iniyyat continue to emerge and be written, dealing with a wide array of topics, such as marriage, morals, character, and more. The basis behind the origins of the arba‘iniyyat composition rests on a significant hadith from the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace from Anas, Allah be pleased with him: “Whoever preserves for my nation forty ahadith from the Sunna, I will be an intercessor for him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Ibn Ady; al-Kamil) This hadith has been narrated through more than a dozen transmitters with various wordings, all of which suggest the immense virtue for collecting and writing forty narrations so that they are learnt and benefited from. Despite the grand majority of scholars declaring these reports to be weak, the consistent practice of scholars throughout multiple generations has been gathering forty-hadith collections. This practice began early on with the inception of the eminent hadith scholar Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, then Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi, who was followed by al-Nasawi, thereafter by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri, and so on.

Despite us observing countless scholars collect their forty-hadith pamphlets, the content and theme behind the collections vastly differ. Al-Nawawi notes that collections before him exclusively focused on one of the following topics: fundamentals of creed and theology (usul), subsidiary matters (furu‘) pertaining to religious ordinances and acts of worship, asceticism (al-zuhd), religious piety and manners, religious exhortations, and so on. However, al-Nawawi did something revolutionary in his own collection that would grant his forty-hadith collection an eminent status until the end of time.

Instead of collecting forty hadiths dealing exclusively on one question or topic, he collected hadiths whose content encompasses all of these topics and combined them in a unique way in his compilation. Secondly, he picked narrations which have been declared by past hadith masters and jurists as embodying the main teachings of the religion or being from its foundational principles. Thirdly, he only picked narrations which he deemed to be authentic, with most of them being collected by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Fourthly, he removed the long chains for the hadiths of his collection so the narrations could be easily read and memorized by laymen. Lastly, Ibn Rajab also mentioned on this topic that Imam al-Nawawi’s noble and pure intention behind the compilation of his arba’in also paved the way for its positive reception among the Umma.

One excellent example of a contemporary forty-hadith collection comes from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. His collection is entitled: Prophetic Parenting: 40 Hadiths on Raising Righteous Muslim Children. This collection contains hadiths pertaining to Prophetic Parenting, and has a comprehensive listing of hadiths which discuss how Muslims can be successful parents in the contemporary context we live in. The Shaykh extracts subtle gems from hadiths which the average reader may be completely unaware of. Owing to space constraints, regrettably only a few hadiths can be discussed here. The hadith that orders us to “marry the one of religion, so that you may be successful” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) has a number of hidden benefits that Shaykh Faraz skillfully extracts for his audience. Being a good parent is not something which starts after marriage, but actually well before the child is born. In fact, it starts even before one marries. In order to be a good parent, one needs to choose a righteous spouse that is actively concerned about the religious upbringing of their future children.

Secondly, a person might superficially read this hadith and think that the importance of being “one of religion” only applies while picking a spouse. But actually, upholding and sustaining religiosity also applies within the marriage, because otherwise the religious meaning and sanctity of the matrimonial bond will be lost in the middle of the journey. To only think that this applies while searching for a prospective spouse defeats the intended meaning. The key point here is that we can in religious terms actually become better spouses during the marriage. This is something that we can all improve on with ourselves and our partners. Another hadith in the Shaykh’s collection is: “If there comes to you someone whose religion and character is pleasing to you, then marry them. If you do not, there will be much tribulation and corruption on earth.” (Jami’ al-Tirmidhi) Shaykh Faraz derives two crucial benefits from this hadith. Firstly, we are reminded through this report that marriage is not an individual decision or matter. It actually has a strong social dimension as well. We can readily notice the social repercussions involved when marriages do not occur at a desired pace. To achieve this adequate rate of marriage both parties should be easy-going in decision-making.

Another hadith is reported from the authority of ibn Umar, that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace said regarding al-Hasan and al-Husain: “They are my two joys in this life” (Muslim). On this hadith the Shaykh beautifully explains how as Muslims we should not look at children as being burdens to be overcome, but as gifts that should be appreciated. Secondly, we should view them (and by extension our parenting) as being a means and vehicle to reaching salvation in the hereafter. We must be cognizant of the religious aspects as being a parent, because by doing so, we are rewarded for all the small and mundane things we for our children. By having the right intention, we will no longer see childrearing as being a collection of repetitive and mechanical tasks, but a duty and responsibility before our Creator which if done right means many good deeds.

Another hadith mentions on the authority of Abu Bakra how al-Hasan Allah be pleased with them would as a child would frequently would rise up on the back of the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace when he prostrated during his prayer. The Prophet would rise up very slowly and put Hasan down gently. (Ibn Hibban and al-Tabarani) Here, Shaykh Faraz notes how in the Prophet’s actions there is a “sense of balance” between maintaining the serenity of the prayer and being flexible with a child’s playfulness. The key here is realizing this delicate balance and applying it today in our prayer places as much as possible.

We note that the Prophet Allah bless him and give him peace did not rebuke al-Hasan for his actions; in other words, he did not actively stop him from getting on his back. From this we can derive that natural childlike actions in the mosques are to be tolerated by parents. But when there are severe and excessive disturbances then deterrence is needed, lest the sanctity of the mosque or the quality of prayer of the congregants be violated. Regrettably, on the issue of children going to the mosques, many of us are often caught on one extreme and have lost the Prophetic model of balance and flexibility.


Massoud Vahedi is a Canadian doctoral student in political science. In terms of Islamic sciences, he has concentrated his studies in Mustalah al-Hadith (Hadith nomenclature) and Hanbali Fiqh.


Drawing Closer to Allah – Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad

Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad expounds on the hadith of the supererogatory acts, and makes clear the criteria for determining if someone is a wali of Allah.

In the famous Bukhari hadith narrated by Abu Hurayra, Allah be pleased with him, the holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, says – with the words of his Lord, so this is a hadith Qudsi where Allah Himself is speaking: “Whoever harms a wali of Mine, I declare war upon him. My slave draws nearer to Me with nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him. And then My slave continues to draw near to Me with optional acts (nawafil) until I love him. And when I love him I become the ear with which he hears, and the eye with which he sees, and the hand with which he smites, and the foot with which he walks. And if he seeks My protection I will surely grant him My protection. And if he seeks My victory I will surely grant him the victory.”

As you know this is one of the great hadiths of Islam. It has a name. It is the hadith al-nawafil. The hadith of the nawafil or the optional, supererogatory acts of religion. And it’s telling us something fundamental. The ulama gives these names to a small number of hadiths, because they have something in them that is essential to the din – of the usul, the roots, not of the furu‘, the branches.

So what is the root of our religion that is being expounded, that is being taught to us by Allah Himself in this beautiful hadith? See how He begins it. He begins it by grabbing our attention – by talking about enmity and war. That’s the thing that we most fear. And what we fear more than human war, is fear of war from Allah Most High. Who could stand against that?

The Principle of Wilaya

He says, Exalted and Most High, “Whoever harms a wali of Mine, I declare war upon him.” This is announcing that this hadith is going to be about a particular principle: the principle of wilaya. The principle of being a wali. Do we next get a technical definition of what exactly that means? We don’t. Because the Qur’an and the Hadith, and these hadith qudsiyya particularly, speak to the heart. Speak to the deeper aspect of human intuition. Speak to the core of us, the qalb (heart) and the sirr (secret). The sirr which is the center of our religious life.

We’re not going to get some technical, theological definition here. Instead we’re told how to get there and what it might be like and what are the consequences in practice. See how the hadith goes on. It seems to change direction in a surprising way. It says, “My slave draws nearer to Me with nothing more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him.”

It begins again with an attractive principle. It started with fear. Who wants Allah’s war? Then it talks about love. Another thing all human beings are going to be magnetized by. But it’s not love for ourselves. In this hadith, Allah is saying that His love is for those things which He has made obligatory upon us.

The Path of Religion

When we begin in the path of religion we ourselves may be very far from being lovable. That’s why we don’t say, in our religion, “Allah loves everybody.” Allah loves that which is true and good and beautiful. He loves that which we are called to become. And He loves our origin in the nature of Adam, peace be upon him, which is “ahsan taqwim” (Sura al-Tin 95:4). But He doesn’t love us in all our forgetfulness, in our sinfulness, in our envy, and all of the stuff that we do. It is not possible for the Supreme Being to love imperfection. He loves what we are called to be.

In this beginning of our path, and this is a journey that the hadith is telling us about, He has said that He loves the obligations. What is it about us in our religious life that is really most beautiful? When are we in the state, truly, of khilafa and Adamiyya? It is when we are following these obligations. It is when we are sajid (in prostration). It is when we’re following the Sunna and particularly the obligatory things. The five pillars and the other obligations. Those are the aspects of our life that Allah loves. And the other stuff, not so much or not at all.

