Striving against oneself

Fadalah ibn Ubaid reported: I heard the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم saying:

The one who strives in the way of Allah the Exalted is he who strives against his soul.” {Saheeh At-Tirmidhi: 1621. Graded Saheeh by Sheikh Al-Albaani}

In explanation of this Hadeeth, Al-Mubarakpuri رحمه الله said:

“This means he conquers evil inclinations within himself and performs acts of obedience pleasing to Allah and he avoids acts of disobedience. This jihad is the foundation for all other types of jihad, for indeed, if he does not perform this struggle then he cannot struggle against external enemies.” {Sharh Sunan At-Tirmidhi: 1621}

Striving against the evil of oneself is no easy task. If we were to occupy ourselves with just conquering these evil inclinations and performing acts of obedience and distancing ourselves from acts of disobedience, indeed we would be firm enough to stand against any external enemies. As it stands we are so preoccupied with the dunya, satisfying our desires and focusing on the external that we neglect what is truly needed for our self and this in turn leads to the death of the heart as Ibn Al Qayyim رحمه الله states:

“The death of the heart is caused by the lack of reckoning oneself and following one’s desire.” {Al-Igaathah: Vol.1 Page: 157}

We know that if we do not rectify our selves that we will not gain the Aid of Allaah, yet in reality our actions do not reflect a true understanding of this fact.

“That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” {Surat Al-Anfaal 8:53}

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When we rectify the deficiencies within ourselves, the effect reaches those around us; when we stop looking externally to make sense of the condition of the Ummah and instead look inside ourselves we will gain the good required to rectify the Ummah.

“To think of one’s deficiencies is the key to all the good. It disciplines the soul so that it can live harmoniously.” {Ibn Al-Qayyim. Al-Jawabul Kafi: 182}

The root of all good is At-Tawheed and the root of all evil is Shirk. It is therefore imperative that the ‘Aqeedah be rectified in order that the deeds are correct. Performing actions in abundance while one believes that Allaah is in everything, like some Sufis, or that He is nowhere, like the Asha’ira, makes these actions null and void. Allaah has stated numerous times in the Qur’an that He is above His Throne which is above the skies.

“The Most Beneficent (Allah) Istawa (rose over) the (Mighty) Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty).” {Surat Taha: 5}

It is only when tawheed is established that we can expect to reap its fruits. Once it is firm in our hearts, the limbs will perform actions in accordance. The Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“Beware! There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” {Saheeh Al-Bukhari: 52}

The Muslim, the true believer rectifies his heart first so that the actions of his limbs are accepted. In the well known hadeeth, A’ishah رضي الله عنها narrates:

“I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, ‘And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear.” [23:60] Is this the one who commits adultery, steals and drinks alcohol?’ He said: ‘No, O daughter of Abu Bakr’ – O daughter of Siddiq – rather it is a man who fasts and gives charity and prays, but he fears that those will not be accepted from him.’”

 This is the state of those who realise the gravity of their deeds and how important it is that they are accepted from him. The righteous one performs good while fearing that it will not be accepted, yet the corrupt one commits evil while hoping he will not be recompensed for it. This is why striving with heart and limb against the evil of one’s desire is such a great task and one that should not be taken to lightly. It is as Sheikh Al Mubarakpuri so beautifully states “…if he does not perform this struggle then he can not struggle against external enemies” (quote above)
الحمد لله رب العالمين
We ask Allaah for sincere deeds, done purely for His sake, that are accepted and for the strength and diligence required to constantly struggle against our own evils and the evils that the Shayateen present to us. May the peace and salutation be upon the Final Messenger, his companions and his family.

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Establish Tawheed and we will overcome our oppressors….

“The entire Qur’aan is centered around Tawheed”

Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdillaah Al-Fawzaan

From his book Duroos min Al-Qur’aan Al-Kareem (p.5-11)

In the Name of Allaah, the All-Merciful, may His Salaah and Salaam be upon His final Messenger, to proceed…

Someone may say, and it actually has been said, “What is it with you that you always focus on tawheed and you talk so much about it?! And you don’t take into consideration the condition of the Muslims in our day and time, those who are being killed and caused to flee all over the earth, those being persecuted by the empires of disbelief in every place?!”

