HADITH EXPLANATION – “..WILL SEE MANY DIFFERENCES,THEN THEY SHOULD…”


 

Abu Najih Al-‘Irbad bin Sariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported,

“The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) delivered an eloquent sermon, which greatly moved us and sent a wave of fear into our hearts and our eyes shed tears. We said to him, ‘This sermon seems like the last advice; then tell us something more as advice.’

He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, ‘I advise you to fear Allah (because of your obligations to Allah) and to hear and obey even a slave who may be put in authority over you. Those of you who survive me will notice many differences. It will be incumbent upon you to follow my Sunnah (tradition) and the practices of my rightly guided successors (Caliphs) and hold fast with these precepts and traditions and beware of innovations and inventions in religion, because every innovation leads to the wrong path.’ ”

[Abu Dawud – hadith 4607; Tirmidhi – Kitab Al- ‘Ilm (Book on Knowledge), hadith 2676; Ibn Majah in his Al-Muqaddimah, hadith  42; Musnad Ahmad, hadith  4/126,127]

 

Explanation of the Hadith

Al-‘Irbad bin Sariyah said, “The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) delivered an eloquent sermon.”

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) used to deliver sermons other than those delivered on Fridays and feasts. Allah enjoined him to do so, as Allah says,

“(Admonish them, and speak to them an effective word (i.e., to believe in Allah, worship Him, obey Him, and be afraid of Him) to reach their innerselves.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4 : 63)

“Invite (mankind) to the Way of your Lord (i.e., Islam) with wisdom (i.e., with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur’an) and fair preaching.” (Surah An-Nahl, 16 : 125)

Thus, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) used to deliver such sermons every now and then.

 

Abu Wa’il reported that ’Abdullah used to give a sermon to them every Thursday. A person said, “Abu ‘Abdur-Rahman, we love your talk and so we yearn (to listen to you) and earnestly desire that you should deliver a lecture every day.” Thereupon he said, “There is nothing to hinder me in giving you talk (every day) but the fact that you may be bored. Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) did not deliver sermons on certain days (fearing that we might be bored).” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-‘im (Book on Knowledge), hadith 68; Muslim – Kitab Sifat Al-Munafiqin (Book on the Descrotion of the Hypocrites), hadith 2821]

 

Eloquence in delivering sermons is desirable because it appeals to the audiences’ hearts. Eloquence means using the best expressions in order to convey the intended meaning. The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) used to shorten his sermons with succinct words.

 

Jabir bin Samurah said, “I used to pray with the Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and his prayer was of moderate length and his sermon was as well of moderate length.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Jumua’h (Book on the Friday Prayer), hadith 866/41,41]

In another narration, Jabir said, “The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was not used to elongating his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) Friday sermon. It was just a few words.” [Abu Dawud – Kitab As-Salah (Book on Prayer), hadith 1107; Bayhaqi in As-Sunan Al-Kubra, hadith 3/208]

Abu Wa’il reported, “Ammar delivered the sermon, it was short and eloquent When he (‘Ammar) descended (from the pulpit) we said to him, ‘O Abu Al-Faydan, you have delivered a short and eloquent sermon. Would that you had lengthened (The sermon).’ He said, ‘I have heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying, ‘The lengthening of prayer by a man and the shortness of the sermon is a sign of his understanding (of faith). So lengthen the prayer and shorten the sermon, for there is charm (in precise) expression.’ ”

 

The fearing of the hearts

As to Al-‘Irbad’s saying about the sermon, “which greatly moved us and sent a wave of fear into our hearts and our eyes shed tears.”

Allah praised the believers when they listen to preaching with these two traits, as He says,

“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur’an) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith.” (Surah Al-Anfal, 8 :  2)

“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah’s Reminder (this Qur’an), and that which has been revealed of the truth.” (Surah Al-Hadid, 57 : 16)

“Allah has sent down the best statement, a book (this Qura’n), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah.” (Surah Az-Zumar, 39 : 23)

“And when they (who call themselves Christians) listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognized.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5 : 83)

When delivering a sermon, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)’s mode would change as Jabir said, “When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) delivered a sermon, his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) eyes used to become red, the tone of his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) voice would rise and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) would be somewhat excited, as if he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) were cautioning us against some hostile army poised against us. He would say, ‘The enemy will attack you in the morning or the evening.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Jumua’h (Book on Friday Prayer), hadith 43/867]

Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported, “Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stood when the sun had passed the meridian and led them in noon prayer and after observing salutations (completing the prayer) he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stood upon the pulpit and talked about the Last Hour and made mention of the important facts prior to it, and then said, ‘He who desires to ask anything from me, let him ask me about it. By Allah, I shall not move from this place until I have informed you about that which you ask.’ (Anas bin Malik said,) People began to shed tears profusely when they heard this from Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said it repeatedly, ‘You ask me.’ Thereupon a man stood up and said, ‘Allah’s Messenger, Where shall I be?’ He said, ‘In Hellfire.’ ” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-I’tisam (Book on Holding Fast to Allah), hadith 7294; Muslim – Kitab Al-Fada’il (Book on Virtues), hadith 2359]

