Lantern of the Path
Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq
(Peace be upon him)
Translated by Fadlallah Haeri
The roots of conduct have four aspects: conduct with Allah (SWT), conduct with the self, conduct with creation (i.e. people), and conduct with this world. Each of these aspects is based upon seven principles, just as there are seven principles of conduct with Allah (SWT): giving Him His due, keeping His limits, being thankful for His gift, being content with His decree, being patient with His trials, glorifying His sanctity, and yearning for Him.
The seven principles of conduct with the self are fear, striving, enduring harm, spiritual discipline, seeking truthfulness and sincerity, withdrawing the self from what it loves, and binding it in poverty (faqr).
The seven principles of conduct with creation are forbearance, forgiveness, humility, generosity, compassion, good counsel, justice and fairness.
The seven principles of conduct with this world are being content with what is at hand, preferring what is available to what is not, abandoning the quest for the elusive, hating overabundance, choosing abstinence (zuhd), knowing the evils of this world and abandoning any desire for it, and negating its dominance.
When all these qualities are found in one person, he is then one of Allah (SWT)'s elite, one of His close bondsman and friends (awliya').
More on Bondage
Bondage is an essence, the inner nature of which is lordship (rububiyah). Whatever is missing in bondage is found in lordship, and whatever is veiled from lordship is found in bondage. As Allah (SWT) said,
ÓóäõÑöíåöãú ÂíóÇÊöäóÇ Ýöí ÇáúÂÝóÇÞö æóÝöí ÃóäÝõÓöåöãú ÍóÊøóì íóÊóÈóíøóäó áóåõãú Ãóäøóåõ ÇáúÍóÞøõ Ãóæóáóãú íóßúÝö ÈöÑóÈøößó Ãóäøóåõ Úóáóì ßõáøö ÔóíúÁò ÔóåöíÏñ
We will soon show them Our signs in the universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that it is the truth. Is it not suffilcient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things? (Q. 41:53)
This means He exists both in your absence and in your presence. Bondage means ridding oneself of everything, and the way to obtain this is to deny the self what it desires and to make it bear what it dislikes. The key to this is abandoning rest, loving seclusion and following the path of recognition of the need for Allah (SWT).
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Worship Allah (SWT) as if you see Him. Even if you do not see Him, He sees you.'
The letters of the Arabic word for 'bondsman'('abd) are three; 'ayn, ba' and dal. The 'ayn is one's knowledge ('ilm) of Allah (SWT). The ba' is one's distance (bawn) from other than Him, and the dal is one's nearness (dunuw) to Allah (SWT) with the restriction of neither contingent qualities nor veil.
The principles of conduct have four aspects, as we mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter.
On Lowering the Gaze
There is nothing more gainful than lowering one's gaze, for the sight is not lowered from things, which Allah (SWT) has forbidden unless the witnessing of majesty and glory has already come to the heart. The Commander of the Faithful was asked what could help in lowering one's gaze. He said, 'Submission to the power of Him Who is aware of your secret. The eye is the spy of the hearts and the messenger of the intellect; therefore lower your gaze from whatever is not appropriate to your faith, from whatever your heart dislikes and from whatever your intellect finds repugnant.'
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Lower your eyes and you will see wonders.' Allah (SWT) said,
Þõá áøöáúãõÄúãöäöíäó íóÛõÖøõæÇ ãöäú ÃóÈúÕóÇÑöåöãú æóíóÍúÝóÙõæÇ ÝõÑõæÌóåõãú Ðóáößó ÃóÒúßóì áóåõãú Åöäøó Çááøóåó ÎóÈöíÑñ ÈöãóÇ íóÕúäóÚõæäó
Say to the believing men that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts. (Q. 24:30)
'Isa (peace be upon him) said to the disciples, 'Beware of looking at forbidden things, for that is the seed of desire and leads to deviant behaviour.'
John the Baptist (peace be upon him) said, 'I would prefer death to a glance which is unnecessary.'
'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said to a man who had visited a woman while she was ill, 'It would have been better for you to lose your eyes than to have visited your sick person.'
Whenever the eye looks at something forbidden, a knot of desire is tied in the person's heart, and that knot will only be united by one of two conditions: either by weeping out of grief and regret in true repentance, or by taking possession of what one desired and looked at. And if a person takes possession unjustly, without repentance, then that will take him to the Fire.
As for the one who repents of it with grief and regret, his abode is the Garden and his destiny is Allah (SWT)'s favor.
If you are intelligent, then you should be of firm resolution and sincere intention before you set out for any place, for surely the self's nature is to overstep the bounds and encroach on the forbidden. You should reflect when you walk, and take note of the wonders of Allah (SWT)'s work wherever you go. Do not be mocking, or strut when you walk; Allah (SWT) said,
…æóáóÇ ÊóãúÔö Ýöí ÇáúÃóÑúÖö ãóÑóÍðÇ…
Do not go about in the land exulting overmuch. (Q. 31:18)
Lower your gaze from whatever is inappropriate to faith, and remember Allah (SWT) frequently. There is a tradition which savs that those places where, and in connection with which, Allah (SWT) is mentioned will testify to that before Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgement and will ask forgiveness for those people so that Allah (SWT) will let them enter the Garden.
Do not speak excessively with people along the way, for that is bad manners. Most of the roads are the traps and markets of Satan, so do not feel safe from his tricks. Make your coming and your going in obedience to Allah (SWT), striving for His pleasure, for all your movements will be recorded in your book,' as Allah (SWT) said,
íóæúãó ÊóÔúåóÏõ Úóáóíúåöãú ÃóáúÓöäóÊõåõãú æóÃóíúÏöíåöãú æóÃóÑúÌõáõåõã ÈöãóÇ ßóÇäõæÇ íóÚúãóáõæä
On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet shall bear witness against them regarding what they did, (Q. 24:24) and;
æóßõáøó ÅöäÓóÇäò ÃóáúÒóãúäóÇåõ ØóÂÆöÑóåõ Ýöí ÚõäõÞöåö
We have made every man's actions to cling to his neck. (Q. 17:13)
Knowledge is the basis of every sublime state and the culmination of every high station. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'It is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman, to seek knowledge,' that is, the knowledge of precaution (taqwa) and certainty. Imam 'Ali (peace be upon him) said, "Seek knowledge, though it be in China,' meaning the knowledge of gnosis of the self, in it is contained knowledge of the Lord. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Whoever knows his own self knows his Lord; more over, you should acquire that knowledge without which no action is correct, and that is sincerity ... We seek refuge with Allah (SWT) from knowledge which has no benefit', that is, from knowledge which is contrary to actions performed with sincerity.
Know that a small amount of knowledge requires a great deal of action, because knowledge of the Hour' requires the person who has such knowledge to act accordingly during his entire life. 'Isa (peace be upon him) said, 'I saw a stone on which was written, "Turn me over", so I turned it over. Written on the other side was "Whoever does not act by what he knows will be doomed by seeking what he does not know, and his own knowledge will be turned against him." '
Allah (SWT) revealed to David, 'The least that I shall do to someone with knowledge who does not act by his knowledge is worse than the seventy inner punishments which result in My removing from his heart the sweetness of My remembrance.' There is no way to Allah (SWT) except via knowledge. And knowledge is the adornment of man in this world and the next, his driver to Paradise, and by means of it he attains Allah (SWT)'s contentment with him.
He who truly knows is the one in whom sound actions, pure supplications, truthfulness and precaution speak out; not his tongue, his debates, his comparisons, assertions or claims. In times other than these, those who sought knowledge were those who had intellect, piety, wisdom, modesty and caution; but nowadays we see that those who seek it do not have any of these qualities. The man of knowledge needs intellect, kindness, compassion, good counsel, forbearance, patience, contentment and generosity; while anyone wishing to learn needs a desire for knowledge, will, devotion (of his time and energy), piety, caution, memory and resolution.
Giving judgement is not permissible for someone who has not been endowed by Allah (SWT) with the qualities of inner purity, sincerity in both his hidden and visible actions, and a proof from his Lord in every state. This is because whoever has judged has decreed, and decree is only valid by the permission of Allah (SWT) and by His proof. Whoever is liberal in his judgement, without having made a proper examination, is ignorant and will be taken to task for his ignorance and will be burdened with his judgement as the tradition indicates. Knowledge is a light, which Allah (SWT) casts into the heart of whomsoever He wills.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Whoever is boldest among you in judging is also the most insolent to Allah (SWT)'. Does not the judge know that he is the one who has come between Allah (SWT) and His bondsmen, and that he is wavering between the Garden and the Fire? Sufyan ibn 'Uyaynah said, 'How can anyone else benefit from my knowledge if I have denied myself its benefit?' It is inappropriate for anyone to judge on what is permissible (Halal) and what is forbidden (Haram) among creation, except for one who causes the people of his time, his village, and his city to follow the truth through obedience to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and who recognizes what is applicable of his judgement. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'It is because giving judgement is such a tremendous affair, in which there is no place for "hopefully", "perhaps" or "may be".'
The Commander of the Faithful said to a judge, "Do you know the difference between those verses of the Qur'an which abrogate and those which are abrogated?"
'Do you have a command of the intentions of Allah (SWT) in the parables of the Qur'an?'
'Then you have perished and caused others to perish,' the Commander of the Faithful replied.
A judge needs to know the various meanings of the Qur'an, the truth of the Holy Prophet's (peace Se upon him and his family) way, the inward indications, courtesies, consensus and disagreements, and to be familiar with the bases of what they agree upon and disagree about. Then he must have acute discrimination, sound action, wisdom, and precaution. If he has these things, then let him judge.
Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil
Whoever has not thrown off his anxieties, been purified of the evils of his self and its appetites, defeated Satan, and entered under the guardianship of Allah (SWT) and the security of His protection, cannot properly enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil; and since he has not attained these aforementioned qualities, whatever affair he tackles in attempting to enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil will be a proof against him, and people will not benefit from it. Allah (SWT) said,
ÃóÊóÃúãõÑõæäó ÇáäøóÇÓó ÈöÇáúÈöÑøö æóÊóäÓóæúäó ÃóäÝõÓóßõãú æóÃóäÊõãú ÊóÊúáõæäó ÇáúßöÊóÇÈó ÃóÝóáÇó ÊóÚúÞöáõæäó
What! Do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls? (Q. 2:44)
Anyone who does that is called upon thus: Oh- traitor! Do you demand from My creation that which you have rejected for yourself and have slackened the reins [in this regard] upon yourself?
