Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani’s Answers On Different Topics
BismiLlah Al Rahman Al Rahim,
I just bought “The Shape of Light” by Suhrawardi, and I read the first two pages: a letter by Shaykh Abdul Qadir Al Jilani, the founder of the Qadiriyya Sufi Order. Thanks to Google ibn Yahoo (!), I came across this page. Excerpts.
Concerning love [mahabba].
When asked about love [mahabba], the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said: “It is a disturbance [tashwish] that affects the heart. It is inspired by the Beloved [Mahbub], by contrast with Whom this world comes to be like the ring of a seal, or a funeral wake. Love is an intoxication that has no corresponding sobriety. It is total devotion to the Beloved, in every respect, both in private and in public, with a self-effacing predilection. It is a natural impulse, not an affectation.
“Love is blindness to everything other than Beloved, due to solicitude for Him. It is also blindness to the Beloved Himself, due to a profound respect for Him. It is therefore total blindness. Lovers [muhibbun] are too drunk to get sober, except through direct vision of the Beloved. They are too sick to be cured, except by the sight of the One they seek. They are too distressed to be consoled, except by their Master [Mawla]. They can find no refuge, except in the remembrance of Him. They do not respond to anyone, except to His summoner.
“As Majnun [the crazy lover of] Layla put it:
My relatives all blame me for loving Layla:
my brother, my cousins, my aunt….”
(The rest of the verses are well known, so there is no need to spell them out here.)
Concerning this world [ad-dunya].
In response to a question concerning this world [ad-dunya], the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:
“Evict it from your heart into your hand, so that it cannot beguile you.”
Concerning weeping [buka’].
When the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) was asked about weeping [buka’], he said:
“Weep for Him, weep because of Him, and weep over Him.”
Concerning Sufism [tasawwuf].
When someone asked him about Sufism [tasawwuf], the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) explained:
“The Sufi is someone who makes that which the Lord of Truth wishes from him the object of his own wish. He renounces this world, so it serves him, and his allotted shares [aqsam] coincide with his needs. He achieves his purpose in this world, before the Hereafter, for his well-being is ensured by his Lord.”
Concerning thankfulness [shukr].
When someone asked him about thankfulness [shukr], the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) explained:145
“The true nature of thankfulness [haqiqat ash-shukr] is the acknowledgment of the benefaction of the Benefactor [ni’mat al-Mun’im], with an attitude of humility, an overt recognition of the blessing, and a reverential confession of one’s inability to give adequate thanks. Thankfulness can be subdivided into several categories, namely:
1. Thankfulness expressed by the tongue [shukr al-lisan]. This constitutes the acknowledgment of the benefaction [ni’ma] with an attitude of humble acceptance [istikana].
2. Thankfulness expressed by the body and the limbs [shukr bi’l-badan wa ‘l-arkan]. This is the characteristic indication of loyalty and readiness to serve [al-wafa’ wa ‘l-khidma].
3. Thankfulness expressed by the inner feeling [shukr bi’l-qalb]. This requires a careful balance between the visible display of
appreciation and the constant preservation of a sense of reverence.
“Beyond this stage, thankfulness passes from the realm of the visible to the realm of the invisible [ghaiba], where the focus of attention is the Benefactor [Mun’im], rather than the benefaction [ni’ma].
“The person who is simply thankful [shakir] is someone who gives thanks for what is available [mawjud], while the person who is very thankful [shakur] is someone who gives thanks for what is unavailable [mafqud].
“The person who gives praise [hamid] is someone who regards withholding as a gift, and views harm as a benefit, and in whose sight the two qualities eventually become equal.
“The glory [majd] that exhausts all expressions of praise [mahamid] is the witnessing of perfection [kamal], in the quality of Beauty [Jamal] and the attribute of Majesty [Jalal], with the eye of direct perception, on the carpet of nearness [to the Lord].”
Concerning patience [sabr].
In response to a question concerning patience [sabr], the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:
“Patience [sabr] means coping with misfortune by remaining on your best behavior. It means welcoming His decrees, and accepting them in accordance with the statutes [ahkam] of the Book and the Sunna.
Patience [sabr] can be subdivided into several categories, namely:
1. Patience for the sake of Allah [sabr li’llah] (Exalted is He). This is the kind of patience [sabr] that is exercised in the course of carrying out His commandments and respectfully observing His prohibitions.
2. Patience in bearing with Allah [sabr ma’a ‘llah] (Exalted is He). This is the kind of patience [sabr] that is exercised by calmly enduring the effects of His decree and His actions within you, and by demonstrating indifference to the advent of poverty, without a scowl or a frown.
3. Patience in anticipation of Allah [sabr ‘ala ‘llah] (Exalted is He). This is the kind of patience [sabr] that is exercised through steadfast reliance on that which He has promised, and that which He has threatened, in all things.
“The journey from this world to the Hereafter should be easy for the true believer [mu’min], but separation from creatures, even for love of the Truth, is difficult. The journey from what is known by hearsay [naqli] to [the direct experience of] Allah (Exalted is He) is very hard, and patience in bearing with Allah [sabr ma’a ‘llah] is even more difficult.
“The patient pauper is worthier than the grateful rich man, and the grateful pauper is worthier than either. As for the pauper who is both patient and thankful, he is worthier than any of them.
“No one courts misfortune, with the exception of him who knows its spiritual reward.”