The Three Things That Were Loved
I want to share with you my favorite Hadith (narration). I found it in my copy of “Preparing for the Day of Judgement” by Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (translated by S.M. Hasan Al-Banna) in the Chapter “Counsel in Threes”. Included under each part of the Hadith is the tafseer (explanation) that was explained to me by Ustadh Usama Canon.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “I was made to love three things from this world – perfume, women, and prayer.”
He ﷺ smelled so good, that that Sahabah used to gather his sweat to make perfume out of it. He loved perfume, because there is value in the unseen, as in people are curious about what their eyes can not see. Others will be attracted to you if you smell good. The Prophet ﷺ was fond of women, because of the mercy Allah put in them that cannot be found in men, such that the first two Muslims were his wife, Khadijah, and his daughter, Fatima (ra). Lastly, he loved prayer, because this is the chance you recite the Qur’an (having Allah talk to you) and you make dua (you talking to Allah).
The companions were sitting with him and Abu Bakr AsSiddiq RA said, “You have spoken the truth, O Messenger of Allah! I was made to love three things from this world – looking at the face of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ , spending my wealth for the the Messenger of Allah SAWS, and giving my daughter in marriage to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”
The love Abu Bakr (ra) had for the Prophet ﷺ is incomparable, to the point he died two years after the Prophet ﷺ passed away from heartbreak. Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “If someone denies that Abu Bakr was a companion, then he is Kafir.” And this is understandable–just look at his dedication! Firstly, he loved looking at the Prophet’s ﷺ face. It is because of him and the other loving companions that we know the features of our Prophet ﷺ. There was once a man hired by the Quraish by the name of Hasan bin Thabit to defame the Prophet’s ﷺ features. However, he could NOT. He later became a Muslim. But SubhanAllah, even though we only know the description and don’t have a visual representation of the Prophet’s ﷺ face, we still believe in him. This, to me, is phenomenal. Abu Bakr’s second love emphasizes the fact that Abu Bakr’s pocket was the Prophet’s ﷺ pocket, in that the Prophet ﷺ could take as much as he wanted from Abu Bakr’s wealth and it only made Abu Bakr happy. Lastly, he basically displays his utter happiness in the fact that his daughter married the best of men, peace and blessings upon him.
‘Umar bin AlKhattab RA said, “You have spoken truthfully, O Abu Bakr! I was made to love three things from this world – commanding good, forbidding evil, and worn garments.”
Umar (ra) was the man who was on his way to murder the Prophet ﷺ, and now he is buried next to him ﷺ. His love for worn garments is proven by the way he entered Damascus after it was liberated by the Muslims at the time of his Khalifah. He and his servant were taking turns riding their horse. As they approached the city, it was the servant’s turn to ride the horse, but the servant refused to have the Khalifah, Umar, walk into the city when his servant was on the horse. Umar, however, refused, saying that it is unfair if he takes his servant’s turn and forced him to ride the horse. His servant also suggested that Umar change his clothes, which were covered in patches, and wear an elegant robe so that the people of the city see his authority. Umar contemplated it, but he remained in his worn clothing. As he entered the city, the inhabitants saw that the leader of the Muslims was walking in patched clothes as his servant was riding comfortably on the horse, and due to his humility, they accepted Umar as their Khalifah. Why? Because it had been prophesied to them that their true ruler would enter the city just as Umar had entered. SubhanAllah.
‘Uthman bin Affan said, “You have spoken truthfully, O ‘Umar! And I was made to love three things from this world – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and reading the Qur’an.”
These three were common loves of all the Sahabah. To love clothing the naked is a significant characteristic of Uthman though. Mainly because he was a man of Haya’ (shyness) in that even the angels were shy of him. Once the Prophet ﷺ was soaking his feet in water and his robe was just above his knees. Several Sahabah entered the room and the Prophet ﷺ did not change his appearance. It was only when Uthman entered that he lowered his robe to cover the rest of his legs. The Sahabah asked him why and he said, “How could I not be shy of a man with so much Haya’ that even the angels are shy of him?”
