Hadith 29. Path to Jannah COMPLETE


On the authority of Mu’adh bin Jabal (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me of a deed which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from the Hell-fire.” He said: “You have asked me about a great matter, yet it is, indeed, an easy matter for him to whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. (It is) that you worship Allah without associating anything with Him, that you perform the prayers, that you pay the zakat, that you fast during Ramadhan, and that you make the pilgrimage to the House.” 
Then he said: “Shall I not guide you to the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and a man’s prayer in the middle of the night.” Then he recited: “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do”. [Al-Sajdah, 32:16-17] 
Then he said: “Shall I not also tell you of the head of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The head of the matter is Islam (submission to Allah), the pillar is prayer; and its topmost part is jihad.” Then he said: “And shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that ?” I said:” Yes, O Messenger of Allah”. So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.” I said: “O Prophet of Allah, will we be held accountable for what we say?” He said: “May your mother be bereft of you! Is there anything that topples people on their faces (or he said, on their noses) into the Hell-fire other than the harvest of their tongues?

(Related by Al-Tirmidhi, who said it was a fine and sound hadith)

 Brief Commentary

  • This hadith revolves around many principles and goes through the many paths that can lead to Jannah
  • Muadh was a great sahabi who was the most knowledgeable in halal and haram, yet he still asked simple questions so we shouldn’t feel shy to ask about matters which are important but may sound simple
  • Muadh asked about an action that leads to entering Jannah so it is understood that actions can help in entering Jannah
  • This does not contradict the sahih hadith that none of us enters Jannah by our actions. Ibn Rajab said regarding this, “What is being alluded to, and Allah knows best, is that actions alone do not make a person deserving of Jannah, but Allah glorified may He be has with His bounties and mercy made it a reason (for entering Jannah). Also, actions are in of themselves from the bounties and mercy of Allah over His slave, so Jannah and what leads to it (actions) are all from the bounties and mercy of Allah”
  • Actions alone do not cause us to enter Jannah, but it is by Allah facilitating them, accepting them, and making them a cause, so it isn’t the action, but Allah’s acceptance and decision
  • Another opinion is that Allah’s mercy enters us Jannah, and our actions decide our level in Jannah
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) responded by praising the question, which is a great method of teaching that encourages the questioner to ask more by showing the importance of what he asked about. It also shows the questioner that you are interested in the question
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said that the answer is easy, which gives glad tidings to the questioner and encourages him to do more good deeds and ask Allah for help
  • Guidance is in the hands of Allah, if He wants to guide us, then we will be guided, and if He doesn’t, then no one can guide us
  • The prophet’s (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) reply to what causes us to enter Jannah was to list the five pillars of Islam. This shows the great importance of these actions as they are the obligations, and the most beloved actions to Allah are the obligatory actions
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) then offered to direct him to the doors of good. This shows another great quality in his teaching method, in that he is teaching in a progressive manner, not just lecturing the student. This way, the student is more involved and engaged
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) could have stopped at the first part of the hadith after answering Muadh’s (radhiyAllahu ‘anhu) question, but he went further, which tells us that in giving da’wah, we should seek the opportunity to give more advice when the listener is in a good state to listen
  • This is similar to what Yousuf (‘alayhis salam) did when asked to interpret the dreams, as he went further and spoke about his monotheism and the polytheist background of his ancestors. This is to try and guide the questioners to the right path as they were in a state of willingness to listen
  • When listing the gates of goodness, the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned the same things he spoke about recently (the five pillars of Islam), but this time he is talking about doing them voluntarily, i.e. voluntary actions
  • Fasting is a shield because it helps in putting a shield between you and the punishment of Allah, as staying away from the halal trains to stay away from the haram
  • Shield was used in the indefinite form, so it is a shield from everything that is bad e.g. greed, sins, shaytan, hellfire, etc
  • When talking about charity, the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used a metaphor by saying it “extinguishes”. Therefore we understand that sins burn/destroy the heart and turn our good deeds into ashes, whilst giving charity purifies/cleans the heart and extinguishes the ill-effects of sins
  • The reference to charity extinguishing sins is only applicable to minor sins, as major sins also require repentance for them to be forgiven
  • Ibn Al-Qayyim said regarding the prayer of qiyam ul layl (night prayer) that it is a hidden action, therefore in the ayah mentioned in this hadith, Allah said that the reward for this action is a hidden reward which you will only know once you are rewarded it
  • By hiding a reward, this indicates the sheer magnificence of the reward. Hidden rewards are usually the best ones
  • A body without a head is useless, therefore without Islam we are useless
  • A structure without a pillar will collapse, therefore our Islam will collapse without Salah
  • We know that the closest we are to Allah is in sujood, but in another hadith, we are told that the closest He is to us is in the last third of the night, so we know that He comes to us in this time, rather than us going to Him
  • The topmost part of something is usually the most virtuous part of it
  • Jihad is not limited to defending your life/land, otherwise it is not special and is common with everyone. The purpose of Jihad is to make the word of Allah the highest, and this is what makes Jihad special and the topmost part of the religion
  • The sahabah said of {And do not throw yourselves into destruction} [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:195] that it means do not throw yourselves into destruction by abandoning Jihad
  • Ibn Rajab said of the last part of the hadith, “And this is proof that restraining the tongue is the root of all good, and whoever controls his tongue has controlled all of his matters and configured them correctly”
  • Ibn Taymiyyah that it is surprising how we can control ourselves from major sins, but we cannot control what is in us (our tongue), and that can lead to greater sins such as: apostasy, false testimony, magic, backbiting, etc.
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used another metaphor in this hadith, in that he spoke about the harvest of the tongues. We understand from this that what we do with our tongues will stay with us for a long time and wouldn’t go away easily, as harvest is something that remains for a while and isn’t easy to get rid of
  • We see from this hadith that Islam encourages actions and not just sitting around talking like many of the armchair critics we see today

Benefits and Action points:

  • Do not feel shy to ask simple questions if the topic is very important
  • When meeting someone who is knowledgeable, ask them for advice for they will direct you to the quickest and easiest path to Jannah. Do not restrict your questions to fiqhi rulings or aqeedah matters only
  • Increase in righteous actions for they are what will lead you to entering Jannah and determine your level in it
  • When being asked a question, reply in a similar manner as the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did, which is by encouraging the question and questioner
  • If you want guidance, then all you need to do is take that step towards Allah and Allah will run towards you and help you and guide you, but you must take that step first, “ an easy matter for him to whom Allah Almighty makes it easy
  • When teaching someone, do it in a progressive manner, as the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did, so teach the basic things before the detailed ones
  • If you are giving da’wa to someone who has a willingness to listen, then do not restrict yourself to answering their questions only, but also use the opportunity to teach them more good, as this is the way of the prophets (‘alayhim assalam)
  • Increase in doing voluntary actions, as this is the first thing that the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) added as a supplement to his answer on what leads to Jannah
  • Learn and understand the true meaning of Jihad from the books of the classical scholars, especially the books of fiqh
  • We live in a time where we communicate a lot e.g. emails, texts, forums, etc, so we need to be very careful what we say with our tongues or write with our hands as that is one of the main things that leads people to entering hellfire
  • Read up on the commentary and action points from hadith 15 as it beautifully deals with advice on restraining the tongue

2 thoughts on “Hadith 29. Path to Jannah COMPLETE

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