Thursday, 28 February 2013

Ibn al-Qayyim: 10 Useless Matters


Ibn al-Qayyim: 10 Useless Matters

The Hafiz of Damascus Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah says in his wonderful book on wisdom and exhortation Kitab al-Fawa’id there are ten useless matters that benefit no-one.
  1. Knowledge that is not acted on.
  2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is it based on following the righteous examples of others.
  3. Money that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter.
  4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah, and of seeking closeness to Him.
  5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah.
  6. Loving Allah without following His orders or seeking His pleasure.
  7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good.
  8. A mind that thinks about useless matters.
  9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah, nor benefit you in your life.
  10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand; while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself, nor death, nor life; nor can he resurrect himself.
However two matters are the severest and they both are the source of all things useless: wasting the heart and wasting time.
Wasting the heart is when one prefers this worldly life over the Hereafter, and wasting time is done by having incessant hope. Destruction occurs by following one’s desires and having incessant hope, while all goodness is found in following the right path and preparing oneself to meet Allah.
How strange it is that when a servant of Allah has a [worldly] problem, he seeks help of Allah, but he never asks Allah to cure his heart before it dies of ignorance, neglect, fulfilling one’s desires and being involved in innovations. Indeed, when the heart dies, he will never feel the significance or impact of his sins.

1. Knowledge that is not acted on
As Muslims we seek knowledge from a young age, some of us attended evening madrasa's others were taught at home, but we then grow up in a system where we study at college, and then University. And if we are lucky we apply those skills and knowledge at our work place. Here's a thought: Do we apply the Islamic knowledge we have learned? Do we attend Islamic courses and seminars then pass the messages or important lessons to our friends and family?

1. The da`wah carrier of all people must be far from failing to act on what he/she knows. How can we know the obligation of re-establishing the khilafah but not move our limbs to work for it?
2. How can there be incongruence between our knowledge and actions? This is weakness in faith (iman).
3. How can we have general knowledge of our individual and collective duties yet see no reason to fulfill them?
4. What worth is knowledge if they merely reside in the mind as information or hoarded in our computers, books and libraries?
5. We of all people must strive and hasten to implement the shari`ah rulings that we know and learn. 
Tip number 1
Those are questions for you to ask yourself, so here is tip number 1, how to overcome useless matter 1: Knowledge that is not acted on
After learning something new from talks, circles, courses etc, try and spread it amongst your brothers and sisters (and mum and dad) at home. For example today I learnt this hadith:

Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrates, “The Prophet (saw) passed by me once while I was planting some crops. He said, 'O Abu Hurayrah! What are you planting?' I answered, 'some crops.' The Prophet said, 'shall I inform you of crops which are far better than all this? Saying: “SubhanAllah" – 'Glory be to Allah' and “Alhamdulillah" – 'All praise and thanks is for Allah alone', and “Laa ilaha ilAllah" – 'There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah', and “Allahu Akbar" – 'Allah is Greater than everything'. With every one of these [words], a tree will be planted for you in paradise'." (Ibn Majah)
2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is based on following the righteous examples of others
This is like doing things for the sake of it. For some of us, we give charity but do we do it for the sake of Allah or to show others? Or another great example, we do wudu many times a day, but what goes through our heads?
1. Sincerity (ikhlas) is a duty (wajib) on all Muslims – and must be the staple attribute especially of the da`wah carrier.
2. This means abandoning any form of ostentatious worship (riya’), i.e. to avoid impressing other people.
3. Ikhlas is an interior action of the heart (a`mal al-qulub) that only Allah and the servant know.
4. One’s insincerity can be obscure (khafy) until it is brought into sharp focus through scrutinizing and accounting/introspection of the ego-self (muhasabat al-nafs).
5. The motive of the da`wah carrier in acts of worship (`ibadat) must be Allah and His pleasure and nothing else.
6. Position in the community, status, public perception and profile are not the primary or secondary objectives of the da`wah carrier. They must not underpin the reason why he/she does an action.
7. How can we as da`wah carriers demonstrate and follow the best model of conduct and behavior if we do not understand or know the best example for mankind – our beloved Prophet (saw)?
8. How can we influence and change others if we ourselves exhibit no qualities that will transform hearts and minds?
9. How can we be people who fail and neglect to read the lives of the best generation, e.g. that of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them all), and then the tabi`i, the atibba` al-tabi`in as well as the lives of the salihin, awliya’ and `ulama’?   
Tip number 2
When doing a good action like charity, prayer, fasting etc, think about it. Think about Allah and the Prophet in your heart and try not to think about what you are going to eat for lunch, or what to wear when you are going out in the evening!
3. Money that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life nor obtains any reward for it in the Hereafter
If you're really good at saving money, (which I am not!) you probably have thousands of pounds stashed away in your numerous bank accounts. What benefits will that bring you, any idea?
1. The da`wah carrier must remember that he/she is not the real or true owner of wealth but is merely a trustee of it.
2. Allah alone is Owner.
3. In the service of the struggle for the din, we may – no we will have to – sacrifice dear and cherished things (objects, items, possessions, etc) and will have to spend it in the way of this service knowing that Allah will multiply it manifold.
4. The da`wah carrier is never a hoarder of wealth and this should not be one of his/her attributes.  
Tip number 3
Try and use your money effectively, give to the poor, pay zakat, give Qard Hasana and save too with an aim to go Hajj, pay your families debt off and other useful reasons.
4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah, and of seeking closeness to Him.
Our hearts are sometimes filled with worldly affairs, so much so that we forget about Allah. Instead our hearts are thinking about food, (what's mum cooking for dinner) and clothes, our loved ones and our favourite past times (Arsenal the best team in the world!).
All that fills our hearts, and sometimes loneliness too, and the love of this dunya, you can see the list can go on and on and on.
This is why it's important to have time to yourself and reflect on life and remember Allah. Here's a great quote I found in a nasheed:
"If you ask me about love, and what I know about it. My answer will be it's everything about Allah, the PURE LOVE..."(Maher Zain Nasheed)
1. How is it possible for the da`wah carrier to be empty of love for Allah (swt)?
2. How can a sign (`alamah) of love of Allah be to avoid following his commands? A sign of love is obedience.
3. He/she must be constantly infused and invigorated by the love of Allah – prepared to offer his/her life for Him.
4. His/her heart must be developed and nourished by remembering and contemplating on the attributes and extreme love, mercy and benevolence Allah has for His creatures and how He helps and intervenes in protecting those struggling in His path.
5. Allah desires a reciprocal intimacy with His servants and a da`wah carrier must burn with desire for this.
6. Should our hearts be buried in the love of things (cars, clothes, gadgets…), objects, wealth, the benefits of the dunya, etc. or should it be enveloped in the love and longing of Allah and His Messenger (saw)?
7. Should love of the dunya eclipse our love for Allah?
Tip number 4
After prayers or when you're walking to work, the shops etc, try and remember Allah. This can be done by dhikr (remembrance) or think about Allah's attributes his 99 names and what these attributes tell you about your Lord. How about thanking him whilst looking at the shining sun, or the beautiful night skies?
5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah.
Have you looked at yourself, your eating habits, and your fitness level, your hands and you feet? Did you know they will all answer on the Day of Judgement how you have utilised them? If all you do is eat, sleep and drink and do not pray, exercise and have a healthy balanced lifestyle then your body will slowly perish and soon you will realise you have become feeble and unable to do all the great ibadah as much as you want to, which you didn't do enough of when your body was healthy!
This hadith sums it up;
"A strong believer is more beloved in the sight of Allah than a weak believer but there is good in both."(Muslim)

1. The da`wah carrier must remember that our limbs are one of the greatest blessings Allah has bestowed.
2. They are a trust from the Creator to fulfil the duties of worshipping Him properly.
3. How is it that the da`wah carrier uses it for other than the service of his/her Lord?
4. How is that through it we neglect the halal and perform the haram? Engage in the shubhat and avoid any pietistic restraint (wara`)?
5. The da`wah carrier hastens to the good, however little and avoids the bad, however little and thanks Allah for enabling him to fulfill his/her duties.
Tip number 5
Enjoy a balance diet, keep active by doing regular sports this will keep your body fit, but remember to also strengthen the mind and the soul too. A balance of all three is key to being a strong believer in the sight of Allah.