This language that the hadith uses, which is of “drawing near.” It specifically says this. This is about the journey, not about the state. The journey of religion is a journey. It is suluk, wayfaring, spiritual traveling. Nobody ever stands still. In religion, if you don’t constantly make an effort, that will be like trying to ride a bicycle on the streets of Cambridge. If you’re not pushing the bicycle will fall over. Constantly, we are required, in order to persevere with this journey, to make an effort. And the first effort is to make sure we get these obligations right.

No Heights without Foundations

Do we really know the obligatory beliefs? Do we really know how to do the obligations of prayer and fasting? Before we go on to think about more fancy stuff, have we got the foundations correct? As the ulama say, “They never reach the heights because they neglected the foundations.” We should always think carefully and constantly about, for instance, all of these thousands of prayers that, insha Allah, it will be our nasib to say in our lives – are we sure that we’ve got them right? Are we sure that we’ve got the basic rules of wudu right?

What is more ridiculous than somebody leaving out one of the arkan, basic obligations, when it might take him only a couple of seconds. And he repeats that defective ‘ibada the rest of his days. Let’s make sure that we get these usul right, because it is those things, the aspects of our life as lowly beginners beginners, that Allah, Exalted and Most High, loves. At least in those situations where we are, outwardly at least, in the state of obedience, Allah Most High loves that aspect of us.

The hadith is linking this journey – this suluk, this taqarrub, this literally drawing near to the Creator – to the principle of the Divine Love. In our theology this is always very important. How can we fly our finite selves to the pleasure of the Infinite Being? What can we do that can satisfy the perfection of an Infinite Being? Well, not very much.

Even the obligations that we do are probably done inadequately. We may be outwardly compliant. Who knows where we are inwardly? Who knows what my niyya or intention is? Who knows what we’re really thinking about during these outward forms? But out of His love, because at least we have the outward manifestation of this, that is an aspect of us that He truly loves. And in that state we should be able to begin to find our peace, which is what we all crave.

The Principle of Love

So there is this principle of love in this hadith. And there is this principal of taqarrub: drawing near to Allah, Exalted and Most High. Then the hadith goes on. It’s not just about stopping with the obligations and Allah loves that part of us. No, it’s about progressing. “Thumma!” the Arabic then says. “Then, My slave continues to draw near to Me with optional acts until I love him.”

Now it becomes serious, more serious. It’s not those outward acts that He loves, of the various things that are existent in our lives. It’s our selves. We can be loved by the Creator, Exalted and Most High, despite our maggot-like mortality. Despite the eminent weakness of who we are, and how we think, and everything that we do, He can actually love us. And that is from His generosity, His magnificent mercy that He loves us. But that doesn’t just come without an effort. What is required is these optional acts.

Beyond the obligations there must be something more. Somebody who does the outward fundamentals with ikhlas or sincerity, insha Allah, has the key to Paradise. But there’s more to it than that. There are so many additional things, and the additional things include deepening and perfecting the outward acts, as well as learning about additional acts. As well as learning about fasting on Ashura, you can think about fasting in Ramadan, but better. I could really stop lying. I could really stop being distracted. I could really stop all of the stuff that we do that makes the fast a kind of outward thing but not always an inward flowing reality.

So the nawafil don’t just mean the extra prayers, the extra fast, and the Umra, and those other things. It means deepening what we already have. And if we do that that Allah, Exalted and Most High, is making us this extraordinary promise. Whatever the world might think of us, Allah will love us if we are in that situation. That’s an extraordinary thing. Out of all the orders of creation, Adam, peace be upon him, is singled out for this unique, divine love.

Chosen above All Creation

At the beginning of the human story, the Angels, even, were commanded to bow down to him. Not to Mount Everest. Not to the Andromeda galaxy. Not to space and time itself. But to Adam, peace be upon him, because of the greatness of the divine love for His creature (safiy). This specific title says that Adam, peace be upon him, is the chosen. People say, “I can understand Ibrahim, peace be upon him, is the khalil (friend) of Allah, and Musa, peace be upon him, being kalim Allah (the one who spoke to Allah), and our master Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, being habib (beloved of) Allah. Yes, but safiy Allah? Chosen? When he was the only one? Not much of a choice.”

