Which are More Virtuous, the First Ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah or the Last Ten of Ramadan?

A question was posed to Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah: Which are more virtuous, the first ten of Dh’ul-Hijjah or the last ten of Ramadan? So he replied:

أيام عشر ذي الحجة أفضل من أيام العشر من رمضان، والليالي العشر الأواخر من رمضان أفضل من ليالي عشر ذي الحجة

The days of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah are more virtuous than the days of the last ten of Ramadan while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are more virtuous than the nights of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 25/154]

Ibn Taymiyah’s student Ibn al-Qayyim commented and elaborated upon his teacher’s response in one of his own works by writing:

وإذا تأمل الفاضل اللبيب هذا الجواب وجده شافيا كافيا، فإنه ليس من أيام العمل فيها أحب إلى الله من أيام عشر ذي الحجة. وفيها يوم عرفة ويوم النحر ويوم التروية. وأما ليالي عشر رمضان فهي ليالي الأحياء التي كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يحييها كلها، وفيها ليلة خير من ألف شهر. فمن أجاب بغير هذا التفصيل، لم يمكنه أن يدلي بحجة صحيحة

If one were to consider the honor and sensibleness of this answer, he would find it to be comprehensive and sufficient. Indeed, there are no days in which deeds are more beloved to Allah than the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah – and they contain the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of the Sacrifice, and the Day of Tarwiyah [the 9th, 10th, and 8th days, respectively]. Continue reading

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

al-‘Allaamah ibn al-Qayyim wrote the following beneficial words in his famous work, al-Fawaa’id:

مبنى الدين على قاعدتين: الذكر والشكر، ـ

The deen is built on two foundations: al-Dhikr and al-Shukr [remembrance and gratitude].

قال تعالى {فاذكروني أذكركم واشكروا لي ولا تكفرون} سورة البقرة، الآية: 152، ـ

Allah said:

فَاذْكُرُ‌ونِي أَذْكُرْ‌كُمْ وَاشْكُرُ‌وا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُ‌ونِ

So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. [2:152].

وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لمعاذ: «والله إني لأحبك فلا تنس أن تقول دبر كل صلاة: اللهم أعنِّي على ذكرك وشكرك وحسن عبادتك»، ـ

And the Prophet said to Mu’adh, “By Allah, verily I love you, so do not forget to say at the end of every salaah, ‘O Allah, aid me in remembering You and gratitude to You and in excellent worship of You.”

وليس المراد بالذكر مجرد ذكر اللسان بل القلبي واللساني، وذكره يتضمن ذكر أسمائه وصفاته وذكر أمره ونهيه وذكره بكلامه، وذلك يستلزم معرفته والإيمان به وبصفات كماله ونعوت جلاله والثناء عليه بأنواع المدح. وذلك لا يتم إلا بتوحيده. ـ

And the intended meaning of al-dhikr is not merely dhikr of the the tongue – rather of both the heart and the tongue. And making dhikr of Him comprises dhikr of His names and attributes, of His commands and prohibitions, and making dhikr of Him with His Words. And that necessitates knowing Him and having al-eemaan in Him and in His perfect qualities and marvelous attributes and extolling Him with all sorts of praise. And this is not made completed except by singling Him out with tawheed.

فذكره الحقيقي يستلزم ذلك كله ويستلزم ذكر نعمه وآلائه وإحسانه إلى خلقه. ـ

And the true dhikr of Him requires all of that and requires remembering His blessings, favors and excellent treatments towards His creation.

وأما الشكر فهو القيام له بطاعته والتقرب إليه بأنواع محابه ظاهرا وباطنا، ـ

And as for al-shukr, then it is establishing obedience to Him and seeking nearness to Him through the various forms of those things which He loves – both outwardly and inwardly.

وهذان الأمران هما جماع الدين، فذكره مستلزم لمعرفته، وشكره متضمن لطاعته، ـ

And these two issues comprise the entire deen, for dhikr of Him requires knowing Him, and shukr of Him involves being obedient to Him. Continue reading

Complaining about Allah vs. Complaining to Allah: ibn al-Qayyim

In his famous book of assorted benefits, al-Fawaa’id, Ibn al-Qayyim mentions the following issue:

فَائِدَة الْجَاهِل يشكو الله إِلَى النَّاس وَهَذَا غَايَة الْجَهْل بالمشكو والمشكو إِلَيْهِ فَإِنَّهُ لَو عرف ربه لما شكاه وَلَو عرف النَّاس لما شكا إِلَيْهِم

A point of benefit: The ignorant one complains about Allah to the people, and this is the height of ignorance when is comes to complaining about something and complaining to someone. For if he had known his Lord, then he would not have complained about Him, and if he had known the people, then he would not have complained to them.

