THE LAST ADVICES OF THE HOLY PROPHET ﷺ
This Hadith has been narrated by Hazrat Ali (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him). In this narration he has described the events around the time of the Holy Prophet’s ﷺ last few days before he passed away from this mortal world. Hazrat Ali RAA has narrated that on the last day when the Holy Prophet ﷺ fell really unwell, he said to Hazrat Ali RAA, “Ali, bring a tray (تھال) in which I write that advice after which my Ummah (community) doesn’t go astray.” In those days paper wasn’t very common. Sometimes people wrote on leather, on leaves of a tree, on bones, and sometimes on clay pans.
Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) says that at that time the Holy Prophet ﷺ was so unwell that I feared that if I went to get something to write on, he may pass away in my absence. That is why I told him that whatever you tell me, I will remember it and write it down later. Hazrat Ali RAA says that his revered head was in my arms. The words he was saying were, “Be mindful of Salah, be mindful of Zakat, be good to the slaves you own, and be steadfast to the witness of “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (ﷺ) is His subject and Messenger.” Allah Ta’ala will declare Jahannam (Hell) Haraam for whoever remains steadfast to this testament.” These were the advices the Holy Prophet ﷺ gave in his last moments of life.
THE ESSENCE OF ENTIRE DEEN
The real purpose of quoting this Hadith is those advices the Holy Prophet ﷺ gave at such a crucial time and what he emphasized. It seems like these advices are the essence of the commandments of Deen (religion) that the holy Prophet ﷺ preached his entire life. These are the summary of entire Deen.
There is another Hadith which has been narrated by Hazrat Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said that during the last moments of the Holy Prophet ﷺ when the volume of his voice had become really low, when I put my ear to his mouth these were the words he kept saying till the very last moment;
“Be careful about Salah and be careful about your subordinates.”
IMPORTANCE OF SALAH AND RIGHTS OF ONE’S SUBORDINATES
This Hadith tells us that among all the commandments and teachings of Deen the one among Huqooq Allah (rights of Allah) the Holy ﷺ Prophet placed the greatest emphasis on was Salah. In another narration, the words “Salah, Zakah, and rights of subordinates” have been mentioned. This tells us that among all the Rights of Allah the Holy Prophet ﷺ placed the greatest emphasis on two sorts of rights, one physical and one financial, the physical one being Salah, and the financial one being Zakat. And among the Rights of People (Huqooq al-Ibad) he placed the greatest emphasis on rights of one’s slaves, servants and subordinates.
The Holy Prophet ﷺ was worried whether his Ummah will falter in following these commandments of Shariah after him, and that being neglectful of these commandments will lead to Jahannam and wrath of Allah Ta’alah, and that is why he emphasized about following these specific commandments even in his last moments in this mortal world.
WE ALL BE ASKED FIRST ABOUT SALAH IN THE HEREAFTER
The Holy Qur’an and Hadith are full of commandments about praying Salah. The commandment to establish Salah comes more than 60 times in the Holy Qur’an. It has been narrated in a Hadith that in the Aakhirah (Hereafter) the first question we will be asked, will be about Salah. We will be held accountable for how many Salah we prayed, how many we have missed, and how many we prayed after their time had passed. When a person starts preparing for Aakhirah the first thing they need to do is to take account of their Salah, as to how many they have not prayed since it became incumbent upon them after attaining puberty.
GENERAL TAUBAH (REPENTANCE)
It is for the reason above it has been the practice of our wise elders that whenever someone came to them seeking to establish Islahi Ta’alluq (mentoring relationship for self-improvement), the first teaching they received was in performing Taubah (repentance) from previous sins. There is a general or in principle Taubah, and a specific or detailed Taubah. For general or in principle Taubah, a person should pray two raka’t with the intention of Salah of repentance (صلوٰة التوبہ), and then with a humble heart should pray to Allah Ta’ala that “O’ Allah! I beg You for forgiveness for all the sins I have committed in my previous life. Please forgive me for all the sins I have committed, major or minor. Please forgive me for all the Faraid (compulsory commandments) and Wajibat (necessary commandments) that I have neglected or not performed. O’ Allah! Please forgive me and accept my Taubah.” This is general or in principle Taubah.
