Sheikh Abd al-Fattah, the late great hanafi scholar and muhaddith who passed away in 1997 is well known for his editing of books. His footnotes vary from work to work, but when they are copious they are a delight to behold, his wide reading and pulling together sources and quotes, sometimes only a few paragraphs long from literally hundreds of different books is astonishing, and a testament to his devotion to research of the works of our rightly guided Imams. One such editing of his is the Risala al-Mustarshidin of Imam al-Muhasibi who was a contemporary of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. The contents of the book are fall under the category of sufism or purification of the soul. I thought I would present some useful notes from the book.
Imam al-Muhasibi quotes Imam Ali (Allah be pleased with him) as saying:
Do not have hopes in anyone except your Lord
Sheikh Abd al-Fattah comments on this statement (p. 82):
“How great is this guidance, and how virtuous it is to act by it. It is narrated in the biography of the jurist and hadith master, the abstinent pious worshipper Ahmad bin Abi Ghalib bin al-Tallayah al-Baghdadi d.548 may Allah’s mercy be upon him, people would go to him for dua due to his immense piety. A man came to him and said: ‘Supplicate for me such and such a thing’. He replied: ‘O my brother, stand with me and let us both offer two rakats of prayer and then ask Allah Taala, for I do not leave an open door and go towards a closed door.’
From the Manaqib Imam Ahmad of Ibn al-Jawzi p.640, Dhail Tabaqat al-Hanabilah of Ibn Rajab 1:224. So do not leave an open door….offer two rakats of prayer and make dua to Him, for he is close answering, wise and all knowing.”
“Ibn al-Jawzi mentioned in his book Luqat fi Hikayat al-Salihin story number 507: Abd al-Rahman bin Ibrahim al-Fihri said: A man went to one of the rulers with a need, he found him making sajda making dua to Allah Azza Wa Jall, he said: ‘He is reliant/in need of someone else, so how can I be in need of him? Why do I not raise my need to the one with whom needs are not delayed (when raised to Him).’
He said: The ruler heard him, when he raised his head he said: ‘Bring the man to me’, so he was brought to him, he said: give him 10,000 and then said to him: ‘You have been given this by the one to whom I was making dua to in sajda, and the one to whom you turned to (Allah Taala).'”