Soldier of Allah 

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
By Various Authours

1. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal - Imam of Ahl As-Sunnah - By Ahmad Tammam - Source
2. Memoirs from the Life of Imâm Ahmad - By Muhammad al-Sharîf - Source
3. From the life and works of Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal  - By Shaikh Saalih bin AbdulAziz Ala Shaikh - Source

Ahmad Ibn Hanbal
Imam of Ahl As-Sunnah
By Ahmad Tammam

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (164-241 AH) was one of those rightly guided imams who lived in the earlier Hijri centuries. Those imams were role models for people. They displayed piety, superior moral values, and sincere adherence to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Hence, people developed confidence in those imams' sound approach and sincere application of religion.

Those rightly guided imams would give impressive courses of lectures in the mosques where seekers of knowledge would attend in great numbers to listen to an interpretation of some verse, ask for explanation of a hadith, or seek a fatwa. People would hold those imams in the highest esteem and model themselves after their guidance so that they may be rescued in the Hereafter.

Birth and Origin

Born in Rabi` Awwal AH 164 (November 780 CE), Imam Ahmad belongs a noble house of Bani Shayban in Baghdad. His father passed away before his birth. His mother took care of him and brought him up in the most proper manner.

He was keen that he learns the different disciplines of knowledge prevalent at that time. So, he memorized the Noble Qur'an and applied himself enthusiastically to the knowledge of Hadith. He would get up at dawn to be the first student to attend the knowledge circle of his sheikh.

During his teens, he joined the circle of Abu Yusuf, a disciple of Imam Abu Hanifah and the first person to hold the post of Chief Judge. His circle was unspeakably splendid. It attracted seekers of knowledge, scholars, as well as judges of different classes and ranks. Imam Ahmad attended this circle for four years. He recorded in writing all what he learned there, which formed a great amount of papers.

He also used to attend the circle of Imam Hasheem ibn Basheer As-Solamy, the grand scholar of Hadith in Baghdad. Moreover, whenever he heard that a knowledgeable scholar came to Baghdad, he would seek to acquire knowledge from him. In this regard, he learned from the great scholars Na`eem ibn Hammad, Abdul-Rahman ibn Mahdi, and `Umayr ibn Abdullah ibn Khaled.

A Knowledge-Seeker

Seekers of knowledge at the time were known for their journeys in the pursuit of religious knowledge, especially Hadith. Regardless of the high cost and distance of this kind of journeys, seekers of knowledge would travel throughout the Muslim World where the eminent jurists and scholars of Hadith live to acquire knowledge.

Imam Ahmad commenced his blessed journey in the pursuit of Hadith in AH 186 (802 CE) at the age of 22. He went to Basra, Koufa, Ar-Riqqa, Yemen, and Al-Hijaz (i.e., Makkah and Madinah) where he met a number of prominent and great scholars and jurists of the Ummah, such as Yahya ibn Sa`id Al-Qattan, Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Waki` ibn Al-Jarraah, Abu Mu`awiyah Ad-Darir, Sufyan ibn `Uyainah, and Ash-Shafe`i.

He dedicated himself to studying at the hands of Ash-Shafe`i for a period of time, during which he learned fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and its principles. He was such a devout seeker of knowledge that Imam Ash-Shafe`i said about him that there was no one in Baghdad that was more knowledgeable in religion and skillful in memorizing hadiths than Imam Ahmad.

His great passion for seeking Hadith made him bear every difficulty willingly. Despite his great knowledge and high status among eminent scholars, he proceeded to seek knowledge from others. Though his sheikhs and colleagues attested to the ample knowledge he possessed, he did not feel embarrassed at all to sit among students to receive knowledge from others.

Seeing Imam Ahmad holding the inkwell by means of which he would write what he learned, a contemporary of him commented, "O father of Abdullah, [You sit among students] despite the high level of knowledge you have reached. You are the imam of Muslims [in knowledge]!" The reply of Imam Ahmad came thus: "With the inkwell [I stay] till I go to the grave."

A Teacher

It is worth noting that Imam Ahmad took the seat of teaching and issuing fatwa in Baghdad in AH 204 (819 CE), which was the same year Imam Ash-Shafe`i died. Imam Ahmad was thus a great successor to an eminent predecessor.

He used to have two knowledge-imparting circles: a special one at his home for his keen students and a general one in the mosque following the `Asr Prayer for ordinary people and knowledge-seekers in general.

