Muhammad bin Abi ‘Ali al-Asbahaanee recited:
“Act upon your knowledge and you will profit, O man
Knowledge does not benefit so long as one does not perfect his actions
Knowledge is beauty and Taqwa (Fear) of Allah is its decoration
Those with Taqwa are always preoccupied with their knowledge
The proof of Allah, O possessor of knowledge, is immense
Neither plotting nor scheming concerning it is of any use
Acquire knowledge and perform deeds as much as you can
And do not let vain pastimes and argumentation distract you
Always make it your goal to benefit the people
And beware, beware of fatigue and weariness overtaking you
Admonish your brother with gentleness when he makes a mistake
For knowledge is affectionate with those who are overcome by errors
And if you are amidst a people that have no religious morals
Then command them to do good when they act ignorantly (i.e. sin)
And if they disobey you, then remind them without getting annoyed
And be patient, strive in patience and do not let their actions worry you
For every goat is attached to its two feet
Have patience whether they are oppressive or fair.”
al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi’s ‘Iqtida’ al-‘Ilm al-‘Amal’
“The people of knowledge and insight do not consider themselves safe from four things:
1 . A past sin which he committed and he does not know whether Allah will forgive him for it or punish him for it
2. What is left of his life, whether there is something therein waiting to destroy him;
3. A favor that Allah bestowed upon him, perhaps it is a plot which will lead him step by step to his eventual destruction and ruin;
4. Deviance which is beautified for him so that he sees it to be guidance and in a split second, his heart can deviate and he will be stripped of his deen and he does not even realize it.”
Siyar a’laam an-Nubalaa’
Habib al-‘Abid reports: Once, when I arrived in al-Basrah, I was surprised to see that the markets were closed, and the streets empty.
I called out, “O people of Basrah, is this some kind of holiday of yours that I am unaware of?”
Someone answered, “No, but al-Hasan al-Basri is in the main gathering place (of basrah), giving a khutbah to the people.”
I hurried to his gathering , and when I arrived there, I saw him sitting down on some high ground .
He was saying:
“O people, prepare for departure, for very little time remains from this world.
Prepare to move (to the akhirah), for there is no way to stay here.
Do you not know that you will soon be surrendered to the place of trial?
Do you not know that each one of you will soon be alone with his deeds and that you will be presented (with your deeds) to Allah on the day of judgment?
He forbade you from sinning, but you have not stopped sinning.
He (threatened) you with the hell-fire, but you are neither afraid nor terrified of it.
He has encouraged you to seek our Jannah, but you do not (seem to) desire it or long for it.
Your white hairs are warning you of approaching death, so what are you waiting for?
O white-haired one, you are able to perform good deeds , so what is your excuse.
O one who obeys his mouth and his desires, who wastes his share of the akhirah by taking his entire share in this world, who persists in committing sins and evil deeds , if only I knew : what your excuse will be before him?
What argument will you put forth when you go to him? You are lost and misguided, so ask Allah, the All-Mighty, to forgive both me and you.”
(al-Mawa’idh wal-Majalis’ , pg 181)
`Umar bin al-Khattab (radiAllahu `anhu) said,
“Take account of your own selves (i.e., of your deeds), before you will be taken to account (on the Day of Resurrection).
Weigh yourselves (i.e., your deeds) before you will be weighed (i.e., before your deeds will be put on the balances on the Day of Resurrection).
Verily, if you hold yourselves accountable today, the accountability tomorrow (i.e., the Day of Resurrection) will be easier upon you.
And adorn yourselves for the greater display (i.e., for when you will be brought to Judgment):
“That Day shall you be brought to Judgment,
not a secret of you will be hidden.” (Quran 69:18)
Reminder to myself first and foremost and then to my respected brothers and beloved sisters inshaAllah.
‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“O, you perpetrator of sin! Do not feel safe from the end result of it, when what follows the sin is greater than the sin which you committed, for to feel little or no embarrassment towards those on the right and the left of you when you committed the sin is greater than the sin which you committed. Your laughter, when you know not what Allah will do to you is greater than the sin. Your happiness with the sin if you succeeded in doing it is greater than the sin, and your unhappiness at being unable to commit the sin is greater than the sin if you had succeeded in committing it. Your fear of the wind if it moved the curtain covering your door while you were committing the sin and your heart is not disturbed by Allah seeing you is greater than the sin which you committed. Woe to you!
Do you know what was the sin of Ayyub (peace be upon him) and why Allah, the Most High tested him in his body and by the loss of his wealth? The sin of Ayyub was only that a poor man sought his help in alleviating injustice that had befallen him, but he did not help him and he did not enjoin the good or forbid the oppressor from commiting injustice against this poor man and so Allah, the all Mighty, the all Powerful put him to trial.”
[Hilyat ul Awliyaa’]
The father of Abee Aasim said: I heard my son narrate from Abu Abdullah al-Kasa`i; I heard ibn Abee Aasim say:
When the affair of al-Alawee occurred in Basrah all of my books were lost, so I re-wrote fifty thousand ahadith from memory. I used to go to the greengrocers’ shop and write using the light of his lamp. Then I realised that I had not asked the permission of the owner of the lamp to sit in its light so I went to the sea and washed away all I had written and wrote it again.
