Purification Of The Heart


Purification Of The Heart

By Imam Nawawi

 In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;

 All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālameen. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger

On the authority of Abu ‘Abdullah al-Nu’man bin Bashir (radiyallāhu’anhu) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say:

“Truly, what is lawful (halāl) is evident, and what is unlawful (harām) is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful (mushtabihat) which many people do not know. He who abstains from these doubtful things has in fact safeguarded his Deen and his honour, and he who indulges in doubtful things(mushtabihat)  indulges in fact in unlawful (harām) things. Similar to the shepherd who grazes his flock around the sanctuary of a king. It is highly possible that he will very soon fall into that sanctuary. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allāh has declared unlawful ( harām) are His preserves. Beware, every king has a sanctuary, and the sanctuary of Allah is all those things which He has made harām. in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound,  the entire body will be sound. But if it is unsound, the entire body will be unsound. Behold, it is the heart.”

[Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary: This hadith is very comprehensive. It covers so many areas of the Syarī’ah, the Islamic law. Imam al-Nawawi (rahimallāh) and many scholars consider this Hadith as one of four ahadith around which the entire religion of Islam is understood. This Hadith indicates that all matters are one of three types: halāl, harām and mushtabihat.


Imām Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) recorded this hadith in the beginning of the Book of Trading (Kitab al-Buyu’). Some scholars say that Imām Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) was not only a muhadith who memorized, collected, recorded and compiled the hadith, but he was also a faqih (jurist) and his fiqh (jurisprudence) can be noted in so many ways. One is the tabwib, or the way that he gave the title for each chapter of his book. He would choose a certain statement which he would then use for the title of the chapter. The way the hadith is recorded, and  placed under a certain chapter, and sometimes it may be repeated in many chapters – all these reflect the fiqh of Imām Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh).

There are reasons that Imām Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) begin his “Kitab al-Buyu” with this hadith.

One of them is that these doubtful matters (mushtabihat) are related to the things that we buy and sell, that we trade in. It is also said that his father once mentioned to him that for forty years he never brought anything doubtful into their home.

Imām Al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) was influenced by his father’s attitude in two ways:

Firstly, Imām al-Bukhari’s  father would brought only halāl things no doubtful matters into the house. This is the environment that that governed Imam al-Bukhari when he was raised up. It was narrated that whenever his father made du’ā to Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala, his du’ā was answered due to the fact that he never dealt with anything which was doubtful. This is reflected in the behaviour and attitude of Imām al-Bukhari(rahimallāh). Hence, this hadith  he chose to record it at the beginning of the chapter Kitab al-Buyu’.

Secondly, Imām al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) is also known as a great Muhaddith. One of the approach that a Muhaddith is involved in is “Al-Jarh wat-ta’dil” where the status of narrators of hadith can be taken as Sadiq, the one who is truthful and trustworthy, or as those who lie and cannot be taken as true narrators of hadith. The Muhaddithun uses specific terms to indicate the status of a narrator. When it comes to the status of the liars, or those who cannot be relied on, Al-Bukhari would used a very astonishing style of Al-Jarh wat-ta’dil: without using a direct terms but an indirect ones. This reflects his strong piety and righteousness. Imām al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) would not simply label a narrator a liar, instead he would say: “He has been labeled a liar”.

Another aspect of the approaches is whenever there were controversial issues or the clashing of views, Imām al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) would follow the cautious approach.


The Scholars are of the view that the vast majority of actions fall into one of the first two categories: either it is evidently lawful (halāl ) or unlawful (harām) . Only a minority number of acts fall into the third category, that which is doubtful (mushtabihat).

The Halāl is clear.

Whatever Allāh has established to be permissible in a text, it is the ‘clear’ Halāl.

“This day are (all) good things made lawful for you. The food of those who have received the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. And so are the virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you (lawful for you) when ye give them their marriage portions and live with them in honour, not in fornication, nor taking them as secret concubines. Whoso denied the faith, his work is vain and he will be among the losers in the Hereafter. [Al-Mā’idah 5:5]

The Halāl is what we seek when dealing with our relationship with Allāh Almighty, when we are dealing with understanding Islām and when we are dealing with how to build and improve our community. The halāl is clear. It is what is clearly allowed and permissable, and that there is no doubt about it.

The Harām is clear.

