In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Why did the Prophet mention the believers’ characteristics?There are many true Prophetic Hadiths that talk about the characteristics of the believer. Someone may ask: Why did the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) describe the believers’ characteristics?
The answer is: Because the human being always flatters himself; he constantly complains about his livelihood, even though he praises his intellect. Self-flattery is considered a human nature; everyone claims that he is a believer, but if you read the true Prophetic Hadiths that mention the characteristics of the true believers, you should make a comparison between these characteristics and your own, and know how many of these characteristics apply to you.
For example, if someone claimed that he holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Language – this is an allegation – then we asked him to read some lines in English, but he couldn’t read, then we mentioned an expression, but he didn't understand it, then we asked him to write in English, but he couldn't…… this means of course that it was a false claim (his actions didn't prove his statement).
When a person praises himself claiming that he is a believer, he lives in an illusion, because the true believer should have specific characteristics.
The crux of our lesson today: The characteristics of the believers, as being stated in Riyadh al-Saliheen (garden of devotees), which is considered the best book that combines authentic Prophetic Hadiths.
Herein listed are some of the believer's characteristics:
1. Whatever the situation is, the believer does not change:Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
"How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for all his affairs are good. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone but the believer".
In the status of welfare, most people praise and thank Allah, but when they face a sign of any problem, they mistrust Allah (Exalted be He) and begin to neglect worship.
The person whose worship changes with the change of his situation is not a true believer as the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said.
The dangerous turn:Allah The Almighty says (what means):
"146. And many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah's Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah's Way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."
When Allah The Almighty says:
"10. When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allah."
"11. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking."
"12. And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubts) said: "Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!"
"23. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah [i.e. they have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting), and showed not their backs to the disbelievers], of them some have fulfilled their obligations (i.e. have been martyred), and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed [i.e. They never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah] in the least."
This means: If you change your trust level in Allah, your worship, or your straightness along with the change of your circumstances and status, then your actions negate the real belief in Allah, because the true believer in Allah is characterized by: " If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it and that is good for him; if something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience, and that is good for him. This does not apply to anyone but the believer."
If your circumstances have changed, you should roll up your sleeves and renew your faith in Allah, because the true believer never changes with the change of the circumstances. Allah The Almighty says:
"146. And many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah's Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah's Way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."That is the first characteristic of the believer: the true believer never changes; he doesn't relate his worship and trust in Allah with his own circumstances. Allah The Almighty says:
"11. And among mankind is he who worships Allah as it were, upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss."
Allah puts the believers to the test:
Hence, Allah sends precise tests and trials to the believers. Allah The Almighty says:
"2. Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested."
There must be a test, as Allah The Almighty says:
"155. And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)."
If the market is in a good status, you'll find the trader cheerful and glad, he talks about the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), and he talks about doing good deeds. But if the status of the market is not good, he loses his eagerness to do so. The true believer should not be affected by any circumstances, because he deals with The Creator of the universe, he deals with Allah The Almighty; this is the first bargain.
2. Love and caring about the issues of the believers:The second characteristic: see the following agreed upon hadith:
“The believers are like a structure, each supporting the other.”
It means: Your cooperative action toward your brother is an indication of your true belief, if you love your Muslim brother and relieve them of their difficulties, this will be an indication of your true belief; helping each other is one of the believer's characteristics, so it has been said:
"A believer has four enemies: a jealous believer, a detesting hypocrite, a deviating Satan, and a hostile infidel."
If the believers envy each other, their level of faith will be low.
The second sign: to love and help your Muslim brother, to feel their pain and joy, to be happy for their happiness. If your Muslim brother gets something good, succeeds in his job or marriage, or gets a certificate or degree, and you feel happy for him, then you are a true believer, but the hypocrite as Allah The Almighty says:
"120. If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it."
The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him (said:
“The believers are like a structure, each supporting the other."
3. The true believer is a well-mannered person:Narrated Abu Darda: The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“There is nothing heavier upon the scale of a believer (on the Day of Judgment) than good character.”
Faith means: morality, bravery, generosity, patience, forgiveness, forbearance, and humbleness.
“There is nothing heavier upon the scale of a believer (on the Day of Judgment) than good character.”
