The Strong Believer Is Better Than The Weak Believer

Poster-TheStrongBelievercompressed

Rasulallah ﷺ said:

الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ

“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah
than the weak believer, although both are good…”
[Sahih Muslim]

When I first read this hadith, I thought that the physically stronger believers are better than the physically weak believers because they could help the Deen more, and achieve more. I’m physically not as strong as the average person, so I actually felt bummed about it. But alhamdulillah, when revisiting this hadith, the ustadh pointed out that Rasulallah ﷺ said “The strong MU’MIN is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak mu’min.” Meaning, the believer with a stronger iman is better and more beloved to Allah than the believer with a weaker iman. This is something that we can all strive regardless of our physical condition, insya Allah. Nonetheless it is praiseworthy to gain strength and vitality in order to worship Allah SWT for a longer period of life.

How can we have a strong iman? Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches,
the uppermost of which is the declaration: لا إله إلا الله
(None has the right to be worshipped but Allah);
and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road,
and modesty is a branch of Iman.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]

Iman increases when we obey Allah SWT, His commandments and prohibitions; and it decreases when one disobeys Him, when we sin. The more branches of iman that a person commits in his heart, on his tongue, and in his actions, the stronger his iman becomes. So for example, a believer who fulfills all fard (wajib) commandments of Allah SWT, and on top of that has haya’ as the hadith states, has a stronger iman than another believer who also fulfills all fard commandments but lack in modesty. How much iman increases and decreases are dependant on our good deeds as well as our knowledge of the Deen.

It is amazing that Rasulallah ﷺ said, “The stronger mu’min is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak mu’min, although BOTH are good.” Whether we have strong iman, or weak iman, have hope and have good thoughts of Allah SWT for there is still khayr in us. Subhanallah, such is the mercy of Allah towards the believers. And just as important – have good thoughts of your fellow Muslims too! It’s really disheartening to see people claiming to love the Sunnah, but bicker and belittle among each other, especially on non-principal matters in the Deen. We need to constantly remind ourselves to instil the fear of Allah SWT – because while we may think we’re a ‘better’ mu’min than others, we can actually be small in the Sight of Allah due to our ego and bad character towards others.

At the same time, the hadith also teaches us that not all mu’min are equally the same in their good deeds and in istiqamah, therefore not all mu’min are equally loved by Allah SWT. So it teaches us that in order to become a more beloved slave to Allah, we need to exert ourselves to become a stronger mu’min. This is as Allah SWT says:

“And for all, there will be degrees according to that which they did…”
[Surah Al-Ahqaaf 46:19]

In another surah, Allah SWT says:

“Then We gave the Book (the Qur’an) as inheritance
to such of Our slaves whom We chose.
Then of them are some who wrong their selves,
and of them are some who follow a middle course,
and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds.
That, that is indeed a great grace.”
[Surah Fatir 35:32]

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas commented: “This (ayah) refers to the Ummah of Muhammad (ﷺ). Allah caused it to inherit every Book that He had revealed; those who wrong themselves will be forgiven, those who follow a middle course will have an easy accounting, and those who are foremost in good deeds will enter Paradise without being brought to account.”

Based on this ayah, scholars say that the ummah of Rasulallah ﷺ are divided into three:

ظَـلِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ
The first group of believers who wrong themselves. They do not do shirk, but they are careless in doing some fard (wajib) actions, and also commit some haram (forbidden) actions.

مُّقْتَصِدٌ
The second group of believers who follow a middle course. They fulfill all fard actions and avoid things that are haram, but they do not go further than that, meaning they may neglect some supererogatory good deeds (extra deeds beyond fard), and do some things which are makrooh (disliked).

