Affiliation, is it enough?

I was reading a few of the words of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) this morning. In a relatively long Hadith, I found this following statement that was a very good reminder for me. I thought it may be a reminder for the few readers who come here and hence this post.

The Statement

من أبطأ به عمله لم يسرع به نسبه

I translated that to: “He whose actions slow him down, his affiliation can not speed him up” *

A Story

A man by the name of Al-Asma3y was walking around the Ka3ba in a beautiful full-moon night when he realized a man praying and supplicating. He realized that the man is not feeling well and he approached him. He said, “I recognized him. He was Zain Al-Abideen Aly Ibn Al-Hussein Ibn Ali, the son of the grand son of the Messenger (pbuh).” He tried to comfort him and told him, “You should rejoice since Allah has given you a lot o family of the prophet.” Zain Al-Abideen responded by saying, “Haven’t you heard the verse from the Qur’an that says ‘And the trumpet is blown [on the Day of Judgment]; that day, no relationship between them [will benefit] …’?” “Haven’t you heard the Messenger (pbuh) saying, ‘he whose actions slow him down, his affiliation cannot speed him up’?” He added.

A man like Zain Al-Abideen who is known of his piety, knowledge, and his family relationship to the prophet is worried about himself and did not rely on this relationship to get closer to Allah. He thought, despite his well-known effort, that he did not do enough and hence his deep supplication and prayer reported in the story.

The Bottom Line

  • This life is a race, a race to achieve the pleasure of God and his support and guidance. It is not a race to materialistic gains. In this race, the fuel is your actions. The ones who hasten to do good deeds will be in the forefront of the winners.
  • Our actions are so little, sometimes, that we are not moving forward with enough speed. Other times, our actions are what slow us down or move us in the opposite direction of the race.
  • We have many affiliations and we are proud of these affiliations. I am proud to be a Muslim; I am proud to be American; I am proud to be Egyptian. I am proud to be from such and such family; I am proud to be the nephew of such and such great person; I am proud to be a member of this particular movement, group, or organization. There is nothing wrong in feeling the pride in such affiliation especially if these affiliations stand for what is virtuous.
  • Most of the time, these affiliations are source of inspiration as well as a tool that helps shape identity and facilitate good actions. However, we tend to think we are OK by just belonging to great people or being part of awesome groups.
  • The real fuel in this race is your actions. If your affiliations derive more actions, you will move faster. If your actions are not enough, or bad enough to move you in the opposite direction, BE CAREFUL, “He whose actions slow him down, his affiliation will not speed him up!
May Allah have peace and blessing on the His Messenger, and grant us enough actions to make us on the level of those honorable affiliations we chose to belong to.
* This was reported in the authentic book of Muslim as part of a larger hadith
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