The Prophets Advice to Mu'aadh ibn Jabal
By: Shaykh Muhammad Salih al-Uthaymeen
Sharh Riyadh as-Saliheen
Mu'aadh bin Jabal reported from the Messenger of Allaah that he said:
"Fear Allaah wheresoever you may be, and follow up an evil deed with a good deed, it will efface it (the evil deed). And deal with mankind with good manners."
[At-Tirmidhee reported this Hadeeth as Hasan, Al-Hakim reports it in al-Mustadrak and states that it meets the condition of Bukhari and Muslim Adhahabee agreed.]
This hadeeth is one of forty Ahadeeth of the author, may Allaah have mercy upon hi, and in it is that the Prophet gave three great and important pieces of advice:
The First: He said "have Taqwaa of Allaah whersoever you may be."
Taqwaa means to stay away from the forbidden matters and to enact the obligatory matters - this is Taqwaa that you enact what Allaah has commanded you, sincerely for Allaah and in compliance to the Messenger of Allaah , and that you leave what Allaah has forbidden due to His prohibiting it and to steer clear of it.
For example that you establish the greatest obligation that Allaah has imposed upon you after the testimony of faith - the Prayer, and you establish it completely, fulfilling all of its conditions and pillars and obligations fulfilling all of these perfectly.
So whosoever leaves off any of these conditions, pillars or obligations, then he has not feared Allaah (to the best of his ablility), rather he has been deficient in this to the extent of what he left out.
In Zakaah, the Taqwaa of Allaah lies in your calculating all of your property on which is due, and giving the Zakaah as a means of purifying yourself without any miserliness or tight distends, or delay.
And whosoever does not do this then he has not feared Allaah. In Fasting the Taqwaa of Allaah lies in establishing the Fast as you have been commanded, distancing yourself from the idle speech, obscene word mannerisms, boisterous behaviour, backbiting and preading tales and other such things that make the fast deficient and remove the spirit of fasting.
The true meaning of fasting is to fast from that which Allaah (SWT) has made forbidden.
The same applies to all the obligations that are used to establish obedience to Allaah, and compliance to His command, sincerely for Him and in following His Messenger. Likewise all the forbidden action is to be left in compliance to His prohibition.
The Second: "and follow up an evil deed with a good one, it will efface it (the evil deed)."
Meaning that when you perform and evil action then follow it up with a good action to be performed after the evil is that you repent to Allaah for this evil action, for indeed repentance is for the most noble and excellent of the good actions as Allaah Has said
"Indeed Allaah loves those who repent and purify themselves."
[Surah Al Baqarah Ayah 222]
And He said
"And repent to Allaah all of you, O believers so that you may be successful"
Similarly righteous actions expiate the evil action as the Prophet said,
"The five daily prayers and one Jumu'ah to the next, and one Ramadaan to the next Ramadaan, is expiation for what lies between them as a long as one refrains from the major sins."
And he said
"One Umrah to the next is an expiation for what is in between them"
Therefore the good actions efface the evil actions.
The Third: "and deal with mankind with good manners."
The first two pieces of advice were those related to relationship with the Creator, and this third relates relationship of the creation to the createion.
This is to deal with mankind with the best of manners such that you will be praised and not blamed.
This by having a cheerful complexion, being truthful in speech speaking to each other nicely and such good manners.
so noble manners, along with their being a way to beautify gatherings and the person who possesses them being beloved to the people, contain a huge reward which will be bestowed on the person on the day of judgement.
So preserve these three pieces of Advice from the Prophet and Allaah is the Grantor of Success.