Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dead or alive?


I recalled Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya an-Ninowy speaking furiously about the need to clarify the commonly accepted definitions on being dead and being alive. He was absolutely right. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was in fact the first to define those terms - things that we take for granted except when we are terminally ill.

The Prophet s.a.w said:
"He who remembers his Lord
and he who does not remember his Lord
are like the living and the dead." - Al-Bukhari.
O son, know that remembering Allah is the one and only determining factor.

"And remember your Lord by your tongue and within yourself, humbly and in awe, without loudness, by words in the morning and in the afternoon, and be not among those who are neglectful." (Qur'an: Al-Araf 7:205)

I also recalled a beautiful du'a made by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani:
'O Allah, let Your remembrance
be our nourishment
and let Your nearness
be our wealth.'

O son, remembering Him is indeed nourishing; it makes us alive!
Ya Hayy, Ya Hayy, Ya Hayy!

Further reading: The Virtue of Remembering Allah

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Shariat - Tariqat - Haqiqat


The shariat derives its sanction from ilm al-yaqin (knowledge through inference), tariqat from ain al-yaqin (knowledge through perception) and haqiqat from haq al-yaqin (knowledge through experience).

The one who treads the path of shariat
is the knower,
the one who treads the path of tariqat
is the perceiver,
the one who treads the path of haqiqat
is the taster.

Thus, shariat is learning,
tariqat is burning
and haqiqat is illumination.

by MASUD-I-BAK from 'The Reflections of the Mystics of Islam', compiled and introduced by Zaharul Hasan Sharib (Head of the Gudri Shahi Order of Sufis)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Attaining taqwa


O son, to have taqwa is our aim, but what is taqwa? A wise man said, "There are five fortresses one has to cross before attaining taqwa (obedience or fear of Allah):

1. Accepting hardship instead of blessings

2. Accepting labor instead of comfort

3. Accepting obedience to self-pride

4. Accepting silence to useless talks and

5. Accepting death to life."

Source: Al-Munabbihat (The Counsel) by Imam al-Hafiz al-Muhaddith Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (773 - 852 AH), a great scholar from Egypt.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beware of what and where you eat!

O son, beware of what you eat. The food must not only be halal but the person who prepares the food must have wuduk (ablution). Avoid drinking/eating at sidewalk cafes. If you must, be sure to lower your gaze and not backbite at passers-by. These words of advice came from Shaykh Hisham Kabbani. Below is an edited version of his sohba given during the last week of Ramadhan 1430H (18 September 2009).

People are ignorant; there are thousands of ahadith beside what Imam Bukhari and Muslim wrote, every moment he was speaking to Sahaba, there are so many authentic ahadith out there. This one is from Sahih Muslim. Prophet (s) said:
إياكم والجلوس في الطرقات فقالوا : يا رسول الله ما لنا من مجالسنا بُدّ ، نتحدث فيها ! فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم (( فإذا أبيتم إلا المجلس فأعطوا الطريق حقه ، قالوا : وما حق الطريق يا رسول الله ؟ قال : (( غض البصر وكف الأذى ، ورد السلام ، والأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر )) متفق عليه
Iyyakum wa'l-juloosu fit'turuqaat - I am warning you, avoid sitting in coffee shops on the street. Are you doing that? Yes, we are not only drinking, putting one leg on another having a cigarette and blowing smoke on each other's face because you can smoke on street. In Muslim countries, they bring sheesha and smoking it, backbiting everyone. This is the reward for Eid because they fasted and now they have to do that. Prophet (s) said, I am warning you, don't sit on the street, but they said "O Prophet, we cannot stop that, this is our own meeting area, we have to sit and complain". Look, how dare they speak against (him), instead of saying sami'na wa aat'ana. They said, we cannot, then Prophet (s) lowered it because if Prophet (s) prohibited and they did, then (it would become) difficult for them. So the Prophet (s) said, "fa idha abayatum alaa al-majlis fa-`atoo at-tareeq haqqah" - if you insist that you want to stay and keep this meeting on the street by drinking coffee or anything, give the right of street if you sit there."
Many scholars say, 'don't sit in restaurant'. If a hungry person passes by, the negative energy will affect you - the jealousy, the envy that goes from one to one. You are eating and they are not. You are wasting food. This envy is reflected on you and that is why you get sick more often. They (tend to) eat out more. It is better to hire a cook than to go and cater outside. If you cater then know from whom you are catering. See if the cook has full ablution or not. If that person is junub, meaning he did not take shower, the food then is poisoned. If the cook is angry, your food become poisoned to eat. If the cook is hired, but the owner does not give him permission to eat, his eyes will wander and your food is poisoned. He might go to the toilet and not wash his hands so the food is poisoned. Shaitan says don't wash hand, for them ablution is not mentioned. It is a backward thing of Muslims.
There are many disciplines we have to follow in Islam. He said if you have to meet in cafe then give the walkway a right. "What is the right of someone walking on the street?" they asked. The Prophet said, "ghadu 'l-basar", keep your eyes down, don't backbite". Who can sit on walkways and keep their eyes down? You look at everyone and try to criticize all, which means you cannot sit on the walkway. Unless you are sincere and drink with a straw with head down. It is ridiculous trying to eat with your head bent down and you cannot look right or left. That means the Prophet (s) was giving them a hard time with sitting there.
Today you see people sitting on the streets everywhere. Apart from keeping your eyes down, make sure you don't harm anyone. Sometimes boys or girls are naughty, they want to pass comments to people, "Why this one is wearing high heels? Why this one is having a turban? Why this one is having a beard?" The Prophet said, don't harm and spread false rumours and he said give salaam and accept salaam back. People today don't say salaam or are afraid to say salaam to someone. Salaam is sunnah. They would only give salaam if they know you. How would I know you if you don't wear sunnah clothes? Some people put on hats like the white ones. People cover their head when they go to pray, at least for the sake of sunnah to identify you as Muslims. Now no one knows Muslim on the street, they have very different behaviours.
To call for good and avoid bad means you have to remind yourself of the bad desires and tell other people to avoid them. I will end with this: The Prophet (s) said, أفضل الجهاد كلمة عدل عند سلطان جائر - afdhalul jihad, "The best of jihad." Today they use this word for many things in a wrong way. In the hadith as identified by scholars there are fourteen different jihad, one is against aggressors and thirteen against yourself. Prophet (s) said, "The best of jihad is to say "kalimatu `adlin `inda sultanin jaa'ir - to say a just word in front of a tyrant;" to say a just word, a good word, to remind him of the bad things he is doing. Who is that tyrant? That is you first, as there is evilness in yourself, that small clot that Shaytan enters. It means we are doing things against what Allah (swt) and Prophet (s) ordered. So we have to say a just word against those who are attacking us. May Allah (swt) guide us to follow the way of the Prophet (s) and Sahaba (r) and give us our reward and change imitation fasting into real fasting. Ameen.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ijazah ( الإِجازَهْ ) / Certificate


O son, yesterday was a special day for two reasons. Age-wise, it marked an important milestone in my path towards the Lord of the Power. It signified the beginning of the last leg of my journey (so to speak) which would determine how well I might fare for the rest of my life.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah, as I embraced the day, a gift came unexpectedly. It was an Ijazah ( الإِجازَهْ /certificate) from my spiritual father. I thought getting a distinction for a master's degree was something but really certificates on wordly knowledge are no way comparable to an ijazah that tells you where you stand in terms of real knowledge. By real knowledge I mean understanding things as they really are. The Prophet s.a.w is known to have made a du'a: "O Allah show me things as they really are."

Ah...we cannot thank Him enough for He is always giving us more than anything we could ever present to Him. Allah Kareem!

O son, by all means strive to become a muhaqqiq, a verifier; one who sees things as they are in themselves, without obfuscations (confusion resulting from failure to understand).
So pray:
Ilahi 'allimni min 'ilmikal maqzun
wa bi sirris mikal ma'sun
O Lord, teach me from Your knowledge that is hidden in Your treasure-trove
and protect me with the secret of Your well guarded Name.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A du'a for you and me


O son, this is one of my favorite petitions (du'a). It is a du'a attributed to ahlul bayt which I had discovered not too long ago and it has stuck with me ever since. Alhamdulillah. It is simple yet comprehensive because it encapsulates three major aspects of life i.e. health, age and provision.

