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25-02-2024
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Riyad As-Saliheen- Lesson 014: The Chapter on Hastening to Do Good Deeds: "Hasten to do good deeds.."- Biography of Umar bin Al-Khattab
   
 
 
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  
 
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings to our Master Muhammad, the Faithful and the Honest. O Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us, You are the All- Knower, the Wise. O Allah our Lord, teach us what is useful for us, let us make use of what You have taught us and advance us in knowledge. O Allah, show us the righteous things as righteous and help us do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us keep away from them.  O Allah our Lord, make us amongst those who listen to the Word and follow the best meaning of It, and admit us, by Your Grace, to the ranks of Your righteous servants.

O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity. 

What is the meaning of the Prophet's words, "Hasten to do good deeds"? 


Dear believing brothers, we are discussing today the following Noble Hadith:  

(( Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions." Then (giving a warning) he said, "Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or disease as will disable you, or such senility as will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected absent, or the Hour, and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter". ))

[ At-Tirmithi in his Sunan, on the authority of Abi Hurairah ]


This Hadith is mentioned in the chapter of Hastening to do Good Deeds, and it urges man to turn to Allah the Almighty without any hesitation. Hastening is referred to by Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, in the Noble Quran when He says:  

﴾ And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth… ﴿

[ Aal-'Imran, 133 ]


To clarify the meaning of hastening, here is an example from our daily life. If you have a serious housing crisis, and you are in urgent need of a house, and you were told that there is a house in an excellent area, its price is lower than the price of the houses like it, and it is vacant and ready for living, what do you do if you have the money to buy it? Most likely, you will hasten to the real estate broker late at night even if others tell you to wait till morning, because you fear that the house may be bought by someone else. 

Do you notice how   a person behaves regarding his worldly affairs? Do you notice how   people compete for anything good in general, or for what they think is good? Do you notice how   people race and hasten to win over others and to excel in the worldly life? They hasten for whatever they can gain benefits from. I repeat the beginning of the Hadith: 

﴾ Hasten to do good deeds… ﴿


The main purpose of the worldly life is performing a good deed, and the proof is that those who die will regret one thing as Allah the Almighty narrates: 

﴾ Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: "My Lord! Send me back* "So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!" No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected. ﴿

[ Al-Mu'minun, 99-100 ]


What will   the one to whom death comes regret? He regrets neglecting the good deeds. Allah the Almighty says:  

﴾ For all there will be degrees (or ranks) according to what they did. ﴿

[ Al-An'am, 132 ]


Actually, the good deed raises your position in Allah's Sight. Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾ So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness… ﴿

 

[ Al-Kahf, 110 ]


You have been created in the worldly life to do righteous deeds, but why should you do it? You should do it, because it will be the reason  for attaining  a certain position in the Sight of Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, and because it is the reason for being admitted to Jannah. Regarding this point, here are some Ayaat followed by their interpretation:  

﴾ As for him who gives (in charity) and keeps his duty to Allah and fears Him* And believes in Al-Husna* We will make smooth for him the path of ease (goodness). ﴿

 

[ Al-Lail, 5-7 ]


“The path of ease” is the righteous deed which will be the price for Jannah. Bear in mind that the man who earns abundant money in the worldly life, achieves great success, occupies the most prominent position, enjoys all pleasures, travels to different countries, eats the best food, and lives in one of the most beautiful homes, but   has never done a righteous deed, is considered a loser.  In fact, he is the biggest loser. Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾ Say (O Muhammad PBUH): "Shall We tell you the greatest losers in respect of (their) deeds?* "Those whose efforts have been wasted in this life while they thought that they were acquiring good by their deeds! ﴿

 

[ Al-Kahf, 103-104 ]


The Noble Prophet cares about us that is why he said: 

﴾ Hasten to do good deeds… ﴿


Every one of you should ask himself, "What is the good deed that I have done so far?" If you think of the big amount of money you have earned, the tasty food you have eaten, and the new outfits you have worn, then these things are actually done for yourself. The question is, what have you done  for others, so that Allah the Almighty will be pleased with you? Allah the Almighty loves the one who is most beneficial to others:  

(( On the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "All creatures are the dependents of Allah, and the most beloved of them to Allah are those who are most beneficial to His dependents." ))


