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Thursday, July 10, 2003  

On Retreat and Seclusion (Khalwah and Uzlah) Part 2 of 2 I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... he heard that Muhammad bin Hamid say, "A man paid a visit to Abu Bakr al-Warraq. When he wanted to go back home, he asked him, 'Advise me.' Abu Bakr said, 'I found the good of this world and the next in retreat and having little, while [I found] evil in this world and the next in having much and mixing with people." I heard him say ... that he heard al-Jurayri say when asked about seclusion, "It is to go among the crowd, while your secret prevents them from crowding you and to withdraw your ego from sins while your inner awareness is bound by the Real." It has been said, "Whoever prefers seclusion has attained seclusion." Sahl al-Tustari said, "Retreat will not work unless one's sustenance is lawful. Eating lawful sustenance will not work unless one carries out one's duties to God." Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri said, "I see nothing more productive of purity of faith than retreat." Abu Abd Allah al-Ramli said, "Make retreat your companionship, hunger your food, and intimate prayer your conversation until you either reach God or die." Dhu-l-Nun said, "Someone who is concealed from the people by retreat is not like someone who is concealed from them by God." I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... Junayd said, "The suffering of seclusion is easier to bear than the sociability of mixing with people." Makhul said, "There is some good in associating with people, but in seclusion there is safety." Yahya bin Muadh said, "Solitude is the table companion of the truthful." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say he heard Shibli cry, "'Bankruptcy! Bankruptcy, O people!' They asked him, 'Abu Bakr, what is the sign of bankruptcy?' He replied, 'One of the signs of bankruptcy is familiarity with people.'" Yahya bin Abi Kuthayr often said, "Whoever mixes with people tries to influence them, and whoever tries to influence them attempts to impress them." Shuayb bin Harb said, "I went to see Malik bin Masud in Kufa. He was in his house by himself. I asked, 'Why do you isolate yourself here alone?' He answered, 'I do not think of anyone as isolated who is together with God.'" I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... that Junayd said, "Whoever wants to secure his religion and rest his body and his heart, let him withdraw himself from people. This is a difficult time and the intelligent person will choose solitude in it." And I heard him say ... that Abu Yaqub al-Susi said, "Only the strong have the strength to manage separation from people. For the likes of us, community is more fortunate and more useful. Some will work because of seeing the efforts of others." And I heard him say ... that Abu Abbas al-Damghani said that Shibli advised him saying, "Cling to solitude. Efface your name from among the people and face the prayer niche until you die." A man went to Shuayb bin Harb. "What brings you here?" he asked. The man said, "I want to be with you!" "My brother," Shuayb told him, "Worship should not depend on companionship. Someone who enjoys no closeness with God will not be brought close by anything external." Some people asked a Sufi, "What is the strangest thing you have encountered in your travels?" He told them, "Khidr came to meet me and sought my company, but I was afraid that it would spoil my trust in God alone." Another Sufi was asked, "Is there anyone here with whom you would be close?" "Yes," he said. He stretched out his hand to his copy of the Quran and placed it against his heart. "This." With this meaning they have recited, Your Book is my strength; it does not leave my couch, And in it is healing for that which I conceal. A man asked Dhu-l-Nun, "When will withdrawing from the world be the right course for me?" He answered, "When you are capable of withdrawing from yourself." Ibn al-Mubarak was asked, "What is the remedy of the heart?" He replied, "Few encounters with people." It is said that when God wants to transport a servant from the humiliation of disobedience to the honor of obedience, he makes him familiar with solitude, enriches him with contentment, and brings him to see the shameful deeds of his own ego. So whoever has been given this has been given the best of this world and the next. -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 7/10/2003 04:39:00 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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