Monday, November 22, 2010


Alhamdulillah, tonight we completed Chapter VII of Al-Hikam by Ibn 'Ata'illah. The major themes in this chapter deals with raising the himma, being grateful for blessings, having good adab in service, and the resolve to move from constant service to love and gnosis. When Allah wants to choose a slave for His gnosis and to move him from the toil of His service, He strengthens him by divine waridat which attract him to the Presence of the Lord. They are gifts, not acquisitions obtained by actions or devices.

Chapter VII.

And he said (may Allah be pleased with him!):

60. Were it not for the seeds of ambitious desire [tama‘], the branches of disgrace [aghsan dhull] would not be lofty.

61. Nothings leads you like suspicion [al-wahm].

62. In your despairing, you are a free man [hurr]; but in your coveting, you are a slave [‘abd].

63. Whoever does not draw near to Allah as a result of the caresses of love [mulatafat al-ihsan] is shackled to Him with the chains of misfortune [salasil al-imtihan].

64. Whoever is not thankful for graces [an-ni‘am] runs the risk of losing them, and whoever is thankful fetters them with their own cords.

65. Be fearful lest the existence of His generosity towards you and the permanence of your bad behavior towards Him not lead you step by step to ruin. “We shall lead them to ruin step by step from whence they know not.”

66. It is ignorance on the part of the novice [murid] to act improperly, and then, his punishment being delayed, to say, “If this had been improper conduct, He would have cut off help [imdad] and imposed exile [bi‘ad].” Help [al-madad] could be cut off from him without his being aware of it, if only by blocking its increase [al-mazid]. And it could be that you are made to abide at a distance [al-bu‘d] without your knowing it, if only by His leaving you to do as you like.

67. If you see a servant whom Allah has made to abide in the recitation of litanies [al-awrad] and prolonged His help therein, do not disdain what his Lord has given him on the score that you do not detect the signs of Gnostics [siyamu’l-‘arifin] on him nor the splendor of Allah’s lovers [bahjat al-muhibbin]. For had there not been an inspiration [warid], there would have been no litany [wird].

68. Allah makes some people abide in the service of Him [li-khidmatihi], and He singles out others to love Him [bi-mahabbatihi]. “All do we aid - these as well as those - out of the bounty of thy Lord, and the bounty of thy Lord is not limited.”

... Al-Hikam, ibn 'Ata'illah As-Sakandari

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