The Strangeness of The Believer during the Last Days

Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee, Al-Manhaj Publications

At-Tabaraanee and others transmitted with a chain of narration that has some speculation to it,26 from the hadeeth of Abu Umaamah, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet said:

“Verily, for every matter there is a progression and a regression. And verily from the progression of this Religion is what you used to be upon from blindness and ignorance and what Allaah sent me with. And verily from the progression of this Religion is that the clan was taught (Islaam) by its family members, to the point that there was not found amongst them (the tribes) anyone except for one evildoer or two evildoers. So these two were oppressed and degraded. When they want to speak, they are restrained, subdued and persecuted. And verily from the regression of this Religion is that the tribe acts harshly against its family members, to the point that there is not seen amongst them anyone except one faqeeh (one with understanding) or two faqeehs. Thus they will both be oppressed and degraded. If they speak and command the good and forbid the evil, they are restrained, subdued and persecuted. And they will not find any supporters or helpers in that matter.”

Thus, the believer who is knowledgeable of the Sunnah and who possesses understanding of the Religion, is described in this hadeeth as being one who during the Last Days – at the point of its corruption – will be oppressed, debased and not able to find any helpers or supporters.

At-Tabaraanee also reported with a weak chain of narration on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

“And verily from its signs (i.e. the Hour) is that the believer will be in the sight of his tribe, more lower (in status) than the young sheep.” 27

And it is recorded in the Musnad of Imaam Ahmad that ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamat, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, said to one of his companions:

“It is imminent that should your life be prolonged for you, you will see a man who recites the Qur’aan upon the tongue of Muhammad repeating it and displaying it, allowing its halaal and forbidding its `haraam. He will then be lowered in his status and his position will be neglected amongst you and considered just as the position of a dead donkey.”

And similar to this is the saying of Ibn Mas’ood, radyAllaahu ‘anhu:

“There will come upon the people a time in which the believer will become lower than the bondmaid.”

Indeed the believer will only be debased in the Last Days due to his strangeness in front of the evildoers from among the people of Doubts and Desires. Every one of them will hate him and abuse him because of his opposing of their way by following his way, and because of the seeking of his goal over their goal, and because of his evidences over what is with them.

And when Dawood At-Taa’ee died, Ibn As-Samaak said:

“Indeed Dawood looked with his heart at what was in front of him and the sight of his heart overtook the sight of his eyes. So it was as if he no longer saw what you were looking at, and as if you could not see what he was looking at. And you were amazed at him, and he was amazed at you. It became strange to you that he was alive in the middle of death.”

And from among them was he whose own family and children would hate him due to their loathing of his condition. ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd-il-‘Azeez once heard his wife say: “May Allaah relieve us from you.” So he said: “Ameen.”

Our Salaf (Predecessors), during their lifetimes, would mainly describe the believer with strangeness as has preceded in their narrations. And from the words of Ahmad Ibn ‘Aasim Al-Andaakee, who was one of the biggest scholars at the time of Sulaymaan Ad-Daaraanee, was:

“Indeed, I have reached from all the times, a time when Islaam has returned to being strange as it began. In it, the description of truth has returned to being strange as it began. If you were to turn to the scholar, you would find him being tested with the love of this worldly life and the love for honor and authority. And if you were to turn to the worshipper, you would find him ignorant in his worship, deceived and fallen victim to his enemy Iblees. He has mounted to the highest levels of worship while being ignorant of how to perform them so how can he be at that level? And the rest of the people are from among the ignorant followers, simple-minded and quick to follow a way, as if he were a wolf looking to steal a sheep, or a hungry lion, or a fox on the prowl. This is the description of the people of your time from the carriers of knowledge and the Qur’aan and the callers of wisdom.” 28

This was the description of the people of his time. So how much has the situation increased and the crisis become greater after it. Indeed, it has reached a point that would have never been thought of nor imagined.


