Averting Ghamm (Grief) and Hamm (Worry) – Imam Ibn al-Jawzi

Ghamm Occurs Due To Misfortunes that happened in the past while hamm occurs due to an expected misfortune in the future.

When someone has the feeling of grief in regard to his past sins, his grief will benefit him, because he is rewarded for it. Whoever worries about a good deed he wishes to do, his worry will benefit him as well. However if someone grieves for something that he missed from this world, then [he should know] that the missed thing will not return and that grief harms, so practically he is adding harm to harm, as I have mentioned in the previous chapter.

A resolute person should protect himself from what brings about grief, and that is losing an object he loves. Therefore, whoever has many objects that he loves, his grief increases, and whoever decreases his objects of love his grief decreases accordingly. Someone may say, when I have no objects of love I also still have grief, we affirm this but we say to him; your grief over not having a loved one is not even a tenth of the grief experienced by the one who has lost a loved one. Have you not noticed that the one who does not have a child lives in grief but not as much as the one who lost his child?! Moreover when a person becomes accustomed to what he loves and enjoys it for a long period of time, it takes over his heart, therefore when he loses it he will feel the bitterness of his loss which will be greater than all the satisfaction he had during his lifetime. This is because the loved one is corresponding to the self just as health corresponds to it, which causes the self not to find satisfaction except in it, for its absence disturbs it. This is why the self grieves for its loss much more than it rejoices in its presence, because the inner self believes that what it had was its given right to possess. Therefore a wise person should monitor the closeness between himself, his beloved to ensure it remains moderately balanced, however if he requires that which brings about grief [i.e. loving some object or person], this causes grief then the cure is first to believe in predestination and that whatever Allah predestines is going to happen. He should then know that life is founded on distress, all constructed buildings shall eventually be ruined, all gatherings shall eventually depart, and whoever wants the lasting of what does not last is like he who wants what does not exist to exist. Therefore he should not ask of life what it was not created for.

A poet said:

It [worldly life] is founded on distress yet you want it, Free of harm and distress

One should imagine that what befell him is multiplied, for this is when what he suffers will be easier on him. It is a habit of smart porters to put something heavy on top of what they are carrying, and then after taking a few steps, to remove the heavy object as that makes what they are carrying feel lighter.

One should also wait, in times of prosperity for an attack of tribulation, so that if any tribulation befalls him, he should think of what remains instead of what he has lost so that when part of that befalls him it becomes very easy on him. Such as when some- one loses some money so he counts what remains, and then considers the remaining as a profit. Or if someone imagines that he loses his eyesight, so that when he has ophthalmia, it becomes easy on him to bear this illness, likewise with the rest of harmful matters.

A poet said:

The prudent imagines in himself,

his tribulations before they befall him.

If they suddenly befall him,

they do not surprise him because he had already imagined them.

And the ignorant trusts the days,

and he forgets the demise of those who came before him.

So when trials of times surprise him,

with some trials he becomes lost

Though if he was strict in his affairs,

patience would have taught him boldness

A member of the righteous predecessors said, “I saw a woman, whose youthfulness surprised me, I said, ‘[There is no doubt] This face has never suffered from sorrow or sadness.’ She said, Do not say that! For I do not know anyone who has suffered from what I have suffered. I had a husband who bought a sacrificial animal and slaughtered it, and we had two sons. The eldest told the one younger than him, ‘Come and I will show you how our father slaughtered the ewe/ So he slaughtered his brother. When we started to look for him, he ran away and my husband died while looking for him/ I said, ‘So how are you handling your sorrow?’ She said, ‘If I could find aid in sorrow I would have employed it.’

Section One: Treating Sorrow, Sadness and Grief

Sorrow, sadness and grief may befalls one due the prevalence of blackness, which should be treated with what will remove this blackness; which are the things that bring about joy. Grief freezes the blood while happiness heats it until its intrinsic heat is raised, both of them (happiness and grief) can harm, and may lead to death, if they are not immediately kept within moderate levels.

Excerpted from the Book “Disciplining The Soul” – Ibn al-Jawzi (d.597AH)
Dar us Sunnah Publishers

The price of eternal life is the hours of his life, but what is left of them for him to buy it with?! – Ibn Al-Jawzi

What Can This Eternal Life be Bought With?

WHEN A PERSON THINKS about the life of this world before entering it, he considers it long. Likewise, when he thinks about it after leaving it, he sees a long period of time and knows that the stay in the grave is long. When he thinks about the Day of judgment, he knows that its fifty thousand years long, and when he thinks about Paradise and Hell, he knows that they will never end.

Now, when he goes back to look at the time spent in this world, lets say 60 years, he can see that thirty of it is spent sleeping, fifteen or so is spent in childhood and most of what’s left goes to chasing after desires, food and money. When he accounts for what is left, he finds that much of it is nothing but showing off and heedlessness. The price of eternal life is the hours of his life, but what is left of them for him to buy it with?!

