Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said,
“Allah, the Almighty said, ‘Whoever has mutual animosity with a friend (wali) of Mine, I declare war upon him. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties that I have imposed upon him; and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I would love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks. Were he to ask of Me, I would surely give him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant it to him.”
[Bukhari – Kitab Ar-Raqai’iq (Book on Heart Softeners), hadith 6502]
The Position of this Hadith
This hadith is the noblest hadith mentioning the friends (awliya’) of Allah.
Commentary on the Hadith
“Whoever has mutual animosity with a friend (wali) of Mine, I declare war upon him.”
By these words, it is as if Allah were saying, “I have waged war against whomever has waged war against Me by showing animosity to my friends.” Thus, it is obligatory to show loyalty, friendship, support and affection to them and at the same time, it is prohibited to show animosity towards them.
Similarly, one should show animosity towards the enemies of Allah and deny them loyalty, friendship, support or affection. Allah, the Almighty said,
“Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends.” (Surah Al-Mumtahinah, 60 : 1)
“Very your Wali (Protector or Helper) is none other than Allah, His Messenger and the believers, – those who perform salah and give zakah and the prayer and bow down or submit themselves with obedience to Allah in prayer. And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger and those who have believed, as Protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5 : 55-56)
Allah described His beloved ones as,
“…. those who love Him; humble towards the believers, and stern towards the disbelievers.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5 : 54)
It should be known that all types of evil deeds are types of war against Allah; the worse the deed the more severe the war against Allah. Thus Allah labeled those who take interest from loans, and highway robbers as fighters against Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), due to the severity of their wrong doings towards the servants of Allah, as well as their mischief on the earth.
If animosity is shown towards the friends of Allah, Allah has promised to support, assist, and love them. Thus, if anyone shows animosity towards Allah’s awliya’ it is as if he has shown animosity towards Allah Himself.
Degrees of Allah’s Awliya’
“My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the religious duties that I have imposed upon him; and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I love him.”
After Allah mentioned that showing animosity to the friends of Allah is a declaration of war against Him, He goes on to describe the characteristics of His awliya’ towards whom animosity is prohibited and whose support is obliged.
Allah described the things that draw a person nearer Allah. Since friendship (muwalah) is based upon being near Allah, just as animosity is based upon being far from Allah, the friends of Allah are those who draw near to Him by acts of devotion.
Similarly, His enemies are those who have been distanced from Allah due to their (evil) deeds.
Allah’s close friends are of two kinds:
First, those who draw near Allah by performance of religious duties, which includes both performance of religious obligations as well as abstaining from prohibited actions, because both of these are included under the religious duties due Allah. This is the degree of the Muqtasidin (people on the right course) of those on the Right Hand.
Among the greatest duties of the body by which man draws near Allah is prayer, as Allah says,
“Fall prostrate and draw near to Allah.” (AI-‘Alaq, 96 : 19)
The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) also said regarding prayer, “The closest a servant is to his Lord is when he is prostrating. ” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Salah (Book on Prayer), hadith 482/215]
Among the religious duties which draw the servant nearer Allah is the guardian’s justice towards those over whom he is responsible whether his responsibility is general such as a ruler, or specific such as a husband towards his wife and children.
The Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “All of you are guardians and responsible for your wards and the things under your care.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-Jumu’ah (Book on the Friday Prayer), hadith 893; Muslim – Kitab Al-lmara (Book on Emirate), hadith 1829/20]
Similarly, it was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr, that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Those who are just will appear on the Day of Judgment on pulpits of light on the right hand side of the Rahman (The Most Merciful) and both of His hands are right.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-lmarah (Book on Rulership), hadith 18/1827]
This degree shall be granted to those who are just in their judgments and within their families and with those over whom they have authority.
The Second Degree of Allah’s Awliya’
This degree is for those who draw near Allah by doing supererogatory works after their religious duties. They try to do their best to perform good deeds, and refrain from even the slightest actions which are disliked by Allah. This is the same as the meaning of the words – “My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works such that I love him”.
The one whom Allah loves is he who has been granted love and obedience for Him, as well as being occupied in His remembrance and serving Him, For this reason, he is awarded a place nearer and closer to Allah; as Allah has says,
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creature’s needs, All-Knowing.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5 : 54)
This verse indicates that Allah will replace those who draw away from Allah’s love, turn away from being near Him and do not take heed, with those who are more deserving of these great gifts. Anyone who turns away from Allah, has no one else to turn to but Allah. However Allah has others who will turn to Him.
