“Souls are like troops…”

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه، أما بعـد


عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ : أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ
الْأَرْوَاحُ جُنُودٌ مُجَنَّدَةٌ فَمَا تَعَارَفَ مِنْهَا ائْتَلَفَ وَمَا تَنَاكَرَ مِنْهَا اخْتَلَفَ

Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“Souls are (like) troops gathered together. Those that recognise one another, have affinity (with each other); and those that do not recognise one another, are averse (to each other).”

[Saheeh Muslim, 6376; also found in al-Bukhari with similar meaning]


1. Ibn Hajar said in his commentary on the hadeeth: “Concerning the phrase ‘Souls are like conscripted soldiers…’ al-Khattaabi said: ‘This may refer to their similarity as regards good or evil, righteousness or corruption. Good people are inclined towards other good people, and evil people are similarly inclined towards other evil people. Souls feel affinity with others according to the nature in which they were created, good or evil. If souls’ natures are similar, they will get along, otherwise they will not be on good terms with one another. It could be that what is being referred to is the beginning of creation in the realm of the unseen when, it is reported, souls were created before bodies, and used to meet one another and express their pessimism about the future. When souls have entered bodies (come to the physical realm) they may recognize one another from the past, and may be on friendly terms or otherwise based on that past experience.” [Fath al-Baari]

2. Al-Qurtubi said: “Although they are all souls, they differ in different ways, so a person will feel an affinity with souls of one kind, and will get along with them because of the special quality that they have in common. So we notice that people of all types will get along with those with whom they share an affinity, and will keep away from those who are of other types. We may also note that within any given group or type, people may get along with some and dislike others, and this is in accordance with issues or qualities that form the basis of love or hate.” [Tafseer Qurtubi]

3. The phrase “conscripted soldiers” refers to different types or classifications, or groups brought together. Ibn al-Jawzi said: “What we learn from this hadeeth is that when a person finds that he feels dislike towards someone who is known to be virtuous or righteous, he should try to find out the reason for that so that he can make the effort to rid himself of something undesirable. The opposite (if a person finds himself liking someone who is known to be evil) also applies.”

4. An-Nawawi said: “With regard to the words of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, ‘Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognise, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with’, the scholars said that the meaning is groups gathered together, or different types. As for them getting along, this happens because of something in common between them that Allaah has created. It was said that they are similar attributes that Allaah has created in them, or that they were created in a group and then dispersed in their bodies, so people who have similar characteristics will like one another, and those who do not have similar characteristics will not like one another.” [Sharh Saheeh Muslim]

5. Al-Khattabi and others said that this ‘getting along’ with one another has to do with what Allaah decreed from the outset about the ultimate destiny of souls, whether they will be among the blessed [in Paradise] or the doomed [in Hell]. Souls are of two opposing kinds, and when they meet in this physical world, they will either love or hate one another depending on the way they were created. Good souls will be inclined towards other good souls, and evil souls will be inclined towards other evil souls.

6. That is why Allah says about the believers: “And (moreover) He has put affection between their hearts.” [trans of Al-Anfal:63]

But when talking about the Shayateen of Jinn and human beings, Almighty Allah says: “Shall I inform you (O people) upon whom the Shayateen descend? They descend upon every lying, sinful one.” [trans of Ash-Shu`ara’: 221-222]

The Almighty also says: “And thus We do make the wrong-doers awliya’ (supporters and helpers) of one another because of that which they used to earn.” [trans of Al-An`am:129]

That is why when a believer meets wrongdoers or corrupt people, he or she does not feel at ease and finds it difficult to get along with them because of their (sinful) deeds; their souls act like oil and water that never mix.

7. Ibn Hibban has a short explanatory notes on this amazing hadeeth in his ‘Gardens of the Intelligent and Journeys of the Virtuous’ (Attached).

Original work found here: http://www.almeshkat.net/books/open.php?cat=14&book=2139


May Allaah keep us in the company of the righteous and increase our affinity with the Ahl al-Haq.


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