Enthusiasm

Imam Ahmad narrated, in a report that was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Amr رضي الله عنه  said: The Messenger of Allah  صلى الله عليه وسلم  said:

“Every action starts with enthusiasm, then the enthusiasm wanes; anyone whose enthusiasm wanes but (remains within the limits of) my Sunnah will prosper, but anyone whose enthusiasm wanes and drifts away to something else, will be doomed.”

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The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Every worshipper goes through a period of intense fervor and that period then comes to an end.” He observed some people going to enormous lengths in their worship of Allah and said: “That is the most intense and enthusiastic expression of Islam. Every period of such fervor has its period of time that is followed by a milder period. If that milder period is one of moderation, correctness, and balance, then this is quite good. If that period is a period of sin, then it leads to destruction.

(Musnad Ahmad)

What this means is that there may be times when a person is very energetic and enthusiastic about worship and acts of obedience, then these energetic times are followed by a decrease in enthusiasm, laziness and a drop from the level previously reached. This is something natural and there is the hope that the individual will still prosper, but that is only if, during the times of decreased enthusiasm and weakness, he does not neglect the obligatory duties, because if he abandons them or takes them lightly, he will be doomed.(1)

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه  that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم  said:

“Every deed has a period of enthusiasm, and every period of enthusiasm is followed by a slackening off. If a person is moderate and avoids extremes, then you may have hope for him, but if fingers are pointed at him, then do not count him as anything.”

(Tirmidhi, 2453-classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 57)

Al-Mubaarakfoori (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“Every deed has a period of enthusiasm” means, enthusiasm and energy for doing a thing, whether it is for good or evil.

“and every period of enthusiasm is followed by a slackening off” means, one becomes tired, weak and lethargic

“If a person is moderate and avoids extremes” means, if he controls his enthusiasm and avoids the extremes of excess and negligence when his enthusiasm wanes.

“then you may have hope for him” means, there is the hope that he will succeed, for he can continue to adhere to something moderate, and the most beloved of deeds to Allaah are those which are done consistently.

“but if fingers are pointed at him” means, he is striving hard in order to become famous for his worship and asceticism, so that he will be famous and people will point at him.

“then do not count him as anything” means, do not think of him as special or regard him as one of the righteous, for he is showing off. He did not say, “Do not have any hope for him,” because he has already fallen and he cannot catch up with what he has missed.

(Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 7/126)(2)

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