The Meaning of the Ḥadīth: The Religion Is Advice

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Rajab

A brief explanation on the meaning of the famous ḥadīth concerning advice.
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Narrated by Abū Ruqayyah Tamīm ibn Aws al-Dārī (may Allāh be pleased with him) that the Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him] said: ‘This religion is naṣīḥah [sincerely desiring that which is good for another]. We said: ‘To whom O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘ To Allāh the Exalted in Might, His book, His Prophet [may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him], to the leaders of the believers and to the general populace.’ Narrated by Muslim.

Explanation

Al-Ḥāfiẓ Ibn Rajab [d. 795 AH] said:

‘The Prophet [ﷺ] has told us that this religion is naṣīḥah. This proves that this naṣīḥah is comprehensive of all the attributes of Islām, īmān, and iḥsān that were mentioned in the ḥadīth of Jibrīl (ʿalayhi al-salām), for all [three of these] have been named dīn [in that ḥadīth]. Naṣīḥah towards Allāh stipulates performing that which He has made obligatory in the best manner possible which is known as achieving the station of iḥsān. Complete naṣīḥah to Allāh can never be reached without [iḥsān]. Iḥsān itself cannot be reached without complete love for that which has been made wājib [obligatory] and mustaḥabb [recommended]. [Such complete love for those actions] demand that one strives to increase his closeness [to Allāh] through carrying out nawāfil acts of obedience with this goal in mind. [It demands also] the leaving off of all muḥarramāt [prohibited] and makrūhāt [disliked] acts. In the marāsīl of al-Ḥasan [al-Baṣrī] [may Allāh have mercy on him] it is mentioned that the Prophet [ﷺ] said: ‘Do you see that if one of you possessed two slaves: one of them obeys [his master] when he is commanded, fulfils whatever is entrusted to him, and remains loyal to him even in his absence; the [other slave] disobeys him when he is ordered, betrays him with whatever he entrusted with, and is disloyal if he is left alone. Are they [the two slaves] equal?’ They replied: ‘No.’ He said: ‘Thus is your state with regards to Allāh, the Exalted in Might.’

Source: Jāmiʿ al-ʿUlūm: 228
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: April 1, 2022
Edited: May 27, 2022

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