Imam Ahmad recorded that Mu`adh bin Jabal said, “I was with the Messenger of Allah on a journey one morning, walking near him. I said, `O Prophet of Allah, tell me of a deed that will grant me admittance to Paradise and keep me away from Hell.’ He said:
You have asked about something great, and it is easy for the one for whom Allah makes it easy. Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, establish regular prayer, pay Zakah, fast Ramadan and perform pilgrimage to the House. Then he said:
Shall I not tell you of the gates of goodness Fasting is a shield, charity wipes out sin, and the prayer of a man in the depths of the night. Then he recited:
(Their sides forsake their beds) until he reached (as a reward for what they used to do.) Then he said:
Shall I not tell you of the greatest of all things and its pillars and pinnacle) I said, `Of course, O Messenger of Allah.’ He said:
The greatest of all things is Islam, its pillars are the prayers and its pinnacle is Jihad for the sake of Allah.) Then he said:
(Shall I not tell you the factor on which all of that depends) I said, `Of course, O Messenger of Allah.’ He took hold of his tongue and said, Restrain this. I said, `O Messenger of Allah, will we be accountable for what we say’ He said,
(May your mother be bereft of you, O Mu`adh! Will the people be thrown into Hell — (or he said) on their faces — except because of what their tongues say).