“If I knew for certain that my entire life would last an hour…”

Abu al-Walid Sulayman bin Khalaf bin Sa’d al-Andalusi used to say to himself:

If I knew for certain
That my entire life would last an hour;

Why would I be cheap with it
And not dedicate it to righteousness and obedience?

Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Masruq at-Tusi said:

“I recited to Mahmud bin al-Hasan:

Utilize your youth before it becomes spoiled
And the health of your body before it becomes sick;

And the days of your life before you die
For the one who lives will not live long;

And utilize your free time
Let your nights be spent in some work;

And put something forth, as every man is travelling towards
That which he has put forth…

Abu ‘Abdillah Ahmad bin Ayyub used to say to himself:

In your free time, take advantage of the virtue of bowing in prayer
It might be that your death comes suddenly;

How many healthy ones have you seen without disease
Whose healthy selves disappeared and escaped them…

One of Dawud at-Ta’i’s brothers said to him:

O Abu Sulayman! You know the kinship between us. So, advise me!

So, his eyes began to water, and he said: “My brother! Indeed, the night and day are stages that the people pass through – one stage at a time – until they reach the end of their journey. So, if you are able to put forth for every day some provision for each stage, do so. And if your journey is cut short, prepare for your journey what you can, and fulfill what you are able of this affair, because it is as if its end will catch you by surprise. I do not know anyone who is more wasteful in this affair than I am.”

He then got up and left.”

Collected in the abridged version of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi’s ‘Iqtida’ al-’Ilm al-’Amal’ (p. 43-47), in the chapter titled ‘Rushing to Deeds Before One’s Youth and Health Disappear’:



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Filed under Ibada, Poetry, Quotes, Tazkiya

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