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Below is the first part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
Tasawwuf is not tareeqah. Tasawwuf is a science; its been taught within
tareeqah and without it. This has always been taught and has chains of
transmission. This is just one of the sciences of Islam; you dont have to be in a
tareeqah to benefit.
Dont let the knowledge that youre not practicing something you know stop you
from teaching it because hopefully the shame of teaching it without practicing
it will cause you to start practicing it.
If you claim something you dont have, Allah will expose you to people. -saying
of Sidi Ahmad Zarruq
This book is about the human heart English word comes from a Sanskrit word
that means something which leaps, also core (similar to the Arabic lub). Heart is
also used as a metaphor for courage amongst the Arabs when they say ma
`induhi qalb, they mean to say he has no courage.
The heart is a 4-chambered organ, has 2 functions, that it expands and contracts
(qabd wal bast), similar to the names of Allah al-Qabid and al-Basit. Every breath
has 4 beats, the faster your heart beats, the faster you will breath.
Ruh in Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese (shen), Greek means breath. Nafs in Arabic is
the ruh, while nafas is breath.
They now know that there are over 40,000 neurons in the heart, brain cells are
found in the heart!
The heart is an autogenic organ, it beats on its own. Your brain doesnt have to
tell your heart to beat. Even before your CNS is developed in the womb, your
heart starts beating.
The Muslims have always believed that the intellect is centered in the heart, not
in the head. Cardiac hormones are released in the heart that are sent to the
brain. The thinking of the heart is not the same as the thinking of the brain. The
intellect of the heart is rooted in the light of the human being. A heart that can
think is one that is in harmony with Allah swts intentions.

Did you come to ask about birr (righteousness)? Ask your heart. Birr is what the
hearts/soul/nafs feels tranquil with. The wrong action is what troubles the soul,
and the heart wavers. -hadith of Rasoolullah saws
There is wavering in the breast when there is a wrong action, even when people
are telling you to do a particular thing. Your heart has the potential to guide
human beings.
A heart thats sound is one without sickness, one that is saleem. There are
diseased hearts and dead hearts. Somebodys heart can be dead, and Allah can
bring it back to life with iman. The difference between one who remembers
Allah and one who doesnt remember Allah is like the difference between the
living and the dead.
One of the mysteries of the heart in Western medicine is that it can be diseased,
and there are no symptoms. The arteries could be clogged, but they can look like
they are perfectly fine, but they suddenly drop down dead from a heart attack.
Someone can look like they are in perfect health but be diseased. This is
regarding the physical heart, but the same goes for the spiritual heart. There are
signs and there are symptoms in medicine the signs are what the physician can
see himself, but the symptoms come from the patient, they have to tell you what
it is. The spiritual heart has signs and symptoms as well, and some people can
recognize theyre sick while others cannot.
Bad adab a student tells his teacher that he heard a line of poetry from them
last year.
A believer never tires of khayr.
Adeeb having perfect adab
A believer is the mirror of the believer. In Macbeth, he says that God made it
such that we can only see our reflections in a mirror. We cant see our own face
without a mirror. A believer is a reflection of a believer because you see your
faults in him. A mutakabbir has so much pride that he gets angry.
Imam Shafii was asked why he had such impeccable adab. He said I always
listened to my detractors, I listened to what they said, and then I worked to
remove their criticisms. Another scholar was asked how he learned everything
he knows, and he said, I took every person I ever met as a teacher. Either he
was better than me, and I learned things to improve myself, or he was worse
than me, and I learned things to avoid. So everybody can teach you something.

When you hear a rude person, you should remember that the way you feel is
how others feel when you are rude to them.
Buddhists have 4 vows that they say every single day. One vow is that today I
am going to overcome myself. Another is that today I am going to give
up/overcome my desire. Another is that today I am going to master the sacred
law. The last is that today I am going to help other creatures.
Once you realize that the only thing that benefits you on Yawm al-Qiyamah is
the sound heart, then we should immediately get started on working on the
heart. Everything that is wrong with the world today has to do with the human
heart. Every foul act, of backbiting, of hypocrisy, theft, stealing, killing stems
from corrupted hearts. If a heart is pure, the actions are pure. If a heart is
corrupt, the actions are corrupt. The problem with the world is not pollution.
Pollution is a symptom as is war. If you work on the symptoms without going to
the root causes, you wont get rid of the disease. That person will just get
reinfected. You have to change the conditions that are creating the disease, and
all this stems from the heart. That is why the Prophet saws said that his mission
was to perfect noble character because character emanates from a sound heart.
The Prophet sawss heart was cleaned 3 times, and his heart was pure. Thus, the
people around him were also purified because they were around him. When
youre around righteous, pure people, your heart becomes purified. For
example, in the prison system, the prisoners might be trying to get better, are
trying to change and really changing, but then they are thrown back into the
same environment that destroyed them.
Sidi Ahmad Zarruq says, Never trust the nafs. If youve fallen into disobedience
in a place, never feel strong about going back to it. You go and feel that youll
be strong enough to handle it this time, but then you just fall back into it. The
cycle starts over again. Thats why you have to be in company.
A monk said that every morning they get up in the morning at 3 AM and start
their chanting. Someone asked him, isnt that hard? He said, if I were by myself,
it would be extremely hard, but because everyone is here, its easy. Its easy to
pray in the jama`a because everyones going to the jama`a. This is the strength
of the jama`a. InnAllah ma` al-jama`a.
Mauritania everyone is smiling all the time. But in America, one shaykh noted
that no one really smiles that much. Smiling is a part of fitra; the Prophet saws
was always smiling. Its actually part of fitra to smile when you see somebody.
The shaykh noted that the reason why people dont smile as much in America is
because they are always doing things alone. They have shayateen with them,

they get depressed because Shaytan rides alone. One person who rides alone
has Shaytan with them, 2 people alone is 2 shaytans, but 3 is company. Shaykh
Khadri said the strangest thing he saw was that he saw a car go and turn around,
roll down its window, talk to a metal box, saw some hands come out with a white
box, and he didnt talk to the person. It was a fast food restaurant. We grew up
thinking this is normal, but this is not normal. When one person eats alone,
Shaytan eats with him. If you dont do dhikr when you eat, Shaytan eats with
you and he gets fat. But if you say bismilLah when you eat your food or enter
your house, then Shaytan gets weak. He doesnt get any strength. The shayateen
are getting bigger and bigger, and now people can actually come out and say
that they are shayateen. Rock bands declare that they worship Satan.








The maqaam of the past is tawbah. The maqaam of the present is istiqamah.
The maqaam of the future is ta7qeeq. You have yesterday, today, and
tomorrow. For yesterday, you say astaghfirulLah. Its already in the past, and
you wasted the opportunity. Today, maqaam, dont waste the opportunity, so
have istiqamah. For tomorrow, you hope for realization.
Zarruq starts the book with praising Allah and His messenger, sal Allahu `alayhi
wa sallam. As for whats before, after, and there throughout, fa laysa al-haqeeqa
illa Allah. Any fraction of infiniti is zero so any existence in comparison to
Allahs existence is nothing. Thus, He is the only reality. There is no real existence
other than Allah. Everything elses reality is contingent reality; its not a
permanenet reality but its not an illusion. Our existence is only sustained by
Allahs qayumiyyah, and if Allah withdraws His sustaining support, its just gone.
It came from nothing and it goes back to nothing. There is nothing to protect
you from the command of Allah unless Hes had mercy on you, and theres no
guidance except through Shariah.
Whoever learns shariah without working on his inner reality becomes a fasiq
because hes not sincere; he may be learning for riyaa. Whoever learns about
realities without learning about shariah, he becomes like a heretic (zindiq).
Whoever joins the two, thats the real one whos realized. -saying of Imam

After you have removed every foul thing and every grotesque thing, preferring
soundness and safety in his path, with a sound presence of mind, with a heart
constantly turning to Allah and is witnessing Allahs presence, he places
everything in its place [and that is the definition of `adl (an oppressor puts things
in places where they dont belong, which is thulm). So for example, if you take
your book and burn it, thats muba7. If you take someone elses book and burn
it, that is thulm. Allah can do whatever He wants to His servants, though,
because they are His property. You cant question that. Tragedy is that the tragic
hero never realizes that they brought it on them themselves; theyll never admit
that theyre wrong], he realizes knowledge and action according to the
foundation, and this is especially difficult in certain places and days, but the gift
of Allah is not specific to a certain time or place, nor is it prevented because of
the difficult things in any place, and trust in your Lord as someone who will take
care of you and take Him as your protector, for He will never forsake the one
who seeks Him, and He will never neglect the one who seeks refuge in Him and
depends on Him, and all the keys of good are in seeking refuge in Him constantly,
and the foundation of all matters is in the existence of depending on Him, and
whoever trusts in Allah, Allah is enough for Him. Allah will be enough to protect
Him and give victory to Him. Doesnt Allah respond to the one who is in need of
Him and removes him from harm? Whoever trusts in Allah is guided to a Straight
Path. If you ask Allah, then magnify your request. Ask Allah for big things, and
have high himmah. Allahu akthar, if you do a lot of du`a, Allah will do more for
you, i.e. a lot of answering. Whoever is given du`a, he will not be deprived of its
Why are they feeding a cow, an herbivore, dead animals? Why are the human
beings making them an omnivore? A pig is an omnivore; theyll eat anything.
Allah made omnivores haram to eat, but He made it halal to eat herbivores
because that way we wont be harmed.
Why do people do things when they know its bad for them? Theyve all run
amok; theyre all stupid because even animals dont do that. Animals do what
theyre supposed to do, but if a human knows something is wrong and then
continues to do it, they are worse than animals.
Allah gave me the power to bring the dead back to life but He did not give me
the power to cure stupidity. -a saying of `Isa (as)
Mawlana Rumi was saying he saw a man making du`a, and he was saying Ya
Allah. A cynic passed by and asked him, how long have you been asking? The
man replied that he had been asking for many many years. So the cynic asked if
he had received a response yet, and the man said no. Then the cynic asked, so

why are you asking? Then the man fell into a confused sleep because that cynic
put doubt in his heart. So the man saw a dream, and in it al-Khidr asked him why
he stopped his supplication. He said because Ive been doing it all the years and
I never got the answer. Then al-Khidr told him that dont you realize that the
supplication was the answer. If Allah put you at the door, what greater gift do
you want, what greater gift that youre occupied with what youre created to be
occupied with while everyone else is busy with other things? Thats the answer,
so why do you expect things when the greatest thing is to be remembering Allah
swt. Ibn AtaAllah says the point of du`a is to realize your `uboodiyya to Allah
because Allah knows what you need, and thats why theres a hadith that says
the one who remembers Allah and is so preoccupied with this that he forgets to
ask that hell get even more reward than someone who asks from Allah, and
whoever was provided with istighfar will not be deprived of forgiveness. If Allah
has given you the gift of remembering to say astaghfirulLah, then you will not
be deprived of being forgiven.

