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3 Things Make Your Faith Perfect

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent.

Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day honor his neighbor.

Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day honor his guest.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

In this hadith, the Prophet outlines three conditions for having a perfect faith. We notice here that the Prophet links between believing in God and believing in the Last Day. This is because the Last Day is the day in which a believer will enjoy the fruits of his belief. It is on that day that the benefits of meeting the conditions stipulated in this hadith will be reaped.

Speak Good or Be Silent

Your tongue is a trust from God and therefore it should be properly used. The hadith suggests two good uses of the tongue. Speaking good is one that entails giving advice to people, teaching people, ordaining good, forbidding evil, reading the Quran, mentioning God, etc.

In another hadith the Prophet even depicts how the tongue could be an important tool for change in society:

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

On the other hand it should be made clear that whosoever speaks bad or does not remain silent is not a believer, meaning that his belief is not perfect, or that he is an ordinary believer who does not ascend to the level of excellence.

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And remaining silent should not be understood to mean not to speak the truth to remove injustice or oppression. There are cases which necessitate that one should speak up. When the Prophet was asked what kind of jihad is best? He (peace be upon him) replied:

“A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler.” (Al-Nasa’i)

Thus, the original situation is to remain silent. You speak only when you are asked to speak. The Prophet was once asked if we are held accountable for the things we utter. And his answer was: Does anything topple people headlong into the Hellfire save the harvests of their tongues? We, therefore, should abstain from all kinds of evil talk like backbiting, gossip, etc.

Honoring Neighbors

The second condition of having a perfect faith is that you should show kindness and hospitality to your neighbors, as Muslims are highly recommended to take care of their neighbors. To that God says:

{And worship God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess. Verily, God does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner.} (4:36)

A prophetic hadith is to pinpoint this; doing kindness to neighbors:

“Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs.” (Al-Bukhari)

Such kindness to neighbors includes sharing their moments of happiness and sorrow, helping them at times of crisis, visiting them, inviting them to our houses, accepting their invitations, giving presents to them, etc. Lady Aisha narrated:

“I said, ‘O God’s messenger! I have two neighbors and would like to know to which of them I should give presents.’ He replied, ‘To the one whose door is nearer to you.’ (Al-Bukhari)

Another narration of the hadith suggests not harming neighbors instead of honoring them. This narration is supported by another hadith in which the Prophet observed:

“He will not enter Paradise whose neighbor is not secure from his wrongful conduct.” (Muslim)

Protecting neighbors and maintaining their honor and dignity are another aspect of kindness. To the Prophet, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said:

“O God’s messenger! Which is the biggest sin?”

He said:

“To set up rivals to God by worshiping others though He alone has created you.”

I asked:

“What is next?”

He said:

“To kill your child lest it should share your food.”

I asked: “What is next?”

He said:

“To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbor.” (Al-Bukhari)

Honoring Guests

A third and last condition pertaining to believing in God and the Last Day is to honor the guest, as a true Muslim is the one who shows hospitality to those who visit him, a sign of respect, generosity and appreciation to the guest.

And hospitality, it is not limited to serving them food and drinks; rather it is more than that; making them feel welcomed and not in any way a source of trouble or inconvenience.

The Prophet is reported to have said:

“…. your guest has a right on you…” (Al-Bukhari)

And on that point, after receiving the first revelation, the Prophet went home and told his wife, Lady Khadija (may God be pleased with her):

“I fear that something may happen to me.”

Khadijah said:

‘Never! But have the glad tidings, for by God, He will never disgrace you as you keep good reactions with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones.” (Al-Bukhari)

Honoring guest was one the Prophet’s many noble characters.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive)

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.