The science of tasawwuf (sufism)
: From the translation of the book, Kitabu Ulumuddin by Shaikh Usman
responsible person must learn enough of this science to enable him to acquire
praiseworthy qualities and to keep him from blameworthy qualities.
1: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM THE WHISPERINGS OF
is achieved by four things:
first is to seek refuge with Allah from shaytan, and to reject the thought which
second is to remember Allah with the heart and the tongue.
third is to reflect on the proofs of the people of the sunna.
These are not mentioned by the philosophers or the Muazalites.
fourth is to question one who knows the sunna.
2: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM CONCEIT ('UJB)
Conceit is one of the blameworthy qualities which it is forbidden to
have. Allah ta'ala said, "Do
not praise yourselves. He has more
knowledge of the one who guards himself out offer."
Much harm arises out of conceit. Conceit
leads to pride,
wrong actions, presumption about acts of 'ibada, forgetting the blessing of
Allah, self‑deception, feeling safe from the anger of Allah, believing
that you have a station with Allah, and self justification by action, concept,
and knowledge. These and things
like them are part of the harm which results from conceit.
as its reality is concerned, you should know that without a doubt, conceit is
due to an attribute of perfection. A
man may have one of two states in his self ‑ perfection of knowledge and 'ibada.
One state is that he is fearful that what he has obtained will vanish, be
uprooted, and stripped away from him. This
person is not conceited. The other
state is that he is not fearful that it will vanish.
He is happy about it because it is a blessing from Allah, not because it
is related to himself. He also is
not conceited. There is, however, a
third state which is conceit. This
is that he does not fear for what he has. He
is happy with it, sure of it. His
joy in it is because it is a perfection and a blessing, not because it is a gift
from Allah ta'ala. His joy in it is
because it is his attribute and it is attributed to him.
His joy is not because it is related to Allah since it comes from Him.
Conceit is presumption about blessing, relying on it, and forgetting its
relationship to the Giver of blessing. This makes clear the reality of conceit.
As far as its cure is concerned, know that the cure for every fault is
its opposite. The fault of conceit
lies in pure ignorance. Its cure is recognition and knowledge which is in direct
opposition to that ignorance. A
man's conceit is in two categories: one category is in whatever he can exercise
his own choice in ‑ like the prayer, fasting, zakat, hajj, sadaqa,
raiding, and improving his character. Conceit
in this category is more pre‑valent.
There is also a category in which he has no choice ‑ like beauty,
power, and lineage.
Sometimes he is conceited in both of these categories because he
possesses these things and is their place of manifestation.
This is pure ignorance because the place is subservient and cannot be
part of bringing‑into‑existence.
How then can he be conceited about something which is not his?
On the other hand, he may be conceited because the 'ibada has been
obtained by his own power which is in‑time.
This is also pure ignorance. He
must then consider his power and all the causes by which he has it.
He acts as it if belonged to him. However,
it is all Allah's blessing to him and he has no inherent right to it.
He ought to be delighted about the generosity of Allah ta'ala since He
showered Him with what he did not deserve and bestowed it on him, preferring him
above others without any prior reason or any device on his part. The truth is
that you, your movements, and all of your attributes are part of Allah's
creation and invention. You did not act when you acted, and you did not pray
you prayed, and "you did not throw when you threw.
Allah threw. "(Quran) Therefore, the worshipper's conceit about his 'ibada
has no meaning. It is the same with
the beautiful person's conceit about his beauty, and the conceit of the wealthy
man about his riches and liberality. You
suppose that the action is achieved by your own power, but where does your power
come from? Action is only possible
by your existence and by the existence of your knowledge, win, power, and the
rest of the causes of your actions. All that is from Allah, not from you because
He is the One who created power and then gave power to the will, set causes in
motion, distributed obstacles, and
action. One of the marvels is that
you can be conceited about yourself, and yet you do not wonder at the generosity
You should be constantly concerned about yourself and your opinion
because He is not impressed by opinion unless there is evidence for it, and it
is conclusively contained in the Book of Allah or in the sunna of Allah's
Messenger, or by an intellectual proof.
makes clear the cure of conceit.
3: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM PRIDE (KIBR)
Pride is one of the blameworthy qualities and it is forbidden to have it.
Allah,ta'ala said, "I will turn away from My signs those who are
arrogant in the earth without right."
As far as its reality is concerned, you should know
pride is divided into inward and outward pride. Inward pride is a quality within
the self, and outward pride is action which appears through the limbs.
The name pride (kibr) is more appropriate for the inward quality.
