Purification of the Soul


Author's Introduction

All praise and thanks are due to Allah. We praise and give thanks to Him. We seek His aid and ask for His forgiveness, and we seek Allah's refuge from the evil of ourselves and from our evil actions. Whomsoever Allah guides then none can misguide him, and whomsoever He misguides then none can guide him. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, having no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger. To proceed:

This is a concise book which contains forty authentic ahadith[1] from the fine sayings of the Chosen Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) which I gathered as a reminder for myself and my brothers. They contain guidance for cultivation of souls, purification of the hearts and refinement of character. I myself have added nothing except a few words to explain and clarify anything unclear, to provide chapter headings showing the connection between the ahadith, and further brief notes.

It will not be unknown to any of the people that the noble Religion of Islam has given great importance, and directed full attention in many of the texts of the Book and the Sunnah, to building the personality of the Muslim and directing it in accordance with the essential teachings of Islam and its fundamentals and requirements.

The major incentive which led me to compile and compose this work was that I saw that many of those who attach themselves to Islam, and call to Allah, are actually far removed from the Islamic personality in both essence and outward manner and appearance. We ask Allah to protect and grant us safety. This being the case I thought it was essential to compile this treatise so that it could be a firm and strong nucleus for the Muslim to initiate his Islamic life, to know the true way, follow it and call to it. Particularly since the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has indicated this reality with his saying:

"For every action there is a period of enthusiasm / activity, and for every period of enthusiasm / activity there is a period of rest / inactivity. So he whose period of rest / inactivity is in accordance with my Sunnah then he is rightly guided, but he whose period of rest / inactivity accords with other than this, then he is destroyed."

So I write this book for the enthusiastic Muslim youth who does not find, whilst swimming in the ocean of enthusiasm and excitement, the helping hand of one who knows the poison and is aware of the cure, one who can guide him to the correct way and correct thinking so that these youths can be with their minds and thoughts like the Companions of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) since they were also youths, but:

"They were youths, yet mature youths, their eyes fresh and free of evil, their feet refrained from approaching falsehood and futility. They sacrificed and expended themselves in worship and in withholding themselves from sleep. They sold their souls which were to pass away for souls which would never die. Allah saw them in the latter part of the night, bending their backs, reciting the Qur'an. Whenever one of them came to an Ayah mentioning Paradise, he would weep, longing for it. Whenever he came upon an Ayah mentioning the fire he would groan out of fear, as if the Hellfire were directly in front of him. The earth devoured their knees their hands and their foreheads. They joined exhaustion in the night with exhaustion in the day. Their colour becoming yellowed and their bodies emaciated through standing long in prayer and frequent fasting – whilst they regarded their own actions to be negligible before Allah. They fulfilled their covenant with Allah and attained Allah's promise."
Jamarah Khutab al-'Arab (2/475) of Ahmad Zakiy Safwat

So let us all hasten to be like them, and to resemble them since the affair is as it was said:

"We are not in comparison to those who came before except like small herbs growing beside the trunks of tall palm trees."
Al-Muwaddih li Awhamil-Jam' wa't-Tafriq (1/5) of Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi

And as Ibn Al-Mubarak said:

"Do not mention us whilst mentioning them, the fit and healthy when he walks is not like the crippled."
Ibn Rajab quotes it from him in Fadl 'Ilm as-Salaf 'alal-Khalaf (page 59 of the edition with my checking)

I have sought in choosing these ahadith to gather those which are the most comprehensive, but the Islamic Personality will not be completed until the person follows and implements the Religion (Din) of Allah the One free of all imperfections, and the Most High says:

"O you who believe! Enter into Islam perfectly (completely)."
Al-Qur'an 2:208

I have strived to mention the source references for each hadith along with a statement about its authenticity, as demanded by the science of hadith whilst avoiding unnecessarily going into great length or falling short of what is necessary. So I tried to be as brief as is fitting for a book of this size, and only rarely speaking at more length when it was essential.

So if Allah guides me to and grants me that which is correct in what I intended then that is from the completeness of His blessings, but if the result is otherwise and I hope it is not the case, then I ask Allah for His forgiveness and His Mercy. Indeed He is the One who hears and responds, and our final call is that all praise and thanks are for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds.

'Ali Hasan 'Ali-Hamid al-Halabi al-Athari
11th Rajab 1408H, Az-Zarqa (Jordan)
28 February 1988

Purity and Sincerity of Intention

From 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Actions are but by intentions and there is for every person only that which he intended. So he whose migration was for Allah and His Messenger, then his migration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to attain some worldly goal or to take a woman in marriage, then his migration was for that which he migrated."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (English Translation Volume 1 Page 1 No. 1) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. Vol. 3, page 1056, no. 4692)

So the pillar of actions is pure and sincere intention, and through purity of intention the hearts become upright and at rest, and through it the person comes to know the right way in his Religion, thus he does everything in the proper manner. Through purity of intention alone will he come to know of the obligations upon him and the rights due to him. Through it he will behave justly in all affairs and will give everything its due right, not going beyond bounds or falling short of the mark.

