Glad tidings are not just a nice escape from the daily grind. They can have deeper and much weightier implications. The Prophet -God bless him and grant him peace- during his last sickness once came out into the mosque, his noble head tightly bound in a cloth, and said: “O my Lord, Have I relayed [three times]. All that will be left of Prophethood is a glad tiding seen by a believer or for him.” (1)Narrated in Sunan al-kubra by Nasa’i 4/382 and by Ibn Maja 2/1283. How important is this facet of our dīn for our blessed Prophet to include in his very last recommendations before joining His Creator.
It’s part of Prophethood; it’s the last avenue for direct human contact with the divine. When the prophet -God bless him and grant him peace- told his companions that Prophethood was over and that there were going to be no more prophets after him, it pained them; seeing that, he -God bless him and grant him peace- said, as if consoling them: “but Mubashshirāt.” They said: “what are Mubashshirāt O Messenger of God?” He said: “the glad tiding of a believer and it is part of Prophethood.” (2)Authentic ḥadith, narrated by Al-Tirmidhi 4/533. The companions must have been delighted to hear that, and so should we. For we, the new generations of Muslims, have been promised even more. “When the Day of Resurrection approaches, the glad tiding of a believer will hardly fail to come true. And a glad tiding is one of forty-six parts of Prophethood. And whatever belongs to Prophethood can never be false.”
We believe in glad tidings because one of the pillars of our dīn is belief in the Unseen [Ghayb]. God –Glorified be He- was truthful to his beloved Messenger when He promised him victory over his enemies and a return to his birth-town Mecca [Makkah] after a long exile, in a glad tiding. Talking about glad tidings in our materialistic and cynical world is quite what it is: “glad tidings.” Tyrants of modern realism sniff at it: “keep on living in your dream world while the world is moving ahead.” Or better yet, in a condescending shrug, they would say: “let your inner psyche discharge its pathologies; it’s good catharsis. But please don’t take it for messages from beyond.” Our Prophetic sunna does tell us that there are three types of dreams: those from the devil, those that come from the lower self [nafs] and finally the messages from God. We were ordered to seek refuge in God from the first, to disregard the second and to rejoice in the third. But the third category does exist despite what our jaded digital world suggests. Abu Hurayrah reported that God’s Messenger -God bless him and grant him peace- had said: When the time draws near [i.e., when the end of the world draws near] a believer’s glad tiding can hardly be false. And the truest glad tiding will be of the one who is truest in speech, for the glad tiding of a believer is one forty-fifth part of Prophethood, and dreams are of three types: one, ‘good’ visions which are a sort of good tidings [Bushra] from God; the evil dream which causes pain is from Satan; and the third one is a suggestion of the nafs.” (3)Authentic ḥadith, narrated by Imam Muslim 15/2263.
The Godly kind of glad tidings cannot be earned. They are a bounty from God that He gives to whomever He wills. Yet a bounty can be made to last and recur by being thankful for it: “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor].” Qur’ān, 14:7. As it can be withdrawn if unappreciated and denied. Glad tidings should be an incentive for us to intensify our worship [‘ibada] and be more charitable to the people around us. They should be an indication of divine approval and support in our worldly struggle. We don’t take our religious rulings from them. And we surely can’t venture into an interpretation of them ourselves, as this is the duty of experts in this science.
Just like the prophet -God bless him and grant him peace- did with his companions, we were encouraged in prophetic sayings to recount the best amongst our glad tidings to the people that love us and to the community of believers; he -God bless him and grant him peace- said: “Indeed, glad tidings occur according to how they are interpreted… So, if any of you has a glad tiding, do not relate it except to a confidant or a scholar.” (4)Al-Hākim, Silsilat al-Aḥadīth aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥa, vol. 1, p.186-8, no: 120. This is in keeping with the spirit of encouragement and of bringing of glad tidings to a community of builders and healers, reinforcing them in their righteous endeavor.