As for action, it is the result of that quality, and you must know that
the quality of pride demands action. When
it appears on the limbs, it is called arrogance. (takabbur), and when it does
not manifest itself, it is called pride (kibr). Its root is the quality in the self which is satisfaction and
confidence at seeing the self above anyone towards whom he is overbearing. Mere
self‑exaltation does not make someone arrogant. He might well exalt himself while seeing that another person
is greater than him or his equal. In
this case, he is not overbearing toward him.
It is not enough merely to distain others. In spite of his disdain, a person might see himself as more
despicable and therefore, he would
considered arrogant. If someone
sees the other as his equal, he is not considered arrogant.
He must see that he has a rank and someone else has a rank, and then see
his ranks above the other's rank. When
he exalts his own value in relationship to someone else, he despises the one
below him and puts himself above the other's company and confidence.
If it is very extreme, he may spurn the other's service and not consider
him worthy to stand in his presence. If
it is less extreme, he may reject his basic equality, and put himself above this
other in assemblies, wait for him to begin the greeting, think that it is
unlikely that he will be able to fulfil his demands and be amazed at him.
If he objects, the proud man scorns to answer him.
If he warns him, he refuses to accept it.
If he answers him back. he is angry.
When the proud man teaches, he is not courteous to his students.
He looks down upon them and rebuffs them. He is very condescending toward them and exploits them.
He looks at the common people as if he were looking at asses.
He thinks that they are ignorant and despicable.
There are many actions which come from the quality of pride.
They are too many to be numbered. This
is the reality of pride The harm it does is immense.
The 'ulama' can help you but little against it, let alone the common
people. How could its harm be other than great when it comes between a man and
all the qualities of the muminun? Those qualities are the doors of the Garden.
Pride locks all those doors because it is impossible for him to want for
the mu'minun what he wants for himself while there is anything of
self‑importance in him. It is impossible for him to have humility ‑
and humility is the beginning of the qualities of those who guard themselves out
of fear of Allah ‑ while there is any self‑importance in him. It is
impossible for him to remain truthful while there is self‑importance in
him. It is impossible for him to
abandon envy while there is self‑importance in him. It is impossible for him to abandon anger while there is
self‑importance in him. It is
him to contain rancour while there is self‑importance in him.
It is impossible for him to offer friendly good counsel while there is
self‑importance in him. It is impossible for him to accept good counsel while there
is self‑ importance in him. He
is not safe from the contempt and slander of others while there is
self‑importance. There is no
praiseworthy quality but that he is incapable of it from the fear that his
self‑importance will slip away from him.
As far as its cure is concerned, there are two parts: the
knowledge‑cure and the action‑cure. The remedy can only be effected by joining the two of them.
The knowledge‑cure is to know and recognise yourself and to know
and recognise your Lord. That will
be enough to remove your pride. Whoever knows and recognises his own self as it should be
known and recognised, knows that it is not worthy of greatness, and that true
greatness and pride are only for Allah. As
for gnosis of his Lord and His glory, it is too lengthy a subject for us to
discuss here, and it is the goal of the knowledge of unveiling.
Self‑recognition is also a lengthy subject.
However, we will
what will help you towards humility and submissiveness.
It is enough for you to recognise one ayat of the Book of Allah.
The knowledge of the first and the last is in the Qur'an for whoever has
his inner eye open. Allah ta'ala
said, "Perish man! How
thankless he is! OF what did He
create him? Of a sperm‑drop. He created him, and determined him, and then made the way
easy for him. Then He makes him
die, buries him, and then, when He wills, raises him. "
This ayat points to the beginning of man's creation, his end, and his
middle. Let a man look at that if
he desires to understand its meaning.
As for the beginning of man, he was "a thing unremembered.
" He was concealed in non‑existence. Non‑existence has
no beginning. What is lower and
meaner than obliteration and non‑existence?
He was in non‑existence. Then
Allah created him from the basest of things, and then from the most unclean
thing. He created him from earth and then from a sperm‑drop, then a
blood‑clot, then a lump of flesh. Then
He made the flesh bones, and then clothed the bones in flesh.
This was the beginning of his existence and then he became a thing
remembered. He was a thing
unremembered by reason of having the lowest of qualities and attributes since at
his beginning, he was not created perfect. He was created inanimate, dead. He neither heard, saw, felt, moved, spoke, touched,
perceived, or knew. He began by his
before his life, by weakness before strength, by ignorance
knowledge, by blindness before sight, by deafness before
by dumbness before speech, by disguidance before guidance, by poverty before
wealth, and by incapacity before capacity.
