Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Best of the Best

Article taken from focusing more on the commentary of the 100 hadeeths gathered for the article.

by Abu Eesa Niamatullah

Have you ever wondered to yourself what it actually means to be the best?

When we are told that ‘this is the best’ or ‘that was the greatest’ or ‘this will bring the most benefit’ etc, have you ever thought who on Earth gave such people/editors the authority to tell us that? In an age when we have a plethora of ‘Top 10’ or ‘Top 100’ lists on everything from cars to films, from foods to places, one wonders where is that list that will really provide some benefit to us in this current short life and the next very long one.

Well, wait no more. Below, from a choice of hundreds of narrations from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) you can find 100 hadīth, in no particular order of merit, detailing ways on exactly how to become the best, how to have the most excellent characteristics, what really will prove most beneficial for us to know, what really are the greatest things to think about and hope for and indeed, how to become the most beloved of people to our Magnificent Creator, Allāh jalla wa ‘alā.

No more subjectivity, no more empty statements; just the divine criteria of what really is the best as developed by the very best himself, Sayyidinā Muhammad al-Mustapha (‘alayhi salātullāh).

So go on, don’t be ordinary. Don’t be common. Don’t be a chamcha…

Be the best.

Commentary on ‘The Best of the Best’.

It is clear that there are a few narrations that require further elucidation as to their meanings so below, I will add a few notes to those hadith which need it.

Sayyidina Muhammad (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told us:

1. “The best of the Muslims is he from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe.” (Muslim)

This hadith re-affirms the sanctity of the Believer, in fact there is nothing more valuable in the Deen than a life, which is why it is permissible to perform kufr in order to save ones life and yet one is not to be prayed over if he takes his ‘own’ life in an act of suicide. This sanctity has to be protected not just from the weapons of another (the ‘hand’) but also the tongue which is a destructive force in itself. In fact, the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) informed us that many people would be in the Fire of Hell due simply to what their tongues uttered.

Hence, anyone who controls himself i.e. his anger and passion, as well as his tongue, has indeed achieved the very best during this worldly life in which so many people ruin their Hereafter by spilling the blood and honour of other Muslims.

2. “The best of people are those with the most excellent character.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

Indeed, few things have been as emphasised by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as having good conduct, excellent manners, displaying bravery and honour in fact all possible characteristics which embellish the external so as to make it a worthy carrier of the weighty and priceless message contained within, i.e. the Deen of Islam.

How many times did we see a people loved for their good character and yet how many Muslims today ruin their relations with all and sundry with their distinct lack of adab?

3. “The best of people are those that bring most benefit to the rest of mankind.” (Dāraqutni, Hasan)

Note that this is not just bring benefit to Muslims but to be beneficial to all of mankind; in these times of relative prosperity, the Muslims should be leading the field in education and development in order to revive our marvellous heritage of giving mankind so many tools to help make modern society progress.

How sad it is then, that today either we are forced to prioritise and take care of those who cannot even secure stability in their lives in the occupied lands whereas other eminent Muslims in the Western lands, seem to progress yet forget their ultimate objectives and aims as they fall for the allure of empiricism and material gain, and forget their Lord, the Master of all the Worlds.

4. “The best of people are those who are best in fulfilling (rights).” (Ibn Mājah, Sahīh)

This hadith refers to those who pay their debts on time (or early), those who stick to their promises, those who fulfill their contracts as agreed as well as those who ensure the rights of others are met such as visiting the sick, giving sincere advice etc.

5. “The best of people during fitnah is a man who takes up the reins of his horse pursuing the enemies of Allāh, causing them fear yet they make him fearful too, or a man who secludes himself in the desert fulfilling the rights of Allāh upon him.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

The word fitnah can mean a variety of things such as a trial, a test, tribulation, civil strife etc, all coming from its root meaning in the Arabic which is to treat and melt metal ore to remove impurities and bring out any gold if present. Likewise, a fitnah in the Deen might be a test of some sort for a people or even an individual to try him and see whether his impurities can also be melted away and his true core values of excellence such as patience, wisdom, bravery, and sacrifice can all be allowed to come forth.

In the above example, the first type of fitnah is that of Jihād where the Muslims are called upon to defend their religion, despite their love or hatred of warfare. The man above is scared yet he goes forth for the sake of his Lord and will be rewarded handsomely for this ultimate sacrifice – by giving his life.

