All praises be to Allah, peace and blessings of Allah may be upon His messenger, his family, and his companions, peace be upon them all.
From the narration of Abu Huraira, the messenger of Allah said:
الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِىُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ وَفِى كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ احْرِصْ عَلَى مَا يَنْفَعُكَ وَاسْتَعِنْ بِاللَّهِ وَلاَ تَعْجِزْ وَإِنْ أَصَابَكَ شَىْءٌ فَلاَ تَقُلْ لَوْ أَنِّى فَعَلْتُ كَانَ كَذَا وَكَذَا. وَلَكِنْ قُلْ قَدَرُ اللَّهِ وَمَا شَاءَ فَعَلَ فَإِنَّ لَوْ تَفْتَحُ عَمَلَ الشَّيْطَانِ
“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allâh than the weak believer, although both are good. Strive to do that which will benefit you and seek the help of Allâh, and do not feel helpless. If anything befalls you, do not say: ‘If only I had done (such and such), then such and such would have happened,’ rather say: ‘Allâh has decreed and what He wills He does.’ For ‘if only’ opens the door to the work of the Sh aitân.” (Narrated by Muslim)
[Muslim in Chapter 47, Book of Divine Decree, An Nawawi – may Allah have mercy on him- put this hadith in the Chapter: “Belief In The Divine Decree And Submission To It.”]
There are several precious lessons to take from this beautiful hadith. Amongst them are:
The strong believer is better than the weak believer
The phrase of “strong believer” does not refer to the bodily strong, stout, and healthy believer, as what has been employed by some people when they heard about this hadith. Rather, it refers to the believer who has strong and firm faith in Islam. The reason why it just can not be perceived as bodily strength, because such strength- although it is basically neutral- will endanger the believer himself if it is used to perform sins and wickedness. But if it is devoted to useful matters, whether in worldly affairs or the afterworld’s, it is undoubtedly a good thing.
Hence, the word “strong believer” here means “the strong in faith and beliefs”. As we could express the word “strong” for physical strength and robust, we could also use it in terming the faith of a believer.
Further, the interpretation of strong faith in this context is the ability of a believer to perform his religious obligations, and the voluntary ones as perfection. While the weak believer, sometimes he abandon his obligations and reluctant to cease from the forbidden things, thus he is termed as “having weakness” in religion.
Based on that explanation, it is clear that the meaning of the sentence ” the strong believer is better that the weak believer” is that the strong believer in his faith is dearer to Allah than the weak one.
After that, The Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said that -despite the previous fact- both believers are good. He -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- mentioned it so that none will be misunderstood by perceiving the weak believer as having no positive sides at all. The weak believer still has goodness, and he is surely better than the unbelievers. However, it is important to notice here that the strong believer in faith is the one that is dearer and more beloved to Allah than the weak one.
Be spirited in performing Matters that are useful for you
This is the exhortation of The Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah-be upon him to his followers, and this contains a command to be enthusiast in performing useful and beneficial deeds. The contrary is to perform the endanger things, as well as committing the useless or dangerous things.
Because a deed could be devided into three parts:  The useful and beneficial deeds.  the dangerous things,  The deed that does not cause harms nor yield any benefits. And the commanded one is the useful one.
A smart person – upon receiving this worthy legacy of the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- must be keen to do useful works. Unfortunately, most of the people today waste their time for keeping up with useless things, even the harmful things that’ll damage their life and their religion. They deserve to be told: You are not realize the exhortation of the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- . It is probably that you don’t know about it, or you belittle it. A smart, strong-willed believer will surely accomplish his exhortation, by his enthusiasm in doing all useful deeds, for the sake of his religion and his worldly affairs.
The useful things in religion culminates in 2 matters: a beneficial knowledge, and virtuous deed.
A beneficial knowledge is the knowledge that could soften and bring peace into the hearts, which will yield worldly and The hereafter delights. This beneficial knowledge, which is the heart of the Prophet’s teaching, encompasses three entities: knowledge about hadith, tafseer (Qur’anic interpretation), and fiqih (Islamic Jurisprudence). The bridges to achieve better understanding in those fields of knowledge is the arabic language, and several other knowledge according to the needs. While the meaning of virtuous or pious deed is an endeavor which contains two principles, sincerely performed in the cause of Allah only, and in accordance with the guidance of the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-.
While the useful matters regarding the worldly affairs, is that it is a must for a believer to seek for sustenance through various lawful ways upon which he could afford to. And for every believer to feel satisfy and content with his provision, avoiding begging from others, performing his obligational charity (zakat), and giving alms toward the needy. Besides, for every one to strive to obtain the lawful and fine provisions, and to distance himself from the appalling provisions. Because the blessing of of one’s provision requires pious and correct intention as it’s basis, and requires it’s usage in obligatory or voluntary advantages, as well as it’s usage to put other people at ease. As Allah decreed:
وَلاَ تَنسَوُاْ الْفَضْلَ بَيْنَكُمْ
“And forget not to act gracefully with one another.” (The Cow: 237)
That is one who is blessed with vast amount of provisions should help the calamity-afflicted ones, by giving them loose due-time to settle their debts. If those requirements were being fulfilled, it is a must that one will acquired blessings in his provisions.
