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09-14-2005, 08:37 AM
Requirements Of The Journey
By Imaam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Taken form: Ar-Risaalat ut-Tabukiyyah
Translation & Comments by Dr. Muhammad al-Jibaly

One of the greatest forms of mutual help in righteousness and piety is to help one another in the journey of migration to Allaah and His Messenger (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). This help should be done by hands, tongues and hearts - through teaching, advising, educating, guiding, and caring.

If a person has this attitude toward Allaah's creatures, prosperity will rush to him from all directions, Allaah will move His creatures' hearts toward him, will open the gates of knowledge for his heart, and will facilitate the path of bliss for him.
Conversely, one with an opposite attitude will receive opposite consequences.
One might then ask, “You have described a very great journey and a very important matter; but what provisions should be taken along? Which way to follow? And what are the means to use for transportation?” The answer to this is provided in the following sections.

The Trip's Provisions

The provisions for this journey are the knowledge inherited from the Seal of Prophets (sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) - there are no other provisions.

Let anyone not prepared with these provisions stay in his home and sit with those who lag behind. He would then find multitudes of other lagers to accompany. Let him follow their example; but let him know that this company will not avail him anything on the Day of Distress. Allaah (subhaanahu wa t'aalaa) said:

“On that Day, it will avail you nothing that, since you have done wrong [together], you shall be partners in punishment [as well].” (43:39)

Thus Allaah (subhaanahu wa t'aalaa) assures that the wrongdoers' association in punishment will not profit them. In this life, people find comfort in sharing disasters, as al-Khansa (an Arab poetess) said:

“If it were not for the abundance of people wailing around me, Because of the loss of their brethren, I would have killed myself. And even though none of them wails the like of my brother, yet, I comfort myself in that we all share similar disasters.”

However, this kind of consolation will not exist among those sharing the punishment on the Day of Resurrection.

The Way

The way to accomplish this journey is through exerting at full capacity and striving to the extreme. It can neither be accomplished by wishes, nor attained through loitering. It is only as a poet once said:

“Dive into the darkness of death, and rise to eminence, Thus will you earn a distinguished and lasting honour. No good is in a soul that fears death, Nor in a willpower that worries about the reproachers' criticism.”

It is not possible for a person to take this way unless one satisfies two matters:

Firstly, as long as one is following the right way, one should never be concerned about the reproaches of those who like to find faults. Some types of reproach can hit even a strong knight so hard as to cause him to drop from his horse to the ground dead.

Secondly, one's soul should be so worthless to him, for Allaah's sake, that he would rush forward, fearless of any perils. The moment the soul becomes frightened, it retreats and turns away from facing dangers, preferring the lowliness of the earth.

These two matters cannot be further fulfilled without patience. One who exercises patience for just a short while will find dangers turn into a smooth breeze which can carry him where he wishes. Thus the danger that he feared suddenly changes to become his best helper and assistant. This is a matter that cannot be comprehended well except by those who have tried it.

The Means of Transportation

The means of transportation in this journey [of migration] is to take refuge in Allaah (subhaanahu wa t'aalaa), and to turn to Him with one's whole being. It is to exhibit, by all means, full reliance on Him and true confidence in Him. It is to lie down before Him like a subdued and defeated person who possesses nothing - a person who looks up to his Master for dignity and security and for attaining some of His bounty, hoping that He would shelter him.

Such is the one whom, it is hoped, Allaah will guide and show what has been concealed from others concerning the way of this Hijrah and its ranks.

Contemplating Allaah's Aayaat

The pinnacle of the whole affair [of performing a successful journey] and its central pillar is the continued contemplation on Allaah's aayaat - to such an extent that these aayaat would overpower the person's thoughts and fascinate his heart.

Once the meanings of the Qur’aan replace the passing thoughts of the heart - once the Qur’aan masters the person and controls his heart until he becomes its sole obeyed leader, then his journey goes smooth, and his course becomes manifest; and even when it appears to people that he is standing still, he would, in fact, be moving ahead so fast as to race with wind. As Allaah (subhaanahu wa t'aalaa) said:

“You see the mountains and think them firmly fixed. But they pass away as the clouds pass away. [Such is] the mastery of Allaah who disposes of all things in perfect order. Indeed, He is well acquainted with all that you do.” (27:88)

One might ask, “You have pointed to a great aspiration. Would you disclose the door which opens into it; and would you raise the curtain that conceals it? Would you reveal how to understand thoroughly the meanings of the Qur’aan, and how to reflect upon its extraordinary delights and treasures? We have in our hands the books of tafsir [1] of various Imams; are there any additional interpretations to be offered beyond what they have already done?”

I shall then present (in the next chapter) some examples that may be followed and taken as guide in this endeavour.


1. Tafsir: Explanation or interpretation. It frequently refers to volumes which include

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