An envious man harms himself before he harms the person he envies, as was the case with Iblis: by his envy he brought the curse upon himself, whereas to Adam he brought about his election, guidance, elevation to the true contract, and his being chosen. Therefore be envied rather than envious, because the punishment of the envious is always worse than that of the envied; thus is provision apportioned.
So how does envying benefit the envious, and how does envy harm the envied? The root of envy lies in the blindness of the heart, and rejection of Allah (SWT)'s overflowing favor: they are two wings of disbelief. Through envy the son of Adam falls into endless grief and is utterly destroyed, and there is no way he can save himself. The envious does not really repent, for he continues to dwell upon and believe in his envy; indeed it is such an inherent part of his nature that it manifests itself unopposed and without apparent reason, causing him harm. A person's basic nature does not change, even with treatment.
It is said that Ka'b al-Ahbar was questioned about what is soundest and what is most corrupt in faith. 'The soundest thing is scrupulousness and the most corrupt is greed,' he replied.
Avarice is the wine of Satan, which he gives to his chosen ones with his own hand. Whoever becomes drunk upon it sobers up only in the pain of Allah (SWT)'s punishment in the proximity of the one who gave him the drink. If there were no other reason for Allah (SWT)'s wrath with respect to greed except man's preferring this world to faith, that would still be a sufficiently severe chastisement. Allah (SWT) said,
ÃõæúáóÜÆößó ÇáøóÐöíäó ÇÔúÊóÑõæõÇú ÇáÖøóáÇóáóÉó ÈöÇáúåõÏóì ÝóãóÇ ÑóÈöÍóÊ ÊøöÌóÇÑóÊõåõãú æóãóÇ ßóÇäõæÇú ãõåúÊóÏöíäó
These are they who buy error for the price of right guidance, and chastisement for forgiveness. (Q. 2:16)
The Commander of the Faithful said, 'Be gracious to whoever you wish and you are his prince. Seek help from whoever you like and you are his equal. Be in need of whoever you like and you are his prisoner.' He who is greedy is stripped of his belief without feeling it, for belief prevents the bondsman from being greedy in creation. He also says, 'My friend, the vaults of Allah (SWT) are full of marks of honor, and He does not neglect to reward of someone who acts well.'
Whatever a person might possess is tarnished by defects. Belief makes him rely on trust, moderation, forsaking desire, clinging to the obedience of Allah (SWT), and despairing of people. If he does that, then he is keeping close to his belief and he has acted correctly. If he does not, belief parts company with him and leaves him to his bad nature.
The corruption of the outward being, comes from the corruption of the inward. If you put your innermost being in order, Allah (SWT) will put your outward being in order; if you fear Allah (SWT) inwardly, He will not rend the veil publicly. But he who betrays Allah (SWT) inwardly, Allah (SWT) will expose in the open.
The greatest corruption is born of prolonged expectation, greed, and pride, as Allah (SWT) told us in the story of Qarun' when He said,
æóáóÇ ÊóÈúÛö ÇáúÝóÓóÇÏó Ýöí ÇáúÃóÑúÖö Åöäøó Çááøóåó áóÇ íõÍöÈøõ ÇáúãõÝúÓöÏöíäó
Do not seek to make mischief in the land; surely Allah does not love the corruptors. (Q. 28:77)
Elsewhere He said,
Êöáúßó ÇáÏøóÇÑõ ÇáúÂÎöÑóÉõ äóÌúÚóáõåóÇ áöáøóÐöíäó áóÇ íõÑöíÏõæäó ÚõáõæøðÇ Ýöí ÇáúÃóÑúÖö æóáóÇ ÝóÓóÇÏðÇ æóÇáúÚóÇÞöÈóÉõ áöáúãõÊøóÞöíäó
[As for] that Future Abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief; and the good end is for those who have precaution. (Q. 28:83)
These defects come from what Qarun did and believed. The root of corruption lies in loving this world, amassing its wealth, following the self, elevating its appetites, loving praise, agreeing with Satan, and following his footsteps: all of these faults combine with a love of paying Allah (SWT) no heed and forgetting His favors.
Therefore you should flee from people, reject this world, interrupt your rest, break with your normal habits, cut off the source of worldly appetites at the root by constantly remembering Allah (SWT) and clinging to obedience to Him, and enduring people's aversion, the over-dependence of a comrade, and hostile malice on the part of your family and relatives. If you do that, then the door of Allah (SWT)'s kindness will be opened to you, since He has good regard for you, as well as forgiveness and mercy. You will have left the company of the heedless and freed your heart from the captivity of Satan. You will come to the door of Allah (SWT) in the company of those who come to Him, and you will travel a path on which you may hope to be permitted to come to the Noble, the Magnanimous, the Generous, the Merciful.
Seek well-being (salamah) from Allah (SWT) wherever you are in every state you may be in, for your faith, your heart, and the ultimate outcome of your aflfairs. He who seeks it does not always find it.
How then, is it that there are some who expose themselves to affliction, travel the opposite path to well-being and oppose its principles, seeing safety as destruction and destruction as safety?
Well-being has been taken away from people in every age, especially this one; yet it can be rediscovered through enduring antipathy and even injury from other people, through patience in the face of disaster, making light of death, fleeing from whatever is reprehensible and being content with a minimum of material possessions. If you are not like that, then you must go into retreat. If you cannot do that then be silent, although silence is not the same as retreat. If you cannot be silent, then speak what will help you and not harm you; but that is not the same thing as silence. If you cannot find any way to do that, then move about by journeying from land to land,' casting your self (nafs) into the uncharted territories with a pure intention, humble heart, and steadfast body. Allah (SWT) said,
Åöäøó ÇáøóÐöíäó ÊóæóÝøóÇåõãõ ÇáúãóáÂÆößóÉõ ÙóÇáöãöí ÃóäúÝõÓöåöãú ÞóÇáõæÇú Ýöíãó ßõäÊõãú ÞóÇáõæÇú ßõäøóÇ ãõÓúÊóÖúÚóÝöíäó Ýöí ÇáÃóÑúÖö ÞóÇáúæóÇú Ãóáóãú Êóßõäú ÃóÑúÖõ Çááøåö æóÇÓöÚóÉð ÝóÊõåóÇÌöÑõæÇú ÝöíåóÇ ÝóÃõæúáóÜÆößó ãóÃúæóÇåõãú Ìóåóäøóãõ æóÓóÇÁÊú ãóÕöíÑðÇ
Surely, [as for] those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say, "In what state were you?" They shall say, "We were oppressed in the land." They shall say, "Was not Allah's earth spacious so that you could have migrated therein?" (Q. 4:97)
Take whatever belongs to the rightly acting bondsmen of Allah (SWT).
Do not struggle with obscure matters, nor contend with contradictions. If anyone tells you, 'I', say 'you'. Do not claim knowledge in anything, even if you are an expert in it. Uncover your secret only to one who is nobler in the faith than you, and thus you will find nobility. If you do this you will obtain wellbeing, and you will remain with Almighty without any connection to anything else.
Persevere in performing the customs and obligations in worship ('ibadah), for they are the source: whoever obtains them and performs them properly has obtained everything. The best form of worship is that which comes nearest to security, this is the one most free of harm and the most consistent, be it ever so small. If you have performed your obligatory and supererogatory prayers, then you are a true worshipper.
Beware of treading on the carpet of a king unless you do so with abasement, acknowledgement of need, fear, and respect. Make your movements free of showing off and your secret free of hardness.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The person who prays is conversing with his Lord.' So be embarrassed before the One Who is Cognizant of your secret, Who knows your conversation and what your conscience conceals. Be where He will see you doing what He wants you to do, and performing that to which He has summoned you. Those who have gone before us occupied themselves from the moment they completed one obligatory prayer to the moment they started another, so that they could perform both prayers sincerely and correctly. It seems that in our times it has become a virtue to leave the obligatory aside, which is like having a body without a soul.
'Ali (peace be upon him) ibn al-Husayn (peace be upon him) said, 'I wonder at a person who seeks something extra while he abandons an obligation; he only does so because he lacks recognition of the matter and respect for it. He does not see Allah (SWT)'s will in preparing people to obey His command and choosing that for them.'
Reflect on what has passed of this world. Has any of it remained for anyone? Has anyone remained in it, be he noble or lowly, rich or poor, friend or enemy? Similarly, what has not yet happened of it resembles more closely that which has passed of it, than water resembles water. The Messenger of Allah said, 'Death is enough of a warner; the intellect is enough of a guide; precaution is enough of a provision; worship is enough of an occupation; Allah (SWT) is sufficient as an intimate friend; the Qur'an is enough of a clarification.'
And elsewhere, 'Only affliction and trial remain of this world. If a person is saved, it is only by sincerely seeking refuge.' And Noah said, 'I found this world to be like a house with two doors.
I entered through one of them and went out through the other.'
Such is the state of the one who was saved by Allah (SWT): so what is the state of one who feels at ease in this world, relies on it, wastes his life by cultivating it, and is full of worldly demands?
Reflection is the mirror of good deeds and the expiation of bad deeds. It is the light of the heart, and guarantees ease to other people and success in obtaining betterment for the Next Abode; it allows one to foresee the outcome of one's actions, and causes an increase in knowledge. Worship of Allah (SWT) is unparalleled when accompanied by this quality. The Messenger of Allah said, 'To reflect for an hour is better than worshipping for a year.'
The station of reflection is only obtained by him whom Allah (SWT) has singled out for the light of gnosis (ma'rifah) and tawhid.
