Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللہَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِہٖ وَلَا تَمُوۡتُنَّ اِلَّا وَاَنۡتُمۡ مُّسْلِمُوۡنَ﴿۱۰۲﴾
‘O believers! Fear Allah as rightly He is to be feared, and do not die ever save as Muslims.
(Aale ‘Imran 3, Verse 102)
فَاتَّقُوا اللہَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ
Therefore, fear Allah as much as you can.
(Al-Taghabun 64, Verse 16)
This is the meaning of the first command.
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللہَ وَ قُوۡلُوۡا قَوْلًا سَدِیۡدًا ﴿ۙ۷۰﴾
‘O believers! fear Allah and say the right word.
(Al-Ahzab 33, Verse 70)
وَ مَنۡ یَّـتَّقِ اللہَ یَجْعَلْ لَّہٗ مَخْرَجًا ۙ﴿۲﴾
Then, when they are about to reach their term, retain them with kindness or part from them with kindness and take two just persons as witnesses from among you and setup witness for Allah. By this, he who believes in Allah and the Last Day is admonished. And he who fears Allah, Allah will make a way for his deliverance.
وَّ یَرْزُقْہُ مِنْ حَیۡثُ لَا یَحْتَسِبُ ؕ
And will provide for him whence he expects not.
(Al-Talaaq 65, Verse 2-3)
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِنۡ تَتَّقُوا اللہَ یَجْعَلۡ لَّکُمْ فُرْقَانًا وَّیُکَفِّرْ عَنۡکُمْ سَیِّاٰتِکُمْ وَیَغْفِرْ لَکُمْ ؕ وَاللہُ ذُوالْفَضْلِ الْعَظِیۡمِ ﴿۲۹﴾
‘O believers! If you will fear Allah, He will grant you that by which you may be able to distinguish between right and wrong and will remove off your evils and will forgive you. And Allah is the owner of great Grace.
(Al-Anfal 8, Verse 29)
عَنْ أَبِی ہُرَیْرَۃَ رَضِیَ اللہُ عَنْہُ قَالَ:قِیلَ یَا رَسُولَ اللہِ! مَنْ أَکْرَمُ النَّاسِ قَالَ: أَتْقَاہُمْ فَقَالُوا: لَیْسَ عَنْ ہَذَا نَسْأَلُکَ ، قَالَ: فَیُوسُفُ نَبِیُّ اللہِ ابْنُ نَبِیِّ اللہِ ابْنِ نَبِیِّ اللہِ ابْنِ خَلِیلِ اللہِ قَالُوا: لَیْسَ عَنْ ہَذَا نَسْأَلُکَ، قَالَ: فَعَنْ مَعَادِنِ الْعَرَبِ تَسْأَلُونِی خِیَارُہُمْ فِی الْجَاہِلِیَّۃِ خِیَارُہُمْ فِی الْاِسْلَامِ إِذَا فَقُہُوْا۔
(بخاری، کتاب احادیث الانبیائ،باب قولہ تعالٰی واتخذ اللہ ابراہیم خلیلا، ۲/۴۲۱،حدیث:۳۳۵۳)
Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – reported: The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – was asked: ‘Who is the most honoured among men?’ He replied: ‘The one who fears Allah the most.’ The companions said: ‘That is not what we meant.’ So he said: ‘Then, Nabi Yusuf, the Prophet of Allah, the son of a Prophet of Allah (Sayyiduna Ya’qoob), the son of another Prophet of Allah (Sayyiduna Is’haq), the son of Sayyiduna Ibrahim the friend of Allah (peace be upon them).’ They said: ‘This too is not what we meant.’ The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – inquired: ‘Are you asking me about Arab families. If that is so, then those who were worthy of honour before Islam are worthy of honour in Islam provided, they are blessed with the understanding of it.’”