So this hadith is one of the ahadith which are the pillars of correct understanding of our upright and true religion.[3]

So when the Muslim servant clearly realises what he has preceded then it becomes obligatory upon him that he should, without any hesitation, surround his sincere intention with the protective barrier for the Islamic Personality which is ...


From Ibn 'Umar (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"I have been sent before the Hour so that Allah alone should be worshipped without any partner for Him, and my provision has been placed beneath the shade of my spear, and subservience and humiliation have been placed upon those who disobey my orders, and whoever imitates a people then he is one of them."
Reported by Ahmad (no. 5114) and others with hasan (good) isnad (chain of narration). I have spoken about it in more detail in my footnotes to Al-Hikam al-Jadirah bil-Idha'ah (pg. 1-3) of Ibn Rajab

The Muslim has a distinct personality with it's own special nature and particular outlook and manner. It is distinct in its appearance, its nature, its creed ('aqidah), its orientation and direction faced in Prayer, and in all its affairs.

By being distinct as Muslims we preserve our Islam and our call in a clear and pure form, free from any adulteration and mistakes. However the Muslim whilst being distinct does not depart from ...

Justice and Being Justly Balanced

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Love the one whom you love to a certain degree (moderately), perhaps one day he will be someone for whom you have hatred, and hate the one for whom you have hatred to a certain degree (moderately), perhaps one day he will be one whom you love."
Reported by At-Tirmidhi (no. 1997) and others by way of Suwayd ibn 'Amr al-Kalbi: Hammad ibn Salamah narrated to us from Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani from Muhammad ibn Sirin from him. This isnad is Sahih (authentic) if Allah wills, it does not contain anyone needing examination except for Suwayd and he is declared reliable by a group of the scholars and this is the preferred view of Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar. The hadith is also declared authentic by a group of scholars such as Al-Hafidh Al-Iraqi in Takhrij al-Ihya (2/186), Al-Munawi in Al-Fayd (1/177), Az-Zubaydi in Al-Ittihaf (6/233) and others, and is further clarified in Ghayat al-Maram (no. 472) of Shaykh Al-Albani

The Muslim is justly balanced in his loving and his hating. He is just both when giving and when taking and is moderate in all of that. His being justly balanced is one of the signs of his Religion and the Shari'ah. So he is not one who goes beyond the limits, nor one who falls short of what is required. Furthermore the Muslim does not derive this quality of being justly balanced from his intellect and desires, nor from his own opinion or other than this, rather he takes it from the Book of Allah, the One free of all imperfections.

"Thus we have made you a justly balanced nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger be a witness over you."
Al-Qur'an 2:143

Being justly balanced is not an easy matter, indeed many of those who call out and declare it, desire only to water matters down and compromise. So for a person to be truly justly balanced as ordered by Allah is not, as I have said, easy, rather it requires ...

Striving Against One's Desires

From Al-'Ala ibn Ziyad who said:

A man asked 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As, saying: Which of the Believers is best in his Islam? He replied: "He from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe." He asked: Then what is the best Jihad? He replied: "He who strives against his own self and desires for Allah." He asked: Then which of those who migrates (performs hijrah) is best? He replied: "He who strives against his own self and desires for Allah." He asked: Is it something you have said O 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr, or Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam)? He said: "Rather Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said it."
Reported by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazi in Ta'zim Qadris Salat (no. 639)

So striving against ones own self is one of the highest and most valuable means of increasing ones eeman and causing the servant to draw closer to his Lord, the One free of all imperfections. Concerning this He the Blessed and Most High says:

"As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah's Religion)."
Al-Qur'an 29:69

So a Muslim's striving against his own self and his desires causes his spirit to rise higher, his iman to increase and his soul to become purified. Furthermore this striving crowns the Muslim with a very great crown worn in his life, which is ...


From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Indeed Allah is gentle and loves gentleness, and gives due to gentleness that which He does not give to harshness."
Reported by Ibn Majah (no. 3688) and Ibn Hibban (no. 549)

So through gentleness hearts become united in friendship and love, and good becomes widespread. Whereas through its opposite ill feelings and distrust prevails and people forsake one another. But gentleness facilitates ...

Returning to the Truth

From Ibn 'Abbas (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There is no believing servant except that he has a sin which he commits from time to time, or a sin in which he persists in and does not abandon until he leaves this world. Indeed the Believer was created as one who is frequently tried and tested, who often repents (then) forgets. When he is admonished he accepts the admonition."
Reported by At-Tabarani in Al-Mu'jamul Kabir (no. 11,810) its chain of narration is hasan

So it is as is said: Returning to the truth is a virtue whereas continuing in falsehood is despicable. Returning to the truth elevates a person and raises his rank, both with Allah and the people. Indeed it is only Satan who makes it appear to the people that returning to the truth is a defect and a slight to one's honour. This is one of the deceptions and tricks employed by Iblis. A person returning to the truth and not being too proud to accept it places him in an ideal position to appreciate ...


