HomePreparing For Day Judgement › Counsel In Threes

Chapter 2. Counsel In Threes

[1] It has been reported that the Prophet (saw) said, “The one who wakes up in the morning and complains about the scarcity of livelihood, it is as though he is complaining against his Lord. The one who wakes up and is sad over the affairs of the dunya, it is as though he has woken up angry with Allah. And the one who humbles himself in front of a rich man because of his wealth will have lost two-thirds of his Religion.”

[2] Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (ra) said, “There are three things which cannot be attained through another three: wealth with hope, youth with dyeing [the hair], and health with medication.”

[3] Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) said, “Good interaction with people is half of intelligence, good questioning is half of knowledge, and good planning is half of subsistence.”

[4] Uthman ibn Affan (ra) said, “The one who leaves the dunya Allah the Exalted will love him; and the one who leaves sins, the Angels will love him; and the one who has no craving for the possessions of the Muslims, the Muslims will love him.”

[5] Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “Surely from the blessings of this world, sufficient is Islam as a blessing; surely from the multitude of preoccupations, sufficient is obedience as a preoccupation; and surely from the causes for reflection, sufficient is death as a cause.”

[6] Abdullah ibn Masud (ra) said, “How many are deluded by the blessings showered on them; how many are tested by the praise heaped on them; and how many are duped into a sense of security by Allah hiding their sins.”

[7] Prophet Dawud (as) said, “It was revealed to me in the Psalms that a sensible person should only occupy himself with three things - making provisions for the Day of Judgement, seeking sustenance for his life, and seeking pleasure within what is permissible.”

[8] Abu Hurayrah (ra) related that the Prophet (saw) said, “There are three saviours and three damnations, three [high] ranks and three absolutions. As for the saviours, they are: fearing Allah the Exalted in secret and in public, spending moderately in poverty and in richness, and justice in contentment and in anger. As for the damnations, they are: sever miserliness, following one’s desires, and self-infatuation. As for the [high] ranks, they are: spreading the greeting of salam, providing food (for guests, as well as the poor and needy), and praying at night whilst people are asleep. As for the absolutions, they are: making ablution in cold nights, walking to the congregational prayers, and awaiting the next prescribed prayer having just finished a prescribed prayer [in the mosque].”

[9] Jibreel said, “O Muhammad! Live as long as you will, for you will surely die; love whomsoever you wish, for you will leave them; and do whatever you wish, for you will be recompensed accordingly.”

[10] The Prophet (saw) said, “There are three individuals whom Allah will shade under the shade of His Throne on a day when there will be no shade except His shade - the one who makes ablution in difficult conditions, the one who walks to the mosque in the darkness, and the one who feeds the hungry.”

[11] It was said to Prophet Ibrahim (as), “Why did Allah take you as a friend?” He said, “For three things – I always chose Allah’s commands over the commands of others; I never worried about what Allah had already allotted for me (of livelihood); and I never lunched and supped except with a guest.”

[12] A wise man said, “Three things drive away anguish - remembrance of Allah, meeting His awliya’ (those close to Him), and talking to ascetics.”

[13] Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “He who has no manners has no knowledge; he who has no patience has no Religion (din); and he who has no God-consciousness has no closeness to Allah.”

[14] It has been narrated that a man from Bani Isra`il went to seek knowledge and their prophet came to hear of this. He called for the man and said to him, “O young man! I will tell you of three things in which lies the knowledge of all those who have come and all those to come - fear Allah in secret and public, hold your tongue regarding people and do not speak of them except in goodness, and ensure that the bread that you eat is halal.” Upon hearing this, the young man refrained from leaving [to seek knowledge].

[15] It has been narrated that a man from Bani Israil collected eighty chests full of scriptures and books of knowledge but did not benefit from his knowledge. Allah the Exalted revealed to their prophet to say to this collector, “Even if you had collected a lot of knowledge it will not benefit you except if you do three things - do not love the dunya for it is not a home for the believers, do not befriend Satan for he is not a companion for the believers; and do not hurt anyone for that is not the way of the believers.”

[16] It is reported that Abu Sulayman al-Darani said in his supplication, “O my Lord, if you ask me about my many sins, I will surely as You for Your forgiveness; and if you ask me about my miserliness, I will surely ask You for Your generosity; and if you make me enter Hell, I will inform the people of Hell that I love You.”

[17] It is said, “The happiest of all people is he who has a sincere heart, a patient body, and contentment with what he possesses.”

[18] Ibrahim al-Nakhai said, “Those who were destroyed before you were destroyed due to three traits – excess in speech, excess in food, and excess in sleep.”

[19] Yahya ibn Muadh al-Razi said, “Glad tidings to the one who leaves the dunya before it leaves him, prepares for his grave before he enters it, and pleases his Lord before he meets Him.”

[20] Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) said, “He who does not have the sunnah of Allah, the sunnah of His Messenger, and the sunnah of His chosen ones, has nothing. It was asked, “What is the sunnah of Allah?” He replied, “Safeguarding secrets.” It was asked, “What is the sunnah of the Messenger?” He replied, “Being gentle with people.” It was asked, “What is the sunnah of His chosen ones?” He replied, “Bearing people’s harm.”