When you describe a person as "a believer", this means that he is a well-mannered person, because if he were ill-mannered, people will hate the religion because of him, and will not earn the pleasure of Allah in return. Furthermore, his behavior with his family at home indicates his level of morality, because The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"The best of you is the best among you to his family"
Of course, there is no surveillance on man in his home; he fears nothing, if he is a well-mannered person and treats his family well, then he for sure behaves well with people. On the contrary, if he is kind and polite with the people outside his home, but bad-tempered at home, this means that this kindness and politeness are not morals that would satisfy Allah the Almighty, because they are acts of self-interest that depend on the person's intelligence and benefit. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
“A believer achieves by his good conduct the same reward as a person who fasts much and prays (the voluntary prayer) during the night.”
4. Reciting the Holy Quran is a requirement for the believer :
The following authentic Hadith:
"The example of a believer, who reauthors the Qur’an (and acts according to it), is like an orange (utrujjah) which tastes nice and smells nice. And the example of the believer who does not reauthor the Qur’an (but acts according to it) is like a date that tastes sweet but has no smell.
And the example of the hypocrite who reauthors the Quran is like a sweet basil which smells good but tastes bitter.
And the example of a hypocrite who does not reauthor the Qur’an is like a colocynth (bitter apple) which tastes bitter and has a bad smell."
This means: Reciting the Quran is among the faith requirements; the Quran is the spring of the heart of the believers; the Quran is Allah's tight rope; the Quran is the right path, the believer worships Allah by reciting the Holy Quran.
Glad tidings for the reauthorrs of the Holy Quran:The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"He who comprehends the Quran, Allah grants him enjoyment in his mind until he dies"
This indicates that learning and comprehending the Book of Allah is a protection against senility. Allah the Almighty says:
"70. And Allah has created you and then He will cause you to die, and of you there are some who are sent back to senility, so that they know nothing after having known (much). Truly! Allah is All-Knowing, All-Powerful."
A Muslim brother told me once that they used to put their mother on her bed and tie her hands and feet, I asked him about the reason for doing that, he answered me that they did so because if they hadn't done that, she would have taken off all of her clothes and eaten from her stool; this is the senility.
This means that reciting, understanding, and contemplating the Holy Quran and acting on it are among the believer's needs.
5. The true believer does not outbid his brother, or propose to a woman that his brother proposed to:
"A Believer is a brother to another Believer. It is therefore not lawful for him to outbid his brother in buying something or to propose to a woman when his brother has done so, unless he gives him permission."The sign of the true belief: If a Muslim brother buys or sells something, then you should have nothing to do with that transaction until it is done.
If you heard that your brother got a good sale bargain, and you outbid him by offering the buyer a lower and competitive price, this would not make you a true believer.
Our righteous ancestors would not do so; if a buyer came to a merchant, he would sell to him properly, but if another buyer came, he would tell him "I've already sold to a buyer, please go and buy from my neighbor" (he wanted to benefit his neighbor). This is among the characteristics of the true believers; you shouldn't outbid your brother, or propose to a woman that has been proposed to by your brother, this conflicts with the true belief.
6. The believer should be shrewd, careful and cautious:
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice"
It has been said:
"Who try the tried his mind is ruined."
”A believer is shrewd, careful and cautious."
Imam al-Shafi' said: "I never give my enemy a chance to cheat me twice"
Allah the Almighty says:
"71. O you who believe! Take your precautions"
The true believer should be smart, cautious, and can't be deceived easily, as Omar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) said: "I am not sly, and a sly man can't deceive me."
It means that I'm not vicious to cheat and harm people. On the other hand, I'm not naïve to be deceived easily.
7. Glad tidings for the believers:
A man came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and asked:
“What do you say regarding a man who does a good deed and sh3er praise him for it?”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied: “That is one of the early glad tidings that a believer will receive (for the good he does)”
This means; if Allah loves you, He makes people love you too, because the hearts of the servants (of Allah) are between the Fingers of the Most Beneficent (Ar-Rahman).
8. A believer is not somebody who curses, insults and neither is he vulgar and obscene:
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"A believer is not somebody who curses, insults and neither is he vulgar and obscene."
The believer should control his tongue; he shouldn't curse, insult, or say something obscene or ribald.
Some people say that you should be tough in order to be a real man…….. Is that really among the characteristics of the true believer? Of course not, because you'll contradict the Sunnah. Whatever the situation is, you should not say anything vulgar or harsh, just remember the Prophet's saying (Peace be upon him):
"A believer is not somebody who curses, insults and neither is he vulgar and obscene."
