On Seeking Allah’s Pleasure and Selfish Drives

Question: Recently, a sister said that she understands that in Islam, one must do everything for the sake of pleasing Allah, and His pleasure is our only goal in obedience and submission, yet at the same time we are doing things for OUR own benefit, so that WE will be rewarded with Jannah and other such blessings…so she felt that this is a difficult thing to reconcile, as it seems like “circular logic”, and almost contradictory. Are we doing things for Allah only? or for Him, then ourselves? If we do things for Him and ourselves simultaneously, this seems like an “ego-centric” niyyah to some, not selfless. So how should one respond to this? How can it be explained logically, thoroughly so as to bring her way of thinking back on track and avoid any doubtful inclinations? 


Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah:

His pleasure is our only goal in obedience and submission, not only “at the same time” as we are doing things for OUR own benefit but more  because our greatest good is to worship Him.

The more our faith increases, the more we see (with the eyes of our head as well as those of faith) that the two are in line: to worship Him and to achieve our happiness. This is part of knowing his Oneness (Tawhid).

However, in our wayfaring into this conscious faith, it is normal to feel – most of the time – a dichotomy between faith on the one hand, and ego on the other. They wondered to the Prophet MHMD, “Can it be that one gets reward even when engaged in his own pleasure with his wife?” The Prophet MHMD assured them that yes.

The reason is that all acts, even the outwardly trivial, that are in line with the Divine will are counted for us as acts of worship. Niyya is the difference between the Believer and the unbeliever, so that even eating and sleeping become worship-`ibada instead of being merely habit-`ada. Even anger and happiness. Otherwise all these are mere instincts, lusts and appetites.

The purpose of the education of the soul is to harmonize these two dimensions.

In this way every step we make in this life is actually a test: are we turning to the Divine Countenance adorned with His blessing? or with His displeasure? It can only be one or the other. The Shari`a is a guide to knowing which is which.

The best guide to these topics is Imam al-Ghazzali’s Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din.


-Shaykh Hajj Gibril [Haddad] 

The Healthy Heart



Just as the heart may be described in terms of being alive or dead, it may also be regarded as belonging to one of three types; these are the healthy heart, the dead heart, and the sick heart.

 The Healthy Heart :

On the Day of Resurrection, only those who come to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala with a healthy heart will be saved. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala says: “The day on which neither wealth nor sons will be of any use, except for whoever brings to Allah a sound heart. (26:88-89)”


In defining the healthy heart, the following has been said: “It is a heart cleansed from any passion that challenges what Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala commands, or disputes what He forbids. It is free from any impulses which contradict His good. As a result, it is safeguarded against the worship of anything other than Him, and seeks the judgment of no other except that of His Most Beloved Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam. Its services are exclusively reserved for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, willingly and lovingly, with total reliance, relating all matters to Him, in fear, hope and sincere dedication. When it loves, its love is in the way of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. If it detests, it detests in the light of what He detests. When it gives, it gives for AllahSubhanahu wa Ta’ala. If it withholds, it withholds for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. Nevertheless, all this will not suffice for its salvation until it is free from following, or taking as its guide, anyone other than His Beloved Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam. Those who follow the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam in observing his Sunnah and the Shari`ah are guides to those who had not met him Salla Allahu ta’ala ‘alayhi wa ‘aalihi wa Sallam.


A servant with a healthy heart must dedicate it to its journey’s end and must not give precedence to any other faith or words or deeds over those of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and His Beloved Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace and those who are rightly guided, keeping the Prophetic example. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’alasays:

“Oh you who believe, do not put yourselves above Allah and His Messenger,  but fear Allah, for Allah is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)”


Love for the Ahlul Bayt & Sahaba…

Question: How can someone gain love for the Ahlul bayt & Sahaba?

Keep company with those that love and know them, and read about what Allah Most High says of them in His Book, how the Prophet praised them in his hadith, upon him blessings and peace, and read about their lives and how they benefited the Ummah forever.


-Shaykh Hajj Gibril


Abū Bakr (RadiAllahu ‘anhu), who annihilated himself in the love for the Prophet ﷺ, is also manifested the unique examples of forgiveness. For instance, there was a poor man named Mistah, to who Abū Bakr (RadiAllahu ‘anhu) was regularly helping. When Abū Bakr (RadiAllahu ‘anhu) learned that Mistah was among those who slander Aisha (Radi Allahu ‘anha), he swore that he would not help Mistah and his family anymore. Without Abū Bakr’s (Radi Allahu ‘anhu) financial aid, Mistah and his family became miserable. Upon this the following verses were revealed:

“And let not those of you who possess grace and abundance swear against giving to the near of kin and the poor and those who have fled in Allah’s way, and they should pardon and turn away. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (24; 22)

“And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.” (2; 224)

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (RadiAllahu ‘anhu) said, “Yes, by Allah, I would like that Allah forgive me.” expiated for his broken oath and went on giving Mistah the money he used to give him before. He also added, “By Allah, I will never deprive him of it at all.” (Bukharī, Maghazī, 34; Muslim, Tawbah, 56; Tabarī, Tafsīr, II, 546)

Because continuously forgiving the servants of Allah and becoming worthy of Allah’s forgiveness is an indispensable characteristic of the friends of Allah.


We should remember that forgiving all kinds of faults should not be considered as a merit. Forgiveness is a subject only in faults committed in personal matters. There are some crimes committed against society, religion and sacred things, which cannot be tolerated. In such cases, punishment is required in order to rehabilitate the criminals, establish justice and distinguish what is right and what is wrong. Otherwise forgiving these crimes will be a greater oppression to the society.

Aisha (RadiAllahu Anha) , the wife of Allah’s Apostleﷺ, told about Prophet’sﷺ approach towards forgiveness the following:

“Whenever heﷺ had to choose between two things heﷺ adopted the easier one, provided it was not sin, but if it was any sin heﷺ was the one who was the farthest from it of the people; and Allah’s Messengerﷺ never took revenge from anyone because of his personal grievance, unless what Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, had made inviolable had been violated.” 

(Muslim, Faḍāil, 79; Abū Dawūd, Kitāb al-Adab, 4)

Just like inappropriate anger causes mischief and disorder among people, not getting angry when it is necessary is moral weakness which bears similar results. To be able to get angry for the sake of Allah, when it is necessary, is a requirement of faith. For instance anger against the enemy in the battlefield is manifestation of the excitement of faith in the heart and a sign of piety and patriotism. Showing anger against the crimes committed about the matters of the rights of the society, religious and public values is an indicator of the quality of one’s faith.

The Messenger of Allah’s ﷺ life is full of manifestations of such merits. He ﷺ not only forgave the sinners in personal matters but also he treated them with goodness.