O Allah! Confer for ever Your best blessings and ever increasing and never ending favours and Your Purest and Gracious boons on him who is exalted in the realm of the realities of the nature of humans and jinns, and is fully aware of all subtleties of faith, and is the Mount Sinai recieving Divine Illuminations and the place on which descend the mysteries of the All-Beneficent and who is a bridegroom in the Kingdom of the Lord, the centrally placed jewel in the chain of prophets, the first and the foremost in the front line of the army of Messengers, the leader of the caravan of the saints and the truthful, the most graceful of all creation, the bearer of the highest flag of honour, the owner of the keys to the shining gallery, the beholder of the secrets of eternity, the beholder of the pristine glow of Primal Light, the interpreter of the Divine Language, fountain-spring of knowledge, tolerance and wisdom, the manifestation of the existence of the secrets of the whole and its parts, and the person who is the (cause of the) existence of (everything) above and below, the soul in the body of both the worlds (that keeps them alive), the fountain of life of this world and of the world to come, the one who knows the reality of the high rank of servitude of Allah and is created with the highest spiritual stations of morality, the foremost among the friends of Allah and His beloved, highly honoured; our master, our patron, our beloved, Muhammad, son of 'Abdullah, son of 'Abdul Muttalib, Allah's blessings on him, his family and companions, in the number which is in Your Knowledge (O Allah) and as many times as Your Words, whenever You are remembered and he is remembered by those who remember and whenever You are not remembered and he is not remembered by the negligent, and abundant, never ending, complete salutations on him.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Supplication for Forgiveness

In the Name of God I begin, with all my respect,And all praise belongs to God, for my strength and maturity.

I seek the forgiveness of God, our Lord and Creator,For all mankind and for the evils of my [soul’s] turmoil.

I seek the forgiveness of God, motivator of the heavenly spheres in the darkness, For our failure to thank Him enough for His bounty.

I seek the forgiveness of God, the Savior of one who seeks His aid,Whenever he suffers misfortune or calamity.

I seek the forgiveness of God, Forgiver of the sins of one Who comes to Him broken, humiliated, and full of remorse.

I seek the forgiveness of God, Concealer of the faults of The morally deficient, and their Savior from adversity.

I seek the forgiveness of God for my secret thoughts and overt acts,For the fickleness of my heart and for the smile upon my lips.

I seek the forgiveness of God for my speech and my behavior,For my evil character, type, and nature.

I seek the forgiveness of God for my words and deeds,For my vain strivings, and the exhaustion of my abilities.

I seek the forgiveness of God for my ignorance and transgressions,For the greatest of my conscious sins, and the minor ones I have committed.

I seek the forgiveness of God for what my hand has wrought,For my errors and [the sins] toward which I was inclined.

I seek the forgiveness of God for that which my hand did not earn,And for that which I earned upon attaining adulthood.

I seek the forgiveness of God for saying ‘I’ and ‘with me’,[For saying] ‘belonging to me’ and ‘mine’, and for my suspicions and my [limited] understanding.

I seek the forgiveness of God for that which I did not know,For that which I knew, and for that which I wrote by pen.

I seek the forgiveness of God for my sleep, my lethargy,And my wakefulness, and for that which has maintained me [in life].

I seek the forgiveness of God during the day, its night,And, its morrow, before it is created from nothingness.

I seek the forgiveness of God for that which occurred during my youth,And for my disagreements with the aged and mature.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as I have feared what He has bestowed,And [as often as] the clouds have rained on the plains and hills.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of pilgrims, goingToward lands characterized by purity and sanctity.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the breaking of dawn, and as oftenAs the doves coo their songs in the branches.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of letters [in the Qur’an] and multiplicity ofQur’anic verses and aphorisms recited during invocation.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of riding animals,Worlds beyond the horizons, and landmarks in the earth.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of plants andSheep on the land and [the amount of] bounty in the sea.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of heavenly bodiesEncompassed by knowledge, and for everything that is apparent and hidden.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of [grains of] sand,And the [amount of] rain that falls continuously on the earth.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of created things—Of human beings and jinn, or Arabs and non-Arabs.

I seek the forgiveness of God, as often as the number of thoughts inThe breasts of those endowed with trust, authority, and wisdom.

I seek the forgiveness of God—all majesty be to God, our Creator,Creator of mankind and the One who brought us forth from nothingness.

I seek the forgiveness of God—all majesty be to God, Who provided for usPrior to physical existence, and Who apportions all the shares [of worldly destiny].

I seek the forgiveness of God, Whose bounties are without number,The All-Encompassing, the Most Excellent, [the One] noted for generosity.

I seek the forgiveness of God—all majesty be to God, Who gathers us in [at death],The annihilator of centuries, and annihilator of all nations.

