Healing the Soul

The mind is the associate of the heart, and the inherent nature is the fellow of the desires of the self, therefore do not forge a close alliance near your desires for indeed what stands close to you will drag you along with it. The surrounding walls of the heart are built upon the pillars of the mind (intellect and reasoning) whereas the tent of the self is installed on the strings of desires. Dilute the effect of your inborn nature’s intoxication by mixing it with the water of self-discipline; strengthen the potency of your mental faculties with the mountains of piety. Indeed, the fluid of your inherent nature is salty whereas the fluid of the divine law is sweet but trials have conflated both together. The illumination of the faculties (intellect and reasoning) lights the darkness of the innate nature, upon which the right path becomes clear to the traveller, because when the tinder of thoughts is kindled, it sights the consequences of catastrophes.

The intelligence of the Prophet Yusuf, peace be upon him, led him to comprehend the consequences of evil actions, whereas Zalikha’s [the wife of Pharaoh] innate nature only picked out the immediate outcome. Endurance is heroic, and patience is characteristic of true men. The sensibility of Yusuf, peace be upon him, restrained him from evil, whereas Zalikha’s instinctive nature is what made her drift into it. Yet note that I am not advising you to uproot the tree of your desires – and in fact it is not possible to do so – because Allah, Most High, has said, “The love of desires have been beautified for people.” (Al-Imran 3:14)

Rather, I advise you to persist in the struggle of your corporeal self so that whenever branches of your desires grow high, prune them. And whenever your pruning instrument becomes worn out and blunt, sharpen it again. Be content with settling in the paddock of humility of your Lord, because a prisoner should be busy with Paradise, so leave off satisfying your vain desires.

O my brothers and sisters, whoever brings forth an account corrupted by betrayal is surely ashamed of reviewing the constitution [the Qur’an]. And whosoever’s garments have been stained with sins shall be distant from those close to Allah. And whosever’s reputation has been tarnished by sins, will be humiliated in the midst of the honoured ones, and whoever mounts negligence shall surely dismount in the land of regret.

Prophet Dawud, peace be upon him, was bestowed such a beautiful and resonant voice that even running water would stop upon hearing it, and birds would stand before him in humility like prisoners. Yet despite of it, when the affliction of, “do not follow what you have no knowledge of” (al-Israr 17:36) tore off the shield of “…tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts” (Nur 24:30) His eyes stretched their sight out to where they should not be so they tore apart his shirt of irreproachability such as the one Yusuf, peace be upon him, had worn when he refused the advances of the wife of Aziz, and so his error even distorted the beauty of his recitation. Ma’am al-Wisal used to look after his vocal instrument but when he inclined towards sins he abandoned looking after what he had maintained, and so the house of purity came apart, and the rewards of the soldiers stopped and so the soldiers deserted. Indeed that is a sound whose ointment is rare to find!

When Prophet Dawud, peace be upon him, wanted to mourn, his servants would call out: Whoever wished to hear the mourns of Dawud, peace be upon him, let him gather here, so all the mourners would gather at the place of mourning, and the sorrowful emotions would increase.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam ibn Jawzi Pages 81-83