Indeed He is Oft-Forgiving

It is related that a man came to al-Hasan al-Basree, the noble Taabi’ee, and complained to 5 him of poverty. So he said to him, ‘Ask forgiveness of Allaah.’ Another man came to him complaining that he did not have any children. So he said to him, ‘Ask forgiveness of Allaah.’ A third man came to him complaining of the barrenness of his garden. So he said to him, ‘Ask forgiveness of Allaah.’ He then recited to them the saying of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High:

“I said to them, ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, indeed He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance and He will give you increase in wealth and children and bestow on you gardens and rivers.” {Soorah Nuh; 10-12}


“Therefore, He will not abandon us.”

While going through certain tests/trials where one feels like a lone person in a strange land, where even those close to you can do nothing to avail you; where our enemies seem to have the upper hand over the weak and oppressed, in the midst of all this helplesses comes conviction and firmness of a believer. His true reliance on no one but Allaah, trusting not the creation but Him alone.

These beautiful words came to mind: [May Allaah have mercy on the author and may He hasten the release of the translator]

So, I remember Ibrahim, the intimate friend of Allah, as he is surrounded by his people from all sides, accusing him of smashing their gods and using this to frighten him. So, he answers them with the firmness of one who expects the best of his Lord and Guardian, with more firmness than a mountain:

أَتُحَاجُّونِّي فِي اللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَانِ ۚ وَلَا أَخَافُ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ بِهِ إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ رَبِّي شَيْئًا ۗ وَسِعَ رَبِّي كُلَّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا ۗ أَفَلَا تَتَذَكَّرُونَ

وَكَيْفَ أَخَافُ مَا أَشْرَكْتُمْ وَلَا تَخَافُونَ أَنَّكُمْ أَشْرَكْتُم بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ عَلَيْكُمْ سُلْطَانًا ۚ فَأَيُّ الْفَرِيقَيْنِ أَحَقُّ بِالْأَمْنِ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

{“Do you dispute with me concerning Allah while He has guided me, and I fear not those whom you associate with Allah in worship? Nothing can happen to me except when my Lord Wills something. My Lord comprehends in His Knowledge all things. Will you not then remember? And how should I fear those whom you associate in worship with Allah while you fear not that you have joined in worship with Allah things for which He has not sent down to you any authority. So, which of the two groups is more deserving of security? If you only knew.”} [al-An`aam; 80-81]

Which of the two groups is more deserving of security and assuming the best of his guardian – he whose guardian is the Controller of the Heavens and Earth, having in His Hand the entire Universe? Or he whose guardians dispute and are divided partners who cannot harm or benefit themselves or others? The answer comes loud and clear:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُم بِظُلْمٍ أُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمُ الْأَمْنُ وَهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ

{“It is those who believe and do not mix their belief with wrongdoing (polytheism). For them, there is security, and they are the guided.”} [al-An`aam; 82]

So, security and tranquility, which are from the results of expecting the best of Allah, are all from the fruits of Tawhid.
And I then imagine his people while they are carrying him in their arms and throwing him into the middle of the fire, and he does nothing with his firm heart and confidence in his Guardian except to say “Allah is sufficient for me, and He is the best disposer of my affairs.”

I then think of his blessed wife, who he left with their child in a valley without vegetation without even turning to look back while she was calling him: “O Ibrahim! O Ibrahim! Who
did you leave us with in this place?”
She then realizes after her amazement at his continuing to walk away without turning back to look at her, and she says: “Did Allah command you to do this?” He replied: “Yes.” So, she replied, with the best expectation of her Guardian: “Therefore, He will not abandon us.”

So, may Allah bless such a husband and wife!

