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Al-Cordoby  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 25 September 2008 at 10:51am

How to Attain the Highest Ranks of Righteousness?

1- Monotheism, Servitude to Allah and Worshipping Him

2- Sincerity

3- Truthfulness with Allah

4- Asceticism

5- Trust in Allah

6- Love for Allah

7- Fear and Hope

8- Piety and Devotion

9- Thankfulness

10- Patience, Submission and Contentment

11- Al-Ihsan (Seeking Perfection)

12- Continuos Repentance

Think Win-Win for a better world for all...

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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 04 July 2009 at 1:34pm

An excellent thread Brother Tarek...Jazakh Allah Khair...Please continue posting from the book if you can...

Purifying the soul

The Treatment To Be Given To Souls And The Reform of Vicious Characters

Imam Ibn Hazm

In Pursuit of Virtue (Al Akhlaq Was Siyar Fi Mudawat Al Nufus)

M. Abu Laylah
 

In the name of Allah the most merciful and clement: [O Allah I implore your assistance, O Allah bless Muhammad and his family and grant them peace.]

Abd Muhammad 'Ali Ibn Ahmad Ibn Sa'id Ibn Hazm [the Andalusian jurist]. Allah may be blessed with him has said:

1. Praise be to Allah for His great gifts. May Allah bless [our master] Muhammad, His servant, the seal of His Prophets and Messengers; may He grant them eternal blessings. I rely on Him for any ability and strength I may have, and I seek His aid and protection against all the various terrors and ills of this world. And may He deliver me from all horror and suffering in the next world.

2. Now, I have gathered together in this book numerous ideas which Allah, the provider of intellect, has enabled me to profit from as day succeeded day, [and year succeeded year] and circumstances altered, permitting me to understand the vicissitudes of fate and to control its fluctuations, to the extent that I have devoted the larger part of my life to it. I have chosen to master these problems by study and contemplation, rather than throw myself into the various sensual pleasures which attract most souls on this earth, and rather than amass unnecessary wealth. I have gathered together all my observations into this book in the hope that the Almighty may allow it to benefit whichever of His servants He wishes who has access to [is capable of understanding] my book, in the matters over which I have slaved, devoting all my efforts to them and reflecting at length upon them. I hope that it will be well received, and I present it with good intentions and blessings [with a good heart].

This book will benefit a person more than financial treasures and the possession of property, if he meditates upon it, and if Allah enables him to make good use of it. As for myself, my hope in this enterprise is to win the greatest reward from Allah, since my intention is to help His servants, to remedy whatever is corrupt in their character, and to heal the sickness of their souls. I beseech the assistance of Allah [Almighty, we wish only for God, the best of defenders].

 

Section dealing with the Treatment to be given to Souls, and the Reform of Vicious Characters.

3. The pleasure which a prudent man has from his own good sense, a scholar from his knowledge, a wise man from his wisdom, the pleasure of anyone who works hard in ways pleasing to Almighty God, is greater than the pleasure which a gourmet has from his food, a drinking man from his tipple, a lover from the act of love, a conqueror from his conquest, a reveller from his amusements [the player from his game] or a commander from giving orders. The proof of this is that the wise man, the prudent man, the scholar,' the practising Muslim and all those that we have mentioned are capable of enjoying these pleasures as much as the man who indulges in them. They have the same feelings, desires as those who hasten to satisfy them. But they have deliberately refrained and turned away from them, preferring to seek after moral excellence. None can judge these two [kinds of pleasure] except someone who has known both, not someone who has known one and not the other.

4. [As things happen one after the other] If you look deeply into worldly matters you will become melancholy and will end by reflecting upon the ephemeral nature of everything here below, and the fact that truth lies only in striving for the hereafter, since every ambition to which you might cling will end in tears; either the goal is snatched from you, or you have to give the attempt up before you reach it. One of these two endings is inevitable except in the search for God the Almighty and Powerful. Then the result is always joy, both immediate and eternal. The immediate joy is because you stop worrying about the things which usually worry people; this leads to an increase in the respect paid to you by friends and enemies alike. The eternal joy is the joy of Paradise.

5. I have tried to find one goal which everyone would agree to be excellent and worthy of being striven after. I have found one only: to be free from anxiety. When I reflected upon it, I realized that not only do all agree in valuing it and desiring it, but I also perceived that, despite their many different passions and aspirations and preoccupations and desires, they never make the slightest gesture unless it is to dispel anxiety, they never utter a single word unless it is designed to drive anxiety far away. One man loses his way, another comes close to going wrong, finally another is successful - but he is a rare man, and. success is rare, [O, all-knowing God].

Dispelling anxiety is a goal upon which all nations agree from the time when the Almighty created the world until the day when this world will pass away and be followed by the Day of Judgment - and their actions are directed to this goal alone. In the case of every other objective there will always be some people who do not desire it.

For example, some people are not religious and do not take eternity into account.

There are some who by nature and inclination prefer obscurity to fame [the obscurity of satisfied passion].

There are some people of evil nature who are not striving for good, for peace [loyalty] or for justice.

There are some who have no interest in amassing a fortune, preferring abstinence to ownership; this was the case with many of the Prophets. God's peace be upon them - and those who followed their example, ascetics and philosophers. There are some who by nature dislike sensual pleasures and scorn those who seek after them, such as those men we have just mentioned, and who prefer to lose a fortune rather than gain one. Some prefer ignorance to knowledge, in fact most of the people that you see in the street are like this. These are the objectives of people who have no other aim in life. Nobody in the whole world, from the time of its creation until its end, would deliberately choose anxiety, and would not desire to drive it far away.

6. When I had arrived at this great piece of wisdom, when I had discovered this amazing secret, when Allah the Almighty had opened the eyes of my mind [spirit] to see this great treasure, I began to search for the way which would truly enable me to dispel anxiety, that precious goal desired by every kind of person, whether ignorant or scholarly, good or evil. I found it in one place alone, in the action of turning towards God the Almighty and powerful, in pious works performed with an eye to eternity.

7. Thus the only reason that someone chases after riches is to dispel the anguish of poverty. The only reason that someone seeks fame is to dispel the anxiety of seeing someone else outdo him. The only reason that someone chases after pleasures is to dispel the anxiety of missing them. The only reason that someone chases after knowledge is to dispel the anxiety of being ignorant about something.

People enjoy listening to other people's conversation and gossip only because it dispels the anxiety of being alone and isolated. People eat, drink, make love, wear clothes, play games, build a shelter, mount a horse, go for a walk, only in order to avoid the reverse of all these actions and every other kind of anxiety.

8. In all the actions listed here, anyone who pauses to reflect will see that anxieties will inevitably occur, such as problems which arise in the course of the action, the impossibility of performing the impossible, the fleeting nature of any achievements, and the inability to enjoy something because of some difficulty. There are also bad consequences which arise from every success: fear of one's rival, attacks by the jealous, theft by the covetous, loss to an enemy, not to mention criticism, sin and such things. On the other hand, I have found that actions performed with an eye on eternity are free from every kind of fault, free from every stain, and a true means of dispelling anxiety. I have found that the man who is striving for eternity may be sorely tested by bad fortune on his way but does not worry; on the contrary, he is glad, because the trial to which he is subjected gives rise to hope, which aids him in his endeavour and sets him the more firmly on the path towards his true desire. I have found that, when he finds his way blocked by an obstacle, he does not worry, because it is not his fault, and he did not choose the actions that he will have to answer for. I have seen such a man be glad, when others have wished evil upon him, and be glad when he has undergone some trial, and be glad when he has suffered on his chosen path, and be glad, always [living] in a permanent state of joy while others are permanently the opposite. You should therefore understand that there is only one objective to strive for, it is to dispel anxiety; and only one path leads to this, and that is the service of the most high God. Everything else is misguided and absurd.

9. Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation which your creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel.

10. There is no nobility in anyone who lacks faith.

11. The wise man knows that the only fitting price for his soul is a place in Paradise.

12. Satan sets his traps, under the cover of finding fault with hypocrisy. It can happen that someone refrains from doing a good deed for fear of being thought a hypocrite. [If Satan whispers such an idea in your ear, take no notice; that will frustrate him.]

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The Purification of the Heart from Kibr (Pride)

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

by Imam Uthman dan Fodio

Pride is one of the blameworthy qualities and it is forbidden to have it. Allah ta`ala said: "I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant in the earth without right." As far as its reality is concerned, you should know that pride is divided into inward and outward pride. Inward pride is a quality within the self, and outward pride is action which appears through the limbs.

The name pride (kibr) is more appropriate for the inward quality. As for action, it is the result of that quality, and you must know that the quality of pride demands action. When it appears on the limbs, it is called arrogance (takabbur), and when it does not manifest itself, it is called pride (kibr). Its root is the quality in the self which is satisfaction and confidence at seeing the self above anyone towards whom he is overbearing. Mere self-exaltation does not make someone arrogant. He might well exalt himself while seeing that another person is greater than him or his equal. In this case, he is not overbearing toward him. It is not enough merely to disdain others. In spite of his disdain, a person might see himself as more despicable and therefore, he would not be considered arrogant. If someone sees the other as his equal, he is not considered arrogant. He must see that he has a rank and someone else has a rank, and then see his rank as above the other's rank. When he exalts his own value in relationship to someone else, he despises the one below him and puts himself above the other's company and confidence. If it is very extreme, he may spurn the other's service and not consider him worthy to stand in his presence. If it is less extreme, he may reject his basic equality, and put himself above this other in assemblies, wait for him to begin the greeting, think that it is unlikely that he will be able to fulfill his demands and be amazed at him. If he objects, the proud man scorns to answer him. If he warns him, he refuses to accept it. If he answers him back, he is angry. When the proud man teaches, he is not courteous to his students. He looks down upon them and rebuffs them. He is very condescending toward them and exploits them. He looks at the common people as if he were looking at asses. He thinks that they are ignorant and despicable.

There are many actions which come from the quality of pride. They are too many to be numbered. This is the reality of pride.

The harm it does is immense. The 'ulama' can help you but little against it, let alone the common people. How could its harm be other than great when it comes between a man and all the qualities of the mu'minun? Those qualities are the doors to the Garden. Pride locks all those doors because it is impossible for him to want for the mu'minun what he wants for himself while there is anything of self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to have humility - and humility is beginning of the qualities of those who guard themselves out of fear of Allah - while there is any self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to remain truthful while there is self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to abandon anger while there is self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to offer friendly good counsel while there is self importance in him. It is impossible for him to accept good counsel while there is self-importance in him. He is not safe from the contempt and slander of others while there is self-importance. There is no praiseworthy quality but he is incapable of it from the fear that his self-importance will slip away from him.

As far as its cure is concerned, there are two parts: the knowledge-cure and the action-cure. The remedy can only be effected by joining the two of them. The knowledge-cure is to know and recognise yourself and to kno and recognise your Lord. That will be enough to remove your pride. Whoever knows and recognises his own self as it should be known and recognised, knows that it is not worthy of greatness, and that true greatness and pride are only for Allah. As for gnosis of his Lord and His glory, it is too lengthy a subject for us to discuss here [...].

Self-recognition is also a lengthy subject. However, we will mention what will help you towards humility and submisiveness. It is enough for you to recognise one ayat of the Book of Allah. The knowledge of the first and the last is in the Qur'an for whoever has his inner eye open. Allah ta`ala said: "Perish man! How thankless he is! Of what did He create him? Of a sperm-drop. He created him, and determined him, and then made him the way easy for him. Then He makes him die, buries him, and then, when He wills, raises him."

This ayat points to the beginning of man's creation, his end, and his middle. Let a man look at that if he desires to understand its meaning.

As for the beginning of man, he was "a thing unremembered". He was concealed in non-existence. Non-existence has no beginning. What is lower and meaner than obliteration and non-existence? He was in non-existence. Then Allah created him from the basest of things, and then from the most unclean thing. He created him from earth and then from a sperm-drop, thena blood-clot, then a lump of flesh. Then He made the flesh bones, and then clothes the bones in flesh. This was the beginning of his existence and then he became a thing remembered. He was a thing unremembered by reason of having he lowest of qualities and attributes since at his beginning, he was not created perfect. he was created inanimate, dead. He neither heard, saw, felt, moved, spoke, touched, perceived, or knew. He began by his death before his life, by weakness before his strength, by ignorance before knowledge, by blindness before sight, by deafness before hearing, by dumbness before speech, by misguidance before guidance, by poverty before wealth, and by incapacity before capacity.

This is the meaning of His word, "From what did He create him? And determined him," and the meaning of His word, "Has there come upon a man a period of time when he was a thing unremembered? We created him of a sperm-drop, a mingling, trying him. We made him hearing, seeing. We guided him upon the way, whether he is thankful or unthankful."

He created him like that at the beginning. Then He was gracious to him and said, "We made the way easy for him." This indicates what He wills for him during the period from life to death. Similarly, He said, "of a sperm-drop, a mingling, trying him. We made him hearing, seeing. We guided him on the way." The meaning here is that He gave him life after he was inanimate and dead - first from the earth, and then from a sperm-drop. He gave him hearing after he was deaf and He gave him sight after he lacked sight. He gave him strenght after weakness and knowledge after ignorance. He created his limbs for him with all they contain of marvels and signs after he lacked them. He enriched them after poverty, made him full after hunger, clothed him after nakedness, and guided him after misguidance. Look how He directed him and formed him. Look at how He made the way easy for him. Look at man's overstepping and at how thankless he is. Look at man's ignorance and how he shows it.

Allah ta`ala said, "Part of His sign is that He created you from earth." He created man from humble earth and unclean sperm after pure non-existence so that he would recognise the baseness of his essence and thereby recognise himself. He perfected the sperm-drop for him so that he would recognise his Lord by it and know His immensity and majesty by it, and that He is the only one worthy of true greatness and pride. For that reason, He described him and said, "Have We not given him two eyes and a tongue and two lips, and guided him on the two roads?"