A poet wrote about this saying,
“What shall I do if my heart becomes hard and loses faith;
He has other than me, but I have none other than Him.”
Thereafter Allah mentions those who are loved by Allah and who love Him, describing them as “Humble to the believers and stern towards the disbelievers” – This means that they treat the believers humbly, softly and with gentleness, whereas the disbelievers are treated harshly, sternly and with coarseness.
They are those who love the awliya’ of Allah who love Him, and they treat them with love, kindness and mercy, just as they hate His enemies, and deal with them harshly and with sternness according to what Allah says,
“Those who are with him are severe against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” (Surah Al-Fath, 48 : 29)
“…fighting in the Way of Allah, and never fearing the blame of the blamers.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah, 5 : 54)
Part of complete love is fighting the enemies of the Beloved. Fighting in the way of Allah is a call to those who turn from Allah to come back by means of the sword after having appealed to them with evidence and proof.
When someone loves Allah, he would like to draw all people to Allah. If inviting people to the way of Allah does not work by means of gentleness, one must turn to harshness and aggression, as the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Allah, wonders at those people who will be driven to enter Paradise by chains.” [Bukhari – Kitab Al-jihad (Book on Fighting in Allah’s Cause) hadith 3010]
“And never fearing the blame of blamers” – this refers to one who has no aim except the satisfaction of his Beloved, whether others are pleased or angered by this. Some used have said that whoever fears blame because of his love, is not honest in his love.
“That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills” – refers to the degree of those whom He loves and who love Him.
“And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creature’s needs, All-Knowing” – means that Allah is generous in giving and is All-Knowing as to those who deserve His Grace and those who do not deserve it.
People belonging to this degree are those nearest Allah. Their sole concern is the means to draw closer to He who loves them, and to Him whom they love.
Some of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said, “Performing good deeds only out of fear of Allah negates the necessary element of hope. And performing good deeds only out of love is not enough to win (Paradise).” (There is a delicate balance between each of the three elements: fear, love and hope, that must exist in order to achieve success.)
Other Pious Predecessors said, “Lazy people never tire of their laziness and even should the time come that they do so, those who love you will never tire of talking to you or thinking about you.
Amongst the greatest acts by which the servant can draw near Allah, is by abundant recitation of the Qur’an and listening to it with meditation, consideration and understanding.
Khabab bin Al-‘Aratt said to a man, “Draw near Allah as much as you can, and be aware that you will not draw near Him by anything which He loves more than His Words.” [Mustadrak Hakim – hadith 2/441, Hakim mentioned that it was a sound hadith, Adh-Dhahabi concurred with him]
‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “If your hearts were pure, they would never be satiated from hearing Allah’s words (the Qur’an).”
Ibn Mas‘ud said, ‘The one who loves the Qur’an loves Allah and His Messenger.”
One of those close to Allah asked a person who desired to draw near to Allah, “Do you know any of the Qur’an?” The man answered, “No.” The first exclaimed, “Oh! Somebody help! How can this be? One who wants to draw near Allah and does not study the Qur’an! With what will he attain pleasure and feel comfort? With what will he recite? How will he confide in Him?”
Among the supererogatory deeds is continual remembrance of Allah, upon which rest the heart and the tongue. In a sound hadith, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Allah (the Almighty) said, ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am (I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too remember him.’ ”
Among such good deeds is loving the friends (Wali) of Allah, as well as those who love Allah, and also showing animosity to His enemies.
lUmar bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “There are some people among the slaves of Allah who are not Messengers or martyrs. In spite of this, their proximity to Allah is envied by the Messengers and the martyrs.” The Companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Who are they?” He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “They are people who loved each other for the sake of Allah with no relation of money between them. By Allah, the faces of those people are light. They stand on pulpits of light. They will not be afraid when others are. They would not feel sad when others do.” Then the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) recited the verse:
“No doubt! Verily, the Awliya’ of Allah [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah greatly (perform all kinds of good deeds which he has ordained)] no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve.” (Surah Yunus, 10:62) [Bukhari – Kitab At-Tawhid (Book on Allah’s Oneness), hadith 7405; Muslim – Kitab Adh-Dhikr (Book on Allah’s Remembrance), hadith 2675/2]
“And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hands with which he strikes and his legs with which he walks.”
