We all struggle everyday against our hawaa, the lowly desire. And majority of us have found that defeating hawaa and remaining steadfast in the path of righteousness day after day is not an easy matter.
I have recently read Imam Ibnul Qayyim’s treatise on al-hawaa, titled The Dispraise of Al-Hawaa. This treatise proved to me once again that knowledge is power. In this treatise, Ibnul Qayyim discussed meanings of al-hawaa, dissected it, and gave fifty solid reasons of why we should try our very best to defeat al-hawaa. In my opinion, this treatise of Ibnul Qayyim should be read by every Muslim, in order that he or she may know about al-hawa in detail, and the dangers of following it. InShaAllah, if you read it, I am confident that this discourse on al-hawaa by Ibnul Qayyim will make the struggle against al-hawaa much easier.
*** *** ***
Al-hawaa is the inclination of the self to a thing. Its verb is hawiyah (past tense), yahwaa (present tense) and hawan (infinitive). As to hawaa and yahwaa they mean “fell down” and “falling down,” respectively, and the infinitive is al-huwiyyu with the movement at the end being a dhammah, a vowel point for u.
Al-hawaa also refers to the beloved. A poet said:
The one who took your heart, who is for her?
She was created to be your beloved, as you were created to be hers!
It is said that: “Such and such [a man] is the hawaa [the beloved] to such and such [a woman], and that she is his hawaa [beloved].”
Most often al-hawaa is used to describe the blamable inclination of the self [in its love and desires], as Allaah said:
But as for him who feared standing before his Rabb [Allaah], and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts, verily, al-jannah will be his abode. [The Noble Quran 79: 41]
It has been called hawaa because it throws down its follower. Its use may also be restricted to describe the praiseworthy desire and love, part of which is the saying the Prophet (ﷺ) :
“None of you is a true believer until his Hawaa is in accordance with what I have brought forth.”
It is recorded in the saheehain from the narration of ‘Urwah Bin Az-‘Zubair who said:
“Khawla Bint Hakeem was one of those ladies who presented themselves to the Prophet (ﷺ) for marriage.’Aa’ishah said: ‘Doesn’t a lady feel ashamed for presenting herself to a man? But when the aayah:
“[O Muhammad] You may postpone [the turn of] any of them [your wives] that you please.” [The Noble Quran 33:51]
was revealed, ‘Aa’ishah said. ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! I don’t see but that your Rabb hastens in your hawaa.”
And in the story of the captives of the battle of Badr, ‘Umar lbn Al-Khattaab (رضى الله عنهt said:
The Prophet (ﷺ) hawiyah (liked) what Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنهt said (i.e. he (ﷺ) was inclined to the
position of Abu Bakr (رضى الله عنهt regarding the fate of the captives) and didn’t like what I said.”
Then he concluded the hadeeth.
In the sunan a bedouin asked the Prophet “I came to you asking about al-hawaa.” He (ﷺ) replied:
”Everybody will be with those whom he loves.”
Therefore, al-hawaa is the inclination of the natural disposition towards what suits it. Such an inclination is created in man to secure his existence. If it had not been for his inclination to food, drinks, and marriage, he would have not eaten, drank, or married. Thus, al-hawaa instigates him towards what he wants just as al-ghadhab (anger) averts from him what may hurt him. Generally, therefore, hawaa should not be dispraised nor is it to be absolutely praised just as anger is not to be generally blamed nor is it to be absolutely commended. What is blameworthy is the exaggeration in both kinds (al-hawaa & al-ghadhab), and what exceeds the limits in attaining the beneficial and in warding off the harmful. Since, for the most part, the one who obeys his hawaa, lust, and anger does not abide by the limit of good exploitation, an unrestricted dispraise of hawaa, lust, and anger is [normally] stated due to the generally predominant harm [arousing from exceeding the limits in these matters]. In fact, it is rare to find someone who seeks to achieve a just position regarding these matters and sticks to it, just as it is rare, in every respect, to find in [people’s] attitudes the balanced attitude. Inevitably, there must be a predominant influence upon [a person’s] attitude by one of his company and in a certain manner. So, for a sincere adviser to be keen about “adjusting”, in every respect, the powers of desire and anger are rather unfeasible except in the case of some individuals of this world. That is why Allaah did not mention al-hawaa in His Book [Al-Qur’aan] except that he dispraised it. Similarly it was not referred to in the Sunnah except in the cases where it was restricted [to the intended objectives] as in the case of the Prophet (ﷺ)’s saying:
“None of you is a true believer until his hawaa is in accordance with what I have brought forth.”