Below is the second part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
Sidi Ahmad Zarruq says that the heart is the foundation of every good and evil,
and its life and its death are the keys to either benefit or harm, so that which
has no life has no way of protecting itself from evil and facilitating for itself good,
and every heart that life enters into, by necessity, will call itself to good when
He said that there are 3 types of hearts:
1. qalbun fi hayatihi saheehun, a heart whose life is sound and its expression
is clear, eloquent, and its companion when he speaks, speaks with wisdom,
and he rises to every necessary occasion, and when difficulty arrives, he
responds appropriately. A mans heart lies hidden under his tounguesaying of Ali RA, when someone loves something youll hear him
mentioning it a lot, so if he has Allah in his heart, thats what hes going to

talk about. If his heart is filled with wealth, anger, rage, thats what hes
going to talk about. So a person whose heart is sound, youll find that his
expression is sound too. = QALBUN SALEEM
2. qalbun la hayata fihi, a heart in which there is no life, it neither accepts
admonition or a reminder nor does it accept anyone caling it to attention
and far from it to follow the truth, or that it should have any courtesy or
consideration for Allahs creation
3. a heart that is afflicted with sicknesses, and in its various states and
circumstances, its accompanied with objections and symptoms, so the
symptoms that follow follow. And this type of heart is the type of heart
that actually experiences pain when it hears of its sicknesses. So when you
hear of someone speaking of kibr, hasad, `ujb, riyaa, etc., you actually feel
pain, which is a sign of life. And this is a heart, when we speak about
treating or process of getting better with a struggle or a cure, this is the
heart were talking about, hoping that it will come back to life and its life
will be renewed or at least the disease will cease so that it doesnt lead to
its death. If the heart remains untreated, itll lead to its death.
3 aspects/types of sick hearts:
1. theres more life than illness; the primary state is the soundness and the
disease is secondary. For example, someone with asthma tends to be more
healthy than sick, as opposed to someone with cancer where theyre still
alive but with terminal illness. This is much easier to treat.
2. the sickness is preponderant and the life is very weak and diminished. This
is a terminal case, and it should be given serious concern.
3. the sickness and the health are about the same, but its possible to
strengthen one over the other. Its like the second one, though, and is still
very serious because its possible the sickness may overtake the
soundness. This is a chronic case which is seriously interfering with the life.
For example, someone with weak kidneys may easily go into kidney failure
if theyre not careful. This is still very dangerous.
The Sickness and Its Diagnoses
The sickness manifests in one of 3 ways so well know whether its hidden or
1. a symptom that manifests, is clear, we can see it, and in order to measure
it, to do some diagnostic tests, is the actions of ones limbs. For example,
when someone is backbiting, theres a symptom right there of a diseased
heart. That person is revealing a symptom to you of the fact that he has a
diseased heart. Or for example, theyre stealing. Where does that come

from? Tama`a (covetousness). The trunks of humiliation come from

covetousness. Fornication is a symptom.
2. the ideology, and its diagnostic measurements is the movements of the
hearts. This diagnosis takes someone of more knowledge and intellect. The
ideology is the original cause. For example, Iblis was commanded to make
sajdah of honoring Adam, and the reason he refused is because he felt
Adam was unworthy of his sajdah because he said he was higher than
Adam because he was created from air and fire (light elements that rise
up) rather than earth and water (heavier elements). Thats what he said,
but whats really going on, whats moving in the heart? Hasad. Thats the
movement of the heart. The ideology was hasad. Some say kibr precedes
hasad, and others say hasad precedes kibr, but its a khilaaf between
`ulamaa al-quloob. People will admit to fallonious crimes before they will
admit to envy. -Melville
3. the matters that move someone to do something, and the diagnostic
measure for that is what it inclines to by choice. For example, if someone
has the decision to gamble or do something useful, which will it incline to?
So youre looking at the inclinations of the self, whether youd rather go to
the cinema than to the masjid, whether youd rather backbite or go study
something useful.
Shaykh/Rabbani Sidi Abu Hassan ash-Shaadhiri:
Blinding the inner sights occurs from three things. You have basar and you have
baseera. Basar is the outward sight. Baseera is the inward sight. This is my way,
I call to it with baseera (proof, inner sight). So the baseera is to the heart what
the basar is to the body. Its the inward sight, and just like the outward sight can
be blinded or can get cataracts where you cant see but can be removed, so can
the inward sight.
You should enable/allow your limbs to enter into a state of disobedience with
Allah swt, to pretend/to be artificial in displays of obedience to Allah swt =
NIFAQ. Hypocrisy is the hommage that vice pays to virtue. -French moralist,
and this is why the Muslims actually prefer a state of hypocrisy to a state of
outward disillusion (when the soul has no shame because this is a worse state
than a soul that pretends to be obedient when people are around and is
disobedient when others are around). Some people will say I dont want to be a
munafiq because I dont drink openly, but the person who drinks openly is more
shameless than the one who drinks privately; the one who drinks privately has
more potential than the one who is shameless. Even though its a blameworthy
and wretched state to be in, its a better state than the one who lacks all shame.

In a virtuous society, even the scoundrels will pretend to be virtuous in front of

others, but in a shameless society, people lose their shame, and thats a worse
Having any desire for what the creation has = TAMA`A. This means to yearn for
what others have, and all the letters in the word tama`a are mujawwaf, have
hollow centers because thats the nature of tama`a, its insatiable, you just want
more and more. So anyone who claims to have inner sight and they have one of
these three, hes either a liar or his knowledge is lacking, he doesnt have the
correct understanding. And this is the essence of reality.
When sickness enters into a nave heart, a heart of someone who is really not
diseased, its easy to treat. A heart that has been healthy, once it gets sick, its
much easier to treat than a heart which was sick then it got healthy, and then it
has a relapse.
This is the problem of making tawbah and then returning back to the sin. The
more wrong actions, the more the heart gets encrusted. Because he has become
intimate, he has come to enjoy the disobedience, he feels comfortable with and
thats why he returns to it, then thats why when he becomes well, the reality
comes into it. But if it gets sick after that by a relapse because of that deficiency
its experiencing in the heart, the opposite is true, the reality wont really enter
it, and itll be hard for that heart to be firm, even though its easy to go back.
If those things that are calling to good and evil, if theres a strong impetus in the
heart and the constitution supports that, and when someone does things, it feels
pain, then thats a good sign, and one should not despair. But never feel safe
with yourself in any situation, and dont become heedless about protecting what
you have of goodness once you have it.
In other words, just because alhamdulilLah youve been doing your wyrd, dont
be comfortable with that, be vigilant because Shaytan is vigilant in trying to get
you out of that. And always renew your returning to Allah and your tawbah in
order to protect the soundness of that returning to Allah. And treat your
diseases with those things that you see are beneficial for it, that have a curative
effect, and do that with those things that will incur with the self what ornaments
and benefits the self and what removes from the self the destructive tendencies.
Be concerned with those things that will bring zeenah to the heart. The more
you do something, the more you start inclining toward it. For example, someone
who exercises or showers every day, they dont feel well when they dont do


those things. So guard those things that will benefit your soul and avoid those
things that will bring your soul into destruction, and this tawfeeq is by Allah swt.
The treatment of a heart that has a preference for its desires, that heart that is
turning away from its Lord. If your heart has life in it, and you actually feel the
pain when you do something wrong because there are some people that do
wrong things and they no longer feel the pain (some people punch hot sand until
they kill all the nerves and tissue until they dont feel the pain anymore), this is
a good sign. In order to treat that heart that still is inclining to wrong actions and
is turning away from its Lord, but its still alive and feels pain, and it still feels
good when it does good actions, there are 3 ways that are keys to closing the
doors of disobedience.
1. the first is that you have himyah, which is a regime. In other words, you
have a diet for your body, and if youre eating a lot, it strengthens the nafs.
You should eat to the point that its not affecting neither your intellect nor
your physical well-being, which is reflected in your sleep (either youre
always tired because youre sleeping too much or you cant sleep out of
hunger because youre not eating enough). So you need to find a balance,
and you dont go beyond that, you discipline your soul to not exceed those
2. the second is inhaling the fragrances of sincerity by keeping the company
of the people of sincerity. Be with the people of sidq because when youre
in their presence, youre breathing in their fragrances. There is a spiritual
fragrance of purity, and you inhale that when youre in their company, and
that inhaling affects your soul. The fragrances of his
remembrance diffuse.Theres a reality in the company of actions. Theres
a phenomena in physics called entrainment. A man put a bunch of
grandfather clocks into a room, and he set them at different times, but
when he came back, they were swinging/ringing in sync. A man discovered
that this is because the biggest clock, the biggest pendulum pulled the
others with its force, so the others synchronized with that force because
of the strength of that force.
So one phenomena with humans is that when they enter a room together,
their hearts entrain. This is a physical phenomena, theyve done it with
electrocardio things. Womens periods, people walking together entrain
naturally. Peoples breathing entrains. You entrain with the most powerful
heart, and there are two hearts that are powerful, the hearts of the
awliyaa and the hearts of the shayateen, white hearts and black hearts
metaphorically speaking. So these hearts pull others into their force.


For example, with the Columbine shooters, one of the boys didnt have
much of a personality and the other had a very strong one, and the former
was under the complete influence of the second. Look at Hitler, Fir`aun,
Abu Jahl (when someone almost became Muslim, he pulled him back in)
these are the heads of kufr. Shaytan has awliyaa. There are awliyaa arRahman and awliyaa of Shaytan, but both heads are strong and they can
pull people into their force. People get pulled between the two forces.
The sick heart wavers, and the most important thing for a sick heart is good
company. Shaykh Abdullah says, The most corrupting influence on
children is other children. If youre teaching children, and theres one bad
seed, but that child can pull people with him. The hearts will waver
between one or the other.
If you dont have a living person to be in their company, then find out about
the righteous people of your area and read their history. For example, if
you live in Fez, read the stories of these people. If you read about them
and visit the places they went, theres a benefit in that.
The other is to use a powerful medicine, and by being reminded of the
places of destruction and the places that obstruct you in your path, that a
servant should reflect on his nature, one of them is to know that hes a
stranger to this world, even from his own self, because the self does things
that you know you shouldnt do. So the fact that you do things that you
know you shouldnt be doing causes you to be alienated from yourself, you
are alienated from your own ego. Your higher self is alienated from your
lower self.
The second is to remember the struggle of moment of death, sakkarat almawt, even the best of people experience the struggles of death, and you
will be alone in your qabr. Think and reflect on that.
3. The third is to remember that you will one day be standing in front of the
Ruler of the heavens and the earth, and you will be exposed to all of
creation on the day that all of your actions are shown. Think and reflect on
that. A human beings life will be shown to him moment by moment on the
Day of Judgement, and you will have to explain it. Cinema is a sign from
Allah. You can watch people who are dead now, and you can watch a piece
of their life because its been recorded on a magnetic strip. You think you
can do that, and Allah cant do that? Some peoples whole life is on the
internet now.



Below is the third part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
There are 3 types of heart:
1. saheehun (sound)
2. mayyitun (dead)
3. mareedun (diseased)
From the diseased heart, there are 3 types:
1. soundness greater than the disease
2. disease greater than the soundness
3. soundness and disease are about equal
(the latter two are in dangerous conditions)
How to know whether the heart is healthy or diseased:
1. by knowing the signs and symptoms
2. by knowing the ideology
3. by knowing the desires and the aversions
(outward medicine looks at the very same things)
3 ways to treat the heart:
1. himyat al-badan, which is some type of regime or diet and hunger (not to
the point where you harm yourself)
2. inshaaq as-sidq, which is su7bah, keeping the company of good people so
you inhale their fragrance
3. istimaal ad-dawaa, which is actually using medicine, and the medicine is
Why these 3 are important, and what to remember:
1. remember that you are a stranger in the dunya, alienation of the soul even
from itself
2. struggle of the soul at the time of death
3. stand in the presence of Allah swt


By diminishing your appetites, your heart becomes pure and more lucid, and by
keeping company with the people of good, your innermost core actually begins
to gain yearning. For instance, people who spend a lot of time with musicians
will desire to take up an instrument, and the people who are around rich people
will desire to make money. The people you keep company with, youll desire to
do what they do if they are good at it. This is the nature of company. So if youre
in the company of awliyaa, you actually begin to desire to achieve the states
that they achieve, and theres a desire to get close to Allah. And through the
remembrance of Allah, Allah will actually help you because Allah helps the
servant in accordance with his intention, so the greater the intention, the
greater the help. And Allah will give you spiritual opening and intellectual
opening based on your himmah.
In a book on the patience that scholars had in gaining knowledge, its mentioned
that Ibn Sina read Aristotles book of metaphysics 50 times before he had his
opening in it. And the point is its himmah. If you have himmah in anything, the
opening youll get will be in accordance with it. For athletes, there is natural
talent and theres work, and there will be people who will have natural talent
who dont do the work. So sometimes people will see a master pianist and think
its just a musical gift, but they dont see the 8 hours that person puts in 6-7 days
a week. And the mediocre musician is practicing maybe 2 hours a day. Even in
the dunya, the openings come from the himmah of the person. What the servant
has to do is take the means to the openings, but leave the openings to Allah.
If the nafs has aversion to being reminded or you see that the heart is neglectful
about these means about bringing about inner sight, like dhikr of Allah, then you
have to force yourself to do those means that will remind you and then intend
to do those things that strengthen you and strengthen your reflection. If you
find difficulty, and your nafs is not inclining to the 3 things above, heres another
3 things you could do:
1. wujood al-khalwa, which is to go into a leisurely retreat (doesnt mean
wasting your time) which means that you dont have anything to do, you
are not occupied with the world, you have time to study, and do this even
if youre not doing dhikr. Literally be in a state of khalwa because youre
forced to look at your nafs.
2. visiting the graveyards alone, even if youre not reflecting, because even
just being in the graveyards will have an effect on you. These will remind
you of the akhirah (at-Takathur).
3. istighfar wa salat `ala an-nabi, do istighfar and salat on Muhammad saws.
Why do we say istighfar right after you pray salah? Because of the


