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Mut`im ibn `Adi (Hadith No. 2764)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 367 :
Narrated by Jubair bin Mutim (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) talked about war prisoners of Badr saying, “Had Al-Mutim bin Adi been alive and interceded with me for these mean people, I would have freed them for his sake.”

Mut`im ibn `Adi was a non-Muslim. His son, Jubair ibn Mut`im, however, did convert to Islam. Why did the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) say such praiseworthy words about him? For more than one reason, actually. He did more to support Islam and its followers being an idol worshiper than most Muslims at the time. He provided support during the social boycott in Makkah and after the incident of Ta’if when Abu Lahab had disowned the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), not allowing him to come home.

intsupport425

For more, watch the video below:

Unique Virtue of `Uthman ibn `Affan (Hadith No. 2756)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 359 :
Narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (radiallaahu `anhu)
‘Uthman (radiallaahu `anhu) did not join the Badr battle because he was married to one of the daughters of Allah’s Apostle and she was ill. So, the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said to him. “You will get a reward and a share (from the war booty) similar to the reward and the share of one who has taken part in the Badr battle.”

Read this hadith in Arabic here.

This hadith is part of another longer narration which comes in Book 57 of Bukhari:

Narrated ‘Uthman (the son of Muhib):
An Egyptian who came and performed the Hajj to the Kaba saw some people sitting. He inquired, “Who are these people?” Somebody said, “They are the tribe of Quraish.” He said, “Who is the Shaikh among them?” The people replied, “He is ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar.” He said, “O Ibn Umar! I want to ask you about something; please tell me about it. Do you know that ‘Uthman fled away on the day (of the battle) of Uhud?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The (Egyptian) man said, “Do you know that ‘Uthman was absent on the day (of the battle) of Badr and did not join it?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Do you know that he failed to attend the Ar Ridwan pledge and did not witness it (i.e. Hudaibiya pledge of allegiance)?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Allahu Akbar!” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Come, let me explain to you. As for his flight on the day of Uhud, I testify that Allah has excused him and forgiven him; and as for his absence from the battle of Badr, it was due to the fact that the daughter of Allah’s Apostle was his wife and she was sick then. Allah’s Apostle said to him, “You will receive the same reward and share (of the booty) as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr.’ As for his absence from the Ar-Ridwan pledge of allegiance, had there been any person in Mecca more respectable than ‘Uthman (to be sent as a representative). Allah’s Apostle would have sent him instead of him. No doubt, Allah’s Apostle had sent him, and the incident of the Ar-Ridwan pledge of Allegiance happened after ‘Uthman had gone to Mecca. Allah’s Apostle held out his right hand saying, ‘This is ‘Uthman’s hand.’ He struck his (other) hand with it saying, ‘This (pledge of allegiance) is on the behalf of ‘Uthman.’ Then Ibn ‘Umar said to the man, ‘Go now with this with you.’
[Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 57, Number 48]

Not taking part in the battle of Badr and still getting a share in its booty and reward was a virtue unique to Uthman (radiallaahu `anhu). He had the intention to go and fight but Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) asked him to stay and look after his wife, Ruqayyah (radiallaahu `anhaa). She died before the army returned victorious. So on one hand, the Prophet was happy about the win over Quraysh, he grieved the loss of his daughter.

Words of wisdom.

Words of wisdom.

The Story of `Ammar ibn Yasir (radiallaahu `anhu) (Hadith No. 2460)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 67 :
Narrated by ‘Ikrima
That Ibn ‘Abbas (radiallaahu `anhu) told him and ‘Ali bin ‘Abdullah to go to Abu Said (radiallaahu `anhu) and listen to some of his narrations; So they both went (and saw) Abu Said (radiallaahu `anhu) and his brother irrigating a garden belonging to them. When he saw them, he came up to them and sat down with his legs drawn up and wrapped in his garment and said, “(During the construction of the mosque of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam)) we carried the adobe of the mosque, one brick at a time while ‘Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) used to carry two at a time. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) passed by ‘Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) and removed the dust off his head and said, “May Allah be merciful to ‘Ammar. He will be killed by a rebellious aggressive group. ‘Ammar will invite them to (obey) Allah and they will invite him to the (Hell) fire.”