It is said that al-hawaa is a hidden trap that one must not feel secure from. Ash-Sha’bee34 said: “It is called hawaa because it throws down its’ adherent.” In its general and unrestricted meaning, it demands ready pleasure without thinking about the outcome. It incites the immediate obtainment of lusts even though it is, sooner or later, the cause of greater sufferings. This life has an outcome before that of the Hereafter, and al-hawaa blinds its follower from giving notice to this. Man’s muroo ‘ah (moral goodness and virtue), religion, and rationalism all forbid the pleasure whose outcome will be painful and prohibit lust whose legacy is sorrow and regret, each telling the self when it desires [pleasure and lust], “Don’t do it!” The self would obey the winner. Don’t you see because of the weakness of the rationalistic restraint in a child, he prefers what he desires even though it may lead to his own destruction? On the other hand, the one who does not abide by the deen prefers and likes what he desires even if it would lead to his destruction in the Hereafter because of the weakness in compliance to the deen ‘s prohibitive code. The one who does not respect his muroo ‘ah prefers what he likes, even if he injures [or shatters] or even loses his muroo ‘ah because of the weakness in adhering to its prohibitive code. What place does this hold in comparison with the saying of Ash- Shaafi’ee :
“If I knew that cold water would injure my muroo ‘ah, I would not drink it.”
Since man has been distinguished from other forms of creation by being subjected to the trials of al-hawaa, and because at all times he encounters all kinds of events and occurrences, two references of judgment have been established in order to deal with him: the deen and reasoning. He is always commanded to refer all of al-hawaa related incidents to these judges [deen and reasoning] and to submit to their ruling. He should train himself to ward off al-hawaa whose consequences are safe in order to train him to abandon al-hawaa, which have harmful consequences.
Let the reasonable person know that lust addicts reach a state in which they do not find pleasure therein. Yet, they are unable to give it up, because it becomes to them like an indispensable form of living. That is why you see the alcoholic and al-jimaa (legal intercourse between husband and wife) addict does not reach one tenth of the enjoyment achieved by those who sometimes infrequently drink or engage in al-jimaa’. However, it is the habit which requires that of him.
Consequently, he drives himself into destructive paths to attain what is demanded by the habit. Had he been relieved from the rayn (rust) of al-hawaa, he would have known that he was miserable wherefore he anticipated happiness, depressed wherefore he thought he was glad, and in pain wherefrom he sought pleasure. He is like a bird that was deceived by a grain of wheat, neither he was able to get it, nor he was able to free himself from the trap he got caught in. So, if it is asked: “How could a person who fell in al-hawaa free himself from it?” The response is: “By the help and success granted by Allaah, he will be able to liberate himself from al-hawaa by holding to the following matters:
1. A determined free will: having a vigilant care and sense of honor for himself, and jealously protecting it (the honor).
2. A dose of patience making himself endure the bitter taste of the moment (i.e. the time his hawaa is active).
3. Strength and self-determination that encourage him to drink that dose [of patience]. His courage is a moment of forbearance, and the best of living attained by an ‘abd is through his perseverance.
4. Being aware of the splendid impression of the outcome and the cure achieved by that dose [of perseverance].
5. Being aware of the pain that exceeds the pleasure arising from following his
6. Keeping his good standing before Allaah and in the hearts of Allaah’s ‘ibaad. Certainly this is better and more beneficial to this than taking pleasure in following his
7. Preferring the joy of ‘iffaah (abstinence from what is unlawful and base, virtuousness and decency) and its honor and sweetness over the pleasure of disobedience and wrong-doing.
8. Having delight in overcoming his enemy and driving him away disgraced in his rage, grief, and worry, being unable to get hold of him as he wishes. In fact, Allaah loves for His ‘abd to abandon and enrage his enemy as He has said in his noble Book:
وَلَا يَطَئُونَ مَوْطِئًا يَغِيظُ الْكُفَّارَ وَلَا يَنَالُونَ مِنْ عَدُوٍّ نَّيْلًا إِلَّا كُتِبَ لَهُم بِهِ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ
Nor they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but is written to their credit as a deed of righteousness. [The Noble Quran 9:120]
لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ
That He may enrage the disbelievers with them (i.e. the Sahaabah). [The Noble Quran 48:29]
وَمَن يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً
He who emigrates [from his home] in the cause of Allaah, will find on earth many dwelling places and plenty to live by. [The Noble Quran 4:100],
which means, “A place where he abandons and assails the enemies of Allaah.” The sign of true love is to enrage the enemies of the Beloved and to forsake them.
