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Monday, August 18, 2003  

On Abstaining (Wara) Part 2 of 2 Ibrahim bin Adham was asked, "Don't you drink Zamzam water?" He answered, "If I had a bucket of my own, I would drink it." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "When Harith al-Muhasibi passed his hand over food whose lawfulness was in doubt, a vein in his finger would throb and he would know it was not permissible." Bishr al-Hafi, it is told, was invited to a banquet. Food was placed before him. He tried to stretch his hand out to it, but his hand would not reach. This happened three times. A man who knew something about him said, "His hand will not stretch towards food that has anything doubtful in it! What use is it for the one who is holding this dinner to invite this shaykh?" Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Yahya al-Sufi reported ... that Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Salim said in Basra that Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustari was questioned about the purely lawful. He said, "It is that in which there is nothing producing disobedience to God Most High." Sahl also said, "The purely lawful is that in which there is nothing producing forgetfulness of God Most High." Hasan al-Basri entered Mecca and saw a young man, one of the children of Ali bin Abi Talib, who was resting his back against the Kabah while preaching to the people. Hasan got hold of him and asked, "What is the foundation of religion?" The youth replied, "Abstaining from the unlawful." Hasan asked, "And what is the disaster of religion?" He said, "Ambition!" Hasan marveled at him. Hasan said, "An atom's measure of sound abstaining from the unlawful is better than a thousand measures of fasting and prayer." God, glory to Him, revealed to Moses, "Those who draw near do not come near to Me with anything that can compare to abstaining from the unlawful and renunciation of the world." Abu Hurayrah said, "Those who will sit with God Most High tomorrow are the people who abstain from the unlawful and practice renunciation." Sahl bin Abd Allah al-Tustari said, "A person unattended by the ability to abstain from the unlawful could eat the head of an elephant and not be full!" It is said that Umar bin Abd al-Aziz was brought some musk that had been taken as spoils of war. He held his nose closed. He said, "The only benefit of this is its scent. I would hate to discover its scent without the rest of the Muslims." Abu Uthman al-Hiri was questioned about abstaining from the unlawful. He said, "Abu Salih Hamdun al-Qassar was with a friend of his at his last moment. The man died. Abu Salih blew out the lamp. Asked why, he replied, 'Up until now the oil in the lamp was his. From now on, it belongs to his heirs.' So they looked for other oil." Kuhmus said, "I committed a sin for which I have wept for forty years. A brother of mine visited me. I bought some fried fish for him. When he has finished, I took a bit of clay from my neighbor's wall so that he could clean his hand with it. I did not ask my neighbour to make it lawful." It is said that a man wrote a note while he was living in a rented house. He wanted to blot what he has written with dust from the wall of the house. It occurred to him that the house was rented, but then it came to his mind that is was of no importance, so he blotted the letter. Then he heard a voice from the unseen say, "The one who thinks little of dust shall learn what a long accounting he will face tomorrow!" Ahmad bin Hanbal left a copper pot as security with a grocer in Mecca. When he wanted to redeem it, the grocer took out two pots and said, "Take whichever of them is yours." Ahmad said, "I am not sure which is my pot, so it is yours, and the money is also yours." The grocer said, "This one is your pot. I wanted to put you to the test!" He replied, "I will not take it." And he went away and left the pot with the grocer. It is said that Ibn Mubarak let loose a horse of great value while he prayed his noon prescribed prayer. The animal pastured in the field of a village whose revenues belonged to a king. Ibn Mubarak abandoned the beast and would not ride it. It is said that Ibn Mubarak returned from Merv to Damascus because of a pen he had borrowed and not returned to its owner. Al-Nakhai hired a riding animal. His whip dropped from his hand. He descended, tied the animal and went back and picked up his whip. It was said to him, "If you had ridden your mount back to the place where you dropped your whip in order to pick it up, it would have been easier for you." He answered, "I only hired it to travel from such-and such a place to such-and-such a place!" Abu Bakr al-Daqqaq said, "I was lost in the desert of the Children of Israel for fifteen days. When I found the road, I encountered a soldier who gave me a drink of water. Because of this, a covering came over my heart from which I suffered for thirty years." It is said that Rabia-l-Adawiyyah mended a tear in her shirt by the light of a sultan's lamp. For awhile she lost knowledge of her heart. Then she remembered, ripped her shirt, and found her heart. Sufyan al-Thawri was seen in a dream. He had two wings with which he was flying from tree to tree in paradise. He was asked, "By virtue of what were you granted this?" and said, "By abstaining from the unlawful." Hasan bin Abi Sinan stopped with the companions of Hasan al-Basri and asked, "What thing is most difficult for you?" He replied, "To be scrupulous about the lawful. " "Nothing is easier than that for me," he said. "How can that be?" they asked. "I have not drunk from this river of yours for forty years," said he. Hasan bin Abi Sinan used never to sleep reclining nor to eat any sort of oil nor to drink cold water for sixty years. After he died he was seen in a dream and asked, "How has God treated you?" "Well." he said, "but I am veiled from paradise by a needle I borrowed and did not return." Abd-l-Wahid bin Zayd had a slave who had waited upon him for many years and spent forty years in worship. In the beginning he [the slave] had been a grain measurer. When he died, he was seen in a dream and asked, "How has God treated you?" "Well," he replied, "except that I am veiled from paradise. I measured forty measures of grain and did not clean the dust that collected at each measure. This giving of short measure was counted against me." Jesus son of Mary passed by a grave and called a man out of it. God Most High brought him back to life. Jesus asked, "Who are you?" The man said, "I was a porter who carried things about for people. One day I carried firewood for someone. I broke off a splinter and used it as a toothpick, and I have been paying for it since I died." Abu Said al-Kharraz was discoursing on abstaining from the unlawful when Abbas bin al-Muhtadi passed by. He said, "Abu Said, aren't you ashamed? You sit under the roof of a miserly sultan, drink from the well of a queen, do your business with false coin, and you talk about abstaining from the unlawful?" -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 8/18/2003 08:41:00 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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