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Riyad as-Saliheen

Riyadh as-Saliheen Series – Hadith 4: Repentance

Chapter 2 – Ḥadīth 15: Repentance

وعن أبي حمزةَ أنسِ بنِ مالكٍ الأنصاريِّ – خادِمِ رسولِ الله – قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ الله : « للهُ أفْرَحُ بِتَوْبَةِ عَبْدِهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ سَقَطَ عَلَى بَعِيرهِ وقد أضلَّهُ في أرضٍ فَلاةٍ » . مُتَّفَقٌ عليه .وفي رواية لمُسْلمٍ : « للهُ أَشَدُّ فَرَحاً بِتَوبَةِ عَبْدِهِ حِينَ يتوبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ كَانَ عَلَى رَاحِلَتهِ بأرضٍ فَلاةٍ ، فَانْفَلَتَتْ مِنْهُ وَعَلَيْهَا طَعَامُهُ وَشَرَابهُ فأَيِسَ مِنْهَا ، فَأَتى شَجَرَةً فاضطَجَعَ في ظِلِّهَا وقد أيِسَ مِنْ رَاحلَتهِ ، فَبَينَما هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ هُوَ بِها قائِمَةً عِندَهُ ، فَأَخَذَ بِخِطامِهَا ، ثُمَّ قَالَ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الفَرَحِ : اللَّهُمَّ أنْتَ عَبدِي وأنا رَبُّكَ ! أَخْطَأَ مِنْ شِدَّةِ الفَرَحِ »
َ

Anas b. MālikAl-Anṣāri (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) the servant of the Messenger of Allah narrated: Messenger of Allah (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

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“Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave than a person who lost his camel in a desert land and then finds it (unexpectedly)”.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In another version of Muslim, he said:

“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb’.He commits this mistake out of extreme joy.”


Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said in his explanation of this ḥadīth:

The author (Al-Nawawi) raḥimahullāh says, ‘the servant of the Messenger of Allah ’ in reference to Anas (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu), whose mother brought him to the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) upon arriving in Madinah and said, ‘here is Anas ibn Malik to serve you’. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) accepted him, and Anas (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) became the servant of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Anas (raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu) related that the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, Allah is more delighted with the repentance of His slave” more than the happiness of a man who finds his camel after losing it, and he mentioned the story: that a man was in a desert alone, with no water, food, or people…and he lost his camel. He searched, but failed to find it. So he went to sleep under a tree, awaiting death! He lost hope in finding his camel and lost hope in life, for his food and drink were on the lost camel.

Then suddenly, in this state of hopelessness, he finds his camel right in front of him, its reins attached to the same tree he slept beneath.

What is comparable to such happiness? No one can truly relate to such joy except one who was in the same situation.  Indeed, it is great joy; joy of life after death. For this reason he took hold of its reins and cried, “’O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rabb!’”  He wanted to praise Allah saying: ‘O Allah, You are my Lord and I am Your Slave’,  but due to his extreme joy, he made a mistakenly switched it around.

From the Benefits of this ḥadīth: is evidence of Allah’s – azza wa jal – happiness with the repentance of His slave to Him, and that He – subḥānahu wa ta‘āla – loves this deed greatly. But this is not due to His need for our deeds and repentance, for Allah is Free of needs from us, rather this is due to Allah’s love for Generosity, for He, subhanahu wata’ala, loves to Pardon and Forgive. This is more beloved to Him than taking retribution and imposing blame. For this reason, Allah loves the repentance of the slave. So in this ḥadīth, there is encouragement towards repentance, due to Allah’s love for it and the benefit it holds for the slave.

From the lessons of this ḥadīth is affirmation (of the attribute) of ‘happiness’ to Allah ‘azza wa jal. For He, subḥānahu wa ta‘āla, becomes Pleased, Angry, Hates and Loves. But these attributes are unlike our own, because Allah says,

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” (Sūrat’l-Shūra 42:11).

So, this ‘happiness’ is befitting to His Might and Majesty and does not resemble the joy of the creation.

