Be like birds

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحـمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آلـه وصحبه ومن والاه

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

يدخل الجنة أقوام أفئدتهم مثل أفئدة الطير

“A people will enter Jannah whose hearts will be like (those of) birds.”  [Saheeh Muslim, 6808]

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This hadeeth has been explained to mean such people are those who put their complete trust in Allah, while others explain these people have hearts that are (gentle yet) fearful, similar to that of birds (Imam Nawawi mentioned diverse opinions in his Sharh, 17/177).

From the characteristics of a bird is that they don’t worry about their sustenance and rely upon the provisions of Allah. They don’t hoard food like some other animals do, and leave their nests in search of food only to return fully satiated. It is therefore inspiring to read what the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said when giving an example with birds:

لو أنكم كنتم توكلون على الله حق توكله لرزقتم كما ترزق الطير تغدو خماصا وتروح بطانا

“If you put your tawakkul in Allah the way He deserves, He will provide for you as he provides for the birds. They leave in the morning with an empty stomach and return in the afternoon with a full one.”  [At-Tirmidhi, 2344 who graded it as hasan saheeh]

Mere lip service is not sufficient, what is required is confirmation by the limbs. Birds know that the One Who secures them in the air, is not their upward and downward movement, nor the spreading and folding of their wings, but rather Allah alone. They have understood to exert effort and rely on Allah, and recognise and exercise total Tawakkul on Allah without giving up on work. In pursuing this way of life, the birds have become an example for many rebellious people, on how Tawakkul should be and how Allah rewards those who exercise Tawakkul. They did not remain in their nests waiting for Allah’s provision but strive for their subsistence. Praise be to Allah Who taught birds Tawakkul so they would not expect provision except from Him.

Ibn Hajar when discussing ‘there is no animal on earth except that Allah has given it sustenance’, he said it was not intended to mean that one stands idle  with a lazy attitude, but rather to earn a living and . This does not contradict the purpose of surrendering one’s reliance to Allah. Imam Ahmad was asked about someone who just wants to sit in his house or in the masjid saying, “I do not want to work at all and just want to wait until rizq comes to me:. Imam Ahmad replied, “These people are really foolish. When the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned the hadeeth about the bird, it was (together) with action of departing in the morning. The noble Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself traded and worked and he is the best example for us. (see ‘Fath al-Bari, 11/306)

Trust in Allah and kindness of the heart are among the most valuable qualities for a person to achieve.

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