It was narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
No envy is (acceptable) but in two cases: a man whom Allah has endowed with the (memorization and knowledge of the) Quran with which he stands (and acts upon) at the approaches of night and day; and a man on whom Allah has bestowed wealth which he spends (in His cause) at the approaches of night and day. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The hateful envy is to hope that the favor given to another should vanish, whereas the praiseworthy envy is to aspire to have the like of what is given to the envied person as regards knowledge and wealth.
To stand with the Quran at the approaches of the night is to recite and learn it and worship Allah with it; and this is likely to happen in secret, far from the people’s eyes. To do so at the approaches of the day is to act upon it publicly in front of the people in compliance with the command of Allah, and in the hope of being an example for others to follow and receiving the reward of anyone following him.
The Hadeeth gives preference, in mention, to the superiority of him who is given the Quran and acts upon it over him who is given wealth and spends it (in Allah’s cause), which points out the superiority of knowledge over charity. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said to Kumayl ibn Ziyad ibn Nuhayl (one of the Taabi‘is d. 82 A.H.), “O Kumayl! knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you whereas you guard wealth. Knowledge is a ruler whereas wealth is ruled. Wealth decreases by charity whereas knowledge increases by spending (i.e. by teaching it).” The decrease of wealth here refers to the apparent reduction which seems to the people, but with Allah it increases and multiplies.
The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, clarified this meaning when he said, as narrated on the authority of Abu Kabshah al-Anmari, may Allah be pleased with him:
The world is for four kinds of people: One upon whom Allah Almighty has bestowed wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord in respect to them, maintains kinship ties and acknowledges the rights of Allah on him [and fulfills them]; this type is in the best of ranks. One upon whom Allah Almighty has conferred knowledge but not wealth, and he is sincere in his intention and says: "Had I possessed wealth, I would have done like so-and-so." If that is his intention, their rewards are the same. (He aspires to have the like of this good person in order to do like him; and he does not hope that what the other has of blessing should vanish) One whom Allah Almighty has given wealth but no knowledge, and he ignorantly flounders with it, does not fear Allah in respect to it, does not maintain kinship ties and does not acknowledge the rights of Allah. Such a person is in the worst rank. One upon whom Allah Almighty has bestowed neither wealth nor knowledge, and he says: "Had I possessed wealth, I would have done like so-and-so." For his intention, both will be equally sinful. [Ibn Majah and At-Tirmithi, who renders it as good-authentic]
Here, the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, dispraises him because of his desire for sin rather than for a favor like the other. There is no difficulty on him who aspires to have the like of the favor given to another, so long as he does not like that it vanishes from him nor dislikes that it should remain with him. If this favor pertains to the obligatory religious service like faith, prayer and zakah, the competition over it is due: that is to aspire to be like him because if he does not like this, he then will be content with the sin, and that is unlawful. If the favor pertains to such good merits as spending wealth in charity and good things, competition over it is recommended. If it pertains to a permissible form of enjoyment, competition over it is permissible. [Ihya’ ‘Uloom Ad-Deen, grand Imam Al-Ghazali]
It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:
He who recites the Quran, it seems as if prophethood has been drawn to him except that he receives no divine revelation; and whoever recites the Quran and thinks that somebody has been given better than what he has been given, he will have exalted what Allah has regarded with slightness and regarded with slightness what Allah has exalted. It is not fit for the Quran holder to be among those who behave foolishly or be angry or enraged: but he should rather forgive and pardon because of the superiority of the Quran. [At-Tabari]
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was given revelation through a particular text, i.e. the Noble Quran, and the Sunnah through the words of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. So, whoever is given the Noble Quran has the same which Allah Almighty revealed to His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in the same text, with difference that he receives no divine revelation. No doubt, the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets: they inherit neither dirham nor dinar, but inherit the knowledge which they act upon and spread among the people.
An aspect of exalting Allah Almighty is to exalt His Book (the Quran), and whoever is given much good should thank Allah Almighty for this great favor and feel the magnificence and grandeur of the bounty granted to him by Allah Almighty.
‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
It is due on the holder of the Quran to be recognized for his (standing at) night when the people are asleep, for his (fasting during the) day when the people are not fasting, for his sadness when the people are rejoicing, for his weeping when the people are laughing, for his silence when the people are engaging in discourse, and for his humble submissiveness when the people are arrogant. The holder of the Quran should be compliant and lenient rather than harsh, displeasing in voice like a donkey, a noise-maker, or an obstinate person.”
A righteous man said:
I have learnt that the Quran holder will be asked as the Prophets will be asked (i.e. on the Day of Judgment). In the noble Hadeeth, the Prophet forbade the Quran holder to behave foolishly or be angry or enraged, and rather commanded him to adhere to forgiveness and forbearance. That is, to maintain a good moral character and noble manners. Such was the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, as described by ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, the Mother of Believers when she said: “His moral character was (an application of the laws and instructions of) the Quran.” [Muslim, Ahmad and Abu Dawood]
Since the moral character of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was (an application of) the Quran, then, the Quran is among us, and it is due on the Quran holders to behave according to the manners of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, which are the manners of the Quran.
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