Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Woe to you, O rich one! You must not think that offering thanks for your wealth is to merely say: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” The real giving of thanks is comforting the poor by giving them some of what you have. You must pay to them the obligatory alms, then you must console them by giving them further as much as you can. You must give them without reminding them that you are doing a favor to them, for this harms the hearts and makes the donation impure. Many of the poor would rather endure the fire of poverty than bear the fire of being reminded of the favor. Give the gift without deliberately reminding the receiver of your present, otherwise do not give at all. Have you not heard the following words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “O believers, do not make your alms void by reminding the recipient of your favor and causing harm” (from 2.264)? The nullification of alms means that they merit no reward, so the donor who reminds the recipient of his favor loses his money and reward and his heart becomes tarnished, because the donor’s reminder to the recipient of his favor is an act of associating partners with Allah. The believer gives and does not give a reminder of his favor but he rather offers thanks to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) for enabling him to give alms. He believes that Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is the giver not himself. He believes that He is one with no partner, who takes from him and gives to others. He believes that it is He who gave him what he has and it is He who takes from him and gives to others.

O rich people, O You who have been granted affluence! Do not be misled by your wealth, do not boast of it, and do not use it to show arrogance to the poor, for this will cause your fall into poverty! And you, O young people, do not be misled by your youth and might over the poor, using your youth and might in acts of disobedience to Allah (mighty and glorified is He)! The works of disobedience are poison for the bodies of your religions. They are a beast that devours the flesh of your religions, good health, and wealth. How good this piece of poetry by one of them is:

If you were in a state of favor, take care to maintain it,
for the acts of disobedience remove the favors!1

Come to me while thinking well of me and having no doubts about me. When you go back to your homes, remember this talk and do not forget it. Remember death and what is after it. You must keep up praying during the night and ensure that your mind is focused while you are in His presence. Keep the fast for it enlightens the heart, particularly when you break your fast with lawful food. You will not earn anything without giving something. The men of knowledge and the men of wisdom are agreed that the state of bliss has to come to an end and that the real bliss can be attained only by renouncing bliss. One righteous man is reported to have spent forty years without sleep except when in prostration while praying. His prostration was his mattress, cover, and pillow. This is the state of affairs of someone who has renounced this world, wished for the hereafter, feared death and afflictions, renounced the creatures and what they have, wished for the Creator, knew what He has, and came to know Him, so he worshipped Him and fought against his lower self for His sake. The person who comes to know Allah (mighty and glorified is He) loves Him, and the person who loves Him obeys Him.

* The believer exerts strenuous effort to give charitable donations from his possessions and prefer others to have them, for he knows that these charitable donations will be kept hidden for him should he need them. He exercises pious restraint and does not assume that everything he gets is pure and hence lawful. He, therefore, avoids many things in order to get one thing the root and branch of which he knows well. He tries hard to find reasons for donating anything in his possession to give to charity. He does not touch what he inherits from his father and mother saying to himself that they may have earned them while not exercising pious restraint, so he donates them to the poor and the needy.

* O son of Adam, how stingy you are to yourself! Has He not asked you for a loan yet you refuse to lend Him? Have you not heard His (mighty and glorified is He) following words: “Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan” (from 2.245)? If you give Him a loan through the hands of the poor, Allah will multiply it for you manifold and will give you, today and on the Day of Resurrection, much more than what you gave. Do business with Him and then you will make profit. Go ahead and do business with Him without putting Him to test first. When Imām Ja‘far Aṣ‑Ṣādiq (peace be on him) would find himself in need of five hundred gold coins while he had only fifty, he would donate the fifty gold coins so that a few days later five hundred gold coins would come his way. If the money would not come, however, he would not have doubts about his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), protest against Him, or accuse Him of niggardliness.

The people of Allah are accustomed to dealing with their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) according to His Book and the Sunna of His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), with certitude in their hearts. It is reported that one day a righteous man had only three eggs when a beggar came to him asking for help. He said to his maidservant: “Give him those eggs.” However, she gave the beggar only two and hid the third away. An hour later, a friend of the righteous man presented him with twenty eggs, so he turned to his maidservant asking: “How many eggs did you give to the beggar?” She replied: “I gave him two and left one for you to break your fast with.” He said to her: “O you of little certitude, you have made us lose ten eggs!” The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The person who relies on a created thing like himself is under a curse.”

O miserable one, when a poor person comes asking for a loan, go ahead and lend him and never say: “Who is going to give me?” You must disagree with your lower self and give him a loan, and after a while make it a donation to him. Among the poor is one who disapproves of begging for alms, preferring to ask for a loan, with every intention of paying it back. He has confidence in Allah (mighty and glorified is He), and on the basis on this confidence he borrows. So, if he approaches you for a loan, O wealthy one, lend him and never face him with a request to pay back, for this would further humiliate him. If a long time past without you receiving any repayment, go to see him, ask him to accept that loan as a gift, and absolve him of his obligation. Thus, you will be rewarded for his first joy [when you gave him the loan] and for his second one [when you turned the loan into a gift.] The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.”

Woe to you! How can the beggar not be a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) when he takes from your share in this world to add to your share in the hereafter? He saves for you something that you will find when you need it. The amount that you give him will vanish and disappear anyway, yet on account of giving it to him you will be promoted by several degrees in the eyes of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Woe to you, O servants! Do not you feel ashamed that you worship your Lord so that He gives you Paradise, houris, and young servants? Paradise is the abode, but where is the Neighbor? One who seeks the face of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is different from one who seeks Paradise, different from one who seeks this world, and different from one who seeks the creatures.

* O people, you have to comfort the poor and give them preference over yourselves! When faith is still weak, you have to prefer them over yourselves. When faith is strong, you have to comfort them and prefer them over yourselves while smiling. Receive the poor with generosity or send them away in the kindest way when you have nothing to give. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.” Woe to you! You hate Allah’s gift, reject it, and do not accept it? You will soon find out. Poverty will come to you, drive out your affluence, and replace it. Disease will come to you, drive out your good health, and replace it. Do not jeopardize the capital of favors that your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has given you. The believer knows that the True One (mighty and glorified is He) sent the beggar to him so that He will give him from the favors that He has kept for him. He will find out that when he gives him, treats him with respect, and accepts to loan Allah through him, He will reward him with something that is more and better than his gift, both in this world and in the hereafter.

O backslider, you build relations with the sultans, the princes, and the rich seeking power and further worldly things, yet you do not do business with the King of kings, the Wealthiest of the wealthy, the One who never dies, the One who never becomes poor, the One who repays your loan to Him multiplied manifold! He gives you ten silver coins in return for everyone in this world, apart from your reward in the hereafter. He gives you blessings in this world and rewards you in the hereafter. Have you not heard that He (high is He) has said: “And what you spend He replaces it” (from 34.39)? O Allah, grant us [the favor of] working for You! Make it pleasant for us to serve You and stand at Your door among Your servants and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.

* Woe to you! If you shut your doors in the faces of the poor, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will shut things up in your faces, and if you open your doors to them, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will open up things for you. If you spend your wealth for the sake of the face of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), He will replace them for you, and if you spend them for the sake of the creatures, He will impoverish you. Spend and do not be stingy, for generosity is from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and niggardliness is from Satan. Allah (high is He) has said: “Satan promises you poverty and orders you to commit indecency” (from 2.268). Allah (high is He) has promised you reimbursement of any expenditure as He (high is He) has said: “And what you spend He replaces it” (from 34.39).

