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Friday, April 09, 2004  

Benefits of Invocation in General Let whosoever desires the benefits of invoking follow the established texts, inasmuch as its benefits are not insignificant nor can they be exhausted. The invocation of the traditional authorities has numerous advantages, so let us mention what comes to mind. We say: invoking repels, subdues, and tames Satan, but pleases the Compassionate (ar-Rahman). It angers Satan, removes worry and grief from the heart, attracts joy and happiness, and eliminates sadness and evils. Invoking strengthens the heart ad the body, puts inner and outer affairs in order, gladdens the heart and face, making the latter radiant. Moreover, it procures sustenance and facilitates obtaining it. It clothes the invoker in dignity; it inspires correct behavior in every affair. Its permanence is one of the means of obtaining the love of God; it is one of the greatest of the gateways leading to that love. Invoking causes the vigilance that leads to the station of spiritual virtue (ihsan), wherein the servant adores God as if he saw Him with his very own eyes. It causes one to turn to God often; for whoever turns to God by remembering Him frequently will eventually turn to Him in all his affairs. Invoking brings closeness to the Lord and opens the door of gnosis within the heart. It bestows on the servant the veneration and reverential fear (haybah) of his Lord, while for the forgetful man the veil of reverential fear over his heart is very thin. Invoking causes God’s remembrance of the servant, which is the greatest honor and loftiest distinction. Through the invocation, the heart of man lives just as the seed lives through the downpour of rain. The invocation is the nourishment of the soul just as food is the nourishment of the body. Invoking polishes the heart of its rust, which is forgetfulness (ghaflah) and the pursuit of its passions. It is to meditation like a lamp that guides one in the dark towards an open road. It thwarts sinful actions: ‘… Verily, good deeds annul bad deeds …’. (11:114) Invoking puts an end to the estrangement that occurs between the Lord and the forgetful servant. Whatever the formula used by the servant to remember God with, such as: ‘Glory be to God!’ (subhana’llah) or ‘God is Most Great’ (Allahu Akbar) or ‘There is no divinity but God’ (La ilaha illa’llah) or any formula or praise, it calls the attention of God on the Glorious Throne to the servant. All acts of worship withdraw from the servant on the Day of Resurrection except the remembrance of God, the belief in His Oneness (tawhid), and praise of Him. Whoever gets to know God in times of prosperity through his invoking, gets to know Him in times of adversity through his piety. A tradition states, Indeed when misfortune befalls the obedient servant who frequently remembers God Most High, or when he asks of God a need, the angels say, ‘My Lord, there is a familiar voice from a familiar servant’. When the forgetful person who shuns God calls upon Him or asks something of Him, the angles say, ‘My Lord, there is an unknown voice from an unknown servant’. Of all deeds there is none more redemptive from the chastisement of God, Who possesses Majesty, than the invocation. For the servant it is the cause for the descent of peace (sakinah) upon him, for the encircling of angels around him, for their alighting by him, and for his being enveloped by Mercifulness. How sublime is such a grace! The invocation is for a tongue undistracted by slander, lying, and every falsehood! The companion who sits with the invoker is not troubled by him; the invoker’s close friend is happy with him. On the Day of Judgment, the invoker’s encounters with others will not be a source of sorrow for him or of harm or remorse. Invoking with tears and lamentation is a cause for obtaining the shelter of the umbral Throne on the great Day of Requital, when mankind stands for a period awaiting judgment. Whoever is diverted by the remembrance of God from making a request will be given the best of what is given to the one who does ask; and things will be made easy for the servant most of the time and in most situations. The movement of invoking with the tongue is the easiest movement for a person. The plants of the gardens of Paradise are the invocation. Paradise is a good earth and sweet water; it is composed, indeed, of plains, and the plants therein are ‘Glory be to God’ (subhana’llah), ‘Praise be to God’ (al-hamdu li’llah), ‘There is no divinity but God’ (La ilaha illa’llah), and ‘God is Most Great’ (Allahu Akbar), as are found in the sound hadiths. These formulas are a means of liberating oneself from the fires of Hell and are a protection from forgetfulness in this world, the world of ignominy. The textual proof of this, as found in the Qur’an, is: ‘Therefore remember Me, I will remember you’. (2:152) Forgetfulness of God is what makes servants forget their souls and that is the extreme of corruption. Invoking is a light for the servant in this world, his grave, his resurrection, and his assembling with others on the Day of Judgment. It is the fundamental principle and the door to spiritual union; it is the sign of authority whereby it assails the ego and passional desires. When the invocation is firmly rooted in the heart and drops down in it and the tongue becomes subordinate to it, the invoker is in need of nothing, so he progresses and ascends. As for the forgetful man, even if he be wealthy, he is in reality poor, and if he be powerful, he is actually base. For the one