“At the occasion of a sin, heedlessness and neglect of the sinner is aggravated until he or she comes to enjoy the fruit of her forbidden desires. This very pleasure in sinning is witness to the sinner’s ignorance of the One, Allah, whom he or she is defying and of its grievous consequences. Indeed, one’s pleasure at sinning is more harmful than the sin itself. A believer never enjoys the fruits of his or her sinning. Rather, even while committing the sin the believer’s heart is aching from inside, but the intoxication of desire has covered up his heart’s ache. If the heart ever becomes void of this remorseful ache of sinning, and the joy of sinning overpowers any feeling of remorse, then one should doubt one’s faith, and cry over the death of his heart.
Such an aggravated state of remorseless sinning is a very scary situation indeed, and only a few ever became aware of it, while it leads them head on towards utter ruin unless they make up by the following three things…”
“by Ibn al-Qayyim, translated by Dr Ovamir Anjum. Widely read and admired among contemporary Arabic readers for its piercing spiritual and psychological insight, literary charm and its potential to bridge the Sufi and Salafi divide, Madârij has received little attention in Western scholarship, the most comprehensive treatment of it (prior to Livnat Holtzman’s excellent edited volume A Scholar in the Shadow), being Joseph N. Bell’s monograph on Hanbalite spirituality, which establishes Madârij as one of Ibn Al-Qayyim’s last and most mature spiritual writings. Given its liminal location in Sufi as well as Salafi tradition, Madârij offers valuable insights into the conceptual history of Sufism, and sheds light on some elusive debates on the nature of Islamic spirituality. The purpose of this Introduction is to delineate the main project of the Madârij, reflect on the nature of the well-known relationship of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’s spiritual vision to that of his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728/1328), and on the nature of the much-debated relationship of these figures to the historical discourse of Sufism.”