In this ḥadīth, there is also evidence that if a person’s tongue slips and they say a certain statement mistakenly, even if it is in essence (a statement of)  kufr (disbelief), then they are not held accountable for it. In the case of this man (in the hadith), his statement was one of disbelief. This is because, a person saying to his Lord, ‘You are my slave and I am you Lord’; this is undoubtedly a statement of disbelief. But when it was uttered mistakenly – under circumstances of extreme joy – then he was not held accountable for it. So if a person makes a mistake regarding a word or statement of disbelief, then he is not accounted for it. Similar is the case for other words or statement, such as if he unintentionally cursed someone or mistakenly freed his slave. All of this does not make him accountable for anything, because he did not intend it. It becomes similar, in such a case, to the unintentional oath (al-laghw fil yameen). Allah ta‘āla said:

لَّا يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللَّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا كَسَبَتْ قُلُوبُكُم

“Allah does not impose blame upon you for what is unintentional in your oaths, but He imposes blame upon you for what your hearts have earned.” (Sūrat’l-Baqarah 2:225).

This is different from the case of the mocker, who becomes a disbeliever if he says a statement of disbelief, even if he was mocking. This is due to what Allah says,

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ إِنَّمَا كُنَّا نَخُوضُ وَنَلْعَبُ ۚ قُلْ أَبِاللَّهِ وَآيَاتِهِ وَرَسُولِهِ كُنتُمْ تَسْتَهْزِئُونَ
لَا تَعْتَذِرُوا قَدْ كَفَرْتُم بَعْدَ إِيمَانِكُمْ

“And if you ask them, they will surely say, “We were only conversing and playing.” Say, “Is it Allah and His verses and His Messenger that you were mocking?”
Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after your belief.” ( Sūrat’l-Tawbah 9:65, 66).

This is because the scoffer meant what he said, and meant it’s meaning, but said it in the form of mockery and ridicule. For this reason, he became a disbeliever. This is contrary to the case of one who did not intend it, thus making his statement not considered as anything.

This is from the Mercy of Allah –‘azza wa jal ¬– and Allah is the source of success.

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Mariam is of Middle Eastern origin, raised in North America, not quite settling in one specific place. After living up in the North of North America, she has shifted continents and currently residing in a rapidly flourishing, historical city located in the desert of Arabia. She is a recent graduate of the American Open University, with a Bachelors in Islamic Studies. She believes that regardless of where a person is, writing is a tool to reach out and express that which inspires, touches and affects them. So she writes; perhaps that which inspires her will be a source of good for at least one other person.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Yasmin

    October 6, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Jazakallah khair for this wonderful post!

  2. Avatar

    Umm Ousama

    October 7, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    JazakAllahu khairan.

    Posting a comment so that other people comment and every time they comment, I am reminding of making istighfaar.

  3. Avatar

    Sifat Sn

    October 7, 2011 at 3:56 AM

    a wonderful article and jazakAllah for sharing

  4. Avatar

    Umm Sulaim

    October 7, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    An excellent reminder.

    One sometimes accidentally and unknowingly claims Allah’s Attributes for oneself, including those of us who neither own camels nor have lost one, and AlHamduliLlah for His Mercy and Forgiveness.

    Umm Sulaim

  5. Avatar

    SisterO

    October 7, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Jazaki Allahu khairan.

  6. Avatar

    p4rv3zkh4n

    March 4, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    I want to ask if there are any signs in this world that we may realise that our repentance is accepted?

    also will we be held accountable for our thoughts?

    salam

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#Islam

Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting. Hadiths 7-8

– وعنه، رضي الله عنه، أن رسول الله ﷺ، قال: “إذا جاء رمضانُ، فُتحتْ أبواب الجنة، وغُلقت أبواب النار، وصُفدت() الشياطين” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened, the gates of the fire of hell are closed, and the devils are chained.”

Narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

The Messenger of Allāh said, “When Ramaḍān begins, the gates of paradise are opened”

The most apparent meaning is that this is a literal opening of the doors of paradise for a person who passes away during Ramaḍān, or for a person who performs good actions which are accepted. It is also said that the meaning is figurative, meaning that performing good actions in Ramaḍān will lead to the gates of paradise being opened in the hereafter. Another figurative meaning may also be the abundance of mercy and forgiveness, as can be inferred by a narration of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim “The doors of mercy are opened”.

“The gates of the fire of hell are closed”

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The same observation can be made about this statement as has just been said regarding the gates of paradise.

It is also said that this is a metaphor to express the fact that the egos of the fasting persons are pure from the impurities of shameful actions, and they are liberated from the things which lead to sinful acts by means of their tamed based desires.
Al-Ṭībī explains: ‘The benefit of this is two-fold: the angels are clearly made aware that the action of those fasting is highly revered in front of Allāh. The fact that the truthful Nabī is the one informing about this matter also serves to increase the eagerness of the Muslim individual’.

