Archive for category Riyaa’ and Kibr

“Change of Heart” by Dr. Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar

Excerpts from Al-Ikhlas

By Dr. `Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar (may Allah have mercy on him) | Translated by Naiyerah Kolkailah

The Difficulty of Attaining Sincerity

Having true sincerity is one of the most difficult things to achieve, and it is not only the common people who experience this; many scholars and righteous people struggle with it too. Sufyan Ath-Thawri says: “I have never dealt with anything more difficult than my intention; it keeps changing on me.”

That is why the Messenger ﷺ (peace and blessings be upon him) would often supplicate, “O turner of hearts, keep my heart firm upon Your faith.”

He would also often say in his oaths, “Nay, by the turner of hearts.”

The heart changes frequently in its aims and intentions, and you can see this just by how much your heart’s aims and wishes vary within one hour. The Messenger ﷺ says: “There is no heart except that it is suspended between Two Fingers of the Most Merciful; if He wills, He keeps it firm, and if He wills, He deviates it; and the scale is in the Hand of the Most Merciful—He elevates some people and debases others, until the Day of Judgment.”

The Messenger ﷺ says: “Surely, the heart of the son of Adam turns over and over more than a pot of boiling water.”

The reason hearts change and turn so much is because of the amount of factors influencing the heart. As Sahl ibn Abdillah says, the heart is “delicate and easily affected by passing thoughts.”

Al-Harith al-Muhasabi mentions three factors that affect the heart.

The first is the warnings of the Most-Merciful. As the hadith (narration) says, “Whomever Allah wills good for him, He will place for him a warning conscience in his heart.”

In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Allah, the All-Mighty, sets forth a parable of the straight path: on either side of the path are walls with open doors, and the doors are draped with curtains. On the path, there is a caller saying, ‘O people enter all of you onto the path and do not deviate.’ Another caller also calls at the head of the path. So, when a person attempts to open one of these doors, the caller says, ‘Beware, do not open it. If you open it, then you will go through it (and leave the straight path).’ The path is Islam, and the walls are Allah’s legal boundaries, and the open doors are what Allah has forbidden. The caller at the head of the path is the Book of Allah, and the caller on the straight path is the warning conscience of Allah that is in the heart of every Muslim.”

The second element that influences the heart is Satan’s adornment of evil acts, and all his suggestions and whispers. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) has commanded His messenger to flee to Allah, seeking refuge from Satan’s attempts: “And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah. Surely, He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.”

It is out of Allah’s wisdom that He made the hearts of His servants this battlefield, where both an angel and a devil vie for influence; one overtakes it sometimes, and the other at other times. The All-Mighty says, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”

The Messenger ﷺ elucidates this in the hadith: “Surely, an angel puts thoughts in the heart of the son of Adam, and the devil also puts thoughts. The angel’s thoughts promise goodness and affirm the truth, and the devil’s thoughts promise evil and reject the truth.” Then he read, “Satan threatens you with poverty, and commands you to evil, while God promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty.”

As Ibn Al-Qayyim says, “Satan bewitches the mind until it overpowers it, and nobody is safe from his magic except whomever Allah wills. He makes the harmful act seem appealing, until a person imagines that it is the most beneficial of things; and he turns him away from beneficial things, until he imagines that they are harmful to him. La ilaha illa Allah (there is no deity but God). How many people are deceived by this magic, and how many hearts are deprived of Iman (faith), Islam, and Ihsan (excellence in faith/worship) because of it; and how much has falsehood been adorned so it appears positive; and how much has truth been denigrated so it appears negative!”

The third source of influence on the heart is the self, since it commands one to do evil acts, and calls to disobedience: “Surely, the self constantly commands to evil.” The Prophet of Allah, Ya`qub (Jacob), told his sons when they claimed that the wolf ate Yusuf (Joseph): “No, your own selves enticed you to something (evil).” The All-Mighty also said regarding Adam’s son who killed his brother, “Then his own self persuaded him to kill his brother.”

