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9 Important Issues Connected to the Shahaadah of ‘Umayr Ibn Wahb

(May Allah be Pleased with him)

 

By Imam Na’eem Abdullah

 

Ibn Ishāq said that Muhammad ibn Ja’far ibn az-Zubayr narrated from ‘Urwah ibn az-Zubayr who told me that ‘Umayr ibn Wahb was sitting with Safwān ibn Umayyah in the hijr shortly after the battle of Badr. ‘Umayr was a shaytaan from among the shayaateen of Quraysh. He was one of the leaders of Quraysh who used to abuse the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), his Companions and cause them distress while he was in Makkah, and his son Wahb ibn ‘Umayr was among the prisoners taken at Badr.

 

He mentioned those who were thrown into the well and Safwān said, “I swear by Allah, there is no good in life now they are dead!” ‘You are right,’ said ‘Umayr, ‘I swear by Allah, were it not for an outstanding debt against me which I cannot pay and a family I cannot afford to leave without provision, I would ride to Muhammad and kill him, for I have good cause against the lot of them, my son being a prisoner in their hands!’ Safwān took him up and said: ‘I will discharge your debt and take care of your family with my own so long as they live. All that I have shall be theirs.’ ‘Umayr and he agreed to keep the matter secret.

 

Then ‘Umayr called for his sword, sharpened it and smeared it with poison and left for Madinah. While ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab was talking with some of the Muslims about Badr, mentioning how Allah had honored them in giving them victory over their enemies, he suddenly saw ‘Umayr stopping at the door of the masjid strapped with his sword, and said, ‘This dog, the enemy of Allah, is ‘Umayr ibn Wahb. I swear by Allah (Wallahi) he has come for some evil purpose. It was he who made mischief among us and spied on us on behalf of the enemy at Badr.’ Then ‘Umar entered upon the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, this enemy of Allah ‘Umayr ibn Wahb has come strapped with his sword.’ He told him to let him come in and ‘Umar advanced and seizing his bandoleer he gripped him round the neck with it. He told the Ansār who were with him to come in and sit with the Prophet and to watch the rascal carefully, for he was not to be trusted.

When the Prophet saw ‘Umayr and ‘Umar grasping the bandoleer round his neck he told ‘Umar to let go and ‘Umayr to advance. He came up and said ‘Good morning’, for that was the greeting of the people of al-jaahiliyyah (paganism). The Prophet said, ‘Allah has honored us with a better greeting than that, ‘Umayr. It is Salaam, the greeting of the inhabitants of Paradise.’ By Allah, Muhammad, you have taken to it only recently.’ ‘What has brought you?’ ‘I have come about this prisoner you have that you may treat him well.’ ‘Then why have you a sword round you neck?’ ‘God damn the swords. Have they done us any good?’ ‘Tell me the truth. Why have you come?’ ‘I came only for the reason I have told you.’ ‘Nay, but you and Safwān ibn Umayyah sat together in the hijr and talked about the Quraysh who were thrown into the well. Then you said “But for debts and family reasons I would go and kill Muhammad.” And Safwān assumed responsibility for both if you would kill me for him, but Allah intervened.’ Then ‘Umayr said ‘I bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah. We used to call you a liar when you brought us tidings from heaven and we denied the revelation you brought. But this is a matter to which only I and Safwān were privy, and none could have told you of it but Allah. Praise be to Allah who has guided me to Islam and led me thus.’ Then he testified to the truth and the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said (to his Companions), ‘Instruct your brother in his religion (deen), read the Qur’an to him, and free his prisoner for him,’ and they did so.

Then he said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I used to be active in extinguishing the light of Allah and harsh in persecuting those who followed the Deen of Allah (the Mighty and Majestic). I would like you to give me permission to go to Makkah to call them to Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and to Islam that perhaps Allah may guide them; and if not I will persecute them in their religion as I used to persecute your Companions.’ The Prophet agreed and he went to Makkah. When ‘Umayr had left, Safwān was saying, ‘You will soon have some good news which will make you forget what happened at Badr.’ Safwān kept questioning riders until one came who told him of ‘Umayr’s acceptance of Islam, and he swore that he would never speak to him again nor do him service.

When ‘Umayr came to Makkah he stayed there calling people to Islam (da’wah) and treating those who opposed him violently so that through him many people became Muslims.