“And the devils are chained”

This statement can also be considered to be in a literal sense. It may also figuratively mean that they are prevented from causing excessive nuisance to the believers and from provoking them. That makes them seem as they are chained. It may also mean that the Muslims refrain from involving themselves in the acts of disobedience which the devils annoy them with.

– باب الجود وفعل المعروف والإكثار من الخير في شهر رمضان

والزيادة من ذلك في العشر الأواخر منه

Chapter on generosity, performing good actions, increasing in goodness during Ramaḍān and augmenting in that during its last 10 days

1/1222- وعن ابن عباس، رضي الله عنهما، قال: كان رسول الله ﷺ، أجود الناس، وكان أجود() ما يكونُ في رمضان حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ، وكان جبريلُ يلقاهُ في كل ليلةٍ من رمضان فيدارسهُ القرآن، فلرسولُ الله ﷺ، حين يلقاهُ جبريلُ أجودُ بالخير من الريح المرسلة” متفقٌ عليه().

Ibn ʿAbbās (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was the most generous of men; and he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him. Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him. As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ was more generous with goodness than the free wind.

What is meant by good actions in the title are obligatory and recommended actions alike. Increasing such actions in Ramaḍān is mandūb (i.e commendable) as the reward will be multiplied on virtue of the distinction of this time. This particularity in Ramaḍān is because it is the best of the months, so it is commendable to keep it alive with such actions and see their reward multiplied as a result.

The last ten days start on the eve of the 21st day of fasting, and they end on the last day whether the month ends in 29 days or 30 days.

Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was the most generous of men”

He was the man endowed with the most generosity. Indeed it is a fact that that which has been narrated of his generosity has not been narrated regarding anyone else.

“And he would be the most generous during the month of Ramaḍān when Jibrīl visited him.”

His state of generosity in Ramaḍān was superior to that outside of Ramaḍān, but he was nevertheless the most generous man in an absolute sense.

“Jibrīl would meet him every night of Ramaḍān and he would review the Qurʾān with him”

It is said that the wisdom in reviewing the Qurʾān is that it renews the pledge of having a content ego. Contentment in turns breeds generosity. Ramaḍān is also the season of goodness because Allāh’s bounties on his servants are increased therein. It was the habit of Nabī to give preference to follow the example of the sunna of Allāh (i.e his customary practice) in dealing with His servants. The combination of what has been mentioned i.e the time, the one who came down (Jibrīl), what he descended with (the Qurʾān) and the learning were all obtained through the hand of generosity. And Allāh knows best.

“As a result, at the time Jibrīl met him the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) was more generous with goodness than the free wind”

He was, in the speed of his generosity faster than the wind. The free wind indicates the wind which continuously blows with mercy. His generosity was all-encompassing in its benefit just as the free wind fully encompasses anything it blows on.

A narration of Imām-Aḥmad includes the following wording at the end of this ḥadīth: “He was never asked anything except that he gave it”[1].

Imām Al-Nawawī explains:

“This ḥadīth contains many fine lessons: encouragement towards generosity at all times, and increasing it during Ramaḍān as well as when meeting righteous people (analogy with the meeting of Jibrīl). It also indicates the virtue of visiting the pious and noble folk, and to do so repeatedly as long as the person being visited does not mind. It also points to the laudable nature of abundantly reading Qurʾān during Ramaḍān and the fact that it is superior to all forms of remembrance of Allāh [dhikr/adhkār]. Indeed, if dhikr was superior or equivalent to it then they would have done it (the Nabī and Jibrīl). Some commentators have said that these were tajwīd sessions. This is however objectionable as memorization of the Nabī was a given, and anything beyond memorization could be achieved through a few sessions. It is therefore clear that the intent in Jibrīl’s coming was an increase in the amount of recitation.

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting | Hadiths 3-6

– وعنه أن رسول الله ﷺ قال: “من أنفق زوجين في سبيل الله نُودي من أبواب الجنة: يا عبدالله هذا خيرٌ، فمن كان من أهل الصلاة دُعيَ من باب الصلاة، ومن كان من أهل الجهاد دُعيَ من باب الجهاد، ومن كان من أهل الصيام دُعيَ من باب الريان، ومن كان من أهل الصدقة [480] دُعيَ من باب الصدقة” قال أبو بكر رضي الله عنه، بأبي أنت وأُمي يا رسول الله! ما على من دُعيَ من تلك الأبواب من ضرورةٍ، فهل يدعى أحدٌ من تلك الأبواب كلها؟ قال: “نعم وأرجو أن تكون منهم” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) also reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “He who spends a pair in the way of Allāh will be called from the gates of paradise: ‘O slave of Allāh! This is goodness’ and one who is among the people of ṣalāt (prayer), will be called from the gate of ṣalāt; and whoever is eager in fighting in the cause of Allāh, will be called from the gate of jihād; and one who is regular in fasting will be called from the gate Ar-Rayyān. The one who is a charitable person will be called from the gate of charity.” Abū-Bakr (May Allāh be pleased with him) said: “O Messenger of Allāh ﷺ ! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Those who are called from these gates will stand in need of nothing. However, will anybody be called from all of those gates?” He replied, “Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them.” ”.

Narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“ The Messenger of Allāh said, “He who spends a pair in the way of Allāh will be called from the gates of paradise: ‘O slave of Allāh! This is goodness’ ”

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In some narrations of this ḥadīth it is added: “It was said: what is a pair? He ﷺ said: two horses, two cows, or two mules”.

It is possible that his ḥadīth applies to all virtuous actions, be it two ṣalāt, fasting two days, or two acts of charity. That is substantiated by the wording of the rest of the ḥadīth, which enumerates those different actions.

In the way of Allāh applies to all acts of goodness [i.e for Allāh’s sake]. It is also said that it is specific to jihād, but the first interpretation is more correct and apparent. That is Imām Al-Nawawī’s position.

Goodness here is said to mean reward and delight. It is also said that it means this is better i.e we think that this is better for you than the rest of the doors, due to the abundance of its reward and bounties. Come and enter through it.

Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar however contends in Fatḥul-Bārī: “The meaning of goodness is virtue, not superiority, although the wording may lead to think so. The intent of the statement is to provide additional encouragement to the individual for entering through that door”.

“And one who is among the people of ṣalāt (prayer), will be called from the gate of ṣalāt; and whoever is eager in fighting in the cause of Allāh, will be called from the gate of jihād; and one who is regular in fasting will be called from the gate Al-Rayyān.”

Al Qurṭubī explains: to be among the people of ṣalāt means that one performs abundant optional prayers to the point that it represents the most common of his optional actions. The obligatory ṣalāt is not meant, because all people are equal in that respect.

The same reasoning applies to fasting and ṣadaqa.

The door is called Al-Rayyān i.e the one who is satiated/quenched, as opposed to the one who is thirsty i.e the person fasting. This is to signify that he is rewarded for his thirst through a permanent satiation in paradise.

“The one who is a charitable person will be called from the gate of charity.”

After the mention of this door, four of the five pillars of Islām have been included, leaving the pillar of Ḥajj. There is no doubt that there is a door for [those who performed] Ḥajj [abundantly]. That leaves a remainder of three doors to complete the number of eight doors.

One of those doors is the door for ﴾ الْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ﴿ “those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind” (s. Āl-ʿImrān, v. 134). Imām Aḥmad bin-Ḥanbal narrates from Al-Ḥasan [in a ḥadīth mursal] “Certainly Allāh has a door in paradise which none except those who forgive injustice will enter through”.

Another one of those doors is “the door of the right side.” That is the door of the mutawakkilīn i.e those who used to put their entire trust in Allāh, through which will enter those who will not go through any reckoning nor will they be subject to any punishment.

As for the third door, it may be the door of the remembrance of Allāh, as a ḥadīth in Tirmidhī alludes to it. It is also possible that it is the door of knowledge.

Considering the fact that the types of virtuous actions number much more than eight in total, it is then possible that the doors through which people will be called are in fact internal doors which are located beyond the eight main doors of paradise.

Al-Suyūṭī explains in Al-Dībāj: “Al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ explains: the remaining doors are mentioned in other aḥādīth: the door of repentance, the door of “those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind”, the door of those who are content, the door of the right side from which will enter those who will not undergo any reckoning”.

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn-Ḥajar explains in Fatḥul-Bārī: for one to spend in the way of Allāh in ṣadaqa, jihād, knowledge and ḥajj is obvious. It is however not so obvious for other actions.
Spending in ṣalāt may refer to acquiring its tools such as the water to purify oneself, and one’s suitable garments or the like thereof.
As for spending while fasting it would be on those things which strengthen one to do such as suḥūr [pre-dawn meal] and fuṭūr [meal after sunset].
Spending to forgive others would mean that one forsakes those rights which he is entitled to from them.
Spending in tawakkul would be that which one spends during a sickness which prevents them for earning a living, while exerting patience in one’s affliction. It can also be that which one spends on someone else who is afflicted by the same, seeking thereby reward.
Spending for dhikr would be along the same lines.

