Hadith 41. Desire of a believer



On the authority of Abu Muhammad Abdullah bin ’Amr bin al-’Aas (RadhiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allah (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said,

“None of you [truly] believes until his desires are subservient to that which I have brought.”

[Imam Al-Nawawi says: We have related it in Kitab al-Hujjah with a sahih chain of narrators]

Brief Commentary

  • Many scholars have declared this hadith as weak, so we don’t attribute it to the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) but we study the content of this hadith as the meaning is sound
  • Imam Al-Nawawi didn’t compile the collection randomly, but followed a wise and set sequence. It is as if he is saying that in order for us to believe, we need to follow all the previous ahadith and make that our desire, therefore we need to be inclined to acting upon them
  • We should not just accept what we are told to do, but must accept it with our heart, with contentment and willingness, hence we say every morning and every evening “I am content with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion, and with Muhammad SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam as a prophet and a messenger” [Reported by Ahmad and others]. These words shouldn’t be just uttered with our mouths, but should also stem from our hearts
  • The negation used in this hadith is that of completeness i.e. you don’t have complete Iman if your desires aren’t in conjunction with what the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has brought
  • We also learn from this hadith that Iman increases and decreases based upon the agreement of your desires with the teachings of the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  • Ibn Al-Jawzi said, “Desires are an inclination of the soul to that which fits it”
  • Desires are not necessarily a bad thing. The bad desires mentioned in the Qur’an in Surah Sad[38:26] and Surah Al-Nazi’aat [79:40-41] are the fulfilment of the desires in a limitless manner
  • The desire mentioned in the hadith really means love i.e. you should love what the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) has brought down
  • We shouldn’t look at the obligations as something we must do, but look at them with love, which is achieved by loving Allah
  • Allah didn’t legislate the Shari’ah for His benefit, but for our benefit
  • We need to know the lofty purposes of the Shari’ah, and its benefits so we can appreciate it and love it
  • The hadith puts making our desires conform to the teachings of Islam to be a condition for the completeness of Iman. This is because if our desires do not conform to the Shari’ah, we would find it difficult to adhere to, and hence we wouldn’t be able to adhere to it fully, thus have an incomplete Iman
  • If we really know the reality of sins, we would not sin
  • Allah dispraises those who dislike what He loves, and like what He hates in many places in the Qur’an such as in Surah Muhammad [47:9, 26, & 28]
  • Some of the salaf used to say: “Whoever claims to love Allah and he does not follow Allah’s commands in his actions, then his claim is false. And every lover who does not fear Allah is deceived”
  • Yahya bin Muadh said, “Whoever claims to love Allah, but does not keep within His limits is not truthful (in his love)”
  • A believer is complete in that there is no difference in what he professes and what his heart feels
  • The people of innovation are also called the people of desire in that they put what they prefer over what Allah loves and this is how sins come about
  • When they sin, many people say, “Only Allah can judge me”. This is incorrect as people can judge the actions of others, hence we have punishments in Islam. Only Allah can judge what is in the heart, but the actions of a person are a reflection of what their heart contains


Benefits and Action points:

  • Ensure you conform your heart to the commandments found in all of the previously studied 40 ahadith
  • Have love for the teachings of the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam)
  • Look at the obligations with love, rather than something that must be done
  • How to make our desires conform to what Allah loves:
    • Have a deeper knowledge of the lofty purposes of the Shari’ah
    • Increase in the knowledge of rewards and punishments
    • Avoid idle speech and actions which only serve to waste your time, and distance you away from Allah

4 thoughts on “Hadith 41. Desire of a believer

  1. Assalamu Alaikum !
    In the Arabic text say hadit is sahih.
    In the Anglish explanation says Many scholars have declared this hadith as weak.
    I confuse, can u explain pls.

    1. Walaikum assalam,
      Jazakallah khair, very good question.

      Hadith gradation is a new science that was invented by the Muslims in the first few centuries after the passing away of the prophet Muhammad sallaAllahu alayhi wasallam. This means we have no agreed upon concrete set of criteria to guide us in this, and it differs from scholar to scholar. A scholar may declare a hadith to be sahih as it meets his criteria for a sahih, whereas another wouldn’t declare it as sahih as it doesn’t meet his criteria. For this hadith, imam ibn rajab spoke in some length regarding the grade of the hadith and he clarified that this hadith has a person in the chain of narration who didn’t have a great memory and/or has been proven to narrate ahadith incorrectly, therefore he declared this hadith as weak as we cannot be sure if this narrator narrated the hadith accurately or not. The meaning does not contradict what we know from the Qur’an and Sunnah so we accept the meaning but we are cautious from saying in the absolute form that the prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wasallam said this hadith.

  2. Excuse me but I’m need of some help, I was assigned to find the social importance of this Hadith and others but this one in particular seems more personal can you help me, I don’t have any ideas

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