FlRST: Knowing that sin is repulsive, despicable, and contemptible. And Allah only prohibited and forbade sins as a protection and safeguard against evil and vices, just as a caring parent protects his son from harm. This reason would lead the sensible person to abandon sins even if there was no threat of punishment connected to them.
SECOND: [Having] shyness from Allah the Exalted. When the servant knows Allah is looking at him, watching over him, and sees him and hears him, he will be too shy in front of his Lord to expose himself to Allah’s wrath.
THIRD: Contemplating Allah’s favour upon you and His kindness towards you, for surely sins remove blessings, and this is inevitable. No person has ever committed a sin except that Allah removed a blessing from him due to that sin. If he repents, that blessing or a similar blessing will return to him. If he persists upon the sin, the blessing will not return to him. Sins continue to remove blessings until all the blessings are gone.
FOURTH: Fearing Allah and dreading His punishment. This is only achieved by believing in His promise and His threat, and believing in Him, His Book, and His Messenger. This means (of being patient and avoiding sins) is fortified by knowledge and certainty, and it is debilitated when knowledge and certainty is weakened.
FIFTH: Loving Allah the Exalted; this is the strongest way to remain patient and avoid transgressions and sins. This is because the person obeys the one he loves. The stronger this love grows in his heart, the more his willingness to obey Him and his unwillingness to disobey Him will grow. Sins and transgression only stem from weak love. And there is a difference between the person who abandons sins due to fearing his Lord and His punishment and the person who abandons sins due to loving his Lord.
SIXTH: [Having] self-respect, a pure heart, and dignity. This will cause the person to refrain from everything that will debase or dishonour him and make him akin to the foolish.
SEVENTH: [Having] resounding knowledge of the evil consequences of sins, their foul consequences, and their obvious harms. From the harms of sins is: A darkened face, a gloomy, dark heart, depression, stress and anxiety, sadness and pain, confinement of the heart, extreme unrest, lack of focus, weakness when facing the enemy, spoiling the heart’s beauty, confusion in your affairs, a sense of abandonment, being overpowered by one’s enemy, failing to benefit from knowledge you used to act on, forgetting to act on what you have learned or having weakness in this matter, and sickness that will surely lead to death if it takes root. Surely, sins kill the heart.
ElGHTH: Lacking worldly hope and having certainty that he will soon depart this world, and the realization that he is like a traveller who enters a town determined to leave it, or like a rider who rests in the shade of a tree then moves on and leaves it. He knows how short his stay will be and how quickly he will move on. He is keen to leave behind anything that may weigh him down or cause him harm and bring no benefit. He is keen to move on with the best that he has. There is nothing better for a person than a lack of worldly hopes, and nothing more harmful than procrastinating and focusing on worldly hopes.
NINTH: Avoiding excess in eating, drinking, clothing, sleeping, and gathering with the people. This is because the strong temptation to sin sprouts from these overindulgences. Thus, when the permis sible no longer satisfies the person, he moves to the impermissible. From the greatest things that harm the person is free time. The soul will never sit idly; rather, the soul will either busy itself with what benefits it or what harms it. This is inevitable.
TENTH: The tenth matter sums up all the previous matters, and it is for the branches to be firmly rooted in the heart. Thus, he is patient in avoiding sins, and this is only based upon the strength of his faith.
The stronger his faith becomes, the more complete his patience will be, and if his faith is weak, his patience will also be weak. If the person’s heart is filled with the belief that Allah is watching him, that Allah has forbidden for him the prohibited affairs and hated this for him, and that He hates the one who commits sins and prohibitions, and if his heart is filled with the belief in the reward and punishment, Paradise and Hell, then he will not fail to act upon this knowledge. Whoever believes they can abandon sins without firm, resolute faith is mistaken.
If the lamp of faith is strong in the heart, it will illuminate all of its corners and shine its light into its depths. That light will then spread throughout his limbs, and he will respond quickly to the promptings of faith and will obey humbly and willingly, with no hesitation and no resentment. Rather, he will rejoice in this call when it comes, just as a man rejoices in the call of his beloved who calls him to honour him, so he is always waiting for this. And Allah portions His mercy to whomever He wills, and Allah is the Owner of the great bounty.
- Taken from Tariq al-Hijratayn.
Book: One Hundred Pieces of Advice By Ibn Al Qayyim. Translated by Rasheed Barbee
Authentic Statements Publications Page 11-20