The Relationship Between Guidance and Striving – By Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah]
In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَٱلَّذِينَ جَـٰهَدُواْ فِينَا لَنَہۡدِيَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَاۚ
As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism)] [29:69]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] stated:
Allaah [Glorified be He and free is He from all imperfections] attached guidance to Jihaad [i.e. striving in the path of Allaah]. The people with the most perfect guidance are those who [perform] a greater Jihaad [i.e striving in the path of Allaah]. And the most obligatory Jihaad is the Jihaad against the Self [Ref 1]; Jihaad against [evil or vain] desires, Jihaad against shaytaan and jihaad against the Dunyah [Ref2].
Therefore, whoever strives against these four [in the path of Allaah and for the sake of Allaah], Allaah will guide him to the paths of [attaining] His Pleasure [that] leads to Paradise. And whoever abandons [this] Jihaad, he will miss guidance depending on the extent of what he neglected of [it]. Junaid said, ‘’Those who strive against their [evil or vain] desires [in the path of Allaah] by way of repentance, Allaah will guide them to the paths of Ikhlaas.
It is not possible to strive against the enemy in the open, except for the one who strives against these enemies inwardly. So whoever is aided against them, he will be victorious against his enemy. And whoever is made to be overcome by them, his enemy will be made victorious over him. [Al-Fawaa’id page 97. Paraphrased].
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Ref 1: Jihaad Against The Self: Striving to attain upright guidance, adhering to it after being acquainted with it, calling to it and exercising patience when faced with the difficulties in that path [Zaadul Ma’aad 3/9-12]
Ref 2: Jihaad against the Dunyah: In a supplication, the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] asked Allaah, saying: ‘’Do not make the Dunyah our greatest concern’’. [Reported by Imaam Tirmidhee (rahimahullaah) Number 3502 & declared authentic by Imaam Albaani (rahimahullaah) in Saheeh At-Tirmidhee]. Al-Mubaarakfooree [rahimahullaah] stated in his explanation of this supplication that it means: Do not make wealth and status our greatest goal or the reason behind our grief, rather direct our greatest goal or the reason behind our grief towards the deeds of the afterlife. [Tuhfah Al-Ahwadhee 9/475-477]