Praising People

Al-Adab al-Mufrad Al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

XVI. Praising People

153. What has come about praising people

333. Abu Bakr reported that a man was mentioned in the presence of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and someone praised him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Woe to you! You have cut off the head of your companion!" and he repeated that several times. He went on, "If one of you must praise someone, he should say, 'I consider that so-and-so is such-and-such.' Allah is the One who will take account of him if he thinks that he is indeed like that, No one can appropriate Allah's right to attest to someone's character."

334. Abu Musa reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, heard a man praise another man and he was using exaggeration in his praise of him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "You have destroyed ­ or broken ­ the man's back."

335. Ibrahim at-Taymi reported that his father said, "We were sitting with 'Umar and one man praised another man to his face." He said, "You have wounded the man. May Allah wound you."

336. Zayd ibn Aslam reported that his father heard 'Umar state, "Praise is slaughter." The transmitter added, "He meant when it is accepted."

154. Someone who praises his companion when he feels safe about him*

[* He is certain that his praise will nor produce pride or vanity.]

337. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best of men is Abu Bakr. The best of men is 'Umar. The best of men is Abu 'Ubayda. The best of men is Usayd ibn Hudayr. The best of men is Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas. The best of men is Mu'adh ibn 'Amr ibn al-Jamuh. The best of men is Mu'adh ibn Jabal." Then he said, "The worst of men is so-and-so. The worst of men is so-and-so," until he had named seven men.

338. 'A'isha said, "A man asked permission to come to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Messenger of Allah said, 'He is an evil son of his tribe.' When the man came in, the Prophet was courteous and cheerful towards him. When that man left, another man asked permission to come in. He said, 'He is an excellent son of his tribe.' When he came in, he was not cheerful towards him as he had been cheerful towards the other man. When he left, I said, 'Messenger of Allah, you said what you said about so-and-so and yet you were courteous to him. You said what you said about so-and-so and I did not see you do the same.' He said, ''A'isha, the worst of people are those who are feared on account of their bad language.'"

155. Throwing dust in the faces of those who praise people

339. Abu Ma'mar said, "A man began to praise one of the amirs. Al-Miqdad began to throw dirt in his face and said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, commanded us to throw dust into the faces of those who praise people.'"

340. 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah reported that a man was praising another man in the presence of Ibn 'Umar. Ibn 'Umar began to throw dust towards his mouth. He said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'When you see those who praise people, throw dust in their faces.'"

341. Raja' said. "One day Mihjan and I went to the mosque of the people of Basra. Burayda al-Aslami was sitting there by one of the mosque doors. Inside the mosque there was a man called Sabka who used to make the prayers long. We came to the mosque door which had a fringed woollen cloth over it. Now Burayda was someone who made jokes. He said, 'Mihjan, don't you pray as Sabka prays?' Mihjan did not answer and went back. Mihjan said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, once took me by the hand and we went together to the top of Uhud. He looked down on Madina and said, "Woe to a town whose people will abandon it when it becomes very prosperous. Then the Dajjal will come to it and find two angels at each of its gates, so he will not enter it." Then he went down until we reached the mosque and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw a man praying, prostrating and bowing. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked me, "Who is this?" and I began to praise him, saying, "Messenger of Allah, this is so-and-so and so-and-so." "Stop!" he said, "Do not let him hear or you will destroy him."'"

Raja' continued, "He began to walk until he reached his rooms and then he began to shake the dust off his hands and said, 'The best part of your deen is the easiest of it.' and he repeated that three times."

156. The person who praises in poetry

342. Al-Aswad ibn Suray' said, "I came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Messenger of Allah, I have praised Allah and you in poems of praise and eulogies.' He said, 'As far as your Lord is concerned, He must be praised,' and so I began to recite them. Then a tall bald man asked for permission to enter. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told me, 'Be silent.' The man came in and spoke for a time and then left. Then I recited again. Then the other man came back and he made be silent again. Then the man left again. That happened two or three times. I asked, 'Who is this man for whom I must be silent?' He replied, 'This is a man who does not like vain things.'"

[It is said that it was 'Umar ibn al-Khattab]

157. Giving to a poet when you fear his evil

343. Abu Nujayd said, "A poet came to 'Imran ibn Husayn and 'Imran gave him something. 'Imran was asked, 'You give to a poet?' He said, 'I am preserving my reputation (from his satire).'"