Al-Muhasibi on Excess

“ I’ve found that every affliction which comes over the heart is due to excess. This is fundamentally due to approaching this lowly life in a state of ignorance and forgetting about your true place of return after having known it. Savior from this is through leaving off everything unknown by piety and taking nothing except through certainty.

I’ve found that the corruption of the heart is corruption of the Din; do you not see that the Messenger of Allah said “Is there not in the body, a morsel of flesh; if it is wholesome then the body is as well, and if it is corrupt then so be the body; is it not the Heart?”; The meaning of body here being the Din, because through the Din the limbs are either made wholesome or corrupt.

The corruption of the heart comes from forgetting to take ones’ self to account, deceiving ones’ self through false hopes. If you wish to heal your heart then stop for a moment to ponder you decisions and thoughts, take that which is for Allah and leave off that which is for other than him. Assist in ridding yourself of false hopes through consistently remembering death.

 

I’ve found that the basis’ for excess that move the heart appear to manifest themselves through the listening, sight, speech, food, clothes, and housing.

– Excess in listening leading to heedlessness and forgetfulness

– Excess in sight leading to recklessness and confusion

– Excess in speech leading to unneeded articulacy and innovation

– Excess in food leading to gluttony and overindulgence

– Excess in clothes leading to pride and pompousness

– Excess in housing leading to wastefulness and conceit

So remember that preserving your limbs is an obligation and leaving off excess is a virtue.”

 

Al-Muhasibi, Al-Harith ibn Asad. Risalat al-Mustarshidin. Maktab al-Matbu’at al-Islamiyyah, Beirut. Pp.164-170

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