SPECIFIC TAUBAH (REPENTANCE)
Once a person has done general Taubah, the next step is to do specific Taubah. Specific Taubah means that they look at their entire past life critically as to what wrongs they have committed in that life. Then they should reflect on which of these wrongs they can atone for now. For example, they should make a list of all the people they have hurt in their past life. Then they should try to ask for forgiveness from all those people who are still alive and they can contact, and pray for forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala in favour of all those people who have passed away or they are unable to contact any more.
In terms of Salah, a person needs to estimate how many Salah, if any, they have not prayed (done Qada) since Salah became compulsory for them. That time starts from the age when an individual attains puberty. If they do not remember the exact age, then they should estimate it from the age of 14 years as that is the age when children usually become mature. Then they should estimate how many Salah of which time (for example Fajr or Asr) they may not have prayed since then. If they do not remember exactly, then they should make a conservative estimate. If, for example, they estimate that they had not prayed all the five Salah for 3 years. They should write that down in a copy, and then start praying a Qada Salah with each regular Salah. This is called Qada-e-Umri (قضائے عمری).
HOW TO PRAY QADA-E-UMRI (قضائے عمری)
The proper way of performing Qada-e-Umri is to start praying a Qada prayer with every Fard (compulsory) prayer, for example, Fajr with Fajr, Zuhur with Zuhur, and Asr with Asr. The way of praying an individual Qada prayer to make a Niyyah (intention) before praying it that, for example, I am praying the first Fajr Qada Salah that is due towards me, and the same with all other prayers. And then keep doing it every day.
MAKING A WILL FOR FIDYAH (COMPENSATION) FOR QADA SALAH
The person should also write a will that he is starting to pray Qada-e-Umri from that date, and will be praying one Qada (missed) Salah with every Fard (compulsory) Salah, and that he has three years of Qada Salah due towards him. However, if he dies before praying all the Qada Salah, then the Fidyah (compensation money) should be paid to needy people from his estate.
If a person does not leave such a will, then it is not Wajib (necessary) for his inheritors to pay that Fidyah. In Shariah, a person has full disposing authority over his assets only in his life, and before any terminal illness starts. If someone develops a terminal illness then they can dispose of only up to a third of their assets. It is not permissible for them to dispose of more than a third of their assets. So, if a person does not make a will for paying Fidyah while still alive and not suffering from a terminal illness, against his remaining Qada Salah upon his death, then it is not Wajib (necessary) for his inheritors to pay the Fidyah for his Qada Salah even if he has left behind hundreds of thousands of rupees. However, if they wish to do so out of their own free will, then they have the right to do so.
That is why everyone should make a will as soon as possible that if he dies before he is able to pray all the Qada Salah due towards him, then the Fidyah (compensation) for the remaining Qada Salah should be paid from his inheritance. And he should also start praying the Qada Salah one by one from today. If a person starts doing these two things, then if he dies before he can pray all his Qada Salah, Insha’Allah he will be forgiven. But if a person doesn’t do these two things, neither he starts praying the Qada Salah, nor does he make a will for his remaining Qada Salah in case of his death, then he is being neglectful of one of the greatest Ibadah.