From 'Umar (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for those whom he is in charge of. So the ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for those under his care; a woman is a guardian of her husband's home and is responsible for those under her care; a servant is the guardian of his master's wealth and is responsible for that which he is entrusted with; and a man is the guardian of his father's wealth and is responsible fore what is under his care. So each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted with."
}Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 9/189/no. 252) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 3/1017/no. 4496)

So if everyone from this Ummah knew his own position and worth, and realised the responsibility upon him and did not seek to overstep it and take on the responsibilities of others and he carried out the obligations which this placed upon him, then that would be a comprehensive and universal good and a very great treasure through which safety and security would become widespread. Along with this something that is a feature of the Islamic Personality is ...

The Muslim Seeks to Make Excuses for Other Muslims

From Sa'ad ibn 'Ubadah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

" … and there is no one who loves to accept an excuse more than Allah, and because of this he sent the bringers of good news and the warners ... "
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 9/378/no. 512) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 2/782/no. 3572)

So a Muslim seeking to make an excuse for his brother and those whom he loves will cause good will to spread instead of antagonism, and will bring about ties of relationship instead of estrangement. Since if Allah, He who is free of all imperfections, grants excuse, and He is the Creator and the Most Great, then how can you O servant of Allah, a weak creation of his, not seek to make excuse for others? Rather as is said: Seek an excuse for your brother (some people quote this as being a hadith but it has no basis as such). Likewise there is the saying: the believers seek to make excuses for others, whereas the hypocrites hope for the downfall of others. So the fact that the Muslim seeks to excuse his brothers emphasises that ...

The Muslim does not Harbour Envy

From Ibn Mas'ood (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There is to be no envy except with regard to two [See Fath al-Bari (1/167)]: A man whom Allah has given wealth which he strives to spend righteously, and a man to whom Allah has given the Wisdom (i.e. the Qur'an) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 1/62/no. 73)

If he were to have envy of the people he would hope for their downfall in order to satisfy the pride that he has in himself, his vanity and the conceitedness of his mind. So he (the Muslim) knows that envy is a dangerous disease and a harmful evil and therefore keeps away from it.

As for the envy which is accepted from that which is sinful, then it is envy which does not cause the person to be afflicted by the sickness of wishing for that blessing to leave the other person. Rather he supplicates to his Lord, the One free of all imperfections, for his brother; that Allah should protect him, and for himself; that Allah should make him like him. As for that which is at variance with this, then it is blameworthy and to be condemned [Refer to the treatise Dhamm al-Hasad wa Ahlihi of Ibn al-Qayyim with my footnotes and checking]. So this emphasises that fact that the Muslim is one who is ...

Following and Applying Divine Guidance

From Umm ad-Darda (radhiallahu 'anha) who said: I said to Abu Darda (radhiallahu 'anhu): Will you not seek for things to entertain your guests just as others seek for things for their guests? So he replied: I heard Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) say:

"Ahead of you is a steep mountain which will not be surmounted by those who are overburdened." So I wish to lighten my load for that ascent!
It is reported by Al-Hakim (4/574), Al-Bayhaqi in Shu'ab al-Iman and others and its chain of narration is sahih

So the Muslim follows and applies divine guidance in all his affairs. This world to him is merely a passage to the hereafter and he has no attachment to it except for that which is essential in order to meet his needs and preserve himself.

But as for this world diverting most of his attention and being the goal which he seeks after, thinking that what he is doing is good, then this is not from the character or characteristics of the Muslim. So how strange is the case of the people who waste the prime of their lives and expend their youth submerged in worldly actions, thinking they are doing good. This is indeed something from Satan, made alluring by him. So how are there people able to do this when it is the case that ...

The Muslim Has No Free Time

From Ibn 'Abbas (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There are two blessings which many people lose: health and free time."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 8/282/no. 421)

So how can one who has no free time preoccupy himself with this world? How can one whose time is filled experience free time? So consider, may Allah have Mercy upon you, what one of the scholars said about one an Imam: "I was a neighbour of his at the school in Cairo, my house was above his house. For twelve years, I did not awake on any night, at any hour of the night except that I noticed candle light in his house and he was occupied with knowledge. Even when he was eating, his books would be with him and he was occupied with them." [Bustan al-'Arifin (p. 79) of An-Nawawi]

From those things upon which the Muslim personality is built is ...

The Muslim's Piety and Self Restraint

From An-Nu'man ibn Bashir (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that I heard Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) say:

"That which is lawful is clear, and that which is forbidden is clear, and between them are doubtful matters about which many of the people have no knowledge. So whoever avoids doubtful matters saves his Religion and his honour, and whoever falls into doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden. Just like a shepherd who grazes (his sheep) near to a private pasture (of another), he will soon stray on to it. Indeed for every king there is a private preserve. Indeed the preserve of Allah are those things which He has forbidden. Indeed there is a piece of flesh in the body which if it is good, then the whole body is good, but if it is corrupt then the whole body is corrupt. Indeed it is the heart."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 1/44/no. 49) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 3/840/no. 3882)

So the Muslim with regard to whatever situation arises in his life will have to face each of them with one of the following three stances:

  1. Completely refraining from it: That is with regards to that which is doubtful
  2. Accepting without constraint: That is with regard to which is clearly permissible
  3. To abstain from it: This is with regards to things which are not clearly permissible nor clearly forbidden.