deficiency of your prayer. When the nafs is in this state of deficiency, then
saying a lot of istighfar is beneficial for the nafs, even if youre just staying
it on your tongue, its a good thing to do. For the prayer on the Prophet
saws it has many benefits. One of them is that the path on the sirat is
made easy (from a hadith). It draws you closer to the Prophet saws, and
love will enter into your heart for him just by saying the prayer. It purifies
the heart; its considered a shaykh when there is no shaykh. Do this in all
matters. The Prophet saws would visit the graveyards at least once a week.
Visit a Muslim graveyard in your area if you have one, and make du`a for
them and give them your salam.
A hadith says, Whoever is continuous in his istighfar, Allah will make for every
anxiety that he has some release of it, and for every constraint/difficulty that he
has Hell give him some outlet, and He will provide for him from where hes not
Another hadith related by Abu Bakr RA (rarely relates hadith) says, Prayer upon
me is noor in the heart, noor in the grave, noor on the sirat, and it is greater in
its extinguishing wrong actions than cold water is to fire.
Now Sidi Zarruq relates that if youre having problems with the other 3 things
listed above, and your nafs is refusing to follow that pathway, either because its
too weighty for the nafs (doesnt want to think about its wrong actions or think
about death) or because youre too preoccupied with the dunya, then this is a
sign of stupidity and forsakenness, a sign that you are in khidhlaan (the opposite
of tawfeeq, which is your wanting what Allah wants for you), which is that you
want something thats bad and Allah leaves you to it. Youre in deep trouble.
This is a proof in the weakness of your certainty and your faith.
As for being preoccupied with the world, that is due to the fact that your own
desires have overcome you. Allah has taken care of your dunya (hes not
insinuating that you shouldnt work), so dont continue to worry about it and to
be obsessed with it. As for the former (too weighty for the nafs), there are two
treatments for it:
1. you force yourself to do it even though you may not want to do. You have
to force yourself in spite of yourself to do it, and then preoccupy the self in
those things that are mashkoora (things that Allah encourages us to do and
tells us we will be rewarded for it), and dont concern yourself with the
benefit. Just think of it as khalas, I have to do it. Just do it as an exercise, as
if you know you have to run every day or floss every day. And dont look at
whether youre doing it in the best way or not; concern yourself simply


with doing it. Dont be obsessed with youre not doing it right or that youre
not doing enough; just do it and be consistent in it. For example, when
youre driving in your car, just force yourself to do 100 salat an-nabi. Why?
Because this activity will force the nafs to come to its senses whether it
likes it or not, and it will preoccupy the nafs from what it has been
accustommed and grown up doing (which is your ghaflah).
2. you have to repeat this stuff over and over without the proofs, without all
of the commentary, and study these meanings and just simply reciting
them, until theyre completely fixed in you so you know. Get to know this
material, your deen really well. Get to know what were taught about
reality really well. When something goes wrong, you dont get upset (one
sign of someone with weak iman is that they become upset when
something goes wrong) by it because who made everything go wrong?
Allah did. Why did He make it go wrong? One of 2 reasons: because you
were doing things wrong and He pulls the carpet out from under you so
you can stop in your tracks and ask yourself what you were doing that
would make Allah do this to you OR because Hes elevating you in degrees.
Hes either calling attention to your stupidity so you can stay
astaghfirulLah, or Hes giving you tribulation in order to raise you up and
elevate you, so why are you getting upset? Both scenarios are good. One
brings you back to the right track, and the other ensures that youre on the
right track and are improving. So when trials come, you should say
subhanAllah, alhamdulilLah. In knowing all these things, your strengths
are going to become energized and lively, and reality is going to protect
you from your hawaa and desires. Because for every human being, even if
he is a weak human being, there is a way of breaking things down to where
his certainty will increase and this is through repetition because through
repetition, meanings become confirmed and the substance of that
meaning becomes manifest. Through repetition, even a weak human being
by nature will get stronger in the understanding of the meanings. All little
children start with 1+2 = 3, etc. The only way the children progress is
through repetition.
As for your preoccupation and your lack of leisure, this is an excuse that is
unacceptable and unpalatable because either youre preoccupied with
something that has some element of the truth in it, like seeking knowledge
which has a danger of arrogance, elitism, vanity, egoism, OR what by its nature
necessitates sincerity and it either has some immediate benefit or some later
benefit, and none of that should negate the ability to reflect and to be reminded.
No matter who you are, you have time. Dont tell me youre too busy because
you were drinking coffee, watching movies, playing ping pong, etc. Quit fooling


yourself; you have time, but youve chosen not to utilize your time. Dont delude
yourself. Whenever people say I dont have time, its always a lie.
One thing that Marcus Aurelius said he learned from one of his teachers was,
Never use the excuse of preoccupation in an avoidance of responsibility. Dont
ever say youre too preoccupied to do what youre supposed to be doing. Dont
do anything that isnt a necessity, even if its a mandub because if youre doing
a mandub instead of doing a necessity, then youre doing something wrong.
Thats the same with anything; you learn to prioritize things. Where you put
Allah and His Messenger saws on your list will show how sincere you are. Some
peoples tops of the lists with either be dunya, family, leisure time (sculpting
your body and ignoring your inner character, which is funny because your body
will decline but your morals should get better and you can develop your virtue
as you get older but the physical things are just downhill). If indeed you did
spend all your time in this preoccupied state, then youre taking your reality to
what youre preoccupied in, and therefore the Haqq cannot be firmly
established because of what youre negating by it (what youre leaving by not
prioritizing these things).
And now there are 3 treatments:
1. take some portion of your day and night, one sa`ah (any portion of time),
where youre alone with yourself and you look at what you did today and
what you did yesterday. What did I do for my deen, my heart, my family,
my parents? And then reflect on death preparation for you. Death is
preparing to attack you, lurking somewhere. Prepare for your death, my
brother, and dont extend your hopes because your heart will become hard
(dont think you have a lot of time), and be constant in your reflection on
the seriousness of death, and quickly hasten to action because your life is
dissipating. Even the Buddhists say that the best meditation to take your
life into account is the meditation on death. That will cause you to take
action. The strangest thing about human beings is that they see death all
around them and no one thinks its coming to them (a Hindu tradition).
2. if youre not capable of doing the first thing because of the previous
exhaustion and youre preoccupied with the world, then at least steal a day
out of all these days in the week, just one day or two days out of the week,
or three days out of the month, and make it like a debt you have to pay.
These are all different spiritual exercises that you can do; you can put these
on your calendar. Its encouraged to fast 3 days a month, so you can fast
on 3 days and then sit and reflect on those days. Think about where you
are going (fa ayna tadhhabbun).


3. if youre not able to do that because youre so overwhelmed, then make

the day of `Arafah, once a year, a day to reflect.
Death is a powerful thing, and you can actually experience your mortality in a
meditation of death, which causes you to assess what youre going to do with
your life. Nobody on their death bed wants to do anything other than right
actions; no one thinks that they wish they spent more time at the office or that
they would have watched more TV. People will always say that they wish they
went to the masjid more, prayed more, read more, etc.


Below is the fourth part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
We should do this every day, or every month, or every year. Beyond that theres
no hope.
Jumu`ah is a good day because on that day we are encouraged to remind
ourselves on that day, speak less, incur our salawat on the Prophet saws, and
we are also encouraged to fast one or two days of the week. And we are
encouraged to desire to do these things, even if we are not doing them. So thats
also part of this deen too, desiring for improvement.
One should also not make the day they fast like the day they dont fast, so
therefore the things that draw you near to Allah, you should be in a better state
than the days youre not doing that. If the only change that occurs during
Ramadan is that youre not eating and drinking, then something is wrong. Also
the Prophet saws encourages us to fast 3 days a month (particularly the ayaam
al-beedh but any 3 days will work). If you fast 3 days per month, its as if you fast
a whole year. And if you fast the 6 days in Shawwal, you also get the reward of
fasting for a whole year.
The sunnah of making itikhaf is that you should be fasting when doing it.
In reality, himmah (spiritual aspiration) can be high (`aaliya) and low (daniya).
These can also be further broken down. So if you have himmah `aaliya, its for
things of the akhirah, but even within that himmah, you can have a low himmah
meaning, for ex, that you want hour al-`ayn. The high himmah of the akhirah is
that you want to be in the presence of Allah swt; you want to be in Jannat alFirdaus al-`Ala. The high himmah is to want the highest station in Jannah. So
even with the himmah in regards to akhirah, you can have high and low himmah.
And then in regards to dunya, you can also have high and low himmah. Like
Mawlana Rumi once said, If youre going to fornicate, find a princess. If youre
going to steal, steal a pearl. This basically means that if youre going to do
something wrong and fornicate, dont go to a prostitute. If youre going to have
himmah in the dunya, have high dunya himmah. Dont go to hell for something
cheap. A Turkish proverb says that if theyre going to hang you from the tree,
demand that they hang you from the highest one. One time Imam al-Junaid was


walking by and saw a man that was going to be hung for brigandary, and he
stopped by the man and said salams to him. He said, do you show a brigand like
that any respect? He said Im impressed with any man willing to give his life for
what he desires. His point was that, hes willing to give his life for dunya, and
were not willing to give our lives for the akhirah?
So basically, we should use our himmah to get what we desire. Even if we only
have himmah to do 10 minutes of dhikr in the morning and evening, thats
himmah, so utilize it, even if you only have a little bit, dont waste it. Just the
same way, the person with leisure time uses it to seek what he desires. For
example, the person that gets upset sitting in the office, they should always have
something with them and should never get upset with waiting. Its `ibaadah to
wait in the masjid for salah so they can utilize any of their free time for
something useful!
So if hes really going to take these asbaab, these means, that hell remember
what has been mentioned and take these means to arrive at it. If youre serious
about this, youre going to use these means to achieve what you desire to
achieve. So if youre a mutasabbib (somebody in the world), then youre going
to use what has been mentioned, despite the fact that youre preoccupied with
the world, youre still going to use what has been given to you in accordance to
your capability. So for ex, if a student of knowledge is not concerned about
anything because they dont have to work or worry about food, that person is
going to make this work the source of their livelihood. The people who Allah has
freed of worrying about dunya obligations, they will earn their livelihood with
Allah by being people in the dhikr of Allah swt; they wont waste their time
because if Allah has relinquished those concerns from you, even if its only for a
period of time, whereas people who Allah has given the responsibility of working
in the dunya like family or children, those people have an excuse because they
genuinely are preoccupied, but people who are not preoccupied like a prisoner
in prison who made tawbah, those people have no excuse, so dont waste your
If hes a seeker of knowledge, hell put it in his list of activities because seeking
knowledge is not going to preoccupy all of your time. So if you have dars to
study, you study your dars but you cant do that all the time, so you work it out
so that you can do this work to change your condition.
The foundation of all good, the source of all the gatherings of righteousness and
blessings is only found in 3 things (and if you use these 3 things, it will enable
you to do other things):


1. that you have to seek the help of Allah and seek the succor of Allah, and
you have to do it on the carpetspread of poverty, of complete divestment,
and of humiliation, in other words, you go into a dhaleel (a low state). In
front of Allah, you are in a low state. Dont put yourself before Allah and
His Messenger saws; when Allah and His Messenger saws say something,
you say sami`na wa ata`na, we hear and we obey. So you have to have
isti`aana with Allah (when you seek help, seek help from Allah) and
istighaatha with Allah swt (seek istighaatha with Allah because He is alGhawth, so He is the one who helps), and you do this through poverty,
divestment, and humbleness, even if this is for a moment in the day and
night. Just one moment of your day, have faqr before Allah; even if its one
moment, do it, dont let a day pass by where you dont ask Allah for His
help because Allah will answer the muTarr (someone who is in a state of
daroorah, and thats how you have to look at your life because the reality
is that if thats the day that nothing will help you but a sound heart, you
are in absolute, desperate need to rectify your heart. Traditionally some of
the Sufis would wear rags and beg in the streets, which is not encouraged
by sunnah, but the point is that those people would do that because those
people wanted to break kibr from their hearts completely. A rich minister
realized he was arrogant and then he would sit on a garbage heap outside
of the city of Fez and people said he went crazy, but thats not to say we
should do that) and that is the type of state where Allah will answer your
prayers, when you are a muTarr. Sidi Abdullah Hadi bin `Aashar says that
theres no cure for the nafs except to go with ittiraar to Allah (to go in a
state of daroorah). Many converts will often come to Islam/guidance came
when they reach a point where they really felt that they needed help, and
they felt a total state of helplessness, and when you ask Allah in that state,
the guidance will come because Allah is ar-Rahman ar-Raheem. So the first
thing is isti`aana wal istighaatha bilLah.
2. renewing your sincere effort in overcoming those blemishes that are
preventing you from arriving to your goal and by singling out your spiritual
aspirations without hesitation, without a moments neglect. So when you
have `azeema (self-discipline), you have to renew your `azeema, and thats
why `azeema is a gift from Allah. And `azeema is either for something high
or something low, similar to himmah. So the second thing is to renew your
sincere desire to reach your goal and fight those things that are preventing
you from getting there.
3. the third thing is that you have hazm in your initiations to reach at what
youre getting once you realize what you need to do. Once you realize what
to do, have that discipline, because the way the nafs works is that if you


