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Balancing between Seeking Knowledge and Softening the Heart— Ibn al-Jawzi


Imam abu’l-Faraj ibn a-Jawzi, in his book Sayd al-Khaatir, wrote the following on the importance of softening the heart in the midst of talab al-’ilm (seeking knowledge):

رأيت الاشتغال بالفقه وسماع الحديث لا يكاد يكفي في صلاح القلب إلا أن يمزج بالرقائق والنظر في سير السلف الصالحين‏.‏ لأنهم تناولوا مقصود النقل وخرجوا عن صور الأفعال المأمور بها إلى ذوق معانيها والمراد بها‏.

I feel that occupying oneself with fiqh and acquiring narrations is hardly enough to rectify the heart, unless one mixes with that the study of al-raqaa’iq (heart-softening narrations) and examining the biographies of the salaf al-saaliheen, because they [i.e. the Salaf] realized the intended purpose of those narrations and extracted the commanded actions from them, perceiving their intended meanings and desired understandings thereby.

 

 

‏ وما أخبرتك بهذا إلا بعد معالجة وذوق لأني وجدت جمهور المحدثين وطلاب الحديث همة أحدهم في الحديث العالي وتكثير الأجزاء‏.‏ وجمهور الفقهاء في علوم الجدل وما يغالب به الخصم‏.‏ وكيف يرق القلب مع هذه الأشياء‏.‏

And I do not inform you of this except after personal trials and error, because I have found that the majority of the muhadditheen and students of hadeeth are primarily concerned with the shortest chain of narration and increasing the number of narrations. And that the majority of the fuqahaa’(jurists) are primarily concerned with knowledge of debate, argumentation and how to win an a dispute. And how can hearts by softened with these things?

 

 

وقد كان جماعة من السلف يقصدون البعد الصالح للنظر إلى سمته وهديه‏.‏ لا لاقتباس وذلك أن ثمرة علمه هديه وسمته فافهم هذا وامزج طلب الفقه والحديث بمطالعة سير السلف والزهاد في الدنيا ليكون سبباً لرقة قلبك‏.‏

And there used to be a group of the salaf who would visit a righteous servant in order to observe his characteristics and manners, and not to take knowledge from him. And that is because the fruits of his knowledge were his manners and conduct, so understand this! So combine the study of fiqh and hadeeth with studying the lives of the salaf and those who exercises zuhd in this dunya in order that this might be a cause of softening for your heart.

 

 

وقد جمعت لكل واحد من مشاهير الأخيار كتاباً فيه أخباره وآدابه‏.‏ فجمعت كتاباً في أخبار الحسن وكتاباً في أخبار سفيان الثوري وإبراهيم بن أدهم وبشر الحافي وأحمد بن حنبل ومعروف وغيرهم من العلماء والزهاد والله الموفق للمقصود‏.‏ ولا يصلح العمل مع قلة العلم‏.‏ فهما في ضرب المثل كسائق وقائد والنفس بينهما حرون ومع جد السائق والقائد ينقطع المنزل ونعوذ بالله من الفتور‏.‏

And I have compiled a book for each and every one of the well-known and excellent people, containing their tales and their manners. I have compiled a book about the exploits of al-Hasan (al-Basri), and a book about the exploits of Sufyan al-Thawri, Ibrahim ibn Adhham, Bishr al-Haafi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ma’roof, and others from the ‘ulamaa’and those who were known for their zuhd, and Allah is the giver of success. And deeds are not performed correctly with (only) a little knowledge. And what should be understood (from all this speech) is in the parable of a stick and a carrot [i.e. a push-factor and a pull-factor, one thing which is motivating you by fear and another which is motivating you with a reward], and a person’s soul is stubbornly in between the two. But with a persistent stick and carrot, one can keep moving, and we seek refuge with Allah from apathy.

 

[Sayd al-Khaatir 1/71]

 

Praying Excessively at Night- Ibn al-Jawzi


 

Iblis has deceived some worshipers to perform a lot of night prayers. Some of them pray the entire night, and they feel happier when performing night and duha prayers more than obligatory prayers. Some fall asleep right before fajr and miss the obligatory prayer. Others wake up too lazy to work for sustaining their families.

 

I saw a Shaikh from among them named Husayn al-QazwinI walking a lot during the day in al-Mansur Masjid. When I inquired about this I was told that he does this so he does not fall asleep.

