Hazrat Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr

Hadhrat Imām Qāsim ibn Muhammad ibn Abū Bakr as-Siddīq (24-107 AH), radiyAllāhu anhum ajma’īn, was one of the greatest Tābi’īn and one of the great seven jurists of Madinah.

He was grandson of Amīr al-Mu’minīn Abū Bakr as-Siddīq radiyAllāhu anhu, and nephew of Umm al-Mu’mineen Sayyida Āishā Siddīqā raziyAllahu anhā.

He married his cousin Asmā bint Abdur-Rahmān ibn Abū Bakr as-Siddīq radiyAllāhu anhum. They had a daughter named Fātimā, also called Umm Farwā, who was married to Imām Muhammad al-Bāqir bin Imām Zain al-Ābidīn. She was also the mother of Imām Ja’far as-Sādiq, who received the secret of the Naqshbandi way from his grandfather Imām Qāsim.

Hazrat Qasim b. Muhammad is among the hadith transmitters who is reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of both Shia and Sunni scholars. In most tarajim (biography books) and rijal books of both schools, he has been admired by kind descriptions.

Sunni Scholars

In his Sahih, al-Bukhari has introduced him the most knowledgeable man of his time. Muhammad b. Sa’d, the author of Tabaqat al-kubra, quotes from Muhammad b. ‘Umar al-Waqidi and introduces Qasim b. Muhammad as a great, trustworthy and pious faqih. Ibn Hibban, Ibn Khallakan, Ibn Hajar and some other Sunni scholars have mentioned similar descriptions about Qasim b. Muhammad in their books. These expressions suggest the credit of Qasim b. Muhammad before Sunni scholars.

Shia Scholars

In his rijal, al-Shaykh al-Tusi introduces Qasim b. Muhammad among Shia narrators of hadiths. Also, in his Majalis al-mu’minin, Qadi Nur Allah Shushtari quotes from Ibn Dawud al-Hilli, among Shia scholars of rijal, and introduces Qasim b. Muhammad a faqih and scholar among the companions of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Further, in his Bihar al-anwar, ‘Allama al-Majlisi has mentioned Qasim b. Muhammad among Shia’s trustworthy scholars. Also in his Qamus al-rijal, Muhamamd Taqi Shushtariintroduces Qasim b. Muhammad among pure Shias

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He was one of the seven most famous jurists in Madinat al-Munawwara. It was through these seven great Imams that hadith, fiqh(jurisprudence) and tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur’an were disseminated to the people. His mother was the daughter of the last king of Persia, Yazdagir. His grandfather was the first khalif, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. He met some of the Tabi`in, such as Salim bin `Abdullah ibn `Umar .

He was a pious imam and was very knowledgeable in hadith narration. Abu Zannad said, “I never saw anyone better than him in following the Sunnah of the Prophet . In our time no one is considered perfect until he is perfect in following the Sunnah of the Prophet . And Qassim is one of the perfected men.”

Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Zannad said that his father said, “I didn’t see anyone who knew the Sunnah better than al-Qassim did.”

Abu Nu`aym said of him in his book Hilyat al- Awliya: “He was able to extract the deepest juristic rulings and he was supreme in manners and ethics.”

Imam Malik narrated that `Umar bin `Abdul Aziz , considered the fifth rightly-guided khalif, said, “If it was in my hands, I would have made al-Qassim the khalif in my time.”

Sufyan said, “Some people came to al-Qassim with sadaqa (a donation) which he distributed. After he distributed it he went to pray. While he was praying the people began to speak negatively about him. His son said to them, ‘You are speaking behind the back of a man who distributed your sadaqa and didn’t take one dirham from it for himself.’ Quickly his father scolded him saying, ‘Don’t speak, but keep quiet.’ He wanted to teach his son not to defend him, as his only desire was to please Allah and he had no concern for the opinion of people.