 

قَالَ ابْنُ إسْحَاقَ : وَحَدّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ قَالَ جَلَسَ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ وَهْبٍ الْجُمَحِيّ مَعَ صَفْوَانَ بْنِ أُمَيَّةَ بَعْدَ مُصَابِ أَهْلِ بَدْرٍ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ فِي الْحِجْرِ بِيَسِيرِ وَكَانَ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ وَهْبٍ شَيْطَانًا مِنْ شَيَاطِينِ قُرَيْشٍ ، وَمِمَّنْ كَانَ يُؤْذِي رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَصْحَابَهُ وَيَلْقَوْنَ مِنْهُ عَنَاءً وَهُوَ بِمَكَّةَ وَكَانَ ابْنُهُ وَهْبُ بْنُ عُمَيْرٍ فِي أُسَارَى بَدْرٍ.

 

قَالَ ابْنُ إسْحَاقَ : حَدَّثَنِي مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ ، عَنْ عُرْوَةَ بْنِ الزُّبَيْرِ ، قَالَ فَذَكَرَ أَصْحَابَ الْقَلِيبِ وَمُصَابَهُمْ فَقَالَ صَفْوَانُ وَاللهِ إنْ فِي الْعَيْشِ بَعْدَهُمْ خَيْرٌ قَالَ لَهُ عُمَيْرٌ صَدَقْت وَاللهِ أَمَا وَاللهِ لَوْلَا دَيْنٌ عَلَيَّ لَيْسَ لَهُ عِنْدِي قَضَاءٌ وَعِيَالٌ أَخْشَى عَلَيْهِمْ الضَّيْعَةَ بَعْدِي ، لَرَكِبْتُ إلَى مُحَمَّدٍ حَتَّى أَقْتُلَهُ فَإِنَّ لِي قِبَلَهُمْ عِلّةً ابْنِي أَسِيرٌ فِي أَيْدِيهِمْ قَالَ فَاغْتَنَمَهَا صَفْوَانُ وَقَالَ عَلَيّ دَيْنُكَ ، أَنَا أَقْضِيهِ عَنْكَ ، وَعِيَالُكَ مَعَ عِيَالِي أُوَاسِيهِمْ مَا بَقُوا ، لَا يَسَعُنِي شَيْءٌ وَيَعْجِزُ عَنْهُمْ فَقَالَ لَهُ عُمَيْرٌ فَاكْتُمْ شَأْنِي وَشَأْنَكَ ، قَالَ أَفْعَلُ

