| 2 Bukhari and Muslim hadiths


1
It was narrated from ‘A’ishah the Mother of the Believers (may Allah be pleased with her) that al-Harith ibn Hisham (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): O Messenger of Allah, how does the revelation come to you? The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell, which is the hardest of all, then before it passes I have grasped what is said. And sometimes the angel comes to me in the form of a man and speaks to me, and I grasp what he says.”.

Commentary : The Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) used to ask the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) about the revelation, and they would watch out for its coming. One example of that is what is mentioned in this hadith, in which al-Harith ibn Hisham (may Allah be pleased with him) asked the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him): How does the revelation come down to you from heaven? What is meant by the revelation is that which Jibril (peace be upon him) brought down to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) by the command of Allah (may He be glorified). The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) told him that on some occasions it came to him like the ringing of a bell, which is the sound that is made by metal when it is struck repeatedly. A bell is a metal object that makes a sound when it is shaken, and this type was the hardest type of revelation for the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to bear when it came upon him, because it was weighty, but the hardship he endured ended when the revelation ended, at which moment he had already grasped and memorized the words of Allah (may He be glorified and exalted) that had been brought to him by the angel. On other occasions, the angel appeared to him in the form of a man and spoke to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), so he learned from him the words of Allah (may He be glorified and exalted) that were brought to him.
This hadith highlights the weightiness of the revelation, as Allah (may He be exalted), says:
“Indeed, We will cast upon you a heavy word”
[al-Muzzammil 73:5].
That is due to inherent human weakness and inability to bear the receiving of such momentous communication from the divine, and fear of falling short with regard to what he was commanded to do or say..

2
It was narrated from Sa‘id ibn Jubayr that Ibn ‘Abbas said, regarding the verse, {Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an} [al-Qiyamah 75:16]:
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to suffer great hardship when the revelation came down, and he would move his lips [with the words of revelation]. – Ibn ‘Abbas said: I will move my lips to demonstrate for you how the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would move his lips; and Sa‘id said: I will move my lips to demonstrate for you how Ibn ‘Abbas moved his lips, and he moved his lips. – Then Allah, may He be exalted, revealed the words:
{Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an.
Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation}
[al-Qiyamah 75:16-17].
He said: We will collect it for you in your heart, then you will recite it.
{So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation}
[al-Qiyamah 75:18].
He said: So listen to it and pay attention.
{Then upon Us is its clarification [to you]}
[al-Qiyamah 19:19].
Then We guarantee that you will be able to recite it. So after that, when Jibril came to him, the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would listen, then when Jibril left, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would recite it as he [Jibril] had recited it.
.

Commentary : The descent of the revelation to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his receiving thereof was something very difficult for him, and his sweat would pour from him, because of the hardship that he endured when receiving the revelation.
In this hadith, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) mentions the reason for revelation of the verse: {Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an} [al-Qiyamah 75:16]. He tells us that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would suffer hardship when receiving the revelation, because he was overwhelmed with awe of the angel and of what he received from him, and because of the weightiness of the revelation. Because he was afraid that he would lose the Qur’an and that it would escape his mind before he was able to grasp it, he would move his lips as the revelation of the Qur’an was coming down to him, lest Jibril (peace be upon him) depart from him before he had fully memorized what had been brought down to him. Hence Allah, may He be exalted, sent down the words:
{Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur'an.
Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation}: that is, We will collect it in your heart so that you will not forget it.
{So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation}: that is, so listen to it and pay attention.
{Then upon Us is its clarification [to you]}: that is, then We will ensure that you will recite it. Thus Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, guaranteed to instill the Qur’an firmly in the Prophet’s heart, so that he would be able to recite it whenever he wanted after the revelation had ended. So after that, when Jibril brought revelation to him, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would listen without hastening when receiving it, in compliance with the command of Allah (may He be glorified and exalted). Then when Jibril (peace be upon him) left him, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would recite it exactly as Jibril (peace be upon him) had recited it.
The narrator said: Ibn ‘Abbas said: I will move my lips to demonstrate for you how the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would move his lips; and Sa‘id said: I will move my lips to demonstrate for you how Ibn ‘Abbas moved his lips, and he moved his lips – this movement of the lips was in addition to the comment. According to the terminology of hadith scholarship, this hadith is called al-musalsal bi tahrik al-shafah (meaning that the series of narrators demonstrated the same movement of the lips), but there was an interruption in this series of narrators (meaning that not every narrator demonstrated the movement of the lips)..

