Purification of the Soul

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

  1. It is reported about Bishr al-Hafi that he said: "That I seek the world with a wind instrument is more loved by me than that I seek it with the din."
  2. It is reported from Ibrahim an-Nakha'i that he said: "When Shaytan comes to you whilst you are engaged in prayer and says: You are showing off, increase it in length."
  3. One of the salaf said: "Direct me to an action by which I will never cease to be performing for Allah, the Exalted." It was said to him: "Always intend good because you will never cease to be performing even if you do not do any actions. The intention performs even in the absence of any actions. Whoever intended to pray at night and then slept, the reward for what he intended will be written for him."
  4. One of them said: "I love that I have an intention for every single thing until my food, drink and sleep."
  5. It was said to Sahl: "What is the hardest thing for the soul (to achieve)?" He said: "Sincerity, when there is no other desire in it."
  6. It is reported from Ya'qub al-Makfuf that he said: "The sincere person is the one who hides his good deeds just like he hides his evil deeds."
  7. One of them wrote to his brother: "Make your intention sincere in all of your actions and little action will suffice you."
  8. It is reported from Ayyub as-Sakhtiyani that he said: "Purifying the intention is harder than all other actions for those who act."
  9. It is reported from Yahya ibn Mu'adh that he said: "Ikhlas separates (good) actions from faults like the separation of milk from dung and blood."
  10. It is reported from As-Susi that he said: "What Allah desires from the actions of His creation is ikhlas and nothing else."
  11. It is reported from Al-Junayd that he said: "To Allah belong servants who understand, and when they understand they act and when they act they make (their action) sincere. Their recalling of ikhlas at the time of doing righteousness is what accumulates the greatest (good for them)."
  12. It is reported about Hawshab that he used to cry and say: "My name has reached the large mosque." {qluetip title=[1]}i.e. he disliked to be known out of humility and that people should mention him for fear of fame and repute.{/qluetip}
  13. It is reported from As-Susi that he said: "Ikhlas is to lose the vision of ikhlas (in oneself)."
  14. One of them said: "Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity. The destruction of every sincere person lies in his sincerity, (he is destroyed) to the extent that he sees sincerity in himself. When he abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified."
  15. It is reported from Abu 'Uthman that he said: "Ikhlas is to forget the vision of creation by constantly looking at the Creator."
  16. It is reported from Ibrahim ibn Adham that he said: "He is not truthful to Allah who loves fame."
  17. It is reported from Ath-Thawri that he said: "They used to hate fame and reputation due to wearing nice garments so that eyes would stretch towards them."
  18. Ibn Al-Jawzi reports from Al-Hasan that he said: "I was with Ibn Al-Mubarak one day and we came to a watering place. The people were drinking from it and Ibn Al-Mubarak came closer in order to get a drink. The people did not know him and shoved and pushed him. When he came out he said: 'Life is but this,' meaning we are not known nor are we respected."
  19. It is reported from Na'im ibn Hammad that he said: "'Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak frequently used to sit in his house for long periods of time so it was said to him: 'Do you not feel lonely and isolated?' He said: 'How can I feel isolated while I am with the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam).' "
  20. It is reported from Ibn Al-Mubarak that he said: I heard Ja'far ibn Hayyan say: "The foundations of these actions are the intentions. Indeed a man reaches with his intentions a position he does not reach with his actions."
  21. One of the people of wisdom used to say: When a man is speaking in a gathering and his speech amazes him let be silent and when he keeps silent and his silence amazes him let him speak.
  22. It is reported from Mutraf ibn 'Abdullah ash-Shakhir that he said: "That I spend the night sleeping and wake up remorseful is more loved to me than that I spend the night standing (in prayer) and wake up in admiration."
  23. It is reported from An-Nu'man ibn Qays that he said: "I never saw Abidah (rahimahullah) performing any voluntary prayers in the mosque of Al-Hayy."
  24. It is reported from 'Ali (radhiallahu 'anhu) that he said: "The one who shows off has three characteristics: He is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticised."
