Ibn Kathir writes in the beginning of Surah al-Mumtahinah’s tafseer:
The story of Hatib bin Abi Balta`ah is the reason behind revealing the beginning of this honorable Surah. Hatib was among the Early Emigrants and participated in the battle of Badr. Hatib had children and wealth in Makkah, but he was not from the tribe of Quraysh. Rather, he was an ally of `Uthman. When the Messenger of Allah decided to conquer Makkah, after its people broke the peace treaty between them, he ordered the Muslims to mobilize their forces to attack Makkah, and then said,
«اللْهُمَّ عَمِّ عَلَيْهِمْ خَبَرَنَا»
(O Allah! Keep our news concealed from them.) Hatib wrote a letter and sent it to the people of Makkah, with a woman from the tribe of Quraysh, informing them of the Messenger’s intent to attack them. He wanted them to be indebted to him ﴿so that they would grant safety to his family in Makkah﴾. Allah the Exalted conveyed this matter to His Messenger , because He accepted the Prophet’s invocation ﴿to Him to conceal the news of the attack﴾. The Prophet sent someone after the woman and retrieved the letter. This story is collected in the Two Sahihs.
And then he goes on to mention this narration..
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 251 :
Narrated by ‘Ubaidullah bin Abi Rafi
I heard ‘Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) saying, “Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) sent me, Az-Zubair and Al-Miqdad (radiallaahu `anhumaa) somewhere saying, ‘Proceed till you reach Rawdat Khakh. There you will find a lady with a letter. Take the letter from her.’ ” So, we set out and our horses ran at full pace till we got at Ar-Rawda where we found the lady and said (to her). “Take out the letter.” She replied, “I have no letter with me.” We said, “Either you take out the letter or else we will take off your clothes.” So, she took it out of her braid. We brought the letter to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and it contained a statement from Hatib bin Abi Balta’ah (radiallaahu `anhu) to some of the Meccan pagans informing them of some of the intentions of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). Then Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “O Hatib! What is this?” Hatib (radiallaahu `anhu) replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! Don’t hasten to give your judgment about me. I was a man closely connected with the Quraish, but I did not belong to this tribe, while the other emigrants with you, had their relatives in Mecca who would protect their dependents and property . So, I wanted to recompense for my lacking blood relation to them by doing them a favor so that they might protect my dependents. I did this neither because of disbelief not apostasy nor out of preferring Kufr (disbelief) to Islam.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Hatib has told you the truth.” Umar (radiallaahu `anhu) said, O Allah’s Apostle! Allow me to chop off the head of this hypocrite.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Hatib participated in the battle of Badr, and who knows, perhaps Allah has already looked at the Badr warriors and said, ‘Do whatever you like, for I have forgiven you.”
Surah al-Mumtahinah’s first ayah was revealed about Hatib (radiallaahu `anhu):
﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لاَ تَتَّخِذُواْ عَدُوِّى وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَآءَ﴾
“O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as protecting friends.” [60:1]
The ayah goes on to say: “while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth”. It refers to the idolators and the disbelievers who are combatants against Allah, His Messenger and the believers. It is they whom Allah has decided should be our enemies and should be fought. Allah has forbidden the believers to take them as friends, supporters or companions. [Ibn Kathir]
I have one question. If the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) can forgive a man for treason (more or less) based on his past record, why can’t we forgive people for much less complicated mistakes that they make? [Partly referring to the recent NAK incident and partly a general statement..]
Further reading: ruling on revealing secrets.
Ahadith 2554 – 2558 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 159 :
Narrated by Sahl (radiallaahu `anhu)
That he was asked about the wound of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) on the day (of the battle) of Uhud. He said, “The face of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) as wounded and one of his front teeth as broken and the helmet over his head was smashed. Fatima (radiallaahu `anhaa) washed of the blood while Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) held water. When she saw that bleeding was increasing continuously, she burnt a mat (of date-palm leaves) till it turned into ashes which she put over the wound and thus the bleeding ceased.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 160 :
Narrated by ‘Amr bin Al-Harith (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not leave behind him after his death, anything except his arms, his white mule, and a piece of land at Khaibar which he left to be given in charity.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 161 :
Narrated by Jabir (radiallaahu `anhu)
As above (Hadith No. 158).
