Tarbiyah And Tazkiyah


By Shaykh ‘Alee Hasan al-Halabee[1]

The Ways in which Creation Operates

Jubayr ibn Nufayr said: Once, when Cyprus was conquered and its people were divided and they used to cry to each other, I saw Abud-Dardaa sitting alone crying. So I said: O Abud- Dardaa! What makes you cry on this day in which Allaah has strengthened Islaam and its people? So he said: “Woe be to you O Jubayr. How insignificant the creation is to Allaah when they abandon His commands. Between us is a nation, who were evidently strong and had dominion, they abandoned the commands of Allaah, so see what has become of them!”[2]

So this is a clear and indisputable evidence that cultivation and education upon the commands of Allaah – with the beneficial knowledge and righteous actions – is the basis for achieving the help of Allaah; whilst abandoning this is the cause for defeat. “Indeed, Allaah – the One free from all defects, the Most High – has established certain Sunan (ways and causes) upon His creation, whosoever fulfills them will achieve success and felicity, but whosoever turns away from them has indeed gone astray. Allaah the Most High – explains this Sunan with regards to those who disbelieve: “Similar Sunan were faced by people before you, so travel through the earth and see what was the end of those who disbelieved.”[3]

And He – the Most Perfect – says: “Such was the Sunnah (way) of Allaah with those who lived before. Indeed, in the Sunnah of Allaah you will find no change.”[5]

This established Sunan, or way in which Allaah’s creation operates, is not only for one particular nation to the exclusion of others, nor for any one particular era to the exclusion of others. Rather, this matter was practically taught to even the first of the Muslims, the Sahaabah – may Allaah be pleased with them all – as in the battle of Uhud, when the Messenger of Allaah (saws) commanded the archers to remain in their positions, yet they disobeyed his order; which resulted in their defeat.

Lessons from the Battle of Uhud

Al-Baraa’ ibn ‘Aazib (raa) said: We encountered the pagans on that day [of Uhud] and the Prophet (saws) positioned a group of archers and appointed ‘Abdullaah ibn Jubair to be in command of them and said: “Do not leave this position, if you should see us conquer them, do not leave this position; and if you should see them conquer us, then do not come to our aid.” However, when we met the enemy they fled on their heels, until I saw their women running towards the mountain, lifting their dresses from their legs, thus exposing their ankle-bracelets. Some people started saying: The booty, the booty! So ‘Abdullaah ibn Jubair said: The Prophet (saws) has taken a promise from me not to abandon this position. However, his companions refused to stay. So when they refused, Allaah confused them, such that they did not know where to go; due to which they then suffered seventy deaths….”[6]

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (d 751H) – rahimahullaah – said: “This calamity which struck them was caused by their own actions. So our Lord said: “When a single disaster struck you, whereas you struck them with a disaster twice as great, do you then say: from where did this come? Say: It is from your own selves! Indeed, Allaah has power over everything.”[7]

And He mentioned this itself; in that which is more general than this in the Makkan soorahs. He said: “Whatever misfortune befalls you is because of what your own hands have done, yet for many He grants forgiveness.”[8]

“Whatever of good comes to you, it is from Allaah; and whatever misfortunes befall you, it is from your ownselves.”[9]

So the good and the bad here are blessings and misfortunes. So the blessings of Allaah are something which He has favoured you with, whilst the misfortunes have sprung from your own selves and your actions. So the first is from His grace and the second is from His justice. And the servant is always between His grace and His justice; His grace is upon him, His judgment in him and whatever He decrees is just. And Allaah concluded the first Aayah with His saying: “Indeed Allaah has power over all things.” After His saying: “Say: It is from your own selves!” Thus indicating to them about the generality of His Power along with His Justice – and He is the Most Just, the All-Powerful.”[l0]

Disobedience Results in Defeat

And the story of this battle of Uhud must give us the du’aat (callers), an important lesson by which we benefit in our lives, which is that: “When the Muslims suffer defeat in jihaad or in da’wah, then they should blame themselves and straighten their course; and they should weigh their actions with the true scales. Since Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – has informed the Muslims that the reason for their defeat in the battle of Uhud was themselves, and this was the same reason on the day of Hunayn. And it is from the Sunan of Allaah that He does not remove a blessing from a people which has been given to them, unless they change what He has given them of eemaan (faith), guidance and good. Allaah says: “That is because Allaah will never change the favour which He bestows upon a people, until they change themselves.”[11]

And this verse shows us the history of our Islaamic Ummah in the best way. So our Salafus-Saalih (Pious Predecessors) clung to the blessings of Allaah upon them, and the most important of these blessings is the correct ‘aqeedah (beliefs) and noble manners; and they kept away from disunity and splitting. They took hold of those prescribed reasons which made them the best of nations ever raised for mankind, and thereby deserved through this, the victory of Allaah, establishment upon the earth and the various tribes and nations being made subservient to them.

After them came a people who changed that which the Messenger of Allaah (saws) and his Companions were upon, in ‘aqeedah and methodology, with their own customs, ways and manners. They split into groups and parties and raised up the banner of jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance), so Allaah made them despicable, causing the lowly nations to dominate over them. So the best of them were attacked and the minds of the children were brainwashed, and they became scum, like the scum upon the waves.

So if the Muslims desire good, unity and establishment upon the earth, then they should make their manners and behaviour like that of the Salaf of this Ummah and begin by changing themselves. However, he who is unable to change even himself, will not be able to change his family, not to mention changing the Ummah.