The Muslim cannot be saved from the self that incites evil, and his own whims and desires, except through persistent struggle and self-discipline, and through arming oneself with the weapons Allah (swt) gave him, such as dhikr (remembrance of Allah), recitation of the Qur’an, acts of devotion and worship, etc.

Why Allah is the Ultimate Aim

The human being will be miserable if his aim is directed toward anything besides His Creator, and he will become even more miserable when he accumulates more worries and aimless endeavors. If a person’s aim is not uniformly devoted to One above all worldly endeavors, this person will find herself not knowing where to go and what direction to take. But a Muslim’s aim is One, and the methodology that guides her toward this aim is one; and thus, she is able to please God and follow His guidance.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ says, “Whoever makes the Hereafter his goal, Allah places abundance in his heart, and organizes his affairs, and the world comes to him despite its unwillingness. And whoever’s aim is worldly gain, Allah puts poverty before his eyes, and disorganizes his affairs, and nothing of this world comes to him, except what has been decreed for him.”

Signs of Sincerity

Imam al-Shafi`i (may Allah have mercy on him) says, “How I wish the creation would learn this knowledge without attributing even one letter of it to me.”

He also says, “I have not spoken to anyone except that I wished that he is supported and aided, and that he is under Allah’s care and protection.”

Imam al-Ghazali says, “There is one sign that shows true sincerity in a person who counsels and advises others for the sake of God and not for people’s acceptance; if he is replaced by someone who is better, more knowledgeable, or more articulate than him, and people’s acceptance of that person surpasses his own, then he will be pleased, and he will thank Allah for relieving him from his obligation with someone more qualified than him.”

The sign of one who aims to impress others is that he will be pleased with words of praise or appreciation, even if they are not true; and he will be upset with words of criticism, even if they are true. The same applies to those who are after money. But that is not the case with the sincere one; she is pleased with the word of truth—whether it be for her or against her, and she is angered by a word of falsehood—whether it be in her favor or against her.

The sincere person finds no problem in everyone’s hearts being void of appreciation for him, if his heart is sound in the Eyes of Allah, the All-Mighty. He also does not wish for any person to see even an atom’s weight of his good deeds. If the sincere person is presented with two matters, one for Allah and one for worldly gain, he will prefer what is for Allah— knowing that this life is fleeting and the Hereafter permanent.

Source: Change of Heart by Dr. ‘Umar Sulayman Al-Ashqar

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Resources for Those Inclined to Self-Amazement

Bismillah walhamdulillah

“I suffer from an inclination to be arrogant towards people and to feel superior towards them, and I would like to be humble. I hope that you can tell me something about the virtues of humility and its various types so that Allaah may open my heart towards it.”

Different Kinds of Humility

Ridding Oneself of Arrogance

Humility and Arrogance

Search my blog for keyword: self-amazement


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The Fruits of Sincerity in Your Knowledge and Time


“…How great are the fruits of sincerity, and how are the Muslims, the righteous, the worshipers who seek Allah and the Hereafter and know the worthlessness of the life of this world in dire need of purifying their actions to be solely for Allah so that they can see these fruits and blessings for themselves, and so that they can see things that nobody would believe could happen within the normal limits of the human perspective!

From these is that the scholars who wrote and sought knowledge sincerely for Allah were granted blessing in their time, lives, and knowledge by Allah, and many people benefited from them.

Take ‘Sahih al-Bukhari’ as an example. How many books have been written and authored? However, the author of this book was sincere towards Allah, and he would not write in it a single hadith except after making ablution and praying two units and making istikharah to Allah, and there was the worship and zuhd that was known in the life of Imam al-Bukhari. When this was the case, Allah blessed him in his time, and He blessed him in his deeds, and He gave this book the position and degree that it has. It is the most authentic book after the Book of Allah, and the Muslims of every era until the Day of Resurrection have accepted it wholeheartedly. This is indeed a great miracle, as how many books have been written that do not have what this book has?

