Imam al-Junayd on sincerity

Imam an-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Majmu’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab: Abu’ul-Qasim al-Junayd (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “A sincere person changes forty times a day, while the hypocritical show-off stays as he is forty years.

The meaning of this is that the sincere person moves with what is right, wherever it may lead, such that when prayer is deemed better by the Sacred Law, then he prays, and when it is best to be sitting with the learned, or the righteous, or guests, or his children, or taking care of something a muslim needs, or mending a broken heart, or whatever else it may be, then he does it, leaving aside what he usually does. And likewise for fasting, reciting the Qur’an, invoking Allah, eating or drinking, being serious or joking, enjoying the good life or engaging in self-sacrifice, and so on. Whenever he sees what is preferred by the Sacred Law under the circumstances, he does it, and is not bound by a particular habit or kind of devotion as the show-off is. The Prophet (may Alles bless him and give him peace) did various things of prayer, fasting, sitting for Qur’an recital and invocation, eating and drinking, dressing, riding, lovemaking with his wives, seriousness and jest, happiness and wrath, scathing condemnation for blameworthy things, leniency in punishing those who deserved it and excusing them, and so on, according to what was possible and preferable for the time and circumstances. (Source: Reliance of the Traveller, pp. 31, 32.)

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