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Perfecting One’s Character May 30, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in Ibn al Qayyim, Islam, Scholars, Tazkiyah.
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The Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam used to make a number of supplications related to good character.

“O Allah, guide me to good character, none guides to good character but You…” [Muslim]

“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from bad character, deeds and desires.” [at-Tirmidhee]

“O Allah, You perfectly created me, so perfect my character.” [Ahmad]

“O Allah, I seek refuge in you from disability and laziness; from cowardice and avarice; from decrepitude and harshness; from negligence and impoverishment, from lowness and humiliation. And I seek refuge in You from poverty and disbelief; from sinfulness, disunity and hypocrisy; from notability and riyaa’ (show off)…” [Ahmad, Maalik, Bazaar, Haithami and ibn `Abd al-Barr authenticated it.

The following beneficial excerpt is from “The Magnificent Journey” by ibn ul Qayyim [published by QSS]. It explains three conditions needed to acquire good manners, meaning proper nature, controlling one’s nafs and sound knowledge.

Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Manners

This is one example of the excellent manners with which Allah (ta`aala) has equipped his Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). He described him as,

“Verily, You [Muhammad] are on an exalted standard on character.” [68:4]

`Aa’ishah, radhiallaahu `anhu, described him as, “His character was just [a reflection of] the Qur’aan.” [Muslim, Aboo Daawood, Ahmad]

Such excellent character cannot be attained without three conditions:

1. The foundation must be good. If one has a rough and dry nature, it will be hard for him to submit to this [excellence of character] through knowledge, will, or practice. On the other hand, a mild and smooth nature will be ready and willing to receive the plowing and the seeds [to prepare it for character excellence].

2. The soul must be strong and capable of conquering calls of laziness, transgression, and desire. Those matters contradict perfection, and souls which cannot defeat them will always be defeated and conquered.

3. [One must possess] a discerning knowledge of the truth of matters, enabling one to put them in the rightful position, and to distinguish between flash and cancer – between glass and jewels.

If these three qualities are present in a man, and Allah’s facilitation helps him, then he will be among those whom the best (husnaa) has been decreed and for whom Allah’s care has been secured.

Source

A Sin That Leads to Jannah… May 16, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in Ibn al Qayyim, Islam, Islam Muslim, Scholars.
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Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said:

“Sin may be more beneficial for a person, if it leads him to repent, than doing a lot of acts of worship. This is what is meant by the words of one of the salaf:

‘A person may commit a sin and enter Paradise because of it, or he may do an act of worship and enter Hell because of it.’

They said: ‘How is that?’

He said: ‘He may commit a sin and continues to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers his sin, so he feels ashamed and repents and seeks forgiveness and regrets it, so that will be the means of his salvation.

And he may do a good deed and continue to think about it, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers it and it fills him with self-admiration and pride, so it is the cause of his doom.

So the sin may be the factor that leads him to do acts of worship and good deeds and to change his attitude so that he fears Allah and feels shy before Him and feels humiliated before Him, hanging his head in shame and weeping with regret, seeking the forgiveness of his Lord. Each of these effects is better for a person than an act of worship that makes him feel proud and show off and look down on people. Undoubtedly this sin is better before Allah and is more likely to bring salvation than one who admires himself and looks down on others, and who thinks that he is doing Allah a favour. Even if he says words that indicate something other than that, Allah is the Witness over what is in his heart. Such a person may feel hatred towards people if they do not hold him in high esteem and humiliate themselves before him. If he were to examine himself honestly, he would see that clearly.”

-Madarij as-Salikeen, 1/299

Source

The Believer’s Attitude Towards Calamities May 10, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in Depression, Hasan al Basri, Ibn al Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah, Islam, Scholars.
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Praise be to Allaah.

Part 1

Calamities and disasters are a test, and they are a sign of Allaah’s love for a person, because they are like medicine: even though it is bitter, despite its bitterness you give it to the one whom you love – and for Allaah is the highest description. In the saheeh hadeeth it says: “The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allaah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396) and Ibn Maajah (4031); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Calamities are good for the believer in the sense that reward is stored up for him the Hereafter thereby; how can it be otherwise when he is raised in status thereby and his bad deeds are expiated? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When Allaah wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world, and when Allaah wills ill for His slave, he withholds the punishment for his sins from him until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2396); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.

Al-Hasan al-Basri (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Do not resent the calamities that come and the disasters that occur, for perhaps in something that you dislike will be your salvation, and perhaps in something that you prefer will be your doom.”

Al-Fadl ibn Sahl said: “There is a blessing in calamity that the wise man should not ignore, for it erases sins, gives one the opportunity to attain the reward for patience, dispels negligence, reminds one of blessings at the time of health, calls one to repent and encourages one to give charity.

