Hadith 19. Care of Allah

On the authority of Abi al-Abbas Abdillah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both of them) who said: “One day I was riding (In the narration found in the musnad of Ahmad, it makes clear that he was riding behind the Prophet [peace be upon him] on the same animal) behind the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he said to me, “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]. Be mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah and you will find him in front of you. If you ask, ask of Allah. If you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that if the nation were to gather to benefit you with something, they would not be able to benefit you except with what Allah has already recorded for you. If they were to gather to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you except with what Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried”.

Recorded by at-Tirmidhi who said: “It is a hasan sahih hadith”.

In a narration other than that of at-Tirmidhee, it states:

“Be mindful of Allah, you will find him in front of you. Know Allah during times of prosperity, He will know you in times of adversity. Know that what has passed you by was never to befall you. And [know that] what has befallen you was never to have passed you by. And know that victory accompanies perseverance, relief accompanies affliction and ease accompanies hardship”

Brief Commentary:

  • Ibn Rajab who wrote a very famous commentary on the 40 hadith had also written a separate treatise on this hadith alone, which is over 100 pages
  • Ibn al-Jawzi said “I contemplated over this hadith and it amazed me and made me nearly collapse. How sorry I feel for the ignorance of this hadith, and the minimal understanding of its meanings (by many)”
  • In this hadith, the prophet (peace be upon him) taught a young boy, ibn Abbas, many important things e.g. victory, patience, etc. This shows that we too need to teach our youngsters these things and not say they are too young for this
  • The literal translation of “احفظ الله” (translated as “Be mindful of Allah”) is “Preserve Allah”, but in this context it means preserving the boundaries of Allah, hence has been translated as such
  • Being mindful of Allah/Preserving the boundaries of Allah means to leave anything that Allah has prohibited and to fulfil everything He has commanded
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever preserves what is between his beard (mouth), and between his thighs (private part) will enter Jannah” (Reported in Bukhari). Again, in this context it means to preserve them from falling into sin, and is an implementation of “Be mindful of Allah” in this hadith
  • Ibn Rajab said there are two ways “Allah will protect you”:
    • General way: Protects your wealth, health, etc
    • Special way: Protects your iman, diverts you away from sins, etc
  • Abu Tibb Al-Tabari said to his students when questioned by them why his body is still strong at a very old age, “These are our limbs, we protected them from sins in our youth, so Allah protected them for us in our old age”
  • Allah will also protect our families, as He mentioned in the story of Musa and al-khidr in Surah al-kahf that the reason why He protected the wealth of the two orphans is that {And their father was righteous} [Al-Kahf: 82]
  • The opposite also applies. Scholars said they could see the effects of their sins on their families  e.g. in disobedience, etc
  • When placed in a test, we shouldn’t look at the test, but look at who placed us in this test, and be mindful of Him, and then we will find peace and tranquility
  • Du’aa is the essence of ibadah, because it manifests our need for Allah
  • If someone doesn’t make a lot of du’aa, it shows a they have a disease in their heart, and signifies a deficiency in their tawheed (Belief in the oneness of Allah)
  • A common misconception is that we make du’aa for the hereafter only, when we should be making du’aa for things in the hereafter in addition to things in the dunya
  • The less we ask others, and the more we depend on Allah, the stronger our Iman will be
  • Imam Ahmad used to say, “Oh Allah, just as you protected my face from prostrating to other than you, then protect it from asking other than you”
  • If you constantly ask someone, they will dislike you or get angry, but the more you ask Allah, the more He loves you, and vice versa
  • Ibn Rajab said, “How can you ask the poor and unable (humans), and leave the Rich and Able (Allah). This is strange”
  • Ibn Rajab said, “Know that asking Allah for things in this life instead of asking His creation, is something that is a must logically and Islamically, and that is from different perspectives. These are:
    • When asking someone for help, we are humbling ourselves in front of them, and the act of humility is more befitting in front of Allah, hence it is best to only ask Allah, though asking others for things which they are able to do is not haram
    • Asking Allah is a great form of worship and implementation tawheed, as you are manifesting your need for Allah, and His greatness and ability to help you, whereas asking the creation is a great form of oppression, because they are unable to benefit themselves, so how can they benefit you?
    • Allah loves to be asked, and He loves to be asked constantly and the insistence in du’aa. The prophet (peace be upon him) used to ask Allah more than once for the same thing
  • Constantly asking Allah brings two key benefits:
    • You cannot worship Allah without His help and blessings in enabling you to do so, therefore by constantly asking Him, you are completely dependent on Him, so can easily worship Him
    • It will help you and comfort you throughout this life and the hereafter, as you cannot go through this life or get to Jannah without the help of Allah
  • When we see someone committing a sin, we say “لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله”. This means that there is no strength (in stopping a sin), and no strength (in doing good) except with the help of Allah, so we are realising that we will only be saved from committing this sin and from its effects with the help of Allah, and are asking Allah for that
  • Asking the people for help can be split into different categories with differing rulings depending on who you ask and what you ask for. If you ask for:
