The Prophet (saw) said:” Whoever relieves a believer of a distress from the distresses of the world – Allah will relieve him of s distress from the distresses of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever facilitates (a matter) for one in financial difficulties – Allah will facilitate for him (matters) in this world and the Hereafter. And whoever covers (the fault of) a Muslim - Allah will cover his (faults) in this world and the Hereafter.  Allah is in aid of his servant as long as the servant is in aid of his brother. And whoever follows a path seeking knowledge therein - Allah will facilitate for him a path to Paradise. No people assemble in one of the houses of Allah reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among them but that tranquillity descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angles surround them, and Allah mentions them among those with Him. And he whose deeds slow him down will not be accelerated by his lineage.” (Muslim)


The above hadith begins with a continuation of the theme of brotherhood and Muslims’ duties toward one another. This hadith encourages aid, support and protection by showing the resulting rewards and benefits. The good tidings included therein motivate a believer to serve people and to join those who seek knowledge and study the Qur’an.


Additionally, the hadith is among those which illustrate that a reward or punishment is often related in kind to the deed itself. For when a Muslim saves another from oppression, injustice, captivity, debt, fear, hunger, poverty, slander, injury or any difficulty he may face in life, Allah in turn, will save him from one of the difficulties of the Hereafter, which is infinitely greater than any of this world.


Thus, the reward is of the same type, although many times greater than the original deed, it extent being known only to Allah. If one contemplates the terrors of the resurrection, the anguish of awaiting judgement with knowledge of his sins, and the desperate need of each soul for any good deed at that time, he will receive the state of a believer who, in the midst of that grave situation, is overtaken by Allah’s justice and mercy and rewarded for every instance in which he aided or worked to alleviate the affliction of one of his brothers during his life on earth.


Al-Imam An-Nawawi added:” Within the hadith is another secret which appears through deduction: a promise by the Truthful (saw) that a Muslim who relieves another of distress will have a good end and die within Islam because a disbeliever cannot receive mercy in the Hereafter and nothing will relieve his distress.” The Imam thus concluded that relieving a believer of distress in the most excellent of deeds.

Undoubtedly, the greatest distress on the day of Resurrection is fear entering Hellfire. Several authentic hadiths relate that Allah (swt) forgave a certain servant because of some deed of mercy done by him – even so much as drawing water for a thirsty dog.

On more than one occasion the Prophet (saw) cited the alleviation of debt for a destitute person as a cause for Allah’s overlooking the benefactor’s own shortcomings and forgiving his sins, thus saving him from Hell. This may be done by granting additional time for payments, waiving part or all of a debt, or by paying part or all of a debt owed to another.


The Messenger of Allah (saw) did not specify any particular kind of aid that could be given to a Muslim brother, meaning that the statement is general and comprehensive. So any assistant a servant is able to offer from his wealth, physical ability or influence is sufficient to earn him the aid of Allah in his own affairs. Conversely, the Prophet (saw) warned:” Whoever does not show mercy to people – Allah will not show mercy to him.” (Ahmad)


No society will be strong and productive unless it is built upon the principle of cooperation, just as mutual trust and concern produces positive responses in its individual members. Allah’s Messenger (saw) was the most perfect example of all that he taught, and there are countless and varied examples of such behaviour among his companions and their students. The concept is defined and qualified by Allah (swt) in His injunction:” And cooperate in righteousness and piety but do not cooperate in sin and aggression.” (Al-Maidah: 2)

(Prepared by Ustad Abdul Muhaemin Karim)