The second man is experiencing the other popular form of fitnah which would be between the Muslims themselves, often political in nature between two parties claiming to be on the truth. This form of strife afflicted the Sahabah during the murder of ‛Uthmān and Husayn (radhy Allāhu ‛anhuma) yet the senior Companions at those times such as ibn Abbas, Abu Hurayrah and ibn ‛Umar would always refrain from getting involved and taking sides. They would confine themselves to their houses (and as in other narrations, one should go to the furtherest mountain peaks or the deepest corners of the house) and continue to worship Allāh as sincerely and best as possible.

This is a hadīth which we also can implement in our lives with all the different levels of fitnah that we are exposed to in our local communities here in the West between differing parties, gaining reward as opposed to losing all our hasanāt and carrying the burden of the sins of others.

6. “The best of mankind is my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come a people after them who will become avaricious, who will love gluttony, and who will give witness before they are asked for it.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

The verb يتسمنون (yatasammanun) in this hadith suggests everything that avarice purports to be: becoming neglectful and heedless to the important things in life as one descends into material delights, becoming greedy, lethargic and ultimately taking this life to be his final goal instead of the Hereafter. Over-eating is a key aspect to this, and hence becoming fat, obese and gluttonous as so many Muslims have unfortunately become, even (or shall I say especially?) the religiously ‘practising’ of them, is just confirming the sad reality of this Prophetic narration.

7. “The best of people are those who live longest and excel in their deeds, whereas the worst of people are those who live longest and corrupt their deeds.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

Ask for a long life but make sure it’s spent doing good – not bad!

8. “The best of women are those that please him (her husband) when he sees her, obeys him when she is commanded, and who does not secretly betray him with regards to herself and her money in that which he dislikes.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

9. “The best of women are those that please you when you see them, obey you when commanded, and who safeguard themselves and your money in your absence.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

The second hadith here covers the wealth of the husband as well as her own wealth; it also asks of the Muslim women to make that extra effort in order to safeguard the relationship. Naturally, this has to be taken in conjunction with the man fulfilling all of the rights of his wife as well, something which most men in our morally bereft world have totally forgotten and neglected, yet miraculously seem to remember everything the wife should do…

10. “The best of marriages are the easiest ones.” (Abu Dāwūd, Sahīh)

This doesn’t necessarily mean simple and basic, but rather it should be according to what you can afford to do comfortably. Extravagance and lavishness is not permissible for anyone, yet it is even more ridiculous from those who will have to take out loans simply to maintain the ‘image’.

11. “The best of your dates is the Borniyyū date; it expels disease yet does not contain any disease itself.” (Hākim, Hasan)

Little is known about this date except that is a yellow/red coloured circular-shaped date, soft and fleshy, extremely sweet and according to Imām Abu Hanīfah (rahimahullāh), originally hails from Persia. It is narrated as barniyyū and borniyyū, and is probably an arabicized word with Persian roots.

If you can get hold of some, please share them with your friends. Note: this author is very much your best friend.

12. “The best of your garments are those which are white; shroud your dead in them and clothe your living with them. The best of that which you apply to your eyelids is antimony causing the eyelashes to grow and sharpening the eyesight.” (Ibn Hibbān, Sahīh)

Antimony is what we know as Kohl, or surma in Urdu, and is subject to much difference of opinion between the Imams as to the etiquette with respect to the timings of applying it.

13. “The best quality of your religion is scrupulousness.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

Wara‛ is a word almost synonymous with taqwa i.e. to be constantly in a state of God-conciousness, continually being aware of what one says and does. Wara’ adds that extra dimension of being very careful and cautious in your actions, always preferring the safe option instead of taking any risks – indeed a difficult but noble principle.

14. “The best of your religion is that which is easiest.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

Being too strict and harsh often causes problems, usually causing conflict and rancour which are the last things you want to create in setting a good example. Think about this carefully in your relations and da’wah to your family and friends, not meaning thereby that you throw away the high standards of Islam that must always be upheld, but rather that it is Allah who guides and not you, and if it wasn’t for Him jalla wa ‘ala, then maybe you’d be even more lost than the one in front of you.

This hadith also specifically refers to the Muslim during his choice of certain acts of optional worship. Often people over-burden their selves by avoiding the ‘easy’ option and then end up suffering from burn-out, having in fact done nothing at all.

15. “The best of the prayer lines for men are the first rows, the worst being the final rows. The best of the prayer lines for women are the final rows and the worst are the first rows.” (Muslim)

16. “The best prayers for women are those performed in the most secluded parts of their houses.” (Ibn Khuzaymah, Sahīh)

Although women are allowed to come to the Mosques, they will obtain more reward for those very prayers when performed at home.

