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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Subhan'Allah....a sign of LOVE..........

(the 3rd photo is a rotation of the 2nd photo)
These photos were taken on my birthday last year on the 16th of December 2008, the time was 5.48pm, and i was with my family by the sea side at Melaka, which is at the Western Coast of Peninsular Malaysia, waiting for the sun to set, as I truly love watching the sunset. My children took many photographs as the day began to set. By looking at the sky on that day i felt the joy and serenity overflowing but no words to heave to express the tranquility, ya Allah. After a year, that's today, when we went through the photos, my youngest daughter rotated one of the photos and said: "Subhan'Allah!! Ummi look!! there a sign of LOVE on the sky" .............................Subhan'Allah , that's LOVE, it's there, but we did not notice it, but where there is love, hearts can feel, though eyes can't see.................just like love for Allah.................

"Love for Allah envelopes the heart,
it rules the heart and it even spreads over everything."
~Imam Ghazali~

Mahabbah (love) is a condition which man feels in his heart, too subtle to be expressed in words. This subtle spiritual state leads the worshipper to recognize the greatness of God, instills in him the desire, above all things, to please God, makes him unable to tolerate God’s absence, induces in him constant excitement at the thought of God; he finds no rest without God and feels an intimate comfort in continual thought of Him. Yet the idea of the love of man for God does not imply physical attraction and possession. How could it do so—since the true Infinite is too holy to be fully attained or reached or comprehended. It is more to the point to describe the man who knows mahabbah as being completely lost and overwhelmed in the beloved, than to refer to the relationship as one of possession. If the lover were described as submerged in the beloved, it would be more adequate than if they were described as being together.~Shaykh Abū al-Qāsim al-Qushayrī

Imam Ghazali's Last

Imam Ghazali woke up one early morning and as usual offered his prayers and then enquired what day it was, his younger brother, Ahmad Ghazali replied,"Monday." He asked him to bring his white shroud, kissed it, stretched himself full length and saying "Lord, I obey willingly," breathed his last.

And underneath his head rest they found the following verses; composed by him, probably, during the night.

"Say to my friends, when they look upon me, dead
Weeping for me and mourning me in sorrow
Do not believe that this corpse you see is myself
In the name of God, I tell you, it is not I,
I am a spirit, and this is naught but flesh
It was my abode and my garment for a time.
I am a treasure, by a talisman kept hid,
Fashioned of dust, which served me as a shrine,
I am a pearl, which has left it's shell deserted,
I am a bird, and this body was my cage
Whence I have now floron forth and it is left as a token
Praise to God, who hath now set me free
And prepared for me my place in the highest of the heaven,
Until today I was dead, though alive in your midst.
Now I live in truth, with the grave - clothes discarded.
Today I hold converse with the saints above,
With no veil between, I see God face to face.
I look upon "Loh-i-Mahfuz" and there in I read
Whatever was and is and all that is to be.
Let my house fall in ruins, lay my cage in the ground,
Cast away the talisman, it is a token, no more
Lay aside my cloak, it was but my outer garment.
Place them all in the grave, let them be forgotten,
I have passed on my way and you are left behind
Your place of abode was no deweling place for me.
Think not that death is death, nay, it is life,
A life that surpasses all we could dream of here,
While in this world, here we are granted sleep,
Death is but sleep, sleep that shall be prolonged
Be not frightened when death draweth night,
It is but the departure for this blessed home
Think of the mercy and love of your Lord,
Give thanks for His Grace and come without fear.
What I am now, even so shall you be
For I know that you are even as I am
The souls of all men come forth from God
The bodies of all are compounded alike
Good and evil, alike it was ours
I give you now a message of good cheer
May God's peace and joy for evermore be yours."


Excerpt: On the Remembrance of Death, and an Encouragement to Remember it Abundantly



Know that the heart of the man who is engrossed in this world
and is given over to its vanities and harbours love for its appetites
must certainly be neglectful of the remembrance of death.
Thus falling to recall it,
when reminded of it he finds it odious and shies away.
Such are the people of whom God has said:
Say: Lo! the death from which ye shrink will surely meet you,
and afterward ye will be returned unto
the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible,
and He will tell you what ye used to do.
’Now, men may be either engrossed [in the world],
penitent beginners, or arrived gnostics.
The man engrossed does not remember death,
or, if he does, it is with regret for his world,
and he busies himself with disparaging death.
The remembrance of death increases
such a one in nothing but distance from God.
The penitent man recalls death frequently,
so that fear and apprehension might thereby
proceed from his heart, making his repentance complete.
It may be that he is in fear of death lest it carry him off
before his repentance is complete
and before his provisions for the journey are replenished;
lie is excusable in his aversion to death,
and is riot included
in the saying of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace): ‘Whosoever would abhor meeting with God,
God abhors meeting with him’.
Such a man does not abhor death and meeting God,
but only fears the meeting with God passing him
by as a result of his deficiency and remissness.
He is like the man who is made late for a meeting
with his beloved by busying himself with preparations
for the encounter in a way that will find approval:
he is not deemed to be reluctant about the meeting!
The distinguishing mark of thepenitent man
is his constant preparation for this matter
and his lack of any other concern.
Were he to be otherwise he would associate
with the man engrossed in the world.
As for the gnostic, he remembers death constantly,
because for him it is the tryst with his Beloved,
and a lover never forgets the appointed time
for meeting the one he loves.
Usually such a man considers death slow in coming
and is happy upon its advent, that he might have done
with the abode of sinners and be borne away
into the presence of the Lord of the Worlds.
’ Such was the case with Hudhayfa,
of whom it is related that when death came he said,
‘A dear friend has come at a time of poverty.
Whoever repents [at such a moment as this] shall not succeed.
O Lord God! Should You know that poverty
is dearer to me than wealth,
and sickness more beloved to me than health,
and death more dear to me than life,
then make my death easy for me until I meet You.’

