Praise be to Allah who guided us to Islam and never could we have found guidance, were it not that Allah had guided us. I praise Him for His Guidance and Favor and I thank Him for His Bounties. I send peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, —the most honorable prophet, whom Allah chose from among His Creation— upon his family, Companions, and those who follow his steps and guidance to the Day of Recompense.
In the last two lessons, we spoke about some of the Muslim's rights on his Muslim brother, of which is: Offering greetings, responding, and accepting invitations. In this lesson, we shall continue speaking about some rights:
The third right is represented in the Prophet's saying (peace be upon him): "When a person sneezes and praises Allah, say to him: May Allah have mercy on you (Yarhamuk-Allah)."
In the other narration: "and replying the sneezer."
Dear Muslim, sneezing is something happens to all the people and has multiple causes. It was said that sneezing resulting from a steam in the head, and when a person sneezes, this steam go out and the head becomes light after it had been full of steam. No doubt that when a person gets of something that affects him negatively, it is a blessing from Allah. This grace deserves thanking Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), therefore it has become incumbent upon a Muslim to thank Allah when he sneezes. When a Muslim praises Allah and the attendants hear him, they invoke Allah for him with mercy, where they say: May Allah bless you! Then the sneezer says: May Allah guide you and rectify your condition! The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made it obligatory for a sneezer to praise Allah when he sneezes and the attendants should respond by invoking Allah for him with mercy. Al Bukhari (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Allah likes sneezing and dislikes yawning. So, if someone sneezes and then praises Allah, then it is obligatory on every Muslim who hears him, to say: May Allah bless you (Yarhamuka Allah). But as for yawning, it is from Satan, so one must try one's best to stop it. If one says: 'Ha,' when yawning, Satan will laugh at him."
Al Bukhari also reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone of you sneezes, he should say: 'Al-Hamdulillah' (Praise be to Allah), and his (Muslim) brother or companion should say to him, 'Yarhamuka Allah' (May Allah bestow his Mercy on you). When the latter says 'Yarhamuka Allah", the former should say, 'Yahdikumullah wa Yuslih balakum' (May Allah give you guidance and improve your condition)."
If the sneezer does not say: "All praise be to Allah," people should not invoke Allah for him with mercy because of the Hadith that Al Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "Two men sneezed before the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to one of them, "May Allah bestow His Mercy on you," but he did not say that to the other. On being asked (why), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "That one praised Allah (at the time of sneezing), while the other did not praise Allah." Imam Muslim (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) reported on the authority of Abu Musa Al Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: "When one of you sneezes and praises Allah (i.e., saying: Al Hamdulillah), you should invoke Allah's Mercy upon him (i.e., say Yarhamuka Allah); but if he does not praise Allah, you should not make a response.''
If a sneezer does not praise Allah (may He be Exalted), An-Nawawy (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) said: It is desirable for the people who are present to remind him of praising Allah because it is part of cooperation for good and piety.
If a sneezer says another word other than praising Allah, he should not receive a response.
It is part of the Sunnah for a sneezer to place his hand, clothes, or something of the like on his mouth to lower his voice. Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhy reported with an authentic chain of transmission on the authority of Abu Hurayrah(may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: "Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) sneezed, he would cover his mouth with his hand or a piece of cloth, suppressing the sound this way."
If a person sneezes frequently, he shall be answered three times then people invoke Allah for him with speed recovery as was authentically reported from the Master of mankind, the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Dear valued Muslims, the fourth right is: The Prophet's saying: "When someone asks for advice, you should offer it to him." Advice means wishing good for the advised person, which is one of the great principles of Islam that Allah (may He be Exalted) ordained it in His Book and His Messenger (peace be upon him) exhorted to in the Sunnah. Advice was mentioned explicitly in special texts as it was mentioned within other matters such as calling to Allah, and enjoining good and forbidding evil because it is part of both.
