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Friday, May 8, 2009

An Nawawi's 40 Hadith (2)

On the authority of Omar(1), who said :

One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah(sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet. Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:

"O Muhammed, tell me about Islam". The Messenger of Allah(sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the Zakat(2), to fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House(3) if you are able to do so." He said: "You have spoken rightly", and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly.

He said:"Then tell me about Iman(4)."He said: "It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof." He said: "You have spoken rightly".

He said: " Then tell me about ehsan(5)." He said: "It is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you".

He said: "Then tell me about the Hour(6)". He said: "The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner."

He said: "Then tell me about its signs." He said: "That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress(7) and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman competing in constructing lofty buildings."

Then he took himself off and I stayed for a time. Then he said: "O Omar, do you know who the questioner was?" I said: "Allah and His Messenger know best". He said: "He was Jebreel (Gabriel), who came to you to teach you your religion."

Narrated by Muslim
[1] i.e Omar bin Al-Khattab, the second Caliph. / [2]Often rendered as "alms-tax" or "poor due", it is a tax levied on a man's wealth and distributed among the poor. / [3] The Ka'ba and Holy Mosque in Mecca. [4] Eman is generally rendered as "religious belief" or "faith". However, being a fundamental term in Islam, the Arabic word has been retained. [5] in this context the word ehsan has a special religious significance and any single rendering of it would be inadequate. Dictionary meanings for ehsan include "right action", "goodness" , "charity", "sincerity", and the like. The root also means "to master or be proficient at" and it is to be found in this meaning in Hadith 17 of the present collection. / [6] i.e. the Day of Judgement. / [7]This phrase is capable of more than one interpretation. Among those given by an-Nawawi in his commentary is that slave-girls will give birth to sons and daughters who will become free and so be the masters of those who bore them. The word ama, normally translated "slave girl", is also capable of meaning any woman in that we are all slaves or servants of God. The words are thus capable of bearing the meaning: "When a woman will give birth to her master" i.e. a time will come when children will have so little respect for their mothers that they will treat them like servants. The commentators point out there word rabba (mistress) includes the masculine rabb (master).

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