[Hadeeth Commentary] Reliance on Allah (swt) for guidance and Forbiddance of Oppression

Adapted for Hiba by Tasneem Vali


It was related on the authority of Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari that the Prophet (sa) said, of what he related from his Lord, the Magnified and the Exalted be He, Who said:

“O My servants, I have made oppression unlawful for Me and unlawful for you. So do not commit oppression against one another. O My servants, all of you are liable to err except for those, whom I guide on the right path, therefore seek guidance from Me so that I should direct you to the right path. O My servants, all of you are hungry (needy) except for those whom I feed; therefore seek food from Me so that I may feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked (need clothes) except for those whom I provide garments, therefore seek clothing from Me so that I should clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day and I am there to pardon your sins, therefore seek forgiveness from Me so that I should grant you pardon. O My servants, you can neither do Me any harm nor can you do Me any good. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as pious as the most pious heart of any one amongst you, it will not add anything to My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns become as wicked as the most wicked heart of anyone amongst you, it will not decrease anything from My Power or Kingdom. O My servants, even if the first amongst you and the last amongst you and the whole human race of yours and that of Jinns gather together on a sector of land and all ask of Me and if I were to give every one of them what they asked for, that will not in any way decrease what I have any more than a needle decreases what is in the ocean when it is put into it. O My servants, these deeds of yours which I am recording for you I shall reward you for them, so he who finds good should praise Allah and he who finds other than that should not blame anyone but himself.” (Muslim)

This Hadeeth is a ‘Hadeeth Qudsee’, meaning a Hadeeth where the Prophet (sa) relates what Allah (swt) has said, His actual words. This Hadeeth demonstrates our relationship with Allah (swt) and teaches us to rely exclusively on Him for all our needs. Allah (swt) informs us of His attributes; Merciful, Forgiving, Powerful and Compassionate, compared to human beings, who are needy and weak. We need Allah’s (swt) Guidance and His help in all aspects of our lives. We are told categorically that no form of oppression or injustice will be tolerated in Islam.

Unlawful Oppression


Allah (swt) – the Light of Guidance

Allah (swt) is the originator of all guidance, be it from a book, a lecture, a person or an article. We as individuals are incapable of providing guidance unless Allah (swt) wills. We may attempt to show people the right path, but the true guidance comes from Allah (swt) alone. Guidance is a great mercy and blessing from Allah (swt). This guidance, in the form of the Quran, was revealed to us by Allah (swt) through His Messenger, Muhammad (sa). Allah (swt) showed us the right path to follow and warned us against Shaitan, who is our greatest enemy. Reciting Surah Al-Fatiha in every Rakah reminds us of our extreme need for our Lord’s Guidance and Support. (An-Nawawi)

Types of guidance:

  • Hidayat Al-Bayan – guidance related to the knowledge. Allah (swt) never forsakes us; He will bring us some means to guide us, guidance to know Allah (swt) and His attributes. Allah (swt) will never forsake us or leave us without showing us Who we need to worship. When Allah (swt) provides people guidance, not all will accept it. Allah (swt) offers guidance through different means but it will be your choice and free will to accept, reject or think about it. Some people know this is guidance from Allah (swt) and they accept it and Allah (swt) increases their level of guidance. If we accept, appreciate and act upon it; Allah (swt) gives us more and makes it easy for us to follow.
  • Hidayat Al-Tawfeeq – the guidance to do. The guidance will not just be in your heart. For example, someone is always angry and she needs guidance to become a calm person. She will listen to a lecture about patience and see examples of people who are angry and how they deal with it. She will realize and then change. Hence Allah (swt) will change her heart. Allah (swt) will give her the Hidayat Al-Tawfeeq so that in the most stressful situations she will not get angry.

Don’t be unjust towards Allah (swt) by seeking guidance from a slave just like us. Maybe that way of guidance will turn you away from the truth. With Allah (swt) it is always different than what you expect. You think something, and Allah (swt) does it differently; contrary to what you thought. Guidance resembles light and misguidance resembles darkness.


Allah (swt) is Ever-Forgiving

Repentance is a tool Allah (swt) has provided us with, in case we slip. Islam recognizes that humans have weaknesses and will occasionally do wrong. We may neglect/postpone our obligations or indulge in sins, but Allah (swt) reminds us He is Forgiving.