The Hadith of our discussion today is a Prophetic Command, and let me   remind you of what our Master Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas said regarding the Ahadeeth of the Noble Prophet. He, may Allah be pleased with him, said,  "There are three situations in which I consider myself a real man, and other than them I am an average person…I never heard something from the Prophet PBUH but I know for sure that it is the truth that is revealed to Him from Allah the Almighty." Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾ Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. ﴿

[ An-Najm, 3 ]


Allah the Almighty describes this great Prophet in the following Ayah: 

﴾ Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger (Muhammad PBUH) from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He (Muhammad PBUH) is anxious over you (to be rightly guided, to repent to Allah, and beg Him to pardon and forgive your sins, in order that you may enter Paradise and be saved from the punishment of the Hell-fire), for the believers (he PBUH is) full of pity, kind, and merciful. ﴿

[   At-Taubah, 128 ]


This Noble Prophet cares a lot for you, and he is kind and merciful to you, so he commanded you: 

(( Hasten to do good deeds… ))


The true believer's main concern is doing good deeds, so that Allah may be pleased with him. If someone offers you to do good deeds, but you refuse his offer saying, "I do not have time", you will be just like the doctor who studied for thirty years and after obtaining the highest academic degree, he came to his country, opened a clinic, wrote that the visiting hours  are from five to eight, and sat waiting for patients to come to him so that he would be able to pay off the debts that had exhausted him, and to provide food for his household. Yet, when a patient visited him, he refused to examine him saying, "I do not have time to see you"! So, why are you in the clinic, O doctor? What are  doing at the clinic?   why all those degrees? since you say to your patients that you are busy? What are you busy with? 

Whoever says, "Sorry, I am busy", upon being invited to do a righteous deed does not know why he has been created. He is lost, astray, and misguided, and he has no idea about his mission in life. Man should know that he exists in this worldly life  to do good deeds worthy of being presented before Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He. This deed will enlighten your grave and will elevate your position high in Jannah. The effect of the good deed is long lasting as referred to in the following Hadith:  
 

(( Abu Maisarah narrated from 'Aishah that they had slaughtered a sheep, so the Prophet (PBUH) said, "What remains of it?" She said, "Nothing remains of it except its shoulder." He said: "All of it remains except its shoulder." ))

 

[ At-Tirmithi in his Sunan, on the authority of Lady A'isha ]


This means the reward for  the parts that were given as Sadaqah remains for good. Regarding the same point our Master Umar, mat Allah be pleased with him, said, "If you eat an apple yourself, you will do that without being rewarded, but if you give it to someone as Sadaqah, its reward will remain." 

Here is another Hadith:  
 

(( Narrated Abu Hurairah: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, 'This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him)! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?" He replied, "Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate." ))

[ Al-Bukhari & Muslim in their Sahih, on the authority of Abi Hurairah ]


Dear noble brothers, if man refuses to do good deeds, by Allah the only Deity worthy of worship, he never knows the purpose of his existence on earth. You are here to accomplish a mission, and there are about 200 Ayaat about this point. Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, says:    

﴾ Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds… ﴿

[ Al-Burooj, 11   ]

Ask yourself this question every night: what is the good deed that I have done today? A scholar said, "May Allah not bless the day I spend without doing something that gets me closer to Allah. May Allah not bless the day I spend without increasing my Islamic knowledge." Ask yourself, "Have I helped a poor man?" or "Have I helped someone to meet his need?" The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 

(( For me to go with my Muslim brother to meet his need is dearer to me than observing I'tikaaf in this Masjid – meaning the Masjid of Madinah – for a month ))


Have you ever helped a fellow brother? Have you ever contributed in a charitable work? Have you ever called someone to Allah? Have you ever given someone a piece of advice? Have you ever guided someone to Allah? Have you ever helped a widow of your relatives? Have you ever taken care of an orphan? Have you ever visited your poor relative who lives far from you just to let him feel that he is not neglected and that you care for him? Have you ever taken care of your orphan niece? Have you treated her like your daughter? Have you looked for a good husband for her, guided her, advised her or you just said, "Well, it is none of my business"?    

What are the seven things the Noble Prophet warns man against? 


