Safeguarding against Insincerity
Many people unfortunately neglect the first condition (complying with the Sunnah) because they are astray and believe that bidah (innovation) is good in the religion. []But there are those upon whom Allâh has granted His favour, by guiding them to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam). They are those who know the reality of this condition and adhere to it the best they can. Yet they must pay attention to the second condition, which any group may fail to fulfill, and that is riyâ (insincerity and showing-off). No one is exempt from riyâ and all people are susceptible to it in their actions.
This matter is a very serious one and must be stressed here, so that we may know that we are in need of making our actions correct and purely for the Face of Allâh – the Exalted and Sublime. Part of this is that we are tested even while making Dawah to the Qurân and the Sunnah, for trials are not only in evil matters, but also in the good matters:
|And We test you with evil and good, by way of fitnah (trial). [Sûratul-Anbiyâ 21:35]|
This dawah has been neglected by Muslims throughout the world so that the duât (the callers) have become strangers. Not only are they strangers in foreign countries, but they are strangers even in their own countries; amongst their relatives and brothers. This makes them praiseworthy, but they must not stand up to be praised for this dawah. This is the reality, for the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| Verily Islâm started as something strange and it will return as something strange, so Tûbâ is for the Strangers. [Related by Muslim (2/175-176) and Ibn Mâjah (2/320) from Abû Hurayah (radi-Allâhu anhu)]|
Tûbâ and the Strangers
The meaning of Tûbâ in the Arabic language is: Praise and thanks. The meaning according to the Sharîah refers to a tree in Paradise, which would take a rider a hundred years to traverse its shade. [ ]This hadîth gives glad tidings to the newcomers of Paradise in which there is:
|What no eye has never seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever imagined. []|
This tree is mentioned in the Qurân in the statement of Allâh:
|Tûbâ is for them, and the best abode. [Sûrah Rad 13:29]|
Therefore, Tûbâ is for the Ghurabâ (the Strangers), but who are they? The answer to this is in the reply of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam):
| Those who correct [themselves and others], when the people have become corrupt. [Sahîh: Related by al-Âjurrî in al-Ghurabâ (pp.15-16) from Ibn Masûd. The isnâd is Sahîh as al-Albânî states in as-Sahîhah (no.1273)]|
The Need for Care
These Strangers call the people to the revival of the Sunnah and eradication of all that differs from it. However, they must still pay attention to the second condition of the righteous action: To be sincere in their dawah. They must neither seek fame, pride, nor arguments from their dawah.
They must not seek anything that an-Nafs ul-Amârata bis-Sû (the soul that calls them to evil) orders them to do. Whatever they call to is as a result of Allâh – the Most High – having ordered them to make dawah to the Qurân and the Sunnah and to make dawah to what the Muslims have neglected. They must take care of this dawah.
However, they stand in danger. It can happen that one may say a word seeking only to have fingers of praise pointed at him, not sincerely advising the people and desiring to guide them. Rather, to do that for fame.
Here we mention a saying of some Sûfîs, who have some wise sayings that can not be denied: The love of fame breaks backs. Therefore, I insist, that we who make Dawah to the Sunnah be sincere in our actions so that when our actions enter the grave with us, it will help us to answer correctly when we are asked:
Who is your Lord? Who is your Prophet? What is your religion?
If the deed is evil, when the person enters the grave, he will deny it. His deed will come to him in the worst of forms. He will ask it: Who are you?It will say: I am your deed.
Wealth – its Reality and Purpose
The next Hadîth is also authentic. Abû Hurayrah said that the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| The servant says: My wealth! My wealth! However, he gets from his wealth three things: What he eats and finishes. What he wears and makes shabby; and what he gives away and pleases others with. Whatever else is besides this, goes and is left for the people. [Related by Ahmad and Muslim from Abû Hurayrah (radi-Allâhu anhu)]|
This Hadîth also emphasises the subject of the previous ahâdîth. It shows us the care taken by people in amassing wealth. Allâh pointed this out in the Qurân by His statement:
|And for the love of good he is strong. [Sûratul-Adiyât 100:8]|
The Prophet depicted the nature of mankind for us in his saying:
| The servant says: My wealth! My wealth!|
Nevertheless, what is the amount that remains left over for him from his wealth? Is all his wealth for him? No! He gains from his wealth only the examples that the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) specified. The first is defined by the Prophets statement:
| What he eats and finishes.|
From his wealth is that which is necessary for him to survive and that which enables him to accomplish the rights of Allâh. These rights are the rights of His Tawhîd (singling out Allâh alone for worship), as Allâh said:
|And I have not created the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [Sûratudh-Dhâriyât 51:56]|
The second is what a person wears until it becomes shabby. Add to this that which he volunteers and does good with, which is mentioned in the statement of the Prophet:
| Or what he gives away and pleases others with.|
He got rid of his wealth by giving it away to another in charity. Therefore, the wealth that is for the servant is the amount that he eats and the amount that he wears in order to survive. However this is not an end in itself. Rather, one exists solely to accomplish the obligation of worship, as we pointed out previously.