The ‘clear’ harām is whatever is clearly established in the Islāmic sources, such as the statement of Allāh Almighty:

“Prohibited to you [for marriage] are your mothers, your daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters…” [An-Nisā’, 4:23]

The clear harām is what is clearly prohibited and everybody knows that it is prohibited; there is no difference in opinion. Drugs, alcohol, riba, oppression, corruption, falsehood, backbiting, slandering, murder, wasting and stealing are harām. Harām also includes the fawāhish (evil lusts and desires), that which is apparent and that which is hidden. Every matter that Allāh Almighty associated with a punishment or a threat is also included amongst the ‘clear’ harām.

It can be noted here that the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), is using a metaphor, or analogy, twice in this hadith. As mentioned before, using metaphors or analogies in communicating ideas is very effective and powerful. From the metaphor and the way it is worded : “Just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it”, we can say that the doubtful things are closer to the unlawful things.

The Doubtful Matters

Most people do not understand what doubtful matters (mushtabihat) are and what their ruling is. There are two things scholars have said about doubtful matters. The first opinion is that doubtful matters are those that scholars disagree about their permissibility: music, for example. The second opinion is that doubtful matters (mushtabihat) are those that mix between halal and harām. The general rule regarding doubtful matters are whoever stays away from them has purified their Deen and honor.

The scholars differ on whether doubtful matters are halāl or harām:

1. One opinion is that all doubtful matters (mushtabihat) are harām, due the saying of the Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in this hadith “[he] clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor.”

2. Another opinion is that all doubtful matters are halāl, due the statement of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) “like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary.” This indicates that these actions are permissible, but leaving them is from piety.

3. And a third opinion is that we make no ruling regarding the doubtful matters (mushtabihat), and do not say that they are halāl or harām, as the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) placed them between the clear halāl and the clear harām. Hence we should refrain from passing judgment, and this, too, is from piety.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) follows the statement, “between the two of them are doubtful matters” by saying, “most people do not know them.” This means that some people do. It is the job of scholars to put forth their best effort in looking at all of the evidence and reaching their opinion. If they are correct, they receive two rewards and if they are wrong they are still rewarded. For those of us who are following opinions of the scholars, that is all that is required from us. But we should keep in mind that staying away from doubtful matters (mushtabihat) purifies our Deen and honor.

Blocking of the Means (Sad al-Dzara’ie)

This hadith is actually a corroborating evidence for a concept in Usul Al-Fiqh called “Sadd al-Dzara’ie” (Blocking of the Means). This means that you have to block any action which might lead to harām. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) gives the example of a person who has a flock, and the flock is going towards some land that is off-limits. That person keeps getting closer and closer to that land, eventually the sheep are going to stray into the prohibited property. A King has a sanctuary which the shepherds must keep their sheep away from, so too has Allāh Almighty specified certain things as forbidden for his slaves. We should avoid the disliked, and sometimes even refrain from the permissible in order to avoid falling into the prohibited.

The Morsel of Flesh

As the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, we all have a morsel of flesh in our bodies. If it is good, our whole is good and if it is not, then our whole body is spoiled. This hadith outlines a whole process of strengthening and purifying our hearts on the path to Allāh: being alert to the halāl and harām and avoiding the doubtful. The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) says in another hadith:

“A person’s imān will not be upright until their heart is upright and strong. The heart will not be upright and strong until the tongue is upright and strong.”

The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is laying out the path to purifying and strengthening the heart, which leads to the completion of one’s faith.

This hadith emphasizes the importance of rememberence Allāh Almighty. If we want to glorify Allāh, we have to glorify His injunctions, commandments; whether they are obligations to perform them, or whether they are prohibitions not to perform them. A Salaf once narrated: “Do not look at how minor the sin is that you committed, but look at the glory of the One you disobeyed, i.e. Allāh Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala.”. A sin, even if it is a minor one, means disobedience to Allāh, hence defying the rememberance Allāh. And the rememberance Allāh is actually one of the Principles of Tawhid.

The great actions or the principles of Tawhid are done by the heart  which is mentioned at the end of this hadith. Looking at the hadith at first glance, we might have asked what the heart has to do with the rest of the hadith. It is in the heart that we remember and glorify Allāh. It is the action of heart when we refrain from the unlawful (harām). If the heart is strong, sound, has no weaknesses, and is full of iman (faith), then this would lead us to refrain ourselves from muharramat and makruhah (undesirable acts). Therfore only those with a strong and sound heart, i.e. the heart that is full of Taqwa and submission to Allāh Almighty, will refrain from the doubtful matters.