Yahya bin Sayyid said, “We never found, in our time in Madinah, anyone better than al-Qassim.” Ayyub as-Saqityani  said, “I haven’t seen anyone better than Imam Qassim. He left 100,000 dinars behind for the poor when he passed away, and it was all from his lawful (halal) earnings.”

He died in a place between Makkah and Madinah called al-Qudayd in the year 108 (or 109) H. while he was on pilgrimage. He was seventy years old at the time of his passing.

Al-Qassim passed the Secret of the Golden Chain to his successor, his grandson, the Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq .

Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq  ² was one of the seven most famous jurists in Madinah, being the most knowledgeable among them. When he approached death it is related that the Kabah said, “O Qasim! I am going to miss you and I am not going to see you again in this dunya.” Then the Kabah made five hundred circumambulations around Qasim out of respect for him.

So long as you have not contemplated the Creator,

You belong to created beings.

But when you have contemplated Him,

Created beings belong to you.

Ibn Ata Allah , Hikam [1]


Shaykh Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq ²  descended from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq on his father’s side and from Ali ibn Abi Talib t on his mother’s side. He was born on a Thursday, in the holy month of Ramadan.

It is narrated that he said, “My grandfather, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq ², was alone with the Prophet (s) in the Cave of THAWR during migration from Makkah to Madinah, and the Prophet said to him, ‘You have been with me all your life and you have carried all sorts of difficulties. And now I want you to make a supplication to invoke God’s favor on you.’ Abu Bakr then said, ‘O Prophet of God, you are the secret of my soul and the secret of my heart. You know better what I need.’”

The Prophet (s) raised his hands and said, “O God, as long as my Divine Law proceeds to Judgment Day [2] may God grant thatamong your descendants are those who carry it and those who inherit its inner secrets, and grant that among your descendants are those who are on the Straight Path and those who guide to it.”{ secret our Father gave to us as the Naqshbandi Inheritance}

The first answer to that supplication and the first one to receive that blessing was Sayyidina Qasim (as). In his time he was known in Madina as Abu Muhammad. People came to listen to his guidance, his lectures (suhbah) and his disclosures of the hidden meanings of the Quran. Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was one of the seven most famous jurists in Madinah, being the most knowledgeable among them. It was through these seven great Imams that the Traditions, early jurisprudence, and Quranic commentaries were disseminated to the people.

He met some of the Successors of the Companions, including Salim ibn Abd Allah ibn Umar  ².

He was a pious imam and was very knowledgeable in the narration of the Traditions. Abu Zannad said, “I never saw anyone better than him in following the Sunnah of the Prophet (s). In our time no one is considered perfect until he is perfect in following the Sunnah of the Prophet (s), and Qasim is one of the perfected men.”

Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Zannad  said that his father said, “I did not see anyone who knew the Sunnah better than al-Qasim.”

Abu Nuaym said of him in his book Hilyat al-Awliya: “He was able to extract the deepest juristic rulings and he was supreme in manners and ethics.”

Imam Malik  narrated that Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz  , considered the fifth rightly-guided caliph, said, “If it were in my hands, I would have made al-Qasim (as) the caliph in my time.”

Sufyan said, “Some people came to al-Qasim with charity which he distributed. After he distributed it, he went to pray. While he was praying, the people began to speak negatively about him. His son said to them, ‘You are speaking behind the back of a man who distributed your charity and did not take one dirham  from it for himself.’ Quickly his father scolded him saying, ‘Do not speak, but keep quiet.’” He wanted to teach his son not to defend him, as his only desire was to please God. He had no concern for the opinion of people.

Yahya ibn Sayyid said, “We never found, in our time in Madinah, anyone better than al-Qasim.” Ayyub as-Saqityani  said, “I have not seen anyone better than Imam Qasim. He left 100,000  dinarsbehind for the poor when he passed away, and it was all from his lawful earnings.”

