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Saturday, April 26, 2003  

Anecdotes of Rabe'a al-Adawiya One spring day Rabe'a entered her apartment and put out her head. "Mistress," her servant said, "come out and see what the Maker has wrought." "Do you rather come in," Rabi'a replied, "and see the Maker. The contemplation of the Maker preoccupies me, so that I do not care to look upon what He has made." A leading scholar of Basra visited Rabe'a on her sickbed. Sitting beside her pillow, he reviled the world. "You love the world very dearly," Rabe'a commented. "If you did not love the world, you would not make mention of it so much. It is always the purchaser who disparages the wares. If you were done with the world, you would not mention it either for good or evil. As it is, you keep mentioning it because, as the proverb says, whoever loves a thing mentions it frequently." 'Abd al-Wahid-e Amer relates as follows. I went with Sofyan-e Thauri to visit Rabe'a when she was sick, but out of awe for her I could not begin to address her. "You say something," I said to Sofyan. "If you will say a prayer," Sofyan said to Rabe'a, "your pain will be eased." "Do you not know who has willed that I should suffer? Was it not God?" Rabe'a demanded. "Yes," Sofyan agreed. "How is is that you know that," Rabe'a went on, "and yet you bid me to request from Him the contrary of His will? It is not right to oppose one's Friend." "What thing do you desire, Rabe'a?" Sofyan asked. "Sofyan, you are a learned man. Why do you speak like that? 'What thing do you desire?' By the glory of God," Rabe'a asseverated, "for twelve years now I have been desiring fresh dates. You know that in Basra dates are of no consequence. Yet till now I have not eaten any; for I am His servant, and what business has a servant to desire? If I wish, and my Lord does not wish, this would be infidelity. You must want only what He wishes, to be a true servant of God. If God himself gives, that is a different matter." Sofyan was reduced to silence. Then he said, "Since one cannot speak about your situation, do you say something about mine." "You are a good man, but for the fact you love the world," Rabe'a replied. "You love reciting Traditions (Hadith)." This she said, implying that that was a high position. "Lord God," cried Sofyan, deeply moved, "be content with me!" "Are you not ashamed," broke in Rabe'a, "to seek the contentment of One with whom you yourself are not content?" When the time came that Rabe'a should die, those attending her deathbed left the room and closed the door. Then a voice was heard saying, O soul at peace, return unto thy Lord, well-pleased! (89:27-28) A time passed and no sound came from the room, so they opened the door and found that she had given up the ghost. After her death she was seen in a dream. She was asked, " How did you fare with Monkar and Nakir?" She replied, "Those youths came to me and said, 'Who is thy Lord?' I answered, 'Return and say to God, with so many thousand thousand creatures Thou didst not forget one feeble old woman. I, who have only Thee in the whole world, I shall never forget Thee, that Thou shouldst sent one to ask me, Who is thy God?'" Prayers of Rabe'a O God, whatsoever Thou hast apportioned to me of worldly things, do Thou give that to Thy enemies; and whatsoever Thou hast apportioned to me in the world to come, give that to Thy friends; for Thou sufficest me. O God, if I worship Thee for fear of Hell, burn me in Hell, and if I worship Thee in hope of Paradise, exclude me from Paradise; but if I worship Thee for Thy own sake, grudge me not Thy everlasting beauty. O God, my whole occupation and all my desire in this world, of all worldly things, is to remember Thee, and in the world to come, of all the things of the world to come, is to meet Thee. This is on my side, as I have stated; now do Thou whatsoever Thou wilt. -Shaykh Fariduddin 'Attar, Memorial of the Saints (Tadhkirat al-Awliya') Love and Affection Inclination and attachment to a person or a thing, whom or which one likes and is interested in and whereby one derives pleasure and is delighted is called love and affection. Such a kind of inclination and attachment at a higher level is what we may call Ishq. This degree of love and affection is a blessing and is bestowed from above. When one prefers and respects the wishes of one's Real Beloved to one who is earthly and hence transitory, this kind of love is on the rational level and is, therefore, obligatory. However, there are various degrees and stages in it where one has to exercise one's preference in view of the particular situation and the occasion which one has to face and is confronted with. There are several commandments out of which some are obligatory, some are optional and some are desirable according to their respective importance within the framework of Islamic Shari'ah. Anything earthly, be it in the form of dear and near ones, kiths and kins, wealth and riches conducive to one's pleasure, pomp and dignity, impedes one's way to make any sacrifice in the way of God. One should not for a moment hesitate to sacrifice any such things and should come forward to avoid God's wrath and displeasure. The principle underlying the idea is that one should not be so much attached to material and sensuous things of this world which may come in the way and restrain him from following the Divine commandments enjoined by the Law of Islamic Shari'ah and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). One should regard and prefer them to everything else and should act upon them consciously, willingly and gladly. The Holy Qur'an says: "...And those who believe are stronger in their love for Allah..." (2:165) There are degrees