Archive for the ‘Forty Hadith Imam an-Nawawi’ Category

Truly Allah is Pure

January 8, 2011

This is the 10th hadith in Imam an-Nawawi’s collection (read here). This hadith discusses a number of topics, including the issue of purity, halal and. haram. There are a many benefits that can be derived from this hadith.


‘Truly Allah is pure’

The meaning of the word ‘tayyib‘ (طيب) is something that is pure, clean, good and wholesome.

One of the Names of Allah is at-Tayyib meaning the One far removed from every imperfection and deficiency or weaknesses.


‘And accepts only that which is pure’

This refers to all good deeds. Allah does not accept any deeds that are not in accordance with the sunnah, or deeds that are spoilt in anyway. For example, when you pray you must ensure that you have khushu’, are not praying to show off etc.


‘Allah has commanded the believers to do that which He has commanded the Messengers’

Every time Allah addresses the Messengers, then we automatically assume that all Muslims are being addressed. This is because they were sent to pass on the message of Islam, and as an example to be followed.


‘Eat from the tayyibat (good, pure things)’

Why is there mention of food? This is because food is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone can imagine in their minds what is and isn’t tayyib with regards to food.

This is a very important principle Allah is teaching us. Speak to the people in terms they can understand!


‘Then he (the Prophet) mentioned a man’

The Prophet then gives us a perfect example to illustrate the point being made.

Everything in the description of the man suggests that when he calls upon Allah his dua will be answered:

  • He is travelling
  • He is weak, poor and tired
  • He raises his hands in the air
  • He calls upon Allah with fervour

However to our shock his dua is rejected. Why? Because his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothing is unlawful.

This shows the importance of mu’amalat in Islam, because they affect our Ibadah. This affects our communities is so many ways. E.g. we deal with riba and then give in charity. We have haram jobs (e.g. owning off licences, restaurants with bars etc.) not realising that all money earned from such jobs is haram.



  • Allah is Pure and loves that which is pure – Make sure all your actions are pure and clean and free from any impurity or deviation.
  • Eat from the tayyibat – Be aware of what you eat. You can eat halal food that’s not necessarily tayyib.
  • Mu’amalat matter – Remember not disobey Allah in your mu’amalat. Your everyday dealings and actions have a direct result on your ibadah


January 5, 2011

The 21st hadith in Imam an-Nawawi’s collection (read here) deals with the subject of istiqamah (steadfastness). This is a very important topic especially when we consider the many tests and trials that we as an ummah are currently facing. It is of utmost importance that we not only understand the concept of istiqamah, but we strive to attain it.

Say ‘I Believe in Allah’

This is not just a single statement, rather it encompasses Islam as a whole. Belief in Allah is not just belief in the heart, but it is also words and actions. The Prophet also shows us that istiqamah comes only after we start to practice our faith.

What is Istiqamah?

The word istiqamah (from the root qaama) means to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is from the same root that the word mustaqeem is derived (i.e. sirat al-mustaqeem – the straight path). It can be translated as ‘steadfastness’.

Allah says:

فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَن تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا ۚ إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

So stand you (O Muhammad) firm and straight as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you, and transgress not. Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do. [Surat Hud, 12:112]

Ibn Abbas said that no other verse from the entire Qur’an was revealed upon the Messenger that was harder upon him than this verse. It was due to this verse that the Prophet said : “Surat Hud and its companions have made my hair white” Why was this? Because istiqamah is very difficult to attain. The scholars said that istiqamah is the hardest thing to hold on to.

The Companions on the Meaning of Istiqamah

Abu Bakr when asked about the meaning of istiqamah, replied: That you do not associate partners with Allah.

Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “It is that you should be steadfast on the matters that are obligated , and to abandon the prohibitions.”

Uthman ibn Affan said: “ To have ikhlas (sincerity) to Allah only in doing actions .”

Ibn Abbas said: “It means to fulfill your duties to Allah.”

How to Remain Steadfast

  • Keep  the company of good people. (Man is on the deen of his friends)
  • Keep connected to the Qur’an, through its recital, study and implementation.
  • Reflect and question yourself daily. E.g. are you headed the right way? Are your intentions sincere?
  • Learn to take advice from others.

May Allah grant us all steadfastness and firmness upon the deen.

The Muslim Seeks to Obey

December 21, 2010

This is the ninth hadith (read here) of Imam an-Nawawi’s collection. There are many lessons and points of benefit from this hadith. From warning us of excessive questions, to giving us an insight into the flexibility of the shar’iah (Islamic law).


The Prophet was giving a sermon in which he told the people that Hajj had been made obligatory upon them. A man then asked if it was obligatory every year to which the Prophet remained silent. The man repeated his question three times, then the Prophet rebuked him saying:

“If I had said ‘yes’ then it would have become obligatory upon you [i.e. every year], and you would not have been able to do so. [Muslim]


1. “That which I have prohibited, avoid.” ­ Here the Prophet is focussing on the avoidance of haram before the command to do good deeds. One of the salaf said: Both the righteous and evil do good deeds, but only the righteous refrain from sins.

2. The command to avoid the haram is a general statement. The Muslim must stay away from all that the Prophet forbade, except in the case of necessity. For example we are permitted to eat haram food if we are starving.

3. “That which I have ordered you to do, do as much as you can.” – This is referring to the obligations in Islam. However, the command to do is bound by the clause, ‘as much as you can’. So we see that the Muslim carries our their obligations according to their abillity. For example hajj is only obligatory if you have the means to perform it, and although wudhu is a condition of salah, if you have no water, you can do tayyammum etc.

