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Exhortations of Imaam Ash-Shaafi'ee

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Seeking Forgiveness before Death

The following account is a poem by Imam Ash-Shaafi`ee. Al-Muzni who is Aboo lbraaheem Isma`eel ibn Yahya said: "I entered upon ash-Shaafi'ee during his illness which resulted in his death, so I said to him: 'What is your condition?' He replied: "I am journeying from this world, and departing from my brothers, drinking from the cup of death, and upon Allaah - Exalted is His remembrance - arriving. And no! By Allaah, I do not know if my soul is travelling towards Paradise or the Fire!" Then he started to weep, and he said:

إلَيكَ إلـهُ الخَلْـق أرْفَــعُ رَغبَتِي *** و‘نْ كُنتُ يَا ذا المَنّ والجُودِ مُجْرِما
‘To You, the Creator, I raise my longing,
And even if I am, O possessor of kindness and generosity, an evildoer, a criminal

ولمَّا قَسَـا قلبي وضَـاقت مَذاهِبي *** جَعَلتُ الرَجـا مِني لِعَفوكَ سَلِمــا
When my heart became constricted and my paths became narrow,
I took my hope in Your pardon and forgiveness as an opening and an escape

تعَاظَمَنـي ذنبـي فلمَّـا قرِنتـُـهُ *** بعَفوكَ ربِّي كَانَ عَـفْوكَ أعْظَمــا
My sins seemed very great to me but when I compared them to Your forgiveness,
I found Your forgiveness to be much greater

فمَا زِلتَ ذا عفو عَن الذنْبِ لَمْ تَزُلْ *** تَـجُـود وتعـفو منةً وتَكَرُّمـــا
You are and still remain the only One who can forgive sins,
You grant and forgive out of Your benevolence and generosity

فلولاكَ لَـمْ يَصْمُـدْ لإبلـيسِ عَابدٌ *** فكَيفَ وقدْ أغْوَى صَفْيَك آدِمـــا
Were it not for You, then a servant could never defy Iblis
And how can that be when he mislead Your friend Adam

فيَاليْتَ شَعْــرِي هَل أصَيرُ لِجنة *** أهنـــا؟ وأمَّـا للسَّعِير فأنْدَمــا
If only I knew! Will I arrive at Paradise that I may take delight
Or at Hellfire, that I may regret?

فللّهِ دَر العَـــارِفُ الـنـدبُ إنَّه *** تَفيض لفرْطِ الوَجْد أجفانُه دَمَّـــا
How capable is Allah! For the one acquainted with lament,
blood almost flows from his eyelids due to the excess of his emotions (lament)

يَقيـمُ إذا مَـا الليلُ مَدَّ ظَلامَــه *** على نَفسِهِ مِن شدَّةِ الخَوفِ مَأتمـا
He stands when the night extends out its darkness
Stands against himself out of extreme fear, sinful

فصِيحاً إذا ما كـانَ في ذكْـرِ رَبِّه *** وفيما سِوَاهُ في الوَرى كان أعْجَمـا
Eloquent when he makes mention of his Lord
And in the mention of others than Him, he is speechless

ويَذكُرُ أيَّامـاً مَضَـتْ مِن شَبَابـه *** وما كان فيها بالجَهَـالة أجْرَمـــا
He remembers days gone by of his youth
And what was in it of ignorance, he was a criminal

فصَارَ قَرينُ الهمِّ طُولَ نهَـــارِه *** أخا السَّهدِ والنجوى إذا الليل أظلمـا
And so for the whole of his day, the companion of grief has become
the brother of sleeplessness and secret conversation when the night darkens

يقول: حَبيبي أنـتَ سُؤلِي وبَغيتي *** كفى بكَ للرَّاجـيـنَ سُؤلاً ومغنمـا
He says, ‘My beloved, You are what I request and desire
You are enough of a longing and benefit for those who have hope

ألـسْتَ الذي غذيْتني وهَــدَيْتني *** ولا زلتَ مَنـَّانـا عليّ ومُنعِـمــا
Are You not the One who has provided for me and guided me
And You have not ceased being gracious to me and full of favours

عسَى مَنْ لَـهُ الإحْسَانَ يَغفِرُ زَلتِي *** ويَسْترُ أوْزارِي ومـا قـدْ تقدَّمــا
Perhaps the Beneficent One will forgive my mistakes
And cover up my crime and what has gone forth

تعاظمَني ذنبـي فأقبلتُ خاشِعــاً *** وَلوْلا الرِّضَـا ما كنتُ يَاربِّ مُنعَمـا
My sins seemed very great to me, so I turned (to You) in humility
Were it not for my contentment in you, I wouldn’t, O my Lord, have seen any comfort at all

