20 Safar 1441

It was not the face of a liar

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May 25th, 2014
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I think the title of today’s topic is a bit misleading but I think the majority of you know the origin of this Hadith. The Hadith was narrated by Abdullah Ibn Salaam, one of the Rabies of the Jews, a prominent scholar and one of their best scholars at the time of the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam.

When the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam came to Madinah and he heard of his coming, he said that he wanted to look at his face and listen to what he has to say, because the Jews had knowledge in their books describing the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Abdullah Ibn Salaam said, “The first thing I did was to look at his face and I knew that his face was not the face of a liar and the first words I heard of him were, ‘O people, spread the greetings of Islam {that is, As-Salaam}, offer food to the needy, uphold the ties of kinship and pray at night when people are sleeping and you will enter Paradise in peace.’”

 

 

The first topic in this Hadith is Truth; the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam’s face was not the face of a liar and the he was known, even before becoming the prophet and a messenger, to be truthful and honest. So this is the characteristic that everyone recognized in the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. If you want to describe someone you would describe him with the main characteristic that comes to your mind like for instance so and so is tall, that person is short, that guy doesn’t know how to play squash. And the first thing that popped up in anyone’s mind when describing the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam was that he was TRUTHFUL and any Muslim who is not truthful doesn’t love the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, anyone who lies is not a real believer. On the contrary it is one of the signs of a hypocrite. So if you find someone who is practicing the Deen, Ma sha Allah with long beard, short thobe, always in the Masjid but he lies, be sure it’s only few years and this guy is going to throw away everything, he’s not going to stay steadfast on the path of Hidaya. Why? Because he is not practicing, he has to be a practicing Muslim by only saying the truth and if he doesn’t, then he is not practicing.

And any community would not prosper, would not advance if it had among them those who lie. With honesty the whole community progresses and develops. And this is a sign of what we call a real culture. If you look at some countries in the west, though not Muslims, they never lie, or at least they seem to never lie and that is why they are prospering. Now if you look at some of the Muslims, because they are not actually practicing, they lie and deceive people and that is why they are way backward than anyone else.

What is truth? TRUTH is actually having a compatibility of what’s in your heart with reality, so they have to go side by side. If I see this glass of water and I know that it is water but I say that this is orange juice, this is not truth and if I say that this is water but I am convinced that it is not water, then this is not truth. That is why when the hypocrites said to the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam in the Qur’an “we believe that you are the Messenger of Allah”, Allah concluded the Ayah by saying “And Allah testifies that they are liars.” Are they liars? He is the Prophet of Allah, this is reality, but they said something that they did not believe in. So to be truthful, you have to have what is in your heart compatible with what is actually in reality. And the Prophet salla Allahu aliahi wa sallam told us in a Hadith that there are 4 characteristics which, if we have them in us, we will have no problem with anything in this world, nothing will affect us in this world. What are these? Try to compare them with yourself. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says:

1. If you are entrusted with something, you fulfill this trust.

2. To be honest in what you say. You are sincere, you never lie.

3. Your character is noble. You are soft, you are not aggressive. You don’t say bad things. You don’t deceive and cheat.

4. Your income is from Halaal.

If you have these 4 things then you had it made and I believe that these things are difficult to be combined in one person. This means that we have a deficiency in ourselves. We can have Halaal income, we can have a noble character, but it’s difficult to always be truthful. We seem to lie sometimes. Lying comes in different colors, it’s grey, it’s brown, it’s never black; you see the white or grayish lies. This means that we usually use this to escape situations that we do not want to face.

Not only this, the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam told us that by saying the truth, you will attain the highest levels in Paradise because truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise. And the Muslim is telling the truth continuously until he is written at the side of Allah as a Siddique, the one who often tells the truth. And Allah says, “O who you believe, fear Allah and be among the truthful ones.” So do we do this? Are we truthful with each other? Are we even truthful with ourselves? So many times we lie and not pay attention to the lies we say. For example: if I want to go out and one of my kids wants to come with me, what do I say? I don’t want him to come with me, so I lie and say something like, “I’m going to the doctor for an injection.” And the kid says, “Okay, may Allah be with you.” Now, he doesn’t want to come. What did I do? I lied. And I also implanted the fear of doctors and injections in my child’s heart.