If those whose hearts are diseased and whose iman is weak, may go around the doubtful matters (mushtabihat). Little by little they will indulge in the makruhah, delaying things and eventually getting into the muharram or delaying or even negating the wajib. It has to do with the status of the heart which the scholars talk about the life of the heart. We see Muslims praying in the masjid (mosque), and hundreds of people praying together. What distinguishes them is the status of their hearts, whether it is devoted to Allāh or not. How strong and pure is the heart? How sound is the heart? That is where people differ. This is what we should concern ourselves with, and compete – taking care of our hearts, purifying them, taking away any diseases from our hearts, to activate iman in the heart in order to make it alive.

The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), mentioned about Abu Bakar as-Siddiq (radiyallahu’anhu) where he said that If you put the imān of all the Muslim ummah on one scale and the imān of Abu Bakar as-Siddiq on the other scale, the iman of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq would outweigh the iman of the whole ummah. The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), also said that there is something in the heart of Abu Bakar as-Siddiq (radiyallahu’anhu) that distinguished it from others, and as it is known he was called As-Siddiq. The Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), once said about Abu Bakar (radiyallahu’anhu): “When I call someone to Islam, he will have some hesitation except Abu Bakar as-Siddiq. The minute I talked to him about Islam, straight away he believed in me, he believed in Allāh and that I am the Messenger of Allāh.” So, it has to do with the heart that distinguished Abu Bakar as-Siddiq to be al-Khalifatul-Awal, and to be the first Sahabi (Companion). From this, it can be said that every Muslim should care about his or her heart, purify it and activate imān in the heart, and practise the great principles of Tawhid, such as to love Allāh, to fear Him, to rely on Him, to have hope in Him, to seek help fro Him and to seek refuge in Him so that the heart is alive, activated and full of imān. And at the same time we have to make sure that there should be no diseases or anything bad within our hearts, e.g. greediness, envy, arrogance, etc. Only then will the heart be sound.

In another related hadith the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), mentioned that: “The heart will be exposed to fitan (trials) again and again. The heart which is influenced by fitnah will have a black spot placed on it. And if the heart avoids the fitnah, there will be a white spot on it.” The heart then is either a pure one, or a heart that has been sealed after being affected by fitan or prohibited or doubtful matters again and again. Even though the heart pumps out blood and the person is alive, the heart in reality is not alive, because the iman is weak, making the heart unsound. Hence avoiding and getting away from the fitan (trials) is important in order to have a pure heart, especially in these contemporary times where it is full of evil that attracts the heart.

The evil doers promote evil and impose it on others. So, if a Muslim is not careful, his or her heart might be stolen. As mentioned by the great contemporary scholar, Sheikh Abdur Rahman ad-Dusari, there are many thieves today who steal the hearts, sometimes without the owner even being aware of it.

It is found in any hadith of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) it talks about a subject matter, whether it is something good that we should do, or something bad that we should avoid it. There are hadiths that will mention principles, which is the main point of the hadith, is the last words or sentence. The hadith above mentions about the lawful and unlawful being evident, and then there is the doubtful matter. And then there is the last sentence of the hadith. It is the bottom-line or main issue of the hadith. If we want to get away from the muharramat (unlawful), and also from the doubtful matters, we have to care about our heart. We have to purify our heart and make sure it is sound and alive, and it is not lost from us.

One wisdom learnt from the hadith is the way the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), tells us about something: he will discuss a concept and then give us the principle. The principle tells us not only with the concept mentioned in the hadith, but it actually tells us, if we use it in the right way with the right understanding in other similar matters and situations. If we manage our heart, not only will we be able to avoid the doubtful matters, we can always apply the same principle to other similar concepts or issues, e.g. in avoiding bad manners for there are also doubtful matters in the concept of akhlaq (values).

As mentioned earlier  Imām al-Bukhari (rahimallāh) recorded this hadith in Kitab ul-Buyu’ (Trading). In trading there are many matters that are doubtful matters which existed then and even now, e.g. where cheating is done professionally. Therfore we have to be careful if the matter related to trading is clear and evident, permissible or not permissible, or if it is doubtful, in which case we have to avoid it.