قَالَ ثُمَّ أَمَرَ عُمَيْرٌ بِسَيْفِهِ فَشَحَذَ لَهُ وَسَمَّ ثُمَّ انْطَلَقَ حَتَّى قَدِمَ الْمَدِينَةَ فَبَيْنَا عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ فِي نَفَرٍ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ يَتَحَدّثُونَ عَنْ يَوْمِ بَدْرٍ وَيَذْكُرُونَ مَا أَكْرَمَهُمْ اللهُ بِهِ وَمَا أَرَاهُمْ مِنْ عَدُوِّهِمْ إِذْ نَظَرَ عُمَرُ إلَى عُمَيْرِ بْنِ وَهْبٍ حِينَ أَنَاخَ عَلَى بَابِ الْمَسْجِدِ مُتَوَشّحًا السَّيْفَ فَقَالَ هَذَا الْكَلْبُ عَدُوُّ اللهُ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ وَهْبٍ وَاللهِ مَا جَاءَ إِلَّا لِشَرِّ وَهُوَ الَّذِي حَرّشَ بَيْنَنَا ، وَحَزَرْنَا لِلْقَوْمِ يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ . ثُمَّ دَخَلَ عُمَرُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ يَا نَبِيَّ اللهِ هَذَا عَدُوُّ اللهِ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ وَهْبٍ قَدْ جَاءَ مُتَوَشّحًا سَيْفَهُ قَالَ فَأَدْخِلْهُ عَلَيَّ قَالَ فَأَقْبَلَ عُمَرُ حَتَّى أَخَذَ بِحِمَالَةِ سَيْفِهِ فِي عُنُقِهِ فَلَبّبَهُ بِهَا ، وَقَالَ لِرِجَالِ مِمَّنْ كَانُوا مَعَهُ مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ: اُدْخُلُوا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلّمَ فَاجْلِسُوا عِنْدَهُ وَاحْذَرُوا عَلَيْهِ مِنْ هَذَا الْخَبِيثِ فَإِنَّهُ غَيْرُ مَأْمُونٍ ثُمَّ دُخِلَ بِهِ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الرَّسُولُ يُحَدّثُهُ بِمَا بَيْنَهُ هُوَ وَصَفْوَانَ فَيُسْلِمُ فَلَمَّا رَاهَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَعُمَرُ آخِذٌ بِحِمَالَةِ سَيْفِهِ فِي عُنُقِهِ قَالَ ((أَرْسِلْهُ يَا عُمَرُ اُدْنُ يَا عُمَيْرُ)) فَدَنَا ثُمَّ قَالَ انْعَمُوا صَبَاحًا ، وَكَانَتْ تَحِيَّةَ أَهْلِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ بَيْنَهُمْ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ))قَدْ أَكْرَمَنَا اللهُ بِتَحِيَّةِ خَيْرٍ مِنْ تَحِيَّتِكَ يَا عُمَيْرُ بِالسَّلَامِ تَحِيَّةِ أَهْلِ الْجَنّةِ(( . فَقَالَ أَمَا وَاللهِ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إنْ كُنْت بِهَا لَحَدِيثُ عَهْدٍ قَالَ ))فَمَا جَاءَ بِك يَا عُمَيْرُ ؟(( قَالَ جِئْتُ لِهَذَا الْأَسِيرِ الَّذِي فِي أَيْدِيكُمْ فَأَحْسِنُوا فِيهِ قَالَ ))فَمَا بَالُ السَّيْفِ فِي عُنُقِكَ ؟(( قَالَ قَبّحَهَا اللهُ مِنْ سُيُوفٍ وَهَلْ أَغْنَتْ عَنَّا شَيْئًا ؟ قَالَ ))اُصْدُقْنِي(( ، مَا الَّذِي جِئْتُ لَهُ ؟ قَالَ مَا جِئْت إِلَّا لِذَلِكَ قَالَ ))بَلْ قَعَدْت أَنْتَ وَصَفْوَانُ بْنُ أُمَيَّةَ فِي الْحِجْرِ ، فَذَكَرْتُمَا أَصْحَابَ الْقَلِيبِ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ ، ثُمَّ قُلْت : لَوْلَا دَيْنٌ عَلَيَّ وَعِيَالٌ عِنْدِي لَخَرَجْت حَتَّى أَقْتُلَ مُحَمّدًا ، فَتَحَمّلَ لَكَ صَفْوَانُ بِدَيْنِكَ وَعِيَالِكَ ، عَلَى أَنْ تَقْتُلَنِي لَهُ وَاللهُ حَائِلٌ بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِكَ(( قَالَ عُمَيْرٌ أَشْهَدُ أَنَّكَ رَسُولُ اللهِ وَقَدْ كُنَّا يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ نُكَذّبُكَ بِمَا كُنْت تَأْتِينَا بِهِ مِنْ خَبَرِ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَنْزِلُ عَلَيْكَ مِنَ الْوَحْيِ وَهَذَا أَمْرٌ لَمْ يَحْضُرْهُ إِلَّا أَنَا وَصَفْوَانُ فَوَاللهِ إِنَّي لَأَعْلَمُ مَا أَتَاكَ بِهِ إِلَّا اللهُ فَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي هَدَانِي لِلْإِسْلَامِ وَسَاقَنِي هَذَا الْمَسَاقَ ثُمَّ شَهِدَ شَهَادَةَ الْحَقّ . فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ )) فَقّهُوا أَخَاكُمْ فِي دِينِهِ وَأَقْرِئُوهُ الْقُرْآنَ وَأَطْلِقُوا لَهُ أَسِيرًا ((، فَفَعَلُوا.