He first acquainted him with his baseness and said, "Was he not a sperm-drop extracted? Then he was a blood-clot. Then He mentioned His favour and said, "He created and fashioned and made a pair from it, male and female," in order to perpetuate his existence by reproduction as his existence was acquired in the beginning by original formation. When you begin in this manner and your states are like this, how can you have arrogance, pride, glory, and conceit? Properly speaking, man is the lowest of the low and the weakest of the weak. Indeed, even if He had perfecteed him, delegated his command to him and made his existence go on by his own choice, he would still dare to be insolent and would forget his beginning and his end. However, during your existence, He has given illnesses power over you, whether you like it or not, and whether you are content or enraged. You become hungry and thirsty without being able to do anything about it. You do not possess any power to bring either harm or benefit. You ant to know something but you remain ignorant of it. You want to remember something and yet you forget it. You want to not forget something and yet you do forget it. You want to direct your heart to waht concerns it and yet you are caught up in the valleys of whispersings and thoughts. You own neither your heart nor your self. You desire something while your destruction may be in it, and you detest something while your life may be in it. You find some foods delicious when they destroy and kill you, and you find remedies repugnant when they help you and save you. You are not safe for a moment, day or night. Your sight, knowledge, and power may be stripped away, your limbs may become semi-paralysed, your intellect may be stolen away, your ruh may be snatched away, and all that you love in this world may be taken from you. You are hard-pressed, abased. If you are left alone, you go on. If you are snatched away, you are annihilated. A mere slave. A chattel. You have no power over yourself or anyone else. What can be more abased? If you recognise yourself, how can you think yourself worthy of pride? If it were not for your ignorance - and this is your immediate state - you would reflect on it. Your end is death. It is indicated by His word, "Then He makes him die and buries him. Then, when He wills, He raises him." The meaning here is that your ruh, hearing, sight, knowledge, power, senses, perception, and movement are all stripped away. You revert to the inanimate as you were in the first place. Only the shape of your limbs remains. Your form has neither senses nor movement. Then you are placed in the earth and your limbs decay. You become absent after you existed. You become as if you were not, as you were at first for a long period of time. Then a man wishes that he could remain like that. How excellent it would be if he were left as dust! However, after a long time, He brings him back to life to subject him to a severe trial. He comes out of his grave after his spearated parts are joined together, and he steps out to the terrors of the Rising. He is told, "Come quickly to the Reckoning and prepare for the Outcome!" His heart stops in fear and panic when he is faced with the terror of these words even before his pages are spread out and he sees his shameful actions in them. This is the end of his affair. It is the meaning of His word, "Then when He wishes, He raises him."

How can anyone whose state this is be arrogant? A moment of freedom from grief is better than arrogance. He has shown the beginning and the middle of his condition. If his end had appeared to him - and we seek refuge from Allah - perhaps he would have chosen to be a dog or a pig in order to become dust with the animals rather than a hearing, speaking man, and meet with punishment (if he deserves the Fire). When he is in the presence of Allah then even the pig is nobler than him since it reverts to dust and it is spared from the Reckoning and the punishment. Someone with this state at the Rising can only hope for pardon, and he cannot be at all certain about it. How then can he be arrogant? How can he see himself as anything to which excellence is attached? This is the knowledge-cure.

As far as the action-cure is concerned, it is to humble yourself to people in a constrained unnatural manner until it becomes natural for you.

Courtesy Of: Islaam.com

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The crucial factor in Islam is not to do a whole lot of (righteous) actions only, rather what is incumbent on us is true sincerity for Allah’s sake and ample actions that agree with the way of the Mustafa (on whom be peace). Allah has indeed gathered all of these in his speech, exalted be He: And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salât (the prayers) and give Zakât (obligatory charity), and that is the right religion. [al-Bayyinah: 5] So in this verse – sincerity, establishment of the prayer and giving of the obligatory charity – all has been put together.

Action – even if it is in plenty – leads its doer to the fire if it lacks correct belief. Allah – Glory be to Him – said: And We shall turn to whatever deeds they (disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) did, and We shall make such deeds as scattered floating particles of dust. [al-Furqaan: 23]

Fudail bin ‘Ayyaad said about the speech of the Exalted: Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;” [al-Mulk:2] (Fudail) said: “The best in deed is the most sincere and the most correct. (Others) asked: O Abu ‘ali! What do you mean most sincere and most correct? So he said: If an action is sincere but not correct it is not accepted, and if an action is correct but not sincere it is not accepted until it becomes both sincere and correct. It is sincere when it is done for the sake of Allah and it is correct when it is upon the sunnah.”

[Khutuwaatun ila as-Sa'aadah - Dr. 'Abdul Muhsin bin Muhammad al-Qaasim ; pg: 6]

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How Might One Obtain Ikhlaas?

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullah

Adapted from the translator's footnotes to "An Explanation of Riyadh al-Saliheen" by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen

 

 

Ikhlaas (sincerity) cannot coexist in a heart which [embraces] the love of praise and commendation, [nor] the yearning [to obtain] that which is possessed amongst the people, save in the [manner] that fire and water, or a lizard and fish may coexist.

If your soul informs you to quest for Ikhlaas, turn first towards your yearning and slaughter it with a knife [in a state] of desperation. Then turn [in a state of] asceticism upon praise and commendation, the asceticism of the [one] who loved the Dunya for the sake of the Hereafter. If your quest in the [act] of slaughtering the yearning, and [the acquisition of] asceticism [against] praise and commendation is successful, your [journey] shall be facilitated in your [quest] for Ikhlaas.

If it is mentioned: What may facilitate the [act] of slaughtering the yearning and the [development] of asceticism [against] the praise and commendation?

I say:

The method of facilitating the [act] of slaughtering the yearning: Your definitive knowledge that there is no matter [present] that awakens ones greed for, save the worship of Allah alone, and the Treasures which He alone possesses. For no individual can furnish the slave with [those Treasures] save He.

The method of facilitating the [development] of asceticism [against] praise and commendation: Your knowledge that there is no individual who can [confer] benefit upon or beautify his praise, [nor] inflict damage upon or disgrace his vilification, save Allah alone.

As the bedouin said to the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam:

My praise [has been] embellished, and indeed my vilification [has been] disgraced. The Prophet sallallahu`alaihi wa sallam remarked: That is Allah. [Tirmidhi 3266, Kitab Tafseer al-Quran, Declared Saheeh]

Accordingly, be ascetic for praise [and] the one who is incapable of beautifying his praise for you. [And] for vilification [and] the one who is incapable of disgracing his vilification for you. Be desirous for the One who is absolute in the embellishment of His praise, and is absolute in the tarnishment of His vilification. For none shall acquire that, save with patience and certainty, and when you have forfeited patience and certainty, you are comparable to the one who desired to journey across a sea without [the aid] of a vessel.

Allah has mentioned:

Be patient. Verily the promise of Allah is true, and let not those who are devoid of certainty in faith discourage you from conveying [Allah's Message]. [Ar-Rum: 60]

We have made from amongst them leaders, guiding under One Command, when they were patient and believed in Our Signs with certainty. [As-Sajdah: 24

 
 


Edited by a well wisher - 07 July 2009 at 1:09pm
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The Backbiting of the Heart

Know that having evil thoughts about someone is forbidden just as evil speech [is]. So just as it is forbidden for you to speak to others about the faults of someone, it is also forbidden for you to speak to yourself about that and to hold negative thoughts of him. Allah says:

O you who believe, avoid much (types) of suspicion. Verily some (forms) of suspicion is a sin.” [al-Hujuraat : 12]

And Abu Hurairah, radi Allahu ‘anhu, reported that Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, said: “Beware of suspicion, for indeed suspicion is the most untruthful form of speech.”

And the ahadeeth with the meaning of what I have mentioned are many. And the meaning of this [the backbiting of the heart] is the heart concluding and judging someone with negative thoughts. But as for passing thoughts and one’s talking to himself, if these thoughts do not remain established and continuous, then he is excused, according to the consensus of the scholars, because he has no choice in this happening, and he has no means of disassociation from them. This is the understanding of what has been estabilished in the authentic texts, as the Prophet said, “Indeed, Allaah has permitted for my Ummah that which their souls whisper to them, so long as they do not speak it out (audibly) or act upon it.”

