The Messenger of Allah said, “Five things are from the rights of one Muslim over another; returning a greeting, accepting an invitation, attending a funeral prayer, visiting the sick and saying “may Allah have mercy upon you” to one sneezing – if he praised Allah”.
This hadith further cultivates the community aspect of Islam and the Prophet (SAW) instructs us from matters considered very small (responding to a sneeze) to matters considered very large (attending a funeral prayer).
Each of these matters, whether large or small, is a way of building the brotherhood/sisterhood of Islam.
Returning a greeting:
If a Muslim gives you greeting of peace As-salaamu alaikum, it is important to respond with a like greeting or something better. The minimum is to say wa-alaikum as-salaam. It is important to say “as-salaam” rather than just “salaam” because in the first you are sending Allah’s Peace i.e. May Allah’s Peace be upon you, rather than just Peace be upon you.
Accepting an invitation:
The scholars say this refers to the “walimah” or wedding party. This is a very joyous occasion and marriage is a great establishment. When a Muslim invites you then you should attend so long as the activities are in accordance with the sacred law. Wedding parties should be simple and not seek the burden the guest i.e. to spend lots of money or buy expensive gifts. Attending will make the bride and groom happy and making duah for them will help give their marriage a good start.
Attending a funeral prayer:
The funeral prayer is all about asking Allah to bestow His Mercy upon the deceased. There is nothing that can help the deceased except Allah’s Mercy and the more people who attend the funeral the more people are praying for Allah to send His Mercy upon the deceased. A principle is that if you want people to attend your funeral prayer – attend people’s funeral prayers. It also brings a sense of joy to the deceased’s family to see many people there.
Visiting the sick:
This makes the sick person feel happy and this elevation in his mood will help him with his illness. Again it is an opportunity to pray for them. Importantly, as above, it shows the strength of brotherhood and will mean that if you are ill people will visit you. What goes around comes around, so to speak.
Seeking Mercy for the sneezing person:
More obscure than the rest, but this also comes under the chapter of mercy. When we make duah, which is what you are doing when saying yarhamukallah May Allah have Mercy upon you, there is an angel assigned to say, wa anta – and to you. Meaning when you make this duah you are also coming under the duah. This is a supplication of Mercy and we won’t enter into Jannah except by Allah’s Mercy.
The Messenger of Allah said, “The choicest of you are those most beautiful in character”.
The Prophet (SAW) was only sent to perfect good character. Allah sent the Quran as a book of guidance for mankind and He made the Prophet (SAW) a living exemplar of the Quran, hence his wife Aisha said that he was a Quran walking and that his character is the Quran. The Prophet (SAW) was a living manifestation of the Quran and for the Quran to settle in people’s hearts it needs to be transported by people who are beautiful in character. Therefore the better your character becomes the more attached you will be to the Quran and the way of the Prophet which makes you of the elect or finest of humanity. This is known because people are naturally attracted to people who have beautiful character. You will never encompass people with your wealth, so encompass them with your character. I advise people to buy this book by Habib Umar about Prophetic Character https://kitaabun.com/shopping3/clarification-noble-character-habib-umar-hafidh-p-5191.html
The Messenger of Allah said, “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it”.
The best person was the Prophet (SAW) and he was the first to learn the Quran and teach it. His status is always increasing because everyone who now learns or even reads the Quran has the like of their reward passed to him and when they teach it i.e. to their family or friends, he (SAW) will also get the like of that reward. It is never ending for him (SAW) and for us it can be a great sense of reward as well as a way of refining our characters and getting closer to Allah.
The Messenger of Allah said, “All creatures are Allah’s dependents, and the most beloved to Allah are those who bring most benefit to His dependents.”
Allah is our Rabb i.e. we are totally and utterly dependent upon him for everything; our lives, our food, our ability to walk, think etc. It is hard to comprehend but the best analogy I like to use is a new born baby. Put it down and it can do nothing by itself except breathe and cry, but in reality those are from Allah anyway. Like we are totally dependent upon Allah so is every other created being i.e. everything in this cosmos other than Allah is dependent upon Him.
This hadith reminds us that the more benefit we bring to Allah’s creation; the more beloved we will be to Him. Be of benefit in any way you can even if it is to say I will cut down on my use of plastic so as not to harm the world!