Now my child is being easily intimidated. Our children are afraid of the dark. If someone wants to go out of a room and its dark outside, they say things like, “No, no, no, don’t go. It’s dark outside. There might be a Jinn or something evil waiting outside for you.” So our children are afraid of so many things and this is of our own wrong-doings, because we lie to stop them from doing something and this instills fear in them. We do this instead of teaching them how to be courageous and brave. Once the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam passed by Abdullah Ibn Aamir Ibn Rabiyyah, at the time he was a child, and his mother called him and said, “O Abdullah, come. I’d like to give you something.” And she stretched out her arm in front of her with her palm closed, like she had something in her hand. So the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam went to her and asked, “What are you going to give him?” In response, she opened her hand and showed the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam a date and said, “I wanted to give him this date, O Prophet of Allah.”

The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “By Allah, if you did not have anything in your hand, it would have been recorded and registered as a lie.” So this is true even if it is to your child. Like if we tell our 4-year old, “Come here, I want to give you something” and behind our back we have a baseball stick with which to beat him for doing something wrong, this is a lie. So just imagine how many lies we might have in our records on the Day of Judgment. It is known from an authentic Hadith that if the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam heard a lie from one of the members of his family, he, Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, would ignore that person until he repents and shows remorse and repentance. So that is why everyone around the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam knew that there is no room for lying. How many of our siblings and relatives around us do we know who lie, and that too constantly, all the time. And they know that we know that they are lying. It has become a part of their lives, the easiest way out. We lie and lie and continue to lie.

The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam told us that whenever we say the truth, Allah will not only bless us in the Hereafter, He will also bless us in this Duniya. We all want money, right? Is there anybody who doesn’t want money? No! Everybody wants money. And what’s the easiest, legal way to get money? The best way to get money is to be truthful. Subhanallah, how is that? The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “The two who are trading with each other {one is buying and one is selling} have a choice, unless they separate.” This means that if I want to sell someone something and he agrees to buy it, the transaction is done, even without the actual exchange of goods and money. The minute he agrees to buy what I want to sell to him, it’s done. But we have a choice to change our mind until we separate from each other. So if one of us goes away from the place we were in, then the deal is done. But if we were in the same place and after 10 or 15 minutes or half an hour later I say, “Listen, I change my mind”, I have the right to do that and he doesn’t have the right to object because we hadn’t departed from each other yet. Then the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam continues,“If these two men {the ones selling and buying} are truthful and they are transparent {i.e., they show what’s good and bad in their transaction}, Allah will bless their transaction.

And if they deceive and lie and conceal information, Allah will demolish the Blessing from their transaction.” An example of the latter part of the Hadith is when you want to sell a car to someone and he asks you, “Is it good?” and you say, “Ma Sha Allah, it’s clockwork! Not even one single drop of oil drips from it!” And you lie to make the car sound better than it is. And the guy looks at you and thinks, “Ma Sha Allah!I know that his face is not the face of a liar.” Think again. He buys the car and you take the money and think to yourself, “Ma Sha Allah! I struck a wonderful deal today! That sucker bought the car and left!” Do you think that Allah will bless the 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 that you took from the buyer by lying and deceiving? Do you think you can live without the Blessing of Allah?! Your health is a Blessing from Allah; your family is a Blessing of Allah, waking up in the morning is not by your own doing, it is a Blessing of Allah Who has given you this day. So if you think for a second that you can cheat and win at the same time, you’re wrong. Think again.

You cannot live without the Blessing of Allah Azza wa Jall. So if we lie, deceive and conceal, Allah will demolish the Blessing from our deals and transactions. This is the value of truth. And it is not something that we say to learn something new because every one of us knows the importance of truth. The problem is the implementation; doing it. We all know the virtues of truth and the punishment of lying and that lying is a sign of hypocrisy, and yet people still fail to comply. This is a negative sign. This is a sign of the weakness of your Imaan, when you lie. Even if you do so just to protect yourself from the punishment of, say, a traffic violation, for example. Admit that you did wrong and pay the fine. Bear the consequences of your actions and be a truthful person, in both good and bad. This is what promotes Islam the most. And the thing that hurts Islam the most is when a person who pretends to be a Muslim lies, deceives and cheats. This is a sign of hypocrisy and as a result of the actions of this person everybody will look negatively at Islam and think that all Muslims are like that.