فإنْ تعْفُ عَني تعْفُ عَـنْ مُتمَرِّد *** ظلوم غشــوم لا يَـزايَـلَ مأتمـا
So if You forgive me, You would have forgiven a sinner,
A rebellious, oppressive tyrant still sinning

فإن تنتـقـِمْ مِني فلستُ بآيـسٍ *** ولو أدخلوا نفسي بجـُـرْم جَهَنَّمـا
So if You were to seek revenge from me, I would not despair
Even if they entered my soul into Jahannum, due to the sins

فجُرْمِي عَظيم مِن قديم وحـَـادِث *** وعفوكَ يَأتي العَبْـدَ أعْلى وأجْسَمــا
For my crimes are great, past and present
But Your forgiveness comes to the servant, more exalted and more great

حوالي َّ فضلُ الله مِن كلِّ جَانِـب *** ونورٌ مِن الرَّحمـَن يُفترش السَّمــا
The bounty of Allaah surrounds me from all sides
And Light from the Most Merciful has spread in the sky

وفي القلبِ إشراقُ المحب بوَصْلِه *** إذا قارب البُـشرَى وجَازَ إلى الحمى
And in the heart is the radiance of the beloved when he is reunited
And when glad tidings draw close, it becomes feverish

حوالي إينــاس مِن الله وَحْـدَه *** يُطالعَني فِي ظلـمـةِ القبرأنجَمــا
Exhilaration surrounds me, only for Allaah
It overlooks me in the darkness of the grave, apparent and clear

أصُونُ وَدادي أن يُدنّسـه الهَوَى *** وأحفظُ عـَهْدِ الـحُبِّ أن يَتثلمــا
I protect my love, lest my desires should pollute it
And I preserve the contract of love, lest it be defiled

ففي يَقظتِي شَوْقٌ وفي غَفوَتِي منى *** تلاحـِقُ خُـطوَى نـشوَةً وترنمـا
In my wakefulness is yearning and in my slumber is destiny
That’s pursuing my footsteps in ecstasy

ومَن يَعْتصِمْ بالله يُسَلم مِن الوَرَى *** ومَن يَرْجه هَـيْهَاتُ أنْ يَتندُمـــا
Whoever holds fast to Allaah, he is protected from men
And whoever hopes for Him, then never will he regret

Knowledge & Sincerity

العلم ما نفع

قال الشافعي رحمه الله:

العِلْمُ مَا نَفَعَ لَيْسَ مَا حُفِظَ.

Knowledge is what benefits

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“Knowledge is that which benefits not that which is memorised”



قال الشافعي رحمه الله

لَوْ اجْتَهَدَ أحَدُكُمْ كُلَ الجُهْدِ عَلى أنْ يَرضِيَ الناسَ كُلًّهُمُ عَنْهُ فَلا سَبِيلَ لَهُ

فَلْيُخلِصِ العَبدُ عَمَلَهُ بَيْنَهُ وبَيْنَ اللهُ تعالى


Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“If one of you were to strive with utmost striving to make all the people pleased with him then there is no way for him (i.e. he’ll never be able to do that).

So let the servant purify his actions which are between him and Allaah Ta’aala.”


وقال أيْضاً:

لا يَعْرِفُ الرِّيَاءُ الا المُخلِصُونَ.

And he also said,

“No-one knows Riyaa (showing-off, insincerity etc) except the sincere ones.”

Silence, Love and Honour

مُرَاقَبَةُ اللِّسَانِ

سُئِلَ الشَّافِعِي رَحِمَهُ اللهُ عَنْ مَسْأَلَةٍ

فَقِيلَ لَه: ألا تَجِيب رَحِمَكَ اللهُ

فَقالَ: لا, حَتى أدْرِيَ الفَضْلَ فِي سُكُوتِي أو فِي جَوابِي

Muraaqabah of the Tongue

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) was asked regarding an issue (mas’alah).

It was said to him: “Will you not answer, may Allaah have mercy on you!

He said: “(No), Until I know the benefit and virtue in either my silence or in my answer.”


حب و حب

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

مَن أدْعَى أنه جَمَعَ بَيْنَ حُبِّ الدُّنيا وَ حُبِّ خالِقِهَا فِي قلبِهِ فَقدْ كَذبَ

Love and Love

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“Whoever claims to have gathered in his heart the love of this world and the love of its Creator (Allaah), has indeed lied.”


عِز التقوَى

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

مَن لمْ يَعِزُّهُ التقوَى فَلا عِزَّ لَه

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“Whoever is not honoured by Taqwa, then there is no honour for him.”