It is also possible that what is meant by spending on ṣalāt and fasting is for one to exert their person in those acts. In the language of the ʿArab, exertion of one’s person is called expenditure [nafaqa]. They will for instance say, “I have expended my life on it” when referring to a trade which one has learnt. Exerting one’s body in fasting and ṣalāt would therefore be considered expenditure.

“Abū-Bakr  (May Allāh be pleased with him) said: “O Messenger of Allāh ﷺ ! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Those who are called from these gates will stand in need of nothing. However, will anybody be called from all of those gates?” ”

He means that one being called by anyone of these doors would certainly not suffer any diminution or loss. This statement brings alertness to the fact that very few people will be called from all those gates.

The one who has all those actions to his account is called from all the doors is an expression of merit, but entrance will nevertheless occur from only one door . That door is likely to be the one corresponding to the action which was most dominant for that person.

In this same context, one should not be confused by the ḥadīth of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim which says “Whoever performs ablution and does so most adequately, and then says I bear witness that there is no deity but Allāh…” and then it mentions “then the eight doors of paradise will open and he may enter from whichever one he choses”. The takeaway from this ḥadīth is that the doors are opened in this instance as a sign of esteem. One will nonetheless only enter through the door corresponding to their most abundant action.

Al-Zarkashī explains: “It is possible that the paradise is a fortress with embedded walls, and each wall would have its own door. Some will be called from the first door only, while others will be made to skip to the first door and taken to the interior door. So on and so forth…”.

“He replied, “Yes, and I hope that you will be one of them.” ”

The ʿulamāʾ explain: “Hope from Allāh and His Nabī ﷺ unequivocally comes to realization”.

The author-Imām Nawawī-explains: among the things which are inferred from this ḥadīth is the virtue of Abū-Bakar , and the permissibility of praising a person in their presence as long as a tribulation is not feared for them such as them becoming fond of themselves.

 وعن سهل بن سعدٍ رضي الله عنه عن النبي ﷺ، قال: “إن في الجنة باباً يُقالُ له: الريانُ، يدخلُ منه الصائمون يوم القيامة، لا يدخلُ منه أحدٌ غيرهم، يقالُ: أين الصائمون؟ فيقومون لا يدخل منه أحدٌ غيرهم، فإذا دخلوا أُغلق فلم يدخل منه أحدٌ” متفقٌ عليه().

Sahl bin-Saʿd  (May Allāh be pleased with him) narrates:

The Prophet ﷺ said, “In paradise there is a gate which is called Al-Rayyān through which only those who observe fasting will enter on the Day of Resurrection. No one else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” so they will stand up and no one else will enter through it. When the last of them will have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate.”

Narrated by Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Prophet ﷺ said, “In paradise there is a gate which is called Al-Rayyān”

The significance of the name Rayyān i.e the one who is satiated/quenched has been explained earlier. One may add here that being satiated has been used to also signify that one’s hunger is satisfied, because they clearly go hand-in-hand.

“Through which only those who observe fasting will enter on the Day of Resurrection”

The mention of the day of resurrection is because that is when this will occur. It can also be said that it’s to differentiate from the souls of the martyrs and those of the believers which enter paradise during the duration of this lowly world, without it being contingent upon the action of fasting.

“No one else will enter through it. It will be called out, “Where are those who observe fasting?” so they will stand up and no one else will enter through it. When they have entered, the gate will be closed and then no one will enter through that gate. ”

The narration of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim mentions “when the last one of them will have entered”.

The repetition of the fact that no one else will enter through it is done for emphasis. The wording of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim is also narrated by Ibn Abī-Shayba in his Musnad, Abū-Nuʿaym in his Mustakhraj, Ibn-Khuzayma, and Al-Nasāʾī. Al-Nasāʾī added: “Whoever enters will never ever experience thirst again”.

Both Bukhārī and Muslim narrated this ḥadīth in the chapter of fasting.

وعن أبي سعيد الخدري، رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله ﷺ: “ما من عبدٍ يصومُ يوماً في سبيل الله إلا باعد الله بذلك اليوم وجههُ عن النار سبعين خريفاً()” متفقٌ عليه().

Abu Saʿīd Al-Khudrī  (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “There is no slave of Allāh who observes fasting for one day in the way of Allāh, except that Allah will detach his face from hell-fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years. ”

Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, “There is no slave of Allāh”

Meaning no legally responsible individual, and what will be mentioned next is true for both men and women. This is substantiated by the fact that a narration of Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim does not specify a gender “Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allāh, He detaches their face from the hell-fire for a distance of seventy years”.