Put the Religious Benefits First
This is such a wonderful hadith to contemplate with for all mankind, even to be used as a guidance in accomplishing his deeds -whether in worldly or religious affairs. The Prophet- may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “Strive to do that which will benefits you.” This saying encompasses every beneficial things, worldly, and in the hereafter. But if the two benefits coincide, then the religious benefit shall comes first. Because by the achievement of religious benefit, the worldly benefit will be automatically obtained. But if the worldly advantages were achieved by sacrificing religion, it is a must that the advantages will soon be perished.
Hopefully, this following saying of the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- could serve as a contemplation for all of us.
مَنْ كَانَتِ الآخِرَةُ هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ غِنَاهُ فِى قَلْبِهِ وَجَمَعَ لَهُ شَمْلَهُ وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِىَ رَاغِمَةٌ وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ جَعَلَ اللَّهُ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ وَفَرَّقَ عَلَيْهِ شَمْلَهَ وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَا قُدِّرَ لَهُ
“Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allâh makes his heart rich, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him whether it wants to or not. And whoever makes the world his goal, Allâh puts his poverty right before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and the world does not come to him, except what has been decreed for him.” (Narrated by At Tirmidhi, in hadith no. 2465. Sheikh Al Albaani classed it as ‘sahih’)
Prioritize the Higher In Benefits First
This hadith implies the urge to prioritize the one with higher benefits between two beneficial choices. For example, if one wants to visit his kith and kin, and he has to choose between visiting his sibling or his uncle, whereas the necessity to visit them disallow a simultaneous visit between the two, then he should prioritize visiting his sibling than his uncle, due to the higher benefits it possess compares to the visit to his uncle. The same way goes in choosing between two masjid (mosques) which are close to house, with a quite equal distance, but one of it gather more people in the time of praying compare to the other. In this condition, it is better to pray in a masjid with a larger amount of people within it.
Thus, it is a must for us to keep in mind about this quintessential principle: If there are two beneficial things which coincide each other, and one is better than the other, then we should put the better one first.
But in contrary, if one is forced to do forbidden thing, and he has two choices in it, whereas one of it possess larger harm than the other, then he should clearly choose the one with lighter harm in it.
Do not forget to seek the help from Allah
After the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- admonished us to strive to do things that benefit us, he conveyed another exhortation, that is for us not to forget to seek the help from Allah, Who is Above us all. A witty man would have chosen the beneficial things for himself, but sometimes the heart is changing back and forth, too much that he relies on himself and forgets to seek the help from Allah, may He be glorified and Exalted. This is the common fact happens in majority of the people, probably us too. Sometimes we are too fascinated by ourselves, that we say in our heart: I am able to do it by myself, hence we put Allah – The One to whom we cling ourselves and we ask for all of our needs- aside. When we are keen to do a pious deed, sometimes we are awed by our own capability thus we forget to seek the help form Allah. That is the wisdom beneath the saying of the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- :
لِيَسْأَلْ أَحَدُكُمْ رَبَّهُ حَاجَتَهُ كُلَّهَا حَتَّى يَسْأَلَ شِسْعَ نَعْلِهِ إِذَا انْقَطَعَ
“Let one of you asked all his necessities to his Lord, although it is in mending the broken the slipper lace.” (Narrated by Abu Ya’la in his Musnad. Husain Salim Asad commented that it’s class is sahih based on Muslim’s criteria).
That is, ask Allah even in the trivial matters, and do not forget about Him. For example: when you want to perform ablution (wudu), or you want to perform prayer, to move to your right or your left, or probably you want to put down something, at that time, do not forget to seek for Allah’s help. Because without it, certainly you will not achieve it at all.
Continuously performing A deed you finished it
After that, the Prophet -peace and blessings of Allah may be upon him- said: Wa laa ta’jiz (and do not be weak/helpless). It means that anyone who decides to do a beneficial work for himself, should keep doing the work until it reaches it’s completion. He shall not postpone it, nor let it neglected. As long as he has determined to do something good, and after that he has asked for the help from his Lord, he shall not postpone it.
How many of the students that we see, who are trying to study their religion, are fully spirited in learning about a particular book. But after a week or a month, he moves to learn other book, whereas the first one is still not completed. Probably he has done a beneficial thing, and after that he has asked for Allah’s help, but in performing the deed, he is too weak to complete it. Because the meaning of this hadith: “do not be helpless” is, “do not leave the deed.” If you already know that it is beneficial thing, it is a must for you to keep performing it until it finished. Moving from one book to another without never really completed and understand it is a form of useless work, and it certainly wasting time.
Author: Muhammad Abduh Tuasikal
Article of whatisquran.com