Allahumma inni as aluka sihhatan fi taqwa
wa thula umurin fi husni 'amalin
wa rizqan wasi'an la tu'az zibuni alaih

I am not well versed in Arabic, but it basically means: O Allah, grant me good health so that I will be God-fearing (taqwa); and grant me a long life filled with good deeds ('amal); and grant me vast provisions but do not punish me for it.
O son, observe the value and purpose of having good health. Be sure that your desire to live long is not for selfish or wordly reasons but for you to invest in good deeds. Realize that Allah may be giving you plenty of provisions but He may be testing you to see if you are grateful or heedless. Should you fail His tests, He may punish you for it.

May Allah s.w.t make us steadfast in presenting our du'a to Him with much humility and hope.
Ameen ya Rabbal 'alamin.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is your real age?


O son, theoretically speaking, tomorrow, bi-iznillah, I shall be another year older. Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for this wonderful ni'mat ijad (the blessing of being in existent). It is the greatest blessing indeed to be given a chance to live - 'to exist for eternity', that is what my dear murshid Mawlana Shaykh Nazim said, 'for eternity'. We do not die or disappear into extinction. When we die, we merely move on to a different realm before being resurrected. That's all.

O son, know that your real age may not be what you think it is. It has got to do with dying prior to your death. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w asks us to 'die before you die' (muttu qabla 'antal muttu). Then, according to awliya Allah, only then your real age counts. It was narrated that a wali once took a companion to a graveyard, he pointed to the graves and said 'that one is 2 years old', 'that one is 1 year old' referring to their real age in Sufi terms.

One of the greatest saints of all time Abu Yazid Bistami, before he died someone asked him his age, he said 'I am four years old. For seventy years I was veiled, I got rid of my veils only four years ago.' (He died in 875 CE).

O son, look for a murshid who could guide and train you to 'die before you die', remove your veils, be annihilated and be born for real. Then, you can rejoice. Then it would be more meaningful for anyone to wish you Happy Birthday! May Allah grant us the knowledge which He has granted to His awliya. Allahu 'Aleem.
Al-Fatihah to Abang Aris, a neighbor, who kindly took the picture above, 37 years ago. I was 2 years old!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gaze at the sea and He shall reward you!


O son, how generous He is! You look at the sea and He will reward you, as simple as that! So look, contemplate and praise:
Robbana ma kholaqta haza batila
Subhanaka faqina 'aza bannar
O Lord, You did not create this in vain;
Glory be to You, save us from the torment of the fire.
(from Qur'an 3:191)
O son, know that there are three other things to look at and be rewarded by your Creator: the face of your parents, the Qur'an Mushaf and the magnificent Kaabah. So be among those whom He referred to in chapter Al-Imran, 191:
"Those who remember Allah (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire."
Pic: Batu Feringghi, Penang, 3rd Shawal 1430H

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Going back to our fitrah - a story about Shaykh al-Ghudjawani and Ubaydullah al-Amawi

O son, Eid al-Fitri may be interpreted as a day of victory for having passed the test of Ramadhan or it could also mean going back to one's fitrah (true nature). So what is our fitrah? As I sit and contemplate on what to offer you on this 3rd day of Shawal 1430H, I remember a story told by dear Shaykh Hisham Kabbani in Michigan recently. To go back to one's fitrah, according to Shaykh Hisham, one needs to be 'demolished'. He narrated a story about Shaykh Abdul Khaliq al-Ghudjawani and his mureed Ubaydullah al-Amawi. Shaykh al-Gudjawani (d. 1179 CE) is the 11th Shaykh in the Naqshbandi Golden Chain silsilah (lineage). He was the one who established eight out of the eleven principles of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, such as conscious breathing, solitude in the crowd and watching one's step.

Below is an edited version of Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's narration. Its full transcript is available at

A`udhu billahi min 'ash-shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-rahmani 'r-raheem. Nawaytu'l-arba`een, nawaytu'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu'l-khalwah, nawaytu'l-riyaadah, nawaytu's-salook, nawaytu'l-`uzlah lillahi ta`ala fee hadha'l-masjid. Ati` Allah wa ati` ar-rasula wa uli 'l-amri minkum. Obey Allah, Obey His Prophet (s), and Obey Those Who are on Authority.

So Ubaydullah al-Amawi, after he finished his questions and Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani was answering him, he said to him, "O my son, awliyaullah, who are perfect and they are reaching perfection, they do not and they never speak on the Unseen future, because يَمْحُو اللّهُ مَا يَشَاء وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِندَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ yamhullahu ma yashaa'u wa yuthbit wa `indahu ummul-kitab, as Allah said in Holy Qur'an,'`Allah will erase or confirm whatever He likes and with Him is the Mother of Books.' (13:39). So if a wali comes and speaks on the future and he is not of the calibre that he can see what can be confirmed or what will be erased, then whatever he says might not be real, as Allah may change if He wants."
That is why you see awliyaullah--the kummal, the perfect ones--try to speak normal, preparing their students to be in presence of Prophet (s) and awliyaullah, instead of giving them hypotheses or theories. That is the work. The one who give theories is the one who is not confirming a reality, so he doesn't reach the reality. He doesn't know about it, so he has to give a theory and make an argument, and might be correct, but most of time he is not be correct. So these days, most of those who think they are speaking from the connection of their hearts, in reality their hearts are not connected to a wali, but are really connected to their egos. They mislead their viewers and their listeners.

So Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani answered, "Ya waladee! First of all, in order that I can give you and show you what you have promised Allah in the Day of Promises and what happened there, you have to attend my suhbat as every one of the others attends it. Further, they are not of your level; you have to come down to their level and look at yourself as if you are at the same level or less. That means all your visions don't mean anything to me. In one moment you will be thrown out (if you rely on those visions). A big example that awliyaullah take is a prophet, Adam, the father of the human race. Because he turned his ear one moment, Allah swt took him out of Paradise, meaning took him out of heavenly visions. O my son, one mistake of your ego might take you out of all that heavenly knowledge. They (awliyaullah) might take it out in one moment from your heart. So what you need is to attend my associations with the others, and you are not better than them, so you must see yourself worse than them."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq al-Ghujdawani continued, "Our way is association, to sit with the wali and receive the blessings coming to him, reflect on him from heavens, and disseminate to the others sitting there. First of all, you must sit in association to clean yourself and improve yourself, or else you are not able to receive heavenly blessings. Too many in this country cannot reach their realities, that reality present on Day of Promises. They cannot connect with it to understand it. There you were in the company of Prophet (s) and in dunya you are not in his company, so you need the company of the shuyukh in order to be considered as accompanying him, like the Companions (r). You accompany a wali that inherits from Prophet and you receive these blessings that come on you. And that way you become perfect, day by day. Not from your ego dressing you, but it is me dressing you, giving to you. I take blessings from Prophet (s) and dress them on you. So whatever comes from your ego is considered null and whatever you receive from awliyaullah is considered good."

Ubaydullah said, "O my teacher, what I have to do?" He said, "You have to be generous." "What do you mean?" "That means whatever you have, you must give to me (similar to Ahmad al-Badawi's story). You have to give me your wealth. You have to give to me! What you achieved in dunya wealth you have to give to me, and what you have achieved of akhira wealth you have to give to me, because it is built on a cliff. Afaman assass bunyanahu ala shafa hufran min...dhalimeen, "Whoever built his building on a cliff without strong infrastructure will fall down in Hellfire." So what you built with your ego, you must be generous and give it all. If you withhold it, you cannot take what I want to give you. What I want to give you, in three hours will take you to your reality that is embedded in the reality of Sayyidina Muhammad (s). That reality, that atom, is dressed with the Light of Prophet (s)."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "Everyone's real essence is embedded in Prophet's essence. (Grandshaykh says in his notes) (from Quran) وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّه - w`alamoo anna feekum Rasulullah - Know that the Prophet is in you." (49:7) 'If he is not within you, you cannot exist.' Allah made every person have to appear because of the existence of Sayyidina Muhammad (s) in the Divine Presence, or else you cannot appear; then you are not created. If you see yourself here, created, that is an indication you are in reality of Prophet and that you are in the Divine Presence. That is why Prophet is alway happy when Allah calls him 'My servant,' `abdee. So if you are not understanding that, you never can see your reality. Because you have to understand, no existence for you. You are existing by existence of Prophet (s), so you have to surrender. If you don't surrender you are nothing."

