Some time ago I had to make extended journeys on the freeway in a car with a colleague. The highway speed limit was 100 kilometres per hour (~62 miles/hour). Yet he consistently drove at 130 km per hour (~80 miles/hour). When asked why he drove so fast, he would always say, "That's the speed everyone else is going so I am too. Besides I'm just trying to keep up." . . . Excuse me? Yes that may be the speed at which most of the other drivers were going, but what was the logic of blindly following them and driving at such wayward speeds himself? Not only was it more dangerous, but it wasted gas, (thus creating more of an economic burden for the driver and also contributed to environmental problems) caused more wear and tear on the car and it was more tiring because the driver had to be extra hyper-alert when driving at those ridiculously high speeds. Not to forget of course, that he was breaking the law too. 

It seems to me that a very similar scenario is being played out nowadays in our Muslim Ummah (community). We live in very corrupt times. But because everyone else appears to be ignoring the Shari'ah (Islamic Law) only to follow their own whims and passions, it does not mean that we should blindly follow them like sheep and do the same. So in this essay, I will discuss three pertinent Hadiths (Traditions of the Prophet Muhammad [1] which may prove beneficial in order to help sincere Muslims keep their cars on the road, obey the law and travel safely. 

1. Good Servitude During the Time of Mischief 

Ma'qil ibn-i Yesar r.a. narrated that the Prophet, p.b.u.h. said: 

Worship during the time of harj [a time of turmoil and killing] is like emigration towards me. [Sahih Muslim: Book 041, Number 7042

During these corrupt times (i.e., when religious belief and knowledge are mixed in with iconoclastic cultural traditions and social customs) mischief, confusion and turmoil prevail throughout the world. And so it is during these troubled times that true worship is considered to be similar to emigration towards the Prophet Muhammad 

In the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims emigrated from Mecca to Medina. Muslims were (and still are) obliged by Allah to follow and obey the Prophet Muhammad. If they did not emigrate, they themselves would be held responsible for their own unfulfilled duties because of the oppression from the pagans. It was recommended that Muslims move to places where they would have the freedom to practice their religion. After the conquest of Mecca, the Prophet said, "The physical emigration has ended. Now the spiritual emigration begins. It is an emigration from wrongful deeds and ill behaviour to good deeds." 

Muslims will face many arduous trials in life. Just think of Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo, Bosnia, Israel, Turkey, Iraq etc. for example. Thus Muslims who live in those and other locations face enormous trials (let alone the trials that we all face on a day to day basis). Even so, in spite of the severity of their trials, Muslims are nonetheless required to be good servants of Allah and to observe all of their duties and responsibilities. A person cannot know what reward will result from his or her trials and tribulations. So although a Muslim's tests may appear to be insurmountable, he or she is still required to maintain good servitude to Allah in the midst of it all. We Muslims are still required to carry out all our duties, do good work, avoid evil and stay away from anything that can lead to sinfulness in spite of what's occurring around us. 

If society has been corrupted, then we are not required to follow society. In fact we are forbidden to. We are required to follow the orders of Allah ta'ala (God Almighty) in each and every individual situation and circumstance of our lives. So it is then, that in order to live a virtuous life (even though one is completely surrounded by a dreadfully corrupt and obstreperous world), we must obey Allah and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad . It will be as rewarding as emigration towards the holy Prophet's circle. 

2. Rewards for Holding on to the Sunnah 

Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet p.b.u.h. said: 

If a person holds onto my Sunnah when corruption is rampant among my Ummah, he will receive the rewards of a martyr." [Tabarani] 

The rank of a martyr (shahid) in the Hereafter is very high. The moment a martyr's blood is spilled on the ground, if he or she is a true shahid, [2] their place in Paradise will be shown to them. The shahid will be saved from the hardship of the Day of Judgement and torment in the Hereafter. But how can a person receive a martyr's reward even though he or she may never have participated in one battle or lost any blood? 

