Steadfastness

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

3. Chapter on Steadfastness

Allah Almighty says, "O you who believe! Be steadfast; be supreme in steadfastness" (3:200),

and the Almighty says, "We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and life and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast," (W2:154; H2:155)

and the Almighty says, "The steadfast will be paid their wages in full without any reckoning." (W39:11; H39:10)

The Almighty said, "But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow." (W42:40; H42:43)

The Almighty says, "Seek help in steadfastness and the prayer. Allah is with the steadfast" (W2:152; H2:153)

and the Almighty says, "We will test you until We know the true fighters among you and those who are steadfast" (W47:30; H47:31)

The ayats about the command to be steadfast and the clarification of its excellence are numerous and well-known.

25. Abu Malik al-Harith ibn 'Asim al-Ash'ari reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Purity is half of belief. 'Praise be to Allah' fills up the balance, and 'Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah' fills up everything between the heavens and the earth. The prayer is a light. Sadaqa is a proof. Steadfastness is an illumination. The Qur'an is a proof for you or against you. Everybody goes out and trades with his own self, either seting it free or destroying it." [Muslim]

26. Abu Sa'id Sa'd ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri said, "Some of the people of the Ansar asked for something from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he gave it to them. Then they asked him again and he gave to them until he had used up everything he had. He said, 'If I had anything more, I would not keep it from you. Whoever refrains, Allah will spare him from needing to ask. Whoever wants to be independent, Allah will make him so. Whoever shows fortitude, Allah will increase him in that. No one can be given any better and greater gift than fortitude.'" [Agreed upon]

27. Abu Yahya Suhayb ibn Sinan said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.'" [Muslim]

28. Anas said, "When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was very ill, the pain began to make him faint. Fatima said, 'Have you more pain, father?' He said, 'After today your father will suffer no more pain.' When he died, she said, 'Father, your Lord has answered your prayer. Father, the Garden of Firdaws is your shelter. Father, shall we announce your death to Jibril?' When he was buried, Fatima said, 'Are you happy to put dust on the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?'" [al-Bukhari]

29. Abu Zayd Usama ibn Zayd ibn Haritha, the client of the Messenger of Allah, one he loved and the son of one he loved, said, "A daughter of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent a message to him saying, 'One of my sons is dying, so come.' He sent his greetings to her and said, 'What Allah takes is His and what He gives is His. Everything has a fixed term with Him, so she should show fortitude and expect a reward.' She sent to him imploring him to come to her. He got up with Sa'd ibn 'Ubada, Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka'b, Zayd ibn Thabit and some other men, may Allah be pleased with them. The child was brought to the Messenger of Allah and he was shuddering. The Prophet's eyes were flowing with tears and Sa'd said, 'Messenger of Allah, what is this?' He said, 'This is an aspect of mercy which Allah has put in the hearts of His slaves.'"

One variant has, "In the hearts of whomever He will of His slaves. Allah is merciful to those of His slaves who are merciful. [Agreed upon]

30. Suhayb reported hat the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Among those before you there was a king who had a sorcerer. When he was old, he said to the king, 'I am old, so send me a lad to whom I can teach sorcery.' He sent him a lad for him to teach. When the boy was on the way, he came upon a monk. He sat down to listen to his words and liked what he heard. Whenever he went to the sorcerer, he would pass by the monk and sit with him. When he came to the sorcerer, the sorcerer would beat him. He complained about that to the monk who said, 'When you are afraid of the sorcerer, say, "My family kept me." And when you are afraid of your family, say, "The sorcerer kept me."'