9. Contemplating the fact that he has not been created to [be a slave of] al-hawaa, but that he has been prepared for a great task that will not be achieved unless he disobeys his hawaa, as it was said (in a poem):
Indeed they have prepared you for a task such that if you are aware of it (i.e. its importance and great outcome), then you would hold yourself above giving respect to the negligent.
10. That he should not choose for himself a state such that the unintelligible animal is better than him. Indeed the animal is able by means of his natural instincts to distinguish between beneficial and harmful situations, preferring the beneficial above the harmful. For the same purpose, man has been endowed with the faculty of reason. If he does not differentiate between what hurts or benefits him, or, in the case he realizes this but prefers what is harmful to him, then the status of an unintelligible animal is better than his. The evidence for this lies in the fact that an animal takes a share of enjoyment in the taste of food, drinks, and sexual relations that is not attainable by man, and that it lives a comfortable life free from thought and worry. Hence it is driven to its slaughtering place preoccupied with its lusts due to the lack of knowledge about the consequences. Man will not procure the same damage done to the animal because of the intensity of the preoccupying thought, and the weakness of the used male organ, and so forth. Had the attainment of what is desired been a virtue, the right of man, who is the pure extract of the world, to it would have not been diminished while making it abundant to the animals. In the augmentation of man’s share of reasoning, knowledge, and cognition is a substitute for that (i.e. animalistic lust).
11. Let him lead his heart through the consequences of al-Hawaa and contemplate:
– How many virtues were missed because of his disobedience? And how many vices did it make him commit?
– How many meals became inaccessible because of few meals?
– How often a pleasure caused the loss of many?
– How often did a desire break a rank, lower a head (by reason of abasement), render a good reputation bad, inherit blame, leave behind it humiliation and dishonor that water cannot wash away? Yet, the eye of the follower of hawaa is blind!
12. The intelligent person should imagine the attainment of his desire, his condition after his wish was fulfilled, what he missed, and what occurred to him.
The excellent of people is the one who does not embark upon a means to accomplish something until he distinguishes (the evil) that may be incurred by its consequences.
13. The intelligent person should really imagine what the situation of another person would be after he fulfills his desire then think of himself as being in the same standing. Indeed, the judgment respect of a thing is the same as respecting the like.
14. He should give a thought as to what his self really demands from him regarding the thing he desires. He should then question his deen and rationale about it, they will inform him that it is nothing. ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ud (رضى الله عنهt said: “If anyone of you admires a woman, let him remember manatinaha.”
(Manatinaha: That is when he is inclined by his desire and lust to indulge in an unlawful act with her, let him remember something that may turn off his desire, like manatinaha: all forms of her menses and the odor associated with that. Shaykh Muhammad Bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen affirmed this meaning.)
15. He should keep himself far from the humiliation of al-hawaa because whenever someone obeys his hawaa he will sense disgrace within himself. He should not be deceived by the force, assault, and pride of the followers of al-hawaa, for they have the most lowly internal character of men; they have mustered both arrogance and humiliation.
16. He should compare the safety of deen, honor, and property, and rank to the attainment of the desired pleasure. He will not find any suitability whatsoever between them. Thus he should be aware that he is from the most ignorant of men if he would trade this (deen, honor, property, rank, etc.) for that (e. hawaa).
17. He should keep himself far from being under the subdual of his enemy, the Shaytaan, who, if he sees the ‘abd in a state of weak determination and motivation and having an inclination towards his hawaa, he would eagerly hope to overcome and possess him and control him with the bridle of al-hawaa leading him wherever he wants. And whenever he senses in him a strong determination, self-honor, and high motivation, he would not hope to get hold of him except secretly and by the way of deceit or circumvention.
18. He should realize that al-hawaa does not associate with any affair except that it corrupts it. If it gets to the knowledge, it causes him to go to bid’ah (innovation) and dhalaalah (astray) and its follower will become from amongst ahlul ahwaa (people of desire). If it affects zuhd (lawful asceticism), it will lead its adherent to ar-riyaa (showing off), and to stand in opposition to as-sunnah. If it gets in a legal judgment, it leads its follower to injustice and hinders him from the truth. If it gets to the division of al-qismah (division of deceased’s property), it changes from a just into an unjust division. If it gets to the decisions of wilaayah and ‘azl, it leads its adherent to commit treason against Allaah and against the Muslims whereby he puts in charge or removes from duty according to his hawaa. If it enters into worship, it will deviate him from obedience and means of closeness [to Allaah]. Thus it associates not with anything but renders it corrupt.
