living islam _ Islamic tradition
The Fortress Of Iman
Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir's Allegory:
The Fortress Of Iman
Some Muslims are of the opinion that as long as they do the bare minimum
(integrals, conditions, and the essential and obligatory actions) they have
done enough. For them everything else is merely recommended or merely
offensive, and so they see no problem in neglecting the sunna, give no
second thought in performing offensive actions, and see precaution as a
prison cell. This is the same as someone eating just enough to just sustain
life expecting to win the Ironman competition.
Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaylani clarifies the importance of going beyond
the bare minimum in an allegory he mentions in Ghunya li Talibi Tariq
al-Haqq. My own sheikh mentioned this allegory in one of our first lessons,
and Hanbalis sometimes mention it in their books-but without attribution
Sheikh `Abd al-Qadir. One of these is al-Saffarini's Ghudha al-Albab, a
commentary on general refined behavior. The translation appears below.
The allegory of belief [iman] is that of a land that has five walls.
Al-Hajjawi said in its commentary: It is said that the allegory of belief
is that of a land that has five walls. The first wall [the innermost wall]
made from gold, the second from silver, the third from iron, the forth from
cooked clay [aajurr], and the fifth [the outermost wall] from brick. As
long as the people of the brick wall are diligent in protecting the brick,
the enemy does not aspire [destroying] the second; but if they neglect this
[brick wall], they will aspire for the second and then the third, until
they demolish all of the walls. And like belief [iman] has five walls:
certainty, then sincerity, then performing what is obligatory, then the
recommended [sunan], and then refined behavior [aadab]. As long as one
holds to and is diligent with having refined behavior, Satan does not
scheme [to destroy] him. But if one forsakes refined behavior, Satan
aspires to [destroying] the recommended works, then the obligatory, then
sincerity, and then certainty.
[Source: Al-Saffarini, _Ghudha al-Albab_. 1:27]
And Allah knows best.
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