Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 32
Superiority of Poor, Weak and unrenowned Muslims

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And keep yourself (O Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) patiently with those who call on their Rubb (i.e., your companions who remember their Rubb with glorification, praising in prayers, and other righteous deeds) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them.'' (18:28)

252. Harithah bin Wahb (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, "Shall I not inform you about the people of Jannah? It is every person who is, modest and humble (before Allah), a person who is accounted weak and is looked down upon but if he adjures Allah, Allah will certainly give him what he desires. Now shall I not inform you about the inmates of Hell? It is every violent, impertinent and proud man".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith tells us about distinction of such weak, poor and secluded persons who do not have any important position in society but are so eminent in the realm of piety that, out of their utmost trust in Allah, if they take an oath for something, Almighty Allah fulfills their oath. Thus, this Hadith highlights the importance of modesty and condemns pride, miserliness and lust for name and fame.

253. Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man passed by the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), so he asked a man who was sitting near him, "What is your opinion about this man?'' That man replied: "He is one of the noblest men. By Allah he is certainly a proper person for (a girl) being given in marriage if he seeks to marry, and his recommendation is fit to be accepted if he recommends". Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) remained silent. Then another man passed. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) enquired, "What is your opinion about this man?'' He replied: "O Messenger of Allah, he is one of the poor Muslims. He is not a proper person (for a girl) to be given in marriage to, and his recommendation would not be accepted if he makes one; if he speaks, he is not to be listened to.'' Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "He is better than the former by earthfuls".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith contains the following two important points:

1. The distinction and greatness of such poor Muslims who are neither known in society because due to their poverty nor are they respected by people. But due to their Faith and piety, each of them is better in the sight of Allah than others. This Hadith makes it abundantly clear that what really matters with Allah is Faith and piety not lineage nor pomp and show.

2. For marriage purposes, men and women of noble character should be selected even if they are poor because at the level of religion they are on par with other Muslims. Thus, the principle underlined here is that the preference should be given to the equality in respect of religion rather than worldly wealth and richness.

254. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: There was a dispute between the Hell and Jannah. The Hell said: "The haughty and proud are my inmates.'' Jannah said: "The modest and the humble are my residents". Thereupon, Allah the Exalted and Glorious (addressing Jannah) said: "You are My Mercy, through you I shall show mercy to those whom I wish". (And addressing the Hell), He said: "You are (the means) of My punishment by which I shall punish such of My slaves as I wish and each one of you would have its fill".
[Muslim].

Commentary:  In this Hadith people who are termed as `modest' and `humble' are the rich in Faith and piety. They lead a life of patience and contentment. This Hadith gives glad tidings to such noble people. On the contrary, it has a threat of Hell for those who disobey Divine injunctions and are haughty and proud. Now, it is entirely one's own choice which way he goes.

The dialogue between Jannah and Hell quoted in this Hadith is not something impossible. It is not at all difficult for Allah to create in them such intelligence and consciousness which can enable them to make a discussion on the subjects mentioned in the Hadith. Thus, there is no need to offer any justification for the veracity of such Ahadith. These should, therefore, be taken as literally correct. This Hadith is mentioned in detail in Musnad Ahmad and is narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) at greater length than in the narration of Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) quoted in Kitab-ut-Tafsir (the Book of Commentary) of Sahih Al-Bukhari.

255. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "On the Day of Resurrection, there will be brought forth a bulky person whose value to Allah will be less than that of the wing of a mosquito".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith means that manifestation of power and splendour, which are considered so important for people in this world, will be of no value to Allah. In the Hereafter, Allah will judge a person by his Faith, devotion and piety. It is, therefore, essential that one should concentrate on the reformation of his own heart and mind.

256. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A black woman (or probably a young man) used to clean the mosque. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) missed her (or him) and asked about her (or him). He was told that she (or he) had died. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Why did you not inform me?'' (It seemed as if) they (Companions) considered the matter insignificant. Then he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Show me her (or his) grave.'' When it was shown to him, he offered (Janazah-funeral) prayer over it and said, "These graves cover those in them with darkness, and Allah illumines them for the inmates as a result of my supplication for them".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  On the basis of some other narrations, the 'Ulama' have accepted that the person mentioned in this Hadith who used to sweep the mosque was a woman known as Umm Mihjan. This Hadith highlights the following four important points:

1. The merit of keeping mosques clean.

2. The height of compassion and kindness of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).

3. The importance of participation in the funeral prayer of virtuous persons.

4. Permission to perform funeral prayer of virtuous person after his/her burial, if one is unable to participate in it when it is performed before the burial of the deceased.

257. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "Many a person with shaggy and dusty hair, dusty and driven away from doors (because of their poverty and shabby clothes) were to swear by Allah (that something would happen), Allah will certainly make it happen".
[Muslim].

258. Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "I stood at the gate of Jannah, and (I saw) that the majority of those who entered it are the poor, and the wealthy were kept confined. The inmates of the Fire had been ordered to (enter) the Fire (Hell), and I stood at the gate of Hell and saw that the majority of its inmates are women".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was told about the state of affairs in Jannah and Hell by means of Wahy (Revelation). In some cases, the conditions of the inhabitants of Jannah and Hell were shown to him by means of dreams. The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) stated that one of the main reasons for a greater number of women in Hell is that they are more ungrateful to their husbands. Women refered to in the Hadith are those who do not follow the Divine injuctions and do not discharge their duty towards Allah.

259. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "None spoke in the cradle but only three (persons), Isa (Jesus) son of Maryam (Mary), the second one was the companion of Juraij who was a pious person. Juraij took a secluded monastery for worship and confined himself in it. His mother came to him as he was busy in prayer and she called: `Juraij.' He said: `My Rubb, my mother (is calling me while I am engaged in) my prayer.' He continued with the prayer. She returned and she came on the next day and he was (still) busy in prayer. She called: `Juraij.' And he said: `My Rubb, my mother (is calling me while I am engaged) in prayer, and he continued with the prayer,' and she returned. Then on the next day she again came while he was busy in prayer and called: `Juraij.' And he said: `My Rubb, my mother (is calling me while I am engaged) in my prayer.' And he continued with the prayer. She said: `My Rubb, don't let him die until he has seen the faces of the prostitutes.' The story of Juraij and that of his meditation and prayer spread amongst Banu Israel. There was a prostitute who had been a beauty personified. She said (to the people): `If you like, I can lure him to evil.' She presented herself to him but he paid no heed (to her). She came to a shepherd who lived near the temple and she offered herself to him. He (the shepherd) had sexual intercourse with her and so she became pregnant. When she gave birth to a baby she said: `This is from Juraij.' So they came and asked Juraij to get down and demolished the temple and began to beat him. He asked them what the matter was. They said: `You have committed fornication with this prostitute and she has given birth to a baby from you.' He said: `Where is the baby?' They brought him (the baby) and then he said: `Just leave me so that I should perform prayer.' He performed prayer and when he finished, he lifted the baby in his stomach and asked him: `O boy, who is your father?' The baby answered: `He is such and such a shepherd.' So, the people turned towards Juraij, kissed him and touched him (for seeking blessing) and said: `We are prepared to construct your temple with gold.' He said, `No just, rebuild it with mud as it had been,' and so they did". (The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) continued:) "Then there was a baby who was sucking at his mother's breast when a person dressed in fine garment came on a priceless riding animal's back. His mother said: `O Allah, make my child like this one.' He (the babe) left sucking and looked at him, and said: `O Allah, don't make me like him.' He then returned to the breast and resumed sucking.'' He (Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: As though I can see Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) as he is illustrating the scene of his sucking milk with his forefinger in his mouth and sucking that. He (Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him)) further reported Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) as saying, "There happened to pass by them a slave girl who was being beaten and they were saying: `You have committed fornication and theft.' She was saying: `Allah is enough for me and He is my Good Protector, and his mother said: `O Allah, don't make my child like her.' He left sucking looked at her and said: `O Allah! Make me like her.' It was followed by a conversation between the mother and the child. She said: `A good looking man happened to pass by and I said: O Allah, make my child like him, and you said: O Allah, don't make me like him, and there passed a girl while they were beating her and saying: You committed fornication and theft, and I said: O Allah, don't make my child like her, and you said: O Allah, make me like her.' The child said: `That man was a tyrant, and I said: O Allah don't make me like him; and they were saying about the girl: You committed fornication, whereas in fact she had not committed that and they were saying: You have committed theft, whereas she had not committed theft, so I said: O Allah, make me like her".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: This Hadith tells us of three babies who spoke in the cradle. All the three babies were from Banu Israel and their story is mentioned in Sahih Muslim in the story of Ashab-ul-Ukhdud. This Hadith proves the following points:

1. When a person is called by his parents while he is engaged in voluntary prayer, he should give priority to the call of parents.

2. A true Muslim has to pass sometimes through great trials. He must face them with patience and steadfastness because ultimately Almighty Allah helps the true believers.

3. One must avoid copying haughty people no matter how attractive their appearance is. One should try to emulate the virtuous people because true success lies in their conduct.