AL-GHAZALI - The Remembrance of Death and the AfterLife

Teacher vs Preacher

Below is my reply to a forum discussion on Teacher vs Preacher:


Assalamualaikum

Thank you brother for bringing up this very interesting topic for discussion. I believe both is important. Both is equally important because we need to seek knowledge whether its secular knowledge from the teacher or religious knowledge from the preacher. In Islam there is no dichotomy between secular or academic knowledge and religious or spiritual knowledge. This philosophy is practiced by true muslim teachers and true muslim preachers.
Below are a few quotes to support this philosophy.

“An essential prerequisite is that religious and secular subjects should be made an indivisible whole. The compartmentalization of religious and secular education, based on a factitious division of life into spiritual and temporal, is not sanctioned by Islam.” (Rauf, 1988, p. 63)

The characteristics of a good Islamic teacher have been defined as thus:
Love for children; love for the profession of education; humility without weakness; health and vitality of the body; psychological health and emotional balance; neatness, cleanliness and good appearance; eloquence and good pronunciation; intelligence and deep understanding; understanding students and their needs; strong command of the subject; broad and deep reading and knowledge; punctuality and respect for time; co-operation with the school system and policies; being courteous with students and fellow teachers; socialization with people and no isolation; knowledge and practice of Islam; to stay away from questionable sayings or deeds, even if it is lawful to do so; and sincerity.
- ISNA handout, 1994, quoted in The Purpose of an Islamic School and the Role of an Islamic School Teacher

In one of his addresses on the topic of a new education system, Mawdudi once said:
“If you teach history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, astronomy, economics, political science and other social sciences without any reference to Allah ... a student will be unable to synthesize the conflicting ideologies into a unifying whole. Because of this intellectual polarization, his religious faith gradually weakens. Under the circumstances, he cannot remain totally committed to religion, however strong his faith may be.” (Rauf, 1988, p. 64)

“This can be used to further highlight the necessity for a Muslim teacher to put subjects in the context of Islam. If subjects are not Islamized, the indication is that the resulting pupil, through not viewing God to be the author and controller, assigns the latter to something other than God. He will therefore suffer a weakness in faith. Mawdudi also believes that students should consolidate their knowledge in Qur’anic Studies and thereafter ‘be offered a course in comparative religion so that they can assess for themselves how mankind went astray.” (Rauf, 1988, p. 67)

A more comprehensive definition of Islamic education was composed at the First World Conference on Muslim Education where participants were of the following view:
“Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of man through the training of man’s spirit, intellect, his rational self, feelings and bodily senses. Education should cater therefore for the growth of man in all its aspects: spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, physical, scientific, linguistic, both individually and collectively and motivate all aspects towards goodness and the attainment of perfection. The ultimate aim of Muslim education lies in the realization of complete submission to Allah on the level of the individual, the community and humanity at large. “(Ashraf, 1985, p. 4)

Education (tarbiya), Al-Ghazali states in Ayyuha l-walad is like "the labour of the farmer, who uproots the weeds, trims wheat so as it grows better and gives a better harvest." Every man needs a teacher to guide him in the right direction. To try and do without leads to worst illusions. In Ayyuha l-walad the pupil’s outward respect for his teacher is evidence of esteem for such in one's heart.

In ‘Ihya ulum al-din’, Al-Ghazali states eight duties of a teacher. First and foremost he is a father for his pupils. He must teach for the sake of God. He would advise the student with prudence, fight the excessive urge to learn too quickly, and to overtake his peers. He would reprimand with moderation, in private, discreetly, not in public. To blame too much is to make the pupil too stubborn in his way of seeing and doing things. And one other duty of the teacher is to make sure that what he teaches he pursues in his life, and that his own acts do not contradict what he is trying to inculcate.

Thus we can conclude that a teacher and a preacher are both equally important as long as they have the true characteristics of a true muslim teacher and a true muslim preacher. According to Al-Ghazali, "knowledge exists potentially in the human soul like the seed in the soil; by learning the potential becomes actual."

Wallahualam

Still struggling to be a true muslim teacher.

References:
1. Ashraf. S.A. (1985), New Horizons in Muslim Education, Cambridge: Hodder & Stroughton.
2. Ayyuha l’walad by: Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali, Ayyuha l’walad: UNESCO, Beyrouth 1951 (Arabic text).
3. Ihya ul’Ulum by: Al-Ghazali
Al-Ghazali, Ihya ul’Ulum, part I, book 2, section 2.
4. Rauf. S.M.A. (1988), Mawdudi on Education, Karachi: IslamicResearch Academy.



Life is nothing but an accumulation of many breaths.


















Life is nothing but an accumulation of many breaths.
So every breath is just a precious diamond
which cannot be purchased with anything in the world.
It is a priceless jewel which has got no substitute in value.
So in movements and talks, and in sorrows and happiness,
such a priceless breath should not be spent in vain.
To destroy it is to court destruction.
An intelligent man cannot lose it.
When a man gets up at dawn,
he should enter into an agreement with himself
just as a tradesman contracts with his partner.
At that time, he should address his mind thus:
O mind, you have been given no other property
as precious as life.
When it will end, the principal will end
and despondency will come in seeking profit in business.
Today is a new day. Allah has given you time,
that is, He has delayed your death.
He has bestowed upon you innumerable gifts.
Think that you are already dead. So don't waste time.
Every breath is a precious jewel.
Man has got for each day
and night twenty-four treasure houses in twenty-four hours.
Fill up these then find them filled up
with divine sights in the world next.
If they are not filled up with good works,
they will be filled up with intense darkness
where from a bad stench will come out and envelop them all around.
Another treasure house will neither give him happiness nor sorrow.
That is an hour in which he slept, or was careless,
or was engaged in any lawful work of this world.
He will feel grieved for its remaining vacant.

[Taken from al-Ghazali: Meditation and Introspection,
The Book of Constructive Virtues, Ihya Ulum-id-din.]