3
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb told him that Heraclius sent for him and a group of Quraysh, who were doing trade in Syria during the period in which the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) had made a truce with Abu Sufyan and the disbelievers of Quraysh. They came to meet him in Aelia [Jerusalem], and he summoned them to his court, where he was surrounded by the prominent figures of Byzantium. Then he called them and called his interpreter, and said: Which of you is most closely related to this man who claims that he is a prophet? Abu Sufyan said: I said: I am the most closely related to him. [Heraclius] said: Bring him closer to me, and bring his companions and make them stand behind him. Then he said to his interpreter: Tell them that I am going to ask this one about this man, and if he lies to me, then tell me that he is lying. [Abu Sufyan said:] By Allah, were it not for the shame that would ensue if they caught me lying, I would have lied about him. Then the first thing that he asked me about him was when he said: What is his lineage among you? I said: Among us, he is of good lineage. He said: Did anyone among you ever say what he is saying before him? I said: No. He said: Were any of his forefathers kings? I said: No. He said: Do the nobles among the people follow him, or the weak and lowly? I said: Rather the weak and lowly. He said: Are they increasing in number or decreasing? I said: Rather they are increasing. He said: Do any of them recant out of displeasure with his religion after entering it? I said: No. He said: Did you ever accuse him of lying before he said what he said? I said: No. He said: Does he act treacherously? I said: No, but at present we have a truce with him, and we do not know how he will behave. [Abu Sufyan said:] I was not able to say any word [against the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)] except this word. He said: Have you fought him? I said: Yes. He said: And how was your fight with him? I said: The war between us and him alternates; sometimes we lose and sometimes he loses. He said: What does he tell you to do? I said: He says: Worship Allah alone and do not associate anything else with Him; give up what your forefathers said. And he enjoins us to pray, to give zakah, to be honest and practise self-restraint, and to uphold ties of kinship. [Heraclius] said to the interpreter: Tell him: I asked you about his lineage, and you said that among you he is of a good lineage. Such are the Messengers; they are always sent from the best lineage among the people. I asked you whether anyone among you had said such things before, and you said no. I say: If anyone had said this before him, I would have thought that he was a man who was repeating the words of someone who came before him. I asked you whether any of his forefathers had been kings, and you said no. I say: If any of his forefathers had been kings, I would have thought that he was a man who was seeking the kingdom of his father. I asked you whether you had ever accused him of lying before he said what he said, and you said no. I am sure that he would not have refrained from telling lies about people then told lies about Allah. I asked you whether the nobles of the people follow him or the weak and lowly, and you said that the weak and lowly follow him. They are always the followers of the messengers. I asked you whether they are increasing in number or decreasing, and you said that they are increasing. This is how it is with faith, until it is completed. I asked you whether anyone had recanted out of displeasure with his religion after having entered it, and you said no. Such is faith, when its sweetness enters the heart. I asked you whether he acts treacherously, and you said no. Such are the messengers; they do not act treacherously. I asked you what he enjoins upon you, and you said that he enjoins you to worship Allah and not associate anything with Him, and he forbids you to worship idols. He enjoins you to pray, and to be honest and practise self-restraint. If what you say is true, then he will gain control over the place where these two feet of mine are standing. I knew that he would appear, but I did not think that he would be from among you. If I knew that I could reach him, I would have taken the trouble to meet him, and if I were with him, I would have washed his feet. Then he called for the letter of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) with which he had sent Dihyah to the governor of Busra, and gave it to Heraclius, who read it. [The letter said:] “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger, to Heraclius, the ruler of Byzantium. Peace be upon those who follow true guidance. To proceed: I call you with the call of Islam: become Muslim; you will be safe and Allah will give you a twofold reward. But if you turn away, then the sin of the subjects will be upon you. {Say, ‘O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]’} [Aal ‘Imraan 3:64].”