"While all this was going on, he came upon a great beast which was barring the people's way and said, 'Today I will find out who is better, the sorcerer or the monk.' He took a stone and said, 'O Allah, if what the monk does is preferable to You to what the sorcerer does, then turn this beast aside so that the people can pass.' He threw it and killed the animal and the people went on. He went to the monk and told him and the monk said to him, 'O my boy, today you are better than I am. I see the point that your business has reached. You will be tested and, when you are tested, do not point me out.' The boy used to heal the blind and the lepers and treat people for all their ailments. A companion of the king who was blind heard this and brought him many gifts. He said, 'All that I have gathered for you here is yours if you heal me.' He said, 'I do not heal anyone. It is Allah Almighty who heals. If you believe in Allah Almighty, I will pray to Allah to heal you." So he believed in Allah Almighty and Allah Almighty healed him. He went to the king and sat with him as he used to do. The king said to him, 'Who has returned your sight to you?' He said, 'It was my Lord.' He said, 'You have a Lord other than me?!' He said, 'My Lord and your Lord, Allah.' So he seized him and did not stop torturing him until he pointed out the boy. The boy was brought and the king said to him, 'O boy, your sorcery has reached the point where you heal the blind and the lepers, and you do such-and-such and such-and-such.' He said, 'I do not heal anyone. It is Allah Almighty who heals.' He seized him and did not stop torturing him until he pointed out the monk. The monk was brought and told, 'Renounce your religion.' He refused. He called for a saw and placed the saw on the centre of his head and split it until the two halves fell apart. Then the companion of the king was brought and told, 'Renounce your religion!' He refused, and the the saw was placed on the centre of his head and split it until the two halves fell apart. Then the boy was brought and told, 'Renounce your religion,' and he refused. He handed him over to a group of his companions and said, 'Take him to such-and-such a mountain, and take him up the mountain. When you reach its summit, if he has not renounced his religion, throw him off.' They took him and brought him up the mountain and he said, 'O Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will.' The mountain shook and they fell. He walked to the king and the king said to him, 'What has happened to your companions?' He said, 'Allah Almighty saved me from them.' He handed him over to a group of his companions and said, 'Take him and put him in a ship and take him to the middle of the sea. If he does not recant, then throw him into it.' They took him and he said, 'O Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will.' The ship capsized and they were drowned. He walked back to the king and the king said to him, 'What has happened to your companions?' He said, 'Allah Almighty saved me from them.' He said to the king, 'You will not kill me until you do what I command you.' He said, 'What is that?' He said, 'You should gather the people together on one plain and crucify me on a palm trunk. Then take an arrow from your quiver and put the arrow in the centre of your bow and say, "In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy," and then shoot it. If you do that, you will kill me.' So he gathered the people together on one plain and crucified him on a trunk and then took his arrow from his quiver and placed the arrow in the middle of the bow and then said, "In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy," and then shot it and the arrow struck his temple. He put his hand on his temple and then died. The people said, "We believe in the Lord of the boy." The king was brought and told, "Do you not see that, by Allah, your fear has brought about the very thing you were afraid of! The people have believed." So he commanded that a trench be dug with openings onto it and had fires lit in it. He said, 'Throw into it, anyone who does not renounce his religion or tell him to jump.' They did that until a woman came with one of her children. She hesitated to jump into it and the child said to her, 'Mother, be steadfast! You have the truth.'" [Muslim]

31. Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a woman who was weeping at a grave and said, 'Fear Allah and show fortitude.' She said, not recognising him, 'Leave me alone. You have not been struck by such an affliction as mine!' She was told, 'It is the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' She went to the door of the Prophet and, finding no one guarding the door, she said, 'I did not recognise you.' He said, 'The time for fortitude is at the first shock.'" [Agreed upon]

In a variant in Muslim, "Weeping for a child of hers."

32. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah Almighty says, 'The Garden will be the reward for My believing slave when I take his close friend from the people of this world and he hopes for the Garden as his reward." [al-Bukhari]

33. 'A'isha asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the plague and he told her that it was a punishment which Allah Almighty sent against whomever He will but that Allah Almighty had made it a mercy to the believers. "There is no slave who comes into contact with the plague and then remains where he is with fortitude and in expectation of the reward, knowing that only what Allah has written for him will befall him, who will receive any other reward than that of a martyr." [Al-Bukhari]

34. Anas said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'Allah the Mighty and Exalted says, 'When I test My slave regarding the two things he loves and he shows fortitude, I repay him for them with the Garden.'" He meant his eyes. [al-Bukhari]

35. 'Ata' ibn Abi Rabah said, "Ibn 'Abbas said to me, 'Shall I show you a woman who is one of the people of the Garden?' I replied, 'Please do.' He said, 'This black woman came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "I have fits during which I expose myself. Pray to Allah Almighty for me." He said, "If you wish, you can show fortitude and you will receive the Garden, and if you wish, I will pray to Allah Almighty to heal you." She said, "I will show fortitude." She said, "I expose myself so pray to Allah that I do not expose myself." So he prayed for her.'" [Agreed upon]

