advice

Posts in this category contain advice and exhortation from the Salaf.

Food for Thought, not for Stomachs

It is reported that Abū Al-Dardā` – Allāh be pleased with him – used to say, “Learn knowledge before it is taken way, and it is taken away by its people (scholars) being taken away. The scholar and the student are partners in good and there is no good in any other people. The richest of men is the knowledgeable man whose knowledge is needed: he benefits those who need him and if done without, he benefits himself with the knowledge Allāh ‘azza wa jalla has placed with him. So how is it I see your scholars dying yet the ignorant amongst you not learning? I fear that the predecessor will depart and the successor will not learn. If the scholar studies, he only increases in knowledge, and he does not take anything away from knowledge. And if the ignorant studies, he will find knowledge firm and established. So how is it that I see you full up with food, yet starved of knowledge?”

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmi’ Bayān Al-‘Ilm wa Fadlihi Vol. 2 p233.

Following the Salaf in these Changed Times

It is reported from Al-Hasan Al-Basrī that he said, “If a man from amongst the Salaf were to be sent forth today, he would not recognize anything from Islam.” He put his hand on his cheek and added, “Except this prayer (salāh).” Then he said, “But by Allāh, this does not apply to the person who lives in this unfamiliar time, never having seen the Righteous Predecessors, but who sees [instead] the innovator calling to his bid’ah, and the follower of worldly wealth calling to his materialism, but Allāh protects him from all this and makes his heart love and aspire to those Righteous Predecessors, asking about their way, searching and trying to follow in their footsteps, and adhering to their path. Such is a person who will be recompensed with an immense and great reward. So be you all like this, by Allāh’s permission”.

Ibn Waddāh, Al-Bida’ Vol. 1 p190.

A Comfortable Life

It is reported that ʿUmar b. ʿAbd Al-‘Azīz once wrote to Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī to get a brief exhortation from him, so Al-Ḥasan wrote back , “The dunyā distracts and preoccupies the heart and body, but al-zuhd (asceticism, not giving importance to worldly things) gives rest to the heart and body. Verily, Allāh will ask us about the ḥalāl things we enjoyed, so what about the ḥarām!”

Al-Bayhaqī, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabīr, article 26.

Abū Bakr to ʿUmar on his Deathbed

When Abū Bakr Al-Ṣiddīq was on his deathbed he called ʿUmar – Allah be pleased with them – and said:

Fear Allah o ʿUmar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (nāfilah) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory deeds. The scales of those whose scales will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection will only be weighty because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them. And scales in which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy. And the scales of those whose scales will be light on the Day of Resurrection will only be light because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them. And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.

Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included with them. And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.

If you keep to this advice of mine, no one who is not with you now should be more beloved to you than death – and it is sure to come to you. But if you disregard this advice, no one who is not with you now should be more hated to you than death – and you cannot escape it.

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyah Al-Awliyā` Vol.1 p18; and Ibn Al-Jawzī, Ṣifah Al-Ṣafwah.

Take the Quran

Abu Al-‘Āliyah reports that a man once asked ‘Ubay b. Ka’b – Allah be pleased with him – for advice. He said:

Take the Book of Allah as your leader (imām) and be pleased with it as a judge and ruler. It is what your Messenger left amongst you. It will be an intercessor for you. It is to be obeyed. It is a witness never doubted. In it is a mention of you and those before you, and judgment for whatever happens amongst you. And in it is news about you and whatever will come after you.

Al-Dhahabī in Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā’, in the biography of ‘Ubay b. Ka’b