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|The Heaven of this World|
|10/18/01 at 01:18:27|
The Heaven of this World
From Ibn al-Qayyim's Al-Wabil as-Sayyib
I heard the Sheikh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah - may Allah sanctify his soul -
'Truly, there is a Heaven in this world,
[And] whoever does not enter it,
Will not enter the Heaven of the next world.'
And once he said to me,
'What can my enemies do to me?
I have in my breast both my Heaven and my Garden.
If I travel they are with me, and they never leave me.
Imprisonment for me is a religious retreat [khalwa].
To be slain for me is martyrdom [shahada]
And to be exiled from my land is a spiritual journey [siyaha].'
During his imprisonment in the fortress, he would say, 'I could not be more
grateful for this blessing were I to have this entire fortress in gold'; or,
'I could never repay them for the good that has come to me in [this
And in prostration he would say, whilst in a state of imprisonment 'O Allah,
help me in my gratitude to You, remembrance of You and the most comely
worship of You' as much as Allah willed. 159
Once he said to me, 'The real prisoner is someone whose heart is imprisoned
from his Lord; the true captive is someone captured by his passions.' And
when he entered the fortress and was inside its walls, he gazed upon them
and recited the verse, 'And a wall between them is struck which has a gate.
On the inside there is a mercy, on the outside punishment.' 160
Allah knows, I have never seen anyone who had a better life than his.
Despite the difficulties and all that expunges comfort and luxury, nay,
things completely opposite to them; despite intimidation and oppression, Ibn
Taymiyyah had a purer life than anyone could. He was the most generous, the
strongest of heart and the most joyful of soul, with 'the radiance of bliss'
on his face.161 When we were seized with fear and our thoughts [about
Allah's decree] turned negative, and the earth grew narrow for us, we would
go to him. No sooner did we look at him and hear his words than all these
[feelings] would leave us, to be replaced by relief, strength, certainty and
So glory be to the One who lets His servants witness His Heaven well before
they meet Him, who opens its doors to them in this world of deeds and who
gives them something of its refreshment, its breeze and its perfume - that
they might seek it and hasten towards it with all their strength. A gnostic
once said, 'If kings and the sons of kings knew what we had, they would try
to take it from us by the sword!' Another said:'How pitiful, the wordly
people! They leave this life without ever having tasted the sweetest thing
in it.' When asked what that was, he replied, 'The love of Allah, the
knowledge of Allah and the remembrance of Allah,' or words to that
effect.162 Another said: 'There are times when the heart dances in joy.' And
another said, 'There are times when I say, If the people of Heaven have
anything like this, how truly sweet their lives!' To love Allah, to know Him
intimately, to remember Him constantly, to find peace and rest in Him, to
make Him alone the [ultimate] object of love, fear, hope and trust; to base
one's act on His control of His servant's cares, aspirations and will - such
is the world's Heaven, and such is a blessing with which no other blessing
It is by this that the hearts of those who love Allah are gladdened and that
the gnostics find life. As their hearts are gladdened by Allah, so others
are gladdened by them. For whoever finds his source of gladdness in Allah,
gladdens all hearts; whoever does not, finds nothing in this world but
restlessness. Anyone with life in his heart will confirm this. But someone
whose heart is dead will only estrange you from Allah; and so seek intimacy
[with Allah] without him, when you can, for his mere presence will estrange
you. If you are tested by him, show him only your outer aspect, but leave
him behind in your heart. Depart from him with your soul and do not let him
distract you from the one who is most important to you. Know that the
greatest of all losses is the involvement with someone who weakens your
relationship and standing with Allah, cutting you off from Him, wasting your
time, dispersing your heart, weakening your resolve and dividing your
aspirations. Therefore, if you are tested with this [kind of situation] -
and it is inevitable that you will be - then bear up for the sake of Allah,
and acknowledge Him as much as you are able. Draw near to Allah by whatever
of it pleases Him. Make your association [with wordly people] a profit not a
loss. Be like the man travelling along, whom another invites to stop: seek
to take him along with you. When he comes along, lead him but be not lead by
him. And if he refuses, and you have no hope that he will journey, then [at
least] do not let him detain you. Rather, hasten on, pay him no heed. Do not
[even] turn in his direction, for he is a highway robber regardless.
Protect your heart and be careful of how you spend your day and your night.
Let not the sun set on you before you reach camp, 'lest you be carried off'.
Nor let the dawn find you abandoned in the camp after the caravan has moved
on, and the time is nigh for you to reach them. 163
158 Ibn al-Qayyim accompanied Ibn Taymiyyah to prison (cf. Introduction).
159 A prayer recommended by the Prophet to Mu'adh. Nasa'i, Sahw, 1286; Abu
Dawud, Salat, 1301.
160 Qur'an LVII:13.
161 'Nadratun al-na'im'. Qur'an LXXXIII:24.
162 Possibly referring to the saying by 'Abd Allah ibn al-Mubarak: ' Wordly
people leave the world before having feasted on the sweetest thing in it.'
They asked him what that was and he answered, 'The knowledge of Almighty
Allah.' Isfahani, Hilya, VIII:167.
163 There are some ommisions in the arabic editions here. The sense of the
last sentence is not at all together clear.
|Re: The Heaven of this World|
|10/18/01 at 07:07:54|
This is sooooo beautiful and inspiring!!! Mashaallah, Its awesome to read such assuring thoughts and solid advice from our predecessors in this journey!!!
The point about companionship is soooo well made...I like the term "highway Robbers" its very descriptive...especially when you are on the path in Western Societies...
:-) Maliha :-)
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