This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
* The ascetic has no hands with which he takes the money of people.
* The reality of renunciation is giving up this world and giving up the hereafter; giving up all lustful desires and pleasures; giving up one’s very existence; giving up seeking spiritual states, rankings, miracles, and spiritual stations, and giving up everything other than the Lord of the creatures so that no one remains other than the Creator (mighty and glorified is He). He is the final destination and He is the ultimate object of all hopes. To Him all affairs belong.
* Renunciation is a source of comfort for the hearts of the obedient ones, the ascetics. The burden of renunciation rests on the body, the burden of knowingness on the heart, and the burden of nearness on the innermost being. Practice renunciation, be content, offer thanks, be satisfied with your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), and do not be satisfied with yourself. Think well of others, give up holding a poor opinion of others, and do not hold yourself in high esteem.
* When you renounce this world and your asceticism becomes true, this world will appear to you in your dreams in the form of a woman who pays homage to you, saying: “I am a maidservant for you; I have trusts for you, so take them.” She will count for you your allotted shares, whether few or many. When your knowingness has strengthened, she will come to you in wakefulness. The first spiritual state of the prophets (prayer and peace be on them) is inspiration and the second is a visionary dream. When their spiritual states have strengthened, the angel comes to them in wakefulness and says: “The True One (mighty and glorified is He) says to you this and that.”
* When someone has genuinely renounced the creatures, they become genuinely interested in him and benefit from listening to his words and looking at him. When the heart’s renunciation of the creatures and the innermost being’s renunciation of anything other than Allah (mighty and glorified is He), apart from His nearness, have become genuine, nearness becomes his close companion in this world and his entertainer in the hereafter.
* Be sensible, I can see that you do not have hearts or knowledge of the heart. Woe to you! You claim to be an ascetic and put on clothes of ascetics, yet you go knocking at the doors of the kings and the rich, who are the sons of this world, and then return! Your lower self seeks this world and wishes for what those people have. Surely you must have known that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Whoever hovers around a prohibited area is very likely to end up encroaching on it.” Preoccupation with the affairs of this world obstructs the way of the servants of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), enchants them, and drives them out of their senses. This applies to everyone except those whom Allah (mighty and glorified is He) wills to exclude. These are a few individuals. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) looks after their hearts and deeds and protects them in both their public and private lives. He purifies their food, drink, and clothing by the hand of power. The people of Allah have put into practice what the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) brought with him, so the Master (mighty and glorified is He) took care of them and loved them.
* Woe to you! It is the heart that practices renunciation not the body. O you who are ascetic only outwardly, your renunciation is thrown back at you! You have hidden your turban and shirt, buried your gold in the ground, put on austere woolen clothes, and collected leftovers. May Allah cut off your skin and head if you do not repent. You have opened your shop to sell hypocrisy. May Allah demolish your shop on top of you and kill you under its ruins if you do not destroy it, repent, and cut your waistband (zunnār).1
Woe to you! The believer has renunciation in his heart and nearness to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) in his innermost being. This world and the hereafter have both come to his door, inside his treasury, not inside his heart. His heart is empty of anything other than his Master. How can it take in others when it is already filled with Him, His remembrance, and His nearness? His heart is empty and broken on his Master’s account, so no doubt He dwells in it. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said in one of His utterances: “I am with those whose hearts are broken on My account.” Their lower selves have broken by giving up this world and their hearts have broken on account of their Master. Once this break has taken place, He will come to them and set it. The Physician will come and treat them. This is the true bliss, not the bliss of this world and the hereafter.
* You have to practice pious restraint so that the hand of your heart is never without it. If you give it up then you will be disappointed. When someone gives up the practice of pious restraint, his heart darkens with legally dubious things and impurities. Woe to you! You claim that you are pious yet you do not practice pious restraint! The practicing person abandons many things in fear of falling in prohibited and dubious things, and Allah punishes him on the basis of the lowest allowed concessions.
One day I passed through a village surrounded by fields of corn. I stretched out my hand and picked a corn cane to suck. At that point, two men from the village, each of them holding a stick, came and beat me up until I collapsed to the ground. So I gave a pledge to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) at that moment not to take advantage again of the allowed concessions or avail myself of what is not mine. The Law has allowed the person who passes by fields of cereals and fruit trees to eat as much as he needs without paying anything in return, but it prohibited him from taking away anything. This is a general concession. However, I was not allowed to take advantage of this concession and I was ordered to adhere to the strictest laws. As the person increasingly remembers death, his pious restraint increases, the concessions that are allowed to him decrease, and his adherence to the strictest laws increases.
* Open the eye of your lower self and say to it: “Look at your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and see how He looks at you. Look how He has destroyed the kings and the rich who lived before you. Remember the deaths of those of bygone times who owned the world and enjoyed its pleasures before it was snatched away from their hands and they were snatched away from it. They are now imprisoned in the jail of torment. Their palaces are deserted, their houses are in ruins, their property is gone, and their deeds have stayed. The lustful desires have gone and their bad consequences have remained.”
Do not rejoice, for this is not the time of rejoicing. Do not be impressed by the beauty of your wife’s face, by your son, by your house, and by the size of your wealth. Do not rejoice in what the preceding prophets, the messengers, and the righteous (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them) did not rejoice in. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said: “Allah does not love those who are recklessly happy” (from 28.76) with this world and its people and with other than Him. He loves those who rejoice in Him (mighty and glorified is He) and in His nearness.
The thinking and the reflection of the people of Allah are focused on the affairs of the hereafter not on lustful desires, pleasures, and entertainments. O you who are under an illusion, you have not done what He wants you to do! O forgetful ones, in the hereafter there is a severe torment for those who do not obey Allah (mighty and glorified is He)!
1 A belt that Christians used to wear.