A seven night lecture series on the spititual and moral training of the self by Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi
Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi started the lectures with an introduction to the author of this classical text – Imam Harith al-Muhasibi (May Allah Ta'ala be pleased with him), who passed away in 243 AH living in the same era as Imam Junaid al-Baghdadi (May Allah Ta'ala be pleased with him).
Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi expanded on what it means to be of the Saliheen, the people of Allah Ta'ala – he described them as individuals, who, when they are absent, they are missed, and when they are present, Allah Ta'ala is remembered. He recommended that one begins by trying to emulate the Saliheen so that one may become a man (or woman) of Allah Ta'ala. He emphasized that the most valuable thing Allah Ta'ala gave us is time, that the point of a Ni'mah (eg time) is having barakah in the Ni'mah, and that there is no good for those who do not have good Adab.
Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi's elders often reminded him: "Son, fear those who don't fear Allah Ta'ala". He continued explaining that while some people are knowledgeable about Allah Ta'ala, very few know Him (Ta'ala). He advised that one connects with Him (Ta'ala), reading the signs, and understanding them, longing for Him (Ta'ala). Renew your iman, rekindle the longing in your heart to be with Allah Ta'ala and remember the Qur'an is a life companion – so listen to what it has to say, were some of the key messages of the lesson.
Intentions and thoughts – the seeds of many of our actions – can be both good and bad. Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi explained that thoughts originate in the heart – and that deeds are judged by the heart. He continued, saying that the fasting of the masses is from food, the fasting of the "special individuals" is the fasting of the limbs (i.e. they do not commit sins) and that the fasting of the "special of the special" is the fasting of the thoughts – where the mind and heart do not indulge in any evil or bad thoughts.
He said that sometimes, one tries to guard oneself from bad thoughts – but it still implants in one's heart. His advice was simple – do not water such thoughts – do not remember them, do not talk about them, don't let it grow, giving it life.
Don't complain about Allah Ta'ala, who is the Most Merciful, to someone who is not merciful to you – the person closest to you will leave you, but Allah Ta'ala will always be there. If you seeks the help of Allah Ta'ala, you will be special to him, Shaykh explained. This is something we should all aspire to. He further explained that Allah Ta'ala wants the connection – and that Duah is the essence or core of Ibadah.
"If you’re connected, you will be protected". Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi explained that there many benefits of Thikr (i.e. the remembrance of Allah Ta'ala, connecting with Him). Some of these include that it pleases Allah Ta'ala, that it reduces Shaytaans's ability to whisper in your ear, that it illuminates the heart and face, it brings Rizq, it brings Muhabbah (love) of Allah Ta'ala – and love of Allah Ta'ala is the source of the Din, that its makes you inherit Ma'rifa (knowledge), that it will please you, and that it will please those around you. He further explained that it is the easiest form of Ibadah, that it helps to prevent you from forgetting your Lord, that it makes your heart less rigid, that it makes difficulties easy and that it is security from hypocrisy.
Any mistakes are from myself, I ask you to remember the author in your du’as and forgive me for all my shortcomings.May Allah Ta'ala guide us all. May Allah bless Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya Al-Ninowi, be pleased with him, preserve him and protect him always, Ameen