How the Sick person does Purification

(Based on Islamic verdicts by a group of scholars)

 A patient is required to use water for purification (both wudu’ and ghusl).  In case a patient cannot use water due to his disability or for fear of aggravation of disease or pain. He should use tayammum as a substitute. 

 If he cannot purify himself, another person can help him by washing the wudu’ organs or wiping his face and hands for him in case of tayammum. 

 If one of the wudu or ghusl parts is wounded he should wash it with water.

If water causes the wound any harm or damage he should wipe over it. 

If wiping affects the wound he can perform tayammum for the wounded area. 

 If he has a broken bone or body part in plaster, splints or bandages, he should wipe over them with water. He need not perform ablution since wiping replaces washing. 

 For tayammum, he can strike a clean wall or other dusty object with his hand. 

If the wall is covered with some material different from the ground substance, such as paint, he should not use it for tayammum unless it is dusty. 

 If Tayammum is not performed by striking the ground, wall or other dusty object, earth can be placed in a container or tissue and used for tayammum. 

 If he performs tayammum for a given prayer (Salat) and keeps his tayammum (commits nothing that invalidates it) till the time of the next prayer, he can perform it with the same tayammum as he still has ritual purity and has done nothing that invalidates it.

 A patient must clean filth and impurities from his body.

 If he cannot, he performs prayer as he is, his prayer is valid and he is not required to do it again later. 

 A patient must put on clean clothes for prayer. 

If his clothes become filthy or impure he is required to clean or replace them, otherwise, he should perform prayer in the same clothes without having to repeat (make up for) his prayer later on. 

 A patient must perform prayer on a clean place. 

If the place becomes filthy or impure he must cleanse it or replace it (in case it is a rug, for example) or he may spread something clean over it. 

Otherwise, he can pray on that place, his prayer would be valid and he is not required to re-perform it. 

 It is not permissible for a patient to delay a prayer beyond its prescribed time due to inability to purify himself. 

Nevertheless, he should purify himself as far as he can, then perform prayer on time even though he has on his body, clothes or place a filth which he is unable to cleanse.  

A person who is suffering from incontinence of urine (enuresis) and is not healed despite treatment is required to perform a new wudu’ for each prayer after the commencement of its time. 

He should wash any filthy matter on his body and assign a clean garment for prayer if it is not difficult; otherwise he will be absolved from that. He should also guard against the spread of urine over his clothes, body or prayer place. 

(Islamic verdict by a group of scholars, p. 1/1173 – Shaikh ibn Baz)


Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.

It was narrated that Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said:

تَسَحَّرُوا فَإِنَّ فِي السَّحُورِ بَرَكَةً

“Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1923; Muslim, 1095.

This hadeeth indicates that the fasting person is commanded to eat suhoor because there is a great deal of goodness and blessing, both spiritual and worldly, in it.

The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) mentioned the blessing so as to encourage us to eat suhoor.

It was narrated from Jaabir that the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said:

مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَصُومَ فَلْيَتَسَحَّرْ بِشَيْءٍ

“Whoever wants to fast, let him eat something for suhoor.” Narrated by Ahmad, 14533; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2309.

The command here is in the sense of it being mustahabb, not obligatory, based on the fact that the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) and his companions observed continual fasts, i.e., fasting two or more days without breaking the fast in between, i.e., they fasted night and day.

There is a great deal of blessing in suhoor which includes benefits both in this world and in the Hereafter. 

These blessings include the following:

1 – It gives strength for worship and helps one to obey Allaah during the day by praying, reading Qur’aan and remembering Allaah (dhikr).

One who is hungry may become lazy in worship just as he may become lazy in his daily work, this is something that is well known.

2 – Suhoor wards off the bad attitude that may be provoked by hunger, so the one who eats suhoor will be in a good mood and will interact well with others. 

3 – The one who eats suhoor will be encouraged to fast more, because fasting is less difficult for the one who eats suhoor, so he will be encouraged to fast and it will not be so difficult for him.

4 – Eating suhoor is following the Sunnah, so if the person who eats suhoor has the intention of obeying the command of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) and following his example, then his suhoor is an act of worship, so he will be rewarded for it accordingly.

If he intends thereby to gain physical strength for fasting and praying qiyaam, he will be rewarded according to that.

5 – The person who eats suhoor gets up at the end of the night to remember Allaah, make du’aa’ and pray, for that is when prayers are answered and it is the time when Allaah and angels send blessings upon those who eat suhoor, because of the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed (may Allaah be pleased with him) which will be quoted below.