Such is the case with the life of Imam Ahmad, may Allah be Pleased with him and he with Him. Look at the acceptance in the hearts of the people that Allah granted him – it is incredible! When Ahmad would simply point at someone with his finger and said ‘Yes,’ or if he were to mention someone and just say ‘Yes,’ – he praised him by simply saying ‘Yes,’ or ‘He is a good man,’ etc. – Allah would raise the status of that particular man in the eyes of all the Muslims. So, this man would become exalted, and this word of praise would spread from Baghdad to Khurasan to Egypt to Andalusia to everywhere else, and it would be recorded in the books that Ahmad said about such and such a man that he is good or that he praised him. So, this would be a tazkiyah for him and a means for the acceptance of his narrations and knowledge, and a confirmation of the soundness of his beliefs.

And the Khalifah al-Mutawakkil – from his intense keenness to be seen in a good light in front of his people as is the case with the rulers of every era – requested of Imam Ahmad to visit him because the people knew that Imam Ahmad only ate what was halal. So, he wanted him to come and eat from his food so that the people would take note of this and al-Mutawakkil would be praised by the people just because Imam Ahmad ate from his food, even if Ahmad himself did not praise him with a single word!

So, Imam Ahmad refused, and when al-Mutawakkil begged him – and he is al-Mutawakkil, the one through whom Allah revived the Sunnah and destroyed innovation, and Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah are indebted to him, and he is a leader of the Muslims – he saw that he had no other option but to obey him. So, he went to him while he was fasting. His sons ‘Abdullah and Salih said: “We were worried about our father that he would die, as he was continually fasting through the days and nights, and he would only drink water, as water was not something that could be considered a favor from anyone.” All the while, al-Mutawakkil assumed that he was eating from his food because they were not sitting and eating at the same table.

Why did they have this prestige? It was only because of their sincerity towards Allah.

In terms of the blessing in their time, look to the writings of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, the writings of adh-Dhahabi, the writings of Ibn Kathir, and the writings of an-Nawawi. You will see the most amazing things when you see these books despite the expulsion, prison, beating, inquisition, having their books burned, and prevention from any writing instruments that they suffered – especially Ibn Taymiyyah – and that despite this, the preoccupation with worship and Jihad that they displayed. Ibn Taymiyyah performed Jihad against the Batinis and the Tatars. Jihad and knowledge, collecting and researching knowledge from the books, worship, and he is still able to write all these books. How was this possible?!

Today, as you can see – we ask Allah to bless our time and our lives, and to grant us sincerity that will make us deserving of this – a student will spend five years preparing his doctorate, and he will then produce a book that will be nothing more than quotations. If he worked a little harder, he would finish it in a few months, and if he was one of the Salaf, he would have compiled it in a matter of days or weeks, as it is nothing more than quotations. What was all of this time spent doing?

This all has to do with how much sincerity we have. How?

Some even said that if you were to take the lifespan of one of them and divide it between the books that he wrote, you would find that he would write twenty pages a day. Is it possible for anyone to write this much? When would he have the time to check it over? When would he publish it?

If we ask a brother to prepare an article just one page long, he would spend the entire night writing it, and would then spend the entire next day reviewing and revising it. In fact, entire weeks might go by without him producing anything. Subhan Allah!! How did these people write so much? If they were able to write twenty pages that were reviewed, revised, fully and accurately referenced, and filled with precisely derived rulings, this could not have been possible except due to the blessing that Allah had placed in their knowledge, and this was all due to their sincerity to Allah.

This is why they had high determination and aspirations.

When at-Tabari told his students: “I will provide you with the ‘Tafsir’ in 300 volumes,” they said: “This is too long” – three hundred volumes was too long, and they couldn’t handle it – he replied: “Allahu Akbar! The aspirations have weakened!” So, he wrote it in thirty volumes instead of the 300. These thirty volumes were in accordance with the strength of their aspiration, as the vastness of ‘Tafsir at-Tabari’ – with all of its narrations, chains, linguistic commentaries and explanations – was written by at-Tabari for those with weak determination. Today, we say that at-Tabari should have summarized it, and it actually has been summarized, because the aspirations and determination that exists today is only a tenth of what existed during the days of at-Tabari’s students.

