Certained to Love the Good

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

In his book, Kitab at-Tawwaabeen, page 285, Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi mentions a young lad that came to the great scholar of Islam, Ibrahim ibn Adham Rahimahullah. This is the conversation that took place between the two:

The Young Lad: O Abu Ishaaq, I am wronging my soul, advise me with something that’ll hold me back from disobeying Allah and breathe new life into my heart.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Alright. If you take 5 things from me and fulfill them, you can disobey Allah ‘azza wa jall all you want and no harm will come to you.

The Young Lad: (Interested) Ok, tell me.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: One, if you want to do other than what Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala wants you to do, then do not eat the food that He provides you.

The Young Lad: Then where am I supposed to eat from when all the food on earth is from Allah?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Dear lad, is it right that you eat the food Allah ‘azza wa jall has given you and then go off and disobey him?

The Young Lad: No it is not right. What is the second?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Two, if you want to live life to the fullest in disobedience of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala, don’t live on His land.

The Young Lad: That’s harder than the first. Where shall I live when all that is in the east and west belongs to Him?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Dear lad, is it right that you eat His food and live in His land, yet still insist on turning your cheek when he calls you?

The Young Lad: No it’s not right. What’s the third?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: If you want to disobey Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala, yet still eating the food He gave you and still living in His land, then find a place where He can’t see you.

The Young Lad: O Abu Ishaaq, how can that be so when Allah is the All-Seeing and All-Knowing of all that happens, even what the heart whispers?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Dear lad, is it right that you eat His food and live in His land and disobey Him while He watches you and what you are exposing?

The Young Lad: No it’s not right. What’s the fourth?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: When the angel of death comes to snatch your soul, tell him to give you a day so that you can sincerely ask Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala for forgiveness and change your life.

The Young Lad: He won’t agree to that.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: Dear lad, if you find yourself helpless to push off death for just one day and you understand that it cannot be delayed by your wishes, how do you expect to win?

The Young Lad: (With a sigh) What is the fifth?

Ibrahim ibn Adham: When the gatekeepers of Hell come to drag you away on your face to Jahannam (Hellfire) refuse to go with them.

The Young Lad: Nothing will stop them.

Ibrahim ibn Adham: How do you expect to be saved then?

The Young Lad: Enough, Abu Ishaaq. (And he lowers his head crying). O Allah, forgive me for my transgression.

Epilogue: The young lad went on to become a disciple of Ibrahim ibn Adham. He repented to Allah sincerely and lived an upright life with his teacher until death parted the two. Imam Ibrahim ibn Adham died in the year 778 CE, over a thousand years ago.