One of His Miracles

Grandshaykh Sharafuddin  narrated the following story:

The year in which Abu Muhammad Qasim (as) was to leave this world, he set out on the pilgrimage on the third of Ramadan. When he arrived at al-Qudayd, where pilgrims usually sojourn, God opened to his vision to behold angels descending from heaven and ascending in countless numbers. They would come down, visit the place, and then go back up. And while he watched these angels carrying the blessings with which God was sending them, it was as if that light and concentrated power was being poured into his heart directly, filling it with sincerity and God-consciousness.

As soon as this vision occurred, he fell asleep. In a dream he saw Abu Bakr as-Siddiq  coming to him. He said, “O my grandfather, who are these heavenly beings that are descending and ascending and who have filled my heart with God-consciousness?”

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq  answered, “Those angels you see ascending and descending have been assigned to your grave by God the Most High. They are constantly visiting it. They are obtaining blessings from where your body is going to be buried in the earth. To reverence you, God ordered them to come down and to solicit blessings for you. O my grandson, don’t be heedless about your death; it is coming soon. You are going to leave this world and be raised to the Divine Presence.”

Qasim (as) immediately opened his eyes  and saw his grandfather before him. He said, “I just saw you in a dream.” Abu Bakr as-Siddiq replied, “Yes, I was ordered to meet you.” “That means I am about to leave this world,” said Qasim (as). “Yes, you are going to leave the world and accompany us to the hereafter,” said our master Abu Bakr as-Siddiq .

“What kind of deed do you advise me to do in my last moments on earth?” Qasim (as) asked his grandfather. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra) answered, “O my son, keep your tongue moist with dhikr Allahand keep your heart ready and present with dhikr Allah. That is the best you can ever achieve in this world.”

Then Abu Bakr t disappeared and Qasim (as) began dhikr on his tongue and in his heart. He continued his journey to Makkah where he stayed until the time of Hajj. Then he witnessed the standing at Arafah (which occurs each year on the 9th of Dhul-Hijja). In that year many saints, both men and women, were spiritually present at Arafah, and Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra) met with them.

As they were standing, they all heard the Plain of Arafah and its mountain crying mournfully. They asked Mount Arafah, “Why are you crying this way?” and Mount Arafah replied, “I and all the angels are crying, because today this earth is going to lose one of its pillars.”

They asked, “Who is that pillar that the earth is about to lose?” Mount Arafah replied, “Abu Muhammad Qasim is going to leave this world, and the world will no longer be honored with his steps, and I will no longer see him on my plain, where all pilgrims come, and I will miss him. That is why I am crying in this way. Not only from myself, but his grandfather Muhammad, and his grandfather Abu Bakr, and his grandfather Ali, and the whole world is crying. They say the death of a scholar is the death of the world.”

At that moment the Prophet (s) and Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (ra) were spiritually present on Arafah, where they were crying. Prophet (s) said, “With the death of Qasim great corruption will appear on earth, for he was one of the pillars able to prevent it.”

Previously, that mournful crying of Mount Arafah only occurred when the Prophet (s) passed away from this world, then when Abu Bakr passed, then when Salman passed, and when Qasim (as) passed. One of the saints, Rabia al-Adawiyya, met Qasim (as) in the spiritual assembly of saints and he said, “Every dry thing and living thing, I heard them crying. Why, Oh Rabia, did this happen? I never experienced such crying in my life. Do you know its cause?” She replied, “O Abu Muhammad, I also was not able to discern the nature of that crying, so you must ask your grandfather, Abu Bakr.”

Abu Bakr  appeared to them spiritually saying, “That crying from every point on this earth is because you are leaving this worldly life, as I informed you on your pilgrimage.” Then Qasim (as) raised his hands and prayed to God, “Since I am passing away from this life now, forgive whoever stood with me on Mount Arafah.” Then they heard a voice saying, “For your sake, God has forgiven whoever stood with you on Mount Arafah on this Hajj.” At that moment God revealed to Qasim’s heart unlimited Gnostic knowledge.