This post will focus on the story of the death of `Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) instead of his life. Here’s a brief account of the Battle of Siffin (657 CE):

Muʿāwiyah, governor of Syria, refused to recognize ʿAlī as the new caliph before justice for the murder of his kinsman, the third caliph, ʿUthmān, was done; for his part, ʿAlī relied on the support of individuals who had been implicated in ʿUthmān’s murder and was therefore reluctant to prosecute them. ʿAlī gathered support in Kūfah, where he had established his centre, and invaded Syria. The two armies met along the Euphrates River at Ṣiffīn (near the Syrian-Iraqi border), where they engaged in an indecisive succession of skirmishes, truces, and battles, culminating in the legendary appearance of Muʿāwiyah’s troops with copies of the Qurʾān impaled on their lances—supposedly a sign to let God’s word decide the conflict. ʿAlī agreed to bring the matter to arbitration on the basis of the Qurʾān and delegated Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī as his representative, while Muʿāwiyah sent ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ. By agreeing to arbitration, ʿAlī conceded to deal with Muʿāwiyah on equal terms, thus permitting him to challenge ʿAlī’s claim as leader of the Muslim community. This concession aroused the anger of a large group of ʿAlī’s followers, who protested that “judgment belongs to God alone” (Qurʾān 6:57) and believed that arbitration would be a repudiation of the Qurʾānic dictum “If one party rebels against the other, fight against that which rebels” (49:9). A small number of these pietists withdrew (kharajū) to the village of Ḥarūrāʾ and so became known as Khārijites (Arabic: Khawārij).

Accounts of what precisely transpired at the arbitration vary. [Britannica]

It was in this battle that `Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) was martyred. He was in the army of `Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) so it’s obvious which side killed him.

Coming to the hadith narrated above which says in the end: “May Allah be merciful to ‘Ammar. He will be killed by a rebellious aggressive group. ‘Ammar will invite them to (obey) Allah and they will invite him to the (Hell) fire.”

It’s important to know that there are other versions of this hadith available as well, having words less direct than these. For example:

  1. Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Rejoice Ammar, the transgressing party shall kill you.”
    (Sunan Thirmidhi : Hadith Number 3800)
  2. Allah’s messenger (PBUH) said to Ammar: “A group of rebels would kill you.”
    (Sahih Muslim, English version, v4, chapter MCCV, Tradition #6968)
  3. Umm Salama narrated that Allah’s messenger (may peace be upon him) said: “A band of rebels would kill Ammar.”
    (Sahih Muslim, English version, v4, chapter MCCV, Tradition #6970)

It’s safe to say that according to the hadith mentioned above, `Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) made the right choice siding with `Ali (radiallaahu `anhu) since he was the caliph at that time and his obedience was waajib on all Muslims. But the question arises, what about those who sided with Mu`awiyah (radiallaahu `anhu)? He himself was a companion of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) and many of the companions were on his side too. So what do we say about them? Were they calling `Ammar (radiallaahu `anhu) towards Hellfire?

The answer to that according to scholars is that they were doing the right thing in their opinion. It was a complex matter and everyone had their own views. They were mujtahids (those who do Ijtihad) so there’s no blame upon them because:

Amr ibn Al-As reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning (ijtihad) and he is correct, then he will have two rewards. If a judge makes a ruling, striving to apply his reasoning and he is mistaken, then he will have one reward.” [Sahih Bukhari 6919, Sahih Muslim 1716]

And Allah has elevated the status of Sahabah in the Quran by saying He’s pleased with them and promising them Paradise. Who then are we to talk bad about any one of them?