When corruption prevails in a society, people, including Muslims, tend to follow their own whims as well as the mischievous temptations and promptings of Shaytain (Satan). At such a time they may choose to neglect their own duties and acts of worship which have been prescribed for them. They will then indulge in sinful deeds and actions. Nonetheless, it is still possible for a person during such difficult times to follow the Sunnah of the holy Prophet and stay clear from sin and wrongful action. Our beloved Prophet lived an exemplary life in his time. He always demonstrated the best courtesy and manners (adab) towards others, even though he himself was immersed in extreme tribulation. We know that holding on to the Prophet's Sunnah can save a person and bring him or her happiness both in this world and in the Hereafter. These are not idle words! 

Muslims are exhorted to first hold on to the Qur'an and to secondly hold on to the Sunnah of the holy Prophet (i.e. to follow the Shari'ah). The Qur'an is the word of God. The Sunnah of the Prophet is the application of Qur'an in life. That is why it is necessary to follow the Sunnah for a person who wants to follow the Qur'an and lead a life in accordance with it. If anything else that contradicts the Sunnah is established by third parties, it is called bid'ah. There is a Hadith which states, "Every bid'ah is a corruption, and every person who establishes corruption goes to Hell." In another Hadith, the Prophet said, "The people of bid'ah are the dogs of Hell." When we study the Sunnah of the Prophet in the Hadith literature, we realize just how well the Prophet explained the details of life to us. A Muslim who hangs on to the Sunnah of the Prophet becomes a good Muslim regardless of the country he or she may live in (be it Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Europe, America etc. etc.) On the other hand, if Muslims distance themselves from the Sunnah and indulge in bid'ah (perverse innovation), and follow profane paths, then they will become a hard-hearted, brutal and merciless people. They will no longer be able to discern what is halal (allowed) from what is haram (forbidden). They will become selfish and opportunistic. And then all manner of wickedness will emanate from them. 

The Prophet Muhammadalso taught us how to behave when we are troubled. Allah s.w.t. had informed the Prophet about events which were to take place in the future, and the Prophet conveyed this information to his Ummah. There are many authentic Hadith about future events that are to take place. 

In this Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad stated that there would be a time when the Muslim Ummah will undergo corruption. Yet there are other Hadith that consoled the Companions: "Do not feel sad, for there will be a time that you will dominate over the palaces of Chosroes and Caesar." (i.e. you will rule the lands belonging to Sasanids and Byzantines.) That has already happened. He had said that the flag of the Muslim state would reach beyond the oceans. That happened too. Islam has spread all over the world now. The Prophet informed us about this, yet he also informed us that there will be corruption among the Muslim Urnmah and that it would come to dominate the Ummah

Let's look at some so-called Islamic countries. There are many of them including: Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kosovo, and many many more. Do the leaders of those countries comply with the Islamic Shari'ah? What about the subjects of those countries? Do they follow their leaders or the Shari'ah? Of course there are some righteous people in every country, but in some cases one would have to search hard to find them. How do these righteous people maintain their physical and spiritual purity given the poisoned environments that they live in? What would be more preferable, a non-Muslim country led by a benevolent and just leader, or a Muslim country led by a malignant and corrupt leader?[3]

Now is the time of the corruption pointed out by the Prophet Muhammad.The Muslim Ummah used to be good and well mannered. Now, profanity is so widespread that many an evil act is carried out in public. Our beloved Prophet emphasized the importance of following the Sunnah during these times. "During such a time, one who holds onto my Sunnah will receive the rewards of a shahid." It really does not matter where or in what society we live in. Whether we live in America, Africa or Europe, and regardless of how people around us live, we must obey the Qur'an and follow the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad

3. Worry about your own soul (ruh

Narrated Abu Tha'labah al-Khushani: Abu Umayyah ash-Sha'balli said: I asked Abu Tha'labah al-Khushani: What is your opinion about the verse "Care for yourselves." He said: I swear by Allah, I asked the one who was well informed about it; I asked the Apostle of Allah (p.b.u.h.) about it. He said: 'No, enjoin one another to do what is good and forbid one another to do what is evil. But when you see niggardliness being obeyed, passion being followed, worldly interests being preferred, everyone being charmed with his [own] opinion, then care for yourself, and leave alone what people in general are doing. For ahead of you are days which will require endurance, in which showing endurance will be like grasping live coals. The one who acts rightly during that period will have the reward of fifty men who act as he does.