It is related that Tha'labah al-Asadi asked the Messenger of Allah about this verse:
íóÇ ÃóíøõåóÇ ÇáøóÐöíäó ÂãóäõæÇú Úóáóíúßõãú ÃóäÝõÓóßõãú áÇó íóÖõÑøõßõã ãøóä Öóáøó ÅöÐóÇ ÇåúÊóÏóíúÊõãú
O you who believe! Take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you when you are on the right way. (Q. 5:105)
The Messenger of Allah said, 'Enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil, and be forbearing in whatever afflicts you, until such time when you see meanness obeyed and passions followed, and when everyone will have conceit about their own opinion, then you should concern yourself only with yourself, and ignore the affairs of the common people.'
A person who enjoins what is good needs to be knowledgeable about what is permissible and what is forbidden; he must be free from his personal inclinations regarding what he enjoins and forbids, give good counsel to people, be merciful and compassionate to them, and call them with gentleness in a very clear manner, while recognizing their different characters so that he can put each in his proper place.
He must see the intrigues of the self and the machinations of Satan. He must be patient in whatever befalls him, and must not seek compensation from people for that which he instructs them in, nor complain about them. He should not make use of vehemence or passion. He should not become angry for his own sake. He should make his intention purely for Allah (SWT), and seek His help and desire Him. But if people oppose him and are harsh to him, he must be patient; and if they agree with him and accept his verdict, he must be thankful, entrusting his affair to Allah (SWT) and looking to his own faults.
How the Men of Knowledge are Ruined
Caution and fear are the legacy of knowledge and its measure; knowledge is the ray of gnosis and the heart of belief. Whoever is denied caution is not a man of knowledge, even if he can split hairs in dealing with obscure items of knowledge. Allah (SWT) said,
…ÅöäøóãóÇ íóÎúÔóì Çááøóåó ãöäú ÚöÈóÇÏöåö ÇáúÚõáóãóÇÁ…
Only those of His servants who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah. (Q. 35:28)
Men of knowledge are ruined by eight things: greed and miserliness, showing off and partisanship, love of praise, delving into things whose reality they cannot reach, affectation by taking excessive pains to beautify their speech with superfluous expressions, lack of modesty before Allah (SWT), boastfulness, and not acting upon what they know.
'Isa (peace be upon him) said, 'The most wretched of all people is he who is known for his knowledge, not for his actions.'
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Do not sit with every presumptuous caller who summons you from certainty to doubt, from sincerity to showing off, from humility to pride, from good counsel to enmity, and from abstinence to desire. Draw near to the person with knowledge, who summons you from pride to humility, from showing off to sincerity, from doubt to certainty, from desire to abstinence, from enmity to good counsel.' None are fit to preach to creation except that person who has gone beyond these evils by his truthfulness. He sees the faults of speech and knows what is sound from what is unsound, the defectiveness of thoughts, and the temptations of the self and his fancies.
'Ali (peace be upon him) said, 'Be like the kind, compassionate doctor who places the remedy where it will be of benefit.' They asked 'Isa (peace be upon him), 'With whom shall we sit, O Spirit of Allah (SWT)?' 'With one the sight of whom reminds you of Allah (SWT),' he replied, 'and whose speech increases you in knowledge and whose actions make you desire the next world.'
Guarding Oneself (ri'ayah)
Whoever guards his heart from heedlessness, protects his self from appetites, and guards his intellect from ignorance, will be admitted into the company of the vigilant. Then he who guards his knowledge from fancies, his faith from innovation, and his property from the forbidden is among the righteous.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'It is a duty for every Muslim, man and woman, to seek knowledge,' that is, knowledge of the self. Therefore it is necessary for the self to be in all states either expressing his gratitude or proffering his excuse for lack of gratitude. If this is acceptable to Allah (SWT) it is a favor upon him, and if not it is justice upon him. For every self it is necessary to work that it may succeed in its acts of obedience, and for its protection in its efforts to abstain from doing harm.
The basis of all this is recognition of total need and dependence on Allah (SWT), caution and obedience. The key to it is in delegating your affair to Allah (SWT), cutting off expectation by always remembering death, and seeing that you are standing in the presence of the All compelling. This gives you rest from confinement, rescue from the enemy, and peace for the self. The means to sincerity in obedience is harmony, and the root of that rests upon considering life as being only as long as a day.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'This world lasts but an hour, so spend it in obedience to Allah (SWT).' The door to all of this is always to withdraw from the world by means of constant reflection. The means to this withdrawal is contentment, and abandoning such existential matters as do not concern you. The means to reflection is emptiness [desirelessness], and the buttress of emptiness is abstinence. The completion of abstinence is precaution, and the door to precaution is fear. The proof of fear is glorification of Allah (SWT), adherence to obeying His commands with sincerity, fear and caution, and holding back from the forbidden; and the guide to this is knowledge. Almighty Allah (SWT) said,
ÅöäøóãóÇ íóÎúÔóì Çááøóåó ãöäú ÚöÈóÇÏöåö ÇáúÚõáóãóÇÁ
Those of His servants who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah. (Q. 35:28)
With every breath you take, a thanksgiving is incumbent upon you, indeed, a thousand thanks or more. The lowest level of gratitude is to see that the blessing comes from Allah (SWT) irrespective of the cause for it, and without the heart being attached to that cause. It consists of being satisfied with what is given; it means not disobeying Him with regard to His blessing, or opposing Him in any of His commands and prohibitions because of His blessing.
Be a grateful bondsman to Allah (SWT) in every way, and you will find that Allah (SWT) is a generous Lord in every way. If there were a way of worshipping Allah (SWT) for His sincerest bondsman to follow more excellent than giving thanks at every instance, He would have ascribed to them the name of this worship above the rest of creation. Since there is no form of worship better than that, He has singled out this kind of worship from other kinds of worship, and has singled out those who practise this kind of worship, saying,
óÞóáöíáñ ãøöäú ÚöÈóÇÏöíó ÇáÔøóßõæÑõ…
Very few of my servants are grateful. (Q. 34:13)
Complete thankfulness is to sincerely repent your inability to convey the least amount of gratitude, and expressing this by means of your sincere glorification of Allah (SWT). This is because fitting thanks is itself a blessing bestowed upon the bondsman for which he must also give thanks; it is of greater merit and of a higher state than the original blessing which caused him to respond with thanks in the first place. Therefore, every time one gives thanks one is obliged to give yet greater thanks, and so on ad infinitum, and this while absorbed in His blessings and unable to achieve the ultimate state of gratitude.
For how can the bondsman match with gratitude the blessings of Allah (SWT), and when will he match his own action with Allah (SWT)'s while all along the bondsman is weak and has no power whatsoever, except from Allah (SWT)?
Allah (SWT) is not in need of the obedience of His bondsmen, for He has the power to increase blessings forever. Therefore be a grateful bondsman to Allah (SWT), and in this manner you will see wonders.
On Leaving your Home
When you leave your home, do it as if you will never return. Leave only for the sake of obedience to Allah (SWT) or for the sake of the faith. Remain tranquil and dignified in your bearing, and remember Allah (SWT) both secretly and openly.
One of the companions of Abu Dharr asked a member of Abu Dharr's household where he was and she said, 'He has gone out.' When the man asked when Abu Dharr would return, she replied, 'When he returns is in the hands of someone else,' for he has no power on his own. Learn from Allah (SWT)'s creation, both the pious and the deviants, wherever you go. Ask Allah (SWT) to place you among His sincere and truthful bondsmen, and to join you to those of them who have passed on and to gather you in their company. Praise Him, and give thanks for the appetites He has made you avoid, and the ugly actions of the wrongdoers from which He has protected you. Lower your gaze from carnal appetites and forbidden things, and pursue the right course on your journey. Be vigilant, fearing Allah (SWT) at every step, as if you were crossing the straight path. Do not be distracted. Offer a greeting to His people, both giving it first and answering with it. Give help to those who ask for it in a righteous cause, guide those who are lost and ignore the ignorant.
When you return to your home, enter it as a corpse enters the grave, its only concern being to receive the mercy and forgiveness of Allah (SWT).
On Reciting the Qur'an
Whoever recites the Qur'an and does not humble himself before Allah (SWT), whose heart is not softened, nor regret and fear provoked within him, undervalues the immensity of Allah (SWT)'s affair and is in a clear state of loss.
The person who recites the Qur'an needs three things: a fearful heart, a tranquil and receptive body, and an appropriate place to recite.
When his heart fears Allah (SWT), then the accursed Satan flees from him. As Allah (SWT) said,
ÝóÅöÐóÇ ÞóÑóÃúÊó ÇáúÞõÑúÂäó ÝóÇÓúÊóÚöÐú ÈöÇááøåö ãöäó ÇáÔøóíúØóÇäö ÇáÑøóÌöíãö
When you recite the Qur'an, seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan. (Q. 16:98)
When he frees himself of all attachments, then his heart is devoted to recitation, and nothing impedes him from obtaining the blessing of the light of the Qur'?n and its benefits. When he finds an empty place and withdraws from people, having acquired the two qualities of humility of heart and tranquility of body, then his soul and his innermost being will feel communion with Allah (SWT), and he will discover the sweetness of how Allah (SWT) speaks to His right-acting bondsmen, how He shows His gentleness, to them and singles them out for all the varieties of His marks of honor and wondrous signs. If he drinks a cup of this drink, he will never prefer any other state to this nor any other moment to this. He will prefer this to every act of obedience and devotion, since it contains intimate conversation with the Lord, without any intermediary.
So beware of how you read the Book of your Lord, the guardian to whom you aspire, how you respond to His commands and avoid His prohibitions,and how you observe His limits, for it is a mighty Book: Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it,
…ÊóäÒöíáñ ãøöäú Íóßöíãò ÍóãöíÏò…
…a revelation from the Wise, the Praised One. (Q. 41:42)
Therefore recite it in an orderly manner and contemplatively) and adhere to the limits of His promise and His threat. Reflect on its examples and warnings. Beware of paying undue respect to the recitation of its letters while failing to observe the legal limits contained therein.
