That is what worship is all about: your purification and elevation in iman (faith) and taqwa (piety).
Good Deeds Will Get You Closer to Allah
But had they done what they were exhorted to (do), it would have been better for them; and would have strengthened/stabilized their (faith). (An-Nisaa’ 4:66)
Narrated Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Allah said: ‘Whoever harms a wali (a friend or a supporter) of mine I will declare war against him. And my servant has not drawn closer to me with anything more beloved to me than what I made obligatory on him (faridah). And he continues to draw closer to me with nawafil (the preferable non-obligatory deeds) until I love him; And when I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks, and if he asks Me, I will give him, and, if he seeks refuge in me, I will protect him and, I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer for, he hates death and, I hate to sadden him’” (Al-Bukhari)
Why We Worship God?
In fact that is what worship is all about: your purification and elevation in iman (faith) and taqwa (piety), for Allah will not benefit from your worship. In a hadith qudsi (divine hadith) Allah said:
“O my servants! I have made unlawful oppression upon myself and I have made it unlawful between you. So do not oppress each other. O my servants! All of you are astray except the ones whom I have guided, so seek my guidance and I will guide you. O my servants! All of you are naked except those of you whom I have clothed, so seek clothing from me and I will clothe you. O my servants! All of you are hungry except those of you whom I have fed, seek food from me and I will feed you. O my servants! You make errors in the night and in the day and I forgive all sins. Seek forgiveness from me and I will forgive you. O my servants!
You will never be able to harm Me and you will never be able to benefit Me. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you and the jinn from among you and the men from among you, were to fear Allah as the best among you, that would not increase in My Majesty/Mastership any. O my servants!
If the first of you and the last of you and the jinn among you and the men among you, were to perform the worst forms of crimes, that will not decrease from My Majesty/Mastership any. O my servants! If the first of you and the last of you, the jinn of you and the men of you, were to stand on one side and ask Me, I will give each one of you what you ask and still this will not decrease from My Majesty/Mastership; as if you dip a needle into the ocean.” (Muslim)
So when fasting was prescribed for you, it was to bring you closer (i.e., closer to Allah), Allah said:
O you who believe Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain piety. (Al-Baqarah 2:183)
And when you make Hajj and slaughter the sacrifice it is that you may get closer to Allah. Allah said: It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah but, it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus, have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings to the good doers. (Al-Hajj 22:37)
And when you give charity it is to get closer, Allah said:
Take alms from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of tranquility for them; and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower. (At-Tawbah 9:103)
The article is an excerpt from the paper “Acts of Worship as a Means to Strengthen the Attachment between the Servant and his Lord” by Dr. Hatem Al-Haj which was prepared for a conference in Austin, Texas, 2002. It first appeared at drhatemalhaj.com.
By Editorial Staff
If you read our previous article, you will learn that Islam does not deny intercession. We have provided evidence to the contrary. However, in the Hereafter, making intercessions with Allah requires some prerequisites the most important of which is Allah’s permission.
Permission must first be granted to the intercessor so that he or she can intercede on behalf of those who deserve it, namely, those who get permission confirming that they deserve it.
On the other hand, Intercessions, in general, may be divided into three kinds: intercessions made in the Hereafter, living persons making intercessions on behalf of the departed, and intercessions made in this life. Let us consider these kinds in some detail.
The kinds of Intercessions
As for the Greatest Intercession, the intercessor with Allah will be only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) after obtaining Allah’s permission.
A. ِِIntercessions made in the Hereafter
1. The Greatest Intercession
As for the Greatest Intercession, the intercessor with Allah will be only Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) after obtaining Allah’s permission.
On the Day of Resurrection, people will suffer anguish and affliction to the extent that they will not be able to bear. They, then, will ask some of the prophets (peace be upon them) to intercede to alleviate their sufferings. Praying to Allah, Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) will be granted the right of the Greatest Intercession. Moreover, he will have the right to admit some people into the Paradise and save others from the Hellfire.
The Hadith that tells the story of this Great Intercession.
Abu Huraira reported:
“Meat was one day brought to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and a foreleg was offered to him, a part which he liked. He sliced with his teeth a piece out of it and said:
“I shall be the leader of mankind on the Day of Resurrection. Do you know why?
