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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]

 

Everyday the earth calls out with 9 things- Anas Ibn Malik (radyAllahu`anhu)

August 19, 2013 3 comments

 

Anas Ibn Malik (radyAllahu`anhu) said, “Everyday the earth calls out with nine things, saying,

‘O son of Adam! You strive on my surface and your destination is my stomach;

you disobey [Allah] on my surface and you will be punished for it in my stomach;

you laugh on my surface and you will cry in my stomach;

you are happy on my surface and you will be sad in my stomach;

you gather wealth on my surface and you will regret gathering it in my stomach;

you are arrogant on my surface and you will be humiliated in my stomach;

you walk insolently on my surface and you will fall miserably into my stomach;

you walk in the light on my surface and you will be in the darkness in my stomach;

and you walk with crowds and large gatherings on my surface and you will be lonely in my stomach.”

 

[Preparing For The Day Of Judgement By: Imaam Ibn Hajar Al‘ Asqalani, page 41-42]

 

 

Ten advises from a physician to cure the diseases of the heart

August 6, 2013 1 comment

 

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “One day I was walking with a young pious man in the narrow streets of Basra and its markets until we reached a physician sitting on a chair and around him were many men, women, and children who had bottles of water in their hands. Each one of them was seeking a cure for his illness.

 

The young man moved closer to the physician and asked him, ‘O physician! Do you have a medicine that cleans away sins and cures the [spiritual] diseases of the heart?

He replied ‘Yes!’

 

The young man said, ‘Give it to me!”

 

The physician said,

Take ten things from me

take the roots of the tree of poverty with the roots of the tree of humility,

and pour in it the milk of repentance,

then place it in the mortar of acceptance [of whatever is predestined for one],

crush it with the pestle of contentment,

then place it in the pot of piety,

pour over it the water of shame,

then boil it with the fire of love,

then place it in the cup of gratitude

and cool it down with the fan of hope,

then drink it with the spoon of praise.

If you do all of this then it will cure you of every illness and trial in this world and in the Hereafter.’”

 

[Preparing For The Day Of Judgement By: Imaam Ibn Hajar Al‘ Asqalani, page 42]

 

Ten advices from Five Scholars


 

It is said that a king gathered five scholars and ascetics and ordered each one to give a word of wisdom. Each one spoke and gave two pieces of wisdom and thus they became ten.

 

 

 

The first one said,

“Fearing the Creator is security and feeling safe [from His wrath] is disbelief; and feeling safe from another creature is freedom and fearing him is slavery.”

 

 

The second said,

“Hoping from Allah is richness that no poverty can harm, and loosing hope in Him is poverty that no wealth can alleviate.”

advice

 

 

The third said,

“Poverty in worldy possessions does not harm the one rich at heart (i.e. contented), and richness in worldy possessions does not benefit the one poor at heart (i.e. greedy).”

 

 

The fourth said,

“Generosity does not increase the richness of the heart except in richness, and poverty at heart (greed) does not increase with richness in material possessions except in poverty.”

 

 

The fifth said,

“Taking a little from goodness is better than leaving a lot from evil, and leaving all acts of evil is better than committing a few acts of goodness.”

 

 

[Preparing For The Day Of Judgement By: Imaam Ibn Hajar Al‘ Asqalani, page 42-43]

 

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