English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

"Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

by Hujjat ul-Islaam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali

Alhamdulillahi Rabb'il 'Alameen wa aSSalatu wa assalamu ala Sayyid al 'Alameen Saahib at-taaji w'al mir'aji w'al joodi w'al karam wa 'ala aalihi wa aS-haabihi wa ahli baytihi wa az-zawaajihi wa baarik wa sallim. All Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds and blessings and salutations of peace be upon the Chief of the Worlds, the possessor of the crown and the Ascension and overflowing generosity and grace and also upon his Progeny and his Companions and his Household and his Wives and blessings and (upon them all) blessings and peace. We see that our hearts have hardened too much. we want to break away from our lives of sin, but we find ourselves crippled. We want to tread the footsteps of our great ancestors who led lives of achievement but we are afraid. we wish to emulate the Awlia in abstaining from desires and indulging in worship but we are constrained by a myriad of reasons. Why ? The answer could be found in the Hadeeth : We have forgotten that we shall die. Said Rasulallah "there shall come a time when the Kaafirs shall invite each other to kill/harm you (muslims) as casually as one invites the other to food " the companions RaDiyallahu `anhum said " Yaa Rasulallah is it because we would be less (in number?) " Rasulallah said " No, but that day (in those times) you will be like the foam of the sea-waves (abundant) " [in another Riwaayah/Narration it is "like the blades of grass"] the companions asked "then why yaa Rasulallah ?" the Rasul replied, "for then the love of this material world shall have engulfed you (muslims) and you (muslims) will have forgotten to remember death".aw kamaa qaala `alayhis salaatu was azkas salaam; Said the prince among the authors; the shaykh of many treasures; sayyiduna wa mawlaana Hujjatul Islaam, al-Imaam Abu Haamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Ghazzali raDiyallahu `anhu in his book :"mukaashifatul quluub" // The remembrance of death: Said Rasulallah :

"Akthiruu min dhikri Haadimil Ladhdhaat" // remember more often that which destroys the pleasures (and desires) It is indicated in this Hadeeth for a man to remember death more often and thereby keep himself away from worldly pleasures so that he is honored in the presence of his Lord Almighty Allah `Azza wa Jall. Said Rasulallah eat. " if the animals knew of death like you do (that is it is certain) you wouldn't find a plump animal to

Hazrat `Aayishah radiyallahu `anhaa asked Rasulallah "Yaa Rasulallah, will anyone be raised (on the day of judgement) along with martyrs (without himself being a martyr?)" He replied : "Yes; he who remembers death for twenty times in a day and a night" The reason for such a high grade is by remembering death one becomes weary of the pleasures in this world and begins the preparation for the hereafter; but forgetting death makes a man indulgent in the dunyaa. Said Rasulallah "Death is a gift for the mu-min" for he lives in this world as a prisoner; and he is at constant war with his desires (nafs) and Shaytaan. And this is not less than a torment for a believer and death relieves him of these troubles, hence it is a present for the believer.

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

Said Rasulallah that death is Kaffarah for a Muslim. It is he from who other muslims are in safety (by his hand and tongue); it is he who has the lofty characters of a muslim; and he who keeps away from all Kabeerah (big sins). If such a Muslim commits a Sagheerah (small sin), death becomes a Kaffarah for him; and doing the obligatory commandments (Fards) makes him entirely clean. It is reported from Hazrat `Ata Khuraasani raHimahullah that Rasulallah passed by a group of people who were laughing loudly. He said: 'remember that which destroys the taste of pleasures' he was asked 'Master, what is that?' he replied 'Death'. It is reported from Hazrat Anas radiyallahu `anhu that Rasulallah over and disinclination towards Dunyaa will increase' said: 'Remember death too often; the sins will be

