NOW YOU CAN PURCHASE BOOK VERSION OF THESE HADITHS WITH EXPLANATION ON AMAZON
I recently came across a wonderful list of short hadiths to memorize taken exclusively from the collections of Bukhari and Muslim. While I was reading through them, I felt they should be translated because the specific list is full of so much wisdom and for the most part self-explanatory. I decided to keep the Arabic available as well for those who wish to memorize them.
In addition, I am also providing a brief explanation of each hadith using mainly the Dorar hadith encyclopedia.
I hope you benefit from the words of the Prophet ﷺ below as much as I did!
Hadith 1 – Virtue of Making Tasbeeh
:كَلِمَتَانِ خَفِيفَتَانِ عَلَى اللِّسَانِ، ثَقِيلَتَانِ فِي الْمِيزَانِ، حَبِيبَتَانِ إِلَى الرَّحْمَنِ
(سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ)، (سُبْحانَ اللهِ الْعَظِيمِ)
There are two words which are light on the tongue, heavy on the scale, and loved by the Most Merciful: SubhanAllahi wa bihamdi, SubhanAllahi al-azeem (Glorified is Allah and praised is He, Glorified is Allah the Most Great).
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The remembrance of Allah is what gives comfort to the heart and soul. In this hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) informs us of the great blessings that result from two particularly short phrases verbalized on a Muslim’s tongue. The word tasbeeh means to negate from Allah every type of defect and imperfection. The most typical phrase used to do this in Arabic is to say SubhanAllah. The two phrases mentioned are easy to say in any situation without difficulty. A person can repeat them over and over again often and this is why the Prophet (ﷺ) recommended it.
We are also informed that the weight of these two short phrases will be very heavy on the Day of Judgment when all of our good and bad deeds will be weighed against each other on the scale. Then the Prophet (ﷺ) stated that these two phrases, in particular, are very beloved by Allah. This indicates that doing tasbeeh of Allah and praising Him is among the best forms of supererogatory worship.
This hadith also teaches us about the vastness of Allah’s mercy over us because He is willing to give us lots of reward for doing small good deeds.
Hadith 2 – Good Treatment of Parents
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ مَنْ أَحَقُّ بِحُسْنِ صَحَابَتِي قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” أُمُّكَ ”. قَالَ ثُمَّ مَنْ قَالَ ” ثُمَّ أَبُوكَ”.
A man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Who among the people has the most right to my good company?” He replied, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who?” He replied, “Your mother.” The man said, “Then who?” He replied, “Then your father.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The mother symbolizes sacrifice, honor, and purity. She is usually the first to look after the child. In this hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) is asked about the person most deserving of good companionship among the people and he responds that it is the mother. The Prophet (ﷺ) emphasizes this fact three times, which goes to show the high level of regard for the mother over other relatives in the religion.
The father being mentioned only once does not mean that there is deficiency in his right to good treatment, rather, the point is to show the greatness of the mother’s right. Some speculate that the reasons may be due to the abundance of her favors over the child and the many physical and psychological hardships endured by her during pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding. She also serves and has more compassion for her children than others. This amount of love and care may blind the child from giving her the treatment that she deserves, or the child may even begin to take her for granted, thus, the Prophet (ﷺ) wanted to emphasize it.
Hadith 3 – Avoiding Suspicion
إِيَّاكُمْ وَالظَّنَّ, فَإِنَّ اَلظَّنَّ أَكْذَبُ اَلْحَدِيثِ
Beware of suspicion for it is the most untruthful type of speech.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Islamic law encourages reconciliation, consolidation, and harmony between Muslims and it prohibits anything that may cause rift, hostility, hatred, and disunity between them. In this hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) warns us against one of the things that leads to hostility and disunity in the community: suspicion. This is when someone accuses another of doing something wrong in his/her heart without evidence. In other words, it is to think evil of other Muslims. It is not appropriate for a Muslim to think bad of another Muslim merely out of suspicion without even ascertaining the doubt.
Some of the scholars say that we must do our best to first give excuses for others’ wrong behavior to the best of our ability before making a judgment. We do not always know the circumstances of other people and why they are behaving in a certain manner. Perhaps, they are not aware that they are doing something wrong or maybe they are stuck in a situation where it is difficult for them to act otherwise. These are just examples but there could be numerous other valid reasons as well. Sometimes people are just calling for help but nobody has ever offered it to them.
The Prophet (ﷺ) warned us against it because it leads to hostility, hatred, rumors, and overall disunity within the community. Everyone ends up suffering due to something that is not even confirmed. How often have we heard of cases where marriages are broken, friendships lost, and communities torn apart all because someone thought somebody was doing something wrong only to realize later that they were heavily mistaken in their assessment.
Hadith 4 – Guarding the Tongue
إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مَا يَتَبَيَّنُ فِيهَا، يَزِلُّ بِهَا فِي النَّارِ أَبْعَدَ مِمَّا بَيْنَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَ الْمَغْرِبِ
A slave [of Allah] may utter a word without giving it much thought by which he slips into the fire a distance further than that between east and west.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The tongue is a great blessing of Allah and despite its small size, it could be the cause of a person’s bliss or doom in the afterlife. Therefore, it is very important for a Muslim to safeguard his/her tongue from lying, backbiting, slandering, cursing, and a host of other sins that emanate from this single organ. In fact, some words are so dangerous that they can throw a person outside the fold of Islam.
The Prophet (ﷺ) in this hadith is teaching us about the effects of words and their consequences. A person could utter a word or statement thinking nothing of it, and may even consider it insignificant, however, in the sight of Allah it may be highly detested, which causes the person to fall into the depths of hellfire. The opposite could also occur. A person may utter a word or statement and not give it much attention, however, in the sight of Allah it may be highly loved, which causes the person to be raised several levels in paradise.
The important lesson from this wonderful hadith is that we must think before we speak. As the Prophet (ﷺ) directed us in another hadith to either say something good or remain silent. Some of the scholars mention that before uttering a word, the person is its master but as soon it leaves the tongue, then the person becomes its prisoner. It is important to ponder over the consequences of one’s words before speaking and the harms they may cause to oneself and others.
Hadith 5 – Avoiding the Forbidden
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغَارُ وَغَيْرَةُ اللهِ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا حَرَّمَ اللهُ
Allah becomes jealous [of His honor] and that is when the believer does something He has forbidden.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah placed limitations and laws within which we must live our lives and then He sent His prophets and messengers to convey those restrictions to the people. In this way, the evidence is established against the sinners because the messengers and prophets fulfilled their duty of informing us of the permissible and prohibited.
In this hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) warns the believers from occupying themselves in forbidden matters. The Prophet (ﷺ) worded it in a way so that a true believer would not even think about doing something forbidden. The believers are specifically pointed out because they should know better. The disbelievers might be engaging in forbidden things out of ignorance but a believer has no excuse, therefore, there is a stern warning in this hadith to the believers from committing prohibited deeds.
The hadith also mentions one of the Attributes of Allah. Whenever we come across one of His Attributes in the Qur’an or hadiths, it should never be compared to His creation. Allah is nothing like His creation. He is far above and beyond His creation. As Muslims, we affirm and believe in all His Attributes mentioned in the Qur’an and hadiths without modality, resemblance, and denial.
Hadith 6 – Virtue of Ramadan
مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا, غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
Whoever stands [for night prayer] in Ramadan out of faith and hope for reward will be forgiven his past sins.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
In this hadith, the Prophet (ﷺ) is encouraging us to offer prayers during the nights of Ramadan, commonly known as the Taraweeh prayers, and the great reward waiting for those who choose to do so.
Ramadan is a month full of blessings in which the doors of paradise are opened and the gates of hell are closed. One of the great blessings of this month is the opportunity to pray the Taraweeh prayers, which are offered between the Isha and Witr prayers. The Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned two things as conditions to obtain the reward attached to offering these prayers:
- The person must have faith – Meaning the person is a Muslim who believes in all of Islam’s tenets.
- Hope for reward – Meaning the person is hoping for reward from Allah for performing the Taraweeh prayers. The person is not doing it to be seen or rewarded by the people, rather, he/she is sincerely doing it for only Allah’s pleasure.
Then the Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned the result of those who fulfill the previous two conditions that all of their previous sins will be forgiven. It should be noted that this is in reference to only those types of sins which violate the rights of Allah and not other individuals. If the sins are of latter nature, then the person must seek forgiveness from Allah and right the wrongs committed against others by either compensating them for their lost rights or seeking their forgiveness. For example, if a person stole another’s wealth, then he/she must return it back to its rightful owner unless the victim forgoes the right and chooses instead to forgive the perpetrator.
The main lesson from this hadith is to take full advantage of the night prayers in Ramadan.
Hadith 7 – Virtue of Umrah and Hajj
الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزاءٌ إِلا الجنَّةُ
One Umrah to the next is an expiation for whatever happened between them and the only reward for an accepted Hajj is paradise.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
In this hadith, there is encouragement for us to perform Umrah multiple times in our lives. Allah made good deeds as a way to expiate us from our sins and to raise our ranks. One of the best ways to do this is through Umrah and Hajj. The former can be performed any time of the year and can be completed in one day but the latter can only be done during the season of Hajj and takes multiple days to complete.