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 162 :
Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
That he participated in a Ghazwa (Holy-Battle) in the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). Midday came upon them while they were in a valley having many thorny trees. The people dispersed to rest in the shade of the trees. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) rested under a tree, hung his sword on it, and then slept. Then he woke up to find near to him, a man whose presence he had not noticed before. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “This (man) took my sword (out of its scabbard) and said, ‘Who will save you from me.’ I replied, ‘Allah.’ So, he put the sword back into its scabbard, and you see him sitting here.” Anyhow, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not punish him.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 163 :
Narrated by Abu Qatada (radiallaahu `anhu)
That he was in the company of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and when they had covered a portion of the road to Mecca, he and some of the companions lagged behind. The latter were in a state of Ihram, while he was not. He saw an onager and rode his horse and requested his companions to give him his lash but they refused. Then he asked them to give him his spear but they refused, so he took it himself, attacked the onager, and killed it. Some of the companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) ate of it while some others refused to eat. When they caught up with Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) they asked him about that, and he said, “That was a meal Allah fed you with.” (It is also said that Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked, “Have you got something of its meat?”)
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 164 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), while in a tent (on the day of the battle of Badr) said, “O Allah! I ask you the fulfillment of Your Covenant and Promise. O Allah! If You wish (to destroy the believers) You will never be worshipped after today.” Abu Bakr (radiallaahu `anhu) caught him by the hand and said, “This is sufficient, O Allah’s Apostle! You have asked Allah pressingly.” The Prophet was clad in his armor at that time. He went out, saying to me: “There multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs. Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense) and that Hour will be more grievous and more bitter (than their worldly failure).” (54.45-46) Khalid (radiallaahu `anhu) said that was on the day of the battle of Badr.
Once Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) passed by a people who were suffering from some affliction. “Why don’t they make dua (prayer) to Allah for protection?” he (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said. With all the suffering and disasters Muslims are facing in various parts of the world, the question can be directed to all of us today.
It is not that we have forgotten dua completely; we refer to it regularly. But our ideas and practice regarding dua have become distorted. Often it is reduced to the level of a ritual. Generally it is considered when all our efforts have failed — an act of last resort. It is belittled through actions and sometimes even with words. Is it any wonder that today mostly a mention of dua is meant to indicate the hopelessness of a situation?
What a tragedy, for dua is the most potent weapon of a believer. It can change fate, while no action of ours ever can. It is the essence of ibadah or worship. With it we can never fail; without it we can never succeed. In the proper scheme of things, dua should be the first and the last resort of the believer, with all his plans and actions coming in between.
The most empowering conversation
Dua is conversation with Allah, out Creator, our Lord and Master, the All Knowing, the All Powerful. This act in itself is of extraordinary significance. It is the most uplifting, liberating, empowering, and transforming conversation a person can ever have. We turn to Him because we know that He alone can lift our sufferings and solve our problems. We feel relieved after describing our difficulties to our Creator. We feel empowered after having communicated with the All Mighty. We sense His mercy all around us after talking to the Most Merciful. We get a new commitment to follow His path for that is the only path for success. We feel blessed with each such commitment.
Our first and last action
In every difficulty our first action is dua, as is our last. We ask Allah to show us the way to handle that difficulty; we seek His help in following the path He shows to us; we seek His aid in making our efforts successful. When we fall sick, we know that we cannot find the right doctor without His Will; that the best doctor may not be able to diagnose our condition without His Command; that the best treatment plan will not succeed without His Permission. We make dua for all of these. We make dua before we seek medical help, while we are receiving it and after it has been delivered.
The essence of worship
Dua is the essence of ibadah. A person engaged in dua affirms his belief in Tawheed (monotheism) and shuns belief in all false gods. With each dua his belief in Allah grows. He beseeches Him, affirming his own powerlessness. A person seriously and sincerely engaged in dua understands exactly the relationship between himself and the Creator and affirms it through his actions. That is the essence of worship! Additionally, such a person can never become arrogant or proud, a logical result of true worship.