The setting of this real, yet unseen story
Allah would gather in one plain the earlier and the later (of the human race) on the Day of Resurrection. Then the voice of the proclaimer would be heard by all of them and the eyesight would penetrate through all of them and the sun would come near.
People would then experience a degree of anguish, anxiety and agony which they shall not be able to bear and they shall not be able to stand. Some people would say to the others:
“Don’t you see in which trouble you are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken you? Why don’t you find one who should intercede for you with your Lord?”
Prophet Adam (peace be upon him)
Some would say to the others: “Go to Adam”.
And they would go to Adam and say: “O Adam, thou art the father of mankind. Allah created thee by His own Hand and breathed in thee of His spirit and ordered the angels to prostrate before thee. Intercede for us with thy Lord Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”
Adam would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry, to an extent to which He had never been angry before nor would He be angry afterward.
Verily, He forbade me (to go near) that tree and I disobeyed Him. I am concerned with my own self. Go to someone else; go to Noah.”
Messenger Noah (peace be upon him)
They would come to Noah and would say: “O Noah, thou art the first of the Messengers (sent) on the earth (after Adam), and Allah named thee as a ‘Grateful Servant’, intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”
He would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before, and would never be angry afterwards. There had emanated a curse from me with which I cursed my people. I am concerned with only myself, I am concerned only with myself; you better go to Ibrahim (peace be upon him).”
Allah’s Beloved Friend and Messenger, Abraham (peace be upon him)
They would go to Ibrahim and say: “Thou art the apostle of Allah and His Friend amongst the inhabitants of the earth; intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in which (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”
Ibrahim would say to them: “Verily, my Lord is today angry as He had never been angry before and would never be angry afterwards. And (Ibrahim) would mention his lies (and then say): I am concerned only with myself, I am concerned only with myself. You better go to someone else: go to Moses.”
Messenger Moses (peace be upon him)
They would come to Moses (peace be upon him) and say: “O Moses, thou art Allah’s messenger, Allah blessed thee with His messengership and His conversation amongst people. Intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see in what (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”
Moses (peace be upon him) would say to them: “Verily, my Lord is angry as He had never been angry before and would never be angry afterwards. I, in fact, killed a person whom I had not been ordered to kill. I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself. You better go to Jesus (peace be upon him).”
Messenger Jesus (peace be upon him)
They would come to Jesus and would say: “O Jesus, thou art the messenger of Allah and thou conversed with people in the cradle, (thou art) His Word which He sent down upon Mary. And (thou art) the Spirit from Him; so intercede for us with thy Lord. Don’t you see (the trouble) in which we are? Don’t you see (the misfortune) that has overtaken us?”
Jesus (peace be upon him) would say: “Verily, my Lord is angry today as He had never been angry before or would ever be angry afterwards.” He mentioned no sin of his. (He simply said:) I am concerned with myself, I am concerned with myself; you go to someone else. You better go to Muhammad (ﷺ).”
The Last Messenger, Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace)
They would come to me and say: “O Mahammad, thou art the messenger of Allah and the last of the apostles. Allah has pardoned thee all thy previous and later sins. Intercede for us with thy Lord; don’t you see in which (trouble) we are? Don’t you see what (misfortune) has overtaken us?”
I shall then set off and come below the Throne and fall down prostrate before my Lord; then Allah would reveal to me and inspire me with some of His Praises and Glorifications which He had not revealed to anyone before me. He would then say:
“Muhammad, raise thy head; ask and it would be granted; intercede and intercession would be accepted.” I would then raise my head and say:
“O my Lord, my people, my people.”
It would be said: “O Muhammad, bring in by the right gate of Paradise those of your people who would have no account to render. They would share with the people some other door besides this door.”
The Prophet then said: By Him in Whose Hand is the life of Muhammad, verily the distance between two door leaves of the Paradise is as great as between Mecca and Hajar, or as between Mecca and Busra. (Muslim)
The matter of intercession is of great importance because it is part of the Islamic Faith or ‘Aqidah. To reach a proper understanding of this matter, one must first study all the verses of the Gracious Quran and the authentic Hadiths that speak about it. Adopting an opinion according to a specific text without taking into consideration the other texts may lead to misunderstanding.
