Four Categories of People: [Their Understanding of The Straight Path And The Path of The Disbelievers, And What Led Many In The Ummah to Misguidance – [By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [reahimahullaah] said:

Allaah [The Most High] said:[ وَكَذَٲلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ وَلِتَسۡتَبِينَ سَبِيلُ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَ – And thus do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that the way of the Mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners), may become manifest. [Surah Al-An’aam. Aayah 55]

Those who know Allaah, His Book and His Religion are acquainted with the path of the believers and that of the criminals in detail- the two paths are clearly visible to them, just as a path leading to its destination and the path leading to destruction are made clearly visible. They are the most knowledgeable amongst the creation, the ones that benefit [the people] the most, the ones with the most useful advice for [the people] and they are an evidence of right guidance.

This is why the Sahaabah have excelled all those to come after them until the Day of Judgment, for indeed they were brought up upon the path of misguidance, shirk and paths leading to destruction, and they knew them in detail.  Then the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] came to them and took them out from darkness into complete light- out from shirk [and entered them] into Tawheed; out from ignorance [and into] knowledge; out from misguidance [and] into guidance; out from oppression [and] into justice; out from confusion and blindness [and] into guidance and clear sightedness. They knew the worth of that which they received and were triumphant by way of it.  [They knew the worth] of that which was contained in what they [received], since what is in opposition to the [truth and right guidance] reveals the goodness of what it opposes,  because [upright] affairs are made clear by way of their opposites. So they increased in desire and love of that which they embraced, disliked and hated that which they had turned away from. And of all the people, they had the most love for Tawheed, Imaan and Islaam, and had the most hatred for that which was in opposition to it.  They were the most knowledgeable of the path in detail.

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: As for those who came after the Sahaabah, amongst them is that one who was brought up in Islaam but knows not what is in opposition to it. Therefore, some of the details of the path of the believers and that of the criminals became confusing to him, for indeed confusion occurs due to the weakness of one’s knowledge regarding both paths or one of them, as Umar Ibnul Khattaab [radiyallaahu-anhu] said: ‘The bonds of Islaam will be undone one after the other when a people who grew up in Islaam know not what Jaahiliyyah [Pre-Islamic Ignorance] is.’’ This [statement shows an aspect of] Umar’s perfect knowledge [of Islaam].

And there is that one who is neither acquainted with the path of the criminals nor has it been made clear to him, or he has doubts and thus thinks that some of their ways are from the ways of the believers. This has occurred in this Ummah in many affairs of Aqeedah, Knowledge and Action regarding the path of the criminals, the disbelievers and the enemies of the Messengers, [which] was brought into the path of the believers by the one who does not know the [detailed distinction between] the path of believers and the path of the criminals, so he called to [this path], excommunicate the one in opposition and declares lawful that which Allaah and His Messenger made unlawful, just as what has occurred with many of the people of bidah, such as the Jahmiyyah, the Qadariyyah, the Khawaarij, the Rawaafid and their ilk- among those who initiated an innovation, called to it and excommunicated those who opposed it.

The people are four categories in this subject matter [i.e. the obligation of having knowledge of the path of the believers and that of the criminals in detail]. The First Group: They are those who know the path of the believers and that of the criminals in detail-in both knowledge and action; they are the most knowledgeable amongst the creation.

The Second Group: They are those to whom both paths are invisible- those resembling animals.  The path of the criminals is conjured for them and they follow it. The Third Group: It is that one who concerns himself with (seeking) knowledge of the path of the believers and not its opposite.  He only knows (the path of the criminals) by way of its opposition to the (path of the believers) and in a general way, and [holds] that all that is in opposition to the path of the believers is falsehood, even though that is not illustrated to him in detail.  Rather, when he hears some of that which contradicts the path of the believers, he turns away and does not preoccupy himself in understanding and knowing its falsity.  This person is in a state (similar) to one who is safeguarded from following desires- whose heart is neither put at risk nor is he called to (such desires), as opposed to those who are aware of (such desires) and their souls are inclined towards them, but they strive against it for the Sake of Allaah. A letter was written to Umar Ibnul Khattaab (radiyallaahu-anhu) and he was asked about this affair, as to which of the two men is the better- a man who is not put at risk by way of desires and does not go through its difficulties, or a man who is pushed towards it but abandons it for the Sake of Allaah?  Umar (radiyallaahu-anhu) wrote back saying: The one who is desirous of sin but abandons it for the Sake of Allaah is from ‘those whose hearts Allaah has tested for piety. For them there is forgiveness and a great reward.’ [Surah Hujuraat. Ayah: 3]

The Fourth Group: This group knows the path of evil, bidah and kufr in detail and the path of the believers in general.  This is the situation of many of those who concern themselves with the beliefs of the previous nations and that of the people of bidah.  They are acquainted with (these affairs) in detail, but not with what the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) came with; rather they are acquainted with it in general even though they may know some of its affairs in detail.  Whoever examines their books will see that. Likewise, those who know the paths of evil, oppression and corruption in detail and are followers of it; if they repent, abandon these (affairs) and return to the path of the pious believers, then their knowledge of it will only be general.  They will not be acquainted with it in that detailed manner known to those who spend their lives (studying) its regulations and ways.

The Objective: Indeed, Allaah (Glorified be He) loves that one should know the path of His enemies in order to avoid and hate it, just as the path of the His awliyaa (close friends) is known and followed.

[An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa’d pages 167-180’. slightly paraphrased]



Ten Things That Will Bring About Loss – [By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah)]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said:

There are ten things that bring about loss and they do not bring benefit:

knowledge that is not acted upon; a deed that is neither accompanied by sincerity nor adherence [to the Qur’aan and authentic Sunnah]; wealth that is not spent- neither enjoyed in this Dunyah by the one who gathers it nor brings about reward in the afterlife; a heart that is emptied of love of Allaah-neither has a desire nor wants to get close to Allaah; a body that is devoid of strength in  worshipping Allaah and the performance of deeds [in Allaah’s Cause]; a love that is not based on what Allaah loves and fulfilment of His commandments; time that is not spent in regaining that which has been lost [due to negligence, sinning etc] nor utilised to do good and as a means of drawing close to Allaah; a mind that is engaged in thinking about that which is of no benefit; serving a person with a service to him that will neither draw you close to Allaah nor rectify your worldly affairs; your fear and hope regarding that one who is under Allaah’s Power and Authority, one confined under Allaah’s complete control, one who neither owns the power to hurt nor benefit, neither owns the power to cause death nor give life, nor of raising the dead.

The greatest of these loses are two and they are the basis of every loss: Loss related to the heart and loss related to time. Loss related to the heart occurs when one prefers this worldly life over the afterlife, and loss related to time occurs when one has prolonged hope [without taking the necessary steps to obey Allaah and His Messenger]. All corruption is gathered in following desires and having a prolonged hope [without performing good deeds], and all the means to rectification are found in following [upright] guidance and  preparing to meet Allaah. And Allaah’s aid is sought.

How strange is the affair of that one, who when he is in need, turns to Allaah to seek what he desires, so that it is fulfilled for him; however, he does not ask Allaah to give life to his heart [i.e. Eemaan and performance of righteous deed],  protect it from ignorance and the act of turning away from Allaah that will kill the heart [i.e. destroy the heart through misguidance], cure it from the disease of Shahawaat [i.e. vain desires] and Shubuhaat [i.e. affairs that resemble the truth but ae falsehood in reality]; but when the heart is killed by [sin, heedlessness etc], it cannot perceive its sinfulness.  [An Excerpt from Al-Fawaa-id. Pages 171-172. Abridged and Paraphrased]

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Sincerity Stops The Heart From Becoming Infatuated With Images

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: Hearts that are emptied of Love for Allaah -hearts that are turned away from Him and seeking remedy from others besides Him- are afflicted with an infatuation with images; for when the heart is filled with Love of Allaah and a strong love for meeting Him [i.e. in the hereafter], this infatuation with images is repelled from it.  And for this reason, Allaah [The Most High] stated about Yusuf [alayhis-salaam]: [كَذَٰلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاءَ ۚ إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ -Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves]. This shows that sincerity to [Allaah] is a means to repelling [evil]. And because of this, some of the Salaf said: ‘’Infatuation is an agitation in empty hearts.” Meaning: [Hearts] emptied of other than what they crave for.

[Source: An excerpt from At-Tibbun Nabawiy’ by Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) with the footnotes and checking of Al-Allaamah Muhammad Haamid Al-Faqee (rahimahullaah) page180. slightly paraphrased]


The Heart Cannot Be Rectified Until It is Safeguarded From Five Things And The Decayed Heart Whose Owner Is Unaware of Its State- By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَا تُقَدِّمُواْ بَيۡنَ يَدَىِ ٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ

O you who believe! Do not put (yourselves) forward before Allah and His Messenger. [49:1]

Meaning: Do not say [anything in the religion] until he [sallal-laahu alayhi-wasallam] speaks and do not do [anything in the religion] until he commands you. Some of the Salaf said: There is no [religious] deed-even if it is small-except that it raises two [questions]: Why and How? Meaning: Why am I doing it and in what manner will I perform it?

The first affair is related to the main reason, cause and motive behind the action: Is the deed performed because of the share [i.e. goods] of worldly life received by the performer and the personal desires related to this worldly life, such as love of praise from the people or fear of rebuke; or to secure the beloved things of this temporal worldly life; or to repel those temporal hated affairs of this worldly life; or is it for the purpose of actualising servitude to Allaah, seeking after His love and a means of getting close to Him? The objective behind this question is: Is it obligated on you to perform this deed for the Sake of your Protected [or Guardian (Allaah)], or do you perform it in order to receive your share of this worldly life, or out of a mere desire of yours? The second affair is related to your adherence to the path of the Messenger in that act of worship– meaning: Is that deed something legislated by Allaah through the [authentic] Sunnah of His Messenger or is it a deed which Allaah has neither legislated nor is He pleased with it?

Therefore, the first affair is a question about sincerity and the second affair is a question about adherence to the path of the Messenger. The heart cannot be completely sound until it is safe from five affairs: Safe from Shirk which is the opposite of Tawheed; Safe from bidah which is the opposite of Sunnah; Safe from lusts which is the opposite of obedience; Safe from heedlessness which is opposite of being in a state of remembrance of Allaah, and safe from desires which is the opposite of adherence to the Sunnah and Sincerity.[1]

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] also said: Glorified be Allaah! How many a heart is decayed yet its owner is unaware of it! How many [a person] is put to trial by the praises he [receives] from the people, deceived by Allaah’s concealment of his [sins, shortcomings etc] and being gradually led to destruction through the blessings Allaah bestowed upon him [i.e. he utilizes those blessings to commit sins and feels safe from punishment]. All these affairs are a punishment and humiliation, whilst the ignorant one thinks that it is nobility. [2]

[1]: [Source: An Excerpt from بدائع التفسير الجامع لما فسَّره الإمام ابن القيم الجوزية slightly paraphrased. Vol 2. Page: 276-277]; [2]: [Al-Jawaab Al-Kaafi: page 140]