The most honourable – Part Deux

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Two posts ago, in the Most Honourable post, I mentioned Imam Ibn Kathir’s (rahimahullah) paragraph on the Quran, which was full of “honourables”. [Deux = Two in French, just in case you’re wondering.]

The ayah (verse) that he was explaining was in Surah Yusuf, which is about the entire story of Yusuf (alaihissalam).

I remembered something about “honourable” that I had read about Yusuf (alaihissalam) and found this:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قِيلَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَنْ أَكْرَمُ النَّاسِ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَكْرَمُهُمْ أَتْقَاهُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ، لَيْسَ عَنْ هَذَا نَسْأَلُكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَأَكْرَمُ النَّاسِ يُوسُفُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ ابْنُ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ ابْنِ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ ابْنِ خَلِيلِ اللَّهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا لَيْسَ عَنْ هَذَا نَسْأَلُكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَعَنْ مَعَادِنِ الْعَرَبِ تَسْأَلُونِي ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَخِيَارُكُمْ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ خِيَارُكُمْ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ إِذَا فَقِهُوا ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Some people asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “Who is the most honorable amongst the people?” He replied, “The most honorable among them is the one who is the most Allah-fearing.” They said, “O Allah’s Prophet! We do not ask about this.” He said, “Then the most honorable person is Yusuf, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil.” They said, “We do not ask about this.” He said, “Then you want to ask me about the Arabs’ descent?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “Those who were best in the pre-lslamic period, are the best in Islam, if they comprehend (the religious knowledge). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 593]

And that’s not all.

عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ الْكَرِيمُ ابْنُ الْكَرِيمِ ابْنِ الْكَرِيمِ ابْنِ الْكَرِيمِ يُوسُفُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ عَلَيْهِمِ السَّلاَمُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “The honorable, the son of the honorable, the son of the honorable, the son of the honorable, (was) Yusuf, the son of Yaqub the son of Ishaq, the son of Ibrahim.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 603]

[In a total of two posts, you might have read the word “honourable” (or honorable) more times than you did in high school, right? Although I should point out that the Arabic word that Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) used was “ashraf” and the Arabic word used here is “akram” and “kareem”. Both of these are close in meaning, but I think the second word (i.e. akram) drifts more towards “most noble”. Allah Knows Better.]

Ponder over the above two ahadeeth for a bit. The most honourable person in terms of lineage was Yusuf (alaihissalam). He was a Prophet and was also the son, grandson and great-grandson of Prophets.

And he ended being sold as a slave after his brothers threw him down a well!

Some people might find it strange that a Prophet had such a “lowly” profession. I’d think such people would be stunned to read the job description that all the Prophets had: shepherd.

عَنْ جَابِر بْنَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَجْنِي الْكَبَاثَ، وَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏”‏ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالأَسْوَدِ مِنْهُ، فَإِنَّهُ أَطْيَبُهُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا أَكُنْتَ تَرْعَى الْغَنَمَ قَالَ ‏”‏ وَهَلْ مِنْ نَبِيٍّ إِلاَّ وَقَدْ رَعَاهَا ‏”‏‏

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah (radiallahu anhuma): We were with Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) picking the fruits of the Arak trees, and Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Pick the black fruit, for it is the best.” The companions asked, “Were you a shepherd?” He replied, “There was no prophet who was not a shepherd.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 618]

There are many wisdoms behind this which I won’t mention here.

Rather, I just want to point the fallacy behind the way many people think. They assume that true greatness and honour means being wealthy and having a high status amongst the people and so they spend their lives striving for these things.

Unfortunately, these worldly treasures do not entail greatness at all.