17. “The best of you in Islām are those who are most excellent in character as long as you deeply understand the religion.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

18. “The best of you are the best of you in fulfilling (rights).” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

19. “The best of you are those who are best to their families, and I am the best of you to my family.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

20. “The best of you are my generation, then those that follow them and then those that follow them. Then there shall come after them a people who will betray and be untrustworthy, will give witness even though they have not been asked to, will make vows yet will not fulfil them and obesity will appear amongst them.” (Bukhāri)

The reason that ‘giving witness before being asked to give so’ is sometimes seen as blameworthy (see later) is because it represents the mindset of certain people who do not appreciate the importance and gravity of being a witness, rushing to make a statement often to secure their own interests or even to make false testimony, which is from the major sins. This kind of attitude fits the one who becomes totally neglectful in his religion as previously explained, even falling towards hypocrisy itself by not fulfilling promises and vows, may Allah protect us all from that, Ameen.

21. “The best of you are those who feed others and return greetings.” (Abu Ya‛lā, Hasan)

22. “The best of you is he from whom good is anticipated and safety from his evil is assured; the worst of you is he from whom nothing good is expected and one is not safe from his evil.” (Tirmidhi,Sahīh)

23. “The best thing mankind has been given is excellent character.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

24. “The best of that which you treat yourself with is cupping.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

This is a science which is making a comeback at the present time, masha’Allah, despite the attempts of some to write it off as an ‘invalid’ medical procedure. Many students of knowledge have cupping done regularly, especially for the memory, and have always reported favourable results. There is an increasing need for society to return to the more natural ‘Eastern’ understanding of medicine as opposed to the ‘Western’ notion of simply trying to produce a pill for every possible complaint.

25. “The best of journeys undertaken are to this Mosque of mine and the Ancient House.” (Ahmad,Sahīh)

To visit the Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah is an act of ‘ibādah itself, each prayer equivalent to 1000 prayers and then 100,000 prayers at the Ka’bah in Makkah within the Haram area.

26. “The best of which man can leave behind for himself are three: a righteous child who supplicates for him, an ongoing charity whose reward continues to reach him and knowledge which others benefit from after him.” (Ibn Hibbān, Hasan)

27. “The best Mosques for women are the most secluded parts of their houses.” (Bayhaqi, Sahīh)

28. “The best of the world’s women are four: Maryum bint ‛Imrān, Khadījah bint Khuwaylid, Fātimah bint Muhammad and Āsiyah the wife of Fir‛awn.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

29. “The best of days that you should perform cupping are the 17th, 19th and 21st of the month. I did not pass a single gathering of angels on the night of Isrā’ except that they would say to me, ‘O Muhammad, perform cupping!’” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

30. “The best day on which the Sun has risen is Friday; on it Ādam was created, on it Ādam was made to enter Paradise and on it he was expelled. The Hour will not be established except on Friday.” (Muslim)

31. “Verily, the best of perfume for men is that which is strong in smell and light in colour, and the best of perfume for women is that which is strong in colour and light in smell.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

32. “The most beloved of religions according to Allāh the Most High is the ‘easy and flexible religion.’” (Ahmad, Hasan)

The word al-Hanīfiyyat’l-Samha refers to the religion which is not only pure monotheism, perfectly exhibited by al-Hanīf Ibrahīm (‘alayhis-salām) but to remember that it is a religion of ease and flexibility. Hanīfiyyah finds its roots in ‘diverting and bending away’, here meaning to bend away from the prevalent polytheism found in society. Samha means that it is ‘easy’, ‘considerate’, ‘flexible’.

Hence after the previously revealed laws/religions, only Islām perfects life with the beauty of worshipping the Creator alone, establishing that pure relationship of servitude and love and yet calls one to be easy with the creation and hence perfecting societal relations.

33. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allāh are the continuous ones, even if they are little.” (Agreed upon)

The upshot of being ‘easy’ upon ourselves in our worship is to recognise that to be strict and even ‘extreme’ upon ourselves almost always leads to burnout and a total misalignment of our priorities, thereby gaining the anger of Allah as opposed to his pleasure! What use are long hours of Tahajjud when you can’t wake up for Fajr? What use is being extreme in the hours you study if you can’t appropriate quality time for the correct upbringing of your children?