Imam Ahmad would deal heartily with his students and would describe their inkwells with which they recorded what he imparted to them of hadiths as the lambs of Islam. Furthermore, he was so honest and meticulous in reporting hadiths that he never reported a hadith unless it was from a written source, though he was highly noted for his sharp memory.

It is also worth mentioning that Imam Ahmad memorized about million narrations from the Companions and Tab`in (first generation after Prophet Muhammad).

A number of keen students who studied at Imam Ahmad's circles for a good and long time spread his knowledge and jurisprudence everywhere. Most eminent among them was Abu Bakr Al-Maruzy, who was close to the imam and most liked by him on account of his knowledge, superior morality, truthfulness, and integrity. Imam Ahmad said about him, "Whatever he [Al-Maruzy] reports me as saying is truly said by me." Also, among the students of Imam Ahmad were Abu Bakr Al-Athram, Ishaq ibn Mansur At-Tamimi, Ibrahim ibn Ishaq Al-Harbi, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Baqi ibn Makhlad.

His School of Thought

Imam Ahmad did not record his juristic fatwas, nor did he compile a book on jurisprudence or assign such a job to any of his students. He disliked that any of his fatwas be written. This remained the case until Abu Bakr Al-Khallal, a student of Al-Maruzy undertook the responsibility of compiling the Hanbali fiqh.

Al-Khallal traveled to various places in search of the juristic opinions and fatwas issued by Imam Ahmad. He gathered such a huge number of fatwas that he compiled a book of about 20 volumes entitled Al-Jami` Al-Kabir.

He later held a circle in Al-Mahdi mosque in Baghdad to teach this book to his students. Out of this knowledge-imparting circle, the written jurisprudence of the Hanbali school of thought spread after it was no more than scattered narrations.

Afterwards, Abu Al-Qasim Al-Khiraqi summarized the book compiled by Al-Khallal in a book entitled Mukhtasar Al-Khiraqi (Al-Khiraqi's Compendium). This book found favor with people and captured the attention of the Hanbali jurists, who wrote more than 300 books wherein explaining Al-Khiraqi's book and commenting on it. The best and most well-known book among those 300 was Al-Mughni written by Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdesi.

Later, Imam Abdus-Salam ibn Abdullah, the grandfather of Imam Ibn Taymiyah, reviewed Imam Ahmad's fatwas and wrote a book entitled Al-Muharir (The Freer) on jurisprudence. After that, many other books were written on Imam Ahmad's fatwas, and these books circulated among people.

It is worth noting that the Hanbali school was the most flexible school of thought with regard to freedom of transaction and the conditions thereby the contracting parties shall be required to abide. Imam Ahmad held the opinion that the basic rule is that transactions among people are, in principle, permissible unless proved otherwise by a legal proof.

His Trial

Imam Ahmad faced a serious trial that he bore steadfastly. He refused to make any concessions in the process.

The trial began when Caliph Al-Ma'moun declared in AH 218 (833 CE) his call to consider the Qur'an a creature like all creatures. Many jurists were forced under torture to agree. But Ahmad and Muhammad ibn Noah refused to succumb. As a consequence, they were fettered and sent to Baghdad to stand before Caliph Al-Ma'moun. While they were on their way to him, the caliph passed away, so they were returned to Baghdad fettered.

On the way back to Baghdad, Muhammad ibn Noah died. But before his death, he advised his companion, Imam Ahmad, saying, "You are a man that people take as a role model. They are now waiting to see how you will act [in this trial]. So, be mindful of Almighty Allah and remain steadfast for His sake."

Imam Ahmad acted upon his companion's advice and stood up for his beliefs. He was imprisoned for more than two years. Then he was carried to Caliph Al-Mu`tasim, who followed in the footsteps of his late brother, Al-Ma'moun.

The carrot-and-stick approach was used with Imam Ahmad in the presence of the caliph and his gathering in an attempt to gain a single word from him in support of their allegation about the Qur'an being a creature. They would ask him, "What do you say about the Qur'an? Is it a creature?" And his only reply was "It is Allah's word."

With the persistent attempts by the caliph to win him over, the imam would get more determined. When despair seized them, they hang him from the heels. They would whip him without the least prick of conscience that they were whipping an innocent and guiltless individual, let alone that he was a pious scholar whom people take as a role model. They showed no mercy in lashing his infirm body with turns of their harsh whips. He fainted as a result of the flogging and was released and returned home.

During the era of Caliph Al-Wathiq (AH 227–232 [841–847 CE]), Imam Ahmad was forbidden to address people in a gathering. He was allowed to go out only for prayer.

