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Truly, all praise belongs to Allh (God), we praise Him, seek His help and His forgiveness; And we seek refuge with Allh from the evil of our selves and from our misdeeds. Whomsoever Allh guides, none can [cause to] deviate; and whomsoever He [causes to] deviate, none can guide. I testify that there is no deity [worthy of worship] except Allh, He is alone, having no partners, and I [further] testify that Muhammad is His slave and His [final] Messenger. As for what follows: The purpose of this site is to introduce, for the first time in a web-based format, to Muslims as well as curious non-Muslims, the Islmic perspective on this crucial field called Psychology; hence, it will be called hereinafter Islmic Psychology (Ar. ilm-an-nafs al-Islmee). The need for this particular website has been long overdue, and its need has been increasing ever since. God willing, it is my intention to respond to that need by presenting to a wide audience the Islmic perspective on this matter. I must frankly admit that I have contributed nothing in bringing you this information; I have merely gathered it through typing books and excerpts from books as well as copy and edit material from other websites and then made such into web-based format. The main factor which distinguishes Islmic Psychology from secular or modern Psychology is its source. Islmic Psychology is based on Divine Revelation, not human speculation. The two primary sources of Islmare Qurn (also spelled: Koran) and Hadeeth (or Sunnah). The former is the direct Words of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (salutations and peace be upon him) via the archangel Gabriel. The latter is the explanation of the Qurn, theoretical as well practical. It is also considered a source in its own right, which was also brought by Angel Gabriel but spoken in the words of the Prophet (salutations and peace be upon him). Hence, we will be using these two as our base in this field. Since Islm is based completely on the blessed Divine Law (Ar. Sharee'ah) of God, which is incorporated in the Qurn and Sunnah, it leaves no room for human conjecture, fancy or speculation, even when it comes to the study of the soul (Ar. nafs). Here, I would like to point out an important matter. Lets define Psychology; lets look at it linguistically. If we look into the term, we find the Greek word "psyche" - which means the "soul." It's remarkable that "modern" Psychology has been traditionally defined as "the science of mind/mental processes and behavior". I dont have a problem with this definition; I only have a problem with the subjectivity and narrow-mindedness of the definition. This is where the heart of the problem lies. The root psyche literally means the soul. Yet, when we look at the definition of Psychology in any dictionary, we will never find the word soul. True, behavior and mind have a relationship with the soul, but why is the soul completely eradicated from this discipline? Some people might think that I want to bring back the philosophical approach to psychology. That is quite not true, even though I personally think that classical/philosophical psychology is closer to true psychology. I want to let the general public know from the outset that my intention is not to speculate, far from that. Speculation will lead to nothing but conjecture. Well, let me clarify why our modern doctors have not put the study of soul in modern Psychology. They have transformed Psychology into a science, and by that I mean: 1) observation 2) experiment. Neither can you observe the soul, nor can you experiment with it. In other words, the soul cannot be studied scientifically (neither can the mind, for that matter). Only in that sense, it is not a science. The only exception to this is behavior, that is, it cannot be studied except through observation and perhaps by experimenting to an extent. Moreover, when I criticize their means of experimentation, I mean that modern Psychology has developed rules of experimentation which have no basis in the over all spirit of the discipline. Meaning, the criterion of experimentation itself is flawed. They have adopted man-made techniques of experimentation, as such, are not free from errors. Hence, Islmic Psychology is a science only in terms of knowledge.


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Another problem with modern Psychology is that its promoters have deliberately sought to expand it in order to integrate various other sciences into it. What this does is that it loses the originality of Psychology. One can only wonder why they have included Biology, Physics and Sociology into Psychology. Even though these sciences might influence this discipline to a certain extent, they don't have to be included in them to such an extent that Psychology becomes a mixture of different sciences. Psychology is discipline by itself, it does not need external aid to develop itself. Speaking about external aids, it is unfortunate that Muslim psychologists have compromised Islmic Psychology by borrowing theories and models from such modern psychologists as Sigmund Freud, B.F.Skinner, Carl Jung, and others. Instead of developing our own models based on Qur'n and Sunnah, we have based our Psychology on the blueprint of secular psychology. Isn't Divine Revelation sufficient for us to deduce principles? Why can't we start from scratch in building our own models and conceptual frameworks? Thus formalizing Islmic Psychology once and for all through those scholars of our ummah who have studied the soul in depth such as: Ibn Hazm, Ibn al-Jawzee, Ibn Taymeeyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Rajab alHanbalee and the rest...May Allh have mercy upon them all - aameen! Turning to God is indeed incumbent upon humans when approaching this subject or any other subject, whether spiritual or mundane. Allh says in the Qurn:

And indeed We have created man, and We know, what his nafs (soul/self) whispers to him; and We are nearer to him [by knowledge] than [his] jugular vein. (Qurn - 50:16) ) said: Allh overlooks what [evil thought] occurs in the chests (i.e. the hearts) of [the people of] my nation so long as they neither speak about it nor act upon it. [Reported by Al-Bukhree, Muslim, at-Tirmidhee, Ab Dwd, anThe Messenger of Allh, Muhammad (salutations and
peace be upon him

Nas'ee and Ibn Mjah] As a short note: My putting Ethics as a branch of Psychology instead of Philosophy might have caught some people by surprise. Well, Ethics in fact belongs to Psychology, not Philosophy. Morality has a standard. There is nothing to speculate concerning the origin of morality. Furthermore it is innate, all of us have a sense of morality, except if out innate predisposition to goodness (fitrah) is corrupted. This brings us to the other branch. I am sure fitrah (Natural State of Purity) is a welcome-addition as well as a novelty for those who are not aware of Islmic Psychology. Likewise, Exorcism, and God knows best, must have shocked most people. This branch actually is within the branch of modern Psychology called Abnormal Behavior. Even though schizophrenia, for example, is attributed to biological and other internal causes, Islmic Psychology does not deem this to be a plausible explanation. It, in fact, generally speaking, attributes it to an external cause a case of possession by species known as the jinn in Arabic. Often called evil spirits in Christianity. In conclusion, I would like to point out to the readers that this website is very rudimentary and informal in terms of the information presented. This is basically due to 3 reasons: 1) Lack of information available on Islmic Psychology in the English language. As for the little which is available, it is by and large unauthentic, spurious and far-fetched. 2) Very little or gradual effort in translating material from the corpus of works written, whether direct or allusive, on this subject in Arabic, mostly by classical and a few contemporary scholars. 3) As of yet, lack of formalization with regards to Islmic Psychology.

- Ab Saknah Ijz ibn Iftikhr Malik


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The Nature and Essence of the Human Soul

By Abu Bilal Mustafa al-Kanadi
Extracted with slight modifications from Mysteries of the Soul Expounded 1994 Abul-Qasim Publishing House

Scholars of various schools of thought[1] differ greatly regarding the nature and essence of the soul (nafs). Is it a part of the physical body or a non-essential characteristic[2] of it? Is it an entity consigned to dwell within the physical body?, or is it an independent essence in itself? Is the nafs the same as the rh (spirit)? Finally, what happens to the soul upon death? Is it confined to its body and its grave? If not, is it free to move about in the unseen spiritual world and on the earth?[3] Regarding this subject, leading theologians of various sects have put forward a host of conflicting opinions. It would be beyond the scope of the present work to examine each and every view put forward by the various scholars; however, a brief mention of some of their opinions regarding this issue is necessary. The correct view[4] is given, supported by sound reason and statements from the Qurn and the authentic sunnah.

Various Incorrect Theories

According to the theologian, Abul-Hasan al-Ashar scholars differed regarding the rh (spirit), nafs (soul) and hayh (life force). An-Nadhdhm, one of the leaders of the Mutazilah,[5] is attributed with having said that the nafs is the form of the rh. He further claimed that the rh is alive (i.e. animate) and exists independently. In contrast to his view, other scholars alleged that the rh is a non-essential characteristic of the human being, unable to exist independently of itself. Still others opposed both of these views and claimed that it is not known what rh is an essential characteristic or a non-essential characteristic. The proponents of another theory claimed that man consists of a particular form contained within a physical body, however, they differed as to precisely what this form is. One group maintained that the form consists of four ingredients[6] from which the physical body originates and further develops. A second opinion was that it represents pure blood, free of impurities and contamination. Another view claimed that this form is the animate life in man, the sensual heat which pervades the body.
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And a fourth group proposed that the form is an essential element which causes all animate, living beings to function in a particular manner[7] yet is not separated from such beings and does not have a different structure. Although there are other opinions[8] defining this form within the physical body, the four previously mentioned views are a sufficient sample.

The Correct View

What is considered as the most accurate view regarding the nafs and the rh is that of Ibn al-Qayyim[9] which is affirmed by Ibn Abul-Izz al-Hanaf in his commentary on al-Aqeedat at-Tahwiyyah.[10]They base their position on various verses of the Qurn and the traditions of the Prophet as well as on sound logic and rational thought. According to them, man consists of a spirit and a body together. The spirit is an entity which differs from the physical, tangible body. It is a higher type of luminous (or light-like) being, alive and moving, and it penetrates the limbs, circulating through them as water circulates throughout the petals of a rose, as oil circulates throughout the olive and as fire circulates throughout the burning embers of coal. One may reasonably perceive the soul filling and occupying the body; its form, though non-physical, is molded into the bodys shape.[11] The soul will maintain its penetration of the limbs of the physical body and continue to affect their sense, movement and will as long as these limbs remain sound. However, if they are overcome[12] and no longer accept the forces enacted upon them by the soul, the soul leaves the body and enters the spiritual world.

Qurnic Evidence

Certain circumstances of the human soul are mentioned in various places of the Qurn.[13] Two such examples follow: Allh takes soul at the time of their death and [the souls] of those that do not die during their sleep. He retains those souls for which He has ordained death, whereas He releases the rest for an appointed term.[14]
In this verse it is stated that there are only two points in time at which Allh takes souls: at death and during sleep.[15] When one sleeps, Allh separates the soul from the body. If He has decreed death for a person at this point, the separation becomes permanent and the body no longer functions. In the case of one for whom death has not been decreed at that time, the soul taken during sleep is returned to its respective body upon awakening. However, the soul for which Allh has decreed death need not necessarily be taken during sleep but may be taken at a time other than sleep.
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If you could see when the wrongdoers taste the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, [saying], Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment. [16] Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbelievers. Although they are ordered to surrender their souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment.[17] The terms akhrij anfusakum used in this Qurnic verse literally means expel or push out your souls, indicating that the soul becomes a separate entity from the physical body.

Evidence from the Sunnah

The sunnah is replete with descriptions of the state and nature of the human soul. These hadths substantiate the view held by the dependable scholars of ahl as-sunnah. An example of the physical and psychological punishment awaiting the disbelievers occurs in the following portion of a long, authentically related hadth: The Angel of Death[says], O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord. The soul inside the disbelievers body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multipronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool tearing with them the arteries and nerves.[18] It is also narrated in an authentic tradition:

Umm Salamah reported: Allhs Messenger entered upon Ab Salamah [i.e. his corpse], whose eyes were wide open. The Prophet closed the lids and then said, When the rh [spirit] is taken out, the eyesight follows it [i.e., watches it ascend]. [19]
These hadths indicate in two ways that the soul is indeed a form. First of all, something must have a form in order to be grasped and extracted. And second of all, eyes can only visualize something that has a form.[20] In another narration the Prophet described how the believers soul comes out of the body:

The Angel of Death comes to the [dying] believer, sits at his head and says, O you good soul, come out and receive your Lords forgiveness and pleasure. Then the soul flows out effortlessly just as water flows from the mouth of a waterskin.[21] It is related in the same hadth that as the soul is being carried up through the skies, the angels ask, Who is this? This question reaffirms the souls separate existence from the body. The angels would not pose such a question unless they had seen a distinct form. In the following hadth also affirms that the soul separates from the body:


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Ab Hurayrah narrated that Allhs Messenger said: When the soul of the believer comes out [of its body], two angels receive it and rise with it towards the heavens, whereupon the inhabitants of the heavens say, A good soul has come from the earth. Allh has blessed you and the body which you used to occupy. [22] The Arabic expression kunti tamureenah (you used to occupy) suggests that the soul inhabited the body, filling and possessing the whole of it. The souls dwelling within the body and departure from it clearly confirms the souls own entity.

Notes: [1] Not the four famous schools of fiqh (jurisprudence) but rather leading scholars and thinkers who represent various unorthodox sects, such as the Mutazilites, Rafidhites and philosophers. They have expressed various incorrect views and opinions on this and other subjects of aqeedah. [2] In Arabic, aradh. According to the terminology of the philosophers, it refers to things which cannot exist independently, like color, smell, length, etc. [3] See Kitb ar-Rh, p. 272. [4] It is correct in the sense that it is not contrary to the beliefs of ahl as-sunnah, literally, the people of the established way or path (those who sincerely and firmly adhere to the Qurn and the authentic sunnah as their complete way of life). Indeed, there is little authentic information about the rh. Referring to the rh Allh says in the Qurn: And you have not been given knowledge except for a little. Srah al-Isr, 17:85. (ed.) [5] A misguided sect which introduced speculative dogmatics into Islm. The school of thought is characterized by a slanted, so-called rationalistic approach to matters of faith. They interpret clear texts of the sharah those from the Qurn and the sunnah in such a manner as to coincide with their preconceived notions based on what they termed sense. Ibn al-Qayyim has aptly refuted their views and those of other who have been influenced by philosophical thought foreign to Islm. Whoever wishes to delve deeply into this aspect is referred to his celebrated treatise, Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 266-293, where he meticulously details his refutation with logic and reasoning. [6] There is a philosophical view which claims that the human body originates from earth, air, fire and water. However, as mentioned in the Qurn and authentic sunnah, man originates from clay (i.e., earth). [7] See al-Ghazls treatise on the soul, Marij al-Qudsfee Madrij Marifat an-Nafs, pp. 27-35. [8] Mentioned and refuted by Ibn Taymiyyah in Majm al-Fatw, vol. 3, pp. 30-35 and vol. 9, pp. 279-302. [9] See his famous treatise dealing with the circumstances of the souls of the living and the dead, Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 249-250. [10] See pp. 443-444. [11] Descriptions of the spirit as light, its mode of penetration of the body, as well as its shape cannot be proven by the Qurn or the sunnah. As such, these descriptions can only be considered conclusions based upon their own understanding of the proofs. (ed.) [12] Physical accidents, diseases or disorders may destroy the sound, physical harmony and delicate balance of the bodys functions, causing a person to die (the point at which the soul leaves the body). In any case, there need not always be a physical dysfunction for divine forces to cause death.


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[13] Ibn al-Qayyim identifies over ninety supporting statements from the Qurn, the sunnah and sayings of the companions, which altogether give a complete picture of the nature of the human soul and the conditions which surround it. See Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 249-261 for details. [14] Srah az-Zumar, 39:42. [15] The separation which occurs during sleep is temporary, whereas, upon death, it is permanent. For details, see ar-Rzs at-Tafseer al-Kabeer, vol. 26, p. 284. [16] Srah al-Anm, 6:93. [17] See al-Qurtubs commentary, al-Jmiu li Ahkm al-Qurn, vol. 7, p. 42. [18] The full text is related in the section entitled The Taking of the Soul and the State of the Grave. [19] Authentically related by Ahmad and Muslim. [20] In his tafseer, al-Qurtub affirms that the soul has a form. See vol. 15, p. 262. [21] The full text is related in the section entitled The Taking of the Soul and the State of the Grave. [22] Authentically related by Muslim.

The Nafs and the Rh

By Abu Bilal Mustafa al-Kanadi
Extracted with slight modifications from Mysteries of the Soul Expounded 1994 Abul-Qasim Publishing House

An extremely important and highly reasonable question often posed regarding the terms nafs and rh is: Do these terms signify one and the same thing or are they two distinctly different entities? The majority of Islmic scholars agree that the nafs (soul) and the rh (spirit) are two names for one and the same thing. However, others maintain that they are two different entities.[1] The latter is not a tenable position because it lacks clear, unequivocal delineations of these two terms from the texts of the Qurn and the sunnah. Rather, it is a result of a misunderstanding of the terminology in these texts and personal conjecture. This is amply illustrated in the following two examples cited in detail by Ibn al-Qayyim.[2] One group, consisting of some hadth scholars, jurists and Sfs, states that the rh is other than the nafs. Muqtil bin Sulaymn explains this view as follows: Man has life [hayh], a spirit [rh] and a soul [nafs]. When he sleeps, his nafs with which he senses and understands things emerges from his body; however, it doesnt completely separate from the physical body. Rather, it extends from it, radiating outward like a cable. While both life and the rh remain in his body (being the two means by which he breathes as well as tosses and turns during sleep), man sees visions by means of the nafs which emerges from him. When he is about to awaken,
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his nafs returns to him faster than the blinking of an eye. However, if Allh wills that he die in his sleep, He seizes that nafs which had come out as described.[3] Another sector of hadth scholars also holds the opinion that the rh is other than the nafs but that the nafs, which is in the form of man, is dependent upon the rh for existence. Mans nature (i.e., nafs) is filled with vanities, desires and passions. It is the source of his trials and afflictions, and there is no enemy more hostile to him than his own nafs. Thus, the nafs wants and loves nothing other than the things of this world, while the rh longs for the Hereafter and invites to it.[4] The two previously stated notions are essentially similar in that they assert that the nafs and the rh are two separate entities. Other positions exist which are either completely absurd or irrelevant. The absurd views are based on mere personal belief or concepts borrowed from philosophies or teachings foreign to Islm, such as those stating that the nafs is earthy and fiery, whereas the rh is luminous and spiritual. The irrelevant theories include the conviction that souls are entities whose nature and reality are known only to Allh, implying that nothing has been revealed to mankind about them. In contrast, the correct view, as maintained by the vast majority of Muslim theologians and endorsed by the scholars of ahl as-sunnah,[5] is that the terms nafs and rh are interchangeable. However, the term nafs is usually applies when the soul is inside the body, and the word rh is used when the soul is apart from the body.[6] Although these terms may be used interchangeably in relation to their essence, the difference between them is merely a difference in attributes and usage. Each one has clearly distinct and restricted applications in certain contexts. For example, the term nafs may be used to mean blood as indicated saying, Slat nafsuhu. (His blood flowed.) Since death resulting from the flowing of ones blood necessitates the exit of ones soul, blood came to be referred to as nafs. Additionally, the term nafs may be used to mean the eye ( ayn) commonly referred to as the evil eye. For instance, it is said, Asbat fulnan nafsun. (So and so has been struck by an [evil] eye.)[7] Upon occasion, the word nafs may represent the self (dht) as evident in a number of Qurnic verses such as the following: Send upon each other [anfusikum] a greeting of peace a greeting from Allh, blessed and good.[8] Just as the term nafs has several different connotations, so does the term rh. It is never used to refer to the physical body (badan) alone or to the soul when it is inside the body. Rather, it has various other usages in Arabic language and in religious literature.[9] In the following words of Allh to His Messenger , it is used to mean revelation, specifically, the Qurn: And thus We revealed to you a spirit [i.e., the Qurn] by Our command.[10] In other places in the Qurn the word rh is used to designate Angel Jibreel, whom Allh entrusted with the conveyance of divine revelation. For example: Verily, this [Qurn] is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds brought down by the trustworthy spirit [i.e., Jibreel].[11]


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The various forces and senses contained in the human body are also spoken of as spirits. Thus it is said, ar-rh al-bsir (the seeing spirit) and ar-rh as-smi (the hearing spirit) and so on. However, these are called spirits only by convention. These senses are extinguished upon the death of the physical body, and they are different than the rh, which does not die or disintegrate. Finally, the term rh is sometimes used in an extreme restricted sense to designate the spirit of faith which results from ones knowledge of Allh, from turning to Him in repentance and from seeking Him with love and aspiration. This is the spirit (i.e., consciousness of God) with which Allh strengthens His obedient, chosen servants as stated in the following verse: For those, Allh has written faith upon their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Him.[12] In this manner, knowledge is a rh (spiritual force), as is sincerity, truthfulness, repentance, love of Allh and complete dependence upon Him. People differ in respect to these types of spiritual forces. Some are so overcome by them that they become spiritual beings. Thus it is said, So and so has spirit. Others lose the power of such spiritual forces, or the greater portion thereof, and thus become earthly, bestial beings.[13] About them it may be said, So and so has not spirit; hes empty like a hollow reed, and so on. Authentic traditions from the Prophet clearly establish that the rh and the nafs are essentially one and the same thing. The following narrations, which are two different versions of the same incident, will clarify this point beyond the shadow of a doubt. They explain the manner in which rh/nafs departs from the deceased persons body upon death: Umm Salamah reported Allhs Messenger eyesight follows it. as saying: When the rh is taken out, the

Ab Hurayrah reported that the Prophet said: Do you not see when a person dies his gaze is fixed intently; that occurs when his eyesight follows his nafs [as it comes out]. [14] Clearly, since the word rh was used in the first narration and the word nafs was used in the second, the two terms are, in essence, interchangeable.[15]

Notes: [1] See Ibn Al-lss Jal al-Aynayn, pp. 142-143 and as-Safrns Lawmi al-Anwr, vol. 2, pp. 31-32. [2] For a more detailed account of various contradictory opinions, see Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 296-297. [3] Paraphrased from Ibn al-Qayyims Kitb ar-Rh, p. 296. [4] Ibid. [5] See Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 294-297 and Jal al-Aynayn, pp. 142-143.


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[6] This occurs temporarily, during sleep; completely, at death; and throughout the various states encountered thereafter, such as in the grave, in Paradise, etc. [7] See Lanes Lexicon, vol. 2, p. 2828. [8] Srah an-Nr, 24:61. [9] See at-Tahwiyyah, pp. 444-445 and Kitb ar-Rh, pp. 295-296. [10] Srah ash-Shr, 42:52. [11] Srah ash-Shuar, 26:192-193. [12] Srah al-Mujdilah, 58:22. [13] For more details, see Lawmi al-Anwr, pp. 31-32; at-Tahwiyyah, p. 445 and Kitb ar-Rh, p. 297. [14] Both of the preceding hadths are authentic and were related in Muslims compilation. See also al-Qurtubs atTadhkirah, p. 70. [15] See also Siddeeq Hasan Khns Fat-h al-Bayn, vol. 8, p. 232.

The Connection of the Spirit to the Body

By Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken from his book, Kitbur-Rh (Book of Spirit) p. 44

The spirit (ar-rh) is connected to the body in five different ways, to which different rules apply: 1. Its connection to the body as a fetus in his mothers womb. 2. Its connection to the body after a person is born. 3. Its connection to the body when a person is asleep, when the spirit is connected in one way and separated from it in another way. 4. Its connection to the body in al-Barzakh (the period between a persons death and the Day of Resurrection), when it has departed from the body and separated from it, but is not separated completely in such a way that there is no connection at all. We have mentioned at the beginning of this reply that there are ahdth and reports which indicate that the spirit is returned to the body when somebody sends the greeting of salm to a deceased person. This returning is of a special nature which does not mean that the life is restored to the body before the Day of Resurrection.
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5. Its connection to the body on the Day when bodies will be resurrected. This is the most perfect type of connection to the body, and has no comparison to the previous types, because after that the body will never die, sleep or have anything wrong with it.

When a person is asleep, his spirit is in his body and he is alive, although his being alive is not the same as that of a person who is awake, for sleep is comparable to death. Similarly, when a dead persons spirit is returned to his body (when the greeting is sent upon him), he is in a state between one who is alive and one who is dead, whose spirit is not restored to his body. This is like the case of a sleeping person who is in a state between life and death. We hope that this will dispel a lot of your confusion.

Spirits are Conscripted Soldiers

By Muhammad Slih al-Munajjid

Praise be to Allh. Imm al-Bukhr (may Allh have mercy on him) reported in his Sahh that ishah (May Allh be pleased with her) said: I heard the Prophet saying: Spirits are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with. (Sahh al-Bukhr, Kitb Ahdth alAnbiy, Bb al-Arwh jund mujannadah).

Ibn Hajar (May Allh have mercy on him) said in his commentary on the hadth: Concerning the phrase Spirits are like conscripted soldiers al-Khattb said: This may refer to their similarity as regards good or evil, righteousness or corruption. Good people are inclined towards other good people, and evil people are similarly inclined towards other evil people. Spirits feel affinity with others according to the nature in which they were created, good or evil. If spirits natures are similar, they will get along, otherwise they will not be on good terms with one another. It could be that what is being referred to is the beginning of creation in the realm of the unseen when, it is reported, souls were created before bodies, and used to meet one another and express their pessimism about the future. When spirits have entered bodies (come to the physical realm) they may recognize one another from the past, and may be on friendly terms or otherwise based on that past experience. Someone else said: What it means is that when spirits are created, they are made in two parts, and when the bodies in which the spirits reside meet in this world, they


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either get along together or do not, based on the way in which these spirits are created in this world. I say that this is not contradicted by the fact that some people who do not like one another at first may get along well later on, because the hadth is probably speaking about the moment of first meeting, which has to do with the original creation and nothing else. If they dislike one another at first but later come to like one another, it is because of something new, a new quality that makes them love one another after the initial dislike, such as a kfir becoming a Muslim or a sinner being reformed. The phrase conscripted soldiers refers to different types or classifications, or groups brought together. Ibn al-Jawz said: What we learn from this hadth is that when a person finds that he feels dislike towards someone who is known to be virtuous or righteous, he should try to find out the reason for that so that he can make the effort to rid himself of something undesirable. The opposite (if a person finds himself liking someone who is known to be evil) also applies. Al-Qurtub said: Although they are all spirits, they differ in different ways, so a person will feel an affinity with spirits of one kind, and will get along with them because of the special quality that they have in common. So we notice that people of all types will get along with those with whom they share an affinity, and will keep away from those who are of other types. [Birds of a feather flock together Translator]. We may also note that within any given group or type, people may get along with some and dislike others, and this is in accordance with issues or qualities that form the basis of love or hate. We have narrated a mawsl report in Sunan Ab Yal, at the beginning of which is the story narrated from Amrah bint Abd al-Rahmn, who said: There was a woman in Makkah who liked to joke, and she came and stayed with a woman in Madnah who was like her. When ishah heard about this, she said, My beloved spoke the truth. I heard the Messenger of Allh saying and mentioned a similarhadth. The hadth was also narrated by Muslim in his Sahh, 4773. Al-Nawaw said: With regard to the words of the Prophet , Spirits are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with, the scholars said that the meaning is groups gathered together, or different types. As for them getting along, this happens because of something in common between them that Allh has created. It was said that they are similar attributes that Allh has created in them, or that they were created in a group and then dispersed in their bodies, so people who have similar characteristics will like one another, and those who do not have similar characteristics will not like one another. Al-Khattb and others said: this getting along with one another has to do with what Allh decreed from the outset about the ultimate destiny of spirits, whether they will be among the blessed [in Paradise] or the doomed [in Hell]. Spirits are of two opposing kinds, and when they meet in this physical world, they will either love or hate one another depending on the way they were created. Good spirits will be
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inclined towards other good spirits, and evil spirits will be inclined towards other evil spirits. And Allh knows best.

Proofs Derived from the Divine Book which Assert that the Soul is Different from the Body
By Imm Fakhrud-Dn ar-Rz
Extracted with slight modifications from his book Kitb al-Nafs war-Rh wa Sharh Quwhum published in English under the title, Ilm al-Akhlq 1978 Kitab Bhavan

You must know that the Divine Book indicates in more than one way the genuineness of the thesis that the soul is different from the body.

1. First Argument:

The Qurn indicates that the object referred to as the particular man survives the death of the particular body, lives, dominates and understands. Allh, the Exalted, says describing the martyrs: Think not of those who are slain in the way of Allh as dead. Nay, they are living. With their Lord they have provision. Jubilant (are they) because of that which Allh hath bestowed upon them of His bounty.[1] Allh says describing the state of those who are chastised: The Fire; they are exposed to it morning and evening,[2] and says, Because of their sins they were drowned, then made to enter a Fire.[3] These nuss (texts) indicate most decisively that the object referred to as the man remains alive after the death of the body perceiving pain and pleasure. That this particularly mentioned body is not alive after death is known evidently. If we consider it permissible to declare it alive, the like of it is possible in all inanimate things which is downright fallacy. When these two premises have become apparent, we know that what is referred to by our expression this man is not the particular body and not even a part of the parts of the body, as we are led to know with inevitable certainty that this particular body had died with all its parts and limbs. I am, however, very much surprised at those who deny the existence of the soul. This is because of the fact that the attestation of the Qurn and the texts concerning the reward of the grave, and the chastisement of the grave, and on the day of Resurrection and emergence can be accepted and comprehended when the existence of the soul is affirmed, difficulties would show their face and the allegations would become magnified due to that which urges them to deny the soul, until they fall in extreme darkness.


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2. The Second Argument:

Allhs expression, Deliver up your souls,[4] is clear in so far as the soul is different from the body with which it is sometimes connected and sometimes not. Allh, the Exalted, says: But ah! thou soul at peace! Return unto thy Lord, content in His good pleasure![5] This indicates that the soul does not die with the death of the body. It, rather, returns from the body to the world of Piety and Grace. Allh says: When death cometh unto one of you, Our messengers receive him, and they neglect not. Then are they restored unto Allh, their Lord.[6]This indicates that the particular object referred to as a particular man does not die with the death of the body, rather it is taken back from the particular body to the world of Purity and the Presence of Grace. As for the expression, returning to Allh on death, it occurs in the Holy Qurn in many places. All this indicates that the thing which constitutes man does not in reality die with the death of the body, rather it returns from the worldly house and the world of sense-perception, to the world hereafter. All this indicates that man is something different from the body.

3. The Third Argument:

Allh, the Exalted, has mentioned the grades of physical creation and said, Verily We created man from a product of wet earth; then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodge; then fashioned We the drop of a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as a another creation.[7] We do not doubt that these stages are differences which occur in physical states. Again, when Allh wanted to mention the inspiring of the spirit, He said, (We), then, produced it as another creation. This clarifies that what concerns the inspiration of the spirit is a different genre which differs from the preceding changes occurring to the physical states. This indicates that the spirit is not from the genus of the body. If you say, this argument goes against you, since Allh says: We created man from a product of wet earth; and as the word min (from) gives the meaning of tabeed, splitting into particles, which indicates that man is a particle of dust, whereas you say that he is something other than the dust. This is, then, the exposition of the text of the Great Noble Book. We shall, in answer, say: this is extremely remote. For, the word min originally indicates the beginning of the end. You say, for example, I came from Basrah to Kufah. His expression:khalaqnal insna min sullatin min tn (We created man from an essence of clay) therefore demands that the beginning of the creation of man is obtained from the sullah (essence). In accordance with this view we hold that Allh, the Exalted, has levelled the physical disposition and moderated it, and then breathed into it the spirit. The beginning of his creation therefore starts from the sullah (essence). It is therefore established that what has been mentioned by them is absurd.
4. The Fourth Argument:

Allh, the Exalted, has distinguished the world of spirits from the world of bodies, and then distinguished the commandment from this. This requires that the Commandment must be free from measure and volume. Allh, the Exalted, has, again, explained in a different verse that spirit belongs to the world of Commandment, and not to the world of Creation:[8] He, therefore, said, Say the spirit is by Mia 14 | P a g e September 10, 2011

command of my Lord.[9] This indicates that the substance of the spirit is from the world of Commandment and is free from volume, space and measure.
5. The Fifth Argument:

Allh, the Exalted, says: So, when I made him and have breathed into Him of My spirit.[10] Allh has distinguished between tusweeyah, perfecting (accomplishing), and inspiration of spirit, since perfecting expresses parts, limbs, moderation of disposition and compositions. Since Allh has distinguished the inspiration of spirit from perfecting, and has ascribed the possession of spirit to Himself, it indicates that spirit is a noble substance not belonging to the genus of the body. This is what we desired to prove
6. The Sixth Argument:

Allhs expression, And a soul and Him Who perfected it. And inspired it (with conscience of) what is wrong for it and (what is) right for it.[11] is quite clear concerning the existence of a soul which is characterized with both perception and movement together. For, inspiration expresses perception, and vices and piety belong to the category of action. This verse makes it clear that man is one entity which is characterized with perception and characterized also with the perpetration of vices sometimes and virtuous deeds at other times. It is known that the entire body is not characterized with perception and action together, nor is one particular limb characterized with all the perceptions and all the actions. It is therefore necessary to assert a substance which is characterized with all these matters. Closely concerned with this argument is Allhs expression, Lo! We create man from a drop of thickened fluid to test him; so We make him hearing, knowing.[12] This explains that man has got the above description and has to bear Divine responsibilities and commandments of the Lord, and that he possesses the qualities of hearing and seeing. It is sure and certain that the body is not like this. It cannot be said that the human body has been entrusted by Allh to do actions or to abstain from doing them, and thus his hand, foot, the forehead, eyeball, nose or tongue is responsible for its deed. For, what is evidently known is the fact that whenever a man is ordered to do a certain thing or refrain from a certain action, the injunction and the prohibition do not concern a particular organ of his body nor do they concern his whole body, rather, the object which governs the whole physical body is the soul which runs in the entire body,[13] and is in every part of the body that possesses the qualities described above. Since it has been established and made clear that the perception, understanding and responsibility do not concern any particular part or parts, we surely know that it cannot be said that what is described as a single organ can itself be said to possess the qualities of hearing, seeing, bearing responsibility, receiving order, liable to be rewarded and punished. Allhs expression, We test him and make him hearing, seeing, indicates that man is something other than the particular body, other than every part of the whole body or of a part thereof, and this is what we desired to prove. If they repeat and say, Verily Allhs expression, Lo! We create man from a drop of thickened fluid, indicates that man is a part of the mixture and that of productive germ, as word min indicatestabeed. We shall say, the reply of this has already preceded and no intelligent person should have any doubt or suspicion left.


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7. The Seventh Argument

Allh says, And be not ye as those who forgot Allh, therefore He caused them to forget their souls.[14] Now, it is sure and certain that no man of intellect forgets this particular figure which is observed, and this particular body which possesses sense-perception. This indicates that the soul which one forgets in the excess of his ignorance is something other than his particular body.
8. The Eight Argument

The Noble Prophet said, He who recognizes himself, recognizes his Lord,[15] and Allh has said in His Revealed Books: O man! You know yourself, you will know your Lord. [Maintainer: see previous footnote] Now, if soul would have meant the apparently observed body and the perceptible figure we would not have surely been ordered to know it, as its knowledge is already available and is it is absurd to possess something which is already in possession.
9. The Ninth Argument:

A large number of Ahdth explain that man continues to understand, speak, and be intelligent after his death. The Noble Prophet said, Prophets of Allh do not die, but they transfer themselves from house to house. He also said in the course of a long sermon, when, at last, the dead is carried in his shroud, his soul remains separate over his shroud and addresses his relations saying, O my wife, my son, , and the hadth was mentioned. The reason of mentioning the hadth is to argue that the Prophet (peace be upon him!) has clearly mentioned that the soul of the dead remains on the shroud and some living object continues shouting and saying, O my wife, O my son. It is certain that the wife is his wife and the son is his son and whatever wealth he had collected by lawful or unlawful means, belongs to him the curse of which remains his responsibility and falls on his shoulder. This is an allegory, rather a clarification of man. The body is dead, placed in the shroud and the particular individual remains alive who speaks and understands.[16] It is clear, then, that man is something other than the perceived body and visible figure. Now, if you have learnt the nature of argument clarified by this hadth which illustrates the continuity of the soul, it is possible to cite many Ahdth of this kind which are so numerous as to defy reckoning.
10. The Tenth Argument:

Allh, the Exalted, has said, Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth. Man can never become a vicegerent except when he knows what is going on in the universe, and finds it possible to control those circumstances by means of negation and affirmation. Now, this object about which it is said that he is the vicegerent of Allh on His earth must necessarily be described as having the qualities of perception and action.[17] Again, Allh has explained that He taught Adam all the names and realities. It is, therefore, established that this object is the vicegerent and it is necessary for him to know the states of the universe of bodies and to control them. It is also necessary that he himself be the knower of the world of absence (unseen world) and the secrets of the celestial region. Man in therefore a single substance possessing these qualities, while the totality of the body is not like this, nor is there anyone organ having all these descriptions. It necessarily follows that the totality of the body and from each one of its parts and organs.


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Let us conclude these Qurnic demonstrative proofs in a convincing and positive manner. We have established that it is clear to an observing intellect that we ascribe all the parts of the body to ourselves, and say, my hand, my leg, my heart, my brain, and the object of possession (mudf) is surely other than the object to which possession is ascribed (mudf ilayh). We, therefore, know that the soul is different from the parts of the body. If they say, we also say, my soul, myself which indicates that the soul is different from itself, but this is absurd. The answer (to this question) is this that when we use the expression we sometimes refer to the soul and sometimes it extends to the perceptible body and the visible image. As for the soul in so far as the first meaning is concerned, it is clear. The intellect bears witness that it cannot be ascribed to itself, since it is not possible to ascribe a meaning referred to by I to anything other than them meaning. So far as the second meaning of the soul is concerned it can be ascribed to the meaning referred to as I, since this body is like the kingdom in relation to the meaning referred to as I. Having established this we say: When we say, my soul, my essence, it is necessary to understand the soul in its second meaning, not in the first meaning just to avoid discrepancy; and on this supposition the question falls to the ground.
Notes: [1] l Imrn : 169. [2] Al-Muminn : 46. [3] Nh : 25. [4] Al-Anm : 93. [5] Al-Fajr : 27. [6] Al-Anm : 61, 62. [7] Al-Muminn : 12, 13, 14. [8] Min lam al-khalq: Al-Sharazuri states that there are two kinds of worlds: World of commandment and world of creation or, perhaps, the material world and the spiritual world. [Modifiers note: In this particular context, the second meaning is most sound, in terms of conformity with the Islmic Aqdah (creed/doctrine).] [9] Al-Isr : 85. [10] Al-Hijr : 29; Sd : 72. [11] Al-Shams : 7. [12] Al-Dahr : 2. [13] Sreeyatun fil Jasm: Al-Sharazur: Cf. 20a


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[14] Al-Hashr : 19. [15] Maintainers Note: This is a mawd (fabricated) hadth as is well-known among the scholars of hadth: As-Sakhw said, Ab al-Mudhaffar as-Saman said, This is not known as a hadth of the Messenger, rather it is only related as a saying of Yahya bin Mudh ar-Rz. And likewise an-Nawaw said, it is not established [al-Maqsid al-Hasanah (pg. 491 no.1149)] As-Suyt said, This hadth is not authentic. [ Hw lil Fatw (2/351)] Al al-Qr quoted from Ibn Taymiyyah saying, fabricated. [al-Asrr al-Marfah (pg. 83)] Al-Allmah Fairozabd said, This is not from the Prophetic ahdth, despite the fact that the majority of people make it so, and it is not authentic at all. It is only related from the Jewish traditions as O mankind! Know yourself and you will know your Lord. [ar-Radd al al-Mutaridn (2/37)]

Al-Albn says, It has no basis. [Silsilah ad-Dafah (1/165 no.66)] [16] H ntaq fhim: Though the two hadth referred to could not be traced, the thesis that the soul survives the body and enjoys life and understanding is supported by the Qurnic verse: Do not call the martyrs dead; they are alive and are sustained [17] The peculiar human activity has been mentioned in the Qurn in three expressions: (1) that man has been created to populate the earth, (2) that he has been created to worship Allh. (3) that Allh has made man to represent Allh in the earth. Cf. Al-Dharah, p. 18.

Discourse that what is Connected with the substance of the Soul is the Heart through which the Soul is Connected with the rest of the Body
By Imm Fakhrud-Dn ar-Rz
Extracted with minor modifications from his book Kitb al-Nafs war-Rh wa Sharh Quwhum published in English under the title, Ilm al-Akhlq 1978 Kitab Bhavan

The accepted view of the majority of scholars and enlightened people[1] is this that the heart is the absolute chief of the entire body, and that in the first instance the soul is attached to it; and through its relation with the heart the soul is related to the rest of the body. This is the view of Aristotle and a number of philosophers from among the followers of Aristotle. A group of people hold the view that man is the sum-total of three souls


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(1) the soul of appetition, primarily connected with the liver (2) the soul of anger, primarily connected with the heart (3) the soul of reasoning and wisdom, primarily connected with the brain[2] a view held by a group of physicians like Galen and his followers. What indicates the genuineness of the first view is that it is identical with a number of reasons understood from the Qurn, Akhbr (Hadth and tradition) and reasoning. There are several Qurnic proofs: (1) Allh says: Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy of Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allh leave.[3] (2) In Srah al-Shuar Allh says: And lo! It is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds, which the True Spirit hath brought down upon thy heart.[4] Both of these verses clearly indicate that tanzl and wahy (Revelation) came to the heart. This implies that it is the heart which is the addressee of God and is liable to hear the consequence (of human deeds).
The second argument is Allh expression:

Lo! Therein verily is a reminder from him who hath a heart, or giveth ear with full intelligence.[5] This verse clearly indicates that the locus of remembrance and understanding is the heart. You must know that the above verse contains a wonderfully delicate point which can only be fully explained by first solving a question, viz. it is said that the conjunction ww is more apt to aw alqis-sami than the dividing ww (i.e. aw). This is because to enjoy remembrance necessarily implies two things: It must be obtained from the heart, and it must be obtained from ilaq-us-sami. For, the heart is the locus where realities are grasped and ilaq-ussami means effort and struggle for achieving these perceptions and objects of knowledge. It is known that two objects must necessarily be together. Ww Qsimah (dividing ww) is therefore more apt here than the conjunctive ww. We declare that we hold, on the contrary al ww qsimah is better than ww tifah. It may be explained here that the rational faculties are of two kinds (1) Some are extremely perfect and illuminating and are in conflict with the rest of mental faculties in quantity and quality in quantity, because the obvious, empirical and perceptible premises are in abundance, and in quality, because to compose these premises in a way that concurs with the true corollaries is easier and quicker. After you have realized this, we say: A pure soul and a Divine intellectual faculty and their likes do not need learning and seeking help from others in realizing the realities of objects, but its like is very rare and scarce.


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As for the other kind of mental faculty which is not like this, it needs speculative knowledge to keep itself immune from error and defect.[6] When you have learnt this, we say: Allhs expression Inna f dhlika ladhikr liman kna lahu qalb (Indeed, in that is a reminder for whoever has a heart) is a reference to the first kind of faculty. The word qalb has been mentioned indefinitely only to indicate its extreme nobility and grace. Such a heart is very rarely found. Allhs expression alqas-sama wa huwa shaheed (who listens while he is present [in mind]) is a reference to the second division which needs help from others. This rule is a mystery upon which the science of Logic is based. This is indicated in this verse. This distinctive argument has received emphasis from the Qurnic explanation, and has attained preciseness and manifestation. Since the first kind is very rare, and the second kind is frequent, necessarily all were ordered to seek and acquire it. He has, therefore, said, Have they not traveled in the land, and have they hearts wherewith to reason and ears wherewith to hear?[7] Now, Allhs expression, Have they not traveled in the land, applies to the seeking of this faculty and endeavouring to acquire it. A logician (shib-ul-mantiq) says, the first kind does not stand in need of seeking the help of Logic, but it is very rare. The prevalence, however, goes to the second kind. All people need Mantiq (Logic), reasoning, so look at all these deep-rooted secrets. How excellently you fid them incorporated in the words of the Qurn!
The Third Argument:

The verses indicate that liability to reward depends only upon the effort and the desire to seek which is embedded in the heart of man. Allh says, Allh will not take you to task for that which is unintentional in your oaths. But He will take you to task for that which your hearts have garnered.[8] He also says, Their flesh and their blood reach not Allh, but the devotion from you reacheth Him.[9] He then mentions in a different verse that the place of taqw is the heart, as He says: Those are they whose hearts Allh hath proven unto righteousness.[10] He also says, And the secrets of the breasts are made known.[11]
The Fourth Argument:

Verily, the place of the intellect is heart. When the matter is like this, the object of commandment, prohibition, reward and punishment is the heart. We have definitely said that the place of the intellect is the heart, as Allh, the Exalted, says, Have they not traveled in the land, and have they hearts wherewith to reason. [7] He also says: They have hears wherewith they understand not.[12] Lo! Therein is a reminder for him who hath a heart,[5] i.e. intellect. The name of heart applies to intellect by way of designating that which descends with the name of the place of descendance. Again, Allh has ascribed the contrariety of knowledge to the heart, and said, In their hearts is a disease;[13] Allh has sealed their (hearing and) their hearts.[14] They said, Our hearts are hardened;[15] Nay, but Allh hath set a seal upon them for their disbelief.[16] The hypocrites fear lest a Srah should be revealed concerning them, proclaiming what is in their hearts;[17] Nay, but that which their earned is rust upon their hearts;[18] Will they
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then not meditate on the Qurn, or are there locks on their hearts?[19] For, indeed it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are within the bosoms that grow blind.[20] These verses indicate that the place of intellect, understanding, ignorance, and negligence is the heart. All this indicates that which we said.
The Fifth Argument:

Allhs expression, Lo! The hearing and the sight and the heart of each of these it will be asked.[21] It is well-known that the ear and the eye have no other function but to make their objects reach the heart. Any question put to them is, therefore, a question put to the heart in reality. A similar case is what Allh says: He knoweth the traitor of the eyes, and that which the bosoms hide.[22] Surely known it is that the deceits of the eyes can only happen in regard to that which is contained in hearts. It receives confirmation from the saying of God, (He it is Who gave you being), and hath assigned unto you ears and eyes and hearts. Small thanks give ye![23] These three parts have been particularly mentioned for the charge made against them and they have been called upon to utter thanks. You, however, know that there is no useful purpose in having ear and eyes except that they deliver their contents to the heart, the heart being the judge, the governor over them. Similarly, Allh says, And verily We had empowered them with that wherewith We have not empowered you, and has assigned them ears and eyes and hearts which availed them naught (since they denied the revelations of Allh).[24] Thus Allh has made these three the basis of His argument against them. The purpose of all these is the heart which gives its judgement concerning all that is delivered to it by the ear and the eye. Thus this confirms the saying of Allh, Allh hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Its parallel is Allhs expression,The have hearts wherewith they understand not, and have eyes wherewith they see not.[12] The reason of arguing with this verse is the fact that the purpose of this verse is to explain that they have absolutely no knowledge, and even if knowledge is found in something other than the heart, the purpose will not be served unless it is found in the heart.
The Sixth Argument:

Whenever belief has been mentioned by Allh in the Qurn it has been attributed to the heart. He says, as say with their mouths: We believe, but their hearts believe not.[25] He says, save him who is forced thereto and whose heart is still content with Faith.[26] He also says, for the faith hath not yet entered into your hearts[27]. He hath written faith upon their hearts.[28]It is established, therefore, that the place for these pieces of knowledge is the heart. When this is so, the place of intentions is the heart, such intention is conditioned by knowledge. Having accepted that the place of knowledge and intention is the heart the agent must also be the heart. Such being the case, it is also the object to which admonitions are addressed and it is also the object to which reward and punishment are due. You must know that he who is acquainted with the method of arguing with these verses, it is possible for him to find many Qurnic verses of the same kind.


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As for ahdth, reference may be made to what has been narrated by al-Numn b. bashr. He said, I heard the Messenger of Allh, saying: Beware, there is a piece of flesh in the body, the whole body prospers when the piece is prosperous and deteriorates when the piece deteriorates. Beware! That piece is the heart.[29] The rest of the body is subordinate to it. It has been narrated that when Usmah killed an infidel who had uttered There is no god [worthy of worship] save Allh, the Noble Prophet disliked his assassination, and when Usmah pleaded that he had said these words out of fear, the Prophet said, Why did u not open up his heart? This indicates that knowledge and belief concern the heart. The Noble Prophet used to pray: O Allh Who turns hearts! Keep my heart firm on Thy [30] faith! This clarifies the point under investigation
Notes: [1] Ashbul Mukhshift: Ab Tlib al-Makk: Kitb Qulb, Part 1, p. 114 [2] awl bilid-dimgh. [3] Al-Baqarah : 97. [4] Al-Shuar : 97. [5] Qf : 37, al-Zumar : 21. [6] Masn: That for achieving knowledge it is necessary to keep ones soul pure of dirt and defect is borne out of by the following extract from Imm Rghibs al-Dharah, pp. 20-21. [Extract (in Arabic) removed] [7] Al-Hajj : 37. [8] Al-Baqarah : 225; al-Midah : 92. [9] Al-Hajj : 37. [10] Al-Hujurt : 3. [11] Al-diyt : 10. [12] Al-Arf : 178. [13] Al-Baqarah : 10. [14] Al-Baqarah: 7. [15] Al-Baqarah: 88. [16] Al-Nis : 55. [17] Al-Tawbah : 64. [18] Al-Mutaffifn: 14.


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[19] Muhammad (S): 24. [20] Al-Hajj : 46. [21] Al-Isr : 36. [22] Al-Mumin : 19. [23] Al-Mulk : 23; Al-Nahl : 78; Al-Muminn : 79; Al-Sajdah : 9. [24] Al-Ahqf : 26. [25] Al-Midah : 41. [26] Al-Nahl : 106. [27] Al-Hujurt : 14. [28] Al-Mujdalah : 22. [29] wa hyal-qalb: This hadth has been recorded by both Imm Bukhr and Imm Muslim (Vol. I, p. 13, Vol. II, p. 28) on the authority of al-Numn [30] thabbit qalb: The complete text of the hadth has been recorded in Mishkt, Nizmi Press, p. 14

The Meaning of Nafs

By M. Afifi al-Akiti

As for whoever exceeded the limits and preferred the life of this world, surely his abode will be the Fire; and as for whoever feared to stand before his Lord and restrained the desires of his self, surely his abode will be the Garden. (79:39-40) Ibn Kathr says: The Muminn are a people who have been prevented through the Qurn from indulging in the pleasures of this world; it comes between them and what might destroy them. The Mumin is like a prisoner in this world, who tries to free himself from its shackles and chains, placing his trust in nothing in it, until the day he meets his Creator. He knows full well that he is accountable for everything that he hears, sees and says, and for everything that he does with his body. (AlBidyah wa al-Nihyah, vol. 9 pg. 276, Cairo 1352)

There are 2 kinds of people, one are those whose Nafs have overcome them and led them to ruin because they yielded to them and obeyed their impulses. The other kinds are those who have overcome theirNafs and made them obey their commands.


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Nafs (pl. Anfus or Nufs) lexically means soul, the psyche, the ego, self, life, person, heart or mind. (Mujam, Kassis) Although some scholars have classified the Nafs up to 7 stages, there is agreement among Ulam that in the Qurn, Allh (s.w.t.) has described at least 3 main types of the Nafs. And these are in rank from the worse to better: Nafs al-Ammrah Bissu (the Nafs that urges evil), Nafs al-Lawwmah (the Nafs that Blames) and Nafs al-Mutmainnah (the Nafs at Peace).
(Chapter 12 v. 53 in the Tafsr of al-Tabari: Jami al-Bayn f Tafsr al-Qurn, 30 vols., Bulaq 1323 & also in Imm Baghawis Tafsr: Lubab al-Twil f Malam at-Tanzl, 8 vols. Cairo, 1308)

A summary of these states of the Nafs are given by Imam Tabar in his Tafsr of Srah Ysuf verse 53:

1. Nafs al-Ammra Biss (The Soul which Commands Evil):

This is the Nafs that brings punishment itself. By its very nature it directs its owner towards every wrong action. No one can get rid of its evil without the help from Allh. As Allh refers to this Nafs in the story of the wife of al-Azz (Zulaikhah) and Prophet Ysuf (as): The (human) soul is certainly prone to evil (12:53). Allh also says: And had it not been for the grace of Allh and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been pure; but Allh purifies whomever He wishes, and Allh is Hearing, Knowing.(24:21) This Nafs resides in the world of the senses and is dominated by earthly desires (Shahawt) and passions. Evil lies hidden in the Nafs and it is this that leads it on to do wrong. If Allh were to leave the servant alone with his self, the servant would be destroyed between its evil and the evil that it craves; but if Allh grants him success and help, then he will survive. We seek refuge in Allh the Almighty, both from the evil in ourselves and from the evil of our actions.

2. Nafs al-Lawwma (the Soul that Blames):

Allh refers to this Nafs, And I do call to witness the Nafs that blames (75:2). This Nafs is conscious of its own imperfections.


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Hasan al-Basr said, You always see the believer blaming himself and saying things like Did I want this? Why did I do that? Was this better than that? .

3. Nafs al-Mutmainna (the Soul at Peace):

Allh refers to this Nafs, O Self, in complete rest and satisfaction! (89:27). This Nafs is tranquil as it rests on the certitude of Allah. Ibn Abbas (r) said, It is the tranquil and believing soul. Al-Qatdah (r) said, It is the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allh has promised. Its owner is at rest and content with his knowledge of Allhs Names and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Messenger , and with what He has said about what awaits the soul after death: about the departure of the soul, the life in the Barzakh, and the events of the Day of Qiymah which will follow. So much so that a believer such as this can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allah and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his afflictions make him despair - for he knows that they were decreed long before they happened to him, even before he was created.. (Al-Tabar: Jami al-Bayn f Tafsr al-Qurn,
vol. 13, Bulaq 1323)

Imm Baghawi says, The Nafs al-Mutmainnah has an angel to help it, who assists and guides it. The angel casts good into the Nafs so that it desires what is good and is aware of the excellence of good actions. The angel also keeps the self away from wrong action and shows it the ugliness of bad deeds. All in all, whatever is for Allah and by him, always comes from the Soul which is at Peace. The Nafs al-Ammarah Bissu has Shaytn as its ally. He promises it great rewards and gains, but casts falsehood into it. He invites it and entices the soul to do evil. He leads it on with hope after hope and presents falsehood to the soul in a form that it will accept and admire. Ibn al-Qayyim also mentioned the states of Nafs: The Nafs is a single entity, although its state may change: from the Nafs al-Ammrah, to the Nafs al-Lawwmah, to the Nafs al-Mutmainnah, which is the final aim of perfection. It has been said that the Nafs al-Lawwmah is the one, which cannot rest in any one state. It often changes, remembers and forgets, submits and evades, loves and hates, rejoices and become sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels. Nafs al-Lawwmah is also the Nafs of the believer.It has also been mentioned that the Nafs blames itself on the Day of Qiymah - for every one blames himself for his actions, either his bad deeds, if he was one who had many wrong actions, or for his shortcomings, if he
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was one who did good deeds. All of this is accurate. (Madrij as-Slikn f Manzili Iyyka Nabudu
wa Iyyka Nastan, vol. 1 pg. 308)

Sad Hawwa says regarding these Nafs: Depending upon its condition, the Nafs exist in multidimensional. When the Nafs is tranquil because of obeying Allh, and the soul opposes its desires, this soul is known as Nafs alMutmainnah. Regarding this, Allh has spoken about it in the Qurn (89:27-28). But if the soul does not attain peace with itself, rather being exposed to desires, then such soul is known as the Nafs al-Lawwmah because this soul reproaches its owner due to the owners carelessness in fulfilling out Allahs wishes - Qurn (75:2). More so, if the soul submits to lusts and allows itself to be seduced by Shaytn, such a soul is known asNafs al-Mutmainnah. Allh tells the story about the wife of al-Azz (Zulaikha) in Qurn (12:53). (Tarbiyatun nar Rhyah, pg. 32, Cairo:
Dar al- Salam, 1408)

There is a famous Arabic saying: O soul. Watch out! Help me with your striving, in the darkness of the nights; so that on the Day of Qiymah, you will win a good life on those heights. May this be of benefit. And the last of our prayers, Glory to your Lord, the Lord of Honour & Power! He is better from what they ascribe to Him! Peace be upon the Messengers! Praise be to Allh, the Lord of the worlds. (37:180182)

M. Afifi al-Akiti. Belfast, 4 May 1997.


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Chapter 1 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.

Sincerity is the freeing of ones intentions from all impurities in order to come nearer to Allh. It is to ensure that the intentions behind all acts of worship and obedience to Allh 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 Allhs acceptance of good deeds performed in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allh has commanded this in the Qurn:
And they have been commanded to worship only Allh, being sincere towards Him in their deen and true. (98:5)

Abu Umma has related that a man once came to the Prophet, may Allh 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 receives nothing. The man repeated the question three times and each time the Prophet said, He receives nothing. Then he said, Allh only accepts actions that are intended purely for His pleasure.[1] Abu Sad al-Khudr related that the Prophet said in his khutba during the farewell pilgrimage, Allh 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 ones actions to Allh, giving counsel to the Imms 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 shaytn through sincere devotion, for Allh tells us in the Qurn that Ibls said to Him:
Except those of Your servants who are sincere. (38:83)


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It has been related that a righteous man used to say, O self, be devout and you will be pure. When any worldly 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 Allh 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 Allh is freed from all other motives, except that of seeking His pleasure. This can only come from a lover of Allh, 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 devout 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 Allh and the khira are characterised by this 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 Allhs 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 Allh 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 Allhs words:
And something will come to them from Allh which they had never anticipated, for the evil of their deeds will become apparent to them. (39:47-48)

And also:
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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) Yaqb 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 affliction; and that which is pure is whatever is free of all afflictions. This means that ones deeds should be purified from any self-admiration concerning the actions they entail. Ayyb 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 fortune 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 Allh. Devotion is when Allh frees you from both of these states.

Notes: [1] Sahh, an-Nis, Kitb al-Jihd, 6/25; al Hafidh ibn Hajar, Fath al-Qadr, 6/28. [2] Sahh, Ibn Mjah; also Ibn Hibbn, Marwarid adh-Dhaman, p.47, on the authority of Zaid ibn Thbit.

The Nature of Intention

Chapter 2 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.


