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Saturday, July 05, 2003  

On Striving (Mujahadah) Part 1 of 2 God Most High said, "Those who strive for Us we will certainly guide in Our ways; God is with the doers of good" [29:69]. Abu-l-Husayn bin Ahmad al-Hawari informed us ... from Abu Said al-Khudri, "The Messenger of God was asked about the most excellent war for religion and said, 'A word of justice in the face of despotic power.' When he related this, tears came to Abu Said's eyes." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "If someone beautifies his outer being by struggling against the passions of his ego, God will beautify his inner being with the vision of Him. God Most High said, 'Those who struggle for Us we will certainly guide in Our ways'" [29:69]. Know that whoever does not strive from the beginning will never find the slightest trace of this Way. I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say that he heard Abu Uthman al-Maghribi say, "If anyone supposes that something of this Way will be opened to him or that something of it will be revealed to him without the necessity of struggle, he is in error." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "Whoever does not stand up in the beginning will not sit down in the end." I also heard him say, "Their saying, 'Movement is a blessing' (al-harakah barakah)' - means to bestir oneself outwardly brings the bestowal of grace inwardly." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... Abu Yazid al-Bistami said, "For twelve years I was the blacksmith of my ego and for five years the mirror of my heart. One year I was looking between the two of them and there around my waist was an obvious belt of dualism! So for twelve years I worked to cut it. Then I looked again, and inside me was another belt of dualism. So I worked to cut that. For five years I looked for how it could be done and it was revealed to me. Then I looked at people and saw them to be dead. So I said 'God is Greater (Allahu akbar) over them four times [as at the funeral prayer]." I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... that Sari al-Saqati said, "O assembly of young men! Be serious before you reach my age and become feeble and incapable as I have." At that time none of the young men were anywhere near comparison to him for divine service. I heard him say ... that al-Hasan al-Qazzaz said, "This undertaking is built upon three things: that you do not eat except for need, that you do not sleep except when you are overpowered, and that you do not talk except as necessary." And I heard him say ... that Ibrahim bin Adham said, "A man is never granted the degree of the righteous before six difficult things become possible for him: the first, that he close the door of ease and open the door of difficulty; the second, that he close the door of honor and open the door of humiliation; the third, that he close the door of comfort and open the door of effort; the fourth, that he close the door of sleep and open the door of wakefulness; the fifth, that he close the door of wealth and open the door of poverty; the sixth, that he close the door of imagining the future and open the door of readiness for death." I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say that he heard his grandfather Abu Umar bin Nujayd say, "Anyone whose ego has been honored has had his religion debased!" And I heard him say ... that Abu Ali al-Rudhbari said, "If a Sufi said after five days [without food], 'I am hungry,' they would order him to the market and command him to earn a living!" Know that the foundation and rationale of struggle or striving (mujahadah) is to wean the ego from what is familiar to it and to induce it to oppose its desires (passions) at all times. The ego (animal soul) has two traits that prevent it from good: total preoccupation with cravings (attraction to pleasure) and refusal of obedience (avoidance of pain/harm). When the ego is defiant in the pursuit of desire, it must be curbed with the reins of awe of God. When it stubbornly refuses to conform with God's will, it must be steered toward opposing its desires. When it rages in anger [at being opposed], its state should be controlled - no process has a better outcome than the breaking of the power of anger by developing good character traits and by extinguishing its fires by gentleness. And if the soul finds sweetness in the wine of arrogance, it will have become incapable of anything but showing off its great deeds and preening itself before anyone who will look at it and notice it. It is necessary to break it of this habit, dissolving it with the punishment of humiliation by means of whatever will make the soul remember its paltry worth, its lowly origin, and its despicable acts. The struggle of the majority of people is to bring their works to full development. The struggle of the elite is to purify their states because the endurance of hunger and wakefulness is simple and easy. The cure of character and the cleansing of its impurities is extremely difficult. One of the thorniest problems of the soul is its inclination to find great pleasure in praise. Anyone who drinks a mouthful of this wine bears the weight of the heavens and the earths on his eyelids! A sign of the weight of this burden is that when this drink of praise is withheld from such a soul, its state reverts to laziness and cowardice in its striving. -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 7/05/2003 09:37:00 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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