At-Tabaraanee reported from the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, that the Prophet. sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

“The one who clings onto my Sunnah at the time of the corruption of my ummah will receive the reward of a martyr.” 29

And Abu Ash-Shaikh Al-Asbahaanee reported with a chain connected to Al-Hasan (Al-Basree), that he (rahimahullaah) said:

“If a man from the first generation of Muslims were sent (to us) today, he would not recognize anything from Islaam except for this prayer!”6

Then he (rahimahullaah) said:

“I swear by Allaah, that if he were to live to the time of these evils, he would see the innovator calling to his innovation, or the individual involved with the worldly life calling to his worldly affairs. Then Allaah would protect him and his heart would long for that which the Salaf As- Saalih (pious predecessors) were upon. And so he would follow their footsteps and act according to their ways. For him there will be a great reward.”

Ibn Al-Mubaarak reported from Al-Fudayl from Al-Hasan that he once mentioned the rich and extravagant man who has authority and who amasses wealth claiming that he has no end in it. And then he mentioned the misguided innovator who sets out against the Muslims with an unsheathed sword, changing the meaning of what Allaah has revealed concerning the disbelievers in favor of the Muslims.

Then he said: “Your Sunnah, and I swear by the One besides whom there is nothing worthy of worship except Him, is between these two: between the self-sufficient one and the hard-hearted, the extravagant one and the ignorant. So have patience upon it, for indeed, Ahl-us-Sunnah are from amongst the fewest of people, those who do not fall into the category of the extravagant ones in their excessiveness nor do they fall with the innovators in the following of their desires. Rather, they bear with patience upon their Sunnah until they meet their Lord. So be that way, if Allaah wills!” 30

Then he (rahimahullaah) said: “I swear by Allaah, that if a man were to reach these evils, he would hear someone say: ‘Come over to me!’, and someone else say: ‘Come over to me!’ So he would say: ‘No! I do not want anything but the Sunnah of Muhammad’, seeking after it and asking questions on it. Indeed this one will be given a great reward. So be that way, if Allaah wills!”


And from this understanding, is what Abu Nu’aim and others have reported from Kumail Ibn Ziyaad 31on the authority of ‘Alee, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, that he said:

“The people are of three types: the learned scholar, the student of knowledge who is upon the path towards salvation and the uncivilized ignorant follower following every ideology, blowing in the direction of every wind. He is not guided by the light of knowledge nor is he established upon a firm pillar.”

Then he mentioned some words on the benefit of knowledge, up to the point where he said:

“Here! Indeed, here is immense knowledge – and he pointed to his chest – if only I could gather those who would carry it! But yes, instead I have found he who is unreliable and not to be entrusted with it. Doing the works of the Religion for the sake of this worldly life, making a demonstration of the favors of Allaah (i.e. the knowledge he was given) in front of His servants and using His arguments against His beloved ones (the true scholars).

Or he is one who is honest and obedient towards the carriers of truth, while possessing no understanding and insight (of his own) in his mind. Doubt has pierced his heart and troubled it upon the first time problems were presented to it. Indeed, he is neither this nor that.

Or he is one who is greedy for fulfilling his pleasures. He has become submissive to the guidance of his desires or infatuated with the piling up of wealth and treasures. These individuals are not from among the shepherds of the Religion in any way. The closest things in resemblance to them are the cattle that graze about freely. Just like that, the knowledge has died with the death of its carriers. 32

O Allaah! Verily, do not isolate on this earth, he who establishes the evidences for Your sake, whether he be apparent and well known or fearful and obscure in order that the evidences and clear proofs of Allaah may not be refuted.

And how many of them are there? Where are they? I swear by Allaah, they are the fewest in number, yet the greatest in stature in the sight of Allaah. Allaah preserves His evidences and manifest proofs through them until their likes desist from it and plant it into the hearts of those similar to them.

