Imam Al-Nawawi's Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 42
Excellence in doing Good to the Friends of Parents and other Relatives

341. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, "The finest act of goodness is that a person should treat kindly the loved ones of his father".
[Muslim].

342. `Abdullah bin Dinar reported: `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) met a bedouin on his way to Makkah, he greeted him, offered him to mount the donkey he was riding and gave him the turban he was wearing on his head. Ibn Dinar said to him: "May Allah make you pious! Bedouins can be satisfied with anything you give them (i.e., what you have given the bedouin is too much). Upon this, `Abdullah bin `Umar said, the father of this man was one of `Umar's friends whom he loved best, and I heard Messenger of Allah saying, "The finest act of goodness is the good treatment of someone whom one's father loves".

Another narration goes: When `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) set out to Makkah, he kept a donkey with him to ride when he would get tired from the riding of the camel, and had a turban which he tied round his head. One day, as he was riding the donkey, a bedouin happened to pass by him. He (`Abdullah bin `Umar) said, "Aren't you so-and-so?'' The bedouin said, "Yes". He (`Abdullah bin `Umar) gave him his donkey and his turban and said, "Ride this donkey, and tie this turban round your head". Some of his companions said, "May Allah forgive you, you gave to this bedouin the donkey which you enjoyed to ride for change, and the turban which you tied round your head".`Abdullah bin `Umar said,"I heard Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) saying, `The finest act of goodness is the kind treatment of a person to the loved ones of his father after his death,' and the father of this person was a friend of `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him).
[Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith teaches that after the death of one's parents, one should maintain contact with their friends and treat them nicely. Besides being a great virtue it is warranted by the needs for showing compassion to relatives. To forget friends of one's parents and break contact with them is condemned by the Shari`ah.

343. Abu Usaid Malik bin Rabi`ah As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: We were sitting with Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) when a man of Banu Salamah came to him and asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there any obedience to parents left that I can show to them after their death?'' He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied, "Yes, to pray for them, to supplicate for their forgiveness, to fulfill their promises after their death, to maintain the ties of kinship which cannot be maintained except through them, and honour their friends.''
[Abu Dawud].

Commentary:  We learn from this Hadith that one should consider the life of one's parents a blessing because their life provides one with an opportunity to serve them wholeheartedly, which is ordained by Allah. If one wants to be nice to them after their death, one should adopt the methods mentioned in this Hadith. It needs to be noted that it does not mention the ceremonies like recitation of the Noble Qur'an on the third, seventh and fortieth day after the death of a person, in vogue in our society. All these methods of conveying the reward of virtuous deeds or rites are wrong for the reason that they are neither helpful for the dead nor the living. What really benefits the dead as well as living, is prayer and begging forgiveness from Allah. In this Hadith, these have been regarded as acts of beneficence for the deceased parents. It clearly means that the children will be rewarded for the virtuous acts they do for their parents and the status of the deceased parents will also be elevated in the next world. The acceptance of the prayer in favour of the deceased parents is also confirmed from that Hadith also which tells that death brings to an end all the activities, except the following:

Firstly, an ongoing Sadaqah (Sadaqah Jariyah); like the digging of a well, the building of a mosque, etc.,

Secondly, knowledge which benefits Muslims;

Thirdly, prayers of virtuous offspring.

344. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: I never felt jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) as much as I did of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), although I have never seen her, but the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to mention her very often. Whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut it into pieces and send them to the women friends of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her). When I sometimes said to him: "You treat Khadijah in such a way as if there is no woman on earth except her". He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would say, "Khadijah was such and such (commending her and speaking well of her), and I had children from her".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Another narration is: And if he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) slaughtered a sheep, he would send meat to the friends of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) as a present as much as would suffice them.

Another narration is: When a sheep was slaughtered, he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would say, "Send this meat to Khadijah's friends.'' Once, Halah bint Khuwailid (May Allah be pleased with her), sister of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), sought permission of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) to enter. He recognized and recalled to his mind the manner of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) and was deeply moved. He said, "O Allah, she must be Halah bint Khuwailid".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  This Hadith brings out the following five points:

1. A brief reference to the great qualities of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her).

2. The love that Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) had for Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) because of her great qualities.

3. Reference to the kindness which Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) continued to show to the women who were close to Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her).

4. Expression of the sentiments which the remembrance of some deceased friend brings with it. These sentiments can be pleasing as well as painful.

345. Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I set out along with Jarir bin `Abdullah Al-Bajali (May Allah be pleased with him) on a journey and he served me. I said to him: "Don't do that.'' Thereupon, he said, "I have seen the Ansar doing this with Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), and I swore by Allah, whenever I accompany anyone of the Ansar, I would serve him".
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:
1. This Hadith gives a fair idea of the love that the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) had for him. It was so profound that they regarded it a great honour to serve the servants of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), even if they were younger in age.

2. It also tells of the hospitality of the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam). They neither felt any hesitation in showing respect to their youngers nor were they shy of serving them.

3. The Companions of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) had a friendly, fraternal and faithful relationship with one another and it was founded on a common bond in them - the gratitude for the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam).