By way of introduction it should be pointed out,
both to muslims and non -muslims alike, that this treatise was originally written in
arabic to an audience consisting predominantely of men. Furthermore, it was presented to
a culture which did not analyse human behaviour on the basis of "sexism", or
"feminism", but to an environment which was free of these modern day
innovations. This is, perhaps, why the discussion is referred primarily to men. It should
be pointed out that whenever the shaikh (scholar) refers to "men" that the
discussion can be extended to incorporate a similar, if not the same, observation for
women. Although during his life the great shaikh was taught by at least eleven female
scholars of religion and would often refer specifically to women in many of his essays,
perhaps, on the occasion of this dissertation, he was mainly involved in the sphere of
men. Nevertheless, when one is involved in understanding Islam one should never allow
anything to enter into discussion which does not have a basis within the Qur'an and the
Sunnah (authentic narrations).
Shaikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah says:
When a man's heart becomes attached to a woman, even
though she is lawfu l for him, his heart will be her captive. She controls him and
manipulates him a s she wills. In appearance he is her lord because he is her husband or
her posse ssor. However, in reality, he is her captive and is possessed by her especially
when she knows his need and his passion for her. Then she will control him in th e same
way in which a conquering, aggressive master controls an overpowered slav e who cannot
escape from his master. Even worse than this is the captivity of th e heart; this is more
severe than the captivity of the body, and enslavement of the heart is much more severe
than the enslavement of the body. Verily, whoever' s body is subdued, enslaved and
captivated will not care so long as his heart is reassured and is serene. In this way, it
is possible for him to escape.
In the other case though, when the heart, which
dominates the body; is s ubdued, enslaved and enthralled by love for other than Allah,
then, this is inde ed mere humiliation and captivity. It is the humiliating Uboodiyah
(enslavement ) that has subdued the heart.
The Uboodiyah of the heart and its captivity form
the basis on which go od reward or bad punishment will be incurred. If a muslim is
captivated by a kaa fir or is enslaved by a profligate and given no rights, it will not
harm him so long as he can fulfil his duties to Allah Azzawajal. Whoever is lawfully
subdued and fulfils the rights of Allah Azzawajal and the rights of his master will be
rewarded twice. Even if he is forced to pronounce Kufr (disbelief), pronouncing it with
his tongue but keeping Eeman (conviction, faith) in his heart, the utter ance will not
harm him. But the one whose heart is subdued and becomes an abd ( slave) for other than
Allah will be harmed by that even if he is a king. Freedom is the freedom of the heart and
al-Uboodiyah (enslavement) is the Uboodiyah o f the heart. Similarly, well-being is the
well-being of the soul. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) said
:"Well being is not how much wealth y ou have; but it is the well-being of the
This, by Allah, is the case when a lawful image has
enslaved one's heart . But whoever's heart is enslaved by an unlawful image will earn a
torment more severe than any known torment.
These people who are obsessed by images are of the
most severely punishe d and the least rewarded. For if one is obsessed by an image and his
heart remai ns attached to it and subdued by it, he will be surrounded by so many kinds of
e vils and corruption that they cannot be counted but by the Lord of al-Ibaad (th e
servants) even if he were safe from committing the greatest Faahisha (obscenit y i.e.
az-Zina - fornication). Continuous attachment of the heart1 without commi ting al-Faahisha
is more harmful for him than it is for the person who commits a sin and repents of it.
Since, afer true repentance the attachment and affectio n vanishes from his heart.2 These
people are likened to drunk people or the insa ne. It has been said:
"They said you were driven insane by that
which you have a passion for.I replied to them that passion causes more harm
than insan ty."
As for this passion, the one who is obsessed by it
will never awake unti l the end of time. However, the insane only exhibit their madness
during certain periods.