And then this aayah comes between two aayaat, which informs us about the people of Fir’awn – and those nations and tribes which preceded them – who disbelieved in Allaah and His Signs. There was much oppression and sin committed amongst them, so Allaah destroyed them. So take heed – O people of understanding and hearts – and beware of the punishment and the power of Allaah! And know that change begins with the soul and is not achieved through having many helpers, nor strength of information, nor the clamor of those who clap and shout, nor by the arenas and streets being filled with huge crowds.

Indeed, the leaders of our Ummah – those through whom Allaah gave honour and might to His Deen – when the conquest of a city was delayed for them, then they gathered the army and asked them two questions, for which there was no third: [i] What are the Sunnahs that you have fallen short in complying with? [ii] What are the sins you have committed?![12]

Therefore, they used to take account of themselves, and they used to fear the spread of sins amongst themselves. The leader used to be a good example for his army, with regards obedience to Allaah and fear of Him. However, as regards us today, then we read the previous aayah and we read other aayaat which are like it, such as the saying of Allaah – the Most High: “Never does Allaah change the condition of a people, until they change themselves. But when Allaah wills punishment for a people, then there can be no turning it back, nor will they find besides Him any helper.”[l3]

However, along with this, these sublime aayaat do not deeply enter into our hearts. We accuse the east and the west, but we do not accuse ourselves and we take a very precise account of other people – such that it contains no pity, nor mercy – but we do not take account of our ownselves.”[l4]

From Where Will the Help Come?

Due to all this, Allaah attached His help and assistance for His servants, to the servants aiding Him, and this does not come about except with true tarbiyah (cultivation and education) and sincerely clinging to the truth. So He – the Most Perfect – says: “Indeed Allaah will help those who help His (cause). Indeed Allaah is Exalted in Might, all-Powerful.”[15]

‘Urwah ibn az-Zubayr (d.94H) – rahimahullaah – said: When the people were equipped and ready to proceed to Mu’tah, he said to the Muslims: “May Allaah accompany you and defend you. ” …. Then they went on until they reached the land of Shaam (Syria, Jordan and Palestine), where they were informed that Heraclius had arrived at al-Balqaa with one- hundred thousand Romans, and added to them – from the Arab tribes of al-Hazm, Jadhaam, Balqeen and Bahraa – another one-hundred thousand men. So the Muslims waited for two nights, considering what to do. So they said: We will write to the Messenger of Allaah (saws) and inform him about the number of the enemy. He said: But ‘Abdullaah ibn Rawaahah encouraged the people to bravery and said: “By Allaah, O people! That which you hate is what you had come out for. You seek martyrdom. We do not fight the enemy merely with what we have prepared, nor with strength, nor with large numbers. We do not fight them except with this Deen that Allaah has blessed us with. So go forth, because it is only one of two good things: either victory, or martyrdom. He said: So the people said: By Allaah! Ibn Rawaahah has spoken the truth. So the people continued.” [16]

The Mufassir and Imaam, ash-Shanqeetee (d.1393H) said: “Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – explains in the above noble aayah that He has sworn to help and give victory to those who help Him. It is known that the help and victory of Allaah comes by following what He has prescribed, obeying His command, avoiding His prohibitions, by helping His Messengers and their followers, aiding His Deen and fighting against His enemies and overpowering them – until the word of Allaah is made uppermost, whilst the word of His enemies is debased and made low. Then Allaah – the Most High, the Most Magnificent – explains the characteristics of those whom He has promised would receive His help and victory, distinguishing them from others. So He said, whilst explaining those to whom He swore He would aid and give victory to – because He is the one to aid and give victory:

“Those who, if We establish them in the earth, establish the prayer, give the zakaah, enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”[l7]

And that which this noble aayah indicates is that whosoever aids Allaah, then Allaah will aid Him. This is clearly explained in other than this place, such as His – the Most High’s – sayings: “O you who Believe. If you help Allaah, Allaah will help you; and establish your feet firmly. But those who disbelieve, for them is destruction and Allaah will make their deeds vain.”[l8]

“Indeed, Our Word has gone forth of old for our slaves, the Messengers, that they will certainly be victorious; and that Our forces will certainly be triumphant.”[19]

“Allaah has Decreed: It is My Messenger and I who will prevail.”[20]

“Allaah has promised to those amongst you who believe and do righteous actions that He will grant you the Khilaafah in the land.”[21]

And in His – the Most High’s – saying: “Those who, if We establish them in the earth, establish the Prayer, give the Zakaah, enjoin the good and forbid the evil.”[22]

In it is a proof that there is no promise from Allaah of His help, except by establishing the Salaah, paying the Zakaah, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil. So it is these whom Allaah will establish upon the earth and will strengthen His Word through them. However, those who do not establish the Salaah, nor pay the Zakaah, nor enjoin the good or forbid the evil, then there is no promise for them from Allaah that He will aid and grant them victory. They are not from His party, nor are they his friends – those who have the promise of His help and victory. Rather, they are the party of Shaytaan and his friends. So if they were to expect the help of Allaah and the fulfillment of His promise upon them, then their example is like that of a hired worker who refuses to do the job that he was hired for, yet he expects to be rewarded. So whosoever is like this, then he has no intellect![23]

The Fruits of Disagreement

There is here, an important point that must be mentioned, which is that disagreement, opposing views and mutual disregard is one of the greatest causes of defeat. This – in reality – is due to a deficiency in tarbiyah (education and cultivation) and therefore it is one of those matters which prevents victory.