And I think of the noble group of youths who expected the best of their Guardian and opposed those they were close to and far from in order to please Him. So, they left the closest of people to them in order to flee to their Guardian and away from polytheism and sin, and in order to please Him, they exchanged their comfortable lives for a small cave. So, Allah expanded it for them out of the Mercy that he poured forth on them:

فَأْوُوا إِلَى الْكَهْفِ يَنشُرْ لَكُمْ رَبُّكُم مِّن رَّحْمَتِهِ وَيُهَيِّئْ لَكُم مِّنْ أَمْرِكُم مِّرْفَقًا

{“…Seek refuge in the cave, and your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make for your affair easy for you.”} [al-Kahf; 16]

And I reflect on His Saying: {“…will open a way for you from His Mercy…”}, and I come to know that Allah’s Mercy is so vast that just some of it – an amount known to Allah – was enough to make that cave, this prison, or this cell into a garden from the gardens of Paradise.

And I go back in my memory to the first verse, and I remember how Allah had spread His Mercy to His slaves living in vast land by sending down rain after they had lost all hope, and how He descended His Mercy upon the youths in the harsh, tiny, dark cave, turning it into a vast space. So, I glorify and venerate my Guardian.

Indeed, this is how al-Wali al-Hamid deals with His allies who have the utmost confidence and best expectations of Him, harbor no negative thoughts of Him, believe in His promises
and guarantees, and calm their hearts from panicking such that they are tranquil and trusting in Him.

Source:  Expecting the Best from Allaah.

Lessons from al-Ma`aarij: The Lock & Key

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ خُلِقَ هَلُوعًا

Indeed, mankind was created anxious

إِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ جَزُوعًا

When evil touches him, impatient

وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الْخَيْرُ مَنُوعًا

And when good touches him, withholding of it

إِلَّا الْمُصَلِّينَ

Except the observers of prayer

الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ

Those who are constant in their prayer

1.  هَلُوعًا is from the root: ه ل ع which has several meanings and some of which are: anxious, miserly, someone who loses hope over small matters, fretful, very impatient, etc.

2. جَزُوعًا is from the root: ج ز ع which is similiar to هَلُوعًا in meaning: to become agitated or irritated, to be extremely impatient, to display violent grief and it also means to cut or cut off [Lanes Lexicon].

For instance, in soorah Ibrahim Allaah says:

وَبَرَزُوا لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا فَقَالَ الضُّعَفَاءُ لِلَّذِينَ اسْتَكْبَرُوا إِنَّا كُنَّا لَكُمْ تَبَعًا فَهَلْ أَنتُم مُّغْنُونَ عَنَّا مِنْ عَذَابِ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۚ قَالُوا لَوْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ لَهَدَيْنَاكُمْ ۖ سَوَاءٌ عَلَيْنَا أَجَزِعْنَا أَمْ صَبَرْنَا مَا لَنَا مِن مَّحِيصٍ

“And they will come out [for judgement] before Allaah all together, and the weak will say to those who were arrogant, “Indeed, we were your followers, so can you avail us anything against the punishment of Allaah ?” They will say, “If Allaah had guided us, we would have guided you. It is all the same for us whether we show intolerance or are patient: there is for us no place of escape.”

3. مَنُوعًا is from the root: م ن ع and its meanings are: to withhold, to deny from access, to prevent, to abstain from, etc.

Allaah mentions these 3 sifaat that are innate to human beings and they were placed in our hearts as a trial for us, to see who can overcome these. The beautiful thing is that Allaah mentions right away the solution, the way to overcome these negative characteristics. And that is: salaah. Not just any salaah but the kind that is constant: << الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَلَىٰ صَلَاتِهِمْ دَائِمُونَ >>

دائم: its meanings are: continued, to be prolonged, to extend, to remain or stay longer, to endure. And from amongst its meanings is also moderation.

Ibn Katheer in his tafseer gives 3 explanations for this:

1. It means that they [the performers of salaah] “guard its times and the elements obligatory in it. This was the opinion of Ibn Mas`ood, Masruq and Ibrahim an-Nakha`i.”

2. Second opinion is that “it means tranquility and humble concentration (in the prayer). This is similar to Allaah’s statement,

[قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ – الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِى صَلاَتِهِمْ خَـشِعُونَ ]

‘Successful indeed are the believers. Those who with their Salah are Khashi`un.’


