Purification of the Soul
Typography

Verily all praise belongs to Allah, we praise Him, seek His Aid and His Forgiveness. Whomsoever Allah guides there is none to misguide and whomsoever Allah misguides there is none to guide. I testify that there is none deserving of worship except Allah alone without any partners and I testify that Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam is His servant and His Messenger.

Allah the Exalted said in His Mighty Book:

"Know that the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement, glitter, mutual boasting and rivalry amongst yourselves in (the accumulation of) wealth and children. Just like the example of the rain and the growth it brings which brings delight to the tillers. Then it withers and you see it become yellow. Then it dries and crumbles away. But in the hereafter there is an intense punishment as well as forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure. And this life is nothing but a deceiving entertainment. Be foremost in seeking forgiveness from your Lord and a garden whose width is as the width of the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the bounty of Allah and He gives His bounty to whomsoever He pleases, and Allah is the Possessor of great bounty and grace."

My brother and sister for the sake of Allah, in compliance with what Allah the Exalted has enjoined upon the Muslim regarding the giving of advice to his Muslim brothers and sisters, I present this advice to you. Perhaps Allah will bring about benefit on account of it. Jarir ibn Abdullah radiallahu 'anhu said, "We gave the pledge of allegiance to the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam for establishing prayer, giving the zakah and giving advice to every Muslim."

My brother and sister for the sake of Allah, this is advice to a stranger which I present to you (as a gift) that you may be amongst the strangers. The strangers who do not see themselves needless of this advice which contains an increase (in goodness) for you in this life. It is extremely important due to the benefits it contains, which makes a person strive and run towards the home of the hereafter with all his effort.

Therefore, be eager in reading repetitively, seeking to understand it and let your concern become knowledge. acting upon this knowledge out of sincerity and following the Prophet of the strangers. Convey it also to others so that you succeed with Tuba' (a tree in Paradise). The Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Verily, Islam began as a stranger and shall return as a stranger as it began, so Tuba is for the strangers."

The Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam also said to Abdullah ibn 'Umar, "Be in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveller in his path."

The stranger is the one who clings to what al-Mustafah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam was upon in terms of belief, worship, manners and legislation by whatever had Allah has ordered and who then remains patient upon that. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "There will be after you days which will require (much) patience from the one who clings firmly (to the religion). There will be (for the one who clings to the religion) the reward equal to fifty of you in those days." They said, "Or do you mean fifty amongst them?" He said, "No. From amongst you."

This is what the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said my dear brother and sister.

Know - my brother and sister - that I do not desire anything from you and yet do you have power over anything. I desire only the face of Allah the Exalted so that He may be pleased with the stranger.

These strangers who have been praised and who are fortunate and enviable have been so called due to their scarcity amongst mankind. The majority of mankind have not been described with such characteristics.

The people of Islam are strangers amongst mankind, then the people of iman are strangers amongst the people of Islam, then the people of knowledge are strangers amongst the people of iman, then the people sticking to the sunnah, those who take care to distinguish it from desires and innovations, are strangers, then those who call to it while being patient in face of the harms caused by those who turn away are the most strange.

However they are the people of Allah in truth. There is no strangeness between them but the strangeness is in the midst of the majority of mankind about whom Allah said:

"And if you were to follow most of those upon the earth they would mislead you from the path of Allah."

These people are strangers from Allah, His Messenger and His religion. Their strangeness is one of desertion.

Amongst the characteristics of the strangers, the strangers with which the Prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam was pleased with, is clinging to the sunnah when the rest of people aspire for something other than it, abandoning what others have invented and innovated, even if it was considered something good by them, manifesting tawhid even thought the rest of mankind pay no heed to it and refuse it and abandoning the attachment to anyone besides Allah the Exalted, the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, his Companions radiallahu 'anhum and the Pious Predecessors rahmatullah 'alayhi 'anhum. These are the strangers who attach themselves to Allah by enslavement to Him alone and to the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam by following and imitating him alone in regard to whatever he came with. These are the ones who cling onto the burning embers in truth.

The true Islam is very strange and its real adherents are the most strange of people amongst mankind. And how can one single and minute group not be strange amongst seventy-two groups. Seventy-two groups consisting of followers, leaders, possessors of rank (amongst themselves) and all sorts of loyalties and friendships amongst themselves. Their movement cannot be maintained except by opposing what the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam came with. The essence of what he sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam came with opposes and contradicts their desires, tastes, whims, doubts, innovations and false ways and means and all in all of this lies their actions, their merits and their desires which make up their goals and intentions.

How can a believer who is pure inwardly and outwardly in his speech, his actions, his food, his drink, who emigrates to Allah in all moments in his life, while imitating and following (without inventing and innovating) not be a stranger amongst these people. These people who have followed their desires, who have obeyed their covetousness, and who become amazed with their own opinions.

When the believer desires that which Allah has already sustained him with: an insight into his religion, understanding of the sunnah of His Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, understand of His Book, showing him the desires, innovations and misguidances the which people are upon, the people whom the Straight Path which the Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam and his companions were upon has caused to deviate - when the believer desires to travel upon this Straight Path, let him prepare himself (mentally) for the criticism, censure and rebuke of the ignorant and the people of innovation, for their slanders, their contempt, from seeing people running away from him and from seeing them warn others about him just like their predecessors from amongst the disbelievers used to do with the his imam and the one whom he follows sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam.

Therefore he is a stranger in his religion due to the corruption of their religion. He is a stranger in clinging to the sunnah due to their clinging to the ways of innovation, he is a stranger in his belief due to the falsity and corruption of their belief, he is a stranger in his prayer due to the deficiency in their prayer, he is a stranger in his path due to the misguidance and corruption of their paths, he is a stranger amongst his relatives due to their turning away from him, he is a stranger in living with them because he will not live with what their souls desire.