Al-Shafa’ah (intercession) is an Arabic term taken from al-Shaf’ which means two, even or couple. Two antonyms of al-Shaf’ (couple) are single and odd. It may be defined as speaking to or asking someone to bring about benefits or to save or protect another one from harm. If the intercession is accepted, this becomes a sign of the high status the intercessor enjoys in the eye of the person who accepts it.
Scanning the verses of the gracious Quran, one finds out that there are some verses that negate al-Shafa’ah (intercession) while there are other verses that confirm it. Of course, there is no problem here as scholars provide some ways of reconciliation between the two apparently contradictory kinds of verses.
Intercession may be defined as speaking to or asking someone to bring about benefits or to save or protect another one from harm.
Some verses which absolutely negate al-Shafa’ah(intercession):
There are some verses that deny intercession. It will be sufficient to quote a few of them.
1. Allah says,“Then be ever fearful of a Day (Hereafter) when no soul shall indemnify any other soul against anything (from God). Nor shall any intercession be accepted from it (for its salvation). Nor shall any compensation be taken from it (in atonement for its sins). Nor shall they (who have disbelieved) ever be helped (against God’s Judgment).” (Quran 2:48)
2.“O you who believe! Spend (charitably) out of what We have provided you, before there comes a Day (Hereafter) in which there shall be no (gainful) trade nor (availing) friendship, nor intercession. Then (as to) the disbelievers (who embrace false gods) _ it is they who are the wrongdoers, (godless in heart).” (Quran 2:254)
3.“Hence, forewarn with (this Quran all) those who fear being gathered before their Lord (that) they have no patron apart from Him, nor any intercessor, so that they may become God-fearing.” (Quran 6:51)
As for intercession to take place, there are some conditions regarding all the parties involved. The above mentioned verses can be understood to refer to the people who do not meet the requirements necessary for them to intercede on behalf of others or have others intercede on their behalf.
Some other verses which confirm intercession:
On the other hand, the following verses mention some prerequisites so that the intercession can be accepted. Allah’s permission and pleasure are but a few examples. A few examples of these verses will also be sufficient.
1. Allah says, “Who is it that shall intercede with Him, except by His permission?” (Quran 2:255)
2. “So all those that they call upon apart from Him hold no (power of) intercession. Excepted are those (of God’s servants whom He permits to intercede, and) who bear witness to the truth and they know well “from Him for whom it may be made).” (Quran 43:86)
3. “For how many an angel is there in the heavens whose intercession is of no avail (to anyone) in anything until God grants permission to whomever He so wills and is pleased with.” (Quran 53:26)
Ways to reconcile between the two types of verses:
1. The matter of intercession is entirely in the Hands of Allah (Glory be to Him). Allah says, “(Then) say (to them): Intercession is altogether for God (alone to permit)!” (Quran 39:44)
2. There is no intercession in favor of the disbelievers. Allah says, “So forewarn them of the Impending Day when hearts go up into choking throats – (when) there shall be no intimate friend for the wrongdoers, nor any intercessor to be heeded.” (Quran 40:18)
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, Abraham will meet his father (on the Day of Resurrection) and will say, ‘O my Lord You promised me that You would not let me in disgrace on the Day when people will be resurrected.’ Allah will say, ‘I have forbidden Paradise for the disbelievers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
However, Abu Talib, Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, may be regarded as an exception. Although the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will not save him from the Hellfire, the torment of the Hell-fire will be alleviated for him. This is because he used to defend and protect Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Moreover, Abu Talib did not use to call people to disbelief even though he was a disbeliever.
