Recently I watched a lecture called “Purity of the Pure” by Ustadh Abu Mussab, which is about tazkiyah. Tazkiyah basically deals with the purification of the soul- all sufism aside- according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. Here’s the summary…in case you’ve got no time to watch the whole thing (though i recommend that you do anyway :D). If I’m not wrong, all the following information is adapted from the works of Ibn Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him).
Tazkiyah generally means purification (tat’heer) and increasing (ziyaadah), in this case increasing in purity. But a more detailed meaning is as follows:
Tazkiyah = Takhliyah + Tahliyah
Takhliyah = abandonment of spiritual diseases
Tahliyah = the acquiring of good character
How to purify oneself:
1. Avoid: showing off, miserliness, self-admiration and feeling secure from Allah’s Plot
2. Acquire sincerity and the fear of Allah. Ensure that our deeds are for His sake only.
3. Observe the obligations (Al-fareedhah) – the 5 pillars of Islam
4. Increase in the voluntary acts of worship we do. There are many types of voluntary acts of worship (nawaafil), and we may choose whatever we wanna do as long as it’s in line with the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
5. Reflect on the Qur’an. How many of us realised that in Surah Ash-Shams Allah swore 11 times before He said “He has succeeded who purifies it (the soul)” in order to show how important purification of the soul is? (check your mushaf!)
6. Repent. Make taubah on a constant basis. Even the muttaq (one who is conscious of Allah) can fall into faahishah (abhorrent sins like zina), but the muttaq is the one who repents sincerely.
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.
Surah Al-‘Imran Ayah 135
Conditions of Taubah (minimum 6)
i. Feeling regretful
ii. Repenting for the sake of Allah
iii. Abandoning that sin
iv. Having the intention to never go back to it again
v. Taubah must be done before the soul reaches the collar bone or before the sun rises from where it sets
vi. If the sin involved taking people’s rights, we have to return them their rights
7. Seeking forgiveness aka istighfaar (this is NOT synonymous with taubah). Istighfaar eventually leads to taubah. Allah says whoever turns away from the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah, He shall assign him a shaitan who will be like his qareen (like a close buddy)
And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful – We appoint for him a devil, and he is to him a companion.
Surah Az-Zukhruf Ayah 36
8. Remembering death. When we see someone die we should think “that’s gonna be me one day”. Preparation for death will then take place, and we must ensure every day that we’re ready to die. At least the salah…we should ensure it’s done right.
9. Assume the worst about yourself. In surah Al-Mu’minun, Allah says the true believers are in the state of awe in fear of Allah, and are scared that their deeds won’t be accepted.
And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord –
Surah Al-Mu’minun Ayah 60
Allah says in the Qur’an…
O you who have believed, fear Allah . And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah . Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
Surah Al-Hashr Ayah 18
We have to do self-evalutaion.
Umar (radiyallahu anhu) said: “Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable.”
A wise man said: It is a right incumbent on every intelligent person not to be heedless about 4 hours (as in 4 things we should do every day)
i. A time should be dedicated where you call on Allah (‘ibadah)
ii. Another time should be dedicated to hold yourself accountable (especially whether or not we have wronged anyone).
iii. Another time should be dedicated to spend with friends that show your faults, mistakes, etc. These are actually your genuine friends.
iv. Finally a time should be dedicated where you allow yourself to enjoy yourself (as long as it’s halaal) and what you do in this time is what will aid you in carrying out the other 3 points mentioned above.
Don’t worry, there’s a time for ‘ibadah and there’s a time for other things…
It was narrated that Hanzalah al-Usaydi said: Abu Bakr met me and said: How are you, O Hanzalah? I said: Hanzalah has become a hypocrite. He said: Subhan Allah! What are you saying? I said: When we are with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he reminds us of the Fire and the Garden until it is as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but when we depart from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), we attend to our wives and children and businesses, and we forget a great deal. Abu Bakr said: By Allah, we experience something similar. Abu Bakr and I went and entered upon the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and I said: Hanzalah has become a hypocrite, O Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Why is that?” I said: O Messenger of Allah, when we are with you, you remind us of the Fire and the Garden until it is as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but when we depart from you, we attend to our wives and children and businesses, and we forget a great deal. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if you continued as you are when you are with me, and continued to remember (Paradise and Hell), the angels would shake hands with you in your homes and on the streets. But, O Hanzalah, there is a time for this and a time for that,” (he said it) three times.
Narrated by Muslim (2750).
11. Reduce sleep, eating ad talking. Don’t eliminate them, reduce them because we tend to over-indulge ourselves in these things.
12. Patience. This is needed to accomplish all the above.
Zaid bin Arqam (radiyallahu anhu) reported: