The Attributes of the Believers (Part 2)

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                                         21.
                            The Consequence of Truthfulness
                                   [‹Áqibat aƒ-»idq]
               In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                               Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                                Allåh says: “This is a day in which
                                       qåla ’llåhu hådhå yawmu
                             their truthfulness will profit the truthful,
                                    yanfa‹u ’ƒ-ƒådiqºna ƒidqu-hum:
                       for theirs are Gardens underneath which rivers flow,
                             la-hum jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
                                  wherein they shall dwell forever,
                                         khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
                                Allåh being well pleased with them,
                                         raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
                              and they being well pleased with Him.
                                            wa raæ« ‹an-h:
                                    That is the mighty triumph.”
                                       dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
                                                 (5:119)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                  Allåh says: “This is a day in which
                  qåla ’llåhu hådhå yawmu
                  their truthfulness will profit the truthful
                  yanfa‹u ’ƒ-ƒådiqºna ƒidqu-hum:
       The scholars agree that this is a reference to the Day of Resurrection, so the
meaning is: “Their truthfulness in this world will profit them at the Resurrection.”1
Truthfulness will profit them only on that day, even though it is beneficial every day,
because that is when its reward will granted.2
       If somone obtains the legacy of his truthfulness in advance, in his worldly life, in
the form of popular approval, or leadership conferred upon him, or benefit acquired in
the form of prestige or wealth, he will receive no reward for his truthfulness in his
Otherworldly life, because the Lord of Truth (Glory be to Him) has declared that the
Day of Resurrection is the day in which “their truthfulness will profit the truthful.”3
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  for theirs are Gardens underneath which rivers flow,
                  la-hum jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
                  wherein they shall dwell forever,
                  khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
                  Allåh being well pleased with them,
                  raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
1   ar-Råzº (12/114)
2   al-Qur£ubº (6/379)
3   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/458)
                                                                                                 2

               and they being well pleased with Him.
               wa raæ« ‹an-h:
               That is the mighty triumph.”
               dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
        You must know that when Allåh (Exalted is He) announced that the truthfulness
of those who are truthful in this world will profit them at the Resurrection, He explained
the nature of that profit, which is the spiritual reward. The reality of the reward is that it
is a pure and permanent benefit, associated with exaltation, for His saying (Exalted is
He):
               for theirs are Gardens underneath which rivers flow
               la-hum jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
        —points out that the benefit is untainted by sorrows and anxieties, and His
saying (Exalted is He):
               wherein they shall dwell forever
               khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
        —is an indication of permanence. You must give careful consideration to this
subtle point, for whenever He mentions the reward, He says:
               wherein they shall dwell forever
               khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
       —and whenever He mentions the chastisement of the iniquitous among the
people of faith, He uses the term khul«d [dwelling] without adding “forever.”
       As for His saying (Exalted is He):
               Allåh being well pleased with them,
               raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
               and they being well pleased with Him.
               wa raæ« ‹an-h:
               That is the mighty triumph.”
               dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
        —this is an indication of exaltation in rank, according to the exoteric
theologians [mutakallimºn]. According to those whose spirits are illumined by the radiant
lights of Allåh’s Majesty (Exalted is He), hidden beneath His saying (Exalted is He):
               Allåh being well pleased with them,
               raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
               and they being well pleased with Him.
               wa raæ« ‹an-h:
      —there are wondrous secrets, the likes of which no pen can describe. May Allåh
make us worthy of them!
      As for His saying (Exalted is He):
               That is the mighty triumph.”
               dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
       —the majority opinion is that His use of the word “that [dhålika]” is in reference
to everything contained in His previous saying (Exalted is He):
               for theirs are Gardens underneath which rivers flow,
               la-hum jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
               wherein they shall dwell forever,
                                                                                           3

                 khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
                 Allåh being well pleased with them,
                 raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
                 and they being well pleased with Him.
                 wa raæ« ‹an-h:
         In my own opinion, the reference is specifically to His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Allåh being well pleased with them,
                 raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum
                 and they being well pleased with Him.
                 wa raæ« ‹an-h:
       —for it is definitely established, in the view of the masters of understanding
minds, that the Garden of Paradise with all that it contains, in relation to the good
pleasure of Allåh, is like non-existence in relation to existence. How can it be
otherwise, when the Garden of Paradise is the object of carnal desire, whereas good
pleasure is the attribute of the Lord of Truth? What affinity is there between the two?
The nature of the exoteric theologian may shudder at what is being said here, but
everyone is enabled to do that for which he was created.4
       As reported by Anas (may Allåh be well pleased with him), Allåh’s Messenger
(Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said about this [Qur›ånic verse]:
                 The Lord (Magnificent is His Majesty) will then manifest Himself to
them,            and He will say: “Ask of Me! Ask of Me and I shall give to you!” They
         will ask Him for His good pleasure, so He will say: “My good pleasure has
         allowed you to dwell in My abode, and has bestowed My gracious favour
         upon you, so ask and I shall give to you!” They will ask Him for His good
         pleasure, so He will prove to them that He is well pleased with them. Glory
         be to Him and Exalted is He!”
        This is the great triumph, than which there is none mightier. As Allåh (Exalted
is He) has said:
                 For the like of this, let the workers work.
                 li-mithli hådhå fa-l’-ya‹mali ’l-‹åmil«n. (37:61)
                 So after this let the strivers strive.
                 wa fº dhålika fa-l’-yatanåfasi ’l-mutanåfis«n. (83:26)5
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****




4   ar-Råzº (12/115)
5   Ibn Kathºr (2/167)
                                                                                                4


                                         22.
                                Wariness of This World
                               [al-ªadhr min ad-Dunyå]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                 The life of this world is nothing but a pastime and a sport.
                        wa ma ’l-¥ayåtu ’d-dunyå illå la‹ibun wa lahw:
                       The abode of the Hereafter is surely far better
                               wa la-’d-dåru ’l-åkhiratu khairun
                            for those who practise true devotion.
                                      li’lladhºna yattaq«n:
                                    So have you no sense?
                                         a-fa-lå ta‹qil«n.
                                              (6:32)
         •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 The life of this world is nothing but a pastime and a sport.
                 wa ma ’l-¥ayåtu ’d-dunyå illå la‹ibun wa lahw:
         Those who deny the Resurrection have a tremendous desire for this world and its
pleasures, so Allåh (Exalted is He) has revealed this Qur›ånic verse [åya] to draw
attention to the vile and sordid nature of those pleasures. Life in this world cannot be
considered blameworthy in and of itself, because it provides the only opportunity for
earning the blissful joys of the Hereafter.
         This admonition applies to the life of the believer and that of the unbeliever
alike. It refers to the pleasures enjoyed in this life, and the delights that are sought in
this life. When Allåh called them a pastime and a sport, He did so because the human
being enjoys himself while he is at play, but then, when the game is over, he is left with
nothing but regret. Likewise in the case of this life, there is nothing left at the end of it
but sorrow and regret.6
         The meaning of “a pastime and a sport” is “futility and illusion.” As Allåh
(Exalted is He) has said:
                 The life of this world is nothing but the comfort of illusion.
                 wa ma ’l-¥ayåtu ’d-dunyå illå matå‹u ’l-ghur«r. (3:185)
       Pastime and sport have nothing to do with the business of the Hereafter, for a
pastime is really just a waste of time, and sport is merely an amusement. That which
concerns the Hereafter is outside of them both.
       As reported by Ab« Sa‹ºd al-Khudrº (may Allåh be well pleased with him),
Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                This world is accursed, and accursed is what it contains, apart from the
         remembrance of Allåh, or what is conducive to the remembrance of Allåh.
         The scholar and the student are partners in the reward, and the rest of the
         people are a rabble in which there is nothing good.7



6   ar-Råzº (12/165)
7   al-Qur£ubº (6/414,415)
                                                                                                5

        According to Imåm al-Qushairº (may Allåh bestow His mercy upon him): “The
lower self has no share or portion in the reward this day [at the Resurrection], for it
belongs to this world. As for that which belongs to this world, it undoubtedly distracts
you from your Master. Reliance on it keeps your attention away from the Truth, so
attachment to it is unfortunate.”8
        As for the ignorant deniers of the Resurrection, their greatest error is the love of
this world, the illusion of its vanities, and the desire for its enjoyment. Allåh (Exalted is
He) has therefore drawn attention to its meanness, its lack of benefit, and the fact that
those inclined to enjoy its delights are none but those who are ignorant of the realities.
As for the masters of Reality, they know that all these worldly delights are adorned by
nothing other than the instigating self [an-nafs al-ammåra] and the Satanic nature, and
that, in actual fact, they have no reality worth considering.9
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  The abode of the Hereafter is surely far better
                  wa la-’d-dåru ’l-åkhiratu khairun
                  for those who practise true devotion.
                  li’lladhºna yattaq«n:
       Allåh (Exalted is He) has described the Hereafter as a superior benefit, and He
has told us that this superior benefit is available only to those who practise true
devotion, by abstaining from acts of disobedience and major sins. As for the unbeliever
and the profligate, it is not available to them, because this world, as far as they are
concerned, is better than the Hearafter. As the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him
peace) once said:
                 This world is the believer’s prison, and the unbeliever’s Garden of
          Paradise.10
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  So have you no sense?
                  a-fa-lå ta‹qil«n.
        That is to say: “Are you too heedless to understand which of the two things is
better?”
        This world is called ad-dunyå [lit., the lower (world)] because of its dunuww
[proximity] to the Hereafter, or because of its danå› [lowness].
        Allåh has made the Hereafter invisible to people’s eyes for the simple reason that,
if it were visible, they would not deny it, and the tests and trials would be eliminated.
As it is, He has made that which is on the earth an attraction, for the purpose of testing,
and the real meaning of this world [ad-dunyå] is that which distracts you from your
Lord.11
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.


8   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/468)
9   Shaikh Zåda (2/162)
10   ar-Råzº (12/165–7)
11   R«¥ al-bayån (3/23)
                                                                                           6

       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                           *****

                                          23.
                                The Fear of Wrongdoing
                                [al-Khawf min aœ-¢ulm]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                     Those who believe and do not obscure their belief
                        alladhºna åman« wa lam yalbis« ºmåna-hum
                              by wrongdoing, theirs is safety,
                             bi-œulmin ulå›ika la-humu ’l-amnu
                                and they are rightly guided.
                                    wa hum muhtad«n.
                                           (6:82)

         •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who believe and do not obscure their belief by wrongdoing…
                 alladhºna åman« wa lam yalbis« ºmåna-hum bi-œulmin…
       That is to say: “Those who devote their worship sincerely to Allåh—to Him
Alone, no partner has He—and who do not associate anything with Him, they will be
safe on the Day of Resurrection, and they are rightly guided in this world and the
Hereafter.”
       ‹Abdu’llåh ibn Mas‹«d (may Allåh be well pleased with him) is reported as
having said: “When this Qur›ånic verse [åya] was revealed:
                 Those who believe and do not obscure their belief by wrongdoing…
                 alladhºna åman« wa lam yalbis« ºmåna-hum bi-œulmin…
       —people found it disturbing, so they said: ‘O Messenger of Allåh, which of us
has not wronged himself?’ He replied: ‘It does not mean what you suppose. Surely you
have heard what the righteous servant [Luqmån] said:
                 “O my dear son, ascribe no partners to Allåh;
                 yå bunayya lå tushrik bi’llåh:
                 ascribing partners to Him is a tremendous wrong.”
                 inna ’sh-shirka la-œulmun ‹aœºm. (31:13)
         “‘It [wrongdoing] only means shirk [attributing partners to Allåh].’”12
        Jarºr ibn ‹Abdi’llåh (may Allåh be well pleased with him) is reported as having
said: “We went out together with Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him
peace), and when we had left the city of Medina, a mounted man came riding towards
us. Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) said: ‘This rider seems to be
looking for you!’ The man stopped when he reached us and greeted us with the
salutation of peace, so we saluted him in return. The Prophet (Allåh bless him and give

12   Reported by al-Bukhårº.
                                                                                               7

him peace) then asked him: ‘Where have you come from?’ The man said: ‘From my
wife, my children and my tribe.’ The following exchanges thereupon ensued:
       “‘Where do you intend to go?’
       “‘I am looking for Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace).’
       “‘You have already found him!’
       “‘O Messenger of Allåh, teach me the meaning of faith [ºmån].’
       “‘It means that you bear witness that there is no god but Allåh, and that
Mu¥ammad is Allåh’s Messenger, that you perform the ritual prayer, that you pay the
alms-due, that you keep the fast of Ramaæån, and that you perform the Pilgrimage to the
House [of Allåh].’
       “‘I have confessed [my faith].’
        “At that moment, his camel stuck its foot into a large rat-hole. His camel
tumbled and the man fell to the ground. He landed on the crown of his head, so he died.
Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) exclaimed: ‘I need help with
the man!’ so to him rushed ‹Ammår ibn Yåsir and ªudhaifa ibn al-Yamån (may Allåh be
well pleased with them). They made him sit down and they said: ‘O Messenger of
Allåh, the man’s life has been taken away!’ Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give
him peace) turned away from them, then he said to them: ‘Did you notice how I turned
away from the man? That was because I saw two angels filling his mouth with the fruits
of the Garden of Paradise, so I knew that he died hungry.’
        “Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) then went on to say:
‘This is one of those mentioned by Allåh (Almighty and Glorious is He), when He said:
                 Those who believe and do not obscure their belief by wrongdoing…
                 alladhºna åman« wa lam yalbis« ºmåna-hum bi-œulmin…
       “Then he said: ‘Attend to your brother,’ so we carried him to the water, bathed
him, embalmed him and shrouded him, then carried him to the grave. Allåh’s
Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) came and sat at the edge of the grave,
and he said: ‘Bury him and do not mourn, for the burial is our concern and mourning is
the concern of others.’”13
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 theirs is safety, and they are rightly guided.
                 ulå›ika la-humu ’l-amnu wa hum muhtad«n.
       Those referred to are those who believe and do not obscure their belief by
wrongdoing. On the Day of Resurrection, theirs will be safety from the Fire of Hell. The
expression wa hum muhtad«n means: “and they are on the path of right guidance.”14
       As reported by ‹Abdu’llåh ibn Sakhbara (may Allåh be well pleased with him),
Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 If someone receives a gift, he must be thankful. If a gift is withheld from
          him, he must be patient. If he does wrong, he must seek forgiveness. If he
          is wronged, he must forgive.
       He then fell silent, so they asked: “O Messenger of Allåh, what is his reward?”
He replied:
                 theirs is safety, and they are rightly guided.