pray `isha at the masjid, you say that youll pray shafa`a and witr when you
go home, but then you end up talking, and you end up procrastinating. The
nafs will always try to get you to procrastinate. For ex, someone who is
trying to give up chocolates and someone brings them a box of chocolate,
he says Ill just have one, then he has two, and the nafs will consistently do
this whenever it happens. Although its very difficult to memorize the
Quran when in adulthood, a shaykh memorized it when in his 20s because
he dedicated the time between maghrib and `isha to memorization, and
he would not let anything get in the way of that, nothing. Because what if
someone invites you and you want to respond because its sunnah, and
then youve broken your pattern. Turn your back on your studies for a day,
and it turns its back on you for a week. Turn your back on your studies for
a week, and it turns its back on you for a month. Muslims used to work 7
days a week and 6 hours a day. But in the West, you end up working 8 hours
a day, maybe 12 hours to commute, then only 4 more hours of
wakefulness. The 2 days of weekend allow you to sleep in, be lazy, etc. and
it breaks the pattern when the best things are those that are continuous
even if they are small. So have hazm in what you do, even if its a little bit.
Its better to do 2 sunnah rakaat every day than 8 rakaat here and there.
These things will all be aided by tawfeeq by Allah, but what will prevent them is
being too preoccupied with the details because the nature of tawfeeq, which is
from sincerity, is that its something which prevents diversification because its
concerned with al-Haqq, and Haqq is one, Allah swt. You cant see the forest
because of the trees. The nature of the nafs is that it will obsess with the details,
and you lose sight what the goal of this is, and the goal of this is Allah swt, and
Allah swt can give you the openings, and the most important thing about
tawfeeq is ikhlaas, dont forget that. So more important than all the details he
gives is the sincerity behind it. And the reality of every person is always with the
consideration of his state. Its one thing thats going to manifest in what he
knows and what he does. If you remember your wrong actions, dont ignore
some over the others, really look at whats going on in your life so you can make
tawbah. But beware in looking at them in great detail that you become
preoccupied in really fixing them in yourself; in other words, your preoccupation
with your wrong actions can actually strengthen the wrong actions in yourself.
One of the greatest things that Shaytan will make you do to make you feel
digusted with yourself so that you go into a state of despair; hes concerned with
yaas, his name is Iblis. Iblis means ablasa, he despaired. And that state he loves
more than any other state to engender in the hearts of the children of Adam
(as), so what he will do is he will try to get you to become preoccupied with your
past wrongs, especially if theyre things which you are habituated to. So many


people have some wrong actions that they have a hard time getting rid of,
whatever they are, and what Shaytan will do is that hell remind you and whisper
that youre a worthless case, youre unworthy of being `abd Allah, of being in
the presence of Allah, you should just give up. So dont let this preoccupation
and despair happen in order that you are able to remove them. If you do
otherwise, you wont be able to get rid of them. BUT at the same time, dont just
admit that you are a wrongdoer and not look at the individual actions you are
committing. When you are doing your muhaasaba, dont just say astaghfirulLah
for every dhunoob. No, look at what youre actually doing, because this is the
way that by making tawbah of these wrong actions, this is how Allah will forgive
them and its also the way you get them removed. And know that the reminder
of the soul is based on what its engaged in. So, for ex, a nafs that is very
interested in knowledge, hikmah, and wisdom, you wont be able to be exhorted
or reminded with other than those things. The nature of your nafs will determine
what affects you when you hear reminders. Some things may even distance you
if you hear them, and it can become a nikmah because you end up becoming
arrogant. But every nafs that is really ignorant and knows its ignorant, any
exhortation will get it going. So if that nafs hears any preacher, hell say
subhanAllah and then be ready to follow it. But every nafs that has
argumentation rooted in it, these types of simple strategies wont be easy to
exhort it. They will want to argue that a hadith is sahih or daeef, etc. So those
types of strategies wont work for that type of person.
Call to your Lord with hikmah/yad`oo ila sabilih bil hikmah (for people of
intellect), and give maw`idah hassanah to people (for other people you have to
present something in a very logical way and why they should be doing
something), and jadilahu billati bi ihsan so Allah gives different strategies of
calling different types of people. Then Allah says that as for the one who takes
his caprice as his god, who will guide him after Allah swt, meaning this type of
person thats following his hawaa, these types of strategies wont benefit him
because hes lost in his passions. No people learns how to argue except that
theyre prevented from action, and you have argumentative actions that watch
other people how to pray so they can go pick on them and say that certain things
arent sunnah. These are sicknesses in peoples hearts, youre dealing with
psychological diseases. And thats why its just pathologies, and when you see
them, you realize that this person is just sick. Because the people of Allah, they
dont argue, they dont go to expose peoples faults. Theres two things, if youre
going to `amr bil ma`ruf wa nahya `an-il munkar (enjoining the good and
forbidding the wrong), you have to know about khilaaf. You cannot go enjoin
the good and forbid the wrong unless you know ijma` and khilaaf, and you also
have to have a broad base of knowledge because if you see someone praying


with their arms on their sides, you have to know that thats permissible in a
certain madhhab, and thus it would be haram to make inkar of them, you cant
make inkar of that because that is a dominant opinion of one of the rightly
guided schools of Islam, and the `ulama have never made inkar of that. There
are `ulama that have preferred the other opinion, and thats what they have
written in their books, but the `ulama have never said you cant do this, theyve
said that its better you do the other because the daleel is stronger, but you cant
say that you cant do this and that its not from the sunnah. The imam and school
have their adillah. So you have to know the khilafaat, and you have to have a
broad base of knowledge. And then also you have to have compassion for the
ummah, in otherwise the reason youre going is because you want to elevate
them, you dont want to debase, humiliate, or argue with them. First of all, you
should try to win them over, smile at them, inquire abou them, and start a
conversation with them. You dont just go over there and say ya akhi, haram
alayk. The Prophet saws, when the man came and urinated in the masjid, he
actually had the Sahaba RA veil him. When someone sneezed in the prayer, and
one brother said yarhamakulLah, and all the Muslims were looking at him, and
hes thinking what are you all looking at, what did I do, and then when the prayer
was over, the Prophet saws called him over and smiled at him, he said this prayer
is a prayer for tasbeeh, tahmeed, its for remembering Allah, theres no speaking
during the prayer. The man said wallahi I never saw a teacher before him or after
him more sweet to his students than him. This is the sunnah! Thats sunnah, to
be nice to your Muslim brother, thats sunnah. For example, in Egypt, after the
prayer the people shake hands and say to one another haraman meaning
maybe well pray in the Haram or taqabbal Allah. So an Egyptian man stuck his
hand out and said this to a man next to him, who happened to be from another
country, and he responded hadhehi bid`ah, to which the Egyptian responded,
Is having bad manners sunnah? If you really want to educate another person,
you should be kind, say thank you that you want to make du`a for me, but you
know there is khilaaf, and here is my daleel, etc. But if you just want to insult the
person, dont make it all self-righteous, just say that Im sick in my heart and I
like to be mean to people so get out of my face.
And he means by this, egotistical argumentation (not argumentation in which
you want the truth to manifest but rather argumentation in which you want your
self to manifest) and this is why Imam Shafi`i said that I never entered into a
debate unless I asked Allah to make the truth manifest on my opponents tongue
and not on mine so that I could submit to it, and this is a wali of God. Imam alGhazali said if you want to say something about the truth, look inside and ask
yourself if you want to say this because you want your ego to manifest or


because you indeed really want the truth to manifest. Whats the impetus
behind your action?
And it gets to the point where he doesnt benefit neither from his knowledge
nor from his actions because hes got this ostentatiousness, riyaa, entering into
his actions. And this becomes so essential to this persons reality that hes not
even aware of it because its overcome him completely, and if you pointed this
out to the person and said you know it seems like this is just your ego, hell never
accept that and will say no, I want the truth and thats why Im doing it, but
thats not really the reason. Its a psychological sickness, and its so deeply
rooted in this person that he doesnt see it like that because the nature of
caprice, if it firmly roots itself in the soul, it brings to fruition knowledge thats
in accordance with it. So when your hawaa becomes so firmly rooted, youll even
end up justifying and your knowledge will be in accordance. So for example,
youll only study the hadith that are with your opinion, you wont look at the
hadith that are against your opinion. And this definitely happens with people
because there are hadith sahih that refute their opinion, but they wont look at
them. They wont look what the `ulama said about them because its not in
concordance with their hawaa, and theyve completely submitted to their
hawaa, and theyre convinced that they did this for the sake of Allah, and this is
the diseases of the heart, this is the self.
This strategy becomes so great in this person that its to the degree that its even
been said that to dig and carve mountains with your fingernails is easier than
removing caprice from the soul, if its become firmly rooted. And this quality will
end up forcing the wayfarer on this path, it will regress him and pull him back,
and it will reduce him to the lowest of the low. And it will actually put the scholar
into the company of those heedless ones. And my belief about this is that the
majority of creation did not regress after arrival except because they were
unaware of this most important principle, so reflect on the words of the hikam
when he said, from the ignorance of a seeker of this path is that he does
something with bad adab and theres no punishment that comes from it
immediately (in other words its delayed or deferred), and then he says if this
really was bad adab, Allah would have stopped his imdaal, i.e. he would have
removed his help from me and would have distanced me from the state that Im
in because He can remove His maddad (help) from this person from where hes
not even aware of. For example, you can lose all your actions, and you will not
even be aware of it. Shaykh al-Hatimi said that if you talk during the adhan, youll
lose all your good actions and you wont even be aware of it because Allah said
dont raise your voice over Allah and His Messenger, and the nidaa to prayer is
from Allah. Allahs calling us to the prayer. And he could be in a place of distance


from Allah and hes not even aware of it, even to the degree that the only thing
He does is that He leaves you in what you desire, in other words, thats enough
to consider yourself distant from Allah is that youre doing all these things and
youre thinking that theyre all right with Allah.
The khatimah Now you know, my brother, the path of tawbah and the way to
return after youve regressed. So if you stand before its door and it is having
remorse of the past, realize its existence in your actions in that theyre in
accordance with in with consistency, knowing that tawbah from you to Him is
tawbah from Him to you. In other words, recognize that your tawbah to Allah is
in fact His returning to you, so you should see that; the fact that youre making
tawbah, He opened that door for you, and that in itself is a blessing from Allah
swt. So he says, if after youre firm, you lose it again (you fall back into it), then
know that its because of something you did (its your own fault), but if the
tawbah is maintained and consistent, know that it is His generosity to you
because your action, this tawbah that you did, is presenting yourself in the
presence of the fragrances of His mercy. What youre doing is youre exposing
yourself to the fragrances of His mercy, so its like when you go buy a rose bush,
and you stop and you breathe in the fragrance of that rose, what hes saying is
that your tawbah is breathing in the fragrances of His mercy, youre stopping to
inhale the fragrance of His mercy. And your firmness on this is as a result of His
gifts, and for this reason, you must return to tawbah whenever you return to
your wrong action, keep coming back. Theres a beautiful poem by Mawlana that
says, Come back, come back, whoever you are. Thief, robber, sinner, keep
coming back, even if you broke your vows a thousand times, come back. Ours is
not a caravan of despair. This is not a caravan of despair, thats Ibliss path. He
did something wrong, and then he despaired, he said theres no hope for me.
The children of Adam, they keep doing wrong and they keep coming back. And
Allah says that if you keep coming back, Hell keep coming back to you. So dont
ever despair of the mercy of Allah, no matter how much you do wrong, keep
coming back, keep coming back, keep coming back, and inshaAllah the wrong
actions will start to become more and more subtle. You have to keep coming
back until the day that you die, just keep making tawbah. If they get more and
more subtle, thats the hope. If youre in kabair, then you start to work on your
Because no matter how much of the qualities and the descriptive nature of the
servant, they in no way can diminish the character of your Lord. So your wrong
actions, no matter how much or how great they are, they dont diminish the
character of His Rahma. So dont think anything you do has any effect on your
Lord. Your Lord stays the same. Hes at-Tawwaab, ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem. And