Said Rasulallah 'Death is enough to sever ones ties' and said he : 'Death is a great teacher with sage advice' (WaaiDH;) Once Rasulallah was going towards the Masjid; he saw a group of people talking and laughing loudly. Said he: 'remember death. I swear by the Lord Almighty the Glorious, in whose power rests my life, if you come to know of what I know, you would cry more and laugh less' (that is 'I know of the torments in the grave and also the power of Allah to torment; and you don't') A man was praised too much in the presence of Rasulallah . He asked ' does he remember death (often) ?' they replied 'we have never heard of it', he said 'then he is not as worthy as you think he is'. Hazrat `Abdullah ibn `Umar radiyallahu `anhuma reports that ' I was the tenth person present when a youth among the Ansaar came to Rasulallah and asked " Yaa Rasulallah ! Who is the most wise and honorable ?" he replied "He who remembers death the most and makes an excellent preparation towards it is the most wise and only such people will be the most honorable on the day of judgement" Hazrat Hasan raHimahullah said 'death hath made this dunyaa contemptible. There ain't no bliss for the wise here. Hazrat Rabee`y ibn Khaythum radiyallahu `anhu said 'for a believer awaiting death is the best to wait for' 'a wise man once wrote to his brother: ' Yaa akhi, before going to the place where you won't die even if you wish for it fear death and be good in deeds' When death was mentioned in the company of Hazrat Ibn Seereen radiyallahu `anhu he would be thunderstruck. Hazrat `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azeez radiyallahu `anhu would invite the scholars in the night and they would discuss death and the day of judgement. When discussing the hereafter he would cry so much that one would think it was a funeral! Hazrat Ibraaheem at-Taymee rahimahullah said 'death and the fact that I shall be presented before my Lord Almighty has removed all love of pleasures from my heart' Hazrat Ka`ab radiyallahu `anhu said ' for he who recognized death, all the agonies and troubles have come to an end' Hazrat Mutraf rahimahullah said : " Idreamt that a person was standing in the middle of a Masjid in Basrah and was saying 'death hath rent the hearts of those who fear their Lord Almighty Allah; by Allah you will always find them disturbed.'" Hazrat Ash`ath radiyallahu `anhu reports 'whenever we visited Hazrat Hasan radiyallahu `anhu we would find him discussing hell, Judgement Day and death' Hazrat Umm al-Mu-mineen Sayyidah Safiyyah radiyallahu `anha reports ' a woman complained of a hardened heart to Hazrat `Aayishah radiyallahu `anha. She said, 'remember death, your heart will soften.' she did likewise and her heart did soften; she came to Hazrat `Aayishah and thanked her'.

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

Whenever Hazrat `Eesaa `alayhis salaam heard of death, he would bleed. Whenever Hazrat Daawuud `alayhis salaam heard of death and Judgement day he would be breathless. and his body would shiver; then the mention of Mercy of Lord Almighty Allah would solace him a bit. Said Hazrat Hasan radiyallahu `anhu 'all the wise men I have met were afraid and terrified by death'. Hazrat `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azeez radiyallahu `anhu asked a scholar to advise him. Said he, 'you shall not escape death inspite of being a Caliph. All your ancestors upto Hazrat Aadam `alayhis salaam have tasted death, and now it will be your turn'. The caliph kept sobbing for a long time. Hazrat Rabee`y ibn Khaythum raziyallahu `anhu had dug a grave behind his house. He would go and sleep in it for a number of times in a day and used to say, 'if i am negligient of death for a while, all my labor will go in vain'. Hazrat Mutraf ibn `Abdallah ibn ash-Shukhayr rahimahullah said: 'death has snatched away the pleasures of those indulgent in this dunyaa. Fear Allah and beseech him of pleasures that are permenant (that is paradise)'. Hazrat `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azeez radiyallahu `anhu said to 'remember death too often; if you are rich, death will make you poor. and if you are poor, it will make you plentiful; forever'. Hazrat Sulaymaan ad-Daaraani radimahullah said " I asked Umm Haarun once, whether she loved death. She replied in the negative. I asked her why it was so. She said, 'How would I like to meet He, whom I have disobeyed ? i haven't prepared for death hence i dislike it'" Hazrat Abuu Muusaa Tameemi rahimahullah says that the famous poet Farazdaq's wife died. Prominent people of Basra including Hazrat Hasan al-Basri radiyallahu `anhu were present at the funeral. He asked Farazdaq: 'O aba Faraas, what have you prepared for this day?'. he replied: 'i have been a muslim for sixty years'. when his wife was buried, Farazdaq said these verses: 1. akhaafu waraa-al qabri in lam tu-`aafinee // asaddu minal qabri iltihaayan wa aDyaqaa 2. idhaa jaa-anee yawmal qiyaamati qaayidun // `aneefun wa sawwaqun yasuuqul Farazdaqaa 3. laqad khaaba min awlaadi Aadama man mashaa // ilan naari maghluul al-qilaadata azraqaa

1. I am afraid of the horrors buried in the grave if Thou dost not protect me my Lord; which is a cramped pit and wherein are blazing flames. 2. And on the Judgement day a terrifying, hard-hearted angel shall drive Farazdaq 3. Verily amongst the progeny of Adam `alayhis salaam the condemned is he who walks towards hell, thirsty wearing the blue collar of hell.