سَابِقٌ بِالْخَيْرَتِ بِإِذُنِ اللَّهِ
The third group of believers are those who, by Allah’s leave, foremost in good deeds. They rush to do all types of khayr. They fulfill all fard obligations AND supererogatory good deeds. They also avoid all things that are haram AND makrooh. This is as the hadith Qudsi where Allah SWT says:

“…And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me,
is what I have enjoined upon him [i.e. fard obligations];
and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil
(doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) until I love him…”
[Sahih Bukhari]

On top of that, the third group ALSO leaves all doubtful matters (syubhat). This is as Rasulallah ﷺ said:

“Both legal and illegal things are obvious,
and in between them are doubtful matters.
So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin,
will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal;
and whoever indulges in these doubtful things bravely,
is likely to commit what is clearly illegal…”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Subhanallah indeed, the believer who falls in the third group is the stronger mu’min compared to the other two groups!

Now ask ourselves, which group am I in right now, and which group do I aim to be? Am I happy with my current state, or can I actually do better? The wise believer will consistently exert in improving himself. This is as Allah SWT says:

“…But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else)…”
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:165]

May Allah SWT instil the love of iman inside us and help us exert to become a stronger mu’min. May we be amongst the third group who are believers that are more beloved to Him – Allahumma ameen.

____________
References:
Ke Arah Memahami Al-Qur’an dan Al-Hadis, by Ustadh Dr Abdullah Yasin
Tafsir Ibn Kathir

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[Madaarij us-Saalikeen] The Station of Firasah

Have you heard the term [firasah]? In the Malaysian local dialect, it’s known to mean intuition.

Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that [firasah] is a sense of insight / perception / visual acumen. It’s the ability to distinguish between truth and falsehood via one’s eye, ear and heart. And this firasah is a light which Allah s.w.t. deposits in the heart of His slave, enabling him to distinguish between right and wrong.

Firasah allows a believer to know more about a speaker’s hidden intention from the speaker’s speech and tone of voice than from physical appearance. In general, the sahabah had the most accurate and sharpest firasah. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq r.a. is considered to be the one with the greatest firasah in the ummah, and Umar Al-Khattab r.a. was the second.

Ibn Mas’ud r.a. said:

“There are three people with the sharpest firasah.

  1. The Egyptian who bought Yusuf a.s. and then said to his wife: ‘Make his stay comfortable, maybe he will profit for us or we shall adopt him as a son.’ [Q12:21].
  2. The other was the daughter of Shuaib, who said to her father with regards to Musa a.s.: ‘Hire him!’ [Q28:26]
  3. And Abu Bakr r.a., for he appointed Umar r.a. as his successor.”
  4. Another narration includes the wife of Fir’aun who said about Musa a.s.: ‘A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.’ [Q28:9]

Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that the strength of firasah is dependent on the strength of faith. A person with stronger faith has sharper firasah. Amr bin Nujaid said that Shah al-Kermani had sharp firasah and was never wrong. He also used to say that whoever does the following, then his firasah will never go wrong (insya Allah):

1. Lowers his gaze away from prohibitions,
2. Restrains himself from vain desires,
3. Constructs his interior according to muraqabah (knowledge that Allah is watching over us),
4. Constructs his exterior according to the Sunnah,
5. And accustoms himself to eat only halal.

Firasah is also connected with one’s sharp intellect. Ibn Al-Qayyim rahimahullah wrote that there are two factors in firasah. (1) One is the quality of one’s mind, the sharpness of the heart and the intelligence. (2) The second is the appearance of the signs and indications on others. When both factors are present, then one’s firasah may not be wrong.

And Allah s.w.t. knows best.
___________
Reference:
Madaarij us-Saalikeen, by Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah

Transgressing the Limits of Allah When Alone

Be not those who curse Iblis in public, but obey him in private.

Thawban reported that Rasulallah sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam said:
“I certainly know people from my nation
who will come on the Day of Resurrection with good deeds like the mountains,
but Allah will scatter them like dust.”

Thawban said:
“O Messenger of Allah,
describe them to us and tell us more, so that we will not become like them.”

