What is the meaning of this hadeeth: "My nation will not leave off four affairs of jahiliyah: Pride in noble descent, cursing the lineage, seeking rain through the stars, and wailing over the dead."

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

what is the meaning of this hadeeth:

"My nation will not leave off four affairs of jahiliyah: Pride in noble descent, cursing the lineage, seeking rain through the stars, and wailing over the dead."


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Practices days of Ignorance

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Abu Malik alAsh'ari reported that the Prophet (saws) said: "Four practices of the ‘Jaahiliyah’ (pre-Islamic days of Ignorance) will continue to be practiced by my Ummah:

  1. taking pride in one's parentage,
  2. giving a person a father other than his own genealogical father (ie. cursing of one’s lineage),
  3.  believing that rain is caused by some stars,
  4. and wailing over the dead."

Related by Muslim and Ahmad.


Your Question: what is the meaning of this hadeeth:

Each of the above four practices and characteristics which are absolutely despised and abhorred by Allah Subhanah were prevalent amongst the pagans and the disbelievers in one form or another before the advent of the Divine Guidance of Islam.  These evil feelings and beliefs were so ingrained and seemed so natural, that the Messenger of Allah (saws) warned the believers that if they were not careful and strove earnestly to remove and abstain from them, manifestations of these feelings, acts, and beliefs would remain and be found even amongst those who had professed belief in Allah and the Last Day.


Ref 1: taking pride in one's parentage,

Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 5097  Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

The Prophet (saws) said: ‘Allah, The Most High, has removed from you the pride of the pre-Islamic period and its boasting in ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. You are all sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust. Let the people cease to boast about their ancestors! They are merely fuel in Jahannam; or they will certainly be of less account with Allah than the beetle which rolls dung with its nose!


Sahih Muslim Hadith 164      Narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud

The Messenger of Allah (saws) observed: ‘He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.’ A person (amongst his hearers) said: ‘Verily a person loves that his dress should be fine, and his shoes should be fine. He (the Prophet (saws)) remarked: ‘Verily, Allah is Graceful and He loves Grace. Pride is disdaining the Truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt for the people.’


There are many amongst mankind who are proud of their ancestry and pedigree, call and consider themselves because of their ancestry as ‘blue-blooded’ and above other men in general.  The religion of Truth Al-Islam guides that Allah Subhanah will not judge one according to ones ancestry, or lineage, or the works done by their forefathers…but rather the Lord Most Just will judge each individual according to their deeds in the Hereafter.  Thus regardless if one is a descendant of a Prophet, a King, nobleman, or a Nobel Prize winner….they need not behave arrogantly towards other men, for their pride and arrogance and status in this world is absolutely worthless in the Sight of Allah if their deeds are evil and impious.


Allah says in the Holy Quran: Chapter 49 Surah Hujurat verse 13:

O mankind, We created you from one man and one woman, and then divided you into nations and tribes so that you may recognize one another.  Indeed,  the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most pious of you.   Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.


Ref 2: giving a person a father other than his own genealogical father (ie. cursing of one’s lineage),

Sahih Muslim Hadith 128      Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

The Messenger of Allah (saws) observed: ‘Two (things) are found among men which are tantamount to unbelief: slandering one's lineage and lamentation on the dead.’


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verse 5:

5        Call them by (the names) of their fathers: that is juster in the sight of Allah


The guidance of Islam commands that every person be known and recognized by the name of their fathers, as blood-relations have closer personal ties in the Sight of Allah Subhanah.  Some people in the Days of Ignorance would intentionally drop the names of their fathers and tribe from their names in shame, and instead falsely align themselves and take on the name of a noble tribe or family and thus present a false impersonation.  Every type and manner of falsehood was absolutely abolished by Islam, and it was made known that calling oneself or aligning one’s name to anyone other than one’s own biological father was an abhorrent crime and sin in the Sight of Allah Subhanah.