Through them, knowledge is fortified upon the reality of evidences. And they spread the glad tidings of the spirit of certainty. They soften what those who give in to excessiveness have roughened. And they draw close to that which the ignorant feel repelled by and estranged from.

They accompany the world with their bodies while their souls are drawn towards the great abode. They are Allaah’s aides on His earth and the callers towards His Religion. And they long for their look (at Him in Paradise).” 33


The Commander of the Believers has divided the carriers of knowledge into three categories:

Category One: The People of Doubts

They consist of the one who has no evidences from the carriers of knowledge. Doubt has pierced his heart when it was first presented to him. He grasped it and thus fell into mass confusion and uncertainty. From that, he came out producing such acts as innovations and misguided affairs.

Category Two: The People of Desires

Their portion is of two types: The first consists of he who seeks after the worldly life, under the pretense of desiring knowledge. So he makes knowledge a means of attaining worldly goals. The second portion consists of the one who is overcome with the desire of amassing worldly gains, its riches and its treasures.

None of these types of people are from amongst the shepherds of the Religion. Rather, their similitude is only like that of the cattle.

For this reason, Allaah the Most High has compared those who were entrusted with the Torah and then failed that trust to donkeys carrying books. And He has compared the learner of evil, the one who detaches himself from the verses of Allaah, clinging onto this world and following his lusts, with the likeness of a dog. And the donkey and the dog are the lowest forms of animals and the worst of examples.

Category Three: The Carriers of Knowledge

They are the possessors of knowledge. They uphold it, protect it and establish it upon the evidences and clear proofs of Allaah.

It already has been stated that they are the fewest of people yet greatest in stature in the sight of Allaah. This is an indication towards their few numbers and towards the strangeness of the carriers of knowledge from this category.

Likewise, Al-Hasan Al-Basree (rahimahullaah) has divided the carriers of the Qur’aan into a similar division as that of ‘Alee’s division of the bearers of knowledge.

Al-Hasan Al-Basree (rahimahullaah) said:

“The reciters of the Qur’aan are of three types: Those who take it as a commodity and gain their sustenance from it. Those who establish its words, yet neglect its commandments (i.e. read it but don’t practice according to it). Due to (their knowledge of) it, they act arrogantly towards the people of their land and they use it (the Qur’aan) as a support for gaining positions of authority. This type of people from among the bearers of the Qur’aan are many. May Allaah diminish their number! And there is a type who apply the remedy of the Qur’aan and thus place it over the sickness of their hearts. Due to it, their battles come to a standstill and they feel compassionate in their burnooses (long capes worn by the people of old). And they feel a sense of fear (of Allaah) and the worries (of the worldly life) have left them. They are the ones whom Allaah sends His rain down upon and He sends victory through them over the enemies. By Allaah, this type of group from the carriers of the Qur’aan are more honorable than that of flaming torches in the sight of the rest of the reciters of the Qur’aan.”

Thus, he (rahimahullaah) has informed us that this group – and they are the reciters of the Qur’aan who place it as a cure for their hearts, such that all traces of fear and worry leave them – is more honorable amongst the other reciters than the example of flaming torches.


The Commander of the Believers, radyAllaahu ‘anhu, has described this category from the carriers of knowledge with certain attributes:

From them is that: “Through them, the knowledge is fortified upon the reality of evidences.”

The meaning of this is that the knowledge directs them to the highest of goals and this is the awareness of Allaah. Thus they fear Him and love Him to the point that everything that is difficult upon others becomes easy upon them. So they do not look for a way towards that which others seek a way towards, from those who stop with this worldly life, its attractions and its pleasures. And from those who have pride in that and do not spread the knowledge, exaltation and honoring of Allaah in their hearts. Rather, they are the ones who turn towards that which the self-sufficient ones have abandoned.

Verily, the self-sufficient one, who has fallen and given into the desires of the world and its pleasures, finds difficulty in abandoning its desires and pleasures. This is because there is no substitute that could replace his desire for this world if he were to abandon it. So he does not have the patience for abandoning it.