6 – By eating suhoor one differs from the people of the Book. The Muslim is required to avoid imitating them.

The Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said:

فصل ما بين صيامنا وصيام أهل اكتاب أكلة السحور

The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the Book is eating suhoor.”

7 – Another blessing of suhoor is praying Fajr in congregation, at the proper time.

Hence you see that there are more worshippers praying Fajr in Ramadaan than in other months, because they have gotten up for suhoor.

The fasting person should be keen to eat suhoor and he should not miss it because he feels too sleepy or for any other reason.

He should be easy going when he is woken for suhoor and in a good mood, happy to be following the command of the Messenger of Allaah (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) and keen to attain its goodness and barakah (blessing), because our Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) affirmed the importance of suhoor and enjoined it, and explained that it is the symbol of the Muslims’ fasting that differentiates their fasting from that of the people of the Book, and he told us not to omit suhoor.

Suhoor may be done by means of the least amount of food or drink that a person consumes, it does not have to be any specific kind of food.

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said:

نعم سحور المؤمن التمر

“The best suhoor for the believer is dates.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 2345); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri said: The Messenger of Allaah (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) said:

السُّحُورُ أَكْلَةٌ بَرَكَةٌ فَلا تَدَعُوهُ وَلَوْ أَنْ يَجْرَعَ أَحَدُكُمْ جَرْعَةً مِنْ مَاءٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى الْمُتَسَحِّرِينَ

Suhoor is a blessed meal, so do not omit it, even if one of you only takes a sip of water, for Allaah and His angels send blessings on those who eat suhoor.” Narrated by Ahmad, 11003; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3683.

The best time for suhoor

 It was narrated that Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We ate suhoor with the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) then he went to pray.” I [the narrator] asked, “How long was there between the adhaan and suhoor?” He said, “As long as it takes to recite fifty verses.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1921; Muslim, 1097.

This hadeeth indicates that it is mustahabb to delay suhoor until just before Fajr. Between the time when the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ) and Zayd ibn Thaabit (may Allaah be pleased with him) finished their suhoor and started to pray was the amount of time it took to recite fifty verses of the Qur’aan at a moderate pace, neither fast nor slow. This indicates that the time for prayer is close to the time of stopping eating and drinking.

What is meant by the adhaan here is the iqaamah, which is called adhaan because it is an announcement that the prayer is about to begin.

It was narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (576) that it was said to Anas – the narrator of the hadeeth – “How much time was there between their finishing their suhoor and starting to pray?” He said: “As long as it takes for a man to recite fifty verses.”

Hastening to eat suhoor halfway through the night is permissible, but it is contrary to the Sunnah. Suhoor is so called because it happens at the time of sahr, which is the end of the night.

If a person eats suhoor halfway through the night, he may miss out on Fajr prayer because sleep may overwhelm him.

Moreover, delaying suhoor is kinder to the fasting person and gives him more energy, because one of the aims of suhoor us to give physical strength for fasting and to conserve one’s energy, so it is wise to delay it.

The fasting person should follow the Prophet’s example in this matter, and should not eat suhoor early.

Another etiquette of fasting that was stated by the scholars is that the fasting person should not be extravagant in his suhoor and should not fill his stomach with food, rather he should eat a moderate amount, because the son of Adam does not fill any worse vessel than his stomach.

If he eats his fill at the time of suhoor he will not be any use until Zuhr time, because eating a large amount makes a person feel lazy and listless.

The words of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ),

نعم سحور المؤمن التمر

“The best suhoor for the believer is dates” points to this meaning, because dates, in addition to their high nutritional value, are also light on the stomach and easily digested.

If eating one’s fill is also accompanied by staying up late and sleeping during the day, the purpose of fasting is also lost.

And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.

O Allaah, accept this (worship) from us, for You are the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, and accept our repentance for You are the Acceptor of repentance, the Most Merciful. 

See Ahaadeeth al-Siyaam by al-Fawzaan, p. 75-81.

Do you want billions of Hasanat (good deeds)?

عن عُبادةَ بنِ الصامت رضي الله عنه قال: سمعتُ رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – يقول:”من استغفرَ للمؤمنينَ والمؤمنات، كتب الله له بكلِّ مؤمنٍ ومؤمنةٍ حسنة”

`Ubadah ibn As-Samit (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: I heard the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: “Whoever seeks forgiveness for believing men and women Allah shall write for him a good deed for every believing men and women.” 