Chosen indeed! Over all the other elements of creation. Over the angelic realms. Over the rocks. Over the Great Rivers. Over the mighty seas. Adam, peace be upon him, is the one to whom even the angels in their perception, in their infallibility, are commanded to bow down. That is the extent of Allah’s love for His greatest summit of creation.

Not just this dust that Iblis, Allah curse him, saw, but the luminosity of the ruh (spirit) which has been breathed into Bani Adam, which make us something unusual and unique in creation. And of all of those countless tens of millions of species, and of all of those other planets that they can just dimly glimpse through telescopes, the only entity that we really know in the whole wide cosmos that can actually think, that can be ethical, that can make meaningful choices is our weak selves – Bani Adam.

This is the meaning of the hamla al-amana (carry this trust). Allah Exalted and Most High offered this Amana to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they refused to carry it. And they were afraid of it. And He caused man to carry this Amana. This knowledge, this capacity to choose, this capacity to say, “la ilaha illa Allah,” volitionally, rather than compelled. And then what do we do? “He who has proved a tyrant and a fool.” (Sura al-Ahzab 33:72)

We carry this Amana. We have the capacity to be these luminous beings, with this miraculous capacity to see, to understand, to name, to choose, to be ethical, to be better than anything else. But we choose the other stuff. This is “asfala al-safilin.” (Sura al-Tin 95:5) They’re supposed to be in the best of forms, but human beings, when they’re not the best of forms, can be the worst of the worst.

The Two Paths before Us

What is more impressive in the world than the real wali who is in complete outward and inward conformity and obedience and love with his Creator, Exalted and Most High? Nothing finer. What is lower in the world than the one who’s cheating and lying and defrauding people and being brutal? What it worse? [Is there] anything in the animal kingdom worse than that tyrant? No. [Is there] anything in the natural world lower than that tyrant? [Is there] anything in the wide universe that we know of that’s more disgusting than Firaun and Haman? No. Human beings will say, No.

So we can follow Musa, peace be upon him, or we can follow Firaun. There is the possibility of this najdayn. “We have guided him to the two paths.” (Sura al-Balad 90:10) And everybody has that choice. Those two paths are in front of us not once or twice in a lifetime, but at every moment. There is no conscious waking moment in our lives when there isn’t the right thing to do, which is there, and a lot of wrong things which we could also do in that situation.

This is what is meant by constancy. This suluk is constant. This iqtirab, this becoming closer to our Lord and His favor is a constant effort. It’s like riding your bike down King’s Parade. You have to keep going or you’ll fall off. Similarly, the constant effort in order to avoid the lower possibilities, the gravitational force that pulls us down to egotism, to vice, to stupidity, to self-pity, to the ugly things that human beings are good at. Then Allah in His grace can raise us up. Until we get this amazing outcome: “Until I love him.”

If you have that – even though in the madhhab of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama‘ – we generally say wali doesn’t know that he is a wali. If he sees amazing things happening to him and Allah’s favor, he says: “I’m afraid this is some divine ruse.” This is Ibrahim ibn Adham, concerning whom the most amazing things happened, and people came to him from East and West for his prayers. A luminous individual who’d given up his kingdom just for the sake of Allah, Exalted and Most High. Whenever something amazing happened to him in a sign of the divine favor he would look frightened and say, “I’m afraid this is some divine ruse.”

That’s the brokenness and the beauty of the one who is truly close to Allah. He is the humblest of people. Even though Allah and his angels know that he is the best of people. This is one of the secrets of religion and one of the reasons for the beauty of those people.

This Divine Love

This divine love, we may not know it. We may possibly see signs and say, “AlhamduliLlah, Allah has been generous to us.” But generally as we move on this path of iqtirab and suluk, drawing closer to our Lord, we kind of shrink in our awareness of ourselves. Firaun is convinced that he is “your greatest Lord.” Our master Musa, peace be upon him, is the humble refugee and outcast. That’s the difference.

The tyrant soul is the inflated soul of the high net-worth individual, a billionaire, the one with the executive yacht who really thinks that the world is there to serve him. But Allah, Exalted and Most High, in His grace and His love is more likely to be with the weak and the poor and the despised and refugees and the poor taxi drivers, whoever they are. Those are the people who truly are in this state of mahabba, and whom Allah loves, which is why the holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, prays to his Lord to be resurrected among the poor. Not among even grandiose, pious, Islamic bankers, no, among the poor. “O, Allah, resurrect me in the company of the destitute.” Their egos are humbled but their hearts can be luminous.

