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Relying solely on belief in Allah with conviction and not carrying out good deeds

Question

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) were discussing ‘La ilaha illallah’ and whoever says this will enter Jannah. They decided later not to tell anyone otherwise they would not perform good deeds and rely on this only.

Which book is this in and  what is this Hadith trying to say?

 

Answer

1) Imam Muslim (rahimahullah) has recorded the following narration:

“…O Abu Hurayrah! Take my sandals and whoever you meet behind this wall who believes in Allah having firm conviction in this, give him glad tidings of Jannah.”

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah says, the first person I met was Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) who asked me what am I doing with these sandals. I replied, these are the sandals of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He sent me to give glad tidings of Jannah to whoever I meet that believes in Allah with full conviction.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah says, ‘Umar struck me on my chest and I fell’. He then said, ‘Go back to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)’ , so I went back and almost cried. ‘Umar followed closely.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enquired as to what had happened. After Sayyiduna ‘Abu Hurayrah informed him of what had transpired, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enquired from Sayyiduna ‘Umar the reason for doing so.

Sayyiduna ‘Umar replied, ‘May my parents be sacrificed for you O Rasulullah, did you send Abu Hurayrah with your shoes to give glad tidings of Jannah to all those he meets who have believed in Allah with firm conviction’?

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied in the affirmative, Sayyiduna ‘Umar said, ‘Don’t do this, for I fear people will rely solely on this, let them carry out [good] deeds. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘ Well, let them [do good deeds]’

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 31)

 

2) Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik (radiyallahu ‘anhu) related that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was once riding with Mu’adh ibn Jabal behind him. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Mu’adh ibn Jabal!’ He replied, ‘Labbayk wa sa’dayk -At your service-, O Rasulullah.’ thrice

Then Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is no one who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, sincerely from his heart but that Allah makes it unlawful for the Fire to touch him.”

Sayyiduna Mu’adh (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, ” O Rasulullah, shall I not tell the people that so that they can rejoice?”

He said, ” [Do not tell them this], Then they will rely on it.”

Sayyiduna Mu’adh related this incident when he was dying, fearing that he will be sinful [for concealing knowledge].

 

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 128 and a longer version in Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 30)

 

Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) states that it seems as if the incident of Sayyiduna Mu’adh ibn Jabal had occurred after the incident of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 129)

 

Meaning

Ultimately every Believer will enter into Jannah. However Sayyiduna ‘Umar had felt that people may misinterpret the Hadith and become lax in carrying out good deeds, or begin to carelessly fall into sin, relying on the fact that they will ultimately enter into Jannah if they merely believe in Allah Ta’ala with conviction. This would be unpleasant for such people as they may end up in Jahannam before their ultimate entry into Jannah. He therefore felt that Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) should not spread this.

In fact, Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has recorded this narration under the chapter:

Teaching knowledge to some and excluding others out of the fear that they do not understand correctly’

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar