Support for the Sake of Worldly Interest

With regards to his supporters who support him for certain objectives, they they only intend to corrupt his religion through his assistance with their objectives and other matters. If he does not assist them, they change into enemies. By that, harm is introduced against him from two angles: from the angle of their departure and from the angle of their enmity.

The enmity [of former supporters] is worse for a person than that of his enemies since [former supporters] have observed him and they know what his enemies do not. So with that they can enlist the enmity of others, thus the enmity [against who they formerly supported] doubles.

And if he does not prefer for them to depart, he takes their flattery and assistance for what they want of him, even if that includes corruption of his religion. If he helps them to obtain a wordily position, whatever work they do he obtains an abundant and complete share of their oppression and injustice. And they still demand that he support them in their objectives, even if his world objectives are not achieved. So how about religious objectives, if even considered at all, for indeed the human being is an oppressor, ignorant, and does not seek but his own whims.

Thus, if this does not exist on the inside, he will be nice towards them and be patient with their harm. He will fulfil their needs for the sake of Allah and seek help from Him against them and rely on Allah completely. Otherwise, they will corrupt his religion and wordily life just as is the reality witnessed from the people who seek world leadership. For indeed what he achieves through this leadership calls for oppression and disobedience from him and this idea becomes fair seeking to him. It antagonises him if it is not situated with him just as that has happened with many people.

It happens with someone who loves a person for his appearance. He serves him, honours him and gives him whatever he is able to. He also seeks from him something prohibited that will corrupt his religion.

It also happened with someone who loves a companion of innovation. [The caller] needs him to support the falsehood that he knows is falsehood, otherwise [if he does not support the caller] he treats him as an enemy. Due to this, the scholars of the disbelievers and the people of innovation, despite their knowledge that they are following falsehood, become supporters of that falsehood because their followers and those who love them treat the people of truth as enemies and disparage their path.

So whoever loves and relies on someone other than Allah will dislike those who love and rely on Allah. And whoever loves another person for the sake of something other than Allah, his friendship is more harmful for that person than the harm of his enemies. For indeed the objective of his enemies to intervene between him and some worldly love and to pose as a hindrance between him and [the world love] is in fact a mercy for him. And his friends help him to deny this mercy and its departing from him. So what kind of friendship is this? They prefer to perpetuate that [worldly] love to use it for their own objectives and for what they desire of it, and each of those two things is harmful to him.

Allah, exalted is He, said: “When those who were followed disavow those who follow them, they see the punishment and sever all ties with them” (al-Baqarah 2: 166) Al-Fudayl bin Iyaa, on the authority of Layth, on authority of Mujahid: ‘[The ties’] are the friendships which were for the sake of something other than Allah, and the connections which existed between them in the wordily life: “And those who followed them will say: ‘If we had another chance, then we would disavow them just as they have disavowed us’. Like that Allah will cause them to see their actions as regrets, and they will not exist from the Fire.” (al-Baqarah 2: 167)

Thus the ‘actions’ which Allah will cause them to see as regrets are those which some of them committed with others in the wordily life that were for the sake of something other than Allah. So the best thing regarding all of that is to worship Allah alone, without partner, and there is no strength or might except through Allah.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 86-88

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The Straight Path

A people support Zayd and are hostile towards Amir, and others the reverse, on account of their objectives, therefore their objectives are reached with whom they support. And if they do not obtain what they seek from Zayd, they change to the side of Amr, and likewise with the companions of Amr. This is just like what the reality is between the different types of people.

Similarly is the ‘leader’ from two sides who inclines towards one side who support him. If their support is not for the sake of Allah, they are more harmful to him than the other side. For indeed the other side only intend on corrupting his wordily life whether by killing him, taking his wealth or removing him from his position and all of this is a wordily harm. It is trivial when the slave accepts it. It is the reverse of the situation for people concerned with the wordily life and their love for it and those who, as long as their wordily life is secure, they are not concerned if their religion is corrupted. Thus they are not worried by that. As for the religion of the slave which is between him and Allah, then they have no power over him in that.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Page 85

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Surah Az-Zumar Ayat 21-40

{21. See you not that Allah sends down water from the sky, and causes it to penetrate the earth, as water springs, and afterward thereby produces crops of different colors, and afterward they wither and you see them turn yellow; then He makes them dry and broken pieces. Verily, in this is a reminder for men of understanding.

22. Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, so that he is in light from his Lord? So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah! They are in plain error!}

The Parable of the Life of this World

Allah tells us that water originates in the sky. This is like the Ayah: “and We send down pure water from the sky” (25:48). So, Allah sends down water from the sky, and it settles in the earth, then He causes it to flow wherever He wills, and He causes springs, great and small, to flow as needed. Allah says: “and causes it to penetrate the earth, as water springs,” Said bin Jubayr and Amir Ash-Shabi said that all the water on earth has its origins in the sky. (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 7:219) Said bin Jubayr said, its origins lie in the snow, meaning that snow piles up in the mountains, then settles at the bottom (of the mountains) and springs flow from the bottom of them. “and afterward thereby produces crops of different colours” means, then from the water which comes down from the sky or flows from springs in the earth, He brings forth crops of different colours, i.e., different kinds of forms, tastes, scents, benefits, etc. “and afterward they wither” means, after they have been ripe and fresh, they become old and you see them turn yellow when they have dried out. “then He makes them dry and broken pieces.” means, then they become brittle. “Verily, in this is a reminder for men of understanding.” means, those who are reminded by this and who learn the lesson from it, that this world is like this – it is green and fresh and beautiful, then it will become old and ugly. The young man will become a weak, senile old man, and after all of that comes death. The blessed one is the one whose state after death will be good. Allah often likens the life of this world to the way He sends down water from the sky and crops and fruits grow thereby, then they become dry and brittle. This is like the Ayah: “And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is able to do everything” (18:45)

The People of Truth and the People of Misguidance are not Equal

“Is he whose breast Allah has opened to Islam, so that he is in light from his Lord?” means, is this person equal to the one who is hard-hearted and far from the truth This is like the Ayah: “Is he who was dead and We gave him life and set for him a light (i.e. Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men – like him who is in the darkness (i.e., disbelief) from which he can never come out?” (6:122) Allah says: “So, woe to those whose hearts are hardened against remembrance of Allah!” meaning, they do not become soft when Allah is mentioned, and they do not feel humility or fear, and they do not understand. “They are in plain error!”

{23. Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book, its parts resembling each other, (and) oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He wills; and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.}

The Description of the Qur’an

Here Allah praises His Book, the Noble Qur’an, which was revealed to His noble Messenger. Allah says, “Allah has sent down the Best Statement, a Book, its parts resembling each other (and) oft-repeated.” Mujahid said, “This means that the entire Qur’an’s parts resemble each other and are oft-repeated.” (At-Tabari 21:279) Qatadah said, “One Ayah resembles another and one letter resembles another.” (At-Tabari 21:279) Ad-Dahhak said, “It is oft-repeated so that people will understand what their Lord tells them.” Ikrimah and Al-Hasan said, “There may be an Ayah in one Surah, and another Ayah in another Surah that resembles it.” Said bin Jubayr narrated from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him: “Oft-repeated means that parts of the Qur’an resemble one another and repeat one another.” (At-Tabari 21:279) Some of the scholars said that it was narrated from Sufyan bin Uyaynah that “its parts resembling each other (and) oft-repeated.” means that some passages of the Qur’an may sometimes refer to one thing, so they resemble one another, and sometimes they mention a thing and its opposite. Such as when the believers then the disbelievers are mentioned, or when Paradise then Hell are described, and so on, and this is the meaning of oft-repeated. Examples include the Ayat: “Verily, the most righteous will be in delight; and verily, the most wicked will be in the blazing Fire (Hell).” (82:13-14) “Nay! Truly, the Record of the most wicked is (preserved) in Sijjin” until “Nay! Verily, the Record of the most righteous is (preserved) in Illiyyin” (83: 7-18) “This is a Reminder. And verily, for those who have Taqwa is a good final return (Paradise)” until; “This is so! And for those who transgress, there will be an evil final return (Fire).” (38:49-55). And there are other similar passages. All of this has to do with it being oft-repeated, i.e., when two meanings are referred to. But when a passage is about one thing, with some parts of it resembling others, this is “its parts resembling each other.” This is not the same as the Mutashabihat mentioned in the Ayah: “In it are Ayat that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book; and others not entirely clear” (3:7). that refers to something else altogether. “The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah.” means, this is the description of the righteous, when they hear the Words of the Compeller, the Protector, the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving, because they understand the promises and warnings contained therein. The frightening words and threats make their skin shiver from fear. “Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah.” because of their hope for His mercy and kindness. They are unlike others, the wicked, immoral sinners, in a number of ways:

First

They listen to the recitation of the Ayat [of the Qur’an], while those (sinners) listen to poetic verse recited by female singers.

Second

When the Ayat of Ar-Rahman are recited to them, they fall down in prostration weeping, with the proper attitude of fear, hope, love, understanding and knowledge, as Allah says: “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Ayat are recited unto them, they increase their faith; and they put their trust in their Lord; Who perform the Salah and spend out of that We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in it. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and forgiveness and a generous provision (i.e., Paradise).” (8:2-4), “And those who, when they are reminded of the Ayat of their Lord, fall not on them (as if they were) deaf and blind” (25:73). When they hear the Ayat of Allah, they are not too busy to pay attention to them; they listen to them and understand their meanings. So they act upon them and prostrate when they hear them, out of understanding, not out of ignorance and blind following of others.