Allah Almighty states the following in the Holy Quran:
اِنَّ اَکْرَمَکُمْ عِنۡدَ اللہِ اَتْقٰىکُمْ ؕ اِنَّ اللہَ عَلِیۡمٌ خَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۳﴾
Undoubtedly, the most respected among you in the sight of Allah is he who is more pious, verily, Allah is knowing, Aware.
(Al-Hujrat 49, Verse 13)
أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى عَجَمِيٍّ ، وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ، وَلَا أَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ، وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ، إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى
Behold! No Arab possesses any excellence over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab, nor a white over a black nor a black over a white except through (excellence is measured in accordance to) Allah’s fear.
(Musnad Ahmed Hadeeth No. 23489)
The One whom Allah Honours
It is reported that once in Baghdad Shareef, there was a young man who was pious and who had acquired a fair amount of Islamic knowledge. He also had a habit of prohibiting people from doing evil and bad deeds even if he had to do so in public. In fact, one day, he even scolded Sultan Harun Rashid in public, not bothering what would happen to him. Sultan Harun Rashid had committed a certain action which had transgressed the Shari’ah. Obviously, the Sultan was very angry and upset and he decided to have this young man arrested.
Sultan Harun Rashid locked this pious person in a room and made sure that all the openings in this room were also sealed so that this person will eventually die of hunger and lack of oxygen. However, a few days later, Sultan Harun Rashid was shocked to see that same young man walking in a certain orchard. The Sultan then ordered that he be rearrested and brought into the palace. Sultan Harun Rashid asked him, “Who released you from that sealed room?”
He replied, “The One Who had me placed there in the first place”.
The Sultan then asked him, “Who had you placed there in the first place?”
He replied, “The One Who had me released.”
When the people in the palace heard these answers, they were extremely shocked. The Sultan was so amazed by this young man that he ordered that this young man be carried on a horse and paraded around the city. The person taking this young man around should also make a public announcement which was, “This is that person upon whom Allah Almighty has bestowed respect, however the Khalifah wishes to dishonour him. However, he upon whom Allah Almighty bestows honour, no person can disgrace or dishonour him.”
(Tafseer Ruhul Bayan, 5/391)
The Great Taqwa:
It is mentioned that there was once a person who worshipped Allah Almighty for a hundred years. However, on one occasion the Satan deceived him, and he left his room to visit his friends and family. One of his old friends then held on to him and took him to his house. He also told him that he had great need for this person because he had some important things to do. The pious person then continued to help this friend of his for seven months.
One night the pious person awoke. He was looking visibly shaken and he also screamed. When they heard his screams, the host came running and asked him what had happened. The pious replied, “While I was sleeping, I saw a young person. He was the most handsome person I have ever seen. His clothes were pure and clean, he said to me, ‘I am the Prophet of Allah. What defect have you seen in Allah Almighty and His Prophet that you have stopped worshipping? Return to your place of Ibadah immediately before you pass away.’”
The pious person returned to his private Ibadah area during the night. He walked like a person who had lost his senses and also drank rain water when he felt thirsty. He consumed mere leaves and continued to utter the words, “O Allah! I admit that my physical being is defective, my tongue is full of sin and my heart is sinful. O that Being Who knows all secrets and that Being who pardons, please pardon me.”
As he neared his private room, he placed one foot forward, he noticed something written in front of him. It was in four lines. It read:
When you relied on Us, We were sufficient for you.
When you decided to choose others, We left you.
When you turned towards us, We accepted you.
When you refrained from sinning, We pardoned you and showed Mercy on you and whatever We have, you wished for that, and we blessed you with that. (Nawaadir Al Qalyubi)
One day, while the great Saint, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Shibli – may Allah be pleased with him – was lecturing, he mentioned, “Fear the Divine Awe and Majesty of Allah Almighty.”
There was a young man who was sitting and listening to these words who suddenly screamed out aloud. He also passed away at the same moment. The family members of this young man then approached the Sultan and complained that Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Shibli – may Allah be pleased with him – had killed the young man.
