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

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Khutbah on Welcoming Ramadan in the Proper Way: Imam al-Sa’di

The following khutbah was taken from a collection of the Friday sermons written and delivered by sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di:

خطبة في استقبال رمضان بما يُناسبه

Khutbah on Welcoming Ramadan in the Proper Way

الحمد لله الذي جعل مواسم الخيرات نُزُلاً لعباده الأبرار ـ وهيّأ لهم فيها من أصناف نعمه وفُنون كرمه كل خير غزير مدرار ، وجعلها تتكرّر كل عام ليوالي على عباده الفضل ويحُطَّ عنهم الذنوب والأوزار . ـ

All praise is due to Allah, the One who made the seasons of goodness as way-stations for His righteous slaves, and who amply prepared various forms of blessings, hospitality and every sort of good for them therein. He made these seasons such that they are repeated every year, so that bounty might be bestowed upon His slaves and they might be protected from sins and the burdens thereof.

أحمده أن جعل الليل والنهار خلفة لمن أراد التيقّظ والشكر والادّكار ، وأشكره أن جعل شهر رمضان أفضل المواسم الكريمة التي تضاعف فيها الأعمال وتربح بضائع التجار . ـ

I praise Him for making the the night and day in succession for whoever wants to be vigilant, grateful and mindful. And I thank Him for making the month of Ramadan the most virtuous of the noble seasons in which deeds are multiplied and workers make a profit on their goods.

وأشهد أن لا إله الله وحده لا شريك له العزيز الغفار . وأشهد أن محمد عبده ورسوله النبي المختار . اللهم صل عل محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه البررة الأطهار . ـ

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partners; the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger; the chosen prophet. O Allah, bestow peace and blessings upon Muhammad, and upon his family and righteous purified companions.

أما بعد : أيها الناس ؛ اتقوا الله تعالى : { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ‌ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ خَبِيرٌ‌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ * وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ } [الحشر 18-19] . ـ

To proceed: O People, Exercise taqwa of Allah:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ‌ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ خَبِيرٌ‌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ * وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

O you who have believed, have taqwa of Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and have taqwa of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do. * And do not be like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient. [59:18-19]

واعلموا أنه قد أظلّكم شهر عظيم ، وموسم مبارك كريم ، جعل الله صيامه أحد أركان الاسلام ، وندب إلى قيامه فمن أكملها إيماناً واحتساباً تمّ له دينه واستقم . ـ

Know that a great month and a blessed and noble season is almost upon you! Allah made its fasting one of the pillars of Islam and made its night prayers an encouraged action. So whoever perfects them with eemaan and the expectation of reward, then he has completed his deen and made it upright. Continue reading

Those who come to Allah with a Pure Heart: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Shu’araa’, the prophet Ibrahim made a du’aa in which he described the Day of Judgement by saying:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ * إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail, * Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart] (26:88-89)

Commenting on this in his book of tafsir, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote the following:

قوله تعالى : يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون ( يوم ) بدل من ( يوم ) الأول . أي يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون أحدا . والمراد بقوله : ” ولا بنون ” الأعوان ; لأن الابن إذا لم ينفع فغيره متى ينفع ؟ وقيل : ذكر البنين لأنه جرى ذكر والد إبراهيم ، أي لم ينفعه إبراهيم . ـ

Allah’s statement:

يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ

The Day wherein neither wealth nor sons will avail

– meaning, a day on which neither wealth nor sons will benefit anyone. And the intended meaning of his statement, “nor sons” is helpers, because if sons do not help you, then who else will? And some say, “he mentioned sons here because it comes along with mentioning Ibrahim’s father” – i.e. Ibrahim will not benefit him.

 إلا من أتى الله بقلب سليم هو استثناء من الكافرين ; أي لا ينفعه ماله ولا بنوه . وقيل : هو استثناء من غير الجنس ، أي لكن من أتى الله بقلب سليم ينفعه لسلامة قلبه . ـ

إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّـهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

Except him who brings to Allah a qalb saleem [pure heart]

This is an exclusion of the disbelievers, i.e. their wealth and sons will not benefit them. But others say it is an exclusion without any exception, i.e. (on that day neither wealth nor sons will benefit) however whoever comes to Allah with a qalb saleem [pure heart] will benefit from the purity of his heart.

وخص القلب بالذكر ; لأنه الذي إذا سلم سلمت الجوارح ، وإذا فسد فسدت سائر الجوارح . وقد تقدم في أول ( البقرة ) . ـ

And the heart is mentioned specifically here because it is that which, if it is pure then one’s limbs are pure, but if it is corrupted then the rest of one’s limbs are corrupted. And this has already been mentioned in the beginning of surah al-Baqarah. 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

A Khutbah just before the last ten days of Ramadan: Imam al-Sa’di

In a collection of more than 400 sermons which sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di wrote and/or delivered from the minbar of the main masjid of his native city of ‘Unayzah, Saudi Arabia, the following khutbah was written to be delivered on the 19th of Ramadan in the year 1376 A.H. (corresponding to April 19th, 1957 C.E.)*:

خطبة قُبيل العشر الأواخير من رمضان

A Khutbah just before the last ten days of Ramadan

الحمد لله الذي بسط خيره وإحسانه في هذا الشهر الكريم ، وجعله مورداً للعباد يغتنمونه للوصول إلى النعيم المقيم . ـ

All praise belongs to Allah who has extended His goodness and ihsaan during this noble month, and has made it a well-spring for the slaves through which they can attain lasting bliss.

