‘…It will come and go…’

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

“People will live amongst people, for as long as they live,
For without doubt, fortune and goodness will come and go.
The best of people amongst others is a man who,
Upon his hands the needs of others are settled.
Never withhold your assistance from anyone,
As long as you are capable, for fortune tends to come and go.
And give thanks for the bounties of Allah,
If you are the one to settle the needs of others.
Indeed, people have died, and their virtues died too
And some have lived, but they are truly dead among the people.”

- Imam al-Shafi’i

‘He who walks upon thorns is not like he who rides on fine horses’

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

They wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) asking him, “Who is better: a man who has no desires and desires have not even occurred to him, or a man who fights with his soul over desires until he leaves them for the sake of Allah?” So ‘Umar wrote back saying, “Indeed, the one whose soul desires sin and he then leaves it for the sake of Allah is from ‘…those whom Allah has tested their hearts for piety. They shall have forgiveness and a great reward.’ [al-Hujurat: 3]

Thus Allah does not test His believing servant with the love of desires, and sin, and yearning for it, except that He wishes to lead him to a love that is greater and better for him than that, and more beneficial and more lasting. So let a person strive against himself to abandon desires for His Sake, so that this abandonment can lead him to the Beloved, Most High. Every time his soul contends with him in order to lead him towards desires and sins, and his yearning and wish for it increases, he will then avert that strong desire and love towards a loftier type (of love) that remains. So his seeking of this (greater) love becomes more intense and his desire for it becomes more complete.

This is in contrast to the calmer soul that is empty and does not face this struggle, because even though it also has a lofty goal, there is a great difference between the two! Don’t you see that the one who walks to his beloved upon hot coals and thorns is more virtuous than he who goes to his beloved whilst riding on fine horses? Thus the one who prefers his Beloved after fighting with his soul is not like the one who prefers his Beloved without any striving or fighting to get away from other than Him. Allah, the Most High, tests His servant with desires, either to become a veil against Himself, or a veil for him to help him attain His Pleasure, Bounties, and nearness to Him.”

- Al-Fawa’id (pg. 258-259), also ‘A’la al-Na’im’, by Sh. Sayyid al-‘Affani, pg. 150

“…And what remains is just false hope.”

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Some quotes of wisdom from Abu Hazim (Salamah ibn Dinar, rh):

Abu Ma’shar: “I saw Abu Hazim narrating in the mosque, and as he did so, he wept and wiped his tears all over his face. So I said to him, “O Abu Hazim, why did you do that (wipe tears across the face)?” He said, “News has reached me that the Hellfire does not afflict a place which has been touched by a tear that has been shed due to the fear of Allah.”

It was said to Abu Hazim once, “What’s your wealth?” And he replied, “My trust in Allah `azza wa jall and my independence of what’s in the hands of others.”

Abu Hazim: “Whatever has passed of this world is but a dream, and what remains is just false hope.”

‘Awn ibn Jabir said, “I heard my father say, “Abu Hazim would walk past some fruit and say, ‘Your appointed time is in Paradise.’

Sa’id ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman reports that Abu Hazim said, “A slave will do a good deed and find himself so delighted by it whilst he’s doing it, but (truth is) Allah hasn’t created anything more worse for him than that deed, and a slave will do a bad deed which he dislikes so much whilst he’s doing it, but (truth is) Allah hasn’t created anything more beneficial for him than that deed. This is because when the slave does that good deed, he might be proud and haughty and sees himself as being virtuous over others, and perhaps due to this, Allah `azza wa jall renders it invalid along with many other good deeds (that he performed). And perhaps a slave does a bad deed which he regrets and so Allah `azza wa jall puts fear and restlessness inside him and he meets Allah with the fear of that deed still in his chest.”

Hafs ibn Maysarah reports that Abu Hazim said, “I am amazed at people who are busy working for a Home which they are leaving one stage at a time (i.e. the Dunya), and yet they claim that they are working towards a Home which they are going towards, one stage at a time!”

Abu Hazim: “If you see that Allah continues to bless you whilst you are sinning against Him, then beware and be afraid.”

Abu Hazim: “The believer should be on guard and aware of his tongue much more than his awareness of where to place his foot.”

Abu Hazim: “At the point of correcting one’s heart, major sins begin to be forgiven. And if a slave makes a resolve to abandon sins, then ways are opened up for him.”

Abu Hazim: “Guarantee two things for me, and I guarantee Paradise for you: Act upon that which you hate if Allah the Most High loves it and abandon that which you love if Allah `azza wa jall hates it.”

Abu Hazim: “Whatever you want with you in the Hereafter, proceed towards it today. And whatever you don’t want with you in the Hereafter, let go of it today.”

- ‘al-Atqiya’ al-Akhfiya”, by Shaykh Sa’id ‘Abd-al-’Adhim

Rabi’ah al-`Adawiyah: Her legacy lives on.

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah,

When I lived in Egypt, having left just earlier this year, every time I walked past the Rabi’ah al-’Adawiyah mosque, I remembered the amazing personality that this masjid was named after. Rabi’ah was a 2nd century devout worshipper (‘abidah) from Basra, who was loved, respected, and revered by all those around her; from scholars to lay men, women, and children, from rulers to village-dwellers.

Today, that mosque continues her legacy as it shelters and holds countless oppressed worshippers in Nasr City, Cairo; burying its martyrs, feeding its poor, and sheltering its oppressed.