The scholars said, “This refers to the thoughts that do not establish themselves.” And they said, “This is regardless of whether this thought consists of backbiting or kufr or otherwise. So if kufr crosses someone’s mind, but it is only a thought, without the intent of acting upon it, and he then dismisses this thought immediately, he is not a kaafir, and there is no sin on him.”

We have stated in the chapter on Waswasa the authentic hadeeth in which the Companions said: “‘O Messenger of Allaah! Some of us find things in our thoughts that are too tremendous to speak of .’ So he, salallahu alayhi wa sallam, said, ‘That is the confirmation of Faith.’”, and others besides that we mentioned there that have the same meaning.

And the reason what we previously mentioned is excused is the impossibility of averting [these kinds of thoughts]. Rather, it is possible to avoid having these thoughts continuously, and this is why the heart’s persistence and fastening itself to these thoughts is forbidden [and not the thoughts themselves].

And whenever these thoughts of backbiting or other sins present themselves to you, it is obligatory on you to repel them by turning away from them and mentioning explanations that will distract from what seems apparent.

Abu Haamid al-Ghazaalee said in al-Ihyaa’, “Should evil thoughts affect your heart, then these are from the whisperings of Shaytaan, which he casts within you. So you must disavow them because Shaytaan is indeed the most evil of evildoers. And Allah has stated:

If a wicked person (i.e. faasiq) comes to you with news, then verify it, lest you harm people without realizing it (i.e. out of ignorance) and afterwards you become regretful for what you’ve done .’ [al-Hujuraat : 6].

Thus, it is not permissible for you to believe Iblees. And if there were an presumption that points to evil, and the opposite is possible, then holding negative thoughts is not permissable.

And among the signs of evil thoughts about someone is that your heart changes towards him from the way it used to be, and that you flee from him and find him burdensome. And that you slacken in your consideration towards him, in your hospitality to him, and in your worry when he commits bad deeds. And indeed Shaytaan comes close the heart with the smallest trace of the faults of the people, and he makes you think that [these thoughts] occur due to your sharpness, intelligence and quick alertness, and that the believer sees with the light of Allah [i.e. Allah has led him to this and not Iblees]. But this person is, in actuality, speaking with the deceptions of Shaytaan and his injustice.

And if a just person informs you of [negative things about another Muslim], then neither believe him nor disclaim him, in order that you will not have negative thoughts about either of them.

Whenever some evil thoughts about another Muslim cross your mind, then increase in your consideration towards him and kindness to him, as this will enrage Shatytaan and repel him from you so that he will not cast within you such thoughts out of his fear that you will instead preoccupy yourself with supplication for that person.

And whenever you come to know of a fault in a Muslim based on undoubtable proof, then advise him in secret and do not let Shaytaan deceive you and invite you to backbite about him. And if you admonish him, then do not admonish him while you are happy with your knowledge of his deficiency, so he looks at you with the eyes of esteem and you look at him with belittlement. Rather, intend to free him from sin while you are saddened, just as you are saddened over yourself if a deficiency enters into you. And it is necessary that his abandonment of that deficiency without your admonishment be more beloved to you than his abandoning it after your admonishment.”

~Al-Ghazali RA

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Ibn al Qayyim in Madaarij as-Saalikeen, 2/308

Translated By: Abu Az-zubayr Shadeed Muhammad

“It is not imagined that one can have noble character except if it is founded upon four pillars:

1. Sabr (Patience)

2. ‘Iffah (Chastity)

3. Shajaa’ah (Courage)

4. Adl (Justice)

Patience inspires him to be tolerant, control his anger, endure the harms that he receives from others, to be forbearing and deliberate in his decisions. It motivates him to be gentle and not to be rash or hasty.

Chastity, inspires him to avoid every imprudent characteristic, whether in statement or action, and encourages him to have a sense of modesty and integrity which is the epitome of all good. It prevents him from fornication, stinginess, lying, backbiting and spreading tales to cause separation and discord between the people.

Courage inspires him to have a sense of self esteem, to emphasize high and noble manners and to make it apart of his natural disposition. It also encourages him to exert himself and to be generous, which is in essence, true courage and it leads to strong will and self determination. It encourages him to distance himself from his ardent lowly desires, to control his anger, and to be forbearing because by such, he can control his temper, take it by the reins and curb his violent and destructive behaviour just as the Messenger (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) said:

The Strong is not the one who can wrestle his opponent to the ground but rather the strong is the one who can control himself when he gets angry.”

This is true genuine courage and it is the sole trait that the slave utilizes to conquer his opponent.

Justice, encourages him to be impartial in his behaviour with people and to be moderate between the two extremes of negligence and extremism. It motivates him to be generous and kind which is the middle course between absolute degradation and arrogance, and to make this apart of his disposition and makeup. It encourages him to be courageous which is the middle course between cowardice and imprudence, and to be forbearing which is the middle course between extreme unnecessary anger and ignominy.

These four virtuous characteristics are the axis and provenance of all noble manners and the foundation of all repugnant and ignominious characteristics are built upon four pillars:

1. Jahl (Ignorance)

2. Dhulm (Oppression)

3. Shahwah (following ones lowly desires)

4. Ghadab (Anger)

Ignorance, allows him to view good in the form of evil and evil in the form of good, and to consider that which is complete to be incomplete and that which is incomplete to be complete.

Oppression, causes him to put things in places which are not appropriate for them, so he gets angry when its time to be happy and he is happy when its time to be angry. He is ignorant and hasty when its time to be deliberate and deliberate when its time to be hasty, he is stingy when it is time to be generous and generous when its time to be stingy. He is weak when it is time to be courageous and assume responsibility, and he assumes responsibility when it is time to take a step back (and let someone else undertake the initiative). He is gentle and lenient when it is time to be harsh and firm and he is harsh and firm when it is time to be lenient. He is humble when it is time to be superior and arrogant when it is time to be humble.

Following (his) lowly desires,
encourages him to be diligent in obtaining that which the soul ardently desires, to be stingy and greedy. It encourages him to adorn himself with all types of despicable and imprudent characteristics.

Anger, incites him to be arrogant, jealous, envious, to hold enmity of others and to be imprudent and shameless.

The foundation of these four repugnant and blameworthy characteristics are two pillars:

Either extreme self ignominy or extreme self pride.

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Practising az-Zuhd in the Dunya

Information Taken From The Muslim Creed

February 1998, Vol. 6 No.2, Pages 10-12


WHAT DOES AZ-ZUHD MEAN?

Az-Zuhd is, "The opposite of being eager and concerned about the Dunya (the life of this world)." Further, ibn Al-Qayyim said,

"Az-Zuhd, in the Arabic language, the language of Islam, entails abandoning a matter while despising it and while belittling its significance, so that one will exchange it for what is more significant." The Muslim ancestors who set good examples in the application of Islam have various opinions with regards to the meaning of Az-Zuhd.  Ibn Al-Qayyim for example said,

"I heard Shaikh Al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah say, 'Az-Zuhd entails abandoning what does not bring about benefit in the Hereafter. Al-Wara' (abandoning a part of the permissible for fear of falling into the impermissible) entails abandoning what you fear its consequences in the Hereafter.'" Then, ibn Al-Qayyim commented,

"This statement is one of the best and most comprehensive definitions of Az-Zuhd and Al-Wara'." In addition, Sufyan Ath-Thawry said,

"Az-Zuhd in this Dunya entails having a short hope (or avoiding having hopes that one will live long), not by wearing the thick clothes or wearing the garment (as some people who observe fake Zuhd think is a part of Az-Zuhd)."