The hadith doesn’t stop here. It goes on and then tells us something even more shattering and something that we need to think about carefully lest we misunderstand. It’s a sound hadith. It’s from Bukhari. There’s no problem about whether this is right. But how is it right? “When I love him,” Allah says, “I become the ear with which he hears, and the eye with which he sees, and the hand with which he smites, and the foot with which he walks.”

Obviously, every scholar of Islam has always said, “Don’t take that literally. Don’t think that your hand is God’s hand in any literal sense.” No, that’s the way of people we call the hashwiyya. In Medieval Islam there was a sect of people who said, “The faithful way of reading the Qur’an and Sunna is to interpret everything in the most literal possible way. So, Allah actually has some kind of physical form and He sits on something.”

This is not the way of the of Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama‘. Obviously, if you use the hashwiyya method for a hadith like this, then you’re going to get all kinds of strange difficulties, and it won’t be tawhid. Allah, exalted and Most High, cannot inhere in anything physical because He is infinite. He cannot have finite extension. You cannot have a body. This is the error of the Christians. With the incarnation they thought the infinity of Allah, Exalted and Most High, can somehow be squeezed and crunched into the confines of the physical body of the first century Palestinian Jew and that is muhal (impossible). It doesn’t work.

The Principle of Tawhid

We have to interpret this according to a criterion that saves the principle of tawhid. Some people can go astray in this, but it’s important. So what does it mean? Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in his great commentary, the greatest commentary of commentaries of Bukhari, Fath al-Bari, has a long discussion on this. He says, “Some of the ulama say, that when Allah says he becomes the eye with which you see, He means you only see the things that He has commanded you to see. And when he becomes the foot with which you walk that means you only go to the things that He has commanded you to go to.” That’s one interpretation. It is a perfectly valid one.

There are others which are about obedience. That is to say, you only use these outward faculties that you have in obedience to Him, Exalted and Most High. So you’re conforming to the divine command. Others will say, Allah, Exalted and Most High, is the One who is, in His qualities of course, the ground of all being in creation. Why are the Angels bowing down to Adam, peace be upon him? Not because of his Adamiyya, his humanity as such, but because of the sirr that is there. There is something noble about the perfected human being. There is something noble about the one who Allah truly loves, which means that it is more than a question of just guidance, but looking at that person can bring you to a higher spiritual state. How is that possible?

We know that the Sahaba used to go just to look at the holy Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. This is the hadith of Umm Waraqa. They used to go just to look at him. As if just to look at him was an ‘ibada. There is something in the quality of the perfected human being that is a reminder. How does this work? Well, the hadith is saying precisely this. But the hadith then goes on to speak about the consequences. Not to engage in dangerous metaphysical speculations, but to talk about consequences. “And if he seeks My protection I will surely grant him My protection. And if he seeks My victory I will surely grant him the victory.”

This is how the early Muslims were with their amazing victories, inwardly, spiritual, military, economics, everything. That amazing civilization they produced, East and West, almost overnight, was because they were in this state of Adamiyya. Because of their absolute ‘ubudiyya, their slavehood to Allah, Exalted and Most High, in them, they manifested something of the agency of the divine intention. They were in a state of muwafaqa.

Back to the Beginning

So, to take it back to the point with which we began and this deep mystery. What is it for somebody could be in the state of iqtirab, to be close, to receive the divine love, what exactly is that all about? We’re not allowed to misunderstand it, but the hadith is saying that it is important. What does it mean to be close to Allah, Exalted and Most High? This doesn’t mean geographical closeness or temporal closeness. It means something deeper. And Allah, Exalted and Most High, has describing Himself as al-Qarib. “If my slave asks concerning Me, I am near. I respond to the prayer of the one who makes supplication when he calls upon Me.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:186) He is al-Qarib.

This iqtirab of which the hadith speaks means going close to the One who is already qarib (near). He is never mentioned as ba‘id in the Qur’an and in the hadith. No, He is always close, but we are ba‘id. We are really far, because the lower shaytanic self within ourselves likes to see the world as just being a bunch of things causing other things and neglects the divine reality that is propelling absolutely everything. The divine Names that never cease to be an action in every single moment, in every single movement of every atom in creation, there is the divine agency. That is al-Qarib. “Closer to you than your jugular vein.” (Sura Qaf 50:16)

So that whatever one does is, as it were, just a reflection of Adam’s status with Allah. That one acts simply in accordance with the divine command. Acts as an agent of the divine instruction on earth. That extraordinary thing, that place which is the recipient of the divine mahabba, is what the hadith is referring to as al-wali.

