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Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Whoever turns away from my Sunnah is not from me
Anas reported that: “Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet
and asked how his worship was. When they were informed, they considered
their own worship to be insignificant and said: 'Where are we in
comparison to the Prophet
when Allaah has forgiven his past and future sins?' One of them said:
'As for me, I shall offer prayer all night long.' Another said: 'I shall
observe fasting perpetually, never to break it.' Another said: 'I shall
abstain from women and will never marry.' The Prophet then came to them and said: “Are
you the people who said such things? I swear By Allaah that I fear
Allaah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to
Him, but still, I observe fasting (sometimes) and break it (at others);
I perform (optional) prayer (at night sometimes) and sleep at night (at
others); I also marry. So whoever turns away from my Sunnah (i.e., my
way) is not from me.” [Al-Bukhaari & Muslim]
Anas also reported: “A few of the companions of the Prophet
inquired from his wives about his worship when he would be alone. When
they found out, one of them said: 'I shall abstain from women and will
never marry.' Another said: 'I shall never eat meat.' Another said: 'I
will always offer the night prayer and shall never sleep.' Later, the
Prophet ascended the pulpit, praised and thanked Allaah, and then said: “Why
are some people saying such things? I perform (optional night) prayers
(sometimes) and sleep at night (at others); I observe fasting
(sometimes) and break it (at others); and I marry. So whoever turns away
from my Sunnah (i.e., way) is not from me.”
'A few of the companions' in the
narration means that there were between three to nine of them, and their
asking: 'Where are we in comparison to the Prophet when Allaah has forgiven his past and future sins?' means that since they did not have this assurance that He had, then it followed that they would have to exert more effort in order to try to attain it; however, he
explained to them that one may do the things that these men wished to
refrain from and still be fearful of Allaah and obtain a great reward.
The second narration of this story
includes different things that the companions stated that they will
abstain from, which proves that they were more than three in number.
Also, the speech of the Prophet in the first narration reflects that he spoke to them directly, whereas the second one indicates that he spoke generally, without directing his speech to them in particular. It may be that he
first spoke to everybody in the congregation and explained that such
abstention is impermissible, and then spoke to the men concerned in
private, addressing them personally so as not to expose their identity
to others, which may have caused them embarrassment.
The fact that the Prophet took an oath was in order to show these men that despite him being forgiven by Allaah, he
did not do what they planned to do, which was to exaggerate in their
worship, and that reward from Allaah could be attained without such
exaggeration; this is because he who is moderate in his worship is more
likely to continue whereas those who exaggerate will eventually become
too weak to continue and give up.
His saying: “…my Sunnah…”
did not refer to the Islaamic categorization which refers to
recommended acts rather than obligatory ones. Rather, it refers to his
complete manner in life and his approach to every matter. He
instructed them that the one who worships in any way other than his is
not from him, meaning, that he does not follow him; here, he
was alluding to the methods that monks have, who innovated extreme ways
of worship for which they have been dispraised by Allaah.
The one who worships in a way other than that of the Prophet
has not left the fold of Islam if he did it in ignorance or was
mistaken in his interpretation of the Sunnah, but if he does it due to
wishing to deliberately shun the way of the Prophet and thinks that his way and method is better, then he has committed an act of disbelief.
The following are some of many benefits that we can extract from this narration:
· The recommendation of imitating the
ways of one's seniors and following in their footsteps, and that if one
is unable to find out about their way of doing things by means of
inquiring from men, then it is permitted to inquire from women, provided
that nobody will be subjected to temptation.
· The virtue of marriage and an encouragement of it.
· One may do righteous deeds openly and inform others about them, provided he feels secure from thereby becoming arrogant.
· Deeds that are Islamically permitted may become recommended, disliked or prohibited, according to one's intention.
· Imaam At-Tabari said: “This
narration refutes the claim of those who forbid eating lawful foods and
wearing permissible clothing, claiming that it is better to use harsh
clothing and refrain from eating good food.” But, Imaam Ibn Hajar added to this saying: “The
fact of the matter is that the one who gets himself accustomed to
always consuming fine things (i.e., food and clothing) may become too
habituated to them and therefore cannot live without them, and
consequently, when he is deprived from them, he may commit prohibitions
in order to attain what he is accustomed to. On the other hand,
refraining from them from the perspective of prohibiting them for
oneself contradicts the saying of Allaah in the thirty-second verse of
Soorah Al-A’raaf (which means): “Say:
'Who has forbidden the adornment of [i.e., from] Allaah which He has
produced for His servants and the good [lawful] things of provision?...” [Quran 7: 32]
· The good deeds that are continuous are the dearest to Allaah, even if they are few.
· The method of the Prophet
is the very best one, whereby he would sometimes eat in order to
preserve his strength, and fast at other times; he would also sleep at
night sometimes in order to have the strength to pray at night on other
occasions; also, he would marry in order to fulfil his desires, save
himself from following his lusts, maintain his chastity, and increasing
the number of Muslims.
· A warning against exaggeration in the
matters of the religion because this leads to one stopping the deeds
that he is performing. Also, one who exaggerates in acts of worship will
eventually become apathetic, which may cause him to stop his obligatory
acts of worship and not only the optional ones that he performs. Also,
one who only performs the obligatory deeds is also in great danger; if
he loses interest, he may abandon worship altogether; so the best way is
to be moderate.
· Finally, There is an indication in this
narration that knowing Allaah and His rights and commandments is of a
higher rank than simply worshipping Him without it, and that the deeds
of the heart are essential for practicing servitude to Allaah.