This does not conform with teachings of Islam or with sound intellect:
As for logic, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“Your body has a right over you, so wake up (when appropriate) and sleep (when appropriate) .

[Abu Dawud, 1369]

 
And He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) used to say:

Adhere to moderate demeanor. Whoever arm-wrestles this religion will loose.”

[Musnad Ahmed 5/350, Hakim 1/312]

 
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) entered and saw a rope extended between two poles, he said:

‘What is this rope?’ They said: ‘it is a rope of Zainab, when she feels tired she hangs unto it.’ The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

‘Untie the rope, you should work actively until you feel tired, then you should rest.”

[Bukharee 3/278]

 

And Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said:

“If one of you feels sleepy then he should lie down until he is no longer sleepy. Because if he prays while he is sleepy he might curse himself (mistakenly) instead of seeking forgiveness.”

[Bukharee 1/271, Muslim 786]

 

As for the sound intellect:

Sleep re-energises a person, so when a person repells it, this might harm his body and mind.

 

So we seek refuge with Allah from ignorance.

 

If someone says: But we were informed that members of the Salaf  used to pray at night?

We say:

those individuals were gradual in doing so. They made certain not to miss fajr prayer and to take a nap during the day. They also did not eat much, so this worked out well for them. It was not reported to us that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) stayed awake an entire night. His Sunnah is more worthy of being followed.

 

Some of those falling for Iblis’s deception try to insinuate to others that they were up praying last night. So they would say: So and so, the Adhan giver, gave adhan on time.

 

If this person did not intent to show-off then he has made public his action, which will result in reducing his reward.

 

[Talbees Iblees by Imam Ibn al-Jawzi, page 240-242]

Advice of Ibn al Jawzi [rahimahullah] for us on this Ramadan


Ibn al Jawzi (rahimahullah):

“… Where are those who fast and where are those who pray by night? Where are those who obey their Lord and where are those who work righteousness? Where are those who are foremost and where are are the humble ones? Where are those who remember (their Lord) and where are those devoted to Him Where are the truthful and where are the patient? Where are the charity givers? Where are those who enjoin good, who save the troubled ones and who forbid the wrong? Where are those who heed contemplation and who listen to good advice and life-lessons? By Allah, they have indeed gone with the Salihin (righteous), returned with the Mu’minin (believers), settled with the Anbiya’ (Prophets) and taken residence with the Siddiqin (truthful ones). But us, we remain behind with the ignorant, have settled with the wrong doers and have taken the heedless as our guides…

Fasting is the shield of nations, protecting from the Hellfire
And fasting is a fortress for whoever fears that fire
Fasting is a covering for all the people of goodness
Those who fear the burden of blame and sinfulness
And this month is the month of the Lord of the Throne
A Most Merciful Lord, Who conceals the heavy sins & burdens
So therein have fasted men who thus profited
Their reward lies with the Exalted and Forgiving One
And so they came to settle in Everlasting Gardens
Surrounded by maidens, and rivers and plantations…

So glad tidings to those who obey the Most Merciful King in this month of Mercy, this month of Ramadan. They bore patience over a few days, and thus long-lasting mercy and abundant blessings came after them and pursued them. Every time you do good in this month, you shall be rewarded for the rest of your life because righteousness is a habit and evilness is mere stubbornness.

Where are you O’ fasting one, who prays by night? Come forth to goodness and you shall triumph with everlasting happiness! Trade with your Lord and you shall profit, work with Him and you shall be successful, apologise and He shall accept your apology, seek His forgiveness and He shall forgive your sins, draw close to Him and He shall alleviate your suffering, ask Him from His Bounties and He shall expand your provisions, repent to Him and He shall increase your portion (in life).

O my dear brother, in this month all faults and mistakes are concealed, all souls and hearts are softened, sins and burdens are forgiven, and Allah `azza wa jall relieves every sad and troubled one. He says to His angels, O My Angels, look at those dry tongues, how they become moist with My Remembrance. Look at those hard eyes, how they soften and weep out of fear of Me, and look at those delicate feet planted firmly at the stations of prayer out of desire for Me!’ O my dear brother, whenever you give food to others in this month for the Sake of Allah the Lord of the heavens and the earth, you shall be raised to high ranks in the lofty grounds of Paradise, and you will be clothed with complete goodness and stripped of all sin…”

[Ibn al-Jawzi, ‘Bustan al-Wa’idhin wa Riyadh al-Sami’in’ (pg. 185-186)]

 

Taken from another blog

 

 

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