In relation to the above issue is the issue of al-ma’kulat (food) where there are many doubtful matters about what we eat. If we check the ingredients that are used in many manufactured food today, e.g. biscuits, canned food and preserved food, there are ingredients that might raise the question of doubtfulness of what we eat. For example, lecithin is used in the manufacture of foodstuff especially in the west and Muslim countries import a lot of food from the west. If it is not specified otherwise then there is a high probability that the lecithin is derived from khinzir (pig) because it is cheaper to produce. Otherwise, it should be mentioned whether it is derived from soya or plants or from halal production.

Another ingredient is emulsifier. Emulsifiers are labelled as the letter ‘E’ followed by a series of numbers. Some emulsifers contain things that are not permissible. There are efforts done by some Muslim scientists where they try to identify such ingredients. This can then be used as a checklist to check against when we buy food for our family. We should be very careful when we read the ingredients of foodstuff if we want to ensure that what we eat is halal. It is mentioned in a hadith that if what we eat is harām, even our du’ā or  supplication is not accepted by Allāh.

We should take care of our health as a lot of what we eat today or what is in the market is not fresh. There are so many preservatives, colouring and chemicals which, if used excessively, might affect our health. We have to be careful in the sense that although it is in general permissible, if it is used excessively it will affect our health – then we are not doing good for our health as a Muslim.

Some of the interpreters of the collection of the Forty Hadiths try to identify or pinpoint some matters that are doubtful in general. Sometimes they mention matters or controversial issues where the related evidences from the Qur’ān and Sunnah are conflicting and there is no apparent way to resolve the conflict. They mention general matters where views of scholars may also be conflicting. Some permissible matters might lead a person to do what is forbidden or lead him to fail to do what is obligatory. For example, the issue of staying up late. Some scholars views that it is makrūh to stay up late, chatting or doing invalid  things  or  wasting time. Even though in general it is permissible, this might lead to other consequences where it might cause the delaying or failing to do the wajib or it might lead us into doing muharram. The scholars also say that there are matters which were inferred or concluded based on certain hadiths where the authenticity of the hadith is questionable. They say this can also be treated as doubtful matters.

The main key to the issue that the Prophet  (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) tell us is the heart. If we care about our heart, we will be more sensible. If the heart is sound, strong, full of iman (faith), we will be more responsible, and we will care more about what we do and what we do not do. This becomes the measure to those matters which are doubtful.

Even though some interpreters gave some principles by which we can distinguish those doubtful matters, it can still be debated or questioned. But if the heart is good, strong and full of imān, the person will be able to distinguish between the doubtful matters and other clear evident matters, where he would also be able to refrain from the doubtful matters. Sometimes people may know something is harām and not just doubtful, but yet they still get involved in it because of the weak status of their hearts.

So, we must emphasize the main key to dealing with the problem of doubtful matters is the heart. If we all care about the heart, make sure it is in a good status, then in sha-Allāh we will be able to be saved by the help of Allāh. We will be guided by Allāh, because the heart will be full of light. When we say the heart is full of light or guided by light, there are important aspects that we must do that help us to identify and avoid doubtful matters:

1.Al-Muhasabah – self accountability .

2.Al-Muraqabah – self reckoning .

3.Dzikrullāh – the remembrance of Allāh Almighty.

Imūm Nawawi (rahimullāh) himself compiled another book, the Book of Adzkar, where he recorded the hadith about adzkar. It is mentioned by the Prophet, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), that remembering Allāh will purify the heart. However, we have to do it regularly and on a continuous basis. We should do the adzkar after solāt.

3. Another is as-Solātu ‘ala an-Nabi or Salawāt (the sending of prayers and blessings to the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

This is also an important matter. Many do not train themselves to practice this Solātu ‘ala an-Nabi, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They just write “SAW” or an alphabet after mentioning the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They even abbreviate the phrase “Subhānahu Wa Ta’ala”. These are mistakes because du’ā cannot be abbreviated. It is done merely  to save  or to save ink. We have to practice saying or writing “Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam” in full as we are encouraged to do so due to its merit. Each time we say “Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam” we will be rewarded ten times.

In a hadith the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), said that if we practice as-Solātu ‘ala an-Nabi, Allāh will send His “prayers and blessings upon us (yusalli ‘alaih)”. What does this mean? The scholars explain this by saying that Allāh will guide the person who practices “as-Solātu ‘ala an-Nabi” and gives him the light by which to distinguish between the good and the bad. It is a light that will be in the heart. This is termed as “as-solātu minallāh ‘ala al-‘abd”. Hence we should strive to not lose out on obtaining all these good things. We should love the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), more than ourselves, our families, our parents or our children.

