The benefits derived from the hadith “Hasten to do (good) deeds…”

The benefits derived from the hadith “Hasten to do (good) deeds. (There will be) Fitnah like a portion of a dark night (in which there is no moonlight)…”

Author: Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Bin Muhammad Al Junaid

All praise is due to Allah the All Powerful and All Mighty. Peace and blessings be upon the Master of all of mankind Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his family, his companions and the Tabi’een. To proceed:

Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) has related that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “Hasten to do good deeds; (there will be) fitnah like a portion of a dark night, wherein an individual wakes up as a believer and begins the night as a disbeliever or he begins the night as a believer and wakes up as a disbeliever. He sells his religion for a portion of the dunya (this worldly life).”

This hadith will be explained in light of the different issues related to this hadith:

1. The analysis of this hadith and its authenticity.

Imaam Muslim narrated this hadith (n.118) and the abovementioned phrasing is from his narration. Also, Imaam Ahmad related this hadith (n. 10,772) and (n. 8,030), At Tirmidhi also related it (n. 2,195), along with Ibn Hibban (n. 6,704) and other narrators of hadith have narrated this hadith as well.

Those (scholars of hadith) who deemed this hadith authentic (saheeh) were: Muslim, At Tirmidhi, Ibn Hibban, Abu ‘Awaana, Al Baghawi, Al Albani and other scholars of hadith.

2. The subject matter of the hadith:

The topic of this hadith is to warn from the threat of fitnah and an explanation of the dangers and harms it presents to mankind.

3. The third issue of the hadith: The explanation of the hadith.

This hadith is related to fitnah, which is of two types:

The first type is the fitnah of Ash-Shubuhaat (doubts). What is meant by this type of fitnah is that fitnah which is connected to the religion (deen). This type of fitnah is more severe than the fitnah of As-shahawaat (base desires) because it (may) expel an individual from the purity of At-Tawheed and cause him to enter into the filth of As-Shirk (polytheism), Al-Kufr (disbelief), Al-Ilhaad (atheism or misguidance with regards to Allah’s names and attributes), or Az-Zandaqa (hypocrisy) and cause him to exit from the light of the Sunnah and cause him to enter into the darkness of bid’ah and misguidance.

This type of fitnah appears from time to time. It may also increase at one particular point in time and decrease at another.

Also, those people who call to this type of fitnah increase and multiply at one particular time or another. This type of fitnah could be present in newspapers, magazines, books, tapes, TV channels, the Internet, or from arguing or debating an atheist or with a person of bid’ah.

An individual could be a person who has the correct and unaltered ‘aqeedah, love of at tawheed and as-sunnah, honor of the salaf and then draw himself into listening to an atheist or a person of bid’ah or even reading their books, thereby exposing himself to doubts which could essentially misguide him and eventually cause him to be destroyed.

This type of fitnah could be related to Allah the Most High, His names and Attributes or His actions, or it could be concerned with the Messengers and Prophets, the companions, al-Qadr (Allah’s divine decree), the Last Day and what happens therein, and affairs of the unseen. Also, it could be concerned with at tawheed and ash-Shirk, as-Sunnah and al-Bid’ah or some of the obligatory affairs, prohibitions or even some of the supplications that have been narrated in the Sunnah.

The second type of fitnah: The fitnah of lust and desires.

What is meant by this type of fitnah is the fitnah of the desires which leads to and encourages one to engage in and commit sins or disobedience to Allah.

This type of fitnah is very dangerous especially in our times because of the fact that this type of fitnah is more appealing and closer to those who have weak souls. Thus, the (weak) individual gives in the first time, then gets drawn in to this type of fitnah and establishes a strong foothold in committing sins. Thus, his imaan (faith) weakens or even leaves.

Some examples of this type of fitnah are: the desire for wealth, immoralities, amusement, food and drink, clothes, and the desire to imitate the kuffar and sinners. For example, the lust for wealth leads to falling into numerous sins like the bloodshed which emanates between warring countries or between tribes, breaking into people’s homes and businesses or their cars, embezzling people’s money by unlawful means or prohibited means like fraud or selling things which are prohibited.

Lust for immoralities leads to committing unlawful acts like rape, fornication or adultery, homosexuality, masturbation, luring minors or weak minded individuals into committing inappropriate acts. It also leads to watching pornographic channels, videos, on the Internet or magazines. It also leads to harassing or following women in shopping malls or with video enhanced networking devices like that are included in mobile phones and computer cameras. In addition to these vices, this type of fitnah leads to lethargy with regards to performing the obligatory actions in addition to leniency with regards to them and even leads to eventually leaving them completely, not performing them at all. An individual may be chaste, have fear of Allah, be religious and then open the door to this type of fitnah and as a result become corrupt and then be destroyed.