This is the meaning of His word, "From what did He create him? and
determined him, " and the meaning of His word, "Has there come upon
man a period of time when he was a thing unremembered? We created him of a
sperm‑drop, a mingling, trying him. We
made him hearing, seeing. We guided
him upon the way, whether he is thankful or unthankful. "
He created him like that at the beginning.
Then He was gracious to him and said, "We made the way easy for him.
" This indicates what He wills for him during the period from life
to death. Similarly, He said,
"of a sperm‑drop, a mingling, trying him.
We made him hearing, seeing. We
guided him on the way." The meaning here is that He gave him life after he
was inanimate and dead ‑ first from the earth, and then from a
sperm‑drop. He gave him
hearing after he was deaf and He gave him sight after he lacked sight.
He gave him strength after weakness and knowledge after ignorance.
He created his limbs for him with all they contain of marvels and signs
after he lacked them. He enriched him after poverty, made him full after hunger,
clothed him after nakedness, and guided him after misguidance.
directed him and formed him. Look
at how He made the way easy for him. Look
at man's overstepping and at how thankless he is. Look at man's ignorance and how he shows it.
Allah ta'ala said, "Part of His sign is that He created you from
earth." He created man from humble earth and unclean sperm after pure
non‑existence so that he would recognise the baseness of his essence and
thereby recognise himself. He
perfected the sperm‑drop for him so that he would recognise his Lord by it
and know His immensity and majesty by it, and that He is the only One worthy of
true greatness and pride. For that
reason, He described him and said, "Have We not given him two eyes and a
tongue and two lips, and guided him on the two roads?"
first acquainted him with his baseness and said, "Was he not a
sperm‑drop extracted?" Then he was a blood‑clot.
Then He mentioned His favour and said, "He created and fashioned and
made a pair from it, male and female," in order to perpetuate his existence
by reproduction as his existence was acquired in the beginning by original
formation. When you begin in this
manner and your states are like this, how can you have arrogance, pride, glory,
and conceit? Properly speaking, man
is the lowest of the low and the weakest of the weak.
Indeed, even if He had perfected him, delegated his command to him and
made his existence go on by his own choice, he would still dare to be insolent
and would forget his beginning and his end.
However, during your existence, He has given illnesses power over you,
you like it or not, and whether you are content or enraged.
You become hungry and thirsty without being able to do anything about it.
You do not possess any power to bring either harm or benefit.
You want to know something but you remain ignorant of it.
You want to remember something and yet you forget it.
You want to not forget something and yet you do forget it. You want to
direct your heart to what concerns it and yet you are caught up in the valleys
of whisperings and thoughts. You
own neither your heart nor your self. You
desire something while your destruction may be in it, and you detest something
while your life may be in it. You
find some foods delicious when they destroy and kill you, and you find remedies
repugnant when they help you and save you.
You are not safe for a moment, day or night.
Your sight, knowledge, and power may be stripped away, your limbs may
become semi‑paralysed, your intellect may be stolen away, your ruh may be
snatched away, and all that you love in this world may be taken from you.
You are hard‑pressed, abased.
If you are left alone, you go on. If
you are snatched away, you are annihilated.
A mere slave. A chattel. You
have no power over yourself or anyone else.
What can be more abased? If
you recognise yourself, how can you think yourself worthy of pride?
If it were not for your ignorance ‑ and this is your immediate
state ‑ you would reflect on it. Your end is death. It
is indicated by His word, "Then He makes him die and buries him.
Then, when He wills, He raises him." The meaning here is that your
ruh, hearing, sight, knowledge, power, senses, perception, and movement are all
stripped away. You revert to the inanimate as you were in the first place.
Only the shape of your limbs remains.
Your form has neither senses nor movement.
Then you are placed in the earth and your limbs decay.
You become absent after you existed. You become as if you were not, as
you were at first for a long period of time.
Then a man wishes that he could remam like that.
How excellent it would be if he were left as dust! However, after a long
time, He brings him back to life to subject him to a severe trial.
his grave after his separated parts are joined together, and he steps out to the
terrors of the Rising. He is told,
"Come quickly to the Reckoning and prepare for the Outcome!
" His heart stops in fear and panic when he is faced with the terror
of these words even before his pages are spread out and he sees his shameful
actions in them. This is the end of his affair. It is the meaning of His word,
"Then when He wishes, He raises him."
How can anyone whose state this is be arrogant?
A moment of
from grief is better than arrogance. He
has shown the
and the middle of his condition. If
his end had appeared to him ‑ and we seek refuge from Allah ‑
perhaps he would have chosen to be a dog or a pig in order to become dust with
the animals rather than a hearing, speaking man, and meet with punishment (if he
deserves the Fire). When he is in
the presence of Allah then even the pig is nobler than him since it reverts to
dust and it is spared from the Reckoning and the punishment.