(Wilaayah: Appointing a person in charge of an office or an authority over a thing (town, district, country, province or the like; ‘azl: removal of someone from his office or exercise of authority)
19. He should realize that there is no way for the Shaytaan to come in upon the son of Adam except from the gate of his hawaa. He goes around him trying to find how to invade him so that he renders his heart and deeds corrupt. The only means of entrance he finds is that of al-hawaa, and so he creeps along with it like poison creeping in the body.
20. Allaah has made al-hawaa an opposite to what He has revealed to His Messenger. He has made its following directly opposite to the following of His Messengers, and He classified mankind into two groups: The followers of Revelation and the followers of al-haawaa, And this is found in many places in the Qur’aan, as in His saying:
فَإِن لَّمْ يَسْتَجِيبُوا لَكَ فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّمَا يَتَّبِعُونَ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ
And if they answer you not (i.e. do not follow the doctrine of ‘tawheed, nor follow you), then know that they only follow ahwaa ahum (i.e. their evil inclinations: lust, desire, etc.) [The Noble Quran 28:50].
ۗ وَلَئِنِ اتَّبَعْتَ أَهْوَاءَهُم بَعْدَ الَّذِي جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ ۙ مَا لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن وَلِيٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
And if you [O Muhammad] were to follow their [Jews and Christians] desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e. Qur’aan), then you would find neither a Waliy [protector or guardian] nor any helper against Allaah. [The Noble Quran 2: 120]
And there are other ayaat of similar meaning.
21. Allaah likened the followers of al-hawaa to the most contemptible animals in form and in concept. Sometimes He compared them to a dog, as in His saying:
وَلَٰكِنَّهُ أَخْلَدَ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ ۚ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ الْكَلْبِ إِن تَحْمِلْ عَلَيْهِ يَلْهَثْ أَوْ تَتْرُكْهُ يَلْهَث
But he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his description is the description of a dog: If you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he [still] lolls his tongue out. [The Noble Quran 7:176].
Sometimes He compared them to wild donkeys:
كَأَنَّهُمْ حُمُرٌ مُّسْتَنفِرَةٌ
فَرَّتْ مِن قَسْوَرَةٍ
As if they were frightened [wild] donkeys. Fleeing from a hunter, or a lion, or a beast of prey. [The Noble Quran 74:50-51].
Sometimes He changed their forms into that of monkeys and pigs.
22. The one who follows al-hawaa neither deserves to be obeyed, nor to be an imaam or to be followed, because Allaah removed him away from imaamah (leading as an imaam) and forbade obedience to him. As to his removal, it is because Allaah said to His Khaleel Ibraaheem:
ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
“Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet] of mankind.” [Ibraaheem] said: “And of my offspring [to make leaders].” [Allaah] said: “My Covenant includes not Ath Thaalimeen (polytheists and wrong-doers),” [The Noble Quran 2:124]
which means that “My Covenant regarding Imaamah (Prophethood, leadership, etc.) does not include a Thaalim (polytheist and wrongdoer}.” Anyone who follows his hawaa is a thaalim as Allaah said:
بَلِ اتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَهْوَاءَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ
Nay, but those who do wrong follow their own ahwaa ahum without knowledge. [The Noble Quran 30:29].
It is prohibited to obey the follower of al-hawaa because of Allaah’s saying:
ۖ وَلَا تُطِعْ مَنْ أَغْفَلْنَا قَلْبَهُ عَن ذِكْرِنَا وَاتَّبَعَ هَوَاهُ وَكَانَ أَمْرُهُ فُرُطًا
And obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who followed his hawaa and whose affair [deeds] has been lost. [The Noble Quran 18:28]
23. Allaah has made the one who follows al-hawaa at the same rank as that of the image-worshipper. He said in two places of His Book:
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
Have you [O Muhammad (ﷺ)] seen him who has taken as his Ilaah [god] his own hawaa? [The Noble Quran 25:43].
Al-Hasan commented: “He is the hypocrite; there is nothing that he desires except that he follows it.” He also said: “The hypocrite is a slave of his hawaa: there is nothing that he desires except that he commits it.”