Ubaydullah asked, "How must I surrender?" Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq answered, "Like when you have a cup water and take a drop out with the tip of your finger, you see drop has formed. But when it goes back into the cup of water it has no form; it goes back to an ocean. You must decline your form and swim in the ocean of Prophet (s). That is the key for you." "How to do that?" Ubaydullah asked. Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq said, "To do that is to be in suhbat of the shaykh, in his association, surrendering and submitting completely to his orders. You come with an empty container; your heart has to be empty. Don't come with a full container."

Can you see someone coming in association of shaykh and his container is empty? Saying, "I know this or that." Might be in front of your shaykh you say he knows better, but in front of your brothers and sisters can you say that they know better? You think you know best. People love to sing. That is why you see now Mawlana Shaykh singing for people, as they like to hear singing.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "You have to come with nothing, like the leaf of tree: wherever wind throws it, takes it right or left. You have to be like a leaf up on the mountain, coming down, down, down, all the way down into the deep valley, and then it is gone. It means bring your ego down from the high mountain, as all of us think we are on a high, Himalaya mountain. Bring your self down."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq said, "O my son, you have to enter the demolition project, the demolition room." You have to go in that "room", if we can say that. As they do now, they cremate people. It means make them into ashes, which is against Islamic shari'ah completely and against every religion, but in reality, in spirituality, instead of entering the cremating room, we will call it the "demolishing room." You have to be demolished, to go into powder, dust. Then you might, you might be able to be dressed and then appear another time to speak to people.
So from that, what is called in the language of awliyaullah, qahr at-tajalli, "the Manifestation of the Subduer, qahaar." Qahaar means "to be overpowered." What is qahaar? (destroyer). That is the process, that they destroy your ego completely and you can never raise your head and you are destroyed completely. They don't use the word "I", they use the plural ("we"). They don't use the singular or speak about oneself. Speaking in plural means all of us are the same.

So he said, "You have to go into that demolition room for Allah, for his beautiful name 'al-Qahaar.' The Subduer will shatter you into dust to annihilate you completely; then you are dust. Then they take you to the level of baqa, 'complete existence.' At that time you exist in the presence of Prophet (s). At that time there is no more 'you' and 'me'. You disappear; your form, like the drop of water in the cup, disappears. You disappear in the presence of the Prophet (s); there no more 'you'".

Then you are like a TV or radio (a receiver). There is no more "you". When you reach that level, Prophet (s) will open to you through awliyaullah to know the Day of Promises, to know your awraad that was written, and to act accordingly.

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "But I have to tell you, my son, about Shah Naqshband. (Shah Naqshband came after 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani; he is telling him about what will come in future. He can, because he is one of the kummal, as that reality never changes.) After we enter the demolition room and were shattered completely to dust, and we enter the presence of Prophet (s), and Shah Naqshband appears in dunya, he will never give his followers what I am giving you, because he will not accept to speak. Shah Naqshband entered the demolition room not one time, but fifty-one times. That means he goes in, comes out and then goes back in, to be sure he is completely annihilated, and no trace of ego left on him that he will annihilate himself in the presence of Allah and Prophet (s) and awliyaullah. That has to happen to him fifty-one times. At that time, his dharrah (atom) will be able to speak there. Before he reaches that level he will not speak in dunya, until he reaches that level. Then, whatever he is able to get, then his words are coming directly from the dharrah of Prophet (s), from reality of Prophet (s)."

Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq continued, "Be happy that we accept you to go into the demolition room one time! In our time once is enough, but in the time of Shah Naqshband, he will not accept less than fifty-one times for himself and his mureeds. That is why you see that there are very few who reached that level in this time. They are Sultan al-Awliya and they reached level and they are crushed, then overcrushed, then overcrushed, fifty-one times or might be more in this time. Then Allah will send them back from that ocean of Reality. At that time I will take you to your trust,to know who is on your right, who is on your left, what you have promised, and how you can achieve that."

Ubaydullah al-Amawi said, "I am ready, and I give all my wealth and all my knowledge." Then in three hours Sayyidina `Abdul-Khaliq pulled all his knowledge and made him zero, or less than zero: epsilon. So when he threw Ubaydullah in that demolition room, in three hours he was able to perfect him into the reality of existence in the day of alastu bi-rabbikum; he was able to go there. So we are asking through our shuyukh and through Prophet (s), "We are weak servants and we cannot do that by ourselves without looking at our shortcomings. We are asking, Ya Rabbee! We are weak servants, helpless and hopeless. Open from Your ocean of generosity, without looking at our shortcomings! Dress us with the reality of that day alastu bi rabbikum!"

That will end the story of Ubaydullah al-Amawi with Shaykh 'Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eid Celebration in Penang (1430H)


1st Shawal 1430H, Penang, Malaysia
* Pictures of my adorable guests: Raya (Eid) will not be the same without some 100 kids turning up very briefly at the door, expecting to collect 'Duit Raya' (money). This year I only managed to persuade a few of them to come in and be served like adults. Hoping to be more persuasive and be a better host next year. InshaAllah.
* Children seen at Penang State Mosque: children are the happiest, no doubt.
* Cookies: they get better each year, don't they? Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah for the feast.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Salam Eidul Fitri / Eid Mubarak 1430H

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar
La ilaha ilAllah wAllahuAkbar
Allahu Akbar walillahil hamd

Wishing all of you, friends of Lisan al-Din, a true victory in the presence of Allah s.w.t. May He find our Ramadhan amal pure and reward us with whatever good He deems fit. We are indeed needy of His bounties.
Eid Mubarak!
Yours sincerely,
Ezza Ismail
Kepada sekelian sanak-saudara, sahabat-handai dan muslimin-muslimat, saya doakan agar Allah mengurniakan kepada kita kemenangan hakiki di sisiNya. Mudah-mudahan kita semua berkesempatan menghidupkan malam 1 Shawal agar Allah menjadikan hati kita tetap hidup tatkala matinya semua hati. Sama-samalah kita bertakbir sepenuh hati, memuji kebesaran Ilahi. Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Selamat Hari Lebaran. Semoga anda semua berbahagia di samping yang dikasihi.
Di kesempatan ini saya ingin memohon ampun dan maaf atas apa-apa kesilapan dalam menyampaikan barang sedikit ilmu yang dikutip sepanjang perjalanan saya. Sesungguhnya semua yang baik itu datang daripada Allah dan yang buruk itu datang daripada diri saya sendiri, meskipun pada hakikatnya segala sesuatu itu datang daripada Allah jua.
Maaf zahir dan batin!
Dengan ingatan tulus ikhlas,
Ezza Ismail

1st Shawal 1430H (Eidul Fitri Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


In the early morning of Friday, 1st Shawal 545 A.H, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani (q.s) was reported to have said:

You acquire so much knowledge but do not put it into practice! Close the record book (diwan) of learning ('ilm) and spread out the record book of practice ('amal) with sincerity (ikhlas), otherwise you will have no success. While you are merely acquiring knowledge, you show an impudent attitude toward the Lord of Truth by your actions. You have cast off the cloak of modesty from your eyes and have treated Him as the most insignificant of those who are watching you. You accept in accordance with your passions (hawa), reject according to your passions and are motivated by your passions, so you will surely be destroyed by your passions. You should feel a sense of shame before Allah under all circumstances and must act in accordance with His law (hukm). If you practise the outer aspect (zahir) of the law, that practice will bring you closer to the knowledge ('ilm) of Allah.

O Allah, rouse us from the slumber of the heedless. Amin.