Someone with this state at the Rising can only hope for pardon, and he
cannot be at all certain about it. How
then can he be arrogant? How can he
see himself as anything to which excellence is attached? This is the knowledge‑cure.
As far as the action‑cure is concerned, it is to humble yourself to
people in a constrained unnatural manner until it becomes natural for you.
4: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM FALSE HOPE (AMAL)
False hope is one of the blameworthy qualities which it is
to have. Allah ta'ala said,
"Leave them eating and enjoying themselves.
False hope diverts them from the outrage which they do. "
Its reality is that your life‑energy is directed to the moment, and
you let things slide.
Its cure is to know that throughout your life, false hope will
you from hastening to tawba. You say, "I will yet turn in tawba.
There are still many days ahead." It also prevents you from
hastening to obedience. You say,
"I will act later. I Still
have many days left." That continues to harden your heart because you do
not remember death and the grave.
5: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM ANGER (GHADAB) WITH‑OUT GROUNDS.
Anger is one of the blameworthy qualities which it is forbidden to have.
Allah ta'ala said, "When He put rage into the hearts of those who
reject." The rage of the Jahiliya (Age of rash ignorance before Islam) was
from anger without grounds. He
praised the mu'minun since He bestowed some of the sakina tranquillity on them.
The reality of anger is the boiling of the blood of the heart to seek
revenge. If a man is angry at
someone below him, the blood expands and rises to his face and makes it red.
If he is angry with someone above him, the blood contracts from his outer
skin to his heart, and it becomes sorrow. For
becomes pale. If he is uncertain,
the blood is between
are three degrees of anger:
Insufficient anger is blameworthy because you are not angry enough to
protest against the haram ‑ for example, in respect to your wife or mother
if you have no jealousy at all. Jealousy
was created as a protection for man. Part
of this failing is to be silent when you see objectionable actions.
Part of it is also to be incapable of selfdiscipline, since
self‑discipline is made effective by bringing anger to bear on the
appetite, even to the extent of being angry at your self when it inclines to
base appetites. Lack of anger is
Excessive anger is also blameworthy.
It is to be overcome by anger so that cool water goes out of the
management of the intellect and the deen, and you no longer have insight,
consideration, reflection, or choice. Whenever
the fire of anger is intense, it will blind the one who is angry, and it will
make you deaf to every warning. It
may increase until anger invades the roots of the senses to the extent that you
cannot even see with your eye. The
entire world may become dark for you. Indeed,
the fire of anger may become so intense that it burns up the moisture which
gives life to the heart. The angry
person then dies of rage.
Among the outward effects of excessive anger are: Change of colour,
intense shaking in the extremities, confused speech, foam appearing at the
corners of the mouth, redness, and an ugly mien.
This is the effect of anger on the body.
As far as its effects on the tongue are concerned, it is that you speak
with insulting language, obscenity, and ugly words which rational people are
ashamed to use. Someone who utters them in anger is ashamed of them after his
anger has abated. These are the
effects of excessive anger on the tongue.
Its effect on the limbs is that you strike, tear, kill, and wound, if you
are in a position to do so, without any consideration.
If the object of your anger flies from you, your own anger turns against
you yourself, so you tear your own garments and slap your own face.
You may hit your hand on the ground and completely go beyond the
overwhelmed drunkard. You may fall
down quickly and not be able to run or stand up through the intensity of your
anger. It may come upon you like a
fainting spell. You may hit animals
and smash a bowl to the ground, and act like a madman. You verbally abuse the beast and
to it, saying, "How long can I endure this from you?" as if you were
addressing a rational being. These
are the effects of excessive anger on the limbs.
Its effect on the heart is resentment, envy, concealing evil,
to divulge secrets, and other ugly things.
This is the effect of excessive anger on the heart.
Praiseworthy anger is in moderation.
It is the anger which waits for the indication of the intellect and the
deen. It arises when it is praised
by the sharia, and it stops when it is criticised by the shari'a.
It is the middle way which the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace, described when he said, "The best of affairs is their
Whoever has insufficient anger must treat himself until his anger becomes
stronger. Whoever lets his anger go
to excess must treat himself until both of them return to the middle way between
the two extremes. That is the
Straight Path. '
The cure of anger consists of six things:
The first is to reflect on the virtues of restraining rancour, and to
desire the reward for doing that.
second is to frighten yourself with the punishment of Allah, saying "The
power of Allah over me is greater than my power over this man. if I carry out my
anger against him, then what security will I have against the anger of Allah on
the Day of Rising?"
third is to reflect and make yourself fear the results of
in this world if you have no fear of the next world.
fourth is to reflect on the ugliness of your form when you are angry.
