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The Secret To A Happy Life - Extract From Ibn Al-Qayyim's 'Madarij Al-Salikin' (English - Arabic Edition)

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim

Books By Darussalam London / Darussalam International Publications - UK
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The Secret To A Happy Life is a very valuable extract from the book Madarij Al-Salikin Bayn Manazil Iyyaka Na’budu Wa Iyyaka Nasta’in (The Stages of the Travellers Between the Stations of Only You we Worship and Only You we seek help from), which is one of Ibn Al-Qayyim’s best works and is among the greatest works produced on Islamic spirituality. The Secret To A Happy Life is in bilingual English - Arabic format.

Based upon the Quran and Sunnah, the author looks in detail at the significance of life and the various levels of life - from this world to the Hereafter.

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim states these eloquent and beautiful passages in this work which leave a deep and profound impact on the reader's soul:

Begin by recognising Allah SWT and find the way to Him. He will help you achieve it and will destroy the darkness of the ill disposition through rays of insight. As a result, your heart will correctly repent and carry out open and secret commands and refrain from the open and secret prohibitions. It will guard your heart and will not allow any thought that Allah does not like or any useless notion to penetrate. In this way the heart will be free to be devoted to the remembrance of Allah SWT and to be involved in love and devotion to Him. It will provide it with an opportunity to rid its confinement of the soul, and to be alone with the Lord, and engage in His remembrance.

It is said by some poets: "I depart from the house so that I speak to my soul alone in secret."

When it happens, his heart and thoughts will focus on seeking his Lord and longing towards Him. If he is true in it, he will gain the love of the Messenger (Sallallhu Alayhe Wassalam) and his spiritual power will dominate his heart. The Prophet (Sallallhu Alayhe Wassalam) will become his leader, teacher, master and an ideal for him as Allah made His Prophet a guide to Him. He should read his life's accounts and the way he received the revelation. He should study his characters, conducts, manners, his movements, sleeping and waking up, his worship and his treatment of his family and his companions and indeed all those around him. It will lead him to feel as though he is with him as a member of the Companions (RA).

If this takes root in his heart, the door of understanding of the revealed message will be opened for him. When he reads a Surah of the Qur'an, his heart will perceive the purpose of it and the situation about which it was revealed. He will notice his own bad and abominable characteristics and will struggle to free himself from it, as though struggling to be cured from a dangerous disease. He will be able to see praiseworthy deeds and characteristics and will try to acquire them.

.............. The intention of the traveller to his Lord is focused on two things: to exert himself to meet his true love and to endeavour to follow His commands. He does not cease in this effort until the signs of His recognition appear and the indications of His names and attributes are noticeable on him. These signs are hidden from him sometimes and visible sometimes. They appear with benovelence and disappear through slackness. These periods of apathy are inevitable for the worshipper. Every worker has enthusiasm and every enthusiasm faces laxity ...... Then comes the slackness of intention, which belongs to the seekers, and lastly comes the slackness of deeds, which is for the worshippers. In these periods of slackness, there is a variety of wisdom and mercy. They provide an opportunity to know the Divine qualities and acknowledge His favours. These evidences appear again and again and increase until they settle down in the heart and colour it completely. In this condition, the slackness does not adversely affect the servant but becomes a favour, a comfort and a source of relaxation.

When the soul of the lover is attached to his beloved, he struggles to increase it and develop its power. After that he works to acquire the love of his beloved for him. However, it does not destroy the first attempt but in incorporated in the second one and becomes concerned with both. The stage of being 'his ears with which he hears and his eyes with which he sees' is connected with his second endeavour. He struggles to approach his Lord in order to safeguard his love and acquire His love for him.

Now he becomes more energetic in achieving the love of his beloved by all sorts of good deeds. His heart becomes engaged in love, repentance, trust, fear and hope. His tongue is busy in remembrance and recitation of the speech of his beloved, and his limbs in carrying out His orders. He does not slacken in struggle to come closer to Him.

