Ibn ‘Ataa’Illaah on ‘deprivation’

Note: ‘deprivation’ is the word used for man3 and ‘giving’ for 3ataa’. Somethings are definitely lost in translation but the light shines through nonetheless.
“Deprivation hurts you…
only because of your incomprehension of God in it
When He gives, He shows you His kindness;
when He deprives, He shows you His power,
and in all that, He is making Himself known to you
and coming to you with His gentleness.”
(From the Hikam)

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al-Junayd on Tasawwuf

Junayd al-Baghdadi, one of the most important early masters of Sufism, explains tasawwuf in the following manner:

‘Sufism means that God makes you die to yourself and makes you alive in Him.  It is to purify the heart from the recurrence of creaturely temptations, to say farewell to all the natural inclinations, to subdue the qualities which belong to human nature, to keep far from the claims of the senses, to adhere to spiritual qualities, to ascend by means of Divine knowledge, to be occupied with that is eternally the best, to give wise counsel to all people, faithfully to observe the truth, and to follow the Prophet in respect of the religious law’.

He explains the sources of sufism thus:

‘We did not take Sufism from talk and from words, but from hunger and renunication of the world and cutting off things to which we are accustomed and which we found agreeable’.

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The trials of life

Mere lip profession of Faith is not enough. It must be tried and tested in the real turmoil of life. The test will be applied in all kinds of circumstances, in individual life and in relation to the environment around us to see whether we can strive constantly and put the Lord above self. Much pain, sorrow and self-sacrifice may be necessary, not because they are good in themselves, but because they will purify us, like fire applied to a goldsmith’s crucible to burn out the dross.

– Ar Raheeq al Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) Biography of the Noble Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him.

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Tazkiyah Purification of the Soul Retreat in Upstate NY: June 2008!

Space fills up REALLY quickly so be sure to register asap. It’s an incredible experience…

From its rustic location in the Adirondack Mountains, the Tazkiyah Retreat offers an excellent opportunity for Muslims to experience a unique Islamic Retreat to purify one’s soul.

Camp activities will comprise of teaching as well as practice. Sessions will cover what the ailments of the Nafs and Qalb (heart) are and how to change the state of these inner ailments from our hearts. Throughout the camp we will emphasize Ibadah with Fikr (contemplation & reflection) and Dhikr in accordance with the Sunnah. By this way we will connect with Allah’s creation and enjoy with spiritual focus the natural beauty that surrounds us. Other activities include hiking and canoeing.

We will learn to feel the pleasure that comes with Taqwa (consciousness) of Allah through an enjoyable spiritual experience, Insha’ Allah.

DATES: June 14th – June 25th, 2008

Click here for more information and to register: Tazkiyah Retreat Website and Zawiyah Productions

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Knowledge without Action (Ibn ‘Ataa’ Illaah)

From the writings of Ibn ‘Ataa’ Illaah, rahimahullaah:

“Someone who acquires knowledge in order to gain this world and to achieve status therein may be likened to someone who picks up excrement with a sapphire spoon. How noble the means, and how ignoble the end sought! Similarly, someone who spends forty or fifty years in the pursuit of knowledge, yet without acting on what he has learned, may be likened to someone who spends the same period of time performing ritual ablutions over and over again in the pursuit of ritual ablution, yet without performing a single prayer. After all, the purpose of knowledge is action, just as the purpose of ritual prayer is the performance of prayer.”

(From Lata’if al-Minan)
 

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The reality of the Sufi

The reality and essence of the Sufi is a person of knowledge, who has acted upon that knowledge in the manner of ikhlaas (sincerity). For the knowledge of tasawwuf is nothing more than the deep knowledge of the path that leads one to act with ikhlaas in all what one does.
Had the scholar acted upon his knowledge with ikhlaas, he would then be the truest Sufi. And had the scholar come to the Sufis free from ailments and diseases of the heart, they would have lead him to the Divine presence in an instant. But he came to them with many ailments, external and internal; from claims to knowledge, to attachments and love of the elements of dunyaa and its appetites. His internal state is filled with envy, conspiracy, treachery, vindictiveness, a sense of cheating and many more ailments. That is why they ordered him to cure himself from that to purify him from all of those, for they are all characteristics of devils. 
Of the important concern for the seeker to Allah should always be to compel him self to collect his heart on Allaah and to shun away completely that which scatters his heart away from Allaah by steadfastly complying with what He commands, and steadfastly keeping away from what He prohibits. Thus he should not be seen except performing an obligatory act, or a recommended act, or doing what has spiritual priority at the time (al-awlaa), and to keep away from what is prohibited, what is reprehensible and that which is not a priority. For the Allaah removes the veil from our hearts when we are complying with His commands, and it slams down upon us if we are committing what He prohibits.

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The Alchemy of Happiness – al-Ghazali

KNOW, O beloved,
that man was not created in jest or at random,
but marvelously made and for some great end.

Although he is not from everlasting,
yet he lives for ever;
and though his body is mean and earthly,
yet his spirit is lofty and divine.

When in the crucible of abstinence
he is purged from carnal passions
he attains to the highest,
and in place of being a slave
to lust and anger
becomes endued with angelic qualities.

Attaining that state,
he finds his heaven
in the contemplation
of Eternal Beauty,
and no longer in fleshly delights.

The spiritual alchemy
which operates this change in him,
like that which transmutes base metals into gold,
is not easily discovered,
nor to be found in the house of every old woman.

Imam Al-Ghazalli

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