In the hearts of this type of people, for what they seek a way towards, is the biggest substitute over the desire to acquire the knowledge of Allaah and the love and honor for Him. This is as Al-Hasan (rahimahullaah) used to say:

“Verily, the ones who love Allaah are only those who inherit the good life and taste its pleasures due to what they seek a way towards, such as the private attachment to their Beloved (Allaah). And due to what they find from the sweetness of their love for Him in their hearts.”

These individuals only befriend that which the ignorant feel repelled by because those who are ignorant about Allaah are opposed to abandoning the worldly life and its pleasures. And this is because they don’t know anything that can compare to it (i.e. the worldly life) and thus it is that which they love and befriend. On the other hand, these individuals feel repelled by that and instead find love in Allaah, His remembrance, awareness of Him, love for Him, and the recitation of His Book. Meanwhile, those who are ignorant about Allaah feel repelled by these things and do not find any love or enjoyment in them.

And from another of their attributes, which the Commander of the Believers has described them with, was: “They accompany the world with their bodies while their souls are drawn towards the great abode.”

This is an indication that they do not take this world as their home nor are they content with it as a place of residence nor as a place of rest. Indeed, they only see it as a transition and they do not take it as an abode. All of the messengers and revealed Books advised towards this aspect. Allaah has informed us in His Book of the believing man from the house of Pharaoh who said to his people while he was lecturing them:

“O my people! Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a (quick passing) transition, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” [Surah Ghaafir: 39]

And the Prophet, sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said to Ibn ‘Umar: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passer-by.” 34

So it is to be in this world as if you did not exist and in the next life as if you did not cease to exist. And in another report it is stated: “Count yourself amongst the inhabitants of the graveyards.” 35

From the advice that the Maseeh ‘Eesaa gave was his words to his companions: “Pass through it and do not become an inhabitant of it.”

And he also said: “Who is the one who will build a home upon the waves of the ocean? This is the worldly life, so do not take it as a home that will last forever.”

Thus, the believer, in this world is like the stranger crossing through a land other than his own, longing for his homeland and the day when he will return to it. He makes provision of what is necessary for his path back homeward. He does not compete for status with the people of the land he is passing through. Nor does he grieve over the degradation he experiences while amongst them.

Al-Fudayl Ibn ‘Iyaad (rahimahullaah) said: “The believer in this world is worried and distressed. His main concern is to repair his equipment (as one who is stranded fixes his vehicle).”

And Al-Hasan (rahimahullaah) said: “The believer in this world is like the stranger. He does not become upset when it degrades him, nor does he compete with others with regard to what it gives of honor. For him is a condition and for the people are a condition.”

In reality, the believer is a stranger in this world because his forefather (Aadam) used to reside originally in the eternal abode and was then cast out from it. So he is constantly longing to return to his first place of residence. And he is always concerned with returning to the home from which he was cast out of.

This is as is said: “Love of one’s homeland is part of Faith.36

And as it is said:

“How many homes in the world does the young man take charge of. Yet his longing will forever be for his first home.”

 Some of our scholars 37 have said:

“So rush to the Gardens of Eden for indeed

it is your original home, and in it is a place of rest.

However, we are in the captivity of the enemy, so don’t you see?

Shall we return to our homes and find peace?

And it has been determined that when the stranger is far away and his home has disappeared, then he is lost.

So what type of strangeness is greater than our strangeness which the enemies amongst us have manifested?”


End Notes:

26 Al-Haythamee (rahimahullaah) said: “In its chain is ‘Alee Ibn Yazeed and he is rejected.” [Majma’-uz- Zawaa’id: 7/261]. Thus the hadeeth is da’eef (weak)

27 The hadeeth is as Ibn Rajab stated in that it has a weak chain of narration, may Allaah have mercy on him. Thus, the hadeeth is da’eef.

