treeblueSome thoughtful quotes I came across whilst reading Shaykh al-’Affani’s book on Ikhlas (sincerity). The humbleness of the Salaf is truly admirable, this is just an insight into how they used to see themselves… 

Khalaf ibn Tamim: ‘I heard Sufyan al-Thawri saying in Makkah when the people had gathered around him,

“Lost is the Ummah when the like of me is taken as an example!”‘

And whenever he was asked a question, he would say “I am not fit to answer it.” They said, “Then who shall we ask?” He said,

“Ask the scholars and ask Allah for tawfiq (guidance).”

- this was despite him being of the major scholars in his time.

Dawud al-Ta’i: “Sins have left us, but we’re shy of much of the people’s gathering.” He also said,

“The worshippers have surpassed me and I have been cut off and left behind, O’ what ruins!”

Al-Sirri al-Saqti: “I wouldn’t like to die in a land in which I am well-known.” It was said to him, “Why is that, Abu al-Hasan?” He said,

“I fear that my grave will not accept me and I would in turn be exposed and humiliated.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri:

“I have accompanied people who when compared to them I was like a criminal thief!” (i.e. due to their virtue)

Some righteous people were once mentioned in the presence of Mukhallad ibn Husayn and he began to recite the poem…

“Do not mention them along with us and thus mix the two
Indeed the healthy one when he walks is not like the crippled.”

Qatada: ‘Isa ibn Maryam said,

“Ask me, for truly my heart is soft and I see myself to be small and humbled.”

Al-A’raj (one of Madinah’s scholars who studied under Abu Hurayrah) said:

“Examine your soul and see what evil it is upon because tomorrow every single person will be gathered with his like, so whoever falls into many sins will be gathered along with the people of those sins.”

He (rahimahullah) used to rebuke himself often and lower it, saying:

“A caller shall call on the Day of Judgement, ‘O people of such-and-such sin, rise up!’ And you will rise up with them O A’raj. Then he will call, ‘O people of such-and-such sin, rise up!’ And you shall rise up them also. Then he will call, ‘O people of such-and-such sin, rise up!’ And again you shall rise up with them as well. O A’raj, I see you rising up with every sinful group…”

Ibrahim al-Nakha’i:

“I have spoken but if I could find a way, I would never have spoken. Indeed, the era in which I become the scholar of Kufa is an evil era.”

Muhammad ibn Aslam al-Tusi:

“I have travelled in the land far and wide and by the One besides Whom there is no other God, I have not seen a soul praying towards the Qiblah that was worse in my sight than my own soul.”

Ibrahim al-Taymi:

“I have never put my deeds side by side with my speech except that I feared becoming a liar.”

Ja’far ibn Barqan: “News reached me of the virtue and righteousness of Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd, so I wrote to him saying, “O brother, write to me and tell me of your state and what you are upon (of goodness).” So he wrote back to him saying,

“Your letter has reached me asking me to inform you of my state. Let me tell you that I approached my soul and told it to love for the people what it loves for itself, and to hate for the people what it hates for itself, but I found it to be far from that. I then came to it again and told it to abandon mentioning people except that which was good, but I have found that fasting in the mid-day heat of an extremely hot day in the land of Basra to be easier than abandoning the mention of people. This, O dear brother, is my state. Wasalam.”