Bad Companions

Companions can have different levels of positive or negative influence, but the common factors of being considered a bad companion is being distant from Allah SWT.

How do we know this? Their actions testify to this. Ask yourself, are your companions displaying these actions. Examples of these can be: not praying, waste time talking about others, make fun of others, encouraging you to commit sin. Worse still, are you a bad companion to others as this is also something that will work against your account with Allah SWT.

The imam referenced Sura Al-Furqan in which Allah SWT warns us of this. It is translated to say:

And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, “Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend.

Dear brothers, we need to be careful as the impact our friends have, both in person and nowadays online, is something that we cannot underestimate.

The Prophet SAWS also taught us the importance of this. The imam relayed the following ahadith which is translated to say:

I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell”.

And dear brothers, in this time and place we live in there is this warning also from our beloved leader SAWS who said:

 “Man follows his friend’s religion, you should be careful who you take for friends”.

And so dear brothers we need to be conscious of this and so the reminder concludes with the following tips on this reminder.

  1. Do not be in the same place as these companions. That includes both online in social media groups, WhatsApp groups etc as well as physically in person. These days we discount the impact of online groups because it’s not physical. However, we are now being told by psychiatrists that the effects of this just as severe, if not more so, that being physically around these people.
  2. Take a look at the interests, passions and hobbies of those who you are around. Is there focus and effort in things that bring them closer to Allah SWT or the opposite? If it’s the latter then inevitably the effect will be on you.
  3. It is important to guide your friends away from a path that takes them away from Allah SWT. However, you must be careful that the attempts to do so don’t bring you closer to their path and their ways of being? Your intentions might be good but so is the lure of the path of Shaitaan and so be wise to this effect and don’t let your good intentions result in falling into the trap.

Dear brothers, strength comes from unity with one another. Let us use this reminder to assess our relationships and strengthen those that bring us closer to Allah SWT and His path.

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Ali bin Abi Talib

Dear brothers and sisters, we continue our series on the companions of the Prophet SAWS and this week it is about one of the 10 people who have been guranteed paradise.

Ali bin Abi Talib was the cousin of the prophet SAWS, husband of the Prophets daughter Fatima who was the leader of the women and father of Hassan and Hussain who themselves are leaders of the youth of Janna.

After the death of the Prophet SAWS, he was the fourth of the companions of the Prophet to be appointed as the khalifa or leader of the Ummah.

Ali, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, was the closest of the companions to the Prophet SAWS in terms of lineage and was indeed grown up around the Prophet SAWS.

As a result he would be with the Prophet SAWS, and that made him learn truth, mannerisms, generosity. Later on, Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, mother of the believers, looked after him and he became Muslim when he was 10 years old.

Ali bin Abi Talib was the first to be Muslim of the children and was the first to pray with the Prophet SAWS after Khadija. The Prophet SAWS spoke of Ali in the highest regard and these are referenced in today’s reminder by the imam. The first is translated to say:

I heard the prophet peace and blessings be upon him say (‘Whoever loves Ali, loves me; and whoever loves me has loved Allah; and whoever hates Ali, hates me and whoever hates me hates Allah.'”

Dear brothers and sisters, we use the reminders of the companions of the Prophet SAWS in order to learn from their life, their characteristics and their manners. In the case of Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the first trait to speak of is of his bravery.

The imam reminded us of the battle of Khaybar through the following translated hadith:

On the day (of the battle) of Khaibar the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Tomorrow I will give the flag to somebody who will be given victory (by Allah) and who loves Allah and His Apostle and is loved by Allah and His Apostle.” So, the people wondered all that night as to who would receive the flag and in the morning everyone hoped that he would be that person.

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) asked, “Where is `Ali?” He was told that `Ali was suffering from eye-trouble, so he applied saliva to his eyes and invoked Allah to cure him. He at once got cured as if he had no ailment.

