By Imam Murtadha Gusau
Friday, January 06, 2023 (Jumadal Akhirah 13, 1444 AH)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation—may He extol the Messenger in the highest company of Angels and send His peace and blessings upon him—likewise upon his family, Companions, and true followers.
Dear brothers and sisters! Know that faith (Iman) is that condition of belief from which springs forth a multifaceted act of multiplying virtues. This condition brings into bloom a life full of obedience which in turn generates such deeds that even removing a minor obstacle from someone’s path guarantees reward from Allah Almighty. In other words, a Muslim Believer (Mu’min) becomes such an embodiment of nobility that his heart bleeds if some one gets hurt. Such a faith (Iman) also creates in him the attributes of foresight, prudence, sagacity, sound judgment and understanding. That is why the Noble Qur’an time and again refers to the appealing and overpowering characteristics of a Believer (Mu’min) to encourage believers to maintain their distinct attribute. I am quoting here some Hadiths of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to refresh the belief, to enliven the mind and to nourish the spirit. Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“A Believer (Mu’min) is not bitten twice from the same hole.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
That means that a true Believer (Mu’min) would not put his finger twice in a hole to be bitten by a snake. The Hadith educates a Believer (Mu’min) in carefulness, circumspection, foresight, precaution, scrupulousness, and vigilance. According to Prophet (Peace be upon him)’s biographer Ibn Hisham, he (Peace be upon him) first used this sentence and later it became a proverb in the Arabic speaking world. Imam Ahmad (Rahimahullah) writes that a faithless person by the name of Abu Ghurrah al-Hamji used to recite satirical poetry against Islam. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Badr. He started pleading for forgiveness and said that he had a family and children to look after. Prophet (Peace be upon him) was moved by his petition and forgave him without ransom. Once freed, he went back on his words and started reciting poetry defaming Islam and its Prophet again. By a share coincidence, he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Uhud and pleaded for forgiveness again as before. Had he been forgiven the second time, he could have mocked and boasted to have cheated the Muslims. It was on this occasion the Prophet (Peace be upon him) uttered this very beneficial immortal sentence (Hadith).
Abu Hurairah relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“A Believer (Mu’min) is innocent, simple and good natured, and the hypocrite is cunning and mean natured.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
What the Hadith means is that a Believer (Mu’min), being trustworthy himself, trusts others and can be deceived for being innocent, sincere, honest, and simple. There is yet another Hadith which quotes a dialogue between Paradise and Hell. The Paradise would exclaim:
“What is wrong with me that only the innocent, the simple and the weak will take me as their abode.”
The answer is that a Believer (Mu’min) dislikes finding faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses in others. He is neither curious about them, nor he is eager to publicise them. It is just against his very nature.
Sahl Bin Abdullah Tustari says that the Paradise is referring to people whose hearts are oblivious of every thing except Allah’s remembrance.
Abu Usman (Rahimahullah) declares that such people don’t care much about this world but are very careful about the Hereafter.
Imam Auza’i (Rahimahullah) says:
“Such people are blind towards bad things, but have an excellent vision for virtuous deeds.”
Abu Sa’id Khudri (RA) relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Be fearful of Believers (Mu’min)’s intelligence and his foresight in understanding of the human nature, because he sees things by Allah’s given vision,” and he recited verse 75 of Surah Al-Hijr, which reads: “There truly is a sign in this for those who can learn…” [at-Tirmidhi]
Scholars have interpreted the term: “Understanding of the human nature.” as the ability to perceive things in depth to see their real and true nature, and to deduce factual results from the analysis of situations and circumstances. No one can deceive a true and sincere Believer (Mu’min) because exposed to his penetrating eyes is the real and the fake, the sincere and the hypocrite, the honest and the cheat, and the high and the low. He sees the real worth of people and knows who is who, because he was not a fool (Mumu)!