Narrated `Abdullah bin Al-Harith bin Naufal:
`Abbas bin `Abdul Muttalib said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Did you benefit Abu Talib with anything as he used to protect and take care of you, and used to become angry for you?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Yes, he is in a shallow place of Fire. But for me he would have been in the lowest part of the Fire. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
3. The intercessor can intercede only by Allah’s permission. Allah says, “Who is it that shall intercede with Him, except by His permission?” (Quran 2:255)
4. The intercessor can intercede only on behalf of those whom Allah is pleased with. Allah says, “He (alone) knows what lies before them and what lies behind them. Nor do they intercede (with God) – except on behalf of those with whom He is pleased.” (Quran 21:28)
5. Idols, the sun, the moon and all the other things that were worshipped apart from Allah do not intercede with Allah on behalf of their worshippers. Allah says,
“Thus (all) those whom you call upon apart from Him hold no authority even over (so much as) a seed coat. If you call them, they do not hear your call. And were they to hear, they could not answer you. Thus, on the Day of Resurrection, they will utterly disavow your association of them (as gods) with God. And there is none to tell you (of the events of that Day) like the One who is all-aware. (Quran 35:14)
By Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan
Menstruation is the flow of a type of natural blood from the womb at specific times. This flow of blood occurs every month for six or seven days, and the period may last for more or less than that. In other words, a woman’s menstrual period may last for a fewer or more than seven days depending on the different nature of each woman as predetermined by Allah.
Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“And they ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.’” (Qur’an: AI- Baqarah: 222)
Rulings Stated in the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah Concerning Menstruation
It is prohibited for a menstruating woman either to perform prayer or observe fasting.
1. Performing Prayer and Fasting
It is prohibited for a menstruating woman either to perform prayer or observe fasting. This is because the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said to Fatimah Bint Abu Hubaysh:
“Give up prayer when your menstrual period begins.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Thus, the prayer and fasting of a menstruating woman are deemed invalid, as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) has prohibited that. And the Prophet’s prohibition means it is invalid to perform what he has prohibited. Therefore, a woman who performs such acts of worship in that state of impurity is considered to be disobedient to Allah and His Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).
May women make up for the missed prayers and days of fasting?
When the menstrual period is over, a woman has to make up for the missed days of fasting according to the juristic consensus, without making up for the prayers she has missed. ‘A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) said:
“When we menstruated during the life of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), we used to be commanded (by Allah’s Messenger) to make up for the missed days of fasting, but we were not ordered to make up for the missed prayers.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
What else is prohibited for a menstruating woman?
It is impermissible for a menstruating woman to make tawaf (circumambulating the Ka’bah), to recite the Noble Quran*, or to stay in a mosque. In addition, it is prohibited for her husband to have sexual intercourse with her until her period is over and she takes a ritual bath. Allah, Exalted be He, says:
“And they ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you…” (Quran: Al-Baqarah: 222)
The phrase “…keep away from wives during menstruation” means not to have sexual intercourse with them within that period. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also said:
“You can do everything (with your wives during menstruation) except sexual intercourse (or ‘copulation,’ as in another version).” (Related by the Group of Compilers of Hadith except Al-Bukhari)
A husband of a menstruating woman may enjoy her by kissing, touching, and the like, except for having sexual intercourse with her.
What is the legal ruling on divorce during menstruation?
Likewise, it is impermissible for the husband of a menstruating woman to divorce her before her menstrual period is over, as Allah says;
“O Prophet when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them at [the commencement of] their waiting period…” (Quran: At-Talaq: 1)
That is, when they become pure (from menstruation, sexual intercourse, etc.). Also, the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) ordered a man who had divorced his wife during her menstrual period to take her back and to divorce her (if he insisted) when her period was over.
What must a woman do after the end of her menstrual period?
Once the menstrual blood stops discharging, a woman becomes pure and her menstrual period is deemed over. She must then take a ritual bath. After that, she is allowed to do whatever acts of worship which were prohibited for her during menstruation.
What is the legal ruling on secretion and yellowish discharge?
After blood stops discharging, a woman does not have to be concerned about any secretion or yellowish discharge. The following hadith supports this. On the authority of Umm ‘Atiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:
“We never considered yellowish discharge as a thing of importance (as menstruation)”
Al-Bukhari and other compilers of Hadiths related the above mentioned hadith. Moreover, it is deemed a marfu’ (Traceable) hadith, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) approved of its content.
When may women start performing prayer?
