“The Signs of the Hypocrite are Three” in the Qur’an

Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

آيَةُ اَلْمُنَافِقِ ثَلَاثٌ: إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ, وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ, وَإِذَا ائْتُمِنَ خَانَ

The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted, he betrays his trust.

[al-Bukhari and Muslim]

In part of his extensive commentary on al-Nawawi’s 40 ahaadeeth, ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brought the following point of benefit related to this hadeeth:

وقد روي عن محمد بن كعب القرظي أنه استنبط ما في هذا الحديث – أعني حديث : آية المنافق ثلاث – من القرآن ، فقال : مصداق ذلك في كتاب الله تعالى : إذا جاءك المنافقون قالوا نشهد إنك لرسول الله إلى قوله : [ ص: 490 ] والله يشهد إن المنافقين لكاذبون [ المنافقون : 1 ] ، وقال تعالى : ومنهم من عاهد الله لئن آتانا من فضله إلى قوله : فأعقبهم نقاقا في قلوبهم إلى يوم يلقونه بما أخلفوا الله ما وعدوه وبما كانوا يكذبون [ التوبة : 74 – 77 ] ، وقال : إنا عرضنا الأمانة على السماوات والأرض والجبال الأحزاب إلى قوله : ليعذب الله المنافقين والمنافقات [ الأحزاب : 72 – 73 ] . ـ

It has been related that Muhammad ibn K’ab al-Qurathi extracted the contents of this hadeeth – meaning the hadeeth “the signs of the hypocrite are three” – from the Qur’an. For he said: This is confirmed in the Book of Allah,

إِذَا جَاءَكَ الْمُنَافِقُونَ قَالُوا نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ اللَّـهِ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُ وَاللَّـهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَكَاذِبُونَ

When the hypocrites come to you, [O Muhammad], they say, “We testify that you are the Messenger of Allah.” And Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah testifies that the hypocrites are liars. [63:1]

And He said: Continue reading

“Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it…”: Ibn Rajab

In part of his famous collection of comprehensive statements of the Prophet (ﷺ), Imam al-Nawawi mentioned the hadeeth:

مَا نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ فَاجْتَنِبُوهُ، وَمَا أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ فَأْتُوا مِنْهُ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ، فَإِنَّمَا أَهْلَكَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ كَثْرَةُ مَسَائِلِهِمْ وَاخْتِلَافُهُمْ عَلَى أَنْبِيَائِهِمْ

Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it. And whatever I have commanded you, do as much of it as you can. For verily, it was only their excessive questioning and disagreeing with their Prophets that destroyed [the nations] who were before you.”

[Arba’een al-Nawawi #9. Recorded by both al-Bukhari (#7288) and Muslim (#1337), with the wording of Muslim here.]

In one section of his commentary on this hadeeth, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote:

وقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم ” إذا نهيتكم عن شيء ، فاجتنبوه ، وإذا أمرتكم بأمر ، فأتوا منه ما استطعتم ” قال بعض العلماء : هذا يؤخذ منه أن النهي أشد من الأمر ، لأن النهي لم يرخص في ارتكاب شيء منه ، والأمر قيد بحسب الاستطاعة ، وروي هذا عن الإمام أحمد . ويشبه هذا قول بعضهم : أعمال البر يعملها البر والفاجر ، وأما المعاصي ، فلا يتركها إلا صديق . ـ

The statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), “Whatever I have forbidden for you, avoid it. And whatever I have commanded you, do as much of it as you can”.

