< Thoughts & Readings

Monday, April 28, 2003  

Da'wah My dear son... I advise you regarding eight things. Accept them from me lest your knowledge becomes your enemy on the Day of Judgment. Perform four of them and avoid four of them. As for those you should forsake: First, do not dispute with anyone in any matter as far as possible. For in argumentation lies much harm, and its evil is greater than its benefit. It is the source of all reprehensible qualities, such as showing off, envy, arrogance, rancour, enmity, boasting, etc. Of course, if there arises a question between you and an individual or a group and your intention is that truth may become manifest and not lost, debating is permissible. But there are two signs of such a desire: (1) That it makes no difference whether truth is revealed by your tongue or the tongue of another and (2) that you prefer discussion in private than in public. Listen carefully and I will draw your attention to a helpful point. Know that asking the shaykh questions about problems is just like presenting the sickness of the heart to the doctor, and the answer lies in your struggle to treat the sickness. You should know that the ignorant are those whose hearts are diseased, while the learned are the doctors; the partially learned cannot perfect the treatment and the perfectly learned do not treat every sick person but will treat those whom he hopes will respond to the treatment and the cure. If the malady is chronic or incurable, then he will not give any treatment, for this is a waste of time. Then know that the sickness of ignorance is classified into four types; one of them is curable and the others incurable: (1) He whose questions and objections stem from envy and malice and every time you reply to him in the best, clearest and most eloquent answer, it only increases his malice, enmity and envy. The method [of dealing with him] is not to occupy yourself with answering him. It is said: One hopes for the removal of every enmity Except enmity arising from envy It befits you to shun him and leave him in his sickness. Allah the Exalted says: Therefore shun those who turn away from Our Message and desire nothing but the life of this world (Quran, 53:29). In all that he says and does, the envious person sets fire to the fruit of his knowledge: "Envy eats up good deeds as fire eats up wood." (2) He whose sickness arises from stupidity is also incurable. As 'Isa (AS) said: "Indeed I did not fail in bringing the dead to life, but I failed in curing the stupid." The fool occupies himself with acquiring knowledge over a short span of time and learns a very little share of the intellectual and religious sciences. This fool knows not and thinks that which is obscure to him is also obscure to the great scholar. If he does not know this much, [then obviously] his question will originate from folly, and you must not attempt to answer him. (3) He who is seeking guidance and he does not understand of the speech of the great scholars, he lays to the defects of his own understanding. His questioning is in order to seek benefit; but he is slow-witted and cannot arrive at the truth of things. Again, you must not attempt to answer him, as the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: "We, the prophets, have been commanded that we speak to people according to their level of understanding." (4) As for the disease that is curable, it is that of the intelligent seeker of guidance who is not overcome with envy, anger, or the love of lust, prestige and wealth. Moreover, he seeks the Straight Path and his questions and objections do not arise form envy, aberrant argumentation or testing the shaykh. His sickness is curable and it is permitted to attempt to answer him; rather, it is a must. The second thing to avoid is to guard against and shun becoming a preacher and warner, since its harm is much unless you practice what you preach first and then preach it to the people. Think then about what was said to 'Isa (AS): "O son of Maryam, preach to yourself, and when you have preached to yourself, then preach to others; or otherwise be ashamed before your Lord." If you are entrusted with this task, avoid two characteristics: (1) Beware of artificiality in speech in explanations and allusions and vehement cries and versification and poetry because Allah the Exalted hates pretension and the person pretentious beyond bounds give evidence of inner confusion and a heedless heart. The meaning of tadhkir [reminding] is that the servant should remember the Fire of the Hereafter and his own shortcomings in the service of the Creator. He should reflect on his past life which he squandered in what did not concern him. He should think about the challenges that lie before him, such as the possible invalidity of his iman at the end [of his life], his condition at the time that his soul is seized by the Angel of Death and whether he will be able to answer the questions of the angels Munkar and Nakir in the grave. He should think of his condition on the Day of Judgment at its various stages, and whether he will be able to cross the Bridge safely or will fall into the Fire of Hell. He should continue to think of these matters in his heart so as to shake its placidity and make it alert. Tadhkir is lamenting for these calamities, telling people about them, warning them about their flaws and negligence, showing them the defects of their souls so that the heat of these fires will touch the people of the assembly, and these afflictions make them impatient to rectify the past years according to their ability and regret that their past days passed in other than obedience to Allah the Exalted. All this carried out in this way is called "preaching." It is as though you saw a flood approaching someone's house while he and his family were within, and you cried: "Danger, danger, flee