So what did the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam say in the Hadith which this lecture is about? But before that we should know that the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam was given the concise of speech, which means: the shortest sentences with the richest meaning. If you listen to it in Arabic, you will think, “Ma Sha Allah! This rhymes nicely and it is so beautifully and eloquently put!” So the first thing that the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said is, “Spread Salaam.” And Salaam has two meanings: it can mean peace, so you have to be peaceful and spread peace all over the world, and it can mean ‘As Salaam’, which is the greeting of Muslims; ‘Assalamualaikum’, and this is what is intended in this Hadith. The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam was approached by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, and he asked, “O Prophet of Allah, what deeds in Islam are the best?” So the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “To feed the needy and to give Salaam to those whom you know and to those whom you don’t.”

If we look around us, we find that a lot of the Muslims may walk in the same street, look each other in the eye and pass by each other without giving Salaam. Both are Muslims! If we ask one of them, “Why didn’t you give Salaam to your brother?” he says, “Why didn’t he give Salaam to me?” What is this, a stand-off? Like who draws the gun first or something? If you be the first to give the Salaam, you get the reward. This is exactly what Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, did. He was once walking with his friend and whoever would pass them would greet them by saying Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah. Why, because he is Abu Bakr. Then after a while Abu Bakr said to his friend, “Don’t you see how many rewards we’re losing? They’re greeting us first with the Salaam and taking all the reward. Let us do the opposite now. Whenever you see someone, you begin the greeting by giving him Salaam first and you take the reward.” Look at the humbleness of Abu Bakr may Allah be pleased with him!

Salaam is one of the characteristics of the Muslims because the Jews envy us for this. As the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “The Jews do not envy you except over two things: saying ‘Assalamualaikum’ and saying ‘Aameen’.” They envy us for this. But you find some people, when the Imaam concludes reciting Surah Al Fatiha in the Prayer they don’t say ‘Aameen’. The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam used to say ‘Aameen’, and also used to make the first and the second row behind him listen to his ‘Aameen’ by raising his voice. So this is the Sunnah.

As-Salaam is one of Allah’s Names and Attributes. And when you say ‘Assalamualaikum’, you’re actually saying, ‘you are in Allah’s safe-keeping and may Allah be with you’. This is the meaning of saying ‘Assalamualaikum’. And that is why the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “As-Salaam is one of Allah’s Names, so spread it among you.” Now the question arises: is giving Salaam Wajib or Sunnah? Is it mandatory or just recommended? Alhamdulillah, it’s an issue of dispute among Scholars, like everything. The most authentic opinion is that starting your greeting to your brother with Salaam is a Sunnah. So if I see someone and I don’t say Salaam, it’s not a sin. But to reply to a Salaam is mandatory. So if a person walks into a gathering and gives Salaam, is it mandatory an every single person to reply, or is it enough if only a portion of the people in the gathering reply? The answer is: it is enough if only some reply. So if I say ‘Assalamualaikum’ to someone and he is the only one in the room, he should say ‘Waalaikumassalam’. It’s a must upon him. But if there are 3 or 4 other people with him and I enter upon them and say ‘Assalamualaikum’, and if just one of them replies ‘Waalaikumassalam’, the rest are exempted.

They don’t have to reply to the Salaam. This is different from the situation in which someone sneezes and says ‘Alahamdulillah’. In this case, every single person in the room has to say ‘Yarhamakumullah’, this is mandatory on every single person who hears it. Not like the Salaam that one would suffice. Now, what is the least form of saying Salaam by which we get reward? It is ‘Assalamualaikum’, there is nothing less than that. What about if someone says just ‘Salaam’? This too is an issue of dispute among scholars. Allah Azza wa Jall mentioned in Surah Az-Zariyat that when the angels went to Ibraheem, peace be upon him, they said to him ‘Salaam’, which is the minimum, and he too replied by saying ‘Salaam’. So this is acceptable, if you say ‘Salaam’ and someone replies ‘Salaam’.

