The Prophet’s Smile – “Around Us But Not on Top of Us”

The Prophet’s Amusement at Allah’s Mercy

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing. By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character. By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

In this article, we discuss one particular incident where a bedouin requested for rain. His response to the abundance of rain made the prophet smile.


Anas narrates that a Bedouin man came to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) while he was delivering the Friday sermon in Madinah and complained to him that there was a drought and their livestock was dying and their women and children were hungry. He then beseeched the Prophet to ask for rain. The Prophet raised his hands in supplication. At that point, there was not a cloud in the sky but as soon as he began to supplicate, clouds began to form and pile up like mountains and then it began to rain. Even before he had descended from the pulpit, the Prophet’s beard was dripping with rainwater. It continued to rain that day and the following day and the rain continued until the following Friday.

On that day, the Prophet was once again delivering his sermon on the pulpit when the same man returned (or another man – Anas could not be sure). “O Messenger of Allah,” he said, “our homes are falling apart and our livestock are drowning, so ask your Lord to make it stop!”

The Prophet smiled and raised his hands in supplication saying: “O Allah, around us but not on top of us, around us but not on top of us!” He pointed to the sky and signaled for the clouds to move and they began to clear until there was a circle of clear sky around Madinah while the rain continued to fall upon the areas around the city for another month.

(Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim)

Life was not easy in the early community in Madinah which mostly relied on agriculture and livestock for its sustenance. The drought was a very serious threat to the survival of the people of the city. This Bedouin man came in a state of desperation. He was obviously feeling the effects of the drought hard as he tried to graze his animals in the area around Madinah. He was so desperate that he did not even wait for the Prophet to finish speaking, but interrupted his sermon and complained about the severity of the situation. The Prophet could have told him to sit down and wait but he responded immediately, knowing that the man was speaking not just for himself but for a whole community. Allah says of him: Your suffering distresses him: he is deeply concerned for you (Quran, 9:128).

The Prophet is Allah’s Beloved and when the Beloved asks, the One who loves him so much instantly responds. Within seconds rain started pouring down. Rain is symbolic of Allah’s mercy – when the one who was sent as a mercy to everything asks the All-Merciful for mercy, it duly pours down. In fact, it comes in such abundance day after day that people cannot handle it. And this was perhaps what brought a smile to the Prophet’s lips when the request came to stop the rain. It tells us something about human nature – as Allah says: man was created hasty (Quran, 21:37). We want something very badly and then we get it, we realize we want something else. Blessings can quickly turn into trials. The Prophet’s smile may also have been an expression of his wonder at his Lord’s bounty and generosity.

Here we witness not just one but two miracles, two acts of divine mercy – the immediate sending down of rain and then the immediate removal of that rain. It is noticeable that the Prophet did not ask for the rain to stop completely, but instead, he asked for it to be removed from the city of Madinah itself where the damage was being felt. He asked for the harm to be removed but the benefit to continue and this is what happened: the valleys around Madinah continued to receive plentiful rainfall for a month. There is a lesson in this that if we receive a blessing but it then becomes difficult, we should not ask for it to stop coming but we should ask for whatever detracts from that blessing to be removed. The scholars also teach us when we ask for something to ask for it accompanied with gentleness and wellbeing (lutf and afiyah).

We see time and time again that when the Companions were in difficulty or had needs great or small they would go to the Messenger. The Bedouin man could have asked Allah directly for rain but he knew that the Prophet was infinitely closer to Allah and his prayers would be answered. They understood the concept of an intermediary. They knew the status of the Prophet in Allah’s sight and they knew the Prophet was happy to play the role of an intermediary. And he did so with a smile.

May Allah give our beloved Prophet the highest of rewards on our behalf.

 

Raising a Believing Generation by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: Choosing a Spouse

Raising a Believing Generation

(Two) Making Religion the First Criteria

 By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge and every pious parent passionately prays that they will be able to do so. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. We will explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers. Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself.

Our faith is the most important thing that we have. It is what enables us to have the best of lives in this world and the next. It should therefore be the main concern when it comes to choosing a spouse.