An-Nua‘man bin Bashir delivered a sermon in which he said, “I heard the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) delivering a sermon and saying: I warn you against the Fire. If a man had been in the market, he would have heard him. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) kept on warning until his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) scarf fell to his feet.” [Musnad Ahmad – hadith 4/268, 272; Ibn Hibban – hadith 644]

‘Adi bin Hatim reported that he heard the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying, “He who among you can protect himself from the Fire, should do so, even if it is with half a date.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Adab (Book on Morals), hadith 6023; Muslim – Kitab Az-Zakah (Book on Zakah), hadith 68/1016]

 

The seemingly last sermon

The Companions’ saying “This sermon appears like the last advice; then tell us something more as advice,”-  indicates that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was more eloquent in delivering this sermon than ever before.

When a person is delivering his last sermon, he tries to be as eloquent and comprehensive as possible. For this reason, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) enjoined us to perform prayer, as if it were the last time, because if one felt that this night be the last prayer, he would perfect it as much as he could.

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) may have been indicating that he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was about to die, as happened in the Farewell Hajj, when he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “I may not meet you after this year.” [Muslim – Kitab AI-Hajj (Book on Pilgrimage), hadith 310/1297]

When he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) started to bid them farewell, they called it the Farewell Hajj.

On his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) return, Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) stood up to deliver a sermon at a watering place known as Khumm, located between Mecca and Medina. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and exhorted (us) and said, “Now to our purpose, O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a Messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah’s call (would bid goodbye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things. One is the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said, “The second is the members of my household.” [Muslim – Kitab Fada’il As-Sahabah (Book on the Companions’ Merits), hadith 36/2408]

On the authority of ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir, who reported, “Eight years following Battle of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) had gone out to pray for the martyrs who fell therein. His (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) prayer was just as the Funeral Prayer which is offered over the dead. It seemed as if he were saying goodbye to the living and the dead. Then, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) came back, ascended the pulpit, and said, ‘I shall be present before you at the Haud (Fountain) to meet you. I shall be your witness and by Allah, I perceive as if I am seeing with my own eyes the Haud at this very place. I am not afraid concerning you that you will associate anything with Allah after me, but I am apprehensive that you will yean for the possession of the luxuries of life.’ ” The narrator said, “It was the last opportunity to look at the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam).”

The Companions’ saying, “Then tell us something more as an advice,” means that they need an all-comprehensive advice when they understood that this seemed to be the last advice. They wanted advice to adhere to in order to guarantee them happiness in this world as well as in the Hereafter.

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) advised them, saying, “I advise you to fear Allah (because of your obligations to Allah) and to hear and obey.”

These two hints guarantee happiness of this world as well as the Hereafter. Fearing Allah is the advice directed by Allah to people in the past and the present as Allah says,

“We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4 : 131)

Fearing Allah has been elaborated in full detail when explaining the Prophet’s (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) hadith reported by Mu‘adh bin Jabal. (Read this hadith explanation here.)

 

Hearing and obeying

Hearing and obeying the Muslim rulers entail happiness in this world and they (rulers) achieve the interest of people and help them obey their Lord and support His religion.

Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “People will not be follow the straight path except with a ruler, be he guided or not. If he is not guided, a believer will direct their efforts to worship their Lord until the misguided ruler dies.”

The Prophet’s (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “even a slave who may be put in authority over you.”

In another narration, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Even an Abyssinian slave who may be put in authority over you.”

This indicates that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) was informed of what would happen to his nation and that slaves would be its rulers.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Listen (attentively to) and obey whoever is placed in authority over you, even if he is a Negro slave whose head is like a raisin.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Ahkam (Book on Legal Judgments), hadith 7142]

Abu Dharr also said, “My beloved Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) advised me to listen and obey even if he (the ruler) was a Negro slave.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Masajid (Book on Mosques), hadith 420/648]

There are many hadiths in this regard.

This does not contradict the saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), “This matter (ruling people) will remain in Quraish as long as there are two persons.”  [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Manaqib (Book on Merits), hadith 3501; Muslim – Kitab Al-lmarah (Book on Rulership), hadith 1820]

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) also said, “People should be ruled by Quraish.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Manaqib (Book on Merits), hadith 3495; Muslim – Kitab Al-lmarah (Book on Rulership), hadith 1818]

There is no contradiction because the Quraish slaves may be the rulers of the nation.

 

Then the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Those of you who survive me will notice a lot of differences. It will be incumbent upon you to follow my Sunnah (tradition) and the practices of my rightly-guided successors (Caliphs) and hold fast with these precepts and traditions.”

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) foretold that there would be many differences among his nations as far as the fundamentals and branches of religion, deeds, sayings and beliefs are concerned. Sunnah is the way that should be followed as the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and the Rightly-Guided Caliphs did. Mentioning this affair after talking about the command to listen to and obey the Muslim rulers is in reference to rulers who should not be obeyed unless they obeyed Allah.