Woe to you! You lay claim to Islam, yet you disagree with the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) and introduce into his religion what your passion desires! You have lied about your embracement of Islam. You are not a follower but an innovator. You are not compliant but discordant. Have you not heard that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Follow and do not introduce heretical innovations for you have been provided with all that you need” and: “I have left you on a clear, unambiguous way”? You reject his sayings and contradict his words yet claim that you follow him?


* Worshipping is the relinquishment of habitual practice. Worshipping abrogates habitual practice. The Law abrogates habitual practices and removes them. Adhere to the Law of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and give up your habitual practices. The learned person stands on the side of worshipping, whereas the ignorant one stands on the side of habitual practices. Accustom yourselves, your children, and your family members to doing what is good and to continue doing so. Accustom your hands to charitable spending of material things of this world and accustom your hearts to renouncing them. Do not behave with niggardliness, withholding them from those who need them. Do not turn down the request for help, otherwise Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will reject your plea for help. How would not He turn down your request when you have turned down His gift? The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.”

Woe to you! Do not you feel ashamed that you are sure of the poverty and hunger of your neighbor yet you deprive him of your help because of a false assumption? You say: “He has hidden gold but pretends to be poor!” You lay claim to faith, yet you go to sleep while your neighbor is starving, and you have a lot to spare but you do not give him anything! Your wealth will soon be snatched from your hand. Your feast will be taken from your hand. You will be humiliated and impoverished, and this world, which is your beloved darling, will abandon you. Give up this world by your own will not out of coercion.

Look at your allotted worldly shares, not at the shares of others. Be content with as little food as you need for survival and as little clothing as you need to cover your private parts. If anything else was destined for you, it will certainly come your way at the appointed time. This is how the intelligent and experienced people conduct themselves. They have relieved themselves of the burden of greed and humiliation. The ascetics have come to know this world. They have given it up on account of knowingness and experience. They have known that it comes forward then turns its back, gives then takes, enthrones then dethrones, loves then hates, fattens then devours, and raises to the top of the heads then lowers to the ground. Give it up with your hearts and your essences. Never drink from its breast. Never sleep in its lap. Never wish for it because of its ornament, the softness of its skin, its clothes, its nice speech, and the sweetness of its food, for its food is poisonous. It is deadly, charming, cunning, and perfidious. It is not the abode of permanent residence and honor. Look at what happened to those before you who went along with this world and how it treated them. Do not kill yourselves in your attempts to seek more things from this world, for it cannot give you more than your due. Give up seeking more. Hold up your tongue, behave politely, be content, and say: “Allah has spoken the truth concerning His promise, and the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has spoken the truth when he said: ‘Your Lord has completed the creation, the assignment of subsistence, and the appointment of the times of things. The Pen with which He wrote everything that is to happen until the Day of Resurrection has already run dry,’ and in saying: ‘When Allah created the Pen He said to it: “Write!” It said: “What shall I write?” He (high is He) said: “Write down My decree about My creatures until the Day of Resurrection”’”.

Footnotes

1 This poetry is attributed to Muhammad AshShāfi‘ī (766820) who is the founder of one of the major schools of Islamic law.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Do not retire to your cell in the company of ignorance, for seclusion with ignorance is a total loss. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Acquire knowledge and then you may retire.” It is not right for you to retire to a cell when you still have on the face of earth anyone whom you fear or pin hopes on. You must have only One whom you fear and only One whom you pin your hopes on: Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Worshipping means the relinquishment of habitual practice until the former replaces the latter. Do not seek attachment to this world, the hereafter, or the creatures, but be rather attached to the True One (mighty and glorified is He).

Do not try to pass off your counterfeit coins for the assayer is an expert. He will not accept any coin from you without testing it first with the touchstone. Throw away any counterfeit coins and consider them worthless. The assayer will not accept from you your metal before it has been put into the bellows and purified of the impurities, so do not think that it is an easy business.

Most of you lay claim to sincerity when in fact they are hypocrites. Were it not for the test, the claims would have been even more. When someone claims to be patient, we test him with exasperation. When someone claims to be generous, we test him with demands. When someone lays claim to something, we test him with its opposite. When the servant detaches himself from this world, the hereafter, and anything other than Allah and places his heart in the abode of His nearness, favor, and subtle kindness, He will not trouble him with providing his food, drink, or clothes or looking after his interests. His heart will be purified of any involvement in that.

* This world is the abode of tribulation, and the greatest tribulations are the lustful desires of the belly and of the genitals. What benefit would the unmarried man derive from breaking his fast during the daytime, wandering in the marketplaces, indulging in lustful desires and pleasures and spending time in the company of human devils, by whom I mean bad mates? It is like starting the fire of lustful desire in the firewood of the lower self. O Allah, strengthen us to strive against our lower selves, grant us sustenance, and guide us so that we guide people! Enlighten our hearts and make us a light from which people seek illumination. Give us the drink of your intimacy so that our thirst will be quenched and anyone who is thirsty will quench his thirst through us. Grant us gifts and satisfaction and inspire us with thankfulness in the state of being given favors and satisfaction in the state of having them withheld and having the doors closed. Confirm our truthfulness and obliterate our lies and falsehood. Amen.

* O young man, retire from kingship if you wish for the permanent company of the King of kings. Kingship is a veil from the King, favor is a veil from the Benefactor, and tribulation is a veil from the One who causes it. Attachment to the creatures, who are made and fashioned, is shackles to the hearts, innermost beings, and essences. When Allah (mighty and glorified is He) wants to confer a lot of good on someone, He fetters him, makes him stand in His presence on the feet of his heart, and provides him with a pair of wings to fly in the air of His Knowledge and then seek refuge in the tower of His nearness. Despite that, He will impose on him fear, the renunciation of any interests, and the abandonment of any sense of conceit as a result of his state. He will fear that the hand of Divine jealousy might clip his wings and screen him off from knowing Him after he has known what is there. As long as the servant is in this world, he must have fear and give up any sense of vanity, regardless of the spiritual state that he attains. This is so because this world is the abode of change and replacement, whereas the hereafter is the abode of permanence wherein no change or replacement takes place.

O young man, pass through the market of the creatures. Enter from one door and leave from another. Move away from them with your heart and intention and be like a lone bird that does not offer intimacy or accept it. Make sure that you do not see others and do not show yourself to them. Be like this until the appointed time comes to pass and your heart draws near to the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). You will see the hearts of the people of Allah there. They will receive you, say to you “congratulations on your safety,” and kiss you on the forehead. The hand of subtle kindness will then come from inside, receive you, carry you, conduct you in a solemn procession, approach you, feed you, quench your thirst, and anoint you with perfume. It will then take you out and seat you at the door, watching and waiting for any questing seeker who will come. You will take him by the hand and hand him to the hand that received you when you arrived. When this has happened to you, come out to the creatures and be among them like the physician among the sick, like a man of reason among the insane, and like a compassionate father among his children. Before this happens, you remain unworthy of respect! You would be a hypocrite with the creatures, a servant for them, and a follower who works for their purposes. You think you are medicating them when in fact you are associating them with Allah. Your treatment of them turns into a form of punishment for you because it is based on ignorance and inexperience. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “The person who worships Allah with ignorance causes more damage than good.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* In the beginning there is discomfort and at the end there is tranquility. Our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was made to love solitude. One day he heard someone saying: “O Muhammad, O Muhammad!” He ran away from that voice and did not know what it was. This kept happening to him for some time. He then knew what it was so he stood firm. The voice then disappeared, so he became depressed, wandered in the mountains, and was even about to throw himself off.

In the beginning he used to run away, whereas later he started seeking. In the first stage there is discomfort, whereas in the second there is tranquility. The seeker quests, whereas one who is sought after is quested. Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) was a seeker, whereas our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was sought after. Moses remained in the shadow of his own presence and his request to see Him on the mountain of Ṭūr in Sinai. Our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was one of the sought after, so he was granted the vision without requesting it and he was drawn near without endeavor or request. He was enriched without requesting affluence and he saw what is behind the veil without any quest.

Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) requested the vision, so he was denied it and was made to pay with a proportionate punishment for requesting what was not allotted to him in this world. Our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) behaved with ultimate politeness, recognized his status, strived, behaved with humility, and never transgressed, so he was given what was not given to anyone else. This happened because of his neglect of anything other than the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and his compliance with Him.

Greed and over keenness are detested. Be content with whatever has been allotted to you by your Lord (mighty and glorified is He); be satisfied with it. The person who endures with patience will achieve attainment. When the person endures with patience, his heart will become rich and his poverty will be removed. You have to resort to solitude so that you can worship with sincerity, for loneliness is better than bad companions.

It is related that a righteous man had a dog about which he was asked: “Why do not you abandon this dog?” He replied: “It is better than a bad companion.” How could not the righteous love solitude when their hearts are filled with intimacy with their Lord (mighty and glorified is He)? How could not they escape from fellow creatures when their hearts do not see their benefit and harm, as they see the True One (mighty and glorified is He) as the source of benefit and harm? The wine of nearness revives them, whereas soberness leaves them dead. The speech of yearning draws them near and the revelation of secrets to them is their Paradise. They are lunatic as far as fellow creatures are concerned, but sensible, wise, and knowledgeable in the sight of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). The person who wishes to be an ascetic must be like this. Otherwise, there is no point in making any effort.

O man of affectation, O man of artificiality, O you who is submerged in prattle! This business cannot be achieved by fasting by day, keeping vigil to worship by night, and practicing austerity in diet and dress, yet with the existence of the lower self, vagaries, natural inclination, wretchedness, ignorance, and interests in the creatures. This business cannot be done without His guidance. Woe to you! Act with sincerity and detach yourself, for there maybe some hidden things that you are not aware of. Be truthful and then you will attain and become near to Him. Lift up your aspiration and then you will rise high. Surrender and then you will be saved. Comply and then you will be granted success. Be satisfied and then you will be satisfied with. Hurry up and act and then the True One (mighty and glorified is He) will complete for you what you set out to do. O Allah, take charge of our affairs in this world and the hereafter, do not assign us to ourselves or to any of your creatures, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Woe to you! You claim to be a Sufi, yet you are impure! The Sufi is one whose inward and outward have become pure by following the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). As his purity increases, he further emerges from the sea of his existence and gives up his will, choice, and volition.

When someone’s heart becomes pure, the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) becomes an ambassador between him and his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), as Gabriel did. The foundation of good is to follow the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) in both his words and works. When the heart of the servant becomes pure, he will see the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), commanding him to do this and prohibiting him from doing that. He will become totally a heart. He will retire with full knowledge. He will become an innermost being with no publicity, purity with no impurity. Clear up everything from the heart. Pulling out the firm mountains requires mattocks of strife and enduring with patience the sufferings and the arrival of tribulations.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* If you continue to behave properly, you will come to see with the eye of certitude and become as the Commander of the Believers ‘Alī bin abī Ṭālib (may Allah be satisfied with him and ennoble his face) has said: “Should the veil be removed, I would not have more certitude.” He was also asked: “Have you seen your Lord?” He replied: “I would not worship a Lord that I have not seen.” A certain righteous man was asked: “Have you seen your Lord?” He answered: “If I have not I would have died.” If then someone would ask: “How can you see Him?” I would say that if the creatures left the servant’s heart and nothing remained in it other than the True One (mighty and glorified is He), he will see Him and draw as near to Him as he likes. He will see Him inwardly as others see Him outwardly. He will see as the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) saw in the night of the Heavenly Ascension, as he likes. His Lord will make such a servant see Him, draw near to Him, and talk to him in his sleep. He may also attract his heart to Him in wakefulness and close the eyes of his existence so the servant sees Him with His eye as He outwardly is. And He will give him another essence with which he sees Him. He will see His attributes, blessings, favors, and beneficence to him. He will see His bounty and protection.

The person whose servitude, servanthood, and knowingness have been realized will not say “show me” or “do not show me,” “give me” or “do not give me.” He will become extinct, fully absorbed. Therefore, a certain righteous person who attained to this spiritual station used to say: “Why would I care about myself?” How good this saying is! He meant: “I am His slave, and the slave has no choice or will in relation to the master.”

A man once bought a slave who was of the people of religion and righteousness. He said: “O slave, what would you like to eat?” The slave replied: “Whatever you feed me.” The master asked: “What kind of clothes would you like to wear?” The slave answered: “Whatever clothes you give me.” The master then asked: “Where would you like to live in my house?” The slave replied: “Wherever you put me.” The master asked: “What kind of work would you like to do?” The slave answered: “Whatever you order me to do.” At this point, the master wept and said: “Blessed are you! If only I am with my Lord (mighty and glorified is He) as you are with me!” The slave then said: “O master, does the slave have any choice and will in the company of his master?” The master said: “You are a free man for the sake of Allah and I want you to stay with me so that I serve you with myself and my wealth.” As for anyone who knows Allah, Allah will not leave for him will or choice, and he will come to say: “Why would I care about myself?” He will not challenge destiny about his affairs or others’ affairs.

* When the heart of the servant becomes connected to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), He becomes his physician and intimate companion so that no one medicates him other than Him and no one becomes his intimate companion other than Him. David (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) used to say: “O Allah, I have visited all the physicians of Your servants and all of them have referred me to You! O Guide of the bewildered ones, guide me to You!” When someone loves Allah (mighty and glorified is He), his heart becomes a total longing [for Him], total detachment [from anything apart from Him], and total extinction [in Him]. No doubt, all his concerns become one concern.

The reality of unveiling completes only after emerging from the veils. If you wish for attainment to Him, give up this world, the hereafter, and everything from beneath the Throne down to beneath the surface of the earth. Each one of the creatures is a veil except the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), for he is the door: “And what the Messenger gives you, take; and what he forbids you, abstain from” (from 59.7). Following him is not a veil but rather the means of attainment.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* If the believer is endued with a light by which he sees, how could the same not be true of the truthful person who is drawn near? The believer has a light by which he sees, therefore the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has warned of his sight saying: “Beware of the insight of the believer for he sees by the light of Allah (high is He)”. The knower who is drawn near is also given a light by which he sees his nearness to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and the nearness of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) to his heart. He also sees the spirits of the angels, the souls of the prophets, the hearts and souls of the truthful, and their spiritual states and spiritual stations. All of this happens deep in his heart and in the purity of his innermost being. He is always in happiness with his Lord. He is a mediator, taking from Him and distributing to the creatures. Among them (the people of God) there are those who are knowledgeable with both tongue and heart and there are those whose hearts are knowledgeable but their tongues are inept.

* The ambition of the worshipful ascetic is for miracles in this world and for gardens of Paradise in the hereafter, whereas the ambition of the knower is for his faith to remain intact in this world and for salvation from the Fire in the hereafter. His ambitions and desires will continue to be for these until his heart is told: “What is this? Calm down and be steadfast. Faith is firmly established in you and from you the believers can take a light for their faith. Tomorrow (on the Day of Resurrection) you will be asked to intercede and your word will be accepted. You will be a cause for the salvation from the Fire for many creatures. You will be in the presence of your Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) who is the master of intercessors. So, switch your concern to something else.” This is a sealed assurance of the permanence of faith, knowingness, safety in the hereafter, and walking in the company of the prophets, messengers, and the truthful who are the elite among the creatures.