13   Ibn Kathºr (2/206,207)
14   al-Khåzin (2/31)
                                                                                               8

                 ulå›ika la-humu ’l-amnu wa hum muhtad«n.15
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                           *****

                                         24.
                                Abstaining from Sin,
                            both Outwardly and Inwardly
                          [Tark al-Ithm ¢åhiran wa Bå£inå]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                                 Forsake the outer aspect of sin,
                                      wa dhar« œåhira ’l-ithmi
                               and the inner aspect of it as well.
                                           wa bå£ina-h:
                          Those who gather sin will be recompensed
                          inna ’lladhºna yaksib«na ’l-ithma sa-yujzawna
                                for that which they have earned.
                                      bi-må kån« yaqtarif«n.
                                              (6:120)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 Forsake the outer aspect of sin, and the inner aspect of it as well.
                 wa dhar« œåhira ’l-ithmi wa bå£ina-h:
        That is to say: “O believers, forsake both external sin and internal sin.” What is
meant by sin [ithm] is disobedience in all its forms, because these two aspects are relevant
in every case. Sin includes that which is committed openly and that which is committed
secretly, for it is equally applicable to the actions of the heart and those of the physical
organs. The actions of the physical organs are external, like words and deeds, while the
actions of the heart are internal, like corrupt beliefs and false convictions.
        The reality of the outer aspect of sin is the quest for the bounties of this world,
and its inner aspect is the predilection for the bounties of the Hereafter. That is because
each of them causes the servant to desert the presence of the Master.
        Just as Allåh (Exalted is He) has created an exterior for the human being, in the
shape of a physical body, and an interior in the form of a spiritual heart, He has likewise
given sin an external aspect, consisting of every word and deed that conforms to natural
instinct, as opposed to the Sacred Law, and an internal aspect, comprising every feature
of animal, predatory and Satanic character, for which the lower self has a natural
propensity.
                 Forsake the outer aspect of sin, and the inner aspect of it as well.
                 wa dhar« œåhira ’l-ithmi wa bå£ina-h:

15   Ibn Kathºr (2/207)
                                                                                                 9


        —is a way of saying: “Abstain from naturally instinctive actions, by practising
the actions prescribed by the Sacred Law, and abstain from the blameworthy
characteristics of the lower self, by adopting the characteristics of angelic spirituality.”16
        According to one interpretation: “The outer aspect of sin is that which is
apparent to other people, while the inner aspect of sin is a secret between you and Allåh,
a secret of which no creature has any awareness.”
        It is also said to mean: “I have showered blessings upon you both outwardly and
inwardly, so abandon sin both outwardly and inwardly, for thankfulness requires the
recipient of the blessing to refrain from using it for the purpose of sin and
disobedience.”17 This level is attainable only by someone who practises true devotion
and active goodness. As Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                  Then practise true devotion, and be active in goodness.
                  thumma ’ttaqaw wa a¥san«:
                  Allåh loves those who are active in goodness.
                  wa ’llåhu yu¥ibbu ’l-mu¥sinºn. (5:93)18
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  Those who gather sin will be recompensed
                  inna ’lladhºna yaksib«na ’l-ithma sa-yujzawna
                  for that which they have earned.
                  bi-må kån« yaqtarif«n.
        This means: “As for those who do what Allåh has forbidden them to do, and
commit what He has made unlawful to them, such as acts of disobedience, they will be
recompensed in the Hereafter for the sins they have gathered in this world.” In the
obvious sense, this statement refers to the punishment of the sinner, and it applies only
to those who do not repent, because, as the Muslims unanimously agree, if the servant
repents his sin with a genuine repentance, he will not be punished. The people of the
Sunna have added to that, for they have said: “If the sinner does not repent, his fate
depends on the Divine Will. If Allåh wishes, He will punish him, and if He wishes, He
will pardon him by His gracious favour and His noble generosity.”19
        You must therefore know that all who are disobedient are at risk, for their fate
depends on the Divine Will. Even the obedient cannot tell what their final outcome
will be. O disobedient sinner, you must not be deluded, for providential care is not
bestowed on every disobedient sinner, and you cannot know for sure that you are one of
those whom Allåh (Exalted is He) intends to pardon.20
        We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
        Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.


16   R«¥ al-bayån (3/94)
17   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/497,498)
18   al-Qur£ubº (7/74)
19   al-Khåzin (2/48)
20   R«¥ al-bayån (3/94)
                                                                                             10

                                          *****

                                          25.
                        Preferment in the Bestowal of Blessings
                               [al-Ikhtiyår fi ’n-Ni‹am]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                  He is the One who has placed you as viceroys of the earth
                           wa Huwa ’lladhº ja‹ala-kum khalå›ifa ’l-aræi
                      and has exalted some of you in rank above others,
                           wa rafa‹a ba‹æa-kum fawqa ba‹æin darajåtin
                      so that He may try you by what He has given you.
                                 li-yabluwa-kum fº må åtå-kum:
                              Your Lord is Swift in punishment,
                                  inna Rabba-ka Sarº‹u ’l-‹iqåbi
                         and He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
                                wa inna-hu la-Ghaf«run Ra¥ºm.
                                            (6:165)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 He is the One who has placed you as viceroys of the earth,
                 wa Huwa ’lladhº ja‹ala-kum khalå›ifa ’l-aræi
                 and has exalted some of you in rank above others
                 wa rafa‹a ba‹æa-kum fawqa ba‹æin darajåtin
        This means that Allåh (Exalted is He) has distinguished between the states of
His servants, for He has placed one of them above another in character, provision,
nobility, intelligence, strength and dignity. He has separated them into the good and
the bad, the rich and the poor, the noble and the lowly, the learned and the ignorant,
the strong and the weak. This differentiation among creatures is not due to
incompetence, ignorance or stinginess on His part, for Allåh (Glory be to Him and
Exalted is He) is utterly exempt from the attributes of deficiency. It is only for the
purpose of trial and testing.21
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 so that He may try you by what He has given you.
                 li-yabluwa-kum fº må åtå-kum:
        That is to say: “so that He may examine you in connection with what He
bestowed upon you, and put you to the test thereby, in order to try the rich man in his
wealth and question him about his thankfulness, and try the poor man in his poverty and
question him about his patience.” As reported in the »a¥º¥ of Muslim, on the authority
of Ab« Sa‹ºd al-Khudrº (may Allåh be well pleased with him), Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh
bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 This world is sweet and green. If Allåh appoints you as viceroys therein,
          He is watching what you do. You must therefore be wary of this world, and



21   al-Khåzin (2/72)
                                                                                              11

          be wary of women, for the first temptation of the Children of Israel was
          connected with women.22
       The responsible person will either fall short in discharging his responsiblities, or
he will fulfil them amply. In the first case, his alarm is sounded by Allåh’s saying
(Exalted is He):
                 Your Lord is Swift in punishment
                 inna Rabba-ka Sarº‹u ’l-‹iqåbi
        He has qualified the punishment with swiftness, because what is coming is near at
hand. In the second case, where the person concerned performs those acts of obedience
in ample measure, he is notified of honourable treatment and encouragement, by His
saying (Exalted is He):
                 and He is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.
                 wa inna-hu la-Ghaf«run Ra¥ºm.
        That is to say: “He forgives sins and conceals faults in this world, with the
covering of His gracious favour, His noble generosity and His mercy, and in the
Hereafter by showering him with His many kinds of blessings.”
        As an explanation of pardon and warning, of encouragement and intimidation,
this statement is so complete—and His is the wisdom in the matter—like His saying
(Exalted is He):
                 We have shared out among them their livelihood
                 Na¥nu qasamnå baina-hum ma‹ºshata-hum
                 in the life of this world,
                 fi ’l-¥ayåti ’d-dunyå
                 and raised some of them above others in rank,
                 wa rafa‹nå ba‹æa-hum fawqa ba‹æin darajåtin
                 so that some of them may take servitude from others.
                 li-yattakhidha ba‹æu-hum ba‹æan sukhriyyå. (43:32)
          —that no addition to it is possible.23
      Many are the connections that Allåh (Exalted is He) has made in the Qur›ån
between these two attributes [of pardon and punishment], as in His saying (Exalted is
He):
                 But your Lord is Rich in pardon for human beings,
                 wa inna Rabba-ka la-Dh« maghfiratin
                 despite their wrongdoing,
                 li’n-nåsi ‹alå œulmi-him
                 and your Lord is Stern in punishment.
                 wa inna Rabba-ka la-Shadºdu ’l-‹iqåb. (13:6)
          —and His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Announce to My servants
                 nabbi› ‹ibådº
                 that I am the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate,
                 annº Ana ’l-Ghaf«ru ’r-Ra¥ºm.
                 and that My torment is the painful torment.

22   Ibn Kathºr (2/268)
23   ar-Råzº (14/12)
                                                                                             12

                 wa anna ‹adhåbº huwa ’l-‹adhåbu ’l-alºm. (15:49,50)
        We could cite other Qur›ånic verses [åyåt] referring to encouragement and
intimidation.
        He sometimes invites His servants to Him with encouragement, by describing the
Garden of Paradise and what is available in His presence. He sometimes invites them to
Him by means of intimidation, by mentioning the Fire of Hell and its torment, and the
Resurrection and its terrors. He sometimes uses both means, in order to give each its full
effect.
        May Allåh include us among those who obediently comply with what He has
commanded, who refrain from what He has forbidden and prohibited, and who believe
Him in all that He has made known. He is surely Near, Responsive, Attentive to
supplication, Generous, Noble and Ever-Giving.
        As reported by Ab« Huraira (may Allåh be well pleased with him), Allåh’s
Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 If the believer knew what punishment Allåh has at His disposal, none
          would dare hope for His Garden of Paradise. If the unbeliever knew what
          mercy Allåh has at His disposal, none would despair of the Garden of
          Paradise. Allåh has created a hundred mercies, one of which He has set
          among His creatures, so they may treat one another mercifully, while
          ninety-nine are with Allåh.24
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                          *****




24   Ibn Kathºr (2/268)
                                                                                              13




                                      27.
                       Some Characteristics of the Prophet
                            [min Akhlåq an-Nabº]
            In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                            Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                        Keep to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness,
                            khudhi ’l-‹afwa wa ’›mur bi’l-‹urfi
                           and turn away from the ignorant.
                                  wa a‹riæ ‹ani ’l-jåhilºn.
                    And if an incitement from the Devil incites you,
                    wa immå yanzaghanna-ka mina ’sh-shai£åni nazghun
                              then seek refuge with Allåh.
                                    fa-’sta‹idh bi’llåh:
                            He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
                                 inna-hu Samº‹un ‹Alºm.
                        As for the righteous, when a visitation
                      inna ’lladhºna ’ttaqaw idhå massa-hum £å›ifun
                              from the devil disturbs them,
                                     mina ’sh-shai£åni
                 they have only to remember, for then they see clearly.
                            tadhakkar« fa-idhå-hum mubƒir«n.
                                        (7:199–201)

       •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
               Keep to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness,
               khudhi ’l-‹afwa wa ’›mur bi’l-‹urfi
               and turn away from the ignorant.
               wa a‹riæ ‹ani ’l-jåhilºn.
        This Qur݌nic verse consists of three injunctions, containing the principles of the
Sacred Law with regard to things that are commanded and things that are forbidden.
His saying (Exalted is He):
               Keep to forgiveness
               khudhi ’l-‹afwa
       —includes reconnecting those who break away, the pardoning of sinners, and
gentle treatment of the believers, as well as other characteristics of the obedient
servants. His saying (Exalted is He):
               and enjoin kindness
               wa ’›mur bi’l-‹urfi
       —includes the preservation of family ties, true devotion to Allåh with regard to
what is lawful and what is unlawful, the modest lowering of the eyes, and preparation for
the abode of the Hereafter. His saying (Exalted is He):
               and turn away from the ignorant.
                                                                                             14

                  wa a‹riæ ‹ani ’l-jåhilºn.
        —includes the incentive to adhere to knowledge, to shun those guilty of
wrongdoing and injustice, to refrain from quarrelling with fools, and to equate the
ignorant with the simple-minded, as well as other praiseworthy virtues and rightly guided
actions.
        As related by Sufyån ibn ‹Uyaina, ash-Sha‹bº said: “Gabriel (peace be upon him)
came down to the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace), who said to him:
‘What is this about, O Gabriel?’ He replied: ‘I do not know, until I ask the All-
Knowing.’ (In one version, he said: ‘I do not know, until I ask my Lord.’) He went
away for a while, then came back and said: ‘Allåh (Exalted is He) is commanding you to
pardon those who do you wrong, to give to those who deprive you, and to reconnect
those who part from you.”25
        One of the special features of Allåh’s custom, where kindness is concerned, is the
fact that He commanded His Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) to adopt it.
As we learn from the traditional report, the believer has received a good character from
Allåh, and the greater the offence committed, the finer and more perfect should be the
pardon granted. As for the pardoning of young folk and employees, the extent thereof
will depend on the degree of kindness to which the servant has attained. The Prophet
(Allåh bless him and give him peace) said, in connection with the wounds inflicted on
him in the battle of U¥ud:
                  O Allåh, forgive my people, for they do not know!26
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  Keep to forgiveness
                  khudhi ’l-‹afwa
       According to the linguists: “The term ‹afw signifies gracious favour, and that
which is not motivated by affectation. It includes refraining from harshness in
everything connected with property rights. It also includes good-natured behaviour in
dealing with people, and refraining from coarseness and uncouthness.”
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  and enjoin kindness
                  wa ’›mur bi’l-‹urfi
        The term ‹urf, like its synonym ma‹r«f, applies to everything of which the
fulfilment is known [‹urifa] to be essential, and the existence of which is known to be
better than its non-existence. He has commanded and encouraged kindness, and
forbidden and discouraged unkindness, yet some of the ignorant may still engage in
stupidity and abuse, so Allåh (Exalted is He) has said at the end of the Qur›ånic verse:
                  and turn away from the ignorant.
                  wa a‹riæ ‹ani ’l-jåhilºn.27
       According to Ibn ‹Abbås (may Allåh be well pleased with him and his father):
“‹Uyaina ibn ªaƒan ibn ªudhaifa arrived, so he lodged with his brother’s son, al-ªurr
ibn Qais, who was a member of the group close to ‹Umar. The Qur›ån-reciters used to
attend the meetings and consultations held by ‹Umar (may Allåh be well pleased with
25   al-Qur£ubº (7/344,345)
26   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/597,598)
27   ar-Råzº (15/78)
                                                                                             15

him), whether they were middle-aged or young men, so ‹Uyaina said to his nephew: ‘O
son of my brother, you enjoy recognition in the presence of this Commander, so get me
permission to meet him.’ He replied: ‘I shall gladly seek permission on your behalf.’”
        Ibn ‹Abbås (may Allåh be well pleased with him and his father) went on to say:
“When al-ªurr sought permission for ‹Uyaina, ‹Umar (may Allåh be well pleased with
him) agreed to receive him, so he entered his presence and said: ‘Alas, O [‹Umar] Ibn
al-Kha££åb! By Allåh, you do not treat us with munificence, and you do not judge
between us with justice!’ ‹Umar (may Allåh be well pleased with him) was so enraged
that he threatened to attack him, so al-ªurr said to him: “O Commander of the
Believers, Allåh (Exalted is He) has said to His Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him
peace):
                 Keep to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness,
                 khudhi ’l-‹afwa wa ’›mur bi’l-‹urfi
                 and turn away from the ignorant.
                 wa a‹riæ ‹ani ’l-jåhilºn.
       —and this is one of the ignorant!’ By Allåh, ‹Umar did not disregard it when it
was recited to him, and he restrained his temper in the presence of the Book of Allåh
(Almighty and Glorious is He).”28
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And if an incitement from the Devil incites you,
                 wa immå yanzaghanna-ka mina ’sh-shai£åni nazghun
                 then seek refuge with Allåh.
                 fa-’sta‹idh bi’llåh:
         The Devil’s incitement [nazgh] is an expression signifying his whispering and
insinuation in the heart, by which he tempts the human being to commit sinful acts of
disobedience, especially when anger is rampant. As for seeking refuge with Allåh in this
situation, the refuge-seeker must contemplate the splendour of Allåh’s blessings upon
him, and the severity of His punishment. Each of these two matters should persuade him
to shun the demand of natural instinct, and to comply with the commandment of the
Sacred Law.29
         Although this is addressed to the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace),
it is intended for his Community, and the injunction to seek refuge is particularly meant
for them. In the view of this spiritual pauper (may Allåh the All-Powerful preserve
him), this is corroborated by the saying of one of the saints of his Community, Ab«
Sulaimån ad-Dårånº (sanctified be his innermost being): “Allåh has created no creature
more despicable to me than [the Devil] Iblºs. If Allåh had not commanded me to seek
refuge from him, I would never have sought refuge from him.” It is also confirmed by
what another said, when he was asked: “How is your struggle with the Devil?” He said:
“And what is the Devil? We are a set of people who have entrusted our concerns to
Allåh, so He has protected us from all those beneath Him.” If this is the attitude of the
saint, what do you suppose the Prophet’s attitude to be?
         You must also know that anger for anything but Allåh’s sake is one of the Devil’s
incitements, and that it is calmed by seeking refuge. As reported by al-Bukhårº and
Muslim, the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once saw a man disputing
with his brother. His face was flushed and his jugular veins were swollen from anger, so
he said (Allåh bless him and give him peace):

28   Ibn Kathºr (2/369,370)
29   ar-Råzº (15/79,80)
                                                                                               16

                  I know a sentence which, if he were to utter it, would relieve him of what
          is bothering him. If only he would say: “I take refuge with Allåh from the
          Devil,” he would be relieved of what is bothering him.30
         If a trace of the Devil’s whisperings lurks in your inner being, you must seek
refuge with Allåh, so that He will come to your rescue with the best of enabling grace. If
any tempting notion penetrates your breast, you must seek refuge with Allåh, so that He
will relieve you of every unfortunate consequence. If you experience an intermission in
the process of dedicated striving, you must seek refuge with Allåh, so that He will assist
you by perpetuating His blessings. If you come to a halt in your progress towards the
point of connection, you must seek refuge with Allåh, so that He will assist you by
causing the search for the Truth to continue. If you lack any of the means of drawing
near, you must seek refuge with Allåh, so that He will connect you firmly to Him.31
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.
                  inna-hu Samº‹un ‹Alºm.
        This indicates that seeking refuge with the tongue is not effective, unless
knowledge of the real meaning of seeking refuge is present in the heart. It is as if He has
said (Exalted is He): “Utter the plea for refuge with your tongue, for I am All-Hearing,
and consider the real meanings of seeking refuge with your mind and your heart, for I am
All-Knowing of what is within your conscience.” In reality, verbal speech is useless and
ineffective without the conscious awareness of the heart.32
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  As for the righteous, when a visitation from the Devil disturbs them,
                  inna ’lladhºna ’ttaqaw idhå massa-hum £å›ifun mina ’sh-shai£åni
                  they have only to remember, for then they see clearly.
                  tadhakkar« fa-idhå-hum mubƒir«n.
        Even the righteous may be disturbed by the visitation of the Devil, but only
during those times when they neglect the remembrance of Allåh. If they constantly
remembered Allåh with their hearts, the Devil’s visitation would not disturb them, for
the Devil does not come close to a heart that is witnessing Allåh, because he is kept at
bay while that is happening. Nevertheless, for every marksman there is an occasional
miss, for every scholar there is an occasional lapse, for every worshipful servant there is
an occasional hardship, for every purposeful seeker there is an occasional intermission,
for every traveller there is an occasional halt, and for every master of insight there is an
occasional veil.33
        We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
        Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.