The believer only acquires true rest when he meets Allah (SWT), although rest may also be obtained by these four things: silence, by which you recognize the state of your heart and your self in your relations with your Creator; retreat, by which you are rescued from the evils of the age, outwardly and inwardly; hunger, which kills fleshly appetites and temptation; and wakefulness, which illuminates your heart, purifies your nature and cleanses your spirit.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'If a man finds himself in the morning tranquil in his heart, healthy in body and with food for the day, it is as if all of this world had been chosen for him'; and Wahb ibn Munabbih quoted the first and latter Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s as saying, 'O contentment, honor and riches are to be found with you. Whoever wins, wins through you!'
Abu al-Darda' said, 'What Allah (SWT) has allotted to me will not pass me by, even if it were on the wing of a breeze'; and Abu Dharr said, 'The secret of a man who does not trust his Lord is always exposed, even if it is imprisoned in solid rock.' No one is in a greater state of loss, is viler, or lower than the person who does not believe what his Lord has guaranteed for him and allotted him before He created him. In spite of that, this person relies on his own strength, management, effort, and striving, and goes beyond the limits of his Lord by his seeking ways and means which Allah (SWT) has caused him to have no need of.
Do not covet anything avariciously; for if you ignore it, it will come to you anyway, if it is destined to be yours. Then you would find ease in your heart with Allah (SWT), praise for leaving it; but you will be blamed for your haste in seeking it, for not trusting Him, and for not being content with the decree. Allah (SWT) created this world the same as a shadow: when you chase it, it tires you out and you can never catch up with it. If you leave it alone, it follows you inexorably, and gives you no cause for fatigue.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'A covetous man is bereft; yet in spite of his deprivation, he is blamed wherever he is.' For how could he be other than bereft when he flees from the covenant of Allah (SWT), and opposes His words:
Çááøóåõ ÇáøóÐöí ÎóáóÞóßõãú Ëõãøó ÑóÒóÞóßõãú Ëõãøó íõãöíÊõßõãú Ëõãøó íõÍúíöíßõãú
Allah is He Who created you, then gave you sustenance, then He causes you to die, then brings you life. (Q. 30:40)
The covetous person is in the midst of seven difficult evils: thinking, which harms his body but brings it no help; anxiety, which has no end; weariness, from which he will find rest only in death, although he has the greatest weariness when at rest; fear, which only makes him fall into what he fears; sorrow, which makes his livelihood disturbed without any benefit to him; reckoning, which will not save him from the punishment of Allah (SWT) unless He pardons him, and punishment, from which there is neither flight nor escape.
The one who trusts in Allah (SWT) spends morning and evening in His protection and well-being. Allah (SWT) has hastened for him what suffices him, and prepared for him things which only Allah (SWT) knows.
Avarice is what flows out from Allah (SWT)'s anger. When the slave is not bereft of certainty, he is not covetous. Certainty is the earth of Islam and the heaven of iman. '
The intimate conversation of the Gnostics possesses three roots: fear, hope and love. Fear is the branch of knowledge; hope is the branch of certainty, and love is the branch of gnosis (ma 'rifah) .The proof of fear is flight; the proof of hope is quest, and the proof of love is preferring the Beloved over all others.
When knowledge is confirmed in truthfulness, he fears. When fear is genuine, he flees. When he flees, he is saved. When he sees the light of certainty in the heart, he sees overflowing favor. When the vision of overflowing favor is firm, there is hope.
When he feels the sweetness of belief in hope, he seeks. When he has success in the quest, he finds. When the light of gnosis is manifested in his heart, the breeze of love stirs, he settles in the shadow of the Beloved, prefers the Beloved over all others, follows His commands and avoids His prohibitions, and chooses them over everything else. When he perseveres towards intimacy with the Beloved while carrying out His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, he has reached the spirit of intimate communion and nearness.
These three roots are like the sanctuary, the mosque, and the Ka'bah: whoever enters the Sacred Precinct is safe from people. If a person enters the mosque, his senses are safe from being used in disobedience, and if a person enters the Ka'bah, his heart is safe from being occupied with anything other than the remembrance of Allah (SWT).
Take heed, O believer! If you are in a state in which you are content to meet death, then thank Allah (SWT) for His grace and protection. If it is other than that, then move from it with sound resolution, and have regret for that part of your life which passed in heedlessness. Seek Allah (SWT)'s help in purifying your outward nature of wrong actions and cleanse your inward being from faults. Cut the shackles of heedlessness from your heart, and extinguish the fire of desires in your soul.
The heart may be described as belonging to one of four types: uplifted, open, low, or stopped. The raf (uplifting) of the heart lies in remembrance of Allah (SWT); the fath (opening) of the heart lies in the pleasure of Allah (SWT); the khafd (lowering) of the heart lies in occupation with anything other than Allah (SWT), and the waqf (stopping) of the heart lies in paying no heed to anything other than Allah (SWT).'
Do you not see that when a servant remembers Allah (SWT) with sincere respect, every veil that was between him and Allah (SWT) is removed? If the heart obeys the source of Allah (SWT)'s decree and is content with that, then how do happiness, joy and worldly rest open up to him? When the heart is occupied with some of the matters of this world and its means, how, then, can it find what Allah (SWT) has mentioned? Then the heart becomes reduced and dark like an empty, ruined house which has neither prosperity nor occupant. When a person is distracted from remembering Allah (SWT), then you see that he is 'stopped' from advancing, and veiled. He has become obdurate and dark since leaving the light which issues from the servant's veneration of his Lord. The sign of raf' lies in agreement in every respect, lack of opposition, and constant yearning; the sign of it lies in trustful dependence on Allah (SWT), truthfulness and certainty; the sign of khafd lies in pride, showing off, and greed; and the sign of waqf lies in the departure of the sweetness of obedience, lack of the bitterness of rebellion, and of confusion in the knowledge of what is permitted and what is forbidden.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'Using the siwak' purifies the mouth and is pleasing to the Lord,' and he made it one of the confirmed practices. It has benefits for both the outward and the inward being which even men of intelligence cannot count.
As you remove the stains caused by food and drink from your teeth with the siwak, so remove the impurity of your wrong actions by humble entreaty, humility, night prayers, and asking for forgiveness before dawn. Purify your outer being from impurities, and your inner being from the turbidity of acts of opposition and committing anything prohibited, all the while acting sincerely for Allah (SWT). The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) made its use an example for people for alertness and attention, in that the siwak is a clean, soft plant and the twig of a blessed tree. The teeth are what Allah (SWT) created in the mouth as a tool for eating, an implement for chewing, a reason for enjoying food and for keeping the intestines in order. The teeth are pure jewels, which become dirty because they are present when food is chewed, leading to a deterioration in the way the mouth smells, and decay in the gums. When the intelligent believer cleans with the soft plant and wipes it on these pure jewels, he removes the decay and adulteration from them and they then revert to their original state.
Similarly Allah (SWT) created the heart pure and clean, and made its food remembrance, reflection, awe and respect. When the pure heart turns grey by being fed on heedlessness and vexation, it is polished by the burnish of repentance and cleaned by the water of regret, so that it reverts to its primal state and its basic essence. As Allah (SWT) said,
Åöäøó Çááøåó íõÍöÈøõ ÇáÊøóæøóÇÈöíäó æóíõÍöÈøõ ÇáúãõÊóØóåøöÑöíäó
Surely Allah loves those who turn [in repentance] to Him, and He loves those who purify themselves. (Q. 2:222)
In recommending the use of the siwak the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) was advocating that it be used on the teeth themselves; but he also implied the meaning and example we have referred to above, that for anyone who empties his faculty of reflection for the purpose of drawing inward lessons from the outward examples with respect to both the principle and roots of faith. Allah (SWT) will open the springs of wisdom, and will give him still more of His overflowing favor, for Allah (SWT) does not neglect the reward of those who act well.
Using the Lavatory
The lavatory is called in Arabic 'the place of rest', because there people may find rest from the burden of impurities and empty themselves of grossness and filth. There the believer may reflect on how he is cleansing himself from the food and perishable matter of this world, and how his own death will come in like manner: therefore he should find ease in avoiding the world, leaving it aside and freeing himself and his heart from its distractions. He should be averse to taking and gathering this world just as he loathes impurity, the lavatory and filth, reflecting on how something good in one state becomes so base in another. He knows that holding onto contentment and precaution will bring him ease in the two abodes.
Thus ease comes from considering this world to be insignificant, giving up one's enjoyment of it, and removing the impurity of what is forbidden or doubtful. A person closes the door of pride on himself once he recognizes this; he flees from wrong actions and opens the door of humility, regret, and modesty. He strives to carry out Allah (SWT)'s commands and to avoid His prohibitions, seeking a good end and excellent proximity to Allah (SWT). He locks himself in the prison of fear, steadfastness, and the restraint of his appetites until he reaches the safety of Allah (SWT) in the world to come, and tastes the food of His good pleasure. If he intends that, everything else means nothing to him.
If you seek purification and ablution (wudu'), then go to water as you would go to the mercy of Allah (SWT), for He has made water the key to being near to Him in intimate conversation, and a guide to the domain of His service. Just as the mercy of Allah (SWT) purifies the wrong actions of His bondsmen, so are outward impurities cleansed only by water. As Allah (SWT) said, It is He Who sends the winds as good news before His mercy; and We send down pure water out of heaven! (25:48) and elsewhere,
æóÌóÚóáúäóÇ ãöäó ÇáúãóÇÁ ßõáøó ÔóíúÁò Íóíøò ÃóÝóáóÇ íõÄúãöäõæäó
We have made of water everything living. Will they not then believe? (Q. 21:30)
As He gives life to every blessing in this world from water, so by His mercy and overflowing favor He gives life to the heart and to acts of obedience, and to reflection in the purity of water, its fineness, its cleanness, its blessing and the subtleness of how it mixes with everything; through water He also gives life to the heart, when you purify those limbs which you have been commanded by Allah (SWT) to purify, and which you use to worship in your obligatory and customary prayers.