If the last stance indicates something it is an indication of a Muslim's piety and fear of falling into that which is forbidden and of entering into something evil.

The Muslim therefore abstains from it, and distances himself from it in order to please Allah and to ensure that His commands are followed. It is not to be said, as some people say: 'That is not forbidden, so do it.' No, since it is not permissible to do everything other than which has been forbidden. So those things which are doubtful matters are closer to that which is forbidden, as occurs in the hadith itself: 'Whoever falls into the doubtful matters falls into what is forbidden ... ' So this fear and piety confirms that ...

The Muslim is Honest and Truthful in All His Affairs

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Three things are the sign of the hypocrite: when he speaks he tells lies, when he promises he breaks it and when he is trusted he proves to be dishonest."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 1/31/no. 32) and Muslim (Eng. Trans. 1/40/no. 112)

So he is truthful and honest in his speech, faithful to his promise, trustworthy in carrying out that which he has been entrusted with. He does not deceive or defraud, he does not tell lies and is not guilty of hypocrisy. So truthfulness and honesty is one of the chief good qualities, whereas falsehood is the head of corruption and evil. So his honesty keeps him far away from evil and foul deeds and sickness of the heart. Therefore whatever action he does, he does it for Allah, the One free and far removed from all defects, not to attain some worldly position, fame or repute. So his motto is ...

Knowledge for Knowledge

From Jabir (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Do not acquire knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain mastery over the gatherings. Since whoever does that, then: The Fire! The Fire!"

Consider, may Allah have mercy on you, the admonition and the lesson contained in what Ibn Abi Haatim ar-Razi narrates, he said: I entered into Damascus upon the students of hadith and I passed by the circle of Qasim al-Ju'i. I found a group sitting around him and he was speaking. Their appearance amazed me and I heard him saying: "Seize the benefit of five things from the people of your time: when you are present you are not known; when you are absent you are not missed; when you are seen your advice is not sought; when you say something your saying is not accepted; and when you have some knowledge you are not given anything for it. I also advise you with five things: when you are treated unjustly then do not behave unjustly; when you are praised then do not become happy; when you are criticised do not be upset; when you are not believed then do not become angry; and if they act deceitfully towards you do not act deceitfully towards them." Ibn Abi Hatim said: So I took that as my benefit from Damascus.

So consider, may Allah protect us and you from the evils of the soul, how sincere desire for knowledge and benefit led him to listen to one who certainly possessed less knowledge than himself in order to benefit his understanding and to acquire some knowledge. Another matter that must be mentioned here is that ...

The Believer is a Mirror for His Brother

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The believer is a mirror for the believer, and the believer is the brother of the believer. He safeguards his property for him and defends him from behind."
Reported by Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab al-Mufrad (no. 239), Abu Dawud (Eng. Trans. 3/1370/no. 4900) and others. Its chain of narration is hasan.

So the description of his being a 'mirror' is very precise and profound showing the culmination of brotherhood and solidarity. So your brother, O servant of Allah, is an image of you yourself. So if he behaves badly it is as if you are the one who has behaved badly, and if he makes a mistake, it is as if you have made a mistake. So he is a mirror for you and then an image of you yourself! So do not treat him except with mildness and gentleness. If you do not behave with your brother in this manner, then this will be something which weakens ...

The Muslim's Struggle and his Devil

From Iyad ibn Himar al Mujashi'i (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Indeed my Lord ordered me to teach you that which you do not know, from that which He taught me this day, (instructing me): 'The wealth which I confer upon a servant is all lawful for him, and I created all My servants having natural inclination to the true way but the devils came to them and turned them away from their (true) Religion, and they forbade for them that which I made lawful for them, and they ordered them to associate in worship with Me that for which I sent down no authority.' Allah looked upon the people of the earth and hated them, the Arabs and the non-Arabs, except for some remnants of the People of the Book, and He said: 'I sent you only to put you to the test and to tests others through you, and I sent down to you a Book which cannot be washed away by water, which you will retain and recite whilst asleep and whilst awake.' Allah ordered me to destroy the Quraysh so I said: 'O my Lord they would break my head just as bread is broken.' So He said: 'Turn them out just as they turned you out, and fight them and We shall aid you, and spend and We shall provide for you. Send an army and We will send five more like it. Fight along with those who disobey you. The people of paradise are three: The ruler who is just, who spends in charity and is guided to do good; and a man who is merciful and kind hearted towards every relative and Muslim; and the chaste one who does not beg despite having a family to support. The people of the fire are five: The weak who does not have the will to avoid evil, those amongst you who are merely followers (of others), they do not seek after family or wealth; and the dishonest whose greed cannot be concealed even in the case of minor things; and a man who will betray you morning and evening with regard to your family and your wealth (He also mentioned miserliness or telling lies) and the person of evil manners and foul speech.' "
Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1488/no. 6853)

So this is very ancient conflict, continuing since the time when Allah, the One free and far removed from all defects, created Adam, 'alayhis-salam, and what occurred between him and Satan is well known. This conflict will be intensified or diminished depending on the servant's closeness to or distance away from his Lord. Consider also his (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) saying:

"Satan has despaired that those who pray should worship him, but he seeks to provoke animosity between them."
See hadith number 39 - Being Cautious to Avoid Animosity and Dissention.