30   R«¥ al-bayån (3/299)
31   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/598)
32   ar-Råzº (15/80)
33   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/598,599)
                                                                                             17

                                        *****

                                      28.
                  The Proprieties of Listening to the Qur݌n
                         [Ádåb Istimå‹ al-Qur›ån]
            In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                            Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                   And when the Qur݌n is read aloud, give ear to it
                       wa idhå quri›a ’l-Qur›ånu fa-’stami‹« la-hu
                   and pay attention, so that you may receive mercy.
                            wa anƒit« la‹alla-kum tur¥am«n.
                       And remember your Lord within yourself,
                              wa ’dhkur Rabba-ka fº nafsi-ka
                       humbly and with awe, below your breath,
                   taæarru‹an wa khºfatan wa d«na ’l-jahri mina ’l-qawli
                            in the morning and the evening.
                                 bi’l-ghuduwwi wa ’l-åƒåli
                       Do not be one of those who are neglectful.
                               wa lå takun mina ’l-ghåfilºn.
                             Those who are with your Lord
                               inna ’lladhºna ‹inda Rabbi-ka
                          are not too proud to do Him service,
                              lå yastakbir«na ‹an ‹ibådati-hi
                   but they glorify Him and fall prostrate before Him.
                          wa yusabbi¥«na-hu wa la-hu yasjud«n.
                                         (7:204–6)

       •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
               And when the Qur݌n is read aloud, give ear to it and pay attention
               wa idhå quri›a ’l-Qur›ånu fa-’stami‹« la-hu wa anƒit«
      Allåh (Glory be to Him) has mentioned the tremendous importance of the
Qur݌n in His saying (Exalted is He):
               This is insight from your Lord,
               hådhå baƒå›iru min Rabbi-kum
               and a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.
               wa hudan wa ra¥matun li-qawmin yu›min«n. (7:203)
        —and He has now followed that with an account of the reverence required
during its recitation, for He has said (Glory be to Him):
               And when the Qur݌n is read aloud, give ear to it
               wa idhå quri›a ’l-Qur›ånu fa-’stami‹« la-hu
       That is to say: “When it is recited to you, O believers, you must listen to it with
your ears, so that you may understand its meanings and contemplate its exhortations:
               and pay attention
               wa anƒit«
                                                                                             18

         —at the time of its recitation.” Paying attention means settling down calmly to
listen.34 His saying (Glorious is His remembrance):
                  give ear to it and pay attention
                  fa-’stami‹« la-hu wa anƒit«
        —can also be understood to mean: “listen with the ear of faith and belief, and
pay attention by guarding your thoughts against the objections of rebuttal and the
demands of curiosity.” If someone’s innermost being is intent on realization, his heart
must be committed to belief. Paying attention in the outer sense is one of the proprieties
observed by the people of the door, while paying attention with the inner faculties is one
of the proprieties observed by the people of the carpet.35
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  so that you may receive mercy.
                  la‹alla-kum tur¥am«n.
       This means: “so that your Lord may treat you mercifully, because of your
compliance with His commands and His prohibitions.” The benefit of remembrance can
only be perfected through this attribute.36
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  And remember your Lord within yourself
                  wa ’dhkur Rabba-ka fº nafsi-ka
         In this Qur݌nic verse, He has commanded the servant to remember his Lord
within himself, and to remember Him with true knowledge of the meanings of the
expressions of remembrance, which he pronounces with his tongue, while evoking the
attributes of Majesty, Might, Glory and Grandeur. That is because remembrance with
the tongue, if it is devoid of remembrance with the heart, is of no avail. As the Islåmic
jurists are unanimously agreed, if a man says: “I have bought and sold,” without knowing
the meanings of these words, and without understanding them at all, no contract of sale
is actually concluded. The same principle applies here.
         Since the perfection of the state of the human being depends on recognizing the
Might and Glory of Lordship and the humble abasement of servitude, Allåh (Exalted is
He) has commanded His Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) to remember
his Lord with humility. The first purpose is completely expressed in His saying (Exalted
is He):
                  And remember your Lord within yourself
                  wa ’dhkur Rabba-ka fº nafsi-ka
          —and the second purpose is completely expressed in His saying (Exalted is He):
                  humbly and with awe
                  taæarru‹an wa khºfatan
       This awe includes fear of shortcoming in deeds, fear of the ultimate conclusion,
and fear of what has gone before, since what will appear in the ultimate conclusion is
nothing but what has been foreordained at the very beginning.37

34   al-Khåzin (2/162)
35   La£å›if al-ishåråt (1/600)
36   al-Khåzin (2/163)
                                                                                            19


         •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 humbly and with awe
                 taæarru‹an wa khºfatan
        That is to say: “humbly and submissively.” If someone is said to act humbly
towards Allåh, it means that he engages in humble entreaty and submissiveness.
Humble entreaty is a matter of dedicated effort and sincerity in supplication. According
to one of those who truly know Allåh: “The ritual prayer is the best of movements,
fasting is the best of pauses, and humility in the structures of worshipful obedience
permits the revolution of the celestial spheres.”
         •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 below your breath
                 wa d«na ’l-jahri mina ’l-qawli
        That is to say: “speaking with an inaudible voice, for that is more conducive to
good contemplation.” When Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace)
saw ‹Umar reciting in a loud voice, he asked him about it and ‹Umar (may Allåh be well
pleased with him) replied: “I am arousing the somnolent and chasing the Devil away.”
The Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) said: “Lower your voice a little!” He
then approached Ab« Bakr (may Allåh be well pleased with him), and found him
reciting in a quiet voice, so he asked him about it and he replied: “I was making myself
heard by the One I was addressing.” The Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace)
said: “Raise your voice a little!”
        Among the Prophetic traditions collected by an-Nawawº, there are some
recommending audible remembrance, and others recommending its secretive
performance. Secrecy is preferable where there is a risk of ostentation, or of disturbing
those engaged in prayer or those who are sleeping. Audible remembrance is preferable in
other cases, because it involves more work, because its benefit extends to those within
hearing, and because it awakens the heart of its practitioner, concentrates his attention
on contemplation, directs his hearing towards it, drives away sleep, and makes him more
energetic.38
         •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 in the morning and the evening.
                 bi’l-ghuduwwi wa ’l-åƒåli
        He has singled out the morning and the evening for special mention, for the
following wise reasons: In the morning, the human being moves out of sleep, which is
like death, into wakefulness, which is like life. The whole world moves out of darkness,
which is a state of non-existence, into light, which is a state of existence. As for the
evening time, the opposite is the case, because the human being then moves out of life
into death, and the whole world moves out of pure light into sheer darkness. At these
two times, these two remarkable changes occur with irresistible force, and no one can
effect such alteration except the Deity [al-Ilåh] who is endowed with splendid wisdom
and limitless power. Because of this amazing wisdom, Allåh (Exalted is He) has
mentioned these two times specifically in His commandment.
         •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):

37   Shaikh Zåda (2/293,294)
38   R«¥ al-bayån (3/305,306)
                                                                                                20

                 Do not be one of those who are neglectful.
                 wa lå takun mina ’l-ghåfilºn.
          This means that His saying (Exalted is He):
                 in the morning and the evening.
                 bi’l-ghuduwwi wa ’l-åƒåli
       —implies that the remembrance must be practised at all times, while His saying
(Exalted is He):
                 Do not be one of those who are neglectful.
                 wa lå takun mina ’l-ghåfilºn.
       —indicates that the remembrance of the heart must be continual, and that the
human being must not neglect, not for a single instant, the evocation of Allåh’s Majesty
and Grandeur, to the full extent of human capacity and strength. You should also know
that His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And remember your Lord within yourself
                 wa ’dhkur Rabba-ka fº nafsi-ka
        —even though it is explicitly addressed to the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give
him peace), is of general relevance to all responsible servants, each one of whom has a
particular degree and a specific status, depending on the essential preparedness of his
articulate nature. As Allåh (Exalted is He) has said in describing the angels:
                 There is not one of us but has his known position.
                 wa må min-nå illå la-hu maqåmun ma‹l«m. (37:164)39
       According to the author of al-Kashshåf, the Shaikh who gives spiritual guidance
may sometimes instruct the novice to raise his voice, in order to rid his heart of the
notions rooted therein. In the words of the Prophetic tradition [¥adºth]:
                  Shall I not tell you what is better for you, and more meritorious than
          meeting your enemies in battle, so that you strike their necks and they
          strike your necks? The remembrance of Allåh!
        That is to say: “What is better for you than what he mentioned is the
remembrance of Allåh, because the reward for military combat and martyrdom in Allåh’s
cause is access to the Garden of Paradise, while the practitioner of remembrance is the
intimate companion of the Lord of Truth (Exalted is He).” As He has said [in the
Sacred Tradition]:
                 I am the intimate companion of him who remembers Me.
        The intimate companion must be witnessed, and the Lord of Truth is witnessed
by the practitioner of remembrance. Witnessing the Lord of Truth is superior to
obtaining the Garden, and that is why the vision comes as the perfection of that
blessing.
        The remembrance required of the servant is that he must remember Allåh with
his tongue. He must also be present with his heart, his spirit and all his faculties, so that
he is focused entirely on his Lord, free from distracting notions and detached from the
prattle of the lower self. Then, when that becomes his constant practice, the
remembrance should be transferred from his tongue to his heart. That remembrance


39   ar-Råzº (15/89)
                                                                                                21

should not cease, until the Lord of Truth manifests Himself to him from behind the
curtains of His invisibility.40
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who are with your Lord
                 inna ’lladhºna ‹inda Rabbi-ka
                 are not too proud to do Him service,
                 lå yastakbir«na ‹an ‹ibådati-hi
                 but they glorify Him and fall prostrate before Him.
                 wa yusabbi¥«na-hu wa la-hu yasjud«n.
        Having encouraged His Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) to
engage in remembrance, and to practise it diligently, Allåh has gone on to mention
further incentives, for He has said:
                 Those who are with your Lord
                 inna ’lladhºna ‹inda Rabbi-ka
                 are not too proud to do Him service
                 lå yastakbir«na ‹an ‹ibådati-hi
        That is to say: “Since the angels, with their incomparable nobility, their extreme
purity and innocence, and their freedom from the promptings of lust, anger, malice and
envy, are diligent in servitude, prostration, humility and submissiveness, it is all the more
important for the human being to be diligent in worshipful obedience, for he is afflicted
with the darkness of the realm of physicalities, subject to human nature and its
promptings.” It was for this reason that our master Jesus (peace be upon him) said:
                 And He has enjoined on me prayer and almsgiving
                 wa awƒå-nº bi’ƒ-ƒalåti wa ’z-zakåti
                 so long as I remain alive.
                 må dumtu ¥ayyå. (19:31)
       —and Allåh (Exalted is He) said to our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and
give him peace):
                 And serve your Lord, till the Certainty comes to you.
                 wa ’‹bud Rabba-ka ¥attå ya›tiya-ka ’l-yaqºn. (15:99)
       When mentioning their acts of worshipful obedience, He has begun with the fact
that they glorify Him, and you know that glorification [tasbº¥] is term for declaring that
Allåh (Exalted is He) is utterly exempt from all evil. He has followed that with the
reference to prostration, which relates to the actions of the members of the body. This
sequence indicates that worshipful obedience and servitude are rooted in the actions of
the heart, and from them branch out the actions of the members of the body.
       His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and fall prostrate before Him.
                 wa la-hu yasjud«n.
      —also conveys the sense of restriction, so it means that they do not prostrate
themselves before anyone other than Allåh.41



40   R«¥ al-bayån (3/307)
41   ar-Råzº (15/89,90)
                                                                                         22

       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****

                                          29.
                          Attributes of the Perfect Believers
                            [»ifåt Kummal al-Mu›minºn]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                         Those only are believers whose hearts quake
                                 innama ’l-mu›min«na ’lladhºna
                                   when Allåh is mentioned,
                             idhå dhukira ’llåhu wajilat qul«bu-hum
                        and when His revelations are recited to them,
                                wa idhå tuliyat ‹alai-him åyåtu-hu
                                   it increases them in faith,
                                        zådat-hum ºmånan
                            and in their Lord they put their trust.
                                wa ‹alå Rabbi-him yatawakkal«n.
                             Those who perform the ritual prayer
                                  alladhºna yuqºm«na ’ƒ-ƒalåta
                        and spend of what We have bestowed on them,
                               wa mimmå razaqnå-hum yunfiq«n.
                           those are they who are in truth believers.
                               ulå›ika humu ’l-mu›min«na ¥aqqå:
                              They have degrees with their Lord,
                                la-hum darajåtun ‹inda Rabbi-him
                           and forgiveness, and generous provision.
                                wa maghfiratun wa rizqun karºm.
                                            (8:2–4)
          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those only are believers
                 innama ’l-mu›min«na
       The meaning of “believers” is definitely “those who are perfect in belief,”
otherwise the restriction would not be valid.42
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 whose hearts quake when Allåh is mentioned
                 [a] ’lladhºna idhå dhukira ’llåhu wajilat qul«bu-hum


42   al-Ul«sº (9/165)
                                                                                                  23