24. Verily, al-hawaa is the hithaar (boundary) of Hell-Fire which surrounds it, he who walks across it will fall in Hell, just as the Prophet (ﷺ) said in the hadeeth reported in As-Saheehain:
“Al-Jannah is surrounded by all kinds of disliked and undesirable things, while the Fire (Hell) is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions.” [Agreed Upon]
And in the Sunan of At-Tirmithee in the hadeeth of Abu Hurairah which he (رضى الله عنهt attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ) [he said]:
“When Allaah created Al-Jannah and An-Naar [the (Hell) Fire], He send Jibreel to Al-Jannah and said: Go and look at it and at what I have prepared therein for its people. He went and looked at it and at what Allaah has prepared therein for its people, then came to Him and said: By Your Might, no one who hears of it will fail to enter it. He gave an order respecting it, and accordingly it was surrounded with undesirable things, and said [to Jibreel]: Go and look at it and at [the things] which I have prepared therein for its people. He went and looked at it, and found that it was surrounded with disliked and undesirable things, then came to Him and said: By Your Might, I am afraid that no one will enter it. He, [Allaah] then said: Go to An-Naar and look at it and at [the things] which I have prepared therein for its people. [He went] and found that it was heaped up, one part upon another, then he came to Him and said: By Your Might, no one who hears of it will enter it. He gave a command respecting it, and it was surrounded with desirable things and passions and then said: Go back to it. He went and said: By Your Might, I am afraid that no one will remain who does not enter it. [Reported by At-Tirmithee who said that it is hasan-saheeh]
25. It is feared that he who follows al-hawaa may become altogether detached from eemaan (Faith) while being unaware. In fact, it has been confirmed that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“None of you is a true believer until his hawaa is in accordance with what I have brought forth.”
“The most dreadful thing I fear in regard to you is the seductive lusts in your bellies and in your private parts, and the misleading ways of al-hawaa.” [Reported by Ahmed]
26. The following of al-hawaa is from the destructive sins. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“Three [things] lead to safety and three cause destruction. Those that lead to safety are: fearing Allaah in secrecy and in the open, uttering the truth at times of satisfaction and anger, and moderation at times of poverty and wealth. As to the [three] that cause destruction, they are: the hawaa being followed, niggardliness being obeyed, and conceitedness.” [Shaykh Albani classified this hadeeth as hasan]
27. The opposing of al-hawaa inherits strength in the heart, tongue and body of [Allaah’s] ‘abd. Some of as-salaf (righteous predecessors) said: “The one who overcomes his hawaa is like him who conquers a city by himself.” And in the authentic hadeeth attributed to the Prophet (ﷺ) says:
“The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself-while in anger.” [Agreed Upon]
Whenever he trains himself on opposing his hawaa, he would gain additional strength to his own.
28. The most enriched in al-muroo’ah of the people is him who has the strongest opposition to his hawaa. Mu’aawiyah (رضى الله عنهt said, “Al–muroo’ah is the abandonment of desires and passions, and the disobedience of al-hawaa. The following of al-hawaa weakens the al-muroo ‘ah, and its opposition strengthen it.”
29. There isn’t a day that passes except that al-hawaa and the mind fight within its follower. Whoever of them overpowers its master, it will expel the other and take full control; and the decision will be its. Abu Ad-Dardaa (رضى الله عنهt said: “When a man wakes up, both his hawaa and deeds meet; if his deeds are in accordance with his hawaa, then his day is an evil one; and if his hawaa is pursuant to his deeds, then his day is a good one.”
30. Allaah has made the wrong and the following of al-hawaa associates of each other, and has made the right and the opposition of al-hawaa as associates. As some of as-salaf said: “If two affairs were dubious to you and you don’t know which one is right, then oppose the one close to your hawaa for it is more likely that error is committed when al-hawaa is being pursued.
31. Al-hawaa is a disease and its remedy is in opposing it. Some learned men said: “If you wish, I will inform you of your illness, and if you wish I will tell you of your remedy: Your disease is your hawaa, and your treatment is to abandon and oppose it.” Bishr Al-Haafee said: “All kinds of affliction are manifested in your hawaa, and the complete healing is in your opposition of it.”
32. The jihaad against al-hawaa, if it is not more important than the jihaad against the kuffaar, certainly it is not less in importance. A man told Al-Hasan Al Basree, “O Abaa Sa’eed! What kind of jihaad is the best? He said: “It is the jihaad of your ” I heard my shaykh saying: “The jihaad against one’s self and against al-hawa constitutes the basis for the jihaad against the kuffaar and the munaafiqeen (hypocrites), because one is unable to make jihaad against them until he makes jihaad against himself and his hawaa first, so that he can go out to [confront] them.”
