All praise is for Allah, Lord of the worlds. May Allah send praises and complete peace until the Day of Recompense upon him, his family and followers and upon all of his companions.
The Shaikh, the Imam, the distinguished scholar, Shaikh-ul-Islam, remainder of the noble Salaf, Zainuddin Abul-Faraj ‘Abdur-Rahman, son of the Shaikh and the Imam Shihabuddeen Ahmad, son of the Shaikh and the Imam – Ibn Rajab al-Baghdadee, al-Hanbali, rahimahullahu Ta’ala, said:
Imam Ahmad, an-Nasai, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih report the hadith of Ka’b ibn Malik al-Ansari, (ra), from the Prophet (pbuh) that he said: “Two hungry wolves let loose among sheep are not more harmful then a person craving after wealth and status is to his Deen (Religion).” at-Tirmidhi said, “It is hasan Sahih.”
It is also reported from the Prophet (pbuh) from the hadith of Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas, Aboo Hurairah, Usamah ibn Zayd, Jabir, Aboo Saeed al-Khudree and Asim ibn Adiyy al-Ansari, (ra) ajmaeen.
We have mentioned them all and spoken about them in the book Sharhut-Tirmidhi (Explanation of Tirmidhi).
The wording of the hadith of Jabir, (ra) is: “Two ravenous wolves which spend the night amongst sheep whose shepherd is absent, will not cause more havoc for the people than will love of status and wealth to a Believer’s Deen.”
In the hadith of Ibn Abbas, (ra), there occurs, “love of wealth” in place of “craving…”
This is a very great similitude given to us by the Prophet (pbuh) to show how the Deen of the Muslims is corrupted by craving after wealth and worldly status, and that the damage caused to the Deen by it will not be less than the damage caused by two hungry and ravenous wolves which spend the night amongst sheep whose shepherd is absent – so that they feast on them and massacre them.
As is obvious none but a small number of these sheep would escape from the havoc caused by these hungry wolves – and the Prophet (pbuh) informed us that a person’s craving after wealth and status does not cause less harm than these two hungry wolves amongst the sheep. Rather, either it will be the same or worse. So this shows that hardly any of a Muslim’s Deen remains secure if he craves after wealth and status in this world – just as hardly any of the sheep will be saved from hungry wolves. So this great similitude contains a severe warning against the evil of craving after wealth and status in the world.