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.

The Soul’s Aim

 

O blameworthy soul, does the promise of your Lord not suffice you? Do you not see that you are headed to Him with what you have done and what you neglected?

“O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did).”

Do you feel proud that you play in to the plan of Shaytaan with your every move? Do you not realize his treachery and his deception? He lures you to evil and you respond with no qualms about it.

“And Shaitan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: “Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.).” {Surat Ibrahim: 22}

Will it be worth it when the Trumpet is blown and the deeds are shown that you see you lived by a philosophy that you thought was oh-so original?

“And they say: “There is nothing but our life of this world, we die and we live and nothing destroys us except Ad-Dahr (the time). And they have no knowledge of it, they only conjecture.”{Surat Al-Jathiyah: 24}

The nations of old employed this philosophy long before you and do you see anything remaining of them? They said as you say and they perished.

“Do you see any remnants of them?” {Surat Al-Haqqah: 8}
Will you look back on your life and appreciate your disobedience?
“And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger ( Muhammad SAW).”
Or will you beg to go back and change the records?
“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’minun: 99-100}
Do you think that you’re wealth, health and children are due to your own ability? Do you consider yourself lucky?
“Do they think that We enlarge them in wealth and children,
We hasten unto them with good things (in this worldly life so that they will have no share of good things in the Hereafter)? Nay, but they perceive not.” {Surat Al-Mu’minun: 55-56}
O blameworthy soul, you are lost in confusion. Aspire for what is with your Lord and aim your efforts toward it.

“(It will be said to the pious): “O (you) the one in (complete) rest and satisfaction! (An-Nafs Al-Mutmai’nna)

Come back to your Lord, Well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto Him!

Enter you, then, among My honoured slaves,

And enter you My Paradise!”

This is true success.

This should be the goal.

Paradise and the pleasure of your Lord.

 I ask that Allaah by His Beautiful Names and Perfect attributes that He makes us of those that are “Well-pleased (yourself) and well-pleasing unto Him!”. May He protect the Muslimeen and guide us to what is pleasing to Him. May the Salaah and Salaam of Ar-Rahman be upon the Final Messenger, his companions and all those that follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgement.