Category Archives: Tazkiya

The Many Guises of Backbiting

“There are those from the people that backbite or listen to backbiting, and they do so to please the company they keep, with the awareness that the victim is likely to be innocent of some of the things that are uttered about him. Often such offenders feel that if they were to attempt to end such conversation in a gathering, their presence might become unwelcome or burdensome.

There are many methods and guises that are employed when one mentions another in a negative way. Under the pretense of being informative, one could say that it is not one’s habit to mention others, except for the sake of relating another’s condition to someone. Or one could state that by Allah, indeed so-and-so is one to be pitied, thereby showing superiority over one who is to be rejected.

Another method might be to day that so-and-so is a good person; however, he has such and such qualities. Again, one is justified in revealing another’s faults. One could simply state that we should forgive so-and-so, and make supplication for their forgiveness as well as our own, intending only to belittle the one that was mentioned. In reality, all these tactics are designed to deceive Allah and to please the creation; and in reality, the many that follow these methods only serve to deceive themselves.

Then there are those that backbite to raise their own status. When they hear of someone’s error, they employ words like, “Had I prayed for so-and-so last night in  my prayer, the news of their sin would not have reached my ears.” Again, when a person states of another that he lacks understanding in a matter, the implication is personal superiority for the one that mentions the others shortcoming.

There are also those that couple jealousy with backbiting – the act of being critical or belittling to those that are praised in the company of others. Some people also backbite for the sake of humor, playfulness and lightheartedness. A person finds a certain amount of satisfaction from being appreciated for his story-telling abilities, speaking ill of someone in a humorous fashion adds flavour to a tale.

Others engage in backbiting by showing amazement at another’s actions: “How is it that someone could do such a thing?” Yet others mention people and their actions with the pretense of sympathy for their actions or misfortunes. In reality, the one who backbites actually finds contentment and satisfaction at the mention of others and their misdeeds. Another form of backbiting is relating someone’s misfortune to their enemies, so that they, too, may find pleasure in putting them down. From these examples, one can surmise that backbiting pertains to a disease of the heart…

May Allah save us from this most evil of actions and protect us from its temptations.”

– Ibn Taymiyya

source: Gems & Jewels; Wise Sayings, Interesting Events & Moral Lessons from Islamic History, Compiled by: Abdul-Malik Mujahid, page 54  – 55


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And Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do

إِن تُبۡدُواْ ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتِ فَنِعِمَّا هِىَ‌ۖ وَإِن تُخۡفُوهَا وَتُؤۡتُوهَا ٱلۡفُقَرَآءَ فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ لَّڪُمۡ‌ۚ وَيُكَفِّرُ عَنڪُم مِّن سَيِّـَٔاتِڪُمۡ‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُونَ خَبِيرٌ۬

If you disclose your Sadaqât (alms-giving), it is well, but if you conceal them, and give them to the poor, that is better for you. (Allâh) will expaite you some of your sins. And Allâh is Well-Acquainted with what you do.

[Surah Baqarah (2):271]

It is reported that Abu Al Aliyah said, “I learned writing and the Quran without my family noticing, and not a drop of ink was ever seen on my garment.”

Abû Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyâ` Vol. 2 p217.

It is reported that when Ibn Abi Layla prayed [at night], if someone entered [his house], he would lie down on his bed [as if he was sleeping].

Ibid. Vol. 4 p351.

It is reported that Ayyûb Al-Sakhtiyânî used to pray all night and hide it. In the morning, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up

Al-Dhahabî, op. cit. Vol. 6 p17.

It is reported that Dawud b. Abi Hind fasted for forty years without his family knowing, he would take his lunch out with him and donate it in the street.

Ibid. Vol. 6 p378.

Quotes taken from SayingsOfTheSalaf

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“Verily, Allāh is grateful”

Ibn Rajab wrote:

“So know that the world – and whatever is above it and below it in the water- will not be corrected except when the actions of its people are all for Allāh. The actions of the body follow on from the actions and intentions of the heart. So when the actions and intentions of the heart are purely for Allāh alone, then it is corrected, and likewise the actions of the body will also be correct. However, if the actions and intentions of the heart are for other than Allāh, then it is corrupted, and likewise the actions of the body will be corrupted in proportion to how much the heart is corrupted.”

