Description of the Believers
Attributed to Ali (ra):
The people of taqwa on earth are those of virtue: their
speech is correct (true); their garments are of moderate
nature and their walk is one of humility. They lower their
gazes when they see something that Allah has forbidden them
to see and they give an ear to beneficial knowledge. They
maintain their integrity in both adversity and prosperity.
Had it not been for the appointed time that Allah has
written for them (death),their souls would not remain an
extra second in their bodies out of yearning for reward and
fear of punishment. The Creator ranks Supreme in their
eyes, so everything else becomes immaterial to them. They
are with Paradise as if they have already witnessed it and
enjoyed its presence. They are with Hell as if they had
seen it and tasted its torment. Their hearts grieve and
their evil (if any) is non-contagious.
Their bodies are lean, their needs are few and their souls
They observe patience for a few days and experience
ever-lasting comfort. Thisis a profitable exchange that
their Lord has made pleasant for them. The world tempts
them, but they do not succumb. It imprisons them, but they
ransomed themselves in exchange.
During the nights they stand in rows and read portions of
the Quran. They recite with proper recitation which
grieves their hearts and drink it (the Quran) like medicine.
If a verse of yearning comes along, they reach for it and
believe it is their destination. If an intimidating verse
comes along, they pour their hearts towards it and believe
that Hell and its screams are in their ears. They sleep on
their foreheads and elbows (i.e. they engage in prayers so
much that it is as if they sleep in those postures) and
implore Allah to deliver them.
In the day, they are tolerant and learned, kind and
God-fearing. Fear has chipped away their bodies as if they
were arrows. Anyone looking at them would think that they
were sick. But they are not sick. Some will say that they
are confused. A great fear has made them look like that.
They are never content to do only a few actions (during the
day), nor do they ask for a great deal. They condemn
themselves and are apprehensive about their deeds. If one
of them is called "pious", he fears what will be said of
him and says: 'I know myself better than you do. My Lord
knows me better than I do. O Allah! Do not take me to
task for what they are saying about me and (O Lord) make me
better than they think. Forgive my sins which they do not
Their signs are that they are strong in Islam, resolute in
their softness, firm in their belief. They crave for
knowledge and are knowledgeable with tolerance; moderate
in richness; pleasant in hunger; forbearing in distress;
seeking halal; active in (pursuing) guidance and they
They perform good deeds in fear (of rejection). They spend
the evening in gratitude and the morning in remembrance.
They sleep in alarm and they awake in joy. They combine
knowledge with tolerance and speech with action.
You will find their hopes are realistic their mistakes few;
their hearts humble their selves content; their diet meager
their matters simple; their Deen safe-guarded, their
desires killed and their anger subdued. Goodness is
expected from them and evil is shielded against them. If
they are among those who are oblivious, they are accounted
amongst those who remember (Allah). If they are among those
who remember, they are not written among the oblivious.
They pardon those who wrong them; they provide for those
who deprive them and meet those who sever ties with them.
They are never profane and always lenient. Their wrong
doings are almost non-existent and their good deeds are
always present. They are resolute when the earth quakes,
steadfast in calamities and grateful in prosperity.
They are not prejudiced against those they dislike nor do
they favor those they love. They acknowledge the truth
before it appears and do not lose anything they are
entrusted with. They do not call anyone names nor do they
hurt their neighbors. They do not curse at the time of
difficulties nor do they venture into falsehood.
Silence does not bother them and if they laugh they do not
raise their voices. If they are treated with injustice
they remain patient until Allah vindicates them.
Their own selves live in toil while others are comfortable
Their abstinence from those who stay away from them is their
exoneration (from malice). Their proximity to those who
are close to them is a means of mercy (for those who are
close to them).
Taqwa: The Provision of Believers
a compliation of Imam Ghazali, Imam Ibn Qayyim, Ibn Rajab
and Hanbali published by Al-firdous Ltd, London.