Words for those in the midst of long-suffering: Ibn al-Jawzi

Imam ibn al-Jawzi wrote the following encouraging words for the one who finds themselves awaiting the response to their du’a:

إذا وقعت في محنة يصعب الخلاص منها ، فليس لك إلّا الدعاء واللجأ إلى الله بعد أن تقدم التوبة من الذنوب.

If a trials afflicts you from which it is difficult to be free, then there is nothing else for you to do except to supplicate and seek refuge with Allah after having preceded this with tawbah for your sins.

فإن الزلل يوجب العقوبة فإذا زال الزلل بالتوبة من الذنوب ارتفع السبب .

For verily sins require punishment, so if the sins disappear due to tawbah from the sins, then the reason (for the punishment) has been lifted.

فإذ تبت ودعوت ولم تر للإجابة أثراً فتفقد أمرك ، فربما كانت التوبة ما صحت فصححها ثم أدع ولا تمل من الدعاء

Then if you have repented and supplicate but you do not see any trace of response, then investigate your affair, for perhaps the tawbah was not sound, so correct it and then supplicate, and do not tire of supplication. Continue reading

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?

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