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Allah is Beautiful and Loves Beauty

From ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiallahu ‘anhu who said that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “No one will enter Paradise who has an atom’s weight of pride in his heart.” A man said, “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” [Related by Muslim #131]

The phrase “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty,” includes the beautiful clothing which was asked about in the same hadith. It is included by way of generalization, meaning that beauty in all things is what is meant here. In Sahih Muslim, it says, “Allah is good and only accepts that which is good.” [Muslim #1686]

In Sunan At-Tirmidhi it says, “Allah loves to see the effects of His blessing on His slave.” [#2963. At-Tirmidhi said it was hasan sahih] It was reported that Abu’l-Ahwas al-Jashami said the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw him wearing old, tattered clothes, and asked him, “Do you have any wealth?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “What kind of wealth?” I said, “All that Allah has given me of camels and sheep.” He said, “Then show the generous blessings that He has given you.”[Sahih: Related by Ahmad #15323, at-Tirmidhi #1929 and an-Nisa’i #5128]

Allah, may He be glorified, loves the effects of His blessings to His slave to be made manifest, for this is part of the beauty that He loves, and that is part of the gratitude for His blessings which forms an inner beauty (beauty of character). Allah loves to see the external beauty of His slaves which reflects His blessings on them, and the inner beauty of their gratitude to Him for those blessings. Because He loves beauty, He sends down on His slaves clothes and adornments with which they may make their outward appearance beautiful and He gives them taqwa which makes their inner characters beautiful. Allah says:

“O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc.) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better.”

Al-Qur’an 7:26

And He says, speaking of the people of Paradise:

” … and He gave them Nadratan (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise and silken garments, because they were patient.”

Al-Qur’an 76:11-12

Their faces will be made beautiful with the nadrah (light of beauty), their innermost being with joy and their bodies with silken garments. Just as Allah loves beauty in words, deeds, garments and outward appearance, so He hates ugliness in words, deeds, garments and outward appearance. He hates ugliness and its people, and loves beauty and its people. But two groups are misguided with regard to this issue: a group who say that everything that He has created is beautiful, so He loves all that He has created and we should love all that He has created and not hate anything. They say: whoever realizes that all that exists comes from Him will see that it is beautiful … these people have no sense of jealousy for the sake of Allah or hatred and enmity for the sake of Allah, or denouncing what is evil (munkar), or jihad (struggle) for the sake of Allah, or adhering His limits. They regard the beauty of images, male or female, as being part of the beauty that Allah loves, and seek to worship Allah through immoral acts. Some of them may even go so far as to claim that the One Whom they worship is manifested or incarnated in those images.

The second group, on the other hand, say that Allah condemns the beauty of images, forms and outward appearances. Allah says about the munafiqun (hypocrites):

“And when you look at them, their bodies please you … “

Al-Qur’an 63:4

“And how many a generation have We destroyed before them. Who were better in wealth, goods and outward appearance?”

Al-Qur’an 19:54

In Sahih Muslim it is reported that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Allah does not look at your outward appearance and your wealth, rather He looks at your hearts and deeds.”[Related by Muslim #1356]

According to another hadith“Shabbiness is part of faith.” [Sahih: Related by Ibn Majah #4108, Abu Dawud #3630] Allah condemns those who are extravagant, which applies to extravagance in clothing as well as in food and drink.

In order to settle this dispute, we may say that beauty in clothing and outward appearance is of three types, one of which is commendable, one is blameworthy and one of which is neither. The kind of beauty which is to be commended is that which is done for the sake of Allah, to help one to obey Allah and fulfill His commands, such as when the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallammade himself look beautiful (i.e. handsome) when meeting the delegations that came to him. This is like wearing armour or battle-dress when fighting, or wearing silk and showing off (in front of the enemy). This is commendable because it is done to make the word of Allah supreme and to support His religion and annoy His enemies. The blameworthy kind of beauty is that which is done for the sake of this world, for reasons of power, false pride and showing off, or to fulfill some (selfish) desires. This also includes cases where beauty is an end in itself for a person and is all he cares about. Many people have no other concern in life. As for the kind of beauty which is neither commendable nor blameworthy, it is that which has nothing to do with either of the two purposes mentioned above (i.e., it is neither for the sake of Allah nor for the sake of worldly purposes).

