As I became more advanced in my Arabic studies, I immersed myself in reading hadith (prophetic narrations) in the language spoken by our Messenger ﷺ (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him).
Prophetic Narrations You Probably Have Never Heard
The more I read, the more I realized how many narrations we—as the English-speaking community—have never read or heard of before. I began to mark and translate these narrations, in hopes of reminding myself and sharing them with others.
Reading the words of the Prophet ﷺ is like hearing them from his blessed lips. I feel the weight of his words and I reflect on his wisdom. Each of God’s Prophets had a special gift, and one of the gifts of our Messenger was “jawami’ al-kalam,” concise speech. He ﷺ was able to say something with so much meaning in only a few words. His words still carry great meaning even after translation.
READ MORE: Ten Things to Know About the Muslim Prayer
Unfortunately, it seems we have lost respect for hadith. We say, “The Prophet ﷺ said such-and-such,” yet his words do not impact us as they should. In order to gain this respect for hadith, we should remind ourselves of who it was who said these words. We should get in a mind-set of reverence and love for him while reading his words (may God’s peace and blessings be upon him).
Reading hadith also gives us a chance to spend time with our Messenger ﷺ. He is not here with us physically but his words and actions, by God’s Blessings, have been recorded for us by the scholars of the past. In a famous incident, the scholar ibn al-Mubarak was known to leave his study circle immediately after it was completed and go straight home alone. One day, his friends asked him, “Don’t you get lonely?” He replied, “How can I be lonely when I am spending time with the Messenger and His Companions?”
While there are many narrations that are not well-known in English, I have chosen a few that have impacted me. I hope that you benefit from them as I have (all narrations have been graded “authentic” or “good”.)
- “The believer is friendly and likeable*1 and there is no good in the one who is not friendly nor likeable, and the best of them are the most beneficial to the people.” (Sahih al-Jami)
- “When Allah wants good for His slave, He occupies him with work.” The Companions asked, “And how does He occupy him with work?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “He grants him the ability and opportunity to do righteous deeds before his death, then He takes his soul in that state.” (Ahmad)
- “When Allah wants good for His slave, He purifies him before his death.” The Companions asked, “And what is the purification for the slave?” The Prophet ﷺ said, “Righteous deeds that Allah inspires to Him until he dies upon it.” (Tabarani)
- Abu ‘Inabah radi Allahu `anhu (may God be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “When Allah wants good for His slave, He makes him pleasant*2 .” The Companions asked, “And what makes him pleasant?” He ﷺ said, “He opens the door of righteous deeds for him before his death, then He takes his soul in that state.” (Ahmad)
- “Indeed Shaytan (Satan) said, ‘My Lord, by Your Honor and Might! I will not stop misleading Your slaves as long as their souls remain in their bodies.’ So Allah (swt) responded, ‘By My Honor, Might and Majesty, I will not stop forgiving them as long as they seek My forgiveness.’” (Ahmad)
- “With Allah are the treasures of good and evil and their keys are men. So glad tidings for the one who Allah makes a key for good and a lock for evil. And destruction for the one who Allah makes a key for evil and a lock for good.” (Tabarani)
- “Among the people are those who are keys to goodness and locks to evil. And from among the people are those who are keys to evil and locks to goodness. So glad tidings to the one who Allah puts the key to goodness in his hands, and destruction to the one who Allah puts the key to evil in his hands.” (ibn Maajah)
- “Most of the sins of the children of Adam are because of the tongue.” (Sahih al-Jami)
- “Guard your tongue, make your house suffice for sheltering your privacy, and weep for your wrong actions.” (Sahih al-Jami)
- “Whoever among you is able to carry out a secret good deed, then he should do it.” (Sahih al-Jami)
- “It is not proper for a believer to debase themselves.” The Companions asked, “How can we debase ourselves?” He ﷺ responded, “By placing yourself in a situation you cannot handle.”(Tirmidhi)
- “The angel of the left raises [and holds] his pen for six hours from the Muslim servant of Allah who has wronged or committed a mistake. So if he regrets and seeks Allah’s forgiveness from it he returns it back, and if that is not the case then it is written as one.” (Mu’jam al Kabeer)
- “Good news is for the one who finds in his book (i.e. his book of deeds) lots of istighfar (seeking Allah’s Forgiveness).” (ibn Majah)
- “The Lord (swt) says, ‘Whoever is busied with the Qur’an from remembrances (dhikr) and from supplicating to Me, then surely I will give him better than that which I give those who ask Me [and do not busy themselves with the Qur’an].’” (Tabarani)
- “Whoever dies and is free from three: arrogance, grudges and debt will enter Paradise.” (Tirmidhi)
- “Indeed a person’s status will be raised in Paradise and he will ask, ‘How is this for me?’ He will be told, ‘By your child’s seeking forgiveness for you.’” (Ibn Majah)
