< Thoughts & Readings


Saturday, June 19, 2004  

Fifth Discourse It was in the schoolhouse, in the late evening of Tuesday, the 12th of Shawwal, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (may Allah be well pleased with him) said: O young man! What about servitude [‘ubudiyya] to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He)? Come, offer genuine servitude, and accept what is quite sufficient for all your own concerns. You are a slave running away from your Master. Go back to Him, submit to Him and humble yourself through obedience to His commands and prohibitions, and patience and compliance with His decree. When this has been fully accomplished on your part, your servitude to your Master will be complete, and you will receive quite enough from Him. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: Does not Allah suffice His servant? (39:36) When your servitude to Him is as it should be, He will love you and make His love strong in your heart. He will befriend you and draw you near to Him, with no trouble and without your having to seek the companionship of any other, so that you will be well pleased with Him under all circumstances. Even if He were to make the broad earth narrow for you, even if He were to block the wide gates against you, you would still not be displeased with Him, nor would you approach the door of any other. You would feel a link with Moses (peace be upon him), in that Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) said concerning him: And We had forbidden foster-mothers to him before then. (28:12) Our Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) is Witness [Shahid] to all things, Present [Hadir] in all things, Watchful [Raqib] over all things, and Near [Qarib] to all things. You cannot dispense with Him. What are we to make of denial after direct knowledge [ma’rifa]? Alas for you, you know Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) by experience, yet you turn away and deny Him! Do not turn away from Him, because then you will be deprived of all that is good. Be patient with Him; do not lose patience with Him. Do you not know that he who has patience has power [man sabara qadara]? What sense does this make? What is this haste in aid of? Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: O you who believe, be patient, and vie in patience; be steadfast, and observe your duty to Allah, in order that you may succeed. (3:200) On the subject of patience we find many verses [ayat] in the Qur’an, all pointing out what goodness and blessings it contains, what fine rewards and gifts and comforts, for both this world and the hereafter. You must make a practice of it, and then you will see the benefit, here and now as well as in the future. You must visit the tombs [qubur], pay calls upon the righteous [salihun], and perform deeds of charity [fi’l al-khair], then your affairs will get on the right track. Do not be among those who take no notice of good advice, and who fail to practice what they do hear. Four things make your religion disappear: First: That you do not practice what you know [la ta’maluna bima ta’lamun]; Second: That you practice what you do not know [ta’maluna bima la ta’lamun]; Third: That you do not learn what you do not know [la tata’allamuna ma la ta’lamun], and so remain ignorant; Fourth: That you prevent people from learning what they do not know [min ta’allumi ma la ya’lamun]. O my people! When you attend sessions dedicated to the practice of divine remembrance [majalis adh-dhikr], you go there for the pleasant entertainment, not for the spiritual therapy [mudawat]. You contradict the exhortation of the preacher [wa’iz] and come to the defense of sin and error, as you ridicule, mock and poke fun at him. You are playing a risky game. You are each on your own with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Repent and mend your ways. Do not imitate the enemies of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Use what you hear to good advantage. O young man! You have limited yourself to habitual behavior [‘ada], and you are setting limits on Allah in your quest for shares of fortune [aqsam], as you concentrate on the worldly means [sabab], forgetting the Original Cause [Musabbih] and the need for absolute trust [tawakkul] in Him. You must start work afresh, with sincere devotion [ikhlas] to Him. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: I have created the jinn and humankind only that they may serve Me. (51:56) He has not created them to be crazy. He has not created them to amuse themselves. He has not created them just to eat, drink, sleep and have sexual relations. Come to your senses, you heedless fools! Your heart has only to take one step toward Him, and His love [hubb] will take several steps toward you. He is more eager for the lovers’ meeting [liqa al-muhibbin] than they are. Allah sustains whomever He will, without reckoning. (2:212) When He wants a servant [‘abd] to do something, He prepares him for it. This is something that has to do with inner meanings [ma’ani], not outer forms [suwar]. When what I have referred to has been accomplished by a servant, he has achieved genuine abstinence [zuhd] from this world and the hereafter, and from everything apart from the Master. He will now receive true fitness [sihha]. He will receive nearness [qurb]. He will receive dominion [mulk], sovereignty [saltana] and authority [imara]. His speck of dust will become a mountain; his tiny drop, an ocean; his star, a moon; his moon, a sun; his little, much; his obliteration [mahw], existence [wujud]; his annihilation [fana’], perpetuity [baqa’]; his mobility [baraka], stability [thabat]. His tree will grow tall; it will tower up to the heavenly throne [‘arsh], while its roots are in the earth and its branches provide shade in this world and the hereafter. What are these branches? Wisdom and knowledge. For him this world comes to be like a signet ring. Nothing worldly controls him, and nothing otherworldly confines him. Neither king [malik] nor mameluke [mamluk] is his owner. No obstacle impedes him. No one takes him to task. No disturbance distresses him. When this has been fully accomplished, this servant is properly equipped to stay among the people, to lend them a helping hand, and to save them from