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Wooden boardwalk across water

Muhammad ibn Ja’far related: I heard Muhammad ibn Sabīh, saying: “I was informed  that when a person is placed in his grave [and he has sinned], he is encountered by what he detests therein; the dead from the neighbouring graves say to him: ‘O you whose brothers and neighbours passed away, while you were left behind in the world! Did you not learn a lesson from us [when we died but you stayed alive]? Have you not thought about the notion of us preceding you in death? Did you not notice that our deeds ended by our death, yet you were still given time [i.e. to perform more deeds]? So why did you not take advantage of what we have neglected?’ Then the earth calls him saying: ‘O you who was befooled with the appearance of this worldly life! Why did you not learn a lesson from those who were befooled with this wordly life then they were removed and buried underneath?'” [1]

Footnotes

  1.  cf. Ibn Rajab in Ahwāl al-Qabur (p.26) and Ihyā‘ ‘Ulum al-Dīn (4/482)
  • Transcribed from: Disturber of Hearts; Kitab al-Mugliq | Ibn al-Jawzī

Like a Summer Cloud

The greatest aid for him in [preferring the Everlasting Hereafter to the transient world] is to take a look at the state of the Messenger (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his biography as well as his Companions. The fact that they renounced the world, turned their hearts away from it and discarded it. They never accustomed themselves with it and instead deserted it. They never inclined towards it and they regarded it to be a prison and not a heaven, and thus, abstained from it in a true manner. And if they had desired it they would have acquired every loved thing and arrived at every cherished matter from it. Indeed, the keys to the treasures of the world were offered to the Prophet (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) but he rejected them. The world also poured out to the Companions but they did not opt for it and did not exchange their portion of the Hereafter for the world.

They knew that the world was a crossing point and passageway, not a place of dwelling and settling, that it was a place of transit (‘uboor) and not a place of happiness (suroor) and it was a summer cloud which will soon disperse and an apparition no sooner is it completed than is it on the brink of departure.

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Overcoming Laziness

Loving leisure, preferring idleness and the perceived difficulty of tasks are what lead one to laziness. Bukhāri and Muslim reported from Anas ibn Mālik (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) that the Prophet  (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to frequently say, “I seek refuge in Allāh from grief and distress, old age and laziness.” 1

Muslim reported in his Sahih that Abu Hurayrah (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “A strong believer is better and more loved by Allāh than a weak believer.” 2

At all times, strive for that which will benefit you, seek the help of Allāh, and do not be helpless. If anything (bad) befalls you, do not say , ‘If only I had done such-and-such, then such-and-such would have happened.’ Rather you should say, ‘Allāh preordained this, and whatever He wills He does,’ for the words ‘if only’ open the door to Shaytaan.

Ibn Mas’ood (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) said, “I detest a man whom I see idle from striving for this world and the hereafter.” 3 He also said, “At the end of time there will be people whose best actions will be blaming each other, also known as the lazy ones.”

Ibn ‘Abbās (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) said, “Slackening married laziness and they gave birth to poverty.”

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From the manners that Islām has taught us is to begin our actions by mentioning the name of Allāh. The purpose behind this is far-reaching and manifold:

1. It brings Allāh to mind before one does the action.

2. It prevents one from doing evil actions.

3. It aids one in attaining Allāh’s support and succour in that action.

4. It reminds one of the purpose, the source of fulfillment, the source of blessings for that action and its final destination. 1

Ibn al-Qayyim explained this final point further,

Allāh, the Exalted is He says,

وَإِن مِّن شَيْءٍ إِلاَّ عِندَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ إِلاَّ بِقَدَرٍ مَّعْلُومٍ

There is not a single thing except that its depositories and treasures are with Us.  (Al-Hijr 15:21)

This verse comprises a [great] treasure from the treasures [of the Qur’an], this being that nothing is sought except from the One who possesses its depositories and treasures, the One in whose hands lie the keys to these treasures. Seeking [things] from anyone else is seeking something from one who does not possess them or possess any authority over them.

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Understanding in the religion is not just mere knowledge, it is knowledge and action. And this is why the Salaf used to warn against much reading and having little understanding as Abdullah ibn Mas’ood radhiAllahu ‘anhu used to say:

“What will be of you if readers become many and the people of understanding become few?”

Therefore, if a person learns something from Allah’s religion but does not act upon it, he is not a person of understanding. Even if he memorizes and understands the biggest books of jurisprudence but does not act upon it, this person is not called a person of understanding, rather he is called a reader. The person of understanding is he who acts upon that which he learns, so he studies first then he acts, this is the one that has understanding of the religion. As for he who studies but does not act, then he is not a person of understanding but rather he is a reader. And this is why the people of Shu’aib ‘alayhi salam said to him:

“We do not understand much of what you say.” [Hud 11:91]

They were prevented from good because of that which Allah knew was in their hearts of evil.

Therefore uphold the study of the religion and uphold acting upon it so that you may be from those who Allah wills good for.

  • Transcribed from: The Greater Understanding | Shaykh Dr. Saleh ibn Fawzaan ibn Abdullah Al-Fawzaan

When a person anticipates what his Hawā is calling him to prior to attaining it, he should then reflect on his state after his satisfaction has passed, he should compare this between his satisfaction and his sin, for that is when he will know that he has lost double of what he has gained.

A poet said regarding this:

How much satisfaction that provoked happiness

Ended up revealing sadness and sorrow

How many desires ripped from their participants

The garment of religion and virtue

Know that when a human acts in accordance to his Hawā, he will find himself in disgrace and humiliation, even if this Hawā does not harm him, that is because he feels subdued by his Hawā, but when he overcomes his Hawā, he will find in himself honor and pride as he will feel triumphant and victorious. For this reason, when people see an ascetic they become amazed by him, and they would kiss his hand [to show respect] because they perceive him as a person who is strong enough to leave what they were weak in the face of and that is disobeying Hawā.  

  • Transcribed from: Disciplining the Soul; Tibb al-Ruhāni | Ibn al-Jawzi

Shield Yourself

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Alllaah have mercy upon him) said:

Beware of enabling Shaytaan to establish himself in the very home of your thoughts and intentions, as he will corrupt them in such a manner that will make difficult its correction thereafter. He will cast all sorts of whisperings and harmful thoughts at you and he will prevent you from thinking about what may benefit you. And it is you who have aided him against yourself by empowering him over your heart and thoughts, and he then placed you in possession of such thoughts.

  • Source: Al-Fawaa’id | Transcribed from: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan | Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaaq