An-Nawawi on moderation in worship

August 5, 2012

Riyad us Saliheen Sincere Counsel

By Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

An-Nawawi records in his book Riyad us-Saliheen:

Allah the Exalted said:

مَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْقُرْآنَ لِتَشْقَىٰ

We have not revealed the Quran to cause distress.

Surah Ta Ha 20:2

And Allah said:

يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ

Allah intends for you ease, and He does not intend for you difficulty.

Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, entered while a woman was with her. The Prophet asked:

مَنْ هَذِهِ

Who is this?

Aisha said, “She is a woman who never sleeps because she is always praying.” The Prophet said:

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ الْعَمَلِ مَا تُطِيقُونَ فَوَاللَّهِ لَا يَمَلُّ اللَّهُ حَتَّى تَمَلُّوا وَكَانَ أَحَبَّ الدِّينِ إِلَيْهِ مَا دَاوَمَ عَلَيْهِ صَاحِبُهُ

Your duty is only to perform deeds which are carried out easily. By Allah, Allah will not withhold from you until you give up. The most beloved religion to Allah is one which is performed regularly.

Source: Sahih Muslim 786, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: Some of the companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, asked the Prophet’s wives about deeds that he performed in private. Some said, “I will not marry women.” And some said, “I will not eat meat.” And some said, “I will never sleep in a bed.” The Prophet praised and glorified Allah, and he said:

مَا بَالُ أَقْوَامٍ قَالُوا كَذَا وَكَذَا لَكِنِّي أُصَلِّي وَأَنَامُ وَأَصُومُ وَأُفْطِرُ وَأَتَزَوَّجُ النِّسَاءَ فَمَنْ رَغِبَ عَنْ سُنَّتِي فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي

What is the matter with these people who say such-and-such? I pray and I sleep, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. He who turns away from my tradition (sunnah) does not belong to me.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1401, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said three times:

 هَلَكَ الْمُتَنَطِّعُونَ

Ruined are the nitpickers, hairsplitters.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2670, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huriara reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ هَذَا الدِّينَ يُسْرٌ وَلَنْ يُشَادَّ الدِّينَ أَحَدٌ إِلَّا غَلَبَهُ فَسَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا وَيَسِّرُوا وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالْغَدْوَةِ وَالرَّوْحَةِ وَشَيْءٍ مِنْ الدَّلْجَةِ

Verily, this religion is ease, and no one burdens himself in religion but that it overcomes him. So seek what is appropriate, come as close as you can, receive glad tidings, take it easy, and gain strength by worshipping in the morning, afternoon, and during the late hours of night.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 39, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, entered the mosque and saw a rope between two pillars. He asked, “What is this rope?” They said, “This rope is for Zainab who uses it when she becomes tired during prayer.” The Prophet said:

لَا حُلُّوهُ لِيُصَلِّ أَحَدُكُمْ نَشَاطَهُ فَإِذَا فَتَرَ فَلْيَقْعُدْ

Do not use it. You should pray when you have energy, but if you feel tired you should sit down.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1099, Grade: Sahih

Aisha reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِذَا نَعَسَ أَحَدُكُمْ وَهُوَ يُصَلِّي فَلْيَرْقُدْ حَتَّى يَذْهَبَ عَنْهُ النَّوْمُ فَإِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ إِذَا صَلَّى وَهُوَ نَاعِسٌ لَا يَدْرِي لَعَلَّهُ يَسْتَغْفِرُ فَيَسُبُّ نَفْسَهُ

If one of you feels drowsy while he is praying, then let him rest until his sleepiness is gone. Verily, if one of you is praying while he is drowsy, he does not know if he is asking for forgiveness or abusing himself.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 209, Grade: Sahih

Jabir ibn Samurah reported:

 كُنْتُ أُصَلِّي مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَكَانَتْ صَلَاتُهُ قَصْدًا وَخُطْبَتُهُ قَصْدًا

I was praying with the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and his prayer was of moderate length and his sermon was of moderate length.

