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Hadeeth Four: Striving Against One’s Desires


From al-‘Alaa ibn Ziyaad who said:

A man asked ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, saying: Which of the Believers is best in his Islaam? He replied: He from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe. He asked: Then what is the best Jihaad? He replied: He who strives against his own self [and desires] for Allaah. He asked: Then which of those who migrates (performs hijrah) is best? He replied: He who strives against his own self and desires for Allaah. He asked: Is it something you have said O ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, or Allaah’s Messenger ()? He said: Rather Allaah’s Messenger () said it.[1]


So striving against one’s own self is one of the highest and most valuable means of increasing one’s eemaan and causing the servant to draw closer to his Lord, the One free of all imperfections. Concerning this He the Blessed and Most High says:  

“As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allaah’s Religion)”[2]

So a Muslim’s striving against his own self and his desires causes his spirit to rise higher, his eemaan to increase and his soul to become purified. Furthermore this striving crowns the Muslim with a very great crown worn in his life, which is:


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[1] Reported by Ibn Nasr al-Marwazee in Ta‘zeem Qadris Salaat (no. 639). Its isnaad is good, all of its narrators are reliable except for the shaikh of the author (Ibn Nasr) Ahmad ibn Hafs ibn ‘Abdullaah. An-Nasaa’ee said, “He is all right,” and others declare him reliable. Refer to Faidul-Qadeer (2/48) of al-Manaawee.

Translator’s note: The narration reported by at-Tabaraanee in al-Kabeer from the hadeeth of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr has the wording: “…The best of those who perform hijrah are those who abandon that which Allaah has prohibited, and the best jihad is the one who strives against his own self for Allaah the Mighty and Majestic.” Declared saheeh by Shaikh al-Albaanee (Saheehul Jaami‘: no. 1129; and Silsilatus Saheehah: no.1491).

[2] Soorah al-Ankaboot (29):69.