1- The poverty that makes man unmindful of devotion: 


The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 

(( Hasten to do good deeds…))


If someone seeks the adornments of the worldly life, he will certainly be afflicted with one of these seven things. In other words, if man forgets about the Hereafter and about performing righteous deeds, and he indulges himself in the worldly life, making it his main concern and his ultimate goal, what does he expect to happen to him? The Hadith is very critical, and it urges you to do a good deed  before you are afflicted with one of the seven things mentioned in it, because  if you do not, then you will definitely be afflicted with one of them. This is one interpretation of the Hadith. 

The other interpretation: Do a righteous deed, so that none of these calamities will befall you. Hence, according to the Hadith, hasten to do a good deed before you are afflicted with one of these seven things, or protect yourself from being afflicted with one of these seven things by performing a good deed. 

What are these seven things? The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:  

(( Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion… ))


Our Master Ali, may Allah ennoble his face said, "Poverty sometimes becomes like Kufr (infidelity)." If an ignorant person is afflicted with poverty, he becomes a disbeliever (out of despair), he abandons Salah, or he ignores his duties towards his household. We seek refuge in Allah from the poverty that makes one unmindful of devotion. The Prophet, peace be upon him, made the following Du'a: 
  

(( O Allah, let the provision of whoever loves me suffice him. ))


The Prophet, peace be upon him, wanted us to have sufficient provision. He wanted the provision of those who love him to suffice them. Unlike this provision, poverty can make people unmindful of devotion. For instance, the one who does not have enough money   to pay the fare for a public transport, will be forced to walk to where he wants to go     , which is hard to him.  Some poor people do not have enough money to buy medication for their sick children or even to buy food.  We seek refuge in Allah from this poverty. On the other hand, poverty to the believer is meant to elevate his rank in Allah's Sight. The believer never changes; he remains the same in richness and poverty, in prosperity and in adversity. So, his poverty is meant to raise his position in Allah's Sight, to reveal his reality, to let people know that he does not change, and to test him with it. Allah the Almighty says:   

(( Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken… ))

[ Al-Baqarah, 214 ]


The Almighty also says: 

﴾ Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested. ﴿

[ Al-Ankabut, 2 ]


The believer is prepared for all changes in his life. Since you know Allah, and you submit yourself to Him, you will never change in both prosperity and adversity. The poet said the truth in these verses:  

They are the endeared ones whether they treat me fairly or unfairly

I shall never leave them even though they might leave me

 And even though my love for them might melt my liver

 I will keep loving them and will be pleased  

with them regardless of wronging me


The poor believer is satisfied with what Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, decrees for him. Well, he strives as much as he can, and he  puts  in a lot effort  to improve his income, but when things are difficult for him, what should he do? He  should  surrender to Allah and be satisfied with his situation. This is what Allah decrees for him. Unlike the believer, the poor man who does not know Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, will be angry about the poverty he lives in, and so he may disbelieve in Allah, may abandon some religious obligations, like Salah or may stop obeying Allah the Almighty. This is what some people do when they get poor. 

I repeat this part of the Hadith; the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:      

(( Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion ))


We seek refuge in Allah from the poverty that makes man unmindful of devotion. Once I heard a brother saying, "O Allah, afflict me with a disease" so, I said to him, "What you have    just said opposes Shari'ah, because the Prophet, peace be upon him, who is the Master of all Prophets said, 'If there is no anger from You on me, I will forever be content. However, Your Blessing is vastly important for me'. So, who are you to dare to ask Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, for such as thing? Do you think that you are greater than the Prophet, peace be upon him, who made the Du'a I have just mentioned?" 

Man should ask Allah the Almighty to keep him safe and sound, to make him prosper, to provide him with provision, and not to say, "O Lord, test me and I will remain patient throughout  your test." Do not say that at all, but rather ask Allah to keep you safe and sound. 

As I have mentioned earlier, adversity is meant to be a test to the believer, so that he will be elevated in Allah's Sight, and it is meant to be just a test to the disbeliever.  