- Aisha (may God be pleased with her) narrated, “I asked the Messenger of Allah about the verse: ‘And those who give that which they give with their hearts full of fear,’ (Qur’an 23:60).” She asked: “Are they those who drink wine and steal?” The Prophet ﷺ replied, “No, daughter of al-Siddiq (i.e., Abu Bakr)! Rather they are those who fast, and those who pray and those who give charity while they fear that it (their deeds) will not be accepted from them. Those! They are the ones who race in all that is good.” (Tirmidhi)
- “Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which wept out of the Fear and Awe of Allah. Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which stayed awake and vigilant (through the night) in the Way of Allah. Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which looked away from that which has been forbidden by Allah.” (Hakim)
- Umm Sulaym (may God be pleased with her) came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, teach me some words that I can supplicate with.” He responded, “Glorify Allah (say subhanAllah) ten times, and praise Allah (say alhamdulillah) ten times, and magnify Allah (say Allahu akbar) ten times then ask for your need, surely Allah will say, ‘Surely, I have done it. Surely, I have done it.’” (Ahmad)
- “Purify these bodies (i.e., practice ablution/wudu) and Allah will purify you. Whenever a slave sleeps in a state of purification, an angel sleeps within his hair and he does not turn over during the night except that he [the angel] says: ‘O Allah, forgive Your slave, for he went to sleep purified.’” (Tabarani)
- Abu Qatada (may God be pleased with him) narrated: “A funeral procession passed by Allah’s Messenger who said, ‘Relieved or relieving?’ The people asked, ‘O Prophet! What is relieved and relieving?’ He said, ‘A believer is relieved (by death) from the troubles and hardships of the world and leaves for the Mercy of Allah, while (the death of) a wicked person relieves the people, the land, the trees, (and) the animals from him.’” (Bukhari)
- “When a slave says: laa ilaaha il Allah wa Allahu Akbar—There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and Allah is Greater,” he said, “Allah (swt) will say: My slave has spoken the truth, there is no deity worthy of worship except for Myself and I am Greater. And when the slave says: laa ilaaa il Allahu wahdahu—There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah Alone—He (Allah) said: My slave has spoken the truth, there is no deity worthy of worship except for Myself Alone. And when he said: laa ilaaha il Allah laa shareeka lahu—There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, He has no partner—He (Allah) said: My slave has spoken the truth, there is no deity worthy of worship except for Myself and I have no partner. And when he says, laa ilaaha il Allah lahu al mulku wa lahu al hamdu—There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, for Him is the Dominion and for Him is the Perfect Praise—He (Allah) said: My slave has spoken the truth, there is no deity worthy of worship except for Myself and for Me is the Dominion and for Me is the Perfect Praise. And when he said, laa ilaaha il Allah wa la hawla wa la quwata ila billah—There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and there is no might nor power except with Allah—He (Allah) said: My slave has spoken the truth: there is no deity worthy of worship except for Myself and there is no might nor power except with Me. Whoever is granted them (these words) during (the time of) his death, the fire will never touch him.” (Ibn Majah)
Alhamdulillah (praise belongs to God), a few of our readers asked that I continue sharing these narrations. I’ve compiled here, for the second time, a few narrations that resonated with me. The purpose of this compilation is to inspire you – as they have inspired me – to continue learning from the life, tradition and sayings of the one God has chosen as the best role model ﷺ (peace be upon him).
Before sharing them, I feel that it is necessary to add a disclaimer. While reading Prophetic traditions is one of the ways we can learn about our Messenger ﷺ and grow in love for him, it is important that we do not limit learning about him to only reading ahadith (Prophet’s teachings). We should not reduce hadith to “enlightening quotes” we read that give us a tingly-feeling and then forget. In addition to these readings, we should be actively learning about his life (sirah) as well as the context and meanings of these narrations.
Sirah has unfortunately become a kind of textbook science – we learn dates and events but forget to think about the actual human experience. He is the final and esteemed Messenger of God, but we forget that we can relate to him ﷺ. Do we talk about how the Prophet ﷺ was a single father after his beloved wife Khadija radi Allahu `anha (may Allah be pleased with her) died? Do we think of how the strong backlash against the Prophet ﷺ in the early days of the message affected his young daughters? Do we know how strong a relationship he ﷺ had with his uncle, Abu Talib, and how his death hurt him so? How much of the Qur’an was sent down to console the Prophet ﷺ during times of sadness and grief? He is the Messenger of Allah, but first and foremost, he is a human with human emotions and experiences. While the early people of Quraysh used the fact that he was a “simple human” as an excuse to not believe in the message, we see this as a blessing of Allah and a sign of the Prophet’s ﷺ humanity as well as a reminder that ultimate perfection belongs to Allah Alone.
