< Thoughts & Readings

Tuesday, July 08, 2003  

On Striving (Mujahadah) Part 2 of 2 There once was a shaykh who had prayed in the first [and most honorable] row of his mosque for many years. One day an obstacle hindered him from arriving early at the mosque, so he prayed in the last row. After that he was not seen for awhile. When asked the reason, he said, "I had performed my prescribed prayer for so many years and while doing so I held that I was devoting myself excusively to God. The day that I was late to the mosque, a sort of shame came over me because people saw me in the last row. So I knew that my whole lifetime's zeal had derived only from offering my prescribed prayer where I could be seen. I had to redo all my prescribed prayers." It is told that Abu Muhammad al-Murtaish said, "I used to perform the pilgrimage on foot without taking any provisions with me. I realized all of my effort was defiled by the sense of pleasure I received in the way that I performed it. One day my mother asked me to draw a jar of water for her and my ego found that hard. I knew then that my ego's compliancy on the pilgrimages had been for the sake of show and was in fact a blemish in it. For if my ego had truly passed away from itself, it would not have found difficult something that was a duty according to the divine law." A woman who had grown very old was asked about her situation. She replied, "When I was young I found liveliness in my self and conditions which seemed good to me. I thought it was due to the power of my state. But when I grew old this left me, so I knew that it had been the strength of youth, while I had imagined it to be spiritual states." One of the shaykhs could never hear this story without feeling sympathy for this old lady. He said, "She was certainly a woman of principle." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri said, "God honors a servant with no greater honor than to show him the vileness of his ego. He humiliates a servant with no greater humiliation than to hide from him the vileness of his ego." I heard him say ... that Ibrahim al-Khawwas said, "There was not a thing that horrified me which I did not commit." And I heard him say ... that Muhammad bin al-Fadl said, "Rest is liberation from the ego's demands." I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman say that he heard Mansur bin Abd Allah say that he heard Abu Ali al-Rudhbari say, "Disaster comes upon people through three things: diseased constitution, attachment to habit, and bad company." I asked him, "What is diseased constitution?" He said, "Eating the forbidden." I asked, "What is attachment to habit?" He said, "To look and listen for forbidden things and slander." I asked, "And what is bad company?" He replied, "Whenever the ego is roused by a desire, you go and pursue it." I heard him say that he heard al-Nasrabadhi say, "Your ego is your prison. When you have escaped from it, you find yourself in eternal ease." I heard him say ... that Abu-l-Husayn al-Warraq said, "Our most sublime principles in the beginning of our undertaking are: [to act as] if the mosque of Abu Uthman al-Hiri were to prefer to give to others whatever gifts were given to us; not to pass the night knowing what our sustenance would be; and, if someone were to confront us with a distasteful action, not to avenge ourselves but to excuse him and behave humbly towards him. If disdain for someone came into our hearts, we would involve ourselves in serving him and doing good to him until it passed." I heard Abu Hafs say, "The self is entirely darkness. Its lamp is its secret (sirr). The light of its lamp is inner direction from God. The result of success is prayer (tawfiq). Whoever is not accompanied in his secret self by such direction from his Lord is in total darkness." Saying, "Its lamp is its secret," alludes to the secret (sirr) between the servant and God Most High that forms the center of the servant's sincerity by means of which he knows that events take place through God and not through nor from himself so that he is free at all times from pretensions to divine power and strength. Then, by the success that God grants, the servant is preserved from the evils of his ego. If this gift of success does not reach someone, neither his knowledge of himself nor his knowledge of his Lord will profit him. Because of this the shaykhs have said, "He who does not have the secret (sirr) will be insistent on following his own desires." Abu Uthman al-Maghribi said, "As long as a person finds anything good in the self, that person will never be able to see his faults. Only one who blames the ego at all times will be able to see his faults." Abu Hafs al-Haddad said, "How swift is the destruction of the one who does not know his own faults! Disobedience is the high road to unbelief." Abu Sulayman al-Darani said, "I did not find a single good work coming from my ego. Why should it count for anything with me?" Sari al-Saqati said, "Beware of those who visit the rich, those who recite the Koran in market places, and those who act as scholars for princes." Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri said, "Corruption only comes upon the people through six things. First, weakness of intention in working for the next world; second, their bodies' captivity to their lusts (attraction to pleasure); third, elaborate anticipation of the future despite the shortness of life; fourth, choosing to please creatures rather than the Creator; fifth, following their own whims and casting the Sunnah of their Prophet behind their backs; sixth, basing excuses for themselves on tiny slips of our noble predecessors, while burying many of their wonderful deeds." -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)

posted by SuFiSTiC | 7/08/2003 09:14:00 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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