This was said by `Uqbah bin `Amir. From its meanings is the same terminology used to describe standing (still) water (Al-Ma’ Ad-Da’im). This proves the obligation of having tranquility in the prayer. For verily, the one who does not have tranquility (stillness of posture) in his bowing and prostrating, then he is not being constant (Da’im) in his prayer. This is because he is not being still in it and he does not remain (in its positions), rather he pecks in it (quickly) like the pecking of the crow. Therefore, he is not successful in performing his prayer. “

3. Constancy and moderation. Ibn Katheer lastly mentions that “the meaning here refers to those who perform a deed and are constant in its performance and consistent in it. This is like the hadeeth that has been recorded in the Sahih on the authority of `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said,

«أَحَبُّ الْأَعْمَالِ إِلَى اللهِ أَدْوَمُهَا»

“The most beloved deeds to Allaah are those that are most consistent, even if they are few.”

So in essence, Allaah listed the 3 characteristics are inherent to human beings but are present as a trial for us inorder to separate the successful ones from those who aren’t. The successful ones are those who a) guard their salaah, i.e. pray on time; b) who give the salaah its due right by completing all aspects of it for e.g. the qiyaam, the ruku`, the sujood, etc.. making sure that our posture throughout is still, serene and humble. To take our time when we bow down in humility and in praise and lastly; c) to be constant and consistent with our prayers.

Subhan’Allaah, how beautiful is His Kalaam and how soothing it is to the heart! The Qur’aan is truly a vast and deep chest of treasures, the more you dig, the more you come up with. Its like a lock and key. We are given the problems, along with answers so there’s no excuse, no reason to not implement.

Whenever we’re overcome by sadness or hardship, instead of exhibiting impatience and agitation, Allaah gives us the perfect fix: prayer. If you think about it, what does prayer constitute of? Praising Allaah, displaying humility, complete surrender in His Oneness and His Might, fearing Him and His Wrath, yet being hopeful of His Infinite Mercy, reaffirming our belief in Him and His Absolute Power. How can then one feel even the slightest bit of anxiousness or irritation?

Remember the patience of `Urwah?

`Urwah ibn al-Zubayr came to visit the Khalîfah al-Walid ibn `Abdu’l-Malik. With him was his son Muhammad, who was one of the most handsome of men. The young man had dressed up for the occasion in fine clothes, and had his hair in two plaits or braids. When al-Walid saw him, he said, “This is how the young people of Quraysh look!” and by so saying, put the evil eye on him. Before he left, the young man fell ill. When he was in the stable (preparing for the journey) he fell down, and the horses trampled him to death.

Then `Urwah got gangrene in his leg, and al-Walid sent doctors to him, who suggested that the leg should be amputated, otherwise the gangrene would spread to the rest of the body and kill him. `Urwah agreed, and the doctors began to remove his leg, using a saw. When the saw reached the bone, `Urwah fainted, and when he came around, sweat was pouring down his face, and he was repeating, “La ilaaha illAllaah, Allaahu akbar.” When the operation was over, he picked up his leg and kissed it, then said, “I swear by the One Who mounted me on you, I never used to walk to any place of wrong action or to any place where Allaah would not like me to be.” Then he gave instructions that the leg should be washed, perfumed, wrapped in a cloth and buried in the Muslim graveyard.

When `Urwah left al-Walid and returned to Madinah, his family and friends went to meet him at the outskirts of the city and to offer condolences. The only reply he made was to quote from the Qur’an: “…truly we have suffered much fatigue at our journey.” (al-Kahf 18:62). He did not say any more than that. Then he said, “I will not enter Madinah, for people there either rejoice over the afflictions of others, or else feel envy for their blessings.” So he went to stay in a place at al-`Aqiq. `Isa ibn Talhah came to visit him there and said, “May your enemies’ fathers perish!” and asked him, “Show me the affliction for which I have come to console you.” `Urwah uncovered his stump, and `Isa said, “By Allaah, we were not preparing you to wrestle! Allaah has saved most of you: your sanity, your tongue, your eyesight, your two hands, and one of your two legs.” `Urwah told him, “Nobody has consoled me as you have.”