This is how it was. So, how does one’s determination become weak?

Determination weakens when there is little sincerity, and it increases when there is more sincerity and certainty. When a person combines the qualities of sincerity, certainty, love, and all the other actions of the heart that I have mentioned and will mention, he will reach the ultimate level of determination.

When the Companions reached this state, they gave no consideration whatsoever to the powers on Earth, no matter who or what they were. Rather, they would send armies to the East and West, land and sea, and they would not care in the least, and they would not look to the enemy as having any worth. Yes, they would make the necessary preparations, study the enemy in as much detail as possible, and engage in strategic research and military intelligence. However, they knew that they were fighting for Allah. So, no power was able to stand before them. They were victorious because of their faith, righteousness, sincerity, and truthfulness with Allah.

There is just one more issue to address that I will close with, and it is that having sincerity results in you being considered from the sincere, and this is because what goes around comes around. So, if you are sincere and truthful with Allah, Allah will make you from the sincere, and the sincere ones are the best of Allah’s Creation. They are the ones who know Allah, and this is the most important of their many characteristics. This is mentioned in ‘as-Saffat’ after Allah mentions the condition of the polytheists and their likes who ascribed a son to Allah and kinship between He and the jinn. So, at the end of these verses, He Said: {“Allah is Glorified above what they ascribe to Him”} [as-Saffat; 159] {“…except the sincere slaves of Allah.”} [as-Saffat; 40].

So, He is free of everything that He is described with with except what those who know Him and give Him His proper due describe Him with, and they describe Him with the attributes of perfection and praise…”

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Do not sell your soul for a lowly price

Taken from Fajr Blog (Click the link above)

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Shaykh Sayyid al-‘Affani: “Whoever seeks Allah and desires nobility and great honour, let him not sell his soul for a lowly price when in front of him lies Paradise and eternity. Indeed, we have only been created to live with our Creator in a Home the garden of which Allah the Most High has cultivated with His Hands.”

‘Aamir ibn ‘Abd: “I have not looked towards anything except that I saw Allah the Most High was closer to it than myself.”

Al-Junayd: “Know that He `azza wa jall, draws close to the hearts of His slaves according to how close they draw to Him, so look to what is drawing close to your heart.”

Al-‘Affani: “Knowing the greatness of Allah, the King of Kings, will make it easier for a person to gain sincerity. Likewise it’s made easier knowing that the hearts and forelocks of the slaves of Allah lie in His Hands, and that He runs their affairs; He commands and prohibits, honours and disgraces. He turns the hearts of the creation, so the heart of him whom you wish to show off to in is the Hands of Him Whom you are disobeying… It is incredible that you should know Him and yet not be sincere to Him, incredible that you should hear His call and yet delay in responding. Indeed, everything has a replacement, but Allah cannot be replaced.”

One of the salaf said, “Fight your soul and prevent it from the causes of Riya’ (showing off), and try to imagine the people around you as being like cattle or children so that you do not differ in your ‘Ibadah (worship) when they are present or absent, when they see you or not, and be content with the fact that Allah sees you.”

Abu al-Darda’ (radhiallahu `anhu) said, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the humbleness of the hypocrites.” It was said, “And what is the humbleness of the hypocrites?” He said, “That you should see the body being humble, but the heart refuses to be humble.”

Dhul-Nun: “When the wise one feels comfort in solitude, then he has attained sincerity, and at that point, his wisdom will move him to the truth and correctness in matters.”