So we say, and with Allaah lies success:

Tawheed is the foundation upon which this upright religion has been built, so focusing on it means to focus on the very core itself. For if we were to reflect over the Noble Qur’aan we would find that it expounds on issues of tawheed repetitively, so much so that there does not exist a single soorah in the Qur’aan that does not mention tawheed, clarifying it and prohibiting what opposes it. It was Al-Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim who pointed out that the entire Qur’aan is about tawheed, since it is only made up of the following:

* Information about Allaah and His Names and Attributes – This is the tawheed that we are to have knowledge of, called tawheed ar-ruboobiyyah.

* Commands to worship Allaah alone with no partners and prohibitions of worshipping other than Him – This is the tawheed that we must put into action, called tawheed al-uloohiyyah.

* Commands to obey Allaah and His Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and prohibitions of disobeying Allaah and His Messenger (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) – These are the ways that tawheed is actualized and completed.

* Information about what Allaah has prepared for the people of tawheed, the delights, success, salvation, and triumphs in this life and the Next, and the punishments that are in store for the people of shirk in this life, and the eternal torture prepared for them upon their one-way entrance into the Hellfire – The first is for those who actualize tawheed, the latter is for those who do not. [1]

Therefore the entire Qur’aan is centered around tawheed. If you were to think about the soorahs revealed in Makkah, you would find that most of them focus entirely on tawheed. That is because the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) stayed in Makkah for 13 years calling to tawheed and warning against shirk. The vast majority of the religious obligations like zakaah, fasting, Hajj, the affairs of halaal and haraam, business transactions, etc. were not revealed until after the Hijrah to Al-Madeenah. The legislation of the prayer is an exception to this, as it was made an obligation while the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was still in Makkah on the Night of Al-Mi’raaj, when he (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) was taken by night (to Jerusalem) [2], but that was only a short time before the Hijrah.

So the majority of the soorahs revealed before the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) made hijrah were focused entirely on tawheed, thus showing how truly important the subject is. Furthermore, the religious obligations were not revealed until tawheed was presented and established within the souls of the people, and the proper ‘aqeedah had taken root. For verily actions can not be correct except with tawheed, nor can they have other than tawheed as their foundation.

The Qur’aan has illustrated that the Messengers (‘alayhim As-Salaatu was-Salaam) all began their missions by inviting the people to tawheed before anything else, as Allaah says [3]:

”And We sent a messenger to every nation (proclaiming): ‘Worship Allaah and shun false deities!”

Allaah also says [4]:

”And We never sent any messenger before you, except that we revealed to him that ‘There is no deity worthy of worship except Me, so worship Me!”

And every prophet used to say to his people [5]:

”O my people – Worship Allaah as you have no other deity worthy of worship!”

So this was the affair of the messengers – they began with tawheed.

Similarly the callers and revivalists who followed the messengers used to begin by focusing on tawheed. That is because every single da’wah that is not built upon tawheed is a fruitless call that does not fulfill its purpose, and there is no positive result to it. Every da’wah that does not focus on tawheed is a lost call, with regards to its end results. This is something well known and seen all over.

On the other hand, every da’wah centered around tawheed is a truly successful call, by Allaah’s Permission, a call that benefits the society and bears many fruits. History bears witness to this.

So we are not neglecting the issues of the Muslims, rather we are very concerned about them. We are assisting them and trying to prevent every harm from reaching them using all our resources. It is not something light on us that the Muslims are being killed and exiled, but it is not true concern for the situation of the Muslims that we force ourselves to shed tears insincerely, or that we fill the world with speeches and writings, screaming and wailing… for verily this does not accomplish a thing.

Finding the real solution to the Muslims’ problems requires us to seek out the reasons that have led to the punishments afflicting the Muslims at the hands of their enemies.

What is causing the enemies of the Muslims to gain and hold authority over them?

When we look to the Muslim world, we do not see any serious commitment to Islaam with most of those who ascribe to it, except the few that Allaah has had Mercy on. What we see are Muslims by name only, the ‘aqeedah of most of them is lost. They worship other than Allaah, calling on saints and righteous people, clinging to graves and tombs, not establishing the prayer, not paying zakaah, not fasting, etc. They are not fulfilling the basic obligations Allaah asked of them, they are not even gathering their strength or preparing physically to fight the disbelievers! This is the case with the majority of those who ascribe themselves to Islaam – they have lost their religion, so Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, caused them to be lost.