 

 

ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ إِنَّي كُنْتُ جَاهِدًا عَلَى إِطْفَاءِ نُورِ اللهِ شَدِيدٌ لِلْأَذَى لِمَنْ كَانَ عَلَى دِينِ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَأَنَا أُحِبُّ أَنْ تَأْذَنَ لِي ، فَأَقْدَمَ مَكَّةَ ، فَأَدْعُوهُمْ إلَى اللهِ تَعَالَى ، وَإِلَى رَسُولِهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَإِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ لَعَلَّ اللهُ يُهْدِيهِمْ وَإِلَّا آذَيْتهمْ فِي دِينِهِمْ كَمَا كُنْتُ أُوذِيَ أَصْحَابَكَ فِي دِينِهِمْ ؟ قَالَ فَأَذِنَ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَحِقَ بِمَكَّةَ . وَكَانَ صَفْوَانُ بْنُ أُمَيَّةَ حِينَ خَرَجَ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ وَهْبٍ يَقُولُ أَبْشِرُوا بِوَقْعَةِ تَأْتِيكُمُ الْآنَ فِي أَيَّامٍ تُنْسِيكُمْ وَقْعَةَ بَدْرٍ وَكَانَ صَفْوَانُ يَسْأَلُ عَنْهُ الرّكْبَانَ حَتَّى قَدِمَ رَاكِبٌ فَأَخْبَرَهُ عَنْ إِسْلَامِهِ فَحَلَفَ أَنْ لَا يُكَلّمَهُ أَبَدًا ، وَلَا يَنْفَعَهُ بِنَفْعِ

 

قَالَ ابْنُ إسْحَاقَ : فَلَمَّا قَدِمَ عُمَيْرٌ مَكّةَ ، أَقَامَ بِهَا يَدْعُو إلَى الْإِسْلَامِ وَيُؤْذِي مَنْ خَالَفَهُ أَذًى شَدِيدًا ، فَأَسْلَمَ عَلَى يَدَيْهِ نَاسٌ كَثِيرٌ .

 

1. Muslims should not feel comfortable even after being granted a decisive victory over the disbelievers. It was during the Battle of Badr that all of the major chiefs of Quraysh were killed, including Abu Jahl; yet this didn’t stop them from fighting against the truth for several years. The grief caused by their loss only angered more.

 

2. The enemies of Allah plot in secret and approach the believers with seemingly noble intentions. Anyone who outright dismisses – so-     called – conspiracy theories is naive or seeking to “rock the believers to sleep”.

 

3. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab was security minded. He recognized that his leader – the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) – needed protection and took it upon himself to protect him and alert everyone else to the threat posed by ‘Umayr ibn Wahb.

 

‘Umar didn’t even let the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) compromise his own security. A good leader, by nature, never sets up barriers between himself and the people. In fact, in Islamic legal terms, it is not permissible for an Imām, Amīr, Sultān, Walī, Khalīfah, etc… to prevent people from having access to him because he – the leader – is their servant. Consequently, this puts the leader in a vulnerable position. This is why those who are around the leader must take it upon themselves to protect their leader at all costs. To do otherwise could be disastrous! Malcolm X (may Allah have Mercy upon him) was martyred, in part, because of this. Most people who were there with Malcolm on February 21, 1965 report that Malcolm X himself relaxed his own security on that fateful day. His security should have quietly disobeyed that order and protected him anyway!

 

The Battle of Badr is a prime example of this. Yes, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was on the battlefield but they built a pavilion for him to stay in near the rear of the army. This was done to secure him in the event that the army was overwhelmed. If that were to happen, he would be able to mount his horse and retreat back to Madinah. The Sahābah suggested this specifically for the Prophet’s security.

 

Most of us, nowadays, can usually fit into one (1) of two (2) extreme categories as it relates to our leaders: (1) We either worship or borderline-worship them. If they make (permissible) that which Allah has made (impermissible) we follow them. And if they make that which Allah has made we follow them as well. This is or worship; (2) or we have absolutely no respect for them or their station. We reduce them to a level equal to or below that of everybody else, regardless of all of the verses of Qur’an and hadith commanding the opposite. The balance is always in the middle. Our leaders should not be worshipped or disrespected but respected, obeyed, and . This narration illustrates this.

 

  1. The Islamic greeting “as-salaamu alaykum” is a blessed greeting also used by the people of Jannah (Paradise). It is not the equivalent to, or replacement of, “hello”, “goodbye”, “good morning” or “good evening”. The aforementioned greetings are from the jāhiliyyah – the non-Islamic/pre-Islamic society and should be avoided.

