Bayazid and the Dog

August 25, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

When the great Sufi Master Abu Yazid al-Bestami, called Bayazid, was walking in the desert on the pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, he walked past a well where many people were gathered around drawing up water. Around them circled a mongrel dog, panting with thirst.

Bayazid called out to the crowd, “Will someone not give a cup of water in exchange for the blessings of fifty years of pilgrimage and prayers?”

One person who knew Bayazid said, “I will gladly do so.”  And so he gave a cup of water to the Sufi Master, and received in return a lifetime of blessings.

Bayazid put the cup on the ground so the dog could drink.

Alhamdulillah!

Ya Haqq!

Note:  Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order has written a book entitled Dogs from a Sufi Point of View, available from Amazon.com.

This book presents the image of the dog as portrayed in Sufi literature, and is illustrated with Persian miniatures. In contrast to the prevailing Islamic view of the dog as a foul, vicious and unclean animal, the Sufis held the poverty and wretchedness of the dog in special esteem, considering themselves to be dogs — or less than dogs — in the lane of the Beloved. These stories communicate the value of humility, loyalty, and other praiseworthy qualities of the base animal nature of their own ego, and emphasize the value of training that tames wildness and makes even the dog useful to society.


The Amazon Plog for Authors

August 24, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

To all book authors who chance upon this, Amazon.com has a new feature on its website called a plog.  It is like a blog, in which authors can start a dialogue with their gentle readers. I like the idea of it, and recommend that all authors and budding writers, as well as interested readers of good books, take a look at it.

For an example of this new feature, click on the Amazon page for Master of the Jinn here.

Ya Haqq!


Dream of the Prophet (pbuh)

August 22, 2006

I dreamed that I saw the Prophet (pbuh). He said to me, “Do you love me?”

I replied, “Excuse me. My love for God has preoccupied me from loving you.” 

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoso loves God love me.”

- Abu Sa’id al-Kharraz  (from Attar’s Tadhkirat al-Auliya, Memorial of the Saints)


Of Men and Jinn on the Day of Judgement

August 19, 2006

“And the Jinn know well, as men do not, how it will be when God calls them to Judgement. They will call out Allahu akbar, whose real meaning is, ‘We have become a sacrifice before Thee, O God!’ And they will be drawn up in ranks, both men and Jinn, before Him on the Day of Judgement. For on that day God will ask them both:

‘What have you produced for Me during this term of respite which I have given thee? In what work have you brought your life to its end? Speak plainly! How have you dissipated the senses I have given thee? You have expended eyes and ears and intellect, but what have you done with them? I gave thee all of these to till the soil of good works, now display to Me your harvest! I gave thee bounty, now where was thy gratitude?'”

Excerpt adapted from Master of the Jinn.

May Allah have mercy on us all.        

Ya Haqq!   


The Path to the Great Spirit

August 17, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“We should understand well that all things are the works of the Great Spirit…and even more important, we should understand deeply in our hearts that He is also above all this, then we will fear, and love, and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be and act and live as He intends.”

- Black Elk  (Chief of the Oglala Sioux)

Alhamdulillah! No Sufi Master could have encapsulated as well the meaning of the adab, the courtesy and etiquette of everyday life, as a reflection of Allah’s intention for His servants. Whether the Native American spiritual path or the Sufi path, or any other of the mystic paths that all lead to the One, the way is the same:  Awe of Allah’s Majesty and devoted Love of Him expressed by our service to others.

Ya Haqq!

Note: The words of Black Elk were taken from an article in the Summer, 2006 issue of Sufi Magazine entitled The Red Road: The Spiritual Path of the Native Americans. To subscribe to Sufi Magazine, click here.


The Tongue of Faith and the Path of Love

August 16, 2006

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The excellent Islamic blog The Enlightenment has this quote up today on the theme of Superficiality.

Imam Husayn [a] said: “Verily, people are the slaves of the world and their religion is superficial, only on their tongues. They are attentive to it as long as their material benefits are provided, but when they are tested, the number of true devotees dwindles.” (Bihar-ul-Anwar)

Here is a quote adapted from the Sufi novel Master of the Jinn on the same theme.

“O darvish! “When God created mankind, all of them claimed to love Him, so He created the pleasures of the world, and nine-tenths of them immediately deserted Him, and there remained but one-tenth. Then God created the glory of paradise, and nine-tenths again deserted Him, and only one-tenth of the tenth remained. And then He imposed upon those that were left one particle of affliction, and nine-tenths of these also fled from Him.

“Such is the lot of humanity, torn between pleasure, hope, and despair. Yet those that remained, that tenth of a tenth of a tenth, are the Elect. They did not desire the world, nor seek after paradise, nor flee from suffering. It was God alone they desired, and though there is imposed on them such suffering and terror that even the mountains tremble, they do not abandon their love and devotion. They are indeed God’s servants and true lovers.”

Such words remind this unworthy darvish at least of how far he has yet to go on the Sufi path. May Allah extend His grace and compassion on all who struggle and love in His Holy name. May He strengthen their hearts and grant endurance to their limbs as they walk step by step on His path.

Ya Haqq!


Gift of the Mirror

August 15, 2006

“You have no idea how hard I’ve looked for a gift to bring You. Nothing seemed right. What’s the point of bringing gold to the gold mine, or water to the Ocean. Everything I came up with was like taking spices to the Orient. It’s no good giving my heart and my soul because You already have these. So, I have brought You a mirror. Look at Yourself and remember me.”

- Rumi


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