Category Archives: Sayings of the Salaf

Aishah Bint Abi Bakr

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Aishah Bint Abi Bakr

The life of Aishah is proof that a woman can be far more learned than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and experts. Her life is also proof that a woman can exert influence over men and women and provide them with inspiration and leadership . Her life is also proof that the same woman can be totally feminine and be a source of pleasure, joy and comfort to her husband.

She did not graduate from any university there were no universities as such in her day. But still her utterances are studied in faculties of literature, her legal pronouncements are studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied and researched by students and teachers of Muslim history as they have been for over a thousand years.

The bulk of her vast treasure of knowledge was obtained while she was still quite young. In her early childhood she was brought up by her father who was greatly liked and respected for he was a man of wide knowledge, gentle manners and an agreeable presence. Moreover he was the closest friend of the noble Prophet who was a frequent visitor to their home since the very early days of his mission.

In her youth, already known for her striking beauty and her formidable memory, she came under the loving care and attention of the Prophet himself. As his wife and close companion she acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has ever acquired.

Aishah became the Prophet’s wife in Makkah when she was most likely in the tenth year of her life but her wedding did not take place until the second year after the Hijrah when she was about fourteen or fifteen years old. Before and after her wedding she maintained a natural jollity and innocence and did not seem at all overawed by the thought of being wedded to him who was the Messenger of God whom all his companions, including her own mother and father, treated with such love and reverence as they gave to no one else.

About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to leave her parent’s house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a passing friend:

“I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was dishevelled,” she said. “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.”

They dressed her in a wedding-dress made from fine red-striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly-built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words “For good and for happiness may all be well!” Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet, a bowl of milk was brought. 
The Prophet drank from it himself and offered it to Aishah. She shyly declined it but when he insisted she did so and then offered the bowl to her sister Asma who was sitting beside her. Others also drank of it and that was as much as there was of the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding. There was no wedding feast.

Marriage to the Prophet did not change her playful ways. Her young friends came regularly to visit her in her own apartment.
“I would be playing with my dolls,” she said, “with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there.” Sometimes he would say “Stay where you are” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. Aishah said: “One day, the Prophet came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: ‘O Aishah, whatever game is this?’ ‘It is Solomon’s horses,’ I said and he laughed.” Sometimes as he came in he would screen himself with his cloak so as not to disturb Aishah and her friends.

Aishah’s early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once her father and two companions who were staying with him fell ill with a dangerous fever which was common in Madinah at certain seasons. One morning Aishah went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying completely weak and exhausted. She asked her father how he was and he answered her in verse but she did not understand what he was saying. The two others also answered her with lines of poetry which seemed to her to be nothing but unintelligible babbling. She was deeply troubled and went home to the Prophet saying:

“They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the fever.” The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully understand them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet.

Of the Prophet’s wives in Madinah, it was clear that it was Aishah that he loved most. From time to time, one or the other of his companions would ask:

“O Messenger of God, whom do you love most in the world?” He did not always give the same answer to this question for he felt great love for many for his daughters and their children, for Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives the only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance from him that he loved her. Once she asked him: “How is your love for me?”

“Like the rope’s knot,” he replied meaning that it was strong and secure. And time after time thereafter, she would ask him: “How is the knot?” and he would reply: “Ala haaliha in the same condition.”

As she loved the Prophet so was her love a jealous love and she could not bear the thought that the Prophet’s attentions should be given to others more than seemed enough to her. She asked him:

“O Messenger of God, tell me of yourself. If you were between the two slopes of a valley, one of which had not been grazed whereas the other had been grazed, on which would you pasture your flocks?”

“On that which had not been grazed,” replied the Prophet. “Even so,” she said, “and I am not as any other of your wives. “Everyone of them had a husband before you, except myself.” The Prophet smiled and said nothing. Of her jealousy, Aishah would say in later years:

“I was not, jealous of any other wife of the Prophet as I was jealous of Khadijah, because of his constant mentioning of her and because God had commanded him to give her good tidings of a mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And whenever he sacrificed a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to those who had been her intimate friends. Many a time I said to him: “It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world except Khadijah.”
Once, when Aishah complained and asked why he spoke so highly of “an old Quraysh woman”, the Prophet was hurt and said: “She was the wife who believed in me when others rejected me. When people gave me the lie, she affirmed my truthfulness. When I stood forsaken, she spent her wealth to lighten the burden of my sorrow..”