So let this be a warning for us, and its opposite be glad tidings. We must not leave any way for Satan to enter upon our hearts through our actions, granting him neither full nor partial access. Indeed his deceptions are many and his traps abundant.[4]

So beware of this, O servant of Allah, and do not let Satan trap you with his snares and his tricks, and your impregnable fortress against him is ...

Remembrance of Allah

From Nu'man ibn Bashir (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"Supplication (ad-Du'a) is worship, your Lord the Mighty and Majestic said: 'Call upon Me – I will respond to your invocation.' "
The ayah is Al-Qur'an 40:60. The hadith is Sahih – reported by Ahmad (4/267, 271, 276) and others

Supplication is the head of remembrance of Allah. Indeed he (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: " … and I order you to make mention to Allah much, and the like of that is a man being chased by the enemy who are hastening after him until he comes to a protected fortress and so he protects himself in it. Likewise is the servant, for he does not protect himself from Satan except through remembrance of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic."[5]

So a Muslim remembering his Lord, the One free and far removed from all defects, places him in a position of safety and protection which Satan is unable to overcome. So this prevents him from many sins and numerous negative traits pertaining to the tongue, the limbs and the heart. Therefore ...

The Muslim Does Not Fall Into Backbiting

From Ibn 'Umar (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Whoever intercedes and prevents one of the punishments prescribed by Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, then he has opposed Allah regarding His orders. Whoever dies with a debt due on him then it will not be repaid by dinar and dirham but rather by good and bad deeds. Whoever disputes for something which he knows is false then he remains in Allah's anger until he desists. Whoever accuses a believer of something that is untrue then Allah will make him dwell in the pus flowing from the inhabitants of the Fire and he will not leaver until he retracts from what he said."
Reported by Ahmad (no. 5385) and others

So the lethal plague of backbiting destroys one's good deeds, destroys brotherhood and destroys one's reward. So the true Muslim does not backbite, nor does he allow backbiting to take place in his presence. So let those people fear Allah, those whose bodies do not develop and those whose spirit is not fed except upon spreading rumours and inventing lies against the servants of Allah claiming that 'this is for the benefit of da'wah!'

How strange! What benefit to the da'wah will be achieved through slandering, backbiting and mentioning bad manners to others? Do you think, O you who backbites the people, that you are far removed form defect? O you who can only see the deficiencies of others, do you think that you are free from any mistakes? ' … rather you are full of deficiencies and the people have tongues!' Also from those things which must be known is that ...

The Muslim Does Not Pry into the Matters that do not Concern Him

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"From the perfection of a person's Islam is that he leaves alone that which does not concern him."
Reported by At-Tirmidhi (no. 2318) and others

So he halts at his limits and does not exceed and pass beyond them. He knows that prying into that which does not concern him and asking about it is not fitting for him. Rather it is forbidden for him and something he has to avoid. So he complies with Allah's orders and keeps away from what he has forbidden, since ...

All of His Actions are for Allah

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"Whoever loves for Allah and hates for Allah, gives for Allah and withholds for Allah, then he has completed iman."
Reported by Abu Dawud (Eng. Trans. Vol. 3/p. 1312/no. 3664) and others, with chain of narration being hasan

So this hadith clearly shows the manner in which the believer conducts all his affairs and behaves in all his dealings, all of them are for Allah and he does not give a share in any of them to other than Him, the One free and far removed from all imperfections. In all his affairs he distances himself from seeking after personal gain and enjoyment. In his loving and hating, giving and withholding he seeks only Allah's pleasure and His Paradise. He does not seek after the worldly positions, wealth or reputation! Then if he falls into the like of this he repents and turns back (to his Lord), so ...

The Muslim Repents and Turns Back to Allah

From Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"The example of the believer with regards to eeman is like the example of a horse with regards to its tethering stake; it roams around and then returns to its tethering stake, and the believer is negligent and then he turns to his eeman. So feed the pious with your food and treat the believers well."
Reported by Ahmad (3/38,55)

So he does not persist upon sin, or treat it lightly. Rather like the rest of the children of Adam he commits many sins. However he is frequent in turning back in repentance to his Lord.

So what has preceded will clearly show us ...

The Essential Characteristics of His Personality

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"Two characteristics are not found together in a hypocrite: good manners and understanding of the Religion."
Reported by At-Tirmidhi (no. 2685)

So his manners are the manners of the righteous people, and his behaviour that of the servants of the Lord of the worlds. He emulates the pious and follows in the footsteps of the sincere. His heart and his behaviour agree, he is not like the weak who take pains to put on a good appearance whereas their hearts are empty! His knowledge and understanding of the Religion is deep and springs from a good and sensitive heart, and precise memory. However his good manners and knowledge and understanding of the Religion do not prevent him from ...