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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 Allh. 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 include towards and are overwhelmed by worldly matters, they find this difficult to accomplish and even obligatory acts of worship may become difficult and tiresome. The Prophet said: Actions are only by intention, and every man shall only have what he intended. Thus he whose hijra was for Allh and was for Allh and His Messenger, his hijra was for Allh 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] Imm ash-Shf said: This hadth 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 Allh 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 gave examples of it by saying, Thus he whose hijra was for Allh 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. So deeds which are apparently identical 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 hadth and think that good intentions could turn forbidden actions into acceptable ones. The above saying of the Prophet specifically relates 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 intentions 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 Allh alone. If our intention is to show off, then these same acts of worship will in fact become acts of disobedience. As for permissible
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deeds, they all involve intentions - which can potentially turn them into excellent acts which bring a man nearer to Allh 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 Allh has commanded, staying for away from what Allh has forbidden, and having sincere intentions towards whatever Allh 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 ihrm 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 Allh 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 Qurn concerning the excellence of knowledge and its transmission. Allh, the Mighty and Glorious, says:
Allh 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 Hadth, the Prophet says, When Allh desires good for someone, He gives him understanding of the dn.[6] He also said, Allh 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 ulam, as well as to following a metaphysical road, such as studying and memorising.
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The above saying of the Prophet probably means that Allh 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 hadth 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 Allh. Whoever travels the road of knowledge reaches Allh and the Garden by the shortest route. Knowledge also clears the way out of darkness, ignorance, doubt and skepticism. This is why Allh called His Book, Light. Al-Bukhr and Muslim have reported on the authority of Abdullh ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allh said: Truly, Allh 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 hadth 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 Allh, 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 Masd said: They will recite the Qurn, but it will not go beyond their throats. The Qurn 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 hadth of the Prophet : The Qurn 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-Bukhr and Muslim


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[2] Al-Bukhr, Kitb al-Qadar, 11/499. [3] This is illustrated in a hadth recorded by Imam Muslim in his Sahh, in which it is related on the authority of Ab 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 sahba said, Will we really be rewarded for satisfying our physical desires? He replied, If you have harm intercourse, you will be committing a sin; similarly, if you have hall intercourse, you will be rewarded. Imam an-Nawaw said, This hadth clearly shows that permissible actions become acts of obedience if there is a good intention 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 Allh taAla has commanded; hoping to have, as a result of intercourse, good and righteous offspring; guarding your chastity and that of your wife; helping to prevent harm lustful glances or thoughts, or harm intercourse; and any other good intention. [4] Tahdhb alAsm li-Nawaw, 1/173. Abu Ishq ash-Shirz once entered the mosque to have something to eat, as was his custom, and then realised that he had dropped a dinr. 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] Sahh, Jmil-Ulm wal-Hikm, p. 19. [6] Al-Bukhr and Muslim. [7] Muslim, 21/17. [8] Muslim, Kitb at-Tahra, 3/99.

Types of Heart
Chapter 3 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.

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

The Healthy Heart

On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allh with a healthy heart will be saved. Allh says:
The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allh a sound heart. (26:88-89)

In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allh commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is
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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 judgement of no other except that of His Messenger . Its services are exclusively reserved for Allh, 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 Allh. If it detests, it detests in the light of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for Allh. If it withholds, it withholds for Allh. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other than His Messenger . 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 Allhs Messenger . He must not give precedence to any other faith or words or deeds over those of Allh and His Messenger, may Allh bless him and grant him peace. Allh says:
Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allh and His Messenger, but fear Allh, for Allh is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)

The Dead Heart

This is 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 lusts and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allhs displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allh, and its loves 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 Allh. Its whims are its imm. Its lust its guide. Its ignorance its leader. Its crude impulses 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 Allh and the khira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunningshaytn. Life angers him and pleases him, 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 tempt 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 Allh, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and
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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 Allh and His Prophet and the khira; 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 Allh, humble, sensitive and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.

Notes: [1] It has been related on the authority of Abd-Darda that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Your love for something makes you blind and deaf. Ab Dwd, al-Adab, 14/38; Ahmad, alMusnad, 5/194. The hadth is classified as hasan.

Symptoms Of the Hearts Sickness & Signs of Its Health

Chapter 4 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.

The Signs of a Sick Heart

A servants 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 hearts 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 Qurn.
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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 Allh bless him and grant him peace, said to Abdullh 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 Allh, 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 Qurn and invoking Allh, 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 Mudh said: Whoever is pleased with serving Allh, everything will be pleased to serve him; and whoever finds pleasure in contemplating Allh, 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 Allh. 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 Allh, nor tire of serving Him, and it finds intimate company with no-one save a person who guides it to Allh 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 Allh 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


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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-Yaman, may Allh be pleased with him, said: The Messenger of Allh 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 Allh 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 bida 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-Bukhr, Kitb ar-Riqq, 11/233. [2] Muslim, Kitb al-Imn, 2/170 (with different wording).

The Four Poisons Of The Heart

Chapter 5 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.


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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 Allh, and so its sickness festers and increases. Ibn al-Mubrak said: I have seen wrong actions killing hearts, And their degradation may lead to their becoming 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 Allh, as well as by doing good deeds that will wipe out his wrong actions. By the four poisons 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 hearts well-being.

Unnecessary Talking

It is reported in al-Musnad, on the authority of Anas, that the Prophet 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 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-Tirmidh relates in a hadth on the authority of Ibn Umar: Do not talk excessively without remembering Allh, because such excessive talk without the mention of Allh causes the heart to harden, and the person furthest from Allh is a person with a hard heart.[2] Umar Ibn al-Khattab, may Allh 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]


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In a hadth related on the authority of Mudh, the Prophet said, Shall I not tell you how to control all that? I said, Yes do, O Messenger of Allh. So he held his tongue between his fingers, and then he said: Restrain this. I said, O Prophet of Allah, are we accountable for what we say? He 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 hadth related by Ab Huraira says, What mostly causes people to be sent to the Fire are the two openings: the mouth and the private parts. [5] Ab Huraira also related that the Messenger of Allh 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 hadth was transmitted by at-Tirmidh 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 Amr said: I said: O Messenger of Allh, what is our best way of surviving? He, may Allh 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 Sad that the Prophet 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 Allh be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Let whoever believes in Allh 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 harm. The Prophet said: Everything the children of Adam say goes against them, except for their enjoining good and forbidding evil, and remembering Allh, Glorious and Might is He. This was reported by at-Tirmidh and Ibn Mjah on the authority of Umm Habba, may Allah be pleased with her.[11]
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Umar ibn al-Khattb visited Ab Bakr, may Allh be pleased with them, and found him pulling his tongue with his fingers. Umar said Stop! may Allah forgive you! Ab Bakr replied; This tongue has brought me to dangerous places.[12] Abdullh ibn Masd said: By Allh, 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-Abbs 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 tongues faults is talking about whatever does not concern it. The following hadth of the Prophet is enough to indicate the harm of this fault: One of the merits of a persons Islm is his abandoning what does not concern him.[13] Abu Ubaida related that al-Hassan said: One of the signs of Allhs 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 tongues faults. There are far worse things, like backbiting, gossiping, 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 servants 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 once said words to the effect: The glance is a poisoned arrow of shaytn. Whoever lowers his gaze for Allh, He will bestow upon
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him a refreshing sweetness which he will find in his heart on the day that he meets Him.[14] Shaytn 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. Allh, 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 afflictions. 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 rottenness collect, and so there is no room for love for Allh, 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 Allh:
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that is more purifying for them. Surely Allh is aware of what they do. (24:30)

Only the one who obeys Allhs commands is content in this world, and only the servant who obeys Allh will survive in the next world. Furthermore, letting the gaze roam free cloaks the heart with darkness, just as lowering the gaze for Allh clothes it in light. After the above ayah, Allh, the Glorious and Mighty, says in the same srah of the Qurn:
Allh 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. Allh guides whomever He wants to His Light. Allh strikes metaphors for man; and Allh knows all things. (24:35)
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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 Allh, the Might and Exalted, gives it a penetrating, true and distinguishing insight. A righteous man once said: Whoever enriches his outward behaviour by following the sunnah, and makes his inward soul wealthy through contemplation, and averts his gaze away from looking at what is forbidden, and avoids anything of a doubtful nature, and feeds solely on what is hall - his inner sight will never falter. Rewards for actions come in kind. Whoever lowers his gaze from what Allh has forbidden, Allh will give his inner sight abundant light.

Too Much Food

The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strength 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-Miqdm ibn Mad Yakrib said: I heard the Messenger of Allh say: The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allh 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 Allh 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 shaytn 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 shaytn 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 and his companions, may Allh be pleased with them, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Allh
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decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His Messenger, may Allh 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 . It has been reported that Aisha, may Allh be pleased with her, said: From the time of their arrival in Madna up until his death , the family of Muhammad never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row.[17] Ibrhm 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 Allhs 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 Allh - of His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies - who wish well for Allh, His Prophet 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
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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 closely 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 servants 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 Allh 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 poison: 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 Allh and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the sunnah a bida 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.


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The well being of the servants 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 servants heart: Dhikrof Allh taAla, recitation of the Noble Qurn, seeking Allhs forgiveness, making dus, invoking Allhs blessings and peace on the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, and praying at night.

Notes: [1] Daf hadth, Al-Mundhari, 3/234; and al-Iraqi in al-Ihya, 8/1539. [2] Daf hadth, at-Tirmidh, Kitb az-Zuhud, 7/92, gharb; no one else has transmitted it other than Ibrhm ibn Abdullh ibn Hatib, whom adh-Dhahabi mentions, 1/43, stating that this is one of the gharb hadth attributed to him. [3] Daf hadth, Ibn Hibbn and al-Baihaq, and al-Iraq in his edition of al-Ihy, 8/1541. [4] Sahh hadth, at-Tirmidh, al-Hkim, ath-Thahabi. [5] Sahh hadth, at-Tirmidh and Ahmad; also al-Hkim and ath-Thahabi. [6] Al-Bukhr in Kitb ar-Riqq, and Muslim in Kitb az-Zuhud. [7] At-Tirmidh, Kitb az-Zuhud; he said the hadth is hasan gharb. [8] At-Tirmidh in Kitb az-Zuhud with a slightly different wording; he said the hadth is hasan. This wording is reported by Ab Nam in al-Hilya. [9] Al-Bukhr, Kitb ar-Riqq, 11/308 and Kitb al-Hudd, 12/113. [10] Al-Bukhr, Kitb ar-Riqq, 11/308; Muslim, Kitb al-Imn, 2/18. The complete hadth is: Let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day either speak good or remain silent; and let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day be generous to his neighbour; and let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day be generous to his guest. [11] The hadth is hasan and is reported by at-Tirmidh in Kitb az-Zuhud and by Ibn Mjah in Kitb al-Fitn. AtTirmidh classifies it as hasan gharb. We have no report of it other than from Muhammad ibn Yazd ibn Khanis.


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[12] Hasan according to Ab Yala, Baihaq and as-Suyt. [13] Sahh, at-Tirmidh, Kitb az-Zuhud, 6/607; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/201; as-Saati, al-Fath ar-Rabbn, 19/257; hadth number 12 in an-Nawaws Forty Hadths. [14] Daf, at-Tabarn, 8/63; al-Hkim, al-Mustadrak, 4/314; Ahmad, al-Musnad, 5/264. [15] Sahh, Ahmad, al-Musnad, 4/132; as-Saati, al-Fath ar-Rabbn, 17/88; at-Tirmidh, Kitb az-Zuhud, 7/51. [16] Daf; it does not appear in most of the sources of the sunnah, but is mentioned in al-Ghazzlis al-Ihy, 8/1488. [17] Al-Bukhr, Kitb al-Atima, 9/549; and Muslim, Kitb az-Zuhud, 8/105. [18] Ash-Shf, 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 States of the Self

Chapter 12 of "The Purification of the Soul" 1993 Al-Firdous Ltd.

There is agreement amongst those who seek Allh, despite their different schools and practices, that the self stands between the heart and reaching Him. Only the silencing of the self by turning away from it and ignoring its whims and overcoming it can lead you into the domain of Allh and make it possible to reach Him. There are two kinds of people: one kind are those whose nafs have overcome them and led them to ruin because they yielded to them and obeyed their impulses. The other kind are those who have overcome their nafs and made them obey their commands. Some of those who know have said, The journey of those who seek Allh ends with them overcoming their selves, because whoever triumphs over his self succeeds and wins, and whoever has his self triumph over him loses. Allh, the Exalted, says:
Then as for whoever exceeded the limits and preferred the life of this world,

surely his abode will be the Fire; and as for whoever feared to stand before his Lord and restrained the desires of his self, surely his abode will be the Garden. (79:37-40)


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The self urges you to wrong actions, and to preferring this life to the next life; while Allh tells his servants to fear Him, and to restrain the self from following its impulses. The heart is torn between these two. It listens to one caller one moment and to the other caller the next. Here lies the source of affliction, and a challenge. In the Qurn, Allh has described three states of the self: the self at peace, the reproachful self, and the self that urges evil. Accordingly, people have varied in their views as to whether a servant has one self, of which these three states are attributes, or three selves. The first view is that of the people of knowledge and explanation, while the second has been attributed to the Sufs. The truth of the matter is that there is no contradiction between the two. The self is a single entity as far as its essence is concerned, and is one of three main types, depending on what attributes it has.

The Self at Peace

When the self can rest at peace in the Presence of Allh, and is made tranquil when His Name is invoked, and always relates all matters to Him, and experiences the intimacy of His nearness, then this is a soul at peace. It is the soul to whom it is said at the time of death:
O soul at peace, return to your Lord, well pleased and well-pleasing. Enter with My servants, enter into My Garden. (89:27-30)

Qatda said, It is the soul of the believer, made calm by what Allh has promised. Its owner is at complete rest and content with his knowledge of Allhs Names and Attributes, and with what He has said about Himself and His Messenger, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, and with what He has said about what awaits the soul after death about the departure of the soul, the life in the barzakh, and the events of the Day of Resurrection which will follow so much so that a believer such as this can almost see them with his own eyes. So he submits to the will of Allh and surrenders to Him contentedly, never dissatisfied or complaining, and with his faith never wavering. He does not rejoice at his gains, nor do his afflictions make him despair, for he knows that they were decreed long before they happened to him, even before he was created, for Allh says:
No calamity occurs without the permission of Allh; and whoever trusts in Allh, He guides his heart; and Allh knows all things. (64:11)

Many of our predecessors have said that such a soul belongs to the servant who, when afflicted by misfortune, knows that it is from Allh and accepts it and submits to His will.
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The peace that comes with ihsn springs from a reassuring familiarity with the decree of Allh, which is reflected in submission, sincerity and worship. No desire, or will, or force of habit, can be given precedence over His will and command; there can be no attraction to anything that contradicts any of His Attributes; and there can be no desire that opposes His decree and if ever such a thing does happen to such a person, then he simply dismisses it as the whispering of shaytn. Indeed he would rather fall from the sky than give reality to such a thing within himself. This, as the Prophet said, is clear and true faith.[1] By it he is saved from the worry that accompanies wrong actions and from anxiety about them, thanks to the peace and sweetness that come with turning to Him. If he comes to rest in firm belief after having doubted, or in knowledge after ignorance, or in remembrance after being forgetful, or in repentance after rebellion, or in sincerity after showing off, or in truthfulness after deceit, or in clarity after confusion, or in humility of intimacy after the impetuousness of desire, or in modesty after boastfulness, then his soul is at peace. All this is due to the awareness that frees the heart from idle sleep and lights up the places of the Garden ahead of him as when a man cried out: O soul, watch out! Help me with your striving in the darkness of the nights, so that on the Day of Resurrection you will win a good life on those heights! He recognized, by the light of this awakening, what he had been created for, and what he would encounter, from the moment he died to the moment he entered the abode that lasts for ever (i.e. Garden of the Fire). He realised how swiftly this world passes, and how unreliable it is for its children, and how it destroys whoever loves it. So he arose in this light, full of determination and said:
Ah, woe is me, that I was forgetful of Allh! (39:56)

So he sets out on a fresh start in his life, making up for what he missed and bringing back to life what had died. Now he faces the pitfalls that he encountered before headon, and seizes the moment with his newly discovered capacity, which, when it passed him by before, caused him to miss all good. The he realises, in the light of this awakening and in the light of Allhs gifts to him, that he is incapable of measuring and counting Allhs blessings, or of repaying his debt. With this realisation, he recognises his shortcomings and faults, his wrong actions and all the bad things he has done, all of his disobedience and the neglect of so many rights and duties. His self is broken and his body is humbled and he approaches
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Allh with his head down. He recognises Allhs generosity and sees his own misdeeds and faults both at the same time. He also sees, in the light of this awakening, how precious his time is, and how important it is. He realises that it is capital of his future well-being which must not be wasted, and he becomes so thrifty with it that he only spends it in actions and deeds which bring him nearer Allh for wasting time is the seed of failure and regret, and being careful with it is the root of success and joy. These then, are the consequences of being aware and what increase it. These are the first steps of the soul at peace on its journey to Allh and the khirah.

The Reproachful Self

It has been said that this kind of self is the one which cannot rest in any one state. It often changes and alters, remembers and forgets, submits and evades, loves and hates, rejoices and becomes sad, accepts and rejects, obeys and rebels. It has also been said that it is the self of the believer. Al Hasan al-Basr said, You always see the believer reproaching himself and saying things like: Did I want this? Why did I do that? Was this better than that? It has also been said that the self blames itself on the Day of Resurrection: every one blames himself for his actions, either for his bad deeds, if he was one who had many wrong actions, or for his short comings, if he was one who did good deeds. Imm Ibn al-Qayyim says that all of this is accurate There are two types of reproachful self: one that is blameworthy and one that is not blameworthy. The blameworthy self is the ignorant, disobedient self that Allh and His angels blame. The self that is not blameworthy is the self that blames its owner for his own shortcomings in obeying Allh, in spite of all his efforts in that direction. This self is not really blameworthy. The most praiseworthy selves are the ones that blame themselves because of their shortcomings in obeying Allh. This is the self that endures criticism from others in its quest to please Him, so that no one can find fault with it as regards his worship of Him. This one has escaped being blamed by Allh. As for the self which accepts its actions as they are, without criticism, and which does not have to endure the criticisms of others which means that it cannot be being sincerely obedient to Allh this is the self that Allh blames.
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The Self that Urges Evil

This is the self that bring punishment on itself. By its very nature it directs its owner towards every wrong action. No one can be rid of its evil without help from Allh. As Allh says of the wife of al-Azz, in the story of Ysuf:
And I do not say that my self is free from blame: surely the self urges evil,

unless my Lord is Merciful; surely my Lord is Forgiving, Compassionate. (12:53) Allh also says:
And has it not been for the grace of Allh and His Mercy on you, not one of you

would ever have been pure; but Allh purifies whomsoever He wishes, and Allh is Hearing, Knowing.(24:21) We have been taught the da, All praise is for Allh, we praise Him and seek His help and His pardon. We seek refuge in Him from the evil in our selves and from the evil of our deeds.[2] Evil lies hiding in the self, and it is this that leads it on to do wrong. If Allh were to leave the servant alone with his self, the servant would be destroyed between its evil and the evil that it craves; but if Allh grants him success and help, then he will survive. We seek refuge in Allh the Almighty, both from the evil of our selves and from our the evil of our deeds. So the self is a single entity, although its state may change: from the self that urges evil, an-nafs al-ammrah, to the reproachful self, al-nafs al-lawwmah, to the self at peace, an-nafs al-mutmainnah, which is the final aim of perfection. The self at peace has an angel to help it, who assists and guides it. The angel casts good into the self, so that it desires what is good and is aware of the excellence of good actions. The angel also keeps the self away from wrong actions and shows it the ugliness of bad deeds. All in all, whatever is for Allh and by Him, always comes from the soul which is at peace. The self which urges evil has shaytn as its ally. He promises it great rewards and gains, but casts falsehood into it. He invites it and entices it to do evil. He leads it on with hope after hope and presents falsehood to it in a form that it will accept and admire. The nafs al-mutmainna, the self at peace, and its angel require the following: unwavering belief in Allh, the One, without any partner; moral excellence; good
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behaviour towards Allh, and parents, and companions, and so on; fear of Allh; total reliance on Allh; turning in repentance to Allh; relating all things to Allh; drawing near to Allh; curbing expectations; and being prepared for death and what follows it. Shaytn and his helpers, on the other hand, require the nafs al-ammrah, the self that urges evil the opposite of all this. The most difficult challenge to the self at peace is to free itself from the influence of shaytn and the nafs al-lawwma, the reproachful self; and if the struggle is won, then it becomes nafs al-mutmainna. If even one good action were to be accepted by Allh, one would have success by virtue of it, but shaytn and the nafs alammrah refuse to urge the self to do even one such deed. Some of those who were give knowledge by Allh and of their own selves have said, If I could know for certain that even one of my actions had been accepted by Allh, then I would be happier at the arrival of death than the much travelled wayfarer is at the sight of his family. Abdullh ibn Umar said, If I could know for certain that Allh had accepted even one of my prostrations, there would be no long lost friend dearer to me than death itself. The nafs al-ammra urges evil and openly opposes the nafs al-mutmainna. Whenever the latter presents a good deed, the former presents an evil deed in return. The nafs alammrah tells the nafs al-mutmainnah that jihd is nothing more than suicide, a widowed wife, orphaned children, and wasted wealth. It tries to convince the nafs almutmainnah that zakt and sadaqah are nothing less than an unnecessary expense and a burden, a hole in your pocket, which will lead you to depend on others, so that you too will then be like the poor.

Bringing the Self to Account

When the self that urges evil overwhelms the heart of a believer, the only remedy is to bring it to account and then disregard it. Imm Ahmad has related on the authority of Umar ibn al-Khattb, may Allh be pleased with him, that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, The intelligent person is the one who brings his self to account and acts in preparation for what lies beyond his death; and the foolish person is the one who abandons himself to his desires and cravings and expects Allh to fulfil his futile wishes.[3] Imm Ahmad also related that Umar ibn al-Khattb, may Allh be pleased with him, said, Judge your selves before yourselves are judged; and weigh your selves in balance before you yourselves are weighed in the balance. When you are brought into account tomorrow, it will be much easier for you if you have already brought your selves to account today so do so, before you come to the Final Gathering for:
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On that Day you will be exposed whatever you have hidden will no longer be hidden. (69:18)[4] Al-Hasan said, A believer is responsible for his self, and he brings it to account in order to please Allh. Judgement will be lighter on the Day of Judgement for the people who brought their selves to account in this life, but it will be severe for the people who did not prepare for it by bringing their selves to account beforehand. A believer is distracted by something that he likes, so he says to it: By Allh, I like you and I need you, but there is no means by which I can have you, so you have been kept from me. When whatever it is, is out of his sight and beyond his reach, then he returns to his senses and says, I did not really want this! What made me preoccupied with it? By Allh, I shall never concern myself with it again! The believers are a people who have been prevented through the Qurn from indulging in the pleasures of this world; it comes between them and what might destroy them. The believer is like a prisoner in this world, who tries to free himself from its shackles and fetters, placing his trust in nothing in it, until the day he meets his Creator. He knows full well that he is accountable for everything that he hears, sees and says, and for everything that he does with his body.[5] Mlik ibn Dinr said, May Allh grant mercy to a servant who says to his self, Arent you such and such? Didnt you do such and such? Then he rebukes it and puts it in its place, and disciplines it and restrains it in accordance with the Book of Allh, Mighty and Glorious is He, and becomes its guide and master. It is undoubtedly the responsibility of anyone who believes in Allh and the Day of Judgement, and who wishes to keep his affairs in order, to make sure that he brings self to account. He must control what it does and what it does not do, even its most insignificant activities, for each and every breath you take during your life-time is precious. It can be used to acquire one of the treasures which ensure a state of bliss that is everlasting. Whoever wastes it, or uses it to acquire things which may cause his destruction, will suffer great losses, which are only allowed to happen by the most ignorant, foolish and reckless of people. The true extent of such losses will only become apparent on the Day of Judgement. Allh, Exalted is He, says:
On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good that it has done

and all the evil that it has done, it will wish that there were a great distant between it and its evil. (3:30) There are two ways of bringing the self to account: one precedes action, the other follows it.


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The first way is the decision that is made when a believer hesitates before acting. This is the moment of evaluation before intention is formed. He does not proceed until he is sure that it is good and sound. If it is not, then he abandons it. Al-Hasan, may Allh be pleased with him, said, May Allh grant mercy to a servant who hesitates at the point of evaluation, and then if he sees that the action is for Allh, he carries on with it, but if he sees that it is for something other than Allh, then he holds back from completing it.[6] This has been explained as meaning that when the self first feels like doing something or other, and the servant begins by considering its worth, he first stops and thinks to himself, Can I do this?" If the answer is no, he will not undertake the action. If it is yes, he will again stop and ask himself, Is it better for me to do it than not to do it?" If the answer is no, he will abandon it and not attempt it and not attempt to do it, but if the answer is yes, he will then pause for a third time, and ask himself, Is this action motivated by the desire to seek Allhs pleasure and reward, or is it in order to acquire power, admiration, or money? If it is the latter that has prompted the idea of action, he will not undertake it, even if it would result in his acquiring those worldly gains which prompted the idea of the action in the first place for otherwise this would result in his self becoming accustomed to associating others with Allh, and it would make acting for the sake of something or someone other than Allh easier for it, and the easier it is to do things for other than Him, the harder it becomes to do things that are intended for His pleasure. If it is the former that has prompted the idea of the action, he stops yet again and asks himself, Will I receive help in doing this? Do I have any companions who will help me and come to my assistance if I need their help in undertaking this action? If he finds that he has no allies to help him, he will hold back from going through with this action, just as the Prophet held back from waging the jihd against the Makkans until he had enough allies and sufficient forces to ensure success. If he finds that there is assistance on which he can rely in undertaking the proposed action, the at last he should start doing it, and he will succeed, by the will of Allh. Failure can only occur if one of these safeguards is lacking, for when they are all combined together they guarantee success. These are the four steps that a servant needs to take in bringing his self to account before he does anything. The second way is that of bringing the self to account after an action. There are three categories of this:


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First, bringing the self to account for an act of obedience in which what is due to Allh has not been completely fulfilled or done in the best possible way. There are six things that are due to Allh in acts of obedience: Sincerity in doing it, devoting it to Allh only, following the example of the Prophet , paying attention to doing it well, recognising Allhs blessings in it, and, after all this, being aware of your own shortcomings in how you do it. A person brings his self to account, but has he given all these prerequisites their due attention and effort? Did he fulfill them in his act of obedience? Second, bringing the self to account for any action which would have been better left undone than done. Third, bringing the self to account as to whether or not the intention in undertaking a permitted action was to seek the pleasure of Allh, Exalted is He, and success in the khira, thereby guaranteeing success or was it in fact to seek the fleeting gains of this life, thereby losing what could have otherwise been gained? The last thing a person could do is to be inattentive and neglectful in bringing his self to account, by starting out without any preparation, and by treating matters lightly and just muddling along. This will only bring about his ruin. This is the destiny of the people who are arrogant. Such a one turns a blind eye to the consequences of acting like this and relies on Allhs forgiveness. He neglects bringing his self to account and does not contemplate the outcome of his behaviour. If he does not do this, then he easily falls into wrong actions, until he becomes accustomed to them, and then finds it difficult to pull himself away from them. All in all, the believer should first bring his self to account as regards the obligatory acts of worship. If he finds himself lacking is these, then he should hasten to rectify his situation, either by catching situation, either by catching up with the worship he has neglected, or by correcting whatever he may have been Next, he should bring his self to account with regards acts which are forbidden. If he finds that he has done any of them, he must quickly turn in repentance, seek Allhs forgiveness, and do good deeds in order to eradicate the bad deeds which have been recorded in his record. Next, he should bring his self to account as regards those matters in which he has been negligent. If he finds that he has been negligent in doing what he was created for, he should hasten to the remembrance of Allh and drawing near Him with an open heart.


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Next, he should bring his self to account for the words he has spoken, for the steps his feet have taken, for the things his hands have grasped, and for what his ears have listened to. He should ask himself,What did I want this for? What did I do that for? Whom did I do this for? Why did I do it like that? He should know that every action and every word are accounted for in two books, one is entitled, For whom did I do it?", and the other, How well did I do it?" The first question is concerned with sincerity, and the second is concerned with the action itself. Allh, the Exalted, says:
That He may question the truthful about their truthfulness. (33:8)

If the truthful ones are going to be asked about their truthfulness, and will be judged in accordance with how truthful they were, what do you imagine will be the case with people of falsehood?

The Merits of Bringing the Soul to Account

This involves: First, identifying the faults of the self. Whoever does not recognise his faults cannot possibly get rid of them. Ynus ibn Ubaid said, I know about a hundred of attributes of goodness and yet I cannot find even one of them in my self. Muhammad ibn Was said, If wrong actions produced flatulence, no one would have been able to sit in my company. Imm Ahmad wrote that Abd-Dard said, No man gains full understanding and knowledge unless he detests all the people who are not close to Allh, and then turns his attention to his own self and detests it even more. Second, knowing what rights are due to Allh. This is important because it makes the servant detest his self and frees him from arrogance and being self-satisfied with his actions. This opens the doors of submission and humility for him, and results in purification of the soul at the hands of his Lord. He despairs for his self and believes firmly that his survival will not be achieved without the forgiveness, generosity and mercy of Allh. It is His right to be constantly obeyed, remembered and thanked.

Notes: [1] Muslim, Kitb al-Imn, 2/153; related on the authority of Ab Huraira, who said, Some of the companions of the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, came to him and said, We have found something in our


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hearts which we are proud to speak about. He asked them, Have you really found it? They said, Yes. Then he said, That is true faith. [2] Sahh hadth, Ab Dwd, Kitb an-Nikh, 6/153; Ibn Mjah, Kitb an-Nikh, 1/609. [3] Daf, at-Tirmidh, Kitb Sifat al-Qiyymah, 7/155; al-Hkim, al-Mustadrak, Kitb al-Imn, 1/57. [4] Ahmad, Kitb az-Zuhud, 7/156; al-Baghaw, Sharh as-Sunnah, 14/309; Ab Nam, al-Hily, 1152. [5] See Ibn Kathr, al-Bidya wan-Nihya, 9/272; Ab Nam, al-Hily, 2/157 [6] This saying is supported by a sahh hadth transmitted by Muslim, Kitb al-Imn, 2/18, on the authority of Ab Huraira, who said that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day either speak good or keep silent; and let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day be generous to his neighbour; and let whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day be generous to his guest.

How Does One Attain Sincerity?

By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken from Al-Fawaaid [218-219]

Sincerity cannot coexist in a heart that contains the love of praise and commendation and the yearning to possess that which is owned by the people save in the manner that fire and water or a lizard and fish may coexist.

If your soul directs you to seek sincerity then first turn your attention towards your yearning and slaughter it with the knife of renunciation. Then turn your attention towards praise and commendation and forsake it with the asceticism of those who loved the world for the sake of the Hereafter. When your slaughtering of your yearning and the renunciation of praise and commendation becomes firm then attaining sincerity will become easy for you.
If it is asked: what may facilitate the act of slaughtering ones yearning and renouncing the love of praise and commendation?

I would reply: as for slaughtering your yearning then this is made easy by you having certain knowledge that there is nothing that one would desire except that its treasures are in the Hand of Allh alone and none has power over it save Him. There is no one who may bestow these things to a servant except for Allh.
As for renouncing the love of praise and commendation then this is made easy by your knowing that there is no one who can praise you such that it would benefit you, or censure and vilify you
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such that it would harm you save Allh alone. This is what occurs in the hadth in which the Arab said to the Prophet , my being praised is adornment and my being vilified is disgrace, to which the Prophet said,that is (for) Allh. [Reported by at-Tirmidh [no. 3266] with a sahh isnd from Bara bin zib (RA).] So renounce the praise of one whose praise cannot beautify you and the vilification of one whose censure cannot disgrace you! Instead desire the praise of the One whose commendation contains perfect beauty and the One whose censure contains total disgrace. This cannot be attained except after patience and certainty for when there is no patience and certainty then you are like one who wished to traverse an ocean without a vessel to carry him! Allh said, Be patient! Indeed the Promise of Allh is true and let not those who are devoid of certainty discourage you from conveying (the message). [al-Rm (30):60] We have made from amongst them leaders, guiding under Our Command when they were patient and believed in Our Signs with certainty. [al-Sajdah (32):24]

Jihd al-Nafs (Striving against the Soul)

By Imm al-Ghazl
Taken from the 'Ihy' Ulm al-Dn' (The Revival of the Religious Sciences)

a) Definitions at the beginning of the book Kitb sharh ajib al-qalb (Book of the Explanation of the Mysteries of the Heart) b) Section entitled: The Soldiers of the Heart in the same book c) Section entitled: Shaytns domination over the heart through whispering (alwaswasa) in the same book d) Section entitled: Proofs... from the book Kitb riydat al-nafs wa tahdhb alakhlq wa mu`lajat amrd al-qalb (Book of the training of the soul/self and the disciplining of morals/character and curing thee disease of the heart) a) Meaning of nafs: It has two meanings. First, it means the powers of anger and lust in a human being... and this is the usage mostly found among the [so-called] people of tasawwuf, who take nafs" as the comprehensive word for all the evil attributes of a person. That is why they say: one must certainly do battle with the soul/self and break
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it (la budda min mujahadat al-nafs wa kasriha), as is referred to in the hadth: A`da `aduwwuka nafsuka al-lati bayna janibayk (Your worst enemy is your nafs which lies between your flanks) Al-Irq says it is in Bayhaq on the authority of Ibn Abbs and its chain of transmission contains Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghazwan, one of the forgers. The second meaning of nafs is the spirit, the human being in reality, his self and his person. However, it is described differently according to its different states. If it assumes calmness under command and has removed from itself the disturbance caused by the onslaught of passion, it is called the satisfied soul (al-nafs almutma'inna)... In its first meaning the nafs does not envisage its return to God because it has kept itself far from Him: such a nafs is from the party of shaytn. However, when it does not achieve calmness, yet sets itself against the love of passions and objects to it, it is called the self-accusing soul(al-nafs al-lawwama), because it rebukes its owner for his neglect in the worship of his master... If it gives up all protest and surrenders itself in total obedience to the call of passions and shaytn, it is namedthe soul that enjoins evil (al-nafs al-ammara bi al-su)... which could be taken to refer to the soul/self in its first meaning. b) God has armed soldiers which He has placed in the hearts and the souls and others of His worlds, and none knows their true nature and actual number except He... [He proceeds to explain that the limbs of the body, the five senses, will, instinct, and the emotive and intellective powers are among those soldiers.] Know that the two soldiers of anger and sexual passion can be guided by the heart completely... or on the other hand disobey and rebel against it completely, until they enslave it. Therein lies the death of the heart and the termination of its journey towards eternal happiness. The heart has other soldiers: knowledge (ilm), wisdom (hikmah) and reflection (tafakkur) whose help it seeks by right, for they are the Party of God against the other two who belong to the party of shaytn... God says: Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? (25:43) And He followed his own desire. So his example is like that of a dog: if you chase him he pants, or if you leave him, he [still] pants. (7:176) And about the person who controlled the passion of his soul/self God says: But as for he who feared the standing before his Lord and restrained the soul from [his] desire, then indeed, Paradise will be his refuge. (79:40-41). Know that the body is like a town and the intellect of the mature human being is like a king ruling that town. All the forces of the external and internal senses he can muster are like his soldiers and his aides. The soul/self that enjoins evil (nafs ammarah), that is, lust and anger, is like an enemy that challenges him in his kingdom and strives to slaughter his people. The body thus becomes like a garrison-town or sea-outpost, and the soul like its custodian posted in it. If he fights against his enemies and defeats
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them and compels them to do what he likes, he will be praised when he returns to Gods presence, as God said:[who strive and fight] in the way of God with their wealth and their lives over those of remained [behind], by degrees. And to all God has promised the best [reward]. (4:95). c) The thoughts that stir ones desire are of two kinds... praiseworthy, and that is called intuition (ilhm), and blameworthy, and that is called whispering (waswasa)... The heart is owned mutually by ashaytn and an angel... The angel stands for a creature which God has created for the overflowing of benefit, the bestowal of knowledge, the unveiling of truth, the promise of reward, and the ordering of the good... The shaytn stands for a creature whose business is to be against all this... Waswasa against ilhm, shaytn against angel, success (tawfq) against disappointment (khidhlan). The Prophet said: There are two impulses in the soul, one from an angel which calls towards good and confirms truth; whoever finds this let him know it is from God and praise Him. Another impulse comes from the enemy which leads to doubt and denies truth and forbids good; whoever finds this, let him seek refuge in God from the accursed devil. Then he recited the verse: Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to fahshh (immorality) (2:268) [Tirmidh: hasan; Nis'; Irq did not weaken it]. Hasan al-Basr said: Two thoughts roam over the soul, one from God, one from the enemy. God shows mercy on a servant who settles at the thought that comes from Him. He embraces the thought that comes from God, while he fights against the one from his enemy. To illustrate the hearts mutual attraction between these two powers the Prophet said: The heart of a believer lies between two fingers of the Merciful [Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidh, Ibn Mjah]... The fingers stand for upheaval and hesitation in the heart... If man follows the dictates of anger and lust, the dominion of shaytn appears in him through idle desires (haw) and his heart becomes the nesting-place and container of shaytn, who feeds on haw. If he does battle with his desires and does not let them dominate his nafs, imitating in this the character of the angels, at that time his heart becomes the resting-place of angels and they alight upon it... The Prophet said: There is none among you in whom there is not a devil They said: Even in you, O Messenger of God?! He said: Even in me, but God helped me to overcome him and he has submitted to me, so he doesnt order anything except good [Muslim]... The mutual repelling of the soldiers of the angels and the devils is constant in the battle over the heart, until the heart is conquered by one of the two sides which sets up its nation and settles there... And most hearts have been seized by the soldiers of shaytn, who fill them with the whispers that call one to love this passing world and disregard the next.
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d) The Prophet said: al-mujahidu man jahada nafsahu fi ta`at Allah `azza wa jall (The struggler is the one who strives against his soul/self in obedience to God, the Mighty and Majestic) [Tirmidh, Ibn Mjah, Ibn Hibbn, Tabarn, Hkim, etc.]... Sufyn al-Thawr said: I never dealt with anything stronger against me than my own soul/self; it was one time with me, and one time against me... Yahy ibn Mu`dh alRz said: Fight against your soul/self with the four swords of training: eat little, sleep little, speak little, and be patient when people harm you... Then the soul/self will walk the paths of obedience, like a fleeing horseman in the field of battle.

I Want to Fight My Soul, so What is the Way?

By Nawwl Bin Abdullh
Adapted with slight modifications from a translation by Ab Iyd Amjad Rafq

All Praise is due to Allh the Rabb of all the Worlds and prayers and peace upon the best creation of Allh. To proceed: We hear many complaints from the people. Most of their complaints are related to their souls, which command them what is evil. They also complain about the evil of their actions. One of them says:

Indeed I have been put to trial with four, they did not afflict me Except due to my misfortune and wretchedness Ibls, the world, the soul and the desire How will this end when they are my enemies, all of them
So we find some of them saying I have tried many times, repeatedly, to turn my soul away from committing these specific acts of disobedience but my efforts have failed. Another one says: I tried to get my soul to perform acts of obedience (to Allh), good and righteous deeds but I am not able to remain firm upon them, I leave them so quickly. And we hear a third one say: I have repented from many evil actions and promised myself that I would not commit them again. However after the passing of time and being occupied much it did not take long before I returned to them. In fact I fell into others and increased in them. If we were to look at the condition of these people we would realise that among the reasons for their not being able to dominate and control their souls and not being able to remain firm upon
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what they have promised themselves is their lack of striving against their souls. In fact they have left the fetters and reins for the soul so that it leads them and plays with them however it wills. The soul is such that if it is not fought against and controlled it commands its possessor to commit evil and obscene deeds. These people, because they have not fought against their souls and controlled them in that which Allh loves and is pleased with, are not able to remain constant in their (good) actions. For this reason it is necessary for them to control their souls for Allh's pleasure and His obedience. Not that it should control them and as a result destroy them It is vital that a person launches a war against his soul. One which is not haphazard or aimless but rather a firm and determined one in which he uses the weapons of faith (mn), sincerity to Allh (ikhls), patience (sabr) and supplication (du). He uses them until he is able to overcome this mischievous enemy which is concealed between the two sides of his body [the soul, which commands the evil]. As a result he tames and pacifies it and makes it obedient, humble and submissive to the command of Allh. For this reason we find that Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) says: Since the jihd against the enemies of Allh outwardly (i.e. physically) is a branch of the jihd of the servant against his own soul for the sake of Allh... The jihd that is greater and mightier than the jihd against the disbelievers and pagans is the jihd of a person against his own soul for the sake of Allh, just as the Messenger of Allh said: The Mujhid is the one who struggles against his own soul in Allhs obedience. [Tirmidh who said it was Hasan Sahh and Al-Albn said: Its isnd is good]

And when a person is not able to struggle against his own soul and overcome it in that which Allh loves, he will not be able to fight against the external enemy, nor overcome it. How can he, when he is defeated and weak, both mentally and spiritually, and cannot even gain control of his own feeble soul?
Before entering into the discussion of how to fight against the soul it is necessary to mention a little section about the soul and its nature. Then we shall mention the cure for the soul and the way to purify it from its desires and lusts, if Allh wills.
The Reality of the Soul

The soul continuously calls its owner to transgression, preference of the world, the desires and love of the delights and pleasures. But Allh calls His servant to fear of Him, awe of Him and forbids the soul from its whim. He has prepared a mighty reward for the one who follows His command. The Exalted said: And as for the one fears the standing in front of His Lord and restrains the soul from impure evil desires and lusts, verily, Paradise will be his abode. [Srah Nzit 79:40-41] The soul in its essence calls and commands the evil. Allh the Exalted said: Verily the (human) self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whomsoever He wills). Verily, my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. [Srah Ysuf 12:53]
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The soul was originally created ignorant and given to transgression. Knowledge, guidance and righteousness are things that befall it due to inspiration from its Lord and then by the struggle against it by its owner and his nurturing it and engaging it in jihd. Allh the Exalted says: And those who strive in Our way We shall guide them to our paths and verily Allh is with the doers of good (muhsinn). [Srah Ankabt 29:69] Allh Azzawajall guaranteed the one whom He found trying and striving (against his soul) that He will be with him, will help him and will bring into reality his wish or desire (of domination over his soul). What then can a man desire after that? And Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) said: The travellers to Allh, in all their different paths and diversity of their ways are agreed that the soul is a barrier between the heart and Allh and that it (the heart) will not come close to Him, the Sublime, or arrive to Him except after killing his soul, abandoning it by opposing it and being victorious over it

For this reason, it is obligatory upon us to fight and strive against it in order to travel (by this striving) in the straight path and to the clear success which Allh Azzawajall has prescribed for us and which the best of the creation of Allh, Muhammad has explained to us.
Know that striving against the soul does not occur except by four ways. Whoever follows them and applies them to his soul will have fought against it and protected it with the help of Allh. Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) has mentioned these ways and they are as follows: Firstly: By holding the soul to account Secondly: By opposing it and not following its whims and desires Thirdly: By making it patient in Allhs obedience Fourthly: By making it patient in refraining Allhs disobedience

The First Way: Holding the Soul to Account

The destruction of the soul and the heart and their corruption is due to the neglect of calling the soul to account. There are very few amongst Allhs servants whom you will find calling their souls to account. One will ask it constantly: What did I intend with that word of mine, or that advice I gave, or when I called unto Allh or when I commanded the good and forbade the evil (on a particular occasion)? Was that word which my tongue engaged upon and which my mouth uttered a word sincerely for Allh? Did I desire the Face of Allh with it? Or did I desire a portion of the world with it? What did I desire with that action, whether it was prayer, charity, fasting or putting and end to a certain evil? What did I hope for from it and what was the desire behind it? Did I hope for reward from Allh for it and His pleasure, or was my hope for reward and praise from Allhs creation, showing off and seeking to be heard of? In such a way does he question his soul and hold it to account for every word, movement and moment of rest. What did I hope for from it? And what did I desire by it?


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May Allh show mercy to Al-Hasan al-Basr who said: You will not find a believer except that he is (constantly) holding his soul to account. What did I intend with that word of mine? What did I intend with my food? What did I intend with my drink? Imm Ahmad wrote: The intelligent person is the one who controls his own soul (calls it to account) and acts (in preparation) for what comes after death..., and what is after death? After death is thebarzakh. After death there is accountability and punishment. After death are the Scales (upon which the deeds are weighed) and the Sirt (the bridge over Hellfire) and then it is either Paradise or Hellfire. So what have we prepared for what comes after death?! ...and the incapable person is the one who makes his soul follow its whim and has many expectations from Allh. Such a person is the one who says Allh will forgive me, Allh will show mercy upon me, he covets all these things from Allh and yet he does not perform the righteous actions and falls into many sins and acts of disobedience. Righteous actions are one of the means of entering Paradise. It is not sufficient for someone to have expectations (from Allh) without making some effort and sacrifice and striving with his soul to perform righteous actions. Allh Azzawajall frequently links mn with righteous actions and it is also one of the ways of entering into Paradise. We ask Allh to grant us His Gardens. Umar ibn al-Khattb said: Call your souls to account before you are called to account and weigh your souls (i.e. your actions) before you are weighed for it will make the accountability easier for you tomorrow if you call your selves to account today [Reported by Ahmad in his Musnad] Mlik ibn Dnr (rh) said: May Allh show mercy to a servant who said :Are you not the perpetrator of this action? Are you not the perpetrator of that action? Then he rebukes it, strikes it and confines it to the Book of Allh and is becomes its master and guide. How many souls are their who control and lead their owners into the darkness and then into destruction and refuge is sought from Allh! Let a person therefore, be the leader, the commander and the forbidder of his soul and not the soul of him. And Al-Hasan (rh) said: A believer is a guardian over his soul. He calls his soul to account for the sake of Allh. The reckoning on the Day of Judgement will be light upon a people who call themselves to account in the world and the reckoning on the Day of Judgement will be hard on a people who take this matter lightly. And Ibn Kathr (rh) said: The believer (constantly) returns to his soul (holding it to account) so he says: What did I intend by this action?! What is for me and what is for it?! By Allh I shall never return to it. If it is an act of disobedience for example, it is a way of guarding his soul. He asks it constantly and calls it to account with an intense and hard reckoning in this world so that the reckoning on the Day of Judgement is easy. How Do I Call Myself to Account? Holding oneself to account is of two types: One before the action and the other after the action. The First Type: It is necessary for the one who calls himself to account before he engages upon saying something particular or a particular action or any action for that matter, that he stops and
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looks with clear insight, not with his whim or desire, at this action. Is this action in itself good for him, will he acquire recompense and reward for it from Allh? Or is this action disobedience which will lead to earning evil and increasing ones burdens? If he sees that this action is good and there is benefit in it for his religion, his life and the Hereafter he then moves onto another matter. And this is to see whether Allhs Face, His pleasure and the home of the Hereafter is desired by this action or is it merely for showing off, fame and seeking to be heard of? If he had desired Allhs Face by it then he should proceed with this action, whilst relying upon Allh and seeking help from Him.

When he has finished from his action it is still necessary for him to call himself to account after he has acted. This enables him to see whether he made it sincerely and purely for Allh or whether he was deceived (into thinking that it was) and satisfied with just merely performing the action, perhaps due to the praise of people. Then he forgets his initial desire and intention which was seeking the Face of Allh. Was it better for him to perform that action or to fall short in executing it and abandoning it?
For this reason we find that the Prophet has strongly encouraged us to be quiet if we do not find any good and useful words to speak. He said: Whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day let him speak good or remain silent. [Reported by Bukhr and Muslim] Imm an-Nawaw said: When a person desires to speak, if there is definite goodness in his words for which he will be rewarded then let him speak and if it does not appear to him that there will be good in his words and that he will be rewarded then he should refrain from speaking. When a servant is strict and hard upon himself in such a way he will travel upon the path of goodness and success as a result of it. However, if he abandons his soul and neglects it he will be lead to the path of destruction and ruin by it, and into committing sins very easily without having the desire to seek forgiveness and repent from them. The Second Type: Calling the soul to account after the action has been completed. This itself is of three types: The first: A person brings the soul to account for an act of obedience which was performed and which fell short in fulfilling Allhs right. This means that it was not performed in the best possible way. The right of Allh upon the servant in every act of obedience consists of six matters:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Sincerity in the action (for the sake of Allh alone), Pure devotion to Allh in it, Following and imitating the Messenger in it, Seeing and observing excellence in it Seeing Allhs Benevolence in it Seeing ones shortcomings (in performing this action) after all of this.


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So a person will call himself to account. Has he considered all these things with care and attention, the way they ought to be? And did he fulfil them all in this action? The second: A person calls himself to account for every action that he did, the abandonment of which would have been better for him than actually doing it. The third: A person calls himself to account for a matter that is mubh (permissible - with no reward or punishment resulting from it). Why did he do it? And did he desire the Face of Allh and the home of the Hereafter by it so that he will have profited and succeeded? Or did he desire by it, the world and its temporary rewards and delights as a result of which he loses that success A person will call himself to account so that one day when he is sixty years old he will be counting his days and will find that they are twenty-one thousand and six-hundred in number. He lets out a scream and says: Woe be to me, I will meet my Lord with twenty-one thousand sins. How will it be when there are thousands of sins in a day?! Then he falls to the ground unconscious, and dies. Let us therefore, look at the strictness and intensity of the way he called himself to account and the way in which he saw his sins to be against him. What then, will our condition be?! One amongst the Salaf would choose a certain time, late at night, to call his soul to account. He would ask himself about the obligatory duties first and if he found any deficiency in them, he would complete them, either by fulfilling them or by making up for them. Then he would call his soul to account with respect to the forbidden matters since he did something which the Shareeah has forbidden or which the Prophet ( ) warned against. So he would make up for it by seeking forgiveness from Allh and then being remorseful and repenting from it. Then he would hold his soul to account for its heedlessness. If he had been heedless of what he had been created for he would make up for it with the remembrance of Allh, directing his attention towards Him and performing His worship. If he had been heedless with respect to a certain sin and went on to commit it, he would return to Allh, seeking forgiveness from Him, repenting to Him. He then goes on to call himself to account about what he said and uttered on a certain day, or to what his feet walked towards or what his hands grasped or what his eyes saw or what his ears heard and so on. He would therefore, see whether his action was in agreement with what Allh is pleased with and whether he desired Allh with his action and made it sincerely and purely for Him. Or did a blemish or impurity mix with his action such as showing off or seeking to be heard of, or opposing the command of Allh (in the way that he performed his action). Therefore, he throws against every one of his actions or his words two questions: For whom did I do it?! Was it for Allh or other than Him? This a question about sincerity to Allh. The other question: How did I do it?! Was it in agreement with the Book of Allh and the Sunnah? Was it in agreement with the Sharah or did it oppose and contradict the Sharah (this is a question about following and imitating the way of the Messenger of Allh .
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There are Great Benefits in Calling the Soul to Account

Amongst them are:

1. Realising the shortcomings and weaknesses of the soul. Whoever does not know the weaknesses of his soul will not be able to put an end to them.
We can observe this quality in our Pious Predecessors. Due to the intensity with which they called their souls to account, they knew all their shortcomings and faults. Ynus bin Ubaid said: Indeed, I know of a hundred characteristics from among the characteristics of goodness and I do not know whether I possess a single one of them. Therefore, we find him to be the most knowledgeable of people of his own self. He knows what his soul is in need of and what it hopes for and other such matters. And Muhammad bin Wsi said: If sins were to produce a smell, no one would be able to sit next to me 2. Knowing the right of Allh upon oneself. This will instill in the servant hatred of his own soul and its contempt. It will purify him from being amazed with his actions and also from showing off. Ibn al-Qayyim said: Verily, hatred of the soul for the sake of Allh is one of the characteristics of the Siddqn (the truthful and the sincere).

Imm Ahmad has mentioned in his book az-Zuhd that Wahb (ibn Munabbah) said: It has reached me that the Prophet of Allh, Ms, passed by a man who was calling upon Allh and was humbling himself. He (Ms) said: O my Lord, show mercy to Him as I have shown mercy to Him. Then Allh inspired to him: If he calls upon me until his...... I would not respond to Him until He looks at My right over Him.
Looking at the right of Allh opens the door towards submission, humility and defeat in front of Allh. The one who reflects about the condition of the people nowadays will find that most of them do the opposite of this. They look at their own rights upon Allh, at their needs from Him but do not look at the right of Allh upon themselves. We will find one of them when he is inflicted with a calamity or misfortune on account of what his own hands have committed, angry, irritated and grumbling. He does not even ask his ownself: What is the cause of this misfortune, this calamity? And he is not aware that it is due to his sins and his disobedience to Allh. Likewise we find that many amongst mankind have been cut off from Allh and their hearts have been veiled from knowing Him. To Allh then, is the complaint and there is no power nor movement except by Allh.

The Second Way: Struggling Against the Soul by Opposing it and not Following its Desires

Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) says: And this is by not following its desires and opposing what the soul desires. Opposing the soul occurs by opposing its desires and its desires do
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not arise except by following Shaytn. Therefore it is vital to oppose Shaytn and seeking refuge in and recoursing to Allh from his whisperings and his plans. Shaytn enters upon the soul and penetrates into it with two matters or from two doors. It is necessary for us to know them, oppose them and to close them tight in the face of Shaytn the Accursed and Rejected: The First: Due to excessiveness and squandering. This happens by giving ones soul whatever it desires of food, speech, sleep and other such matters which the soul makes its owner aspire for, what it cannot do without and what it loves. Therefore it is incumbent upon a person that he does not give his soul its need and desire in its entirety. He should not be extravagant and excessive in giving it food, sleep and other such delights and pleasures. When he shuts this door, against his own soul and against Shaytn he will acquire peace and security. Thus, we will find that a person has been forbidden from excessive food and speech, letting the gaze wander too much, mixing with people and accompanying them in excess since giving the soul whatever it desires is among the things which if done excessively and continuously hardens to heart and makes it heedless. This leads to the hearts death and refuge is sought from Allh! Thus, the door of fasting has been opened and we have been urged to fast. Even voluntary fasting has been strongly encouraged. Fasting puts an end to the desire and excessive eating. Thus Islam has encouraged fasting and made it beloved to its adherents.
Likewise, there is an excellence attached to the night prayer (tahajjud). It prevents a person from excessive sleep. A person will strive against his soul and wage war against it in order to pray during the night and fast during the day. He will continue in this until his soul submits and humbles itself to these acts of worship. The soul will then find the joy and delight of fasting and praying at night. It is also, from the wisdom of Islm that urges the Muslim to be silent unless he has something beneficial to say. The Messenger of Allh said: Whoever believes in Allh and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent. Perhaps, due to his excessive speaking and shouting he will not be on his guard from the danger of falling into backbiting, lying, slandering and other such matters. The Second: Being ignorant and heedless of Allhs remembrance. Shaytn exhausts himself in gaining mastery over the soul so that he can prevent it from Allhs remembrance. The one who remembers Allh is in a strong fortress, protected from Shaytn as long as he does not forget or become heedless. Whoever becomes heedless, he will open up a small gap for the enemy by which he can get to him and then penetrate into his soul and whisper to it. This is why there is a strong encouragement and recommendation for making the various supplications and reciting portions of the Quraan during every moment and in every place until they become a sanctuary and a preventive measure for the one who uses them. There exist, for example, supplications for the evening, the morning, for entering into the house and leaving it, for sleeping and awakening and others besides them. Fighting against the soul
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occurs by checking and curbing the defiance of its desires and its lusts. And with the abundant remembrance of Allh a preventive barrier is set up against every destructive lust or transgressing desire.

Ab Hafs said: Whoever does not oppose his soul at every moment and situation and does not make it perform those things which it dislikes, at all times, is deceived and has destroyed it (his soul).
Al-Hasan (rh) said: A believer becomes amazed with something (that he likes) and says: By Allh, I desire you and you are certainly one of my needs. But by Allh, there is no way towards you. How far you are, there is a barrier between me and you! A person knows what his soul wants and desires. It is therefore, essential for him not to give it everything that it covets and desires. It is also vital for him to confine and straiten his soul so that he does not go to excesses in giving it what it seeks.

We know that Umar (ra), when his wife desired a sweet (dish), forbade her from it because he knew than if she asks for a sweet (dish) today, she will ask for something else tomorrow which is greater. So he closed the door upon her at the very beginning. The condition of most people however, is that a person will be generous to his soul and shower upon his soul whatever it asks of him and even what it does not even ask of him. So his soul becomes tired and fed up due to his extravagance and excess. What is our condition then, when compared to that of our Pious Predecessors? We direct our complaint to Allh!!

The Third Way: Making the Soul Patient in Allhs Obedience

The soul runs away often from some acts of worship because they are amongst the things it does not desire. This continues due to certain causes prevent a person from desiring these acts of worship. Amongst them are laziness in performing acts of worship (such as prayer) and the love of sleep. As a result, the opportunity to perform much worship passes him by. It can also occur due to miserliness. A person will not give the obligatory charity or other things which are required of him so that they become endeared to the soul and the soul begins to aspire for them after it had been fleeing from them. It is vital that there is a spiritual war, which can be intense and hard, but with a strong will, turning to Allh, making continuous du (supplication) to Allh and requesting His help in this act of obedience to Him, this matter will be made easy for him. And Allh will lighten his burden for him until these acts (of worship) are beloved to the soul. All of this cannot occur except after fighting and struggling against the soul. A person will find himself in many trials and intense battles along with his capability of avoiding such actions. This means that a person, even though he is in need and capable of fasting, will not fast due to following his whims and even though he is capable he will not pray and as a result please his desires and his soul which commands the evil.
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However, we find that another person fasts voluntarily, although he is not in need of fasting voluntarily (to curb his desires) and neither does his soul aspire towards fasting. Yet he still declares war upon his soul and fights against it (with fasting and prayer) so that he makes it do what he desires and not let it make him do what it commands and desires.

Therefore, patience when accompanied with performing those actions (such as prayer and fasting) upon which the soul perseveres is considered the greatest and most perfect form of patience as Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) has explained. And Ibn al-Qayyim (rh) said: Verily, having patience in obedience (to Allh) occurs by performing an act of obedience, then guarding it and being persistent in (performing) it.
This is the thing which very few amongst us are able to do, that we show patience in continually observing obedience to Allh and persisting in such obedience. This is because the soul gets bored with it and does not have the desire to perform it another time. At this stage showing patience and realising the great excellence this action has in the sight of Allh is required. The actions most loved by Allh are the ones which are performed continuously, even if they are small actions. The Messenger of Allh used to love, when he performed an action, that he remained constant upon it. The saying of the Prophet to Abdullh bin Umar: Do not be like so and so who would pray during the whole of the night and then abandoned it, was nothing but a means of encouraging him to be constant in his good actions. It is also necessary that along with being continuous in ones actions, a person also beautifies them and excels in them and this occurs with having Ikhls (sincerity) and dings them in accordance with the command of Allh and His Messenger .
The Fourth Way: Fighting Against the Soul and Making it Patient in Refraining from Allhs Disobedience

This means that a person holds his soul to account in order to make himself distant from falling into disobedience while also bearing in mind that the reasons and motives of falling into the sin are numerous. Among such reasons are the strength of ones youthfulness and manhood, since the youth are known to love the pleasures and joys of this world. When a person turns away from an act of disobedience even though he has the opportunity and is capable of performing it, he has turned his soul away from the unlawful and has opposed his soul, pleasing Allh thereby, and being obedient to Him. He has struggled with his soul and fought against it with a strong and intense battle. As a result of this he overcomes and dominates it and he will receive success and prosperity in this world and the Hereafter with the permission of Allh. And Shaikh-ul-Islm (rh) said: Showing patience in (avoiding) the unlawful things is more excellent than showing patience in calamities and afflictions. Whoever abandoned an act of disobedience although he was capable of performing it is one whose fight against his soul is most intense and most excellent. This is because he left a thing which his soul tempted him with and made him aspire for. So he opposed it and was capable of defeating it.