33. Al-hawaa is takhleel (disorder and confusion of the intellect) and opposing it is himiyyah (guarding and absenting from what is harmful). It is feared for the one who became excessive in takhleel and retired himself from al-himiyyah, that his disease [mental sickness] may cause him to fall in a state of sara’ (A well-known state arising, in some cases, from mental disorder whereby the person falls to the ground in a state that resembles madness). ‘Abdul Malik ibn Quraib said: “I passed by a bedouin who was suffering from an intensive inflammation in his eyes and his tears were shedding on his cheeks. I said: “Why don’t you wipe off your eyes?” He said: “The doctor prevented me from doing this, and there is no good in him who if urged to refrain [from doing something wrong] does not abstain, and if he is being commanded [to do something good] does not comply.” I said then: “Would you like something?” He said: “Yes! But I am in a state of himiyyah; the lusts of the people of [Hell] Fire overcame their himiyyah, and thus they were destroyed.”
34. The pursuing of al-hawaa renders the doors of success closed for the ‘abd, and opens for him the doors of failure. So you see him often repeating the [following statement]: “Had Allaah bestowed His success, then it [the affair] would have been as such and such,” while in fact he barred himself from the ways of success by pursuing his hawaa. Al-Fudayyl Bin ‘lyaad said, “Whoever has been overtaken by his hawaa and by the following of lusts, the sources of success will be severed from him.” One of the scholars said: “Kufr originates from four things: anger, lust, hope, and fear.” He then added, “I have seen two of them manifested: a man who got angry and then killed his mother, and another who fell in love and became a Christian.”
35. The one who stands by his hawaa, his intelligence and mental perception will become corrupt because he acted unfaithfully towards Allaah in his mind and, consequently, Allaah perverted it for him. This is the way He deals with anyone who betrays Him in any affair: He renders it in a bad state for him.
36. The one who broadens for his self the scope of pursuing al-hawaa, will put it under restriction in his grave and on the Day of his Return, The one who restrains it by opposing al-hawaa, brings ease upon it in his grave and on the Day of his Return. Allaah pointed to this in His saying:
وَجَزَاهُم بِمَا صَبَرُوا جَنَّةً وَحَرِيرًا
And their recompense shall be al-Jannah and silken garments, because they were patient. [The Noble Quran 76:12]
Since patience, which is holding oneself from pursuing al-hawaa, includes harshness and restrictions, accordingly Allaah will recompense them with the smoothness of silk and the wideness of al-Jannah, Abu Sulaimaan Ad Daaraanee commented on the above aayah: “Allaah shall recompense them for taking patience against lusts.”
37. The following of al-hawaa throws down the ‘abd preventing him to stand up and walk with those saved on the Day of Resurrection, just like when his heart fell [in a state of sara’] in this life which kept him from their company. Muhammad Bin Abee Al-Ward said: “There is one of Allaah’s days when no one who pursues his hawaa shall be saved of its evil. The slowest in his ability to stand up amongst those thrown down on the Day of the Resurrection is the one whose thrown in a state of sara’ by his lusts.”
38. The pursuing of al-hawaa breaks up and weakens one’s resolution, and opposing [al-hawaa] solidifies and strengthens it. Resolution is the thing upon which one rides upon in his journey to Allaah and the Last Day. If that which is ridden became inactive, the traveler would almost be disabled to proceed in his journey. Yahyaa Bin Mu’aath was asked: “Who is most sound in resolution of men?” He answered: “The one who overcomes his hawaa”
39. The parable of the one who follows his own whim is like that who rides on a tough, strong-tempered, jamooh horse without a bridle, about to be thrown down by his horse during its run or it would lead him to his death. A learned man said: “The most rapid means to ride onto al-Jannnah is the zuhd respecting this life, and the most rapid means to get on to an-naar is the love of lusts. And him who boards his hawaa, it will hastily take him to the valley of perdition.” Another said: “The most endowed with honor of the scholars is the one who flees with his deen from this dunya and who is hard to be led to follow al-hawaa.” ‘Ataa’ said: “The one whose hawaa overtakes his rationale causing him to become affected with grief and agitation because of lacking the strength to be patient, would be put to shame.”
