Hadith 2. Fundamentals of Islam

Also on the authority of `Umar (radi Allaahu ‘anhu), who said:

“One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journey were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down in front of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), with his knees touching against the Prophet’s (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs he said: “O Muhammad, tell me about Islaam.”The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Islaam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, to perform prayers, to give zakaah, to fast in Ramadaan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.”He said: “You have spoken rightly”; and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly.He (the man) said: “Tell me about Eemaan.”He (the Prophet, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is to believe in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny (qadr), both the good and the evil of it.”He said: “You have spoken rightly.”He (the man) said: “Then tell me about Ihsaan.”He (the Prophet, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is to worship Allaah as though you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then (knowing that) truly He sees you.”He said: “Then tell me about the Hour.”He said: “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.”He said: “Then tell me about its signs.”He said: “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, and that you will see barefooted, naked destitute shepherds competing in constructing lofty buildings.”Then he (the man) left, and I stayed for a time. The he (the Prophet, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “O `Umar, do you know who the questioner was?”

I said: “Allaah and His Messenger know best.”

He said: “It was Jibreel, who came to teach you your religion.”

It was related by Muslim

Brief Commentary

  • This Hadith is called أم السنة  (the mother of the Sunnah), just like Surah Al-Fatiha is called أم  الكتاب (the mother of the book)
  • Some scholars say the first hadith (hadith 1. Intentions) is like “بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم” and this hadith is like Surah Al-Fatiha
  • The prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) ended the hadith by saying Jibreel came to teach us our religion. By this he means our religion in all aspects
  • This incident (hadith) took place towards the end of the prophet’s (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) life, hence it may be said that Jibreel was sent to summarise the message via this hadith
  • As Jibreel came to teach us our religion in all aspects, this also includes teaching us about the etiquettes of seeking knowledge and this was done by the manner Jibreel was conducting himself with the prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  • Knowledge is worship hence it needs the three I’s discussed previously:
    • Iman: We need to have the fear of Allah when studying or teaching Islamic knowledge
    • Ikhlas: We need to be seeking knowledge solely for the sake of Allah
    • Ittiba’: We need to study the knowledge that is based upon the teachings of the prophet (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  • Scholars used to learn manners as they would learn Islamic knowledge
  • The actual meaning of Islam is submission, not peace
  • Iman comprises of three components:
    • Belief in the heart
    • Statement of the tongue
    • Actions of the limbs
  • Ibn Taymiyyah said “There is nothing more beloved to a pure and sound heart other than Allah”
  • Iman increases and decreases as in Surah Al-Anfal, [8:2]

 