Imam Az-Zuhry also said that Az-Zuhd,

"Entails avoiding thanking Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala only for the 'Halal, and avoiding being patient only with the 'Haram." The author of Al-Lisan (a dictionary on the Arabic language) commented on the statement of Az-Zuhry,

"He means that one should not only thank Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for the permissible things that He has given him (but also for the obligations, for their rewards with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala are significant), and should avoid restricting his patience to avoiding the impermissible (but couple that with avoiding enjoying all types of the 'Halal, as an act of modesty, patience and Zuhd)."

Al-Hasan Al-Basri also said,

"Az-Zuhd in this Dunya is not achieved by prohibiting the Halal, nor by wasting money. Rather, it entails your being more certain in what Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has in His Hands, than your are about what you have in your hand. It also entails being eager for the reward of (practicing patience during) the calamity, if a calamity touches you, more than if the calamity did not touch you (as in this case, one will not gain the reward for observing patience during hard times. However, one should not wish for disasters to hit)." All these sayings given to us by the Muslim ancestors who set good examples in the application of Islam, are among the best definitions for the meaning of Az-Zuhd.

Az-Zuhd resides in the heart, and it can be achieved by ridding the heart of the slave from the love and the eagerness for this life. This way, the Dunya will be in one's hand, not in his heart, where the love for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and the Hereafter will and should reside. Az-Zuhd does not entail abandoning the Dunya altogether. The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam was the leader of all those who practiced Az-Zuhd. Yet, he married nine times. Also, Prophet Dawood (AS) and Sulayman (AS) were kings as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has described them. Yet, they were also among the Zuhhad (those who observe Zuhd). The companions of the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam were also among the Zuhhad. Yet, they all had wives, children and material possessions.

Imam Ahmad divided Az-Zuhd into three parts:

1. Avoiding the prohibitions, and this is the Zuhd of the commoners. Ibn Al-Qayyim stated that this type is an obligation.

2. Abandoning what is not a necessity among the Halal matters. This type is the Zuhd of the distinguished people.

3. Abandoning what will busy one from the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. This is the Zuhd of those who have knowledge in the religion.

THE STATUS OF THIS HADITH

This Hadith's importance is demonstrated in the fact that it explains the way through which one can gain Allah's subhanahu wa ta'ala Love, which is the ultimate prize that mankind can and should ever seek to achieve and attain. He whom Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala will honor him and will spread about his love in the earth. As for he whom Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala hates, He will spread about his hatred in the earth. Further, this Hadith explains the conduct because of which mankind will love the slave. It is a fact that when a person is loved by his community, he or she will feel great happiness and joy. Also, when one is loved by his community, he or she will be more acceptable and familiar to his people, and this will help those who call unto Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala succeed in their mission, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala willing.

BELITTLING THE DUNYA

The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said,

"Perform Zuhd in the Dunya."

There are many Texts in the Quran and the Sunnah that encourage being a Zahid in the Dunya. These Texts demonstrate the little significance that the Dunya has and point out its briefness and quick demise. These Texts also strengthen the eagerness in the Last Life, which joy is eternal. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says,

"Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever with Allah (of good deeds) will remain." (An-Nahl 16:96)

"Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the believers, evildoers), and (there is) Forgiveness of Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, gooddoers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment." (Al-Hadid 57:20)

The Dunya, therefore, is brief and is bound to end sometime soon. Therefore, the slave ought not busy himself with its affairs, nor forget the affair of the Last Life which will never end.

The last Ayat states that the life of this world is a deceiving, short-lived joy that contains what does not bring about any benefit. Also the life of this world is pomp, which will encourage one to indulge in it and forget the Hereafter.

Further, this life is full of competition and boasting about having what this life offers of money, offspring, etc. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala then illustrates the briefness of this life by mentioning the rain when it comes down on the earth and thus the ground becomes green and lively with various plants and vegetation. Soon afterwards, the earth will revert to its near past and will become dry and dead again. This is the exact case with the life of this world.

REASON BEHIND AS-ZUHD

There are several reasons that encourage one to indulge in Zuhd:

1. The slave's Iman being strong, his remembering when he or she will stand between the Hands of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, and his remembering the torments of the Day of Resurrection will all rid his heart from all will belittle the love of this Dunya and its short-lived joys. Hence, the slave will avoid excessive indulging in the joys and the desires of this life, all the while feeling content with whatever he has in it.

2. The slave's feeling that this Dunya busies the hearts from the remembering of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and that it hinders the path of mankind from stepping up the ladder of acquiring higher grades in the Hereafter. Also, the Muslim's feeling that mankind will certainly be asked about the joys and the delights of this life, as Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says,

"Then, on that Day, you shall be asked about the delight (you indulged in, in this world)!" (At-Takathur 102:8)

3. One will not acquire the material joys of this life unless he or she works hard to achieve such a goal. In this regard, mankind pays a significant effort and deep thinking. One may then have to mingle with the worst types of people. All this will come at the expense of seeking knowledge of the religion, conducting Da'wah unto Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, performing Jihad and worshipping Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. When the slave feels all this and when he has an enlightened heart, he will feel compelled and encouraged to disregard the Dunya, so that he will be able to preserved what is essential and that which will never end.

4. The Quran's belittling the significance of the Dunya and its joys, while describing this life as deceiving, false and short-lived pastime that involves wasting the time. Also, Allah's subhanahu wa ta'ala criticism of the adverse effect that excessive indulging in the Dunya will result in the Hereafter. The numerous Texts in the Quran and the Sunnah about this subject will encourage the Muslim to abandon matters of the Dunya and busy himself with what will truly remain.

Jabir ibn Abdullah (RA) said that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam once passed by the marketplace, passing from the area of Al-'Aliyah, while people were all around him. He then passed by a dead goat, which ears were small, then took it by the ear, saying,

"Who amongst you would like to have this (dead goat with small ears) for a Dirham (a currency)?" They said, "By Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala! Even if it was alive, its small ears will be a deficiency, so how about when it is dead?" He sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "By Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala! The Dunya is less significant in the Sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala than this is to you." (Shar'h Muslim)

Furthermore, Al-Mustawrid Al-Fihry related from the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam that he said,

"The Dunya, as compared to the Akhirah (the Hereafter), is just like when one of you dips his finger in the sea! Let him see how much (water) it (his finger) will carry." (Sahih Al-Jami')



Edited by a well wisher - 10 July 2009 at 12:08pm
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Al-Tafakkur

People are often distinguished by their thoughts and ideas, and a person is only ranked by his peers according to his level and depth of thinking. Likewise, by speaking to someone and listening to his/her speech, their level of intelligence, their depth of reflection and extent of contemplation is displayed.

Some statements regarding al-Tafakkur (Thought and Contemplation):

Salim ibn Abi al-Ja’d: I asked Umm al-Darda (radhiallahu `anha), ‘What was the best of Abu al-Darda’s deeds?’ She said, ‘al-Tafakkur (contemplation).’

Al-Hasan al-Basri: ‘Contemplation is a mirror that shows you your good and bad deeds.’

Wahb ibn Munabbih: ‘The believer is the one who contemplates, remembers and restrains (himself from evil). He contemplates such that tranquility raises him and he remains calm and peaceful such that it humbles him. He (the believer) was content so he did not fall into distress, he refused his desires so he became free, he cast off jealousy so love became widespread for him and he was ascetic in every temporal thing so his intelligence became complete. His heart is connected to his aspirations and his aspirations overlook his Hereafter. He does not take delight when the people of the world take delight; rather the reality of eternity has saddened him so he remains sad in his life. But when eyes fall asleep, then he takes delight; reciting the Book of Allah Ta’ala and repeating it in his heart – at one point his heart feels fear and at another point, his eyes weep. The night passes him by while he is reciting, and the day passes him by while is in seclusion, pondering over his sins and belittling his good deeds. Such a person will be called on the Day of Judgment in that great gathering at the head of all creation: ‘Stand up O’ noble one and enter Paradise!’