Allah (swt) is the Provider

Allah (swt) provides us with all our material needs: food, clothing, shelter etc… You need Allah (swt) to clothe you even if your wardrobe is full. Allah (swt) loves that His creation has a connection with Him all the time; we must ask with humility and Allah (swt) will increase our sustenance for us.

Allah’s (swt) Treasures and Bounties are Endless

Allah’s (swt) resources will not be reduced by the least in giving us what we ask for. The Hadeeth shows Allah’s (swt) generosity. Allah (swt) gives His servants a lot of bounties and favours. The more they ask Him, the more He gives. He wants us to ask Him more and seek His help and support. This is different from human beings because humans do not like to be asked frequently. The more you ask a human, the more he hates you and eventually turns away from you. He wants us to come closer to Him and show Him our needs and humbleness. (An-Nawawi) Allah (swt) protects you from harm and Allah (swt) benefits you. So you rely on Allah (swt) exclusively. If you make rules and everyone follows your rules; you will benefit. If people do not follow your rules; you will despair. Allah (swt) created us not because He needs us, but because of (wisdom) Hikmah. Allah (swt) created us and we benefit from having been created. Allah (swt) does not need His creation to worship Him.

Allah (swt) is the Most Rich (Al-Ghani)

If you don’t worship Allah (swt), He can create a billion other people to worship Him. Life does not stop because of one person. Everyone being pious will not add anything to Allah (swt). If you do good, it is good for you and nobody else.

  • Allah (swt) does not need anybody.
  • Allah (swt) does not need anybody to worship Him.
  • We need Taqwa; Allah (swt) does not need our Taqwa, we need to become Muttaqeen.
  • We need to obey Allah (swt); Allah (swt) does not need our obedience.
  • We need to be close to Allah (swt); Allah (swt) does not need us to be close to Him.
  • We need to be humble; Allah (swt) does not need our submission.
  • Nobody can harm Allah (swt); nobody can benefit Allah (swt).
  • Nothing can increase Allah (swt) in His dominion, nothing can decrease His dominion.

Do not worship or follow Allah’s (swt) commands as if you are doing Allah (swt) a favour. Allah (swt) enriches all creation. An example of a parable is given – except what is decreased from the ocean when a needle is dipped into it. Imagine you put a needle in the sea, it would have no effect, and it would not decrease anything in Allah’s (swt) dominion or treasure. Whatever Allah (swt) gives, it does not affect Allah (swt); our actions do not affect Allah (swt), He is our Rabb, and nobody is like Him.

Accountability on the Day of Judgment

At the end of the Hadeeth, it is mentioned and stressed that everyone will be accountable for their deeds. Whoever finds a good record; should be thankful to Allah (swt) and praise Him for that. Those who find other than that should not blame anyone except themselves. This is a clear statement that shows the personal responsibility we have for our actions (An-Nawawi). When your time in this world comes to an end, then the accountability starts. At the time of death, you can see the result. What you see at the time of death is preparation of what is to come. If you did well, you will be among the successful ones. And if you did not do well, you will be in trouble. Your actions are your responsibility.


The lesson we take is that when we express our needs to Allah (swt), it must be with humility for Allah (swt) is the only One who can guide us and forgive us. We must repent when we err. Thus gaining the pleasure of Allah (swt) should be our major goal in this world.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Charitable Acts


Abu Dhar reported that some of the companions of the Messenger (sa) said to him:

 “O Messenger of Allah (swt), the rich have taken away all the rewards. They observe the prayer as we do, and they keep the fasts as we do, and they give Sadaqah (charity) from their surplus riches.” Upon this he (the Prophet (sa)) said: “Has Allah (swt) not prescribed for you (a course) by following which you can also do Sadaqah? Verily in every Tasbih (i.e., saying Subhan’Allah) there is a Sadaqah, every Takbir (i.e. saying Allahu Akbar) is a Sadaqah, every Tahmid (i.e., saying Alhamdulillah) is a Sadaqah, every Tahlil (i.e. saying La ilaha illa Allah) is a Sadaqah, enjoining of good is a Sadaqah, forbidding of evil is a Sadaqah, and having sexual intercourse with your wife is a Sadaqah.” They (the Companions) said: “O Messenger of Allah (swt), is there reward for him who satisfies his sexual passion among us?” He said: “Tell me, if he were to devote it to something forbidden, would it not be a sin on his part? Similarly, if he were to devote it to something lawful, he should have a reward.” (Muslim)

