Description of Paradise

Ibn al-Qayyim said, in regards to the description of the Paradise and the delights that it contains:

“And if you ask about its ground and its soil, then it is of musk and saffron.

And if you ask about its roof, then it is the Throne of the Most Merciful.

And if you ask about its rocks, then they are pearls and jewels.

And if you ask about its buildings, then they are made of bricks of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its trees, then it does not contain a single tree except that its trunk is made of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its fruits, then they are softer than butter and sweeter than honey.

And if you ask about its leaves, then they are softer than the softest cloth.

And if you ask about its rivers, then there are rivers of milk who’s taste does not change, and rivers of wine that is delicious to those who drink it, and rivers of honey that is pure, and rivers of water that is fresh.

And if you ask about their food, then it is fruits from whatever they will choose, and the meat of whatever birds they desire.

And if you ask about their drink, then it is Tasneem, ginger, and Kaafoor.

And if you ask about their drinking cups, then they are crystal-clear and made of gold and silver.

And if you ask about its shade, then a fast rider would ride in the shade of one of its trees for a hundred years and not escape it.

And if you ask about its vastness, then the lowest of its people would have within his kingdom and walls and palaces and gardens the distance that would be travelled in a thousand years.

And if you ask about its tents and encampments, then one tent is like a concealed pearl that is sixty miles long.

And if you ask about its towers, then they are rooms above rooms in buildings that have rivers running underneath them.

And if you ask about how far it reaches into the sky, then look at the shining star that is visible, as well as those that are far in the heavens that the eyesight cannot possibly reach.

And if you ask about the clothing of its inhabitants, then they are of silk and gold.

And if you ask about its beds, then its blankets are of the finest silk laid out in the highest of its levels.

And if you ask about the faces of its inhabitants and their beauty, then they are like the image of the Moon.

And if you ask about their age, then they are young ones of 33 years in the image of Adam, the father of humanity.

And if you ask about what they will be hearing, then it is the singing of their wives from among the Hoor al-‘Ayn, and better than that are the voices of the Angels and the Prophets, and better than that is the Speech of the Lord of the Worlds.

And if you ask about their servants, then they are young boys of everlasting youth who resemble scattered pearls.

And if you ask about their brides and wives, then they are young and full-breasted and have had the liquid of youth flow through their limbs; the Sun runs along the beauty of her face if she shows it, light shines from between her teeth if she smiles; if you meet her love, then say whatever you want regarding the joining of two lights; he sees his face in the roundness of her cheek as if he is looking into a polished mirror, and he sees the brightness from behind her muscles and bones; if she were to be unleashed upon the World, she would fill what is between the Heavens and the Earth with a beautiful wind, and the mouths of the creation would glorifiy, praise, and exclaim greatness, and everything between the East and the West would be adorned for her, and every eye would be shut from everthing but her, and the light of the Sun would be outshone just as the light of the Sun outshines the light of the stars, and everyone on the face of the Earth would believe in the Ever-Living, the One who Sustains and Protects all the exists.

And the covering on her head is better than the World and all that is in it, and she does not increase with age except in beauty; free from an umbilical cord, childbirth and menses, and pure of mucous, saliva, urine and other filthy things; her youth never fades, her clothing is never worn out, no garment can be created that matches her beauty, and no one who is with her can ever become bored; her attention is restricted to her husband, so she desires none but him, just as his attention is restricted to her so she is the sole object of his desire, and he is with her in utmost safety and security, as none has touched her before of either humans or Jinn.

And if you ask about the Day of Increase (in reward) and the visit of the all-Mighty, all-Wise, and the sight of His Face – free from any resemblance or likeness to anything – as you see the Sun in the middle of the day and the full Moon on a cloudless night, then listen on the day that the caller will call: ‘O People of Paradise! Your Lord – Blessed and Exalted – requests you to visit Him, so come to visit Him!’ So they will say: ‘We hear and obey!’

Until, when they finally reach the wide valley where they will all meet – and none of them will turn down the request of the caller – the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will order His Chair to be brought there. Then, pulpits of light will emerge, as well as pulpits of pearls, gemstone, gold, and silver. The lowest of them in rank will sit on sheets of musk, and will not see what those who are on the chairs above them are given. When they are comfortable where they are sitting and are secure in their places, and the caller calls: ‘O People of Paradise! You have an appointment with Allaah in which He wishes to reward you!’ So they will say: ‘And what is that reward? Has He not already made our faces bright, made our scales heavy, entered us into Paradise, and pushed us away from the Fire?’

And when they are like that, all of a sudden a light shines that encompasses all of Paradise. So, they raise their heads, and, behold: the Compeller – Exalted is He, and Holy are His Names – has come to them from above them and majestified them and said: ‘O People of Paradise! Peace be upon you!’ So, this greeting will not be responded to with anything better than: ‘O Allaah! You are Peace, and from You is Peace! Blessed are You, O possessor of Majesty and Honor!’ So the Lord – Blessed and Exalted – will laugh to them and say: ‘O People of Paradise! Where are those who used to obey Me without having ever seen Me? This is the Day of Increase!’

So, they will all give the same response: ‘We are pleased, so be pleased with us!’ So, He will say: ‘O People of Paradise! If I were not pleased with you, I would not have made you inhabitants of My Paradise! So, ask of Me!’ So, they will all give the same response: ‘Show us your Face so that we may look at it!’ So, the Lord – Mighty and Majestic – will remove his covering and will majestify them and will cover them with His Light, which, if Allaah – the Exalted – had not Willed not to burn them, would have burned them.