drowning in the ocean of this world. For if the Lord of Truth intends to use His servant as an instrument for doing good, He makes him their guide, their physician, their educator, their trainer, their translator/interpreter [tarjuman], their good omen, their gift, their lamp and their sun. If He wishes to use him in this way, so shall it be. If not, He will keep him in hiding in His presence, and make him invisible to others. A few individuals of this category He does send back to the people, with total protection [hifz kulli] and total immunity [salama kulliya]. He enables them to improve the people’s welfare and to give them guidance. One who renounces the pleasures of this world is made to suffer otherworldly trials, while one who renounces both this world and the hereafter is tested by the Lord of this world and the hereafter. You have been as careless as if you would never have to die, as if you would not be assembled on the Day of Resurrection, would not be called to give account of yourselves before the Lord of Truth, and would not have to cross the narrow bridge [as-sirat]. These are your attributes [sifat], and yet you have pretensions to Islam and faith [iman]. This Qur’an and knowledge stand as evidence against you if you do not put them into practice. If you attend the lectures of the scholars [‘ulama’], but do not accept what they tell you, your attendance there will count as evidence against you. You will be held responsible for these offense committed, just as if you met the Messenger himself (Allah bless him and give him peace) and did not submit to his command. On the Day of Resurrection all creatures will be enveloped in fear of the Majesty [jalal] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), of His Might [‘azama], His Grandeur [kibriya’] and His justice [‘adl]. The kings of this world will fade away, but His Kingship will remain. All must return to Him on the Day of Resurrection, and the royalty of the [Lord’s] people [al-qawm] will be made manifest, as will their nobility and wealth, and the honor bestowed upon them by the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Today they are put in charge of men and cities and the hills and the mountains [awtad: lit., pegs] of the earth. The earth’s support depends on them. They are the commanders [umara’] and leaders of the people, and the deputies [nuwwah] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). This applies to them in the allegorical sense [ma’na], not with regard to outer form [sura]. Today as allegory, tomorrow in concrete form. The courage [shaja’a] of those who do battle with the unbelievers comes into play in their encounter and tenacious combat with the foe. The courage of the righteous [salihun], is shown in their encounter with their own selves [nufus], passions [ahwiya] and natural instincts [tiba’], devils [shayatin], and those evil companions who are human devils. The courage of the special few [khawass] lies in the renunciation of both this world and the hereafter, and of anything at all that is apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). O young man! Wake up before you are awakened by a call you did not ask for! Practice your religion and mix with religious people [ahl ad-din], for they are the [right kind of] people. The most intelligent people are those who obey Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and the most ignorant people are those who rebel against Him. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Your hands are dusty,” meaning “you are poor,” because someone who was rich would not get dust on his hands. If you mix with religious people and get to love them, your hands will be enriched and your heart will flee from hypocrisy and those who practice it. No merit is acquired by the hypocrite whose deeds are only for show [al-munafiq al-mura’i]. Nothing will be accepted of you unless you intended it to be for His sake. The outer form of your deed will not be accepted of you, but only its inner significance [ma’na]. If you act in opposition to your lower self, your passions, your devils and your worldly interests, your deed will then be accepted of you. Do your work and let go of it sincerely. Attach no importance to your work in general; it will only be accepted if you intended it for His sake, not for the sake of other people. Alas for you, you do your work to please creatures [khalq], and then you want it to be accepted by the Lord of Truth [Haqq] (Almighty and Glorious is He). This is stupidity on your part. Desist form greediness and vanity and making merry. Reduce your jollity and increase your mournfulness, because you are in the abode of sorrow, in the jailhouse. Our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was always pondering deeply, seldom merry, often full of sorrows. He seldom laughed, although he would always smile to make other people feel better. His heart was full of sorrows and concerns. Except to attend to the Companions [as-sahaba] and the affairs of this world, he would not leave his house and would not socialize with anyone. O young man! When your private relationship [khalwa] with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is as it should be, your innermost being [sirr] will be in awe and your heart will be serene. Your gaze will become strong and steady, your heart will become reflective, and your spirit [ruh] and your inner content [ma’na] will attain to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious isHe). The contemplation on worldly matters is a punishment and an obstacle, while the contemplation of the hereafter is knowledge and life for the heart. Whenever contemplation is granted to a servant [of the Lord], he is given knowledge of the states and conditions [ahwal] of this world and the hereafter. Alas for you, you waste your heart on this world, when Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has already finished allotting you your shares in it, and has decreed their appointed times, known only to Him. Every day He supplies you once again with fresh sustenance [rizq], whether you go looking for it or not. Your greed puts you to shame in the sight of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and in the eyes of His creatures. With a shortage of faith [iman], you go looking for