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Ibn al-Jawzi said: “Whenever your thirst for desires intensifies, just stretch your fingertips to He Who has all the irrigation. Say: should patience be overwhelmed in these dry years, I’d plead to You to hasten my rescue with water.”Your lust & desires are so tense that they are about to overcome you in this round, but you are resisting & trying not to fall, so you seek God’s help who has all what you need. Hope would take you on the path of your love directly to His territory. It is bondage that puts the heart in despair should it depart out of it.

Hope is of 3 types:

The first two are praised ones, but the third is blameworthy. In the first, the obedient believer hopes that the Lord would reward him favorably for his good deeds. In the second, the disobedient who repented to the Lord is hoping that He would accept his repentance & forgive him. The third type of hope is blameworthy; it is the hope of the lazy ones, those who do not strife to do good & yet hope for forgiveness. All scholars have agreed upon one fact: hoping for God’s contentment & forgiveness never comes without doing good to be worthy them. If hope is without work, it is vanity. Al-Hasan al-Basri said: “Faith is not wishful thinking and outward appearances. It is what is settled in the heart and accredited by one’s actions.”

 

Should you feel thirsty for desires, take off your strengths and submit to the absolute strength of the Almighty: Stretch your fingertips to He Who has all the irrigation. Say: should patience be overwhelmed in these dry years, I’d plead to You to hasten my rescue with water. Ibn al-Jawzi is referring to what happened to Joseph: {And the king (of Egypt) said: “Verily, I saw (in a dream) seven fat cows, whom seven lean ones were devouring - and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry. O notables! Explain to me my dream, if it be that you can interpret dreams.” (43) They said: “Mixed up false dreams and we are not skilled in the interpretation of dreams.” (44) Then the man who was released (one of the two who were in prison), now at length remembered and said: “I will tell you its interpretation, so send me forth.” (45) (He said): “O Yusuf (Joseph), the man of truth! Explain to us (the dream) of seven fat cows whom seven lean ones were devouring, and of seven green ears of corn, and (seven) others dry, that I may return to the people, and that they may know.”} [Yusuf 12:43-46].

 

{وَقَالَ الْمَلِكُ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ سَبْعَ بَقَرَاتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأْكُلُهُنَّ سَبْعٌ عِجَافٌ وَسَبْعَ سُنبُلَاتٍ خُضْرٍ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَاتٍ ۖ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَفْتُونِي فِي رُؤْيَايَ إِن كُنتُمْ لِلرُّؤْيَا تَعْبُرُونَ ﴿٤٣﴾ قَالُوا أَضْغَاثُ أَحْلَامٍ ۖ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِتَأْوِيلِ الْأَحْلَامِ بِعَالِمِينَ ﴿٤٤﴾ وَقَالَ الَّذِي نَجَا مِنْهُمَا وَادَّكَرَ بَعْدَ أُمَّةٍ أَنَا أُنَبِّئُكُم بِتَأْوِيلِهِ فَأَرْسِلُونِ ﴿٤٥﴾ يُوسُفُ أَيُّهَا الصِّدِّيقُ أَفْتِنَا فِي سَبْعِ بَقَرَاتٍ سِمَانٍ يَأْكُلُهُنَّ سَبْعٌ عِجَافٌ وَسَبْعِ سُنبُلَاتٍ خُضْرٍ وَأُخَرَ يَابِسَاتٍ لَّعَلِّي أَرْجِعُ إِلَى النَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ} يوسف: 43-46

 

Transliteration: Waqala almaliku innee ara sabAAa baqaratin simanin yakuluhunna sabAAun AAijafun wasabAAa sunbulatin khudrin waokhara yabisatin ya ayyuha almalao aftoonee fee ruyaya in kuntum lilrruya taAAburoona (43) Qaloo adghathu ahlamin wama nahnu bitaweeli alahlami biAAalimeena (44) Waqala allathee naja minhumawaiddakara baAAda ommatin ana onabbiokum bitaweelihi faarsilooni (45) Yoosufu ayyuha alssiddeequ aftina fee sabAAi baqaratin simanin yakuluhunna sabAAun AAijafun wasabAAi sunbulatin khudrin waokhara yabisatin laAAallee arjiAAu ila alnnasi laAAallahum yaAAlamoona

