‘Whoever relieves a believer of some worldly distress...’
November 13 2020 12:37 AM
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It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), said: “Whoever relieves a believer of some worldly distress, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Resurrection. Whoever alleviates the hardship of an insolvent debtor (i.e. grants him respite or writes off his debt), Allah will alleviate his hardship in the worldly life and the Hereafter. Whoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in the worldly life and the Hereafter. Allah continues to help a slave so long as he is helping his fellow brother. Whoever treads a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will direct him to a path leading him easily to Paradise. Whenever a group of people assemble in a House of Allah (mosque) to recite and study the Qur’an, tranquillity will descend upon them, mercy will engulf them, the angels will surround them, and Allah will make mention of them to those (the angels) in His proximity. He who lags behind in good doing (i.e. hindered because of his evil deeds), his noble lineage will be of no avail to him (on the Day of Judgment).” [Muslim]
Explanation
Islam fosters noble morals, encourages them, holds them in a refined status, and designates great and abundant rewards for adhering to them, as underlined in this Hadith cited in Saheeh Muslim.
In the beginning of his directive, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, urged us to relieve the distress of the believers. There is no doubt that this is a great good deed in the sight of Allah, The Exalted, and is highly appreciated by people. Life is full of hardships and difficulties, and we are destined to face sundry suffering and sorrows in it. Distress may overwhelm a believer so much that his heart and mind would be clouded with confusion and remain unable to find a way out!
At such harsh times, how great it is for a Muslim to hasten to assist his fellow Muslim brother, extend a helping hand to him, and strive to relieve or mitigate his distress. This gracious expression of sympathy has a deep impact on the heart of the distressed person, and therefore it is appropriate that its reward should be that Allah, The Exalted, would relieve the doer of a graver and harsher distress (on the Day of Judgment); which is the distress of standing before Him for reckoning and being held accountable for one’s  deeds, and receiving  the due punishment. How great and generous this reward is!
Among the noble morals is forgiving the debts of insolvent debtors. Islam urges creditors to give respite to insolvent debtors in straitened circumstances until their situation improves. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And if someone is in hardship, then [let there be] postponement until [a time of] ease.} [Qur’an 2:280] What is even more rewardable is for a creditor to give up some of his rights and forgive part of the debt he is owed. This is evidenced by what was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “A man used to give loans to the people, and he would say to his servant: ‘If the debtor is in hardship, relieve him of the debt so that perhaps Allah may relieve us (i.e. forgive us).’ So when he met Allah (i.e., when he died), Allah relieved him (i.e. forgave him).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Hadith then urges concealing the faults of the Muslims and refraining from finding fault in them and pursuing their mistakes and lapses. This is another example of the refined morals with which our glorious Shari‘ah is adorned. Verily, the infallible person is the one whom Allah grants infallibility. No matter how pious and righteous a Muslim may be, he is still liable to error. He might commit a sin; however, he dislikes his neglect in fulfilling the rights of Allah and hates that people be aware of his error and negligence. So if a Muslim sees or learns of his fellow Muslim’s faults, he should conceal them rather than expose them, without neglecting the duty of offering him sincere advice and reminding him of Allah.
The virtue of such concealing of faults was reported in the Sunnah. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Whoever conceals the fault of his Muslim brother, Allah will conceal his fault on the Day of Judgment.” [Ibn Maajah] Meanwhile, pursuing people’s faults is repulsive to the sound human nature as well as forbidden by the Shari‘ah. Stern warnings against it were reported in the Shari‘ah texts. It was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, once ascended the pulpit and called out with a raised voice: “O you who accepted Islam with his tongue while faith has not reached his heart! Do not harm Muslims, nor disgrace them, nor spy on them to expose their secrets. For indeed whoever pursues his Muslim brother’s faults, Allah will pursue his faults and expose him, even if he were in the depths of his house.” [At-Tirmithi]
Given the high position and refined status of knowledge in Islam, the Hadith emphasised its virtue and significance. It is the path that leads a person to Paradise. Those who devote themselves to knowledge are the guiding beacons that illuminate the way before the Muslim nation and the heirs of the Prophets and Messengers of Allah. Therefore, Allah, The Exalted, honors them with this refined status and high position. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Ad-Dardaa’, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “The angels lower their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and everyone in the heavens and on earth seeks forgiveness for the scholar, even the fish in the sea. The superiority of a scholar over a worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all other heavenly bodies.” [Ahmad] They are the people of Thikr (remembrance of Allah) and piety; how vast the gap between a knowledgeable and an ignorant person is!
The best field of knowledge to which a Muslim should devote his time is learning the Qur’an and promoting its sciences, as stated in the authentic Hadith that reads: “The best amongst you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” This superiority is derived from the relatedness of such knowledge to the Speech of Allah, The Exalted; the distinction of a given field of knowledge is commensurate to the distinction of its subject matter.
Now contemplate the rewards that Allah, The Exalted, promised those who assemble in a mosque, reciting the Qur’an and pondering over its meanings. He promised them four things: tranquillity will descend upon them, the divine mercy will engulf them, the noble angels will surround them, and the fourth and greatest reward of all is that Allah will make mention of them to those (the angels) in His proximity and praise them before His angels. If this was the only reward received for reciting Thikr, it would indeed be enough!
However, such great rewards are only earned through diligence and striving, and they have nothing to do with a person’s (social) status and prestige. None should be tempted by his noble descent and status because the sole criterion of superiority between people in the sight of Allah is righteous deeds. There is no consideration for a person’s social status or prestige if he neglects performing good deeds , and this is why Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {So when the Horn is blown, no relationship will there be among them that Day, nor will they ask about one another.} [Qur’an 23:101] Even the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, did not avail his uncle Abu Taalib anything before Allah! He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, underlined this meaning in his comprehensive statement: “He who lags behind in good doing (i.e. hindered because of his evil deeds), his noble lineage will be of no avail to him (on the Day of Judgment).”
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/


How excellent lawful wealth is in the hands of a righteous person!