From each limb come many benefits. When you treat the limbs with respect, then their benefits will soon spring up for you. Deal with Allah (SWT)'s creation like water which mixes with things and gives everything its due, while not changing itself in essence. This is expressed by the words of the Messenger of Allah, 'The sincere believer is like water.' Let your purity with Allah (SWT) in all your obedience be like the purity of water when He sent it down out of heaven and called it pure. Purify your heart with precaution and certainty when you purify your limbs with water.
Entering the Mosque
When you reach the door of the mosque, know that you have come to the door of a mighty King. Only the purified tread on His carpet, and only the true are allowed to sit with Him. So be alert in your approach of the court of the awesome King, for you are in great danger if you are heedless. Know that He can do whatever He wishes in justice and overflowing favor with you and by you. If He inclines to you with His mercy and overflowing favor, He has accepted a small amount of your obedience and has given you a great reward for it. If He demands His due of truthfulness and sincerity by His justice towards you, He has veiled you and rejected your obedience, even if you have had obedience in abundance. He does what He wills. Acknowledge your incapacity, inadequacy, fragility, and poverty before Him, for you have turned yourself to worshipping Him and being close to Him. Turn to Him, and know that neither the secret nor the revealed part of any creature is hidden from Him. Be like the poorest of His servants before Him: strip your heart of every occupation which might veil you from your Lord, for He only accepts the purest and most sincere. Look to see in which register your name will be written.
If you taste the sweetness of His intimate conversation and the pleasure of His addressing you, and drink the cup of His mercy, and those favors he has bestowed on you and those of your requests which He has accepted, then you have served Him properly, and may therefore enter the sphere of His permission and security. If not, then stand as one whose power and ability have been cut off, and whose term has come to an end. If Almighty Allah (SWT) knows that in your heart you are sincerely seeking refuge with Him, He will regard you with compassion, mercy and kindness. He will cause you to succeed in that which He loves and which is pleasing to Him, for He is generous. He loves noble generosity and the worship of those who need Him, and who are burning up at His door seeking His good pleasure. Allah (SWT) said,
Ãóãøóä íõÌöíÈõ ÇáúãõÖúØóÑøó ÅöÐóÇ ÏóÚóÇåõ æóíóßúÔöÝõ ÇáÓøõæÁó
Who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil? (Q. 27:62)
Observe the courtesy of supplication. Consider the One on whom you call, how you call on Him and why you call; affirm the immensity and magnificence of Allah (SWT). Look with your heart at how He knows what is in your conscience, how He sees your secret being and whatever has occurred and will occur in it, both true and false. Learn the paths to your salvation and destruction, so that you do not call upon Allah (SWT) for something which perhaps contains your destruction, but which you suppose to contain your salvation. Allah (SWT) said,
æóíóÏúÚõ ÇáÅöäÓóÇäõ ÈöÇáÔøóÑøö ÏõÚóÇÁåõ ÈöÇáúÎóíúÑö æóßóÇäó ÇáÅöäÓóÇäõ ÚóÌõæáÇð
Man prays for evil as he ought to pray for good, and man is ever hasty. (Q. 17:11)
Reflect about what you ask for and why you are asking: supplication should be a total response to the Truth on your part, and a melting of the heart in contemplation of its Lord. It is to abandon all choices and to surrender all matters, both outward and inward, to Allah (SWT). If the preconditions of the supplication are not met, then do not look for fulfillment, for He knows what is secret and what is hidden; you might ask Him for something when He knows that you conceal the opposite of it.
One of the companions said to the others, 'You are waiting for rain, and I am waiting for stones.' Know that if Allah (SWT) had not commanded us to call on Him, He would nevertheless have favored us with an answer immediately after we finished the prayer? How, then, is His favor, given the fact that He has guaranteed that answer to whoever fulfils the conditions of the prayer?
The Messenger of Allah was asked about the most powerful name of Allah (SWT): he said, 'Every name of Allah (SWT) is most powerful.'
Free your heart from all that is other-than-Him, and call on Him by whatever name you like. In reality Allah (SWT) does not have one name rather than another: He is Allah (SWT), the One, the Almighty.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'All?h (SWT) does not answer the supplication of a heedless heart.' When one of you wants His Lord to give to him whatever he asks of Him, he should renounce all people, putting his hope in Allah (SWT) alone. When Allah (SWT) sees that in his heart, He will give him whatever he asks.
When you have established the preconditions of supplication which I have mentioned, and have become sincere in your innermost being for His sake, then rejoice in the good news that one of three things will happen: either He will hasten to give you what you have asked for, or He will store up something better for you, or He will avert from you an affliction which would have destroyed you had He sent it. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) reported that Allah (SWT) said, 'If anyone is distracted from asking Me by his own remembrance of Me, I will give him better than what I give to those who ask.'
I called on Allah (SWT) once and He answered me. I forgot the need because of the fact that when He answers a supplication, His bestowal is far greater and more sublime than what the bondsman desires from Him, even if it be the Garden and its eternal blessings. This is understood only by lovers who act, Gnostics, the elite and the select of Allah (SWT).
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Fasting is a protection from the calamities of this world, and a veil from punishment of the next.' When you fast, intend thereby to restrain your self from fleshly appetites and to cut off those worldly desires arising from the ideas of Satan and his kind. Put yourself in the position of a sick person who desires neither food nor drink; expect recovery at any moment from the sickness of wrong actions. Purify your inner being of every lie, turbidity, heedlessness and darkness, which might cut you off from the meaning of being sincere for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Somebody said to one of the Companions, 'You are already weak; fasting will weaken you further.' 'I am preparing that fast for the evil of a long day,' he said. 'Patience in obeying Allah (SWT) is easier than patience in His punishment.' And the Messenger of Allah once quoted Allah (SWT)'s words, 'Fasting is done for Me, and I am its reward.'
Fasting kills the desire of the self and the appetite of greed, and from it comes purity of the heart, purification of the limbs, cultivation of the inner and the outer being, thankfulness for blessings, charity to the poor, increase of humble supplication, humility, weeping and most of the ways of seeking refuge in Allah (SWT); and it is the reason for the breaking of aspiration, the lightening of evil things, and the redoubling of good deeds. It contains benefits which cannot be counted. It is enough that we mention some of them to the person who understands and is given success in making use of fasting, if Allah (SWT) wills.
Abstinence is the key to the door of the next world and freedom from the Fire. It consists of leaving everything which could distract you from Allah (SWT) without regret, nor feeling proud about leaving it, nor waiting for relief from your renunciation, nor seeking any praise for it. Indeed abstinence means a person considering such things to be of no avail to him: he deems their passing him by as a relief and comfort for him, and their presence as a misfortune for him; thus he always flees from misfortune and clings to what brings him ease and relief. The man of abstinence is the one who chooses the next world. He chooses abasement over might and this world, striving over rest, hunger over being full, the well-being of what is to come later over immediate trials, and remembrance over heedlessness. His self is in this world and his heart is in the next world.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'Love of this world is the fount of every error;' and elsewhere, 'This world is a corpse; whoever seeks it is like a dog.' Do you not see how it loves what Allah (SWT) hates? What error is a greater crime than this?
One of the Holy Prophet's (peace be upon him and his family) family said, 'If all of this world were a morsel in a child's mouth, we would have mercy on him. What then is the state of someone who throws the limits set by Allah (SWT) behind his back, seeking and desiring this world? If the dwelling place of this world had been any good, it would not have shown you mercy, nor answered you, and would have bidden you farewell in departure.'
The Messenger of Allah said, 'When Almighty Allah (SWT) created this world, He commanded it to obey Him and it obeyed its Lord. He told it, "Oppose the one who seeks you and give success to the one who opposes you." ' It acts according to what Allah (SWT) charged it to do, and what He impressed upon its nature.
A Description of this World
This world is like a body whose head is pride, whose eyes are avarice, whose ears are greed, whose tongue is dissimulation, whose hand is desire, whose legs are vanity, whose heart is heedlessness, whose being is annihilation, and whose product is extinction.
It brings pride to whoever loves it, avarice to whoever prefers it, greed to whoever seeks it, and cloaks with hypocrisy whoever praises it. It gives vanity power over whoever desires it; it leads to heedlessness in the person who relies on it. It seduces whoever admires its goods, but those goods do not last for him. It returns the person who gathers it and is miserly with it to its own abode, which is the Fire.
Reluctance to Act
A person who feels reluctant to act falls short of what is correct, even if he does right; while a person who acts voluntarily is correct, even if he errs. The reluctant one obtains only contempt in the end, and weariness, toil and misery while he is carrying out the action. The outer being of a reluctant person is showing off, and his inner being is hypocrisy: they are the wings with which he flies. The reluctant person never has any of the qualities of the righteous nor any of the marks of the believers, wherever he is. As Allah (SWT) said to His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family),
õáú ãóÇ ÃóÓúÃóáõßõãú Úóáóíúåö ãöäú ÃóÌúÑò æóãóÇ ÃóäóÇ ãöäó ÇáúãõÊóßóáøöÝöíäó
Say, I do not ask you for any reward for it; nor am I of those who affect [i.e. act with reluctance]. (Q. 38:86)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'We, the company of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), the fearfully aware, the trusty, we disavow the reluctant.' So, fear Allah (SWT) and do away with reluctance, and it will mark you with the sign of belief. Do not be occupied with something whose garment is affliction, with food which in the end is emptiness, with an abode whose end is ruin, with wealth whose end is to be inherited by others, with comrades whom in the end one must take leave of, with glory which in the end is abasement, with loyalty which in the end is abandonment, or with a life whose end is grief.
