Three Saving Matters and Three Destructive Matters: Khutbah of Imam al-Sa’di

The following khutbah is taken from a collection of the Friday sermons of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di:

الحمد لله الواحد الأحد ، الفرد الصمد ، الذي لم يلد ولم يولد ، ولم يكن له كفوا أحد ، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له في ملكه وسلطانه ، ولا مثل له في أسمائه وصفاته ، وبره وإحسانه ، وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله ، المؤيد ببرهانه ، اللهم صل وسلم على محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه وأتباعه وأعوانه . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah, the One, the First, the Singular, the Independent – He who neither begets nor is begotten, and there is none like unto Him.

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partners in His ownership and rule. And there is none like Him in terms of His Names and Attributes or His benevolence and excellence.

And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, who was aided by His miraculous proofs. O Allah, grant Your peace and blessings upon Muhammad and upon his family, companions, followers and supporters.

أما بعد : أيها الناس ، اتقوا الله تعالى ، واسلكوا سبيل السلامة والنجاة ، واحذروا سبل العطب والأمور المهلكات ، فقد قال صلى الله عليه وسلم : « ثلاث منجيات وثلاث مهلكات ، فأما المنجيات : فتقوى الله في السر والعلانية ، والقول بالحق في الرضا والسخط ، والقصد في الغنى والفقر ، وأما المهلكات : فهوى متبع ، وشح مطاع ، وإعجاب المرء بنفسه ، وهي أشدهن » . ـ

To proceed: O people, have taqwa of Allah, and travel the path of safety and salvation, and beware of the routes of loss and the destructive matters. For the Prophet said:

There are three saving matters, and three destructive matters. As for the saving matters, they are 1) having taqwa of Allah in both public and private, 2) speaking the truth whether being pleased or displeased, and 3) being moderate regardless of wealth or poverty. As for the destructive matters, they are 1) desires which are followed, 2) miserliness which is obeyed, and 3) a person’s amazement with himself, and that is the gravest of them.

[Reported by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’b al-Eemaan (#6865) from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah]

 فيا له من كلام جامع لمسالك الخيرات ، محذر عن موانع الهلكات . أما تقوى الله في السر والعلانية ، فهي ملاك الأمور ، وبها حصول الخيرات واندفاع الشرور ، فهي مراقبة الله على الدوام ، والعلم بقرب الملك العلام ، فيستحي من ربه أن يراه حيث نهاه ، أو يفقده في كل ما يقرب إلى رضاه . ـ

Oh, how valuable is this comprehensive statement for traveling the path of goodness, cautioning against those destructive impediments!

As for having taqwa of Allah in both public and in private, then this is the foundation of all affairs, by which one attains good and pushes through evil. For this is holding one’s self accountable before Allah without ceasing, and being aware of the Sovereign’s nearness to all creation, such that one is shy for his Lord to see him in a place that He has prohibited or missing anything which would bring him closer to his Lord’s pleasure.

 وأما قول الحق في الغضب والرضى ، فإن ذلك عنوان على الصدق والعدل والتوفيق ، وأكبر برهان على الإيمان وقهر العبد لغضبه وشهوته ، فإنه لا ينجو منها إلا كل صدّيق ، فلا يخرجه الغضب والشهوة عن الحق ، ولا يدخلانه في الباطل ، بل الصدق عام لأحواله كلها وشامل . ـ

And as for speaking the truth whether being angry or pleased, then this is the epitome of truthfulness, justice and success, and it is the great proof of one’s eemaan and the slave’s power over his anger and desires, for no one is safe from those things except for the siddeeq (truthful one). So neither anger nor desires sway him from the truth, nor do they cause him to fall into falsehood. Rather, truthfulness is comprehensive and encompassing of his behavior in all situations.

 وأما القصد في الفقر والغنى فإن هذا علامة على قوة العقل وحسن التدبير ، وامتثال لإرشاد الرب القدير في قوله : { وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنْفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِفُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُوا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ قَوَامًا } . ـ

And as for moderation whether in a state of poverty or wealth, then this is a sign of the strength of one’s intellect and his good thinking. And it is also a sign of his compliance with the guidance of the Lord, the Decreer of affairs, in His statement:

وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا أَنفَقُوا لَمْ يُسْرِ‌فُوا وَلَمْ يَقْتُرُ‌وا وَكَانَ بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ قَوَامًا

And those, who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium between those two. [25:67]

 فهذه الثلاث جمعت كل خير متعلق بحق الله ، وحق النفس ، وحقوق العباد ، وصاحبها قد فاز بالقدح المعلى والهدى والرشاد . ـ

So these three things combine everything good related to the rights of Allah, the rights of one’s self, and the rights of Allah’s slaves. The one who possesses these qualities has certainly attained a great success, guidance and right direction.

