In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [hafidhahullaah] said:
Narrated Anas bin Maalik [radiyallaahu-anhu] that he heard ‘Umar [radiyallaahu-anhu] speaking, while standing on the pulpit of the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] in the morning [following the death of the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam)], when the people had given the Bai’ah [pledge] to Abu Bakr. He [praised Allaah, testified that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and sent salutations upon the Prophet] before Abu Bakr, and said, ‘’To proceed; Allaah has chosen for His Messenger what is with Him [i.e. Paradise] rather than what is with you [i.e. the world]. This is that Book [the Qur’an] with which Allah guided your Messenger, so stick to it, for then you will be guided on the Right Path as Allaah guided His Messenger with it.” [Bukhari]
Benefits and Lessons:
The Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam], Abu Bakr [radiyallaahu-anhu] and all the companions [radiyallaahu-anhum] considered Umar [radiyallaahu-anhu] as one with great status, and because of this, he took [praiseworthy] stances during times of serious events in order to offer [sound] suggestions, such as during the Riddah [i.e. when some tribes left Islaam after the death of the Messenger]. And from them [i.e. those serious events] is that Umar [radiyallaahu-anhu] was the first one who gave the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr [radiyallaahu’anhu]- he settled the affair as reported in the [following] hadeeth: ”When the Messenger of Allah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] passed away, the Ansar said: ‘Let there be an Amir from among us and an Amir from among you.’ Then Umar came to them and said: ‘O Ansar! Do you not know that the Messenger of Allah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] commanded Abu Bakr [radiyallaahu-anhu] to lead the people in prayer? Who among you could accept to put himself ahead of Abu Bakr?’ They said: ‘We seek refuge with Allah from putting ourselves ahead of Abu Bakr.’’ [Reported by Imaam Ahmad 3649]
On the second day, after the oath of allegiance was given to AbuBakr [radiyallaahu-anhu], he [Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu)] ascended the pulpit and delivered this great sermon, (saying): ”Amma Ba ‘du [to proceed]: Allah has chosen for His Messenger what is with Him (i.e. Paradise) rather than what is with you [i.e. the world]. This is that Book [i.e. the Qur’an] with which Allah guided your Messenger, so stick to it, for then you will be guided on the Right Path as Allaah guided His Messenger with it.”
This [statement of Umar] is Allaah’s command and the command of His Messenger other than (this) hadeeth, such as his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] statement: ‘’I have left amongst you that which if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray after me: the book of Allah and my Sunnah.”
And likewise his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] statement: ‘’The best speech is the Book of Allaah and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. And the worst of all affairs are the newly invented matters (in the religion) and every innovation is misguidance.’’ [Muslim]
In the majority of his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] sermons, he uttered this statement, in order to urge [mankind] towards adherence to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]. Therefore, Umar [radiyallaahu-anhu] followed this path in order to guide the people to adhere to the Book of Allaah, for indeed in it is guidance and light. Indeed Allaah guided his Messenger through it-[Allaah (The Most High)] said:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
صِرَاطِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ أَلَا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَصِيرُ الْأُمُورُ
”And thus We have sent to you [O Muhammad] Ruhan [an Inspiration, and a Mercy] of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it [this Qur’an] a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you [O Muhammad] are indeed guiding [mankind] to the Straight Path [i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism]. The Path of Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. Verily, all the matters at the end go to Allah (for decision). [42:52-53]
The Book of Allaah [mentioned in this ayah] is the Qur’aan. Allaah [Glorified Be He and Free is He from all imperfections] did not guide him [i.e. the Messenger] except by way of His Mercy and by way of this Qur’aan. He [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
قُلْ إِن ضَلَلْتُ فَإِنَّمَا أَضِلُّ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِي ۖ وَإِنِ اهْتَدَيْتُ فَبِمَا يُوحِي إِلَيَّ رَبِّي ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ قَرِيبٌ
Say: “If [even] I go astray, I shall stray only to my own loss. But if I remain guided, it is because of the Inspiration of my Lord to me. Truly, He is All-Hearer, Ever Near (to all things).” [34:50]
And He [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
اتَّبِعْ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ
‘’Follow what has been inspired to you (O Muhammad) from your Lord. [6:106]
And He [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
‘’And if you [O Muhammad] were to follow their desires after what you have received of Knowledge [i.e. the Qur’an], then you would have against Allah neither any Wali [protector or guardian] nor any helper.’’ [2:120]
The Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] followed the revelation and its texts just as Allaah commanded him; and the Ummah are obligated with this [i.e. to follow as well], just as Allaah commanded them. He [Allaah (The Most High)] said:
اتَّبِعُوا مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُم مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا مِن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۗ قَلِيلًا مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Say [O Muhammad] to these idolaters [pagan Arabs] of your folk:] Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord [the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah], and follow not any Auliya’ [protectors and helpers, etc. who order you to associate partners in worship with Allah], besides Him [Allah]. Little do you remember! [7:3]
And just as Allaah commanded His Messenger to follow the revelation and to be guided by it, He [Allaah] also commanded the Ummah to follow the revelation and to be guided by it. Therefore, O Muslims! It is [obligated] on us to [take the] Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] as a [source of] guidance with truthfulness, sincerity, diligence and determination, and not with wishful thinking; rather we should be truthful to Allaah [The Blessed and Most High] with regards to holding fast to this Book [i.e. the Qur’aan] and the Sunnah, just as Allaah [Glorified and Exalted Be He] said to His slave Yahyah [alayhis-salaam]: [يَا يَحْيَىٰ خُذِ الْكِتَابَ بِقُوَّةٍ ۖ – O Yahya (John)! Hold fast the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)].” [19:12]
Therefore, it is obligated on us to hold onto [the Qur’an] with diligence- neither with a slack nor lackadaisical [attitude] and nor through blameworthy blind following; rather it is obligated on us to ponder upon this Qur’aan just as He [Allaah (The Most High)] stated: [كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ – ‘’(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember’’] [38: 29]
This Qur’aan was sent down to be pondered upon and to acquire (sound) understanding from it. And the one whom Allaah wishes good for, He gives him (or her) understanding in the religion.
