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Friday, August 20, 2004  

Ignorance As for ignorance, it is the origin of all evil, the root of every harm. Ignorant folk are included in the Prophet's saying (may God bless him and grant him peace), "The world is accursed, and accursed is what is in it, except the remembrance of God and the learned and those learning." It is sad that when God created ignorance He said to it, "Come!" but it moved away. He said to it, "Go!" but it came. Then He said, "By My might, I have created nothing in creation more hateful to Me than you, and I shall place you amongst the worst of my creation!" 'Ali, may God honor his countenance, said, "There is no enemy worse than ignorance. A man is the enemy of that which he has no knowledge of." Ignorance is blameworthy according to both textual and rational proof, and its [harm] is hardly unknown to anyone. An ignorant man succumbs to neglecting obligations and committing sins, whether he wishes it or not, because one who is ignorant neither knows the obligations God has enjoined upon him nor the misdeeds God has forbidden. A person can leave the shadows of ignorance only by the light of knowledge. How excellent are the words of Shaykh 'Ali ibn Abi Bakr when he said, "Ignorance is a fire that burns a man's religion. And its extinguishing water is knowledge." So you must learn what God has made incumbent for you to learn. You are not obliged to acquire extensive knowledge, but that without which your faith remains unsound you must learn. Examples of these are the proper performance of your obligatory rites of worship and how to avoid what is prohibited. This is an immediate duty with regard to immediate [obligations], and for those matters that may be deferred, it is a deferred duty. Malik ibn Dinar, may God have mercy on him, used to say, "He who seeks knowledge for himself, a little will suffice him; but he who seeks knowledge for the people, the people's needs are numerous." _____________________________________________________________________________________ Weakness of Faith Weakness of faith is an awful affliction from which many blameworthy things arises, like neglecting to act upon what one knows, disregarding the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil, harboring hopes for forgiveness without striving for it, worrying about provision, fearing people, and other unfortunate character traits. A person's observance of God's commands and prohibitions is only proportionate to the strength of his faith. The most obvious proof of a person's weakness in faith is his neglect of injunctions and committing of contraventions. Every believer should strive to strengthen his faith, and there are three ways to do so: The first is to listen [mindfully] to the verses of the Qur'an and the statements of the Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) that reveal the promises [of Paradise], threats [of Hell], tidings of the Hereafter, the stories of the Prophets, what miracles they were confirmed with, what happened to their opponents, the detachment from the world and the [ardent] desire for the Hereafter which the virtuous predecessors possessed, and other things handed down. The second is to observe and ponder the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and what wondrous signs and beautiful creatures they contain. The third is to preserve in acts of goodness and to guard oneself from falling into sin and contravention, for faith is both words and deeds. It increases with obedience and diminishes with sins. All these that we have just mentioned increase faith and strengthen certitude. And God is the Helper. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Long Hopes Long hopes are extremely blameworthy. They lead one to work for prosperity of his worldly life at the expense of ruining his Hereafter. The Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) said, "The first fold among this nation will be saved by detachment from this world and short hopes, while the last will perish by greed for this world and long hopes." And he said (may God bless him and grant him peace), "Four things are of wretchedness: dry eyes, hardness of the heart, greed, and long hopes." The Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) prayed, "I seek Your protection from every hope that may distract me!" 'Ali, may God honor his countenance, said, "What I fear most for you is that you follow your passions and have long hopes. Following passions repels from the truth; and having long hopes causes you to forget the Hereafter." It is a maxim that he whose hopes are long, his works are bad. [To harbor] long hopes is to feel secure that you will remain in this world for a very long time. Is shows and excessive foolishness and extreme stupidity, for long hopes push away certitude [about death] and [attracts] attachment to the illusion [of a perpetual life]. If you say to such a person in the evening, "Are you certain you will live until morning?" or if you say to him in the morning, "Are you certain you will live until evening?" he will say: "No!" Still, he works for this world as if he is never to die, to the point that should he be told that he will remain in this world forever, he will be incapable of adding more desire and greed for it. What can be more foolish than that? Furthermore, long hopes are at the root of a number of evil character traits and acts which hinder obedience [of God's commands] and invite to sin. Examples of this are avidity, avarice, and the fear of poverty. Among the worst are finding comfort in this world, working to improve one's lot in it, and striving to amass its debris. He has said, may blessings and peace be upon him, "I was sent for the ruin of this world, he who makes it prosper is not of me." Long hopes bring about procrastination, which is a most sterile thing, for it never gives birth to anything good. It is said that most of the woeful howling of the people of the Fire is due to [their] procrastination. For he who procrastinates is ever lazy in obedience, slow in repentance, until death overtakes him, then he will say: "O Lord! Were you to only reprieve me for a short time, that I may give charity and be one of the righteous" (63:10). But it will be said to him: "God will not delay a soul whose time has come" (63:11). Did We not give you lives long enough that he who reflects may indeed reflect, and the warner came to you? So taste! For the unjust have no helper (35:37). The procrastinator leaves this world with endless sorrow and limitless regret. O my brother, shorten your hopes, and let your time stand before your eyes and your hope behind your back. Seek help in this by remembering the "defeater of pleasures" (death) in abundance, the "disperser of companies." Reflect on those who have preceded you, relatives and acquaintances [who have passed on]. bring to mind just how near death is, for it is the nearest thing lying in wait. Be ready for it; expect its pouncing upon you any time. The Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) used to say, "By He in whose Hand is my soul, I never raised my eyes thinking I would lower them before my soul is taken, nor have I ever eaten a morsel thinking that I would swallow it without choking on it because of death." Sometimes he rubbed the wall for tayammum, and, when it was said to him, "Water is near," he replied, "How do I know that I will ever reach it?" Al-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him, used to recite, "Every man wakes up in his home with death nearer to him than the laces of his sandals." The Proof of Islam, may God have mercy on him, wrote, "Know that death does not pounce at a specific time, situation, or age, but it is certain to pounce. Therefore, preparing for it has priority over preparing for this world." _____________________________________________________________________________________ Illicit and Suspect Food Consuming illicit and doubtful food inevitably hinders obedience and invites to transgression. The Messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace) is reported to have said, "He who eats halal [permissible], his members obey, whether he wishes it or not; but he who eats haram [forbidden food], his members sin, whether he wishes it or not." And, "Eat what you will, for that is how you will act." And a certain Gnostic once said, "People are severed from the truth and excluded from the circle of sainthood only because they do not scrutinize what they eat." He whose food is illicit or suspect, even when he acts in obedience, his acts are unacceptable to God, for God the Exalted says, "God only accepts [deeds] from those who fear Him" (5:27). God is good and accepts only what is good. O my brother, refrain from eating the illicit, for this is obligatory, and the suspect, for this is dictated by scrupulousness. And seek only the licit, for this is an obligation among the other obligations. When you obtain licit food and clothes, eat with moderation and dress with moderation. Do not be excessive, for the licit does not bear excessiveness. Beware of eating to satiety, for eating licit food to satiety is the beginning of evil. (What then of illicit food?) The Messenger (may God bless him and grant him peace) has said, "The Son of Adam never fills a vessel worse than his stomach. It should suffice the Son of Adam a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must, then a third [of his stomach] for his food, a third for his beverage, and a third for his breath." -Imam ‘Abdallah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad, Two Treatises (Mutual Reminding & Good Manners) of Imam al-Haddad



posted by Abubak'r | 8/20/2004 07:22:00 PM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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