Sayyiduna Abu Ayyoob Ansaari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that on one occasion, a person came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “Please give me some advice, and please keep the advice brief and concise (so that I will be able to easily remember it and practice upon it).”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “When you stand in your salaah, then perform the salaah of one who is bidding farewell (to this world), and do not utter any statement for which you will have to present an excuse tomorrow (on the Day of Qiyaamah), and resolve to never have hopes for that which is in people’s hands.” (Musnad Ahmad #23498)

Among the miracles which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was blessed with by Allah Ta‘ala was the miracle of “Jawaami‘ul Kalim” – the ability to utter a few words which encapsulated oceans of knowledge and conveyed volumes of meaning. Hence, in the hadeeth above, we find that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave the Sahaabi just three advices, yet these three advices were so comprehensive that it encompassed the main aspects of a person’s deen, and prescribed to him the formula to acquire success in this world and the next.

The first advice was in regard to salaah. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised the Sahaabi to perform each salaah as though it is his last salaah in this world. We can well imagine the level of devotion, concentration and sincerity that will be found if one knows that the salaah he is performing is the very last salaah before he passes away. Hence, visualizing that this is one’s final salaah is an effective method for one to improve the quality of his salaah.

Salaah is the most important obligation and pillar of Islam after imaan. If a person safeguards his salaah and fulfils the rights of salaah in his life (by a woman performing her salaah on time, in the confines of her home, adhering to all the sunnats, etc. and by a man performing his salaah with jamaat in the musjid), then insha Allah he will also be particular in regard to the other obligations which he owes to Allah Ta‘ala such as his fasting, zakaat, etc.

Thus, it is mentioned in the hadeeth that the first question that will be posed to a believer on the Day of Qiyaamah will be in regard to his salaah, and if his salaah is in order, then his other obligations will be in order as well.

The second advice is in regard to one controlling his tongue, and by extension – all forms of communication (writing, messaging, etc.). Before uttering any word or statement, one should first ponder and ask himself, “Will I be taken to task for this statement on the Day of Qiyaamah?”

When a person is particular regarding his speech, and ensures that he does not utter anything that will be a cause of pain, harm or even inconvenience to anyone, then such a person will naturally go out of his way to avoid causing physical harm and other types of harm to people as well. Hence, this advice, by way of inference, urges one to strive to fulfil all the rights which he owes to people (parents, children, spouse, neighbours, etc) while refraining from causing them any type of pain or harm.

Finally, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave him the third advice which was that he should not crave for the worldly possessions, positions and enjoyments which other people enjoy, causing him to hanker after the material world. Instead, one should be content with what Allah Ta‘ala has decreed for him and he should turn his attention, focus and energy to acquiring the magnificent bounties of the Hereafter.

In this manner, in a few short words, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave this Sahaabi and the entire ummah the prescription and formula to gain success in this world and the next.