The Prophet (ﷺ) is teaching us the blessing of doing Umrah and Hajj. For Umrah, we are taught that whoever performs it multiple times, then it will be an expiation of sins committed between them. This means the person will not be held responsible for them on the Day of Judgment. It should be noted that this is in reference to minor sins and not major ones. The latter require sincere repentance and good deeds alone will not suffice to wipe them out. There are various opinions among scholars on how exactly to define major sins. Some of the definitions of major sins include:
- Sins which come with a threat of punishment in the Qur’an or Sunnah
- Sins for which there is a prescribed punishment mentioned in the Qur’an or Sunnah either in this life or the next
- Sins for which the doer is said to be cursed in the Qur’an or Sunnah
- Some restricted it to the seven destructive sins that are mentioned in a specific hadith: to join partners with Allah, practice black magic, murdering an innocent person, usury, eat the property of the orphan, to give one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting, and to falsely accuse chaste women of fornication
- There are other opinions as well
The accepted Hajj is the type that is done without doing anything forbidden in it. Some also said it is a type that a person performs sincerely for Allah’s sake without showing off or seeking fame and the person completes all of its pillars and obligations.
Hadith 8 – Yawning
التَّثَاؤُبُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِذَا تَثَاءَبَ أَحَدُكُمْ فَلْيَكْظِمْ مَا اسْتَطَاعَ
Yawning is from the devil so whenever one of you yawns, then let him try to suppress it as much as possible.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Yawning is associated with laziness and laxity. People with such characteristics tend to avoid doing good deeds and fulfilling their obligations, which is exactly what the devil incites us to do. This is why the Prophet (ﷺ) taught us to suppress our yawn as much as possible and to not let the devil have his way. A believer should be active and full of energy to do good deeds and fulfill his/her obligations.
Hadith 9 – Taking Care of the Widow and Poor
السَّاعِي عَلَى الأَرْمَلَةِ وَالْمِسْكِينِ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ – وَأَحْسِبُهُ قَالَ – وَكَالْقَائِمِ لاَ يَفْتُرُ وَكَالصَّائِمِ لاَ يُفْطِرُ
The one who looks after a widow or poor person is like the one who strives in the cause of Allah – and I think he also said – he is like the one who continuously stands for prayer without slacking and fasts without breaking.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
This hadith teaches us about the great reward for those who look after and take care of the widows and the poor by fulfilling their needs and being good to them. Such an individual takes responsibility for their interests, supplies, and whatever else they need. The ‘widow’ in the hadith is in reference to a woman whose husband has died, which has led her to poverty and loss in provisions. The ‘poor’ in the hadith is in reference to a person who does not have enough wealth to fulfill his/her needs.
The Prophet (ﷺ) likened the reward of someone who takes care of such people to that of a soldier fighting for the cause of Allah, a person standing at night in prayer, remembering Allah, and supplicating, or like the one who continuously fasts. Those who desire to do such things but cannot should strive to implement this hadith by taking care of the widows and the poor in hopes of being resurrected on the Day of Judgment with those who actually did such deeds and share in the same reward.
Hadith 10 – Virtue of Being a Muslim
مَا يُصِيبُ الْمُسْلِمَ مِنْ نَصَبٍ وَلاَ وَصَبٍ وَلاَ هَمٍّ وَلاَ حُزْنٍ وَلاَ أَذًى وَلاَ غَمٍّ حَتَّى الشَّوْكَةِ يُشَاكُهَا، إِلاَّ كَفَّرَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِنْ خَطَايَاهُ
No fatigue, illness, worry, sorrow, harm, grief, or even the prick of a thorn afflicts a Muslim except that Allah expiates some of his sins by it.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Those who are able to bear life’s afflictions with patience have a great reward waiting for them with Allah. As a form of mercy, Allah made tribulations as a means for the believers’ sins to be forgiven and to raise their ranks. This particular hadith gives the believers comfort because it teaches us that whatever problem a believer faces in this world, whether physical or psychological, then there is good in it for the believer. It does not matter whether that trouble is big or small in nature, it will be a means to expiate the believer’s minor sins by it.
The Prophet (ﷺ) gave some explicit examples of the various types of tribulations that may harm a Muslim in this life but it is not restricted to just them, rather, it can include anything that causes harm to the Muslim in any way whether physical or psychological. The important thing to remember is to be patient over it and hope for Allah’s reward through it. The hadith also teaches us about the abundant mercy of Allah over the believers by forgiving their sins with even a tiny amount of affliction that causes him/her harm in some way.
Hadith 11 – Rights of a Muslim
حَقُّ الْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ خَمْسٌ: رَدُّ السَّلَامِ وَعِيَادَةُ الْمَرِيضِ وَاتِّبَاعُ الْجَنَائِزِ وَإِجَابَةُ الدعْوَة و تَشْمِيتُ الْعَاطِس
A Muslim has five rights on another Muslim:
1 – Return the greeting of salam
2 – Visiting the sick
3 – Following the funeral
4 – Accepting an invitation
5 – Saying Yarhamuka Allah (God have mercy on you) to the one who sneezes
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Muslims are considered one brotherhood, hence, there are certain rights that each Muslim has on another due to this bond of brotherhood. The meaning of ‘right’ in the hadith is in reference to the right to sanctity and companionship. These five rights are to be fulfilled towards all Muslims whether they are righteous or not. They are as follows:
- Returning the greeting of salam – This is done when another Muslim begins the salam so the listener responds to this by either saying exactly the same or adding more to it. For example, a Muslim says, “Assalamu Aliaykum,” so the listener responds by saying, “Wa alaykum al-saalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.” The Muslim must respond if the salam was given to him/her individually but can refrain if it was given to a whole group of people to which he/she is part of. In the latter case, just one person from the group can respond to the salam and the remaining of the group is absolved from it. If an individual is given salam while he/she is in salah or in the restroom, then he/she is not required to respond.
- Visiting the sick – When a Muslim is sick then other Muslims should ask about the person, pray for the person, and visit him/her provided it does not harm the sick person. If we are not able to visit the sick Muslim, then we should just ask about their health from those familiar with their situation and pray for them. Visiting the sick strengthens the bonds of love between people.
- Following the funeral – This means participating in the deceased Muslim’s funeral prayer, walking behind his/her funeral to his/her burial place, and praying for mercy and forgiveness for him/her.
- Accepting an invitation – This is in reference to when a Muslim invites another Muslim to a feast such as a wedding feast (waleemah) or its like. This is part of intimacy and good companionship between people. A Muslim should accept such invitations from other Muslims and attend the event as long as there is nothing Islamically forbidden present at the occasion.
- Saying yarhamuka Allah – This is a prayer that is made for the one who sneezes and then says Alhamdulillah. This has a number of benefits: obtaining others’ love, joining the hearts, disciplining the soul by breaking its ego, obtaining humility, etc.
The above five are some of the things we can do to increase love and harmony between the ummah and remove hatred and grudges from the hearts. There are other narrations which mention some other rights as well which are not included in the above five like: assisting the oppressed, giving sincere advice to the one who seeks it, and fulfilling oaths.
Hadith 12 – Attending Funerals
مَنْ شَهِدَ جَنَازَةً حَتَّى يُصَلَّى عَلَيْهَا فَلَهُ قِيرَاطٌ وَمَنْ شَهِدَ حَتَّى تُدْفَنَ فَلَهُ قِيرَاطَانِ. قِيلَ: وَمَا الْقِيرَاطَانِ. قَالَ: مِثْلُ الْجَبَلَيْنِ الْعَظِيمَيْنِ
Whoever attends a funeral and prays over it, then he will have a qiraat and whoever remains there until the person is buried will have two qiraat. It was said to him, “What are two qiraat“? He (ﷺ) replied, “They are like two great mountains.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
There is strong encouragement in this hadith to attend the funeral prayer of your fellow Muslim and to accompany the deceased until he/she is buried. The exact magnitude of the reward for doing this is known only to Allah but we are told here that it is a heavy reward. The Prophet (ﷺ) compared this great reward to two huge mountains and some other hadiths suggest that one qiraat is equal to Mount Uhud in Medina. This hadith also shows us the great favor of Allah by rewarding us with so much while doing so little.
Hadith 13 – Not Criticizing Food
مَا عَابَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ طَعَامًا قَطُّ إِنِ اشْتَهَاهُ أَكَلَهُ وَإِنْ كَرِهَهُ تَرَكَهُ
The Prophet (ﷺ) would never find fault with food. If he desired it, he would eat. If he disliked it, he would leave it.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
This hadith shows the etiquette of good care towards Allah’s blessings and it is part of having good character. Food and drinks are from Allah’s sustenance which He bestows on us. When a person finds fault with a type of food that he/she dislikes, then it could be a rejection of Allah’s sustenance. Different people like different tastes and not everyone can be expected to like the same type of food. However, this does not mean that we should find fault with the blessings of Allah, rather, we should be grateful. If a person does not desire a certain type of food, then he/she can donate it away or gift it to a neighbor, friend, etc. but there is no need to find fault with Allah’s sustenance which He gave to the person. This is why the Prophet ﷺ would eat food if he desired it and leave it without criticism if he did not in order to assure that he does not show dislikeness towards Allah’s sustenance.
