On the authority of Tamim Al-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him):
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "The religion is naseehah (sincerity)." We said, "To whom?" He (peace be upon him) said, "To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk."
Written commentary compiled by volunteers utilizing Sh. Jamaal Diwan's audio commentary above and English translation of Ibn Daqiq Al-Id's commentary on The Forty Hadith of Imam al-Nawawi.
This Hadith focuses on al-Nasihah, advice or sincerity. The Prophet (sas) says that the entire religion is encompassed in the concept of nasihah and that the main pillar of the religion and its soundness lies in this concept of nasihah.
Nasihah is usually translated as advice, but this translation does not convey the true meaning of the word. The closer meaning of the term nasihah is sincerity. That means that the entire religion is encompassed by the concept of sincerity.
The Prophet (sas) stated in the hadith that nasihah should be given to five categories: to Allah, His Book, His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims and to the common people.
1: Nasihah to Allah (swt):
Nasihah to Allah (swt) means that we should have correct belief in Allah and reject associating anything with Him. It means that we constantly try to purify our relationship with Him and be as true to this relationship as much as possible. We also do what is required of us and sustain from what is prohibited. Nasihah to Allah also means that we must know how to implement the shariah of Allah in our lives and how to journey towards Him.
2. Nasihah to Allah’s Book:
Nasihah to His Book means believing that the Quran is the Speech of Allah (swt), that it was sent down as Revelation, and that there is no similarity between the Speech of Allah and the speech of mankind. To be pure and sincere in our relationship with the Quran requires that we have the utmost respect to the Quran. We call the Quran with respectful names, such as the Noble Quran and the Glorious Quran. We have to act on and respect the content of the Book, by carrying out its commands nd staying away from its prohibitions. Explaining the Quran to others, helping people understand the beauty of the Quran and defending the Quran against attacks is part of giving nasihah to Allah’s Book.
3. Nasihah to Allah’s Messenger (sas):
Part of giving Nasihah to the Prophet (sas) is knowing him, understanding his life and the struggles he went through and relating his struggles to our daily life. Loving the prophet more than anything else and loving him more than ourselves is part of giving nasihah to the Prophet. Obeying the Prophet (sas), rejecting those whom had enmity towards him, being loyal to those who gave allegiance to him, honoring him, and reviving his manners and sunnah are all important aspects of giving nasihah to the Prophet (sas).
4. Nasihah to the leaders of the Muslims:
Giving nasihah to the leaders of the Muslims involves making duaa for them that Allah guides them, protects them and makes them able to carry out their responsibilities. Another way is to correct them when they are wrong, as Abu-Bakr (raa) asked of the believers when he was entrusted with leadership, “As long as I command you to do what Allah and His Messenger commanded you to do, then you should obey me, but if don’t then you should set me straight.” Another way of giving naseeha to the leaders of the Muslims is to know them, interact with them, get involved in their efforts in a constructive way and not to sit back and criticize what they are doing without trying to help them.
5. Nasihah to the Muslim people:
Giving nasihah to the Muslims in general means giving them advice. The Prophet (sas) said, “The rights of a believer over a believer are six,” and then he mentioned that among them is "if he asks you for an advice you have to give him advice.” Giving nasihah involves guiding them towards that which will correct their affairs in both this life and the next. It involves protecting them from harm, helping them in times of need, providing what is beneficial for them, encouraging them to do good and forbidding them from evil with kindness and sincerity, and showing mercy towards them.