The best adornment of the believer's garment is precaution and the most blessed garment is belief. As Allah (SWT) said,
…æóáöÈóÇÓõ ÇáÊøóÞúæóìó Ðóáößó ÎóíúÑñ…
And clothing that guards [against evil]; that is best. (Q. 7:26)
Outward dress is a blessing from Allah (SWT) in order to preserve the modesty of the sons of Adam; it is a mark of honor which Allah (SWT) has given to the descendants of Adam. He did not give that honor to any other creature; it is given to the believers as a means of carrying out their obligations. Your best garments are those which do not distract you from Allah (SWT), those garments, in fact, which bring you closer to remembrance of Him, and gratitude and obedience to Him. They do not, however, move you to pride, conceit, pretence, boastfulness or arrogance: those things are the scourge of the faith, and their legacy is hardness of heart.
When you put on your clothes, remember that Allah (SWT) veils your wrong actions with His mercy. You should clothe your inward part as you clothe your outward part with your garment. Let your inward truth be veiled in awe of Allah (SWT), and let your outward truth be veiled in obedience. Take heed of the overflowing favor of Allah (SWT), since He created the means to make garments for covering physical immodesty and opened the gates for repentance, regret, and seeking succour, in order to veil the inward parts, and their wrong actions and bad character.
Do not expose anyone's faults when Allah (SWT) has concealed worse things in yourself. Occupy yourself with your own faults, and overlook matters and situations which do not concern you. Beware lest you exhaust your life in other people's actions and exchange your irreplaceable endowed wealth with someone else, thereby destroying yourself. Forgetting wrong actions brings about the greatest punishments of Allah (SWT) in this world, and is the most ample cause for punishment in the next. So long as the bondsman occupies himself with obeying Allah (SWT), with recognizing his own faults and leaving alone whatever might devalue faith in Allah (SWT), he is spared ruin and is immersed in the sea of Allah (SWT)'s mercy, attaining the gems and the benefits of wisdom and clarity.
But as long as he forgets his own wrong actions, is ignorant of his own faults, and falls back on his power and strength, he will never be successful.
Do not show off your actions to someone who neither gives life nor causes death, and who cannot take away from you your burdens. Showing off is a tree whose only fruit is hidden association of other Allah (SWT)s with Allah (SWT), and its root is hypocrisy. The vain one will be told on the Day of Judgement; 'Take what you consider to be the reward of your actions from those you took as your partners with Me. Look to those whom you worshipped and called on, from whom you entertained hopes and whom you feared. And know that you cannot conceal anything inside of you from Allah (SWT): you will be deceived by yourself.'
Allah (SWT) said,
íõÎóÇÏöÚõæäó Çááøåó æóÇáøóÐöíäó ÂãóäõæÇ æóãóÇ íóÎúÏóÚõæäó ÅöáÇøó ÃóäÝõÓóåõã æóãóÇ íóÔúÚõÑõæäó
They desire to deceive Allah and those who believe, and they deceive only themselves and they do not perceive. (Q. 2:9)
Showing off most frequently occurs in the way people glance at others, speak, eat, drink, arrive somewhere, sit with others, dress, laugh, and in the way they perform prayers, pilgrimage, jihad, recitation of the Qur'an, and all outward acts of devotion. However, he who is sincere towards Allah (SWT), who fears Him in his heart, and who sees himself as lacking even after he has exerted himself with every effort, will find that Allah (SWT) is contented with him as a result, and he will be among those whom one expects to be free from showing off and hypocrisy, provided he continues to be in that state.
Truthfulness is a light which radiates its reality in its own world: it is like the sun, from whose reality everything seeks light without any decrease occurring in this reality. A truthful person, in fact, is a man who believes every liar, due to the reality of his own truthfulness. It means that nothing which is opposed to truthful- ness, nothing, even, which is not truthfulness, is permitted to coexist with it; just as happened with Adam, who believed Iblis when he lied because Iblis had sworn a false oath to him and there was no Iying in Adam. Allah (SWT) said,
… æóáóãú äóÌöÏú áóåõ ÚóÒúãðÇ…
We did not find in him any determination. (Q. 20:115)
because Iblis originated something previously unknown, both outwardly and inwardly. Iblis will be gathered with his lie, and he will never benefit from the truthfulness of Adam. Yet it benefited Adam that he believed the lie of Iblis, as Allah (SWT) testified for him when He said that he was not constant in what was contrary to his custom. This really means that his being chosen was not at all diminished by Satan's lies.
Truthfulness is the attribute of the truthful. The reality of truthfulness demands that Allah (SWT) purify His bondsman, as He mentioned regarding the truthfulness - 'Is? (peace be upon him) on the Day of Reckoning. He indicated it by referring to the guiltlessness of the truthful men of the community of Mu¦ammad, saying,
…åóÐóÇ íóæúãõ íóäÝóÚõ ÇáÕøóÇÏöÞöíäó ÕöÏúÞõåõãú…
This is the day when their truth shall benefit the truthful ones. (Q. 5:119)
The Commander of the Faithful' said, 'Truthfulness is the sword of Allah (SWT) in His heaven and earth: it cuts everything it touches.' If you want to know whether you are truthful or Iying, then look into the truthfulness of what you mean and the conclusion of your claim. Then gauge them both according to a scale from Allah (SWT), as if you were present on the Day of Resurrection. Allah (SWT) said,
…æóÇáúæóÒúäõ íóæúãóÆöÐò ÇáúÍóÞøõ…
And measuring out on that day will be just. (Q. 7:8)
If there is balance and harmony in what you mean, then your claim is successful, and your truthfulness is in the fact that the tongue does not differ from the heart, nor the heart from the tongue. The truthful person with this description is like the angel who draws out his soul; if the soul is not drawn out, then what is it to do?
Sincerity lies in all distinguished actions: it is a notion that starts with acceptance and ends with Allah (SWT)'s pleasure. Therefore he whose actions Allah (SWT) accepts and with whom He is content is the sincere one, even if his actions are few. Whoever does not have his actions accepted is not sincere, even if his actions are many, as we can see when we consider what happened with Adam and Iblis, may he be cursed.
The sign of acceptance is the existence of integrity and correct- ness, by expending all that is desirable with accurate awareness of every movement and stillness. In upholding what he has, the self of the sincere one is consumed, and his life is spent so as to put what he has in order, unifying knowledge and action, the doer and what is done by the action. For if he has attained that, he has attained all, and if he misses it he misses all; and that is brought about by purifying the meanings of disassociation (tanzih) in His unity. As the first Imam said, 'Those who act will perish, except for those who worship; those who worship will perish except for those who know; those who know will perish except for those who are truthful; those who are truthful will perish except for those are sincere; those who are sincere will perish except for those who have precaution; those who have precaution will perish except for those who have certainty, and those who have certainty are of exalted character.' As Allah (SWT) said,
æóÇÚúÈõÏú ÑóÈøóßó ÍóÊøóì íóÃúÊöíóßó ÇáúíóÞöíäõ
And serve your Lord until there comes to you that which is certain. (Q. 15:99)
The lowest level of sincerity is when the bondsman exerts himself as much as he can, and then does not consider his action to have any worth with Allah (SWT) so that he does not make his Lord recompense him for his actions according to his knowledge, for if Allah (SWT) asks him to fulfil the full duties of slavehood ('ubudiyah) he would be unable to do so. The lowest station of the sincere person in the world is safety from all wrong actions, to be rescued from the Fire and to win the Garden in the next world.
Precaution (taqwa) has three facets
1.Precaution by dependence on Allah (SWT), which means leaving behind contradiction and going beyond any shade of doubt, and this is the precaution exercised by the highest.
2.The precaution of Allah (SWT), which means to abandon all doubtful matters and to leave the forbidden (haram) alone; this is the precaution of the elite.
3.The precaution of the Fire and Punishment, which results in leaving alone what is forbidden; this is the precaution of the general public.
Precaution is like water flowing in a river. The three levels of precaution are like trees of every colour and variety planted on the bank of that river, each tree absorbing water from that river according to its essence, capacity, delicateness and thickness.
Then the benefits which creatures take from these trees and fruits are according to their value and worth. Allah (SWT) said,
æóÒóÑúÚñ æóäóÎöíáñ ÕöäúæóÇäñ æóÛóíúÑõ ÕöäúæóÇäò íõÓúÞóì ÈöãóÇÁ æóÇÍöÏò æóäõÝóÖøöáõ ÈóÚúÖóåóÇ Úóáóì ÈóÚúÖò Ýöí ÇáÃõßõáö
Palm trees having one root and [others] having distinct roots - they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit. (Q. 13:4)
Precaution in acts of obedience to Allah (SWT) is like water for the trees, and the natures of the trees and their fruits in their colours and tastes are like the measures of belief. Whoever has the highest degree in belief and the purest nature with respect to the soul has the greatest precaution. He who is precautious has the purer and more sincere worship: whoever is like that is nearer to Allah (SWT).
But every act of devotion that is founded on something other than precaution comes to nothing. Allah (SWT) said,
ÃóÝóãóäú ÃóÓøóÓó ÈõäúíóÇäóåõ Úóáóì ÊóÞúæóì ãöäó Çááøåö æóÑöÖúæóÇäò ÎóíúÑñ Ãóã ãøóäú ÃóÓøóÓó ÈõäúíóÇäóåõ Úóáóìó ÔóÝóÇ ÌõÑõÝò åóÇÑò ÝóÇäúåóÇÑó Èöåö Ýöí äóÇÑö Ìóåóäøóãó…
Is he, therefore, better who laid his foundation on fear of Allah and [His] good pleasure, or he who laid his foundation on the edge of a cracking, hollowed bank, so it broke down with him into the fire of Hell? (Q. 9:109)
The explanation of precaution is to avoid entering an affair which contains no harm simply out of fear of one which does. It is, in reality, obedience without rebellion, remembrance without forgetfulness, knowledge without ignorance, and it is accepted by Allah (SWT) and not rejected.
Allah (SWT) fearing ness
Close the gates of your limbs and senses to all that will harm your heart, remove your standing with Allah (SWT), and bring in its wake grief and regret on the Day of Judgement and shame about the evil actions you committed.
The scrupulous person must have three principles: he should overlook the faults of all people, he should avoid offending them, and he should balance censure with praise.
The basis of Allah (SWT) fearing ness is constantly to take the self to account, to be truthful in one's words and pure in one's transactions, to leave every doubtful thing, to abandon every defect and doubt, to separate oneself from all which does not concern you and not to open doors which you will not know how to close.
Do not sit with anyone who obscures what is clear for you, nor with someone who takes the faith lightly. Do not question knowledge which your heart has no capacity for, and which you will not understand, of whoever said it, and cut off anyone who cuts you off from Allah (SWT).
