Habib ‘Umar, in his lecture on the Spiritual Imperative, relates this gem:
One of the companions of Imam Malik son of Anas in the enlightened prophetic city of Medina said I kept his company for 20 years. I spent 18 of those years learning adab and tazkiyah and I spent 2 years learning knowledge. He said then when I lost Malik, I regretted that I did not spend these entire 20 years learning adab, these courtesies.
I often wonder what the ummah would be if we were cognizant of how our behavior effects those around us, if good manners towards Allah (swt) and our fellow man were priority #1? What if we strove to embody the wholeness of the sunnah – the outward actions, and the inward state – and fretted about our adab as we so often fret about x, y and z that we can see visually?
But of course, before I spend all my time pondering the greater state of the world, should I first not turn inward and reflect on my own character and see what needs to be polished within before worrying about the faults of others?
I have oodles of new Squeaky and DC pictures (separate, alas Squeaky did not go to DC with me), but until I get my act together and organize some new posts, I give you food for thought and a question:
The heart is like the earth that has to be tilled and sweated over, in order to be cultivated and in order to yield a good harvest. If the ground is not cultivated in such a manner for a long time, it becomes hard, barren, and unable to yield a crop because it was left unattended for so long.
The same holds true for the heart, in that one grows closer to Allah the harder one works to rectify the heart. However, the same heart becomes ever harder the longer one ignores the need to purify it. Such a heart will eventually become harder than stone.
Thenceforth were your hearts hardened and became like a rock and even worse in hardness [2:74]
For among rocks there are some from which rivers gush forth [2:74]
In fact, stones feel ashamed at the hard heartedness of man. Stones can still become a source of streams, and stones do tremble in fear of Allah , but when man’s heart hardens, it neither weeps nor trembles in fear of its Creator. Man’s only hope of success on the Day of Judgment is to toil hard to rectify his heart or else he will be doomed.
How do you cultivate your heart?
Know that you will never truly love Allah until you love obeying Him
— Attributed to Hasan al-Basri (ra) on tumblr
Even if it’s not really from Hasan al-Basri (ra), it is a bit of wisdom that bears repeating. Love is not simply a mushy emotion of the heart, head or nafs. We don’t simply sit on the couch thinking, o Allah , I love you, I love you, I love you, and think that this is the only thing we need to do to express our love.
Ours is not a love of equals. Allah is the Beloved and we are His servants. For our love of Allah to be worth anything, we should seek to please Him. Love in this case requires action. Indeed, our love for our Beloved SHOULD manifest itself in action, and those actions should be ones pleasing to Allah
Allah Himself tells us how our love should be manifest:
Whomever is hostile to a friend of Mine I declare war against. My slave approaches Me with nothing more beloved to Me than what I have made obligatory upon him, and My slave keeps drawing nearer to Me with voluntary works until I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he seizes, and his foot with which he walks. If he asks Me, I will surely give to him, and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will surely protect him. I do not hesitate from anything I shall do more than My hesitation to take the soul of the believer who dislikes death; for I dislike displeasing him.
Hadith Qudsi recorded in Bukhari
art by =demeters of deviantart
A person is like a flourmill, which is only useful if it churns wheat in flour. Likewise, a person is useful and worthy in this world only with dhikr. Just like stagnant, standing water becomes a breeding ground for filth, an empty and carefree mind becomes a hive for useless and scorned thoughts.
The shaytan’s first efforts are to make a person neglectful and forgetful of the remembrance of Allah. In war, the first thing victors do is to disarm their prisoners of war. Likewise, the first thing that shaytan does once he overcomes someone is to make him forgetful of Allah . Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
اسْتَحْوَذَ عَلَيْهِمُ الشَّيْطَانُ فَأَنْسَاهُمْ ذِكْرَ اللَّهِ
The shaytan got the better of them: So he made them forget the remembrance of Allah (58:19)
A hadith tells us that the shaytan says, “I ruined mankind through sin, and mankind ruined me through la ilaha il Allah.”
Sow the seeds of good deeds every moment of your life so that one day you will find a garden. Each second of time is like a piece of gold. Just as grains of sand together form a sand dune, seconds of time form a man’s life. You must have learned in your science class that celestial objects are always in motion, and so this is a sign from nature that we too should always be involved in work and not remain stagnant. Those who merely fill their stomachs are animals, those who do no work are without life, and those who have the habit of hard work are true men.
Only if we work hard in this life will we have peace and comfort in the Hereafter. People should work hard and be ill at ease so that they can be in comfort later. Protect yourself from distracting thoughts, and propel yourself forward in dhikr and suluk [spiritual development] with determination. A man must do one task very well, and not multiple tasks haphazardly. Our masha’ikh [elders] have referred to this as the main route of progress in tasawwuf.
Sh. Zulfiqar Ahmad concerning working hard from Wisdom for the Seeker
borrowed from a sister at SF
“The ibtidaa (beginning) of Tasawwuf is:
Innamal a’amaalu binniyyaat
(verily actions are judged by the intentions).
The intihaa (ending) is:
An ta’budullaaha ka-annaka taraahu
(Worship Allah as though you see him)”
~Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya Khandalwi (ra)
Our most beloved Prophet (saws) said:
I was only sent to perfect good character
a good character primer:
*this post was inspired by the most excellent khutah linked above by Khalid Latif coming up on my ipod yesterday. You can find a lot more by him here and at his blog.
…the search “is sunnipath sufi?”
It’s sufi just like Imam Nawawi (ra) was sufi.
If you’re not going to take from sunnipath because they study the islamic science of tasawwuf, then you better chuck your copies of Imam Nawawi’s 40 ahadith and Riyadh as Saliheen in the trash, because you wouldn’t want to pollute your minds with such nonsense.
Actually no, better yet, please send them to me. I’ll find them good homes with people who are more than happy to be polluted by tasawwuf.