[Hadeeth Commentary] Fulfilling the Needs of Another Muslim

Adapted for Hiba by Tasneem Vali

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Related on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rta) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah (swt) will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah (swt) will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah (swt) will conceal his faults in this world and the hereafter. Allah (swt) will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah (swt) will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah (swt), reciting the Book of Allah (swt) and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah (swt) makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.” (Muslim)

This is a comprehensive Hadeeth that teaches us how to behave as part of a society. It can be divided into two parts:

  • The ways we can help each other
  • The virtues of the study circle (Halaqa, Dars etc…)

The Hadeeth ends with a statement that categorically denies any benefit you might think your lineage will offer on the Day of Judgement.

How can we help each other?

There are essentially four ways demonstrated in the narrative above.

  1. Whoever removes a source of worldly grief from a believer, Allah (swt) will remove from him one of his sources of grief on the Day of Resurrection.
  2. Whoever eases the necessity of a needy person, Allah (swt) will lessen his needs in this world and the hereafter.
  3. Whoever shields (or hides the misdeeds) of a Muslim, Allah (swt) will shield him in this world and the hereafter.
  4. Allah (swt) will aid His slave as long as he aids his brother.

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This guarantees that the profit earned from an act is of a comparable nature to the act itself. Or, that you will be treated the same way, in fact better than the way you treat another Muslim. You will get equal amounts of relief, help and protection in this world and also after you leave this temporary abode. Ibn Rajab, as quoted by An-Nawawi, talks about the difference between the two situations – in this world and the hereafter. Not everyone has a difficult life in this world, or is distressed. Since the difficulties of this life are incomparable to the distressful aspects of the hereafter, Allah (swt) reserves the reward for striving to relieve another Muslim’s distress of this life until the Day of Judgement. Many Ahadeeth emphasize on this principle. Grief or distress in this Hadeeth means a great difficulty or hardship a Muslim is facing. In one version of the Hadeeth, it is stated as “whosoever relieves” and in another version “whosoever removes”. There is obviously a difference between the two versions because ‘to relieve’ means to minimize the difficulty or distress, whereas ‘to remove’ means to totally eradicate the difficulty or hardship.” (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

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“And if the debtor is in a hard time (has no money), then grant him time till it is easy for him to repay, but if you remit it by way of charity, that is better for you if you did but know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:280)

Specifically with debt, if a person dies with it his burial is on hold until the debt is repaid. Avoid falling into debt just to have what others have. To make it easy, if someone needs to repay you some money and they cannot pay you on time, forgive them. Give them more time or tell them to repay whatever they can. This by itself is Sadaqah.

How to shield your Muslim brother?

Ibn Rajab says that people can fall into two categories:

  1. Those who are not known for transgression or committing bad deeds. For these people, if by any chance they commit a mistake, it should not be revealed. On the contrary, it should be concealed and not talked about.
  2. Those who are well known transgressors, and who speak proudly about their shameful and sinful acts. Ibn Rajab mentions that if there is a need to mention the qualities of these people, we should do so for the benefit of the Muslim community. (40 Hadeeth Nawawi)

The general rule of the Hadeeth is that Muslims must not disclose the faults of other Muslims unless they are of the second category and then only to an authority who will discipline them for the benefit of the Ummah. Satara is to cover someone’s mistakes; there are three types of ‘Sittar’:

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A scholar said it is better to make a mistake in pardoning someone than to make a mistake by punishing someone wrongly. No matter how you help a fellow Muslim, you will be rewarded.

What are the virtues of a study circle?

This is the core of Islam, searching for and acquiring knowledge. This part of the Hadeeth is usually interpreted as follows:

  1. Allah (swt) will ease the way of the knowledge seeker to gain knowledge.
  2. Allah (swt) will assure the knowledge seeker benefits from the knowledge he is seeking.
  3. Those who pursue knowledge for the good of humanity, Allah (swt) will help them overcome distress on the Day of Judgement.
  4. Whosoever remembers Allah (swt) in a congregation, Allah (swt) mentions that person in His Divine congregation with His Angels.