The most significant factor that has led them to be subjected to these punishments is their heedlessness regarding affairs of tawheed and their falling into major shirk, to the point that they do not prohibit each other from it, nor do they even show any contempt for it! Those who do not fall into it themselves still condone it or do not consider it shirk. An explanation of this is forthcoming, in shaa’ Allaah. So know that this is the primary reason that the Muslims have been subjected to such punishments.

If they were to hold firmly to their religion, actualizing tawheed and establishing their ‘aqeedah upon the Book and the Sunnah, holding together to the Rope of Allaah, shunning division, then verily what has been allowed to befall them will not be allowed to befall them anymore, as Allaah says [6]:

”And verily Allaah will make those who aid His Cause victorious, for verily He is All-Powerful and Mighty. (They are) those who, when given power in the land, establish the prayer, pay zakaah, command what is good, and forbid what is evil, and with Allaah is the end result of all affairs.”

So Allaah has made it clear that victory will not be given to the Muslims unless they focus on what He mentioned – establishing the prayer, paying zakaah, commanding what is good, and forbidding what is evil.

Where are these affairs with the Muslims and their current situations today? Where is the establishment of the prayer by most of the Muslims? Or even more importantly, where is the correct ‘aqeedah for most of those who claim Islaam as their religion?!

Allaah says [7]:

”Allaah has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will cause them to rule the earth just as He caused those who came before them to rule it, and He will grant them the ability to practice their religion, the one He chose for them, and He will change their fears into safety… ”

But where is the very first condition for this promise? [7]

” …they worship Me without ascribing a single partner to Me”

So He clarified that this gaining of authority and fortification will only come to pass when this condition is fulfilled – that they worship Him alone without any partners, and this is the essence of tawheed. These generously promised things will not be granted except to those who understand and apply tawheed, worshipping Allaah alone with no partners, with acts of worship including prayer, zakaah, Hajj, and all other acts of obedience.

Note that Allaah, Glorified and Exalted, did not say, “They worship Me,” only, rather He followed that up with His Statement [7]:

”…without ascribing a single partner to Me”

That is because worship is of no benefit with the presence of shirk. All forms of shirk must be avoided, no matter what shape, form, or name. Shirk simply means to perform an act of worship for other than Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

This is what brings about true salvation, safety, victory, and strength in the land – correcting the ‘aqeedah and then correcting the deeds. Without this, disasters and punishments will continue to befall whoever does not completely fulfill the condition (for Allaah’s Aid). Being conquered by the enemies is only the result of the Muslims not fulfilling this necessary condition, their lack of proper concern for their ‘aqeedah and Religion, and their contentment with carrying Muslim names and nothing more.

FOOTNOTES

[1] see Madaarijus-Saalikeen (3/468) for details

[2] as found in the mutawaatir narrations of (Al-Mi’raaj) the Night Journey, see the aahaad narration of Anas found in Al-Bukhaaree’s Chapter of Tawheed (Chapter 37, Hadeeth #7517) [13/583] and Muslim’s Chapter of Eemaan (Chapter 74, Hadeeth #162)

[3] the meaning of Soorah An-Nahl (16):36

[4] the meaning of Soorah Al-Anbiyaa’ (21):25

[5] the meaning of Soorah Al-A’raaf (7):95

[6] the meaning of Soorah Al-Hajj (22):41

[7] the meaning of Soorah An-Noor (24):55

Source

Beautiful Explanation of the Opening Supplication in Salah (Prayer)

After this, there occurs the opening supplication, which is optional, and states: “Subhaanak Allaahumma wa bia Hamdika. Wa Tabaarakasmuka wa Ta’aala Jadduka. Wa Laa ilaaha Ghayruka.” [Free from imperfections are You, O Allaah, and all praise is Yours. Blessed is Your Name, Glorified be Your Greatness, and there is no deity worthy of worship besides You]

The meaning of “Subhaanak Allaahumma” is: I absolve You from all imperfections in a manner that befits Your majesty. “Wa bi-Hamdika” i.e. while praising You. “Wa Tabaarakasmuka” i.e. blessing can be attained by mentioning You. “Wa Ta’aala Jadduka” i.e. Glorified be Your Greatness. “Wa Laa Ilaaha Ghayruka” i.e. There is nothing that has the right to be worshipped on earth or in heaven except You, O Allaah.