    • Something related to the hereafter: Haram, no matter who you ask
    • Something that only Allah possesses e.g. rain, sunshine, knowledge of the future, etc: Haram, no matter who you ask
    • Something from the dunya that they are able to help you with e.g. help you to lift something, scientific knowledge, taking you somewhere, etc: Halal, but it is preferred that you ask Allah alone, and He will provide you the means for your help, but if you do ask someone for help, then consider the two points mentioned below
  • When asking someone for help, we need to have it in our hearts that this person is a means that Allah has decreed for us, so our main ask was and is Allah
  • When asking someone to make du’aa for us, we should intend in our hearts that they benefit too, as when someone makes a du’aa the Angels say “Ameen, and for you is the same”. This is so that we are not very dependent on others, and when we ask them for help, we are also asking them to benefit themselves too
  • In the phrase where the prophet (peace be upon him) says, “know that if the nation were to gather to benefit you….”, we understand why we do the aforementioned actions of du’aa and seeking help, as this statement affirms that everything is due to Allah’s will so we should always turn to him
  • This statement gives the reasons why we must turn to Allah for anything and everything
  • If we worship Allah without realising why we do so (which is derived from this part of the hadith) then we have missed out on a great deal of tawheed, the heart of tawheed
  • The phrase “The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried” is in reference to the sacred tablet, as nothing written on that will change, and thus it is a reaffirmation of Allah’s Divine will and brings more peace and tranquillity for a believer that everything that has happened is from Allah
  • We will only know Allah very well if we get to know Him, ask for his Help, or observe Him in times of ease
  • Many people collapse when trialled because they only try to know Allah under times of difficulty
  • The times of difficulty are incomparable to the time of ease in terms of how often we experience them so how can we only try to know Allah in these short periods and expect to be steadfast and firm in our religion?
  • There are two levels to “Know Allah”:
    • Basic level: He is our Lord, He created us, etc
    • Advanced level (being referred to in this hadith): This includes:
      • Complete inclination of your heart towards Him
      • Peace and tranquillity when remembering Him
      • Being shy from Him
      • Having veneration for Him
      • Being fearful of Him
  • There are two levels to “He will know you”:
    • Basic level: Allah knows everything about us, what we think or feel, etc
    • Advanced level: This is when Allah loves us and includes:
      • Bringing us closer to Him
      • Answering our du’aas
      • Helping us in times of difficulty
      • Points mentioned in hadith 38 which will be discussed in the future insha’Allah
  • It is by achieving the advanced level of “knowing” Allah that we receive the advanced level of “He will know you”
  • A very weak state for a Muslim is to only ask Allah when he needs His help but not acknowledging Him by thanking Him, loving Him, praying to him, etc. How does he then expect Allah to love him?
  • When the prophet Yunus (alayhi assalam) was in the stomach of the whale, Allah saved him and stated the reason for saving him is that he observed Allah in times of ease as mentioned in {Al-Saffaat:143-144}
  • When Fir’aun (the pharaoh) called upon Allah when he was about to drown, Allah did not help him and stated the reason for not helping him is that he is asking for help now when he was previously a sinner and corruptor as mentioned in [Yunus:90-91}
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one is given a gift that is better or more encompassing than patience” (Reported in Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Perseverance/Patience is of three levels:
    • Patience
    • Content
    • Thankfulness
  • It is more virtuous to be content than be patient, and what is more virtuous than both is to be thankful to Allah
  • Being content is not simply staying quiet and not complaining. The difference between someone who is content, and someone who is patient is that if given a chance to overturn what has happened, the patient would like that to happen, but the content person would be happy with whatever Allah decrees
  • Someone suffering from terminal illness could be a reason that the whole family come closer to Allah, so we should always look at the positive side of things and be patient for all good comes from Allah
  • Allah says in {Al-Nahl:97], {And whoever does righteous whether male or female, and he is a believer, then we will give him a goodly life, and we will reward them their reward for the best that they used to do}. The goodly life in this verse is the blessing of being content with Allah’s will
  • Patience is not just sitting down doing nothing, as Allah talks about patience in times of wars in [Al-Anfal:45], so patience also includes actions
  • The prophet (peace be upon him) is nurturing ibn Abbas that whenever you face a hardship, know that ease is round the corner, and think of who put you in this hardship, and who is able to take you out of it
  • When a calamity befalls you, it is either a punishment, or a test. The way to know what it is, is to look at yourself; if you are a sinner who always commits sins without repenting, then it is a punishment. If you are someone who adheres to the obligations and abstains from the prohibitions then it is a test
  • You should not look at whether you are being punished or tested, as your response to a calamity should always be the same, which is to be patient
  • Benefits of a trial/test:
    • Washes away your sins
    • Source of great reward
    • Reminds you of your sins
    • Makes you turn to Allah with a broken heart
    • Manifests your need for Allah so that it becomes more apparent to you
  • Ibn Rajab said about this, “If a slave knows this and realises it in his heart, he will conclude that Allah’s blessings on His slaves when He tests them are greater than His blessings over them when they are at ease”