4. The fourth issue: The benefits of this hadith.

The fear of fitnah and warning from it (derived from this hadith), and the numerous benefits found in this hadith.

The first benefit: The fear of and the warning from fitnah.

This fear that the servant has of this fitnah leads to several advantages for the servant.

The first advantage is that it will cause him to move towards seeking religious knowledge (‘ilm Ash-Shari’ah) and the resulting seriousness in doing so. This is because having religious knowledge will reveal these (types of) fitnah to him, give him knowledge of the rulings related to them, and guide him to the correct position with regards to them. Also, whenever he increases in religious knowledge his insight with regards to this fitnah will be enhanced.

The second advantage is that he will increase in his beseeching of Allah and his supplications to Allah in order to protect him and remove him from fitnah especially during those preferred times and places (which help in the dua’a being answered).

Allah the Most High loves when the servant beseeches Him and loves those who beseech Him.

Allah the Most High says encouraging the servants to beseech Him;

{Is not He (better than your idols?) Who responds to the distressed one when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil and makes you inheritors of the earth generations after generations? Is there any (God) with Allah? Little it is that you remember.} (Surah An-Naml: 62)

The third advantage is keeping away from those things which lead to fitnah.

From these causes (which distance one from fitnah) are: Not watching or listening to channels, websites, tapes, or CD’s which spread and fuel the fires of fitnah. Also, by not reading certain books, newspapers, magazines which increase fitnah, along with distancing oneself from the places of fitnah, its places, streets, scenes, clubs and coffee shops. And leaving the company of those who call to fitnah in addition to whoever may be known as troublemaker or talks a lot or rushes to enter into fitnah.

The second benefit of this hadith is: The encouragement to hasten and increase in doing good deeds before leaving them due to becoming preoccupied with fitnah.

This encouragement from the Prophet ((sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) of increasing righteous actions before the onset of fitnah or the increase of fitnah, has its reasons and from some of these reasons are the following:

First: Righteous actions are a protection from fitnah for the individual because they strengthen one’s imaan and increase him in firmness upon the religion. This is because Allah the Most High does not disappoint the individual who approaches Him (by doing good deeds) and has become steadfast in his worship and obedience to Allah the Most High.

It has been authentically related from the Prophet ((sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him)/em> that when he was a small boy, the Prophet ((sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised him by saying,

“Know Allah in times of ease and He will know you in times of adversities,” narrated by Ahmad and others.

Also, Imaam Al-Bukhari has narrated a hadith (n. 6,502) on the authority of Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet ((sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“Indeed, Allah has said, ‘whoever has declared one of My friends an enemy, then I have declared war upon him. And my servant has not gotten closer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than that which I have made obligatory upon him until I love him. And if I have loved him then I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his leg with which he walks. If he asks of Me, surely, I will give him and if he seeks refuge in Me then surely I will protect him and I have not hesitated in doing anything which I have done like the hesitation of taking the soul of a believer. He hates death and I hate to disappoint him’.”

Al Hafidh Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali (May Allah have mercy upon him) mentioned in his book, ‘‘Al Jaam’I Al ‘Uloom wal Hikm’, pg. 424, 
“In the general sense, whoever has dealt with Allah with taqwa and obedience while in a state of ease, then Allah will deal with him with compassion and assist him in the circumstance of his experiencing hardship.”

The knowledgeable Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy upon him) mentioned in his explanation of ‘‘Riyadhus Saaliheen’, (v.1, pg. 105), with regards to fitnah which is confronted with weak faith (imaan),

“and this is because it is a strong fitnah and if it approaches a weak heart which has been weakened by sin and fatigued by shahawaat (lustful desires) then it (the heart) will not find resistance to that fitnah nor be able to stifle it and as a result , the individual will surely be destroyed by it and it will slash him just like the arrow pierces and tears through its prey.”

Additional warnings for the Ummah have been narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) encouraging them to increase their worship in times of fitnah. He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) explained to them the great reward for doing so. He (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) has said,

“Worship in the time of ‘harj’ is like making hijrah towards me.” This hadith has been narrated by Muslim in his As-Saheeh, (n. 2,948).