Ibn Abi al-Hawari: I said to Abu Safwan (’Abdullah ibn ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan), ‘Which of these two is better: That a man should go hungry and sit in contemplation or that he should eat and get up to pray?’ He said, ‘That he should (first) eat then get up and contemplate in his prayer is more beloved to me.’ So I told that to Abu Sulayman and he said, ‘He (Abu Safwan) has told the truth. Contemplation during the prayer is better than contemplation outside of the prayer, because contemplation in the prayer is in reality two deeds (combined), and two deeds are better than one.’

Al-Hasan said to Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah: ‘Tafakkur is the key to Mercy. Don’t you see how a person contemplates and consequently repents?!’

Al-Fudhayl: ‘The speech of the believer is wisdom; his silence is contemplation and his vision is a lesson (for him). If you are like that, then you will not cease being in a state of worship.’ Then he read the verse, “I have not created Mankind or Jinn except to worship Me.” [al-Dhariyat: 56]

Ka’b al-Ahbar: ‘Whoever wishes to attain the honour of the Hereafter, let him increase in contemplation for he will then become knowledgeable.’

_________________________________

[Translated from: نداء القمم في كيف تعلو الهمم by Dr. Sayyid al-'Affani]

 


Edited by a well wisher - 11 July 2009 at 10:52am
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Said Ibn Bilal said “Despite committing a sin, Allah still bestows four blessings on His sinful servant – He does not cut off his sustenance, He does not cause his health to deteriorate, He does not make the sin apparent on him for all to see, and He does not hasten his punishment.”

Hatim al-Asam said, “The one who delays four things until four others will find Paradise – sleep until the grave, pride until the accounting [of good and bad deeds], repose until after the crossing of the Siraat, and desires until entering Paradise.”

Hamid al-Laffaf said, “We searched for four things in four others and failed to find them there, but found them in yet another four things – we sought richeness in money but found it in contentment; we sought peace in opulence but found it in poverty; we sought pleasure in abudance but found it in good health; and we sought sustenenance in the earth and found it in the sky.”

Ali Ra said, “Four things, a little of which is still a lot – pain, poverty, fire, and enmity.”

Hatim Al-Asamm said, “Four things are not appreciated except by four types of people – youth is not appreciated but by the old, freedom from worries is not appreciated but by those afflicted with calamities, health is not appreciated but by those in poor health, and life is not appreciated but by the dead.”

The poet, Abu Nuwwas said:

My sins, if i think about them, are many
But the mercy of my Lord is much vaster.
I do not hope for salvation in any good action I may have done
Rather in Allah’s Mercy is my hope.
He is Allah my Lord who is my Creator
 And I am [in front of Him] a slave who obeys and submits.
If forgiveness is intended for me then that is mercy 
 And if it is other than it then what am I to do?

- Ibn Hajar’s Preparing for the Day of Judgment, pg. 25

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Once a man came to Ibn ‘Abaas Radiyallahu ‘Anh and said to him: Ya ibn ‘Abaas, I wish to enjoin whats good (alma’ruuf) and forbid the evilness (almunkar). He (ibn ‘Abaas) asked: have you reached this state?. He (the man) answered: I wish to. Then Ibn ‘Abaas said: “If you do not fear to be exposed by three ayaat (verses) from the Book of Allāh then do so.” He (the man) said: and which are they?. Ibn ‘Abaas replied:
The saying of Him Ta’ala:

أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنْسَوْنَ أَنْفُسَكُمْ
Do you Enjoin Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allâh) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves”
(Suratu Al-Baqarah:44)
Ibn ‘Abaas asked the man: Ahakamta Hadheh. Have you mastered this ayah?
The man replied him no

So Ibn ‘Abaas continued: the second is the saying of Him Ta’ala

يَا أَيّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُون َ
كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ
O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do?
Most hateful it is with Allâh that you say that which you do not do
(Suratu Assaf: 2-3)
Ibn ‘Abaas asked the man: Ahakamta Hadheh? Have you mastered this ayah?
The man replied him no

Then ibn ‘Abaas recited the saying of the righteous slave Saleh ‘Alayhi Assalam:

وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَى مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ
I wish not, in contradiction to you, to do that which I forbid you. I only desire reform to the best of my power.
(Suratu Huud: 88)
Ibn ‘Abaas asked the man: Ahakamta Hadheh? Have you mastered this ayah?
The man replied him no. So ibn ‘Abaas adviced him to start with himself first!

…will these three ayaat testify against or for you on The Day of Judgement?

Ad-Dahhaak Narrated this from Ibn ‘Abaas, see the explanation of the ayah 44 in suratul Baqarah. Tafseer Ibn Katheer Rahimahullah

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I said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about save you." He answered: "Say: 'I believe in Allah', and then stand firm and steadfast."

[Sahih Muslim]

background

The literal meaning of "Istiqamah": to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is derived from the stem "Qiyyam", which implies the continuity of doing something, following up with it and making sure that it is done in the right way and there is neither deviation nor swerving.

The term has been used by the Qur'an in many verses. Allah the Almighty says:

"Therefore, stand firm (on the straight path) as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you. And do not transgress, for He (Allah) sees well all that you do."
[Surah Hud (11): ayat 112]

Ibnu Abbas said that this verse was the hardest and most difficult verse of the Qur'an on the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam.

Indeed it is a difficult task to achieve Istiqamah, hence, the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, said; "Be straight on the path or be close to it."

In another verse, Allah the Almighty says:

"So unto this (religion) invite (the people). Stand steadfast as you are commanded and do not follow their desires....."
[Surah al-Shura' (42): ayat 15]

Based on these two verses, it can be inferred that Istiqamah is to stand firm and steadfast to what we have been commanded by Allah, i.e. to fulfill obligations and to avoid prohibitions. Also, we should not allow ourselves to follow or be mislead by desires (whether it is our desires or the desires of others) as it will cause deviation and lead us astray.

lessons

According to Ibn al-Qayyim, there are five conditions to achieve Istiqamah in performing required deeds:

  1. The act should be done for the sake of Allah alone (ikhlas).
  2. It should be done on the basis of knowledge ('ilm).
  3. Performing ibadah should be in the same manner that they have been commanded.
  4. To do it in the best way possible.
  5. Restricting oneself to what is lawful while performing those deeds.

According to other scholars of suluk, i.e. behavior, there are certain steps to be followed in order to achieve Istiqamah :

  1. Always being aware of the final destination, i.e. the Day of Judgment (Akhirah). And to use this awareness in a positive way as a motive to do good deeds. One way to do it is through remembering that a person's journey towards Akhirah starts the minute he / she passes away and leaves this world. One of the Salafs said: "If you live until the morning do not wait for the evening and if you live until the evening do not wait for the morning."

  2. Commitment (Musharatah). One has to make a commitment that he/she will be steadfast and will do things in the right way and in the best way possible, and to adhere to conjunctions of Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims are being lenient in making such a commitment.

  3. To make continuous efforts (Mujahadah) to bring that commitment to reality. Some Muslims dare to make the commitment, but dare not to make the effort to make the commitment a reality.