And there will not remain a single person in this gathering except that his Lord – the Exalted – will speak to him and say: ‘Do you remember the day that you did this and that?’ and He will remind him of some of his bad deeds in the Worldy life, so he will say: ‘O Lord! Will you not forgive me?’ So, He will say: ‘Of course! You have not reached this position of yours (in Paradise) except by my forgiveness.’

So, how sweet is this speech to the ears, and how cooled are the righteous eyes by the glance at His Noble Face in the Afterlife…

{Some faces that Day will be shining and radiant, looking at their Lord…} (al-Qiyaamah:22-3)

salaam within the Ummah

The Arabs used to greet one another with the words “An’im sabaahan” or “An’imu sabaahan” (“Good morning”), using words derived from “al-ni’mah”, which means good living after the morning. The idea was that because the morning is the first part of the day, if a person encounters something good in the morning, the rest of the day will be good too.

When Islam came, Allah (swt) prescribed that the manner of greeting among Muslims should be “al-salaamu alaykum” and that this greeting should only be used among Muslims and not for other nations. The meaning of salaam (literally, peace) is harmlessness, safety and protection from evil and from faults. The name al-Salaam is a Name of Allah (swt) so the meaning of the greeting of salaam which is required among Muslims is: “May the blessing of His Name descend upon you.” The usage of the preposition ala in alaykum (upon you) indicates that the greeting is inclusive.

Ibn Qayyim mentioned the value and virtues of the Islamic salutation and said: “Allah, the Sovereign, the Most Holy, the Peace, prescribed that the greeting among the people of Islam should be ‘al-salaamu alaykum’, which is better than all the greetings of other nations which include impossible ideas or lies, such as saying, ‘May you live for a thousand years,’ or things that are not accurate, such as ‘An’im sabaahan (Good morning),’ or actions that are not right, such as prostrating in greeting. Thus the greeting of salaam is better than all of these, because it has the meaning of safety which is life, without which nothing else can be achieved. So this takes precedence over all other aims or objectives. A person has two main aims in life: to keep himself safe from evil, and to get something good. Keeping safe from evil takes precedence over getting something good…” (Badaa’i al-Fawaa’id, 144)

RasulAllah (saw) made spreading salaam a part of faith. It was narrated from Abd-Allah ibn Umar (ra) that a man asked RasulAllah (saw): “What is the best thing in Islam? He (saw) said: Feeding others and giving the greeting of salaam to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.” (Bukhari; Muslim; Ahmad, Musnad; Abu Dawud; Nasai; Ibn Hibban)

Ibn Hajar said: “i.e., do not single out anybody out of arrogance or to impress them, but do it to honour the symbols of Islam and to foster Islamic brotherhood.” (Fathu’l-Bari, 1/56)

Ibn Rajab said: “The hadith makes the connection between feeding others and spreading salaam because this combines good actions in both word and deed, which is perfect good treatment (ihsaan). Indeed, this is the best thing that you can do in Islam after the obligatory duties.” (al-Fath, 1/43)

Sanusi said: “What is meant by salaam is the greeting between people, which sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts, as does giving food. There may be some weakness in the heart of one of them, which is dispelled when he is greeted, or there may be some hostility, which is turned to friendship by the greeting.” (Ikmaal al-Mu’allim, 1/244)

Qadi said: “Here RasulAllah (saw) was urging the believers to soften their hearts. The best Islamic attitude is to love one another and greet one another, and this is achieved by words and deeds. RasulAllah (saw) urged the Muslims to foster love between one another by exchanging gifts and food, and by spreading salaam, and he forbade the opposite, namely forsaking one another, turning away from one another, spying on one another, seeking out information about one another, stirring up trouble and being two faced. Love is one of the duties of Islam and one of the pillars of the Islamic system. One should give salaams to those whom one knows and those whom one does not know, out of sincerity towards Allah; one should not try to impress other people by giving salaams only to those whom one knows and no-one else. This also entails an attitude of humility and spreading the symbols of this ummah through the word of salaam.” (Ikmaal al-Mu’allim, 1/276)

Thus RasulAllah (saw) explained that this salaam spreads love and brotherhood. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that RasulAllah (saw) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.” (Muslim; Ahmad, Musnad; Tirmidhi)

Qadi Iyad said: “This is urging us to spread salaam, as mentioned above, among those whom we know and those whom we do not know. Salaam is the first level of righteousness and the first quality of brotherhood, and it is the key to creating love. By spreading salaam the Muslims’ love for one another grows stronger and they demonstrate their distinctive symbols and spread a feeling of security amongst themselves. This is the meaning of Islam.” (al-Ikmaal, 1/304)

Imam Nawawi presented salaam as a requirement of iman and said: “Abu Hurayrah (ra) reported that RasulAllah (saw) said: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I direct you to a thing that, if you do it, you will love one another. Spread the salaam among yourselves.”

“As for his (saw) saying: “You will not believe until you love each other.” It means: Your iman will not be complete, nor will your affairs be genuine with the iman, except by loving each other.

And as for his (saw) saying: “You will not enter Paradise until you believe.” It must be taken in its apparent and general sense, so that no one will enter Paradise unless he dies a believer, even if his iman is not perfect, and this is what is obvious from the hadith.

Shaykh Abu Amr (Ibn as-Salaah) said that the meaning of this hadith is that: “Your iman will not be complete except through mutual love, and none of you will enter Paradise when its inhabitants enter it, until you are in this state.” And this saying of his is the correct intended meaning, and Allah knows best.