The Purification of the Soul: Chapter: 5


Compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya,
and AbuHamid Al-Ghazali.


The Four Poisons of the Heart
Bismillahir*RaHmanir*RaHeem
"And keep yourself (O Muhammad (pbuh) patiently with those who call on their Lord (your companions who remember their Lord with glorification, praising in prayers, etc., and other righteous deeds, etc.) morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost." Al-Quran: Surah 18: Al-Kahf ayat 28.

The Four Poisons Of The Heart
Bismillaahir-RaHmaanir-RaHeem

You should know that all acts of disobedience are poison to the heart and cause its sickness and ruin. They result in its will running off course, against that of Allah, and so its sickness festers and increases. Ibn al-Mubarak said: I have seen wrong actions killing hearts,And their degradation may lead to their bcoming addicted to them. Turning away from wrong actions gives life to the hearts, And opposing your self is best for it.

Whoever is concerned with the health and life of his heart, must rid it of the effects of such poisons, and then protect it by avoiding new ones. If he takes any by mistake, then he should hasten to wipe out their effect by
turning in repentance and seeking forgiveness from Allah, as well as by doing good deeds that will wipe out his wrong actions.

By the four poisions we mean unnecessary talking, unrestrained glances, too much food, and keeping bad company. Of all the poisons, these are the most widespread and have the greatest effect on a heart's well-being.

Unnecessary Talking

It is reported in al-Musnad, on the authority of Anas, that the Prophet(pbuh) said: "The faith of a servant is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right."1 This shows that the Prophet(pbuh) has made the purification of faith conditional on the purification of the heart, and the purification of the heart conditional on the purification of the tongue.

At-Tirmidhi relates in a hadith on the authority of Ibn Umar: "Do not talk excessively without remembering Allah, because such excessive talk without the mention of Allah causes the heart to harden, and the person furthest from Allah is a person with a hard heart."2

Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "A person who talks too much is a person who often makes mistakes, and someone who often makes mistakes, often has wrong actions. The Fire has a priority over such a frequent sinner."3

In a hadith related on the authority of Mu'adh, the Prophet (pbuh) said, "Shall I not tell you how to control all that?" I said, "Yes do, O Messenger of Allah." So he held his tongue between his fingers, and then he said: "Restrain this." I said, "Oh Prophet of Allah, are we accountable for what we say?" He (pbuh)said, "May your mother be bereft by your loss! Is there anything more than the harvest of the tongues that throws people on their faces (or he said 'on their noses') into the Fire?"4

What is meant here by 'the harvest of the tongues' is the punishment for saying forbidden things. A man, through his actions and words, sows the seeds of either good or evil. On the Day of Resurrection he harvests their fruits. Those who sow the seeds of good words and deeds harvest honour and
blessings; those who sow the seeds of evil words and deeds reap only regret and remorse.

A hadith related by Abu Huraira says, "What mostly causes people to be sent to the Fire are the two openings: the mouth and the private parts."5

Abu Huraira also related that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, "The servant speaks words, the consequences of which he does not realise, and for which he is sent down into the depths of the Fire further than the distance
between the east and the west."6

The same hadith was transmitted by at-Tirmidhi with slight variations: "The servant says something that he thinks is harmless, and for which he will be plunged into the depths of the Fire as far as seventy autumns."7

Uqba ibn Amir said: "I said: "O Messenger of Allah, what is our best way of surviving?' He, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied: "Guard your tongue, make your house suffice for sheltering your privacy, and weep for your wrong actions."8

It has been related on the authority of Sahl ibn Sa'd that the Prophet *saaws* said, "Whoever can guarantee what is between his jaws and what is between his legs, I guarantee him the Garden."9

It has also been related by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent."10

Thus talking can either be good, in which case it is commendable, or bad, in which case it is haram.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Everything the children of Adam say goes against them, except for their enjoining good and forbidding evil, and remembering Allah, Glorius and Might is He." This was reported by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Ma'jah on the authority of Umm Habiba, may Allah be pleased with her.11

Umar ibn al-Khattab visited Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with them, and found him pulling his tongue with his fingers. Umar said "Stop! may Allah forgive you!" Abu Bakr replied; "This tongue has brought me to dangerous places."12

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said: "By Allah, besides Whom no god exists, nothing deserves a long prison sentence more than my tongue." He also used to say: "O tongue, say good and you will profit;desist from saying evil things and you will be safe; otherwise you will find only regret."

Abu Huraira reported that Ibn al-Abbas said: "A person will not feel greater fury or anger for any part of his body on the Day of Judgement more than what he will feel for his tongue, unless he only used it for saying or enjoining good."

Al-Hassan said: "Whoever does not hold his tongue cannot
understand his deen."

The least harmful of a tongue's faults is talking about whatever does not concern it. The following hadith of the Prohet (pbuh) is enough to indicate the harm of this fault:
"One of the merits of a person's Islam is his abandoning what
does not concer him."13

Abu Ubaida related that al-Hassan said: "One of the signs of Allah's abandoning a servant is His making him preoccupied with what does not concern him."

Sahl said, "Whoever talks about what does not concern him is deprived of truthfulness."

As we have already mentioned above, this is the least harmful of the tongue's faults. There are far worse things, like backbiting, gossipying, obscene and misleading talk, two-faced and hypocritical talk, showing off, quarrelling, bickering, singing, lying, mockery, derision and falsehood; and
there are many more faults which can affect a servant's tongue, ruining his heart and causing him to lose both his happiness and pleasure in this life, and his success and profit in the next life. Allah is the One to Whom we turn for assistance.

Unrestrained Glances
The unrestrained glance results in the one who looks becoming attracted to what he sees, and in the imprinting of an image of what he sees in his heart. This can result in several kinds of corruption in the heart of the servant. The following are a number of them:::

It has been related that the Prophet *saaws* once said words to the effect: "The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytan. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allah, He will bestow upon him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him."14

Shaytan enters with the glance, for he travels with it,faster than the wind blowing through an empty place. He makes what is seen appear more beautiful than it really is, and transforms it into an idol for the heart to worship. Then he promises it false rewards, lights the fire of desires within it, and fuels it with the wood of forbidden actions, which the servant would not have committed had it not been for this distorted image.

