Abandoning Lusts and Desires

The ropes of life are a mere illusion with which glory is affected, but they were cut off at the time when desires were in touch with the pride of Pharaoh. As Musa, peace be upon him, threw his staff of asceticism and lo! it swallowed the sticks and desires.

This worldly life is a market where the clamour and tumult of desires fills the ears, therefore if you busy yourself with it, how would you be able to hear exhortation and beneficial preaching? The ‘ant-prince’ of proverbial help calls out to the righteous to save themselves as the tribulation of ‘Sulayman’, peace be upon him, approaches: desist your base nature from consuming those morsels of worldly delights that you so desire “lest Sulayman and his armies crush you, unperceiving” (al-Naml 27:18)

Among the “Seven people whom Allah will shade on the Day in which there is no shade but His” was a man who was seduced and invited by a beautiful woman but he refused her advances saying, ‘I fear Allah’, so pay heed, O you who answered the temptation of a deformed old woman. When desire sparks before your eyes of the pious, they attempt to stretch out with their hands to reach for it. However, their hearts notice the thread that would set off the trap that would ensnare them, so they flee from it beating the wings of warning, as they say to others, “I wish my people could know. Of how my Lord has forgiven me and placed me among the honoured.” (Yasin 36:26-27) Indeed, it is difficult to swim in lake infested by crocodiles, to travel through a land populated by beasts. O you who are chained in the backyard of this mortal existence, censure is looming over you, yet you are unable to hear the counsel of sincere advice, as the glue in your ear prevents you!

Many ruinous lusts and desires glimmer in your eyes, while the exhortations of Yaqub from within yourself, clenches its fingers to warn you from the punishment of the day of Judgement, yet you never pay heed to it. Woe to you, bring your ignorant self to the assembly of contemplation, for even Habib al-Ajmi changed after hearing the sermons of Hasan al-Basri.

O you who is settled in on his desires though he is but transient in this world; O you who wastes their capital of lifespan; when will you return to your senses? O you whose heart is blind to the degree that even Prophet Isa, may Allah be pleased with him, would not be able to heal it; O you whose idleness is even longer that the porch of the cave dwellers’ sleep; let us for the sake of argument, assume that death does not come all of a sudden! Do you not know what ailment might come all of a sudden?

Woe to you, precious little time is left for you so rush to benefit from what remains from the wick of the lamp of your lifespan; are you not even affected by the voice of exhortation? Do you not even feel pain from the lashes of the sermon?

O circle of misery, where is your beginning? O land of wandering, where is your end? O you whose suffering is like that of Ayyub, peace be upon him, how long will you remain living on garbage? Is it not high time for you to, “Strike the ground with your foot; this is a [spring for] a cool bath and drink.” (Sad 38:42)

O you who tarry from returning to your Lord, and yet do not join the journey of Pilgrimage; O you who is so far astray from guidance that no sacrifice can compensate for his sins, O you who abandoned the path of good conduct, and have detached from the group of the pious, when you come to the reckoning that the sickness of desire is leading to your death from expulsion from the Mercy of your Lord, and take witness of two trustworthy individuals over your will, then call your Lord in humility, regretting the moments you have missed without utilising them in good deeds.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 109-112