When you commit sins, afflictions come and fall upon you, but if you repent, seek forgiveness of your Lord and turn to Him for help, they will fall around you. You are bound to experience some tribulation, so you must ask Allah to let it be accompanied by patience and compliance so that what is between you and Him may be unimpaired. The scratch marks will then be on the external form (qalab) not the heart (qalb), on the outer (zahir) and not the inner (batin), on property and not on religion (din). The trial will thus prove to be a blessing (ni'ma) and not a curse (niqma).

O hypocrite (munafiq), you have been satisfied to let your obedience to Allah and His Messenger be nominal and not meaningful. Such is your falsehood both outwardly and inwardly, so you are surely to be despised in both this world and the hereafter. The disobedient sinner is despicable within himself, and the liar is despicable within himself. O learned one, do not dirty your knowledge in the presence of the sons of this world. Do not trade something noble for something worthy of contempt. The noble thing is knowledge and the contemptible thing is the stuff of this world that they hold in their hands. Creatures are unable to give you that which has not been assigned to your lot. It is only your allotted share (qism) that passes through their hands, so if you are patient your share will come to you by way of their hands, and you will keep your dignity.

Woe unto you! Those who must be sustained do not provide sustenance. Those who must receive do not give. Devote yourself to the obedient service of Allah and stop plying with requests for He does not need you to inform Him and make Him aware of what is in your best interests. As Allah has said in one of His utterances: "If someone is too busy remembering Me to ask me for anything, to him I shall give the very best of what I give to those who ask."

As for remembrance (dhikr) by the tongue without the heart, there is no honor or dignity for you in that. Remembrance means remembrance by the heart and the innermost being (sirr) and only then remembrance by the tongue. When the servant's remembrance of the Lord of Truth is as it should be, the Lord of Truth will remember him, as He has said: "So remember Me, and I will remember you. Be thankful to Me and be not ungrateful toward Me. (Quran 2:152)

You must remember Him so that He will remember you. Remember Him until remembrance relieves you of your heavy loads, leaving you free from any burden of sin so that you become obedience with no disobedience, for then He will remember you among those whom He remembers. You must therefore be preoccupied with Him to the exclusion of His creatures and be too busy remembering Him to ask Him for anything. He must become your whole objective so that you are distracted from all your other goals. When He has become your whole aim and purpose, He will put the keys to the treasure houses of sovereignty into the hand of your heart.

When someone loves Allah, that person can love no one but Him. He removes from your heart the love of all that is apart from Him. When the love of the Lord of Truth takes control of a servant's heart, the love of all others departs from his heart. Have you no mind with which to consider and understand? Have you never been in the presence of someone at the moment of death? Your turn will come and the Angel of Death will knock on the door of your life. He will snatch that life away and part you from your family and your loved ones. You must try not to be taken while you are reluctant to meet Allah. You must forward your goods to the hereafter and wait for death, for in the presence of Allah you will see something better than anything you have seen in this lower world.

"Our Lord, give us in this world good and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire!" (Quran 2:201)

Source: The Sublime Revelation. Al-Fath ar-Rabbani. Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani. Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland. Publisher credit: Al-Baz Publishing.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The One Alone - Kitab al-Ahadiyyah


O Son, as promised this is it, this is the one piece of document I wish you would read and contemplate. These were the words of Sheikhul al-Akbar Sheikh Muhyiddin Ibn al-Arabi (1165 - 1240).

“He who knows himself, knows his Lord.”
All praise and thanks to Allah, Almighty, the First with no other before Him. He is the only First, and there is no last but His oneness. The end is with Him alone, and he is the end. He is All-Existing: with Him there is no end. Neither is there nearness or farness; nor is there a will or wish, or time, or above, or below, or place; neither is there a universe. Allah is now as He was before. He is eternal. He is One without oneness and Alone without loneliness. He is not named with a name, for it is He whose name is “He,” the self-named one. There is no name other than “He,” and none other than He is named. He is the First without anything before Him. He is the Last without anything after Him. He is Visible in all that is seen. He is Known, clearly, in all that is hidden. He is in all forms and images without any relation to any appearance. He is the secret and the appearance of the first letter announcing the beginning of existence. He is the presence of all the letters that belong to the First and all the letters that belong to the Last and is the presence in all the letters that are visible and all the letters that are hidden. Therefore He is “the First” and “the Last” and “the Visible” and “the Hidden”. He is the First and the Last and the Visible and the Hidden. All the letters that form the words, from the first to the last of realms seen or unseen, are without any relation to His Being and are without any effect on His Being.

Do not fall into the blasphemous error of the sect called Hululiyyah, who believe that another soul, even another being, can be infused into them and that they may have God materially existing in them. Know that He is never in anything, nor is anything in Him. He is neither inside nor outside of anything. None can see Him, whether with the eye of the head or with an inner eye; nor can any conceive Him through the senses, the mind, intelligence, knowledge, or imagination. Only He can see Himself; only He can conceive Himself. None can know Him; only He can know Himself. He sees Himself by Himself; He knows Himself by Himself; He conceives Himself by Himself, He knows Himself by Himself, None other than He can see Him. None other than He can know Him. That which hides Him is His Oneness. None but Himself can hide Him. The veil that hides Him is His own being. He hides His being with nothing other than His Being the Only One; therefore, none other than He can see Him. Neither a prophet whom He has sent to humanity, nor a saint, a perfect man, nor an angel close to Him can see Him, for they are not apart from Him. His prophets, His messengers, His perfect men, are none other than He, for He has sent Himself, from Himself, for Himself, without any other cause or means besides Himself. He sent His essence, from His essence, by His essence, to His essence. There is no difference between the One who sent and His messengers who were sent. The letters of His being are the being of His messengers. There is no other being than He. Neither does He become another; nor does His name become another’s name; nor is there any other named by His name. That is why our Master, the Light of the Universe, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said: I know my Lord by my Lord. He also said: He who knows himself know his Lord. By this it is meant that surely you are not you, and you – without being you – are He. He is not within you; nor are you in Him. He does not exclude you; nor are you excluded from Him. When you are addressed as you, do not think that you exist, with an essence and qualities and attributes – for you never existed, nor do exist, nor will ever exist. You have not entered into Him, nor He into you. Without being, your essence is with Him and in Him. You were not; nor are you temporal. Without having any identity, you are Him and He is you. If you know yourself as nothing, then you truly know your Lord. Otherwise, you know Him not. You cannot know your Lord by making yourself nothing. Many a wise man claims that in order to know one’s Lord one must denude oneself of the signs of one’s existence, efface one’s identity, finally rid oneself of one’s self. This is a mistake. How could a thing that does not exist try to get rid of its existence? For none of matter exists. How could a thing that is not, become nothing? A thing can only become nothing after it has been something. Therefore, if you know yourself without being, not trying to become nothing, you will know your Lord. If you think that to know Allah depends on your ridding yourself of yourself, then you are guilty of attributing partners to Him – the only unforgivable sin because you are claiming that there is another existence besides Him, the All-Existent: that there is you and a He. Our Master, the Prophet s.a.w said: He who knows himself knows His Lord. He did not say: He who eliminates himself knows His Lord! The proof of the existence of something is that when it is presumed nonexistent, its opposite appears. As there is none other than Allah, proving His existence does not depend on the disappearance of some existence other than His. And as you do not exist, you cannot cease to exist, nor be transformed into anything else. Your being is neither temporal nor eternal, for you have no being. Our Master, the Messenger of Allah said, “Actually you do not exist, as you did not exist before you were created.” Allah has no partners and there is none like unto Him. Allah Most High is the meaning of before the before and after the after; without Him, before and after have no meaning. Were this not so, He is alone. 'He has no partners', would have no meaning. It must be so; otherwise something other than He would have to exist on its own and not depend on Him for its existence. Such a partner would not need Allah for its existence and so would be a second god – and that is an impossibility. Allah Most High cannot have partners, and there cannot be any like unto Him. If one believes that things exist in Allah – from Him or with Him – and that these things depend upon Allah for their existence, even so, such things are appearing to one as lords. Though their lordship may depend on Allah, still one who believes in them is guilty of recognizing some other lord as a partner of our Lord. It would be a grave error to consider any other existences as valid alongside of Allah the Self-Existent, even if the thing is seen as dependent on Allah for its existence. A being that has given up its existence and has become naught after having given up its existence, is still far from a breath of knowledge. If one contemplates oneself as such a being, one is far from knowing oneself. If someone thinks of himself as existing among other beings and things that disappear as he does, whose nothingness becomes naught in nothing – if such a person believes that there are no others who exist beside Allah, he is nothing indeed, and his nothingness will go on as long as he thinks he exists. He will be guilty of the unforgivable sin of attributing partners to Allah, while he may think that he knows his Lord, since he knows himself.