Circumstances changed, however, when Al-Mutawakkil assumed the Caliphate. He banned the opinion saying that the Qur'an is a creature and restored to Imam Ahmad his esteem and status. Upon that, Imam Ahmad resumed his teaching circles in the mosque.

His Writings

Al-Musnad(The Authenticated) is the most prominent book among his writings. It is the biggest record of the Prophet's Sunnah as it includes about 40 thousand hadiths out of 750 thousand hadiths that Imam Ahmad had knowledge about. Imam Ahmad began writing this book after the age of 36.

Az-Zuhd (Arabic for Asceticism) tackles the hadiths and narrations on the subject of asceticism.

As-Sunnah (Arabic for Sunnah) handles the hadiths on matters of belief.

Al-Wara` wa Al-Iman (Arabic for Piety and Faith) focuses on the hadiths and narrations tackling piety and awareness of Almighty Allah.

Al-Masa'il(Arabic for Problems) is in fact a book compiled by some students of Imam Ahmad and two of his sons. It is in the form of questions and answers about juristic issues, matters of belief, chains of narrators, and hadiths and their explanations.

Fada'il As-Sahabah (Arabic for Virtues of the Companions) contains almost 2000 narrations about the virtues of the Prophet's Companions.

All these books are published and widely read.

His Death

After a life full of great achievements, Imam Ahmad passed away in Rabi` Thani 12, AH 241 (August 30, 855 CE) at the age of 77. He was buried in Baghdad.

2. Memoirs from the Life of Imâm Ahmad
By Muhammad al-Sharîf

In an interesting book, Wadaa' ar-Rasul li 'Ummatihi, Shaykh al-Qahtaani recalls the final words that Rasulallâh said on his deathbed.

After living a life of Jihâd, Dâ'wah, and Ibâdah, Rasulallâh, sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam, gathered the people around him on his deathbed and said, "I have left two things that you shall not go astray after them so long as you stick to them: the Book of Allâh and My Sunnah."

After Rasulallâh, sallallâhu 'alayhi wa sallam, moved onto ar-Rafîq al-'Alâ, the Ummah was tested with humans that tried to corrupt, discredit, or amputate the Sunnah from Islâm.

And from the depths of the Ummah's men and women, Allâh ta'ala - from His mercy to the Ummah of Muhammad - raised up warriors that would stand in the face of the most vicious of the enemies of the Sunnah.

From those people that Allâh ta'ala raised was a young boy named Ahmad. Ahmad lived in Baghdad over a thousand years ago. On those cold wintery nights, his mother - the blessed Mu'minah that she was - would wake long before Fajr to warm the water for her son. Then - again long before Fajr - she would wake him to make Wudhű, then she would wrap him in shawls and off through the molten dark alleys of Baghdad they would carefully make their way to the Masjid.

There was no male to escort him (he was an orphan), so Ahmad's mother would take him that early so that he could get a good seat in the hadîth halaqah after Fajr. Then she would wait for him long after the sun rose to safely escort him back home. Her son grew up to be one of these warrior defenders of the Sunnah, one of the four Imâms of this Dîn, Imâm Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

In his collection, al-Musnad alone, he narrated from over 280 teachers.

He grew up under the shade of the Sunnah and he lived the Sunnah. It was reported that he said, "I've never written a hadith that I did not try to implement."

And he raised his children like this too. When you see other fathers throwing a baseball with their young Muslims that Allâh entrusted them with, remember this example:

Abdullâh, Imâm Ahmad's son, taught his students that when he was young his father would play with him, "Take any chapter you wish from the Musannaf of Wakî'. Ask me any hadîth and I'll tell you the chain of narrators, or tell me any chain of narrators and I'll tell you the hadith!"

He was challenged in his Deen like few other humans have been challenged. His name remains engraved in our admiration till today - across hundreds of years, across thousands of miles, across thousands of nations - because of his love for the Sunnah and his stand against those that would seek to corrupt it.

Reading through his life, I came across an event that brought back sad memories. How do you feel when your father is swore at in public. Imâm Ahmad once prayed 'Asr and he sat with his son in the Masjid alone with another man by the name of Muhammad ibn Sa'îd Al-Khuttalî. Al-Khuttalî then remarked, "Did you (O Ahmad) tell the people to boycott Zayd ibn Khalaf?" Imam Ahmâd replied, "I received a letter from his people asking about his affair, so I replied explaining his Madhhab and what he has innovated (in the Sunnah) and commanded that they not sit with him.." Al-Khuttalî exploded in Imâm Ahmad's face, red with anger, "I'm going to make sure you go back to prison. I'm going to have them crush your ribs." The vulgarity grew louder and louder. Imâm Ahmad turned to his son, "Don't reply to what he says and don't speak to him."