 

عَنْ عِمْرَانَ بْنَ حُصَيْنٍ قَالَ كُنَّا نَقُولُ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ بِكَ عَيْنًا وَأَنْعِمْ صَبَاحًا فَلَمَّا كَانَ الْإِسْلَامُ نُهِينَا عَنْ ذَلِكَ

It has been narrated on the authority of Imrān ibn Husayn who said, “We used to greet in the (pre-Islamic period of ignorance) by saying “may Allah refresh your eye” and “good morning”. When Islam came, we were prevented from using those greetings.” This hadith has been related by Abu Dawud.

 

  1. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used this opportunity to educate ‘Umayr about Islam. Notice how he did not try to make Islam similar to what he was used to. He highlighted the difference in the greetings – something that most of us take for granted. He not only showed him the difference in the greeting; he told him that it was superior to his! In other words, he was not an assimilationist. He was not trying to find ways to make Islam like their way of life. This author, with his limited knowledge, is able to list dozens of examples where Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) legislated various aspects of Islam with the explicit intention to ensure that Islam and Kufr (disbelief) don’t resemble each other.

 

  1. The disbelievers don’t take losses easily – especially when they are in power. In spite of the fact that all of the major leaders of Quraysh were killed during the battle of Badr, lower level leaders – like ‘Umayr and Safwān – were more than willing to pick up the flag of kufr to carry on their campaign against the Truth i.e. al-Islam.

 

  1. Acceptance of Islam automatically enters the “new Shahaadah” into the Brotherhood of Islam. After ‘Umayr bore witness to the truth, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) referred to him as “your brother”. The new Muslim starts off with a clean slate. He is not in any probationary period.

 

  1. After he accepted Islam he was given intensive Islamic education by means of the Prophet’s instructions to his Companions: ‘Instruct your brother in his religion and read the Qur’an to him…’. This practice is something that many of our communities have recently began to neglect. Most new Muslims, for various reasons, are now learning their new way of life from social media connections, YouTube and other virtual tools. This is unacceptable!

 

  1. ‘Umayr ibn Wahb (may Allah be pleased with him) – the new Muslim – had what I call “that New-Shahaadah energy”. And the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) did not put cold water on his new-found zeal. ‘Umayr expressed his intentions and methods for promoting Islam once he returned home to Makkah and the Prophet did not discourage him. And his da’wah was effective, Alhamdulillah!

 

There are many more lessons which could be extracted from this and every other aspect of the Seerah (biography) of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace); but we will stop here. This narration has been taken from Ibn Ishāq’s Biography of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). May Allah bless us to sincerely take the Messenger of Allah as our example. Allah (the Most High) says: “Indeed you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example to follow for whoever hopes to meet Allah, the Last Day, and remembers Allah often.” – Qur’an: Surah al-Ahzāb (33), Ayat #21.

 

 

 

Islam Presupposes the Existence of an Islamic Community 

(al-Jamaa’ah)

By Imam Na’eem Abdullah


عَنْ أَبِي رُقَيَّةَ تَمِيمِ بْنِ أَوْسٍ الدَّارِيِّ  أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: ((الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ)). قُلْنَا: لِمَنْ؟ قَالَ ((لِلَّهِ، وَلِكِتَابِهِ، وَلِرَسُولِهِ، وَلِأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ)) . رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ.  

It was related on the authority of Tameem ad-Dari that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: "Religion is sincerity". We said: "To whom?" He said: "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims (li i’immatil-muslimeen), and their common folk". [1]

            The words which make up this hadith are few but its meaning is deep and far-reaching. In fact, this is one of the main hadith which our scholars bring forth to illustrate the comprehensive speech (jawaami’i –kalam) of our beloved, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. One could go on for ages extracting benefit from this Prophetic narration. However, the scope of this discourse is limited to giving life to the concept and reality of jamaa’ah (community living) and its primary components such as imaarah (leadership) and taa’ah (obedience). With this understanding we would like to remind the reader of the words of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab:

إِنَّهُ لَا إِسْلَامَ إِلَّا بِجَمَاعَةٍ وَلَا جَمَاعَةَ إِلَّا بِإِمَارَةٍ وَلَا إِمَارَةَ إِلَّا بِطَاعَةٍ

“Verily there is no Islam without a Jamaa’ah (community). There is no Jamaa’ah without imaarah (leadership). And there is no leadership without taa’atan (obedience). [2]

Therefore, our brief commentary will not include any elaboration on the implications of sincerity to Allah, His Book or His Messenger. For those who wish to look into what these things mean we refer you to the Shifa’ of Qadi Iyad; which is where the bulk of our commentary has been extracted from.