~ the explanation ~

The author, may Allaah have mercy on him, states here that the opening supplication is a recommended act. It is neither a pillar nor a recommended act. Rather it is supererogatory. He then went on to choose one version of the opening supplication, which is the shortest, amplest, and most comprehensive of these supplications from the perspective of praise, veneration and glorification of Allaah. And it is:“Subhaanak Allaahumma wa hi Hamdika. Wa Tabaarakasmuka wa Ta’aala Jadduka. Wa Laa Ilaaha Ghayruka.”

The great scholar Ibn Al-Qayyim listed a number of opening supplications in his book Zaad al-Ma’aad. But he preferred this supplication over the numerous other ones of this nature, some of which are longer. This is due to the fact that this concise supplication contains such praise, veneration and glorification for Allaah the likes of which cannot be found in other supplications. Other supplications consist more of requests and invocations whereas this one consists of (purely) glorification, honoring and exaltation (of Allaah).

The author then takes it upon himself to explain this supplication as well as what comes after it. The meaning of: “Subhaanak Allaahumma” is: “I absolve You, O Lord, in a manner that befits You, from all imperfections.”  This is an absolving that befits His majesty, and it is derived from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah.

The people are divided in their definitions of absolving Allaah from imperfections. Some people have defined it as negating Allaah’s Attributes, which is why the Jahmiyyah and Mu’tazilah have negated all of Allaah’s Attributes, claiming that they are removing imperfections from Allaah. The reason for this (according to them) is because if one affirms Attributes for Allaah, this leads to likening Allaah to His creation. So, according to them, freeing Allaah from imperfections can only be achieved by negating His Attributes.

The Ashaa’irah and the Matooridiyyah did the same with respect to the textual Attributes. The textual Attributes are those attributes for which the intellect plays no part in affirming. They are only affirmed by way of narrations and textual proofs. According to the understanding of the Ashaa’irah, affirming these attributes literally goes against removing imperfections from Allaah. So as a result they resorted to taweel (misinterpretation). They did not negate the Attributes as others did. Rather, they claimed that what was literally stated in these texts was not what Allaah intended. So therefore, interpreting them them with other than their literal meanings is binding based on the claim of removing imperfections from Allah.

You will notice that everyone who negates or distorts the meaning of Allaah’s Attributes claims to be removing imperfections from Allaah by what they do. When the first group negated Allaah’s Attributes, they did not intend disrespect for Allaah. Rather, according to their claim, they only intended to remove imperfections from Him. But where is this removal of imperfections? They went astray in this regard. Why did they go astray? Because they looked for guidance in other than Allaah’s Book. Whoever searches for guidance in other than the Book of Allaah and in other than what the Messenger brought, will no doubt go astrayThis is a principle. Whoever looks for guidance and truth in other than what the Messenger of Allaah came with will be misguided as recompense for turning away (from the Qur’aan and the Sunnah). This is since guidance, correctness and truth is restricted to only that which the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) brought.

If we want to know the true manner of removing Allaah, from imperfections in a manner that befits His majesty, we should read Allaah’s statement: “There is nothing like Him (in comparison), and He is the All Hearer, the All-Seer.” [Surah Ash-Shooraa: 11]

Is there a greater example of removing imperfections from Allaah than this? Allaah affirms Attributes for Himself but negates any comparisons in those Attributes that He has affirmed. This is what is meant by tanzeeh (removing imperfections from Allaah). It is that you affirm for Him what He has affirmed for Himself from complete Attributes, perfect Names and flawless Actions.

Affirm for Him what He has affirmed for Himself. Then negate any comparisons to what He has affirmed (for Himself) since no one can desribe Allaah who is more knowledgeable than Him. Also affirm for what His trusted Messenger has described Him with and negate my comparisons to what he (peace be upon him) has affirmed, since no one can describe Allaah from His creation who is more knowledgeable than Allaah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).

This is how Allaah has guided the people of truth and the callers to truth. So they know how to remove imperfections from Allaah without negating His Attributes, distorting their meaning, making comparisons to them or likening them to His creation. This is the point the author is trying to make when he says: “I absolve You from alt imperfections, my Lord, in a manner that befits You.” This is the type of removing of imperfections from Allaah that befits His majesty, which has been derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

“Wa bi-Hamdika” means: “while praising You.” So this consists of removing imperfections from Allaah while at the same time praising Him. But on the other hand, if you have negated Allaah’s Perfect Attributes, how can you then praise Him?! If you have negated the Attribute of Mercy from Allaah, how can you praise Him? You say that it is impossible for Allaah to have Mercy and that Love is something impossible for Allaah. He is neither loved nor does He love. How then can you praise him when you negate Mercy from Him?