Despite her feelings of jealousy which nonetheless were not of a destructive kind, Aishah was really a generous soul and a patient one. She bore with the rest of the Prophet’s household poverty and hunger which often lasted for long periods. For days on end no fire would be lit in the sparsely furnished house of the Prophet for cooking or baking bread and they would live merely on dates and water. Poverty did not cause her distress or humiliation; self-sufficiency when it did come did not corrupt her style of life.

Once the Prophet stayed away from his wives for a month because they had distressed him by asking of him that which he did not have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his self-imposed retreat, he went first to Aishah’s apartment. She was delighted to see him but he said he had received Revelation which required him to put two options before her. He then recited the verses:

“O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come and I will bestow its goods upon you, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, then verily God has laid in store for you an immense reward for such as you who do good.”

Aishah’s reply was:

“Indeed I desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter,” and her response was followed by all the others.

She stuck to her choice both during the lifetime of the Prophet and afterwards. Later when the Muslims were favored with enormous riches, she was given a gift of one hundred thousand dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money and she distributed the entire amount to the poor and the needy even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after, a maidservant said to her: “Could you buy meat for a dirham with which to break your fast?”

“If I had remembered, I would have done so,” she said. The Prophet’s affection for Aishah remained to the last. During his final illness, it was to Aishah’s apartment that he went at the suggestion of his wives. For much of the time he lay there on a couch with his head resting on her breast or on her lap. She it was who took a toothstick(miswak) from her brother, chewed upon it to soften it and gave it to the Prophet. Despite his weakness, he rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. Not long afterwards, he lost consciousness and Aishah thought it was the onset of death, but after an hour he opened his eyes.

Aishah it is who has preserved for us these dying moments of the most honoured of God’s creation, His beloved Messenger may He shower His choicest blessings on him.

When he opened his eyes again, Aishah remembered his having said to her: “No Prophet is taken by death until he has been shown his place in Paradise and then offered the choice, to live or die.”

“He will not now choose us,” she said to herself. Then she heard him murmur: “With the supreme communion in Paradise, with those upon whom God has showered His favor, the Prophets, the martyrs and the righteous…” Again she heard him murmur: “O Lord, with the supreme communion,” and these were the last words she heard him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast, until others in the room began to lament, and Aishah laid his head on a pillow and joined them in lamentation.

In the floor of Aishah’s room near the couch where he was lying, a grave was dug in which was buried the Seal of the Prophets amid much bewilderment and great sorrow.

Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the Prophet. She had been his wife for a decade. Much of this time was spent in learning and acquiring knowledge of the two most important sources of God’s guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah of His Prophet. Aishah was one of three wives (the other two being Hafsah and Umm Salamah) who memorized the Revelation. Like Hafsah, she had her own script of the Quran written after the Prophet had died.
So far as the Ahadith or sayings of the Prophet is concerned, Aishah is one of four persons (the others being Abu Hurayrah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik) who transmitted more than two thousand sayings. Many of these pertain to some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior which only someone in Aishah’s position could have learnt. What is most important is that her knowledge of hadith was passed on in written form by at least three persons including her nephew Urwah who became one of the greatest scholars among the generation after the Companions.

Many of the learned companions of the Prophet and their followers benefitted from Aishah’s knowledge. Abu Musa al-Ashari once said: “If we companions of the Messenger of God had any difficulty on a matter, we asked Aishah about it.”

Her nephew Urwah asserts that she was proficient not only in fiqh but also in medicine (tibb) and poetry. Many of the senior companions of the Prophet came to her to ask for advice concerning questions of inheritance which required a highly skilled mathematical mind. Scholars regard her as one of the earliest fuqaha of Islam along with persons like Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali and Abdullah ibn Abbas.
The Prophet referring to her extensive knowledge of Islam is reported to have said: “Learn a portion of your religion (din) from this red colored lady.” “Humayra” meaning “Red-coloured” was an epithet given to Aishah by the Prophet.