        This means that the believer is only a believer if he is afraid of Allåh. It is similar
to His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Thereat creeps the flesh of those who fear their Lord.
                 taqsha‹irru min-hu jul«du ’lladhºna yakhshawna Rabba-hum. (39:23)
       According to the masters of real meanings: “There are two kinds of fear: the fear
of punishment and the fear of Majesty and Glory. As for the fear of punishment, it is
experienced by disobedient sinners. As for the fear of Majesty and Glory, it never leaves
the heart of any creature, whether he be an angel brought near [to the Lord], or a
Prophet sent as a Messenger.”43
       Suppose someone is about to commit a sinful act of disobedience, but he is told:
“Beware of Allåh,” so he abstains from it out of fear of His punishment. How does he
compare with someone who abstains at the mere mention of Him, without reference to
those attributes and actions of His that make it necessary to abstain, purely out of
reverence for His Majesty and in awe of Him?44
       It may be asked: “Allåh (Exalted is He) has said here:
                 whose hearts quake
                 wajilat qul«bu-hum
          —and He has said in another Qur›ånic verse:
                 Those who believe and whose hearts are tranquil
                 alladhºna åman« wa ta£ma›innu qul«bu-hum
                 in the remembrance of Allåh.
                 bi-dhikri ’llåh. (13:28)
      —so how can the two be reconciled?             Besides, He has said in yet another
Qur݌nic verse:
                 Then their flesh and their hearts soften
                 thumma talºnu jul«du-hum wa qul«bu-hum
                 at the remembrance of Allåh.
                 ilå dhikri ’llåh. (39:23)”
        Our answer will be as follows: Tranquillity comes about only through the joy of
certitude, and the expansion of the breast that is experienced with the affirmation of
Oneness, whereas quaking results only from the fear of punishment. There is no
incompatibility between these two states, for they are actually combined in one Qur݌nic
verse, in which He has said (Exalted is He):
                 Thereat creeps the flesh of those who fear their Lord,
                 mathåniya taqsha‹irru min-hu jul«du ’lladhºna yakhshawna Rabba-hum
                 then their flesh and their hearts soften
                 thumma talºnu jul«du-hum wa qul«bu-hum
                 at the remembrance of Allåh.
                 ilå dhikri ’llåh. (39:23)
        This means: “Their flesh creeps from fear of Allåh’s torment, then their flesh and
their hearts soften in hope of Allåh’s reward.”45


43   ar-Råzº (15/95)
44   R«¥ al-bayån (3/312)
45   ar-Råzº (15/96)
                                                                                             24

          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and when His revelations are recited to them,
                 wa idhå tuliyat ‹alai-him åyåtu-hu
                 it increases them in faith
                 zådat-hum ºmånan
        His revelations increase them in certitude and the feeling of tranquillity.
According to Ab« Huraira (may Allåh be well pleased with him): “Faith consists of
seventy odd branches, the loftiest of which is the testimony that there is no god but
Allåh, and the lowliest of which is clearing trouble from the path. The sense of shame is
also a branch of faith.” According to ‹Umar ibn ‹Abd al-‹Azºz (may Allåh be well
pleased with him): “Faith has customary practices [sunan], obligatory duties [farå‹iæ] and
sacred laws [sharå›i‹]. If someone observes them perfectly, he brings faith to perfection.
If someone does not observe them perfectly, he does not bring faith to perfection.”46
        On the basis of this Qur›ånic verse, and others of similar content, al-Bukhårº and
other leading authorities have concluded that faith can increase, and that it differs in
excellence in the hearts of believers. Such is the doctrine of the majority of the Islåmic
Community.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and in their Lord they put their trust.
                 wa ‹alå Rabbi-him yatawakkal«n.
        That is to say: “They hope for nothing apart from Him, they seek nothing but
Him, they take refuge only by His side, they do not look for their needs except from
Him, and they do not aspire to anything but Him. They know that whatever He wishes
will come to be, and that whatever He does not wish will not come to be. They know
that He is the Governor in complete control, Alone without partner, that there is no
challenge to His rule, and that He is Swift in reckoning.” This is why, according to
Sa‹ºd ibn Jubair: “Trust in Allåh is the epitome of faith.”47
        If the believer is confident of Allåh’s promise and His threat, he is one of those
who put their trust in Him, not in any other. This is the high degree and the noble
station, because the human being reaches the point where he no longer relies, in any of
his affairs, on anything but Allåh (Almighty and Glorious is He). This involves three
stages of development, where the actions of the heart are concerned: (1) quaking at the
mention of Allåh, (2) increase in faith at the recitation of the Qur›ån, and (3) absolute
trust in Allåh. After mentioning these three attributes, Allåh (Glory be to Him and
Exalted is He) has followed them with two attributes relating to the actions of the
members of the body:
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who perform the ritual prayer
                 alladhºna yuqºm«na ’ƒ-ƒalåta
                 and spend of what We have bestowed on them
                 wa mimmå razaqnå-hum yunfiq«n.
       This means: “They perform the prescribed ritual prayer, while observing its rules
and its essential elements at the proper times, and they spend their wealth for the
purposes commanded by Allåh.” That expenditure includes the cost of the alms-due

46   al-Kashshåf (2/142)
47   Ibn Kathºr (2/379)
                                                                                              25

[zakåt], the pilgrimage [¥ajj] and the sacred struggle [jihåd], as well as the expenditure
incurred in other works of righteousness and charity.48
        Without any doubt, these virtues and deeds of the heart and the body are
effective in purifying the heart, enlightening it with Divine insights, and enabling it to
obtain the Lordly gifts of grace and the lofty spiritual stations. The stronger and more
perfect the instrument becomes, the stronger and more perfect are the effects. The
weaker the instrument becomes, the weaker and less significant are the effects. Since
these virtues and deeds have different degrees and stages, the effects they produce are
likewise various, in terms of insights, gifts of grace and spiritual stations. That is the
import of His saying (Exalted is He):
                 They have degrees with their Lord
                 la-hum darajåtun ‹inda Rabbi-him
        The question may be asked: “If someone is inferior in degree, and he knows that
he is deprived of the lofty degrees obtained by one who is superior, his heart will ache
and his life will miserable. Surely that is incompatible with the fact that the reward is a
generous provision?”
        The answer to this will be: Each individual will be immersed in his particular
blessings, and that will prevent him from feeling malice and envy. As a general rule, the
conditions of the Hereafter are analogous only in name to the conditions of this world.49
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 those are they who are in truth believers.
                 ulå›ika humu ’l-mu›min«na ¥aqqå:
        That is to say: “Those endowed with these attributes are the believers who truly
believe.” As reported by al-ªåfiœ Abu ’l-Qåsim a£-¡abarånº, on the authority of al-
ªårith ibn Målik al-Anƒårº, the latter once passed by Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him
and give him peace), who said to him:
                 How are you now, O ªårith?
      He replied: “I am now a believer, truly.” The Prophet (Allåh bless him and give
him peace) then said to him:
                 Watch what you say! Everything has a reality, so what is the reality of
          your belief?
         He replied: “I have detached myself from this world, so I spend my night awake
and I go thirsty during my day. It is as if I see the Throne of my Lord appearing. It is as
if I see the people of the Garden exchanging friendly visits therein. It is as if I see the
people of the Fire exchanging feelings of malice therein.” The Prophet (Allåh bless him
and give him peace) then said, three times:
                 O ªårith, you really know, so persevere!50
       According to al-ªasan, a man once asked him: “Are you a believer?” He replied:
“There are two kinds of belief. If you are asking me about belief in Allåh, His angels, His
Books and His Messengers, and in the Last Day, the Garden, the Fire, the Resurrection


48   al-Khåzin (2/167)
49   Shaikh Zåda (2/296)
50   Ibn Kathºr (2/380)
                                                                                          26

and the Reckoning, in that case I am a believer. If you are asking me about His saying
(Exalted is He):
                 Those only are believers
                 innama ’l-mu›min«na
                 whose hearts quake when Allåh is mentioned
                 [a] ’lladhºna idhå dhukira ’llåhu wajilat qul«bu-hum
          —then, by Allåh, I do not know whether I am one of them or not!”51
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 They have degrees with their Lord
                 la-hum darajåtun ‹inda Rabbi-him
       That is to say: “They have dwellings and stations and degrees in the Gardens of
Paradise.”52
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and forgiveness, and generous provision.
                 wa maghfiratun wa rizqun karºm.
        What is meant by forgiveness is that Allåh will acquit them of their misdeeds.
As for generous provision, that is the bounty of the Garden of Paradise. According to
the theologians: “As for its being a generous provision, this indicates that those pure
and permanent benefits are linked to noble generosity and gracious favour, and all of
that combined is the definition of the reward.” According to those endowed with
insight: “What is meant by forgiveness is the removal of the darknesses caused by
preoccupation with anything other than Allåh. As for the generous provision, that
means the lights caused by total immersion in the intimate knowledge of Allåh and His
love.”53
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****




                                         30.
                            Guarding against Chastisements
                               [al-ªadhr min al-Fitan]
51   al-Kashshåf (2/142)
52   Ibn Kathºr (2/380)
53   ar-Råzº (15/100)
                                                                                               27


              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                           And guard yourselves against a chastisement
                                            wa ’ttaq« fitnatan
                                    which will not fall exclusively
                                 on those of you who are wrongdoers,
                            lå tuƒºbanna ’lladhºna œalam« min-kum kh僃a:
                           and know that Allåh is Severe in retribution.
                                 wa ’‹lam« anna ’llåha Shadºdu ’l-‹iqåb.
                                                  (8:25)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 And guard yourselves against a chastisement
                 wa ’ttaq« fitnatan
        Just as Allåh (Exalted is He) has warned the human being that a barrier may be
set between him and his heart, in His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And know that Allåh intervenes
                 wa ’‹lam« anna ’llåha ya¥«lu
                 between the man and his own heart,
                 baina ’l-mar›i wa qalbi-hi
                 and that it is He to whom you will be gathered.
                 wa anna-hu ilai-hi tu¥shar«n. (8:24)
       —He has likewise warned him to beware of chastisements. The meaning is:
“And beware of a chastisement which, if it descends upon you, will not be confined to
the wrongdoers exclusively, but will extend to you all, affecting both the righteous [ƒåli¥]
and the wicked [£åli¥].”54
       According to Ibn ‹Abbås (may Allåh be well pleased with him and his father):
“Allåh has commanded the believers not to let the reprobate settle in their midst, for the
ensuing torment will affect them all.”55
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 which will not fall exclusively
                 on those of you who are wrongdoers
                 lå tuƒºbanna ’lladhºna œalam« min-kum kh僃a:
         That is to say: “If it falls upon you, it will not befall the wrongdoers among you
exclusively, but will affect you all.”56 According to a report in the »a¥º¥ of Muslim,
Zainab bint Ja¥sh asked Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace): “O
Messenger of Allåh, shall we perish when the righteous are among us?” He told her:
“Yes, if wickedness is rife.”
         As reported in the »a¥º¥ of at-Tirmidhº, [the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give
him peace) once said]:


54   ar-Råzº (15/160)
55   al-Qur£ubº (7/391)
56   al-Kashshåf (2/152)
                                                                                                28

                  If people see the wrongdoer, but do not seize him by the hand, Allåh is
          likely to include them all in his punishment.
       As reported in the »a¥º¥ of al-Bukhårº and that of at-Tirmidhº, on the authority
of an-Nu‹mån ibn Bashºr, the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) also said:
                  The likeness of someone who observes the limits of Allåh, and someone
          who transgresses them, is as the likeness of people who draw lots aboard a
          ship, so its upper deck falls to some of them and its lower deck falls to some
          of them. When those on the lower deck drink from the water, they turn
          towards those above them, and they say: “If we only we had let them have
          a share in our good fortune, and had not harmed those above us!” If they
          leave them to their own devices, they will all perish, but if they take them
          by their hands, they will be saved, and all of them will be saved.
        According to this Prophetic tradition [¥adºth], all will be punished for the sins of
the few. It confirms the rule that punishment is due for failure to command what is right
and proper [ma‹r«f] and to forbid what is wrong and improper [munkar]. According to
our scholars: “When the chastisement is inflicted, all will perish.” That applies when
acts of disobedience are flagrant, reprehensible conduct is widespread, and nothing is
done to change things. If no change occurs, the believers who disapprove of the
situation with their hearts are obliged to migrate from that region and flee from it. Such
was the view maintained by the righteous predecessors [salaf] (may Allåh be well pleased
with them).
        The point may be raised: “Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                 And one burdened soul does not bear the burden of another.
                 wa lå taziru wåziratun wizrå ukhrå. (6:164)
                 Every soul is a pledge for what it has earned.
                 kullu nafsin bi-må kasabat rahºna. (74:38)
                 To its credit is that which it has earned,
                 la-hå må kasabat
                 and to its debit is what it has deserved.
                 wa ‹alai-hå ma ’ktasabat. (2:286)
        —and this surely means that no one is held accountable for the sin of another,
and that the punishment applies only to the person who commits the sin.”
        The answer is as follows: When people are flagrantly engaged in misconduct, all
those who witness it are strictly obliged to change it. If nothing is said about it, they are
all guilty of sinful disobedience, some because of what they do, and others because of
their tacit approval. In His judgement and His wisdom, Allåh has equated those who
tacitly approve with those who actively offend, so the punishment is equally applicable
to both.57
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and know that Allåh is Severe in retribution.
                 wa ’‹lam« anna ’llåha Shadºdu ’l-‹iqåb.
      That is to say: “for those who disobey His commandment, and likewise for those
who acquiesce when others transgress His prohibitions.”58

57   al-Qur£ubº (7/391–3)
58   al-Ul«sº (9/194)
                                                                                           29

       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                       *****

                                       31.
                             Frequenting the Mosques
                               [‹Imårat al-Masåjid]
            In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                            Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                      The only ones who frequent Allåh’s mosques
                              inna-må ya‹muru masåjida ’llåhi
                  will be those who believe in Allåh and the Last Day,
                          man åmana bi’llåhi wa ’l-yawmi ’l-åkhiri
                      and perform the prayer and pay the alms-due,
                            wa aqåma ’ƒ-ƒalåta wa åta ’z-zakåta
                                 and fear none but Allåh.
                                  wa lam yakhsha illa ’llåh:
                    Those may perhaps be among the rightly guided.
                        fa-‹aså ulå›ika an yak«n« mina ’l-muhtadºn.
                                            (9:18)

       •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
              The only ones who frequent Allåh’s mosques
              inna-må ya‹muru masåjida ’llåhi
              will be those who believe in Allåh
              man åmana bi’llåhi
       In this Qur݌nic verse, He has clearly stated that those entitled to frequent the
mosques are those who believe in Allåh. Belief in Allåh is a prerequisite for those who
frequent the mosques, because masjid [mosque] is a term for the place in which Allåh is
worshipped, so anyone who is not a believer in Allåh is barred from a place in which
Allåh is worshipped.
       •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
              and the Last Day
              wa ’l-yawmi ’l-åkhiri
        This means: “and believe in the Last Day, and that it will really come about.”
Frequenting the mosques is for the sake of the worshipful service of Allåh, and the
recompense for that service will only be paid in the Hereafter. If someone denies the
Hereafter, he does not worship Allåh and does not frequent a mosque for His sake.
        You may ask: “Why has He not mentioned belief in Allåh’s Messenger, though
belief in him is also a precondition of genuine faith?”
        My answer will be: Belief in Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him
peace) is included in belief in Allåh. If someone believes in Allåh and the Last Day, he
must inevitably believe in Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace),
                                                                                              30

because he is the source of his knowledge of belief in Allåh and the Last Day, since he is
the summoner thereto.59
       As the Qur݌nic verse also indicates, it is correct to attribute belief to those who
frequent the mosques, because Allåh (Glory be to Him) has linked it to those places and
He has related it to close attachment to them. According to one of the righteous
predecessors: “If you see a man frequenting the mosque, you must think well of him.”
As reported by at-Tirmidhº, on the authority of Ab« Sa‹ºd al-Khudrº (may Allåh be well
pleased with him), Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 If you see that a man attends the mosque on a regular basis, you must
credit           him with belief.60
       The Arabic term ‹imåra has two meanings: (1) “Frequenting” in the sense of
attending a place regularly and going there often, as when someone is said to “frequent”
the meeting held by so-and-so. (2) “Construction” in the sense of erecting a building.61
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and perform the prayer and pay the alms-due
                 wa aqåma ’ƒ-ƒalåta wa åta ’z-zakåta
       The whole purpose of frequenting the mosque is to perform the ritual prayer
within it, and anyone who frequents the mosque is sure to be someone who pays the
alms-due, since the alms-due is obligatory. Frequenting the mosque is a supererogatory
practice [nåfila], and a person should not engage in supererogatory practice unless he has
completely fulfilled the obligatory duty [farºæa] incumbent upon him.62
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and fear none but Allåh.
                 wa lam yakhsha illa ’llåh:
       This raises the question: “How can it be said: ‘and fear none but Allåh,’ when
the fact is that the believer is afraid of things that harm and injure him, such as the
darkness, savage beasts and the like, and he cannot help fearing those things?”
       Allåh knows best, of course, but the answer is probably as follows: Suppose Allåh
(Exalted is He) charges the servant with some duty connected with the religion, like the
pilgrimage and the sacred struggle, for instance, but something deters him from
performing that duty, by suggesting that he would suffer harm in the process, and that he
would lose some of his own rights. The servant should not to be afraid of losing his own
right. He should strive to discharge the right of Allåh (Exalted is He), from fear of His
wrath and His punishment, and He should not choose to please another, instead of
pleasing Allåh, from fear of offending that other. As Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                 What! Do you fear them?
                 a-takhshawna-hum:
                 Allåh has more right that you should fear Him.
                 fa-’llåhu A¥aqqu an takhshaw-hu. (9:13)
                 Do not fear them, but fear Me.

