The Fear of Allah’s Decree and the wariness regarding one’s end disquieted the hearts of those who know their Lord. Then the ayah, “And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart.” (al-Anfal 8:24) further their anxiety. There is no comfort for them in this life, as whenever they enter a path of comfort their anxiety brings them out of it to the road of fear (of Allah). Their state is as the poet said: ‘Anxiety flicks my heart day and night, Though my appearance gives the impression that I am well.’
They were ignorant naive youth, but once they awakened spend the day and night translating their solid strong wills into actions, therefore when they paid the due debt of their mistakes their knowledge asserted they should beware of the expected reply [in response to their previous sins]. They longed to Allah so they sighed, and became anxious and thenceforth never felt at ease. Their breaths cannot be concealed, their souls are on the verge of perish; the colour of devotees is overwhelming, and their sorrowful tears betray their state – for indeed a wheel cannot roll without rumbling.
The mountains of hope crashed into the mountain of fear in the heart of the knower of his Lord, but upon the arrival of al-Isqandar of his thought, he called for the iron sheets of worry until, “when he had levelled them between the two mountain walls” (al-Khaf 18:96) then he commanded the soldiers of intellect and reasoning to “blow” (al-Khaf 18:96) upon which the anxious devotee invoked his lord for help as his concerns has piled up.
The devotee shall find no comfort in this life; if he feels he is viewed [from his Lord] he weeps for being distanced from his Lord, and if the gate of acceptance is opened for him, he fears being expelled. The state of such a person is like the poet said: ‘If his beloved goes far he cries longing to them, and if his beloved are near he cries fearing being set apart.’ Indeed he who has never tasted it shall never realise its meaning, as one poet said: ‘He whose heart has never been in love shall never understand how the heartache for the ones they yearn for. Departure is darker than night and anxiety of the heart is hotter than a burning ember.’
One time, the fear of Ibrahim ibn Adham [a Syrian Imam] reached its peak, causing him to shout out: O Allah, if you have granted any of those who love you that which would ease their hearts before meeting You, then I beg you to grant me that, for distress has harmed me. Later, he saw in is dream as if it were Allah, the Exalted, saying to him: O Ibrahim are you not ashamed of yourself? You ask Me to give you what would have put your heart at ease, even though you know well that the longing heart cannot be at ease until it meets the one it loves.
Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 71-73