"One who holds steadfast to my Sunnah at the time of the mischief of my ummah will get the reward of one hundred martyrs." Is this statement a hadith? If it is a hadith, how should it be understood?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Yes, it is a hadith.

"One who holds steadfast to my Sunnah at the time of the mischief of my ummah will get the reward of one hundred martyrs."(1)

A person who holds steadfast to the Sunnah of the Prophet when bid’ahs (innovations in religion) and wrong practices invade the Islamic community can get the reward of one hundred martyrs.

The realities of the Quran and the principles of the Sunnah of the Prophet are not separated from each other. A time when bid’ahs are popular in the ummah and the majority is invaded by bid’ahs and wrong practices is really a very risky and dangerous time.  

As danger increases in a deed, its thawab also increases. To serve Islam in order to make the decrees of Islam be understood and the sunnah and Islam be practiced is a great service; it necessitates more sacrifices than what a martyr does under normal circumstances to get the thawab of many martyrs.  

For, a martyr makes a sacrifice only once and dies for the sake of Allah but a person who serves the realities of belief, the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet in such an environment can make great sacrifices every day.   

Thus, as the times get harder and mischief increases, the thawabs of deeds will also increase.

The word tamassuk (holding steadfast to the Sunnah) mentioned in the hadith includes the following meanings: (2)

1. Tamassuk means determination, perseverance and insistence: Holding expressed by tamassuk includes determination, perseverance and insistence. Some people will emerge at the time of the mischief of my ummah; they will show their loyalty to the sunnah of the Prophet and the Quran by maintaining the same positive attitude with determination and insistence. They face everything in this way. This meaning exists in the root “msk” and in all derivatives of it.

2. Tamassuk includes continuity: Determination, perseverance and insistence already necessitate continuity. When the meanings of the verb are examined, continuity will be seen in all of them. It necessitates holding something continuously without releasing it. Maintaining means keeping something continuously. In that case, the deed that brings a great reward like the thawab of one hundred martyrs necessitates continuity, patience, determination and devoting one’s life to the way of the Quran and the Sunnah, which do not separate from each other.

3. Tamassuk means to look after the whole thing: Tamassuk indicates looking after “the whole”. To hold something without releasing is possible through catching it and holding the whole of the thing that has been caught, like catching a person. To keep one’s tongue means to prevent it from speaking. It does not mean to speak for a while and to keep silent for a while. The same thing is valid for imsak, which means keeping away from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.    

In that case, tamassuk (holding steadfast to the Sunnah) at the time of the mischief of the ummah means tammasuk related to the whole sunnah aiming to support and practice the whole sunnah. It means to hold steadfast to all aspects of the Quran and the sunnah, not to leave them and to struggle to keep them upright. In general, the people to do it at the time of the mischief of the ummah will be very few. It is clear that such a task is difficult. Due to those reasons, its reward is great.

4. Tamassuk reflects the struggle of opposite powers: The root msk and the word tamassuk include mutual struggle and the resistance of two powers. Imsak, imtisak, tamasuk, tamassuk and mask express to hold something with the intention of not leaving or releasing it. The party that faces the difficulty is the one that catches and holds and that does not release. The party that is caught resists in order to get rid of that grip; it wants to be freed.

For instance, in the deed of keeping the tongue expressed with the root msk, the tongue wants to speak and tries to speak but is overcome by the power that prevents it. When the struggle in the root msk is considered in terms of the hadith “One who holds steadfast to my Sunnah...”, it expresses a continuous struggle to keep and maintain the Sunnah.  

References:

1. al-Baghawi, Husayn b. Muhammad ash-Shafi, Masabihus-Sunnah, I-II, Beirut, nd. I, 40, no: 130; al-Munawi, Abdurra‘uf, Faydul-Qadir, I-VI, Beirut, nd. VI, 261. (no: 9171-9172); For the issue of the increase of thawabs at the time of the mischief of the ummah, see Taftazani, Masud b. Umar, Sharhul-Maqasid, I-V, Beirut 1988 I, 308; al-Haythami, Ahmad b. Hajar, as-Sawaiqul-Muhriqa, Cairo 1385, p. 210.

2. al-Qamusul-Muhit III, 329; al-Mu’jamul-Wasit p. 869; al-Mufradat, p. 469.

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