Imâm Ahmad took his sandals - al-Khuttalî swearing from behind his back - and told his son, "Tell the neighbors to not speak to him nor to reply him." Imâm Ahmad stepped away as Al-Khuttalî continued in the backround cursing and shouting profanity.

When the Khalifah al-Mu'tasim heard that Imâm Ahmad had not agreed with him and his court Muftîs on a specific issue, they brought him and questioned him in the courtyard of the Khalifah. They would debate with him and like a gladiator with a spear he would hit back with bigger and stronger arguments. The Muftîs would shout, "O Khalifah, he has done Kufr!" Until the Al-Mu'tasim was convinced and in came the executioners.

They stripped Imâm Ahmad and each of the strongest guards would take turns lashing Imâm Ahmad until he fell unconscious. Regardless of his state, they continued the lashing. The sun went down that day and Imâm Ahmad had not relented in his faith. That day he became an icon for all followers of Sunnah.

Qutaybah said, "If you ever see someone that loves Imâm Ahmad, know that they are a follower of the Sunnah."

Al-Hasan ibn Arafah narrated, "I visited Imâm Ahmad ibn Hanbal after he was whipped and tortured. I said to him, "O Abu Abdillâh, you have reached the station of the Prophets!" He said, "Keep quiet. Verily, I saw nothing more than people selling their Dîn. And I saw scholars that were with me sell their Faith.

So I said to myself, 'Who am I, what am I. What am I going to say to Allâh tomorrow when I stand in front of Him and He asks me, "Did you sell your Dîn like the others did?" So I looked at the whip and the sword and chose them.

And I said, "If I die I shall return to Allâh and say: 'I was told to say that one of Your Characteristics was something created but I did not.' After that, it will be up to Him - either to punish me or forgive me."

Al-Hasan ibn Arafah then asked, "Did you feel pain when they whipped you?" He said "Yes, I felt the pain up to 20 lashes then I lost all feeling (They whipped him over eighty times). After it was over I felt no pain and that day I prayed Dhuhr standing."

[In fact he prayed as the blood soiled his clothes.]

Al-Hasan ibn Arafah started weeping when he heard what had happened. Imâm Ahmad questioned him, "Why are you crying? I did not lose my Îman. After that why should I care if I lose my life."

Qul lan yuseebana illa maa kataballaahu lana, huwa Mowlaana, wa ala Allâhi falyatawakkalil mutawakkilun.

Before - when Imâm Ahmad was being led off to the Khalifah - people had tried to dissuade him from a most certain execution. His student: Al-Marrudhî had told him, "O teacher, Allâh says, Do not kill yourselves." Imâm Ahmad had replied, "O Marrudhî, go outside and tell me what you see." Al-Marrudhî went to the wall of the Khalifah's court and saw an ocean of students with their pens and scrolls in their hands.

Al-Marrudhî asked some of them, "What are you waiting here for?" They said, "We are waiting to see what Ahmad will say and then transcribe it." Al-Marrudhî went back to Imâm Ahmad and told him what he had seen.

"O Marrudhî," he said, "what shall I gain by misguiding all those people?"

Imâm Ahmad lived a life of poverty. When others eat lavishly remember there were days - as 'Abdur-Razzaq recalls - that Imâm Ahmad would make a mistake in Salâh. When 'Abdur-Razzaq inquired further he learnt that Imam Ahmad had not eaten for 3 days.

In this life of poverty, hardship and trials, Abdullâh asked his father one day, "Abi when will we ever relax?" His father, one of the greatest revivers of the Sunnah, a role model for all Muslims, looked him in the eye and said, "With the first step we take into Jannah."

Rahim Allâhu Al-Imam Ahmad.

3. From the life and works of Imaam Ahmad Bin Hanbal
By Shaikh Saalih bin AbdulAziz Ala Shaikh
Source [Abridged from other Source]

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful, may His Peace and Blessings be upon His Final Messenger, to proceed:

Dedicating One's Youth to Worship

Since his childhood, Imaam Ahmad (may Allah have Mercy on him) could be seen with signs of nusuk on him. Ma'roof Al-Karkhee (may Allah have Mercy on him) said, "I saw Ahmad bin Hanbal when he was a young boy, and he had signs of nusuk on him. I used to hear him making statements that were full of benefit." This statement describes how he was upon guidance even as a young boy. He used to be seen with signs of nusuk on him. What is meant by nusuk is worship and acts of obedience. The effects of worship and obedience are not only physical ones seen in the appearance and dress, but their effects are also found in one's speech, manners, in the acts of worship and obedience themselves, and in one's preference for the Next Life over this one.

