On the authority of Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be pleased with him), he said:
"I asked the Messenger of Allaah,:
-Oh Messenger of Allaah, which of the actions are the best?-
He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
"The prayer at its proper times."
-Then what Oh Messenger of Allaah?-
"That the people are safe from your tongue."(At-Tabaraani, Declared to be authentic by Al-Imaam Al-Albaani in At-Targheeb wa At-Tarheeb # 2852)
Benefits from the narration:
1. From the methodology of the Sahaabah is to go to the people of knowledge to ask about the affairs of one's religion.
2. The Sahaabah weren't prohibited from asking about that which will get them closer to Allaah from the righteous actions.
3. The righteous are not on the same level in terms of reward with Allaah.
4. The respect that the Sahaabah had for the Messenger of Allaah since they addressed with that title or the title of Prophethood.
5. The best of the actions after the two testimonies of faith is the performance of the prayer at the fixed stated times.
6. The opposite of this understood, and it is that the worst of the actions is not praying at the fixed stated times.
7. From the best of the actions is protecting the people from the harms of one's tongue like backbiting, slander, tale carrying, verbal abuse, etc...
8. From the worst of the actions is to harm people with one's tongue.
9. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was the best of teachers since he answered Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood with this answer, whereas similar questions were asked to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) by other Sahaabah and He answered them differently according to their situations.
10. The Sahaabah conveyed the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) after His death.
11. This narration is not a protection for the people innovation. Indeed those who bring harm to the Muslim community with the affairs of innovation are to be exposed so that the people do not fall into the evil, doubtful matters mentioned by them. Backbiting the people of innovation is permissible when warning the people against them.
Refer back to Riyaadus Saaliheen V. 2 "The Chapter of the Permissible Backbiting" by Al-Imaam An-Nawawe (may Allaah have mercy upon him).
Sisters Upon Al-Istiqaamah