A Handful of Dirt

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

For a moment ponder the Lord’s subtleties and kindnesses and the traces of the divine solicitude and care that have arranged this handful of earth. Look at the different kinds of honor and the special privileges of nearness that He has placed within human beings. For He created the whole cosmos, but He looked not upon a single creature with the eye of love, He sent not a single messenger to any existent thing, He sent no message to any creature. When the turn of the children of Adam arrived, He pulled them up through gentleness and caressed them through bounty and quarries of light. He made their inmost mystery the place of His own glance, He sent them messengers, He set angels over them as guardians, He placed the fire of love in their hearts, and He sent them continuous incitements to yearning and motives for desire.

The purpose of all these words and allusions is to show that a human being is a handful of earth. Whatever ennoblement and honor people have received derives from the gentleness and care of the holy Lord. When He gives, He gives because of His own generosity, not because of your worthiness. He gives because of His magnanimity, not because of your prostration. He gives through His bounty, not because of your good works…

– From the Kashf al-asrar wa ‘uddat al-abrar (Unveiling of Mysteries and Provision of the Righteous), by Rashid al-Din Maybudi, a Sufi Persian commentary, or tasfir, on the Noble Qur’an. The Kashf al-asrar is based on, and probably embodies, the only surviving text of an earlier Qur’an commentary by the famous Hanbali mystic, ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari. Click HERE for more information.

With thanks and gratitude to the Journey to the Garden blog for pointing the way.

Ya Haqq!

14 Responses to A Handful of Dirt

  1. Shahrzad says:

    Beautiful.. You know, i visited his city Meybod, near Yazd. That’s center of zoroastrians’ shrines and temples. It has many ancient buildings and a famous University..

  2. haamidah says:

    Salaamu Alaykum brother,

    You’ve quoted a beautiful reflection and a conclusion that is true.

    ” when he gives he gives because of his own generosity not because of your worthiness………not because of you good works..”

    may Allah reward you.

  3. almiskeenah says:

    Assalamu alaikum Dear Irving Darvish,
    so true…how we as mere specks are in such need….Ya Rabb continue to overlook our short-comings with Your blessings of Generosity, Magnanimity and Bounties, so this handful of dirt can live in the hope of witnessing the Unveiling of Your Face and expressing gratitude, Ameen.
    Wassalamu alaikum

  4. Achelois says:

    So beautiful – “handful of dirt.” Beautiful!

  5. Achelois says:

    This is off-topic but if someone is interested in learning about Sufism with the intention of perhaps adopting it as a way of life, where would you suggest they should start?

    I have been discussing Sufism with a friend but I must tell you that there are no khaniqas or sufi circles where I live and the two of us just can’t find enough about Sufism here. She is very interested but again we have no way of learning from other dervishes.

  6. Irving says:

    Salaam and thank you all for the comments :) Indeed, the words are true, and a good reminder at the futility of pride and arrogance.

    Sister Achelois, I will email you privately about the Sufi path where you live, and links to online resources :)

    Ya Haqq!

  7. Sumera says:

    May Allah continue to keep giving to us and may we appreciate what He gifts us! Ameen

  8. D Mehew says:

    Maybe it is simply truly wanting a thing that allows us to have it. Some day I hope to write like the Sufis.

  9. Saha says:

    beautiful and true.

  10. Dipti says:

    How wonderful brother.. and how true….”When He gives, He gives because of His own generosity, not because of your worthiness. He gives because of His magnanimity, not because of your prostration. He gives through His bounty, not because of your good works”

  11. Katib says:

    Assalamualaikum Br. Irving

    “He made their inmost mystery the place of His own glance,..”

    – I am grateful for you for this profound post.

    May Allah bless you


  12. Barbara Simpson-L. says:

    Dearest Irving, we all need the kick in the pants every once in a while to remind us that we are not worthy, but rather because of His mercy and love we receive…we’re just a handful of mud and parasites! Thank you, very beautiful, and good to remember.


  13. Sophia says:

    Achelois, I have the same problem. I can’t find anything Sufi-related in my area. I really took a liking to the Golden Sufi Center, but that’s on the other side of the country! I’m just going to resort to learning about it online. Thank goodness for the Internet, or else I’d had never heard of Sufism.

  14. Maithri says:

    The God of love be praised!

    Thank you dear brother for sharing these beautiful words…

    We are a handful of dirt….

    and yet imbued with the light of His love…

    We can become His hands… His eyes… His heart…

    With love and tender blessings to you and your beloveds my dear brother,


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