The Three Rules of Success

Hadith and its explanation

The Three Rules of Success

Nasir Jamal Attari Madani

Allah’s Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم declared:

جَالِسُوا الْكُبَرَاءَ وَسَائِلُوا الْعُلَمَاءَ وَخَالِطُوا الْحُكَمَاء

“Sit with seniors (kubarāˈ), ask the ulema, and associate with the wise (ukamāˈ).”[1]

The final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم bestowed upon us comprehensive guidance on leading the most fulfilling and successful lives. The aforementioned hadith is a prime example, encapsulating three fundamental principles for success.

1.    جَالِسُوا الْكُبَرَا – The seniors

Imam ʿAbd al-Raʾūf al-Munawī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه said, “Sitting with the pious is an elixir for the heart. Yet, there is no condition which stipulates that the effect of their company will manifest immediately. After some time, the positive effects of their company will become evident.”[2]

Life skills and etiquettes can be learnt from experienced seniors, provided they are mature and reliable in their religious matters. This remains the case even if they are younger. One should seek to remain in their company. 

What qualities should elders possess?

The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has ordered for us to accompany seniors who have far more experience than us. We shall now discuss what qualities these elders should possess. Imam Munawī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه narrates Ibn al-Arabī’s رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه detailed discussion on this topic. The following is a summary of the latter’s writings:

* They must have knowledge of the Quran and Hadith.

* Their outward must reflect the Quran and Sunnah whilst their inward is embellished with Islamic teachings.

* They must adhere to the boundaries established by Allah Almighty.

* They must fulfil the covenant of Allah Almighty.

* They must implement Islamic law.

These are the people who, when they are seen, remind the onlooker of Allah Almighty.[3]

This part of the hadith teaches us to draw benefit from the experiences of the experienced, as this can save one from many harms. Another advantage of considering someone an elder, is that learning from them becomes easier. Allah’s pious servants hold high stations and lofty ranks. Sitting with them is a means to goodness in both religious and worldly matters. There are three methods to go about this.

The first is regarding pious elders who have passed away. Accompanying them and learning from them entails reading about their lives and studying their words. This also includes reading books they penned or other books written about them.

Secondly, we have pious elders who are still living. Visiting them, serving them, listening to their discourses, and drawing motivation from this are all hugely useful.

Finally, listening to the lectures of Sunni ulema is another way to go about this. Attending Dawat-e-Islami’s gatherings and the leader of Ahl al-Sunnah’s Madani Muzakaras is another great means of acting upon this hadith.

2.    سَائِلُوا الْعُلَمَاء – The ulema

To solve any issues that arise in accordance with Islamic law, one must consult practicing scholars. While in their presence, it is imperative to uphold impeccable etiquette and conduct. When seeking their insights, the questioner should meticulously ensure that no aspect of their inner disposition or outward demeanour undermines the due respect owed to these esteemed individuals.[4]

Consistent learning

We must strive to consistently learn. On occasion, we are unaware of what to learn and in what quantity in order to better our actions and avoid sin. Devote yourself to learning the essentials of Islam that are relevant to you. Otherwise, you will increase in committing mistakes instead of avoiding them.

Dawat-e-Islami provides multiple sources of knowledge for one to benefit from, ranging from literature and social media to Madani Channel. Another platform it provides is the ability to take part in its religious activities; these allow a person to learn a great deal of Islamic knowledge.

3.    خَالِطُوا الْحُكَمَاء  – The wise

This entails taking time out to meet with the wise, as those endowed with wisdom speak with insight. Their actions are rooted in systematic understanding and soundness. Their lives are protected from mistakes and shortcomings. Being around them leads to a person developing and beautifying their character.[5]

The benefits of being around elders, scholars and the wise

According to intellectuals, being around elders, scholars, and the wise lead to the following benefits:

* Being around ulema leads to a person inclining towards good deeds and earning reward.

* Adopting the company of the wise leads to a person remaining close to commendation and far from criticism.

* Sitting with elders causes a person to increase in pursuit of Allah’s blessings, and makes one’s heart averse to everything else.[6]

* Whoever sits with leading saints is protected from calamities.[7]

Will we still not attend Madani Muzakaras?

As we go through the explanation of this hadith, the personality of the renowned spiritual guide and leader of Ahl al-Sunnah, Mawlana Ilyas Attar al-Qadiri دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ comes to mind over and over again. Allah Almighty bestowed upon him profound knowledge, wisdom, and the insights gained from navigating the challenges and triumphs of life. He stands as a genuine authority on personal growth, and his endeavours have sparked a significant revolution, the far-reaching impacts of which are observable worldwide.

I earnestly encourage you to actively participate in the Madani Muzakaras led by the leader of Ahl al-Sunnah, and to study his teachings. By doing so, you will be better equipped to implement the guidance outlined in the primary hadith discussed in this article. You will see how effective these three principles are in bettering your life and making it successful. Be sure to give this a try.

May Allah Almighty facilitate ease for us!

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Muʿjam Kabīr: 324

[2] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 451

[3] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 451

[4] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 452

[5] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 452

[6] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 452

[7] Fay al-Qadīr, vol. 3, p. 451




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