Purification of the Soul

Alhamdulillahi rabbil-'alamin was salatu was salamu 'ala ashrifil anbiya wal-mursalin nabiyina Muhammad wa 'ala alihi wa sahbihi ajma'in

Amma ba'ad

Truly, we were granted this life to be tested which of us would remain steadfast in the dhikr (remembrance) and shukr (gratitude) of Allah, the Sublime. Living in a landmine where every step you take can lead to your possible destruction, and not destruction of the body but rather of the soul, we see people being annihilated every single day.

This world is one big attraction, making those who in reality are meagre and full of weakness look strong and mighty, making those who are ignorant seem intelligent, and portraying those who have been misguided and enslaved to their own desires as being the most guided of people.

Know, that no one lives in this dunya (world) except that he will be eaten by it in its entirety or will leave bruised and scarred except for those whom Allah, the Most High, has mercy upon. Al-Hasan al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, had some wise words concerning the dunya when he said:

"So beware of this land (the dunya) that is falling down and is misleading and deceiving, being decorated by its deceit and having eluded (others) by its delusion, and having killed its people with its hopes. It looks forward with anticipation towards the one who proposes to it for marriage. Hence it becomes like the unveiled bride - all the eyes are looking towards it, and the souls are in love with it, and the hearts are captivated by it." [Related by Abu Nu'aym in al-Hilyah (2/135-136)]

Indeed he was true in his words, as we are all guilty of the crime of being deceived by the dunya with its beauty and glamour. Some of us were fortunate to get out, praise be to Allah, while others have wandered off into the everlasting dark tunnel that had no light at its beginning and has no light at its end, and the only thing that will allow him to leave is death itself. Refuge is sought with Allah, the Most High, from such an evil ending.

And know for a fact that no matter how much good you may see in this dunya, in reality it is just a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing. Had there been any good in it, then Allah, the Beneficent, would have made it a place of reward, and place of dissension of His mercy but rather Allah only sent one of His mercies upon the earth through which we are kind to one another, and rather He has made it a place of trial and tribulation and a true prison for the believer. Likewise, had there been good in it we would have seen the Prophet, peace be upon him, being attached to it and living in its luxuries but rather he sacrificed it all with full certainty in that which will come after is better and everlasting. Thus, he said:

"The dunya is cursed. Cursed is all that is in it except for the remembrance of Allah, and that which resembles it, a scholar, and a student (of knowledge)." [Related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and Bayhaqi. The wording is taken from Shaykh al-Albani's Sahih at-Targhib wat-Tarhib (1/34)]

So do we need anymore proof that this dunya is an endless pit for the one who is not careful and falls into it?

One of the most beautiful words ever uttered were at the end of a sirah lecture (a lecture of the Prophet's life) where the speaker said referring to the Prophet, peace be upon him:

"He had the world at his feet, yet not a dinar to his name."

Indeed that's what true zuhd (asceticism) and taqwa (piety) is, having the dunya bestowed upon you from every angle imaginable and sacrificing it for the noble face of your Creator and Sustainer. Truly a noble attribute that most have lost, except those who have been encompassed by the Mercy of Allah. So let us abandon this dunya and its temporary beauty for the joys which will last for eternity. Let us be the children of the akhirah (hereafter) and not of the dunya as 'Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

"Verily the dunya is coming to an end, and the akhirah is coming to a beginning and they both have children. So be children of the akhirah and don't be children of the dunya. For verily today there is action with no account and tomorrow there's account with no action." [Related by Ibn al-Qayyim in ad-Da' wad-Dawa Fasl 15]

So let us wear the garments of iman (faith) and taqwa (piety) as they are the only true garments the cover the 'awrah, and are the only protection from the tribulations of the dunya. Like Allah, the Most High, said:

"And take provision, verily the best of provisions is at-taqwa." [Al-Qur'an 2:197]

And as He says:

"Verily for the muttaqin (people of taqwa) is success (i.e. Paradise)." [Al-Qur'an 78:31]

And as He says:

"Indeed successful are the believers." [Al-Qur'an 23:1]

And as He, the Most High, says:

"Verily those who believe and do righteous deeds will have the gardens of al-firdaus (the loftiest form of paradise)." [Al-Qur'an 18:107]

May Allah make us of these people - amin.

Lastly, before I end off, I leave you with the words of the Prophet, peace be upon him:

"Every man starts his day being a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin."

He who enslaves his soul to Allah has indeed liberated it and he who enslaves his soul to his whims and desires then let him prepare for a marriage to captivity till death do you part. Proving this point is the statement of the 'allamah of raqa'iq (heart softening traditions) Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him:

"Verily the life of man is in the life of his heart and his soul. And there is no life in the heart except by knowing its creator, having love for him, worshipping him solely, turning to him in times of need, and seeking tranquillity with His remembrance. And he who loses this life has lost all good. Even if he attempts to substitute (this loss) with all that is in the world. For verily not even all of the world together would be able to replace this life. And verily for everything that a slave loses there is a substitute, but the one who loses Allah will never find anything to replace Him." [Related by Ibn al-Qayyim in ad-Da' wad-Dawa Fasl 49]

So take these two sayings, read them, understand them, and implement them to the best of your ability, and know, without a doubt, that Allah is the one who grants success.

- The statement of Fudayl bin 'Iyyad: "Man's fear of Allah is equal to his knowledge of Him and his renunciation of worldly pleasures is equal to his desire in the Hereafter."

- Secondly, the advice of Sufyan ath-Thawri: "Work for the sake of this life within the extent of your stay in it, and for the Hereafter within the extent of your stay therein."

[Both quotes are related in Abdul-Malik al-Qasim's Life is a Fading Shadow, (Dar-us-Salam)]

And Allah knows best.

May Allah make us of those people who benefit from admonition and of those who when they are given are thankful, when tested are patient, and when sin are repenting (as these are the keys to success in this dunya and the akhirah) - amin.

Completed on the 3rd day of Safar 1424H

From the Holy City of al-Madinah

Be Mindful O Mankind!

Whoever loves to be mentioned, will not be mentioned; and whoever dislikes to be mentioned, then he will be mentioned.
Al-Fudayl ibn Iyyad (d. 187H), may Allah have mercy upon him