40. The tawheed and the following of al-hawaa are two contrary matters: because al-hawaa is an idol, and each ‘abd has an idol in his heart, the magnitude of which depends upon his hawaa; rather, Allaah sent His Messengers to destroy the idols and to call for His worship Alone, having no partners or associates. Nay, Allaah’s intent is not just to demolish the corporeal images and leave the images imbedded in the heart, but rather to destroy those in the heart first. Al-Hasan Bin Al-Muttawwi’ee said: “The idol of each person is his hawaa. He who breaks it by the way of opposition deserves the title of honorableness.” Just contemplate about the saying of Al-Khaleel (Ibraaheem) to his people as Allaah said:
مَا هَٰذِهِ التَّمَاثِيلُ الَّتِي أَنتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ
What Are these images, to which you are devoted? [The Noble Quran 21:52]
And you will certainly find it identical to those images which the heart likes and devotes itself to and worships it besides Allaah. He, Allaah, said:
أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا
أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ ۚ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَالْأَنْعَامِ ۖ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
Have you [O Muhammad (ﷺ)] seen him who has taken his ilaah (god) as his own desire? Would you be then a wakeel [a protecting guide] over him? Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle. Nay, they are even farther astray from the Path [i.e. even worse than Cattle]. [The Noble Quran 25:43-44]
41. Opposing al-hawaa is the means to drive away diseases from the heart and from the body, and its following brings forth diseases to the heart and to the body. Heart diseases are all from following of al- hawaa. If you search for the causes behind diseases of the body, you will find that most of it is because of preferring al-hawaa over what should be abandoned.
42. The origin for the enmity, evil, and envy that occurs between people is from the following of al-hawaa. The one who opposes his hawaa relieves his heart, body, and limbs, putting himself to ease and thus relieves others. Abu Bakr Al-Warraaq said: “When the hawaa prevails, the heart turns dark and when it does so, the breast becomes straitened and when that happens, the moral character deteriorates, and consequently people will hate him and he will hate them. Then think of the evil, enmity, neglect of rights, etc. that arise from this mutual hatred!”
43. Allaah has created in man an intellect and a hawaa; whichever of the two becomes manifest, the other will hide, as Abu ‘Ali Ath- Thaqafee said; “Whoever is overcome by his hawaa, his intellect will be hidden from him. So, look at the end of him whose intellect is masked from him and became overpowered by something else.” ‘Ali Bin Sahl said: “The intellect and al-hawaa are in conflict. Success is the associate of the intellect and defeat is the associate of al-hawaa. The self stands between both; whichever of the two prevails, the self-will side with it.”
44. Allaah has made the heart the king of the limbs and the place of the origination of knowledge, love, and ‘uboodiyyah of Him. He tested him with two kinds of authority, two armies, two aids, and two sets of preparations. The truth, zuhd, and guidance are one authority. Its aids are the angels, and its army is truthfulness and sincerity, and its preparation is in avoiding al-hawaa. The other authority is falsehood. Its aids are the Shayaateen and its troops and the preparation is the following of al-hawaa. The self stands between the two armies. The army of falsehood will have access to the heart only from its direction and frontier breaches; for it pervades the heart and aligns it with its enemy against it (the heart) and thus the calamity will overtake it. It is the self, therefore, that offers its enemy from its own preparations, and opens for him the gate of the city and thus he enters and takes full control, and the heart takes the defeat.
45. The worst of enemies to man is his Shaytaan and his hawaa, and the best friend he has is his intellect and his associate angel who gives him advice. If he follows his hawaa, he gives his hand in surrender to his enemy, submitting himself as a captive to him, making him [the enemy] rejoice at his affliction, and causing displeasure to his friends and supporters. These are precisely the difficult moments of a calamity, wretchedness, the manifested divine decree of an evil ending, and the malicious joy of enemies.
46. Each ‘abd has a beginning and an end. He, whose start is the following of al-hawaa, shall end up in a state of disgrace, humiliation, bereavement, and trials. What is being followed commensurate with the [‘abd’s] degree of dependency upon his hawaa. Rather, at the end, the followed turns to a suffering that agonizes him in his heart as one poet put it:
Desires that were, at the age of youthfulness, sweet to those who wished them, became a suffering at al-masheeb (an old age).
If you contemplate about the case of everyone who is in a bad and miserable state, you would find that it began with him embracing his hawaa and giving it preference over his intellect. Anyone who begins by opposing his hawaa and obeying the call of his rushd (maturity of intellect), his end will be that of honor, might, richness, and high rank before Allaah and before the people. Abu ‘Ali Ad-Daqqaaq said: “The one who controls his lust in his youthfulness, Allah will honor him when he is in his age of maturity. Al-Muhallab Bin Abee Sufrah was asked: “How did you attain this status of yours? He said: “Through firm obedience and rebellion against al-hawaa.”