He has promised to show His bounty and His mercy just as He has promised to
show His justice, so you have to have hope with fear. You dont just think that
oh, Hes ar-Rahman, I dont have to worry. No, this is why you have to be
concerned, and thats why you have to make tawbah. If you didnt have to worry,
you wouldnt have to worry about your wrong actions. No, you should worry
about your wrong actions, but dont let your wrong actions take you to a place
of despair. You cant say one of them is over the other except that Allah swt has
decreed that His mercy is over His justice, but dont put one over the other as
long as youre in this world. Right before you die, you should hope only for the
rahma, but in this world you should have them on equal foot. To flee from it is a
wrong, and to hasten toward it is guidance in itself, and success from Him is His
providence over you, that He is actually taking care of you. And if your
shortcomings and your going back to your wrong actions is a great thing, know
that returning to His generosity is greater than any great thing that youve done.
So know that your tawbah is greater than your wrong actions. Be aware of that.
Your tawbah is greater than your wrong actions, no matter what you did wrong.
No one is considered to be continuous in their wrong actions if they ask
forgiveness, even if they return to that action 70 times a day. And Allah swt loves
every person that does wrongs continues to turn back and make tawbah
katheera dhamb, katheera tawbah. He has a lot of wrong actions and he has a
lot of tawbah, Allah loves that servant. Someone said to Hasan al-Basri that a
man will do wrong then he asks forgiveness, he does wrong then he asks
forgiveness, at which point does he stop doing that? He responded I consider
this nothing other than the character of the believers. And in the hikam, he says
never allow any wrong action that you do to cause you to despair from gaining
istiqaamah in the future with your Lord, from gaining uprightness with your
Lord, because it could be thats the last wrong action that you do, thats ever
decreed for you, and whoever does not believe that Allah, or considers it very
unusual that Allah will save him from his appetites and remove him from the
condition of his heedlessness, has done nothing other than considered the
Divine Power to be weak. In other words, if you think that Allah cant take you
right now, in the state youre in, with all your wrong and all your ghaflah, and
change you right now and make you upright and make you a wali of God, then
youve incapacitated Divine Power. Allah is qadir `ala kulli shay. So understand,
oh my brother, and really consider this, reflect on it, ponder it, ponder your
return to having a good opinion of Allah, and reflect on your `ibaaqiqah (an abiq
is a slave that runs away from its Master), reflect on your running away from
your Master and your turning away from Him and feeling independent of Him.
Innal insana la yatgha, ar-raahus taghna Man has transgressed his Lord when
he deems himself independent of His Lord. Youre completely dependent on


Him, so this should cause you to feel inhiyash ilayhi, i.e. you should feel this
alienation that you want to remove no matter what your condition, wassalam.

Below is the fifth part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
3 types of hearts
3 types of sick hearts
3 reasons we can come to understand why a heart is sick
3 ways of treating a sick heart regime, good company, using the treatment
(which involves 3 reminders = the alienation of the world, the moment of
death, the fact that you will one day face your Lord)
When he spoke about the `azeema (self-discipline), he was talking about the fact
that its necessary to have resolution, to be resolute in this endeavor. The way
to realize resolution in your actions and also to utilize the means by which you
realize your goal is done through 3 mawaaqif, the first of which is the rank of
taqwa and the last of which is the carpetspread of the revealings of knowledge.
Al mawqif al awwal the rank of taqwa
-to realize tawbah through realization, and this revolves around 3 axes, and its
like the pole holding up and the doors into it.
1. the realization of the intention with absolute resolution to never return to
what youre leaving behind, in its totality at the outset. At the outset of
your tawbah, you make a tawbah from the past. When youre beginning
your sulook to Allah swt, you make a tawbah from the past because usually
before this you were in ghaflah and now you realize that to Allah is your
end. And the realization is the definition of intelligence; idiotic people are
those who waste their lives in idiotic endeavors.The world is dar ul fanaa,
youre here for a short moment of time, and once you realize that your life
can be taken from you at any moment, then if youre intelligent youll start
preparing for infinity, instead of always preparing for what is finite and
what is, really, intangible/an illusion. The world is not an illusion, the


`aalam, like if you look at the mountains, people 800 years ago looked at
those same mountains. The mountain is still there, but all those people are
gone. The mountain is `aalam, but hayat ad-dunya is our experience of the
world. The world stays here until Yawm al-Qiyaamah, but we pass through
for a brief time.
Now this would be like if you decided you wanted a house, and a real estate
agent tells you that he has 2 types of houses: one that looks nice and can
be sold now for a cheap price, but the problem with this house is that it
can disappear at any moment and theres no guarantee that even right
after the contract that itll still be there, but it could stick around for 50-60
years, and the other house is very expensive but theres a guarantee that
this is a permanent house, built on sand, and it will be with you for infinity.
So anyone with intellect will choose the second house, and thats why the
Prophet saws said that the dunya is an abode for the one whos homeless
and the one who gathers for it has no intellect. You have intellect if youre
wasting your time on dunya, youre ah7muk, and thats why the Prophet
saws said that the man of intelligence is the one who disciplines his soul
and works for what comes after death. The incapacitated one is the one
who lets his nafs follow its caprice and he has vain hopes about Allah swt.
Once you realize this in a deep deep way, you make tawbah in which you
say that youre turning away from the path of dunya, and youre setting
foot onto the path of akhirah. And this is a choice that the intelligent
person will make once in their life. This is a path, the path to Allah swt. If
you decide to path that choice, then at its outset, the first thing that you
do is that you make tawbah for the past, jumlatan, in its totality. You dont
have to go through every single thing you did because that would be too
difficult, you were in ghaflah for a long long time, and it would be too
difficult to do that, so you just make tawbah for the past. But thereafter,
you have to make muhaasabah because setting out on this path now
means you have to rectify your soul for Allah swt and therefore you have
to discipline your soul (idaanat an-nafs).
So you have to discipline the soul, so after you make this tawbah, you begin
to actually take this soul into account. So you look into all of them with
tafaseel. Those things that engender this firm resolution and this
steadfastness (in your resolution) are 3 things (dawa`i impetuses, call you
to what you do) i.e. these are the 3 things that will keep you resolute in
your tawbah:
1) flee from that place that you fear going back into your wrong action, so
if your wrong action was a kabair and you had relations with the opposite


sex (whether its zinah or what comes before zinah) then you must avoid
the places where those things occurred, or if its alcohol then you avoid the
company in which you drank and dont spend any time with them, dont
go anywhere near where that tempation occurred, and this can get more
and more subtle like if youre trying to relinquish backbiting and you know
there are certain people who you tend to backbite with, then you can
either make a contract with that person that youre not going to backbite
anymore or you can avoid them altogether if theyre not capable of doing
2) to suspect the soul/ego/self that remnants of its inclinations toward that
thing that youre trying to remove is still there in order that you can
maintain your vigilance against it. So youve made tawbah for the thing
youre trying to avoid, changing yourself, and you look at yourself and
figure out what are the things you want to remove from yourself. Although
you feel contempt for those things, theyre appetites, and thats the nature
of wrong actions, theyre appetites or we wouldnt keep doing them, so
suspect yourself. Even though youve made tawbah, still consider yourself
that it has inclinations toward these things so dont trust the self, suspect
the self. Or else the same thing is gonna happen and you wont even be
prepared for it, you wont even be aware of it because youve gone back
into your heedlessness,
3) to preoccupy yourself from those things you want to remove. If its a
sensory thing you want to remove, then preoccupy yourself with other
sensory things; if its a meaningful thing, then do it with other meaningful
things. And this should be without doing this in stages or steps because the
means by which you get out of something, in order to get out of it, this
precedes what youre getting out of in other words, that thing youre
trying to get out of, once youre out of it, thats the most important thing,
to be completely out of it, that should be your priority, and for that reason,
its an obligation that every time you remember your wrong action to
renew your remorse about it.
The reasons you fall back into wrong actions are three:
1) that you forget your remorse, go into a heedlessness about your
remorse, or you forget to recollect it, and because of that, the picture/form
of that wrong action will become fixed in the self and then it will sneak in
through heedlessness because of its deeply rooted nature in the heart,
because of the hearts preoccupation with it. A lot of the wrongs we do are
rooted in the self like envy, `ujb, kibr, gheebah, lust all these things are


very common in human beings and are part of human nature. Because of
the fixed nature of these things in yourself, if youre not resolute about
this, it creeps back in and were not even aware of it,
2) that you allow your eye to go back to that thing, either the place, the
reason, or the time that that wrong action occurred, theres a revisitation,
even if its just a moment, and even if its just thinking about it for taking
some lesson from it. Unless you repeat the remorse and you have
contempt for it and look down on it (more than remorse because you
belittle the wrong action) because if you dont have that contempt for it
then you might actually remember the wrong action with some sweetness
and pleasure if it was an experience that was pleasureable at the time,
especially if its in the same place where it occurred and the same action,
3) that you trust the soul in its resolution to not go back to wrong actions
and also to have a good opinion of the soul in the state that youre in now.
So youve made tawbah and now youre feeling good about yourself
because youre in a better state than you were in before, and also going
back to the same place that caused the wrong action as a way to test the
self. So you say to yourself that you can handle this now, you feel secure
and strong and no longer weak. Even if its just to bring it back to your
attention without really contemplate it and you have a reoccurrence of
thought about it because its likeness is like the likeness of a light water
that is sprinkling over a fire thats diminished, and although the fire is low
and theres just coal, when you put light water on it, it actually increases
and the fire starts crackling and coming back to life again because the ego,
the soul is like a hidden fire when the truth manifests over it so he should
And no one is vigilant is guarding himself from it except a man of intellect.
Never incline towards your self even if your self is always in a state of
obediance to your Lord. Dont ever incline towards your self. Protect
yourself from your nafs, and never feel safe from its machinations because
the nafs is more foul than 70 shaytans.
Your tawbah might not have included all your wrong actions, so the ruling
of it is in accordance with those things that it covered. So there could be
some mixing if you do some wrongs that werent included. Tawbah is really
supposed to be for specific actions. So your initial tawbah was jumlah, and
then after that it was tafseel. So if theres a mixing of that, then the hukm
follows that that follows, meaning that if its for the same wrong, then you


make tawbah for the same wrong, and if its a wrong that you didnt include
in your initial tawbah, then that necessitates another tawbah as well.
And also, its necessary to be more vigilant now than before, and its also
necessary to look into how you fell back into your wrong action. Look at
how this occurred in order so that you can seal this in road and can stop
this from happening again because the ideology of the wrong shouldnt be
concealed to you anymore after youve fallen into it again unless its a type
of hawaa (passionate caprice) that is firmly rooted in the soul, and in the
language of modern psychology, its been established with rationalization,
that youre rationalizing your wrongs because once you go into
rationalization of wrongs, then its difficult for you to see the reasons
because youve rationalized them, its what they call cognitive dissonance,
people will actually begin to justify their wrongs.
So if Shaytan objects and says to you that whats the benefit of a tawbah
thats followed by your returning to the same wrong that you just made
tawbah from, cause this is what Shaytan will do, hell try to make the nafs
feel that I cant do this, I keep going back and Shaytan will say that just give
up because youre hopeless, this is what the salik will hear when hes trying
to remove these vices from his soul, then say to him just like we took the
wrong action as our profession/occupation, we take our tawbah as our
occupation. And perhaps the death comes and youre in a good situation,
when youre in a state of tawbah and not at a time when youre in a state
of a wrong action. So if he (Shaytan) uses the excuse that your resolution
is too weak, hes refuted by saying that what is sought after us is the
manifestation of these devotional forms, not whats impossible for human
beings to perform. In other words, this tawbah is a devotional act, and all
of us will make mistakes, and the best of those that make mistakes are
those that make tawbah to Allah. So if he tells you that youre weak, you
respond by saying that what is sought after me is that Im in this state of
devotion to Allah swt, not whats not within my capacity which is to free
myself completely from wrongs. And if he says to you that no, youre just
making excuses for yourself, then leave him and turn away from that type
of talk because you have to act and this type of internal conversation with
the self, it just takes somebody to despair, and you have the ability to act!
Leaving wrong actions is easier than returning to tawbah, so just keep
leaving your wrong actions, wa Allahu `alam.
The heart is the place of human weakness, and theres nothing more
helpful to the heart than continuously seeking refuge in Allah swt in its


purification. Allah is Mutahhir al-Quloob, and the heart is the place of

human weakness, so seek refuge in Allah swt in first the purifying of it, and
then in the steadfastness of it towards the end of the affair, once youve
gone through the takhliyya (the removal of the negative aspects of the self)
and entered into the ta7liyya (ornamentation of the self), thats when you
have steadfastness.
So in the beginning, youre purifying, and once you reach a stage of
purification, then you maintain the purity. And for that reason, the Prophet
saws used to make much mention that Ya Muqallib al-Quloob, thabbit qalbi
`ala deeniKa (O Turner over of the Hearts/Revolver of the Hearts, make
steadfast my heart on your deen). Allah is Muqallib al-Quloob, so were
asking Him to help us in being steadfast in our hearts. And this first kuTub
that hes talking about, this is the dhikr of this stage in your path of sulook,
to make this above du`a often, as well as la ilaha illa Ant, subhanaKa inni
kuntu min ath-thalimeen. Do this in an odd number of times after every
sajdah and also when you make istighfar with Allah. This is dawa`, this is
medicine, and thats to seek help in Allah (isti`aana bilLah) and the dhikr of
this stage is the above du`as. With Allah is tawfeeq, and with Him is the
best of help
2. Returning those things that you wronged others with and also redressing
what was lost in the first place, and this is an obligation in order to realize
your resolution and also in order to repel this defeat of the self (so you stop
the losing battle with the self). And the recourse in this is reflection in those
things that you were lax in, by reflecting on those things where there was
resolution and steadfastness in and those things where there wasnt.So
know that what occurs from the wrongs revolves around 3
1) wrongs as a result of things that we caused to be lost and also wrongs
done, and theres no expiation of this except in this resoluteness, only in
being absolutely resolute and having remorse about whats past because
everything in the past could have been used for something beneficial and
we lost those opportunities and the darknesses that follow for all of that,
and theres no expiation except to have resolution, go back to this, be firm
in what were trying to repeal for this as opposed to the neglect of the past.
This is what were replacing it with, what we neglected in the past of
changing our conditions, now were replacing it with this hazm (firmness).
The signs of ones sincerity in this is 3 things, and these are 3 things they
know in those who have living hearts:


