Last year, I shared a short compilation of Prophetic narrations that were unheard of in our English-speaking circles.
Alhamdulillah (praise belongs to God), a few of our readers asked that I continue sharing these narrations. I’ve compiled here, for the second time, a few narrations that resonated with me. The purpose of this compilation is to inspire you – as they have inspired me – to continue learning from the life, tradition and sayings of the one God has chosen as the best role model ﷺ (peace be upon him).
Before sharing them, I feel that it is necessary to add a disclaimer. While reading Prophetic traditions is one of the ways we can learn about our Messenger ﷺ and grow in love for him, it is important that we do not limit learning about him to only reading ahadith (Prophet’s teachings). We should not reduce hadith to “enlightening quotes” we read that give us a tingly-feeling and then forget. In addition to these readings, we should be actively learning about his life (sirah) as well as the context and meanings of these narrations.
Sirah has unfortunately become a kind of textbook science – we learn dates and events but forget to think about the actual human experience. He is the final and esteemed Messenger of God, but we forget that we can relate to him ﷺ. Do we talk about how the Prophet ﷺ was a single father after his beloved wife Khadija radi Allahu `anha (may Allah be pleased with her) died? Do we think of how the strong backlash against the Prophet ﷺ in the early days of the message affected his young daughters? Do we know how strong a relationship he ﷺ had with his uncle, Abu Talib, and how his death hurt him so? How much of the Qur’an was sent down to console the Prophet ﷺ during times of sadness and grief? He is the Messenger of Allah, but first and foremost, he is a human with human emotions and experiences. While the early people of Quraysh used the fact that he was a “simple human” as an excuse to not believe in the message, we see this as a blessing of Allah and a sign of the Prophet’s ﷺ humanity as well as a reminder that ultimate perfection belongs to Allah Alone.
There are so many narrations about so many topics related from the Prophet ﷺ. For this reason we read narrations which at first glace seem contradictory, such as the many examples we find of what constitutes “the best charity”. These narrations are not contradictory, rather they point to the many routes to good that one can take based on one’s situation, ability, intention and even personality. The main lesson we take away is that our religion teaches us not only spiritual purification, but also purification of our relationships, means of livelihood, communal obligations, and manners of speaking and actions. Islam would not be Islam if it taught us to only focus on our hearts while other aspects of our lives are corrupted1 .
- Rabe’ah b. Kab, a poor companion, used to prepare water for the Prophet’s ﷺ wudu (cleansing before prayer) and would spend the night praying with him in the masjid. One night, the Messenger ﷺ said to him, “Ask me for anything.” Rabe’ah immediately responded, “I want to be with you in Paradise.” The Prophet ﷺ asked him, “is there anything else you would like?” He said, “That is all.” Then the Prophet ﷺ told him, “Then help me to fulfill your wish by prostrating often.” (Muslim)
- No one has three daughters or three sisters and is good to them but that he will enter Paradise. (ibn Abi Shaibah)
- Keep from harming and treating others poorly. That is a charity which you bestow on yourself. (Bukhari)
- Helping someone with family or small children (is among the best actions). (Bukhari)
- Shall I not tell you of an action that is a degree better than prayer, fasting and charity? To put things right between each other. Discord and hatred wears away one’s religion. (Abu Dawud)
- The believer is genuine and generous while the corrupt is a gossip and miserly. (Bayhaqi)
- The best charity is given by the one with little to give and be charitable first to those you are responsible for. (Hakim)
- Forgive and overlook the slipups of good people. (Abu Dawud)
- Anas (ra) said, “Rain fell on us while we were with the Prophet ﷺ. He ﷺ then removed part of his garment so that the rain could fall on him.” When we asked him why he did that, he ﷺ responded, “Because it has just arrived from its Lord.” (Adab Mufrad)
- Whatever you say in celebration of Allah’s Glory (saying subhan’Allah), and Oneness (saying La ilaha il Allah), and all your words of Praise for Him (saying Alhamdulillah) orbit and surround the Throne of Allah. These words resound like the buzzing of bees, and call attention to the person who uttered them. Don’t you wish to be mentioned in the presence of The Abundantly Merciful? (Ahmad)
- The best charity is given while you are healthy, desirous (of that money), hoping for wealth but fearing poverty. Don’t delay it until your death bed saying, “this is for so-and-so” and “this is for so-and-so.” While it was already written for so-and-so.2 (Abu Dawud)
- The Prophet ﷺ was riding with Mu’adh (ra) and he said to him, “Mu`adh, by Allah, I love you for the sake of Allah, therefore I advise you never to forget to say after every prayer: “Allahumma a`inni `ala dhikrika wa shukrika, wa husni `ibadatika,’ (O Allah, help me remember You, express gratitude to You and worship You in the best manner)”. (Abu Dawud)
- Allah does not accept the supplication from an inattentive, heedless heart. (Tirmidhi)
- Watch out for greed because the people before you perished from it. Greed led them to be miserly so they became misers. Greed led them to break the ties (of kinship) so they broke it. Greed led them to sins so they committed sins.” (Abu Dawud)
- The most enviable of my friends is a believer with little property who finds pleasure in prayer, who performs the worship of his Lord well, who obeys Him in secret, who is obscure among men, who is not pointed out by people, and who is content with his provision. (Tirmidhi)
- Be prompt in doing good deeds. (Muslim)
- A Muslim does not experience fatigue, tiredness, anxiety, sorrow, injury or grief or even a thorn which pricks him without Allah expiating his errors for him. (Adab Mufrad)
- Parents will be rewarded for what they spend on their children. (Bukhari)
- The son of Adam’s food is like the example of this worldly life – even if he puts spices and season into it, see what it becomes. (ibn Hibban)
- The Prophet ﷺ said, Allah says, son of Adam! Devote yourself to My worship and I will fill your heart with contentment and remove your poverty. (Ibn Mâjah)
- Repeat after the adhan (call to prayer) when you hear it and when you finish, ask and you will be given. (Abu Dawud)
- The heart (qalb) was given that name because of its inconstancy. The similitude of heart is like that of a feather which wind blows here and there. (Ahmad)
- The luckiest person who will have my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who said, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ sincerely from the bottom of his heart. (Bukhari)
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