As for his (saw) saying: “Spread the salaam among yourselves.” It involves a great directive for spreading the salaam as well as extending it to all of the Muslims, those you know and those you do not. The salaam is the initial means of acquaintance, and the key which promotes love. Its spreading strengthens the bond among Muslims. It is a display of the motto that distinguishes them from the peoples of other religious creeds. In addition to all what it encompasses of training oneself to what is good, to humbleness, and to honoring the sacredness of the Muslims.

Bukhari (ra) has mentioned that Ammar Ibn Yasir  (ra) said: “There are three qualities, whoever acquires them has acquired iman: Being just against oneself; giving the salaam to everyone; and spending (giving charity) without stinginess.”

Others besides Bukhari have reported this from the words of RasulAllah (saw).

“Giving the salaam to everyone.”; “giving the salaam to those whom you know and those whom you do not know.”; and: “Spreading the salaam.” all of these hold the same meaning. There is in this yet another significant point: Spreading the salaam involves removing hatred, hard feelings, and enmity that may be present (among people), and that cause them to loose their din; it also indicates that giving the salaam is for Allah, not to follow one’s own desires or to favor only one’s companions and loved ones with it. And Allah (swt) knows the truth.” (Sharh Sahih Muslim)

RasulAllah (saw) also explained the reward earned by the one who says salaam, as was reported from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that a man passed by RasulAllah (saw) whilst he was sitting with some others, and said? “Salaam alaykum (peace be upon you). RasulAllah (saw) said: (He will have) ten hasanaat (rewards). Another man passed by and said? Salaam alaykum wa rahmat-Allah (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah). RasulAllah (saw) said? (He will have) twenty hasanaat. Another man passed by and said: Salaam alaykum wa rahmat-Allahi wa barakaatuhu (peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings). RasulAllah (saw) said: (He will have) thirty hasanaat.” (Nasai, Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, # 368; Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, # 586; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, # 493)

RasulAllah (saw) commanded us to return salaams, and made it a right and a duty. It was reported from Abu Hurayrah (ra) that RasulAllah (saw) said: “The Muslim has five rights over his fellow-Muslim: He should return his salaams, visit him when he is sick, attend his funeral, accept his invitation, and pray for mercy for him (say “Yarhamuk Allah”) when he sneezes.” (Bukhari; Muslim; Ahmad, Musnad; Abu Dawud; Nasai, al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah, # 221)

It is clear that it is obligatory to say salaam and return salaams, because by doing so a Muslim is giving you safety and you have to give him safety in return. It is as if he is saying to you: “I am giving you safety and security,” so you have to give him the same, so that he does not get suspicious or think that the one to whom he has given salaam is betraying him or ignoring him. RasulAllah (saw) told us that if Muslims are ignoring or forsaking one another, this will be put to an end when one of them gives salaam. It was reported that Abu Ayyub (ra) said: “RasulAllah (saw) said: It is not permissible for a Muslim to forsake his brother for more than three days, each of them turning away from the other if they meet. The better of them is the first one to say salaam.” (Bukhari)

Narrated from Uthman ibn Affan (ra): “When RasulAllah (saw) died, some of his companions were so much aggrieved (at his death) that they were disposed to doubts. Uthman said: I was one of them. While I was sitting there happened to pass by me Umar and he offered me salutation which I did not notice. Umar made a complaint of that to Abu Bakr. Then both of them came and offered me salutation and

Abu Bakr said: What prompted you to ignore the salutation of your brother, Umar.

I said: I never did that.

Umar said: By Allah, of course you did that.

I said: By Allah I did not perceive that you passed by me and paid salutation.

Abu Bakr said: Uthman is speaking the truth and something must have absorbed your mind (that you did not take notice of this matter).

I said: Yes it is so.

He said: What is that?

I said: Allah has taken away His Prophet (saw) before we asked him how we could free ourselves from the snares of the world and the devil.

Abu Bakr said: I did ask about that.

So I got near to him and said to him: May my father and mother be taken as ransom for you and you were the worthiest to ask.

Thereupon Abu Bakr said: I said to RasulAllah (saw), how one could free oneself from the snares of the world and devil.

Thereupon RasulAllah (saw) said: He who accepted from me the word that I presented to my uncle which he rejected is the freedom (from them); (Affirmation of the oneness of Allah and the Apostle-hood of Muhammad).” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

Narrated from Anas ibn Malik Anas (ra) or someone else told that RasulAllah (saw) asked permission to enter the house of Sa’d ibn Ubadah (ra) saying: “Peace and Allah’s mercy be upon you. Sa’d replied: And upon you be peace and Allah’s mercy, but did not speak loud enough for RasulAllah (saw) to hear. He gave the salutation three times and Sa’d responded three times, but did not speak loud enough for him to hear, so RasulAllah (saw) went away. Sa’d went after him and said: O RasulAllah, for whom I would give my father and mother as ransom, you did not give a salutation without my hearing it and responding to you, but I did not speak loud enough for you to hear because I wanted to receive many of your salutations and so receive great blessing. They then entered the house and he offered him raisins which RasulAllah (saw) ate. Then when he finished he said: May the righteous eat your food, may the angels invoke blessings on you, and may those who have been fasting break their fast with you!” (Tirmidhi, Sharh as-Sunnah)

Abu Hurayrah (ra) said: “The most miserly of all people is one who is miserly with greetings. The weakest of all people is a person who is weak in (making) du’a (supplication prayer).” (Bukhari)

“Four traits whoever possesses them is a hypocrite…”

Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali said:

“On the authority of Abd-Allah ibn Amr (ra) that RasulAllah (saw) said: “Four traits whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it: The one who when he speaks he lies; when he promises he breaks his promise; when he disputes he transgresses; and when he makes an agreement he violates it.” (Bukhari; Muslim)

1- Other wordings of this same hadith: “The signs of the hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies; when he promises he breaks his promise; and when he is entrusted he betrays the trust.” (Bukhari; Muslim); “…even if he prays and fasts and imagines that he is a Muslim.” (Muslim); “Among the signs of the hypocrite are three…” (Muslim)

2- Nifaq (hypocrisy) in the Arabic language means the general category of deception, scheming and presenting an outward appearance of good while concealing its opposite.