Imaam ash-Sha’bee (d.104H) said: “No nation differed after its Prophet, except that the people of falsehood from it, gained ascendancy over its people of truth.”[24]

And this – as has preceded – is precisely what happened to the Sahaabah (Companions), those who were educated and cultivated under the shade of Revelation, with their Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. So what is the case of those who come after them?!

Indeed: “Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – explained that one of the greatest causes for the loss suffered by the Muslims at the battle of Uhud was the differing and ikhtilaaf (disagreement) of the archers, and that some of them disobeyed the order of the Messenger of Allaah (saws). About this Allaah – the Most High – said: “Indeed, Allaah did fulfill His Promise to you when you were killing them by His Permission; until you lost your courage and began disputing about the command, and disobeyed, after He showed you that which you love. Amongst you are some that desire this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then He made you flee from them, that He may test you. But He forgave you, and Allaah is Most Gracious to the Believers.”[25]

So in all the battles of the Messenger of Allaah (saws), the Muslims were a single rank and a single jamaaah ‘ (united body), taking orders from a single leader. Allaah – the Most High – said: “O you who Believe! When you meet an enemy, be firm against them and remember Allaah a lot so that you may be successful. And obey Allaah and His Messenger, and do not dispute less you lose courage and your strength departs. And have sabr (patient perseverance), indeed Allaah is with the patient ones.”[26]

So obedience to Allaah and His Messenger means being free from defect and blemish in both ‘aqeedah (beliefs) and manhaj (methodology), just as it means agreement in direction and where instructions are taken from. However, defeat is the result of disunity and disagreement between the hearts, and in having many leaders and many jamaa’ahs (groups and parties).

There has – in this present age – been no battle in which we have participated, except that in it we were differing and disputing parties, having differing leaderships and having mutual hatred. So how is it possible to achieve victory and establishment?! Indeed, everyone talks about bringing about unity, and writes about it and looks forward to it. However, the results are sorrowful and destroy and frustrate the hopes. After every attempt it becomes clear that every group strove to cause difficulties for the others; and to plot against them; and to make conditions upon them which conflict with the goals of unity and harmony. So the attempt that will be effective and successful must have as its goal, corrections for the ailments of the hearts and souls….. So when the souls are changed and the hearts are filled with taqwaa (piety, fear and obedience to Allaah), then everything in our lives will be changed.”[27]

Lessons from the Battle of Hunayn

Thus the cause for the defeat has been very clearly manifested, and it is a deficiency in the tarbiyah (education and cultivation). Another clear manifestation of this also, is what happened in the battle of Hunayn, about which Allaah – the Most High – said: “And on the day of Hunayn, when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you nothing; and the earth vast as it is – was straightened for you, then you turned back in flight.”[28]

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim said: “So from the wisdom of Allaah, He first gave them a taste of the bitterness of defeat and of being overcome – despite their large number, preparation and strength – in order that heads which had been raised up due to the conquest of Makkah, should be lowered. For they did not enter His land and His Sacred Precinct (i.e. Makkah) in the way the Messenger of Allaah (saws) entered it; lowering his head with humility, upon his horse – to the extent that his chin nearly touched the saddle – out of humility before His Lord, humbling himself before His Greatness and submitting to His Might. This was due to the fact that Allaah had made lawful His Sacred Precinct and His Land for him, and He had not made it lawful to anyone before him or after him. All of this occurred so that he should make clear to those who said: “We will not be defeated today because of our numbers!!” Explaining to them that the victory comes only from Him and that whomsoever He aids, then none can overcome him; and whomsoever He forsakes, then there is none to grant victory to him, besides Allaah. And that He – the Most Perfect – took it upon Himself to aid and grant victory to His Messenger and His Deen – not due to their large numbers which they (falsely) delighted in, since that was of no avail to them. Rather, they fled, turning their backs. So when their hearts had become downcast, Allaah sent them the removal of their distress and a prior taste of victory, by sending down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the Believers and by sending down the unseen forces (i.e. the Angels). So from His wisdom – the Most Perfect – was that he only granted victory and its gifts to them when their hearts had become downcast and saddened: “And We desired to favour those who were weak in the land and to make them leaders and make them the inheritors, and to establish them in the land. And We let Fir’awn and Haamaan and their hosts receive from them that which they feared.”[29]”[30]

Impatience: An Obstacle against Tarbiyah

From that which negates tarbiyah and prevents its completion is: being hasty and having lack of sabr (patient perseverance). This produces a negative result, the least of which is a delay in the victory. Our Lord – the Most Perfect – said: “And what made you hasten from your people, O Moosaa? He replied: They are close on my footsteps, and I hasten to you – O my Lord – that you might be pleased. ” [31]

A clear goal and a clear intention: I have hastened to you – O my Lord – to please you. So Allaah said: “Indeed We have put your people to fitnah (trial and tribulation) in your absence. And indeed as-Saamiree has led them astray.”[32]

So this is Moosaa (as), and he was one of the Oolul-‘Azm (foremost in resolve) from the Messengers, yet he sought to hasten the affair. So when he sought to hasten the affair, fitnah (trial and discord) occurred amongst his people which was that they began worshipping others besides Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic. Allaah – the Most High – said: “So patiently persevere, and let not those who have no yaqeen (certainty of faith) discourage you from conveying Allaah’s Message.”[33]

Imaam al-Baghawee (d.555H) – rahimahullaah – said: “Meaning: do not let those who have no certain faith lead you into ignorance and into following them upon misguidance.”[34]

Ibn al-Qayyim – rahimahullaah – said: “Whosoever considers the trials and discords that have come upon Islaam – the small and the great of them – will realise that they were due to abandoning this principle of not being hasty, and of having sabr upon that which is harmful, and seeking to remove the harm in a hasty manner. This in turn produces that which is greater and worse than the initial harm.”[35]

So this is a word from a Scholar who has carefully and thoroughly examined the Book and the Sunnah, and has likewise carefully examined the condition of the Muslims, and therefore said what he said – may Allaah have mercy upon him.