Some of the scholars have said: It is derived from this that prohibitions are more severe than commands, because the prohibitions offer no concessions for committing them at all while the commands are specified according to one’s ability. And this is narrated from Imam Ahmad, and it resembles the statement of some that, “The deeds of righteousness are done by both the righteous and wicked, but as for the acts of disobedience, then no one abandons them except for a siddeeq (truthful one).” Continue reading

The perfection of Allah’s generosity and goodness towards His slaves: Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

 وقال ‏{‏لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنكُمْ‏}‏ الحج‏.‏

Allah says, “Their meat will not reach Allah , nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is taqwa from you.” [22:37]

والمعنى أنه تعالى يحب من عباده أن يتقوه ويطيعوه كما أنه يكره منهم أن يعصوه ولهذا يفرح بتوبة التائبين أشد من فرح من ضلت راحلته التي عليها طعامه وشرابه بفلاة من الأرض وطلبها حتى أعيى وأيس منها واستسلم للموت وأيس من الحياة ثم غلبته عينه فنام واستيقظ وهي قائمة عنده وهذا أعلى ما يتصوره المخلوق من الفرح هذا كله مع غناه عن طاعات عباده وتوباتهم إليه وإنه إنما يعد نفعها إليهم دونه ولكن هذا من كمال جوده وإحسانه إلى عباده ومحبته لنفعهم ودفع الضر عنهم فهو يحب من عباده أن يعرفوه ويحبوه ويخافوه ويتقوه ويطيعوه ويتقربوا إليه ويحب أن يعلموا أنه لا يغفر الذنوب غيره وأنه قادر على مغفرة ذنوب عباده كما في رواية عبدالرحمن بن غنم عن أبي ذر لهذا الحديث من علم منكم أني ذو قدرة على المغفرة ثم استغفرني غفرت له ولا أبالي‏.‏

That means that He, the Exalted, loves for His slaves to have al-taqwa of Him and obey him, just as He dislikes that they disobey Him. For this reason, He rejoices at their the tawbah of the repentant one more strongly than one who has lost his mount which was carrying his food and drink while he is in the barren desert land, and he seeks it until he gives up all hope in despair, and submits to [impending] death and he despairs of life, then his eyes are overwhelmed so he sleeps, and then when he wakes up there it is standing in beside him. This is the highest joy that a human being can imagine. All of this is despite His being rich beyond the need of His slaves’ acts of obedience and their acts of turning in tawbah to Him, and along with the fact that their benefit only returns to them and not to Him, yet this is from the perfection of His liberal generosity and goodness to His slaves, and from His love for that which will be of benefit to them and repel harm from them. He loves for His slaves to recognize Him, love Him, fear Him, have taqwa of Him, obey Him and draw near to Him, and He loves that they should know that no one forgives sins other than Him, and that He is able to forgive the sins of His slaves, as is narrated by ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam from Abu Dharr in this hadeeth, “Whoever of you knows that I have the ability to forgive and then asks Me to forgive, I will forgive him and it does not bother me.”

‏[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/44-45]

See also: “O Mankind, you are in need of Allah”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: The Names of Allah: al-Ghanī – explanation of Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The gratitude of a slave is better than the blessings of this world: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

See also: Generosity and Studying the Qur’an during Ramadan: Ibn Hajr

The Importance of Pure Intention: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

The muhaddith Ibn Hibbaan brings the following narration in his Saheeh:

 حدثنا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب أنبأ العباس بن الوليد بن مزيد البيروتي أخبرني أبي قال : سمعت الأوزاعي يقول : حدثني أبو كثير الزبيدي عن أبيه قال

 سألت أبا ذر فقلت : دلني على عمل إذا عمل العبد به دخل الجنة قال : سألت عن ذلك رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ، فقال : تؤمن بالله . قال : قلت يا رسول الله إن مع الإيمان عملًا ؟ قال : يرضخ مما رزقه الله . قلت : وإن كان معدما لا شيء له ؟ قال : يقول معروفا بلسانه . قال : قلت فإن كان عيبا لا يبلغ عنه لسانه ؟ قال : فيعين مغلوبا . قلت : فإن كان ضعيفا لا قدرة له؟ قال : فليصنع لأخرق . قلت : وإن كان أخرق ؟ قال : فالتفت إلي وقال : ما تريد أن تدع في صاحبك شيئا من الخير ، فليدع الناس من أذاه . قلت : يا رسول الله إن هذه كلمة تيسير ؟ فقال : والذي نفس بيده ما من عبد يعمل بخصلة منها يريد بها ما عند الله إلا أخذت بيده يوم القيامة حتى تدخله الجنة