This distracts the heart and makes it forget its more important concerns. It stands between it and them; and so the heart loses its straight path and falls into the pit of desire and ignorance. Allah, Mighty and Glorious is He, says:

“And do not obey anyone whose heart WE have made
forgetful in remembering Us- who follows his own desires, and
whose affair has exceeded all bounds.” (18:28)

The unrestrained gaze causes all three afflications.

It has been said that between the eye and the heart is an immediate connection; if the eyes are corrupted, then the heart follows. It becomes like a rubbish heap where all the dirt and filth and rottennes collect, and so there is no room for love for Allah, relating all matters to Him, awareness of being in His presence, and feeling joy at His proximity-only the
opposite of these things can inhabit such a heart.

Staring and gazing without restraint is disobedience to Allah:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and quard
Their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely
Allah is aware of what they do.” (24:30)

Only the one who obeys Allah's commands is content in this world, and only the servant who obeys Allah will survive in the next world.

Furthermore, letting the gaze roam free cloaks the heart with darkness, just as lowering the gaze for Allah clothes it in light. After the above ayah, Allah, the Glorious and Mighty, says in the same surah of the the Qur'an:

“ Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth: the
likeness of His light is as if there were a niche, and
in the niche is a lamp, and in the lamp is a glass, and
the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a
blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the
west, whose oil is well nigh luminous, though fire
scarce touched it. Light upon light. 'Allah guides
whomever He wants to His Light. Allah strikes metaphors
for man; and Allah knows all things.” (24:35)

When the heart is a light, countless good comes to it from all directions. If it is dark, then clouds of evil and afflictions come from all directions to cover it up.

Letting the gaze run loose also makes the heart blind to distinguishing between truth and falsehood, between the sunnah
and innovation; while lowering it for Allah, the Might and
Exalted, gives it a penetrating, true and distinguishing
insight.

A righteous man once said: "Whoever enriches his outward
behaviour by follwing the sunnah, and makes his inward
soul weathy thorugh contemplation, and averts his gaze away from
looking at what is forbidden, and avoids anything of a doubtful
nature, and feeds soley on what is halal-his inner sight will
never falter."

Rewards for actions come in kind. Whoever lowers his gaze from what Allah has forbidden, Allah will give his inner sight abundant light.


Too Much Food

The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strenght of the intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of
these praiseworthy qualities.

Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'd Yakrib said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: "THe son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing."15

Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Allah and makes worship and obedience seem laborious-such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating have caused many a wrong action and inhibited much worship. Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for shaytan to control a person who has filled his stomach with food and drink, which is why it has often been said: "Restrict the pathways of shaytan by fasting."16

It has been reported that when a group of young men from the Tribe of Israel were worshipping, and it was time for them to break their fast, a man stood up and said: "Do not eat too much, otherwise you will drink too much, and then you will end up sleeping too much, and then you will lose too much."

The Prophet (pbuh) and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Allah decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is why Ibn Umar and
his father before him-in spite of the abundance of food available to them-modelled their eating habits on those of the Prophet (pbuh). It has been reported that Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: "From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death *saaws*, the family of Muhammed
(pbuh) never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row."17

Ibrahim ibn Adham said: "Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry."

Keeping Bad Company
Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Allah's generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the
passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away-has been unable to dispel. In keeping such company one can find the roots of loss, both in this life and in the next life.

A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him:

The *FIRST* category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensable, night or day. Once a servant has taken his need from it, he leaves it be until he requires it again, and so on. These are the people with knowledge of Allah-of His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies- who wish well for Allah, His Prophet (pbuh) and His servants. Associating with this type of person is an achievement in itself.

The *SECOND* category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in. When you are healthy, you have no need of them. However, mixing with them is sometimes necessary for your livelihood, businesses, consultation and the like. Once what you need from them has been fulfilled, mixing with them should
be avoided.

The *THIRD* category are those people whose company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weaknesses. Associating with one or some of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this
life or in the next life if you have them for company, and you will surely lose either one or both of your deen and your livelihood because of them. If their companionship has taken hold of you and is established, then it becomes a fatal, terrifying sickness.

Amongst such people are those who neither speak any good that might benefit you, nor listen cloesly to you so that they might benefit from you. They do not know their souls and consequently put their selves in their rightful place. If they speak, their words fall on their listeners' hearts like the lashes of a cane, while all the while they are full of admiration for and delight in their own words.

They cause distress to those in their company, while believing that they are the sweet scent of the gathering. If they are silent, they are heavier than a massive millstone-too heavy to carry or even drag across the floor. 18

All in all, mixing with anyone who is bad for the soul will not last, even if it is unavoidable. It can be one of the most distressing aspects of a servant's life that he is plagued by such person, with whom it may be necessary to associate. In such a relationship, a servant should cling to
good behaviour, only presenting him with his outward appearance, while disguising his inner soul, until Allah offers him a way out of his affliction and the means of escape from this situation.

The *FOURTH* category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poision: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the sunnah of the Messenger of
Allah (pbuh) and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the sunnah a bid'a and vice-versa. A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill.

What Gives the Heart
Life and Sustenance


You should know that acts of obedience are essential to the well being of the servant's heart, just in the same way that food and drink are to that of the body. All wrong actions are the same as poisonous foods, and they inevitably harm the heart.

The servant feels the need to worship his Lord, Mighty and Glorious is He, for he is naturally in constant need of His help and assistance.

In order to maintain the well being of his body, the servant carefully follows a strict diet. He habitually and constantly eats good food at regular intervals, and is quick to free his stomach of harmful elements if he happens to eat bad food by mistake.