Third

They adhere to the correct etiquette when they listen to them. As the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to do when they listened to the words of Allah recited by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. Their skin would shiver, and their hearts would soften to the remembrance of Allah. They did not shout or do other actions that are not natural; on the contrary, they would sit quietly with the proper attitude of fear, in an unparalleled fashion. they attained the victory of praise from their Lord in this world and the Hereafter. Abdur-Razzaq said, “Mamar told us that Qatadah, may Allah have mercy on him, recited, “The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah.” and said, ‘This is the characteristic of the friends of Allah; Allah has described them in this manner, saying that their skin shivers, their eyes weep and their hearts find rest to the remembrance of Allah. He did not say that they lose their minds and swoon; that is the characteristic of the followers of innovation, and that comes from the Shaytan.”’ Allah’s saying: “That is the guidance of Allah. He guides therewith whom He wills” means, this is the characteristic of those whom Allah has guided, and anyone who does anything different is one of those whom Allah has sent astray. “and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.” 

{24. Is he then, who will confront with his face the awful torment on the Day of Resurrection And it will be said to the wrongdoers: “Taste what you used to earn!”

25. Those before them denied, and so the torment came on them from directions they perceived not.

26. So, Allah made them to taste the disgrace in the present life, but greater is the torment of the Hereafter if they only knew!}

 

The Final Destination of the Disbelievers

“Is he then, who will confront with his face the awful torment on the Day of Resurrection?” he will be rebuked and he and the evildoers like him will be told: “Taste what you used to earn!” ‘Is this like the one who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection’ as Allah says: “Is he who walks prone on his face, more rightly guided, or he who walks upright on the straight way” (67:22); “The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them) “Taste you the touch of Hell!” (54:48), and “Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection?” (41:40) In each of these Ayat, it was sufficient to refer to one of the two groups. “Those before them denied, and so the torment came on them from directions they perceived not.” means, the previous generations who denied the Messengers were destroyed by Allah for their sins. And none had they to protect them from Allah. “So Allah made them to taste the disgrace in the present life,” means, by means of the punishment and revenge which He sent down upon them, and the rejoicing of the believers for what happened to them. So, let those who are addressed beware, for they have rejected the noblest of the Messengers and the Seal of the Prophets, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. And what Allah has promised them of severe punishment in the Hereafter is worse than whatever befell them in this world. Allah says: “but greater is the torment of the Hereafter if they only knew!”

{27. And indeed We have put forth for men, in this Qur’an every kind of parable in order that they may remember.

28. An Arabic Qur’an, without any crookedness (therein) in order that they may have Taqwa of Him.

29. Allah puts forth a parable: a man belonging to many partners disputing with one another, and a man belonging entirely to one master. Are those two equal in comparison? All the praises and thanks be to Allah! But most of them know not.

30. Verily, you will die, and verily, they (too) will die.

31.Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord.}

 

The Parable of Shirk

“And indeed We have put forth for men, in this Qur’an every kind of parable” means, ‘We have explained things to mankind in it [the Qur’an] by setting forth examples and parables.’ “in order that they may remember.” Because parables bring the meaning closer to people’s minds. As Allah says: “He sets forth for you a parable from yourselves” (30:28). meaning, ‘so that you may learn it from yourselves.’ And Allah says: “in Order that they may have Taqwa of Him.” (29:43). “An Arabic Qur’an, without any crookedness (therein)” means, it is in a plain Arabic tongue, with no crookedness, deviation or confusion. It is plain, clear proof. Allah has made it like this and has revealed it like this, “in order that they may have Taqwa of Him” means, in order that they may heed the warnings contained therein, and strive to attain the promises therein. Then Allah says: “Allah puts forth a parable: a man belonging to many partners disputing with one another” meaning, they were disputing concerning that slave in whom they all had a share. “and a (slave) man belonging entirely to one master.” means, no one owned him except that one man. “Are those two equal in comparison?” meaning, they are not the same. By the same token, the idolator who worships other gods besides Allah and the sincere believer who worships none besides Allah, with no partner or associate, are not equal. What comparison can there be between them Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, Mujahid and others said, “This Ayah is the parable of the idolator and the sincere believer.” (At-Tabari 21:285)

Because this parable is so clear and obvious, Allah then says: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah!” i.e., for establishing proof against them. “But most of them know not.” means, and for this reason they associate others in worship with Allah.

The fact that the Messenger of Allah and Quraysh will die, and how They will dispute before Allah

Allah’s saying; “Verily, you will die, and verily, they (too) will die.” This is one of the Ayat which Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted when the Messenger of Allah died, so that the people would realize that he had really died. Another Ayah which he quoted was: “Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will do to Allah; and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful.” (3:144). The meaning of this Ayah is that you will certainly depart this world and be gathered before Allah in the Hereafter. You will dispute the issues of Tawhid and Shirk before Allah, things over which you disputed in this world, and He will judge between you with truth, and He is the Judge, the All-Knowing. So, He will save the sincere believers who worship Him alone, and He will punish the disbelievers who deny His Oneness and associate others in worship with Him. Although this Ayah speaks about the believers and disbelievers, and how they will dispute in the Hereafter, it also includes all disputants in this world, for their disputes will come back to them in the Hereafter. Ibn Abi Hatim, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Ibn Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When the Ayah “Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord.” was revealed, Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, will we repeat our disputes’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He ‘Az-Zubayr’ said, ‘This is a very serious matter.”’ (Ad-Durr Al-Manthur 5:614)

Ahmad recorded from Az-Zubayr bin Al-Awwam, may Allah be pleased with him, that when this Surah was revealed to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: “Verily, you will die, and verily, they (too) will die. Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord.” Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “O Messenger of Allah, will the sins that we committed against others in this world be repeated for us” He said, “Yes, they will be repeated until everyone who is entitled will have his rights restored to him.” Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “By Allah, it is a very serious matter.” (Ahmad 1:164) It was also recorded by At-Tirmidhi, who said “Hasan Sahih.” (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi 9:289)

Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord.” means, the truthful one will dispute with the liar, the oppressed will dispute with the oppressor, the one who is guided will dispute with the one who is misguided and the weak will dispute with the arrogant.

Ibn Mandah recorded in Kitab Ar-Ruh that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “The people will dispute on the Day of Resurrection, to the extent that the soul will dispute with the body. The soul will say to the body, ‘You did such and such,’ and the body will say to the soul, ‘You told me to do it and you tempted me.’ Then Allah will send an angel to judge between them, and he will say, ‘You two are like a man who cannot walk but can see, and a man who cannot see but can walk.’ They went into a garden and the one who could not walk said to the one who was blind, ‘I see fruit there, but I cannot reach it.’ The blind man said, ‘Climb on me and get it.’ So he climbed on him and got it. So which of them is the wrongdoer They will say, ‘Both of them.’ The angel will say to them, ‘You have passed judgement against yourselves.’ The body was a means of transportation for the soul.”

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Said bin Jubayr said that Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “This Ayah was revealed and we did not know what it was revealed about: “Then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will be disputing before your Lord.” He said, “We said, what will we dispute about? There is no dispute between us and the People of the Book, so what will we dispute about Until the Fitnah occurred.” Then Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “This is what our Lord promised us we would dispute about.” This was recorded by An-Nasa’i. (An-Nasai in Al-Kubra 11447)

{32. Then, who does more wrong than one who utters a lie against Allah, and denies the truth when it comes to him! Is there not in Hell an abode for the disbelievers

33. And he who has brought the truth and (those who) believed therein, they are those who have Taqwa.

34. They shall have all that they will desire with their Lord. That is the reward of the doers of good.

35. So that Allah may expiate from them the evil of what they did and give them the reward, according to the best of what they used to do.}

The Punishment of the Disbelievers and Liars, and the Reward of the Sincere Believers

The idolators uttered lies against Allah and said that there were other gods besides Him and claimed that the angels were the daughters of Allah and that Allah had a son – glorified be He far above all that they say. Moreover, they rejected the truth when it came to them on the lips of the Messengers (peace and blessings be upon them all). Allah says: “Then, who does more wrong than one who utters a lie against Allah, and denies the truth when it comes to him!” meaning, there is no one who does more wrong than such a person, because he combines the two aspects of falsehood, disbelief in Allah and disbelief in the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. They made false claims and rejected the truth, Allah threatened them: “Is there not in Hell an abode for the disbelievers?” who are the deniers and rejecters. Then Allah says: “And he who has brought the truth and (those who) believed therein,” Mujahid, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi bin Anas and Ibn Zayd said, “The one who brought the truth was the Messenger .” (At-Tabari 21:289)

Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said: “And he who has brought the truth” means the Messenger of Allah . “and (those who) believed therein” means the Muslims.” (At-Tabari 21:290) “they are those who have Taqwa”. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “They fear and shun Shirk.”(At-Tabari 21:292)  “They shall have all that they will desire with their Lord.” means, in Paradise; whatever they ask for they will have. “That is the reward of doers of good. So that Allah may expiate from them the evil of what they did and give them the reward, according to the best of what they used to do.” This is like the Ayah: “They are those from whom We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. (They shall be) among the dwellers of Paradise, a promise of truth, which they have been promised.” (46:16).

{36. Is not Allah Sufficient for His servant? Yet they try to frighten you with those besides Him! And whom Allah sends astray, for him there will be no guide.