Ref 3: believing that rain is caused by some stars,

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 4605        Narrated by Abu Sa'id

Allah's Messenger (saws) said, "If Allah were to withhold rain from His servants for five years and then send it, a section of mankind would be infidels saying they had been supplied with water through the agency of the rainy star, ‘al-Mijdah’."


Hadith Qudsi  3

The Messenger of Allah (saws) led the morning prayer for us at al-Hudaybiyah following rainfall during the night. When the Prophet (saws) finished, he (saws) faced the people and said to them: ‘Do you know what your Lord has said?’  They said: ‘Allah and His Messenger (saws) know best!’  The Messenger of Allah (saws) said that Allah, High and Exalted is He said: ‘This morning one of my servants became a believer in Me and one a disbeliever. As for him who said: “We have been given rain by virtue of Allah and His Mercy”, that one is a believer in Me, a disbeliever in the stars; and as for him who said: “We have been given rain by such-and-such a star”, that one is a disbeliever in Me, and a believer in the stars.’


The pagan Arabs of Makkah and Arabia had allocated every good that came to them to some self-invented deity, god, or image, or some heavenly body like the sun, moon, or star, etc.  Whenever they received rain, they would believe it was the work of a star named ‘Al-Mijdah’, and they would perform rites in their worship and reverence of this particular star. 


Islam guides that Allah Subhanah Alone is the One Who has the Power and Ability to send His Mercy on anyone or anywhere He Wills and Pleases and no deity, or god, or heavenly body has absolutely anything to do with it!   


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 35 Surah Fatir verse 2:

2        What Allah out of His Mercy doth bestow on mankind there is none can withhold: what He doth withhold there is none can grant apart from Him: and He is the Exalted in Power Full of Wisdom.


Ref 4: wailing over the dead.

In the days of ignorance prior to Islam, if a loved one or relative died, people would make specific gatherings and endlessly lament and wail over their dead, beat their faces and chests, tear their clothes, etc. 


The guidance of Islam absolutely prohibited such endless wailing and lamenting over their deceased; but guided the believers to honorably mourn the deceased for a maximum period of three days except in the case of a widow who was guided to mourn for a period of four months and ten days.  During the mourning period, the believers were guided to meet the heirs of the deceased, provide them with food for the period of mourning, volunteer their help if needed, and supplicate the Lord Most Merciful to have mercy on the soul of the deceased without even an iota of the lamentations, and wailings, and the tearing of clothes, or beating of their faces and chests, etc.


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.390         Narrated by Anas bin Malik

We went with Allah's Messenger (saws) to the blacksmith Abu Saif, and he was the husband of the wet-nurse of Ibrahim (the son of the Prophet).  Allah's Messenger (saws) took Ibrahim and kissed him and smelled him and later we entered Abu Saif's house and at that time Ibrahim was in his last breaths, and the eyes of Allah's Messenger (saws) started shedding tears. 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf said, "O Allah's Messenger (saws), even you are weeping!"  He (saws) said, "O Ibn 'Auf, this is mercy." Then he (saws) wept more and said, "The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord.  O Ibrahim! Indeed we are grieved by your separation."


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.391         Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar

Sad bin 'Ubada became sick and the Prophet (saws) along with 'Abdur Rahman bin 'Auf, Sad bin Abi Waqqas and 'Abdullah bin Mas'ud visited him to inquire about his health. When he came to him, he found him surrounded by his household and he asked, "Has he died?" They said, "No, O Allah's Messenger (saws)." The Prophet wept and when the people saw the weeping of Allah's Messenger (saws) they all wept. He said, "Will you listen?  Allah does not punish for shedding tears, nor for the grief of the heart but he punishes or bestows His Mercy because of this." He pointed to his tongue and added, "The deceased is punished for the wailing of his relatives over him."


Even after being warned in such strong terms by Allah and His Messenger (saws), all these four practices which were prevalent in the Days of Ignorance before the advent of the Truth of Islam, are found even today in some form or the other amongst the believing Ummah. 


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,






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