Imaam Ahmad said about his own self, "I did not marry until after I reached 40 years of age." His companions said that this was because he used to be busy traveling to seek knowledge before that. He went to Makkah, and from there to San'aa'. There is a story about this trip:

He set out with his companion, Yahyaa ibn Ma'een, for Hajj. He said to Yahyaa, "When I finish Hajj, verily I am going to Yemen to meet the scholar of Yemen, the scholar of Hadith, 'AbdurRazzaq bin Hammaam As-San'ani." When they reached Makkah, they found that 'AbdurRazzaq was making Hajj that year as well. So Yahyaa knew who he was and met him. He saw him going around the Ka'bah, and since he knew him, he went and greeted him. Yahyaa said to 'AbdurRazzaq, and they knew each other, "This is Ahmad bin Hanbal." So 'AbdurRazzaq became happy about this and said, "It has reached us that he is a person who has a lot of goodness." When they prayed their two rak'ahs after making tawwaaf, Yahyaa said to Imaam Ahmad, "Ahmad, our provisions for the journey to San'aa' have been used. And here is 'AbdurRazzaq, so let us stay with him so we can take some narrations from him." Imaam Ahmad said to Yahyaa bin Ma'een, "My intention is still present, and I will not oppose it. So I will continue on to San'aa'." This shows the effects of his commitment to the hardships of seeking knowledge. A trip to San'aa' in that time was not made in cars or airplanes or the likes, rather it was only made with great hardships, the realities of which can not be described.

Ma'roof said, "I saw Ahmad bin Hanbal when he was a young boy and he had signs of nusuk on him." In reality, this is what we should see in our children, that they work hard to correct themselves in their youth, in their early years. Because at this age, if they do not build upon this foundation with what is correct, with acts of worship and obedience, then it will be very difficult after that, except for those whom Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, excludes.

Whoever holds to His Religion in his youth, firmness will return to him. Someone being devout or obedient is not just a claim or a verbal ascription to something, nor is it something seen only from the outside. Rather devoutness in the Religion entails one taking on serious rituals, he must worship, and he must be obedient.

This leads us to the story when Imaam Ahmad once hosted one of his students in Hadith, 'AbdusSamad bin Sulaymaan. When he was hosting him in his house, and it came time to sleep, he brought him some water to make wudhoo' from or for general use. Then he went to sleep. When the morning came, Imaam Ahmad saw that all of the water was still there, so he asked about it. ''AbdusSamad replied, "I did not use the water." Imaam Ahmad said, "A student of the narrations who does not do anything at night?!"

He meant, "All the way to the morning, you did not pray in the night?! You did not worship!? You did not even pray two rak'ahs?!" 'AbdusSamad replied, "Verily I am a traveler." He said, "Even as a traveler!" Meaning, "Where is the witr? Where is the prayer?"

So without a doubt, if this was important in that day and time for cultivating one's soul and getting set in the proper direction, then we are in more need of it today. This is the case especially with the youth who seek knowledge, or those holding tight to their guidance, or those who display the effects of prayer, or those who are keen in doing good deeds.

One must keep his soul tied to some acts of worship. No doubt, one must keep his soul tied to some acts of obedience. If you force the soul to be obedient, it will become obedient. If you abandon it, then it will be a soul that gravitates toward wrongdoing.

It has been related that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said, "Whoever shows enduring patience, Allah will make him firm upon patience." [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Therefore, this description of Imaam Ahmad proves that he had an upbringing based on obedience to Allaah and acts of worship, so much so that he used to force his soul to shun many worldly things and to take on great hardships. The result of this was that he established his soul firmly upon obedience to Allah, the Mighty and Exalted.

Humbling Oneself and Rejecting Popularity

From the guidance that we will take from the fountains of Imaam Ahmad that do not dry up, is the statement of Muhammad bin Hasan bin Haaroon, "I saw that when Abu 'Abdullah walked the streets, he hated that someone would walk behind him."