The way of knowing oneself and knowing one's Lord.
Then how is one to know oneself in order to know one's Lord? The answer to this question is: Allah Most high exists and none other exists with Him. He is now as He has always been. If one sees oneself as other than the only existence which is Him, or if one does not see oneself as a part of Him, then the answer came from the Messenger of Allah when he said, :He who knows himself, knows his Lord." He did not mean by "self" one's ego - that self which favors the pleasures of the flesh and its lowly desires and which tries to command all of one; nor did he mean the self that first deceives - making one believe that the dirt and the ugliness is proper, then flagellates itself for the wrong it has done and forgets and does it again; nor did he mean the self-satisfied. He meant one's truth, one's reality. When the Prophet s.a.w prayed and said: 'O my Lord, show me the reality of things, what he meant by 'things' was those things that appear to be other than Allah. He meant, "Teach me those things other than You. What is all this around me? Let me know. These things - are they You, or are they other than You? Did they exist before or did they come to be> Are they here forever or are they going to pass away?" And Allah showed him that the 'things' had no being and He showed 'them' to be Him, and it was seen that all appeared as other than Allah was His being. He was shown things without a name, without time, without quality, as the essence of Allah. The name of a thing is suggested by the thing to the one who names it, and by him is given to others. Thus, in a thing, the existence of the thing and the existence of its self are equivalent. Therefore, when the thing is known, the self is known and when the self is known the Lord I known. You presume others to be other than Allah. there is nothing other than Ne, but you do not know this. while you are looking at Him, you do not recognize Him.

When the secrets open to you, you will know that you are none other than He. Then you will also know that you are the one whom He wished (but you need not disappear) and that you are forever and will not disappear with time, for there is no passing of time. Your attributes are His. Without doubt, your appearance is His appearance. What is in you is in Him. Your before is His before, your after is His after, your essence is His essence - without Him entering you or your entering Him, for everything is perishing but His Fase (Al-Qasas 88). That which exists and is visible is He. There is nothing but He so how could nothing cease to be? There is only Him, His essence, which always will be. therefore, if one knows that a thing exists that cannot cease to be, then the doubt and the ignorance about that thing will cease to be. That being is eternal without changing into another being. When one is sure of an existence joins with one who denies that existence, they do not unite. At best the doubt about that existence disappears. Therefore, do not think anymore that you need to become nothing, that you need to annihilate yourself in Him. If you thought so, then you would be His veil while a veil over Allah is other than He. How could you be a veil that hides Him? What hides him is His being the One Alone. That is why the utterance became permissible for Masnur al-Hallaj, when the words "I am the Truth" came from his lips, and for Abu Yazid Bistami when he cried: "Praise be to Me, the essence absolved all defect!" for they were both united with Truth. These are not people who have annihilated themselves in Allah; nor have they come to be in Allah, nor did they exist before, becoming naught afterwards. They are those who see their attributes as Allah's attributes, their essence as Allah's essence, without their attributes and essence being either in Allah or out of Him. Their selves are only Allah's beings. These are the ones who have reached Allah. they are eternal. They never ceased to be, for they never were, since there is only Allah's self, Allah's essence. neither is there any existence. there is only the existence of Allah. our Master, the Messenger of Allah said: 'Do not curse Time, for Allah is Time' pointing out that Allah's being is free from likeness or equals or partners, but is manifest in eternal time. the only existence is the existence of Allah. Allah Most High speaking through His Messenger said to Moses: "O my servant, I was ill and you didn't come to visit me; I was hungry and you didn't feed me..." Allah Most High clearly declares that the being of the one who is sick is His being, and that the one who is hungry and in need is also He. If the sick and the needy are He, then your being is also His being. In the same way, everything made out of elements and events is also He. When the secret of a single atom out of all the atoms from which the elements are made becomes known, the secrets of the whole universe visible and invisible will be revealed. then you will not see anything but Allah either in this world or in the Hereafter. You will see all the existences in this world and in the Hereafter, all the names and the things named with those names and their being, as His being alone. You will see Allah creating nothing forever. You may see His revealing, His being and His attributes in another kind of image, without qualities and references as He reveals Himself: "Every moment He manifests Himself in another glorious state." (Ar Rahman 29). Then you will see that all the things you thought He made, he did not make. Their appearance is a reflection of Allah's revealing His essence and His attributes, every moment, in a different form and shape. he is the Before, for He is self-existence. he is the After for He is endless. he is the Visible because He is the Only One. He is the Invisible, for He is the One Alone. He is the First because only He exists. he is the Last for there is no end after Him. He is the first letter and all of the letters until the last letter. He is the letters seen and the letters unseen. he is the name and He is the named. His being is the only necessity, therefore it is also a necessity that there be no existence but His.