Abu Sufyan said: When he said what he said and finished reading the letter, there was a great hubbub around him and voices were raised. We were asked to leave, and I said to my companions when we were asked to leave: This matter of Ibn Abi Kabshah is becoming significant; even the king of Banu al-Asfar is afraid of him. I remained certain that he would prevail until Allah caused me to become Muslim. Ibn al-Natur, the governor of Aelia, was a friend of Heraclius; he was the bishop of the Christians of Syria. He narrated that when Heraclius came to Aelia, he woke up one morning in a state of distress, and one of his advisors said: You do not look well. Ibn al-Natur said: Heraclius was an astrologer who used to watch the stars, and when they asked him about that, he said: Last night, when I looked at the stars, I saw that the king of the circumcised had appeared. Who practices circumcision in this nation? They said: No one practices circumcision except the Jews; do not worry about them. Write to the cities of your kingdom, instructing them to kill the Jews among them. Whilst they were not sure what to do, a man was brought to Heraclius who had been sent by the king of Ghassan to tell him about the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). When Heraclius heard the news he had brought, he said: Go and look, is he [the envoy from Ghassan] circumcised or not? They went and looked at him, then they told [Heraclius] that he was indeed circumcised. He asked him about the Arabs, and he said: They practice circumcision. Heraclius said: The king of this nation has emerged. Then Heraclius wrote to a friend of his in Rome, who was as knowledgeable as he was, and Heraclius set out for Homs. No sooner had he arrived in Homs but he received a letter from his friend, agreeing with Heraclius that this was the time when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would appear, and that he was indeed a prophet. Heraclius called for a meeting with the prominent figures among the Byzantines in a palace of his in Homs. He issued orders that the doors be locked, then he came out to them and said: O Byzantines, do you not want to follow the path of prosperity and guidance, so that your dominion may continue? Then give allegiance to this Prophet. They raced to the doors like wild donkeys, but found them locked. When Heraclius saw how averse they were [to following the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)], and despaired of them ever believing, he said: Bring them back to me. And he said: I said what I said just now as a test, to see how firm your adherence to your religion is, and I have seen it. So they bowed down to him and were pleased with him, and that was the end of the story of Heraclius..

Commentary : In this important hadith, Abu Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that whilst he was on a trade journey in Syria, with others of Quraysh – which took place before he became Muslim, at which time Abu Sufyan was the leader of the trade caravans that were sent out by Quraysh – Heraclius, the ruler of Byzantium, sent for him, asking to meet him. That occurred during the truce that had been drawn up between the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and the disbelievers of Quraysh, after the treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah, in 6 AH. Al-Hudaybiyyah was the name of a well near Makkah, approximately 20 km away along the old Jeddah road. The Muslims and polytheists had agreed not to fight for ten years.
Abu Sufyan and his companions met Heraclius in the city of Bayt al-Maqdis (Jerusalem), which was called Aelia. He summoned them to meet him in his court, where he was surrounded by Christian scholars and senior statesmen. Then he called them to come closer to him, and he sent for his interpreter, who translated words from one language to another. The interpreter said: Which of you is most closely related to this man who claims that he is a prophet? Here he was referring to the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). From the questions of Heraclius, it seems that he wanted to be certain of what he had heard about him [the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)] and to find out more about him, as is usually the case with kings and rulers. Abu Sufyan replied: I am the most closely related to him. This was true, because Banu Haashim and Banu Umayyah were cousins, descended from a common ancestor. Heraclius ordered the Byzantines to bring Abu Sufyan closer to where he was sitting, so that he could ask him about the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he brought his companions close and made them stand behind Abu Sufyan, and he said to his interpreter: Tell them that I am going to ask this man about Muhammad, and if he lies to me, they should tell me that he is lying. What he meant was: Do not feel so shy that you keep quiet if he tells lies. This was to ensure that what he would hear from him would be true, and so that he would only testify to the truth. Abu Sufyan later swore by Allah that were it not that he would be ashamed if they told people in his homeland that he had told lies, which would result in him being shamed by his people, he would have told lies about the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and he would have described him in ways that were not true. This is the impact of shirk and disbelief on those who follow that path; it makes them far removed from being truthful and fair-minded with one who follows a religion and faith other than theirs. If there is one among them who is fair-minded, that is only because he still has some element of honesty and innocence and thus speaks the truth, or he is afraid of being shamed among his people and described as a liar. This is one of the sound characteristics that the Arabs still adhered to, as was the case with Abu Sufyan in this hadith.
