I stumbled across this gem today and knew that I had to cut and paste it 🙂
I ask you all to read this from beginning to end as it is a real tear jerker. It is a purification of the soul article…my favorite area of Islam based on a saying by my favorite scholar of Islam.

Ibn al Qayyim mentions, “If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants good for someone, he gives him a test which is going to break him.” To make him remember Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and bow down his neck and so he will become small once again to himself. The human being becomes proud and his ego starts to command him and he starts to say ‘I did this…’ and ‘I did that…’ and you will notice it in the conversations of people, that all they see is themselves and not Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala behind every good action. That person deserves to be broken. In fact he needs to be broken, otherwise, step by step, he is being set-up for punishment. Outwardly he is doing good, but his intention is evil and he or she may not realize it. This shows the importance of correcting the intention and purifying whom you ascribe your actions to. If you ascribe them to yourself, that every good action you have done was because you were good or was it because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala didn’t leave you to yourself, because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent guidance from above the skies into your heart. And didn’t allow anyone to remove that guidance from your heart and created the guidance in your heart, and did not allow that guidance to be removed. So no matter how much you try, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the one who gives the ultimate will, and therefore with every good action, your love for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala increases because you have now witnessed that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has sent down guidance to you.

The same way that when a person, when they witness rain, after periods of dryness, they feel relieved and happy. And the person can see the rain coming down from the sky, from Allah (azawajul) to us. Likewise when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gives you mercy, a person should feel happy. When you feel the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, guidance, you feel you have done something good insha-Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, then you feel that if it was good, then it is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and if there is evil in it then it is because he has left me to my self. With every aspect of worship, think to yourself, as you are praising and glorifying Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, that this from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and o Shaytaan do not lie to me and say that this is from myself. If anyone follows the self, then he will be misguided, because the self is being continually programmed by Shaytaan, and whispered into by the Shaytaan. The nafs wants things that are easy, which are initially appealing. It does not want to go through hardship and then experience ease. The nafs wants ease, even if it has hardship afterwards, and pleasure, even if afterwards there is sorrow. The nafs does not tell you the truth. The nafs deceives, because the Shaytaan is talking into the nafs.
So if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala doesn’t wish good for someone, he will allow that person to be proud of themselves. So here, O Muslims we must understand a really important point. You can deviate in two ways; you can be corrupt and not “Islamic” and be destroyed. But you could also be, in the eyes of others, “practicing”, “on the right path”, outwardly upon Islam, better then that, outwardly upon the Sunnah of Rasoolullah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the next great favor of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is to be in obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in everything, outwardly though. Inwardly Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has left you to follow yourself, so all you increase in as you are doing deeds is vanity. A person has to be aware of this, otherwise for days, weeks or even years, a person could be doing actions, thinking that you are righteous, wishing praise from other people, whereas in fact you are not getting an once of reward.
So if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants good for someone then he opens the doors for humility and brokenness, so that person continues to seek from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and feels poor in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, visualizing the weaknesses and faults (the ignorance and the enmity of the self) in the self. If Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants good for you, he will make you realize that within your ego, there is evil, there is ignorance, and enmity for your true well being. You will witness this, and feel this with certainty, that if I am left to follow myself then I am following ignorance. If I am left to follow myself, and I don’t know whether if I am on guidance or not, then the anger of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will be upon me, and I will be following something based on faults, meaning my nafs grows on faults.

The nafs, if you feed it with goodness, shrinks, and feels so small in front of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, so fearful before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, loves Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala so much and feels so timid. But if the nafs starts to get big, then it is breeding on filth, the najasah, impurity of sin and on pride.
So if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala wants good for you, then he gives you those two things; continually witnessing that you cannot depend on yourself and to witness Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala grace upon you, that he is the one who is always sending down those graces, those guided acts of kindness. Every act of worship is from him. Single him out. Make Tawheed in this. Make Tawheed in this visualization, this witnessing. This Tawheed is so important, if you can understand this Tawheed; you will increase in strength in your eeman. It will give rise to strength in your Tawheed ul Uboodiyah. When you reflect on Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship (Tawheed al Roobubiyah), that he is the giver of everything, whether they are worldly things or things which will benefit you in the here after, it increases your worship. Even though the people of Makkah (who were non-Muslims) believed in Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship, it didn’t make them Muslims, but that it doesn’t mean that believing in Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship doesn’t benefit. The more you strengthen your belief in Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship, your worship will increase as well. Reflecting on the things which are happening in the heavens and the earth, and within yourselves, the sounds we hear and the colours we see. So make this tawheed, of whenever some goodness comes to you, a favour, don’t ascribe it to anyone besides Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Make that tawheed. Make that part of your Uboodiyah. First there is Roobubiyah, witnessing the lordship, that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the only lord, and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has no partner in that, or are you going to make yourself a partner in Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship? Or are you going to make some else a partner in Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala lordship? Yes, if that goodness comes to you via someone, then feel that it is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, believe it from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, but via that person, and thank that person. Because one who doesnt thank the people hasn’t truly thanked Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, since Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chose that thing to come to you through that particular person.

Those two principles again; those are the two wings upon which the worshipper has to travel. We are all journeying towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, day by day.

“The Day of Judgement draws near, none besides Allah can avert it (or advance it, or delay it).” [Surah an-Najm 57 and 58]

It is getting closer. The meeting is close. If you don’t have those two wings, you are not journeying towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

You know the hadith of Sayid al-Istighfar, the best way of seeking forgiveness, a Hadeeth in Bukhari where the prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

“The master of (Or the best way to) seeking forgiveness is for the servant to say;

O Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, you are my Lord. There is nothing worthy of worship except you. You created me, and I am your slave, I try my best to fulfill your promise and the covenant. I seek refuge in you from the evil, which I have done. I admit to you, your favors upon me, and I admit to you my sins. So forgive me, verily none can forgive sins except you.”

In this we see something really important. The fact that Rasoolullah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said in this du’a, “ …I admit to you, your favors upon me…” which is a witnessing of Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala favors, and there is tawheed in that. Even in the acts of worship, especially in the acts of worship rather, you must ascribe them back to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, “…and I admit to you my sins…” which is a witnessing of the faults of the self. The self is not a source of guidance. Never make the self a source of guidance. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is the guide, no one can give tawfeeq except for him.

So what does it give rise to then. Witnessing Allah’s subhanahu wa ta’ala mercy, witnessing Allah’s goodness, gives rise to love of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, praising Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, thanking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, true happiness and good feeling towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That you can never ascribe any evil to him, you know if any evil comes to you, if was because you were left to yourself for a twinkling of an eye. If hardship comes your way, and you lose your sabr, it is because you were left to yourself. If hardship came your way, and you had sabr, and you felt the sweetness of eeman, that is because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala didn’t leave you to follow yourself.

Cut and Pasted from http://www.sunnahonline.com/ilm/purification/0007.htm

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