وَلَوْلَا أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً لَّجَعَلْنَا لِمَن يَكْفُرُ بِالرَّحْمَـٰنِ لِبُيُوتِهِمْ سُقُفًا مِّن فِضَّةٍ وَمَعَارِجَ عَلَيْهَا يَظْهَرُونَ

وَلِبُيُوتِهِمْ أَبْوَابًا وَسُرُرًا عَلَيْهَا يَتَّكِئُونَ

وَزُخْرُفًا ۚ وَإِن كُلُّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۚ وَالْآخِرَةُ عِندَ رَبِّكَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

And were it not that all mankind would have become of one community (all disbelievers, desiring worldly life only), We would have provided for those who disbelieve in the Most Beneficent (Allah), silver roofs for their houses, and elevators (and stair-ways, etc. of silver) whereby they ascend. And for their houses, doors (of silver), and thrones (of silver) on which they could recline. And adornments of gold. Yet all this (i.e. the roofs, doors, stairs, elevators, thrones etc. of their houses) would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world. And the Hereafter with your Lord is only for the Muttaqoon (the pious). [Surah Az-Zukhruf (43) : 33-35]

Ibn Kathir says:

﴿وَلَوْلاَ أَن يَكُونَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَحِدَةً﴾

“(And were it not that mankind would have become of one community,) means, `were it not for the fact that many ignorant people would think that Our giving them wealth was a sign that We love the person to whom We give it, and thus they would have agreed upon disbelief for the sake of wealth.'”

And he says:

﴿وَإِن كُلُّ ذَلِكَ لَمَّا مَتَـعُ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا﴾

“(Yet all this would have been nothing but an enjoyment of this world.) means, all that belongs to this transient world which is insignificant before Allah. He hastens their reward for good deeds in the form of luxuries in this world, so that when they reach the Hereafter, they will have no good merits with Allah for which they may be rewarded, as was reported in the Sahih Hadith.”

So, the only reason all the disbelievers didn’t run away with all the goodies is because it would have been a trial for everyone!

If this world was actually worth something in the sight of Allah, they would have ended up with absolutely nothing.

عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، قَالَ كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ بِذِي الْحُلَيْفَةِ فَإِذَا هُوَ بِشَاةٍ مَيِّتَةٍ شَائِلَةٍ بِرِجْلِهَا فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَتُرَوْنَ هَذِهِ هَيِّنَةً عَلَى صَاحِبِهَا فَوَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ لَلدُّنْيَا أَهْوَنُ عَلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ هَذِهِ عَلَى صَاحِبِهَا وَلَوْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا تَزِنُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ جَنَاحَ بَعُوضَةٍ مَا سَقَى كَافِرًا مِنْهَا قَطْرَةً أَبَدًا” ‏

It was narrated that Sahl ibn Sad said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) in Dhul-Hulaifah, when we saw a dead sheep lifting its leg (because of bloating). He said: ‘Don’t you think this is worthless to its owner? By the One in Whose hand is my soul, this world is more worthless to Allah than this (dead sheep) is to its owner. If this world was worth the wing of a mosquito to Allah, the disbeliever would not have a drop to drink from it.’” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 4110. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

So, nobody should think that being a servant or a bathroom cleaner means that the person is destined for a bad future whether in this world or in the Hereafter.

If this poor person is a righteous Muslim, then in the Hereafter they will end up in the same place as rich, righteous Muslims: Paradise.

As for this world, being in a lowly profession doesn’t mean that one can’t have a bright future. Yusus (alaihissalam) is one such example. He was taken as a slave and then put into prison. Eventually, he got released and got the position of a high ranking minister who was close to the King.

And he’s not the only one who made such a big leap.

وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِفَتَاهُ لَا أَبْرَحُ حَتَّىٰ أَبْلُغَ مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ أَوْ أَمْضِيَ حُقُبًا

And (remember) when Musa said to his boy-servant: “I will not give up (travelling) until I reach the junction of the two seas or (until) I spend years and years in travelling.” [Surah Al-Kahf (18): 60]

Who was this boy servant? Well, his name is mentioned in an authentic hadeeth:

فَخَرَجَ مُوسَى، وَمَعَهُ فَتَاهُ يُوشَعُ بْنُ نُونٍ، وَمَعَهُمَا الْحُوتُ حَتَّى انْتَهَيَا إِلَى الصَّخْرَةِ، فَنَزَلاَ عِنْدَهَا

So Musa set out along with his attendant Yusha ibn Noon, and they carried with them a fish till they reached a rock and rested there. [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Hadeeth No. 251. The whole hadeeth can be read here. Those who want to learn more about this story can refer to this old post of mine.]

