Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Attributes of the Friend of Allah

(Sidi 'Ali al-Jamal):

Of the attributes of the Perfected Wali of Allah is that has no need for anything other than the state in which Allah has placed him at any one moment. He has no wish, other than for that which the Divine Omnipotence has decreed.

One day, the companions of our Sheikh, Sidi Ahmad al-Yamani, may Allah benefit us by him, were arguing about the reality of Wilaya, Sainthood. Each had his own opinion, and as the dispute continued they decided to take the matter to the Sheikh. They each presented to him their view of the reality of sainthood, and the Sheikh listened without confirming the words of any of them. When they saw they were incapable of reaching the mark, they said: 'O Sidi, we hope from Allah and yourself that you will inform us of the truth of the matter. What is the reality of sainthood?'

The Sheikh replied: 'When he who possesses sainthood is sitting in the shade, his self does not crave to be seated in the sun; and when he is sitting in the sun, his self does not crave to be seated in the shade.'


Friday, January 13, 2006

Returning from Morocco

Some of the things I learned during my latest trip to Morocco :

1 Never look at one of your fellow murids without seeing your Sheikh in them. He is the link between you and them, and you will never realise his Maqam without love for those who are attached to him.
2 Never look at your fellow Muslim without seeing the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He is the link between all the Believers, and we will never arrive at sincere love for him without loving all those who follow him.
3 Never look at any human being without seeing Allah in them. He is the Creator of all things, and our Worship for Him will never be complete whilst we bear rancour in our hearts towards any of His Creation.
4 If you see any Muslim engaged in disobedience of Allah and sin, know that Allah has sent him to you to show you your own faults and blemishes. As the Hadith goes, ‘the Believer is a mirror for his brother.’ Witnessing the faults of others should invoke nothing in our hearts except the realisation of our own shortcomings and faults before Allah, who knows what the hearts conceal.
5 Do not place importance in numbers and set formulas when offering extra acts of devotion to Allah. It may be that the more extra wirds you place upon yourself, the more you will rely on the mere performance of them and forget that they are a means of drawing near to Allah. You might rejoice in completing a thousand of this and a hundred of that, and the day when you don’t find the time, you feel you have failed because the numbers don’t add up; you only managed 2 raka’at instead of the usual 4, or only half a hizb instead of the usual juz. This is all a veil, and the more you rely on these formulas, the further you will find yourself from the real Goal, your Creator. Suffice yourself with the fard prayer and your wird, if you have one, and then offer what you can according to your himma (spiritual inclination). ‘The most Beloved acts to Allah are the most regular, even if they are a little.’
6 There is no joy in life except keeping the company of the fuqara, those who remember Allah in secret and in a group. A few minutes of time spent with a fellow Believer solely for the sake of Allah is better than a thousand pages of the words of men.
7 Muslims in the west, whether ‘traditionally’ minded or otherwise, have a serious problem: when they come together, they don’t talk about Allah, they talk about ‘Islam’. Many hours can be spent comfortably discussing fiqh, grammar, ‘the wahabis’ etc, but when Allah is mentioned without a legal context, people start picking at their nails and looking at the floor. Amongst the people here I have found the opposite; they look in wonder at the creation of Allah and His Majesty, and spend their time exhorting one another to His remembrance, and talk of this world, or an excess of exoteric knowledge which has no relation to the essence of the worship of Allah bores them to sleep. These are the People of Allah. May Allah make us all from amongst them.