It is related by Abu Hurayrah radhiyallahu anhu: “[Once] the Apostle of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said to us: ‘Who is there to learn these few things from me, and, then, to act upon them and to tell them also to others who will act ?’ I replied, ‘O Apostle of Allah! I am present.’ The Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam thereupon, held my hand [in affection] and said, ‘Refrain from the acts Allah has forbidden and refrain from them strictly. If you will do so, you are a very great worshipper [and this worship is better than the abundance of supererogatory (nafl) prayers]. Secondly, remain satisfied with what Allah has fore-ordained for you. If you do so, you will attain contentment and become very rich. Thirdly, be kind and gentle in your behaviour towards the neighbours. If you will do so, you are a perfect believer. Fourthly, desire for yourself what you desire for others. If you do so, you will become a true Muslim. Fifthly, do not laugh much for too much laughter kills the heart.”
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam wanted to tell the five above mentioned things. In order to attract the attention of the listeners, he first said, “I want to tell a few special things. Who among you will like to learn them? But he will have to pay back their claim by acting upon them himself, and, also, relating them to others so that they, too, may profit.”
It shows that there are two claims on anyone who acquires the knowledge of faith, he should act according to it and, also, pass it on to others. Even if he does not carry out into practice fully what he learns, he must not refrain from imparting it to others.
The five things the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam has taught in this Tradition are of fundamental importance.
(i) He is most devout bondsman and a great worshipper who abstains from what is unlawful though he may not be offering up a great deal of supererogatory (nafl) prayers and observing much of supererogatory fasts.
(ii) One derives immense satisfaction and peace of mind from being content with what Allah has decreed for him.
(iii) Good and noble behaviour towards the neighbour is a prerequisite of perfection in Faith.
(iv) A true Muslim must always wish well of others to the extent of desiring for them what he desires for himself.
(v) One should not laugh much because excessive laughter deprives the heart of feeling and makes it insensitive.