Benefits and Action points to take from this part of the hadith:

  • Teach our youngsters important aspects of life and Islam, and not say they are too young for this
  • Preserve the boundaries of Allah by staying away from everything that He prohibited, and fulfilling everything He commanded so that you gain the protection of Allah which includes and is not limited to:
    • Protecting your wealth
    • Preserving your health
    • Preserving your Iman
    • Diverting you away from sins, and towards doing more good
    • Preserving your body and limbs at an old age
    • Preserving your mind at an old age. Have you ever seen a true scholar lose their memory or their mind at an old age or are they constantly giving lectures and teaching the people up until their deathbed? (SubhanAllah)
    • Protecting your family and children when you are away and after your death
    • Helping you and finding a way out for you when you are in a calamity, and grants you constant peace and tranquillity
  • Ask Allah for anything you need, no matter how small it is
  • Avoid asking the people for help, but if you do, then intend in your heart that they benefit too from this help, and realise that they are just a means, and your main source of help is Allah
  • Do not ask the people for help in things that are exclusive to Allah. Doing so is considered as associating partners with Allah, and is detrimental to a person’s good deeds in the hereafter
  • Maintain the etiquettes of du’aa listed below (taken from IslamQA. For the full article, go to http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/36902/ ):
    • Believe in Tawheed (oneness) with regards to the divinity, Lordship, names and attributes of Allah
    • Sincerity towards Allah alone when making the du’aa
    • Ask Allah by His most beautiful names
    • Praise Allah as He deserves before we begin asking Him
    • Send blessings upon the prophet (peace be upon him)
    • Face the qiblah
    • Raise the hands
    • Be certain of Allah’s acceptance of your du’aa
    • Ask frequently
    • Be firm in you du’aa (do not say O Allah forgive me if you wish)
    • Beseeching, humility, hope and fear
    • Say the du’aa three times
    • Ensure that your food and clothing are good
    • Say the du’aa silently and not out loud
  • Belief in Divine will give someone peace and tranquillity as whatever Allah has decreed is eventually good for the believer
  • We must know why we worship Allah and why we turn to Him, and that is because He is the one who created us and who can bring good or repel harm
  • We must always be content with whatever happens as we know that it has already been decreed to happen by Allah and that everything is eventually good for a believer
  • We must turn to Allah and observe Him in times of ease
  • We must try to attain the advanced level of “knowing” Allah, which can be done by:
    • Pondering on how His names and attributes relate to us
    • Reading what He says about Himself in the Qur’an
    • Knowing how He interacts with us
    • Knowing how He helps us e.g. by reading stories of the past
    • Looking at the world around us and how Allah made it
    • Constantly asking Him for whatever we need, no matter how small it is
  • Acknowledge Allah’s help and blessings over us
  • Patience is of different levels, so we should try to attain the highest one, which is to be thankful to Allah for what happened, which goes further than not wanting Allah to change what happened
  • Being patient does not mean to sit down and do nothing, rather it means to accept Allah’s will and carry on your life while trying to rectify your mistakes
  • Your response to a calamity should always be to be patient
  • Ways to be relieved of distress:
    • Having fear of Allah
    • Making lots of Du’aa
    • Repenting to Allah
    • Being totally reliant upon Allah
    • Thinking good of Allah

