The Neglectful Heart

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once, as Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) was sitting with his teacher, Imam ash-Shafiʿi (r.a.), Shaykh Shayban ar-Raʿi (q.s.) came to them.  Imam Ahmad (r.a.) said to Imam ash-Shafiʿi (r.a.), “Abu ʿAbdullah, I would like to draw your attention to his lack of knowledge, so that he would busy himself with acquiring some of it.”

Imam ash-Shafiʿi (r.a.) exclaimed, “Do not do this!”

However, Imam Ahmad (r.a.) did not desist.  He asked Shaykh Shayban (q.s.), “What can you say about someone who forgot to perform one of the five daily prayers and cannot remember which of them he forgot?  What do you think he should do?”

Shaykh Shayban (q.s.) replied, “Ya Ahmad, that is a heart that was neglectful of God Most High.  Therefore, it must be educated in good manners, so that it would never ever be neglectful of its Master.”

On hearing this Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.) fainted.  When he came to, Imam ash-Shafiʿi (r.a.) said to him, “Did I not warn you to leave him alone?”


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