In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Narrated ‘Ubada ibn As-Samit who took part in the battle of Badr and was a Naqib (a person heading a group of six persons), on the night of Al-‘Aqaba pledge: Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said while a group of his Companions were around him,
“Swear allegiance to me for:
1. Not to join anything in worship along with Allah
2. Not to steal
3. Not to commit illegal sexual intercourse
4. Not to kill your children
5. Not to accuse an innocent person (to spread such an accusation among people)
6. Not to be disobedient (when ordered) to do good deed.”
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam added,
“Whoever among you fulfills his pledge will be rewarded by Allah. And whoever indulges in any one of them (except the ascription of partners to Allah) and gets the punishment in this world, that punishment will be expiation for that sin. And if one indulges in any of them, and Allah conceals his sin, it is up to Him to forgive or punish him (in the Hereafter).”
‘Ubada bin As-Samit added: So we swore allegiance for these (points to Allah’s Messenger).
[Volume 1, Book 2, Number 18]
A Little Background
Imam Bukhari narrates the incident from where the story of the Ansaar begins; it was the night of Al-Aqaba. The Ansaar pledged their allegiance to the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to do certain things and to refrain from certain things. This is what emaan [faith] is all about – to do what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam have commanded and to refrain from the prohibitions.
In the hadeeth, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prohibited indulging in certain activities. His saying, “…. And whoever indulges in any one of them (except the ascription of partners to Allah) and gets the punishment in this world…” points to the Hudood [punishments]. Punishment in this world is expiation for a believer for his sins. If his crime is proven and he is punished that it is hoped that it will cleanse his sin.
Two Types of Punishments
It is also important to know there are two types of punishments:
1. Physical Punishment: One that is given in the world by the people who have the authority to give so, such as the court, a judge or a qadhi. (Individual people cannot punish others as we also learned in the ayah of Qisas)
2. Physical and Spiritual Punishments: One that is given by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Physical punishment can be in the form of natural disasters, whereas spiritual punishment can be in the form of sadness, guilt, depression or anxiety. Therefore, when a person feels depressed it is recommended that they do a lot of istighfar and seek forgiveness from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
In the hadeeth it is also said that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not always expose a person. He can choose to conceal the sin of a person; and if that happens the person too should abstain from revealing his sins to others. If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has veiled our sins then we should have some self-respect to not publicize them. This, however, does not mean that we should become careless about the accountability because the hadeeth says, “…And if one indulges in any of them, and Allah conceals his sin, it is up to Him to forgive or punish him (in the Hereafter).”
We learn that the choice is Allah’s, He can afflict a person in this world or delay the punishment for the Hereafter. This is why the scholars say that if a person faces calamities in this face, it is actually a favor from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Because through these minor punishments He is cleansing us of our filth. What a person must do is to keep fearing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala at all times. We do not know when we will slip or where we stand in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. No person should be pleased with his righteous deeds. One should constantly keep reciting the istighfar because a person really does not know what type of punishment may come upon him.
We also learn that staying from the prohibitions listed in this hadeeth is what defines a person’s faith. Because, think about it: Why would a person stop himself from stealing or killing his children out of fear of poverty? Only when he has faith that the One Who provides him will also provide for his children.
Killing children does not mean killing them by a weapon or strangling them after they are born, rather in today’s world it means abortion and birth control pills. The scholars say that one must only consult a Allah-fearing doctor and do not practice any birth controlling methods that might be forbidden in Islam. Aborting a fetus because you do not want children is an act of ingratitude. Who knows what goodness that child can bring for you?
Important: One must keep in mind that where the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has the power to forgive the slave or punish him, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will not forgive the one who commits shirk [associating partners with Allah]. If a person repents in this world then he may be pardoned but if he does not, then he will be punished in the Hereafter. This is too grave a sin to be forgiven by Allah Almighty. Therefore, we must be careful of our heart’s condition and not love anyone more than Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We were not created to worship anyone besides our Creator. There is no obedience to mankind in disobedience to the Creator.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from all kinds of Shirk, protect our hearts and save us from His Wrath and Anger in this world and the next, aameen.