Everything should always be in balance, and likewise a small yet consistent and continuous action will always bring fruits as well as maintaining an enthusiasm for it, avoiding tiredness, boredom and lethargy.

34. “The most beloved of names according to Allāh are ‘Abd Allah, ‘Abd’l-Rahmān and Hārith.” (Abu Ya‛lā, Sahīh)

Stuck for a name for your new child? You have a huge bank to choose from what with all the Prophets, Sahabah as well as other names that don’t have anti-Islamic connotations; but you can’t beat the above which are the best of the lot.

35. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allāh are the prayer in its right time, then to treat the parents in an excellent manner, and then Jihād in the path of Allāh.” (Agreed upon)

The scholars have said that when the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told us that something was the best action, this does not always mean that it is absolutely better than the rest of actions such as illustrated in this hadīth. Often, other hadīth might seem to be contradictory as orders of excellence with respect to our deeds are shown in a different order. Rather, this is to explain to us the ‘weight’ of such a good deed, a way for us to recognise its value, and not just that it is the one and only single best action ever possible in worship.

In any case, ensure the prayer is completed in its right time (which means its earliest time according to many of the scholars except the ‘Isha prayer which should be prayed as late as possible), ensure you don’t ruin your other good deeds by not fully honouring and respecting your parents, and most of all in these politically sensitive times, never forget that Jihad fi-sabīlillāh is the greatest sacrifice anyone can perform and will be the cornerstone of the revival of our Deen before the Last Day.

36. “The most beloved of deeds according to Allāh is that you die and yet your tongue is still moist from the remembrance of Allāh.” (Ibn Hibbān, Hasan)

What greater encouragement can one need to busy oneself day and night with the various adhkār (special words/speech of remembrance) taught to us by the Prophet himself. How convenient then that…

37. “The most beloved words according to Allah the Most High are four: Subhānallāh, Alhamdulillāh, Lā ilāha illallāh and Allāhu Akbar; there is no problem with which one you start with.” (Muslim)

The four great phrases which should make up the mainstay of our daily dhikr: Subhānallāh i.e. ‘Transcendent is Allah (from the imperfections of creation)!’, Alhamdulillāh i.e. ‘All Praise be to Allah’, Lā ilāha illallāh i.e. ‘There is nothing worthy of worship except Allāh’, and Allāhu Akbar i.e. ‘Allāh is the greatest.’

38. “The most beloved of speech according to Allāh is when the servant says, ‘Subhānallāhi wa bihamdihī’ (How Transcendent is Allāh and we praise him!).” (Muslim)

There are many different variations to be found in the books of dhikr, which are based upon the above core formula of ‘How Transcendent (Perfect) is Allāh (above and beyond His creation) and we praise Him.’ I have given a slightly different translation here in order to try and express the concept of Subhānallāh which has no single appropriate word in the English language. Not only is it one of the most common roots of dhikr but also one of the most difficult to translate due to the lack of any language being able to capture the exaltedness and perfection of God, especially when being compared to the utter deficiency of creation, hence He is beyond the limits of all human experience and knowledge except that which He and His Messenger inform us of.

39. “The most beloved of speech according to Allāh the Most High is that which Allāh chose for his Angels: Subhāna Rabbī wa bihamdihī, Subhāna Rabbī wa bihamdihī, Subhāna Rabbī wa bihamdihī.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

What can be more fitting but to emulate those who do nothing better than worshipping Allah perfectly, saying, ‘How Transcendent (and Perfect) is my Lord, and we praise Him.’

40. “The most beloved of people according to Allāh is he who brings most benefit, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allāh the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month. Whoever holds back his anger, Allāh will cover his faults and whoever suppresses his fury while being able to execute it, Allāh will fill his heart with satisfaction on the Day of Standing. Whoever walks with his brother Muslim in need until he establishes that for him, Allāh will establish his feet firmly on the day when all feet shall slip. Indeed, bad character ruins deeds just as vinegar ruins honey.” (Tabarāni, Hasan)

This wonderful hadīth is an article in itself so at least for now, if we can implement this hadīth in these sanctified days of Dhul Hijjah, success will be guaranteed.

41. “The most beloved of people to me is ‛Ā’ishah and from the men, Abu Bakr.” (Agreed upon)

How many reasons do we have to love this fantastic father and daughter combination? Not only was she the wife of our Prophet, the conveyor of Sunnah, the one whose purity has been attested to by our Lord, but then our own mother too! And how about the greatest man of this Ummah after the Prophets, the Truthful, the one who stood strong and affirmed when the rest hesitated, the Amīr’l-Mu’minīn, the one for whom love is part of faith itself.

