Hadiths to Revive the Heart
Part Two: The Temptations of This World
This is the second article based on the series, The Heart Softeners from ‘Kitab al-Riqaq from the Mishkat al Masabih, presented by Shaykh Abdullah Misra. In the previous article, we learned about the reality of this world and touched on the two blessings of health and free time. After learning about the insignificance of this world in the eyes of Allah Most High we begin to learn about the temptations and trappings of this world so that we can put them into perspective in our own lives. We are reminded that this world is “the arena of our deeds.” And that “this is the one place that we have to do these deeds.”
We are taking a step further on the slow journey to soften our hearts. A type of treatment of the heart where we realize our true blessings and resources in this life and our treatment of them. With that in mind, we begin exploring desires and pleasures and how to put them into perspective.
Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “That hellfire is veiled,” or in another narration, surrounded by desires, or lustful desires or pleasures, “and that paradise is veiled,” or surrounded by disliked inconveniences, as narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.
Sometimes what we find that which is beautiful and attractive in this world will actually reveal the hellfire to us, and often those things we find inconvenient actually reveal Heaven to us. Ustadh Abdullah explains to us that not all pleasures and desires are sinful, and this is referring to those which Allah Most High has made haram, or sinful.
Disliked inconveniences can refer to things such as the discomfort of fasting during Ramadan, waking up for Fajr, or simply holding one’s tongue when our words could possibly hurt another’s feelings. We also learn that there are halal pleasures, such as eating, sleeping, and having relations with our spouse, that when fulfilled for the sake of Allah Most High can actually fall into the second category of lifting the veil to Heaven.
The messenger of God, (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “How unfortunate is the slave of the gold coin, the dinar, and the slave of the silver coin, the dirham, and the slave of fine clothing,” clothing that arrogant people wear, “When he gets and he receives something he is pleased, that slave, and when he does not get, people don’t give him, he is angry. How unfortunate and how terrible, and when he is pricked by a calamity he cannot remove it from himself.”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) continues:
“Glad tidings be to the servant who grabs the reins of his horse in the path of God with disheveled hair and dusty feet if he is assigned to the advance guard of the army,” meaning if he’s on duty and assigned to the front, he fulfills his duty, “and if he’s assigned to the rear guard, sent to the back, he fulfills his duty the same. If that type of person asks permission to join a gathering he will not be permitted, and if he intercedes on behalf of someone else his word will not be accepted.”
This hadith shows us two contrasting types of people in this world. The first is one who is overcome by the objects of this world and acquiring them. This person’s state of completely revolving around the things and money they have, or don’t have, and when the smallest problem befalls them they lack the perspective to deal with it. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) tells us how sorry a state this is to be in – when a person lacks the meaning in their life to weather the storms it brings.
Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) goes on to tell us the opposite of this. This is a person who has no attachment to the things of this world but is the complete slave to Allah Most High. His clothes may be disheveled and dusty, people exclude him from gatherings because he has no status in their eyes and they do not take his world, either. Yet, in spite of all this, this person struggles in the way of Allah Most High seeking only His pleasure. They may not have had the chance to dress nicely, but are clothed in humility and humbleness.
Though people may not take their word, when this kind of person prays to Allah Most High that prayer is accepted because they are asking for Allah’s pleasure, forgiveness, and mercy. This tells us not to look at the standards of people of the world but look at the standards of those who are simple and humble towards Allah and who do their duty for Allah’s sake.
Imam Tabrizi is narrating to us the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Of the things that I fear for you after my life is how much will become available, how much will open up to you of the fleeting, dazzling beauty of this world and its charms.” And a man, a man who was there, asked, ” Oh Messenger of Allah, will such nice things bring with them any evil?” And so the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) became very saddened until the Righteous Companions thought that he would receive revelation, and then he began to perspire.
Sweat began to overcome his face and then he came out of it and then he asked “Where’s the one who asked that question?” As though he was praising him for asking. Then the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘it’s not that the good things of the world bring evil, but that sometimes the amount that sprouts in the abundance of springtime can kill a creature or come close to that if it is overeaten.”
We can learn a great deal from this hadith about wealth. For one, that wealth in and of itself is not bad, but how we approach it. If someone takes what they need and spends it in truth earning it in truth and spending it in truth, how beautiful that wealth is. But whoever takes it without its due right is like the one who keeps on eating but never feels satisfied. That bears witness against him on the day of judgment. It is good to take the wealth we need in halal ways and enjoy it, but overindulgence can lead to our downfall and destruction as an animal that has overgrazed can die or be killed due to that overeating.
It is narrated from Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (Allah grant him blessing and peace) said, ”Oh Allah, make the provision of the family of Muhammed just enough,” or in another narration, just according to what suffices.
We can find different meanings in this hadith. While the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) prayed that his own family only be granted just enough, this does not mean that we need only live with the bare minimum, but that we can have what we need for our daily lives and for our family and a little extra to enjoy and thank Allah with it. So while the religious leaders, the elect and elite of the pious and righteous, would do with just a little so as not to need to account for anything or be distracted, we may take what we need and a little bit extra and thank Allah, and use that to worship Allah Most High.
We close this second episode by asking Allah Most High to make us realize the meanings of these hadiths and make us live these meanings and change our hearts and soften our hearts in the days and nights. May we apply what is in these hadiths so when we stand in front of Allah in the night, we connect to Allah deeply.
Biography of Shaykh Abdullah Misra
Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, into a Hindu family of North Indian heritage. He became Muslim at the age of 18, graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Business Administration, and worked briefly in marketing. He then went abroad with his wife to seek religious knowledge full-time, first in Tarim, then in the West Indies, and finally in Amman, Jordan, where he focused his traditional studies on the sciences of Sacred Law (fiqh), hadith, Islamic belief, tajwid, and sira.
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