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The meaning of - Gradual Untying the Knots of Islam

Q: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, (The knots of Islam will be untied one by one. Each time one knot is undone, people will cling to the one next to it. The first of them to be undone is ruling and the last is Salah (Prayer).)

What is the interpretation of this Hadith? What is meant by the undoing of ruling?

A:
The mentioned Hadith was related by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (Hadith compilation), Al-Tabarany in "Al-Mu`jam Al-Kabir" and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih (authentic) Book of Hadith with a good Isnad (chain of narration) on the authority of Abu Umamah Al-Bahily (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The knots of Islam will be undone one by one. Each time one knot is undone, people will cling to the one next to it. The first of them to be undone is ruling and the last is Salah.

Its interpretation is obvious; the more Islam is estranged, the more people contradict it and violate its rulings and commands.

This is the same like the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), (Islam initiated as something strange and it would revert to its (old position) of being strange, so good tidings for the strangers.) Related by Muslim in his Sahih Book of Hadith.

The meaning of his saying (The first to be undone is ruling) is clear, which is ignoring Allah's Shari`ah (Islamic law), which is the current status of most of the Islamic countries. It is known that everyone should apply Allah's Shari`ah in everything and beware of ruling according to laws and traditions that contradict with the sanctified Shari`ah, according to Allah's saying,

"But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.)

He (Glorified be He) also says, (And so judge (you O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among them by what Allāh has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) far away from some of that which Allāh has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allāh‘s Will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most of men are Fāsiqūn (rebellious and disobedient to Allāh)."

(Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allāh for a people who have firm Faith.)

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says, (And whosoever does not judge by what Allāh has revealed, such are the Kāfirūn (i.e. disbelievers of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allāh‘s Laws). And whosoever does not judge by that which Allāh has revealed, such are the Zālimūn (polytheists and wrong-doers - of a lesser degree).

(And whosoever does not judge by what Allāh has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fāsiqūn [the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree) to Allāh].)

The scholars (may Allah be merciful with them) clarified that the Muslim rulers should rule according to Shari`ah in all the affairs of the Muslims and in every disputed matter, according to those gracious Ayahs (Qur'anic verses), and that if a ruler rules according to other than what was revealed by Allah and considers it Halal (lawful), this is considered major Kufr (disbelief) that renders him out of Islam.

However, if he does not think it is Halal but rules according to other than what was revealed by Allah for other reasons, such as bribe or anything else, while believing that it is impermissible to do, and that he should apply the rulings of Shari`ah, this is considered minor Kufr, minor Dhulm (injustice) and minor Fisq (flagrant violation of Islamic law).

May Allah guide all the Muslim rulers to rule according to his Shari`ah, refer to it, impose it upon their peoples, and beware of what contradicts it. He is the Most Generous One. There is no doubt that referring to Shari`ah and applying it leads to the benefits and welfare of this world and the Hereafter, safety from the conspiracies of enemies, and assistance for victory against them, according to Allah's saying,

(O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allāh, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.)

He (Glorified be He) also says, (and (as for) the believers, it was incumbent upon Us to help (them).

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says, (Verily, Allāh will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allāh is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those (Muslim rulers) who, if We give them power in the land, (they) enjoin Iqamat-as-Salāt [i.e. to perform the five compulsory congregational Salāt (prayers) (the males in mosques)], to pay the Zakāt and they enjoin Al-Ma…rūf, and forbid Al-Munkar. And with Allāh rests the end of (all) matters (of creatures).

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says, (Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world‘s life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, (i.e. Day of Resurrection) -The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to Zālimūn (polytheists, wrong-doers and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allāh). Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e. painful torment in Hell-fire).

There are many Ayahs (Qur'anic verses) that stress this meaning.

The saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the mentioned Hadith (the last of them is Salah) means that many people will abandon it, which is the current status in many Islamic countries.

May Allah set right the affairs of the Muslims, enable them to stick to His religion, and help them offer Salah in its due times congregationally in the Masjids (mosques), about which Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says,

(In houses (mosques) which Allāh has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered. Therein glorify Him (Allah) in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings, Men whom neither trade nor sale (business) diverts from the Remembrance of Allāh (with heart and tongue), nor from performing As-Salāt (Iqāmat-as-Salāt), nor from giving the Zakāt. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (out of the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection). That Allāh may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allāh provides without measure to whom He wills.)