Courteous social relations with Allah (SWT)'s creation while avoiding all acts of disobedience to Him is a sign of Allah (SWT)'s excessive generosity with His bondsman. Whoever is sincere and humble before Allah (SWT) in his innermost being will have good social interaction externally.
Keep company with people for the sake of Allah (SWT) and do not keep company merely for your own share of worldly affairs, for seeking rank, showing off, or for reputation. Do not fall below the limits of the shari'ah for the sake of social intercourse, such as trying to keep up with others, or gaining a reputation, for these things cannot make up for you, and you will miss the next world, with no recourse. Treat someone who is older than you as you would your father, someone who is younger than you as you would a son. Treat your peer as you would a brother. Do not abandon what you know to be certain within yourself for something heard from other people which you doubt. Be gentle when you enjoin good, and compassionate when you forbid evil.
Never abandon good counsel in any circumstance. As Allah (SWT) said,
æóÞõæáõæÇú áöáäøóÇÓö ÍõÓúäÇð…
Speak to men good words. (Q. 2:83)
Cut yourself off from what makes you forget to remember Allah (SWT), when temptation distracts you from obedience to Him, for that comes from the friends and helpers of Satan. Do not allow the sight of them to move you to dissimulation with the truth, for that would be a terrible loss indeed. We seek refuge with Almighty Allah (SWT).
Sleep the sleep of the mindful, do not sleep the sleep of the heedless. For the mindful among the astute sleep only for rest, and do not purposely sleep through laziness.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'My eyes sleep, but my heart does not.' When you go to sleep, have the intention to lighten your burden on the angels and disengage the self from its appetites, and to examine yourself by your sleep; be aware of the fact that you are incapable and weak. You have no power over any of your movements and still nesses, except by the judgement and measure of Allah (SWT). Know that sleep is the brother of death. Use it as a guide to death, for there is no way to wake up in death or to return to correct action once you have missed it. Whoever sleeps through an obligatory, recommended or supererogatory prayer is at fault, and his sleep is the sleep of the heedless and the path of the losers; he is at fault. Whoever sleeps after he has discharged his duties concerning obligatory and recommended prayers, and has carried out his responsibilities, sleeps a praiseworthy sleep. I do not know of anything that is safer than sleep for the people of our times who have attained these qualities: this is because people have ceased to guard their faith and to take care in observing their conduct. They have taken the left-hand path. When a sincere bondsman strives not to speak out of place, how can he avoid hearing that which would prevent him from not speaking unless there is a safeguard? Sleep is one such safeguard. As Allah (SWT) said,
Åöäøó ÇáÓøóãúÚó æóÇáúÈóÕóÑó æóÇáúÝõÄóÇÏó ßõáøõ ÃõæáÜÆößó ßóÇäó Úóäúåõ ãóÓúÄõæáÇð
Surely, the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be questioned about that. (Q. 17:36)
In excess sleep there are many evils, even if it is done in the way we have mentioned. Too much sleep is brought about by excess drink, and excess drinking is brought about being excessively satiated. Both of these things weigh heavily on the self to keep it from obedience, and they harden the heart from reflection and humility.
Make your sleep your last affair in this world; remember Allah (SWT) with your heart and your tongue. Let your obedience to Allah (SWT) overpower your wrong doings and seek help from Him while you sleep, fasting until the morning prayer, since if you are awakened at night, Satan whispers to you, 'Sleep again, you still have a long night,' for he wants you to miss the time of intimate contemplation and exposure of your state before your Lord. Do not be distracted in seeking forgiveness at dawn, for at that time there is much yearning for those in devoted supplication.
If you intend to go on pilgrimage, before resolving on it devote your heart to Allah (SWT), stripping it of every preoccupation and every barrier between you and Allah (SWT). Entrust all your affairs to your Creator; rely on Him in all your actions and moments of stillness. Surrender to His decree, decision and judgement. Abandon this world, repose, and all creation. Perform those duties which you are bound to fulfil for other people. Do not rely on your provisions, the animal you ride, your companions, your food, your youth nor your wealth, for fear that they will become your enemies and be harmful to you; in this way you will realize that there is no power, no strength, nor might except by the guardianship of Allah (SWT) and His granting of success.
Prepare for the pilgrimage as someone who does not hope to return. Keep good company, and be diligent in observing all your obligations to Allah (SWT) and the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) in practices. Take care to show courtesy, endurance, patience, thankfulness, compassion, and generosity, always putting others before yourself at all times, even those who reject you. Then perform an ablution with the water of sincere repentance for wrong actions; put on the robe of truthfulness, purity, humility and fear. By donning the garments of pilgrimage,' withhold yourself from everything which hinders you from remembering Allah (SWT), or that will impede you from showing obedience to Him.
Fulfill His call with an answer whose meaning is clear, pure and sincere when you call on Him, holding on firmly to your belief in Him. Circumambulate with your heart along with the angels who circumambulate the Throne, just as you circumambulate with the Muslims who go around the Ka'bah. Hasten as you run in flight from your passion, freeing yourself of all your personal assumptions of strength and power. Leave your heedlessness and errors behind when you go out to Mina; do not desire what is unlawful for you and what you do not deserve. Confess your errors at Arafat: set out your contract with Allah (SWT) by His Oneness, draw near to Him and fear Him at Muzdalifah. Climb with your soul to the highest assembly when you climb the mountain of Arafat. Slit the throat of passion and greed in the sacrifice. Stone your appetites, baseness, vileness, and blameworthy actions when you stone the Pillar of Aqabah. Shave off your outward and inward faults when you shave your hair. Enter into the security of Allah (SWT), His protection, His veil, His shelter and His watchfulness and abandon the pursuit of your desires by entering the Sacred Precinct. Visit the House, and walk around it to glorify its Master, His wisdom, His majesty and His power. Embrace the Stone, being content with His decree and humble before His might. Leave everything that is other-than-Him in the valedictory circumambulation. Purify your soul and your innermost being for the meeting with Allah (SWT), on the day when you will meet Him when standing on Safa'.
Take on valour and courtesy from Allah (SWT) by annihilating your attributes at Marwah. Be consistent in the conditions of your pilgrimage and fulfil the contract you have made with your Lord, by which you will have obliged yourself to Him on the Day of Judgement. Know that Allah (SWT) made the pilgrimage obligatory, and singled it out from all the acts of worship in respect of Himself when He said,
Þõáú ãóä ßóÇäó ÚóÏõæøðÇ áøöÌöÈúÑöíáó ÝóÅöäøóåõ äóÒøóáóåõ Úóáóì ÞóáúÈößó ÈöÅöÐúäö Çááøåö ãõÕóÏøöÞÇð áøöãóÇ Èóíúäó íóÏóíúåö æóåõÏðì æóÈõÔúÑóì áöáúãõÄúãöäöíäó
Pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, and [upon] everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it. (Q. 3:97)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) established the organization of the rituals of pilgrimage as preparation for, and an indication of, death, the grave, the resurrection and the Day of Judgement. In this lesson for mankind he discriminates between those who will enter the Garden and those who will enter the Fire, through his demonstrating the pilgrimage rites from beginning to end to those with intelligence and prudence.
Obligatory charity' for the sake of Allah (SWT) is due from every single part of your body, even from every root of your hair. In fact, charity is due for every instant of your life. Charity of the eye means looking with consideration and averting the gaze from desires and things similar to them. Charity of the ear means listening to the best of sounds, such as wisdom, the Qur'an, the benefits of the faith contained in warnings and good counsel, and to that in which your salvation lies, and by avoiding their opposite, such as lies, slander, and similar things.
Charity of the tongue means to give good counsel to the Muslims, to awaken those who are heedless, and to give abundant glorification and remembrance (dhikr), and other, similar things.
Charity of the hand means spending money on others, to be generous with Allah (SWT)'s blessings to you, to use it in writing down knowledge and information by means of which other Muslims will benefit in obedience to Allah (SWT), and to restrain the hand from evil. Charity of the foot means to hasten to carry out one's duty to Allah (SWT) by visiting virtuous people, assemblies of remembrance (dhikr), putting things right between people, maintaining ties of kinship, engaging in jihad, and doing things which will make your heart sound and your faith correct.
We have mentioned here just some of the ways of zakat, namely, those understood by the heart and those the self can deal with; although there are others too numerous to mention, mastered by no one but His sincere and intimate bondsmen. Indeed, these latter are the lords of zakat and to them belongs its mark of distinction. Oh Allah (SWT), give me success in what You love and in what makes You content.
The person who has a sincere intention is the one who has a sound heart; because a sound heart, free from thoughts about forbidden things, comes from making your intention purely for Allah (SWT) in all matters.
íóæúãó áóÇ íóäÝóÚõ ãóÇáñ æóáóÇ Èóäõæäó. ÅöáøóÇ ãóäú ÃóÊóì Çááøóåó ÈöÞóáúÈò Óóáöíãò
The day on which neither property will avail, nor sons, except him who comes to Allah with a heart free [from evil]. (Q. 26:88-9)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The intention of the believer is better than his action,' and also, 'Actions are by intentions, and every man will obtain what he had intended.' The slave of Allah (SWT) must therefore have sincere intention in every moment of action and stillness because then he will not be heedless. Those who are heedless have been censured by Allah (SWT):
Åöäú åõãú ÅöáøóÇ ßóÇáúÃóäúÚóÇãö Èóáú åõãú ÃóÖóáøõ ÓóÈöíáðÇ
They are nothing but as cattle; nay, they are stray-ing farther off from the path. (Q. 25:44)
ÃõæúáóÜÆößó åõãõ ÇáúÛóÇÝöáõæäó
These are the heedless ones. (Q. 7:179)
Intention appears from the heart, according to the purity of knowledge. It varies as belief varies, at different moments in its strength and weakness. The selfishness and passion of those with sincere intention is subjugated to the power of the glorification of Allah (SWT) and modesty before Him. He is by his nature, his appetites and his own desires, in a state of discomfort, and yet people find ease at his hand.
He who truly remembers Allah (SWT) is the one who obeys Him: whoever forgets is disobedient. Obedience is the mark of guidance, disobedience the sign of misguidance. The root of both states lies in remembrance (dhikr) and forgetfulness. Make your heart the focal point of your tongue, which should not move unless the heart indicates, the intellect agrees and your tongue accords with belief. Almighty Allah (SWT) knows what you conceal and what you reveal.