“And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allaah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [al-Tawbah 9:100]

I’d like to end with these words of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him):

“Whoever among you wishes to follow (someone), let him follow one who has died, for the one who is still alive is not safe from fitnah. The companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) were the best of this ummah, the most righteous of heart and the deepest in knowledge and the most straightforward, people whom Allaah chose to accompany His Prophet and establish His religion. So acknowledge their virtue and follow in their footsteps, and adhere as much as you can to their morals and religion, for they were following right guidance.
Narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Jaami’, no. 1810.

May Allah forgive us our sins, remove doubts and ill feelings from our hearts concerning his slaves, may He make us love those whom He loves, and hate those whom He hates. May He guide us to the truth always, and enter us into Jannat-ul-Firdaws.

Reward for Martyrdom (Ahadith 2441 – 2446)

Bismillah.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 48 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle, offer prayer perfectly and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he fights in Allah’s Cause or remains in the land where he is born.” The people said, “O Allah’s Apostle ! Shall we acquaint the people with the is good news?” He said, “Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause, and the distance between each of two grades is like the distance between the Heaven and the Earth. So, when you ask Allah (for something), ask for Al-firdaus which is the best and highest part of Paradise.” (i.e. The sub-narrator added, “I think the Prophet also said, ‘Above it (i.e. Al-Firdaus) is the Throne of Beneficent (i.e. Allah), and from it originate the rivers of Paradise.”)

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 49 :
Narrated by Samura (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Last night two men came to me (in a dream) and made me ascend a tree and then admitted me into a better and superior house, better of which I have never seen. One of them said, ‘This house is the house of martyrs.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 50 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s Cause in the forenoon or in the afternoon is better than the world and whatever is in it.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 51 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A place in Paradise as small as a bow is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets (i.e. all the world).” He also said, “A single endeavor in Allah’s Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 52 :
Narrated by Sahl bin Sad (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A single endeavor in Allah’s Cause in the afternoon and in the forenoon is better than the world and whatever is in it.”

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 53 :
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).” Narrated Anas: The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it. A place in Paradise as small as the bow or lash of one of you is better than all the world and whatever is in it. And if a houri from Paradise appeared to the people of the earth, she would fill the space between Heaven and the Earth with light and pleasant scent and her head cover is better than the world and whatever is in it.”

Pleasing the most Merciful and entering Paradise are the ultimate aim that believing men and women should wish for. If a person departs this world having won the pleasure of Allaah, then he will have the glad tidings of all that is good after that. When he enters Paradise he will have delights and pleasures such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has not entered the mind of any man. He will have all that he wishes for in the best ways. Everything that he asks for will be granted, and everything that he longs for he will get. He will never find anything to upset or disturb him, because he is in the care of the Most Merciful, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therein you shall have (all) that your inner‑selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask.

32. An entertainment from (Allaah), the Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[Fussilat 41:31-32]

One of the best things that people long for in the Hereafter is, for men, the women of Paradise, namely al-hoor al-‘iyn, and for women there is an equivalent delight. By His great wisdom, Allaah has not mentioned what the women will have as the equivalent of al-hoor al-‘iyn for men, and that is due to modesty and shyness. How can He encourage them to seek Paradise by mentioning something that they are too shy and modest to mention or speak about themselves? So He has simply hinted at it, as in the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therein you shall have (all) that your inner‑selves desire

[Fussilat 41:31-32]

Description of Hoor:

The description of al-hoor al-‘iyn is mentioned in more than one place in the Book of Allaah, such as the following:

1 – Allaah says, describing the reward of the people of Paradise (interpretation of the meaning):

“And (there will be) Hoor (fair females) with wide lovely eyes (as wives for Al-Muttaqoon – the pious).

23. Like unto preserved pearls”

[al-Waaqi’ah 56:22, 23] 

al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him)said:

And (there will be) Hoor (fair females) with wide lovely eyes”. Al-Hawra’ is a woman in whose eyes are lined with kohl, beautiful and bright. Al-‘iyn refers to beautiful and huge eyes. The beauty of eyes in the female is one of the greatest signs of beauty.

Like unto preserved pearls” means, as if they are pure, white, shining pearls, which are covered and protected from people’s eyes, the wind and the sun. Their colour is one of the most beautiful of colours and they have no fault or blemish of any kind. This is how al-hoor al-‘iyn are: they have no faults of blemishes of any kind, rather they are beautiful in all ways.