3- In the Shari’ah, nifaq is of two types:

a- Greater (an-Nifaq al-Akbar): To present an outward appearance of belief in Allah, His Angels, His books, His messengers, the last day, etc. while concealing withing that which negates all or some of that. This is the hypocrisy which the RasulAllah (saw) confronted during his life and the ones who Allah said in the Qur’an that they are in “the lowest depth of hell-fire”.

b- Lesser (an-Nifaq al-Asghar) or hypocrisy of action: To present an outward appearance of good and good deeds while concealing within that which negates that. This form of hypocrisy is built on the 5 things mentioned in the hadith at hand.

4- The actions in this hadith are all part of lesser hypocrisy. One who has these character traits in interaction with other people is most likely to have them with regard to Allah and His Prophet (saw). That is why the existence of them is a ‘sign’ of the existence of greater nifaq.

5- Lying. Hasan al-Basri said: “Nifaq is the difference between the inner and the appearance, between statement and action and between entering and leaving and it used to be said that the foundation of nifaq upon which it is built is lying.”

6- Breaking Promises. This falls into two categories:

a- Making a promise with no intention of keeping it. Awza’i said that one who says: “I will do such-and-such inshaAllah!” without intending to do it has committed both lying and breaking a promise.

b- Making a promise intending to keep it and then later deciding to break it.

7- Transgression in Dispute. The main meaning of ‘transgression’ here is to intentionally speak other than truth making truth falsehood and vice versa. Lying ‘calls to’ this as in the hadith: “Beware of lying for lying guides to transgression and transgression leads to the fire.” (Bukhari; Muslim) Also RasulAllah (saw) said: “The most hated of men to Allah is the one given to fierce and violent disputation.” (Bukhari; Muslim) Also, RasulAllah (saw) said about the one who takes what is not his through clever speech has only been given a piece of the fire.

8- Breaking Agreements. Allah said: “And fulfill your agreements for verily agreements will be asked about.” (al-Isra 17/34) And: “And fulfill Allah’s agreement when you have made an agreement and don’t violate your oaths after they have been established and you have made Allah your guardian (therein).” (an-Nahl 16/91)

Also: “As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: Nor will Allah (Deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will He cleans them (of sin): They shall have a grievous penalty.” (Al-i Imran 3/77) This applies to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. RasulAllah (saw) said: “Whoever kills an individual protected by treaty without right will not even smell the scent of paradise and its scent can be found at a distance of forty years march.” The most serious oath to dishonor is the oath of allegiance to the khalifa of the Muslims.

9- Betraying of Trusts. When a Muslim is entrusted with something, he must do his best to protect it and to render it back to its owner when the time comes. Allah said: “Verily, Allah orders you to render trusts to their rightful owners…” (an-Nisa 4/58) Also: “O ye that believe! betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.” (al-Anfal 8/27)

10- These issues have all been connected to hypocrisy in the Qur’an:

Lying, breaking oaths: “When the Hypocrites come to thee, they say: We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of Allah! Yea, Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His Messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the Hypocrites are indeed liars. They have made their oaths a screen (for their misdeeds): thus they obstruct (men) from the Path of Allah: truly evil are their deeds.” (al-Munafiqun 63/1-2)

False oaths, breaking promises (to Allah), lying: “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell, an evil refuge indeed. They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out: this revenge of theirs was (their) only return for the bounty with which Allah and His Messenger had enriched them! If they repent, it will be best for them; but if they turn back (to their evil ways), Allah will punish them with a grievous penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: They shall have none on earth to protect or help them. Amongst them are men who made a covenant with Allah, that if He bestowed on them of His bounty, they would give (largely) in charity, and be truly amongst those who are righteous. But when He did bestow of His bounty, they became covetous, and turned back (from their covenant), averse (from its fulfillment). So He hath put as a consequence hypocrisy into their hearts, (to last) till the Day, whereon they shall meet Him: because they broke their covenant with Allah, and because they lied (again and again).” (at-Tawbah 9/73-77)

Betraying trusts: “We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;-he was indeed unjust and foolish- (With the result) that Allah has to punish the Hypocrites, men and women, and the Unbelievers, men and women, and Allah turns in Mercy to the Believers, men and women: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (al-Ahzab 33/72-73)

11- Umar (ra) mentioned the hadith of RasulAllah (saw): “The thing from which I fear for you the most is the knowledgeable hypocrite. Umar (ra) was then asked: How can a hypocrite be knowledgeable? To which Umar answered: He speaks with wisdom but acts with injustice.”