The hadith under discussion refers to two important principles, knowledge and behaviour. Allah is to be acknowledged for beauty that bears no resemblance to anything else, and He is to be worshipped by means of the beauty which He loves in words, deeds and attitudes. He loves His slaves to beautify their tongues with the truth, to beautify their hearts with sincere devotion (ikhlas), love, repentance and trust in Him, to beautify their faculties with obedience, and to beautify their bodies by showing His blessings upon them in their clothing and by keeping them pure and free of any filth, dirt or impurity, by removing the hairs which should be removed, by circumcision, and by clipping the nails. Thus they recognize Allah through these qualities of beauty and seek to draw close to Him through beautiful words, deeds and attitudes. They acknowledge Him for the beauty which is His attribute and they worship Him through the beauty which He has prescribed and His religion. The hadith combines these two principles of knowledge and behaviour.

 From Al-Fawa’id (1/185)

 


Muhamad Aarif is the founder & CEO of Personalgrowth.blog and Warby.Parker.Watch. He is an international watch reseller, and author dedicated to boosting personal growth.


 

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Awakening

The first of the ranks of the journey of servititude (‘ubudiyah) is awakening, which is alarming and stirring up of the heart from the sleep of heedlessness. By Allah, how priceless is that revitalising alarm! How valuable and indispensable for the journey! Whoever experiences it, by Allah, he has indeed experienced the breeze of success. Without experiencing it, every one is lost in heedlessness. His hearing is asleep while his eyes appear awake. It is this blessed alarm that wakes one up and makes him a seeker of Allah. The seeker now rolls up his sleeves and musters up his courage to set out on the journey to Allah, station by station.

Perhaps it is this rising up from sleep that is mentioned in the following Qur’anic verse:

“Say: I exhort you only to one thing, that you rise up for Allah’s sake in twos and singly, then ponder; there is no madness in your fellow citizen (Muhammad); he is only a warner to you before a severe chastisement.” [Al-Qur’an 34:46]

The first realisation that illuminates the seeker upon this awakening is the immensity of gifts of Allah upon him. The believer’s heart glances at the gifts and bounties of Allah and is overwhelmed by his own sense of inability to even count them, let alone thank Allah for them all. The second realisation is the realisation of the inadequacy of his gratitude and worship to Allah. These realisations are in fact both the cause and the effect of the first station of awakening. As the believer [alternatively, the seeker, for there is no difference between the two, every believer is indeed a seeker of Allah – translator] advances on his journey and as his heart is sharpened by these two realisations, it becomes incumbent upon him to notice more and more the innumerable inner and outer, open and hidden gifts of Allah and recognise his own shortcoming in thanking the Giver adequately. These two realisations make the seeker actualise the supplication of the Prophet, may the prayers and blessings of Allah be upon him, in which he said: “(O Allah), I admit Your bounties upon me, and I admit my sin, so forgive me, for no one can forgive but You!” [Al-Bukhari] At this point, one realises why this supplication is indeed the master of all supplications for forgiveness (as the Prophet has told us). The believer also realises at this point that if Allah were to punish all the dwellers of Heavens and the Earth, He would not be in the wrong. If, on the other hand, He were to exonerate and reward them all, his reward and mercy would far exceed their deeds. The believer, therefore, realises that he must be ever mindful of Allah’s bounties and his own shortcomings.

