Monday, January 30, 2006

Love Couplets

You talk about loving God while you disobey Him;
I swear by my life that this is something very strange.
If you were truthful in your love, you would obey Him,
For a lover obeys whom he loves.

by Sufi saint Rabi'a al-'Adawiya r.a.*

*Rabi'ah al-Adawiyya, a major spiritual influence in the classical Islamic world, is one of the central figures of the spiritual tradition. She was born around the year 717 C.E. in what is now Iraq

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Nail In the Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, The number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all.

He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy
Now, pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father
That all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.

The fence will never be the same.

When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.

You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there.

" A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Family and friends are very rare jewels, indeed.

They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us."

Show your family and friends how much you care.

Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole.

(by anonymous)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Power and Recognition

Power and recognition are conditions conducive to worldliness.

The ego will never neglect such an opportunity to demand its share of the excitement and admiration, and by so doing taint the whole process of spiritual endeavor.

So beware . . .

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Persian, the Arab, the Turk and the Greek..

Four persons, a Persian, an Arab, a Turk, and a Greek, were travelling together, and received a present of a Durham.

The Persian said he would buy "angur" with it, the Arab said he would buy "inab," while the Turk and the Greek were for buying "uzum" and "astaphil" (staphyle), respectively.

Now all these words mean one and the same thing, viz. "grapes."

But, owing to their ignorance of each other's languages, they fancied they each wanted to buy something different, and accordingly a violent quarrel arose between them.

At last a wise man who knew all their languages came up and explained to them that they were all wishing for one and the same thing.

Signs of relying on one's deeds...

Extracted in most parts from "Book of Wisdoms: al-Hikam al-'Ata'iyya" by Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

"Allah created you and that which you do" (Qur’an 37:96).

The method of the spiritual ascent is threefold, consisting of knowledge (‘ilm), practice (‘amal), and the resultant state (hal) bestowed by Allah. Knowledge here means everything conveyed to us by the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), which is the content of the Sacred Law or shari‘a.

The practice of this knowledge, inwardly and outwardly, with heart and limbs, is the spiritual path or tariqa.

The resultant state, Allah’s drawing near to the heart that thus draws near to Him, is the dawning of the Divine Presence upon the soul, termed by Sufis "ultimate reality" or haqiqa.

Ibn ‘Ata' Illah, as a spiritual guide, is concerned in this work with the second moment of this ascent, that of way and works, so begins his book by letting the traveller know that the matter of his spiritual progress is in Allah’s hands alone.

Discouragement at the inevitable mistakes one makes in the path is a sign of relying on one’s deeds rather than on Allah.

Works, whether prayer, or the dhikr or "remembrance" of Allah, or fasting, or jihad, do not cause one to reach the end of the path, but are merely proper manners before the majesty of the Divine while on it.

Just as putting one’s net in the sea does not produce fish, though one must keep it there so that if Allah sends fish they can be caught—so too works are a net, and their spiritual outcomes are from Allah.

Abu Hurayra (Allah be well pleased with him) heard the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) say:
"None of you shall be saved by his works." A man said, "Not even you yourself, O Messenger of Allah?" He said, "Not even me myself, unless Allah envelopes me in mercy from Him. But aim to do right" (Muslim, 4.2169: 2816).

The Master was Present..and then, quietly he was Gone!

"It is related about one of the great Sufis of Khorasan: That he worked for long hours as a brickmaker, and when people offered him money in return, he refused it. He also used to have long talks with people, teaching them, encouraging them, and then was not to be seen for a long period of time, sometimes months on end. This confused the people who tried to learn from him.

One day, a man who used to be his student and now has since left him, complained bitterly to him about it and asked for an explanation of his conduct, saying: "If i have failed to understand, tell me, so that i may again be your student." The Sufi said: "I am afraid that i can say nothing to you about all this". This man then talked to others about the Sufi (whom he abandoned as his teacher) and soon, more and more complaints were heard about the Sufi from the other students. Gradually, more students began to lose interest in the Sufi. They instead, now attach themselves to all manner of frivolous and more exciting things of the world.