The third kind of wealth that returns with a benefit is not only the obligatory charity, but it also includes non-obligatory charities. Then the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) explained what is left after these categories. He said:
| And other than that is gone, and is left, for the people.|
The relation of this Hadîth with the previous one is: Why do people exhaust themselves in amassing wealth, when this is the reality of wealth? They do not benefit from there wealth except the amount that they eat, drink and with which they help other people. All else will be left and it will remain for the people who inherit it.
The following Hadîth is also Sahîh (authentic). Abdullâh Ibn ash-Shikhkhîr said: I came to the Prophet whilst he was reciting:
|Seeking increase diverted you. [Sûrat at-Takâthur 102:1]|
The Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| The son of Âdam say My wealth! My wealth! What do you obtain, O son of Adam, from your wealth except that which you eat and consume, or wear until it becomes shabby, or what you give as charity and accomplish.|
This hadîth is also similar in meaning to the previous one, though some of its words are different; and was recorded by Muslim, at-Tirmidhî and an-Nasâî. This hadîth is clear in its wording, however, the statement of the Prophet at the end of the hadîth: or what you give as charity and accomplish may not be clear to some people.
Generosity and Miserliness
This statement aims at drawing ones attention to the fact that what is intended for charity is that which he actually gives away. It is not sufficient that a person should just make out a will, that he should give such and such to the poor, or such and such for a specific masjid. However, the Prophet calls our attention to the fact that benefit is in that wealth which a person actually gave away during his lifetime, since he did not really know what would happen with his wealth after he died, if he had made a will.
With this word, the Prophet points to a hadîth in the Sahîh of al-Bukhârî – the meaning of which is that the miser is one who when death comes to him makes a will and says: Give so and so such amount and for so and so such and such amount. The Prophet said: This was already for so and so and so and so.
What the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) meant was that the deceased did not own anything anymore. He had left this dunya (life of this world) and had entered into the Akhirah (the Hereafter) and his inheritance will remain for those people who are still alive. Then should not the person have made his will earlier? Should he not have given charity whilst he was strong, hoping to be rich and fearing poverty?
This is the nature of the people today, they say: Hoard your white Dirham for your black day. They hoard this money for themselves for when they become old. They are covetous of this wealth. The generous person is the one who gives away his own wealth when his own soul is attached to it.
As for the one who is on the brink of death and who says: Give so and so such and such amount, he is a miser and is not generous. Rather, a truly generous person is one who gives charity whilst he holds onto his life and also whilst he loves this wealth very much.
The Insignificance of this World
The next hadîth is narrated by Jâbir Ibn Abdullâh:
The Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) passed by the market place coming from the direction of Âliyah and people were around him. He passed by a dead kid goat (i.e. a baby goat) which had very short ears. He held it by its ears and said:
| Who amongst you would like to have this for a dirham?|
They (the Companions) said: We would not want it even for less than that! What can we do with it? He said:
| Do you wish to have it (for any price)?|
They said: By Allâh, even if it were alive it (we would not want it), as it has very short ears, let alone now when it is also dead!
The Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| By Allâh, this world is more insignificant to Allâh than this (goat) is to you all. [Related by Muslim and Ahmad]|
Let us return to the hadîth. He passed by the market place and the people were around him. Here I would like to pause a little in order to remind people about some of the guidance of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) that most of the Shayukhs of today have neglected.
The Shayukhs of today walk with their students behind them. This was not the way of the Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam). The ahâdîth describing this are many and the following is from them:
|He used to walk side by side with Abû Bakr and side by side with Abû Hurayrah; and they all walked with each other.|
Moreover, it is authentically proven that the Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) used to say to his Companions (radi-Allâhu anhu)m, when he used to walk with them:
| Walk in front of me and leave my back for the angels. [Sahîh: Related by Abû Nuaym in Hilyatul-Awliyâ (7/117) from Jâbir (radi-Allâhu anhu). It was authenticated in as-Sahîhah (no.1557)]|
Here he highlights two matters from one saying. People do not see angels, they see only people. Therefore, if anyone saw the Messenger (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) walking, they would only see people walking in front of him. The Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said in the authentic hadîth:
| He who humbles himself for the sake of Allâh, Allâh will raise him. [Related by Muslim (16/141), ad-Dârimî (l/396) and others – from Abû Hurayrah (radi-Allâhu anhu)]|
His humbleness raised him to a degree whereby the angels walked behind him. Therefore, is a noble person one behind whom people – good or bad – walk; or is he the one who is followed by those described by Allâh in the following verse:
|They do not disobey what Allâh ordered them to do and do precisely what they are commanded.|
The nobility of the Prophet manifested itself in a visible and an invisible side. The visible side is that the Companions used to walk in front of the Prophet and not behind him. The invisible side is that the angels walked behind him.
