Alleviating Grievances in Describing the Condition of the Strangers

Author: Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalee

Source: Al-Manhaj
Translator: Abu Maryam Isma’eel Alarcon

Published: Wednesday 5th August, 2015

Characteristics Of The People Of Knowledge

The Commander of the Believers, (رضي الله عنه‎), has described this category from the carriers of knowledge with certain attributes:

From them is that:

“Through them, the knowledge is fortified upon the reality of evidences.”

The meaning of this is that the knowledge directs them to the highest of goals and this is the awareness of Allaah. Thus they fear Him and love Him to the point that everything that is difficult upon others becomes easy upon them.

So they do not look for a way towards that which others seek a way towards, from those who stop with this worldly life, its attractions and its pleasures. And from those who have pride in that and do not spread the knowledge, exaltation and honoring of Allaah in their hearts. Rather, they are the ones who turn towards that which the self-sufficient ones have abandoned.

Verily, the self-sufficient one, who has fallen and given into the desires of the world and its pleasures, finds difficulty in abandoning its desires and pleasures. This is because there is no substitute that could replace his desire for this world if he were to abandon it. So he does not have the patience for abandoning it.

In the hearts of this type of people, for what they seek a way towards, is the biggest substitute over the desire to acquire the knowledge of Allaah and the love and honor for Him. This is as Al-Hasan (رحمه الله) used to say:

“Verily, the ones who love Allaah are only those who inherit the good life and taste its pleasures due to what they seek a way towards, such as the private attachment to their Beloved (Allaah). And due to what they find from the sweetness of their love for Him in their hearts.”

These individuals only befriend that which the ignorant feel repelled by because those who are ignorant about Allaah are opposed to abandoning the worldly life and its pleasures. And this is because they don’t know anything that can compare to it (i.e. the worldly life) and thus it is that which they love and befriend. On the other hand, these individuals feel repelled by that and instead find love in Allaah, His remembrance, awareness of Him, love for Him, and the recitation of His Book. Meanwhile, those who are ignorant about Allaah feel repelled by these things and do not find any love or enjoyment in them.

And from another of their attributes, which the Commander of the Believers has described them with, was:

“They accompany the world with their bodies while their souls are drawn towards the great abode.”

This is an indication that they do not take this world as their home nor are they content with it as a place of residence nor as a place of rest. Indeed, they only see it as a transition and they do not take it as an abode. All of the messengers and revealed Books advised towards this aspect. Allaah has informed us in His Book of the believing man from the house of Pharaoh who said to his people while he was lecturing them:

“O my people! Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a (quick passing) transition, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." [Surah Ghaafir: 39]

And the Prophet, (صلى الله علیه وسلم), said to Ibn ‘Umar:

“Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passer-by.” [1]

So it is to be in this world as if you did not exist and in the next life as if you did not cease to exist.

And in another report it is stated:

“Count yourself amongst the inhabitants of the graveyards.” [2]

From the advice that the Maseeh ‘Eesaa gave was his words to his companions:

“Pass through it and do not become an inhabitant of it.”

And he also said:

"Who is the one who will build a home upon the waves of the ocean? This is the worldly life, so do not take it as a home that will last forever."

Thus, the believer, in this world is like the stranger crossing through a land other than his own, longing for his homeland and the day when he will return to it. He makes provision of what is necessary for his path back homeward. He does not compete for status with the people of the land he is passing through. Nor does he grieve over the degradation he experiences while amongst them.

Al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyaad (رحمه الله) said:

“The believer in this world is worried and distressed. His main concern is to repair his equipment (as one who is stranded fixes his vehicle).”

And Al-Hasan (رحمه الله) said:

“The believer in this world is like the stranger. He does not become upset when it degrades him, nor does he compete with others with regard to what it gives of honor. For him is a condition and for the people are a condition.”

In reality, the believer is a stranger in this world because his forefather (Aadam) used to reside originally in the eternal abode and was then cast out from it. So he is constantly longing to return to his first place of residence. And he is always concerned with returning to the home from which he was cast out of.

This is as is said:

“Love of one’s homeland is part of Faith.” [3]

And as it is said:

"How many homes in the world does the young man take charge of.
Yet his longing will forever be for his first home."

Some of our scholars [4] have said:

“So rush to the Gardens of Eden for indeed
it is your original home, and in it is a place of rest.
However, we are in the captivity of the enemy, so don't you see?
Shall we return to our homes and find peace?
And it has been determined that when the stranger is far away
and his home has disappeared, then he is lost.
So what type of strangeness is greater than our strangeness
which the enemies amongst us have manifested?"


[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (Eng.): vol. 8, no. 425

[2] Sunan Ibn Maajah (no. 4114). This addition was graded weak by Shaykh Al-Albaanee in Da’eef Sunan Ibn Maajah (no. 895)

[3] This statement is based on a fabricated hadeeth:

“Love of ones homeland is part of Eemaan (Faith).”

Imaam Al-Albaanee declared it mawdoo’ (fabricated) and he listed several scholars from the past that held the same opinion. It is for this reason, that the author (Ibn Rajab) has not attributed it to the Prophet, but merely claimed it as a saying. However, the meaning of the statement itself seems to be incorrect. The scholars have discussed various meanings for it. What is the most correct is that if it is used as a saying, then it is correct in the context that the author (Ibn Rajab) has put it in here, in the sense that the homeland refers to the original abode of Paradise. Therefore, the love for this original abode is from the aspects of Faith. The saying taken in any other sense would breed love for nationalism and party spirit and these two are abhorred and detested in the Religion. Refer to Imaam Al-Albaanee’s long discussion of this statement in his Al-Ahaadeeth Ad-Da’eefah (vol. 1, no.36).

[4] He is referring here to his teacher Ibn Al-Qayyim (رحمه الله). See his book Haadee Al-Arwaah (pg. 7).


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