28 Hilyat-ul-Awliyaa (9/286)

29 This is a weak hadeeth reported by Abu Nu’aim who attributes it to At-Tabaraanee. Al-Haythamee (1/172) said: “In the chain is Muhammad Ibn Saalih Al-‘Adawee. I did not find anyone that wrote a biography for him. The rest of the narrators are reliable.” Abu Nu’aim indicated its weakness by labeling it strange from ‘Abd-ul-‘Azeez from ‘Ataa. Thus the hadeeth is da’eef due to the condition of Muhammad Ibn Saalih. See Silsilat-ul-Ahaadeeth Ad-Da’eefah (no. 327) of Imaam Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee.

30 The chain quoted for this report by Ibn Rajab is not authentic. However, a similar narration to this can be found in Sunan Ad-Daarimee (1/71-72). Dr. Nasr Al-‘Aql mentioned it in Mafhoom Ahl-is-Sunnah (pg. 84-85)

31 He is Kumail Ibn Ziyaad An-Nakha’ee (rahimahullaah). He was one of the righteous and noble amongst the Taabi’een. He was captured and killed by Al-Hajaaj Ibn Yoosuf Ath-Thaqafee in 82H. See Al-Ma’rifah wat- Taareekh (2/481) of Al-Fasawee (rahimahullaah).

32 The great scholar Ibn Abeel-‘Izz Al-Hanafee (rahimahullaah) said in his book Al-Itibaa’ (pg. 86): “In this narration, the Commander of the Believers has divided the blameworthy carriers of knowledge into three categories: 1) The wicked innovator who is not trustworthy and has no Eemaan. He is the one who rejects the truth which the Book came with, despises the creation and argues about the verses of Allaah without any authority. There is only pride in his heart, 2) the blind-follower that follows without any clear guidance or certainty, and 3) the one who follows the desires of the body and wealth.”

33 This report has been transmitted by Abu Nu’aim in Al-Hilyah (1/79) and Al-Khateeb in Al-Faqeeh wal- Mutafaqqih (1/49). Also see Jaami’ Bayaan-ul-‘Ilm of Ibn ‘Abd-il-Barr (2/112) and Al-Bidaayah wan- Nihaayah of Ibn Katheer (9/47). Shaikh Saleem Al-Hilaalee mentioned it in one of his articles in Al-Asaalah magazine (Sha’abaan issue no. 3 of 1413H).

34 Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree (Eng.): vol. 8, no. 425

35 Sunan Ibn Maajah (no. 4114). This addition was graded weak by Shaikh Al-Albaanee in Da’eef Sunan Ibn Maajah (no. 895)

36 This statement is based on a fabricated hadeeth: “Love of ones homeland is part of Eemaan (Faith).” Imaam Al-Albaanee declared it mawdoo’ (fabricated) and he listed several scholars from the past that held the same opinion. It is for this reason, that the author (Ibn Rajab) has not attributed it to the Prophet, but merely claimed it as a saying. However, the meaning of the statement itself seems to be incorrect. The scholars have discussed various meanings for it. What is the most correct is that if it is used as a saying, then it is correct in the context that the author (Ibn Rajab) has put it in here, in the sense that the homeland refers to the original abode of Paradise. Therefore, the love for this original abode is from the aspects of Faith. The saying taken in any other sense would breed love for nationalism and party spirit and these two are abhorred and detested in the Religion. Refer to Imaam Al-Albaanee’s long discussion of this statement in his Al-Ahaadeeth Ad- Da’eefah (vol. 1, no.36).

37 He is referring here to his teacher Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah). See his book Haadee Al-Arwaah (pg. 7).


Kashf-ul-Kurbah fee wasfi Haali Ahlil-Ghurbah (Alleviating Grievances in Describing the Condition of the Strangers), written by Imaam, Al- Haafidh Zayn-ud-Deen Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee, rahimahullaah and translated by Isma’eel alarcon


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