Tarbiyah and Sabr: the Key to Victory

The teacher, Muhammad Qutb (one of the heads of innovation) – may Allaah forgive him – said in his book: Waaqi’unal-Ma’aasir, and he was speaking about the Islaamic Movements of Egypt, internally and externally, he said: “So with regards to within the country, then there occurred from them hastiness in showing the strength of the jamaa’ah ‘ (i.e. the Muslims) – whether in making themselves manifest, or in demonstrations, protest marches, entering into political affairs of the time – such as fighting the communists; and supporting the affairs of the country in the security council, and other than that. It is as if the jamaa’ah – each and every time – wanted to say: we are here, and we are able to do such and such…. Leaving aside the matters of the day, then was this something which was permissible for the Muslim jamaa’ah to enter into? Or was its obligation to call to the correction of the fundamental manhaj (methodology) of living, to the establishment of the firm pillars and to the perfection of the desired tarbiyah. However, seeking to hasten the movement before its time, then produced an effect upon the overall direction.”[36]

I say: What will very clearly demonstrate the matter of hastiness and its many negative effects is the saying of Allaah – the Most Perfect, Most High – when He said: “Have you not seen those who were told to hold back their hand from fighting, and offer Salaah (Prayer) and give the Zakaah. But when fighting was prescribed for them, behold! a section of them fear men as they fear Allaah, or even more. They say: Our Lord! Why have you prescribed fighting for us. Would that you had granted us respite for a short period.”[37]

“So those who were resolved upon Jihaad and loved it, when they were tested with it, they were averse to it and fled from it.”[38]

And they were from the Companions of the Prophet (saws) – those who received tarbiyah (cultivation and education) beneath the shade of Revelation and who were guided by the Sharee’ah. So how about those after them – the greatest of whom cannot even reach a handful, or even half a handful, of their calibre?!

So finally: due to all that has preceded, it has been said by the Callers to Islaam and the people of culture, and the people of Movements after previously denying it: “Indeed I certainly believe in the strength of Knowledge, and I believe in the strength of culture and learning, but I have a greater belief in the strength of tarbiyah.”[39]

And only Allaah guides to the Path that is straight.


1. From At-Tasfiyah wat-Tarbiyah wa Atharahumaa fee Isti’naafil-Hayaatil-lslaamiyyah (pp.125- 137).

2. Related by Imaam Ahmad in az-Zuhd (2/63) and Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyaa (l/216-217).

3. Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3: 137

4. Soorah al-Ahzaab 33:62

5. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (p.58) of Muhammad Suroor.

6. Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.4043).

7. Soorah Aal-lmraan 3:165

8. Sooratush-Shooraa 42:30

9. Sooratun-Nisaa 4:79

10. Zaadul-Ma’aad ( 3/238).

11. Sooratul-Anfaal 8:53

12. Such as the advice given by Umar ibn al-Khattaab to Sa’d ibn Abee Waqqaas and his army – radiallaahu ‘anhumaa – as occurs in ‘Iqdul-Fareed (1/40).

13. Sooratur-Ra’dd 13:11

14. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp.59-62).

15. Soorah Hajj 22:40

16. Related by Abu Nu’aym in Hilyatul-Awliyaa (1/119).

17. Soorah al-Hajj 22:41

18. Soorah Muhammad 47:7

19. Sooratus-Saaffaat 37:171-173

20. Soorah al-Mujaadalah 58:21

21. Sooratun Noor 24:55

22. Soorah al-Hajj 22:41

23. Adwaa’ul-Bayaan (5/703-704) of ‘Allaamah ash- Shanqeetee.

24. Related by Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah (4/313) and adh- Dhahabee in Siyar A’laamun – Nubalaa (4/311).

25. Soorah Aal-‘lmraan 3:152

26. Sooratul Anfaal 8:45-46

27. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp. 93-94)

28. Qul Huwa Min ‘Indee Anfusakum (pp. 93-94)

29. Soorah al Qasas 28:5-6

30. Zaadul-Ma’aad (3/477-478) of Ibn al-Qayyim.

31. Soorah TaaHaa 20:83-84

32. Soorah TaaHaa 20:85

33. Soorah ar-Room 30:60

34. Ma ‘aalimut-Tanzeel (6/279) of al-Baghawee.

35. A’laamul-Muwaqqi’een (3/4) of lbn al-Qayyim.

36. Quoted in Mawqiful-Mu’min minal-Fitnah (pp. 28-29) by Shaykh ‘Abdullaah al-‘Ubaylaan – may Allaah protect him.

37. Soorah an-Nisaa 4:77

38. Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (10/690) of Shaykhul-lslaam lbn Taymiyyah.