37. And whomsoever Allah guides, for him there will be no misleader. Is not Allah Almighty, Possessor of Retribution?

38. And verily, if you ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth” Surely, they will say: “Allah.” Say: “Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah – if Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm Or if He intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His mercy” Say: “Sufficient for me is Allah; in Him those who trust must put their trust.”

39. Say: “O My people! Work according to your way, I am working. Then you will come to know”

40. “To whom comes a disgracing torment, and on whom descends an everlasting torment.”}

Allah is Sufficient for His Servant Allah says

“Is not Allah Sufficient for His servant?” Some of them read it “His servants.” It means that Allah is Sufficient for the one who worships Him and relies upon Him. “Yet they try to frighten you with those besides Him!” means, the idolators tried to scare the Messenger of Allah with their idols and gods which they called upon besides Allah out of ignorance and misguidance. Allah says: “And whom Allah sends astray, for him there will be no guide. And whomsoever Allah guides, for him there will be no misleader. Is not Allah Almighty, Possessor of Retribution?” meaning, whoever relies on Him and turns to Him, will never be forsaken, for He is the Almighty Who cannot be overwhelmed by another, and there is none more severe than Him in exacting retribution on those who disbelieve in Him, associate others in worship with Him and resist His Messenger, peace be upon him.

The Idolators admit that Allah is the Sole Creator because Their gods are incapable

“And verily, if you ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?” Surely, they will say: “Allah.” means, the idolators used to recognize that Allah was the Creator of all things, but despite that they still worshipped others besides Him, others who had no power to bring benefit or cause harm. Allah said: “Say: “Tell me then, the things that you invoke besides Allah – if Allah intended some harm for me, could they remove His harm? Or if He (Allah) intended some mercy for me, could they withhold His mercy?” meaning, they cannot do any of that at all. Here Ibn Abi Hatim recorded a narration from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, attributing it to the Prophet, peace be upon him:

“Be mindful of Allah and He will protect you; be mindful of Allah and you will find Him ever with you. Turn to Allah in times of ease and He will turn to you in times of difficulty. If you ask anyone for anything, then ask Allah; if you seek help from anyone, then seek help from Allah. Know that even if the entire nation were to come together to do you some harm that Allah has not decreed for you, they will never be able to harm you, and if they were to come together to do you some good that Allah has not decreed for you, they will never be able to do that. The pages have dried and the pens have been lifted. Strive for the sake of Allah with thankfulness and firm conviction, and know that in patiently persevering with regard to something that you dislike there is much goodness. Victory comes with patience, a way out comes from difficulty and with hardship comes ease.” (Ahmad 1:307)

“Say: “Sufficient for me is Allah…” means, ‘Allah is enough for me.’ “In Him I put my trust, and let all those that trust, put their trust in Him.” (12: 67) This is like what Hud, peace be upon him, said to his people: “All that we say is that some of our gods have seized you with evil. ” He said: “I call Allah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as partners in worship, with Him. So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite. I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He has the grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path.” (11:54-56). “Say: “O My people! Work according to your way…” This is a threat and a warning.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir Vol 8 (Abridged)  Pages 375-395

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Those Who Support Other Than Allah

Loving him due to his knowledge, way of life and goodness or other qualities, makes the trial in this greater unless there is a strong belief, fear and complete faith in the Oneness of Allah. For indeed the trial of knowledge, status and appearances is a trial for all who are captivated. And despite that they seek from him their objectives – if he does not do it, otherwise the love decreases or a form of anger takes place. Perhaps it increases or leads to the disengagement from love for him – so he becomes one who causes anger after being one who was loved. So the friends of a person love for him to be subjected to and employed in their aims to the point that he is like a slave for them. And his enemies strive to hurt and harm him. And they seek their own advantage from him even if it is harmful to him and corruptive for his way of life; they do not give any thought to that. And few of them are thankful.

So in reality, the above two groups [friends for other than Allah and enemies] do not intend on benefitting him nor do they defend him from harm, rather they only seek their own objectives through him. For if the person is not a slave of Allah, one who relies completely on Him, a supporter for Him, and hostile for His sake, then the two groups will consume him and that will lead to his destruction in the wordily life and the Afterlife.

This is well-known as among the conditions of the children of Adam and what happens between them of battles, disputes, differences and trials.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 84-85

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Rescuing the Heart from Trials

Trials (fitnah) do not cease coming over the heart unless the slave’s entire way of life is for the sake of Allah, lofty and sublime is He. Thus his love would be for Allah and for anything Allah loves and his anger would be for Allah and anything that angers Allah, and likewise his alliances and hostilities. Otherwise love for the creation will draw him in. Love of the creation is a means for him to attract them towards him, the one makes the other stronger. Thus when he defeats his whims, neither something defeated not its being beloved will attract him towards it despite his whims. On account of the defeat of his whims, there is a prohibitive factor for whims for his self, due to what is in his heart of fear and love for Allah which prevents him from gravitating toward beloved things.

