In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
No Stability, Inner Peace, Happiness and Tranquility Without Taqwa
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ تَقْوَىٰ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَمْ مَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell. And Allah guides not the people who are the Zaalimoon [polytheists and wrong doers]. [Soorah At-Tawbah. Verse 109]
Whoever wants his building to be elevated, then it is incumbent upon him to strengthen and fortify its foundation, because the elevation of the building is based on the firmness and fortification of its foundation. Deeds are a building and Eemaan is their foundation. If the foundation is strong, it carries and elevates the building, and if a part of the building is damaged, it is easy for it to bear the [damage]; but if the foundation is not firm, then neither will the building be elevated nor will it be firm. And if something from the foundation is damaged, the building will either collapse or close to that. Therefore, the duty of a knowledgeable person is that he makes the foundation sound and fortified. As for the ignorant person, he elevates [the building] whilst building upon other than a [strong] foundation, so his building does not remain.
The foundation of deeds is like the physical strength of a person- if the strength is vigorous, the body will be able to withstand burden and repel many harmful things; but if it is weak, the body’s ability to withstand burden is weakened and harm quickly overcomes the person. Therefore, support your building [i.e. your actions and deeds] with the foundation of Eemaan; for if something from the top of your building decays and falls down, then it would be much easier for the [building] to bear [the damage], rather than the destruction of the foundation. This foundation [i.e. Eemaan] is based on two affairs:
Firstly: Sound knowledge and awareness of Allaah, His Commandments, Names and Attributes. Secondly: Complete submission to Allaah alone [i.e. by worshipping Him alone] and [unconditional obedience to] His Messenger alone. This is the firmest foundation upon which the slave establishes his building [i.e. his actions and deeds]. Therefore, one solidifies the foundation, preserves its strength and carries on being enthusiastic, and thus what is desired [i.e. success in this life and the next] will be reached [InShaaAllaah]. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa-id: page 154. slightly paraphrased]
Every Strength Given to a Person to Perform a Particular Deed Will Depart Except Devotion to Allaah
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Whoever is given strength and facilitated [with the means] to something, his pleasure will be found in utilising that strength [in that affair]. Whoever is granted the strength to have sexual relations, he will find pleasure in utilising his strength in it. Whoever is given strength to become angry and overcome [others], he will utilise the strength of his anger to [obtain what he desires]. Whoever is given the strength to eat and drink, his pleasure will be found in utilising his strength in [eating and drinking]. Whoever is given the strength to [obtain] knowledge and understanding, his pleasure will be found in utilising his strength and directing it towards [obtaining] knowledge. Whoever is given strength in [having] love for Allaah, turning to Allaah in repentance, submission and obedience, being devoted to Allaah [sincerely with one’s] heart, having an ardent desire [to please, obey and meet Allaah] and [desiring to come close to Allaah, be recognised and loved by Allaah etc], he will find his pleasure and bliss in utilising this strength in that. All these pleasures will dwindle and disappear, except this one [i.e. love of Allaah etc]. [Al-Fawaa’id 121-122. Slightly paraphrased]
The Strength of Abstinence and Courage
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: There are two (types) of strengths within the soul: The strength of abstinence and the strength of courage. The reality of patience is that one makes the strength of courageousness a means of action in what benefits him and the strength of abstinence a means of action in refraining from what is harmful to him. Among the people, there is one whose patience in carrying out what benefits him and being firm upon it is stronger than his patience in refraining from what is harmful to him; so he exercises patience in facing difficulty whilst carrying out acts of obedience, but he does not exercise patience in refraining from urges towards what he is forbidden. And among them, there is one whose patience in refraining from things that are in opposition to the religion is stronger than his patience in carrying out acts of obedience, and among them there is one who does not exercise patience in both affairs. The best of people are those who fulfil both affairs. Many people patiently bear the hardship of praying Tahajjud during hot and cold nights, and the difficulty in fasting; but they do not exercise patience in refraining from looking at forbidden things. Many people exercise patience in refraining from looking at the forbidden things and inclination towards [forbidden] images, but they do not exercise patience in commanding good and forbidding evil. [An Excerpt from Uddatus Saabireen. page 37. Slightly paraphrased]
The Peril of Forbidden Desires
Imaam Ibnul Jawzi [rahimahullaah] said: know that desires [i.e. unrestrained or forbidden desires] urges a person towards [engagement] in immediate pleasures without him pondering upon its evil consequences- urges him towards short-lived pleasures, even though it is a cause of pain and harm in this life and a barrier to pleasure in the afterlife. As for a sensible person, he keeps away from pleasures whose result will be pain and desires whose result will be regret. This is enough as praise regarding what sound intellect necessitates and a rebuke against uncontrolled desires.