But are you rewarded? No, we do not have any mentioning of reward for saying this. The mentioning of reward is for when you say ‘Assalamualaikum’, you get 10 Hasanaat (good deeds); for saying ‘Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah’, you get 20 Hasanaat; and for saying ‘Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh’, you get 30 good rewards. And this is why Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam used to give Salaam to whomever he met, even when he passed by children, young children who are playing, he would give them Salaam. He Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam didn’t have the arrogance that we have. We have great amount of arrogance in our hearts which may corrupt our hearts. If I pass by some brother and he looks me in the eyes, I might be like, “I am the sheikh he should come and say Salaam to me!” This is wrong; you are supposed to be humble to everyone.

 

The minute you look at someone who is a Muslim, you should be the first one to greet him. The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam told us that if a person is riding and someone else is on foot, the riding person should give Salaam to the person on foot. And if someone is walking and someone else is sitting, then the walking person should offer Salaam to the sitting one. And if there are a few, then they should give Salaam to the many. And if a person is young, then he should give Salaam to the elder one, but if you do the opposite, in this case, it’s good as well. So if someone who is an elder person gives Salaam to a youngster, this is, In Sha Allah, good as the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam used to do it. Abdullah Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with him, used to go to the market places, not to shop, but simply just to pass by the Muslims and say “Assalamualaikum”. And one day a companion of his asked him something on the lines of, “What is this? You go to the market and you don’t buy anything, you don’t bargain, you just go for half an hour to an hour and come back without doing anything.” Ibn Umar said to him, “All what we are doing is nothing?! We’re giving Salaam to the Muslims and we’re getting the reward out of it.” So it was an objective to the Muslims, to Abdullah Ibn Umar at least, to go to the market places simply to spread the word of As-Salaam.

The Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam said, “Among the most stingy people are those who are stingy with their Salaam.” i.e. who do not offer Salaam. So as Muslims, we should never hold back our Salaam. Always give your Salaam, but only to the Muslims. That means it is not okay to begin a conversation with As-Salaam with Non-Muslims. We cannot go to Non-Muslims and say ‘Assalamualaikum’. If a Non- Muslim comes and greets us by saying “Assalamualikum”, we should just say “Walaikum”. This is what the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam used to say to the Jews when they used to come and greet him. Sometimes, people complain, “When I give Salaam, some people don’t reply back with Salaam. So would there be anything wrong if I don’t offer Salaam to such people? I meet a brother and give Salaam, he doesn’t answer. Second time, he does the same. Then third time, I don’t want to give him Salaam.” No, this is wrong. The Companions, may Allah be Pleased with them, said, “Whenever you offer Salaam, raise you voice, because you are spreading the Name of Allah Azza wa Jall, even if the other person doesn’t answer back, because Allah will appoint an Angel to answer back to you.” So even if a person doesn’t answer me with Salaam, Alhamdulillah, there is an Angel answering me. And why do we give Salaam to begin with, for the other person’s sake? No, we do it for the Sake of Allah. So we should always give Salaam and we should not wait for reward from the people.

The second thing that the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam said is, “Offer food.” So, offer food to whom? Some interpreters say, “Offer food to the needy.” Of course, it is better to give food to the one who is in need of it than to someone who is not in need. Offering food is one of the things that will make you enter Paradise, as the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam said in the Hadith. Allah Azza wa Jall complimented the believers in the Qur’an by Saying, “Those who feed the poor, feed the prisoners and feed the orphans for the Sake of Allah” {i.e. not wanting any reward from anyone else}. So they do this for the Sake of Allah. Umar ibn Khattab may Allah be Pleased with him, said to Suhaib Ar Roomi, “You are THE man. But you have 3 characteristics in you that I don’t like.” So Suhaib said, “Okay, so let me know what they are.” Umar said, “You have given yourself a Kuniya (nickname) but you don’t have a son {Suhaib’s Kuniya was Abu Yahya (meaning ‘father of Yahya’), even though he didn’t have a son named Yahya}. And you relate yourself to the Arabs while you are related to the Byzantines. And you feed the food extravagantly {Suhaib used to give a lot of food to the people, feeding those who are in need and also those who are not in need}.” So Suhaib said, “If this is the case, Alhamdulillah, there is no problem.