As for people’s love for him, then indeed it necessitates that they draw him in, and they with their strength, towards them. So if he does not possess the strength, to repel them from his self out of love an fear of Allah, then they will draw him in and take him towards them, like the love of the wife of al-Aziz for Yusuf. For indeed the strength of Yusuf and his love, sincerity and fear for Allah was stronger than the beauty and charm of the wife of al-Aziz and his fondness for her. This is since one of them loved his appearance, and in addition to that, the motives were stronger than him and them. In this case the one who is protected is he who Allah protects. Otherwise, in most cases some evil happens between people regarding love from both angles.

Due to this, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said:

“A man is not alone with a woman except Shaytan is the third of them.” (Ahmad)

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 83-84

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The Heart is Between Love and Fear

The heart drowns in whatever overpowers it, whether from what is loved or feared, just like what happens with love of wealth, status, image and fear of others. A person’s heart and mind remain drowning in it just like the drowning person drowns in water. It is inevitable that what surrounds bodies and hearts will overcome them; whatever is portrayed to it of fears, loves and dislikes will overpower [the self], for what is loved demands it, what is disliked repels it, while hope is attached to what is loved and fear is attached to what is disliked. Only Allah bestows good deeds and removes sins: “And if Allah touches you with harm there is no one who can remove it except Him; and if intends some good for you, then there is no one who can repel His favour. He afflicts whoever He wills from among His slaves, and He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (Yunus 10:107) and: “And what you have of blessings, then it is from Allah. Then when some harm touches you, to Him you supplicate.” (al-Nahl 27:53)

When the slave calls his Lord to bestow upon him something he seeks and to repel from him something he fears, He gives it to him our of his faith in Allah, his love, knowledge, faith in the Oneness of Allah, hope, and the life in his heart. He illuminates for him with the light of faith what would be the most beneficial for him from that which he seeks, whether it was a vanity of this world or if he asked that he support him with remembering and thanking Him, to make his worship excellent and whatever pertains to that. Thus here, what is sought after can be more beneficial than the manner of seeking, and it is supplication itself for that which is sought after is remembrance, thankfulness, and standing in worship upon the most excellent of intentions, among other things. And this is for elaboration at another point in time.

What is intended is that the heart is engulfed, then what the slave wishes for, loves, fears and is weary of overpowers it, whoever it is, and due to this Allah, exalted is He, said: “Rather their hearts are in distress [literally, a flood] from this [Qur’an]. And they have deeds beside that which they are performing.” (al-Muminun 23:63) What [the self] is covered from is what it is warned by. So that covers it from the remembrance of Allah, the Final Abode and whatever is in it of pleasures and agonising punishment. Allah, exalted is He, said: “So leave them in their misguidance [literally, a flood] for a time” (al-Muminun 23:54) in other words, [leave them] in whatever has drowned their hearts of the love and wealth and children – the obstacle to hastening towards good and righteous deeds. He, exalted is He, said: “May the liars be cursed, who are in doubt [literally, a flood], oblivious” (al-Dhariyat 51: 10-11) in other words, oblivious about the matter of the Afterlife. So they are in ‘a flood’ with regards to [the Afterlife], meaning, their hearts are drowning from love for the wordily life and its wares, oblivious to the matter of the Afterlife and what they were created for. This is similar to what Allah said: “And do they not obey the one whose heart We have made heedless from Our Remembrance, who follows his whims, and whose affair is destroyed” (al-Khaf 18:28) Thus the ‘flood’ is from following whims and ‘obliviousness’ is a type of heedlessness. Due to this, some said ‘obliviousness’ is heedlessness about something and the departing of the heart from it. This is the combination of the evil of heedlessness and desires. So heedlessness from Allah and the Final Abode blocks the gate of good which is remembrance and vigilance.

And desires open the gate of evil, obliviousness and fear, so the heart remains drowning in what it fancies and fears, heedless of Allah, seeking something other than Allah, and oblivious to His remembrance. He has toiled for something other than Allah; his affair has been dissolved; and love for the wordily life has overwhelmed his heart. This is just as was transmitted in Bukhari and other collections on authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,

“May the slave of the dinar be destroyed; may the slave of the dirham be destroyed; may the slave of plush clothing be destroyed; may the slave of the shirt be destroyed; may he be destroyed and fall backwards. If he is afflicted with a thorn, let him not be able to remove it. If given something, he is pleased, and if refused, he becomes resentful.” (Bukhari)

He appointed him as worshipper of that which its existence was pleasing to him and whose loss made him resentful to the point that he was a slave of the dinar and a slave of all that was described in this narration. ‘Plush clothing’ refers to that which is sat upon, thus he is its servant just as some of the predecessors said: ‘Wear garments that serve you and do not wear ones that you serve.’ And they are like a carpet which you sit on. ‘Shirt’ is that which worn out of having very little wealth. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, only pointed out what is superior to the person, thus he is a slave to that; in it are disunited lords and quarrelling partners.