(One) The Purpose and Benefits of Marriage


What is meant by religion here is that both parties have a sound understanding of Islam, a full commitment to the rulings & principles of the Sacred Law, and practically apply its noble teachings & etiquettes. This understanding of Islam is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah as understood by the scholars who are the heirs to this tradition. It does not come from popular culture or custom.

Furthermore, the outward semblance of religiosity is not sufficient. A man once came to Sayyiduna Umar bin al-Khattab to attest to the uprightness of his friend. Sayyiduna Umar asked him: “Are you his neighbour? Have you ever travelled with him? Have you ever been in business with him?”

The man replied in the negative to all three questions so Umar concluded: “In that case, you don’t know him.”

It is in these situations – living next door to a person, travelling with them and doing business with them – that people’s true qualities come out. People are often seen to be ‘religious’ on the basis of a few outward practices, but their character and dealings may be completely contrary to Islamic teachings. The Prophet clarified this when he said: “Allah does not look at your outward appearance or your bodies. He looks at your hearts and your actions” (Muslim).

The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) mentioned the things that people generally seek in a spouse: “A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty, and her religion.” Wealth, lineage and beauty are legitimate qualities to seek but they are of course temporal and limited to this life. Religion is mentioned last implying that some people make it the final and least and important consideration. Then the Prophet said: “So choose the one with religion” (Bukhari and Muslim), clarifying that this should be the deciding factor when choosing a spouse.

In another hadith, he said: “If a person whose religion and character you are satisfied with comes to you with a proposal, accept his proposal.” Here the only qualities he mentioned were religion and character. Religion could be understood to be outward practice – fulfillment of obligations and avoiding prohibitions – and character could be understood to be the inward reality of faith. When these two come together in a potential spouse the marriage will be built upon firm foundations. The Prophet went on to mention the consequences of turning down such a proposal: “If you do not, trials will afflict the earth and corruption will become widespread” (Tirmidhi). This is the sincere advice of the Prophet and we have seen the effects in societies where this advice has been ignored and where the main criteria for marriage are financial or social.

In Surat al-Qasas, the daughter of Sayyiduna Shu’ayb says to her father regarding Sayyiduna Musa: “Father, hire him: a strong, trustworthy man is the best to hire” (Qur’an, 28:26). Once he knows Musa’s qualities, Shu’ayb offers him the hand of one of his daughters in marriage. Shu’ayb’s daughter describes Musa as trustworthy or ‘amin’ in Arabic which is of course how the Prophet was known in Mecca in his youth. It was that quality that attracted the attention of Sayyidah Khadijah and led in part to their marriage.

Conversely, it has been narrated that “if a guardian marries a woman who is in his care to a corrupt man, he has cut the ties of kinship with her”. It is as if he has cut ties with her by marrying her to a man who has no taqwa. Instead of that marriage being a means of connection, it is the opposite. Instead of connecting two families to each other and connecting to God, those connections are being severed. It can have disastrous consequences not just in this life but in the next. A man told Imam Hasan al-Basri that several people had asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage and he asked him who he should choose.

Hasan said: “Marry to her someone who has taqwa: if he loves her, he will honour her and if he doesn’t, he won’t wrong her.” It is customary for the father to say to the groom just before contracting the marriage: “I am marrying my daughter to you on the basis of God’s command – to treat her well as long as you remain married and if not, to release her with excellence and kindness.” 


About the Author

Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is producing a podcast for SeekersGuidance and is one of our esteemed internal scholars.

The Prophet’s Smile – “Are You Making Fun of Me, My Lord?”

The Prophet’s Amusement at The Man Who Was Entering Paradise

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing. By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character. By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

This article describes how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was shown events in the Hereafter, and his amusement over one man’s statement.


Abdullah ibn Mas’ud narrates that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) once described the last person to leave the Fire and enter Paradise. Allah brings him out of the Fire and he moves away from it, at times staggering, at times walking, at times crawling with it still burning his face. When he reaches safety, he breathes a sigh of relief, looks back at it, and praises Allah for saving him from it, which he sees as the greatest blessing imaginable. Then he catches sight of a tree next to a pool of water and asks Allah to be brought to it in order to rest in its shade and to drink from the water.

