Assalamu Alaikum, welcome to Allah Loves. The most praiseworthy station in the sight of Allah, the highest quality mentioned that was most manifested in the way that the Prophet peace be upon him carried himself is the quality of Ihsaan – it’s the quality of excellence.
We started off this series by talking about Taqwa because Taqwa is the stepping stool to Ihsaan. God-consciousness is the stepping stool to this sense of excellence. The Prophet peace be upon him described Ihsaan as worshipping Allah as if you can see Him, and if you can’t see Him then you know that He sees you.
If you remember the statement that we mentioned of Omar bin Abdul Aziz in the first episode, he said that Taqwa is that a person abandoned sins, and he said everything beyond that which is fasting long into the day, praying long into the night, those are forms of excellence. Those are forms of Ihsaan.
To understand how these two qualities go together, Taqwa is observing the sight of Allah upon you in a way that would deter you from doing anything that could compromise that love. Ihsaan is honoring the sight of Allah upon you in a way that would encourage you to do extra good deeds to earn that love at a greater degree – to even go further in earning that love of Allah.
So it beautifies your obligatory deeds and then it leads you to do deeds that aren’t even expected of you, to hold yourself to higher standards because you don’t want to just be another average person. You don’t want to just love Allah, you want to be in love with Allah. You don’t want to just get by with your obligatory good deeds, you want to do more and more and more to distinguish yourself and becoming one of those who are especially loved by Allah.
So Allah mentions throughout the Quran, “Wa Allahu yuhibbul muhsineen”. Almost in exact proportion, in fact, to the mentions of Allah’s love to Taqwa are Allah’s love to Ihsaan, Allah’s love to excellence.
Ihsaan is described in the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him both in how we interact with Allah and how we interact with people. In regards to how we interact with Allah, we go beyond the obligatory and we do that which is voluntary.
We don’t look at the people around us, or whether other people are looking at us or not, we are always focused on only the sight of Allah upon us, and that shows itself, it demonstrates itself, in the way that we rise above and the way that we tried to beautify our deeds.
The way that it manifests itself in our relationship with people, the first way that Allah actually breaks down Ihsaan is he talks about these different situations that you actually find yourself in in life. “Allathina yunfiqoon fil sarra’i wal darra’.” Those who spend both in times of ease and in times of hardship.
Now spending in times of ease, you have a required amount that you’re supposed to give in charity and you have that which you’re encouraged to give. So when that person is in ease, they give beyond their Zakat, they give beyond that which is obligatory. They open their hands and their hearts and sadaqa and charity and they give, and they give, and give.
And when they’re in hardship, just like they don’t want Allah to stop providing for them and giving to them, even when they are distant or when they’re doing things that should disqualify them from that sustenance, they to continue to give even when no one expects it of them, even when they’re in hardship because they understand that Allah is the Provider and Allah is the One worth spending for. And no person goes into poverty for giving for Allah.
So they move themselves to a different standard, they spend in ease and they spend in hardship. “Wal kalthi min al gayth,” and they swallow their anger even when their anger is justified.
They don’t just avoid doing the things that are haram in anger; they also make sure that they swallow their anger in a way that they use their anger only for that which is good. They don’t use their anger for things that are petty. They don’t use their anger in ways that are displeasing to Allah. They withhold their anger even when it may be justified because they want Allah to withhold His anger from them. “Wal ‘afeen ‘an alnas,” and they pardon people even when they have the right.
And Islam establishes the right of a person to have what’s been taken from them, giving back to them to have their sense of justice. Justice is the societal standard but when it comes to the personal level, when a person is placed in a position where they have the ability to forgive and to show mercy and to pardon, once justice has been afforded to them, they opted for a state of mercy. They opted for showing a greater degree of pardon and forgiveness because that’s what they seek from Allah.
“Ala tuhibboon Allahu yaghfir lakum?” Don’t you want Allah to pardon you and to forgive you? Even when you find yourself not deserving.
So the way to describe Ihsaan is that you see the love of Allah through all of your interactions and you aim for a higher degree of the love of Allah through all of your interactions. And because of that you hold yourself to a higher standard in all of your interactions, whether it’s in your worship or it’s in your relationships or it’s in your your work ethic – you’re always holding yourself to a higher standard because the degree of love that you seek from Allah is that much higher.
The best way to describe this to all of you is that Allah describes three types of people, or three types of selves in the Quran: Allah describes “al nafs al ammara bil su'”. The soul that commands itself with evil. That indulges in evil. Then Allah describes a soul that is accountable, “al nafs allawama”. That’s the self of Taqwa, that you’re holding yourself accountable, not doing anything to disqualify yourself from the love of Allah.
But the third one is “al nafs al mutma’inna”, the soul that is at peace with Allah. That is the self of Ihsaan, that’s the person of excellence, because they are at peace with the favor of their Lord and they always see that pursuit of the favor of their Lord, even in the most unfavorable situations in life.
We ask Allah to make us from the muhsineen and to allow us to have the degree of the muhsineen and to be loved and to only find His excellent favor on the Day of judgment, and to only be amongst those who are motivated by His love primarily before anything else.
Allahumma Ameen. See you all next time. Wassalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.