Due to this the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: ‘If given something, he is pleased, and if refused, he becomes resentful.’ So that which its occurrence is pleasing to a person and its loss makes him resentful, then he is its slave since the slave is pleased with being connected to them both and is resentful due to losing them both. ‘The one deserving of worship’ is He who there is no god worthy of worship except Him, since the Believer worships and loves Him. Belief, faith in the Oneness of Allah, love remembrance and worship take place for the Believer in his heart through that. So he is pleased with that, and if he is prevented from that, he gets angry.

Similarly, whoever loves something, then it is inevitable that he imagine it in his heart, and he will wish to be connected with it to the extent that he is able.

Al-Junayd said: ‘The slave is not really a slave until he is free from everything except Allah.’  That is in harmony with the aforementioned narration, for indeed one is not pure, sincere slave to Allah whose entire religion is for Allah alone until he is not a slave to anything except Him and does not have him any branch and does not draw near to even a fraction of worship for anything except Allah. Thus, is he is pleased with or resentful about something besides Allah, then he is a slave to that ‘other’, and has in him polytheism in proportion to his love for it and his worship for that ‘other’ is in addition to that.

Al-Fudayl Ibn Iyad said: ‘By Allah, Allah has not approved of divinity for anything in creation.’ And Zayd Ibn Amir Ibn Nufayl said: ‘Is there a single Lord or a thousand, Is it a religion since the affairs are scattered?’ Imam Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Tabarni transmitted a narration from Asma Ibn Umays, may Allah be pleased with her, that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:

“How evil is the servant who shows off, struts, and forgets the Most Exalted. How evil is the slave who acts tyrannically, transgresses, and forgets the All-Powerful, Most High. How evil is the slave who is oblivious, distracted and forgets the grave and decomposition. How evil is the slave who rebels, transgresses, and forgets the Beginning and the End. How evil is the slave who cheats the worldly life with the religion. How evil is the slave who cheats the religion with doubts. How evil is the slave who is greedy, and it lowers him and makes him slip from the truth. Hoe evil is the slave whose covetousness directs him. How evil is the slave whose whims misguide him.” 

Tirmidhi said the narration is ‘unique’ [gharib], however there is a previously mentioned narration which strengthens it, and Allah knows best.

Likewise there are a number of narrations and reports transmitted that have that meaning, just as Allah, exalted is He, said: “And among the people are those who take equals besides Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. And those who believe have a greater love of Allah.” (al-Baqarah 2:165) Speech which has in it aggrandisement, eve if false, pleases those who seeks leadership, even if through falsehood. And speech which has in it dispraise of him, even if true, angers him. While words of truth, whether for or against him please the believer, and words of falsehood, whether for or against him, anger him. This is because Allah, exalted is He, loved the Truth, honesty and justice and He gets angry at lies and oppression.

If it is said: ‘Truth, honesty and justice which Allah loves are more beloved to him even in that is something that opposes his whims’, it is because his whims have become subjected to what the Messenger came with. Therefore it is said: ‘Oppression and lies anger Allah and they anger the Believer even if they agree with his whims.’

Similarly, is the seeker of wealth, even if through falsehood, as Allah exalted is He, said: “And among them are those who find fault with you regarding the voluntary charity – for if given from it, they are pleased; and if not given from it, then they are resentful.” (al-Tawbah 9:58) These are the ones about who it is said: “May the slave of the dinar be destroyed…” in the narration. So how, when what is greater overpowers the heart, in subjugation to the dirham and dinar, to desires, whims and beloved things which draw the heart away from completing his love and worship for Allah, due to what is in it of rivalry and ascribing partners with Allah to created thing – how can the heart repel this while it diverts him from completing his love, worship and fear for his Lord? This is because all beloved things attract the heart of what is beloved to it and divert him away from loving what is not beloved to it. Likewise what is disliked repels him, causes him to slip and distracts him from worshipping Allah, exalted is He.

