For those of us who are castrated by the lack of adequate Arabic, we'll have to keep relying on translators to bring us ilm in a language we can understand. We are fortunate to have a vast range of materials available to us in the English language, some of which is so badly translated that it might as well have stayed in Arabic, or is so verbose that one needs a dictionary at hand to make head or tail of it, but on the other hand we have the likes of Abu Rumaysah who's translations of some of the works of ibn Rajab al Hanbali strike a nice balance between academic propriety, the poetic and comprehensible. There is whole series published by Daar us Sunnah, but I am referring here to a most valuable treaties called "The Journey to Allah".
The book begins with four hadith that bear somewhat the same meaning, and the rest of the treatise could be looked at as an explanation of those invaluable words of guidance from the Prophet saws.
The hadith reminds us of what ibn Rajab calls "the great principle", and the first five chapters of the book deal with "the great principle" and how to understand and apply it. "The great principle" is that our deeds are not enough to save us from hell fire or attain paradise. What is of upmost importance is our humility and seeking forgiveness of Allah and our being grateful to Him. So this is the path that we should tread on our journey to Him, the exalted. The deeds that are most beloved to Allah are those done continuously, even if they are few, and we should be steadfast, balanced and through moderation we will reach our goal.
Bukhari records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet saws said "This religion is easy, none makes it hard upon himself except that it overwhelms him; therefore be firm, steadfast, and balanced; upon which have glad tidings! Seek help in this by journeying to Allah at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, and portion of the latter part of the night."
This is a hadith that needs to be expounded from every minbar and talked about in every gathering, because the destructive effects of the madness that is sold by some as deen these days is in danger of consuming us all!
The book was a personal timely reminder for myself at a time when my exertions in travelling a dawa had begun to take a server toll on me, and I was feeling very "burnt out". The danger at this stage is that one can easily abandon the good that one was upon, where as the solution lies in adopting a balance approach from the outset.
The final chapters talk about the excellence of drawing close to Allah and the types of reaching Him, in this life and the next, with a warning of those things that can destroy our deeds and leave us in poverty on the inevitable day we meet our Lord.
This is a book to be read and re-read, remembered and acted upon. A veritable treasure in a mere 70 pages!