Every time you gaze upon her, you see nothing but that which gladdens the heart. End quote.

Tafseer al-Sa’di, p. 991

2 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“(In beauty) they are like rubies and coral”

[al-Rahmaan 55:58]

al-Tabari (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Ibn Zayd said concerning the words “they are like rubies and coral” it is as if they are rubies in their purity and like coral in their whiteness. So their purity is that of rubies and their whiteness is that of pearls. End quote.

Tafseer al-Tabari, 27/152

3 – Allaah says describing the women of Paradise, in Soorat al-Waaqi’ah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, We have created them (maidens) of special creation.

36. And made them virgins.

37. Loving (their husbands only), (and) of equal age”

[al-Waaqi’ah 56:35-37]

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

With regard to the word “loving (‘uruban)”, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said, quoting from Ibn ‘Abbaas that it means: they are loving towards their husbands. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that al-‘urub are those who love their husbands and their husbands love them.

With regard to the word “of equal age (atraaban)”, al-Dahhaak said, quoting from Ibn ‘Abbaas, that it means: of the same age, thirty-three years.

Al-Saddi said: “atraaban” means that they are equal in temperament and they do not resent or envy one another, i.e., they are not like hostile co-wives. End quote.

Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 4/294

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:

It was narrated that Mujaahid said concerning the verse “Loving (their husbands only), (and) of equal age”: i.e., those who are dear to their husbands.

Fath al-Baari, 8/626

4 – Allaah says, describing them (interpretation of the meaning):

“Therein (Gardens) will be Khairaatun‑Hisaan [fair (wives) good and beautiful]”

[al-Rahmaan 55:70]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

They are described as being fair and beautiful. The word khayraat (fair and good) is derived from the word khayyarah, which refers to the woman who combines all good qualities, both outward and inward, and whose physical appearance and attitude are perfect. So they are good in attitude and fair of face.

Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, p. 243.

5 – Allaah describes them as pure, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and they shall have therein Azwaajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), and they will abide therein forever”

[al-Baqarah 2:25]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

Allaah describes them as pure: “and they shall have therein Azwaajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives)”, pure from menses, urine and the like (stools) and all off-putting features that may exist in the women of this world. And their hearts are pure from envy, annoyance of their husbands, meanness or wishing for husbands other than them.

Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, p. 243, 244

6 – Allaah describes them as refraining from looking at anyone except their husbands (interpretation of the meaning):

“Wherein both will be Qaasiraat‑ut‑Tarf [chaste females (wives) restraining their glances, desiring none except their husbands]”

[al-Rahmaan 55:56] 

“Hoor (beautiful, fair females) guarded in pavilions”

[al-Rahmaan 55:72]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

Allaah describes them as being “guarded in pavilions”, i.e., they are prevented from making a display of themselves before anyone except their husbands. They are guarded for their husbands and they do not go out of their houses, and they restrain themselves for them and do not desire anyone else. And Allaah describes them as “Qaasiraat‑ut‑Tarf [chaste females (wives) restraining their glances”. This description is more complete than the first, for one of them restrains her gaze and focuses her love upon her husband, she is content with him and does not look beyond him at anyone else.

Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, p. 244

This is a brief look at what has been said about them in the Qur’aan. In the Sunnah there are descriptions of their beauty and fairness which defy the imagination, such as the following:

1 – It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The first group will enter Paradise looking like the moon on the night when it is full, and those who follow them will be like the brightest shining star in the sky. Their hearts will be as one, and there will be no hatred or jealousy among them. Each man will have two wives from among al-hoor al-‘iyn, the marrow of whose calves can be seen from beneath the bone and flesh.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 3014; Muslim, 2843.

Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

The stunning beauty of the hoori is such that the marrow of her calves can be seen from beneath her clothes, and a man will be able to see his face in the liver of one of them, like a mirror because of the fineness of her skin and the purity of her colour.