The well being of the servant's heart, however, is far more important than that of his body, for while the well being of his body enables him to lead a life that is free from illnesses in this world, that of the heart ensures him both a fortunate life in this world and eternal bliss in the next.

In the same way, while the death of the body cuts the servant off from this world, the death of the heart results in everlasting anguish. A righteous man once said, "How odd, that some people mourn for the one whose body has died, but never mourn for the one whose heart has died-and yet the death of the heart is far more serious!"

Thus acts of obedience are indispensable to the well being of the heart. It is worthwhile mentioning the following acts of obedience here, since they are very necessary and essential for the servant's heart: ---Dhikr of Allah ta'Ala, recitation of the Noble Qur'an, seeking Allah's
forgiveness, making du'as, invoking Allah's blessings and peace
on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and
praying at night.*
Notes:

1. Da'if hadith, Al-Mundhari, 3/234; and al-Iraqi in al-Ihya,
8/1539. 2. Da'if hadith, at-Tirmdihi, Kitab az-Zuhud, 7/92,
gharib; no one else has transmitted it other than Ibrahim ibn
Abdullah ibn Hatib, whom ath-Thahabi mentions, 1/43, stating
that this is one of the gharib hadith attributed to him. 3.
Da'if hadith, Ibn Hibban and al-Baihaqi, and al-Iraqi in his
edition of al-Ihya, 8/1541. 4. Sahih hadith, at-Tirmidhi,
al-Hakim, ath-Thahabi. 5. Sahih hadith, at-Tirmidhi and Ahmad;
also al-Hakum and ath-Thahabi. 6. Al-Bukhari in Kitab ar-Riqaq,
and Muslim in Kitab az-Zuhud. 7. At-Tirmdihi, Kitab az-Zuhud;
he said the hadith is hasan gharib. 8. At-Tirmdihi in Kitab
az-Zuhud with a slightly different wording; he said the hadith
is hasan. This wording is reported by Abu Na'im in al-Hilya. 9.
Al-Buhhari, Kitab ar-Riqaq, 11/308 and Kitab al-Hudud, 12/113.
10. Al-Bukhari, Kitab ar-Riqaq, 11/308; Muslim, Kitab al-Iman,
2/18. The complete hadith is: "Let whoever believes in Allah and
the Last Day either speak good or remain silent; and let whoever
believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbour;
and let whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous
to his guest." 11. THe hadith is hasan and is reported by
at-Tirmdhi in Kitab az-Zuhud and by Ibn Majah in Kitab al-Fitan.
At-Tirmidhi classifies it as hasan gharib. We have no report of
it other than from Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Khanis. 12. Hasan
according to Abu Ya'la, Baihaqi and as-Suyuti. Musnad, 1/201;
as-Sa'ati. 13. Sahih, at-Tirmdhi, Kitab az-Zuhud, 6/607; Ahmad,
al-Musnad, 1/201; as-Sa'ati, al-Fath ar-Rabbani, 19/257; hadith
number 12 in an-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths. 14. Da'if, at-Tabarani,
8/63; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 4/314; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 5/264.
15. Sahih, Ahmad, al-Musnad, 4/132; as-Sa'ati, al-Fath
ar-Rabbani, 17/88; at-Tirmidhi, Kitab az-Zuhud, 7/51. 16.
Da'if; it does not appear in most of the sources of the sunnah,
but is mentioned in al-Ghazzali's al-Ihya, 8/1488. 17.
Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-At'ima, 9/549; and Muslim, Kitab az-Zuhud,
8/105. 18. Ash-Shafi', may Allah be pleased with him, is
reported to have said, "Whenever a tedious person sits next to
me, the side on which he is sitting feels lower down than the
other side of me."

The Purification of the Soul: Chapter 4



Symptoms Of the Heart’s Sickness & Signs of Its Health

The Signs of a Sick Heart
A servant’s heart may be ill, and seriously deteriorating, while he remains oblivious of its condition. It may even die without him realising it. The symptoms of its sickness, or the signs of its death, are that its owner is not aware of the harm that results from the damage caused by wrong actions, and is unperturbed by his ignorance of the truth or by his false beliefs.

Since the living heart experiences pain as a result of any ugliness that it encounters and through its recognising its ignorance of the truth (to a degree that corresponds to its level of awareness), it is capable of recognising the onset of decay - and the increase in the severity of the remedy that will be needed to stop it - but then sometimes it prefers to put up with the pain rather than undergo the arduous trial of the cure!
Some of the many signs of the heart’s sickness is its turning away from good foods to harmful ones, from good remedies to shameful sickness. The healthy heart prefers what is beneficial and healing to what is harmful and damaging; the sick heart prefers the opposite. The most beneficial sustenance for the heart is faith and the best medicine is the Qur’ân.

The Signs of a Healthy Heart
For the heart to be healthy it should depart from this life and arrive in the next, and then settle there as if it were one of its people; it only came to this life as a passer-by, taking whatever provisions it needed and then returning home. As the Prophet, may Allâh bless him and grant him peace, said to Abdullâh ibn Umar, “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passer-by.”[1] The More diseased the heart is, the more it desires this world; it dwells in it until it becomes like one of its own people.

This healthy heart continues to trouble its owner until he returns to Allâh, and is at peace with Him, and joins Him, like a lover driven by compulsion who finally reaches his beloved. Besides his love for Him he needs no other, and after invoking Him no other invocations are needed. Serving Him precludes the need to serve any other.
If this heart misses its share of reciting the Qur’ân and invoking Allâh, or completing one of the prescribed acts of worship, then its owner suffers more distress than a cautious man who suffers because of the loss of money or a missed opportunity to make it. It longs to serve, just as a famished person longs for food and drink.
Yahya ibn Mu‘âdh said: “Whoever is pleased with serving Allâh, everything will be pleased to serve him; and whoever finds pleasure in contemplating Allâh, all the people will find pleasure in contemplating him.”
This heart has only one concern: that all its actions, and its inner thoughts and utterances, are obedient to Allâh. It is more careful with its time than the meanest people are with their money, so that it will not be spent wastefully. When it enters into the prayer, all its worldly worries and anxieties vanish and it finds its comfort and bliss in adoring its Lord. It does not cease to mention Allâh, nor tire of serving Him, and it finds intimate company with no-one save a person who guides it to Allâh and reminds it to Him.