* The truthful person sees by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), not by the light of his eye or by the light of the sun and the moon. This is the general light from Allah and he is given a special light also. Allah has given him this light after mastering the second light of Knowledge. O Allah, grant us Your Law, Knowledge, and nearness and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* When someone acquires knowledge and puts it into practice with sincerity, both the flint and the fuel will come to be in his heart. A light from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will come to be in his heart which he and others use for illumination. Turn away, O sons of babble, O sons of pages composed by lower selves and passions! Woe to you! You dispute what is written and predestined? You will lose and perish, whereas His writings will not change. How can the foreordination and foreknowledge be changed by your effort? Be believers, Muslims. Have you not heard His following words: “Those who believed in Our signs and were Muslims” (43.69)?

* O young man, you have not established Islam firmly, so how can you be a believer? You have not perfected faith, so how can you have certitude? You have not established certitude firmly, so how can you be a knower, saint, or spiritual substitute? You have not established knowingness, sainthood, and spiritual substitution firmly, so how can you be a lover and extinct to yourself and existing through Him only? How can you call yourself a Muslim when both the Book and the Sunna have delivered their laws concerning your affairs yet you have not applied these laws or followed them? The person who seeks Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will find Him and the person who strives for His sake will be guided by Him because He said in the manifest verses of His Book: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to Our ways” (from 29.69). He is not a wrongdoer and He does not love wrongdoing. He (high is He) does not wrong the servants. He gives things in return for nothing, so how much more would He give in return for something? The Invincible One has said: “Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness?” (55.60). Whoever does good in this world, Allah will do him good in this world and in the hereafter.

* Worshipping is the closest thing to the believer. Performing prayer is the closest thing to himself. He sits in his house, while his heart waits for the muezzin1 who is the caller of the True One (mighty and glorified is He). When he hears the prayer call, happiness fills his heart and it flies to the mosques and places of prayer. He feels happy when a beggar comes to him, and if he has anything he gives it to him. He does so because he has heard the words of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.” How could he fail to rejoice when His Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has come asking him for a loan through the hand of the poor man? The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will say to His faithful servants on the Day of Resurrection: ‘You have preferred this world to the first world and you have preferred worshipping Me to your lustful desires. By My invincibility and exaltation, I have not created Paradise but for you’”. This is what He will say to the former, whereas He will say to the lovers: “You have preferred Me to all My creatures, the first world, and this world, and you have evicted the creatures from your hearts and removed them from your innermost beings. Therefore, My face is for you, My nearness is for you, and My intimacy is for you. You are My true servants.”

* O young man, when someone does good works, they become a light in front of him and a riding animal beneath him. The deeds of his heart appear on his face and his face becomes like the full moon. He becomes like an angel who is drawn near. His heart feels happy because of what he sees of Allah’s generosity to him. His deeds bring him the good tidings of what Allah (high is He) has prepared for him in Paradise. The good works assume a form and say to him: “I am your weeping, patience, piety, faith, certitude, prayer, fasting, striving, longing for your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), knowingness of Him, Knowledge of Him, good action, and good conduct and behavior in His (mighty and glorified is He) presence.” Thus, his burden will be lifted from him, his fear will turn into security, and his hardship into prosperity. As for one who did no righteous works and waged war against his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) with the gravest of sins, he will carry the weight and burden of his acts of disobedience on his back, will have hunger and thirst inside, and fear and humiliation will show on him. The angels will drive him from behind while he crawls and drags himself until he attends the parades of the Resurrection. Then he will be subjected to interrogation and reckoning. He will receive a severe reckoning and then he will be cast into the Fire to be tormented. If he is one of the people who believe in the oneness of God, he will be punished in proportion to his evil deeds and then Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will save him from the Fire by His mercy. But if he is one of the people of disbelief, he will be left forever in the Fire with those of his kind.

* The believer knows the creatures. He is able to recognize signs in them. His heart is sensitive. He can see by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who placed the light in his heart. The real light is the light of the hearts and the real cleanness is the cleanness of the hearts, innermost beings, and private lives. If your heart and private life are unclean, what would the cleanness of your outward benefit you? Even if you bathed yourself a thousand times each day, nothing of the dirt of your heart will disappear. The acts of disobedience have a nasty smell that is recognizable by those who see by the light of Allah, but they keep what they know about the creatures to themselves and do not expose them.

Woe to you! You are lazy. No doubt you will not achieve anything. Your neighbors, brothers, and relatives traveled and searched so they found treasures. They made a profit of ten or twenty silver coins and returned with their earnings, whereas you have been sitting in your place. The little that you have will soon finish and you will start begging from people. Woe to you! Strive on the way of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and do not rely on His destiny. Have you not heard His following saying: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to Our ways” (from 29.69)?

Strive and then guidance will come to you. It will not come to you because of you, yet you have to be involved. It will not come about through you alone. Make a start and others will then come and complete your work for you. Everything is in the hand of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), so do not ask for anything from anyone else. Have you not heard Him say in His Book: “And there is not a thing but with Us are its storehouses; and we send it down only in a known measure” (15.21)? Is there anything else to be said after this verse? O seeker of the gold coin and the silver one, they are nothing! They are both in the hand of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) so do not try to obtain them from the creatures. Do not ask for them with the tongue of your attribution of partners to Allah and your reliance on means. O Allah, O Creator of the creatures, O Creator of all means, save us from the fetters of associating Your creatures and means with You and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire!

* Each one of you will soon remember what he achieved in terms of believing in the oneness of God and attributing partners to Him, in terms of hypocrisy and sincerity. On that day, the Fire of hell will be made visible to those who are sighted. All those who are present at the Resurrection will see it and become terrified of it except a few individuals. When it sees a believer, it dies away and subsides so that he can pass safely through. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the Fire will say: ‘Pass through, O believer, for your light has put out my flames’”! It will call on him before he passes through it: “Hurry up, pass through, do not keep me back from doing my business, for my business is with others, not you.” Passing through it is inevitable for the Muslim and the disbeliever, for the obedient one and the disobedient one. Once the foot of the believer has rested on the path that is stretched across it, the Fire will die away, subside, and say to him: “Pass through. Your light has put out my flames.” Some of the believers will pass through it without even seeing it, so when they enter Paradise they will ask: “Has Allah (mighty and glorified is He) not said: ‘And there is not one who will not come to it’ (from 19.71)? We did not see it!” They will be told: “You passed through it while it was abating.”

* The believer keeps on affirming his faith until he becomes a knower of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), knowledgeable of Him, and near to Him. Once he has reached this stage, he will prefer Him over everything else and distribute his wealth on the entourage who are standing at the door, so entering the house of nearness will become his only concern. He will return the key to his castle in Paradise to its keeper. His innermost being will come to the doors of the gardens of Paradise and lock them up. He will shut the doors of the creatures and existence. He will throw himself at the door of the King, behave as if he was ill, and fall like a piece of motionless meat, waiting for the feet of subtle kindness to pass by and tread on him, waiting for a glimpse from the eye of mercy and for an extension of the hand of generosity and favor. While he is in this state, he will suddenly find himself in the chamber of nearness; on the lap of subtle kindness; in the hands of the Subtly Kind One, the Expert, who will medicate him, restore strength to him, entertain him, confer on him kingship, jewelry, and crowns, feed him from the food of favor, and offer him drinks of intimacy. Mercy will then have arrived at the house of nearness and happiness will have arrived at the balconies of attainment. All creatures will become beneath him, whereas he looks at them with the eye of mercy and graciousness. He will acquire the attributes of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), because the hearts of those who attain to Him become filled with mercy to the creatures. They look at both the Muslims and disbelievers, common people and the elite, with the eye of mercy. They have mercy for all of them, but at the same time they demand from them observing the limits of the Law. They demand outwardly but have mercy inwardly. O servants of Allah, when you meet anyone of these people, serve him and listen to what he has to say for he gives you good advice!