Abu Talhah Al-Ansārī (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated ,who said: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu’alayhi wa sallam) arose one morning in a very pleasant mood with signs of good tidings apparent on his face. They said, “O Messenger of Allāh, we see that you look happy.” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The angel came to me and told me, ‘O Muhammad, would it not please you if your Lord, may He be glorified, said: ‘No member of your Ummah sends Solāh upon you but I send Solāh upon him tenfold, and no member of your Ummah sends greetings of Salām upon you but I send greetings of Salām upon him tenfold’.’” I said, “Of course.’” [This was also recorded by Imām Ahmad, An-Nasā’ie Ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd bin Hamīd and at-Tirmidzi]

Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “There are three under the shade of Allāh on a day when there is no shade except His; the one who relieved a distress from someone from my nation; the one who invigorate my Sunnah and the one who invoked blessings on me (Salawāt) the most”. [This is recorded in the Mustadrak and the Musnad of al-Firdaus; Al-Hāfiz As-Suyūtī also recorded it in his Burūj Al-Hilāl.]

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The closest people to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who invoked the most blessings (Salawāt) upon me.” [This is recorded by Ahmad, At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Hibbān said hasan]

The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) likened those who do not salawāt upon him when his name is mentioned as a miser: “The miser  (wretched; niggardly, mistaken) is the one who hears my name mentioned and does not seek blessings (Salawāt) for me.” [Reported by At-Tirmidzi] The one whom my name is mentioned in front of him or her, and he does not say “Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam”.

Imām Muslim recorded that ‘Abdullāh bin Zaid, narrated it on the authority of Abu Mas’ud Al-Ansari (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “We came to the Messenger of Allāh and we were with Sa’ad bin ‘Ubadah. Bashir bin Sa’ad said to him, “Allāh has commanded us to send Solāh upon you, O Messenger of Allāh. How can we send Solāh upon you” The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) remained quiet for so long that we wished that he had not asked him, then the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said [For blessing me]:

“Say: “Allāhumma salli ‘ala Muhammadiñ wa ‘ala āli Muhammad kamā sallayta ‘ala āli Ibrāhīm; Wa bārik ‘ala Muhammadiñ Wa ‘ala āli Muhammad kama bārakta ‘ala āli Ibrāhīm Fil-‘ālameen; Innaka Hamīdun Majīd”

(O Allāh! Send Prayers upon Muhammad and the members of his household as You Sent Prayers upon the members of Ibrāhim’s household; And Send Blessings to Muhammad and the members of his household as You  granted Blessings upon the members of the household of Ibrāhim, among all the nations’ Verily You are Most Praiseworthy, Full of Glory)”,

“And the Salutation [i.e ‘As-salāmu ‘alayka ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh] as you about knows it.”

[This was also recorded by Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’ie, At-Tirmidzi and Ibn Jarir. At-Tirmidzi said, “It is Hasan Sahih.” This narration uses the phrase: ‘ala āli Ibrāhīm, fil-‘ālameen; Innaka Hamīdun Majīd”]); this narration is Linguistically sound; more comprehensive]


There are many doubtful matters that a Muslim might face in his or her everyday dealings and activities. This hadith helps the Muslim in dealing with such matters. There is an early ongoing preparation which is needed in such a case – to purify one’s heart. There are some actions that can help us achieve this task, like: hayya’ (modesty), murakabah (self reckoning), muhasabah (self accountability), dzikr (remembrance of Allāh), and as-Solātu ‘ala an-Nabi, (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). These are things that, in sha Allāh, can help us and enlighten and purify our heart, and also help us to identify and avoid the doubtful matters – this is the main point, the key, the principle of the hadith.

“Beware; in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.”

Mu’adz bin Jabal (radiyallāhu’anhu) narrated that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once held him by the hand and said: “O Mu’adz! I swear by Allāh that I love you. I advise you not to miss supplicating after every Solāh saying:  ‘Allāhumma a ‘inni ‘alā dzikrika, wa syukrika, wa husni ‘ibādatik. (O Allāh! Assist me in mentioning You, expressing gratitude to You, and worshiping You in the finest manner).” [Recorded by Abu Dawud; An-Nasā’ie]

Commentary: The hadith stresses the fact that one should seek the Help of Allāh for His remembrance, gratitude and worship, because one cannot do anything without His Help and Support. The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advises us to never forget to recite this invocation after every solāh.

Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “The uttering of the [four] words: “Subhānallāh (Allāh is free from imperfection), Al-hamdu lillāh (All praise is due to Allāh), Lā ilāha illallāh (There is no true god except Allāh) and Allāhu Akbar (Allāh is the Greatest)’is dearer to me than anything over which the sun rises.”[Recorded by Muslim]

Commentary: Imām At-Tirmidzi in his takhrij said that after saying the four words to add the ‘Tamjid’ saying: ‘‘Lā hawla wa lā quwwata illa billāh [il ‘ally yil ‘adzeem] (There is neither change of any condition nor power except by the will of Allāh [the the Greatest, the Most Magnificent])

Abu Mūsa Al-Ash’ari (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported: The Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “Shall I not guide you to a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allāh!” Thereupon he (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: (Recite) ‘Lā hawla wa lā quwwata illa billāhil [‘aly-yul ‘Azeem] (There is neither change of any condition nor power except by Allāh [the Most High, the Most Magnificent]).” [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Allāh Almighty says: “Verily, the Abrar (pious and righteous) will be in Delight (Jannah).And verily; the Fujjar (the wicked, disbelievers, sinners and evildoers) will be in the blazing Fire (Hell).” [Al-Infitar, 82:13, 14]

Commentary: The believers must constantly seek Allāh’s Guidance to the straight path, righteousness in our deeds and to hold in steadfast in Ad-Deen.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu’anhu) said: “We counted Allah Messenger’s saying a hundred times during one single sitting: ‘Rabb ighfir li wa tubb ‘alayya innaka antat-tawwābul ghafūrur -raheem’ (O Allāh, forgive me and accept my repentance, for You are the Accepter of Repentance, Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful).” [Recorded by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidzi].

Muslim Ibn Al-Harith reported that his father said, “The Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to me: ‘When you performed Solāh Fajar, before you talk to anyone say, ‘Allāhumma ajirni minannar (O Allāh, I seek your protection from the Hell-fire)” seven times. If you should die on that day, Allāh will record for you protection from the Hell-fire. When you performed the Solāh Maghrib, say before you speak to anyone, “Allāhumma inni as ‘aluka al-jannah, Allāhumma ajirni minannar (O Allāh, I ask Paradise of You. O Allāh, I seek Your protection from the Hell-fire)” seven times. If you die during that night, Allāh will record for you protection from the Hell-fire.” [Recorded by Ahmad and Abu Dawud]

‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: One of the supplications of the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was: “Allāhumma inni as ‘aluka mujibati rahmateek, wa ‘aza ‘ima maghfirateek, was-salamata min kulli ithmin, wal-ghanimata min kulli birr, wal-fawza bil-jannati, wannajata minan-nar (O Allāh! I beg You for that which incites Your Mercy and the means of Your forgiveness, safety from every sin, the benefit from every good deed, success in attaining Jannah and deliverance from Fire).”[Al-Hakim].

Thawban Ibn Bajdad (radiyallāhu’anhu) reported: Whenever Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) completed his Solāh, Rasūlullāh would ask forgiveness three times and then he would say: “Allāhumma antas-Salām wa minkas-Salām, (wa ilay kaya ‘ūdus-Salām, Fahaiyina Rabbana-bis-Salām Wa ad-khilnal-Jannata Dārus-Salām,) Tabārakta (Rabbana wa ta’a layt), Ya Dzal-Jalali wal-Ikram” (O Allāh, You are the Grantor of Peace and Security, and Security comes from You,[from You come well-being, to You shall returns the well-being; Bless  us with Peace and Jannah, the Abode of Peace], Shower us  Your  Blessing,[Our Lord, the Most High); O The Possessor of Majesty and Honour!]” [This is recorded by “the group: Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi, An-Nasā’ie, Ibn Mājah except for Al-Bukhāri] Muslim has the addition, “Waleed said, ‘I asked Al-Awza’ie, ‘How did he seek Allāh’s forgiveness?’ He said, ‘By saying, ‘Astaghfirullāh (I beseech Forgiveness O Allāh!)’, ‘Astaghfirullā(I beseech Forgiveness O Allāh!)’, and ‘Astaghfirullāh (I beseech Forgiveness O Allāh!)’ [Recorded by Muslim]

Commentary: As-Salam means Allāh Almighty is the source, the provider of security, peace, well-being, tranquility, the One free from all defects. It is Him who blesses us with Peace and Jannah, the permanent Abode of Peace in the Hereafter. Allāh is the Possessor of majesty and honour. We thus seek Him to shower us the blessing.