In the following, we shall speak about advice and its pertaining rulings:
Advice has a great excellence and an adviser has also a great reward because it is the best thing a person can offer to others, the best he can utter, and the most beautiful quality he may have. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allâh (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands firm (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allâh's (Islâmic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims.""
Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "You [true believers in Islâmic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his Sunnah] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al Ma`rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden), and you believe in Allâh."
Advice is the mission of Prophets, Messengers, and reformers. Allah (may He be Exalted) says: "Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islâm), enjoining Al-Ma'rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden)." Allah (Exalted be He) says: "Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "This is my way; I invite to Allâh (i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh — Islâmic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allâh i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism with sure knowledge)."
Advice is one of the greatest acts of obedience and the best. Imam Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Ruqayah Tamim ibn Aws Ad-Dary that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Religion is sincerity." He said it three times. We asked: "For whom, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "For Allah, His Book, His Messenger and for the leaders of the Muslims and their masses."
Moreover, some Companions gave a pledge to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) on sincere advice. Al Bukhari and Muslim reported on the authority of Jarir ibn Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "I gave the pledge of allegiance to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) for the following: 1. Offer Salah perfectly. 2. Pay the Zakat (obligatory charity) 3. And offer sincere advice to every Muslim."
In another narration: "I gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet (peace be upon him) to offer advice for every Muslim."
One of the important things which an adviser should take into consideration is to dedicate the intention of this advice to Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) by seeking the pleasure of Allah (may He be Glorified and Exalted) and the reward which He promised advisers, and to intend to guide a person to the best so that advice would be effective by the will of Allah (may He be Exalted).
Of the important proprieties of sincere advice are:
Advice should be offered secretly and no one should hear it, by this, it is more acceptable; away from hypocrisy and show off; and more sincere. If advice is offered publically, it may lead to corruption more than benefits because the advised person is harmed if his defects show up before people, so he defends himself. Satan may interfere in the heart of an adviser to ruin his intention, so he admires people's talks about him. Moreover, advice may lead to fruitless argument. No doubt that advice in public is considered a scandal, so anyone advises you before people, he has exposed your mistakes which is contrary to the objective of the Shari`ah about concealing defects and not to spread them publically.
Dear Muslim brother, if sincerity and concealment are the most important proprieties of sincere advice, we should offer it to a person in a suitable manner, good style, and nice words in order to be beneficial because food will not be good except if it is served in a good clean dish. If the advise is good but the manner of offering it is bad, it will not be accepted. So, the style of offering advice is important, therefore an adviser should follow a good way and use nice words so that his advice be beneficial. Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Invite (mankind, O Muhammad peace be upon him) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur'ân) and fair preaching."
Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "And had you (Muhammad peace be upon him) been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you." Allah (Glory be to Him) commanded Moses and Aaron (peace be upon them) to use lenient style when talking with the Pharaoh: "And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear (Allâh)." Allah (Glory be to Him) says: "Say (O Muhammad peace be upon him): "This is my way; I invite to Allâh (i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism) with sure knowledge." It is part of sure knowledge to display errors nicely.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said in the authentic Hadith: "Allah is kind and lenient and likes that one should be kind and lenient in all matters." The Prophet's biography was based on this great origin in his dealings with people. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) when they wanted to rebuke the Bedouin who urinated in the masjid: "Do not interrupt his urination (i.e. let him finish)."
When the Bedouin finished, he summoned him nicely and told him that masjids are not made for that, but they are for reciting the Qur'an, Dhikr, and Salah. Preachers and advisers have a role model in the Messenger of Allah and there is no goodness in any other way contradicts his way. So, every Muslim should be keen to follow the guidance of that honorable Prophet and read his biography to draw lessons, sermons, and morals to benefit from and benefit others. I ask Allah (may He be Exalted) to make us from the sincere preachers who follow the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and adhere to his Sunnah, for He is All-Hearing, All-Responding and He is the One whose aid is to be implored.