(( On the authority of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace be upon him) is that among the sayings he relates from his Lord (may He be glorified) is that He said: …O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it…  ))

[ Muslim in his Sunan, on the authority of Abi Dharr ]

When our Lord intends a thing, is only that He says to it, "Be!" and it is! Accordingly, when He decreases things for someone, this does not mean He is unable to increase them for him, but rather it is a disciplining tool. Man, on the other hand, follows austerity measures due to his inability to meet his needs. Someone has  told me today that the farmers in the northeastern region received sums beyond imagination. He said, "They received seventy-one million from the government. They received the money at the official price of wheat." This means every bag of wheat has given folds of profits, due to its high price. How amazing Allah's Bestowal is! Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾ And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth... ﴿

[ Al-A'raf, 96 ]


Allah the Almighty also says: 

﴾ If they (non-Muslims) had believed in Allah, and went on the Right Way (i.e. Islam) We should surely have bestowed on them water (rain) in abundance* That We might try them thereby ﴿

[ Al-Jinn, 16-17 ]


He the Almighty says in another Surah: 

﴾ And if only they had acted according to the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), and what has (now) been sent down to them from their Lord (the Quran), they would surely have gotten provision from above them and from underneath their feet. ﴿

[ Al-Ma'idah, 66 ]

 
Allah is Ghani (The Independent One, The Wealthy), and if He intends to give His servants He makes them astonished at His Giving. Allah the Almighty says:

﴾ And there is not a thing, but with Us are the stores thereof. ﴿

[ Al-Hijr, 21 ]


If Allah the Almighty deprives someone of something, He means it to discipline him.   

(( Qatadah bin An-Nu'man narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "When Allah loves a slave, He prevents him from the world, just as one of you prevents his sick from water." Another chain reports a similar narration. ))


In another narration, it was reported:  
 

(( When Allah loves a slave, He protects him from the world as a compassionate shepherd protects his sheep from pastures of destruction.  ))


So, you just surrender to Allah the Almighty; if He gives you, be grateful to Him for His Bounties, and if He deprives you, it is for your own advantage, and so His Withholding is a blessing. Ibn Ata' Allah As-Sakandri said, "Perhaps Allah the Almighty has given you something, but you are deprived of something else…" 

Allah might have blessed you with a prominent position, making you a  successful  businessman. So, your time is spent in meetings in which you make decisions and deals,  on trips, on  business travels, and  picnics, so you do not have time to yourself at all. This    itself is  a kind of deprivation. As the scholar said, "Perhaps Allah the Almighty has given you something, but you are deprived of something else, and perhaps He has deprived you of something, but within such deprivation, there is hidden Divine Bestowal." The second part is manifested in the hard times you may have. During these times, you will remember to turn to Allah the Almighty, to read a religious book to increase your knowledge of Allah, to reflect on the universe, to give Sadaqah, to pray, and to do righteous deeds. 

Be pleased with Allah when He gives you from His Bounties and He withholds you, because, "Perhaps Allah the Almighty has given you something, but you are deprived of something else, and perhaps He has deprived you of something, but within such deprivation, there is hidden Divine Bestowal." In fact, withholding itself can be meant   a bounty. 
 
Concerning this point, let me assure you that when our Lord, Exalted and Sublime be He, reveals to you the unknown and allows you to realize what is meant by whatever is decreed for you and the wisdom behind it, you will  be so embarrassed  before Allah the Almighty for everything He has brought to you. 

Allah the Almighty decrees that someone has no male children, the other   is sterile, someone is poor, the other   is rich, someone is sick, the other  has no health problems, someone's job is hard, the other one's job is easy, someone's father is rich, someone else's father is poor, someone has a childhood defect, someone else has a chronic liver failure, and so on. No matter what Allah's decrees, when things are revealed to us, the only thing we should say is mentioned in the following Ayah: 

(( …And the close of their request will be: Al-Hamdu Lillahi Rabbil-Alameen (All the praises and thanks are to Allah, the Lord of Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists)) ))

[ Yunus, 10 ]


Our Master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "If the veil that covers Ghaib (the unknown) were removed, my certitude would not be deeper or stronger."  There is a basic rule regarding this issue, "Satisfaction with adversities is the highest level of certitude."