Aishah not only possessed great knowledge but took an active part in education and social reform. As a teacher she had a clear and persuasive manner of speech and her power of oratory has been described in superlative terms by al-Ahnaf who said: “I have heard speeches of Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and Ali and the Khulafa up to this day, but I have not heard speech more persuasive and more beautiful from the mouth of any person than from the mouth of Aishah.”

Men and women came from far and wide to benefit from her knowledge. The number of women is said to have been greater than that of men. Besides answering enquiries, she took boys and girls, some of them orphans, into her custody and trained them under her care and guidance. This was in addition to her relatives who received instruction from her. Her house thus became a school and an academy.

Some of her students were outstanding. We have already mentioned her nephew Urwah as a distinguished reporter of hadith. Among her women pupils is the name of Umrah bint Abdur Rahman. She is regarded by scholars as one of the trustworthy narrators of hadith and is said to have acted as Aishah’s secretary receiving and replying to letters addressed to her. The example of Aishah in promoting education and in particular the education of Muslim women in the laws and teachings of Islam is one which needs to be followed. 
After Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great) and Fatimah az-Zahra (the Resplendent), Aishah as-Siddiqah (the one who affirms the Truth) is regarded as the best woman in Islam. Because of the strength of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledge, in society, in politics and in war. She often regretted her involvement in war but lived long enough to regain position as the most respected woman of her time. She died in the year 58 AH in the month of Ramadan and as she instructed, was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of the Prophet.
From Alim® Online

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The Advice Of All Times

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Advice from Abu Bakr, the 1st khalifa of Islam (on his death bed), to Umar, the 2nd khalifa of Islam, may Allah be pleased with both of them:

♢ Fear Allah, O ‘Umar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day.

He will not accept extra (nâfilah) deeds unless you fulfill the obligatory deeds. 

♢ The scales of those whose scales will be weighty on the Day of Resurrection will only be weighty because they followed the truth in this life and it was weighty to them.

And scales in which the truth will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be heavy.

And the scales of those whose scales will be light on the Day of Resurrection will only be light because they followed falsehood in this life and it was a light matter to them.

And scales in which falsehood will be placed tomorrow truly deserve to be light.

♢ Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Paradise and mentioned them in the context of their best deeds, and overlooked their evil deeds, so when I remember them I say to myself: I fear that I will not be included with them.

And Allah the Exalted has mentioned the people of Hell and mentioned them in the context of their worst deeds and rejected their best deeds, so when I remember them I say: I hope I won’t be amongst them. 

Allah’s worshippers should always be in a state of hope and fear, they shouldn’t wish flimsy wishes about Allah and neither should they despair of Allah’s mercy.

♢ If you keep to this advice of mine, no one who is not with you now should be more beloved to you than death – and it is sure to come to you. 

But if you disregard this advice, no one who is not with you now should be more hated to you than death – and you cannot escape it.- Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq on his deathbed to ‘Umar bin khattab (May Allah be pleased with them)

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud

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When he was still a youth, not yet past the age of puberty, he used to roam the mountain trails of Makkah far away from people, tending the flocks of a Quraysh chieftain, Uqbah ibn Muayt. 

People called him “Ibn Umm Abd” The son of the mother of a slave. His real name was Abdullah and his father’s name was Mas’ud. 

The youth had heard the news of the Prophet who had appeared among his people but he did not attach any importance to it both because of his age and because he was usually far away from Makkan society. It was his custom to leave with the flock of Uqbah early in the morning and not return until nightfall. 

One day while tending the flocks, Abdullah saw two men, middle-aged and of dignified bearing, coming towards him from a distance. They were obviously very tired. They were also so thirsty that their lips and throat were quite dry. They came up to him, greeted him and said, “Young man, milk one of these sheep for us that we may quench our thirst and recover our strength.” 

“I cannot,” replied the young man. “The sheep are not mine. I am only responsible for looking after them.” The two men did not argue with him. In fact, although they were so thirsty, they were extremely pleased at the honest reply. The pleasure showed on their faces . . . 

The two men in fact were the blessed Prophet(S.A.W) himself and his companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq. They had gone out on that day to the mountains of Makkah to escape the violent persecution of the Quraysh. The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet(S.A.W) and his companion and soon became quite attached to them. 

It was not long before Abdullah ibn Mas’ud became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the Prophet. The Prophet agreed and from that day the fortunate Abdullah ibn Mas’ud gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after the needs of the blessed Prophet(S.A.W).