START PRAYING QADA SALAH FROM TODAY
Our jobs, our businesses, our lives, will keep going on, but one of the most important things for us to do today is to try to estimate how many Qada (missed) Salah are due towards him. If we have any Qada Salah due, then we should start praying them today, and should not wait for tomorrow. Satan has unique ways of deceiving people. So, it won’t try to convince a Muslim to give up praying Salah, or try to convince him that it is not important. It puts thoughts into a Muslim’s mind that “Salah is very important but I will start praying it at a time when I know I will keep praying it regularly from then on. I don’t feel I am ready for that today, so what is the point of praying just one Salah or praying it for just one day. I will start from tomorrow.” Or that, “if I start praying Salah and then do not continue, then it will be an even greater sin. So, I won’t start today. I have to do such and such things, and once I have done those and I am free, then I will start praying Salah regularly.” This is how the Satan makes a Muslim procrastinate in praying Salah. When the chore for which a person had postponed his plan of starting Salah is finished, he comes across another chore, another commitment, and then another. And this way the Satan makes him keep postponing starting Salah to ‘tomorrow’, but tomorrow never comes.
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE
If you really intend to do something, start doing it today. But if you keep postponing it, it will become more and more difficult for you with time. That is why the Holy Prophet ﷺ has said in a hadith;
“When it is morning time, do not wait for the evening, and when it is evening, do not wait for the morning. Consider yourself to be one of those people who are in their graves.”
It means that keep thinking that you may be going to your grave any moment, therefore, do not postpone things you need to do, for tomorrow.
VALUE YOUR HEALTH AND FREE TIME
If we believe that we have to pray these Qada Salah at some point in our life, then what are we waiting for? We are healthy now. Who knows we may be afflicted by some illness tomorrow which may make it very difficult for us to pray these Qada Salah. We may have free time on our hands these days. Who knows we may not have this free time tomorrow. Today Allah Ta’ala has granted us the motivation to pray these Qada Salah. This motivation may not last till tomorrow. Therefore, if we have developed the motivation to pray these Qada Salah today, we should not procrastinate and should start praying them today.
RELAXATION IN PRAYING QADA SALAH
Allah Ta’ala has given so much relaxation in praying Qada Salah that these can be prayed even at those times when it is not permissible to pray regular Salah. For example, it is not permissible to pray any Nafl (supererogatory) or Sunnah Salah from dawn to sunrise. Similarly, it is not permissible to pray any Nafl or Sunnah Salah after Asr prayers till sunset. However, it is permissible to pray Qada Salah during these times. Allah Ta’ala has given us this relaxation so that a Muslim can start praying Qada Salah as soon as he gets an intention of doing so, and there are no barriers.
PRAY FAJR SALAH AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP
In a Hadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ said that if a person keeps sleeping and the time of Salah passes while he is asleep, or if a person forgot praying Salah and remembered it when the time of Salah had passed, then he should pray Salah as soon as he wakes up or as soon as he remembers, because that then is the time of Salah for him.
Those people who miss Salah on a regular basis should particularly remember this Hadith. For example, a person takes all precautions so that he wakes up for Fajr. He asks someone to wake him up, and also sets an alarm. However, he still doesn’t wake up in time, and by the time he wakes up the sun has risen. In that case, because he had taken all precautions to wake up for Fajr, Insha’Allah he won’t be punished for missing Fajr deliberately. But what he should do is that as soon as he wakes up, he should do Wudu and pray Fajr Salah, because for him that will be the time for Fajr. He shouldn’t think that my Salah is Qada now anyway, Whether I pray it now or later, it will still be Qada, so I will pray it later. Rather, he should pray Fajr as soon as he wakes up and shouldn’t delay it. If he does that, then Insha’Allah it will not be counted as a sin of delaying Salah deliberately. However, if he hadn’t taken any precautions to wake up on time, then it will be a sin.
PAY ZAKAT ACCURATELY
The second commandment the Holy Prophet ﷺ has mentioned in his last advice, is that of Zakat. The importance of Zakat in Islam is nearly equal to that of Salah. The commandment to pay Zakat comes in almost every instance where the commandment to pray Salah has been given.