Be like someone who has shed his soul from his body, or like someone who is attending the great parade on the Day of Reckoning, not distracting yourself from the obligations which your Lord has laid on you in His commands and prohibitions, His promise and His threat. Do not be occupied with yourself rather than with the duties laid down for you by your Lord. Wash your heart clean with the water of sorrow and fear; make remembrance of Allah (SWT) part of His most glorious remembrance of you. He remembers you, but He does not need you. His remembrance of you is more glorious, more desirable, more praiseworthy, A more complete and more ancient than your remembrance of Him.
The knowledge you obtain by His remembrance of you will beget you humility, modesty and contrition, which will in turn be the cause of your witnessing His nobility and previous, overflowing favor. The latter will then belittle your obedience in your own eyes, however copious it may be as a result of His favors; and you will be sincerely devoted to Him. But your consciousness and esteem of your own remembrance of Him will lead to showing off, pride, foolishness and coarseness in your character, for it means attaching too much importance to your obedience while forgetting His overflowing favor and generosity.
It will only make you more distant from Him, and all that you will acquire with the passing of the days is alienation. There are two sorts of remembrance: sincere remembrance with which the heart is in harmony, and remembrance which arises through banishing any remembrance of other than Allah (SWT).
As the Messenger of Allah said, 'I cannot do justice in properly praising You as You praise Yourself.' The Messenger of Allah did not set any limit on remembering Allah (SWT), since he knew the truth that Allah (SWT)'s remembrance of His bondsman was greater than the bondsman's remembrance of Him. Thus it is even more fitting that whoever comes after the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) should not set any limits, and whoever wants to remember Allah (SWT) should know that as long as Allah (SWT) does not remember the bondsman by granting him success in remembering Him, that bondsman will not be able to remember Him.
The Ruin of the Reciters
Someone who recites without knowledge is like a vain man who has neither property nor wealth; for people do not hate someone for his lack of possessions, but they detest him for his vanity. He is always at odds with creation in that which is not obligatory upon him, and he who contests creation in what he is not commanded to do is contesting the process of creativity and absolute lordship.
As Allah (SWT) said,
æóãöäó ÇáäøóÇÓö ãóä íõÌóÇÏöáõ Ýöí Çááøóåö ÈöÛóíúÑö Úöáúãò æóáóÇ åõÏðì æóáóÇ ßöÊóÇÈò ãøõäöíÑò
Among men is he who disputes in respect of Allah though having no knowledge, nor guidance, nor a book giving light. (Q. 31:20)
None will have a harsher punishment than someone who claims a right to the mantle of knowledge without having either the truth or the meaning of it. Zayd ibn Thabit said to his son, 'My son, do not let Allah (SWT) see your name in the register of the vain reciters.' And the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'A time will come for my community in which hearing the name of the man who recites will be considered better than studying, and studying will be considered better than doing the thing with experience ... The greatest number of hypocrites in my community are among the reciters of the Qur'an.' Be where the faith recommends you to be, and where you are commanded to be. Conceal your inner state from other people as much as you can. Make your acts of obedience to Allah (SWT) have the same relationship as your soul has to your body, so they become an indication of the state you have attained between yourself and your Originator. Seek Allah (SWT)'s help in all your affairs, and beseech Allah (SWT) humbly at the end of the night and at the end of the day. Allah (SWT) said,
ÇÏúÚõæÇú ÑóÈøóßõãú ÊóÖóÑøõÚðÇ æóÎõÝúíóÉð Åöäøóåõ áÇó íõÍöÈøõ ÇáúãõÚúÊóÏöíäó
Call on your Lord humbly and secretly; surely He does not love those who exceed the limits. (Q. 7:55)
Transgressing is one of the attributes, indeed, one of the hallmarks, of the reciters of our time. Be fearful of Allah (SWT) in all your affairs, so that you do not fall into the arena of desire and destroy yourself.
Clarification of Truth and Falsehood
Fear Allah (SWT) and be where you wish to be among any people you choose to be. There is no conflict for anyone in a state of precaution. Precaution is desirable for all parties; in it is gathered all goodness and maturity. It is the measure of all knowledge and wisdom, of every accepted act of obedience. Precaution is the water which gushes out from the spring of Allah (SWT)'s gnosis: every branch of knowledge is in need of it. It does not need any confirmation of knowing how to be still in awe of Allah (SWT) and His power. Increase in precaution comes from Allah (SWT)'s acquainting His bondman's secret with His subtle mercy: this is the root of every truth.
Falsehood is whatever cuts you off from Allah (SWT)- every group agrees on this also. Therefore avoid falsehood, devoting your secret to Allah (SWT) without any attachment.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'The truest words that the Bedouins spoke are the words of Labid when he said, Indeed everything but Allah is false And every blessing is most certainly ephemeral.'
So cling to what is agreed upon by people of purity, piety and precaution in the roots of the faith, the realities of certainty, Allah (SWT)'s pleasure, and submission. Do not enter into disagreement and disputations among people, for then things will become difficult for you. The chosen community has agreed that Allah (SWT) is One and that there is nothing like Him; and that He is just in His judgement, does whatever He wishes, and governs what He wills. One does not ask 'why?' about anything of His making There has not been and will never be anything that is not according to His will and desire; He has the power to do what He wills, and He is true in His promise and His threat.
The Qur'an is His word, and it existed before phenomenal being, place and time. The creation of phenomenal beings and their annihilation are the same with Him: their creation did not increase His knowledge, nor will their passing decrease His kingdom. His power is mighty and He is majestic, glory be to Him.
If someone brings to you anything which falls short of this fundamental truth, do not accept it. Devote your inward being to that and you will see its blessings close at hand. You will be among the victors.
The Gnosis of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)
Allah (SWT) has provided His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) from the treasures of His subtlety, generosity, and mercy. He has taught them from the wealth of His knowledge, and He has singled them out for Himself from among all creation. No one from the entire creation possesses a state or character similar to theirs, for He has made them the means for all creatures to come to Him.
He made obedience to and love for them the cause of His contentment, and opposition to them and rejection of them a cause for His wrath. He commanded all peoples and groups to follow the religion of their Messenger, rejecting any obedience other than by means of obedience to them, praise of them, recognition of their love, respect and veneration for them, esteem for them and deference to them, and rank with Allah (SWT).
Therefore glorify all the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) of Allah (SWT), and do not place them in the same position as anyone inferior to them. Do not exercise your intellect regarding their stations, states, and character unless it is by a precise clarification from Allah (SWT), and a consensus of the people who have insight into the proofs which affirm their virtues and ranks. How can you arrive at the reality of what they have from Allah (SWT)? If you compare their words and actions with any of the people below them, you will be a bad companion to them; you will have disclaimed their gnosis in ignorance of their being specially selected by Allah (SWT), and you will have dropped below the level of the truths of belief and gnosis. So take care, and take care again.
The Recognition of the Imams (peace be upon them)
It is related with a sound chain of authority from Salman al-Farsi, ' I visited the Messenger of Allah who looked at me and said, ' "O Salman, Allah (SWT) does not send a Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) or messenger unless there are with him twelve chiefs." ' "O Messenger of Allah, I know this from the people of the two books." '"O Salman, do you know my twelve chiefs, whom Allah (SWT) has chosen to be leaders after me?"
' "Allah (SWT) and His Messenger know best."
' "O Salman, Allah (SWT) created me from the quintessence of light, and called me, so I obeyed Him. Then He created 'Ali (peace be upon him) from my light, and called him, and he obeyed. From my light and the light of 'Ali (peace be upon him) He created Fatimah (peace be upon him): He called her and she obeyed. From me, 'Ali (peace be upon him) and Fatimah (peace be upon him), He created al-Hasan (peace be upon him) and al-Husayn (peace be upon him). He called them and they obeyed Him. Allah (SWT) has named us with five of His names: Allah (SWT) is al-Mahmud (the Praised) and I am Mu¦ammad (worthy of praise); Allah (SWT) is al-'Ali (peace be upon him) (the High), and this is 'Ali (peace be upon him) (the one of high rank); Allah (SWT) is al-Fatir (Creator out of nothing), and this is Fatimah (peace be upon him); Allah (SWT) is the One with Hasan (beneficence), and this is Hasan; Allah (SWT) is Muhassin (the Beautiful), and this is Husayn. He created nine Imams (peace be upon him) from the light of al-Husayn (peace be upon him) and called them and they obeyed Him, before Allah (SWT) created either Heaven on high, the out-stretched earth, the air, the angels or man. We were lights who glorified Him, listened to Him and obeyed Him."
' "O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be your ransom! What is there for the person who recognizes these men as they should be recognized?"
' "O Salman, whoever recognizes them as they should be recognized, and follows their example, befriends them and is free of their enemies, by Allah (SWT)! he is one of us. He will return to where we return, and he will be where we are!"
' "O Messenger of Allah, is there belief without knowing their names and lineage?"
' "No, Salman."
' "Messenger of Allah, where will I find them?"
' "You already know al-Husayn (peace be upon him); then there will be the master of the worshippers, 'Ali (peace be upon him) ibn Husayn (Zayn al-'Abidin); then his son Mu¦ammad ibn 'Ali (peace be upon him), the piercer of the knowledge of the early and the later Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s and messengers (al-Baqir); then Ja'far ibn Mu¦ammad, the truthful tongue of Allah (SWT) (al-Sadiq); then Musa ibn Ja'far, the one who kept his rage silent through patience in Allah (SWT) (al-Kathim); then 'Ali (peace be upon him) ibn Musa, pleased with the secret of Allah (SWT) (al-Rida '); then Mu¦ammad ibn 'Ali (peace be upon him), the chosen one from the creatures of Allah (SWT) (al-MukAtar); then 'Ali (peace be upon him) ibn Mu¦ammad, the guide to Allah (SWT) (al-Hadi); then al-Hasan (peace be upon him), son of 'Ali (peace be upon him), the silent, trustworthy guardian over the secret of Allah (SWT) (al-'Askari); then mim ha' mim dal (Mu¦ammad), called Ibn al-Hasan (peace be upon him), the announcer who establishes the right of Allah (SWT)."