12- Ibn Umar (ra) was told: “We enter the presence of the ruler we speak to him other than what we say after we leave. Ibn Umar said: We used to consider that hypocrisy.” (Bukhari)

13- Ibn Abi Mulayka said: “I encountered thirty Companions of RasulAllah (saw) every one of them fears hypocrisy for himself and Hasan al-Basri used to say about it: No one fears it but a believer and no one feels safe from it but a hypocrite.” (Bukhari)

14- Another aspect of hypocrisy is to do apparently good deeds with wicked intentions. Allah said: “They set up a masjid for the purpose of harm, kufr, creating division among the Muslims and as an outpost for those making war against Allah and His Prophet before this and they will swear: We only intended good. And Allah bears witness that they are liars.” (at-Tawbah 9/107)

15- Also: “Do not imagine that those who are joyful with what they have done and love to be praised for that which they did not do -do not imagine them to be safe from punishment- and theirs is a painful punishment.” (Al-i Imran 3/188)

16- Consciousness will vary and this is not hypocrisy. RasulAllah (saw) said to Handhala: “If you were to continue in the state which you achieved in my presence, the angels would greet you in your sittings and in the streets however, O Handhala, there are times and there are times.” (Jaami al-Ulum wa’l-Hikam, # 48)

“Anyone who possesses a speck of Pride in his heart will not enter Paradise“

Explanation of the Hadith: “Anyone who possesses a speck of Pride in his heart will not enter Paradise”

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah
Majmoo‘-ul Fataawaa (vol. 7, pg. 677-679)

Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (ra) was asked:
Regarding the Prophet’s statement: “Anyone who possesses a speck of pride (kibr) in his heart will not enter Paradise” – Is this Hadith specific only to the believers or (is it specific only to the) unbelievers? If we were to say that it is specific for the Believers then (is not) our statement trivial considering (the fact that) the believers shall enter Paradise due to their Eemaan. If, on the other hand, we were to say that the Hadith is specific for the unbelievers then what is the relevance of the statement (since it is already known that the unbelievers shall not gain admission to Paradise?

He (ra) answered:
(Another) authentically reported wording of (this particular version of the) Hadith is, “Anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Pride (kibr) in his heart will not be granted admission to Paradise. And anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Eemaan will not enter the (Eternal) Fire.” [1]

Kibr that openly opposes and negates Eemaan results in the banishment of the one who holds it from entering al-Jannah as is found in Allah’s statement:

“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn (yastakbiroon – Have kibr) My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Surah Ghaafir: 60]

This is the Kibr of Iblis (the Devil), Pharaoh and all the others who possessed the Kibr, which invalidated Eemaan. This is also the Kibr that the Jews possess and those whom Allah has described to us by saying:

“Is it that whenever there came to you a Messenger with what you yourselves desired not, you grew arrogant? Some, you disbelieved and some, you killed.” [Surah Al-Baqarah: 87]

Al-Kibr, in its entirety, openly opposes the essentials of al-Eemaan. As such he who has an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart will not act upon that which Allah has prescribed, nor will he abstain from that which Allah has prohibited. Instead his Kibr shall result in his disavowal and rejection of the truth and instill in him contempt of others. This, precisely, is the explanatory definition of al-Kibr provide by the Prophet as is found in the complete version of the initial Hadith [“The one who possesses an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart shall not be granted admission to Paradise.”]

He (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked: “[But] O Messenger of Allah! A man likes to have fine clothing and footwear. Is this included in Kibr?” He responded, “No. Allah is Beauty and loves Beauty. Kibr is the rejection of truth (Batrul-Haqq) and condescension of others (waa ghaamtun-naas).” [2]

The statement “Batarul-Haqq” denotes distain and rejection of the Truth, while “ghaamtun-naas” implies contempt and condescension of others from amongst mankind.

Therefore the one who possesses half a mustard seed of it (Kibr) rejects the Truth that he was ordered to accept and act upon. At the same time, the Kibr instills in him a sense of condescension that inculcates in the individual an oppressive demeanor producing transgression over the rights of others.

The one who neglects his obligations (due to his rejection of them) and is oppressive to others from amongst the creation is not to be amongst the people of Jannah (while in this state), or deserving of it. On the contrary, such an individual is to be counted amongst the people who are threatened with punishment!

His (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “Anyone who possesses a speck of Kibr in his heart will not be granted admission to Paradise” implies that the individual is not from the people of Jannah and is not deserving of it. But if he repents, or he possesses Hasaanaat (righteous deeds) that expiate his sins, or Allah has given him Ibtillaah (trials and tests) in the form of calamities that have expunged his sins, or similar things; then for that individual the recompense of Kibr – which originally was a barrier for him to enter Jannah – is eliminated and he gains admission (to it). Similarly Allah, due to Divine Grace, may forgive the individual (the sin of) Kibr. [3] None shall gain admission (to Paradise) while possessing an atom’s weight of Kibr. As a result, those (scholars) discussing this Hadith, and other Hadith that have a similar theme, have stated:

“Unconditional admission (to Paradise) – that is not in conjunction with punishment (for the sin of Kibr) – is what is being negated in this Hadith; not the admission to Jannah that is granted to those who have entered the Fire (to be purified and cleansed) and then are allowed admission to Paradise thereafter. (On the other hand) if a Hadith explicitly declares that a particular person is in Jannah or that a particular person is from the People of Jannah, it would then be understood that he would enter the Jannah and not enter the fire (beforehand).”

After this clarification we come to understand the true meaning of these narrations as being that the one who possesses an atom’s weight of Kibr in his heart is not from the people of Paradise (up to that point) and shall not gain admission into it without punishment (for his sin). Surely he deserves punishment – due to the enormity of the sin – similar to those who perform the Major (Kabaa’ir) sins. Allah may punish him in the Fire as long as He wishes, but none from amongst the people of tawhid shall remain in the Fire eternally.

