By: Jammal Diwan
Ibn ʿAṭā said:
“Actions differ because the inspirations of the states of being differ.”
In this wisdom he tells us that because the internal states of being that people experience differ from person to person and situation to situation the type of action that is best for them can also differ. This can apply both to a person’s state in relation to themselves internally and their state in relation to the world around them.
Regarding the first, it is well-known that certain people prefer certain types of worship and that God has blessed people with many different ways to come closer to Him. Some people prefer supplication, some prefer prayer, others prefer charitable spending, and so on. One time Imam Malik was sent a letter wherein he was blamed for not engaging in enough worship and spending too much time with the people and teaching. He responded by saying:
“Indeed Allah has separated the people and categorized actions just as He proportioned the rizq (wealth) He gives to people. It is therefore possible that there is a man who has been given success in establishing prayer but not been given the same in fasting, and another man may be blessed as it relates to charity but not fasting. Another may be blessed in going out to jihad. Spreading knowledge is therefore from the best of the acts of righteousness and I am pleased with that which has been given to me in that regard, spreading knowledge for indeed it is from the best of good deeds. I do not believe in any way that what I am upon is any less than what you are upon, indeed I hope that we are both upon goodness and righteousness.”
In this statement he noted what Ibn ʿAṭā is saying in the wisdom that each person has certain deeds that they can best use to come closer to God. On this same topic Ibn Taymiyya said in his collection of fatwas:
“And the less preferred deed could be better for a certain person because of their own condition, either because he is incapable of doing the preferred action or because the love, benefit, and concern for the less preferred action is so great to them that it becomes better for them than the preferred action.”
From all of this we should realize that if we have not figured out our favorite types of worship then we should take this chance before Ramadan to figure them out. One of the best types of worship that is often neglected is the simple act of sending peace and prayers on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This is one of the greatest acts of worship because even when someone feels like they are so low that God will not answer their prayers, this is one prayer that is guaranteed to be answered.
Another aspect of this wisdom is in its relation to a person’s states in regard to the world around them. The best deed for a bachelor is not necessarily the best deed for a married man or woman, which is not necessarily the best deed for a community leader. Each circumstance has its priorities and each condition has certain deeds that are more praiseworthy in it.
In the end we should know that Islam is a complete way of life and God has given us countless ways for drawing closer to Him. We should search to find which ones are most beneficial for us in this life and the next and get in the habit of understanding ourselves and our inner states of being so that we can engage in the best acts of worship possible at all times. We should also refrain from judging others because of their choices in worship because their inner states could make what seems like a simple action very great with God. In this regard we can understand the importance of paying attention to the combination of our inner states and actions by taking heed from what was said about Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him). They said that he was not better than the other Companions because he did so many more actions than them but rather because “of something that was established in his heart.”
 The translation of these wisdoms was prepared by jannah.org