Then he departed from Mount Arafah and said, “O Mount Arafah, don’t forget me on Judgment Day. All saints and all prophets stood here and so I ask you not to forget me on Judgment Day.” That huge mountain  replied, “O Qasim,” in a loud voice which everyone could hear, “Don’t forget me on the Judgment Day. Don’t forget me. Let me be part of the intercession of the Prophet.”

At that moment Qasimt  left Mount Arafah and arrived at Makkah al-Mukarrama, at the Kabah . There he heard the sound of crying coming from the House of God and it kept increasing as he approached, until everyone could hear it. That was the voice of the Kabah, crying for the passing of Qasim (as) from this world. At the same time a flood of tears poured forth from the Kabah, flooding the entire area with water.

The House of God said, “O Qasim! I am going to miss you for I will never again see you in this world.” Then the House of God made five hundred circumambulations around Qasim (as) out of respect for him.

It must be known that whenever a saint visits the Kabah and greets it, the Kabah responds to that greetings saying, “Wa alayka as-salam ya wali-Allah,” “and upon you be peace, O friend of God.”

Then Qasim (as) said farewell to the Hajar al-Aswad (Black Stone), then to Jannat al-Mualla, the cemetery in which Khadija al-Kubra , first wife of the Prophet (s), is buried, and then to all of Makkah. He then left and went to al-Qudayd, a place between Makkah and Madinah, on the 9th of Muharram , where he passed on to the next life. The year was 108 (or 109) AH/726 CE, and he was seventy years old. He passed the secret of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain to his successor, his grandson, Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as).

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Al Qasim ibn Muhammad was the grandson of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). He was born in the 30th year after the hijrah, which corresponds to the year 650 AD. He is the cousin of Zayn al-Abideen, the great-grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). Ja’far as-Sadiq is the grandson of Qasim ibn Muhammad.

When Abu Bakr’s son, Muhammad, was martyred in Egypt, his son Qasim was left an orphan at 6 years old. His paternal aunt, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him), then raised him[1].

Qasim ibn Muhammad relates the following anecdote from his childhood, which shows his closeness to his aunt:

“On the Day of Arafah, my aunt Aisha would shave our heads and send us to the mosque. The next day she would then make the sacrifice in front of us”[2].

When he was older he would visit her often and learned from her many rulings regarding the Holy Qur’an, the Sunnah and the life of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He narrates an anecdote from those days:

“Every morning after leaving my house, I would stop by my aunt Aisha’s house. One day when I went to her house she was praying a nafilah prayer and was reciting the following verse:

“(The people of taqwa will say): But Allah was gracious to us and safeguarded us from the punishment of the searing wind’ (Tur, 52:27).

She was praying whilst in qiyam, and weeping and repeating this verse. I waited until I was tired of waiting and then went to the market to purchase some needs. When I returned, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) was in the same position, praying and weeping[3].

His Virtues

 Qasim ibn Muhammad was a very trustworthy, scrupulous and pious man. He was a great faqih and imam in the religious sciences. He was the most important person of his time and someone whom everyone sought out[4].

Yahya ibn Said (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“We never saw anyone in Madina more virtuous than Qasim ibn Muhammad”[5].

He was a man with strong faith and deep religious knowledge and wisdom. Just like his honourable grandfather, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), he was very benevolent, intelligent, careful and serious, resolute and determined in regards to the affairs of the community of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

This is why Umar ibn Abdulaziz said about him:

“If it were in my hands I would leave the caliphate to Qasim ibn Muhammad”[6].

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a model of nobility and awe. He was always in a state of contemplation and deep reverence. One could see the traces of prostration upon his blessed forehead.

He was filled with love for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). He liked visiting the blessed grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and being close to him in order to quench the longing and yearning he felt for him. One day he said to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him):

“Dear mother, would you please open for me the room in which the blessed prophet’s grave is?”

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) then opened the door that contained those three graves and showed him the grave of the prophet[7].