Pay attention to the following Hadith, please: 

(( Abu Umamah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Indeed the best of my friends to me is the one of meager conditions, whose share is in Salat, worshipping his Lord well and obeying him (even) in private. He is obscure among the people such that the fingers are not pointed towards him. His provisions are only what is sufficient and he is patient with that." Then he tapped with his fingers and said, "His death comes quickly, his mourners are few, and his inheritance is little." With this (the above), chain it is narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "My Lord presented to me, that He would make the valley of Makkah into gold for me, I said, 'No O Lord! But being filled for a day and hungry for a day"-or he said, "three days" or something like that- "So when I am hungry, I would beseech You and remember You, and when I am full I would be grateful to You and praise You." ))

[ At-Tirmithi in his Sunan ]


Just be satisfied with what Allah the Almighty decrees for you, and keep in mind that His Love to you is more than your love to yourself. It was reported:     

(( My believing servant is dearer to me than some of My Angels ))


Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, says in Hadith Qudsi:  

(( "O Dawud, had the heedless known how much I long for them and wait for them to leave their sins, their limbs would have been turned into pieces out of their love for Me. That is my Will towards the heedless, so how would I be with those who draw near to Me?'"))

2- The prosperity that makes man corrupt: 

The Hadith goes on: 

(( Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt… ))


A man whose income is limited  is steadfast and a regular attendant of Masjid. However, once his income becomes huge, he starts   to go to bars, to night clubs, wants to go to certain streets in Paris, and to make a mixed wedding ceremony: 

(( …or prosperity which will make you corrupt… ))


Such prosperity makes man run  after fulfilling his forbidden lusts. For instance, the one who is afflicted with this prosperity looks for appointing a female secretary at his office.   

(( …or prosperity which will make you corrupt… )) 


We seek refuge in Allah from such prosperity. By Allah, it is a real calamity, and as long as it is used without knowledge, it leads the one afflicted with it to Hell. 

(( Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt… ))


The largest sweet shop in Lebanon used to export its products to Gulf countries by plane on a daily basis. The owner once entered the sweet factory to check on making the dough of the sweets, and he did not like the ma'amoul dough. He grabbed the dough, put it on the ground and stepped on it with his shoe. The worker said to him, "Sir", but he interrupted him, "People eat the products made by the dough I step over with my shoes." One month later, his knees were cut due to gangrene, which is a fatal disease. Now, he is in London, suffering from this disease. This is how prosperity can corrupt man. 

The one who is afflicted with such prosperity becomes arrogant and sees himself superior to all people. Your triumph  is to be at the peak of your success, but you remain humble to Allah the Almighty. Beware, success is critical, and it is a slippery slope whether it is manifested in making money, in occupying the highest ranks, in having power, and so on. Success in everything is a critical slippery slope.

3- The disease that disables man: 

The Noble Prophet went on saying: 

(( Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt or disease as will disable you… ))


Someone owns hundreds of millions, but he suffers from a serious disease. The kidneys of a person stopped working, so one of his closest relatives said, "Let us travel to a foreign country to treat him", but the doctor said, "There is no hope for him to be treated."   

(( …or disease as will disable you… ))


Such a disease makes you disabled. Having good health is a great blessing, and this is why the Noble Prophet said:  

(( Whoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world. ))

[ At-Tirmithi, on the authority of Ubaidullah bin Mihsan Al-Ansari  ]


4- The senility that makes man mentally unstable:    

(( …or such senility as will make you mentally unstable… ))


Man becomes an old man after having spent his youth in committing grave sins. In his old age, such a man becomes senile, and he starts complaining, "They did not feed me" although they might have just fed him. He begins to interfere in what does not concern him, and he repeats the story a hundred times, so that people get bored of him, run away from him, and leave him alone. We seek refuge in Allah from this senility that makes man unstable mentally. 

Usually, the old people who are afflicted with such senility become the subject of ridicule, of contempt, and of belittlement. As a result, even the closest to them wish for their death by saying, "May Allah make it easy for them." As for the believer, the following Hadith is applied to him: 

(( Whoever learns the Quran, he will have his reason intact until he dies. ))


The believer is honored by Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, so he will not be brought back to the miserable old age, but rather when he becomes old, he will be more glorious, more prestigious, more loved, more prudent and more intelligent.

5- The sudden death:     


We go on with the Hadith: 

(( …or sudden death, ))


A man bought a house, but he did not like the tiles, because the color was a bit dark, so he changed them, and he designed the house in a different way, making arches. He bought an expensive table made of marble, and he decorated the house the way he liked. However, the day when he intended to move to live in it, he died. 