As for the Kuniya, I was called Abu Yayha by the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam and he knew that I did not have a son but he still gave me this nickname. And as for whom I relate to; I am an Arab, but I was abducted when I was a child and sold to the Byzantines, and then resold again to the Arabs. So I am an Arab originally. And as for the food, the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam told me, ‘The best of you is the person who feeds the food’ {who makes food and invites people to eat from it}.” Feeding the food is one of the characteristics of the Arabs and they’re well known for it. Even before Islam, they used to feed the food to everyone and to whoever came to their home. And the Prophet Salla Allahu alaihi wa Sallam said, “The rights of a guest are three days.” What should we do in those 3 days? We should host him in our home, and feed him breakfast, lunch and dinner for 3 days and 3 nights. This is his God-Given right, when he comes as a guest to us. {Nowadays, if we just give a guest Sneakers or some other snack, even that’s too much for him.} Previously, the Arabs, especially, were very generous. Before the Arabs, we know that the Prophet of Allah, Ibraheem, Peace be upon him, was also very generous.

In Surat Adh-Dhariyat, there are beautiful A’yahs describing Ibraheem alaihis salam’s generosity. Allah the Almighty says, “Has the story reached you of the honored guests of Ibraheem?” We know that the guests were actually 3 Angels, who came by him, but they looked like humans. So they came to his tent, which was in the desert, and he was waiting every night for any passers-by to invite them to eat at his house. This is how generous he was. Allah says, “When they came in to him, and said ‘Salaam’. He said, ‘Salaam! You are a people unknown to me.’ Then he turned to his household and brought out a roasted calf; and placed it before them, saying, ‘Will you not eat?’” Look at this story. Ibn Al Qayyim spoke about it and listed the number of points which we can obtain from the story. Firstly, that Ibraheem, Peace be upon him, had his house opened for guests, day and night. Secondly, when the guests came, it was merely a few minutes before he got to them the roasted calf, which means that this animal was already cooked and ready. He didn’t wait for the guests to come and then slaughter the animal, skin it, clean it and then cook it for 3-4 hours before giving it to the guests, it was ready beforehand.

This was the habit of the Arabs and those before them that the food was ready to be served the minute anyone came. And thirdly, when he put the food, he didn’t do what we usually do, and that is: to put the food in the middle of the room and ask people to come and eat. He took the food to where they were sitting and he asked them in a very polite manner and urged them to eat; by saying something that implies, “Please eat the food that I prepared for you!”

Feeding the food was one of the habits of the Companions of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Abu Talha and his wife Umm Sulaim, may Allah be Pleased with them, heard that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam had a guest. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam asked all his wives if they had any food and all of them said that they didn’t have anything, they had absolutely nothing. Is this imaginable? Can you imagine this: going to your house and not finding even a small slice of pizza in the fridge? The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam’s house was empty. Ayesha, may Allah be Pleased with her, used to say, “We used to see the crescent of the moon, and a second crescent, and then a third crescent, {that means 2 months} without any fire being lit in the houses of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam.”

This means that two months used to pass by without any food being cooked in their houses. So her nephew, Uwwa, asked her, “Then what did you live on for two months, what did you eat?” She said nothing, except water and dates. Imagine having just dates for breakfast, lunch and dinner! If we eat 7 dates when we break our fast, we will be like, “Khallas, I can’t eat anything more!” And imagine: this was the FOOD of the household of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Therefore, he could not host his guests. So he asked his Companions if anyone could take him and host the guest for him. Abu Talha said, “I will host him.”

Abu Talha rushed to the house and asked Umm Sulaim if she had any food. She said that she didn’t have anything but only little food for the kids. So he told her to let the kids fall asleep and deprive them from dinner and put the food for the guest. And once the guest is about to eat, turn off the lights and pretend to be eating, but don’t eat. So this is what they did, the guest ate all the food and they didn’t eat anything. The next morning, after Fajr prayer, Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam asked Abu Talha about the guest. He told him what he had done, so the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “By Allah, Allah is pleased with what you and your wife had done to your guest!” It is something to be complimented about, to feed the food.

And if you look in the expiations in Islam, you will always find feeding the food. Isn’t that right? For example: breaking your oath; if you break your oath you have to feed 10 people from what you and your family usually eat. If you are unable to fast Ramadan due to permanent illness or because of old age, then you have to feed one poor person per day. Intercourse during the daytime of fasting in Ramadan; you have to pay the expiations of freeing a slave, if not, then fasting 2 consecutive months, if not, then feeding 60 people. If you do something wrong in Ihram, if you wear your normal clothes, if you wear perfume then you have to also feed. And it goes on. Another example is: if you give widhar to your wife, if you say to her, “You are Haram to me like my mother or my sister”, for this also you have to feed. So almost all expiations are covered by feeding the food to the poor, because this is something out of which both parties benefit from {the one who is giving the food as expiation of a violation that he did, and the one receiving the food}.