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud remained closely attached to the Prophet. He would attend to his needs both inside and outside the house. He would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry his staff and his siwak (toothbrush) and attend to his other personal needs. 

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud received a unique training in the household of the Prophet. He was under the guidance of the Prophet, he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, “He was the closest to the Prophet in character.” 

Abdullah was taught in the “school” of the Prophet. He was the best reciter of the Qur’an among the companions and he understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most knowledgeable on the Shariah. Nothing can illustrate this better than the story of the man who came to Umar ibn al-Khattab as he was standing on the plain of Arafat and said: 

“I have come, O Amir al-Mu’mineen, from Kufah where I left a man filling copies of the Qur’an from memory.” Umar became very angry and paced up and down beside his camel, fuming. “Who is he?” he asked.

“Abdullah ibn Masiud,” replied the man.

Umar’s anger subsided and he regained his composure. 

“Woe to you,” he said to the man. “By God, I don’t know of any person left who is more qualified in this matter than he is. Let me tell you about this.” Umar continued: 
“One night the Messenger of God(S.A.W), was having a conversation with Abu Bakr about the situation of Muslims. I was with them. When the Prophet left, we left with him also and as we passed through the mosque, there was a man standing in Prayer whom we did not recognise. 
The Prophet stood and listened to him, then turned to us and said, ‘Whoever wants to read the Qur’an as fresh as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd.’ 

After the Prayer, as Abdullah sat making supplications, the Prophet, peace be on him, said, “Ask and it will be given to you. Ask and it will be given to you.” 
Umar continued: “I said to myself I shall go to Abdullah ibn Mas’ud straight away and tell him the good news of the Prophet’s(S.A.W) ensuring acceptance of his supplications. I went and did so but found that Abu Bakr had gone before me and conveyed the good news to him. By God, I have never yet beaten Abu Bakr in the doing of any good.” 
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud attained such a knowledge of the Qur’an that he would say, “By Him besides Whom there is no god, no verse of the book of God has been revealed without my knowing where it was revealed and the circumstances of its revelation. By God, if I know there was anyone who knew more of the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in my power to be with him.” 
Abdullah was not exaggerating in what he said about himself. Once Umar ibn al-Khattab met a caravan on one of his Journeys as caliph. It was pitch dark and the caravan could not be seen properly. Umar ordered someone to hail the caravan. It happened that Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was in it. 

“From where do you come?” asked Umar. 

“From a deep valley,” came the reply. (The expresion used fadj amiq deep valley is a Qur’anic one). 

“And where are you going?” asked Umar. 

To the ancient house,” came the reply. (The expression used al-bayt al-atiq the ancient house is a Qur’anic one.) 

There is a learned person (alim) among them,” said Umar and he commanded someone to ask the person:

“Which part of the Qur’an is the greatest?” –

” ‘God. There is no god except Him, the Living, the Selfsubsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep,’ ” replied the person answering, quoting the Ayat al-Kursi (the verse of the Throne). 

“Which part of the Qur’an is the most clear on justice?”

” ‘God commands what is just and fair, the feeding of relatives . . .’ ” came the answer. 

“What is the most comprehensive statement of the Qur’an?” ” ‘Whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.’ ” 

“Which part of the Qur’an gives rise to the greatest hope?” -” ‘Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate.’ ” 
Thereupon Umar asked: “Is Abdullah ibn Masiud among you?” “Yes, by God,” the men in the caravan replied. 
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud was not only a reciter of the Qur’an, a learned man or a fervent worshipper. He was in addition a strong and courageous fighter, one who became deadly serious when the occasion demanded it. 
The companions of the Prophet were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak and oppressed. They said, “The Quraysh have not yet heard the Qur’an being recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could recite it for them?” 

“I shall recite it for them,” volunteered Abdullah ibn Mas’ud. “We are afraid for you,” they said. “We only want someone who has a clan who would protect him 

“Let me,” Abdullah ibn Mas’ud insisted, “Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil.”