وَرَأى بعض السّلف رجلا يشكو إِلَى رجل فاقته وضرورته فَقَالَ يَا هَذَا وَالله مَا زِدْت على أَن شَكَوْت من يَرْحَمك وَفِي ذَلِك قيل : ـ

One of the salaf saw a man who was complaining to another man about his poverty and dire need, so he said, “O you! By Allah, the only thing you’ve done is to complain to someone who does not take pity on you for that.” And it is said:

إذا شَكَوْت إِلَى ابْن آدم إِنَّمَا … تَشْكُو الرَّحِيم إِلَى الَّذِي لَا يرحم

When you complain to a son of Adam
You are only complaining about the Most Merciful One to someone who does not show mercy Continue reading

The Subtleties of the Supplications of Ayyub and Yusuf – ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzi wrote the following points of benefit in his famous work entitled al-Fawaa’id:

 من لطائف دعاء أيوب عليه السلام .ـ

From the subtleties of the supplication of Ayyub (‘alaihi al-salaam):

قوله تعالى (( وأيوب إذ نادى ربَّهُ أنِّي مَسِّنِيَ الضُّر و أنتَ أرحمُ الراحِمين )) الأنبياء 83 جمع في هذا الدعاء بين : حقيقة التوحيد ،وإظهار الفقر والفاقة إلى ربه ، ووجود طعم المحبة في التملق له ، والإقرار له بصفة الرحمة ، وأنه أرحم الراحمين ، والتوسل إليه بصفاته سبحانه ، وشدة حاجته هو وفقره . ـ

Allah said,

وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَ‌بَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ‌ وَأَنتَ أَرْ‌حَمُ الرَّ‌احِمِينَ

And [mention] Ayyub, when he called to his Lord, ‘Indeed, adversity has touched me, and you are the Most Merciful of the merciful.’ [21:83].

He combined several things in this supplication:

-the reality of al-tawheed,
-and demonstrating his poverty and neediness of his Lord,
-and the presence of his deep-seated love in his adulation of Him,
-and his affirming Allah’s quality of al-Rahmah [Mercy] and that He is the Most Merciful of the merciful ones,
-and supplicating to Him by means of His attributes – Exalted is He – and by the severity of his personal need and poverty. Continue reading

A sin may be beneficial for a person: Ibn al-Qayyim

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) wrote:

إن الذنب قد يكون أنفع للعبد إذا اقترنت به التوبة من كثير من الطاعات ، وهذا معنى قول بعض السلف : قد يعمل العبد الذنب فيدخل به الجنة ويعمل الطاعة فيدخل بها النار ، قالوا : وكيف ذلك قال : يعمل الذنب فلا يزال نصب عينيه إن قام وإن قعد وإن مشى ذكر ذنبه فيُحدِثُ له انكساراً وتوبةً واستغفارا وندما فيكون ذلك سبب نجاته ، ويعمل الحسنة فلا تزال نصب عينيه إن قام وإن قعد وإن مشى كلما ذكرها أورثته عجباً وكبرا ومنة فتكون سبب هلاكه

Sin may be more beneficial for a person – if it leads him to repent – than engaging in many acts of obedience. This is the meaning of the statement of one of the salaf,

“‘A person may commit a sin and enter Paradise because of it, or he may do an act of worship and enter Hell because of it.’ They said, ‘How is that?’ He replied, ‘He may commit a sin and then it remains at the forefront of his thoughts, and when he stands or sits or walks he remembers his sin. So then there comes about shame, repentance, seeking forgiveness and regret, so that that will be the means of his salvation. And [on the other hand] one may perform a good deed and it remains at the forefront of his thoughts, so when he stands or sits or walks he always remembers it and it results in him being amazed [with himself] and prideful. So that will be from the cause of his doom.'”

Continue reading

Which is more virtuous: reading a small amount of the Qur’an with tarteel and contemplation, or a large amount quickly? – Ibn al-Qayyim

In his famous work of seerah, Imam ibn al-Qayyim addressed the issue of the relative merits of slow recitation with contemplation and a large amount of reading with quick recitation without contemplation. He wrote:

وقد اختلف الناس في الأفضل من الترتيل وقلة القراءة ، أو السرعة مع كثرة القراءة : أيهما أفضل؟ على قولين . ـ

The people have differed concerning which is better; reading a small amount with tarteel (slow, measured and deliberate recitation), or reciting a large amount quickly – which of the two is more virtuous? On this subject there are two opinions: Continue reading

“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else. Continue reading

The Mahdi will be from the offspring of al-Hasan: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, in his book al-Manaar al-Muneef, while collecting the different views of the Mahdi, brings this as the opinion of Ahl al-Sunnah:

أنه رجل من أهل البيت النبي ﷺ ، من ولد الحسن بن علي ، يخرج في آخر الزمان ، وقد امتلأت الارض جوزا وظلما ، فيملؤها قسطا و عدلا ، وأكثر الأحاديث على هذا تدل.

