Thursday, September 13, 2012

al-Hawdh - The Cistern and those turned away from it

The Cistern - al-Hawd and those turned away from it
Introduction
Allah will honour His slave and Messenger, Muhammad, in that great gathering by giving him a huge, vast cistern whose water is whiter than milk and sweeter than honey, with fragrance finer than musk. The vessels for drinking will be like the stars of the sky. This good water will come from the River of al-Kawtsar, which Allah granted to His Messenger in Paradise. The ummah of the Chosen Prophet will come to drink from it and whosoever would drink from it would never feel thirsty again.

Scholars differed as to the location of the Cistern; before or after the as-Siraat.
al-Ghazzaali and al-Qurtubi: It is before the people passing over as-Siraat, based on the fact that some of those who would drink from it will be taken to Hell. As what comes after as-Siraat is Paradise. [at-Tadzkirah: 302]
Ibn Hajar understood that Bukhariy’s view was that the Cistern will be after as-Siraat, since he narrated the ahaadeets about the Cistern after the ahaadeets about the Intercession (asy-Syafaa‘ah) and the ahaadeets about the setting up of as-Siraat. [Fath al-Baari: 11/466]
The first opinion (al-Qurtubi’s i.e Before as-Siraat) is preferable and correct. Ibn Hajar has examined the evidences of the 2 groups in his valuable book Fath al-Baari. The ahaadeets narrated concerning the Cistern are mutawaatir and there is no doubt among the scholars of hadeets that they are indeed mutawaatir.
More than 50 Sahaabah narrated these ahaadeets from the Messenger and all their names were mentioned by Ibn Hajar (al-Fath: 11/486).
Here we will quote some of these ahaadeets narrated by al-Khateeb at-Tabrizi in his Misykaat (Misykaat al-Mashobieh: 3/68):
i. “My Cistern is (as big as) a month’s journey and it’s corners are like the same (i.e. it is square, with all sides of equal length). It’s water is whiter than milk and it’s fragrance is better than musk. It’s drinking-vessels are like stars of the sky. Whoever drinks from it, will never feel thirsty again.” [NB Bukhari and Muslim from ‘Abdillah ibn ‘Amr]
ii. “My Cistern is greater than the distance between Aylah (i.e. the city of ‘Aqabah in Jordan) and ‘Aden (in Yemen). It is whiter than snow and sweeter than honey with milk. It’s drinking-vessels number more than the stars, and I will prevent other people from coming to it just as a man prevents the camels of other people from coming to his trough. They said: O Messenger of Allah, will you recognize us on that Day? Yes, you will have a sign that no other nation has. You will come to me with white faces and limbs from the traces of wudhuu’.” [NB Muslim from Abu Hurayrah]
iii. “In it you will see vessels of gold and silver, as numerous as the stars in the sky.” [NB Muslim from Anas]
iv. “It is whiter than milk and sweeter than runny honey. It has pipes leading into it from Paradise. One of gold and other of silver.” [NB Muslim from Tsawbaan]
Those who will come to the Cistern and those who will be prevented from doing so
Many ahaadeets described those who will come to his Cistern to drink and those who will be prevented from drinking from it. We will mention here some of these ahaadeets mentioned by Ibn Atsier in his Jaami‘ al-Usool (1/468):
i. I will be the first one among you to reach the Cistern and some men among you will come to me, but when I offer them something to drink, it will be snatched away from them in front of me. I will say: O Lord, my companions! He will say: You do not know what they did after you were gone.” [NB al-Bukhari and Muslim from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘oud]
ii. “Some men among my Companions will come to the Cistern and when I would see them and they would reach me, they would be snatched away in haste from me. I would say: O Lord, my Companions! And He will say to me: You do not know what they did after you were gone.” [ibid from Anas] Another report: “Some people from among my ummah will come to me and I will say: Doomed is the one who changed after I was gone.” [NB al-Bukhari and Muslim]
iii. I will be the first among you to reach the Cistern. Whoever would come to it would drink and whoever would drink would never be thirsty again. People will come to me whom I will recognize and they will recognize me, then they will be taken away from me.” [ibid i.e Bukhari and Muslim]
Another report from Abu Sa‘ied, an addition to the previous report from Sahl ibn Sa‘d: “And he (the Prophet) would say: They belong to me. And it would be said: You do not know what they did after you were gone. And I (the Prophet) will say: Doomed, doomed is the one who changed after I was gone.” [NB al-Bukhari and Muslim]
iv. “A group of my Companions – or he said – a group from my ummah – will come to me on the Day of Resurrection and they will be pushed away from the Cistern. I will say: O Lord, my Companions! He will say: You have no knowledge of what they did after you were gone. They became apostate and turned on their heels”. In another report: “They will be taken away.” [NB Bukhari and Muslim from Abu Hurairah]