Obscenity means to reach to an unbearable extent of harsh words, slander, curses, and defamation.
What does the soul of the believer get attached to ?The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"The soul of the believer is chained to his debt until it is paid on his behalf”
It means that the matter of debt is something related to the rights of the servants (of Allah).
Some Islamic scholars said: "the rights of Allah are based on leniency and pardon, whereas the rights of human beings are incontestable."
Most people conceive that if they go to Hajj, they will return as a newly born baby [free of all sins]…. Well, this is true to some extent with concern to the sins that are between you and Allah, but that doesn't apply to the sins that are between you and the servants (of Allah), because these sins will not be pardoned, except by settlement and forgiveness. Some people don't duly settle their debts intentionally, because they think that the creditor is a very rich man and this amount of money will not affect his fortune, so they procrastinate their debt settlement, this is not the characteristic of the true believers because the soul of the believer is chained to his debt until it is paid on his behalf. Even for the martyr, who sacrifices his soul for the sake of Allah, Allah forgives all his sins except his debt.
When the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was praying for his (dead) companions, he used to say: "Does he have any outstanding debts? If they said yes, he said "pray for your (dead) companion", but if someone took the responsibility for paying the debt, the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed for him"
Jabir narrated that a man died and they washed him, perfumed him and shrouded him. Then he was brought to Allah's Messenger, peace be upon him, to lead the funeral prayer for him. They asked, "Could you pray for him?" He took a step forward then asked: "Does he have any outstanding debts?"
It was answered: "Two dinars."
He said: "Make the funeral prayer for your companion," and began to leave.
Abu Qatadah took responsibility for [paying] the debt, saying, "The two dinars are my responsibility." Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) asked:
"Will the creditor be taken care of and will the dead person be absolved from them?"
He replied, "Yes," so the Prophet (Peace be upon him) led the funeral prayer for him. A day later he asked Abu Qatadah: "What was done about the two dinars?
He replied, "He only died yesterday!" The following day he returned to the Prophet and said, "I have paid them off." The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said: "Now his skin has become cool."
This means that the survival from the grave torment can be achieved by settling the debt not just by saying only.
You should learn and understand this Hadith:
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"None of you should wish for death and neither should one make dua for it before its time. Verily when one of you dies, (the ability to add to) his deeds is finished. The life of a believer only increases him in good."
Abdullah bin Busr Al-Aslami (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
"The best of people is one whose life is long and his conduct is good".
In the situations of anger or misfortune, some people pray against themselves or their children to be dead.
Excellence is among the believer's characteristics:The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer."
There are several types of power; there is the power of money, the power of influence…etc. The strong believer can do a lot of good deeds that the weak one can't achieve. The rich believer can do many charitable and beneficent deeds that the poor one can't do. The Muslim scholar is more beneficent to people than the uneducated Muslim. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
"High ambition is a part of faith".Excellence is one of the characteristics of the true believer, the strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than the weak believer, but the Prophet (Peace be upon him), who had been given wisdom, said: " and there is good in everyone."; this means that there is good in all believers whether they are weak, poor or uneducated ones, but by financial, administrative, and intellectual powers and abilities, you can achieve many good and beneficent deeds.
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying:
" A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don't say: If I had done that, so and so would not have happened, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your saying "if" opens the (gate) for the Satan."
This means that everything happens to the believer is considered good for him, because he believes that everything comes from Allah.
Don't bear a grudge:For example: If a tender father beats his son with a stick, will the son bear a grudge against the stick? Of course not, so that for the believer who considers that any person who harms him or causes him injury a discipline tool in the hand of Allah in order to bring him back to the right path.
Allah The Almighty says:
"And you (Muhammad) threw not when you did throw but Allah threw"
"The Hand of Allah is over their hands"
When you believe in the Oneness of Allah The Almighty, you don't bear a grudge, because the basis of the grudge is the polytheism. Allah The Almighty says:
"So invoke not with Allah another ilah (god) lest you be among those who receive punishment."
"And warn your tribe (O Muhammad) of near kindred."
Conclusion:Dear Muslim brother, all of the above mentioned hadiths are authentic ones, which the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said, in order to be a standard measure for us.
I've mentioned in the beginning of the lesson that the human being generally flatters and praises himself; as he complains about his livelihood, but praises his intellect, so in order not to fall in this trap and misjudge ourselves (to think that we are so good, but actually we are not), I've mentioned some of the characteristics of the true believers as described by the Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge.