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Thursday, December 30, 2004  

What is Ridha? Know that ridha is a well established doctrine validated by both the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah (practices) of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him). Says the Holy Qur'an: "The true believers (mu'minin) are pleased with God." (5:122) It is also said in the Holy Book: "Verily, Allah is pleased with true believers" (48:18) The Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) has said: "He who is satisfied with God gets real taste of iman." Ridha is of two kinds. Ridha (pleasure) of Allah with His servant, and ridha of the servant with (the decree) Allah. God's pleasure with the servant is manifest in His bounties and gifts both material and spiritual; and the servant's pleasure with God is the name of his obedience to God's commands and submission to His Will. Actually man's pleasure is the result of God's pleasure, since, unless God is kind to him he cannot be obedient to God. Ridha on the part of man is really his determination to accept God's decree irrespective of whether it is favourable or unfavourable, and whether it is in the shape of fire of God's wrath (jalal) or it is illuminated by the rays of His Beauty (jamal). Being burnt or illuminated does not make any difference to him because both spring from God Almighty and whatever comes from the Beloved is welcome. Once Imam Hasan bin Ali (may God's mercy be upon him) was asked to comment upon the following statement of Abu Dharr Ghaffari who was one of the famous Companions of the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him): "To me poverty is dearer than wealth, and sickness dearer than health." The Imam said: "May Allah have mercy on Abu Dharr. So far as I am concerned I would say, he who has experienced the blessings of Allah, will go about his affairs and would never will anything other than Allah's Will." This means that when Allah's servant experiences the benefit of Allah's choice for himself and stops exercising his own choice, he gets rid of all maladies. But mind you, this attitude is not possible for the seeker at the stage of separation (ghaibat). It can be adopted only at the stage of union (hadhur) with God, because the shaikhs have said: "Ridha removes sorrows and cures negligence." It banishes the thought of any other than God from the hearts and cuts across the shackles of hardships. Therefore, ridha can be exercised only by the man who believes that the author of good and evil is the Almighty and the He has an eye on him in all circumstances. Men at the stage of ridha are divided into the following four categories: 1. Those who are satisfied (radhi) with spiritual gifts (ata). This is ma'rifat (gnosis). 2. Those who are satisfied with material gifts (nu'ma). This is worldliness. 3. Those who are satisfied with misfortunes (bala). This is affliction. 4. Those who are satisfied with istifa (nearness). This is love. So he who respects the gifts because of the Giver (mu'ti) is happy and when he is content, he gets rid of all troubles. He who respects the Giver because of the gifts gets enmeshed in worldliness and adopts ridha as a formality. This lands him in all sorts of troubles. And real ma'rifat is that which leads him to the union (mushahidah) with the Divine Being. But if ma'rifat does not lead him to mushahidah, it is not ma'rifat (gnosis). It is exteriority or alienism which is torturous, and the gifts become a veil between him and God. [Translator's Note: The original is so beautiful. It says: "Ata (gifts) becomes ihita (veil)."] He is satisfied with God because He gives him dunya (wealth). Therefore, he is ruined because that is not friendship (to be happy when the friend gives and to be angry when he does not give). That kind of ridha is not ridha. It is disappointment (privation). Love for worldliness is not real love, for even the whole world is not worthy of one's love, nor should its absence cause worry. A gift is a gift only when it leads you to the Giver. If it stands between you and God, it is no more a gift. It is misfortune. As regards the third category i.e. those who are satisfied with affliction (bala) they are the people who find pleasure in pain and can bear it cheerfully by the strength of mushahidah (vision of Divine Beauty), because pain is no pain when it is accompanied by the pleasure of the vision of Divine Beauty. As regards those who are satisfied with Him on account of istifa (Divine attraction), they are true lovers of God and their love is affected neither by pain nor pleasure. Their abodes are nothing but the realm of Pure Essence (tanzih), and their reaches are nothing but the gardens of love and intimacy. They are at once present with, and absent from, God. They adorn both this physical and the spiritual world simultaneously. They have terrestrial bodies in celestial abodes. They are the people who in the intensity of devotion turn their backs to everything other than God, free themselves from the limitations of 'states' and 'stations', escape from the inconsequential and get themselves fully attached to the Divine Beloved in the hope of Divine Grace and Divine Beauty. Says Allah in the Holy Qur'an in praise of these people: "They are not concerned with profit or loss, nor do they care for life or death, nor worry about the hereafter." (25:3) Thus their ridha is free from profit and loss, since he who is pleased with the decrees of God lives in peace and bliss. Says the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him): "He, who is not satisfied with God, has a worried soul and a troubled body." _____________________________________________________________________________________ Sayings about Ridha A tradition says that once Prophet Musa (Moses) (peace be upon him) said, "O my Lord tell me the way by which I can please Thee." God said, "O Musa it is beyond Thy capacity." Hearing this he fell in sajada (prostration) before the Almighty in absolute humility, whereupon the Almighty said to him: "Verily, My ridha lies in thy ridha with My qadha (decrees)." This means that man's satisfaction with God's decree is the surest sign of God's satisfaction with him. Bishr Hafi asked Fudhail, (may Allah be pleased with them) "Which is higher, zuhd (asceticism) or ridha (satisfaction)?" Fudhail said, "Ridha is higher than zuhd because he who is radhi (satisfied) does not aspire for a higher stage." This means that the stage of ridha is above the stage of zuhd, but there is no stage above ridha. In other words the palace is superior to the gate. This statement confirms the view point of Muhasibi who maintains that ridha is one of the states (ahwal) and not stations (maqamat). It is bestowed by God and not acquired by effort. However, the possibility of a desire after ridha cannot be ruled out, since the Holy Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) said in a prayer, "I seek Thy ridha after Thy qadha (decree)." That is to say "Give me the power to be satisfied with Thy decree when it comes to pass." This shows that ridha cannot precede qadha, since it is the intention to be satisfied and not satisfaction itself. And intention to be satisfied is not satisfaction. Abul Abbas bin Ata said, "Ridha is the seeker's determination to accept cheerfully what is decreed for him." That is to say whatever happens to him, he should regard it as his destiny and be pleased with it. Harith Muhasibi said, "Ridha is peace of mind (sukun-i-qalb) with the decree of God." This is in accordance with his earlier stand, since peace of mind is a gift of God and cannot be acquired through effort. This also shows that ridha is a state not station. It is said that Shaikh Utba al-Ghulam did not sleep the whole night and went on saying, "If you burn me in hellfire I am your lover, and if you have mercy on me I am your lover." This means that both affliction and mercy affect the body, but love is in the heart which is not affected by affliction or mercy. There is no contradiction in this assertion which confirms Muhasibi's point of view to the effort that ridha is the result of love, and that the lover is contented with what the Beloved does. He can be veiled from God either by affliction or by mercy, since he subordinates his will to the will of the Beloved. Shaikh Uthman Hiri has said, "For the last forty years I have never been dissatisfied with anything which has happened to me, nor have I disliked any state in which God had placed me." This also confirms the lasting nature of ridha and the height of devotion. It is said that once a dervish fell into a river. Someone shouted from outside, "Should I bring someone to rescue you?" He said, "No." The man said, "Do you wish to die?" He said, "No." The man asked, "What do you wish?" He said, "I wish what God wishes. I have nothing to do with wishing." The mashaikh have dealt with the question of ridha in varying terms, but the difference is only verbal not real. - Syed Ali bin Uthman al-Hujweri, The Kashful Mahjub (Unveiling the Veiled) Translation & Commentary by Maulana Wahid Bakhsh Rabbani



posted by Abubak'r | 12/30/2004 10:29:00 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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