Allah says to him: “Perhaps if I answer your request you will ask for something else.”

The man promises not to ask for anything else but once he has drunk the water and sat in the shade, he catches sight of another tree which is more beautiful than the tree which he is under. So he asks to be able to go to it. Allah reminds him of his promise not to ask for anything else and says that if He answers the man’s request, perhaps he will ask for something else. The man promises once again not to ask for anything else and his request is granted. But then he catches sight of a third tree at the gates of Paradise which is more splendid than the first two. Once again, he promises that this will be the last thing he asks for. Allah grants his request, knowing that it will not be the last.

When he is in the shade of the third tree, he begins to hear the voices of people enjoying the pleasures of Paradise and cannot resist asking permission to enter.

Allah asks him: “What will stop you asking Me repeatedly? Would you be content if I gave you everything the world contains twice over?”

The man says, somewhere between incredulity and intense joy: “Are you making fun of me, and You are the Lord of all creation?”

At this point, the Prophet laughed in amusement at the man’s statement. Ibn Mas’ud would also laugh when he narrated the hadith.

Allah replies: “I am not making fun of you. I have the power to do whatever I wish.”

In another narration of the hadith, Allah allows the man to keep asking and asking until He gives him everything the world contains ten times over. (Narrated by Muslim)

An element of the Messenger of Allah’s prophecy was him being shown specific events that will unfold in the next life. He describes these events as though he is watching them unfold in front of him.

The position of Ahl al-Sunnah is that anyone who has even an atom’s weight of faith will enter the Garden. Unfortunately, some believers who have committed grave acts of disobedience will experience punishment in Hell before entering Paradise. This person will be the last believer to leave the Fire. He must have committed some pretty terrible crimes to warrant such a lengthy punishment and to be the lowest in the rank of all the believers. But he “does his time” and eventually comes out and experiences the unimaginable relief of salvation.

He is happy just to be safe from the Fire, but when he sees the beauty of Allah’s gifts in the form of a tree and a pool of water, he cannot help himself asking. Don’t forget that he has spent a very long time seeing nothing but fire and brimstone. The more he sees, the more he asks for, until he finally enters Paradise. There is a lesson in this that as believers we would set our sights high and ask for the greatest of things, not because we deserve them, but because our Lord’s generosity knows no bounds. Allah is as we perceive him to be and if we have high hopes in Him, He will not dash those hopes. If this is what is awaiting the person who has the lowest rank of all the believers, what will those who lived a life of obedience receive? What will those who attained higher stations be given? We cannot begin to imagine:

No soul knows what joy is kept hidden in store for them as a reward for what they have done (Qur’an, 32:17).

Further, Allah does not abandon anyone who does not abandon Him. However bad this person was, he still had some faith and Allah recognizes that and does not deny him his eventual reward. Furthermore, He tells this man’s story to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), who then tells it to his nation so that we can learn about how Allah treats His servants.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) does not forget a single member of his Ummah, regardless of how far they stray from the path. On the Day of Judgement, he does not rest until he has interceded for as many people as he is able. He is a gift of mercy for all of creation but he has a special concern for those who believe in him and he is aware of their plight. There is always room for one more person at the Prophet’s banquet, regardless of how late they arrive.

Finally, we see how the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) laughed at the ridiculousness of the man’s statement. He found humor in the exchange between Allah and His slave. Allah’s generosity and bounty defies belief. In fact, it is so astounding that it seems to the man that Allah is ‘having a laugh’ at his expense. He cannot stop himself from blurting out: “Are you making fun of me, and You are the Lord of all creation?”

Raising a Believing Generation by Habib Umar bin Hafiz: On Marriage

Raising a Believing Generation

(One) The Purpose and Benefits of Marriage 

Compiled, translated and summarized by Shaykh Amin Buxton

Children are a trust (amanah) that Allah most High has gifted us with. Raising believing children is a huge challenge and every pious parent passionately prays that they will be able to do so. We are blessed to have such guidance from one of the most illuminated scholars of our time; Habib Umar bin Hafiz. We will explore insights from Habib Umar bin Hafiz on how to raise the next generation of believers.

Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a master of the science of tarbiyah – nurturing of the human soul in the pursuit of perfection. Here, he turns his attention to tarbiyah as it applies to raising the next generation of strong believers. Exploring Abdullah Nasih Ulwan’s work “Child Education in Islam”, he gives important insights and principles that any parent, carer or educator can make good use of. The journey starts with considerations to be taken before embarking on the journey of parenthood and even marriage itself. The first of the series ‘Raising a Believing Generation’ explores the purposes and benefits of marriage. 


The Purpose and Benefits of Marriage

The process of raising a child does not begin when the child is born. It is the state of the mother and the father, their marriage and the household they have established which dictates how the child will be raised. For this reason, it is important to briefly explore some benefits of marriage. 

 

Human Nature

Marriage allows people to fulfill many of their needs as human beings, whether those needs be physical, psychological or emotional.  Islam does not encourage monasticism but instead recognizes human needs and channels them in the best way. The desire to marry is an aspect of the fitrah – a person’s primary nature that knows, recognizes, and inclines towards all that is good, beautiful, and pure. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the perfect example of balance in every one of his roles and actions. In a famous hadith, three men came to ask the Prophet’s wives about his worship and private life. When the three men were told about it, they deemed his worship to be little and thought they needed to do more than him since his station was far higher than theirs. One of them said he would pray all night and never sleep; another said he would fast every single day; the third said he would remain celibate and never marry. When the Prophet heard this he said to them: “I swear by God that I have more fear of God and more awareness of Him than you, yet I fast some days and not others, I pray (in the night) and also sleep and I marry women. Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Preserving the Human Race

Through marriage, the human race continues to exist and flourish. Allah points to this in several verses of the Quran:

It is God who has given you spouses from amongst yourselves and through them, He has given you children and grandchildren and provided you with good things (Quran, 16:72).

People, be mindful of your Lord, who created you from a single soul, and from it created its mate, and from the pair of them spread countless men and women far and wide (Quran, 4:1).

 

Preserving Lineage

Through marriage, the lineage or ancestral line is defined. One of the overriding aims of the Shariah, the Sacred Law, is to preserve the honor and status of children and this explains why marriage is legislated.

 

Protecting Society from Immorality

Through marriage, society is protected from immorality and social disunity. This is illustrated in the statement of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Young people: whoever among you is able to marry should do so, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty. Whoever is not able to marry should fast, as fasting diminishes sexual urge.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said: “If a person whose religion and character you are satisfied with comes to you with a proposal, accept his proposal. If you do not, trials will afflict the earth and corruption will become widespread.” (Tirmidhi)

 

Spiritual and Psychological Balance and Wellbeing

A good spouse is a source of tranquillity and peace for the other. Allah says:

Among His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity, and He placed between you affection and mercy. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect. (Quran, 30:21)

It is He who created you all from one soul, and from it made its mate so that he might find comfort and peace in her (Quran, 7:189)

The Arabic word for tranquillity is sakinah or sukun and derivatives of it are used in both these verses. It denotes stillness after motion. Marriage should provide this stillness, calm, and comfort to both spouses psychologically, spiritually, and physically. This state is then conducive to raising children.


About the Author

Shaykh Amin Buxton was born in London. He converted to Islam in 1999 and read Arabic and Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. He also studied the Islamic sciences in a traditional setting in both Syria and Yemen. He has edited and translated a number of books which include Imam al-Haddad’s ‘Beneficial Counsels’ and Umar al-Khatib’s ‘Prophetic Guidance’. Since 2017 he has resided with his family in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is involved in several educational and social initiatives including New to Islam Edinburgh and Rafah International. Shaykh Amin Buxton is producing a podcast for SeekersGuidance and is one of our esteemed internal scholars.

 

The Prophet’s Smile: Responding to Rudeness With a Smile

The Prophet’s Smile Series Part Six: Responding to Rudeness With a Smile

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

In this series, we discuss the practices and acts that brought a smile to the Prophet Muhammad’s blessed face and made him laugh. We hope that by applying these lessons, we can gain his pleasure, and gain closeness to Allah Most High.  In this article, we explore valuable lessons from an incident our beloved Prophet had with a bedouin.