Eventually, a small group of them found another teacher - a venerable dervish - to whom they later confided their dissapointment of the Sufi, their teacher whom they have abandoned. Their new teacher replied to them the following:
"O you luckless one!

(1) He was working as a brickmaker because to take your money, raw and vulnerable as you were, would have harmed you - and he took on the harm upon himself, preferring to labour, sacrificed his life and sweat in the burning sun for just a small salary;
(2) When he left you on your own, it was sometimes his attention, through your own weaknessess, would have inflated you and made you worse;
(3) At other times, he forsook you because he had to make supplications to ask from Allah that you, should not die before he could help you;
(4) At other times, he left you alone because other people in greater need than you were to be attended to.
You are the kind of people who see all his actions, which are all worthy ones - as faults, because you cannot perceive goodness and reality, and because you think only of your ownselves and that the whole world revolves around your ownselves!"

When the students heard this, they were ashamed, and they said: "O teacher! Give us permission to return to our ex-Master, to make amends to him!"
He answered, "The permission is easy, and you have it; but the performance is impossible. He is now dead, because his earthly life had to stop the moment you deserted him; the moment you stopped listening to him; the moment his hand could not hold your hand to guide you. When he had nobody to attend to him, he had to continue on this journey, on his own - in another world - where he is more useful, and loved."

They cried upon hearing this and regretted deeply, for their great Master was now gone! They asked their teacher : "How did you know all this?"
He said: "I am the solitary remaining disciple of that same Master of yours whom you have all abandoned! Only one in a thousand people really want to learn. We were, at the outset, that one thousand people. As for the rest of your friends who are not here today and like you, have also abandoned the Sufi: they are not dead, but they - like you - have long ago decided that our late Master was insufficient to their needs. The consequence of this added belief, born out of the madness of the world, is that they are all still alive, and now more than proud of themselves, and all of them are flourishing in this world, and all of them are doomed for their attachment of this world - without that guiding hand to guide them out of this labyrinth!"

... by Idries Shah

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blindness in the way of the wilaya

Extracted from Al-Hikam Al-'ata'iyya : The Book of Wisdom by Sheykh Nuh Ha Min Keller

Desire means change,

1) first by takhliya or "ridding oneself " of the acts, motives, and states unacceptable to Allah; then
2) tahliya or "adorning oneself " with good traits such as sincerity (ikhlas), trust (tawakkul), remembrance of Allah,
and finally
3) ma`rifa or knowledge of the Divine with which Allah remembers the person of dhikr who perseveres in these.

To rely on one's own efforts to bring about what Allah has already decided is "your striving for what is ensured to you," while not to change oneself is the "neglect of what is sought from you."

Both are blindness in the way of wilaya.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lack of knowledge...

Do not belittle people who seemingly lack of knowledge but instead strive to guide them with love and compassion..

Knowledge by itself is not only useless but may be a mortal trap that leads to Satanic pride. Neither the proud nor the ignorant are excused; yet the loving, sincere, and repentent Sufi who suffers even severe gaps in his knowledge and adab is closer to Allah Most High and to knowledge of Allah than the knowledgeable Sufi who harbors a speck of pride in his heart. May Allah protect you and us!

Ibrahim al-Khawwass said knowledge is not to know much but to obey the Sunna and practice what one knows even if a little. Imam Malik said knowledge is not to know many things but is a light Allah casts in the heart.Imam al-Shafi'i said knowledge is not to know proofs but to know what is beneficial.And when someone said of Ma'ruf al-Karkhi, "He is not very knowledgeable," Imam Ahmad said: " Mah! Allah forgive you! Is anything meant by Knowledge other than what Ma'ruf attained?!"

Much of this was extracted from