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This is why the youth who is tempted by a women of rank and beauty and says to her: I fear Allh will be amongst the seven whom Allh will shade on the Day when there will be no shade except for His, because he prevented his soul from committing what it desired and wanted and at the same time he was capable of performing it. Likewise, the one who lowers his gaze although he has the opportunity and capability to look at something unlawful is amongst those who fight against and deter their souls. Along with that he will receive a mighty reward in this world and the hereafter. Also, the one who keeps his hearing away from the forbidden things such as music and singing, backbiting, slandering and lying, is a fighter against his soul and he will obtain a reward from Allh if his action was to please Allh. A similar analogy can be made for every matter that makes a person distant from his Lord or earns His anger. It is vital for a person to be far from it and to oppose his soul in performing it. And how excellent is the saying:

Oppose the soul and shaytn and protect it (the soul) They (seem to) give you sincere advice, so restrain them both
Therefore, a person must oppose his soul and call it to account constantly. As a result of this he must make it patient in doing acts of obedience and refraining from acts of disobedience. He should also make it patient in being continuous in performing the righteous actions so that he ascends with them, to the highest of positions, to the pleasure of Allh and to everlasting happiness. I ask Allh, the Most High and the Powerful to benefit us with what He has taught us and to teach us that which will benefit us and that He forgives our mistakes. We ask him to help us against our souls and that He does not leave us to rely upon ourselves for a single moment, verily, He is capable of that and Allh knows best. Prayers and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family. Written by Nawwl bint Abdillh May Allh forgive her, her parents and all the Muslim men and women.

The Literal Meaning of Tazkyah: Its Aim and Scope By Amn Ahsn Islh
Extracted with slight modifications from "How to Attain True Piety and Righteousness in Islm" 1987 Islamic Book Publishers


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Tazkyah in the Arabic language means purification of something (from adulterants), its growth and development and to bring it to the height of its perfection. The action of tazkyah on different things will appear in different forms on the surface. On material objects it will take one form and on abstract objects quite another. But this apparent difference will not change the reality. The spirit of purification, growth and development and its final perfection will be visible in its actions everywhere. For instance the action of tazkyah may be performed on a tract of land and also on the inner self of a person. Although due to variations in the fields of action, there will be a difference in the form, yet in reality and in its object there will be no difference between the two. The tazkyah of the tract of land will comprise clearing it of the weeds, brushwood and brambles, levelling it, ploughing it to make it soft and porous, then watering it so that it may become capable of developing the healthy seeds of some sort in keeping with its natural capacity, and take it to the final stage of blossoming and fruition. The tazkyah of the inner self of a person involves eradication of erroneous thought and false assumptions, the correction and levelling of the perversions and angularities created by the corrupt morality and bad habits; removal of the ills produced by the blind emulations and ritualism; treatment and cure of the evil of drooping spirits and cowardice created by craving for ephemeral carnal pleasures so that his eyes may be opened and his mind may become capable of thinking freely, his drooping spirits may be raised, his habits may be reformed and through development of his mental, moral and spiritual powers according to his natural capabilities, may attain the heights God endowed him with to reach.

The technical sense of Tazkyah

More or less the same or some such sense is conveyed by the word tazkyah used as a technical term. Literally it means as already stated above, purification and development to the stage of its perfection. Technically it conveys the sense of checking ourselves from erroneous tendencies and learnings and turning them to the path of virtue and piety (fear of Gods displeasure) and developing it to attain the stage of perfection. This sense of tazkyah is borne out by the following verse of the Qurn:
By the soul and the proportion and order given to it; and its enlightenment as to

its wrong and its right; - truly he succeeds that purifies it and he fails that corrupts it! (Al-Qurn 91:7-10)
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The above verse clarifies the issue. God has so ordered the soul that it has both the inclinations good and evil, and man has been endowed with the power of distinction between the two; and the path of prosperity for man lies in choosing the side of the good in the struggle between it and the evil, and striving to make it prevail over the evil. With rightly guided consciousness the extreme struggle to help the good prevail and to vanquish the evil is tazkyah in the Qurnic sense of the term.

The scope of the knowledge of tazkyah

With the sense of tazkyah in view if we were to contemplate over it we must come to the conclusion that all of the arts and sciences dealing directly with our inner selves, medical science is the only one resembling the knowledge of tazkyah. Medical science deals with the ailment of our physique and the treatment and cure thereof, whereas tazkyah treats the subject of the ailments of the spirit and their eradication. But in spite of this resemblance there is also a great difference between the two. The ambit of the discussions of the medical science is very limited, dealing with only one aspect of our selves, the body and its ailments. On the contrary tazkyah deals with all the apparent and hidden aspects of our selves. It critically judges all the powers and the capabilities of which we are constituted, discusses all our emotions and feelings and corrects and reforms them; it takes stock of all the variegated and multifaceted ties that we are bound with, and creates an order in and regulates them all under a particular principle and regulation. Our thoughts, our apprehensions, our inclinations, our movements, our eating and drinking, our engagements, entertainments, and interests, the daily routines of our lives, in short, no department and nothing that touches our lives is outside the pale of tazkyah.

The real task of tazkyah

And it is only that tazkyah deals with all the aspects of ourselves or removing their evils presents the right sort of replacements, but the real job of tazkyah lies beyond this discussion, critical study and correction. It also enters our souls from every angle in such a way that they become tranquillised and peaceful. The tranquillisation of the soul means that our knowledge may be founded on such a firm belief that no vicissitudes of distress and comfort or pain and pleasure may be able to shake and alter our trust in God and our expecting only good from Him, but that we may remain pleased with God and satisfied with His decrees. Similarly, the foundations of our deeds may be laid in such a firm character that no temptations, in adversity or prosperity and fear and hope, may take our feet off where the
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divine Sharah has planted, so that we may fulfil our mission of the demands made on us by God, and thus become His desirable servants. Such a tranquillised soul is the aim of tazkyah. The Qurn addresses the tranquillised or peaceful soul in the following words:
O, [you] soul, in complete rest and satisfaction! Come back you to your Lord; -

well-pleased [yourself] and well-pleasing unto Him! Enter you, then, among My devotees! Yes, enter you My Heaven. (Al-Qurn 89:27-30)


The above discussion has also revealed that tazkyah has an air of art too about it, since it does not rest contented with somehow bringing the soul to the right path, but over and above that, it strives to take it to ever-increasing heights of superiority. Tazkyah does not stop at the stage where we learn a little about God and the Sharah conferred by Him on man, but it is its endeavour that we may attain a true and firm knowledge of God and His attributes. Tazkyah does not keep before it as its goal that our habits be reformed to a certain degree but strives after the goal of making ourselves the embodiment of all the beautiful traits of mans character. Tazkyah is not satisfied with the creation of a sort of harmony and accord in our notions, but in addition to that it aims at producing a sort of pathos, refinement and the power to effect passions or their expression. Tazkyah does not demand only that our soul may somehow be subordinated to the Commandments of the Sharah, but its real demand lies in breaking this unruly steed of our soul in such a way that it carries out the orders of God and His apostle in the best possible manner. It does not only demand from us the service where the slave comes to imagine that he is beholding his Lord with his eyes (physical vision). In short, it means that tazkyah places before us the demand of mn or belief, slm or submission and ihsn or utmost sincerity, at the same time. It demands that we believe in God with all His attributes, also that we obey His Commandments in every sphere of our lives and above all that this belief and obedience may not be formal and superficial but fully conscious and deeply sincere in which our hearts must coordinate with our bodies. This nature of tazkyah makes it a perpetual striving and a continuous struggle without any break or a period of rest. In this journey there is no turn or stage which may be mistaken for the last lap of the journey the destination where one may sojourn a while or become permanently at ease. At every stage in this striving one goes on looking for greater excellence and higher standards and nowhere his eyes can come to rest on any degree of excellence. With the greater polish of the deeds, the morals and the exterior and the inner self, the fineness of morals and the exterior and the inner self, the fineness of tastes, the degree of sensibility and keenness of eye-sight also
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progresses by leaps and bounds, with the result that no sooner has one washed the old stains off his raiment some more stains come in sight to be cleansed. Because of this, tazkyah is a very difficult task indeed. Even if a person is not bewildered by its vast scope, its never-ending activity instills fear into him that he may not be able to sustain himself through its life-long occupation. But if this activity is taken up and performed in the natural course with the gradualness and the order prescribed for it by the prophets, it becomes for a lover of the Truth the most attractive occupation, its vast scope and perpetuity notwithstanding. Its limitless vastness is awe-inspiring indeed. But the inspirational guidance that one experiences on this path is so heartening and solacious that his courage never gives way and he is never disheartened:
And those who strive in Our [cause], - We will certainly guide them to Our Paths. (Al-Qurn 29:69).

Thus the fatigue caused by the perpetuity of the striving is countered by the ever-fresh revelations of realities and subtleties which in turn confer a refreshed life continually on man. If with the perpetuity of striving fresh gains in the form of inspirations come his way and every fresh success surpasses al the past achievements, continuous labour and its monotony do not make him tire of it, but create in him fresh courage and resolve to begin every new stage with fresh interest and zeal.

The real theme of tazkyah

The above details give an idea of the nature of tazkyah, its scope and its difficulties to a certain extent. But to bring into view all its aspects, the suitable method will be to focus on the real them of tazkyah and then try to encompass all the aspects of this theme, since it must have as many facets as are to be found in the theme itself. The garments are fitted to the stature, and if we can take measurements of the stature, the measurements of the dresses are automatically determined. Evidently enough the theme of tazkyah is human soul. But what is soul is an important question stressed in the Islmic philosophy and in that of Jhilyah too, well enough. The arch of the doorway to the temple in ancient Athens bore the inscription of the sayings of Socrates: May know thyself! This is a pointer to the fact that in Greek philosophy knowledge and cognizance of the soul was considered of fundamental importance. In our society too an old saying is well-known:
One who knows himself comes to know God (as well).[1]


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That makes it incumbent on us to analyse this issue of the soul as to which attributes and demands go into its composition, so that we may be able to find out what will be required of us in its analysis. By the analysis of the soul we do not mean here the process adopted by the philosophers in finding the real nature of any object. To us soul defies such analysis and enquiries to find its true nature. And it is not necessary for our purpose to find its true nature. We shall endeavour here to find our its attributes and demands and deal only with such of its mental and moral aspects which come or should come into question in the knowledge and exercise of tazkyah.

The various aspects of mans ego

Let us now contemplate the various aspects of our ego which can be brought under the action of tazkyah, and without that much tazkyah of those aspects, mans perfect development according to his natural capacities is not possible. When we contemplate our ego, the first to come are the following two aspects that are directly acted upon by the process of tazkyah: 1) That our ego has undertaking and perception. 2) That it acts. Perception is the essence of ego without which man is no more important than inanimate objects. Then, apparently enough, this perception is not limited to the minor details but includes that of generalities and broad facts as well. And it is this quality of our ego which distinguishes it from animals, and without which man would not have deserved any higher status than that of beasts. This perception of generalities opens up for him vast avenues of thought and reasoning, and all his arts and sciences and thought and creed and assumption come into existence with it. And it is with its help that he goes from the created to the Creator and from the handiwork to the Artisan. In its light he gets an idea of the attributes and he likes and dislikes of the Designer from the designed. And thus guided he decides the right course from himself, and also what obligations and responsibilities devolve on him as a man, and with what degree of consciousness and sense of responsibility, promptitude and wholehearted activity he should discharge his duties. Just think over how important this aspect of our ego is! It is apparent that all other aspects of our ego are subordinate to it. If it is corrected and reformed, the ego as a whole can be reformed. And any evil of slightest degree persisting therein, will not allow it (the ego) to right itself. It is mans thought that makes him rightly guided or sends him astray. One false step and the whole philosophy (of life) is erased, and an ordinary slip in the deduction will bring the whole building of our knowledge toppling
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down. And as a result of this crookedness the whole life with its various aspects becomes rife with corruption.


Due to the importance of knowledge and perception their tazkyah carries great weight in our programme of tazkyah. In this, priority goes to the settlement of the questions that are essential for keeping our thoughts and intentions firmly focussed on the right path. For instance, what we are? Whence we came and wither-bound? Whether we are the creators or the created and also whether we are the masters with a free will or in a state of non-volition? Whether we are free from liability or answerable to any one? If responsible to anyone what are His attributes? How is He related to our lives? What He likes and what He does not like? In case of somebody indulging in something that He does not like, how is He going to deal with him? Definite and decisive answers to these questions are inevitable for saving our ego from the crookedness of knowledge and mental straying. It is also imperative that the dust of blind following, inertia and stagnancy, negligence and forgetfulness should not collect on the correct answers provided to these questions. And, God forbid, if any aspect of it is getting rusty, it must be rubbed constantly and kept clean.

Tazkyah of action

Action, like knowledge it is also vast enough. Not a moment of mans life passes without action, which does not leave a good or bad impression on his ego. It is not only the question of prohibition or approbation that arises about these actions, but more important than this aspect is that of the motives behind them. There is no single motivation for mans actions, but so many motives of different natures incite him to action, so that the same action under two different motives may become an act of virtue or that of an evil. Then a question also arises about all the motives of our actions as to which of them is trustworthy and which otherwise. Which are those whose persuasion and incitement is acceptable and which those whose blindness is fraught with dangers? At times, we resort to a certain act compelled by necessity or want. We are compelled to eat when hungry, slake our thirst when thirsty and rest when we feel fatigued. Similarly so many of our actions are motivated by desires. For example, for the sake of fame we indulge in acts of valour; for popularitys sake we engage ourselves in
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social service and to accumulate wealth we expand our businesses of industries and commerce. Likewise, so many of our acts are motivated by passions. We love someone, hate someone else; are jealous of somebody and favourably disposed to another; we oblige one person and revenge ourselves on another. Moreover, through a careful stock-taking of our ego we also come to realise that there are so many actions of ours whose motives are far above those mentioned earlier. Under this category come all those actions of judgment, thought and sacrifice and selflessness in which we cannot find a trace of selfishness even on very critical analysis. This motive we can term the angelic spirit or reason. All the four motives mentioned at times act separately and at others are at work jointly. They are also guilty of excesses and shortcomings in their actions. That is why taking stock of them in every action and examining them and judging them in their excesses and training them to be bound by the limits prescribed for them by the Sharah, is a mighty long chain, arrangement and regulation of which are also the duties of tazkyah.

Tazkyah of relations and dealings

After knowledge and action and passions and motives, to other aspects of our ego that comes before us is that of the relations and dealings no less in its scope, rather greater in its vastness. Among the relations of ego the most important are those with God and with self. If we take ourselves, not as the creator but the created, a very pertinent question must arise regarding the nature of our relations with the Creator, and the way they can be established on proper bases. Next crops up the problem of our own ego or self which apparently has so many things in its charge or holds sway over them. It has a hold over the body, the brain, various faculties and capabilities, feelings and passions. How should it deal with all of them? Is he the owner and master of these things and is entitled to use them as he is pleased to do? Or is it only this that it holds them in his charge as a trust within the limits prescribed by the Creator? If the second is the case the question arises as to the limits which must be kept in view in this connection. And along with that it will also be inevitable to know all those apparent and hidden qualities that are essential for the proper discharge of this duty of trusteeship. Next come the relations of the ego or self with its surroundings. That man is a social entity needs no proof. Whenever and wherever he is, it is in the capacity of the
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member of a family, the individual belonging to a society or the citizen of some state. Just as a creeper needs some trusses and supports to climb up, prosper and blossom, man too must have some supports for his development, progress and attainment of the zenith of his career. In the absence of these supports his existence is not possible. And if it is rarely met with anywhere it is in a very stunted state of growth and development of his faculties. This is whytazkyah takes stock of all these relations and firmly establishes them on the right bases, so that it may attain the zenith of its development and perfection in keeping with its natural endowments. This detail brings to light the fact that tazkyah is not a simple and limited process. Rather, its multiple facets extend far and wide. Every aspect of our life, apparent or hidden, theoretical or practical, moral or social and political is encompassed by it. The tazkyah of our ego does not simply mean that a certain aspect of it is lighted up but brightening and spreading light to every nook and corner of it our knowledge becoming dazzling, our actions pure and clean and our relations and dealings established on just and proper lines

Maintainers Note: [1] This a mawd (fabricated) hadth as is well-known among the scholars of hadth: As-Sakhw said, Ab al-Mudhaffar as-Saman said, This is not known as a hadth of the Messenger, rather it is only related as a saying of Yahya bin Mudh ar-Rz. And likewise an-Nawaw said, it is not established [alMaqsid al-Hasanah (pg. 491 no.1149)] As-Suyt said, This hadth is not authentic. [Hw lil Fatw (2/351)] Al al-Qr quoted from Ibn Taymiyyah saying, fabricated. [al-Asrr al-Marfah (pg. 83)] Al-Allmah Fairozabd said, This is not from the Prophetic ahdth, despite the fact that the majority of people make it so, and it is not authentic at all. It is only related from the Jewish traditions as O mankind! Know yourself and you will know your Lord. [ar-Radd al al-Mutaridn (2/37)] Al-Albn says, It has no basis. [Silsilah ad-Dafah (1/165 no.66)]

The Remedy for Excessive Love of Women

By Shaykh Abd al-Hamd Kishk
Chapter 2 of Dealing With Lust and Greed according to Islam 1995 Dar Al Taqwa Ltd. slightly modified for Internet


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Love of women originates in the sexual instinct which is one of the basic constituents of the human being. It is undoubtedly necessary for sexual intercourse, procreation and the populating of the world. It is the strongest of all instincts and the most dangerous if not contained within the unassailable stockade of the Sharah of Allh which protects it, keeps it in check and directs it in a healthy direction for the well-being of Muslim society. The word instinct (gharza) comes from the verb gharaza, meaning that it is something implanted and imbedded in man. So the roots of the sexual instinct permeate right through man. He can never be completely free of it. Then the roots turn into trunk, boughs, branches and fruit. Islm takes a wise position in relation to this tree of sexuality by watering it with the water of modesty, purity and chastity, and so training its branches and leaves that it produces fruit in a manner pleasing to Allh and His Messenger. That is why clear limits and precise rules have been laid down on how men and women should interact and how women should be treated so that there will be no confusion in Muslim society. Most of those who end up in the Fire do so because they made light of certain evils. Those who reflect on the yts of Allh will find that Allh concludes His prescription of most of His limits with His words: These are the limits of Allh, so do not overstep them (2:229), except in the case of fornication when Allh Almighty says: And do not go near to fornication. It is an indecent act, an evil way (17:32). Allh singles it out in this way because of its seriousness and its consequences. The mere fact of approaching the limits of fornication often causes a person to fall into it because it is connected to emotions and instincts that are an integral part of a mans being. He cannot repel them. The lower self commands to evil and the urges of the sexual appetite are like the tumultuous waves of a sea which cannot be held back. He is surrounded by them on every side and they carry him along until he plunges into the abyss. If that happens man will have only himself to blame because he did not hold to the teachings of his Lord which are there to guide him to circumspection and safety. He will see that he was driven by whims and desires, misleading deceptions and corrupting company until he deviated far from the way of truth and found himself on the brink of a pit of the Fire or a crumbling cliffedge which was about to fall taking him with it: Allh desires to turn towards you, but those who pursue their base appetites desire to make you deviate completely. Allh desires to make things lighter for you. Man was created weak.(4:27-28). This is true statement from Him who is All-Wise, All-Aware. Man is weak because of the appetites imbedded in him. How could disdain for the limits of Allh and indulgence in falsehood possibly lead to liberty, fraternity or equality? This means that such political slogans are in reality a hidden call to awaken the lower appetites and unleash them, causing people to wallow in error and misguidance. Why should we have disdain for the limits of Allh when He has stipulated them for us to diminish the compulsion and vigour of our appetites that cause corruption and grief for us which we could well do without? Why should we want to take the path of shaytns and follow them and leave the path of the Merciful and Compassionate who knew all about our weakness before He created us? He merely wants to spare us the evils of our lower selves and our bad actions.


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The fact is that the All-Merciful did not give us a completely free rein so that a man might take his appetites for his god. Rather He cautions us and warns us and makes the punishment in this world and the Next so that it spells ruin to the life of any heedless, rebellious couple who commit it. There is sufficient warning to set alarm bells ringing in the ears of any couple who consider it and to awaken their consciences and show them that they are advancing towards terrors which would make children white-haired. In explanation of the words of Allh about Hell, It has seven gates, the commentator At said, The worst of the gates in respect of grief, heat and torment and the one with the foulest stench is the gate of the fornicators who committed fornication knowing it to be wrong. My brother Muslim, look at the yts of the Qurn which call on us to guard our private parts: It is the believers who are successful: those who are humble in their prayer; those who turn away from prattle; those who are active in paying zakt; those who guard their private parts except from their wives or what their right hands own, in that case not being blameworthy; but any desiring anything more than that, they are the over steppers of the limits. (23:1-7) What overstepping could be worse than violating someones honour? It is unlawful for a Muslim to harm another Muslim, his property or his honour, as the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said. Say to the believing men that they should lower their eyes and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Allh is aware of what they do. Say to the believing women that they should lower their eyes and guard their private parts and not disclose their adornments, except for that which ordinarily appears, and should draw their headcoverings across their breasts. They must not disclose their adornments except to their husbands or their fathers or their husbands fathers, or their sons or their husbands sons or other women or what their right hands own or their male attendants who have no sexual desire or children who still have no consciousness of womens private parts. Nor should they stamp their feet so that their hidden ornaments are known. Turn to Allh, o believers, every one of you, so that perhaps you will have success. (24:30-31) My brother Muslim, just look at these fine lines and the clear path they delineate enabling each Muslim man and woman to achieve purity and chastity. They are predominantly directed at women because it is they who are the focus of mens attraction and because the primary responsibility for shutting the openings of Shaytn which lead to sexual desire between the sexes lies in their hands. Without a doubt, this is an extremely important responsibility. Allhs instructions regarding this matter are concluded in Srat al-Ahzb when He is addressing the wives of the Prophet and every Muslim woman who follows them in the path of belief: O wives of the Prophet! If any of you commit a clear act of indecency she will get double the punishment. That is an easy matter for Allh. But each of you who is obedient to Allh and His Messenger and acts rightly will be given her wage twice over and We have prepared generous provision for her. O wives of the Prophet! You are not like other women provided you are godfearing. Do not be soft in your speech in case someone with sickness in his heart becomes desirous. Speak correct and courteous words. Remain in your houses and do not display your beauty as it was displayed formerly in the Days of Ignorance. Establish the prayer and pay the zakt. Obey Allh and His Messenger. Allh desires to
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remove all impurities from you, o People of the House, and to purify you completely. (33:30-33) O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments closely round themselves. That makes it more likely they will be recognized and not be harmed. Allh is Forgiving, Merciful. (33:59)

The path of safeguarding the private parts

In these clear yt Allh has delineated a clearly marked path showing us how to safeguard our private parts. He has not left any loopholes. It is a firm path with a firm foundation which precludes the approach of wrongdoing from all directions. The milestones along that path are as follows:

1: Lowering the eyes

Allh Almighty instructed His Prophet to order the believers to lower their eyes and guard their private parts and to inform them that He witnesses their actions and is aware of them. He knows the surreptitious glances and the thoughts concealed in mans breast. Lewd behaviour generally starts with the eyes and so He gave the command to lower them before mentioning safeguarding the private parts. Sexual attraction begins with a mere glance in the same way that the starting point for the majority of the people of the Fire is some minor wrong action. First comes the glance, then the thought, then the step and then the offense. This is why it is said: Anyone who is safe from four things preserves his deen: glances, thoughts, words and steps. So people must guard themselves at these four gates in their defensive walls. They are a way for the enemy to enter and open breaches in order to destroy what is above them completely. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, O Al, do not follow one glance with a second one. The first is all right but not the second. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, also said, The glance is a poisoned arrow from the quiver of Ibls. If anyone restrains his glance from looking at the beauties of women, Allh will transmit to his heart the sweetness of worship until the Day of Rising. He further said, Lower your eyes and protect your private parts. Ahmad ibn Hanbal related this in the hadth which starts: Guarantee me six things from yourselves. He said as well, Beware of sitting at the roadside. They said, Messenger of Allh, we have to sit there. He said, If you must do it, then give the roadway its due. They said, What is its due? He said, To lower the eyes, refrain from causing injury, and return greetings. The glance is at the root of most of the calamities which beset man. The glance engenders the thought which then becomes strong and turns into a definite resolve, making the action inevitable unless something occurs to prevent it. That is why it is said that steadfastness in respect of lowering the eyes is much easier than the steadfastness needed to endure the pain that results from not doing so. It is an aspect of Allhs kindness to us. He simply forbids us the first step in order to save us from the multitude of afflictions which would follow.


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So guard your glance, my brother Muslim, and hold fast to the teachings of your deen, and you will save yourself many regrets and sighs and much pain. O Allh, preserve us grant us Your good pleasure and let us follow Your path, being free from every ailment.

2: The prohibition of all that leads to temptation and enticement

Allh Almighty made it obligatory for Muslim women to wear the hijb to protect the virtue of men whose glances might fall on them and lessen the enticement and temptation they might feel which could stimulate their lower appetites and sexual instinct. As we have already said, it is the strongest of all the instincts and subduing it takes a lot of effort. This aim is helped when the windows onto temptation are closed and women adhere to the teachings of the Sharah. Islm desires to direct human faculties to the service of Muslim society and bring it benefit and ease. Wasting these faculties in cycles of provocation and suppression, of desire and deprivation, of sighs and torments is what the wise Sharah precludes because human faculties are the most precious thing in existence and should be steered in the healthy direction which Allh has ordained for the nurturing of society and establishing the principles of truth and justice. This is why Islm forbids women to do anything that will lead to temptation and enticement not only in respect of their manner of dressing but also in respect of their manner of speaking and walking. It also forbids their going out and being alone with unrelated men. It is related that ishah, may Allh be pleased with her, said, Once when the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, was sitting in the mosque, a woman of Muzaynah entered the mosque dolled-up in her finery. The Prophet said, O people, forbid your women to wear adornments and strut in the mosque. The Children of Israel were not cursed until their women dolled themselves up and strutted in the synagogues. Ibn Mjah related it. Uqba ibn Amr, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Beware of visiting women. A man of the Ansr said, What about in-laws? He said, In-laws are death. By this he meant that the danger in their case is even greater. The evil arising from visiting them and the temptation is greater because it is possible to visit such a woman and be alone with her without any objection being made. Ibn Abbs, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, None of you should be alone with a woman unless there is a close relative of hers present (dhu mahram). It is related from Ab Ummah, may Allh be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Beware of being alone with women. By the One who has my soul in His hand, a man is never alone with a woman without Shaytn coming between them. It is better for a man to press up against a pig covered with filth than for his shoulder to press against the shoulder of a woman not lawful for him. For this reason Islm forbids a woman to put on perfume and scent when leaving her house in case men smell her perfume. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Every eye fornicates. When a woman puts on scent and walks past a gathering, she is like so-and-so, meaning a fornicator.


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Ab Hurayrah, may Allh be pleased with him, related that he met a woman and smelt the fragrance of perfume coming from her and the hem of her dress was raising dust. He said, Amtul Jabbr! Have you come from the mosque? She said, Yes. He said to her, Did you put on perfume? She said, Yes. He said, I heard Abl-Qsim, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, say, Allh does not accept the prayer of a woman who puts on perfume before going to the mosque until she has returned and washed it off as she washes for sexual defilement. It is possible to summarise this subject with the words of the Prophet related to us by Ab Sad, may Allh be pleased with him. He said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Every morning two angles call out: Woe to men from women. Woe to women from men. Indeed in a life of a man, there is no more dangerous worldly test for a man than woman and the reverse is also true. That is because in almost every other case the sins which Allh has forbidden to human beings have no natural affinity with them. Injustice in all its forms is unlawful and man is helped to avoid them because human nature is averse to them. Drinking wine is unlawful and it is an easy matter to forbid it as basic human nature is averse to it. The same applies to theft, fraud and slander and all the other forbidden things which are not in harmony with the laws of nature. However, the sexual instinct is there in every man and woman. Even though it can drive a person to commit what is unlawful and is considered the pinnacle of dangers in the Sharah, it is nevertheless considered one of the most natural urges of human nature and the most important of its needs, so long as it is reined in by the bridle of the Sharah. there is no way for any healthy human being to separate himself from it or arise above it. This makes it clear to us that sexual appetite is the most dangerous test of mans deen in his life. That is why the Islmic remedy for all other acts of disobedience consists basically in distancing oneself from them and rising above them, whereas in the case of sexuality the remedy lies is satisfying it and enjoying it, but within specific prescribed limits which may not be overstepped.

3: Marriage

Marriage is the basic remedy for the sexual appetite. Alternative solutions are merely to enable you to bide your time until the proper circumstances for marriage arrive: maturity, adequate financial resources, and a virtuous woman. The Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, O your men! Any of you who are able to marry should do so. It lowers the eyes and protects the private parts. Any of you who are unable to do so should fast. Fasting is a protection for you. Young men are addressed because they have strength and youthful vigour. They are subject to sexual desire for women and are generally not free of it. An-Nawaw said, My companions consider the term young men to cover all those who are between the age of puberty and thirty years old. The Prophet prescribed marriage for those who have the means for it and that those who do not have the means should fast and control their desires until the time Allh opens the way for them. We find the source of this in the Noble Qurn where the Almighty says: Any of you who do not have the means to marry believing free women may marry believing slavegirls who are owned by those among you. Allh knows best about your belief
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you are all equally believers. Marry them with their owners permission and give them their dowries correctly and courteously as married women, not in fornication or taking them as lovers. When they are married, if them commit fornication, they should receive half the punishment of free women. This is for those of you who are afraid of committing fornication. But to be patient would be better for you. Allh is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (4:25) This is a dispensation from Allh and a mercy for those Muslims who lack the financial resources to marry believing free women. He therefore unlocks another door for them, but He still concludes by saying,But to be patient would be better for you, since marriage to slavegirls entails risk in respect of the upbringing of the children which result from it. Islm desires strong progeny who will grow up with dignity, honour and clear lineage and establish Muslim society on firm foundations. That is why the basis of all marriages must be thoroughly sound. Otherwise, it is better to be patient with your sexual desire and to remain abstinent, a policy endorsed by Allh in Srat an-Nr when He says: Those who cannot find the means to marry should be abstinent until Allh enriches them from His unbounded favour. (24:33) This call for abstinence and purity is only demanded when man does not possess adequate financial means to marry. However, when he has the means, marriage becomes an obligatory duty in the Sharah. Listen to the guidance of the noble Prophet regarding the necessity and importance of marriage. It is related from Anas ibn Mlik, may Allh be pleased with him, that he heard the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, say, Whoever wants to meet Allh pure and purified should marry free women. Ab Ayyb, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Four things are part of the sunan of the Messengers: henna, perfume, siwk, and marriage. Abdullh ibn Amr ibn al-s, may Allh be pleased with both of them, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, This world is passing enjoyment. One of the best kinds of provision it contains is a woman who helps her husband regarding the Next World. A poor man is one who has no wife and a poor woman is one who has no husband. Ab Ummah, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, There is nothing more beneficial to a believer after fear of Allh Almighty than a virtuous wife. When he orders her to do something, she obeys. When he looks at her, she delights him. When he requests her to do something, she carries it out. When he is absent from her she is faithful to him both in respect of herself and his property. Anas, may Allh be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Any man whom Allh provides with a virtuous wife has been helped to half his deen, so he should fear Allh regarding the other half. Ab Hurayrah, may Allh be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, There are three people whom it is mandatory for Allh to help: someone who does jihad in the way of Allh, a slave who has been given a contract to free himself and desires to fulfil it, and someone who marries out of the desire to preserve his chastity.
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Ab Buhayh, may Allh be pleased with him, related that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Whoever is affluent should marry. If he does not marry, he is not with me. Anas ibn Mlik, may Allh be pleased with him, said, A group of people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, to ask about the worship of the Prophet. When they were told, it seemed that they thought that the amount was not sufficient. They said, Where are we in relation to the Prophet? Allh has forgiven him his past and future errors. One of them declared, As for myself, I will pray all night. Another said, I will fast continually and never break it. Another said, I will withdraw from women and never marry. The Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, came to them and said, Are you the people who said such-and-such? By Allh, I have more fear of Allh than you and more awareness of Him, but I fast and break the fast, and sleep, and marry women. Anyone who is averse to my Sunnah is not with me.

The importance of marriage in Islm

The reasons for the immense importance held by marriage in the life of the Muslims are summarized in the following points:

It is obedience to the command of Allh, who says in the Qurn: Marry those among you who are unmarried and your slaves and slavegirls who are righteous. If they are poor Allh will enrich them from His overflowing favour. (24:32) It is following the guidance of our beloved Prophet and all the Messengers of Allh since Allh Almighty says in His description and praise of the Messengers: We sent Messengers before you and gave them wives and children too (13:38). An aspect of Allhs love for the human race lies in enabling them to have children to perpetuate the human species. The child is the goal of both the legal contract and the physical pleasure it sanctions. However, there is no pleasure in the life of the Muslim which does not entail subsequent responsibility, as is shown in this case by the upbringing of children. If gives repose and delight to the soul since sitting with, looking at, and playing with ones spouse allows the heart to relax and strengthens it for worship. Without this the soul would grow wearied and turn away from the truth. The Almighty says: Among His signs is that He created for you spouses from yourselves so that you might find repose with them. And He has placed between you affection and mercy. In that there are certainly signs for people who reflect. (30:21) It fortifies the heart against the Shaytn by satisfying sexual desire and therefore averting the dangers of the unbridled sexual appetite. It is like an impregnable fortress which protects the Muslims from fornication and so saves them from falling into the abyss which plunges people into the lower levels of Hellfire in this world before the Next. There is no more effective way of dealing with sexual energy.
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It frees the heart from the worldly preoccupations which result from the promptings of passion and sexual desire, leaving it free for other-worldly aspirations. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, There is nothing like marriage for two people who love one another. It provides an arena for combating and disciplining the lower self through taking care of the family and looking after their needs, putting up with their faults and failings, and striving to bring them up well and guide them to the right path. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, What a man spends on his family is sadaqah. He said, A man is rewarded for the mouthful he gives to his wife.

Truly man should be amazed at the wisdom of the way of his Lord deals with the sexual instinct. It allows the sexual appetite to be satisfied, provides man with progeny and encourages him to strive on behalf of his family. Every aspect of the human self is taken into account and the result is a pure fruit whose fragrance permeates all parts of Muslim society. Muslims are encouraged to satisfy their sexual instinct and by doing so achieve good in this world and the Next. This made the leaders among the Companions and the Followers as eager to marry as they were to please Allh and His Messenger. Umar, may Allh be pleased with him, said, I force myself to have sexual intercourse hoping that Allh will bring forth by means of it another human being to glorify and remember Him. Ibn Masd, may Allh be pleased with him, said, Even if only ten days of my life remained, I would still get married because I would not like to meet Allh unmarried. He also said, Seek wealth through marriage in conformity with the words of Allh, If they are poor Allh will enrich them from His overflowing favour (24:32).

4. Treating the sexual organs through the stomach

Since food is the bodys basic fuel by which the movement of the various limbs and all the life functions of man are achieved, a little food is clearly necessary for the continuance of life. The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, A human being does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. Enough for the son of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If it cannot be avoided, then a third is for food, a third for drink, and third for breath. He also said, We are a people who do not eat until we are hungry and when we do eat, do not eat our fill. This is the exemplary method which Islm has prescribed with admirable succinctness to obtain the best result: we should not eat until we are hungry and when we do eat, we should not eat our fill: a third for food, a third for drink, and a third for breath. Why is Islm concerned with encouraging Muslims to eat only a little? The answer shows the greatness of Islm in fashioning the human mind and soul. More food entails an increase in the blood which flows through the body and this, in turn, entails greater opportunities for Shaytn, allowing him to attack and move in his field of action, awakening the appetites from their dormant state and unleashing the desires of the lower self. This cause man to gravitate to the earth, indulging his lower appetites and nurturing his body with material thing of life. This
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deadens the intelligence and causes the spirit to sink to its lowest possibility. This a clear state of loss. That is why the natural Sharah prescribes curbing the appetite for food because it is the widest path to stimulating the desires of the sexual organs. That is why the Prophet instructed young men to fast when they are unable to marry. The description of the believer is linked to little food. Gluttony, greed and large quantities of food are attributes of the unbeliever as the Almighty says: Those who reject will have their enjoyment, eating as cattle eat, but the Fire will be their residence. (47:12) The Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, A Muslim eats in one intestine and an unbeliever in seven intestines. An-Nawaw explained this hadth by saying, The seven attributes of the unbeliever are avarice, gluttony, excessive expectation, bad nature, envy and love of obesity. Al-Qurtub said, There are seven appetites for food: the appetite of nature, the appetite of the lower self, the appetite of the eye, the appetite of the mouth, the appetite of the ear, the appetite of the nose and the appetite of hunger. The last is the necessary one by which the believer eats. If you give your stomach everything it wants, Your genitals will incur the utmost reprimand. Listen, my Muslim brother, to the words of Allh Almighty: You dissipated the good things you had in your worldly life and enjoyed yourself in it. Therefore today you are being repaid with the punishment of humiliation. (46:20) This admonished those who are engrossed in permitted good things, because whoever accustoms himself to that becomes predisposed to this world. He is not safe from being in thrall to his appetites and to sensual pleasures. Whenever he indulges in one of them, his lower self calls him to another. This continues until he cannot control the rebelliousness of his lower self at all and the door of worship becomes closed to him. He must not allow his lower self to become so accustomed to gluttony that it becomes difficult to correct it. The stomach is the root of all sickness. That is why the guidance of the Prophet involved giving clear directions leading to balance in respect of food and urging restraint of that appetite which provides fuel for the more dangerous sexual appetite. Anas ibn Mlik, may Allh be pleased with him, related that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, One aspect of profligacy is eating everything you desire. ishah, may Allh be pleased with her, said, One day the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, saw me eat twice. He said, ishah, do you make filling your stomach your sole occupation? Eating twice a day is one aspect of profligacy. Allh does not love the profligate.


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It is related that ishah said, The first disaster which occurred to this community after its Prophet died was satiety. When people fill their stomachs, their bodies become fat, their hearts weak and their appetites ingrained. It is related that Atiyyah ibn Amr al-Juhan said that he heard Salmn say when he was forced to eat some food, It is enough for me that I heard the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, say, The people who fill themselves the most in this world will be the hungriest on the Day of Rising. It is related from Ab Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, On the Day of Rising, a huge tall man who ate and drank to excess will come and in Allhs sight he will weigh no more than a gnats wing. If you wish, recite: We will not give them any weight on the Day of Resurrection (18:105). Ibn Bujayr, one of the Companions, said, The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, felt hungry one day. He took a stone and tied it against his stomach and then said, Those who eat well and are comfortable in this world will be hungry and naked on the Day of Rising. Anyone who is generous to his lower self will be humbles before it. Anyone who humbles his lower self is being generous to it. Mudh ibn Jabal, may Allh be pleased with him, related that when the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, sent him to Yemen, he said to him, Beware of comfort. The slaves of Allh do not make themselves comfortable. It is related from Ab Ummah that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, There will be men of my community who consume diverse kinds of food and diverse kinds of drink, wear diverse kinds of clothing and speak in an affected way. They are worst of my community. Ad-Dahhak ibn Sufyn related that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said to him, Dahhak, what does your food consist of? He said, Meat and milk, Messenger of Allh. He said, Then what does it turn into? He said, You know what it turns into. He said, Allh Almighty has made what is excreted by the son of Adam a metaphor for this world. From these illuminating hadths of the Prophet it should be clear to us that hunger is a river from which the angels drink and satiety is an ocean from which Shaytn drinks. Whoever guards his stomach also guards his genitals. There must first be control over the appetite of the stomach in order for there to be control over the sexual appetite. Base matter is the fuel of Hellfire but the origin of the spirit is pure light. Islm is concerned firstly with the spirit and giving it its provision from the luminosity of the Qurn and worship and righteous actions. In the case of the body, the commands of Islm make sure it is confined within the firm stockade of contentment, chastity, and purity. One righteous man said, Do not be led astray by the words of the Almighty, Eat and drink. The outward meaning of the yt is honouring and giving enjoyment. But inwardly it is a test and a trial so that He can see who is with Him and who is simply self-indulgent. Allh Almighty revealed to Dd, peace be upon him: I created the lower appetites for the weak of my creation. Beware of letting your heart become attached to any of your appetites.
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Anything you might suffer by heeding this warning is far easier than having the sweetness of My love stripped from your heart. O Dd, cling to My words and take from yourself for yourself. Do not ignore them so that I veil My love from you. Deny your appetite for My sake. I allow appetites to the weak of my creation. I ask the strong to disparage their appetites. They diminish the sweetness of conversation with Me. I am not content with this world for those I love, and I strip it from them. O Dd, do not put between Me and you a drunken sage whose love will veil you from My love by his intoxication. Such people block the path for the weak among My slaves. Seek help in abandoning your appetites by devotion to fasting. O Dd, you should prefer to oppose your lower self and deny it its appetites. If you do you will see the veils between Me and you lifted. O Allh! Provide us with contentment and help us to fast and oppose our lower selves. Let us avoid gluttony, coarseness, and greediness! Make our food enough for us as You did for the Master of the Creation and the Beloved of the Truth!

5. The correct behaviour to be observed when entering peoples homes

Homes are secure places and protected fortresses where a woman is permitted to remove her outer covering because, as the Prophet said, Any woman who removes her garment outside her house has sundered what is between her and Allh. Women should be able to carry out their household tasks safe from the prying eyes of uninvited guests without needing to veil themselves. Islm strongly encourages that freedom in which a woman lives inside the house and protects her purity, chastity and modesty from being disturbed by the unexpected glance; it therefore establishes regulations and limits with regard to entering private houses. This is to ensure that no temptation occurs between men and women the results of which may be blameworthy. It is so easy for the urges of appetite to be provoked, leading to the ensuing desires against which the Sharah so strongly cautions. This is why the places of ambush should be shut off and the entrances by which Shaytn travels to man blocked up. The Almighty says in His Noble Book: (24:27-28) O you who believe! Do not enter houses other than your own until you have asked permission and greeted their inhabitants. That is better for you so that perhaps you will remember. And if you find no one at home do not go in until permission has been granted you. And if you are told to go away then go away. That is far purer for you. Allh knows what you do. There is no blame on you for entering houses where no one lives and where there is an advantage for you. Allh knows what you make known and all that you conceal. From the explanation of these yts and the hadths of the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, we can deduce that the correct behaviour regarding entering private houses has the following clear principles:

A believer must ask permission to enter other peoples homes. This precaution is even more important if the house belongs to someone who is not one of his relatives. He should say, Peace be upon you three times. If he is given permission to go in, he may enter. Otherwise he should go away in fact it obligatory for him to go away.
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Lack of permission to enter can be explicit or implicit, like silence. A believer must not be angry at being refused permission. When a believer asks permission to enter, he should not stand directly in front of the door but to one side of it. He must clearly state his name or the name by which he is known and not just say, Its me. A believer should also ask permission from his mother and sister, because he does not want to see them naked. In the case of his wife, he is not obliged to ask permission but it is recommended for him to do so since she might well be in a state in which she would not like her husband to see her. As for houses which are not private homes, such as hotels, inns and similar places, there is no harm in entering them without permission.

The yts which were quoted above are a protection and safeguard for all believers. So every believer should find that others guard his inviolable things as he guards theirs. The Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, spoke the truth when he said, Every eye will weep on the Day of Rising except an eye which has been restrained from looking at things Allh has prohibited, and eye which has been sleepless in the way of Allh, and an eye which has wept itself dry out of fear of Allh Almighty. O Messenger of Allh, you spoke the truth. Restraining the eyes from looking at the things Allh has prohibited protects Muslims from slipping into disobedience to Allh. If that happens all the tears in this world and a whole lifetime will not be sufficient regret for what has been neglected in respect of Allh. O Allh, protect our eyes, ears, and limbs from disobedience to You and connect our hearts to You and confine our aspirations to You! You are the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Generous, the Noble.

6. The prohibition against pursuing desires

Appetite is the impulse of the self to follow the paths of desire and pursuit of desire is a path that leads to Hellfire. Its danger is such that Allh cautioned His worshipping servant Dd: O Dd! We made you a khalf in the earth. So judge between people with truth and do not pursue whims and desires and let them lead you astray from Allhs way. Those who go astray from Allhs way will receive harsh punishment for their forgetting the Day of Reckoning. (38:26) Dd used to fast every other day. The Master of the Prophets, Muhammad, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said about him, The best of fasts is the fast of Dd. He used to fast one day and break the fast one day. The best night prayers are those of Dd. He used to sleep half the night and then pray a third and then sleep a sixth. This is a statement issuing from the trustworthy truthful one to whom his Lord said: Be steadfast in the face of what they say, and remember Our slave Dd, possessor of strength. He truly turned towards his Lord. (38:17)
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Moreover Allh cautioned him as well against pursuing desire because it leads one away from the Path of Allh: And who could be further astray than someone who follows his own whims and desires without any guidance from Allh? Allh does not guide the wrongdoers. (28:50) Desire means gravitating to the earth and inclining to the lower appetites and neglecting Allhs remembrance. That is misguidance itself we seek refuge with Allh! and destruction in the lowest levels of Hellfire. For this reason a believer is asked to strive against the desires of his lower self because it is the precursor of fornication. Allh made the repayment for that striving the Garden of Refuge: But as for him who fears the Station of his Lord and forbids the self its appetites, the Garden is his refuge. (79:39-40) Resistance to the impulses of the desire is the result of fear of Allh. It is said that the only way for appetite to leave the heart is through an unsettling fear or restless yearning. So fear of Allhs punishment and yearning to meet Him are the two things which cleanse the heart of the indulgence of appetites. In view of the tremendous value of fear of Allh which only arises from great knowledge and an awakened heart and an illuminated reproachful self, Allh has made the repayment commensurably enormous: He who feared the Station of his Lord will have two Gardens. (55:46) O Allh, we praise You and thank You for Your bounty and generosity. You summon us to free ourselves from slavehood to our appetites and then are generous to us and give us for doing it the generous gift of two Gardens. My brother Muslim, you must oppose the stirrings of desires when they are first aroused because they foreshadow the release of the sexual appetite from its leash, your entry into the thralldom of slavehood to material existence, and your being stripped of Allhs veil with which He veils you when you are in the arena of belief: Many a veiled one, captive to by his appetite, is stripped of his veil and disgraced. He who is possessed by desire is a slave. He who masters his desires becomes a king.

7. The use of intellect as a means to subdue the appetites

It is related that when the husband of Rabia al-Adawiyyah died, al-Hasan al-Basr and his companions asked for permission to visit her. She gave them permission to come in and let down a curtain and sat behind it. Al-Hasan and his companions said, Your husband has died. You should have someone to replace him. All right, she said, but which of you has the most knowledge, so that I may marry him? Al-Hasan al-Basr, they replied.
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If you can answer me four questions, I am yours, she said to al-Hasan. What do you say to this, she asked, when I die and leave this world, will leave with belief or not? That is a matter of the Unseen and none knows the Unseen except Allh. What about this, then? When I am put into the grave and Munkar and Nakr question me, will I be able to answer them or not? That is a matter of the Unseen and none knows the Unseen except Allh, replied al-Hasan a second time. When people are gathered together on the Day of Rising and the books are distributed, will I be given my book in my right hand or my left hand? That too is a matter of the Unseen and none knows the Unseen except Allh, came the reply again. When people are called: One group in the Garden and one group in Blaze! which of the two groups will I be in? That is a matter of the Unseen and none knows the Unseen except Allh, responded al-Hasan for the fourth and last time. How is it possible, she retorted, for someone who is suffering the grief of ignorance about these four things to think of marriage? O Hasan, she continued, in how many parts did Allh create the intellect? In ten parts, he replied, nine for men and one for women. O Hasan, in how many parts did Allh create appetite? In ten parts: nine for women and one for men. O Hasan, she concluded, I am able to contain nine part of appetite with one part of intellect whereas you cannot even guard one part of appetite with nine parts of intellect! Thereupon alHasan wept and left her. Because of its ability to keep the appetites in check, Islm is very much concerned with the intellect, nurturing it, developing it and giving it the greatest scope to evaluate things and their results with precise criteria. It should be used to distinguish the positive and negative sides of appetite using the criterion of the Sharah and to understand what its consequences will be in this world and the Next. It should know how to encourage the lower self to gain the pleasure of Allh and how to make it wary of anger of Allh so that it does not collapse under the pressure of impulses, appetites and desires and become lost in the oceans of this world. Out of His endless generosity the Almighty has prescribed various measures to safeguard the intellect and promote the development and expansion of its faculties. Among these measures is Revelation itself. One of the functions of Revelation and the Message is to act as Allhs evidence against mankind. Left to itself, the intellect can misguide. Natural form (fitrah) on its own is also capable of deviation. The only safeguard for the intellect and natural form is to adopt the Revelation as their directing guide: We never punish until We have sent a Messenger. (17:15) Therefore the intellect needs the Revelation to guide it and direct it and make it sound so that it can distinguish the bad from the good. Revelation protects the intellect from becoming lost in materialistic philosophies. Another of the safeguards of the intellect is the prohibition of intoxicants. Many a man fritters away his intellectual abilities in satisfying his lower appetites and passing whims and this opens
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him up to misguidance, deviation and bad habits of all kinds which will disrupt first his own life, then the life of his family, and finally that of society as a whole. This is the root cause of Islms prohibition of intoxicants of all sorts alcohol, drugs, or any substance that has an effect on the brain, leading to altered states of consciousness or hallucinations. The Almighty says in His Noble Book: O you who believe! Wine and gambling and stone altars and divining arrows are disgusting things, part of the handiwork of Shaytn. Avoid them completely, so that perhaps you will be successful. (5:90) Could there be any greater accomplishment than being awake and alert and perceiving where your steps are taking you and being able to truly evaluate their prospective benefit or harm for yourself in the world and the Next? Another thing which Allh does in this respect is to invite the intellect to reflect deeply on existence. The purpose of this invitation is to free the intellect of the chains that shackle it and make it stumble under the pressure of all the needs and demands which hem it in. when man contemplates the universe, he is inevitably aware of the immensity of its Creator and His strength and this impels him to seek help and strength from Him to under take the task for which he was created. Such contemplation awakens him from the sleep of heedlessness and opens all his receptive senses and cognitive faculties: Truly in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day there are signs for people of intelligence. (3:190) Have they not traveled in the land? Do they not have hearts with which to understand or ears with which to hear? (22:46) In all created existence there is nothing more noble than the human intellect and for this reason Allh honours it as it deserves. There is no deen which fulfils all the aspirations of the intellect and answers its questions as Islm does. This is only to be expected since the intellect is the supreme instrument of human perception and whenever it is polished, perception is increased and the results derived from its use are greater. A Bedouin possessing an unspoiled natural response to existence articulated this when people asked him, Why do you believe in Muhammad? His reply was: Because what his deen orders leaves no scope for the intellect to say, If only he had ordered this. Nor does what it forbids leave the intellect any scope to say, If only he had not forbidden that.

8. Fear of Allh

Fear of Allh (taqw) is the focal point, buttress and summit of the entire affair. When Allh addresses the wives of the Prophet in Srat al-Ahzb, and hence all believing women who have a good model in the Mothers of the Believers, He says: provided you are godfearing. Do not be soft in your speech in case someone with sickness in his heart becomes desirous. Speak correct and courteous words (33:32), and the rest of the instructions which encourage purity and chastity.


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This shows that fear of Allh is the firm foundation on which all idea of noble character in Muslim society is based. It is the comprehensive principle which upholds the edifice of Islm once its foundations have been established: its obligations and usages. Sayyiduna Al, may Allh be pleased with him, defined it in this way: It is acting according to the Revelation, fear of the Majestic, contentment with little and making preparation for the Day of Departure. Fear of Allh is therefore the strongest of all weapons. Sayyiduna Umar, may Allh be pleased with him, said, Fear of Allh means avoidance of everything Allh has forbidden. One of the righteous said, Directing oneself to Allh Almighty alone, abandoning the occupations of the body, exercising scrupulousness in all ones actions, and being freed from bondage to the visible world are all results of fear of Allh, as Allh promises when He says: Fear Allh and Allh will teach you (2:282) and Take provision, but the best provision is fear of Allh. Therefore fear Me, people of intelligence! (2:197) Shah ibn Shuj al-Kirmn used to say, Whoever occupies his outward with following the Sunnah and his inward with constant watchfulness and withholding his eyes from looking at unlawful things and restraining himself from appetites will not have his understanding err. Allh Almighty will repay him for his actions in kind. Whoever abandons something for the sake of Allh, He will give him something better in return. If he restrains his eyes from the things Allh has forbidden him to see, Allh will, in return for his self-restraint, liberate the light of his inner insight. He will open for him the door of knowledge, belief, gnosis, and the true understanding that is only experienced through the heart. The converse of this is the blind wandering that is the opposite of insight and by which Allh characterized the people of Lt: By your life, they were wandering blindly in their drunken state! (15:72). He describes them as drunk, indicating derangement of the intellect, and blind indicating complete lack of insight. Attachment to created forms causes derangement of the intellect. Lack of insight intoxicates the heart. O Allh! make it easy for us to follow those You love and make their openings extend to us! Join us to them and gather us in their company and guide us as they were guided and let us travel on their path! Our God and Master! We ask you to put our affairs in order and the destinies of our relatives and those we love. Pour out mercy on us from the sea of Your ihsn and mend us with Your forgiveness and slake the thirst of our hearts with Your pleasure. Prescribe Your protection for us, O Lord of the worlds!

The penalty of not safeguarding the private parts

This has been a selection of the luminous indications which the All-Wise Lawgiver has been given us to enable us to safeguard our private parts and thereby protect the purity and cohesion of Muslim society so that it may avoid the numerous perils which might otherwise dissipate its energy. What then is the position of Islm vis--vis the limits which it has prescribed to protect the community? Allh and His Messenger warned all who are tempted to break those limits in the strongest possible fashion and then imposed severe punishments in this world before the Next for any who commit the crime of fornication. This is because most people are only deterred by immediate force and do not give any real weight to the punishments of the Next World. That fact


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has given rise to the saying: Allh will curb by the hand of the ruler what is not curbed by the words of the Qurn. Listen, my Muslim brother, to Allhs warnings and the punishment for fornication as prescribed in the Noble Qurn: Anyone who disobeys Allh and His Messenger and goes beyond His limits, We will admit him into a Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. He will have a humiliating punishment. (4:14) Do not go near to fornication. It is an indecent act, an evil way. (17:32) Those who do not call on another god together with Allh and do not kill any person Allh has made inviolate except with a right and do not fornicate. Anyone who does that will receive an evil punishment. (25:68) Your Lord has made it unlawful for you to approach indecency outward or inward. (6:151) Allh commands justice and doing good and giving to relatives. And He forbids indecency and doing wrong and tyranny. He warns you so that perhaps you will remember. (16:95) If any of your women commit fornication, four of you must appear as witnesses against them. And if witnesses against them come forward, shut them up in their homes until death comes to them or Allh ordains some other way for them. If two among you do it, castigate both of them. Then if they repent and reform, leave them alone. Allh is Ever-returning, Most Merciful.(4:15-16) A woman who fornicates and a man who fornicators, flog each of them one hundred lashes. And do not let compassion for either of them take hold of you where Allhs deen is concerned, if you believe in Allh and the Last Day. And a group of the believers should witness their punishment. A man who fornicates may only marry a woman who fornicates or an idolater. A woman who fornicates may only marry a man who fornicates or an idolater. Such have been forbidden to the believers. (24:2-3) When we go to the Sunnah we find nine further aspects of the punishments to be meted out to those who commit the abhorrent crime of fornication or adultery.

1: The removal of the light of belief from the heart

Ab Hurayrah, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, A fornicator does not fornicate while a believer, a thief does not steal while a believer, and a man does not drink alcohol while a believer. When someone does that, the halter of Islm slips from his neck. If he repents, Allh returns to him.


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2: The death penalty for adulterers

Abdullh ibn Masd, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, The blood of a Muslim man who testifies that there is no god but Allh and that I am the Messenger of Allh is not lawful except in three cases: that of a previously married person who fornicates, in the case of a life for a life, and that of someone who abandons his deen and leaves the community.

3: The arrival of poverty and anxiety

Ibn Umar, may Allh be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Fornication bequeaths poverty. Abdullh ibn Zayd, may Allh be pleased with him, said, I head the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, say, O fornicatresses of the Arabs! O fornicatresses of Arabs! The thing I fear most for you is fornication and hidden lust.

4: Allhs refusal to respond

Uthmn ibn Abil-s said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, The gates of heaven are opened in the middle of the night and a caller calls out: Is there any one who calls, that he may be answered? Is there anyone who asks, that he may be given? Is there anyone with a grief, that it may be relieved? There is no Muslim who makes a supplication without Allh Almighty answering him except for a fornicator or tax-collector.

5: Burnt faces of the Day of Rising

Abdullh ibn Busr said that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, The faces of fornicators will be burned with fire.

6: Being thrown into an oven

Samrah ibn Jundub said that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, In the night I dreamt that two men came to me and took me to a holy land In the course of this long hadth, he says, They took me to a hole like a oven whose top was narrow and its bottom wide, under which a fire was burning. When the fire rose, the people in it rose as well until they almost came out; and when it died down, they went back down into it. It contained naked men and women.

7: Erasure from the register of the pious and being expelled from their company


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Ab Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, There are three to whom Allh will not speak on the Day of Rising nor will He declare them innocent or look at them, and they will have a painful punishment: an adulterous old man, a lying king, and an arrogant poor man. Buraydah said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, The seven heavens and the seven earths curse an adulterous old man. The smell of the genitals of fornicators is disgusting even to the people of the Fire. Nfi said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, Neither an arrogant poor man, nor an adulterous old man, nor a person who thinks that Allh owes something to him on account of his actions will enter the Garden.

8: Ruined, dissolute and degraded offspring

Maymnah, may Allh be pleased with her, said: I heard the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, say, My community will remain sound as long as illegitimate children do not abound among them. When illegitimate children abound, Allh will soon envelop them in punishment.

