The Invocation of God – On the Paths to Happiness
Ibn Qayyim Al-Jaqziyya
*******In the name of Allah, Merciful and Compasionate*******
There is neither stregnth nor power save in Allah Almighty. It is Allah we impore and whose answer we await, to watch over you in this world and the next, to shower over you with His graces, outwardly and inwardly, and to make you amoung those who, when blessed, give thanks; when tried, persevere; and when sinful, seek forgivness. For these three conditions are tokens of the servant’s happiness, and the signs of his success in this world and the next. No servant is without them, but is always shifting from one to the other.
The first conditon is the blessing which comes to the servant from Allah (Most High), one after another. What secures them is gratitude (Shukr) based on three supports: inward recognition of the blessing; outward mention and thanks for it; and its use in a way the pleases the one to whom it truly belongs and who truly bestows it. Acting thus, the servant shows his gratitude for the blessing however brief.
The second is the trials from Allah (Most High) which test the servant, whose duty therein is patince (Sabr) and forbearance; to restrain himself from anger with what is decreed; to restrain his tounge from complaint; to restraing his limbs from offenses, such as striking ones face in grief, rending one’s clothes, tearing one’s hair and like acts. Patience, then, rests on tese three supports, and if the servant maintains them as he should, affliction will become benefaction, trial will change to bounty and what he disliked will become what he loves. For Allah (Exalted and sublime) does not try the servant in order to destroy him. Rather, he tries him to put patience and devotion to te test. For the servant owes devotion to Allah in affliciton as in ease. He must have as much devotion in what he hates as in what he loves, it is important to do so in the things they hate. It is by this that servants’ rankings are distinguished and their stations determined.
Ablution with cold water in searing heat is devotion. Sexual relations with one’s beautiful and beloved spouse is devotion. Spending money for her, for one’s children and for oneself is devotion. It is devotion no less than ablution with cold water in the bitter cold; giving up vice to which one’s soul si driven without fear of people; and giving carity in hardship. But there is a great difference bewtween the (Two Kinds) of devotion.
He who is Allahs servant in both states, maintaining his duty in both comfort and adversity, is the one to whom His words refer, ‘Is Allah not sufficient for his servant?’