Salah is the main pillar of Islam and its second corner, according to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), (The peak of this matter is Islam and its pillar is Salah.)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, (Islam was based on five pillars: testimony that there is no Ilah (god) but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, offering Salah, giving Zakah, observing Sawm (fast) in Ramadan, and performing Hajj.)

Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) commanded us in His Glorious Book to offer Salah and keep it in His saying, (And perform As-Salāt (Iqāmat-as-Salāt), and give Zakāt and bow down (or submit yourselves with obedience to Allāh) along with Ar-Raki…ūn.)

He (Glorified be He) also says, (And perform As-Salāt (Iqāmat-as-Salāt), and give Zakāt and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) that you may receive mercy (from Allāh).)

He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says, (Guard strictly As-Salawāt (the prayers) especially the middle Salāt (i.e. the best prayer - …Asr ). And stand before Allāh with obedience.)

The middle Salah is the `Asr (Afternoon) Prayer, as authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him).

He (Glorified be He) made it compulsory to offer the Five Obligatory Daily Prayers and keep them as prescribed by Allah. He stressed on the `Asr Prayer in particular. This might be because its time is in the end of the day after work, so people might skip it out of laziness or sleep. That is why Allah (Glorified be He) has urged us to keep it and warned us from skipping it.

He (Glorified be He) says, (Recite (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) what has been revealed to you of the Book (the Qur‘ān), and perform As-Salāt (Iqamāt-as-Salāt). Verily, As-Salāt (the prayer) prevents from Al-Fahshā‘ and Al-Munkar)

There are many other Ayahs about Salah.

It is authentically reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) that he said, (That which differentiates us from Kafirs (disbelievers) and hypocrites is our offering of Salah; a person who abandons it becomes a Kafir.) [Related by Imam Ahmad and Ahl-ul-Sunan (authors of Hadith compilations classified by jurisprudential themes) with a Sahih Isnad.]

 The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, (What makes one a Kafir and a Mushrik (polytheist) is abandoning Salah.) Related by Muslim in his Sahih Book of Hadith from Jabir ibn `Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him).

The great Sahaby (Companion of the Prophet) `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

(He who likes to meet Allah tomorrow as a Muslim, he should keep offering Salah when the Adhan (call to Prayer) is announced, for Allah has laid down for your Prophet the paths of right guidance, and this (Salah) is among the paths of right guidance. If you were to offer Salah at home as this man who stays away from the Masjid (mosque) offers Salah at home, you would abandon the practice of your Prophet. If you were to abandon the practice of your Prophet, you would go astray. Any man who purifies himself well, then heads for one of the Masjids, Allah will record a blessing for him for every step he takes, raising him a degree for it and effacing a sin from him for it. I have seen the time when no one abandoned it, except a hypocrite, who was well known for his hypocrisy; whereas a man would be brought swaying (due to weakness) between two men until he was set up in the row of prayers.) Related by Muslim in his Sahih Book of Hadith.

There are many Hadiths that encourage Salah and warn against abandoning it.

Allah (Glorified be He) told us in His Glorious Book that being lazy in offering Salah is one of the attributes of hypocrites who are promised with the lowest depth of Hellfire, according to Allah's saying in Surah Al-Nisa',

(Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allāh, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salāt (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allāh but little.)

He (Glorified be He) says about the hypocrites in Surah Al-Tawbah, (And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allāh and in His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and that they came not to As-Salāt (the prayer) except in a lazy state, and that they offer not contributions but unwillingly. So let not their wealth nor their children amaze you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم); in reality Allāh‘s Plan is to punish them with these things in the life of this world, and that their souls shall depart (die) while they are disbelievers.

May Allah grant safety to us and all the Muslims from the attributes of Kafirs and hypocrites!

May Allah guide us and all the Muslims to stick to His religion and beware the causes of His Anger! He is the Only One Capable of doing so.


Fatwas of Ibn Baz>Volume 9>The meaning of the knots of Islam will be undone one by one

Reference: qsep.com