None Enters It Except the Pure

The seeker inevitable realizes his sins and failings, and feels that he is in serious danger on account of them. He remembers Almighty Allah’s censure for those who forget the verses of Allah after they have been reminded of them:

“And who is more wrongful than one who is reminded of the verses of Allah, yet he evades them, and forgets what is awaiting him.” [Al-Qur’an 18:57]

Once the seeker is fully cognizant of his offences, he rolls up his sleeves to compensate for what has been lost. He breaks off the shackles of sins with the strength of istighfar (seeking forgiveness) and penance. He yearns for purification, just like the purification of gold and silver from impurities when they are burnt, so that he may enter the Paradise prepared by his Lord for him, for nothing impure can ever enter the Paradise:

” … those whose lives the angels take in a state of purity, saying (to them), “Peace be on you, enter the Garden, because of (the good) which you did (in the world).” [Al-Qur’an 16:32]

This purification is carried out by four means:

  1. Repentance by turning away from sins (tawbah);
  2. Actively seeking forgiveness (istighfar);
  3. Good deeds that erase the bad ones; and
  4. and calamities that efface the sins.

If one is purified by these four means, he becomes of those who is greeted and congratulated by the angles upon death, and assured by them of his abode in the Paradise, and that he shall see grief and fear no more. Without any of these four, one’s repentance is not complete and is not likely to be enough to counter balance his sins.

After one’s death, when he is in the state of barzakh (the state between death and the Final Day), his sins may be effaced by the following:

  1. Funeral salah for him performed by the faithful;
  2. The trials of the grave (may Allah protect us from this);
  3. What his brothers from the Muslims present to him after his death, of virtuous deeds, like charity, Hajj, fasting, recitation of the Qur’anand salah on his behalf. The jurists agree that the charity and supplications of the living will reach him and benefit him after his death. The majority include Hajj in this list, while the Hanabilahinclude all good deeds in this list; the Hanbali way being the most liberal of all in this matter.

Those who are still not purified by these means, may be purified by the dreadfulness of the Day of Resurrection or by intercession of those whom Allah will allow to intercede that Day, and finally and most importantly, by the pardoning of his Most Forgiving Lord.

If one’s sins are still remaining, the Fire or the purgatory then purifies him, the extent of this punishment being proportional to one’s sins. When one is cleansed of sins and corruption, and all that is left is pure and good, he is now entered into the Paradise, into which one but the pure may enter.

Three Parts of the Realisation

The first of the two realisations, the recognition and appreciation of Allah’s endless bounties, is assisted by three things: the light of intellect, Allah’s favors, and consideration of the suffering of less fortunate people.

The light of intellect is the light that caused one’s soul to wake up in the first place. One is able to appreciate the bounties of Allah only as much as the strength of this light allows him. Some may not realise Allah’s bounties except in ordinary things like food, clothing, safety and their standing in the society. Such people may not have even a piece of this light from Allah, for the real bounty to consider and appreciate is the bounty of Islam, of Îman, of Allah’s message, of the opportunity to remember Him and the honour to obey Him. This faith is the supreme bounty and gift of Allah, and one cannot see it expect with the illuminated inner eye.

Sensing the rays of Allah’s favors through the clouds of mundane life and darkness of the desiring self is the second part of appreciation. One observes the unfortunate people who are heedless of Allah, or lost in innovations (ibtida’) and forgotten the essence of the Din of Allah. Such disbelievers and innovators are indeed greater in misery and suffering than those who are dying of starvation and disease. Once the seeker realises the misery of the misguided, he realises the immensity of Allah’s mercy upon him to have guided him, for things are known through their opposites.

The Second Realisation: Our Shortcomings

The second of the two realisations associated with the awakening of a believer is the realisation of one’s sins, which again is assisted by three things. Realising the greatness of the Truth, knowing oneself, and certainty in Allah’s admonitions.

Realising His greatness from the core of one’s heart is the key to understanding the enormity of defying Allah, the Most High. If one contemplates in the greatness of Allah and his own infirmity and weakness before Allah, and his need for Allah at every moment of his life, the enormity and wrongness of his sins becomes glaringly obvious. Knowing the nothingness of one’s own self before Allah, therefore, is an essential step in abandoning sins.