When the doctors came to perform the amputation, they had asked `Urwah whether he would drink intoxicants to ease the pain. He said, “Allaah is testing me to see the extent of my patience. How could I go against His commands?”

Extracted from Patience & Gratitude,
an abridged translation of `Uddat as-sabirin wa dhakhirat ash-shakirin
by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Lessons from al-Ma`aarij: In Pursuit of Love

One of the beauties of the Qur’aan is that you can be reading any ayah, and just by pondering over it you can derive so many lessons from it. Earlier today, I was contemplating over soorat al-Ma`aarij and came over several verses that really stuck with me. In this series insha’Allaah I will go over some lessons I learnt and hope that it benefits those who read it as much as it benefited me, and that it also encourages the reader to pick up their own copy of the Qur’aan, sneak out into some still and quietness and ponder over the magnificence of this Book. I’m not going to follow a specific sequence in terms of listing the lessons, therefore I will not be going in order of the verses of the soorah, rather I will be writing in order of what affected me the most.

Allaah says:

وَلَا يَسْأَلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيماً

يُبَصَّرُونَهُمْ يَوَدُّ الْمُجْرِمُ لَوْ يَفْتَدِي مِنْ عَذَابِ يَوْمِئِذٍ بِبَنِيهِ

وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَأَخِيهِ

وَفَصِيلَتِهِ الَّتِي تُؤْويهِ

وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعاً ثُمَّ يُنجِيهِ

And no friend will ask of a friend. Though they shall be made to see one another – the Mujrim, (criminal, sinner, disbeliever, etc.) would desire to ransom himself from the punishment of that Day by his children. And his wife and his brother. And his kindred who sheltered him. And all that are in the earth, so that it might save him.

[Verses 10-14]

حميم‘ is from the root ح م م which means heat/fever and is also used for passion, or love and affection for a very close and dear friend. حمّةٌ can also be used instead of  حبّةٌ where م is the substitute for ب, for instance in this phrase:  هو من حمّةِ نفسي He is of the beloved of my soul’ [Lane’s Lexicon].

بصّر  means to see something and recognize it. Our state on the Day of Judgment would be such that even the object of our love and passion will ignore us despite recognizing us. That is because of the fear and torment of that Day. Everyone will be preoccupied with their own state, their own deeds.

My Reflections:

– Something that struck me hard was the ephemerality of human love. A mother’s love for her child, a wife’s love for her husband, love of siblings for each other, and the love of best friends for one another, is all transient. Our quest for that eternal love is nothing but phantasm, its futile because it doesn’t exist. There’s only One deity out there Who’s Love is forever enduring, and that is Allaah. The verses above teach us our priority in terms of love and relationships. That the common denominator in love in all relationships is Allaah, i.e. it should be solely for the sake of Allaah, otherwise it will bring us little to no benefit. When we say we love so and so for the sake of Allaah, we are essentially saying that no matter what the circumstance, seeking Allaah’s pleasure and fulfilling His rights over us takes precedence over everything and everyone else.

This leads to a further point of benefit and that is: staying away from the illusion of perfect love. There is no such thing as perfect love, therefore expecting perfection from our parents, spouses and friends is wrong. I want to refer here specifically to love between spouses. As humans, we are born with a certain longing in our hearts that we expect other humans to fulfill. And naturally we try to find that in the opposite gender. When we fail to find that perfection in a mere human, we find ourselves feeling utterly devastated and betrayed. What we don’t realize is that this longing belongs to our Creator, the One who nurtured us. We can only seek perfect happiness and love in Allaah, because expecting this from a human is placing a burden on him/her that they can never bear. Realizing that will help us minimize our expectations from each other and help preserve our relationships. I think it was Shakespeare who said:

“Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;

Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,

And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.

All men makes faults…”

All men make faults, but Allaah is faultless and flawless. He is Perfect, and perfection can only be expected of Him.

To continue..