' Salman said, 'I wept. Then I continued, ' "O Messenger of Allah , let my life be deferred until their time! "
'He said, "O Salman, recite this:
ÝóÅöÐóÇ ÌóÇÁ æóÚúÏõ ÃõæáÇåõãóÇ ÈóÚóËúäóÇ Úóáóíúßõãú ÚöÈóÇÏðÇ áøóäóÇ Ãõæúáöí ÈóÃúÓò ÔóÏöíÏò ÝóÌóÇÓõæÇú ÎöáÇóáó ÇáÏøöíóÇÑö æóßóÇäó æóÚúÏðÇ ãøóÝúÚõæáÇð. Ëõãøó ÑóÏóÏúäóÇ áóßõãõ ÇáúßóÑøóÉó Úóáóíúåöãú æóÃóãúÏóÏúäóÇßõã ÈöÃóãúæóÇáò æóÈóäöíäó æóÌóÚóáúäóÇßõãú ÃóßúËóÑó äóÝöíÑðÇ
When the promise for the first of the two came, We sent over you our servants of mighty prowess, so they went to and from among the houses, and it was a promise to be accomplished. Then We gave you back the turn to prevail against them, and aided you with wealth and children and made you a numerous band. (Q. 17:5-6)
' "I wept a lot," said Salman, "and my yearning became intense. I said, ' "O Messenger of Allah, is it a pledge from you?"
' "Yes, by the One Who sent me and entrusted me with the Message; it is a pledge from me and from 'Ali (peace be upon him), Fatimah, al-Hasan (peace be upon him), al-Husayn (peace be upon him), and the nine Imams (peace be upon him) descended from the children of al-Husayn (peace be upon him), to you and those who are with us, and those of us who are wronged. Whoever is truly sincere in his belief, then by Allah (SWT), Salman, let Iblis and his armies come. Whoever has pure disbelief will be punished by retaliation, torture and inheritance (i.e. by others rather than them). Your Lord will not wrong anyone. It is we who are indicated in this verse:
æóäõÑöíÏõ Ãóä äøóãõäøó Úóáóì ÇáøóÐöíäó ÇÓúÊõÖúÚöÝõæÇ Ýöí ÇáúÃóÑúÖö æóäóÌúÚóáóåõãú ÃóÆöãøóÉð æóäóÌúÚóáóåõãõ ÇáúæóÇÑöËöíäó. æóäõãóßøöäó áóåõãú Ýöí ÇáúÃóÑúÖö æóäõÑöí ÝöÑúÚóæúäó æóåóÇãóÇäó æóÌõäõæÏóåõãóÇ ãöäúåõã ãøóÇ ßóÇäõæÇ íóÍúÐóÑõæäó
We desired to bestow a favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the leaders, and to make them the heirs, and to grant them power in the land, and to make Pharoah, Haman and their armies see from them what they feared." ' (Q. 28:5-6)
Salman said, 'I took leave of the Messenger of Allah, completely unconcerned as to how Salman would meet death, or how death would meet him.'"
Recognition of the Companions
Do not forsake certainty for doubt, and what is clear for what is hidden. Do not pass judgement on what you cannot see because of something you are told about it. Allah (SWT) despises slander and bad opinion of your believing brothers? What then does He think of boldness in attributing a false statement, false belief or lie to the Companions of the Messenger of Allah?
As He said,
ÅöÐú ÊóáóÞøóæúäóåõ ÈöÃóáúÓöäóÊößõãú æóÊóÞõæáõæäó ÈöÃóÝúæóÇåößõã ãøóÇ áóíúÓó áóßõã Èöåö Úöáúãñ æóÊóÍúÓóÈõæäóåõ åóíøöäðÇ æóåõæó ÚöäÏó Çááøóåö ÚóÙöíãñ
When you welcomed it with your tongues, and spoke with your mouths that which you had no knowledge of, and you deemed it an easy matter while with Allah it was grievous. (Q. 24:15)
As long as you can find a way to speak well and act well of people whether or not they are Decent. Do not do anything else.
Allah (SWT) said,
æóÞõæáõæÇú áöáäøóÇÓö ÍõÓúäÇð
Speak to men good words. (Q. 2:83)
Know that Allah (SWT) chose companions for His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), honored them with the noblest mark of honor and robed them in the robe of support, victory and the correct keeping of his company in desirable and undesirable situations. He made the tongue of His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) speak about their virtues, excellent qualities and marks of honor; so believe in their love, mention their excellence, and beware of the company of people of innovation, for it will make disbelief and clear loss grow in the heart. If the excellence of some of them is not clear to you, then leave them to the Knower of the Unseen, and say, 'O Allah (SWT), I love anyone You and Your Messenger love, and I hate anyone You and Your Messenger hate.' There is no obligation beyond that.
The Honor and Sanctity of the Believers
No one respects the honor of the believers except the person who respects the honor and sacred claim of Allah (SWT) over the believers. The person who best fulfils this sacred claim with respect to Allah (SWT) and His Messenger is he who is the most particular in his respect for the believers' claim to honor. Whoever thinks little of the believers' honor has rent apart the raiment of his belief.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'Part of esteem for Allah (SWT) is to respect those who are near to Allah in belief.' And again, 'Whoever is not merciful to a young person nor respectful to an old person is not one of us. Do not call a Muslim an unbeliever when repentance can make up for it, unless he is someone that Allah (SWT) has mentioned in His Book.'
Allah (SWT) said,
Åöäøó ÇáúãõäóÇÝöÞöíäó Ýöí ÇáÏøóÑúßö ÇáÃóÓúÝóáö ãöäó ÇáäøóÇÑö æóáóä ÊóÌöÏó áóåõãú äóÕöíÑðÇ
The hypocrites are in the lowest level of the Fire. (Q. 4:145)
Occupy yourself with your business about which you will be questioned.
Dutifulness to Parents
Dutifulness to one's parents comes from the bondsman's correct knowledge of Allah (SWT), since there is no act of worship which will bring the person performing it more quickly to the pleasure of Allah (SWT) than being dutiful to believing parents for the sake of Allah (SWT) This is because the right of the parents is derived from the right of Allah (SWT), as long as they are both on the path of the faith and the sunnah, and do not prevent a child from obeying Allah (SWT) for the sake of obedience to them, or move him from certainty to doubt, or from abstinence to the desires of this world, or call him to anything which is in opposition to faith and the sunnah. If the situation is like that, then it is an act of obedience to rebel against them, and an act of rebellion to obey them.
Allah (SWT) said,
æóÅöä ÌóÇåóÏóÇßó Úóáì Ãóä ÊõÔúÑößó Èöí ãóÇ áóíúÓó áóßó Èöåö Úöáúãñ ÝóáóÇ ÊõØöÚúåõãóÇ æóÕóÇÍöÈúåõãóÇ Ýöí ÇáÏøõäúíóÇ ãóÚúÑõæÝðÇ æóÇÊøóÈöÚú ÓóÈöíáó ãóäú ÃóäóÇÈó Åöáóíøó Ëõãøó Åöáóíøó ãóÑúÌöÚõßõãú ÝóÃõäóÈøöÆõßõã ÈöãóÇ ßõäÊõãú ÊóÚúãóáõæäó
If they contend with you that you should associate with Me what you have no knowledge of, do not obey them. Keep company with them kindly in this world, but follow the way of him who turns to Me, then to Me is your return! (Q. 31:15)
As far as companionship is concerned, keep their company and be gentle with them. Endure their hardship just as they endured yours when you were young, and do not withhold from them that which Allah (SWT) has made plentiful for you in the way of food and clothes. Do not turn your face away from them nor raise your voice above theirs. To respect them is part of Allah (SWT)'s command; speak to them in the best possible way and be kind to them. Allah (SWT) will not let the reward of those who do good go to waste.
Humility embraces every precious and noble rank and high position. If humility had a language which people understood, it would speak about the realities which are hidden in the outcomes of affairs. Humility is whatever is undertaken for Allah (SWT) and in Allah (SWT), and anything other then that is trickery. Whoever is humble to Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) will honor over many of His bondsmen. The people of humility have recognizable signs. When one of them was asked about humility, he said, 'It means you are humble to the truth and follow it, even if you hear it from a child.' Many types of pride keep one from using, accepting and following knowledge. There are certain verses about this, denouncing the haughty. The people of humility have signs recognized by the angels in heaven and the gnostics on earth. Allah (SWT) said,
æóÈóíúäóåõãóÇ ÍöÌóÇÈñ æóÚóáóì ÇáÃóÚúÑóÇÝö ÑöÌóÇáñ íóÚúÑöÝõæäó ßõáÇøð ÈöÓöíãóÇåõãú
On the most elevated places there shall be men who know all by their marks. (Q. 7:46)
…ãóä íóÑúÊóÏøó ãöäßõãú Úóä Ïöíäöåö ÝóÓóæúÝó íóÃúÊöí Çááøåõ ÈöÞóæúãò íõÍöÈøõåõãú æóíõÍöÈøõæäóåõ ÃóÐöáøóÉò Úóáóì ÇáúãõÄúãöäöíäó ÃóÚöÒøóÉò Úóáóì ÇáúßóÇÝöÑöíäó…
Whoever from among you turns back from his faith, then Allah will bring a people whom He loves and they shall love Him, humble towards the believers, mighty against the unbelievers. (Q. 5:54)
Åöäøó ÃóßúÑóãóßõãú ÚöäÏó Çááøóåö ÃóÊúÞóÇßõãú
Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you with the greatest precaution. (Q. 49:13)
Do not attribute purity to your souls. (Q. 53:32)
The root of humility comes from the majesty, awe, and immensity of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) is not pleased with any act of worship, nor does He accept it unless it comes with humility. No one knows what is the true meaning of humility except those of His bondsmen who are close and connected with His unity. Allah (SWT) said, The servants of the Merciful are they who walk on earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say; Peace. (25:63) He commanded the mightiest of His creation and the master of its people, Mu¦ammad, to be humble, saying,
…æóÇÎúÝöÖú ÌóäóÇÍóßó áöáúãõÄúãöäöíäó
Make yourself gentle to the believers. (Q. 15:88)
From humility grow submission, humility, fear and modesty; it is only from within humility that these qualities appear. True and perfect nobility is only given to those who are humble in the essence of Allah (SWT).