Fath al-Baari, 8/570

2 – It was narrated that Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a woman from among the people of Paradise were to look out over the earth, she would illuminate everything that is in between them, and would fill everything that is in between them with fragrance. And the scarf on her head is better than this world and everything in it.”

If she were to show her face, it would shine between heaven and earth; how beautiful is the light of her face and how beautiful the scent that is filling the space between heaven and earth. As for her garments, the scarf that she places on her head is better than the beauty of this world and all that is in it of delights and pleasure and natural beauty and splendid palaces and other kinds of luxuries. Glory be to their Creator, how great He is, and congratulations to the one for whom she is and he is for her.

Taken from IslamQA

Dowry (Mahr) of the Hoor:

The true mahr of al-hoor al-‘iyn is every good deed that brings one closer to Allaah, and is the cause of entering Paradise.

Al-Qurtubi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Tadhkirah fi Ahwaal al-Mawtaa wa Umoor al-Aakhirah (p. 556):

Chapter on what is narrated about righteous deeds being the mahr of al-hoor al-‘iyn.

In this chapter he narrated some of the ahaadeeth quoted above, then he said:

Muhammad ibn al-Nu’maan al-Muqari said:

I was sitting with al-Jala al-Muqari in Makkah in al-Masjid al-Haraam, when a tall, lean-bodied old man dressed in rags passed by. Al-Jala got up and stood with him for a while, then came back to us and said: Do you know who this old man is? We said: No. He said: He bought from Allaah a hoor al-‘iyn for four thousand khatmahs (readings of the entire Qur’aan) and when he had completed it, he saw her in a dream, wearing her jewellery and finery. He said: Who are you? She said: I am al-hoor whom you bought from Allaah with four thousand khatmahs; this is the price, what will I get from you? He said: One thousand khatmahs. Al-Jala said: He is still working on that.

It was narrated from Sahnoon that he said: There was a man in Egypt called Sa’eed, and he had a mother who was a devoted worshipper. When he got up at night to pray qiyaam, his mother would pray behind him, and if he grew sleepy his mother would call out to him: O Sa’eed! There is no sleep for the one who fears Hell and wants to marry the beautiful hoor al-‘iyn. So he would get up out of alarm.

It was narrated from Thaabit that he said: My father was one of those who prayed qiyaam to Allaah in the depths of the night. He said: Last night I saw in my dream a woman who did not resemble the women of this world. I said to her: Who are you? She said: A hoor al-‘iyn, a female slave of Allaah. I said to her: Give yourself to me in marriage. She said: Propose to me through your Lord and give me a mahr. I said: What is your mahr? She said: Lengthy tahajjud.

Maalik ibn Dinar said: I had sections of the Quraan that I would read every night. I fell asleep one night and in my dream I saw a beautiful girl, with a piece of vellum in her hand. She said: Can you read? I said: Yes. She gave me the piece of vellum and on it was written these lines of poetry:

You are wasting your time in sleeping rather than seeking high goals

And seeking beautiful hoor al-‘iyn in Paradise.

There in Paradise you will have an eternal life and no death

And you will have delight with the beautiful hoor ‘iyn in splendid pavilions.

Wake up from your sleep, for what is better than sleeping is spending the night reciting the Qur’aan.

End quote.

Something similar was said by Ibn Rajab in his essay Ikhtiyaar al-Oola (p. 12) and in Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif(p. 159).

Taken from IslamQA

Further reading: Virtues of Martyrdom

Best of Mankind (Ahadith 2317 – 2318)

Bismillah.

Hadith no. 2316 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 818 :
Narrated by An-Nu’man bin Bashir (radiallaahu `anhu)
My mother asked my father to present me a gift from his property; and he gave it to me after some hesitation. My mother said that she would not be satisfied unless the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) was made a witness to it. I being a young boy, my father held me by the hand and took me to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). He said to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam), “His mother, bint Rawaha, requested me to give this boy a gift.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Do you have other sons besides him?” He said, “Yes.” The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not make me a witness for injustice.” Narrated Ash-Shabi that the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “I will not become a witness for injustice.”