On Dying Before Dying

He who thinks of himself as other than Allah is certainly not other than He because Allah Most High is free of all existence except His Divine essence. All visible and invisible, that exists in Him, with Him, apart from Him is not other than He for the other itself is He. Whoever sees himself thus and is endowed with these qualities has neither bounds nor end. One dies when by Allah's will, one's borrowed time ends. One's material beings - which is called life - ending at an appointed hour, loses all its character and qualities of good and bad. One who dies a spiritual death while his material life continues also loses his characteristics whether good or bad and nothing of him remains. In their place Allah comes to be. His self becomes Allah's self; his attributes become Allah's attributes. That is what our Master, Prophet of Allah s.a.w meant when he said: 'Die before dying' meaning. "Know yourself before you die." Allah, speaking through His Prophet, said: My servant comes close to Me with the worship of good works until I love him and when I love him, I become the hearing in his ears; I become the sight in his eyes; I become the words on his tongue; I become the hands with which he holds, I become the strength of every part of his being. With these divine words the Messenger of Allah indicates that the one who dies before dying realizes his whole being and see no difference between himself and Allah, between his attributes and Allah's, nor does he see any necessity for nor possibility of any change in his state. For his being were not already Allah, he could not even know himself. Thus when you know yourself, your self and selfishness will leave you and you will know that there is nothing in existence but Allah. The condition for self knowledge is to know that if you had a being of your own, independent of other being then you would neither have needed to annihilate ourself in Allah nor to know yourself. you would have been, yourself a god - self existent and without any other existence but you - while it is Allah Most High who is fre from the existence of any other god but Himself. And when you come to know yourself you will be sure that you neither exist nor do not exist, whether now, or before or in the future. Then the meaning la ilaha illAllah - There is no god but Allah - there is not being but His, nor any other except Him, and He is the Only One - will become clear to you. Do you think it possible to interfere with the sovereignty of the Lord? How could the Absolute Sovereign over all and everything can be constrained? He has ruled forever. He is God. He is the Ruler, not the ruled. He is the Eternal Creator, not the created and is now as He ever was. He does not need creation to be Creator, nor does He need the ones He rules to be Lord. He possessed all the attributes before He manifested them in the universe He created and as He was, He is. The manifestation of His essence does not differ in any way from His being as it was before. The manifestation of His oneness requires His having been the First. He is hidden in being Visible; His secret is manifested in what is seen. his before is His After, and His After is His Before. His multiplicity is in His Oneness, and His Oneness is in the multiplicity. He is One and all is One. His quality is His appearance at every moment in a different form and a different state. In His Blessed Qur'an in the chapter Ar-Rahman, The Beneficent, He says: "All those who are in heaven and on earth ask Him. He manifests Himself at every moment in another glorious state. (Ar-Rahman 290). Nothing existed nor does anything exist; yet at every moment He manifest Himself in another glorious state. There was no first, nor was there a before; there is no more manifestation now. In truth, there is no being other than Him; for what only appears to exist, existence and non-existence are the same. If one conceives it otherwise, one must conceive that a thing may appear from nothing, which negates the oneness of Allah, and that is a defect - while His oneness is free of and above all defects. the only existence is Allah's existence. If you know this and do not consider yourself to be the same as or other than, or together with Him, then truly you know yourself. That is why our Master the Messenger of Allah s.a.w said, "he who knows himself, knows His Lord" and not "He who annihilates himself knows his Lord" - for he saw and he knew that there is nothing but Allah. And that is how he knew himself. Know yourself; know your being. certainly you are not you, yet you do not know. Know that this existence is neither you nor other than you. You do not exist, yet you are also non-existence. Your existence is not someone else, nor does your existence make you someone else. Without being and without not-being, your existence is Allah's being, because it is certain that the being of the truth is the same as your being and your not-being and at the time the truth is you and not-you. Then when you see what is around  you as not other than you, and all and everything as the existence of the One - when you do not see anything else with Him or in Him, but see Him in everything as yourself and at the same time as the non-existence of yourself - then what you see is the truth. Then indeed truly you see yourself and you know yourself. When you know yourself with these qualities, you know your Lord without being in Him, with Him or united to Him. The knower and the known and the one who joined are one. Someone might ask, "how then is one to be with Allah, when there is none other than He? One cannot be united with oneself!" The answer is that there is no union or being with Him, because to be with someone or to be united with him is only possible when there are two entities. As there are not two, there is only one, there is neither being with Him nor uniting with Him. Unification may occur between two things which are neither the same as or different from each other. Allah most High is exempt from having another the same as, different from or opposite to Him. In the oneness with Allah which we describe, coming close has no nearness and being far has no distance, for there is no space or time. Someone might ask, "What is being close without nearness and being far without distance?" The answer is in one's state of closeness or farness one must realize that there is nothing but Allah. Yet you do not know yourself because you do not know that you are naught but Him. You are He without yourself. It is only when you are He without the letters and the words of knowledge that you know yourself, that you know that you are the Truth. You were not aware that you are the Truth. that there was nothing else but the Truth, and the Truth was you. When the knowledge comes, through the understanding of the One and Only, then you will know Allah by Allah, not by yourself. To give an example: suppose that your name is Mahmud, yet you don not know that and you think that you are called Mehmed. One day you learn that you are Mahmud. You continue being what you were; yet when you learn that you are Mahmud, the name Mehmed is taken away from you. Your realization that you are not Mehmed has not made you cease to be Mehmed (because you never were Mehmed); the disappearance of a thing requires its pre-existence. The one who knows and the thing is known, the one who joins and the thing joined, the one who sees and the thing seen - are all one. The Knower is His attribute; the Known is His essence. The Joiner is His attribute, the Joined is His essence. The Seer is His attribute, the seen is His essence. The one who assumes the attribute is the same as the attribute. That is what is meant by the words of our Master the Messenger of Allah: He who knows himself knows his Lord. When one understands this, then one knows that there is neither union nor separation. He is the one who knows; He is the one who is known. He is the one who sees; he is the one who is seen. he is the one who joins; He is the one joined. Nothing unites with Him but Him. Someone who is aware of this is free of the unforgivable sin of attributing partners to Allah. Otherwise he has not breathed a breath that will save him from that sin. For whoever believes that anything other than Allah exists is attributing partners to Him. When Mahmud finds that he is not Mehmed, nothing is subtracted from him. Mehmed is not annihilated in Mahmud; nor does he become a part of him nor does he become other than he; nor does Mahmud enter into Mehmed. Mahmud simply knows himself as Mahmud. Thus he knows himself by himself; not by the name Mehmed for the name Mehmed never existed. how could one know something by means of something that never existed? Many of those who think they know themselves and their Lord and have freed themselves from the delusion of their own existences say that only way to the true path is through nothingness and the nothingness of nothingness, and that to know God is only possible for one who annihilates himself. They have fallen into error because they have not truly understood the Prophet's words: "he who knows himself knows his Lord." He said about them: Their delusion is their belief that by annihilating themselves they have annihilated his attributing of partners to Allah. First they believe that it is necessary for them to efface their own being in order to avoid setting partners to Allah. First they believe that it is necessary for them to efface their own being in order to avoid setting themselves up as partners to Allah. Second they feel they must annihilate even the concept of annihilation, so as to achieve the total extinction of all other existence. However, all these activities are nothing but polytheism, the attributing of partners to Allah! For one must fundamentally believe in the possibility of other existences if one believes their annihilation to be necessary. Without doubt, doing this is trying to affirm that there is another god besides Allah and is thus attributing partners at the core. May Allah guide and lead such people and ourselves to the true path. If someone asks, "You have demonstrated that if one knew oneself, one would know one's  Lord. yet the one who knows himself is other than Allah. So how can someone other than Allah know Allah? Our answer is: The one who knows his Lord through the knowledge of himself knows his being exists neither by its own existence of anything other than himself. Perhaps his existence is the existence of Allah without his being either within or without, either together with, or from Allah. But his being is as it always was: nothing - without annihilation or extinction. For a thing to annihilate itself and become nothing presupposes its existing by its own power, not even having been created by the power of Allah, and that is an impossibility. So the knowledge of oneself is nothing other than Allah's knowledge of Himself, for the self of such a knower is nothing other than the truth. When the Prophet s.a.w said, "He who knows himself..." by word 'self' he meant one's being and whoever reaches that level does not exist either outwardly or inwardly except by the existence of Allah. His being is Allah's being, his word is Allah's word; his action is Allah;s action; his knowledge of himself is Allah's knowledge of Himself. Yet you see Him as other than Allah, for you see Him as other than Allah, for you see yourself as other than Allah. "The believer is the mirror of the believer" (hadith). The truth is both eyes and the mirror and the vision in the mirror. For the eyes of the believer are the eyes of Allah and the vision he sees is He, within the mirror of truth. For He is not that which that reflects in your eye, nor a knowledge in your mind, nor in your thoughts, nor a figment of your imagination, nor a feeling within you. But He is your eye, your knowledge, your vision. If someone says, "I am the Truth," do not hear these words from some man, from someone other than He, but hear it from Him, from Allah. For only Allah says, "I am Allah." You have not attained that which came to the one who uttered these words. If you had reached the state that reached him, you would understand what he means, you would see what he saw, and you would say what he said. For the existence of all and everything is not its own existence but His, without its existing at all.

After all that has been said, beware of falling into doubt and imagining that Allah is created like you and everything else. Know that the one who sees and that which is seen, the believer and that in which he believes, the one who knows and that which is known, the one who understands and that which he understands, the creator and the created - are all one. Without seeing, without knowing, without understanding, without words and without letters, without even His own being, the Lord knows Himself by Himself. Know that Allah's existence and His knowledge of His existence are without any quantity, quality, seeing, thought, knowledge or other condition. When one looks into a mirror one sees oneself. Whatever appears on you appears on the image in the mirror. When you look upon your image in the mirror, your image is looking upon you. Naturally the eye that looks at you from the mirror is your eye. Then, when the image in the mirror looks at you, is it not true that you are looking at yourself with your own eyes? If the name of the one who is looking in the mirror is Ahmad, and if the image in the mirror could speak and say, "I am Ahmad," it would be telling the truth. yet, as the image is reflected so would be the words. It would not be the image that calls itself Ahmad but the one who is looking into the mirror. so if someone says, "I am the Truth," do not hear it from any other than from the Truth Himself, for it is not a man who says it, it is the word of Allah. That man who utters these words is nothing but an image reflected upon the empty mirror, one of the infinite attributes of Allah. The reflection is the same as that which is being reflected and the words of the image are the reflected words of the Real One. The void is a mirror, the creation is the image in it. Man is the eye of the image reflected in the mirror, the One who is reflected in the image is hidden in the pupil of that eye, thus He sees Himself. Then: 'He is the One who sees: He is the eyes. he is the One who is seen. (Shaykh Mahmud Shabustari, Gulsheni-Raz).