Ignorance is a form whose composition is of this world. When it advances, there is darkness; when it retreats, there is light. The bondsman vacillates with it as shadows vacillate with the sun. Have you not looked at man? Sometimes you find that he is ignorant of his own qualities and praises them, while he recognizes their faults in others and criticizes them. At other times you find that a person knows his own nature and criticizes it, while praising the same in others. He vacillates between protection and disappointment. If he encounters integrity and protection, he is correct. If he encounters lack of assistance and desertion, he errs. The key to ignorance is being satisfied with the knowledge one possesses, and placing all one's trust in it. The key to knowledge is the desire to exchange one level of knowledge for a higher level, together with divine grace and guidance. The lowest quality of an ignorant man is that he lays claim to knowledge which he does not deserve; his most common characteristic is ignorance of his own ignorance, and the most extreme aspect of his ignorance is to reject knowledge. There is nothing whose affirmation is the reality of its negation other that worldly ignorance and greed. All ignorant people are alike.
A little food is praiseworthy in every case and with all people, because it is salutary for the outer and the inner being. Eating is praiseworthy when done out of necessity, as a means and provision, at a time of plenty, or for nourishment. Eating out of necessity is for the pure; eating as a means and provision is a support for the precautious; eating at a time of plenty is for those who trust; and eating for nourishment is for believers.
There is nothing more harmful to the believer's heart than having too much food, for it brings about two things; hardness of heart and arousal of desires. Hunger is a condiment for believers, nourishment for the spirit, food for the heart, and health for the body. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The son of Adam fills no worse vessel than his belly.'
David said, 'Leaving a morsel of food that I need is preferable to me than staying up for twenty nights.'
The Messenger of Allah said, 'The believer eats to fill one stomach, and the hypocrite seven.' And elsewhere, 'Woe to people who are swollen in two places!' When he was asked what they were, he replied, 'The stomach and the genitals.'
'Isa (peace be upon him) said, 'The heart does not have any worse disease than hardness, and no soul has been more weakened than by lack of hunger. They are two halters of banishment and disappointment.'
Satan can get control over Allah (SWT)'s servants only by whispering to them when they have abandoned their remembrance of Allah (SWT), become disdainful, feel complacent when faced with His prohibition, and forget that Allah (SWT) sees their secret.
Whispering is what comes from outside the heart by tacit permission of the intellect, and is sustained by man's own nature; once it becomes established in the heart, there is error, misguidance, and disbelief. Allah (SWT) called on His bondsmen with His subtle call and told them about the enmity of Iblis: Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. (35:6)
Be with him like a man who, standing near the shepherd's dog, has recourse to the dog's master in order to keep the dog away from him. It is the same when Satan comes to whisper to you, to lead you off the true path and make you forget to remember Allah (SWT).
Then seek refuge from him with your Lord and his Lord. He will defend the truth against falsehood, and help wronged ones, since He says, Surely he has no authority over those who believe and who rely on their Lord. (16:99) Man will only be able to do this if he knows how he comes, and can recognize his methods of whispering, by constant watchfulness, sincerity in the arena of service, awe of the All-Aware, and increased remembrance of Him.
However, anyone who neglects to spend his time in awareness must undoubtedly be the prey of Satan. He should draw a lesson from what Satan does with such a person's self: he leads it to misguidance, deception and haughtiness by duping the person into admiring his own actions, his worship, and his insight.
Satan's insolent behaviour towards him causes a curse to descend on his knowledge, his gnosis and faculty of reasoning for all eternity; yet he has no power over those who are not negligent. Therefore hold to the firmest rope of Allah (SWT), which means seeking refuge with Allah (SWT), and having a sound need of Allah (SWT) at every breath. Do not be deceived when Satan makes your acts of obedience appear beautiful in your eye: if he opens ninety-nine doors of goodness for you, it is only so that he may overcome you by opening the hundredth. So meet him with opposition, block his path and reject his charm.
The concept of pride embraces all those aspects of vanity found in those who are proud of their actions, little knowing what their end will be. Whoever is proud of himself and his actions has strayed off the path of right guidance and has claimed what is not his.
Anyone who claims something to which he has no right is a liar, even if he conceals his claim for a long time. The first thing which happens to the proud man is that he is stripped of his object of pride, so that he will know that he is contemptible and incapable, and will testify against himself; and that will be a firmer proof against him. This was the case with Iblis.
Pride is a plant whose seed is disbelief, whose earth is hypocrisy, and whose water is transgression. Its branches are ignorance, its leaves are misguidance, and its fruit is being cursed to remain in the Fire forever. Whoever chooses pride has sowed disbelief and cultivated hypocrisy. It is inevitable that it must bear its fruit and he will end up in the Fire.
Generosity is part of the nature of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family), and the buttress of belief. A person cannot be a believer unless he is also generous; he must also have certainty and high aspiration (himmah), because generosity is a ray of the light of certainty. Effort is easy for him who knows his objective.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The friend of Allah (SWT) is but naturally disposed to generosity.' Generosity is bestowed upon everyone beloved of Allah (SWT) who has little of this world. One of the signs of generosity is a lack of concern with the wealth of this world, and with whoever owns it, believing or unbelieving, obedient or rebellious, noble or low. The generous man feeds others while he himself is hungry; he clothes others while he is naked; he gives to others while he refuses to accept the gifts of others. He is favored by that, and does not indebt others by his graciousness. If he were to possess the entire world, he would see himself merely as an alien in it. If he spent it all for Allah (SWT) in a single hour, it would not be irksome for him.
The Messenger of Allah said, 'The generous person is near to Allah (SWT), near to people, near to the Garden and far from the Fire. The miser, however, is far from Allah (SWT), far from people, far from the Garden and near to the Fire.' The only person who can be called generous is the one who expends himself to obey Allah (SWT) and for the sake of Allah (SWT), even if it is only by a loaf of bread or a drink of water.
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) also said, 'The person who is generous is generous with what he owns, and through it desires the face of Allah (SWT). As for that person who pretends to be generous and rebels against Allah (SWT), he is the recipient of Allah (SWT)'s wrath and anger. He is the most miserly of people towards himself, so how must he be with other people, when he follows his own passion and opposes the command of Allah (SWT)?' As Allah (SWT) said,
æóáóíóÍúãöáõäøó ÃóËúÞóÇáóåõãú æóÃóËúÞóÇáðÇ ãøóÚó ÃóËúÞóÇáöåöãú
Most certainly they shall carry their own burdens, and other burdens along with their own burdens. (Q. 29:13)
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'The son of Adam cries out, "My property! My property! My wealth! My wealth!" O Wretch! Where were you when there was the Kingdom, and you were not? Is there anything more than what you eat and consume, or what you wear and wear out, or what you give in charity and what you make last?' Either you are shown mercy by it or you are punished for it; therefore use your intelligence, and understand that you should not love the property of others more than your own.
The Commander of the Faithful said, 'What you have already given was destined for those who now own it; what you have held back is for those who will inherit it, and what you have now you have no power over, except to become arrogant by it. How much you strive to seek this world and to make claims! Do you wish to impoverish yourself and enrich others?'
If there were nothing to make a person turn to self-reckoning (hisab) other than shame at being presented before Allah (SWT) and the disgrace of having the veil torn away from his secrets, man would throw himself from the mountaintops and not seek refuge in a building, nor eat, nor drink, nor sleep, except when necessary for preserving his life. This is how a person behaves when he sees the Resurrection, with all its terrors and hardships, with every breath he takes. In his heart he looks at the time when he will stand before the Compelling One, and when he takes account of himself it is as if he were being summoned to that presentation before Allah (SWT), and is being questioned in his death-throes.
Allah (SWT) said,
æóÅöä ßóÇäó ãöËúÞóÇáó ÍóÈøóÉò ãøöäú ÎóÑúÏóáò ÃóÊóíúäóÇ ÈöåóÇ æóßóÝóì ÈöäóÇ ÍóÇÓöÈöíäó
Even though there be the weight of a mustard seed, yet will We bring it and sufficient are We to take account. (Q. 21:47)
One of the Imams (peace be upon him) said, 'Take reckoning from yourselves before you are called to reckoning. Weigh your actions with the scale of your own fear of shame, before they are weighed for you.'
Abu Dharr said, 'The mention of the Garden is death, and so is the mention of the Fire. What a wonder that a person's self lives between two deaths!'
It is related that John the Baptist (peace be upon him) used to reflect for the entire night on the Garden and the Fire, so that his night was spent in wakefulness and he did not sleep. Then in the morning he would say, 'O Allah (SWT); whither can one flee? Where can one stay? O Allah (SWT), one can only flee to You.'
Opening the Prayer
When you face the qiblah, you should despair of this world, what it contains of creation and what others are occupied with. Empty your heart of every preoccupation which might distract you from Allah (SWT). See the immensity of Allah (SWT) with your innermost being, and remember that you will stand before Him. For Allah (SWT) has said, There shall every soul become acquainted with what it sent before, and they shall be brought back to Allah, their true Patron. (10:30)
Stand at the foot of fear and hope. When you recite the takbir, you should belittle what is between the high heavens and the moist earth, which are all below His glory, for when Allah (SWT) looks into the heart of His bondsman while he is saying the takbir, and sees in his heart something obstructing the truth of his declaring that Allah (SWT) is great, He says, 'O liar! do you try to deceive Me?
By My might and My majesty, I will deny you the sweetness of My remembrance, and I will veil you from My nearness and from joy in My intimate communion.'
Know that Allah (SWT) does not need your service. He is independent of you, your worship and your supplication. He summons you by His favor to show you mercy, to put you far from His punishment, to spread some of the blessings of His kindness over you, to guide you to the path of His pleasure, and to open to you the door of His forgiveness. If Allah (SWT) had created what He created in the universe many times over, forever without end, it would still be the same to Allah (SWT) whether they all rejected Him or united with Him. All that He has from the worship of creatures is the display of His generosity and power. Therefore make modesty your cloak and incapacity your shawl. Enter under the throne of the power of Allah (SWT), and you will capture the benefits of His lordship, seeking help in Him and asking for His succour.
Bowing in Prayer
The bondsman of Allah (SWT) does not truly bow (in ruku' ) but that Allah (SWT) adorns him with the light of His radiance, shades him in the shade of His greatness and clothes him in the garment of His purity. Bowing is first and prostration (sujud) is second: there is courtesy in bowing, and in prostration nearness to Allah (SWT). Whoever is not good in the courtesy is not fit for nearness; therefore bow with the ruku' of one who is humble to Allah (SWT), abased in his heart and fearful under His power, submitting his limbs to Allah (SWT) like one who is fearful and sorrowful for what he might miss of the benefits of those who bow.
