< Thoughts & Readings

Friday, August 22, 2003  

On Renunciation (Zuhd) Part 2 of 2 Abd Allah bin al-Mubarak said, "Renunciation is trust in God Most High together with love of poverty." So say also Shaqiq al-Balkhi and Yunus bin Asbat. This is also one of the guideposts of renunciation, for the servant has no strength to renounce except by means of trust in God Most High. Abd al-Wahid bin Zayd said, "Renunciation is to leave both the dinar and the dirham." Abu Sulayman al-Darani said, "Renunciation is to abandon whatever distracts you from God Glorified and Exalted." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... when Ruwaym asked about renunciation. Junayd said, "It is seeing the world as insignificant and erasing its vestiges from the heart." Sari said, "The life of an ascetic is not good while he is distracted from himself. The life of a gnostic is not good while he is distracted by himself." Junayd, questioned about renunciation, said, "It is that the hand be free of property and the heart of pursuing it." Shibli was asked about renunciation and said, "It is to abstain from what is other than God Most High." Yahya bin Muadh said, "No one attains the reality of renunciation until there are three characteristics in him: work without attachment, speech without personal motives, and honor without seeking position." Abu Hafs said, "One can only renounce the lawful, and there is nothing lawful in the world, so there is no renunciation." Abu Uthman said, "God Most High gives to the ascetic more than what he desires. He gives to the desirous one less than what he desires. He gives to the one on the middle and straight path exactly in accordance with his desires." Yahya bin Muadh said, "The ascetic makes you snuff up vinegar and mustard. The gnostic lets you smell ambergris and musk." Hasan al-Basri said, "Renunciation of the world is that you loathe its people, and you loathe what it contains." A Sufi was asked, "What is renunciation of the world?" He answered, "To abandon whatever is in it to whoever is in it." A man asked Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri, "When will I renounce the world?" He replied, "When you have renounced yourself." Muhammad bin al-Fadl said, "The predilection of ascetics is for having no needs and the predilection of spiritual warriors (fityan) is for being in need. God Most High said, 'And they prefer others over themselves, even though they may be in need' [59:9]." Al-Kattani said, "The thing about which the Kufan, the Medinese, the Iraqi, and the Damascene do not differ is abstinence from the world, generosity of nature, and giving good counsel to people. Not one of all those sorts of people would call these traits anything but laudable." A man asked Yahya bin Muadh, "When will I enter the tavern of trust in God, put on the cloak of renunciation and sit with the ascetics?" He said, "When the secret training of your ego progresses to such an extent that if God cut off your sustenance for three days, you would not be weakened in yourself. Inasmuch as you have not matured to this degree, your sitting on the prayer carpet of ascetics would only be ignorance. And I could not guarantee that you would not be exposed among them!" Bishr al-Hafi said, "Renunciation is a king who dwells only in a free and empty heart." I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say ... that Muhammad bin Muhammad bin al-Ashath al-Bikandi said, "If someone discourses on renunciation and preaches to the people and then desires what they have, God Most High removes the love of the next world from his heart." It is said that when the servant has renounced the world, God Most High sets an angel over him who will plant wisdom in his heart. A Sufi was asked, "Why did you renounce the world?" He replied, "It renounced me!" Ahmad bin Hanbal said, "Renunciation has three phases. The first is abandonment of the unlawful which is the renunciation of the majority of people. The second is abandonment of excess in the lawful which is the renunciation of the elite. The third is abandonment of whatever distracts the servant from God Most High, which is the renunciation of gnostics." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "A Sufi was asked, 'Why do you abstain from the world?' He answered, 'When most of the world renounced me, I disdained to take an interest in the rest of it.'" Yahya bin Muadh said, "The world is like an unveiled bride. The one who seeks her waits upon her like a maid while the ascetic blackens her face, tears out her hair, and sets fire to her raiment. But the gnostic is occupied with God Most High and does not even notice her." I heard Abu Abd Allah al-Sufi say ... that Sari said, "I exercised every aspect of renunciation and was granted what I wished, except for renunciation of other people - I have not attained it, nor am I capable of it." It is said, "Ascetics leave nothing but for their own sake. They give up a temporal benefit for an eternal one." Al-Nasrabadhi said, "Renunciation spares the blood of the ascetics, but sheds the blood of the gnostics." Hatim al-Asamm said, "The ascetic exhausts his purse before he exhausts his ego. The would-be ascetic exhausts himself before he has exhausted his purse!" I heard Muhammad bin Abd Allah say ... that Fudayl bin Iyad said, "God put everything bad in one house and made its key the love of this world. He put everything good in another house and made its key renunciation." -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)

posted by SuFiSTiC | 8/22/2003 07:19:00 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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