[Reported by At-Tabarany, and Al Albany graded it as authentic in Sahih Al Jami` As-Saghir (6026). Al Hafizh Al Haythamy said: It is chain of narration is good. Majma` Az-Zawa’id]. 10/210].

Do we seek forgiveness for the muslims?!….

Brief introduction to fasting

نبذة في الصيام

All praise to Allah, Lord of the Realms Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and Upon all his family and companions.
This is a brief about fasting, its ruling, types of people in fasting, factors that break one’s fasting and other benefits in brief.

Fasting means worshipping Allah by abstaining from eating and drinking from dawn until sun set.

Fasting Ramadan: is one of the greatest pillars of Islam.

The Prophet, صلى الله عله وسلم, said:

« بني الإسلام على خمس : شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وإقام الصلاة وإيتاء الزكاة وصوم رمضان وحج البيت الحرام»

“Islam is based on five (pillars): Testifying that there is none has the right to be worshipped but Allah, that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; and the establishment of prayer; and the payment of Zakah [poorـdue] and the Pilgrimage to the sacred House of Allah (Kabah) and to fast Ramadan.” [Agreed upon]

Types of People in fasting:

1. Fasting is obligatory on every adult, sane, able, and resident Muslim.

2. An non muslim; is not under the obligation to fast and if they revert to Islam, they do not have to make up the fasts during their days of their disbelief.

3. A child that didn’t reach puberty do not have to fast but they might be asked to fast only to get used to it.

4. Insane or mentally deranged individuals do not have to fast or to feed others on his behalf as a substitute for not fasting even if they are adults.

5. The individuals who are unable to fast because of permanent causes such as old men or those inflicted with a disease they do not expect to recover from, have to feed a poor person for every day in Ramadan.

6. The individuals who suffer from a disease they expect to recover from, may break their fast if they find fasting a burden and make up the missed days after they recover.

7. If the pregnant and breastfeeding woman who find it hard to fast because of pregnancy or breastfeeding, or they fear their babies shall be in harm, they may break their fast and fast the missed days when they find it easy or there is no fear.

8. The one who is compelled to break his fast to save someone from drowning or from fire, may break his fast, and make up this day later on.

9. Women in menstrual or in postpartum period are not allowed to fast during this period, they must break their fast and fast the missed days later.

10. Travellers may fast or break their fast but they have to fast the missed days later whether their travel is temporary like travelling for Umra or permanent like taxi drivers, they may break their fast when they travel to cities other than their city.

Things that break one’s fasting

Persons’ fasting is not broken if they do one of the things which break their fast, while they are ignorant or forgetting. Allah Almighty, says:

{رَبَّنَا لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنَا إِن نَّسِينَا أَوْ أَخْطَأْنَا} [البقرة: 286]،

“Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred.” [Al- Baqarah 2:286]

Allah, the All Mighty, says:

{إِلاَّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالإِيمَانِ} [النحل: 106]

“except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith.” [Al Nahal 16:106] 

His saying:

{وَلَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ فِيمَا أَخْطَأْتُم بِهِ وَلَكِن مَّا تَعَمَّدَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ} [الأحزاب: 5]

” And there is no blame upon you for that in which you have erred but [only for] what your hearts intended.” [Al-Ahzab 33:5] 

If the fasting person eats or drinks forgetting, or if he eats thinking that, the sun has set or the dawn has not broken, his fasting will not be nullified because he is ignorant of the incidence.

If the fasting person rinses his mouth with water and it accidently reaches his throat, his fasting will not be nullified, because he did not do this deliberately. 

If he discharged semen (wet dreaming) unintentionally while he was sleeping, his fasting will not be nullified.

The eight factors that break one’s fast:

1. الجماع 

Sexual Intercourse: If a fasting person who is obliged to fast makes a sexual intercourse in the day of Ramadan; he has to fast another day as a substitute and make a great expiation, that is to free a slave, if one is not able to do that, he has two fast two successive months, if he is not able to do that, he has to feed sixty poor men.

2. إنزال المني 

Discharge of semen while one is awake, through masturbation, or by approaching women, kissing, hugging, or the like.

3. الأكل أو الشرب 

Eating or drinking whether it is benefiting or harming such as smoking.

