Simply for Love!

December 9, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

All this burning for God… All this submitting to his trials and suffering with patience and reverence, the terrible afflictions. My my my… My pain, my suffering, my agonies, and particularly – my tormented soul. I become ashamed that I might be doing so much of this. Perhaps God might be happier if we were simply kinder to our spouses and children, and went about the daily traffic of our lives with a glad heart. Oh the power of a kind word! Perhaps we might best exhibit devotion in our daily, mundane, oh so ordinary acts simply for the sake of doing so, simply for Love, without even the idea of gaining favor in God’s eyes. Let me sing the daily sacrifices of Love for the sake of Love! Oh, let us love those we are traveling with as much as we possibly are able, and let us show them this love with every thing they bring to us. Let us show what we truly believe to be God’s mercy in our kindness. Let us not turn an angry shoulder or leave them unconsoled. Let us be grateful for even the opportunity to love them! What a gift! And let us do this year in and year out on the long path of our ordinary days and be glad of it!

- From the notebook of my beloved wife.

Ya Haqq!


Invoking God in Word and Deed

December 2, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The Path to Happiness:

There is neither strength nor power save in God Almighty. It is God we implore – and whose answer we await – to watch over you in this world and the next, to shower you with His graces, outwardly and inwardly, and to make you among those who, when blessed, give thanks; when tried, persevere; and when sinful, seek forgiveness. For these three conditions are tokens of the servant’s happiness [sa'adat al-abd], and the signs of his success in this world and the next. No servant is without them, but is always shifting from one to the other.

The first condition is the blessings which come to the servant from God (Most High), one after another. What secures them is gratitude [shukr], based on three supports: inward recognition of the blessing; outward mention and thanks for it; and its use in a way that pleases the One to whom it truly belongs and who truly bestows it. Acting thus, the servant shows his gratitude for the blessing-however brief.

The second is the trials from God (Most High) which test the Servant, whose duty therein is patience [sabr] and forbearance: to restrain himself from anger with what is decreed; to restrain his tongue from complaint; to restrain his limbs from offenses, such as striking one’s face in grief, rending one’s clothes, tearing one’s hair and like acts. Patience, then, rests on these three supports, and if the servant maintains them as he should, affliction will become benefaction, trial will change to bounty and what he disliked will become what he loves. For God (Exalted and Sublime) does not try the servant in order to destroy him. Rather, He tries him to put his patience and devotion (al-ubudiyay) to the test. For the servant owes devotion to God in affliction as in ease. He must have as much devotion in what he hates as in what he loves. And while most people offer devotion in what they love, it is important to do so in the things they hate. It is by this that servants’ ranks are distinguished and their stations determined.

Ablution with cold water in searing heat is devotion. Sexual relations with one’s beautiful and beloved spouse is devotion. Spending money for her, for one’s children and for oneself is devotion. It is devotion no less than ablution with cold water in the bitter cold; giving up vice to which one’s soul is driven without fear of people; and giving charity in hardship. But there is a great difference between the [two kinds] of devotion.

He who is God’s servant in both states, maintaining his duty in both comfort and adversity, is the one to whom His words refer, ‘Is not God sufficient for His servant?’ With complete devotion comes complete sufficiency, and with less comes what is less. Let him who discerns some good give praise to God, but let whoever finds something other than this blame no one but himself.

- Excerpt from Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya ‘s The Invocation of God.

- Originally posted in a longer version on (and with thanks to) the Mad Sufi blog.

Ya Haqq!


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