On the authority of Abu Hurairah, radiyallahu ‘anhu, who said : The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, said :
“Part of the perfection of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.”
[Hadith hasan – Recorded by Tirmidhi
1. Fundamental Guidelines of Perfection of Islam
This hadith is considered to be among the fundamental guidelines towards perfection of Islam and refining the soul. While we tr our best to avoid the prohibited and also performing religious obligations, progressing towards Ihsan requires that one be always mindful of Allah and his own manners and behavior.
Ibn Rajab, one of the commentators of Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, mentioned that this hadith is a foundation of manners, behaviour and etiquette in Islam. Ibn Rajab also quote Imam Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qairawani, one of the Maliki Imams, as saying that the following four hadiths set the main concept for good manners and behaviour:
i. As the hadith mentioned above.
ii. “Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent, ..” [Bukhari and Muslim. Refer to Hadeeth 15 of this collection]
iii. A man said to the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam: “Counsel me”. He said : ” Do not become angry”. The man repeated [his request] several times, and he said: “Do not become angry.” [Al-Bukhari. Refer to Hadith 16 of this collection]
iv. “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” [Al-Bukhari. Refer to Hadith 13 of this collection]
Let us reflect on this hadith and contemplate on how we carry our daily life.
2. Avoid Things that Are not Concern to You
This hadith states that a believer should avoid things that are of no concern to him. They are of no benefit to this life nor to the hereafter, in terms of belief, speech or actions. In justifying this point, the Maliki jurist Imam Ibn Al-Arabi said that a person is not able to take care of all the necessary matters, why would he then get involved in the unnecessary matters that are of no real concern.
What are the things that are of no concern to all of us? With the general principle, anything that is forbidden, doubtful, disliked and over indulging in permissible acts.
We should avoid concern of people’s affair that has no impact on us. Gossiping and backbiting. We should not intrude uninvited into the affairs of others unnecessarily.
Even when someone cancels an appointment with you, you should avoid asking the reason why. This is a practice that we must try. Perhaps the excuse is too embarrassing to share or a secret they prefer to conceal. It is best not to put them in the position that they would be embarrass or they would have to lie.
In this time of social network and information overload and add to it normal human curiosity, it is easy to pry into people’s everyday life. One may be sharing their life on their social network status, but it is another thing if we go around telling everyone about others.
Also, with social network and vast topics of everything by everyone, people tend to go on useless debates that achieve nothing. This is the same as those who like to look for argument and debate, raising their voice and talking in superiority.
3. How to Attain This?
This is not an easy task. It is an effort against shaytan and also our nature inclined to curiosity. It’s a practice that we must try to cultivate.
Perhaps some reminders would benefit us.
Our tongue needs to be controlled. From the hadith of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam, “Indeed, from the excellence of a person’s Islam is a sparseness of words about words does not concern him.” (at Tirmidhi, graded hasan).
Prophet Muhammad sallalalhu alaihi wasalam emphasised the harm in failure to do so when he said to Muadh, “Does anything topple people onto their faces in the Fire except the fruitd of their tongues?”
Ibn Mas’ud has been quoted saying, “there is nothing more in need of prolonged imprisonment than my tongue.”
We have to remember the words that we utter and the words that we type are all accountable deeds. We must have taqwa in all of these. Umar bin Abdul Aziz observed, “One who counts his speech a part of his deeds will minimize his words except about what concerns him.” Let us remind ourself again
Surah Al Zalzalah 99: 7-8
So Whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
And Whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
Indeed being in silence due to fear of Allah and embarrassment before Him is far better than having to say everything to everyone. Allah says in Surah an Nisa
An Nisa 4: 114
There is no good In Most of their secret talks save (in) Him who orders Sadaqah (charity In Allâh’s Cause), or Ma’rûf (Islâmic Monotheism and All the good and righteous deeds which Allâh has ordained), or conciliation between mankind, and He who does this, seeking the good pleasure of Allâh, we shall give Him a great reward.
Allah has reminded us what kind of talk would be beneficial. From this verse they are
– Encouraging charity
– Calling people to good
– Conciliation between mankind.
Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam issued a severe warning when he said, “Sufficient for a person as sin is his speaking about all that he hears.” One, who speaks too much, can hardly be free from untruth exaggeration or exposure of that which should be concealed. It is better to practice restraint and occupy oneself with righteous deeds. This should leave no opportunity for idle pastimes and attention to affairs of no benefit.
4. What Should We Do?
1. A believer should train him/herself to concentrate to be involved in the beneficial matters so that this in itself will be the person’s attitude.
2. Manage your time well. During idle time make dzikir. Listen to good lectures. This will give you no time to allow your mind to roam about and think about things which are unnecessary. Do not waste time, money and effort in things that are of no benefit in this life and the hereafter.
3. Rasululullaah sallahu alaihi wasalam said, “Be keen to what is beneficial to you. And do not be reckless. At Tirmidhi. It is far more beneficial to involve yourself with activities that is beneficial to deen, health and ilm than going through gossip magazines for example. Certainly, these are not beneficial at all. Not to mention, may lead to haram.
4. Prioritise your affairs to how Allah would be pelase with. Occupy yourself with beneficial things.
5. Taqwa is highly needed. Remembering Allah’s prohibition and also what he dislike and the punishment that follows it would help strengthen our fight against our desire.
5. Our Concern
Having said this, we should be concern with the states of or family, friends and communities in terms of the deen. When teachings of Allah is violated, when there is injustice, when someone is in trouble, when a fellow Muslim is in need of advise – these are the examples when we should be concern about others.
When we have friends who are missing in our study circle for example, we should follow up with his being. Just like when Prophet sallallahu alaihi wasalam asked the whereabout of Kaab when he was missing in the battle of Tabuk.
We should also be concern with Muslims all over the world who are suffering. Do not forget to make du’a for them.
This hadith is all about the perfection of akhlaq and how we carry ourselves with others.
Among the lessons and benefits we can reap from this hadith are
• Do not waste time with things that do not bring benefit to you
• Avoid trying to satisfy our curiosity to other people’s affair by asking questions that do not concern you.
• Have taqwa when speaking
• Remember that talking and also tying is an accountable deed that will be counted even how small it is.
• Guard your tongue
• Stay away from the prohibited and even the dislike as much as we can
• Avoid the need for debate and argument for every topic that does not bring benefit.
• Allah reminded us talk that are beneficial would be encouraging charity, calling people to good and reconciliation between mankind.
• Constant remembrance of Allah
• Do not leave your time idle. An idle mind is the devil’s playground.
• Be keen to do beneficial thing
• Wemust be concern with the affair and difficulty of those close to us, community and also the ummah.