“For His Sake Alone…”

November 10, 2018

I kept the company
of a brother in Deen in the wilderness,
until we broke off from people
and started living in a cave,
hoping that Allah
would open for us the spiritual blessings
which He opens for His friends (awliya’).

We stayed there in the cave
saying to each other
that perhaps this Friday
Allah will make us among His special friends,
or perhaps this month.
But, Allah did not open
any spiritual doors for us.

We were in this state
when an old man showed up
at the door of the cave,
asking us permission to enter.
We granted him permission
and he entered
giving his greeting of salam.

We asked him, ‘Who are you?’
And he replied,
‘I am a slave of the King.’
And with this we knew that he was among
the special close friends of Allah
and we asked him, ‘How is your state?’
And he instead asked us repeatedly, as if blaming us,
‘How is your state?’

And then he said,
‘How is the state of him who says to himself
that perhaps this Friday
I will become a special friend of Allah
or perhaps this month?

There will be no special divine friendship
for such a person, nor any prosperity,
nor good things in this world,
and nor good things in the next world.
Will you two not just worship Allah
in sincerity for His sake
as He has ordered you?
He has said:
‘I have not created the jinn nor man
except to worship Me.
[{al-Qur’an 51:56}].’

He then left us
and we recognized our mistake
and realized that Allah
sent him to us as mercy.
I then returned to my self in blame
and said to it,
‘O my self, who are you,
what is your great action,
and what is your worth?
You amount to nothing.
Then, we made repentance
and asked for forgiveness
from Allah Most High.

Afterwards,
Allah opened for us the door

which we were seeking,
due to His generosity and bounty.

Abul Hasan al-Shadhili

Ya Haqq!

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Prostitutes and Wine

October 25, 2018

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Sultan Murad IV, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623-1640, would often anonymously go into the midst of the people and see their state. One evening, he felt an uneasiness in himself and the urge to go out. He called for his head of security and out they went. They came to a busy vicinity, and found a man lying on the ground. The Sultan prodded him but he was dead and the people were going about their own business. Nobody seemed to care about the dead man lying on the ground.

The Sultan called upon the people. They didn’t recognize him and asked him what he wanted. He said, “Why is this man lying dead on the ground and why does no one seem to care? Where is his family? ”

They replied, “He is so and so, the drunkard and fornicator!”

The Sultan said, “Is he not from the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’Aalihi Wasallam)? Now help me carry him to his house” The people carried the dead man with the Sultan to his house and once they reached, they all left. The Sultan and his assistant remained.

When the man’s wife saw his dead body, she began weeping. She said to his dead body, “Allah have mercy on you! O friend of Allah! I bear witness that you are from the pious ones.
“The Sultan was bewildered. He said, “How is he from the pious ones when the people say such and such things about him. So much so that no one even cared he was dead?”

She replied, “I was expecting that. My husband would go to the tavern every night and buy as much wine as he could. He would then bring it home and pour it all down the drain. He would then say, “I saved the Muslims a little today.”
He would then go to a prostitute, give her some money and tell her to close her door till the morning. He would then return home for a second time and say, “Today I saved a young woman and the youth of the believers from vice.”

The people would see him buy wine and they would see him go to the prostitutes and they would consequently talk about him. One day I said to him, “When you die, there will be no one to bathe you, there will be no one to pray over you and there will be no one to bury you!”He laughed and replied, “Don’t fear, the Sultan of the believers, along with the pious ones shall pray over my body.”

The Sultan began crying. He said, “By Allah! He has said the truth, for I am Sultan Murad. Tomorrow we shall bathe him, pray over him and bury him.” And it so happened that the Sultan, the scholars, the pious people and the masses prayed over him.

We judge people by what we see and what we hear from others.
If only we were able to see what was concealed in their hearts,
a secret between themselves and their Lord.

– from Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi by Elif Shafak

Ya Haqq!


In Memory of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

October 10, 2018

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

October 10th is the ten year anniversary of the death of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, for over 50 years the Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi  Order, and for 17 years, my Master (may God bless his soul and raise him to the highest rank of His beloveds). To commemorate the occasion, his own poem is a fitting tribute to his life and station:

My heart holds Your home,

my head desiring You;

Night and day have all passed,

while I am pledged to You.

I have suffered at the hand

of the people of the time;

In the world I’ve only seen

fidelity from You.