Its attention to the correctness of its action is greater than its attention to the action itself. It is scrupulous in making sure that the intentions behind its actions are sincere and pure and that they result in good deeds.
As well as and in spite of all this, it not only testifies to the generosity of Allâh in giving it the opportunity to carry out such actions, but also testifies to its own imperfection and shortcomings in executing them.

The Causes of Sickness of the Heart
The temptations to which the heart is exposed are what cause its sickness. These are the temptations of desires and fancies. The formers cause intentions and the will to be corrupted, and the latter cause knowledge and belief to falter.
Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamanî, may Allâh be pleased with him, said: “The Messenger of Allâh said, ‘Temptations are presented to the heart, one by one. Any heart that accepts them will be left with a black stain, but any heart that rejects them will be left with a mark of purity, so that hearts are of two types: a dark heart that has turned away and become like an overturned vessel, and a pure heart that will never be harmed by temptation for as long as the earth and the heavens exist. The dark heart only recognises good and denounces evil when this suits its desires and whims.’ ”[2]

He, may Allâh bless him and grant him peace, placed hearts, when exposed to temptation, into two categories:
First, a heart which, when it is exposed to temptation, absorbs it like a sponge that soaks up water, leaving a black stain in it. It continues to absorb each temptation that is offered to it until it is darkened and corrupted, which is what he meant by “like an overturned vessel”. When this happens, two dangerous sicknesses take hold of it and plunge it into ruin:
The first is that of its confusing good with evil, to such an extent that it does not recognise the former and does not denounce the latter. This sickness may even gain hold of it to such an extent that it believes good to be evil and vice-versa, the sunnah to be bid‘a and vice-versa, the truth to be false and falsity to be the truth.

The second is that of its setting up its desires as its judge, over and above what the Prophet taught, so that it is enslaved and led by its whims and fancies.
Second, a pure heart which the light of faith is bright and from which its radiance shines. When temptation is presented to pure hearts such this, they oppose it and reject it, and so their light and illumination only increase.

Notes:
[1] Al-Bukhârî, Kitâb ar-Riqâq, 11/233.
[2] Muslim, Kitâb al-Imân, 2/170 (with different wording).

The Purification of the Soul: Chapter 3



Compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya,
and AbuHamid Al-Ghazali.




Just as the heart may be described in terms of being alive or dead, it may also be regarded as belonging to one of three types;

The Healthy Heart

“On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allah with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah says:

“The Day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart.” [Quran 26:88-89]

In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: “It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allah commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. As a result, it is safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him, and seeks the judgment of no other except that of His Messenger (peace be upon him). Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope, and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of Allah. If it detests, it detests in the light of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for Allah. If it withholds , it withholds for Allah. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other that His Messenger (peace be upon him). A servant with a healthy heart must dedicate it to its journeys end and not base his actions and speech on those of any other person except Allahs Messenger (peace be upon him). He must not give any precedence to any other faith , words or deeds over those of Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah says:

“Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allah and His Messenger, but fear Allah, for Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” [Quran 49:1]

The Dead Heart

This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him as He commands, in the way which He likes, and with which He is pleased. It clings instead to its lust and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allahs displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allah, and its love and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam. Its lust is its guide. Its ignorance is its leader. Its crude impulses are its impetus. It is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with its own fancies and its love for hasty, fleeting pleasures. It is called to Allah and the akhira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunning Shaytan. Life angers and pleases it, and passion makes it deaf and blind (1) to anything except what is evil. To associate and keep company with the owner of such a heart is to temp illness: living with him is like taking poison, and befriending him means utter destruction.

The Sick Heart

This is a heart with life in it as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and these are what give it life. It also has a craving for lust and pleasure, and prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Hereafter; and the other calling it to the fleeting pleasures of this world. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time. The first heart is alive, submitted to Allah, humble, sensitive, and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.

References

1. It has been related on the authority of Abud-Darda that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Your love for something that makes you blind and deaf.” Abu Dawud, Al-Adab, 14/38: Ahmad, Al-Musnad, 5/194. Classified as hasan.

The Purification of the Soul: The Nature of Intention (Chapter 2)


compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim
al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali


THE NATURE OF INTENTION

The intention of a person is not his utterance of the words, "I intend to do so and so." It is an overflowing from the heart which runs like conquests inspired by Allah. At times it is made easy, at other times, difficult. A person whose heart is overwhelmingly righteous finds it easy to summon good intentions at most times. Such a person has a heart generally inclined to the roots of goodness which, most of the time, blossom into the manifestation of good actions. As for those whose hearts inclide towards and are overwhelmed by worldy matters, they find this difficult to accomplish and even obligatory acts of worship may become difficult and tiresome.

The Prophet (saw) said: "Actions are only by intention,and every man shall only have what he intended. Thus he whose hijra was for Allah and was for Allah and His Messenger, his hijra was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose hijra was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in
marriage, his hijra was for that for which he made hijra."(1)

Imam ash-Shaf'i said: "This hadith is a third of all knowledge." The words, "actions are only by intention", mean that deeds which are performed in accordance with the sunnah are only acceptable and rewarded if the intentions behind them were sincere. It is like the saying of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Actions depend upon their
outcome."(2)

Likewise, the words, "every man shall only have what he intended", mean that the reward for an action depends upon the intention behind it. After stating this principle, the Prophet (saw) gave examples of it by saying, "thus he the Prophet (saw) gave examples of it by saying, "Thus he whose hijra was for Allah and His Messenger, his hijra was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose hijra was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman I nmarriage, his hira was for that for which he made hijra." So deeds which are apparently identitcal may differ, because the intentions behind them are different in degrees of goodness and badness, from one person to another.

