Part 8 – Series on the Shamaa’il (the noble character and sublime conduct) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)’s courteous conduct with the hypocrites

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها قالت: استأذن رجل على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأنا عنده فقال بئس ابن العشيرة أو أخو العشيرة ثم أذن له فلما دخل ألان له القول فلما خرج قلت يا رسول الله قلت ما قلت ثم ألنت له القول فقال: يا عائشة إن من شر الناس من تركه الناس أو ودعه الناس اتقاء فحشه (الشمائل المحمدية للترمذي، الرقم: 333)

Translation:

Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) reports:

On one occasion, while I was present with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), a certain person sought permission to enter his noble presence. (Before the person entered the mubaarak presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) remarked, “How evil is this person from the people of his tribe”. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then permitted him to enter. When he entered, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) spoke to him in a polite and courteous manner. After he left, I asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! You mentioned to me (prior to his entry) that which you mentioned (regarding his condition), yet you thereafter spoke to him in a polite and courteous manner?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then replied, “O Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)! Indeed the worst person is he whom people avoid or disassociate with in order to save themselves from his evil.”

Commentary:

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), being the Nabi of this ummah, was tasked with various responsibilities. One responsibility was to teach the ummah to respect people according to their positions and statuses. Hence, in many Ahaadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had advocated that respect be afforded to the elderly and senior people of the community (e.g. the Ulamaa) and that kindness and compassion be shown to those who are considered weak in society (e.g. women, children, slaves, etc).

Similarly, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) emphasized upholding the rights of every believer whether they relate to his life, wealth or honour, and commanded that no harm be caused to him. Hence, just as it is impermissible to speak harshly to him, as this will be the means of causing hurt to him, similarly it is impermissible to speak ill of him in his absence, as this will be a violation of his honour and rights.

Another responsibility of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was to teach the ummah the limits and boundaries of Deen in regard to permissible and impermissible actions. Therefore, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), in many Ahaadith, taught the ummah that it is impermissible to engage in gheebah (backbiting), as this will amount to surpassing the limits of Shari‘ah. However, it is recorded in the Hadith that if a person is an open sinner, then to speak of his sin will not amount to gheebah, as he is openly disobeying Allah Ta‘ala. On account of him publicly sinning and flagrantly violating the commands of Allah Ta‘ala, his honour has been diminished in the eyes of Shari‘ah. Thus, if people speak of the sin which he commits openly, they will not be guilty of gheebah.

In this Hadith, the name of the person who entered the blessed presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was ‘Uyainah Bin Hisn Alfazari. When ‘Uyainah arrived in the presence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then in order to make him feel at ease and captivate his heart, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) spoke to him in a polite and gentle manner, as was his noble conduct.

However, prior to his entry, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) informed Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) of his evil condition as he was from among the hypocrites. Some Ulamaa have stated that he was also an open faasiq (sinner). Hence, to save others from his harm, it was vital for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to expose his condition so that people will not be deceived in thinking him to be a sincere believer. Therefore, this action will not enter under the definition of gheebah which is prohibited in Shari‘ah.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) informed Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) in private and did not openly expose his condition as Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) feared that exposing the munaafiqeen would lead to fitnah coming about. Hence, he conducted with the munaafiqeen in the same manner he conducted with the general Muslims. The outcome of this was that through displaying his noble conduct and sublime character when dealing with the munaafiqeen, many of them were attracted to Islam and repented, thus becoming true believers.

Hazrat Sheikh Moulana Muhammed Zakariyya (rahimahullah) has mentioned that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) alerted Hazrat Aa’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and others to his condition, so that they may not mistake the courtesy which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) showed him as an indication of him being a sincere Muslim and a well-wisher, thus resulting in them falling into some difficulty through interacting with him or divulging a secret before him.

It is reported that after the death of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), when people of certain tribes reneged from Islam, ‘Uyainah also exposed the kufr which he had concealed in his heart and openly declared himself to be a kaafir. After being captured and brought before Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), the children of Madinah Munawwarah began to condemn him saying, “This person has also become a murtad (turned apostate)!” ‘Uyainah blatantly replied, “Since when have I been a Muslim due to which I am now being labelled a murtad?” Nevertheless, ‘Uyainah later became a sincere Muslim and participated in jihaad during the era of Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu).

The last sentence of the Hadith, “The worst person is he whom people avoid or disassociate with in order to save themselves from his evil” may have two possible meanings. The first meaning is that these words were referring to the person who came to meet Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In this case, it was as though Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was saying that he treated him in this manner, with courtesy and politeness, in order to avoid his harm.

The second meaning is that these words were referring to the noble personage of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It was as though Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was saying, “When did you ever find me to be a rude person that you could expect me to conduct in such a manner? He is an indecent person, and due to his indecency, people will refrain from coming to him. However, if I also speak in a harsh and impolite manner, then people will also stop coming to me.” The result of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) speaking harshly to such people is that they themselves would be deprived of benefiting from him, but the compassion of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was such that he could not tolerate even these people being deprived.

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