Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani: Holding unto Faith like holding a hot coal


All praises and thanks are due to Allah the Lord of the worlds. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the soul of our noble Messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah, his family, his companions and those who follow his path till the day of reckoning. Allah says in the glorious Qur’an:

Q 3:102-O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.

Q 4:1-O mankind! reverence your Guardian-Lord, who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, His mate, and from them twain scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;- reverence Allah, through whom ye demand your mutual (rights), and (reverence) the wombs (That bore you): for Allah ever watches over you.

Q 33:701-O ye who believe! Fear Allah, and (always) say a word directed to the Right: That He may make your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins: He that obeys Allah and His Messenger, has already attained the highest achievement.

Verily, the best speech is Allah’s speech; the best guidance is Muhammad’s (saw) guidance: and the worst matters (in creed or worship) are those innovated (by the people), for every innovated matter is bid’ah ( prohibited innovation), and every bid’ah is an act of misguidance that(whoever initiated it) will reside in the Fire

The topic of discussion is based on prophetic tradition of our noble messenger (saw).  The Hadith states: Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) said, There will come upon the people a time when holding onto the religion will be like holding onto hot coal.  (Sunan al-Tirmidhi? 2260  Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani. 

The narrator of this Hadith was Anas Ibn Malik.  His full name is Abu Hamzah Anas ibn Maalik ibn Nadar al-Khazraji. He was born ten years before the Hijrah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He embraced Islam while very young. His mother brought him to the Prophet (peace be upon him) so he could act as a servant to the Prophet (peace be upon him).  He spent about ten years in that capacity. He also took part in ten of the battles of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) prayed that Allah bless him, give him wealth, long life, lots of children and enter him into Paradise.  As a result of the Du’a of the Prophet (saw) on him, he became a wealthy man and had over 120 children and grandchildren by the time of his death.  He was over one hundred years old when he died.  After the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him) he moved to Damascus and later settled in Basra.  He is considered to be the last Companion to have died in Basra, dying in the year 93 A.H.  Some 2,200 Hadith are narrated on his authority in the books of Hadith.

This Hadith comprises of a khabar (news, information) and an Irshaad (guidance). In the case of the news and information (khabar), the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) informed that indeed at the end of time al-Khayr (goodness) will decrease and evil  will increase. And indeed at that time one who holds firmly onto his religion from amongst the people will be of the fewest of the few. The people who adhere to the teachings of Islam will be in minority while those who oppose it within and outside Islam will be in majority. The hardship and adversity the minority who adhere to their faith is just like the state of the one holding onto hot coals because of the strength of those who oppose Islam. A lot of people will rise up only to mislead others from following the truth of Islam. 

The  fitan(trials)  of the period take various forms namely:

i. Ash-Shahawaat - desires became widespread. People prefer to live their lives according to their desires rather than dictates of Allah. Today many people prefer to follow the so-called celebrities with fake and dubious lives as their role models rather than the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and the righteous predecessors. Most of these celebrities have no homes or families, no wife but they have uncountable baby mamas.

ii. Ash-Shubuhaat- doubts. Many youths and some young people exhibit doubt on the workability of Islam in their lives. These are people with no background knowledge of Islam. They are found among the so-called educated group who are intoxicated in their non-Islamic education. 

iii. Suspicion is another manifestation of the trials of the period. Righteous and good Muslims are suspected in their day to day lives by others who refuse to take to the directives of Allah.

iv. al-ilhaad-atheism, materialism , deviation and weakness of faith also constitute ideologies of the period of discussion. These teachings are meant to erode the faith of believers in Allah. Our educational system is filled with these ideologies in the guise of globalization. Many mallams today run after the hair of albinos, the heart/ liver of many children, the breast of women to achieve material progress as they claim. The Yoruba among them say, ‘whoever will be an important person must eat human parts (eniti yio je’yan gbodo je eniyan)’. Many so-called religious clerics are dealers of human parts all for money and power