O person who is deluded is wretched in this world, and is duped in the next world because he has sold what is better for what is baser. Do not admire yourself. Sometimes you may be deceived by your property and your bodily health into supposing that you will last forever. Sometimes you are deceived by your long life, your children and your friends into thinking that you will be saved by the. Sometimes you are deceived by your beauty and the circumstances of your birth, which bring you your hopes and desires so easily that you think that you are truthful and successful in achieving your goal. Sometimes you are deceived by the regret you show people for your shortcoming in worship, but Allah (SWT) knows the opposite of that is in your heart. Sometimes you make yourself worship in a spirit of reluctance; but Allah (SWT) desires sincerity. Sometimes you imagine that you are calling on Allah (SWT) when you are calling on another. Sometimes you imagine that you are giving good counsel to people, while your real desire is that they bow to you. Sometimes you blame yourself when you are really praising yourself.
Know that you will only emerge from the darkness of delusion and desire by sincerely turning in repentance to Almighty Allah (SWT), and to whatever you know about Him, and to recognize the faults in your self which are not consistent with your intellect and knowledge, and which the faith, the law and the customary practices of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and the Imams (peace be upon him) of guidance do not tolerate.
If you are content with your present condition, there is no one more wretched than you in knowledge and action, nor anyone with a more wasted life. You will inherit grief on the Day of Resurrection.
A Description of the Hypocrite
The hypocrite is content to be far from the mercy of Allah (SWT), because his outward actions appear to be in line with Isl?mic laws; and yet he is heedless and ineffective, mocking and transgressing its truthfulness in his heart.
The mark of hypocrisy is disregard for lies, treachery, insolence, false claims, insincerity, foolishness, error and lack of modesty, making little of acts of disobedience, desiring believers to lose faith, and making light of misfortunes in the faith; pride, praise, praise of love, love of praise, envy, preferring this world to the next and evil to good, inciting slander, love of amusement, dealing with prevaricators, helping aggressive people avoiding good deeds, disparaging those who do good, considering good the evil done by the hypocrite and recognizing as odious whatever good another person does; and many other things like that.
Allah (SWT) has described the hypocrites in more than one place. He said,
æóãöäó ÇáäøóÇÓö ãóä íóÚúÈõÏõ Çááøóåó Úóáóì ÍóÑúÝò ÝóÅöäú ÃóÕóÇÈóåõ ÎóíúÑñ ÇØúãóÃóäøó Èöåö æóÅöäú ÃóÕóÇÈóÊúåõ ÝöÊúäóÉñ ÇäÞóáóÈó Úóáóì æóÌúåöåö ÎóÓöÑó ÇáÏøõäúíóÇ æóÇáúÂÎöÑóÉó Ðóáößó åõæó ÇáúÎõÓúÑóÇäõ ÇáúãõÈöíäõ
And among men is he who serves Allah [standing] on the verge. So that if good befalls him he is satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflicts him he turns back headlong; he loses this world as well as the next; that is a manifest loss. (Q. 22:11)
In describing them, Allah (SWT) said,
æóãöäó ÇáäøóÇÓö ãóä íóÞõæáõ ÂãóäøóÇ ÈöÇááøåö æóÈöÇáúíóæúãö ÇáÂÎöÑö æóãóÇ åõã ÈöãõÄúãöäöíäó. íõÎóÇÏöÚõæäó Çááøåó æóÇáøóÐöíäó ÂãóäõæÇ æóãóÇ íóÎúÏóÚõæäó ÅöáÇøó ÃóäÝõÓóåõã æóãóÇ íóÔúÚõÑõæäó. Ýöí ÞõáõæÈöåöã ãøóÑóÖñ ÝóÒóÇÏóåõãõ Çááøåõ ãóÑóÖÇð æóáóåõã ÚóÐóÇÈñ Ãóáöíãñ ÈöãóÇ ßóÇäõæÇ íóßúÐöÈõæäó
There are some people who say, "We believe in Allah and the Last Day", but they are not at all believers. They desire to deceive Allah and those who believe, but they deceive only themselves while they do not perceive. There is a disease in their hearts, so Allah added to their disease. (Q. 2:8-10)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The hypocrite is he who, having made a promise, breaks it; when he acts, he does evil; when he speaks, he lies; when he is trusted, he betrays; when he is given provision, he is reckless; when it is withheld, he makes much of his life.'
He also said, 'A person whose innermost being contradicts his public face is a hypocrite whoever he is, wherever he is, in whatever time he lives, and whatever rank he has.'
Proper Social Transaction
Behaving correctly with Almighty Allah (SWT)'s creation without disobedience to Him comes from Allah (SWT)'s increased favor to His bondsmen. Whoever is humble to Allah (SWT) in his heart behaves well openly.
Keep company with people for the sake of Allah (SWT), not for your portion of something which belongs to this world or to seek position or for showing off or to increase your own reputation.
Do not cross the limits of the Law for the sake of eminence and fame: they will not profit you at all, and you will miss the next world without gaining any benefit.
Taking and Giving
A person who prefers taking to giving is deluded, because in his heedlessness he thinks that what is now is better than what is to come. It behaves the believer, when he takes something, that he should take it rightfully. If he gives, it should be for a right purpose, in a right way, and from his rightful possessions. How many a taker gives up his faith, but he is not aware of that! How many a giver brings down on himself the wrath of Allah (SWT)!
The matter is not just a question of taking and giving, however; rather he is saved who fears Allah (SWT) when taking and giving, and who holds tight to the rope of righteousness.
In this regard people are of two types: the elite and the common. The elite considers with painstaking caution and does not take until he is certain that it is permissible. If it is unclear to him, he will only take when it is absolutely necessary. The common man considers only the outward form: he takes whatever he does not find to be stolen or extorted, and says, 'There is no harm in this: it is permissible for me.' Here the matter is clear, and he takes it by the judgement of Almighty Allah (SWT) and spends it in His pleasure.
Three things are rare in every age: brotherhood in Allah (SWT); a devout, affectionate wife who helps you in Allah (SWT)'s faith; and a rightly guided son. Whoever finds these three things has obtained the good of both abodes and the fullest portion of this world and the next. Beware of taking someone as a brother when you are moved by greed, fear, inclination, money, food or drink. Seek the fraternity of the Allah (SWT) fearing, even to the ends of the earth, and even if you spend your entire life seeking them. Allah (SWT) has not left anyone better than them after the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s on the face of the earth, nor has He given a bondsman any blessing like that of success in finding their company. Allah (SWT) has said,
ÇáúÃóÎöáøóÇÁ íóæúãóÆöÐò ÈóÚúÖõåõãú áöÈóÚúÖò ÚóÏõæøñ ÅöáøóÇ ÇáúãõÊøóÞöíäó
The friends shall on that day be enemies to one another except those who guard [against evil]. (Q. 43:67)
I believe that anyone who looks for a friend without fault in these times will remain without a friend. Do you not see that the first mark of honor which Allah (SWT) bestowed on His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) when their call to faith became known was a trusty friend or helper. Similarly, the most sublime gift which Allah (SWT) bestowed on His friends, supporters (awliya'), pure friends and trustees was the company of His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s. This is proof that, after knowledge of Allah (SWT), there is no blessing in either abode which is more sublime, more excellent or more pure than company in Allah (SWT) and brotherhood for His sake.
Take counsel in the matters faith demands of you with one who has the following five qualities: intellect, knowledge, experience, good counsel, and precaution. If you find these five things in a person, then make use of them, be resolute and rely on Allah (SWT).
This will lead you to what is correct.
As for matters of this world which do not pertain to faith, make decisions about them and then do not think about them further. If you do this, you will obtain the blessings of livelihood and the sweetness of obedience.
Knowledge is obtained through consultation. The man of intellect is he who derives new knowledge from consultation, and that guides him to obtain his goal. Consulting a proper counsellor is like reilecting upon the creation of the heavens and the earth and the destruction of both, since the more intense a person's reflection upon these two things, the deeper he penetrates into the seas of the light of gnosis and the more he increases his understanding and certainty.
Do not take counsel from someone when your intellect does not give him any credence, even if he is famous for his discernment and scrupulousness. When you take counsel from someone your heart trusts, do not disagree with what he advises even if it is contrary to what you want. Surely the self combines both acceptance of the truth with what is opposed to it? That is, on receiving other truths which are clearer to him. Allah (SWT) has said,
æóÔóÇæöÑúåõãú Ýöí ÇáÃóãúÑö
Take counsel with them in the affair. (Q. 3:159)
…æóÃóãúÑõåõãú ÔõæÑóì Èóíúäóåõãú…
Their rule is to take counsel among themselves. (Q. 42:38)
that is, they consult each other about it.
Forbearance is a lamp of Allah (SWT) which leads the holder to His excellence; a person cannot be forbearing unless he is aided by the lights of gnosis and tawhid. Forbearance has five facets: when a man is exalted, but is then humbled; when he is truthful, he is accused of being a liar; when he calls people to the truth, he is scorned; when he is injured without having done any crime; and when he demands his rights and they oppose him.
When you have given each of these its due, you have achieved the goal. When you have countered the half-wit by turning away from him and not answering him, people will come to your aid, for he who wages war with a fool is like a man who puts wood on the fire.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The believer is like the earth: people obtain benefits from it while they are on it.' Whoever cannot endure people's harsh rudeness will not reach Allah (SWT)'s good pleasure, because His pleasure is closely linked with people's antipathy.
It is related that a man said to Ahnaf ibn Qays, 'You are causing me to worry.' 'I will forbear with you,' he replied.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'I was sent as a centre of forbearance, a mine of knowledge, and a home for patience.' He spoke the truth when he said, 'True forbearance is when you pardon a person who acts badly with you and opposes you, while you have the power to take revenge on him.' It is as the supplication says: 'My Allah (SWT), You are too vast in favor and forbearance to punish me for my action and abase me for my mistake.'
