25. Dhul Qadah 1438  Jumu'ah
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INTRODUCTION[1]

Ability and strength are only by Allah, the High, the Mighty.

Praise belongs to Allah, who when he so wishes cast into the hearts of His seekers the anguish of longing, thereby driving them to travel the path to the happiness that is iman and devotion and the extinction of formalities and habits.

May Allah send his blessings and peace upon out lord Muhammad, the lord of lords, and upon his family and companions, who are the masters and leaders.  Allah the Exalted has said – and who is more truthful – “To him who wants ‘that which is immediate’ We shall give speedily, to whom We will, then plunge them in Hell, blamed and defeated.  He who wants akhira and with iman strives for it as it should be striven for, those shall have their strivings rewarded.”

‘That which is immediate’ is dunia.  According to this, the one who desires dunia, let alone actively pursues it, ends up in the Fire, blamed and belittled.  Should not a man of reason beware and turn away from it?

Akhira here means the Garden.  It is not enough merely to desire it to win it, iman and good works are necessary as was indicated by: “and with iman strives for it as it should be striven for.”

The ‘strivings’ to be rewarded are those deeds which were accepted by Allah, they thereby deserve praise and great rewards which have no limits and no ending, by the grace of Allah and His mercy.

The loser is the seeker of dunia whose end is described in the Qur’an.  His desire for dunia is so powerful that it makes him forget and deny akhira, he is a kafir and is in Hell forever.  The one who acknowledges akhira but does not strive for it will have strayed and is another loser.

The Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be upon him, has said, “Deeds depend on intentions, each man receives according to what he intended.  Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated”.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, thus informed us that the deed is as valid as the intention behind it, and that men are rewarded according to their intentions, when these are good they receive nothing but good, when these are evil they receive nothing but evil.  He whose intention is good, his deed is inevitably good, and he whose intention is malicious, his deed is inevitably malicious, even if outwardly it looks good, as for example a man who behaves in a righteous way only to appear righteous in the eyes of the people

He also informed us, blessings and peace be on him, that he who acts for the sake of Allah and with the intention of following in the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be on him, reward is with Allah.  He will be pleased with him and make his last abode His garden, near to Him, and in the company of the best of His people.  Those whose intentions go to other than Allah and who act accordingly, their rewards are with whoever their intentions had gone to, those they performed for, those who can neither benefit nor harm them or anybody else, who can give neither life, death not resurrection.  The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, chose to speak of hijrah to give an example, however, as is known to the people who understand, those rules can be generalised to all the laws of Islam.

The beginning of the path is a powerful urge of divine origin, it should be strengthened, protected and responded to

Know that the path begins when Allah throws into the heart of the slave a powerful urge which troubles and unnerves him, and drives him towards Allah and the last abode.  It turns him away from dunia and from being, like others, engaged in gathering and building, tasting and enjoying the pleasures of the world, and being deceived by its ornaments.  The urge is one of the hidden warriors of Allah, it is a breath of guidance and the sign of a beginning.  It can often be bestowed on a slave as he listens to those people who stir in him the fear of Allah and the desire and yearning for Him.  It can be given to him when he looks at the people of Allah and through their looking at him.  It can be given without means.

One should actively expose oneself to such breaths, for to expect to receive something when not standing at the door and exposing oneself is foolish.  The Messenger of Allah, blessings and peace be on him, has said: “Your Lord sends down gifts on days of your time, expose yourself to them”.

He upon whom Allah, in His generosity, bestows such a noble urge, must know how precious it is, it is one of the greatest of the graces that Allah showers on him, such that he will never know its real value, nor will he ever be able to thank Allah enough for it.  So, let him thank Allah to his utmost for having selected him from amongst his peers to receive it.  How many a muslim reaches the age of eighty years and more and neither finds this yearning nor is found by it.

A murid (seeker) should strengthen, protect, and respond to this urge.  It grows stronger when he remembers and invokes Allah (zhikr), when he reflects on what is His (fikr), and when he keeps the company of the people of Allah.

He protects it by keeping away from the company of those who are veiled, and by ignoring the whisperings of syaitans.  He responds to it when he hastens to return to Allah and sincerely seeks His nearness, when he neither waits, postpones, nor delays.  This is a change that he is given and should seize, the door is now open for him and he should enter, he is being called and should hurry.  Let him beware of letting one day pass after the other, for this is the work of syaitan.  He must approach and not weaken, he must not make excuses such as saying that there is no time or that he is not good enough for the task.  Abu Rabi’ (Allah have mercy on him) has said, “Go to Allah with your limps and your broken limbs, do not wait for full health for that would only be idleness”.

Ibn Ata’a has said in his ‘Hikam’, “To say that the work has to be postponed until the time is found is nothing but the frivolousness of the nafs (self).

