The Seventies Call: The Prohibition of Raising the Voice above the Voice of the Prophet and Addressing Him Politely

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The Seventies Call: The Prohibition of Raising the Voice above the Voice of the Prophet and Addressing Him Politely

 

   

Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not. Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah - they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward. Indeed, those who call you, [O Muhammad], from behind the chambers - most of them do not use reason. And if they had been patient until you [could] come out to them, it would have been better for them. But Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surat al-Hujurat)

 

 

If you speak in the presence of Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, do not raise your voices over His voice and do not be louder than him like you do to each other because this indicates lack of respect. If you talk to Him while He was silent, do not talk to Him the same way you talk to each other. If you talk to Him do not say: O Muhammad, rather speak to Him with His Prophetic title by saying (O Prophet of Allah or O Messenger of Allah) so that you keep the respect due to Him otherwise your deeds will become worthless while you do not realize it.

  

 

(It was narrated that this verse was revealed concerning Abu Bakr and Omar [may Allah be pleased with them]. When a delegation of the Tamim tribe arrived, Omar ibn al-Khatab suggested al-Aqra ibn Habis [to be appointed as their chief], while Abu Bakr suggested al-Qa’qa’ ibn Ma'bad. They were soon speaking loudly. When the verse was revealed Abu Bakr only spoke to the Messenger in whispers and Omar would hardly use an audible voice when he spoke to the Prophet until the Prophet asked him to speak up.)

 

 

Those who lower their voices in the presence of Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, and talk in his presence with respect and good manners, are the ones who have proven themselves in a test of hearts when Allah trialed them with tribulations and obligations until their hearts got purified due to the patience over hardships. They are the ones who fear Allah, a quality that earns them forgiveness and a rich reward from Allah for lowering their voices while talking to the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, in respect for Him and honor for His status.

 

 

Delegations from all over Arabia came to Mdinah. They said to themselves: let’s go to this man, if he was a Prophet then we will be the happiest people to be with Him and if He was a king, we will live under his protection. So, they came to the chamber of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, and they kept calling Him loudly: O Muhammad, come and speak to us. Hence, Almighty Allah revealed this blessed verse to teach those people good manners and the people like them who come to the Prophet while He is in His house with his family, and they call him with loud voices so that He steps out to talk to them.

 

 

Almighty Allah says that most of the people who do that are ignorant about the due respect and regard that should be given to the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, while dealing with Him. If those who came to you from behind the chambers to call you loudly had some patience and did not call you loud till you come out to them, it would have been better for them at their Lord because this way they would prove the respect and reverence they have to the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him.

 

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The second aspect of good manners concerned the Prophet’s Companions own discourse with him and the respect they should feel and show. This was to be observed in how they spoke to him and in the level of their voices. This was how they should manifest their respect for the Prophet as they sat with him. It was narrated that the verse was revealed with regard to Abu Bakr and Omar, may Allah be pleased with them.

 

 

Al-Bukhari reports that Abu Mulaykah said: The two goodly ones, Abu Bakr and Omar [may Allah be pleased with them], were in a perilous situation, as they raised their voices in the presence of the Prophet- When the delegation of the Tamim tribe arrived [in the ninth year of the Islamic calendar] one of them suggested al-Aqra ibn Habis [to be appointed as their chief], while the other suggested another man. [One reporter says that he does not remember the name of this second man, while another reporter mentions that he was al-Qa’qa’ ibn Ma'bad,] Abu Bakr said to Omar: 'You merely want to oppose me. The other replied: 'I do not wish to oppose you.' They were soon speaking loudly. The verse was revealed saying: O you who have believed, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others, lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not. (Verse 2) Ibn al-Zubayr says that after its revelation Omar would hardly use an audible voice when he spoke to the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, until the Prophet asked him to speak up. It is also reported that when this verse was revealed, Abu Bakr said to the Prophet: 'Allah’s Messenger, I will only speak to you in a whisper.'

 

 

Imam Ahmad relates on the authority of Anas ibn Maik that when this verse was revealed, Thabit ibn Qays, a man with a high-pitched voice thought: "I was the one who raised his voice in the presence of Allah’s Messenger; I am destined to Hell because my deeds have come to waste. He stayed at home depressed. The Prophet noticed his absence and asked about him. Some people went to him and told him that the Prophet had asked about him. He said to them: "I am the one who raised his voice above the voice of the Prophet and spoke loudly to him. All my deeds are wasted. I am destined to Hell." They went to the Prophet informing him of what Thabit had said. The Prophet said: "No, he certainly belongs to Paradise." Anas says; "We subsequently saw him walking among us, knowing that he was certain to go to Paradise."