The first question he asked him was: What is Muhammad’s lineage among you? Abu Sufyan replied that he was from a prominent lineage. Then he asked him whether anyone among the Arabs had claimed to be a prophet before he appeared, and he said no, it never happened that anyone claimed to be a prophet before him. Then he asked him whether any of his forefathers were kings, and he replied: No. Then he asked him whether the prominent figures and leaders were the ones who followed him, or the lowly, young and poor? He replied: Rather most of his followers are the weak and lowly. Then he asked him whether they were increasing in number or decreasing? He replied: Rather they are increasing and their numbers are rising. Then he asked him whether any of them had recanted out of displeasure with his religion; in other words, out of resentment, hatred and aversion towards Islam. He replied: No. Then he asked him whether they had ever accused him of lying before he claimed to be a prophet, and he replied: No. Then he asked him whether he acted treacherously and broke covenants, and he replied: No, but we have a truce – meaning a temporary cessation of fighting for ten years; this was the treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah – and we do not know how he will behave, whether he will uphold the treaty or act treacherously and break it. Abu Sufyan’s intention in saying that was to try to give the impression to Heraclius that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) might act treacherously and break this treaty. Hence he said: “I was not able to say any word [against the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)] except this word,” meaning that his aim in giving this answer was to cast aspersions on the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). Then Heraclius asked him: Have you fought him? And he replied: Yes. Then he asked him: And how was your fight with him? He said: The war between us and him alternates – meaning that victory goes by turns; sometimes he prevails over us and sometimes we prevail over him. Then he asked him: What does he enjoin you to do? He replied: He says: Worship Allah alone and do not associate anything with Him; give up what your forefathers said. And he enjoins us to pray, be honest and practice self-restraint – which means refraining from doing unlawful things and everything that is contrary to decency. And he enjoins us to uphold ties of kinship, and show kindness to relatives in particular and to people in general, which includes all acts of kindness.
After Heraclius had questioned Abu Sufyan, he explained to him the reason for every question and what he wanted to learn, that could highlight the true nature of this Prophet. So Heraclius told him that he asked him about the lineage of Muhammad, and he told him that he was of a good lineage; such are the Messengers, for Allah chooses them from among the noblest and best in lineage of the people, for one who is of noble lineage will be furthest removed from false claims, and the people will be more likely to believe him and follow him. He asked him whether anyone among [the Arabs] had said such things before him, and Abu Sufyan said that that had not happened, so Heraclius said: I say: If anyone had said this before him, I would have thought that he was a man who was imitating someone else who had claimed to be a prophet. Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan whether any of his forefathers had been kings, and he said no. So Heraclius said: If any of his forefathers had been kings, I would have thought that he was a man who was trying to regain the kingdom of his father for himself, but he is not descended from kings so that one might think that of him. Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan whether they had accused him of lying before he said what he said, and Abu Sufyan said that they had not done that. So Heraclius said: I am sure that he would not have refrained from telling lies about people then told lies about Allah, because telling lies about Allah is worse and a greater offence. He asked him whether the nobles of the people followed him, or the weak and lowly, and Abu Sufyan said that the weak and lowly followed him. They are usually the followers of the Messengers, as is known from their life stories. That is because the nobles do not like anyone to be given precedence over them, whereas the weak and lowly do not refrain; rather they hasten to accept and follow the truth. This is what is mostly the case, although among the earliest followers of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) were some prominent figures who became some of the foremost followers of his religion, such as Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Hamzah and others. Heraclius asked him whether they were increasing in number or decreasing, and Abu Sufyan told him that they were increasing. This is how it is with faith, until it is completed. The fact that they were increasing in numbers indicated that he was indeed a Prophet, because they saw further evidence for the truth every day, and so more people became Muslim every day. He asked him whether any of them had recanted out of displeasure with his religion after having entered it, and he said no. Heraclius told him that this is how faith is when its sweetness enters the heart: once that sweetness has entered the heart and settled in it, it never leaves it. Heraclius asked him whether he acted treacherously, and he said no. Such are the Messengers; they never acted treacherously because treachery is a shortcoming, and people of virtue and noble character would not stoop to that level, let alone the Prophets. He asked him what he enjoined upon them, and he said that he enjoined them to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, and he forbade them to worship idols, which are three-dimensional images made of materials such as stone and wood, in the form of a human image. And he enjoined them to pray, be honest and exercise self-restraint.