[21] Ali (ra) also said, “People before us used to advice each other of three things - the one who works for his Hereafter, Allah will take care of the matters of his din and dunya for him; and the one who beautifies his inner self, Allah will beautify his appearance; and the one who rectifies that which is between him and Allah, Allah will rectify that which is between him and people.”

[22] Ali (ra) also said, ‘Be in Allah’s estimation the best of people, and in the estimation of your nafs the worst of people, and in people’s estimation just a man from amongst the people.’

[23] It was said that Allah revealed to Prophet Uzayr (as), “O Uzayr! If you committed a small sin, do not look at its smallness; rather look at Whom you have sinned against. If you are granted a small blessing, do not look at its smallness; rather look at the One who has granted it to you. And if a calamity befalls you, then do not complain against Me to My creation, just as I do not complain against you to My angels when your bad deeds are raised to Me.”

[24] Hatim al-Asamm said, “There is not a morning that passes except that Satan says to me, ‘What do you eat? What do you wear? Where do you live? I say to him, ‘I eat death, I wear the shroud, and I live in the grave.”

[25] The Prophet (saw) said, “The one who comes out of the humiliation of disobedience into the honour of obedience, Allah the Exalted will make him rich without wealth, strengthen him without soldiers, and honour him without a clan.”

[26] It has been reported that he (saw) went out to his companions and said, “How do you find yourselves this morning?” They replied, “As believers in Allah.” He said, “What is the sign of your iman (belief)?” The replied, “We are patient in times of hardship, grateful in times of ease, and content with whatever has been predestined.” The Prophet (saw) said, “By the Lord of the Kabah, you are truly believers!”

[27] Allah revealed to one of the Prophets, “Whoever meets Me [on the Day of Judgement] while he loves Me, I will make him enter My Paradise. Whoever meets Me while he fears Me, I will spare him My Hell. And whoever meets Me and is ashamed because of his sins, I will make the angels who record deeds forget his sins.”

[28] Abdullah ibn Masud (ra) said, “Fulfil that which Allah has made obligatory upon you and you will be the best of worshippers; refrain from the prohibition of Allah and you will be the best of ascetics; and be pleased with what Allah has allotted for you and you will be the richest of people.”

[29] Salih al-Marqadiy once passed by some houses and said, “Where are your first inhabitants? And where are your old dwellers?” So he heard a voice saying, “Their legacy has come to an end, underneath the soil their bodies have decomposed, and their actions remain as necklaces around their necks.”

[30] Ali (ra) said, “Give to whomsoever you wish and you will become his master; ask from whomever you wish and you will become his prisoner; and do not seek help from whomsoever you wish and you will be his equal.”

[31] Yahya ibn Muadh said, “Leaving all of the dunya is taking all of the dunya; the one who leaves all of it has taken all of it and the one who takes all of it has left all of it; so, taking it is leaving it; and leaving it is taking it.”

[32] It was said to Ibrahim ibn al-Adham, “How did you attain zuhd (asceticism)?” “With three things,” He said, “I saw that the grave is lonesome and that I would have no companion therein; I saw that the path is long while I had no provisions; and I saw that the Omnipotent would be the Judge while I had no valid argument (in my defence).”

[33] Shibli said, “If you find delight in Allah’s company then renounce the company of your nafs.” And he said, “Had you tasted the sweetness of closeness to Allah you would have known the bitterness of estrangement (from Him).”

[34] Sufyan al-Thawri was asked about the sweetness of closeness to Allah the Exalted. He replied, “It is that you do not find delight in a beautiful face, nice voice, or eloquent tongue.”

[35] Ibn Abbas (ra) said, ‘Zuhd (asceticism) is composed of three letters, z-h-d. ‘Z’ is zadun lil ma`ad [provision for the Hereafter]. ‘H’ is hudan lildin [guidance for the Religion]. And ‘D’ is dawam `ala al-ta`a [constancy in obedience].”

[36] Ibn Abbas (ra) also said, “Zuhd (asceticism) is composed of three letters, z-h-d. ‘Z’ is for leaving zina [adornments], ‘H’ is for leaving hawa [desires] and ‘D’ is leaving the dunya [this world].”

[37] A man once came to Hamid al-Laffaf and said to him, “Advice me.” He said, “Have for your Religion (deen) a cover, just like a copy of the Qur’an (mushaf) has a cover.” The man asked, “And what is the cover of the deen?” He replied, “Leaving speech except that which is necessary, leaving the dunya except that which is necessary, and refraining from mixing with people except when it is necessary. Also know that the essence of asceticism is refraining from the prohibitions be they minor or major, fulfilling all the obligations be they easy or difficult, and leaving the things of this world for its people be they great or small.”

[38] Luqman al-Hakim, peace be upon him, said to his son, “O my son! Man is composed of three thirds - a third for Allah, a third for himself and a third for the worms. The third that is for Allah is his soul; the third that is for himself is his actions, and the third that is for the worms is his body.”

[39] Ali (ra) said, “Three things enhance memorisation and eradicate phlegm - siwak, fasting, and reading the Qur’an.”

