The Prophets Haudh (Cistern)
The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “My Haudh (Cistern) is (as big as) a month’s journey and its corners are the same (i.e. it is square in shape, with all it’s sides of equal length). Its water is whiter than milk and its fragrance is better than musk. Its drinking vessels are like the (number of) stars in the sky. Whoever drinks from it will never feel thirsty again.”
The Haudh is a great cistern – a tank for holding water – which will be set up in the place of gathering on the Day of Resurrection, to which the Ummah of Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) will come. The water of this cistern will come from the river of al-Kawthar which is in Paradise, hence it is called the Cistern of al-Kawthar.
The evidence for that is the hadith narrated by Muslim in his Sahih from Abu Dharr, that “into the Cistern will flow two pipes from Paradise.” The apparent meaning of this Hadith is that the Cistern will be next to Paradise so that the water from the river that is inside Paradise will be able to flow into it, (as Ibn Hajar said in al- Fath 11/466. And Allah knows best.)
With regard to where the Cistern will be located in the land of gathering (on the Day of Judgement):
The scholars differed concerning this matter. Some said that it will be after the Siraat (bridge across Hell). Others said that it will be before the Siraat. This is the view of the majority and is more likely to be correct – and Allah knows best – because some of those who come to it will be taken to Hell, and if it were after the Siraat they would not be able to reach it because they would already have fallen into Hell – we seek refuge with Allah.
Not everyone who belongs to the Ummah of Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) will attain the honour of drinking from the Cistern of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam).
Many ahadith clearly state that there are some people among this Ummah who will be driven back harshly from the Cistern – we ask Allah to keep us safe from that.
Who are the ones who will drink and who are the ones who will be pushed away?
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) has answered this question clearly in such a way that no one has any excuse. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) came to the graveyard and said: “Peace be upon you, O habitation of believing people. We will join you soon, if Allah wills. Would that we had seen our brothers.”
They said, “Are we not your brothers, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “You are my companions. Our brothers are those who have not yet come.” They said: “How will you recognise those among your Ummah who have not yet come, O Messenger of Allah?”
He said: “If a man has a horse with a white blaze and white feet among horses that are all black, don’t you think that he will recognise his horse?” They said: “Of course, O Messenger of Allah.”
He said: “They will come with white foreheads and white hands and feet because of wudoo’. I will have reached the Cistern ahead of them and men will be driven away from my Cistern as stray camels are driven away. (I will say), ‘Let them come,’ and it will be said to me, ‘They changed after you were gone,’ so I will say, ‘Away with them! [in another narration: "Away with those who changed after I was gone!]”. [Sahih Muslim]
It was also narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, I will drive men away from my Cistern as strange camels are driven away from a cistern.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Our scholars (may Allah have mercy on them) said: Everyone who apostatises from the religion of Allah or who introduces innovations with which Allah is not pleased and did not give permission for, is one of those who will be driven away from the Cistern.
Those who will be most forcibly driven away will be those who differed from the majority of Muslims and split from them, such as the Khaarijis and Raafidis of all stripes, and the Mu’tazilis and anyone who followed their ways.
The same applies to the evildoers and oppressors who tried to extinguish the truth and kill its followers and humiliate them, and those who openly committed major sins and took the matter of sin lightly, and all those who followed deviant whims and desires and innovation. (Al-Tadhkirah by al-Qurtubi, 306).
In conclusion, we must strive to follow the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and not go against him in any way, in the hope that Allah will honour us by allowing us to drink from this blessed Cistern. Otherwise what regret can be greater than the regret of the one who is pushed away from before the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and suffers unbearable thirst but is not allowed to drink that cool water, then his loss is further compounded by the prayer of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) that he be driven far away? We seek refuge with Allah. Imagine this torment – what if you were actually to experience it?
We ask Allah to bless us and our Muslim brothers with guidance to follow the Sunnah and to avoid bid’ah (innovation) and sin.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
And Allah knows best!