Our most potent weapon
Dua is our most potent weapon in all struggles of life as well as in jihad in the battlefield. During the battle of Badr, the Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) stood up all night in prayer seeking Allah’s help in the battle between unequal armies that would follow the next day. In the decisive battles against the crusaders, Sultan Salatuddin Ayyubi was busy day and night. His days were devoted to Jihad. His nights were spent making dua, crying, seeking Allah’s help. This has been the practice of all true mujahideen.
Big and small
We should make it a point to make dua for all things big and small. It is the beginning of wisdom to realize that big and small are arbitrary labels that are totally irrelevant in this context. Nothing is too big for Whom we are asking from; nothing is too small for the one who is asking. That is why we have been taught to ask Allah when we need something as small as shoelaces. We should ask as a beggar, as a destitute person, for that is what we in reality are in relationship to Allah. At the same time we should ask with great hope and conviction that we shall be granted our prayers. We should remember the Hadith: “There is nothing more dear to Allah than a servant making dua to Him.” On the other hand, a prayer lacking concentration and conviction is no prayer at all.
All times and all needs
We should make dua at all times, not only during times of distress. The Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “Whosoever desires that Allah answers his duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort.” Also he (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “The person who does not ask from Allah, Allah becomes angry with him.”
We should ask for all of our needs: those related to this world as well as those related to the Hereafter. Those who only concentrate on the former are, in effect, announcing that they don’t care for their life in the permanent abode. They should blame nobody but themselves for the total ruin in that world that Qur’an assures us awaits them. Those who only concentrate on the later are also showing lack of balance, for we need Allah’s help to lead a good life here as well.
We should make dua not only for ourselves but also for our parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children, relatives and friends, teachers and other benefactors, and destitute and struggling Muslims everywhere. We should pray for them for the good in this world as well as in the Hereafter. The Prophet (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “The dua of a Muslim for his brother (in Islam) in his absence is readily accepted. An angel is appointed to his side. Whenever he makes a beneficial dua for his brother the appointed angel says, ‘Aameen. And may you also be blessed with the same.‘”[Sahih Muslim]
In the dark ages that we are living in today, everyday brings fresh news about atrocities committed against our brothers in Palestine, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, and the list goes on. And what do we do? We can continue to just feel frustrated and depressed. We can petition the determined perpetrators or a fictional “International Community”. We can just forget all this and move on to some other subject. Or we can stand up before Allah and pray for His help, who alone can help. The dua can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the most potent weapon. But it works only for those who try sincerely and seriously to use it.
[Taken from Islam.ru]
Must watch this video on the importance of dua and its power:
Hadith no. 2453 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 60 :
Narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu)
That Abu Sufyan told him that Heraclius said to him, “I asked you about the outcome of your battles with him (i.e. the Prophet ) and you told me that you fought each other with alternate success. So the Apostles are tested in this way but the ultimate victory is always theirs.
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 61 :
Narrated by Anas (radiallaahu `anhu)
My uncle Anas bin An-Nadr (radiallaahu `anhu) was absent from the Battle of Badr. He said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I was absent from the first battle you fought against the pagans. (By Allah) if Allah gives me a chance to fight the pagans, no doubt. Allah will see how (bravely) I will fight.” On the day of Uhud when the Muslims turned their backs and fled, he said, “O Allah! I apologize to You for what these (i.e. his companions) have done, and I denounce what these (i.e. the pagans) have done.” Then he advanced and Sad bin Muadh (radiallaahu `anhu) met him. He said “O Sad bin Muadh ! By the Lord of An-Nadr, Paradise! I am smelling its aroma coming from before (the mountain of) Uhud,” Later on Sad (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I cannot achieve or do what he (i.e. Anas bin An-Nadr) did. We found more than eighty wounds by swords and arrows on his body. We found him dead and his body was mutilated so badly that none except his sister could recognize him by his fingers.” We used to think that the following Verse was revealed concerning him and other men of his sort: “Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah…” (33.23) His sister Ar-Rubbaya’ broke a front tooth of a woman and Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) ordered for retaliation. On that Anas (bin An-Nadr) (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, my sister’s tooth shall not be broken.” Then the opponents of Anas’s sister accepted the compensation and gave up the claim of retaliation. So Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “There are some people amongst Allah’s slaves whose oaths are fulfilled by Allah when they take them.”