Qasim ibn Muhammad would never censure anyone nor would he ever speak against them[8].

He was extremely indifferent to the pleasures of this world. In his eyes the world was less important than a mere atom.

This is why he was able to give away 100,000 dirhams, given to him as booty, to the poor, without even touching it. Even in times of financial distress and need he would give away wealth that was given to him. He never accepted anything from anybody[9].

With his superior personality and character, he earned the admiration of all. People would take him as their standard and order their lives according to his model. Qasim ibn Muhammad united both the outer and inner aspects of the religion and transmitted them to the next generations with his state, his words and his model lifestyle. He was a great friend of Allah.

The depth of his knowledge of the hadith sciences

Qasim ibn Muhammad became a select student of the Blessed Companions of Madina. He was one of the leading righteous men and scholars of the generation of the Tabii’een.

Abu al-Zinad, the Madinan faqih, said about him:

“I have never seen anyone who knows and applies the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) better than Qasim ibn Muhammad. Study at that time consisted of learning and living the Sunnah”[10].

Qasim ibn Muhammad benefitted greatly from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in particular and narrated many hadiths from her. He also benefitted and learned from many great Companions such as Salman Farisi, Abu Hurairah, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with all of them).  He was an ocean in the sciences of hadith and tafsir. The masters of the Tabii’een narrated hadith from him.

Qasim ibn Muhammad was very meticulous about narrating hadith word for word and he was a very scrupulous narrator. He narrated only about one hundred hadith for fear of making an incorrect or deficient narration[11].

The scholars of hadith were in complete agreement about the trustworthiness of his narrations.

The depth of his knowledge of fiqh

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a faqih who was taught and trained by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the mother of the believers[12].

Qasim ibn Muhammad would arrive at the mosque early in the morning, perform two rakats of prayer, and then he would sit for a long time answering various questions for the people who would gather around him and the people would arrive at the mosque early in order to listen to him talk. He would continue his talk after the ‘isha prayer in the evening[13].

The hadith that he related were more related to rulings (ahkam). According to Abdurrahman ibn Abi Amra’, his mother wished to free a slave but she delayed this until the morning. However she passed away before the morning. Abdurrahman then went to Qasim ibn Muhammad and asked him:

“If I free a slave in place of my mother, would this benefit her (would she receive a reward for it)?”

He gave the following reply:

“Sa’d ibn Ubadah once went to the Messenger of Allah and asked:

“My mother passed away. If I free a slave on her behalf will she benefit?”

Allah’s Messenger replied: “Yes” (Muwatta’, Itk, 13).

His fear of Allah

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a true Friend of Allah, whose heart trembled and whose eyes were always teary from fear of Allah. He was always sorrowful and his head would be bowed down out of his fear of Allah. When he was asked about a matter about which he had no knowledge, he would not hesitate to say: “I do not know” and feared incurring the wrath of Allah by making an incorrect ruling. Whenever he was asked too many questions he would say:

“By Allah we do not know the answer to all of what you ask. If we knew we would not hide it from you and it would not be lawful for us to do so anyway”[14].

He would not make commentary (tafsir) on the Qur’an from his own opinions. However he would give a ruling about a clear matter of which he had knowledge saying:

“This is my opinion about this, but I cannot say that it is definitely correct”[15].

His humility

Despite being the greatest scholar of his time, Qasim ibn Muhammad lived a very humble life on account of the depth of his knowledge of Allah (marifatullah). One time a man insistently asked him:

“Is Salim more knowledgeable or are you?” He evaded this question, neither praising himself nor saying something in opposition to the truth[16].

He always preferred his brothers over himself and was very selfless. He gave out much charity but never wished for this to be heard or spoken about. When he heard people talking about it he would immediately interrupt and change the subject[17].