This means that when someone tries to draw near Allah by performing obligatory religious duties and then by supererogatory works, is brought nearer and Allah raises him from the degree of faith (Iman) to the degree of Ihsan (performance of good deeds, charity).
Thus the slave worships Allah as if Allah is present, as if he sees Him. Consequently, his heart is filled with knowledge of Allah (the Almighty), His love, glorification and fear of Him. He feels comfortable with Him and longs to be with Him until these feelings in his heart enable him to see Allah with the eye of his heart.
Someone said, “Something in my heart inhabiting. I don’t remember because I never forgot. It is away from my eyes and ears but the deepest of my heart can see it.”
That which is in the hearts of those who are close to Allah keeps increasing until their hearts are full, so much so that there is nothing in their hearts besides it and the rest of their body does nothing except that which agrees with what is in their hearts.
It is said that for whoever has reached such a state, nothing remains in his heart but Allah [i.e. his love, knowledge and remembrance]. Whenever the heart is filled with Allah’s Glory, everything else is erased. Nothing remains of the slave’s whims or desires except what Allah wants.
When this takes place, the slave pronounces no word, except His remembrance and does not act except under His orders. So when he speaks, he speaks by Allah, hears by Him, sees by Him and strikes by Him. This is the meaning of – “I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his leg with which he walks”.
Any other description would be a reference to atheism, pantheism, (immanentism) and unionism with which Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) have nothing to do.
This is because the meaning of La-ilaha ilia Allah is that none should be worshipped with love, hope, fear or obedience except Allah. When the heart achieves complete Tawhid, no love will remain for them except what Allah loves and no hate for other than what Allah hates. The organs of the body of any person would not set out to do anything except obey Allah.
As for sins, they result from loving what Allah hates or hating what Allah loves. This comes from placing one’s desires before the love of Allah and fear of Him, which takes away from obligatory and complete monotheism. Consequently, the servant neglects some obligatory duties and commits other prohibited ones. That is why when one’s heart is filled with monotheism, one would wish nothing but what pleases Allah.
Invocation and Seeking Refuge
“Were he to ask Me, I would surely give him, and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would grant it to him.”
This means that the person who is loved and near Allah has a special rank with Him. The result of his position is that what he asks of Allah, it is granted, and if he seeks refuge in Him, Allah grants him refuge. When he supplicates to Allah, He answers Him. The Du’a (invocation) of that person will always be awarded due to his proximity to Allah. Many of the Pious Predecessors were known to have their (invocations answered) [See : Bukhari – Kitab Al-Jihad (Book on Holy War), hadith 2806; Muslim – Kitab Al-Qasamah (Book on Compurgation), hadith 1675/24]
Sa‘ad bin Abi Waqqas was also known to have his invocation answered. Once a man lied about Sa‘ad; so Sa‘ad asked Allah, “O Allah! My Lord! If this man lied, make him blind, elongate his age and expose him to temptation.” The man was inflicted with all these things. He used to flirt with young women in the streets of the city. He would answer those who blamed him saying – “I am an aged, distressed man, inflicted by Sa‘ad’s invocation.” [Muslim – Kitab Al-Musaqah (Book on Sharecropping), hadith 139/1610]
The wife of Sa’id bin Zayd claimed that Sa‘ad took a piece of land which belonged to him. Sa‘ad said, “O Allah! My Lord! If that woman is lying then make her blind and kill her on the land.” She became blind, and one night while she was walking on her land, she fell in a well and died. [Muslim – Kitab Al-Musaqah (Book on Sharecropping), hadith 139/1610]
Al-‘Ala’ bin Al-Hadramy was in among a troop of fighters. They became thirsty, so Al-‘Ala’ prayed and said, “O Allah! O All-Knowing! O All-Wise! O Sublime! O Mighty! We are Your servants, fighting Your enemy, in Your way, give us water to quench our thirst, and perform ablution. O Allah! Do not give anyone but us a share in it.” They walked a short distance and found a river flowing from the heavens. They all drank from this water and filled their water skins and then moved away. When some of the people returned to the place of the river, they found nothing as if there had never been a droplet of water. [Hilyat Al-Awliya’, vol. 1, p. 7-8; Mujabi Ad-Da’wah (Those whose invocations were answered), p. 40]
To Be Patient with Misfortunes
Most of those whose invocations were answered used to be patient with misfortunes, choosing their reward and would not ask Allah for relief for themselves.