39. The saying of Sayyid Qutb – as quoted in Majallatur- Risaalah (no.595/1952C.E.)



The Muslim Creed Vol. 9 No. 3

There are several ways and methods which will help the Muslim purify his heart from all impurities and evils that may hinder his journey on the path of Tazkiyah (purifying one’s self and soul). These ways and methods will also help the Muslim implement what Allah has commanded and ordained on him. When one analyzes the various aspects of Islam, such as the creed, acts of worship, business transactions and codes of conduct, he will discover that all these aspects seek to achieve Tazkiyah for the hearts. In addition, At-Tazkiyah connects the hearts with the Creator and reminds the slave with Allah, thus helping him achieve At-Taqwa, that is, fear from Allah. Therefore, when one performs any of these aspects of Islam with sincere intention and seeking to fulfill Allah’s rights, then he or she will achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs and will purify his or her soul, Allah willing.

The Prophet said, “I was sent but to perfect the codes of good conduct.” [Al-Bukhari]. The Prophet’s Message certainly contains more than the codes of good conduct. Yet, the Messenger said that he was sent but to perfect the codes of good conduct, to indicate that this is the goal behind implementing the Islamic Shari’ah (Commandments and Law). All parts of the Islamic Shari’ah, including the creed and the codes of good conduct, seek to achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs for Muslims. Furthermore, and as we have stated, Az-Zakah entails purity, cleansing the heart and avoiding all types of evil and misconduct. Imam Az-Zuhri said, “The Message comes from Allah, the Messenger only delivers it, and we are required to submit to it. All the Shari’ah will help the slaves achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs until they are ready to be Allah’s neighbors in Paradise.”

At-Taw’hid is indeed a Tazkiyah because it entails testifying and believing in Allah as the One Lord Who has no partners. This testimony is Tazkiyah itself because it is a virtue to accept the truth, while on the other hand, rejecting the truth is a sinful act. There is no truth mightier than Allah nor more present and clear to the minds of the creation. Disbelieving in Allah and rejecting Him are the biggest sin and filth. Allah said, [Verily, the Mushrikeen (poly-theists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) are Najas (impure).[9:28]. The Mushrikeen’s hearts are filthy because of their Shirk and their denying the Creator’s Attributes. This Ayah does not describe the physical filth that exists on the Mushrikeen’s bodies, because they can easily wash it off. Rather, the Ayah describes the filth of Shirk and disbelief that these Mushrikeen have committed and which have engulfed their hearts and minds.

Ibn Kathir said, while commenting on the Ayah, [And woe to the Mushrikeen. Those who give not the Zakat. [41:6-7], “Ali bin Abi Tal’hah said that ibn ‘Abbas said that this Ayah, ‘Means those who do not testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.’ Also, ‘Ikrimah issued a similar statement.” Furthermore, the prayer is Tazkiyah, as Allah has said, what translated means, [Verily, the prayer prevents every sinful and wicked act. [29:45]. Hence, the prayer is one of the most effective means that will achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs for the believers.

The Muslims pray several times every day and night, all the while remembering Allah and learning to adhere by the Quran and Sunnah. The prayer also guides and directs Muslims to acquire the true Taqwa, as the prayer achieves the Taqwa for the slave more than the other acts of worship. This is why when the Prophet would feel concerned about a matter, he used to revert to the prayer, as Imam Ahmad has narrated.

In addition, Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) is a Tazkiyah, as Allah has said, what translated means, [Then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. [2:197].

Also, Zakat (obligatory charity) is Tazkiyah. Allah said, [Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it. whoever voluntarily gives away charity will help him achieve At-Tazkiyah.” Allah has commanded the Muslims to pay the required Zakat, which is a means of achieving At-Tazkiyah, as the Zakat rids the heart from the ills of tightwad and being miserly. Also, At-Tazkiyah elevates the Muslim and defends him against the destructive forces of the whims and desires, and indeed, this is how mankind’s conduct is bettered and improved. Imam Al-Baydhawy commented on the Ayah, [And sanctify them with it.] saying that it indicates that the Sadaqah, “Will increase their good deeds and elevate them to the grades of the sincere believers.”

For all these reasons, we now realize that Zakat and charity are some of the means with which the heart avoids tightwad and being miserly. Therefore, Tazkiyat An-Nafs is the highest type of good conduct that mankind can and should achieve. When one’s heart is clean and pure, all the problems that he might face and the barriers that might hinder his path will be overcome and defeated, Allah has regulated the material aspects of life for the believers, such as requiring the Zakat that is paid by the rich to the needy and the poor. Also, Allah has encouraged giving away all types of charity in many Ayat in the Quran, and certainly, all the wealth and possessions that exist are Allah’s property in reality, and most certainly, all mankind are His slaves.

Allah has also warned the Muslims against selfishness and miserly conduct, considering refraining from giving away the required charity as an act of destruction, as He said, [And spend in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds, etc.) and do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the Cause of Allah), and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers). [2:195]. Imam Al-Baydhawy commented that the destruction referred to in the Ayah, “Means over-spending, squandering the wealth and refraining from joining and spending on the Jihad, for this will strengthen the enemy and will allow them to destroy the Muslims. What further testifies to this fact is that Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari has said, ‘When Allah gave victory to Islam and then its following increased, we went back to our families and estates to reside there, so that we will be able to effectively manage them.

