7th hadith from 40 Hadith of an-Nawawi by teacher Reda (6th June, 2013)


Tamim bin Aws Ad-Dary (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated
that, “the Prophet (peace be upon him) said. ‘Religion is sincerity in advice. ‘Upon this we said, ‘For whom? He replied, ‘For Allah, His Book, And His Messenger and for the leaders and the Muslims in general." (Recorded by Muslim)

Advice should be for Allah first. This includes the fulfillment of the obligations in the best way possible. This should be the goal of every Muslim. This also includes striving to get as close to Allah as possible by doing not only the obligations but also the prefect deeds, by forbidding the forbidden and avoiding the disliked acts.

Advice for Allah
  also involves: believing in Allah and denying any partners with Him.
-         Believing in His attributes.
-         Obeying Him.
-         Fulfilling His commands and abstaining from what He has forbidden.
-         Doing what is best to remember Him, under all circumstances.
-         Loving whatever He loves and hating whatever He hates.
-         Recognizing the blessings He has bestowed upon us and properly thanking blessings.
To fulfill advice for Allah one should have the correct intention in one's heart to Allah, even when one is excused and it is beyond one's ability to perform these sometimes a person may not be able to perform an obligation but at least he has intentions in his heart to fulfill it in the first place.
The actions of the heart (i.e. to have hope in Allah's mercy, to trust Him, to fear Him and to seek refuge in Him), and the actions of the limbs (prayers, alms giving, etc.) also fall under advice for Allah.
Honesty is also another aspect of this great concept. In whatever we do we should always be honest with Allah, similarly with sincerity. In fact sincerity should be the first thing that a Muslim should attain when we talk about advice for Allah.
Advice for His Book
This includes:-
- Believing that the Qur'an is from Allah, that it is the Word of Allah and that it is not like the word of man.
- According to one's ability, to read and recite the Qur'an and to practice it. 
- To study its admonitions, lessons and parables.
- Calling others to believe in the Qur'an.
- To defend and protect it from any kind of distortion or misinterpretation. 
- Defending the Qur'an against false claims made against it.
- Having proper respect and treating the Qur'an in a proper manner - e.g. to be careful not to throw away a piece of paper which has a verse printed on it (magazine article, etc.) as it may be stepped on - we should also be aware if we see such a piece of paper on the ground to pick it up and keep it away safely or destroy it by burning it so that it’s not subject to disrespect.
Advice for His Messenger:
This includes:-
-  Believing the Prophet's (peace be upon him) message.
-  Believing in all that he brought as being divinely inspired.
-  Loving him more than we love ourselves and our families - it is the second level of love, after the love of Allah.
-  Our love for him should lead to other obligations like obeying him.
-  Helping him and defending him (for those who were alive during his time, defending his honor and respecting his status.
-  For the people who came after the Prophet's, (peace be upon him) life, we should respect and love his traditions which is an implication of loving him.
-  To say (peace be upon him) whenever his name is mentioned.
-  To accept his traditions as a scale by which we judge things, actions and sayings.
-  To accept him as the true leader and only human's final word with respect to the religion - he is the only true human authority and even-one else's statements/opinions come after his.
-  To love those who love him and hate those who hate him.
-  Reviving his traditions by learning, understanding, teaching and spreading it. However, when we call people to the traditions - as advised by the scholar Ahmad - we should do it in a nice and proper way and not to end up fighting about it. One problem today is that many Muslims are unaware of the traditions and the status of the traditions- so one of the things we should do is to make these people love the prophetic traditions, and we should not do so in an aggressive or confrontational way as this might lead to the people being confused, offensive and rejecting the prophetic traditions.
- To love both his family and his companions. Most Islamic sects love one or the other and not both. There are some deviated Islamic sects who are propagating their false beliefs by creating doubts about the companions with the intention of making people hate them. This will lead to the rejection of the prophetic traditions.
We should be aware of the sources of narrations about the companions as some of these narrations are false and may create doubts.
- To love those who follow, defend and strive to revive the prophetic traditions of the Prophet, (peace be upon him).

Advice for the Muslim Leaders

Advice should be given to all leaders, no matter how high or what the ranking is. No one is above the law in Islam and no one is above needing advice. Advice is for the benefit of anyone who is in authority. This means that a ruler, leader or scholar should be the first to accept sincere advice.
Making advice to Muslim leaders should include:
-  Helping them in whatever is good or beneficial.
- Obeying them in what is right.
- Reminding them if they should err or forget.
- Being patient with them if they do things which we dislike - we try to do the advice and at the same time we tolerate the leader because otherwise it may lead to instability in the Muslim community.
- One should pray for their guidance and piety.
- Choosing the right way, manner and channel in advising them. The Scholars say giving advice to leaders should be done according to certain rules: i. e.
-  One must have good intentions.
-  It should be done mildly, calling on them with respect.
-  Avoiding harshness and not to embarrass them - our aim is to advise and correct them and not to show off.
-  Not to divulge or inform others about their wrong-doings as this may lead to more problems in the society.
-  Give the advice privately and not publicly.
If one is asked by the leader to do a mistake or something which contradicts with the prophetic traditions, one shouldn't obey. However, we should disobey in a nice/assertive manner and not in an aggressive way because our aim is to remind them that this is wrong so that they will change and not ask us to do the mistake.