In Islam, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam instructed us that when we cook, we should add more water to the gravy so as to increase the broth so that we can give some of it to the neighbors. And this is something that a lot of Muslims nowadays don’t do. We have to share our food with our neighbors, especially if they are needy, because the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said that if we go to bed with a full stomach while our neighbor is hungry, then we are not true believers. And Islam encourages throwing dinner parties; such as Walimah {inviting people to eat when you get married}. When you are blessed with a child, you call people to come and eat {Aqiqa}. But the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam gave us a warning by saying that these meals are not blessed if we invite only the rich and the dignitaries, and neglect the poor and the needy and those whom people don’t care for.

The third thing that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said {after saying about spreading Salaam and feeding the food} is, “Uphold the ties of kinship.” This is one of the greatest forms of worship, and again something that people have neglected. So, who is our kinship? They are the people relating to us from our father’s side and also from our mother’s side. So our uncles, aunts, cousins, etc are all considered to be our next of kin. And we must connect to them, relate to them, and if they are poor, we have to support them financially, and if they are ill, we have to help them and take care of them. And if they are well-off, we have to communicate with them every now and then, check up on them and stay connected with them and not let the ties of kinship break. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari tells us that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam was approached by a man, who asked the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, “Direct me to something that makes me enter Paradise.” So the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Worship Allah and don’t associate any others with Him, and pray on time, and give the Zakaat, and connect to the next of kin.” So, connecting to our next of kin is not something that is to be taken lightly. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us that Paradise will not be entered by someone who breaches the relations with his next of kin. So if you have a cousin that you don’t talk to because you are angry with him, then you will not enter Paradise.

If you had an uncle that you have not seen in 20 or 30 years, without any reason, you’re not talking to him, you’re not calling him, you’re checking on him, you will not enter Paradise. And I personally know someone who does not speak to his brother, and it has been going on for about 15 or 16 years, and they live in the same city. And the reason; one of the silliest reasons ever: “He did not invite me to a dinner party and he invited his friends.” And the feud is still going on, SubhanAllah! These people are definitely not practicing believers. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment, must connect to the next of kin” i.e. he has to keep the ties of kinship. And the closest of our kinship are our parents. Once Ibn Umar, may Allah be Pleased with him, was on his mule and he saw a nomad {a Bedouin}. So he dismounted, spoke gently to this Bedouin, and then; he took off his turban {which was expensive} and put it on the Bedouin’s head, took off his outer garment {which was also expensive} and gave it to him, and also gave his mule to the Bedouin and left. So his companions said that if he had just given the Bedouin 1 or 2 Dirhams, that would have been a great fortune for him, why give him all of that? Ibn Umar answered them by saying, “His father was a friend to Umar ibn Khattab {Umar was dead by that time}. So I wanted to do something that would please Umar.” So this was sort of keeping the ties of kinship to his father, by being kind to that son of a friend of his father. And connecting to the next of kin is not only something that pleases Allah, though this is more than enough, but it is also something that is beneficial to us. Who doesn’t want money? {Again the same question, it revolves around money!}.

 

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Whoever wants his income to be increased {wants Allah to increase his provisions} and to prolong his lifespan, he must keep the ties of kinship {he must connect to his next of kin}.” This means that if we do this, Allah will increase our provision and money and also prolong our lives by calling them, visiting them and checking upon them. And by Allah, I tried this myself and, Alhamdulillah, I did find results, Allah paid off my debts and gave me money from places that I did not even expect. I have relatives who do not call me or visit me for like past 18 years and I call them every week, checking on them, it costs a lot of money to pay the mobile bills but still. Whenever I go to their cities I try to visit them. And my kids say, “They never call, why do you call them.” I don’t call them for their sake, I call them for the sake of Allah and I find the result in this life so I am hoping, In Sha Allah, Allah is saving much more for me on The Day Of Judgment. So put this in mind and Allah Azza wa Jal would give it to you in this life and the Hereafter.

