Bismillaah, wa-l-hamdu-lillaah, wa-s-salaatu wa-s-salaam alaa rasoolillaah!
As for those who strive hard in Our cause, We will surely
guide them to Ours Paths (Allaah’s religion) [Sooratu-l-'Ankaboot, 29: 69].
Therefore, guidance is dependent upon striving hard, not just making
an effort, but to truly struggle with all one's might! The word Allaah uses for striving is ‘jaahada’. From the
verb (a doing word if you like) 'Jaahada' come the words 'jihaad' and 'al-mujaahadah'. Ar-Raaghib al-Asfahaanee (rahimahullaah)
defines these words in his famous book on the language of the Qur’aan, ‘Mufradaatu-Ghareebi-l-Qur’aan’
thus: ‘the words jihaad and al-mujaahadah both mean to exhaust ones resources to resist the enemy. Jihaad is of three
1. Resisting the apparent enemy
2. Resisting the shayateen (Iblees)
3. Resisting the temptations of the self.’ [p.101]
Shaykh Abdu-l-Qaadir al-Jilaanee (rahimahullaah) has mentioned that
there are four targets for the plots of Shaytaan: the qalb (the heart), the nafs (lower self), the 'aql (the mind), and the
hawaa (passionate instincts/ desires). Concerning this he said,
'On the one hand the angel is inculcating taqwaa in the heart. The
devil, on the other hand, is busy instilling fujoor (moral depravity) in to the nafs. As a result the nafs tries to persuade
the qalb to use the limbs and organs of the body for impious and immoral purposes.
Within the physical constitution there are also two target areas:
the 'aql (the mind) and the hawaa (passionate instincts). The functioning of each of theses is subject to the will of a controlling
influence, namely, that of helpful guidance (tawfeeq) and that of seductive [satanic] temptation (ighwaa').'
Say: ‘I take refuge with the Lord of Mankind, the King
of mankind, the God of mankind, from the evil of the slinking whisperer' [Sooratu-n-Naas, 114: 1-4]
Mujaahid (rahimahullaah) said regarding these ayaat, ' This means
that Shaytaan likes to make himself comfortably at home in the heart of the human being. When someone remembers Allaah, he
slinks away and feels ill at ease, but whenever a person becomes forgetful, he stretches himself out in comfort over his heart.'
Similarly Muqaatil (rahimahullaah) said,
'He [the slinking whisperer] is the Devil in the shape of a pig attached
to the heart within the physical body of the son of Aadam, where he infiltrates himself smoothly as the flow of blood. Allaah
has given him control over that human being. Such is the import of His words:
[The slinking whisperer] who whispers in the breasts of men
[Sooratu-n-Naas, 114: 5].
Thus, when the son of Aadam becomes absentminded, the Devil insinuates
his suggestions into his heart, until he swallows up his heart completely. He is called the Slinker [khannaas] because, when
the son of Aadam remembers Allaah, he slinks away from his heart, leaves it and makes his exit from that person's physical
Shaykh al-Jilaanee (rahimahullaah) further mentions in his book 'al-Ghunya',
the inner nature of the struggle that we must all take care of:
The struggle with Shaytaan is an inner struggle, for it is waged by
the heart in the core of one's being, and by faith (eemaan). When you struggle with him, therefore, your help and support
is Ar-Rahmaan (the All-Merciful), your mainstay is the Al-Malik (the King) and Ad-Dayyaan (the Judge), and your hope is in
the Face of Al-Jaleel Al-Mannaan (the Majestic Benefactor).
The jihaad against the kufaar is the outer battle with the sword and
the spear, in which your support is provided by the ruler and the armed forces, and in which your hope is to enter the gardens
of Paradise. If you are slain in the struggle with the unbelievers, your reward will be life everlasting in the abode of perpetuity.
But if you are killed in the course of waging war on Shaytaan and while you are committed to opposing him, due to the expiration
of you appointed term and because your moment to die has arrived, your reward will be the Face of Ar-Rabbi-l-'Aalameen (the
Lord of all the Worlds) at the meeting with Him. If you are slain by a kaafir, you will be a martyr. But if you are killed
by the Devil through following him obediently and carrying out his orders, you will be an outcast, banished from the nearness
to Al-Malik Al-Jabbaar (the All-Compelling King).
The jihaad against the kufaar has an end and there comes a time when
it is over. But the jihaad against the Devil and the nafs is one that has no final limit and no point of termination. As Allaah
And serve your Lord until the Certainty comes to you
That is to say, till death and the meeting [with Him], for ibaadah
is performed by offering opposition to Shaytaan and hawaa (passionate instincts/ desires).
Allaah has said:
The they will be thrown on their faces into it (the Fire
of Hell) - they and the ghaawoon (the devils, the perverse, and those who were in error), and the hosts of Iblees, all together
[Sooratu-sh-Shu'araa', 26: 94-95].