Know that desires [i.e. forbidden desires] can overcome a person in the different fields of study, exits him from the confines of sound reasoning and enters him into behaviour that is tantamount to madness [or folly]. It might enter affairs of knowledge and thus leads a person to oppose that which sound knowledge commands, and it might enter Zuhd and thus leads him to Riyaa.
A sensible person should know that those who are addicted to lowly desires reach a state in which they no longer enjoy themselves, but at the same time they are unable to abandon those desires, because it becomes as if it is a necessity of life. And due to this, you’ll find that alcoholics and sex addicts do not even enjoy a tenth of those desires, but they put themselves in a perilous situation that compels them to keep on returning to the act. However, if- based on clear-sightedness- the [false] beautification of those lowly desires cease, a person realise that he [or she] has exposed himself [or herself] to some ruin that is contrary to wellbeing- a situation of grief instead of happiness and [exposed] to pain, whilst seeking after pleasure; so, he [or she] resembles an animal that was led to a trap- neither reached the thing that was utilised to lure it into the trap nor is it able to escape.
A person should ponder upon the fact that a human being was not created so that he can fulfil desires; rather he was facilitated [with sound knowledge based on the divine revelation and uncorrupted perception] to reflect on the consequences of his actions and perform righteous deeds for the Afterlife. An animal receives pleasure through eating, drinking and sex much more than a human being, whilst living a life devoid of reflection and concern. Therefore, it is drawn towards its desires due to being ignorant of the outcomes of its actions [i.e. it does not possess the knowledge given to humans through sound reasoning and reflection guided by the divine revelation].
A person should ponder upon the consequences of [unrestrained] desires, because many people are deprived of virtue and find themselves in a state of depravity due to it. And how many types of [unhealthy] food are there that leads to illness due to an unrestrained desire [for them]! And how many mistakes violates the honour of a person, leads to an evil mention of him as well as the guilt of sinning due to unrestrained desires, yet he still does not give thought to anything else except his desires! The best description regarding him is that of one who finds himself in a tannery, for he does not really notice its smell properly until he exits it and then realises where he was.
A sensible person should imagine the dishonour that will come to him due to his [unrestrained] desires and the harm that results from those [unrestrained] pleasures, for indeed he will see that- in most cases- they occur as result of those desires and pleasures.
A person should think about how [the consequences of unrestrained desires and pleasures do affect] others, then he should ponder and get a hint of its [unpraiseworthy] end results, for indeed he will see the blameworthiness of that which is known regarding them if he were to be guilty of it.
A person should reflect upon those [unrestrained] pleasures, because [sound] intellect [or sound perception guided by the pure divine revelation] will make him realise that they are nothing more than [lowly] desires and a state of blindness.
A person should contemplate on the honour a person receives due to been given the upper hand and the humiliation found in subjugation, for indeed there is none who overcomes his [lowly] desires except that his honour is strengthened; and there is none who is subjugated by his desires except that he will find humiliation and subjugation in his soul.
A person should contemplate on the benefits of opposing one’s [lowly] desires, such as the commendation attached to it in this worldly life, safety of the soul and safeguard of one’s honour, as well as reward in the afterlife. [Source: An Excerpt from Dhammul Hawaa’ pages 36-38. Slightly paraphrased]
Allaah [The Most High] said:
أَفَرَءَيۡتَ مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ ۥ هَوَٮٰهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ ٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلۡمٍ۬ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمۡعِهِۦ وَقَلۡبِهِۦ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِۦ غِشَـٰوَةً۬ فَمَن يَہۡدِيهِ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ ٱللَّهِۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ
Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember? [45:23]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: Disobedience is the cause of being in shaytaan’s captivity and a prisoner of lowly desires. A disobedient person is always in the captivity of his devil, the prison of his lusts and leadership of his desires. He is a captive and a shackled prisoner. There is neither a captive whose state of affairs is more evil than that of a captive whose captor is his worst enemy, nor is there a prison more restricted than the prison of desires, and shackles that are more restrictive than the shackles of lust; so how can a heart that is a captive and a shackled prisoner follow the path to Allaah and the home of the afterlife? How can he follow a single path when the heart is shackled and stricken with harm from every angle as a result of the [severity] of its shackles? The likeness of the heart is that of a bird; it distances from harm whenever it flies high and surrounded by harm whenever it lands. It is reported in a hadeeth: ‘’Shaytaan is a wolf to a human being.’’ And just as an unprotected sheep in the midst of wolves is quickly destroyed, likewise if there is no protection from Allaah for the slave, it is inevitable that his wolf will prey on him.
