Adab of the Sunnah: The Fiqh of Islamic Behavior and Character

By Shaikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

1. It is of the sunnah to be afraid for one’s past, one’s state at death, for calamities, and for treachery and disgrace. It is of the sunnah to be patient and steadfast in worship, in blessings, in tribulations, and in divine punishments in one’s body, reputation, family, or money. It is of the sunnah to have firm patience in avoiding sins, and to make up for one’s past misdeeds.

2. It is of the sunnah to intend worship and obedience to Allah by one’s intention, deeds, words, and one’s every movement and rest; and to be indifferent to this world and desirous of the next, and to reflect carefully upon how one is now, and shall be then, and upon one’s being mustered on the Last Day, being raised from the dead, and questioned. It is sunnah to hope that one’s obedience will be accepted, as well as one’s repentance from disobedience, and to be satisfied with what one has, and be contented with what is generally considered enough for a person, without extravagance and without penury.

3. It is obligatory to be contented with what Allah Most High has destined when it is of His acts, such as illness, disease, poverty, malady, loss of intellect, and so forth; though some say it is but the sunnah to be contented with such things, and that what is obligatory is that one have patience with them. As for acts of human beings that Allah has forbidden, such as unbelief and misguidance, contentment with them is unlawful by consensus (ijma‘) of all scholars, for contentment with unbelief and acts of disobedience is itself unbelief and disobedience.

4. It is permissible to weep for the dead provided one does not commit unlawful things such as calling out to the deceased in lamentation as if he were alive and enumerating his great qualities, or wailing, or bitterness a what Allah has destined and necessarily appointed, or despair which contravenes one’s servitude and submission to Him. It is praiseworthy to weep for the deceased out of mercy for him, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said of weeping when he wept for the dead, “This is a mercy Allah has placed in the hearts of His servants”—for it does not negate being content with Allah’s destiny—as opposed to weeping over him because of one’s own loss at no longer having him, which is unpraiseworthy. Al-Fudayl, when his son died, laughed. He said, “I saw that Allah had destined it, and I wished to be pleased with what Allah had destined.” And this is a good state in relation to those who despair. As for mercy towards the deceased, satisfaction with destiny, and praising Allah, which was the state of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), it is more perfect.

5. Patience with one’s personal trials is obligatory by consensus of all the intelligent. As for acceptance of them, it is spiritually higher and closer to Allah to have contentment with them, though not obligatory. Even higher than contentment is to give thanks to Allah for them because of the divine blessing in them, in view of the reward and spiritual ascent in them if one has patience with them. It is unlawful for someone in disobedience to accept his remoteness from Allah. And it is not obligatory for someone being punished by Allah to have contentment with it.

The End of Times: Isolating Oneself, Sticking to the Majority, and Protection from the Dajjal

Question: What is the meaning of the following hadiths:

“There will come a time when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take to the tops of mountains and the places of rainfall so as to flee with his religion from the afflictions”

Hudhayfah – radiallâhu ’anhu – said:

The people used to ask the Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam about the good, but I used to ask him about the evil from fear that it would overtake me, so I said: O Messenger of Allâh! We used to be in jâhiliyyah (ignorance) and evil, then Allâh brought this good to us, so is there any evil after this good? He said: “Yes.” I said: And is there any good after that evil? He said: “Yes, but it will be tainted.” I asked: What will taint it? He said: “A people guiding others with other than my Sunnah, you will approve of some (of their actions) and disapprove of others.” I asked: Then is there any evil after that good? He said: “Yes! Callers to the Gates of Hell-Fire, whoever responds to them in that will be thrown into it.” I said: O Messenger of Allâh! Describe them to us. He said: “They will be from our own people and speak our language.” I said: What do you order me to do if that should happen in my own lifetime? He said: “Stick to the Jamâ’ah (united body) of the Muslims and their Imâm.” I said: What if they do not have a united-body nor an Imâm? He said: “Then keep away from all those sects even if you have to bite upon the root of a tree, until death overtakes you and you are in that state.”

Do these hadiths refer to the end of times during the trial of Dajjal? Does this mean that during the trials of Dajjal the believers MUST withdraw from society and move to rural areas? What is expected of the believers during those upcoming trials .