It is incumbent upon you [to adhere] to this Book [i.e. the Qur’aan] and the Sunnah-give importance to them (by way of) memorization and acquiring understanding; utilise them as an aid in [seeking] a sincere and pure understanding based on the Messenger’s [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] statements and the understanding of the pious predecessors [may Allaah be pleased with all of them]. However, some of the pious predecessors may have some mistakes, so we seek Allaah’s Forgiveness for them and find excuses for them, however we do not follow them [in their mistakes], for everyone can have his statement accepted or rejected, except the Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam].
(So) Umar (radiyallaahu-anahu) said: “Amma Ba‘du (to proceed): Allah has chosen for His Messenger what is with Him (Paradise) rather than what is with you (the world)….etc’’ and shortly before his death the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) delivered a sermon, as reported in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed (radiyallaahu-anhu) – and said: ‘’Indeed Allaah gave a slave of His a choice between the Dunya and between what is with Him, so he (the slave) chose that which is with Allaah.’ So Abu Bakr (radiyallaahu-anhu) cried and said: ‘We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake.’ We wondered why Abu Bakr (said such a thing). The people said: ‘Look at this old man! The Messenger of Allah says about a slave who was given the choice between the glitter of the worldly life and what He [Allaah] has with Him (of reward in the Hereafter); but he (i.e. Abu Bakr) says: We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake!’ The Messenger of Allah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) was the slave who was to make the choice and (we acknowledged) that Abu Bakr was the most learned among us about the Messenger (i.e. because he knew the reason behind the Messenger’s statement).’’
Umar-and Allaah knows best-was referring to this (above) hadeeth. There is no Prophet at the time of death except that he is given a choice between the (bliss of) this life and what is with Allaah has (i.e. Allaah good pleasure and reward in the afterlife), and the Prophets chose what is with Allaah. Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu-anhu) said: ‘The Angel of Death was sent to Moosaa (alayhis-salaam); so when he came to Moosa, he (Moosaa) struck him in his eye. He (i.e. the Angel) returned to his Lord and said: You sent me to a slave who does not want to die.’ So Allah gave him back his eye and said: ‘Return to him and tell him to put his hand on the back of an ox and for every hair that will come under it, he will be granted one year of life.’ Moosaa (alayhis-salaam) said: ‘0 Lord! What will happen after that?’ Allah replied: ‘Then death.’ Moosaa said: ‘Let it come now!’ Moosaa then requested Allah to let him die close to the Holy Land so that he would be at a distance of a stone’s throw from it.” [Bukhari and Muslim] So he (alayhis-salaam) chose death.
The Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) was given a choice, just as he stated and just as Aa’isha (radiyallaahu-anhaa) said, ‘’The Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) used to say whilst he was healthy: Never a prophet dies in a state that he is not made to see his abode in Paradise, and then given a choice.’’ ‘A’isha said that when Allaah’s Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) was about to leave the world, his head was over her thigh and he had fallen into swoon three times. When he felt relief his eyes were fixed at the ceiling. He then said: O Allaah, along with the high companions (i.e. along with the Prophets who live in the most elevated place of the Paradise). (On hearing these words), I then said (to myself) He is not going to opt us and I remembered a hadith which he had narrated to us as he was healthy and in which he said: No prophet dies until he sees his abode in Paradise, he is then given a choice. ‘A’isha said: These were the last words which Allaah’s Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) spoke: O Allaah, with companions on High. [Bukhaari]
So he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) chose the (company) of the high companions and departed from this worldly life.
This affair that Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu) referred to is in harmony with what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) stated about the Prophets and himself. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) chose that which is with Allaah (The Mighty and Majestic). He chose the afterlife over the worldly life after completing his message perfectly. Allaah perfected this religion (of Islaam) and then gave him a choice (between this world and the hereafter), so he chose that which is with Allaah (i.e. the afterlife).
And likewise Anas (radiyallaahu-anhu) narrated: “Abu Bakr (radiyallaahu-anhu) said to ‘Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu), after the death of the Messenger of Allah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), “Let us go and visit Umm Ayman [i.e. the wet nurse the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) during his childhood], as the Messenger of Allah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) used to visit her.” When they finished visiting her (and were about to leave) she began to cry. So they asked her: “What is it that makes you cry? Is not that which is with Allah better for the Messenger of Allah (saw)?” So she replied, “I am not crying because I am unaware that that which is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (saw) but I am crying because the revelation from the heavens has stopped.” This moved them to tears, so they both began to weep with her.” [Muslim]
So this is what Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu) referred to- the Prophet’s (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) choice regarding that which is with Allaah (in the afterlife).
We ask Allaah to grant us and you (success, wellbeing etc) in His Religion. And that He grants us (the blessing, ability) to adhere to His Book (i.e. the Qur’aan) and to follow the guidance of His noble Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam). Indeed, our Lord hears the supplication (of His slaves). [The End]
[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Bahjatul Qaariy Bi-Fawaa’id Manhajiyyah Wa Duroos Tarbawiyyah Min Kitaab Al-I’tisaam Bil-Kitaab Was-Sunnah Min Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Pages: 11-17. slightly paraphrased]