Incapacity and Lassitude

When the pious supporters of Allah find themselves engulfed in the darkness of this wordily life, they cut off the threads of their desires by striving and through self discipline. The paths leading to safety have been lit up for them and they make acquaintance with one another along the way. Whenever the lightning of hope flashed they walk forward, and when the night of fearing Allah arrives, they stand still in order to pray; therefore they are forever shifting between the state of fear and hope, such that when people see them, they think them to be insane.

During the daytime, the devotee is in a state of anguish due to his being conspicuous among the throngs. The bulbul of his thoughts and feelings is as if locked in a cage that keeps him from revealing his true state and condition. It is only upon the arrival of the breezes of late does his soul transcend to a state of indescribable divine comfort that extends from the palace of wishes to the land of hope, upon which the yearning traveller starts feeing the gentle breeze of ease while being immersed in a feeling of passion.

O brother and sisters, the day of the one grieving is as dark as his night, and the night of one unaccepted [by Allah] is like his day. O you whose sight is too blind to discern the path of the pious, Allah has restored your eyes for you so that you can see the path. However, this is a matter that does not reveal itself to a heart darkened by desires until it is first polished with self-struggle. Your terrain is full of thorns of sin, but had you surrendered it to the One who would cultivate and develop it for you, you would have certainly had different results “[It will be] on the Day the earth will be replaced by another earth.” (Surah Ibrahim 14:48)

Woe to you: your state of bankruptcy [i.e. no account of good deeds] is a result of your dangling between the state of incapacity and slackness.

Whenever the pious used to hear a sermon, it would implant within their hearts a palm tree of strong resolve and lofty endeavour, whereas the effect of a sermon on your heart is only to grow a few grassy shrubs.

I truly wonder at this! I do not know who I ought to describe these people to! Because I feel as if I am reciting the Surah of Yusuf to Rubel! O you who is expelled (from Allah’s Mercy) yet do not realise it, know that the pain of lashes can only be felt by a person with some feeling left in him, because by Allah, if you were really distressed by Allah’s turning away from you, you would never have been in a comfortable state! Your example with respect to lethargy and apathy is like the two companions of the Judhaymh; but sadly this admonishment falls on a heart that is deaf!

This rebuke might have been effective had the one being rebuked any sensibility whatsoever! Had there been embers, I would have tried to blow on it hoping to get a fire started; and despite there being a field ready to be harvested, food is still unavailable. The fence of your piety is full of breaches, and your foes have already surrounded your land, there time is precious little time, so do not delay any longer in rectifying your deeds. Be generous, before your are judged and criticised. Woe to you, the moment of your departure from this world is ever near, yet you have neither set aside yourself fruits of good deeds to stave away the pangs of your hunger, nor filled your bottle with the drops of your tears, to cool down the heat of your midday sun. Spare, yourself with earnest resolve earnestly for the long journey ahead of you, and thus live, without falling  into the traps of your desirous self.

O you who is left alone in the desert of his desires, cut off from his companions, hasten so that you might catch up with your people because the leader of your traveling group does care for the straggling members of his group; press on ahead without making any stops, even if your feet have become swollen. If you are held up on your way by the caravan of fatigue, seclude yourself up from everyone and call out for help while shifting between hope and fear of your Lord.

O hermit of this monastery, has any travelling caravan passed by you? How sad it is for one whose regret is of benefit for him no longer. This is because hands of idleness and languor manipulated his time; thus he needed up lost, and the palms of old age broke apart the hand-hold of his youth, and thus he ended up ruined.

O you who pray at night, kindly intercede for those who spend their nights in slumber; O you whose heart is alive, be so kind as to ask for the Mercy of Allah to be bestowed upon the one whose heart is dead; O you, the ambassadors of endeavour, kindly deliver the letters of the distressed.

Seeds of Admonishment and Reform by Imam Ibn Jawzi Pages 192-195