The Prophet said:
“They are your brothers and from your race, taking up worship at night as you do,
but they will be people who will transgress the sacred limits of Allah
while they are alone.

_____________
Sunan Ibn Majah

Guarding One’s Eyes

Whoever allows his eyes to roam freely carries his soul to the places of destruction.

Ibn al-Qayyim rahimahullah
[The Sickness and the Cure, p.15]

Sheikh Omar Suleiman once wrote (paraphrased):

“Nudity and sexual activity creeping into parts of mainstream cable/satellite networks DOES NOT make it any less haram. Just because it isn’t called pornography, doesn’t mean it’s not. Be careful not to fool yourself because you won’t be able to stand before Allah s.w.t. on the DoJ and say: ‘But it’s on Astro! / Everybody watches it anyway!’ Know that you will be held accountable.

Pornography, even in its unrecognized forms, is destroying us as individuals, families, and communities. If you’re struggling privately, then seek forgiveness from Him and keep fighting it – but don’t unashamedly make reference to these shows publicly, thereby continuing to normalize what can never be deemed acceptable.”

When we see something shameful but don’t find it a problem anymore, then that’s an indication of a very deep spiritual problem – one that will jeopardize your Iman. You won’t be able to concentrate in your prayers, you won’t be able to cry when you ask Allah. Those things will disappear. The more we become desensitize to these things, the more spiritually bankrupt we will become.

So the term “lower your gaze” applies not just in real life, but on FB and other social media platforms, as well as what we watch on the screen. If we truly care the state of our heart, then GUARD our eyes. This is applicable for both men and women.

❝Allah has ordered us to lower the gaze because it is the path to a pure heart.❞

Ibn Jawzi (rahimahullah)
[تلبيس إبليس صحفة ٣٨٦]

[Al-Ahzab 33:33] Tabarruj

“…and do not display yourselves [tabarruj] like that of the times of ignorance…”
[Al-Ahzab 33:33]

This is one of the good manners which Allah s.w.t. enjoined upon the wives of Rasulallah s.a.w. as an example for the women of the ummah to follow.

Of tabarruj, Mujahid said: “Women used to go out walking in front of men, and this was the Tabarruj of Jahiliyyah.”

Qatadah said: “When they go out of their homes walking in a shameless and flirtatious manner, and Allah, may He be exalted, forbade that.”

Muqatil bin Hayyan said: “Tabarruj is when a woman puts a khimar (head covering) on her head but does not tie it properly.” So her necklaces, earrings and neck, and all of that can be seen. This is Tabarruj, and Allah addresses all women of the believers with regard to the prohibition of Tabarruj.

___________
Reference:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir

Race To Good Deeds

Some golden advice by Sheikh Abdul Muhsin Al-Qasim, Imam of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, during the Twins of Faith 2015 in Malaysia:

1. Rasulallah s.a.w. said if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels. [Bukhari & Muslim] “Better for you than red camels” is an allegory for everything that is better than anything else! So keep on spreading the truth, and do good deeds because others may follow suit.

2. For women who want to maximize their efforts to attain Jannah: Be consistent with your 5 daily prayers, fast in Ramadhan, guard your chastity and obey your husband as long as it does not go against the Deen, for you will then may enter Jannah by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish. [Ahmad] How easy it is that Allah has made for the women, as long as these acts are done consistently and sincerely for Allah.

3. Miniscule “unworthy” good deeds, even if it’s the size of half an atom, is still countable. Remember the hadith about the prostitute who was forgiven for her sins because she fed water to a dying dog [Muslim] So this gives us hope even though we have sinned so much, even though people have bad thoughts about you, have hope in Allah and keep on continuing doing good deeds.

In a nutshell: Never, ever look down any of our good deeds, not even those mundane domestic work, because anything good we do to please Allah and in line with the Sunnah, they are our means to attain Jannah, insya Allah.