-  For the Scholars, our advice is seeking knowledge from them.
-  Not to seek or point out their mistakes. There are some people who search for the mistakes of Scholars - we shouldn't do this because Scholars are pious people and this act may cause Allah to be displeased with us. It may also create chaos in the community.
-  Not to follow them blindly.
-  Not to hollow them.

Advice for the Common Folk of the Muslims
This includes:-

-  To observe the rights of other Muslims - fulfilling our obligations towards other Muslims. These obligations differ depending on the group of Muslims (e.g. our parents, children, relatives, neighbors, etc.) - e.g. greeting them, visiting them when they are sick, making invocations for them, giving advice if they ask for it, praying for the one who dies, etc.
To observe the concept of ma'a which means:
-  To love every Muslim.
-  To care for all Muslims.
-  To help other Muslims.
-  To defend/protect other Muslims.
-         The Prophet, (peace be upon him), said that "he is a real Muslim if he is the one who the other Muslims are saved from his tongue and his hand" - the true Muslim is one who will not harm others verbally or physically, in any way or by any means.
-         Having mercy for the young and showing respect to the elders - it is part of glorifying Allah that we respect the elder Muslims.
-         Sacrificing one's time, effort, money, etc. for the betterment of the Muslim community.
-          If we are the ones in authority, then we should act sincerely towards the rest of the Muslims and do whatever is in their best interest. We should give advice to the people by, e.g. doing what is best for the nation, defending the community, putting the right and qualified people in the right position and job. Any kind of leadership or authority, whatever the level or rank, is responsible for the people being lead - e.g. supervisors, managers, teachers, principles, etc.

Lessons Deduced

The first rule given by the Qur'an is to give advice for the Sake of Allah, and the majority of verses are concerned with this rule. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) continued to Implant this in people’s hearts for thirteen years. Allah says, which means, ‘And they were commanded not but that they should worship Allah and worship none but Him Alone.
Among the way of giving advice for the Sake of Allah is to advise of the Oneness of Allah the Exalted and Ever-Majestic in His Essence and His Perfect Attributes.

The one giving advice should neither associate anything as a partner with Allah, for example stones, trees, or clods of mud nor seek guidance, but from Allah. He should not seek a cure except from Allah and should only seek refuge with Allah. He should not associate others with Allah in worship whether in a directly overt way or in an inconspicuous way, such as the ostentatious people and those who seek fame. Allah says, which means. ‘So worship Allah (Alone) by doing religious deeds sincerely for
Allah’s sake only. (And do not show-off, nor suit up rivals with Hint in worship). Surely, the religion is for Allah only.
Advising Muslims generally, without exception, is by advising them of what can be useful for them in their worldly life and the afterlife. It is also achieved through helping them by fulfilling their needs, concealing their defects, defending their honor, removing harm from them, bringing about benefits, commanding them to do right, and forbidding them from doing, wrong. All of this is the duty of a wise caller, an eloquent speaker, an educating teacher, a doctor, a worker working with his engines, a tradesman in his industry and with his inventions, a father with his family, a husband with his wife, a merchant in his store, farmer on his farm, a student in his studies, school and college, a ruler with his responsibilities, and a manager with his administration.

In general people should respect the scholars, hold them in the highest regard, and not violate the orders of Allah mentioned in the Qur’an and Prophetic traditions. They should not quarrel with them or contradict them. as some people like to do. They are the spiritual leaders and as such they are entitled to relate knowledge from the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) based on their understanding. Allah says which means, ‘it is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.’
And says which means, ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not!’  The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), in order to explain to us what was morally necessary in respect of them said, ‘and for the leaders and the Muslims in general" and did not say. ‘and for the Muslims in general.“ because the Muslims are the followers or their leaders. No nation can succeed while the people are insulting, disdaining, and ignoring their leaders. No one can ever insult someone revered by Allah through His laws.

The advice for the Book requires the following:
- Believing in the clear verses related to legal ruling, as well as the unclear.
- Adhering to its judgments and laws.
- Defending it against the distortions of those who try to falsify it. This will never be achieved while we do not really depend on the Qur'an, we take it as a decoration for our rooms and boats, and seek refuge in it in the form of incantations.

But if we study its sciences and understand its knowledge and arts, this will be a guarantee for our developmental and we will be able to absorb the essence of our Islamic civilization. If we do this, our virtue will never be destroyed and the different fierce cultural and informational attacks will not continue to be leveled against us.

