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Chapter 5.2. On The Road To Taqwa: Step Three


Exerting the self towards acts of obedience

This trait is acquired when the servant knows the value of what he wants from the bounties of the Hereafter. A predecessor said : 'When a man knows the value of what he seeks spending for it becomes easy.' This is why the pious acted upon the Quran and Sunnah. If they performed a good deed they would be grateful for it and ask Allah to accept it. If they committed a mistake they would be greatly grieved and ask Allah to pardon them.

It is reported that a group of people came to visit Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (rh) while he was sick. A skinny young man was with them. Umar asked him how he had come to that state. He replied that he was sick. Umar asked him to tell the truth. He said: 'O leader of the believers! I have tasted the world and found it bitter; its glitter has no attraction for me; its gold and stones are the same to me. I live as if I see the Throne of my Lord and people are being escorted to Paradise and Hell. So I remain thirsty (fast) during the day and stay awake during the night. Whatever I am going through is little and meagre against the reward and punishment of Allah.'

Abu Nu'aim (rh) says that Dawood Tai (rh) used to drink bread soup instead of eating bread. Someone asked him why he did that. He said: 'There is enough time to recite fifty verses when I drink bread soup instead of chewing bread.'

So think, O servant of Allah! How one should use one's time and how we waste it - except those upon whom Allah has shown mercy.'

The wife of Masrooq (rh) says that Masrooq always had his calves swollen because of lengthy prayers. I used to sit behind him and weep out of affection for him.'

Abdullah ibn Dawood (rh) says that they used to roll up their beds (sleep very little) as soon as they reached forty.

Abu Darda says: 'If it were not for three things I would not like to live a single day: remaining thirsty for Allah in the afternoons: prostrating in front of Him at night and the company of those who sift the best of conversation like people sift (choose) the best of fruits.'

Ali ibn Abi Talib says: 'The signs of the pious are that they are pale out of vigilance: they have weak eyesight from weeping ; their lips are withered because of fasting and they are covered with the dust of the devout.'

Hasan was asked: 'What is it about those who strive that they are very handsome?' He replied: 'That is because they are alone with The Compassionate.'

So, O servant of Allah! Make sure that you strive so that Allah will be pleased with you and grant you Paradise. Otherwise, you will lose out in both worlds. May Allah protect us from clear loss and desertion. Ameen.

He also says: 'From among the bounties of this world , Islam is enough for you. From the occupations of this world , obedience should occupy you and from the lessons you should learn, death is enough to teach you.'

Abdullah ibn Masood says: 'There are so many who are lured to destruction through bounties ; there are so many who are tested by praise and there are so many who are deceived (vain) by concealment (of their mistakes).'

Yahya ibn Mu'adh (rh) says: 'Congratulations to those who leave the world before it deserts them ; to those who build their graves before they enter them and to those who please their Lord before they meet Him.'

Ali says: 'Whoever desires Paradise will race towards good deeds; whoever fears Hell will abstain from temptations; whoever is certain of death will cease to find pleasure and whoever recognises the world will bear difficulties with ease.'

Hamid al-Lifaf (rh) says: 'We sought richness in wealth and found it in being content and we sought comfort in the world and found it in the Hereafter.'

Abdullah Anaki says: 'There are five remedies for the heart:

  1. the company of the pious;
  2. recitation of the Quran;
  3. emptying the inner self (of vices);
  4. praying during the night
  5. and crying at dawn.'