 


Responding to Rudeness With a Smile

Anas narrates that he was once walking with Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), who was wearing a Najrani shawl with a rough edge. All of a sudden, a bedouin came up behind him, took hold of the shawl, and pulled it with great force. The Prophet turned to face the man and Anas noticed that the force of the pull had left a mark on the Prophet’s neck.

“Muhammad,” he said, “Give me some of Allah’s money which is in your possession!”

The Prophet looked at him, smiled and instructed that he be given something.

(Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

 

This short incident brings to the forefront a number of the Prophet’s astounding character traits. 

He was walking with a servant, Sayyiduna Anas, who was a child at the time, shows his humility. Although he was the greatest human ever to walk the earth, he was glad to walk with anyone regardless of their age, gender, race and social standing. His choice of clothing is further evidence of his humility and lack of concern for worldly things. He could have worn the finest and smoothest of fabrics but he was happy with a shawl made in the Najran region of Yemen with an edge so rough – it was uncomfortable.  

Further, we witness the immensity of the Prophet’s forbearance, a beautiful quality known in Arabic as hilm. We are told that the description of the Prophet in the Torah is that the more rudely he is treated, the more he increases in forbearance. The Bedouin came from behind and, without any warning, grabbed the Prophet’s shawl, pulling it so hard that it physically hurt him. To add to this, he addressed him in a rude and blunt fashion. We are told in the Quran not to address the Prophet as we address our peers and equals, but this man was obviously ignorant of this. With no regard for good manners and without explaining his situation, he demanded that he be given some charity or zakat. 

We have to ask ourselves, how would we react in a similar situation? Our surprise and shock at being accosted from behind would quickly turn to anger and indignation. Then perhaps some pride and arrogance would creep in: how dare this person treat me like this! Who does he think he is? Does he really think he’ll be given anything after this?

This might well be our reaction. But it was not the reaction of Allah’s Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him). He had justification for becoming angry, but he did not. He could have turned away and ignored the man, and this would have taken great self-control, but rather he turned towards him. Instead of turning away from him, he turned towards him. The companions tell us that whenever someone called the Prophet from behind, he would turn his whole body to face them, give them his full attention and then respond. 

The Prophet’s response to the rudeness of the man’s demand was a smile or even a chuckle, depending on how the hadith is translated. Ugliness was met with beauty. He then instructed that the man be given something.

The Prophet recognized the truth of the Bedouin’s statement – that indeed it was not his money, but rather Allah was the true giver and he was merely distributing what Allah had given. This is true humility – to accept words of truth from whoever utters them, even if they come in such a blunt form.

The Bedouin had most likely recently embraced Islam and the Prophet knew that he had to be treated with special care. In this, there is a valuable lesson for us in how we should treat anyone, particularly those who are new to the faith or new to practicing it. They may not be familiar with some of the manners and etiquettes that we have learned over time. They may have grown up and lived in difficult environments.

This was perhaps the only time that the Prophet and the Bedouin were to meet and had the Prophet rebuked him, it could have shaken the man’s faith. 

Instead, his faith would have been made firm by the Prophet’s beautiful character and the receipt of financial support. This would have been his abiding memory of the Prophet. This is what he would have told his family, his children and his tribe about. The Prophet’s beautiful and warm smile would have lived with him for the rest of his days. 

 

The Prophet’s Smile – Giving Charity

Giving Charity to Please our Beloved Prophet Muhammad

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing.

By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character.

By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

 

Giving Charity to Please the Beloved

Jarir bin Abdullah narrates that he was sitting in the middle of the day with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) along with some of the Companions when a group of people appeared. They were barefoot and hardly had any clothing. Jarir recognized them to be from the tribe of Mudar. The Prophet’s face went pale when he saw the state they were in. After everyone had assembled and prayed the congregational prayer, the Prophet stood up and addressed the people. He reminded them to have taqwa and to prepare for their meeting with Allah. Then he exhorted them to give whatever they could in charity: gold, silver, clothing or food, even if it was only half a date.