Following Another's Example
Following the example of another is nothing more than what has been bestowed upon the spirit at its origin, when the light of time was mixed with that of eternity. Following a model, however, does not consist of adopting the marks of outward actions and claiming descent from the awliya' of the faith from among the wise and the Imams (peace be upon him). As Allah (SWT) said,
íóæúãó äóÏúÚõæ ßõáøó ÃõäóÇÓò ÈöÅöãóÇãöåöãú
The day when We will call every people by their Imam. (Q. 17:71)
that is, whoever follows someone with effacement is pure.
ÝóÅöÐóÇ äõÝöÎó Ýöí ÇáÕøõæÑö ÝóáóÇ ÃóäÓóÇÈó Èóíúäóåõãú íóæúãóÆöÐò æóáóÇ íóÊóÓóÇÁáõæäó
So when the trumpet is blown, there will be no ties of relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other. (Q. 23:101)
The Commander of the Faithful said, 'Souls are a drafted army. Those who know each other are intimate, and those who do not know each other differ from each other.' Mu¦ammad ibn al-Hanafiyah was asked who had taught him good manners, and he replied, 'My Lord taught me manners in myself. Whatever I find to be good in people of intelligence and insight I follow and use; whatever I find ugly in the ignorant I avoid and forsake forever. That has brought me to the path of knowledge. There is no sounder way for the astute believer than to follow the example of others, because it is the clearest path and soundest goal.' And Allah (SWT) said to Mu¦ammad, the greatest of His creation,
These are they whom Allah guided, therefore follow their guidance. (6:91) Elsewhere He said,
Ëõãøó ÃóæúÍóíúäóÇ Åöáóíúßó Ãóäö ÇÊøóÈöÚú ãöáøóÉó ÅöÈúÑóÇåöíãó ÍóäöíÝðÇ æóãóÇ ßóÇäó ãöäó ÇáúãõÔúÑößöíäó
Then We revealed to you: Follow the faith of Abraham, the upright one. (Q. 16:123)
If the faith of Allah (SWT) had had a path straighter than following a model, He would have recommended it to His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and His supporters.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'There is a light in the heart which is illuminated only by following the truth and intending towards the right path. It is a part of the light of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) which has been entrusted in the hearts of the believers.'
Pardoning someone when you have the power to punish is one of the customary practices of the messengers and the secrets of the Allah (SWT) fearing. Pardon is when you do not charge your companion for what he has done wrong outwardly, when you forget the cause by which there was inward affliction, and when you extend great charity in your choice despite having power over him. No one could find a way to that pardon except by the one whom Allah (SWT) has pardoned and forgiven for the sins which he has committed and the deeds he has put off, and who has been adorned with His mark of honor and clothed in the light of His radiance.
This is because pardon and forgiveness are two of the attributes of Almighty Allah (SWT) which He entrusted in the secrets of His pure friends, so that they adopt the manners of their Creator and Maker with creation. This is why He said,
æóáúíóÚúÝõæÇ æóáúíóÕúÝóÍõæÇ ÃóáóÇ ÊõÍöÈøõæäó Ãóä íóÛúÝöÑó Çááøóåõ áóßõãú æóÇááøóåõ ÛóÝõæÑñ ÑøóÍöíãñ
They should pardon and turn away. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is forgiving, merciful. (Q. 24:22)
If you do not pardon another mortal like yourself, how can you hope for the pardon of the Compelling King?
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said that his Lord commanded him to have these qualities, saying, 'Unite with whoever breaks with you, and pardon whoever wrongs you; give to whoever deprives you, and be good to whoever is bad to you.' He commanded us to follow him when Allah (SWT) said,
æóãóÇ ÂÊóÇßõãõ ÇáÑøóÓõæáõ ÝóÎõÐõæåõ æóãóÇ äóåóÇßõãú Úóäúåõ ÝóÇäÊóåõæÇ
Whatever the Messenger (peace be upon him and his family)gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back. (Q. 59:7)
Pardon is a secret of Allah (SWT) in the heart of His select. Whoever is gladdened by it has made Him happy. The Messenger of Allah said, 'Is any of you capable of being like Abu Damdam?' 'O Messenger of Allah,' they said, 'Who is Abu Damdam?' The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) replied, 'One of your ancestors who, when he woke up in the morning would say, "O Allah (SWT), I have forgiven the shattering of my honor by the common people." '
The best form of exhortation is when the words used do not go beyond the limits of truth, and the actions performed do not go beyond the limits of sincerity. The Warner and the warned are like someone awake and someone asleep: whoever awakes from the slumber of his heedlessness, opposition and rebellion does good to awaken others from that sleep.
Anyone who travels in the deserts of transgression and engrosses himself in the wilds of misguidance, abandons his modesty because of his love for reputation, showing off and fame, wasting his time with those who wear the garments of the righteous, his outward appearance divulging the substance, of what is inside of him. In reality he is devoid of any substance and his inner destitution is flooded with love of praise and enveloped in the darkness of greed. How seduced he is by his passion! How he leads people astray with his words! As Allah (SWT) has said,
áóÈöÆúÓó Çáúãóæúáóì æóáóÈöÆúÓó ÇáúÚóÔöíÑõ
Evil certainly is the guardian and evil certainly is the associate. (Q. 22:13)
But whoever Allah (SWT) has protected by the light of tawhid, support, and excellent success, his heart is cleansed of impurity. He does not separate himself from gnosis and precaution; he listens to the words of the misguided while he ignores the speaker himself, whoever he is. The wise have said, 'Take wisdom, even if it comes from the mouths of madmen.' In the words of 'Isa (peace be upon him), 'Sit with anyone who reminds you of Allah (SWT) when you see him and meet him, aside from when he talks. Do not sit with someone when your outer being accepts him but your inner being rejects him.' That is someone who lays claim to what he does not have; if you are sincere, then they will yield to you. When you find someone with these three qualities, then seize the opportunity to see him, meet with him, and sit with him, even if it is only for an hour: this will have an effect on your faith, your heart, and your worship, through his blessing.
If someone's words do not go beyond his actions, whose actions do not go beyond his truthfulness, and whose truthfulness does not contend with his Lord, then sit with him with respect and wait for mercy and blessing. Beware of the proof against you, and make his time in your company pleasant, so that you do not reproach him and lose. Look at him with the eye of Allah (SWT)'s favor upon him, His selecting him and His honoring him.
The best of advice and the most necessary is that you do not forget your Lord, and that you remember Him always, and do not rebel against Him, and that you should worship Him whether sitting or standing. Do not be dazzled by His blessings and always be grateful to Him. Do not go out from under the protective cover of His mercy, immensity and majesty, lest you go astray and fall into the field of destruction, even if affliction and adversity touch you and the fires of trials burn you. Know that the afflictions He sends are filled with the eternal marks of His honor, and that the trials He inflicts bring about His pleasure and nearness, even though it may be after some time. What blessings there are for the person who has knowledge, and who is granted success therein!
It is related that when someone asked the Messenger of Allah for advice, he said, 'Never get angry, for anger contains opposition to your Lord. Beware of making excuses, for they contain hidden polytheism. Say your prayers like someone saying farewell, for it contains a link to Allah (SWT) and nearness to Him. Be modest before Allah (SWT) as you are modest before the righteous among your neighbors, for this contains increased certainty.'
Allah (SWT) has gathered up the advice of all our ancestors, both distant and near, into one single characteristic?
In the words of Almighty Allah (SWT),
æóáóÞóÏú æóÕøóíúäóÇ ÇáøóÐöíäó ÃõæÊõæÇú ÇáúßöÊóÇÈó ãöä ÞóÈúáößõãú æóÅöíøóÇßõãú Ãóäö ÇÊøóÞõæÇú Çááøåó
Certainly We enjoined those who were given the Book before you, and [We enjoin] you too that you should be careful of [your duty]. (Q. 4:131)
This is the sum of every sound act of worship: it is by precaution that people reach the high degrees and highest ranks. It is by precaution that people lead a good life with constant companion ship.
ÍößúãóÉñ ÈóÇáöÛóÉñ ÝóãóÇ ÊõÛúäö ÇáäøõÐõÑõ. ÝóÊóæóáøó Úóäúåõãú íóæúãó íóÏúÚõ ÇáÏøóÇÚö Åöáóì ÔóíúÁò äøõßõÑò
Surely those who guard [against evil] shall be in gardens and rivers, in the seat of honor with a most powerful King. (Q. 54:54-5)
Trust (tawakkul) is a cup sealed with Allah (SWT): none may drink from it or break the seal save the trustful. It is as Allah (SWT) said,
æóÚóáóì Çááøåö ÝóáúíóÊóæóßøóáö ÇáúãõÊóæóßøöáõæäó
On Allah should the trustful rely, (Q. 14:12)
æóÚóáóì Çááøåö ÝóÊóæóßøóáõæÇú Åöä ßõäÊõã ãøõÄúãöäöíäó
On Allah should you rely if you are believers. (Q. 5:23)
Allah (SWT) made trust the key of belief, and belief the lock of trust. The reality of trust is preferring others to oneself; the root of preferring others is to advance the other person's claim. He who trusts continues to affirm one of two preferences in his trust. If he prefers what is caused (i.e. phenomenal being), he is veiled by it. If he prefers the Causer of the cause of trust (i.e. the Creator, glory be to Him and may He be exalted
, he remains with Him. If you want to be a man of trust and not a man of causes, then say the tatbir over your ruh five times, and bid farewell to all your hopes as death bids farewell to life.