Footnotes

1 The person who proclaims the times of prayer in the mosque.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O knowledgeable scholar! If you were in possession of the fruit and blessing of knowledge you would not go to the doors of sultans seeking shares for your lower selves and lustful desires. The knowledgeable scholar has no legs with which he goes to the doors of the sultans and the creatures, and the ascetic has no hands with which he takes people’s property.

* O young man, do not behave like a grown‑up cock when you are still a young chick inside an egg. You have no right to speak until your body has fully developed, your egg has cracked and released you, and you have become a young chicken beneath the wing of your mother, beneath the wing of the Law of your Prophet (prayer and peace be on him and on his family), until he feeds you so that your faith becomes strong and complete. When righteousness has flowed into you, you will start to pick your sustenance from the grains of the favor of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). At this stage, you will become a rooster for the hens. You will comfort them, love them, become a guardian for them, deal with the tribulations, and sacrifice yourself for them. Once the servant has become sound, he will carry the burdens of the earth and the creatures and become a spiritual pivot for them. The Prophet is reported to have said: “The person who acquires knowledge, puts it into practice, and teaches others will be called ‘great’ in the kingdom of heaven.”

I say about you what the Commander of the Believers ‘Alī bin abī Ṭālib (may Allah be satisfied with him and ennoble his face) has said: “I have within me so much Knowledge. If I could find those who can carry it and who are its real people, I would not have locked up the door of secrets and would have opened its gates and manufactured its keys, but [I say] ‘O my innermost being keep the secrets hidden until its people come’”! Keep what you have as a secret, but if you are asked for it, disclose it. I cannot reveal all that I have, because some spiritual states should be kept secret.

Ibn Sam‘ūn (may Allah, high is He, show mercy to him) used to say: “Believing what I say merits the degree of sainthood. If the person is already a saint, he will further rise in ranking.” Such words are accepted, believed, and put into practice only by someone who serves the Law, acts in accordance with it, and sincerely complies with it. It is the guidance of the Book and the Sunna. He has succeeded, by Allah, the person who is brought up according to their teachings, who grows up while complying with them, and who never exceeds their limits; he has succeeded indeed. I am afraid that your practice of Islam and your faith are mere façade. Perfect your practice of Islam and your faith. This way your fear, fasting, prayer, and night vigil will increase. The people of Allah went wandering, joined the wild animals, and competed with them for the herbs of the earth and the water of the springs, with the sun becoming their sunshade and the moon and the stars their lamp. Exert strenuous efforts in performing works of obedience and acts that draw you near before you arrive in His presence. Do not wrong yourselves by disobeying Him and being impudent to Him. O Allah, grant us success in obeying You, keep us away from the acts of disobeying You, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* By Allah, you are a liar under all circumstances. You do not know the way to the door of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). How can you point to it when you are blind? How can you guide others when you are blinded by your passion, natural inclination, and pursuit of your lower self, love for this world, superiority, and lustful desires? Woe to you! You love to stay in this world, therefore you will achieve nothing. When will you find the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He)? When will you put prayers before the business of your shop and your profits? When will you put the hereafter before your worldly interests? When will you put the Creator before the creatures? When will you put the beggar before yourself? When will you put obeying the commandments of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), observing His prohibitions, and enduring with patience the tribulations that come from Him before your passion and habitual practice? When will you put answering Him before answering His creatures?

O young man, be sensible! You are in sheer illusion. You are a falsehood with no truth, an outward with no inward, and a show of publicity with no substance. Come to me since the acts of disobedience are still on your outward, before they reach your heart and you become persistent and then persistence develops into disbelief. Do something before it is too late. Use the little that you have to get the great amount that you lack. Do something since the rope is still in your hand. The Prophet (prayer and peace be on him and on his family) has said: “The repentant sinner is like one who has never committed any sin, even if he kept sinning seventy times a day.” If you listen to the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), act in accordance with his words, and behave well in his company by following his companions, he will introduce your heart to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and let you hear His words. When someone’s obedience to Allah and his servitude to Him have become confirmed, he will become capable of hearing His words.

* If you borrow another person’s words and utter them, pretending that they are yours, the hearts of the righteous people will hate you. If you do not have works that match those words, you do not have the right to speak. On the face of it, the matter looks to be wholly about work. Allah (high is He) has said: “Enter Paradise a reward for what you have done” (from 16.32). The believer does not make the angels weary with much babble and talk about things that do not concern him. Rather, his heart fears the True One (mighty and glorified is He), so no doubt his limbs and senses are also afraid of Him. The tongue of his heart keeps silent, so his mouth’s tongue also does not speak. His heart calms down because of His majesty so his limbs and senses follow suit, leaving the angels restful and at ease.

* Among the speakers there are some who speak from their hearts and others who speak from their lower selves, passions, and devils.

* O people, seek to be steadfast in worshipping your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) for He has praised those who are obedient in His presence. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him and on his family) is reported to have said: “When the servant has stood praying for a long time in His (mighty and glorified is He) presence, his sins will scatter away as the dry leaves fall down from the trees on a windy day.” As the servant behaves truthfully in his obedience to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), his sins scatter away from his outward, inward, and the whole of him; his heart will become enlightened and his innermost being will become pure.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Woe to you! Do not be double‑faced, double‑tongued, and with two different kinds of work like so‑and‑so. I have been given the authority to confront every liar, hypocrite, and impostor. I have been given the authority to confront everyone who is disobedient to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), the greatest of whom is Iblīs and the smallest is the sinful person. I have been given the authority to fight everyone who has gone astray, leads others astray, and calls them to falsehood. In doing so, I seek the help of [the following words of remembrance]: “There is no might or strength but by Allah, the High, the Great (lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhi al‑‘Alīyī al‑‘Adhīm)”. O Allah, guide us to what makes You satisfied with us, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* Woe to you! Hypocrisy has become firmly stuck to your heart, so you need Islam, repentance, and cutting the waistband [which Christians wear]. Be sensible! You will see when the dust has cleared whether you are riding a horse or donkey: “And you will know its tidings after a while” (38.88). The person who listens to my words, puts them into practice, and acts with sincerity will be one of those who are drawn near because these are words from the kernel with no shell.

* As for the hypocrite, he has a clever tongue but a clumsy heart. All his knowledge is in his tongue. This is why the Prophet (prayer and peace be on him and on his family) has said: “The most that I fear for my nation is a hypocrite with a clever tongue.”

* O hypocrite, you will not succeed in this business through your hypocrisy and pretence! You can see your cunningness, you can see your acceptance by the hearts of people, but you cannot see what lies in front of you! You are a source of misfortune to yourself in this world and in the hereafter, and to those whom you teach and order to follow you. You are a dissimulator, impostor, and swindler in relation to people’s property. No doubt, you will not have a prayer answered or a place in the hearts of the truthful. You have gone astray from Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) way with His knowledge. You will see when the dust has cleared whether you are riding a horse or donkey. When the dust has cleared, you will see the men of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) riding horses and thoroughbreds, whereas you are on a broken donkey behind them and the demons and devils will grasp you. The people of Allah attain to a state in which they have no prayer of supplication and make no requests. They do not ask for benefits to be brought or harms to be repelled. Their supplication will come to be at the command of their hearts, sometimes for themselves and sometimes for the creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication while being unaware of what they are doing. O Allah, grant us ultimate politeness with You under all circumstances and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* It is the habit of the believer to reflect first and then speak, whereas the hypocrite speaks first and then reflects. The tongue of the believer is behind his mind and heart, whereas the tongue of the hypocrite is in front of his mind and heart. O Allah, include us among the believers, do not include us with the hypocrites, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* May Allah confer no blessing on you, O hypocrites! How many you are! Your efforts are totally dedicated to cultivating your relationships with the creatures and undermining your relationships with the Creator. If you treat me as your enemy, this means that you are treating Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him and on his family) as your enemies because I support them. Do not overstep the mark for “Allah has full control over His affair” (from 12.21).

