An excerpt from the book entitled “Purification of the Heart – Signs, Symptoms, and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart.” By Hamza Yusuf.
“Poem Verses 150-54
Displeasure with blame is a well-known disease of the heart. Concern with people’s opinions and desiring their praise and displeasure at their criticisms are a barrier from achieving the station of excellence in worship. Overcoming that barrier is through the realization that there is no benefit or harm unless it comes from God, the Possessor of all dominion, Exalted and Majestic is He.
Furthermore, what is prohibited from this disease is what leads to the prohibited, just as Imam al-Ghazali has elaborated.
The perfection of sincerity is that you do not give notice to any praise or blame that emanates from people.”
“Blame is not something that we would naturally embrace. It runs against human nature to love it. But the problem is when the fear of blame is coupled with the urgent desire for praise and approval by others, which is often the case. Being concerned with “creation’s opinion” places a barrier between a person and the station of ihsan, excellence in worship. This is considered a disease because the result is guiding one’s actions in deference to the praise of people or in an attempt to avoid their blame or disapproval, irrespective of the integrity and soundness of ones actions.”
“Sidi Ahmad al-Zarruq once said, the truth has the power to penetrate the hearts of people – even those whose hearts have a seal. Humanity has the right to have witnesses living among them, those who are willing to defend the truth no matter how unpopular it may be.”
“The Prophet (s.a.w) said to Ibn ‘Abbas, “Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help from God. Know that if the whole nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole nation were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried.”
“There is room for diplomacy and discretion, particularly of knowing when it is best to say the truth. This discretion, however, is not informed by the fear of blame, but rather by clarity regarding one’s objectives. Wisdom is completely different from seeking the approbation of others. The Prophet (s.a.w) said that it is the highest form of struggle (jihad) to speak the truth in the face of a tyrant.”
“Doing something for the sake of God is the manifestation of strong faith. Whether someone praises you or not is entirely inconsequential.”