Another version has: He said (The hearers asked:) Apostle of Allah, the reward of fifty of them? He replied: The reward of fifty of you. [i.e. the companions] 
[Sunan Abu Dawud Book 37, Number 4327] 

Our beloved Prophet Muhammadsaid: "Ordain what is considered as good by following the Shari'ah and also by using your common sense. Forbid what is evil by following the Shari'ah and also by using common sense." Something which is abhorrent to the Shari'ah might nevertheless be accepted in some so-called Muslim societies whereas something that is allowable in the Shari'ah may be considered abhorrent in those same societies. He continued: "Continue ordaining the good and forbidding the evil until you observe a stinginess that everybody follows, the desires of the nafs that are met, that this world is preferred over the Hereafter, and when everybody follows his or her own opinion.

Now a person who is to ordain good and forbid evil must be well informed on the Qur'an and Sunnah. After all they must remind people about their duties and responsibilities. But when society has become corrupted, when there is an unwillingness to share with others, when everybody attends to the desires of his or her own nafs, when the Hereafter is forgotten, when this world is preferred over the Hereafter, when everybody follows his or her own opinion, then it will be futile to remind them about their responsibilities and duties because they simply won't listen. The Prophet Muhammad  urged us to continue ordaining good and forbidding evil until such a time occurred. He said, "When you observe such a time, then you must worry about yourself." People will not listen to you when you ordain good and forbid evil. Instead they will do whatever they please. Instead they will disobey Allah ta'ala's orders. Since your soul is under your own responsibility, you must keep yourself on the right track. "Stay away from the common people," because they simply will not listen to you. 

"Verily, there will be days waiting for you that those who persevere in holding onto Islam will feel like they are holding glowing fire in their hands." It will be hard to live in total compliance with Islam. "Whoever practices Islam during such a time will be given the rewards of fifty people who do the same deeds." Since it will be difficult to practice Islam, one person will receive fifty times their rewards. According to Abu Dawud, one of the Companions of the Prophet asked, "O Prophet of Allah, are the rewards of the fifty people from among ourselves or from among them?" That is, "Will these rewards be the same as the rewards given to the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad  or to the people of their own time?" The Hadith literature clearly state that the Companions are the best Muslims of all time. [4] No-one else can reach their level because the Companions were fortunate enough to see our beloved Prophet with their own eyes and listen to him in person. They received enlightenment and inspiration straight from the Prophet Muhammad.The Companions were aware of their status, so they asked if the rewards of fifty persons mentioned above would be equivalent to the rewards of fifty Companions or to the rewards of fifty ordinary people. Upon this inquiry, the holy Prophet Muhammad  responded: "The rewards of fifty among you.

This is great news! Muslims may experience severe trials simply because they want to practice Islam, but they must remain patient. They must not be fooled by all the propaganda, trickery, provocation, advertising, and the glitz and glamour of this materialistic age. When it comes to disobedience of Allah ta'ala's orders, rather than saying, 'Everyone else is doing it, so I am too,' they should instead obey Allah ta'ala and His Prophet. A Muslim must never comply with a corrupt society. And it is up to every Muslim to know whether or not his or her society has been corrupted. Many choose to follow their own society pridefully without first ascertaining whether its leaders are corrupt or not. Many assume that since they have been raised in a Muslim country, that their leaders and their community couldn't possibly be corrupt. This is unsound and dangerous logic! [5] 

If a person lives in accordance with the Shari'ah during this difficult time, then he or she will receive rewards as if they emigrated into the Prophet's circle. If a person lives in accordance with the Shari'ah, then they will also receive rewards as if they had lost their lives in the path of Allah as a martyr (shahid). And if they live in accordance with the Shari'ah, then he or she will receive the rewards that will be given to fifty Companions of the Prophet Muhammad.

