بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
All praise is for Allah, the Mighty the Exalted. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His final Messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and upon his family and companions.
جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى الله عَليْهِ وسَلَّمَ ، فَقَالَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ ، عَلِّمْنِي ، وَأَوْجِزْ ، قَالَ : إِذَا قُمْتَ فِي صَلاَتِكَ فَصَلِّ صَلاَةَ مُوَدِّعٍ ، وَلاَ تَكَلَّمْ بِكَلاَمٍ تَعْتَذِرُ مِنْهُ ، وَأَجْمِعِ الْيَأْسَ عَمَّا فِي أَيْدِي النَّاسِ
On the authority of Abu Ayyub Al Ansari (Radiyallahu anhu) who said: “A man came to the Prophet (Sallahu alaihi wa salam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, teach me something, but be brief.” So he said: “When you stand for your prayer, pray as if it is your farewell prayer. And don’t utter a statement that you will have to excuse yourself from the embarrassment of its repercussion and give up hope for what is in the hands of others.” (Collected in Musnad of Imam Ahmad)
Imam Abdur Rahaman Ibn Nasr As Sa’di (Rahimahullah) mentioned in his commentary of this hadeeth in his book Bahja tul Quloob il Abraar wa Qurra tul A’yoon il Akhyaar pg. 195-196:
“This hadeeth comprises of three pieces of advice and if the servant of Allah adheres to them he will attain perfection and success in all of his endeavors.”
The First piece of advice pertains to completing the prayer (i.e. Salat) in the most perfect manner and encouraging the believer to be diligent in this regard. This is done by him taking account of every prayer he performs and perfecting those prayers by adhering to all of its requisites such as: the obligatory acts (i.e. waajibaat), the supererogatory acts (i.e. sunnan), as well as fulfilling the level of Ihsan (i.e. to worship Allah as if you see Him, and even though you can’t see Him, you know that He sees you), which is the highest echelon of religious devotion one can attain in his worship. This is achieved by being conscious, while in the prayer, that he is standing in front of his Lord, and imploring Him with every word he utters, whether it materializes in the form of recitation of the Qur’an, remembrance of Allah (i.e. thikr), supplication (i.e. du’a), and humility to Allah while he is standing (i.e. Qiyam), bowing (i.e. Rukoo’), prostrating (i.e. sujood), in his raising and lowering.
What will assist him in achieving this noble objective is by conditioning himself to performing every prayer in this manner void of any apprehension or laziness. He should also be aware of the fact that every prayer is his last- as if he will never perform another salat again. And it is a known fact that the one who is doing something for the very last time, he will be extremely diligent in exerting all of himself in its performance. As long as the individual can maintain a constant awareness of these useful concepts and methods, performing the prayer in the manner described previously will become easy and he will condition himself to perform all of his prayers in the same fashion.
The prayer that is performed in this manner will prevent the individual from every imprudent behavior and encourage him to exhibit every good behavior due to the increase of Iman (i.e. faith), the light of the heart, internal happiness and the overall desire to do better it was able to produce.
The Second piece of advice pertains to controlling the tongue and being conscious about what it utters. All of the affairs of the individual are centered around controlling his tongue. When the servant gains mastery over his tongue, he gains mastery over the rest of his bodily faculties, however, when his tongue gains mastery over him, and he fails to control it from injurious speech, then his affairs will be in disarray both religiously and worldly. Therefore he shouldn’t utter any speech unless he aware of the benefit in it for his religion and for his worldly affairs. Any speech, wherein the possibility stands that the individual may either be criticized for it or will have to apologize for it, should be abandoned altogether. For when he utters this type of speech it will control him to the extent that he literally becomes indentured to it and it is possible that it will be the root cause of something harmful happening to him while he has no ability to remove it.
The Third piece of advice pertains to conditioning oneself to being attached to Allah alone, whether in his worldly affairs or in those affairs related to the hereafter. Therefore he should not implore anyone except Allah, and he should not desire the bounty of anyone except Allah and he should condition himself to give up all hope for attaining what is in the hands of others, for despair, in this regard, is a protection, because the one who gives up on something is actually independent of it. So just as he would not ask with his tongue anyone except Allah, then likewise his heart shouldn’t be attached to anyone except Allah, and by this he will remain a slave only to Allah, void of any of servitude to the creation and by such he frees himself from their bond and attains honor and dignity. For attachment to the creation results in shame and degradation depending on the degree of his attachment to them, and Allah knows best.
Translated by Shadeed Muhammad on Friday January 13, 2012 corresponding to the 19th of Saffar 1433H.