Hadith 26: A Charitable Act Upon Every Bone

“On the authority of Abu Huraira who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him said), “Every small bone of everyone has upon it a charitable act for everyday upon which the sun rises. Bringing about justice between two is an act of charity. Helping a man get on his mount, lifting him onto it or helping him put his belongings onto it, is a charitable act. A good word is a charitable act. Every step you take toward the prayer is a charitable act. And removing a harmful thing from the path is a charitable act.” (Recorded in al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Narrator

Abu Huaira (r) embraced Islam in the seventh year after hijrah, and was well known for his piety. Abu Huraira (r) was his kunya or nickname and it means the father of cats, after the pets that he (r) so loved. His given name was Abdul Rahmaan ibn Sakhr ibn al-Dausi. He (r) was a constant companion of the Prophet (s), and lived in the Prophet’s (s) mosque as one of the people known as ahl al-Suffa, or the people of the verandah, due to his living there. His (r) close proximity to the Prophet (s) meant that he was able to relate more hadith than any other companion, 5374 in total. The Prophet (s) guided Abu Huraira (r) to an act that would ensure that he never forgot any of the hadith that he learnt, which was that at night, along with praying the late night prayer, he (r) would study and memorise hadith. He was very cautious when narrating them.

“Every small bone of everyone has upon it a charitable act for everyday upon which the sun rises. “

When we think of every small bone and how it takes its place in the human body, interacting with the bones around it to give us stability and mobility, one cannot help but wonder at the majesty of our Creator, Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

“O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous? [He] who created you perfectly, and gave you due proportion. In whatever form He willed, He put you together.” (Surah al-Infitaar:6-8)

He (swt) points to this miracle as one of His Signs:

“We shall show them our signs in the Universe and in their own selves until it becomes manifest to them that this is the truth” (Surah al-Fusslat:53)

This should make the believer ask, how should we show our gratefulness for this blessing that is this amazing human body? This hadith illustrates the answer for us. We should use these bones  to do acts of kindness and charity to show our gratitude to Allah (swt). These acts should be done everyday that Allah (swt) blesses us with the ability to do so.

“Bringing about justice between two is an act of charity.”

This part of the hadith shows us that bringing two people who are in conflict together, and making peace and reconciliation between them is considered an act of charity in Islam. Allah (swt) commands us in the Qur’an to reconcile the hearts of the believers:

“So fear Allah and make reconciliation among yourselves” (Surah al-Anfaal:1)

“The believers are nothing else other than brothers. So make reconciliation between them and have fear of Allah, such that you may attain mercy” (Surah al-Hujuraat:10)

Making things right between two people brings about peace, harmony and love and this has wider blessings for society as a whole. From a Shareeah point of view, this goal of bringing harmony is so important that it is one of the few areas in which any form of lying, with the intention of bringing about a greater good, is permitted. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

“There is no good in most of their secret talks save (in) him who orders charity or righteousness or conciliation between mankind; and he does this seeking the good pleasure of Allah. We shall give him a great reward” (Surah al-Nisaa:114)

There are many times in which the differences that occur between people happen within families or close friends. Sometimes it can feel that the differences are so great they are intractable. But Allah (swt) shows us how pleased He (swt) is with those who strive to please Him by reconciling the hearts. He (swt) even allows us to stretch the truth in order to try and bring two hearts together.

Can you think of anyone that you know who is not on speaking terms with someone close to them? Can you think of any way in which you could assist in bringing about a reconciliation between them? Perhaps inviting them both and mediating to sort out their differences? This is a greatly rewardable act, and as this hadith shows us, it is considered a form of charity in Islam. So let’s strive to please Allah (swt) by bringing about harmony in our community.

“Helping a man get on his mount, lifting him onto it or helping him put his belongings onto it, is a charitable act.”

Every act that a Muslim performs to help another person is pleasing to Allah (swt). In the part of the hadith the Prophet (s) states that even helping someone else onto or into their form of transport, or helping them with their baggage, is a charitable act.

Helping one another relieves the burdens and hardships in life. We cannot meet all our needs alone, we must seek help from others. When we assist each other in everyday tasks, this helps to develop love and togetherness amongst the Muslim community.

In fact, Allah (swt) has commanded the Muslims to help one another. He (swt) says:

“Help you one another in virtue and piety” (Surah al-Maaidah:2)

Included in the acts referred to in this hadith in this day and age would be giving one another a lift, helping each other if we have problems with our car and so forth. We should never overlook even the smallest opportunity to provide assistance to others with the intention of seeking the reward of Allah (swt).

A good word is a charitable act.”

What could be easier than saying a good word? This is within the means of anyone who has the ability to speak and reason, and it is considered an act of charity by Allah (swt). What better way to use the faculties of speech and reason that He (swt) has blessed us with? We should therefore perform this act as an expression of gratitude to Allah (swt) with the intention of pleasing Him (swt).

The expression ‘a good word’ includes many things. It is enjoining the good; reminding others about Allah (swt); spreading the salamdhikr or remembrance of Allah (swt); saying things which make another person happy; in fact any word by which Allah (swt) is remembered or which benefits His (swt) creation can be considered a good word.