4.“Those before you were destroyed because of their excessive questioning.” – This is referring to Bani Isra’eel when they were commanded to sacrifice a cow. Instead of just following the command they kept on asking questions about what age, colour it should be and so it became difficult for them.

Action Points

  • Too many times we concentrate on doing the good rather than staying away from the bad. Remember than sins affect our ability to do good, therefore try to stay away from all haram and then do the good.
  • Avoid asking too many questions. Learn the etiquettes of seeking knowledge and try to implement that which you have learnt, before moving on.

He Came to Teach You Your Religion

December 10, 2010

This is the second hadith of Imam an-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, commonly reffered to as the Hadith of Jibreel. It is of such importance that some of the scholars named it Umm as-Sunnah (Mother of the Sunnah) and have wrote volumes about it! The entire deen is taught in this one hadith!

Hype It Up!

This hadith shows a principle used by Allah that we know of as ‘marketing’ (or ‘hype’). When Jibreel came to the Prophet, everything about him made sure that the Sahabah would remember him (and hence remember the lessons that he came with) – from the way he dressed, walked and even the way that he spoke! So we learn that hype in Islam is allowed, as long as that hype is followed up with something of substance.


Islam does not mean peace, as we so commonly hear these days. In fact Islam means submission to Allah, and it is through submitting to Allah we can achieve peace.

When Islam is mentioned on it’s own, it is a comprehensive term that means Islam (the pillars of the religion), Iman (the branches of faith) and Ihsan (excellence) and all matters relating to the submission of Allah.

When we speak about Islam in relation to Iman and Ihsan, it refers to the pillars of the religion, i.e. testament of faith (shahada), the prayer (salah), the alms tax (zakah), fasting in the month of ramadhan and pilgrimage to the House of Allah (hajj).


Iman (faith) is not just a belief in the heart, it comprises of three aspects

  1. Affirmation of the heart
  2. Proclamation of the tongue
  3. Actions of the limbs.


Iman has six pillars:

  1. Belief in Allah
  2. Belief in His Angels
  3. Belief in His Books
  4. Belief in His Messengers
  5. Belief in the Last Day
  6. Belief in Qadr


It is that you worship Allah as though you can see Him, and even though you cannot see Him yet (you know) He sees you.”

Meaning that you have developed such an awareness of Allah that it is as though you see Him and so everything you do is with Ihsan (excellence).


Signs of the Last Day

Allah has not informed us of when the Last Day shall be, but He did tell us about it’s signs so that we can prepare. The signs that we are told of in this hadith are:

  • The slave girls giving birth to her master – this could either refer to a change in the status quo (i.e those in power will lose it and those powerless will take charge) or it could refer to the parent – child relationship and a role reversal in that sense. (something that is very common in our time)
  • Destitute shepherds competing with each other in constructing grand buildings – i.e referring to the Bedouins. This is something that the Sahabah could not have imagined, yet they believed and with that belief they changed nations! Compare that to ourselves – this part of the hadith has been actualised in our lifetime, yet we take no warning.


Action Points

  • Try to worship Allah at the level Ihsan – as though you see Him (subhana wa ta’ala). Everything that we do should be done with excellence.
  • Seek knowledge – learn about the pillars of Islam and Iman, but it’s not just a matter of increasing in knowledge but actualising it. Living Islam, so that like the Sahabah before us, we too can change nations!
  • Reflect on the signs of the Last Day.

The Power of Intentions

December 6, 2010

Over the next few weeks I will be posting short reflections on the Forty Hadith of Imam an-Nawawi, based on the AlMaghrib seminar Sacred Scrolls. I would advise that people read the actual hadith beforehand.

The first hadith, Actions are Judged by Intentions (which can be read here) is a well known hadith that many people have heard of. Imam ash-Shafi’i when commenting on this hadith said: “This hadith is one third of the knowledge of Islam”. If we reflect upon this hadith, we can truly appreciate why this is so.

The Power of Intentions

All actions, for them to be accepted (and so rewarded) are bound by two conditions:

  1. They are done sincerely for the sake of Allah
  2. They are done according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلّم)

If we do not master our intentions we are at risk of having our deeds rejected. As mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلّم), that the first people to enter the fire will be the martyr who died in battle, the alim who taught others and the rich man who gave in charity. However their actions were not sincere for the sake of Allah and so rejected. [Muslim]

Once we understand the power of intentions, we realise that we can earn reward in so many ways. The scholars would train their students to visualise their intentions so that they may be rewarded for even the most basic of actions. For example, if you sleep with the intention of regaining strength so that you may wake up and serve Allah, you have turned sleeping into an act of worship!

For you to have good intentions you need to have knowledge, therefore this hadith is indirectly telling us to seek knowledge.

Maintaining good intentions is one of the hardest aspects of worship. We see this if we compare our actions done in the public sphere to those done privately. Are our prayers done in private better than those done in public? If not then we need to re-check our intentions. The greatest of scholars struggled with regard to their intentions. For example Sufyan ath-Thawri said: “I spend my entire life trying to purify my intentions, but I failed.”

Action Points

  • Before you do any action, make sure that it is sincerely for the sake of Allah and in accordance with the Sunnah.
  • Make a good intention for everything! Eating, sleeping, walking (you get the point).
  • Try to make actions done privately better than those done publicly.