A poet has written well: 1. qif bil qubuuri wa qul `alaa saaHaatihaa // man minkumul maghmuuru fee DHulmaatihaa 2. wa manil mukarrama minkumu fee q`arihaa // qad dhaaqa bardal amni min raw`aatihaa 3. ammas sukuuna lidhil `uyuuni fa waaHidun // laa yastabeenal faDlu fee darajaatihaa

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

4. law jaawabuuka la akhbaruuka bi alsunin // taSiful Haqaayiqu ba`ada min Haalaatihaa 5. ammal muTee`a fa naazilun fee rawDatin // yufDaa ilaa maa shaa-a min dawHaatihaa

6. wal mujrimuT Taaghee bihaa mutaqallibun // fee hufratin ya-waa ilaa Hay-aatihaa 7. wa `aqaaribun tas`a ilayhi faruuHihi // fee shiddatit ta`adheebi min ladghaatihaa

1. stand ye by the graves and ask 'em // who amongst thee is steeped in darkness 2. and who dwells in honor // and who tastes the calmness and sleeps in peace? 3. silence prevails without a difference // and the difference in status cannot be fathomed 4. if they can answer you, verily they shall // tell thee of the truth; of that hath befallen them 5. 'he who was pious dwells in a garden // and strolls in paradise wherever he wishes 6. and the criminal/sinner is shoved in // a gorge that is full of venomous serpent 7. and scorpions that scramble towards him and his soul // is in indescribable torment

Hazrat Maalik ibn Deenar radiyallahu `anhu passed by a graveyard. he said: 1. ataytul qubuura fa naadaytuhaa // fa aynal mu-`aDHama wal muHtaqar 2. wa aynal mudhillu bi sulTaanihee // wa aynal muzakkee idhaa maftaqar

1. I came to the graveyard and said // where are the great ones and where, the contemptible? 2. and where are the powerful // and where are the virtuous who were conceited of their piety? A voice replied: 1. tafaanuu jamee`an fa maa mukhbirun // wa maatuu jamee`an wa maatal khabar 2. taruuHun wa taghduu banaatath tharaa // fa tamHuu maHaasina tilkaS Suwar 3. fa yaa saayilee `an unaasin maDuu // a maa laka fee maa taraa mu`atabar?

1. all of them were annihilated and none remained to reply thee // all of them have died and so have the tales (about them); 2. they are buried under tonnes of earth // and the soil is disfiguring their beautiful faces 3. and O ye, who asks of the people of yore // Hast thou gained any advice and are forewarned? ( i couldn't find a better word for `ibrah..)

It was written on a tombstone:

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death

1. tunaajeeka aHdaathun wa hunna Sumuut // wa sukkanuhaa taHtat turaabin khufuut 2. a yaa jaami`yad dunyaa lighayri balaaghatin // liman tajma`ad dunyaa wa antaa tamuut

1. they tell a tale though they seem silent // they, the ones buried under the soil, shrouded; 2. "O ye, who is amassing this dunyaa which shall be someone else's soon // why dost thou amass it whilst thou shalt die!"

Ibn Samaak rahimahullah says i passed thru' a graveyard it was written on a tombstone: 1. yamurruu aqaaribi janbaati qabree // ka anna aqaaribee lam ya`arifuunee 2. dha wul meeraathi yaqtasimuuna maali // wa maa ya-luuna an jaHaduu duyuunee 3. wa qad akhadhuu sihaamahum wa `aashuu // fa yaa lillahi asra`u maa nasuunee

1. my relatives pass upon my grave // as tho' they do not recognize me 2. they divided my wealth amongst themselves // and did not care to repay my loans 3. everyone partook of his share and lived blissful // Oh! how soon they have forgotten me! On another: 1. innal Habeeba minal aHbaabi mukhtalisun // laa yamna`ul mawta bawwaabun wa laa Harasuu 2. fa kayfa tafraHu bid dunyaa wa ladhdhatihaa // yaa man ya`uddu `alayhil lafDHu wan nafasuu 3. aSbaHta yaa ghaafilan fin naqSi munghamisan // wa anta dahruka fil ladhdhaati munghamisuu 4. laa yarHamul mawtu dhaa jahli li ghurratihee // wa laa alladhee kaana minhul `ilmu yuqtabisuu 5. kam akhrasal mawta fee qabrin wuqifta bihee // `anil jawaabi lisaanan maa bihee kharasuu 6. qad kaana qaSruka ma`amuuran lahuu sharafun // fa qabrukal yawma fil ajdaasi mundarisuu

