< Thoughts & Readings

Wednesday, December 08, 2004  

Where are you going? Al-Ghazzali (may God's mercy be on him) says that we are going either to heaven or to hell and describes our sojourn on earth as a business transaction. So, the wise and the great ones of religion have realized that they have come into this world to engage in business, and the transactions are with the self. The profit or loss of these transactions is heaven and hell; rather, it is eternal happiness and misery. Therefore, one's self is put in the position of a business partner: just as with a partner conditions are made, then he is watched, and then he is audited. If he has been treacherous, he will be punished or reproved. So, (the wise and the saints), too, have stood with their selves in these six stations: (1) On Fixing Mutual Conditions, (2) On Vigilance, (3) On Reckoning, (4) On Punishment, (5) On Striving, and (6) On Reproaching. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Why are you here? Al-Ghazzali sees the reason for being here (in this temporal world) is to love God. Know that love is a valuable jewel. Claiming love is easy so that a person may think that he is one of the lovers; but there are signs and proofs of love. One must seek the signs in oneself, and they are seven: (1) The first is that there is no loathing of death, for no friend dislikes the sight of the Friend. The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Whoever loves the sight of God Most High, God Most High loves the sight of him, too." Buwayti said to one of the ascetics: "Do you love death?" The ascetic hesitated in replying. (Buwayti) said: "If you were truthful, you would love it." However, it is permissible that there be love and loathing at the hastening of death— (but) not at the principle of death—so that one who has not yet prepared his provision (for the Hereafter) may make (them). The sign of this is that one is impatient in preparing the provisions. (2) The second sign is that one prefers what is loved by God Most High over what is loved by oneself. He does not neglect anything he knows to be the cause of his nearness to the Beloved. He avoids all that causes his distancing (himself) from that. This is a person who loves God Most High with all his heart. As the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Say to whoever wishes to see a person who loves God with all his heart: 'Look at Salim, the client of Hudhayfah.'" Moreover, if a person commits a sin, it does not follow that he is not a lover (of God); instead, his love is not with his whole heart. The evidence of this is that Nuayman was punished several times for drinking wine. Someone cursed him in the presence of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). The Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Curse him not, for he loves God Most High and His Messenger." Fudayl said: "When you are asked if you love God, remain silent. If you say 'no,' you become an unbeliever; if you say 'yes,' your behavior does not resemble the acts of the lovers (of God)." (3) The third sign is that one always renews the remembrance of God Most High in one's heart and is eager to do that without taking pains; for whoever loves a thing remembers it frequently. If the love is complete, one never forgets (the object of love) itself. Yet, if one must force the heart to remember, it is feared that his beloved is that His remembrance dominate his heart. Consequently, it may be that the love for God Most High is not dominant, but the love for the love of Him dominates him who desires to love. Love is one thing and the love of love is another. (4) The fourth sign is that one loves the Qur'an, which is His Word, and the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and all that is established by Him. When the loves has become strong, one loves all mankind, for all are His servants; indeed, one loves all extant things, for all are His creation, just as one who loves someone loves his composition and writing. (5) The fifth sign is that one is avid for intimate conversation (with God) in private and desirous for the coming of night. Crowds and hindrances depart and one holds conversation with the Friend in private. If one prefers sleep and idle chatter to solitude during the night and the day, one's love is weak. Revelation came to David (Allah give him peace): "O David, become the intimate of no one among mankind. No one is cut off from Me save two persons: one is he who hastens in the search for spiritual reward. When it comes late to him, he becomes languid. The other is he who forgets Me and is satisfied with his own condition. The sign of that is that I leave him alone and I keep him bewildered in the world." So, if love is total, affection for nothing else remains. There was a worshipper among the Children of Israel who would perform his formal prayer at night. He would perform his formal prayer beneath a tree where a bird with a sweet voice would sing. Revelation came to the messenger of the era: "Tell him: 'You have become accustomed to seclusion; your degree has fallen because you are not attending to anything of that." Some have achieved such a degree in their conversation (with God) that fire has broken out in the other side of the dwelling and they were not be aware of it! The foot of one of them was cut during (his) formal prayer on some pretext, and he was unaware of it. Revelation came to David (Allah give him peace): "A person who claimed to love Me lied and slept all night; does the friend not desire the sight of the Friend? Whoever seeks me, I am with him." Moses (Allah give him peace) said: He answered: "O Lord God, where art Thou that I may seek Thee?" He answered: "Whenever thou hast intended to seek (Me), thou hast found (Me)." (6) The sixth sign is that worship becomes easy for one and its burdensomeness falls away. Someone says: "For twenty years I forced myself to perform the night formal prayer; afterwards, I have taken delight in that for twenty years." When love becomes strong, no pleasure equals the pleasure of worship; how can it itself be difficult? (7) The seventh sign is that one loves all of His devout servants and one is merciful and compassionate to them, and one holds all unbelievers and rebels (against God) in enmity. As He said: (They are) hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. (48:29) One of the prophets asked: "O Lord God, who are Thy saints and friends?" He answered: "Those who are captivated with Me like small children are captivated with their mothers. And just as a bird takes refuge in its nest, they take refuge with the remembrance of Me. Just as leopard becomes enraged and fears nothing, they become enraged when a person commits a sin." These and signs like these are many. They are present in him whose love is complete. The love of him who has some of them in him is in accordance with that (amount). _____________________________________________________________________________________ For what purpose were you created? One answer al-Ghazzali gives is to be a lover of goodness. Know that since love is the greatest stations, becoming acquainted with the remedy for achieving it is important. For whoever desires to become a lover of goodness, the first step is that one turn away from all things except (the beloved). The one continuously looks upon (the beloved). When one sees (only the beloved's) face, but the hands, feet, and hair are concealed—and that is also good—one strives to see (the rest) also, so that every beauty one sees will increase one's inclination. If one is persevering, the inclination will appear in one, small or great. So, the love for God Most High is also thus. The first condition is that one turn one's face away from the world and cleanse one's heart from loving it, for the love of other that God Most High will distract (one) from the love for Him. This is like cleansing the ground of thorns and weeds. Then, one seeks the gnosis (ma'rifat) of Him; for, the cause of anyone's not loving Him is that he has not come to know Him. If that (were) not so, (His) beauty and perfection would naturally be beloved…. Obtaining gnosis is like putting a seed in the soil. Then, one continually occupies oneself in remembrance (of God) and meditation. This is like watering (the seed); for whoever remembers a person much, will certainly find an intimacy with him. - Laleh Bakhtiar, Al-Ghazzali His Psychology of the Greater Struggle

posted by Abubak'r | 12/08/2004 06:34:00 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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