You heard previously the qudsee hadeeth about Al-Faatihah in which it is stated: “And when the servant says: Ar-Rahmaan-ir-Raheem‘, Allaah says: ‘My servant has extolled Me.” As for the one who negates the Attribute of Mercy from Allaah, it is not possible for Him to praise Allaah, since praising Allaah can only be achieved through His exemplary Names, Attributes, and Actions.

“Wa Tabaarakusmuka” means: Blessing is achieved by mentioning You. Your Name is removed from any imperfections and blessing is achieved through mention of Your Name. This is how the author (Muhammad bin Abdil-Wahhaab) has explained it.

“Wa Ta’aala jadduka” means: Glorified be Your greatness grandness. The word “jadd” here takes on the meaning of grandness and self sufficiency. So it means: “Glorified be Your Grandness and self-sufficiency.”

This means that: “No one on earth or in heaven is worshipped with due right except for You, O Allaah.” The phrase “with due right” must be mentioned when explaining the meaning of “Laa Ilaaha illaaAllaah. You must include “due right” or “rightfully” or else the meaning will be wrong. If you were to say: “There is no one worshipped in the heavens or on the earth except for You” we would be contradicting reality since those who are worshipped are many. But the one who is worshipped after all others have been negated is the One who is worshipped in truth or with “due right.”

There is no one worshipped on earth or in heaven with due right except for You. As for those who are worshipped in the heavens and the earth, the worship of them is futile and invalid. The sun and the moon are worshipped but worshiping them is invalid. Trees are worshipped. Many of the large trees with many branches (known as dawhaat) are still worshipped today. This goes also for stones, tombs and shrines. The worship of these things is futile.

This also applies to the worship of Jinn and the worship of graves. Every time something is worshipped, it becomes known as a “god” according to the language. It is not called Allaah, but rather a “false” god. The term “god” is general and encompasses the One who is worshipped with due right as well as those that are worshipped wrongfully. The word “Allaah” is specifically reserved for the One who is worshipped with due right – the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Them is no one worshipped in the heavens or the earth (with due right)except for you, O Allaah.

Taken from the Book “An Explanation of ‘The Conditions, Pillars and Requirements of Prayer” Published by al-ibaanah – Explained by Shaykh Muhammad Amaan al Jaami (rahimahullaah) and Shaykh Abdul Muhsin al-Abbaad (hafidhahullaah). You are encouraged to buy this Beautiful Book.

Source: Salaf-us-Saalih

Where is your submission?

Sheikh Ibn Uthaimeen (رحمه الله) said:

O Muslims! How do you lose the Prayer (by neglecting it and praying out of its time) while it is the connection between you and your Lord? If you don’t have this connection between you and your Lord, then where is the Ubudiyyah (slavery and servitude), and the love for Allaah and the submission to him?

Source

“My Lord! Send me back!”

Allaah, the Most High, said:
“Until, when death comes to one of them (those who join partners with Allah), he says: ‘My Lord! Send me back,
So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No! It is but a word that he speaks, and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.” [Surat Al Mu’minoon: 99-100]

Following is an extract of the Tafsir (exegesis) of Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله):

The Disbelievers’ hope when death approaches. Allaah tells us about what happens when death approaches.

(‘My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!’ No!) This is like the ayah:

(And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth , and be among the righteous [i.e. perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)].

And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) [Surat Al-Munafiqoon: 10-11]

And:

(And warn (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them; then the wrong-doers will say: “Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your Call and follow the Messengers!” (It will be said): “Had you not sworn aforetime that you would not leave (the world for the Hereafter).) [Surat Ibraheem: 44]

And His saying:

(Await they just for the final fulfillment of the event? On the Day the event is finally fulfilled (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), those who neglected it before will say: “Verily, the Messengers of our Lord did come with the truth, now are there any intercessors for us that they might intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back (to the first life of the world) so that we might do (good) deeds other than those (evil) deeds which we used to do?” Verily, they have lost their ownselves (i.e. destroyed themselves) and that which they used to fabricate (invoking and worshipping others besides Allah) has gone away from them.) [Surat Al-A’raf:53]

And:

(And if you only could see when the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back (to the world), we will do righteous good deeds. Verily! We now believe with certainty.”) [Surat As-Sajda: 12]

And:

(If you could but see when they will be held over the (Hell) Fire! They will say: “Would that we were but sent back (to the world)! Then we would not deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, revelations, etc.) of our Lord, and we would be of the believers!”

Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 27-28]

And:

(And whomsoever Allah sends astray, for him there is no Wali (protector) after Him. And you will see the Zalimun (polytheists, wrong-doers, oppressors, etc.) when they behold the torment, they will say: “Is there any way of return (to the world)?”) [Surat Ah-Shura: 44]

And:

(They will say: “Our Lord! You have made us to die twice (i.e. we were dead in the loins of our fathers and dead after our deaths in this world), and You have given us life twice (i.e. life when we were born and life when we are Resurrected)! Now we confess our sins, then is there any way to get out (of the Fire)?”) [Surat Ghafir: 11]

And:

(Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.” (Allah will reply): “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, – could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) there is no helper.”) [Surat Fatir: 37]

Allah says that they will ask to go back, when death approaches, on the Day of Resurrection, when they are gathered for judgement before the Compeller (Allah) and when they are in the agonies of the punishment of Hell, but their prayer will not be answered. Here Allah says:

(No! It is but a word that he speaks)The word Kalla (No!) is a word that is used to rebuke, and the meaning is: “No, We will not respond to what he asks for and We will not accept it from him.”

(It is but a word that he speaks) refers to his asking to go back so that he can do righteous deeds; this is just talk on his part, it would not be accompanied by any action. If he were to go back, he would not do any righteous good deeds, he is merely lying, as Allah says:

(Nay, it has become manifest to them what they had been concealing before. But if they were returned (to the world), they would certainly revert to that which they were forbidden. And indeed they are liars.) [Surat Al-An’aam: 28]

Qatadah said: “By Allah, he will not wish to go back to his family and tribe, or to accumulate more of the things of this world or satisfy his desires, but he will wish that he could go back to do acts of obedience to Allah. May Allah have mercy on a man who does that which the disbeliever will wish he had done when he sees the punishment of Hell.”

The Four Imams and atheism

Ar-Rasheed asked al-Imaam Malik – may Allah have mercy upon him – about atheism. He responded by citing the different languages, sounds and tones as evidence [to the presence of the Creator]

It was narrated that Abu Haneefah was asked about the presence of the Creator by some hypocrites. He responded:

“Give me a minute, I am thinking about something that I was informed about; I was told about an illustrious ship in the seas – full of all kinds of merchandise. There is no one to guard it or sail it. However, it goes and comes, sails all by itself. It captains itself through huge waves safely navigating through them, it sails where it wishes, without anyone to sail it…”

They said:

“No sane person would say this!”

He responded:

“Woe to you! And all this creation, inclusive of the heavens, and the earth with all that is within it, does not have a creator?!”

So their argument was debased, they accepted the truth and embraced Islam under his hands.

When Al Shaafi’ee – may Allah have mercy upon him – was asked about the presence of the Creator, he responded:

“This leaf of a grape vine…it is of one substance…but worms eat it and produce the finest silk , bees eat it and produce honey, sheep and cattle eat it and produce manure, lizards eat it and produce musk…all that, and it is only one thing.”

Al-Imaam Ahmad was also asked about this, he responded:

“A secure and smooth enclosure with no point of entry or exit. Its exterior is as white silver and its interior is as pure gold. It remains dormant for some time, until suddenly, its walls crack, and from it emerges a beautiful creature that can see, hear and produce pleasant sounds.”

He meant the egg which hatches a chick!

Source

Az-Zuhd

Al-Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal said:

Az-Zuhd is of three types:

The first: abandoning that which is haraam (forbidden) – and it is the zuhd of the general folk.

The second: abandoning the excesses of that which is halaal (lawful) – and it is the zuhd of the people of distinction.

The third: abandoning that which busies one from Allaah – and it is the zuhd of the acquainted ones.

Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
Jaami’ al-aadaab vol 1 page 372-373
Translated by Aboo Haatim Muhammad Farooq

[Note: Az-Zuhd means Asceticism. However this is not the asceticism that is commonly attributes to the sect of the Sufis. Rather it is a practise by the most righteous of people and it is to renounce worldly pleasures in order to get closer to Allaah. It should not be understood that Az-Zuhd means to sell all worldly materials and then beg to the people as this is not an act of those who fear Allaah, but an act of the ignorant.]