9: Allhs punishment for society as a whole

Ibn Abbs said that the Messenger of Allh, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said, When fornication and usury appear in a place, the people there have legitimised Allhs punishment for themselves.

***** Having examined the punishment for fornication in the Noble Qurn and Prophetic Sunnah, it is clear that the Muslim should tremble before that outrage because of the immense woes it entails in this world and the Next. What we have outlined in this section should be more than sufficient to ensure the development of every Muslims conscience, feelings and behaviour and to keep him on the wise path of Allh and the upright Sharah. This will enable the Muslims to create an Islmic society built on the firm foundations of Truth and not on diverse desires and impulses which will only serve to drag them down into the depths of Hellfire. We bear witness to Your Greatness, O Lord, and Your wisdom. You created the illness and prescribed the cure. You created instincts in man and along with them You created laws and rules which provide a strong bulwark against the unleashing of their destructive power. In fact, You refined them, polished them and directed them by means of the sound Sharah so as to achieve life and success for Islmic society.


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We bear witness, O Lord, to the greatness of Your Messenger in conveying Your message and taking the hands of the Muslims with mercy and compassion to lead them to the pathways of light so that they are able to strive against the urges of their lower selves and base appetites. The nourishment of the spirit and intellect is belief in Allh and His Angels and His Books and His Messengers and the Decree of good and evil. This belief will refine them and given them control over the appetites in a manner that is pleasing to Allh and His Messenger. When one of the Muslims came to Allhs Messenger asking him to permit him to commit fornication, he did not attack him directly and slam the doors of mercy in his face. Rather he strengthened his heart for him and dealt gently with him. He asked him if he would be pleased for his wife or his mother or his sister to do such a thing. In each case the man said no and found it reprehensible in the case of his family. In this way the Messenger, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, made him understand and prayed to Allh to remove the intensity of desire for women from his breast. The man got up and found that Allh has cured him by the guidance of belief and the alertness of his intellect. O Allh, guide us by Your noble guidance and illuminate our insight and intellects with the light of faith and certainty so that we are able to see the Truth as truth and follow it and see the false as false and avoid it.

The Great Virtue of Lowering the Sight By Imm Ibn al-Qayyim

Taken from al-Muntaq min Ighthatul Lufhn f Masyid ash-Shaytn [pp.s 102-105] of Ibn al-Qayyim, summarised by 'Al Hasan al-Halab

Allh, the Exalted said,

Say to the believing men that they should lower their sight and guard their

private parts; that will make for greater purity for them. Indeed Allh is well acquainted with all that they do.[an-Nr (24):30] So Allh made purification and spiritual growth to be the outcome of lowering the sight and guarding the private parts. It is for this reason that lowering one s sight from (seeing) the prohibited things necessarily leads to three benefits that carry tremendous value and are of great significance.

The First: experiencing the delight and sweetness of faith


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This delight and sweetness is far greater and more desirable that which might have been attained from the object that one lowered his sight from for the sake of Allh. Indeed, whosoever leaves something for the sake of Allh then Allh, the Mighty and Magnificent, will replace it with something better than it.[1] The soul is a temptress and loves to look at beautiful forms and the eye is the guide of the heart. The heart commissions its guide to go and look to see what is there and when the eye informs it of a beautiful image it shudders out of love and desire for it. Frequently such inter-relations tire and wear down both the heart and the eye as is said: When you sent your eye as a guide For your heart one day, the object of sight fatigued you For you saw one over whom you had no power Neither a portion or in totality, instead you had to be patient. Therefore when the sight is prevented from looking and investigating the heart finds relief from having to go through the arduous task of (vainly) seeking and desiring. Whosoever lets his sight roam free will find that he is in a perpetual state of loss and anguish for sight gives birth to love (mahabbah) the starting point of which is the heart being devoted and dependant upon that which it beholds. This then intensifies to become fervent longing (sabbah) whereby the heart becomes totally dependant and devoted to the (object of its desire). Then this further intensifies and becomes infatuation (gharmah) which clings to the heart like the one seeking repayment of a debt clings firmly to the one who has to pay the debt. Then this intensifies and becomes passionate love (ishk) and this is a love that transgresses all bounds. Then this further intensifies and becomes crazed passion (shaghafa) and this is a love that encompasses every tiny part of the heart. Then this intensifies and becomes worshipful love (tatayyuma). Tatayyum means worship and it is said: tayyama Allh i.e. he worshipped Allh. Hence the heart begins to worship that which is not correct for it to worship and the reason behind all of this was an illegal glance. The heart is now bound in chains whereas before it used to be the master, it is now imprisoned whereas before it was free. It has been oppressed by the eye and it complains to it upon which the eye replies: I am your guide and messenger and it was you who sent me in the first place! All that has been mentioned applies to the heart that has relinquished the love of Allh and being sincere to Him for indeed the heart must have an object of love that it devotes itself to. Therefore when the heart does not love Allh Alone and does not take Him as its God then it must worship something else. Allh said concerning Ysuf as-Siddq (AS),
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Thus (did We order) so that We might turn away from him all evil and indecent actions for he was one of Our sincere servants. [Ysuf (12):24]

It was because the wife of al-Azz was a polytheist that (the passionate love) entered her heart despite her being married. It was because Ysuf (AS) was sincere to Allh that he was saved from it despite his being a young man, unmarried and a servant.

The Second: the illumination of the heart, clear perception and penetrating insight

Ibn Shuj` al-Kirmn said, whosoever builds his outward form upon following the Sunnah, his internal form upon perpetual contemplation and awareness of Allh, he restrains his soul from following desires, he lowers his gaze from the forbidden things and he always eats the lawful things then his perception and insight shall never be wrong. Allh mentioned the people of Lt and what they were afflicted with and then He went on to say,
Indeed in this are signs for the Mutawassimn. [al-Hijr (15):75]

The Mutwassimn are those who have clear perception and penetrating insight, those who are secure from looking at the unlawful and performing indecent acts. Allh said after mentioning the verse concerning lowering the sight,
Allh is the Light of the heavens and the earth. [an-Nr (24):35]

The reason behind this is that the reward is of the same type as the action. So whosoever lowers his sight from the unlawful for the sake of Allh, the Mighty and Magnificent, He will replace it with something better than it of the same type. So just as the servant restrained the light of his eye from falling upon the unlawful, Allh blesses the light of his sight and heart thereby making him perceive what he would not have seen and understood had he not lowered his sight. This is a matter that the person can physically sense in himself for the heart is like a mirror and the base desires are like rust upon it. When the mirror is polished and cleaned of the rust then it will reflect the realities (haqiq) as they actually are. However if it remains rusty then it will not reflect properly and therefore its knowledge and speech will arise from conjecture and doubt.

The Third: the heart becoming strong, firm and courageous


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Allh will give it the might of aid for its strength just as He gave it the might of clear proofs for its light. Hence the heart shall combine both of these factors and as a result, Shaytn shall flee from it. It is mentioned in the narration, whosoever opposes his base desires, the Shaytn shall flee in terror from his shade. [2] This is why the one who follows his base desires shall find in himself the ignominy of the soul, its being weak, feeble and contemptible. Indeed Allh places nobility for the one who obeys Him and disgrace for the one who disobeys Him,
So do not lose heart nor fall into despair; for you must gain mastery if you are true in faith. [li Imrn (3):139] If any do seek for nobility and power then to Allh belongs all nobility and power. [Ftir (35):10]

Meaning that whosoever seeks after disobedience and sin then Allh, the Might and Magnificent, will humiliate the one who disobeys Him. Some of the salaf said, the people seek nobility and power at the door of the Kings and they will not find it except through the obedience of Allh. This is because the one who obeys Allh has taken Allh as his friend and protector and Allh will never humiliate the one who takes his Lord as friend and patron. In the Du Qunt their occurs, the one who You take as a friend is not humiliated and the one who You take as an enemy is not ennobled.[3]


[1] Reported by Ahmad [5/363], al-Marwaz in Zaw`id az-Zuhd [no. 412], an-Nas` in alKubr as mentioned in Tuhfah al-Ashrf [11/199] from one of the Companions that the Messenger of Allh said, indeed you will not leave anything for the sake of Allh except that Allh will replace it with something better than it. The isnd is sahh. [2] This is not established as a hadth of the Prophet .

[3] Reported by Ab Dwd [Eng. Trans. 1/374 no. 1420], an-Nas` [3/248], at-Tirmidh [no. 464], ibn Mjah [no. 1178], ad-Drim [1/311], Ahmad [1/199], ibn Khuzaymah [2/151] from al Hasan from Al (RA). The hadth is sahh. The isnd has been criticised by many, however none of the criticisms hold. Refer to: Nasb ar-Ryah [2/125] and Talkhs al-Habr [1/247]


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Fasting Establishes Supremacy of The Soul

By Muhaddith Shah Waliyullh

The preponderance of animality in man is an obstacle in the path of the manifestation of angelic and celestial attributes. Therefore, it has become necessary to subjugate this attribute of animality in man. Since the dominance and power of bestial attributes are caused by eating, drinking and excessive indulgence in lowly desires - the latter playing the dominant role in the assertion of bestial attributes - it is essential to curtail and curb the onslaught of the flesh by a reduction in these factors (eating, drinking and indulgence in desire). Precisely for this reason do we find unanimity among all those who desire the supremacy of the soul and the subjugation of the flesh. All such men are unanimous in their assertion that the method of establishing the supremacy of the soul over the body is to reduce indulgence in eating, drinking and lowly desire. A remarkable fact is that this unanimity exists despite the different religions and lands of these men (i.e. those who desire the supremacy of the soul). It is of prime importance that the animal body remains within the power and control of the higher soul so that it (the body) becomes infused with the nobility and transcendence of the higher soul. It is likewise essential that the celestial soul remains aloof of the flesh in a way that will protect it from coming under the sway and control of the animal body. There is no better method of asserting the supremacy of the soul over the body than denial of the material and animal wants and desires of the body. Self-denial compels the animal body into obedience and submission of the celestial soul. Material dictates and animal desires are attributes of the animal self, therefore, by self-denial man aligns himself with the angelic realm. And, this purpose is achieved by means of fasting.


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The Definition of Fitrah By Yasien Mohamed

Extracted with slight modifications from "Fitra: The Islamic Concept of Human Nature" 1996 TA-HA Publishers Ltd.

In attempting a definition of fitrah, I give an exposition of its linguistic and religious meaning. The religious understanding of fitrah is based on the positive interpretation of fitrah Suffice it to say that linguistic and positive religious explanations have one thing in common: both define fitrah as an inborn natural predisposition which cannot change, and which exists at birth in all human beings. What makes our religious understanding positive is that it not only acknowledges fitrah as a natural predisposition, but also one which is inclined towards right action and submission to Allh, the One God. After discussing the implications for human responsibility, I compare, for the benefit of Western readers, the Islamic concept of original goodness with the Christian concept of original sin. I argue that the doctrine of original sin, from an Islmic point of view, cannot be reconciled with the notion of Divine mercy nor the human responsibility. Since the doctrine of original sin features significantly in the Christian concept of human nature, and as Islm and Christianity are the worlds largest revealed religions, this aspect of their creeds presents an interesting contrast, well worth investigating.

1. The Linguistic Meaning of Fitrah

Every new-born child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian, just as an animal is born intact. Do you observe any among them that are maimed (at birth)?[1] The word fitrah comes from the Arabic radicals fa ta ra, the verbal noun being fatrun. The root action means, he clove, split, slit, rent or cracked it. Note the usage of the first form fatarahu (He created it); that is, He caused it to exist, newly, for the first time. Thus fatirus-samwt, the Originator or Creator of the heavens.[2]


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The second form, fattara(hu) (verbal noun taftir), denotes repetition, muchness and frequency of the root action which means, as we saw, he clove, split, slit, rent or cracked it.[3] Futira (ala shay) is equivalent to tubia, which is the passive form of tabaa (verbal noun tabun) he sealed, stamped, printed or impressed, being a synonym of khatama, he sealed. Ar-Rghib says that it means the impression of a thing with the engraving of the signet and stamp; thus tabaallhu al qalbih Allh sealed his heart, that is the unbelievers heart. Similarly, khatama alaihi, pertains to the natural constitution which denotes a quality of the soul; either by creation or habit, but more especially the creation.[4] Also, taba allhu al amr Allh created (him) with a disposition to the affair, state or condition. Likewise,tubia ala shay he was created with a disposition to a thing which is synonymous with jubila or futira.[5] Tabun originally a verbal noun signifies nature or an inborn disposition. Its synonyms aresajjiyah, jibillah, khalqah, tabah and mizj. These are names for innate natural disposition which cannot change, and which exists at birth in all human beings.[6] Thus, fitrah, having the same meaning astabun, linguistically means an inborn natural disposition. The term fitrah literally means, creation; the causing a thing to exist for the first time; and the natural constitution with which a child is created in his mothers womb. It is said that is the meaning in the Qurn (30:29), and in the central, opening hadth.[7]

2. The Religious Meaning of Fitrah

In the context of the hadth, according to Ab Haytham, fitrah means to be born either prosperous or unprosperous [in relation to the soul]: And if his parents are Jews, they make him a Jew, with respect to his worldly situation; [i.e. with respect to inheritance, etc.] and if Christians, they make him a Christian, with respect to that situation; and if Magians, they make him a Magian, with respect to that situation; his situation is the same as that of his parents until his tongue speaks for him; but if he dies before his attaining to the age when sexual maturity begins to show itself, he dies in a state of conformity to his preceding natural constitution, with which he was created in his mothers womb.[8] Fitrah is also associated with Islm and being born as a Muslim. This is when fitrah is viewed in respect to shahdah that there is no god but Allh and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allh which makes a person a Muslim. Fitrah, in this sense, is the faculty, which He has created in mankind, of knowing Allh. It is the natural constitution with which the child is created in his mothers womb, whereby he is capable of accepting the religion of truth.[9] That fitrah refers to religion is further shown in a tradition in which it is related that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, taught a man to repeat certain words when lying down to sleep, and
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said: Then if you die that same night, you die upon the fitrah (in the true dn). Also by the saying: The paring of the nails is of the fitrah (i.e. of the dn).[10] This meaning is affirmed by srah 30 yah 30: Set your face to the dn in sincerity (hanfan) which is Allhs fitrah (the nature made by Allh) upon which He created mankind (fatran-ns). There is no changing the creation of Allh. That is the right dn but most people know not. Apparently Ab Hurairah, may Allh be pleased with him, cited this verse after the central hadth which means that, in his view, the fitrah of the hadth is the same fitrah in the yah. The yah refers to thefitrah as good because the right religion is being described as Allhs fitrah. Thus according to Ab Hurairah, fitrah is associated with the dn of Islm.[11] Since Allhs fitrah is engraved upon the human soul, mankind is born in a state in which tawhd is integral. Since tawhd is intrinsic to mans fitrah, the prophets, peace be upon them, came to remind man of it, and to guide him to that which is integral to his original nature. The yah describes a fitrah of primordial faith which Allh Himself implanted in human nature. It implies Islms essential message of submission to the will of Allh as taught as practised by the prophets. The Laws or the sharahs, which the prophets were sent with, are guiding lights to the essential faith in Allh which is created in every human being. Furthermore, since this faith comes from Allh, it naturally follows that only laws capable of guiding man back to it must also come from Allh, hence Islm is also called dn al-fitrah, the religion of human nature. That every child is born in this pure state of fitrah is also supported by the following hadth concerning the polytheists: It is related that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, said that he saw in a vision an old man at the front of a large tree and around him were children and in the vision he was told that the old man was Ibrhm and that the children who were around him were the children who, before attaining the age of discretion, had died. At this, some Muslims had asked hum: "And the children of the polytheists too, Messenger of Allh?" The Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, replied: "The children of the polytheists as well."[12] Being with Ibrhm meant being in Paradise, and this includes children of polytheistic families. It is clear, from the Qurn and from the hadth, that every child is born with a pure nature, as a Muslim. Islm recognises that all children, whether born of believing or unbelieving parents, go to Paradise if they die before attaining the age of discretion.
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Imm Nawaw defined fitrah as the unconfirmed state which exists until the individual consciously acknowledges his belief. Hence, if a child were to die before he attains discretion he would be on of the inmates of Paradise. This view applies to the children of polytheists as well, and is supported by the above-quoted hadth. The legal implication of this hadth is that all children are born pure, sinless and predisposed to belief in one God; moreover they are of the inmates of Paradise; however, if their parents are non-Muslims, the religion of their parents will be applicable to them in this world.[13] Islm is also called dn al-fitrah, the religion of human nature, because its laws and its teachings are in full harmony with the normal and the natural inclination of the human fitrah to believe in and submit to the Creator. Like the word al-Islm, the word dn also means, according to Lane, obedience and submission, among other meanings. Allh states: And who is better in obedience (in dn) than he who resigns himself to Allh? (Qurn 4:125) There shall be no compulsion in obedience (dn). (Qurn 2:256) Ad-dn implies religion in the widest sense of the word, embracing both the practical aspects of the acts of worship and ordinary transactions of life, and the teachings of religion; and it is a name for that whereby one serves Allh. Truly, the religion (dn) in the sight of Allh is al-Islm. (Qurn 3:19) And, according to Lane, it means particularly the religion of al-Islm. The synonyms of ad-dn are ash-sharah (the law), tawhd (Oneness of Allh) and wara (caution). Ad-dn also comes from the verbdana, meaning he had indebted. This is significant, according to al-Attas, because man is indebted to Allh for his existence and sustenance. The believer will realise that his spirit acknowledged Allh in pre-existence, and that the debt that he must return is his self, and this can be done by service and submission to Allh. This return implies a return to mans inherent spiritual nature, to his fitrah. The one who submits to Allh is called abd (a slave) of Allh, and his service is called ibdah (slavehood or conscious submission to the will of Allh). By worshipping Allh in such a manner, man in fulfilling the purpose of his creation and existence. I have not created the Jinn and man but that they should serve Me (li yabudn). (Qurn 51:56) Such worship or submission does not entail loss of freedom, for, freedom is to act as ones true nature demands; that is, as ones fitrah demands. Al-Attas succinctly explains the connection between submission, fitrah and dn as follows:
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When we say that such a man is fulfilling the purpose for his creation and existence, it is obvious that that mans obligation to serve God is felt by him as normal because it comes as a natural inclination on the mans part to do so. This natural tendency in man to serve and worship God is also referred to as dn, here in the religious context it has a more specific signification of the natural state of being called fitrah. In fact dn also means fitrah. Fitrah is the pattern according to which God has created all things Submission to it brings harmony, for it means realisation of what is inherent in ones true nature; opposition to it brings discord, for it means realisation of what is extraneous to ones true nature.[14]

3. Fitrah and Human Responsibility

Man is distinguished from the rest of the creation because he has been endowed with intellect (aql) and free-will (irdah). The intellect enables him to discern right from wrong. He can use these faculties to complement his fitrah and to please Allh or to be untrue to it and displease Allh. The choice is his. The prophets and Divine revelation are external sources of guidance to guide the intellect and will of man. The Qurn declares that the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, enjoins the right and lawful things (marf) and forbids the wrong and unlawful things (munkar). Man is responsible for his actions and accountable to Allh for every atom of right and wrong that he does. It is in this sense of accountability that guides man to act in accordance with the Divine will. It empowers him to struggle against the wrong-doing of his lower self (nafs) as well as the negative influences of the social circumstances. The central hadth makes plain that it is the social circumstances after the birth of the child that causes the individual to diverge from fitrah. Hence if someone follows an aberrant path it is not because of any innate wrong within his nature, but because of the emergence of the lower self or nafs after birth, and negative effects in the social circumstances. The concept of fitrah as original goodness, in my view, does not merely connote a passive receptivity to good and right action, but an active inclination and a natural innate predisposition to know Allh, to submit to Him and to do right. This is mans natural tendency in the absence of contrary factors. Although all children are born in a state of fitrah, the influence of the environment is decisive; parents may influence the religion of the child by making him a Christian, Jew or Magian. If there are no adverse influences, then the child will continuously manifest his fitrah as his true nature. Since many infants are born with gross physical deformities, the maiming referred to in this hadth is not meant in the physical sense; it means that all children are born spiritually pure, in a state of fitrah. The reference to animals born intact in the central hadth should be viewed as an analogy to illustrate the parallel spiritual wholeness of children at birth.


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It is precisely because of mans free-will and intellect that he is able to overcome the negative influences of the environment and attain to the highest level of psychospiritual development, an-nafs al-mutmainnah, the self made tranquil. At this level, his inner and outer being, his soul and body, are able to conform to the requirements of his fitrah and the dictates of the sharah. He actualises his fitrah, and attains psycho-spiritual integration and inner peace.

4. Alienation from Fitrah

The central hadth suggest that circumstantial (i.e. parental and other social) influences cause man to change and become alienated from his fitrah. However in Qurn 30:30 (There is no changing in the creation of Allh.) suggests that fitrah is universal unchanging given of the human constitution. This meaning is consistent with the linguistic definition of fitrah as innate natural disposition which cannot change, and which exists at birth in all human beings. The synthesis of the meanings of both statements is that although fitrah remains a universal unchanging given of the human constitution, people may, because of the elements of intellect and free-will, decide and choose to conduct themselves in a wrong or unlawful manner. All the children of Adam, including those who deviated from the path of tawhd[15], possessed fitrah. Civilisations which have been condemned and destroyed by Allh because of their practice of polytheism (shirk) and unbelief (kufr), possessed fitrah. Fitrah is a universal and immutable given of the metaphysical human constitution, and as a rule, cannot be corrupted or altered. No wrong action can pollute the Divine spirit [maintainers note: i.e. spirit created by God] which Allh has blown into man (Qurn 15:29) despite the many generations of polytheism and unbelief. For example, a generation whose forefathers were mushrikn (those who practice shirk) does not possess a fitrah of a lesser quality than a generation of believers. However, both shirk and kufr represent the antithesis of fitrah by undermining its very object and raison detre; kufr is a rejection of the oneness of Allh (tawhd). When a individual commits shirk or kufr he denies his own nature. Fitrah which is integral to mans spirit (rh) was created by Allh so that he man acknowledge Him as the Lord Who has power over all things. Tawhd is intrinsic to mans fitrah because Allh in His infinite wisdom intended for man to know Him as the One God. This is why man was able to acknowledge his Lord before his existence on earth, that is, in pre-existence state. The function of the prophets and Divine revelation is not only to remind man about that which he already knows (that is, tawhd), but also to teach him that which he does not yet know (that is, sharah). Man already knows tawhd because of the preexistent fitrah as well as his earthly unchanging fitrah. The prophets have come only to remind man of tawhd; the choice is left to the individual, as suggested in the following verse:
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Surely, this is a reminder; so whoever wills, let him take a way to his Lord. (Qurn 76:29). Knowledge of the Divinely revealed laws, the methodology of worship and devotion, etc. are acquired by man from sharah which is based on Divine revelation and the teachings of the prophets. Since every individual is endowed with the innate knowledge of tawhd, he is held accountable for his belief in Allh precisely because of his fitrah. Not every soul, however, will be held accountable for not practicingsharah because knowledge of sharah is acquired only by those who received the message of the Divine revelations and the teachings of he prophets. The distinction between the inborn knowledge of tawhd (which includes the knowledge of right and wrong) and the acquired knowledge of sharah (which includes what is lawful and unlawful) is significant because of the legal implications of each. The mushrik, one who violates tawhd, will not be pardoned for his polytheism, irrespective of whether he received the message of Islm or not. On the other hand, the practice of sharah is only required from the Muslim while the nonMuslim (who did not receive the message of Islm) is not expected to fulfill this obligation. An individual may be forgiven for not practising the sharah if he had not received the message of Islm, but he will not be forgiven for rejecting tawhd. The Muslim will thus be held responsible for tawhd and sharah. Dr. Faruqi Ahmad Dasuqi,[16] who holds this view, adds that the hunafa [17] of past centuries had acknowledged tawhd and will not be held accountable for sharah. Apart from the chosen prophets, I venture to say that there is no difference between the fitrah of individual men: all men are endowed with the same or an equal fitrah. The believer is in harmony with hisfitrah because his instincts are directed in service of Allh, but the unbeliever is alienated from his fitrah because his instincts are in the service of everything else besides Allh. The reason for mans destruction of himself and his environment is that he has become alienated. Nevertheless, he can overcome this estrangement his will and intellect with the Divine will and knowledge. It is mans recourse to Islm which will enable him to effect such a reconciliation.

5. The Christian Doctrine of Original Sin

Religions may be contrasted with secular philosophies in that the former recognise the transcendent principle of human nature while the latter tend to view man as a material being. Religions usually refer to this transcendent principle as the spirit or the soul in man. Most religions recognise three dimensions within man: body, mind and spirit. Secular theories of human nature tend to recognise only the body and sometimes the mind. Western psychologists such as Carl Jung recognise the spiritual dimension not as an independent unchanging reality, but as a part of the human psyche. Religions in
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general, with the exception of Hinayana Buddhism, recognise the spiritual dimension of man as a distinct unchanging reality of human nature. The first step towards selfknowledge is the recognition of our inmost spiritual essence which is universal in man and which is immortal. It is this innate spirituality which explains the urge at the heart of every man for betterment and self-realisation; and it is this human spirit which explains mans capability to emerge out of darkness into light and goodness. This emergence has been the unfailing history of man: nothing can stop the human soul from projecting itself nearer to the source of all good, Allh. Islm and Christianity both recognise this innate spirituality but they differ in the methods by which to attain to this self-realisation, and they also differ in the methods by which they attain to this self-realisation, and they also differ with respect to their views of innate human nature. For the Christian view I need to turn to the doctrine of original goodness in Islm. Such a comparison will bring into focus the divergent perspectives of human nature of two major religions of the world. Christianity, in all the varied forms in which it exists today, is probably the largest religious movement. It emerged out of Judaism as a religion of salvation by faith. Christianity became a universal religion of redemption, and its world-renouncing strain has been strong for a great part of its history. Judaism and Islm were never so dominated by monasticism and the ideal of celibacy. This is not to say that Christianity did not have a world affirming strain in it. The Kingdom of God was an imminently arriving state of this earth. With emphasis on the person of Jesus, peace be upon him, rather than his preaching, salvation was to be by rather than his preaching, salvation was to be by faith-union with Jesus in his supposed death and resurrection. Jesus, peace be upon him, was exalted to heaven and acclaimed as Lord, Son of God, and the meaning of Messiah an anointed prophet-king was altered radically. Paul was the main figure to work out Christian theology almost entirely in terms of the doctrine for man. Jesus two worlds are reinterpreted in terms of a great contrast between man in bondage to the flesh and man redeemed in Christ. This theology is set out in the first eight chapters of The Epistle to the Romans.[18] The flesh (sarx) is man in his weakness and the spirit (pneuma) is the Divine breath and power of life which makes man inwardly aware of himself as a person. The whole person is either bound to sin or redeemed in Christ. As a rabbinically trained Jew, Paul had to integrate his new gospel of salvation with the old doctrine of creation and so he began the development of the Christian epic story: Creation had originally been perfect, but Adam fell and mankind has since been in bondage to sin; but through Christ, the second Adam or Last man, the world or mankind are being restored to their original perfection. Thus in the Christian doctrine of man the central theme is that Christ is the Creators proper (=own) Man.[19] To make this scheme more intelligible, Paul had to emphasise both the parallels and the contrasts between Adam and Christ, peace be upon both of them. Adam was first
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made in the image of God, but Christ is the true and final image of God. Adams disobedience plunged mankind into ruin, but Christs obedience restored mankind. Adam brought wrath and guilt upon mankind, Christ has brought grace and acquittal. This contrast profoundly affected later Christian thought. The Christian doctrine of man has two themes, the Divine image and the Fall. Since the latter theme is more directly relevant to my discussion of original sin I shall focus on this aspect, Adams disobedience plunged the human race into ruin, and fallen man could not of himself do good, please God or gain salvation. A good example of the classic Christian doctrine of man is Miltons Christian epic Paradise Lost (1667). The themes are the special creation of man by God, the Divine image in man, original righteousness, the Fall through mans disobedience, the curse on man and woman, and the ensuing original sin. This scheme was wrecked by Darwinism and today liberal and humanistic theologians take over the evolutionary view of mans gradual ascent, seeing Christ as a pinnacle of human development. Others, such as Rudolph Bultman and Paul Tillich, have built their theology on an existentialist doctrine of man. The Christian is born in sin and in an impure state, and cannot redeem himself by his own inner resources, but only through Christ. Salvation for the Christian is centred on an external entity the mystical body of Christ in which the Christian must participate in order to be saved. By contrast, in Islm the redemptive potential is centred in the individual himself, who engages in meaningful intercourse with the guidance provided by the Qurn and the Sunnah, Salvation in Islm depends on faith (mn) and good conduct (ihsn), and not on faith alone. The Qurn emphasises the exertion of will, for there is nothing for man but that which he strove for. This notion of the will also has implications for responsibility. A person is responsible only for the manner in which he exercised his own will and not the will of other persons. Christians believe that Christ has paid the wages of sin through his death, and having suffered for all mens sins. Salvation is based on this faith. Without the doctrine of original sin there would be no need for a saviour and, consequently, the trinity, the crucifixion and the resurrection would become meaningless. Islm rejects the premises of these doctrines, especially the concept of original sin which is alien to Islm and inconceivable to the Muslim mind. Islm has a different version of the Fall. Adam acknowledged that he had gone astray and sincerely sought Allhs forgiveness which was granted to him unconditionally. Adam and his progeny descended from bliss to the earth because of his error, and yet, none of his children inherited the blame for his error. The volitional implication of fitrah is that man is responsible for his own wrong actions. It is inconceivable to Muslim thinking that
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mankind should be punished for wrong actions that others did. The concept of Divine forgiveness features strongly in the Qurn, for Allh accepts the sincere repentance of His slaves. But the devil made them slip from it, and caused them to depart from the state in which they were. And We said, "Down with you and be henceforth enemies unto one another; and you shall have in the land a state of settledness and necessities of life for a period." Then Adam received words (of guidance) from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: truly, He is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Compassionate. (Qurn 2:36-37) Tawbah (literally, turning, i.e. away from wrong action, and to Allh) or repentance plays a very significant and decisive role in a Muslims life. Although man is born in a state of original goodness or fitrah, he is also subject to temptation and folly. Allh has granted him the ability and opportunity to repent which means that he should admit his errors and turn remorsefully away from them to Allh. Knowledge of Divine mercy as well as knowledge of the innate goodness of the human fitrah, serves three very important functions: firstly it gives the believer hope of salvation and success; secondly, it gives him confidence in his own potential to do right and resist wrong; thirdly, it exhorts and admonishes him to actively pursue all that is right and resist all that is wrong. These are the merits of sincere repentance. Just as the Prophet Adam, peace be upon him, repented and was pardoned for his wrong action, so may his descendents repent and be pardoned for their wrong actions. Confession and penance is a fundamental pillar of the Roman Catholic Church, but for the rest of the Christian world it holds virtually no fundamental value. Belief in Christ as a Saviour is of primary importance, even for the Catholic who engages in penance mainly as a means of self-discipline or self-retribution. No amount of confession or repentance can save the Christian from the belief in Christ as the Saviour. Adherence to this doctrine can be problematic when viewed in the light of the doctrine of original sin. Neither Islm, common sense or modern Western law, hold a person responsible for the deeds of someone else. Certain awkward questions may also be posed to the adherents of this doctrine. For example, does inheritance of Adams sin mean that man is born innately sinful or guilty of a sin he did not commit or both? Did Christs suffering change human nature or did it only absolve man of guilt for the sin he never committed, or both? If man is born innately evil and sinful why is he still capable of choosing good over evil? What happened to the souls before Christ who could have had the benefit of the latters alleged suffering; were they saved by the Saviour they neither knew nor acknowledged or were they just too unfortunate to be born at the
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wrong time? These questions are asked in all sincerity of the believing Christian whose faith every Muslim is required to respect. To conclude, fitrah may be defined as a natural predisposition for good and for submission to the One God While the concept of fitrah offers a hopeful and positive outlook for the Muslim, the doctrine of original sin is fraught with negative connotations and complex dogma. To the average Christian, man is impure and bound for eternal damnation, even if he leads a life of virtue, if he does not accept Christ as his saviour. Apart from the Christian theory, there are secular theories of human nature which are also subject to determinism, fatalism and pessimism If, in this chapter, the reader has not gained a clear conception of what fitrah is, it should at least be clear to him what it is not. Fitrah does not refer to mans outward behaviour; not to his psyche, personality or character. A definition of fitrah does not involve the role of man as an individual or a collectivity as such. Rather, fitrah pertains to the deep, common spiritual essence of man. It is humankinds natural and universal innate predisposition for goodness and submission to One God

Notes and References [1] I. M. Hanf, Sahh Muslim bisharh al-Nawaw, Book of Qadr, Vol. 16 (al-Matbaat al-Misriyyah bi al-Azhari, 1930) p. 207. [2] Ibn Manzr, Lisn al-Arab al-Muht. Vol. 4., ed. A. al-Alayali, (beirut: Dru Lisn al-Arab, 1988), pp. 11081109; cf. also, al-Isfahn, al-Raghb, Mujam Mufradat Alfaz al-Qurn ed. Nadm Marashl. (Drul Karb alArabi, 1984) p. 2415; cf. also, Lane, E. W., Arabic-English Lexicon. 2 volumes, Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 1972), p. 397. [3] This repetition also applies to the 7th form verb infatara, 5th form tafattara and the 1st form fatara, e.g. idhassamunfatarat When the heaven shall be cleft, (Qurn 82:1), and yakadus-samwtu yatafttarna minhu The heavens almost become repeatedly rent in consequence thereof, (Qurn 19:92), and tafatarat qadamahu his feet became cracked. [4] Lane, Ibid., p. 1823; al-Isfahn, al-Raghb, Kitb al-Dharah ila Makarim al-Sharah. Ed. Abl-Yazd alAjam, (Cairo, 1987), p. 113. [5] Lane, Ibid, p. 1823. [6] Yasien Mohamed, The Islamic Conception of Human Nature with Special Reference to the Development of an Islamic Psychology. unpublished thesis, (Cape Town: Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town, 1986), p. 74; cf. also, Lane, Ibid., p. 1823; al-Isfahn, al-Dharah, op.cit., p. 113; al-Isfahn, Alfaz, op.cit., p. 310. [7] Ibn Manzr, Lisn al-Arab, op.cit., p. 1109; cf. also Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, op.cit, pp. 2415-2416. [8] Ibn Mazr, Ibid. p. 1109; Lane, Ibid., pp. 2415-16.


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[9] Al ibn Muhammad al-Sayyad al-Sharf Jurjn, Kitb al-Tarifat ed. Abdul Munm al-Hafani. (Cairo: Drul Rashad, 1991), p. 190; cf. also Ibn Manzr and Lane, Idid. [10] See Ibn Manzr and Lane, Ibid. [11] Muhammad al-Ansr A. A. Qurtub, Al Jmiu al Ahkm al-Qurn Vol. 12 Part 14. (Cairo: al-Maktabu alArabiyyah, 1967), p. 25. [12] Ibid, p. 30; cf. Ibn Manzr, Ibid. [13] Ibn Taymyya Daru Taarud al Aql wa al Naql. Vol. 8, ed. Muhammad Rashad Saim. (Riyadh: Jamiat alImm Muhammad ibn Saud al-Islamiyyah, 1981), p. 382-3. [14 ] S.M.N. Al-Attas, Islam, Secularism and the Philosophy of the Future, London: Mansell Publishing Limited, 1985, pp. 57-58. [15] cf. Lane, op.cit., for the meaning of the ad-dn. [16] Tawhd is the corner-stone of the Islmic belief which was taught by all the prophets. The Arabs deviated form tawhd but it was restored to its original purity with the advent of Muhammad, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, Divine Unity is expressed as l ilha illAllh There is no deity but Allh and together with his expression of Muhammadun Raslullah Muhammad is the Messenger of Allh, a person is admitted into the fold of Islm.Tawhd implies that Allh is One, and that He is one and unique in His essence (dht), His attributes (sift), and His works. This monotheistic concept of Allh liberates man from subservience to everything and everyone, and is the basis for the unity of mankind. The antithesis of tawhd is shirk which is considered to be the only unforgivable wrong action (Qurn 4:48), and it signifies the association of partners with Allh. Blind submission to ones own desires is also described as shirk (Qurn 25:43). [17] Dasuq, F. A. Muhadarat f al-Aqdah al-Islmiyyah, (Alexandria: Darul Dawah, 1983), p. 28. [18] The hanf (singular of hunafa) is one who naturally rejects polytheism and idolatry while inclined towards acceptance of tawhd. In the Qurnic context, the hanf refers particularly to those who followed the faith of Ibrhm as well as those who accepted tawhd during the Jhiliyyah period. After the advent of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, the term acquired a more circumscribed meaning one who follows the dn of Muhammad, may Allh bless him and grant him peace. Dr. Dasuq cites Zaid ibn Amr ibn Nufayl and Qais ibn Saada as examples of hunaf in pre-Islmic times. A more well-known hanf was Waraqa ibn Nawfal, the cousin of the Prophets wife, Khadjah. [19] Don Cupitt, The Nature of Man, (London: Sheldon Press, 1979), pp. 33-34.

Ibn Taymiyyahs View on Fitrah By Yasien Mohamed

Adapted with slight modifications from "Fitra: The Islamic Concept of Human Nature" 1996 TA-HA Publishers Ltd.


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According to Ibn Taymiyyah every child is born in a state of fitrah; in a state of innate goodness, and it is the social environment which cause the individual to deviate from this state. There is a natural correspondence between human nature and Islm; man is suited for Dn al-Islm and responds spontaneously to its teachings. Dn alIslm provides the ideal conditions for sustaining and developing mans innate qualities.[1] Mans nature has inherently within it more than simply knowledge of Allh, but a love of Him and the will to pracitise the religion (dn) sincerely as a true hanf. This points to the element of the individual will, a pro-active drive which purposefully seeks to realise Islamic beliefs and practices. Ibn Taymiyyah responded to Ibn Abd al-Barrs notion of fitrah and argued that it is not merely a dormant potential which should be awakened from without, but rather the source of awakening itself, within the individual. The hanf is not the one who reacts to sources of guidance, but one who is already guided and seeks to establish it consciously in practice.[2] The central hadth refers to a change which may be affected by the social environment; Ibn Taymiyyah maintained that this change is one from a given state, a positive state of Islm, to Judaism, Christianity, Magianism, etc. The social environment may be also guide the individual to mn and good conduct so that the motivation in him to do good may be expressed, aided by external sources of guidance.[3] Ibn Taymiyyah was of the view that the human soul possesses an innate receptive capacity and a need for Islmic guidance while Dn al-Islm is an adequate stimulus for this capacity and a sufficient fulfillment of this need. Moreover, if sources of external misguidance are absent, the fitrah of the individual will be actualised involuntarily and good will prevail.[4] In support of this view, Ibn Taymiyyah cited Ab Hurairahs reference to the central Qurnic yah (30:30) after the latters quoting the central hadth.[5] In other words, whenever Ab Hurairah, may Allh be pleased with him, reported the central hadth, he used to recite after it the following Qurnic yah: Set your face to the dn in sincerity (hanfan: as a hanf) which is Allhs fitrah (the nature made by Allh) upon which He created mankind (fataran-ns). There is no changing the creation of Allh. That is the right dn but most people know not. (Qurn 30:30) Ab Hurairahs citation of this yah after the hadth apparently means that the fitrah of the hadth refers to the fitrah of the Qurnic yah, which is a good fitrah because the right dn is being described as Allhs fitrah. The logic of this argument is that Ab Hurairah, may Allh be pleased with him, meant that fitrah is associated with Islm (al-Qurtubi, 1967). And according to Ibn Taymiyyah it is the social circumstances, as represented by the parents, which causes the child to be a Jew, a Christian or a Magian. Since the Prophet, may Allh bless him and grant him peace, did not mention the parents changing the child from a state of fitrah to a state of Islm, we must suppose
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that the childs state at birth is in harmony with Islm, in the widest sense of submission to Allh (Ibn Taymiyyah, 1981). Another implication of this view of fitrah is that, while good constitutes the inner state of a persons nature, evil is something that happens after the person is born. That is to say, deviation after birth is due to the corrupting influence of the social environment. Ibn Qayyim (d. 751 A.H.), a disciple of Ibn Taymiyyah, held similar views on the positive interpretation. He did not regard fitrah as mere knowledge of right and wrong at birth but as an active, inborn love and acknowledgement of Allh which reaffirms His Lordship. He also explained that Qurn 16:78 (And Allh brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers, knowing nothing) does not refer to innate knowledge of Allh or Islm, but rather to knowledge of the particulars of religion in general which is why the latter type of knowledge is absent at birth. Moreover, fitrah is not merely the capacity or readiness to receive Islm, in which such a condition can be unfulfilled when parents choose Judaism or Christianity as the childs religion; Ibn Qayyim argued that fitrah is truly an inborn predisposition to acknowledge Allh, tawhd and dn al-Islm.[6] Imm an-Nawaw (d. 676 A.H. / 1277 C.E.), a Shfi faqh who wrote one of the principal commentaries on Sahh Muslim, defined fitrah as the unconfirmed state of mn before the individual consciously affirms his belief. We have already alluded to this positive view of fitrah and the implications it has for children whose parents are polytheists. Al-Qurtub (d. 671 A.H.) supported the positive view of fitrah by using the analogy of the physically unblemished animals in the central hadth to illustrate that, just as animals are born intact, so are humans born with the flawless capacity to accept the truth; and, just as the animal may be injured or scarred, so can fitrah be corrupted or altered by external sources of misguidance.

Notes and References [1] Ibn Taymiyya Daru Taarud al Aql wa al Naql. Vol. 8, ed. Muhammad Rashad Saim. (Riyadh: Jamiat alImam Muhammad ibn Saud al-Islamiyyah, 1981), Vol. VIII, p. 383 and pp. 444-448. [2] Ibid., p. 385. [3] Ibid., p. 385. [4] Ibid., pp. 463-364. [5] Ibid., p. 367. cf. also al-Qurtub, Al-Jmiu al-Ahkm al-Qurn, p. 25. [6] al-Asqaln, Fathul Bar, p. 198


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The Psychological Implication of Fitrah

By Yasien Mohamed
Adapted with some modifications from Fitra: The Islamic Concept of Human Nature 1996 TA-HA Publishers Ltd.

Although man is born in a state of fitrah, he also has the potential for wrong. In order to actualise his fitrah, man needs to gain control over this potential for wrong within himself. Wrongdoing, kufr (rejection of tawhd) and breaking the Divine law, are all part of the Divine scheme of Creation; their functions are important and decisive for man. Allh has endowed man with the inborn capacity to distinguish right from wrong. Through intellect, freewill and revelation he can be guided to choose what is right and lawful and thus reawaken this recognition in him. Although man is not born evil he is vulnerable to evil stimuli or external sources of misguidance. This property of the human constitution, to be vulnerable to wrong, is intrinsic to man and is referred to as the psyche or the self (nafs) of man. The emotional and biological impulses of man are not inherently evil, but are readily susceptible to evil stimuli. They need to be controlled and directed in accordance with Divinely prescribed laws so that thenafs can be transformed into the highest level of spiritual achievement an-nafs al-mutmainnah. The individual who has attained a highest spiritual consciousness has passed through three broad levels of psycho-spiritual growth. The Qurn uses the term nafs to denote the psychic dimension (or the self) of man. It is a dynamic entity which, if properly trained, can develop to the highest stage of spiritual awareness and, ultimately, harmony with the rh. The lowest level of psycho-spiritual state of the nafs is an-nafs al-ammrah the commanding self. This state is the negative psychic force in man, the seat of the egotistic and selfish drives. It may be contrasted with the qalb, the rh and the aql, which represent the spiritual drive in man, always seeking the presence of Allh. Nafs has a negative character in the Qurn through being called an-nafs al-ammrah bis-su[1] (the self commanding evil)This aspect of the nafs is referred to as the lower self, which at-Tustari grouped under four main headings:[2] (i) The selfish desire of the nafs: it desires its own pleasures through its inborn lust (shahwah) and passion (haw). The autonomous claim of the nafs: it claims its own self-centred power (hawl) and strength (quwwah) and follows its own planning (tadbr) without regard for Allhs guidance.



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The antagonistic temper of the nafs: it tempts man to act in accordance with his natural inclination for both restless movement (harakah) and listless passivity (sukn), in opposition to Allhs command (amr) and prohibition (nah). The nafs as mans enemy and shaytns companion: it is the worst enemy (adw) of man and associates itself with shaytn by taking heed of the whispering (wawasah).


An-nafs al-lawwmah (the reproachful self: see Qurn 75:2) is the first major step in psychospiritual growth. It is the inner guide that directs man to the truth, and stands mid-way between the negative tendency of an-nafs al-ammrah and the positive tendencies of rh and aql. At this stage, the slightest departure from the straight path arouses in the believer the pains of conscience. Unlike the commanding self, the reproachful self does not totally submit to carnal desire and whims. The motive force of the reproachful self is fulfilled when it reaches the final stage of psycho-spiritual growth,an-nafs al-mutmainnah (the contented self). At this latter stage the individual is totally liberated from the carnal self and attains the highest level of spiritual balance The psychological or psychical implications of fitrah are associated with the nafs. Since the emotions and desires form an integral part of the nafs of man, the psychological implications are directly related to its emotional dimensions. Both the emotional and the psychological dimensions of man have positive as well as negative tendencies. If mans emotions are controlled and directed to higher spiritual ends, then his psychical nature is disciplined. Although the biological constitution of man is completely different from the biological constitution, the former nevertheless serves as an instrument for the drives of the psycheThe lower self of the nafs must be transformed into a positive, spiritually higher state so that the individual may be liberated from bondage to the lower nafs, for it tends towards gratification of the biological and emotional needs of the individual and away from the service of Allh. Two primary qualities of the nafs are passion and anger. All other negative drives are derived from these two. Passion instinctively tends to weigh the individual down with an inertia of complacency and indulgence, while, at the same time, it is expressive and pulsates with its own energy. Dispersing waves of its activity beyond itself. Anger is an emotion bent on glorification, arrogance and domination. Its energy serves to stifle its own dynamic and confines free emotional expression to forceful self-justification. These attributes suggest an ambivalence in human emotional states: they have positive as well as negative tendencies. They are, nonetheless, integral to the soul. Passion may appeal to the individuals sense of charisma, make him of a pleasant disposition and produce in him a sense of serenity. Anger may serve the function of self-preservation, seek to resist falsehood and to establish harmony where there is discord. However, one must maintain balance in the degree to which these drives influence the thought and behaviour of the individual. A lack of such drives may prove harmful for the soul and body, while an excess of them may harm the individuals intellect and faith. Indeed, the refinement and discipline of the nafs consist in restoring the qualities of anger and passion to a state of balance, in order to avoid descent into bestial animal states and to prevent the emergence of other blameworthy qualities. Regarding the way in which one can maintain this state of balance, Najm ad-Dn ar-Rz (654 A.H./1256 C.E.) said:


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In obedience to the Law (sharah), man should earnestly fear Allh and not to strive to seek dispensation, for the Law and the fear of Allh are a balance which maintain the attributes in a state of equilibrium, preventing some from prevailing over others. Disequilibrium would be in a state of animals and beasts of prey, for in animals the attribute of passion prevails over that of anger, and in beasts of prey the attribute of anger prevails over that of passion. Of necessity, animals are given to greed and lust, and beasts of prey to conquest, wrath, and dominance, to killing and hunting.[3] According to Najm ad-Dn ar-Rz, Allh does not intend the alchemy of the Law to eliminate blameworthy qualities, for that would result in deficient spiritual and physical well-being; herein lies the folly of those philosophers who sought to completely eliminate anger, passion and lust. Instead, the property of Law and the alchemy of the dn are to restore each of these qualities to a state of balance in the soul so that they may be exercised in accordance with the sharah. Thereby they cause praiseworthy qualities to emerge from within the self. The paradoxical nature of these drives is that their energy, after being transformed so as to manifest its potential for good, can elevate the individual to the highest level, an-nafs al-mutmainnah. With regard to the transformation of the lower elements of the self, we again consider the drive of anger and examine the distinction between the holy anger of the saintly man and the gross anger of the profane man. The fearfully obedient believer is one who has actualized his fitrah, by transforming it from its original state within his being to an embodiment in reality. The influence of the actualised fitrahpervades and suffuses all experience, all thought and all behaviour. Although, anger, for example, derives its energy from itself, the fearfully obedient and conscientious individual expresses it with the direction and immutable Divine quality of guidance of fitrah. Whether consciously, subconsciously our unconsciously, the individual, by his anger, seeks only to fulfil his actualized fitrah and to resist evil and establish good. Note here the connection between the emotional experience and fitrah; by means of this connection the transformation of the believers anger takes place. The profane man, on the other hand, experiences profane anger. His fitrah is only in his being; it is not actualized in his behaviour. The relationship between his fitrah and his emotional experience is, at best, fleeting or, at worst, non-existent; there is no real or substantial connection. The fitrah of the profane man remains a dormant potential, untapped by his conscious will, while with his anger he may seek gratification for his own sake, for selfish, cowardly or unjust motives. Consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously, he has not allowed his fitrah to orientate, direct and express his anger in an Islmic manner. Socially, anger plays a vital role in the manifestation of the believers spiritual consciousness. The following hadth testifies to this: Whoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.[4] The above hadth refers to the conduct of the believer who experiences holy anger with respect to unjust social conditions and wrongdoing, for example. Holy passion, like holy anger, is sanctified by the individuals fitrah. The natural energy of passion, under the guidance of fitrah, teaches the fearfully obedient believer the difference between attachment to the Creator and His Divine guidance, and attachment to all circumstances, events and things. He acknowledges and
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appreciates all that is relative, mortal and transient, as the creation of the Creator; nothing can detract from or diminish his admiration and appreciation of such things in the physical world, for this is, after all, relative to the absolute. Real passion, however, in all its intensity of energy, is invested in the absolute itself. On the other hand, gross worldly passion is, in the extreme, ignorant of the fleeting nature and relativity of physical reality. At times profane man doubts even his own physical morality. In his frame of reference, the Creator is relative or does not feature at all; God is a consequence of or a means to his intense and unconquerable attachment to this world. The energy of his passion drowns his potential for reawakening, in inertia and it vibrates with activity bent on greed, lust and the like. Profane passion is not transformed and sanctified by fitrah, but holy passion is, and the latter seeks expression through spiritual values.

Al-Ghazls picture of dynamic interaction shows how the elements of anger and appetite, when controlled and transmuted with the aid of the aql, are able to transform the lower nafs into the higher levels of psycho-spiritual development, and in so doing actualize the state of fitrah. Although the soul and the body are separate entities, they affect each other. Al-Ghazl maintains that every act produces an effect on the soul, if it is done deliberately and repeatedly. As physical action influences the soul, so the soul influences the body. This is known as the traditional interaction theory. An act creates an effect on the soul; this effect causes the body to repeat the same act which again produces an effect on the soul. The resultant effect is added to the previous effect produced.[5] Before I can discuss al-Ghazls interaction picture, which deals with the dynamics of the self, I need to introduce the faculties of the self in relation to the human constitution. Most Muslim philosophers accepted Platos view that the soul consists of three qualities. Al-Ghazl introduced a fourth quality, the quality of justice, the function of which is to maintain a balance between the other qualities of anger, appetite and reason. The quality of anger is referred to in the Qurn and hadth as a passion (haw). Appetite and passion are also referred to as nafs (the carnal self). AlGhazl regarded these as the source of wrongdoing. Like Najm ad-Din al-Rz, alGhazl also maintained that passion has been created for the benefit of man, but that it serves a good purpose only when it is expressed within the prescribed limits which are determined by aql and sharah. However, since nafs tends to exceed the limits because of its vulnerability to impulsive behaviour, it needs to be controlled and directed by the quality of justice, which is referred to by al-Ghazl as the motive of religion (baith ad-dn). These two motives of the nafs, the susceptibility to irrational impulses and the quality of justice, compete with each other in the self of every sane human being.[6] The introduction of the quality of justice is important to al-Ghazl as it has a bearing on his theory of root virtues, struggle with the self and moral responsibilities. The faculty of justice is not yet present in man before the age of discretion and he is not able to control his passion (haw) and cannot choose to refrain from wrongdoing.


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The four elements of bahimiyyah, sabiyyah, rabbaniyyah and shaytniyyah respectively determine the natures and the extent of the forces of appetite, anger, intellect and shaytn. Individuals possess these powers in different proportions. A full appreciation of arRzs and al-Ghazls views requires an analysis of the dynamic interaction of the forces of appetite and anger and of the satanic and angelic elements in man, (cf. diagram P which may prove useful in understanding the dynamic nature of mans nafs and its discipline and transmutation into higher spiritual levels). Aql and shaytniyyah are opposing forces of the soul that work through shahwah (appetite) and ghadab (anger) towards a constructive and destructive purposes. The animal forces of anger and appetite are instigated by shaytniyyah to revolt against aql and conquer it. Aql, on the other hand, because of its inherent angelic element, seeks to control these animal forces and diver them through proper channels in order to make them useful to the soul. If aql succeeds in subjugating them, the satanic influence on man is weakened and rendered ineffective, and a state of harmony conducive to the realization of God prevails. The tendency towards wrongdoing is subdued and the animal forces are harmonized, which permits the soul to pursue its goal without interruption. It is this state of peace and harmony in the soul which is referred to in the Qurn as an-nafs al-mutmainnah. However, if the animal forces are instigated by shaytaniyyah, they rebel against aql and conquer it, strengthening the wrong influence on man until it has complete control over the aql, thus weakening the angelic element in man. All the other faculties then become subservient to shaytn; and reason becomes the slave of anger, passion and lust. The wrongdoing tendency becomes stronger, with a correspondingly increased desire for self-gratification through the physical expression of wrongdoing at the expense of the good of the soul. Shaytn devises means for the satisfaction of these wrong needs. When this tendency reaches its maximum potential it becomes the active principle in an-nafs al-ammrah, the lowest level of spiritual development. Nevertheless, the angelic element opposes these animal forces and is seldom totally subdued. It is when the angelic element of the soul is engaged in this kind of struggle that it is referred to by the Qurn as the admonishing or reproachful soul an-nafs allawwmah.[7] These conditions of the soul represent the spiritual consequences of the interaction of these elements. A balance of power is maintained when anger and appetite are controlled by aql. The equilibrium of the three phases of the souls development produces ethical consequences that are conducive to the realisation of the ideal. If shahwah, for example, is controlled and expressed in moderation, qualities such as chastity, contentment and modesty emerge. If ghadab is controlled, qualities such as courage, generosity, fortitude, endurance and forgiveness emerge. If
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both shahwah and ghadab are subordinated to the angelic element, qualities such as knowledge, wisdom, faith and certainty develop. However, if shahwah dominates, the progress of the soul towards its goal is affected; bestial characteristics such as greed, gluttony, wickedness, hypocrisy and jealousy then emerge. If ghadab dominates, characteristics of ferocious animals such as enmity, hatred, contempt, pride and love of self-aggrandisement are acquired. If the angelic element transcends its limits then qualities such as claiming lordship (rubbiyyah), despotism and making claims to special privilege are displayed.[8] Man stands midway between animals and angels and his unique characteristic is intelligence aql. He can rise to the levels of the angels with the help of the intellect or stoop to the level of the animals by permitting his anger and lust to dominate him. The foregoing psychological analysis makes it clear that Allh has created all bodily organs and faculties of the self to help him realise his fitrah. However, al-Ghazl emphasized that the realization of fitrah can be achieved only when the intellect has been fully applied. Thorough knowledge is, to al-Ghazl, a prerequisite for the application of the intellect

Al-Ghazalis Theory of Dynamic Interaction


(angelic element/intellect)

Shahwah (appetite)

SELF Ghadab
(nafs, rh) (anger)

Shaytniyyah (satanic element)

Degrees of Dominance over and Subservience to the Animal Forces of Anger and Appetite
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LEVELS OF PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT an-nafs al-ammrah an-nafs al-lawwmah an-nafs al-mutmainnah

ANGELIC ELEMENT (AQL) subservience partial subservience dominance

SATANIC ELEMENT (SHAYTNIYYAH) dominant partially subservient subservient

Notes and references: [1] Qurn 12:53 [2] Gerhard Bwering, The Mystical Vision in Classical Islam, (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1980), p. 243. (i) The Selfish Desire of the Nafs: it desires its own pleasures through its innate tendencies of lust (shahwah) and passion (haw). (ii) The Autonomous Claim of the Nafs: it makes claim over its self-centred power (hawl) and strength (quwwah), and to follow its own planning (tadbr) without regard for Allhs guidance. (iii) The Antagonistic Temper of the Nafs: it tempts man to act in accordance with his natural inclination for restless movement (harakah) and listless passivity (sukn) in opposition to Allhs command (amr) and prohibition (nah). [3] Najm al Dn ar-Rz, The Path to Gods Bondsman from Origin to Return, (New York: Caravan Books, 1982), trans. Hamid Algar, p. 195. [4] An-Nawaw, Forty Hadth, (Lahore: Kazi Publications, no date), trans. Ibrahim and Davies, p. 110. [5] A. Quasem, The Nature of al-Ghazalis Ethics, (Edinburgh, 1973), pp. 50-51. [6] Ibid., pp. 50-51. [7] M. Umaruddin, The Ethical Philosophy of Al-Ghazali, op. cit., pp. 63-64. [8] Ibid., pp. 63-64.


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Aphorisms of the Salaf (Predecessors) on Ethics Compiled by Shaykh Ahmad Fard

Selected from "From the Characteristics of the Salaf" with transliteration-related modifications 1996 Jamiat Ihyaa Minhaaj Al-Sunnah

Ibrhm at-Taymi (rahimahullh) would say, The sincerely devoted one is he who conceals his good deeds like he conceals his bad ones. Once Umar ibn Abdul Azz (rahimahullh) was advised, O Umar, beware of being the ally of Allh in open, while being His enemy in secret. If ones nature in open and secret do not equate then he is a hypocrite, and the hypocrites occupy the lowest level in Hellfire.
It was asked by one of them, Beware of hypocritical fear! On being asked, What is hypocritical fear? he replied, When your body is seen fearing whereas you heart is not fearing.

One of them said, Accompanying the righteous people gives rise to righteousness in the heart. Ahmad ibn Harb (rahimahullh) said, There is nothing more beneficial to a Muslims heart than to mix with the righteous and to watch their actions, while nothing is more harmful to the heart than mixing with the sinners and watching their actions.
One of the Salaf said, If it can be that no one beats you to Allh, then do so. Ab Turb an-Nakhshab (rahimahullh) would say, If a person resolved to leave sinning, Allh would send him reinforcements from all sides. What indicates the blackness of the heart are three: Not to find an escape from sinning, nor a place for obedience to occur, nor a haven for the sermon that warns.