A man from the Ansar then came with a bag of coins so large that he could hardly carry it. From then on, people came one after the other bringing donations. Soon there were two piles, one of food and one of clothing.

When the Prophet saw this, his face shone with joy. He then said: “When someone establishes a good practice in Islam, they will have the reward for it and the reward of those who later act upon it without this detracting in the least from their reward.  When someone establishes a bad practice in Islam, they will bear the responsibility for it and for those who later act upon it without it detracting in the least from their responsibility.”  (Narrated by Muslim)

 

Take Action to Help Your Community

 It pains the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to see members of his nation in a state of destitution and hardship and nothing pleases him more than to see people making sacrifices to help those in need.

When he saw these people in a state of hardship – he was greatly moved. The fact that he shared a common ancestor with them – since he himself was a descendant of Mudar – made him treat them with extra compassion. By helping them the Prophet was also honoring the ties of kinship which was something at the heart of his message.

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) could have asked Allah to feed and clothe these people in whatever way He wished, but he wanted his Companions to take action. Once the community had come together for prayer, he called upon them to give whatever they could to help these unfortunate people. But he only did this after reminding them of their relationship with Allah – to show them that their belief in Him and awareness of Him dictated that they act in situations such as this. He wanted each person to give according to their means and their intention. So half a date from one man may have been more significant than another man’s gold or silver.

What made his face shine with joy was to see a man from the Ansar coming forward with a generous donation. He loved the Ansar dearly and Allah Himself testifies to their readiness to sacrifice out of love for Him: “they give others preference over themselves, even if they too are poor” (Quran, 59:9). He was happy that this man had taken the initiative and that others would follow his example. He then clarified an Islamic principle: that when someone establishes a good practice, they will be rewarded for doing so and they will be rewarded for the actions of those that follow that practice. The opposite is also true, as the Prophet stated.

We ask Allah to grant us the ability to do things that please Him and His Beloved (peace and blessings be upon him) and that in doing so we set an example for others to follow.

 


Help protect and preserve the legacy of Islamic scholarship, donate your sadaqah and zakat to the Islamic Scholarship Fund today. 

The Prophet’s Smile: The Special Supplication

The Prophet’s Smile Series Part Four: The Special Supplication

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should put in effort towards connecting with our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).  In this series, we discuss the things that brought a smile to his blessed face and made him laugh. We pray that by applying these lessons, we can gain his pleasure. What can we learn from this special supplication our Beloved Prophet Muhammad made?

 

The Prophet’s Special Supplication 

Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Aqil al-Thaqafi narrates that he came to visit the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) with the delegation of the tribe of Thaqif.

He said: “When we entered into his presence there was no one that we hated more than him. We entered, greeted him, and pledged allegiance to him and when we left there was no one that we loved more than him.

I said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, did you not think of asking your Lord for a kingdom like the kingdom of Sulayman?’

The Prophet smiled and said: ‘Perhaps Allah has given your companion (meaning himself) something better than the kingdom of Sulayman. Whenever Allah sent a Prophet he gave him a (special) supplication. Some of them used it for something worldly and they were given what they asked for, and some used it to pray for the destruction of their peoples, and their peoples were duly destroyed.  Allah gave me this special supplication and I have kept it in reserve with Him to use as a means of  intercession for my nation on the Day of Judgement.’” (Narrated by al-Hakim)

The tribe of Thaqif were the noblemen of the city of Ta’if. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to call them to Allah, they rejected him in the most offensive manner. In spite of that rejection, the Prophet refused to command their destruction but rather hoped that they would be guided. If they were not guided, he hoped that their children and descendants would.

The Muslims later defeated Thaqif at the Battle of Hunayn and unsuccessfully laid siege to Ta’if. The tribe eventually sent a delegation to the Prophet to reluctantly announce their acceptance of Islam. The narrator admits that he hated the Prophet when he first met him but during the course of one sitting, that hatred was transformed into love. Instead of bearing a grudge against them, the Prophet welcomed them with open arms. We can only imagine the wise words and the beautiful character that the Prophet showed in order to win over their hearts.