 

 

It is reported that Omar heard two people speaking loudly in the Prophet’s Mosque. He went to them and said: "Do you realize where you are? Where do you come from?" They said to him: We come from Ta'if." He said; "Had you been from Madinah, I would have had you soundly beaten."

 

 

Islamic scholars, having realized the extent of this injunction, state that it is reprehensible to raise one’s voice near the Prophet’s grave in the same way as it was reprehensible to do so in his presence. In this way, Muslims demonstrate their respect for the Prophet in all situations.

 

 

Almighty Allah says: “Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet or be loud to him in speech like the loudness of some of you to others...” He also says: “Do not make [your] calling of the Messenger among yourselves as the call of one of you to another...” Allah Almighty says: “lest your deeds become worthless while you perceive not.” Allah tells them that He forbids them from raising the voice lest the Messenger gets angry so Almighty Allah becomes angry for the Messenger and makes the deeds of the ones who angered the Messenger worthless while they are unaware of that. As related in the Sahih: “Indeed a man will speak a word pleasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it Allah raises him by many degrees. And indeed a man will speak a word displeasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it, He will consign him to the Hellfire further than the distance between the heavens and earth.” Almighty Allah directs them to lower their voices while they are in the Prophet’s presence and encourages them to do that saying: “Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah - they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward.” That means Allah has made their hearts dedicated and proper place for piety and righteousness through testing. They will have forgiveness and great reward. Imam Ahmed said in Kitab al-Zuhd "The Book of Abstinence": Sufian narrated from Masnour from Mujahid that he said “It was written to Omar: O Commander of the Believers, a man who does not desire to sin and he does not do it is better or a man who desires to sin and he does not do it? Omar wrote back to them that those who desire sin and do not do it are better.” Because “…they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness.”

 

 

Almighty Allah dispraises those who call the Prophet from behind the chambers, i.e. the residences of his wives, like some rough Arabs used to do, Allah describes them as: “…most of them do not use reason.” It was reported that this verse was revealed about al-Aqra’ ibn Habis At-Tamimi, may Allah be pleased with Him, according to more than one sources. Imam Ahmed recorded that Al-Aqra’ ibn Habis said that he called the Messenger of Allah from behind his dwellings, saying “O Muhammad! O Muhammad!” “O Allah’s Messenger!” according to another narration, but the Messenger did not answer him, Al-Aqra’ said “O Messenger of Allah, praising me is good and dispraising me is bad.” He said “That is due to Allah Almighty.” Hence, Almighty Allah taught them the good manners in addressing the Prophet.

 

 

“And if they had been patient until you [could] come out to them, it would have been better for them. But Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” He explains to them that it better behooved them to wait patiently until the Prophet came out to them of his own accord. It would have been better for them in this world and the Hereafter. Then, Almighty Allah calls them to repent and highlights to them the value of repentance, making it clear that they should seek Allah’s forgiveness and pray to Him to bestow His mercy on them for “Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

 

 

Thus, they felt a tremor in their hearts as they listened to this endearing address and its stern warning. Hence, they observed a high standard of fine manners in the Prophet's presence for fear that their deeds would come to nothing. He praises their piety and lowered voices when they are with the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him, in an unusual expression: “Indeed, those who lower their voices before the Messenger of Allah - they are the ones whose hearts Allah has tested for righteousness. For them is forgiveness and great reward.” (Verse 3)

 

 

Piety that manifests itself in an Allah-fearing attitude is a great gift Allah grants to certain hearts He chooses after initially testing them. It is thus implanted only in hearts that are suited to it, having first proven their merit and faith. Those who lower their voices in the presence of Allah’s Messenger are they who have proven themselves in a test of hearts. They are the ones who fear Allah, a quality that earns them forgiveness and a rich reward from Allah.

  

 

Muslims have shown their awareness of this high standard of refinement extending it from the personality of Allah’s Messenger, Peace Be upon Him, to every teacher and scholar. They would not disturb their teachers or force themselves until the teachers came out or called them in. Abu Ubayd, a pious and reliable scholar of Hadith says: "I never knocked at the door of any scholar but waited patiently until he came out in his own good time."

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