This is to be the way we understand all the Hadith that have a similar meaning. This understanding is to be used when seeking the meaning of his (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement: “The one who severs the ties of the womb shall not enter Jannah”[4] or “You shall not enter Jannah until you believe. And you shall not believe until you love one another. Shall I inform you of something that if you do you shall (truly) love each other? Spread the greetings of Salaam amongst yourselves.”

This is the understanding that we are to have when pondering over the ahaadeeth that contain threats of Punishment. In this way we understand that the Hadith is general and can be attributed to both the unbelievers and the Muslims.

If one was to say: “All the Muslims enter Jannah due to their Islam.” The response is that not all Muslims enter Jannah without punishment. Surely the people who have been threatened (with punishment in the Hereafter due to their sins) shall enter into the Fire to remain in it for the period that Allah so wills even though they are not unbelievers. The individual who has some Eemaan coinciding with major sins may enter into the Fire and exit from it as a result of the Shafaa‘ah (Intercession) of the Prophet or by other reported means as articulated by the Prophet when he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“My Shafaa‘ah is for the people who commit Majors Sins from amongst my Ummah.” [5]

And he (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said as is reported in the sahih: “I shall bring out of the Fire the one who possesses half a mustard seed of Eemaan.” [6]

In this way we understand what is in store for those whom Allah has threatened with punishment – the murderer, fornicator/adulterer, the one who consumes intoxicants, and the one who misappropriates the wealth of the orphans, the one who witnesses falsehood and others who perform the deeds of the people of major sins. They – even if they are not unbelievers – are not deserving of the Jannah that they are promised (as Muslims) without first being (cleansed and purged through) punishment.

The madh-hab (way and belief) of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa‘ah is that the Foosaaq (deviant sinners) from amongst the general body of Muslims are not going to be eternally punished in the Fire as held by the Khawaarij[7] and the Mu‘tazilah.[8] They are not complete in their religion (Deen), Eemaan and obedience to Allah.[9] They have good and bad deeds that necessitate a measure of punishment and reward. This is a concise dissertation regarding the issue.

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Footnotes:

[1] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim, Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood. See Islaah al-Masaajid, checked by Al-Albaanee.

[2] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim (54), Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Sa‘d on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ood. Tabarani reports it on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin Salaam

[3] Translator’s Note: Allah the Most High says in Surah an-Nisaa’ (4:48): “Verily, Allah forgives not that partners should be set up with him in worship, but He forgives what is besides that to whom He pleases, and whoever sets up partners with Allah in worship, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin.”

[4] Translator’s Note: Reported by Imam Muslim (1765 – Abridged) al-Haakim, al-Bayhaqee, Abu Dawud, and Tirmidhi on the authority of Jubayr bin Mut‘aam.

[5] Translator’s Note: Turn to the Chapter “Shafaa‘ah for the People of Major Sins” (Pg. 61-108) in the highly beneficial book of the world-renowned Muqbil bin Haadee al-Waadi‘ee ) titled: “Ash-Shafaa‘ah.” In the chapter the Shaykh reports seventy-six (76) ahaadeeth showing that those who perform Major sins are not excluded from the Shafaa‘ah of Allah’s Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This particular Hadith can be found in the book on page 85, Hadith number 56. Shaykh Abu ‘Abdir-Rahmaan Muqbil bin Haadee reports that the Hadith is collected by Tirmidhi (v. 4, pg. 45) on the authority of Anas and Jaabir. He then states: “And this Hadith is Hasan sahih Ghareeb (good and authentic yet scarce in this mode). The Hadith is reported by Ibn Khuzaymah (pg. 270), Ibn Hibbaan as is stated in the Mawrid (pg. 640), and al-Haakim (vol. 1, pg. 69) said: ‘This Hadith is authentic and meets the requirements set by Bukhari and Muslim even though they did not narrate it.’” Later on  Muqbil wrote: “Al-Haafidh Ibn Kathir said in his Tafsir (vol. 1, pg. 487) that its chain of narration is sahih and meets the requirements set by Bukhari and Muslim.” Muqbil then takes us step by step through the chain of narration and proves convincingly that the Hadith does not meet the requirements of Bukhari and Muslim due to the presence of Mu‘aamar reporting from Thaabit

[6] Translator’s Note: This is a segment of the famous Hadith of Shafaa‘ah collected by Bukhari (vol. 13, pg. 472)

[7] Translator’s Note: Khawaarij is the plural of Kharijee – They are those who declared that a Muslim becomes a disbeliever due to committing a major sin alone.

[8] Translator’s Note: The Mu‘tazilah deem the one who does not agree with their understanding of tawhid (7 false principles) is deemed a Mushrik. They believe that the sinners who are Muslim shall be in a place between Jannah and the Fire. Their beliefs are built on false logical deductions that led them to negate many of the Names and Attributes of Allah. They were the deviant group who opposed the Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal by falsely claiming that the Qur’an is created and not the Speech of Allah.

[9] Translator’s Note: The Murji’ah believe that sins, major or minor, do not affect faith and that Eemaan neither increases nor decreases. They claim that actions are not part of faith and that people do not vary in faith.