As we learnt from the discussion of Hadith 15, the Prophet (s) said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good things or keep silent.”

We need to use the power of speech as a force for good. We must understand that just as speaking a good word is a charitable, so speaking a bad word can be a sin. Backbiting or speaking of others as they would not like to be spoken about, can actually earn punishment in the Hellfire, so we should never underestimate the importance of how we use our tongues.

So let’s use our speech in a way that is pleasing to our Creator (swt). Let’s speak good words and refrain from ill speech, let’s make dhikr of Allah (swt) and call others to worship Him (swt) and let’s glorify Him in the morning and night and be thankful for all that He (swt) has bestowed on us.

“Every step you take toward the prayer is a charitable act.”

Illustrating that every step we take towards the prayer is rewardable as a charitable act, show us the importance of prayer in congregation in the mosque. Allah (swt) will bestow bounties on us for each step we take towards the prayer.

There are other hadith that talk of the virtues of walking to the mosque. In particular, a hadith in Sahih Muslim records that the Tribe of Salamah wanted to move closer to the Prophet’s (s) mosque in Madinah. The Prophet (s) advised them not to move as the steps that they took towards the mosque would be recorded for them. He (s) also told them, that for every step they took, they would be raised another rank in Paradise.  From this, some scholars have also deduced that the greater the effort required in attending the mosque, the greater the reward.

Other hadith have noted the importance of the Fajr and Isha prayers in congregation (for men) in particular. The Prophet  (s) said:

“One who performs Isha prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.” (Recorded in Sahih Muslim)

“No prayers are more heavy (harder) for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the Isha prayer; but if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl.”(Recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari)

SubhaanAllah, they would go even if they had to crawl. How many people do we see forFajr prayer in the mosque? And yet the reward with Allah (swt) is so great.

These hadith reminds us of the reward not just for the act of prayer itself, but also the effort we make to attend it in congregation. A sense of community and companionship is created when we pray together. Congregational prayer brings the believers together to stand shoulder to shoulder and foot to foot in worship of Allah (swt), and Allah (swt) in His (swt) infinite mercy makes this prayer in congregation is 27 times more rewardable than the prayer performed alone. Not only this, He (swt) rewards us for every step we take to the prayer, every step we take closer to Him (swt). Let’s pray that He (swt) raises us another rank in Paradise for every step we take.

“And removing a harmful thing from the path is a charitable act.”

Removing something harmful from the road is an act of charity in gratitude to Allah (swt) that is available to almost everyone. It is a seemingly small act and yet its magnitude is so great. The Prophet (s) tells us that it is considered a charitable act by Allah (swt).

In another hadith the Prophet (s) describes the act of removing something from the road as being a branch of imaan or faith:

“Faith is seventy- or sixty- some odd branches. The most virtuous of them is the statement, ‘There is none worthy of worship but Allah.’ And the lowest of them is removing something harmful from the path. And hayaa (modesty) is part of faith.” (Recorded in Muslim)

If the Muslims of today were to abide by this teaching, our streets would be cleanest in the world!

How many of us see something harmful in the road, and yet do not think that it is our duty to do anything about it? The truly sad thing is that goes beyond laziness to something deeper. Many Muslims today actually feel that it is beneath them, to pick up something dirty from the road. When we feel like this, it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the teachings of Islam, and a lack of gratitude to our Creator (swt).

Let’s put this noble teaching into practice in our lives. Let’s clean up our streets and demonstrate our love and gratitude towards our Creator (swt).

In a hadith recorded in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (s) said:

Every morning there is on the bones and joints of any of you a charitable act. Every tasbeehah is a charitable act; every tahmeedah is a charitable act; every tahleelah is a charitable act; every takbeerah is a charitable act; ordering the good is a charitable act; eradicating evil is a charitable act. To fulfill that charity, it is sifficient to pray two rakats of Dhuha.”

This hadith contains elements of both the hadith recorded above, and the previous hadith, whilst also containing the important addition of the Dhuha prayer fulfilling the obligations of charity due upon the human being for each day the sun rises.

The Dhuha prayer consists of at least two rakats, but can contain as many as eight rakats broken up into sets of two rakats each. It is prayed in the time from just after sunrise until just before high noon, but it is preferred to delay it, based on the hadith of the Prophet (s):

“The prayer of the pentinent is when your weaned camels feel the heat of the sun.” (Recorded in Muslim)

Due to the fact that the hadith states that charity is due on the body on every day that the sun rises, and that the Dhuha prayer fulfills this charity, it is highly recommended that we strive to pray at least two rakats of prayer to fulfill this requirement.

Abu Huraira (r) said in a hadith recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (s) advised him to perform three acts: fast three days every month, perform two rakats of the Dhuha Prayer and perform the Witr Prayer before he slept.

Let’s make it our practice to perform at least two rakats of prayer during the morning time to show our gratitude to Allah (swt) for the blessing of our bodies, and to fulfill this act of charity that is due upon us each day the sun rises.

Extracted from Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Al-Nawawi (Vol 2) by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo Pages 989-1009

1 Response to Hadith 26: A Charitable Act Upon Every Bone

  1. Jamilah Ghafur says:

    MashaAllah, soo much benefit in reading this.


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