4. حقن الإبر المغذية التي يستغنى بها عن الطعام 

Nourishing injections, which substitute food and drink. But non nourishing injections do not break one’s fasting whether they are used in veins or in muscles and whether one finds their taste in his throat or not.

5. حقن الدم 

Blood transfer such as when the fasting person bleed and are given blood transfer to substitute the blood they lost.

6. خروج دم الحيض والنفساء 

The discharge of menstrual or postpartum blood.

7. إخراج الدم بالحجامة ونحوها 

Extracting blood by cupping and the like but if blood emerges naturally such as bleeding or coming out with the pulling out of teeth do not break one’s fasting because it’s not cupping nor constitutes a part of it.

8. القيء إن تقصده 

Vomiting deliberately, but if one vomit unintentionally his fasting is not nullified.


1. Fasting persons may intend to fast even if they are in a state of major ritual impurity then they may wash after the crack of dawn.

2. If a woman’s menstrual or postpartum period ends before Fajr in Ramadan, she must fast this day even if she washes after the crack of dawn.

3. The fasting persons may pull out their teeth or molars, cure their wounds or dropping in one’s eyes or ears even if one finds the taste in his throat.

4. Fasting individuals may use Siwak (tooth-cleansing stick) at the beginning or end of Ramadan days as it is Sunnah while fasting or not.

5. Fasting individuals may use things that relieve the severe hot weather or thirst such as pouring water on the body to cool down or using air conditions.

6. Fasting individuals may spray (oral inhaler) in their mouth what lightens the breath shortage resulting from pressure or others.

7. Fasting individuals may damp their lips with water if they get dry and rinse their mouth with water, if their lips are dry, but not to swallow the water.

8. The Sunnah is to delay Suhur (pre-dawn meal) before the fast to make it directly before dawn and to break his fast quickly as soon as the sun sets, to breakfast on ripe dates, if one does not find then on dry dates, he may break his fast on water or on any permissible food.If he finds nothing, he only has to intend to break his fast till he finds anything to do so.

9. The Sunnah for a fasting person is to make many good deeds and abstain from all prohibitions.

10. The fasting persons have to stick to obligations and abstain from prohibitions.

They have to perform the five daily prayers in a congregation on time if they have no excuse to perform prayers individually.

They have to give up lying, gossip and backbiting, cheating, all usury transactions and every prohibited saying or deed.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet صلى الله عله وسلم said,

«من لم يدع قول الزور والعمل به الجهل

فليس لله حاجة أن يدع طعامه وشرابه»

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and acting upon it, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Reported by Al-Bukhari]

All praise to Allah, Lord of the Realms Prayers and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and Upon all his family and companions.

Written by: Muhammad Ibn Saleh Al-‘Othaymeen

Do you count your Charity?

‘Aa’ishah narrated: “Once a beggar came asking for charity while the Mes- senger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was with me, so I instructed (the servant) to give him something. However, before it was given to him I called the servant to show me what she was going to give him before she gives it to him (so she knows how much would be remaining to her). The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to her: “O ‘Aa’ishah, are you keen on knowing what goes in your house and that nothing leaves [is spent in charity] except with your knowledge [i.e. the amount]?” I said: ‘Yes.’ He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “O ‘Aa’ishah, spend [charitably] and do not hoard; otherwise, Allah will withhold from you.”(Reported by Abu Daawood (1700) and An-Nasaa’i (2549).)

Ibn Hajar (a scholar) said: “The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, instructed in this narration not to prevent charity out of fear that wealth would run out, because it (not spending in charity) is actually one of the means that lead to one becoming deprived from his provisions being blessed. This is so, because Allah rewards generously for the charity one spends. The result will be that Allah will provide the one who does not enumerate when spending in charity without an end and from means he never expects (to receive provisions from).”(Fat-h Al-Baari (300/3).)

Another example illustrating how the Prophet of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, trained his wives to be generous and spend in charity is that of the slaughtered sheep. 

‘Aa’ishah narrated: “Once we slaughtered a sheep (and spent from it in charity). The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, came later and asked: “How much is left of it?” I said: ‘It’s all gone except for the shoulder.’ He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Rather, it is all remaining except for its shoulder.” (Reported by At-Tirmithi (2394).)

Al-Mubaarakpoori (a scholar) said: “Meaning, what you spent in charity is, what is remaining (i.e. you will obtain reward for it), and what you kept for yourself is the part (of the animal) that is gone (consumed without obtaining reward for it).”(Tuhfat Al-Ahwathi (142/7).

