I am reading a small booklet by one of our great scholars, Muwaffaq ad-Din Ibn Qudama Al-Maqdisi, better known as Ibn Qudama. The title of this booklet is called Al-Wasiyyah (The Advice) and it is the kind of writing so typical of our great scholars (may Allah have mercy on them all). A few statements and paragraphs when read slowly and contemplated on, carry such a deep and beautiful meaning. One can really appreciate the magnitude and depth of their words, as they spread the fruits of their wisdom and Taqwa. It reminds me of the Prophet (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam), where there was so much power and meaning behind what seemed to be a simple statement Subhan’Allah.
I had to share with you all just a few paragraphs of this work. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. At the least I found quite a few great reminders in it, where we can remind ourselves, our kids, family, students, and those around us. I just love the wording and can only imagine how much more beautiful it is read in the original Arabic language. May Allah help us all to learn Arabic for His sake; Ameen.
————————————————————————-Excerpts from Al-Wasiya
The Advice of the esteemed scholar Ibn Qudama al-Maqdisi Section I: Hastening to Act
I say, and Allah is enough for us, and an excellent guardian. The world is an opportunity, so gain benefit from it. Know, may Allah have mercy on you – that this world is the field whose harvest is the next world, the market where it is gained, and the place where provision and profitable goods are obtained. In it the forerunners emerge, the Godfearing win, the true are successful, those who work reap profits and the falsifiers lose.
This abode is the place of the hopes of the people of the Garden, and the people of the Fire.Allah, exhalted is He, says about the people of the fire,
They will shout in it, ‘Our Lord, take us out and we will act rightly, differently from the way we used to act.’ ” (35:37)
He, exhalted is He, says,
If only you can see when they are standing before the fire and saying, ‘If only we could be sent back again, we would not deny the signs of our Lord and we would be among the believers.’ ” (6:27)
It is related that Ibn Masood said,
The souls of the martyrs are like green birds which go about in Paradise wherever they wish and return to the lamps hanging from the Throne. When they are like that, your Lord will look at them and say, ‘My slaves, ask Me for what you wish,’ and they will answer, ‘Our Lord, we ask you to return our souls to our bodies, and then return us to the world to be killed again.’ When He sees that they do not ask for anything else but that, they are left.” (Muslim)
Know my brother, may Allah have mercy on you, that Allah, exhalted as He, knows that they will ask that and yet they will not be returned to this world. Rather, so that they become desirous of it He wants to inform the believers in this world that in the Garden their wish will be to be killed in His cause.
Ibrahim At-Taymi (one of the great Imams and Jurists in Kufa) said, I imagined myself in the Garden eating from its fruit, embracing its virgins, and enjoying its bliss, and then I asked myself, “My self, what do you desire?” It replied, “I want to return to the world to do more of the deeds by which I attained this.” Then I imagined myself in hell burning with its fire, gulping down its hot water and eating its bitter fruit. I asked myself, “What do you desire?” It answered, “To return to the world and perform actions by which I can deliver myself from this.” So I told myself, “My self, you have what you wished, so ACT!”
Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that in the graves people wish that they can say a single glorification of Allah to increase their good actions, or to repent some of their bad actions, or perform a single rakah to elevate their degree.
If you were to compare this life to unending eternity, you would know that every breath is equal to more than a trillion years in bliss beyond number, or the opposite of that. Something like this is priceless.
So do not squander the gems of your precious life doing nothing, and do not waste them without achieving recompense. Strive to take no breath except in an act of obedience or an act by which you draw near to Him. It would sadden you to lose one of the gems of this world after possessing it. Indeed, if you were to lose a dinar, it would trouble you, yet you waste your hours and minutes without grieving for your life that is passing by without recompense!
Make your heart reflect on the blessings of Allah for which you should be thankful, on your wrongdoing so that you ask forgiveness for it, on your neglect so that you repent, on the creations of Allah and His wisdom, so that you recognize His immensity and wisdom, on what is before you so you seek to prepare for it, or on the judgment respecting something you need to learn.
Moisten your tongue constantly with remembrance of Allah, supplication to Him, asking for His forgiveness, reciting the Quran, reading or teaching knowledge, commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong, or in putting things right between people.
Occupy your limbs with acts of obedience and let the most important of them be performing the obligatory prayers in their times in the most complete form – and then in what will be of benefit to people. The best of that is what will be beneficial to their deen, like teaching people deen and guiding them to the Straight Path.