The Sultan called Hadrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Shibil – may Allah be pleased with him – and asked him what he had to say about this complaint. The great Saint replied, “O Ameerul Mo’mineen! It was a soul which desired (to see its Creator). When it was fed the sweetness of (Divine Love), it accepted this drink. How can I be at fault in this?”
When the leader of the Muslims heard this answer, he himself began to weep and he said to the family members of this young man, that the great Saint was not at fault. (An Nawaadir Al Qalyubi)
The Righteous ‘Ulama have Fear of Allah
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mubarak – may Allah be pleased with him – was asked as to, who were the real humans. He replied that it was the ‘Ulama.
He was asked who the real rulers of the world were. He replied, those people who have no interest in the world.
He was then asked about those who were considered as disgraceful and despicable people. He replied that they are those who sell their religion.
Without doubt, that by explaining such important qualities of people, Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mubarak – may Allah be pleased with him – was showing us a path or road of how to recognize the proper leaders from the false leaders.
There is also no doubt that in the Qur’an Allah Almighty also clearly declared that amongst His servants, the people that really fear Him are the ‘Ulama. Hence, there is a possibility that people would get confused and start to believe that every so-called scholar, fears Allah Almighty when in reality, the great Saint had indicated who are those who really fear Him.
The actual essence of knowledge is such, which does not allow itself to be substituted by any other item or entity. In other words, knowledge is merely for the sake of knowledge and nothing else. Therefore, anyone who uses knowledge to acquire something else will be disgraced even though he might be financially very powerful or strong.
It is reported that once when Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mubarak – may Allah be pleased with him – went for Hajj, the entire population of men come out to meet him. Their purpose was to gain Barakah from his presence. In fact, it is said that in Mecca Shareef itself, only the women and children remained. At that time, the wife of Sultan Harun Rashid was also in Mecca Shareef, and present in the blessed city. She inquired about this strange atmosphere and environment. She also inquired as to why no men folk could be seen anywhere. She was told that the men folk had gone out of the city to welcome a scholar from Khurasan, namely Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mubarak – may Allah be pleased with him.
She was extremely surprised when she heard these words and remarked that since the hearts of people were so connected with the ‘Ulama; the kings were merely people who ruled people by force while the rightly-guided ‘Ulama ruled the hearts of the people. In fact, she slapped her hand on the wall and declared, “The souls of people are ruled by the ‘Ulama and this is true leadership. The rule of Harun Rashid is not real because he has to use force to govern people.”
The eminent scholar also spent time acquiring knowledge at the feet of Imam A’zam, Imam Abu Hanifah – may Allah be pleased with him. One day, the great Imam asked him the reason for his repentance earlier in life. At first, he was embarrassed but finally related, “One day I was sitting with a few friends in a certain garden with a female singer and we continued eating and drinking until the late evening. I was also very fond of music and spent the entire night listening to music. At the time of Sehri, I dozed off. However, as I slept, a bird landed on my head and began to recite the 16th verse of Surah Hadeed which is:
اَلَمْ یَاۡنِ لِلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اَنۡ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوۡبُہُمْ لِذِکْرِ اللہِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۙ وَلَا یَکُوۡنُوۡا کَالَّذِیۡنَ اُوۡتُوا الْکِتٰبَ مِنۡ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَیۡہِمُ الْاَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوۡبُہُمْ ؕ وَکَثِیۡرٌ مِّنْہُمْ فٰسِقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۶﴾
Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts should lean for the remembrance of Allah and for the truth, which has come down, and that they should not become like those who were given the Book before, then the term was prolonged for them, so their hearts were hardened? And many of them are disobedient.
“In my dream, I said why not. When I awoke, my heart had completely changed and was full of fear for the Allah Almighty. I then broke all the musical instruments which I had with me and all the desires of this word disappeared from my heart.”
Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Mubarak – may Allah be pleased with him – continued to increase in knowledge and Taqwa, until he began one of the greatest luminaries of Islam. As a matter of fact, he is also considered as one of the main pillars or foundations in this regard.