Some of the Ahaadith of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention), are quite terse yet convey a multitude of meanings, and this is no surprise since they were produced by the one who was given the keys of eloquent speech and wise sayings. Some of his statements serve as fundamental principles, general rules, and just standards. On every given topic, there are Ahaadith that are considered all-inclusive fundamental principles under the heading of which all the respective subtopics fall. Some of these terse Ahaadith address the topic of wealth, establishing the correct Islamic viewpoint on wealth and setting fixed criteria for dealing with it and ways of disposing of it.
One of these is the following Hadith, which was narrated on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, sent for me, commanding me to pack my clothes and arms and go to him. I did what he asked and came to him while he was performing ablution. He looked at me from head to toe then said: ‘O ‘Amr, I want to send you in charge of an army so that Allah will bless you with spoils, and I will give you your lawful share of the spoils.’ I said: ‘I did not become Muslim in pursuit of wealth; I became Muslim out of the desire for embracing Islam so that I would be with the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam!’ He said: ‘O ‘Amr! How excellent lawful wealth is in the hands of a righteous person!’” [Ahmad and Al-Bukhari. Abu ‘Awaanah, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Al-Albaani: authentic]
According to its very wording, the Hadith clearly states that wealth is praiseworthy if it is lawfully gained and in the hands of a righteous person. The lawfulness of wealth means that it is pure and earned through lawful means, and the righteousness of the owner means that he uses his lawful wealth in what benefits him and his community. He fulfils the Rights of Allah with regard to his wealth by paying the obligatory Zakaah on it and may spend it in charity voluntarily. This is a praiseworthy attitude towards wealth, as evidenced by his saying “How excellent lawful wealth is…” In the same vein, another Hadith lauded wealth when it is lawfully earned and rightfully spent. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “This wealth is sweet (alluring); whoever earns it lawfully and spends it rightfully, then what excellent help it is!” [Al-Bukhari] In this case, wealth is an excellent means for a Muslim to fulfil the due rights over him, uphold the ties of kinship, relieve the distressed, and spares himself from the humiliation of begging for money, as well as all the other benefits of wealth. The Shari‘ah texts that laud wealth and commend richness should be interpreted in this light.
By the same token, the Hadith indicates the gravity of the affliction when wealth is in the hands of a wicked, corrupt person; he withholds the Rights of Allah with regard to his wealth, and therefore, it becomes a destructive tool incurring his own destruction and a means of causing mischief on earth. Such a person may also combine the sin of acquiring wealth unlawfully with that of wastefulness. This meaning was stated by the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, in the second part of the previously-cited Hadith narrated on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed, may Allah be pleased with him: “...and he who obtains it wrongfully is like one who eats but is never satisfied.” [Al-Bukhari] This is in addition to having a gluttonous soul and a heart overcome by the Fitnah (temptation) of wealth. The Shari‘ah texts that dispraise wealth, warn against extravagance, and encourage asceticism and renouncing greediness for the worldly pleasures should be interpreted in this light.
This Hadith and the other supporting ones about the enjoined attitude towards wealth – like the one narrated by Abu Sa‘eed, may Allah be pleased with him, in its two parts: “This wealth is sweet (alluring); whoever earns it lawfully and spends it rightfully, then what excellent help it is! He who obtains it wrongfully is like one who eats but is never satisfied,” – they are considered a Prophetic standard and an Islamic methodology of moderation in pursuing wealth, with neither excessive asceticism nor the dispraised accumulation of wealth and exceeding the proper limits in its acquisition and spending.
These Ahaadith, therefore, direct the Muslims towards the correct viewpoint on the true nature of wealth and underline that Islam does not dispraise wealth in an absolute sense, as some Sufis claim, nor does it praise it in an absolute sense. The subject matter of the praise and dispraise here is not the wealth itself but rather the states of people in acquiring, spending, or disposing of it. Whoever seeks (lawful) wealth with the intention of providing for himself and his dependants and reforming the universe with such wealth by investing and spending it on what is good and beneficial to the individual and community, then how excellent such wealth is!
Some of the Companions were wealthy and successful traders. Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was a trader, and his wealth was well spent in support of Islam and the Muslims. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “No wealth has benefited me as much as the wealth of Abu Bakr.” Thereupon, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, wept and said: “O Messenger of Allah! I and my wealth are only for you, O Messenger of Allah!” [Ibn Maajah, Al-Albaani: authentic] There were many other rich Companions whose wealth was a source of mercy and help for people and which was spent in support of the Islamic causes, like that of the third caliph, ‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, who equipped the Muslim army for the Battle of Tabook with nine hundred and fifty camels and rounded them up to one thousand with fifty horses.
As for those who seek after wealth to accumulate it and boast about it, turning it into a means to cause mischief on earth and corrupt the economy through engaging in forbidden transactions such as Riba and gambling, they contribute to the poverty and unemployment in their societies by concentrating wealth in the hands of one social class. Accordingly, wealth, in their hands, becomes a means of destruction and evil, just like Qaaroon, whose story was related in the Qur’an. He wronged his people by dealing with Riba with their wealth and claiming that he had earned and obtained such wealth exclusively by means of his knowledge and efforts! This corrupt viewpoint on wealth and the economic injustice were enough sin for him to deserve the immediate destruction that befell him. Contrary to his aspirations to dominate the earth, Allah, The Exalted, destroyed him by causing the earth to swallow him, and he will continue to sink until the Day of Resurrection. Allah, The Exalted, Says (what means): {And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves.} [Qur’an 28:81]
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/



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