Hadith 35: Showing Contempt is an Evil

“On the authority of Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do not be envious of one another; do not artificially raise prices against one another; do not hate one another; do not turn one’s back on each other; and do not undercut one another in business transactions. And be, [O] servants of Allah, bretheren. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He does not wrong him. He does not fail him [when he needs him]. He does not lie to him. And he does not show contempt for him. Piety is here” – and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is inviolable to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honor.” (Recorded in Muslim)

“It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt.”

We can see here that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is further emphasizing what he stated earlier in this hadith – that a Muslim should never show contempt or look down on another Muslim. His use of language shows us that looking down on others is a serious matter, in fact it is a form of evil.

In his commentary on this hadith, Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo points out that Allah created human beings as noble creatures. Allah has further blessed Muslims with the gift of faith. When we consider this fact, it should show us that we have no right to look down on those that Allah has blessed. Contempt for our fellow Muslims is manifested in actions such as: not greeting a Muslim when we see them, not responding to their salam, backbiting them, and thinking they are not deserving of Paradise and so forth. When we do or think these things, we are in fact holding our fellow Muslims in contempt, which the Prophet, peace be upon him, has shown us is a sin.

Al-Nawawi argues that no Muslim should ever look down on, or belittle anyone else, and they should never think that they are better than others. They should either assume that others are better than them, or have no opinion on the matter. This is because we have no idea where the final resting place of a human being will be. Even if it is a non-Muslim, Allah may guide them to what is better. If it is a young Muslim, they may have committed less sins than us. If it an elder Muslim, they have been in Islam longer than us. If it is a non-pious Muslim, Allah may guide them to what is better. We do not know the heart or the final end of anyone, so it is not our place to judge or look down upon anyone else. And Allah knows best.

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