The Heart’s Ailment

Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah says:
Anyone who becomes aware of Allah, without a doubt ends up loving Him and making his worship sincerely for Him. Furthermore, he does not prefer anything of beloved things over Him, for whoever prefers anything of beloved things over Him his heart is ill; just like if the stomach becomes accustomed to eating that which is filthy and prefers it over that which is good and wholesome, it no longer has a desire for good and substitutes it with the love of other than it.

The heart can become ill and its ailment can worsen without the person being aware of it, due to being pre-occupied and refraining from finding out about its good health and the means to make it healthy. Moreover, it could die while the person doesn’t even feel its death. The sign of that is that the wounds of indecency do not cause him pain, nor does his ignorance of the truth and his false beliefs cause him pain; for if there was life in the heart it would feel pain by indecency coming to it and it would feel pain from its ignorance of the truth, depending on its life.

He may also feel its ailment, however bearing the bitterness of the medicine and exercising patience with it becomes difficult for him. So he prefers allowing his pain to remain over the difficulty of the medicine; for his medicine is in opposition to the hawā, and that is the most difficult thing for the nafs, even though there is nothing more beneficial for it than it.

Sometimes he adjusts himself to exercising patience. Then he loses his resolve and discontinues with it due to his deficient knowledge, insight and patience. Like one who enters a dangerous path that leads to a safe end; he knows that if he exercises patience in it, the fear will go away and safety will follow it. So he is in need of the strength of patience and the strength of conviction of where he will end up. Whenever his patience and conviction weakens, he turns back from the path and does not bear its difficulty, especially if he is without a companion and feels lonely; he starts saying, “Where have the people gone? They are an example for me.”

This is the state of most people, and it is what has destroyed them; for the one with insight and truthfulness does not feel lonely due to insufficient companions or an absence of them, if his heart feels the company of the leading generation:
{ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُوْلَئِكَ رَفِيقًا }

“The ones upon whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions!” [Al-Nisā’ 4:69]

Hence, the servant being alone on the path he seeks is evidence of the truthfulness of his quest.
[Ighāthah al-Lahfān 1/112-114]

Buraydah, Saudi Arabia
15th of Jumāda al-Awwal 1434