Then, this Ayah was revealed.’ Further, this last Ayah describes miserly and loving money as types of attitude that will lead to eternal destruction, and this iswhy Al-Bukhl (tightwad) is called destruction.” Also, Allah said, what translated means, [you who believe! Spend of that with which We have provided for you, before a Day comes when there will be no bargaining, nor friendship, nor intercession. [2:254], [Believe in Allah and His Messenger (Mohammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allah’s Way), theirs will be a great reward. [57:7] and, [And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says, “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth, and be among the righteous (i.e. perform Hajj).” [63:10].

All the money that exists is actually Allah’s, and He gives it to whom He wills, and He is the Most Kind, Most Generous. Yet, He promised those who spend their money in His sake with multiplying their wealth, along with granting them His forgiveness. He said, [If you lend to Allah a goodly loan (i.e. spend in Allah’s Cause) He will double it for you, and will forgive you. And Allah is Most Ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forbearing. [64:17]. This is a small demonstration of the many Ayat in the Quran that discuss the subject of spending the wealth in Allah’s sake.

As-Siyam (fasting) is also Tazkiyah. Allah said, what translated means, [Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqin (the pious). [2:183]. Therefore, the true goal behind As-Siyam is achieving the Taqwa of Allah, and whoever achieves At-Taqwa will achieve all the other benefits of Siyam. Hence, Siyam achieves Tazkiyat An-Nafs. As-Siyam is one of the most beloved and honored acts of worship to Allah, because it indicates a heart that is free of Riyaa’, that is, showing off, for no one except Allah can truly be sure that a certain person is fasting. This is why the rewards for As-Siyam are unlimited, as Allah has said in a Qudsi Hadith, which translated means, “All the deeds of the son of Adam are his except for As-Siyam, for it is for Me and I will reward for it.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim].

Hence, all the acts of worship and the laws of Islam, such as Taw’hid, the prayer, the fast, Hajj, Zakat, being kind to the parents, keeping the relations with relatives, being just, avoiding all types of evil conduct, etc., seek to perfect the Muslim’s slavery and his being subservient to Allah. For one to draw closer to Allah, he must enter through the doors of perfect slavery, humbleness, subservience and meekness for Allah, the Exalted and Ever High. The Muslim is also required to feel that what he enjoys of bounty is not because of his power or as a result of his hard work. Rather, it is because of Allah’s great Bounty and perfect Kindness. Doing all this will achieve At-Tazkiyah, Allah willing.



The Muslim Creed – Vol. 9 No. 7

Tazkiyat An-Nafs is one of the pillars and basics of the Salafi Da’wah. It means to purify and cleanse the soul from sin and evil, so the slave’s status and grade with Allah is enhanced. There are many ways and means to achieve At-Tazkiyah, and following are some of them, as derived from the Quran and Sunnah.

1 — Achieving Al-I’hsan (excellence) in the way the Muslims worship Allah: Being excellent in worshipping Allah is one of the most important elements that will help achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs and will help purify the soul, by Allah’s leave. Al-I’hsan also elevates the slave’s grade with Allah. Being excellent in the manner one performs the acts of worship, by adhering by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, is a requirement that when implemented, it will ensure Allah’s acceptance of the acts of worship. Furthermore, Al-I’hsan requires sincerity with Allah while performing the acts of worship. Also, Al-I’hsan requires following the guidance of the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, so as to ensure Allah’s acceptance of the various good deeds. Allah said, what translated means, …that He may test you which of you is best in deed. [67:2].

Al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyadh said that Allah will accept the act of worship that is, “Sincere and accurate. The sincerity comes from performing the acts of worship for the sake of Allah alone, not to show off (or to acquire fame). As for the correctness, it results from abiding by the commands of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.” The Messenger of Allah has ordained Al-I’hsan in everything. Shaddad ibn Aws narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, what translated means, “Allah has ordained Al-I’hsan in everything. Therefore, when you kill (such as when the authority executes a murderer), kill with excellence, and when you slaughter (animals), slaughter with excellence, and let the one of you sharpen his knife and bring quick relief to his animal.” [Muslim].

If Al-I’hsan is ordained in everything including when one slaughters an animal, then being excellent in the way one performs the various acts of worship is even a more important necessity. When the Muslims observe I’hsan and the correct guidance of the Prophet in all their life and religious affairs, Allah will guide and direct them to remain on this righteous path and to even increase in piety and Iman. Allah said, what translated means, While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance, and bestows on them their piety. [47:17],


And Allah increases in guidance those who walk aright [true believers in the Oneness of Allah who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained). And the righteous good deeds that last, are better with your Lord, for reward and better for resort. [19:76]. Muslims are required to read these Ayat and frequently think about their meanings and implications, for they clearly state that worshipping Allah the way He has ordained with sincerity and following the guidance of the Prophet will guide to elevating and purifying the souls, Allah willing.

2 — Reciting the Book of Allah and implementing its commands: Muslims are required to recite the Quran, to seek knowledge in its meanings and to implement its commands. They are also required to abandon the prohibitions and fulfill the obligations ordained on them in it. They will also benefit from reading the life stories of the Prophets and the Messengers of Allah and the righteous generations that lived before their time. Further, they will benefit from reading about the evil end of the tyrant and unjust persons and nations that are mentioned in the Quran. This way, the Book of Allah will be the way of life that the Muslims abide by as long as they live, all the while awaiting and anticipating the meeting with Allah.