Abu Kathir narrates from his father that: I asked Abu Dharr (raadi Allaahu ‘anhu), “Show me an action which if the slave does it he will enter al-Jannah.” He said, “I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) about that and he said, ‘That he has eemaan in Allah.'” So I said, “O Messenger of Allah! Isn’t there action along with the eemaan? He said, “Let him give a little of what with which Allah provides him.” I said, “What if he is destitute, not owning anything?” He said, “Let him say what is good with his tongue.” I said, “Then what if he is incapable and his tongue will not express what he intends?” He said, “Then let him help someone who has been overcome.” I said, “Then what if he himself is weak and has no power?” He said, “Then let him make something for a clumsy, unhandy person.” I said, “Then what if he himself is clumsy and unhandy?” Then he turned to me and said, “You don’t want to leave your friend with anything good, do you? Then let him protect people from his own mischief.” I said, “O Messenger of Allah! All of this is easy.” So he said, “By who One in Whose Hand is my soul! There is no slave who does any one of these practices, seeking thereby that which is with Allah, except that I will take him by his hand on Yawm al-Qiyaamah until he enters al-Jannah.”

[Saheeh ibn Hibbaan #373, and he declared it saheeh. Sheikh al-Albaani graded it as saheeh li-ghairi in al-Saheehah #2668. al-Haakim reported it with a different wording in Mustadrak al-Haakim #212, and he considered it saheeh according to the conditions of Muslim. Sheikh al-Albaani graded it as Saheeh li-ghairi in al-Saheehah #2668. Al-Tabarani also reported a different wording of the hadeeth in al-Kabeer, which al-Albaani graded as hasan li-ghairi.]

Ibn Rajab mentioned this narration in Jaam’i al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam, after which he mentions:

فاشترط في هذا الحديث لهذه الأعمال كلها إخلاص النية كما في حديث عبدالله بن عمرو الذي فيه ذكر الأربعين خصلة وهذا كما في قوله عز وجل ‏{‏لاَّ خَيْرَ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّن نَّجْوَاهُمْ إِلاَّ مَنْ أَمَرَ بِصَدَقَةٍ أَوْ مَعْرُوفٍ أَوْ إِصْلاَحٍ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَلِكَ ابْتَغَاء مَرْضَاتِ اللَّهِ فَسَوْفَ نُؤْتِيهِ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا‏}‏ النساء‏.‏

A stipulation is this hadeeth is that all of these actions must have purity of intention, as is mentioned in [a previously mentioned] hadeeth of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr discussing the forty characteristics. And this is like Allah’s saying, “There is no good in much of their private conversation, except for those who enjoin charity or that which is right or reconciliation between people. And whoever does that seeking the pleasure of Allah – then We are going to give him a great reward” [4:114].

[Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam 2/90]

See also: Ask that his eemaan be preserved!

See also: Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

See also: Notes on Perfecting One’s Deeds and their Acceptance: ibn Rajab

See also: Three Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Imam al-Shinqitee

The gratitude of a slave is better than the blessings of this world: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali wrote the following in part of his great work Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam, a detailed a thorough commentary on Imam al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadeeth:

وقال أبو بكر بن عبدالله ما قال عبد قط الحمد لله مرة إلا وجبت عليه نعمة بقوله الحمد لله فما جزى تلك النعمة جزاءها أن يقول الحمد لله فجاءت نعمة أخرى فلا تنفد نعماء الله

Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdullah said, “A slave never says al-Hamdulillaah one time except that he must receive a blessing for his saying al-hamdulillaah.” So what is the proper response to that blessing? Its response is to say al-hamdulillaah, and so there will come another blessing, and so the blessings of Allah never cease.

