CHAPTER: MERIT OF JIHADAND OF KEEPING VIGILANCE (OVER THE ENEMY)
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri that a man came to the Prophet (may peace he upon him) and said: Who is the best of men? He replied: A man who fights in the way of Allaah spending his wealth and staking his life. The man then asked: Who is next to him (in excellence)? He said: Next to him is a believer who lives in a mountain gorge worshipping hid Lord and sparing men from his mischief.
It has been narrated (through a diferent chain of transmetters) on the same authority (i. e. Abu Sa'id Khadri) who said: A man asked: Messenger of Allaah, which of men is the best? He said: A believer who fights staking his life and spending his wealth in the way of Allaah. He asked: Who is next to him (in excellence)? He said: Next to him is a man who lives an isolated life in a mountain gorge, worshipping his Lord and sparing men from his mischief.
A version of the tradition narrated on the authority of Ibn Shihab has a little differently worded ending. i. e." A man in a mountain valley." but did not mention" next to him a man who...."
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: Of the men he lives the best life who holds the reins of his horse (ever ready to march) in the way of Allaah, flies on its back whenever he hears a fearful shriek, or a call for help, flies to it seeking death at places where it can be expected. (Next to him) is a man who lives with his sheep at a hill-top or in a valley, says his prayers regularly, gives Zakat and worships his Lord until death comes to him. There is no better person among men except these two.
This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Abu Huraira with a slight variation of wording.
Two more versions of the tradition narrated by 'Abdullah b. Badr and Abu Huraira, respectively, have been handed down through different chains of transmitters with negligible difference in the wording.