The Gnostics have no business other than their Master, and they have no desire for anything besides Him. One of them said, ‘Whoever tells you that Allah is his Master, yet he has a desire for other than Him, do not believe him.’
Dawud al-Tai used to say during the night, ‘My desire for You has negated all other desires, and it has come between me and the desire for sleep. My longing for looking on at You has destroyed all worldly delights and has come between me and carnal lusts. I am in Your prison, O Kind One (al-Karim)! What business have I with other than Him? What business have I, With a partner who would turn my heart from owing Him? What would I do if He runs away and all hopes are frustrated? He can replace me but I have none to replace Him!
My brothers, when you understand this, you will have understood the meaning of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he said,
“Whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped save Allah,’ sincerely from his heart, Allah will prohibit the Fire from him.”
Whoever articulates this testification yet enters the Fire, the reason is the lack of truthfulness in his articulation. If this testification is said truthfully, it purifies the heart of everything save Allah, but if anything remains, it is by reason of a deficiency in the truthfulness with which it was stated.
Whoever is truthful in his articulation of this testification will not love any save Him, he will not hope in any save Him, he will not fear any save Him, he will not place his reliance in any save Him, and any trace of his desires and giving preference to his soul will vanish. However, let it not be presumed that the lover is required to be error free, rather it is required of him to make amends for his errors.
Zayd ibn Aslam said, “Allah loves a servant until he reaches such a level that he says, “Go and do as you will for I have forgiven you.” [Similar is recorded in Bukhari no.7507]
Shari said, “When Allah loves a servant, sins will not harm him.’
This is because Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, has a concern for those He loves amongst His servants. Therefore each time His servant slips and relapses into the abyss of desires, He leads him out of it to the summit of success. He makes easy for him the routes to repentance, He alerts him to the evilness of his mistake such that in fear, he rushes to be excused, and He afflicts him with trials and tribulations that would serve to expiate his crime.
A narration mentions that Allah, Exalted is He, says, “Those who remember me are those who will sit in My company. Those who obey Me are those who receive My Munificence. I will not cause those who disobey Me to fall into despair of My Mercy, if they repent, I am their beloved; if they do not repent, I am their doctor: I will afflict them with trials such that I purify them of their faults.”
Muslim records on the authority of Jabir that Prophet, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, said,
“Fever removes sins just as bellows remove scum.” (Recorded in Muslim no. 2575)
Ahmad and ibn Hibban record on the authority of Abdullah ibn al-Mughaffal, may Allah be pleased with them, that a man met a woman who used to be a prostitute in the Days of Ignorance. He started playing around with her until he extended his hand towards her upon which she said, “Stop, Allah has removed shirk and brought Islam,’ so he removed his hand and left. While he was leaving, he kept looking back at her, and while doing so he walked into a wall. With blood pouring out of his face he came to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and informed him of what happened. He, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said,
“You are a servant of Allah for whom He wishes good.” Then he said, “When Allah wishes good for his servant, He hastens on his punishment in this world; and when he wishes evil for his servant, He holds back his sin so that it may be recompensed on the Day of Judgement.” (Recorded in Ahmad no.16806)
People! Your hearts are essentially pure, but they have been stained with splashes of sins. So splash on them in turn the tears of your eyes and will find your hearts purified. Have the firm resolve to wean your souls of the suckling of desires: fever is the best of cures. When your souls demand you to fulfil their desires then say to them the words of this woman, ‘Allah has removed shirk and brought Islam.’ Islam necessitates submission and willing obedience.
Remind your soul of, “The angels descend on those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then go straight.” (Surah Fussilat 41:30) Perchance it may lean towards uprightness. Teach it that the One who is closer to you than your life vein sees all, perchance it may feel embarrassed, “Does he not know that Allah sees?” (Surah Al-Alaq 96:14) “Your Lord is always lying in wait.” (Surah al-Fajr 89:14)
A man sought to seduce a woman in the open desert by night but she refused, ‘There are only the stars to see us,’ he said. ‘What of the One who put them there?’ she replied.
Another man forced a woman to him and ordered her to lock the doors and she did. The he asked, ‘Are there any doors left to be locked?’ She replied, ‘Yes, the door between us and Allah, Exalted be He.’ So he never fulfilled his desire with her.
Junayd was asked, ‘What would aid us in lowering the gaze?’ he replied, ‘By your knowing that Allah’s looking at you preceded your looking at what you wish to look at.’
Muhasibi said, ‘Self-inspection is the heart’s cognisance of the closeness of its Lord.’
As ones knowledge of Allah increases, so too does ones sense of embarrassment before His closeness and sight. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, advised a man to be ashamed before Allah as he would be in front of a righteous man of his family who never leaves him.
Some of them said, ‘Be embarrassed of Allah according to His closeness to you, and fear Allah according to His power over you.’
One of them said, ‘For the last forty years I have not moved my foot for other than Allah and I have not looked at anything that I found pleasing for shyness of Allah, Mighty and Magnificient.’
The Key to Paradise by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali Pages 60-65