59   al-Khåzin (2/210)
60   al-Qur£ubº (8/90)
61   ar-Råzº (16/7)
62   al-Khåzin (2/210)
                                                                                             31

                 fa-lå takhåf«-hum wa khåf«-ni. (3:175)
       Fear of personal injuries is a natural instinct, which cannot be avoided. What
must be avoided is preferring one’s personal right to the right of Allåh (Exalted is He),
and considering the loss of personal good fortune to be like the torment of Allåh.63
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those may perhaps be among the rightly guided.
                 fa-‹aså ulå›ika an yak«n« mina ’l-muhtadºn.
        This is a way of banishing the polytheists [mushrikºn] from the stations of right
guidance, and cutting off their hopes of benefiting by their actions, which they regard
most highly, in which they take great pride, and of which they expect a good outcome.
As for those who believe, and combine their belief with practical observance of the
sacred laws, together with the sense of fear and caution, their guidance is poised between
“maybe [‹aså]” and “perhaps [la‹alla].” So how can the polytheists be convinced that
they are rightly guided, and worthy of the finest reward in the sight of Allåh?!
        In this and similar Qur݌nic statements, there is a gentle incentive for the
believers to give preference to fear over hope, and to beware of false assumptions about
Allåh (Exalted is He).64
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                          *****




                                         32.
                           Some Attributes of the Believers
                              [min »ifåt al-Mu›minºn]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.


63   Shaikh Zåda (2/325)
64   al-Kashshåf (2/180)
                                                                                                 32

                             And the believers, men and women,
                               wa ’l-mu›min«na wa ’l-mu›minåtu
                            are protecting friends one of another.
                                    ba‹æu-hum awliyå›u ba‹æ:
                              They enjoin what is right and fair
                                     ya›mur«na bi’l-ma‹r«fi
                          and they forbid what is wrong and unfair;
                                  wa yanhawna ‹ani ’l-munkari
                       and they establish worship and pay the alms-due,
                          wa yuqºm«na ’ƒ-ƒalåta wa yu›t«na ’z-zakåta
                           and they obey Allåh and His Messenger.
                                 wa yu£º‹«na ’llåha wa Ras«la-h:
                         As for these Allåh will have mercy on them.
                                 ulå›ika sa-yar¥amu-humu ’llåh:
                                 Allåh is Almighty, All-Wise.
                                   inna ’llåha ‹Azºzun ªakºm.
                      Allåh promises to the believers, men and women,
                          wa‹ada ’llåhu ’l-mu›minºna wa ’l-mu›minåti
                           Gardens underneath which rivers flow,
                              jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
                               wherein they will abide forever,
                                  khålidºna fº-hå wa masåkina
                            blessed dwellings in Gardens of Eden,
                                  £ayyibatan fº jannåti ‹Adn:
                          and greater yet good pleasure from Allåh.
                                wa riæwånun mina ’llåhi akbar:
                                 That is the mighty triumph.
                                dhålika huwa ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
                                            (9:71,72)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 And the believers, men and women,
                 wa ’l-mu›min«na wa ’l-mu›minåtu
                 are protecting friends one of another
                 ba‹æu-hum awliyå›u ba‹æ:
          That is to say: “They help and support one another.” As reported in the »a¥º¥:
                 The believer is for the believer like the structure of the body, one part of
          which supports another, and like the interknitting of his fingers.
                   The likeness of the believers, in their mutual affection and compassion, is
          the likeness of the single body. When one of its members complains, the
          rest of the body rallies to it with fever and insomnia.65
       The believers assist one another in acts of worshipful obedience, and they advise
one another to refrain from things that are forbidden, for they love one another for
Allåh’s sake. Their endeavour is Allåh’s sake. Their fellowship is for Allåh’s sake.
Their hostility is Allåh’s sake. They abandon their own interests for Allåh’s sake. They



65   Ibn Kathºr (2/486)
                                                                                               33

prefer Allåh’s good pleasure to their own desire. Such are those to whom Allåh grants
protection here and now, and on whom He will have mercy in the future.66
       After describing the believers as protecting friends one of another, Allåh
(Exalted is He) has added a commentary and explanation, for He has said:
                  They enjoin what is right and fair
                  ya›mur«na bi’l-ma‹r«fi
                  and they forbid what is wrong and unfair;
                  wa yanhawna ‹ani ’l-munkari
                  and they establish worship and pay the alms-due,
                  wa yuqºm«na ’ƒ-ƒalåta wa yu›t«na ’z-zakåta
                  and they obey Allåh and His Messenger.
                  wa yu£º‹«na ’llåha wa Ras«la-h:
       He has mentioned these five points, by which the believer is distinguished from
the hypocrite [munåfiq].67
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  As for these Allåh will have mercy on them.
                  ulå›ika sa-yar¥amu-humu ’llåh:
       That is to say: “He will bestow upon them the effects of His mercy in the form of
support and assistance, with absolute certainty, and He will deliver them from the
painful torment, whether it be the torment of the Fire of Hell, or the torment of
remoteness from the All-Compelling Sovereign, through admission to the Garden of
Paradise and the attainment of nearness and communion.” According to some of the
experts:
                  Allåh will have mercy on them.
                  sa-yar¥amu-humu ’llåh:
          —in five situations:
         1. In the throes of death and its agonies: He will make it easy for them to endure
the agonies of death, and He will keep their faith safe from Satan.
         2. In the grave and its murky darkness: He will illuminate their graves, and He
will keep them safe from the torment of the grave.
         3. At the reading of the record and its distressing contents [at the Resurrection]:
He will cause them to receive their record with their right hand, and He will erase their
bad deeds from their record, so that they will not be distressed by their bad deeds.
         4. At the Balance and the feelings of remorse it causes: He will weight the scales
in their favour.
         5. At the point of standing before Allåh and facing His questions: He will make
it easy for them to answer, and He will not take them to task for their faults.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  Allåh is Almighty
                  inna ’llåha ‹Azºzun
       That is to say: “He is Strong, Capable of empowering His friends and conquering
His enemies, and He is the Bestower of blessing for those who obey Him.”


66   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/45)
67   ar-Råzº (16/105)
                                                                                              34

                  All-Wise.
                  ªakºm.
        His judgements are based on the wisdom that results in the payment of dues to
those entitled to receive them, in the form of blessing for the people of obedience and
punishment for the people of disobedience. For the believers He has decreed the Garden
of Paradise, in return for their acceptance and affirmation of the Truth. For those who
are active in goodness, He has decreed communion [with Him], in return for their
seeking Allåh’s good pleasure in every situation, and their abandonment of everything
apart from Him. For the unbelievers and the hypocrites, He has decreed the Fire of Hell,
because of their denial of the Truth, their refusal to believe the Prophets, and their
worship of images and idols.68
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  Allåh promises to the believers, men and women,
                  wa‹ada ’llåhu ’l-mu›minºna wa ’l-mu›minåti
                  Gardens underneath which rivers flow,
                  jannåtin tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
                  wherein they will abide forever,
                  khålidºna fº-hå wa masåkina
                  blessed dwellings in Gardens of Eden.
                  £ayyibatan fº jannåti ‹Adn:
        He has promised the Garden of Paradise and blessed dwellings to them all. No
dwelling is blessed without the vision of the beloved, and every lover blesses his dwelling
with the vision of his beloved.69
        As recorded in the two »a¥º¥’s, Ab« ‹Imrån al-Jawnº related, on the authority of
Ab« Bakr ibn Abº M«så ‹Abdu’llåh ibn Qais al-Ash‹arº, that the latter heard from his
father that Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 There are two Gardens of which the vessels and their contents are made
of               gold. There are two Gardens of which the vessels and their contents are
          made of silver. Between the people and their seeing their Lord, there is
          only the veil of Grandeur over His Countenance in the Garden of Eden.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  And greater yet good pleasure from Allåh.
                  wa riæwånun mina ’llåhi akbar:
      That is to say: “Allåh’s good pleasure with them is even greater, more splendid
and more glorious than the bliss in which they find themselves.”70
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  That is the mighty triumph.
                  dhålika huwa ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
       This is a reference to the preceding account of the bliss of the Garden of Paradise
and good pleasure [from Allåh].71

68   R«¥ al-bayån (3/463,464)
69   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/45)
70   Ibn Kathºr (2/487,488)
71   al-Khåzin (2/246)
                                                                                             35


       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                        *****

                                       33.
                     Following the Righteous Predecessors
                           [Ittibå‹ as-Salaf aƒ-»åli¥]
            In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                            Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

               And the first to lead the way, the Emigrés and the Helpers,
                wa ’s-såbiq«na ’l-awwal«na mina ’l-Muhåjirºna wa ’l-Anƒåri
                        and those who followed them in goodness,
                             wa ’lladhºna ’ttaba‹«-hum bi-i¥sånin
                              Allåh is well pleased with them
                            and they are well pleased with Him,
                            raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum wa raæ« ‹an-hu
                         and He has made ready for them Gardens
                                  wa a‹adda la-hum jannåtin
               beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever.
                      tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
                                 That is the mighty triumph.
                                   dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
                                             (9:100)

       •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
              And the first to lead the way, the Emigrés and the Helpers
              wa ’s-såbiq«na ’l-awwal«na mina ’l-Muhåjirºna wa ’l-Anƒåri
        Allåh (Exalted is He) is declaring His satisfaction with the forerunners, meaning
the Emigrés, the Helpers and those who followed them in goodness, and their
satisfaction with Him, for having made ready for them the Gardens of Bliss and the bliss
everlasting. Woe, therefore, unto those who hate them or revile them, or hate or revile
any one of them, especially the Chief of the Companions after Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh
bless him and give him peace), the best and the finest of them, by whom I mean the
greatest Champion of the Truth, the supreme Caliph, Ab« Bakr ibn Abº Qu¥åfa (may
Allåh be well pleased with him).
        The forsaken sect of the Råfiæa are hostile towards the most excellent of the
Companions, whom they hate and revile. (Let us take refuge from that with Allåh!)
This proves that their minds are perverse and their hearts are degenerate. Where do
they stand in relation to belief in the Qur›ån, since they revile those with whom Allåh is
well-pleased? As for the people of the Sunna, they are well-pleased with those with
whom Allåh is well-pleased, friendly with those whom Allåh befriends, and hostile to
those whom Allåh treats with hostility. They are loyal followers, not heretical
                                                                                             36

innovators. This is why they are the successful ones, the party of Allåh and His
believing servants.72
        ªamºd ibn Ziyåd is reported as having said: “I said one day to Mu¥ammad ibn
Ka‹b al-Quraœº: ‘Will you tell me about the Companions of Allåh’s Messenger, with
regard to the misdeeds that occurred among them?’ He told me: ‘Allåh (Exalted is He)
has forgiven them all, and He has assigned the Garden of Paradise to them in His Book,
to those of them who act well and to those of them who misbehave.’ I then asked him:
‘At what point [in the Qur›ån] has He assigned to them the Garden of Paradise?’ He
replied: ‘Glory be to Allåh! You must surely have read His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And the first to lead the way, the Emigrés and the Helpers…
                 wa ’s-såbiq«na ’l-awwal«na mina ’l-Muhåjirºna wa ’l-Anƒåri…
        —and the rest of that verse [åya], so you must know that Allåh (Exalted is He)
has assigned the Garden of Paradise and His good pleasure to all the Companions of the
Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace), and that He has imposed a condition in
the case of the Successors.’ I said: ‘And what is that condition?’ He said: ‘He has
stipulated that they must follow them [the Emigrés and the Helpers] in goodness. That is
to say, they must emulate them in good deeds, or they must follow them in good speech.
They must not say anything bad about them, and they must not subject their conduct to
negative criticism.’” ªamºd ibn Ziyåd said: “It was as if I had never read this Qur›ånic
verse!”73
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and those who followed them in goodness
                 wa ’lladhºna ’ttaba‹«-hum bi-i¥sånin
       They are those who followed the path of the Emigrés and the Helpers in faith, in
migration [hijra] and in helpfulness, until Day of Resurrection. According to ‹A£å›:
“They are those who remember the Emigrés and the Helpers, invoke Allåh’s mercy upon
them, pray for them, and mention their virtues.” As reported by al-Bukhårº and Muslim,
on the authority of Ab« Sa‹ºd al-Khudrº (may Allåh be well pleased with him), Allåh’s
Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said:
                 Do not revile my Companions, for, if one of you spent [on charity] a pile
of               gold the size of Mount U¥ud, he would not reach the measure of one of
          them, not even by half.74
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Allåh is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him
                 raæiya ’llåhu ‹an-hum wa raæ« ‹an-hu
       That is to say: “He has accepted their deeds and rewarded them accordingly. He
has given them that which He has never given to any of His creatures, and they have
accepted what Allåh has given them.” According to the Prophetic tradition [¥adºth]
reported by Målik:
                 [They will say to Allåh]: “What is wrong with us, that we are not well
          pleased, when You have given us what You have never given to any of
          Your creatures?” He will reply: “I shall give you even better than that,” so
72   Ibn Kathºr (2/505)
73   al-Ul«sº (11/7,8)
74   al-Khåzin (2/260)
                                                                                            37

          they will say: “And what is better than that?” He will then say: “I shall
          bestow My good pleasure upon you, so after that I shall never be displeased
          again.”75
       It is also said: “Their being well pleased with Allåh is by virtue of Allåh’s good
pleasure with them, for, had He not been well pleased with them in His sempiternity,
when would they have attained to their good pleasure with Him?!”76
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  and He has made ready for them Gardens
                  wa a‹adda la-hum jannåtin
                  beneath which rivers flow,
                  tajrº min ta¥ti-ha ’l-anhåru
                  wherein they will abide forever.
                  khålidºna fº-hå abadå:
       That is to say: “He has prepared that for them in the Hereafter, and they will
abide there without end.”
                  That is the mighty triumph.
                  dhålika ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
          That is to say: “[It is the triumph] beyond which there is no triumph.”77
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                           *****




                                           34.
                                 Comprehensive Attributes
                                     [»ifåt Jåmi‹a]
                In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                                Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                         Those who turn in repentance, those who serve,
                                    at-tå›ib«na ’l-‹åbid«na ’l-
                             those who give praise, those who fast,

75   aƒ-»åwº (2/165)
76   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/57)
77   al-Ul«sº (11/9)
                                                                                           38

                                   ¥åmid«na ’s-så›i¥«na ’r-
                        those who bow down, those who fall prostrate,
                                    råki‹«na ’s-såjid«na ’l-
                          those who enjoin what is right and proper
                              åmir«na bi’l-ma‹r«fi wa ’n-nåh«na
                         and who forbid what is wrong and improper,
                                        ‹ani ’l-munkari
                           and those who keep the limits of Allåh.
                                 wa ’l-¥åfiœ«na li-¥ud«di ’llåh:
                           And give good tidings to the believers!
                                  wa bashshiri ’l-mu›minºn.
                                            (9:112)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who turn in repentance
                 at-tå›ib«na
          Having mentioned in the preceding Qur݌nic verse that He:
                 has bought from the believers
                 [a] ’shtarå mina ’l-mu›minºna
                 their persons and their goods,
                 anfusa-hum wa amwåla-hum
                 the Garden [of Paradise] being theirs for the price.
                 bi-anna la-humu ’l-janna. (9:111)
       —He has now explained that the believers are those who are endowed with these
nine attributes:
          1. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who turn in repentance
                 at-tå›ib«na
        —are those who repent of every act of sinful disobedience. You should also know
that repentance only comes about when four things are experienced: (1) The immediate
burning of the heart, as soon as that act of sinful disobedience is committed. (2)
Remorse for what has been done in the past. (3) Determined resolve to abstain in the
future. (4) The motive for these first three things must be the quest for Allåh’s good
pleasure (Exalted is He) and commitment to His service. If his purpose is the ward off
people’s criticism and win their approval, or any other such purpose, the person
concerned is not one of those who turn in repentance.78
        Repentance must be immediate, and it must be based on the acknowledgement
that the sin repented is indeed a sin. The signs of its acceptance are four: (1) The
penitent parts company with the profligates and becomes connected with the righteous,
by regular attendance at their noble meetings, wherever they may be. (2) He engages in
all acts of worshipful obedience. If repentance is genuinely from the heart, you see the
members of the body fulfilling the purpose for which they were created, just as the
branches of the tree bear fruit when its root is sound. (3) Enjoyment of this world
departs from him, for, if someone is dedicted to Allåh, he finds no enjoyment in
anything apart from Him. (4) The penitent must beware of breaching the contract and
reverting to sinful disobedience.


