The sahabah رضى الله عنهم were blessed with beautiful characters and manners and they reached the rank of ihsaan due to the blessing of being in the presence of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. They benefitted from the suhba (company) of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم. We, today, have to work towards this aim, i.e. attaining the rank of ihsaan, through tazkiyyah. This is not something trivial and it cannot be achieved overnight. We have to strive and work towards this goal with balance and moderation.
In a hadeeth related by Imam al-Bazzar the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says ‘This religion is firm and strong therefore embrace it and enter into it with ease and simplicity and softly. And do not make resentful to yourselves and detestable the worship of Allah because the hasty traveller neither traverses the distance nor spares his mount’.
Hold onto the rope of Allah; do not hold on to the rope too laxly so that it drops, nor hold on to it so tightly that it breaks. Rather, hold onto it in moderation so that it remains taut.
Instead of aspiring to the heights of performing extensive nafil ibadah and failing it is better to remain firm on the five fardh salah and avoid sin. This in itself will take you leaps and bounds in deen.
[This excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 12th March 1997].