The lowest level of trust is nothing more than placing your highest aspiration before your own advancement; moreover, you should neither seek for your own portion nor look for what you lack, for either of those things would break the bond of your belief while you are unaware. If you are truly determined to live by one of the marks of the trusting one, and by His trust with respect to one of these two preferences, then cling to this story for support. It is related that one of the men of trust came to one of the Imams (peace be upon him) and said to him, 'Show me compassion by answering a question about trust.' The Imam knew the man to be of excellent trust and rare scrupulousness, and he saw his sincerity in what he was asking before the man actually put the question. 'Stay where you are and wait with me for awhile,' he told him. While he was formulating his answer a poor man passed by. The Imam put his hand into his pocket and, taking something out, gave it to the poor man. Then he turned to the man who had asked the question and said, 'Come and ask about what you have seen.' 'O Imam,' the man said, 'I know that you could have given me the answer to my question before making me wait. Why then did you delay?' And the Imam replied, 'Belief means reflecting on the meaning before I speak. For how could I be negligent of my innermost being when my Lord perceives it? How could I discuss the science of trust while there is a coin in my pocket? It is not permitted for me to discuss that until after I had given it to him, so understand!' The questioner sighed deeply and swore that he would not seek shelter in a house nor rely on another mortal as long as he lived.
Respect for One's Brothers
The reason why brothers in the faith shake hands is Allah (SWT)'s love for them. The Messenger of Allah said, 'Whenever brethren shake hands in Allah (SWT), their wrong actions are dispersed so that they become as they were on the day their mothers bore them.' No two brothers' love and respect for each other increases without there being increase for each of them also. It is obligatory for the one having most knowledge of Allah (SWT)'s faith among the two to stimulate his friend to perform the obligatory functions which Allah (SWT) has made necessary, and to guide him in going straight, in contentment and moderation, to give him the good news of Allah (SWT)'s mercy and to make him fear His punishment. The other brother must seek the blessing of his guidance and hold to what he calls him to, adhere to his admonition, and be guided by him, all the while seeking protection in Allah (SWT) and seeking His help and success.
'Isa (peace be upon him) was once asked, 'How are you this morning?' To which he replied, 'I do not possess the benefit which I hope for, nor can I repel what I am on my guard against, while I am commanded to obey and forbidden to rebel. I do not think that any pauper is poorer than I am.' And when Uways al-Qarani was asked the same question, he said, 'How is a man in the morning when he does not know if he will be alive in the evening, and in the evening he does not know if he will be alive in the morning?'
Abu Dharr said, 'In the morning I thank my Lord and I thank myself.' The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Whoever wakes up in the morning aspiring for something other than Allah (SWT) has become among the losers and transgressors.'
Striving and Discipline
Bliss belongs to the bondsman who strives for Allah (SWT) against his own nature and passions: he who then defeats his passion wins Allah (SWT)'s pleasure, and the one whose intellect leaves behind the self which commands evil through his striving jihad, submission and humility in the service of Allah (SWT) has won a great victory. There is no veil between the bondsman and Allah (SWT) which is darker or more desolate than that of self and passion; there is no better weapon to fight and destroy them than total need of Allah (SWT), glory be to Him, fear, hunger, thirst in the day and wakefulness at night.
When a person possessing these traits dies, he dies a martyr. If he lives according to the straight path, his end will take him to the greatest pleasure of Allah (SWT).
Allah (SWT) said,
æóÇáøóÐöíäó ÌóÇåóÏõæÇ ÝöíäóÇ áóäóåúÏöíóäøóåõãú ÓõÈõáóäóÇ æóÅöäøó Çááøóåó áóãóÚó ÇáúãõÍúÓöäöíäó
And [as for] those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in our ways, and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. (Q. 29:69)
When you see someone striving harder than you, upbraid yourself, and reproach yourself in order to encourage yourself to do more. Put a halter of command and rein of prohibition on the self, and carry on as if you were a trainer who does not let his mount take a step unless it is completely correct.
The Messenger of Allah used to pray until his feet were swollen. He would say, 'How can I not be a thankful slave?' The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) wanted to make his community consider this so that they would not neglect striving, toil, and discipline in any state. If you were to experience the sweetness of worshipping Allah (SWT), to see its blessing and be illuminated by its light, you would not be patient without it for a single hour, even if you were to be cut to pieces. No one turns away from it without being denied such benefits of protection and success from Allah (SWT) as were attained by his forefathers.
Rabi' ibn Khuthaym was asked why he did not sleep at night. 'Because I fear to spend the night in sleep,' he replied.
Contemplation of Death
Contemplating death kills desire, cuts off the roots of heedlessness and strengthens the heart with Allah (SWT)'s promise of life hereafter.
It refines nature, breaks the signs of passion, extinguishes the fire of greed and renders this world vile; this is the meaning of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)'s words said: 'To reflect for an hour is better than a year of worship.' That hour of reflecting is the moment when you unite the ropes binding you to this world and fasten them to the next. The descent of mercy from Heaven never ceases when death is remembered in this way. If a person does not reflect on death, and on his own lack of any means to escape it, on his great incapacity, on the length of time he will spend in the grave and his bewilderment at the Resurrection, there is no good in him.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Remember the destroyer of pleasures.' When asked what that was, he replied, 'Death. Whenever one of Allah (SWT)'s servants remembers this when he is wealthy, this world is constricted for him. Whenever he remembers it in hardship, it is expanded for him.' Death is the first station of the next world and the last station of this world. Blessed is he who shows himself generous and benefits at the beginning, and blessed is he who has done his best at the end.
Death is the closest thing to accompany the son of Adam, although he deems it to be the furthest away. How much man inflicts on himself. What weaker creature is there? In death lies the rescue of the sincere and the destruction of the wrongdoers.
That is why some yearn for death yearn for it while others hate it. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'If a person meets Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) loves to meet him; and if a person hates to meet Allah (SWT), the Allah (SWT) hates to meet him.'
The root of good opinion is a man's belief and the soundness of his heart; the sign of good opinion is that whenever he looks, he sees with the eye of purity and virtue wherever he goes, and modesty, trustworthiness, protection and truthfulness are cast into his heart. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Have a good opinion of your brothers: through that you will gain purity of heart and firmness of nature.' And Ubayy ibn Ka'b said, 'When you see a quality which you disapprove of in one of your brothers, then give it seventy interpretations and see if your heart can be at peace with one of them. If it is not, then blame yourself if you cannot excuse him. If you yourself have a quality which will easily make for seventy interpretations, then you should disapprove of yourself more than you do of him. ' As Allah (SWT) revealed to David, 'Remind My slaves of My blessings and My favors. They have only seen exquisite goodness from Me so they should only expect that what remains will be like what they have already had from Me.' Good opinion invites good worship. A person who is deluded continues to remain in rebellion even while he hopes for forgiveness. The best opinion in Allah (SWT)'s creation is reserved for those who obey Him, hope for His reward and fear His punishment.
The Messenger of Allah said, relating from his Lord, 'I am with My slave's good opinion of Me, O Muhammad.' Whoever fails to live up to the reality of the gifts which come from his opinion of his Lord has intensified the proof against himself, and is among those who are deceived by the shackles of his passion.
Entrusting Oneself to Allah (SWT)
He one who entrusts his affair to Allah (SWT) is in eternal rest and constant carefree ease of life; he is above caring about anything except Allah (SWT), as the Commander of the Faithful said, I was content with what Allah (SWT) allotted me, and I entrusted my affair to my Creator.
As Allah (SWT) was good in what has passed, so He will be good in what remains.
As Allah (SWT) said, in the words of a believer among the people of Pharaoh;
æóÃõÝóæøöÖõ ÃóãúÑöí Åöáóì Çááøóåö Åöäøó Çááøóåó ÈóÕöíÑñ ÈöÇáúÚöÈóÇÏö. ÝóæóÞóÇåõ Çááøóåõ ÓóíøöÆóÇÊö ãóÇ ãóßóÑõæÇ æóÍóÇÞó ÈöÂáö ÝöÑúÚóæúäó ÓõæÁõ ÇáúÚóÐóÇÈö
I entrust my affair to Allah, surely Allah sees the servants. So Allah protected him from the evil consequences of what they planned and the most evil punishment overtook Pharaoh's people. (Q. 40:44-5)
The Arabic word for entrustment (tafwid) consists of five letters, each letter having an injunction. He who heeds their commands brings the ta'ofhis abandoning (tark) plans in this world; the ja' of the annihilation (fana') of every aspiration other than Allah (SWT); the waw of fulfilling (wafa') the contract and confirming the promise; the despairing (ya's) of yourself, and certainty (yaqin) in your Lord; and the dad of a conscience (damir) which is purely for Allah (SWT), and of the need (darurah) for Him. He who entrusts everything to Allah (SWT) wakes up in the morning free of all evils, and at night sleeps protected in his faith.
Certainty will take the bondsman to every sublime state and every wondrous station; thus did the Messenger of Allah make known the immensity of certainty when he mentioned that 'Isa (peace be upon him) walked on water. He said, 'If he had had more certainty, he could have walked on air.' By this he indicated that in spite of the majesty of the place which the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s have with Allah (SWT), they also have different ranks according to their certainty. Certainty is ever-increasing, and remains so throughout eternity. Believers also vary in the strength and weakness of their certainty. A person whose certainty is strong may be recognised by the fact that he finds himself stripped of all ability and power other than what Allah (SWT) has given him, and by his keeping to Allah (SWT)'s command and worship both outwardly and inwardly. He considers the states of having and not having, increase and decrease, praise and blame, might and abasement, all to be the same because he considers them all on an equal level. However, a person who weakens his certainty attaches himself to external matters, and allows his self free rein therein. He follows the customs and sayings of people without substantiating them, and strives in the affairs of this world, accumulating its wealth and holding on to it, acknowledging and affirming it with his tongue.