Do you know who Yusha ibn Noon was? He (alaihissalam) was the one whom Allah bestowed the Prophethood upon, after the death of Haroon and Musa (alaihimissalam)!

Amazing, right? And it’s very interesting that a person with such close proximity to Musa (alaihisaalam) was chosen to be the Prophet after him. Yusha (alaihissalam) would have observed everything and learned many things. And that was probably the whole point.

Another example is that of Zaid ibn Al-Haarithah (radiallahu anhu). He was taken as a slave (although like Yusuf (alaihisaalam), he was born a free man) and then was purchased by the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

His family then found him but he refused to go back with them. He prefered to be the slave of Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) than to be a free man, because he had seen up close what a completely amazing person the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was. Because of this, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) freed him and adopted him as his son and he was known as Zaid ibn Muhammad.

All of this happened before Prophethood. When it was prohited for the names of fathers to be changed, his name was changed back to Zaid ibn Al-Haarithah.

That didn’t change the love that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had for him. When he (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was informed of Zaid’s (radiallahu anhu) death, he cried a lot.

عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى زَيْدًا وَجَعْفَرًا وَابْنَ رَوَاحَةَ لِلنَّاسِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَأْتِيَهُمْ خَبَرُهُمْ، فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَخَذَ الرَّايَةَ زَيْدٌ فَأُصِيبَ، ثُمَّ أَخَذَ جَعْفَرٌ فَأُصِيبَ، ثُمَّ أَخَذَ ابْنُ رَوَاحَةَ فَأُصِيبَ ـ وَعَيْنَاهُ تَذْرِفَانِ ـ حَتَّى أَخَذَ سَيْفٌ مِنْ سُيُوفِ اللَّهِ حَتَّى فَتَحَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Anas (radiallahu anhu): The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had informed the people about the death of Zaid, Jafar and Ibn Rawaha before the news of their death reached them. He said with his eyes flowing with tears, “Zaid took the flag and was martyred; then Jafar took the flag and was martyred, and then Ibn Rawaha took the flag and was martyred. Finally the flag was taken by one of Allah’s Swords (i.e. Khalid ibn Al-Walid) and Allah gave them (i.e. the Muslims) victory.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Hadeeth No. 102]

He and his son were two of the most beloved people to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَعَثَ بَعْثًا وَأَمَّرَ عَلَيْهِمْ أُسَامَةَ بْنَ زَيْدٍ، فَطَعَنَ النَّاسُ فِي إِمَارَتِهِ، فَقَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنْ تَطْعُنُوا فِي إِمَارَتِهِ فَقَدْ كُنْتُمْ تَطْعُنُونَ فِي إِمَارَةِ أَبِيهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ، وَايْمُ اللَّهِ إِنْ كَانَ لَخَلِيقًا لِلإِمَارَةِ، وَإِنْ كَانَ لَمِنْ أَحَبِّ النَّاسِ إِلَىَّ، وَإِنَّ هَذَا لَمِنْ أَحَبِّ النَّاسِ إِلَىَّ بَعْدَهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) sent troops appointed Usama ibn Zaid as their commander. The people criticized his leadership. Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) got up and said, “If you (people) are criticizing his (i.e. Usama’s) leadership you used to criticize the leadership of his father before. By Allah, he (i.e. Zaid) deserved the leadership indeed, and he used to be one of the most beloved persons to me, and now this (i.e. his son, Usama) is one of the most beloved persons to me after him.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Hadeeth No. 745]

Now, you might be thinking: “Okay, but what distinction did he have?”

Well, he has one particular thing that none of the Sahabaah (radiallahu anhum) have. Zaid (radiallahu anhu) is the ONLY Companion of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) to be mentioned by name in the Quran.

Yep.

وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَمْسِكْ عَلَيْكَ زَوْجَكَ وَاتَّقِ اللَّـهَ وَتُخْفِي فِي نَفْسِكَ مَا اللَّـهُ مُبْدِيهِ وَتَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَاللَّـهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَاهُ ۖ فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ زَيْدٌ مِّنْهَا وَطَرًا زَوَّجْنَاكَهَا لِكَيْ لَا يَكُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ حَرَجٌ فِي أَزْوَاجِ أَدْعِيَائِهِمْ إِذَا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَرًا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّـهِ مَفْعُولًا

And (remember) when you said to him (Zaid bin Harithah the freed­ slave of the Prophet) on whom Allah has bestowed Grace (by guiding him to Islam) and you (O Muhammad too) have done favour (by manumitting him) “Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allah.” But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what Allah has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which Allah will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e., Muhammad married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas Allah had a better right that you should fear Him. So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them). And Allah’s Command must be fulfilled. [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 37]

If being the only one from the best generation to be mentioned by name by Allah in His Book, is not a distinction, then I really want to know your definition of distinction.

Also, the above ayah (verse) makes it clear that Allah has bestowed His Grace upon Zaid (radiallahu anhu).

Another person who was taken as slave whilst being born a free man was Salman Al-Farisi (radiallahu anhu). He was passed on to many masters.

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ الْفَارِسِيِّ، أَنَّهُ تَدَاوَلَهُ بِضْعَةَ عَشَرَ مِنْ رَبٍّ إِلَى رَبٍّ‏.‏

Narrated Salman Al-Farisi (radiallahu anhu): That he was sold (as a slave) by one master to another for more than ten times (i.e between 13 and 19). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Hadeeth No. 282]

[You can read his entire story in this old post of mine.]

He had a long journey in his quest for the truth and he eventually accepted Islam. He didn’t participate in the first couple of battles because he was still a slave. Eventually, the Muslims purchased his freedom and he participated in the Battle of the Trench (Al-Khandaq).

In this battle, the Muslims dug a trench around themselves to stop their enemies. This was a thing that Persians did. Who told them that? Salman Al-Farisi (radiallahu anhu) obviously. [Al-Farisi = The Persian].

The disbelievers were stunned when they saw the trench because they had no clue about such things. Because of this, the Muslims eventually won this battle.

So, a freed slave helped win an important battle. And that’s not all. He was one of the most knowledgeable Companions.

عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ عَمِيرَةَ، قَالَ لَمَّا حَضَرَ مُعَاذَ بْنَ جَبَلٍ الْمَوْتُ قِيلَ لَهُ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ أَوْصِنَا ‏.‏ قَالَ أَجْلِسُونِي ‏.‏ فَقَالَ إِنَّ الْعِلْمَ وَالإِيمَانَ مَكَانَهُمَا مَنِ ابْتَغَاهُمَا وَجَدَهُمَا يَقُولُ ذَلِكَ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ وَالْتَمِسُوا الْعِلْمَ عِنْدَ أَرْبَعَةِ رَهْطٍ عِنْدَ عُوَيْمِرٍ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ وَعِنْدَ سَلْمَانَ الْفَارِسِيِّ وَعِنْدَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ وَعِنْدَ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ سَلاَمٍ الَّذِي كَانَ يَهُودِيًّا فَأَسْلَمَ فَإِنِّي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ إِنَّهُ عَاشِرُ عَشَرَةٍ فِي الْجَنَّةِ ‏”

Narrated Yazid ibn Umairah: “When death was upon Muadh ibn Jabal, it was said to him: ‘O Abu Abdur-Rahman, advise us.’ He said: ‘Sit me up.’ So he said: ‘Indeed, knowledge and faith are at their place, whoever desires them shall find them.’ He said that three times. ‘And seek knowledge from four men: Uwaimir Abu Ad-Darda, with Salman Al-Farisi, with Abdullah ibn Masud, and with Abdullah ibn Salam who used to be a Jew and then accepted Islam. For indeed, I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “Indeed he is the tenth of ten in Paradise. [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3804. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]

He was also the governor of a province later on. So, he really reached a high status in terms of knowledge and power.

We have examples from the later generations too. Nafi (rahimahullah), one of those whom the great scholar Imam Maalik (rahimahullah) studied under, was the freed slave of Abdullah ibn Umar (radiallahu anhuma). Apparently, Imam Al-Bukhari (rahimahullah) used to consider this chain (i.e. Ibn Umar->Nafi->Maalik) to be the strongest (in terms of narrations). It is known as the “golden chain”.

Not bad for a freed slave, huh?