“Who observes fasting for one day in the way of Allāh”

Meaning in the obedience of Allāh.

“Except that Allāh will detach his face from hell-fire to the extent of a distance to be covered in seventy years.”

Meaning for the duration of a journey lasting seventy years.

وعن أبي هريرة، رضي الله عنه، عن النبي ﷺ، قال: “من صام رمضان إيماناً واحتساباً، غفر له ما تقدم من ذنبه” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported:

The Prophet ﷺ said, “He who observes the fast of the month of Ramaḍān with faith and reflecting upon its reward, will have his past sins forgiven.”

Narrated by Al-Bukhārī and Muslim.

“The Prophet ﷺ said, “He who observes the fast of the month of Ramaḍan with faith”

Meaning in a mental state where one affirms the truth of the reward related regarding it.

“And reflecting upon its reward”

Reflecting upon it and seeking thereby Allāh’s countenance [i.e His pleasure].

“Will have his past sins forgiven.”

Al-Nasāʾī and Aḥmad both add in a fine [ḥadīth ḥasan] narration, “and future sins”.
The sins which are forgiven on account of acts of obedience are those minor sins which relate to Allāh’s rights.

Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting. Hadiths 1-2

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Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting. Hadiths 1-2

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه، قال: قال رسول الله ﷺ: “قال الله عز وجل: كل عمل ابن آدم له إلا الصيام، فإنهُ لي وأنا أجزي به والصيام جُنَّةٌ()؛ فإذا كان يومُ صوم أحدكم فلا يرفث() ولا يصخب، فإن سابَّهُ أحدٌ أو قاتله، فليقل: إني صائمٌ. والذي نفس محمد بيده لخلوف() فم الصائم أطيبُ عند الله من ريح المسك. للصائم فرحتان يفرحهما: إذا أفطر فرح بفطره، وإذا لقيَ ربهُ فرح بصومه” متفقٌ عليه().

Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,

“Allāh the Exalted and Majestic said: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting which is (exclusively) for Me, and I reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield. If any one of you happens to fast, then he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, then let him say: ‘I am fasting.’ By Him in Whose Hand the soul of Muḥammad is, the breath of one fasting is finer to Allāh than the fragrance of musk. The one who fasts experiences two joys: he feels pleasure when breaking his fast and when he meets his Lord, his Lord will be please with him because of his fast.” [Al-Bukhārī and Muslim]

This hadith covers 3 themes: the special position of fasting in acts of worship, what demeanor one should adopt in their dealings with others while fasting, and the special virtues of fasting. The commentator will dissect the hadith to develop on the meanings contained in the hadith.

“Abū-Hurayra (May Allāh be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said, Allāh the Exalted and Majestic said: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting which is (exclusively) for Me”

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This ḥadīth is part of the aḥādīth qudsiyya i.e where the Nabī ﷺ relates from Allāh.  Al-Khaṭṭābī explains:

It means that for every action of the son of Adam, he has a share in it and interferes with it. That is because others become aware of it, and that becomes an incentive to seek a premature reward from people through their eulogy and recognition-among other things.

As for fasting, no one is made aware of it with certainty except Allāh and the ego has no share in it. In fact, the ego is broken by it. The body is likewise subject to loss as it is compelled to patiently bear a burning thirst and the agony of hunger.

Al-Khaṭṭābī also explains: this means that fasting is a pure act of worship which cannot be taken over by show and display, because it is an act of virtue which no one but Allāh is cognizant of. This is in line with what has been narrated in ḥadīth, ‘The intention of the believer is more valuable than his action’. Because intention resides in the heart and as such no one other than Allāh is cognizant of it, i.e an intention devoid of action is more valuable than an action devoid of an intention. This is similar to the meaning in the verse

﴾ لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ ﴿

“The Night of Qadr is much better than one thousand months” i.e it is better than a thousand months which are devoid of laylatul-qadr.

Another meaning put forward is: refraining from food and drink is among the attributes of Allāh Taʿālā, He feeds but is not fed. It is as though He is saying: the person fasting is seeking my proximity through an action linked to one of my attributes-needlessness. There is no equivalent to Allāh’s attributes, rather it is a mere comparison.

It is also said that this is meant to convey honor for a thing, just as one would say: the Prophet of Allāh, the house of Allāh or the Camel of Allāh. Fasting is for Allāh. A thing is honored because we know it belongs to Allāh, the lord of All majesty and Honor.

