Hadith Interpretation – …إذا سمعتم بجبل زال عن مكانه

Question

Please explain the following Hadīth in detail 

روى الإمام أحمد في “مسنده” (27499) من طريق الزُّهْرِيِّ ، أَنَّ أَبَا الدَّرْدَاءِ، قَالَ: ” بَيْنَمَا نَحْنُ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَتَذَاكَرُ مَا يَكُونُ ، إِذْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:

   إِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِجَبَلٍ زَالَ عَنْ مَكَانِهِ، فَصَدِّقُوا، وَإِذَا سَمِعْتُمْ بِرَجُلٍ تَغَيَّرَ عَنْ خُلُقِهِ، فَلَا تُصَدِّقُوا بِهِ ، وَإِنَّهُ يَصِيرُ إِلَى مَا جُبِلَ عَلَيْهِ

Answer

حدثنا وهب بن جرير، قال: حدثنا أبي، قال: سمعت يونس، يحدث عن الزهري، أن أبا الدرداء، قال: بينما نحن عند رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم نتذاكر ما يكون، إذ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا سمعتم بجبل زال عن مكانه، فصدقوا، وإذا سمعتم برجل تغير عن خلقه، فلا تصدقوا به، وإنه يصير إلى ما جبل عليه. (مسند أحمد، الرقم:٢٧٤٩٩)

Sayyidunā Abud Dardā’ I narrates, “While we were by Nabī H discussing that which is to come, he H mentioned, ‘When you hear that a mountain has moved from its place, believe it, but if you hear that a person’s natural disposition has changed, do not believe it, for man will always remain true to his natural disposition.’” 

The word ‘Khuluq’ refers to a person’s natural disposition i.e. the innate qualities that have been predestined for a person by Allāh E. The meaning of this Hadīth is that it is not possible to change this natural disposition. 

ʿUlama mention that it is for this reason that Allah E states in the Qur’ān: 

ٱلَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي ٱلسَّرَّآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَٱلۡكَٰظِمِينَ ٱلۡغَيۡظَ وَٱلۡعَافِينَ عَنِ ٱلنَّاسِۗ وَٱللَّهُ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ [آل عمران: ١٣٤]

(The people with Taqwā are)…those who suppress their anger… 

Allāh E used the words والكظمين الغيظ (i.e. those who suppress their anger), and not والعادمين للغیظ (i.e. those who do not possess the quality of becoming angry), because it is not possible for a person to completely eradicate this natural trait present in him.

It is for this reason that when a person goes for his self-reformation to the Mashāyikh, they don’t change his natural disposition; rather, they teach him to focus his impulses in the right place. For example, if a person naturally gets angry quickly, the Mashāyikh will teach him to suppress this anger, if it is for the wrong reasons, and to get angry for the right reasons i.e. for the sake of Allāh. 

Further elucidating this point, Mullā ʿAlī Al-Qārī V mentions that Islām teaches us balance, and generally a person’s natural disposition is not such. For example, bravery is the balance between carelessness (which leads one to rush headlong into danger) and cowardice. If one has a propensity for the former, one will supress this urge; and if one has a propensity for the latter, he will force himself to be brave when the situation demands it. It is not possible to completely alter these inherent traits. Similarly, generosity (spending money in the right avenues) is the balance between squandering money and miserliness. One will either have to suppress his impulse to spend carelessly or will have to forcefully spend to attain true balance. Other traits too can be assessed in this manner. 

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

فإن قلت: مدار الصوفية على تبديل الأخلاق فكيف هذا الحديث؟ قلت: التحقيق أن كل أحد خلق وطبع فيه الأخلاق جميعها، وهي صالحة بأصلها أن تكون حميدة وأن تكون ذميمة، وإنما تحمد إذا كانت متوسطة بين طرفي الإفراط والتفريط، والذميمة ضدها. فمثلا السخاوة صفة معتدلة بين الإسراف والبخل، وكذا الشجاعة بين التهور والجبن، وكذا التواضع بين الضعة والتكبر، والغالب على الناس عادة عدم الاعتدال، فالصوفية يجاهدون ويرتاضون في الأخلاق ليبدلوها عن مقتضى العادة ويعدلوها على سنن الاستقامة والعبادة. (مرقاة المفاتيح ١/٢٠٠، دار الفكر؛ وللمزید راجعيه وفيضَ القدير للمناوي ١/٣٨١، المكتبة التجارية الكبرى)

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