It is related that Rabi' ibn Khuthaym used to stay awake all night until dawn, in a single raku'. In the morning he would sigh and say, 'Oh! The sincere have gone ahead, and we are cut off!' Make your raku' properly by keeping your back straight, coming down from your aspirations in standing to serve Him which comes only with His help. Let your heart flee from the whisperings, tricks and deceit of Satan. Allah (SWT) will elevate His bondsmen according to their humility to Him, and will guide them to the roots of humility, submission and abasement according to how well their innermost being is acquainted with His immensity.
Prostration in Prayer
A person who performs true prostration (sujud) does not lose Allah (SWT) at all, even if it is done only once in his entire life; but the man who deserts his Lord in that state does not prosper. He is like someone who deceives himself, neglecting and forgetting the immediate joy and the ease after this life which Allah (SWT) has prepared for those who prostrate themselves.
The person who does well in his prostration is never far from Allah (SWT); while the person who shows ill-courtesy and neglects to honor Him because his heart is attached to something other than Allah (SWT) in the state of prostration will never come near to Him. Therefore prostrate yourself with the prostration of someone abased, who knows that he is created from the earth on which people tread, that he is fashioned from sperm which everyone finds impure, and that he was given being when he did not exist.
Allah (SWT) made prostration the occasion to draw near to Him in one's heart, innermost being and spirit. Whoever draws near to Him is far from all that is other than Him. Do you not see that in its outward appearance the state of prostrations is not complete except by disappearing from all things and being veiled from all that the eyes see? Thus does Allah (SWT) want the inward being to be. If someone's heart is attached to something other than Allah (SWT) in prayer, he is near to that thing, and far from the reality of what Allah (SWT) desires in His prayer. For He has said, Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his breast. (33:4)
In the words of the Messenger of Allah: 'Almighty Allah (SWT) said, When I look on the heart of a bondsman, I know if he has sincere love and obedience for My sake and seeks My pleasure in it. Then I take charge of him and draw near to him. Whoever is occupied with other-than-Me in his prayer is one of those who mocks himself, and his name is recorded in the register of the losers.
The tashahhud ' is praise of Allah (SWT). Be a slave to Him in your innermost being, fearful and humble to Him in action as you are His bondsman by word and claim. Join the truthfulness of your tongue to the pure truthfulness of your innermost being.
He created you a slave and commanded you to worship Him with your heart, your tongue and your limbs. Realise your enslavement to Him by His lordship over you. Know that the forelocks of creation are all in His hand. Creatures possess neither breath nor sight except by His power and will: they are incapable of bringing forth the least thing in His kingdom, unless it is by His permission and will. Allah (SWT) said,
æóÑóÈøõßó íóÎúáõÞõ ãóÇ íóÔóÇÁ æóíóÎúÊóÇÑõ ãóÇ ßóÇäó áóåõãõ ÇáúÎöíóÑóÉõ ÓõÈúÍóÇäó
Çááøóåö æóÊóÚóÇáóì ÚóãøóÇ íõÔúÑößõæäó
Your Lord creates and chooses whom he pleases; to choose is not theirs. Glory be to Allah (SWT), and exalted be He above what they associate [with Him]. (Q. 28:68)
Therefore be a slave to Allah (SWT), remembering Him by speech and proclamations, and join the truthfulness of your tongue to the purity of your innermost being, for He created you. He is too mighty and majestic for anyone to have will or volition except by His earlier will and volition. Fulfil the state of enslavement by being content with His wisdom, and by worshipping in order to carry out His commands.
He commanded you to send blessings upon His beloved Mu¦ammad, may Allah (SWT) bless him and his family and grant them peace. Therefore join your prayer to Mu¦ammad with your prayer to Allah (SWT), obedience to Mu¦ammad to obedience to Allah (SWT), and your witnessing of Mu¦ammad to your witnessing of Allah (SWT). Watch out that you do not miss the blessings of knowledge which are contained in one's respect for his sanctity, with the result that you are denied the benefits of the prayer on him. Allah (SWT) commanded him to ask for forgiveness for you, and to intercede for you when you perform what is obligatory in the command and prohibition, and in the sunnah and courtesies (adab) demonstrated to man through the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family). You should know the majesty of his rank with Allah (SWT).
The meaning of the taslim (greeting of peace) at the end of the prayer means security, that is, anyone who carries out the com mand of Allah (SWT) and the sunnah of His Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) out of humility to Him and showing fear, has security from the tribulations of this world and freedom from the punishment of the next world. Al-Salam (peace) is one of the names of Allah (SWT), Which He entrusted to His creation so that they would make use of it in their Behaviour, trusts, and contracts; in confirming their companies and assemblies; and for the soundness of their social relations.
If you want to establish this salam in its proper place, and to fulfil its meaning, then fear Allah (SWT); and make your faith, your heart, and your intellect sound. Do not sully them by the injustice of acts of rebellion. Let your guardians be safe from you; do not weary, or bore or alienate them through your bad behaviour towards them, nor with your friend, nor with your enemy. If those who are close to someone are not safe from him, then those furthest from him are safest. Anyone who does not establish salam on the occasions when it should be established has no peace and no submission: he is a liar in his salam, even if he uses it as a form of greeting among people.
Know that man's existence lies between trials and afflictions in this world. Allah (SWT) may test him with blessings, to see his thankfulness, or with hardship, to see if he will show steadfastness and nobility by obeying Him, or disgrace in rebelling against Him, although there is no way to reach His good pleasure and mercy except through His grace. The only means to obey Him is when he grants success: none can intercede with Him except with His permission and mercy.
Repentance is the rope of Allah (SWT), and the mainstay of His concern for His servants, who must always show repentance, in every state. Each group of bondsmen has its own form of repentance:
the repentance of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family)s is for the disquiet caused to their innermost being by any outward source of vexation, while the repentance of the awliya' (friends of Allah (SWT)) arises from the subtle change of hue in their thoughts. The repentance of the pure lies in their calm abandonment of whatever oppresses them; the repentance of the elite is for being occupied with anything other than Allah (SWT), and the repentance of the common people is for wrong actions. Each of them recognizes and is aware of the cause of his repentance, and his intention therein, but it would take too long to explain all of these here.
As for the repentance of the common man, he washes his inward being with the water of regret, in constant recognition of his wrong action, having regret for what he has done, and fear for what remains of his life. He does not think that his wrong actions are insignificant, for that would lead him to laziness; his continued weeping and regret for what he has missed is in itself an act of worship. He should restrain himself from his worldly appetites, and seek Allah (SWT)'s help in showing repentance, and to protect him from returning to what he did before. He trains himself in the arena of ignorance and worship. He makes up for obligations missed: he answers others' calls for help, withdraws from bad company, spends his night awake, thirsts during the day, constantly reflecting on his end and seeking help from Allah (SWT), asking Him to make him steady in his states of ease and difficulty, and constant in his trials and afflications so that he will not fall from the ranks of the repentant. This will purify him of his wrong actions, increase his knowledge, and elevate his rank. As Allah (SWT) has said,
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Thus Allah will certainly know those who are truthful, and Allah will certainly know the liars. (Q. 29:3)
Anyone who embarks on a retreat ('uzlah) from the world is fortified by Allah (SWT) and protected by His guardianship. What joy there is for the person who has withdrawn with Him, secretly and openly! To do this, he must differentiate between truth and falsehood, love poverty, chose hardship and abstinence, and seize every opportunity for retreat. He must contemplate the outcome of his actions, seeing his incapacity for worship while worshipping as much as possible, abandoning pride, and constantly engaging in remembrance without showing heedlessness, which is the hunting ground of Satan and the beginning of every affliction and the reason for all that is obscure. He should also rid his house of everything he has no immediate need for.
'Isa(peace be upon him) said, 'Guard your tongue in order to develop your heart, and make your abode be enough for you. Beware of showing off and of having excess provision. Be modest before your Lord and weep for your errors. Flee from people as you nee from the lion and the viper. They were a medicine and now they have become a disease. Then meet Allah (SWT) wherever you will.' And Rabi' ibn Khuthaym said, 'Ifyou can manage today to be in a place lyhere you do not know anyone and where none knows you, then do so.'
Retreat brings protection for the limbs, a free heart, a sound livelihood, the destruction of Satan's weapons, the avoidance of every evil and rest for the heart. There is no Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) nor regent (wasi) who has not chosen retreat in his lifetime, either at his beginning or at his end.
Silence is the mark of those who are certain of the realities which have already come to be, and about which the Pen has already written. It is the key to every rest in this world and the next: it brings Allah (SWT)'s pleasure, a lightening of the reckoning and a protection from errors and mistakes. Allah (SWT) has made it a veil for the ignorant and an adornment for the man of knowledge.
Through silence, passions can be set aside, and with it come self-discipline, the sweetness of worship, removal of hard heartedness, abstinence, virtuousness and resourcefulness. Therefore lock your tongue to speech which is not absolutely necessary, especially when you do not find anyone worth talking to? except, that is, when you are talking specifically about matters to do with Allah (SWT).
Rabi' ibn Khuthaym used to place a parchment before him, upon which he would write down everything he said during the day. In the evening he would call himself to account while he was still alive, seeing what he had said both for and against himself. Then he would say, 'Oh! The silent have indeed been saved!'
One of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah used to put pebbles in his mouth. When he wanted to say something he knew was both to Allah (SWT), in Allah (SWT) and for the sake of Allah (SWT), he would remove them from his mouth. Many of the Companions used to breathe like someone drowning, and speak like someone who was ill.
People's destruction or salvation lies in speech and silence
Good fortune belongs to those who are given knowledge of what is incorrect and correct in speech, and the science of silence and its advantages, for it is one of the qualities of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and one of the distinguishing marks of the select. Whoever knows the value of speech is an expert in the company of silence: once a person has been exposed to the subtleties of silence, and has been entrusted with its treasures, then both his speech and silence are worship. No one is privy to this worship of his except the King of all, the All-compelling.
Intellect and Passion
The man of intellect submits to what is true and is just in his speech; he shrinks from what is false but opposes it in his speech. He leaves this world behind, but does not leave his faith.
The proof of the man of intellect lies in two things: truthful words and correct actions. The man of intellect does not say something which the intellect rejects, neither does he expose himself to suspicion, nor abandon the help of those who have been tested. Knowledge guides him in his actions; gnosis is his certainty in the paths he treads, and forbearance is his companion at all times. Passion, however, is the enemy of the intellect, the opponent of truth and the companion of falsehood. The strength of passion comes from wordly appetites, and its initial manifestation is caused by doing what is forbidden, neglecting obligations, making light of the sunnah and engrossing oneself in amusements.