Today’s Ahadith:

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 819 :
Narrated by Zahdam bin Mudrab
I heard Imran bin Husain (radiallaahu `anhu) saying, “The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ‘The best people are those living in my generation, then those coming after them, and then those coming after (the second generation).” Imran said “I do not know whether the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) mentioned two or three generations after your present generation. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) added, ‘There will be some people after you, who will be dishonest and will not be trustworthy and will give witness (evidences) without being asked to give witness, and will vow but will not fulfill their vows, and fatness will appear among them.”

Volume 3, Book 48, Number 820 :
Narrated by Abdullah (radiallaahu `anhu)
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, “The people of my generation are the best, then those who follow them, and then whose who follow the latter. After that there will come some people whose witness will go ahead of their oaths, and their oaths will go ahead of their witness.” Ibrahim (a sub-narrator) said, “We used to be beaten for taking oaths by saying, ‘I bear witness by the Name of Allah or by the Covenant of Allah.”

Allah has extolled the virtues of the Companions of the Prophet (saw) many places in the Qur’an. A Companion is defined as one who met the Prophet (saw) in a state of belief and who died in that state. Allah said (after mentioning some of the hypocrites who stayed behind from Jihad):

{Rather, the Prophet and those who believe with him fought with their property and their lives for these are all good things, they are the successful ones and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow therein forever and that is the great success.} At-Tauba: 88-89

Allah’s praise of the Companions also extends to all those who follow their way. Allah said:

{The forerunners those who came first among the Migrators and the Helpers and those who followed them with the best. Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him and Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow therein forever and that is the great success.} At-Tauba: 100

The best generations of all time are: the generation of the Prophet (saw) i.e., the Companions, those who followed them (at-taabi’een) and the ones who followed those (atbaa’ at-taabi’een). They are our best example. When we doubt whether a certain practice or belief is a prohibited bid’a or a valid interpretation and a good practice in the din, we simply have to look at these generations. If it is in the area of worship and they did not practice it or anything similar to it, or they openly condemned it then we know with certainty that it is not part if Islam and is the bid’a which Allah and His Prophet (saw) have absolutely forbidden.

The word for “generation” is qarn. Nowadays, this word is used to mean “century”. There are three interpretations of the word in this hadith:

  1. One hundred years. There are several hadith narrated in which the Prophet (saw) said that someone will reach “qarn” and then other reports state that that person lived to 100 years. There are differences as to this last point, however.

  2. The people of a particular time who were together in a certain affair – such as under a particular prophet or leader.

  3. That the “qarn” of the Prophet (saw) is the Companions, the next one is the Followers (taabi’een) and the third one is their Followers.

Notice that the last two are pretty similar. The third one is the best in terms of the meaning of this hadith. So the generation of the Companions lasted until the last of them passed away and likewise the two generations after them.

The scholars have agreed that the last of the those who followed those who followed lived to around 220 years. After that time, all sorts of innovations appeared and many of the deviant sects began. The Mu’tazilah spoke out loudly and widely and the philosophers raised their heads. The people of knowledge were tested by being forced to say that the Qur’an was created. In short, things changed very drastically and things have remained deficient ever since.

The only protection for this Ummah is to stick to the way of the Companions and the first generations.

Abi Burda reports from his father: “We prayed Maghrib with Allah’s Messenger (saw) then we said: Why not sit until we pray Isha with him? And so we sat and the Prophet (saw) came out to us and said: “Are you still here?” We said: “O Allah’s Messenger we prayed Maghrig with you and we decided to sit here until we pray Isha with you.” He said: “You have done well.” Then, he raised his head toward the heavens – and he used to do that frequently – and said: “The stars are the protection for the sky – when the stars have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to the sky. I am the protection for my Companions – when I have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to my companions. My Companions are the protection for this Ummah – when they have gone, that which has been forewarned will come to this Ummah.” (Muslim)

Taken mostly from: http://www.java-man.com/pages/BestGenerations/BestGenerations.html

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