“And be steadfast in Salah, and give Zakah…” (2:110)
For the Taubah (repentance) to be complete, it is essential that a person calculates every last cent of Zakat that has ever been due towards him, and pays it. In our society a lot of people are quite negligent about Zakat. Even those Muslims who understand the importance of Zakat and make an effort to estimate and pay it, do not always try to calculate it exactly how much Zakat is due towards them. Rather, they just pay it on the basis of an approximate estimate. This is not correct. A person should calculate exactly how much Zakat is due towards them, and then pay it.
So, it is an essential component of a complete Taubah (repentance) that one pays Zakat accurately after calculating it exactly. One can see that the Holy Prophet ﷺ attached so much importance to Salah and Zakat that even as he was parting from this mortal world he was advising Muslims to be mindful of these two rights of Allah.
BE GOOD TO YOUR SLAVES
The third advice the Holy Prophet ﷺ gave at the time of his parting from this mortal world, was related to the (Huqooq al-Ibad) Rights of People. He said;
وما ملکت ایمانکم
The literal translation of this phrase is, “Be good to those things that are owned by your right hand”. In Arabic language this refers to a person’ slaves. This word has been used in the Noble Qur’an with reference to this meaning a number of times. In those days there used to be slaves who used to be owned by people. So, the literal interpretation of this phrase is that look after your slaves, be good to them, and fulfil their rights completely.
THE PHRASE ما ملکت ایمانکم IS INCLUSIVE OF ALL SUBORDINATES
Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi (may Allah Ta’ala bless him) used to say that the phrase ما ملکت ایمانکم refers not only to slaves, but also to all sorts of subordinates. So, it includes, subordinates at work, domestic servants, assistants, helpers, etc. If a person is a boss or a leader, then this phrase includes all those people he is responsible for or leads.
SUBORDINATES CANNOT ALWAYS DEMAND THEIR RIGHTS
By using this word, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has cautioned people that be especially mindful of the rights of those people who are your subordinates, and who Allah Ta’ala has given you some sort of authority over. He emphasized it because people who are equal in status, do not hesitate in demanding their rights. But the person who is someone’s subordinate, cannot always demand his rights forcefully because of the status difference between him and his bosses. Sometimes he believes in his heart that he deserves more, but cannot demand so because of fear of consequences. Therefore, unless you have fear of Allah Ta’ala in your heart, and you are mindful that you have to fulfil his rights, then you will not be able to discharge his rights due towards you fully and completely.
DO NOT CONSIDER YOUR EMPLOYEES INFERIOR TO YOU
Similarly, it is highly ignorant to consider one’s employees and domestic servants (where they exist) inferior to oneself. Even if you have employed someone as a domestic servant, you have entered into a contract with them. You have agreed to buy his services, and he has agreed to sell you his services. Therefore, both of you are a party to a contract.
YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYEE HAVE AN EQUAL STATUS
Suppose you go shopping and pay the shopkeeper for the items you have bought. You give him money, he gives you the items you have bought. Does it mean that because of this exchange of money and goods you have become superior to the shopkeeper and he has become inferior to you? No! Rather, you are equal parties in this transaction. In exactly the same way, you and your employee or servant are equal to each other in status, in that you are giving him money and he is providing you with some agreed upon services. Therefore, thinking that you are superior to him somehow, and looking down upon him, is absolutely forbidden under Shariah.
YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR BROTHERS
In a Hadith the Holy Prophet ﷺ said;
“Your employees are your brothers. Allah Ta’ala has made them your subordinates. Give them to eat the same food that you eat yourselves, and give them to wear what you wear yourselves.”
These are the teachings of the Holy Prophet ﷺ about how to treat one’s subordinates. Some people start treating their employees and domestic servants like modern day slaves. It is Haraam under Shariah to treat them in an insulting and humiliating manner. The Holy Prophet ﷺ has said that they are your brothers, treat them like your brothers.