sustenance; with an excess of faith, you deliberately refrain from looking for it; and when faith is perfect and complete, you never even give it a thought. O young man! Do not mix seriousness with jesting. Since you cannot control your heart in the company of creatures, how can it come together with the Creator? While you are associating [mushrik] with the secondary cause [sabab], how can you be with the Original Cause [Musabbih]? How can something external [zahir] combine with something internal [batin]; what you do understand with what you do not understand; what belongs to creatures with what belongs to the Creator? How ignorant are those who forget the Originator and preoccupy themselves with the secondary cause, clinging to the latter and abandoning the former, forgetting the Everlasting [al-Baqi] and enjoying that which must pass away [al-fani]! O young man! You make friends with the ignorant, and so you get infected with their ignorance. The friendship of a fool is a stupid friendship. Make friends with believers who put their knowledge into practice [al-mu’mina’l-‘amilina bi-‘ilmuhim]. How fine is the behavior of the believers in all their dealings! How strong are they in their struggle to subdue their lower selves [nufus] and their desires [ahwiya]! This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said: The believer’s joy shines in his face, while his sadness stays in his heart. This is because of his fortitude, which enables him to display a cheerful countenance to other people, while hiding his sadness in the space he shares only with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). His anxiety [hamm] is constant, and he is given to frequent pondering [tafakkur]. He sheds many tears, and laughs but little. This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said: There is no comfort [raha] for the believer, other than the meeting with his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). The believer hides his sorrow behind his cheerfulness. His outer being moves around to earn a livelihood, while his inner being is at rest with his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). His outer being belongs to his dependents, while his inner being belongs to his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He does not reveal his innermost being to his wife and children, to his neighbor and his neighbor’s wife, nor to any other creature of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He pays heed to the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace): Use the help of secrecy [kitman] in your affairs. He always tries to hide what is going on inside him, so if he does lose his self-control, or if a wrong word slips from his tongue, he must do what he can to set things right, by modifying the expression he has used, disguising the feelings he has shown, and offering an apology for his exhibition. O young man! Treat me as your looking glass. Treat me as the mirror of your heart and your innermost being, as the mirror of your deeds. Come up close to me, because then you will see things in yourself that you cannot see at a distance from me. If you have some need in your religion [din], you must avail yourself of me, because I will not show you any favoritism when it comes to the religion of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). My manner can be quite rude where Allah’s religion (Almighty and Glorious is He) is at stake. I was trained by a rough hand, not conducive to hypocrisy. Leave your worldly interests at home, and come here close to me, for I am standing at the gate of the hereafter. Stand beside me and hear what I have to say, then put it into practice before you die, which will be all too soon. Everything revolves around the fear [khawf] and dread [khashya] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). If you have no fear of Him, you have no security in this world or the hereafter. The dread of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is the very essence of knowledge. This is why Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: Only those of His servants fear Allah who have knowledge. (38:28) No one fears Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) except for those who have knowledge and put that knowledge into practice [al-‘ulama’u‘l-‘ummalu bi’l-‘ilm], those who both know and act, and do not expect any reward for their deeds from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Rather do they seek His countenance and nearness to Him. They wish for His love [mahabba] and to be delivered from His remoteness and separation. They wish to have no door, worldly or otherworldly, shut in their faces. They care nothing for this world, for the hereafter, or for anything apart from Him. This world belongs to one set of people, the hereafter belongs to another set of people, and the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) belongs to yet another set of people, namely to the truly convinced believers who really know and love Him [al-mu’minun al-muqinun al’arifun al-muhibbun], who are dutiful and humbly submissive toward Him [al-muttaqun al-khashi’un], and who are grief-stricken and contrite [al-mahzunun al-munkasirun] for His sake. These are a set of people who fear Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) in the unseen [bi’l-ghaib]. He is invisible [gha’ib: lit., absent] to their external eyes, but present [hadir] in front of the eyes of their hearts. How can they fail to fear Him, when He is every day about some awesome business, effecting change and transformation, helping this one and disappointing this other, bringing this one to life and causing this other to die, accepting this one and rejecting this other, drawing this one near and keeping this other at a distance? He shall not be questioned as to what He does, but they shall be questioned. (21:23) O Allah, bring us near to You, do not send us far away from You, and: Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201) -Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, The Sublime Revelation (al-Fath ar-Rabbani)



posted by Abubak'r | 6/19/2004 08:03:00 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."
(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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