In various generations, people have continued to follow and respect him. (Zindah Jaawed)
The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has also indicated that those who were good by nature in the days of ignorance are also those who will be good after accepting Islam. This is when they acquire knowledge. In other words, the inner nature of a person in his qualities of goodness and nobility does not necessarily change.
Crying due to the Fear of Allah
It is recorded that once Allah Almighty revealed to Nabi Moosa – peace be upon him – 114,000 deep words of secrets in only three days. Among them was the following:
“O Moosa! Those who are pious and noble have never ever attained such closeness to Me except through their complete dislike and attraction for the world. In other words, among the noble attributes of a person is his complete non-interest in the world and everything worldly. No one has achieved such closeness to Me except through their act of refraining from those things which I have prohibited. In other words, this is when a person makes sure that he refrains from all those things which have been prohibited in Islam. As for those who have worshipped Me, they have never attained closeness to Me except through their tears which they have shed in fear of Me. In other words, one of the greatest forms of Ibadah is to weep in fear of Allah.”
Nabi Moosa – peace be upon him – then asked Allah Almighty what he had in store for these people and what He had prepared for them.
Allah Almighty declared, “O Moosa! For those who refrain from that which I have prohibited, for them Jannah has become Halaal. They may live in Jannah wherever they please. As for the pious, I will allow them to enter Jannah without question and accountability. As for those who have wept in fear of Me, no one will reward them except Me.”
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni’s – may Allah be pleased with him – his full name is Abu Uthman Ismail bin Abdur Rahman bin Ahmed bin Ismail bin Ebrahim bin Aabid bin Aamir Saabuni. He was one of the greatest orators and commentators of the Qur’an of his era. He was born in 373 A.H. in Nihshaapur. For many years Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – travelled to places like Herat, Khuraasan, Sarkhas, Syria and parts of the Hejaz seeking knowledge from experts in their field. He is also the special student of Imam Bahiqi – may Allah be pleased with him.
For nearly twenty years, Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – was the official Imam and Khateeb of the Jamia Masjid in Nishaapur and spent nearly seventeen years speaking and lecturing to people. He was an open sword against those who were not Sunnis and spent night and day propagating the beliefs of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah. He spent a long period of time in a town called Salmaas, and when he was leaving, he said to the people that in all this time, he had only explained on one verse of the Qur’an. He also mentioned that even if he stayed one more year in that city, he would still be able to explain even more on that one single verse of the Qur’an.
Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – was also unmatched in Ibadah and obedience to Shari’ah in his era. He was considered as among the most senior ‘Ulama of his era. In fact, his passing away from this Dunya is also a sign of his greatness.
It is mentioned that once during his lecture, someone handed him a book which explained “Fear for Allah”. Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – merely recited a few passages from this book and asked a Qari to recite certain verses of the Qur’an. He asked the Qari to recite other verses of the Qur’an which gives creation a dire warning from Allah Almighty. A few minutes later, Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – began to tremble with immense fear for Allah Almighty and he developed such immense abdominal pain that he could not continue. Some of the people present carried him to his residence. As much as the doctors tried, they could not remove this pain. In this state, Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him – passed away on the day of Jumu’ah which was the 4th of Muharram in 449 A.H.
One of his miracles is that it is mentioned, that once Imamul Haramain (Abul Mu’aani Juwayni) was reading through certain books of other sects and also books of the Ahle Sunnah was Jamaah. The Satan had put evil thoughts in his mind. In this way, he had doubts in his mind on which group to follow. In fact, some people even mention that Imamul Haramain had reached such a critical state that very soon he was going to leave the folds of the Ahle Sunnah was Jamaah.
However, he was very lucky because on one occasion, the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – appeared in his dream and informed him, “Stay firm on the beliefs of Saabuni”. When he began to read the books of Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him –which explained the beliefs of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah, all his doubts which were created through books of misguided sects and books of philosophers were immediately eliminated. His belief in the Aqaa’id of the Ahle Sunnah wa Jamaah also became staunch.