The Prophet (ﷺ) gave him the flag. `Ali said, “Should I fight them till they become like us (i.e. Muslim)?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Go to them patiently and calmly till you enter the land. Then, invite them to Islam, and inform them what is enjoined upon them, for, by Allah, if Allah gives guidance to somebody through you, it is better for you than possessing red camels.”

Alongside his bravery, he was also a knowledgeable and successful in inviting others to Islam. One example of this is given in today’s reminder and that is of the expedition to the people of Hamdan, just outside Yemen.

The Messenger of God sent Khalid b. al-Walid to the people of the Yemen inviting them to Islam, and I was among those who went with him. He persisted in the matter for six months, but they did not respond, so the Messenger of God sent ‘Ali b. Abi Talib and ordered him that Khalid and those who were with him should return, but if any of them would like to follow him he should allow them.

Al-Bara’ said, “I was one who followed ‘Ali, and as we reached the borders of the Yemen the people got the news. They gathered around him and ‘Ali led us in the morning prayer. When he had finished [the prayer], he lined us up in one row. Then he moved before us, praised and extolled God, then read to them the letter of the Messenger of God.

All of Hamdan embraced Islam in one day, and he wrote to the Messenger of God about it. When the Prophet read ‘Ali’s letter he fell down, prostrating himself to God. Then he sat up and said, ‘Peace be upon Hamdan, Peace be upon Hamdan’ [After the conversion of Hamdan] the people of the Yemen followed in succession with their acceptance of Islam.

Dear brothers and sisters, from this we learn the importance of delivering the message of truth and the manner in which it is done. He was known for his chivalry and the personification of gallantry, bravery and generosity.

Our belief of the companions of the Prophet SAWS is that we love the companions of the prophet SAWS, and do not differentiate, or exclude any of them. Our role is to follow the Prophet SAWS and dislike who he disliked, and love the companions as he loved the companions.

There is a point of contention amongst Muslims regarding Ali which has contributed to the shia and sunni split. What must be noted in regards to this point is that firstly, we believe that the order of the khalifa was as Allah SWT ordained and secondly, our primary focus should be on the fundamentals of our faith, especially in this country and not on debating with others on this point.

As people belonging to the same Ummah of the Prophet SAWS, we need to adopt the characteristics mentioned today as each and every day is an opportunity for us to give dawah, either in the conversations we have with our non-Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends or subtly in the actions and mannerisms we show in the everyday things we do.

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Uthman bin Affan, may Allah SWT be pleased with him

Dear brothers and sisters, it is from Allah’s mercy and blessings that we were sent a Prophet from amongst ourselves, to come with the message of his Lord, to advice his people to all that is good and warn them against all that is evil. The Prophet SAWS did this to the upmost standard,  advising and helping as many as he good, and warning as many as he could.

Alongside him, Allah SWT has chosen certain companions to be with him, and these are the best of this nation that were chosen to be with Him, therefore they had the best teacher to spend their life with, to be able to see Him, hear his words, and that’s a blessing that was chosen for them.

Today we talk about one of these people, and one of the Khalifas – Uthman bin Affan, may Allah be pleased with him,  who has achieved a great status within this nation, to be labelled as the third best Companion, and this is without any doubt, as this was heard by the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him and He did not dispute it.

Uthman accepted Islam easily partly because of the dreamlike vision he had experienced whilst on a journey home from Syria. While trying to fall asleep Uthman had heard a voice calling out, “O sleepers arise because Ahmad has emerged in Mecca” it said. Until his return he had heard nothing about the new religion. Uthman contacted Abu Bakr who told him that he had taken an oath of allegiance to Prophet Muhammad and had accepted the new religion. He then took Uthman to see Prophet Muhammad. Uthman listened to the account of Prophet Muhammad’s experiences and the circumstances under which his prophethood was revealed. He accepted Islam after this.

It is said that the 100th ayat of Sura At-Tawbah applies to people such as Uthman. It’s translated to say:

And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with good conduct – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.

