Opinion Editorials, April 2004, To see today's opinion articles, click here: ww.aljazeerah.info




News Archive

Arab Cartoons

News Photo




Opinion Editorial

letters to the editor

Human Price of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine


Israeli daily aggression on the Palestinian people 

Media Watch

Mission and meaning of Al-Jazeerah

News Photo

Peace Activists


Book reviews

Public Announcements 

   Public Activities 

Women in News

Cities, localities, and tourist attractions




Guidance From the Prophet: Immediate Compliance With Divine Orders

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 4/23/04

Taking a nap in the afternoon was the practice recommended by the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It appears that the Prophet had endorsed this, because scholars of Hadith have included their statements about an afternoon nap, which carry a religious dimension. These have been included by scholars of Hadith in their collections, either because of this religious dimension, or because there is some other religious point in the statement. We will comment very briefly on some such statements.

Sometimes a few men from the Quraysh would sit by Abdullah ibn Masoud’s door. When the sun has turned and the shadow began to take its shape, he would tell them to leave, saying: “What is left is for Satan.” He would tell everyone he sees sitting there to leave. As he was once doing so, he was pointed to a man who was a slave and a poet. He asked him to say something of his poetry and the man said this line: “Bid farewell to Sulayma when you are joining a campaign. Sufficient warner against sin are gray hair and Islam.” Ibn Abbas told him to stop, praising what he said as a piece of wisdom. (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

To explain, Ibn Abbas would tell those people to leave after the midday prayer has been offered, so that they could have some rest at home. He did not encourage them to stay and chat, because they might indulge in frivolous talk, which would please Satan. We also see how Ibn Abbas appreciated the man’s poetry. Growing gray should serve as a warner against sin, because it indicates that the person concerned has attained maturity and his activity would begin to decline. This is a first reminder that death would be approaching.

The other point of warning is embracing the Islamic faith, because it emphasizes the need to maintain the right path so as to save oneself of punishment in the hereafter. It always reminds people of the Day of Judgment when they will meet God and have all their deeds done in this present life reckoned and they will be rewarded or punished on the basis of that reckoning.

Taking an afternoon nap is very useful, particularly in hot climate, as it is refreshing and invigorating. After a short nap, one can start a fresh period of activity. While when people sit to talk for a long period after they had lunch, this may lead to some undesirable action. Hence, the statement, “what is left is for Satan,” meaning that it gives an opportunity for Satan to try to tempt people to indulge in what displeases God. If they are tired, they may have less resistance of temptation.

A nap is most beneficial in the afternoon. If it is taken toward the end of the day, it becomes counterproductive. A Hadith reported by Khuwat ibn Jubayr says: “Sleeping early in the day betrays ignorance, in the middle of the day is right, and at the end of the day is stupid.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad). Human experience confirms all this, as a person who spends the early part of the day asleep seems not to know what he needs to do in his day, while sleeping in the early afternoon is healthy and beneficial, but at the end of the day and before nightfall causes inactivity instead of being refreshing.

An indication of the Prophet’s companions practice is seen in the following Hadith which speaks mainly about something different, but mentions an occasion when some of the Prophet’s companions took a nap in the afternoon: “Anas, the Prophet’s companion who served him for ten years, reports: ‘At the time when wines were made forbidden, no drink was more appealing to the people of Madinah than wine made of dates mixed with unripe dates. Once I was serving some of the Prophet’s companions who gathered at Abu Talhah’s place when a man passed by and said: ‘Wine has been made forbidden.’ They neither asked when, nor suggested that they should wait until they made sure. They simply said to me: ‘Anas, spill it off.’ They then had a nap at Umm Sulaym’s until the day was a little cooler, and they washed. Umm Sulaym gave them some perfume and they went to see the Prophet where they learnt that the news they had heard was true. They never tasted wine again.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

The relevance of this Hadith to the subject we are discussing is that the Prophet’s companions had their nap after midday, when the temperature was at its highest. But then we have the main point of the Hadith, which is the readiness of the Prophet’s companions to comply with divine orders the moment they hear them. Here we find some of them relaxing with a drink of the best wine they enjoy, when a man tells them that a new injunction has been given prohibiting wines and spirits. They do not question him, or try to check, or go on drinking until they have confirmed the report. They immediately tell the young man serving them to spill all the wine over, for they have no longer any use for it. This is the proper attitude of a Muslim.

When they have had their nap and washed, their hostess, Umm Sulaym who was Abu Talahah’s wife, gives them some perfume to remove any lingering trace of the smell of wine they might have had and they proceed to see the Prophet. When the report of the prohibition of intoxicants is confirmed, they never taste it again. There can be no better attitude of such prompt compliance with divine orders.

The last Hadith we are looking at today is on a different subject. Nafi’ was a servant of Abdullah ibn Umar who was one of the best scholars among the Prophet’s companions. Nafi’ learned and reported everything from Ibn Umar. He tells us that he was once asked whether Abdullah ibn Umar used to invite people to dinner. He answered: “Once a camel of his broke his leg and we slaughtered it.” After that, he said to me: “Invite all the people of Madinah.” I said: “What shall we invite them to eat when we have no bread?” He said: “My Lord, all praise and thanks are due to You! Here we have meat and sauce. Whoever wishes to eat will eat, and whoever does not will bid us goodby and leave.” (Related by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad).

Abdullah ibn Umar learned much from the Prophet and whatever he learned, he implemented. His attitude here is the one encouraged by the Prophet who was keen to instil in his companions the notion that they should not despise even the smallest act of kindness. If one has only some humble food to eat, he should not hesitate to invite a friend, a poor person or a neighbor to share it with him. Such kindness is rewarded by God even if some people do not appreciate it. Needless to say this applies to very poor people. Those who are not so poor, will not appreciate this unless they are true believers.



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, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.