Joseph’s (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) brothers tried hard to kill him but without success. How could they have succeeded when he is a king in the sight of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), one of His prophets, and one of the truthful elite, and when He had preordained that benefits would flow to the creatures through his hands? Similarly, the Jews tried to kill Jesus, the son of Mary (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them), because they became envious of him as a result of the marvelous signs and miracles that he performed, so Allah Almighty revealed to him that he must leave their country for Egypt. He left it, and this happened when he was thirteen years old. It was one of his relatives who took him and helped him to escape. Then his influence increased and he became well‑known throughout that country, so a group of people decided to kill him but they failed for “Allah has full control over His affair.” You are doing the same, O hypocrites of this age! You wish to kill me. You are unworthy of respect! You will be kept well short of that.

Force yourselves to perform works of obedience and refrain from acts of disobedience and reprehensible deeds and then this forcing will turn into a natural inclination. Try to understand the words of your Lord, put them into practice, and act sincerely in accordance with them. Our Lord (mighty and glorified is He) speaks a speech that can be heard and understood. In this world, Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) and Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) heard His words. In the hereafter, the believers among His creatures will hear His speech. Our Lord can be seen. We shall see Him on the Day of Resurrection as we now see the sun and moon. We have no doubt about this today and we shall have no doubt about it tomorrow [at the Resurrection]. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has servants who are willing to sell Paradise and its contents for a glance [of Him]. Once He has established the truthfulness of their intentions and that they are irrevocably ready to trade Paradise for a single glimpse, He will make glimpses available to them indefinitely. He will make their nearness permanent. He will compensate them for the pleasures of Paradise with His nearness.

O you who are ignorant of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and His men! Woe to you! Advance one step with the feet of your hearts to the food of the favor of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Can you not see how I am putting it in front of you? Anyone of you who accuses me of telling lies will himself be called a liar by his clothes, his house, and the angels who surround him. I do not care about the accusation of telling lies that you level at me, O hypocrite, O impostor!

* I can see that the majority of you make public any bad thing they come across and conceal any good thing that they see. Do not do that. You are not in charge of people. Leave people under Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) veil. Release people from your hands for their reckoning is a matter for their Lord. If you have known Allah (mighty and glorified is He), you will have shown mercy to His creatures and left their shortcomings undisclosed. If you have known Him, you will have ignored anyone other than Him and you will have known the others through Him. If you deal with Him, you will resent dealing with others. If you have known His door, your hearts will have turned away from the doors of others. If you have seen the favors to have come from Him, you will have thanked Him and forgotten thanking others. Ask Him to provide for your needs and do not ask others. Believe in His oneness and then you will be unified. The person who believes in His oneness will be unified. The person who seeks [Him] will find [Him]. The person who surrenders and submits [to Him] will be saved. The person who complies with His will will be granted success. The person who disputes with destiny will be destroyed.

* O hypocrite, it is natural that you do not understand what I have to say because you disbelieve my words. If you want to comprehend and understand what I say, repent from your hypocrisy, act with sincerity, and renounce your worldly interests and anything other than your Master. The first stage of this business is declaring that “there is no God save Allah (lā ilāha illā Allah) (from 47.19), Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (Muhammadun rasūlu Allah)” (from 48.29), and its last stage is seeing stones and clay as equal. I mean by “stone” the gold which is the beloved of the creatures and the thing they seek.

* Suppose that you have succeeded in concealing your reality from the people of the Law, how can you hide yourself from the people of Knowledge who can see by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and are able to know the creatures by their marks? In the sight of the common people, you are one who performs the prayer, keeps the fast, is obedient, pays the obligatory alms, makes the pilgrimage, practices pious restraint, is pious, and is an ascetic. In the eyes of the people of Knowledge, however, you are a hypocrite, impostor, and inhabitant of hell. When you come into their presence, they see the ruins of your house and of the house of your religion. They see the traces of hypocrisy on your face. They know you from your marks but they do not utter a word. The nearness to the True One (mighty and glorified is He) has sealed their mouths, His covering has held their tongues, and the tongue of His generosity and patience has prevented them from speaking. Otherwise, their secrets would have become public.

O hypocrites, fulfill the requirements of Islam so that you acquire faith, certitude, knowingness, private conversation, direct speech, and discourse. Be sensible, do not be satisfied with the appearances and neglect the substance. Work and act with sincerity and then you will be saved. Serve the practicing knowledgeable scholars. The person who serves will himself be served. The person who acts with humility will be elevated. Give service and then you will become a master. Have you not heard this saying: “The master of the people is their servant”? You serve very well yourself, your wife, and your son but you hide your money away from the poor and spend it in satisfying your passions and purposes. Your wealth will soon vanish.

You are afraid of the watchman on your street and the ruler of your town more than you fear your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). You treat them with veneration and present them with gifts because they know that your home is in ruins and are aware of your scandals. Woe to you! Soon, your wealth will disappear and your friends, who are evil companions, will abandon you and become your enemies. The watchman on your street and the ruler of your town will spread the word about your disgrace because you do not pay them anymore. How would Allah (mighty and glorified is He) bless you when you are spending His favors on acts of disobedience to Him? Soon, you will start to beg but no one will give you a handout and the garbage dumps and sewage places will be your abode. It is also possible that the Angel of Death will come to you while you are in this situation and thus you will move from one misery to another. Be sensible and feel ashamed in the presence of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). This world will not last forever but the hereafter will. The lustful desires of this world do not last but the pleasures of the hereafter do. The believer sells this world for the hereafter and the creatures for the Creator.

* O hypocrite, your time is being spent on nothing. O backslider, your time is being wasted and your capital is melting away, so no doubt you will make no profit. Your capital is your religion, and since you are using your capital to consume worldly things, you are in effect consuming your religion, so it is diminishing and vanishing. It vanishes through your work for the sake of the creatures and your quest for fame, the gold coin, the silver coin, social prestige, and acceptance [by the creatures]. You are the enemy of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). You are hated by Him, by the hearts of the truthful among His servants, and by His angels. The angels curse you, the earth under you curses you, the sky above you curses you, and your clothes curse you. So you are cursed by the Creator and by the creatures. Have you not known that the hypocrite is “in the lowest depths of the Fire” (from 4.145)? Surrender (become a Muslim) and then repent. Do something before death surprises you, before you are suddenly overtaken and end up in regret when regret is useless. I know you but I cannot point at you. We are commanded in the Law to leave you and others unexposed. But I speak out, however, without mentioning names. I refer to you indirectly, without pointing to you explicitly. As the saying goes: “My words are aimed at you, so listen to what I am going to say to my neighbor.” The slave may need to be beaten with a stick but a nod should be enough for a freeman.

The True One (high is He) looks at the private and public lives of the creatures and also at their hearts. He does not accept from them other than what they offer to Him and do for the sake of His face. Do not put on a show, do not cheat, and do not try to conceal your faults for “He knows the secret and what is yet more hidden” (from 20.7),and “He knows the treachery of the eyes and what the breasts conceal” (40.19).