…Then strive together (as in a race) toward all that is good.
[Al-Baqarah 2:148]

Lifelong Iman Rush – Tip #5 Do Not Restrict Iman To “How I Feel”

In life, we experience something amazing that makes us feel compelled to come closer to Allah, where we feel a sense of iman-rush. But after a while, dunya gets to us and our reality check makes us feel that we cannot be spiritual consistently. Here’s a tip on how to remain consistently on the path towards the pleasure of Allah. 

To read the series in chronological order, please click the links below:
Pg 1 | Pg 2 | Pg 3| Pg 4 | Pg 5 | Pg 6 | Pg 7 | Pg 8 | Pg 9 | Pg 10
Pg 11 | Pg 12 | Pg 13| Pg 14

———-🌸———-

“I don’t feel any iman-rush right now.”

Stop that train of thought. This DOES NOT necessarily mean that your iman has crashed because it’s impossible for us to constantly feel iman-high. Hanzalah Al-Usayyidi r.a. said to Abu Bakr r.a. one day: “Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.” He said this because whenever they were in the company of Rasulallah s.a.w., they would remember the Hellfire and Jannah as if they could see them. But when they were away from Rasulallah s.a.w., and attending to family and business, most of these things slipped out of their minds. Abu Bakr r.a. said, “By Allah, I also experience the same thing.” So they went to see Rasulallah s.a.w. Thereupon, he s.a.w. said:

“By Him in Whose Hand is my life,
if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence
and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah),
the angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your roads;
but Hanzalah,
time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs)
and time should be devoted (to prayer)
.”
He s.a.w. said this thrice.

[Sahih Muslim]

Iman is not restricted to a ‘feeling’ but it also includes action and this is what we often fail to realize. Rasulallah s.a.w. said:

“Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches –
the uppermost of which is the declaration:
‘None has the right to be worshiped but Allah’;
and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road,
and modesty is a branch of Iman.”

[Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim]

We are taught in this hadith that the highest branch of iman is the shahadah (Tawhid) and the lowest is removing something harmful from the road – yes, this action IS part of iman! Why? Because all of the other branches of iman stem from the Tawhid / shahadah branch – meaning that without Tawhid, all other branches are meaningless. So even the lowest branch, i.e. the removal of something harmful from a road, is an expression of Tawhid because this person removes a harmful item with the conviction that Allah s.w.t. is watching him. Even though no one else sees him, or praises him, or people may even think that it as a trivial act that is not worth mentioning, he does it to gain the sole pleasure of Allah s.w.t.

That is why, Rasulallah s.a.w. said that he saw a man strolling in Jannah because he removed something harmful from the road. [Sahih Muslim] Think about it: What got him Jannah was that “trivial” action that he did out of sincerity for Allah.

Rasulallah s.a.w. said there are over 60 branches, but only 3 branches were mentioned in the hadith: the highest branch, the lowest branch, and then there’s modesty / al-haya’. This indicates that haya’ is a critical branch of iman.

Modesty / haya’ is not just about shame or women’s hijab. But to have haya’ means to have shyness in disobeying Allah, because we know that He sees everything that we do, and we are grateful for everything that He gives. Al-Haya’ comes from the same root as “Hayat” which means life. It implies that if we don’t have haya’, then it means we’re spiritually dead. If a person has no feeling of shame or modesty, then there is nothing to prevent him from doing almost anything.

“If you feel no shame, then do as you wish.”
[Sahih Bukhari]

Scholars also mentioned that actions such as the abandonment of riya’; jealousy; anger; or learning / teaching religious knowledge; refraining from evil talk; covering the awrah; showing generosity; entertaining a guest; show kindness to parents; raising children; or even saying ‘yarhamuk Allah’ when someone sneezes – ALL of these are examples of iman. So you see, iman is not restricted to just a feeling inside!

Therefore, don’t fall into the delusion of “feeling” low-iman. If you feel that way, just push yourself back up by doing good deeds for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah s.w.t.