1. friends were parted // and no guard nor escort could prevent the coming of death 2. how can ye be blissful in this dunyaa and its pleasures // O ye, whose every word and every breath are being counted 3. O ye the negligent! thou spends time wastefully // and so is your life being spent 4. know, that death shall not spare the ignorant pitying his ignorance // nor shall it spare the knowledgeable in lieu of their knowledge

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death
5. many are they whom death hath silenced to their graves // and they cannot answer, they lie dumb 6. yea, your palace was talked about sometime ago // but now, even the signs of your grave have been wiped out

It was written on another: 1. waqiftu `alal aHibbati Heena Sifat // qubuuruhum kal firaasir rihaani 2. fa la in bukaytu wafaaDa damee // ra-aytu `aynaayi baynahum makaanee

1. I understood when the graves of my friends // were raised like the backs of camels 2. even tho' if i cried blood // their eyes wouldn't move (they wouldn't come to life)

It was written on a doctor's grave: 1. qad qultu lammaa qaalaa lee qaayilun // qad Saara luqmaanu ilaa ramsihee 2. fa ayna man yuuSifu min Tibbihee // wa hadhqihi fil maa-i ma`a Habsihee 3. hayhaata laa yadf`au `an ghayrihee // man kaana laa yadf`au `an nafsihee

1. When someone asked of me, said i // even Luqmaan the great doctor had to go to his grave 2. Where is he who was famous for his medicine // and he who was acclaimed for his skill 3. Nay, nay; how can he ward off death from others // he who couldn't ward off that from himself!

It was written on another grave: 1. yaa ayyunnaasa kaana lee amalun // quSSira bee `an buluughihil ajalu 2. fal yattaqillaha rabbuhu rajulun // amkinahu fee Hayaatihil `amalu 3. maa ana waHdee nuqiltu haythu taraa // kullun ilaa mithlee sayantaqiluu

1. O ye, the people! i had many aspirations // but they were cut short by the arrival of death 2. It is better for a man to fear his Lord Almighty // and spend his life doing good 3. I am not the only one who hath come here (to the grave) // every one shall come here someday.

The translation of chapter 28, mukaashifatul quluub ends here. wa billahi nasta`yeen. footnotes: Dunya: Dunya means the world literally. But here it means indulgence in the material pleasures of this temporal

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English Book: "Mukaashifatul Quluub" - The Remembrance of Death
world. Dunya is also described figuritively as an enticing female. All that is done to satiate one's desires is also known as Dunya. Aakhirat: It is the life in the hereafter. Zuhd: It means to forsake the pleasures of this world. This necessarily doesn't mean that one should leave everything and go and sit in a forest. Rather, it means how one should abstain from desires. MubaaH: That which is neither prohibited by the Sharia`ah nor recommended by it. Nafs: Nafs means one's life. A Nafs has states and that are three; Nafs Ammarah, Nafs al-Lawwamah and Naf alMuTma-innah - the lower ego, the reproaching ego and the Satisfied ego. (Psychologists term this as the superego;) The Lower ego or the Nafs al-Ammarah is that which is base, which always craves for material comfort and has vast desires; the Qur-aan says: "Innan Nafsa La-Ammaratunm Bis-Suui // The Nafs al-Ammarah only commands/entices towards sin (lust, desires)." This can think of only food, drink, sex and such mundane things. Such a Nafs doesn't differentiate between good and bad, civility and bestiality. This has a devil-may-care attitude. When it is a bit civilized it thinks a bit higher and reproaches itself on error. Such a nafs is Nafs al-Lawwamah. The Qur-aan says: "Wan Nafsil Lawwamah // I swear by the life (ego) that reproacheth itself". Tho' it is on leash, it falls into sin or the lower ego mode when not guarded. Vice is inherent and not entirely washed off. When the ego improves in a better state, it reaches the state of Satisfaction or the ITminaan. Here the ego doesn't desire anything; And this is the ego that is praised in the Qur-aan : "Yaa Ayyatuhan Nafsul MuTma-innah // O ye, the life (ego) that hath reached contentment". We should strive to make our Nafses, as a Nafs al-MuTma-innah. Makhluuq is creation. Everything other than Allah `Azza Wa Jall is creation, Makhluuq.

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