Then Heraclius told Abu Sufyan that if what he had told him was true, then this man was indeed a Prophet and he would take control of the land of Bayt al-Maqdis, which refers to Greater Syria or the domain of Heraclius. Then he said: I knew that he would appear, but I did not think that he would be from among you. If I knew that I could reach him, I would have taken the trouble to meet him – meaning that he would have endured the hardships of travel – and if I were with him, I would have washed his feet – by way of honouring him, showing respect to him and serving him. This is to be understood as it appears to be, or it may be understood as indicating how serious he would be in obeying him and following his commands, to the extent that he would be willing to do such a thing himself.
Then Heraclius called for the letter of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) with which he had sent Dihyah al-Kalbi to the ruler of Busra, who was the governor of that city, namely al-Harith ibn Abi Shamr al-Ghassani. The ruler of Busra had sent the letter to Heraclius, who read it. In the letter it said: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the slave of Allah and His Messenger, to Heraclius, the ruler of Byzantium” – who is held in high esteem by his people. “Peace be upon those who follow true guidance” – this is the greeting to be used when addressing disbelievers. “To proceed: I call you with the call of Islam” – that is, with the call that Allah has enjoined. “Become Muslim; you will be safe” – by being spared in this world from war and the jizyah, and in the hereafter by being saved from the Fire. This phrase, “Become Muslim; you will be safe”, is very brief, very eloquent and very concise. “And Allah will give you a twofold reward” – one reward for believing in your Prophet ‘Isa (Jesus), and another reward for becoming Muslim. “But if you turn away, then the sin of the subjects will be upon you.” What is meant is: the sins of the peasants, farmers, your followers and your subjects among the ordinary people will be upon you. That is because he was a barrier that stood between them and the religion of Allah (may He be glorified and exalted).
{Say, ‘O People of the Scripture, come to a word that is equitable between us and you - that we will not worship except Allah and not associate anything with Him and not take one another as lords instead of Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we are Muslims [submitting to Him]’} [Al ‘Imran 3:64]. In other words, evidence has been established and it has become binding upon you to follow it, so acknowledge that we, in exclusion to you, are Muslims who submit to Allah, and you are disbelievers in Allah (may He be exalted).
“Abu Sufyan said: When Heraclius said what he said, and finished reading the letter, there was a great hubbub in his court” – meaning that there was a great deal of clamour and dispute – and voices were raised, and we were asked to leave his court. Abu Sufyan said to his companions: “This matter of Ibn Abi Kabshah is becoming significant” – meaning: the matter of Muhammad, whom we used to call by this name by way of mockery when he spoke to us, and we would say, Here is Ibn Abi Kabshah, conveying a message from heaven! Abu Kabshah was the Prophet’s foster-father; his name was al-Harith ibn ‘Abd al-‘Uzza. “Even the king of Banu al-Asfar is afraid of him” – as he has become so important that the ruler of the Byzantines fears him, and acknowledges his virtue and that he is a prophet. Then Abu Sufyan stated that he became certain that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would prevail and his religion would spread widely in the near future, then Allah caused him to become Muslim and guided him to Islam.