[Siyar a’laam an-Nubalaa’ 13/430-439]
The jurist of Samarkand says that the person who does one good deed should be weary of four things (imagine what a person who commits a sin should be afraid of!) :
- The fear of not being accepted because Allah says:
‘Allah only accepts from those who fear.’ [Maidah: 27]
- The fear of showing off, for Allah says:
‘They have been instructed to worship Allah sincerely; religion is for him Alone.’ [Bayinah: 5]
- The fear of preserving the good deed because Allah says:
‘Whoever brings a good deed shall have ten times its reward.’ [An`am: 160]
- The fear of being deserted in performing good deeds, for Allah says:
‘And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust and unto Him I repent’ [Hud: 88]
Hammam bin Shuraih asked ‘a wise man’ [*] to narrate the qualities of the people of taqwa so that he would be able to see them in front of him. The wise man said:[*] Apparently this was ‘Ali (radiallahu ‘anh) but I don’t know if it has been falsely attributed or not.
When Allah created His creation, He did so while He was completely independent of their obedience towards Him and of their disobedience towards Him. No disobedience can hurt Him and no obedience can benefit Him. Then He distributed amongst them (the creation) their means of sustenance and placed them on earth.The people of taqwa on earth are those of virtue: their speech is correct (true); their garments are of moderate nature and their walk is one of humility. They lower their gaze when they see something that Allah has forbidden them to see, and they give ear to beneficial knowledge. They maintain their integrity in both adversity and prosperity.
Had it not been for the appointed time that Allah has written for them (death), their souls would not remain an extra second in their bodies out of yearning for reward and fear of punishment. The Creator ranks Supreme in their eyes, so everything else becomes immaterial to them. They are with Paradise as if they had already witnessed it and enjoyed its presence. They are with Hell as if they have already seen it and tasted its torment. Their hearts grieve and their evil (if any) is non-contagious. Their bodies are lean, their needs are few and their souls are chaste. They observe patience for a few days and experience everlasting comfort. This is a profitable exchange that their Lord has made pleasant for them. The world tempts them, but they do not succumb. It imprisons them, but they ransomed themselves in exchange. During the nights they stand in rows and read portions of the Qur’an. They recite it with proper recitation which grieves their hearts and drink it (the Qur’an) like medicine. If a verse of yearning comes along, they reach for it and believe it is their destination. If an intimidating verse comes along, they pour their hearts towards it and believe that Hell and its screams are in their ears. They sleep on their foreheads and elbows (i.e. they engage in prayers so much that it is as if they sleep in those postures) and implore Allah to deliver them. In the day they are tolerant and learned, kind and God-fearing. Fear has chipped away at their bodies as if they were arrows. Anyone looking at them would think that they were sick. But they are not sick. Some will say that they are confused. A great fear has made them look like that. They are never content to do only a few actions (during the day), nor do they ask for a great deal. They condemn themselves and are apprehensive about their deeds. If one of them is called ‘pious’ he fears what will be said of him and says: ‘I know myself better than you do. My Lord knows me better than I do. O Allah! Do not take me to task for what they are saying about me and (O Lord) make me better than they think. Forgive my sins which they do not know about.’ Their signs are that they are strong in Islam, resolute in their softness, firm in their belief. They crave for knowledge and are knowledgeable with tolerance; moderate in richness; pleasant in hunger; forbearing in distress; seeking halaal; active in (pursuing) guidance and they abhor greed. They perform good deeds in fear (of rejection). They spend the evening in gratitude and the morning in remembrance. They sleep in alarm and they awake in joy. If their carnal selves make it difficult for them to fulfill that which they dislike they deprive them (their selves) of that which they like. The apple of their eyes is in what does not perish and their abstemiousness is in what disappears. They combine knowledge with tolerance and speech with action.
You will find their hopes are realistic, their mistakes few, their hearts humble, their selves content, their diet meager, their matters simple, their deen safe-guarded, their desires killed and their anger subdued. Goodness is expected from them and evil is shielded against them. If they are among those who are oblivious, they are counted amongst those who remember (Allah). If they are among those who remember, they are not written among the oblivious. They pardon those who wrong them; they provide for those who deprive them and meet those who sever ties with them. They are never profane and always lenient. They wrong doings are almost non-existent and their good deeds are always present. They are resolute when the earth quakes, steadfast in calamities and grateful in prosperity. They are not prejudiced against those they dislike nor do they favour those they love.
They acknowledge the truth before it appears and do not lose anything they are entrusted with. They do not call anyone names nor do they hurt their neighbours. They do not curse at the time of difficulties nor do they venture into falsehood. Silence does not bother them and if they laugh they do not raise their voices. If they are treated with injustice they remain patient until Allah vindicates them.
Their own selves live in toil while others are comfortable around them. Their abstinence from those who stay away from them is their exoneration (from malice). Their proximity to those who are close to them is a means of mercy (for those who are close to them). Their remaining aloof is not out of pride and arrogance and their being close is neither a ploy nor a scheme.