In Bukhari’s narration: “Whilst I would be standing at the Cistern, a group of people will come, and when I recognize them, a man will come and stand between me and them, He will say: Let’s go! I will say: Where to? He will say: To the Fire, by Allah. I will say: What is wrong with them? He will say: They became apostate and turned on their heels. And I will not see anybody saved from among them except a few.
Muslim narrated: “My ummah will come to me at the Cistern and I will be keeping the rest of the people away from it, just as a man keeps the camels of other people away from his own camels. They said: O’ Prophet of Allah, will you not recognize us? He said: Yes, you will have a sign that no one else will have. You will come with white faces and limbs from the traces of wudhuu’. But a group of you will be prevented from coming to me and they will not reach me. I will say: O’ Lord, these are from among my Companions. Then angels will come and say: Do you know what they did after you were gone?”
According to another report: “My Cistern is vaster than the distance between Aylah and ‘Aden. It is whiter than snow and sweeter than honey with milk. It’s vessels are more in number than the stars. I will be keep the people away from it just as a man keeps other people’s camels away from his trough. They said: O’ Messenger of Allah, will you recognize us on that Day? Yes, you will have a mark that no other nation will have. You will come to me with white faces and limbs.”
al-Qurtubi also narrated some of these ahaadeets in his “at-Tadzkirah” then he said: Our scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) said: Everyone who turns apostate from the religion of Allah or innovates in it something that Allah is not pleased with and does not permit, will be one of those who are turned away from the Cistern and kept away from it. Those who will be most forcefully turned away will be those who went against the Jama‘ah of the Muslims and left their path, such as the Khawarij with their various paths and the Raafidis (Rawafid = Shi‘ites) with their various forms of deviation and the Mu‘tazilites (Mu‘tazilah) with their various whims and desires. All of these are people who introduced changes into the Deen (Islam).
The same applies to the oppressors who go to extremes in their injustice, who conceal the truth, kill and humiliate it’s people (people of truth) and who openly commit major sins and take sins lightly, including all the followers of misguidance, whims and desires as well as bid‘ah (innovation in religion).
Some may be kept away for a while, then brought close after being pardoned, if the changes they introduced were in the matter of deeds and not in the matter of beliefs (‘Aqeedah). Some will be known by the light of wudhuu’, then it will be said to them: {May you be doomed!}, if they were among the munaafiqien (hypocrites) at the time of the Messenger of Allah, who made an outward display of faith whilst concealing kufr in their hearts. The Prophet will take them at face value, then their true nature will be revealed and it will be said to them: {You are doomed!} No one will spend eternity in Hell except the one who blatantly rejects/rejected the truth and who does/did not have even a mustard-seed’s worth of faith (ieman) in his heart.
[at-Tadzkirah: pg. 306]
In conclusion, we are to take knowledge from our predecessor scholars. We are not to interprete a particular hadeets or verse of the Quran, without accumulating all the various narrations/verses with different wordings (of somewhat similar meaning or contradicting implications) and then do as what our pious predecessors did, that is what they termed as “al-jam‘u” (reconcile between various verses/narrations), or “an-naskh” (which has been abrogated and hence does not stand as a valid daleel anymore) and at the very last resort, “at-tarjieh” (comparing the apparent contradiction of these verses/narrations, then with extreme scrutiny and clear justification, take one meaning/ruling as the correct or preferable and disregard the other). This principle, is the very basis of a righteous path and a deviated one in understanding the texts of the Quran and Sunnah as well as other daleels. The deviated sects/groups do not uphold this principle, like the Shi’ites, the Mu‘tazilites or Liberalists, the Jahomites, the Qadariyah and Jabariyah and many others.
In this case, al-Qurtubi made it very clear that the “companions” mentioned in these narrations with their variety in wording, means:
i. Those who were hypocrites during the blessed lifetime of the Messenger – as once, a companion had the intention of killing some of these hypocrites when their true nature of disbelief was exposed by Allah, the Messenger said to him, stopping him from doing it: “No. People (the disbelievers) will say: Muhammad ordered the killing of his companions
ii. The ‘ummah” not literally “the companions” as in some of these narrations. As for the word “recognize them/you”, the Prophet will recognize them/you with the mark or traces of wudhu’ and as we know, even the hypocrites performed the wudhu’.
Wallahu a‘lam.
 
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