ALLAH TA’ALA HAS MORE POWER OVER US
It is narrated in a Hadith that once the Holy Prophet ﷺ passed Hazrat Abu Masud on his way. He was being angry with his slave and telling him off. It looked as if he was close to hitting him. Upon seeing this the Holy Prophet ﷺ said;
“Allah Ta’ala has more power over you than you have over this slave.”
What he meant was that if you treat him unduly harshly or if you hit him, Allah Ta’ala will take his revenge from you.
Look at the character of Hazrat Abu Masood Ansari RAA that he was extremely angry and was about to hit his slave, but as soon as he heard the Holy Prophet ﷺ say that Allah Ta’ala has more power over you than you have over this slave, he immediately said, “O’ Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I free this slave.” This was the level of obedience the Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ observed towards him.
WE WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OUR SUBORDINATES’ RIGHTS
Even during his last moments in this mortal world, the Holy Prophet ﷺ emphasized that we should be good to our subordinates and underlings. This is because we can atone for the violation of rights of Allah Ta’ala by doing Istighfar (asking for forgiveness) and Taubah (repentance), but if we have violated the rights of our subordinates and underlings, and especially those who did not dare to answer back to us or say to us that we were being unfair to them for fear of repercussions, then there is no way of atoning for violation of their rights.
Once a Sahabi asked the Holy ﷺ Prophet, “O’ Prophet of Allah ﷺ. If my slave makes a mistake or does something wrong, do I have the right to punish him, or not?” The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied, “You do have the right to punish him but do remember that your punishment should be proportionate to his mistake. If the punishment you give is proportionately less than the mistake he made, then Allah Ta’ala will get you your right from him in Aakhirah (Hereafter). But if your punishment is proportionately more severe than the mistake he made, then Allah Ta’ala will make you pay him for this injustice on the Day of Qiyamah.” The Sahabi exclaimed upon hearing this, “O Prophet of Allah ﷺ, what if I punished him more than was due?” The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied, “Have you not read this verse of the Noble Qur’an?
“So, whoever does good (even) to the weight of a particle shall see it. And whoever does evil (even)to the weight of a particle shall see it.” (99:7-8)
So, you do have a right to punish your slave, but be very measured in deciding on that punishment. Make sure that the punishment is not more severe than the severity of his mistake.”
The Sahabi said, “O’ Prophet of Allah ﷺ. That is a very difficult decision. How will I measure that I haven’t punished him more than he deserved? It is easier for me to just set him free.” So, he freed that slave. Shariah has issued such strict guidance for rights of those who are subservient to us in some way.
THE HOLY PROPHET’S ﷺ WAY OF TREATING HIS SUBORDINATES
When the Holy Prophet ﷺ migrated to Medinah Munawwarah, Hazrat Anas’ (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) parents Hazrat Abu Talhah and Hazrat Umme Salim (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them) discussed amongst themselves that the Holy Prophet ﷺ does not have any domestic help. Why don’t we present our son to him so that he can serve the Holy Prophet ﷺ? So, both of them took their son before the Holy Prophet ﷺ and said, “O’ Prophet of Allah ﷺ, our son is very wise and smart. We want him to live in your household and serve you.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ accepted it, so Hazrat Anas’ parents left him in his service.
Hazrat Anas (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) remained in the service of the Holy Prophet ﷺ for about ten years. About how the Holy Prophet ﷺ treated him during all this time, he himself says;
“I served the Holy Prophet ﷺ for ten years. During all this time he never even said ‘uff’ (an expression of exasperation) to me, neither scolded me, nor told me off, and never said ‘why did you do this do this’, or ‘why did you not do this’.”