Honest Jesting

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said: We said: O Messenger of Allah! You jest with us? He said (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam):

"Yes except that I do not say except what is true."
Reported by At-Tirmidhi in As-Sunan (no. 1991)

So falsehood has no share of this, and lies cannot approach it. So his jesting is with words that are true. Nor does this mean that he is to expend all his time in lightheartedness and jesting. Rather in this and in all matters he follows the footsteps of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, and their way in this regard was ...

A Time for This and a Time for That

From Hanzalah al-Usayyidi who said:

"Abu Bakr met me and asked: How are you O Hanzalah? I Replied: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy! He said: Free is Allah and far removed from all defects! What are you saying? I said: When we are with Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and he reminds us of the Fire and Paradise it is as if we were seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) and attend our wives, our children and our business, then much of this slips from our mind. Abu Bakr said: By Allah we also experience the same. So I went with Abu Bakr until we entered upon Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). I said: Hanzalah is guilty of hypocrisy O Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). So Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: And how is that? I said When we are with you, you remind us of the Fire and of Paradise and it is as if we are seeing it with our own eyes. Then when we depart from you and attend our wives, our children and our business then much of this slips from our minds. So Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: 'By Him in whose hand is my soul if you remained continually as you are when you are with me and in remembering (Allah) then the angels would shake hands with you upon your beds and upon your roads. But O Hanzalah, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that, (there is) a time for this and a time for that.' "
Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. Vol. 4, p. 1436, no. 6223)

So both of these times are regulated by the orders of Allah, as has preceded. His time for serious matters is regulated according to the Book and the Sunnah, and his jesting is kept free of anything forbidden and accompanied only by that which Allah has prescribed.

So he does not, through negligence, allow his jesting to become a way in which he falls into sin. Indeed how could he do this when ...

He Does Not Take Sins Lightly

From Sahl ibn Sa'd (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Beware of sins which are treated as being minor, just like a people who encamp in the centre of a valley, so someone brings a stick of firewood and someone else brings a stick until they are therefore able to bake their bread. Likewise sins which are treated as being minor and for which the person is taken to account will destroy him."
Reported by Ahmad (5/331) and others

So it is just as the noble companion 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said: "The believer sees his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he feared was about to fall upon him, whereas the wicked sees his sins like a man who finds a fly settle upon his nose, so he does this (one of the narrators said: He brushes it away from his nose)."[6]

The Muslim should realise the greatness of hid Lord, the One free and far from all imperfections, and His tremendous Power and Might, and he should not think of the sin as being great or small! Rather he should think of it with regard to the One he is disobeying.

Those sins which are ignored by the weak hearted cause their destruction by removing eeman and fear of Allah from their hearts.

When a person regards sins and acts of disobedience as something slight the he is one who is oppressing his own soul, and that should never occur, since ...

The Muslim Does not Commit Oppression

From Jabir ibn 'Abdullah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Beware of committing oppression for on the Day of Resurrection oppression will be darkness, and beware of avarice for avarice destroyed those who came before you, it led them into shedding blood and into making lawful that which was forbidden for them."
Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1366/no. 6248)

Oppression is of two types: (i) A person oppressing his own soul and (ii) his oppressing others. Both of these have been forbidden by Allah, the One free and far from all imperfections. So a person oppressing his own soul causes him to feel at home with his sins and to commit them, and causes him to abandon acts of obedience to Allah.

The true Muslim is far removed from all of this and furthermore ...

He is not a Carrier of Malicious Reports

From Anas ibn Malik (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Do you know what calumny (Al-'Adh) is?" They said: Allah and his Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) know best. He said:

"Conveying the words of some people to others in order to create mischief between them."
Reported by Al-Bukhari, Al-Bayhaqi and others

Tale-carrying is a foul disease; when it enters the heart it corrupts it, and when the heart is corrupt the rest of the body becomes corrupt and ones actions are destroyed.

The sickness of tale-carrying only finds a place in hearts which are filled with love of this world, the hearts of those who use the Religion for lowly and despicable ends, and we seek Allah's refuge from that! However, as for the sincere Muslim who strives to follow and apply the guidance sent by his Lord, then ...

He is Not Attached to this World

From Sahl ibn A'd (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Jibril came to me and said: O Muhammad! Live as you will for you must certainly die; love whom you will since you must certainly leave him; act as you will since you shall certainly be given due reward for it; know that the believers eminence is his standing in prayer during the night, and his honour is having sufficiency without dependency upon the people."
Reported by Al-Hakim (4/324) and others.

The person who lives attached to this world is poor with regard to his Religion and intellect, he does not realise that this worlds, for the one having no Religion is the road to degradation, the path to corruption and the key to evil and foul deeds. Whereas the Muslim who is sincere to his Lord and his own soul and with his brothers should be an excellent example to those who thirst after this world and the few dirham and dinar.

He should be a lesson for them that there is no good in that, and that good lies only in taking this world as a means of increasing one's rank with regard to the Religion and seeking to purify one's heart. However these two will not be achieved except through ...

