As soon as you rise from a gathering of remembrance you should quickly make your way to the house of solitude, ensuring that you stay there for a while; seek the advice of your meditation, bring to account all the parties involved in the betrayal [i.e. limbs that committed sins during your stay with others], and gather up what negligence and laziness caused you to squander from the capital of your lifespan; grieve over every sin as well as every lost opportunity to perform a good deed.
Hasten to benefit from what remains! Let the delinquent collect what he has missed; let the one-eyed person be careful of stones thrown in his direction in case they hit his only sound eye.
Do not underestimate the value of even a simple good deed.
Your hearts have lost the way in the desolate land of vain desires so rise now on the feet of endeavour, pay no heed to the crowded road and strive to make full effort, seeking whatever means are available to you; just as Yaqub, peace be upon him, directed his sons, “go and find out about Yusuf and his brother and despair not of relief from Allah.” (Surah Yusuf 12:87) Take all means to recover what you have lost and do not despair from the Mercy of Allah; indeed many people have been healed though they were on the verge of ruin.
I wonder at how observant the bodily eyes are, even though the hearts have turned blind. If the spring and its flowers, the sounds of chanting and its lyrical cadences cannot move you, then who and what will? Woe to you: the mourning of doves is their expression of love; so if there was in your heart any place for loving your Lord, then cry just as al-Junayd used to weep, and you might chance upon the secrets of Sirin. Sell the wealth of you desires for the sake of the One who will reward you more richly, is you wish to attack the rank of Abu Yazid.
How many opportunities have called out to you but you have missed out! Indeed, the mercy of Allah is spacious and encompassing; it is only that ignorance is expelled by whatever contains it.
Woe to you, the fire of guidance has appeared from the tinder of sermons that carry admonition, so stand upon resolute feet and strive hard so that you might find guidance near this fire.
I wonder at those who have halted to a standstill at ‘if only Allah were to guide us!’ when they do not even seek out the means of guidance, because in reality “they did not intend except to flee.” (Surah al-Azhab 33:13) Woe to you, the troops of inaction have closed in, therefore, “Go forth, whether light or heavy, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.” (Surah al-Taubah 9:41)
And take from this life only the bare necessities that you need in order to reach your final destination – the Hereafter. Indeed, the demands of life and its vagaries can change one’s purpose and alter one’s course, causing the one walking on the path to Allah to falter, but “whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out” (Surah al-Talaq 65:2) Therefore whatever fate has decreed upon you in happiness of calamity “So let there not be in your breast distress therefrom.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:2) The indication of Allah’s love for you is that He safeguards and preserves you, your conviction of His Oneness. The instrument of admonishment is a whip to discipline the self and drive it away from the house of indolence. Thus what you may think is torture is actually a means by which to rectify your broken affairs: it is the slits cut in a garment that makes it a robe. Know that “If you had sinned, Allah would have replaced you with a people who would sin and then seek Allah’s forgiveness upon which he would forgive them.” (Recorded in Muslim 2749) Indeed, the outreach of love is what preserves the people of refinement, even if the love is buried deep down int he heart.
When Adam and Eve, peace be upon them, ate from the forbidden tree they found themselves encircled by calamitous dismay; thereupon they were hit by the rod of departure, banished from heaven and sent down to earth. nevertheless, it is the same One who sent them down Who asks every night, “Is there anyone asking me so that I may grant him his request? Is there anyone asking My forgiveness, so that I may forgive him?” (Recorded in Muslim 758)
O you who stand in the marketplace full of profit; what did you gain from your visit there? O you who has become cut off from the path of spiritual connection; will you not get back on track? Did you dedicate yourself to your Lord, or to everything else except Him? O Munkar and Nakir [the Angels questioning the deceased in the grave] go down to meet one who has just left the gardens of profit that is located in the house of action and transaction [dunya] and see whether he decided to bring out with him [to the next life] a thorn of doubt, or a rose of certainty with which to perfume his mouth when given an affirmative reply of “Yes, indeed” to the question “and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them]: ‘Am I not your Lord?” (Surah al-Araf 7:172)
Then see whether his good deeds changed his state of prolonged heedlessness? Are the blemishes of the kind that is excused by Allah? Does the water of his tawhid reach the size of Qullatayn [the level which will make something pure]? At any rate, Allah will look after him, but what is his condition?!
Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 211-215