Madinah, a Furnace (Ahadith 1602 – 1603)
Volume 3, Book 30, Number 107:
Narrated Jabir (radiallaahu `anhu):
A bedouin came to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and gave a pledge of allegiance for embracing Islam. The next day he came with fever and said (to the Prophet ), “Please cancel my pledge.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) refused (that request) three times and said, “Medina is like a furnace, it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect.”
There are two opinions among the scholars concerning this, that the Bedouin wanting to cancel the pledge meant that:
- he wanted to revert back to paganism and leave Islam
- he wanted to leave the city Madinah
The second one seems more correct because if he were to renounce Islam, Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) would’ve prescribed a punishment for him according to the Shari`ah, but he didn’t. He said these words to him because the Bedouin wanted to leave the city due to his dislike for it. A good Muslim has to love Madinah and there are no two ways about it.
So if someone gets the opportunity to live in Madinah and he lives there despite its hardships and trials even though he’d be better off somewhere else, then the glad tiding in the above hadith “..selects the good ones and makes them perfect” is for him. And if someone leaves it due to his dislike for it, then the wa`eed “..expels out the impurities” is for him.
Volume 3, Book 30, Number 108:
Narrated Zaid bin Thabit (radiallaahu `anhu):
When the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) went out for (the battle of) Uhud, some of his companions (hypocrites) returned (home). A party of the believers remarked that they would kill those (hypocrites) who had returned, but another party said that they would not kill them. So, this Divine Inspiration was revealed: “Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties concerning the hypocrites.” (4.88) The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Medina expels the bad persons from it, as fire expels the impurities of iron.”
Some scholars have said that this virtue of Madinah was specific to the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) because trials and revelation used to distinguish between the believers and the hypocrites clearly. After the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), all kinds of people started living in Madinah.
Near the end of times, this virtue will become strong and active again because Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said:
“Verily, Belief returns and goes back to Medina as a snake returns and goes back to its hole (when in danger).”