Disassociation from this World

From Abu Umamah Iyas ibn Tha'labah who said:

The Companions of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) mentioned this world one day in his presence, so Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Will you not listen, will you not listen! Wearing old clothes is part if iman, wearing old clothes is part of iman!"[7]

Zuhd (abstemiousness) is to have little regard for this world, to manifest ones poverty and need before Allah, to treat the servants of Allah kindly and gently, to avoid spending lavishly upon clothing, food and drink, and to avoid fame.

Zuhd is not the rejection of the favours of Allah, the One free and far removed from all defects, bestows upon some of His servants, rather it is as Shaykh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, rahimahullah, said:

"Keep away from that which does not bring benefit, either because it contains no benefit at all, or because something other than it is more beneficial, so that by doing the first he would be missing greater benefit, or because it will produce something whose harm will grow to outweigh its benefit. But as regards things which are purely beneficial or predominantly, then avoidance of them is stupidity."
Majmu' al-Fatawa (10/615)

Therefore there is to be no abstemiousness with regard to ...

Good Actions

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Charity (sadaqah) is due upon every joint of a person on every day that the sun rises. Administering justice between two people is an act of charity; and to help a man concerning his riding beast by helping him on to it or lifting his luggage on to it is an act of charity; a good word is charity; and every step which you take to prayer is charity; and removing that which is harmful from the road is charity."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 4/146/no. 232)

So if the servant is able to spend all his days and nights in obedience to Allah, and in doing actions pleasing to Him, then let him do so!

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

Even though abstemiousness is to be given special attention by the rich due to their ability to spend and their wealth, as opposed to the poor, then this will not prevent the Muslim, rich or poor, from having a contented and rich soul, since ...

The Muslim is Contented and Satisfied

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Richness is not having many belongings, but richness is the richness of the soul (contentment)."
Reported by Muslim (Eng. Trans. 2/501/no. 2287)

So the greatest of riches you can attain, O servant of Allah, is contentment of ones soul, and having a contented heart and this will not be achieved except through humbling oneself before Allah, the One free from and far removed from all defects, and calling upon Him in supplication and in placing reliance upon Him. So he whose soul is contented and rich will increase in his ...

Devotion to the Religion of Islam

From Ka'ab ibn Malik al-Ansari (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Two hungry wolves let loose amongst sheep will not cause more harm to them than a persons craving after wealth and status will do to his Religion."
Reported by Ahmad and others

So flee, May Allah have mercy upon you, from this mad craving after this world and its finery, and there is no salvation from that which has been destined for a person.

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

So he who wishes for salvation then let it be the case that his desire for his Religion is his foundation and guiding principle, if this is so then Allah will protect him and protect his religion. Then from the comprehensive matters that should be known is ...

How the Muslim Deals With People

From 'A'ishah (radhiallahu 'anha) who said that a man sought permission to enter upon the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam), so he said:

"Give permission to him and what a bad son of his people (or: what a bad man of his people)." Then when he entered he spoke politely to him. 'A'ishah said: So I said: O Messenger of Allah, you said about him what you said and then you spoke politely to him? He said: "O 'A'ishah the worst people in station before Allah on the Day of Resurrection are those whom the people desert, or abandon, in order to save themselves from their evil speech."
From Ibn Rajab's explanation (sharh) of this hadith

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

It will also not be hidden that one of the best ways of cementing ties and improving relations is ...

Visiting Brothers

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"A man went out to visit a brother of his in a different village, so Allah, the Most High, put an angel in wait for him in the road. So when the angel came to him he said: Where are you going? He said: I am going to visit a brother in this village. He said: Is it that you have done something for him for which you seek repayment? He said: No, it is just that I love him for Allah's sake. He said: Then I am one sent by Allah to you (to inform you) that Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, loves you, just as you have loved for His sake."
Reported by Al-Bukhari (8/50/80)

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

(Paradise) cannot be attained unless the incentive for it is ...

The Muslim's Character

From Abu Darda (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There is nothing which is heavier upon the balance than the good character."
Reported by Muslim (4/1362/no. 6226)

So by his character the Muslim turns enemies into friends, opponents into companions, and harsh people into those who are mild. Character is a commodity which is almost something rare amongst the people today, except amongst those who sincerely worship Allah alone, Who are honest and true in the worship of the Lord of the Worlds. So good character refines the soul and enables that ...

The Muslim Knows His Own Worth

From Abu Hurayrah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:

"There will come upon the people years of deceit in which the liar will be believed, the truthful disbelieved, the treacherous will be trusted and the trustworthy held to be treacherous, and the despicable (Ar-Ruwaybidah) will speak out." It was said: Who are the despicable ones (Ar-Ruwaybidah)? He said: "The lowly, ignoble man who speaks out about the public affairs."
Reported by Ahmad, Ibn Majah and others, with weak chain of narration.

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

So it is binding upon the obedient servant that he should ...