In essence he is a stranger in the matters of the world and the hereafter. He will find from the common people neither happiness nor one who would offer him help. He is a scholar amidst ignorant, a person of the sunnah amidst people of innovation, a caller to Allah and His Messenger amidst callers to desires and innovations, a commander of good and forbidder of evil amidst a people commanding evil and forbidding good.

Then:

All of mankind are strangers in this world. There is no position for them in this world and neither is this the home for which they were created. The Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said to Abdullah ibn 'Umar radiallahu 'anhu, "Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller in his path."

Thus (mankind) has been commanded to look into this matter with his heart and o truly acquaint himself with it. How can a servant not be a stranger in his life while he is on a journey and when he will not come off his riding beast until he is amongst the inhabitants of the graves? Therefore he is a traveller who is actually seated. It has been said:

The stages pass quickly while the traveller remains seated

And the most amazing thing - if you were to reflect - is that

By which the caller to death approaches in a short and smooth journey

The days are but stages (in a journey)

It has been mentioned that a group of righteous people were sitting and amongst them was a person of iman. He desired to make them hold the world in contempt and and bring to mind the hereafter. What did he do? He took a leaf and placed something insignificant into it. He took this thing and began to go round showing it to all of them. Every time one of them looked at the leaf he did so with surprise and began to laugh at it yet they did not understand its significance.

Then he said: This small and contemptible thing which I showed you is a dirty wing of a fly and this world with all its people, possessions, desires, rivers, lands, days and nights is more contemptible and insignificant to Allah than this filthy wing.

Those righteous people who were in the gathering said: After that we recovered from our heedlessness and felt a strong blow to the heart which shook our souls and we realised that his intent was to remind us of the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, "If this world was equal (in value) to the wing of a fly in the sight of Allah He would never have given a sip of water to the disbeliever."

So my brother and sister, when we belittle the wing of a fly - in fact the fly itself - and we dislike it because it is worthless then it is more befitting that we do not become over-concerned with this world since it is more insignificant and contemptible to Allah than the wing of a dirty fly.

Let us then put this world under the various powers and controls we have over it so that we can make it as a field that is being cultivated for the hereafter. Have you not heard the words of the poet:

My brother and sister in Islam, the speech of Allah is our methodology in this very short span of time in which we live.

Allah Azzwajall says:

"There is no good in most of their secret conversations except the one who commands charity or a good deed or conciliation between men. And whoever does that while seeking the pleasure of Allah We shall soon give to him a great reward."

Remember well - O brother and sister muslim - the speech of Allah the Exalted:

"Never does he utter a word except there is (an angel) ready to record it."

Therefore it is essential - my brother and sister - that you make your tongue, your eyes and the whole of your life poised for Allah the Sublime. Make your tongue busy in His remembrance, giving advice, commanding good and forbidding the evil. Make your tongue as if it is paralysed at the places of backbiting, slander, cursing, mocking and singing.

Turn your vision constantly to acts of goodness such as reciting the Qur'an, reading beneficial books or towards a matter which is very important in achieving the desired goal: To look at the might and grandeur of the heaven and the earth and all the various types of creations contained therein such as the sun, the moon, the animals, the mountains, the seas, the clouds and men and how Allah the Mighty the Sublime and Exalted created all these wonderful things. Do this at length and think deeply and profoundly at the absolute might of Allah.

Withhold your eyesight from everything which Allah has forbidden, such as looking at women and other such trials, looking at things which contain no benefit. If you do this Allah will give you three qualities; the sweetness of iman, khushu' in your heart and keen insight.

If however you fall into that then seek forgiveness from Allah with your heart and your tongue and follow this slip with a good deed you will find Allah Oft-Forgiving and Merciul.

Guard the supplication which is to be uttered upon leaving a gathering and which serves as an expiation for it: Glory be to you O Allah and by Your Praise, I testify that there is none worthy of worship except You (alone), I seek forgiveness from you and repent to You.

My brother and sister for the sake of Allah, it is essential for you to increase in actions of goodness in every place and at every time. Do not hold any action in contempt whether it is small or large, as long as it is an action of good and by the permission of Allah - my brother and sister - you will never become tired of performing these actions so long as you drink from the delicious fountain which will increase your love for such actions. That is the fountain of ikhlas (sincerity) and ihtisab (seeking or expectation of reward) from Allah the Sublime and Exalted.

Beware of every matter which brings you closer to the Hellfire and run towards every matter which will steer and direct you to the gates of Paradise by the Mercy of Allah and His Favour.

It is also essential for you - my brother and sister - to set right and to make up for whatever has passed you by in your life: hours, days, weeks, months and Ramadhan, the excellence of which people are heedless of. The blessed month of Ramadhan in which there is great bounty. If only they knew that whoever found Laylat ul-Qadr in this blessed month will have his supplication answered. He will be (after having passed it while engaged in prayer, repentance, and forgiveness) from among the best of Allah's righteous servants. His heart will become attached to Allah and will find find comfort in with Him when he is alone.

He will also know that this world is a deception and that there is no pleasure, delight, ease or happiness except by obedience to Allah and following the Messenger of Allah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam in all of his affairs.

His heart will become attached to Allah and he will soon love righteousness and its performers and be very eager for it. He will also hate evil and those who fall into it and be eager in distancing himself from it ...

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Be Mindful O Mankind!

A believer covers up and advises [his or her fellow believers], whereas an evildoer exposes and humiliates [others].
- Al-Fudayl ibn Iyyad (d. 187H), may Allah have mercy upon him