Only the one who has the yes of his heart open will understand these words. Is one not to discriminate between the appearance of the beautiful and the ugly, of the good and the bad? Is one to consider a decaying corpse or excrement as God? Allah Most High s beyond and free from such associations. We address those who do not see a corpse as a corpse or excrement. Our words are for those whose eyes of the heart are not blind, whose ears of the heart are not deaf and whose tongue of truth is not tied. For the one who does know himself is blind, deaf and tongue tied. The one who is blind and whose tongue is tied can neither see nor understand when the meanings of things are made manifest. these words are for those who are with Allah. Not for those who are blind and tongue tied in believing that things exist without Allah. The ones who understand are the ones who have resolved to find themselves and to know Allah by knowing themselves and who spend all effort, for they have the divine light of the love and the wish for Allah in their hearts. These are the ones who will know that there is no existence other than He. The one who has neither the wish nor the intention for this will not understand. Allah Most High says in the Holy Qur'an: The eyes cannot see Him, but He sees all eyes. (An'am 104). In other words, no sight can reach Him while He is in all that sees. The truth of the matter is in this verse. No eyes can see him, so no one can perceive Him. He is the only existence and if no one can see Him, then there is no one besides Him. If there were other existences besides Allah, they should have been able to see Him. So the meaning of "The eyes cannot see Him..." is that there is no existence other than His. The Truth can only be conceived of by Itself, which has no other identity except the Truth: Allah sees Himself by Himself and by none other than Himself. his essence sees His Essence. "The eyes cannot see him..." because the eyes are created. They came to be after the One who is before the before and after the after. That which is created and temporal and after cannot perceive the Creator who is before the before - permanent - and after the after - eternal. There are no eyes; there are no things, there is only the One, the Truth. The one who does not reach this conclusion cannot possibly come to know himself.

Allah sees Himself by Himself, without any form or quality or eyes or sight. There is nothing except Allah; all else is nothing. There is only He. Then what are all these things that we see around us? Nothings that is seen is other than He. The one who sees anything other than He cannot see Him, for one does not see other than what he sees. The one who does not know himself, who sees himself as other than He, cannot see Allah. Every cup shows what is in it. No words suffice to describe a thing to the blind. The blind man does not see, the one who does not understand, does not understand. The one who sees, sees; the one who understands, understands. These are the signs of the ones who know Allah. Those who do not know Him will not see Him, whether by teaching or by learning or by thinking. The one who knows only knows through service to a perfect guide. That one will be enlightened by his light and find the path to truth, find oneness and unity...if it be the will of Allah.

May Allah Most High lead us in the straight path - by words and deeds and wisdom and enlightenment which please Him - and to realms and states with which is pleased. Amin - and you are the Most Merciful of the Merciful. May Allah's peace and blessing be upon our master Muhammad and upon his family and Companions. peace be unto the Messengers. All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the Worlds.

'Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom'
At-tadbirat al-ilahiyyah fi islah al-mamlakat al-insaniyyah
By Ibn ‘Arabi

Interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al Jerrahi al-Halveti
Publisher: Fons Vitae, 1997
ISBN: 1-887752-05-6

29th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


O you who have little knowledge, you must study (tafaqqah) and then seek seclusion. The people (of the Lord) have studied, then secluded themselves from creatures with their hearts (qulub). Their outer selves (zawahir) are in the company of creatures for the sake of improving people, while their inner beings (bawatin) are together with the Lord of Truth in His service and His fellowship. Thus they are both existent (ka'inun) and remote (na'un); existence in the company of creatures in accordance with the law (hukm) but remote from them with their hearts. Their hearts are remote, secluded from things altogether. Their concern in the outer (zahir) is observance of the rules of law (ahkam al-hukm). Whenever their clothes get dirty, they wash them and freshen them with perfume and incense. Whenever they get torn, they patch and stich the holes. They are the heads of the people. An atom of them is like the towering mountains. Their hearts are together with their Lord, prostrate before Him, vigilantly aware of Him, immersed in His knowledge ('ilm).

O Allah, let our nourishment
be Your remembrance
and let our wealth
be Your nearness.

You are dead at heart, and your companions are also the dead at heart. You need those who are alive, the noble ones, the deputies (budala'). You are a tomb, coming to a tomb like you; a corpse, coming to a corpse like you. You are an invalid, led by an invalid like you; a blind man, led by a blind man like you. You must make friends with the believers (mu'minun), the convinced (muqinun), the righteous (salihun). Listen patiently to what they have to say, take instruction from it and put it into practice, then you will prosper. You must hear the words of the Shaikhs and put them into practice. You must have respect for them, if you wish for success (falah). I once had a Shaikh. Whenever I had a problem and it weighed upon my heart, he would talk to me about it without requiring me to say anything. This was due to my respect for him and my good behavior in his company. I never behaved in the company of the Shaikhs with anything but respectfulness and good manners.
The Sufi cannot be stingy, because he has nothing left to be stingy with, since he claims to have renounced everything. If he is given something, he accepts it on behalf of someone else, not on his own behalf. His heart has become pure, free from all things existing (mawjudat) and formed (musawwarat). To be stingy one must have possessions, but where the Sufi is concerned all things have become the property of others, so how can he be stingy with what belongs to someone else? He has neither enemy nor friend and he pays no attention to either praise or blame. He does not recognize giving and witholding, harm and benefit, as being being from any other than Allah. He is not happy about life and he is not sad about death. Death for him is the displeasure of his Lord and life for him is enjoying His good pleasure. Loneliness for him is being in a crowd, while intimate friendship (uns) is being in seclusion. His food is the remembrance (dhikr) of his Lord, and his drink is from the wine of intimate friendship with Him. He certainly cannot be stingy with the vain trifles of this lower world and what it contains, because he has wealth transcending it altogether. "Our Lord, give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire!" (Quran 2:201)

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.

Friday, September 18, 2009

28th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


You come to me, but you do not have a good opinion of me, so you cannot profit from my words. Woe unto you! You claim to be a Muslim, yet you are antagonistic toward Allah and His righteous servants, so you must be lying when you make such a claim. Islam is derived from istislam (submissive obedience) to the judgment and decree of Allah, and means being content to accept His workings (af'al) while observing the rules (hudud) laid down by His Book and the Sunna of Allah's Messenger. Only then can your Islam be genuine.

The unfortunate thing about entertaining expectations (tut al-amal) is that this is what makes you fall into sins of disobedience and opposition to Allah. Good will come to you whenever you curtail your expectations, so make a practice of doing so, if you wish for success (falah). Whatever comes to the Muslim from destiny (qadar) he accepts it from its hand and is content with it, while readily complying with the sacred law (shar'). He has no lower self (nafs), no passion, no natural impulse and no devil. I mean, he receives assistance against them. Not so in your case! You are lacking in every respect. We have no one immune to sin (ma'sum) since the passing of the prophets (peace be upon them). The lower self (nafs) of such a person is tranquil (mutma'inna), his passions (hawa) have been subdued, the turmoil of his natural urges (tab') has been stilled, and his devil has been imprisoned, so it gets nothing from him and finds no access to him.

In total trust (tawakkul) there is no attachment to material means (sabab) and in the affirmation of Unity (tawhid) there is no question of regarding anybody as the source of harm or benefit. You are total self (nafs kulliyaa), total passion (hawa kulli), total habit ('ada kulliyya). You do not have a clue about total trust and the affirmation of Unity.