The Goals of Fasting

The acts of worship that the Muslims practice seek to achieve certain goals and benefits that Allah wants His slaves to acquire knowledge in them and to comprehend and achieve them. Among these acts of worship is fasting during the lunar month of Ramadhan, which has several goals that the Muslims must strive to achieve with his heart and by his actions. These goals are as follows:

  1. Achieving taqwa, that is, to become God-fearing. Allah said:

    “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those who came before you; that you will perhaps be God-fearing.” [Al-Qur’an 2:183]

Hence, fasting is a means to achieve taqwa. In fact, all acts of worship and tawhid are methods and means to achieve taqwa, as Allah has said:

“O mankind, worship your Lord, Who created you and those before you, so that you may become God-fearing.” [Al-Qur’an 2:21]

  1. Acquiring the rewards of Allah. Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:

    “Allah the Exalted said, ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are his, except for fasting, for it is Mine and I will reward for it.’ “

  2. The Prophet also said:

    “The one fasting has two happy moments: when he breaks his fast, and when he meets his Lord he is happy because of his fast.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

    About his saying, “When he breaks his fast he is happy,” and Imam Muslim’s addition, “Because of his breaking his fast,” Imam al-Qurtubi commented, “It means he is happy because his hunger and thirst have ended, since he is allowed to break his fast. This happiness is natural and this is apparently the desired meaning. It was also said that his being happy is because of his breaking the fast, means that he has fulfilled his fast, and as a culmination for his practicing the acts of worship. His saying, ‘And when he meets his Lord he is happy because of his fast,’ means he is happy because of the rewards for fasting and its complete awards.’ “

  1. Fasting purifies the soul and helps it acquire the habit of obeying Allah and His Messenger by defeating the desires of the heart. Fasting teaches refraining from following the desires because the soul of the one fasting becomes obedient to Allah’s commands. Also, Satan has a stronger hold over the souls that often obey their desires. When the soul abandons its desires, it will become more difficult for Satan to have a hold on the heart.
  1. Being saved from the Fire, for the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

    “And Allah has those whom he frees from the Fire, and this occurs every night (meaning in Ramadhan).” [At-Tirmidhi and ibn Majah]

  2. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

    “Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede on behalf of the slave. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord! I prevented him from food and obeying his desires in the morning. Therefore, accept my intercession on his behalf.’ And the Qur’an will say, ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Therefore, accept my intercession on his behalf,’ and they will be accepted as intercessors.’ “ [Ahmad, al-Hakim and al-Bayhaqi]

  3. There is no doubt that fasting directs to having one’s sins forgiven and erased. The Prophet, upon whom be peace, said:

    “The five prayers, and from Friday to the next Friday, and Ramadhan to the next Ramadhan, are erasers for what occurs between them, as long as major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]

    Also the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

    “Whoever fasts Ramadhan with iman and ih’tisab, will have his previous sins forgiven.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

    Imam Ahmad and an-Nasa’i added the following to the above narration:

    “And also what will occur later on (meaning future sins, as well).”

    Fasting with iman entails fasting while believing with the heart in the obligation of fasting during Ramadhan. As for ih’tisab, it means that one anticipates the reward and his fasting is therefore only for the sake of Allah and not to imitate his people and community or for any other worldly gain.

From the rights (huqooq) of brotherhood

many Muslims think that it suffices to consider each other as brothers without taking necessary steps to put that principle of brotherhood into practice. That is why we see nowadays Muslims showing indifference to calamities befalling their brethren across the globe, thinking that so far they are far away from the hot spots, from the scene of calamities, they have nothing to worry about. Thus, you see many of them, at the times that their brothers are being slaughtered at some other parts of the globe, they pass time at cafes, hotels, giving out celebrations, as if nothing happened. This is a great betrayel towards those whom we call brothers.

Elaborating more on this, we’d like to cite for you the following:

“Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘You will not enter Paradise until you have faith, and you will not have faith until you love each other. Shall I direct you to something which if you fulfill you will love one another? Spread peace among yourselves.’ (It was reported by Muslim)

1) In this hadith, our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) recommended that we should spread peace. This is fulfilled through many things: by saluting each other with the words ‘As-Salam `alaykum‘ (peace be with you); by spreading a state of peace and not conflict, and by trying to spread peace in the society through reconciling our differences.

2) It’s also part of rights of brotherhood for a Muslim to put on smiling face when he meets his brothers in faith. Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Don’t belittle any good deed even to meet your brothers with a smiling face.’ He also said: ‘Your smile in the face of your brothers is an act of charity.’

A man came to Abu ad-Darda’ and said: ‘Guide me to do a good deed that would benefit other Muslims?’ Abu Ad-Darda’ replied: ‘Command them to do good and forbid them from evil.’ The man said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Repel evil from them.’ The man said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Spend charity on them.’ He again said: ‘I cannot.’ Then Abu Ad-Darda’ said: ‘Meet them with a smiling bright face.’ The man however said: ‘I still cannot.’ Fed up with what he heard, Abu Ad-Darda’ finally said: ‘Then may Allah smite you with a thunder bolt from Heaven by which He would make the land and the people get rid of you.’

3) Brotherhood in Islam also means that one should love for one’s brothers what one loves for himself. Confirming this the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Each of you cannot be a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.’

Not only this but the early Muslims used to prefer their brothers over their own selves. That is why the Qur’an praised them in the following verse: ‘And they prefer (their brothers) over themselves even if they are hungry.’ (Al-Hashr: 9)

4) Avoid harming other Muslims by words or actions:


As a matter of fact Islam forbids vain or evil talk, as clarified by the following Qur’anic verse:

‘And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’ (Al-Qasas: 55) Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘The Muslim is he from whom people are safe from his tongue and hand (actions).’