 

Ibn al-Jawzi when saying that you become out of patience, that your endurance has reached its limits & you live in the “lean years”, you have nothing left but to seek God’s help & to pray to him to rescue you. Ibn al-Jawzi carries on: Oh, I think of the one who has spent most of his lifetime in piety and obedience, and then he happened to face some passing temptation towards the conclusion of his journey. I’d think hard how his boat drowned just at the time of its boarding.

 

Take off your strengths & do not feel secure leaning on your good deeds. However vital one’s actions are, never rely on them. For these are never enough to place you in Paradise, whatever good you do. The Prophet said: “You must know very well that not a single soul will be put in Paradise depending solely on its good deeds; even myself. One enters into Paradise only if he is blessed with God’s mercy” [Agreed upon].

«لن ينجي أحدا منكم عمله . قالوا: ولا أنت يا رسول الله؟ قال: ولا أنا، إلا أن يتغمدني الله برحمة» متفق عليه

 

We do not know of anyone who worshipped God as much as the Prophet did. Still, he says that his deeds are not enough to take him to Paradise. The matter is an equation, a balance: on one side there are God’s blessings, & on the other there are His subject’s deeds & gratitude for such blessings. We then watch how the scale will fare. There is this hadeeth, though of weak authentication, yet I mention it here for the sake of clarifying such matter.

There was this man who worshipped God sincerely on an isolated island for 600 consecutive years. He had nothing to distract him: no temptations & no vocation. God has bestowed upon him a spring of pure water & a tree of pomegranate arising from within a rock. He drank, ate & prayed for 600 years. When he died, God said: By My mercy, let this subject of Mine enter Paradise. The man said: But no my Lord, I enter by my deeds. God ordered the deeds of the man to be balanced against the blessings of God. The Angels started by just one blessing, the ability to see. This alone outweighed the 600 years of prayers. God ordered him to be taken to hellfire. He was screaming: Your mercy my God, Your mercy. God ordered them to take him back. He asked the man: Who created you from nothing, your deeds or My blessing? The man replied: Your blessing, Your mercy. God carried on: Who gave you the strength to keep on praying for 600 years, your deeds or My mercy? The man again admitted: Your mercy. Who bestowed you with pure water in the middle of this salty water? Who got out this pomegranate tree from within the rock for you to feed? The man answered: All is by Your mercy my God. So God said: Now you enter into Paradise by My mercy, for you were an obedient subject.

It is an issue of balance; with blessings on one hand and the deeds of a person on the other hand. If the Prophet himself, the one human with greatest piety, if he says that he will not enter Paradise according to his deeds; this does not mean that you lose hope. You do the best that you can & God will accept it, He will accept it as it is. God has promised us, & He never goes back on His promises: {Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned.} [Al-Baqara 2:286].

 

{لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّـهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا ۚ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتْ وَعَلَيْهَا مَا اكْتَسَبَتْ} البقرة: 286

 

Transliteration: La yukallifu Allahu nafsan illa wusAAahalaha ma kasabat waAAalayha maiktasabat

 

In At-Talaq we recite: {Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him.} [At-Talaq 65:7];

{لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّـهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا مَا آتَاهَا} الطلاق: 7
Transliteration: la yukallifu Allahu nafsan illa ma ataha
And in Surat Al-Hajj {And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islamic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islam), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship,} [Al-Hajj 22:78].

 

{وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّـهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ} الحج: 78

 

Transliteration: Wajahidoo fee Allahi haqqa jihadihi huwa ijtabakum wama jaAAala AAalaykum fee alddeeni min harajin

 

Try to reach your maximum effort, do the best that you can.

I ask Allah to make what I said to you a supply to your eventual destiny, & of benefit on the Day you are witnessed by God. He is enough for us, our supporter & sponsor. Blessing of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad & Praise be to God the Lord of the entire universe.

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