We can imagine the condition of the one who is holding on to a hot coal. Yet, the one who is in this position knows that he cannot let go. This is the condition of a good believer because s/he knows that life  is temporary, s/he knows that the promise of Allah is true and waits to get His promise, s/ he knows that eternity in Jannah is better than any pain suffered in this lowly dunya (world), s/he knows that this pain is nothing compared to the pain of the inhabitants of the Hellfire. This is the import of holding unto faith like holding a hot coal. The righteous slave of Allah will not sell his seat in Paradise for an hour in this lowly, transient, dunya (world). S/he will be patient and strive to please Allah in spite of the persecution of the ignorant.  Allah gives a glad tidings to the believers in  9:120  that“...Surely Allaah wastes not the reward of the Muhsinoon (the good doers)” [Surah at-Tawbah: 120]



There is corruption everywhere just like the Qura’an describes it as corruption on land and on sea. Allah says in Q 30:41, ‘  Evil has appeared in Al-Barr and Al-Bahr because of what the hands of men have earned’. Today, there is fitnah (trial, corruption) everywhere. The youths are  faced with many trials and temptations. Many people are believers in the morning and disbelievers at night and vice versa. They sell their religion for worldly gain. The pillar of holding on to one faith is to belief in the Hereafter, the punishment and the reward. The Belief in the Hereafter is the Pillar of faith in Islam and this explains why a Muslim is conscious of his or her deeds. There is a day of recompense. How many Muslims know that zina (adultery) is haram (forbidden) before  they  commit it, flirt online, date online and even commit zina (adultery) without remorse?

How many Muslims know that khamr(alcohol and drugs) are haram and still drink, serve guests? How many Muslims know that riba (interest) is haram, but all  their  business dealings are on riba? The mosques do not collect gate fees but the mosques are scanty outside Ramadan but cinema houses, football viewing centres are full all year round.



Also included in the struggle for Muslims to stand firm in their faith is the enormous hatred against Islam and Muslims globally today. Hate speeches against Muslims is very high,  hate Killings against Muslims across the globe is unparallel while demonization of Hijab and beards by sisters and brothers in search of jobs, for national ID, International Passport  are common cases of abuse and victimization against Muslims even in a democracy! There is also a global programme of deconstructing  the Masjid in which mosque is no more a place for authentic teachings of Islam are taught and that there are  no shia, no sunni, no hijab or niqab, no hijab  are new models to be propagated in mosques. Recently one of such mosque was established in one of the floors of Lutheran church in Germany. A mosque inside a church! The Imam of the mosque who is a woman and when asked about her religious credentials to be leading a Muslim congregation, she responded that she was just learning Islam. What an irony! The Mosque is tagged as the bastion of terrorism and many Mosques are wiretapped by security agencies. We are currently living in an age where religion and morality have been pushed aside. What is good appears to the people as evil, what is evil appears to be good, and the confusion has infected the Ummah at large.

  It is narrated on the authority of Thauban that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:

“A group of people from my Ummah will always remain triumphant on the right path and continue to be triumphant (against their opponents). He who deserts them shall not be able to do them any harm...”[Saheeh Muslim]. This group will be upon the truth and will not be affected by the taunts of outsiders. Allah says in Q 10:32:


 “Such is Allah, your Lord in truth. So after the truth, what else can there be, save error? How then are you turned away?” [Surah Yoonus: 32]


Also in Q 6:153:


“And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths for they will separate you away from His path. This He has ordained for you that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (pious)” [Surah Al-An’aam: 153]


As Muslims, we are under strict orders to travel upon the straight path and we ask Allah every day, in every salaah:

“Guide us to the Straight Path” [Surah Fatihah: 6].