To further expand on this subject, we should note here that Muslims need two matters concerning taking Islam as their way of life:

a – They need and require what will bring life

b – They need and require what will enlighten their path. Allah said, what translated means,

Is he who was dead (without Faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and Faith) and set for him a light (of Belief) whereby he can walk amongst men, like him who is in the darkness (of disbelief, polytheism and hypocrisy) from which he can never come out? [6:122].

The Islamic creed brings life unto the heart after it had neared death, and shatters the darkness with its brightness. This is a type of life that will make the believer able to feel the taste of everything again, and to look at all things from a different perspective that was not available to him before. Kufr, on the other hand, effectively ends life, for it brings about the death and the demise of the Fitrah (the natural and pure way that Allah created in mankind). As we have previously stated, Allah created mankind able to recognize Islam as the true religion, but most of them disregard this fact and change the Fitrah that Allah has created in them.

Furthermore, Kufr shields the soul from the light of knowledge and belief. Also, Kufr leads one away from obeying the way Allah created mankind, all the while bringing about distress, depression and sadness to the heart.

3 — Studying the Seerah (life-story) of the Messenger of Allah, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wasallam, will encourage the Muslims to take him as their example in the way he worshipped Allah. Also, studying the Seerah is one of the most important means that will help Muslims purify their souls and rid themselves from the darkness of imitating other than the Prophet. This way, one will truly take the Messenger as his example, as Allah has commanded,

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Mohammad) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the last day. [33:21]

4 — Remembering Allah in Thikr is indeed one of the greatest means and methods that the Muslim relies on to achieve Tazkiyat An-Nafs and to elevate his status with his Creator, all praise be to Him.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “And among the grades of

You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). [1:5],

is the grade of Ath-Thikr, the greatest grade with which people obtain their sustenance and the means to conduct their trade, and to which they always return. Ath-Thikr is the goal of the Wilayah that connects those who acquire it with Allah, while those who do not have it are truly destitute. It is the fuel of the hearts, and if it departs the heart, then the bodies will become as graves. It is the weapon with which people fight the bandits; the water with which they extinguish the fire; and the medicine for their ills which if it is lost, their hearts will suffer serious setbacks. It is also the connection and the relationship that connects them with He Who knows the Unseen. With it, they repel the ills and relieve the hardships. With it, they lessen the effects of the disasters when they befall them, as they take refuge with Thikr when such trials strike them. Thikr is also their refuge and the gardens of their paradise in which they live and move about, and which ensures their happiness. It is also their capital with which they conduct their trade. Thikr turns the sad heart into a happy one, and connects the Thakir (who performs Thikr) to the Mathkur (meaning Allah). Every part of the body has a type of slavery to perform. Thikr is the slavery of both the heart and the tongue. It is not a temporary type of slavery. Rather, the believers are required to remember the One Whom they worship and love in all situations, while standing and while laying down. In addition, the hearts are truly empty and deserted without Furthermore, Imam Al-’Hasan Al-Basri said, “Seek sweetness in three matters: during prayer, while performing Thikr and while reciting the Quran. If you feel the sweetness of such exalted acts of worship, then you have tasted the sweetness of Iman. Otherwise, the doors are shut closed in your Finally, the slave can and should defeat Satan with Thikr, just as Satan defeats those who forget to perform Thikr. Thikr is the soul of good deeds, and when the good deeds do not have it, they become just like the lifeless body.



Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee

[Q]: What are the foundations that will enable the Islaamic world to arise again anew?

[A]: That which I believe, is what has been reported in the authentic hadeeth – which is a clear answer to this question, and to those questions similar to it which are asked in our present time – and that is the statement of the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), “When you deal in ’eenah (a transaction involving usury), take hold of the tails of cows, become content with agriculture and abandon jihaad in the Path of Allaah, then Allaah will permit your humiliation and He will not remove it from you, until you return to your Religion.” [2] Thus, the foundation is the return to Islaam.

This very fact has been pointed out by Imaam Maalik (d.179H) – rahimahullaah – in a statement transmitted from him, which is worthy of being written in golden ink; and that is his saying, “Whosoever introduces into Islaam an innovation, and holds it to be something good, has indeed alleged that Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) has betrayed his message. Read the saying of Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High: “This day I have perfected your Religion for you, completed My favour upon you and I have chosen for you Islaam as your Religion.” [Sooratul-Maa‘idah 5:3]

So that which was not part of the Religion at that time, cannot be part of the Religion today. And the last part of this Ummah cannot be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part.” [3]

The last sentence is the essential part with regards to the answer to this question, since he said, “And the last part of this Ummah cannot be rectified, except by that which rectified its first part.” So, just as the affairs of the Arabs in jaahiliyyah (pre-Islaamic ignorance) was not rectified, except by the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) via Divine Revelation – which brought them happiness in this world and will bring them salvation in the Hereafter – then likewise, re-establishing a happy and successful Islaamic life cannot be based upon anything other than returning to the Qur‘aan and the Sunnah.

However, this matter is in need of some clarification, due to the presence of a multitude of Islaamic groups and parties in our midst today, each of them claiming to have set out the correct manhaj (methodology) which will bring about the Islaamic society and the rule of Islaam.