* How much I call on you but you do not hear me, and when you hear you pretend to be deaf and do not answer! How far you are! You are being called from a distant place. Your voice comes from the depths of the earth not from the castle of nearness and the shore of the sea of favor. Your whole concern is with your bellies, genitals, bodies, and amassing worldly goods. This is poison. Hunger is the food with which Allah (mighty and glorified is He) satisfies the stomachs of the truthful on earth. O you who are afraid of poverty, the real poverty is the fear of poverty, and the real affluence is being satisfied with Allah (mighty and glorified is He) not with the silver and gold coins! O young man, make yourself live the experience of the Resurrection [before it has come]! Enter with the feet of your reasoning to the Fire and Paradise and look at what is there with the eyes of your faith and certitude. The believer continues to work until both of his reasoning and sight come to be sound. After achieving this, he puts himself through the experience of the Resurrection. He stands in the presence of His Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and reads the scrolls of his works. He sees in them his good and bad deeds. He can see that his bad works have outnumbered his good ones and that because of his bad works he will fall into the Fire. He wishes to cross over the ṣirāṭ1 so he will step on it, poised between fear and hope, between falling to his death and crossing safely. While he is in this situation, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will reach out to him with His mercy, giving the order for him to be brought back, widening the ṣirāṭbeneath his feet, and extinguishing with the water of His mercy the flames of the fire so that the fire will say to him: “Pass through, O believer, for your light has put out my flames!” The believer reflects on all of this, imagines it graphically, and believes in it as a fact. He keeps his belief in it until it becomes a matter of certainty for him.

* One of the righteous is reported to have said: “The hypocrite remains in one and the same state for forty years, whereas the truthful person changes forty times every day.” The hypocrite is involved with his lower self, passion, natural inclination, devil, and worldly interests. He never leaves their service. He never expresses an opinion that is different from theirs. He never says anything that contradicts what they say. His whole concern is with eating, drinking, dressing up, having sex, and amassing wealth. He does not care in what way he gets all that. He ensures the prosperity of his body and worldly affairs but ruins his heart and religion. He pleases the creatures but dissatisfies the Creator. The longer his hypocrisy lasts, the harder and darker his heart becomes, so he becomes more unmoved and undisturbed by any admonition, unable to learn a lesson from any advice, and incapable of remembering when he is given a reminder. No doubt, therefore, he remains in one and the same state for forty years. The truthful person, on the other hand, does not remain in one state because he is involved with the Transformer of hearts, submerged in the sea of His power, with one wave raising him up and another sending him down. With respect to the True One’s (mighty and glorified is He) management of affairs, he is like a feather in the desert, like a stalk in the farmer’s field, like the corpse in the hands of the washer of the dead, like the child on the lap of the nursing mother, and like the ball in front of the polo player’s mallet. He has surrendered his outward and inward to Him and he is satisfied with His management of his affairs and His looking after him. He is not concerned with his eating, sleep, and lustful desires, but the whole of his concern is with the service of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and His satisfaction with him. This is why a righteous man has said: “As for the people of Allah, their eating is like that of the sick, their sleep is like that of the drowned, and their speech is only uttered out of necessity.” How could not they be like this when they have seen with their hearts what no one else has ever seen? They have forgotten everything other than their Lord (mighty and glorified is He). They have become unconscious as far as this world, the hereafter, and anything other than Him are concerned. They have camped at His door. They used compliance as their pillow at His doorstep, and content and satisfaction as their quilt, while the divine decree and destiny serve them, kiss them on the forehead, and carry them on their heads.

Footnotes

1 A narrow bridge that every person will have to cross on the Day of Resurrection.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

 

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O young man, the word Ramadan1 consists of five letters: rā’, mīm, dhād, alif, and nūn. The rā’ is derived from raḥma (mercy) and ra’fa (graciousness); the mīm from mujāzāt (recompense), maḥabba (love), and minna (favor); the dhād from dhamānlilthawāb (assurance of reward); the alif from ulfa (affinity) and qurb (nearness); and the nūn from nūr (light) and nawāl (earning of grace). If you give this month its due and act properly during it, these things will come to you from the True One (mighty and glorified is He). They will come to you in this world in the form of strength and enlightenment to your hearts, and as favors and earning of grace, outwardly and inwardly. In the hereafter there will come to you what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never occurred to any human being.

Most of you are out of touch with Ramadan. Respect for any command comes in proportion to the respect shown to the commander. As for anyone who is out of touch with Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His Messenger, His prophets, and the righteous among His servants (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on all of them), how can he be in touch with this month? Most of you have seen their fathers, mothers, and neighbors fast, so they joined them as a matter of habit not worship. They think that fasting is merely about abstaining from food and drink, so they do not fulfill its conditions and requirements.

O people, give up habitual practice and keep to worship. Fast for the sake of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Do not get bored of fasting and worshipping in this month. Do righteous works during it, and make sure that you act with sincerity. Make a regular practice of doing the prayer of tarāwīḥ.2 Illuminate the mosques, for this will be a light for you on the Day of Resurrection. If you obey and honor Allah (mighty and glorified is He) in this month, it will be an intercessor for you in the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) on the Day of Resurrection. Give fasting its due so that it gives you yours. Give it so that it gives you, becomes a witness for you in the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), praises you, and asks for you a share of His favor, generosity, blessings, grace, graciousness, subtle kindness, safekeeping, substance, and protection.

Woe to you! What benefit would you derive from fasting if you break it on unlawful food and sleep during these noble nights having committed acts of disobedience? Woe to you! You fast out of dissimulation and hypocrisy as long as you are among the creatures, and once you are on your own you break your fast! Then you come out and say: “I am keeping the fast,” whereas throughout the day you are involved in verbal abuse, leveling defamatory accusations, swearing false oaths, and taking people’s money by fraud, trickery, and exaction. This kind of fast does not do you any good and does not count as a fast. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “There are so many people who fast yet get nothing from it other than hunger and thirst, and there are so many people who spend the night worshipping yet earn nothing from it other than fatigue and vigil.”

There are among you those who are Muslims outwardly but like idol‑worshippers inwardly. Woe to you! Renew your practice of Islam, your repentance, your apology, and your sincerity so that your Master (mighty and glorified is He) will accept you and pardon your past sins. O you who are fasting, thank your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) for preparing you for the fast and enabling you to keep it! When one of you fasts, let his ears, sight, hands, legs, limbs and senses, and heart all fast. Let all his outward and all his inward fast. When you fast, give up telling lies, giving false witness, backbiting, defaming people, and embezzling their property. In principle, you fast in order to purify yourselves of your sins and keep away from them, so what would you benefit from your fast if you commit these sins yet again? Have you not heard these words of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “The fast is a suit of armor (junna)”, for it protects and covers the person who wears it? This is why the shield is called mijanna, because it protects its owner and prevents the arrows from striking him, and the person who is out of his mind is called majnūn, as his mind has been screened off.3 The fast is a suit of armor for anyone who fasts with pious restraint, piety, and sincerity, for in this case it prevents the tribulations of this world and the hereafter from striking him.

O you who are fasting, comfort the poor and the needy with a share of your food at the time of breaking your fast for it increases your reward and is a sign of acceptance of your fast at the time of breaking it! All this will disappear and nothing will remain other than what you do in preparation for yourselves in the hereafter. Therefore, do such preparations as long as you can. On the Day of Resurrection, you will be gathered hungry, thirsty, naked, afraid, ashamed, and terrified. The person who feeds the poor and the needy in this world will be fed on that Day. The person who gives drink in this world will be given drink on that Day. The person who provides clothing for the poor and the needy in this world will be supplied with clothes on that Day. The person who is afraid and feels ashamed before the True One (mighty and glorified is He) in this world will be made to feel safe on that Day. The person who is merciful to others in this world will have Allah (mighty and glorified is He) show mercy to him on that Day.