وقد روى ابن ماجه من حديث أنس رضي الله عنه مرفوعًا إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أنعم الله على عبد نعمة فقال الحمد لله إلا كان الذي أعطى أفضل مما أخذ وروينا نحوه من حديث شهر بن حوشب عن أسماء بنت يزيد مرفوعًا أيضًا وروي هذا عن الحسن البصري من قوله

And Ibn Maajah has narrated the marfoo’ hadeeth of Anas (raadi Allaahu ‘anhu), “Allah never bestows a blessing upon a slave and he then the slave says ‘al-hamdulillaah‘ except that Allah gives him something better than that which he takes.” And we have also narrated the likes of that from the marfoo’ hadeeth of Shahr ibn Hawshab from Asmaa’ bint Yazeed. And this is narrated from Hasan al-Basri from his own statement. Continue reading

Do not delve deeply into the affairs of the Unseen: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

Abu’l-Faraj Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, in his magnum opus Jaami’ al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam writes the following warning against delving too deeply into the affairs of the Unseen (al-Ghaib):

ومما يدخل في النهي عن التعمق والبحث عنه أمور الغيب الخبرية التي أمر بالإيمان بها ، ولم يبين كيفيتها ، وبعضها قد لا يكون له شاهد في هذا العالم المحسوس ، فالبحث عن كيفية ذلك هو مما لا يعني ، وهو مما ينهى عنه ، وقد يوجب الحيرة والشك ، ويرتقي إلى التكذيب .

And of those things for which it is prohibited to go deeply and investigate are the affairs of the Unseen (umoor al-ghaib) of which we have been informed and which we are commanded to have eemaan in them, and whose ‘how’ has not been made clear, and some of which do not have supporting evidence in this sensory world. So investigating into the ‘how’ of these thing is something which does not concern us, and which we have been prohibited from doing, and it would entail confusion and doubt, and would lead to denial.

وفي ” صحيح مسلم ” عن أبي هريرة عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قال : لا يزال الناس يسألون حتى يقال : هذا خلق الله ، فمن خلق الله ؟ فمن وجد من ذلك شيئا ، فليقل آمنت بالله وفي رواية له : لا يزال الناس يسألونكم عن العلم ، حتى يقولوا : هذا الله خلقنا ، فمن خلق الله ؟ وفي رواية له أيضا : ليسألنكم الناس عن كل شيء ، حتى يقولوا : الله خلق كل شيء ، فمن خلقه ؟ وخرجه البخاري ، ولفظه : يأتي الشيطان أحدكم فيقول : من خلق كذا ؟ من خلق كذا ؟ حتى يقول : من خلق ربك ؟ فإذا بلغه فليستعذ بالله ولينته

And there is in Saheeh Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

Man will continue to question to the extent that some one will say, “Allah created all things, but who created Allah?” So whoever experiences any of that, then let him, “I have eemaan in Allah.” [Muslim #134]

And in another narration of his: Continue reading

“Consult your heart”: Clarification from Ibn Rajab

In his famous collection of 40 comprehensive ahaadeeth, Imam al-Nawawi brings the following two connected hadeeth in the same section:

عَنْ النَّوَّاسِ بْنِ سَمْعَانَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “الْبِرُّ حُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ، وَالْإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي صَدْرِك، وَكَرِهْت أَنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ” رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ . رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ

On the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam’aan (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Righteousness is in good character, and ithm (wrongdoing) is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.” [Muslim]

وَعَنْ وَابِصَةَ بْنِ مَعْبَدٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: أَتَيْت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم فَقَالَ: “جِئْتَ تَسْأَلُ عَنْ الْبِرِّ؟ قُلْت: نَعَمْ. فقَالَ: استفت قلبك، الْبِرُّ مَا اطْمَأَنَّتْ إلَيْهِ النَّفْسُ، وَاطْمَأَنَّ إلَيْهِ الْقَلْبُ، وَالْإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي النَّفْسِ وَتَرَدَّدَ فِي الصَّدْرِ، وَإِنْ أَفْتَاك النَّاسُ وَأَفْتَوْك” .
حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ، رَوَيْنَاهُ في مُسْنَدَي الْإِمَامَيْنِ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ ، وَالدَّارِمِيّ بِإِسْنَادٍ حَسَنٍ.