  • Everyone is born with a natural inclination of wanting to worship Allah
  • Belief in Allah is of 3 levels
    • His lordship: that He created us, sustains us, nurtures us, will cause us to die, etc
    • His divinity: Only He is worthy of our worship, our repentance, seeking help, etc
    • His names and attributes: He is the only one with the most perfect of names and attributes
  • Although the people of Quraysh believed in the oneness of Allah with regards to His lordship, they denied the attribute of Allah’s divinity, so they believed it was only Him who created us, but they refused to worship Him alone and worshipped others with Him
  • Believing in the oneness of Allah with regards to His lordship is not sufficient by itself, hence the people of Quraysh were called disbelievers
  • Denying any of the 3 types of Allah’s oneness, or not affirming all 3 types of Allah’s oneness renders a person a disbeliever
  • Many people fall into the mistake of denying a part of Allah’s divinity, and this is due to their ignorance of what constitutes worship. Worship of Allah includes making du’aa, seeking refuge, slaughtering, making oaths, and praying. However, it also includes fear, hope, humility, seeking help and many other actions which many people do not see as worship
  • Not all types of fear, hope, humility, etc. fall into the oneness of Allah’s divinity, hence we must study them to understand and differentiate between what must be dedicated to Allah alone from what can be dedicated to the people
  • A brief summary is that any action which makes a person give others a right that only belongs to Allah is considered as associating partners with Allah and disbelief in Allah e.g. if you fear someone because you think he has the power to deprive you of your sustenance then you have associated partners with Allah by giving someone an attribute that only belongs to Allah (providing sustenance), and you have disbelieved in Allah because you have denied the oneness of Allah’s lordship in that you do not believe that it is only Allah who can provide sustenance
  • Belief in Allah’s names and attributes is something that many people fail to properly understand
  • We affirm whatever Allah has affirmed for Himself and do not go beyond that by trying to imagine what this attribute is
  • Ja’far Ibn ‘Abdullah said, “We were with Imam Malik, so a man came and recited to him ‘{The Most Merciful has ascended above His Throne}  Surah Taa Haa [20:5]. How has He ascended?’ So anger came over Imam Malik such that no affair like this had ever caused to come over him. So he looked towards the earth and scratched with his cane in his hand, until he raised his hand and wiped the sweat from his forehead, tossed the cane aside, and said, ‘The modality (how it is) cannot be comprehended by the intellect, and al-istiwaa’ (ascent) is not unknown, and having faith in it is obligatory, and the question concerning it is an innovation. And I think that you are a person of innovation,’ and he commanded him to leave.”
  • The reason why Imam Malik replied in such a harsh manner is because this man is trying to imagine how Allah’s attribute is, and by doing so, he will fall into a grave error by trying to contradict the Qur’an, as Allah said in Surah Al-shoora [42:11] that there is none like Him so His attributes are unimaginable
  • There are two extremes when it comes to belief in Allah’s names attributes:
    • Imagining/Likening what Allah says about Himself e.g. trying to imagine how He ascends, or imagining or likening His hands or His face to that of others. This is wrong because it contradicts the verse mentioned previously [42:11]
    • Negating Allah’s attributes due to trying to avoid contradiction of the above verse e.g. saying Allah does not have a hand, and His hand means power. This is wrong because it is negating something that Allah affirmed for Himself. Also, know that every negation has been preceded by a likening because you only negate it due to likening it to that of His creation
  • The correct belief with regards to Allah’s names and attributes is that which Imam Malik said in that we believe in it but do not go into how it is or how it looks like

 

  • Belief in the Angels entails belief in their:
    • Existence
    • Names
    • Characteristics
    • Duties
  • Belief in the Angels helps us:
    • Realise the greatness of Allah
    • Feel grateful towards Allah
    • Thank Allah for not commanding us to worship Him to the extent the Angels do
    • Realise the greatness of the worship of the Angels
    • Realise the sins we make harm the Angels
  • Things about the Angels:
    • Do everything Allah commands them to do
    • Never disobey Allah
    • Differ in status (best of Angels are the ones that fought in badr)
    • Number is unknown
    • Have magnificent speed
    • Neither male nor female
    • They are modest
    • Able to take on different forms
    • Reside in the sky
    • Do not eat or drink
    • Are very handsome
    • There is no space in the sky except there is an Angel doing sujood
    • Make salah for us by asking Allah to forgive us
    • Make du’aa for us and say Aameen to our du’aas
    • Help the believers in times of war
    • Harmed by what harms the humans, e.g. foul smell

 

  • Belief in the books entails:
    • Belief they came down from Allah
    • Having specific belief in the ones we have been given the names of
    • Belief that every singles verse in the Qur’an is the truth and is brought down by Allah
    • Act according to what it says
  • Allah gave us many ways to know His existence:
    • Our fitrah (natural disposition)
    • Our intellect
    • Via looking at His creation
    • Via the holy scriptures which He revealed to us
  • We need the holy scriptures to know how to worship Allah in the correct way and to know the correct path
  • Allah has made two laws:
    • Laws of nature, e.g. Earth orbits the Sun, gravity, etc
    • Laws of Shari’ah, e.g. no stealing, no fornicating, etc
  • We need the books of revelation to know the laws of shari’ah
  • Just like if the laws of nature are not followed there will be corruption and destruction on the land, if the laws of shari’ah are not followed, then there will be the same fate, so we must ensure to follow the rules and laws of shari’ah

 