In the end, we are reminded it is not who we are but what we do, and that we will bear the weight of our deeds ourselves on the Judgement Day.

May Allah (swt) enable us to be a better Muslim and implement the moral of this Hadeeth throughout our life. Ameen.

Most Beloved People To Allah – Anfa’uhum

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By Eman Al-Obaid – Al-Huda Sisters, Dubai

Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali

Ibn Umar reported: Two men came to the Messenger of Allah (sa), and said: “O Messenger of Allah, which of the people are most beloved to Allah? And which deeds are most beloved to Allah?” The Prophet (sa) said: “The people most beloved to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people; and the most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to satiate his hunger, or to walk with his brother regarding a need…and whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.” (At-Tabarani)

Clearly, the best among us is the one who gives the most to our fellow humans. It does not specify that we must be beneficial and of help to only Muslims, we must contribute toward helping everyone. The ways in which we can be beneficial are simple:

  1. Benefit oneself – meaning stop yourself from committing Haram or forbidden acts, and obey Allah’s commands regarding all aspects of your lives (forbidden acts will destroy you).
  2. Obey the Prophet’s (sa) directives, anything that Allah and His Messenger (sa) forbade, stay away from it.
  3. Perform not only the obligatory, but also go above and beyond to achieve Allah’s love.

Obviously, to be the ‘most’ beloved to Allah, we must be the best at everything we do. We cannot be ordinary, we cannot follow what others do – we have only Allah and the Prophet to guide us. In our hi-tech space age lives, with everything labelled as Top 5 or Top 10 ways to do something, let us look at the most authentic Top 10 list on how to be Allah’s beloved.

Top 10 Characteristics of Anfa’uhum

  1. Constantly make Dua to Allah for guidance.
  2. “The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” (Tirmidhi) Benefit your household, family and children (not only yourself) by:
    1. Righteous upbringing/nurturing dependents.
    2. Making your family realize the greatness of Allah, teaching them about Allah, making them love the religion and confident about being on the right path.
    3. Teach your dependents prayer, fasting, charity, etc. and their importance.
    4. Meet your spouse/parents and children with a beaming, happy face.
  3. Become a good example for everyone around you – the way you talk, the way you deal with others, etc.
    1. Instil love and respect for Allah and the Prophet (sa) in everyone you meet.
  4. Benefit other Muslims (Muslims around you) with the most beloved deeds to Allah.
    1. Happiness enters your heart by doing/fulfilling righteous acts commanded by Allah.
    2. Help in removing any distress from your brother/sister in Islam, Allah will remove your distress on the Day of Resurrection.
    3. “The best of you are those who feed others and return greetings.” (Abu Ya’la, Hasan)
    4. Distress can be of any type, large or small – work, life, study, money, advice, opinion, hunger.
    5. Distress of life is nothing compared to the distress of the Day of Judgment, so make sure you help.
  5. Do not be selfish to only benefit yourself – wish the best for the others.
  6. Smile to spread happiness, Allah loves it; it is an act of charity. Meet others with a beaming smile, this is the least you can do.
  7. Do not expect any reward, gratitude, praise or thanks, help only for Allah’s sake. Wait patiently for the best reward possible from Allah.
  8. Fulfil someone’s needs; Allah will be there during your time of need.
    1. Be very helpful, examples: pick, drop, photocopy, grocery, anything at all
    2. You start the act; most people feel shy or feel it beneath their dignity to ask for help so approach them yourself in a respectful manner.
    3. Allah will deal with you the same way, when you are shy to ask for help – Allah will help you.
  9. Benefit yourself by keeping your anger away from others.
    1. Do not show your anger. When you are angry – forgive people.
    2. When you are angry, you are harming others and are of no benefit to them.
    3. Learn to suppress anger.
    4. Forgiving and pardoning people is following Allah’s commands.
    5. “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslim is safe.” (Muslim)
  10. Treat people with most excellent manners/character.
    1. Treat others the same way you want to be treated.
    2. “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” (Tabarani)
    3. “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” (Daraqutni, Hasan).
    4. “The best of people are those who live longest and excel in their deeds, whereas the worst of people are those who live longest and corrupt their deeds.” (Tirmidhi)