And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma’bad (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he said, “You have come to ask about righteousness.” I said, “Yes.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And ithm is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion.”

A good hadeeth transmitted from the musnads of the two imams, Ahmed bin Hanbal and Al- Daarimi, with a good chain of authorities.

[al-Arba’een #27]

The haadidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brings the following point of clarification in his expansive commentary:

وقوله في حديث النواس بن سمعان الإثم ما حاك في الصدر وكرهت أن يطلع عليه الناس إشارة إلى أن الإثم ما أثر في الصدر حرجًا وضيقًا وقلقًا واضطرابًا فلم ينشرح له الصدر ومع هذا فهو عند الناس مستنكر بحيث ينكرونه عند اطلاعهم عليه وهذا أعلى مراتب معرفة الإثم عند الاشتباه وهو ما استنكر الناس فاعله وغير فاعله‏.‏

And his statement in the hadeeth of Nawwaas bin Sam’aan, “and ithm is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about” indicates that wrongdoing is which has the effect of creating difficulty, constriction, unease, and disturbance so that the breast does not become opened to it. And along with that, people regard it as wrong since they reject it as wrong since they reject it whenever they discover it. And this is the highest degree of recognition of ithm when it is ambiguous – that is that the people reject it in the doer and other than the doer. Continue reading

The meaning of al-Ma’roof and al-Munkar: Ibn Rajab

In his famous collection of 40 comprehensive ahaadeeth, Imam al-Nawawi brings the following two connected hadeeth in the same section:

عَنْ النَّوَّاسِ بْنِ سَمْعَانَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم قَالَ: “الْبِرُّ حُسْنُ الْخُلُقِ، وَالْإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي صَدْرِك، وَكَرِهْت أَنْ يَطَّلِعَ عَلَيْهِ النَّاسُ” رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ . رَوَاهُ مُسْلِمٌ

On the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam’aan (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Righteousness (birr) is in good character, and wrongdoing (ithm) is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.” [Muslim]

وَعَنْ وَابِصَةَ بْنِ مَعْبَدٍ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: أَتَيْت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم فَقَالَ: “جِئْتَ تَسْأَلُ عَنْ الْبِرِّ؟ قُلْت: نَعَمْ. فقَالَ: استفت قلبك، الْبِرُّ مَا اطْمَأَنَّتْ إلَيْهِ النَّفْسُ، وَاطْمَأَنَّ إلَيْهِ الْقَلْبُ، وَالْإِثْمُ مَا حَاكَ فِي النَّفْسِ وَتَرَدَّدَ فِي الصَّدْرِ، وَإِنْ أَفْتَاك النَّاسُ وَأَفْتَوْك” .
حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ، رَوَيْنَاهُ في مُسْنَدَي الْإِمَامَيْنِ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ حَنْبَلٍ ، وَالدَّارِمِيّ بِإِسْنَادٍ حَسَنٍ.

And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma’bad (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he said, “You have come to ask about righteousness.” I said, “Yes.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And ithm is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion.”

A good hadeeth transmitted from the musnads of the two imams, Ahmed bin Hanbal and Al- Daarimi, with a good chain of authorities.

[al-Arba’een #27]

The haadidh ibn Rajab al-Hanbali brings the following point of clarification in his expansive commentary:

وقد قيل إن الدين كله خلق وأما في حديث وابصة فقال البر ما اطمأن إليه القلب واطمأنت إليه النفس وفي رواية ما انشرح إليه الصدر وفسر الحلال بنحو ذلك كما في حديث أبي ثعلبة وغيره وهذا يدل على أن الله فطر عباده على معرفة الحق والسكون إليه وقبوله وركز في الطباع محبة ذلك والنفور عن ضده

It is been said that “Verily the entire deen is good character.” And as for in the hadeeth of Waasibah where he said, “Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil“, and in another narration, “towards which the breast expands,” then this explains the halaal by the likes of that, such as in the hadeeth of Abu Tha’labah and other than him. And this shows that Allah fashioned His slaves with the recognition of the truth, and to be at ease with it and to accept it, and He affixed the love of that and the aversion to its opposite in our very nature.