I’ve been drunk with Your wine

Since pre-eternity;

I surrendered to Your will

till post-eternity.

I’ve no hope for heaven

or for the Resurrection;

I have never wanted

anyone but You.

Once I realized that in reality

the Path cannot be traveled

Except on Your feet,

I lost both my head and feet.

With every breath I take

I am conscious of You;

I gave up heart and soul

for contentment from You.

If, like Nurbakhsh, you have pledged

yourself wholeheartedly to God;

The creation then will be ready

to pledge itself to you.

– from the Divan of Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh

Ya Haqq!


This Place is a Dream

September 26, 2018


What Love Demands – Eid Al-Adha 2018

August 17, 2018

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Eid Al-Adha Mubarak!

May Allah bless you all this Eid Al-Adha, dear Brothers and Sisters, with generosity of hand, sincerity of speech, kindness in action, and love and joy in remembrance of Him, who is the Source of all Generosity, Sincerity, Kindness, Joy, and Love.  Ameen!

“O Lord! Let not our hearts deviate now after You have guided us, but grant us mercy from Your own Presence; for You are the Grantor of bounties without measure.”  (Qur’an: 3:9)

This is the time of Eid al-Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, which celebrates the faith of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice even his son Isaac as God had commanded. Now what are we willing to sacrifice in order that our prayers may be accepted?

That is the question I ask myself every year. Jesus (pbuh) kissed the leper, the whore, and the thief, out of love and forgiveness and healing. Because of the great expansiveness of his heart, miracles were possible. What have we done, what can we still do, to be worthy of the love and forgiveness and healing we ask of God? The answer that comes to my heart is always the same:

Do what love demands.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

According to a hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) once said, “A true believer is one with whom others feel secure. One who returns love for hatred.”

Alhamdulillah! Indeed, Love is the greatest miracle of God. There have been Spiritual Masters of the past who would not let an aspirant be initiated until they had gone to everyone whom they had wronged in their life, and begged forgiveness, making amends in any way that was required. And until they had gone to everyone that had wronged them in their lives, and granted them forgiveness without asking, and with a whole heart. Only then could such a one be initiated on the mystic path.

And so we come to the great task of our lives, brought into focus on this day of Eid al-Adha: To sacrifice our fear and hatred, our envy and greed and all the other works of the fearful and self-absorbed nafs, in the certain knowledge that anyone who forgives a debt will be repaid tenfold by God, and anyone who forgives a wrong will be forgiven by God a hundredfold, and anyone who returns love for hatred will make of this life a paradise. That is what love demands.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
– Rumi

Ya Haqq!


A Right Course of Action

July 7, 2018

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

So this happened today…

Looking through boxes that were in storage for many years, I found a scrap of paper on which I had written a prayer, possibly for inclusion in a future story. I don’t remember. I threw it into the large black trash bag along with the rest of the detritus.  Then I had lunch and did other errands, while the prayer I had casually thrown out literally preyed, and prayed, on my mind. It’s only a scrap of paper, I told myself, and went on going through boxes.

Then I remembered the old Sufi tale, or it remembered me, where an old man finds a soiled scrap of paper on the road on which is written the name of God. He picks it up reverently, kisses it, and takes it home. He cleans it and perfumes it, and gives it a place of honor in his Qu’ran. That night, as he slept, God spoke to him in a dream, saying, “O man, as you have honored My name and purfumed it, so shall your name be perfumed and honored among My faithful beloveds.”

Honestly, I wept at the thought of it, and dug through the trash bag until I found the paper.  This is what was written:

“O God, Bestow Thy mercy on Thy poor servants, and provide for us a right course of action.”

Ameen!

Ya Haqq!


This is the Way and there is no other

June 24, 2018

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“It is absolutely no avail for a man to bewail over his worldly lot and his unstable attachment to worldly friends. Seek the true life in God, and the friendship of the Eternal — the highest; both are everlasting. Real peace can never come to the share of man so long as he thinks that the adjustment of external life can grant him happiness. Disappointment and misery must be his lot wherever he be. Take thought and know once for all that real freedom and peace lie only in the close communion with the immortal Truth dwelling in your heart. Take complete refuge in God through constant remembrance of Him, and thus be content in all situations He places you. Don’t embitter your life with thoughts of worry and care. Make God your friend and aid. Once you become His, He never gives you up. He takes you to the seat of immortality and bliss. This is the way and there is no other.”