It is said that Abu Hanifa advised his son to practice 5 hadiths that would equate the practice of 5,000 hadiths. What actually are these five hadiths? In his Bustan al-Muhaddithin, `Abd al-`Aziz al-Dihlawi relates, “Abu Dawud said, ‘in our view, four traditions (hadith) of that [= the 4800 that he collected in his Sunan] are enough for a person’s religion: his word’s (Allah bless him and give him peace):
1-Actions are according to intentions: We act accordingly to what we intend to do, so we are rewarded according to our intentions and not only our actions. Our intention should be towards Allah and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in everything. It should be to earn their happiness and to follow their guided path.
The scholars say, “Through intentions, habits become worship.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Actions are only by intentions, and each man has only that which he intends. Whoever’s emigration is for Allah and His Messenger, then his emigration is for Allah and His Messenger. Whoever’s emigration is for some worldly gain which he can acquire or a woman he will marry, then his emigration is for that for which he emigrates.” [Bukhari & Muslim].
The primary intention is always Allah and the secondary intention is to how to achieve the particular action towards Him. `Abdullah ibn Mubarak (Allah be pleased with him), said, “How often it is that a small action becomes great by its intention. And how often it is that a great action becomes small by its intention.” If we do not have any intention in our deeds for Allah, then there is no benefit in it.
2-Part of the good of a person’s Islam is to abandon what does not concern him: We should not poke our noses into other people’s business as this should not concern us in any way. The excellence of a person’s Islam is to ignore anything which doesn’t concern him. This act is an indication of perfect faith.
3-A believer is not a believer until he is pleased for his brother with what he is pleased for himself: It is very important that we think of other people as we think of ourselves, such that what would hurt might hurt them and what would make us happy might make them happy as well.
To love for your brother what you love for yourself is to think good of him and not to do something that we would hate for ourselves whether it be a believer or non-believer, we need to treat everyone equally.
4-The Lawful is clear and the Unlawful is Clear: Allah has plainly described what is lawful and what is unlawful, and in between the forbidden and unforbidden things lie the things that we do not know about, therefore we should avoid the matters that lie in between these boundaries to honor our religion.
5-The Muslim is one whom others are safe from their tongue and hands: A true believer does not harm anyone with his tongue or his hands, meaning that he does not swear or backbite and neither does he use hands to hurt someone physically. This differentiates a true believer with the rest. To become a true believer, we should not hurt anyone from the inside or the outside.