78   ar-Råzº (16/160,161)
                                                                                                 39

       According to al-Qushairº (sanctified be his innermost being): “Those who turn
in repentance are of several types: (1) One who turns back from his error to his
worshipful obedience. (2) One who turns back from his self-centredness to his
amiability. (3) One who turns back from favouring himself and his fellow human beings
to immersion in the realities of his Lord.”79
          2. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  those who serve
                  [a] ’l-‹åbid«na
       —for they are those who are humbly submissive in every respect, who are not
enslaved by the charms of this world, and who are not enthralled by the terrors of the
Hereafter. The servant is not a servant to Allåh, in reality, until he is utterly detached
from every phenomenon, though everyone is a servant to Him by virtue of creation.
Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                  There is none in the heavens and the earth
                  in kullu man fi ’s-samåwåti wa ’l-aræi
                  but comes to the All-Merciful as a servant.
                  illå åti ’r-Ra¥måni ‹abdå. (19:93)
          —yet he who is capable of true servitude is special, for he is rarely to be found.80
          3. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  those who give praise
                  [a] ’l-¥åmid«na
        That is to say: “those who extol Him for His blessings, who are thankful to Him
for His gracious favours, and who applaud Him with His attributes and His Names.”
        Some have understood praise in the general sense, considering it necessary for
both worldly and Otherworldly blessings, and likewise for hardships and misfortunes in
this world, affecting a person’s family, himself or his property, because they are blessings
in reality. Such hardships provide the servant with opportunities for bountiful rewards.
Even when children suffer painful grief at the time of death, the benefit accrues to the
patient custodian.81
        You should know that giving praise is most appropriate in every situation, as
shown by the example of Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace). As
reported by Ibn Mardawaih and al-Baihaqº, on the authority of Ibn ‹Abbås (may Allåh
the Exalted be well pleased with him and his father), Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him
and give him peace) once said:
                  The first of those summoned to the Garden of Paradise will be the givers
of                praise, those who give praise for both prosperity and adversity.
      ‹Á›isha (may Allåh the Exalted be well pleased with her) is reported as having
said: “When the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) received a
commandment that delighted him, he said:
                  Praise be to Allåh, by whose gracious favour righteous works are
completed!

79   R«¥ al-bayån (3/517,518)
80   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/66)
81   R«¥ al-bayån (3/518)
                                                                                                40


          —and when he received a commandment that he disliked, he said:
                  Praise be to Allåh, in any case!”82
          4. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  those who fast
                  [a] ’s-så›i¥«na
         The så›i¥«n are those who fast [aƒ-ƒå›im«n], but out of sight of any other than
Allåh, who refrain from service to any other than Allåh, and who seek refuge with Allåh
from Allåh.
         It is also said: “The så›i¥«n are those who travel [yasº¥«n] on the earth in a state
of contemplation, in search of insight, and who travel with their hearts in the eastern
and the western regions of the earth. While reflecting on its panoramas and its
highlands, they find evidence of its Originator in its alteration, and proof of the wisdom
of its Creator in the signs they see in it. They travel with their innermost beings in the
Heavenly Kingdom [Malak«t], so they find the spirit of communion, and live in the fresh
air of intimate friendship, by realizing the vision of the Lord of Truth.”83
         According to ‹Ikrima: “They are the seekers of knowledge, moving from town to
town. Jåbir (may Allåh be well pleased with him) rode from Medina to Cairo for a single
Prophetic tradition [¥adºth]. That is why no one is considered perfect until after he has
made his journey, and he does not reach his goal until after his migration.”
         They have also said: “If someone has no teacher to link him to the chain of
spiritual guidance, and to uncover his heart, his condition is that of a fatherless
grandchild, a bastard with no pedigree.”
          5,6. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  those who bow down, those who fall prostrate
                  [a]’r-råki‹«na ’s-såjid«na
        The postures of bowing and prostration are mentioned specifically, to represent
the ritual prayer as a whole, because the aspect of worship is more obvious in them, as
compared with the other basic elements of the ritual prayer. The postures of standing
and sitting are adopted in ordinary situations, in contrast with bowing and prostration,
which are not natural postures. They are not adopted as a matter of habit, but only in
the context of worship, so reference to them is more clearly an allusion to the ritual
prayer.84
          7,8. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  those who enjoin what is right and proper
                  [a] ’l-åmir«na bi’l-ma‹r«fi wa ’n-nåh«na
                  and who forbid what is wrong and improper
                  ‹ani ’l-munkari
       Such are those who summon their fellow creatures to Allåh, and warn them to
beware of anything other than Allåh. They advise one another to dedicate themselves
to Allåh, and to abandon preoccupation with anything other than Allåh. They
command their lower selves to persist in acts of worshipful obedience, by making them

82   al-Ul«sº (11/31)
83   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/67)
84   R«¥ al-bayån (3/519)
                                                                                               41

observe the customs of right guidance. They also forbid their lower selves to follow
passions and carnal desires, by avoiding deviation into the realms of heedlessness and
soporific listlessness to which they are accustomed.85
          9. In His saying (Exalted is He):
                  and those who keep the limits of Allåh.
                  wa ’l-¥åfiœ«na li-¥ud«di ’llåh:
       That is to say: “by observing the facts and the laws that He has explained and
decreed, in practice and as an example to other people.” According to al-Qushairº:
“They are those who stand where Allåh makes them stand, who move when He makes
them move, who pause when He makes them pause, and who keep themselves together
with Allåh.”
        The obligations imposed by the Sacred Law are not confined to those He has
mentioned here. They are of many types and kinds, which could only be detailed and
explained in large volumes. Allåh (Exalted is He) has therefore referred to all the other
obligations in summary fashion, by His saying (Exalted is He):
                  and those who keep the limits of Allåh.
                  wa ’l-¥åfiœ«na li-¥ud«di ’llåh:
        The Islåmic jurists suppose that they have provided sufficient explanation of the
duties [imposed by the Sacred Law], but this is not the case, because the actions of
responsible servants are of two kinds: the actions of their physical bodies and the actions
of their hearts. The books of jurisprudence [fiqh] provide a full account of the obligations
connected with the actions of physical bodies. As for the obligations connected with
the actions of hearts, there is little about them in their books, where they are seldom
mentioned. Some of their topics are recorded in the books of theology [kalåmiyya], and
the rest of them are discussed in detail by Imåm al-Ghazålº, and others like him, in the
study of character traits. They are referred to collectively in Allåh’s saying (Exalted is
He):
                  and those who keep the limits of Allåh.
                  wa ’l-¥åfiœ«na li-¥ud«di ’llåh:
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  And give good tidings to the believers!
                  wa bashshiri ’l-mu›minºn.
        This means: “to those who are endowed with these virtues.” He has omitted the
subject of the good tidings, as a sign of its indescribable magnificence. It is as if He had
said: “Give them good tidings of something too splendid for intellects to grasp, and for
speech to express. The highest portion thereof is the sight of Allåh (Exalted is He) in
the Abode of Peace.” May Allåh (Exalted is He) enable us, and you, to earn His good
pleasure!86
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.



85   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/68)
86   R«¥ al-bayån (3/560,561)
                                                                                            42

       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                        *****

                                      35.
                           Faith and Righteous Work
                         [al-Ïmån wa ’l-‹Amal aƒ-»åli¥]
            In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                            Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                       Those who believe and do righteous works,
                        inna ’lladhºna åman« wa ‹amilu ’ƒ-ƒåli¥åti
                         their Lord guides them by their faith.
                           yahdº-him Rabbu-hum bi-ºmåni-him:
                             Rivers will flow beneath them
                               tajrº min ta¥ti-himu ’l-anhåru
                                in the Gardens of Delight.
                                     fº jannåti ’n-na‹ºm.
               Their prayer therein will be: “Glory be to You, O Allåh!’
                         da‹wå-hum fº-hå sub¥åna-ka ’llåhumma
                      and their greeting therein will be: “Peace!”
                             wa ta¥iyyatu-hum fº-hå salåm:
                       and the conclusion of their prayer will be:
                                  wa åkhiru da‹wå-hum
                  “Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds!”
                          ani ’l-¥amdu li’llåhi Rabbi ’l-‹ålåmºn.
                                       (10:9,10)

       •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
              Those who believe and do righteous works
              inna ’lladhºna åman« wa ‹amilu ’ƒ-ƒåli¥åti
       They dedicate their hearts and their spirits to the acquisition of true knowledge,
and they dedicate their limbs and organs to service, so their eyes are preoccupied with
paying attention, as He has said (Exalted is He):
              So pay attention, O you who have eyes!
              fa-’‹tabir« yå uli ’l-abƒår. (59:2)
        —and their ears are preoccupied with hearing the speech of Allåh (Exalted is
He), as He has said:
              When they listen to that which has been revealed
              wa idhå sami‹« må unzila
              to the Messenger….
              ila ’r-Ras«li…. (5:83)
        —and their tongues are preoccupied with the remembrance of Allåh, as He has
said (Exalted is He):
              O you who truly believe, remember Allåh.
                                                                                                43

                 yå ayyuha ’lladhºna åmanu ’dhkuru ’llåha. (33:41)
       —and their limbs are preoccupied with the light of obedience to Allåh, unlike
those of whom He has said (Exalted is He):
                 So that they do not prostrate themselves to Allåh,
                 allå yasjud« li’llåhi ’lladhº
                 who brings forth what is hidden in the heavens and the earth.
                 yukhriju ’l-khab›a fi ’s-samåwåti wa ’l-aræi. (27:25)
         After describing them in terms of true belief and righteous work, Allåh (Exalted
is He) has mentioned the degrees of their gracious favours and the stages of their
felicities, which are four in number:
          1. The first stage is mentioned in His saying (Exalted is He):
                 their Lord guides them by their faith.
                 yahdº-him Rabbu-hum bi-ºmåni-him:
        When the human being truly believes in Allåh, his spirit shines with the light of
this intimate knowledge. Then, when he dedicates himself to righteous works, he
acquires a firm commitment to concentration on the Hereafter, and to shunning this
world. The more perfect these states become, the better the self is prepared for the
acquisition of all forms of knowledge. The stronger and more perfect the preparedness
becomes, the more steps are climbed towards those forms of knowledge, and the brighter
their radiance becomes. Since there is no end to the stages of knowledge and the lights
of intelligence, there is certainly no end to the stages of this guidance, referred to in His
saying (Exalted is He):
                 their Lord guides them by their faith.
                 yahdº-him Rabbu-hum bi-ºmåni-him.87
       That is to say: “He brings them to the abode of felicity, because of their belief in
Allåh and His Messenger, and also because of their righteous works, for true belief and
righteous work are two causes leading to the abode of felicity.”
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Rivers will flow beneath them in the Gardens of Delight.
                 tajrº min ta¥ti-himu ’l-anhåru fº jannåti ’n-na‹ºm.
        That is to say: “the Orchards of Bliss,” for this name is applied to all the Gardens
of Paradise. The meaning is that their Lord will bring the believers who do righteous
works to the abode of His gracious favour and the place of His felicity. Rivers will flow
beside their palaces, and they will view them from on top of their dwellings.88
        2. The second stage is mentioned in His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Their prayer therein will be: “Glory be to You, O Allåh!’
                 da‹wå-hum fº-hå sub¥åna-ka ’llåhumma
        This means that the people of the Garden will be preoccupied with the
glorification and praise of Allåh (Exalted is He), so they will utter it with delight, with
joy and with happiness. They will acknowledge that the perfection of their state comes
only from Him, for the bliss of the blissful, and the final degree of the Prophets (blessing

87   ar-Råzº (17/34,35)
88   aƒ-»åwº (2/179,180)
                                                                                               44

and peace be upon them) and the saints, is their enjoyment of the stages of the
experiences of Divine Majesty, and progress in them forever.
       Since the ultimate bliss of the blissful is intimate knowledge of Him (Exalted is
He), through the attributes of Majesty and Noble Generosity, Allåh (Exalted is He) has
described the people of the Garden as dedicated to this remembrance and glorification,
with which the angels brought near [to the Lord] were preoccupied before Adam (peace
be upon him) was created. They said: “We glorify You with praise, and we proclaim
Your Holiness.” That is why He has inspired the blissful among the children of Adam
(peace be upon him) to pronounce this glorification at the beginning of their ritual
prayer [ƒalåt], by saying at the point of the opening declaration of Allåh’s Supreme
Greatness [takbºr al-iftitå¥]:
                 Glory be to You, O Allåh, and with Your praise!
                 Sub¥åna-ka ’llåhumma wa bi-¥amdi-ka
                 Blessed is Your Name, and Exalted is Your Majesty,
                 tabåraka ’smu-ka wa ta‹ålå Jaddu-ka
                 and there is no god other than You!
                 wa lå ilåha ghairu-k.
        They will pronounce this particular remembrance after the extinction of the
world, in the abode of Divine Grace.89
        3. The third stage is mentioned in His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and their greeting therein will be: “Peace!”
                 wa ta¥iyyatu-hum fº-hå salåm:
       According to the commentators: “They will great one another with peace, and
the angels will greet them with peace, as He has said (Exalted is He):
                 And the angels will enter unto them by every gate,
                 wa ’l-malå›ikatu yadkhul«na ‹alai-him min kulli båb.
                 [saying]: ‘Peace be upon you!’
                 salåmun ‹alai-kum (13:23,24)
          “Allåh (Exalted is He) will also greet them with peace, as He has said (Exalted is
He):
                 ‘Peace!’—[that is] a word [of greeting]
                 salåm: qawlan
                 from a Lord All-Compassionate.
                 min Rabbin Ra¥ºm. (36:58)”90
          4. The fourth stage is mentioned in His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and the conclusion of their prayer will be:
                 wa åkhiru da‹wå-hum
                 “Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds!”
                 ani ’l-¥amdu li’llåhi Rabbi ’l-‹ålåmºn.
        It this there is an indication that Allåh (Exalted is He) is the One to be praised
forever, and the One to be worshipped for all time, and that He is the One to be praised
at the first and the last, in the life of this world and in the Hereafter, and in all
situations. This is why it is said in the Prophetic tradition [¥adºth]:

89   Shaikh Zåda (3/5)
90   ar-Råzº (17/37)
                                                                                            45

                 To the people of the Garden of Paradise, glorification and praise [of
Allåh]           come as naturally as breathing.
        That is like that because they see how Allåh’s blessings upon them are constantly
increasing, for there is no conclusion to them and no limit. There is no god but He, and
no Lord apart from Him!91
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****




                                            36.
                             Attributes of the Saintly Friends
                                    [»ifåt al-Awliyå›]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                               As for the saintly friends of Allåh,
                                     a-lå inna awliyå›a ’llåhi
                   surely no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve.
                           lå khawfun ‹alai-him wa lå hum ya¥zan«n:
                          Those who believe and practise true devotion,
                               alladhºna åman« wa kån« yattaq«n:

91   Ibn Kathºr (2/537)
                                                                                                46

                           theirs are good tidings in the life of this world
                                la-humu ’l-bushrå fi ’l-¥ayåti ’d-dunyå
                                         and in the Hereafter.
                                             wa fi ’l-åkhira:
                             There is no changing the words of Allåh.
                                       lå tabdºla li-kalimåti ’llåh:
                                     That is the mighty triumph.
                                    dhålika huwa ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.
                                               (10:6264)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 As for the saintly friends of Allåh
                 a-lå inna awliyå›a ’llåhi
        That is to say: “those who are lovers of Allåh and enemies of their own lower
selves.” Sainthood involves intimate knowledge of Allåh and intimate knowledge of the
lower self, but intimate knowledge of Allåh means viewing Him with the look of
affection, while intimate knowledge of the self means viewing it with the look of enmity,
once the covering of its states and attributes has been unmasked. When you are truly
familiar with the self, when you know that it is an enemy to Allåh and to you, and when
you treat it with stiff resistance and stubborn defiance, you will be safe from its cunning
and its craftiness, and you will not view it with the look of gentle kindness.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 surely no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve.
                 lå khawfun ‹alai-him wa lå hum ya¥zan«n:
        [They shall neither fear nor grieve] in the two abodes [this world and the
Hereafter] on account of some dreadful affliction. Fear is felt only in relation to the
possible occurrence of some adversity in the future, while grief is felt only in relation to
the actual occurrence of something dreadful in the past, or the loss of something dearly
loved.92
        When someone is totally immersed in the light of Allåh’s Majesty, he is heedless
of everything apart from Allåh (Exalted is He), so it is impossible for him to feel fear or
grief. This is a lofty degree, unfamiliar to anyone who has not experienced it directly. It
may happen, however, that this spiritual state departs from its owner, in which case he
will experience fear, grief, hope, yearning and dread, because of his physical states.93
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who believe and practise true devotion
                 alladhºna åman« wa kån« yattaq«n:
        This means that the saintly friends of Allåh are those who are characterized by
faith, which is genuine belief based on definitive proofs, and by true devotion, which is
compliance with the commandments and avoidance of the prohibitions, in accordance
with the Sacred Law. That is why al-Qushairº said: “The distinctive feature of the saint
is that he is safeguarded [ma¥f«œ], just as the distinctive feature of the Prophet is that he
is granted impeccability [ma‹ƒ«m]. Whenever the Sacred Law has a case against a
person, he is a deluded impostor.” According to Imåm ash-Shåfi‹º and Ab« ªanºfa (may

92   R«¥ al-bayån (4/57)
93   ar-Råzº (17/102)
                                                                                            47

Allåh the Exalted bestow His mercy upon them): “If the scholars are not Allåh’s saintly
friends, Allåh has no saintly friend.” That is in reference to the scholar who puts his
knowledge into practice.94
        As for the difference between someone who is safeguarded [ma¥f«œ] and someone
who is granted impeccability [ma‹ƒ«m], it is that someone who is granted impeccability is
absolutely never guilty of any sin, whereas someone who is safeguarded may sometimes
be guilty of trivial mistakes, and even—though very rarely—of serious errors, though he
will not persist in committing them, for:
                  then they quickly repent.
                  thumma yat«b«na min qarºbin. (4:17)95
       As reported by Ab« Huraira, Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him
peace) once said:
                 Among the servants of Allåh there are servants whom the Prophets and
          the martyrs envy.
      He was asked: “Who are they, O Messenger of Allåh, so that we may love
them?” He replied:
             They are a set of people who love one another for Allåh’s sake, not
because             of properties and pedigrees. Their faces are light upon pulpits of
light.       They do not fear when other people are afraid, and they do not grieve
       when other people grieve.
          Then He recited:
                  As for the saintly friends of Allåh,
                  a-lå inna awliyå›a ’llåhi
                  surely no fear shall be upon them, nor shall they grieve.
                  lå khawfun ‹alai-him wa lå hum ya¥zan«n.96
        According to our learned Shaikh (may Allåh keep him in well-being): “They
practise true devotion to Allåh by guarding against bad deeds and vices at the stage of
the Sacred Law [Sharº‹a] and the Spiritual Path [¡arºqa], and against absent-minded
lapses and unsteadiness at the stage of Intimate Knowledge [Ma‹rifa] and Reality
[ªaqºqa]. They improve their instinctive natures by means of the Sacred Law, their
lower selves by means of the Spiritual Path, their hearts by means of Intimate
Knowledge, and their spirits and their innermost beings by means of Reality, so there can
be no doubt that they are devoutly on guard against everything apart from Allåh.”97
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  theirs are good tidings in the life of this world
                  la-humu ’l-bushrå fi ’l-¥ayåti ’d-dunyå
       As reported by A¥mad and at-Tirmidhº, ‹Ubåda ibn aƒ-»åmit (may Allåh be well
pleased with him) asked Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace):
“What are these good tidings that Allåh (Exalted is He) has mentioned in His saying:

94   aƒ-»åwº (2/195)
95   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/105)
96   Ibn Kathºr (2/556)
97   R«¥ al-bayån (4/59)
                                                                                              48

                  theirs are good tidings in the life of this world
                  la-humu ’l-bushrå fi ’l-¥ayåti ’d-dunyå?”
          The Prophet replied (Allåh bless him and give him peace):
                  The beneficial vision that a man sees, or that is shown to him.
          According to the Imåm: “If we understand His saying (Exalted is He):
                  theirs are good tidings
                  la-humu ’l-bushrå
        —in the sense of genuine vision in dreams, this text clearly implies that this
spiritual state is available to none but the saintly friends of Allåh (Exalted is He). This
is also confirmed in practice, because Allåh’s friend is someone whose heart and spirit
are totally immersed in the remembrance of Allåh (Exalted is He). If someone is like
that, nothing remains in his spirit, at the time of sleep, except the intimate awareness of
Allåh (Exalted is He). It is well known that the intimate awareness of Allåh (Exalted is
He), and the light of Allåh’s Majesty, result in nothing but true and genuine vision. As
for someone who is beset with notions about the conditions of this dark and troubled
world, he is like that even when he sleeps, so there can be no doubt that he is deprived
of that light, for no reliance can be placed upon his dream.98
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  and in the Hereafter.
                  wa fi ’l-åkhira:
        As for their good tidings in the Hereafter, the angels will come to meet them,
saluting them and giving good news of success and gracious favour, telling them how
they will see that they have excellent reputations, how they will receive their records
with their right hands, and what they will read from those records. They will receive
Allåh’s greeting of peace, as He has said (Exalted is He):
                  “Peace!”—[that is] a word [of greeting]
                  salåm: qawlan
                  from a Lord All-Compassionate.
                  min Rabbin Ra¥ºm. (36:58)
       —and other good tidings announced by Allåh (Exalted is He) to cheer His truly
devoted servants, in His Book and on the tongues of His Prophets, concerning His
Garden of Paradise and His generous reward.99
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  There is no changing the words of Allåh.
                  lå tabdºla li-kalimåti ’llåh:
        That is to say: “There is no changing the promises that He has made about them,
since there is absolutely no breaking of His promises.”
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  That is the mighty triumph.
                  dhålika huwa ’l-fawzu ’l-‹aœºm.

98   Shaikh Zåda (3/23)
99   as-Siråj al-munºr (2/28)
                                                                                              49

       That triumph is beyond the power of human minds to fathom, and how could it
be otherwise, when it contains the bliss of the two abodes?
       You should also know that saintly friendship is of two types: (1) a general kind,
which is shared by all the believers, as Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                 Allåh is the Protecting Friend of those who believe.
                 Allåhu Waliyyu ’lladhºna
                 He brings them out of the darkness into the light.
                 åman« yukhriju-hum mina ’œ-œulumåti ila ’n-n«r. (2:257)
         —and (2) a special kind, which is peculiar to those spiritual travellers who reach
the point of contact with Allåh.
         The term wilåya [saintly friendship; sainthood] signifies the extinction of the
servant in the Truth, and his survival therein. Phenomenal charismatic marvels are not
required as evidence of sainthood, for they exist outside the Islåmic religious community.
The marvels it does require are the charismatic talents of the heart, like the Divine
sciences and the Lordly insights.
         These two kinds of charisma may sometimes be combined, as they were
combined in Shaikh ‹Abd al-Qådir al-Gºlånº and Shaikh Ab« Madyan al-Maghribº (may
Allåh sanctify their innermost beings). Among the people of the East, no one has ever
matched ‹Abd al-Qådir in supernatural exploits, while no one among the people of the
West has equalled Ab« Madyan, and each of them was also endowed with complete
knowledge, both academic and experiential.
         The two kinds of charisma may also be separate, so that the second exists without
the first, as in most of the perfect masters of annihilation.
         As for phenomenal charismatic exploits like walking on water, flying through the
air, covering a vast distance in a very short time, and suchlike, they are typical of monks
and philosophers, upon whom the Truth has inflicted disappointment, from whence they
do not know.100
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****

                                            37.
                            Reliance on Allåh (Exalted is He)
                             [al-‹Itimåd ‹ala ’Llåh (Ta‹åla)]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                              If Allåh afflicts you with some injury,
                                  wa in yamsas-ka ’llåhu bi-æurrin
                            there is no one who can remove it but He;
                                      fa-lå kåshifa la-hu illå H«:
                               and if He wishes any benefit for you,

100   R«¥ al-bayån (4/62)
                                                                                              50

                                      wa in yurid-ka bi-khairin
                   there is no one who can drive away His gracious favour.
                                        fa-lå rådda li-faæli-h:
                  He causes it to fall upon whom He will among His servants.
                              yuƒºbu bi-hi man yashå›u min ‹ibådi-h:
                       He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate.
                                  wa Huwa ’l-Ghaf«ru ’r-Ra¥ºm.
                                               (10:107)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                  If Allåh afflicts you with some injury,
                  wa in yamsas-ka ’llåhu bi-æurrin
                  there is no one who can remove it but He.
                  fa-lå kåshifa la-hu illå H«:
         You must know that all possibilities are dependent on Him, that all existing
entities are in need of Him, that minds are bewildered about Him, and that mercy,
generosity [j«d] and existence [wuj«d] emanate from Him.
         This Qur›ånic verse [åya] indicates that injury and benefit are caused by the
power of Allåh (Exalted is He) and His decree. He has explained (Glory be to Him and
Exalted is He) that if He decrees something bad for someone, there is no one who can
remove it but He, and and that if He decrees something good for someone, there is
absolutely no one who can drive away His bounty.101 He is Uniquely Capable of
creating and originating harm, so He has no partner to assist Him. He is likewise
Uniquely Capable of removing and dispelling harm, so He has no helper to support Him.
It is said: “The prospect of injury is minimized for the believer by His saying (Exalted is
He):
                  If Allåh afflicts you with some injury
                  wa in yamsas-ka ’llåhu bi-æurrin
         —for He did not say: ‘If He wishes any injury for you,’ even though that injury
results from His wish. There is a subtle point in the wording.”102
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                  And if He wishes any benefit for you,
                  wa in yurid-ka bi-khairin
                  there is no one who can drive away His gracious favour.
                  fa-lå rådda li-faæli-h:
       There is no one who can repel whatever benefit He wishes for you, whoever he
may be. This conveys the message that benefit emanates from Him (Exalted is He) by
way of gracious favour, without any claim upon Him (Glory be to Him).103 In the fact
that He has chosen to link the benefit to His wish, there is an indication that the
bestowal of benefit does not depend on any cause or desert on the part of the servant.
The opposite is true in the case of injury, since it is necessarily preceded by its cause.
Allåh (Exalted is He) has said:
                  Whatever misfortune strikes you,

101   ar-Råzº (17/139)
102   La£å›if al-ishåråt (2/119)
103   R«¥ al-bayån (4/87)
                                                                                              51

                 wa må aƒåba-kum min muƒºbatin
                 it is for what your own hands have earned.
                 fa-bi-må kasabat aidº-kum (42:30)104
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 He causes it to fall upon whom He will among His servants.
                 yuƒºbu bi-hi man yashå›u min ‹ibådi-h:
        [He does so] to demonstrate the perfection of providential care associated with
the benefit. Since no exception is made, it is as if He is saying that He bestows whatever
benefit He wishes for you, by His abundant and gracious favour. He uses the term faæl
[gracious favour] as a synonymous reference to that benefit, by the linguistic device of
substituting an explicit noun [muœhar] for a pronoun [muæmar]. As for His saying (More
Glorious is He than any other sayer):
                 He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate.
                 wa Huwa ’l-Ghaf«ru ’r-Ra¥ºm.
          —this is appended to His saying (Exalted is He):
                 He causes it to fall upon whom He will among His servants.
                 yuƒºbu bi-hi man yashå›u min ‹ibådi-h:
          —as a confirmation of its import.105
       As reported by al-ªåfiœ ibn ‹Asåkir, on the authority of Anas ibn Målik (may
Allåh be well pleased with him), Allåh’s Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him
peace) once said:
                  Seek what is good throughout your entire lifetime, and address yourselves
          to the fragrant effusions of your Lord, for Allåh has fragrant effusions of His
          mercy, which He causes to fall upon whom He will among His servants.
          Ask Him to conceal your weak spots, and to preserve your beautiful
          charms.106
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                           *****

                                           38.
                                  Patience in Following
                                  [aƒ-»abr fi ’l-Ittibå‹]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

104   aƒ-»åwº (2/205)
105   Abu ’s-Sa‹«d (4/180)
106   Ibn Kathºr (2/571)
                                                                                             52


                             And follow what is inspired in you,
                                   wa ’ttabi‹ må y«¥å ilai-ka
                         and be patient until Allåh gives judgement,
                                 wa ’ƒbir ¥attå ya¥kuma ’llåhu
                                 for He is the Best of judges.
                                 wa Huwa Khairu ’l-¥åkimºn.
                                           (10:109)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 And follow what is inspired in you, and be patient
                 wa ’ttabi‹ må y«¥å ilai-ka wa ’ƒbir
      Allåh (Exalted is He) has commanded His Messenger (Allåh bless him and give
him peace) to follow the inspiration [wa¥y] and the revelation [tanzºl]. If he experiences
some painful discomfort in the process, he must bear it with patience.107
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 until Allåh gives judgement
                 ¥attå ya¥kuma ’llåhu
        That is to say: “until He decrees victory for you, and the triumph of your
religion.”
                 for He is the Best of judges.
                 wa Huwa Khairu ’l-¥åkimºn.
        There can be no mistake in His judgement, because His awareness penetrates the
innermost secrets of conscience. According to the author of at-Ta›wºlåt an-Najmiyya:
“He is the Best of judges because, for those blessed with sempiternal providence, He has
decreed acceptance of the summons, the Qur݌n and the laws, and the practical
application thereof, whereas, for those condemned to sempiternal misery, He has decreed
rejection of the summons, the Qur݌n and the laws, and the practical application
thereof.”
        As for the abuses inflicted on the Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him
peace), the following incidents have been reported by ‹Abdu’llåh ibn Mas‹«d:
        “We were together with Allåh’s Messenger in the mosque, and he was performing
the ritual prayer. A sacrificial camel had been slaughtered, and its dung was still in its
intestines, so Ab« Jahl said: ‘Which of you will take this filth and throw it at
Mu¥ammad?’ ‹Uqba ibn Abº Mu‹aiœ took that dung and threw it at the Prophet (Allåh
bless him and give him peace), who was then in the mosque. They burst into laughter,
leaning against one another because their laughter was so intense. We were about to
remove the dung from him, when along came Få£ima (may Allåh be well pleased with
her). She threw it off him, then turned towards them and upbraided them.
        “A group of people in his neighbourhood (Allåh bless him and give him peace)
included Ab« Lahab, al-ªakam ibn al-‹Áƒ ibn Umayya, and ‹Uqba ibn Abº Mu‹aiœ, and
they were hurling filth at him. He picked up what they hurled at him, took it out and
stood by his gate, saying: ‘O sons of ‹Abd Manåf, what kind of neighbourhood is this?’
Then he threw it into the street.”
        The Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace) once said to his Companions,
referring to the chiefs of Quraish who constantly abused him:

107   ar-Råzº (17/140)
                                                                                                53