In this month, there is a night that is the greatest night of the year, which is Laylatu Al‑Qadr (night of power).4 This night has signs which the righteous can recognize. Among the servants of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) there are those who have the veil removed from their eyes so they see the light of divinity that is held in the hands of the angels, the light of their faces, the light of the doors of heaven, and the light of the face of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), because on that Night He manifests Himself to the people of the earth.

O people, do not make obtaining your food your concern because it is a low concern. You have been put to test by the need to eat and drink, but you have been spared the trouble of securing sustenance, so do not have any concern about it. Glory be to the Self‑Sustained One who never eats or drinks. He gives but is never given substances, He feeds but is never fed, He is the Self‑Sustained One who has no belly. He never eats, drinks, or sleeps. Your greedy keenness has increased, whereas your pious restraint and faith have decreased. Woe to you! This world lasts for only one hour, so spend it in obedience.

Footnotes

1 As written in the Arabic script.

2 Special prayers performed in the month of Ramadan.

3 The Arabic words mijanna and majnūn both share with junna the same root.

4 The night on which the first verses of the Holy Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (prayer and peace be on him).

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

 

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O servants of Allah, beware of injustice for it results in darkness on the Day of Resurrection. Injustice darkens the heart and the face. Beware of the prayer of supplication of the wronged person. Beware of the weeping of the wronged person and of the burning in his heart. The believer does not die before revenge has been exacted on the person who did him injustice and before he has witnessed his death, the black signs of death covering his door, his children become orphans, the seizure of his property, and the transfer of his authority to someone else. When the believer’s behavior becomes controlled by his heart, judgment will often be delivered not against him but in his favor, he will not be humiliated but humiliation will be inflicted [on others] in his favor, he will not have his shares reduced but reduction of the shares [of others] will be made to his advantage, and he will not have the women of his family exposed to publicity, humiliated, or surrendered to the hands of wrongful people.

* O people, refrain from engaging in idle gossip, amassing worldly goods, and quarreling over them. You will be punished [at the Resurrection] on account of the worldly goods that you have in your hands if you do not give the dues of the poor and the needy and spend the rest in obedience to Allah (high is He) and in worshipping Him. Woe to you! You are trustees of this property, so do not you feel a sense of shame that you have neighbors who are poor and starving to death while you have turned away from them? Have you not heard His following words: “And spend of what He made you inherit” (from 57.7)? He has informed you that you have been appointed trustees of the wealth but you have considered it your personal property and engaged in mutiny, rebelling against Him. He has not commanded you to spend all of it on charity but appointed for the poor a specified entitlement which is the obligatory alms, expiatory gifts, and votive offerings. Discharge your obligations to the poor then discharge your obligations to the family and relatives. Comforting with charitable alms, in addition to giving the obligatory alms, is part of the good manners of the believer. The person who does business with Allah (mighty and glorified is He) makes profit. The Most Truthful of Speakers has said in His truthful Book: “And what you spend He replaces it” (from 34.39).

* O people, do not do injustice to yourselves and do not do injustice to others. Injustice ruins homes, cuts off lineages, darkens hearts and faces, and decreases sustenance. Do not commit injustice for we will have a resurrection. We will certainly be resurrected. It will come soon. We have a Creator who will certainly make us stand before Him, call us to account, interrogate us, and ask us about what we did, be it insignificant or major, including the things that are as tiny as an atom. I am offering you good advice and I do not ask for a fee in return.

Do not come close to usury for this amounts to waging war against your Lord and causes the blessing to disappear from your property. Lend a gold coin for one gold coin. If anyone of you is able to give a loan to a poor person and after sometime donate it to him for the sake of Allah, let him do it. He will thus make him happy twice: the first time when he gives him the loan and the second when he turns the loan into a donation. Do this as an act of relying on your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and having confidence in Him. He compensates, rewards, and gives blessings. Make strenuous efforts not to turn away a beggar. Give him whatever you can. Giving little is better than deprivation. If you have nothing at all to give, do not chide him, but send him away using kind words and never break his heart.

This world is a passage that is crossed as night and day alternate. When someone dies, he experiences his own resurrection and comes to know what he has to his credit and what he has against him. Everything has an opposite counterpart: well‑being and affliction, good and evil, affluence and poverty, life and death, and honor and humiliation. All of these things are opposites. When one of them arrives, its opposite departs, and in the end there is death.

* The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “Each one of you is a shepherd and responsible for his flock.” The father will be held responsible for his children and his wife, and the children and the wife will be held responsible for him. Every master will be held responsible for his slave. Every slave will be held responsible for his master. The teacher will be held responsible for the pupils. The chief will be held responsible for the people of his village. The king will be held responsible for the people of his kingdom. The Commander of the Believers, who is the shepherd of all people, will be held responsible for his flock. There is no one among you who will not be held individually responsible.

Make every effort that you do not do injustice. Make every effort to give the rights to those who are entitled to them. Give gifts to one another. Show mercy to one another. Do not backbite one another. Do not subjugate one another. Help each other, ignore any wronging between yourselves, and do not expose each other’s faults. Tolerate your wrongdoing to each other. Leave people under the veil of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Command what is right and forbid what is wrong, without prying or spying. Denounce any wrongdoing that is apparent but do not concern yourselves with what may be hidden. Do not expose others’ faults so that Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will not expose yours. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) loved refraining from exposing people’s faults and hated keeping an eye on the shortcomings. Therefore he (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Suspend the application of the punishments prescribed by the Law whenever there are doubts.” He also said to ‘Alī bin Abī Ṭālib (may Allah be satisfied with him and ennoble his face): “O ‘Alī! Give evidence only on something [that is clear] like this,” and he pointed to the sun.

O young man, the practice of beneficence is to give all that you are required to give and accept only some of what you are entitled to. If you can, donate all that is due to you and add more on top of it. This depends upon the strength of your faith, certitude, and confidence in your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). When you weigh some goods, tip the balance in the customer’s favor, for thus Allah will tilt the balance in your favor on the Day of Resurrection. O you who are in charge of weighing, tilt the balance in favor of the person for whom you weigh so that the balance will be titled in your favor [in the hereafter]! It has been reported that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) once borrowed a few silver coins, and when he came to settle the debt he said to the man who weighs: “Weigh and tilt the balance in favor of the creditor.” When anyone of you borrows something from another person, he should pay him back something that is better than what he borrowed from him and add some extra, even though this was not stipulated originally.

O people, buy from Allah the nearness to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), buy from Allah Allah! As for your allotted worldly shares, they and their dates of arrival have already been determined. They will not increase or decrease whether you seek them or not, whether you worship your Lord or disobey Him, whether you behave properly or badly. Those that are assigned for later dates cannot be made to come earlier and those that are assigned for earlier dates cannot be delayed. Allah is the Provider, whereas everyone else is provided for. He is the Wealthy One, whereas everyone else is poor. He is the Capable One, whereas everyone else is powerless. He is the One who sets things in motion, the One who causes things to come to a halt, the One who grants authority to someone over another, and the One who puts things at the command of others. All creatures are instruments in His hands. He has assigned a means for everything. Forget the creatures then the means and this world as far as your hearts, private lives, essences, and innermost beings are concerned. Evict from your hearts everything other than Him. Beware of the situation where He would look into your hearts while they quest for other than Him and wish for someone else. Submit and surrender to Him. Believe in the oneness of God and be consistent in this. Be satisfied with the preordained decree and be extinct to the One who preordains. Listen to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), but be deaf to His creatures. Be deaf and blind as far as the creatures are concerned.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved