Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Teaching children Hadith

I have a lot of relatives in Dallas, and more than half are children or teenagers. I've been to dallas before, and each time, it's just like going to pakistan. You kind of take it easy, eat at davats, gup shup, etc.

This time i decided we'll make use of some of the time spent there, so I thought I'd teach the kids some hadiths. It went very well AH. My mom and little sister made excellent hand outs, snipping out the chosen hadiths, translations, and commentaries from the English text book and the Urdu one (for the non-English speaking elders). Turns out that to motivate the boys, all you have to do is get them to compete with the girls. They start collaborating, teaching one another, and the whole deal, it's awesome. Throughout the week I was there, I'd even have 5 year olds coming up to me randomly saying "Ad-deenu naseeHah", over and over again and getting super happy. It was awesome. I wrote the hadith down on a white board in arabic and the translation, explained it, then we'd all say it together out loud 30 times. We went through like 10 hadiths like that, and each kid memorized on average 3-7 hadiths, it was awesome. Here are some of them, I thought i'd post them up:

(The arabic text renders better on certain browsers, and not so well on others)

اَلدِّينُ اَلنصِيحَ

The Religion (Islam) is to act with sincerity (Muslim).

The Arabic word al-nasiha, used in the hadith above, is a comprehensive and unique term and is difficult to translate precisely into English. Even in Arabic, it does not have a synonym. Therefore, the expression "to act with sincerity" has been adopted here as a broad explanation for the Arabic word. Other meanings could be-- giving good advice, directing toward good, acting sincerely or honestly, or being benevolent and desiring good (see Lane, Arabic English Lexicon).

The remainder of the hadith, as narrated by Imam Muslim on the authority of Tamim al-Dari, is "we inquired from the Messenger of Allah, 'Toward whom?' He replied, 'For Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the Muslims, and the common people" (Muslim). The hadith makes clearn that one of the most important aspects of true faith is to give good counsel, to wish well, and to act toward everything with honesty and sincerity.

This is further explained as follows: In relation to Allah, "sincerity" means to have faith in His essence and attributes, to obey His each and every command, to express gratitude for His blessings, and to fulfill His rights of Lordship in every possible way. In terms of the Book of Allah, it means to fulfill its rights by accepting it as the word of Allah, honoring it and reciting it correctly, and practicing its injunctions. For the Messenger of Allah, it means to fulfill his rights, confirm that he is the Messenger of Allah, practice the Sunna, honor him and his family, and hold everything that he has said to be true. For the leaders of the Muslims, it means to assist them in virtue, obey them and exhort others to do the same, remind them of their responsibilities and correct them in a polite, reformative, and wise manner. The same applies for the scholars of Islam. For the masses, it is to guide them aright and prevent them from wrong, assist them in their needs and support them, protect them from harm, and deal with them in the best possible manner. Similarly, as regards every other aspect of life, the religious obligation of nasiha is fulfilled by performing everything in the most beneficial and correct manner possible. (Jami' al-'ulum wa 'l-hikam, Mirqat al-mafatih)

اَلدُّعَاءُ مُجُّ الْعِبَادَةِ

Supplication (du'a') is the essence of worship

Supplication (du'a') has been called the essence of worship for two main reasons. First, by supplicating to Allah, a person fulfills his obligation of calling on Allah, which is understood from the verse "And your Lord says, 'Call on Me, I will answer you (your prayer)'" (Qur'an 40:60). This is worship in its purest form. Second, by invoking Allah, one realizes that only He can fulfill one's needs. The servant who calls upon his Lord abandons hope in everything else and turns his full attention to Allah, humbling himself in front of Him. This is the essence of worship. Another desired result of worship is to attain reward from Allah, Because there is such great reward in supplication, it has been called the essence of worship. (Mazad al-ragibin 7)

اَلـْمَرْءُ مَعَ مَنْ اَحَبَّ

A person will be with whom he loves (on the day of judgement)

This statement of the Messenger of Allah was in response to someone who came and inquired, "O Messenger of Allah, what do you say about someone who loves a group of people, but is unable to join them?" What is meant by "a group of people" is the learned or righteous people, and what is meant by, "was unable to join them," is a person who was unable to gain their company or achieve the same status as them in knowledge and action. To this the Messenger of Allah replied, "a person will be with whom he loves," i.e., he will be gathered with them on the Day of Judgment. Allah Most High says, "Whosoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, they will be with those unto whom Allah has shown favor, of the {prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they" (Quran 4:69-70).

This hadith could also be applied more generally to those who aspire to be with evil people and sinners and secretly admire their actions even though they may not have perpetrated those evil actions themselves. They will be gathered with the sinners on the Day of Judgement (Mirqat al-mafatih 8:740).

اَلْأناة مِنَ اللهِ وَ الْعَجَلَةُ مِنَ الشَّيْطَان

Calmness and patient deliberation is from Allah and haste is from Satan (Tirmidhi)

This hadith refers to everyday activities and not to acts of worship. A person is encouraged to conduct his daily activities with calmness and patience, as acting in haste often leads to spoiling one's actions. However, when it comes to worship, a person is encouraged to hasten toward god, i.e. embark upon good acts with determination and eagerness, and then complete them with calmness, concentration, and devotion (Mirqat al mafatih 8:786). [A] for example, it is disliked for one to run to join the prayer, but it is commendable to perform ablution (wudu') at home and set out for the prayer early.

اَلـْمَجَالِسُ بِالْأَمَانَةِ

Gatherings are to be kept in confidence

What a person hears or sees in a meeting must be kept confidential and should not be disclosed to others. However, as the remainder of the narration states, three things are exempted from this: These are plans to murder, plans to rape a woman, or plans to usurp someone's wealth (Mazad al-raghibin 8). See also hadith 17.

الْاِقْتِصَادُ فِي النَّفَقَةِ نِصْفُ الْـمَعِيشَةِ

وَ التَّوَدُدُ اِلَى النَّاسِ نِصْفُ الْعِقْلِ

وَ حُسْنُ السُّؤَالِ نِصْفُ الْعِلْمِ

(Didn't teach the the last two parts of this hadith to the kids, they were getting tired :-)

Moderation in spending is half of [one's] sustenance, friendliness toward people is half of [one's] intelligence, and asking good questions is half of [one's] knowledge (Bayhaqi, Shu'ab al-Iman).

Here, "Moderation in spending..." is best understood by the verse of the Qur'an: "Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not miserly, but hold a just balance between the two" (Qur'an 25:67). [The income a person receives is mostly not in one's control, as opposed to the spending of what one possesses, which is nearly always in his control. Hence, regulating what one sepends of his wealth can provide half the answer to stability in one's livlihood.] Friendliness toward people..." means that a person's intelligence is perfected through interatction with others, in that the collaboration of two minds better than one. And "Asking good questions ish alf of one's knowledge becasuse knowledge of a particular issue only becomes complete by asking the appropriate questions (Mirqat al-mafatih 8:795). [A] Also, fully thinking through a question before seeking an answer provides half the answer to the questioner, as opposed to random questioning.

Thanks to Aneeser for typing up the english parts above. There are a few more that I didn't type up. They are all from Mufti AbdulRahman's "Provisions for the Seekers"...

... an EXCELLENT EXCELLENT book, i highly recommend it to everybody. You can pick up the book on occassion, read small amounts of it, and still benefit tremendously. Shaykh Hussain Abdul Sattar is giving detailed commentaries on it here:


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

اَلدِّينُ نَصِيحَ
Is actually like this:
الدين النصيحة

the other correction is:
الدعاء مخ العبادة


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