Imaam Sufyaan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
Be truthful at all times and in all places. Stay away from lying and from deception, and do not sit alongside liars and deceivers, for all such deeds are sins.
My brother, be careful not to show off, either in speech or in deed, for showing off isShirk itself (Shirk being to associate partners with Allaah in worship).
Do not be conceited, for even a good deed is not raised (to the heavens) if any conceitedness is involved in it.
Take your religion only from one who is sincerely and compassionately concerned about his own religious guidance. The example of a scholar who is not concerned about his own religious well-being is that of a sick doctor: If he cannot treat his own disease…then how can he treat the diseases of others…? Likewise, if one is not concerned about his own religious well-being, then how can he be concerned about the religious well-being of others?
My brother, your religion is nothing more than your flesh and blood (i.e., You should be concerned about your religious well-being, because if you aren’t, it is your flesh and blood that will pay the penalty through the punishment of Allaah). Cry out of concern for your soul and have mercy on it; if you do not have mercy on it, then mercy will not be shown to it.
Sit only in the company of one who advises you to desire little from this world and who encourages you to put your hopes in the Hereafter. Take care not to sit with worldly people who speak constantly about worldly affairs; such people will ruin your religious well-being and will corrupt your heart.
Remember death frequently, and just as frequently ask Allaah to forgive you for your past sins.
Ask Allaah to keep you safe (safe from evil, from dangerous diseases, from trials and tribulations, etc) for the remainder of your life.
My brother, develop a good character and noble manners.
Do not act contrary to the Jamaa’ah (the general body of Sunni Muslims), for goodness and safety are the consequences of being in harmony with the Jamaa’ah.
Someone who strives constantly for this world is like a person who builds one home and destroys another (because he builds prosperity for himself in this world, while he destroys all chances of becoming prosperous in the Hereafter).
Give sincere advice to every believer who asks you a question regarding his religion. And never hide good advice to someone who asks you about a matter that leads to the Good Pleasure of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala).
If you love your (Muslim) brother for the sake of Allaah, then give him generously from your self and your wealth.
Stay far away from arguments, quarrels, and disputes; otherwise, you will become a wrongdoer, a transgressor, and a deceiver.
Be patient at all times and in all places, for patience leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. Do not become angry and furious, for those two emotions lead to wickedness, and wickedness leads to the Hellfire.
Do not argue with a scholar, for that will lead to him loathing you. Being able to visit scholars (and learn from them) is a mercy, and cutting oneself off from them means that one is bringing down upon himself the wrath of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). Verily, the scholars are the treasurers of the Prophets (‘alayhumus salaam) and are also their inheritors.
Turn away from worldly pleasures and things (to a certain degree), and, as a result, Allaah will enable you to see the faults and defects of this world. Be a man of Wara’(one who forsakes all dubious and some lawful things because he fears that those things will lead to what is prohibited in Islaam), and (on the Day of Resurrection) Allaah will make your session of accountability easier for you.
Leave many of the things regarding which you are doubtful, and replace them with things regarding which you are not doubtful, and you will, as a result, remain safe: So by warding off doubt with certainty, you will remain safe in your religion.
Enjoin good and forbid evil — thus will you become loved by Allaah. Despise wicked-doers, and drive away devils (regardless of whether they are humans or jinn).
If you want to become strong (in faith)…then be exultant only a little and laugh only a little when you get something you want from this world. Concentrate on working for the Hereafter; if you do that, Allaah will be sufficient for you regarding your worldly concerns….
Ask Allaah for safety (in both your religious and worldly affairs). If you intend to something for your Hereafter – such as giving charity – then apply yourself to doing it quickly before the Shaytaan (the Devil) weakens your resolve and thus prevents you from doing it.
Do not be a heavy eater, whereby you work less than you eat, for that is disliked (in Islaam). Do not eat without an intention, and do not eat when you are not hungry. And do not fill your stomach constantly until you become a corpse, not having remembered Allaah while you were alive (but instead having been concerned with eating to your full and fulfilling your desires).
Decrease the frequency with which you fall into error, accept apologizes (from those who wronged you), and forgive the person who wronged you.
Be the type of person from whom people generally expect good things and from whose evil people feel safe.
Do not hate anyone who obeys Allaah, and be merciful both towards people in general and towards those with whom you are well-acquainted (or both to the general masses of Muslim and to people of high standing in society).
Do not sever the ties of the womb (i.e., do not cut off relations with family members and relatives), and join ties with those who have severed them from you. Pardon those who wronged you, and you will, as a result, become a companion of the Prophets and martyrs.
Do not be a frequent visitor of the marketplace, for the people there (mostly sellers, but some buyers also) are wolves in men’s clothing. Marketplaces are often frequented by devils – devils both of the human kind and of the jinn kind. When you enter the marketplace, it becomes obligatory upon you to enjoin good and forbid evil – but know that you will only see evil there. Stand to one side of the marketplace and call out: ‘I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah alone; He has no partner; the dominion of all that exists belongs to Him. He is deserving of all praise. It is He Who gives life, and it is He Who causes death. All goodness is in His hands, and He is upon all things capable. There is neither might nor power except with Allaah, the All-High, the All-Mighty.
Do not enter into disputes with worldly people over their worldly things, and, as a result, Allaah will love you, and the people of earth will love you.
And be humble….When you are healthy, do good deeds, and you will be granted safety and health (physically and spiritually) from above.
Be a forgiving person, and you will get the things you want. Be a merciful person, and all things will be merciful towards you.
My brother, do not allow your days, nights, and hours to be wasted on falsehood. Spend from your self for yourself – for the Day of Thirst (the Day of Resurrection). My brother, your thirst will not be quenched on the Day of Resurrection unless the Most Merciful is pleased with you, and you will not achieve His Good pleasure unless you are obedient to Him. Perform many voluntary good deeds, for they have the effect of bringing you closer to Allaah.
Be generous, and your faults will be covered, and Allaah will make easier for you your session of accountability (on the Day of Resurrection) as well as the horrors (that will take place on that day).
Perform many good deeds, and Allaah will make you feel happy and at ease in your grave. Stay away from all prohibited deeds, and thus will you taste the sweetness of faith (Eemaan). Sit in the company of righteous and pious people, and Allaah will make well for you the affairs of your religion. And in the affairs of your religion, consult those who fear Allaah. Hasten to perform good deeds, and Allaah will protect you from disobeying Him.
Remember Allaah frequently, and, as a result, Allaah will make you less desirous of this world (and its pleasures and possessions). Remember death, and, as a result, Allaah will make your worldly affairs easier for you. Yearn for Paradise, and, as a result, Allaah will help you obey Him. Be frightened by the Hellfire, and, as a result, Allaah will make it easier for you to endure the hardships of this life.”
Transcribed from: The Biography of Sufyaan Ath-Thauree, p176-181
Compiled by: Salaahud-Deen ibn ‘Alee ibn ‘Abdul-Maujood