One of them said, If the only quality of obedience was light appearing on the face and its radiance, love in the heart, strength in the limbs, security of the soul (nafs), all these would have been enough for leaving sins. And if sins only produce ugliness in the face, darkness in the heart and fear over the soul, then all this would have been enough for leaving sins. For both the obedient
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and disobedient Allh has left indications and signs to please one and make the other sorrowful.
Qatdah was asked, Which person has the highest standing? He replied, The most abundant in his pardon.

One of the Salaf said, I disobey Allh to find its effect in the way my animal behaves and my wife. Al ibn Ab Tlib (radiyAllhu anhu) said, What contents a person is five things. For his wife to be agreeable, his children to be loyal, his brothers to be pious, his neighbours righteous, and his provisions in his Lord.
Ahmad ibn Harb (rahimahullh) would say, If six mannerisms are gathered in a woman, her goodness is perfected: Guarding the five prayers, yielding to her husband, pleasing her Lord, guarding her tongue from backbiting and gossip, forsaking worldly possessions, and being patient following a tragedy. Sufyn ath-Thawr (rahimahullh) said, Do not seek leadership except after fighting the soul (i.e., fighting your desires and self) for seventy years. Bakr ibn Abdullh al-Muzan (rahimahullh) said, If you see someone older than you then respect him saying, He has beaten me to Islm and righteous action. If you see someone younger than you then respect him saying to yourself, I have beaten him in sins. If the people honour you then say, That is from the grace of Allh, but I do not deserve it. If they degrade you then say , This happened as a consequence of a previous sin. If you throw a pebble at your neighbor's dog, then you have harmed him. Mutarrif ibn Abdullh (rahimahullh) would say, I am not surprised at the one who is destroyed, how he was destroyed, but am amazed at the one who was saved, how he was saved, and Allh never granted a blessing greater than the gift of Islm. Yahy ibn Mudh (rahimahullh) gathered the characteristics of the believers in one of his essays as follows, It is to be full of modesty, and to be harmless too. To be full of goodness and not to be corrupt. For the tongue to be truthful, for the words to be little and to be plentiful in good action. To have little slip-ups and not to be excessive. To be good to ones relatives, building closeness between them. To be dignified and grateful. To be full of contentment if Allh restricted some provision. To be forbearing and friendly to his brothers. To be compassionate and chaste. Not to curse, swear, insult, backbite, nor to gossip. Not to be hasty, envious, hateful, arrogant nor vain. Not to lean towards worldliness, nor to extend long hopes and wishes. Not to sleep too much nor to be absent-mined, nor to show-off nor be hypocritical. Not to be selfish, but to be soft and cheerful, nor servile. Loving for only the sake of Allh, being pleased for His sake and being angry for His sake. His provision is taqw (reverential fear of Allh). His worries are what will happen to him in the Afterlife. His friends remind him. His beloved is His Protector and Master. His struggle is for Afterlife.


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Fudayl ibn Iyd (rahimahullh) said, A believer plants a palm tree and fears that thorns will grow. The hypocrites plant thorns expecting ripe dates to grow!
Mlik ibn Dnr (rahimahullh) said, Whoever proposed to the world, then the world would not be satisfied until he gave up his Deen as dowry.

Fudayl ibn Iyd (rahimahullh) said, If you remember the creation (gossip about such and such a person), then remember Allh the Most High. Remembering Him is the medicine for remembering His creation. Yahy ibn Mudh (rahimahullh) said, Renew your hearts with the remembrance of Allh because it rushes into forgetfulness.
Kab al-Ahbr (rahimahullh) said, I prefer to weep out of the fear of Allh [even] with only one tear drop falling from my eyes than the spend a mountain of gold with an ungracious heart.

Al (radiyAllhu anhu) would say, The signs of the righteous are a pale complexion, bleary eyes, lips shriveling from their hunger, weeping, and wakefulness in prayer at night.
Mlik ibn Dnr (rahimahullh) said, Beware of the sorcerer who enchant the hearts of the scholars distracting them from Allh the Most High, i.e., the world. Its nature is uglier than the magic Hrt and Mrt came with, since their magic separated a man from his wife, whereas the world separates a slave from his Master.

Abdullh ibn Mubrak (rahimahullh) would say, The world is the believers prison. The best action in the prison is patience and control of ones anger. The believer has no country in the world, His land will be there tomorrow in the Afterlife.
[The aim (and Allh knows best) is that the believer does not aspire for the world as evidenced in the statement of the Most High: That Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous. {Srah Qasas: (28):83} But Allh will elevate him in this world and the Hereafter and give him honour in this world as for the Hereafter.]

One of the Salaf used to say, If you want to be close to Allh then put an iron wall between yourself and your desires. Ab Muslim al-Khawln (rahimahullh) said, Many people live amongst the people just with their knowledge, destroying their souls, i.e., with vanity and egoism. Ab Hzim (rahimahullh) said, The scholars of our time have been content with speech and with no practise! The Salaf used to practice but not speak. After them the people practised and spoke being followed by a people who spoke


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but did not practice. There will come a time when people will not speak nor practise. Sufyn ath-Thawr (rahimahullh) said, Whoevers knowledge makes him weep, then he is a scholar (lim). Allh the Most High said, Verily those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them they fall down on their faces in humble prostration. [Srah Ban Isrl (17):107] He also
said, When the verses (yt) of Ar-Rahmn (The Most Merciful) is recited to them they fall in prostration weeping. [Sratul-Maryam (19):58]

One of the Salaf said, If one of you do not wish to fulfil his brothers needs by sharing his worries or by making invocations (du) then do not ask How are things? because it is considered hypocrisy.
Ab Bakr as-Siddq (radiyAllhu anhu) was asked, How are you this morning? He replied, This morning I enter as a lowly slave to a magnificent Lord. I enter the morning commanded by His command. Imam ash-Shfi (rahimahullh) was asked, How are you this morning? He replied, This morning I have entered eating my Lords provision but not fulfilling true gratitude towards Him. Mlik ibn Dnr (rahimahullh) was asked, How are you this morning? He replied, I enter the morning with my remaining age diminishing and my sins increasing. Fudayl ibn Iyd (rahimahullh) said, If Ibls conquers the son dam with one of the three [things] he says: I will not seek anything else from him - 1) being fond of himself, 2) deeming his deeds to be plentiful, and 3) forgetfulness of his sins.

Al-Hasan (rahimahullh) said, If shaytn saw you consistently obeying Allh he will seek you time and time again. If he sees your consistency he grows weary of you and rejects you. If you changed, however, each and every time, then he begins to have hope in you. Sahl at-Tustar (rahimahullh) said, Gratitude to Allh is not to disobey Him with His favours. The whole body is from the favours of Allh and His giving, so do not disobey Him with any of it. Mujhid and Makhl (rahimahumullh) used to say about the statement of Allh, Then you will be asked that Day about the enjoyment [Sratut-Takthur (102):8], Indeed this is the cool drink, the shelter of a home, the satisfaction of ones belly, the perfection of one's features, and joy of sleep. Umar ibn Abdul Azz (rahimahullh) used to say, None can reach the station of taqw until he possesses neither action nor words that can be exposed to his embarrassment either in this world or the Hereafter. He was once
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asked, When does the worshipper reach the peak of taqw? He replied, If he put all his thoughts and desires in his heart on a plate and then wandered around in the market, he should not feel ashamed of anything there. He would frequently say, The sign of the muttaq (pious person) is to bridle oneself from speaking just like one in ihrm bridles himself from speaking. The muttaq need to be a scholar of the Sharah, all of it, otherwise he leaves taqw without realising.
Ab Dard (radiyAllhu anhu) said, From the completion of taqw is that the slave fears from his Lord even with regards to things the weight of an atom. Ab Hurayrah (radiyAllhu anhu) was asked about taqw. He said, It is a road full of thorns. One who walks it needs to have extreme patience. Sufyn ath-Thawr (rahimahullh) said, We met a people who loved it when it was said to them, Fear Allh the Most High. Today you find that people only become annoyed at this.

From the statements of the Amrul-Muminn Al (radhiAllhu anhu), The tallness of the slave ends at the age of twenty-two. His intelligence reaches its peak at twenty-eight. What is after that until the end of his life is just test and affliction. Qatdah (rahimahullh) would say, Men are of three types: A man, half a man and no man. The man is the one from whose opinion and intelligence there is benefit. The half man is the one who questions the intelligent and practices according to their opinion. The no man is the one who has no intelligence nor opinion nor does he ask anyone else. Sufyn ibn Uyaynah (rahimahullh) said, The most nimble of creatures still have need of a voice. The cleverest women still need to have a husband, and the cleverest man still needs to consult wise men. Wahb ibn Munabbih (rahimahullh) said, Whoever claims to be intelligent but his attention is not geared towards the Afterlife, then he is a liar.
One of the Salaf said, Wisdom is kindled by four things: sorrow after sins, readiness for death, emptiness of the stomach, and accompanying the forsakers of this world.

Ash-Shfi (rahimahullh) said, Whoever spread gossip for you spreads gossip against you. Whoever relates tales to you will tell tales about you. Whoever when you please him says about you what is not in you, when you anger him will say about you what is not in you.
Fudayl ibn Iyd (rahimahullh) said, Whoevers admonition is much, his friends will be few.
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Ibrhm an-Nakh (rahimahullh) said, Whoever reflects will find that the noblest and most dignified person of every gathering is the one who is most silent, because silence beautifies the scholar and conceals the faults of the ignorant. Marf al-Kirakh (rahimahullh) said, A person speaking about unnecessary things is [indication] from Allh abandoning him. Shign ibn Mt al-Asbah (rahimahullh) said, Whoevers speech increased, his mistakes [also] increased. Sufyn ath-Thawr (rahimahullh) said, When your brother is out of your sight, mention him as you would like him to mention you when you are out of his sight. One of the Salaf said, One of you might see his own faults but he still loves himself. He then hates his Muslim brother on suspicion. So where is the logic? Ash-Shab (rahimahullh) would say, Whoever sought the mistakes of his brothers is left with no friends.
Sufyn ath-Thawr (rahimahullh) used to be overjoyed if he saw a beggar at his door saying, Welcome to the one who has come to wash my sins. Fudayl ibn Iyd (rahimahullh) said, Beggars are such good people! They carry our provision to the Afterlife without payment until they place it on the scale in front of Allh the Most High. Rab ibn Khuthaym (rahimahullh) said, No one should isolate himself in worship except after studying the religion deeply, because Imm Mlik used to say: Study deeply and then seclude yourself. It was said, Secluding oneself from the general public is from the completeness of morals.

Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Character Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Excerpted from his Rislat-ut-Tabkiyyah


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This is one example of the excellent character with which Allh, the Exalted, has equipped his Messenger ( ). He described him as,

Verily, you (Muhammad) are on an exalted standard of character. [AlQalam (68): 4]

ishah (radiyAllhu anh), described him as,

His character was just [a reflection of] the Qurn.[1]

Such excellent character cannot be attained without three conditions:

1. The foundation must be good. If one has a rough and dry nature, it will be hard for him to
submit to this [excellence of character] through knowledge, will, or practice. On the other hand, a mild and smooth nature will be ready and willing to receive the plowing and the seeds [to prepare it for character excellence]. 2. The soul must be strong and capable of conquering calls of laziness, transgression, and desire. Those matters contradict perfection, and souls that cannot defeat them will always be defeated and conquered. 3. [One must possess] a discerning knowledge of the truth of matters, enabling one to put them in the rightful position, and to distinguish between flash and cancer - between glass and jewels. If these three qualities are present in a man, and Allhs facilitation helps him, then he will be among those whom the best (husn) has been decreed and for whom Allhs care has been secured.

Notes: [1] Muslim, Ab Dwd, Ahmad

Strengthening the Character By the Imm - the Shaykh of Islm - Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah[1]
Taken from Fawid: Points of Benefit

1) Six Ettiquettes of Learning[2]

Ibn al-Qayyim - rahimahullh - said: There are six stages to knowledge:

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Firstly: Asking questions in a good manner. Secondly: Remaining quiet and listening attentively. Thirdly: Understanding well. Fourthly: Memorising. Fifthly: Teaching. Sixthly - and it is its fruit: Acting upon the knowledge and keeping to its limits.[3]

2) Fruits of Humility

Ibn al-Qayyim - rahimahullh - said:[4]

One of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) said: Indeed a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise; and another does a good deed by which he enters the Fire. It was asked: How is that? So he replied: The one who committed the sin, constantly

thinks about it; which causes him to fear it, regret it, weep over it and feel ashamed in front of his Lord - the Most High - due to it. He stands before Allh, broken-hearted and with his head lowered in humility. So this sin is more beneficial to him than doing many acts of obedience, since it caused him to have humility and humbleness which leads to the servants happiness and success to the extent that this sin becomes the cause for him entering Paradise. As for the doer of good, then he does not consider this good a favour from his Lord Upon him. Rather, he becomes arrogant and amazed with himself, saying: I have achieved such and such, and such and such. So this further increases him in self adulation, pride and arrogance such that this becomes the cause for his destruction.

3) Purifying the Heart

Ibn al-Qayyim - rahimahullh - said:

There is no doubt that the heart becomes covered with rust, just as metal dishes

silver, and their like become rusty. So the rust of the heart is polished with dhikr (remembrance of Allh), for dhikrpolishes the heart until it becomes like a shiny mirror. However, when dhikr is abandoned, the rust returns; and when it commences then the heart again begins to be cleansed. Thus the heart becoming rusty is due to two matters: sins and ghaflah (neglecting remembrance of Allh). Likewise, it is cleansed and polished by two things: istighfr (seeking Allhs forgiveness) and dhikr.[5]

4) Jihd Against the Self


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Jihd (striving) against the soul has four stages:

Firstly: To strive in learning guidance and the religion of truth, without which there will be no success. Indeed, there can be no true happiness, nor any delight in this world and in the Hereafter, except through it. Secondly: Striving to act upon what has been learnt, since knowledge without action will not benefit, rather it will cause harm. Thirdly: Striving to invite others towards it and to teach those who do not know, otherwise he may be considered from those who hide what Allh has revealed of guidance and clear explanation. Such knowledge will neither benefit, nor save a person from the punishment of Allh. Fourthly: Striving to be patient and persevering against those who oppose this dawah (call) to Allh and those who seek to cause harm - patiently bearing all these hardships for the sake of Allh. When these four stages are completed then such a person is considered to be amongst the Rabbniyyn. The Salaf were agreed that a Scholar does not deserve the title of Rabbn until he recognises and knows the truth, acts upon it, and teaches it to others. So whosoever has knowledge, acts upon it, and teaches this knowledge to others, is considered from the Rabbniyyn.[6]

5) Trials of the Heart

Ibn al-Qayyim said, whilst commenting upon the following hadth: Trials and tribulations will be presented to hearts, as a reed mat is interwoven stick by stick. Any heart which absorbs these trials will have a black mark put in it. However, any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that hearts will be of two kinds: one white like a white stone, which will not be harmed by trials as long as the heavens and earth endure; and the other dark and rusty, like an over-turned vessel; not able to recognise the good, nor reject evil, but rather being absorbed with its desires.[7]
The fitan (trials) which are presented to the hearts - and which are the cause of its

weakness - are: (i) the trials relating to shahwah (false desire) and (ii) the trials relating to shubhah (doubt)... so the first causes intentions and will to be corrupted, whilst the second causes knowledge and beliefs to be corrupted.[8] Speaking about such trials, he - rahimahullh - said: "Hearts - when exposed to such fitn (trials) are of two types:
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[The first type]: a heart, which, when exposed to such trials, absorbs it like a sponge that soaks-up water, leaving in it a black stain. Such a heart continues to soak-up the various trials that are presented to it, until it becomes dark and corrupted - which is what is meant by an over-turned vessel. So when this occurs, two dangerous and deadly diseases take hold of it and plunge it into destruction: Firstly: confusing good with evil, so it neither recognises the good, nor rejects the evil. This disease may take hold of it to such an extent that it believes good to be evil; and evil to be good, Sunnah to bebidah (innovation), and innovations to be the Sunnah; and the truth to be falsehood: and falsehood the truth. Secondly: judging by its whims and desires, over and against what Allhs Messenger came with being enslaved by its whims and desires and being led by them also. [The second type]: a white heart in which the light of mn is bright and its radiance is illuminating. So when trials are presented to such a heart, it rejects and turns away from them. This further increases its light and illumination and its strength.[9]

6) Four Principles of Worship

(The Ayah): You alone do we worship. [Srah al ftihah 1:5] is built upon four

principles:- Ascertaining what Allh and His Messenger love and are pleased with, from i. the sayings of the heart and ii. of the tongue; and iii. the actions of the heart and iv. of the limbs. So al-Ubdiyyah (servitude and slavery to Allh) is a comprehensive term for all these four Stages. The one who actualises them has indeed actualised: You alone do we worship. The saying of the heart: It is Itiqd (belief) in what Allh - the Most Perfect informed about His Self; concerning His Names, His Attributes, His Actions, His Angels, and all that He sent upon the tongue of His Messenger . The saying of the tongue: It is to inform and convey (what Allh has revealed), to call to it, defend it, to explain the false innovations which oppose it, to establish its remembrance and to convey what it orders.


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The action of the heart: Such as love for Him, reliance upon Him, repenting to Him, having fear and hope in Him, making the Dn purely and sincerely for Him, having patience in what He orders and prohibits, having patience with what He decrees and being pleased with it, having allegiance and enmity for His sake, humbling oneself in front of Him and having humility in front of Him, becoming tranquil with Him and other than this from the actions of the heart which are actually connected to the action of the limbs ... and actions of the limbs without the action of the heart is of little benefit if any benefit at all. The action of the limbs: Such as Prayer and Jihd, attending the Jumuah and being with the Jamah, aiding those who are unable and displaying goodness and kindness to the creation, and other than this.[10]

Notes: [1] He is Ab Abdullh, Shamsud Dn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr (better known as Ibn al-Qayyim (or ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah). He was born in the year 691H in the city of Damascus. From an early age he set about acquiring knowledge and studied under many prominent teachers, the most notable of whom was Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah. His students include the likes of Ibn Kathr, adh-Dhahab, Ibn Rajab, Ibn Abdul-Hd and others. He authored over ninety books and booklets - all of them being characterised by their touching address to the soul and the heart, as well, as their accuracy, precision and depth of research. Ibn al-Qayyim died on the night of Thursday 13th Rajab at the time of the Ish adhn in the year 751H. Testaments about his comprehensive knowledge, firm adherence to the way of the Salaf; excellent manners, worship and zuhd have been given by Al-Hfidh Ibn Hajar in ad-Dururul-Kminah (3/400), Al-Hfidh Ibn Rajab in Dhayl Tabaqtul-Hanbilah (2/447), ash-Shawkn in alBadrut-Tli(2/143-146) and also Al-Hfidh Ibn Kathr who said about him in al-Bidyah wanNihyah (14/246): He attained great proficiency in many branches of knowledge, particularly knowledge of Tafsr, Hadth and Usl. When Shaykh Taqiyyud-Dn Ibn Taymiyyah returned from Egypt in the year 712H, he stayed with the Shaykh until he died, learning a great deal of knowledge from him; along with the knowledge which he had already occupied himself in obtaining. So he became a singular Scholar in many branches of knowledge. He also continued to seek knowledge greatly day and night and was constant in humbly calling upon his Lord. He recited well and had fine manners. He had a great deal of love and did not harbour any envy for anyone, nor harm anyone, nor seek to find fault with anyone, nor bear any malice towards anyone. I was one of those who most often kept company with him and I was one of the most beloved of people to him. I do not know anyone in the world, in this time, who is a greater worshipper than him. His Salh (Prayer) used to be very lengthy, with prolonged ruk' (bowing) and sujd (prostration). His companions would often reproach him for this, yet he never retorted back, nor did he abandon this practice may Allh shower His Mercy upon him. [2] The following are some points of benefit extracted from the various works of the Shaykh pertaining to purification of the souls and curing the diseases of the hearts. [3] Mifth Drus-Sadah ( p.283). [4] Al-Wbilus-Sayyib minal-Kalimit-Tayyib ( p. 15). [5] Al-Wbilus-Sayyib (p. 80). [6] Zd ul-Mad f Had Khayril-Ibd (pp. 9-11). [7] Related by Muslim (no. 144), from Hudhaifah, radiallhu anhu.


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[8] Ighthatul-Luhfn (p. 40). [9] Ighthatul-Luhfn (pp. 39-40). [10] Madrijus-Slikn (1/100-101).

Advice On Dealing With Anger

Anger is one of the evil whispers of Shaytaan, which leads to so many evils and tragedies, of which only Allaah knows their full extent. For this reason Islam has a great deal to say about this bad characteristic, and the Prophet ( ) described cures for this disease and ways to limit its effects, among which are the following:

(1) Seeking refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan:

Sulayman ibn Sard said: I was sitting with the Prophet ( ), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet ( ) said,I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said I seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan, what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/337) The Prophet ( ) said: If a man gets angry and says, I seek refuge with Allaah, his anger will go away. (Saheeh al-Jaami al-Sagheer, no. 695)

(2) Keeping silent:

The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent. (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/329; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 693, 4027) This is because in most cases, the angry person loses self control and could utter words of kufr (from which we seek refuge with Allaah), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which would destroy his home, or words of slander which would bring him the enmity and hatred of others. So, in short, keeping silent is the solution which helps one to avoid all that.

(3) Not moving:

The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so his anger will go away; if it does not go away, let him lie down.
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The narrator of this hadeeth is Abu Dharr (may Allaah be pleased with him), and there is a story connected to his telling of it: he was taking his camels to drink at a trough that he owned, when some other people came along and said (to one another), Who can compete with Abu Dharr (in bringing animals to drink) and make his hair stand on end? A man said, I can, so he brought his animals and competed with Abu Dharr, with the result that the trough was broken. (i.e., Abu Dharr was expecting help in watering his camels, but instead the man misbehaved and caused the trough to be broken). Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he laid down. Someone asked him, O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down? He said: The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: . . . and quoted the hadeeth. (Thehadeeth and this story may be found in Musnad
Ahmad, 5/152; see also Saheeh al-Jaami, no. 694).

According to another report, Abu Dharr was watering his animals at the trough, when another man made him angry, so he sat down . . . (Fayd al-Qadeer, al-Manaawi, 1/408) Among the benefits of this advice given by the Prophet ( ) is the fact that it prevents the angry person from going out of control, because he could strike out and injure someone, or even kill as we will find out shortly - or he could destroy possessions and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will become overexcited, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something crazy or harmful. Al-Allaamah al-Khattaabi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said in his commentary on Aboo Daawood: One who is standing is in a position to strike and destroy, while the one who is sitting is less likely to do that, and the one who is lying down can do neither. It is possible that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told the angry person to sit down or lie down so that he would not do something that he would later regret. And Allaah knows best. (Sunan Abee Daawood, with Maaalim al-Sunan, 5/141)

(4) Following the advice of the Prophet (


Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, reported that a man said to the Prophet ( ), Advise me. He said, Do not become angry. The man repeated his request several times, and each time the Prophet ( ) told him, Do not become angry. (Reported by al-Bukhaaree, Fath alBaaree, 10/456)

According to another report, the man said: I thought about what the Prophet ( realized that anger combines all kinds of evil. (Musnad Ahmad, 5/373)

) said, and I

(5) Do not become angry and Paradise will be yours (a saheeh hadeeth, see Saheeh al-Jaam, 7374. Ibn Hajr attributed it to al-Tabaraanee, see al-Fath 4/465):

Remembering what Allaah has promised to the righteous (muttaqeen) who keep away from the causes of anger and struggle within themselves to control it, is one of the most effective ways of extinguishing the flames of anger. One of the ahaadeeth that describe the great reward for doing this is: Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allaah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection. (Reported by al-Tabaraanee, 12/453,
see also Saheeh al-Jaami, 6518)


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Another great reward is described in the Prophets ( ) words: Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allaah will call him before all of mankind on the Day of Resurrection, and will let him choose of the Hoor al-Ayn whoever he wants. (Reported
by Aboo Daawood, 4777, and others. It is classified as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami, 6518).

(6) Knowing the high status and advantages offered to those who control themselves:

The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: The strong man is not the one who can overpower others (in wrestling); rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself when he gets angry. (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236; the hadeeth is agreed upon) . The greater the anger, the higher the status of the one who controls himself. The Prophet ( ) said: The strongest man is the one who, when he gets angry and his face reddens and his hackles rise, is able to defeat his anger. (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 5/367, and classified as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami, 3859) Anas reported that the Prophet ( ) passed by some people who were wrestling. He asked, What is this? They said: So-and-so is the strongest, he can beat anybody. The Prophet ( ) said, Shall I not tell you who is even stronger then him? The man who, when he is mistreated by another, controls his anger, has defeated his own shaytaan and the shaytaan of the one who made him angry.(Reported by al-Bazzaar, and Ibn Hajr said its isnaad is saheeh. Al-Fath, 10/519)

(7) Following the Prophets (

) example in the case of anger:

The Prophet ( ) is our leader and has set the highest example in this matter, as is recorded in a number of ahaadeeth. One of the most famous was reported by Anas, may Allaah be pleased with him, who said: I was walking with the Messenger of Allaah ( ), and he was wearing a Najraanee cloak with a rough collar. A Bedouin came and seized him roughly by the edge of his cloak, and I saw the marks left on his neck by the collar. Then the Bedouin ordered him to give him some of the wealth of Allaah that he had. The Prophet ( ) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.(Agreed upon. Fath al-Baaree, 10/375) Another way in which we can follow the example of the Prophet ( ) is by making our anger for the sake of Allaah, when His rights are violated. This is the kind of anger which is praiseworthy. So the Prophet ( ) became angry when he was told about the imaam who was putting people off the prayer by making it too long; when he saw a curtain with pictures of animate creatures in Aaishahs house; when Usaamah spoke to him about the Makhzoomee woman who had been convicted of theft, and he said Do you seek to intervene concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allaah?; when he was asked questions that he disliked, and so on. His anger was purely for the sake of Allaah.

(8) Knowing that resisting anger is one of the signs of righteousness (taqwaa):


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The righteous (al-muttaqoon) are those praised by Allaah in the Quraan and by His Messenger ( ). Paradise as wide as heaven and earth has been prepared for them. One of their characteristics is that they (interpretation of the meaning) spend (in Allaahs Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, [they] repress anger, and [they] pardon men; verily, Allaah loves al-muhsinoon (the good-doers).[Aal Imraan 3:134] These are the ones whose good character and beautiful attributes and deeds Allaah has mentioned, and whom people admire and want to emulate. One of their characteristics is that (interpretation of the meaning) . . . when they are angry, they forgive. [al-Shooraa 42:47]

(9) Listening to reminders:

Anger is a part of human nature, and people vary in their anger. It may be difficult for a man not to get angry, but sincere people will remember Allaah when they are reminded, and they will not overstep the mark. Some examples follow:
Ibn Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that a man sought permission to speak to 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him), then he said: O son of al-Khattaab, you are not giving us much and you are not judging fairly between us. Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) was so angry that he was about to attack the man, but al-Hurr ibn Qays, who was one of those present, said: O Ameer al-Mumineen, Allaah said to His Prophet ( ) (interpretation of the meaning): Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish [al-Araaf 7:199]. This man is one of the foolish. By Allaah, Umar could go no further after al-Hurr had recited this aayah to him, and he was a man who was careful to adhere to the Book of Allaah. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 4/304). This is how the Muslim should be. The evil munaafiq (hypocrite) was not like this when he was told the hadeeth of the Prophet ( ) and one of the Companions said to him, Seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan. He said to the one who reminded him, Do you think I am crazy? Go away! (Reported by al-Bukhaaree, al-Fath, 1/465). We seek refuge with Allaah from failure.

(10) Knowing the bad effects of anger:

The negative effects of anger are many; in short they cause damage to ones own self and to others. The angry person may utter words of slander and obscenity, he may attack others (physically) in an uncontrolled manner, even to the point of killing. The following story contains a valuable lesson: Ilqimah ibn Waail reported that his father (may Allaah be pleased with him) told him: I was sitting with the Prophet ( ) when a man came to him leading another man by a rope. He said, O Messenger of Allaah, this man killed my brother. The Messenger of Allaah ( ) asked him, Did you kill him? He said, Yes, I killed him. He asked, How did you kill him? He said, He and I were hitting a tree to make the leaves fall, for animal feed, and he slandered me, so I
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struck him on the side of the head with an axe, and killed him. . . . (Reported by Muslim, 1307,
edited by al-Baaqi).

Anger could lead to less than killing, such as wounding and breaking bones. If the one who caused the anger runs away, the angry person turns his anger in on himself, so he may tear his clothes, or strike his cheeks, or have a fit, or fall unconscious, or he may break dishes and plates, or break furniture.
In the worst cases, anger results in social disasters and the breaking of family ties, i.e., divorce. Ask many of those who divorced their wives, and they will tell you: it was in a moment of anger. This divorce results in misery for the children, regret and frustration, a hard and difficult life, all as a result of anger. If they had remembered Allaah, come to their senses, restrained their anger and sought refuge with Allaah, none of this would have happened. Going against the shareeah only results in loss. The damage to health that results from anger can only be described by doctors, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat) and hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing), which can lead to fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc. We ask Allaah for good health.

(11) The angry person should think about himself during moments of anger:

If the angry person could see himself in the mirror when he is angry, he would hate himself and the way he looks. If he could see the way he changes, and the way his body and limbs shake, how his eyes glare and how out of control and crazy his behaviour is, he would despise himself and be revolted by his own appearance. It is well-known that inner ugliness is even worse than outer ugliness; how happy the Shaytaan must be when a person is in this state! We seek refuge with Allaah from the Shaytaan and from failure.

(12) Duaa:

Duaa is always the weapon of the believer, whereby he asks Allaah to protect him from evil, trouble and bad behaviour and seeks refuge with Him from falling into the pit of kufr or wrongdoing because of anger. One of the three things that can help save him is: being fair at times of contentment and of anger (Saheeh al-Jaami, 3039). One of the duaas of the Prophet ( ) was: O Allaah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over Your creation, keep me alive for as long as You know life is good for me, and cause me to die when You know death is good for me. O Allaah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in public, and I ask You to make me speak the truth in times of contentment and of anger. I ask You not to let me be extravagant in poverty or in prosperity. I ask You for continuous blessings, and for contentment that does not end. I ask You to let me
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accept Your decree, and for a good life after death. I ask You for the joy of seeing Your face and for the longing to meet You, without going through diseases and misguiding fitnah (trials). O Allaah, adorn us with the adornment of faith and make us among those who are guided. Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Pride: A Barrier To Paradise

By al-Allaamah Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Naasir as-Sadee (d.1376H)
From Bahjatul-Quloobul- Abraar (pp. 156-158)

From Abdullaah Ibn Masood who related that the Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: Whoever has an atoms worth of kibr (pride) in his heart will not enter Paradise. So a man asked: What about a person who loves (i.e. takes pride in) wearing beautiful clothes and beautiful shoes? So he replied: Indeed Allaah is beautiful and loves beauty. Kibr (pride) is to reject the truth, and to despise the people. [1] So Allaah - the Most High - informs us that the Hellfire is the abode of those who have kibr (pride and arrogance). And we learn from the (above) hadeeth that: Whoever has an atoms worth of kibr (pride) in his heart will not enter Paradise. So this is a proof that kibr (pride) necessitates entry to Hellfire and prevents entry into Paradise. And this comprehensive explanation that the Prophet mentioned has clarified the meaning of kibr (pride) in the clearest possible manner. So he divided kibr into two types:

1) Pride Against the Truth:

This is to reject the truth and not to accept it. So anyone who rejects the truth is proud and arrogant in accordance with what he rejects of the truth. So it is obligatory upon everyone to humble themselves to the truth which Allaah sent His Messenger with, and which He sent down in His Book. As for those whose pride and arrogance prevents them from totally complying with the Messengers (i.e. having eemaanor faith in them and their message) - then they are kuffaar (unbelievers) who will dwell in the Hellfire for eternity. Since when the Truth comes to them via the Messengers, who explain to them the signs and clear proofs, they reject it and are prevented from accepting it, due to the kibr that they harbour in their hearts. Allaah - the Most High - said: Indeed those who argue about the Signs of Allaah without any authority having come to them, there is nothing in their hearts except kibr (pride). They will never accept the Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet. [Sooratul-Ghaafir 40:56]


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As for those whose arrogance and pride prevent them from complying with parts of the truth because it opposes their personal opinions of their whims and desires then such people are not kuffaar(unbelievers), but such an action necessitates them being punished in accordance with what they have of kibr. This is why the Scholars have agreed that whenever the Sunnah (guidance and way) of the Messenger of Allaah ( ) has been explained to anyone, then it is not lawful for him to turn away from it to the saying of someone else, whoever and whatever status he may have.

So it is obligatory upon the seeker of knowledge to give complete and absolute precedence to the saying of Allaah and the saying of His Messenger over and above the saying of anyone else, and that he should make the basis to which he returns, and the foundation upon which he builds: following the guidance of the Prophet, striving hard to understand what is intended from it, and following this both inwardly and outwardly. When a person conforms to this great principal, then he has indeed reached goodness and excellence and all his errors will be forgiven to him; since his overall objective is to follow that which has been prescribed upon him. So his errors are excused due to his striving his best to recognize and comply with the truth - and this is humbling oneself to the truth.

2) Pride Towards People:

This type is to despite the people and to look down upon them. This attitude arises when a person is amazed with his own self, thinks highly of himself, and thinks he is better than others. So this causes him to have kibr towards the creation despise them, mock them, and to degrade them through both speech and action. The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said: It is enough evil for a person to despise his Muslim brother. [2] This is why the man asked: What about a person who loves (i.e. takes pride in) wearing good clothes and shoes? Because he feared that this was the kibr which would be under the treat of punishment. So the Prophet explained to him that this was not from kibr, since this person was one who complied with the truth, and was humble towards people, and that this was from the truth, and from the beauty that Allaah loves, for indeed Allaah the Most High - is beautiful in His Dhaat (Self), Sifaat (Attributes) and Afaal (Actions), and He loves both outer and inner beauty. As regards outer beauty, then it includes cleanliness of the body, clothes and place. As regards to inner beauty, then it is beautifying the character. This is why the Prophet ( ) used to supplicate: O Allaah! Guide me to having beautiful manners and characteristics, no one can guide me to beautifying them except You. And turn away from me all evil actions and characteristics, no one can turn them away from me except You. [3]
Notes: [1] Related by Muslim in his Saheeh (1/65)


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[2] Related by Muslim (no. 2564) [3] Saheeh : Related by an-Nasaaee (no. 861). It was authenticated by Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen alAlbaanee in his Sifatus-Salaah (p. 93)

The Disease of Envy

By Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Extracted with slight modifications from Diseases of the Hearts & their Cures compiled by Ibraaheem bin Abdullaah al-Haazimee 1998 Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution

Some people said while explaining its meaning: Envy (hasad) is a grievance that befalls one due to knowledge of the good condition of the wealthy. So in accordance with this it is not possible that the person upon whom the blessings have been bestowed be jealous of these blessings and is accustomed to them. A group of people said: It is a desire to have the blessings removed from the one who is envied even if the one who is jealous does not attain the likes of these blessings. This is different from ghubta (also meaning envy) because it refers to a desire to possess the blessings bestowed upon the one who is envied but without the desire to see them removed from him. Strictly speaking, envy (hasad) is hatred and disliking the good condition of the envied one. This of two types: 1) Unrestricted dislike of the blessings bestowed upon the envied. This is the type of jealousy which incurs blame, so when one hates something he is then hurt and grieved by the existence of what he hates, and this becomes a sickness in his heart such that he takes pleasure in removal of the blessings from the envied even if this does not result in any benefit to him except for the single benefit of having the pain that was in his soul removed. But this pain is not removed except as a result of his continuously watching the envied so that the jealous person finds relief when the blessing is removed, but then it becomes more severe as is the case of the one who is sick, for it is possible that this blessing, or one similar to it, returns to the envied. This is why this second group said: It is a desire to have the blessings removed, for indeed the one who dislikes the blessings bestowed upon other than him desires to see them removed. 2) That he dislikes the superiority of that person over him, and he desires to be like him or better, so this is jealousy and has been called ghubta, and the Prophet ( ) called it hasad in the hadeeth reported by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of Ibn Masood and Ibn Umar, radiyallaahu anhumaa, that he ( ) said: There is no envy (hasad) except in two cases: a person to whom Allaah has granted wisdom, and he rules by this and teaches it to the people, and a person to whom Allaah has granted wealth and property and along with this the power to spend it in the cause of Truth.[1]
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This being the wording of Ibn Masood. The wording of Ibn Umar is, A person to whom Allaah has given the Quraan and he recites it night and day, and a person to whom Allaah has granted wealth and property from which he gives in charity night and day. [2] Al-Bukhaaree also reports this hadeeth from Aboo Hurayrah and its wording is, There is no desirable form of jealousy except for two types: a person to whom Allaah has given the Quraan and he recites it day and night, so when a person hears him he says, If only I were given the likes of what he has been given so that I may act upon it the way this person is. And a person to whom Allaah has bestowed wealth and he spends in the cause of Truth, so a person says, If only I were given the likes of what he has been given, so that I may act upon it the way this person is.[3] So the Prophet ( ) forbade hasad, with the exception of two cases which are referred to as alghubta, meaning that a person love the condition of someone else and dislike that this person be superior in this way (without his wishing that it be removed from that person). So if it is asked: Then why is this called envy when he loves only that Allaah bestows these blessings upon him? It is said, The starting point of this love is his looking towards the favours Allaah has bestowed upon someone else and his disliking that this person be favoured over him. So if this other person were not present then he would not have desired these blessings. So because the starting point of this love is this dislike that someone else be made superior to him, then this is called envy due to the love following the dislike. As for desiring that Allaah bestows favours upon him without consideration of peoples material conditions then this is not envy at all. This is why the generality of mankind have been tried with this second type of envy that has also been called al-munaafasah (competition) because two people compete in a single desired matter, both of them trying to attain the same good. The reason for their trying to attain it is that one of them dislikes that the other be blessed with this matter over him just as any one of two competitors dislikes that other beat him. Competition is not considered blameworthy in general, rather it is considered to be praiseworthy when competing for righteousness, the Exalted said, Indeed the pious will be in delight. On thrones, looking on. You will recognize in their faces the brightness of delight. They will be given to drink pure sealed wine. The last thereof (that wine) will be the smell of Musk, and for this let those compete who want to compete.[4] So one is commanded to compete for these delights and not to compete for the delight of this fleeting world. This is in total agreement to the hadeeth of the Prophet ( ), for he forbade envy except of the one who has been granted knowledge and he acts according to it and teaches it, and the one who has been bestowed wealth and spends it (in the way of Allaah). As for the one who has been granted knowledge but does not act upon this knowledge, or the one who has been bestowed wealth but does not spend this is obedience to Allaah, then such a person is not to be envied and neither is his condition to be hoped for, for he is not in a state of good that is desirable, rather he is being presented with punishment. He also allowed jealousy for the one who has been given a responsibility and he fulfils it with knowledge and justice, and fulfils the trusts of its owners, and judges amongst the people by the Quraan and Sunnah.
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The station of such a person is lofty but this only comes after a great amount of effort (jihaad) the same is true of the mujaahid. But the souls do not envy the one who is in severe hardship and this is why the Prophet ( ) did not mention it even though the mujaahid, fighting in the Way of Allaah, is superior to the one who is spending wealth. The opposite is true for the teacher and spender for they have no enemy in the physical world, but in the case that there were an enemy that they would have to perform jihaad against, then their ranking is more superior (than their station without having an enemy to fight). Similarly the Prophet ( ) did not mention the one who prays, fasts and performs the pilgrimage, because there is no tangible benefit attained from the people for these actions by which the person can be exalted or disgraced, as can be attained in teaching and spending. Fundamentally, envy occurs when someone else attains power and authority; otherwise the one who is performing actions is not normally envied, even if this person be blessed with far more food, drink and wives than others, as opposed to these two blessings of power and authority, for they cause a great deal of envy. This is why you find envy directed at the People of Knowledge, who have a following amongst the people that you will not find directed to others who do not have such a following. Similarly for the one who attracts a following due to his spending his wealth, for the people benefit this person by nourishing his heart, and this person brings benefit to them by nourishment of the bodies. Mankind is in need of that which will correct them in both these matters, this is why Allaah, the one free from imperfection, has propounded two parables, Allaah puts forward the example: a slave under the possession of another, he has no power of any sort, and (the other) a man on whom We have bestowed a good provision from Us, and he spends thereof secretly and openly. Could they be equal? (By no means, not). All the praises and thanks be to Allaah. Nay! (But) most of them know not. And Allaah puts forward another parable of two men, one of them dumb, who has no power over anything, and he is a burden to his master, whichever way he directs him he brings no good. Is such a man equal to one who commands justice, and is himself on the Straight Path?[5] These two parables were propounded by Allaah for His Own Holy Self and for that which is worshipped besides Him, for indeed the idols are not capable of performing any actions that would be of benefit, and neither of saying anything that would be of benefit. So when a completely powerless slave under the possession of someone is considered, and another to whom Allaah has provided a goodly provision from which he spends in secret and in the open, can this slave, incapable of doing good, and this person capable of doing good for the people in secret and open, ever be equal? And He, free is as He from defect, is able to bestow good upon His servants, and as He is continuously doing so. So how can this incapable slave (i.e. the idol) who cannot do anything, be likened to Allaah to the extent that he is worshipped alongside Him? So this is the parable of one to whom Allaah has bestowed wealth from which he spends day and night. The second parable: when two people are considered, one of them is dumb, he does not understand nor speak, and is not capable of anything and is in fact a burden upon his master, for whichever way he directs him he brings no good and hence he is of absolutely no use. The other is a just scholar enjoining justice and acting justly, and is upon the Straight Path. This person is then like the one upon whom Allaah has conferred wisdom and he acts according to it and teaches it. And Allaah has propounded this parable for Himself, for He is All-Knowing, All-Just, All-Powerful, commanding justice, He is maintaining His creation is justice is upon the Straight Way as He, the Exalted said,
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Allaah bears witness that there is none worthy of worship but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge; (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. There is none worthy of worship but He, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.[6] And He said upon the tongue of Hood, Indeed my Lord is upon the Straight Path.[7] This is why the people used to exalt the home of al-Abbaas Abdullaah used to teach the people and his brother used to feed them, and so they used to exalt them due to this. Muaawiyah, radiyallaahu anhu, saw the people asking Ibn Umar about the rites of Hajj and Ibn Umar would give them the verdicts, to which Muaawiyah said, By Allaah this is nobility or something similar.

The Competition between Aboo Bakr as-Siddeeq and Umar

So here is Umar bin al-Khattaab, radiyallaahu anhu, competing with Aboo Bakr, radiyallaahu anhu, with respect to spending in charity as is established in the Saheeh (of al-Bukhaaree) from Umar bin al-Khattaab, radiyallaahu anhu, that he said: The Messenger of Allaah ( ) commanded us to give in charity, and this coincided with my possessing some wealth. So I said (to myself): If there is a day that I can better Aboo Bakr than it is this one. So I went with half of my wealth and the Messenger of Allaah ( ) asked me, What have you left for your family? I replied, The same amount. Then Aboo Bakr came with everything that he possessed and the Messenger of Allaah ( ) asked him, What have you left for your family? He replied, I have left Allaah and His Messenger for them. So I said, I will never be able to better you in anything! So what Umar did here was competition and the permitted type of jealousy (ghubta), but the state of as-Siddeeq was better than his, and thus he would generally be the victor in such competition due to his indifference to the condition of others. Likewise is the case with Prophet Moosa as is mentioned in the hadeeth of Miraaj that he competed and felt jealousy towards the Prophet ( ) to the point that he, Cried due to the extent to which the Prophet ( ) has surpassed him. So it was said to him, Why are you crying? He replied, I am crying because there is a servant who shall be sent after me, and more of his nation shall enter Paradise than mine. [Reported by both al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]. This hadeeth is also reported in other than the Saheeh with a different wording, We passed a person while he was saying in a loud voice, You have blessed him and honoured him (over me). So we were raised to him and gave him our salaam, he replied to our salaam and said, Who is this with you O Jibraaeel? He said, This is Ahmad. He said, Welcome O Illiterate Prophet who has conveyed the Message of his Lord and sincerely advised his nation. Then we moved on and I said, Who was this O Jibraaeel? He replied, That was Moosa bin Imraan. I said, And who was he censuring? He replied, He was censuring your Lord with regards to you. I said, He was raising his voice to His Lord? He replied, Indeed Allaah knew his truthfulness.
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So in this Umar resembled Moosa, and the condition of our Prophet ( Moosa for he did not possess any of this permissible jealousy.

) was superior to that of

Similar to this from amongst the Sahaabah were Aboo Ubaydah bin Jarraah and those like him who were free from these types of concerns and due to this they were of a more exalted rank than those who would compete and display jealousy (ghubta) even though it was permitted. This is why Aboo Ubaydah deserved to be called, The trusted one of this Ummah.[8] For if the one trusted does not have any rivalry and desire in his self for the things that he is entrusted with, then he is the most deserving of having the trust placed in him. The one who is known to possess no rivalry in greater matters in entrusted with the smaller matters, and the one is known to have no reason to steal from the wealth is entrusted with the wealth. As for the one who finds in himself treachery that resembles that of a wolf entrusted with sheep, then he is not able to discharge the trust placed in him due to his having in his heart a desire for what he is entrusted with. It is reported in the Musnad of Ahmad from Anas, radiyallaahu anhu, that he said, We were sitting in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah ( ) one day and he said, A person is about to arrive from this mountain path who is from the people of Paradise. So a person from the Ansaar arrived, his beard dripping with the water of wudoo and holding his sandals in his left hand, and he gave us the salaam. The next day the Prophet ( ) said words of similar import and the same person appeared in the same condition. On the third day the Prophet ( ) again said words of similar import and again this person appeared in the same condition, so when the Prophet ( ) left, Abdullaah bin Amr al-Aas followed this person and said, indeed I have abused my father and I swore that I would not go to him for three days so if you would let me stay with you until those three days expire, I would do so. He replied, Yes. Anas continued saying, So Abdullaah told us that he spend three nights with this person yet he did not see him stand for the night prayer at all. All he did was when he turned sides on his be he would mention Allaah and make takbeer and would do this until he stood for the Fajr prayer. Abdullaah said, Except that I never heard him speak except good. So when the three days wee over I was eager to make little of his actions. I said, O servant of Allaah there was no hatred or disassociation between my father and me but I heard the Messenger of Allaah ( ) saying on three occasions, A person is about to arrive who is from the people of Paradise, and you arrived on those three occasions, so I wished to stay with you so that I may look at your actions and emulate them. But I have not seen you perform a great deal of actions, so what is it that has reached you to make the Messenger of Allaah ( ) say what he said? He replied, It is nothing more than what you have seen, except that I do not find in myself any disloyalty of any of the Muslims, and neither do I find any jealousy for the wealth that Allaah has bestowed upon them. Abdullaah said, This is that which has reached you and is something that we cannot endure.[9] So in the saying of Abdullaah bin Amr to him, This is something that has reached you and something that we cannot endure lies an indication of his lack of jealousy and his being secure from all types of jealousy. This is why Allaah praised the Ansaar with His saying, And have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (the muhaajiroon), and give them preference over themselves even though they were in need of that.[10]


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Meaning that which has been given to their brothers from the Muhaajiroon. The scholars of tafseer have stated: They do not find in their breasts jealousy and hatred for what has been given to theMuhaajiroon. Then some of them said, What has been given to them from the war booty. And others said: What has been given to them of precedence and blessings so they find no need of that which has been given the Muhaajiroon of wealth and rank even though jealousy arises over these sorts of things. Between the Aws and the Khazraj there existed competition in matters of religion, such that if one tribe were to do something for which they were regarded favourably by Allaah and His Messenger then the other tribe would desire to do the same. So this is competition in that which would bring them closer to Allaah. Allaah says, Then for this let those who compete, compete![11] As for the jealousy that is totally blameworthy then Allaah has said with regards to the Jews, Many of the People of the Book wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves even after the truth has become clear to them.[12] They wish meaning that they hope to make you apostasies from your religion out of jealousy. So jealousy was the deciding factor behind their wish even after the Truth has been made clear to them. This is because when they saw you attain what you attained of blessings in fact they saw you attain that which they themselves had never attained they became jealous of you. Similarly this is mentioned in another verse, Or do they envy men for what Allaah has given them of His bounty? Then We have already given the family of Abraham the Book and Wisdom, and conferred upon them a great kingdom. Of them were (some) who believed in him (Muhammad) and of them were some who averted their faces from him, and enough is Hell for burning (them)[13] Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Daybreak. From the evil of what He has created. And from the evil of the darkening (night) as it comes with its darkness. And from the evil of the witchcrafts when they blow in the knots. And from the evil of the envier when he envies.[14] A group of scholars of tafseer mentioned that this soorah was revealed due to the jealousy of the jews harboured towards the Messenger of Allaah ( ) to the extent that they performed magic on him. The magic was done by the Jew, Labeed bin al-Asam.[15] So the one who is jealous, hating the favours bestowed by Allaah upon someone else is an oppressor, going beyond bounds due to this. As for the one who dislikes that someone else be blessed and wishes to be blessed in the same way, then this is forbidden for him except in that which will bring him closer to Allaah. So if he were to wish for something that has been given to someone else which would help bring him closer to Allaah then there is no problem in this. However, his wishing for it in his heart, without looking to the condition of someone else is better and more excellent.


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Then if this person were to act, dictated by this jealousy, he would be an oppressor going beyond bounds, deserving of punishment unless he repents. So the one who is affected by the one who is jealous is oppressed and should be enjoined to patience and taqwaa. He should be patient of the harm afflicted upon him by the one who is jealous, and he should forgive and overlook, just as Allaah said, Many of the People of the Book wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves even after the truth has become clear to them. But forgive and overlook until Allaah brings about His Command. [16] Indeed Yoosuf, alayhis salaam, was tried by the jealousy of his brothers: When they said: Truly, Yoosuf and his brother are loved more by our father than we. [17] So they were envied due to their father favouring them over the rest of the brothers, which why Yaqoob said to Yoosuf, O my son! Relate not your vision to your brothers, lest they arrange a plot against you. Indeed! Satan is an open enemy to man![18] They went on to oppress him by discussing his murder and throwing him in the well, and his being sold as a slave by the ones who took him to the land of the disbelievers, and his subsequently being owned by these disbelieving people. Then after being oppressed, Yoosuf was tried by the one who invited him to an indecent deed and attempted to seduce him, and she sought aid from anyone who would help her in this but he was preserved from this. Instead he chose to be imprisoned rather than perform this indecent deed, preferring the punishment of this world rather than the Displeasure of Allaah (in the Hereafter). Hence he was oppressed by the one who desired him due to her base desires and her corrupt objective. So this love with which she desired him arose as a result of her succumbing to the vain desires of her heart, and its happiness or sadness lay in his accepting or rejecting the temptation. He was also oppressed by those who hated him with a hatred that led to his being thrown in the well, then his becoming captive and owned without his choice, therefore these people removed him from the absolute freedom that he enjoyed to becoming forced into slavery to the false worshippers. This forced him to seek refuge in the prison out of his own free will, thereby making his trial greater. His patience on this occasion arose out of his own volition coupled with his fear of Allaah, thus differing from his patience at their oppression, which was having patience at the onset of calamities, and if one were to be patient at the likes of these then he would take to the way of mere animals. This second type of patience, arising from ones free will, is the more excellent of the two. This is why Allaah said, Indeed he who fears Allaah, and is patient, then surely Allaah makes not the reward of the doers of good to be lost.[19] Likewise when the believer is harmed due to his faith; and disbelief, transgression and disobedience is sought from him and if he were not to accept this then he would be harmed and punished then he should choose this harm and punishment over renegading from his religion
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even if it results in imprisonment or banishment from his land just as was done by the Muhaajiroon in their choosing to leave their settlements rather than leave their religion for which they were harmed and punished. The Prophet ( ) was harmed in a number of different ways but he was patient through-out this with a patience that arose out of his own volition, and indeed he was harmed in this way only that he may do what he did out of his own choice. So this patience of his was greater than the patience of Yoosuf, for only an indecent action was sought from Yoosuf, and he was only punished by imprisonment when he did not comply. But disbelief was sought from the Prophet ( ) and his Companions, and when they did not do this then they were punished by being slaughtered and other such harms the least of which was imprisonment, for the polytheists imprisoned him and Banee Haashim for a time in a mountain pass. Then when Aboo Taalib died they became more severe against him, and when the Ansaar gave him the pledge of the allegiance and when the polytheists came to know of this they tried to prevent him from leaving (for Madeenah) and tried to detain him and his Companions. Then all of them emigrated secretly except for Umar bin al-Khattaab and those like him. So what befell the believers came about as a result of their choosing obedience to Allaah and His Messenger and it was not from the afflictions that occur without the servants choice of the type that Yoosuf was tried with, and neither of the type of his being separated from his father. So this patience endured by the believers was the nobler of the two types of patience, and its possessors are greater with respect to ranking. Thus, even though the one who is tried without his will shall be rewarded for his patience and his contentment with the decree of Allaah, and his sins will be expiated. As for the person who is tried and harmed for choosing obedience to Allaah, then he will be rewarded for the actual trial and it shall be written as a righteous action for him. Allaah, the Most High, said, That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue, nor hunger in the Cause of Allaah, nor do they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but it is written to their credit as a righteous deed. Indeed Allaah wastes not the reward of the doers of good.[20] Thus contrasting with the case of the one who is tried without his choice, such as being sick, or death, or a thief stealing from him this person shall be rewarded for his patience only, not for the actual trial itself and what results from it. As for those who are harmed due to their faith in Allaah and obedience to Him and His Messenger, and as a result of this they are in pain, or are sick, or are imprisoned, or are forced to leave their land, or their property and family is taken from them, or are beaten and abused, or their position and wealth is diminished, then in this they are upon the way of the Prophets and those that followed them such as the Muhaajiroon. So these people shall be rewarded for what has harmed them, and a righteous action shall be written for them due to it just as the mujaahid shall be rewarded for the hunger, thirst and fatigue that afflicts him, and for enraging the disbelievers even if these effects are not something he has physically set out to do, but they are resultant from his action (of performing jihaad) that he has chosen to do. The people have differed over this: can it be said that these resultant effects are actions of the actor of the reason for these effects, or are they Actions of Allaah, or is there no actor of the reason and the (Actor of the) totality of the reasons, and this is why a righteous action is written for him. The purpose behind this discussion is that jealousy is one of the sicknesses of the soul, and it is an illness that afflicts the generality of mankind and only a few are secure from it. This is why it
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is said: The body is never free from jealousy, but debasement brings it out, and nobility hides it. It was said to al-Hasan al-Basree, Can a believer be envied? He replied, What has made you forget Yoosuf and his brothers, have you no father? But you should keep (this envy should it occur) blinded in your heart, for you cannot be harmed by that which you did not act upon in speech or action. So the one who finds that he harbours jealousy in his soul towards someone else, then it is upon him to treat it with patience and taqwaa of Allaah, and dislike it being in his soul. Many religious people do not take a stance against the one who is envied and neither do they help the one who would oppress him, but neither do they establish what is obligatory with respect to his rights. Rather when someone censures the one who is envied they do not agree with or aid him in the censure but neither do they mention his praiseworthy qualities. Likewise if someone were to praise him they remain silent. So these people are responsible for their leaving what is commanded with respect to the rights of the envied, and they have exceeded the proper bounds in this even though they may not have taken a stance against him. The reward of these people is that their rights in turn will be neglected and on some occasions they will not be treated fairly, and neither will they be helped against the one who oppresses them, just as they did not aid the envied who was oppressed. As for the one who actually takes a stance against the envied, either with words or actions then he will be punished for this, and the one who fears Allaah and is patient and does not become one of the oppressors Allaah will benefit him for his taqwaa. This is what occurred with Zaynab bint Jahsh, radiyallaahu anha, for she used to be one who would vie with Aaishah from the wives of the Prophet ( ). The jealousy displayed by some women to others is great, and is especially true of those who are married to one husband. The woman will go to great extents to get her allotted time from him for sometimes some of her allotted time will be missed due to his sharing with other wives. This jealousy commonly occurs amongst those that share authority or property[21] in the case when some of them take a share from it and others are left with none. It also occurs between those that debate, due to their hatred that their opponent gets the better of them, such as the jealousy of the brothers of Yoosuf, or the jealousy of the two sons of Aadam one to the other for in this case the brother was envied by the other due to Allaah accepting his sacrifice and not the others, this leading to his murder. Also, the jealousy displayed towards the Muslims by the Jews. It was said, The first sins by which Allaah was disobeyed were three: covetousness, arrogance and jealousy. Covetousness was displayed by Adam, arroagance by Iblees, and jealousy from Qaabeel when he killed Haabeel.[22] In the hadeeth there occurs: There are three sins from which no one can be saved: jealousy, suspicion and omens. Shall I tell you of what would remove you from this: when you envy then do not hate, when you are suspicious then do not actualize your suspicions, and when you see omens then ignore them.[23] Reported by Ibn Abee ad-Dunyaa from the hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah. In the Sunan from the Prophet ( ), You have been afflicted with the illness of the nations that came before you jealousy and hatred. They are the shearers, I do not mean shearers of the hair, rather they are shearers of the religion.[24] So he called jealousy an illness just as he called miserliness an illness in his saying, And what illness is worse than miserliness.[25]
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And in another hadeeth, I seek refuge with You from the evil morals and manners, vain desires and illnesses. Mentioning illnesses alongside with manners and vain desires. Manners are those things that the soul becomes accustomed to such that they become its nature and disposition. Allaah said in this regard, And indeed you are upon an exalted standard of character.[26] Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Uyaynah and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, radiyallaahu anhum, said in commentary to this: Meaning upon a great religion. And in a variant wording of Ibn Abbaas: The religion of Islaam. This was similarly stated by Aaishah, radiyallaahu anha, His manners were the Quraan, and Hasan al-Basree, The manners of the Quraan is the exalted standard of character. As for vain desires then they are temporary anomalous conditions, and illness is sickness this is an affliction that harms the heart and corrupts it. In the first hadeeth jealousy was mentioned along with hatred. This is because the envier, first of all dislikes the bounty bestowed by Allaah upon the one who is envied, and then begins hating this person. This is because the hatred of the thing being bestowed leads to hatred of the one upon whom it is bestowed, for when the blessings of Allaah are bestowed upon an individual, he would love that they go away, and they would not go away except by the one who is envied going away, therefore he hates him and loves that he not be there. Jealousy necessarily leads to desire and hatred just as Allaah informed us those that came before us that they differed, After their came to them knowledge out of mutual hatred and desire.[27] So their differing did not arise due to the lack of knowledge, rather they knew the Truth, but it was due to some of them hating others, just as the envier hates the envied. In Saheehs of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, Anas bin Maalik, radiyallaahu anhu, reports that the Prophet ( ) said, Do not envy each other, do not hate each other, do not oppose each other, and do not cut relations, rather be servants of Allaah as brothers. It is not permissible for a Muslim to disassociate from his brother for more than three days such that they meet and one ignores the other, and the best of them is the one who initiates the salaam. [28] He ( ) said, in the hadeeth that is agreed to be authentic, reported by Anas also, By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, none of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.[29] Allaah, the Most High, said, There is certainly among you he who would linger behind (from fighting in the Way of Allaah). If a misfortune befalls you, he says: Indeed Allaah has favoured me in that I was not present among them. But if a bounty comes to you from Allaah, he would surely say as if there had never been any ties of affection between you and him Oh! I wish I had been with them; then I would have achieved a great success.[30]


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So these people who lingered behind did not love for their brother Muslims what they loved for themselves, rather if the Muslims were afflicted with a calamity, they were overjoyed that it only afflicted them, and if they met with blessings they were not happy for them, rather they wished that they too had a portion of this blessing. So they would not become happy except if they received something of this world or some evil of this world was diverted from them. This was due to them not loving Allaah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter, for if this had been the case they would have loved their brothers, and loved what they had received of His blessings and they would have been hurt by the calamity that had afflicted them. As for the one who is not made happy by what has made the Muslims happy, and is not grieved by what has made the Muslims grieve then he is not of them. In the Saheehs of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from Aamic ash-Shabee who said: I heard an-Numaan bin Basheer delivering a sermon and saying: I heard the Messenger of Allaah ( ) saying, The similitude of the believers with respect to their mutual love, mutual mercy and mutual kindness in like that of one body. When a part of it suffers, the whole body suffers with fever and sleeplessness.[31] In the Saheehs of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of Aboo Moosa alAsharee, radiyallaahu anhu, who said: The Messenger of Allaah ( ) said, The Muslim to another Muslim is like a building, one part of it strengthens another and he interlaced his fingers.[32] Greed is a sickness as is miserliness, and jealousy is worse than miserliness as occurs in the hadeeth reported by Aboo Daawood[33] from the Prophet ( ) that he said, Jealousy eats away at good deeds, just as fire eats away at firewood, and giving charity extinguishes sins just as water extinguishes fire. This is because the miser only stops himself from having good but the envier dislikes the favours of Allaah bestowed upon His servants. It is possible that a person give to those lesser than him who would help him achieve his objectives and yet display jealousy to those of the same level as him just as it is possible for him to be miserly without displaying envy to others. Greed is the basis for this as Allaah said, And whosoever is saved from his greed, such are they who are successful.[34] In the Saheehs of al-Bukhaaree and Muslim[35] the Prophet ( ) said, Beware of greed for it destroyed those that came before you: it commanded them to be miserly and they were, it commanded them to be oppressive and they were and it commanded them to break the ties of kinship and they did.[36] Abdur-Rahmaan bin Awf[37] used to frequently say in his supplication while make Tawaaf, O Allaah! Save my soul from greed. So a person said to him, Why is this your most frequent supplication? He replied, When I safeguard myself from greed, I safeguard myself from greed, miserliness and from severing the ties of kinship. And jealousy necessarily leads to oppression.