 He then went out to the mosque until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a few metres from the Ka’bah). It was dawn and the Quraysh were sitting around the Ka’bah. Abdullah stopped at the Maqam and began to recite: 
” ‘Bismillahir Rahmani-r Rahim. ArRahman. Allama-l | Qur’an. Khalaqa-l insan. Allamahu-l bayan 

He went on reciting. The Quraysh looked at him intently and some of them asked: “What is Ibn Umm Abd saying?”

“Damn him! He is reciting some of what Muhammad brought!” they realized. 
They went up to him and began beating his face as he continued reciting. When he went back to his companions, the blood was flowing from his face. “This is what we feared for you,” they said. 

“By God,” replied Abdullah, “the enemies of God are not more comfortable than I at this moment. If you wish. I shall go out tomorrow and do the same.” “You have done enough,” they said. “You have made them hear what they dislike.” 
Abdullah ibn Masiud lived to the time of Khalifah Uthman(R.A). When he was sick and on his death-bed, Uthman came to visit him and said: 

“What is your ailment?”

“My sins.”

“And what do you desire?”

“The mercy of my Lord.”

“Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused to take for years now?” “I have no need of it.” 

“Let it be for your daughters after you.” 
“Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah Al-Waqi’ah every night for I have heard the Prophet saying, ‘Whoever reads Al-Waqi’ah every night shall not be effected by poverty ever.'” 

That night, Abdullah passed away to the company of his Lord, his thoughts moist with the remembrance of God and with the recitation of the verses of His Book

How are you today?

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Al-Murrudi’ reported that he asked Imam Ahmed : “How are you today?”
Imam Ahmed  replied:
‘How can I be while I am required by my Lord to perform obligatory acts
of worship,
by my Prophet (‘alayhi salaat wa salaam) to practice his Sunnah,
by the two angels to improve my deeds,
and my soul urges me to follow it,
Shaytaan pushes me to commit evil deeds,
the Angel of death is waiting to take my life,
and my children are asking me to provide for them?’ ”
[Siyaar a’laam an Nubalaa 11/227

How are you today?

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Al-Murrudi’ reported that he asked Imam Ahmed : “How are you today?”
Imam Ahmed  replied:
‘How can I be while I am required by my Lord to perform obligatory acts
of worship,
by my Prophet (‘alayhi salaat wa salaam) to practice his Sunnah,
by the two angels to improve my deeds,
and my soul urges me to follow it,
Shaytaan pushes me to commit evil deeds,
the Angel of death is waiting to take my life,
and my children are asking me to provide for them?’ ”

It’s All About You!

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It’s all about You!
“You must be willing to change. You must be willing to break the deal you made with the devils within. You must be willing to leave the past and not be tempted to rebound when times are tough. You must be willing to let go of everything and anyone that takes you back to your sins. You must be willing to have hope. You must be willing to have hope that you can change and that you will and that you will be better. You must believe you are worthy of change and you are worthy of improvement and you are worthy of being the best. You must be willing to set aside your negative notions about life, about hardships, about people, about things, about yourself. You must be willing to stop feeling sorry for yourself while looking at the world move around you. Get up and make something of yourself.”
—Imam Ibn Qayyim Al jawzyyah

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Sayings of Ibn al-mubaraq (rahimahullah)

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Ibn al-mubaraq, scholar of the east and scholar of the west.

‘He had gathered characteristics which were never before gathered in any scholar in his time in the entire world.'( Ibn Hibban, the Imam of Jarh and Ta’dil (critique of narrators) made the weighty statement, ‘)
Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyadh, his long-time friend and companion said, ‘By the Lord of this House, my eyes have never seen the likes of Ibn al-Mubarak. May Allah have mercy on him, none have come after him who are in any way like him.’

Wise statements by him:

‘How often does a small deed become big due to one’s intention, and how often does a big deed become small due one’s intention!’

~ ‘When one of you learns enough of the Qur’an in order to pray, then let him occupy himself in seeking knowledge for that is the tool through which the meaning of the Qur’an is known.’ ~ ‘If you people wish to backbite, then backbite your own parents so that your reward does not go out to a stranger, but rather to them!’

~ ‘How many people carry the Qur’an in their hearts but the Qur’an curses them from inside their hearts! If the bearer of Qur’an disobeys his Lord, the Qur’an calls him from inside his chest saying, ‘By Allah, you have not carried me (i.e. memorised me) for this! Will you not be shy from your Lord?’