 

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

Both hadiths you mention are found in Sahih Bukhari.

Isolation versus Community

Regarding the first hadith, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (rah) mentions that it would seem to refer to the end of time, and that it indicates the merit of isolation in times of tribulation.

However, he also states that, in general, the preference of isolation versus remaining within the community is situation specific: there are some scenarios when isolation is preferred, such as in difficult times so as to protect one’s religious practice; and there are other situations when remaining within the community is better, so as to fulfill communal obligations and rights. [Fath al-Bari]

However, we do not know if this tribulation is specifically at the time of Dajjal’s emergence or beforehand.

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Adhering to the Way of the Majority

Regarding the second hadith, Ibn Hajar (rah) mentions the general ruling that if there are many factions among the Muslims, then as per this hadith, one should avoid the disputation and stick to the majority, as well as adhere to the Noble Sunnah. Some defined the “majority” as the Sahaba, and others defined them as the religious scholars in every age, since neither of these two groups will agree on misguidance. [Fath al-Bari]

Badr al-Din al-Ayni also mentions that the “majority” could either be the Sahaba or the community of scholars in any time period. He adds that the basis of interpreting the majority as the community of scholars is that they are the ones whom Allah has made a proof (hujja) against the evil among creation, and to them do the general laity turn when there is tribulation in their religious practice, such as heretical sects, reprehensible innovations, and the like.

With respect to the first “time of evil” mentioned in the hadith, some commentators said it refers to the time of fitna when our Master Uthman (Allah be well pleased with him) was killed. The subsequent “time of good” then would be the caliphate of our Master Ali (Allah ennoble his face), and the “tainted” aspect of that time would refer to the Khawarij and similar groups that caused tribulation. [Umdat al-Qari]

What is the Way of the Mainstream?

Another key hadith, also found in Sahih Bukhari, helps us understand the way of the mainstream.

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “There will remain a group from my nation manifest [on truth and upholding the Sacred Law], until the matter of Allah comes [the Day of Judgment], while they are manifest.”

And in the next narration in Bukhari, there is the additional phrase “Anyone who betrays or opposes them will not harm them.”

Traditionally, this manifest group was understood to be the righteous scholars of The People of the Sunnah and Majority (Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama’a), the methodology of which is to adhere to one of the four schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali), as well as one of the two schools of theology (Ash’ari and Maturidi).

Yet along with such legal and theological diversity comes an appreciation and respect of valid difference of opinion, which is key in avoiding internal discord. Sunni orthodoxy is predicated upon unity and respect, not necessarily uniformity; this is essential to the strength of its methodology.

For detailed explanations of Sunni Orthodoxy, please see the following articles by Shaykh Nuh Keller, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad:

What is a Madhhab? Why is it necessary to follow one?

Understanding the Four Madhhabs

Social Implications of Remaining with the Majority

Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) highlighted the importance of remaining with the group in several hadiths:

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Stick to the group, and beware of being separate. For indeed, Satan is with the one who is alone, yet further from two together. Whoever wishes to live in the best part of Paradise, at its center, then let him stick to the group.” [Tirmidhi]

He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is also reported to have said, “The group is a mercy, while separation is torment.” [Musnad Shihab]

Allah Most High has placed a very special mercy in the hearts of believers united for Allah. He Most High states, “The believers are but brethren,” (49:10) and our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explained the brotherhood of believers when he said, “The example of believers in their mutual love, mercy and compassion is like a single body: if one limb complains of pain, the rest of the body’s limbs call one another [to react], with fever and insomnia.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

What to do if Dajjal Comes?

Linguistically, “dajjal” means “imposter” (kadhdhab), or literally “one who covers over,” since he covers the truth with falsehood, to the extent that he claims divinity. He is also called that because he covers the earth with so many of his followers.