So, basically, my point is that a “lowly” status in this world doesn’t mean that one is a loser in this world or in the hereafter. Sadly, this is what many people think.

Unfortunately, some people go to the other extreme and think that all rich people are actually the losers and that all poor people are very pious.

Uh…no.

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ وَسُلَيْمَانَ عِلْمًا ۖ وَقَالَا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ الَّذِي فَضَّلَنَا عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّنْ عِبَادِهِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawood and Sulaiman, and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing slaves!” [Surah An-Naml (27) : 15]

Dawood (alaihissalam) and his son, Sulaiman (alaihissalam) were both Prophets. They were also kings. In fact, Sulaiman (alaihissalam) had so many blessings, some of which nobody else got.

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ۖ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ

And Sulaiman inherited (the knowledge of) Dawood. He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).” [Surah An-Naml (27) : 16]

Ibn Kathir states in his explanation of this verse:

﴿يأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ﴾

“(O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.) Here Sulayman was speaking of the blessings that Allah bestowed upon him, by giving him complete authority and power, whereby mankind, the Jinn and the birds were subjugated to him. He also knew the language of the birds and animals, which is something that had never been given to any other human being — as far as we know from what Allah and His Messenger told us. Allah enabled Sulayman to understand what the birds said to one another as they flew through the air, and what the different kinds of animals said. Sulayman said:

﴿عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىْءٍ﴾

(We have been taught the language of birds, and we have been given from everything.) i.e., all things that a king needs.”

And he states in the story of Sulaiman (alaihissalam) (in his book Stories of the Prophets):

“Allah had granted Sulaiman everything he needed to govern as a sovereign, more than what he granted other kings and rulers before or after him. He was given huge armies of men, jinn, birds, wild animals and the knowledge and science of other things, and the ability to understand the other silent creatures.”

Despite all this wealth and power, Sulaiman (alaihissalam) was an extremely obedient slave of Allah and what is waiting for him in the Hereafter is much better than what he got in this world.

وَإِنَّ لَهُ عِندَنَا لَزُلْفَىٰ وَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ

And verily, he enjoyed a near access to Us, and a good final return (Paradise). [Surah Saad (38)  : 40]

So, being rich doesn’t make you bad and being poor doesn’t make you good. Being bad makes you bad and being good makes you good, get it?

The most honourable person in the sight of Allah is the most righteous one, regardless of whether the person is rich or poor.

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ

Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqoon (pious). [Surah Al-Hujurat (49) : 13]

The first hadeeth mentioned in this post also states the same thing:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قِيلَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَنْ أَكْرَمُ النَّاسِ قَالَ ‏”‏ أَكْرَمُهُمْ أَتْقَاهُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا يَا نَبِيَّ اللَّهِ، لَيْسَ عَنْ هَذَا نَسْأَلُكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَأَكْرَمُ النَّاسِ يُوسُفُ نَبِيُّ اللَّهِ ابْنُ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ ابْنِ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ ابْنِ خَلِيلِ اللَّهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا لَيْسَ عَنْ هَذَا نَسْأَلُكَ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَعَنْ مَعَادِنِ الْعَرَبِ تَسْأَلُونِي ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالُوا نَعَمْ‏.‏ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَخِيَارُكُمْ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ خِيَارُكُمْ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ إِذَا فَقِهُوا ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Some people asked the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “Who is the most honorable amongst the people?” He replied, “The most honorable among them is the one who is the most Allah-fearing.” They said, “O Allah’s Prophet! We do not ask about this.” He said, “Then the most honorable person is Yusuf, Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil.” They said, “We do not ask about this.” He said, “Then you want to ask me about the Arabs’ descent?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “Those who were best in the pre-lslamic period, are the best in Islam, if they comprehend (the religious knowledge). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 593]

[Interestingly enough, this hadeeth was narrated by Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu). He was an extremely poor man yet was also the foremost narrator of hadeeth!]

So, do YOU want to be the most honourable? Well you can. You just need to be very righteous.

Remember: Yusuf (alaihissalam) was both most honourable in terms of lineage and also his righteousness.

I’ll leave you with a nice recitation of Surah Yusuf, along with its translation, so that you can know more about his life:

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