2 thoughts on “Hadith 19. Care of Allah

  1. “I was riding a horse/camel”: here is the young man who’s talking, means that he is at the beginning of his life and at the beginning of the understanding of it and then is the time in which your desires are [licterarly] asking you to use the free will.
    A boy do not use his free will, or better is not indipendent from the will of the other (ie the parents), so when you grow you have direct access to your free will then you ride your horse, your self-fish (would be better to say that you will be rided by the horse/ego but it doesn’t help the understanding of the above text).

    “Behind the Prophet”: it’s not clear enough? Sunnah! … stay behind me, follow me, I’ll show you the way, because actually there are many ways. Then here is a crucial point, what happen if you are not behind me? What happen in a large forest if you are not behind the guide? You will reach your destination maybe, but when and how?. So this explain the quantum physic, we will get it later.

    “Be mindful of God”: that’s the most complicate thing to do, to understand God’s presence. Where is Him, how He can help me, How can I contact Him, why He didn’t help me in such and such situation? So the Prophet pbh say to the free young man, make your expirience so that you can understand Him (even a little is enough), but you can expirience Him behind me or far from me (stay close so you don’t loose yourself or you don’t harm yourself too much). But this is also an invitation to do the dhikrullah.

    Note the apparent discrepancy, the boy is behind the Prophet pbh but he has to be mindful of Allah swt, why? This clearly indicates that we can’t follow the Sunnah perfectly, then first or late we will find us far from it, the mindfulness of Allah swt will make us in the correct position.

    “they would not be able to help/harm you except if God had written so”: nobody can interfire, you are in a kind of private universe, but if we get problems on our life, means that you had a choice (we used the free will) or the Almighty has choosen so (because His Mercy, to avoid to repair in the hereafter, or because should test you, or else). So we shouldn’t never be worry about everything, because we get what is in need for us, but we should be worry of God if we loose ourselves behind useless things (He has wrote punishment’s ways).

    ” The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry “: we are spectator of the life, but active ones, we cannot decide the scripture of the movie (because has been written already), but we can decide which scene to see and which not, likewise there are multiple screens in front of you and in every one there is from a slightelly different events to a complete different ones (your free will can make you happy or not, but if you don’t choose you will get the better).

    Quantum physic showed to us that from one movement (wave) several different movements will start (if not observed, that’s also one of the meaning of “be mindfull of God”, remember Him, then He will be the ,”quantum observer” and no wrong ways will be chosen), so those are the ways we can decide to take, but one of those billions and billions of ways, is the straight path (sirat al-mustakima) the other are imitations, but there are very similar imitations and very different ones… but finally you reach the predestinated end, wrote for you on the mother of the books.

    “Seek it from God”: means that you can’t help yourself, but you have the power to ask.


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