The Hadeeth of the Strong Believer
On the authority of Aboo Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:
“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Guard over that which benefits you, seek Allaah’s Assistance, wa laa ta’jiz (don’t lend yourself to things devoid of benefit, and this could carry many meanings), and if something befalls you, then don’t say ‘If I only would have done such and such,’ rather say, ‘Qaddarallaahu wa maa shaa’ fa’al’ (Allaah ordained (this) and He does what He wills), for verily the phrase ‘If I would have’ makes way for the work of Shaytaan.”
The Takhreej of the Hadeeth (where it can be found)
As-Suyootee gathered it in Al-Jaami’us-Sagheer, and Al-Albaanee numbered it #6650 and called it ‘hasan’. He traced it to Saheeh Muslim, Ibn Maajah, and Ahmad. He brought it in his summarized Saheeh Muslim #1840 but did not mention why it is hasan, but he mentions in his takhreejof As-Sunnah of Ibn Abee ‘Aasim that As-Suyootee found a problem with Rabee’ah bin ‘Uthmaan (one of the narrators).
Statements of the Scholars About the Strong Believer
Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have Mercy on him)
Shaykh Al-Islaam referred to the hadeeth when discussing the prayer of a sick person standing up, saying: “As for the prayer of those who can not properly perform it, then their prayer is acceptable in any way that it is possible for them to perform it, according to their abilities, as this is what they have been ordered with in this circumstance, while the one who is capable of performing his prayers properly is more sound and more virtuous, as the Prophet (sallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said, ‘The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.'” Majmoo’ah Al-Fataawaa (12/479)
So here we see that Ibn Taymiyyah understood that physical strength is something found in the strong believer.
Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah (may Allaah have Mercy on him)
“The one who has insight into the Truth and an awareness of it, but he is weak and has no strength to implement it or to call to it, then this is the situation of the weak believer. The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allaah than him.”
Ad-Daa’ Wad-Dawaa’ (p.145, Daar Ibn Al-Jowzee printing)
We can see that Ibn Al-Qayyim understood that courage is from the strength of the believer.
Imaam An-Nawawee (may Allaah have Mercy on him)
“The intended meaning of strength here is a firm will and a desire to work for the Hereafter. So the one being described as a strong believer is more bold and stern against the enemy in Jihaad, quicker to go out (to fight) and searching for it (Jihaad), more firm in the way he enjoins the good and forbids the evil, (more firm) in his patience with the harms he faces throughout all of that, and stronger in the way he carries out difficult tasks for Allaah’s Sake. He loves to pray, fast, make thikr, and perform the rest of the acts of worship, and he is more active in seeking after these affairs, and he keeps a closer watch over his performance of them.”
Sharh Muslim (9/341, Daar Al-Ma’rifah printing)