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On Following Desires

The following paragraph is a translation of a section of Ibn al-Qayyim’s Al-Faw‚’id


‘Unlawful desires are usually associated with ugliness. They leave behind a lingering sensation of pain and guilt. Hence, whenever you are tempted, think about liberating yourself. Think about all the remorse that would accompany the realisation of those desires, and then make up your mind. Struggling your way through obedience is not an easy task. It is, however, associated with goodness and soothing pleasures. Whenever you overburden yourself (with unlawful desires) think about how nice it would be to repent and set yourself free. Think about the pleasures that lawful desires will provide and try to make the correct choice. The dilemma you will experience should be reduced by remembering the sweet pleasure and the ultimate happiness that your obedience (to All‚h) will provide. Also make your struggle less of one by picturing the punishment that follows disobedience to All‚h. Logically your mind should opt for the more rewarding option and help you to endure the pain of denying yourself the realisation of such desires.’

[May All‚h reward the unknown translator]

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