Home > Sayings and Actions of Salaf as Saalih > And he said, “It amazes me how an `Ālim (scholar) can laugh.”

And he said, “It amazes me how an `Ālim (scholar) can laugh.”

The Salaf (pious predecessors) of this Ummah did not simply consider Ikhlâs as mere âyât which are recited, or ahâdîth which are transmitted, but they gave it much more significance, and their example is a light which is to be followed. This is because they truly realised its importance.

Al-Fudayl said,

“Allâh wishes from you only your intentions and desires (irâdah).”[1]


They encountered great difficulty required in order to attain Ikhlâs and clarified this to the people.



Sahl bin `Abdillâh al-Tustarî was once asked,

“What is that which is most difficult for the soul [to attain]?” He answered, “Ikhlâs, because [the self] does not get anything out of it.”[2]


Yûsuf bin Asbât said,

“Purifying one’s intention from corruption is more difficult for persons than lengthy exertion (ijtihâd).”[3]



Here are some examples of the Salaf and how they dealt with Ikhlâs, in order that you may take lesson and follow their paths:

∞∞ Not attributing Ikhlâs to oneself.∞∞


The Salaf realised that attaining Ikhlâs is from the most difficult things which a person faces, and requires true striving, and therefore would negate this characteristic from themselves.



Hishâm ad-Distawâ’î said,

“By Allâh, I am unable to say that that I ever went a day in search of hadîth, by which I sought the Face of Allâh.”[4]



Do you know who is Hishâm ad-Distawâ’î, the one accusing himself of being insincere in his seeking of knowledge?!


Shu`bah bin ‘l-Hajjâj said about him, “I do not say that anyone sought hadîth, seeking by it the Face of Allâh, except Hishâm ad-Distawâ’î.”


Shâz bin Fayâdh said about him,

“Hishâm cried, until his eyes became impaired.” Hishâm would say, “If the lamp went out, I would remember the darkness of the grave.” And he said, “It amazes me how an `Ālim (scholar) can laugh.”[5]



Sufyân ath-Thawrî would say,

“Nothing is more difficult for me to treat than my intention (niyyah) for indeed it turns on me.”[6]



Yûsuf bin ‘l-Husayn said,

“How many times have I tried to remove riyâ’ from my heart except that it sprouted in a different colour (i.e. in a different form).”[7]

These people become Imâms, and despite this they were the strictest of people when it came to accusing themselves!

[1] Jâmi` ‘l-`Ulûm wa ‘l-Hikam (13). |

[2] Madârij ‘l-Sâlikîn (2/92) and Jâmi` ‘l-`Ulûm wa ‘l-Hikam (17).
[3] Jâmi` ‘l-`Ulûm wa ‘l-Hikam (13). |

[4] Târîkh ‘l-Islâm (3/175), Siyar A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (7/152).
[5] Târîkh ‘l-Islâm (3/176). | [6] Al-Ikhlâs wa ‘l-Niyyah (65).
[7] Madârij ‘l-Sâlikîn (2/92).

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