Of course, the first phenomenon is the one in which we are ordered not to act proudly with our companions and our brothers in faith, even those who may be less than us in knowledge, morals, worship and righteousness. This is enough for us, because Allâh says:
|Do not sanctify yourself. He knows best the ones who are pious. [Sûratun-Najm 53:32]|
It is sufficient for us at least, to walk with people side by side. Whosoever intentionally goes against this Sunnah, without doubt, does not truly love the Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam). This is because ones degree of love from him, is based upon following him. This is established in the Qurân by the statement of Allâh:
|Say (O Muhammad sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam): If you do love Allâh then follow me; Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. [Sûrah Âl-Imrân 3:31]|
So, if this was the case with the Prophet who was infallible and protected from the whispering of the Shaytân and this was an indication of the level with his Companions, then what can we say about ourselves? We are not infallible and are not protected from the Shaytân. We must adhere to this Sunnah as if it were obligatory. It is better for us to walk with people around us than to walk looking with our eyes at the backs of their shoulders. The statement of the Prophet, at the end of the hadîth:
| By Allâh, this world is more insignificant to Allâh than this (goat) is to you all,|
is to be reflected upon by people of intellect!
The next authentic hadîth is similar to the previous hadîth. Ibn Abbâs said: The Prophet passed by a dead goat that had been thrown away by its owners. He said:
| By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, this world is more insignificant to Allâh than this is to its owner.|
Sahl Ibn Sad said that the Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| If this world was worth as much to Allâh as the wing of a mosquito, He would not have given a disbeliever even a sip of water. [Sahîh: Related by at-Tirmidhî (no.2436) and al-Uqaylî in ad-Duafâ (no.250) and it was authenticated in as-Sahîhah (no.943)]|
| Some people came to the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) and he asked them: Do you have food? They said: Yes. He asked: Do you have drink? They said: Yes. He said:
Verily their outcome is like the outcome of this world, one of you stands behind his house holding his nose from their bad smell.
This is the similitude of this world. What is the eventual outcome of food and drink? They change to stool and urine. Therefore, a person hates the smell for himself. This is the similitude of the outcome of this World.
The following hadîth has the same meaning. Ubayy Ibn Kaab said that the Messenger of Allâh (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| Indeed the food of the son of Adam is like the example of the world. Even if he puts spices and season into it, see what becomes of it. [Hasan: Related by Ibn Hibbân in his Sahîh (no.2489) and at-Tabarânî in al-Kabîr (1/27/2) and authenticated in as-Sahîhah (no.382)]|
What is the eventual outcome of spices and seasoning in his food? Look at what it becomes! Likewise, this world becomes a similar thing except that which is for Allâh. The next hadîth explains this.
Abû Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| The world and all that it contains is cursed, except for the remembrance of Allâh and what supports it; or a Scholar and a student. [Hasan: Related by Ibn Mâjah (no.4112) and authenticated in Sahîhul-Jâmi (no.3414)]|
This is the reality of this world in the Sharîah, it has no value. The similitude of this world is like good food and drink: its outcome is decay. The exceptions arc those things which are done for Allâh whether remembrance of Allâh, knowledge or even food because it helps to support the worship of Allâh. These things are among the deeds of man that endure in this fleeting life.
The goal behind these ahâdîth is that a person should not be overly concerned about this world, except with which is sufficient to keep him alive and strong; and sufficient enough to be able to accomplish the worship of his Lord. For if his wealth is greater than this, it will only benefit him by the amount of good that he does by helping others; otherwise, he is going to leave this wealth behind and it will not benefit him at all. However, what will benefit him are the righteous actions that he has done.
We ask Allâh not to put love of this world in our hearts, but to guide us to earn in this life what helps us to worship and obey Him. And all praise is for Allâh, Lord of the Worlds.
 The evidence to refute the notion of Bidah Hasanah (good innovation) are many. However, for the sake of brevity, only one will be mentioned:- The Sahabî Abdullâh Ibn Umar (radi-Allâhu anhu) said – as is related by ad-Dârimî in al-Madhkal ilas-Sunan (no.191) with a Sahîh isnâd:
|Every innovation is misguidance, even if the people regard it as something good.|
 Sahîh: Related by Ahmad (3/71) and authenticated by al-Albânî in as-Sahîhah (no.1241) that the Prophet was asked: What is Tûbâ? So he (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said:
| A tree in Paradise, which would take one hundred years to traverse. The clothes of the people of Paradise are taken from it.|
 Part of a hadîth Qudsî related by al-Bukhârî and Muslim from Abû Hurayrah (radi-Allâhu anhu) in which the Prophet (sal-Allâhu alayhe wa sallam) said that Allâh said:
|I have prepared for my righteous slaves what no eye … |
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