                 Be of good cheer, for Allåh (Exalted is He) will cause His religion to
          triumph, He will make His word come to pass, and He will make His
          Prophet victorious. These whom you see will soon be among those
          slaughtered at your hands.
        It happened as He had said (Allåh bless him and give him peace), when the
Companions slaughtered them with their hands on the day of Badr.
        Let no one suppose that these abuses diminished his stature. On the contrary,
they served him as a means of exaltation, proving the splendour of his worth, the
loftiness of his rank, and his glorious stature and dignity in the sight of his Lord, because
of his abundant patience, his tolerance and his endurance. They also made him realize
that his supplication would always be answered, and that his word was effective in the
presence of Allåh (Exalted is He). As he once said:
                 Of all people, the Prophets are those most sorely tried.
        Peace by upon them, for the Prophets are like gold! The hardships that afflict
them are like the fire to which gold is exposed, for that does nothing but increase the
beauty of gold, and hardships do nothing but increase the exaltation of the Prophets.
We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to commit us firmly to the plain Truth, and to award us
victory over our lower selves, for He is the Best of judges!108
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                             *****



                                        39.
                             The Consequence of Faith
                                and Righteous Work
                       [‹Áqibat al-Ïmån wa ’l-‹Amal aƒ-»åli¥]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                            Those who believe and do righteous works,
                              inna ’lladhºna åman« wa ‹amilu ’ƒ-ƒåli¥åti
                             and humble themselves before their Lord,
                                       wa akhbat« ilå Rabbi-him
                            such are the rightful owners of the Garden;
                                        ulå›ika aƒ¥åbu ’l-janna:
                                  they will abide therein forever.
                                          hum fº-hå khålid«n.
                                                (11:23)


108   R«¥ al-bayån (4/88)
                                                                                               54

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 Those who believe
                 inna ’lladhºna åman«
        That is to say: “[Those who believe] in everything they must believe in.” This
includes our present concern, which is belief in the Qur݌n, and that is attainable only
by listening to inspiration [wa¥y], reflecting upon it, and witnessing what leads to it both
subjectively and objectively.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and do righteous works
                 wa ‹amilu ’ƒ-ƒåli¥åti
                 and humble themselves before their Lord
                 wa akhbat« ilå Rabbi-him
       That is to say: “They are meek in relation to Him, and they devote themselves to
His worship with humility and submissiveness.”109 The term ikhbåt [the noun
corresponding to the verb akhbat«] means humility and submissiveness. It is derived
from khabt, which signifies a lowlying tract of land. His saying (Exalted is He):
                 and humble themselves
                 wa akhbat«
        —is an indication that these works are to no avail in the Hereafter, unless they
are accompanied by the appropriate states of the heart.
        If we understand ikhbåt in the sense of £ama›nºna [meekness], the meaning is that
they worship Allåh, and that, in the performance of acts of worship, their hearts are
meekly engaged in the remembrance of Allåh, devoid of interest in anything apart from
Allåh (Exalted is He). To put it another way: Their hearts become meekly accepting of
Allåh’s truthfulness in all that He has promised them, both the reward and the
punishment.
        If we understand ikhbåt in the sense of khush«‹ [humility], the meaning is that
they are apprehensive and fearful in the performance of righteous works, dreading that
their performance may be marred by deficiency and shortcoming.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 such are the rightful owners of the Garden;
                 ulå›ika aƒ¥åbu ’l-janna:
                 they will abide therein forever.
                 hum fº-hå khålid«n.
        As for those who acquire these three attributes [belief, righteous work and
humility], they are the rightful owners of the Garden of Paradise, and they will be
granted permanent residence in the Garden.110 They have thereby inherited the gardens
containing the lofty chambers, the couches set in rows, the clusters within easy reach,
the elevated bedsteads, the [fair maidens] good and beautiful, the varigated fruits, the
appetizing foods and the delicious drinks, as well as the sight of the Creator of the earth
and the heavens. In that they will abide forever. They will not die. They will not grow
old. They will not fall ill. They will not sleep. They will not need to evacuate their


109   Abu ’s-Sa‹«d (4/205)
110   ar-Råzº (17/167)
                                                                                           55

bowels, to spit, or to blow their noses. Their perspiration will consist entirely of the
scent of musk.111
        The expression aƒ¥åb [rightful owners] is an indication that the people of the
Garden of Paradise are in full possession of its dwellings, with an ownership that will
neither change nor cease.112
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                          *****




                                          40.
                            Fear of the Day of Resurrection
                           [al-Khawf min Yawm al-Qiyåma]
              In the Name of Allåh, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.
                              Bismi’llåhi ’r-Ra¥måni ’r-Ra¥ºm.

                       On the Day when it comes no soul will speak
                             yawma ya›ti lå takallamu nafsun
                                except by His permission;
                                       illå bi-idni-h:
                    some among them will be wretched, some felicitous.
                              fa-min-hum shaqiyyun wa saܼd.
                 As for those who will be wretched, they will be in the Fire;
                             fa-amma ’lladhºna shaq« fa-fi ’n-nåri
                      wailing and sighing will be their portion thereof.
                                la-hum fº-hå zafºrun wa shahºq.

111   Ibn Kathºr (2/581)
112   aƒ-»åwº (2/212)
                                                                                              56

                                       There they must abide,
                                             khålidºna fº-hå
                           as long as the heavens and the earth endure,
                                 må dåmati ’s-samåwåtu wa ’l-aræu
                                    except what your Lord wills.
                                        illå må shå›a Rabbu-k:
                                   Your Lord is indeed Effective
                                       inna Rabbaka Fa‹‹ålun
                                   in doing whatever He wishes.
                                              li-må yurºd.
                                And as for those who will enjoy felicity,
                                        wa amma ’lladhºna su‹id«
                               they will be in the Garden, abiding there
                                      fa-fi ’l-jannati khålidºna fº-hå
                            so long as the heavens and the earth endure,
                                   må dåmati ’s-samåwåtu wa ’l-aræu
                            except what your Lord wills; a gift unfailing.
                           illå må shå›a Rabbu-k: ‹a£å›an ghaira majdh«dh.
                                                 (11:105–8)

          •Concerning Allåh’s saying (Exalted is He):
                 On the Day when it comes no soul will speak
                 yawma ya›ti lå takallamu nafsun
                 except by His permission
                 illå bi-idni-h:
       That is to say: “When the Day of Resurrection arrives, no one will speak except
with Allåh’s permission.” As recorded in the two »a¥º¥’s, among the Prophetic traditions
concerning intercession:
                  None will speak on that Day except the Messengers, and the supplication
          of the Messengers on that Day will be: “O Allåh, grant salvation, grant
          salvation!”113
       All creatures will be silent on that Day, for no one will speak except with the
permission of Allåh (Exalted is He).
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 some among them will be wretched, some glad.
                  fa-min-hum shaqiyyun wa saܼd.
        Wretchedness is the opposite of felicity, and felicity is Divine assistance for the
human being in his affairs, and help and facilitation in doing good and righteous work.
        Felicity is of two kinds: worldly felicity and Otherworldly felicity, the latter
being the ultimate felicity, because its final destination is the Garden of Paradise.
Wretchedness is likewise of two kinds: worldly wretchedness and Otherworldly
wretchedness, the latter being the ultimate wretchedness, because its final destination is
the Fire of Hell. The wretched person is therefore one who has been doomed to
wretchedness in sempiternity, while the felicitous person is one who has been endowed
with felicity in sempiternity.


113   Ibn Kathºr (2/603)
                                                                                               57

        ‹Alº ibn Abº ¡ålib (may Allåh be well pleased with him) is reported as having
said: “We were in a funeral procession in the burial ground of al-Gharqad, when Allåh’s
Messenger (Allåh bless him and give him peace) came to join us. He sat down and made
us sit around him. He had a stick with him, so bent down and set about scratching the
ground with his stick. Then he said:
                 There is not one of you whose seat in the Garden of Paradise has not been
                 recorded, and likewise his seat in the Fire of Hell.
       “They said: ‘O Messenger of Allåh, does that mean we can simply rely upon our
record?’ He replied:
                 You must work, for everyone is enabled to do what he was created for. As
                 for him who is among the people of felicity, he must therefore attend to
the              work of the people of felicity, and as for him who is among the people of
          wretchedness, he must attend to the work of the people of wretchedness.
          “Then he recited:
                 As for him who gives and practises true devotion,
                 fa-ammå man a‹£å wa ’ttaqå
                 and believes in the reward most fair,
                 wa ƒaddaqa bi’l-¥usnå
                 We shall surely ease his way unto the state of ease.
                 fa-nuyassiru-hu li’l-yusrå. (92:5–7)”114
        [In the Qur݌nic verses quoted at the head of this chapter] the wretched is
mentioned before the felicitous, because his situation calls for warning and caution.
        The signs of wretchedness are five in number: (1) hardness of the heart, (2)
freezing of the eye, (3) keen interest in this world, (4) excessive expectation, and (5)
lack of a modest sense of shame.
        The signs of felicity are likewise five in number: (1) softness of the heart, (2)
frequent weeping, (3) abstinence from this world, (4) curtailment of expectation, and
(5) a considerable sense of shame.
        It has also been said: “The signs of wretchedness are: (1) turning away from the
Truth and its quest, (2) persistence in sinful acts of disobedience, without remorse, (3)
greed for this world, both its lawful and its unlawful contents, (4) following passion, and
(5) uncritical acceptance of doctrine [taqlºd] and heretical innovation [bid‹a].
        “The signs of felicity are: (1) turning towards Allåh and seeking Him, (2)
begging forgiveness for sinful acts of disobedience and repenting to Allåh, (3)
contentment with little of this world, and seeking only its lawful content, (4) following
the Sunna [exemplary practice of the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him peace)] and
avoiding heretical innovation, and (5) opposing passion.”
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 As for those who will be wretched, they will be in the Fire;
                 fa-amma ’lladhºna shaq« fa-fi ’n-nåri
                 wailing and sighing will be their portion thereof.
                 la-hum fº-hå zafºrun wa shahºq.
        The term zafºr [wailing] means expelling the breath with force and vigour, while
shahºq [sighing] means drawing it in. The two terms are used to describe the first and last
stages of the braying of the donkey, so the intention is clearly to liken their screaming to

114   al-Khåzin (2/349)
                                                                                             58

the sounds made by donkeys. Just as the donkeys make disgusting sounds, the wretched
will make disgusting sounds in Hell. That is also apparent in those who suffer affliction
in this world, especially when they are crucified, strangled or beheaded.115
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 There they must abide,
                 khålidºna fº-hå
                 as long as the heavens and the earth endure
                 må dåmati ’s-samåwåtu wa ’l-aræu
          This may be interpreted in two ways:
        1. It refers to the heavens of the Hereafter and the earth thereof, for they are
enduring, created for all eternity. As evidence that the Hereafter has heavens and an
earth, we may cite His saying (Exalted is He):
                 On the day when the earth will be changed
                 yawma tubaddalu ’l-aræu
                 to other than this earth, and the heavens….
                 ghaira ’l-aræi wa ’s-samåwåtu…. (14:48)
          —and His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And He has caused us to inherit the land,
                 wa awratha-nå ’l-aræa
                 for us to make our dwelling wherever we will in the Garden.
                 natabawwa›u min al-jannati ¥aithu nashå›. (39:74)
       That is because the people of the Hereafter cannot do without something to
support them and give them shelter. They will be shaded either by a heaven created by
Allåh, or by the Throne, and anything that shades you is a heaven.
       2. It is an expression affirming perpetuity and negating termination.116
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 except what your Lord wills.
                 illå må shå›a Rabbu-k:
                 Your Lord is indeed Effective in doing whatever He wishes.
                 inna Rabba-ka Fa‹‹ålun li-må yurºd.
        The exception applies to eternity in the Fire of Hell, because some of them will
emerge from it, they being the profligates who affirm the Divine Oneness, and that is
sufficient to validate the exception.117
        According to Ibn ‹Abbås (may Allåh be well pleased with him) and al-ªasan
(may Allåh be well pleased with him): “The exception applies to disobedient sinners
among the people who affirm the Divine Oneness, including those whom Allåh will
bring forth from the Fire because of the intercession of the intercessors. The angels, the
Prophets and the true believers may intercede even for those guilty of major sins, in
which case the mercy of the Most Merciful of the merciful will be forthcoming, so it will
remove from the Fire even someone who never did anything good, though he did say one
day in his life: ‘There is no god but Allåh.’”

115   R«¥ al-bayån (4/187,188)
116   al-Kashshåf (2/293,294)
117   al-Baiæåwº (3/67)
                                                                                              59

        That message has been transmitted in authentic traditional reports [akhbår],
attributing its purport to Allåh’s Messenger, including those related by Anas, Jåbir, Abu
’s-Sa‹ºd, Ab« Huraira, and others among the Companions (may Allåh be well pleased
with them).
        None will remain in the Fire after that, except those who are compelled to dwell
therein forever, and for whom it is unavoidable. Such is the opinion of many of the
scholars, in early and in recent times, concerning the interpretation of this noble
Qur›ånic verse [åya].118
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 And as for those who will be felicitous,
                 wa amma ’lladhºna su‹id«
                 they will be in the Garden, abiding there
                 fa-fi ’l-jannati khålidºna fº-hå
                 so long as the heavens and the earth endure
                 må dåmati ’s-samåwåtu wa ’l-aræu
        What is meant by “the heavens” is the roof of the Garden and the Fire, and “the
earth” is the ground of both.
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 except what your Lord wills
                 illå må shå›a Rabbu-k:
        In the case of the wretched, the exception may apply to the disobedient sinners
of the Community, so the meaning will be: “They must abide therein forever, except the
disobedient sinners among the believers, on whom the threat has been executed, for they
will not abide forever, but will emerge through the intercession of the Prophet (Allåh
bless him and give him peace).” In that case, the exception is either detached, because
of the fact that these are not included among the wretched, or connected, by referring to
these as wretched in one context, and as felicitous in another context.
        In the case of the felicitous, the exception may also apply to the disobedient
sinners among the believers, but in the context of their initial subjection to torment, for
they experience a postponement, instead of entering [the Garden] immediately along
with the front-runners.
        The summary conclusion must be that the exception applies, in each instance, to
the disobedient sinner. In the case of the people of wretchedness, however, they are
excepted from the eventual emergence [from the Fire], while the people of felicity are
excepted from the initial entry [into the Garden]. It is as if He has said: “As for those
who will enjoy felicity, they will be in the Garden from the outset, except what your
Lord wills with regard to the disobedient sinners, for they will not be in the Garden from
the outset. They will first suffer torment in the Fire, and then they will come forth.”119
          •Concerning His saying (Exalted is He):
                 a gift unfailing.
                 ‹a£å›an ghaira majdh«dh.
      That is to say: “a gift that will not be cut off.” Here He has delighted the hearts,
and emphasized the point by His saying:


118   Ibn Kathºr (2/604)
119   aƒ-»åwº (1/229) e
                                                                                                60

                 a gift unfailing.
                 ‹a£å›an ghaira majdh«dh.
       As reported in the two »a¥º¥’s, [the Prophet (Allåh bless him and give him
peace) once said]:
                  Death will be brought forth in the shape of a black-and-white ram, to be
          slaughtered between the Garden and the Fire. Then it will be said: “O
          people of the Garden, [for you there is] eternity without death! O people of
          the Fire, [for you there is] eternity without death!”
          Also reported in the »a¥º¥ [is the Prophetic tradition]:
                  It will be said: “O people of the Garden, for you it shall be that you live
          and never die. For you it shall be that you stay young and never grow old.
          For you it shall be that you remain healthy and never fall ill. For you it
          shall be that you enjoy blissful happiness, so that you never feel sad.”120
       We beg Allåh (Exalted is He) to enable us to match the attributes of His
righteous servants, and to model ourselves on the characteristics of the Chief of the
Messengers, our master Mu¥ammad (Allåh bless him and give him peace). Ámºn.
       Praise be to Allåh, the Lord of All the Worlds. There is no might nor any power
except with Allåh, the All-High, the Almighty. May Allåh bless our master
Mu¥ammad, his family and all his Companions, and may He grant them peace.

                                            *****




120   Ibn Kathºr (2/605)

				
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