Whoever Restricts Himself to Allah’s Commands and Avoids His Prohibitions
will enter Jannah
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
عَنْ أَبِي أَيُّوبَ، قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: دُلَّنِي عَلَى عَمَلٍ أَعْمَلُهُ يُدْنِينِي مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَيُبَاعِدُنِي مِنَ النَّارِ، قَالَ: «تَعْبُدُ اللهَ لَا تُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَتُقِيمُ الصَّلَاةَ، وَتُؤْتِي الزَّكَاةَ، وَتَصِلُ ذَا رَحِمِكَ» فَلَمَّا أَدْبَرَ، قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنْ تَمَسَّكَ بِمَا أُمِرَ بِهِ دَخَلَ الْجَنَّةَ»
Abu Ayyub (Radi Allahu Anhu) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said:
Direct me to a deed which draws me near to Paradise and takes me away from the Fire (of Hell). After hearing this he (ﷺ ) said: You worship Allah and never associate anything with Him, establish the prayer, and pay the Zakat, and do good to your kin. When he turned his back and walked away, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) replied: If he adheres to what he has been ordered to do, he would enter Paradise.
عَنْ جَابِرٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلًا سَأَلَ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: أَرَأَيْتَ إِذَا صَلَّيْتُ الصَّلَوَاتِ الْمَكْتُوبَاتِ، وَصُمْتُ رَمَضَانَ، وَأَحْلَلْتُ الْحَلَالَ، وَحَرَّمْتُ الْحَرَامَ، وَلَمْ أَزِدْ عَلَى ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا، أَأَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ؟ قَالَ: «نَعَمْ»، قَالَ: وَاللهِ لَا أَزِيدُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ شَيْئًا
Jabir (radi Allah anhu )narrated that a man once said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ):
Shall I enter Paradise if I observe the obligatory prayers, observe the (fasts) of Ramadan and treat that as lawful which has been made permissible (by the Shari’ah) and deny myself that what is forbidden, and thus do nothing extra? He (ﷺ) said, “yes.” He (the questioner) said: By Allah, I will not do anything extra.
Benefits for this Subject:
- There are two hadeeth for this topic. The 1st is narrated by Abu Ayyub(Radi Allah anhu) when the Prophet (ﷺ) guided the questioner to do the obligations Allah placed on him. Then he said: “If he does what he’s been ordered to do he’ll enter Jannah.” The 2nd hadeeth is reported by Jabir (Radi Allah anhu) when the questioner wanted to know that if he only did the commandments would this qualify him to enter Jannah. The Prophet (ﷺ) replied by saying, “Yes”.
- Neither one of these hadeeth mentioned the voluntary acts. Thus, it proves that a person can leave off voluntary actions. Nevertheless, the person that completely leaves then off has prevented himself from large profitable rewards. The person who regularly leaves off acts of Sunnah has a deficiency in his religion, and is objectionable in his testimony. Moreover, if he leaves off acts of the Sunnah degrading them in value, then he is considered a sinner and should be criticized.
- Some of the scholars of Cordoba used to say if a person habitually abandons practices of the Sunnah then he should be beaten until he repents. The salaf used to apply themselves with zeal and perseverance to the Sunnah and persist in the obligations. They took advantage of the easy opportunities to earn the rewards from Allah.
- Perhaps the Prophet (ﷺ) didn’t mention the voluntary acts to these people like he did in the hadith of Talha ibn UbaidAllah; as they might have been new Muslims. Hence it was enough to ONLY mention the obligations on them, so that they would not feel burdened or burn out. Had he mentioned it to them they might have believed the acts of Sunnah were a must to do. For that reason, also, He (ﷺ) didn’t mention them so that they can feel comfortable as Muslims doing the obligatory acts, and then later on strive to do the recommend actions once they became easy on them to do.
- These hadith don’t justify new Muslims leaving off the Witr and Eid prayer, nor any other action that the Prophet(ﷺ) did in congregation. What’s more the new Muslims during the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) weren’t known to avoid acts he did and weren’t obligatory. Instead, they had a strong desire and will to follow his (ﷺ) way in order to earn the highest reward and Allah knows best.
- “Do good to your kin…” this can apply to all kinship.
- “Treat that as lawful which has been made permissible (by the Shari’ah) and deny myself that what is forbidden…” This refers earning a lawful livelihood and avoiding wages which are unlawful. This questioner knew the difference between halal and haram in business transactions according to the Shariah. Halal applies to everything allowed for a person to do in the Shariah , while Haraam refers to everything forbidden.
- “By Allah, I will not do anything extra.” It is correct to say this man was a new Muslim, or it could even mean he was busy with other actions which didn’t allow him the time to offer voluntary acts. i.e Jihad or busy travelling giving dawah, etc, And Allah knows best.
Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle
 Sahih Muslim , 11 from the book of Iman
 Ibid number 12
 Taken from المفهم لما أشكل من تلخيص كتاب مسلم , vol 1/pg 168-170, by Al-Imam Ahmed ibn Umar Al-Qurtubi (578H)