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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
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Ibn al-Jawzī authored the following as an advice to his son, Abu’l-Qasim Badr al-Dīn ‘Alī al-Nasikh.1 

You should know, my son, may Allāh guide you to what is right, that man has been distinguished by intellect only so that he would act according to it. Bring it to the fore, use it in contemplation and spend time alone with yourself. You will conclude that you are a created being who has responsibilities and obligations and that the two angels are counting your every word and glance. Every breath is a step closer to death. The time we spend in this world is short, the time we are held in our graves is long, and the punishment for following our base desires is calamitous.

Where is the delight of yesterday? It has departed leaving only regret in its wake. Where is the soul’s desire? How many has it brought low, how many has it caused to slip and falter? People have only attained happiness by going against their lusts and desires. People have only become wretched by giving preference to the life of this world. Learn from the lives of kings and ascetics: where is the delights of the kings and where is the weariness of the ascetics? The only thing left is the abundant reward and beautiful mention for the pious, and the malicious words and calamitous punishment for the disobedient. It is as if those who starved never starved and those who ate to their fill never did so. Laziness in virtuous deeds is an evil companion indeed, and love of comfort causes regret greater than any enjoyment. So take heed and tire yourself for your self.

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An old, worn, wooden footbridge over a ravine in NepalIt was reported that (Prophet) Nuh lived in a house made of wool for nine hundred and fifty years. The Messenger salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam never put a stone over another [his house was built of mud] and on Umar ibn al-Khattab’s radiAllāhu ‘anhu garment there were twelve patches. This is because they understood that this world is a bridge and a bridge should not be taken as a home. Thus, whoever fails to be aware of this knowledge will be afflicted with the disease of Sharah1, and should cure himself by seeking knowledge and contemplating the biographies of wise scholars.

Footnotes:
1. Sharah: Used for extravagance, and is generally used to refer to gluttony

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

Hawā is the inclination of one’s nature to what suits it and that should not be criticized when what is sought after is lawful. However, it should be dispraised when one is excessive in following Hawā. That said, when Hawā is criticized in an absolute manner, it is because most of it is either impermissible, or because people usually interpret lawfulness, and hence indulge in it in excess.

Know that part of the inner self is intellectual, the virtue of which is wisdom, the vice of which is ignorance, part of it is elicited, the virtue of which is poignancy, the vice of which is cowardice, part of it is lustful, the virtue of which is chastity and the vice of which is unrestrained Hawā. Exhibiting patience in the face of vice is a merit of the inner self by which a person endures both goodness and evil. Therefore, whoever lacks patience and allows his Hawā to lead his mind has then made the follower be followed and the led a leader. That said, it is expected that everything he desires will return to him and that he will be harmed from where he expected to benefit; he will be saddened by that which he expected happiness to come from.

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Just as hereditary disposition is hidden (1), “bad characteristics are [also] hidden;” (2) because character is transferable, and [first] impressions are major abductors of hearts, and people are like the flocks of birds, naturally disposed to imitating one another; so beware of associating with whosoever is to this liking; for it is indeed destruction, and “prevention is better than cure.”

Therefore, choose the best for companionship and friendship; someone who will help you in your quest, in drawing nearer to your Lord, and agrees with you in your noble objective and intention. Take [from me] the most precise gauge in categorizing friends: (3)

  1. A friend who befriends you [solely] for his welfare.
  2. A friend who befriends you [solely] for fun.
  3. A friend who befriends you for virtue.

As regards the first two [categories of friends], then their [relationship] with you is cut off when the necessitating reason [for which they befriended you] is fulfilled: the attainment of welfare in the first and fun in the second.

As for the third category, then this is the one we will concentrate on. He is the one who is driven into a friendship due to mutual benefit in the firm establishment of virtue in both people.

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Abu Nu’aym and others record on the authority of Kumayl ibn Ziyad, from ‘Ali (radiAllāhu ‘anhu) who said,

People are of three categories: the erudite and wise scholar; a student of knowledge traversing the path to salvation; and the confused rabble, following anyone, bending along with every wind, not enlightened by the light of knowledge and having no firm support.

Then after talking about the superiority of knowledge, he proceeded to say,

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Beauty of Character

Indeed a time has long passed upon the Ummah of Islām when people used to enter the religion of Allāh (i.e. Islām) in crowds and groups on the part of what they saw of the people of the religion (i.e. Muslims) from the completeness of their morals, the beauty of their social graces, and the goodness of their social interaction in all aspects.

I read a statement of the great scholar, ‘Abdul ‘Azeez Ibn Baaz, may Allāh have mercy upon him and give him a place in paradise, in which he swore by Allāh and said:

The Muslims today, rather the entire world, are in more intense need of a clarification of Allāh’s religion (i.e. Islām), a demonstration of its good qualities, and an explanation of its reality. I swear by Allāh, if the people and the world truly knew its reality today, indeed they would have entered it in multitudes, just like they entered it in multitudes after Allāh had granted victory to His Prophet salAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam over Makkah. 1

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