Friday, March 4, 2011

Al-Jilani on sincerity and deeds


Alhamdulillah, we keep turning to Ghawth al-Azam who said in Malfuzat "If you wish for success [falah] you must stick close to me. When you see a person running away from me, you must know that he is a hypocrite."

Alhamdulillah, we learned from the honorable Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani this morning an analogy that explains the relationship between one's sincerity (ikhlas) and deeds (amal). We have always thought of these two as being con-current like one should be sincere while performing deeds. Then we read this profound explanation from Malfuzat:
"Sincerity [ikhlas] is the believer's plot of land, while his deeds [a'mal] are its surrounding walls. The walls are subject to alteration and change, but not so the ground. Only upon dutiful devotion [taqwa] can a building be firmly based."

Indeed, we remembered one of our guides saying about amal not being firm in quality, that it may not always be good, let alone perfect, while the niyyah (intention) may be better due to one's sincerity in making the intention in the first place. As what Al-Jilani had said above, the ground of sincerity is not subject to change as much as the building blocks of one's actions. He also said that the structures of our actions should be built on the foundations of taqwa  (dutiful devotion) towards Allah. I think as long as we keep devoting our efforts, we keep being dedicated and we keep moving forward to deliver what is required of us (with fear and hope for Allah), we will eventually build a strong fortress surrounding the courtyard of sincerity, bi-iznillah.

If we may also relate to one quote by Conrad Hilton which we quote from Jack Canfield: "Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but they don't quit."

There is a story of one man who was in the audience of Al-Jilani to whom the shaykh had scolded. Al Jilani said: "You say you would travel for a thousand years just to hear one word from me? But why, when the distance between me and you is only a few steps? You are lazy. You are a little ignoramus, a silly little fool. You think you have something to give. How many like you in this world has fattened and then devoured! It made them plump with fame and fortune, then ate them up. If we had seen any good in it, you would not have beaten us to it. Do not all things come home to Allah? (Quran 42:53). As for what we are involved in, it all comes from Allah (Exalted is He).'

When the Shaikh had stepped down from the lectern, one of his pupils [talamidha] said to him: "You were quite extreme in your admonition, and you spoke to him very harshly!" But the Shaikh replied: "If my words have had any effect upon him, he will surely come back for more."

(The man did in fact attend the meeting [majlis] regularly from then on. He would also visit the Shaikh at other times, outside the formal session, and always behaved with the utmost humility and modesty in his presence. May Allah the Exalted bestow His mercy upon him.)

O Allah [grant us] patience and pardon! O Allah, help us!"

Pic: Courtyard at Masjid Umayyad, Damascus

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