How then can one fathom the sheer evil and utter misguidance of those few sects such as some of the Rāfidhah Shī‛ah who consider these two greats as the biggest enemies of Islam. We ask Allah for ‛āfiyah and ask Him to help us learn more about these two heroes of Islām by studying their life story and implementing their qualities in our lives, Ameen.

42. “The best of people in recitation are those who when they recite, you see that they fear Allāh.” (Bayhaqi, Sahīh)

The best thing about this hadith is how true it proves to be anecdotally, with every Muslim having experienced that special moment as they prayed behind an ‘ordinary’ Imām, not one of the superstar reciters of the Muslim world, and yet it proves to be that unique moment of spiritual transcendence. Why? No-one knows, it’s just that at that moment, the sincerity and taqwa of the reciter just comes through and it hits the spot.

So, as well as concentrating on your Tajwīd, give a bit more time to connecting sincerely with the spiritual message and application of the words that you’re reciting in order to become that special loved one…

43. “The best of your leaders are those that you love and they love you, you supplicate for them and they supplicate for you. The worst of your leaders are those that you hate and they hate you, you curse them and they curse you.” (Muslim)

I include this because many readers out there are leaders in their own right, leaders in their communities and in their da‘wah work. So even though this hadith refers in the main to the general leaders and rulers of the Muslims, it can be extended to the leaders of the Mosques, organisations, institutes, schools, community, household and even peer groups, especially considering that the Muslims in the West have absolutely no defacto Ameer (leader) to look to and hence we must all be very careful in our individual responsibilities due to this extra burden in our minority communities.

44. “The best of you are those who are best in paying off their debts.” (Tahāwi, Sahīh)

45. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and most excellent character.” (Bazzār, Sahīh)

46. “The best of you are those with the longest lives and best in action.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

47. “The best of you are those with the softest shoulders during prayer.” (Bayhaqi, Hasan)

The meaning of this hadith according to some scholars is that your shoulders are soft enough in the prayer line so as to let a latecomer squeeze in between you, or for someone who needs to go forwards (or exit even to make wudhu etc). So as well as keep a tight line with everyones shoulders touching the next, this shouldn’t prevent those who have a need to pass through to do so and Allah knows best.

48. “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

49. “The best of you are those who are best to their families.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

50. “The best of you during the ‘Period of Ignorance’ are the best of you in Islām as long as they deeply understand the religion.” (Bukhāri)

‘Umar anyone?

51. “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’ān and teach it.” (Dārimi, Sahīh)

52. “The best of companions according to Allāh are those who are best to their companion and the best of neighbours according to Allāh are those that are best to their neighbour.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

53. “The best of places are the Mosques and the worst of places are the markets.” (Tabarāni, Hasan)

54. “The best supplication on the Day of ‛Arafah and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me ever said was, ‘Lā ilāha illallāh wahdahū lā sharīka lahū, lahū’l-mulk wa lahū’l-hamd wa huwa ‛alā kulli shay’in Qadīr.’” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)

55. “The best of provision is that which suffices.” (Ahmad in ‘Zuhd’, Hasan)

56. “The best testimony is when one gives it before he is asked to do so.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

This hadith might seem contradictory to the previous narration condemning those who rush to give witness without being asked for it, yet we are dealing with two totally different scenarios.

Here, the one giving witness himself is an upright citizen who recognises the burden and difficulties of giving his word, but ultimately appreciates the responsibility placed upon him by his Lord and his people to ensure justice is meted out and oppression is banished to the side-lines. His recognition of this importance leads him to go forward to help the weak, with not a single benefit for himself – and that’s the difference.

57. “The best of dowries are the easiest.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

Again, something which is appropriate to the position of the groom. This hadith does not mean one should only get married for £5 or an iron ring (despite the protests of the romantics of you!), rather the marriage dowry should have a real intrinsic value and even more importantly, should not be above the normal capability of the groom. Note how the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) didn’t do ‘Ali any favours either when it came to the dowry of his daughter Fatimah (radhy Allahu ‘anhum) yet knowing all the time that the agreed dowry was within his capability.

58. “The best of charity is that which still leaves you self-sufficient for the upper hand is better than the lower hand; start with those you are responsible for.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

What use is giving everything that you have so that you are left begging from others? And what can a person be thinking of when he gives charity to those far away from him when those who are related to him, and hence have a double right over him according to Shari’ah go begging?