The acceptance of Islam by Uthman led to a violent reaction within his own family. Uthman’s father was dead but his uncle took it upon himself to try to restrain Uthman. He bound his arms and legs and locked him in a cupboard. Both his mother and uncle wanted him to recant his conversion to Islam but he refused. His reserve was strong and eventually they had to release him.

Uthman also faced tough choices in his marriage. His wives refused to accept Islam and although he tried to convince them of the beauty of Islam eventually he had to divorce them. Uthman was there at the birth of Islam and over 1400 years ago he was facing the same dilemmas that some new converts face today.

His extended family was violently opposed to his choices; his close family refused to accept the changes in him and his lifestyle was severely disrupted. Uthman faced many challenges and was confronted with trials and tribulations seemingly designed to test his faith and conviction. He remained steadfast and accepted that God would replace his once contented life style with something better.

Dear brothers and sisters, within this there is a lesson for us in patience, imaan and conviction towards doing what is right by Allah SWT above all else.

Prophet Muhammad SAWS was impressed with Uthman’s conviction in the face of so much opposition. He rewarded Uthman’s faith by allowing him to marry his daughter Ruqayah. He then decided to send a small group of new Muslims to Abyssinia for their own protection.

Uthman and his new wife Ruqayah were among the group of 12 men and four women who made the first migration to Abyssinia. The King of Abyssinia was known to be a just man and as a result, Muslims lived easily under his patronage for approximately 12 months.

When Uthman and the other migrants journeyed from Abyssinia to Medina, Uthman earned the nick name ‘the assistant’ because of the time he spent with Prophet Muhammad helping him to establish the new Muslim nation. It is said that he gave freely from his wealth and that every Friday Uthman would buy slaves for the purpose of setting them free.

Dear brothers and sisters, from this we can gain lessons in generosity and humbleness. We can also see how important it is to give consistently to charity in both money and time and that it shouldn’t just be reserved for the month of Ramadan.

Uthman was elected as the third caliph of Islam.

Uthman was elected as the third caliph of Islam. During his leadership, the characteristics of justice, humanity and striving in the cause of Allah SWT continued. He was deeply attached to the Quran and so, during his time, he standardised the written text from which all copies of the Quran exist today.

His rule lasted twelve years after which time he was martyred by the enemies of Islam. Accounts show that he was found reciting the Quran when he was ambushed in his home as he kept steadfast to the Quran even when he knew that the enemies were close.

Dear brothers and sisters, Uthman Ibn Affan was a witness at the birth of Islam. He is a role model for those who convert to Islam today because of his actions and steadfastness in the face of constant harassment. He is a role model in how to keep patience, to keep the heart soft and how to keep the Quran as a constant companion in this life. And finally, his generosity is a lesson for us all to keep giving in the name of Allah SWT as this is a trait befitting Muslims and led from the onset by the greatest heroes of Islam.

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Umar Ibn Khattab (may Allah SWT be pleased with him)

We continue the series in which we remind ourselves of the companions of the Prophet SAWS. We do this because we live in a time and an age where the masses are following people without heed. A time where moronic messages can get over a billion views on social media. It is a difficult time for each of us, especially as parents when role models being presented by society do not measure up.

We need to get into the habit of pointing our children towards the best of role models, people who, after the Prophet SAWS, deserve to be role models for not just their generation but for us and our offspring today. From studying these people we can get lessons and wisdoms that apply to us today.

Umar Ibn Khattab may Allah SWT be pleased with him is one of those people and so today’s reminder is about the characteristics of this beloved companion of the Prophet SAWS.

He was the second caliph of Islam after Abu Bakr and he was one of the nobility of the tribe of Quraysh, he had the role of mediator amongst them; whenever war broke out among them or between Quraysh and others, they would send him as a mediator. He also acted as a judge among them when there were disputes. This shows us he was a man of fairness even before he accepted Islam.

It is narrated that, before Umar accepted Islam, on the way to murder Muhammad, he met a polytheist who told him to set his own house in order first, as his sister and her husband had converted to Islam. Upon arriving at her house, Umar found his sister and brother-in-law Sa‘id Ibn Zayd [Umar’s cousin], reciting the verses of the Qur’an. He started beating his brother-in-law severely. When his sister came to rescue her husband, he also struck her.

