In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri radhiAllahu ‘anhu that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“A time will come that the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take on the top of mountains and the places of rainfall (valleys) so as to flee with his religion from afflictions.”
[Volume 1, Book 2, Number 19]
This hadeeth tells us that a time will come (after the death of Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), when the best wealth a person could own would be “sheep”. With his sheep the person will run to the mountain tops and to places where rain falls; where his sheep can pasture and so he himself can survive off of these sheep. Why would he want to go through all of this and survive merely on this, away from the rest of people? In order to protect his religion and emaan [faith]. In one sentence the hadeeth teaches that a believer MUST strive to preserve his faith.
Before we move on, we need to know what Fitnah [affliction] is.
Fitnah is any temptation that tempts or pushes a person to sin or to disobey Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. There are different kinds of temptations.
– Things which a person likes a lot and finds it difficult to stay away from, but staying with them results in him disobeying Allah Almighty. For e.g. a group of friends who like to stay out late at night, drink, go to movies, waste their money and time, and being in their company you get tempted too.
– When a person is compelled to disobey Allah Almighty. For e.g. countries where one does not has the freedom to practice Islam, you can’t wear hijab or veil, grow a beard or study in segregated classrooms.
This hadeeth thus teaches that a believer should do his best to protect his emaan, because faith is the most valuable thing one owns and can ever have. It is more precious than the entire earth filled with gold. On the Day of Judgment, one who did not have faith in this world, even if he offered the entire earth filled with gold to save himself from fire, it will not be accepted from him.
A beautiful example is that of Prophet Yousuf ‘alayhi salaam, when he accepted to stay in the prison for years only to protect himself/his emaan from the temptation of the wife of his master and from other women.
Though this hadeeth talks about major trials, one should take heed and apply this hadeeth in his everyday life wheresoever he finds temptations/people/things which could lead him to the disobedience of the One and Only True God, Allah Almighty. For instance, if your fear that sitting with a certain group of friends will lead you to backbiting or watching haraam, avoid them strictly. And surely Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows your intentions. He will help you as He helped “Ashaab ul Kahf” [the companions of the cave] who fled away from their people into a cave solely to protect their faith.
Implementation of this Hadeeth:
– Keep a constant check on yourself. Mark your temptations and do whatever you can within your capacity to stay away from them, knowing with certainty that Allah’s help is with you.
– Make yourself clear to the people. Don’t feel shy or consider yourself backward. There is no compromising after Allah’s order has come. Tell them for e.g. if you’re working in a non-Muslim country that you will not shake hands with the opposite gender. If the people don’t accommodate you don’t accommodate their wishes either. For e.g. if you (being a woman) are not being allowed to cover yourself the Islamic way in your workplace, you should ask for your right and if that does not work, you must move to a place where you can practice your faith freely. Don’t compromise on Deen.
– Keep reminding yourself of the value of your emaan and why it is so important to protect it in order to be worthy of Allah’s pleasure in both the worlds.
Last but not the least remember in order to protect your emaan, you will have to sacrifice dunya [the worldly life], but smile and be patient and receive glad tidings, for who said dunya is permanent? For the one who strives in Allah’s cause and protects his faith is Allah’s Jannah and His immense pleasure that will last forever.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala keep us under His protection, and give us the strength to value our emaan wherever we might be. May He choose us to be from among the people of Paradise, aameen.