Afflictions of the Seekers

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is adapted from Qawa’id at-Taswawwuf by Imam Ahmad az-Zarruq (q.s.).

Imam Abu Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.) said, “My beloved counseled me not to put my feet anywhere except where I hoped for Allah’s Reward, not to sit anywhere except where I was safe from disobedience to Allah, not to accompany anyone except someone in whom I could find support in obedience to Allah, and not to select anyone for myself other than those who increased my certainty, and how rare they are to find!”

He also said “Whoever directs you to this world has cheated you; whoever directs you to deeds has exhausted you; but whoever directs you to Allah has truly counseled you.”

He also said “Make piety your abode, and the delight of your selfish soul will do you no harm so long as it is discontent with its faults and does not persist in acts of disobedience nor abandons the awareness of Allah in solitude.  I say that being content with the self, persisting in disobedient acts, and abandoning awareness of Allah are the foundations of all illnesses, tribulations, and pitfalls.”

The seekers of this age are afflicted with five things: the preference of ignorance over knowledge, being deluded by every spiritual impostor, the inability to prioritise important matters, using the spiritual path as a means to inflate the selfish soul, and attempting to expedite a spiritual opening without fulfilling its prerequisite conditions.

This has resulted in five other afflictions: preferring innovations as opposed to the tried and true sunnah, following the people of claims and conceit as opposed to the truth, acting on capricious desires in all of their affairs, even the most celestial, preferring fantasies to realities, and the manifestation of claims without sincerity.

From these last five, five more have emanated: obsessive compulsive thoughts in acts of devotion, laxity in matters of habitual practice, perfunctory devotional gatherings of invocation and chanting that lack inspiration, inclination toward people of rank and authority, and companionship of those immersed in worldly matters, even mixing with the opposite sex and childish companions, based upon far-fetched rationalisations they extrapolated from witnessing the like among real people of the path.  They will even mention such people’s states and stations as a justification.  On the other hand, had they had true enlightenment, they would have understood that seeking one’s provision is a dispensation for those lacking certainty, and that includes only the necessities of life without exceeding the necessary.  Anyone lax in these matters is distant from Allah (s.w.t.).


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