The advice regarding the leaders of the Muslims is achieved through obeying the rulers in what is right, as long as they obey Allah and His
Messenger (peace be upon him). Allah says.
Which means: '0 you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority.’
Al-Bukary recorded that Ibn Abbass (may Allah be pleased with them)
Narrated, ‘This verse was revealed concerning 'AbdullAh bin Hudafahh bin Qais bin 'Adiy. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sent him with an army unit (on a campaign) and appointed a man from the Supporters as its commander, and he ordered them (the soldiers) to obey him. During the campaign, he (the leader) became angry with them and said, 'did not the Messenger of Allah order you to obey me?’ They said,
‘Yes.’ He said, ‘I order you to collect wood. ‘Then he called for I fire to be kindled and said, ‘I order you to throw yourselves into it.‘ A man among them said, 'we followed the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to escape the Hellfire. Do not be hasty. Wait until we meet the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and if he orders you to throw yourselves into
The fire, then throw yourselves into it.‘ They returned to the Messenger of
Allah (peace be upon him) and told him what had happened. He said to them, ‘If you had entered it (the fire), you would never have come out of it. For obedience is required only in what is good." ‘Abdullah bin 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the orders of his ruler) whether he like it or not, as long as the orders do not involve him in disobedience (to Allah), but if an act of disobedience (to Allah) is imposed, he should not listen to it or obey it."
‘The advice for the leaders of the Muslims is also achieved through guiding them to follow the Law of Allah, doing that sincerely, and guiding them if they stray from the divine rules.
It was said that when Huron Ar-Rashid came to power that he gathered the people in an open assembly. A mad man called Bahlol came to him and said, ‘O leader of the believers! Beware of bad companion and choose a good companion who will remind you of your responsibilities if you forget them and to consider them if you don’t pay attention to them this is for your own good and the good of the people. Increase your rewards by doing good deeds like observing the fast, offering prayers, reciting the Qur’an and performing pilgrimage.

A man uttered a word in the presence of a ruler who followed it and filled earth with corruption. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘A man may utter a word without thinking about it and it may cause him to fall into the
Hellfire for (the distance covered in) seventy years.’ O leader of the believers! Do not be like the one about whom Allah says which means, ‘And when it is said to him. ‘Fear Allah‘, he is led by arrogance to (more) crime, so enough for him is Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest!’  
So Harun said to him. ‘Tell me more." He said, ‘O leader of the believers!
Allah, the Exalted and ever Majestic bestowed upon you obedient people who will obey your commands, words, and orders so you can help them to follow the orders of Allah and abstain from His Prohibitions, and give from this wealth to the widower, the orphan, the old man, and the wayfarer. O leader of the believers! So and so told me that so and so narrated that the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, when Allah gathers the previous and the later generations in one place. He will bring the king and other rulers and say to them. ‘Did I not give you the authority over My Countries and provide you with the obedience of My Servants, not to collect money and gather men, but to gather them in obedience to Me and to carry out My Orders and Prohibitions and to support My Followers and humiliate My Enemies, and to support the oppressed ones against the oppressors?" O Harun think about your answer when you are melted about the people in that situation, when you stand with your hands tied to your neck with the Hellfire before you and the angels of punishment surrounding you waiting for the Orders of Allah.’ So Harun wept much. Some of the people present said to Bahlol, ‘You have made the leader of the believers upset in his assembly.‘ Harun said to them. ‘May Allah destroy you! The unfortunate one is the one whom you deceive and the fortunate one is the one whom you leave.’ Then Bahlol went out.

Lesson for the call of Islam
Giving advice is difficult and few people accept it. So a caller should be wise when presenting advice and should call people to the way of Allah with fair preaching, as Allah says which means, "Invite (mankind, O Mohammed) to the way of your Lord with wisdom.
A caller must not take his decisions hastily or face his opponents roughly or rudely, as Allah says to the Prophet (peace be upon him), which means, ‘And had you been severe and harsh hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah's) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.’
The one who gives advice is not usually popular, because he is against base lusts and desires and because he speaks with the language of logic understood only by rational people. This is the way that reveals a true caller who calls only for the Sake of Allah, but the hypocrite wants nothing but to gather as many supporters and followers as he can, as having these people supporting him helps him to achieve his political and material aims.
Many times we have heard about these plots, woven against the call for
Islam, but which aim at destroying it. After the hypocrite reaches his aim, his supporters are the first thing that he sacrifices.

A caller should choose the right place, time, and situation to give his advice and speeches. He has also to choose his style and the correct expressions. Once it was said, "Advice when given in front of people is a scandal."

Hadith in Practice

Nowadays, a ruler is in dire need for someone to advice him honestly and sincerely, but instead he finds around him the flatterers who make it alluring for him to do illegal deeds and to desire wine and women. Some of them may even use him to achieve their own goals or to revenge their enemies. In this way, the alleged caller is in reality the one in the driving seat, steering according to his own desires.

The reason behind all that is that the rulers have banished the jurists and scholars and secluded them, so that their advice will not reach their ears.
They may have put them in the prisons and jails.

Nowadays words prevail over deeds. There is no might and no power, except in Allah. The callers themselves are in need of advice more than the others. We find some callers who stand in front of the people making matters lawful and unlawful, preaching, advising, giving glad tidings, and warning until people start to weep and until their hearts are filled with submissiveness.


From exploring all the obligations mentioned above, we can see that advice encompasses all levels of belief.


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