His Death

During the last year of his life, the eyes of Qasim ibn Muhammad lost their sight and he set out to make the journey for either hajj or umrah. When he reached the site of Qudayd, he fell ill and realising that he was about to die he said to his son:

“Shroud me in what I am wearing now, that is my izar and rida that I pray in” His son asked:

“Can we not make two layers for your shroud?”

“My son, my grandfather Abu Bakr was also shrouded in three such items of clothing. They are our criteria. The living have more right to and are more worthy of clothing than the dead”.

He made a last request that people not praise him after his death[18].

He then prayed as follows:

أَنْتَ رَبّ۪ى وَحِبّ۪ى وَسَيِّد۪ى

“O Allah! You are my Lord, my Beloved and my Master”[19]. He passed away there a short time after[20].

Some of his wise words

  • “One of the greatest sins is to belittle one’s sins” [21].
  • “I lived with a people (the Blessed Companions) who did not like to speak about what they did not do”[22].
  • Qasim ibn Muhammad once heard a man say:

“How insolent is such and such towards Allah?” He said to him: “It is not fitting for the sons of Adam to be insolent towards Allah. We can only say about such a person:  “How little does he know Allah”[23].

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad once saw a man begging at Arafah on the Day of Arafah. He said to him: “Woe to you o begger! Do you ask from other than Allah on such a day?”[24].
  • “Almighty Allah bestowed a mercy on people through the different opinions of the Companions. Whichever of the Companions’ opinion you take, you will not be distressed”[25].
  • “The most fruitful woman is the one who is the least burden financially”[26].

Some of his narrations

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad narrates:

One time my aunt Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) fell ill.  Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) came to visit her and said:

“O Mother of the Believers! You are going to two great honourable guides and intercessors, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). (How happy for you, do not worry, be at ease) (Bukhari, Ashabu an-Nabi, 30).

  • According to Qasim ibn Muhammad one of the Companions (probably Abdullah ibn Zayd) became blind. His friends came to visit him. However he was not worried about losing his sight. He responded to those who came to console him as follows:

“I wanted those eyes to be able to look at the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). Since he is gone, I would not be happy even if I had the most beautiful eyes of a gazelle from Tubale (in Yemen)” (Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, no: 533; Ibn Sa‘d, II, 313).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad narrates a hadith from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) as follows: One day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Do you know who the first people will be to run for shade on the Day of Judgement?”

His Companions replied:

“Allah and His Messenger know best”. The prophet said:

“They are those who when their rights were entrusted to them, they accepted, and when a right was asked from them, they generously abided, and when judging amongst the people, they acted as if they were judging for themselves” (Ahmad, VI, 67, 69).

  • According to a narration by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) Qasim ibn Muhammad reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“If a Muslim immediately turns away from looking at a beautiful woman Allah, Most High, will create a state of worship in him in which he will taste spiritual pleasure and joy” (Ahmad, V, 264; Haysami, VIII, 63; Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 187).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad transmitted the following statement from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her):

“The most blessed marriage ceremony is the one that is not financially burdensome”. He was asked:

“Did Aisha narrate this from the Messenger of Allah?” Showing his extreme care in these matters he said:

“This is how it was narrated to me and this is how I memorised it” (Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 186).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad said:

“Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked: “There is a person who strives to perform good deeds, but sometimes commits sins. There is another person who does not put much effort into performing good deeds but who also does not sin.  Which of these is more superior?” He replied:

“Refraining from sin appears more pleasing to me” (Abu Dawud, Zuhd, p. 356).

We should heed this advice today and try to carefully protect ourselves from such hazards which arise from television, the internet, fashion and shopping centres”. Repulsion of harm is better than attracting benefit”. That is, it is more important and necessary to repulse what is harmful then to try to gain what is of benefit. It is first necessary to remove the puss from a wound and clean it thoroughly, before applying ointment.

This is why it is necessary to first of all protect oneself from what is forbidden and things that will lead to heedlessness of the heart, so that spirituality of one’s worship can increase and one can lead an acceptable life of servitude to Allah.