from the flood!" Would your heart desire in this situation to convey your news to the man of the house in pretentious sentences, accompanied by gestures and jokes. No one would wish such a thing at all. Such is the status of the preacher and he must avoid such things. (2) The second characteristic to avoid is that your concern in preaching be not that people become wrought in your assembly and show excitement and tear their clothes, so that it be said: "What an assembly this was!" For this is all a product of inclination to this world which is born from heedlessness. In fact, your purpose and concern should be to summon people from this world to the Hereafter, from disobedience to obedience, from cupidity to abstinence, from stinginess to generosity and from delusion to piety. You must make the Hereafter beloved to them and make them hate the world. Teach them the science of worship and renunciation, because their temperaments lean towards deviation from the way of Religion and indulging in what is displeasing to Allah the Exalted and acquiring evil attributes. Cast awe into their hearts and warn them of fearful matters to come. Their inner characteristics may change and their outward dealings may improve. Maybe they will show the yearning to obey and to withdraw from disobedience. This, then, is the correct way to preach. Preaching that is different from this is a burden for he who speaks and he who listens. In fact, it has been called a ghoul, and a devil that snatches people away from the Path and destroys them. People must flee from such a preacher because the mischief that he makes in their religion cannot be achieved by Satan himself. He who is able and powerful enough should bring him down from the pulpit and prevent him from continuing his activities, because this is included in the framework of enjoining good and forbidding evil. The third thing that you should forsake is that you should not mingle with the princes and the sultans, nor should you see them, for seeing them, sitting with them and mixing with them is a great mischief. If you are impelled to do this, refrain from praising and speaking well of them, for Allah is angered when the wrongdoer and the unjust is praised. And whoever prays [to Allah] to lengthen their lives is actually desiring that Allah be disobeyed in His land. The fourth thing is not to accept anything of the gifts of the princes, though you know it is permissible, because coveting what they possess corrupts the religion. This is because it results in compromise to and tolerance of wrongdoing, consideration of their status and agreeing with their oppression. All of this corrupts the religion, and the least of its evil is that when you accept their gifts and benefit from their world, you become fond of them; and whoever loves another obviously loves the prolonging of his life and presence, and in loving the continuance of the life of the oppressor, there is a willingness [to continue] the oppression of the worshippers of Allah the Exalted. What can be more harmful to the Din and the Hereafter than to want destruction in the world? Beware, beware, that you may be decieved by the suggestion of Satan or by the words of people who say: "It is better to accept their dinars and dirhams and distribute them among the poor and destitute, for they spend in the way of wrongdoing and disobedience, while your spending on the weak is better than their spending it." Verily, the cursed one has cut off the necks of many people by this evil whispering; and its mischief is excessive. (We have discussed this in Ihya' 'Ulum al-Din, so refer to it.) As for the four things that you should do, they are as follows: First, make your dealings with Allah the Exalted such that if your own servant acted in this manner with you, you would be pleased with him and you would not think ill of him nor become angry. Whatever you would not expect from your servant in the metaphorical sense, accept not for Allah the Exalted who is your real Lord and Master. Second, in all your dealings with people, treat them as you would be pleased to be treated by them, because the iman of a worshipper is incomplete until he loves for all other people what he loves for himself. Third, if you read or pursue knowledge, your knowledge should reform your heart and purify your soul; just as if you discovered that you had one week to live, you would of course not occupy yourself studying the science of jurisprudence, morality, principles [of jurisprudence], scholastic theology and the like because you would know that these disciplines would not help you. You would rather engage yourself in monitoring the state of your heart and in apprehending the characteristics of your soul, shunning attachement to the world, purifiying your soul from the blameworthy characteristics, occupying yourself with the love and worship of Allah and adopting the praiseworthy characteristics. No day or night passes upon a servant in which his death may not take place. Fourth, do not accumulate of this world more than what suffices for one year, as the Messenger of Allah (SAW) never exceeded that for some of his wives and said: "O Allah, make the provision of the family of Muhammad sufficient." And he did not accumulate it for all his wives. In fact, he used to prepare it only for her whom he knew had weakness in her heart. As for the lady of yaqin [perfect conviction], he did not accumulate for her more than the provision of a day and a half. -Hujjatul Islam Imam al-Ghazali, Dear Beloved Son

posted by SuFiSTiC | 4/28/2003 08:49:00 PM |
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."
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
Md Firdaus

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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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