وأشهد أن لا إله إلّا الله وحده لا شريك له ذو الفضل العظيم ، والإحسان الشامل العميم . وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله النبي الكريم . اللهم صلّ على محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه وأتباعهم على الهدى المستقيم ، وسلّم تسليماً . ـ

I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship in truth except Allah alone with no partners, the Possessor of great bounty and abundant and encompassing ihsaan. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, a noble prophet. O Allah, bestow Your peace and blessings upon Muhammad and upon his family and companions and upon those who follow them according to the correct guidance.

أمّا بعد : أيها الناس ، اتقوا الله تعالى بفعل مراضيه واجتناب مناهيه ، وتداركوا الأوقات الفاضلة قبل أن يندم المفرط على غفلته عن مصالحه وتماديه . ـ

To proceed: O mankind, have taqwa of Allah by performing what pleases Him and avoiding His prohibitions, and make good use of this meritorious time before you regret wasting it out of heedlessness of its benefits and out of immoderate behavior.

فقد أمدّكم مولاكم في هذا الشهر من موائد جوده بفضائل جمّة ، وتفضّل عليكم يخيرات وكرامات وخصائص مهمّة . ـ

For your Master has allowed you to live until this month out of the bounty of His generosity due to His abundant blessings, and He has favored you with goodness, noble endowments and a great distinction. Continue reading

Two Joys for the Fasting Person: Imam al-Sa’di

In his collection of comprehensive statements of the Prophet (ﷺ), Imam ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di brought the following hadeeth:

الحديث الخامس والثلاثون: للصائم فرحتان
Hadeeth #35: There are Two Joys for the Fasting Person

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ يُضَاعَفُ: الْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ. قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: إِلَّا الصَّوْمَ. فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ؛ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي. لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ: فَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ فِطْرِهِ، وَفَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ لِقَاءِ رَبِّهِ. ولَخَلُوف فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ. وَالصَّوْمُ جُنَّة. وَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَصْخَبْ، فَإِنْ سابَّه أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ، فَلْيَقُلْ: إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صائم” متفق عليه . ـ

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah who said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ يُضَاعَفُ: الْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا إِلَى سَبْعِمِائَةِ ضِعْفٍ. قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: إِلَّا الصَّوْمَ. فَإِنَّهُ لِي، وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ؛ يَدَعُ شَهْوَتَهُ وَطَعَامَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي. لِلصَّائِمِ فَرْحَتَانِ: فَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ فِطْرِهِ، وَفَرْحَةٌ عِنْدَ لِقَاءِ رَبِّهِ. ولَخَلُوف فَمِ الصَّائِمِ أَطْيَبُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ رِيحِ الْمِسْكِ. وَالصَّوْمُ جُنَّة. وَإِذَا كَانَ يَوْمُ صَوْمِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَلَا يَرْفُثْ وَلَا يَصْخَبْ، فَإِنْ سابَّه أَحَدٌ أَوْ قَاتَلَهُ، فَلْيَقُلْ: إِنِّي امْرُؤٌ صائم

Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied: a single good deed tenfold up to seven hundred times. Allah said, “Except for the fasting, for it is for Me, and I shall reward for it: he has left off his desires and his food for My Sake.” The fasting person has two occasions of joy: a joy at the time of his breaking the fast, and a joy at the time of meeting his Lord. And the smell from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the fragrance of misk. And fasting is a shield. And when it is a day of fasting for one of you, then do not engage in obscene speech nor raise your voice, then if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him he should say, “I am a fasting person.”

This is agreed upon [i.e. both al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded it].

ما أعظم هذا الحديث؛ فإنه ذكر الأعمال عموماً، ثم الصيام خصوصاً وذكر فضله وخواصه، وثوابه العاجل والآجل، وبيان حكمته، والمقصود منه، وما ينبغي فيه من الآداب الفاضلة. كلها احتوى عليها هذا الحديث. ـ

What is more magnificent than this hadeeth! For indeed it mentions deeds generally, then fasting specifically and it makes mention of its virtues and attributes and both its immediate and delayed rewards, and (also) an explanation of the wisdom behind it and the objective of it, as well as what is appropriate regarding it of honorable etiquettes. All of these things are included in this hadeeth! Continue reading

Two things for which there are no concessions

Following the great victory for the Muslims at the Battle of al-Qaadisiyyah, Ameer al-Mu’mineen ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab wrote a letter to his commander Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas wherein he said:

