Behave, my sons, like the elders in your youth. Let your soul be full of firmness, purity and charity. Train your mind to bravely tackle complex problems of thought and come out with lessons because cowardly minds lead man to ignorance, narrow his horizons and block from him the windows of Truth that let in the rays of happiness and the breeze of life in dead hearts. Do not hesitate to tell the truth balanced by reason. Rather, you have to be in your youth like older men, firm of will, mindful, calm and considerate. A youth will not be blamed for being mindful. So do not belittle yourselves by not seeking knowledge, nor should you tarry, because of it, from taking all chances to know what you are ignorant of because the liar is the one who claims to know everything. You should know that the one who seeks knowledge is never satiated. "Of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you." (Qur'an 17:85). So have frequent consultation with people of piety, religion and jurisprudence. Take from people of experience, those who have age, foresight, opinion, minds and wisdom. Take from them what is beneficial to you.
Avoid, my sons, consulting people of little religion, thin belief, dry heart and closed fists. One of little religion and thin belief does not care to commit the forbidden by Allah or desist from bad innovations. As for those of dry heart and closed fists, they are the people of greed and avarice. Do not let them come near you. Know that whenever a man is stingy and of tight fist, he will surely be one who takes more and give less. Whoever is like that becomes shaky and will not be steady except for a little while. So do good to people, and you win their heart.
I have never seen a good thing like doing the good;
its taste is sweet, its face is beautiful.
The good-doer, my sons, is the beloved of the most Gracious. "No ground (of complaint) can there be against such as do right." (Qur'an 9:91). This is on condition that it is for the sake of Allah that they do their good deeds. "For the mercy of Allah is always near to those who do the good." (Qur'an 7:56) "Whatever of wealth you spend that is good is for the parents and the kindred and the orphans and those in want and the wayfarers. And whatever you do that is good, Allah knows well." (Qur'an 2:215)
"If you disclose your acts of charity, even so, it is well. But if you conceal them and make them reach those really in need that is best for you. It will remove from you some of your stains of evil. And Allah is well acquainted with what you do." (Qur'an 2:271)
So be sure to seek good people for your counsel and ask for help from people of generosity, honour and high character whenever there is need for help in what you want to do. Take care, my sons. "Take not into your intimacy those outside your ranks; they will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire you to suffer. Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths; what their hearts conceal is far worse. We have made plain to you the signs if you have wisdom." (Qur'an 3:118)
You have to know, my sons, that covetousness is the cause of the first act of disobedience of man to his God Allah. So protect yourselves and your family from a fire the fuel of which is human beings and stones. Protect yourselves from hell by offering even as little a thing as half of date. Do not belittle any charitable act, even f it is only meeting your brother with a welcoming face. Covetousness is shame, stinginess bars one from doing noble acts, and avarice causes failure. "And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls, they are the ones who achieve prosperity." (Qur'an 59:9 and 64:16).
Stick to lawful earning, my sons, for that which is lawfully earned one can spend on lawful causes. Avoid the bad, for the bad leads one to its kind even if it is checked for a while. Look for the good in everything you gain, do or say and in every marriage you contract, be it for a son or daughter. This is because the good leads to the good. You have to know that Allah is good and does not accept anything but the good. When a man gets a forbidden thing into his belly, it becomes a barrier against accepting his prayer. So see to it that your food and drink are lawful; your prayer will then be answered. Beware of spending on your desires because that is a barrier against good guidance.
- Shaykh Abd Al-Mahmud al-Hayfan
in AL-WASIYYA (The Bequest)
Translated by Uthman Sayyid Ahmad Ismail al-Bili
Publisher credit: Garnet