In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Haani [radiyallaahu anhu] said that when he came to Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], he said, “O Allaah’s Messenger! What will necessitate entry into paradise?” He said, “Adhere to good speech and give food [to others]”.
Few Reminders From This Hadeeth By Shaikh Zayd Bin Haadi [rahimahullaah]
This hadeeth contains proof that it is obligated on the one who is unacquainted with something to enquire knowledge about it. [Also] this hadeeth [contains] proof that it is obligatory to respond to a questioner so that he becomes acquainted with Sharee’ah knowledge in order to act and earn abundant good in this Dunyaa and the Aakhirah.
The scholars who adhere to the Qur’aan, the [authentic] Sunnah and the path of pious predecessors of this Ummah are the inheritors of the Messenger [alayhis salaatu wassalaam]. It is obligated on them to be prepared to respond to those who ask questions and it is obligated on those who ask questions to ask about that which is difficult for them to understand in relation to their religious affairs, especially when [the affair] is related to lofty deeds, such as Tawheed and its categories, how to actualize Tawheed and its [noble] end results; [ask] about shirk, its types and disastrous consequences. This is how it should be for the one who has reached the age of accountability – that he asks a scholar regarding issues related to his religious affairs which is the purpose behind which Allaah created him, so that he becomes acquainted with them and acts.
This question which the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] was asked by this traveller – who travelled from a faraway place to ask about a great matter- was about what will necessitate entry into paradise! And that which necessitates entry into paradise – in general- is that one performs different acts of obedience [to Allaah], such as fulfilling obligatory duties, seeking to get close to Allaah by way of the recommended acts of worship and abandon evil deeds out of fearing Allaah’s punishment. The Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] used to respond to the questioners with different answers – everyone given a response that suited his situation. So when this man asked about that which will necessitate entry paradise, the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] guided him to two lofty deeds; the first one is good speech, and this includes every statement that is obligated and recommended. The second one is to give food to the people- those whom you know and those unknown to you amongst the pious people of the Ummah – close or far away. That is because the one who is blessed [and enabled] to utter good speech and give food, then indeed Allaah will guide him to fulfil the remaining obligations and recommendations, and guide him to abandon the forbidden and hated deeds. In this is proof that one should choose good speech that pleases Allaah and earns him reward. [Also], this hadeeth contains proof regarding kind treatment to others in different ways and at different levels based on the circumstances of the people.
[An Excerpt from At-ta’leeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 147-148. Slightly paraphrased]