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Obedience must be in good deeds.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Maghazi (Book on Battles), hadith 4340; Muslim – Kitab Al-lmarah (Book on Rulership), hadith 39/1840]

This part of the hadith indicates that the Sunnah of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs should be followed just like that of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). This ruling is not applicable to other rulers. The Rightly-Guided Caliphs are Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with them).

Many Muslim scholars believe that ‘Umar bin ‘Abdul-Aziz is one of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.

These Caliphs are described as rightly-guided because they know the truth and act in accordance with it, contrary to the deviant who know the truth but do not act in accordance with it.

Thus, there are three categories of people: guided, deviant and misguided. The guided person knows the truth and follows it. The deviant person knows the truth, but does not follow it. The misguided person does not know the truth at all.

Then the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) commanded to hold fast to these precepts and traditions.

 

His (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying, “Beware of innovations and inventions in religion, because every innovation leads to the wrong path,” – is a warning to the Muslim nation against following any inventions in religion. Innovation in religion is an act that is not grounded in Shari’ah.

Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “The best word is the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance shown by Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). The worst practice is the introduction of new elements in the Islamic faith and every innovation amounts to heresy.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Jumua’h (Book on Friday Prayer), hadith 43/867]

 

Every Innovation leads to the wrong path

The Prophet’s (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying, “Every innovation leads to the wrong path,” is a comprehensive and clear-cut sentence that is considered a great cornerstone of religion. It is similar to the saying of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) that “Whoever innovates a thing in our affair is rejected.”

If a person innovates something and attributes it to religion, while it does not have a root in Islam, such a thing is a deviation and religion renounces it. This applies to beliefs, deeds and sayings, whether secret or public.

As for commending some innovations as reported by some Pious Predecessors, they used the word “innovation” with its linguistic connotation. For example, when ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab appointed one Imam to lead people in optional night prayer in Ramadan, he said, “This is a commended innovation.  [See: Bukhari – hadith 4/250]

Besides, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) enjoined us to follow the tradition of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and the above-mentioned act was approved by ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and Ali.

Another example is the first Adhan before the Friday prayer which was initiated by ‘Uthman because people needed it. Later, it was approved by ‘Ali and Muslims acted in accordance with it. It has been reported that Ibn ‘Umar said that it was an innovation. He may have meant the linguistic connotation as the act was done by his father in appointing one Imam.

A third example is the compilation of the Holy Qur’an in one book. Zayd bin Thabit did not support this act and said to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar bin AI-Khattab, “How could you do an act which was not done by the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)?” When he was sure that such an act would benefit Muslims, he agreed to it. [See: Bukhari  – hadith 9/10,11]

The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) enjoined his companions to transcribe the revealed verses, but he did not compile them in one book.

‘Uthman also enjoined people to follow one mode of recitation fearing that there might be differences and dissension among the Islamic nation. ‘Ali and most other Companions approved this act which was very useful to the nation. When the Arabs refused to pay Zakah after the death of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), ‘Umar was hesitant in fighting them. When Abu Bakr pointed out the matter in light of Shari‘ah, ‘Umar and all the companions agreed to fight them.

Al-Hafizh Abu Nu‘aym recorded that Ibrahim bin Al-Junayd said, “I heard Ash-Shafi‘y saying, ‘There are commendable and censured innovations. The commendable innovation is in line with Sunnah while the censured innovation is not in conformity with it.’ Then, he repeated the sentence of ‘Umar, ‘This is a commended innovation.’ ”

The meaning of Ash-Shafi‘s saying is that dispraised innovations are not grounded in Shari‘ah. As for the commendable innovation, it is grounded in Shari’ah but is called an “innovation” according to its linguistic connotation. Another saying was attributed to Ash-Shafi‘ which interprets this saying. He said, “There are two types of innovations. The deviant innovation is the one which is not in line with the Book of Allah, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)’s Sunnah or the unanimous agreement of Muslim scholars. The other innovation is one which entails good and does not contradict the Book of Allah, the Prophet’s Sunnah or the unanimous agreement of Muslim scholars.”

Examples of innovations in religion that emerged after the era of the Companions and their Successors are:

(1) Thinking that a thing might be lawful or unlawful on the grounds of mental deduction without paying attention to the Sunnah.

(2) The Sufi belief that truth contradicts Shari’ah, knowing and loving Allah are enough and that there is no need to perform good deeds because they are obstacles in the way to Allah.

(3) The claim that only the mob needs Shari’ah.

(4) Talking about the entity of Allah and His Attributes in a way that contradicts the Book of Allah, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam)’s Sunnah or the unanimous agreement of Muslim scholars.

May Allah guide us to the straight path.

 

By: Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali , From the book: Jami’ al Ulum wal Hikam.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “HADITH EXPLANATION – “..WILL SEE MANY DIFFERENCES,THEN THEY SHOULD…”

  1. Pingback: HADITH EXPLANATION -“.. EVERY INNOVATION RELATED TO DEEN WILL BE REJECTED” | AL BASAIR ISLAMIC MEDIA

  2. Pingback: AN IMPORTENT TEACHING FOR THE UMMAH | AL BASAIR ISLAMIC MEDIA

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