"ln the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful"

INTRODUCTION

Hadiths or Traditions are the records of the utterances, discourses, practices, usages, sayings and the way of life led by Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) ever since he assumed prophethood in the fortieth year of his life (609 A.C.) to the year of his death (632 A.C.) when he was 63 years old. Besides these, any action done in his presence by any of his disciples and tacitly approved and not prohibited by him also falls within the definition of Hadith. These form the pattern, model or ideal to be followed by every true Muslim in his day-to-day life. The word 'Haditb' literally means 'Statement'. It was also popularly known as the Sunnah meaning a practice or custom. It literally means a mode of life.

Prophet Muhammad (May peace be upon him) occupies a unique position in the chain of prophets. Being the last of a long line of Messengers he was sent by God as a messenger for the whole universe. His personality, therefore, combined all that was best in morals and manners and he was the very embodiment of all that was preached and enjoined in the Holy Qur'an.

The Holy Book affirms:

Certainly There is for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example." (XXXIll-21)

'1\nd you stand on an exalted standard of character."

(LXVIII-4)

When the Holy Qur'an affirms that the Prophet was the very embodiment of all that was best in life and he was the perfect model to be followed, it was not mere idle talk but was a practical demonstration of it. To judge its truth, let us have a glance at his life. Taking for instance the injunctions laid down by the Qur'an for believers in respect of prayer, fasting and alms-giving, we notice that while Muslims were directed to pray five times a day, the Prophet himself, prayed eight times, super-imposing on himself three extra prayers, twice after morning prayer and the third beginning at midnight and sometimes extending right up to dawn thereby causing swelling in his feet.

As regards fasting his followers were directed to fast during the month of Ramadan but for himself he never allowed the other eleven months to pass by without fast and sometimes the fast would continue for two to three days without taking any food or drink in between them.

He helped the needy and the poor and no beggar ever left his door disappointed, while he himself lived the life of a poor man even after becoming the overlord of a big country. His generosity was so great that he proclaimed that if any Muslim died leaving debts the responsibility for repayment was his, while at the time of his death his own coat of mail was pledged for a debt. Muslims had conquered almost the whole of Arabia and money was pouring in from all sides which he treated as trust property and distributed that very day, but he denied himself and his family members a share in it. His family was prohibited by him from receiving Zahat lest people out of love for him might bestow the choicest favours on them. The condition of his house was such that for days together no fire was lit, and no daypassedwithoutmissinga meal.Worldlythings,richesandcomforts had no attraction for him. His dress consisted of patches, his house was petty, built of mud bricks, and his furniture a crude bedstead and a jar of water. This was the living condition of the greatest spiritual and temporal leader and monarch who looked upon this world as a passing phase and a temporary abode.

He was gentle, modest, faithful, courageous and never despaired even in the face of severe calamities and adverse circumstances and had unflinching faith in Divine Help. In every respect, therefore, be stood out as a shining example for all to follow. His life throughout was without any blemish and was a wonderful exposition of all that was virtuous.

The world from Adam downwards had produced monarchs of great pomp and show, generals of extensive conquests, philosophers and thinkers of great repute and poets of world-fame, but can anyone point out how far any of those were instrumental in raising the social status of down-trodden humanity and to what extent they catered to the spiritual elevation of the human mind by removing the rust within their unclean hearts. Had they left any mark of their personality as an example to be followed for the uplift of the human race as a whole, and had they in any way worked for creating a world brotherhood wherein peace would reign supreme? Had they laid any foundation for improving the moral standard of the human-folk? The conquerors had simply wrought destruction and devastation in everycountry they had laid their foot upon and had left nothing constructive. The poets lived only in an imaginary paradise and the philosophers had contributed nothing practical. It was only the personality of Muhammad (May peace be upon him) that proved a panacea for all social evils.

It is remarkable that his career covered all possible spheres of life such as that of a preacher in a mosque, as a worldly man amongst family and friends, as a man of piety, as a leader, as a soldier, a reformer, a politician, a statesman, an administrator and finally as a ruler of a vast kingdom. He had the privilege therefore of not only laying down rules of guidance in all such capacities but also gave a practical illustration of these rules. It is these sayings and doings of the Prophet that form the subject matter of Hadith - a guide to successful life from the Prophet.

UNDERSTANDING THE ATTRIBUTES OF
ONE GOD

THE DIVINITY OF GOD

God is One and like unity.

We were with Muhammad on a journey, and someone stood up repeating aloud, "God is Most Great;' and the Messenger said, "Men! be easy on yourselves, and do not distress yourselves by raising your voices; verily you do not call on one deaf or absent, but verily on One Who hears and sees; and He is with you; and He to Whom you pray is nearer to you than the neck of your camel:'

Do you love your Creator? Love your fellow-being first.

Whoever loves to meet God, God loves to meet him.

God says, "I fulfil the faith of him who puts his faith in Me; and 1 am with him, and near him when he remembers Me:'

The greatest crimes are to associate another with God, to vex your father and mother, to murder your own species, to commit suicide, and to swear to a lie.

God says, "I was a hidden treasure. 1would not be known. So 1 created Man."

THE KINDNESS OF GOD

God's kindness towards His creatures is more than a mother's towards her baby.

If you put your whole trust in God, as you ought, He most certainly will give you sustenance, as He does the birds; they come out hungry in the morning but return full to their nests in the evening.

God says, "Verily My compassion overcomes My wrath:'

God is not merciful to him who is not so to mankind.

THE FORGIVENESS OF GOD

If the unbeliever knew of the extent of the lord's Mercy, even he would not despair of Paradise.

Muhammad said, "I would not have the whole wealth of the world in place of this revelation: 'Say: (0 Muhammad") 0 My servants! who have oppressed your own souls by sinning, despair not of the Mercy of God:" A man said, "What of him who has associated others with God?" Muhammad remained silent for a while and then said, "Know that him also God forgives but on repentance."

Abu Musa relates that the Holy Prophet said: "The parable of he who remembers his Sustainer and he who remembers Him not, is that of the living and the dead:'

Abu Hurairah relates he heard from the Holy Prophet-"When a bondman commits a sin and then says: 'My Sustainer!: I have committed a sin', his Sustainer says: 'My bondman knows that there is a Sustainer for him Who forgives his sins and takes him to task, so I have forgiven My bondman.'"

THE MERCY OF GOD

Someone enquired:

"Do none enter the Garden of Bliss save by God's Mercy?" ProphetMuhammadsaid, "No, noneenterssavethrough God's favour."

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