An incitement towards steadfastness: Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali

In his book, Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali gives a succinct and powerful reminder on the importance of steadfastness. He writes:

علامة قبول الطاعة أن تُوصل بطاعة بعدها, وعلامة ردِّها أن تُوصل بمعصية. ما أحسن الحسنة بعد الحسنة, وأقبح السيئة بعد الحسنة!! ذنب بعد التوبة أقبح من سيعين قبلها. النكسة أصعب من المرض الأوّل. ما أوحش ذلَ المعصية بعد عزّ الطاعة! ارحموا عزيز قومٍ بالمعصية ذلَ, وغني قومٍ بالذنب افنقر. سلوا الله ثبات إلى الممات, وتعوّذوا من  الحَوْرِ بعد الكَوْرِ. كان إمام أحماد يدعو يقول : اللهم أعِزَّنِي بطاعتك ولا تذلَّني بمعصيتك.

A sign of the acceptance of obedience is following it with obedience after that, and a sign of its rejection is following it with disobedience. What is better than a good deed after a good deed, and what is more disgraceful than a sin after a good deed?! One sin after repentance is more shameful than 70 sins before it. A relapse is more difficult than the initial illness. What is more distressing than the humiliation of disobedience after the honor of obedience? … We ask Allah for steadfastness until death, and we seek refuge from loss after plenty*. This was the supplication of Imam Ahmad when he said, “O Allah! Honor me with obedience [to you] and do not disgrace me with disobedience [to you]!”

      و كان من عامة دعاء إبراهيم بن أدهم رحمه الله :  ” اللهم انقلني من ذل المعصية إلى عز الطاعة “. وفي بعض الآثار إلهية : يقول الله تبارك وتعالى : أنا العزيز, فمن أراد العزّ فليُطِع العزيز.

And from the common supplications of Ibrahim ibn Adhham (rahimahullaah) was “O Allah! Take me from the disgrace of disobedience to the honor of obedience!” And in part of the divine narration: Allah tabaarak wa ta’aala said, “I am al-‘Azeez, so whoever desires honor (al-‘izz) then let him obey al-‘Azeez.”

ألا إنَّمـا التَّقـوَى هي العـزُّ و الكَـرَمْ          وحبُّــكَ الدُّنيـــا هـــو الــذُّلُّ والسَّـقَمْ
ولــيسَ على عَـبْــدٍ تـقـيٍّ نَـقِـيـصَــةٌ          إذا حقَّقَ التَّقْــوَى وإنْ حاكَ أو حَجَمْ

Verily taqwa is only an honor and nobility
and one’s love of the dunya is a humiliation and illness

And there is no defect for the pious slave
when he has attained taqwa, even if he has a lowly profession.**

[Lataa’if al-Ma’aarif pg. 128-129]

*The editor makes a note here saying:

في الحديث : (نعوذ بالله من الحَوْرِ بعد الكَوْرِ) , أي الرجوع بعد الاستقامة

In the hadeeth: (We seek refuge in Allah from loss after plenty) – meaning turning back after uprightness

**literally: even if he weaves or performs hijaamah

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