There are so many narrations about so many topics related from the Prophet ﷺ. For this reason we read narrations which at first glace seem contradictory, such as the many examples we find of what constitutes “the best charity”. These narrations are not contradictory, rather they point to the many routes to good that one can take based on one’s situation, ability, intention and even personality. The main lesson we take away is that our religion teaches us not only spiritual purification, but also purification of our relationships, means of livelihood, communal obligations, and manners of speaking and actions. Islam would not be Islam if it taught us to only focus on our hearts while other aspects of our lives are corrupted1 .
- Rabe’ah b. Kab, a poor companion, used to prepare water for the Prophet’s ﷺ wudu (cleansing before prayer) and would spend the night praying with him in the masjid. One night, the Messenger ﷺ said to him, “Ask me for anything.” Rabe’ah immediately responded, “I want to be with you in Paradise.” The Prophet ﷺ asked him, “is there anything else you would like?” He said, “That is all.” Then the Prophet ﷺ told him, “Then help me to fulfill your wish by prostrating often.” (Muslim)
- No one has three daughters or three sisters and is good to them but that he will enter Paradise. (ibn Abi Shaibah)
- Keep from harming and treating others poorly. That is a charity which you bestow on yourself. (Bukhari)
- Helping someone with family or small children (is among the best actions). (Bukhari)
- Shall I not tell you of an action that is a degree better than prayer, fasting and charity? To put things right between each other. Discord and hatred wears away one’s religion. (Abu Dawud)
- The believer is genuine and generous while the corrupt is a gossip and miserly. (Bayhaqi)
- The best charity is given by the one with little to give and be charitable first to those you are responsible for. (Hakim)
- Forgive and overlook the slipups of good people. (Abu Dawud)
- Anas (ra) said, “Rain fell on us while we were with the Prophet ﷺ. He ﷺ then removed part of his garment so that the rain could fall on him.” When we asked him why he did that, he ﷺ responded, “Because it has just arrived from its Lord.” (Adab Mufrad)
- Whatever you say in celebration of Allah’s Glory (saying subhan’Allah), and Oneness (saying La ilaha il Allah), and all your words of Praise for Him (saying Alhamdulillah) orbit and surround the Throne of Allah. These words resound like the buzzing of bees, and call attention to the person who uttered them. Don’t you wish to be mentioned in the presence of The Abundantly Merciful? (Ahmad)
- The best charity is given while you are healthy, desirous (of that money), hoping for wealth but fearing poverty. Don’t delay it until your death bed saying, “this is for so-and-so” and “this is for so-and-so.” While it was already written for so-and-so.2 (Abu Dawud)
- The Prophet ﷺ was riding with Mu’adh (ra) and he said to him, “Mu`adh, by Allah, I love you for the sake of Allah, therefore I advise you never to forget to say after every prayer: “Allahumma a`inni `ala dhikrika wa shukrika, wa husni `ibadatika,’ (O Allah, help me remember You, express gratitude to You and worship You in the best manner)”. (Abu Dawud)
- Allah does not accept the supplication from an inattentive, heedless heart. (Tirmidhi)
- Watch out for greed because the people before you perished from it. Greed led them to be miserly so they became misers. Greed led them to break the ties (of kinship) so they broke it. Greed led them to sins so they committed sins.” (Abu Dawud)
- The most enviable of my friends is a believer with little property who finds pleasure in prayer, who performs the worship of his Lord well, who obeys Him in secret, who is obscure among men, who is not pointed out by people, and who is content with his provision. (Tirmidhi)
- Be prompt in doing good deeds. (Muslim)
- A Muslim does not experience fatigue, tiredness, anxiety, sorrow, injury or grief or even a thorn which pricks him without Allah expiating his errors for him. (Adab Mufrad)
- Parents will be rewarded for what they spend on their children. (Bukhari)
- The son of Adam’s food is like the example of this worldly life – even if he puts spices and season into it, see what it becomes. (ibn Hibban)
- The Prophet ﷺ said, Allah says, son of Adam! Devote yourself to My worship and I will fill your heart with contentment and remove your poverty. (Ibn Mâjah)
- Repeat after the adhan (call to prayer) when you hear it and when you finish, ask and you will be given. (Abu Dawud)
- The heart (qalb) was given that name because of its inconstancy. The similitude of heart is like that of a feather which wind blows here and there. (Ahmad)
- The luckiest person who will have my intercession on the Day of Resurrection will be the one who said, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ sincerely from the bottom of his heart. (Bukhari)