Age of Corruption
In many of Ahaadith the Holy Prophet has insisted upon the ummah to take care of the Sunnah (it is not possible to compute all of them here), particularly at a time when the Muslims may have abandoned the Sunnah and may have instead adopted deviation. For great rewards and recompense have been promised for those who conform to the Sunnah during such time.
As such, Abu Huraira reports that the Holy Prophet said: "He who retained the Sunnah at the time of the corruption of my ummah, for him there is recompense equal to that of a hundred martyrs".
That is, when the ummah, having given up the Sunnah, may be busy in innovations and in disobedience to Allah and the Apostle, if a man is firm in practising the sunnahs he will get recompense equal to that of a hundred martyrs. The recompense of one hundred martyrs will be given to the man who acts upon the sunnahs during the age of corruption. For a martyr dies fighting only once in the battlefield whereas the man who practises the Holy Prophet's sunnah in a degenerating period, first the alien people and non-Muslims, feeling it to be odd and outlandish, will vex him and make fun of him; and if per chance Allah softened their hearts towards him and they started looking at him with respect instead of contempt, some Muslims take up the gauntlet to despise and humiliate that devotee of the Holy Prophet .
The matter does not remain confined to mere discussion; on the contrary, it often turns into squabbling and fighting. They say: You belong to our community, and your colour and our colour is the same, but you adopt such a behaviour that we feel ashamed of it and thus you are putting all of us to disgrace", etc., etc. So, he is harassed with things like this.
A warrior and martyr gets relief by dying once but this slave of Allah who claims to cherish love for the Apostle and has therefore adopted such behaviour is thoroughly pulverised; his love is put to trial and he has to undergo self-mortification every now and then, as someone has well said: - "What can be there for a lover but misery? What can be there for him but tears, blood and yearning for the beloved"?
A poet has described this in Urdu in the following manner: - ‘Receive hurt upon hurt and be alive; suffer wound upon wound and drink. Do not sigh and seal your lips, for this is love and not a joke.’
On the one hand he will receive such a great recompense, and, on the other, he will be exalted with what was his real objective, as Shaikh Sa' di has said: - "The remedy for one suffering the pain of love is nothing but the beloved's glimpse".
So, in order to please the heart of that lover, besides the spring seasons of paradise, he will be awarded the Holy Prophet's proximity and company. This will be the fruit of his suffering the taunts of his own co-religionists as well as others and of staunchly following the Holy Prophet's sunnahs.
Hence it has been said for the martyr, that he will be one rank below the prophets. And the person who is obedient and submissive to Allah and His Apostle has been given this position that he will enjoy the prophets' company, as it has been said in the following Quranic verse: -
“And whoso obey Allah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the siddiqun, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are.” (IV: 69)
So those who obey Allah and the messenger, and carry out their order will enjoy the prophets' company in Paradise and he who loves the Holy Prophet and conforms regularly and continuously to his sunnahs, for him the Holy Prophet has said: "He will have the good fortune of living with me in Paradise". This is indeed the greatest reward. He is a lucky man who happens to receive it. And that is the true life, anything besides this may be called life, but it is in fact death, as some poet has said: -
"It cannot be called life for one separated from the beloved is a dead person; a truly alive person is one who is enjoying union with the beloved".