He is also called “maseeh,” which has the meaning of “anointed,” since half his face is “anointed,” such that he has no eye on that side. The Dajjal is the one who brings the greatest tribulation of this life. [Misbah Munir; Tahdhib al-Asma’; Lisan al-Arab]

There are many descriptions of him in the hadith literature, such as, “Verily, your Lord is not one-eyed. Verily, the Masih Dajjal is one-eyed: his right eye is like a floating grape,” and “Between his two eyes is written: Kafir.” [Sahih Bukhari]

The sunna is to seek refuge from the tribulation of Dajjal. The dua of the Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)—which he recited at the end of the prayer and which he taught the Companions the way he would teach them a surah of the Qur’an—was:

“O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the torment of Jahannam; I seek refuge with You from the torment of the grave; I seek refuge with You from the False Messiah (dajjal); and I seek refuge with You from the tribulations of life and death.” [Sahih Muslim]

اللّهُمَّ إِنَّي أَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ جَهَنَّم وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْقَبْر وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَسِيْحِ الدَّجَّال وَأَعُوْذُ بِكَ مِنْ فِتْنَةِ الْمَحْيَا وَالْمَمَات

The sunna is also to recite Surah Kahf, specifically the first ten verses. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “Whoever memorizes ten verses from the beginning of Surah Kahf will be safe from Dajjal,” and in another narration, “So whoever among you encounters him [Dajjal], let him recite the opening verses of Surah Kahf.” [Sahih Muslim]

Lastly, if the Dajjal does come during one’s life, then one should do what one should always do: turn wholeheartedly to Allah, and continue to serve Allah’s religion. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said that if a person is planting a seed and the Day of Judgment suddenly begins, he should continue planting the seed. [Musnad Ahmed]

Whether it is the end of the world or not, there is much work to be done, so as to serve this ummah and gain the pleasure of Allah Most High.

And Allah knows best.
wassalam
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


Also Read:

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (1)?

Who are the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jammah (2)?

Why is Jumu`ah Prayer Held on Friday?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Do we know why Salah Jumu`a is on fridays? I mean, the jews believe that God created the universe in 6 days and rested on the seventh, so they also have to rest that day.

My religion-teacher (who don’t believe in any religion) told our class that the friday prayer is established on fridays because that was the day where people were gathered in the market anyway. Is this true?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

The Friday prayer (salat al-jumu`ah) is held on Fridays due to the explicit Qur’anic command to do so, ‘O ye who believe! When the call is heard for the prayer of the day of congregation, haste unto remembrance of Allah and leave your trading. That is better for you if ye did but know’ [62:9]

The ‘day of congregation’, here, refers to Friday.

The Prohibition of Trading at the time of the Friday Prayer

Imam Abu Bakr al-Jassas mentions, in his commentary of the Mukhtasar al-Tahawi, trade, specifically, is not intended here, rather, anything else which busies one from attending the Friday prayer would also take the same ruling.

Moreover, trading was specifically mentioned here because of the fact that Friday noon was a busy time for traders; so it is as if they are being told, hasten to the trade of the hereafter (akhirah), leave the trading of this world (dunya) and hurry unto the remembrance of God. [Nasafi, Madarik al-Tanzil wa Haqa’iq al-Ta’wil]

The Virtue of Fridays

It is related from the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace), that he said: “Verily the most virtuous, of your days, is Friday. Send abundant blessings upon me on Fridays because they are presented to me on that day.” [Abu Dawud]

In summary, Fridays are singled out, more emphatically, as days for sending blessings upon the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace) specifically because the blessings (salawat) are presented to him, accepted. [Abadi, `Awn al-Ma`bud Sharh Sunan Abi Dawud]

And Allah knows best.

Belief in the Hereafter (al-Akhirah)

Yawm al-akhira (The Last Day): According to one account, when the sur (trumpet) is blown by Israfil, all living things will fall and die. The time starting then and continuing through the resurrection of people, the entering into paradise of those bound for paradise, and the entering of hell for those bound for hell, is called “ The Last Day.”

According to another account, the hereafter (al-akhira) starts when people begin to be resurrected so they can be called to account for their deeds, and continues forever. There are other names for al-akhira, but “yawm al qiyamah ( The Day of Resurrection),” is the most famous.

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Hayat al-Qabr (Life in the Grave): The life in the grave begins with the death of a person and continues until his resurrection. After being placed in the grave, two angels come and ask, “Who is your Lord? And what is your religion? Who is your prophet? ” These are called the questions of the grave. These questions will be asked of everybody. People with bodies that have disintegrated or burned to ashes will also be asked.