Excerpts from The Book “Sincere Counsel to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge” by Ibn Al-Jawzi  was published by Dar us Sunnah publishers

Fear Allah and He will Teach you! (وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ) – Ibn Al-Jawzi

The following are excerps from ‘Sincere Counsel to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge’ by Imaam Ibn al-Jawzi (Rahimahullaahu Ta’aala), in which he is advising his son:

Observe, my son, the way you deal with the limits of Allaah and see how you can keep yourself within their bounds. Indeed, he who takes care of these limits is taken great care of, and he who doesn’t, is left to himself. I shall now mention some of my experience to you so that you may observe my striving and ask the Granter of success to bless me.

Truly, most of the blessings I have been given have not been earned by me but rather they are conferred as a result of the planning of The Gentle One alone.

I remember myself as a child: A highly motivated six-year old sitting in class with older boys. The intellect I had been given superseded of old men. I do not recall myself playing on the road with other kids or even laughing out loud. 

When I was seven or so, I attended the gatherings in the Masjid. I would not sit in a circle of mere wordplay, but searching for a Hadeeth Scholar who would narrate about the Prophet’s (Sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) life. I would memorize everything he said, then go back home and write it down.

I was blessed for being granted my teacher Abu al-Fadl ibn Nasir (Rahimahullaah) who would take me to different Scholars and let me hear the Musnad [of Imaam Ahmad] and other major works.

All this time I had no idea of why I was made to do these things. My teacher recorded all I had heard, and when I reached puberty he handed me this record. I accompanied him till his death, and through him I learned the science of Hadeeth and transmission.

The kids used to go down to Tigris River and play on the bridge, but when I was small I used to take a book and sit far from people by the shore studying Sacred Knowledge. 

Then I was inspired to abandon the vanities of this world so I began constant fasting and reduced my food intake to very little. I trained myself to be patient, embarking on a continuous pursuit in order to do so and staying up at night.

I didn’t feel satisfied with studying just one science so I read jurisprudence, sermon delivery and Hadeeth and followed those who practiced Zuhd. After that I studied linguistics. There was not a narrating Scholar or a preacher where I lived who I didn’t sit with and whenever such a person would arrive from elsewhere I would go to him.

I used to choose of virtuous deeds what suited me and if I had to choose between two things I usually chose the right of al-Haqq (Allaah). He has planned my life and cultivated me in a beautiful fashion, guiding me towards what is best for me.

He has protected me from my enemies, the jealous, and those who might plot against me. He has made everything convenient for my studies of Sacred Knowledge and sent me books from unexpected places. He gave me good understanding, the ability to memorize and write quickly and a talent for authoring books.

I lacked nothing of this world. As a matter of fact, things were quite the opposite as Allaah gave me more than enough. He put a great deal of acceptance of me into peoples’ hearts and made the impact of my words leave them not questioning the authenticity of what I had to say.

Approximately 200 thimmis [i.e. people of the book who live in Muslim lands according to a truce contract] have become Muslim at my hands and over 100 000 sinners have repented in my gatherings. More than 20 000 men have announced their repentance from foolish ways during my exhortations.

I used to go around Hadeeth gatherings of different Scholars and run till I was out of breath so no-one would precede me. I would start my day having nothing to eat and finish it having nothing to eat. Never did Allaah degrade me to take from another person, instead He provided for me in order to protect my honour.

Truth is, mentioning all my experience would take quite a while. And here I am now and you can see what I have achieved. I will tell you the whole story in one single sentence, and that is Allaah’s saying:

وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ

Fear Allaah, and Allaah will teach you.” [Surah al-Baqarah:282]

Note : The Book “‘Sincere Counsel to the Seekers of Sacred Knowledge’”  was published by Dar us Sunnah publishers

Whoever asks Allaah sincerely for martyrdom – Story of Umm Waraqah

“Whoever asks Allah sincerely for martyrdom [Allahumma inni as’aluk ash-shahadah], Allah will cause him to reach the status of the martyrs even if he dies in his bed.” [‘Sahih al-Bukhari’; # 1909]’

[Al-`Adawee said it was sound, and that it was reported by by Muslim, page 55 of volume 13; Abu Dãwood, page 179 of volume 2; and Ibn Mãjah, #2797.]

Umm Waraqah bint ‘Abdullaah bin Haarith Ansariah (radiallaahu ‘anhaa)

The Prophet, salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam said:

“ Umm Waraqah! Dwell in your House, Allaah will give you the death of a martyr”

The Ansaar of Al-Madeenah were standing on the outskirts of their city, looking with inpatient eyes towards the road approaching from Makkah.

Men, women, girls and boys, the young and the old were waiting for the arrival of their beloved Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam who was migrating from his city to theirs at their invitation and at the command of Allaah, subhanna wa ta’alaa. Suddenly someone shouted, “ Here they come!”. And all the young girls and women burst into a song of praise of Allaah subhanna wa ta’alaa and a welcome to His Messenger salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam.

Among the Ansaaree women was Umm Waraaqah bint ‘Abdullaah radiallaahu ‘anha. She was a learned, scholarly, pious and modest lady , who was well known amongst the female companions (May Allaah be pleased with them) as one who spent her nights and days in prayer and meditation. She used to recite the Noble Qu’raan beautifully; it was second nature for her to spend a lot of time meditating on the meaning of its Verses.

The Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam valued her highly and he told her to lead the family in congregational prayers. The courtyard of the house was converted into a masjid; with the permission of the Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam they had a Mu’aadheen to give the call for prayers. ‘Abdur-Rahmaan bin Khaalad says that he saw the Mu’aadheen, who was a very aged man. Thus Umm Waraqah bint ‘Abdullaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa was appointed by the Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam to be an Imaam and lead the prayers for the women.

Besides her thirst for knowledge of the Qu’raan, Shar’eeah (Islaamic legislation) and Ahaadeeth, Umm Waraqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa had a burning desire to die as a martyr in the cause of al-Islaam. When it was announced that the army should prepare to leave for the battle of Badr, Umm Waraaqah radiallaahu ‘anhaa went to the Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam and volunteered her services to tend to the wounded in the battlefield. She told him salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam that it was her earnest desire to die in the cause of al-Islaam. The Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam could see her enthusiasm and ardour but he told her to stay at home and she would attain martyrdom there. She went back happily because it was her duty to yield to the command of the Messenger of Allaah salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam.

The Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam would sometimes take along some of His Companions and visit the home of Umm Waraaqah radiallaahu ‘anhaa. He would tell them to accompany him to the house of the lady who was a living martyr. He would ask about her welfare, rest for awhile and then offer supplications to Allaah, the High, for her well being and return. Allaah subhanna wa ta’alaa revealed to His beloved Messenger salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam that Umm Waraaqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa would die the death of a martyr in her own home. Nobody could understand how this would take place with her sitting in her house, but they were sure it would definitly happen, as this news had been given by their truthful Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam.

Umm Waraqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa herself was awaiting every moment to see how this auspicious event, which would be the fulfillment of her greatest dream, would take place. She waited patiently, for it would give her eternal life and a place in Paradise. When would it take place? How exactly would it take place? What shape would it take? How would it be possible to become a martyr sitting in the house? Lossed in these thoughts she passed her nights and her days. The Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam passed. Abu Bakr Siddique radiallaahu ‘anhu succeeded and he also passed; ‘Umaar Farooq radiallaahu ‘anhu became the Khalifa.

Umm Waraqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa had two slaves working for her, a girl and a man. She told them that after her death they would be free. One day they got together and decided that they were tired of waiting for this old lady to die. The planned to kill her in her sleep and escape to freedom. They were so tempted by the thought of freedom that they forgot to consider their future as well as their life in the Aakhiraah.

In the dead of night as Umm Waraqah radiallaahu ‘anhaa lay in a deep sleep, they killed her, covered her body with a sheet and crept away from the house silently. As day broke and the sun came up, the neighbours missed the sound of the beautiful recitation of the Noble Qu’raan by Umm Waraqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa which used to fill the air early in the dawn. When they entered the house they were shocked to see her lying in the sleep of death. Then they saw that both the slaves were missing. They realized that they must be criminals. ‘Umaar ibn al-Khattaab radiallaahu ‘anhu ordered that people should be sent out to search for them. Finally, they were found hiding. When they were brought before the Khalifa in court, they admitted their guilt and were put to death.

Thus the Prophet salAllaahu ‘alaihi wa salaam was proven right, that Umm Waraqaah radiallaahu ‘anhaa died the death of a martyr in her own home, and attained Jannah.

Verily, the pious will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers. In a seat of truth, near the Omnipotent King (Allaah, the One, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour) – 54:54-55

Excerpted from:
Pgs. 257-261 : Great Women of Islaam – By: Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfaar
Revised by: Shaykh Safiur-Rahmaan al-Mubaarakpooree (May Allaah have Mercy on him)

Related Links:

Martyrdom without Fighting – Riyadh ul saaliheen

Beware do not lift the curtain !… – Sahih Hadith

Tirmidhi #76 records on the authority of Nawwas ibn Sam’an that the messenger of Allah (sallallahu alyhi wa sallam) said:

“Allah has set forth the following as a parable:

There is a road that leads straight to the destination. On either side of the road there is a wall in which there are open doors with curtains hanging on them. From the remote end of the road, a voice calls, ‘proceed straight and do not turn aside’. Whenever someone intends to lift a curtain from the door another voice calls from above. ‘Beware! Do not lift the curtain; otherwise you will be lured inside’.

The prophet (sallallahu alyhi wa sallaam) explained the parable by saying that the straight path is Islam. the walls are the limits imposed by Allah, the open doors are the things that He has prohibited, the voice which calls from the end of the road is the Quran and the voice which calls from above is Allah’s monitor in the heart of every believer”.

It was declared Hasan Gharib by Tirmidhee and sahih by Hakim #245 with Dhahabi agreeing and Al-Albani , Sahih al-Jami’ #3887

Source: Excerpted from the Book “The Spiritual Cure – An Explanation of Suratul Fatihah”, Page 145,  Dar us Sunnah Publishers, Birmingham UK.