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Targheeb and Tarheeb
  Ibn al-Qayyim on How to Rectify Oneself
Author: Shaikh Abdul-Malik al-Jazaa'iree
Source: Madaarik un-Nadhar Fis-Siyaasah (Trans. Abu Iyaad)
Article ID : TZK050010  [19902]  
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What has passed is a dream
And what is hoped for (in the future) is unseen.
Yet you have (at your disposal)
The hour in which you are (at present)

And Ibn al-Qayyim said:

"And safeguarding it involves greater hardship than the rectification of what has passed before it and what it is to come after it. Safeguarding the present time requires that you make your soul cling to that which befits it, is of greater benefit to it and is greatest in obtaining its happiness. In this affair, people vary greatly one from another. Verily, these are your days gone past[2], in which you gather your provision for your place of return, either to Paradise or to Hellfire..."

I say: Whoever contemplates over the Qur'aan will find that its call does not leave any of these three times. Allaah the Exalted said: "Aleef, Laam, Raa. (This is) a Book, the Verses whereof are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge, etc.), and then explained in detail from One (Allaah), Who is All-Wise and Well-Acquainted (with all things). (Saying) worship none but Allaah. Verily, I (Muhammad SAW) am unto you from Him a warner and a bringer of glad tidings. And (commanding you): 'Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance...'" [Hud 1-3]. Meaning, that Allaah has perfected His Book and has explained it in detail that you may worship Him in these three times with what He has commanded. So His saying: "(Saying) worship none but Allaah..." is for worship at the present time (in which you are in), for Tawheed is the most- beneficial and foremost of the acts of obedience. And His saying: "And (commanding you): 'Seek the forgiveness of your Lord..." is for what has passed, and His saying: "And turn to Him in repentance..." is for what is to come[3]. The reason for concentrating upon Tawheed here, for the rectification and correction of one's current time is two matters:

The first: That it is not permissible for there to be any time in which there is no concern with Tawheed and it is that which comprises Tawheed ur-Ruboobiyyah, Tawheed ul-Uloohiyyah and Tawheed ul-Asmaa was-Sifaat.

The second: That it is the foundation of every righteous action. Do you not see that righteous actions constitute its perfection, the obligatory amongst them or the recommended? For this reason it was the first thing that the Prophets, upon them be prayers and peace, called to, because the one in whose heart Tawheed has been ingrained and deeply rooted, its liveliness will appear in all of his limbs and its tree will give rise to the best of fruits as Allaah the Exalted has said: See you not how Allâh sets forth a parable? - A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord and Allâh sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember [Ibraaheem 14:24-25].

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

"And there is due from the servant to Allaah, in every moment from his time, servitude which will advance him or bring him nearer to Allaah. So if he spends his time in servitude to Allaah, he will advance to his Lord and if he busies himself with desires, or relaxation or inactivity, he will lag behind. And the servant never ceases to be either moving forward or falling behind, and there is no stopping whilst on the path, ever. Allaah the Exalted said: "To any of you that chooses to go forward (by working righteous deeds), or to remain behind (by commiting sins)" [Muddatthir 74:37]"[4]

And he (rh) said:

"And if he is not moving forward then he is remaining behind, by necessity. Therefore, the servant is always moving and does never stop (in one place). So either he moves higher or he falls lower, either he moves to the front or he goes to the back... it is but the steps or phases of a journey which lead, in the most rapid manner, to Paradise or to Hellfire. Therefore (there is one who is) fast and slow, one who moves forward and one who remains behind and there is no one on the path who stands still, ever. They only differ with each other as to how quickly or slowly they move."[5]

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