Volume 4, Book 52, Number 62 :
Narrated by Kharija bin Zaid
Zaid bin Thabit (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “When the Quran was compiled from various written manuscripts, one of the Verses of Surat Al-Ahzab was missing which I used to hear Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) reciting. I could not find it except with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari (radiallaahu `anhu), whose witness Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) regarded as equal to the witness of two men. And the Verse was:– “Among the believers are men who have been true to what they covenanted with Allah.” (33.23)
“Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah.” [33:23]
Ibn Kathir comments:
When Allah mentions how the hypocrites broke their promise to Him that they would not turn their backs, He describes the believers as firmly adhering to their covenant and their promise:
﴿صَدَقُواْ مَا عَـهَدُواْ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُمْ مَّن قَضَى نَحْبَهُ﴾
(﴿they﴾ have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) Some of them said: “Met their appointed time (i.e., death).” Al-Bukhari said, “Their covenant, and refers back to the beginning of the Ayah.”
﴿وَمِنْهُمْ مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُواْ تَبْدِيلاً﴾
(and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) means, they have never changed or broken their covenant with Allah. Al-Bukhari recorded that Zayd bin Thabit said: “When we wrote down the Mushaf, an Ayah from Surat Al-Ahzab was missing, which I used to hear the Messenger of Allah reciting. I did not find it with anyone except Khuzaymah bin Thabit Al-Ansari, may Allah be pleased with him, whose testimony the Messenger of Allah counted as equal to that of two other men. (The Ayah in question was:)
﴿مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُواْ مَا عَـهَدُواْ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ﴾
(Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah;)” This was recorded by Al-Bukhari but not by Muslim, It was also recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad, and by At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i in the chapters on Tafsir in their Sunans. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih. Al-Bukhari also recorded that Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “We think that this Ayah was revealed concerning Anas bin An-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him:
﴿مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُواْ مَا عَـهَدُواْ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ﴾
(Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.)” This was reported only by Al-Bukhari, but there are corroborating reports with other chains of narration. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said: “My paternal uncle Anas bin Al-Nadr, may Allah be pleased with him, after whom I was named, was not present with this Messenger of Allah at Badr, and this distressed him. He said: `The first battle at which the Messenger of Allah was present, and I was absent; if Allah shows me another battle with the Messenger of Allah , Allah will see what I will do!’ He did not want to say more than that. He was present with the Messenger of Allah at Uhud, where he met Sa`d bin Mu`adh, may Allah be pleased with him. Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said to him, `O Abu `Amr! Where are you going’ He replied, `I long for the fragrance of Paradise and I have found it near the mountain of Uhud.’ He fought them until he was killed, may Allah be pleased with him. Eighty-odd stab wounds and spear wounds were found on his body, and his sister, my paternal aunt Ar-Rabayyi` bint Al-Nadr said, `I only recognized my brother by his fingertips.’
Ahadith 2208 – 2211 (below) are repeats. See linked text for related posts.
Volume 3, Book 46, Number 710:
Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):
Utba bin Abi Waqqas (radiallaahu `anhu) authorized his brother Sad bin Abi Waqqas (radiallaahu `anhu) to take the son of the slave-girl of Zam’a into his custody, telling him that the boy was his own (illegal) son. When Allah’s Apostle went (to Mecca) at the time of the Conquest, Sad took the son of the slavegirl of Zam’a to Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and also brought ‘Abu bin Zam’a (radiallaahu `anhu) with him and said, “O Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)! This is the son of my brother ‘Utba (radiallaahu `anhu) who authorized me to take him into my custody.” ‘Abu bin Zam’a (radiallaahu `anhu) said, “O Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)! He is my brother, the son of Zam’a’ slave-girl and he was born on his bed.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) looked at the son of the slave-girl of Zam’a and noticed much resemblance (to ‘Utba). Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “It is for you, O ‘Abu bin Zam’a as he was born on the bed of your father.” Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) then told Sauda bint Zam’a (radiallaahu `anhaa) to observe veil in the presence of the boy as he noticed the boy’s resemblance to ‘Utba and Sauda was the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam).
