• the • strong • believer •

Abû Hurayrah (may Allâh be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Guard over that which benefits you, seek Allâh’s Assistance, and don’t lend yourself to things devoid of benefit, and if something befalls you, then don’t say ‘If I only would have done such and such,’ rather say ‘Allâh ordained this and He does what He wills’ [Qaddarallâhu wa mâ shâ’ fa’al], for verily the phrase ‘If I would have’ makes way for the work of the Devil.”

The takhrîj of the hadîth (where it can be found):

As-Suyûtî gathered it in ‘al-Jâmi’us-Saghîr, and al-Albânî numbered it #6650 and called it ‘hasan’. He traced it to Sahîh Muslim, Ibn Mâjah, and Ahmad. He brought it in his summarized Sahîh Muslim #1840 but did not mention why it is hasan, but he mentions in his takhrîj of As-Sunnah of Ibn Abî ‘Âsim that as-Suyûtî found a problem with Rabî’ah bin ‘Uthmân (one of the narrators).


Statements of the Scholars about the strong believer:

Shaykh ul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allâh have Mercy upon him):

Shaykh Al-Islâm referred to the hadîth when discussing the prayer of a sick person standing up, saying: “As for the prayer of those who can not properly perform it, then their prayer is acceptable in any way that it is possible for them to perform it, according to their abilities, as this is what they have been ordered with in this circumstance, while the one who is capable of performing his prayers properly is more sound and more virtuous, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than the weak believer, while there is good in both.”” [1]

So here we see that Ibn Taymiyyah understood that physical strength is something found in the strong believer.

 

Shaykh ul-Islâm Ibn ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (may Allâh have Mercy upon him):

“The one who has insight into the Truth and an awareness of it, but he is weak and has no strength to implement it or to call to it, then this is the situation of the weak believer. The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than him.” [2]

We can see that Ibn ul-Qayyim understood that courage is from the strength of the believer.

Imâm an-Nawawî (may Allâh have Mercy upon him):

“The intended meaning of strength here is a firm will and a desire to work for the Hereafter. So the one being described as a strong believer is more bold and stern against the enemy in Jihâd, quicker to go out (to fight) and searching for it (Jihâd), more firm in the way he enjoins the good and forbids the evil, (more firm) in his patience with the harms he faces throughout all of that, and stronger in the way he carries out difficult tasks for Allâh’s Sake. He loves to pray, fast, make dhikr, and perform the rest of the acts of worship, and he is more active in seeking after these affairs, and he keeps a closer watch over his performance of them.” [3]

Shaykh Muhammad bin Sâlih al-‘Uthaymîn (may Allâh have Mercy on him):

“The strong believer is regarding his îmân (faith), as the intended meaning is not physical strength. This is because physical strength is harmful to a person who uses it to disobey Allâh. So physical strength is neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy in and of itself. If he uses this strength for what benefits him in this life and the Next, then it is praiseworthy. But if he uses it to disobey Allâh, it becomes blameworthy.

So the meaning of strength in his statement (peace be upon him):The strong believer…” is strength in îmân, since the word ‘strong refers to the word ‘believer,’ i.e., someone who has îmân. Similarly, one would say ‘a strong man’ if he was referring to his manhood and masculinity. So the strong believer is strong in his îmân, because the strong believer has the strength to carry out what Allâh ordered him to do, and to increase upon that by doing extra good deeds however Allâh likes. As for the weak believer, his îmân is weak, and that hinders him from performing his duties and avoiding what is prohibited, so he is always falling short.” [4]


FOOTNOTES

[1] Majmû’ al-Fatâwâ (12/479)

[2] Ad-Dâ’ Wad-Dawâ’ (p.145)

[3] Sharh Muslim (9/341)

[4] Sharh Riyâdhus-Sâlihîn (3/91-92)

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