The narrator began to get a glimpse of the Prophet’s status. He began to realize that in front of him was Allah’s Beloved and he could ask whatever he wanted from his Lord. He thought that the greatest thing someone could ask for was a vast kingdom, but the Prophet corrected that notion with a gentle smile. He showed that the greatest thing you can ask for is what benefits people the most in their hour of greatest need. This is one of many narrations which tell us about the intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgement.

His mercy surpassed the mercy of other Prophets and he will not be content until as many members of his nation as possible are in Paradise. May none of us be deprived of his intercession on that day.

The Prophet’s Smile: Remembering Allah

The Prophet’s Smile Series Part Three – Remembering Allah

By Shaykh Amin Buxton

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should come to know our Prophet better (peace and blessings be upon him). In this series, we endeavor to do this by looking at the things that brought a smile to his blessed face and at times made him laugh and apply these lessons in our life in order to gain his pleasure.

Remembering Allah

Ummayah bin Makhshi narrates that the Messenger of Allah was sitting with a man who was eating. The man did not mention Allah’s name and he kept eating until there was only one mouthful left. When he raised the food to his mouth he said: “In the name of Allah at the beginning and the end.”

The Prophet laughed and said: “The devil was eating with him until he mentioned Allah’s name, at which point the devil vomited up everything that was in his stomach!” (Narrated by Abu Daud)

This hadith reminds us of the importance of mentioning Allah’s name before even the smallest and most mundane actions such as dressing, entering and leaving our homes, going to sleep and waking up, and, of course, eating and drinking.

The Messenger of Allah taught us the precise etiquette in all of these situations and revealed to us the consequences of neglecting it. When we mention Allah’s name, it acts as a barrier that prevents darkness and evil from entering our lives. Beyond this, it reminds us that only Allah sustains the existence of all things. When we eat, sleep and walk in Allah’s name, those actions take on a new meaning. This is because they are connected to the Divine and are blessed with Allah’s support and care.

If, however, we are not conscious of this reality (as is often the case) it is never too late. The key is to return to Allah as soon as we remember. If we forget to mention Allah’s name before we eat, we can say the following supplication when we remember:

بِسْمِ اللهِ أَوَّلَهُ وآخِرَهُ

Bismillāhi awwalahu wa ākhirahu

In the name of Allah at the beginning and the end.

 

This incident also shows us that the Prophet was actually witnessing the unseen. The angelic and demonic realms were unveiled to him. Although they are veiled to us (with very rare exceptions), it is part of our faith to believe that they exist just as the Prophet informed us of them.

Just as the devil is happy to see our actions come to nothing, the Messenger laughed and was happy to see the devil’s actions come to nothing. His happiness was always for the victory of light over darkness. In this case, a member of his nation was neglectful even though he was in the presence of the Prophet. But what pleased the Prophet was that he made amends. We can take comfort from the fact that however heedless or forgetful we are, we can always make amends. In doing so, we make our guide and teacher happy. May Allah shower him with blessings and peace.

The Prophet’s Smile: Salawat – A Source of Joy for the Prophet

The Prophet’s Smile Series – Salawat: A Source of Joy for the Prophet

by Shaykh Amin Buxton

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should endeavor to create a connection with our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). One way is to get to know him. In this series, we intend to know him better by looking at the things that brought a smile to his blessed face and at times made him laugh.

Sending Peace and Blessings Upon our Beloved Prophet (Salawat)

Abu Talha narrates that one day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was in good spirits. Joy could be seen on his face. The Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah, today you are in good spirits and joy can be seen on your face.”

“Yes,” said the Prophet, “A visitor came from my Lord and said: ‘When a member of your nation bestows one prayer upon you, Allah records for that person ten good deeds, erases ten of his bad deeds, raises him ten degrees and bestows upon him a prayer like the prayer he bestowed.’” (Narrated by Ahmad and al-Nasa’i)

There was nothing that pleased the Companions more than to see the Prophet with joy on his face. They could not help remarking on this, hoping to know why this was the case. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained that an angel had come to him bearing good tidings. In some narrations this angel is named as Jibril (may Allah be pleased with him).