Furthermore, 'Abdullah, the son of Imaam Ahmad, said, "When he went out to Juma'ah prayer, my father would not allow anyone to follow behind him, and he used to stop until the people following him would pass him up."

Why was that? Because this is a trial for the one being followed, and a form of humiliation to the follower. Imaam Ahmad knew that if someone followed him, he would benefit, either from his supplications, or perhaps he would ask a question, but, from his keenness to remedy his soul, he disliked to be tested by having a group of people following behind him.

A simple affair from something everyone does - he would not be pleased with anyone following him, rather he loved to walk by himself. He was so keen on keeping himself pure, by going out to the prayer and returning to his house alone.

These manners will help everyone who has been tested by Allah with a following of people, whether the people look up to him because of knowledge, status, or even worldly things. He must humble himself and not assist the Shaytan in destroying his own self.

He must shun all avenues leading to this. If he sees within himself any amazement or pride with himself pride, or that he sees himself as being great, then he must lower himself and be humble so that he can set himself straight. This is because pride is a huge thing, one of the major sins.

The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said, "The one who has even the smallest particle of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise." [Reported by Imaam Muslim in his Sahih #263]

This is what is binding on all those that the people follow, that they know this is a test from Allah and they dedicate themselves to lowering themselves and having humility. And those who follow them should be careful as well, they should not go against someone trying to work by this advice.

So if a person finds a scholar trying to be humble like this, then let him be easy on him. Let him benefit from him in any environment he finds him in, at study circles, in classrooms, etc., however, he must not follow him to every place as he may detest that. Every sincere scholar dedicated to the education of the people hates to have the people follow him, and he hates that they say great things about him, since praise is something that he fears will affect his heart.

Ibn Masud (Radhiallahu Án) said, advising his students, prohibiting them from following him, "This is a belittlement of the followers and a trial for the one being followed."

Praying at Night

One of Imaam Ahmad's students, 'Abd-us-Samad bin Sulaymaan, said, "I stayed with Ahmad bin Hanbal. He left for me a container of water. In the morning he found that I had not used it. He said, 'A companion of the narrations, and he has no activity in the night?!' I told him, 'I am a traveler.' He replied, 'Even as a traveler!'"

This is an outstanding lesson from Imaam Ahmad! The student of knowledge must keep himself upon some rites of worship, he must have an eagerness to get close to Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. How will he memorize the Sunnah? How will he gain knowledge? How will he learn? How will he gain understanding? How will he comprehend the meanings of the Quran? How will he understand its explanation? How will he memorize the Quran when he does not keep himself firm upon acts of worship and obedience?

He must dedicate himself specifically to praying at night, with whatever is easy for him. Allah says: "Stand the night except for a little" [Quran Surah Al-Muzzammil #73 Verse #2] Then, Allah the Exalted says in the last part of the same chapter: "Then recite from the Quran what is easy " [Quran Surah Al-Muzzammil #73 Verse #20] This means that you stand for a time that is easy on you, even if it is only three rak'ahs. Stand for whatever is easy for you. It can not be that the norm for the student of knowledge is that he does not pray tahajjud at night, that he does not dedicate himself to some worship. The righteous man, the one who seeks to correct himself, must have a special concern for this great act of worship, standing in the night.

Praying at night is one thing. These days we need to talk about something even more serious. We have to talk about offering the Far prayer in congregation! If the people of the past were advised to take care of their prayers at night, then where are we?! in these times when many of the people who ascribe to righteousness can not even master praying the Far prayer in congregation!

Then how will our affair be, and what should we be talking about? No doubt the affair is not easy, so let every one of us inspect our own selves. Let us repent sincerely, without delay, from every sin. If we have been negligent of our duties, then repentance is obligatory. If we have been negligent of recommended things, then a person renews his commitment to seek Allah's great Bounties.

Allah the Exalted has described the people of taqwaa in Surah Ath-Thaariyaat : " Verily the pious will be in gardens and springs, Receiving what Allah has given them, Verily they used to do good works before that, They used to sleep little at night, And they used to seek forgiveness in the morning " [Quran Surah Ath-Thaariyaat #51 Verses #14-18]

Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah have Mercy on him) spoke about these two verses "They used to sleep little at night, And they used to seek forgiveness in the morning ", with some very remarkable comments. He said, "They stood the night praying, and when the early morning came they sought forgiveness, fearing that their prayers would not be accepted from them."

These are the kinds of statements that come from those who have live hearts. We may have no part in the affair except to convey the narration, as the ones who we narrate to may be more receptive and understanding of them than the narrator.

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