He Hopes for Good for Himself and His Brothers

From Jundub (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) narrated:

"That a man said: By Allah, Allah will not forgive so and so. Whereas Allah, the Most High said: Who is it who swears by Me that I will not forgive so and so, for I have forgiven so and so, and have rendered your actions futile."
Reported by Muslim (4/1381/no. 6350)

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

The fear and hope that a Muslim has for his brothers does not prevent him from carrying out what Allah has established with regard to ...

Ordering Good and Forbidding Evil

From Abu Sa'id al-Khudri (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said:

Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) stood amongst us to deliver an address, and from his address was that he said: "Indeed it is about to occur that I will be called and will respond. Then after me will follow rulers over you who say what they have knowledge of, and act upon what they know. Obedience to them is obedience to me, and you remain like that for a time. Then there will follow rulers over you after them who say what they do not have knowledge of and act according to what they do not have knowledge of. So whoever is sincere to them and assists them, or strengthens them then they are destroyed and have caused destruction. Accompany them with your bodies and differ with them by your actions, and bear witness for the doer of good from them that he is a doer of good, and for the doer of evil that he is a doer of evil."
Reported by Al-Bayhaqi in Az-Zuhd al-Kabir (no. 191)

[Author's text abridged hereafter]

In ordering good and forbidding evil, the Muslim is careful of ...

Being Cautious to Avoid Animosity and Dissention

From Jabir ibn 'Abdullah (radhiallahu 'anhu) who said that Allah's Messenger said:

"Indeed Satan has despaired that those who pray should worship (him) in the Arabian peninsular, however (he seeks) to provoke animosity between them."
Muslim (Eng. Trans. 4/1471/no. 6752)

So perhaps a word which one does not realise allows to escape from his tongue and it falls upon one of the servants of Allah, or a mistake he makes, perhaps this will cause a great fire to blaze in the hearts of the brothers.

This is the most Satan desires and it causes him to be joyful and happy. So what we have indicated certainly occurs and is bound to occur and it leads to widespread evil and great danger, so since this is the case, then what is ...

The Means To Escape the Trial which Befalls the People

From 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (radhiallahu 'anhuma) who said:

"How will you be when you are covered by a trial in which the young grow up and the old become infirm. If anything of it is abandoned it is said: The Sunnah has been abandoned." It was said: When will that occur, O Abu Abdur Rahman? He said: "When your scholars pass away, and those ignorant amongst you become many; when those who recite amongst you are many, but those who have understanding of the religion are few; when your leaders are many, but those who are trustworthy are few; when this world is sought with actions of the Hereafter; and when knowledge is sought for other than the Religion."
Reported by Ad-Darimi (1/64), Al-Lalika'i (no. 123), Al-Hakim (4/514) and others, with sahih chain of narration

So the means of escape is to follow the example provided for us! Indeed obeying and following Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) is the greatest escape from the trials which envelop us.

So for Allah, for Allah, O servants of Allah, learn, and act, and fear Allah and obey Him that you may be shown mercy.


The Islamic Personality is a clear and distinct personality. Its fabric is the Book of Allah, and its thread is the Sunnah and these two are inseparable from it.

It is a sincere and determined personality educated and refined upon precise methodology which does not contain even the slightest deficiency, and how could it since it is the Religion of Allah, Lord of all the worlds?!

So what I have written is knowledge which is the path to action, a reminder which leads one to obey and follow, and advice which is essential for the attainment of benefit.

So I ask Allah to grant success to myself and all of the Muslims, and that He establishes us upon the way and methodology of His Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam). He is the best One to ask and the greatest One who responds, and our final call is all praise is for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds.

18th Ramadan 1408H
Az-Zarqa (Jordan)


  1. There are some ahadith reported about the excellence of gathering forty ahadith, however all of them are unauthentic as I briefly explained in my introduction to Forty Hadith on the Call To Islam and the Caller (Published by Al-Hidaayah, 1994) ^back
  2. It is the twentieth hadith of Forty Hadith on the Call to Islam and the Caller, its source and explanation are quoted there ^back
  3. At-Taqyid (2/6-7) of Ibn Nuqtah ^back
  4. Refer to my book Al-Muntaqan Nafis min Talbis Iblis and Mawrid al-Aman min Masayidish Shaytan and may Allah through His grace and favour make easy its completion ^back
  5. Hadith 40 in Forty Hadith on the Call to Islam and the Caller ^back
  6. Reported by Al-Bukhari (Eng. Trans. 8/214/no. 320) ^back
  7. Reported by Abu Dawud (Eng. Trans. 3/1158/no. 4149) and its chain of narration is hasan ^back

 This Internet edition has been prepared without any of the Arabic quotes. Further, the footnotes of the authentication and source references of each hadith have been abridged and edited to allow accessibility to all readers. You are therefore strongly recommended to buy the actual copy in Arabic or in English. The English copy is available from Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, PO Box 3332, Birmingham, UK, B10 9AW – Telephone: 0121 753 1889

Be Mindful O Mankind!

O my soul, it is not for a few days patience, As if her extent were a few dreams. Oh my soul, pass quickly on through this world, And leave it, for indeed life lies ahead of it.
Ash-Shafi'i (d. 204H), may Allah have mercy upon him