1) the experience of the sweetness of leaving those things rather than the
enjoyment of reflecting on them. So what happens here is that the people
who do wrong actions, when they remember them, they remember them
as a way of trying to bring back the enjoyment of their wrongs, but if the
hearts alive when you do wrong, the effect afterwards is the opposite and
you feel terrible because at the time you did wrong, you were in a state of
heedlessness and then when you go back, when you think about it, you feel
terrible that your nafs overcame you, and the opposite is true is that you
feel a sweetness when you do good actions, you feel imbisaat, you feel
alhamdulilLah, feel good about that. With wrongs, you feel inqibaat only
if your heart is alive,
2) forgetting creation because of that wrong action and also their
subjugation as a reminder of the blessings of the Lord, and
3) actions in accordance with those things that engender steadfastness in
this path, and also being vigilant about regressing from all these different
directions, and the signs of these remnants in the self is three.
The reason you fall back (regression) is three:
1) you gain some intimate joy with remembering, even if its for the sake
of blaming and tanfeer,
2) uncomfortable state with the stations of the self and their result as a
way of procrastinating, putting off what youre supposed to be doing in
realizing ta`ah to Allah, even if its just being a little bit forgiving in allowing
a thought about a wrong to reoccur or a haajis (a kind of hadith an-nafs,
stronger than a khatir which is just a fleeting thought but less than a hadith
an-nafs), and
3) seeking out those who have the same tribulation even if its to feel
compassion to them because if you seek out people who have the same
tribulation in this sickness, youre going to feel more comfortable with it,
and this engenders more compassion to the self, and also when you need
to reflect on these things, you dont reflect on these things, you dont
The inheritance of leaving these wrongs is 3 things, and all of them are
good during your life and after your death. So there are basically 3 reasons
as to why you should leave wrong actions,


1) because of the delights of the devotion to Allah swt, the Prophet saws
talked about the sweetness of iman, of munajat (the intimate discourse
with Allah), and in tilawah. All these things `ibaadah has a halawah, and
if youre deprived of it because sometimes your eye rejects the light of the
sun because of alphalmia, i.e. sometimes your mouth rejects the
sweetness of water because its sick. So by leaving wrong actions, Allah will
allow you to taste that halawah, and that halawah is not just in this world
but also in the next, and the Prophet saws said whoever lowers his eyes for
the sake of Allah swt, Allah will provide him with a devotion and he will
taste its delight,
2) also the realization of will and this is the carpetspread of mercy and of
benefit from Allah swt, this is what the mureed is, the mureed is someone
who has irada, you desire Allah swt, and so your realizing irada, by leaving
wrong actions you are becoming a mureed, this is what human beings are,
we have the ability to move mountains, look at what humans can do, they
can build bridges that span oceans, can climb moutains, build skyscrapers,
and its extraordinary what the human being can do when he puts his mind
to it. The human being has massive power. Allah has given him great ability,
and one of these attributes is irada, which Allah himself is described with,
and He says to use this irada for His sake, and this is how you get rahma
from Allah, and Allah will benefit you by these things, that if the souls
believe this leaving of wrongs, then the souls will explore the malakoot,
and they will return to the saahib of the nafs with wonders of wisdom, that
wasnt a knowledge that was taught, this is something that Allah swt gives
because if you act according to what you know, Allah swt gives you
knowledge that you didnt know, and this is one of the wonders, and
3) the existence of salvation that is accompanied by a good life, because
whoever has taqwa of Allah, Allah will give him a way out and will provide
him from a way in which he didnt expect. So basically if you do this, youre
going to have a good life youre going to have salvation in the next life,
and youre going to have a good life in this world, and thats the inheritance
of leaving wrongs and doing rights.
And there are 3 inheritances of wrong actions,
1) humiliation of the soul, the soul will live in humiliation, and thats why
some said to remove them from the humiliation of disobedience to the
dignity and exaltedness of obedience,


2) that youll be exposed and your regression to these wrongs will be seen
by others. There was a man that Omar RA saw doing a wrong action, and
the man went to the Omar and said, Amir al-Mumineen this is the first
time I ever did this, and Omar RA said youre a liar because Allah is more
merciful than that he would expose someone the first time they ever did a
wrong action. In other words, Omar RA knew that wrong had been done
before by that man, and Allah will only expose you after youve done that
wrong thing more than once. The first time Allah will veil you, and
3) youll have a small portion of good, and Allah swt said that wrongdoers
will never succeed. Khalas. So you wont have success, and whoever
doesnt make tawbah, those are the wrongdoers, and turn to Allah all of
you believers in order to have success, and Ali RA said whoever wants
riches without wealth and dignity/strength without a clan, then let him
change from the humiliation of wrong actions to the dignity of obedience.

Below is the sixth part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs.
After we look at what wrong actions do, which are three things, now he wants
to stress something. This is that the vast majority of wrong actions that occur
between a servant and his Master Allah swt, they result from appetites that
prevent someone from being near to his Lord (shahawaat mani`a), and when
these appetites are firmly rooted in the soul, this necessitates ones inclinations
toward them without any doubt.
So if these come, occur to the mind, one should reject them, turn away from
them, without meeting them face to face. In other words, you dont concern
yourself with them because by meeting these thoughts, by attempting to refute
them, by preoccupying yourself with them, this will actually make them more
firmly rooted without you succeeding in you actually stopping them.
A famous qawaa`idah of a Mauritanian scholar is that which Shaytan whispers
in the heart and the heart rejects it, that is iman. When you have thoughts that
come to your heart that really trouble you, thats iman. And one of the people
came to the Prophet saws and said there are things that occur to my mind that


disgust me, and the Prophet saws said thats clear iman, the fact that youre
disgusted by thoughts that come to your heart that are foul, that is iman. If you
didnt have iman, you would actually enjoy them.
So dont argue with Shaytan, dont try to dispute him, dont preoccupy yourself
with these things. It will actually only increase him. And occupy your time with
the opposite. And for that reason, we were commanded to do dhikr when
Shaytan comes, when the waswaas comes. Fasta`idh bilLah. Because he said, la
bil fikr, in other words dont try to argue or rationalize, dont do fikr, do dhikr.
Because its come that Shaytan is sitting on the heart of Adam, so if he
remembers Allah, he flees, but if he is heedless, he whispers.
The difference between Shaytan and the nafs, because theres 4 types of
thoughts, theres 1) khaatir shaytani (Satanic thoughts), 2) khaatir nafsani
(egoistic thoughts), 3) khaatir malakaani, and 4) khaatir Rabbani.
The difference between the Satanic thoughts and those of the nafs is that the
nafss thoughts are compulsive, in other words its the same thing, it wont let
you go. So addictions are often nafs, theyre nafs, and thats why people that are
addicted to things itll just keep coming to them, go on just do it, do whatever it
is that youre addicted to; thats nafs, not Shaytan, unfortunately. Its easy to
blame things on Shaytan. Shaytan comes with one thing, and if it doesnt work,
he comes with another thing. So thats how you tell the difference between a
thought from your soul and a thought from Shaytan. Shaytan comes, and if it
doesnt work, he tries something else, whereas the nafs is pretty pathetic, its
not as clever. Although Shaytan isnt very clever either, hes more clever than
the nafs.
And then the malakaani is a thought that come from the angels, its really from
Allah in reality but its coming from the angels, and its an elhaam. Theyre the
ones that will encourage you to do good like why dont you give charity, why
dont you fast tomorrow, and those are angelic, why dont you read some
Quran, pray some nafl those are khawaatir malakaani.
And then a khaatir Rabbani is very powerful, its something you feel it so strong
that you find it difficult to turn away. Now unfortunately there is a Rabbani
thought that can come as a punishment for doing something, so you can actually
have a Rabbani thought that can have negative result, but its a result of a clear
disobedience or a serious breach of adab especially with the awliyaa (those who
are close to Allah), and the worst thing you can do is have a breach of adab with
the awliyaa. Its bad enough to have a breach with normal people, but with the


awliyaa its even worse. And obviously the worst is the prophets, to have
breaches of adab with the prophets. And thats why, the Prophet saws once told
a man to eat with his right hand and he said he couldnt do it, and after that he
couldnt eat and just had a shaking. He could have done it, but it was just an
`inaad, and thats why he refused, and thats not something the Prophet saws
wishes on somebody, its an `uqubah from Allah swt. Another man made fun of
the way the Prophet saws walked because he had an unusual way of walking, he
walked slightly inclined and he walked fast, and that was not the norm. The
Quraysh, the aristocrats, they mosied, very slow, an arrogant way of walking.
The Prophet saws walked with intent. So somebody was imitating him, and the
Prophet saws could see from his back, and he turned around and said be like
that, and after that when that man walked he made all these funny
movements, and people laughed at that. Reality is reality, and it doesnt matter
whether you believe in it or not. There are two angels writing down what you
do, whether you believe it or not. If a mad man in a rain storm says its not
raining, it doesnt change the fact that its raining just because his view of reality
is not congruent with reality.
So if you respond to the things that occur to your heart in this way, then you will
reach reality by it. And if you do it more, then it will become stronger in you. In
other words, if you do it more and more you will become stronger in this practice
to the point where you will actually prevent thoughts from coming into your
heart that you dont want. And there are people who if they dont want a
thought to come to their heart, they literally stop it, and this is not unique to the
Muslim tradition (people do this in Zen as well), but what we would say is that
the fruits of it are going to be different.
If you leave an appetite 7 times, then the ibtilaa of it will be removed from you,
in other words if you can leave it 7 times (and this is a saying that the people of
this science say), and Allah is more generous that He should punish a person for
an appetite that he should abandon for Allahs sake. So if you left something for
Allahs sake, Allah wont punish you for it for the times you did it in the past, but
the danger is to keep doing it, and thats why Sidi Zarruq wrote this book. This is
not theory to Sidi Ahmed Zarruq; this is a man who completed his sulook, whose
karamaat were confirmed, and who is well known in the ummah, he reached a
maqaam that is well known, so know this because its true what Im telling you,
its mujarrab and its wonderous. This has been experienced by many people,
and its `ajeeb, and Allah speaks the truth and He guides to the Straight Path.
Thats the first milestone. There were 3 ma`aalim, and we were still in the first


So the second milestone is redressing rights that have been bypassed, that
youve missed, and doing them in sound and confirmed ways.
This matter has 3 aspects, and each one of them has a hukm/a ruling and a
1. The first one is that these rights that you have failed to perform are known
in their number and their order in terms of your responsibility toward
them. In other words, if you have prayers that youve missed, the prayers
have a specific number, and you know their number, and you know their
order. The same is true of fasting and many other huqooq, and doing this
is an obligation and is of the greatest importance. So this is a way that you
should have no doubts about it, and a means that has no shortcomings in
it. So take the highest number and then be moderate in that, even if there
might be more preferable ways of doing it, do it moderately because the
capital of a merchant is that he completes his transaction.
So if youve got a stock of goods and they never sell, theres no benefit in
it and anything that falls short of that, thats just not acceptable. So be
moderate, do what you can do, dont be deficient but dont go to extreme,
for instance if you owe prayers, dont try to do 100 prayers every day, be
reasonable because you want to get it done and you want to keep your
himmah up.
Now if you have a lot of prayers like Shaykh `Abdullah ibn Bayyah who is
from the school of Ahmad ibn Hanbal gives a fatwa that if you have a lot of
prayers, you make tawbah and you start new. The other imams say no, you
have to make them all up, even if its 20 years. But if you do owe a lot of
prayers, Imam ibn Ahdari says that if you do 5 at each prayer for a total of
25 a day, then thats not deficient, but if you do less than 5, then thats
deficient. That means at dhuhr time, you make up 5 dhuhrs.
2. The second is that you know what the ruling is but you dont know what
the number is. In this case, you take the safest of the two numbers, in other
words if you have a lesser and higher number, take the higher one because
that is a more rewarded condition, but dont go to an extreme in your
cautiousness right from the start. Rather do some of it, and then look
because resolution in going to an extreme will wear the self out, and youll
become exhausted and wont be able to complete. And using some
strategy to get the nafs to do what you want it to do is more appropriate,
better for you, than trying to return after leaving it, going back to it.