وقد يدخل هذا في قوله في حديث عياض بن حمار إني خلقت عبادي حنفاء مسلمين فأتتهم الشياطين فاجتالتهم عن دينهم فحرمت عليهم ما أحللت لهم وأمرتهم أن يشركوا بي ما لم أنزل به سلطانا

And this (meaning) is included in his statement in the hadeeth [qudsi] of ‘Iyaadh ibn Himaar, “Verily I have created My slaves as Hunafaa’ [having a natural inclination to worship Allah alone] and as Muslims, and then the shayaateen came to them and made them deviate from their deen, and they forbade them what I had permitted for them and commanded them to make shirk [associate partners with Me in worship] for which I had never revealed any authority.”

وقوله كل مولود يولد على الفطرة فأبواه يهودانه أو ينصرانه أو يمجسانه كما تنتج البهيمة بهيمة جمعاء هل تحسون فيها من جدعاء قال أبو هريرة رضي الله عنه اقرأوا إن شئتم فطرة الله التي فطر الناس عليها لا تبديل لخلق الله الروم

And his statement, “Every one born is born upon the fitrah [natural inclination to pure monotheism], so then his parents make him a Jew or make him a Christian or make him a Magian. Just as an animal delivers a perfect baby animal; do you perceive any mutilation in it?” Abu Hurayrah said, “Recite, if you wish, ‘the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people. No change should there be in the creation of Allah‘ [30:30]

ولهذا سمى الله ما أمره به معروفا وما نهى عنه منكرا فقال تعالى ‏{‏إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاء ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاء وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ‏}‏ النحل وقال تعالى في صفة الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏{‏وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَآئِثَ‏}‏ الأعراف‏.‏

And for this reason Allah has named that which He commands as ma’roof and that which He forbids as munkar.* So Allah said, “Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded” [16:90], and He said, “and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil” [9:157]

وأخبر أن قلوب المؤمنين تطمئن بذكره فالقلب الذي دخله نور الإيمان وانشرح به وانفسح سكن للحق واطمأن به ويقبله وينفر عن الباطل ويكرهه ولا يقبله‏.‏

And He informed us that the hearts of the mu’minoon are find tranquility in His remembrance, so the heart for which noor and eemaan has entered and it has been opened to it and expanded to the indwelling of truth, and tranquil because of it, and it accept it; and it flees from falsehood and dislikes it and does not accept it.

[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom w’al-Hikam 2/99-100]

*Translator’s Note: al-Ma’roof [الْمَعْرُ‌وف] is generally used to refer to what is good or right, and al-munkar [الْمُنكَر] is generally used to refer to what is evil and wrong, such as in the common phrase:

يَأْمُرُ‌هُم بِالْمَعْرُ‌وفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ‌

“Commanding the right and forbidding the evil”

However, Ibn Rajab is making a fine linguistic point here. The root of al-ma’roof [الْمَعْرُ‌وف] is “to know” [عَرَفَ] from which one derives ma’rifah [مَعْرِفَة], or knowledge/acquaintance. Similarly, the root of al-munkar [الْمُنكَر] is “to not know” [نَكِرَ], from which one derives [نَكِير] and related words indicating denial, rejection, and disapproval.

So Ibn Rajab makes the connection between the fitrah which Allah created His slaves upon and their natural inclination to recognize the good (al-ma’roof), and to reject evil (al-munkar).