  4. Continuous checking and reviewing of one's deeds (Muraqabah). Being honest with oneself so as not to give false excuses for failing to fulfill a commitment.

  5. Self accountability (Muhasabah). This should be done twice: Firstly, before we start doing something, ensuring that it pleases Allah, that we do it for His sake only, realizing the right way it should be done. Secondly, after the action has been done, to check whether we have achieved what we aimed for, and to check for defects and shortcomings, and that we still could have done it better by not being satisfied with our action.

  6. Blaming oneself for not doing it perfectly after it has been done. Self blaming here is a positive one by using it as a motive, and by aiming for improvement and having the intention of doing things better next time. This leads to making another commitment and continual commitments to improve our performance.

  7. Striving for improvement (Tahsin). We have to make improvements in all that we do (daily activities, work, actions, good deeds, ibadah, etc.) as one of our objectives.

  8. To be humble towards Allah, realizing that no one is perfect except Him, seeking His forgiveness, guidance and support.

It should be emphasized that these steps/conditions apply to worldly matters as well as ibadah and good religious deeds.

Factors that lead to the weakening of Istiqamah include:

  1. Committing sins (ma'siah), insisting on repeating them again and again, without istighfar (seeking Allah's forgiveness) and without practicing repentance.

  2. Shirk (associating anything with Allah) whether in intentions, by showing off our good deeds to others, seeking others' appraisal, avoiding being blamed by others, being afraid of someone, or to seek rewards from others than Allah. This part of shirk is also called riyya' or showing off. All these lead to deviation in Istiqamah, and when these stimuli are not there, the person's work is not perfect any more and it is not done in the best way possible.

  3. Nifaq (hypocrisy). There are two forms of nifaq: in belief and in action. The Muslim who surrenders totally to the will of Allah and accept Islam based on his/her choice is free from the first form of hypocrisy. However any Muslim is subject to and should avoid the second form of nifaq which the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam, warned us about: Not keeping promises and breaking them continuously without good reasons or excuses, not fulfilling commitments we make with others, being aggressive and unjust to others in quarrels, and disputes, failing to shoulder responsibilities/burdens we are entrusted with, etc. All these bad qualities should be avoided since they lead to the weakening of our Istiqamah.

  4. Bida'ah (innovations in ibadah), whether genuine bida'ah (performing ibadah which has not been ascribed by Shariah, i.e. revelation), or relative bida'ah (failing to observe the requirements of doing ibadah - the five criteria discussed in Hadith 5), will lead to decreasing the quality of good action or ibadah.

There are other factors that also contribute to the weakening of Istiqamah, such as: recklessness, reluctance, heedlessness, being overwhelmed by a deceiving enjoyment, and being mislead by self interests and desires.

Applying the above mentioned steps and requirements pinpointed by scholars will help in overcoming all these obstacles and barriers.

conclusion

Istiqamah is an important Islamic concept. Its significance can be seen where every Muslim is required to recite Surah al-Fatihah at least seventeen times each day seeking continual guidance to the straight path from Allah.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 15 July 2009 at 12:43pm

Migration to Allaah

Imaam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaah

Taken from The Magnificent Journey published by QSS

Migration of the Heart

The caravan departs, and the traveller enters into a foreign land. He becomes separated from the habits and customs associated with his homeland. This allows him to ponder carefully over his situation. He seeks the most important thing that helps in his journey to Allah, and that deserves his life's pursuance.

The One in whose Hand is the guidance guides him to this most important thing that he seeks: "Migration to Allah and His Messenger". This migration is a fard (mandatory Islamic duty) on everyone at all times - it is the thing that Allah ta'ala requires from His 'ibaad (slaves).

Migration is of two types:

  1. The first is the migration of the body from one land to another. The legislation regarding this type of migration is well known, and it is not our intention to discuss them here.

  2. The second type is the migration of the heart to Allah ta'ala and His Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam. This is the only true hijrah; it must precede the bodily hijrah, which is its natural outcome.

Fleeing unto Allah

This hijrah requires an origin and a goal. A person migrates with his heart:

· From loving other than Allah > loving Him;

· From fearing and hoping and relying on other than Him > fearing and hoping and relying on Him;

· From calling upon, asking, surrendering to, and humbling oneself before other than Him > calling upon, asking, surrendering to,  and humbling oneself before Him.

This is precisely the meaning of "fleeing unto Allah", as He ta'ala says:

"...Flee unto Allah..." [Surah Ath-Thaariyaat 51:50]

And indeed, the tawhid required from a person is to flee from Allah unto Him! Under this heading of "from" and "to" falls a great reality of tawhid.

Fleeing unto Allah ta'ala includes turning to Him only for asking or worship or anything which proceeds from that. Thus, it includes the tawhid of Ilahiyyah which was the common point in the messages of all the messengers, may Allah bestows His praise and peace upon all of them.

On the other hand, fleeing from Allah (unto Him) includes the tawh id of Rububiyyah and the belief in the Qadar (Allah's Divine Measure & Decree). It is the belief that whatever one hates or fears or flees from in the universe takes place by the Will of Allah alone. What He ta'ala wills will surely happen, and what He does not will never be and is impossible to happen.

Thus when a person flees unto Allah, he would be fleeing unto him from a thing that occurred by His Will. In other words, he would be fleeing from Him unto Him!

One who understands this well can then understand the meaning of the Messenger's sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam words:

"...I seek refuge from You in You..."

And:

"...There is no shelter or escape from You except in You..."

There is nothing in the universe that one would flee or seek protection from but is created and originated by Allah ta'ala. Hence, one would flee from that which emanates from Allah's decree, will, and creation, to that which emanates from His mercy, goodness, kindness, and bounty. One is, therefore, fleeing from Allah unto Him, and seeking refuge in Him from Him!

Understanding these two matters causes one's heart to stop being attached to other than Allah in fear, hope or love. He would then know that all that he flees from exists by the Allah's will, power and creation. This would not leave in his heart any fear of other than his Creator and Maker. This in turn causes him to turn to Allah alone in fear, love and hope.

Had it been that what one flees from were not under Allah's Will and Power, one would then be excused to fear that thing instead of Allah. This would be like running away from a creature to a more powerful one, without being totally confident that the second creature is powerful enough to protect him from the first one.

This is quite different from the case of a person who knows that the One to whom he is running is the same as the One who decreed, willed, and created that from which he is fleeing. In the latter case, no interest in seeking other protectors should remain in the heart.

So, understand well this important meaning in the Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam words above. People have explained them in many different ways, yet very few have realized this meaning which is their core and moral. This facilitation [in understanding] is indeed from Allah.

Thus the whole matter resolves to fleeing from Allah unto Him. This is the meaning of the hijrah to Allah ta'ala. This further explains why the Messenger sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:

"A true migrator is one who abandons what Allah has prohibited."

This is also why Allah ta'ala mentions Imaan and hijrah together in several places [eg. al-Anfal 8:72,74,75 & at-Tauba 9:20] - the two being closely linked, and each of them requiring the other.

The Importance of Migrating to Allah

In conclusion, the hijrah to Allah includes abandoning what He hates and doing what He loves and accepts. The hijrah originates from feelings of love and hatred. The migrator from one place to another must have more love for the place to which he migrated than that from which he migrated, and these feelings are what led him to prefer one of the two places.

One's nafs (self, soul), his whims and his devil keep calling him to that which is against what he loves and is satisfied with. One continues to be tested by these three things, calling him to avenues that displease his Lord.