One repentance and its conditions, and on protecting oneself from sin

A murid on the path to Allah should begin by repenting fully from all his sins.  If he has treated unjustly any of the creation of Allah or has debts to them, he should correct this by giving everyone their due, if this is not possible he should ask them to release him from those debts.  Whoever is encumbered by debts to creation cannot proceed towards the Real.

For repentance to be sound, he must feel sincere remorse for his sins, and be truly and wholly determined not to repeat such actions as long as he lives.  If he does not refrain from them, or is still harbouring the intention to repeat them his repentance is false and invalid.

A murid should always be extremely aware of his shortcomings, toward his Lord.  When these shortcomings bring him sadness and his heart breaks, let him know that Allah is with him, for He says “I am with those whose heart break for my sake”.

A murid should protect himself from the smallest of sins (let alone the great ones) more than he would protect himself from deadly poison.  Should he commit one, he should be more frightened than if he had taken poison, for rebellion is to the heart what poison is to the body, only more powerful.  The heart of a murid is his capital, it is more precious to him than his body, and should be protected accordingly.  The body is target for diseases and will soon be destroyed by death.  Its death however, means only that one has to leave this grief and anxiety laden world.  But if the heart is ruined, akhira is ruined.

The only one to be rescued from the wrath of Allah and to obtain His rewards and win His pleasure, will be the one who comes to Him with a heart that is ‘whole’.

On guarding the heart against whisperings, diseases and ill-thinking

A murid should strive to guard his heart against whisperings, diseases and bad thoughts.  He should guard its gate by constant vigilance and prevent these things from entering, for once they enter his heart they will ruin it and it will become difficult to expel them.  He should purify his heart–which is the place upon which his Lord’s gaze falls–from worldly desires, spite, rancour, deceit towards Muslims, or ill-thinking of them.  He must be of good advice to them, compassionate and merciful, desiring for them what he desires for himself and disliking for them what he dislikes for himself; he must think well of them all.

Know murid, that the heart commits sins which are uglier, fouler and more offensive than those committed by the senses; a heart remains unfit for the gnosis of Allah and for His love to descend into it, until it rids itself of all such sins.

Among the worst sins of the heart are conceit, hypocrisy and envy.

Arrogance and conceit are a proof of excessive foolishness; they are the limits of ignorance and stupidity.  Conceit is not becoming of one who knows that he was made from a smelly drop of semen and very soon will become a decaying cadaver.  If he possesses virtues and good qualities, they are but a graceful gift from Allah, he can achieve nothing by his own power, and neither can be acquire anything through his own strength and cleverness.  When he gives himself prominence over the slaves of Allah, using to achieve this the gifts that Allah had gracefully bestowed on him, is he not afraid that by behaving discourteously and attributing to himself what belongs to Allah, Allah would take away everything from him?  Prominence and greatness are attributes of Allah, the Compeller, the Supreme.

On guarding the senses against rebellious acts and against being deceived by dunia

A murid should strive to restrain his senses and limbs from rebellion and sins and only use them in obedience.  He should use them only in those things which would benefit him in akhira.  He should take great care in guarding his tongue, for its size is small but its crimes are great.  Let him prevent it from lying, backbiting and other forms of forbidden speech.  Let him beware of lewdness and of delving into what does not concern him, even if it were not forbidden, it makes the heart grow harder and is a waste of time.  A murid should only move his tongue in reading Quran, zikr, giving advice to a Muslim, enjoining good and forbidding that which is reprehensible and in those things of dunia which relate to his akhira.  The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, he said: “Everything that the son of Adam says is counted against him not for him, except zikr of Allah, enjoining good and forbidding evil.”

Know that hearing and sight are two open doors, whatever enters through them reaches the heart.  How many a thing does a man hear or see, which he should not have and which having entered the heart prove difficult to remove.  For the heart is rapidly affected by what enters it and when it becomes so, the effect is difficult to erase.  Let the murid then be careful to protect his ears and eyes and strive to restrain all his senses and his limbs from sins and from what is in excess of the necessary.  Let him beware of looking with approval at the ornaments of dunia, for its outward is deception and its inward a lesson in wisdom.  The eye looks at its deceptive manifestations, but the heart looks at the lesson hidden within.  How many a murid looked at some of the ornaments of dunia and his heart leaned toward them, like them and strove to build and gather and become therefore lost on the wrong path.  So, lower your eyes murid and only look at creation with the intention of seeing the example and lesson within it.  Remember as you look that it will wither and go from whence it came, it came from non-existence, was beheld by many men who are now gone while it still remains.  Generation after generation have received it as an inheritance which will inevitably perish and disappear.  Look at creatures with an eye that sees them as evidence of their Creator’s perfect power; every creation says with the tongue of its state; “There is no God but Allah, the Exalted, the Wise.”, this, the people of enlightened


[1] Extract from “The Book of the Murid” by Al Habib Imam Abdullah bin Alawi Alhaddad