Other explanations are also given, which will be presented further.

“and I reward for it”

This means that the reward for it will be multiplied to an unspecified and countless number. That is because when the generous one (Al-Karīm) undertakes to distribute something, it undoubtedly entails abundance.

“Fasting is a shield”

It is an armor. It acts as a protection from the fire of hell or from disobedience, just as an armor protects from arrows. That is because it breaks base desires and weakens one’s strength towards sin.

Translator’s note: One may say that it also weakens one’s strength towards good. Though that would be inaccurate due to the fact that every second that passes by while a muslim is fasting, they are rewarded for their obedience and were they to die while fasting, they would die in a state of obedience and were they to die in a state of obedience, then it is a sign of Allāhs pleasure and mercy, for which there is only Janna and great reward.

[Imām] Aḥmad adds in his narration: ‘And an efficient protection from the fire’. Al-Nasāʾī also adds: ‘As one of you would protect himself in fighting’. Aḥmad adds in yet another narration: ‘As long as one does not break it’.

[Qāḍī Abū-Bakr] Ibn Al-ʿArabī explains: it is a shield from the fire because it is a restraint from base desires, which the fire of hell is surrounded by.

“If any of you happens to fast, then he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, then let him say: ‘I am fasting.’ ”

One should neither speak indecently nor should they speak overly loud.

As for when one someone disputes or argues with him, ‘let him say’ means that one should think in their heart ‘I am fasting’ so they may abstain from engaging in such a dispute. It is also said that one should in fact speak the words ‘I am fasting’ so the person in question may retract. This last mention is however only when the person speaking those words feels safe from pretension [riyāʾ] or the like thereof. It is also said that one should in fact do both, so his speech may cause the other person to refrain from argument and so his heart may cause himself to do the same. It is important to note that this guidance is not specific to a fasting person, but it is nevertheless reinforced for them.

“By Him in Whose Hand the soul of Muḥammad is, the breath of one fasting is purer/finer to Allāh than the fragrance of musk”

The hand of Allāh here means His power. The Nabī ﷺ swore to emphasize his statement, and the ʿulamāʾ consider this evidence for the desirability of swearing to draw the attention of the listener to a matter of importance.

The breath means the undesirable odor caused by fasting. This is understood from the ḥadīth ‘My Umma has been given five things in Ramaḍān….and the second thing is that their breath in the afternoon is finer than the smell of musk’. This same ḥadīth is also used as evidence that it is the breath in this world which is meant, as explained by Ibn-Ṣalāḥ and the majority of the ʿulamāʾ.

The mention of musk is the subject of different interpretations from the ʿulamāʾ:

  • Al-Māzirī explains: it is a metaphor to signify how close fasting brings one to Allāh-Taʿālā, as it is common for us to have pleasant smells close to us. Fasting is therefore likened to musk for the same reason, due to how it brings one to Allāh’s proximity. In other words it is purer in the eyes of Allāh than musk is to your eyes, it brings one closer to Allāh than you would bring musk close to you. Ibn ʿAbdul-Barr has preferred this interpretation.
  • It is also said: it means that what you think of the smell and what it is like of musk to Allāh is in opposition with your view as human beings. This interpretation is very similar to the previous one.
    It is also said: the meaning is that Allāh will reward the one fasting in the hereafter and the smell of their breath will be finer than that of musk, as will be mentioned further ‘And the smell of his wound will diffuse musk’.
  • It is also said: the meaning is that the person will attain a reward which is superior to the smell of musk, especially in comparison to the smell of one’s breath. Both of these last two interpretations were related by Al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ.
  • Al-Dāwūdī and a group of ʿulamāʾ have said the following: it means that the smell of the breadth has more reward than musk which is considered praiseworthy in jumuʿa and in gatherings of the remembrance of Allāh. Imām Al-Nawawī favored this interpretation.

The gist of the matter is that the meaning of perfume is to be taken as a metaphor signifying acceptance and contentment from Allāh, since the feeling of scent is inconceivable in association with the being of Allāh.

Al-Qāḍī Ḥusayn has narrated that acts of obedience will diffuse a smell on the Day of Judgment, and the smell of fasting among those acts will be that of musk.

“The one who fasts experiences two joys: he feels pleasure by breaking his fast and when he meets his Lord he is joyful on account of his fast”

The first pleasure is on account of completing his fast without blemishing it. It may also refer to the pleasure experienced on account of partaking food at ifṭār.