(( …or sudden death, ))


No one can stop or reject the sudden death. 

(( …or sudden death,… ))


Success lies in getting yourself prepared for  this hour of death and for the Hereafter. 

6- Ad-Dajjal:     


We move to another affliction: 

(( …or Ad-Dajjal… ))  


Someone's words are sweet, but his deeds are unbearable. Whoever talks to you kindly, but   deceives you by his deeds is just like the fox which is known for its cunningness. So, such a man is like the Dajjal. 

You may know someone whose speech is admirable, but dealing with him is unbearable. The inside of such a person is completely the opposite of his outside. 

7- The Hour: 

This is the end of the Hadith: 

(( Or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected absent, or the Hour, and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter". ))


The Hour is the Day of Resurrection. Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾  And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allah will. Then it will blown a second time and behold, they will be standing, looking on (waiting). ﴿

[ Az-Zumar, 68 ]


These seven afflictions await each one of us, so hasten to do good deeds, lest you are afflicted with such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion, prosperity which will make you corrupt, a disease that will disable you, such senility that will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death which is inevitable. Well, there is a difference between the situation of the one who is blessed with prosperity and protection from Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, and the person who is deprived of the Mercy of Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He. 

I know an old man  who is ninety-seven years old. Yet, his sight is sharp, his teeth are in  good   condition , his stature is upright, and his hearing is    good    . When a young man asked him, "O sir, I am amazed at the good health   you have", he said, "O my son, we preserved our limbs and senses from committing sins when we were young, so Allah the Almighty has kept them in a good   condition for us in old age. Whoever lives pious lives strong."

We should hasten to do good deeds, lest we are afflicted with one of these afflictions, or we should hasten to do good deeds before one of these afflictions destroy us. So memorize this Hadith by heart and always repeat it, for it is like a brake for man. Bear in mind that Allah the Almighty Who is too Generous, too Great, and too Faithful would never afflict the believer with any of these afflictions. As long as you have known Him in the prime of your life, Allah the Almighty will protect you in your young age and in your old age as well, and He will never take you back to the miserable old age. Allah the Almighty says: 

﴾ And among you there is he who is brought back to the miserable old age… ﴿

[ Al-Hajj, 5 ]


This is not applicable to the believers, because Allah the Almighty protects them. 

Some manifestations of Umar's greatness: 


Let us move now to the biography of our Master Umar, may Allah be pleased with him. 

Dear brothers, the assembly is spiritually revived by mentioning the righteous people, and the Mercy of Allah descends when the companions of Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, are mentioned. 

The greatest thing about our Master Umar is that despite his success in many aspects, he was not arrogant. As I have just said, successful people are susceptible to pride, which is a deadly sin. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

(( "If you never sinned, I would be worried about you to be afflicted with that which is greater than sinning." He, peace be upon him, was asked, "What is it O Allah's Messenger?" The Noble Prophet replied, "It is pride, it is pride!" ))


Pride is graver than sin itself. It is to be conceited. Iblis was conceited, and so Allah the Almighty punished him. He said as Allah the Almighty narrates:  

﴾ "Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam)… ﴿

[ Al-A'araf, 12 ]


Talking about oneself arrogantly saying, "I am so and so, I own so and so, and it is me who has done so and so" is what Qarun did as Allah the Almighty narrates:  

﴾ He said: "This has been given to me only because of knowledge I possess." ﴿

[ Al-Qasas, 78 ]


The Divine Punishment is:   

﴾ So We caused the earth to swallow him and his dwelling place ﴿

[ Al-Qasas, 81 ]


Fir'aun committed the same mistake as Allah the Almighty narrates: 

﴾ "O my people! Is not mine the dominion of Egypt, and these rivers flowing underneath me. See you not then? ﴿

[ Az-Zukhruf, 51 ]

 
Despite his great position and success, Master Umar was never arrogant. After he embraced Islam, he was welcomed warmly by the Prophet, peace be upon him, and Da'wah to Islam became   public. Before he embraced Islam, Muslims used to worship Allah the Almighty secretly, but after he announced becoming a Muslim, they started to worship Allah publically. 