“Is He not the One Who responds?” Part II

Imaam al-Qurtubi in his tafseer mentions the explanation of الْمُضْطَرَّ as such: “It means to be helpless and restless under some necessity, and that happens when someone does not have any support and friends. Hence, الْمُضْطَرَّ is that person who has lost all hopes from everyone and has turned to Allaah as the sole redresser of his woes.”

In his commentary on this verse, Ibn Katheer mentions a narration about a man of Balhajim said: “O Messenger of Allaah, what are you calling for?” He sallallaahu `alayhi wasallaam said:

أَدْعُو إِلَى اللهِ وَحْدَهُ الَّذِي إِنْ مَسَّكَ ضُرٌّ فَدَعَوْتَهُ كَشَفَ عَنْكَ، وَالَّذِي إِنْ أَضْلَلْتَ بِأَرْضٍ قَفْرٍ فَدَعَوْتَهُ رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ، وَالَّذِي إِنْ أَصَابَتْكَ سَنَةٌ فَدَعَوْتَهُ أَنْبَتَ لَك

“I am calling people to Allaah Alone, the One Who, if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.”

A saheeh hadeeth of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam states: “Three supplications are surely accepted, in which there is no room for doubt. One, from an oppressed person, two, by a traveler and three, from a father against his children.”

Imaam al-Qurtubi comments on this hadeeth saying: In all these three cases the situation is the same as the supplication of a الْمُضْطَرَّ because when an oppressed person calls Allaah after having been frustrated from mundane support and help, his condition is no different than that of a الْمُضْطَرّ. Similarly, a traveler is away from his dear ones, hence helpless while in journey. Likewise, a father cannot plead for something against his children because of his paternal love and affection for them, unless he is totally dejected and heart-broken and calls Allaah to save himself from the misery of sufferings.

“..أَءِلَـهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ قَلِيلاً مَّا تَذَكَّرُونَ..”

“Is there any god with Allaah? Little is that you remember!”

An example of a person with a terminal illness comes to mind. When we are sick, the first thing we do is approach the medicine cabinet, without even giving a thought to the One Who cures everything. We rely on medicine, doctors and compassion from people so much that we miss out on the Compassion of the Most Merciful One. If only we had our priorities right, and if our hearts were in the right place, we would save ourselves alot of heartache.

In the next ayah {v. 63}, Allaah says:

أَمَّن يَهْدِيكُمْ فِى ظُلُمَـتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَمَن يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًاَ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ رَحْمَتِهِ أَءِلَـهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

“Is not He Who guides you in the darkness of the land and the sea, and Who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before His mercy Is there any god with Allah Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!”

There are two lessons we can derive from this ayah:

1. أَمَّن يَهْدِيكُمْ فِى ظُلُمَـتِ الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِAllaah has created the stars as signposts for travelers, so even if they are stranded on a pitch dark night, they are guided with the help of these stars.

2. وَمَن يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًاَ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ رَحْمَتِهِ  – It is from the mercy of Allaah that He sends cool breezes before rain, inorder to reassure those who had been suffering from dought and had thus despaired.

أَءِلَـهٌ مَّعَ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى اللَّهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

Is there any god with Allah Exalted be Allah above all that they associate as partners!

I find the comparison between darkness and rain (mercy), in relation to distress and relief in these two verses simply amazing. Subhaan’Allaah, seasons change, people change, trials come and go, darkness turns into light and through it all, there is only One constant Being. The Only One who is always there.

اللهم رحمتك ارجو فلا تكلني إلى نفسي طرفة عين ، وأصلح لي شأني كله ، لا إله إلا أنت

O Allaah, I hope for Your Mercy. Do not leave me to myself even for the blinking of an eye.
Set right all of my affairs for me. There is no god but You.

The reality of `Uboodiyyah

The truthful and sound heart is that which is secure from every carnal desire that opposes the order and prohibition of Allaah. It is secure from every doubt and uncertainty that would obscure or go against His narrative. It is secure from displaying servitude to any other than Him; just as it is secure from seeking ruling from any other than His Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam. Therefore it becomes sound through loving Allaah and seeking the ruling of His Messenger. It becomes sound through showing Him fear, hope, trust and reliance, penitence, and humility; it prefers what pleases Him in every circumstance and distances itself from everything that would displease Him in every possible way. This is the reality of servitude (`uboodiyyah) which can only be directed to Allaah alone.