The message which the angel conveyed from his Lord relates to the reward given to someone who bestows one prayer upon the Prophet. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was overjoyed at what had been gifted to his nation through this simple act. His joy was in what benefited his followers the most – an increase in their good deeds, an erasure of their bad deeds and the raising of their ranks  – all of this multiplied tenfold! But what is even greater, is that Allah Himself bestows prayers upon such a person.

 

Allah’s Prayers Upon Us

We learn from other Hadith that if we bestow one prayer upon the Prophet, Allah responds by bestowing ten prayers upon us. But even if it is only one, this is more than enough since a prayer from Allah is something which cannot be measured or quantified. Imam Ibn Ata’illah al-Iskandari said that if all the good actions of the whole of creation from the time of Adam to the Day of Judgement placed on one side of the scales and one prayer from Allah was placed on the other, the prayer from Allah would outweigh all those actions. 

This is one of many hadith that inform us of the benefits of bestowing prayers (salawat) upon the Prophet. When we take a few moments to do this, we recognize the huge debt that we owe our guide and acknowledge our inability to recompense him. We thus ask Allah to do this on our behalf and hope that it brings joy to our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Prophet’s Smile – Special Rabi Al Awwal Series: Part One

The Prophet’s Smile

Part One by Shaykh Amin Buxton

 

Every year in the blessed month of Rabi al-Awwal, we should spend time learning about our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and grow closer to him.

In this series, the Prophet’s Smile, we visit the moments where the Prophet smiled and laughed. We also discuss how he was described when smiling and laughing. 

By studying his characteristics, we gain insight into what he talked and thought about, and ultimately, the undeniable beauty of his character.

By knowing more about him, we hope to increase our love and longing for him. We also hope to gain his love and pleasure, which cannot be separated from the love and pleasure of Allah Most High.

His Blessed Smile

If we go to the well known books of Shama’il, which bring together the description of the Prophet’s physical appearance as well as his noble character, we find several accounts of companions describing his smile. Sayyiduna al-Husayn asked his father, Sayyiduna Ali (peace be upon them both), to describe how the Messenger of Allah Most High interacted with his companions. He said: “He was always cheerful and smiling, gentle in character.”

The commentators say that this does not negate the fact that he is also described as being constantly in a state of sadness, out of concern for the well-being of his nation. Outwardly he was cheerful, but his inner state was one of sadness.

Sayyiduna Ali went on to say that the Prophet would laugh at the same things his companions would laugh at, and would marvel at the things which they marvelled at. He did this to make them feel comfortable and at ease.

One of the companions said that he had never seen anyone who smiled more than the Messenger of Allah Most High.

Another companion narrates that since he became Muslim, the Prophet would always smile at him when he met him.”

Several narrations tell us that “his laugh was his smile”or that “most of his laughter was smiling”, which is understood to mean that generally he would smile when amused and only rarely would he actually laugh out loud. The same applies to the Prophet Sulayman, peace be upon him, who smiles broadly in amusement at the words of the ant, as recounted in the following verse:

So [Sulayman] smiled, amused at her speech, and said, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.” (Sura Naml, 27:19)

Like A Piece of the Moon

When he was happy, the Prophet’s face would light up as brightly as a piece of the moon. When he opened his mouth to laugh, his teeth would shine as brightly as lightning and were as brilliantly white as hailstones. Imam al-Lahaji says that this metaphor is appropriate because lightning strikes very quickly and the Prophet would not keep his mouth open for more than an instant. Also lightning is followed by rain, which is a manifestation of Allah’s mercy, and the Prophet’s laughter would invariably be followed by a kind word or a gift or some other manifestation of his mercy.

Imam al-Busiri perfectly sums all this up in the Burdah:

أكرم بخلق نبيّ زانه خلق

بالحسن مشتمل بالبشر متّسم

How noble is the form of a Prophet whose character further adorns him

So full of beauty is he, so full of cheer.

كأنّما اللّؤلؤ المكنون في صدف

من معدني منطق منه ومبتسم

It is as if precious pearls protected in their shells

Poured forth from the treasury of his speech and smile.

May we all experience the tranquility of being close to him (peace and blessings be upon him).