Imaam An Nawawi (May Allah have mercy upon him)mentioned in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim, with regards to this hadith,“What is meant by the word ‘harj’ here means: fitnah and the people’s affairs becoming chaotic. Also, the reason for the increase in the reward for worship in times of fitan is that people are careless with regards to worship (during times of fitnah) and become busy and only a few individuals (in the time of fitnah) can actually devote themselves to worship.”

Secondly: If fitnah appears then it becomes a barrier between an individual and him doing good deeds or it weakens him, thereby causing his reward to be decreased. And this is because fitnah could be related to blood (taking of life), so security weakens and evil people and criminals gain control. For that reason, killing becomes widespread, therefore the individual becomes distracted from performing different types of obedience like juma’ah and the congregational prayer because he is busy trying to secure himself, his family and his wealth .

This fitnah may also result in an individual being imprisoned, becoming homeless, or his being abused, so he becomes too distracted to be able to do righteous actions under his own will due to the circumstances he is in. Or he may be stricken with worry, distress, anguish, fear and concerns to the point that his thoughts become preoccupied, his heart becomes busy, and his capacity to think clearly has been compromised. As a result, his khushoo’ (in worship) will weaken and his heart will be busy while performing acts of worship. As a result, his reward and recompense (for doing good deeds) is lessened.

The third benefit: The explanation of some of the hardships and hideousness of this fitnah.

From the hideousness and tragedies of this fitnah (described in this hadith) is the fact that an individual enters into the night a believer (Mu’min) and then because of this fitnah, he wakes up a kaafir (disbeliever) or he wakes up a Mu’min and he enters the night a kaafir.

The disbelief which this fitnah has led to could be Kufr al-akbar, major disbelief expelling one from Islaam or is could be Kufr al-Asghar (minor disbelief) which does not expel one from the religion and this depends on the reason why this individual sells his religion (a reference to the last part of the hadith). Sheikh Ibn Utahymeen (May Allah have mercy upon him) noted this point in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim (pg. 38).

Also, Sheikh Ibn Baaz (May Allah have mercy upon him) mentioned in the compilation of his Fataawa, (pg. 108, v. 25), with regards to the part of the hadith, he sells his religion for a portion of the dunya,

“and this is if he speaks with kufr or does an act of kufr for the sake of the dunya. Someone comes to him and says, ‘Curse Allah, curse the Messenger, leave the prayer and we will give you such and such, declare zina (adultery or fornication) to be lawful and we will give you such and such, say alcohol is lawful, or they say to him, do not be with the believers and we will give you this or that so that you will be with the kuffaar’, so they tempt him to be with the kuffar and with the party (hizb) of the kufaar and from amongst their supporters.

To the point where they give him ample wealth and as a result he becomes a supporter of the kuffaar and an enemy to the Muslims. The different categories of apostasy are numerous and most of the time the reason for apostasy is because of the dunya, loving it and preferring it over the aakhirah (afterlife).”

The fourth benefit: The magnitude of the dangers of this fitnah.

This is derived from two aspects:

The first one being that the individual makes this drastic and dreadful reversal (from belief to disbelief) in just one day.

The second, is that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) likened this fitnah to the darkness of a night in which there is no light from the moon. As a result of the severity of this darkness it becomes difficult for the individual to know his whereabouts therefore making it easy for him to fall into that which harms and may even destroy him. Likewise is this fitnah, if it increases and becomes severe, it becomes difficult at that time to distinguish the truth and act upon it. Also, fitnah ruins the situation (an individual may be in), weakens the (practicing of) the religion, disrupts life and causes material losses.

The fifth benefit: Devoting one’s self to the dunya and the desire for it are some of the main reasons for falling into fitnah and misguidance in the religion.

This is derived from the Prophet’s (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) statement regarding the reason why the individual alters from belief to disbelief,

“He sells his religion for a portion of the dunya.”

Sheikh Ibn Al Utahymeen (May Allah have mercy upon him)/em> mentioned in the explanation of RRiyadh As-Saaliheen (v.1, pg. 150),

“And do not think that this portion of the dunya is only wealth. (Rather) it could be any of the pleasures of this world that are presented to him like wealth, status, leadership, women, or other things. Anything from the pleasures of this world is this ‘portion’ of the dunya (mentioned in the hadith).”

The sixth benefit: Hastening to do good deeds are one of the reasons for strengthening one’s faith and leaving off good deeds causes one to doubt at the time of fitnah and be affected by it.

Due to these reasons, the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) encouraged the Muslims to hasten to doing good deeds and commanded them to do so.

Translator: Abu Afnaan Muhammad Abdullah

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