Hadith 14 – Hell and Paradise
حُجِبَتِ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ، وَحُجِبَتِ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ
The fire is surrounded by [unlawful] desires and paradise by difficulties.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
This hadith commands us to abstain from unlawful desires because they lead us to hellfire and to be patient over difficulties because it leads us to paradise. In order to obtain the great rewards with Allah, it is not sufficient to just wish for them in the mind, rather, the person must actively strive for them by overcoming one’s unlawful desires and doing whatever is loved and pleasing to Allah. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informed us that the hellfire is hidden behind unlawful desires, which teaches us that actively pursuing such desires will make us end up at that cursed destination. We should not be blinded or mesmerized just because we cannot ‘see’ the hellfire but it is what is behind the curtain, thus, we should take precautions to safeguard ourselves and our families from following unlawful desires.
The Prophet ﷺ also informed us in this hadith that paradise is hidden behind difficulties. The ‘difficulty’ here is in reference to whatever we have been commanded to do by Allah in this world and other noble acts, such as, striving to do acts of worship, patience over fulfilling His commands, abstaining from the prohibited, controlling anger, forgiving others, being forbearing, giving charity, being patient over unlawful desires, etc. The reason such things are called ‘difficult’ is because they are hard on the doer and not easy especially in a society where most people frequently violate Allah’s commands.
Hadith 15 – Remaining Silent During Friday Sermon
إِذَا قُلْتَ لِصَاحِبِكَ أَنْصِتْ وَالإِمَامُ يَخْطُبُ فَقَدْ لَغَوْتَ
If you said to your companion on Friday [during Jumu’ah prayer], “Listen!”, while the imaam is giving the sermon, then you’ve erred [by engaging in idle talk].
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Friday prayer has certain etiquette that should be followed by attendees. One of the most commonly violated etiquette is remaining silent while the imaam is giving the sermon. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ explicitly prohibits us from engaging in any type of discussion, no matter how short, during the Friday sermon even if it is to advise another. The Prophet ﷺ here used just one word (‘listen!’) to give as an example, logically, anything larger would be considered even more detestable. We should make every effort during the Friday sermon to remain silent throughout in compliance to this hadith.
The scholars differed whether it is absolutely forbidden to speak during the Friday sermon or whether it is only disliked. Some interpreted the Prophet’s ﷺ words here in reference to those who call on someone accidentally speaking to be silent and not when it is directed towards those who are clearly causing disruption during the sermon and making it impossible to hear the imaam speak. They opine that in the former case, the person speaking will either stop himself/herself or the imaam should request the person to be silent. As for the latter case, they opine, the people may use some bodily signals to let the person know to be silent but if he/she still persists, then such a person can be told to be silent in the least amount of words as possible.
There is a strict warning in this hadith from not listening to the Friday sermon and busying yourself with other things during it. We must remember that the Friday sermon is part of the Friday prayer itself, thus, we must respect it in the same way.
Hadith 16 – Cleaning the Mouth Before Prayer
لَوْلاَ أَنْ أَشُقَّ عَلَى أُمَّتِي لأَمَرْتُهُمْ بِالسِّوَاكِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ صَلاَةٍ
If I did not fear difficulty for my nation, then I would have commanded them to use the siwaak before every prayer.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
There is strong encouragement in this hadith for cleaning the mouth and making it smell good with the siwaak or something similar, such as, a toothbrush. We also learn from this hadith that the Prophet ﷺ was eager to make things easy for the people not difficult. He loved for others to clean and perfume themselves before prayer for anyone able to do so. The only reason he ﷺ avoided commanding it was so that it does not become burdensome on his followers. The siwaak is a piece of small stick taken from specific types of trees, such as the araak tree, by which the user rubs his teeth in order to clean them and freshen the mouth. It was the common method to brush the teeth during that time.
Hadith 17 – Washing Heels During Ablution
النَّبِي صلى الله عليه وسلم رَأَى رَجُلاً لَمْ يَغْسِلْ عَقِبَيْهِ فَقَالَ: “وَيْلٌ لِلأَعْقَابِ مِنَ النَّارِ”
The Prophet (ﷺ) saw a man who did not wash his heel [during ablution], so he (ﷺ) said, “Save the heels from the fire!”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
There is a strict warning and threat in this hadith against those who do not completely wash the designated body parts during ablution (wudu). Every body part required to be washed during ablution should be given its due right with the water. The Prophet ﷺ made this remark when he observed some of the companions rushing to make ablution and not paying close attention to their heels. He made a special emphasis for this particular body part because it is what is usually neglected by the masses during ablution. We learn from this hadith that we must fully wash all designated body parts especially paying close attention to those which are more likely to be neglected.
This hadith also teaches us how a teacher should teach the students in learning and guidance:
- The full version of this hadith states that the Prophet ﷺ made this remark three times. This is because repeating a phrase or concept multiple times helps the student absorb it better.
- A scholar should rebuke others when he sees them missing obligations and supererogatory acts (sunan) and should be firm about it. He may also raise his voice to reject a wrong action.
The hadith also teaches us that there is bodily punishment in the hereafter.
Hadith 18 – Following the Imam in Prayer
أَمَا يَخْشَى الَّذِي يَرْفَعُ رَأْسَهُ قَبْلَ الإِمَامِ أَنْ يُحَوِّلَ اللهُ رَأْسَهُ رَأْسَ حِمَارٍ
Isn’t the one who raises his head before the imaam [during prayer] afraid that Allah may change his head to that of a donkey?
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Congregational prayer has very specific guidelines and principles which should be learned and observed. One of the most important of these fundamentals is to follow the imaam in every step. The person praying behind the imaam should neither precede him in the next position nor overly delay it. The purpose of having an imaam in congregational prayer is so that he can be followed!
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ is strictly warning us from preceding the imaam in congregational prayer. In order to get the point across to his listeners, the Prophet ﷺ asks a rhetorical question. The donkey specifically is used as a reference because this particular animal is associated with dullness and stupidity. It is as if the Prophet ﷺ is saying that a person who races with the imaam is dull and lacks understanding just like a donkey! The strict warning in this hadith should make us all avoid racing with the imaam in prayer.
Hadith 19 – Virtue of Going to the Mosque
مَنْ غَدَا إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ أَوْ رَاحَ أَعَدَّ اللهُ لَهُ فِي الْجَنَّةِ نُزُلاً كُلَّمَا غَدَا أَوْ رَاحَ
Whenever someone goes to the mosque in the morning or evening, Allah prepares for him a place in paradise.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The mosques are the best places on earth. Whenever the heart of a person is connected to the mosque, the person finds comfort being inside of it worshiping their Lord. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informs us of some of the virtues of consistently going to the mosque for worship, especially congregational prayers, and the great reward that awaits such people in paradise. The words ‘morning’ and ‘evening’ are used to make the point that such a person is always going and returning from the mosque. It is part of such a person’s daily habit. What is meant by ‘place in paradise’ is that such a person will have an honorable place in paradise with good hospitality. This is one of many hadiths which strongly encourage being connected to the mosques for the worship of Allah and making them part of our lives.
Hadith 20 – Signs of a Hypocrite
آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلاَثٌ، إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ، وَإِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَانَ، وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ
The signs of a hypocrite are three:
1 – When he speaks, he lies
2 – When he’s trusted, he betrays
3 – When he promises, he breaks it
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Hypocrisy is mainly of two types:
- When it occurs in belief – This is the type that expels the person from the religion and it occurs when a person outwardly shows signs of being a Muslim but inwardly disbelieves in his/her heart.
- When it occurs in deeds – This is the type that does not expel the person from the religion and it occurs when a person resembles only the behavior of true hypocrites in certain deeds. It is considered one of the major sins in Islam.
This hadith is exclusively concerning the second category above, when hypocrisy occurs in a person’s deeds not belief. The Prophet ﷺ highlighted three characteristics of such people in order to warn us away from behaving in the same manner.
The first characteristic of such a person is that he/she intentionally lies when speaking. The second characteristic is that the person intentionally desires to betray the trust of people. The third characteristic is that the person intends to purposely break their promise when he/she makes it.
The hadith warns us against the above three characteristics because they resemble the behavior of those who are hypocrites in belief and such qualities are unworthy of believers.
Hadith 21 – Clothes Below the Ankles
مَا أَسْفَلَ مِنَ الْكَعْبَيْنِ مِنَ الإِزَارِ فَفِي النَّارِ
Whatever of the lower garment falls below the ankles is in the fire.
