Some Knowledge From Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah

“The heart is inherently dependent on Allâh in two ways: from the point of view of worship, which is the ultimate goal, and from the point of view of seeking His help and relying upon Him, which are the means to that end. The heart cannot be sound, or succeed, or find joy, or be happy, or feel pleasure, or be good, or be at peace, or find tranquility, except by worshipping its Lord, loving Him and returning to Him. Even if it attains all that it can enjoy of created things, it will not feel at peace or find tranquility, because it has an inherent need for its Lord, for He is the focus of its worship, love and seeking, and this is the only way to attain joy, happiness, pleasure, peace and tranquility…. 

…For if a person is helped to attain what he loves, seeks, desires and wants, but he does not worship Allâh, he will never achieve anything but sorrow, regret and suffering. He can never be free of the pain and hardship of this life except through loving Allâh sincerely, so that Allâh becomes his ultimate desire and he loves Him for what He is, and he loves anyone or anything else only for His sake, and he does not love anything for its own except Allâh. If he does not achieve this (level of love), he has not properly understood the true meaning of “La illaha ill Allâh” or of Tawheed or of Uboodiyyah or of loving Allâh. There is something lacking in his eemaan and Tawheed, and he will suffer pain, regret and anguish accordingly.” 

When a person submits to another even though he dislikes him, this is not worship or enslavement: when he loves someone but is not subservient to him, as a man might love his child or friend, this is not worship or enslavement either. Either of them alone is not enough when it comes to worshipping Allâh. Allâh must be more important than all else. Nothing is deserving of complete love and submission except Allâh. Love for anything other then Allâh is corrupt love, and veneration of anything except Allâh is false veneration. Allâh says: 

If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred: the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear decline or the dwellings in which you delight are dearer to you then Allâh, or his messenger, or the striving in His cause, then wait until Allâh brings about His Decision.… [Sûrah Al Tawbah: 24] 

Love, like obedience, should only be for Allâh and His Messenger, and for the sake of earning Allâh’s pleasure.

We may say that slave means the one who is enslaved by Allâh and who submits and humbles himself to Him. 

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Do not attach your heart other than Allah by Ibn Taymiyyah
Imam ibn Taymiyyah said: 

“Anyone whose heart is attached to the creation, hoping for someone from the creation to help him or provide for him or guide him, then his heart submits to them and to the degree that his heart submits to them, he becomes their slave. This holds true, even if he is outwardly a ruler or guardian over those whom he treats as masters. The wise one looks at realities and not at appearances. So if a man’s heart is attached to his wife, even though that is permissible, his heart remains a prisoner to her and she may rule over him as she pleases – though outwardly he is her master and her husband. In reality, he is her prisoner and her slave, especially if she knows how much he is in need of her and how much he is in love with her and how much he feels she cannot be replaced by anyone else. At that point, she rules over him as the tyrant master rules over his subjugated slave, who cannot escape of go free. Indeed for the heart to be taken as a prisoner is a much greater matter than for the body to be taken as a slave or prisoner. Even a body that is a slave can have in it a serene and peaceful and happy heart. As for the heart that is a slave to other than Allah (the Exalted), then that is true humiliation, imprisonment and slavery.” 

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A Principle Regarding the Movement of the Hearts

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“…and it is essential to point out a principle regarding the movement of the hearts to Allah so that they become firmly tied to Him, and their blemishes become reduced – or even completely removed – with the Will and Power of Allah.

Know that there are three things that push the hearts towards Allah, and they are love, fear, and hope. The strongest of these three is love, and it is something that is sought after in and of itself, since it is something that is desired both in this world and the next, as opposed to fear, which disappears in the Hereafter. Allah Said: {“No doubt! Verily, as for the awliya’ of Allah, they will not have any fear, nor will they grieve.”} [Yunus; 62] And the whole point of having fear is that it prevents one from deviating from the path he is on. Love puts the slave on the path to his Beloved, and the speed and strength of his journey to Him is in accordance with how strong or weak this love for Him is. At the same time, fear prevents him from deviating from this path to his Beloved, while hope serves as his leader and guide on this path.

So, this is a great principle that every servant must pay close attention to, as he will not attain true servitude without it, and it is an obligation on everyone to serve Allah, and none other than Him.
If it is said that the slave does not always have the love that will push him to seek out his Beloved – in such a case, what can push and move the hearts? In such a case, we say that the hearts can be moved by two things:

•Constant remembrance of the Beloved, since constantly remembering Him attaches the heart to Him. Because of this, Allah commanded us to remember Him in abundance. He Said: {“O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance, and glorify His praises in the morning and afternoon.”} [al-Ahzab; 41-42]

•Realizing His graces and blessings upon you, as He Said: {“So, remember the graces from Allah so that you may be successful.”} [al-A’raf; 69], and: {“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, they are from Allah.”} [an-Nahl; 53] and: {“…and has completed and perfected His graces upon you, both apparent and hidden…”} [Luqman; 20] and: {“…and if you were to try to count the blessings of Allah, you will never be able to count them.”} [Ibrahim; 34]

So, if the slave remembers what Allah has bestowed upon him, such as laying out the sky and the Earth and the plants and animals that are on it, as well as the inner blessings that He has provided him with, such as faith, etc., this will no doubt serve as a motivating factor. Such is also the case with fear, as the heart is moved and pushed upon discovering the verses containing the threats of punishment, prohibition and discouragement from evil, being taken to account, etc. Such is also the case with hope, as the heart is moved and pushed upon realizing His Generosity, gentleness, and Mercy…”

[‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’; 1/109-110] 

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Sincerity Towards Allah by ibn Taymiyyah 

The one who is sincere towards Allah has tasted the sweetness of true servitude towards Him, which keeps him from becoming enslaved by anything else, and he has tasted the sweetness of loving Allah, which keeps him from loving anything else. For the sound heart, there is nothing sweeter or more delightful than the sweetness of faith which includes servitude to, love for and sincerity towards Allah. This means that the heart is attracted towards Allah, turning to Him, fearing Him and putting its hope in Him.

If the slave is sincere towards Allah, He will choose him, revive his heart and bring him close to Him, and will turn away from him all evil and shameful deeds that contradict that. He fears attaining the opposite of that, unlike the heart that is not sincere towards Allah, which has a will and is seeking for something to love, although this love is not focused and may fall in love with anything he comes across and happens to desire. The heart is like the branch of a tree which may be swayed and bent by any passing breeze, so sometimes the heart may be attracted to images, forbidden or otherwise, and so it remains a prisoner, enslaved by something which, if it had become a slave to him, it would have been something to be ashamed of. 

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