~ ‘Repentance from backbiting is to seek Allah’s forgiveness for the one you have backbitten.’ Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah then said, ‘Rather you should seek his forgiveness for what you’ve said.’ Ibn al-Mubarak replied, ‘No, you should not harm him twice.’

~ ‘Those of you who have the most knowledge, should also be those who have the most fear (of Allah).’

~ ‘The inhabitants of this world have left the world without tasting the best thing in it.’ He was asked, ‘And what’s the best of this world?’ He said, ‘Knowing Allah `azza wa jall.’ ‘When a person realises the scope of his own self and capabilities, he becomes more lowly to himself than a dog.’
~ He was asked, ‘What’s the best that a man has been given?’ He said, ‘Abundant  intelligence.’ He was asked, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Then good character.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘A close friend who he can seek advice from.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Long periods of silence.’ It was said, ‘And if not?’ He said, ‘Then a quick death!’

~ ‘If a person bears patience, then indeed how little is the patience he needs to bear. And if a person is regretful and anxious, then how little is the enjoyment he indulges in.’

~ ‘There are four principles that I have derived from four thousand narrations: Do not attach yourself to a woman, do not be disillusioned by wealth, do not let your stomach carry more than it can bear and only learn from knowledge that which will benefit you.’

~ ‘Nothing has proven too difficult for me much as finding a brother/companion for the Sake of Allah.’

~ A Jewish neighbour of Ibn al-Mubarak decided to sell his house. He was asked ‘How much?’ He said, ‘Two thousand.’ They said to him, ‘It’s not worth one thousand!’ He said, ‘You’re right. But I am taking one thousand for the house and one thousand for being the neighbour of Ibn al-Mubarak.’ This was reported back to Ibn al-Mubarak who began supplicating for the man and he gave the money to him saying, ‘Do not sell your house.’

~ Ibn al-Mubarak once went near a stream, he propped up his spear and tied his horse to it. Then he began to make wudhu (ablution) and pray. When he finished, he saw that his horse had began eating the crop. He said, ‘He has eaten of the impermissible, therefore it is not befitting to use him in battles!’ – He then left the horse for the farmer and bought a new horse for the rest of his journey.

~ ‘Prepare for death and what’s to come after death.’

~ ‘Mercy descends when the righteous are mentioned and remembered.’

~ ‘The Sultan of zuhd is greater than the Sultan of the people, because the Sultan of the people gathers them (and rules them) by the cane whereas the Sultan of zuhd flees from the people and they instead follow him.’

~ ‘There is nothing in this world for a person except one’s daily portion of food.’

~‘If a person’s goodness outweighs his errors, then his errors are not mentioned, and if his errors outweigh his goodness, then his goodness is not mentioned.’

~ A man once said to Ibn al-Mubarak: ‘Is there anyone who will advice us?’ He replied, ‘Rather, is there anyone who will accept the advice?’

~ ‘This world is a prison for the believer and the best of deeds in prison is to have patience and to overcome one’s anger. The believer has no country in this world, indeed his country lies in the Hereafter.’

~ A man said to him, ‘Advice me.’ So he said, ‘Abandon looking at things for long periods of time and you shall be granted Khushu’ (humbleness), abandon excessive speech and you shall be granted wisdom, abandon excessive food and you shall be guided to ‘Ibadah (worship), abandon looking towards the faults of others and you shall be guided to seeing your own faults and abandon delving into the issues that concern the Being of Allah `azza wa jall, and you shall be guided away from doubts and hypocrisy.’

~ Another man once said to him, ‘I see myself as being in a better state than someone who killed a person wrongfully.’ He said to him, ‘Indeed the security you feel for yourself (and have given yourself) is worse than a person who killed another wrongfully!’

~ ‘Indeed the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, but if they fall into covetousness and greed, who shall be taken as leaders? The merchants and businessmen are the trustees of Allah, so if they are treacherous, who can be trusted? The warriors are the guests of Allah so if they become extreme (or take spoils without right), with whom can we defeat the enemies? The righteous and ascetic ones are the kings of the earth but if they become insincere (i.e. have riya’), who shall be followed? The governors/rulers are the shepherds (protectors) of the people, but if the shepherd becomes a wolf, who shall protect the flock?’