[The Key to Paradise, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali]

So turn your face to Allaah.

From Sa`eed ibn Mu’adh, it is narrated that he said: “Never have I prayed a Salah in which I spoke to myself about the affairs of this world, until I left the mosque.”

And it is reported from Abu ad-Darda’ that he said: “My face be covered in dust for my Lord (is most loved by me), — for that is the best kind of worship from Allaah.”

So let none of you fear the dust, nor find it distasteful to make sujood in it, for there is no doubt that every one of you comes from it (i.e. mankind was created from dust). Nor should any of you fear an excess of it, for verily, it is by this means that one attempts to attain freedom from slavery and salvation from the Hell-fire — a fire before which the fixed, lofty mountains which were placed as pegs (holding the earth) could not stand, nor the seven strong heavens, built one above another, which are placed as a well guarded canopy over us, nor the earth, which was placed as a dwelling for us, nor the seven seas, of which none knows their depths or their size except the One Who created them. Then what about us, with our feeble bodies, our delicate bones, our flimsy skin? We seek refuge with Allaah from the Fire!

So should any of you stand in Salah — may Allaah have mercy on you, then let him be as if he sees Allaah before him, for though he may not see Allah, verily, Allaah sees him. It is narrated in a hadith that Allaah’s Messenger advised a man, saying: «Fear Allaah as though you see Him, for verily, though you may not see Him, He sees you.»

This then, is the advice of the Prophet to the slave in all his affairs, so what about when he performs Salah, when he stands before Allaah, in a particular place, a sacred place, desiring Allaah and turning his face towards Him? Does not his standing, his situation in Salah merit the same ihsan as all his affairs?

It says in a hadeeth: «Verily, the slave, when he starts his Salah, should turn his face to Allaah, and he should not turn it away from Him until he leaves or turns to right and left.» [Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Nasa’i]

It is also narrated in a hadeeth: «Verily, the slave, as long as he is in Salah, possesses three qualities. Blessings are showered upon his head from the heavens above, the angels sit around him, from his feet to the heavens and a caller says, “If the slave knew the One Who hears his whispered utterances, he would never leave his Salah.” » [This narration is mentioned by Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Mirwazi in Kitab as-Salah — The Book of Prayer from the hadeeth of Hasan al-Basri in a mursal form.]

Allaah showers His Mercy upon the worshipper who approaches prayer in a state of humility and meekness towards Allaah, in fear and supplicating Him with desire (for His Pleasure) and in hope (of His Mercy), making Salah to his Lord, his most important consideration, dedicating his whispered utterances to Him and his standing erect in worship and his rukoo` and his sujood, poring out his heart and his feelings and struggling to perfect his acts of worship, for he knows not whether he will perform another prayer after it, or he will be overtaken (by death) before he can perform Salah again. He stands before his Lord, earnestly, with deep feelings, hoping for its acceptance and fearing its rejection, for verily, its acceptance is a cause for joy, while its rejection is a cause for misery and wretchedness. Nothing could be more important to you — O’ my brother — in this Salah, or indeed in any of your actions (i.e. that Allaah should accept them). What is more deserving of your distress and misery, your fear — indeed your terror — you know not whether your Salah will find favour with Allaah at all, nor whether any of your good deeds will be accepted. Do you know if your sins will be forgiven at all? After all this, you have no assurance that you will be spared from it (i.e. the punishment of the Hell-fire). So who is more deserving of your tears and sadness (than Allaah) — that He may accept from you (your deeds)?