There is no withholder or giver except Allah (SWT), and the slave can only obtain what he is provided with and allotted. Effort will not increase provision, but he disavows that by his action and his heart. In Allah (SWT)'s words,
íóÞõæáõæäó ÈöÃóÝúæóÇåöåöã ãøóÇ áóíúÓó Ýöí ÞõáõæÈöåöãú æóÇááøåõ ÃóÚúáóãõ ÈöãóÇ íóßúÊõãõæäó
They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts; and Allah best knows what they conceal. (Q. 3:167)
Allah (SWT) was compassionate to His bondsmen when He gave them permission to earn money however they might as long as they do not exceed the limits of Allah (SWT) or abandon their obligations to Him and the behaviour of His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) in any of their actions, or abandon the spirit of trust or become caught in the field of greed. But when they forget this, attaching themselves to the opposite of what has been delineated for them, they are counted among the destroyed, who at the end have nothing but false claims. Not everyone who earns is necessarily trustful: from his earnings he brings for himself only what is forbidden or doubtful. He may be recognized by the effect his gains have upon him, by his insatiable hunger, and how he spends for this world without let.
He who is given permission to earn is one whose self gains while his heart trusts in Allah (SWT). If he has a lot of money, he is like a trustee who knows that having property and not having it is the same thing. If he withholds it, he withholds for Allah (SWT); and if he spends it, he does so in the way Allah (SWT) has commanded. Both are for Allah (SWT).
Fear and Hope
Fear is the custodian of the heart, and hope is the intercessor of the self; whoever knows Allah (SWT) fears Him and sets his hopes in Him. They are the wings of belief with which the true servant flies to Allah (SWT)'s pleasure. They are the eyes of his intellect, with which he sees Allah (SWT)'s promise and threat; fear contemplates the justice of Allah (SWT) through careful awareness of that threat. Hope calls for Allah (SWT)'s overflowing favor and gives life to the heart, while fear kills the self. The Messenger of Allah said, 'The believer has two kinds of fear: fear of what has passed and fear of what is to come.'
In the death of the self lies the life of the heart, which leads to firmness in practice. Whoever worships Allah (SWT) with a balance of fear and hope will not be misguided, and will obtain what he hopes for. How can a slave be anything other than fearful when he does not know at what action his record will be closed, while he has to his credit no deed capable of helping him, no power to do anything, nor any place to fly to? How can he fail to hope when he knows that despite his incapacity he is drowned in the seas of Allah (SWT)'s blessings and favors, which cannot be counted or numbered. The lover worships his Lord with hope by contemplating his own state with the eye of wakefulness; and the abstinent worships with fear.
Uways al-Qarani said to Haram ibn Hayyan, 'People act in hope.' 'But you act in fear,' Haram replied. There are two types of fear: permanent and changing. Permanent fear brings about hope, while changing fear brings about permanent fear. Similarly, there are two types of hopes: concealed and open. Concealed hope brings about permanent fear, which strengthens the connection of love; while open hope fulfils a man's expectations regarding his incapacity and shortcomings in the things he has done during his life.
Contentment is when a person is content with what he loves and what he hates; it is a ray of the light of gnosis. He who is content is annihilated to all his choices; he is really the one with whom Allah (SWT) is content. Contentment is a name which contains the meanings of servitude, and maybe described as the joy of the heart.
I heard my father, Mu¦ammad al-Baqir, say, 'To attach the heart to what is present is association (shirk), and to what is not there is disbelief (kafr): these are the wings of heedlessness.' I am amazed at anyone who claims to be a slave to Allah (SWT) and then contends with Him over His decrees. Content gnostics ('arifin) are far from being like that.'
Affliction is an adornment for the believer and a mark of honor for the man of intellect, because facing it directly needs steadfastness and firm footedness, both of which confirm belief. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'We, the company of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s, are the people who have the hardest trials, then after us come the believers, then the others like them.'
Whoever tastes the food of affliction while under Allah (SWT)'s protection enjoys it more than he enjoys Allah (SWT)'s blessing. He yearns for it when it is not there, because the lights of blessing lie under the balance of affliction and trial, and the balance of affliction and trial lies under the lights of blessing. Many are delivered from affliction and then destroyed in blessing. Allah (SWT) praised none of His bondsmen, from Adam up to Muhammad, until He had tested him and seen how he fulfilled the duty of worship while in affliction. Allah (SWT)'s marks of honor come, in fact, at the last stage, but the afflictions themselves come in the beginning.
Whoever leaves the path of affliction is ignoring the lamp of the believers, the beacon of those near to Allah (SWT), and the guide for those on the right path. There is no good in a slave who complains of a single trial preceded by thousands of blessings and followed by thousands of comforts. Whoever does not show the patience required in affliction is deprived of thankfulness in the blessings he receives. Similarly, whoever does not give the thankfulness owed for blessings is denied the patience owed in affliction. Who ever is denied both of them is an outcast.
Ayyub said in his supplication, 'O Allah (SWT), verily seventy comforts and ease did not come to me until You sent me seventy afflictions.'
And Wahb ibn Munabbih said, 'Affliction to a believer is like a bit to a horse and a halter to a camel.' 'Ali (peace be upon him) said, 'Steadfastness in relation to belief is like the head to the body. The head of steadfastness is afflictions but only those who act righteously understand that.'
Patience reveals whatever light and purity there is in the innermost being of Allah (SWT)'s servants, while anxiety shows up the darkness and bereft ness inside them. Everyone claims to be patient, but only the humble are firm in it. Everyone denies his anxiety, although it is quite obvious in a hypocrite because the onset of trials and afflictions tells you who is truthful and who is a liar.
Patience is a sensation that continuously prevails in one's consciousness, but what occurs upon a sudden upset cannot be called patience. Anxiety is what disturbs the heart and brings the person sorrow, changing his complexion and his state. Every event whose beginnings are without humility, repentance, and humble supplication to Allah (SWT) comes from someone who is anxious, not someone who is patient. The beginning of patience is bitter, but its end is sweet for some people; but for others both its beginning and end are bitter. Whoever enters it at its end has entered it. Whoever enters it from its beginning has left it. A person who knows the value of patience cannot bear to be without it.
In the story of Moses (peace be upon him)and Khidr Allah (SWT) said,
æóßóíúÝó ÊóÕúÈöÑõ Úóáóì ãóÇ áóãú ÊõÍöØú Èöåö ÎõÈúÑðÇ
How can you have patience in that of which you have no comprehensive knowledge? (Q. 18:69)
Whoever is unwillingly patient, who does not complain to people and does not become anxious when his veil is rent, is counted among the common people. His share is as Allah (SWT) said,
Give good news to the patient, (Q. 2:155)
that is, good news of the Garden and forgiveness. Whoever meets affliction with an open heart, showing patience with tranquillity and dignity, is counted among the elite and his portion is as Allah (SWT) said,
Åöäøó Çááøåó ãóÚó ÇáÕøóÇÈöÑöíäó
Surely Allah is with the patient. (Q. 8:46)
Sorrow is one of the marks of the Gnostics, through the magnitude of what comes to them of the Unseen when they are in seclusion, and the intensity of their glorification of Allah (SWT). The outer being of the sorrowful is contraction and his inner being is expansion.
He lives with men contentedly, in a life of nearness to Allah (SWT). The sorrowful person is not a man of reflection, because he who reflects is forced to do so, while a sorrowful person is so by nature. Sorrow comes from within, and reflection begins by seeing phenomena? There is a difference between them.
Allah (SWT) said in the story of Jacob,
…ÅöäøóãóÇ ÃóÔúßõæ ÈóËøöí æóÍõÒúäöí Åöáóì Çááøåö æóÃóÚúáóãõ ãöäó Çááøåö ãóÇ áÇó ÊóÚúáóãõæäó
I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know [from Allah] what you do not know. (Q. 12:86)
This is because the knowledge gained in the state of sorrow is particular to him, and Allah (SWT) has singled him out for it and left the rest of the world deprived. When Rabi' ibn Khuthaym was asked why he was sorrowful, he replied, 'Because I have demands made on me. At the right of sorrow stands contrition, and at the left of it stands silence. Sorrow is a mark of the Gnostics of Allah (SWT).
Reflection is shared by both the elite and the common folk. If sorrow were to be veiled from the hearts of the Gnostics for an hour, they would have to seek for help; but if it were to be placed in the hearts of others, they would dislike it. Sorrow is first, while second come security and good news. Reflection comes second, following the establishment of one's belief in and utter need of Allah (SWT) by one's seeking rescue with Him. The sorrowful person reflects, and he who reflects takes note. Each of them has a state, a science, a path, forbearance and honor.
Modesty is a light whose essence is the heart of belief, meaning careful consideration in everything which is denounced by taw¦¢d and gnosis. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Modesty is part of belief.' That is to say, modesty is accepted through belief, and beliefs accepted through modesty. The modest person is all good. Whoever is denied modesty is all evil, even if he worships and is scrupulous.
One step taken with modesty in the courtyards of Allah (SWT)'s awe is better than seventy years of worship. Insolence, however, is the beginning of hypocrisy, schism and disbelief.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'If you have no shame, then do as you like.' This means that when modesty leaves you, then you are punished for all the good or evil that you do. The strength of modesty comes from sorrow and fear, and modesty is the home of fear. The beginning of modesty is awe, and its end is clear vision. A modest person is occupied with his own affairs, withdrawn from people, and distant from what they are doing, even if they all forsake completely person with modesty.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'When Allah (SWT) desires good for a bondsman, he makes him forget his good qualities, putting his evil qualities before his eyes and making him dislike sitting with those who turn away from the remembrance of Allah (SWT).' Modesty is of five kinds: shame for a wrong action; shame for one's incapacity; modesty in the face of a noble equality; the modesty of love, and the modesty of awe. Each of these has its adherents, who are ranked according to these categories of modesty.
Gnosis (ma 'rifah)
The person of the gnostic ('arif) is with the people, while his heart is with Allah (SWT). If his heart were to forget Allah (SWT) for the time it takes to blink an eye, he would die of yearning for Him. The gnostic is the trustee over the happenings of Allah (SWT), the treasury of His secrets, the repository of his lights, the proof of His mercy to creation, the instrument of His sciences and the measure of His favor and justice. He needs neither people, nor a goal, or nor this world. He has no intimate except Allah (SWT), nor any speech, gesture or breath except by Allah (SWT), with Allah (SWT), and from Allah (SWT), for he frequents the garden of His sanctity and is enriched by His subtlest favors to him. Gnosis is a root whose branch is belief.