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[1] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/62 no. 73], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/389 no. 1779]. [2] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/500 no. 543], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 2/388 no. 1777]. [3] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 6/501 no. 544]. [4] Soorah al-Mutaffifeen (83):22-26. [5] Soorah an-Nahl (16):75-76. [6] Soorah Aal Imraan (3):18. [7] Soorah Hood (11):56 [8] Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim [9] Its isnaad is saheeh. [10] Soorah al-Hashr (59):9. [11] Soorah al-Mutaffifeen (83):26. [12] Soorah al-Baqarah (2):109. [13] Soorah an-Nisaa (4):54-55. [14] Soorah al-Falaq (113):1-5. [15] As is reported by al-Bukhaaree, Muslim and Ahmad. Refer to the tafseer of Ibn Katheer (4/584). [16] Soorah al-Baqarah (2):109 [17] Soorah Yoosuf (12):8. [18] Soorah Yoosuf (12):5. [19] Soorah Yoosuf (12):90. [20] Soorah at-Tawbah (9):120. [21] Or those that share knowledge, this is why the scholars of hadeeth do not accept the reports of scholars criticizing their contemporaries. [22] Daeef, reported by Abu ash-Shaykh and at-Tabaraanee from Hasan al-Basree as a mursal report. [23] Reported by Ahmad (1412, 1430) and at-Tirmidhee (2512). Its chain of narration contains unknown narrators, but the hadeeth has witnesses reported by Aboo ad-Dardaa and Aboo Hurayrah that strengthen it. Rather to Mujma az-Zawaaid (10/8) whose authors also refer this hadeeth to al-Bazzaar. Al-Mundhiree said that is isnaad is good. [24] Reported by at-Tirmidhee, at-Tabaraanee an al-Haakim who said that it was saheeh and it as he said. [25] Reported by Ahmad, Haakim and others. It is saheeh. Refer to: Saheeh al-Jaami [no. 7104] and the notes of Shuayb al-Arnaoot upon Sharh Muskil al-Aathaar of at-Tahaawee [14/151-154]. [Translators Note]


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[26] Soorah Qalam (68):4. [27] Soorah Aal Imraan (3):19. [28] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 8/58 no. 91], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1360 no. 6205, 6210]. [29] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 1/19 no. 12], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 1/31 no. 72, 73]. [30] Soorah an-Nisaa (4):72-73. [31] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 8/26 no. 40], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1368 no. 6258]. [32] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree [Eng. Trans. 8/34 no. 55], Saheeh Muslim [Eng. Trans. 4/1368 no. 6257]. [33] This is an error from Ibn Taymiyyah, for the hadeeth in this complete form with this wording is reported by Ibn Maajah (4210). As for Aboo Daawood then he reports only the first sentence and in the isnaad of this hadeeth there is an unknown narrator. [34] Soorah al-Hashr (59):9. [35] This is also an error from Ibn Taymiyyah for this hadeeth has not been reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, rather it has been reported by Aboo Daawood and al-Haakim (1/11) and its isnaad is saheeh. [36] Sunan Aboo Daawood [Eng. Trans. 2/445 no. 1694]. [37] As far as I know from what is preserved is that it was Sad bin Abee Waqqaas.

The Disease of Desires and Love

By Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah
Extracted from Diseases of the Hearts & their Cures compiled by Ibraaheem bin Abdullaah al-Haazimee 1998 Al-Hidaayah Publishing & Distribution

Miserliness and jealousy are sicknesses that lead to the soul hating that which would benefit it, and its loving that which would harm it. This is why jealousy was mentioned alongside hatred and resentment in the preceeding ahaadeeth. As for the sickness of desire and passionate love then this is the soul loving that which would harm it and coupled with this is its hatred of that which would benefit it. Passionate love is a psychological sickness, and when its effects become noticeable on the body, it becomes a sickness that afflicts the mind also. Either by afflicting the mind by the likes of melancholy, or afflicting the body through weakness and emaciation. But the purpose here is to discuss its affect on the heart, for passionate love is the fundament that makes the soul covet that which would harm it, similar is the one weak of body who covets that which harms it, and if he is not satiated by that then he is grieved, and if he is satiated then his sickness increases. The same applies to the heart afflicted with this love, for it is harmed by its connection to the loved, either by seeing, touching, hearing, even think about it. And if he were to curb the love then the heart is
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hurt and grieved by this, and if he given is to the desire then the sickness becomes stronger and becomes a means through which the grievance is increased. In the hadeeth there occurs, Indeed Allaah shelters His believing servant from the world just as one of you shelter your sick ones from food and drink (that would harm them). [1] In the hadeeth concerning the saving of Moosa reported by Wahb[2], which is recorded by Imaam Ahmad in az-Zuhd, Allaah says: Indeed I drive away My friends from the delights of this world and its opulence and comfort just as the compassionate shepherd drives away his camel from the dangerous grazing lands. And indeed I make them avoid its tranquility and livelihood, just as the compassionate shepherd makes his camel to avoid the resting-places wherein it would be easy prey. This is not because I consider them to be insignificant, but so that they may complete their portion of My Kindness in safety and abundance, the delights of the world will not attract him and neither would desires overcome him. Therefore the only cure for the sick lies in his removing the sickness by removing this blameworthy love from his heart. People are divided into two opinions concerning passionate love: One group says that if falls into the category of intentions and wishes, this being the famous opinion. Another groups says that it falls into the category of imagination and fantasies and that it is a corruption of the imagination since it causes one to depict the one who is loved in other than his true reality. This group went on to say: And this is why Allaah has not been described with passionate love (ishk) and neither that He passionately loves (yashik) because He is far removed from this, and one cannot be praised who has these corrupt thoughts. As for the first group, then from them are those who said: He is described with passionate love (ishk) because it is a complete and perfect love and Allaah loves (yuhib). And it is reported in the narration of Abdul Waahid bin Zayd that He said, The servant will always continue to draw closer to me, loving Me and I loving him (Ashiquhoo). This is the saying of some of the Soofis but the majority do not apply this word to Allaah, because passionate love is a love exceeding the proper bounds, as for the Love of Allaah then it has no end and cannot exceed the proper bounds. Passionate love is to be considered blameworthy without any exceptions, it is not to be praised when it is directed towards the Creator or created because it is a love that exceeds the proper bounds. This is also true because the word passionate love is only employed with regards to a man loving a woman or child (or vice versa), it is not employed in things such as the love of ones family, property or status, just as it is not employed with regards to the love of the Prophets and the righteous. Commonly, you will find this word being mentioned alongside a forbidden action, such as loving the woman who is not lawful for him, or loving a child joined with the unlawful glance and touch and other such unlawful actions. As for the love of a man for his wife or slave-girl which leads him out of the folds of justice such that he does unlawful things for her and leaves what is obligatory as commonly happens even to the extent that he may oppress his son born of his old wife due to this love of his new wife, or to the extent that he will do things to keep her happy that would harm his religion and worldly life. For example his singling her out for inheritance that she does not deserve, or that he gives her family authority and property that exceeds the limits set by Allaah, or he goes to excesses in
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spending on her, or he makes unlawful things possible for her which harms his religion and worldly life. This passionate love is forbidden with regards to one who is permissible for him, so how would it be with regards for one who has passionate love for someone who is unlawful or with regards to two men? For this contains a corruption the extent of which none can assess except the Lord of the servants; it is a sickness that corrupts the religion and objectives of the one who possesses it, then it corrupts his intelligence and then his body. Allaah, the Most High, says, Then do not be soft in speech, lest in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.[3] There are some whose hearts contain the disease of desire and whose perceptions are only skin deep. When the object of the desire submits, the sickness is satiated, and this satiation strengthens the desire and pursuit of the object and hence strengthens the sickness. This is in contrast to the one whose objective is not met, for this failure results in removing the satiation that would strengthen the sickness and thereby the desire is weakened as is the love. This is because the person definitely intends that there be action accompanying his desire, for otherwise all his desire would be is just whisperings of the soul, unless there is some speech or looking accompanying this. As for the one who is afflicted with this passionate love but holds back and is patient, then indeed Allaah will reward him for his taqwaa as occurs in the hadeeth: That the one who passionately loves someone yet holds back, conceals this and is patient, then dies you this, will be a martyr.[4] This hadeeth is known to be the report of Yahya al-Qataat from Mujaahid from Ibn Abbaas from the Prophet ( ) but it is problematic and such a hadeeth is not to be depended upon. But it is known from the evidences of the Shareeah that if one were to hold back from performing that which is unlawful, be it looking, speaking or acting, and he conceals this and does not articulate it so as not to fall into that which is prohibited and he is patient in his obedience to Allaah and keeping away from disobedience to Allaah, despite the pain that his heart feels due to passionate love, (similar to the case of the one who is patient through a calamity), then indeed this person would gain the same reward as those who have feared Allaah and been patient. Verily, he who fears Allaah and is patient, then surely Allaah makes not the reward of the doers of good to be lost.[5] This holds true for the disease of envy and all other sicknesses that afflict the heart. So when the soul pursues that which would anger Allaah, and the person prevents himself from this, fearing Allaah, then he is included in His saying, But as for him who feared the standing before His Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires, and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.[6] When the soul loves something, it will do all that it can to attain it, so the one who does this out of having a blameworthy love or hatred then this action of his would be sinful. For example his hating a person due to envying him and thereby harming whosoever is linked to that person either by preventing his rights or by showing them enmity, or his doing something that is commanded by Allaah but he does it due to his desires and not for the sake of Allaah.
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These types of sicknesses are commonly found in the heart. The person can hate something and due to this hate, love a great many things due to mere whims and fancies. As one poet affected by this said, For the sake of a Sudanese girl he loved Sudan to the point that he loved the black dogs due to his love of her. So he loved a black girl, and therefore loved all types of black even the blackness of dogs! All of this is a sickness in the heart with regards to its imagination, fantasies and desires. We ask Allaah that He eliminate all of the illnesses from our hearts, and we seek refuge with Allaah from evil manners, desires and sicknesses. The heart has only been created for the worship of Allaah, and this is the natural disposition (fitrah) upon which Allaah created His servants as the Prophet ( ) said, Every new-born child is born upon the natural disposition and it is his parents that make him a Jew, Christian or a Magian, as an animal produces a perfect young animal, do you see any part of its body amputated? Then Aboo Hurayrah, radiyallaahu anhu, said, recite if you wish the saying of Allaah, The Fitrah of Allaah with which He has created mankind. No change is there in the creation of Allaah.[7] [Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim]. So Allaah has made the natural disposition of His servants to love Him and worship Him Alone, so if the natural disposition was to be left as it is without corrupting it, then it would be cognizant of Allaah, loving Him Alone; but the natural disposition does become corrupted due to the sickness of the heart such as the parents making it a Jew or a Christian even though this be by the Will and Predecree of Allaah, just like the body is altered by amputation. But even after this it is possible for the heart to return to the natural disposition if Allaah makes this easy for the one who does his utmost to return it to the natural disposition. The Messengers were sent to affirm and re-establish the natural disposition and to perfect it, not to alter it. So when the heart loves Allaah Alone, making the religion sincerely for Him, it will not be tried with this passionate love (directed to him) his love of Allaah Alone, making the religion sincerely for him, did not allow him to be overcome by this, rather Allaah said, Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.[8] As for the wife of al-Azeez, it was because she was and her nation were polytheists that she was afflicted with passionate love. No one, and no one is afflicted with passionate love except that this diminishes his singling out Allaah Alone for worship and his faith. The heart that repents to Allaah, fearing Him, has two routes by which it can remove this passionate love: 1) Repenting to Allaah and loving Him, for indeed this is more satisfying and purer than anything else, and nothing will be left to love along side Allaah. 2) Fearing Allaah, for indeed fear is the opposite of passionate love and removes it.
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So everyone who loves something, with passion or otherwise, then this love can be removed by loving that which is more beloved to compete with it.[9] This love can also be removed by fearing the occurrence of a harm that is more hateful to one than leaving this love. So when Allaah is more beloved to the servant than anything else, and more feared by him than anything else, then he will not fall into passionate love or find any love that would compete with his love of Allaah, except in the case of negligence or at a time when this love and fear has become weak by his leaving some of the obligatory duties and by performing some of the prohibited actions. For indeed faith increases with obedience and decreases with disobedience, so each time a servant obeys Allaah out of love and fear, and leaves a prohibited action out of love and fear, his love and fear becomes stronger, and any love or fear of anything else besides Allaah will disappear from his heart. The same is true for the sickness of the body: for the health of the body is preserved by the same, and the sickness is repressed by the opposite. The correctness of the faith in the heart is preserved by its like, meaning that which would breed faith in the heart from the beneficial knowledge and righteous action for these are its nourishment as occurs in the hadeeth of Ibn Masood, reported as his saying and as ahadeeth of the Messenger ( ), Indeed every host loves that people come to his table spread, and indeed the table spread of Allaah is the Quraan. So the Quraan is the table spread of Allaah. From those things that nourish the heart are supplication at the end of the night, the times of Adhaan and Iqaamah, in his prostration, at the ends of the prayers[10] add to this repentance. For indeed the one who repents to Allaah and then in turn Allaah forgives him, He will then give him enjoyment for an appointed time. That he takes to reciting the reported adhkaar for the day and at the time he sleeps. That he bears with patience what he is enticed with that would divert him from all of this, than Allaah will immediately aid him with a spirit from Him and write faith in his heart. That he be eager to complete the obligatory duties such as the five prayers inwardly and outwardly for they are the pillars of the religion. That his words of recourse be laa hawla wa laa quwwata illaa billaahi[11] for by them the heavy burdens can be born, horrors can be overcome, and the servant be gifted up the supplication and seeking help from Allaah, for the servant will be answered as long as he is not hasty, saying: I have supplicated and supplicated but I have not been answered.[12] That he should know that help comes with patience, that relief comes after anxiety and distress, that after every period of difficulty there follows a period a period of ease.[13] That he knows that no prophet or one less than him was rewarded with a good end except as a result of his being patient. And all praise and thanks are due to Allaah, the Lord of Creation. To Him belongs praise and grace for guiding us to Islaam and the Sunnah, a praise that would suffice His favours to us outwardly and inwardly, as in required for the nobility of His Face and might of His Magnificence. Abundant Peace and Blessings be upon our master, Muhammad ( ), and upon his family, Companions, his wives the mothers of the believers, and all those that follow them in good until the Day of Judgement.



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[1] A similar hadeeth to this reported by al-Bayhaqee and it is a daeef hadeeth. (Refer to Fayd al-Qadeer). [2] Wahb ibn Munabbih is a noble taabiee, but this hadeeth is reported from him directly to the Prophet ( not authentic. [3] Soorah al-Ahzaab (33):32. [4] A daeef hadeeth. Refer to the discussion concerning its inauthenticity in al-Jawaab al-Kaafee and Rawdah alMuhibbeen of Ibn al-Qayyim and Silsilah ad-Daeefah of al-Albaanee. [5] Soorah Yoosuf (12):90. [6] Soorah an-Naaziaat (79):40-41. [7] Soorah ar-Room (30):30. [8] Soorah Yoosuf (12):24. [9] Refer to Rawdah al-Muhibbeen of Ibn al-Qayyim for he has a beautiful discussion concerning this. [10] These are the times in which Allaah answers the supplications, there are authentic ahaadeeth concerning these. [11] The Prophet ( ) said, indeed it is a treasure from the treasures of paradise. Reported by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim from the hadeeth of Aboo Moosa al-Asharee. [12] Reported by Muslim [13] A hasan hadeeth reported by Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee from the hadeeth of Ibn Abbaas. ) and is

The Hardness of The Heart Al-Fawaaid [pp. 111-112] of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, may Allaah have mercy upon him.
[The translation is taken from An Explanation of Riyaadh as-Saaliheen Vol. 1, Trans. Abu Sulaymaan and modified.]

The servant is not afflicted with a punishment greater in severity than the hardening of the heart and its being distant from Allaah. The Fire was created to melt the hardened heart, this heart which is the most distant of hearts from Allaah. If the heart becomes hardened the eye becomes dry [and finds no joy or tranquillity]. There are four matters, when the limits are transgressed with regards to them, which harden the heart: food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by
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disease does not derive nourishment from food and water and similarly a diseased heart does not benefit from admonishment or exhortation. Whosoever desires to purify his heart then let him give preference to Allaah over his base desires. The heart that clings to its base desires is veiled from Allaah in accordance to the strength of its attachment to them. The hearts are the vessels of Allaah upon His earth, hence the most beloved of them to Him are those that are most tender, pure and resistant to deviation. [A reference to the hadeeth, Truly, Allaah has vessels from amongst the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his righteous slaves, and the most beloved of them to Him are the softest and most tender ones and it is hasan. Refer to as-Saheehah (no. 1691)] The transgressors preoccupied their hearts with the pursuit of this world. If only they had preoccupied them with Allaah and seeking the Hereafter then they would have instead reflected upon the meaning of His Words and His Signs that are witnessed in creation. Their hearts would have returned to their owners (in whose chests they reside) bestowing upon them marvellous wisdom and pearls of benefit. When the heart is nourished with dhikr, its thirst quenched with contemplation and cleansed from corruption, it shall witness remarkable and wondrous matters and be inspired with wisdom. Not every individual who is endowed with knowledge and wisdom and dons its robe is from among its people. Rather the People of Knowledge and Wisdom are those who have infused life into their hearts by slaughtering their desires. As for the one who has destroyed his heart and given precedence to his desires then knowledge and wisdom are deprived from his tongue. The destruction of the heart occurs through possessing a sense of security and negligence. The heart is fortified through fear of Allaah and dhikr. If the heart renounces the pleasures of this world then it will be directed towards pursuing the bliss of the Hereafter and it will be amongst those who call to it. Should the heart become content with the pleasures of this world the bliss of the Hereafter ceases to be pursued. Yearning for Allaah and meeting Him is like a gentle breeze blowing upon the heart, blowing away the blazing desire for this world. Whosoever causes his heart to settle with his Lord shall find himself in a calm and tranquil condition and whosoever sends it amongst the people shall be disturbed and excessively perturbed. This is because the


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love of Allaah can never enter the heart which contains love of this world until the camel passes through they eye of a needle. Therefore the most beloved servant to Allaah is the one who He places in His servitude, who He selects for His Love, who He causes to purify his worship for Him, who dedicates his life to Him, his tongue to His dhikr and his limbs to His service. The heart becomes sick as the body becomes sick and its cure lies in repentance and seeking protection from evil. It becomes rusty as a mirror becomes rusty and it is polished through dhikr. It becomes naked as the body becomes naked and its adornment comes about through taqwaa. It becomes hungry and thirsty as the body becomes hungry and thirsty and its hunger and thirst is satiated through knowledge, love, reliance, repentance and servitude to Allaah.

On Following Desires
The following paragraph is a translation of a section of Ibn al-Qayyims Al-Fawid

Unlawful desires are usually associated with ugliness. They leave behind a lingering sensation of pain and guilt. Hence, whenever you are tempted, think about liberating yourself. Think about all the remorse that would accompany the realisation of those desires, and then make up your mind. Struggling your way through obedience is not an easy task. It is, however, associated with goodness and soothing pleasures. Whenever you overburden yourself (with unlawful desires) think about how nice it would be to repent and set yourself free. Think about the pleasures that lawful desires will provide and try to make the correct choice. The dilemma you will experience should be reduced by remembering the sweet pleasure and the ultimate happiness that your obedience (to Allh) will provide. Also make your struggle less of one by picturing the punishment that follows disobedience to Allh. Logically your mind should opt for the more rewarding option and help you to endure the pain of denying yourself the realisation of such desires. [May Allh reward the unknown translator]


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A Summary of the Effects of Sins English Translation by Abu Iyaad

From Ibn al-Qayyims al-Jawb al-Kfi

The Prevention of Knowledge: Knowledge is a light which Allh throws into the heart and disobedience extinguishes this light.

Imm Shfi said: I complained to Wak about the weakness of my memory So he ordered me to abandon disobedience And informed me that the knowledge is light And that the light of Allh is not given to the disobedient The Prevention of Sustenance: Just as Taqw brings about sustenance, the abandonment of Taqw causes poverty. There is nothing which can bring about sustenance like the abandonment of disobedience

The prevention of obedience (to Allh): If there was no other punishment for sin other than that it prevents one from obedience to Allh then this would be sufficient.

Disobedience weakens the heart and the body. Its weakening the heart is something which is clear. Disobedience does not stop weakening it until the life of the heart ceases completely.

Disobedience reduces the life span and destroys any blessings. Just as righteousness increases the lifespan, sinning reduces it.

Disobedience sows its own seeds and gives birth to itself until separating from it and coming out of it becomes difficult for the servant.

Sins weaken the hearts will and resolve so that the desire for disobedience becomes strong and the desire to repent becomes weak bit by bit until the desire to repent is removed from the heart completely.

Every type of disobedience is a legacy of a nation from among the nations which Allh Azzawajall destroyed. Sodomy is a legacy of the People of Lot, taking


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more than ones due right and giving what is less is a legacy of the People of Shuayb, seeking greatness in the land and causing corruption is a legacy of the People of Pharoah and pride/arrogance and tyranny is a legacy of the People of Hd. So the disobedient one is wearing the gown of some of these nations who were the enemies of Allh. Disobedience is a cause of the servant being held in contempt by his Lord. AlHasan al-Basr (rh) said: They became contemptible in (His sight) so they disobeyed Him. If they were honourable (in His sight) He would have protected them. Allh the Exalted said:

And whomsoever Allh lowers (humiliates) there is none to give honour. [Hajj

(22:18)] The ill-effects of the sinner fall upon those besides him and also the animals as a result of which they are touched by harm.

The servant continues to commit sins until they become very easy for him and seem insignificant in his heart and this is a sign of destruction. Every time a sin becomes insignificant in the sight of the servant it becomes great in the sight of Allh.

Ibn Masd (ra) said: Indeed, the believer sees his sins as if he was standing at the foot of a mountain fearing that it will fall upon him and the sinner sees his sins like a fly which passes by his nose so he tries to remove it by waving his hand around. [Bukhr] Disobedience inherits humiliation and lowliness. Honour, all of it, lies in the obedience of Allh. Abdullh ibn al-Mubrak said:

I have seen sins kill the hearts And humiliation is inherited by their continuity The abandonment of sins gives life to the hearts And the prevention of your soul is better for it Disobedience corrupts the intellect. The intellect has light and disobedience extinguishes this light. When the light of the intellect is extinguished it becomes weak and deficient.

disobedience increases, the servants heart becomes sealed so that he becomes of those who are heedless. The Exalted said:
But no! A stain has been left on their hearts on account of what they used to earn (i.e. their actions). [Mutaffifn (83:14)]


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cause the various types of corruption to occur in the land. Corruption of the waters, the air, the plants, the fruits and the dwelling places. The Exalted said:
Mischief has appeared on the land and the sea on account of what the hands of

men have earned; that He may give them a taste of some of (the actions) they have done, in order that they may return. [Rm (30:41)] The disappearance of modesty which is the essence of the life of the heart and is the basis of every good. Its disappearance is the disappearance of all that is good. It is authentic from the Messenger that he said: Modesty is goodness, all of it [Bukhr and Muslim]

A Poet said: And by Allh, there is no good in life or in the world when modesty goes Sins weaken and reduce the magnification of Allh, the Mighty in the heart of the servant

Sins are the cause of Allh forgetting His servant, abandoning him and leaving him to fend for himself with his soul and his shaytn and in this is the destruction from which no deliverance can be hoped for.

Sins remove the servant from the realm of Ihsn (doing good) and he is prevented from (obtaining) the reward of those who do good. When Ihsn fills the heart it prevents it from disobedience.

Disobedience causes the favours (of Allh) to cease and make His revenge lawful. No blessing ceases to reach a servant except due to a sin and no retribution is made lawful upon him except due to a sin. Al (ra) said: No trial has descended except due to a sin and it (the trial) is not repelled except by repentance. Allh the Exalted said:

Whatever misfortune afflicts you then it is due to what your hands have earned and (yet) He pardons many. [Shra (42:30)]

And the Exalted also said:

That is because never will Allh change the favour He has bestowed on a people until they change what is with themselves. [Anfl (8:53)]


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The Abandonment of Wrongdoing

Imm Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Al-Fawaaid, pp. 302-303 Quoted in footnotes to An Explanation of Riyadh as-Saliheen by Sh. Ibn `Uthaymeen 1998 Sajad Rana

Glory be to Allh, Lord of the Worlds. There is not in the abandonment of misdeeds and wrongdoing save:

the establishment of manhood; the protection of honor; the preservation of prestige; the conservation of wealth - [all matters] which Allh has placed as a foundation for the correction of the Duny and the Hereafter - the love of creation [for him] and a statement of approval amongst them; a righteous substinence; a healthy body; strength of the heart; tranquillity of the soul; happiness of the heart; a state of pleasure and cheerfulness; safety from the perils of the sinners and wrongdoers, [and] an absence of purpose, grief, and sorrow; a sense of honor from the possibility of ignominy and disgrace; protection for the light of the heart from being extinguished by the darkness of transgression; the acquirement of an escape from [that matter] which has caused the sinners and transgressors to become depressed and dejected; the availability of sustenance [for him] from [an avenue] where it was not considered [possible]; the facilitation of [that matter] which has become difficult for the masters of sin and transgression [to obtain]; the facilitation of righteous deeds [for him]; the acquisition of knowledge and beautified praise amongst the people; an abundant amount of supplication [for him]; a beautified countenance; the veneration which is cast into the hearts of the people [for him]; their help and protection [for him] whenever he is hurt and oppressed; their act of defending his honor whenever he is defamed and slandered; a swift response to his supplication;
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the removal of estrangement between [the individual] and Allh; the proximity of the Angels [towards him]; the distancing of the Shayteen from amongst the men and Jinn [from him]; a rivalry amongst the people to serve him and fulfil his needs; their engagement for his love and companionship; his absence of fear from death; rather he rejoices in that [matter], for his arrival before His Lord and his encounter with Him [leads to] his fate amongst Him; the insignificance of the Duny in his heart; the importance of the Hereafter amongst him; his yearning for the Sublime Kingdom, and the lofty success therein; the sweet taste of obedience; the love for the sweetness of eemn; the supplication of those who carry the Throne, and whosoever surrounds Him from amongst His Angels; the delight of the Scribes, and their continuous supplication for him; an increase in intellect, understanding, faith, and comprehension; his acquisition of the Love of Allh, and His [act] of Turning towards him; [the attainment] of His Delight for his act of penitence; this [matter] rewards him with delight and happiness. For there is no connection for [the individual] to His Delight and Happiness by means of wrongdoing, [and] its various types.

Accordingly, these are some of these signs [actualized] by the abandonment of wrongdoing in this world. When the individual dies, the Angels receive him, and convey upon him the glad tidings of Paradise from his Lord. In addition to [the good news] that no fear or sorrow shall be upon him. He will alter his residence from the prison of this Duny and its confinement, to a garden from amongst the Gardens of Paradise. He shall experience its delights therein until the Day of Judgment. When the Day of Judgment [arrives] the people shall be [in a state] of [extreme] heat and perspiration, [however] he shall be in the shade of a Throne. When they depart from before Allh, the Companions of the right-hand shall take him with His GodFearing allies, and His Victorious Party. Indeed: That is the bounty of Allh. He confers it to upon whosoever He desires, and Allh is in possession of the Sublime Bounty. [Srah al-Jumuah, Ayah 4]


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The Vileness of Sinning

Ab Muhammad Alee ibn Ahmad ibn Saeed ibn Hazm
Excerpted with modifications and deletions from his book, Tawq al-Hammah (Ring of the Dove), translated by A.J. Arberry 1953 Luzac & Co. Ltd.

Thus spoke the author of this book, God have mercy upon him: Many men obey their carnal souls, and disobey their reasons; they follow after their random desires, rejecting the ordinances of religion, and scouting Gods commandments. For Allh has put it into all healthy minds to be decent and self-controlled, to abstain from sin and fight against temptation; but they oppose the Lord their God, and take the Devils part, assisting him in his evil work by indulging in all deadly lusts; so they commit grievous sins in their amours. We know that Allh has implanted in every man two opposed natures. The first of these counsels only good, and incites to what is fair and seemly, so that nothing that is not pleasing to God is conceived therein; this is reason , which is guided and led by justice. The second is opposite to the first, in that it advises solely the gratification of lusts, and leads the way to all that is evil and vicious: this is the [evil] soul , whose guide and mentor is carnal passion. God says, Verily the soul commands to evil (Qurn - 12:53). Elsewhere Allh refers to reason, calling it the heart, and says, Verily therein is a reminder to every man possessing a heart or lending an ear to hear, who beareth witness (Qurn - 50:36). He also says, And He has made Faith a thing to be loved by you, and has made it comely in your hearts (Qurn - 49:7); in another place He addresses those that are possessed of minds (Qurn - 39:22). These two contrary natures are the poles in a man; they are two of the bodys various faculties, by means of which the body acts; they are so to speak a pair of screens, upon which falls the rays emanating from those two wonderful, lofty, sublime substances. Every body has its share in these two natures, according to the decree to which it responds to them, its receptiveness being determined by the eternal will of the One Everlasting God (Holy be His Names), at the time that He created it and gave it shape. The two natures are forever and habitually in opposition and conflict one with the other. When the reason prevails over the soul, a man will refrain, and rein his corrupt impulses; he will seek to be illumined by the will of God, and will follow after justice. But when the soul dominates the reason, his inward eye is so blinded that he cannot truly discriminate between what is seemly and what is vile; great is his confusion, and he falls into the pit of ruin and bottomless abyss of destruction. Therefore are Gods commands and prohibitions most excellent, and obedience to them mans bounden duty, upon the fulfillment of which depends his fitting reward or punishment, his well-merited recompense. The spirit unites those contrary natures, and acts as a link and meeting-point between them. To stand always within the confines of obedience is a thing outside the bounds of actuality, except it be achieved by long self-discipline, right knowledge, and penetrating discrimination; and only then may it be attained if a man deliberately avoids exposing himself to seduction, and abstains from human intercourse entirely, sitting not within the tents of temptation. Without a doubt
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perfect and absolute purity can be secured, if a man were to be castrated and thus have no desire for woman, and no organ can assist him to traffic with them. It was said of old, He who is preserved from the evil of his clacker, his rumbler and his dangler, is saved from the evil of the whole sublunary world. The clacker is the tongue, the rumbler is the belly, and the dangler is the privy parts. On the other hand I was told by Ab Hafs the civil secretary, a descendent of Rauh ibn Zinba al-Judhamee, that he asked a notes jurist, who was also an eminent Traditionalist, to explain the foregoing saying to him; and he told him that the word which I have glossed as belly actually means melon. Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad informed me, transmitting from Wahb ibn Masarrah and Muhammad ibn Abee Dulaim, from Muhammad ibn Waddah, from Yahya ibn Yahya, from Mlik ibn Anas, from Zaid ibn Aslam, from At ibn Yasar, that the Messenger of Allh ( ) said (I extract this from a long tradition, He whom Allh preserves from the evil of two things shall surely enter Paradise. When asked to explain his saying, he added, That which lies between his moustache and beard, and that which lies between his two legs. I hear many people say, Complete subjugation of passions is found only among men, and not among women. I never ceased to wonder at this assertion. My own unwavering opinion is, that men and women are exactly equal in their inclination towards these two things. The man does not exist who, having been offered the love of a pretty woman for a long time, and there being no obstacle to prevent him, will not fall into Satans net, will not be seduced by sin, and will not be excited by desire and led astray by concupiscence. Similarly there is no woman who, if invited by a man in the selfsame circumstances, will not surrender to him in the end; it is absolute law and inescapable decree of destiny. I have been informed by a most truthful and trustworthy friend I may add that he has a perfect acquaintance with jurisprudence, scholastic theology and science, and is firm in his observance of the faith that he once loved a superior and cultured girl of dazzling beauty. I made a proposal to her, he told me, and she refused in horror. I repeated my proposal, and she again declined. So matters went on for a long time, and all the while my love for her waxed stronger; but she was not one of the kind that submits to solicitations. Finally I was so carried away by my excessive passion for her, that being a blind and headstrong youth, I made a vow that if I succeeded in having my way with her, I would thereafter turn to Allh in true and contrite penitence. As the days and nights went by, after all her stubborn refusal and aversion she at last gave in to me. I said to my friend, O father of one who shall be unnamed, did you fulfill your engagement? Yes, by Allh he replied. Thereupon I laughed, being reminded by his action of a report commonly noised among us, that in the Berber country adjacent to Andalusia fornicators repent of their sins on condition that they attain gratification of their immediate desires. Nothing is done to prevent this curious conduct; on the contrary, they disapprove strongly in that country if any man ventures to utter even one word of protest, saying, What, would you make it impossible for a Mussulman to repent? My friend continued, I recall how she wept, saying, By Allh, you have brought me to a pass I never in my life thought to come to, nor supposed that I would concede it to any man. I do not consider it utterly remote from all possibility that righteousness should exist among men, and women too: God forbid, that I should have any such thoughts! But I have observed that many men err gravely as to the true meaning of the word righteousness. Its correct interpretation is as follows. The righteous woman is one who, when duly restrained, restrains herself; when temptations are kept out of her way, she keeps herself under control. The wicked
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woman on the other hand is one who, when duly restrained, does not restrain herself, and when barred from all facilities for committing license, nevertheless herself contrives by some ruse or other to discover the means of behaving badly. The righteous man is he who has no traffic with adulterers, and does not expose himself to sights exciting passions; who does not raise his eyes to look upon ravishing shapes and forms. The wicked man however is he who consorts with depraved people, who allows his gaze to wander freely and stares avidly at beautiful faces, who seek out harmful spectacles and delights in deadly privacies. The righteous man and the righteous woman are like a fire that lies hidden within the ashes, and does not burn any who is within range of it unless it is stirred into flame. But wicked men and women are like a blazing, all-consuming conflagration. As for the abandoned woman and the adventurous man, they are surely doomed to everlasting destruction. For this reason it is forbidden to a Muslim to take delight in listening to a foreign woman sing: the first glance is for you, the second is against you. The Messenger of Allh said ( ) said, Whoever looks upon a woman when he is fasting, so as to see the bulk of her bones, the same has broken the fast. The clear texts set down in Holy Writ forbidding the indulgence of passion are surely amply convincing. The wide variety of meanings attached to this word passion, and the derivation assigned to it by the Arabs, prove well enough the inclination and the aspiration of the carnal soul towards these situations; and the man who holds himself back from them must needs struggle and fight against his lower self. I will describe something to you which you may readily enough observe with your own eyes. I have never seen the woman who, happening to be in some place where she senses that a man is looking at her or listening to her voice, does not make some wholly superfluous gesture, remote from her usual habit, or offer some entirely gratuitous remark with which she would otherwise have dispensed, in either case quite at variance with how she was talking or behaving immediately before. I have noticed and indeed the matter is only too apparent and obvious, and there is no concealing it that she will take great pains how she articulates her words, and will pay elaborate attention to the manner in which she varies her postures. It is the same with men, as soon as they sense a presence of ladies.[1] As for showing off ones finery, and studying ones deportment, and engaging in pleasantries when a woman is approaching a man, or a man passing by a woman, that is more evident than the sun in the heaven, and happens everywhere. Allh the Almighty says, Say unto the believers, that they should lower their eyes and conceal their private parts (Qurn - 24:30); He also says, And let the women not tap with their feet, that their hidden ornaments may be made known (Qurn - 24:31). Were it not that Allh is aware of the delicate way in which women droop their eyelids when striving to win the affection of mens hearts, and the subtle ruses they employ in contriving to attract mens desires, never would He have revealed a notion so infinitely remote and abstruse. This is the limit beyond which one may not prudently expose oneself to danger: how then shall it be with a man if he adventure further? I tell you that I have penetrated deeply into the secret thoughts of men and women in this matter, for the fact is that I never had a very good opinion of anyone where these things are concerned; besides, I must confess that I am constitutionally a very jealous man. Ab Umar Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad informed me, transmitting from Ahmad, from Muhammad ibn Alee ibn Rafaah, from Alee ibn Abd al-Azeez, from Ab Ubaid al-Qsim ibn Sallam, from his teachers, that the Messenger of Allh ( ) said, Jealousy is a part of faith. That is why I have never ceased to pry into stories about women, and to lay bare their secrets. They have known well my discretion, and have therefore not hesitated to apprise me of their most hidden affairs. But for the fear of exposing their shames from which may God preserve me! I would have set down such marvels illustrating their lively awareness of evil, and their cunning in contriving
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naughtiness, as would confound the most intelligent of men. I know this well, and am perfectly informed of true facts; yet for all that Allh knows and it is enough that He should know that I am a man of spotless innocence, pure, clean and undefiled. I swear most solemnly by Allhs name that I have never loosed my girdle to commit unlawful acts; the Lord shall not call me to accound on the Day of Reckoning touch the deadly sin of fornication, not since I became a man even unto the present day. I praise God, and give Him grateful thanks for his past mercies, and I pray that He may continue so to preserve me through all the days I yet shall live. Judge Ab Abd al-Rahmn Abd Allh ibn Abd al-Rahmn ibn Jahhaf al-Maafiri informed me and he is the most excellent qdee I have ever met that he was told by Muhammad ibn Ibrheem al-Tulaitili that the Egyptian qdee Bakr ibn al-Al interpretated Allhs words And as for the bounty of thy Lord, proclaim it abroad (Qurn - 93:11) as follows, reporting the view held by an ancient authority: the Muslim ought to declare the personal blessings which Allh has conferred on him in keeping him obedient to the commands of his Lord, which is indeed the greatest of bounties, especially in regard to those matters the avoidance or pursuit of which is a prescription binding upon all Muslims. Now my reason for speaking of myself as I have is that while the fires of youth were blazing within me, while the ardour of puberty and the reckless folly of early manhood possessed my soul, I was cloistered and enclosed among watchful guardians of both sexes. As soon as I became my own master and could reason for myself, I had the fortune to make friends with Ab Alee alHusain ibn Alee al-Fsee, with whom I attended the classes of our teacher and my dear preceptor Abl-Qsim Abd al-Rahmn ibn Abee Yazeed al-Azdee, God be well pleased with him! Ab Alee was most prudent, full of good works and pious learning; he was one who had reached the forefront in righteouness, true devotion, strict abstinence from worldly things, and zealous labours for the heavenly reward. I fancy that he was naturally continent, for there had never been a woman in his life; and indeed I never saw his like altogether, whether in learning, practical charity, religious observance or godliness of life. Allh gave me great profit of him, for he taught me to know the dire effects of evil conduct, and the beastliness of sin. He died on the Makkah pilgrimage, God rest his soul. Once I was passing the night in the house of a female acquaintance, a lady renowned for her righteousness, her charity and her prudence. With her was young girl of her own kindred; we had all been brought up together, then I had lost sight of her for many years, having left her when she reached puberty. I found that the waters of youth had flowed like a rushing exuberant river over her countenance; the fountains of grace and charm gushed over her. I was confounded and amazed. Into the firmament of her face the stars of beauty had climbed, to shine and glitter there; in her cheeks the flowers of loveliness had budded, and were now in full bloom. How she appeared before me that memorable evening She came of a family in which good looks were hereditary, and had now herself developed into shape that beggared description; the tale of her youthful loveliness ran through Cordova. I passed three successive nights under the same roof with her, and following the customs with persons who have been brought up together she was not veiled from my view. Upon my life, my heart was well-nighed ravished, the passion which I had so rigorously banished almost repossessed my bosom, the forgotten dalliance of youth was within an ace of returning to seduce me. Thereafter I forbade myself to enter that house, for I feared that my mind be too violently excited by the admiration of such beauty. Certainly, she and all the members of the household were ladies upon


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whose respectability amorous ambitions might not hope to trespass; butno man is secure from the vexations of Satan. Allh has not set down for us the stories of Joseph the son of Jacob, and David the son of Jesse, all prophets of God, save to make us aware of our own shortcomings and the dire need we have of His protection, and to teach us how corrupt and frail is our human constitution. Those two were prophets and messengers of God, the sons of prophets and messengers; they were of a household wherein prophesy and messengership were hereditary; they were wrapped about in Gods safe keeping, immersed in the ocean of His love, encompassed by His tender care, fortified by His mighty protection, so that Satan had no way of coming unto them, and no road was open for his temptations to draw nigh them. Yet for all that Joseph and David came to the pass which Allh has described for us in His revealed Qurn, by reason of that natural disposition within them, that human character and original constitution which were implanted in their souls, and by no means because of any deliberate will and intent on their part to sin; for the prophets are exempt from all that is at variance with obedience to the Divine Will. What passed in them was a natural admiration for lovely forms, common to every human soul; and who among us would be so bold as to claim the mastery of his soul, or who will engage to control its wayward impulses, save with Allhs strength and power assisting him? The first blood shed upon the earth was the blood of one of Adams sons, all on account of rivalry for the possession of women. The Messenger of Allh himself says, Keep a distance between the breaths of men and women. There was once a Bedouin woman who became pregnant of a kinsman. She was asked, What is this inside of you, Hind? She answered, The fruit of pillows much too near, and of a night too long and drear! I know a young man of the strictest morals who fell madly in love. One of his friends passed him by and found him sitting with his beloved. He invited him to his home and the young man accepted, adding that he would be with him presently. He friend proceeded home, and there waited for him a very long time, but he never came. Some while afterwards the two met, and the friend remonstrated with him and reproached him bitterly for breaking his promise. The young man excused himself, but concealed his real reason. I said to his friend, I will discover a perfectly valid excuse for him from the Book of God, where it is written, We did not break our engagement with thee, of our own willing, but we were charged with heavy burdens, the ornament of the people. (Qurn - 20:90). All who were present burst out laughing, and I was requested to make a poem on the subject [Poem deleted] I have two poems which I composed, alluding gently, no indeed, but making specific reference to a man of our circle whom we formerly all knew of an earnest student, of great zeal and piety; he passed his nights in prayer, and in all things followed in the footsteps of the ascetics and trod in the paths of the ancient Sfees, searching and labouring ever after true learning and righteousness. We always abstained from jesting and pleasantries in his presence. But the time came when he gave Satan power over his soul; he who had worn the garb of the godly suddenly kicked over the traces, putting into the Devils hands the leading-rein of his spirit. Beelzebub duly deluded him, representing misery and perdition to him in the fairest colours; he who had so long refused yielded him his halter to drag; he who had been so stubborn gave him his forelock to pull; he jogged along amiably after him, completely submissive. After all that I have mentioned above, he became notorious for a certain foul and filthy vice. I reproached him long
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and rebuked him severely when, not content to hide his sin, he committed his abominations publicly. This had the effect of turning him against me; his intentions towards me became most malevolent, and he lay in wait to do me an evil turn. One of my friends aided and abetted him, speaking to him in such a way that he took him into his confidence and declared to him his hostility for me. Thus in His good time Allh revealed his secret, and it was known to all and sundry; so he fell in the estimation of all his fellows, after he had been eagerly sought by scholars and frequented by the learned; he was despised by every one of his former friends may God deliver us from all evil, and cover us with His sure shield; may He not take away from us the blessings He has showered upon us. Woe and alas for him, who began by following the straight and narrow path, not knowing that Allh would presently abandon him, and that the Divine protection would be his no more: there is no god but Allh! How shocking and disgraceful, to be struck down thus by sudden calamity, and smitten by unforeseen disaster; to belong at first to God, and finally to become of Satan! Our aforesaid companion had acquired a perfect mastery of the variant readings of the Qurn. He had digested al-Anbarees treatise On Intoning the Scriptures, and had made of it a fine epitome which won the admiration of all cantors who looked into it. He was constant in the quest and registration of Traditions; he applied the greatest part of his splendid intellect to repeating the information he gathered from the lips of learned Traditionists, to transcribing which he devoted himself with assiduous zeal. But when he was smitten by this affliction I refer to his association with a boy he abandoned all that had been his constant care; he sold most of his books; he changed his habits completely. May Allh preserve us from a like abandonment! Abl-Husain Ahmad ibn Yahya ibn Ishq al-Rawandee in his book entitled Pronunciation and Correction mentions that Ibrheem ibn Saiyar al-Nazzam, the head of the Mutazilee sect, for all his eminence in scholastic theology and his supreme mastery of higher knowledge, in order to enjoy forbidden relations with a certain Christian boy whom he loved to madness went so far as to compose a treatise extolling the merits of Trinity over Monotheism. Good Lord, preserve us from machinations of Satan, and suffer us not to be abandoned by Thy loving protection! Sometimes it happens that the trial becomes so great, and the lusts are so voracious, that abomination seems a mere trifle, and religion proves a poor and feeble thing; in order to achieve his desires a man will then consent to the filthiest and most outrageous acts. Such was the catastrophe which overwhelmed Ubaid Allh ibn Yahya al-Azdee, better known as Ibn alJaziree. He was content to abandon his household, to suffer his harem to be violated, and to expose his family to dishonour, all for the sake of gratifying his amorous whim for a boy. Allh preserve us from such error! We pray that He may ever encompass us in His safe keeping, so that we shall leave a fair record behind us, and deserve a wholesome reputation. That wretched man became the talk of the town; the rumour of his escapade was the amusement of all gatherings; he was pilloried in popular songs. He was what the Arabs called a daiyth or cuckold; the term is derived from tadyeeth, a word meaning to facilitate, when he has become complacent to such a degree? One speaks of a camel as mudaiyath, meaning that it has been rendered completely abject. By my life, jealousy is an innate instinct even in animals; how much the more should it be in men, seeing that it has the sanction of our religious law. There can be no greater misfortune than what befell Ibn al-Jaziree. I used to know him for a discreet man, until Satan seduced him: we take refuge with Allh, that He may never so abandon us I once heard Ibn al-Jaziree praying in the Cathedral Mosque of Cordova to be delivered from Gods protection, as other men will pray to be delivered from Gods abandonment
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Thalab ibn Ms al-Kaladhanee told me the following anecdote which he heard from Sulaimn ibn Ahmad the poet, who added that the woman who related to him was named Hind, and that he had seen her in the East; she had performed pilgrimage five times, and was a pious and zealous old lady. My dear nephew, she told Sulaimn, never have too good an opinion of any woman. I will tell you something about myself, which Allh knows to be true. I took ship, many years ago now, returning from the pilgrimage, for I had already renounced the world; with me on the same vessel were fourteen other women, all of whom had likewise been to Makkah. We were sailing through the Red Sea. Now one of the crew was a fine upstanding fellow, tall, slim, with broad shoulders and a splendid physique. On the first night out I saw him come up to one of my companions and show off his virility to her. She surrendered to his embraces on the spot. On the following nights each of the rest accepted his advances in turn, until only I was left. I said to myself, I will punish you for this, you scoundrel. With that I took a razor, and grasped it firmly in my hand. He came along as usual that evening, and behaved precisely as he had done on the preceding nights. When he approached me I brandished my razor, and he was so scared that he would have run off. I felt sorry for him then, and grasping him with my hands I said, You shall not go until I have had my share of you. So, the old lady concluded, he got what he wanted, God forgive me! It seem to be indeed that the enmity which divides those who have enjoyed illicit and godless union, following upon their brief intimacy, that turning of backs upon each other soon after they have been loving, the hatred between them that succeeds their fond affection, the bitter rancour and malevolence that now dominate and overmaster their hearts all this seems to me a terrible revelation and an urgent warning to minds that are sane, to judgements that are penetrating, to purposes that are true. How much more should we then be moved by the contemplation of that dire punishment which Allh has prepared for those who disobey Him, upon the Day of Reckoning and in the world of retribution; that dreadful unveiling before the faces of all created beings, upon the day when every suckling mother shall forget her suckled, and every pregnant mother shall cast down the fruit of her womb, and thou shalt see all men reeling as if they are drunk, yet not drunk are they, but he chastisement of God is very terrible (Qurn - 22:2). I pray that Allh may place us among those who attain His good pleasure, and merit His compassion...

Maintainer s note: [1] Ibn Hazms insight and deep psychological thinking is truly manifested in this paragraph, where he uncovers such a subtle yet obvious point.

The Wisdom of Htim al-Asamm

Extracted with slight modifications from The Day of Rising by Laila Mabruk; Published by 1997 Dar al-Taqwa Ltd.


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It is related that one day Shaqq al-Balkhi asked his student Htim al-Asamm, How long have you kept my company? Thirty-three years, he replied. And what have you learned from me in all this time? Eight things, he said.

We belong to Allh and we return to him! exclaimed Shaqq. You have spent your whole life with me and only learned eight things! What are they?
Firstly, replied Htim, I looked at mankind and I saw that everyone loves something and continues to do so. When he goes to his grave, whatever he loved leaves him. Therefore I made my good actions what I love, for when I enter the grave they will enter it along with me. You have done well, said Shaqq. What is the second? The second is that I examined the words of the Almighty, But as for him who feared the Station of his Lord and forbade the self its appetites, the Garden shall be his refuge. (79:40-41) Knowing that the words of the Almighty are true, I strove against myself to keep my appetites at bay until I was firm in Allh Almighty. The third is that I looked at people and saw that everyone has something of worth which they value and protect. Then I looked at the words of the Almighty, What is with you comes to an end. But what is with Allh is everlasting. (16:96) So whenever something of value comes to me, I direct it to Allh Almighty so that it may remain with Him for me. The fourth is that I looked at Allhs creatures and saw that all of them set much store by property, reputation, honour, and lineage. I examined those things and found them to be nothing. Then I looked at the words of the Almighty, The noblest among you in Allhs sight is the most god-fearing of you. (49:13)

So I set much store by fear of Allh so that I might be noble in His sight. The fifth is that I looked at people and I found that some of them attacked others and some of them cursed others; and I realised that the reason they did that was envy. Then I looked at the words of the Almighty,
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We have meted out among them their livelihood in the life of this world. (43:32) So I abandoned envy and enmity towards creation, knowing that what is allotted to me will and must reach me. The sixth is that I saw that people fought and were hostile to one another. I looked for my true enemy and found it to be Shaytn and indeed Allh Almighty says, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. (35:6) So I made him my enemy and loved everyone else. The seventh is that I looked at mankind and found them seeking excessive wealth and abasing themselves because of it. I looked at the words of the Almighty, There is no creature on the earth whose provision is not with Allh alone. (11:6) I realised that I am one of those who are provided for and so I busied myself with Allh Almighty and abandoned everything else besides Him. The eighth is that I looked at people and I saw that they relied on different things: one on his commerce, another on his profession, and yet another on his health. Every creature was relying on another creature! I looked at the words of the Almighty, And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He is enough for him. (65:3) Therefore I put my trust in Allh Almighty. Htim, said Shaqq, Allh has given you success, and you have left nothing out. He gives wisdom to whomever He wishes.

The Wisdom of Ibrhm ibn Adham

Extracted with slight modifications from The Day of Rising by Laila Mabruk; Published by 1997 Dar alTaqwa Ltd

A man came to Ibrhm ibn Adham, may Allh be pleased with him, and said, Ab Ishq, I am unable to control my lower self. Please give me something to help me with it.

If you accept five conditions, said Ibrhm, and are able to put them into practice, your disobedience will not cause you any problem. Just tell me what they are, Ab Ishq! the man said. The first is that when you want to disobey Allh you do not eat anything He provides.
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Then how will I get anything to eat? Everything on the earth is from Him! So is it right to eat His provision and disobey Him at the same time? replied Ibrhm. No, it is not. What is the second condition? When you want to disobey him, move off His land. That is even more difficult! Exclaimed the man. In that case where will I live? Is it right to eat his provision and live on His land and then to disobey Him? asked Ibrhm. No, it is not. What is the third condition? When you want to disobey Him in spite of eating His provision and living on His land, find a place where He will not see you and disobey Him there. What do you mean, Ibrhm? He knows everything that happens even in the most hidden places! So is it right to disobey Him when you eat His provision and live on His land and when you know that He can see everything you do? It certainly is not! the man replied. Tell me the fourth condition. That when the Angel of Death arrives to take your soul, you say to him, Give me a reprieve so that I can repent and act righteously for Allh. But he wont listen to me! Then if you cannot ward off death long enough to give yourself time to repent, and you know that when it comes there will be no reprieve, how can you hope to be saved? What is the fifth? That when the angels of the Fire come to you to take you to the Fire, you do not go with them. They will take me whether I like it or not! exclaimed the man. So how can you hope to be saved?


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Enough, enough, Ibrhm! I ask Allhs forgiveness and I turn to Him! The mans repentance was sincere and from that time on he was assiduous in his worship and avoided acts of disobedience until the day he died.

The Roots of Corruption By Ibn al-Qayyim

Excerpted from his book, Madrij as-Slikeen (3/532)

It is upon the one who speaks in this matter, or any other matter, that He should only do so based upon the knowledge and the truth: and that his objective should be sincerity to Allh, to His Book, to His Messenger and the giving of sincere advice to his Muslim brothers. But if he makes the truth accord with his own whims and desires, then this will corrupt and ruin the hearts, the actions, and the state of affairs. Allh, the Most High said, And if the truth were to be in accordance with their desires, then indeed the heavens and the earth - and all that is therein -would be corrupted and ruined. [Al-Muminn (23): 71]
The Prophet (S) said,

None of you truly believe until he makes desires accord with what I have been sent with.[1]
So ilm (knowledge) and adl (justice) are the roots of every good, whereas zulm (oppression) and jahl (ignorance) are the roots of every evil. And Allh, the Most High, sent His Messenger (S) with the Guidance and the Religion of Truth, and he commanded the doing of justice between people and that none of them should follow their whims and desires. Allh, the Most High said,

So call to Islm and stand firm, and do not follow their whims and desires, but say: I believe in whatever has been revealed by Allh from the Book, and I have been commanded to do justice between you. Allh is our Lord and your Lord, for us our deeds and for you your deeds. There is no dispute between you and us. Allh will assemble us all, and to Him is the final return. [Ash-Shr (42):15]


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Notes: [1] Daeef: Related by Ibn Aasim (no.15). It was declared weak by Al-Hfiz Ibn Rajab in Jmi` al-Ulm wal Hikam (no.41)

Islmic Ruling Concerning Homosexuality

Taken with slight modifications from Jumuah Magazine, Shaban 1416

Islm considers homosexuality as a sexual deviation leading to a perverted act which goes against the natural order Allh intended for mankind. It is a corruption of the mans sexuality and a crime against the opposite sex. Therefore, the Islmic sharah strictly prohibits the practice of this perverted act. This is mentioned in many places in the holy Qurn.
The story of the people of the prophet Lt who were addicted to this practice, is the best example. Prophet Lt (alayhis-salm) said to his people: Verily, you do sodomy with men, and rob the wayfarer! And practice all wickedness in your meetings, (Al-Ankabt, 29:29). And he said to them: Of all the creatures of the world, will you approach males, and leave those whom Allh has created for you to be your wives? Nay, you are a trespassing people! (Al-Shuar, 26:165-166) But their answer to Prophet Lt (alayhis-salm) was: Bring us the Wrath of Allh if you are telling us the Truth. (Al-Ankabt, 29:29). And so Allh gave them the punishment they deserved: And We rained on them a rain of torment. And how evil was the rain of those who had been warned. (Al-Shuar, 26:173).

