Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ihsan part-2: Nearness or in the company of Allah

Ihsan (excellence or perfection in worship) part-2

Regarding “ Nearness or company of Allah”

By Imam Ibn Rajab Hanbali

(Taken from Jami' al-'Ulum wa'l-Hikam; second Hadith explanation)


Translated by Abdus Samad Clark

Allah says in the Quran, "His is the most exalted designation in the heavens and the earth," (Surat ar-Rum 27) ,  
 "Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The metaphor of His Light is that of a niche in which there is a lamp." (Surat an-Nur: 35)
A party of the people of knowledge explained the "most exalted designation" and "the metaphor of His Light"mentioned in the above verses as "in the heart of the mumin", which is what Ubayy ibn Ka'b and others of the right-acting first generations said.

It has been mentioned in the hadith that "The best [part] of iman is that you know that Allah is with you wherever you are," and in another hadith, "What is a man's purification of himself?" He said, "That he knows that Allah is with him wherever he is."

At-Tabarani narrated the hadith of Abu Umamah that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Three [people] will be in the shade of Allah, exalted is He, on the Day of Resurrection, the Day on which there is no shade but His shade: a man who knows that Allah is with him wherever he turns..."

The Qur'an expresses this same sense in numerous places, such as in His words, exalted is He, "He is with you wherever you are," (Surat al-Hadid: 4) and His words, "If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me," (Surat al-Baqarah: 186) and His words, "Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth of them, or five without Him being the sixth of them, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are," (Surat al-Mujadilah: 7) and His words, "You do not engage in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it," (Surah Yunus: 61) and His words, "We are nearer to him than his jugular vein," (Surah Qaf: 16) and His words, "And they cannot conceal themselves from Allah. He is with them ...." (Surat an-Nisa': 107)

Authentic ahadith are narrated recommending that one should seek to remain conscious of this nearness during the acts of worship, such as his words, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "If any of you stands praying he hold intimate discourse with his Lord" or "his Lord is between him and the qiblah," (Bukhari and Muslim) and his words, "Truly Allah is before his face when he prays," (Bukhari and Muslim)  and his words, "Allah directs His face towards the face of His slave in his prayer as long as he does not turn away."

There are also his words to those who raised their voices in dhikr, "You are not calling on one who is deaf or absent. You are calling on One Who Hears, Who is Near,"  (Bukhari and Muslim)  and in another version, "...and He is nearer to you than the neck of your riding beast," and in another version, "...and He is nearer to you than the jugular vein."  (Muslim) There are his words, "Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, 'I am with My slave when he remembers Me and his lips move with [mention of] Me.'" And his words, "Allah, mighty is He and majestic, says, 'I am in the opinion My slave has of Me, and I am with him wherever he remembers Me. If he remembers me in his self, I remember him in Myself. If he remembers me in an assembly, I remember him in an assembly better than it. If he draws nearer to me by the span of a hand, I draw nearer to him by a cubit. If he draws nearer to Me by a cubit, I draw nearer to him by a fathom [the distance between the fingertips of the two hands when the arms are stretched wide open]. If he comes to me walking, I rush towards him."  (Bukhari and Muslim)

Whoever understands anything of these texts anthropomorphically, or in the sense of incarnation, or as a form of monism has only been taken away from Allah, mighty is He and majestic, and from His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, by his ignorance and poor understanding. Allah and His Messenger are free from all of that. Glorious is the One whom nothing resembles and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.

Bakr al-Muzani asked, "Who is like you, son of Adam? My Intimate Friend is between you and the mihrab and water. Whenever you wish you can go to Allah, mighty is He and majestic, without an interpreter between you and Him." Whoever manages to keep this in his consciousness during dhikr of Allah and during His worship, necessarily becomes at ease with Allah and becomes averse to His creation.

Thawr ibn Yazid said, "I read in a book that 'Isa, peace be upon him, said, 'Disciples [Hawariyyun], speak to Allah a great deal and speak little to people!' They asked, 'How can we speak to Allah a great deal?' He answered, 'Go alone and hold intimate discourse with Him. Go alone and supplicate Him.'" Abu Nu'aym narrated it.

He also narrated with a chain of transmission that Riyah said, "There was a man among us who used to pray a thousand raka'ats every day and night until he became crippled in his legs. Then he would pray a thousand raka'ats every night seated. When he prayed the afternoon prayer he would draw up his legs and, while wrapped in his garments and facing the qiblah, say, 'I am astonished at people who can be intimate and at ease with anyone other than You (Allah). Even more so am I amazed that people's hearts can be at ease remembering anyone other than You.'"

Abu Usamah said, "I went to see Muhammad ibn an-Nadr al-Harithi, and saw that it was as if he was ill at ease. So I asked, 'It is as if you do not like to be visited?' He said, 'That is true.' I asked, 'Do you not become lonely?' He said, 'How could I be lonely when He (Allah) says, "I sit with whoever remembers Me"?'"

Someone asked Malik ibn Mighwal when he was sitting alone in his house, "Do you not become lonely?" He replied, "Does anyone become lonely with Allah?"

Habib Abu Muhammad used to withdraw in solitude into his house saying, "Whoever's eye does not find rest with You, then his eye will not find rest."

Ghazwan said, "I have found my heart's rest and ease in sitting with the One who has my necessities."

Muslim ibn Yasar said, "Pleasure-seekers find no pleasure like withdrawal for the purpose of intimate discourse with Allah, mighty is He and majestic."

Muslim al-'Abid (the worshipper) said, "If it were not for the congregational prayer I would never go out of my door until I die." He said, "Those who obey Allah find no pleasure sweeter than withdrawal to converse with their Lord, nor anything which they eagerly anticipate more of all the tremendous rewards in the next life which is more important in their breasts and sweeter to their hearts than gazing towards Him," and then he swooned.

Ibrahim ibn Adham said, "The highest of ranks is that you should be cut off from others for the sake of your Lord, and at ease with Him with your heart and consciousness and all of your limbs so much so that you hope for nothing but your Lord and fear nothing but your wrong action, and His love becomes so firmly established in your heart that you will never prefer anything to it. If you are like that you will not care whether you are on land or sea, on the plains or in the mountains. Your longing to meet your Beloved will be like the longing the thirsty person has for cold water, and the longing the hungry person has for wholesome food, and the remembrance of Allah will be sweeter to you than honey and more delicious than pure water to the thirsty person on a hot summer's day."

Al-Fudayl said, "Good fortune to whoever becomes alienated from people and with whom Allah sits."

Abu Sulayman, "Allah has never made me at ease with any but Him."

Ma'ruf [al-Kharki] said to a man, "Rely on Allah so much that He becomes the One with Whom you sit, the Companion Who gladdens you and the One to Whom you bring your complaint."

Dhu'n-Nun said, "One of the signs of those who love Allah is that they are not cheerfully at ease with anyone other than Him, and they are never lonely with Him." Then he said, "When love of Allah, exalted is He, takes up its abode in the heart then one becomes cheerfully at ease with Allah, because Allah is more sublime in the breasts of the gnostics than that they should love anyone other than Him." There has been a great deal said by the People in this section which would be very lengthy to mention, and in that which we have mentioned here there is enough, if Allah, exalted is He, wills.

1 comment:

  1. Alhamdulillah, Sidi.
    May Allah make us like them.