Commandments of the Messenger (SAWS)







By his Eminence Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt

Abu-Hurairah (RA)[1] said, “The Messengers (SAWS)[2] said, ‘He who alleviates the suffering of a brother out of the affliction of the world, Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Resurrection.  He who finds relief for one who is hard pressed, Allah would make things easy for him in the Hereafter.  He who conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in this world and in the Hereafter.  Allah Is at the back of a servant so long as the servant is at the back of his brother.  He who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him.  Those persons who assemble in a house of Allah (a mosque), recite the Book of Allah, and they learn and teach the Qur’an (among themselves), tranquility would descend upon them, mercy would cover them, the angels would surround them, and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him.  He who is slow-paced in doing good deeds, his (high) descent does not make him go ahead.’ (Reported by Muslim).

In this noble hadith, the Messenger (SAWS) has collected seven precious commandments, which are considered the main pillars of the Muslim community that help it in its crises and urge the strengthening of the bonds of mercy and cordiality among its members.

The first commandment urges the alleviation of sufferings of people.  The Messenger (SAWS) put it in a way that shows the great thawab (reward) of such an act.  He mentioned it as a singular, and made it the base of judgment.  Yet, we have to bear in mind the huge difference between the sufferings of the worldly life and those of the Day of Judgment.  He did not restrict it to a certain time, so as to urge doing it in all time.  He used the verb ‘naffassa’, which is the same root of ‘nafs’ (self) in order to assure the self relief that one feels when their sufferings are being relieved.  He showed us that the thawb is directly from Allah, where there is neither mediator nor veil.  This all is concentrated in the first command, which is a collective and absolute that is valid in all time and place.

In the second commandment, he (SAWS) handled another type of relieving the sufferings.  He put in a single command so as to highlight it and emphasize its importance and great thawab.  The debtor is in continuous distress.  The Messenger (SAWS) used to supplicate Allah by saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from disbelief, poverty, and torture in the grave.”  He sought Allah’s refuge from poverty as it is an affliction.  He coupled it with disbelief and poverty because of its striking impact on the believer.  Moreover, Islam has set a share in zakah (alms) for the insolvent, thus, emphasizing the importance of reliving the suffering of Muslims in the hard times.  Alleviating the insolvent in some cases is obligatory and recommended in other cases.  It is obligatory to grant the insolvent a respite, which means deferring the payment of the debt until they are in time of ease.  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “And in case any person is under difficulty, then he should (be granted) a respite to (the time of) ease…”  (TMQ, 2:280).  As for the recommended, it is recommended to drop the debt.  What is amazing about this branch of fiqh, is that the recommended is more in reward than the obligatory.  This is different from the case of most of fiqh branches, in which the obligatory is more in reward than the recommended except for four branches this is one of them.  The second branch is to be the first to say ‘salam’, which is sunnah.  Yet its reward is more than greeting back, which is obligatory.  The third branch is getting purified before the time of prayer.  The forth branch is male circumcision before their puberty.

The third commandment orders us to cover up people’s faults or conceal them, which is the opposite of scandal.  Religion is based on concealing faults.  Many people in our time, however, call for the so-called ‘transparency’.  This word has a good meaning and a bad one as well.  The bad meaning is to call people to take obscenity, bad talking, and morals too lightly, under the pretext of transparency.  The good meaning of transparency, however, is honesty not scandal.  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Surely the ones who love that (the) obscenity should be widespread among the ones who have believed, (they) will have a painful torment in the present (life) (Literally: the lowly “life”, i.e., the life of this world) and the Hereafter; and Allah knows, and you do not know.” (TMQ: 24:19)

It is a fact that Allah aids His slave for as long the slave aids their brother/sister.  This is a commandment that implies how the heart of a Muslim has room for the worlds.  It also implies that he is always ready to cooperate in righteousness and piety, and not in sin and aggression.  The more a Muslim aids their brother/sister, the more they feel the support of Allah (SWT).

The fifth commandment tells us that all kinds of striving in the path of knowledge is a strive in the path of paradise itself.  Such eloquence we rarely find in the speeches of ordinary people.  It is only in the master of all Arabs and all Messengers, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).  Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “Say, “Are the ones who know equal to the ones who do not know?”  (TMQ, 39:9).  He also shows that knowledge is infinite, so He says, “and say, “Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”  (TMQ, 20:114).  He tells us that a researcher and a scholar should keep on learning for as long as they live, so He says,  “and above every (man) owning knowledge is One Who is Ever-Knowing.” (TMQ, 12: 76).  This knowledge would eventually lead to being apprehensive of Allah, so He says, “Surely only the ones of His bondmen who are apprehensive of Allah are the knowledgeable. (i.e. learned ones)” (TMQ, 35:28).

The sixth commandment tells us that the mosque should be one of the most important institutes in the society. It is in mosques where we learn that caring for the human being advances everything else, even the mosques itself.  In mosques, we learn the keys of good, like knowledge, remembrance of Allah, and thinking.

The seventh commandment shows the standard according to which we should accept things or reject.  It is equality rather than ancestry or lineage.

This is the community the Messenger (SAWS) wanted for us to live in.  However, our community, nowadays, suffers form such failures that most complain about, and ask for getting back to how we used to be in the past, for the strength of nations springs from the strength of communities.

At the end, it Is only Allah that we seek

Al-Aharm Newspaper 21 Nov, 09

[1] Radya Allah anhu/anha [May Allah be pleased with him/her].

[2]Salla Allah alayhe Wa Salam [All Prayers and Peace of Allah be upon him]