In this, he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was referring to the saying of Allah (which means), «Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting. And We will surely give those who were patient their reward according to the best of what they used to do.» [Quran: 16:96]

The Path to real happiness!

Ibn Al-Qayyim (a scholar) said, “There is no path to happiness and success in this world or the Hereafter except at the hands of Messengers. And there is no way to determine the good from bad except through their teachings. Allah’s pleasure is never gained except through their example. Good actions, sayings and manners are only attained through the guid- ance they brought. 

The Prophets are the scale by which our actions, sayings and manners must be weighed. And their example is the criterion between the people of guidance and those of misguidance. 

We are in need of following their examples more than a body needs its soul, and more than an eye needs light to be able to see. In fact, every decreed obligation is surpassed by the obligation of following the example of the Prophets. 

If we neglect doing so for the blink of an eye then our hearts will become corrupt, just like a fish becomes when it is taken out of water. Since happiness in this life and the Hereafter is linked with following the example of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, a wise person who is seeking his own happiness and salva- tion must gain enough knowledge regarding the Prophet’s guidance and biography. 

This way he becomes a true follower and joins the party of the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In this regard, there are those who gain a lot of knowledge, those who gain only a little of it and others who are deprived of it. Allah grants goodness to whomever He wishes. Indeed, Allah grants great bounties.”(Zaad Al-Ma’aad (69/1).)

Why do we have to follow the example of the Prophet of Allah, Mu- hammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? 

We follow his example because his life is the most perfect of lives. Allah chose Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, based on His Knowledge and Wisdom. He selected him over all humans. Thus, we must learn about his blessed life that was guided and decreed by Allah; perhaps his lifestyle would become a beacon for us and a cause of salvation for our nation. 

The following are more reasons why we must follow the example of Prophet of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 

Out of obedience to Allah’s Orders: 

We should follow the example of the Prophet of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, because we were ordered to do so by Allah. 

He, the Exalted, Says (what means): «There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern (example) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.» [Quran: 33:21] 

And Allah warned us against disobeying the Prophet of Allah, sallal- laahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He Says (what means): «So let those beware who dissent from the Prophet’s order, lest Fitnah (trial) strike them or a pain- ful punishment.» [Quran: 24:63]

What kind of land do you represent?

وروى البخاري ومسلم في صحيحيهما من حديث أبي موسى الأشعري رضي اللهُ عنه أن النبي صلى اللهُ عليه وسلم قال: “مَثَلُ مَا بَعَثَنِي اللَّهُ بِهِ مِنَ الْهُدَى وَالْعِلْمِ كَمَثَلِ الْغَيْثِ الْكَثِيرِ أَصَابَ أَرْضًا فَكَانَ مِنْهَا نَقِيَّةٌ قَبِلَتِ الْمَاءَ فَأَنْبَتَتِ الْكَلَأَ وَالْعُشْبَ الْكَثِيرَ، وَكَانَتْ مِنْهَا أَجَادِبُ، 

أَمْسَكَتِ الْمَاءَ، فَنَفَعَ اللَّهُ بِهَا النَّاسَ فَشَرِبُوا وَسَقَوْا وَزَرَعُوا، 

وَأَصَابَتْ مِنْهَا طَائِفَةً أُخْرَى، إِنَّمَا هِيَ قِيعَانٌ لَا تُمْسِكُ مَاءً وَلَا تُنْبِتُ كَلَأً.

فَذَلِكَ مَثَلُ مَنْ فَقُهَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ، وَنَفَعَهُ مَا بَعَثَنِي اللَّهُ بِهِ فَعَلِمَ وَعَلَّمَ، 

وَمَثَلُ مَنْ لَمْ يَرْفَعْ بِذَلِكَ رَأْسًا، وَلَمْ يَقْبَلْ هُدَى اللَّهِ الَّذِي أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ”

Al Bukhari and Muslim reported in their books of authentic Hadiths from the Hadith of Abu Musa Al Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (صلى اللهُ عليه وسلم) said: “The example of guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is like abundant rain falling on the earth: Some of which was fertile soil that absorbed rain water and brought forth vegetation and grass in abundance. (And) another portion of it was hard and held the rain water and Allah benefited the people with it and they utilized it for drinking, making their animals drink from it and for irrigation of the land for cultivation. (And) a portion of it was barren which could neither hold the water nor bring forth vegetation (then that land gave no benefits). 

