< Thoughts & Readings


Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

Companionship My dear son... If you understand this tradition, there is no need for too much knowledge. There is also another story to meditate and reflect over. Hatim al-Asam was among the friends of Shaqiq al-Balkhi (may Allah have mercy on them both). One day Shaqiq asked Hatim: "You have kept my company for thirty years; what have you gained in the course of those years?" Hatim replied: "I have gained eight benefits from the knowledge which is sufficient for me. I hope my salvation and safety are embodied in them." Shaqiq asked Hatim to mention them. Hatim al-Asam said: "The first benefit is that I observed the creation and saw that everyone had a loved one and one passionately desired whom he loved and longed for. Some of the beloved accompany the lover up to the brink of sickness and death and others to the gate of the graveyard. All of them return and leave him there alone. No one goes into the tomb with him. I looked into the matter and said to myself: 'The best beloved is that which would enter the tomb with the lover to console him'; I found it to be nothing else than good works, so I took this as my beloved, to illuminate my grave for me and to comfort me in it and not leave me alone. "The second benefit is that I saw that people were following their lusts and hastening towards the desires of the souls; and I meditated on the saying of Allah the Exalted: But as for whoever has feared the majesty of his Lord and has refrained his soul from lust, truly the Garden shall be his dwelling place (Quran, 79:40-41). Convinced that the Quran was true and right, I began to deny my soul [its pleasures] and hurried to combat it and refuse it its passionate desires, until it enjoyed real satisfaction in obedience to Allah the Exalted. "The third benefit is that I saw that every human being is striving to accumulate as much as he can from the wreckage of this world and then holding on strongly to it. I meditated on the Quranic verse: What is with you must vanish; what is with Allah must endure (Quran, 19:96). So I gave freely my worldly possessions for His sake by distributing them among the poor so that it would be my provision in the future with Him the Exalted. "The fourth benefit is that some people whom I observed think that their dignity and honour lie in the multitude of their family and large clans. They were fascinated by these things. Others claimed honour and dignity in abundance of wealth and children, and they were proud of it. Some believed honour and power abide in appropriating the wealth of others, doing injustice to them and shedding their blood. Others considered dignity to consist of extravagance and spending wealth in a foolish manner. I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: The most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you (Quran, 49:13). I chose righteousness for myself, convinced that the Quran is right and true and those claims and opinions of the people are all false and temporal. "The fifth benefit is that I found the people slandering each other and speaking ill of one another out of envy of fortune, power and knowledge. I meditated upon the saying of Allah: It is We who divide their livelihood among them in the life of this world (Quran, 43:32). I realised that the process of dividing livelihood is entirely in the hands of Allah since the beginning of time. Therefore, I never envied anyone and was satisfied with the distribution of Allah the Exalted. "The sixth benefit is that I saw people becoming enemies of each other for different reasons. I meditated upon the saying of Allah the Exalted: Verily, Satan is an enemy to you; so treat him as an enemy (Quran, 35:6). I became aware that enmity with anyone except Satan was not permissible. "The seventh benefit is that I saw everyone working very hard, exhausting themselves to obtain food and sustenance, tempted by doubts and forbidden things. They degraded themselves in humiliation. I pondered over the saying of Allah the Exalted: There is no moving creature on earth but that its sustenance is dependent on Allah (Quran, 11:6). I knew that my livelihood is guaranteed by Allah the Exalted, so I engaged myself in worship and cut off my covetousness of all else, other than Him. "The eight benefit is that I saw that everyone relied on some created thing, some on the dinar and dirham, some on wealth and property, some on trade and craft and some on creatures like themselves. I meditated upon the saying of the Exalted: And whosoever places his reliance on Allah, sufficient is [Allah] for him. For Allah will surely acomplish His purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion (Quran, 65:3). I therefore placed full trust in Allah the Exalted. He is sufficient for me and He is the best Disposer of affairs." At this point Shaqiq said: "May Allah bless you and grant you success. I looked into the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Zabur and the Quran and have found that the four books revolve around these eight benefits. Whoever works according to them is working according to these four books." -Hujjatul Islam Imam al-Ghazali, Dear Beloved Son



posted by SuFiSTiC | 5/07/2003 07:06:00 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."
(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
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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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