Then you will remember someone else's form during his anger.
as well on how much you resemble the mad dog when you abandon
self‑restraint, and how much you resemble the awliya' when you abandon
fifth is to reflect on the cause which summons you to revenge. It must be the
words of shaytan to you, "This is incapacity and humiliation for you in the
eyes of people." You must reflect since you are more insignificant with
Allah, the angels, and the Prophets. Why
then are you concerned with people?
sixth is to know that your anger arises from your amazement at something which
is acting in conformity with the will of Allah. It is almost as if Allah's anger with you is greater than
your own anger.
ends the knowledge‑cure.
as the action‑cure is concerned, it is to say when you are angry, "I
seek refuge with Allah from the accursed shaytan. " If you are standing, then sit down.
If you are sitting, then lie down, and do wudu or ghus].
6: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM ENVY (HASAD)
Envy is one of the blameworthy qualities which it is forbidden to have.
Allah ta'ala said, "Do they then envy people for what Allah has
As for its reality, you should know that there is only envy for a
blessing. When Allah bestows a
blessing on your brother, it can lead to one of two states in you.
One is that you hate that blessing and want it to leave him.
This state is called envy. The
definition of envy is hating blessing and wanting it to depart from the one who
has received it. The second state
is that you do not want it to leave him and do not dislike the fact that it
exists and remains with him, but you desire the like of it for yourself.
This is called thinking someone enviable. Envy is anger at the fact that Allah prefers some of His
slaves over others.
are four levels of envy:
first is to want the blessing to leave him.
If that happens, you do not want it to return to him.
This is the very limit of malice.
second is to want the blessing to leave him in the same way that you desire a
fine house, a beautiful woman, or a lofty, wide zawiyya which someone else has
obtained and which you want for
Your aim is not to remove that blessing.
You hate the absence of the blessing, not that it has been bestowed on
third is not to desire the blessing itself, but to desire its like for yourself.
If you cannot have its like, you want it to leave the person who has it
so that the contrast between you will not be apparent.
fourth is to desire its like for yourself.
If you do not
it, you do not desire that it depart from the person who has it.
This last level is excused if it is in this world, and it is recommended
if it is the deen.
as the remedy of envy is concerned, you should know that envy is one of the
serious sicknesses of the heart. The
sickness of the heart can only be treated by knowledge and action.
Useful knowledge concerning the sickness of envy is to really recognis
that envy is harmful to you, both in your deen and in this world.
There is no harm fo one who is envied, either in this world or in his
deen. Rather, he profits by it both in this world and in his deen.
When you recognise this with your inner eye ‑that you are on an
enemy to yourself and a friend to your enemy ‑ then you will inevitably
part company with envy.
its being harmful to you in the deen, this is because by envy, you are angry
about the decree of Allah ta'ala and you hate His blessing which He has
apportioned to His slaves, and His justice which He establishes in His Kingdom
and which is hidden in His wisdom. You reject that. This is an offence which strikes at the core of tawhid and an
obstruction in the path of iman. That
in itself is enough of a crime against the deen. You act dishonestly toward one of the muminum.
You abandon his good counsel and you part company with the awliya' of
Allah and the Prophets since they desire good for the slaves of Allah. You form
a partnership with Iblis and all the kafirun since they desire that the mu'minun
experience afflictions and they desire that blessing depart.
These are malicious things in the heart.
They eat up the good actions of the heart like fire consumes firewood,
and obliterate them as the night obliterates the day.
As for its being a harm in this world for you, this is because you are
pained and punished by your envy. You are always full of grief and sorrow since
Allah does cease to pour out blessings on your adversaries.
Therefore you are constantly being punished by every blessing you see,
and you are pained by every affliction
turned away from them. You are
constantly full of sorrow. Your
breast is constricted in the manner you desire for your enemies and which your
enemies desire for you. You wanted severe trial for your enemies, but now you
immediately come to see trial and sorrow yourself. Blessing does not leave the envied person because of envy.
Even if you did not believe in the Rising and the Reckoning, it would
still show a lack of astuteness on your part.
If you are at all intelligent, you should be on guard against envy
because of the pain and evil it contains and its lack of benefit. How much more
should it be when you know that envy is the cause of intense punishment in the
next world. How astonishing is a
man of intellect who exposes himself to wrath of Allah without obtaining any
profit at all from it. Indeed, it carries harm and pain which he must endure. His
world is destroyed without any gain or benefit.