If the discharge of a woman in a state of menstruation or postnatal bleeding stops before sunset, she must perform both the Dhuhr (Noon) and the ‘Asr (Afternoon) Prayers of the same day. Likewise, if the discharge stops before dawn, she must perform both the Maghrib (Sunset) and the ‘Isha’ (Night) Prayers of the same night. This is because the time of prayer for the latter is a permissible time of prayer for the former in case of a legal excuse. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“So, the majority of scholars, such as Malik, Ash-Shafi’i and Ahmad view that if a menstruating woman’s discharge stops at the end of daytime, it is obligatory for her to combine performing both the Dhuhr and the ‘Asr Prayers of the same day. Also, if the discharge stops at the end of the night, it is obligatory for her to combine performing both the Maghrib and ‘Isha Prayers of the same night. This is because there is a legal common specified time for every two successive prayers to be combined due to a legal excuse.
To clarify, if a woman’s discharge stops at the end of the day, it is obligatory for her to perform the Dhuhr Prayer before the ‘Asr Prayer, for it is still a permissible time to perform the Dhuhr Prayer, i.e. she is still at the specified period of the Dhuhr Prayer. Likewise, if that was at the end of the night, it is obligatory for her to perform the Maghrib and the ‘Isha Prayers, as she is still at the specified time of the Maghrib Prayer. This ruling was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdur-Rahmdn, Abu Hurayrah, and Ibn “Abbas.”
What is the legal ruling if a woman do not perform prayer at the very beginning of its specified time and her period arrives before she can perform it?
If a woman starts discharging before she can perform an obligatory prayer at its specific time, the preponderant opinion is that she is not required to make up for such a prayer after her discharge stops. In this respect, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
“The opinion of the Hanafi and Maliki Schools is the most cogent; as they maintain that a woman is not required to make up for such a missed prayer after her discharge stops. This is because making up for such a prayer necessitates a new legal command, and there is none in this case. Her delay of prayer is based on a legal excuse, so she is not to blame, as the delay is not out of negligence.
If a Muslim oversleeps or forgets to perform a prayer at its due time, though it is not out of negligence, the time of prayer starts for him when he gets up or remembers. Thus, his prayer is not considered a way of making up for a missed one.”
*: Some scholars hold the opinion that a menstruating woman may read the Gracious Quran. However, she may not touch or hold the Mus-haf (a written or printed copy of the Quran) with bare hands, namely, she can wear gloves or read from a smartphone, etc. Narrated `Aisha:
I was menstruating when I reached Mecca. So, I neither performed Tawaf of the Ka`ba, nor the Tawaf between Safa and Marwa. Then I informed Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) about it. He replied, “Perform all the ceremonies of Hajj like the other pilgrims, but do not perform Tawaf of the Ka`ba till you get clean (from your menses).” (Al-Bukhari)
The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “A Summary of Islamic Jurisprudence” with some modifications.
Dr. Salih Al-Fawzan is a Professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Member of the Board of Senior Ulema & Member of the Permanent Committee for Fatwa and Research.
The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.
Selected Hadiths from Al-Bukhari
First hadith: “Actions Are Judged by Intentions”
Narrated `Umar ibn Al-Khattab: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “The (reward of) deeds, depend upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for the sake of Allah and His Apostle, then his emigration will be considered to be for Allah and His Apostle, and whoever emigrated for the sake of worldly gain or for a woman to marry, then his emigration will be considered to be for what he emigrated for.”
He is `Umar ibn Al-Khattab ibn Nufayl. He was born in 584-589 CE and killed in 644 CE – 23 AH. He descended from a rich family working in trade, which was his business until he became a caliph. `Umar was a firm believer who fiercely defended the Muslim community from attack. He became the second caliph of the Prophet after the death of Abu Bakr.
As Caliph, `Umar was known for acting justly with all people. During his rule, the Islamic state extended to Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. At zenith of his power, `Umar was assassinated at the hands of Abu Lu’lu’ah (Piruz Nahavandi). `Umar’s nicknames are Al-Faruq and Abu Hafs.
Niyyah (Intention): It refers to the resolve of the heart to do an obligatory or non-obligatory action. (Al-Nawawi)
Hijrah (migration): In the Islamic context, it means moving from a place of non-Muslim majority and rule to a place of Muslim majority and rule.
This hadith is one of the most eloquent and significant hadiths. It talks about the importance of sincere intention in the acceptance of acts of worship. Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy upon him) began his book with this hadith inspiring the meaning involved, namely sincerity.
Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said, “Al-Bukhari prefaced his book with this hadith referring to that every action performed for the sake of other than Allah is null and void, whether in this worldly life or in the Hereafter. It is reported from Ash-Shafi`i that he said, “This hadith is one third of knowledge and it comes under seventy sections of Fiqh.” Imam Ahmed said, “The principles of Islam are based on three hadiths: First, the hadith of `Umar (i.e. this hadith)….”(1)
The hadith at hand stresses the importance of intention in the acceptance of good deeds. It tells us that actions with good and sincere intention are only accepted, while those with bad and insincere intentions are of no avail.
Abu Umamah reported that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “What is about a man who goes for Jihad seeking reward (from Allah) and good reputation among people?” The Prophet replied, “Nothing.” The man repeated his question thrice and received the same answer from the Prophet. Then, the Prophet said, “Allah accepts only sincere actions that are done for the sake of Allah.” (An-Nasa’i)
The first word “actions” refers to good deeds as evil or prohibited deeds are already unallowable and intention has nothing with them, even if it is good. There is a basic rule that says, “Good intention does not validate the invalid action.”
So, the hadith is dealing with the allowable actions only, for which one seeks Allah’s pleasure. In fact, the prohibited actions are means of Satan to misguide the Muslim and incur the displeasure of Allah, the Almighty, upon him.
The scholars of Islam put two prerequisite for the acceptance of actions: permissibility and good intention. They took these conditions from Allah’s saying:
So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone. (Al-Kahf 18:110)
The Prophet gave an example for actions whose reward differs according to the intention. The example that the Prophet gave is worthy of great consideration; it is Hijrah (migration) from Makkah to Madinah. As we know, Muslims were oppressed and tortured in Makkah. They were forced to leave their homeland to Abyssinia or Madinah where they would feel safe regarding their religion and souls.
Yet, all of these sufferings can be fruitless if they were for the sake of other than Allah. Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “It is reported that a man has migrated from Mecca to Medina because of a woman called Umm Qays, whom he loved. So, he was surnamed Umm Qays migrant.”(2) The Prophet maintained that whoever migrated for a worldly affair or business, he will take nothing in the hereafter.
Therefore, we all have to review our intentions and inspect our deeds, whether they are done for Allah’s sake or for worldly purposes. When a Muslim wants to do something good, Satan spares no effort to prevent him from that. If he fails, he will do his best to corrupt the Muslim’s intention. He reminds him with such and such of the beauties of world as well as people’s appreciation. He tries to make the Muslim forget Allah and sincerity.
So, we should be wakeful of Satan’s insinuations. Yet, the best way to confront these temptations is to always remember that this life is transitory but the other life is the permanent and endless one.
Moreover, Allah is more concerned with intention than with the deed itself. Abu Hurairah narrated, “The Messenger of Allah said, “Allah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts and accomplishments”. (Muslim)
Lessons and Rulings:
- Intention changes allowable things into worship: There are a lot of things that one makes by nature, such as eating, drinking, sleeping, etc. of permissible actions. One can take a reward for that if one does so with the intention of being able to perform the worship of Allah (Glory be to Him).
- The reward of actions differs according to intention: The reward of the same action, such as prayer or fasting, may increase or decrease depending on the degree of the sincerity of one’s intention.
- Setting examples for elaboration: A caller or teacher is advised to use examples to clarify the topic while addressing people or students. This is more helpful in understanding and elaboration, following the example of the Prophet in this hadith.
(1) Ibn Rajab, Jami` Al-`Ulum wa Al-Hikam, Beirut, Al-Risalah, 2001, p. 62.
(2) Ibn Taymiyyah, Al-Fatwa, Riyadh: King Fahd Printing Complex, 1995, vol. 18, p. 254.
When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.
Noah stayed with his people for nine hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allah, but his people would not believe. They would not stop worshipping idols. They refused to return to Allah.
How long could Noah wait? How long could he watch the earth and its people being ruined? How long could he put up with his people worshipping stones? How long could he watch them eat from Allan’s provisions while they worshipped something else?
Why did Noah not get angry? He was more patient than anyone else could have been! Nine hundred and fifty years: Glory be to Allah!