            Imam an-Nawawi said in his commentary of Sahih Muslim that, “The meaning of the hadith is that ‘an-naseehah’ is the support (‘imaad) and sustainer (qiwaam) of the deen (i.e. the religion of al-Islam). This is like his other saying (or hadith) ‘Hajj is ‘Arafat’. In other words, the [rite of standing at] ‘Arafat is the support and main part of the Hajj.”

            Qadi Iyad said, “Our Imams said, “Naseehah for Allah, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk is an obligation (waajibat).

            Imam Abu Sulayman al-Busti said, “Naseehah is a word used to designate the desire for what is good for the one who is its object, and it is impossible to explain it with a single word which will contain it all. Linguistically, it means sincerity (al-ikhlaas) from the statement ‘I made the honey pure (nasahtu l-‘asla),’ when it is clear of wax.”

            Abu Bakr ibn Abi Ishaq al-Khaffaaf said, “an-nus-hu (as in naseehah) is doing something which contains rightness and harmony. It comes from (the word) an-nisaah which is the thread with which a garment is sewn.”

Naseehah to the leaders of the Muslims(li i’immatil-muslimeen) is [1] to obey them when they command to the truth (al-haqq), [2] help them, [3] command them to the truth, [4] remind them of it in the best way, [5] inform them about what they have overlooked and what they do not see of the affairs of the Muslims[3], [6] not to attack them, nor [7] cause trouble and dissension for them with people and alienate them from the people.[4]

            Naseehah for the sake of the common Muslims is [1] to guide them to their best interests, [2] help them in the affairs of their deen (religion) and their dunya (worldly affairs) by word and action, [3] warning those of them who are heedless, [4] enlightening the ignorant, [5] giving to those in need, [6] veiling the faults[5], [7] repelling what will harm them and [8] bringing what will benefit them.”

            This hadith is yet another proof that Islam presupposes the existence of communities (jamaa’aat); which naturally have leaders and followers. Naseehah or sincerity to the leaders and the common people are part and parcel of upholding the deen itself. The fact that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, considered sincerity to the leaders and followers part of having sincerity to the deen itself, necessitates that these two components exist! For example, we are taught that straightening the ranks in salat (prayer) brings the hearts of the community together. The support for this established fact is extracted from the Sunnah of the Prophet as evidenced by the countless hadith which mention the command and virtues of straightening the lines in the prayer. This makes it obvious that a congregational salat must exist in the first place so that its ranks can be straightened! Likewise, how can we be ordered to be sincere to our leaders and the leaders be commanded to be sincere to us if it were not obligatory to have communities and leadership in the first place?

            This knowledge is important for us as we continue to move forward towards our goal of reviving the Muslim community (al-jamaa’ah). This narration gives us a brief summary of the rights which the followers owe the leaders and the rights which the leaders are obliged to give to the followers. Success is with Allah!


[1] This hadith was narrated by al-Imam Muslim. 

[2] Taken from the introduction of the Sunan ad-Daarimi in the chapter of “The Dwindling of Knowledge” (dhahaab al-‘Ilm) on the authority of Tameem ad-daari.

[3] Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio said in his Bayan Wujub ul-Hijrah, “I say and success is from Allah: Know that the supports (arkaan) of the wilaayah (Islamic community) are the same four upon which sovereignty (mulk) is based and without which it cannot stand, just as a bed cannot stand without four legs. The first support is an upright wazir (advisor) over the wilaayah [1] who wakens him [the ruler] if he sleeps, [2] gives him sight if he cannot see and [3] reminds him if he forgets. The greatest catastrophe which can befall rulers and subjects is to be deprived of good wazirs and helpers…”

[4] In other words, do not undermine their leadership.

[5] Shaykh ‘Uthman Dan Fodio said in his Ihya us-Sunnah wa ikhmaad ul-Bid’a, “He whose aim is to bring shame upon people and be preoccupied with their faults, Allah will question him and reckon with him. For whoever pursues the faults of his brother, Allah will pursue his faults until he exposes him, even if he be in the recesses of his home. Believers ask for excuses while hypocrites pursue the faults of others and Allah helps a person as long as he helps his brother. It is related in the Muwatta’, “Do not examine the faults of people as if you were a Lord, but rather examine your own faults as though you were a slave.”