As for its not having any harm for the envied, one either, in his deen or
this world it is obvious that blessing will not leave him because of someone
else's envy. Allah decreed it as
good fortune and blessing, so it must last, until the time which Allah decree
for it. There is no way to repel
it. Everything is decreed with Him
and every term has a book.
The one who is envied profits by it both in his deen and in this world.
It is clear that his profit in the deen is that he is wronged by you,
especially if you publicise your envy by speech and action, by slander and
calumny of him, and by destroying his veil an mentioning his bad qualities. It is a gift which you present to him, i.e. by that, you give
him your good deeds and so you will meet him bankrupt on the Day of Rising.
You will be deprived of blessing then as you were deprived of blessing in
this world. It is as if you wished
blessing from him while the blessings which Allah bestows on you continue as He
gives you success in good deeds. You
give these to him and increase him with blessing upon blessing while you
multiply misery for yourself.
As for his profit in this world, the most important of the desires of
created being is grief and sorrow for their enemies.
No punishment can be greater than that which you experience from the pain
of envy. The goal of your enemies is to have blessing while you are
sunk in sorrow and loss. You have
done to yourself what they desire to do to you.
Because of that, your enemy does not desire your death. He
desires to prolong your life in the punishment of envy.
This is the knowledge‑cure.
As far as the action‑cure is concerned, you must make yourself do
the opposite of what envy calls you to. If
it makes you arrogant, you must humble yourself.
If it provokes you to withhold blessing, you must make yourself increase
blessing. This the
As for what is necessary in order to prevent envy in the heart when
someone irritates you, you should know that if you want blessing to leave him
and you use your tongue against him, then you are an envier. By your envy, you
commit an act of rebellion. If you want the blessing to leave him while you restrain
yourself outwardly in every way, but you do not dislike your state, then you are
also envious and commit an act of rebellion.
This is because envy is an attribute of the heart, not attribute of
action. If you dislike this state
by insight, and you restrain your outward actions as well, you have then done
what is necessary.
7: THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART FROM SHOWING‑OFF (RIYA)
Showing‑off is one of the blameworthy qualities which it is
to have. Allah ta'ala said,
"Woe to those who pray and are heedless of their prayers, to those who show
off and withhold."
As far as its reality in concerned, you should know that
showing‑off (riya) is derived from seeing (ruya).
Its root is to seek reputation in people's hearts.
You desire to make them see good qualities in you, and by that, to obtain
high rank in
hearts. You can seek high rank by
all actions. However, the name
"showing‑off " specifically refers to seeking high rank in
people's hearts through acts of 'ibada. The
definition of showing‑off then, is the obtaining of people's own desires
through obedience to Allah the Majestic, the Mighty. It has five divisions:
The first is showing‑off with the body.
That is by outward
so that people will imagine that you are intense in your striving.
By emaciation, you also want to indicate scarcity of good.
second is showing‑off by dress and appearance. That is by disheveled hair, tattered garments, bowing the
head while walking, leaving mark of prostration on the face, rolling up your
garment, and not cleaning it
third is showing‑off by words. That
is to make dhikr apparent in other people's presence, and to command the good
and forbid the objectionable in full view of created beings.
It is to manifest anger at objectionable things in the presence of
created beings, and to move the lips with dhikr in full view of other people.
It is also to raise the voice indicating that it is from fear and sorrow
fourth is showing‑off by action. That
is like someone who prays and shows off by standing for a long time, by doing
ruku' and prostration for a long time, by not turning aside, by keeping still
and silent, by keeping the feet and the palms level.
It is the same with fighting in the way of Allah, the Hajj and sadaqa
fifth is showing‑off by associating with people. For
a man will mention the Shaykhs often in order to show
he has met many Shaykhs and profited from them. He says, "All the Shaykhs I have met," and "I
met so‑and‑so," and "I went about in the land and served
the Shaykhs. " He talks about
everything that has happened to him.
This, and all that preceded is blameworthy since by it, you seek high
rank and reputation in people's hearts.
As for the cure of it, you should know that showing‑off is man's
nature when he is a child. You can only manage to tame it by intense effort. There are
two stations in its cure:
The first is to pluck it out by its roots.
These are love of the pleasure of being praised, flight from the pain of
criticism, and greed for what other people have.
second is to repel it immediately whenever it comes to mind.
The remedy is to know that showing‑off is harmful and corrupts the
heart. It prevents success and
prevents position with Allah ta'ala. It
brings punishment and disgrace to the extent that when you are in front of
people, there will be shouts of "You shameless liar! You two‑faced
deceiver! Why weren't you ashamed
when you sold obedience to Allah ta'ala for Allah's hatred out of desire for the
world and love of high rank among people? You
sought their pleasure in exchange for the wrath of Allah, and you sought
nearness to them in exchange for distance from Allah."