59. “The best of gatherings are those that are most open.” (Abu Dāwūd, Sahīh)

Specifically, this hadith is indicating to both those who are present and those who have just arrived, that the circle should be so that if anyone comes late, they can join in comfortably and easily without disturbing the positions and focus of those who are present. The latecomer should also recognise that he musn’t ‘push in’ and step over the necks of the people to get to a place which he doesn’t deserve.

‘Most open’ also means that they are not closed, private and partisan but rather full of barakah, offering khayr and benefit to all and sundry, especially those who might not normally attend such a circle of Qur’an or studying law, hadith or the inner sciences. Naturally, this can only be done if those who are present make space so that no newcomer is made to feel as if he is on the fringe. Ihsan from those present, although maybe un-noticed by the newcomer, is never missed by the angels…

60. “The most beloved deed according to Allāh is to have faith in Allāh, then to maintain the ties of kinship, and then to command to good and forbid the wrong. The most abhorrent of deeds according to Allāh is to associate partners with Him, then to cut the ties of kinship.” (Abu Ya’lā, Hasan)

61. “The most beloved Jihād according to Allāh is that a word of truth be spoken to a tyrant ruler.” (Tabarāni, Hasan)

This hadith shows one of the rare instances in the Sunnah where the word Jihad is used to mean something other than fighting in the way of Islam, but yet still maintains the same concept for it is fully understood that when one does such an action direct to the tyrant ruler, it will be an almost instant yet painful death and thereby the ultimate sacrifice of his life has been given.

Note that one of the reasons that such a death is the very best of endings is due to the fact that people will remember such people who stand for the truth, not fearing the ‘blame of those who blame’, speaking that which Allah commands to despite overwhelming opposition to it. It is these such people who Allah sends to protect the priceless principles this religion has preserved, unlike every single other religion to be found.

62. “The most beloved word according to me is that which is most truthful.” (Bukhāri)

63. “The most beloved fast according to Allāh is the fast of Dāwūd; he would fast every alternate day. The most beloved prayer according to Allāh is the prayer of Dāwūd; he would sleep half the night, stand a third and then sleep for a sixth.” (Agreed upon)

64. “The most beloved dish according to Allāh is that which most hands feed from.” (Ibn Hibbān,Hasan)

Hence, not only is it liked for people/family/guests to eat from one dish, but the extra barakah is to be found with the greater amount of people eating from the same plate, not allowing those who may harbour ideas of superiority over others due to class and position to step back and eat individually due to their arrogance and ignorance. Note though, it is of course permissible to eat out of ones own dish whilst eating with others.

65. “The most beloved servant of Allāh is he who is most beneficial to his dependents.” (Zawā’id al-Zuhd, Hasan)

66. “The best of earnings is that of the labourer as long as he tries his best.” (Ahmad, Hasan)

There is simply nothing more blessed than a person who earns using his own hands, as self-independent as can possibly be, not having to rely on others.

67. “The best of all deeds is to have faith in Allāh alone, then Jihād and then an accepted Hajj; they surpass all other deeds like the distance between the rising and setting of the Sun.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

68. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer at its earliest time.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

69. “The best of all deeds is the Prayer in its right time, to treat the Parents honourably and Jihād in the path of Allāh.” (al-Khatīb, Sahīh)

70. “The best of all deeds is that you bring happiness to your Muslim brother, pay off his debt or feed him bread.” (Ibn Adiyy, Hasan)

71. “The best of faith is patience and magnanimity.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

Magnanimity is something which if implemented fully in our society, would cause the hearts to come together and soften to one another – being easy and flexible on others, especially when it comes to societal transactions such as debts between one another, or buying something from a shopkeeper etc. To pay that little extra, or to give that extra few ounces is often such a small act yet it never fails to leave a mark on the other person; being easy and patient with others, especially those who are in difficulty, is a characteristic of person of the Garden, someone who seeks the pleasure of Allah alone through his action, despite the worldy ‘loss’ it might be.

72. “The best of days according to Allāh is Friday.” (Bayhaqi, Sahīh)

73. “The best of Jihād is that man strives against his soul and desires.” (Daylami, Sahīh)

74. “The best Hajj is that with the most raised voices and flowing blood.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)

Hajj as an act of ‘ibādah has those uniquely contrasting periods of intense private moments with our Creator as well as some of the most public and open actions we will ever be required to perform. It is Sunnah to recite the Talbiyyah as loud as possible throughout the Hajj days until one stones the Jamrat’l-’Aqabah; likewise, the sacrifice is a very outwardly act, that is done with speed and confidence (to minimise the suffering of the animals) hence ‘flowing blood.’