This seems simple enough in saying, but if someone tries to follow this Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, only then they will realise what supreme self-control it will require to consistently do this for ten years! We are happy following the easy Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, but this is also a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and we must try to follow it too. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the motivation to follow all these Sunnah too. Aameen
Hazrat Anas (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) himself narrates that once the Holy Prophet ﷺ sent him to perform some chore. When he left home he saw some children playing. He also started playing with them and completely forgot the chore for which the Holy Prophet ﷺ had sent him. The Holy Prophet ﷺ was waiting for him to come back and tell him whether he had completed the chore. When he didn’t return for quite some time, the Holy Prophet ﷺ came out and performed that chore himself. When he was returning, Hazrat Anas RAA saw him and suddenly remembered that the Holy Prophet ﷺ had told him to perform some chore. He got worried that the Holy Prophet ﷺ will get upset. So, he went to him and said, “O’ Prophet of Allah ﷺ. When I left home I started playing with children and forgot that chore.” The Holy Prophet ﷺ replied, “Do not worry. I have done it myself.” Hazrat Anas RAA reports that he neither scolded me, nor told me off, or punished me in any way.
TREATING SUBORDINATES WELL DOES NOT ENCOURAGE BAD BEHAVIOUR
These days we make up excuses that if I treat my domestic servants and employees well, they will become spoiled and will start misbehaving. But we do not reflect on it that the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not give any credence to any such considerations. Because he knew that his treating his servants well encouraged them to do good, as well as stopped them from misbehaviour. And that is why his kind behaviour with Hazrat Anas (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) over a period of ten years did not lead to any misbehaviour. This is the type of good behaviour towards one’s employees and subordinates that the Holy Prophet ﷺ himself practiced, as well as taught the Sahaba to practice.
CORRECTING HAZRAT ABU ZAR GHAFFARI RAA
Once the Holy Prophet ﷺ was going somewhere. On the way, he saw Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) scolding his slave. That slave was Habshi (of African origin) so he was saying to him, “O’ Habshi, you are doing this.” When the Holy Prophet ﷺ heard these words, he said,
“O’ Abu Zar! It seems like you still have some habits from the days of Jahiliyah (ignorance). That is why you are addressing your slave as O’ Habshi.”
Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari RAA started crying upon hearing these words, and even later he used to remember again and again that the Holy Prophet ﷺ had said this about me.
BEING A SIDDIQ AND CURSING OTHERS
Once Hazrat Siddiq Akbar (may Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him) was scolding one’s slave and saying some curse words to him. When the Holy Prophet ﷺ heard this, he said;
“You are a Siddiq and you also curse! By the God of Ka’abah both of these traits cannot be combined together.”
Meaning that a person cannot be a Siddiq and also be cursing other people. If a person is a Siddiq he cannot curse other people, and the person who curses other people cannot be a Siddiq. Hazrat Siddiq Akbar RAA trembled upon hearing this and freed not just the slave he had been cursing but also many other slaves.
DO NOT HUMILIATE YOUR SUBORDINATES
These days, we have become very neglectful about how we treat our servants, subordinates and hired help. We say abusive words to them, tell them off in a belittling and insulting manner, disrespect them, and say hurtful things to them, whenever we feel like it. This is all prohibited in Shariah. If you have a subordinate, a domestic servant, or hired help, treat him like your brother. Remember that they are human beings too, just like you. They also have a beating heart, have wishes, desires and aspirations, have thoughts and emotions, and have wants and needs. It is completely impermissible to treat them as sub-humans.
TREATMENT OF ONE’S EMPLOYEES
In our society these days, employers do not treat their drivers as equal human beings. However, in Arab culture there are still some remnants of the original Islamic culture. They treat their drivers like brothers, for example, when they get out of the car after a travel, they say “thank you brother”. When they sit down to eat, they make their drivers sit with them to eat.
On the other hand, in our culture we do not invite or drivers to sit with us during meals. We eat inside the house while he keeps sitting in the car. We don’t even care whether they have eaten or not. We have inherited all these habits from non-Islamic cultures. The Sunnah of the Holy Prophet ﷺ is what has been described in this Hadith. May Allah Ta’ala help us understand it and follow it. Aameen
وآخر دعوا ان الحمد ﷲ رب العالمين