Just as a person who has a sexual urge should not satisfy it by committing zin, a person who has this perverted thought should not act upon it. In order to maintain the purity of the Muslim society, most Muslim scholars have ruled that the punishment for this act should be the same as for zin(i.e. one hundred whiplashes for the man who has never married, and death by stoning for the married man). Some have even ruled that it should be death for both partners, because the Prophet said: Kill the
doer and the one to whom it was done.(Related by Al-Bayhaq).

Qurnic Illumination on the Phenomenon of Sexual Deviance

By Dr. Jafar Sheikh Idris


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The rally that was held in Washington in defense of sexual deviance raised an argument among people with regards to the nature of this phenomenon and its significance. I have therefore thought it proper to present the Qurnic answers to the Muslim reader to some of the questions, uncertainties, and claims which the demonstrators raised regarding this phenomenon. 1. The perpetrators of this shamelessness say that what they are seeking is a new thing that was not known in different societies in the past, because it was disapproved of. They claim that such disapproval is not right for societies (like Western society) that have made great strides in progress toward democratic freedom and the care for human rights. But we know from the book of our Lord that it is not a new thing as they claim; all that they are seeking today was sought for and carried out by the people of Lot, as we shall show. The Qurn teaches us that resemblances in personal conditions result in resemblances in words and deeds; nations resemble each other despite the difference in time. So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike. (AlBaqarah: 118) 2. They claim that their deviant inclination is something they were born with in their genetics and nature just as some people were born with an inclination to the other sex, they were born with an inclination to their own. But the Qurn denies this when it tells us that the people of Lot were the first to start this shamelessness. So you commit lewdness such as no people in creation ever committed before you? For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women: you are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds. (Al-rf, 80-81) Were their statement a natural one, some earlier people would have been born with it, some human individuals at least. If it were a natural thing, why would Allh have condemned the practice of it? And even if the basis of it were a natural inclination, they could not possibly claim that practicing it openly is a natural state of affairs. Because the heterosexual inclination is a natural state. Practicing sexual activity openly, even with ones spouse, is not a natural affair. 3. Just as these deviants today want to come out of the stage of concealment into the stage of openness, so did the people of Lot: Indeed you approach men, and obstruct the road [i.e. commit highway robbery and acts of aggression against travelers]? And practice wickedness [even] in your councils? (AlAnkabt: 29) What the people of this inclination are seeking is not to be compelled by society to conceal themselves, despite their openly swerving away from the straight way. Likewise, they seek to get what other people in the society have, such as the right of marriage, respect, and employment in all sectors of the state, whether military, political, educational, and diplomatic. Why, they say, are you intruding into what I do in my bedroom? What is the difference if a person does this with someone of the same type, whether man or woman, or with the other type? It is merely a hereditary affliction.


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However, the fact is that they are not simply seeking to do what they do privately, in their bedrooms. For, if they do it privately, a matter needs no permission from contemporary Western societies. It is not counted as a crime when it is consented to by both parties. What they are seeking now is really the right to proclaim openly that they are of this type, and that society does not oppose their public behavior which indicates that they are on this deviation, just as it does not oppose behavior that shows one to be straight.
I say straight in quotation marks because the publicizing of some sexual acts, even between men and women, even between married people, is not customary for straight people, though it has become customary in Western societies. The open practice of vices is worse than concealing them, because it offends straight people and tempts the weak ones among them to commit what these deviants are doing openly. 4. But the state of the people of Lot as our Lord has told the story shows that even this open publicizing is not the end of the path; it is only the first stage followed by when no one exists to prevent them the stage of supremacy. When the deviants are predominant in the society, the righteous people become constrained because they have to share the dwelling space in the same town. And his people gave no answer but this: Drive them out of this city: these are indeed men who want to be clean and pure! (Al-rf, 82) 5. Yet they go further than this: they will help each other to force righteous people to commit these vices with them, if they are able. Thus, Allhs Messenger Lot (peace be upon him) was worried, when the angels in the form of handsome-faced men came to him. He knew what would happen to them with those people, who thought the guests were really men. So there came about what he had dreaded, the people came rushing and panting. Lot proposed marrying his daughters to them (whether that means daughters of his own flesh and blood or just the daughters of his people). But they did not restrain themselves and they humiliated him with his guests: When our Messengers came to Lot, he was grieved on account and felt himself powerless to protect them. He said: This is a distressful day. And his people came rushing toward him, and they had been long in the habit of practicing abominations. He said: O my people! Here are my daughters: they are pure for you if you marry! Now fear Allh, and do not disgrace me concerning my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man? But they brazenly answered him: Well do you know we have no need of your daughters: indeed you know quite well what we want! He said: Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support. (Hd, 77-80) 6. The perpetrators of this sexual deviation today want the law to respect relations between two of them with the status of marriage, and grant them all the rights that married people have. However, what we recognize from the case of the people of Lot is that this vice is of an absolutely licentious nature, with no commitment to a single partner, or even a limited number of partners. When this behavior takes control of one of them he cannot recognize any boundary in
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his actions. When he hears that to which his desires incite him, a sort of madness befalls him, and he throws himself blindly into committing sin with anyone, whether he likes the person or not. Consider the words of Allh, the Most High, describing their condition as they confront the guests of Lot (peace be upon him).

And his people came rushing toward him, and they had been long in the habit of practicing abominations.
In the dictionary Tahdb Lisn al-Arab the exact definition of the original Arabic word: alhar and al-ihr does not mean only rushing. It shows also the intensity of drive and rapidity of running that goes over the limit. It means that the men hurried and trembled with haste and anxiety or anger or (the person who rushes) means mad, insane. It is a vice that by its nature is excessive and goes over the limit:

For you practice your lusts on men in preference to women: you are indeed a people transgressing beyond all bounds.
7. And it is a vice linked contrary to what most people think with violence and aggression against others, an aggression which goes beyond sexual aggression. The people of Lot who practiced this vice in their councils were also highwaymen (robbers):

Do you indeed approach men, and obstruct the road? And practice wickedness even in your councils?
8. Another thing the straight person finds odd is the confederation and cooperation between the male and female deviants. Obviously one would expect that one would dislike the other, as long as there is the difference between them with each side inclining to their own kind, and wanting nothing to do with the other. However, the story of the people of Lot reminds us that some of the women were impressed by this deviation among the men, and they liked it. One such was Lots wife, the sinner whom Allh destroyed with her people while he saved Lot and other members of his family.

By Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

Homosexuality and lesbianism have been dubbed alternative life-styles, personal preference, a natural variation, etc. in the West today. Where homosexuality was considered an illness by the Association of Psychiatrists, it is now removed from the list and replaced by homophobia (the dislike of homosexuals and homosexuality). Consequently, Islm and Muslims are considered intolerant and biased due to their
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continued opposition. Arguments in favor of tolerance to homosexuals are based on the assumption that homosexual behavior is biologically based and not merely learned from society. 1. Early opposition to homosexuality was based on the argument that such behavior was unnatural. Sodomy cannot produce children which is one of the main natural consequences of sexual relations. Mother Nature did not make us that way, it was argued. To counter such arguments homosexual researchers scoured the earth until they found supposed homosexual behavior among the animal kingdom. They found that the males of some species of exotic fishes off the coast of Japan imitated the behavior of females of the species in order to prevent other males from impregnating their mates, and some rare butterflies from islands of the coast of Africa also had males exhibiting female behavior during mating season, etc. However, if the animal kingdom is to be used to justify human behavior, there also exists a spider in South America, whose female is much larger than the male. When mating is complete, the female eats her mate. 2. During the 80s it was claimed that a gland in the base of the brain which is small in women and large in men was found to be small among homosexuals. However, this evidence, while seeming incontrovertible to the layman, was immediately refuted by scientists. The data was taken from cross-sections of the brains of dead adult humans whose sexual preference was identified prior to death. Consequently, the reduced size among homosexuals could have been a result of the practice and not its cause. That is, they could have been born with normal sized glands which then became small due to their deviant lifestyle. 3. Recently genetics has become the most commonly used foundation for the pro-gay argument. In 1993 Dr. Dean Hamer, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, claimed to have discovered the first concrete evidence that gay genes really do exist. Homosexual orientation was supposedly transmitted to males on the X chromosome from the mother. Hamers findings, published in the prestigious journal Science, transformed his colorless career as a government scientist into a dynamic media personality and penned his memoirs. He gave expert testimony to the Colorado Supreme Court that formed the basis of the victorious decision striking down anti-gay Proposition 2. However, a replication of his study at the University of Western Ontario failed to find any linkage whatsoever between the X chromosome and sexual orientation. It was also found that Hamers study lacked a control group; a fundamental principle of scientific research. Furthermore, in June 1994, the Chicago Tribune reported that a junior researcher in Hamers laboratory who assisted in the gene mapping in the homosexuality study, alleged that he selectively reported his data. She was then summarily dismissed from her post-doctoral fellowship in Hamers lab. But a National Institutes of Health investigation substantiated her claims and gave her another position in a different lab. Though Dr. Hamer was coy about his own sexuality in his memoirs, he later admitted in his lectures that he was gay.
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4. It should be noted that Islm, in its final form, did not introduce anti-gay legislature to the world. The texts of the Torah are replete with clear condemnation of such practices. 5. The consequence of AIDS is enough to prove that homosexuality is evil and dangerous to society. The early spread of AIDS was concentrated among the homosexual community. It later spread to the heterosexual community through blood transfusions and intravenous drug usage and so-called bisexuals. And continues on a rampage among promiscuous heterosexuals. 6. Islm considers homosexuality to be the result of a choice. It is inconceivable that God made people homosexuals then declared it a crime and prescribed punishments for it in both this life and the next. To accept such a proposition is to accept that God is unjust. Inclinations can exist within humans for a variety of natural and unnatural acts, from fornication to rape and from necrophilia to bestiality. These inclinations may come from jinn-suggestions, media influence, or even from human whisperings or direct contact. Human beings are not like robots who only do what they are programmed to do. Humans choose and God holds them responsible for their choices. Were homosexuality a product of genetic destiny, it would be unfair for God to criminalize it and punish those who practice it. Currently, some scientists are even claiming that murder is of genetic origin. To accept that would mean to excuse murderers and tolerate murder. 7. Islm instructs parents to separate their children in their beds by the age of ten in order to avoid sexual experiences which may result from childhood experimentation. Such experiences may be reinforced by contacts in schools and through abuse from adults. Also the distinctions between male and female are strongly made in Islmic teachings. The Prophet cursed men who imitated women and women who imitated men. The Western fashion industry is controlled by homosexuals who attempt to blur the distinction between males and females in order to make their behavior more acceptable. Consequently, mens fashion has become more feminine in style and color and women are now wearing three-piece suits, ties and hats and traditionally mens shoes. These distinctions may be relative and vary from society to society. For example, in Scotland men traditionally wear little knee-length dresses called kilts. In Scotland it would not be considered imitation of females, but in a society where only women wear such dress it would be considered imitation.


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Al-Ubdiyyah - Enslavement of the Heart From al-Ubdiyyah by Shaikh ul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah
Obsession of the Heart 1

By way of introduction it should be pointed out, both to muslims and non-muslims alike, that this treatise was originally written in Arabic to an audience consisting predominantly of men. Furthermore, it was presented to a culture which did not analyse human behaviour on the basis of sexism", or "feminism", but to an environment which was free of these modern day innovations. This is, perhaps, why the discussion is referred primarily to men. It should be pointed out that whenever the shaikh (scholar) refers to "men" that the discussion can be extended to incorporate a similar, if not the same, observation for women. Although during his life the great shaikh was taught by at least eleven female scholars of religion and would often refer specifically to women in many of his essays, perhaps, on the occasion of this dissertation, he was mainly involved in the sphere of men. Nevertheless, when one is involved in understanding Islam one should never allow anything to enter into discussion which does not have a basis within the Qurn and the Sunnah (authentic narrations).

Shaikh-ul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah says: When a mans heart becomes attached to a woman, even though she is lawful for him, his heart will be her captive. She controls him and manipulates him as she wills. In appearance he is her lord because he is her husband or her possessor. However, in reality, he is her captive and is possessed by her especially when she knows his need and his passion for her. Then she will control him in the same way in which a conquering, aggressive master controls an overpowered slave who cannot escape from his master. Even worse than this is the captivity of the heart; this is more severe than the captivity of the body, and enslavement of the heart is much more severe than the enslavement of the body. Verily, whoevers body is subdued, enslaved and captivated will not care so long as his heart is reassured and is serene. In this way, it is possible for him to escape. In the other case though, when the heart, which dominates the body; is subdued, enslaved and enthralled by love for other than Allh, then, this is indeed mere humiliation and captivity. It is the humiliatingUbdiyyah (enslavement) that has subdued the heart. The Ubdiyyah of the heart and its captivity form the basis on which good reward or bad punishment will be incurred. If a Muslim is captivated by a kfir or is enslaved by a profligate and given no rights, it will not harm him so long as he can fulfil his duties to Allh Azzawajall. Whoever is lawfully subdued and fulfils the rights of Allh Azzawajall and the rights of his master will be rewarded twice. Even if he is forced to pronounce Kufr (disbelief), pronouncing it with his tongue but keeping mn (conviction, faith) in his heart, the utterance will not harm him. But the one whose heart is subdued and becomes an abd(slave) for other than Allh will be harmed by that even if he is a king. Freedom is the freedom of the heart and alUbdiyyah (enslavement) is the Ubdiyyah of the heart. Similarly, well-being is the well-being of the soul. The Messenger of Allh (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) said: Well being is not how much wealth you have; but it is the well-being of the soul. This, by Allh, is the case when a lawful image has enslaved ones heart. But whoevers heart is enslaved by an unlawful image will earn a torment more severe than any known torment. These people who are obsessed by images are of the most severely punished and the least rewarded. For if one is obsessed by an image and his heart remains attached to it and subdued by it, he will be surrounded by so many kinds of evils and corruption that they cannot be counted but by the Lord of al-Ibd (the servants) even if he were safe from committing the greatest Fhishah (obscenity i.e. az-Zina - fornication). Continuous attachment of the heart[1] without committing al-Fhisha is more harmful for him than it is for the person who commits a sin and repents of it. Since, after true repentance the attachment and affection vanishes from his heart.[2] These people are likened to drunk people or the insane. It has been said: They said you were driven insane by that which you have a passion for. I replied to them that passion causes more harm than insanity


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As for this passion, the one who is obsessed by it will never awake until the end of time. However, the insane only exhibit their madness during certain periods. Of the greatest causes of this affliction is the hearts turning away from Allh for when the heart senses the taste of worshipping Allh and sincerity towards Him, nothing will be more tasty to it than that; and nothing will be more delightful and enjoyable than that. A human being will not leave a lover except to replace him with another lover more beloved to him than the former, or he can leave a lover fearing some harm. Verily, the heart will turn from a corrupt love to a righteous love, or from fear of imparting harm. Allh Tala said concerning Ysuf: Thus (did We order) that We might turn away from him evil and al-Fahshh (illegal sexual intercourse)[3] Thus, Allh turns away from His abd (servant) that which could be evil for him from the inclination towards images and the attachment to them. He also turns al-Fahshh (the blatant sin) away from him when he is sincere to Allh. Hence, before he tastes the sweetness of al-Ubdiyyah (Enslavement) to Allh and sincerity for Him, he will be forced by his soul to follow its own passion. Bu t once he obtains the taste of sincerity and becomes strong in his heart, then h is passion will submit to Him (Allh) without any effort. Allh Tala said: Verily, As-Salt (the prayer) prevents the committing of Al-Fahshh (the obscene, blatant sin) and al-Munkar (the evil) and the Remembrance of Allh is the greatest.[4] Indeed, in As-Salt (the prayer) there is repulsion of harmful things, i.e. Al-Fahshh (the obscene blatant sin) and Al-Munkar (the evil conduct) and there is attainment of a beloved thing, the remembrance of Allh. The attainment of this beloved thing is greater than the repulsion of the harmful things. Verily, the remembrance of Allh is, by itself, a worship of Allh; and the hearts worship of Allh is sought for itself, whereas the repulsion of evil from the heart is sought for other than itself. Instead, it is needed for something else. The heart has been created loving the truth, seeking it and striving for it; but w hen the will of evil confronts it, then the heart demands the repulsion of the evil will because the latter spoils the heart as a plantation is spoiled with weeds. That is why Allh Tala said: Indeed he succeeds who sanctifies it (his own soul) and indeed he fails who corrupts it (his own soul).[5] And He, Azzawajall, said: Indeed he shall achieve success who sanctifies himself and brings to mind the name of Allh and performs salt (prayer).[6] And He, Azzawajall, said: Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to protect their private parts from sin. That is more sanctifying for them[7] And He, Azzawajall, said: And had it not been for the grace of Allh and His mercy upon you, not one of you would ever have been sanctified.[8] Thus Allh Tala made the lowering of the gaze and the protection of the sexual organs from Az-Zina (fornication) as the strongest sanctification of the soul. He also showed that avoiding blatant sins is a part of the sanctification of the soul. The sanctification of the soul comprises keeping away from all evils including blatant sins, injustice, shirk (associating partners with Allh Azzawajall) and lying. The same is true for one who is seeking leadership and dominion on earth. His heart is a slave to those who help him with his aim although he, in appearance, is their leader and the obeyed one among them. In reality he has hope in them and fears them. He would offer them wealth and countries, and would overlook what they have wrongly committed so that they would obey and help him with his aims. In appearance he is an obeyed leader while in fact he is their obedient slave. The fact of the matter is that both of them manifest worship for each other and both of them have gone away from the actual worship of Allh. Moreover, if their mutual help is for an unjust dominion on earth, then they are on the level of those who


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mutually help each other to commit al-Fhishah (the blatant sins) or to cut off the way. Hence, each one of them, who originally was a slave and obsessed by his passion, becomes subdued by the other. The same is the case of the one who strives for wealth; this wealth can obsess and subdue him. However, wealth is of two types: one type is that for which al-Abd (the servant) has a need, such as food, drink, shelter and marital life. This type should be asked for from Allah and should be sought for His pleasure. Thus, this wealth, which a person uses for his needs, is of the same level as his donkey which he rides, or his mat, on which he sits. Furthermore, it should be regarded on the same level as a water closet in which he satisfies his need without becoming subdued or dismayed by it. Allh Tala said: Irritable (discontented) when evil touches him and niggardly when good touches him.[9] The other type of wealth is that which al-Abd (the servant) does not need for his necessities. He should not attach his heart to this type of wealth. For if he does attach his heart to it, he becomes subdued by it. Furthermore, he might begin relying upon other than Allh. Then, nothing of the actual worship which is due to Allh nor of the true reliance upon Allh will remain with him. Instead, he will be pursuing a branch of worship of other than Allah and a branch of reliance upon other than Allh. This person is the most deserving of the saying of the Messenger of Allh (sallallhu-alaihi-wasallam): May the worshipper of adDirham be wretched. May the worshipper of ad-Dinr be wretched. May the worshipper of velvet cloth be wretched. May the worshipper of silk cloth be wretched.[10] This person is indeed a slave of these objects. For if he asks Allh for these objects and if Allh grants him what he has requested, then he is please d. But if Allh denies him what he has asked for, he is upset. However, the true abd (servant) of Allh is the one who is pleased with what Allh and his Messenger love and hates what is hated by Allh and his Messenger and will make allegiance with the Awliy Allh (those near to Allh) and take for enemies the enemies of Allh. This is the person who has completed his Imn (faith, conviction) as narrated in the hadth: Whoever loves for Allh, hates for Allh, and gives for Allh and denies for Allh has indeed completed Imn.[11] and he said: The most strong of al-Imns (Faiths) ties is loving for the sake of Allh and hating for the sake of Allh.[12]

Notes: [1] That is when the person is not mindful of Allh and not even striving to remove it (the image) from his own soul so that his Ubdiyyah becomes purely sincerely for his Lord. Thus in this case it cannot be considered an absolute evil and, hence, it cannot be more harmful than that which was mentioned about the other case. (Al-Albn). [2] That is because the continuous attachment of the heart to the image, according to the above detail, must force the person to disobey the Sharah even in an aspect which is not directly related to the greatest Fhisha (blatant sin) such as neglecting some of his own personal obligations or those of whom he supports. (Al-Albn). [3] Srah Ysuf 12:24 [4] Srah Ankabut 29:45 [5] Srah Shams 91:10 [6] Srah Al 87:14-15 [7] Srah Nr 24:30 [8] Srah Nr 24:21 [9] Srah Marij 70:20-21 [10] Reported by [Bukhr & Ibn Mjah] from Ab Hurairah. [11] Reported by [Ab Dwd] and it has good isnd (chain of narration). [12] Reported by [Ahmad & at-Tabarn] and it is Hasan.


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Obsession of the Heart 2

Ibn Uyayna commented: The greatest favour Allh has bestowed on His slaves is their knowledge and realisation of There is no deity but Allh, and that to the dwellers of Paradise it is like cool water to the people of this world. [Kalimat Al-Ikhls by Ibn Rajab pp.52-53] Ibn Rajab says in enumerating the merits of the kalimah: That Paradise is its reward, that its utterance before death will cause one to be admitted to Paradise, it is a refuge from Hell, it causes forgiveness, it is the best of the good deeds; it washes away sins and vices, revives ones faith when it has faded away and outweighs sins. It traverses all barriers in order to be accepted by Allh the Almighty. It is the statement whose pronouncer will be accepted by Him, and it is the best proclamation ever uttered by the prophets. It is the best celebration of His praises, the best of deeds, and its multiplication into good deeds is the greatest. It is tantamount to setting slaves free. It is a protection against shaitn. It is safety amidst the darkness of the grave and the terror of Resurrection. It is the motto of the believers when they emerge out of their tombs. The eight doors of Paradise will be accessible to its pronouncer. Further, the people who pronounce it are certain to quit Hell even after they have been cast into it for falling short of observing its obligations. [Kalimat Al-Ikhls by Ibn Rajab pp. 54-66]

Hope and Avidity Mankind differs to a great extent in Al-Ubdiyyah to Allh. Their differences are a quantitative disparity in the reality of alImn. In this regard they are often two types: general, and specific. Consequently, their perception of the divinity of Ar-Rabb is also of two types: vague, and detailed. Thus, ash-Shirk in this Ummah is more hidden than the crawling of ants. The Messenger said, May the worshipper of Ad-Dirham be wretched. May the worshipper of Ad-Dinr be wretched. May the worshipper of velvet cloth be wretched. May the worshipper of silk cloth be wretched. May he be wretched and disappointed. When such a one is pierced with thorns they cannot be extracted. When he is granted (what he desires), he is pleased; and when he is denied, he is displeased... [Bukhr & Ibn Mjah upon Abu Hurayrah (R)] The Messenger labeled such a person: The worshipper of...; mentioned his curse and his condition. Neither did he attain his aim, nor did he escape the harm. And among them are some who accuse you (O Muhammad ) in the matter of (the distribution of) the alms. If they are given part thereof, they are pleased; but if they are not given thereof, behold! They are enraged! [At-Tawbah yah 58] Thus their contentment is for other than Allh and their rage is for other than Allh. [These are the hypocrites whom Allh has mentioned in the rest of the verses. See Zd Al-Masr by Imm Ibn Al-Jawz, Vol. 3, p. 454] He is therefore the Abd of that which he desires: leadership, certain image, or any desire of the soul. The heart is the Abd of whatever enslaves it and subdues it. [Al-Ubdiyyah, part 1, by Ibn Taymiyyah] If he renounces anything he will not seek it and will not have avidity for it. His heart will not be in need of it nor will it be in need of the person who would accomplish it for him. Umar ibn Al-Khattb (RA) said, Avidity is poverty, and renunciation is richness. If one of you renounces anything he will dispense with it. Al-Khall, Ibrhm (AS) said: ... So seek from Allh (Alone) your subsistence and worship Him (Alone), and be grateful to Him. To Him (Alone) will be your return. [Al-Ankabt yah 17]


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al-Abd must have subsistence. He is in need of that. If he seeks his subsistence from Allh, he becomes an Abd for Allh, but if he seeks it from a created being, he becomes an Abd for that created being and in need of him. That is why begging from a created being was forbidden in principle but is allowed for under necessity. The Messenger said, One of you would still be begging until he comes on the Day of Resurrection without a bit of flesh on his face. [Bukhr, Muslim, an-Nas upon Abdullh ibn Umar (R)] The Messenger said, Whoever begged from people while having enough, his begging will be scratches on his face. [atTabarn upon Jbir (R)] The Messenger said, Begging is forbidden except when there is a great debt, suffering injury, or abasing poverty. [Ab Dwd & al-Bayhaq upon Anas (R)] The Messenger said, It is much better for one of you to take his rope and go to chop wood (for his livelihood) than to beg from people, whether they give him anything or deny him. [Bukhr, Ibn Mjah & others upon Az-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwaam (RA) The Messenger said, Whoever dispenses (with anything), Allh shall enrich him. Whoever seeks chastity, Allh will make him chaste. Whoever perseveres, Allh will provide him with patience. No one has been given such a gift better and more ample than patience. [Bukhr, Muslim, Mlik, Ab Dwd, an-Nas, at-Tirmidh upon Abu Sad al-Khudree (RA)] In Sahh Muslim and other books, upon Awf ibn Mlik it is reported that the Messenger when he accepted his pledge of allegiance together with a group of people, whispered to them a secret word,Do not ask people for anything. Thereafter, when a whip used to drop from the hand of a person of this group, they would not say to anyone, Hand it to me. ...So when you finish from your occupation, then stand up for Allhs worship, and to your Lord (alone) turn (all your intentions and hopes and) your invocations. [Al-Inshirh yt 7-8] The Messenger said to Ibn Abbs (R), ...and if you ever should ask someone for something, then ask Allh, and if you ever should seek help from someone, then seek it from Allh [At-Tirmidh, Ahmad, & al-Hkim - this hadth is hasan by virtue of another hadth.] He should not request his subsistence except from Allh and should not refer in his complaint except to Allh alone as Yaqb (AS) said: ...I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allh. [Ysuf yah 86] Allh Tala mentioned in al-Qurn nice banishment, gracious forgiveness and fine patience. It was said that: Nice banishment is a banishment without hurting anyone, gracious forgiveness is a forgiving without blaming anyone, and fine patience is a patience without complaining to any created being. When it was read for Ahmad ibn Hanbal during his sickness that Tws used to hate the moaning of a sick man and used to say, It is a complaint, thereafter Ahmad would not groan until he died. Complaint to the Creator does not contradict fine patience. Then a fine patience is most fitting for me... [Ysuf yah 83] ...I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allh... [Ysuf yah 86] Umar ibn al-Khattb (RA) was once reciting in Fajr srat Ynus, Ysuf and an-Nahl. When he passed this yah in his recitation, he cried until his sob was heard in the last rows.


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Supplication of Ms (AS) O Allh! It is for You, all praises and thanks. It is for You the complaint, and it is You Whom we ask for help, from You we seek rescue, on You we rely, and there is no strength for anyone nor power except from You. The more the ambition of Al-Abd becomes avid for the graciousness of Allh and His Mercy to accomplish his need and prevent harm from him, the stronger becomes his Ubdiyyah to Allh, and the larger becomes the extent of his freedom from other than Allh. Hope must be in Allh and not in anything created, e.g., leadership position, followers, wealth, etc. ...And put your trust in the Living One, Who will never die, and celebrate praises and thanks and sufficient is He to be acquainted with the sins of His Ibd. [al-Furqn yah 58] Thus, whoever attaches his heart to created beings in order for them to render him victorious or to provide him with sustenance or even to guide him, his heart will submit to them (created beings), and he indulges in Al-Ubdiyyah to them equivalent to the level of his hearts attachment to them even though he, in appearance, is their master who manages matters for them and administers over them. The sane person should look at the realities (the heart of the matter) and not at the appearance of the matter.

Obsession of the Heart Whoevers body is subdued, enslaved and captivated will not care so long as his heart is reassured and is serene. In this way, it is possible for him to escape. The Ubdiyyah of the heart and its captivity form the basis on which good reward or bad punishment will be incurred: If a Muslim is captivated by a kfir or is enslaved by a profligate and given no rights, it will not harm him so long as he can fulfill his duties to Allh. Whoever is lawfully subdued and fulfills the rights of Allh and the rights of his master will be rewarded twice. Even if he is forced to pronounce kufr, pronouncing it with his tongue but keeping mn in his heart, his utterance will not harm him. The one whose heart is subdued and becomes an Abd for other than Allh will be harmed by that even if he is a king! Freedom is the freedom of the heart and al-Ubdiyyah is the Ubdiyyah of the heart. Similarly well-being is the well-being of the soul. In the Sunnah: Well-being is not how much wealth you have, but it is the well being of the soul. This is the case when a lawful image has enslaved ones heart. Whoevers heart is enslaved by an unlawful image will earn a torment more severe than any known torment. Continuous attachment of the heart without committing al-Fhishah is more harmful for him than it is for the person who commits a sin and repents of it, since after true repentance the attachment and affection vanishes from the heart. The greatest cause of this affliction is the hearts turning away from Allh; the heart needs to taste worshipping of Allh sincerely... someone will not leave a lover except to replace him with someone more beloved or fearing some harm; turn the heart from a corrupt love to a righteous love. ...Thus (did We order) that We might away from him evil and al-Fahshah [Ysuf yah 24] Thus Allh turns away from his Abd that which could be evil for him from the inclination towards images and attachment to them. He also turns al-Fhshah away from him when he is sincere to Allh. Hence, before he tastes the sweetness of alUbdiyyah to Allh and sincerity for Him, he will be forced by his soul to follow its own passion, but once he gets the taste of sincerity and becomes strong in his heart, then his passion will submit to him without any effort. Verily, as-Salt prevents the committing of blatant sins and illegal deeds, and the mindfulness of Allh is greater indeed [Al-Ankabt yah 45]


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Indeed in as-Salh there is repulsion of harmful things, i.e. al-Fahsh and al-Munkar; and there is attainment of a beloved thing, mindfulness of Allh. The attainment of this beloved thing is greater than the repulsion of the harmful things. Indeed, the mindfulness of Allh is, by itself, a worship of Allh; and the hearts worship of Allh is sought for itself whereas the repulsion of evil from the heart is sought for other than itself. Instead, it is needed for something else. Indeed he succeeds who sanctifies it (his own soul), and he fails who corrupts it (his own soul). [Ash Shams yt 9-10] Indeed, he shall achieve success who sanctifies himself and is mindful of the Name of Allh and performs Salt. [AlAl ayt 14-15] Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and protect their private parts from sins. That is more sanctifying for them... [An-Nr yah 30] ...And had it not been for the Grace of Allh and His Mercy on you, not one of you would ever have been sanctified... [An-Nr yah 21] Thus the sanctification of the soul comprises getting rid of all evils including blatant sins, injustice, shirk, and lying. Thus he who seeks leadership becomes the slave of his people in reality! Both manifest worship of each other and both have gone away from His true worship. Hence each one who was a slave and obsessed by his passion becomes subdued by the other! Imagine if their mutual help is for an unjust dominion. Same for one who strives for wealth. Wealth is of two types: One type is that for which al-Abd has a need, such as food, drink, housing and marital life. This type should be asked for from Allh and should be sought for His pleasure. Thus, this wealth, which a person uses for his needs, is of the same level as his donkey, which he rides, or his mat, on which he sits. Furthermore, it should be regarded on the same level as a water closet, in which he satisfies his need without becoming subdued or dismayed by it. Irritable (disorientated) when evil touches him, and niggardly when good touches him. [Al-Marij ayt 20-21] The other type of wealth is that which al-Abd does not need for his necessities. He should not attach his heart to this type of wealth. Thus the first hadth. This person is indeed a slave of those objects. He asks Allh for them, if granted he is pleased, but if denied he is upset. However the true Abd of Allh is the one who is pleased with what Allh and His Rasl hated by Allh and His Rasl love and hates what is

and will make allegiance with Awliy Allh and take for enemies the enemies of Allh.

The Messenger said, Whoever loves for Allh, hates for Allh, gives for Allh and denies for Allh has indeed completed al-mn. [Ab Dwd with good isnd. See Silsilt Al-Ahdth As Sahhah No. 379] The Messenger said, The most strong of al-mns ties is love in the sake of Allh and hate in the sake of Allh. [Hadth hasan extracted by Ahmad and at-Tabarn]

Obsession of the Heart 3

Signs of Love Allh has established two signs for people who love Him: 1. Ittib 2. Al-Jihd f sablillh; Ar-Rasl;


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This is because the reality of al-Jihd is the striving to accomplish that which Allh loves of mn and the righteous deeds, and the repulsion of that which Allh hates of al-Kufr, al-Fusq and disobedience. Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, your wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwelling in which you delight are dearer to you than Allh and His Messenger and striving hard and fighting in his cause, then wait until Allh brings about His decision (torment), and Allh guides not rebellious folk.[Srah al-Tawbah yah 24] The Messenger said, By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, no one among you will believe until I become more beloved to him than his children, his parents and all mankind together. [Bukhr & Muslim] Umar ibn al-Khattb (RA) said, O Messenger of Allh, you are more beloved to me than anything else except myself Then the Messenger of Allh said, No, O Umar! Until I become more beloved to you than yourself. Umar (RA) then said, Now, O

replied, Then, by Allh, you are more beloved to me than my own self," then the Messenger of Allh Umar. [Bukhr & Muslim]

The reality of loving someone is never complete except by having loyalty to the beloved one, that is, to comply with him by loving what he loves and hating what he hates. Love motivates the will of the heart. The stronger the love, the more the heart seeks the accomplishment of the beloved things. If love is to be complete, it will require a firm will in achieving beloved things. The Messenger said, Whoever calls for guidance will have a reward similar to the reward of those who follow him, without diminishing any of their reward. And whoever calls for misguidance will have a burden similar to the burdens of those who follow him, without diminishing any of their reward. [Muslim] The Messenger said, Verily, in Al-Madnah there are men who never embarked on a journey nor passed a valley but they

were with you. The Sahbah said, And they are still in Al-Madnah?He said, Yes, and they are still in Al- Madnah; they were prevented (from travelling with you) by their excuse. [Bukhr & Muslim] If al-abd abandons that which he is able to do of al-Jihd it becomes an indication of the weak love. Beloved goals cannot be attained except by enduring hateful consequences regardless of whether the love is righteous or corrupt. If those who love Allh and His Messenger Tala said: do not endure ... it shows his weak love. Mumin has more love for Allh as He

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allh as rivals (to Allh). They love them as they love Allh. But those who believe love Allh more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong had but known, when they see the torment, that all power belongs to Allh and that Allh is severe in punishment. [Srah Al-Baqarah yah 165] The lover, because of weakness of mind and corrupt reasoning, may take a route that will not reach the desired goal. Such a route is not praised even if the love itself is righteous and praise-worthy. Then, what if the love is faulty and the route is a dead end? The heart is inherently in need of Allh from two aspects 1. worship; this 2. seeking help & reliance; this is the effective motive; is the purposive motive;

The heart will not be righteous, successful, contented, pleased, and assured except by the worship of Allh, love of Him and repentance to Him, because it has an inherent need for its Lord. This will never occur except by the help of Allh. It is You we worship, and it is from You we seek help. [Srah Al-Ftihah yah 5]


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He will never escape the pains of this world and its distress except by making his love sincere and pure for Allh in such a way as to make Allh his ultimate desire and the end of his every intention. If he strives to attain a goal but isnt seeking help from Allh, relying on Him and depending on Him to achieve it, then he will never gain this true love. For that which Allh wills will be, and that which He does not will not be. The strongest and the most guided are the ones who are most perfect in their Ubdiyyah to Allh.

Disdainfulness The one who submits to Him and to others is a Mushrik. The one who refuses to submit to Him is a Mustakbir (disdainful). The Messenger Jannah [Muslim] said, Whoever has in his heart an atoms weight of kibr (disdainfulness) will not enter al-

Allh has made al-kibr the opposite of al-mn, for al-kibr negates the reality of al-ubdiyyah. The heart will not dispense with all created beings unless and until Allh becomes its Lord other than Whom it does not worship. Ash-Shirk is more dominant among the Christians, while al-Kibr is more dominant among the Jews As regards the Christians: They took their priests and their monks to be their lords beside Allh, and (they also took as Lord) al-Mash son of Mary, while they were commanded to worship none but one deity. None has the right to be worshipped but Him. Praise and Glory be to him Who is far from having partners they associate (with Him). [Srah Al-Tawbah yah 31] As regards the Jews: ...Is it that whenever there comes to you a messenger with what you yourselves desire not, you treat him with disdain? Some you disbelieve in and some you kill. [Srah Al-Baqarah yah87] I shall turn away from My Signs those who behave arrogantly on the earth in a wrongful manner, and (even) if they see all the Signs they will not believe in them. And if they see the way of righteousness they will not adopt it as the way, but if they see the way of error, they will adopt that way... [Srah Al-Arf ayah 146] Al-Kibr necessarily implies Ash-Shirk, and Ash-Shirk is the counterpart of Al-Islm, it being the sin which Allh will never forgive. Verily Allh forgives not that rivals should be set up in worship with Him, but He forgives whomever He pleases sins other than that, and whoever sets up rivals in worship with Allh, he has indeed invented a tremendous sin. [Srah AnNis ayah 48] Verily Allh forgives not that rivals should be set up in worship with Him but He forgives whomever He pleases other than that, and whoever sets up rivals in worship with Allah, indeed he has strayed far away." [Srah An-Nis ayah 116] Hence all the prophets were sent with the Dn of al-Islm, it being the only Dn acceptable to Allh. Noah said: And if you turn away, I have not asked you for a reward; verily, my reward is only with Allh. And I have been commanded to be of those who submit to Allh. [Srah Ynus yah 72] Concerning Ibrhm:


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And who disliked the religion of Abraham except one who fools himself? And We had chosen him in this world; and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him: Submit! He said I submit to the Lord of the Worlds ... Therefore, do not die except that you are Muslims. [Sah Al-Baqarah yt 130-132] Ysuf said: ... Take my soul as the one that submits and admit me among the righteous. [Srah Ysuf yah 101] Ms said: ... O my people, if you would believe in Allh then put your trust in Him; if you are truely Muslims. Then they said: We do put our trust in Allh. [Srah Ynus yt 84-85] The Messenger said, Allh says, Al-Adthamah (majesty) is My loincloth and Al-Kibriy (grandeur) is My garment. Thus, I shall punish whoever challenges Me concerning either of them[Muslim & Ab Dwd] Majesty and Grandeur are the peculiarities of Lordship, and Grandeur is of a higher level than Majesty. For this reason He put it at the rank of a garment just as He put majesty at the rank of a loincloth. That is why the motto (Allhu-Akbar) of Salh, Adhn, Takbr of Eid. Takbr is also favoured in high places such as Saf & Marwah, and when a man ascends or mounts and animal. Also shaitn runs away when adhn is called. And your Lord said: Call upon Me, and I shall respond to your (invocation). Verily those who disdain My worship will surely enter Jahannam in humiliation! [Srah Al-Mumin yah 60] Whoever disdains the worship of Allh surely must worship other than Him, because man is susceptible to mobilisation by his will. The Messenger said : The most trustworthy of names are Hrith and Hammm. [Ab Dwd & Nas] Hrith is the cultivator who is an active earner (provider) and Hammm is the one who is effective from the onset of intention. For intention is the beginning of the will. Man always has a will; and for every will there must be that which is willed and that toward which it aims. Then necessarily there is for each abd a willed, beloved objective, which is the aim of his love and will. Therefore, whoever does not have Allh as his mabd (the worshipped one) then the aim of his love and will disdains to do so. He must necessarily have another as a willed beloved one, worshipping him rather than Allh. He is then an abd for that willed, beloved one, which could be wealth, fame, appearance, or whatever he takes as a deity for worship rather than Allh. If man is an abd for other than Allh, then he is surely a mushrik, and every mustakbir is a mushrik. That is why Pharaoh was one of the greatest creatures as to istikbr. And indeed We sent Ms with Our Signs and a manifest authority to Pharaoh, Hmn and Qrn, but they called him a sorcerer, a liar! Ms said: Verily! I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant one who believes not in the Day of Reckoning... Thus Allah seals up every arrogant tyrannous heart. [Srah Al-Mumin yt 23-25] And (We destroyed) Qrn, Pharaoh and Hmn. Ms came to them with clear signs but they were arrogant in the land, yet they could not outstrip Us (i.e., escape from Our punishment). [Srah Al-Ankabt yah 39] Verily Pharaoh exalted himself in the earth and broke up its people into sections, oppressing a group among them, killing their sons and humiliating their women... [Srah Al-Qasas yah 4] And they denied them (those signs) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their souls were convinced thereof then see what was the end of the mischief- makers. [Srah An-Naml yah 14] The greater his istikbr the greater will be his shirk. He becomes a mushrik by means of that in which he becomes enthralled. See Pharaoh described with Shirk in Sratul-Arf yah 127. Verily, We revealed the Torah, in which was guidance and light, and by which the prophets who submitted judged the Jews... [Srah Al-Midah yah 44]


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Balqs said: ...O my Lord, I have indeed wronged my soul, now I submit with Sulaymn to Allh, the Lord of the Worlds. [Srah An-Naml yah 44] And when I inspired the Disciples to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said We believe! Then bear witness that we are Muslims. [Srah Al-Midah yah 111] Verily the religion with Allh is Al-Islm. [Srah Al-Imrn yah 19] And whoever seeks other than Al-Islm as a religion, it will not be accepted from him... [Srah Al-Imrn yah 85] Then do they seek other than the religion of Allh when whatever is in the heavens and the earth submits to Him, willingly or unwillingly; and to Him they shall be returned. [Srah Al-Imrn yah 83] Among all creation there is no one single means which can independently generate any good or ward off any evil. Rather, any cause or means is in need of another cause or means which will help it and repel any harm which opposes it and works against it. Say, Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allh, if Allh intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm, or if He intended some Mercy for me, could they stop His Mercy? Say, Sufficient is Allh for me! Those who trust in Him (Alone). [Srah Az-Zumar yah 38] And if Allh touches you with a harm, none can remove it but He, and if He touches you with good; then He is Able to do all things. [Srah Al-Anm yah 17]

The Prophets

Guidance on Recovery from the Affliction of Distress and Grief

Mukhtasar Zd al-Mad of Ibn al Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

[published by. Nour E-Sham Book Centre] - slightly modified

Ibn Abbs reported that Allhs Messenger used to supplicate in times of trouble saying: There is no god but Allh, the Great, the Tolerant, there is no god but Allh, the Lord of the Magnificent Throne; there is no god but Allh, the Lord of the heaven and the earth, the Lord of Edifying Throne. On the authority of at-Tirmidh, who reported that Allhs Messenger used to supplicate saying: Allh, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining, I implore Thy mercy. Whenever afflicted with a grief, the Holy Prophet raised his hands in supplication and said: Holy is Allh, the Great, then he would go on saying Allh, the Living, the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining. Ab Dwd reported on the authority of Ab Bakr:


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The distressed could supplicate saying: Allh, I implore Thee to have mercy on me,

do not leave me on my own even for just a blink of an eye; I implore Thee to improve my condition; there is no god but Allh. In her turn Asm Bint Omais narrated that the Messenger of Allh addressed her saying: Shall I teach you some words you would say at the time of distress? Alright, say, There is no god but my Lord, I associate none with Him. Another narrator called Ahmed said: Should a creature be afflicted with a grief, he must supplicate in the following manner: O Allh, I am your servant and the son of your servant and she-servant; my forelock is in Thy hand. Thou art decisive in Thy judgement, just in Thy trial, I ask Thee by every Name Thou have attached to Thyself, revealed in Thy Book, confided to any of Thy creatures or kept secret in the World of the Unseen, I beseech Thee earnestly to render the Holy Koran the Bloom of my heart, the light of my sight, the obliterator of my grief and remover of my distress. Abu Dwd reported that the Messenger of Allh said to Ab Ummah:

Shall I teach you words which if you recite, Allh will blot out your grief and relieve you of your debts? Ab Ummah said, Oh, Yes! The Holy Prophet then went on saying Alright, always remember to supplicate in the morning and evening with the

following words: O Allh! I seek refuge with you from (worries) care and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from miserliness and cowardice, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by other men. Abi Ummah said that he did so and Allh helped him overcome his grief and relieve him of his debt. Ibn Abbs reported that the Noble Prophet said: Whosoever begs for Allhs forgiveness, Allh will relieve him of his grief, give him a way out of his distress and provide for him from whence he expects not. Another Prophetic saying that goes to the same purport, goes as follows: Seek strife in the cause of Allh, it is a gate conducive to the Garden and will verily ward off your cares and grief. The Prophet also said: When cares and grief hunt you, always recite, there is no might and power but that of Allh. Fifteen sort of remedies could be listed to resort to when afflictions of grief, cares and worries start playing within ones heart: Belief in One Lord Belief that there is no god but Allh Belief that Allh is Omniscient Deanthropomorphism in understanding that Allh is not liable to wrong His servant, nor does He hold any responsible for anything he has no knowledge of
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The servants confession that he is the wrongdoer Supplication, using the most sacred thing in the Divine perspective, namely His Names and Attributes and the most inclusive ones, in particular: He is the Living (alHayy), the Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining (al-Qayym). Seeking refuge with Allh, only The servants recognition that only Allh is worthy of making supplication to Effecting complete dependence on Allh, resignation to Him and acknowledgement of the fact that ones forelock is in Allhs hand; He is decisive in His judgement and just in His decision Complete absorption of the luminous words of the Holy Koran that can illuminate the dark areas of obscurities and lust Seeking Allhs forgiveness Repentance Fight in the way of Allh Observance of prayer Admitting incapacity, and conviction that there is no might and no power but that of Allh.

The Relief of the Heart and Body Lies in Obedience to Allaah By Ibn al-Qayyim
Taken from Al-Fawaaid; translated by Abu Rumaysah

In this lies a great secret from the secrets of Tawheed. This is that the heart cannot become firm, it cannot find satisfaction and it cannot find tranquillity except by reaching out to Him. Everything that is loved and desired besides Him then it must be desired for other than His sake. The One Who is desired, the One Who is beloved in and of Himself, with Whom all matters find their final goal is only one. It is impossible that the final goal be to two destinations just as it is impossible that the beginning of the creation be from two sources. So the one whose love, desire, will and obedience ends at other than Him then it will be rendered null and void, it will disappear and split off from him no matter how great his need be of it.
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However the one whose love, desire, will, obedience, awe and reverential fear ends at Him, far removed is He from imperfection, will find himself winning His favours, bliss and rapture, magnificence and splendour, and felicity for eternity. The servant continuously finds himself altering between the laws of commandments and the laws of decree. Therefore he is perpetually in need of aid to fulfil the commandments and in need of kindness and leniency at the onset of the calamity. It is the extent to which he establishes the obligations that determine how much kindness the servant will receive at the onset of the calamity. Therefore if he completes his obligations both inwardly and outwardly then he will attain kindness and leniency both inwardly and outwardly. If, however, he merely establishes the outward form [of the commandments] without establishing their reality [inwardly] then he will receive an outward kindness and his portion of inward kindness will [greatly] diminish. So if it is asked: what is this inward kindness? [I say in reply:] It is what the heart attains of tranquility and satisfaction at the onset of the calamity and the removal of unrest, confusion and despair. Therefore the servant surrenders and submits himself before his Lord and Master and he emerges in a state of complete rest and tranquillity - looking on at Him with his heart, and his soul at peace. His witnessing His Kindness has distracted him from the severity of the situation. His knowledge of Allaahs excellent choice and decision for him diverts him from feeling the calamity just as does his knowledge that he is nothing but a mere servant upon whom the decrees of his Master take effect, and he can either be pleased with them or angry with them. So if he is pleased then he will attain Pleasure and if he is displeased then his portion is nothing save Displeasure. Therefore this inward kindness is the fruit of this inward action [of being pleased with the decree of Allaah], it increases with its increase and decreases with its decrease.

Strangeness and the Strangers

Imm Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Adopted by Ammar ibn Abdullah al-Hindi Based on a booklet by ibn Qayyim entitled al-Ghurbathu wa alGhuraba Some modifications and additions have been made, 1994 Basheer Publications

Islm began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.

The Meaning of Strangeness


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Many times in many situations the people that follow the religion of Allh feel a sense of not belonging, of being out of place, of not fitting in, and, in other words, of being strange. This feeling could occur in a gathering of non-Muslims, but, unfortunately, this feeling sometimes also occurs when one is with his fellow Muslims. A person sees his brothers and sisters doing acts that are contrary to Islm, or taking part in innovations that sometimes even border on kufr (apostasy), yet he feels that he does not have enough power or courage to stop them in these acts. Some brothers and sisters, especially if they do not have enough taqw or Islamic knowledge, sometimes buckle under the pressure of their peers and join in these acts, knowing that this is not what Allh wants them to do. However, feeling helpless, since it seems that they are alone in their ideas and without any support to help them do what is right, they succumb to such pressures. These brothers and sisters, may Allh have mercy on them, should take consolation in the verses of the Qurn and the many statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) describing this very situation of strangeness that they feel.

Why Have They Been Called Strangers?

Allh says in the Qurn, If only there had been, in the generations preceding you, people having wisdom, prohibiting others from evil in the earth; except a few of those whom we have saved from among them. (Hd: 116). This verse speaks of the few people on earth, the strangers, who prohibit mankind from evil. These are the same people the Prophet (peace be upon him) spoke about when he said, Islm began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings [Ar. Tba. This is a tree in Paradise. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) is giving the good news of Paradise to these strangers.] to the strangers. It was asked, Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allh? He replied, Those that correct the people when they become corrupt. [Reported by Ab Amr al-Dani, from the hadth of ibn Masd. It is authentic according to al-Albn. Another narration says, Those that correct my sunnah which has been corrupted by the people after me.] In another narration he said in response to the same question, They are a small group of people among a large evil population. Those who oppose them are more than those who follow them. [Reported by ibn Askir. It is authentic according to al-Albn.] These praiseworthy people are called strangers since they are a small minority among mankind. Thus, Muslims are strangers among mankind; the true believers are strangers among Muslims; and the scholars are strangers among the true believers. And the followers of the Sunnah, those that clear themselves from all peoples of innovation, are likewise strangers. In reality, however, their strangeness is only because they are the minority and it is not because their actions and beliefs are strange. This is what Allah says in srah al-Anm, And if you obey most of the people on Earth, they will lead you astray (al-Anm:116). Allh also says, And most of mankind will not believe, even if you (O Muhammad) desire it eagerly (Ysuf: 103); And truly, most of mankind are rebellious and disobedient (to Allh). (al-Midah 49); But nay, most of mankind are ungrateful (Ysuf 38). Therefore, Allh, the all-Knowing Creator, knows the most of mankind will not follow the truth. Instead,


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only a small group of people will be set apart that truly and correctly believe in Him, the strangers from among mankind. The strangers in belief, however, and the strangers in character and actions are in reality the majority of mankind, for they are strange to Islam and to the laws that Allh has revealed. Thus we see that there are various types of strangeness, of which some are praiseworthy, some are blameworthy and some are neither praiseworthy or blameworthy. We will discuss these various categories separately below.

The Various Types of Strangeness

You should know, may Allh have mercy upon you, that strangeness is of three types: The first type of strangeness is the strangeness of the People of Allh and the People of His Messenger (peace be upon him), which we mentioned previously. This strangeness is a praiseworthy strangeness, as it has been praised by Allh and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Therefore, this kind of strangeness should be sought and its people must be supported. This strangeness occurs in different times, in different places, and among different peoples. These strangers, then, are the true People of Allh for they do not worship ought save Him, and they do not take support from any path except the path of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and they do not call to anything except that which has been brought by the Prophet (peace be upon him). These are the people who left mankind when they (the strangers) were in need of them the most. For, on the Day of Judgment, when all other groups will go with that which they used to worship, they will stay in their places. It will be said to them, Will you not go as the other people have gone? They will answer, We had abandoned the people (in this life), and we were more in need of them then we are today, and we will wait for our Lord whom we used to worship. [Recorded by al-Bukhr and Muslim] Thus it is apparent that this strangeness does not cause its bearer any discontent. Rather it is a comforting strangeness, a solace to the believers. This is because he knows that his helpers are Allh, His Messenger and those who believe [This is a reference to verse 55 of srah alMidah], even if all of mankind left and abandoned him. These strangers are again described in a hdth narrated by Anas ibn Mlik, in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, It is possible that a disheveled, dusty person, with not many belongings [Literally, with two headdresses], who is not noticed among the people, if he asks of Allh, Allh will fulfill his prayer. [Reported by at-Tirmidh and al-Hkim. Al-Albn said it is authentic.] Al-Hasan alBasr [a very famous Follower tb` - known for his piety, asceticism and knowledge] said, A believer is a stranger in this world, he is never afraid of its humiliation, and he never competes for its glory. The people are in one situation and he is in a different situation. The people are content with him, yet he is in turmoil [Literally, tired] with himself. From the characteristics of these strangers that the Prophet (peace be upon him) described is the holding on to the sunnah of the Messenger (peace be upon him), even if the people abandon it. They, the strangers, leave all the innovations that their people invent, even if such practices should be common among them. They also stick to tawheed, even if the people corrupt it with shirk. They do not ascribe themselves to anything besides Allah and His Prophet (peace be
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upon him); they do not, that is, ascribe themselves to a shaikh, tarqah, particular madhhab or a group of people. They are dedicated only to Allh, with their sincere worship of Him and Him alone, and to His Prophet (peace be upon him), by following the path that he followed. These are the people who grasp the glowing hot embers [A reference to the hadth that is to follow], even though most of mankind - nay, all of them - blame them for this. This is the meaning of the statements of the Prophet (peace be upon him) alluding to the fact that they stick to his sunnah, even if the people corrupt it. Allh, all praise be to Him, sent His Prophet (peace be upon him) when mankind followed different religions, for there were those who worshipped rivers and trees, and there were those who worshipped idols, and there were Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Islm, when it first appeared among these people, was strange to them. If a person from among them accepted Islm and followed the call of Allh and His Prophet (peace be upon him), he would be shunned by his family and his tribe. He would live the life of a stranger among his people. Eventually, however, Islm spread far and wide. The Muslims became stronger and stronger, so much so that the strangers were those that did not accept the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). But, alas, Satan deceived mankind again. People took to the ways that their forefathers, who had accepted Islm, had abandoned until, finally, Islm became strange again, just like it had started and just like the Prophet (peace be upon him) had foretold. Nay, indeed, rather the true Islm that which the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions were following [this is a reference to the reply that the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave when asked what the characteristics of the Saved Group were] has become even stranger to the people then when it initially appeared, even though its outward signs and external relics are well known and widespread. [This is what ibn al-Qayyim, wrote in the 8th Century of the Hijrah, wrote. Imagine our situations six centuries after him. May Allah protect us.] How can it not be so, when these strangers are only one group among seventy-two others [the Prophet (peace be upon him) said in an authentic hadth that this Ummah would divide into seventy-three groups, all of which would go to Hell except the one Saved Group.], each of which follows its own desires and takes its passions as gods? Those are the groups that base their teachings on doubts and innovations and whose sole purpose is the gratification of their own desires. Thus, the group whose goal is to achieve the pleasure of Allh by following the path of His Messenger (peace be upon him) will be the strange one among all of the other groups. This is why the true Muslims - those that adamantly cling to the Sunnah - will have the reward of fifty Companions. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked about the verse, O you who believe! Take care of your own selves. If you follow right guidance, no harm can come to you from those who err (al-Midah 105), he said, Nay indeed, order good and forbid evil until you see stinginess being obeyed, and desires being followed, and this world preferred [over the next], and each person being deluded by his own opinions. Then take care of yourself and leave the common people. For indeed, after you there will be days of patience, where patience will be like holding on to glowing embers. Whoever is able to do this will have the reward of fifty people that do like him. They asked, O Messenger of Allh, the reward of fifty of them? He replied, The reward of fifty of you [Recorded by al-Tirmidh and Ab Dwd with a weak chain but it has supporting evidence. Al-Albn calls it shh. See al-Sahhah, #957]. This reward is due to his strangeness among the people.
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So, if the believer whom Allh has blessed with wisdom and knowledge wants to tread upon this path, the path of Allh, then let him be prepared to resign himself to the life of a stranger among his people, just like his predecessors who accepted Islam were treated by the people. For indeed, he will be a stranger in his beliefs, because his people have corrupted their beliefs. He will be a stranger in his religion, due to what the people have done to it. He will be a stranger in his manner of praying, because the people are ignorant of the prayer of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He will be a stranger in his ordering of good and prohibiting evil, for the people have taken what is evil as good and they have abandoned what is good as evil. In short, then, he will be a stranger in all his matters of this world and the Hereafter, calling to the path of Allh and withstanding the harm of all those that go against him. As for the second type of strangeness, then know, O reader, that this strangeness is the blameworthy strangeness, for its people are the evil sinners, the ignorant and the arrogant of mankind. Their strangeness is due to their refusal to follow the correct and straight path of Allh. This strangeness is the strangeness of not conforming to the religion of Islam and, as such, it will remain strange even if its followers are numerous, its power is strong and its existence is widespread. These are the strangers to Allh. May Allh keep us from becoming one of them. The third category of strangeness is, in essence, neither praiseworthy or blameworthy. It is the strangeness that a traveler experiences when he travels to a different country, like a person who lives in a place for a short period of time, knowing that he has to move on. One aspect of this strangeness is that all of us, whether we realize it or not, are strangers in this world, for we will all go one day to our permanent abode in the Hereafter. This is the meaning of the hadth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he told Abdullah ibn Umar, Live in this world as though you are a stranger or a wayfarer. Thus, this category of strangeness has the potential to become a praiseworthy strangeness if we realize the meaning of this statement of Allhs Messenger (peace be upon him). We pray that Allh bless us to be Muslims, knowledgeable and pious, and that He forgive us our sins and bless us with His Mercy. Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Honor and Power! (He is free) from what they attribute to Him And Peace be on the Messengers. And all Praise and thanks be to the Allh, the Lord of the Worlds.

