A man came to Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham, and said, "Abu Ishaq, I am unable to control myself and I continually wrong my own self, and I turn away from everything that invites me to improve my way of life. Please give me something to help me with it""If you accept five conditions," said Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham, "and are able to put them into practice, your disobedience will not cause you any problem and sinning will never harm you, and you can fulfil your desires as much as you want.""Just tell me what they are the man said. "The first is that when you want to disobey Allah you do not eat anything He provides." "Then how will I get anything to eat? Everything on the earth is from Him!" "So is it right to eat His provision and disobey Him at the same time?" replied Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham."No, it is not. What is the second condition?" "When you want to disobey Him, move off His land.""That is even more difficult! Exclaimed the man. "In that case where will I live?""Is it right to eat his provision and live on His land and then to disobey Him?" asked Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Adham. "No, it is not.""What is the third condition?" "When you want to disobey Him in spite of eating His provision and living on His land, find a place where He will not see you and disobey Him there.""What do you mean, Ibrahim? He knows everything that happens even in the most hidden places!" "So is it right to disobey Him when you eat His provision and live on His land and when you know that He can see everything you do?" "It certainly is not!" the man replied."Tell me the fourth condition." "That when the Angel of Death arrives to take your soul, you say to him, 'Give me chance so that I can repent and do good deeds.'""But he won't listen to me!" "Then if you cannot ward off death long enough to give yourself time to repent, and you know that when it comes there will be no chance, how can you hope to be saved?""What is the fifth?" "That when the angels of the Fire come to you to take you to the Fire, you do not go with them." "They will take me whether I like it or not!" exclaimed the man."So how can you hope to be saved?"The man replied, "Stop, stop! that is enough for me. I ask Allah to forgive me and I indeed repent to Him."The man then dedicated his life to the worship of Allah Ta’ala from that day.


This story presents us with conditions that if we fulfil them then we can be free to commit sin. However it soon becomes obvious that every condition is impossible to fulfil and therefore we should avoid sin to the best of our ability.

The greatest of kashf (expositions) and karāmāt (miracles) are absolutely insignificant in the face of this steadfastness. The ahlullāh refer to it [steadfastness] as فوق الكرامة – it surpasses karāmat. Lives are lost and sacrificed in the quest for steadfastness. Adhering doggedly to it and losing oneself with madness and intoxication over it is a type of madness which is praiseworthy, for which thousands of lives may be sacrificed, and which is the greatest objective of one’s entire life and intellect.

Extracted from Tazkiratur Rashid

Advice No. 68:

Understand the method of attaining Ikhlaas. In order to attain sincerity, you should ask yourself: “Why am I fulfilling this action?” before you commence any action. If an undesirable intention is found in your heart, you should remove it. The intention should sincerely and only be made for Allah Ta'ala. A simple remedy which is very beneficial for a Saalik is to read the stories of the Mukhliseen (saintly ones). This will have a great effect on the heart. Hazrat Thanwi (Rahmatullah ‘Alayhi) once mentioned a story of Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu) of which a poet says: "He spat on the face of Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu), whom the Ambiyaa and the Auliya have honoured."

Because of the fact that the Ambiyaa had honoured Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu), one should not doubt and think that he was greater than them. At times the elders have honoured those who were lower than them – just as a teacher shows honour to his worthy students. This statement refers to the incident during Jihad, when Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu) had wrestled a Jew to the ground. He sat on his chest and intended to kill him with his dagger. The Jew then spat in his blessed face. Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu) immediately released him. Astonished, the Jew asked him: “Why did you leave me after you had more right to kill me?” Hazrat Ali (Radiyallahu Anhu) replied: "At first I was going to kill you solely for the Pleasure of Allah Ta'ala, but now my Nafs has entered my intentions. Therefore, I released you." The Jew immediately accepted Islam. We should always remember the lesson on Ikhlaas (sincerity) from this story.

Read more: The method of attaining Ikhlaas

There are numerous evil characteristics, but the majority have restricted them to ten. The essence of all ten is said to be pride (takabbur). If this is removed, the others will automatically be removed.

A person remained in the company of Hadrat Junayd Baghdādī rahimahullāh for twenty years. He said to him one day: “Hadrat, I remained with you for so long but I did not acquire anything from you.” This person enjoyed a lofty and senior position in his family and tribe. Hadrat Junayd rahimahullāh understood that there is pride in his heart, so he said to him: “Very well, you must do one thing for me. You must fill a bowl of walnuts, sit with it at the entrance of the khānqāh, and announce: ‘Anyone who strikes me once with his shoe shall receive one walnut, the one who strikes me twice shall receive two walnuts…’ continue increasing the number in this way. Once the bowl of walnuts is empty, you must come to me.”

The person replied: “Lā ilāha illallāh Muhammadur Rasūlullāh – Hadrat, I can never do this.” Hadrat Junayd rahimahullāh said to him: “It is a blessed kalimah which, if a seventy year old kāfir reads it with sincerity, then by Allāh, he will become a believer. But by your reading it just now, you have become like a kāfir. Get away from here, you will not acquire anything from me.”

Extracted From Tadkiratur Rashid

A man who is not turned towards Allah Ta'ala through the medium of His kindness and bounties, will be dragged with the chains of trials to face Allah.

Those servants in whom nobility and lofty intelligence are inherent, do not become proud and arrogant as a result of the bounties of Allah they are awarded. They do not lose themselves in indolence, unmindfulness and worldly love. The bounties serve to increase their love for their True Benefactor. In consequence they become engrossed in obedience and worship.

Those who consider these bounties as the goal to pursue, do not direct their attention to Allah Ta'ala. Consequently they are caught up in many trials and hardships. These misfortunes act like chains by means of which these recalcitrant servants are forcibly drawn to Allah Ta'ala. In this way they are accepted by Allah Ta'ala. Thus, the trials and hardships are in reality a blessing for them.

He who does not express gratitude for Allah's bounties, has initiated the process of their elimination, and he who is grateful has arranged a solid protection for the bounties.

The one who is not grateful for the bounties of Allah Ta'ala is in reality pursuing the elimination of the bounties. Shukr (gratitude) envisages abandonment of transgression and adoption of obedience. Only The One Being should be acknowledged as the bestower of all bounties. Ingratitude leads to the disappearance of the ni'mat (bounties).

The one who is grateful for the bounties and recognises the True Bestower, is ensured of the perpetuation of the favours of Allah. In fact, the favours will be increased. In this regard, Allah Ta'ala states in the Qur'aan: “If you are grateful, most certainly I shall increase (the bounties) for you. And, if you are ungrateful, then (know) that My punishment is severe.”

Occasionally darkness settles over you so that you understand and appreciate the bounties of your spiritual illumination. The condition of the bandah here on earth is not always the same. Sometimes the noor of obedience settles on him while at times the darkness of the contamination of desires and unmindfulness settles in his heart. If only the illumination of anwaar had to settle on him, he would not have known its value. Also, the reality of noor is understood from its opposite, viz. darkness (zulmat). When there is no appreciation, the bandah will not express Shukr to his Master. For this reason sometimes the darkness of ghaflat and shahwat settles on the Saalik so that he values the noor of obedience.

He who has not recognised the worth of bounties while they exist (with him), will recognise it after elimination of the bounties.

Extracted from Ikmaalush Shiyam
Perfection of Morals
Shaykh Ibn Ataullah Iskandari

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