Islam is an inclusive religion which covers all aspects of one’s life whether it deals with worship, business transactions, food, manners, and even clothes. In this hadith, there is a strict warning against those who extend their clothes below the ankles. The meaning of ‘in the fire’ could be in reference to the person being punished for doing such an act in the afterlife or that the specific body part below the ankle will be punished by burning.
The scholars differed whether this is in reference to only those who do this out of arrogance or whether it is generic and applies to all situations with the exception of women. The first group of scholars, which is the majority, restricted its meaning to only those who do so out of arrogance because there are others hadiths on the topic which specifically mention arrogance as being the reason, for example the hadith, “Whoever drags his garment [on the ground] out of arrogance, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Judgment” (Bukhari and Muslim). Some among this group opined that wearing clothes below the ankles without arrogance is disliked but not absolutely forbidden.
The second group of scholars took the hadith literally and opined that it applies to all situations whether done out of arrogance or not. They only made an exception for women.
Hadith 22 – Virtue of Waiting for the Prayer in the Mosque
الْمَلاَئِكَةُ تُصَلِّي عَلَى أَحَدِكُمْ مَا دَامَ فِي مُصَلاَّهُ الَّذِي صَلَّى فِيهِ، مَا لَمْ يُحْدِثْ، تَقُولُ اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لَهُ اللَّهُمَّ ارْحَمْهُ
The angels continue to pray for one of you as long as he remains in his place of prayer provided he does not break his ablution. The angels say, “O Allah! Forgive him. O Allah! Have mercy on him.“
This is part of a longer hadith in which the Prophet ﷺ speaks about a person who goes to the mosque to pray and waits for the prayer to begin, thus, there is strong encouragement to arrive early to the mosque before the prayer begins. In such a situation, the supplication of angels is made conditional as long as we remain in our place of prayer and this blessing continues to be active as long as we do not invalidate our ablution. Some scholars interpreted the words مَا لَمْ يُحْدِثْ to mean that as long as the person does not do an act of disobedience to Allah and did not relate it to invalidation of ablution.
The angels specifically ask Allah to forgive and have mercy on the person. There is a difference between forgiveness and mercy. The former refers to hiding the person’s sins and overlooking them while the latter refers to being benevolent towards the person.
Hadith 23 – Obeying the Prophet
كُلُّ أُمَّتِي يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ، إِلاَّ مَنْ أَبَى. قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ يَأْبَى. قَالَ: مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ، وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَقَدْ أَبَى
“Every person from my nation will enter paradise except the one who refuses.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allah, and who will refuse?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Whoever obeyed me, then he entered paradise. Whoever disobeyed me, then he refused.”
Part of the testimony of faith is our firm believe that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is the messenger of Allah sent to all mankind as the final prophet. Therefore, this necessitates that we obey him in everything he commands us to do and abstain from whatever he forbids us to do. Allah says in the Qur’an [meaning of which is], “O believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger” (Qur’an 4:59).
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informs us that his nation will enter paradise on the Day of Judgment except for those who disobey him by not complying to his commands. The meaning here is that whoever sticks to the Qur’an and Sunnah enters paradise but whoever follows his/her desires deviates from the right path and goes astray, thereby, refusing to enter paradise and choosing for himself/herself to enter the hellfire.
The scholars differed as to what is meant by ‘my nation’. Some opine it refers to non-Muslims who have not yet accepted the message of Islam while others opine that it refers exclusively to Muslims. If what is meant is the former, then the meaning becomes that they will enter hellfire due to not accepting the message of Islam with which the Prophet ﷺ was sent. If what is meant is the latter, then it is a strong discouragement to the believers from engaging in sinful acts.
The hadith teaches us that obedience to the Prophet ﷺ obligates paradise while disobedience to him obligates the hellfire.
Hadith 24 – Danger of Calling Another Muslim a Disbeliever
إِذَا قَالَ الرَّجُلُ لأَخِيهِ يَا كَافِرُ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِهِ أَحَدُهُمَا
If a man said to his [Muslim] brother, “O Kaafir (disbeliever)”, then that [statement] will return to one of them.
Giving the verdict of disbelief towards a fellow Muslim without proof is a serious matter and should never be taken lightly. We should be extremely cautious and make excuses for our fellow Muslims and think good of them especially when the judgment is based solely on hearsay and without verification.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ is telling us that when a Muslim calls another Muslim a disbeliever, judging him/her to be as such, then this accusation will return back to one of them. If the accusation is actually true and justified towards the accused, then it would be valid. However, if the accusation is unjustified, then it will return back on the accuser, thus, it will be like as if such a Muslim is calling his/her own self a disbeliever!
We should never rush to judge people and always adopt the path of advising others with compassion not harshness because people are more likely to respond and hear what you have to say when they are advised with kindness, otherwise, they can become more insistent out of resentment towards the harsh person. This is especially the case when the adviser has a lower rank than the one being advised, such as, a son/daughter advising a parent.
Hadith 25 – Repentance
لَلَّهُ أَشَدُّ فَرَحًا بِتَوْبَةِ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْ أَحَدِكُمْ بِضَالَّتِهِ إِذَا وَجَدَهَا
Allah is more joyous with the repentance of one of you than you are when you find your lost animal.
In this hadith, we learn that when a slave of Allah sincerely repents to Him, Allah is delighted of the slave’s return back to Him. In other versions of the hadith, the example given is that of a traveler who loses his camel in the middle of a desert with all of his provisions for the journey on it, losing all hope, when suddenly discovering it standing before him! Imagine the amount of joy and delight such a traveler would feel. The Prophet ﷺ is telling us here that Allah is even more delighted and joyous than that traveler when a slave of His returns back to Him in repentance for his/her sins. The door of repentance is always open until death or, as a hadith states, when the sun rises from the West in the end times.
Hadith 26 – Spreading Greeting of Salam
لاَ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّى تُؤْمِنُوا، وَلاَ تُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُّوا، أَوَلاَ أَدُلُّكُم عَلَى شَيْءٍ إِذَا فَعَلْتُمُوهُ تَحَابَبْتُم، أَفْشُوا السَّلاَمَ بَيْنَكُمْ
You will not enter paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another. Should I direct you to that which will cause you to love one another? Spread the greeting of peace among yourselves.
The Prophet ﷺ used to teach his companions, by extension his ummah, righteous actions which raise their ranks in the afterlife and benefit them in this life. One of these main teachings revolved around the idea of promoting love between Muslims and warning them away from discord and quarrel.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ is teaching us that one of the ways to spread love and harmony among Muslims is to spread the Islamic greeting of peace: Asslam u Aliekum or we can also add to it by saying wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu . The believers loving one another is part of the perfection of their faith. Faith can never be truly completed without such love between the believers. Spreading the greeting of peace does not mean merely saying it with the tongue, rather, the believer must make it apparent and act according to it. Allah specifically legislated this greeting for His believing slaves to give one another whether they know each other or not.
When the believers sincerely spread this greeting among themselves, show it, and act with each other according to it, it leads to harmony and mutual love between them. This, as a result, leads to the completion of their faith. Rancor, boycott, and parting ways with one another leads to separation between the Muslims thereby weakening them. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Prophet ﷺ wanted his ummah to behave with each other in ways which build mutual love and harmony between them not hatred.
Hadith 27 – Expiation of Sins
الصَّلَوَاتُ الْخَمْسُ وَالْجُمُعَةُ إِلَى الْجُمُعَةِ وَرَمَضَانُ إِلَى رَمَضَانَ مُكَفِّرَاتٌ مَا بَيْنَهُنَّ إِذَا اجْتَنَبَ الْكَبَائِرَ
The five daily prayers, one Friday prayer to the next, and one Ramadan to the next are an expiation for whatever happened between them as long as the major sins are avoided.
Mankind was created weak, thus, we make mistakes and engage in sinful actions by our very nature. There are also many instances in which our inner lowly selves (nafs) or the Shaytaan overpower us and we end up doing things we are not permitted to in the religion. Allah made certain deeds, provided we do them while abstaining from major sins, as expiation for the minor sins that we all commit on a daily basis. From among these deeds are performing acts of worship with all of its conditions.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ specifically informs us about three acts of worship, the five daily prayers, the Friday prayer, and fasting in the month of Ramadan, which expiate our inevitable minor sins as long as we do these three acts of worship on a regular basis with all of their conditions and pillars fulfilled and avoid the major sins. This shows the great role that prayer (salah) and fasting play in wiping away our sins.
As was mentioned previously above, major sins require sincere repentance and good deeds alone will not suffice to wipe them out. There are various opinions among scholars on how exactly to define major sins. Some of the definitions of major sins include:
- Sins which come with a threat of punishment in the Qur’an or Sunnah.
- Sins for which there is a prescribed punishment mentioned in the Qur’an or Sunnah either in this life or the next.
- Sins for which the doer is said to be cursed in the Qur’an or Sunnah.
- Some restricted it to the seven destructive sins that are mentioned in a specific hadith: to join partners with Allah, practice black magic, murdering an innocent person, usury, eat the property of the orphan, to give one’s back to the enemy and fleeing from the battle-field at the time of fighting, and to falsely accuse chaste women of fornication.
