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Sunday, March 07, 2004  

An Exposition of the Way to Bring about the Recollection of Death in the Heart Know that death is a terrible and most perilous thing. The heedlessness with which the people treat it is the consequence only of their insufficient meditation upon it and remembrance thereof. Even the man who does remember it does not do so with an unoccupied heart, but rather with one that is busy with the desires of this world, so that the remembrance of death does not have a salutary effect upon his heart. The way forward here is for the bondsman to void his heart of all things save the recollection of the demise which lies before him, in the way that the man who intends a dangerous voyage to a desert place or to set sail upon the ocean does not think of any other matter. When the remembrance of death touches his heart and comes to make some impression upon it his contentment and pleasure in the world will wane and his heart will break. The most productive method of bringing this about is for him to make frequent remembrance of those of his peers and associates who have passed away before him: he should contemplate their death and dissolution beneath the earth and recall how they appeared in their firmer positions and circumstances, and meditate upon the way in which the earth has now obliterated the beauty of their forms, and how their parts have been scattered in their tombs, and how they made widows of their wives and orphans of their children; how they lost their property, and how their mosques and gatherings have become voided of them, and of how their very traces have been wiped away. To the extent that a man recalls another, and pictures clearly in his mind his state and how he died, and imagines his form, and remembers his sprightliness and how he used to come and go, and the care which he devoted to living and to continuing, and his forgetfulness of death, and how he was deceived by the propitious means of his subsistence, and his trusting in his strength and his youth, and his inclination to laughter and fun, and his heedlessness of the imminent death and the speedy destruction which lay before him; how he used to go hither and thither, and that now his feet and joints have rotted away, how he used to speak, while now the worm has devoured his tongue, how he used to laugh, while now the dust has consumed his teeth; how he used to arrange for himself that which he would not need for ten years at a time when there lay between him and death only a month, while he was in ignorance of what was planned for him, until death came at an hour he had not reckoned upon, and the Angel's form stood revealed before him, and the summons struck his ears – either to Heaven or to Hell – at that time he will see that he is like them, and that his heedlessness is as theirs, and that as theirs shall be his end. Said Abu'l-Darda' (may God be pleased with him), 'When you recall the departed count yourself as one of them.' Said Ibn Mas'ud (may God be pleased with him), 'The happy man is he who draws an admonition from someone else.' Said 'Umar ibn Abd' al-'Aziz, 'Do you not see that each day, by morning and night, you prepare a traveler to God (Great and Glorious is He!), setting him in a crevice in the earth, who has taken the dust for his pillow, left his loved ones behind, and put himself apart from his means of subsistence?' Holding fast to these and other similar ideas, and also entering graveyards and seeing ill people, is the way to refresh the remembrance of death in the heart until it takes possession of it and stands before one's eyes. At this point one will almost be ready for it, and will shun the world of vanity. Otherwise, a remembrance with the superficial aspect of the heart and a sweet tongue will be of little avail in warning and informing. However contented one's heart may be with some worldly thing, one should at once recall that it must needs be parted with. One day, Ibn Muti' looked at his house, and was delighted by its beauty. He then broke out in tears, saying, 'By God, were it not for death I would rejoice in you, and but for the narrowness of the graves towards which we travel we would be entranced by this world.' Then he sobbed loudly and violently. -Hujjatul Islam, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, The Remebrance of Death and the Afterlife (Kitab Dhikr al-Mawt wa-ma Ba'dahu); Book XL of The Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya' 'Ulum ad-Din)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 3/07/2004 04:13:00 AM |
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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