Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Letters of Moulay al-'Arabi ad-Darqawi

Letter One

One should just focus solely on performing one’s obligatory and highly stressed prayers and not go overboard on supererogatory acts. One should make sure one’s clothes are clean from dirt and filth. Make sure to shave one’s armpits and pubic area, and clip one’s nails. One must do his best to be sure or be at peace of mind that one has fully drained oneself of urine when relieving oneself. One should try one’s best not to get attached to the superficial and material matters. Cut yourself off from your caprices and mindless habits and don’t think it too farfetched or impossible to achieve either.

(Imam al-Busairi:)

‘The soul is the like of a child, if you leave it to its own devices it
Grows up attached to its suckling, and if you wean it, it is weaned.’

(Ibn ‘Ata Illah:)
‘Whoever sees it farfetched that God can deliver him from his passions and desires and take him out of his state of heedlessness, has belittled the might of God for God has power over all things.’

We believe that the obligatory acts are enough along with what we have mentioned. This assuredly is sufficient for one. Plenteous acts without performing what we have mentioned are not sufficient. In saying this, we still prefer one to perform just the obligatory and the highly stressed prayers, and God is the one who brings about success. Peace.

Idris

4 comments:

Ibn Jurayj said...

Sidi Khalid

as-Salamu Alaykum

What do you think of Ustadha Aisha Bewley's translation of the Darqawi letter's.

yusuf said...

Assalaam 'alaykum.

I want to confirm that you've translated the first line correctly.

ومن المذاكرة : أني أحب من يتعلق بي في أن يقوم بالمفروض، وبما تأكد من المسنون.....

Is this "maa" in "maa ta'akkada" a "maa" of negation? So is he really trying to encourage us not to ascertain on the minute details of the sunnah? Can I confirm that he is trying to encourage his murids to focus on mastering the things which are obligatory and not to spend so much time on the details? On some levels, from what I've read about the Darqawis and their approach to training the soul, this makes sense. On the other hand, it can be taken the wrong way if read in the wrong context. I was also told recently that it isn't possible for this "maa" to be a "maa" of negation linguistically in this context.

I look forward to your response.

Salam.

Khalid Williams said...

Alaykum Salam,

This was translated by Sheikh Idris, not me, but I will try and answer anyway. I believe the translation is correct; the words

بما تأكد من المسنون

are represented in English by 'and highly stressed prayers'; Moulay Arabi is saying that the murid should do what is obligatory, and what is highly stressed from the Sunnah. The 'ma' here is not a 'maa' of negation; I believe that the words 'and not go overboard on supererogatory acts' are a gloss which Sheikh Idris has added to clarify what is being said, since this is undoubtedly what Moulay Arabi is saying. Perhaps there should be parentheses around those words to make that clearer.

But this is certainly a teaching of the Daraqawi way, which is not preoccupied with lots and lots of extra acts, but rather teaches us to do what is obligatory and highly stressed, and then to ascend with the dhikr of Allah, which is 'Greater' (Akbar), as the Qur'an tells us. This is clearly manifested in the approach to the spiritual way that Daraqawis, Alawis and so on have, particularly in the Maghreb.

Wa Allahu A'lam.

yusuf said...

Beautiful response. Thank you.

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