Encouragement to increase good actions in the later part of one's life

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

12. Chapter: On the encouragement to increase good actions in the later part of one's life

Allah Almighty says, "Did We not let you live long enough for anyone who was going to pay heed to pay heed? And did not the warner come to you?" (35:37)

112. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah has excused Himself in the case of a man whose term He extends until he reaches sixty years of age." [Al-Bukhari]

The scholars say that it means, "He does not need an excuse if He lets him live for this period." It is said that this is when a man reaches the utmost point of being excused.

113. Ibn 'Abbas said, "'Umar used to admit me together with the shaykhs of Badr and it seemed that one of them was annoyed by that and said, 'Why does he admit this one with us when we have sons of his age?' 'Umar said, 'You know well where he is from!' So one day he summoned me and had me come in with them and I thought that he had summoned me that day to show me to them. He said, 'What you say about the words of Allah Almighty, "When Allah's help and victory have arrived" (110:1)?' Some of them said, 'We are commanded to praise Allah and to ask His forgiveness when He helps us and makes us victorious." Some of them were silent and did not say anything. He said to me, 'Is that what you say, Ibn 'Abbas?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'So what do you say?' I said, 'It is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, being informed of the end of his lifespan. He said, "When Allah's help and victory have arrived," and that is a sign of the end of your life-span, "then glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness. He is the Ever-Returning."' 'Umar said, 'No one knows better than what you say.'" [al-Bukhari]

114. 'A'isha said, "After 'When Allah's help and victory have arrived' was sent down on him, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not pray any prayer without saying, 'Glory be to You, Our Lord, and with Your praise. O Allah, forgive me.'" [Agreed upon]

In the variant in the two Sahih collections from him, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say often in his bowing and prostration, 'Glory be to You, Our Lord, and with Your praise. O Allah, forgive me.'" interpreting the Qur'an.

The meaning of "interpreting the Qur'an" is doing what is commanded in the Qur'an in the words of the Almighty, 'Glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness.'"

In the variant of Muslim, "The Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say often before he died, 'Glory be to You, Our Lord, and with Your praise. O Allah, I ask your forgiveness and I turn to You.' 'A'isha said, 'I said, "Messenger of Allah, what are these words which I have seen you saying recently?" He said, "I have been given a sign concerning my community. When I saw it, I repeated it: 'When Allah's help and victory have arrived (to the end of the sura.)"'"

In a variant of it, "The Messenger of Allah may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to say often, 'Glory be to You, Our Lord, and with Your praise. O Allah, I ask your forgiveness and I turn to You.' She said, 'I said, "Messenger of Allah, I often see you saying, 'Glory be to You, Our Lord, and with Your praise. O Allah, I ask your forgiveness and I turn to You.'" He said, "I say 'When Allah's help and victory have arrived' meaning the conquest of Makka 'and you have seen people entering Allah's deen in droves, glorify your Lord's praise and ask His forgiveness. He is the Ever-Returning.'"'"

115. Anas said, "Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, made continuous revelation to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, up until the time of his death so that when died the revelation was at its most abundant." [Agreed upon]

116. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Every slave of Allah will be raised up according to what he had when he died." [Muslim]