This is the march to the goal and cannot be attained without it. This objective can only be reached through a certain gate and a certain way. This way brings to him all the different aspects of the journey: the presence, the awe, vigilance and removal of thoughts and clearance of the inner side.

First of all, the lover starts with external deeds of approach, then he proceeds to the stage of being close. This means to be attracted to the beloved by all: his soul, heart, reason and body. This leads to the stage of Ihsan and he is able to worship Allah SWT as though he sees Him. In this stage he utilizes the powers of his heart: love, repentance, magnification, respect and fear. This causes the generosity of spending the soul and he is ready to sacrifice everything for the love of his beloved. He surrenders his soul, spirit, intention and all his deeds to his beloved instantly without any effort. If it is attained then the lover has succeeded in gaining the stage of closeness and its secrets. However, if it is not so then his effort was only outwardly, by the tongue and body. He is required to continue the struggle by remembrance and good deeds regularly. Hopefully he may reach the closeness he wishes to attain.

Behind this inner closeness there is another thing. There is no more beautiful expression of it than what is related by the Almighty :

"If my worshiper comes close to Me by the span of a hand, I come to Him by the length of an arm. If he approaches Me by an arm's length, I come to him by the span of the outstretched arms. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running."
[Hadeeth-e-Qudsi narrated from Abu Hurayrah RA in Saheeh Al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim - Kittab At-Tawbah]

The lover gets the real taste of this message. The Almighty mentioned three stages of closeness and alluded to the ones below and above them. He mentioned the nearness of the worshipper by the span of a hand and His approach to him by the length of an arm. When the worshipper realises this closeness he moves to the closeness of an arm length and he feels the approach of the Lord to him by outstretched arm.

.... The worshipper in this way always gets in return better than what he has offered to his Lord. The one who strives to approach Allah with all his heart, soul and deeds, his Lord will grant him a life that is not matched with the variety of life the people have. His life compared with the life of unfortunate ones is like the life of the foetus with the life of the people of the world and the pleasure they have. The life of the lover of Allah is far better than these people's lives.

This is a sample of the description of this life and its merits. If the knowledge of it entails a pleasant life for the man, then what will be the case when the heart is absorbed in it and becomes a permanent condition of it ? ....

This life is the life of this world with its pleasure, if a person misses it, he is very likely to miss the natural life. The real life is the life of the lovers who find comfort in their beloved. Their souls receive peace with them, their hearts feel tranquility and they find rest with them and enjoy their love. There is emptiness in the heart, which can be filled only with the love of Allah Almighty and turning to Him completely. The heart can be put in order with it. If a person does not attain it, his life will be filled with worries, grief, pain and regrets. If he is a man of high ambition, his soul will be shattered in the world because he will not accept something lesser. But if he is a man of low status, his life will be like the life of the most miserable animal. As a matter of fact the heart cannot find peace except in the love of the first beloved. It is said in lines of poetry: "Move your heart in love where ever you like, the love belongs to the first beloves. How many places a man stays on earth but his yearning is for the first place."



Title: The Secret To A Happy Life - Extract From From Ibn Al-Qayyim's 'Madarij Al-Salikin'
Author: Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim
Translator: Abdullah Hamid Ali
Publisher: Darussalam London / Darussalam International Publications - UK
Pages: 169
Volumes: 1
Size:  15 cm x 21 cm
Binding: Paperback
Edition Number: 1st
Year Of Publication:
Weight:  0.10 kg


The author, Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d. 751H), was one of the most prolific scholars of Islam. His inimitable and distinct understanding of Qur'an and and Hadith was acknowledged by his peers, while his commentaries and interpretations remain unique in accuracy. He studied under Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah for sixteen years and accompanied him up and till his death; learning a great deal of knowledge from him. He authored over sixty works, covering a multitude of Islamic sciences; many of his writings are characterised by their touching address to the heart and soul. He was deeply pious and took great care in how he utilised his time. 



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