Good intentions do not change the nature of forbidden actions. The ignorant should not misconstrue the meaning of the hadith and think that good intentions could turn forbidden actions into acceptable ones. The above saying of the Prophet (saw) specifically relattes to acts of worship and
permissible actions, not to forbidden ones. Worship and permissible actions can be turned into forbidden ones because of the intentions behind them, and permissible actions can become either good or bad deeds by intention; but wrong actions cannot become acts of worship, even with good intentions.(3) When bad intentsions are accompanied by flaws in the actions themselves, then their gravity and punishment are multiplied.

Any praiseworthy act must be rooted in sound intentions; only then could it be deemed worthy of reward. The fundamental principle should be that the act is intended for the worship of Allah alone. If our intention is to show off,then these same acts of worship will in fact become acts of
disobedience. As for permissible deeds, they all involve intentions -- which can potenitally turn them into excellent acts which bring a man nearer to Allah and confer on him the gift of closeness to Him.

The Excellence of Intention

Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said: The best acts are doing what Allah has commanded, staying for away from what Allah has forbidden, and having sincere intentions towards what-ever Allah has required of us."(4)

Some of our predecessors said: "Many small actions are made great by the intentions behind them. Many great actions, on the other hand, are made small because the intentions behind them are lacking."

Yahya Ibn Abu Kathir said: "Learn about intentions, for their importance is greater than the importance of actions."

Ibn Umar once heard a man who was putting on his ihram say: "O Allah! I intend to do the Hajj and Umrah." So he said to him: "Is it not in fact the people whom you are informing of your intention? Does not Allah already know what is in your heart?"(5) It is because good intentions are exclusively the concern of the heart, that they should not be voiced during worship.

The Excellence of Knowledge and Teaching

There are many proofs in the Qur'an concerning the excellence of knowledge and its tranmission. Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, says:

"Allah will raise up to high ranks those of you
who believe and those who have been given
knowledge. (58:11)"

And also:

"Are those who know equal to those who do not
know? (39:9)

Also , in the Hadith, the Prophet (saw) says, "When Allah desires good for someone, He gives him understanding of the deen."(6) He (saw) also said, "Allah makes the way to the Garden easy for whoever treads a path in search
of knowledge."(7)

Travelling on the path to knowledge refers both to walking along an actual pathway, such as going on foot to the assemblies of the ulama', as well as to following a metaphysical road, such as studying and memorising.

The above saying of the Prophet (saw) probably means that Allah makes learning the useful knowledge that is sought after easier for the seeker, clearing the way for him and smoothing his journey. Some of our predecessors used to say: "Is there anyone seeking knowledge, so that we can assist him in
finding it?"

This hadith also alludes to the road leading to the Garden on the Day of Judgement, which is the straight path and to what precedes it and what comes after it.

Knowledge is also the shortest path to Allah. Whoever travels the road of knowledge reaches Allah and the Garden by the shortest route. Knowledge also clears the way out of darkness, ignorance, doubt and scepticism. This is why Allah called His Book, "Light".

Al-Bukhari and Muslim have reported on the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Truly, Allah will not take away knowledge by snatching it away from people, but by taking away the lives of the people of knowledge one by one until none of them survive. Then the
people will adopt ignorant ones as their leaders. They will be asked to deliver judgements and they will give them without knowledge, with the result that they will go astray and lead others astray."

When 'Ubadah ibn as-Samit was asked about this hadith he said: If you want, I will tell you what the highest knowledge is, which raises people in rank: it is humility."

He said this because there are two types of knowledge. The first produces its fruit in the heart. It is knowledge of Allah, the Exalted - His Names, His Attributes, and His Acts - which commands fear, respect, exaltation, love, supplication and reliance on Him. this is the beneficial type of knowledge. As ibn Mas'ud said: "they will recite the Qur'an, but it will not go beyond their throats. The Qur'an is only beneficial when it reaches the heart and is firmly planted in it."

Al-Hasan said: "There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the tongue, which can be a case against the son of Adam, as is mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet (saw): 'The Qur'an is either a case for you or a case against you'(8), and knowledge of the heart, which is beneficial knowledge. The second kind is the beneficial kind which raises people in rank; it is the inner knowledge which is absorbed by the heart and puts it right. The knowledge that is on the tongue is taken lightly by people: neither those who possess it, nor anyone else, act upon it, and then it vanishes when its owners vanish on the Day of Judgement, when creation will be brought to account."

Notes: 1. Al-Bukhari and Muslim 2. Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Qadar,
11/499. 3. This is illustrated in a hadith recorded by Imam
Muslim in his Sahih, in which it is related on the authority of
Abu Dharr that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and
grant him peace, said, "You will receive the reward for sadaqa
even when you have sexual intercourse with your wives." The
sahaba said, "Will we really be rewarded for satisfying our
physical desires?" He replied, "If you have haram intercourse,
you will be committing a sin; similarly, if you have halal
intercourse, you will be rewarded." Imam an-Nawawi said, "This
hadith clearly shows that permissible actions become acts of
obedience if there is a good intentino behind them; sexual
intercourse becomes an act of worship if it is accompanied by
any one of the following good intentions: keeping company with
your wife in kindness, as Allah ta'Ala has commanded; hoping to
hae, as a result of intercourse, good and righteous offsping;
guarding your chastity and that of your wife; helping to prevent
haram lustful glances or thoughts, or haram intercourse; and any
other good intention." 4. Tahdhib al'Asma' li-Nawawi, 1/173. Abu
Ishaq ash-Shirazi once entered the mosque to have something to
eat, as was his custom, and then realised that he had dropped a
dinar. He retraced his steps and found it lying on the ground,
but then left it where it was, saying, "Perhaps it is not mine;
perhaps it belongs to somebody else." 5. Sahih, Ja'mi 'l-'Ulum
wa'l-Hikam, p. 19. 6. Al-bukhari and Muslim. 7. Muslim,
21/17. 8. Muslim, Kitab at-Tahara, 3/99.