If you reflect on this shame, you have no alternative but to turn away
from showing off together with turning your attention in this world to
dispelling your concern for consideration in the hearts of others.
Pleasing people is a goal which you will never attain.
If you seek to please them in exchange for the wrath of Allah, Allah will
be angry with you.
The cure for the greed for what others have is that Allah ta'ala is the
One who subjects the hearts to withholding or giving.
If you bring the bliss of the next world to your heart, you think very
little of anything connected to creation. You
direct your heart to Allah. By acts
of unveiling, things are opened to you which increase you in intimacy with Allah
‑ glory be to Him! ‑ and alienate you from creation.
This is the knowledge‑cure.
As far as the action‑cure is concerned, it is to make yourself
your acts of 'ibada until your heart is content with the
of Allah ta'ala. The
action‑cure for the second station is to repel any of it that appears,
repelling it through dislike of it.
8: (TURNING AWAY WITH REGRET) FROM ALL ACTS OF REBELLION
Tawba is one of the praiseworthy attributes which you must acquire.
ta'ala said, "Turn in tawba to Allah altogether, oh mu'minun so you might
Its reality is freeing the heart from wrong actions which you have done
out of desire to exalt Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, and to flee from His
wrath. This is not result of
worldly desire, nor is it out of fear of people, out of seeking praise and
renown or out of weakness.
which will help you in it consists of three parts:
The first is to remember the end of ugly wrong actions.
The second is to remember the intensity of Allah's punishment.
The third is to remember the weakness of your body.
When you persevere in remembering these three, good counsel will move you
to tawba, Allah willing.
You should know that in general, wrong actions are of three types:
One of them is to abandon your obligations to Allah ta'ala
zakat, kaffara (reparation), or anything else of that
You fulfil whatever you can of them.
second are wrong actions between you and Allah ‑ glory be to Him! like
drinking wine, playing wood‑wind pipes, consuming usury and things like
that. You regret those actions and
keep it in your heart never again to repeat it.
third are wrong actions between you and the slaves of Allah.
They are more difficult, and fall into various categories.
The wrong action may be concerned with property, the self, reputation,
respect or the deen. You make
reparation lawful for all you can of these things which were mentioned.
If you cannot, you turn to Allah with humility and sincerity so that He
may be pleased with you on the Day of Rising.
9: ZUHD (DOING‑WITHOUT) IN THIS WORLD.
Zuhd is one of the praiseworthy qualities which you must acquire.
ta'ala said, "Do not extend your eyes to what We have given pairs of them
to enjoy, the flowers of this life." Know
that there are two types of doing‑without: one is a doing‑without
which is decreed for you, and the other is a doing‑without
is not decreed for you. The one which is decreed for you has three things:
The first is to abandon seeking what is lost of this world.
The second is to part from what you have of it.
The third is to abandone will and choice.
The doing‑without which is not decreed for you is coolness in the
heart towards this world.
will help you in it is to remember the harm of this world.
The decisive is that this world is the enemy of Allah while you are His
lover. If you love someone you hate
his enemy. If you say, What is the
rule of doing‑without in this world? Is it obligatory or superogatory?"
Know that doing without the haram is obligatory and doing without the halal is
superogatory. If you say, "We
must have a certain amount of this world in order to maintain our strength and
proper condition, so how can we do without it?" Know that
doing‑without concerns the superfluous since your proper condition and
strength has no need of this superfluity. The
goal is strength and vigour. The
goal is not only food, drink and pleasure.
10: TAQWA (SAFEGUARDING OUT OF FEAR) OF ALLAH, THE MIGHTY
is one of the praiseworthy qualities which you must acquire.
Ta'ala said, "Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and fears Allah and
guards himself out of fear of Him, those, they are the successful.
Its reality is freeing the heart from the wrong actions which you have
done in the past. It has four
The first is safeguarding yourself from idol‑worship.
The second is safeguarding yourself from acts of rebellion.
The third is safeguarding yourself from innovation.
The fourth means to avoid the superfluous.
What will help you in it is to guard these five limbs which are the
roots. They are: the eye, the ear,
the tongue, the heart, and the belly. You
should be careful of them and guard them from whatever you fear will harm you in
your deen ‑ acts of rebellion, the haram, superfluity, and extravagance on
the halal. When you attain to safeguarding these limbs, the hope is that
it will give you all the support you need.
11: TAWAKKUL (TRUST AND RELIANCE) IN ALLAH TA'ALA
Tawakkul is one of the praiseworthy qualities which you must
Allah Ta'ala says, "Whoever relies on Allah, He is enough for him.