One day, `A’ishah, the Prophet’s wife, heard some Jews in Madinah offending the Prophet by greeting him with the wish that poison would strike him. Getting angry at their offence she retorted: ‘And upon you be poison and curse O you children of apes and swine.’ Hearing this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) pacified her saying:

‘You should have said only, same be upon you also, for the Muslim is not an offender, nor a curser nor a mischief monger nor one who uses dirty language.’

5) Humbleness and modesty: A Muslim should exercise humbleness and modesty in his dealing with other Muslims, nay even with all other people. That is why one precious piece of advice a pious father called [Luqman] gave to his son as the Qur’an reports is that: ‘Never turn your cheek to other people in arrogance.’ (Luqman: 18)

In practice, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to be humble with all other people. It is reported that once a Bedouin met him; when he saw him he trembled in fear. Seeing this the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘Calm down. I am only the son of a woman who used to eat dry meat in Makkah (meaning a poor woman).’

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to tell his Companions: ‘Don’t exaggerate in praising me, as Christians exceeded the limits in praising the Messiah, son of Mary, for I am the slave and Messenger of Allah.’ He also used to declare: ‘Whoever humbles himself to Allah, Allah will raise him (in respect) and He will not enter Paradise who has in his heart an atom’s weight of arrogance.’

6)Turning deaf ears to other people’s slandering of your brothers or sisters: This means the elimination of backbiting and slandering in the Muslim society. That is why the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) once passed by two graves. He stood in front of them and said: ‘They (the dead ones) are punished due to minor sins.’ One of them used to spread calumny and slander among people. Thus Muslims are reminded that: ‘He who slanders others in front of you will eventually slander you.’

7) Doing good to people all as best as you can. In this context Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘And cooperate with one another in all that is good and pious and don’t cooperate in sin and aggression.’ (Al-Ma’idah: 2) Allah’s Messenger was asked: ‘Who is the dearest person to Allah?’ He said: ‘Those who are most useful to (other) people.’ That is why in another hadith the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘And Allah will surely help the person as long as he helps his brother.’

8) Treating them nicely and with best manners: In this connection Allah says about Prophet Muhammad: ‘And you are indeed of supreme conduct.’ (Al-Qalam: 4) The Messenger of Allah, therefore says: ‘The most perfect believers are those who are best in conduct and who are nicest to their household.’

9) Rights of brotherhood also implies that one should not forsake his brothers over three days: Allah says in the Qur’an:‘Believers are indeed brothers so reconcile your brothers.’(Al-Hujurat: 10) The Messenger of Allah also said: ‘Let not any one of you desert his brother more than three days. They meet and each of them turns away from the other; but the best of the two is the one who starts with the salutation of peace.’ In another hadith, the Prophet said: ‘Don’t exchange hatred, envy or forsaking, for every Muslim is a brother to other Muslims. Thus he should not wrong him, nor surrender him, whoever walks to fulfill the needs of other Muslims, Allah will attend to his needs.’

10) Not to enter upon a Muslim’s house without his permission: Allah says in the Qur’an: ‘O ye who believe! Enter not houses other than your own without first announcing your presence and invoking peace upon the folk thereof. That is better for you, that you may be heedful.’ (An-Nur: 27)

11) Acknowledging the rights of scholars by showing due respect to them.

12) Fulfilling one’s promise to his Muslim brothers.

13) Settling the rights of other Muslims and returning to them whatever has been taken from them without right.

14) Granting to other Muslims the status they deserve, and acknowledging their prestige.

15) Reconciling the differences among Muslims and restoring harmony.

16) Hiding their shame and concealing their weaknesses.

17) Preserving their wealth and honor.

18) Saying ‘may Allah bless you!’ to any one who sneezes.

19) Avoiding mingling with the evil mongers.

20) Visiting the sick Muslims: This is based on a Qudsi hadith indicating that Allah would say to His slaves on the Day of Judgment: ‘My slave I was sick and yet you did not visit me?’ The slave would exclaim: ‘How can I visit You when You are the Lord of the worlds?’ Allah would answer: ‘Did you not know that My slave so-and-so fell ill; don’t You know that had you visited him you would find Me with him?’

21) Attending the funeral prayer and to follow a funeral to the grave.

22) Visiting graves of Muslims and invoking Allah’s mercy upon them.

These are the main rights of brotherhood in Islam.

narration by Ibn Qudamah

Ibn Qudamah narrated that Ash-Shibli said:

كنت في قافلة بالشام فخرج الأعراب فأخذوها وجعلوا يعرضونها على أميرهم
فخرج جراب فيه سكر ولوز فأكلوا منه والأمير لا يأكل فقلت له لم لا تأكل فقال أنا صائم فقلت تقطع الطريق وتأخذ الأموال وتقتل النفس وأنت صائم فقال يا شيخ أجعل للصلح موضعا فلما كان بعد حين رأيته يطوف حول البيت فقلت أنت ذاك الرجل فقال ذاك الصوم بلغ بي هذا المقام

“I was in a caravan in Ash-Shaam (Syria) and it was hijacked by bedouins, so they took it and handed it over to their Amir (leader). They opened a bag and found sugar and almonds. They all started eating, except their Amir. I asked: “Why aren’t you eating?” He said: “I’m fasting”. I said: “You block roads, you steal from people, you kill people and you say you’re fasting????!” He said: “Ya shaykh! We should keep the ways of reconciliation (with Allah) allways open”. So after a while, I saw this person doing tawaaf around the Ka’bah! I said: “You are that same person!” He said: “Because of that fasting (Allah guided me and) brought me here today”.

[“At-Tawabeen”, 1/276].