He is a man from the ahl al-bait (household) of the Prophet (ﷺ), from the children of al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, who will come at the end of time. And the earth will have been filled with injustice, so he will fill it with justice, and most of the ahaadeeth show this.

في كونه من ولد الحسن سِرٌّ لطيف ، وهو أن الحسن رضي الله تعالى عنه ترك الخلافة الله ، فجعل الله من ولده من يقوم بالخلافة الحق المتضمنة للعدل الذي يملأ الأرض ، وهذه سنة الله في عباده : أنه من ترك لأجله شيئا أعطاه الله ، أو أعطى ذريته أفضل منه ، وهذا بخلاف الحسين رضي الله عنه ، فإنه حرص عليها ، وقاتل عليها فلم يظفر بها ، والله أعلم

In his being from the offspring of al-Hasan is a subtle wisdom, and that is that al-Hasan (raadi Allaahu ta’aala ‘anhu) abdicated the khilaafah, so Allah then made someone from his progeny to establish the khilaafah in truth to establish the justice which would fill the earth. And this is the sunnah of Allah with His slaves: that whoever gives up something for His sake, then Allah gives him – or He gives to his progeny – something better than it. And this is in contrast to al-Husain (raadi Allaahu ‘anhu), for verily he was keen on attaining the khilaafah, and he fought for it, and he did not achieve it, and Allah knows best. Continue reading

Ibn al-Qayyim on patience

The great scholar Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzi, in his book Iddah al-Saabireen wa Dhakheerah al-Shaakireen, wrote the following insightful and uplifting words on the subject of Sabr:

 والنفس مطية العبد التى يسير عليها إلى الجنة أو النار والصبر لها بمنزلة الخطام والزمام للمطيه فإن لم يكن للمطيه خطام ولا زمام شردت في كل مذهب

And the soul is the mount of the servant upon which he embarks either to Jannah or to the Hell-fire, and Sabr is like the rein of that mount. And if there were to be no rein for the mount, the mount would bolt here and there, directionless.

 وحفظ من خطب الحجاج اقدعوا هذه النفوس فإنها طلعة إلى كل سوء فرحم الله امرءا جعل لنفسه خطاما وزماما فقادها بخطامها إلى طاعة الله وصرفها بزمامها عن معاصى الله فإن الصبر عن محارم الله أيسر من الصبر على عذابه

In one of the speeches of al-Hajjaaj, he said, “Restrain these souls for they plunge into every evil. May Allah have mercy upon a person who places a rein around his soul and guides it to the obedience of Allah and turns it away from from disobedience of Allah. For verily Sabr against the prohibitions of Allah is easier than sabr against His punishment.”

 قلت والنفس فيها قوتان قوة الإقدام وقوة الاحجام فحقيقة الصبر ان يجعل قوة الإقدام مصروفة إلى ما ينفعه وقوة الاحجام امساكا عما يضره

I [ibn al-Qayyim] say: the soul has the ability of driving and daring, and it has the ability of restraint and resistance. The reality of patience is that one directs its driving force towards that which would benefit him and directs his resistance against that which would harm him.

ومن الناس من تكون قوة صبره على فعل ما ينتفع به وثباته عليه اقوى من صبره عما يضره فيصبر على مشقة الطاعه ولا صبر له عن داعى هواه إلى ارتكاب ما نهى عنه

Some people find that their ability to patiently persevere in doing that which will benefit them is greater than their ability to patiently refrain from that which will have them. So he is able to persevere in fulfilling the commandments but he has no sabr against the call of his desires to commit what is prohibited for him.

ومنهم من تكون قوة صبره عن المخالفات أقوى من صبره على مشقة الطاعات

And some people have a greater ability to patiently refrain from opposition than their ability to patiently persevere in obedience.

ومنهم من لا صبر له على هذا ولا ذاك

And some people do not have the sabr for either of these two.

وأفضل الناس أصبرهم على النوعين فكثير من الناس يصبر على مكابدة قيام الليل في الحر والبرد وعلى مشقة الصيام ولا يصبر عن نظرة محرمة

The best person is the one who has the most sabr in both matters. Many people are able to persevere in praying during the night, whether it is hot or cold, and fast during the day, but are not able to lower their gaze.