- There are other opinions as well.
We also learn from this hadith about the mercy of Allah over us and how He grants us great rewards for doing small deeds. He opens generous opportunities for us to compensate for our constant mistakes.
Hadith 28 – The Best Type of Fasting and Prayer
أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ شَهْرِ رَمَضَانَ شَهْرُ اللهِ الْمُحَرَّمُ وَأَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الْفَرِيضَةِ صَلاَةُ اللَّيْلِ
The best fast after Ramadan is in the month of Allah: Muharram. The best prayer after the obligatory one is the night prayer.
There are certain times and places which are more sacred than others and when a believer does acts of worship at those times and in those places, he/she is rewarded more than if he/she were to do that exact same worship in other times and places.
The first thing we learn from this hadith is that obligatory acts take precedence over optional acts. The latter are only done when the former are completed. Then the Prophet ﷺ informs us about two optional acts which bring the slave closer to Allah. The first of these is fasting in the month of Muharram and the second is the night prayer.
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Hijri calendar. It is the beginning of the Islamic new year. It is one of the sacred months in which warfare is prohibited. The reason it is called the ‘month of Allah’ is to show its importance and greatness and it is one of the rhetorical devices used in the Arabic language. Whenever there is a need to show the importance or greatness of something, it is attributed to Allah. This is why we also have phrases like: prophet of Allah, house of Allah, etc. Some scholars opine that the reason this is the best month could be due to the following reasons:
- So that we may start off the year in worship and doing good deeds. In the same way, we start off the day with Fajr prayer and certain supplications mentioned in the Sunnah, which are popularly called the ‘adhkaar of the morning and evening.’
- Since warfare is forbidden this month, it makes it easier to fast for even soldiers since fighting while fasting can be difficult.
What is meant by ‘the night prayer’ in this hadith is that which is done in the last one-third of the night which is also popularly known as the tahajjud prayer. Some scholars opine that the reasons for this could be the following:
- It is more likely to be a sincere prayer for the sake of Allah alone because you have nobody to show off to.
- The person is unoccupied and free of any daily concerns at that time so can just focus on the prayer itself and connecting with Allah. During the day, the mind is usually racing with other tasks to be completed so the person is easily distracted and unable to focus on worship.
- The person has an easier time connecting with the Qur’an during that late at night and not forgetting verses while reciting from memory because of the reasons mentioned above.
Hadith 29 – Repenting Before the Sun Rises from the West
مَنْ تَابَ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا تَابَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ
Whoever repents before the sun rises from the west, Allah will accept his repentance.
There is encouragement in this hadith for us to hasten to repent to Allah before a time comes when it will not be accepted. This hadith makes mention of one of the signs of the Day of Judgment when the sun will rise from the west. At that time, a disbeliever or sinner repenting will have no benefit and such a person’s repentance will not be accepted. This means there is still time now to repent and turn back to Allah. Some opine that this is the meaning of the verse in the Qur’an, “On the Day some of your Lord’s signs arrive, belief will not benefit those who did not believe earlier or those who did no good through their faith” (Qur’an 6:158).
There is another thing that restricts the repentance from being accepted and that is when the time of death comes and the soul of the person has reached his/her throat. It is the very last moment before death. The Qur’an alludes to this in the verse, “Repentance is not accepted from those who knowingly persist in sin until they start dying, and then cry, “Now I repent!”” (Qur’an 4:18).
Some scholars opine that the reason repentance is not accepted during these two times may be because the true reality becomes apparent to them during that time and they have seen the truth with their eyes, thus, the test is considered over. The whole point of this life is to be tested and to submit and be obedient to Allah through belief, but when the person sees the truth then where is the test of belief? Imagine a teacher that gives all of the answers to the final exam to the students. What is the benefit of this exam when all of the students already know the answers? It is no longer a test of their knowledge and understanding. The Qur’an states, “When they saw Our punishment, they cried, “˹Now˺ we believe in Allah alone and reject what we had been associating with Him!” But their faith was of no benefit to them when they saw Our torment. This has ˹always˺ been Allah’s way ˹of dealing˺ with His ˹wicked˺ servants” (Qur’an 40:84-85).
Repentance has three conditions for it to be considered sincere:
- Stop doing the sin.
- Feeling regret over the sin.
- A firm commitment not to return back to the sin.
Some scholars also state that there is a fourth condition when the sin relates to other people’s rights and is not exclusive to the rights of Allah. This is to return the right back to its owner unless the person forgives the sinner. For example, if a person stole money from another, then in addition to the three conditions above, the thief would be required to return the amount back to the one from whom he/she stole the money unless the victim forgives the thief.
In short, this hadith is about rushing us to repent to Allah before it is too late and not to delay it. It also discourages us from feeling despair and becoming despondent due to the amount or severity of our sins. Allah is able to forgive all sins, no matter their amount or severity, as long as the person is sincere in his/her repentance. We also learn that the sun rising from the west is one of the major signs of the Day of Judgment.
Hadith 30 – Trimming the Mustache and Growing the Beard
جُزُّوا الشَّوَارِبَ وَأَرْخُوا اللِّحَى خَالِفُوا الْمَجُوسَ
Trim the mustache and leave the beard. Differ from the Magians.
Islam is keen on Muslims safeguarding and building their own unique Muslim identity, which distinguishes them from other nations. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ commands his companions to differ from the Magians by shortening their mustaches and growing their beards. The Magians used to do the opposite. Some opine that one of the wisdoms behind the command to trim the mustache may be so that it does not harm the food of the person eating because dirt can gather in the mustache.
A number of different rulings were derived from this hadith in combination with others but the scholars differed over the details:
- The scholars differed over exactly what is considered a ‘beard’ in the Arabic language. Some opine that it refers to hair that grows on cheeks and chin while others exclude the cheeks and restricted it to chin and the two jawbones.
- The scholars differed whether the command here is an obligation on men or just a recommendation. The Shafis took the command to be a recommendation only while the majority understood it to be an obligation.
- The exact length of the beard is also differed on by scholars, while some understood it literally others had a more nuanced view. It is reported that the companion Ibn Umar, who is one of the narrators of the hadith about growing the beard, used to cut whatever exceeded a fist’s length. This led some scholars to opine that the same amount can be taken from the beard while others concluded from it that it shows if the beard gets a bit out of control, we can tidy it up by trimming it from different sides to make it look more neat. There are some scholars who also hold the opinion that as long as it can be considered a ‘beard’, it is what is meant in the hadith without specifying any particular length requirements.
The hadith shows us that Islamic law cares not just about a Muslim’s inside but also his/her outer appearance.
Hadith 31 – Value of Dhikr
لَأَنْ أَقُولَ (سُبْحَانَ اللهِ، وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ، وَلاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ، وَاللهُ أَكْبَرُ)، أَحَبُّ إِلَيَّ مِمَّا طَلَعَتْ عَلَيْهِ الشَّمسُ
That I say: SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaaha illa Allah, and Allahu Akbar is more beloved to me than everything the sun rises on.
The remembrance of Allah (dhikr) brings ease to the soul and heart and fills it with tranquility. This remembrance could be in the form of glorifying Allah, praising Him, reciting the Qur’an, making supplications, etc. There is great reward waiting for those who engage in the dhikr of Allah.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ mentioned four phrases of dhikr which he considered more beloved to him than all that is on earth. It is important to note that to Allah this whole world is not worth even the wing of a mosquito as the Prophet ﷺ said, “If to Allah the world was equal to a mosquito’s wing, then He would not allow a disbeliever to have even a sip of its water” (Tirmidhi 2320). The same was the case for His prophets.
These four phrases are one of the best ways to make dhikr to Allah but there are other hadiths which teach us that the best form of dhikr is to recite the Qur’an. Similarly, there are certain types of dhikr assigned to specific situations and times which take precedence in those situations and times. For example, specific supplications and phrases for entering the mosque, exiting the house, before eating, after eating, before breaking the fast, before sexual intercourse, entering the home, exiting the mosque, after awakening, before sleeping, etc.
The meanings of the four phrases mentioned in the hadith are as follows:
SubhanAllah (May Allah be glorified) – this means to negate from Allah all types of flaws and weaknesses and to describe Him with total perfection worthy of His majesty.
Alhamdulillah (All praise belongs to Allah) – this is to recognize and acknowledge that Allah alone is worthy of all praise and gratitude because He is the origin of everything. Whatever good comes in our life is due to Him alone.
La ilaaha illa Allah (There is no deity except Allah) – it is the phrase of monotheism and it means that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone without any partners.
Allahu Akbar (Allah is greater) – this means that Allah is greater than everything else in existence. There is nothing in the universe that matters more than Allah.
The above four phrases contain within them Allah’s transcendence, praise, oneness, and greatness, thus, they gather the best of Allah’s attributes in one place all at once, hence, there is strong encouragement to engage with these specific phrases in dhikr.