Abu Hurairah (RA) says that once Prophet Isa (AS) caught a thief red handed and reprimanded him for stealing. The thief said:
“I swear by Him, Who is the Only One worthy of worship, that I did not commit theft.” Seeing the thief’s stubbornness, Prophet Isa (AS) said: “Alright, I have faith (Iman/Belief) in Allah, and accept that my eyes must have betrayed me.” [Muslim]
This attitude of Prophet Isa (AS) tells us that Allah Almighty’s Greatness is embedded in the Believers (Mu’min)’s heart and he surrenders himself in total negation of the self when the name of Allah Almighty is mentioned. There is nothing more important to acknowledge but Allah Almighty’s total and complete sovereignty. According to a Hadith, if a slave while being punished by his owner asks for forgiveness for Allah’s sake, the master should stop his punishment then and there without least hesitation and without wasting a single moment. Instead of arguing with the thief, Prophet Isa (AS) thought to use that opportunity to educate the thief that it was the height of his insolence to swear by Allah’s and then lie. A true and sincere Believer (Mu’min) is always after the betterment of his Hereafter rather than wasting his time in the indulgence of arguments.
Abu Hurairah (RA) relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Do not call grape by the name of Karam, as it is the attribute of a Believer (Mu’min)’s heart.” [Muslim]
The Arabic word “Karam” means kindness and generosity. Arabs used to call grapes by the name of Karam, because they used to make wine from grapes, which was their favourite drink. The then Arabs mistakenly thought that wine helps to create and promote kindness and generosity in man’s character. Prophet (Peace be upon him) disliked such an interpretation because the wine is the mother of all evils. Great scholar Zamakhshari opines that Prophet (Peace be upon him) based his opinion on verse 13 of Surah Al-Hujurat, which reads:
“Oh People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognise one another. In Allah’s eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him. Allah is all knowing, all aware.”
When Allah Almighty said the word “Honoured” then it should relate to the heart of a Believer (Mu’min) and be not associated with anything which is totally forbidden. “Honour” comes through piety and purity.”
Abu Sa’id Khudri (RA) said that:
“A Believer (Mu’min) is like a horse tied to its peg, to which he returns after roaming around. Similarly a Believer (Mu’min) is liable to forget but he being faith bound returns to his base.” [Musnad Ahmad]
Abdullah Bin Amr Bin As (RA) relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“I swear by Him, Who posses my soul, a Believer (Mu’min) resembles that goldbrick which if thrown in the furnace, neither changes its colour, nor looses its weight. I swear by Him, Who owns my soul that a Believer (Mu’min) is like a honey bee, which sucks nectar from beautiful flowers, turned it into the beneficial honey, and neither misuses or damages the flower petal by her weight.”
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has likened the character of a true and sincere Believer (Mu’min) to the sterling quality of pure gold and the beneficence of the honey bee. Impure gold if thrown in the furnace looses its weight after its impurities are burned and it also changes its colour. A Believer (Mu’min) is like the honey bee who feeds on the pure and fairly earned livelihood; he is a source of benefit to others and is an agent of peace and brotherhood. He does not harm others or cause any damage to the environment. By extension, this example teaches us patriotism; love for the community, respect for neighbours, and makes us aware for the better maintenance of our social, natural and physical environment. Let us listen to two other Prophetic Hadiths, as quoted by Abu Musa (RA), Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
And Nu’man Bin Bashir (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said:
“The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Sahl Bin Sa’ad (RA) relates that Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“In the community of believers, a believer’s place is like that of the head in the human body. The whole body suffers due to headache, so the believer should feel the pain if others in (Muslim) community suffer.”
There is no doubt that Islam teaches sympathy, love, and promotes brotherhood, the spirit to help others in their hour of need. If a Believer (Mu’min) can not afford to buy food for his hungry brother, he should share his own meal with the hungry. That was the spirit of love, sacrifice and mutual concern which brought into being a love-woven society. Verse 103 of Surah Ali-Imran is a clear reminder to such a quality:
“Hold fast to Allah’s rope all together; do not split into factions. Remember Allah’s favour to you: you were enemies and then He brought your hearts together and you became brothers by His grace; you were about to fall into a pit of Fire and He saved you from it – in this way Allah makes His revelations clear to you so that you may be rightly guided.”
