Explanation of the Hadith, “Islam began as something strange…”
Q4: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: صحيح مسلم كتاب الإيمان (145) ، سنن ابن ماجه كتاب الفتن (3986) ، مسند أحمد بن حنبل (2/389). Islam began as something strange and will return as … to the end of Hadith. Would you please comment on this Hadith and its degree of authenticity?
A: This Hadith is Sahih (a Hadith that has been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish)and was narrated by Muslim in his Sahih.On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:صحيح مسلم كتاب الإيمان (145) ، سنن ابن ماجه كتاب الفتن (3986) ، مسند أحمد بن حنبل (2/389). Islam began as something strange and will return
as something strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers. This Hadith is Sahih and was reported from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).
A group of Hadith scholars added in another narration:مسند أحمد بن حنبل (4/74). It was asked: O Messenger of Allah! Who are the strangers? He replied: Those who perform good deeds while others make mischief.
In another wording:سنن الترمذي كتاب الإيمان (2630). Those who correct what the people have corrupted of my Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet). And in another wording:سنن الترمذي كتاب الإيمان (2629) ، سنن ابن ماجه كتاب الفتن (3988) ، مسند أحمد بن حنبل (1/398) ، سنن الدارمي كتاب الرقاق (2755). They are the strangers among their tribes. In another wording:مسند أحمد بن حنبل (2/177). They are the righteous few among the evil masses .
What is meant here is that the “Ghuraba’ (strangers)” are the people of integrity and that Jannah (Paradise) and happiness are for those strangers who will rectify what others have corrupted. When the conditions change, matters become unclear, and the righteous people are few, they adhere steadfastly to the truth and to the religion of Allah. They sincerely worship Allah Alone, perform Salah (prayer), pay Zakah (obligatory charity), observe Sawm (fast), perform Hajj (pilgrimage), and all other acts of worship. These are the strangers whom Allah has described saying:Surah Fussilat, 41: 30 Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allâh (Alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised! Surah Fussilat, 41: 31 We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. Surah Fussilat, 41: 32 An entertainment from (Allâh), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Fussilat 41: 30-32).Surah Fussilat, 41: 31 for which you ask means “for which you request”.
Islam appeared as something strange in Makkah where only a few accepted the faith while most showed enmity towards it and rejected the Prophet (peace be upon him) whom they harmed along with his Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) who embraced Islam. Then it reached Madinah the city that those Companions who had the ability migrated to. It continued to be regarded as something strange until the number of Muslims increased in Madinah and other cities. People then embraced Islam
in crowds after Allah made it possible for His Prophet (peace be upon him) to conquer Makkah. Islam was viewed as strange by people at a time when most were heathens associating others with Allah. They worshipped idols, prophets, saints, trees, stones, and the like.
Allah guided whom He pleased through His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) and through his Companions. Thus, they entered Islam, worshipped Allah sincerely abandoning their idols, prophets, and saints. They did not offer prayer, prostrate, or call upon anyone except Allah. They only sought assistance or cure from Him (may He be Exalted and Glorified). They did not supplicate or seek help from the dead, idols, trees, stones, planets, Jinn (creatures created from fire), or angels. Instead, they worshipped Allah (may He be Exalted and Glorified) exclusively. Such are the strangers.
Towards the end of time there will be those who hold fast to the religion of Allah while others fall by the wayside. When disbelief, disobedience, and evil increase, these strangers will remain obedient to Allah and His religion. They will be granted Paradise and Happiness with a goodly reward in this life and the Hereafter.