Hadith 32 – Betraying the Muslims
مَنْ حَمَلَ عَلَيْنَا السِّلاَحَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا وَمَنْ غَشَّنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا
Whoever carried weapons against us is not from among us and whoever cheated us is not from among us.
Bloodshed is considered a very serious offense in Islamic law, in fact when it comes to rights of others, murder will be the first crime to be judged between creatures on the Day of Resurrection. In the Qur’an, Allah threatens those who unjustly kill a believer:
Whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment (Qur’an 4:93).
Due to the seriousness of this matter, the Prophet ﷺ warned about carrying weapons against fellow Muslims regardless of whether it is to terrorize them, loot them, or wage war against them. He ﷺ further elaborated that whoever were to do this hideous act, then such a person would not be considered following the path of Muslims.
The hadith also warns against betraying others’ trust. Business transactions and worldly affairs require trust in order to be fulfilled without dispute. If people do not trust each other, then they cannot transform into a cohesive community where people engage with each other in a truthful and honest manner. Betrayal of trust brings woes to society with hatred and bickering among people. The Prophet ﷺ in this hadith warns that whoever betrays the Muslims, in whichever manner, then that person is not following Islamic guidance nor the way of the Prophet ﷺ.
Hadith 33 – Deeds After Death
إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَمَلُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ ثَلاَثٍ: صَدَقَةٌ جَارِيَةٌ وَعِلْمٌ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ وَوَلَدٌ صَالِحٌ يَدْعُو لَهُ
When a person dies, then all his deeds come to an end except for three:
1 – A continuous charity
2 – Knowledge left behind that continues to benefit
3 – A righteous child who prays for him
Among the mercy of Allah is that He has made many avenues for us to increase our ranks and have our sins forgiven even after death. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informs us that with death our deeds come to an end and we can no longer increase on our own except in three cases.
This is when someone leaves behind charity which continues to provide benefit to its beneficiaries, such as, an endowment.
Knowledge Left Behind That Continues to Benefit
This is when someone spreads knowledge while alive from which people continue to benefit even after his death, such as, teaching someone to recite the Qur’an, teaching religious knowledge, teaching a particular skill to someone who continues to use it to benefit himself, etc. Notice that the Prophet ﷺ specified only knowledge that benefits, which means knowledge that does not benefit will provide no reward to the deceased after death.
A Righteous Child Who Prays for Him
This is when a righteous child left behind continues to supplicate for the parent even after death. Notice that the Prophet ﷺ specified children who are righteous, which means the opposite types will not benefit their parents after death. Parents benefit from the good deeds of their children after death even if they do not supplicate for them but the Prophet ﷺ specifically mentioned supplication in order to encourage children to pray for their parents after their demise. This is the same as someone who plants a fruit tree and is rewarded for anyone who eats from its fruits whether the eater supplicates for him or not.
It should be noted that these three deeds are not the only types that benefit the dead because there are other hadiths which state if someone started something good and others followed, then the initiator will be rewarded not just for his own action but for even those who follow him/her in it (see Hadith #36 below). Perhaps the Prophet ﷺ specified these three deeds only because they establish a basis for goodness and is what most people of virtue intend to leave behind after their deaths.
This hadith teaches us a number of lessons:
- To do good to parents even after their deaths by supplicating for them.
- To teach beneficial knowledge and spread it among the people.
- To invest in charities that will continue to provide benefit even after death.
- To raise righteous children so that they may benefit us after death when we will not be able to do anything for ourselves.
Hadith 34 – What to Say While Dying
لَقِّنُوا مَوْتَاكُمْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ
Instruct your dying ones to say: La ilaha illa Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah)
This hadith shows how eager the Prophet ﷺ was to benefit his ummah and would guide them to words or actions that could be of benefit to them, even at the time of their deaths. In this hadith, he encouraged Muslims to instruct their dying ones with the words of tawheed, La ilaaha illa Allah. This is to be done when the pangs of death come upon the dying and should be periodically repeated until the dying person says it. If the dying person is able to say it, then it is hoped that it will be a protection for him/her from the punishment of the afterlife. However, it is disliked to continuously repeat it in such a way that it might annoy the dying person due to the severity of his/her anguish in that moment and he/she may say something inappropriate in response due to distress.
Hadith 35 – Lying About the Prophet ﷺ
مَنْ كَذَبَ عَلَىَّ مُتَعَمِّدًا فَلْيَتَبَوَّأْ مَقْعَدَهُ مِنَ النَّارِ
Whoever deliberately lies about me, then let him take his seat in the Fire.
Lying against the Prophet ﷺ is a great crime and is unlike lying against someone else because it leads to invalidating and altering the religion of Islam. The Prophet ﷺ here warns that those who do such a thing are only preparing themselves to be entered into Hell on the Day of Judgment. It is a strong rebuke from him to deter others from committing such a major sin.
This hadith is regarding those who intentionally lie against the Prophet ﷺ and includes those who falsely attribute statements, actions, or tacit approvals to him.
Hadith 36 – Those Who Call Others to Guidance or Misguidance
مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ مِنَ الأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنْ يَتَّبِعُهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا وَمَنْ دَعَا إِلَى ضَلاَلَةٍ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الإِثْمِ مِثْلُ آثَامِ مَنْ يَتَّبِعُهُ لاَ يَنْقُصُ ذَلِكَ مِنْ آثَامِهِمْ شَيْئًا
Whoever called others to guidance, then he will receive a reward similar to whoever followed him without it decreasing from either of them. Whoever called others to misguidance, then he will receive a sin similar to whoever followed him without it decreasing from either of them.
This hadith is quite self-explanatory.
Whoever calls others to guidance, then he/she will be rewarded with the same reward as those who follow him/her in that guidance without it diminishing anything from them. We should try our best to encourage and influence others in a positive manner with good deeds that will benefit them in this life and the afterlife. Imagine the amount of good deeds a person would accumulate on the Day of Judgment if someone started something good in his/her life and the people followed him/her in that generation after generation. It does not need to be something grand but could be as simple as teaching a child to recite Fatiha, teaching good manners, funding a school, writing a book or article, publishing a da’wah video on YouTube, etc.
Whoever calls others to misguidance, then he/she will carry the same sin as those who follow him/her in that misguidance without it diminishing anything from them. This is why we must assure that we do not encourage or influence others in such a way that they follow us in our sins and evil habits. A person who sins secretly without encouraging and influencing others is better than the person who sins openly and encourages others to follow him/her in it. Imagine the amount of evil deeds a person would accumulate on the Day of Judgment if someone started something evil in his/her life and the people followed him/her in that generation after generation. There are numerous examples of this today, such as, starting or introducing others to pornographic websites, teaching others to steal, leading others to atheism, leading others to evil addictions, etc.
Hadith 37 – Minor Shirk
قَالَ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى: أَنَا أَغْنَى الشُّرَكَاءِ عَنْ الشِّرْكِ؛ مَنْ عَمِلَ عَمَلًا أَشْرَكَ مَعِي غَيْرِي، تَرَكْتُهُ وَشِرْكَهُ
Allah, the Exalted and Blessed, said: “I am of those most without need to be associated with partners. Whoever performed a deed for Me and associated a partner with me in it as well, then I leave him and whatever he associated with me.”
Minor shirk (polytheism) is everything that is prohibited by Islamic law and leads to major shirk. In other words, it is a means of falling into it but does not take one out of the fold of Islam. One of the types of minor shirk is showing off, which is a quality of the hypocrites.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informs us that Allah the Almighty said, “I am of those most without need to be associated with partners,” which means that Allah is self-sufficient and needs nothing, there is no equal to Him and He alone is the giver. If a person performs an act of obedience that is meant to be done exclusively for Allah but he/she does it for Allah and someone other than Him, then Allah will neither accept it nor reward him/her for it. For example, if a person performs the daily prayer (salah) for the sake of Allah and for the sake of showing off to the people, then Allah will not accept such a person’s prayer. Allah is the creator and sustainer of all things and people should not associate partners with Him in acts of obedience. People should be sincere in their worship of Him and direct it solely towards Him.
We are informed through this hadith that Allah frees Himself from any act that is not done sincerely for His sake and is contaminated with the defect of shirk. Such acts will be rejected and not accepted by Allah, who only accepts actions that are done purely for His sake, without mixing it with the desire for personal gain, recognition, or showing off.
Hadith 38 – Sending Blessings on the Prophet
مَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيَّ وَاحِدَةً صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ عشرا
Whoever sent one blessing on me, Allah will send ten blessings on him.
From Allah’s generosity to His Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is that He made the testimony of monotheism associated with the testimony of the Prophet’s messengership. And from Allah’s mercy and bounty upon the Ummah is that He made sending blessings and peace upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ a multiplied reward and a great merit.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever sent one blessing on me…” and the word “salah” (here translated as “blessing”) can either mean supplicating for him, just as we do while reciting the darood, or it can mean seeking glorification and reverence for him from Allah. It is then explained that the reward for this act is of the same kind as the act itself. So whoever asks Allah to praise His Messenger ﷺ, Allah will praise such a person ten times and increase his honor and respect. What does it mean for Allah to send ‘blessings’ upon His slaves. There are a number of interpretations:
- Some say it means that Allah praises them in the highest gathering with the angels.
