Allaah elevates people by virtue of the Quran
Fatwa No: 27570

  • Fatwa Date:14-2-2012 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 22, 1433
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Question

What is the meaning of the Hadeeth in which the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Verily, Allaah elevates some people by (virtue of) these Words and abases others."? Does "these Words" refer to the Quran?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Hadeeth reads: "Verily, Allaah elevates some people by (virtue of) this Book and abases others." [Muslim, Ahmad, Ibn Maajah, and Ad-Daarimi] In the narration of Ad-Daarimi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him reads: "Verily, Allaah Elevates some people with this Quran…" We do not know any narration in the wording mentioned in the question. However, the Words of Allaah refers to His Book, and scholars defined the Quran as the Words of Allaah The Almighty revealed to His Messenger Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whose recitation is an act of worship and the shortest Surah of which is a challenge to people.

As for the meaning of the Hadeeth, Ibn Hajar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "Allaah elevates the believer who is knowledgeable, over the ignorant believer." High status and elevating the degrees include the moral side in this life by raising one's rank and good reputation, and the tangible side in the Hereafter by raising one's degree in Paradise. It is narrated in Saheeh Muslim that Naafi‘ ibn ‘Abdul-Haarith Al-Khuzaa‘i, whom ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him appointed as a governor of Makkah, once met ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him in 'Usfaan. ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him asked him, "Who have you left [as a ruler over Makkah]?" He replied, "I have left Ibn Abi Abza, who is a freed slave of ours." ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him wondered, "Have you left a freed slave [as a ruler]?" He replied, "He is a reader of the Quran and knowledgeable of the law of inheritance." ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him then said, “Surely, your Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Indeed, Allaah elevates some people by (virtue of) this Book and abases others."

Al-Mubaarakfoori  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him in his commentary on Sunan At-Tirmithi said,

"The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said "And whoever whose righteous deeds did not qualify him…" It means that the man whose righteous deeds fail to enable him to gain the level of happiness in the Hereafter, his noble lineage would not compensate this shortage. This is because noble lineage is not a means of getting closer to Allaah The Almighty. Only righteous deeds bring him closer to Allaah The Almighty Who Says (what means): {Indeed, the most noble of you in the Sight of Allaah is the most righteous of you.} [Quran 49:13]

A good example of this is the fact that most of the scholars among the righteous predecessors were freed slaves. Nevertheless, they were the leaders of the Ummah (nation) and the sources of mercy. On the other hand, people of noble lineage who were not knowledgeable were in oblivion and forgotten. Therefore, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Verily, Allaah elevates some people by (virtue of) this Book and abases others." Al-Mulla ‘Ali Al-Qaari  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him held the same opinion.

Abu ‘Amr ibn As-Salah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said that Az-Zuhri  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said,

"I went to ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Marwaan, who said, 'O Zuhri, where did you come from?' I said, 'From Makkah.' He said, 'Who is the master of  the people of Makkah?' I said, ''‘Ataa’ ibn Abi Rabaah.' He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'How did he become their master?' I said, 'By his religiosity and deep knowledge in narrating Hadeeths.' He said, 'Indeed, people of religiosity and knowledge in the narration of Hadeeths must become leaders of people.'

He said, 'Who is the master of the people of Yemen?' I said, 'Taawoos ibn Kaysaan.' 'He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'How did he become their master?' I said, 'With the same which ‘Ataa’ ibn Abi Rabaah became their master.' He said, 'Indeed, people of religiosity and knowledge in the narration of Hadeeths must become masters of people.'

He said, 'Who is the master of the people of Egypt?' I said, 'Yazeed ibn Abi Habeeb.' He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'Who is the master of the people  of Ash-Shaam?' I said, 'Mak-hool.' 'He said, Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves. He was a Nubian slave, who was freed by a woman from Huthayl.'

He said, 'Who is the master of the people of Iraq?' I said, 'Maymoon ibn Mihraan.' He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'Who is the master of the people of Khurasaan?' I said, Adh-Dhahhaak ibn Muzaahim.' He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'Who is the master of the people of Al-Basrah?' I said, 'Al-Hasan ibn Abi Al-Hasan.' He said, 'Is he of the Arabs or freed slaves?' I said, 'Of the freed slaves.' He said, 'O Zuhri, You have certainly relieved me. By Allaah the freed slaves will become leaders of the Arabs to the extent that they will stand on the pulpits to address the people while the Arabs are under them." I said, 'O Commander of the Believers it is the covenant of Allaah and His religion. Whoever preserves it will become a leader, and whoever lets it go astray will be degraded.'"

Allaah Knows best.

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