Then Allah revealed to Noah: “None of your people will believe except those who have already believed.” (Hud 11:36)
When Noah called his people again, “they said, ’Noah! You have disputed with us and you have disputed often with us, so bring us what you promised us if you are speaking the truth’.” (Hud 11:32)
Noah became angry for Allah and despaired of those people. He called upon Allah not to leave even one of the unbelievers on the earth!
And Noah said: My Lord! Leave not one of the disbelievers in the land. (Nuh 71:26)
Allah answered Noah’s prayer and He decided what the fate of the unbelievers would be. All of them would be drowned in a great flood.
Allah wanted to save Noah and the believers. He commanded Noah to build a great ship, and Noah began straightaway.
The unbelievers from his people saw him working busily and they mocked: ‘What is this, Noah? Since when have you become a carpenter? Didn’t we tell you not to sit with the carpenters and ironsmiths and now you have really become a carpenter!
‘Where is this ship going, Noah? Everything about you is unbelievable! Is it going to sail in the sand or climb up the mountains? The sea is a long way from here. Will the jinn carry it or will oxen pull it?‘
Noah heard all that and was patient. He had heard worse things and had been patient. But sometimes he would say to them, “If you mock us, we will mock you as you mock.” (Hud 11:38)
The promise of Allah came. We seek refuge with Allah!
It rained and rained until the sky was like a sieve which could not hold the water. Water poured down and gushed up and flowed in until it surrounded the people on every side.
Then Allah revealed to Noah, Take with you those of your people and family who believe.’
Allah revealed to Noah to take with him a pair of every animal and bird, a male and a female, because the flood would cover the earth. Neither man nor beast would be saved from it. Noah did so. With him in the Ark were those of his people who believed in him and a pair of every bird and animal.
The Ark rode with them on waves like mountains. The people outside the Ark climbed onto every high place and every hill, fleeing from Allah’s punishment.
But there is no refuge from Allah except in Him.
Noan had a son who was with the unbelievers. Noah saw his son in the flood and said, “‘My son, embark with us and do not be with the unbelievers.’ He said, ‘I will seek refuge on a mountain that will protect me from the water.’
Noah said, ‘Today there is no protector from Allah’s command except for the one to whom He shows mercy.’
The waves came between them and Noah’s son was among the drowned.” (Hud 11: 42, 43)
Noah was sad about his son; How could he not be sad about his own son? He wanted to save him from the Fire on the Day of Judgment since he was not able to save him from the water. The Fire is worse than the water.
The punishment of the Next World is harsher. Did not Allah promise that He would save his family? Yes! And Allah’s promise is true. He wanted to speak to Allah on behalf of his son.
“He Is Not One of Your Family”
Noah called on his Lord and said, ‘My son is part of my family and Your promise is true. You are the most just of those that judge.’ (Hud 11:45)
But Allah does not look at people’s family trees. He looks at their actions. Allah does not accept pleas on behalf of idol-worshippers. The idol-worshipper is not part of a Prophet’s family, even if he is his son.
Allah made Noan aware of that. He said,”Noah, he is not part of your family; he is of evil conduct Do not ask of Me that about which you do not know, I warn you lest you be one of the ignorant.” (Hud 11:46)
Nun became aware and turned to Allah, repentant. He said; “My Lord, I take refuge with You lest I should ask of You something about which i have no knowledge. If you do not forgive me and show mercy to me, I will he among the losers.” (Hud 11:47)
After the Flood
When what Allah willed had happened and the unbelievers were drowned, the rain stopped and the water sank away.
The unbelievers of the people of Noah were destroyed. Neither the heavens nor the earth wept for them. It was said, “Away with the wrong-doing people!“ (Hud 11:44)
The Ark stopped on Mount Judi. It was said, ”Noah, get down in peace.” (Hud 11:48)
Noah and the people of the Ark got down and walked on the earth in peace. Allah blessed the descendants of Noah and they spread in the land and filled the earth.
There were communities among them and there were Prophets and kings among them.
Peace be upon Noah among all beings!
Peace be upon Noah among all the worlds! (As-Saffat 37:79)
The article is an excerpt from the author’s Stories of the Prophets, UK Islamic Academy publications.
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