worship

The other Fire

A fire once broke out in a house where ‘Alī b. Husayn – Allah have mercy on him – was prostrate in prayer. He didn’t raise his head until the fire went out. When asked about this he said:

The other Fire kept my mind busy.

Al-Dhahabī in Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā’ under the biography of ‘Alī b. Husayn Zayn Al-‘Ābidīn.

‘Alī b. Husayn, known as Zayn Al-‘Ābidīn for his devout worship, was the great-grandson of the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. He was the only surviving son of Husayn, son of ʿAli b. Abī Tālib – Allah be please with them.

Thinking Ahead for Prayer

Abū Al-Dardā’ – Allah be pleased with him – said:

It is from a person’s knowledge and understanding that he sees to his needs first in order to turn to his prayer with a heart free of distractions.

Ibn Al-Mubārak in Al-Zuhd wa Al-Raqā’iq Vol.2 p726

More time for the Hereafter

Al-Hārith b. Qays – Allah have mercy on him – said:

When intending to do something good, do not delay it until tomorrow. When involved in something to do with the hereafter, keep yourself involved as long as you can. When involved in some worldly matter, put your mind to it (so as to get it done). And if you are praying and Shaytān whispers, ‘You are showing off,’ then make your prayer even longer.

Ibn Al-Mubārak in Al-Zuhd wa Al-Rqā’iq Vol.1 p126

Al-Hārith b. Qays was a student of the Companions ‘Alī and Ibn Mas’ūd – Allah be pleased with them. He was a scholar and devout worshipper.

The last bit of advice about prayer serves to repel one of Shaytān’s plots, which is to turn people away from worshipping Allah by making them feel they are showing off if they try to perfect their worship.

Loftier Goals in Life

Commenting on 2:201 of the Quran which states:

Our Lord! Give us the good of this world and the good of the hereafter…

Al-Hasan Al-Baṣrī – Allah have mercy on him – said:

The good of this world is knowledge and worship, and the good of the hereafter is Paradise.

Al-Ājurrī in Akhlāq Al-‘Ulamā’ no. 30 and Ibn Jarīr in his Tafsīr of this verse.

Scholars of tafsīr like Ibn Jarīr and Ibn Kathīr point out that ‘the good of this world’ is general and includes all those things which have been allowed for us to enjoy and which are considered useful by people for day-to-day living. And they point out that above this; the good of this world includes those things which will lead to success in the hereafter. This narration reminds us of these loftier things we should ask Allah for, and that the good of this life embraces what is required or recommended for a worshipper of Allah to acquire on this Earth, like knowledge of his religion and good deeds.

The Real Faqīh

‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib – Allah be pleased with him – said:

Shall I not tell you who the real faqīh is? He is one who does not make people despair of Allah’s mercy, yet he does not give them concessions to disobey Allah. He does not make them feel safe from Allah’s plan and he does not leave the Quran.

There is no good in worship that involves no efforts to gain fiqh, and there is no good in seeking fiqh without seeking a thorough understanding. And there is no good in reading without contemplating.

Al-Ājurrī in Akhlāq Al-‘Ulamā’ no. 45, Al-Khaṭīb in Al-Faqīh wa Al-Mutafaqqih Vol. 2 pp338-339.