He is protected by Allaah through Taqwaah. Taqwaah is a shield and shelter from Allaah between the person and his wolf; just as it is a shield against punishment in this life and the afterlife. Whenever the sheep is closer to its shepherd, it is safer from the wolf and whenever it is distanced from the shepherd, it comes closer to being destroyed. So the sheep is more protected when it is closer to the shepherd, for the wolf only takes away the [sheep, cattle] that are distanced and far away from the shepherd.
The basis of this affair is that whenever the heart is distanced from Allaah, then harm upon it is quicker, and whenever it is comes closer to Allaah, it is distanced from harm. Being distanced from Allaah is of various levels and some are more severe than others. Being distanced from [Allaah] through disobedience is greater than being distanced from [Allaah] through thoughtlessness; being distanced from [Allaah] through bidah is greater than being distanced from [Allaah] through disobedience, and being distanced from [Allaah] through hypocrisy and shirk is greater than all of that. [An Excerpt from ‘Ad-Daa’u Wad-Dawaa’u’ page 119-120’. slightly paraphrased]
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: One of the most amazing of affairs is that many contemporary writers and politicians seek to remedy the many social ills and try to do so do from many angles, however as for the problem of Il’haad – whose surge has carried away the majority of young people – they have not rushed to stop it by returning to sound Eemaan and certainty; rather they [i.e. the Mul’hidoon] have been abandoned to wander blindly in their misguidance and wavering in beguilement, and thus the social ills they seek to remedy gives birth to other social ills- because if the path to remedying social ills is not based on Eemaan and sound Deen, they will increase and become worse. [An Excerpt from ‘Al-Adillatul Qawaatiq’ pages 40-41′. slightly paraphrased]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: The complete happiness of a slave is founded upon two affairs: The strength of a slave’s [a believer’s] desire for perfect knowledge and [sincere] intention: The strength of his desire for perfect knowledge can only be achieved when he truly knows the following [five] matters: 1. When a person truly knows The One [i.e. Allaah] who brought the creation into existence after it was non-existent; created everything and bestowed all blessings to the creation. 2.When a person truly knows the true meanings of Allaah’s Names and Attributes. 3.When a person truly knows the correct path leading to Allaah’s [pleasure] and its end results. 4.When a person truly knows himself [or herself]. 5.When a person truly knows the weaknesses and defects of his [or her] soul. These [five] affairs bring about perfection in one’s knowledge and the desire for it. The people with the most knowledge and understanding are those with the most knowledge and understanding regarding these five affairs.  The strength of the slave’s desire to perfect his [or her] actions: The strength of the slave’s desire to perfect his [or her] deeds cannot be achieved except by way of fulfilling the commandments of Allaah- performing them sincerely, truthfully and purely for Allaah’s sake; acknowledges Allaah’s blessings; bears witness to Allaah’s blessings and bears witness to one’s shortcomings whilst seeking to fulfil Allaah’s commandments. The person should know that he [or she] cannot achieve perfection in knowledge and action without the Aid and Assistance of Allaah because one is compelled in his [or her] need for guidance to the straight path- the path to which the Creator [Allaah] has guided His Awliyaa. The slave should ask Allaah for protection against leaving this path, [which may occur] either by way of corruption in one’s knowledge- leading to misguidance, or by way of corruption in his deeds- leading one to earn the Anger of his Lord. These two affairs have been gathered in Soorah Al-Faatihah. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa-id’ page 21- 22. Slightly paraphrased]