  • Belief in the Messengers entails belief in their:
    • Existence and that they were inspired with the truth
    • Belief in the messengers specifically mentioned in the Qur’an and ahadith
    • Belief in all that they stated and that they completed their messages
    • Submit and act in accordance with the final message
  • The difference between a messenger and a prophet is that a messenger is someone who is given a message and a prophet is someone who follows the message of a messenger before him
  • Every messenger is a prophet but not every prophet is a messenger
  • Every nation has been sent a messenger as in [Faatir, 35:24]
  • The prophets have infallibility from forgetting or falling into error when it comes to conveying matters of the religion, and they do not commit major sins
  • A reason why messengers were humans and not angels is so that we can try to emulate them
  • Disbelief in one is like disbelief in all, hence who does not believe in Muhammad (sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is a disbeliever in all messengers
  • Tasks of the messengers:
    • Convey the message
    • Call people to believe in Allah
    • Give glad tidings and warnings
    • Correct the souls and purify them
    • Establish the proof upon the people
    • Lead the ummah
    • Correct the corrupted thoughts among the people

 

  • Belief in the last day entails belief in:
    • Life after death
    • The reckoning
    • Heaven and Hellfire
  • For every believer, Allah has created a place for him in Heaven and Hellfire, and if they are good, then their place in Hellfire will be given to someone else, otherwise, they will enter it. Knowing this should really make us more careful and fearful

 

  • Belief in divine will entails belief that:
    • Allah knows everything
    • It has all been written in اللوح المحفوظ /sacred tablet (the book of decrees)
    • Allah has decreed everything, but we have free-will and  whatever we do according to our free will, will be in conformity to what Allah has decreed
    • Allah created everything, so He created us and our actions
  • In the hadith, belief in divine will was reiterated to show its importance and to signify that many people will not believe in it
  • Belief in divine will does not negate free-will, it just says that Allah knew you would do such and such
  • If we see something bad, we don’t say Allah wanted it, but say Allah allowed it
  • There may be many wisdoms behind what we perceive as evil
  • Allah created us and our actions because for every action you need:
    • A will: you can only do this with Allah’s will
    • Ability: you can only do this with Allah’s blessings
  • Knowing this should make us more humble in front of Allah and show more gratitude to Him, because even our righteous actions are due to His blessings and will

 

  • Ihsan is of two levels:
    • مشاهدة (observing): To perform actions while feeling that Allah is actually seeing you at that moment [higher level]
    • مراقبة (being watched): To perform actions knowing and being mindful that Allah is watching you
  • Both levels of ihsan are derived from the wording of the hadith. The first part is talking about mushahadah which is to worship Allah as if you see him, then the hadith says and if you can’t/don’t see him, then i.e. If you can’t achieve this level, then try the level of muraqabah which is to worship Allah knowing that he sees you
  • One should find peace and tranquillity when alone and prefer to be alone with Allah than sitting with friends
  • One of the rewards of ihsan is to see Allah’s face, as in [Yunus:26] {For those who have Ihsaan is a goodly reward and more}. The goodly reward is Jannah, and more is to see Allah’s face

 

  • Jibreel asked when the hour is to show that no one knows when it is, not him, nor the Messenger (peace be upon him), so if the best of angels and the best of mankind do not know when it is then no one else from the creation does
  • Both signs mentioned in the hadith are minor signs of the hour and they both follow the same concept (as with the majority of the minor signs), which is that of things happening out of the norm
  • Characteristics of the minor signs:
    • These signs are many. Some books have listed over 130 of them
    • They are not supernatural
    • They do not come in a particular order
    • They can happen more than once
    • They are not necessarily very close to the hour
    • They are not necessarily felt by everyone or happen everywhere
  • Characteristics of the major signs
    • There are 10 major signs
    • They are supernatural
    • They follow each other directly
    • They are felt by everyone
    • They are directly followed by the hour
  • The major signs are:
    • The coming of Al-Dajjal
    • The descension of Eesaa (alayhi assalam)
    • The coming of Ya’juj & Ma’juj (Gog & Magog)
    • Major landslide in the East
    • Major landslide in the West
    • Major landslide in the Arabian peninsula
    • The smoke
    • The coming of the creature/beast
    • The rising of the Sun from the west
    • Fire will emanate from Yemen and will push the people to the mahshar (the gathering)

 

Benefits and action points

 

  • Manners of seeking knowledge:
    • Dress in the best of clothes
    • Sit quietly
    • Come close enough to pay attention and understand everything from the teacher
    • Ask questions in a good manner; concise, simple, relevant questions
    • Memorise well
    • Apply what is learnt
    • Only teach what you are sure and certain of
  • Etiquettes of a seeker of knowledge:
    • Leave pride and arrogance
    • Beware of falling into the doubtful/unclear issues
    • Adorn yourself with manners and honour
    • Avoid the gatherings of vain speech
    • Avoid haste. Do not come to conclusions quickly
    • Perfect the foundations before expanding further in your studies
  • Etiquettes with your teacher:
    • Do not precede him in speech or actions
    • Avoid extensive/persistent questioning
    • Do not call him by his name
    • Do not allow small mistakes to degrade your teacher in your eyes
    • Write what it taught and pay attention to it
  • Manners with the knowledge:
    • Revise, memorise and act upon it
    • Seek what is beneficial and leave what is not
    • Make du’aa to Allah for He is the owner of all knowledge
    • Do not hesitate to say ‘I don’t know’. If half of knowledge is ‘I don’t know’ then half of ignorance is answering what you are unsure of
    • Be precise and accurate
    • Take some time to relax. Constantly seeking knowledge will make you bored and inattentive
    • Live between the Qur’an and the Sunnah
    • Be complete in what you learn and do not steal from the knowledge (studying certain parts whilst leaving out others)
  • Signs of beneficial knowledge:
    • Humility
    • Concern with what benefits
    • Fear of Allah
    • Concise speech
    • Thinking oneself to be less than others
    • No desire to overcome or lead, to appear better, or to be famous

 

  • Study about Allah as you can only love who you know, and to avoid falling into disbelief of Allah. Good books to read are “The creed series” by Umar Al-Ashqar, and “The three fundamental principles” by Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahab
  • Do not deny any of what Allah has ascribed to Himself
  • Do not compare what He has described Himself with to His creation
  • Do not try to think of “how” or to imagine it as we can only understand it in terms of what we know
  • Do not try to make an analogy as we actually deny the attribute like this
  • Know that although the name is the same, the essence is completely different

 

  • Learn more about the messengers, the last day, and divine will by reading “The creed series” by Umar Al-Ashqar
  • Benefits from believing in the messengers:
    • We learn that Allah has mercy on His servants by showing them the right path
    • We have great gratitude for Allah for providing us with the messengers
    • It yields great love for them if we know their stories
  • Benefits from believing in the last day:
    • Makes you yearn for good deeds and do more good
    • Makes you fear the punishment of Allah and stop sinning
    • A consolidation for a believer that Allah will reward you and stop your suffering
  • Benefits from believing in divine will:
    • You always put dependency on Allah alone
    • You are not boastful because you only managed it with Allah’s aid
    • You have tranquillity and peace of mind
    • You get strength knowing that nothing will harm you if Allah hasn’t decreed it

 

  • Benefits of attaining ihsan:
    • You will be well mannered with Allah
    • You enter Jannah, and get to see Allah’s face, as in the verse
    • You have nothing to hide
    • It brings happiness and content
    • It brings tranquillity and peace in the heart
    • You never feel lonely
    • It can lead to having the seven things that lead to being under Allah’s shade
    • You put forward what Allah prefers
    • You don’t waste time
  • To attain ihsan, we should have full knowledge and awareness of Allah’s knowledge and presence
  • It can only be attained by pondering and studying the Qur’an and Sunnah
  • Another method is to have remembrance of Allah. Remembrance is of three types:
    • الثناء: constant praising of Allah
    • الدعاء: constant asking of help from Allah. The more du’aa you make, the stronger tawheed you have, as you realise your weakness and need for Allah
    • الرعاية : Remembering Allah verbally all the time in your life. It is when you remember Allah in every incident you are in. [highest level]

 

  • Benefits from not knowing when the hour is:
    • It makes us more fearful of Allah, so it creates a sense of urgency in our hearts and we worship Allah all the time
    • It makes us turn to Allah more as we know that he knows many things which we don’t know
  • Principles when looking at the signs of the hour:
    • We only take what is found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah
    • Refer what we think or feel, to the scholars
    • Teaching the people what they understand

One Comment on “Hadith 2. Fundamentals of Islam”


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