لا تركنن لمخلوق على طمع *** فإن ذلك نقص منك في الدين
Do not rely upon the creation to grant you your wishes
Indeed that’s only a shortcoming on part of your religion

لن يقدر العبد أن يعطيك خردلة *** إلا بإذن الذي سواك من طين
A slave has no power to grant you, not even an atom’s weight
Except with the Permission of He who made you from clay

فلا تصاحب قوياً تستعز به *** و كن عفيفاً و عظِّم حرمة الدين
So do not walk with the mighty in order to boast with them
Rather be modest and virtuous and exalt the sanctity of this Deen

واسترزق الله مما في خزائنه *** فإن رزقك بين الكاف والنون
Seek provision from Allah; from the treasures that are with Him
For indeed your provision only lies between Kaf and Nun*

* i.e. between the letters Kaf and Nun – in Arabic this spells out كن (‘Be,’ or ‘to become’) which is a reference to the verse “Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, “Be! (kun)” and it is.” [Ya-Sin: 82].

– Taken from ‘Ta’tir al-Anfas min Hadith al-Ikhlas’ by Shaykh Sayyid Husayn al-’Affani

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‘For the Sake of Allah Alone’ – Is it really?

‘For the Sake of Allah Alone’ – Is it really?

March 9, 2010

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

حكي أن أبا حامد الغزالي بلغه أن من أخلص لله أربعين يوما تفجرت ينابيع الحكمة من قلبه على لسانه

قال: فأخلصت أربعين يوما فلم يتفجر شيء فذكرت ذلك لبعض العارفين فقال لي: إنك إنما أخلصت للحكمة ولم تخلص لله تعالى

”… News reached Abu Hamid al-Ghazali that whoever proves sincere to Allah for forty days, wisdom springs from his heart and is established upon his tongue.

He (al-Ghazali) said, ‘So I became sincere to Allah for forty days but nothing happened so I mentioned this to a righteous person and he said to me, ‘You were not sincere for the sake of Allah, rather you were sincere for the sake of attaining wisdom.”

Ibn Taymiyyah then says:

وذلك لأن الإنسان قد يكون مقصوده نيل العلم والحكمة أو نيل المكاشفات والتأثيرات أو نيل تعظيم الناس له ومدحهم إياه أو غير ذلك من المطالب وقد عرف أن ذلك يحصل بالإخلاص لله وإرادة وجهه, فإذا قصد أن يطلب ذلك بالإخلاص لله وإرادة وجهه كان متناقضا, لأن من أراد شيئا لغيره فالثاني هو المراد المقصود بذاته, والأول يراد لكونه وسيلة إليه

فإذا قصد أن يخلص لله ليصير عالما أو عارفا أو ذا حكمة أو صاحب مكاشفات وتصرفات ونحو ذلك, فهو هنا لم يرد الله بل جعل الله وسيلة له إلى ذلك المطلوب الأدنى

“And that is because a person’s intention becomes (solely) the attainment of knowledge or wisdom, or to seek out hidden matters, or to gain popularity with the people and gain their praise etc. He knows that he can only achieve all that by being sincere to Allah and seeking His Face. So if he seeks these things (praise, gaining knowledge etc) by the token of sincerity to Allah and seeking His Face, then such a person contradicts himself because whoever seeks something (e.g. being sincere to Allah) for the sake of something else (e.g. gain understanding/knowledge), then the latter becomes his real goal and the first is just a means to that.

So if a person intends to be sincere to Allah so that he may become a scholar, or pious, or one endowed with wisdom, or one who discovers hidden realities etc, then such a person does not intend Allah, rather he has made Allah a means for him to gain that inferior matter…”

– From the book درء تعارض المنقول مع صريح المعقول by Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah).

– Incredible. It’s such a subtle difference in intention (although not always blameworthy) but it really makes one appreciate and realise the reasons why the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) feared Riyaa’ for this Ummah so much. Ibn Taymiyyah’s statement above is not really rebuking people who take such a route, but it’s highlighting the great difference between doing something for the Sake of Allah Alone and doing it in order to attain something specific (even though it may be praiseworthy and permissible). This difference is what brings out the true Mukhliseen (sincere) from the Salihin (righteous).