36. Abu 'Abdu'r-Rahman 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, "It is as if I could still see the Messenger of Allah talking about one of the Prophets, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them, whose people beat him, making his blood flow. While he was wiping the blood from his face, he said, 'O Allah, forgive my people. They do not know.'" [Agreed upon]

37. Abu Sa'id and Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it." [Agreed upon]

38. Ibn Mas'ud said, "I visited the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a fever. I said, "Messenger of Allah, you have a very high fever!' He replied, 'Yes. I have the fever of two of you.' I asked, 'Is that because you will have two rewards?' He said, 'Yes, it is like that. No Muslim is afflicted by harm, whether it is a thorn or something worse, without Allah expiating his evil deeds on that account and his sins fall away from him like leaves from a tree.'" [Agreed upon]

39. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When Allah desires good for someone, He afflicts him." [Al-Bukhari]

40. Anas said, "The Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'None of you should wish for death because of some harm which has befallen him. If he has got to do something, he should say, 'O Allah, make me live if life is best for me and make me die if death is best for me." [Agreed upon]

41. Abu 'Abdullah Khabbab ibn al-Aratt, said "We complained to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was using his cloak as a pillow in the shade of the Ka'ba, saying, 'Why do you not ask for victory for us? Why do you not make supplication for us?' He replied, 'Among those before you there was a man who was seized and put in a hole in the ground which was dug for him. Then a saw was brought, put to his head and he was sawed in half. Then he was raked with metal teeth through his flesh and bones. None of that turned him from his religion. Allah will complete this business so that a rider will be able to travel from San'a' to Hadramawt fearing none but Allah and wolves against his sheep, but you want to make things happen too quickly." [al-Bukhari]

One variant has, "While he was using his cloak as a pillow and 'we have encountered persecution from the idolaters.'"

42. Ibn Mas'ud said, "On the Day of Hunayn, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, favoured some people over others in his division of the spoils. He gave al-Aqra' ibn Habis a hundred camels and gave 'Uyayna ibn Hisn the same number. He also gave to some of the nobles of the Arabs and favoured them in the division that day. A man said, 'By Allah, this a division which lacks justice and by which the face of Allah is not desired.' I said, 'By Allah, I will inform the Messenger of Allah!' So I went to him and informed him about what he had said. His face changed colour until it was red and then he said, 'Who will be just if Allah and His Messenger are not just?' Then he said, 'May Allah have mercy on Musa! He was abused more than this and he was patient.' I said, 'After this, I will never take any report to him again!'" [Agreed upon]

43. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "When Allah desires good for one of His slaves, He brings forward the punishment for him in this world. When Allah desires evil for His slave, He withholds from him what is due to him on account of his wrong actions and then settles it on the Day of Rising."

The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The greatest reward goes together with the greatest affliction. When Allah Almighty loves people, He tests them. All who are content receive His good pleasure. Those who are angry receive His anger." [at-Tirmidhi]

44. Anas said, "A son of Abu Talha was ill. Abu Talha went out and the boy died. When Abu Talha returned, he said, 'How is my son?' Umm Sulaym, who was the mother of the boy, said, 'He is quieter than he was.' She brought him his supper and he ate. Then he had sexual intercourse with her and when he had finished, she said, 'Shroud the boy.' In the morning, Abu Talha went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and informed him. He said, 'Did you have intercourse in the night?' He said, 'Yes.' He said, 'O Allah, bless them both,' and she gave birth to a boy. Abu Talha said to me, 'Carry him to the Prophet.' He sent some dates with him. He said, 'Is there anything with him?' He said, 'Yes, some dates.' The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, took a date and chewed it and then took it from his mouth and put it into the mouth of the child and rubbed its palate with it and named him 'Abdullah." [Agreed upon]

In the variant in al-Bukhari, Ibn 'Uyayna said, "A man of the Ansar said, 'I saw nine sons, all of whom could recite the Qur'an,' meaning the sons of this 'Abdullah who was born."