The second pleasure is on account of meeting his Lord or on account of seeing his reward for fasting. In both cases, his pleasure is on account of the acceptance of his fasting.

This ḥadīth was narrated by both Al-Bukhārī and Muslim, in the chapter of fasting. It was also narrated by Al-Nasāʾī in his Sunan, with the same chapter heading.

وهذا لفظ رواية البخاري. وفي رواية له: “يتركُ طعامهُ، وشرابهُ، وشهوتهُ، من أجلي، الصيامُ لي وأنا أجزي به، والحسنةُ بعشر أمثالها.

وفي روايةٍ لمسلم: “كل عمل ابن آدم يُضاعفُ: الحسنة بعشر أمثالها إلى سبعمائة ضعف. قال الله تعالى: “إلا الصوم فإنه لي وأنا أجزي به: يَدَعُ شهوتهُ وطعامهُ من أجلي. للصائم فرحتان: فرحةٌ عند فطره، وفرحةٌ عند لقاء ربه. ولخلوفُ فيه أطيبُ عند الله من ريح المسك”.

Imam Nawawi included these additional narrations because of the merit contained in their different wording. Although there is some overlap with the previous narration, there is a valuable addition regarding the quantification of reward for fasting.

In another narration by Al-Bukhārī, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,

“Allāh says: ‘(The person fasting) has abstained from food and drink, and lust for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward’ ”.

In a narration by Muslim, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,

“Every good deed of the son of Ādam is multiplied from ten to seven hundred times. Allāh (SWT) says: ‘Except for fasting, as it certainly is for Me and I alone will give its reward. The person fasting abstains from his lust and from food for My sake.’ The fasting person has two joys, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time of meeting his Lord. Surely, the breath of the person fasting is finer to Allāh than the fragrance of musk’ ”.

“In another narration by Al-Bukhārī, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,”

This narration originates from Abū-Hurayra, and it is also a ḥadīth qudsī.

“Allāh says: ‘(The person fasting) has abstained from food and drink, and lust for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward.”

By lust what is meant is intercourse and anything before it that breaks the fast.

“Every good deed has ten times its reward”

This is the lowest level of multiplication of reward.

“In a narration by Muslim, the Messenger of Allāh ؐ said”

This narration is narrated by Abū-Hurayra, but unlike the previous ḥadīth its wording is marfuʿ to the Nabī ﷺ as opposed to being a ḥadīth qudsī.

“Every good deed of the son of Ādam is multiplied from ten to seven hundred times. ”

The outward meaning of the ḥadīth is that the action itself is multiplied [i.e the action will be recorded as having been performed several times] and it is also said that it is the reward for the action which is multiplied.

Allāh-Taʿālā says, ﴾ مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنْبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنْبُلَةٍ مِائَةُ حَبَّةٍ ﴿ “The example of those who spend in the way of Allāh is just like a grain that produced seven ears, each ear having a hundred grains, and Allāh multiplies (the reward) for whom He wills. Allāh is All-Embracing, All-Knowing” (Al-Baqarah, v. 261).

“‘Allāh (SWT) says: Except for fasting, as it certainly is for Me and I alone will give its reward.”

Fasting is not described as having a reward which is multiplied by a specific number. It is similar in that regard to patience, about which Allāh-Taʿālā says ﴾ إِنَّمَا يُوَفَّى الصَّابِرُونَ أَجْرَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ ﴿ “Certainly those who observe patience will be given their reward in full without measure” (Al-Zumar, v. 10).

“The person fasting abstains from his lust and from food for My sake.”

Lust means anything that the ego leans towards. Food here means anything nutritious, so drinking is included.

For My sake means because of Me.

”The fasting person has two joyous occasions, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time of meeting his Lord. Surely, the breath of the person fasting is purer/finer to Allāh than the fragrance of musk’ ”

The first joy is due to having completed his act of worship. The second joy is on account of meeting his Lord and seeing the abundance of his reward.

Surely is used here for emphasis because of how far-fetched it is for the smell of the breath to be pleasant, given how repulsive people consider it to be. The change in breath resulting from fasting, which occurs in the afternoon, is what is meant here. This is because the change in breath which occurs in the first part of the day is lessened by what one may have eaten at suḥūr [the meal prior to dawn].

The rest of this portion of the ḥadīth has already been explained earlier.

Ibn-ʿAllan’s Commentary Dalilul-Falihin: The Book of Fasting With A Short Biography of Imam Al-Nawawi

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