  25. It is reported from Al-Hasan (radhiallahu 'anhu) that he said: "The one who shows off desires to overcome what Allah has decreed for him. He is an evil person who desires to inform the people that he is righteous in order to hear what they would say. He has obtained a position of vileness and wickedness from his Lord. It is therefore essential for the hearts of the believers to recognise him."
  26. It is reported from Sahl ibn 'Abdullah (rahimahullah) that he said: "There is nothing which is tougher upon the soul than (achieving) ikhlas. How many times have I tried to remove riya' from my heart except that it sprouted in a different colour (i.e. in a different form)."
  27. It is reported from Ibn Mas'ud (radhiallahu 'anhu) that he said: "Do not learn knowledge for three (things): To amaze and confound the foolish, to argue with the learned and to make peoples faces turn towards you. (But) seek what is with Allah with your hearts and actions, since only that will remain and whatever is besides it will go."
  28. It is reported from Abu Sulayman ad-Darini (rahimahullah) that he said: "Tuba (the tree in Paradise) for the one who took a single step desiring nothing but the face of Allah by it."
  29. Some of the salaf said: "Whoever had a single instance in his lifetime which was purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah, the Exalted, will be saved, and this is due to the greatness of ikhlas."
  30. It is reported from Abu Sulayman ad-Darini (rahimahullah) that he said: "When the servant is sincere, riya' and the many whisperings (of the shayatin) are cut off from him."
  31. It has also been said: "Ikhlas is that the servants inward and outward actions are equal. Riya' is when the outward appearance is better than the inner self and truthfulness in one's sincerity is when the inner self is better cultivated and more flourishing than the outward appearance.".
  32. Some of the salaf have said: "Ikhlas is that you do not seek a witness over your action besides Allah and nor one who gives reward besides Him."
  33. It is reported from Makhul (rahimahullah) that he said: "Never does a servant maintain sincerity for forty days in succession except that the streams of wisdom from his heart appear on his tongue."
  34. It is reported from Adiyy ibn Hatim that he said: "The people destined for the Fire will be ordered (to come) towards Paradise until they come close to it and smell its fragrance, see its palaces and what Allah has prepared in it for its people. Then an announcement will be made (to the angels) that they be turned away from it. There will be no portion for them in it. They will return in loss and ruin just like the ones before them (who were also commanded likewise). Then they will say: 'O our Lord. If you had entered us into the Fire before You showed us what You have shown us from Your reward and what You have prepared for you friends and allies it would have been easier upon us.' Then the Exalted will say: 'This is what I intended with you. When you used to be alone you would combat me (or show boldness to Me) with grave sins and when you used to meet people you would meet them with humility. You would show to the people other than that which you used to give Me from your hearts. You feared people but you did not fear Me. You honoured the people but you did not honour Me, you abandoned (actions) for the people but you did not abandon for Me. This day (therefore), will I make you taste a tormenting punishment along with your prevention from receiving that reward.' "
  35. It has been said: "The damage (caused) to every servant lies in his being pleased with himself. Whoever looks at his soul and sees something in it which he deems to be good has caused its destruction. And whoever does not suspect his soul at every single moment is one who is deceived."
  36. Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: "Ikhlas is the tawhid of one's wish/intent."

(s) The sayings have been taken from Ihya' Ulum ad-Din of Al-Ghazali, Mukhtasir Minhaj al-Qasidin of Ibn Qudamah and Kitab az-Zuhd of Ibn Al-Mubarak. {qluetip title=[2]}Translator's note: The author said, "I have quoted these statements without knowing their authenticity and it is allowable for a Muslim to take from what has been narrated from the Salaf without verification if the particular statement is in agreement with the Book and the Sunnah."{/qluetip}

Be Mindful O Mankind!

There are three things that cannot be acquired by means of three other things: riches by means of desire, youth by means of khijab (dying of the beard) and health by means of medicine.
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (d. 13H), may Allah be pleased with him