The one who practises the Sunnah today appears to be upon misguidance because the Sunnah is not known among the ignorant masses. The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:

“Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange. So glad tidings for the strangers” [Saheeh Muslim].  Allaah says in Q 25:63:   

 “And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” [Surah Al-Furqaan: 63]



The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam ) was reported to have said “Islâm began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers It was asked, “Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allâh?” He replied, “Those that correct the people when they become corrupt.” [Reported by Abû Amr al-Dani, from the hadîth of ibn Masûd]. Another narration says, ‘Those that correct my sunnah which has been corrupted by the people after me’.  In another narration he said in response to the same question, “They are a small group of people among a large evil population. Those who oppose them are more than those who follow them.” [Reported by ibn Asâkir. It is authentic according to al-Albânî.]. "It was said: ‘Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?’ He, [sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam], said: ‘Those who rectify (themselves/others) when the people have become corrupt.’”[ Imaam Ahmad, Al-Bazaar and Abu Ya’laa. Al-Haythamee said in Majma’-uz-Zawaa’id (7/277).  Others have transmitted it with the following words, in which he,[ sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] said: "They are those who flee from trials (fitan) for the sake of their Religion." Allah the Law Giver also said the Qur’an:  

“And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray” (al-An‘âm:116).  Also, ‘O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who err” (al-Mâ’idah 105), 


The time under discussion is also a time when stinginess is obeyed over charity and helping others. People don’t care about their aged parents, their siblings and members of the society. It is a  time when desires are followed as against following the orders of Allah. It is this love for desires that explains the massive support for gay across the world today.

The present world is preferred over the Akhirah(hereafter) in words and actions. The period is a time  when people are deluded with their personal opinions than that of Allah words. They are quick to say don’t bring religion here, don’t quote Hadith when a discussion is initiated as if they created themselves. The Prophet said:

For indeed, after you there will be days of patience, where patience will be like holding on to glowing embers. Whoever is able to do this will have the reward of fifty people that do like him.” They asked, “O Messenger of Allâh, the reward of fifty of them?” He replied, “The reward of fifty of you” [Recorded by al-Tirmidhî and Abû Dâwûd with a weak chain but it has supporting evidence. Al-Albânî calls it sâhîh. See al-Sahîhah, #957].


The spiritual life of every person is not static. There is a good time and there is a bad time.  Abdullah ibn Rawaaha and Abu al-Darda, two Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), stated "Imaan is like a shirt. Sometimes a person wears it and at other times he takes it off." [ibn Rajab, Jaami, vol. 1 , p. 303.]

1. Establish brotherhood based on faith as Musa (As) did by asking Allah to choose for him Harun (AS) his brothers. The Qur’an 20: 29 says,  ‘And appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun, my brother’. The essence of brotherhood in Islam is to help you to obey Allah.   Brotherhood supports you when you are weak and that is why a Muslim must choose friends wisely.

2. Another important principle needed to survive in the conditions of humanity as discussed in the Hadith is for a Muslim to be contented with the little. All of us will die and we won’t go with our worldly possessions

3. Again, we must not to compete with the world for the purpose of the world.  Those who procure human parts, join occult groups and those who patronise charlatans in the name of worldly achievements are only after this world.

4. Let us make tawbah (repentance) always and quickly anytime we stray from the path of righteousness.  Through sin man turns away from God, and by repentance he turns from sin and returns to the path of God. Hence, repen¬tance is a means by which man may strive to purify himself and return to his original sinless state of the Fitrah

5. Let us always flee to our Lord as captures in  Q 51:50, ‘  So, flee to Allah. Verily, I am a plain warner to you from Him’. In explaining this verse, Ibn Kathir wrote: seek shelter with Him and trust in Him in all of your affairs. The place of dhikr(God’s remembrance) in achieving this objective cannot be underestimated. There are four matters, when the limits are transgressed with regards to them, which harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. Ibn Qayyim said: Allah’s protection and defending of Muslims will be in accordance with their remembrance of Him. So whoever is more perfect in faith and remembrance will have greater protection and defence from Allah and whoever has less faith and remembrance gets less defence and protection

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the noble Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam).

Prof. Abdulrazaq KIlani (FCAI)
University of Port Harcourt
Email: [email protected]
Contact: +234-803 702 9180

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2018-01-22 08:07