Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: Is the narration “I am by the side of those whose hearts are broken for My sake” authentic? What does it mean?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well.

The saying, “I am with those whose hearts are broken (munkasirah) for My sake” was:

(a) Mentioned as a prophetic report by Ghazali in his Bidayat al-Hidayah, without a chain of transmission. However, it has no basis as a prophetic narration as stated by Mulla `Ali al-Qari in his al-Asrar al-Marfu`a.

(b) Mentioned as a Divine discourse with Sayyidina Musa (Allah bless him) by Ahmad in al-Zuhd and Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat al-Awliya’.

(c) Mentioned as a Divine discourse with Sayyidina Dawud (Allah bless him) by ibn Kathir in al-Bidayah, Ibn Abi al-Dunya in al-Humm wa’l Huzn, and Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat.

(d) Mentioned as a statement of Imam Shafi`i by the hadith scholar al-Hafiz Muhammad al-Sinbati in his al-Nukhbat al-Bahiyyah.

Imam Munawi, in his Fayd al-Qadir, mentions this narration when explaining the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), “The most afflicted of people in this world is a Messenger or a righteous servant.” Through affliction, the desires melt away and hearts are lowered in front of Allah allowing one’s rank to increase in His eyes. Imam Qurtubi said, “Allah loves to afflict his chosen servants in order to perfect their virtues and to raise their rank with Him. This is neither a flaw for them nor a punishment.” [al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]

Ibn `Ajibah cites it in the context of explaining the broken-heartedness of the sinner, stating that the performance of good works that leads to arrogance and pride is worse than the performance of something sinful that results in sincere regret. Rather, this state of regret, lowliness, and debasement is in fact the reality of true servitude (`ubudiyyah). [Iqadh al-Himmam]

Elsewhere, explaining the narration, he states, “His moral rectification [s: the servants] is through the companionship of the people of realization – and through reading their books if one was unable to find them -, to learn about their reports and merits, coupled with perpetual contemplation and reflection, increased worship, humility, and neediness, and latching on to debasement and sincere absolute remorse. Allah said in some reports, ‘I am with those whose hearts are broken for My sake.'” [Ibn `Ajibah; Bahr al-Madid]

And Allah knows best
Wasalam
Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

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"Whoever guides someone to goodness will have a similar reward"-- The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)