The Prophet, peace be upon him, called Him Al-Farooq (the Criterion), because Allah the Almighty allowed him after embracing Islam to distinguish between al-Haqq (the truth) and al-Batil (falsehood). He had opinions   (I did not understand this  ), and regarding this point, pay attention to this Hadith, please:   

(('Uqbah bin 'Amir narrated: The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: "If there was to have a Prophet after me, it would have been 'Umar bin Al-Khattab. ))

[ Jami'e At-Thirmithi ]


This is the greatest success. Yet, pride never found its way to his heart. Once he, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "We are a people whom Allah has honored with Islam. If we seek honor through anything else, Allah will humiliate us."

He attributed all his greatness and success to Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, and so he was always grateful to Him for all His Favor upon him. His words about Islam should be a slogan to us as an Arab Ummah whom Allah has honored with Islam, and thus if we seek honor through anything else, Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, will humiliate us.  

What do you think of the following incident about Umar? 


Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays narrated this incident about Umar. He said: 

One day Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was busy dealing with some public matter when a man came to him and said, 'O Ameer al-Mu'mineen (Commander of Believers), come with me and help me deal with so and so, for he has wronged me.'

Umar raised his stick and hit the man on the head and said, "You ignore Umar when he comes and checks on you, then when he is busy dealing with the Muslims affairs you come to him!"

The man went away complaining. Then, Umar said, "Bring the man to me!"

When they brought him back, Umar threw the stick to him and said, "Take the stick and hit me with it as I hit you."

The man said, "No, O Ameer al-Mu'mineen. I give it up for the Sake of Allah the Almighty and for your sake."

Umar said, "Not like that. Either give it up for the sake of Allah the Almighty, and seeking the reward that is with Him, or give it up for my sake." The man said, "I give it up for the sake of Allah, O Ameer al-Mu'mineen."

The man went away, and Umar went into his house, accompanied by some people among whom was me. He started to pray and he prayed two rak'ahs and then sat.

He said, "O son of al-Khattab, you were lowly and Allah raised you in status; you were astray and Allah guided you; you were humble and Allah honoured you, then He put you in charge of the Muslims, but when a man came asking for your help, you hit him. What will you say to your Lord on the Day of Resurrection when you meet Him?" 

He (Umar) started to criticize himself in a manner that made me think that he was the best of the people on earth.

This is religion in brief; it is to call yourself to account and get yourself prepared for the Day of Resurrection when you meet Allah the Almighty. What will you say to your Lord when He asks you about the reason of divorcing your wife? What will you say when He asks you about the money you took forcibly from so and so person? What will you say when He the Almighty asks you why you deceive such and such person? What will you say when He asks you about the reason of your betrayal to someone? What will you say to your Lord when He asks you about such things? 

Dear noble brothers, the hero among you is the one who prepares answers to Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He.  You will be called to account for everything you have done in the worldly life, for everything you have bought and sold, for the reason of your anger, hostility, giving, withholding, keeping or severing ties and so on. The main thing is preparing convincing answers for everything your Lord will ask you about on the Day of Resurrection. The Noble Prophet said:   

(( Allah curses those who like to taste the pleasure of marriage (they get married temporarily only to fulfill their sexual desires and then they divorce to get married and then to divorce over and over again for the same reason. ))


The husband who divorces his wife for a trivial reason, after rebuking her and treating her violently will be called to account for mistreating her. Instead, he can simply discuss things with her kindly. 

Listen again to the words of Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, "…you were humble and Allah honoured you, then He put you in charge of the Muslims, but when a man came asking for your help, you hit him. What will you say to your Lord on the Day of Resurrection when you meet Him?"  He was leading people in Salah while calling himself to account and crying, so people in the last row heard him. 

Another incident about our Master Umar:


In another incident Umar was jogging after a camel, and he saw Ali bin Abi Talib on his way. The latter asked him, "Where are you going O Ameer al-Mu'mineen?" Umar replied, "A camel of the ones dedicated to Sadaqah ran away, so I have to get it back." Ali, may Allah ennoble his face, said, "You have exhausted the Khulafa' (Caliphs) after you, O Umar."