We know the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) that the path to be taken in order to realize this objective (of bringing about the Islaamic society and the rule of Islaam) is a single path, and that is the one which Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – mentions in His saying: “Indeed this is My Straight Path, so follow it, and do not follow other paths that will separate you from His Path.” [Sooratul-An’aam 6:152]

And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) explained this to his Companions since: One day he drew a straight line for them on the ground and then drew many short lines on both sides of it. He then recited the previous aayah whilst he was moving his noble finger over the straight line, and he said, “This is the Path of Allaah.” He then pointed to the other lines and said, “These are other paths, and at the head of each of them is a devil calling towards it.” [4]

Our Lord – the Mighty and Majestic – emphasized in another aayah this very same point which was mentioned in the very same aayah; along with the explanation of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in the hadeeth. Allaah – the Most High – said: “And whosoever opposes the Messenger, even after the guidance has been clearly conveyed to him, and follows a path other than that of the Believers, We shall leave him in the path he has chosen and land him in Hell, what an evil destination.” [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 5:115]

This aayah contains a great wisdom, since He – the Most Perfect – placed the path of the Believers in conjunction with that which the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) brought. And the fine point of this wisdom was also indicated by the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in the hadeeth of al-Iftiraaq (the authentic narration concerning the splitting of this Ummah into seventy three sects), when he was asked about the Saved-Sect, so he replied, “It is that which I and my Companions are upon today.” [5]

So what is the wisdom in Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – mentioning the path of the Believers in the previous aayah? And what is the underlying point of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) mentioning his Companions right after mentioning himself, in the previous hadeeth?

The answer to this is: that the noble Companions are the very people who received the two Revelations (the Qur‘aan and the Sunnah) from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), who explained it to them directly – without an intermediary – and this is contrary to all those who came after them. And there is no doubt that the issue is as the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Indeed the one present sees that which the one absent does not.” [6] This is why the eemaan (faith) of the Companions was greater than the faith of those who came after them, and this is what has been clearly indicated by the Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) an the authentic hadeeth, “The best of mankind is my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them.” [7] Therefore, it is not possible for any Muslim to independently understand the Book and the Sunnah. Rather, one must seek aid in understanding them by returning to the understanding of the noble Companions, who took their understanding from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam); via his statements, his actions and his tacit approvals.

Thus, along with calling to the Book and the Sunnah, it is absolutely essential to attach the understanding and the practice of the Salafus-Saalih (the Pious Predecessors: the first three generations of Muslims whose excellence has been testified to in the above hadeeth); acting upon the preceding verses and hadeeth, which order clinging to the path of the Believers, which has been explained to be the path upon which the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), his Companions and those who followed them in belief and actions, were upon.

And here, a very important question arises, which many of the groups and parties neglect; and that is: How does one obtain knowledge of the understanding and the practical application of the Sunnah that the Companions adhered to?

The answer to this is: that there is no way in obtaining this knowledge, except by returning to ’ilmul-hadeeth (the knowledge of hadeeth); ’ilm mustalahatul-hadeeth (the science of hadeeth) and the science of al-jarh wat-ta’deel (the science of verifying the condition of the narrators) – applying its principles and its terms such that the Scholars are able to distinguish that which is authentic from the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam), from that which is not.

So in ending the answer to the question, we say in the clearest possible manner, to those who wish to bring back to Islaam its honour, strength, supremacy and rule, that you must actualize two matters:

FIRSTLY: to bring back to the minds of the Muslims the knowledge of the Sharee’ah (Laws) of Islaam; purified from all the innovations that have entered into it, which were not a part of it upon the day when Allaah – the Most Blessed, the Most High – revealed His saying: “This day I have perfected your Religion for you, completed My favour upon you and I have chosen for you Islaam as your Religion.” [Sooratul-Maa‘idah 5:3]

Accomplishing this matter requires a huge and tremendous effort on the part of the Muslim Scholars in all parts of the world.

SECONDLY: It is a must that this purified knowledge is coupled with constant and steadfast action.

Thus, the day that the Muslims return to understanding their Religion as the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) understood it; then act upon this purified Islaam in a correct manner, in all aspects of life, then that will be the day when the Muslims will rejoice at the help of Allaah and His victory. So this is what I am able to write in this short time. I ask Allaah that He grants us and all of the Muslims the correct understanding of Islaam – in light of the Book, the authentic Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and that which the Salafus-Saalih (pious predecessors) were upon – and that He grants us the ability to be able to act in accordance to it. Indeed Allaah is the One who hears and responds.


[1] Taken from al-Asaalah magazine (11/84-87)

[2] Saheeh: Related by Aboo Daawood (no. 3462) and al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunanul-Kubraa (3/316), from ’Abdullaah Ibn ’Umar (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by Ibn Taymiyyah in Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (29/30).

[3] Related by al-Qaadee ’Iyaad in ash-Shifaa‘ (2/676)

[4] Hasan: Related by Ahmad (1/435) and an-Nisaa‘ee (7/49), from Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Dthilaalul-Jannah fee Takhreejis-Sunnah (no. 16)

[5] Hasan: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 2796) and al-Haakim (1/128), from ’Abdullaah Ibn ’Amr Ibnul-’Aas (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Haafidh al-’Iraaqee in Takhreejul-Ihyaa‘ (3/199).

[6] Saheeh: Related by Ibn Sa’d in at-Tabaqaat (2/176), from ’Alee (radiyallaahu ’anhu). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheehul-Jaami’ (no. 1641).

[7] Related by al-Bukhaaree (5/199) and Muslim (7/184), from Ibn Mas’ood (radiyallaahu ’anhu).

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