I thought to translate a few paragraphs from her biography in the books of Siyar for those not well-acquainted with her words of wisdom:

Rabi’ah al-`Adawiyah

Ibn ‘Asim and Riyah al-Qaysi reported: “We witnessed a man going to Rabi’ah al-‘Adawiyah and giving her forty Dinar. He said to her, “Use this to serve your needs.” She wept and raised her head to the sky saying, “He Knows that I am too shy of asking Him for the Dunya (world) although He owns it, so how can I seek to take it from someone who doesn’t even own it?”

§-§

Al-‘Abbad ibn al-Walid said, “Rabi’ah used to say, “Astaghfirullah (‘I seek the forgiveness of Allah) for the lack of truth in my saying ‘Astaghfirullah’.””

§-§

Sajaf ibn Mandhur: “I went to Rabi’ah while she was in prostration, and when she felt I was there, she lifted her head. There was a mark of prostration on her forehead looking like that of a murky pond due to her tears. I greeted her and she came to me saying, “O my son, do you have a need?” I said, “I only came to give you salaam (greeting).” She wept and said, “O Allah, conceal me.” She then supplicated with various supplications and got up to pray, and I left.”

§-§

Riyah al-Qaysi, Salih ibn ‘Abd al-Jalil, and Kilab went to Rabi’ah one day and began to mention the Dunya, criticising it and dispraising it. Rabi’ah said to them, “I see this world and its four corners present in your hearts.” They said, “And how do you know?!” She said, “You saw the closest thing to your hearts and began to talk about it!”

§-§

‘Abis ibn Marhum al-‘Attar said, “`Abdah bint Abi Shawwal was from the best of the women worshippers of Allah and she used to serve Rabi’ah. She said to me, “Rabi’ah would pray the whole night and just before Fajr (dawn) came, she would lie down for a light nap until Fajr came in. I would hear her jump from her sleep saying, “O soul, how long will you sleep for? When will you get up? I fear you will sleep such that nothing gets you up other than the screams of the Day of Rising!”

§-§

It was once said to Rabi’ah, “Have you ever done a deed that you saw to be accepted?” She said, “If there ever was, then I fear it is rejected.”

§-§

Sufyan al-Thawri was in front of Rabi’ah when he said, “Alas for the sadness!” She replied, “Don’t lie. Rather say: ‘Alas for the lack of sadness!’ For if you were truly sad, then life would not be so sweet for you.”

§-§

A man once said to her, “Make du’a for me.” She leaned against a wall said, “My Allah have mercy on you. Who am I? Rather obey your Lord and ask Him, for He indeed answers the call of the distressed.”

- Taken from ‘al-Atqiya’ al-Akhfiya’, by Sh. Sa’id ‘Abd al-’Adhim

Abu Hazim: Fearlessness in the face of Authority

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (the Ruler) once sent for Abu Hazim, and when he came to him, he said, “O Abu Hazim, why is it that we dislike death?”

He said, “Because you have ruined your Hereafter and built up your present world. So you hate to leave this constructed world of yours and go to the ruins.”

He said, “That’s true. So how will our arrival be when we go back to Allah?”

He said, “As for the righteous good-doer, then he will be like the absent one returning to his family, and as for the wicked, then he will be like the runaway slave being brought back to his master.”

Sulayman then wept and said, “Alas, what do we have with Allah then, O Abu Hazim?”

He said, “Present yourself to the Book of Allah `azza wa jall, and you will know what you have with Him.”

He said, “O Abu Hazim! How can I get that?”

He said, “At the point of His Words: “And indeed, the wicked will be in Hellfire.” [al-Infitar: 14]

He said, “So where is the Mercy of Allah?”

He said, “…Near to the good-doers.” [al-A’raf: 56]

Sulayman said, “What do you say about our affairs (as rulers)?”

He said, “Pardon me from answering this.”

He said, “Even words of advice that you can give?”

Abu Hazim said, “There are some people who took hold of this matter (authority/government) forcefully without consulting the Muslims or gathering their opinions. So they shed therein much blood because of their pursuit of the Dunya (world), and then they left this world. God knows what they will say and what will be said to them.”

Some of those present said, “What evil you have uttered, O shaykh!”

Abu Hazim said, “You are a liar. Indeed Allah has taken a covenant from the scholars that they should make things clear to the people and not conceal knowledge.”

Sulayman said, “Accompany us, O Abu Hazim, so that we can gain from you and you can gain from us.”

He said, “I seek refuge in Allah from that.”

He said, “And why?”

Abu Hazim said, “I fear that I will incline to you a little and thus be made to taste double punishment in life and double punishment after death.” (referring to verses from Surah al-Isra’)

He said, “Instruct me.”

He said, “Beware that Allah sees you where He has prohibited you from, and that He finds you missing from where He has ordered you to be.”

He said, “O Abu Hazim, pray for us for goodness.”

He said, “O Allah, if Sulayman is from Your close slaves, then ease the path of goodness for him. And if he is an enemy to You, then take him by the forelock and guide him to good.”

Sulayman said to one of the workers, “Bring a hundred dirhams.” And he gave it to Abu Hazim saying, “Take it.”

Abu Hazim said, “I have no need for it. I fear that you are bestowing this upon me because of what you just heard from me.”

- Translated from Shaykh Sa’id ‘Abd al-’Adhim’s book, ‘al-Atqiya’ al-Akhfiya’, pg.169-170

More quotes from Abu Hazim to be continued insha’Allah…