Ibn al-Natur, who was the governor of Jerusalem and a friend of Heraclius, was a Christian religious leader in Syria. He narrated that when Heraclius came to Aelia, he was in an ill temper, meaning that he was anxious and worried. One of his advisors – who were his generals and inner circle – said to him: “You do not look well,” and we have noticed a change in your colour, which indicates that you are suffering from some worries and distress. Ibn al-Natur said: “Heraclius was an astrologer who used to watch the stars” – as he claimed that he could learn from them what would happen in the future or was happening at the present moment. When they asked him, he told them: “Last night, when I looked at the stars, I saw that the king of the circumcised had appeared” – meaning, I learned from the stars that the king of the nation that practices circumcision has appeared. “Who practices circumcision in this nation? They said: No one practices circumcision except the Jews; do not worry about them” – because they have no state and no power. “Write to the cities of your kingdom, instructing them to kill the Jews among them.” In other words, if you are afraid of them, then eradicate them. “Whilst they were not sure what to do, a man” – who was ‘Adiy ibn Hatim – “was brought to Heraclius who had been sent by the king of Ghassan to tell him about the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).” He said: There has emerged among us a man who claims to be a prophet; some people followed him and others opposed him. When Heraclius heard this news, he said: “Go and look, is he [the envoy from Ghassan] circumcised or not?” What is meant is that when Heraclius summoned this man and asked him about the story of that man who claimed to be a prophet, he instructed them to examine him and see whether he was circumcised or not. They told him that they had found him to be circumcised, so he asked him about the Arabs, and the envoy told him that they practised circumcision. Thus he realized that what he had seen [in the stars] referred to the Arabs, so Heraclius said: “The king of this nation has emerged.” In other words, this is the one whom I saw in the stars; what it meant is that the king of the nation that practices circumcision, namely the Arabs, has appeared in this land, and their state will prevail over all of this land. Then Heraclius wrote to a friend of his in Rome, which is the capital of Italy today, who was his equal in knowledge. Heraclius travelled to Homs, and as soon as he arrived there, a letter came to him from his friend in Rome – who was the bishop of Rome – agreeing with his interpretation about the appearance of the Prophet, and that he was indeed the Prophet whom ‘Isa (Jesus) had foretold. Heraclius called for a meeting with the prominent figures among the Byzantines in a great palace in Homs, so that he could tell them something important. Then he issued orders that the doors be locked. In other words, he entered a private section of the palace and locked the doors, then he looked out from his balcony, which was the highest part of the structure, and said: O Byzantines, do you want to be prosperous; do you want to be successful and guided, which means adhering to the truth in belief, words and deeds; do you want your dominion to continue and last? If you want that, then give allegiance to Muhammad, pledging to follow Islam. But they raced to the doors like wild donkeys – meaning that they leapt up like wild donkeys and rushed to the doors, wanting to get to Heraclius and kill him, but they found the doors locked. When Heraclius saw how averse they were to Islam and how violently they revolted against him, and he despaired of them ever believing and realized that they would never obey him, and that he would lose his power and dominion, he recanted and said: Bring them back to me. The Arabic wording may indicate either that he told his troops to keep them away from him, or that he told them to bring them back to him and not let them leave. Then he said to them: “I said what I said just now as a test, to see how firm your adherence to your religion is,” how committed you are to it and how strongly you will defend it. “So they bowed down to him,” in accordance with the custom of the non-Arabs, and that was the end of the story of Heraclius. That was his ultimate decision with regard to his response to the letter of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), or with regard to whether to believe or not. However, after that other things happened, such as his preparing an army to go to Mu’tah and Tabuk, and his fighting the Muslims, and he remained a disbeliever.
This hadith highlights several of the major principles of Islam and of its message.
It refers to several of the characteristics of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and states that they were mentioned in the Torah and Gospel. What Heraclius said (about the Prophets) was something that he had learned from the previous Books. The Torah mentions this description of the Prophet or something similar about the signs of his Prophethood.
In this hadith we also see that one may write to the disbelievers to call them to Islam; one may show kindness to the one to whom the letter is written, and show due respect as is appropriate to his position, in ways that do not overstep the limits according to Islamic teachings.
If one of the People of the Book becomes Muslim, he will have a twofold reward.
The People of the Book had definitive knowledge of the truthfulness of our Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him); those of them who did not believe in him only refrained from believing in him out of stubbornness or envy, or for fear of losing worldly status and the like.
Lying is regarded as reprehensible by all nations and peoples, and an enemy cannot be trusted not to tell lies about his enemies, so it is essential to be cautious and prudent.
One who is a leader with influence will bear the sin of his own disbelief and the sin of those who act upon his decision and follow him [in deciding not to believe]. The same applies to one who is a cause of someone going astray or who prevents him from being guided. .

4
It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five [pillars]: the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; establishing prayer; giving zakah; Hajj (pilgrimage); and fasting Ramadan.”.

Commentary : In this important hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) likened Islam to a well-built structure, and he likened its five pillars to firm foundations that bear the weight of that structure, for the structure cannot stand firmly without them, and other features of Islam are like a completion of that structure. The first of these pillars is the twin testimony of faith (shahadatayn), the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. These two testimonies form a single pillar, because they are interconnected and one of them cannot be separated from the other. What is meant by the twin testimony of faith is that the individual utters these words, acknowledging and affirming the oneness of Allah and that He alone is deserving of worship, to the exclusion of all others, and acknowledging and affirming that Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah is the Messenger of Allah, believing that in his heart, and acting in accordance with the meanings thereof. This is the testimony that will benefit a person in the hereafter, so that he will attain Paradise and be saved from Hell.