Its reality is the heart's confidence, calm, and the realisation that the
sustaining of your physical structure is only by Allah, The Majestic, The
Mighty. It is not by anyone other than Allah, and it is not by any of the debris
of this world or by any one cause.
What will help you in it is to remember that Allah ta'ala
provision, and that His knowledge and power are perfect, and that He is
disconnected from creation and far removed from forgetfulness and from
12: ENTRUSTING THE AFFAIR TO ALLAH
Entrusting the affair to Allah is one of the praiseworthy qualities which
you must acquire. Allah ta'ala
says, "I have entrusted my affair to Allah.
Its reality is your desire for Allah to preserve you from all that has
danger in it and against which you have no security.
What will help you in it is to remember the danger of all affairs, and
the possibility of your destruction and corruption.
In all of that, you must remember your own incapacity to guard yourself
against the blows of danger.
13: CONTENTMENT (RIDA') WITH THE DECREE OF ALLAH, THE MIGHTY, THE MAJESTIC
Contentment with Allah's decree is one of the praiseworthy
which you must acquire. Allah
ta'ala said, "No affliction occurs except by the permission of Allah Ta'ala.
Whoever believes in Allah, his heart is guided. "
Its reality is to abandon anger and to remember that what Allah decrees
is better and more suitable. He
does not need to justify its rightness or wrongness.
This is one of its conditions. If
you say, "Evil is not by the decree of Allah Ta'ala, so how can anyone be
content with it?" Know that evil is the result of the decree.
It is not the decree itself, and you do not have to be content with it.
In fact, it is inconceivable for you to be content with the result of the
decree except when it conforms to the shari'a. You must be content with the
decree itself, and the decree of evil does not come from evil.
What will help you in it is that when you are angry, you remember the
wrath of Allah ‑glory be to Him and may He be exalted! ‑ and you
remember that He rewards whoever is content with His decree.
14: FEAR AND HOPE (KHAWF AND RAJA')
Fear and hope are among the praiseworthy qualities which you must aquire.
Allah Ta'ala said, "They hope for His mercy and fear His punishment.
The reality of fear is a trembling which is generated in the heart by
remembering objectionable things which you have done.
It comes to you through thoughts and it is not under your control.
You can do things to prepare the way for it.
These are four:
first is to remember past wrong actions.
second is to remember the severity of Allah's punishment.
third is to remember your own weakness.
fourth is to remember the power of Allah ta'ala over you.
He exerts His power over you when He wills and how He wills.
What will help you in it is to remember how He seizes and strips away
‑ glory be to Him and may He be exalted! ‑ as He did in the case of
Iblis and Ba'lam. You should also
remember His words, glory be to Him! "Do you suppose that We created you without
purpose?" and "Does man suppose that he will be left as a
barrier?" and other verses like those, which are meant to provoke fear.
As for the definition of hope, it is the joy of the heart when it
recognises the overflowing favour of Allah ‑ glory be to Him and may He be
exalted! ‑ and the vastness of His mercy.
It also comes to you through thoughts, and is not under your control.
You can do things to prepare the way for it, These are four:
The first is to remember Allah's past favour to you given
without inter‑mediary or intercessor.
The second is to remember the generosity of the reward He has promised
you without you having done anything to deserve it.
The third is to remember the abundance of His blessings in
respect of your deen at the present moment without you
deserving it or asking for it.
The fourth is to remember the vastness of His mercy, may He be Exalted!
will help you in it is to remember how He has pardoned ‑ glory be to Him!
as He did in the case of the sorcerers of Pharoah and the People of the Cave,
and to remember His actions ‑ glory be to Him! ‑in the verses of
Quran which provoke desire. Allah
ta'ala says, "He is the One who accepts tawba from His slaves and pardons
evil deeds," and He said, "Who will forgive wrong actions except
Allah? " and He said, "Do
not despair of the mercy of Allah. Allah
forgives wrong actions altogether. He
is the Forgiving, the Merciful, " and the verses like those which provoke
Oh Allah! Oh Forgiving!
Oh Merciful! Forgive us all
of our wrong actions by the baraka of Sayyiduna Muhammad, may Allah bless him
and grant him peace.
Oh Allah! Bless Sayyiduna
Muhammad, the opener of what was locked, and the seal of what went before, the
helper of the Truth by the Truth, and the guide of Your Straight Path, and on
his family to the extent of his proper worth and immense value.
ends with praise of Allah and His
help, and with blessings and peace
Master of the Messengers, Muhammad,
upon his family and all his Companions,
peace be upon the Messengers.