“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.


[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.