The second pillar is establishing the prayer, which means regularly performing the five obligatory prayers every day and night – namely Fajr, Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib and ‘Isha’ – performing the prayers on time, with all their conditions, essential parts and obligatory actions.
The third pillar is giving zakah, which is an obligatory, financial act of worship, to be given on every type of wealth that meets the minimum threshold, as defined in Islamic teachings, when one full lunar (or Hijri) year has passed since acquiring that wealth, giving one quarter of one tenth. One should also give zakah on an‘am animals [camels, cattle and sheep] and other livestock; zakah on crops, fruits, and trade goods; and zakah on rikaz, which is buried treasure that is brought out of the earth and, it was said, minerals and metals, on the basis of their minimum threshold (nisab), to be given at the time at which their zakah becomes due. Giving zakah in the proper manner to those who are entitled to it brings increased blessing (barakah) to wealth, and brings great reward in the hereafter, whereas being stingy and withholding it from those who are entitled to it brings bad consequences in this world and the hereafter, as has been explained in many texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Zakah is to be given to those who are entitled to it, who are mentioned in the verse: {Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise} [al-Tawbah 9:60].
The fourth pillar is Hajj, which means going to the holy places to perform the rituals as an act of worship to Allah (may He be glorified and exalted), once in a lifetime. In order for hajj to be obligatory, one must be physically and financially able to do it.
The fifth and last pillar is fasting Ramadan, which is a physical act of worship. The word siyam (fasting) means refraining, with the intention of worship, from food, drink, sexual activity and other things that break the fast, from the break of dawn until the sun sets.
This hadith indicates that the pillars of Islam may be divided into four categories: that which is verbal and in the heart, namely the twin declaration of faith, which must be uttered on the tongue and believed in the heart; that which involves a physical action, namely prayer and fasting; that which is purely financial, namely zakah; and that which is both physical and financial, namely Hajj..

5
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Faith is 60-odd branches, and decency (haya’) is a branch of faith.”.

Commentary : Faith consists of both words and deeds. It includes what one says in one’s heart, words uttered on the tongue, deeds of the heart, physical deeds and deeds of the tongue. It has many parts and branches, by means of which people may vary in virtue. In this hadith, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) explained that the branches and characteristics of faith are 60-odd in number. The word translated here as “-odd” refers to a number between 3 and 10. What is meant is that faith has many characteristics and is composed of many deeds, including: deeds of the heart, such as affirming the oneness of Allah (Tawhid), putting one’s trust in Him, hope and fear; deeds of the tongue, such as uttering the twin declaration of faith, remembering Allah (dhikr), supplication (du‘a’) and reading and reciting Qur’an, and so on; and physical deeds, such as prayer, fasting, helping the desperate and standing up for one who has been wronged. The report narrated by Muslim explains the highest and lowest characteristics of faith: “The highest is saying La ilaha illa Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and the lowest is removing a harmful thing from the road.”
Then the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) explained how important the characteristic of decency (haya’) is, and said that it is one of the characteristics of faith. Decency is a characteristic that motivates one to avoid what is reprehensible and prevents one from falling short in giving others their due rights. It is of two types: innate and religiously prescribed. What is referred to in this hadith is the type of decency that is prescribed in Islamic teachings, which makes one feel too shy before Allah (may He be exalted), lest He sees you where He has forbidden you to be, or He does not see you where He has commanded you to be. In this sense, decency is the strongest motive to do good and the greatest deterrent against doing evil. Hence it is part of faith; in fact it is a sign of perfect faith.
Decency is singled out for mention here because it is something natural [to many people], and many may not realize that it is a part of faith. This indicates that good manners and attitudes are also connected to faith and to the various levels of faith. The branches of faith are referred to briefly in this hadith, but they are explained and discussed in detail in other hadith texts. The mention of a particular number does not mean that they are limited to 60-odd or 70-odd; rather it indicates that there are many deeds of faith.
This hadith clearly states that deeds are part of faith..