- Some said what is meant is His mercy towards them and that He has mercy on them time after time until this mercy reaches that number.
- Some also said that the meaning of His prayer upon them is His care and concern for them and bringing them out of darkness into nobility and light, as He says in the Quran, “He is the One Who showers His blessings upon you—and His angels pray for you—so that He may bring you out of darkness and into light.” [Quran 33:43]
What this means is that sending blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is better than supplicating for oneself because as a result Allah Himself will send blessings on the slave and His mercy.
Hadith 39 – Sacredness of a Muslim’s Blood, Wealth, and Honor
كُلُّ الْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ دَمُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعِرْضُهُ
Every Muslim’s blood, wealth, and honor are forbidden for other Muslims to violate.
This hadith highlights the sanctity of a Muslim’s life and the importance of respecting your fellow Muslims’ rights. It teaches that harming another Muslim in any way is a serious sin and a violation of Islamic law.
The hadith also emphasizes the idea of brotherhood and unity among Muslims. Muslims are considered as one body and the harm done to any part of the body affects the whole body. Therefore, it is important for Muslims to be compassionate and kind towards each other and to refrain from causing harm or injustice to each other.
In summary, the hadith teaches that all Muslims are forbidden from harming each other in any way, whether through tongue or hand, and that their blood, property, and honor are sacred and must be protected.
Hadith 40 – Charity and Humility
مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ وَمَا زَادَ اللهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزًّا وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللهُ
Charity does not decrease wealth, Allah increases the honor of the slave who pardons [others], and whoever humbles himself for Allah’s sake, He will raise him [in status].
Charity with one’s wealth purifies it and increases blessings in it. It is an act of obedience to Allah and a means of enriching the needy. Through charity, the giver cuts off the causes of evil in people’s hearts.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ clarifies that charity does not diminish one’s wealth; rather, it multiplies it through the blessings it brings. These blessings manifest in various forms within oneself, one’s family, and one’s wealth. Even if the form of wealth physically appears to decrease, the reward for it is increased in multitudes.
Allah never increases a servant who forgives another, while capable of exacting retribution, except in honor, authority, and greatness in the hearts of others. It can also refer to an increase in reward in the Hereafter in the presence of Allah.
Whenever someone humbles themselves before Allah by lowering themselves from a position they deserve, solely for the sake of seeking closeness to Allah without any other motive, Allah elevates them either in this world, the Hereafter, or both. Humility is defeat and subservience and its opposite is arrogance and pride.
This hadith also highlights the virtue of giving charity, the excellence of forgiveness and pardoning, and how those known for forgiveness and pardon are honored and esteemed in the hearts of people.
Furthermore, it emphasizes the virtue of humility before Allah, recognizing one’s insignificance, refraining from self-admiration, and negating pride.
Hadith 41 – Backbiting
قَالَ ” أَتَدْرُونَ مَا الْغِيبَةُ ” . قَالُوا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَعْلَمُ . قَالَ ” ذِكْرُكَ أَخَاكَ بِمَا يَكْرَهُ ” . قِيلَ أَفَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ كَانَ فِي أَخِي مَا أَقُولُ قَالَ ” إِنْ كَانَ فِيهِ مَا تَقُولُ فَقَدِ اغْتَبْتَهُ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيهِ فَقَدْ بَهَتَّهُ”
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Do you know what is backbiting?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He (ﷺ) said, “When you mention your brother in a way that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if that which I mention exists in my brother?” He (ﷺ) replied, “If what you mention exists in him, then you committed backbiting against him. If what you mention does not exist in him, then you have slandered him.”
Islam has prohibited us from discussing the faults of others and has strongly condemned backbiting, categorizing it as one of the major sins. Backbiting is unfortunately widespread among people and it is rare to find someone completely free from it.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ asked his companions, “Do you know what is backbiting?” They replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” This response shows their respect for Allah and His Messenger because they deferred knowledge to them. The Prophet ﷺ then explained that backbiting is mentioning your brother in a way that he dislikes. In other words, it is speaking ill of a fellow Muslim, whether it pertains to his physical appearance, religion, worldly matters, personality, character, or anything else related to him. This applies whether you mention him explicitly or indirectly through gestures or signs.
Allah, the Most High, has warned against backbiting in His Noble Book, saying, “And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it” [Quran 49:12].
Some of the companions asked whether it is considered backbiting if the mentioned faults in a person are accurate. The Prophet ﷺ replied that if what you said about him is true, then you have indeed backbitten him. If what you said is false, then it is slander (buhtan), which is an even greater sin than backbiting.
Although backbiting is prohibited, there are certain situations in which it may be permissible for a valid reason. For example, warning someone about a wrongdoer or advising someone about a potential marriage partner or business associate. In these cases, the intention must be sincere and the information shared should be relevant and necessary.
This hadith clarifies the concept of backbiting, distinguishes it from slander, emphasizes the prohibition of both, and highlights the Prophet’s ﷺ role in teaching his companions the correct concepts while admonishing them against evil character traits.
Hadith 42 – Remembering Allah
“سَبَقَ الْمُفَرِّدُونَ. قَالُوا وَمَا الْمُفَرِّدُونَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ قَالَ ” الذَّاكِرُونَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا وَالذَّاكِرَاتُ
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The al-Mufarridoon have preceded!” They asked, “Who are the al-Mufarridoon?” He (ﷺ) replied, “Those men and women who remember Allah much.”
The term “mufarridun” literally refers to those who are solitary or alone, but in this context, it refers to individuals who strive for spiritual excellence by remembering Him frequently. It is as if the men and women who remember are isolated from the rest of their peers by what they do in terms of remembrance and the reward they receive for it.
The one who remembers much is the one who never forgets the Lord, the Most High, under any circumstance, not mere repetition in various languages. What is meant are those who are singled out for the worship of Allah, self-sufficient in His remembrance, deeply engrossed in His contemplation, fulfilling their duty of gratitude, detached from others.
Remembering Allah (dhikr) can be done in many ways, such as, reciting Qur’an, making tasbeeh, learning Islamic knowledge, offering prayers, making supplications, etc.
Hadith 43 – What Really Matters
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ
Allah does not look at your faces and wealth but He looks at your hearts and deeds.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us that people are not distinguished by their physical appearances or wealth, but rather by the purity of their hearts, their reverence for Allah, and their commitment to righteous deeds. This is evident in this hadith where the Prophet ﷺ says, “Allah does not look at your faces and wealth.” This means that Allah, in His judgment, does not consider the physical attributes of His servants, whether they are old or young, beautiful or plain. Nor does He judge them by their wealth, whether it is abundant or meager. Allah does not hold His servants accountable for these matters or for the variations among them in these aspects.
Instead, Allah looks at “your hearts,” meaning He examines the hearts to see whether they contain piety, certainty, sincerity, and the intention for His sake. He considers the presence or absence of qualities like truthfulness, sincerity, and the intention to please Allah rather than seeking to show off. Allah also evaluates “your deeds” to see whether they are righteous or corrupt. Based on these criteria, Allah rewards or punishes His servants. There is no connection between Allah and His creation except through piety. Whoever is more pious before Allah is closer to Him and is honored in His sight.
Therefore, a person should not boast about their wealth, beauty, physical strength, children, or worldly possessions. Rather, when Allah grants someone the ability to be righteous, then this is a favor from Him to them so they should praise Him for it. If a person is unsuccessful, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
We learn from this hadith:
- Emphasis on relying on one’s intentions and having a pure and sincere intention.
- Warning against focusing on outward appearances at the expense of rectifying the inner self.
- Profound impact of the heart on the righteousness or corruption of one’s actions.
Hadith 44 – Blessing of Surah al-Baqarah
لاَ تَجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ مَقَابِرَ إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنْفِرُ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ الَّذِي تُقْرَأُ فِيهِ سُورَةُ الْبَقَرَةِ
Do not make your homes into graveyards. Verily, the devil flees from the house in which Surah al-Baqarah is read.
Muslim homes should be safeguarded from Satan and filled with light and blessings. This is achieved through acts of worship within them, such as remembrance, prayer, supplication, Quran recitation, and more. The recitation of the Qur’an in a home brings goodness and blessings to the place where it is recited. It is considered a Divine connection and brings tranquility to the souls, warding off evil forces from the homes where it is recited, especially Surah Al-Baqarah.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ advises not to turn homes into graveyards, meaning not to make them devoid of remembrance and obedience to Allah. Instead, allocate a portion of your homes for the recitation of the Qur’an and prayer. It is narrated in an authentic hadith that Ibn Umar reported the Prophet ﷺ saying, “Designate a portion of your homes for your prayers, and do not turn them into graves.”