It was recorded that Sa‘ad bin Abi Waqqas used to make invocations for the sake of others who knew that his invocation was answered. It was once suggested to him to ask Allah about his eyes which were blind. He said, “Allah’s fate is more beloved to me than my eyes.”
One of those righteous people was inflicted with leprosy. It was said to him, “We have heard that you know Allah’s Greatest Name, so why do you not ask Allah to relieve you of what you have?” The man said, “O nephew! It is Allah Who has inflicted me, and I hate to reject His test.”
It was said to Ibrahim At-Taymi, who was imprisoned by Al- Hajjaj, “Why don’t you ask Allah to set you free?” He answered, “I hate to ask Him to relieve me from the reward of my imprisonment.”
The Death of a Believer
“I was never hesitant to do anything, except to have My believer die. He hates death and I (Allah, the Almighty) hate harming him.”
This means that He has ordained that His servants should die. As the Almighty said,
“Everyone shall taste death.” (Surah Ali-’Imran, 3 : 185)
Death takes place when the spirit leaves the body, which results in severe pain, the greatest that man experiences in the world.
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said to Ka‘ab, “Tell me about death.” He answered, “O Emir of the Believers! This is like a thorny tree inside man. Neither a vein nor a joint will be safe from it. Death is like a strong man who pulls this thorny tree.” ‘Umar listening to this began to cry.
When ‘Amr bin Al-‘ As was taking his last breath, his son asked him about it. He answered, “By Allah, it is as if my body is locked, and I am breathing through the eye of a needle. It is as if there is a thorny branch pulled from my legs up to my head.”
Since death is with such severity, and since Allah has ordained it on all His people where there is no escape and since Allah hates to harm the believer, then Allah is described as hesitant in having the believer die. As for the Prophets, they do not die until they are offered a choice between life and death. Allah has eased death upon them by the fact that they will meet Him for they love Him. Thus the spirit of a Prophet would be taken away from his body, but he would love this because of what he has seen.
Narrating about the death of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), ‘A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “… As he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) had a vessel of water beside him, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) used to put his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) hand therein and then rubs over his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) face, saying, ‘O Lord, Help me during the agonies of death.’ He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) continued saying, ‘There is no god but Allah. Verily, death has sever agonies.’ ” [Bukhari – Kitab Ar-Riqaq (Book on Heart Softness), hadith 6510]
Some of the Pious Predecessors liked to experience the sever agonies of death.
‘Umar bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz said, “I would not like to have the stupor of death eased; this is the last thing which grants forgiveness.”
An-Nukha’iy said, “They liked to suffer the severe agonies of death.”
Some others were afraid to be disbelievers if the stupor of death was hard. But if Allah wished to ease death over someone, He would.
In the Sahih, the Prophet (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “When death comes to a believer, he would receive the glad tidings of Allah’s satisfaction and love for him. Then, nothing would be more lovable to him than what he sees. He would love the meeting of Allah and so Allah would love his meeting.” [Bukhari – Kitab Ar-Riqaq (Book on Heart Softness), hadith 6510]
Ibn Mas‘ud said, “When the angel of death comes to have the believer die, he tells the believer, ‘Your Lord is sending you His regards.’ ”
Muhammad bin Ka‘ab said, “The angel of death would say to the believer to die, ‘Peace be upon you, O friend of Allah. Your Lord sends you His regards.’ ” Then Muhammad bin Ka‘ab recited the Qur’anic verse that reads,
“Those whose lives the angels take while they are in a pious state (i.e., pure from evil, and worshipping none but Allah alone) saying (to them) Assalam Alaykum (peace be on you), you enter Paradise because of that (the good) which you used to do (in the world).” (Surah An-Nahl, 16 : 32)
Zayd bin Aslam said, “Angels come to the believer when he is at his last breath, telling him, ‘Do not be afraid of where you are going.’ So Allah makes fear go away from the believer. The angels tell him not to feel sorry for leaving the world and its people, but to be happy with Paradise. So the believer dies, hearing these glad tidings.”
By: Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali , From the book: Jami’ al Ulum wal Hikam.