The first is the example of the person who comprehends Allah’s religion and gets benefit (from the knowledge) which Allah has revealed through me (the Prophet) and learns and then teaches others. 

The last example is that of a person who does not care for it and does not take Allah’s Guidance revealed through me (He is like that barren land.)”

[ No. 79 and Sahih Muslim No. 2282.]

Imam al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: 

As for the meaning of the hadeeth, it is likening the guidance that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought to rain. It says that land is of three types, and the same is true of people. 

The first type of land benefits from the rain and comes back to life after having been dead, and it brings forth herbage from which people, animals and plants benefit. This is like the first type of people whom guidance and knowledge reach: such a person memorizes it and his heart is brought back to life; he acts upon it and teaches others, so he benefits from it and benefits others. 

The second type of land does not benefit from the rain itself, but it does something good with it, namely holding the water for others, so people and animals benefit from it. This is like the second type of people; they have good memories but they do not have deep understanding or deep insight by means of which they could derive meanings and rulings, and they do not strive hard in worship. They memorize it and preserve it until there comes along one who needs it and thirsts for the knowledge that they have, a scholar who is able to benefit from it. So he takes it and benefits others by means of that which they conveyed to him. 

The third type of land is the barren land that does not produce any herbage and the like, and does not benefit itself from the water, and does not retain it so that others may benefit from it. This is like the third type of people; they do not have good memories or understanding or insight. If they hear knowledge they do not benefit from it or preserve it so that others may benefit. End quote. 

Sharh Muslim (15/47-48). 

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) likened the knowledge and guidance that he brought to rain, because of what each of them bring of life, benefit, nourishment, medicine and all things that are in people’s interests. This is true of both knowledge and rain. 

And he likened people’s hearts to the different types of land on which rain may fall, because the land is the place that retains the rain, and all kinds of beneficial plants grow, just as the heart understands knowledge and bears fruit and manifests blessings and benefits. 

Then he divided people into three categories, according to their readiness to memorize and understand its meanings and derive rulings from it. 

1-    People with good memories and good understanding, who understand and comprehend the meanings, and derive different rulings, wisdom and benefits from it. They are like the land that absorbs the water, which is the likeness of the memory, and brings forth a great deal of herbage and grain, which is the likeness of understanding, knowledge and derivation of rulings. This is the likeness of the one who is both a haafiz and a faqeeh, the people who both narrate and understand the hadeeth.

2-    People who are able to memorize and classify reports, but they are not able to understand the meanings or derive different types of rulings and benefits from them. They are like those who read and memorize the Qur’aan, paying attention to the letters and pronunciation, but they are not able to develop a proper understanding of Allaah, as ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said: “Except an understanding that Allaah grants to His slave concerning His Book.” People vary greatly in their understanding of the texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Perhaps one person may understand one or two rulings from the text, whereas another may understand one hundred or two hundred. They are like the land that retains the water for people so that they may benefit from it, drinking it or giving it to others to drink or irrigating crops with it. 

These two types are blessed, although the former are of higher status. This is the bounty of Allaah which He gives as He wills, and Allaah is the Owner of great bounty. 

3-    Those who have no share of it, who neither memorize it nor understand it, who neither memorize nor comprehend it. Rather they are like the land that is barren and dry, which neither produces herbage nor retains the water.

They are the ones who are doomed. The first two categories share the qualities of learning and teaching, each according to what it has accepted as sound and what has reached it. One may know and memorize the phrases of the Qur’aan, whilst another knows its meanings, rulings and sciences, but the third category does not know or teach. They are the ones who neither benefited from the guidance of Allaah or accepted it. They are worse off than cattle, and they are the fuel of Hell. 

This hadeeth also points to the honourable status and lofty position of knowledge and teaching, and the wretchedness of those who have no share of it; it mentions different categories of the sons of Adam with regard to it – who is doomed and who is blessed; and it further divides the blessed into those who are the foremost (in faith) and those who are among “those on the Right Hand” (cf. al-Waaqi’ah 56:8). 

This indicates that the people’s need for knowledge is like their need for rain, or even greater. If they lose knowledge then they are akin to the land that is lacking rain.  

Imam Ahmad said: People need knowledge more than they need food and drink, because they need food and drink once or twice a day, but they need knowledge with every breath they take. End quote. 

Miftaah Daar al-Sa’aadah (1/65-66).