‘Ali bin Abi Talib said, “You have spoken truthfully, O ‘Uthman! I was made to love three things from this world – serving the guest, fasting in summer, and fighting with the sword.”
Serving guests was a common practice of the Arabs at that time. Their hospitality was so extreme that they would welcome travelers into their homes, clothing them, feeding them, and giving them places to rest without inquiring anything about them for three days. Next: fasting in the summer? Ya Allahhh! For the past few years we’ve whined and whined about Ramadan falling in the summer–but Ali RA, he loved it. This was because Ali knew this was the most difficult time of the year to fast and it would be even more appreciated by Allah. Ali was also known for his courageous abilities on the battle field. He loved fighting for the sake of Allah, to the point that he was going to name his first son Al-Harb (The War). He ran to the Prophet ﷺ after the boy was born, telling the Prophet ﷺ what he intended to name him and the Prophet ﷺ laughed and told him to name him Al-Hasan (The One of Goodness) instead. He then wanted to name his second son Al-Harb, but the Prophet ﷺ told him to name him Al-Hussain (The One Who is Good).
As they were discoursing, Jibreel (as) came and said, “Allah the Exalted sent me when He heard your discussion and has ordered you to ask me what I would have loved if I were to be from the people of this world.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked, “If you were to be from the people of this world what would you have loved?” Jibreel AS replied, “Guiding those led astray, keeping the company of contented strangers, and helping families afflicted with hardship.”
SubhanAllah. The idea that Jibreel (as) takes joy in assisting those of us who have lost their way to the right path. It makes me speechless knowing how much care an Angel of the other world has for us. Yes, we know that only Allah blesses those He wills with guidance, but it is still our duty to share the wisdom we’ve gained from similar experiences that people are going through to help those lost. When Jibreel says “strangers,” he means travelers. This is because it takes great strength to abandon your comforts and remove yourself from anything you are attached to in order to achieve great satisfaction. Jibreel’s (as) last love is interesting to me. Maintaining family ties is not easy, and so when calamities arise and conflicts result, it is important for us to remain strong and seek help and advice from those who provide the services we may need, from our friends or professionals, in order to support our families.
Jibreel AS continued, “The Lord of Honour loves three things from His servants – giving one’s utmost, crying when in regret, and being patient in times of poverty.”
How beautiful! Allah wanted to reveal to us what He loved the most! Why? So that we can take advantage of what is now told to us to get closer to Allah! Here, it shows that Allah does not want perfection from us, but rather He desires for us to achieve the things we know we can do to better ourselves. He simply wants us to do our best. What a Merciful Lord. What a Gracious Lord. Then Jibreel tells us that Allah loves it when we cry in regret. We truly deserve nothing for we constantly ignore how much He has blessed us, and yet, all He wants is for us is to return to Him in the end. That’s why when we come a hand-span towards Him, He comes to us an arm’s length! Lastly, it is important to remember that the biggest hardship for humans is poverty. It is known that the greatest Fitnah (distraction) for our Ummah is wealth, and so to lose your sense of stability and suffer from poverty is greatly difficult to deal with, one Allah has declared immense reward for us.
This Hadith to me is one filled with so much depth and hidden beauty. It reminds me of when my friends and I share our favorite things about Islam. Imagine if we were sitting with the Prophet ﷺ! And then, Jibreel joins us! And just after that, we’re blessed with a message from Allah! How desperate I am for such an opportunity like that. May Allah grant us such an experience in Jannah. To sit with the Prophet ﷺ.
By: @Sinseriously (MW Contributor)
Serine is an Arab American who has had a passion for learning Islam and leading others towards embracing their faith. Having gone to Islamic school and public school in the States, she has seen the best–and worst–of both worlds and knows she can relate to other Muslims of diverse backgrounds in hopes of creating a culture of understanding, unity, and progress for the sake of Allah.
For more, check out Serine’s blog.