The Station of Murqabah

by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken from Madrij as-Slikeen (The Steps of the Followers); courtesy of Jumuah Magazine, slightly modified


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Murqabah is knowing that Allh is watching over us. Allh, subhnahu wa tala, says, And know that Allh knows what is in your minds, so fear Him. [2:235] And Allh is Ever a Watcher over all things. [33:52] And He is with you wherever you may be. [57:4] There are many other similar verses stating the same concept. In the hadth of Jibrl, when he asked the Prophet about ihsn (goodness and excellence), the Prophet replied, Ihsn is to worship Allh as if you see Him, but since we do not see Him we should know that He sees us at all times. (Bukhr and Muslim) The meaning of this hadth is the definition of murqabah. Namely, the endurance of the servants knowledge and his conviction and certainty that Allh is watching over his internal and external affairs. To have this knowledge and certainty at all times is called murqabah. It is the fruit of the servant's knowledge that Allh is his Watcher, Over-seeing him, Hearing his utterances, and Observing all of his deeds at all times. Al-Junaid said, The one firm in murqabah fears the waste of even a moment for other than his Lord. Dhun-Nun said: The sign of murqabah is to favor what Allh has sent down (of the revelation), to glorify what Allh has glorified, and to despise what Allh has despised. Ibrahm Al-Khaws said: Murqabah is the sincerity of both the internal and external to Allh. It has been said that The best that man may cling to on this road to Allh is muhsabah (reckoning of the self),murqabah, and governing his conduct with knowledge. The people of true knowledge have unanimously agreed that having murqabah for Allh in ones hidden thoughts is a means for it to manifest in the deeds and the behavior externally. So, whoever hasmurqabah for Allh in secret and internally, Allh will preserve him in his actions and behavior, both internally and externally. One of the finest definitions for murqabah is the following: murqabah of Allh is being on the way to Him at all times with over-whelming glorification, inciting nearness and urging joy. The overwhelming glorification is to have the heart filled with glorification of Allh. Such a state makes the servant unconcerned with glorifying others or paying attention to others beside Allh. A servant should always have this state, especially when he is remembering Allh. To be with Allh provides one with intimacy and love. If these are not associated with glorification, they may take one outside of the limits of servitude. Any love that is not associated with glorification of the Beloved One is a reason to distance him away from the Beloved and lose His respect. The overwhelming glorification includes five components: walking towards Allh, constantly walking towards Him, presence within the heart for Him, glorification of Him, and being overwhelmed by His glorification to be concerned with others. The inciting nearness is the closeness to Allh that incites the servant to have these five components. This closeness makes him glorify Allh in a manner that he pays no attention to himself or others. The closer the servant becomes to Allh, the more he glorifies Him and the less mindful he will be for others. The urging joy is happiness and glorification. It is the delight one finds in this nearness. There is nothing in this world comparable in any way to the joy and happiness of the heart and the delight of the eye with Allh and His closeness. This is one of the states in Paradise. A knowledgeable person said, There are times when I would say that if the people of Paradise can be in a state like this, they are indeed living a good life. This joy, no doubt, urges him to be constant in walking to Allh and doing his best to seek Allhs Pleasure. If one didn't achieve this joy or
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even a portion of it, then one should doubt their faith and deeds. Faith has grace and sweetness. If one has not tasted it, then one should go back and achieve the true faith and its sweetness. The Prophet mentioned the sweetness of faith in many ahdth, including: ...tasted the taste of faith, those who take Allh as their Lord, Islam as their religion and Muhammad as a Messenger.(Muslim and Ahmad) He also said: Whoever possesses the following three qualities attains the sweetness of faith: To have Allh and His Messenger dearer to him than anything else, to love a person only for the sake of Allah, and to hate to return to kufr after Allh has rescued him from it like he hates to be thrown into fire. (Bukhr & Muslim) I heard Shaykhul-Islm Ibn Taymiyyah saying: If you dont find sweetness and joy in the deed you perform, then doubt its sincerity, for Allh is Shakr (Most Appreciative and Rewarding). He meant that Allh will certainly reward His servant for his deeds in this world as long as the servant is delighted and happy with his deeds. But if he doesnt find the delight and the joy in his heart, then his deed is imperfect, defective. This imperfection and defectiveness is the reward of what the servant receives for his deeds. Deeds have consequences and effects that return to the servant that performed them, affecting his life and all of his affairs. Salh, for example, prevents the servant from unlawful and evil deeds. It also refines his morals and brings him up in the best manner that Allh loves. Siym strengthens his will and enlightens self-reproach and insight, so the person may see the straight path and become among the righteous. Such are all the good and righteous deeds, they have a reward that affords prosperity in all of mans affairs. As a result, family life and the society become joyful and prosperous. The evil deeds have their consequences as well. Allh said, For those who have done good is best (reward). [10:26] and The evil was the end of those who did evil. [30:10] The opposition in people is of three kinds. Only those that Allh protects are free from these. The first kind is the opposition to His Names and Attributes by presenting false and unclear matters. These falsities are negated because of what Allh and His Messenger have ascribed for Him. These people have ascribed to Allh what He negated for Himself. By doing so, they became loyal to His enemies and enemies to His Allies. They changed the words from the correct status and have abandoned, as a result, a great part of what was sent to them. They are those that have divided their religion into differing sects with each group rejoicing in its belief. The only thing that protects from this is the pure submission to the wah (Divine inspiration). When the heart submits to the wah (revelation), it will witness its soundness, realize intellectually and in the light of fitrah (sound nature) that it is the truth. Such a submissive person submits by way of hearing, the mind, and the fitrah. This is the most perfect faith. The second type of person is the one who is in opposition to His Message and Command. These people can vary slightly and can be further categorized. Some may oppose with their opinions and analogies. They make lawful what Allh has made unlawful, and make unlawful what Allh has made lawful. They void what Allh has made obligatory and make obligatory what Allh has voided. Another type amongst these people are those that oppose the facts of faith and the Message with their visions, personal experiences, and false devilish inspirations. These compose a religion that Allh has not allowed, invalidate the religion that Allh sent to His Messenger, and oppose the facts of faith using the devils tricks. These people have religions to worship other than Allhs religion and place these before Allhs religion. Because of their analogies,
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opinions and personal experiences, the entire world could have been ruined and the pillars of the religion destroyed. But Allh has preserved this religion and promised to protect those that will preserve and protect it from the plots of these plotters. Another group of those in opposition are those that oppose the Law of Allh with their unjust rules. They put their rules before the rules of Allh and His Messenger . Thus they suspend Allhs Law, justice and His Hudd (legislated punishments). The third type of opposition is of those who oppose Allhs actions, decrees and ordinances. This opposition comes primarily from ignorant people. It has many forms, some are clear and some are not. This kind of opposition exists within many souls. If we were to contemplate our utterances, actions and desires, we would see this clearly. Most of us have some kind of opposition to Allhs decree and His portioning of livelihood. The ones that are free of this type of opposition are those that know Allh with a true knowledge and accept Him with complete satisfaction.

Human Being Has a Great Capacity For Self-Delusions by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
From Al-Jawb al-Kfi li-man saal `an al-Daw al-Shfi

There are two things one should take heed of if one wishes to attain success and felicity: 1) To know the details of the means of attaining good and evil, and to be clear about these through witnessing them in the world around, through ones own experience and that of others, as well as through reports one has heard about earlier and latter nations. One of the most effective means for attaining this is pondering over the Qurn, for along with the sunnah, it clearly explains the paths to good and evil. If you turn your attention to them, they will suffice you. They will inform you of Allhs treatment of the obedient, and of the sinners. Moreover, apply what you read to practical experience, and you will see the illustration of this that Allh is true, the Messenger is true, the Qurn is true, and that Allh fulfills His promise. History contains details of the paths to good and evil mentioned in the Qurn and sunnah. 2) Beware of deceiving oneself with regard to these paths. This is very important, for the servant knows that sin and heedlessness are harmful to him in his world and the Hereafter, and yet he may deceive himself:
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Through relying on Allhs pardon and forgiveness, by procrastination of repentance, by performing istighfr only verbally, by doing good deeds [after impetuously sinning], by knowledge, by justifying his sins by the argument of destiny, by citing examples of people committing similar sins, or by following in the footsteps of ancestors and elders. Many people think that they can perform some sin, and then if they say Astaghfirullh the sin will disappear. Or, they may deceive themselves with ahdth such as: Whoever says SubHnallhi wa-biHamdih one hundred times in a day, his sins are taken off from him, even if they be like the foam of the ocean. Or A servant committed a sin and then said, O Lord! I have committed a sin, so forgive me, and so he was forgiven . . . . then Allh says, My servant knows that he has a Lord Who forgives sins, and takes [to task] for them. I have forgiven My servant, so let him do as he wishes. Such people cling to the texts of hope, and hold fast to them with both hands, and put [all] their reliance in them, such that if they are reprimanded for committing some sin, they will recite all that they known about Allhs mercy and forgiveness. Some went to excessive limits in this, such that they claimed that to remain free of sins is being ignorant or under-estimating Allhs mercy and pardon. Some deceived people cling to the notion of fatalism; that the servant has no free-will and that he is compelled to commit sins. Other cling to the notion of irj (false hope), claiming that faith is merely affirmation, and that deeds are neither a part of faith nor have any effect upon it. According to their claim, the mn of the most sinful of believers is just like the mn of the angels Gabriel and Michael. Some are deceived by their fathers and elders, thinking that they have a rank before Allh, such that they would not leave them to perish. They take this by analogy from the behavior of worldly kings, who might grant a favor or pardon to someone based on the merits of his father or relatives. Such people are used to being taken out of difficult situations by their fathers, and are under the impression that this may happen in the Hereafter too. Others deceive themselves by reasoning that Allh has no need of punishing them since He gains nothing from it, and He does not lose anything by showing them mercy. Such a person may say, I am in dire need of His mercy, and He is not at all needy of [anything]. if a poor, thirsty person were in dire need of a drink of water from someone in whose premises there flows a river, he would not be denied it, and Allh is more generous, and more expansive in mercy. Others are deceived by ridiculous misinterpretations/misunderstandings, e.g.:
Your Lord will give you, so that you become pleased. [Srah Duh, 5]


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he says: I am not pleased to enter the Fire. This is despicable ignorance, and clear lies, for he should be pleased by what Allh is pleased by, and it is not against Allhs pleasure to punish the oppressors, wrong-doers, evil-doers, traitors and those persistent on major sins. Allh forgives all sins. [Srah Zumar, 93] This is also despicable ignorance, for this verse refers to those who repent; otherwise it would imply invalidation of the verses threatening punishment for the sinners. This is specified by another verse,
Allh does not forgive that partners be associated with Him, and He forgives anything beneath that to whomever He wills. [Srah Nis, 48]

Also, None will burn in it except the most miserable one who rejected and turned away [from the truth]. [Srah Layl, 15-16]. This is a specific fire from among the various levels of Jahannam, and moreover the fact that only the rejecters will burn in it does not rule out that others may enter it. [Hell] has been prepared for the unbelievers. [Srah Baqarah, 24]. The fact that it has been prepared for the unbelievers does not rule out that sinful Muslims may also be punished in it, just as the fact that Heaven has been prepared for the pious. [Srah Ali-Imrn, 133] does not rule out that people with the smallest grain of faith may enter it even if they were not pious. Some are deceived by fasting the days of Ashura and Arafah, such that some may even say that the fast of Ashura' expiates the whole year, and the fast of Arafah remains as a surplus of reward. Such people have failed to realize that the fast of Ramadn and the 5 daily prayers are greater and more noble than the fasts of Arafah and Ashura, and that [it is understood that] sins are [only] forgiven as long as major sins are avoided. So, [fasting] from one Ramadn to another, [praying] from one Jumuh to the next, act in a mutually strengthening manner to achieve forgiveness of minor sins, provided major sins are avoided. So, how then can an optional fast expiate every major sin of a person while he still persists upon the sins, and has not repented from them? Also, it is possible that these two optional fasts expiate all sins in totality, but that this has certain prerequisites and conditions, such as avoidance of major sins, or that the expiation is achieved in conjunction with other good deeds, much the same as the 5 daily prayers and the fasting of Ramadn expiate minor sins in conjunction with the avoidance of major sins.
If you abjure the major things which you are prohibited from, We shall expiate you your evil deeds. [Srah Nis, 31]

Some are deceived by the hadth Qudsi, I am according to the good expectation/thought of My servant., so let him think of Me as he wishes. i.e. that
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whatever he thinks I will do to him, I will. But, good expectations can only be with good conduct, for one who does good expects that his Lord will deal with him well, will not break His promise, and will accept his repentance. As for the one of evil conduct, who persists upon major sins, oppression and other evils, the desolation of sin, wrongdoing and [other] prohibited things prevent him from having good expectations of his Lord. This is something we witness in everyday life. A disobedient employee who has run away with company property will not have a good expectation of his boss. The evil of wrong deeds cannot coexist with good expectation. The best in expectation of his Lord[s mercy] is the most obedient to Him. Hasan Basr said, The believer has good expectation of his Lord, so he make his deeds good. But, the evil person has bad expectation of his Lord, so he does evil. How can someone claim to have good expectation of his Lord when he is like a runaway, and is doing things which displease and anger his Lord, and has abandoned His orders, and is at war with Him. How can one have good expectation of his Lord if he thinks that He does not see him?
And, you used not to conceal yourself, lest your hearing, sight and skin testify

against you, but you thought that Allh does not know much of what you used to do. And that, your expectation which you entertained about your Lord, has destroyed you, so you have become among those lost/ruined. [Surah Fussilt, 23] So, these people, who thought that Allh did not know much of what they did, actually had ill- expectation of their Lord, and that destroyed them. Such people are deceived if they think they will directly enter Heaven; they are fooling themselves; Satan is leading them astray and beguiling them. Ponder over this. Consider: how is it possible for ones heart to be certain that one is going to meet Allh, that Allh sees and hears all that he does, and knows his secret open affairs, and that he will be made to stand before Allh, answerable for all his deeds how can one be certain and aware of all of this, and yet persist upon things which displease Allh; persist upon abandoning Allhs orders, neglecting His rights, and yet claim that he has good expectation of Allh?!! Ab Ummah Sahl ibn Hanif reports: Urwah ibn al-Zubayr and I entered upon Aishah and she said : If only you had seen the Messenger of Allh in one of his illnesses; [when] he had 6 or 7 dinrs. The Messenger of Allh ordered me to distribute them [in charity?], but the pain of the Messenger of Allh kept me from doing that, until Allh cured him. Then, he asked me about them: What have you done? Had you distributed the 6 dinrs? I said, No, by Allh. Your pain had kept me from doing so. He asked for them to be brought [to him], and put them in his hand then said, What would be the expectation of Allhs prophet if he met Allh with these in his possession?
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What, then would be the expectation of the people of major sins, and the oppressors, if they were to meet Allh with these sins and forfeited rights of people on their backs? If their claim that they entertained good expectations that Allh would not punish evil and wrongdoing people, were to benefit them, then everyone could do as he wished, doing everything that Allh has forbidden, provided he kept good expectation of Allh, thinking that the fire will not touch him. Subhanallh! How deceived can one be? Prophet Ibrhm said to his people, Is it a lie, gods besides Allah, that you desire? What then is your expectation of the Lord of the Worlds? [Srah Saffat, 86] i.e. what is your expectation of Allh, what do you expect He will do to you if you meet Him having worshipped other than Him? So, if we reflect over this, we will realize that good expectation of Allh is equivalent to good deeds, for one is moved to good deeds by good hope of Allh, that He will reward him for his efforts and accept them. Otherwise, good expectation along with pursuit of whims and desires and lusts is incapacity. In short, good expectation can only occur if the means for salvation are pursued. Pursuit of the means to destruction cannot accompany good expectations. Someone might claim: It might, based on the expansiveness of Allhs mercy and forgiveness and generosity, and that His mercy exceeds His wrath, and that punishing does not benefit Him, nor does forgiveness harm Him. The reply is: Allh is indeed most generous and merciful, but this is in the appropriate place. Allh is also described as possessing wisdom and might and inflicting retribution, seizing with might, and punishing those deserving punishment. So, if the good expectation is based merely on some of Allhs attributes, then the righteous and the evil, the believer and the unbeliever, would equally be candidates for it. But, the names and attributes of mercy do not benefit the unbeliever or similarly one who has neglected his duty and exposed himself to Allhs curse. Rather, good expectation of Allh is for one who repents, regrets his sins and desists from them. This is good expectation, whereas the first is deception.
Those who believe, and those who perform hijrah and jihad in the path of Allh they are hopeful of Allhs mercy. [Srah Baqarah, 218] So, these people are the

ones who can be truly hopeful of Allhs mercy; not the evil and sinful people. Then, your Lord is, to those who make hijrah after they have been persecuted, and then perform jihad and are patient/steadfast - indeed, your Lord is, after that, Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Srah Nahl, 119] So, the knowledgeable one is he who puts hope in its correct place, whereas the deceived one is he who puts it elsewhere.

On the Ways of Satan in Leading Humans Astray

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Imm Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah

Excerpted with slight modifications from: al-Ashqar, Umar Sulaiman, The World of the Jinn and Devils translated by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo Al-Basheer Company for Publications and Translations

One of the ways Satan leads human beings astray is by making evil look good. On this point, ibn al-Qayyim wrote the following: From his stratagem is that he always bewitches the mind until he can deceive the person. No one is safe from his bewitching except whomsoever Allh wills. He makes good looking to him what harms him the most, until he imagines that it is the most beneficial act for himself. And he makes him flee from the most beneficial act until he thinks it is something harmful to him. Certainly, there is no god but Allh. How many humans have been tested by such sorcery. How many hearts have been kept from Islm, faith and goodness [by such sorcery]. And how many support and present falsehood in the best form and hate truth and present it in the worst form [because of his deception]. And how much falseness is adorned and shown in a desirous manner to the alert. And how much falseness is spread among the wise. He is the one who bewitches the mind until it follows different desires and various evil opinions. He makes them follow every path of misguidance. He leads them to actions, one after another, that cause their destruction. He makes appealing to them the worship of idols, the breaking of familial relationships, the killing of daughters, marrying ones mother and so on. And he promises them the victory of paradise with their infidelity, wickedness and acts of disobedience. He presents to them polytheism in the most honorable fashion. And he presents rejection of Allhs attributes, of His transcendence and of His speech in the guise of anti-anthropomorphism of Allh. He presents abandoning ordering good and eradicating evil in the guise of having mercy for others, behaving with others in a good manner, and applying the verse, O believers, you are in charge of your own souls (alMidah: 105). And he presents turning away from what has come from the Messenger in the guise of blindly following the Imams (taqleed) and the sufficiency of following one who is more knowledgeable. And he presents hypocrisy and compromising with respect to Allhs religion in the guise of being flexible and mixing admirably with the people. [Ighthatul-Luhfn, Vol. 1, p. 130.]

The Implications of Hope

Chapter Twelve of Ad-Du wa ad-Dawu (The Ailment and the Cure) of Ibn al-Qayyim [Notes by Shaykh Al Hasan al-Halab]

Translated by Abu Rumaysah


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It is imperative to understand that if someone hopes and longs for something then this hope must necessarily include three things: 1. Love of what he hopes for. 2. Fear of losing it. 3. His doing all he can to attain it. As for a hope that does not contain these three matters then it is nothing but idle desires hope is one thing and idle desires are something totally different. Therefore every hopeful person is fearful of losing the desired goal and rushes to do all he can to attain it. At-Tirmidh reports from the hadth of Ab Hurayrah (RA) that the Messenger of Allh ( ) said, the one who is afraid (of not reaching a place in time) travels by night and the one who travels by night reaches his destination. Indeed the property of Allh is expensive, indeed the property of Allh is Paradise. [Sunan at-Tirmidh (no. 2452), al-Bukhr in his Trkh (no. 178), al-Hkim (4/307), Abd bin Humaid in his Musnad (no. 1458) and al-Baghawee in Sharh as-Sunnah (no. 4183) Its isnd contains Yazd bin Sinn ar-Ruhw and he is daf. The hadth has a witness reported by al-Hkim (4/308) and Abu Nuaym (8/377) from Ubayy bin Kab with a hasan sanad.] Hence, just as Allh the Glorious has made hope to be the outcome of those who perform righteous action, He has also made fear to be their outcome. Therefore it becomes known that the fear and hope that brings about benefit is when it is accompanied by actions. Allh says, Indeed those who live in awe for fear of their Lord; and those who believe in the signs of their Lord; and those who do not join anyone (in worship) as partners with their Lord; and those who give in charity that which they give with their hearts full of fear, because they are sure to return to their Lord. It is these who race for the good deeds and they are the foremost in them. [al-Muminn (23):57-61] At-Tirmidh reports from ishah (RA) that she said, I asked the Messenger of Allh ( ) about this verse saying, does it refer to those who drink alcohol, fornicate and steal? He replied, no O daughter of as-Siddq! It refers to those who fast, pray and give charity while fearing that these actions may not be accepted of them. These are the people who rush to perform good actions. [Mishkt al-Masbh (Eng. Trans. 2/1110), at-Tirmidh (no. 3175), ibn Mjah (no. 4198), ibn Jarr (18/26), al-Hkim (2/393), Ahmad (6/159, 205) and others. Its narrators are all trustworthy and precise but the isnd is munqati. The hadth is also reported via a second route from ishah by ibn Jarr (18/34) which strengthens it.] This hadth is also reported from Abu Hurayrah (RA). [Reported by ibn Jarr (18/34) but its isnd contains Muhammad bin Humaid ar-Rz and he is daf.] Allh has described the people of victory to be those who perform good and have fear and He has described the people of misery to be those who perform evil and live in a sense of security. Whosoever ponders over the lives of the Companions will find them to be lives lived to the full in performing good actions combined with the fear of Allh whereas we combine lack of performing actions, indeed complete negligence in performing actions, with a sense of security! Here is none other than Ab Bakr as-Siddq saying, I wish that I were a hair on the back of a believing servant as reported by Ahmad. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/13)] Ahmad also mentioned that he used so say, taking hold of his tongue, this is what has led me to my destruction! [Reported by Mlik in al-Muwatta (Eng. Trans. Pg. 421), ibn as-Sunn in Amal
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al-Yawm (no. 7), Abu Yal (no. 5), ibn Ab ad-Duny in as-Samt (no. 13), ibn Ab ashShaybah (9/66) and ibn al-Mubrak (no. 369) with a sahh sanad.] He used to cry a great deal saying, cry, and if you cannot cry then endeavour to cry. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/13)] When he stood to pray then it was as if he was a piece of wood due to his fear of Allh, the Mighty and Magnificent. [Refer to Trkh al-Khulaf (pg. 104)] He was given a bird and turned it over saying, no game is caught nor tree lopped but because of the glorification it neglected. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/15)] When death approached him he said to ishah (RA), O daughter indeed I have been given this cloak, milker and slave from the property of the Muslims, quickly take it to ibn al-Khattb. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/16)] He used to say, by Allh I wish that I was a tree that is eaten from and then truncated. Qatdah said, it has reached me that Ab Bakr said, woe to me, if only I were grass that would be eaten by the animals. [ Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/17)] Here is none other than Umar bin al-Khattb (RA) reciting Srah at-Tr and when he reached the verse, Verily the torment of your Lord will surely come to pass. [at-Tr (52):7] he began to cry so much that as a result he fell ill and the people would visit him. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/29) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/51)] At the time of his death he said to his son, woe to you, leave me lying on the ground so that maybe He will be merciful to me. Then he said, woe to me if He does forgive me three times and passed away. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/81)] He would recite a verse during his nightly devotions that would inculcate so much fear in him that he would seclude himself in his house for days to come such that the people would think that he had fallen ill. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/29) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/51)] He used to have two black furrows running down his face due to his crying. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/30) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/51)] Ibn Abbs said to him, through you Allh has allowed many lands to be conquered and many battles to be won so do as you please. He replied, I only wish that I can be saved such that my good deeds balance my evil deeds. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/34) and Ab Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/52)] Here is none other than Uthmn bin Affn (RA) who used to cry so much when he stood by a grave that his beard became soaked. [Reported by at-Tirmidh (no. 2424), ibn Mjah (no. 4267) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/61)] He used to say, it is as if I am standing between Paradise and Hell not knowing which one I am destined for. I would choose to be burnt to ashes before knowing which one I am to go to. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/42) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/60)]


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Here is none other than Al bin Ab Tlib (RA) whose crying and fear of Allh is well-known. He used to be extremely afraid of two matters: excessive reliance on hope that would lead to inaction and the following of desires. He said, as for excessive reliance on hope then it causes one to forget the Hereafter, as for vain desires then they divert from the truth. Indeed this world will pass away and ahead of it lies the Hereafter and each one has its offspring. So be the children of the Hereafter and do not be the children of the world for indeed today is the time for action without recompense and tomorrow is the time of recompense with no action. [Reported by Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/48) and Abu Nuaym in al-Hilya (1/76)] Here is Abu ad-Dard (RA) who used to say, the thing I fear most for myself on the Day of Judgement is that it be said to me, O Ab ad-Dard you have learnt but how much did you act upon what you knew? [All of the following narrations can be found in az-Zuhd of Imm Ahmad and al-Hilya of Abu Nuaym so I shall not unnecessarily lengthen by referring each and every one of them.] He used to say, if only you knew what would certainly happen to you after death you would never again eat a single bite out of a craving appetite, neither would you drink a single sip of water for the pleasure of insatiable thirst and neither would you resort to your homes seeking shade and comfort. Instead you would go out to the open desert, striking your chests and crying over what is to happen to you. Indeed I wish that I were a tree that is truncated and then eaten from. The eyes of Abdullh bin Abbs (RA) used to be continuously downcast due to his frequent crying. Ab Dharr (RA) used to say, I wish that I were a tree that is truncated and I wish that I were not created. When he was offered charity he used to say, we have a goat that provides us milk, a donkey upon which we ride and a freed slave who serves us (of his own free will). I possess a cloak which I do not need and I fear that I will be judged for it. One night Tamm ad-Dr (RA) recited Srah al-Jthiyah and when he reached the verse, Or do those who earn evil deeds think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe and do righteous deeds. [al-Jthiyah (45):21] He began to cry and kept repeating the verse until the morning. Ab Ubaydah Aamir bin al-Jarrh (RA) said, I wish that I was a ram that was slaughtered by my family and then they ate its (cooked) flesh and drank its soup. There are many many narrations like this. Bukhr said in his Sahh, Chapter: the believer fearing that his actions be destroyed while he is unaware. Ibrhm at-Taim said, I have never compared my words to my actions except that I feared that I was a liar.


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Ibn Ab Mulaykah said, I have met thirty of the Companions of the Messenger of Allh ( ) all of them fearing hypocrisy for themselves and not one of them said that he had the faith of Jibrl and Mikl. It is mentioned from Hasan (al-Basr) that he said, none but a believer fears hypocrisy and none but a hypocrite feels secure from it. Umar bin al-Khattb used to say to Hudhayfah, I ask you by Allh did the Messenger of Allh ( ) list me amongst the hypocrites? He replied, no, and I will not give this tazkiyyah to anyone else besides you. I heard our Shaykh, may Allh be pleased with him, saying, the meaning of his words is not that he will not clear anyone of hypocrisy save Umar, rather the meaning is that he will not allow this door to be opened such that anyone can come and ask him this question so that he can absolve him of hypocrisy. I say: close to this in meaning is the saying of the Prophet ( ) to the one who asked him to supplicate and make him one of the seventy thousand who would enter Paradise without judgement, Ukksha has preceded you. He did not mean that Ukksha was the only one deserving of this to the exclusion of the other Companions. Rather the meaning is that had he supplicated then another would have stood and then another and the door to this would have been opened and it is possible that somebody stand who would not be deserving of his supplication and therefore it would be better to withhold. Allh knows best.

Between The Past And The Future

Imm Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Taken from al-Fawid, pp 151-152; Al-Istiqmah, No. 2

Your life in the present moment is in between the past and the future. So what has preceded can be rectified by tawbah (repentance), nadam (regret) and istighfr (seeking Allhs forgiveness). And this is something that will neither tire you, nor cause you to toil as you would with strenuous labour. Rather it is an action of the heart. Then as regards the future (then it can be corrected) by withholding yourself from sins. And this abandonment is merely the leaving of something and to be at ease from it. This also is not action of the limbs, which requires you to strive and toil. Rather this is a firm resolve and intention of the heart which will give rest to your body, heart and thoughts. So as for what has preceded, then you rectify it with repentance. And as for the future then you rectify it with firm resolve and intention. Neither of these involves any hardship or exertion of the limbs. But then your attention must be directed to your life in the present - the time between two times. If you waste it, then you have wasted the
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opportunity to be of the fortunate and saved ones. If you look after it, having rectified the two times what is before and after it, as we have said then you will be successful and achieve rest, delight and ever-lasting bliss. However, looking after it is harder than that which comes before and after it, since guarding it involves keeping to that which is most befitting and beneficial for your soul, and that which will bring it success and well-being.

Constant Awareness of Being Prepared

By Imm Ibn al-Jawzee

It is a duty upon every sane person to be prepared for his departure [from this world], for one does not know when he will be served by his Lords commands [to take away his soul] nor does he know how long it is going to be before he will be summoned [for the Day of Judgment]. I have seen so many people enchanted by their youth. They have forgotten that their peers no longer exist, yet they are preoccupied with prolonged hopes [to stay alive]. A person in the process of acquiring knowledge may tell himself: I will acquire knowledge today and will adopt it the following day. Such [postponement] may leave him in his deviation whilst giving himself a break [for the day]! Delaying his readiness to achieve repentance, whilst exposing himself to be indulged in [sins, such as] backbiting or listening to such (backbiting) or getting involved in a Shubhah(suspected, Hall or Harm) matter. He hopes to cancel it out (i.e. the bad deed/s) through his would be observance, the following day, forgetting that death may be sudden.
The wise one is he who values each and every moment of his life, observing ones due duties. Then, if death were to come suddenly, one would be ready [to face The Judge, Allh, subhnahu wa tal]. However, if one is granted his wish [in his life being prolonged] that would mean the increasing of [ones scale of] good deeds.

The Soul Between the Enchantment of the Duny and that of the Hereafter
By Imm Ibn al-Jawzee
Taken from his book Saydul Khtir (Captured Thoughts)


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When listening to a sermon or preaching, ones heart may become vigilant but once one has left the gathering where Allh is being mentioned, hardness and inattentiveness returns! Reflecting upon the reason for this sudden change, I realised what it was. I noticed that people vary when it comes to this (i.e. the effect of preaching on them). Generally speaking the heart does not assume the same level of alertness during the preaching and after for two reasons: Firstly: Preaching is like whipping which leaves no pain, but it hurts only while being whipped.
Secondly: During the sermon, the listener normally has nothing to distract his attention. Mentally and physically setting aside worldly matters and listening whole-heartedly. Then once back to the worldly life, he will be attracted by its allurements. How then could one remain in the same state as prior to the sermon? This state of affairs happens to all humanity. However, this affect does vary with those who listen with their hearts. Some of them are unhesitatingly callous to what goes on around them. If they are visited by lifes hustle and bustle, they become selfconscious, as Handhalah (the companion, radiya Allhu anhu) said about himself: Handhalah is a hypocrite... [in a hadeeth related by Muslim] Some others tend to be of a more forgetful character. Sometimes though they excel (in good deeds) after listening to a sermon. In fact, such people are like stalks that sway with the wind! Others are but little affected; the effect on their hearts lasts only for the period of the sermon. It soon disappears, just like water when poured on a smooth rock!

Ways To Strengthen Ones Memory

It is human nature to be forgetful, as the Arab poet said: He is only called man (insaan) because of his forgetfulness (nasiyaan), and it is only called the heart (al-qalb) because it changes so rapidly (yataqallib). In the past they said that the first one to forget (awwal naasin) was the first man (awwal alnaas), meaning Adam, peace be upon him. Forgetfulness is something that varies from person to person according to each individuals nature; some may be more forgetful than others. Some of the things that may help to combat forgetfulness are the following: 1. Keeping away from sin, because the bad effects of sin result in a bad memory and the inability to retain knowledge. The darkness of sin cannot co-exist with the light of knowledge. The following words were attributed to al-Shaafiee, may Allaah have mercy on him:


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I complained to [my shaykh] Wakee about my bad memory, and he taught me that I should keep away from sin. He said that knowledge of Allaah is light, and the light of Allaah is not given to the sinner. Al-Khateeb reported in al-Jaami (2/387) that Yahya ibn Yahya said: A man asked Maalik ibn Anas, O Abu Abd-Allaah! Is there anything that will improve my memory? He said, If anything will improve it, it is giving up sin. When a person commits a sin, it overwhelms him and this leads to anxiety and sorrow which keeps him busy thinking about what he has done. This dulls his senses and distracts him from many beneficial things, including seeking knowledge. 2. Frequently remembering Allaah, may He be glorified, by reciting dhikr, tasbeeh (saying Subhan Allaah), tahmeed (Al-hamdu Lillaah), tahleel (Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah) and takbeer (Allaahu akbar), etc. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): And remember your Lord when you forget [al-Kahf 18:24] 3. Not eating too much, because eating too much makes one sleep too much and become lazy, and it dulls the senses, besides exposing one to the risk of physical diseases. Most of the diseases which we see result from food and drink. 4. Some of the scholars have mentioned certain foods which increase the memory, such as drinking honey and eating raisins and chewing certain kinds of gum resin. Imaam al-Zuhree said: You should eat honey because it is good for the memory. He also said: Whoever wants to memorize hadeeth should eat raisins. (From al-Jaami by alKhateeb, 2/394)

Ibraaheem ibn [sth. omitted] said, You should chew resin gum, because it gives energy to the heart and gets rid of forgetfulness. (From al-Jaami by al-Khateeb, 2/397) As they mentioned, too much acidic food is one of the causes of laziness and weak memory. 5. Another thing that can help the memory and reduce forgetfulness is cupping (hijaamah) of the head, as is well known from experience. (For more information see Al-Tibb al-Nabawi by Ibn alQayyim). And Allaah knows best.

Developing Love for Allaah

By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)
Taken from al-Istiqaamah magazine


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Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullaah) said: People have discussed about mahabbah (love of Allaah); its causes and what brings it about, its signs and its fruits and its rulings. The most comprehensive saying about this is what Abu Bakr al-Kattaanee (rahimahullaah) relates about al-Junayd (d.279H). Abu Bakr al-Kattaanee (d.322H) said: A discussion about mahabbah took place in Makkah during the Pilgrimage month. The shaykhs who were present spoke about this matter and al-Junayd was the youngest of them. They said to him: O Iraaqee, what do you have to say? So he bowed his head and tears were flowing from his eyes and he said: A servant should overcome his soul; And be continuous in the remembrance of his Lord; Establishing the Rights of his Lord; Focusing upon Him with his heart; The late of fear setting a blaze upon his heart; Whilst drinking from the vessel of true love; And certain realities become unveiled to him; So when he talks, it is due to Allaah; When he speaks, it is from Allaah; When he moves, it is by the command of Allaah; And when he is serene, then it is from Allaah; He belongs to Allaah, is for Allaah, and is with Allaah. So the shaykhs began to weep and said: How can that be increased upon? May Allaah reward you with good, O crown of the knowledgeable ones![1] Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) further said: The reasons which cause the mahabbah (love of Allaah) to develop are ten:
Firstly: Reciting the Quraan, reflecting upon it and understanding its meanings. Secondly: Drawing closer to Allaah through the performance of optional deeds, after fulfilling

the obligatory deeds.

Thirdly: Being continuous in the dhikr (remembrance) of Allaah - in all circumstances - with the

tongue, the heart and the limbs. The more constant the dhikr, the more mahabbah intensifies.
Fourthly: Giving precedence to what Allaah loves - when being overcome with desires - over

what one personally loves and desires.

Fifthly: Causing the heart to contemplate over the Names and Attributes of Allaah. Being a

witness to what they necessitate and causing the heart to be enlightened in the garden of this realisation.
Sixthly: Witnessing the blessing and the favours of Allaah; the apparent and the hidden.


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Seventhly: Subduing the heart and humbling it before Allaah, causing it to be in awe of Him. Eighthly: Being in seclusion during the time in which Allaah descends to the lowest Heaven;

reciting the Quraan, and finishing this recitation with seeking Allaahs forgiveness and sincerely repenting to Him.
Ninthly: Sitting in the gatherings of the sincere and true lovers of Allaah; reaping the benefits of

their teachings, and not speaking except when you know there is benefit in doing so and that such speech will increase you in good and benefit others as well.
Tenthly: Keeping clear from all those matters which will cause the heart to distance itself from

Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic. So these are ten matters which cause the lover to reach the station of true love for Allaah, so that he may then reach Allaah - his Beloved.[2]

Notes: [1] Madaarijus-Saalikeen (3/9) [2] Madaarijus-Saalikeen (3/17-18)

On the Nature of Love

Ab Muhammad Alee ibn Ahmad ibn Saeed ibn Hazm
Excerpted with modifications and deletions from his book, Tawq al-Hammah (Ring of the Dove), translated by A.J. Arberry 1953 Luzac & Co. Ltd.

Of Love may God exalt you! the first part is jesting, and the last part is right earnestness. So majestic are its diverse aspects, they are too subtle to be described; their reality can only be apprehended by personal experience. Love is neither disapproved by Religion, nor prohibited by Law; for every heart is in Gods hands Concerning the nature of Love men have held various and divergent opinions, which they have debated at great length. For my part I consider Love as a conjunction between scattered parts of souls that have become divided in this physical universe, a union effected within the substance
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for their original sublime element. I do not share the view advanced by Muhammad ibn Dwd God have mercy on his soul! who followed certain philosophers in declaring that spirits are segmented spheres; rather do I suppose an affinity of their vital forces in the supernal world which is their everlasting home, and a close approximation in the manner of their constitution. We know the secret of commingling and separation in created things to be simply a process of union and disassociation; like is ever at rest with like. Congeniality has a perceptible effect and a visible influence; repulsion of opposites, accord between similars, attraction of like for likethese are facts taking place all round us. How much more then should the same factors operate within the soul, whose world is pure and ethereal, whose substance is volatile and perfectly poised, whose constituent principle is so disposed as to be intensely sensitive to harmony, inclination, yearning, aversion, passionate desire and antipathy. All this is common knowledge; it is immediately observable in the moods which successively control every man, and to which we all accommodate ourselves successfully. Allh Himself says, It is He that created you of one soul, and fashioned thereof its spouse, that he might find repose in her (Qurn 7:189). Be it noted that the reason God assigns for mans reposing in woman is that she was made out of him. If the cause of Love were physical desire, the consequence would be that no body defective in any shape or form would attract admiration; yet we know of many a man actually preferring the inferior article, though well aware that another is superior, and quite unable to turn his heart away from it. Again, if Love were due to a harmony of characters, no man would love a person who was not of like purpose and in concord with him. We therefore conclude that Love is something within the soul itself. Sometimes, it is true, Love comes as a result of a definite cause outside the soul, but then it passes away when the cause itself disappears: one who is fond of you because of a certain circumstance will turn his back on you when that motive no longer exists ...The noblest sort of Love is that which exists between persons who love each other in God; either because of an identical zeal for the righteous work upon which they are engaged, or as the result of a harmony in sectarian belief and principles, or by virtue of a common possession of some noble knowledge. Next to this is the love which springs from kinship; then the love of familiarity and the sharing of identical aims; the love of comradeship and acquaintance; the love which is rooted in a benevolent regard for ones fellow; the love that results from coveting the loved ones worldly elevations; the love that is based upon a shared secret which both must conceal; love for the sake of getting enjoyment and satisfying desire; and passionate love, that has no other cause but that union of souls to which we have referred above. All these varieties of Love come to an end when their causes disappear, and increase or diminish with them; they are intensified according to the degree of their proximity, and grow languid as their causes draw further and further away. The only exception is the Love of true passion, which has the mastery of the soul: this is the love which passes not away save with death. You will find a man far advanced in years, who swears that he has forgotten love entirely; yet when you remind him of it, he calls that love back to mind, and is rejoiced; he is filled with youthful desire; his old emotion returns to him; his yearning is mightily stirred. In none of the other sorts of love does anything like this happen: that mental preoccupation, that derangement of the reason, that melancholia, that transformation of settled temperaments, and alteration of natural dispositions, that moodiness, that sighing, and all the other symptoms of profound agitation which accompany passionate love.
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All this proves that true Love is a spiritual approbation, a fusion of souls. It may be objected, that if Love were as I have described, it would be exactly equal in both the parties concerned, since the two parts would be partners in the act of union and the share of each would be the same. To this I reply, that the objection is indeed well-founded; but the soul of the man who loves not one who loves him is beset on all sides by various accidents which occlude, and veils that encompass it about, those earthly temperaments which now overlay it, so that his soul does not sense that part which was united with it before it came to occupy its present lodging-place. Had his soul been liberated from these restrictions, the two would have been equal in their experience of union and love. As for the lover, his soul is indeed free and aware of where that other is that shared with it in ancient proximity; his soul is ever seeking for the other, striving after it, searching it out, yearning to encounter it again, drawing it to itself if might be as a magnet draws the iron. The essential force of the magnet, when in contact with the essential force of the iron, is not so strong or so refined as to seek out after the iron, for all that the iron is of the self-same kind and element; it is the force of iron, by virtue of its natural strength, that reaches out after its kind and is drawn towards it. Movement always takes place from the side of the more powerful. The force of iron, when left to itself and not prevented by any restriction, seeks out what resembles itself and with single-minded devotion, so to speak, hasten towards it; this it does naturally and necessarily, not out of free choice and set purpose. When you hold back the iron in your hand it is no longer attracted to the magnet, because the force it possesses is not sufficient to overcome the stronger force holding it back. When the particles of iron are numerous, one group of these is fully occupied with the other and all are adequately satisfied by their own kind, and do not care to seek after that small portion of their forces standing at a distance from them. When the mass of the magnet is large, however, and its forces are a match for all the forces lying within the irons mass, the iron reverts to its accustomed nature. Similarly the fire which is latent in the flint, in spite of the force belonging to fire to unite and to summon together its scattered parts wherever they may be, does not in fact issue from the flint until the latter is struck. When the two masses press and rub closely against each other, the fire is liberated; otherwise it remains latent within the flint, and does not show or manifest itself at all. My theory is further proved by the fact that you will never find two persons in love with one another without there being some likeness and agreement of natural attributes between them. This condition must definitely obtain, even if only to a small degree; the more numerous the resemblances, the greater will be their congeniality and the firmer their affection. It is only necessary to look for this, and you will see it quite plainly on all hands. The Messenger of Allh ( ) confirmed the matter when he said, Spirits are regimented battalions; those who know one another associate familiarly together, while those who which do not know one another remain at variance. A saint is reported as having said, The spirits of believers know one another. For the same reason Hippocrates was not distressed when he was told of a man deficient in virtue who was in love with him. The matter being remarked upon, he said, He would not have fallen in love with me if I had not accorded with him in some aspect of my character. Plato relates how a certain king threw him in prison unjustly, and he did not cease to argue his case until he proved his innocence, and the king realized that he had been unjust to him. The minister who had charged himself with conveying Platos words to the monarch exclaimed, O king, it has now become evident to you that he is innocent; what more lies between you and him? The king
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answered, Upon my life, I have nothing against him, except that I feel within myself and inexplicable disgust with him. The minister reported this saying to Plato. The latter remarked, continuing his story, So I was obliged to search within my soul and my character for some thing resembling his soul and his character, which might be a point of correspondence between us. I considered his character, and observed that he loved equity and hated injustice. I diagnosed the same disposition within myself; and no sooner did I set this point of agreement into motion and confront his soul with this characteristic which he possessed in common with me, than he gave orders for my release. Plato related that the king then said to his minister, All the antipathy against him that I formerly felt within me has now been dissolved. As for what causes Love in most cases to choose a beautiful form to light upon, it is evident that the soul itself being beautiful, it is affected by all beautiful things, and has a yearning for perfect symmetrical images; when it sees any such image, it fixes itself upon it; then, it discerns behind that image something of its own kind, it becomes united and true love is established. If however the soul does not discover anything of its own kind behind the image, its affection goes no further than the form, and remains mere carnal desire. Indeed, physical forms have a wonderful faculty of drawing together scattered parts of mens souls. I have read in the first book of Pentateuch how the Prophet Jacob, during the days when he was watching his uncle Labans sheep, to be a dowry for his uncles daughter, entered into an engagement with Laban that he should share with him the offspring of the flock; all the lambs that were of a single colour would belong to Jacob, while every lamb born with a white blaze was to fall to Laban. Now Jacob would lay hold of the tree branches and strip off the bark of a half, and leave the other half as they were; then he cast all into the water whither the sheep came down to drink. He would contrive to send the pregnant ewes down to drink at that time; and they would give birth in due course half to single-coloured lambs, and half to lambs marked with a blaze. It is also related that a certain physiognomist had brought before him a black child, whose parents were both white. He examined his features, and saw that the infant undoubtedly belonged to the pair; then he desired to be acquainted with the place where the parents had lain down together. He was brought into the house where their marriage-bed was, and observed facing the womans field of vision the picture of a black man painted on the wall. He at once remarked to the father, It is on account of this picture that you have had such a son born to you. Precisely the same thing is to be found in the case of Hatred: you will see two persons hating one another for no basic cause or reason whatsoever, but simply because the one has a wholly irrational antipathy for the other. Love may God exalt you! is in truth a baffling ailment, and its remedy is in strict accord with the degree to which it is treated; it is a delightful malady, a most desirable sickness. Whoever is free of it likes not to be immune, and whoever is struck down by it yearns not to recover. Love represents as glamorous that which a man formerly disdained, and renders easy for him that which he hitherto found hard; so that it even transforms established temperaments and inborn dispositions, as shall be set forth briefly in its own appropriate chapter, God willing. Among my acquaintances I once knew a youth who was bogged down in love and stuck fast to toils; passion had grievously affected him, sickness had worn him out. Yet his soul found no comfort in praying to Almighty God to remove his afflictions; his tongue was not loosed in any
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petition for deliverance. His only prayer was to be united with and to be possessed of the one he loved, despite the enormity of his sufferings and the long protraction of his cares. (What is one to think of the sick man who desires not to be rid of his sickness?). One day I was seated with him, and felt so distressed at the visible evidence of his miserable condition, his head cast down, his staring eyes, that I said to him (among other things), May Allh grant you relief! I at once observed in his face the marks of strong displeasure with what I had said What I have described is the exact opposite of what Ab Bakr Muhammad ibn Qsim ibn Muhammad al-Qurashee once told me in reference to his own case. (He is the man better known as al-Shabanisee, a descendant of Imm Hishm ibn Abd ar-Rahmn ibn Muwiyyah). He declared that he had never loved anyone, never grieved to be separated from any friend, and never in all his life transgressed the limits of association and comradeship to penetrate the bounds of love and passionate affection.

The Signs of Love Ab Muhammad Alee ibn Ahmad ibn Saeed ibn Hazm
Excerpted with modifications and deletions from his book, Tawq al-Hammah (Ring of the Dove), translated by A.J. Arberry 1953 Luzac & Co. Ltd.

Love has certain signs which the intelligent man quickly detects, and the shrewd man readily recognizes. Of these the first is the brooding gaze: the eye is the wide gateway of the soul, the scrutinizer of its secrets, conveying its most private thoughts, and giving expression to its deepest-hid-feelings. You will see the lover gazing at the beloved unblinkingly; his eyes follow the loved ones every movement, withdrawing as he withdraws, inclining as he inclines, just as the chameleons stare shifts with the shifting of the sun The lover will direct his conversation to the beloved, even when he purports however earnestly to address another: the affectation is apparent to anyone with eyes to see. When the loved one speaks, the lover listens with rapt attention to his every word; he marvels at everything the beloved says, however extraordinary and absurd his observations may be; he believes him implicitly even when he is obviously in the wrong, testifies on his behalf for all that the may be unjust, follows after him however he may proceed and whatever line of argument he may adopt. The lover hurries to the spot where the beloved is at the moment, endeavours to sit as near to him as possible, sidles up close to him, lays aside all occupations that might oblige him to leave his company, makes light of any matter however weighty that would demand his parting from him, is very slow to move when he takes his leave of him Other signs of love are that sudden confusion and excitement betrayed by the lover when he unexpectedly sees the one he loves coming upon him unawares, that agitation which overmasters him on beholding someone who resembles his beloved or on hearing his name suddenly pronounced
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A man in love will give prodigally to the limit of his capacity, in a way that formerly he would have refused; as if he were the one receiving the donation, he the one whose happiness is the object in view; all this in order that he may show off his good points, and make himself desirable. How often has the miser opened his pursestrings, the scowler relaxed his frown, the coward leapt heroically into the fray, the clod suddenly became sharp-witted, the boor turned into the perfect gentleman, the stinker transformed himself into the elegant dandy, the sloucher smartened up, the decrepit recaptured his lost youth, the godly gone wild, the self-respecting kicked over the traces and all because of love! All these signs are to be observed even before the fire of Love is properly kindled, ere its conflagration truly bursts forth, its blaze waxes fierce, its flames leap up. But when the fire really takes a hold and is firmly established, then you will see the secret whispering, the unconcealed turning away from all present but the beloved Other outward signs and tokens of love are the following, which are apparent to all having eyes in their heads: abundant and exceeding cheerfulness at finding oneself with the beloved in a narrow space, and a corresponding depression on being together in a wide expanse; to engage in a playful tug-of-war for anything the one or the other lays hold of; much clandestine winking; leaning sideways and supporting oneself against the object of ones affection; endeavouring to touch his hand, and whatever other part of his body one can reach, while engaged in conversation; and drinking the remainder of what the beloved has left in the cup, seeking out the very spot against which his lips were pressed. There are also contrary signs, that occur according to casual provocations and accidental incitements, and a variety of motivating causes and stimulating thoughts. Opposite are of course likes in reality; when things reach the limit of contrariety, and stand at the furthest bounds of divergency, they come to resemble one another. This is decreed by Gods omnipotent power, in a manner that baffles entirely the human imagination. Thus, when ice is pressed a long time in the hand, it finally produces the same effect as fire. We find that extreme joy and extreme sorrow kill equally; excessive and violent laughter sends the tears coursing from the eyes. It is very common phenomenon in the world about us. Similarly with lovers: when they love each other with an equal ardour, and their mutual affection is intensely strong, they will turn against one another without any valid reason, each purposely contradicting the other in whatever he may say; they quarrel violently over the smallest things, each picking up every word that the other lets fall and willfully misinterpreting it. All these devices are aimed at testing and proving what each is seeking in the other. Now the difference between this sham, and real aversion and contrariness born of deep-seated hatred and reconciled after their disputes. You will see a pair of lovers seeming to have reached the extreme limit of contrariety, to the point that you would reckon not to be mended even in the instance of a person of most tranquil spirit, wholly exempt from rancour, save after long interval, and wholly irreparable in the case of a quarrelsome man; yet in next to no time you will observe them to have become the best friends once more; silenced are those mutual reproaches, vanished that disharmony; forthwith they are laughing again and playfully sporting together. The same scene may be enacted several times at a single session. When you see a pair of lovers behaving in such a fashion, let no doubt enter your mind, no uncertainty invade your thoughts; you may be sure without hesitation, and convinced as by an unshakable certainty, that there lies between them a deep and hidden secret the secret of true love. Take this then for a sure test, a


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universally valid experiment: it is the product only of an equal partnership in love, and a true concord of hearts. I myself have observed it frequently. Another sign is when you find the lover almost entreating to hear the loved ones name pronounced, taking an extreme delight in speaking about him, so that the subject is a positive obsession with him; nothing so much rejoices him, and he is not in the least restrained by the fear that someone listening may realize what he is about, and someone present will understand his true motives. Love for a thing renders you blind and deaf. If the lover could so contrive, that in the place where he happens to be there should be no talk of anything but his beloved, he would never leave that spot for any other in the whole world. It can happen that a man sincerely affected by love will start to eat his mean with an excellent appetite; yet the instant the recollection of his loved one is excited, the food sticks in his throat and chokes his gullet. It is the same if he is drinking, or talking he begins to converse with you gaily enough, then all at once he is invaded by a chance thought of his dear one. You will notice the change in his manner of speaking, the instantaneous failure of his conversational powers; the sure signs are his long silences, the way he stares at the ground, his extreme taciturnity. One moment he is all smiles, lightly gesticulating; the next, and he has become completely boxed up, sluggish, distrait, rigid, too weary to utter a single word, irritated by the most innocent question. Loves signs also include fondness for solitude and a pleasure in being alone, as well as wasting of the body not accompanied by any fever or ache preventing free activity and liberty of movement. The walk is also an unerring indication and never-deceiving sing of an inward lassitude of spirit. Sleeplessness too is a common affliction of lovers; the poets have described this condition frequently, relating how they watch the stars, and giving an account of the nights interminable length Trepidation overtakes lovers in two situations. The first is when the lover hopes to meet the beloved, and then some obstacles intervene to prevent it. I know a man whose loved one had promised to visit him; thereafter I never saw him but that he was coming and going the whole time, quite unable to be still or to remain in one place; now he would advance, anon he would retire; joy had made him positively nimble and spritely, though formerly he was exceedingly grave and sedate The second cause of trepidation is when a quarrel breaks out between the loving couple, in the course of which reproaches fly about, the true grounds whereof only a detailed explanation can make clear. Then the lovers agitation becomes violent indeed, and continues until the matter comes completely into the open; when either the burden under which he has been struggling is lifted, if he has cause to hope for forgiveness, or his trepidation converts into sorrow and despair, if he is fearful that the beloved will thenceforward banish him. The lover may however submit humbly to the loved ones cruelty, as shall be expounded hereafter in its proper context, God willing. Among the accidents of Love may be mentioned an extreme impatience under affliction, such a paroxysm of emotion as completely overwhelms the lover and leaves him speechless, as when he sees his beloved turning from him in undisguised aversion


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Another sign of Love is that you will see the lover loving his beloveds kith and kin and the intimate ones of his household, to such an extent that they are nearer and dearer to him than his own folk, himself, and all his familiar friends. Weeping is a well-known sign of Love; except that men differ very greatly from one another in this particular. Some are ready weepers; their tear-ducts are always overflowing, and their eyes respond immediately to their emotion, the tears rolling down at a moments notice. Others are dry-eyed and barren of tears; to this category I myself belong. This is a result of my habit of eating frankincense to abate the palpitation from which I have suffered since childhood. I will be afflicted by some shocking blow, and at once feel my heart to be splitting and breaking into fragments; I have chocking sensation in my heart more bitter than colocynth, that prevents me from getting my words out properly, and sometimes well nigh suffocates me. My eyes therefore respond to my feelings but rarely, and then my tears are exceedingly sparse It will happen in Love that the lovers have evil thoughts of one another; each suspects every word the partner utters, and misconstrues it willfully; which is the origin of reproaches which lovers often level each against each. I have an acquaintance who is normally the most unsuspicious man in the world, extremely broad-minded, possessed of great patience and untold tolerance, indulgent to a fault; yet when he is in love, he cannot endure the slightest thing between him and the object of his affection; let the least difference between them, and he will forthwith utter all kind of reproaches and give voice to every manner of mistrust You will see the lover, when unsure of the constancy of his loved ones feelings for him, perpetually on his guard in a way that he never troubled to be before; he polishes his language, he refines his gestures and his glances, particularly if he has the misfortune and mischance to be in love with one given to making unjust accusations, or of a quarrelsome disposition. Another sign of Love is the way the lover pays attention to the beloved; remembering everything that falls from his lips; searching out all the news about him, so that nothing small or great that happens to him may escape his knowledge; in short, following closely his every movement. Upon my life, sometimes you will see a complete dolt under these circumstances become most keen, a careless fellow turn exceedingly quick-witted. I was seated one day at Almeria, with a knot of other people, in the shop of Ismeel ibn Ynus, the Hebrew physician who was also a shrewd and clever physiognomist. Mujhid ibn al-Haseen al-Qaisee said to him, pointing to a certain man named Htim he was familiarly known as Abl-Baq who was withdrawn apart from the rest of us, What do you say about this man? He looked at him for a brief moment, and then said, He is passionately in love. Mujhid exclaimed, You are right; what made you say this? Ismeel answered, Because of an extreme confusion apparent in his face. Simply that; otherwise all the rest of his movements are unremarkable. I knew from this that he is in love, and not suffering from any mental disorder.


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Fatw (Verdicts) on Psychological Issues by Shaykh Muhammad Slih al-Munajjid Black Magic and Satanic Possession

My brother after returning from a trip starting acting very strange. He would say weird things and now doesn't talk to anyone at all. He has been sitting outside for 2 months now. He has even spit on our mother. At first we thought there was something psychologically wrong with him. However when we took him to a mental doctor he talks as if he is fine. We think he is either possessed by a Jinn or some magic was done to him. How can you tell if someone is possessed or if magic was done to them? How do you remove it? My mother is getting very sick over this.

Praise be to Allaah People who have had experience with such situations have related that the following are among the signs of a person who is possessed by jinn (or Satan): 1. Strong repulsion when hearing Quraan or Aathaan (call for prayers). 2. Episodes of losing consciousness and/or epileptic attacks, especially when Quraan is recited for the possessed person. 3. Frequent nightmares during sleep. 4. Tendency to avoid people accompanied by out-of-the-norm behavior. 5. The jinn who possesses him might speak when Quraan is recited for the possessed person. 6. Madness, as stated in the Quraan (interpretation of the meaning): Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom Satan by his touch hath driven to [epileptic] madness2:275 As for a person struck by magic he might experience the following: 1. Dislike of ones spouse, as indicated in the Quraan by the following verse (interpretation of the meaning): And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between a man and his wife... (Al-Baqarah, 2:102). 2. Different attitude in the house from that which is outside the house. For example, a person will feel that he is missing his family when is outside the house but when he goes home, love changes quickly to extreme hatred. 3. Inability to have sexual intercourse with ones spouse. 4. Frequent miscarriage for pregnant women. 5. Sudden change in behavior without obvious reason. 6. Complete loss of appetite for food. 7. Thinking or imagining one has done something when in reality one has not. 8. Sudden obedience and/or love for a particular person.


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It should be noted that if a person experiences some of the above symptoms this does not necessarily mean that he is either possessed by a jinn or struck by black magic. It might be due to physiological or psychological reasons. As for curing this condition the following steps are recommended: 1. Putting ones trust in Allah with sincere belief that He is the only cure for everything. 2. Reading Quraan and known supplications expressing seeking refuge, the most important and effective of which is sura 113 and 114, Al-Falaq and Al-Naas, which were used to cure the Prophet himself. Surah 112, Al-Ikhlaas, is recommended along with them, as well as the opening chapter of the Quraan, Al-Fatihah. To cure black magic some have successfully used seven lotus-tree leaves. The leaves should be crushed, then mixed them with water enough for taking a bath. The following verses from the Quraan are then recited: verse Al-Kursi (2:255), surah AlKafiroon (109), surah 112, 113, 114; the verses which mention magic, which are: in surah AlBaqarah (2:102), Al-Araaf (3:117-119), Yunus (10:79-82), and Taha (20:65-69). The possessed person drinks some of the water, and the rest is used to give him a bath. 3. Removing the elements of magic as was done by the Prophet when he was struck by black magic by a Jewish man called Lubaid Ben Al-Aasim. 4. Eating seven Aaliya Al-Barniy dates (among the dates of Al-Madinah) first thing in the morning; if not possible, any dates will suffice, by the will of Allaah. 5. Cupping--removing excess blood. 6. Supplications. And we ask Allaah to cure your brother and ease your hardship and his, as He is the One who cures and there is no one else who can cure.


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