وكثير من الناس يصبر عن النظر وعن الالتفات إلى الصور ولا صبر له على الأمر بالمعروف والنهى عن المنكر وجهاد الكفار والمنافقين بل هو أضعف شئ عن هذا وأعجزه

And many people are able to lower their gaze but are unable to enjoin good and forbid evil or participate in jihaad against the kuffaar and the munaafiqeen. Rather they are the weakest in these things are they cannot do them.

وأكثرهم لا صبر له على واحد من الأمرين وأقلهم أصبرهم في الموضعين

And a majority do not have sabr for one of these two things, and a minority are able to exercise sabr in both cases.

وقيل الصبر ثبات باعث العقل والدين في مقابلة باعث الهوى والشهوة

And it is said that Sabr is that the intellect and the deen stand firm when faced with lusts and desires.

ومعنى هذا أن الطبع يتقاضى ما يحب وباعث العقل والدين يمنع منه والحرب قائمة بينهما وهو سجال ومعرك هذا الحرب قلب العبد والصبر والشجاعة والثبات

And the meaning of this is that human nature runs after that which it loves, but intellect and religion prevent it. So there is a standing war among them, and this war has its ups and down. The battlefield is the heart of the slave, and sabr, courage and steadfast firmness.

[Iddah al-Saabireen wa Dhakheerah al-Shaakireen p. 25-27]

See also: “Allah had distributed people’s actions just as he has distributed their sustenance”

“This is the best of what has been said concerning the definition of taqwa…”

Abu Hurayrah reports that the Prophet (ﷺ)‎ said:

التَّقْوَى هَا هُنَا ‏‏ ‏.‏ وَيُشِيرُ إِلَى صَدْرِهِ ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ

al-Taqwa is here,” and he pointed to his breast three times
[Saheeh Muslim #2564]

 

The Taabi’ee Talq ibn Habib (طلق إبن حبيب) said upon being asked about taqwa,
العمل بطاعة الله ، على نور من الله ، رجاء ثواب الله ، وترك معاصي الله ، على نور من الله ، مخافة عذاب الله .

 “That you perform the obedience of Allah upon a light from Allah, hoping for the reward of Allah. And you abandon disobedience of Allah upon a light from Allah, fearing the punishment of Allah.”

[Recorded by ibn al-Mubarak, al-Zuhd #473 with a sahih isnad.]

 Ibn Al-Qayyim said about this statement from Talq ibn Habib,

وهذا أحسن ما قيل في حد التقوى . فان كل عمل لابد له من مبدأ وغاية ، فلا يكون العمل طاعة وقربة حتى يكون مصدره عن الإيمان فيكون الباعث عليه هو الإيمان المحض ، لا العادة ولا الهوى ولا طلب المحمدة والجاه وغير ذلك بل لابد أن يكون مبدؤه محض الإيمان وغايته ثواب الله وابتغاء مرضاته وهو الاحتساب . ولهذا كثيرا ما يُقرن بين هذين الأصلين في مثل قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : ” من صام رمضان إيمانا واحتسابا ” و ” ومن قام ليلة القدر إيماناً واحتساباً ” ونظائره .

“This is the best that has been said concerning the definition of taqwa for indeed every action must have a beginning cause to it and an objective. An action can never be considered to be obedience and a cause to draw one closer to Allah until its point of commencement and cause be unadulterated faith, not habit, not base desires, not the wish for praise and position, nor other such things. Its objective must be the reward that lies with Allah and His good pleasure, this being the definition of ihtisaab. This is why we often find the combined mention of these two foundations such as his (ﷺ)‎ sayings, “Whoever fast the month of Ramadan with eemaan and ihtisaab…” and “whoever stands [in prayer] during Lailah al-Qadr with eemaan and ihtisaab…” and their companions.

فقوله : ” على نور من الله ” إشارة إلى الأصل الأول وهو الإيمان الذي هو مصدر العمل والسبب الباعث عليه .

His (Talq ibn Habib’s) statement, ‘upon a light from Allah‘ points to the first foundation, and it is al-eemaan, which is the source of action and the reason for doing them.

وقوله : ” ترجو ثواب الله ” إشارة أن الأصل الثاني وهو الاحتساب وهو الغاية التي لأجلها يوقع العمل ولها يقصد به

And his saying, ‘hoping for the reward of Allah‘ points to the second foundation, and it is ihtisaab. And that is the goal for which one works towards and what is intended by it.

[ar-Risalah al-Tabukiyyah, pg 27]