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.

A blessing/calamity

A slave that is blessed with knowledge is indeed experiencing a great blessing. Allaah said:

“It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.” [Surat Al-Faatir: 28]

“…Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” [Surat Al-Mujadilah: 11]

This is the slave who has been given beneficial knowledge, which is knowledge that manifests in to good actions.

On the authority of Zaid ibn al Arqam that the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) used to say:

“O Allaah, I seek refuge from knowledge that is not beneficial, a heart that does not fear, a self that is not satisfied and supplications that are not answered” [Sahih Muslim, At-tirmidhi and An-Nasaa’i]

Knowledge (religious), however, can be a calamity, a disease and a reason for punishment if the slave commits either of the following:

1-      Concealing the knowledge he has. Allaah said:

“Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.” [Surat Al-Baqarah: 159]

2-      Not acting upon the knowledge. Allaah said:

“Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?” [Surat Al-Baqarah: 44]

The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“The two feet of the slave will not move, until he is asked about his life and how he spent it, his knowledge and what he did with it, his wealth; how he earned it and spent it, and his body and how he used it.” [Narrated by Abi Burza Al-Aslami in At-Tirmidhi- Saheeh]

We learn from this hadith that we will be asked about what we did with our knowledge. It becomes imperative, therefore that those who have knowledge teach it, and act upon it, so they are not punished for this knowledge that they possess.

The Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“The similitude of the one who teaches the people good, while forgetting himself in like that of a lamp (i.e. a candle); it gives light to the people and burns itself” [Narrated by Jundub ibn Abdillah in At-Tabarani- Saheeh]

Ibn Al-Qayyim described the one who has knowledge, and conveys it to the people but does not do it. He said (رحمه الله):

“Corrupt scholars sit in front of the door to Paradise calling people to it through some words, while they are doing deeds that lead to the hellfire. Whenever their words call people to Paradise, their deeds do not conform to their words. If such words were true they would have been followed by them. They seem to be leaders while they are really highwaymen.” [Al-Fawaa’id]

There is a severe punishment for the one that commands the people to good while he does not do it and forbids the evil while he indulges in it as the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“A man will be brought and put in Hell, and he will go around and around in Hell like a donkey of a (flour) grinding mill. All the people of Hell will gather around him and say: ‘O So-and-So! Didn’t you use to order other to good and forbid them from evil?’ That man will say: ‘I used to order others to do good but I myself never used to do it, and I used to forbid others from evil while I myself used to do it.’”  [Agreed upon]

This person’s punishment is severe showing how great it is to not act on what you preach.  Another example of the consequences of not acting on one’s knowledge is seen in the hadith of Anas (رضي الله عنه) where the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“I saw on the night of Israa, people with their lips being pinched with tools of fire. I said: ‘O Jibreel, who are they?’ He (Jibreel) said: ‘These are the khutabaa’ (preachers) of this Nation; those that say what they don’t do” [Narrated in Ibn Hibban, authenticated by Sheikh Al-Albani]

As we can see therefore, the responsibility that comes with knowledge is of two types:

1-      To work according to knowledge earned and this is for one’s own self

2-      Not to conceal one’s knowledge, because the people of this time are very much in need of it, and spreading knowledge benefits one’s own self as well as others.

It should be known that this knowledge is very valuable and whoever possesses it has been given, by Allaah, something that can either raise his rank to a superior level or it can be a calamity for him and destroy him such that he is thrown in to the pits of the Hellfire.

May Allaah help us to act on our knowledge and to teach it and may He protect us from the punishment of not doing so. May the Salaah and the Salaam of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his family, and his companions. 

Source: Muwahidoon

The Men of Knowledge

Al Baaji reported that Imam Malik (رحمه الله) said:

Indeed the people are four types in terms of their knowledge

A man who learnt knowledge, so he acted by it and taught it. His similitude in the Book of Allaah, the Most High is:

 إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّـهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ – “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah.” 35:28

A man who learnt knowledge, so he acted by it but did not teach it. His similitude in the Book of Allaah, the Most High is:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَا أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَالْهُدَىٰ مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّاهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ ۙ أُولَـٰئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّـهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّاعِنُونَ – “Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allaah and cursed by the cursers.”

A man who learnt knowledge, taught it and commanded it, but did not act by it. His similitude is the Book of Allaah, the Most High is:

 أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنسَوْنَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ – “Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense?” 2:44

A man, who neither learnt knowledge, nor acted by it. His similitude in the Book of Allaah, the Most High is:

 إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ ۖبَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا -“They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (i.e. even worst than cattle).” 25:44

Source

A Way Out

basmalah

Allaah, the Most High, said:

“…And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allaah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allaah will accomplish His purpose. Allaah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” [Surat at-Talaq: 2-3]

When we face difficulty or oppression, our refuge should always be Allaah. None but He who can change our situation, comfort our hearts and give us the patience and wisdom we need to deal with these difficulties as they come. Ibn al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said:

“Resort to no one but your Lord, for resorting to others is a disgrace.”

How unfortunate it is then to see that the slave will disgrace himself by seeking comfort and ease from people instead of his Lord. He knows that they can not change his situation but still humiliates himself before them. Were he to fear Allaah and resort only to Him, his heart would have been put right and his status would have been raised.

Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله) said about the ayah above:

“…whoever has Taqwa of Allaah in what He has commanded and avoids what He has forbidden, then Allah will make a way out for him from every difficulty and will provide for him from resources he never anticipated or thought about.”

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that `Abdullah bin Mas`ud said:

The greatest Ayah in the Qur’aan that contains relief is: “And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).”

`Abdullah bin Mas`ud and Masruq commented on the Ayah, saying:

“It pertains to when one knows that if Allah wills He gives, and if He wills He deprives, “from where he never could imagine.” from resources he did not anticipate”

And Qatadah said about the way out referred to in this ayah:

“Meaning, from every doubt and the horrors experienced at the time of death, “And He will provide him from where he never could imagine” from where he never thought of or anticipated.”

Allaah said:

“And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that he rode the Prophet’s camel while sitting behind the Prophet , and the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said to him:

“O boy! I will teach you words.Be mindful of Allaah and He will protect you, be mindful of Allaah and He will be on your side. If you ask, ask Allaah, and if you seek help, seek it from Allaah. Know that if the Ummah (the nation) gather their strength to bring you benefit, they will never bring you benefit, except that which Allaah has decreed for you. Know that if they gather their strength to harm you, they will never harm you, except with that which Allaah has decreed against you. The pens have been raised and the pages are dry.” [Also narrated by At-Tirmidhi who said it is Hasan]

How excellent is the advice of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم)! Were we to fully understand and act according to this, never would we despair, or feel alone. We would be patient; hoping and anticipating from Allaah the reward for doing so and realising that what is to be decreed has been decreed, and Allaah, the Most High is the Best disposer of Affairs. “The pens have been raised and the pages are dry” so why would be be hasty when we know that Allaah said:

“So be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqun (the righteous)” [Surat Hud: 49]

May Allaah grant us true tawakkul (reliance) upon Him and may His words be a source of our ease and comfort. May His Salaah and Salaam be upon the Final Messenger, his family, his companions, and all those that follow them in righteousness till the Day of Resurrection.

The types of people

Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (رحمه الله) said:

People are of three kinds:

1) Those who acknowledge and follow the truth – these are the people of wisdom.

2) Those who acknowledge the truth but do not apply it – these people need to be admonished in to applying it.

3) Those who do not acknowledge the truth- these people need to be argues in a way that is better. Because argument often leads to anger, it must be resorted to in a way that is better, just as one resorts to the best [strategy and way] when one is defending himself from an attacker.

[Majmoo’at Al-Fataawa- 2/45]

Note: The Sheikh is referring to the ayah in the Book of Allaah:

“Invite (mankind O Muhammad صلى الله عاليه و سلم) to the way of your Lord (i.e Islam) with wisdom (i.e with Divine inspiration and the Qur’aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Surat An-Nahl: 125]

From whom does knowledge come

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Mas’ūd – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

The people will remain upon goodness as long as knowledge comes to them from the Companions of Allāh’s Messenger – Allāh’s praise and peace be upon him, and from their seniors. But when knowledge comes to them from their minors, that is when they will be destroyed.

Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-’Ilm wa Fadlihi article 1060.

Note
Being upon a good and right path is based on following the knowledge of the Companions and seniors: scholars and people who adhere to the Sunnah, whereas taking knowledge from minors like ignorants and heretics is a sign of destruction.

Source

Stories of the past

Allaah (سبحانه و تعالى) said:

” Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding. It (the Qur’aan) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of that which was before it and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a mercy for the people who believe.” [Surat Yusuf: 111]

Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله), the great mufassir, said regarding this Ayah:

“Allaah states here that the stories of the Messengers and their nations and how we saved the believers and destroyed the disbelievers are,

(عِبْرَةٌ لاوْلِى الأَلْبَـبِ)

(a lesson for men of understanding), who have sound minds,

(مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَى)

(It is not a forged statement.) Allaah says here that this Qur’aan could not have been forged; it truly came from Allah,

(وَلَـكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِى بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ)

(but a confirmation of that which was before it) in reference to the previously revealed Divine Books, by which this Qur’an testifies to the true parts that remain in them and denies and refutes the forged parts that were added, changed and falsified by people. The Qur’an accepts or abrogates whatever Allaah wills of these Books,

( وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ)

(and a detailed explanation of everything) Meaning the allowed, the prohibited, the preferred and the disliked matters. The Qur’aan deals with the acts of worship, the obligatory and recommended matters, forbids the unlawful and discourages from the disliked. The Qur’aan contains major facts regarding the existence and about matters of the future in general terms or in detail. The Qur’aan tells us about the Lord, the Exalted and Most Honoured, and about His Names and Attributes and teaches us that Allaah is glorified from being similar in any way to the creation. Hence, the Qur’aan is,

(هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ)

(a guide and a mercy for the people who believe.) with which their hearts are directed from misguidance to guidance and from deviation to conformance, and with which they seek the mercy of the Lord of all creation in this life and on the Day of Return. We ask Allaah the Most Great to make us among this group in the life of the present world and in the Hereafter, on the Day when those who are successful will have faces that radiate with light, while those whose faces are dark will end up with the losing deal…” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]