The Prophet ﷺ also explains that Satan flees and keeps away from the home in which Surah Al-Baqarah is recited. This is because Satan despairs of leading its inhabitants astray due to the blessings of this Surah and the diligence it sees in the household’s devotion to worship. A home where the Qur’an is recited generally expands its blessings, is attended by angels, and repels demons. On the other hand, a home in which the Qur’an is not recited becomes constricted for its inhabitants, diminishes in goodness, repels angels, and attracts demons.
This hadith highlights the virtues of Surah Al-Baqarah and the preference given to it. Indeed, it is comprehensive in that it covers various aspects of Islamic jurisprudence and life guidance. It addresses the qualities of believers and hypocrites, the stories of the Children of Israel, and provides guidance on issues like magic, usury, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, divorce, debts, contracts, retribution, mortgage, and more.
The hadith emphasizes the importance of reciting the Qur’an frequently and making remembrance of Allah in homes. It directs people to understand that the Qur’an and remembrance of Allah revive and enrich both homes and hearts.
Hadith 45 – Being Good to Your Neighbor
لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ لاَ يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ
One whose neighbor is not safe from his evil will not enter paradise.
The teachings of Islam call for what is best for humanity and emphasize working towards harmony and solidarity among people. One of these teachings is commanding to treat neighbors kindly. A neighbor can be someone living close by, whether they are relatives or distant strangers, and whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims.
This hadith is one of the strongest in terms of the consequences of mistreating one’s neighbors. It signifies that mistreating neighbors, whether through injustice, oppression, or transgression, can prevent a Muslim from entering Paradise. This is a severe warning and a significant threat.
Hadith 46 – Supplicating During Prostration
أَقْرَبُ مَا يَكُونُ الْعَبْدُ مِنْ رَبِّهِ وَهُوَ سَاجِدٌ فَأَكثِرُوا الدُّعَاءَ
When a slave prostrates, he is the closest to his Lord. So increase your supplications [during that time].
Prayer (salah) is one of the greatest acts of worship through which a servant draws closer to Allah. The more humble and devout a worshiper is, the closer they become to Allah. Placing the face and nose on the ground signifies the pinnacle of humility and submission. It’s in this posture that supplications come from a humble heart, making the worshiper closer to receiving an answer to their supplications. In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ states that the closest that a servant comes to his Lord is when he is prostrating, meaning that a servant is closest to Allah when in the state of prostration during prayer. Therefore, the Prophet ﷺ encourages us to increase our supplications during the position of prostration, as it is the most likely time for Allah to respond to our prayers.
The Prophet ﷺ has also emphasized in other hadiths the importance of frequent prostrations and supplicating during them.
Hadith 47 – Seeking Knowledge
مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللهُ لَهُ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ
Whoever takes a path in pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to paradise.
With knowledge and action, coupled with patience, the true religion stands firm, guided by light and evidence.
One walks a path seeking beneficial knowledge solely for the sake of Allah. This path may be tangible, trodden by footsteps, such as when a person leaves their home to reach a place of knowledge, be it a mosque, a school, a university, or any other place. Alternatively, it may signify the pursuit of specialized knowledge, where one cuts a path to reach its end.
The phrase, “Allah will make easy for him the path to paradise,” means that Allah facilitates for them a way and righteous deeds that will lead them to Paradise, through His grace and approval.
Hadith 48 – Loving for Allah’s Sake
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَقُولُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ أَيْنَ الْمُتَحَابُّونَ بِجَلاَلِي الْيَوْمَ أُظِلُّهُمْ فِي ظِلِّي يَوْمَ لاَ ظِلَّ إِلاَّ ظِلِّي
Verily, Allah will say on the Day of Judgment, “Where are those who [used to] love one another for the sake of my Glory? Today, I will cover them in my shade when there is no shade but mine.”
Love for the sake of Allah is among the strongest bonds in Islam, and it is one of the most prominent traits of the believers among themselves. Allah, the Most High, has promised a vast reward and bounty for this noble characteristic. This love, for the sake of Allah, is based on the reverence for His greatness and the pursuit of His pleasure and reward, without any worldly motives. It is a reward for their mutual love and affection for the sake of Allah, their respect for His commands, and their avoidance of His prohibitions.
The shade refers to the shade of His Throne, as mentioned in another narration by Ahmad. This reward is immense, and the honor bestowed upon them is great. Allah desires that the hearts of His servants are united, free from division, filled with love, and devoid of enmity.
The phrase, “when there is no shade but mine” emphasizes that on that Day, when the sun draws near to the people and its heat intensifies, no one will find shade except those whom Allah provides shade under His Throne.
Hadith 49 – Importance of the Obligatory Prayer
إِذَا أُقِيمَتِ الصَّلَاةُ فَلَا صَلَاةَ إِلَّا الْمَكْتُوبَة
When the iqamah for the obligatory prayer is called, then there is no prayer except the obligatory one.
Prayer is the cornerstone of the religion, and its establishment is obligatory for every Muslim. The Prophet ﷺ clarified the manner of performing prayers and taught it to the Ummah. He also instructed us regarding the sequence of prayers and what to prioritize. Performing the obligatory prayer takes precedence over voluntary prayers.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ informs us that when the call to establish prayer in the mosque is heard, no one should initiate voluntary prayers. Instead, they should leave the voluntary prayers and perform the obligatory one. His statement, “No prayer,” suggests that there will either be no full reward for the voluntary prayer or that performing voluntary prayers while the obligatory one is in session is invalid. Therefore, the voluntary prayer is interrupted and the obligatory prayer is joined. It is said that if one is in the first unit (rak’ah) of a voluntary prayer, they should interrupt it. If they are in the second unit, they should complete it quickly. All of this applies to those present in the mosque and is the general rule for prayers. Similarly, if someone is delayed for a prayer due to some reason and only has a short amount of time left before the time for the current prayer ends, then they must prioritize the obligatory prayer over the sunnah prayers.
Hadith 50 – Prison of the Believer
الدُّنْيَا سِجْنُ الْمُؤْمِنِ وَجَنَّةُ الْكَافِرِ
The world is a prison for the believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.
The world for a believer is a place of trials and tests, where they endure trials and abstain from forbidden desires, seeking to please Allah, the Most High.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ explains that the world is like a prison for the believer. Every believer is confined and restricted in this world, refraining from forbidden and disliked pleasures. They restrain themselves from indulging in things that are not permitted by Islamic law. They cannot move unless permitted by Islamic law. This includes various kinds of afflictions, trials, and worries. They live in constant fear and apprehension, uncertain about the outcome of their deeds. However, they have hope for salvation from this confinement due to their patience and trust in Allah’s promise of reward for them.
In contrast, a disbeliever is not bound by the constraints of faith and feels secure from these fears. They focus on their desires, indulging in pleasures like animals. They enjoy the world even though it is filled with difficulties. When they die, they face eternal punishment and eternal misery.
Thus, this hadith serves as a reminder for believers to stay focused on their ultimate goal and to strive towards the pleasure of Allah, while also warning against becoming too attached to this fleeting world and neglecting one’s duties towards their Creator.
Hadith 51 – Being Regular in Good Deeds
سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللهِ وَإِنْ قَلَّ
Make an effort, do your best, and know that none of you will enter paradise due to his deeds. The most beloved deed to Allah is the one that is done regularly even if it is small.
(Bukhari and Muslim)
Islam encourages maintaining gentleness in actions, limiting oneself to what the person can endure, and persisting in it.
In this hadith, the Prophet ﷺ says, “Make an effort,” meaning seek what is right and do not overburden yourselves, so that you do not exhaust yourselves in worship, leading to weariness and neglecting good deeds. “Do your best,” meaning if you cannot do it completely, then do what is as close to it as possible for you.
“Know that none of you will enter Paradise due to his deeds.” This implies that the acts of obedience we perform are not a compensation or equivalent for Paradise; rather, we enter paradise by the mercy and grace of Allah. This does not contradict the Qura’nic verse, “Enter Paradise for what you used to do” [Quran 16:32]. Ibn Taymiyyah explained that the act itself does not equate to the reward, although it serves as a reason for it. Hence, whoever thinks that he has fulfilled what is due on him by just performing good deeds and does not need the forgiveness and pardon of his Lord to enter paradise is misguided. In another version, it is reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “No one will enter Paradise by his deeds.” They asked, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Not even me, unless Allah envelops me in His mercy and favor.”
The Prophet ﷺ then said, “The most beloved deed to Allah is the one that is done regularly even if it is small.” Meaning, the deeds that endure throughout the person’s life, even if it is small in nature, because it persists, unlike the occasional difficult actions. Therefore, we should look for opportunities to start new good deeds that we are confident to be able to repeat on a regular basis, such as, give a few dollars a month in charity, reading one page of the Qur’an daily, performing two units of extra prayer a day, etc. It is reported about our mother Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, that whenever she did a good deed, she used to regularly adhere to it.
I am a Pakistani-American Muslim blogger. I hold a B.S. in Information Technology and a B.A. in Islamic Studies. I am also a follower and a student of the Hanbali school of Islamic law. Read more