Friday, October 2, 2009

On enduring affliction - Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani


O son, I am sorry that today's posting came quite late. La hawla wala quwata illah billah. I've been unwell the past 24 hours. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. Praise be to Allah in all circumstances. May our sickness be a kifarah (cleansing) for our wrong doings.

As I was feeling slightly better, I picked up a book called Jila' al-Khatir (Purification of the Mind) - an edited book on discourses by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani. Here are excerpts from the chapter 'On Enduring Affliction.'

The people of Allah accustom themselves to afflictions and do not get annoyed like your annoyance. One of them used to be afflicted every day with a tribulation that on the day when no affliction comes his way he would say: "O Allah what sins have I done today that You have not sent to me my daily affliction?" Afflictions are various kinds; some affect the body, while some affect the heart. Some of them are suffered in relation to creatures, while others in relation to the Creator. There is no good in someone who has not been subjected to suffering. Afflictions are the hooks of the True One ('Azza wa Jall).

O young man, when Allah causes you any harm or affliction, no one will be able to remove it except He. Then why do you ask someone who is powerless like yourself: "Remove from me what I have fallen in"? If sickness or harm from creatures come your way causing you loss of worldly possessions and properties, there will be no remover for that except He. If you suffer loss of properties, hunger in your belly and abandonment by brothers and neighbors to the extent that they refuse to give you a morsel or an atom, and if this world, for all that it is wide, looked too strait for you, be certain wholeheartedly that all of that is from Allah and that there is no remover for all of that except He. It is He who takes it away.

Be sensible and not associate creatures and means with Allah. Believe in one Lord only, not in many lords. It is He who put things at the command of others, the One who grants authority for someone over another, the Ruler, the Judge and the Doer. His destiny comes with sickness in its hand and knocks on the door of your good health. His destiny comes with hardship in its hand and knocks on the door of your prosperity. His destiny comes with grief in its hand and knocks on the door of your happiness. His destiny comes with fear in its hand and knocks on the door of your sense of security. All these come from Him and there is no one to remove them except Him.

O young man, do not escape from affliction but endure it with patience. It is inevitable and enduring it with patience is also inevitable. How could the nature of this world and the characteristics with which it was created be changed for your sake? The Prophets, who are the best of all creatures, had always to suffer afflictions. The same applies to their followers who emulate them., who walk on their path and who follow in their footsteps. Our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was the beloved of the True One, yet was constantly afflicted with poverty, need, hunger, fighting, wars and harm from creatures until he departed from this world. Moses a.s was also afflicted with those (known) calamities that happened to him, and each one of the Prophets had his own peculiar affliction. This is what He did to the Prophets who are His beloved ones, so who are you to wish that the foreknowledge of Allah about you and about this world be changed?

Renounce your will and your choice. Renounce your conversation with creatures and your intimacy with them. If you accomplish this, the conversation of your heart will come to be with your Lord and your intimacy will come to be with Him. His remembrance will camp in your heart. You will be remembering Him and He will be remembering you. He will draw your heart and your limbs and organs to Him and keep them in His presence. You will come to wish for what He wishes. Anything other than that will be resented by you. (Such a person) will become one of the spiritual beings who have attained to Him. He will go among the servants of Allah and the countries, and He will use him to protect creatures from tribulations and afflictions. He will take what His Lord has given him. This is the real gift, while eveything else is a symbol.

Jila' al Khatir (Purification of the Mind) is edited by Shaykh Muhammad al-Casnazani al-Husseini

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