And because of this, Imam Ahmad transmitted in his Musnad and other collections that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said to his Companions:

“You fear poverty. I do not fear poverty for you. I only fear the wordily life for you so that when any of your hearts deviate, it will not be diverted except by [the world life].” [Recorded in the Musnad with a slightly different wording Vol 6 p21]

Similarly are those who love the slave, like his friends, and those who anger him like his enemies. Those he loves are loving toward him and when their love for him is not for the sake of Allah, that is something that will cut him off from Allah. And those who anger, harm, and are hostile towards him, through their harm they distract him from Allah. Even if his friends, who love him for the sake of something other than Allah, are good towards him, his love for them necessitates their goodness towards him and the gravitation of his heart towards them. Even if he was on a non-righteous path and it necessitated his respiration of their [goodness], they would cut him off from Allah and worshipping Him.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 75-83

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The Levels of Following Whims

Due to this, He said: “Thus know that they only follow their whims”, and then said: “And who is more misguided than one who follows his whims without guidance from Allah?” (al-Qasas 28:50) ‘Following whims‘ has various levels. Among them are the polytheists and those who worship beside Allah what they deem as good without knowledge or proof, as He said: “Have you seen the one who takes his whims as a god?” (al-Jathiyyah 45:23) In other words, he takes as his god who he worships, and it is who he fancies among gods. It is not said that his whims themselves are his god for not everyone who fancies something, worships it. For indeed whims have divisions. Rather what is intended is that he made what he fancies a thing to be worshipped. Thus his worship was to follow the whims of his self in acts of worship. Indeed he does not worship what he fancies to worship and does not perform the worship which he was commanded to do.

This is the condition of the people of innovation, for indeed they worship something other than Allah and innovate acts of worship alleging that they are worshipping Allah through it. Thus they are only following their whims for indeed one of them follows the fancy of his self, its tastes, passions and whims without knowledge, guidance or an illuminating book. For if they followed knowledge and the Illuminating Book, they would not worship but Allah through what He wills and not through fabrications and innovations.

What is intended is that there are a large number of gods and the ways of worshipping them vary. In general all of what a person wishes for and fancies is inevitable for him to imagine it in his self. So that cognitive image is a motivation for him towards what he fancies and the dictates of that fancy. Thus whoever worships it, worships something other than Allah and demons appear to him in the form of who he worships. This continues a great deal and has not ended. Due to this, everyone who worships something other than Allah is only worshipping Shaytan. Due to this, Shaytan unites with the sun when it is rising and setting and becomes level with it so that the prostrations of whoever worships it are for him as well. Demons appears is the form of whoever is worshipped just like they speak to them from the idols which they worship. Similarly, in our time a great number of people from those who attribute themselves to Islam, the Christians and polytheists, they commit Shirk with some of those who are aggrandise from the living and the dead mashayikh and others – they call upon [the beloved figure], seek his help in his lifetime and after his death and see him. He comes and speaks to them and fulfils their needs while it is only a Shyatan appearing in his form in order to lead astray the polytheist.

Shaytan does not cease appearing to those afflicted with passion for something in the form of what they are passionate about or he mimics it form. Thus [the polytheist] does not cease seeing [the beloved’s] form despite his absence from him after his death. Shaytan only reveals himself to his heart and due to this when the slave mentions the remembrance of Allah which the retreating whisperer withdraws from, this Satanic image and the image of the beloved withdraws.

At times it overpowers the lover to the point that he does not see anything else, he does not hear any other words, and this his self remains exploited by it. A form of that happens to some of those taking the path of loving Allah as a deficient path. It is called ‘istilam‘ and ‘fana‘. He disappears with his beloved from his love, with his grace from his awareness and with his remembered from his remembrance until he does not sense anything of the Names, Attributes, Speech, commands and prohibitions of Allah.

Among these are those who have moved on from this to divine ‘Union’. They say: ‘I am Him and He is me and I am Allah.’ The majority of those who follow this path believe this person is the highest degree of those who follow this path and that this is true ‘faith in the Oneness of Allah’ which is the final stage of every follower. They are in error in this, rather this is among the types of views of the Christians although they strayed because they did not follow the legal path inwardly regarding the reports of Allah and His commands. This discussion of this has been expanded upon at another point.

What is intended is that what those who follow their desires create for of images, food, drink and clothing overwhelms their heart to the point that it subdues it, reign over it, and leaves it a slave. Whatever he fancies diverts him in whatever way that the sought after thing behaves, and due to this some of the predecessors said: ‘What I fear more for the ascetic youth than a predatory animal leaping on him, is a young boy sitting with him.’

It is that unadulterated self (nafs al-safiyya) which has the delicateness of training and is not attracted to the love of Allah and His worship has complete attraction. And what diverts [the self] from its fancy does not accomplish it out of complete fear of Allah when it becomes subject to an image among the images; this image overwhelmed [the self] just as the predatory animal overcomes what he preys upon. Thus the predatory animal takes his prey by force and the prey is not able to stop it. Similarly what a person portrays in his heart of beloved images swallows and subdues his heart. So his heart is not able to refrain from it and it remains engrossed in this image in a greater way than they prey is immersed in his fear of the lion. This is because the beloved and sought after thing is the objective of the self (ghaya al-nafs) and it has a powerful authority over it.

Gardens of Purification by Ibn Taymiyyah Pages 72-75

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