Seeing what he had done to his sister now, he calmed down and asked her to give him what she was reciting. She gave him the paper on which was written the verses from sura Ta-Ha.

He was so struck by the beauty of the verses that he accepted Islam that day. He then went to Muhammad SAWS with the same sword he intended to kill him with and accepted Islam in front of him and his companions.

It is also narrated that ‘Umar said: I went out to confront the Messenger of Allah SAWS, and found that he had headed to the mosque in Makkah. I stood behind him in hiding and he began by reciting Surat al-Haqqah.

I was astonished by the composition of the Qur’an, so I said, ‘By Allah, this is a poet as Quraysh say.’ It was at that point that the Prophet SAWS recited, ‘It is truly the saying of a noble messenger, and it is not the saying of a poet, how little you believe…’ and Islam came about in my heart.

Dear brothers and sisters, from this we learn the lessons of humility as this was a man willing to change stance and accept the truth from others. How often are we guilty of dismissing the opinion of others because we know best? Humility comes in knowing that Allah SWT is always providing us with the ability to learn, to improve and to better ourselves. By removing our ego, we can be open to this invitation from Him.

The Prophet Muhammad SAWS used to praise Umar’s knowledge, faith, and status. The Prophet SAWS bore witness to his knowledge when he said:

Allah’s Messenger SAWS said, “While I was sleeping, I saw that a cup full of milk was brought to me and I drank my fill till I noticed (the milk) its wetness coming out of my nails. Then I gave the remaining milk to `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab” The companions of the Prophet SAWS asked, “What have you interpreted (about this dream)? “O Allah’s Messenger SAWS” he replied, “(It is religious) knowledge.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we can derive lessons from this point also. Primarily we ought to never stop learning. Never stop acquiring knowledge on our faith. In turn our faith will increase and subsequently so will our status. We cannot rest on the fact that we are blessed to be Muslims, each day ought to be striving towards increasing our knowledge in Islam.

And as a Caliph, he was a caring and just leader. During this time, he was travelling with his servant Aslam when he saw a distant fire in the desert.

When he reached them, he found a woman and some children. The children were crying. The woman had a pan of water over the fire. Umar greeted her with salaam and, with her permission, went near her. [The woman didn’t recognize that it was Umar]. Umar asked, ‘Why are these children crying?’ The Woman said, ‘Because they are hungry.’ Umar said, ‘What is in the pan?’ The Woman replied, ‘Only water to soothe the children, so that they may go to sleep in the belief that food is being prepared for them. Ah! Allah will judge between Umar and me, on the Day of Judgment, for neglecting me in my distress.’

Umar said [weeping], ‘How can Umar know of your distress?’ The Woman said, ‘When he is our Caliph, he must keep himself informed about us.’  ‘Umar returned to the town and straight away went to the Baitul Mal [House of Charity] to fill a sack with flour, dates, fat, and clothes, and also drew some money. When the sack was ready, he said to Aslam, ‘Now put this sack on my back, Aslam.’ He went back and he himself cooked and served it to the family. When they had eaten until they were full, he gave them the little that was left for their next meal. The children were very happy after their meal and began to play about merrily. The woman felt very grateful and remarked, ‘May Allah reward you for your kindness! In fact you deserve to take the place of the Khalifah instead of Umar.’ Umar consoled her and said, ‘When you come to see the Khalifah, you will find me there.’

And so from this we learn about his kindness, his charitable nature and his modesty. We need to learn to keep our charitable acts consistent so that they become part of who we are, but not to show off in broadcast them as is the case via social media these days as that tarnishes the deed in itself.