Ali was astonished that how the Khalifah himself was running after the camel to get it back, thus, he said to him, "You have exhausted the Caliphs after you, O Umar." At that moment Umar said with a  sharp tone, "By the One Who has sent Muhammad with al-Haqq, if a goat goes to the bank of the Euphrates, Umar would be called to account for it on the Day of Resurrection. Better yet, if a mule stumbles on the bank of the Euphrates, I am afraid that Allah will ask me about it, 'Why did you not pave the way for it, O Umar'." 

We should all keep these words in mind and get ourselves prepared to the question, "Why did you do so and so?" Umar asked himself this question, "What will you say to your Lord on the Day of Resurrection when you meet Him?" 
 

The moral lesson of the conversation between Umar and Abi Musa Al-Ash'ari: 


Once, Umar said to Abi Musa Al-Ash'ari while they were sitting together, "O Abu Musa, will it please you that we will be rewarded for our conversion to Islam with Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and our migration with him, and our Jihad with him and all our good deeds which we did, with him, and that all the deeds we did after his death will be disregarded whether good or bad?" Abu Musa said, "No, by Allah, we took part in Jihad after Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him), prayed and did plenty of good deeds, and many people have embraced Islam at our hands, and no doubt, we expect rewards from Allah for these good deeds." On that Umar said, "As for myself, by Him in Whose Hand Umar's soul is, I wish that the deeds done by us at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) remain rewardable while whatsoever we did after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) be enough to save us from Punishment in that the good deeds compensate for the bad ones."

No wander, because Umar used to see the Prophet, peace be upon him, spending the whole night praying Tahajjud (night prayers), and spending the day fasting and striving in Allah's Cause. He, peace be upon him, was once asked by A'ishah as she, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated: 

(( A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) would stand (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him, "Why do you do this while your past and future sins have been forgiven?" He said, "Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?" ))

[ Al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her ]


The letter Umar wrote to his governor of Basra:


Umar wrote a letter to the man he appointed as the governor of Basra, Utbah bin Ghazwan. He said in the letter, "You accompanied the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and you were strengthened by him after humiliation, and strengthened by him after weakness. Now, you have become a governor ruling other people, so your speech is listened to and your orders are obeyed. What a great blessing it will be if it does not make you forget who you are, and if it keeps you humble to those who are inferior to you. Protect yourself from the blessing as you do so from the sin. This is a blessing, but it is a dangerous slippery slope. I am afraid that it will lure you and deceive you, causing you to fall into Hell-fire. I seek refuge in Allah for you from such a destiny, and I seek refuge in Allah for myself from the same destiny."

The most dangerous result of success is pride; to see yourself a great man. The most serious sin man would commit is being self-conceited. The believer always contributes his success to Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He. You would never have been a successful man without Allah's Grace unto you. Allah the Almighty says:   

﴾ And Ever Great is the Grace of Allah unto you (O Muhammad PBUH). ﴿

[ An-Nisa', 113 ]


It is said "If Allah wants to manifest His Grace unto you, He will create this Grace and attribute it to you." 

One of the greatest incidents of our Master Umar: 

  
Hafs bin Abi Al-Aas once visited Umar while he was having his meal. Umar invited Hafs to  join him, but Hafs did not like the food. He saw dried-out food that Umar was eating, and he did not want to burden his stomach with  it. So, he apologized to Umar, and he was thankful to him for inviting him to eat. Ameer al-Mu’mineen realized the secret of Hafs' reluctance to eat that food, so he looked up at him and asked him,  "Why do you not eat from our food?" Hafs replied, "It is hard food. I am returning to my house to eat a better meal that has been prepared for me." Upon hearing this, Umar said to him, "Do you think I cannot order for the young goats to be prepared for me to eat,  or order for good wheat to be made bread for me, or   for raisins to be made delicious juice for me to drink?" Hafs said to him while laughing, "By Allah, you are an expert in tasty food." 

Umar resumed his conversation and said, "By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, if my good deeds will not diminish, I will share with you your ease of living, and if I wish, I will eat the best food, I will lead the most luxurious life, and I will know how tasty food should taste better than those who are used to eat it. Yet, we leave these things to the Day when every nursing mother will forget her  young ones, and every pregnant one will drop her load. I am saving these good things for the Hereafter, because Allah the Almighty says addressing some peoples, 'You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein…'[Al-Ahqaf, 20]."

We will go on with the biography of this great Khalifah next lesson insha' Allah.  

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