Through calamity the believer seeks reward, and there is no way to attain it but patience, and there is no way to be patient except with resolute faith and strong will.

Remember the words of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999).

So if calamity befalls a Muslim, he must say Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return), and say the du’aa’s that have been narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

How wonderful are those moments in which a person turns to his Lord and knows that He alone is the One Who grants relief from distress. How great is the relief when it comes after hardship. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“but give glad tidings to As‑ Saabiroon (the patient).

156. Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allaah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’

157. They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones”

[al-Baqarah 2:155-157]

Muslim (918 ) narrated that Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who is stricken with a calamity and says what Allaah has enjoined – ‘Verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allaah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allaah will compensate him with something better.”

She said: When Abu Salamah died, I said: Who among the Muslims is better than Abu Salamah, the first household to migrate to join the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Then I said it, and Allaah compensated me with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

Part 2

There are things which, if the one who is stricken with calamity thinks about them, that will make the calamity easier for him to bear.

In his valuable book Zaad al-Ma’aad (4/189-195), Ibn al-Qayyim has mentioned several things, including the following:

1 – If he looks at what has befallen him, he will find that what his Lord has left for him is similar to it or better than it, and if he is patient and accepts it, He has stored up for him something that is many times greater than what he has lost through this calamity, and if He willed He could have made the calamity even greater.

2 – The fire of calamity can be extinguished by thinking of those who have been hit even harder. Let him look to his right, does he see anything but calamity? Then let him look to his left, does he see anything but loss? If he were to look at the people around him, he would not see anything but people who are tested, either by missing out on something that they like, or by having happen to them that which they dislike. The pains of this world are like dreams or like a passing shadow. If you laugh a little you will weep a lot, and if you are happy for a day you will be miserable for a lifetime, and if you have what you want for a little while, you will be deprived for a long time. There is no day of happiness but it is followed by a day of pain. Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: For every moment of joy there is a moment of sorrow, and no house is filled with joy but it will be filled with sorrow. And Ibn Sireen said: There is never any laughter but there comes weeping after it.

3 – It should be noted that panicking will not make the calamity go away, and in fact it makes it worse.

4 – It should be noted that missing out on the reward for patience and surrender, which is mercy and guidance that Allaah has granted as the reward for patience and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)), is worse than the calamity itself.

5 – It should be noted that panicking makes one’s enemy rejoice and makes one’s friend feel sad; it makes Allaah angry and makes the shaytaan happy; it destroys reward and weakens resolve. If he is patient, seeks reward, strives to please Allaah, to make his friend happy and to make his enemy sad, and seeks to relieve his brothers of their burdens and to console them before they console him, this is steadfastness and a sign of perfection – not slapping one’s cheeks, rending one’s garment, wishing for death and being discontent with the divine decree.

6 – It should be noted that what comes after being patient and seeking reward is pleasure and joy that is many times greater than what he could have got from keeping what he lost. Sufficient for him is the “house of praise” that will be built for him in Paradise as a reward for his praising his Lord and turning to Him (by saying Inna Lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raaji’oon (Verily to Allah we belong and unto Him is our return)). So let him decide which of the two calamities is greater: a calamity in this world, or the calamity of missing out on the house of praise in eternal Paradise. In al-Tirmidhi it is narrated in a marfoo’ report: “On the Day of Resurrection people will wish that their skins had been cut with scissors in this world, when they see the reward of those who were struck with calamity.” One of the salaf said: Were it not for the calamities of this world, we would come empty-handed on the Day of Resurrection.

7 – It should be noted that the One Who is testing him is the Most Wise and the Most Merciful, and that He – may He be glorified – did not send this calamity in order to destroy him or cause him pain or finish him off, rather He is checking on him, testing his patience, acceptance and faith; it is so that He may hear his du’aa’ and supplication, so that He may see him standing before Him, seeking protection, filled with humility and complaining to Him.

8 – It should be noted that were it not for the trials and tribulations of this world, a person could develop arrogance, self-admiration, a pharaonic attitude and hardheartedness which would lead to his doom in this world and in the Hereafter. It is a sign of the mercy of the Most Merciful that He checks on him from time to time with the remedy of calamity so as to protect him from these diseases, to keep his submission and servitude sound, and to eliminate all bad elements that may lead to his doom. Glory be to the One Who shows mercy by means of testing, and tests by means of blessing, as it is said:

Allaah may bless us with calamities even if that is hard, and Allaah may test some people with blessings.

9 – It should be noted that the bitterness of this world is the essence of sweetness in the Hereafter, as Allaah will turn the former into the latter. Similarly the sweetness of this world is the essence of bitterness in the Hereafter. It is better to move from temporary bitterness to eternal sweetness than the other way round. If this is still not clear to you, then think of what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Paradise is surrounded with difficulties, and Hell is surrounded with desires.” End quote.

