The Gateway to Paradise
By Muhammad Hijab
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. There is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.
On the authority of Mu‘adz bin Jabal (radiallāhu‘anhu), who said:
I said: "O Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from Hell-fire."
Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "You have asked me about a major matter, yet it is easy for him for whom Allāh Almighty makes it easy. You should worship Allāh, associating nothing with Him, you should perform the prayers, you should pay the zakah, you should fast in Ramadhān, and you should perform Hajj to the House."
He (Sallallāhu‘alayhi wa sallam) further said, "Shall I not guide you to the Gates of Goodness? Fasting is a screen (from Hell), charity extinguishes (i.e., removes) the sins as water extinguishes fire, and standing in prayers by a slave of Allāh during the last third part of the night (qiyamulail).''
Then Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) recited: “Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of that We have bestowed on them. No soul knows what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do". (As-Sajdah, 32: 16-17)
Then Rasūlullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar, and its topmost part?"I said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allāh."Rasūlullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "The peak of the matter is Islam; the pillar is prayer; and its topmost part is jihad."
Then Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "Shall I not tell you of the controlling of all that?”I said:"Yes, O Messenger of Allāh". So, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took hold of his tongue and said: "Restrain this." I said: "O Prophet of Allāh, will what we say be held against us?” Rasūlullah (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: "May your mother be bereaved of you, Mu‘adz! Is there anything that topples people on their faces - or he said on their noses into Hell-fire other than the jests of their tongues?"
(Related by At-Tirmidzi, who said it is good, sound hadith.)
This comprehensive hadith contains the good deeds which are required to qualify man to enter paradise, as well as the objective for which Allāh sent the messengers to humanity. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described the matter asked by the Companion as a great one, and, at the same time, easy to perform if Allāh eased it for him. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) arranged the answer logically and chronologically. He started with the testimony that there is no god but Allāh and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh, then he called on him to perform prayer, to give zakah, to fast the month of Ramadhān, and to perform Hajj.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) offered the questioner the knowledge of the gateway of righteousness: He described Fasting as an actual protection from committing sins, and spoke of the effect of sadaqah visualizing it as putting off the sins as water does to fire, using a tangible example to expound the dimension of the effect of charity.
Among the great points included in the Prophet’s advice is Solat Tahajjud which is performed around midnight, the time at which the worshipers forsake their beds to pray to Allāh in spite of the dire need of sleep. The Qur’an says:
“They forsake their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and hope…” (As-Sajdah 32: 16)
Then the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) spoke of Islam as the head of subject-matter, prayer as the major pillar, jihad as its top, and the tongue as the controller of all these things. Speaking of the importance of the tongue, he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised the inquirer to restrain the tongue for its harvest leads man to either Paradise or Hell-fire.
The following lessons may be deduced from the hadith:
1. This hadith has stressed the importance of observing the five pillars of Islam. For in answer to a question, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) revealed that by observing the pillars of Islam well one can easily enter Paradise.
2. The hadith further teaches us that we are required to observe other things besides the five pillars of Islam. We are required to contribute towards jihad. Jihad here does not mean just war alone, but it means trying to do only those things that are allowed and to keep away from those things that are prohibited.
3. All good actions can go waste if one fails to guard his tongue. One should, therefore, guard his tongue against that which Allāh has made prohibited; consequences of the bad tongue are Hell-Fire. Thus wet your tongue with the remembrance of Allāh.
[Via On Islam Thursday, 29 December 2011]