Masha Allah


Sahih Muslim 
Sahih Bukhari
Sunan Abu Dawud 
Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad Cosan  r.a.

[1] This is Arabic calligraphy. Transliteration: Salla Allahu 'Alaihi wa Sallam (s.a.w.s). Translation: "May the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him." This is a form of endearment which Muslims use whenever the name of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s) is mentioned. 

[2] Sahih Muslim Book 020, Number 4688: 

It has been narrated on the authority of Sulaiman b. Yasar who said: People dispersed from around Abu Huraira, and Natil, who was from the Syrians, said to him: O Shaikh, relate (to us) a tradition you have heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said: Yes. I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: The first of men (whose case) will be decided on the Day of Judgement will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought (before the Judgement Seat). Allah will make him recount His blessings (i. e. the blessings which He had bestowed upon him) and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his life). (Then) will Allah say: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I fought for Thee until I died as a martyr. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You fought that you might be called a 'brave warrior.' And you were called so. (Then) orders will be passed against him and he will be dragged with his face downward and cast into Hell. Then will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and imparted it (to others) and recited the Qur'an. He will be brought And Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them (and admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime). Then will Allah ask: What did you do (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and recited the Qur'an seeking Thy pleasure. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You acquired knowledge so that you might be called 'a scholar,' and you recited the Qur'an so that it might be said:'He is a Qari' and such has been said. Then orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face downward and cast into the Fire. Then will be brought a man whom Allah had made abundantly rich and had granted every kind of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them and (admit having enjoyed them in his lifetime). Allah will (then) ask: What have you done (to requite these blessings)? He will say: I spent money in every cause in which Thou wished that it should be spent. Allah will say: You are lying. You did (so) that it might be said about (You):'He is a generous fellow' and so it was said. Then will Allah pass orders and he will be dragged with his face downward and thrown into Hell. 
Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 77, Number 604: 
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd:There was a man who fought most bravely of all the Muslims on behalf of the Muslims in a battle (Ghazwa) in the company of the Prophet. The Prophet looked at him and said. "If anyone would like to see a man from the people of the Fire, let him look at this (brave man)." On that, a man from the People (Muslims) followed him, and he was in that state i.e., fighting fiercely against the pagans till he was wounded, and then he hastened to end his life by placing his sword between his breasts (and pressed it with great force) till it came out between his shoulders. Then the man (who was watching that person) went quickly to the Prophet and said, "I testify that you are Allah's Apostle!" The Prophet asked him, "Why do you say that?" He said, "You said about so-and-so, If anyone would like to see a man from the people of the Fire, he should look at him.' He fought most bravely of all of us on behalf of the Muslims and I knew that he would not die as a Muslim (Martyr). So when he got wounded, he hastened to die and committed suicide." Whereupon the Prophet said, "A man may do the deeds of the people of the Fire while in fact he is one of the people of Paradise, and he may do the deeds of the people of Paradise while in fact he belongs to the people of Fire, and verily, (the rewards of) the deeds are decided by the last actions (deeds)". 
[3] In this case, according to the Shari'ah, the non-Muslim country that is led by a just leader would be better than a Muslim country led by a corrupt leader. 

[4] The Companions of the Prophet were very special for the Prophet Muhammad said: The best of the time periods is my time, and best of the people are my Companions, then those who come after them, then those who come after them." 

[5] Much of what some cultures have been taught about Islam is not Islam at all, but is instead made to look like an Islamic practice that is somehow necessary in order for a person to be a good Muslim. Most often these are instead cultural practises rather than Islamic practises.