Nobility & Salvation

احذر مودة الناس

كُنْ سَاكِناً فِي ذا الزمانِ بِسَيئرِهِ *** وعن الورى كُنْ رَاهِباً في دَيرِه

واغسِل يدَيكَ مِن الزمانِ وأهْله *** واحْذِرْ مَوَدَّتهـم تنِل مِن خَيـره

إني اطلعتُ فلم أجدْ لِي صاحِباً *** أصحبه في الدهْرِ ولا في غَيْره

فترَكْتُ أسْفَلَهـم لِكَثرَةِ شَـرّه *** وتركت أعْلاهم لِـقلَّة خَيــره

Beware of the love of people

“Be silent in that era as it moves along
And regarding the mortals, flee from their monastery
And wash your hands from the occasion and its people
And be cautious of their love whereby you reach their goodness
I explored but did not find a companion
To befriend through life and befriend no-one but he
So I abandoned the lowest of them due to the excess of his evil
And I abandoned the loftiest of them due the shortage of his goodness.”


الظالم لنفسه

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

أظلم الظالمين لنفسه

مَن تَوَاضَعَ لِمَن لا يُكرمَه

ورَغَبَ فِي مَودّة مَن لا يَنفعُه

وقبل مَدْح مَن لا يَعرِفه

Oppressor of his own self

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“The one who oppresses himself the most is:

The one who humbles himself for one who does not honour him
And strives in the friendship of one who does not benefit him
And accepts praise from one who does not know him”

صاحب الهوى

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

لو رَأيتُ صَاحِبَ هَوَى يَمْشِي عَلى المَاءِ مَا قبلتُه

Companion of desires

“If I saw a companion of his own desires even walk on water, I would not accept him.”

مع أهل الطاعة

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

مَا أحَدُ إلا وَلَه مُحبّ ومُبْغِض, فَإنْ كَان لابُدّ مِن ذلك, فلْيَكُنِ المرءُ مَع أهْلِ طَاعَةِ اللهِ عَزّ وجَلّ

With the people of obedience

“There is no-one except that he has a lover and a hater. So if that must be the case, then let a person be with the people of obedience to Allaah, ‘azza wa jall.”

Arts of ‘Ilm

فضل أصحاب الحديث

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

اذا رأيت رجلا من أصحاب الحديث

فكأني رأيت رجلا من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

جزاهم الله خيرا, هم حفظوا لنا الأصل فلهم علينا الفضل

وقال - عليكم بأصحاب الحديث فانهم أكثر الناس صوابا

The virtues of the people of Hadeeth

Imaam Ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullaah) said:

“If I saw a man from the people of hadeeth, then it’s as if I saw a man from the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam). May Allaah reward them, they preserved for us the foundation so they have a right of virtue upon us.”

He said: “Upon you is (to accompany) the people of hadeeth for they are the most correct from amongst the people.”

الخير في خمسة

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

الخير في خمسة

غنى النفس

وكف الأذى

وكسب الحلال


والثقة بالله

Goodness is in five

He (rahimahullaah) said:

Goodness is in 5 matters:

- Richness of the soul
- Desisting from harm
- Earning halaal
- Taqwa
- And trust in Allaah


رضا الناس

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

رضا الناس غاية لا تدرك

وليس الى السلامة من ألسنة الناس سبيل

فعليك بما ينفعك فالزمه

Pleasure of the people

Seeking the pleasure of people is an objective that can never be obtained
And there is no way to safety from the tongues of people
So upon you is to adhere to only that which benefits you.

الاخلاص في العلم

قال الشافعي رحمه اللهمن أراد الآخرة فعليه بالاخلاص في العلم

Sincerity in Knowledge

Whoever desires the Hereafter then upon him is sincerity in knowledge

فنون العلم

قال الشافعي رحمه الله

من تعلم القرآن عظمت قيمته

ومن تكلم في الفقه نما قدره

ومن كتب الحديث قويت حجته

ومن نظر في اللغة رقّ طبعه

ومن نظر في الحساب جزل رأيه

ومن لم يصن نفسه لم ينفعه علمه

The Arts of knowledge

Whoever learns Qur’aan, then his value becomes great
Whoever speaks in Fiqh (learns it), his capacity grows
Whoever writes ahadeeth, his evidence strengthens
Whoever examines into language, his nature softens
Whoever contemplates the reckoning, his opinion becomes sound
And whoever does not protect himself, his knowledge does not benefit him



قال الشافعي رحمه الله

من نمّ لك نمّ عليك,

ومن نقل اليك نقل عنك

The Slanderer

Whoever slanders to you about others, will slander about you
And whoever reports to you, will soon report about you

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