Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah
While thousands of Muslims are killed all over the world, and while tens of thousands are imprisoned and tortured for calling to the path of Allah and for enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, most Muslims remain remarkably silent and have no worry except for the material things of life. Their hearts have been filled with the love of this life and the forgetfulness of the Hereafter.
Allah says in the Qur'an: "You will indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life, even more than those who do not believe in Resurrection. Each one of them wishes he could be given a life of a thousand years. But the grant of such life will not save him even a little from due punishment. For Allah sees well all that they do" (Al Baqarah, 2:96). Many Muslims today have become so much attached to their life that their desire is to dwell among their family, house, money and commerce. They have forgotten that matters of the Hereafter should come before matters of this life and that we must strive to follow the orders of Allah, not just those we find easy and convenient to follow. Some Muslims today claim that it is better to perform extra prayers and extra fasting rather than enjoin the good and forbid the evil or defend the lives of weak Muslims. Such people would even blame the Muslims who strive to perform these obligations.
This is what Ibn al-Qayyim had to say about such people: ''The Shaitan has misled most people by beautifying for them the performance of certain voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary prayers and voluntary fasting while neglecting other obligatory acts of worship such as enjoining the good and eradicating the evil, to the extent that they do not even make the intention of performing them whenever they are able to. Such people are considered by the scholars to be on the bottom of the scale of religion: For the essence of our religion is to perform what Allah ordered us to do. The one who does not perform his obligations is actually worse than the one who performs sins.
Anyone having some knowledge about the revelation of Allah, the guidance of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, and the life of the companions would conclude that those who are pointed at today as the most pious people are in fact the least pious. Indeed, what kind of piety is there in a person who witnesses Allah's sanctities being violated, his religion abandoned, the Sunnah of His Messenger shunned, and yet remains still with a cold heart and a shut mouth' Such a person is like a dumb Shaitan! In the same way the one who talks falsehood is a speaking Shaitan. Isn't the misfortune of Islam due only to those who whenever their life and food are secure, would not care about what happens to the religion? The best among them would offer a sorry face. But if they were challenged in one of the things their heart is attached to like their money, they would spare no efforts to get it back. These people, besides deserving the anger of Allah, are afflicted with the greatest calamity without even knowing it: They have a dead heart. Indeed the more alive a person's heart is, the stronger its anger for the sake of Allah and the more complete his support to Islam and Muslims." (A'alaam al-Muwaqqi'een, volume 2, page 176).
The Hardened Heart
Imam Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah
Excerpted from the translator's footnotes to "An Explanation of Riyadh al-Saliheen"
by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen
The slave is not afflicted with a punishment greater than the hardening of the heart and being distant from Allah. For the Fire was created to melt the hardened heart. The most distant heart from Allah is the heart which is hardened. If the heart becomes hardened, the eye becomes dry.
If four matters are exceeded in quantity, beyond what is necessary, the heart shall become hardened:
Food, sleep, speech and sexual intercourse. A body afflicted by disease does not derive nourishment from food or water, similarly a heart diseased by desire does not benefit from admonishment or exhortation.
Whosoever desires to purify his heart, then let him prefer Allah to his desires.
The heart which is clinging to its desires is veiled from Allah, commensurate to the degree that it is attached to them. The hearts are the vessels of Allah upon His earth, hence the most beloved of them to Him, are the ones most compassionate, pure and resistant to deviation.
They (the transgressors) preoccupied their hearts [in the pursuance] of the Dunya, would that they preoccupied them with Allah and the Hereafter, then surely they would have reflected upon the intended meaning of His poignant Words and Verses. Their hearts would have returned to their masters with a wisdom, marvelously curious and [in possession] of the rarest of precious gems.
If the heart is nourished with remembrance, its thirst quenched with contemplation and cleansed from corruption, it shall witness remarkable and wondrous matters, inspiring wisdom.
Not every individual is endowed with knowledge and wisdom, and assumes its character is from amongst its people. Rather the People of Knowledge and Wisdom are those who infused life into their hearts by slaying their desires. As for the one who slayed his heart and vitalized his desires, then knowledge and wisdom is naked upon his tongue.
The destruction of the heart occurs by security [in this Dunya] and negligence, its fortification occurs by fear and remembrance. If the heart renounces the pleasures of the Dunya, it settles upon the [pursuance] of the pleasures of the Hereafter, and amongst those who call towards it. Should the heart become content with the pleasures of the Dunya, those pleasures [of the Hereafter] cease [to continue].
Yearning for Allah and His meeting is like the gentle breeze blowing upon the heart, extinguishing the blaze of the Dunya. Whosoever caused his heart to settle with his Lord shall be in a state, calm and tranquil, and whosoever sent it amongst the people shall be disturbed and excessively perturbed.
For the love of Allah shall not enter a heart which contains the love of this world, except as a camel which passes through the eye of a needle.
Hence, the most beloved servant before Allah is the one whom He places in His servitude, whom He selects for His love, whom He causes to purify his worship for Him, dedicates his objectives for Him, his tongue for His remembrance, and his limbs for His service.
The heart becomes sick, as the body becomes sick, and its remedy is al-Tawbah and protection [from transgression].
It becomes rusty as a mirror becomes rusty, and its clarity isv obtained by remembrance.
It becomes naked as the body becomes naked, and its beautification is al-Taqwa.
It becomes hungry and thirsty as the body becomes hungry, and its food and drink is knowledge, love, dependence, repentance and servitude.
Translated from al-Fawa'id by Sajad ibn `Abdur Rahman, © 1998 Sajad Rana