who remembers God, invoking unites his dispersed heart and pervades his will and his broken resolve. It scatters his sadness, his sin, and the forces of Satan and his followers. Invoking brings the heart closer to the Hereafter and keeps the world away from the heart, even though the world is around it. Invoking warns the heedless heart to abandon its pleasures and deceptions. It redresses what has passed and prepares itself for what is to come. The invocation is a tree whose fruit is gnosis; it is the treasure of every gnostic: God is with the invoker through His nearness, authority, love, bestowal of success and protection. The invocation puts in proper perspective the emancipation of slaves, the holy war and its hardships, fighting in the way of God, inquiry, and the expenditure of money and gold. The invocation is the summit, source, and basis of gratitude of God. He whose tongue does not cease being moist with remembrance of God and who fears God in His prohibitions and commands is granted entrance into the Paradise of the beloved ones and nearness to the Lord of Lords. ‘… Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the best in conduct …’. (49:13) The invoker enters Paradise laughing and smiling and is at home therein, living in ease. Invoking removes hardness from the heart and engenders tenderness and mildness. Forgetfulness of the heart is a disease and an ailment, while remembrance is a cure for the invoker from every malady and symptom, as was said by a poet: When we became ill, by Your remembrance we were cured, And when at times we abandon it, a relapse do we suffer. Remembrance is the source and foundation of God’s friendship; forgetfulness is the origin and summit of His enmity. When forgetfulness takes possession of the servant, it drives him back to God’s enmity in the ugliest way. Invoking removes misfortunes, pushing them to one side, and draws unto itself blessings and every beneficial thing. It is a cause for the blessings of God and the noble angels upon him, so that he emerges out of the darkness into the light and enters the abode of peace. The gatherings to invoke are gardens of Paradise, and indulging therein pleases the Compassionate. God Most High boasts of those who remember Him to the angels in heaven, for its place among the acts of worship is the highest and most sublime. The most excellent of those who perform good deeds are those who most often remember God in all situations. Remembrance takes the place of all deeds, it being alike whether they are connected with wealth or with something else. Invoking strengthens the limbs and facilitates pious work. It eases difficult matters, opens locked doors, mitigates hardships, and lessens toil. It is a security for the fearful and deliverance from desert wastelands. Among the participants in the race track for the winning trophy, the invoker is triumphant. Soon you will see, when the dust settles: was it a horse you rode—or a donkey? Invoking is a cause for God’s approval of His servant, because the invocation has made him aware of His Majesty and Beauty and praise. Through the invocation the dwellings of Paradise are built; but for the forgetful, no dwelling in Paradise is built. Invocations are a barrier between the servant and hellfire. If the remembrance is continuous and permanent, then the barrier is good and solid; if not, it is fragile and torn. Remembrance is a fire that neither stays nor spreads. When it enters a house, it leaves no substance or trace therein. It eliminates the portions of food remaining which exceed one’s bodily need or are forbidden to consume. Invoking removes darkness and brings forth radiant lights. Angels ask forgiveness for the servant when he perseveres in the remembrance and praise of God. Lands and mountains are proud of the one who, amongst men, remembers God while on them. Remembrance is the sign of the thankful believer, whereas the hypocrite is rarely found to be invoking. He whose wealth or children distract him from remembering God is lost; but the one who remembers God experiences delights sweeter than the pleasure of food and drink. In this world the invoker’s face and heart are covered with beauty and happiness; in the Hereafter his face is whither and more luminous than the moon. The earth witnesses on his behalf just as it does for every person who obeys or disobeys God. Invoking elevates the participant to the most exalted of ranks and conveys him to the highest of stations. The invoker is alive even if he be dead; while the forgetful man, even though he is alive, is actually to be counted among the dead. The invoker has his thirst quenched at death and is safe from the apprehensions of the perils associated with death. Among the forgetful, the one who remembers God is like a lamp in a dark house, while the forgetful are themselves like a dark night with no morning to follow. If something occupies the invoker and distracts him from the remembrance of God, then he risks chastisement. If he is unmindful of this point, then it is like someone sitting with a king without the proper conduct: that will expose him to being punished. Concentrating on the remembrance of God for a while is being careful not to mix sins with pious deeds. ‘Being careful’, if only for a short while, has a tremendous benefit. -Imam Ibn 'Ata'illah al-Iskandari, The Key to Salvation (Miftah al-Falah)

posted by SuFiSTiC | 4/09/2004 11:03:00 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."
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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