The Purification of the Soul: Sincerity (Chapter 1)


compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim
al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali




SINCERITY


Sincerity is the freeing of one's intentions from all impurities in order to come nearer to Allah. It is to ensure that the intentions behind all acts of worship and obedience to Allah are exclusively for His pleasure. It is the perpetual contemplation of the Creator, to the extent that one forgets the creation.

Sincerity is a condition for Allah's acceptance of good deeds performed in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah has commanded this in the Qur'an:

"And they have been commanded to worship only Allah, being sincere towards Him in their deen and true. (98:5)"

Abu Umama has related that a man once came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, "What of a man who joined us in the fighting, his
intention being for fame and booty?" The Prophet said, "He recieves nothing." The man repeated the question three times and each time the Prophet said, "He receives nothing". Then he said,
"Allah only accepts actions that are intended purely for His
pleasure."(1)

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri related that the Prophet (saw) said in his khutba during the farewell pilgrimage, "Allah will bless whoever hears these words and whoever understands them, for it may be that those who pass on this knowledge are not those who will understand it the best. There are three things concerning which the heart of a believer should feel no enmity or malice: devoting one's actions to Allah, giving counsel to the Imams of the Muslims, and being loyal to the
majority."(2)

What is meant here is that these three things strengthen the heart, and whoever distinguishes himself in them will have a heart purified from all manner of deceit, corruption and evil.

A servant can only free himself from shaytan through sincere devotion, for Allah tells us in the Quran that Iblis said to Him:

"Except those of Your servants who are sincere.
(38:83)"

It has been related that a rigtheous man used to say, "O self, be devout and you will be pure." When any wordly fortune, in which the self finds comfort and towards which the heart inclines, intrudes upon our worship, then it impairs the
purity of our efforts and ruins our sincerity. Man is preoccupied with his good fortune and immersed in his desires and appetites; rarely are his actions or acts of worship free of temporary objectives and desires of this kind. For this reason
it has been said that whoever secures a single moment of pure devotion to Allah in his life will survive, for devotion is rare and precious, and cleansing the heart of its impurities is an exacting undertaking.

In fact, devotion is the purifying of the heart from all impurities, whether few or many, so that the intention of drawing nearer to Allah is freed from all other motives, except that of seeking His pleasure. This can only come from a lover
of Allah, who is so absorbed in contemplation of the next world that there remains in his heart no place for the love of this world. Such a person must be devote and pure in all his actions, even in eating, drinking and answering the calls of nature.
With rare exceptions, anyone who is not like this will find the door of devotion closed in his face.

The everyday actions of a person who is overwhelmed by his or her love for Allah and the akhira are characterised by his love and they are, in fact, pure devotion. In the same way, anyone whose soul is overwhelmed by love for and preoccupation with this world, or status and authority, will be so overwhelmed by these things that no act of worship, be it prayer or fasting, will be acceptable, except in very rare cases.

The remedy for love of this world is to break the worldly desires of the self, ending its greed for this world and purifying it in preparation for the next world. This will then become the state of the heart and sincere devotion will become easier to attain. There are a great many actions where a man acts, thinking they are purely intended for Allah's pleasure, but he is deluded, for he fails to see the defects in them.

It has been related that a man was used to praying in the first row in the mosque. One day he was late for the prayer, so he prayed in the second row. Feeling embarrassment when people saw him in the second row, he realised that the pleasure and satisfaction of the heart that he used to gain from praying in the first row were due to his seeing people seeing him there and admiring him for it. This is a subtle and intangible condition and actions are rarely safe from it. Apart from those whom Allah has assisted, few are aware of such delicate matters. Those who do not realise it only come to see their good deeds appearing as bad ones on the Day of
Resurrection; they are the ones referred to in Allah's words:

"And something will come to them from Allah which they
had never anticipated, for the evil of their
deeds will become apparent to them. (39:47-48)"

And also:

"Say: Shall We tell you who will lose most in respect of their
deeds? Those whose efforts were astray in the life of this world, while they thought that they were doing good works. (18:103-104)"

Yaqub said: "A devout person is someone who conceals things that are good, in the same way that he conceals things that are bad."

As-Sousi said: "True devotion is to lose the faculty of being conscious of your devotion; for someone who identifies devotion in his devotion is a person whose devotion is in need of devotion." To contemplate devotion is to admire it, and admiration is an afflication; and that which is pure is whatever is free of all afflictions. This means that one's deeds should be purified from any self-admiration concerning the actions they entail.

Ayyub said: "It is much harder for the people of action to purify their intentions than it is to execute any of their actions."

Some people have said: "To be devout for a short while is to survive for ever, but devotion is rare."

Suhail was asked: "What is the most difficult thing for the self? He said: "Devotion, when the self does not have the good fortunre of being endowed with it."

Al-Fudayl said: "Forsaking action for the sake of other people is to seek their admiration. To act for the sake of their admiration is to associate others with Allah. Devotion is when Allah frees you from both of these states.


Notes: 1. Sahih, an-Nisa'i, Kitab al-Jihad, 6/25; al Hafidh ibn
Hajar, Fath al-Qadir, 6/28. 2. Sahih, Ibn Ma'jah; also Ibn
Hibban, Marwarid adh-Dham'an, p.47, on the authority of Zaid ibn
Thabit.

Be Mindful of Allah and Allah will protect you



Abdullah bin Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) reports that ‘One day I was behind the Prophet (Peace be upon him), and he said to me’,

“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him before you. If you ask, then ask only from Allah; and if you seek help, then seek help only from Allah. Know that if the whole of mankind were to come together to benefit you in anything, they would not be able to benefit you, except with that which Allah has already decreed for you, and know that if the whole of mankind were to come together to harm you in anything, they would not be able to harm you, except with that which Allah has already decreed for you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” [Tirmidhi]