One thing should be remembered that the more we adhere to our faith and are firm in Tawhid i.e. the belief in Oneness of Allah Almighty, the more united will be the Muslim Ummah. We are distancing ourselves from the qualities of the early Muslims (As-Salafus-Salih). They were pure from jealousies, mutual rivalries, and envy. They never looked down upon their brother and never lashed their tongue with taunts or derogatory comments, but unfortunately we are afflicted with these vices. It is time to wake up to the realities of our faith and be aware of our rights and duties as a Muslim. Once a companion asked:
“O Messenger of Allah, who is the best among people?” Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied: “Truthful by tongue, pure and kind at heart, and without any burden of sins, the one who does not have grudge or envy towards others [is the best].” [Ibn Majah]
Respected servants of Allah! Here are the lists of some good qualities a believer has to follow if he want to succeed here and the hereafter:
- Learn your religion as much as is needed, either by learning directly from scholars, reading books or by asking scholars.
- Protect yourself from every kind of sin.
- If sin is committed, immediately repent and ask forgiveness from Allah Almighty (Taubah).
- Do not violate the rights of others; do not harm others by tongue or hand. Do not say negative things about others.
- Do not keep the love of wealth and the desire of a “big name” in your heart, and do not excessively engage in seeking superior food and superior clothes.
- If someone points out your mistake, do not argue, immediately accept it and repent from it.
- Do not travel, except for a great need, as during travel you decrease in wariness and a lot of undesirable things happen, a lot of good deeds are missed, your daily routine of Zikr (remembrance of Allah) is interrupted and nothing happens on its proper time.
- Do not laugh excessively and do not talk excessively, and take special care to avoid talking with strangers of the opposite gender (Ghair-mahram) frankly and freely.
- Do not quarrel unnecessarily or argue with others.
- Be aware of the orders of the Shari’ah in every moment of your life.
- Do not be lazy for worship (Ibadah).
- Spend most of the time alone in solitude.
- If you have to mingle with others then be the most humble to others, serve others, and do not show pride.
- And mingle minimally with the rich (especially the bad and criminal ones among them).
- Stay away from the irreligious and ungodly person.
- Do not find faults in others, do not have bad opinion about others, keep your eye on your own shortcomings and try to fix them.
- Try to fulfill your prayers (Salah) in best possible way on the right time with full attentiveness.
- Constantly remember your Lord either through tongue or heart, and do not let any time be wasted.
- If you feel pleasure in remembering Allah, and you feel joy, then thank your Lord for this.
- Be polite.
- Organise a timetable for all your work, and thoroughly stick to it.
- What ever loss, worry, sorrow, test or trial you come across, believe it is from Allah and do not worry about it and remind yourself that “I will get reward for this difficulty.”
- Do not keep the accounts of worldly affairs in your heart and do not talk and discuss about worldly matters all the time; instead think about your Lord.
- Benefit others as much as you can: either worldly benefit or religious benefit.
- Do not decrease your food and drink to such a degree that it will make you sick; on the other hand do not increase it so much that it will make you lazy during worship (Ibadah).
- Do not hope to get benefit/profit from other than Allah; do not let your thoughts wander such that you think “we might get benefit from so and so.”
- Eagerly and restlessly seek your lord.
- For a blessing either small or large, be thankful to your Lord for it, and do not be despaired by poverty.
- Forgive the mistakes and faults of people under your authority.
- Hide the faults of others, but if someone is trying to harm the society or harm someone, and you happen to know about it, then inform that person (i.e. the one who might get harmed).
- Try to serve guests, travelers, the poor, scholars and the elderly.
- Keep righteous company.
- Fear your Lord all the time.
- Remember death.
- Ponder and go though the events of your day; if you remember a good deed, thank your Lord for it and if you remember a sin, seek repentance.
- Do not tell lies on any condition.
- Do not attend unlawful gatherings.
- Live the life of modesty and forbearance.
- Do not be proud.
Dear brothers and sisters! Please let us try as much as possible to inculcate the attributes of a true and sincere Believer (Mu’min)’s in us and then invite others to embrace them!
Lastly, I pray, may Allah Almighty enable us to realise the importance of the gift of life and the countless blessings we have been bestowed with and utilise our time prudently and wisely on the way it pleases Allah Almighty and His Messenger (Peace be upon him). Ameen!
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly and sincerely until the establishment of the Hour.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: [email protected] or +2348038289761.