It was narrated that Tamim Ad-Dari said: “The Messenger of Allah said:
«الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ» قُلْنَا: لِمَنْ؟ قَالَ: «لِلَّهِ، وَلِكِتَابِهِ، وَلِرَسُولِهِ، وَلِأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ»
‘Religion is sincerity (An-Nasihah).’ They said: ‘To whom, O Messenger of Allah?’ He said: ‘To Allah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the imams of the Muslims, and to their common folk.’”(Muslim)
With the weakening of the Arabic language since the middle of the 18th century, many Islamic concepts became incomprehensible, thus it became more and more difficult to implement Islam and to live Islamic life. One of these concepts that became misunderstood is the concept of “naseehah” (advice, sincerity) as described by our Prophet (saw) in the Hadeeth above.
The word “Naseehah” is defined as a good speech, preach, advice, recommendation, admonition and lesson, with the aim to advice a person for his own good sake. This is the meaning that is commonly understood by the Muslims. However, scholars have described the concept of Naseehah in this Hadith not only in terms of “advising”, as it is commonly understood, but rather in terms of Deen and Islam. Also, they defined this Hadith as one of the four Ahadith that are regarded as the main pillars of Islam.
Scholars have described advice as sincere and wholehearted passion towards something or someone, being committed to that, having sincerity, loyalty and truthfulness. Persons, who do not have a sense of deception and are sincere in their heart are called nasih or nasuh. As a matter of fact, wholehearted, true and sincere repentance is called Tawba Nasooh in the Qur’an. The great scholar of Islam, Tirmidhi, used the word naseehah together with the words compassion, mercy, intimacy (ulfah) and affection (mawaddah). According to Qurtubi, the opposite of Naseehah is betrayal. Additionally, al-Ajurri defined naseehah as the opposite of deception, and al-Daylami used the word “enmity” as the opposite of naseehah.
Bayhaqi, one of the great Islamic scholars, described Naseehah as: “To give advice to Muslims; feeling sadness in the heart due to the suffering and sorrow of the Muslims, to face the suffering of the Muslims, to guide the Muslims to every beneficial matter”.
Today, we the Muslims are being crushed by calamities due to rulers, who lack of sincerity and advice towards us, who do not feel our sorrows, do not face our suffering, and who do not guide us to the beneficial interests that are our right.
As for the Deen being “Naseehah to Allah, to His Book and His Messenger”, first of all, it was described as an invitation to embrace Iman in them and a sincere response to this invitation. One must not forget that it is the Islamic state that will enable Muslims to live an Islamic life by applying Allah’s orders in the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is the state that will invite humanity to Allah, the Book and the Messenger.
Therefore, in the continuation of the hadith, Deen is described as “naseehah to the leaders of the believers (aimma – plural of imam) and to all Muslims”. The Imam, i.e. the Khalifah, is the leader of the Ummah, thus he is responsible for preserving, maintaining (applying), and spreading Islam. It is the Khalifah who is responsible for maintaining the sincerity in living Islam, for preserving the faith of the Muslims and protecting them from transgression, committing sins, from conducting oppression and being oppressed. It is the Khalifah who is responsible for ensuring the unity of the Islamic Ummah. As long as they follow the orders of Islam and implement the Truth, it is obligatory for us Muslims to obey and support them. However, in order for us to fulfil this, our rulers must both be Muslims and rule upon Islam!
Likewise, “naseehah” is also vital for the scholars, mentors and for those of influence, since they are also the leaders of the Ummah. It is their main duty to reform themselves, their rulers and the Ummah.
Therefore, it is obligatory upon each of us, as scholars and Muslims, to command the good and to forbid the munkar, and to tell the cruel rulers about their cruelty so that they do not deviate from the truth. For
«إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةَ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ»
“Indeed, among the greatest types of Jihad is a just statement before a tyrannical ruler.” (Abu Dawud ), and this is sincerity or “naseehah” expressed with the words of Rasulallah (saw).
If we do not fulfil our duty towards the rulers properly, if we do not prevent them from ruling with kufr, if we do not prevent them from trusting and serving the kuffar, and if we do not call them to unite the Ummah and to apply Allah’s commands and prohibitions, how can we ever please Allah? How will we be able to give account to our Lord?
Today, the main reason for the calamities that beset the Islamic Ummah and all humanity is that we are far from the concept of “naseehah”. The occupations in our lands, the exploitation of our wealth, the abuse of our lives and chastity as toys in the hands of unbelievers is the greatest calamity, caused by the absence of the head of the Ummah – the “Imam (Khalifa)”, our “shield”, as described by Rasulullah (saw). It is a calamity that we are prevented from uniting as a single Ummah of Islam in face of the attacks on our Qur’an, our Prophet (saw) and all the sublime values of the Muslims. The prevalence of poverty, corruption, incompetence and bribery in our lands, the lack of infrastructure, the inadequacy of education and health services, the lack of justice, etc. are all calamities. The plundering of nature and the environment for the sake of capitalist interests is a calamity. Failure to take precautions against damages that may occur due to natural disasters, and the absence or non-implementation of post-disaster emergency response plans are calamities.
The fact is, however, that Allah (swt) gave us Islam so that we find life. He (swt) gave us Islam as a solution to all these calamities and He “has chosen Islam as our way”!
So, how can we ever please our Lord, unless we rule and govern by Islam, i.e. by that what He (swt) is pleased with?!
Therefore, every Muslim, who embraced the pleasure of his Lord as the sole purpose of his life, is obliged to work with fervent, resolution and determination to unite the Ummah as a single Ummah, and to rule and to be ruled by Islam, and to make Islam dominant again, according to the Method of Prophethood. It is obligatory upon us to appoint a Khalifah who will implement Islam in life.
Without doubt; “Deen is Naseehah – Abandoning Naseehah is Musibah (calamity)”! Calamities are the representation of Allah’s displeasure with us.