Volume 3, Book 46, Number 711:
Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu):
A man amongst us declared that his slave would be freed after his death. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) called for that slave and sold him. The slave died the same year.
Volume 3, Book 46, Number 712:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu):
Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) forbade the selling or donating the Wala’ of a freed slave.
Volume 3, Book 46, Number 713:
Narrated ‘Aisha (radiallaahu `anhaa):
I bought Buraira but her masters put the condition that her Wala’ would be for them. I told the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) about it. He said (to me), “Manumit her as her Wala’ will be for the one who pays the price.” So, I manumitted her. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) called Buraira and gave her the option of either staying with her husband or leaving him. She said, “Even if he gave me so much money, I would not stay with him,” and so she preferred her freedom to her husband.
Volume 3, Book 46, Number 714:
Narrated Anas (radiallaahu `anhu):
Some men of the Ansar asked for the permission of Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and said, “Allow us to give up the ransom from our nephew Al-‘Abbas. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said (to them), “Do not leave (even) a Dirham (of his ransom).”
Abbas, who was the uncle of the Prophet and who was among the captives of Badr, was quite rich.
The Messenger of Allah said to him, “O Abbas! Pay ransom for yourself, Aqil b. Abi Talib, your nephew, and Nawfal b. Harith, because you have wealth.”
Hazrat Abbas had brought eight hundred dirhams of gold while going to Badr with polytheists to spend for the soldiers. During the battle, this gold was captured from him and was put among the booty. Therefore, he said to the Prophet, “Let us regard that gold as ransom.”
The Prophet said, “No… That is something that you carried in order to spend against us; Allah gave it to us. We cannot give it back to you.”
Hazrat Abbas said, “I have no money other than that. Will you make me a beggar?”
Thereupon, the Prophet said, “O Abbas! Where is that gold?”
Hazrat Abbas said, “Which gold?”
The Messenger of Allah said,
“The gold that you entrusted to Umm Fadl, your wife, on the day when you left Makkah! There was nobody else but you and your wife when you gave her the gold. You said to Umm Fadl, ‘I do not know what will happen in this expedition. If something happens to me and I cannot return, this amount of gold is for you, this part is for Fadl, this part is for Abdullah, this part is for and this part Qusam!’ I mean that gold!”
Hazrat Abbas asked in astonishment, “Who told you about it?”
The Prophet said, “Allah did!”
Thereupon, Hazrat Abbas uttered the kalima ash-shahada and became a Muslim. He returned to Makkah after paying the ransom.
Hazrat Abbas did not declare that he was a Muslim when he returned to Makkah; he informed the Prophet about Makkah secretly and helped the Muslims there.
[Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 4, p. 13-15; Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Mektubat, p. 112.]
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
The Prophet looked at the people of the well (the well in which the bodies of the pagans killed in the Battle of Badr were thrown) and said, “Have you found true what your Lord promised you?” Somebody said to him, “You are addressing dead people.” He replied, “You do not hear better than they but they cannot reply.”
The Prophet said, “They now realize that what I used to tell them was the truth. “And Allah said, ‘Verily! You cannot make the dead to hear (i.e. benefit them, and similarly the disbelievers) nor can you make the deaf hear. (27.80).
It’s true that the dead cannot hear anything that the living say. Allaah says (interpretation of the meanings):
“..but you cannot make hear those who are in graves” [Faatir 35:22]
“So verily, you (O Muhammad) cannot make the dead to hear” [al-Room 30:52]
With regard to the incident mentioned in the above Ahadith, it is to be understood that this was a unique case, where Allaah brought them back to life so that His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) might rebuke them and humiliate them.
The relevant point here is that Allaah caused the people in the well to hear the words of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), so that they might be humiliated. But it is not correct to deduce from this hadeeth that the dead can hear everything, because this applied only to the people in the well. Some scholars made an exception and said that the dead can hear the salaam, but this is a view for which clear sound evidence is lacking.