On the authority of Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, “Part of the perfection of a person’s Islam is his leaving that which is of no concern to him.”

An Nawawi said: A hasan hadeeth. Recorded by At-Tirmidhi and others in that fashion.

Regarding the authenticity of the hadeeth

At Tirmidhi stated that the hadith is ghareeb, i.e. in this particular fashion, it has only one source. The strongest chain of this hadith was recorded by Imam Malik in mursal form (mursal hadith means that the name of the companion who narrated the hadeeth is missing from the chain). Ad Daaraqutni, Al Baihaqi, Al Khateeb al Baghdaadi and Al Bukhari all said this hadeeth is mursal. A Mursal hadith is the strongest type of weak hadith and requires supporting narrations to strengthen it to the level of “hasan due to supporting evidence”, thereby removing doubt. A hadith chain that is very weak, i.e. it contains liars or completely rejected narrators, cannot be used as supporting evidence.

The author’s (Zarabozo) view was that the hadith is weak, but he still discussed it as it is definitely close to being hasan, with many scholars accepting it.

Regarding the merit of the hadeeth

• Imam Ibn Abi Zayd Al Qayrawani Al Maliki stated that four hadiths are a foundation for manners, etiquette and behaviour in Islam:

1. “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak well or remain silent.”

2. “Part of the perfection…” (this hadith)

3. “Do not get angry.”

4. “A believer loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

• This hadeeth is half of Islam. Because Islam is either doing something or abstaining from something.

Meaning of “Perfecting one’s Islam”

• The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam stated, “If one of you makes his faith excellent (idhaa aHsana aHadukum islaamah ), he will be recorded for every good deed ten-fold to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he does, he will have recorded one similar to it, until he meets Allah.” (Muslim). The increase upon the ten-fold depends on one’s perfection and completion of faith (which directly relates to the purity of intention).

Perfection of one’s Islam and Converts

• “If a servant accepts Islam and completes his Islam, Allah will record for him every good deed that he performed before [his Islam] and Allah will erase for him every evil deed that he did before [his Islam]. Then everything after that will be according to a retribution. For every good deed, he will be recorded ten-fold up to seven hundred fold. And for every evil deed he will be recorded similarly [one] for it, unless Allah overlooks that for him. “ [Malik, an Nasai, Al Albani classed it as saheeh]

Therefore, a person will be rewarded for his previous good deeds and his bad deeds before becoming Muslim will be wiped out provided one perfects and completes one’s Islam, which means remaining away from the evil deeds after he becomes a Muslim. Ibn Rajab said that if he continues to perform such evil acts in Islam, his previous acts will not be overlooked.

Meaning of “his leaving that which is of no concern to him”

• What is of no concern is determined by the Sharia and not one’s desires. Those are matters that are of no benefit in either this life or the Hereafter.

• This hadeeth cannot be used as an excuse not to advise people and enjoin good and forbid evil.

• What is of no concern: forbidden acts, doubtful matters, disliked acts and over-indulgence in the permissible matters of which one is not in need. [Performing forbidden acts is of no concern, but eradicating them is of course of concern to believers.]

• Speech is emphasized the most by scholars who commented on this hadeeth, as it is hard to constrain one’s tongue only to the matters that are of concern and beneficial.

• An Nawawi stated that a person must only speak something that is beneficial. If a speech is equal in its merits or harm, then it is best to refrain from saying it. Otherwise, permissible speech may lead to forbidden or disliked speech. However, if one is silent, it does not lead to any harm whatsoever.

• Doing what is not one’s concern leads to wasting time.

• Ibn al Arabi Al Maliki questioned why should one get into the unnecessary, extra matters if one is not able to fulfill all the matters necessary to him.

There are a lot of beneficial things one can do for one’s Hereafter which are of real concern and remain away from gossiping, watching much of television, obtaining useless information, debating on trivial points etc. This is a sign that one’s Islam is not complete or perfect, or is a sign of one’s poor understanding of Islam.

• Al Hasan Al Basri said, “A sign that Allah has turned away from a servant is that He makes him busy with matters that are of no concern to him.”

• A true believer is heads and shoulders above the petty, useless activities that so many people get involved with in this world.

• Many societal problems arise from people meddling into the affairs of others. In this one short sentence, the Prophet recommended a way to avoid all these kinds of problems.

• If a person has perfected his faith and reached the level of ihsan, he will spend all of his time in doing things that he knows Allah is pleased with. This is alluded to in the hadeeth by the mention of perfecting one’s Islam.

• It is not easy to avoid what is not one’s concern. Only true believers are capable of it.

• The believer must realize he has been given this life for an important purpose: to worship Allah. Remembering that one will stand before Allah will help one realize that no energies should be wasted on useless and wrong purposes. “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?” (23:115)