Love of Allah (SWT)
When love of Allah (SWT) takes possession of the innermost being of Allah (SWT)'s bondsman, it empties him of every preoccupation except remembrance of Allah (SWT). The lover is the most inwardly sincere of all people for Allah (SWT). He is the most truthful in his words, the most faithful in his pledge, the most astute in his actions, the purest in remembrance, and the greatest in devoting his self in worship.
The angels compete with each other to converse with him, and boast of having seen him. Through him Allah (SWT) makes His lands flourish, and by His regard, Allah (SWT) honors His slaves. Allah (SWT) gives to people when they ask Him by His right, and removes afflictions from them by His mercy. If people knew how they stand with Allah (SWT), they would not try to draw near to Allah (SWT) save by the dust of his feet.
The Commander of the Faithful said, 'Love of Allah (SWT) is a fire which does not pass by anything without burning it up; the light of Allah (SWT) does not come over something without illuminating it.
The skies of Allah (SWT) do not cause a cloud to appear without it covering whatever is beneath it; the wind of Allah (SWT) does not blow on something without it moving. Allah (SWT)'s water gives life to everything, and from Allah (SWT)'s earth everything grows. Whoever loves Allah (SWT) is given every possession and authority.'
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'When Allah (SWT) loves a slave in my community, He casts love of him into the hearts of His friends, the spirits of the angels and the keepers of His throne,' so that they love him.
That lover truly has an abundance of bliss, and will be able to intercede with Allah (SWT) on the Day of Resurrection.'
Love for the sake of Allah (SWT)
He who loves for the sake of Allah (SWT) is beloved of Allah (SWT), and he who is loved for the sake of Allah (SWT) is also beloved of Allah (SWT), since each loves the other for the sake of Allah (SWT). The Messenger of Allah said, 'Man is with whom he loves. Whoever loves a bondsman in Allah (SWT), loves Allah (SWT). No one loves Allah (SWT) except he whom Allah (SWT) loves.' And again, 'The best of people after the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s in this world and the next are those who love each other for Allah (SWT).' Every love based on some cause other than Allah (SWT) brings about enmity except for these two, for they come from the same source. Theirs always increases and never decreases. As Allah (SWT) said,
The friends shall on that day be enemies to one another except for those who guard against evil, (Q. 43:67)
because the root of love is being free of everything except the Beloved.
The Commander of the Faithful said, 'The best thing in the Garden and the sweetest is love of Allah (SWT), love in Allah (SWT), and praise for Allah (SWT).' And Allah (SWT) has said, The last of their supplication shall be:
…ÇáúÍóãúÏõ áöáøåö ÑóÈøö ÇáúÚóÇáóãöíäó
"Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds", (Q. 10:11)
because when they see the blessings that exist in the Garden, love is aroused in their hearts and then they call out, 'Praise be to Allah (SWT), Lord of the worlds.'
He who yearns neither desires food, nor finds pleasure in drink, nor is he quickly excitable, nor is he intimate even with his close friends, nor does he seek refuge in a house, nor does he dwell in a city, nor wear a garment nor take rest enough for his need.
He worships Allah (SWT) night and day, hoping to reach the object of his yearning. He speaks to Him with the tongue of yearning, declaring what is in his innermost being. This is as Allah (SWT) said of Moses (peace be upon him)when he met his Lord:
…ÚóÌöáúÊõ Åöáóíúßó ÑóÈøö áöÊóÑúÖóì
I hastened to thee, my Lord, that Thou mightest be pleased. (Q. 20:84)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) explained his state as follows: 'He neither ate, drank, slept nor desired any of that in his coming or going for forty days, out of his yearning for his Lord.'
When you enter the arena of yearning, then say takbir for yourself and your desires in this world. Bid farewell to all familiar things, and turn from all except the One you desire most. Say the word Labbayk ('At Your service') between your life and your death: 'At Your service, O Allah (SWT), at Your service!' Then Allah (SWT) will make your reward great. A person who yearns is like a drowning man: he is only concerned with being saved, and forgets everything else.
Wisdom is the light of gnosis, the measure of fearful awareness and the fruit of truthfulness. Allah (SWT) has not given any of his servants a greater, more favorable, generous, lofty or more splendid blessing than wisdom for the heart. In Allah (SWT)'s words, He grants wisdom to whom He pleases and who-ever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but the men of understanding re-member. (2:269)
That is, only the one whom I have singled out for My sake and whom I have designated for it knows what wisdom I have reserved and prepared. Wisdom is rescue, steadiness at the beginning of the affair and a firm stance at the end. It makes Allah (SWT)'s creatures aspire to Him. And the Messenger of Allah said to 'Ali (peace be upon him), 'That Allah (SWT) should guide one of His slaves at your hands is better for you than everything the sun shines upon, from east to west.'
In reality the claim belongs to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s, the Imams (peace be upon him) and the truthful, and a man who makes a claim improperly is like the accursed Iblis. He lays claim to devoutness while in reality he contends with his Lord and opposes His command. Whoever makes such claims reveals his lie, and the liar is not trustworthy; whoever claims what is not lawful for him has the gates of affliction opened for him. Anyone who makes a claim will doubtless be asked for clear proof, upon which he is shown to be bankrupt and disgraced. The truthful person is not asked the reason for his actions; as 'Al¢ (peace be upon him) said, 'No one sees a truthful person without being in awe of him.'
The Messenger of Allah said, 'He who learns his lessons in this world lives in it like a man asleep: he sees it but does not touch it. Abhorrence is increased in his heart and in his self by the behaviour of those who are deceived by this world, which can only bring the reckoning and punishment. He exchanges that world for what will bring him near to Allah (SWT)'s pleasure and pardon. He washes himself free of those things to which the world invites him, and of its worldly adornments, with the water of the world's extinction.
Taking heed brings three things to the person who does so: knowledge of what he does, acting by what he knows, and knowledge of what he does not know. The root of taking heed lies in one's fear of its outcome, when he sees that he has fully realized abstinence at the beginning. Taking heed is only successful for those who have purity and insight.
Allah (SWT) said,
…ÝóÇÚúÊóÈöÑõæÇ íóÇ Ãõæáöí ÇáúÃóÈúÕóÇÑö
Take a lesson, O you who have eyes! (Q. 59:2)
ÝóÅöäøóåóÇ áóÇ ÊóÚúãóì ÇáúÃóÈúÕóÇÑõ æóáóßöä ÊóÚúãóì ÇáúÞõáõæÈõ ÇáøóÊöí Ýöí ÇáÕøõÏõæÑö
For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts which are in the breasts. (Q. 22:46)
When Allah (SWT) opens the eye of someone's heart and insight by means of consideration, then He has given him a high station and an immense fortune.
If a man of contend ness were to swear that he would eventually be in charge of his two abodes, Allah (SWT) would confirm him in that, realizing his hope through the immensity of his contentment.
How can Allah (SWT)'s servant not be content with what He has allotted him when He says, We distribute among them their livelihood between them in the life of this world. (43:32)
Whoever yields to Allah (SWT), and is not heedless in affirming Him in what He wishes and whenever He wishes, whoever has certainty of His lordship ascribes of necessity the allotment of each man's provision directly to Himself, and does not recognize the reality of causes. Whoever is content with what is allotted is relieved of care, grief and fatigue. Whenever he decreases in contentment, he increases in desire. Greed for this world is the root of every evil; the person who has it is not saved from the Fire unless he repents.
That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Contentment is a kingdom which does not vanish.' It is the ship of Allah (SWT)'s pleasure, bearing whoever is on board it to His House. Have excellent trust in what you have not been given, and pleasure in what you have been given. Be patient in what befalls you, for this indeed is one of the greatest tasks.
Slander is forbidden to all Muslims, and he who slanders has sinned in every instance. Slander is when you mention something about a person which is not a fault in Allah (SWT)'s eyes, or when you censure what the people of knowledge praise.
As for discussing someone who is not present with regard to something which Allah (SWT) censures, when that person is guilty of it, then this does not amount to slander, even if he dislikes it when he hears it; and you are free of any slight of that person. This is in order to make the truth clear from the false by the clarification of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger. However, this has a precondition, in that the person who says it must seek only to clarify what is true and false, in the faith of Allah (SWT). If he means to deprecate the person of whom he talks without meaning to make things clear, then he is taken to task for his corrupt goal, even if he is correct in what he says.
If you really slander someone, then seek pardon from that person. If you do not go that far nor reach that point, then ask Allah (SWT)'s forgiveness for that. Slander eats up good deeds as fire eats up wood. As Allah (SWT) revealed to Moses, 'The slanderer will be the last to enter the Garden, if he repents. If he does not repent, then he will be the first to enter the Fire.' As He said,
ÃóíõÍöÈøõ ÃóÍóÏõßõãú Ãóä íóÃúßõáó áóÍúãó ÃóÎöíåö ãóíúÊðÇ ÝóßóÑöåúÊõãõæåõ
Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. (Q. 49:12)
The various aspects of slander occur when you mention a fault in someone's character, intellect, action, behaviour, belief, ignorance and so on.
The origin of slander may be one of ten types: venting one's anger, pleasing other people, suspicion, believing a report without investigating it, having a bad opinion, envy, mockery, astonishment at some action in another which one does not comprehend, dissatisfaction or impatience with others, and embellishment of oneself at the expense of others.
If you seek Islam, then remember the Creator and not the created; then the circumstances of slander will be a lesson for you, and a wrong action will be replaced by a reward.