But how do I connect to the next of kin if they do not connect with me. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said when a man came to him and said, “I have relatives of mine with whom I keep the ties of kinship, they sever it and cut me off, I am kind to them and they are harsh to me, I don’t offend them and they always offend me, so what should I do?” The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Continue doing what you are doing and by Allah, Allah will appoint an angel for you, defending you.” We don’t see angels but we believe in them, they are with us every minute and every second. The more you are closer to Allah, the more they are protecting you and they are always with you.

Allah threatened and warned us by saying, “Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief, such are they whom, in the land and sever your ties of kinship?” Severing the ties of kinship is next to spreading mischief in the land. And believe me that this is fighting your arrogance when you connect with your next of kin. This is like fighting with your inner soul because each one of us have an amount of dignity that amplified by Satan. He will say, “Don’t talk to your cousin, he never calls you, he did not invite you to his daughter’s wedding, why should be kind to him, why should you let people look down at you?” and you find your loved ones saying the same things, you find those close to you trying to add more fuel to the fire and that is why you see people separating and being away from each other.

Now the last part where the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says, “Pray at night when people are sleeping.” And it goes without saying that every one of us knows the importance of night prayers. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says, “The honor of a believer is night prayer and his pride is in not looking at what people have.” So your honor, your dignity is when you stand alone in front of Allah in the middle of the night, no one is watching, no one is listening, no one knows what you are doing except Him Azza wa jall, and you pray and you recite the Qur’an, when you prostrate, you put the highest point in your body on the floor, supplicating, asking Allah for forgiveness, asking Allah for dignity. When you wake up in the morning, you feel that you are protected; you feel that you have someone who looks for you and looks after you. This is night prayer. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam used to pray almost the whole night until his feet were swollen. Imagine when your feet are swollen because of the length of your standing!! And the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam used to be asked, “Didn’t Allah forgive all of your past and coming sins.” He would say, “Yes, He did so shouldn’t I be the grateful servant of Allah.” Now do we have this reward certificate that Allah has forgiven our previous and coming sins yet we fail to pray night prayer!

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “When a believer prays night prayer and he recites 10 A’yahs, he will not be registered among those who forget and neglect Allah.” 10 A’yahs! Yani if you recite only a short Surah, such as Wadduha wal laili iza saja for example, this is enough. And whoever recites 100 A’yahs, which is equivalent to reciting Al Waqiyah and a very short Surah, then Allah will register him as the Qaniteen, the one who prolongs the prayer or the one who fear Allah most. 100 A’yah! And whoever prays night prayer with 1000 A’yahs, this is equivalent to Juz Amma and Tabarak both of them, if you recite them in night prayer Allah will register him as Al Muqantireen, those who are like pulling wagons and wagons of good deeds behind them. But what do the Muslims do? The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us {and this is to be instructed to a man and his wife} Whenever a man wakes up in the middle of the night and wakes his wife to pray 2 rakahs with him and she refuses and he takes a few drops of water and sprinkles it on her face and she wakes up and they pray 2 rakahs, the Prophet tell us that they will be registered on The Day Of Judgment as Zakireen Allah kaseeran wa Zakiraat, those who remember Allah a lot among the females and males. And if the woman does the same Allah would give her the same reward.

Night prayer is something that every practicing person would always do. If you find someone who is practicing and does not pray night prayer then there is a deficiency in him, there is something wrong! And the more you conceal this and hide it from people, the more it is sincere at the sight of Allah. When you look at Abu Bakr {may Allah be pleased with him} he is an extraordinary case. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam once prayed the Fajr and after Fajr prayer he said, “Who among you have fed a poor person?” It’s Fajr, the beginning of the day; this means that he fed someone an hour ago so Abu Bakr said “I did.” Then the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Who visited a sick person?” Abu Bakr said, “I did.” Then the Prophet asked who buried a Muslim? Abu Bakr said, “I did.” And then the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “Who is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said, “I did.” All of these 4 things when? Before Fajr! The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said these 4 things, once they are combined in person, he goes to Paradise. That’s why we know for sure that Abu Bakr {may Allah be pleased with him} is in Paradise.

We could spend a lot of time talking about the night prayer: about Taraweeh, Tahhajud {the difference between these you all know} but it is important that we practice what we know and that we remind each other of the things that we know but seem to have forgotten or neglected so that In Sha Allah it would help us to be among those who enter Paradise in peace.

 

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