At the same time, the call of Imaan will continue to direct him to what pleases his Lord. Thus one should keep migrating to Allah at all times, and should not abandon this hijrah until death.

This hijrah becomes strong or weak [in the heart] depending on the state of the Imaan. The stronger and more complete that the Imaan is, the more perfect the hijrah. And if the Imaan weakens, the hijrah weakens too, until one becomes unable to detect its presence or have the readiness to be moved by it.

What is surprising is that you might find a man talking at great length and going into very fine details regarding the [physical] hijrah from the land of disbelief (Dar-ul-Kufr) to the land of Islam (Dar-ul-Islam), and regarding the hijrah which ended with conquering Makkah, even though this type of hijrah is incidental, and he may never have to do a thing with it in his whole life.5

But as for the hijrah of the heart, which continues to be required from him as long as he breathes, you find that he does not seek any knowledge regarding it, nor does he develop any intention to undertake it! Thus he turns away from that for which he has been created, and which - alone - can save him, and involves himself in that which, of itself, cannot save him. This is the situation of those whose vision has been blinded, and whose knowledge is weak regarding the priorities of knowledge and action.

Indeed, Allah is the One from Whom we seek help, and He alone does facilitate our matters. There is no god except Him and no Lord other than Him.

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 17 July 2009 at 12:36pm

The Journey Towards Peace and Tranquility
By Annan Aboul-Nasr


"They ask you concerning the soul. Say that the soul is from Allah and you have not been given knowledge of it except a little" (Qur’an 17:85).

One of the greatest Islamic theologians, Imam Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali, wrote an account about the soul in his works Ihya’ `Ulum ad-Din (Revival of the Religious Sciences) and Kimiya’i Sa`adat (The Alchemy of Happiness).The nafs (soul) is the commander and overseer of what the heart feels, the eye sees and the tongue states. The soul is recognized as a vehicle that can be guided and trained to do good or bad deeds, and can lead a person to eternal bliss or wrath. Hence, the goal of a Believer is to realize his full potential; in order to do so, he must understand the main purpose for coming into existence—to worship the Creator so that his soul can return safely to its blissful home.

The soul can be classified under two categories: the rational, which meets spiritual needs, and the non-rational, which is shared with animals and humans, and meets physical needs such as food, shelter, and the desire to reproduce. Balancing spiritual needs with physical needs reminds a person that he or she is a traveler in this world and will not live forever.

Al-Ghazzali explains in the Alchemy of Happiness, “The soul should take care of the body, just as a pilgrim on his way to Makkah takes care of his camel; but if the pilgrim spends his whole time feeding and adorning his camel, the caravan will leave him behind, and he will perish in the desert” (50). This example signifies that in order to reach his destination, a traveler must maintain and care for his transport in order to keep it intact for the journey. More importantly however, the traveler should not forget his ultimate destination in the process.

In the Qur’an, the soul is divided into three stages of spiritual development referred to as al-Nafs al-Ammara (the sinful soul), al-Nafs al-Lawwama (the lamenting soul), and al-Nafs al-Mutma’inna (the satisfied soul). Al-Ghazzali writes, “These three conditions of the soul are not to be thought of as distinct stages, but rather as different aspects or potentials within the soul, which are present simultaneously, some being latent and others active. Their relative strength is contingent upon four factors: man’s inborn disposition, which may be good or evil, angelic or animal; his upbringing; his self-discipline in adulthood, and finally, God’s grace” (Ihya `Ulum ad-Din xxix).

Al-Nafs al-Ammara is characterized by evil, and if not checked, can lead to destruction of itself and of other people. Al-Ghazzali discusses the process of al-Nafs al-Ammara by stating, “Similarly, one venial sin leads to another, until the basis for salvation is lost through the destruction of the basis of faith at the moment of death” (37). The state of Ammara is thus the absence of faith that constitutes a meaningless life where the soul no longer separates itself from evil actions and has no sense of how to balance its non-rational and rational sides.

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala (the Exalted and Glorified) warns in the Qur’an, “Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire? Then would you be responsible for him? Or do you think that most of them hear or reason? They are not except like livestock. Rather, they are [even] more astray in [their] way” (25:43-44). These verses reveal how one who follows his whims and ignores Allah’s (swt) authority over him cannot be a servant of Allah (swt). Such a person has misused the gift of intellect and has gone farther astray than cattle, which neither disobey a spiritual command nor commit injustices in this world.

The second potential stage of the soul is al-Nafs al-Lawwama, which tries hard to abstain from evil acts, consistently questions itself, and constantly repents. Allah (swt) states, “And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it; And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness; He has succeeded who purifies it; And he has failed who instills it [with corruption]” (91:7-10). The lamenting soul is crucial as it represents the struggle for change within the self: “That is because Allah would not change a favor which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing” (8:53).

The lamenting soul aims to become aware of its actions and to stop itself before committing an evil deed, or to replace an evil deed with good. This struggle between the self and the soul fluctuates as one can easily become occupied by the glitter of this world and forget the purpose of one’s existence. Al-Ghazzali narrates that Sufyan al Thawri once said, “Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my soul, which sometimes helps me, and sometimes opposes me” (Ihya `Ulum ad-Din 57). Therefore, the key to balancing one’s soul in favor of goodness is to understand what the soul needs so that it will not fall into a state of forgetfulness or neglect.

It is with the Mercy of Allah (swt) that He reminds us, “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. O, you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed Allah is with the patient” (Qur’an 2:152-153). Strenuous effort, determination, and reliance on Allah (swt) are required in order to begin the difficult process of shaping the self as an ally of the soul. Furthermore, Allah (swt) uplifts those among His servants who struggle to reform themselves, by reaffirming, “Say, O my servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the Mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” (Qur’an 39:53). The struggling soul is given hope that it may look forward and aim high at achieving an elevated level that is nearer to Allah (swt).

The last and highest stage of the soul is al-Nafs al-Mutma’inna, in which the soul has reached a state of peace and tranquility through aligning its will with the Will of its Creator. Al-Ghazzali remarks, “The aim of moral discipline is to purify the heart from the rust of passion and resentment, until, like a clear mirror, it reflects the light of God” (Kimiya’i Sa`adat 23). The analogy of the mirror enhances the idea that the heart reflects truth only if it is pure. Therefore, one needs to fill one’s heart with complete love for Allah (swt) so as not to be deceived by the outward appearance of the world.

It is the nature of the human being to love what Allah (swt) loves and hate what He hates. The spiritual soul is determined to become one with the commandments of Allah (swt) in order to fulfill the desire to be with Him in Eternity. Blessed is the soul that strives in the cause of Allah (swt), for it not only lives under the shadow and protection of Allah (swt) in this world, but will also be asked to return happily to Him when it has succeeded in preserving its pure and truthful nature. Allah (swt) tells mankind, “[To the righteous it will be said], ‘O reassured soul; Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him]; And enter among My [righteous] servants; And enter My Paradise’” (Qur’an 89:27-28).

This world is a station created to shape one’s heart and soul into the best of molds; purifying it to be worthy of residing in the eternal bliss of Paradise. Knowledge of the different states can bring a person closer to ascending to the highest state. The third stage is attained through complete love, devotion, and trust of Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) reassures, “And when My servants ask you, [O, Muhammad], concerning Me—indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided” (2:186). May Allah (swt) protect us from a heart that does not fear, eyes that do not tear, ears that do not hear, and from a soul that is not satisfied. Ameen. ̹

ABOUL-NASR is a forth year Economics and International Studies double major at UC Irvine.

 
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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