Is doing tazkiya fardh?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Allah Ta’ala states in the Qur’aan:
هُوَ ٱلَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي ٱلۡأُمِّيِّـۧنَ رَسُولا مِّنۡهُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡهِمۡ ءَايَٰتِهِۦ وَيُزَكِّيهِمۡ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَإِن كَانُواْ مِن قَبۡلُ لَفِي ضَلَٰل مُّبِين (سورة الجمعة: 2)
Translation: “Allah is the One who raised amidst the unlettered people a messenger from among themselves who recites to them His verses, and purifies them (Tazkiyah), and teaches them the Book and the wisdom, while they were earlier in open error.” (Surah Al-Jumu’ah, Verse 2)
In this verse, Allah refers to the three missions of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which are:
1. To recite the verses of Allah (to propagate the deen)
2. Ta’leem (to educate)
3. Tazkiyah (to purify)
It is clear from the above verse that tazkiyah is one of the primary missions of Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Tazkiyah means to purify oneself from kufr, shirk and internal sicknesses, for example lust, abuse of the tongue, anger, malice, jealousy, love of the world, love for fame, niggardliness, greed, ostentation, vanity etc. Tazkiyah also means to adorn the heart with the lofty attributes of repentance, perseverance, gratefulness, fear of Allah, hope, abstention, trustfulness, love, sincerity, truthfulness, meditation etc.
Tazkiyah is compulsory and is a means of eternal success. Failure to do tazkiyah is a cause of failure in one’s life. Consider the following verse:
Allah Ta’ala says:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا وَقَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّاهَا (الشمس: 9، 10)
Translation: He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instils it (with corruption).” (Surah Ash-Shams, Verse 9,10)
If a person cleanses his soul from the impurities of the soul, he ascends to the heights of spirituality with ease and gains proximity to Allah. Conversely, if one exerts himself in worship but does not focus on cleaning his soul from the evils of the soul, he hinders his progress in spirituality and attaining closeness to Allah.
By way of example, there are two utensils, one is dirty and dusty and the other is clean. If purified water is poured into a dirty utensil, then the water will become dirty. However, if regular water is poured into a clean utensil, then the water will remain clean. Similarly, if a person’s heart is impure, if he exerts himself in worship, the dirt in his heart will impede his progress. Whereas, if a person’s heart is pure, then even a little worship will lead to spiritual progress.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) advised us to recite the following dua:
اللهُمَّ آتِ نَفْسِي تَقْوَاهَا، وَزَكِّهَا أَنْتَ خَيْرُ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا، أَنْتَ وَلِيُّهَا وَمَوْلَاهَا (صحيح مسلم 4/2088)
Translation: O Allah! Give piety to my soul and purify it. You alone are best to purify it, You alone are its owner and master. (Sahih Muslim: 4/2088)
An effective way to make tazkiyah is to identify a spiritual guide and seek his guidance in cleansing one’s soul. This is similar to one experiencing physical sickness when one is ill. He consults a doctor who examines him and prescribes medication after diagnosing the cause of the illness. If the patient follows the guidance and advice of the doctor, he will recover.
The book Qaseeda Burda by my honourable teacher, Mufti Ebrahim Desai, is very useful to understand the different dimensions of tazkiyah. You may purchase a hard copy or access the recordings from the following link: https://daruliftaa.net/qaseeda-burdah/
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Student – Darul Iftaa
Durban, South Africa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.