So these are the situations regarding the stand against al-hawaa in the beginning and in the end of one’s life in this world. With respect to the Hereafter, however, Allaah has made al-jannah the end for him who opposed his hawaa and an-naar the end for the one who followed his hawaa. Allaah said in the Quran:
فَأَمَّا مَن طَغَىٰ
وَآثَرَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
فَإِنَّ الْجَحِيمَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ
فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَىٰ
Then, for him who taghaa [transgressed all bounds, in disbelief, oppression, and evil deeds of disobedience to Allaah], and preferred the life of this world [by following his evil desires and lusts], verily, his abode will be Hell-Fire. But as for him who feared standing before his Rabb [Allaah], and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts, verily, al-jannah will be his abode. [The Noble Quran 79: 37-41]
47. Al-hawaa is slavery to the heart, an iron chain round the neck, and a fetter to the leg. Its follower is a captive to everyone with a bad character. Thus whoever opposes it, liberates him from slavery and becomes free, and takes off the chain round his neck and becomes in a state similar to that of a man belonging entirely to one master after belonging to many partners disputing one another. Allah said:
ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا رَّجُلًا فِيهِ شُرَكَاءُ مُتَشَاكِسُونَ وَرَجُلًا سَلَمًا لِّرَجُلٍ هَلْ يَسْتَوِيَانِ مَثَلًا ۚ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Allaah puts forth a similitude: A [slave] man belonging to many partners [like those who worship others along with Allaah] disputing with one another, and [slave] man belonging entirely to one master [like those who worship Allaah Alone], Are those two equal in comparison? All the praises and thanks are due to Allaah! But most of them know not. [The Noble Quran 39:29]
48. Opposing al-hawaa puts the ‘abd in the rank of the one whose oath Allaah fulfills. The goals that He will accomplish for him will be many-fold that which he was unable to attain as a result of neglecting his He is like the one who relinquished a ba’arah and was given a pearl as a compensation for it. Whatever he is able to gain from the way of following al-hawaa is incomparable with what he loses from present and future benefits and from good living. So try to comprehend the stretching forth of the hand of Yusuf, the Siddeeq in expenditure, the unconstricting with his tongue, the establishment of his feet [in power], and the rejoice that touched him after he came out of the jail because he restrained himself from the haraam [unlawful].
49. Opposing al-hawaa entitles the honor in this world and in the Hereafter and self-esteem, outwardly and inwardly. Following it, however, lowers the rank of the ‘abd in this life and in the Hereafter and humiliates him, outwardly and inwardly. When Allaah gathers mankind on one plane [on the Day of Resurrection], an announcer will call, “This day the people of generosity will be distinguished from those who amassed wealth. Now let the pious stand.” They will stand and walk toward the place of honor while the followers of al-hawaa bending their heads down before Allaah in the Mawqif (the place of standing on the Day of Resurrection) amidst the “heat of al-hawaa,” its sweat and its suffering. The others [the pious] will be in the shade of the ‘Arsh.
50. If you contemplate about the seven whom Allaah will shade in the shade of His ‘Arsh wherein there is no shade but His, you will find that they deserved that shade because of their opposition to al-hawaa. Indeed the imaam having authority and power will not be able to establish justice except by opposing his hawaa. And with respect to the youth who prefers the sincere worship of Allaah over the urge of his youthfulness, had it not been for the opposition of his hawaa, he would not be able to accomplish this state of worship. As to the person whose heart is attached to the mosques, the thing that drove him to this condition is the opposition of al-hawaa which invites him to the places of lusts. Concerning the person who gives charitable gifts secretly so that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given, had it not been for his subduing of his hawaa, he would have not been able to attain this state. And the person who was invited by a charming woman of noble birth [to have illegal sexual intercourse with her], feared Allaah and opposed his hawaa. As to the one who remembers Allaah in seclusion and his eyes becomes flooded with tears for fearing Him, the thing that made him reach this state is the opposing of his hawaa. Consequently, they were saved from being affected by the intense heat of al-mawqif (the field of resurrection) on the Day of Resurrection and the sweating therein. The people [adhering to] al-hawaa will experience the utmost degree of intense heat and sweating while they are still waiting to enter the “prison of al-hawaa.”
Allaah is the One to be petitioned to grant us protection from the ahwaa’ (sing. hawaa) of ourselves which are inclined to evil, and that He makes our hawaa in accordance with what He loves and is acceptable to Him. He has power over all things, and He is most worthy of answering our petition.