3. The third is that you have doubt about the ruling and the number. So
theres a certain number of possibilities, and one of them is that the one
doubting should have some principle that should be considered that he can
rely upon or he doesnt and he has to use his own judgement.
So the first is something that in what youre attempting to fulfill, you should
consider that, for example in gheebah you tend to know who you usually
backbite unless youre chronic backbiters and just backbite anyone, and
the point is that theres a principle in backbiting and that is to make du`a
for those people, make tawbah for the backbiting, and then make du`a, so
theres an asl. You just do your best, and you make du`a for that person for
at least 5 prayers.
The Prophet saws said my life is good for you because you do things and
then you get ahkaam, and my death is good for you. Why? Because if he
stayed with us continously, we would keep doing things and we would get
more and more rulings from Allah until nobody could follow this deen. So
his leaving us was a rahma. And then he said that the actions of my ummah
are shown to me in my grave (hadith sahih), and if he sees good he says
alhamdulilLah, and if he sees bad he says astaghfirulLah li ummati, he asks
forgiveness for his ummah. So the people that are closest to the Prophet
saws are the awliyaa and theyre not normal people, theyre not prophets,
but they have a maqaam with Allah swt.
A hikmah from a shaykh in Fez:
Allah hid 3 things in 3 things 1) He hid his contentment in His obedience
so dont show any contempt for any act of devotion (means that you can
give a million dollars in sadaqah and Allah might not accept it, but you can
give a thirsty pilgrim in Mecca a drink from your water and Allah accepts
that, maybe thats what He accepts from you.. for example, a big shaykh,
an `aalim was saved because he used to teach the fatihah to a group of old
women in his village), and 2) He hid His anger in His disobedience (means
that someone can fornicate, drink alcohol and Allah overlooks that, but he
can do something cruel to another person and thats where they get the
wrath of Allah, you dont know), and 3) He hid His beloveds amongst His
creation (means that there might be a yahudi or a nasarani whos a wali of
Allah because Imam al-Qurtubi said that Omar ibn al-Khattab RA was
beloved to Allah and he was prostrating to idols in Mecca because this is
tawheed, where is sa`aadah your felicitousness to Allah is in the womb
of your mother so you might treat some Christian woman with contempt
and that Christian is going to become a Muslim later and shes a wali of


God, so dont treat Allahs creation with contempt. A man came and said I
saw a Jew today and I knocked him off the road, and he was told that go
knock your nafs off the road, leave the Jew alone, hes just being who he
is. All these animals got together and made a court, told humans to stop
calling each other animal names because theyre just being who they are,
but the humans are not being how Allah created us). So you dont know
who the wali of God is. There are some people we know and have belief
about that they were the awliyaa of Allah and there are others that there
is a consensus about, such as Imam al-Ghazali. But you cant do jazam. With
people, you judge according to the outward, and they have states etc.
To leave what you have to do is a type of treachery (khiyaana) so at this level, it
is not appropriate for a beginner to attempt scrupulousness at this stage until
he has removed, moved beyond, transgressed the level of wrong actions and
hes in a state of avoidance in order that hes not one of those people that goes
too deeply into things because the Prophet saws said, Enter into this deen
softly because no one will go to an extreme in this deen except hes
overwhelmed. Extreme however if you were to see a murabbi or a great
scholar, to you his `ibaadah would seem extreme but for him it is not. The
beginner should not try to do that, they should go slowly and not try to take it
all on all at once.
Prioritize and root out things, first remove all the kabaair from your live, and
then start to work on the most important of the saghaair and diminish it like
that. First, work on doing all of your faraaid, then work on doing all the
mustahabbaat (the sunan, the nawafil). If youre not praying all of your prayers
on time, then that should be a priority over everything, and if your prayers are
established, then you focus on perfecting your naafilah. Take this slowly and
appropriately because what will happen is that the affair will end up causing you
to actually leave the people of guidance. Rasoolullah saws said, The best of the
deen is the easiest of it. Now obviously for the awliyaa, its easy for them to do
what theyre doing, so what hes saying is that do what is easy for you. Now
obviously, because youre struggling with yourself, that doesnt mean that you
are like oh its hard to get up for fajr, but do what youre capable of doing, and
take on what youre capable of doing. Youre still doing mujahadah, theres still
some difficulty, but do struggle that you can continue, you can keep it up.
Tanbihaat, i.e. some warnings:
The one who does the least amount of what hes able to do will enter the path
of reaching the furthest of what hes able to reach. So what hes saying is that if


you begin by just doing the least amount of what youre able to do, cause you
might be able to do a lot cause right now youre a shaab so you might feel like
you can do the fast of Dawud but whats the least you can do? 3 days a month.
You can fast 3 days a month, so take that as a practice because you can do that
the rest of your life.
One of the Sahaba RA said, Ya Rasoolullah I want to fast every day. The
Prophet saws said, No, fast three times a month. The man said, I can do more
than that. The Prophet saws said, Then fast Mondays and Thursdays. The
man said, I can do more than that. The Prophet saws said, Then fast the fast
of Dawud, its the best fast, every other day. So he did that, and when he got
old, he said, I wish I would have listened to the Messenger of Allah swt and only
done the 3 days because now its become hard for me. Now thats a proof that
the Sahaba RA took no extra acts that they maintained them for the rest of their
life. So if youre going to take on an act, then be consistent in it because Allah
loves consistency. Its better not to start it than to start it and stop it. So thats
what hes saying that if you want to start on this path, take what you can handle,
and take the least amount. Dont try to be superhero.
The Prophet saws said, The one who goes to an extreme (the one who breaks
the back of the beast), you dont traverse any of the land nor do you leave. You
destroy your beast of burden, so you dont get to where youre going. You wear
yourself out, and you wear your camel out, meaning your nafs, your beast, your
riding beast, and you never get to where youre going. Youre spinning wheels.
And the diversity of states is commenced with the diversity of rulings. It is not
appropriate that you become deluded by what is mentioned of the resolution of
those men and women of great determination in being able to do the qadaa,
whats owed of many months, in one day. Nor should you simply limit yourself
what would really be considered frivolity and would be blameworthy.
So dont do nothing, or dont do so little so that its of no weight or
consideration, and dont try to do what you read books of the awliyaa, and then
you start trying to be like these people, and its not your maqaam. Start where
you are. Everybody should start wherever they are. What you should do is look
at the least amount of what seems moderate. In a continuum, youve got some
middle area; its not too little, its not too much. On that continuum, look at the
least of moderation. Fi haqqeeqah, at your level, understand where you are
like if you just started praying, focus on getting your fard established, and if
youve been praying for a long time, do other things take things where you
are. You have to know where you are, at which point youre at. And look and


consider the words of the `ulama in these matter because they are our pinpoint
in this matter.
So as for whats been realized of your responsibilities or one thinks ones
realized them, or there may be some doubt because theress some signs that
maybe it hasnt been fulfilled, then theres no relinquishment from this
responsibility until you complete what you need to complete by obligation in
the first two. So if the first two are done, theyre not done until what youve
completed with them. And as for that concerning the end, its out of waraa that
you do that, when theres some doubt because of some sign or something.
And whoever puts before him the extreme of what he wants, he rarely reaches
what he desires. So set microgoals. Our goal is Allah swt, the highest goal, and
we want to stand before Him with qalb saleem. We want to bring in front of Him
something that is worthy of divine presence, and its a long journey. So you have
to take it step by step, dont try to get there today. But always leave open the
possibility that Allah can open it up for you, in a moment, its possible.

Below is the seventh part of notes from Shaykh Hamza Yusufs lecture series
entitled The Poor Mans Book of Assistance. The lecture series is named after
a book written by ninth century Moroccan scholar Sidi Ahmed Zarruq. Shaykh
Hamza translates and gives commentary on this book in this series of 16 CDs
We were talking about having a far-sighted goal without having microgoals, and
he said that anyone who does that will usually not achieve his goal. So he said,
for example, youll hear stories about people who repeated all of their prayers.
They prayed 40 years in the masjid, and every day he was in the front line, and
one day, the first day in 40 years he was late for the prayer and he was ashamed
to go in because of what the people would think, and then he realized that he
had the riyaa about his prayers so he repeated all 40 years of prayer. And thats
called salaat al-`umar, and theres no daleel for that. So he said that some of the
scholars told us that its mentioned in the kheerah of one of the great `usooli
scholars of the Maliki madhhab that thats actually not permissible to do that.
So then the third one, hes talking about rights that youve trangressed rights
of Allah and rights of the creation of Allah. He was talking more about the
huqooq al-badaniyya like prayer and `ibaadaat, hajj. Then he says the rights


relating to those things that involve money are similar to the rights relating to
those things that are rights of your body. Indeed they are even greater.
So the obligation of zakaat and also expiating that is not only an obligation, but
to fervently seek that out is more important than being vigilant about those
things that relate to your badaniyyaat, like prayer, etc. Why? Because zakaat not
only affects you but it affects others. So not only have you deprived yourself but
youve also deprived others. Theres mathaloomeen. So thats why you should
be more concerned with your zakaat because if you neglect it, theres poor
people that are entitled to it that youve oppressed. So thats what he means.
They shouldnt be put in a scale, but your concern for zakaat should not be light,
it should actually be greater than for your badaniyyaat, but that doesnt diminish
the concern you have for your badaniyyaat. And the reason for this is that the
nafs by its nature finds it easy to do the first but is more lazy about the second.
And for that reason, the salaf were more scrupulous about matters concerning
wealth, perhaps more than in wudu. And thats well known.
The Sahaba RA were more concerned about where they got their money than
they were about night prayers, etc. because if your moneys haram, then the
food you eat is haram, and if your food is haram, then youre not going to be
able to do anything with any continuity in your `ibaadah.
Then he says its not permissible that you free a slave when you have debt, so
you cant do things with your wealth when it has obligations on it. Allah doesnt
accept naafilah if theres obligatory acts that are binding on you. So in a sense,
you are wasting your time if youre doing extra acts when there are other things
you need to do that are binding on you. For that reason, the most important of
your affairs are fulfilling those rights which are an obligation on you before going
on to any extra acts. And for that reason, that anyone who deems a
superagatory act more important than his obligatory acts, then hes deceived,
deluded, been tricked by Shaytan or his nafs and hawaa.
And its been said the destruction of human beings and creation is in 2 things: 1)
by being preoccupied with extra acts to the neglect of your obligatory acts (like
someone is doing night prayers but they dont get up for fajr if you do that,
then your night prayers are a waste of time. Its better you sleep the whole night
and wake up for fajr, rather than stay awake for naafilah and then fall asleep
right before fajr), and 2) the heart is not in sync with the limbs, so theres no
intention behind your actions, youre just doing the outward action. So theres
people that pray, but its just the outward form, the hearts not present, its just


haaDir. So hes saying those 2 things destroy people. And he said, in the hikam
of ibn Ataillah, that from the signs of following the hawaa/caprice is to hasten
to the extra acts of good and to be lazy about implementing the obligatory rights
that are upon you. So thats a sign of ibtibaa and hawaa.
And this is a disease that is impossible to remove, a very serious disease. For ex,
theres people that they pray every taraweeh prayer during Ramadan, but they
didnt pray any obligatory prayer outside of Ramadan. So they have faraaid
prayers that they should have been praying, but they go for the naafilah.
The fifth one is also that you know the number in terms of qadaa. When youre
redressing some haqq, some right of Allah swt or His creation, its an obligatory
to know the number because the nature of the selfhas a natural inclination to
things that come to an end.
For ex, if youre working and theres no end in sight, you get overwhelmed,
whereas when you really can see that a job has an end in sight, it gives you
himmah, it gives you more energy to do that thing. You have to know what you
owe so you dont just say or feel that youll never get this done. By making what
you do, by doing it in only one way, it will lead to boredom. So he says here is
that you should vary when youre trying to fulfill something, for ex, you do the
least amount necessary, then you increase it to a middle, then you increase to
its highest number. And this is in order for the nafs to benefit from it, and it gets
some repose from this, from these changes and increases, and also it gains a
strength in being able to perfect and to embellish what its doing, in other words
the devotional practices.
The sixth one is that if you have a weak incentive (baith) for ex, most people
work because they get a paycheck, and the paycheck is their baith, its whats
making them do something and if you want the forgiveness, thats a powerful
baith, to seek the forgiveness of Allah. So he says that the weakness of the
incentive will end up engendering in you a laziness in doing what you need to
do, and also it will result in your relinquishing or diminishing the continuation or
steadfastness in it.
If you find that and you dont find any help in changing that, then remind the
self and give wa`ad to the self. The Sahaba RA used to exhort themselves,
Sayyidna Abu Bakr RA used to actually give wa`ad to his tongue.
One of the things that his teacher would do is that he would give wa`ad to
himself with prayers and with poetry he would actually say these things to
himself like o nafs, wake up, have some fear, be fearful of sudden death, all the