In particular this Hadeeth addresses the fact that the Sahabah were always concerned about the Hereafter and how to compete in seeking Allah’s (swt) reward. The background tells us that the questioners were poor Muslims who understood that their prayer and fasts were equal to that of the richer Muslims. They did not envy them for their wealth, but were only troubled about how to compete when giving in charity (Sadaqah). The companions were sad because they were not able to donate money for charity like other people. Our lesson from this situation is to note that only the thought of not being able to compete in good deeds for Allah’s (swt) sake was what troubled the Sahabah the most, they were not least bothered with what others had – their anxiety stemmed from not being able to please Allah (swt) as much as others could. Subhan’Allah.

In the 40 Hadeeth of An-Nawawi, Ibn Rajab states that the Islamic concept of charity in its broad sense can be divided into two types:

  1. The acts of goodness and kindness one can have towards other humans. Ibn Rajab gave some examples, such as educating and teaching people like teaching the Quran, removing anything that harms people in their paths, and contributing to the well-being of the Muslim community. This also includes doing Dua (prayer) and Istighfar (forgiveness) for other Muslims.
  2. Keeping any harmful action away from others. This means that we must not perform any harmful act towards other people if it does not benefit them. It is the minimum thing that one can afford to benefit others.

The Prophet (sa) then assured his companions, and offered them an alternate explanation of ‘Sadaqah’. A broader concept than the one we usually limit it to – we only take it as monetary in nature.

How does Dhikr benefit you?

When you say ‘Subhan’Allah’ you are granted a tree in Paradise. When you remember Allah (swt) by saying ‘Subhan’Allah’ or ‘Allahu Akbar’ you are actually being good to yourself and Allah (swt) will give you the reward in the Hereafter.

  • Allah (swt) remembers you
  • Allah (swt) will remember your name
  • Allah (swt) will praise you.

hadeeth1Every time you receive a blessing and you say ‘Alhamdulillah”, Allah (swt) will give you a reward. When amazed or in a problem, say ‘Subhan’Allah’ and say Allahu Akbar‘, when you notice yourself feeling proud, this will train you to stay humble and remain a servant of Allah (swt). Finally, our entire lives are based on La ilaha illa Allah. Muslims should make it a habit to do Dhikr during the morning and evening and after every prayer as a minimum. How many times do the rich give monetary Sadaqah? They cannot do so every moment of their life. Allah (swt) has favoured His servants with something that can earn rewards every waking moment. When you say ‘Alhamdulillah’, you get richer. Don’t compare yourself to what other people do, how much do they pray or fast; Allah (swt) has a way for everyone to compete equally. Focus only on what you can do. We know for a fact from this and the other Hadeeth that the ways of pleasing Allah (swt) are numerous and affordable for everyone. People differ in their ability, preference, and potential; therefore a Muslim should take this advantage and do such good deeds that are more convenient and suitable for him or her. People have choices and preferences in doing acts of Ibadah according to their ability and this is acceptable in Islam. Only a few people may have the ability to do many things together. (An-Nawawi)


If you know of something good, and you want to share it with others, you must make sure you fulfill the conditions. You desire Paradise for others the same way you desire and strive for it yourself – but make sure you do not cause a greater harm than is already present. For example something may not actually be Munkar but in your culture it is considered that way. It has to be Munkar in the Shariah  and not just what your mother or father said. Speak with proof. It is a greater sin to term something as Haram when it is not actually Haram. If you call something Halal when actually it is Haram it is a lesser sin. Everything is Halal except what Allah (swt) has deemed as Haram. The etiquette is not to say something is Haram unless you are certain.


Acquiring knowledge and spreading it is one of the greatest Sadaqah, this leads to the ability of enjoining good and forbidding evil. Every moment we spend in learning is never wasted. Every normal activity that we do as part of our daily routine will be rewarded for doing it with a good intention. For example, if we leave home for work with an intention to benefit our co-workers and treat it as an opportunity for Dawah; Allah (swt) will reward us for this and it would become Sadaqah.

