This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
When the heart has become sound, it will not care anymore for one who disagrees with it and one who agrees with it, one who praises it and one who dispraises it, one who gives it and one who deprives it, one who draws it near and one who keeps it at a distance, one who accepts it and one who rejects it. The sound heart becomes filled with belief in the oneness of God, trust, certitude, faith, and nearness to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). It sees all creatures in light of their powerlessness, humiliation; and poverty, but it does not show arrogance even to the young child. It becomes like a lion at the time of meeting the disbelievers, hypocrites, and disobedient ones — because of its zeal for Allah (high is He); and it shows humility and homage toward the righteous, the pious, those who practice pious restraint. Allah has described the people who have these attributes saying: “Hard against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves” (from 48.29). When the servant becomes like this, he becomes beyond the comprehension of the creatures, outside their domain of control, victorious, and a manifestation of those described in the following words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “And He creates what you do not know” (from 16.8). All of this is the fruit of the belief in the oneness of God, sincerity, and patience.
When our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) endured what came his way with patience, he was raised up to the seventh heaven, where he saw his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and drew near to Him. This edifice was erected for him after he firmly laid the foundations of patience. All good things are obtainable by patience, which is why Allah (mighty and glorified is He) mentioned it and stressed its importance as the best Speaker said: “O you who believe, be patient, urge each other to be patient, remain steadfast, and be pious to Allah so that you may succeed!” (3.200). O Allah, make us among those who are patient, perfectly following them in word and work, in our private and public lives, in appearance and in essence, in all of our states, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”
* Endure with patience the rulings of the Law so that Knowledge will be unveiled to you. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) has commanded you to be patient, so be patient. He ordered His Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) in particular and you in general to be patient. The command is for him and for you also. He (high is He) has said: “Then be patient [O Muhammad!] as the messengers of determination were also patient” (from 46.35). [He meant:] “Be patient with Me, O Muhammad, as they were patient with Me and endured My decrees and My destiny about their families, property, and children, as well as the harm that the creatures caused them.” They confronted all that with endurance, but how little endurance you have! I do not see among you anyone who would bear a word from his mate or excuse him. Learn from the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) his good manners and deeds in the outset so that comfort will come to you in the end.
* Woe to you! Remember the hunger of the starving, the nakedness of the naked, the illness of the ill, and the imprisonment of the prisoners and then you will find that your affliction has become easier to bear. Remember the terrifying ordeal of the dead on the Day of Resurrection. Remember the foreknowledge of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) about you, His caring for you, and His foreordination for you and then you will feel a sense of shame in His presence. If you find yourself in anguish, remember your sins, repent from them and say to your lower self: “It is because of your sins the True One (mighty and glorified is He) has distressed you.” If you repent from your sins and be pious to the True One (mighty and glorified is He), He will provide for you an outlet from every grief and an exit from every distress. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said: “And whoever is pious to Allah He will appoint for him a way out, and He will provide for him from whence he did not expect. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him. Allah will attain His purpose” (from 65.2‑3).
The sensible person is one who is truthful and is distinguishable from the liars by his truthfulness. Adhere to truthfulness instead of telling lies, steadfastness instead of running away, advancing instead of backsliding, patience instead of impatience, thankfulness instead of ingratitude, satisfaction instead of dissatisfaction, compliance instead of disputation, and certitude instead of suspicion. If you comply and do not dispute, thank and do not show ungratefulness, be satisfied and do not be discontent, and be calm and do not have doubts then: “Is Allah not sufficient for His servant?” (from 39.36).
* O you who are poor, endure your poverty with patience and then affluence will come to you in this world and the hereafter. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The poor who endure their poverty with patience are the companions of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) on the Day of Resurrection.” Those who bear their poverty with patience are the companions of Allah, today [in this world] by their hearts and tomorrow [on the Day of Resurrection] by their bodies. As for those who are in need of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) only, who accompany Him with patience, and who are indifferent to anything other than Him, their hearts are reassured, attracted [to Him], and do not accept anyone other than Him. The case is similar to what Allah (mighty and glorified is He) said about Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him): “And We had caused him to refuse the wet‑nurses” (from 28.12).
