The significance of a thing, in most cases, is appreciated only by its opposite. Wealth is properly appreciated by knowing the nature of poverty, Health cannot be maintained except by avoiding the diseases which destroys it. Faith is maintained by tawheed and tawheed cannot be sustained except by avoiding the evils that negates it - Shirk. One individual in history whose life exemplified this altruism was Hudhaytah ibn al-rarnan (RA). His parents were among the first persons from Madinah to accept Islam. Thus, Hudhayfah grew up in a Muslim household and was taught by both his mother and father .. Hudhayfah (RA) therefore became a Muslim before meeting the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). From an early age, he was keen on following whatever news there was about Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). The more he heard, the more his affection for him grew.
At Madinah, after the Hijrah, Hudhayfah became closely attached to the Prophet (sallalloohu 'alayhi wa sallam). One of his qualities which endeared him to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhiwa sallam) was his anxiety at I identifying evils and promptness at fighting against them. He said about this attitude of his:
''The people used to ask the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) about the good, and I used to ask the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) about the evil out of fear that I might fall into it."(Bukhari).
His hatred for evils was not just a wish of the heart but an action for the limbs. He always warned people to struggle against evil with all their faculties, with their heart, hands and tongue. Those who stood against. evil only with their hearts. and tongues, and not with their hands, he considered as having abandoned a part of truth, Those Who hated evil only in their hearts but did not combat it with their tongues and hands ,forsook two parts of truth and those who neither detested nor confronted evil with their hearts, tongues or hands he considered as physically alive but morally dead.
It was Hudhayfah's (RA) attitude of vigilance for lurking evils that earned him the trust of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam). One of the gravest problems the Muslims of Madinah had to face was the existence in their midst of hypocrites (munafiqun) particularly from among the Jews and their allies. Although many of them had declared their acceptance of islam, the change was only superficial and they continued to plot and intrigue against the Prophet' (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and the Muslims. For his outstanding- quality, the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) confided in him the names of the munafiqun. It was a weighty secret which the Prophet did not disclose to any other of his companions. He gave Hudtiayfah (AA) the task of watching the movements of the munafiqun, following their activities, and shielding the Muslims from the evils they represented;
From this time onwards, Hudhayfah (RA) was called by the epithet: ''The Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah". Throughout his life he remained faithful to his pledge not to disclose the names of the hypocrites. After the death of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam), people often asked him to disclose the names of the hypocrites but he remained tight lipped and cautious. Umar' (RA) was only able to find out indirectly who the hypocrites were. If anyone among the Muslims died, Umar !RA) would ask: "Has Hudhayfah attended his funeral prayer?" If the reply was 'yes', he would perform the prayer.
If the reply was 'no', he became doubtful about the person and refrained from performing the funeral prayer for him. For Hudhayfah (RA), both good and evil are bred in the hearts of men. Whatever nature the hearts assumes so will manifest in the actions. He said about human hearts and their relationship to good and evil: "
There are four kinds of hearts. The heart that is encased or emaciated; that is the heart of the kafir or ungrateful disbeliever (who-associates someone with Allah).The heart that is shaped into thin layers; that is the heart of the munafiq (hypocrite). The heart that is open and bare and-on which shines a radiant light. That is the 'heart of the mu'niin or the believer. Finally there is the heart In which there is both hypocrisy and faith. Faith is like a tree 'which thrives with good water and hypocrisy is like an abscess which thrives on pus and blood. Whichever flourishes more, be it the tree of faith or the abscess of hypocrisy, wins control of the heart." Which one do you allow to win control over your own heart, the tree of faith, abscess of hypocrisy or perhaps the root of shirk?