pleasures of dunya, dont preoccupy yourself with them, especially the pleasure
of sleep before dawn. You have to give wa`ad to your nafs, and then really rise
up the way somebody angry gets up. If youre angry, you get up and are like, Im
going to do something about this. So hes saying to get angry at yourself, remind
yourself, dont let your life slip away, its too impotant, you dont have much
time left, so do something with it. Remind yourself and then get up.
If you do that, youll find that energy, that zealousness to do what you need to
do. And if the matter is between giving up the qadaa or some extra acts, always
leave the extra act. So for instance, if you have prayers to do, and people are
praying taraweeh, make up your qadaa, make up the faraaid that you owe.
BUT if the nafs calls to doing the naafilah or it will just end up leaving everything
because maybe its tired or something like that, then his shaykh al-Qawari used
to give fatwa that some evil is less than other evil, in other words its better that
you do naafilah than you dont do anything at all. So hes saying, do that.
Wallahu `alam.
The nafs can sometimes be overwhelmed and bewildered by how many huqooq
there are a saying says that the rights and the obligations are greater than the
actual time weve been allotted in life. So because it feels the weakness that the
self has, it gets overwhelmed. The nafs will get overwhelmed by all that it has to
do, and so instead it will seek out laziness instead of doing things.
This is one of the things that people in management skills is that one thing that
you have to do is that you have to delegate, because if you dont delegate you
get overwhelmed, and if you get overwhelmed you actually get depressed, you
become lazy, you procrastinate because youre overwhelmed by it. And thats
what hes saying, hes saying dont let these things overwhelm you because its
going to result in your self actually not doing anything. And then he says that the
whole reason youve done this in the first place is because of your tawbah, and
then you end up falling back to where you came from because the tawbah was
to start over. Youre gonna go back to square one, so dont get overwhelmed at
The cure for this, if theres something that is going to lead to taraffuq (a
gentleness and ease on the self) without resulting in a sin, and also youre not
changing the hukum/legal ruling, and this occurs with more than anything with
expiation. For ex, a man came to the Prophet saws and told him that he had
relations with his wife in Ramadan, and the Prophet saws told him to fast for 2
consecutive months, and he said he couldnt do that, he couldnt even fast
Ramadan. And then the Prophet saws said so free a slave, but he couldnt do


that because he was poor. And then the Prophet saws said to feed 60 people.
This is kaffara. So hes making it easier on the man.
This is what hes talking about if you have a dispensation to make something
easier, then take that dispensation if you cant do the first one, if youre going
to get overwhelmed. So then the man asked, what do I give sadaqah with, I dont
have anything? So then the Prophet saws gave him some dates to feed the
people. He asked who do I feed? No one is poorer than my tribe. So the Prophet
saws said go feed your tribe. So thats what hes saying.
If you have to make something easy on yourself, without doing something
wrong, without changing the hukum, and this occurs more often in expiation,
and either it comes out of ignorance of what youre supposed to do or some
extreme in the ruling, so dont be too constricting on yourself out of fear that
the self takes advantage of it, but also dont make it too easy out of fear that the
soul will take command of you. So what hes saying is that theres a balance. Wa
bilLahi at-tawfeeq (the success of doing this is from Allah swt).
The benefits of acting according to the aforementioned are three things, for the
one who really reflects:
1. this will make your uprightness easier in the future, so if you do this, youre
not going to repeat the mistakes of the past, its going to get easier for you,
2. the second is that the heart itself is freed and emptied of being
preoccupied with other than the truth, and
3. the third is that one is firmly stationed in the place of sincerity, and this is
the place where the heart and the body become illuminated. So this is the
place where the heart, the body is illuminated, your himmah/aspiration
becomes high, your evil is prevented, and facilitation of affairs occurs. Wa
Allahu `alam.
The results of neglecting this is:
1. the shortcomings of the heart in reaching perfection,
2. your body returns to the original condition the neglect, the laziness, the
overeating, and
3. you lose sincerity and the taste of the sweetness of actions that are
obedient to Allah.
The keys to losing these and falling short in these are three:
1. the inclination to dispensations that are connected to these legal rulings,
so if you neglect this, youll always be looking for the easiest way, and hes


meaning going to tawilaat, etc. and in normal situations, not in qadaa, the
`azeema (self discipline) is better than the dispensations,
2. that its going to be very difficult for him to be steadfast in the best way, in
other words in what hes trying to prioritize and organize in his life, and
3. doing too much and doing it too hastily and that leads to laziness and
nullifying your acts all together.
The way to do it is by taking those things that help you and keep you to getting
to that place, which is like the second one (tashdeed), having resolution, being
moderate, and also have steadfastness/firmness that you dont allow loose
interpretations to come in, so you dont find excuses constantly, nor do you
allow the other to occur which is that you get so overwhelmed that you get to
this state of petrification and cant move. And seeking the help of Allah swt, this
is the greatest foundation, and this is the absolutely firm edifice. Wa Allahu
The third milestone is the milestone in returning those things that you have
wronged to the slaves of Allah. So we have huqooq Allah wa huqooq al-`ibaad.
This relates to the rights of others and how to get them back in the best way. So
you have to return them. Oppression is multiplied darknesses on the Day of
Judgement, so when you oppress someone, it becomes multiplied darknesses
for you on the Day of Judgement. And the Prophet saws said whoever has some
wrong in regards to a brother of his, let him rectify that before he has no dinars
and dirhams. In other words, when you have the ability to rectify your wrongs
when you have wealth, then do it while you have wealth before you lose it.
One of the saliheen said, there are 3 types of wrongs:
1. a wrong that Allah will never forgive and that is shirk,
2. a wrong that Allah will never leave and that is the oppressions done to
other people, and
3. a wrong that Allah has no concern with and that is the rest of wrong
That doesnt mean that they dont matter, but that just means that if you make
a sincere tawbah, its very easy to make a sincere tawbah from wrongs that are
between you and Allah swt, but wrongs that are between you and the creatures,
Allah will not leave those until you rectify them with His creation. What that
means, Allah will forgive whoever asks Him for forgiveness or anyone else in the


People are three in your relation to your wrongs toward them and its incumbent
upon you to return your wrongs to them, based upon your knowledge of that:
1. somebody who you have oppressed himself by killing or wounds. If youve
done this, what you have to do is to fulfill the qisas, which means your life
or the blood money if theyll accept that. So if the soul is too precious, and
by the nature its not a cheap thing, or if theres a person that doesnt have
the blood money in his hand, then the storehouses of Allahs generosity
are great, and seek refuge with Allah swt by attempting to do your best to
please Him in all of the aspects of ones capability, especially by trying to
gain those things that bring the love and also by exposing the soul to those
things that will destroy it such as jihad,
2. oppression/wronging someone when dealing with money. There are about
9 different ways you can do this, and a few are mentioned here.
a) One is ghasb. A ghaasib is one who usurps someones wealth. This is
someone who, for example, may just see your purse or watch and will just
grab it, he doesnt have a weapon. A ghaasib has to give back what he took,
but his hand is not cut off. Hes not like a thief, and worse than a thief is
someone who takes things with a weapon.
b) Stealing is when you take someone from someones place which is
recognized to be private, like someones room, even if it was unlocked.
Thats sarikah. If somebody left it out on the street, thats not sarikah, but
youre not supposed to take it unless it was to take it to some authority.
c) Then theres khiyaana. For example, when someone leaves you money
and you just use it for something else that they didnt give you permission
for, or someone gives you luggage and you dont take care of it. When you
trust someone, theyre supposed to be trustworthy. What you owe is to
return them the likes of what you took and also returning to Allah, make
tawbah. And if you dont have the ability to return to them what you took,
then make tawbah. And then that person, you should attempt to make
them pleased by serving them, showing them respect. But if youre not
able to do that because they died or it wasnt an obligation for you do that,
like serve them or something, then you should give in sadaqah what you
took from that person, in that persons name. Just say you are giving that
for this person. And being cautious about the amount is very important,
and to take the more cautious position is better,


3. the third is a man youve oppressed in his honor by causing something that
leads to detraction to him/his good name (`ird) or contempt, i.e. you show
contempt to him.
So the thing that you did, that has emanated from you will be one of 3 things:
1. something that causes harm to come to him, like see`aayah/mukhabaraat,
which is the intelligence. This is people that spy on others and then go tell
on them.
Namimah, a nammam is someone that disassembles, theyll go and tell you
that did you hear what so and so did, and all they want is that you hate this
person, and this type of person will not enter Paradise, he wont enter
amongst the first people that enter Paradise cause this is kabeerah. And
also, testifying against him in some foul way.
So it becomes an obligation that you go to that person and tell him that I
lied to you, its not true what I told you about that person, he didnt say
that about you, I lied. If you bore false testimony, you have to go and tell
them that you bore false testimony. If it was indeed false testimony, then
this is a kabeerah, its a lie because this shameful thing, this blameworthy
quality, even if its true of him, its worse of you, and theres no room for
forgiveness for you for what has emanated from you, for what you did.
Theres no place to say oh I forgive you because these are serious things,
these affect societies. And this is also after youve asked for forgiveness
from that person, and also that you have brought forth this display that
you no longer believe in what you said or transmitted to anybody else,
2. in a person where you have fornicated with their wife, even if it was one
time. This is a great tribulation, and really you should be making excuses to
Allah swt, and your obligation is to rectify and free yourself completely
from this act.
If you tell people, then this is qaf in the one you fornicated with because
you need 4 witnesses, etc. So you cant tell anybody. And also its a faDiha
(total dishonoring to the soul), and this is also exposing yourself to serious
harm from this person if he was silent.
You tell him, and he might not do anything, but hes planning to get
revenge, or he destroys you, he kills you if he becomes so jealous and
enraged that hes not able to hold himself back. And all of that is haram.
And it will destroy society. Because theres a khilaaf in zinah is it a haqq
of Allah or a haqq of the `ibaad? Does it relate to the rights of Allah or the


rights of creation, because obviously theres more than one person

involved. So theres a khilaaf amongst the `ulama, and thats why its a real
problem because you cant go to the husband and ask him to forgive you
because you fornicated with his wife.
So youve oppressed a man by seducing his wife, and this is a serious
problem. One way of dealing with this last one is to free a slave, even
though theres no kaffara for this, because theres a hadith that says
whoever frees a soul, Allah will free for him every member of his body from
the fire, and
3. if theres gheebah involved or youve mentioned something about him that
detracts from him or doubtful matters, you have to free yourself from him,
its an obligation, unless theres something that will come from him that
will necessitate otherwise.
If there is, if you know that if you went to this person and told them and
theyre going to get really angry, then instead of going to them and telling
them, what you do is that you have to praise him, make thanaa, and also
al-istighfaar wal khidma (asking forgiveness for him and doing something
of service to him). And some people have even said that to ask forgiveness
from this person is actually not allowed because of the problems that will
arise from it, but this is weak. And some said that its permissible to do it
but not an obligation, if it necessitates that.
If he mentioned it by transmitting it for bhutaan Think of gheebah as
saying something behind their back, and bhutaan is saying it to their face,
where theyre shocked, and its also usually a lie. So bhutaan can also be
saying to their face and its a lie. But that is contingent upon you expressly
mentioning that persons name. If you didnt mention the name but
everyone is going to know who is it, like if you said the president of Libya,
then theres khilaafah about that. But if everyone is going to know it, then
thats gheebah. If, however, you said oh I was in Makkah and such-andsuch happened, nobody is going to know who it is. And if youre using it to
teach a lesson, thats not gheebah. Even if theres no benefit in it, its still
not gheebah, just kalaam.
So renew your contact, make sound this resolution you have, start over
again, do more istighfar, and guard yourself to the best of your ability. You
should be making excuses to Allah because Hes more worthy of making
excuses to than His creation, and Hes the one who can really fix and take
care of everything.