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radiyallāhu‘anhu) reported that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say: “Allāhumma inni as ‘alukal-huda wat-tuqa wal-‘afafa wal-ghina (O Allāh! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency)”. [Recorded by Muslim]

Commentary: Guidance here means guidance at every turn of life and steadfastness on the path of truth. Fear of Allāh is the greatest means of piety and strongest defense against sins. Chastity is the state of being free from what is unlawful. Self-sufficiency is the antonym of poverty and here it means the self-contentment. What it implies is that one should not care for what people possess. In view of all these qualities, the du’ā of the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) mentioned in this Hadith is very comprehensive and valuable.

The “Ashab-i-Kahf” (the Companions of the Cave) who took refuge in the Cave due to prosecution made this du’a to Allah: “Rabbana ātina mil ladunka Rahmatañ wahaiyi’ lana amrīna rasyada (Our Lord! Bestow on us Mercy from Yourself, and Facilitate for us our affair in the Right Way!)” [Al-Kahfi, 18:10]

Commentary: This the du’a by the “Ashab-i-Kahf” (the Companions of the Cave), the young men who fled for refuge from the persecution of  disbelieving folk to the Cave. The Du’ā seeks Allah’s mercy and facilitation to their affair in the right way.

Anas Ibn Mālik (radiyallāhu’anhu) who said: “The supplication most often recited by Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam): Rabbana-ātina-fid-dunya hasānah, Wa fil-ākhirati-hasānah, Wa-qina-‘ādzabānnār-nār (O Lord! Bestow upon us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the punishment of the Fire).’” (Al-Baqārah 2:201) [This is recorded by Al-Bukhāri, Muslim, and Tarmidzi].

Commentary: At-Tarmidzi (rahimullāh) said: “Hasānah is very comprehensive and includes in all kinds of good and benefits of this world and of the Hereafter. Good health, wealth and satisfaction of the world and good status in Jannah, forgiveness from sins and Allāh’s bounties and favours in both worlds are included in this du’ā’” [Recorded in Jāmi’ At-Tarmidzi]

Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded that Umm Salamah (radiyallāhu’anha), said that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to supplicate: ‘Ya muqallibal-qulubi, thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenik (O Controller of the hearts make my heart steadfast in Your religion).” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then recited: Rabbana la tuzia’qulubana ba’ daiz hadaitana wahab Lana min laduñ karahmah; Iñnaka an tal wahhāb. (Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after Thou have guided us, and grant us mercy from Thou. Truly, Thou are the Bestower.) (Ali-`Imran, 3:8)” [This is recorded by Muslim and At-Tirmidzi]

In a narration of Abu Hurayrah (radiyallāhu’anhu), who reported that the Allāh’s Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: If a believer had full knowledge of the chastisement of Allāhnone (but) would covet His Jannah; and were an infidel to know the Mercy Allāh hasnone would despair of His Jannah”. [Muslim]

Commentary: The phrase “full knowledge of the chastisement, none would covet His Jannah”  means  if a believer has complete understanding of the level of Allah’s unhappiness towards their wrong-doing, they could not bring themselves to even hope or desire to be allowed into Jannah. The phrase “and were an infidel to know the Mercy Allah has, none would despair of His Jannah” means if an unbeliever has any idea of the deepness of Allah’s generosity for forgiveness and or compassion, they will never lose hope of being able to enter Jannah. The Hadith  indicates the torment from Divine wrath is very severe if one had the knowledge of it. These are described to enable a sinner to save himself from it and only desire the Jannah. It is only those who are obedient; piety, Muttaqun and submitting to Him, faithfully and accordingly to Allah will receive His Grace and Mercy, while the disobedient will suffer the consequences of His Wrath. The Allāh’s Mercy is immeasurable.

And Allāh Almighty Knows best.

[Excerpted from Hadith No. 6: “Purification of the Heart”, Imam Nawawi’s Forty Hadith via IC Truth]