75. “The best of supplications is that of on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing that was said by myself and the Prophets before me was, “Lā ilāha illallāh wahdahū lā sharīka lahū.” (There is nothing worthy of worship except Allah alone, He has no partners.) (Mālik, Hasan)

76. “The best of dinars are: the dinār spent by a man upon his dependents, the dinār spent by a man upon his horse in the path of Allāh and the dinār spent by a man upon his companions in the path of Allah, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” (Muslim)

77. “The best word of remembrance is: Lā ilāha illallāh and the best supplication is: Al-hamdu lillāh.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)

78. “The best word of remembrance is: Lā ilāha illallāh and the best (expression of giving) thanks is:Al-hamdu lillāh.” (Baghawi, Hasan)

79. “The best of hours are those deep in the latter part of the night.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

Because no-one will know about your good actions such as Tahajjud, reading the Qur’an, distributing charity etc except the One who knows everything. Such deeds are the most beloved, and naturally the most difficult. It’s not easy to be the best!

80. “The best of all martyrs are those who fight in the front line; they do not turn their faces away until they are killed. They will be rolling around in the highest rooms of Paradise, their Lord laughing at them – when your Lord laughs at a servant, there is no accounting for him.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

One of the greatest rays of hope for the Islamic nation is that the virtue of Jihād i.e. sacrificing yourself for the cause of God can never be erased from the hearts of the believers, despite all the tremendous efforts of our enemies. The mischief-makers would have to erase the entire Qur’anic and Prophetic legacy to do so and good luck to them in that. Here is just another wonderful example of a hadīth extolling the virtues of those who die fighting whilst defending the cause of humanity against oppression and evil – the true aim of Jihād. They show no fear in the face of the enemy, they suppress their desires and march forward bravely in the face of adversity until their very final breath.

Note the interesting use of the Arabic word تلبط (talabbata) which literally means to roll around on the floor, or wallow in dust or mud etc. This word has appeared in the hadīth literature on a few occasions, most notably in the famous hadīth of Mā‘iz where the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Do not curse him! Rather, he is rolling around in the gardens of Paradise!” i.e. rolling around, almost deliriously happy as one would do when they have not a single care in the world. And what care would he have after he has reached the ultimate goal, passed the final test, and has nothing but sheer joy and delight to look forward to for infinity!

Can it get any better? Well, it does! For not only that but our Lord then starts to Laugh with us at our joy and satisfaction with that which He has promised us. I mean, can you like imagine that?!

Allahu Akbar.

81. “The best of all martyrs is he whose blood is shed and whose horse is slaughtered.” (Tabarāni,Sahīh)

82. “The best of all charity is the shade of a canopy (provided) in the path of Allāh, the Mighty and Magnificent, to gift ones servant in the path of Allāh and to gift ones she-camel in the path of Allāh.” (Ahmad, Hasan)

83. “The best of all charity is that which is given to the relative that harbours enmity against you.” (Ahmad, Sahīh)

To give charity or a gift to someone who likes you and you like them is no doubt a good action, but it’s not very difficult is it? Now change it to someone who can’t stand you, for no good reason, and hence they’re not really going to be number one in your good books are they?

Islam offers real solutions to these everyday difficult scenarios that we face, often requiring us to transcend the norm, the standard apathetic arrogance that we all suffer from, and for us to lower ourselves, to become humble, and to make the first step. Always, the one who makes the first move gets the greater reward and this is no different; charity to such a person is a great swallowing of pride on your behalf and often rather than not, will have a lasting impression on someone who will soon realise how silly they have been.

84. “The best of all charity is that you give it while you are healthy and desirous (of that money), hoping to become wealthy but fearing poverty. Don’t delay until you are about to breathe your last and then you say, ‘This is for ‘so and so’ and this is for ‘so and so’’, for indeed, it has already been written that ‘so and so’ would receive that.” (Abu Dāwūd, Sahīh)

This hadith is explaining the situation of someone who is happy, healthy, and wealthy and hence in an optimum position to give money away for the sake of Allah, despite wanting to save more and more in his time of success. This is sacrifice number one.

Then we have the variation of such a person who holds out on sharing any good with the rest of his family and society but when the time comes for him to move on to the Hereafter, he believes that he’s doing everyone some kind of favour by giving them their God-assured right of the inheritance, even though Allah ‘azza wa jall had decreed that whether he was to give it willingly or unwillingly.