[Jāmiʻ al-ʻUlūm wal-Ḥikam, pg. 120]

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said,

“If you do not find any sweetness and relaxation in your heart from a (good) deed, then you should suspect your heart. Verily, Allāh is grateful. That is, He must reward the doer of the deed for his deed in this world by a sweetness he finds in his heart, a stronger feeling of relaxation and a joy in his eyes. If the person does not find these things, it means that something has entered upon his deed [and made it not correct and purely for Allāh’s sake].”

(Madārij al-Sālikīn, vol. 2, pg. 68)


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“…and the master of the blessings of the Hereafter is Islam.”

وَءَاتَٮٰكُم مِّن ڪُلِّ مَا سَأَلۡتُمُوهُ‌ۚ وَإِن تَعُدُّواْ نِعۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحۡصُوهَآ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَظَلُومٌ۬ ڪَفَّارٌ۬

And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allâh, never will you be able to count them. Verily! man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, – a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allâh’s Blessings by disbelief, and by worshiping others besides Allâh, and by disobeying Allâh and His Prophet Muhammad SAW).
[Surah Ibrahim (14): 34]

Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayniya said, “Allah Glorified and Exalted has not bestowed a blessing upon His slaves better than that He has let them recognize that there is no god but Allah.” He said, “Verily, ‘there is no god but Allah’ for them in the Hereafter is like water in this worldly life.”
Abu Bakr ibn Abdullah Al-Mazni said, “This who is a Muslim and whose body is sound and healthy, then he has gathered both the master of the blessings of this worldly life as well as the master of the blessings of the Hereafter. As the master of the blessings of this worldly life is health and the master of the blessings of the Hereafter is Islam.”
A man entered upon Sahl ibn Abdullah and said, “A thief entered my house and stole my luggage.”
He said, “Then praise Allah because if a thief entered your heart, that is the Devil, and spoiled your belief in monotheism, what would you have done?”
Yunus ibn Ubaid said, “A man asked Abu Tamimah, “How have you become?

He replied, “I have become among two blessings I do not know which of them is better! (one is) sins which have been concealed by Allah so no one can disgrace me because of them, and (the other is) a love Allah has put in the hearts of His slaves for me to which my work cannot reach.”


Abdullah ibn Umar ibn Abdel-Aziz said, “Umar ibn Abdel-Aziz has never seen a blessing that Allah Glorified and Exalted has bestowed upon him but that he said, ‘O Allah! I seek refuge in You that I change Your blessing into disbelief, or that I deny it after knowing it, or that I forget it that I do not be grateful about it’.”.

Taken from ‘Have You Thanked Allah for His Graces?’ from

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“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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Message to sisters posting videos on youtube

وَلَا تَبَرَّجۡنَ تَبَرُّجَ ٱلۡجَـٰهِلِيَّةِ ٱلۡأُولَىٰۖ

“…And do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance…”
[Azhab (33):33]

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O my soul! It is not, except a few days of patience

“Whoever ponders on the difference between patience and impatience, finds a world of difference between the two. The reward of patience is praiseworthy; whereas for impatience there is nothing.”

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱسۡتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ*ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salât (the prayer). Truly! Allâh is with As-Sâbirun (the patient.)
[Surah al-Baqarah (2): 153]

وَلَنَبۡلُوَنَّكُم بِشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡخَوۡفِ وَٱلۡجُوعِ وَنَقۡصٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَمۡوَٲلِ وَٱلۡأَنفُسِ وَٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ*ۗ وَبَشِّرِ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sâbirun (the patient)
[Surah al-Baqarah (2):155]

 Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee (رحمه اللَه) wrote the following lines of poerty:

يا نَـفـسُ مــا هِـــيَ إلاّ صَـــبـــرُ أَيّامِ
كَــأَنَّ مُـدَّتَــهـــا أَضــغــاثُ أَحــلامِ
يا نَـفْـسُ جـــوزي عَـنِ الـدُنــيا مُـبـادِرَةً
وَخَــلِّ عَـنـهـا فَـإِنَّ الـعَـيشَ قُــدامـــي

“O my soul! It is not, except a few days of patience;
As if the extent were but a few dreams.
O my soul! Pass quickly on through this world;
And leave it, for indeed life lies ahead of it.”

Poem related by Ibn Rajab in Fadl `Ilmus-Salaf

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