I seek the forgiveness of God—all majesty be to God, Who resurrects usAfter death, and Who gives life to decaying bones.

I seek the forgiveness of God, innumerable times,As often as the number of known species and breaths of life.

I seek the forgiveness of God—on Him be praises without number,[For] He causes Himself to be praised pre-eternally.

I seek the forgiveness of God, the Forgiver of sins Who, wheneverThe slave disobeys, forgives him with indulgence and generosity.

So forgive me the greatest of my transgressions, and[On] the Day of Judgment, when my feet are about to stumble.

Then may blessings be on the Chosen One from Mudhar,The Best of Mankind, among those who weep or smile.

And may his family and companions be preserved

By our Lord, along with all of [their] followers.

-Shaykh Abu Madyan

The Sufi

“The Sufi is one whose heart is pure (safa), free from attachment to his physical existence (wujud). His heart is an ambassador between him and his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). He cannot be a Sufi until he sees his Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his dreams, educating him, telling him what to do and what not to do. His heart will make progress and his innermost being (sirr) will be purified (yasfu) at the door of the King, while his hand is in the hand of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).”

-Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani
Futuh al-Ghayb

A Parable

A person who is concerned for himself is like a servant whose master has dispatched him on a mission. The master has sent him to some land that the master owns in order to procure some cloth there for him. When the servant arrives in that place, he begins to say to himself, “Where will I reside? Whom will I marry?” He gets preoccupied with these questions, expending all his energy on anxiety about these concerns, until he is delinquent in executing the commands for which his master had sent him. When his master calls on him, his reward from the master will be that the master cuts him off and separates himself from the servant, since he was totally preoccupied by his own affairs rather than observing the prerogatives and rights of his master.

So it is with you, my fellow believer. The True One has dispatched you to this world and commanded you to serve in it faithfully, and has undertaken to support and sustain your existence contingent on your service. If you become engrossed in worrying about your own concerns for yourself and neglect the rights held over you by your master, then you have turned aside from the path of right guidance and slid down the low road to ruin.

-Imam Ibn ‘Ata’Allah al-Iskandari

On Opposing the Ego (Mukhalafat al-nafs) and Remembering One's Faults (Dhikr uyubiha)

God Most High has said, "As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego [animal soul] its desires, the garden is shelter" (79:40)

Ali bin Ahmad bin Abdan informed us through Jabir that the Messenger of God said, "The worst of what I fear for my community is the pursuit of passion and ambition for the future, for the passions leads away from the truth, while ambition makes one forget the next world." So know that opposing the ego (nafs ammarah, the animal soul, the passions throughout the chapter) is the beginning of worship.

The shaykhs, asked about submission to God - Islam - have said that it means to slaughter the ego with the swords of opposition to it. You should know that when the disasters of the ego rise in a person, the glories of intimacy with God set.

Dhu-l-Nun al-Misri said, "The key to worship is reflection. The sign of attaining the mark is to oppose the ego and its desires. To oppose the ego is to abandon what it craves." Ibn Ata said, "The ego is disposed to bad conduct while the servant is commanded to observe the rule of behavior, so the ego falls by its nature into the arena of things to be actively resisted, and the servant with effort can turn it back from the evil of its wishes. He who gives it free rein is partner to its corruption."

I heard Abu Abd al-Rahmah al-Sulami say Junayd said, "The ego [animal soul] summons to dangers, assists enemies, pursues whims, and is to be suspected of every sort of wickedness." Abu Hafs said, "Whoever does not suspect his ego at every moment, oppose it in all circumstances, and drag it toward what it hates for all his days, has been fooled. Whoever looks at it expecting any good from it has caused his ruins."

How can an intelligent person be satisfied with himself while the noble, son of the noble, son of the noble, son of the noble - Joseph the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham the Friend of God - says, "I do not absolve myself, for the ego [animal soul] commands to wrongdoing" (12:53)!

I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say that Junayd said, "One night I could not sleep. I got up to make my private devotions but was unable to find the sweetness and delight I usually find in conversations with my Lord. I was troubled and amazed. I wanted to sleep but was not able. I sat but could not endure the sitting. So I opened the door and went outside. There in the street lay a man wrapped in a cloak. When he felt my presence he raised his head and said, 'O Abu-l-Qasim, finally!' 'Sir,' I said, 'no appointment was made.' 'Rather I asked the Mover of the Hearts to move your heart towards me,' he replied. 'He has done that,' I told him. 'What is your need?' 'When does the disease of the ego [animal soul] become its cure?' he asked. 'When the ego [animal soul] opposes its desire, its disease becomes its cure,' I answered. Directing himself to his ego, he said, 'Listen! I have given you this answer seven times and you refused to hear it except from Junayd. So now you have heard it!' He turned away from me. I did not know him, and I have never come across him again."