In a variant in Muslim, "A son of Abu Talha by Umm Sulaym died and she told her family, 'Do not tell Abu Talha about his son until I have told him myself.' She brought him supper and he ate and drank. Then she beautified herself for him better than she had ever beautified herself before, and he had intercourse with her. When she saw that he was full and had had sex with her, she said, 'Abu Talha, what would you think if some people lent something to a family and then asked for their loan back? Can they prevent them?' He replied, 'No.' She said, 'Then seek the reward for your son.'"

He said, "He became angry and then said, 'You left me until I was impure from intercourse and then told me about my son!' He went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah said, 'May Allah bless the night for both of you.'" He said, "She became pregnant." He said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was on a journey and she was with him. When the Messenger of Allah came to Madina from a journey, he would never enter it at night. They drew near Madina and she went into labour. Abu Talha stayed with her and the Messenger of Allah went on." He said, "Abu Talha said, 'You know, O Lord, that I like to go out with the Messenger of Allah when he goes out and enter when he enters and I am held back by what You see.' Umm Sulaym said, 'Abu Talha, I am not feeling what I was feeling. Go on.' So he went. She went into labour when they arrived and gave birth to a boy. My mother said to me, 'Anas, no one could make him suckle until she took him to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. In the morning I carried him and took him to the Messenger of Allah,'" and he mentioned the entire hadith.

45. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The strong man is not the one who throws people in wrestling. The strong man is the one who has control of himself when he is angry." [Agreed upon]

46. Sulayman ibn Surad said, "One day I was sitting with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while two men were quarreling. The face of one of them turned red and his veins stood out. The Messenger of Allah said, 'I know a word which, if you say it, will remove what you feel.' (Or he said '"I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan' will remove from him what he feels.') They told him that the Prophet and two men were were quarreling said, 'Seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan.'" [Agreed upon]

47. Mu'adh ibn Anas reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If someone restrains his anger when he is able to give vent to it, Allah ­ glory be to Him and may He will exalted!­ will summon him at the head of creatures on the Day of Rising so that he can chose whichever of the wide-eyed houris he wishes." [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

48. Abu Hurayra reported that a man said to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Give me counsel." He said, "Do not get angry." He repeated his request several times and he said, "Do not get angry." [al-Bukhari]

49. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Believers, both men and women, will continue to be afflicted in respect of themselves, their children and their property until they meet Allah without any wrong actions at all." [at-Tirmidhi]

50. Ibn 'Abbas said, "'Uyayna ibn Hisn came and stayed with his nephew, al-Hurr ibn Qays, who was one of the group whom 'Umar brought near to him. The reciters were part of the people of the assembly and council of 'Umar, no matter whether they were mature men or young men. 'Uyayna told his nephew, 'Nephew, you have access to this amir, so ask him for permission for me to see him.' He asked permission and 'Umar gave permission. When he entered, he said, 'O Ibn al-Khattab! By Allah, it is that you do not give enough to us and you do not judge justly between us.' 'Umar was so angry that he wanted to punish him. Al-Hurr said to him, 'Amir al-Mu'minin, Allah Almighty said to His Prophet, "Make allowances for people; command what is right; and turn away from the ignorant." (7:199) This is one of the ignorant.' By Allah, 'Umar did not do less than that when he recited it. He acted in accordance with the Book of Allah Almighty." [al-Bukhari]

51. Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'After I am gone there will be misappropriation and matters of which you disapprove." They said, "O Messenger of Allah, what do you command us to do?" He said, "To fulfill the rights you owe to others and to ask Allah for what is owed to you." [Agreed upon]

52. Abu Yahya Usayd ibn Hudayr reported that a man of the Ansar said, "Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me as you appointed so-and-so?" He said, "You will experience misappropriation after I have gone, so be patient until you meet me at the Basin." [Agreed upon]

53. Abu Ibrahim 'Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa reported that on one of the days when he came face to face with the enemy, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, waited until the sun had declined and then stood up and said, "O people! Do not be too eager to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for well-being. When you do meet them, be steadfast. Know that the Garden lies under the shadow of the swords." The the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "O Allah, Sender-down of the Book and Mover of the clouds and Vanquisher of the companies, defeat them and help us against them!" [Agreed upon]