But Who Is the Wali?

There is a lot of talk in Muslim cultures about the wali. We know that it is present in the Hadith. It is present in this hadith. What exactly does it mean? Waliya in Arabic means to be close. It is quite close to the idea of qarib. Allah, Exalted and Most High, uses it with reference to Himself. “Allah is the Wali of those who have faith.” (Sura al-Baqara 2:257) Interesting divine Name, like some of the others, like Latif, like Rahim, that can be used by human beings as well as by Allah, Exalted and Most High.

In this context, the Wali, the One who is the divine friend, the divine Patron, the one who takes responsibility for and is the Patron of, and lovingly guides and helps and protects the salihin (righteous). That is the Wali. That is what it means when we refer to Allah, Exalted and Most High, as al-Wali.

When this refers to a human being what can it mean? What ought it to mean? Well, the ulama here say, closeness. Of course, through this process of iqtirab, of drawing close, one is in proximity to the divine in whatever mysterious and ineffable and difficult way we may conceptualize that, because He is not in a place. But closeness, closeness to His love. Closeness to His obedience. Closeness to conformity to His command. Closeness to the sakina, to the peace, which is in His is presence. This is what it means.

Waliya also in Arabic has the sense: to be consecutive. It is said, “The wali is the one whose actions succeed one another uninterruptedly in conformity with the Sunna.” This is how Imam al-Qushayri defines. Who is the wali? Never mind elaborate definitions of some metaphysical something. Look at the practice. By their fruits you shall know them. Who is the wali in Islam? According to Imam al-Qushayri in his Risala, “It is the one whose actions succeed one another without anything else interrupting them in conformity to the divine command.”

By their Fruits…

Abu Yazid al-Bistami, one of the great, mysterious early Muslims, who is himself revered as a great wali, was told once in this masjid there is a wali. Now any Muslim knows that if you hear of such a person that is true, you want to get near him, because he can pray for you, and his prayers are more likely to be answered than your own. Whenever Muslims travel to a new institution or new town or new country they want to know who is a wali, because their presence is beneficial. They are somebody who is completely, inwardly as well as outwardly, in conformity with the Kitab and the Sunna.

He was told, “There is a wali in that masjid.” He goes to that masjid and there is this man who is doing his ‘ibada. At the end of his ‘ibada the man gets up, and Abu Yazid is watching. And the man makes this disgusting sound with his throat. The kind of noise that you hear sometimes often and mysteriously when people are making wudu in the mosque. Abu Yazid doesn’t speak to him when he comes out. He says, “Somebody who does not look after one of the courtesies of the Shari‘a, how can he be looking after some of the secrets of Allah in creation?” It is not possible. This is fundamental. This is the essential criteria.

Do you want to know who is really a wali, and you don’t want to read a million texts of metaphysical speculation that probably don’t get to the heart of it, and may confuse you if you’re not a super scholar? Just see, first of all, is that person is conformity with the Qur’an and the Sunna? Secondly, does the company of that person make you remember Allah and feel closer to your Lord? Is it, per proximity, something that increases your desire for ‘ibada. That increases your love for human beings, that increases your humility, that makes you want to go out and help people, and see the best in people?

The Firm Criterion

This is the criterion that we offer in Islam. Conformity with the Kitab and the Sunna, because anything else is not Islamic. But also this proximity that comes about with this iqtirab. This mysterious state where the wali is seeing with eyes that, as it were, the eyes that Allah is seeing with. Whatever that means. However we conceptualize it.

Ibn Hajar offered 17 different explanations for this to the common among the ulama. Whatever that might mean is not given to us to know, but we respect them. The key criterion is conformity to the Kitab and the Sunna, and that quality has to be perceived by our soul, so that in the company of those people we are healed and improved and made upright, insha Allah.

May Allah increase the number of His awliya in this umma, and make us their followers, and help us to seek them out, and insha Allah, by them to draw near to true rather than false victory and protection to this umma in these difficult times, insha Allah. Amin.

This post was transcribed, edited, and hyperlinked from a sound file of a lesson given by Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad that was published on Youtube by tradarchive on 2 March 2017.