وأما الثلاث المهلكات فأولاهن هوى متبع ، { وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنَ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ هُدًى مِنَ اللَّهِ } . ـ

But as for the three destructive matters, then the first of them is a desire which is followed:

وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّنِ اتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ بِغَيْرِ‌ هُدًى مِّنَ اللَّـهِ

And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah? [28:50]

 فإن الهوى يهوي بصاحبه إلى أسفل الدركات ، وبالهوى تندفع النفوس إلى الشهوات الضارة المهلكات . ـ

For lowly desires cast their owners down to the lowest of levels, and desires push one’s nafs unto harmful and destructive cravings.

وأما الشح المطاع فقد أحضرت النفوس شحها ، { وَمَنْ يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ } ، ومن انقاد لشحه فأولئك هم الخاسرون ، فإن الشح يحمل على البخل ومنع الحقوق ، ويدعو إلى الضرر والقطيعة والعقوق . ـ

And as for miserliness which is obeyed, then it leads one’s nafs unto loss:

وَمَن يُوقَ شُحَّ نَفْسِهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful. [59:9]

On the other hand, whoever submits to his miserliness are the ones in loss. For miserliness prompts stinginess and holding back the due rights of others, and it calls unto harming others, cutting off relations, and ingratitude.

أمر الشح أهله بالقطيعة فقطعوا ، ودعاهم إلى منع الحقوق الواجبة فامتثلوا ، وأغراهم بالمعاملات السيئة من البخس والغش والربا ففعلوا ، فهو يدعو إلى كل خلق رذيل ، وينهى عن كل خلق جميل . ـ

Miserliness commands its people to cut off relations so they cut them off. It calls them to withhold the obligatory due rights of others so they obey that call. It incites them to use poor business practices with others such as short-changing them, deceiving them, and charging interest, and so they do so. So it calls them unto every dishonorable characteristic and prohibits them from every beautiful characteristic.

وأما إعجاب المرء بنفسه فإنه من أعظم المهلكات وفظائع الأمور ، فإن العُجب باب إلى الكبر والزهو والغرور ، ووسيلة إلى الفخر والخيلاء واحتقار الخلق الذي هو من أعظم الشرور . ـ

And as for a person being amazing with himself, then this is the gravest of the destructive matters and the most heinous of affairs. For self-amazement is a door unto pride, arrogance and delusion. And it is a pathway unto haughtiness, self-importance and looking down upon others, which is among the gravest of evils.

فهذه الثلاث : الهوى المتبع والشح المطاع والإعجاب بالنفس ، من جمعها فهو من الهالكين ، ومن اتصف بها فقد باء بغضب من الله واستحق العذاب المهين . ـ

So whoever combines these three matters – desires which are followed, miserliness which is obeyed and self-amazement – then he is among those destroyed. And whoever is characterized by these, then he has drawn the anger of Allah upon himself and deserves a humiliating punishment.

فطوبى لمن كان هواه تبعا لمراضي الله ، وطوبى لمن وقي شح نفسه فكان من المفلحين ، وعرف نفسه حقيقة فتواضع للحق وخفض جناحه للمؤمنين . ـ

So glad tidings to the one whose desires follow the pleasure of Allah. And glad tidings to the one who safeguards himself from miserliness, for he is among the successful ones. He truly knows himself, and so he is humble to the truth and lowers his wing unto the believers.

منّ الله علي وعليكم بمكارم الأخلاق ومعاليها ، وحفظنا من مضارها ومساوئها ، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا وسيئات أعمالنا . ـ

May Allah bless me and all of you with honorable and elevated manners, and protect us from harmful and evil manners. And we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls and the evil of our actions.

[Majmoo’ Khutab al-Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di pg. 370-371]

See also: The Fundamentals of the Prohibited Deeds – Khutbah of Imam al-Sa’di

See here for more khutbahs from sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di.

See also: The Deen is Built on Two Foundations: Dhikr and Shukr – Ibn al-Qayyim

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