Finally, the end of the Hadeeth states that fulfilling the desire in a Halal way is Sadaqah. Fulfilling your desires is a right upon yourself and you are doing well when fulfilling the desire of your spouse. No one can say we are deprived – a deprived person is one who deprives himself from the good. Allah (swt) has made it easy for us to earn rewards and practice charity, no matter how rich or poor we are. Alhamdulillah.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Our Quest to Paradise


Mu’adh bin Jabal, said:

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

1.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).

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

picture2The 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:

  1. Those who wake up during the night for Dhikr, Dua, or perform Tahajud.
  2. Those who wait for the Isha prayer and do not go to sleep until they perform Isha.
  3. Those who wake up for the Fajr prayer.

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.

[Hadeeth Commentary] Avoid Harming Yourself and Others


Related on the authority of Abu Sa’id Sa’d bin Malik bin Sinan al-Khudri that the Prophet (sa) said: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm.” (An excellent Hadeeth which Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutni and others related as of sound Isnad, but which Malik related in his Muwatta’ as of broken Isnad, from ‘Amr bin Yahya, from his father, from the Prophet (sa), but dropping (the name of) Abu Sa’id. This Hadeeth has lines of transmission, which strengthens one another (so that it may be regarded as of sound Isnad.)

A pithy Hadeeth, which reflects Islam’s mission statement; preventing harm and being useful/beneficial to others. This Hadeeth is all about the attitude of a believer. Remember, even before you harm Allah’s (swt) creations, you actually harm yourself. This concept is a trait that every Muslim must have if he wants to implement this Hadeeth in his life.

pic2This Hadeeth becomes the basis for the rules of behaviour in Islam. Some of them according to the commentary in 40 Hadeeth of an-Nawawi are:

  1. Harm is to be prevented as much as possible.
  2. Harm is to be eradicated.
  3. Harm is not to be removed by a similar harm.
  4. A greater harm can be removed by a lesser harm.
  5. Based on rule number 4, if one has to choose between two harms, precedence is given to a lower harm, in order to avoid the greater harm.
  6. Preventing harm takes precedence over gaining or attaining benefits.
  7. If there is a conflict between factors permitting something and others prohibiting something, the prohibition takes precedence; that is, it is going to be given the priority.
  8. Something harmful is not given precedence just because it was pre-existing. In other words, the pre-existence of something does not allow it to continue to exist and be the cause of harm.To demonstrate rule number eight, let’s step into Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain). There was a Masjid built in a neighbourhood. Many years later, that area became densely populated – houses were built around the Masjid. As per custom, when the Muadh-dhin (caller to prayer) wanted to make the call for prayer (Adhan), he climbed the minaret. The jurists decided that the Muadh-dhin must cease the use of the minaret, so that no harm was caused to the people in the houses below (as from the top of the minaret, he could see into other people’s homes and thus invaded their privacy).

Two words in this Hadeeth are similar. The root word is Dādrārā – to harm – ‘do not harm’ / ‘no harming’. ‘Do not harm’ encompasses not harming yourself and not harming anyone around you whether intentionally or unintentionally. If it is unintentional, then as soon as you realize your mistake, you must correct it. Sometimes you are not even aware of the fact that you are harming yourself – but as soon as you recognize it, you must stop. This is caused by the negative thought patterns or a feeling of superiority; “I am better than…” The application of this Hadeeth in our lives thoroughly depends upon two factors: our thoughts and our attitude. Even though it is a simple concept, it is the hardest Hadeeth to apply upon ourselves. All our actions are the result of our thoughts, so we must control our thoughts from causing harm to ourselves and others.

“O You who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibât (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) which Allâh has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allâh does not like the transgressors.” (AlMaidah 5:87)

So remember, we cannot transgress against ourselves, others, animals and even plants or trees.


Is there ever a justifiable reason to cause harm?
Ibn Rajab says that the Prophet (sa) said: “If the main objective is to actually cause the harm then this is totally prohibited.” Any act that causes harm to others, whether individually or as a community, and whether it is beneficial or not beneficial to the one who causes it, is prohibited in Islam. It should not exist in the first place and if it does, then a deliberate effort should be made to remove or minimize it.