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As for what makes this insincerity grow and arise – this is interlocked with Emaan and the healthiness of the heart. The healthy, Eman-filled heart is conscious of Allah, and fearful of His anger, and aware of His gaze, and afraid of His threat, and vigilant of the nearness of the Last Day – so it’s sincere. The diseased heart sees things blurry, sees the Day of Judgment as far off, forgets how closely Allah watches the eyes and hearts, and prefers the enjoyment of this life (praise of people) over the next.

— Abu Abbaad

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Our sins are weighing us down – Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen

Our sins are weighing us down – Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-Uthaymeen.


As Abdullah ibn Al Mubarak, may Allah have mercy upon him said:

I found that sins kill the hearts

And they bring about humiliation by being addicted to them

And abandoning sin gives life to the hearts

And it is better for your soul that you disobey it

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Examples of the Salaf with Ikhlaas

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Examples of the Salaf with Ikhlâs

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:

1) 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!

2) Hiding deeds.

al-Hasan ‘l-Basrî said, speaking about the striving of the Salaf in hiding their deeds, “A man would have gathered the Qur’ân (i.e. memorised it) whilst his neighbour would be unaware. Another man would have learnt a lot of Fiqh whilst the people would be unaware. A man would be praying lengthy prayer in his house, whilst he has guests, and they would not even realise. Indeed, I came across a people, there was not a single deed on the face of this earth which could be done in secret, that they ever done it in public!”

These Muslims would strive to supplicate to Allâh, and nothing could be heard from them except a low whisper between them and their Lord. That is because Allâh says,

ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

“Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.”[8]

3) Hiding deeds from family and wives.

Abû ‘l-`Âliyah said, “I learned writing and the Qur’ân without my family noticing, and not a drop of ink was ever seen on my garment.”[9]

Dâwûd bin Abû Hind fasted 40 years whilst his family was unaware. He would take his lunch with him and give it away in charity, and would then return home for dinner and break his fast with them.[10]

4) Fear of beautifying deeds and doing things for other than Allâh.

`Alî bin al-Bakkâr al-Basrî said, “That I meet the Shaytân is more beloved to me than meeting so-and-so; I fear that I may do something for him (i.e. to impress him etc), and fall in the Sight of Allâh.”[11]

5) Not making ones knowledge apparent.

Ibn Fâris mentioned regarding Abû ‘l-Hasan al-Qattân that he said, “I was afflicted with illness in Basrah, and I think I am being punished due to speaking a lot during the journey.” He thought that this illness was a punishment resulting from him making his knowledge apparent when he was travelling!

6) Hiding ones tears.

Hammâd bin Zayd said, “Ayyûb was such that a hadîth would be narrated to him, which would soften his heart and cause his eyes to shed tears. So when a tear would come to him, he would wipe his nose saying, ‘What a severe cold!’ He would show that he had a cold in order to hide his crying.[12]

Al-Hasan ‘l-Basrî said, “A man would be sitting in a gathering, and tears would come to his eyes. He would try to hold them in, but if he felt that he would be unable to, he would stand and leave.”[13]

Muhamamd bin Wâsi` said, “A man would cry for 20 years, while his wife would not know.”[14]

And he also said, “I came across men; one of them, his head would be on the same pillow as his wife’s head; and what is under his cheek would become soaked with his tears, whilst his wife would be unaware. And I came across men; one of them would stand in the first row (in prayer), his tears would be flowing down his cheeks, and the person standing next to him would be unaware.”[15]

7) Imâm ‘l-Mâwirdî and his writing of books.