Source: Sahih Muslim 866, Grade: Sahih

Abu Juhaifa reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made a fellowship between Salman and Abu Ad-Darda. Salman visited Abu Ad-Darda and found his wife Umm Ad-Darda dressed in worn out clothing. He asked her why she was like this. She said, “Your brother Abu Ad-Darda is not interested in this world.” Then Abu Ad-Darda entered and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman asked Abu Ad-Darda to eat with him but he said, “I am fasting.” Salman said, “I will not eat until you eat.” So Abu Ad-Darda ate with him. When the night time arrived, Abu Ad-Darda stood for prayer but Salman asked him to sleep, and Abu Ad-Darda slept. After a while Abu Ad-Darda arose again but Salman asked him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman asked him to get up and they both offered the night prayers. Salman said:

إِنَّ لِرَبِّكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا وَلِنَفْسِكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا وَلِأَهْلِكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا فَأَعْطِ كُلَّ ذِي حَقٍّ حَقَّهُ

You have a duty to your Lord, you have a duty to your body, you have a duty to your family, so you should give each one its rights.

Abu Ad-Darda came to the Prophet and told him what happened. The Prophet said:

صَدَقَ سَلْمَانُ

Salman is correct.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1867, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was informed that I had taken an oath to fast daily and to pray all the night for my whole life. He asked me if this was correct and I said, “Let my parents be sacrificed for you! I did say it.” The Prophet said:

فَإِنَّكَ لَا تَسْتَطِيعُ ذَلِكَ فَصُمْ وَأَفْطِرْ وَقُمْ وَنَمْ وَصُمْ مِنْ الشَّهْرِ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ فَإِنَّ الْحَسَنَةَ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا وَذَلِكَ مِثْلُ صِيَامِ الدَّهْرِ

Verily, you are unable to do that, so fast for a few days and break fasting for a few days; pray sometimes and sleep sometimes. Fast three days a month as the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times and that will be equal to one year of fasting.

I said, “Indeed, I can do better.” The Prophet said:

فَصُمْ يَوْمًا وَأَفْطِرْ يَوْمَيْنِ

Fast one day and break fasting for two days.

I said, “Indeed, I can do better.” The Prophet said:

فَصُمْ يَوْمًا وَأَفْطِرْ يَوْمًا فَذَلِكَ صِيَامُ دَاوُدَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام وَهُوَ أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ

Fast for one day and break fasting for one day. That is the fast of David, upon him be peace, and it is most virtuous of fasting.

I said, “Indeed, I can do better.” The Prophet said:

لَا أَفْضَلَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ

There is nothing better than that.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1875, Grade: Sahih

Hanzalah Al-Usayyidi, who was a scribe for the Messenger of Allah, reported: I met Abu Bakr and he said, “How are you, O Hanzalah?” I said, “Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.” He said, “Glory be to Allah, what are you saying?” I said, “When we are in the presence of the Messenger of Allah and he reminds us of Hellfire and Paradise, we feel as if we are seeing them with our very eyes, but when we are away from the Messenger of Allah attending to our wives, our children, and our business, most of these things slip from our minds.” Abu Bakr said, “By Allah, I have experienced the same thing.” So Abu Bakr and I went to the Messenger of Allah and I said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, Hanzalah has become a hypocrite.” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “What has happened to you?” I said, “O Messenger of Allah, when we are in your presence and are reminded of Hellfire and Paradise, we feel as if we are seeing them with our very eyes, but when we leave you and attend to our wives, our children, and our business, most of these things slip from our minds.” The Prophet said:

وَسَلَّمَ وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ إِنْ لَوْ تَدُومُونَ عَلَى مَا تَكُونُونَ عِنْدِي وَفِي الذِّكْرِ لَصَافَحَتْكُمْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عَلَى فُرُشِكُمْ وَفِي طُرُقِكُمْ وَلَكِنْ يَا حَنْظَلَةُ سَاعَةً وَسَاعَةً ثَلَاثَ مَرَّاتٍ

By Him in whose hand is my soul, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always occupied with the remembrance of Allah, the angels will shake your hands in your beds and roads. But Hanzalah, time should be devoted to this and time should be devoted to that.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2750, Grade: Sahih

Hanzalah said, “The Prophet said this three times.”

Ibn Abbas reported: While the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was giving a sermon, he saw a man standing and he asked about him. They said, “It is Abu Israel, who has vowed that he will stand and never sit down, he will never come into the shade nor will he speak to anyone, and he will be fasting.” The Prophet said:

مُرْهُ فَلْيَتَكَلَّمْ وَلْيَسْتَظِلَّ وَلْيَقْعُدْ وَلْيُتِمَّ صَوْمَهُ

Tell him to speak and let him come into the shade; make him sit down but let him complete his fast.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 6326, Grade: Sahih

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.