أما بعد فإن الله جل وعلا أنزل في كل شيء رخصة في بعد الحالات إلا في أمريم : العدل في السيرة والذكر. فأما الذكر فلا رخصة فيه في حال ، ولم يرض منه إلا كثير . وأما العدل فلا رخصة فيه في قريب ولا بعيد ، ولا في شدة ولا في رجاء. والعدل – وإن رئي لينًا – فهو أقوى وأطفأ للجور ، وأقمع للباطل من الجور

“To proceed: Verily Allah has provided concessions for everything in certain circumstances, except for two things: Justice and Dhikr. As for dhikr (remembrance of Allah), there is no concession under any circumstances and Allah is not pleased with anything except a great deal of it. And as for justice; there is no concession in it, neither at times of hardship nor ease. And justice – even if it appears soft – it is stronger than injustice and is more able to suppress falsehood than injustice.”

[Taareekh al-Tabari 4/410]

See also: “If there had been a concession for anyone in leaving off dhikr…”

See also: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: “O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance”: Tafsir al-Sa’di

See also: Everything has two ends and a middle

Balancing between seeking knowledge and softening the heart: Ibn al-Jawzi

Imam abu’l-Faraj ibn a-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khaatir, wrote the following on the importance of softening the heart in the midst of talab al-’ilm (seeking knowledge):

رأيت الاشتغال بالفقه وسماع الحديث لا يكاد يكفي في صلاح القلب إلا أن يمزج بالرقائق والنظر في سير السلف الصالحين‏.‏ لأنهم تناولوا مقصود النقل وخرجوا عن صور الأفعال المأمور بها إلى ذوق معانيها والمراد بها‏.

I feel that occupying oneself with fiqh and acquiring narrations is hardly enough to rectify the heart, unless one mixes with that the study of al-raqaa’iq (heart-softening narrations) and examining the biographies of the salaf al-saaliheen, because they [i.e. the Salaf] realized the intended purpose of those narrations and extracted the commanded actions from them, perceiving their intended meanings and desired understandings thereby.

‏ وما أخبرتك بهذا إلا بعد معالجة وذوق لأني وجدت جمهور المحدثين وطلاب الحديث همة أحدهم في الحديث العالي وتكثير الأجزاء‏.‏ وجمهور الفقهاء في علوم الجدل وما يغالب به الخصم‏.‏ وكيف يرق القلب مع هذه الأشياء‏.‏

And I do not inform you of this except after personal trials and error, because I have found that the majority of the muhadditheen and students of hadeeth are primarily concerned with the shortest chain of narration and increasing the number of narrations. And that the majority of the fuqahaa’ (jurists) are primarily concerned with knowledge of debate, argumentation and how to win an a dispute. And how can hearts by softened with these things?

Continue reading

Everything has two ends and a middle

Abu Nu’aym, in his famous book Hilyah al-Awliyaa’, recorded the following inspirational narration:

 حدثنا أبي ثنا اسحاق بن ابراهيم ثنا محمد بن سهل ثنا اسماعيل بن عبدالكريم حدثني عبدالصمد بن معقل عن وهب بن منبه قال

…Wahb ibn Munabbiah said:

قال عالم لمن فوقه في العلم كم أبني من البناء قال يكفيك ما يسترك من الشمس ويكنك من الغيث قال كم آكل من الطعام قال فوق الجوع ودون الشبع قال كم ألبس من الثياب قال لباس المسيح عليه السلام قال كم أضحك قال ما يسفر وجهك ولا يسمع صوتك قال كم أبكي قال لا تمل أن تبكي من خشية الله قال كم أخفي من العمل قال حتى يظن الناس أنك لم تعمل حسنة قال كم أعلن من العمل قال ما يأتم بك الحريص ولا تؤتى أو قال ولا يقبل عليك كلام الناس

A scholar once asked another greater than him in knowledge, “How much should I build?” He replied, “As much as shelters you from the sun and the rain.” He asked, “How much food should I eat?” He replied, “More than what keeps you hungry and less than what makes you full.” He asked, “How much should I wear?” He replied, “As the Messiah (Jesus) did.” He asked, “How much should I laugh?” He replied, “As much as appears on your face but does not make audible your voice.” He asked, “How much should I cry?” He replied, “Never tire from crying out of the fear of Allah.” He asked, “How much should I hide my deeds?” He replied, “Until people think you had not done a good deed.” He asked, “How much should I make public my deeds?” He replied, “As much as will let the keen follow your example but not have the people talk about you.”

قال وسمعت راهبا يقول إن لكل شيء طرفين ووسطا فاذا أمسكت بأحد الطرفين مال الآخر واذا أمسكت بالوسط اعتدل الطرفان ثم قال عليكم بالأوسط من الأشياء

He said: I once heard a monk say: “Everything has two ends and a middle. If you grab one end, the other will slant, but if you take the middle, both ends will balance.” Then he said, “Stick to the middle in all affairs.”

[Hilyah al-Awliyaa’ 4/45]

See also: Two things for which there are no concessions