The axis of all success is belief in Allah’s promises and admonitions; and if this belief dwindles or weakens in the heart, so does any hope for success. Allah has clearly told us that His verses and signs are of benefit only to those who believe in His promises and warning and fear the punishment of the afterlife:

“Indeed, in these there is a sign only for those who feared the Punishment of the Hereafter.” [Al-Qur’an 11:103]

“You are a warner exclusively for those who fear it (the Last Day).”[Al-Qur’an 79:45]

Those deserving of salvation in this world and in the Hereafter are none but those who believe in and fear the admonition of Allah:

“And We will establish you (the believers) on the Earth after them (the disbelievers), that is the reward for those who feared meeting Me, and feared my admonition.” [Al-Qur’an 14:14]

Remorse of the Lost Moments

One of the highest grades of this awakening is the realisation of the lost days of one’s life, which leads to the commitment to compensate for the lost time and fill the remaining days with goodness and virtue. Such an awakened soul then is miserly about wasting even an hour, indeed even a breath, in anything that is not helpful in its journey to Allah. Every wasted moment is a regret and loss on that Day and a hindrance on the journey to Allah.

Three things enhance the remorse for the lost days and the concern to compensate for them in the remaining days of one’s life; knowledge, responsiveness to admonition, and company of the righteous. The more one knows the worth of deeds and enormity of their consequences, the more he realises the worth of his loss. Similarly, one’s responsiveness to the admonisher of his heart (according to a hadith of the Prophet, every believer has an admonisher in his heart who warns him against possible sins) determines how much he can improve. The company of people who have great concern for the condition of their hearts and determination to reach the highest levels is another great help in the path of the seeker.

Thus ends the description of the first station (maqam) of the madarij(ranks) of the seekers of Allah.

(s) Madrajis as-Salikin (printed in Al-Jumu’ah Magazine)

 

 


Muhamad Aarif is the founder & CEO of Personalgrowth.blog and Warby.Parker.Watch. He is an international watch reseller, and author dedicated to boosting personal growth.


 

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Al-‘Ubudiyyah by IBN QAYYIM AL-JAWZIYYAH

‘Ubudiyyah is a comprehensive term that asserts the meaning of the ayah:

“You Alone do we worship and You Alone do we seek for Help.” [Al-Qur’an 1:5]

It comprises the slavery of the heart, tongue and limbs to Allah ta’ala. The slavery of the heart includes both the qawl (saying of the heart) and ‘amal (actions of the heart). The qawl of the heart is the belief (i’tiqad) in what Allah has informed about His Self, His Names and Attributes, His Action, His Angels, and that which He revealed in His Buk and sent upon the tongue of His Messenger Muhammad sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

The ‘amal of the heart include love for Allah, reliance upon Him, turning to Him in repentance, fearing Him, having hope in Him, devoting the Deen sincerely to Him, having patience in what He orders and forbids, having patience with His decrees and being pleased with them, having allegiance for His pleasure, having humility for Him and humbling oneself in front of Him, and becoming tranquil with Him.

The qawl (saying) of the tongue is to convey what Allah has revealed (in the Qur’an and authentic sunnah) regarding Himself, His Names and Attributes, His Actions, His Commands, His Prohibitions, and all that is related to this din, to call to it, defend it, to expose the false innovations which oppose it, and to establish its remembrance and to convey what it orders. The ‘amal (actions) of the limbs include the salat (prayers), jihad, attending the Jumu’ah prayers and the rest of the Jama’at (congregational prayers), assisting those who are unable, and acting with gudness and kindness to creation, and other such acts.

This comprehensive meaning of the ‘Ubudiyyah pertains to its specific type. The people who fall under this type of ‘Ubudiyyah are the believers who obey, love, and sincerely follow the din of Allah ta’ala.

The second type of ‘Ubudiyyah is the general one in which all creatures in the heavens and in the earth are subdued to Allah’s sovereign Authority and Power; everything is subservient to His Will, and Authority; nothing occurs or ceases to occur except by His leave; His is the Kingdom and He disposes the affairs as He pleases. This type of ‘Ubudiyyah is known as the ‘Ubudiyyahof Qahr (Subduing) and Mulk (Sovereignty, Kingship, Possession, Mastership, etc.).

So, the part of the ayah signifying “You Alone do we worship” asserts the adherence to the four principles of ‘Ubudiyyah:

  1. The sayings of the heart;
  2. The actions of the heart;
  3. The sayings of the tongue; and
  4. The actions of the limbs.