We must renew our efforts, redouble our defences, and strive to clothe
ourselves in the armour of Allaah's protection from the evil of Shaytaan and of our own selves, for all good is from Allaah
alone. And as al-mujaahadah can also be described as at-tazkeeyah we need to recognise that it is unattainable by the greatest
of all our efforts unless it is to Allaah alone to Whom we turn for all our requirements and all help, as Allaah has informed
Oh you who believe! Do not follow the steps of Shaytaan.
Whoever follows the footsteps of Shaytaan, then indeed he commands al-fahshaa (indecency, etc.) and al-munkar (evil deeds,
polytheism, etc.). And had it not been for the grace of Allaah and His Mercy upon you, none of you would be pure from sins.
But Allaah purifies whom He wills, and Allaah is All-Hearer, All-Knower [Sooratu-n-Noor, 24:21].
Abdu-l-Ghanee an-Naabulsee said in encouraging striving, 'Al-Mujaahadah
against the nafs is a form of ibaadah. Only those who have 'ilm (knowledge) acquire this. However, it is an obligation upon
every Muslim' [Sharhu-t-Tareeqati-l-Muhammadeeyah, 1/323].
In encouraging us not to waste time, we find a succinct advice from
Shu'bah ibnu-l-Hajjaaju-l-Basree, 'Do not sit idle, for indeed Death is seeking you!'
If al-mujaahadah can be described as at-tazkeeyah, then what can we
learn about at-tazkeeyah? At-Tazkeeyah is to purify, and it is one of the tasks of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and by extension
a task before us all. Allaah said,
It is He Who has sent to the unlettered ones a Messenger
from amongst themselves, reciting to them His signs, purifying them and teaching them the Book and the Wisdom, whereas before
that they had been in clear misguidance [Sooratu-l-Jumu'uah, 62:2].
Tazkeeyah comes before teaching, as Allaah has given precedence
to it over teaching, and that is because tazkeeyah is one of the fruits of acting upon knowledge. Therefore, one should be
aware that if his knowledge increases but he does not increase in taqwaa, then there is something wrong with his knowledge
and something wayward with his actions. Connected to this we must know that the greatest of all the fruits of tazkeeyah is
sabr (patient perseverance) and zuhd (praiseworthy abstinence from the world), and the fruit of cilm (knowledge) is surely
yaqeen (certitude and certainty). ‘So he who gains both… is one of the Imaams of the Deen; and this is testified
to by the saying of Allaah,
And We made leaders, giving guidance by Our Command,
whilst they had sabr and had yaqeen in Our Signs’ [Sooratu-s-Sajdah, 32:24].
Shaykhu-l-Islaam Ibn Taymeeyah used to say, ‘Through sabr
and yaqeen leadership in the deen is attained’ This is indeed the case as both are the actualisations of two of the
Prophet’s (SAW) tasks and who other than he (SAW) is the leader of all the Imaams!
'Abdullaah ibnu-l-Mubaarak used to say, ‘the latter part
of this ummah will not be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part: zuhd and yaqeen!’ And zuhd cannot
be attained except by means of sabr, which cannot be attained except through tazkeeyah, which is itself, mujaahadah. And yaqeen
cannot be attained except through purified Shareecah knowldege.
This process of mujaahadah will drive away the trials of the
heart, namely the trials relating to false desires and the trials relating to doubts. Ibnu-l-Qayyim said, ‘the first
causes intentions and desires to be corrupted, and the second causes knowledge and beliefs to be corrupted’.
So how can we begin on this road of struggle? Then I can only
suggest to you and me both dear brothers the advice of Ibn cAwn when he said, ‘remembrance of people is a disease and
the remembrance of Allaah is the cure’. Imaam ath-Thahabee commented on this, ‘Indeed, by Allaah! It is very strange
how we ignore the cure and race towards the disease! Allaah said,
So remember me and I will remember you [Sooratu-l-Baqarah,
And, The remembrance of Allaah is greater
And He said,
Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility
in the remembrance of Allaah. Indeed, in the remembrance of Allaah do the hearts find satisfaction [Sooratu-r-Ra'd, 13:28].
However, this will not be achieved except by the grace of Allaah.
And whoever persists in supplication and in knocking at the door, it will be opened for him.’
And the best speech is the Speech of Allaah, so I leave you,
my dear brothers with the greatest reminder from our Rabb, so merciful, wise and gentle upon His slaves,
Whoever hopes for the Meeting with Allaah, then Allaah's
Term is surely coming, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. And whoever strives, strives only for himself. Verily, Allaah
is free of all wants from the 'aalameen (all creation) [Sooratu-l-Ankaboot, 29: 5-6].
May Allaah grant the Muslims the ability and guidance to strive
in His way always until they meet Him.