Dear brothers and sisters, these are just a few of the many lessons we can learn. In a time and a place where suitable role models are increasingly difficult to find, we need to remind ourselves that they do not have to be living to be considered as such. We are blessed in this age with the world’s information at our fingertips. Lets use that blessing to study those people who deserve to be studied and followed. Those people like Umar bin Khattab (may Allah SWT be pleased with him) who deserve to be mentioned in ayat 54 of Sura Al Maida which says:

O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah ; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

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Abu Bakr Al Sadeeq (May Allah SWT be pleased with him)

As Muslims, we are in agreement that the companions of the Prophet SAWS, peace and blessings be upon them all, are the best of people after the prophets, and they are to be considered our role models too in the lessons from their lives.

Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Masood narrated that:

Allah looked at all of his slaves hearts, and found the heart of Prophet Muhammed SAWS the best of hearts, and He chose him for himself, and gave him the message, then looked at the hearts of the slaves after the heart of Mohammed SAWS, and found his companions to have the best of hearts, and made them his companions, fighting the same battle

And as Muslims we also believe that the best of the companions are the 4 Khalifas, then the rest of the 10 of those who were promised heaven. The Prophet SAWS said:

Follow guidance from those after me : Abi Bakr and Umar

And so today’s reminder focuses on one of these four khalifas and that is Abu Bakr Al Sadeeq. He was a great man, extremely shy it is said but very pious. He had great mercy and was a businessman and trusted leader of his tribe.

We know of Abu Bakr to have been a rich man financially. Having said that, he was known for his generosity. He donated his wealth and freed many slaves with the richness he was blessed with.

And as part of his tribe, he did not drink alcohol before or after Islam. He had a great hold over his desires and so did not pray to any idols at any time before the message was revealed.

Once the prophethood was first revealed to Prophet Muhammed SAWS, he accepted Islam and the message and never stopped in his support of the Prophet SAWS. He believed in the Prophet SAWS when others rejected him and is praised in the Quran by Allah SWT as mentioned in today’s reminder in Sura Al-Touba, ayat 40 which translates to say:

If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.

He is also known to be the first man that became Muslim, and will be the first to enter paradise after the Prophets, and will be called from all the doors of Paradise, and the Prophet SAWS always praised him.

The imam mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:

If I were to take a Khalil or friend, I would have taken Abu Bakr, but he is my brother and my companion (in Islam).

The scholars agree that Abu Bakr is referenced in the following revelation in the Quran which is referenced by the imam today. It’s Sura Nur, ayat 22 and it is translated to say:

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.

And we also know from history that his family were the only family where both parents, offspring and extended children all became Muslim, such was the blessing bestowed upon Abu Bakr.

He was the closest to the Prophet SAWS and endured hardships alongside our beloved Prophet SAWS. One such example of this is when the Prophet SAWS was beaten by the Quraish, he was also hurt in attempting to defend the Prophet SAWS from being beaten.

And we know from the life of the Prophet SAWS that it was Abu Bakr that had the blessing of accompanying our beloved Prophet SAWS from Mecca to Medina.

And when the Prophet SAWS left this world to return to Allah SWT, the companions were left in shock and many panicked. It was Abu Bakr at that point who provided the stability through recitation of the 144th ayat of Sura Al-Imran.

The imam mentioned this in today’s reminder and it’s translated to say:

Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful.

Dear brothers and sisters, today’s reminder cannot do justice to this great man and role model for us. He was a devout Muslim, a great companion to our beloved Prophet SAWS and a teacher for us following in the footsteps of the greatest of all creation, our beloved Prophet SAWS.

As Muslims, when we hear of Abu Bakr Al Sadeeq, we ought to first thank Allah SWT for blessing our beloved Prophet SAWS with such a beautiful soul as his companion and friend. But alongside that, we ought to ask ourselves, if we are to be reunited one day as part of the ummah of the Prophet SAWS, if we are wishing to be remembered by our Prophet SAWS, are we fulfilling our part of the deal and learning from the lives of those who were closest to him?

We should take lessons from the life of Abu Bakr Al Sadeeq, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, in the hope that those life lessons elevate us to the level of being regarded as part of the ummah of our beloved Prophet SAWS.

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