The other part, “You Alone do we seek for Help,” stresses the fact that the believer must ask Allah alone to help him establish the ‘Ubudiyyah and succeed in executing all what it requires..

 From Madarij as-Salikin 1/100-101, 105, slightly adapted by Dr Saleh as-Saleh – from a footnote in The Dispraise of Al-Hawa (Desire) by Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, 1998, Daar al-Bukhari.


Muhamad Aarif is the founder & CEO of Personalgrowth.blog and Warby.Parker.Watch. He is an international watch reseller, and author dedicated to boosting personal growth and contribute to the betterment of the world we live today.


 

 

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The Types of Heart

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

baby-shoes_925x.jpg

By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Just as the heart may be described in terms of being alive or dead, it may also be regarded as belonging to one of three types; these are the healthy heart, the dead heart, and the sick heart.

 

The Healthy Heart

 

On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allah with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah says:


“The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart. (26:88-89)”

In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: “It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allah commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. As a result, it is safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him, and seeks the judgement of no other except that of His Messenger . Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of Allah. If it detests, it detests in the lght of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for Allah. If it witoholds, it withholds for Allah. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other than His Messenger .” A servant with a healthy heart must dedicate it to its journey’s end and not base his actions and speech on those of any other person except Allah’s Messenger . He must not give precedence to any other faith or words or deeds over those of Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Allah says:

“Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allah and His Messenger, but fear Allah, for Allah is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)”

The Dead Heart

This is the opposite of the healthy heart. It does not know its Lord and does not worship Him as He commands, in the way which He likes, and with which He is pleased. It clings instead to its lusts and desires, even if these are likely to incur Allah’s displeasure and wrath. It worships things other than Allah, and its loves and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam. Its lust is its guide. Its ignorance is its leader. Its crude impulses are its impetus. It is immersed in its concern with worldly objectives. It is drunk with its own fancies and its love for hasty, fleeting pleasures. It is called to Allah and the akhira from a distance but it does not respond to advice, and instead it follows any scheming, cunning shayton. Life angers and pleases it, and passion makes it deaf and blind (1) to anything except what is evil.

To associate and keep company with the owner of such a heart is to tempt illness: living with him is like taking poison, and befriending him means utter destruction.

 

The Sick Heart

 

This is a heart with life in it, as well as illness. The former sustains it at one moment, the latter at another, and it follows whichever one of the two manages to dominate it. It has love for Allah, faith in Him, sincerity towards Him, and reliance upon Him, and these are what give it life. It also has a craving for lust and pleasure, and prefers them and strives to experience them. It is full of self-admiration, which can lead to its own destruction. It listens to two callers: one calling it to Allah and His Prophet  and the akhira; and the other calling it to the fleeting pleasures of this world. It responds to whichever one of the two happens to have most influence over it at the time.

The first heart is alive, submitted to Allah, humble, sensitive and aware; the second is brittle and dead; the third wavers between either its safety or its ruin.

 

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When I Die by Ibnu Qayyim al-Jauziah

When i die

When my coffin

Is being taken out

You must never think

I am missing this world

 

Don’t shed any tears

Don’t lament or

Feel sorry

I’m not falling

Into a monster’s abyss

 

 

When you see

My corpse is being carried

Don’t cry for my leaving

I’m not leaving

I’m arriving at eternal love

 

When you leave me

In the grave

Don’t say goodbye

Remember a grave is

Only a curtain

For the paradise behind

 

You’ll only see me

Descending into a grave

Now watch me rise

How can there be an end

When the sun sets or

The moon goes down

 

It looks like the end

It seems like a sunset

But in reality it is a dawn

When the grave locks you up

That is when your soul is freed

 

 

Have you ever seen

A seed fallen to earth

Not rise with a new life

Why should you doubt the rise

Of a seed named human

 

Have you ever seen

A bucket lowered into a well

Coming back empty

Why lament for a soul

When it can come back

Like joseph from the well

 

When for the last time

You close your mouth

Your words and soul

Will belong to the world of

No place no time