Part 3

In many cases, if a person responds well to calamity, they understand that it is a blessing and a gift, not a test.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: A calamity that makes you turn to Allaah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allaah.”

Sufyaan said: What a person dislikes may be better for him than what he likes, because what he dislikes causes him to call upon Allaah, whereas what he likes may make him heedless.

Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) regarded his imprisonment as a blessing that had been caused by his enemies.

Ibn al-Qayyim said: One day he – meaning Ibn Taymiyah – said to me: What can my enemies do to me? My garden is in my heart; wherever I go it is with me and never leaves me. My detainment is seclusion (an opportunity for worship), my being killed is martyrdom, and being expelled from my city is a journey.

He used to say of his detainment in the citadel: If I were to spend the fill of this citadel in gold, that would not be sufficient to express my gratitude for this blessing. Or he said: That would not be sufficient to reward them for what they have brought to me of goodness.

When he was imprisoned, he used to say when prostrating: “O Allaah, help me to remember You, give thanks to You and to worship You well.” Ma sha Allaah. He said to me (Ibn al-Qayyim) one day: The one who is really detained is the one who keeps his heart away from his Lord, and the real prisoner is the one is captive to his whims and desires. When he entered the citadel and was within its walls, he looked at it and said: “So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment” [al-Hadeed 57:13]. Allaah knows that I have never seen anyone who was more content with his life than him, despite all the hardship that he experienced, and the lack of luxury and comfort, in fact the opposite of that, and despite the imprisonment, threats and exhaustion that he faced; despite all of that, he was the happiest of people with his life, the most content, the most courageous, the most satisfied. You could see the signs of joy and happiness in his face. When we felt afraid and were expecting calamity, and we had nowhere to turn, we would go to him and as soon as we saw him and heard his voice, all those fears disappeared and were replaced with contentment, courage, certainty and tranquillity. Glory be to the One who showed some of His slaves His Paradise before they met Him, and opened its gates to them when they were still in this world of deeds and actions, so some of its breezes and fragrance came to them, which made them devote their energy to seeking it and competing in attaining it. End quote.

Al-Waabil al-Sayyib (p. 110).

Source: IslamQA.com

Intentions & Actions March 18, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in 4. Ali ibn Abi Talib, Companions, Ibn al Qayyim, Ibn Mas'ood, Islam.
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Ibn Mas’ud –(radiAllahu anhu) – would advise his students,

“If your intention is one of these three, do not seek knowledge: To shame the ignorant, or to argue with the Fuqahaa’ (scholars), or to cause people to turn their faces in your direction. Intend with your actions and words that which is with Allah, for indeed that which is with Allah shall remain and everything else shall perish.”

Ibn al Qayyim –(rahimahullah) – said,

“Deeds without sincerity are like a traveler who carries in his water-jug dirt. The carrying of it burdens him and it brings no benefit.”

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (radiAllahu anhu) said,

“Be more concerned for the acceptance of your action than you are for the action; for, an action with fearful obedience will not be little. How could an action which is accepted be little?

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The State of Need March 6, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in Du'a, Ibn al Qayyim, Islam, Yasir Qadhi.
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Ibn al-Qayyim, the ‘doctor of the heart’, writes:

“It is possible that a person has a need for something… so he earnestly prays and requests Allah for it, until the sweetness of asking and imploring Allah is opened for him. So he enjoys being humbled before Him, and trying to draw closer to Him, using His Names and Attributes, and his heart becomes void of eveything besides Him, and he cuts off any relationship or hope for good from anyone else – all of which would never have occurred had it not been for his need… So it is possible that what good has come about because of this state of his is even greater, and more pleasing to him, than the actual need (that was the cause of such a state), to such an extent that he wishes to continue in this state, and prefers it over the actual fulfillment of his need. So his happiness due to this state is greater than the happiness he would achieve had his need actually been fulfilled. Some of those that have recognized (the signs of Allah) have stated: “Sometimes, I have a certain need (that I wish to ask) Allah, so I ask Him earnestly. Then, I find that the door of dialogue opens up for me, and I recognise Allah more (i.e. become more aware of Him), and feel humbled before Him, due to which I prefer that the answer to my prayer be delayed, so that this state may continue!”

Madarjis al-Salikeen, 2/229

excerpt from Du’a: The Weapon of the Believer (pg. 57), by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi

Strangeness and the Strangers March 6, 2008

Posted by ibn1brahim in Audio, Companions, Da'wah, Ibn al Qayyim, Islam, Khalid Yasin, Sa'd al Ghamidi, Videos.
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The Strangers – Khalid Yasin

 

Ghuraba – Sa’d al-Ghamidi

 

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

“Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” (more…)