This Imâm has a very strange story regarding Ikhlâs and his writing of books. He wrote many works in Fiqh, Tafsîr etc, but did not make anything from it public during his lifetime. He hid his works in a place which no one knew. When death approached him, he said to a person who he trusted, “All the books in such-and-such place are mine, and I did not make anything public because I did not find a sincere intention. When death approaches me, place your hand in my hand, and if I grasp it then know it has not been accepted from me, so act upon that and throw all my books in river during the night. However, if I do not squeeze it, then know that it has been accepted, and I have attained what I was hoping for with Allâh.” So that person said, when death approached him and I placed my hand in his, he did not grasp it, then I knew that this was a sign of acceptance, and his books were made available to the people after that.[16]

8) `Ali bin ‘l-Husayn and his charity during the night.

`Al bin ‘l-Husayn used to carry bread on his back in the darkness of the night and follow the poor people (to give it to them). He used to say, “Charity in the darkness of the night extinguishes the Lords anger.”

The poor people in Madînah used to live and would not know where they were getting their food from. When `Ali ibn Husayn passed away, they started missing what they used to be given at night. When he died, they found marks on his back from the sacks of provisions he used to carry at night to the houses of the widows and they found out that he used to provide for a hundred (poor) families.[17]

This was the state of these people, they would hide their deeds, but Allâh made them apparent so that they become Imâms who are followed. Allâh says,

 وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“…and make us an example for the righteous.”[18]

وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا 

And We made them leaders guiding by Our command.”[19]

~ Next post: Signs of Ikhlâs and Miscellaneous Issues ~

[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).

[8] Qur’ân – al-A`râf (7):55.

Refer to az-Zuhd by Ibn ‘l-Mubârak (35-36).

[9] Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (6/17).

[10] Hilyat ‘l-Awliyâ’ (3/94).

[11] Hilyat ‘l-Awliyâ’ (8/270).

[12] Musnad Ibn ‘l-Ja`d (1246), Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (6/20).

[13] Al-Zuhd by Imâm Ahmad (262).

[14] Hilyat ‘l-Awliyâ’ (2/347).

[15] Ibid.

[16] Târîkh ‘l-Islâm (7/169), Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (18/66).

[17] Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ by adh-Dhahabi.

[18] Qur’ân – al-Furqân (25):74.

[19] Qur’ân – al-Anbiyâ’ (21):73.

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How To Protect Yourself From Showing Off

How To Protect Yourself From Showing Off
An Exclusive Translation for Sisters Upon Al-Istiqaamah

The Shaykh, ‘Allaamah Zayd Ibn Muhammad Ibn Haadee Al-Madkhalee was asked:

Noble Shaykh, how does the believer distance himself from showing off in his actions? And does the people’s praise of him on account of his worship harm him?

He responded:

Actions are judged in accordance to the intentions.

As for the person who the people praise due to him performing good deeds and he did not do these acts except seeking the pleasure of Allah, then the people’s praise of him and their commendation is a testimony for what he is upon and this does not harm him.

However, if he notices something (i.e. in his heart) when the people praise and commend him or when he hears that someone praises him, if he notices something in his heart like amazement or showing off then he should turn to Allah; and he should say the supplication that has been reported upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him):

“O Allah, I seek refuge with you from knowingly committing Shirk and I seek your forgiveness for what I have no knowledge of.”

[In the book there appears to be a typing error towards the latter part of the hadeeth, and Allah knows best.  So I have affirmed that which is found in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad of Imam Al-Bukhari and other hadeeth collections.]

Verily, this – by the Will of Allah – will remove what is in his heart from weakness or showing off, by the Might and Power of Allah.

Al-‘Iqd Al-Munaddad Al-Jadded (1/28)


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Sincerity – Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-shinqitee

“…and to call upon oneself saying, enough hypocrisy, and enough showing off, and enough seeking people’s pleasure, and enough seeking praise and thanks, and to turn to Allah…”


Something that we shouldn’t learn the hard way: it never pays to be insincere. It doesn’t pay in the aakhira, and if you think it pays in this life, you’re deluding yourself. And if you continue like that, then you are fighting a battle that you will never win. But it may be that from His mercy, He shows you in this world that it doesn’t pay to be insincere.

wabillahit tawfeeq

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