The life in the grave means the start of the hereafter. People bound for heaven and people bound for hell will begin to taste the sweetness of the life in heaven or the punishment of hell respectively to a lesser or greater degree.

The life in the grave should not be compared with the life of this world.

However, in sleep (which is called the “little death”) we can taste with our souls joyous pleasure or miserable pain, thus seeing an example of al akhirah in this life.

Jannah (Paradise) is a place of reward. It has been made for the mu’mins (believers). In an ayah, it says “therein you shall have all that your souls desire, all that you call for” (Quran, 41:31, Arberry translation).

Jahannam (Hell) is the place of punishment for those who rebel and go against Allah. Those who die whose sins are great and those believers deemed unworthy of intercession, go there along with unbelievers and hypocrites. While believers who enter will be taken out after a punishment of a specified time; unbelievers, hypocrites, and polytheists will remain permanently.

Mahshar: With the blowing of Israfil’s trumpet, all people and creatures will fall and die. Except for Allah, no living existence will continue. For a time it will stay like this. Then Allah will resurrect Israfil. Israel will then blow his trumpet again and people will then be given life again in an instant. They will gather in Mahshar for their reckoning.

The Book of Deeds: In Mahshar, people will be given their books (the books the angels wrote and prepared in this world). The people bound for heaven will be given their books from the right, while the people bound for hell will be given their books from the left.

Hasab (Reckoning): Allah will take all people to account at the same time. But each person will think that only his own reckoning is being done. This reckoning will be as our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) explained:

Everyone will be asked:

1- How they spent their lives.
2- What they did with what they know.
3- Where they got their wealth from and where they spent it (halal or haram).
4- And which roads (roads that are either pleasing or unpleasing to Allah) they wore out their bodies on,

And an answer will surely be given.

al-Mizan (The Balance): This is the weighing of peoples’ good and bad deeds.

Nobody will be wronged in any way. Every good or bad thing done will surely be placed on the balance. Each good deed will count for ten and every bad deed will count as one.

as-Sirat (The Narrow Bridge): This is a way, a bridge, that everyone must take: those who will be placed in hell, those believers who will reach heaven, polytheists, unbelievers, and hypocrites who will fall to hell. The ease or difficulty of the passing will be according to the rank of servitude to Allah in this world.

We came here for worship; we will return for reckoning.
We are guests on this earth; we will die to be brought back to life.


 Story: The Story of the Bringing to Life of Four Birds

Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was telling everybody, “My Lord causes death and life,” and he sincerely believed this himself. Despite that, one day Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) supplicated to Allah, saying:

– O my Lord! Show me how you will bring the dead to life!

Allah Almighty said to him:

– Did you stop believing that I’m going to resurrect the dead, or what?

Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) said:

– I certainly believe, my Lord! But let me see with my eyes so my heart may rest soundly.

In reply to this, Allah said to Ibrahim:

– So, get four birds! Acquaint yourself with them well! When you call them by name they will fly to you. Then, slaughter them!

Chop the meat up and mix them together well! Separate this meat into four parts and put each part on the top of a mountain! Then call them in the way they are used to! You’ll see them hurry to you. After you see this, then believe well that Allah’s power is enough to do everything and he does nothing in vain, he does it knowingly.

Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was very happy that his wish was granted. Right away he took a pigeon, a peacock, a crow and a rooster and got them used to him. Wherever these animals were, immediately upon hearing Hazrat Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) voice, they flew straight to him.

One day, in the way he was commanded, he slaughtered them. After mixing the meat together well, he separated it into four parts. He put each part on the top of a mountain. Then he retired to an appropriate place. Then he called the birds and rooster in the same way they were used to. In an instant, the resurrected, living animals flew straight to him.

Seeing this, Hazrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) fell directly into prostration and thanked his Lord. His belief in Him was strengthened even more.

Physical Descriptions of the Four Great Imams of Fiqh

By Imam Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi (rah)

 

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1. Imam Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man bin Thabit (rah):

Abu Yusuf said: “Abu Hanifah was well-formed, was from the best of people in appearance, the most eloquent of them in speech, the sweetest in tone, and the clearest of them in expressing what he felt.”