of love for God. The greater the degree of love for Him, the higher and firmer is the faith. The highest degree in this direction is achieved when one firmly resolves to follow strictly each and every tenet of the Shari'ah and does not do anything against it at any time and at any stage and starts acting in accordance to it. This is in fact the real objective to be attained. Love and affection may be classified into two categories: The first kind of love is at the physical level, which is involuntary and temporary and arises out of physical passions. Being emotional in character, it is therefore short-lived. The second kind of love is on the rational and intellectual level which, being voluntary in its nature, is durable and, therefore, better and superior than the first kind. Firstly, love is developed for someone due to the fact that either one has been under the obligation of somebody, which creates love for him on that account or secondly, the object of one's love is so beautiful that one is drawn towards him on that account and thirdly, the object of one's love possesses some distinctive mark or quality which he appreciates and applauds and as such one is attracted towards him on that account. It is Almighty God alone, who is the fountainhead of all the beautiful characteristics and qualities. He is perfect in His essence and attributes and as such to develop love and affection for Him is everlasting and of great worth and value. Love for any worldly object is temporary because the worldly objects are themselves transitory and temporary in nature. It is on this account that the highly learned and intellectual persons cherish spiritual love for God and God alone. Actually, the intended objective is love on the rational level and not love on the physical and emotional levels. However, it does not mean that those who possess rational love are completely devoid of physical love. They do have physical love on occasions but it is subordinate to rational love. The love on the intellectual level in such persons dominates the love on the emotional level while persons who stand on a lower level, their physical love dominates over intellectual love. The highly developed persons partake of both, that is, the physical love and the rational love. In them, the latter overwhelms the former. Love and affection is essential for a human being, without which all sorts of submissions, prayers and devotions become customary, conventional, ritualistic and a matter of routine derived of any spirit. Love adds glamour to life and infuses the soul on all kinds of such performances as worship, devotional activities, etc. Contact with ultimate reality through customary and conventional means and methods, being a slow and gradual process, takes a long time to attain His nearness and have His glimpses, whereas if the same is animated with love for Him, one can easily and quickly attain union with Him and have his recognition (Ma'rifa). Actual practice in accordance with the tenets of Islamic Shari'ah, motivated by good intention and extreme love for Him, renders the journey convenient, covers the distance quickly and helps reach the destination harmoniously. Divine love, when it reaches its climax, has such a strong hold upon a man that he does not feel perturbed and disturbed when any calamity and catastrophe befalls him or when he has to face any difficulty or adverse situations. He is peaceful and contented under all circumstances, pain or pleasure. It is on account of this, that he considers everything as from above and as such, difficulties seem to be a boon and a blessing from God. One is rejoiced and gets pleasure in following His commandments and in submitting to His directions. The Holy Qur'an lays down the method of attaining nearness to God when it addressed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as follows: "Say (to mankind O Muhammad), If you love God, follow me (and) God will love you..." (3:31) The following procedure has been suggested for the creation of Divine love within the heart of the faithful: 1. One should acquire religious knowledge in the first instance and develop insight in it. 2. One should follow the tenets of the Shari'ah strictly with pure intention. 3. Divine directions as laid down in the Qur'an must be followed. 4. One should do virtuous deeds with firm determination and purity of intention, with love and affection wholeheartedly. 5. One should recite the name of Allah in solitude for a short span of time. 6. One should associate with Godly pious persons and remain in close contact with them. 7. One should remind one's own self, in solitude, the blessings of Allah that are bestowed on him and watch his own conduct with reference to them, concerning how far he is grateful to Him for the bounties showered on him. 8. One should always pray to God for the creation of His love in his mind. 9. One should meditate and concentrate with a positive attitude on the fact that God loves him and likes him. The natural result of this will be that Divine love will be created in one's mind and all kinds of embarassments, disturbances and difficulties will come to an end. The method to drink deep in Divine love is to free one's self from worldly love and its bondage, in which one is constantly chained and shackled, and to cherish love for Him and Him alone. That is the way to attain nearness to Him, when one does not see anything else but sees God in it. That is the state of real love for the Divine. -Mawlana Ashraf 'Ali Thanvi



posted by SuFiSTiC | 4/26/2003 06:22:00 AM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
Md Mubaraq
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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