6.Loving Allah without following His orders or seeking His pleasure.Some of us Masha Allah love Allah, and have strong links in our hearts, but we find it difficult to follow his commands or don't know how to follow him or how to best seek the pleasure of Allah. I remember when I was at college, we use to have this teacher, 'Muslim' but he never used to pray or fast, and when we asked him why? He replied 'I believe in Allah and he is in my heart and that is all that I am required to do'. And there are more people like him, so it's important that we seek knowledge.
"Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have been granted knowledge to high ranks."(58:11)
Tip number 6 (refer to 4)
Seek knowledge, the best way is to do so in small bite sizes, apply what you have learned from the Quran and Sunnah and be consistent. When you apply what you have learnt see if you're still doing so a week later or you have totally forgotten about it. Best thing to do is write that down on a post it pad and stick it somewhere visible in your bedroom.

7.Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good.
Hence I started writing this article, time is flying away from us, ask yourself this question, if I were to die today what good deeds have I got to show to enter Jannah? Start counting...

1. A da`wah carrier must be using his/her every moment to plan, prepare and aid the da`wah due to the urgency of the re-establishment of the khilafah.
2. How can it be that his/her thoughts are filled with the contents of useless things like unlawful music, television programmes and other matters?
3. Should not the desire and yearning for Allah and Jannah alone loom large in the focus of the da`wah carrier?
4. Should not time be spent expiating the many sins as well as performing the good deeds?

Tip Number 7
Before you go to sleep every night, think about what good deeds you have done that day, what bad sins knowingly you have committed that day? This is called 'Muhasabah', self reflection; the idea is to improve day by day. For example today I prayed 3 Salah behind the imam, tomorrow I must aim to do 4 prayers, maybe even 5 Insha Allah!
8. A mind that thinks about useless matters.
We spoke about this in an earlier blog, our thoughts are always full of rubbish and it does not help watching TV and all those soaps on TV, which puts more rubbish in our brains. Instead of food for thoughts, it’s more like rubbish for thoughts. LOL
Tip Number 8(refer to 7)
Just for one day, try not to watch TV or films, try not to hear about the latest gossip around the work or school place. Try and think about Allah and his attributes, try and do Dhikr. I know this is hard, and if it’s not working why not fast, that helps a lot, trust me!
9.Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah, nor benefit you in your life.
We live in a time of celebrity and lifestyle culture, some young people imitate their so called idols, be they musicians, footballers or stars. These people do not bring us any closer to Allah and sometimes they take us away from Allah.

1. The work of the da`wah carrier is perilous but the noblest. He/she must remember that tawakkul, sabr, rida’and steadfastness – as essentials – will be always be required.
2. Fear of any creation over Allah is inverted belief and is irrational.
3. The da`wah carrier must remind him/her self that only Allah alone can bring about harm and benefit; no ruler, king, president, MP, etc. has any might or power over Allah.
4. The dunya is not permanent but the abode of jannah is permanent. For the da`wah carrier the choice ought to be easy.
Tip number 9
Ask yourself who your idol/hero is? Then, compare that individual to our greatest ever role model – our beloved Prophet (saw). Ok, here’s the test how much do you know about your idols lifestyle, background, beliefs etc and compare this to your knowledge of the Prophet (saw). Do you know the family of the Prophet (saw), do you know his life story? What happened to him when he was young? What did he wear? How did he live his life? If our knowledge of his is little, seek knowledge by attending courses or reading up.
10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand; while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself, nor death, nor life; nor can he resurrect himself
Fear, Love and hope in Allah and no one else. Simple!

The Prophet (saw) said:
"Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers." (Muslim)
Tip number 10 (refer to 9)
By being a stranger in this world, we can detach ourselves from it, but still live in it. We must always seek knowledge and do good deeds.
The tips are just my thoughts, and I am sure for each one you can think of so many examples and so many situations. I’m no scholar, so take what is best and leave the useless behind.
Surah Al-Asr
1. By Al-Asr (the time).
2. Verily! Man is in loss,
3. Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Maroof) which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allahs Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.).

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