Bitterness then sweetness; then breaking then mending; then death then everlasting life. Humiliation then honor. Poverty then wealth. Ceasing to exist (in'idam) then being brought into existence (ijad) through Him, for sure. If you endure all this with patience, you will truly obtain what you wish from the Lord of Truth. Otherwise, nothing will come true for you. Anything that distracts you from Allah is unfortunate for you, even if it is fasting (sawm) and prayer (salat) beyond the performance of obligatory religious duties (fara'id) as those recommended by the Sunna. If you keep the fast to the extent that it is an obligatory duty (fard), then afterwards the hunger and thirst experienced in superrogatory (nafila) fasting distracts you from keeping your heart in the presence the Lord of Truth, from remaining vigilantly aware of Him, from living comfortably through Him and in His company and from nearness to Him, then you are the servant of the obstacle ('abd al-hijab), the servant of creatures, of your lower self and of your passions. The knower ('arif) stays with Allah beneath the banner (liwa') of His nearness, together with His knowledge ('ilm) and His secret (sirr) and he moves in accordance with His judgment and His decree. When he is incapable of action, he is turned without making himself turn, moved without making himself move, and brought to rest without bringing himself to rest. He comes to be numbered among those concerning whom Allah has said: "And we turned them over to the right, then over to the left." (Quran 18:18)

When incapacity came from them they were caused to move. Movement occurs when the power (qudra) is present, while stillness and surrender (taslim) come with incapacity. There is movement when you are in existence (wujud) and stillness when you are in non-existence (faqd). There is movement in the law (hukm) and stilness in knowledge ('ilm). You will become your true self only after you have withdrawn from the lower self (nafs), passion (hawa), natural inclination (tab') and creatures altogether. You must not become attached to creatures, for no one is capable of causing you harm, bringing you benefit or providing you with sustenance, other than your Lord. You must always be in obedience to Him and to His commandments and prohibitions.

Let nothing remain in your hand apart from Allah, then you will become the richest and noblest of creatures, for you will come to be like Adam a.s. commanding things to bow down in prostration before him. A person like this is beyond the minds of people, of all the common folk ('awamm) and many of the elite (khawass), for he is particle of Adam, from his every essence (lubb).

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

27th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


O young men! Be charitable (tasaddaqu) enough to grant me a grain of honesty (sidq)! You are under no obligation to me as far as the goods of your household possessions are concerned. I want nothing from you except honesty and sincerity (ikhlas) and even this is for your benefit. I want you for your own sake, not for mine. You must curb the expressions of your outer and inner tongues, for you have supervisors watching over you. The angels are keeping watch over your outer selves (zawahir), while the Lord of Truth is keeping watch over your inner beings (bawatin). O you who build castles and palaces, while your life is spent on the cultivation of this world! Do not build anything without a righteous intention (niyya saliha), for the foundation on which one builds in this world must be righteous intention. You must not build with your lower self (nafs) and your passions (hawa). The ignorant person builds in this world with his lower self, his passions, his natural impulses and his habitual inclinations, without reference to the commandment of the law (hukm) or compliance with the judgment (qada') of Allah and conformity to His action (fi'l) so of course he cannot be credited with any righteous intention. He cannot enjoy the use of that which he has built, and someone else will occupy it. On the Day of Resurrection he will be asked: "Why did you build? Where did you get what you spent, and why did you spend it? He will be called to account for it all.
You must try to achieve contentment and compliance. Be satisfied with your alloted share, and do not try to acquire what has not been allotted to you. The Prophet s.a.w is reported as having said: "The hardest of all the punishments that Allah inflicts on His servant in this world, is having him go in search of that which has not been allotted to him."

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

26th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


O young man! You must empty your heart for the sake of your Lord while keeping your physical body and your lower self (nafs) occupied with hard work for your dependents, so that you put His commandments into practice and earn for them through His action (fi'l). To remain silent in the presence of the Lord of Truth, and to refrain with patience and contentment from putting requests to Him, is worthier than supplication (du'a), begging (su'al) and insistent pleading (ilhah). You must erase your own knowledge in favor of His knowledge, set aside your own planning in favor of His planning, cut off your own will in favor of His will, and put your own mind out of the way on the arrival of His judgments (aqdiya) and decrees (aqdar). You must act like this with Him, if you wish to have Him as Lord (Rabb), Helper (Mu'in) and Savior (Musallim). You must be calm in His presence, if you wish to attain Him.

The believer (mu'min) has all his notions (khawatir) and aspirations (himam) united as one. He has nothing left except a notion (khatir) that occurs (yakhturu) to his heart from the Lord of Truth, while he is waiting at the door of his nearness to His Lord. Then when his knowledge (ma'rifa) of Him is well established, the door is opened in front of him and he passes beyond it, to see that which he could never describe. A notion is for the heart, while an indication (ishara) is secret speech (kalam khafi) to the innermost being (sirr), when it has transcended one's lower self (nafs), passions (hawa), blameworthy characteristics (akhlaq madhmuma) and all creatures into well being, goodness and bliss. One is turned and moved about therein, like the Companions of the Cave (ashab al-kahf), concerning whom Allah has said: "And we turned them over to the right, then over to the left." (Quran 18:18)

O young man! Hear this, believe this and do not consider it untrue. Do not deprive yourself completely of all that is good.

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

25th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


Woe unto you! You imagine you can pass yourself off as genuine. Were it not for the law (hukm), I would descend upon you, O hypocrite, and expose you to shame. Do not risk your neck with me, for I am not shy of anyone except Allah and His righteous servants. When the servant really knows Allah, creatures fall from his heart and scatter away from it, just as dry leaves scatter from the trees, so that it is left entirely free of creatures. He becomes blind to the sight of them and deaf to the sound of their speech, as far as his heart and his innermost being (sirr) are concerned.

When the self (nafs) becomes tranquil (mutma'inna), it is entrusted with the safekeeping of the limbs and organs of the body. The heart travels to the Lord of Truth to seek what is in His presence. Then it goes to this world, which becomes a manager for the self and looks after its interests. This is the customary procedure of Allah with respect to those who seek Him. When it is time for them to receive all their alloted shares, this world comes to them in the shape of an ugly, gray-haired old woman, to give them their allotments in full. She is a maidservant, not a concubine (surriyya). They take from her what she has for them, and pay no attention to her.

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.

Monday, September 14, 2009

24th Ramadhan 1430H (Ramadhan Tausiyah by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)


If someone is content with the hereafter, he will find that he has made the better choice. If someone is content with little, much will come to him. If someone is content with lowliness, honor will come to him. Be content with less, until your condition is transformed. If someone humbly submits to the divine decree (qadar) and is content with it, he will be raised up by Allah, the One who has power (al-Qadir) over all things. Humility and good behavior will draw you close (to Him), while arrogance and bad conduct will keep you at a distance. Obedience will improve you and bring you close, while disobedience will spoil you and drive you away.

O young man! Do not trade religion (din) for figs (tin)! Do not trade your religion for the figs of sultans, kings and wealthy people, or for a morsel of forbidden food (haram). If you eat at the expense of your religion, your heart will turn black. And how could it not turn black, when you are worshipping creatures? O wretched failure, if you had any light in your heart you would be able to distinguish between what is unlawful (haram), what is legally dubious (shuhba) and what is indifferently permissible (mubah); between that which blackens your heart and that which illuminates it; between that which brings your heart near (to your Lord), and that which keeps it at a distance.

O ignorant one, I am familiar only with earning (kasb) or total trust (tawakkul) in the Lord of Truth. Acquiring by earning comes at the beginning of faith (iman) then with strength of faith comes acquisition from the Lord of Truth, after the disappearance of intermediaries between you and Him. When the heart becomes strong, acquisition is from the Lord of Truth by way of the hands of cretures, at the command of the Lord of Truth. What I mean when I say "the disappearance of intermediaries" is the disappearance of the heart's attachment to intermediaries and the idolatrous worship (shirk) of those who are merely carrying out the commandment of Allah, so that one takes from them but turns a deaf ear to their praise and their blame, their acceptance and their rejection. If they give, one sees the working of Allah in them, and likewise if they refuse to give.

The people (of the Lord) are deaf, dumb and blind to any but Allah. They have only Him as their Supporter (Nasir) and Deserter (Khadil), their Giver (Mu'ti) and Witholder (Mani'), their source of Harm (Darr) and their source of Benefit (Nafi'). Kernel without shell, purity upon purity, goodness upon goodness - such are they who expell all created beings (khala'iq) from their hearts. Nothing remains within them except Allah. What remains in them is the silent remembrance (dhikr khafi) of Him and no other. O Allah, bless us with knowledge ('ilm) of You!

Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.