Sufi Wisdom – The Four States of Life

June 12, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Here is blessed advice from Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi, the second Shaykh of the Shadhili Sufi Order, to Muhammad ibn ‘Ata’illah al-Iskandari, that precipitated a major shift in Ibn Ata’illah’s life. He stated that after this conversation he felt that his worries and grief were like a garment that had been taken off.

There are four states in a man’s life:

1. Blessings
2. Trials
3. Obedience
4. Disobedience.

If you are blessed, what Allah requires of you is thankfulness.

If you are tried, what Allah requires of you is patience.

If you are obedient, what Allah requires of you is your contemplating His blessings upon you.

If you are disobedient, then what Allah requires of you is your asking for forgiveness.”

- from the Book of Aphorisms by Ibn ‘Ata’illah (( Being a translation of the Kitab al-Hikam)

 

Ya Haqq!

Note:  Ibn ‘Ata’illa eventually became the third Shaykh of the Shadhili Order.


Who has God wants nothing.

April 13, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.

- Saint Teresa de Avila wrote these lines on a piece of paper and used it as a bookmark. May God grant that her words of wisdom find its way into the heart of all who read them. Amen. With gratitude to Sister Annie, poet extraordinaire, for pointing the way.

Ya Haqq!


Healing through Compassion

February 4, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

My wife grew up on a farm, and has an unerring affinity with nature in its most organic forms, with plants and animals and humans. Last summer, for instance, when she noticed that the bittersweet vines were extending its tendrils and choking off the rose bushes, she devoted many hours to cutting them away. The next day she looked at the roses for a moment and smiled, “They’re happier now,” she said.

She had seen the roses become happier. Even knowing this about her, it took me a long time to realize that the woman I live with is a healer. I had known her only as a mother and recently a grandmother, whose fierce love for her children caused them always to seek out her presence and her comfort and her counsel. I have seen that same love for her granddaughter; her endless patience in playing a game or reading to her, giving her leeway to set her own course, but always with a keen and watchful eye. They delight in each other beyond the need for words.

This true core of love, which is the deep well of her being, is the essence of healing, I think. At a wedding recently, while helping the bride to get dressed, she healed both the bride of badly bruised ribs and the bride’s sister of chronic neck pain, by laying her hand precisely on the injured spots for many minutes. They could not stop talking about it afterwards. When I asked her how she did it, she paused, as if trying to find the right words. Finally, she said, “The pain called to my compassion.”

“The pain called to my compassion.”

This is the deep well of love which marks a natural healer. Jesus healed the sick through this all-embracing love; the pain of the world calling to his compassion.

Many Sufi Masters of the past, who had completed the path of Love, were said to possess healing powers. And in the presence of my own Master, I have often felt a powerful spiritual energy and uplifting of the heart, an immense wellbeing of life. Perhaps healing itself is a spiritual uplifting on a physical level; the energy of the compassion of love healing physical pain.

It is no accident that passion is the root of compassion, whose original meaning was to suffer together. This com-passion, this deep, empathic, encompassing love is both the goal and the result of walking the Sufi path; at each step another drop is poured into the heart, and as love enters, one begins to see God in all of His creation. Perhaps healing is simply God’s Love expressed in the form of this compassionate energy, moved from one human being to another.

Compassion is love moved forward.

And healing is the divine spiritual energy of that love responding to emotional or physical pain. Healing through compassion is an ancient concept, though I had no frame of reference for it until I met my wife. There really is no mystery to it. I would not even call it a miracle, except insofar as all human life and its capacity to love is miraculous; a Divine gift unlike any other, and from which all mercy flows.

Ya Haqq!


Patience, Prayer, and Love – A Resolution for the New Year

January 3, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Seek help in patience and prayer; and truly it is hard save for the humble-minded,
Who know that they will have to meet their Lord, and unto Him they are returning.

(Quran 2:45-46)

Patience and prayer, two attributes that lift the foot in humility to take a step on the path of Love. Prayer by the Sufi zekr, with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath, and patience forged of acceptance of all that happens, in the certain knowledge that to Him we are returning.

In the Mathnawi, Rumi writes that a piece of iron when kept for long in the fire begins not only to look like fire, but to burn like fire. This is the soul purified by patience and prayer, which are each an act of love. Love is the fire that lights the Way.

And this is my resolution for the New Year. God give me the strength to be steadfast, to be resolute, in patience and prayer and love. Amin.

What are your resolutions  for this New Year of 2009/1430?

Ya Haqq!


Waiting for God II

April 10, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In a previous post, I wrote that to a darvish, Waiting for God is cultivating patience, that is, waiting for God’s sake. As the Prophet (pbuh) said: “…Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”

However, there is also another kind of waiting for God: The Sufi way of waiting for divine knowledge, for union with the Beloved. This is the most demanding and difficult of all trials of patience.

Sufi Masters of the past used to sit in the Haram, as did Dhu’l Nun the Egyptian, or in a mosque, like Imam al-Ghazali, or in the desert, like Abu Said Abi’l Khayr, to wait for the answers to be given.

Alhamdulillah! It doesn’t happen because we are worthy of it; no one is worthy of it. It doesn’t happen because we deserve it, or want it, or hope for it, or pray for it, or fast, or give up everything for it. It only happens as God wills.

“Nor shall they compass any of Hu’s knowledge except as Hu might will.” – Qur’an 2:255

Our brother Dara writes: “When I was in Makkah, each night I would see an African man who would circle the Ka’ba until dawn, asking Allah TO BE GIVEN. I was there for one year, and he circled the Ka’ba each night till dawn. He would carry the Qur’an and read slowly. The purpose of practices like Sufi Silence is to learn to wait, like a slave, to be given ‘ilm (knowledge).”

Although Union with the Beloved is never given as a reward for one’s efforts, Strive, O heart, as much as you are able. Hafez

This is our task then, as human beings of faith: To strive and not to yield.

May Allah bless us with patience and guide us on the straight path of Love. Ameen!

Ya Haqq!


Dear God, Help Us Remember…

December 22, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Heavenly Father, Help us
remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the
pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary
looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old
couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each
day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not just to those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

- Author Unknown

- Reposted with permission from the Divine Remembrance blog.

Ya Haqq!


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!


The Women in Our Lives

November 25, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

In our Sister Suroor’s recent and lovely post about men, I commented that everything I know of love, I learned from women; my mother, my daughter, and my wife. This is absolutely true. And more, all that I comprehend of God’s love and mercy, I have learned from love; and even that small fraction of His infinite bounty has its root within my heart in the endless kindness and patience and endurance and generosity of women.

My mother was the kindest, gentlest soul I have even known. I cannot think of even one instance where she considered her own needs before that of her children. I wish I could say the same for myself. My daughter is remarkable. Smart and funny, tall and lovely, in whose company I take great delight. Every man should have such an honest critic :) And my beloved wife embodies all of those attributes, and many, many more.

So here’s to the women in our lives. May we be worthy of them.

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are — chaff and grain together — certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

-George Eliot


Ya Haqq!


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