For more linguistic insights from Ibn Rajab, please see: The Sharee’ah of Moosaa and the Sharee’ah of Muhammad

For more on the issue of the Fitrah, please see: Imam al-Nawawi on the Fitrah
See also: “All of you are astray except whomever I guide”: Ibn RajabSee also: “Consult your heart”: Clarification from Ibn Rajab

“All of you are astray except whomever I guide”: Explanation of Ibn Rajab

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

وقوله كلكم ضال إلا من هديته قد ظن بعضهم أنه معارض لحديث عياض بن حمار عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول الله عز وجل خلقت عبادي حنفاء وفي رواية مسلمين فاجتالتهم الشياطين وليس كذلك فإن الله خلق بني آدم وفطرهم على قبول الإسلام والميل إليه دون غيره والتهيؤ والاستعداد له بالقوة لكن لا بد للعبد من تعليم الإسلام بالفعل فإنه قبل التعلم جاهل لا يعلم كما قال عز وجل

Some people think that His saying “All of you are astray except whomever I guide” contradicts the hadeeth of ‘Iyaadh ibn Himaar that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah said, ‘I created My slaves naturally inclining towards the truth (hunafa),” and in another another narration, “…as Muslims, then the shayaateen caused them to deviate” [Muslim 2865]. But this is not so, because Allah created Bani Adam and gave them the natural disposition (fitrah) to accept Islam, and an inclination towards it to the exclusion of other religions, and a preparedness for that, and a potential, but there is no avoiding the need for the slave to actually learn Islam, since before learning he is ignorant and does not know. This is as Allah says:

وَاللَّهُ أَخْرَجَكُم مِّن بُطُونِ أُمَّهَاتِكُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ شَيْئًا‏‏ النحل وقال لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم

“Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing at all,” [16:78] and He said to His prophet (ﷺ):

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Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali on relative and absolute evil in Allah’s creation

Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali writes in his commentary on al-Arba’een al-Nawawi:

ولا ينقص ملكه بمعصية العاصين ولو كان الجن والإنس كلهم عصاة فجرة قلوبهم على قلب أفجر رجل منهم فإنه سبحانه الغني بذاته عمن سواه وله الكمال المطلق في ذاته وصفاته وأفعاله فملكه ملك كامل لا نقص فيه بوجه من الوجوه على أي وجه

Allah’s kingdom does not decrease because of the disobedience of the disobedient, even if all the jinn and human beings were disobedient and trespassing the limits and their hearts were like the heart of the most wicked man among them. For He, Exalted is He, in His essence is Rich (al-Ghani) beyond the need of anyone other than Him. He has absolute perfection and completeness in His essence, His attributes and His actions. So His dominion is perfect and complete, and there is no defect or imperfection in it in any way.

كان ومن الناس من قال إن إيجاده لخلقه على هذا الوجه الموجود أكمل من إيجاده على غيره وهو خير من وجوده على غيره وما فيه من الشر فهو شر إضافي نسبي بالنسبة إلى بعض الأشياء دون بعض وليس شرًا مطلقا بحيث يكون عدمه خيرًا من وجوده من كل وجه بل وجوده خير من عدمه وقال هذا معنى قوله بيده الخير ومعنى قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والشر ليس إليك يعني أن الشر المحض الذي عدمه خير من وجوده ليس موجودًا في ملكك فإن الله تعالى أوجد خلقه على ما تقتضيه حكمته وعدله وخص قومًا من خلقه بالفضل وترك آخرين منهم في العدل لما له في ذلك من الحكمة البالغة

And from the people there was someone who said, “Verily His creating His creation in this way that exists is more perfect and complete than creating it in any other way, and it is better than it existing according to any other way. And as for what is present in it of evil, that is relative evil which can be ascribed in relation to some things in exclusion to others, but not an absolute evil which its non-existence would be better than its existence in every way. Rather its existence is better than its non-existence.” He said, “This is the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), ‘in His Hands is good’ and the meaning of the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) ‘And evil is not attributed to you.'” Meaning that pure evil whose non-existence would be better than its existence is not present in His dominion, for verily Allah the Exalted originated His creation as required by His wisdom and His justice. And He chose [some] people from His creation by His bounty and left the rest of them to His justice because of His far-reaching wisdom in that.”

[Jaami’a al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hikam 2/46-47 (ch. 24)]

See also: Ibn al-Qayyim on the Wisdom and Benefits of the Creation of the Shayaateen

See also, from our brothers at Trying to Follow the Salaf: Is evil attributed to Allah? – Shaykh al-Albaani