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Guarantee From God Himself, Adil Salahi, Arab News Staff

When we buy something expensive, such as a car, a computer or an electric appliance, we always look at the guarantee that comes with it. We want to be sure that it will function well for a minimum period of time. Such a guarantee satisfies a natural feeling that when you part with a substantial sum of money, you want to be sure that you are getting what that sum is worth. However, a guarantee given by a dealer or a manufacturer is only reliable so longer as the status of the party issuing it remains sound. But if we were to compare such a guarantee with one given by God, then the difference is great indeed.

There are many statements in the Qur’an and in the Hadith which include promises given by God. Every such promise is certain to be fulfilled because God’s promises always come true. A Hadith quotes the Prophet as saying: “Three people have a guarantee from God: each one of them has the assurance that if he lives, he is spared evil, and if he dies he is admitted into heaven. Whoever enters his home saying a greeting of peace has a guarantee from God, and whoever goes out to the mosque has a guarantee from God, and whoever goes out striving for God’s cause has a guarantee from God.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad and Ibn Hibban)

The Hadith is self-explanatory, but we are more concerned here with the first part which gives a guarantee to a person who says a greeting on entering his or her own home. If there are people inside, then the greeting is offered to them, and this spreads a friendly feeling inside the home, with one’s own family. If nobody is in, then the greeting is to oneself. This is also encouraged, because when we go into an empty home, there is always a feeling of apprehension, until one is certain that nothing wrong has taken place in one’s absence.

There are people who think too highly of themselves, or treat their own families as subordinates. A man of this type wants his wife and children to come up to him and greet him as he enters. He is reluctant to be the first to offer a greeting. This is not the proper Islamic practice. Jabir, a companion of the Prophet who related a large number of Hadiths, says: “When you enter your home, offer a greeting to your family, for it is a blessed, goodly greeting from God.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

A similar Hadith is reported by Anas who quotes the Prophet as saying: “Son, when you enter your own home, offer a greeting of peace, or salam, for it is a blessing to you and to your family.” (Related by Al-Tirmidhi).

Needless to say, this is part of the good manners Islam teaches. It is aimed at generating the right atmosphere of love and compassion within the family.

There is another aspect to greeting when one goes into one’s own home. Jabir reports that he heard the Prophet saying: “When a man enters his own home and mentions God’s name as he enters and when he eats, Satan says (to his offspring): ‘Tonight, you have neither a place to stay nor food.’ If the man enters without mentioning God’s name, Satan says: ‘You have a place to stay tonight.’ Then if the man does not mention God’s name when he eats, Satan says: ‘You have both a place to stay and food tonight.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, and Ibn Hibban)

This is obviously a figurative statement. It is not a matter where Satan is looking for a place where he could lodge his offspring, or provide food for them. They do not eat the same type of food we eat. But it is a question of their being able to find a place where they could do their evil work of seduction, persuading people to do what is forbidden, and stirring trouble between people. When one is used to mentioning God’s name before embarking on any action, including entering one’s own home and eating, then Satan has little room to play. Every time a person mentions God’s name, he reminds himself of God, and is on his guard, trying to bring his actions and his thoughts in line with what pleases God. In this way, he leaves no room for Satan to influence him in thought or action.

A question arises on whether seeking permission is required at all places, or only when one wishes to enter a home. A Hadith tells us that two people went to visit Anas ibn Malik, the Prophet’s companion who served him for ten years in Madinah. “Anas ibn Malik was sitting in his corridor alone. My friend greeted him and asked: ‘May I enter?’ Anas said: ‘Come in. This is a place where no one is required to seek permission.’ He then put some food before us and we ate. And he brought a large container with some soft drink. He drank of it and gave us to drink.” (Related by al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

It is clear from this Hadith that when a person is at the entrance of his own home, or in the front corridor, where he can see anyone coming near, there is no need to seek permission. It is not a place where one has privacy which needs to be respected. Rather, it is a place where one is almost in the street. Hence, seeking permission is not required.

The same applies to shops and the market place. Mujahid reports: “Abdullah ibn Umar used not to seek permission before entering shops in the market.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

This is only natural because if we were required to seek permission before entering a shop, then this means that a shopkeeper, or an assistant should always be near the door to give such permission. This may be hard for them to maintain. When a person opens his shop in the morning, he is seeking business, which means that people should come in and look for what they need. He is ready to receive whoever calls. It is unlike a home or a private room where one maintains one’s privacy. Here neither the shopkeeper nor his customers expect privacy. It is a business place where people are welcome to enter and look for what they need.

Arab News Islam 30 May 2003




Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).

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