“Verily the religion is ease, and none shall make the religion hard except that it will defeat him. So be moderate, do as best you can, be of good cheer, and seek help in the mornings, the afternoons, and something of the night” (Bukhari, 1.16: 39. S).
“Supplication is the very marrow of worship”
Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Tirmidhi. Cairo: n.d., 5.456: 3371. This hadith is weak, though that which follows it in Tirmidhi’s Sunan has the wording “Supplication is worship itself,” and is well and rigorously authenticated (hasan sahih) (Tirmidhi, 5.456: 3372), the latter meaning, according to Nawawi, that it has chains of transmission that are both (Tadrib al-rawi fi sharh Taqrib al-Nawawi, Beirut:1386/1966, 1.161).
God Most High says: “I shall be to My servant as he thinks I shall be. I am with him when he makes remembrance (dhikr) of Me. If he remembers Me to himself, I remember him to Myself, and if he mentions Me to an assembly, I mention him to an assembly better than they. If he draws nearer to Me by a span, I draw nearer to him by a cubit, and if he draws nearer to Me by a cubit, I draw nearer to him by a fathom. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.”
Sahih al-Bukhari. Cairo: 1313/1895. 9.147–48: 7405.
“Truly, this world and all it contains are accursed, except for the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah, that which He loves, and someone who has Sacred Knowledge or someone learning it.”
A well-authenticated (hasan) hadith related in Sunan al-Tirmidhi. Beirut: n.d. 4.561: 2322.
“None of you shall be saved by his works.” A man said, “Not even yourself, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Not even myself, unless Allah covers me with a mercy from Him. But strive to be right” (Muslim, 4.2169: 2816).
Imam Nawawi comments:
The outward purport of these hadiths [n: Muslim relates several] bears out the position of Islamic orthodoxy that no one deserves recompense or paradise for his acts of obedience. As for the words of Allah Most High “Enter paradise for that which you have done” (Qur’an 16:32), and “That is paradise, which you have been bestowed for what you did before” (Qur’an 7:43), and similar verses that indicate that paradise is entered by virtue of works, they do not contradict these hadiths. Rather, the meaning of the verses is that entering paradise is because of works, although divinely given success (tawfiq) to do the works, and being guided to have sincerity in them, and their acceptability are the mercy of Allah Most High and His favor (Sharh Sahih Muslim, 17.160–61).
The true spiritual path is one of gratitude. Abu Sulayman al-Darani used to say, “How can a sane man be proud of his works, when his works are but a gift from Allah and a blessing from Him that he must thank Him for” (Nata’ij al-afkar, 1.114). And Abu Madyan says, “The crestfallenness of the sinner is better than the exulting of the obedient” (Diwan, 50).
“Works are only according to intentions” (Muslim, 3.1515–16: 1907. S),
God Most High says: “Whomever is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him. I do not hesitate from anything I shall do more than My hesitation to take the soul of the believer who dislikes death; for I dislike displeasing him” (Bukhari, 8.131: 6502. S).