When the reward equals fifty
The hadith was reported by Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah from ‘Utbah bin Hakim, from ‘Amr bin Harithah, from Abi Umayyah Ash-Sha’bani, from Abi Tha’labah Al-Khushani who commented on the verse: “O you who believe! Take care of yourselves. If you follow the right guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who are in error”. Al-Ma’idah: 105.
He said: “By Allah, I asked the Messenger of Allah about this, and he said: “Rather, what this means is enjoin the good and prevent the bad until you see people succumb (submit) to covetousness (grasping), follow their desires, become corrupted by the worldly life, every one impressed with his own opinion, and you see that there is nothing else you can do. At that point, take care of yourself and don’t worry about the affair of the general populace, because there are indeed ahead of you days that require patience. Whoever is patient during those days will be like someone holding to a burning coal. And the one who does this from them will have the reward of fifty men who do what he is doing.” The Companions asked: “Messenger of Allah, the reward of fifty of those with him?” He said: “The reward of fifty of you.”
If you know this, you will see that the reason such a person deserves this great reward and his virtue is made equal to fifty of the Companions is that he has no helpers or aides, according to Hafidh Sulayman al-Khattabi and Abu al-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Rajab and others.
And the one who clings to the stable and Prophetic path during corrupt times and confusion in beliefs is a stranger, even if he is in the presence of loved ones. Obstacles are everywhere, wrongdoing is rampant, ugliness and corruption have emerged, the religion has been transformed and changed, desires and misguidance are followed, there is nobody to accompany and assist you, it is rare to find a believer whose company to enjoy, people have become like withering (dry) straw, the winds of war and conflict have blown everywhere, the evil of the hypocrites has spread, the patience of the righteous has worn thin, the paths to good have been cut off, the paths to misguidance and destruction have been made easy, there seems to be no way out, and it all seems inescapable.
So, the believer is in the midst of all this nobler than a red gem. Despite this, none respond to him and what he says. The banners of opposition have been rolled out against him, he is attacked with the arrows of enmity, the most spiteful eyes observe him, harm comes at him from every hypocrite, he has been made into a stranger, his heart is torn apart because of what has happened to the religion of Islam, falsehood has lit its fire, and its evil fills the sky.
With all of this, he follows the pure, straight religion, supported by the proofs and signs from Allah. So, tell me, by Allah: can this be except from one who has certainty and sincerity as high as a mountain in his heart, and has patience, faith, acceptance and submission to Allah’s Decree? And Allah has promised the patient an overwhelming reward: “The patient will receive their reward without any limit’’. Az-Zumar: 10
And some of the scholars – may Allah have Mercy on them – said: “Whoever follows the Qur’an and the Sunnah, migrates with his heart to Allah, and follows the footsteps of the Companions, the Companions will have nothing over him other than that they saw the Messenger of Allah.”
And Imam Ahmad reported from Abdullah bin Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah said: “Islam began as something strange, and it will return to being strange as it began. So, glad tidings for the strangers.” He was asked: “Messenger of Allah, who are the strangers?” He replied: “Those who are outcasts from their tribes.” And this was narrated by Abu Bakr al-Ajuri: “Those who are righteous when the people are corrupt.” And others narrated this: “Those who flee for the sake of their religion from trials and tribulations.”
And Tirmidhi reported that the Prophet said: “Those who correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah.” And Imam Ahmad reported it as well from Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, and Tabarani reported from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Prophet said: “Glad tidings to the strangers.” It was asked: “Who are the strangers?” He replied: “A tiny group of righteous people in the midst of a large number of corrupted people. Those who go against them are more than those who go along with them.”
And Yusuf bin ‘Ubayd said: “There is nothing stranger than the Sunnah, and what is stranger than it is the one who knows it…”
And Muslim reported from Mu’aqqal bin Yasar that the Messenger of Allah said: “Worship during the time of tribulation and confusion is like migration to me.”
And Imam Hasan Al-Basri said: “If a man from the first generation was to be resurrected today, he wouldn’t recognize anything from your Islam except the prayer.” He then said: “By Allah, as for the one who lives in the midst of these vices, sees the innovator calling to his innovation and the one infatuated with the worldly life calling to it, yet he remains protected by Allah with his heart yearning for this earlier generation, and he follows in their footsteps and traditions and way of life, such a person will have a great reward.”
And Muwarraq said: “The one who clings firmly to the obedience of Allah when others put it to the side is like the one who sticks around when everyone else has retreated.”
Abu Sa’adat Ibn al-Athir said in Nihayah: This means that if people abandon obedience to Allah and turn away from it, the person who holds tightly to it will have the same reward as one who stays firm in a battle after everyone has run away.