In addition to this, you know not whether or not you will awaken in the morning, nor if you will still be here in the evening — will you be given the good news of Paradise, or the bad news of the Hell-fire? I only desire to warn you — O’ my brother — of this terrible danger. It is not fitting that you should be happy because of your family, your wealth or your children. It is a most amazing thing that you should continue to be unmindful, chasing after vain desires, wasting your time in disregard of this most important matter, for you are being driven at a fierce pace (towards death) day and night, hour by hour, like the blink of an eye. You should expect — O’ my brother — that your time may come at any moment and do not be unmindful of this great danger which may visit you. Most assuredly, you must (eventually) taste death. Your time may come in the morning or in the evening. You will be separated from all that you possessed — either (to be rewarded with) Paradise or (to be punished in) the Hell-fire. Descriptions and stories of them (have become) superfluous. Have you not heard — O’ my brother the words of the pious slave: “I am amazed concerning the Hell-fire — how does the one who would flee from it sleep? And I am amazed concerning the Jannah — how does the one who desires it sleep? For by Allaah! If you neither desire Paradise, nor fear the Hell-fire, then you are destroyed and grievous will be your sorrow, interminable your sadness and without limit your tears; you will be amongst the wretched, the punished ones. So if you claim that you are amongst those who seek refuge from the Fire and desire Paradise, then strive for that which you seek and do not be misled by your worldly desires.” Know — may Allaah have mercy on you — that Islam is in retreat, knowledge is decreasing, disappearing; it is narrated in a hadeeth from the Prophet that he said: «Islam began with only a few followers, and it will again be as it was when it began.» [Muslim and Tirmidhi]

Taken from رسالة الإمام أحمد بن حنبل في الصلاة

Flames of the heart vs. Flames of Helllfire


This is a story I received through a mailing list. I don’t know how authentic it is, but it has a beautiful moral.


Qari Muhammad Qayyam (may the mercy of Allaah be upon him) related that a great deal of fighting and bloodshed had started prior to the Indo-Pakistan partition of 1947. He said that a very beautiful daughter of a very rich man in a certain community stepped out of her house to visit her aunt, who lived no more than a few streets away. Suddenly a riot erupted as she had gone halfway and she found herself trapped with apparently nowhere to go. She saw a mosque nearby and quickly went inside, sitting in the women’s section. The rioting continued late into the night and this girl did not know what to do.

The custodian of the masjid was a very young student there and late at night when he walked through the masjid before locking up he noticed this beautiful young lady. He was a respectful young man who feared Allah and so politely asked her to leave, saying that if she was found there then both would be dishonored and thrown out. She pleaded with him because of the extreme danger outside and so he agreed that she could spend the night, and sat down to study at the opposite end of the masjid.

The girl was unable to sleep with the events of the day in her mind and so watched the young man sitting studying by candle light at the opposite end of the masjid. She kept watching him and was very surprised at something she saw. From time to time this young man would extend his hand and keep it over the open flame, only withdrawing it when the flame obviously became unbearable. He then would resume his studies and continued this throughout the night until the dawn broke.

The young man called the adhan and asked the girl to leave before the congregation started coming to pray since now everything was calm outside. She agreed on the condition that he tell her why he was placing his hand on the candle flame throughout the night. The young man said that that was his own business and so the girl refused to leave until he told her what she wanted to know. The young man gave in and said, “I am at the age of youth and strong desire. We were alone and my desire was increasing, and although I was studying the shaytan would occasionally put temptation in my heart. Hence whenever I would feel any temptation I would put my hand on the flame and my fingers would burn. I would say to myself that this flame is nothing compared to the fire of Hell.”

The girl left the masjid and reached home, calming her parents’ fears as to what had happened to her. She also confided in her mother that she wanted to marry the custodian of the mosque near their house. She related the night’s events to her parents and said that only such a man with true fear of Allah in his heart can be true to his wife. Only such a man who truly fears Allah can fulfill a wife’s rights properly.

Hence the poor custodian of the mosque earned the daughter of a rich household in marriage. He received this honor not because of his looks but because of his character. Everything disintegrates and turns to dust but character remains strong. Honor is not bestowed because of handsome clothes or beautiful jewelry but because of what is in the heart. Knowledge is only beneficial when it is captured within the heart, and not merely written in books.