Among the books of Hadrat Sayyiduna Imam Saabuni – may Allah be pleased with him, his famous treatise is one entitled, “Kitaab Al Mi’ateen,” which contains two hundred Ahadith, two hundred stories and two hundred couplets and which is within the subject of the Ahadith mentioned.
If this is the state and danger which was faced by a great scholar such as Imamul Haramain because he happened to read the books of non- Sunnis, what will become the state of those who have no knowledge. Therefore, in this time and period, it is extremely important that you stay away from the material of these misled sects. Remember that the satan is always there to confuse and misguide. As we have mentioned, your greatest asset is your belief and if this leaves you, then you are a person who is part of the living dead.
His Back was Bent in the Fear of Allah
It is reported about Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu that his back had already bent while he was still quite young. Many people tried in vain to ask him how this had happened but Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu – refused to tell anyone what had happened or when it had happened. There was one student of his though, who kept insisting but Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu remained silent.
One day, when this student kept insisting Hadrat Sayyiduna Sufyan Thouri Radi Allahu ‘Anhu revealed, “Once, one of my teachers who was considered among the eminent teachers of his era and from whom I had learnt many branches of knowledge, when his time of death approached, he said to me, ‘O Sufyan! Do you know what has transpired with me? For fifty years, I have educated people about obeying Allah azza wajal and have also educated them about refraining from sinning. However, now the light of life is about to come to an end and Allah azza wajal has informed me that I am not fit to enter His Divine Court.’
“When I heard this declaration of my teacher, with the fear of Allah azza wajal, my back actually broke. Many people had in fact heard my back breaking. I continued to weep, and it came to a state where, even blood appeared in my urine and I became extremely ill. As I became very sick, I visited a doctor who was a Christian. At first, he did not know what I was suffering from and began to examine me closely. He then checked my pulse and said, ‘It is my opinion that among the Muslims there is no young man like this today whose internal organs have burst through the fear of Allah azza wajal.’”
(Hikaayatus Saaliheen, 46)
The Taqwa of a One-eyed Man
One day, Nabi ‘Isa Alayhis Salaam went outside with a few people to make Du’a for rain.
However, Allah azza wajal revealed to him, “O ‘Isa! Do not pray for rain because there are sinners among you.”
Nabi ‘Isa Alayhis Salaam then turned around and informed the people of this. He said, “Those of you who are sinners, please return to your houses.”
The narrator of this incident relates that everyone returned to their homes except one person who had only one eye. Looking at him, Nabi ‘Isa Alayhis Salaam asked, “Why did you also not return with the others?”
He replied, “O Ruhullah! I have never disobeyed the Almighty Allah azza wajal for one moment. However, one day, by mistake, my eyes fell on the leg of a female and in embarrassment I immediately removed that eye. If my other eye had done the same, I would have also removed that eye as well.”
The narrator reveals that when Nabi ‘Isa Alayhis Salaam heard this he began to weep until even his beard became wet with his tears. He then asked this pious person to make Du’a. However, this person replied, “I seek refuge in Allah azza wajal that I display (this disrespect) of making Du’a while you are present and the one who is Ruhullah and Kalimatullah.”
Nabi ‘Isa Alayhis Salaam then began to make Du’a and it started to rain immediately.
- Dear Muslims! With the passing of days and months, on each occasion, we are taught lessons and we are also taught that after every sadness there is happiness. We also learn that we will have to face the grave eventually.
- Piety is indeed real gratitude to the Almighty azza wajal. How many mansions and palaces have we seen been destroyed in front of us? How many owners have come and gone, and nobody even remembers their names?
- We come to know from this Hadith that the families which enjoyed popularity and prestige for their eminent qualities prior to Islam were also credited for these values after their acceptance of Islam.
- Their respect was now qualified with their Islamic knowledge and practice. Their capabilities, self-respect and other qualities were turned towards a different direction.