Category Archives: Ibn Taymiyah

Hardship Isn’t the Point

“…And it should be known that Allah’s Pleasure and Love are not dependent on you torturing yourself and going through hardship, such that something is better simply on account of how hard it is. It is assumed by many ignorant people that the reward is obtained in accordance with hardship in everything. No! Rather, the reward is in accordance with the benefit of the act and how much it manifests obedience to Allah and His Messenger.

So, the more beneficial an act and the more obedient its doer, the more virtuous it is. Actions aren’t virtuous due to their quantity. Rather, they are virtuous due to the effect they have on the heart.

This is why when the sister of ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir made a vow to perform Hajj walking barefoot, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Indeed, Allah is not in need of your sister torturing herself. Have her continue while riding.” It was narrated that he had her slaughter an animal, and it was also narrated that he had her fast. The same applies to the hadith of Juwayriyah when she was performing tasbih using pebbles before noon, and he came back at night and found her sitting in the same position. So, he said to her: “I said four words three times that would outweigh all that you have said today.”

The point of all this is to know that Allah didn’t command us to do except what is beneficial for us, and He didn’t forbid us except from what is harmful to us. This is why Allah praises righteous acts and encourages righteousness and benefit, and discourages corruption and harm.

Allah forbade us from filthy things due to the harm and corruption they bring about, and He commanded us with righteous acts due to the benefit they bring about. It might be the case that such actions cannot be performed except with some hardship, such as Jihad, enjoining the good, preventing the evil, seeking knowledge, etc. So, all of this is obtained through hardship, and one is rewarded for them due to the benefit that they result in. This is like when the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to ‘A’ishah when she performed ‘Umrah from at-Tan’im in the year of the Farewell Hajj: “Your reward is in accordance with your effort.”

However, if the benefit of the act does not outweigh the hardship it involves, this is a form of ruin and corruption, and Allah does not Love corruption.

An example of this is in worldly benefits. Enduring hardship to make a great gain or repel a great enemy is praiseworthy. As for one who endures great effort and hardship in order to make an insignificant amount of money or to repel a very minor harm, he is just like a person who pays a thousand dirhams in exchange for a hundred, or one who walks for an entire day to get a meal while he could’ve gotten a better meal in the very town he lives in.

So, the legislated and recommended course of action is all about justice, balance, and moderation – which are the best and loftiest of affairs – just as the Firdaws is both the highest part of Paradise and the middle (i.e. best) part of it. So, whoever is like this will have this as his destination, by Allah’s Permission…”

[‘Majmu’ al-Fataawa’ ibn Taymiyah; 25/126-127]

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The soul and it’s connection

‘There is no separation between correcting what is inward and correcting what is outward or physical. The outward acts of worship which a person performs with his physical faculties – if he does them for the sake of Allah – will undoubtedly have an effect on his inward nature.’


Ibn Taymiyah, Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, (6/381)

Why do some people become ugly?

The person who is righteous and honest, his honesty is manifest from the radiance on his face, and his honesty can be known from the glow that is on his face, likewise the (opposite for the) sinful one and the liar. The older a person gets, the more this sign becomes apparent. Thus a person as a child would have a bright face, however if he becomes a sinful person, adamant on committing sins, at the older stages in his life, an ugly face would manifest that which he used to internalise, and the opposite is also true. It has been narrated that Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said, ‘Indeed righteousness illuminates the heart, radiates the face, strengthens the body, increases provision, and produces a love in the hearts of the creation for that person. Whereas sinfulness darkens the heart, greys the face, weakens the body, and produces hatred in the hearts of the creation for that person.’

It is possible that a person may not intentionally lie; he may even be a person who makes great effort in ibaadah and has zuhd (abstains from pleasures of this life that are lawful). However he has false, incorrect ‘aqeedah regarding either Allaah, His deen or His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or His righteous servants. And what is on the inside affects what is on the outside. Thus, this false, incorrect ‘aqeedah that he thought was true and correct reflects on his face, and his face would be dark in accordance with the level of falsehood he possesses. As it has been narrated that ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan (radiyallaahu ‘anhu) said, ‘No one ever hides evil within themselves except that Allaah makes it manifest from his facial outlook and the statements his tongues utters.’ Hence some of the salaf used to say, ‘If a person of innovation were to dye his beard every day, the dye of innovation would remain on his face.’ On the day of judgment this would be very clear as Allaah says,

“And on the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allaah their faces will be black. Is there not in Hell an abode for the arrogant ones?” [Sooratuz-Zumar, 39:60]

He ta’ala also said,

“On the Day when some faces will become white and some faces will become black; as for those whose faces will become dark (to them will be said): “Did you reject Faith after accepting it? Then taste the torment for rejecting Faith.” [Soorah Aali-Imraan, 3:106]

Ibn Abbaas and others have said regarding this verse, The bright faces will be ahlus-sunnah, and dark faces will be the people of bid’ah and division.’