Abu Bakr al-Tamastani said, "The greatest blessing is to escape from the ego, because the ego is the greatest veil between you and God Almighty and Glorious." Sahl ibn Abd Allah said, "There is no way to worship God equal to opposing the ego and its caprice."

I heard Muhammad bin al-Husayn say that Ibn Ata was asked what thing most quickly brings on God's wrath. He said, "Looking upon the ego and its states, the worst of which is the expectation of compensation for its acts." And I heard him say that Ibrahim al-Khawwas said, "I was on the mountain of al-Lukam [in Damascus] when I saw some pomegranates and wanted them. I came up, took one, and broke it open, but finding it sour I went away and left them. Then I saw a man lying on the ground. He was covered with hornets. 'Peace be upon you,' I greeted him. 'And upon you be peace, Ibrahim!' he replied. 'How do you know me?' I asked. 'Nothing is hidden from one who knows God Most High,' said he. 'I see that your state is with God Most High,' I said. 'If only you would ask Him to shelter and protect you from the torment of those hornets!' 'And I see that your state is with God Most High.' He returned. 'If only you would ask him to protect you from the desire for pomegranates! For a man but finds the pain of the sting of hornets in this world, while he finds the pain of the sting of pomegranates in the next!' So I left him and went away."

It is told that Ibrahim bin Shayban said, "I did not sleep under my own roof or in any place that had a lock upon it for forty years. Many times I desired to eat a meal of lentils, but it did not come about. Then one time in Damascus, an earthen vessel full of lentils was presented to me. I ate out of it and was leaving when I saw glasses to which were clinging what seemed to be drops of liquid. I had thought the vessel clean, but somebody said to me, 'What are you looking at? Those are wine dregs, and that jug is a wine jug!' 'I must carry out a duty.' I said to myself. So I went into the wineseller's shop and kept pouring out that jug. He supposed I was emptying it by order of the Sultan. When he knew that it was not so, he dragged me to the judge Ibn Tulun who ordered that I be flogged with 200 lashes and thrown me into prison. There I stayed for awhile, until my teacher, Abu Abd Allah al-Maghribi, came to that city. He interceded for me. When his eyes fell upon me, he asked me 'What have you done?' 'A meal of lentils and two hundred lashes,' I said. 'You have been protected by shields against the true punishment,' he told me."
I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say that Sari al-Saqati said, "My ego has been pleading with me for thirty or forty years to dip a carrot into date syrup, and I have not fed it!" And I heard him say that he heard my grandfather say, "The bane of the servant is his satisfaction with himself as he is." I also heard him say that Husayn bin Ali al-Qirmisini said, "I am ibn Yusuf, the Amir of Balkh, who sent a gift to Hatim al-Asamm, who received it from him." Asked why he did so, he said, "In accepting it I found humiliation for me and honor for him, while in returning it was honor for me and humiliation for him, so I chose his honor over mine and my humiliation over his."

Someone told a Sufi, "I want to go on the pilgrimage free of material support." He answered, "First free your heart from distraction, your ego from frivolity, and your tongue form nonsense - then travel however you wish!"

Abu Sulayman al-Darani said, "Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake."

God, glory to Him, revealed to David, "O David, beware! Warn your companions about devouring the objects of desire. When people's hearts are tied to the desires of this world, their intelligence is veiled from Me."

A man was seen seated in mid-air. Someone asked him, "Why were you granted this?" "I gave up idle desire (hawa)," he said, "and the air (hawa; a play on words because hawa means both) became subject to me."

It is said that if a thousand desires were presented to a believer he would drive them away through fear of God, while if a single desire were presented to a libertine, it would drive fear of God away from him. It is said, "Do not give your bridle into the hand of caprice, for it will lead you into darkness."

Yusuf bin Asbat said, "Nothing will extinguish desires from the heart except an unsettling fear or a troubled yearning." Al-Khawwas said, "Whoever gives up a desire and does not find the recompense for it in his heart is lying about having given it up."

Jafar bin Nisar said, "Junayd gave me a dirham and said, 'Go and buy me Waziri figs.' I bought them, and when he broke fast he took one and put it in his mouth. Then he spit it out, wept, and said, 'Take them away!' I asked him about this. He said, 'A voice spoke in my heart saying, "Aren't you ashamed? A desire you gave up for My sake - now you are returning to it!"'"

They recite:

The last letter of disgrace has been stolen from desire.

The victim of every desire is a victim of disgrace.
Know that the ego possesses contemptible characteristics, and one of them is envy.

-Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri

Risalah Qushayriyyah (Principles of Sufism)