Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali
I said:”O Messenger of Allah (swt), tell me of a deed which will take me to 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 (swt) Almighty makes it easy. (It is) that you worship Allah (swt) without associating anything with Him, that you perform the prayers, pay the zakat, fast during Ramadan, 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: “Their sides 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 hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” (As-Sajdah 32:16-17)
Then he said: “Shall I not also tell you about the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (swt).”
He said: “The head of the matter is Islam (submission to Allah (swt)), 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 (swt).”
So he took hold of his tongue and said: “Restrain this.”
I said: “O Prophet of Allah (swt), 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 jests of their tongues?” (Tirmidhi)
This Hadeeth is related by Maudh bin Jabal himself. Maudh asked Prophet Muhammad (sa) a question and we note that the main concern of the Sahabah was to go to Paradise. Maudh bin Jabal not only wanted information but he also wanted to put it into practice. When you acquire the knowledge, your main concern should be to go to Paradise and be away from Hellfire.
Sometimes people seek knowledge to feel good, but we should always seek knowledge in order to make ourselves closer to Allah (swt).We need to look within our hearts and ask, ‘Why am I learning?’ The signs that show you are not learning for the sake of Allah (swt) is when you are frustrated, impatient and hasty – this is when you are learning to boost your ego. But when you learn for the sake of Allah (swt); you know that Allah (swt) will appreciate your learning.
In the light of Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) response
- Worship Him Alone
People usually make their desires their god. Allah’s (swt) Majesty demands that He be worshiped alone, without any rivals. Allah (swt) is the Most Rich, He doesn’t accept it if we associate anyone with Him. We cause our own destruction when we are a slave of someone else or something else besides Allah (swt). Allah (swt) does not need our worship; He will leave us with our Shirk.
- Shirk is the greatest thing Allah (swt) forbade us from.
- Tawheed is the greatest thing Allah (swt) commanded us to do.
So don’t make the knowledge a desire; acquire knowledge to draw yourself closer to Allah (swt).
- Establish Prayer
This advice is being given to one of the Sahabah, not to someone new to Islam. Our struggle and aim should be to perfect our Salat. We need Allah’s (swt) help to fulfill this task. We should always feel that our last prayer was not so perfect and hence try to improve the next one.
- Pay Zakat
This is the only way to purify our money/wealth. It is one of the rights of people over us. Understand that paying Zakat is an obligation- just like Salat and fasting.
- Fasting is a Shield
The Prophet (sa) fasted every Monday and Thursday and in the months of Muharram and Shaban. He used to fast on the white days or the white nights (i.e. the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every lunar month), and the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. We have been ordained to fast in the month of Ramadan. This is important as fasting teaches us obedience to Allah (swt) and puts us in a state of calmness and piety.
- Pilgrimage to Makkah
To acquire Paradise, we must do what Allah (swt) wants us to do. All the obligations discussed above are the minimum what we can do to enter Paradise. Quantity is not important – it is there to satisfy ourselves. But Allah (swt) wants the quality. If we get these five pillars right; we will enter Paradise.
The Gates of Paradise
There are a variety of doors – you can do one, two or all three. When Allah (swt) opens the doors of good deeds grab them, stick to them. Everybody is unique and the path you choose to Paradise is also unique. You must not rely on one particular deed to take you to Paradise. Whatever Allah (swt) makes easy for you; you should do, and ask Allah (swt) to accept it.
Charity can be a smile, caring for somebody, carrying something for somebody, the best Sadaqah is giving money for the sake of Allah (swt).
Praying in the depths of night means the beginning of the last third of the night. According to Ibn Rajab in 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, three types of people whose prayer gets readily accepted, are:
- Those who wake up during the night for Dhikr, Dua, or perform Tahajud.
- Those who wait for the Isha prayer and do not go to sleep until they perform Isha.
- Those who wake up for the Fajr
Blessings of Jihad
Jihad is a blessing that allows us to become closer to Allah (swt). Scholars say that Jihad is the greatest act of worship and the most important deed after the obligatory acts. Through Jihad, Islam was protected and preserved and became dominant, where other nations lived under its rule peacefully with their rights maintained. (40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi)
Mind Your Tongue
Restraining and controlling our speech is the most important act to achieve good. The one who controls his tongue controls all his affairs. If we cannot control what we say, the result will be chaos and Fitnah like in the time of Caliph Usman (ra).
Hence this Hadeeth provides evidence that good deeds can surely become our ticket to Paradise.