[Shaykhu-l-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah ‘Aj-jawaab as-saheeh’ (Vol.4, pg. 306-307)]

The Cure from the Arrows of Iblis

Q: What should one do who has been stricken by an arrow from the poisonous arrows of Iblis (i.e. has been affected by a member of the opposite gender)?

A: Whoever has a poisonous injury, it is upon him to proceed with that which will remove the poison from his wound, and cleanse it.

This is acheived by a number of steps:

First

such a person should get married or purchase a slave-woman, as the Prophet said: “If one of you looks to the charms of a woman, he should go to his wife, as she will have what is with the other woman.” This will result in a reduction of one’s desire, as well as weakening of one’s passion.

Second

one should remain firm and constant in the five daily prayers, supplication, and humble worship in the early morning hours. One should perform their prayers with concentration and presence of heart, and increase in the supplication: ‘O Controller of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your Religion! O Mover of the hearts, move my heart towards obedience to You and Your Messenger!’ This is because when one is firm upon supplicating to Allah and being humble before Him, He will automatically push his heart away from such matters, as He Said: {“Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and indecent acts. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.”} [Yusuf; 24]

Third

One should remove himself from any place in which the person who has affected him might be, and should not socialize with those whom this person socializes with, such that he will not hear any mention of this person, nor be able to lay his eyes on them. Distance leads to abandonment, and as much as the thought of something is reduced, its effect on the heart will also be weakened.

So, one should implement these steps, and he should improve with the resultant changes that occur to his condition.

And Allah Knows best.

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’ ibn Taymiyah; 32/5]

Seclusion vs. Mixing

Q: Is it better for one to seclude himself from the people, or to mix with them?

A: This issue – even though the people have differed over it, either partially or entirely – the reality of it is that mixing with the people is sometimes obligatory or recommended. The same individual can sometimes be commanded to mix with others, and can at other times be commanded to seclude himself.

Mixing, if it involves cooperation upon good and piety, is obligatory, and if it involves cooperation upon sin and transgression, is forbidden. Mixing with the Muslims for the purpose of congregational acts of worship, such as the five prayers, the Friday prayer, the ‘Eid prayer, the eclipse prayer, the prayer for rain (istisqa’), etc., is from what Allah and His Messenger commanded…

…likewise, a gathering in which the worshipper can increase his faith – either because of it benefiting him, or his being of benefit to it – is of the same category.

However, a person must have time by himself to engage in supplication, remembrance, prayer, reflection, taking himself to account, and rectifying his heart. These are issues that nobody else can participate with him in, and these are affairs that need to be seen to on an individual basis, whether that be at home or otherwise, as Tawus said: “How excellent of a refuge is the home! In it, one can restrain his gaze and his tongue.”

So, choosing to mix with people unrestrictedly is wrong, and choosing to seclude yourself from people unrestrictedly is wrong.

[‘Majmu’ al-Fataawa ibnTaymiyah’; 10/218]

The Rule of Interaction and Imitation

“…Allah fashioned the human, as well as every type of creature, to naturally interact with similar creatures. The closer these two creatures are, the more they will interact and become similar to each other in their manners and characteristics, to the point that one would be unable to distinguish between them except in terms of their physical appearance.

Since human beings are closest to each other, their interaction with and imitation of each other is the strongest. Although not as strong, the closeness of humans to animals is intermediate, and there must be interaction and imitation between them to a certain degree as well. Although extremely weak, there is also a degree of closeness between humans and plants, and there must also be interaction and imitation between them to a certain degree.

Due to this principle, human beings are affected by each other in obtaining certain manners and characteristics as the result of being close to and living with each other. So, if a human lives amongst a certain type of animal, he will eventually obtain some of that animal’s characteristics. This is why boastfulness is a characteristic of camel-herders, tranquillity is a characteristic of sheep-herders, and those who raise mules eventually develop some repugnant characteristics of mules, and this is also the case with those who raise dogs. The same applies for animals that spend much of their time around humans: you will find that they obtain some of the characteristics of humans due their constantly being around them.

So, external closeness between creatures gradually and silently leads to internal closeness between them. I have seen how the Jews and Christians who live amongst the Muslims are not as severe in their kufr as those who don’t live amongst them. Likewise, the Muslims who live amongst the Jews and Christians are generally weaker in their faith than the Muslims who don’t…”

[‘Iqitida’ as-Sirat al-Mustaqim ibn Taymiyah’; 1/220]

Attaining prosperity in Hardships…

“…And it should be known that Allah’s Pleasure and Love are not dependent on you torturing yourself and going through hardship, such that something is better simply on account of how hard it is. It is assumed by many ignorant people that the reward is obtained in accordance with hardship in everything. No! Rather, the reward is in accordance with the benefit of the act and how much it manifests obedience to Allah and His Messenger.

So, the more beneficial an act and the more obedient its doer, the more virtuous it is. Actions aren’t virtuous due to their quantity. Rather, they are virtuous due to the effect they have on the heart.

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