* There is no believer who will not, at the moment of death, have the veil removed from his eyes so that he can see what is his in Paradise. The houris and young servants will wave to him and fragrances from Paradise will reach him, so death and its stupor taste good to him. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) will do to him as He did to Pharaoh’s wife Āsyā (may Allah show mercy to her). Pharaoh subjected her to all kinds of torture before thrusting iron spikes into her hands and feet. The veil was then removed from her eyes and the doors of heaven were opened wide for her so she saw Paradise and its contents. She saw the angels building a house in Paradise, so she said: “My Lord, build for me a house in Paradise in Your presence!” (from 66.11). She was told: “This is yours,” so she laughed. Pharaoh said: “Have not I told you that she is crazy? Do not you see how she laughs in the midst of torture?” The same happens to the believers who see at the moment of death what they have with Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Some of them come to know this before death; they are those who are brought near, singled out, and wanted.
* Woe to you! How can you tell others to endure with patience when you are impatient? How can you tell him to give thanks in return for the favors when you have given up thankfulness? How can you tell him to be satisfied with the divine decree when you are dissatisfied? How can you tell him to renounce this world when you are full of desires about it? How can you tell him to yearn for the hereafter when you have renounced it? How can you tell him to trust Allah (mighty and glorified is He) when you have relied on other than Him? You are hated by the True One (mighty and glorified is He), the angels, and the hearts of the truthful and the righteous of His servants. You must have heard this poetry by one of them:
Do not advise people to avoid a certain action only for you to commit it.
This would be a great shame on you.1
You are filled with concerns with the creatures and filled with hypocrisy so no doubt you weigh lighter than the wing of a mosquito in the sight of Allah. You are with the hypocrites in the lowest level of the Fire.
* The truthful person offers thanks for the favors he receives, endures with patience the punishments, carries out the commandments, and keeps away from the prohibitions. This is how the hearts are developed. Offering thanks for receiving favors increases them, and enduring with patience the punishments removes and mitigates them. Endure with patience the death of your children and other family members, the loss of property, being dishonored, the failure of worldly interests, and the harm caused by the creatures and then you will receive a great deal of good. When you thank for being in easy circumstances and show patience in hard times, the wing of your faith will become fully fledged and strengthen and your heart and innermost being will fly to the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He).
How can you lay claim to faith when you have no patience? Have you not heard this saying of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “Patience to faith is like the head to the body”? If you do not have patience, then your faith is without a head, so its body is worthless. If you know the One who sends the affliction, you will bear His affliction. If you know this world, you will not fall into disobedience by seeking it. O Allah, guide everyone who has gone astray, forgive every disobedient person, give patience to every afflicted person, and guide to thankfulness everyone who is free of afflictions. Amen.
* Be pious and be patient. The head of religion is patience and its body is action. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Patience to faith is like the head to the body.” No action can be completed without having patience with the decree of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Be patient, be steadfast, and practice pious restraint. Practice pious restraint both in your public and private lives, renounce the allotted worldly shares of others, and turn away from yours.
* O young man, when your standing at the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) has lasted long enough, your greed and desires will diminish and your politeness will increase. Patience removes the lustful desires. Patience eradicates the person’s habits, eliminates his reliance on means, and overthrows the false gods. You are under an illusion. You are ignorant of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His messengers, His saints, and the elite of His creatures (Allah’s prayer and peace be on them). You lay claim to renunciation, yet you long for this world! Your renunciation has no foundations. How can you long for this world and to the creatures but do not yearn for your Lord (mighty and glorified is He)? Think well [of me] and cultivate good behavior so that I may guide you to the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), show you the path to it, strip you of your clothes of arrogance, and vest you with clothing of humility.
1 The poet is Abū Al‑Aswad Ad‑Dū’lī (608‑688) who is credited with being the first one to write the Arabic grammar.