The discerning scholar is adept at diagnosing the various spiritual illnesses resulting from sins, and treating the malaise in the heart. If he finds a person falling into despair, he tries to ignite the spark of hope in his heart. If, on the other hand, he sees that one is in a reckless and fearless state, he works to instill the fear of Allah in his heart. Thus, the scholar treats sickness by using its opposite as a cure.
The third masterpiece in the series addresses the disturbing phenomenon of unrealistic hope, lack of fear of Allah, and wishful thinking. These are, in essence diseases of the heart, which are widely prevalent today. Curing these diseases can only be achieved using the potent medicine of intimidation and deterrence. When the heart is complacent and neglectful, treating it with smoothing remedies is akin to prescribing a sedative for the drowsy patient that exacerbates the drowsiness.
Ibn al-Jawzi, has collected here in ominous narrations, warnings against wrongdoing, and stories of foreboding and punishment that shake the hearts from their slumber. The self-assured one becomes anxious; the hard-hearted becomes soft; the dried tear ducts start to flow; and the slothful becomes motivated.