Hamad bin Abi Hanifah said: “My father was very handsome, dark, had good posture, would wear a lot of perfume, was tall, would not speak except in reply to what someone else had said, and he – may Allah have Mercy upon him – would not involve himself in what did not concern him.”

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2. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Muhammad bin Idris ash-Shafi’i (rah):

Ibrahim bin Buranah said: “ash-Shafi’i was serious, tall, and noble.”

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az-Za’farani said: “ash-Shafi’i visited us in Baghdad in the year 95. He stayed with us for a few months, then left. He would dye his hair with henna, and he had thin cheeks.”

Ahmad bin Sinan said: “I saw him with a red beard and hair – i.e. he used to dye them.”

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3. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Ahmad bin Hambal (rah):

Ibn Dharih al-’Ukbari said: “I requested to see Ahmad bin Hambal. So, I greeted him, and he was an old man who dyed his hair. He was tall and extremely dark.”

Muhammad bin ‘Abbas an-Nahwi said: “I saw Ahmad bin Hambal with a handsome face, well-formed, and dyeing his hair with henna that was not too dark. He had black hairs in his beard, and I saw his clothes extremely white. When I saw him, he was wearing a turban and an izar.”

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‘Abd al-Malik al-Maymuni said: “I do not know that I have ever seen anyone who wore cleaner clothes, was more attentive to trimming his moustache and grooming the hair on his head and body, or wore purer and whiter garments than Ahmad bin Hambal.”

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One man said: “In Khurasan, they did not think that Ahmad resembled a human being. They thought that he resembled the Angels.”

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al-Fadl bin Ziyad said: “I saw Abi ‘Abdillah in the winter, and he was wearing two shirts with a colored vest between them, and maybe he was wearing a shirt with a heavy sweater. And I saw him with a turban over a hood and heavy outer garment. So, I heard Aba ‘Imran al-Warkani saying to him: “O Aba ‘Abdillah! All of these clothes?” So, he laughed and said: “I cannot stand the cold,” and he would also wear the hood without a turban.”

al-Fadl bin Ziyad said: “I saw Abi ‘Abdillah in the summer wearing a shirt, trousers, and robe.”

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4. Imam Abu ‘Abdillah Malik bin Anas (rah):

‘Isa bin ‘Umar said: “I never saw anything white or red that was more beautiful than the face of Malik, or any clothes whiter than Malik’s.”

And a number of people relate that he was tall, firm, serious, blond, had a white beard and hair, had a large beard, was balding, and would not shave his moustache, as he considered this to be a form of mutilation.

It is said that he had blue eyes, and some of this was narrated by Ibn Sa’d from Mutarraf bin ‘Abdillah.

Muhammad bin ad-Dahhak al-Hizami said: “Malik’s clothes were clean and soft, and he would constantly wear different clothes.”

al-Walid bin Muslim said: “Malik would wear white clothes, and I saw he and al-Awza’i wearing black and green caps.”

Ashhab said: “When Malik would wear a turban, he would wrap part of it under his chin and would leave the ends of it hanging between his shoulders.”

Khalid bin Khidash said: “I saw Malik wearing a cap, and I saw him wearing woven clothes.”

Ashhab said: “If Malik would wear kohl for a necessity, he would remain in his house.”

Mus’ab said: “Malik would wear ‘Adani clothes, and he would wear perfume.”

Abu ‘Asim said: “I never saw a Muhaddith with a more handsome face than Malik’s.”

It is said: “He was so light colored that he was blond. He had wide eyes, a raised, pointed nose, and he would let his moustache grow long based on ‘Umar’s curling of his moustache.”

Ibn Wahb said: “I saw Malik dying his hair with henna once.”

Abu Mus’ab said: “Malik had the most handsome face of the people, the widest of eyes, the whitest skin, and was the greatest of them in height – all in the strongest body.”

al-Waqidi said: “He was well-formed, would not dye his hair, and would not enter the public baths.”

Bishr bin al-Harith said: “I entered upon Malik and saw him wearing a cap that was worth about 500 dirhams.”

Ashhab said: “When Malik would wear a turban, he would wrap part of it under his chin and would leave the ends of it behind his back, and he would scent himself with musk and other scents.”

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Collected from Siyar A’lām al-Nubalā