[40] Kab al-Ahbar (ra) said, “Fortresses for the believers are three - the mosque is a fortress, the remembrance of Allah is a fortress, and the reading of the Qur’an is a fortress.”

[41] A wise man said, “Three things are from the treasures of Allah the Exalted that He does not give except those He loves - poverty, illness and patience.”

[42] Ibn Abbas (ra) was once asked, “Which is the best of days? Which is the best of months? Which is the best of actions?” He replied, “The best of days is Friday, the best of months is Ramadan, and the best of actions is performing the five daily prayers in their prescribed times.” After three days Ali (ra) came to hear of the questions and the answers of Ibn Abbas. Ali said, “If the scholars, the ascetics, and the jurists of the East and the West were asked, they would not have replied as well as Ibn Abbas , except that I say, “The best of actions is that which Allah accepts from you, the best of months is the month in which you make sincere repentance to Allah, and the best of days is the day in which you leave the world to [meet] Allah the Exalted while you are a believer.”

[43] A poet said: Do you not see how the two ever-renewables [night and day] Wear us out, while we jest in secret and in public? Trust not this world and its pleasures For its homes are not real homes And work for your benefit before your death And be not deceived by the abundance of friends and brothers

[44] It is said that, “If Allah wants good for His servant He gives him the understanding of the deen, reduces his attachment to the dunya, and grants him awareness of his faults.”

[45] The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “I was made to love three things from your world - perfume, women, and prayer.” The companions were sitting with him and Abu Bakr (ra) said, “You have spoken the truth, O Messenger of Allah! I was made to love three things from this world – looking at the face of the Messenger of Allah (saw), and giving my daughter in marriage to the Messenger of Allah (saw).” ‘Umar (ra) said, “You have spoken truthfully, O Abu Bakr! I was made to love three things from this world – commanding good, forbidding evil, and worn garments.” `Uthman (ra) said, “You have spoken truthfully, O `Umar! And I was made to love three things from this world – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and reading the Qur’an.” `Ali (ra) said, “You have spoken truthfully, O `Uthman! I was made to love three things from this world – serving the guest, fasting in the summer, and fighting with the sword.” As they were discoursing, Jibreel came and said, “Allah the Exalted sent me when He heard your discussion and has ordered you to ask me what I would have loved if I were to be from the people of this world. The Messenger of Allah (saw) asked, “If you were to be from the people of this world what would you have loved?” Jibreel replied, “Guiding those led astray, keeping the company of contented strangers, and helping families afflicted with hardship.” He continued, “The Lord of Honour loves three things from His servants – giving one’s utmost, crying when in regret, and being patient in times of poverty.”

[46] An ascetic said, “The one who only considers his own opinion as correct will be misguided; the one who thinks he is rich due to his wealth will be impoverished; and the one who seeks prominence through a creature will be humiliated.”

[47] An ascetic said, “The fruits of marifa (knowledge of Allah) are three – being ashamed from Allah the Exalted, loving Him and enjoying his Company.

[48] The Prophet (saw) said, “Love is the basis of ma`rifa, chastity is the sign of conviction, and the peak of conviction is God consciousness and contentment with what Allah the Exalted has predestined.”

[49] Sufyan ibn `Uyaynah said, “Whoever loves Allah, Allah will make him love those whom He loves; and the one who loves those whom Allah the Exalted loves, Allah will make him love that which has made Him love them; and the one who loves that which made Allah the Exalted love those whom He loves will wish that no one knew him.”

[50] The Prophet (saw) said, ‘Truthfulness of love is in three things - choosing the speech of the beloved over the speech of others, choosing the company of the beloved over the company of others, and choosing the pleasure of the beloved of the pleasure of others.”

[51] Wahb ibn Munabbih al-Yamani said, “It is written in the Torah that he who is greedy is in fact poor even if he owns the whole world; he who obeys [God] is obeyed even if he is a slave; and he who is content is rich even if he is hungry.”

[52] A wise man said, “The one who knows Allah will not find any pleasure in the company of creatures; the one who knows the world will not desire anything from it; and the one who knows the justice of Allah the Exalted will not feel the need to present his grievances to Him in order to obtain redress.”

[53] Dhu al-Nun al-Misri said, “Anyone who really fears something flees from it; anyone who really desires something seeks it; and anyone who finds the [sweetness of the] company of Allah becomes estranged from his nafs.”

[54] Dhu al-Nun al-Misri also said, “The one who knows Allah the Exalted is a captive, his heart is seeing, and his actions for Allah are many.”

[55] He also said, “The one who knows Allah the Exalted is loyal, his heart is alert, and his actions for Allah are pure.”

[56] Ibn Sulayman al-Darani said, “The origin of every good in this world and the Hereafter is fear of Allah; the key to the dunya is satiety; and the key to the Hereafter is hunger.”

[57] It is said that worship is a craft: its marketplace is isolation, its capital is God consciousness, and its profit is Paradise.

[58] Malik ibn Dinar said, “Remedy three things with three – pride with humility, greed with contentment, and envy with sincere advice.”