How strange!

85. “The best of all charity is when the one with little strives to give; start with those you are responsible for.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

86. “The best charity is to provide water.” (Ibn Mājah, Hasan)

87. “The best prayer after the obligatory ones is the prayer in the depth of the night, and the best fast after the month of Ramadhān is the month of Allah, Muharram.” (Muslim)

88. “The best prayer is the prayer of the man in his home except for the obligatory prayer.” (Nasā’ī,Sahīh)

The one who prays all his sunnah prayers in the Mosque should really reconsider his action and try to avoid turning his house into a graveyard.

89. “The best prayer is that with the longest standing.” (Muslim)

Not only is the Qiyam (i.e. all sections of the rak’ah where you stand) a pillar and integral of the prayer, but to elongate it by reciting extra Qur’an therein, is better than the elongation of any other section of the prayer, even the prostration.

90. “The best of all prayers according to Allāh is the Friday morning prayer in congregation.” (Ibn Nu‘aym, Sahīh)

This is a practice which not enough Muslims take heed of; how sad it is that with such a hadith, one still finds no more than a couple of rows during the Friday morning Fajr prayer at the local Mosque.

91. “The best fast is the fast of my brother Dāwūd; he would fast every alternate day and he would never flee (the battlefront) when the armies would meet.” (Tirmidhi, Sahīh)

92. “The best of all fasts after Ramadhān is in the month that you call Muharram.” (Nasā’ī, Sahīh)

93. “The best of all worship is supplication.” (Hākim, Sahīh)

94. “The best deed is the prayer in its right time and Jihād in the path of Allāh.” (Bayhaqi, Sahīh)

95. “The best of the Qur’ān is: “Al-hamdu lillāhi Rabb’l-‘Ālamīn”. (Hākim, Sahīh)

Here, the ‘part’ refers to the ‘full’ i.e. the best of the Qur’an is Surat’l-Fatihah, due to its overwhelmingly comprehensive, pure, and unique expression of praise, recognition, servitude, and request for guidance.

96. “The best of earnings is a blessed sale and that which a man earns with his hands.” (Ahmad,Sahīh)

97. “The best of the Believers is the most excellent of them in character.” (Ibn Mājah, Sahīh)

This one is a slightly different narration, this time linking character to faith itself. How often do we not pay attention to this most fundamental and vital aspect of Islam? How often have you shown excellent character and manners to your non-Muslim friends and neighbours but then treated your fellow Muslims like dirt? You want to be loved by Allāh? Sort out your manners.

98. “The best of the Believers with respect to Islām is the one from whose hand and tongue the Muslims are safe; and the best of the Believers with respect to Īmān are the most excellent of them in character; and the best of those who migrate is he who migrates from that which Allāh the Most High has prohibited; and the best of Jihād is when one strives against his soul for the sake of Allāh, the Mighty, the Magnificent.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

This hadith is very important in that it shows the different levels of a person’s religion. The minimum level, Islām, shows that if one is not to do any good to another person then at least let him do no harm. The middle level, Īmān, takes it one step further for the Believer, for good character is a positive action/effect upon others, so you are actually bringing good to others. As for the hijrah(migration) then this has been reserved for the highest level, the station of Ihsān, where the Believer migrates away i.e. avoids all that which Allah has forbidden, especially so in secret as is the standard expected from the Muhsineen.

99. “The best of mankind is the believer between two honourable persons.” (Tabarāni, Sahīh)

There has been much dispute over the meaning of ‘the two honourable persons’ but it is most likely referring to the Muslim father and Muslim son, both honourable due to their Islam, and both honourable due to their taqwa i.e. god-conciousness, especially at times of strife.

That time of strife has been described by the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as a time that will come where virtually everyone will be pursuing the ephemeral delights of this world, and the Final Hour will be very close – at such a time of fitnah, the greatest thing that mankind will have is his recognition that Allah is his Lord i.e. his Islam. Said person will only be found in such circumstances due to a great sacrifice and upbringing by his believing and indeed honourable father. Such a man will also be of substance himself if he will be able to raise a righteous son in such circumstances.

Hence, such a man is indeed from the best of mankind during that day.

100. “The best of all days in the world are the ten days (of Dhul Hijjah).” (Bazzār, Sahīh)

And Allah ‘azza wa jall knows best.

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon his servant Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow him in righteousness until the Final Day.


No comments: