Contentment with the Decree of Destiny

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s (q.s.), “Pearls of the Heart, Second Discourse.”

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s (q.s.) said, “O my young brother, traveller on the path of the Truth!  Once you have leaned on the cushion of patience, girded yourself with the sword of contentment, and waited with complete conviction for the moments that give happiness and joy, you must go to sleep without any hesitation, with the understanding of a worshipful servant, beneath the gutter of destiny!

If you succeed in attaining to this degree, then, from His Abundant Generosity and His Gracious Favour, Allah (s.w.t.), the One Who Predestines everything and absolutely never errs in His Predestination, will Pour Down upon you, things you could not have asked for and could not even have desired.

O my brother, candidate for everlasting bliss!  When a sickness befalls you and comes to pay you a visit, you must greet it with the respectful hospitality of patience.  Until the remedy for it is found, you must stay calm and hopeful.  Then, when the cure is found, you must greet it with the hand of thankfulness.  You must not forget for an instant that Allah (s.w.t.) is the One Who really Gives Healing.  Once you have climbed to the level of being in this spiritual state, you will have attained to the right way of dealing with a transitory life.

Yes indeed, O my brother!  In relation to things that are Foreordained by the Lord of Truth, there must be surrender to Him Alone.  Then, you must stand up together with Him [in the sense that your movements must be Designed to earn His Good Pleasure].  Everything needs a foundation, then an organisation and a construction.  You must understand this wisdom well, and persist in this by night and by day, at almost every moment.

O pauper, I am speaking to you!  To long for wealth that will make you conceited and forgetful of the Lord of Truth, that can become the cause of your perdition.  You too, O my sick brother!  You must not wish for a fruitless wellbeing, and you must never forget that Allah (s.w.t.) is the One Who Provides the real well-being, for you will otherwise suffer ruination.  [If well-being is devoid of any spiritual values, it is the riding beast of the lower self and carnal lust, so do not mount such a beast and ride on your desire!]

Make good use of your intelligence!  You must take proper care of the fruits of faith, so that your conduct may be worthy of praise.  You must experience contentment with the quantity Given to you from the stores of sustenance, by the Gracious Favour of the Lord of Truth.  In full awareness of where it comes from, you must not wish for more, since anything that the Lord of Truth (s.w.t.) has Given or will Give to you, if it is Given because of a host of unconscious wishes, can result in sorrow and grief.  Yes indeed, I have experienced this very many times.  Before he makes a wish, the servant should wait for Permission to make it with his heart; that is to say, he must receive a spiritual Signal to this effect.  When such a Signal and Command occurs, only then is the servant worthy of Blessing in the things he seeks, and sorrows are banished from him.

Let us hope that most of your requests are worthy and beneficial, and that your wish may always be acceptable in this world and the Hereafter.  You must be content with this and let it suffice you.  Do not relate to Allah (s.w.t.) like a spoiled child in the rude state of confused uncertainty [left free to choose one of two things].  A bullying attitude toward Allah (s.w.t.) will eventually destroy you.  You must not adopt a forceful attitude toward Allah (s.w.t.) and His creatures, by wielding your youth, your strength, your wealth and your property, because He is the One Who Grips you, Twists you and Turns you with Mighty Power.

As you must not forget, if you adopt such an attitude toward Him, His Treatment of you will be very painful and severe.  Beware, beware!  Do not quarrel with anyone over things that should be appreciated, because these things are made available to you at one time, but at another time they leave your hand and go away.  When that time comes, you will be devastated by the sadness of losing your Blessing.  You will fall head over heels from the level you have reached, and be left in a state of shame and disgrace.  How can your quarreling, brawling and squabbling be any substitute for the feeling preferred by the Lord of Truth (s.w.t.)?  This is quite impossible.  Where the Provision of Sustenance is concerned, whatever the Knowledge and Foreordainment of the Lord of Truth (s.w.t.) may be, that is how it has been Decreed in Sempiternity.  This being so, if you quarrel about the Sempiternal Knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.), with regard to yourself or someone else, you will fall from the sight of His Mercy, and you will sink into lower and lower degradation.  Your knowledge will have given you no benefit in the end, because it had given you no benefit at the beginning.  Allah (s.w.t.) refers to this in His Saying:

And some faces, that Day, will be sad and dismal, in the thought that some back-breaking calamity was about to be Inflicted on them. (Surah al-Qiyamah:24-25)

When your knowledge has not given you any benefit, you must repent to Allah (s.w.t.) at once.  The boat of the heart must be moved in the tears of the eye, so that it may be firmly moored.  Intelligent is he who finds the way to escape from quarreling.  He is content with the feeling Preferred by Allah (s.w.t.), and he does not reach out toward the feeling of any other.

You must wait with patience for the affliction He has Sent Down upon you to be Removed.  Beware of losing all hope!  In the wake of every distress, there is delight.  Allah (s.w.t.) is every day about some awesome business.  To one set of people after another, He Presents different situations.  In this alteration you must be together with Him, never abandon your patience, and always be content with His Predestination.  That is because you cannot know what to expect, and you may suddenly notice that Allah (s.w.t.) is Bringing a brand-new situation into view.

In keeping with your patient endurance, He will Remove the affliction from you and Replace it, Providing you, instead, with something you will dearly love.  You will thus begin to love Him, and He will begin to Love you.  However, if you complain about the affliction when it comes, and if you turn your face away from the Lord of Truth (s.w.t.), the affliction will weigh upon you with increasing heaviness, and your Punishment will, thereby, be Increased.  Because of your turning your face away from Allah (s.w.t.), and because of your quarreling with Him, you become submissive to many of the unlawful desires of your lower self, comply with that lower self, pursue your personal interests, love this world and greedily seek to amass what it has to offer.

O my young brother!  You must give up wishing for things, whether or not they are Allotted by destiny.  That is because your wishing for something that has been Allotted yields nothing but an unnecessary weariness.  As for your wishing for something that has not been allotted, that yields nothing but anger and disappointment.  This is why the Prophet (s.a.w.) once said, ‘Among the punishments Inflicted by Allah (s.w.t.) upon His servant, one is the search for what has not been allotted to him by destiny.’

O my brother, wishing to learn the Truth!  You must not complain to those Created by the Creator.  You must address your complaint to the Master Who has Power over everything, not to any other.  Among the inexhaustible treasures of real goodness and beauty, one is concealment of secrets, misfortunes, sickness and charitable giving.  While making a charitable gift with your right hand, you must be very careful not to let your left hand know about this.

One day, in my dream, a man asked me, ‘What conduct brings the human being near to Allah?’

To this I replied, ‘There is a beginning to this, and there is also an end,  As for its beginning, it is being virtuous and guarding against things that are unlawful and dubious. As for its end, it is contentment, surrender and absolute trust.’”


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