Concise But Full of Meaning – The Prophet’sﷺ Words

Concise But Full of Meaning – The Prophet’sﷺ Words


One of the special gifts the Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ was graced with was jawami al-kalim – speech that was concise, yet comprehensive and full of meaning. We find this beautiful manner of speaking again and again in the prophetic narrations (hadith), which demonstrate a brevity of language that is just as impactful as it is eloquent and insightful.

There is a timelessness of appeal to this type of speech, especially as today we are surrounded by “talk”–talk shows, morning shows, evening news, interviews, podcasts– and all of which must meet certain word counts and timeframes to extend programming. In the midst of all that, it strikes a chord within the human heart and psyche to hear speech that is brief but meaningful.

I recently came across a great book series by Turath Publishing called Al-Arba`in. Each mini-book is a collection of forty hadith, centered on various topics or themes compiled by different scholars. Book #2 in the series, composed by Mulla `Ali al-Qari, is a collection of particular examples of jawami al-kalim – very concise and short hadiths, some only two or three words long – that are full of beautiful meanings and lessons.  The book is a great way of gaining fuller appreciation of this special gift of the Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, becoming familiar with some of the vocabulary of the hadith, and to memorize some of his precious words.

Here are a few examples excerpted from the book:

أَكْرِمُوا الخُبْزَ

“Honor bread.”

It is reported from `Aisha رضي الله عنها that the Prophet صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

 said, “Honor bread, for part of its nobility is that it [need] not wait for seasoning.” [Bayhaqi]

Comments:  Bread is to be honored and this is indicated by the word of Allah “If you are thankful, surely I will increase you” [Surah Ibrahim: 7.]  Honoring a bounty is part of thankfulness.

…Among the duties of a servant is to honor the favors of his Master and to praise Him for what He has given to Him.  He should consider the small of it to be great.  In truth, he should regard the little of it to be plenty.  A poet said:

A little from you suffices me, but

the small [from] You cannot be considered ‘small’.


الصَّبرُ رِضَى

“Patience is contentment.”

Abu Musa al-Ash`ari رضي الله عنه reported that the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: “Patience is contentment.”  [Ibn Asakir]

Comments:  Perseverance through times of suffering and adversity with patience and a tranquil heart is a sign that the servant is content with the Divine decree.  It is a sign too that his Lord is pleased with him as He has braced him with patience and made him pleased with the decree.

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, who was granted profound, concise speech (jawami’ al-kalim) and wellsprings of wisdom (manabi al-hikam)!

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