Pitfalls of the Path

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Ahmad az-Zarruq (q.s.) wrote in Foundations of the Spiritual Path, “The pitfall of seeking knowledge is the company of sophomoric people, whether due to their age, intellect, or deficient religious practice - in other words, those who do not refer to sound principles of guidance in their actions.  The pitfall of keeping company with the spiritual guides and the fraternity is elitism, deception, and self-righteous meddling in the affairs of others.  The pitfall of foregoing dispensations and interpretations concerning injunctions is self-pity due to hardships.  The pitfall of organising one’s time with devotional works is ostentatious practice and ritualised perfunctory devotion.  The pitfall of constantly suspecting the selfish soul is inclining towards its upright states and goodliness.”

Allah (s.w.t.) Says:

…if it offered every ransom, (or reparation), none will be accepted… (Surah al-An’am:70)

Moreover, the noble son of the noble one, Joseph (a.s.) the son of Jacob (a.s.) said, in the Qur’an:

“Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human soul) certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do Bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Surah Yusuf:53)

The foundations of what will cure the sickness of the soul are five.  They are moderation achieved by lightening the stomach’s intake of food and drink, taking Refuge in Allah (s.w.t.) from harm when it actually occurs, vigilantly avoiding places where one fears misdeeds will occur, continually asking Forgiveness of Allah (s.w.t.) coupled with devotional prayers upon the Prophet (s.a.w.) in both solitude and gatherings of people, and keeping company with one who guides to Allah (s.w.t.).


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