Shaykh 'Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) on Zuhd

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani’s (q.s.) Jila’ al-Khathir.

Abstinence, zuhd, is what gives comfort to the hearts of obedient abstainers.  The burden of abstinence is borne by the physical constitution.  The burden of intimate knowledge, ma’rifah, is borne by the heart.  The burden of nearness to the Lord is borne by the innermost being, sirr.  Be abstinent, be satisfied, and be grateful.  Be pleased with your Lord, and do not be pleased with yourself.  Think well of other people.  Give up thinking the worst of other people, and do not hold a high opinion of yourself.  Refrain from gratifying the desires of the flesh, for the effects of such restraint are healing and purifying to the heart.  To satisfy one’s appetite for lawful food is quite enough to blur the perception of the heart and render it intoxicated, so how about the influence of food that is actually unlawful?  This explains the following saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.), “The right diet is the main part of all medical treatment,” “al-‘imya ra’su ad-dawa’.”

You must accustom every physical body to what is normal for it, since in these three Arabic words the Prophet (s.a.w.) was making a collective statement applicable to all bodies.  Gluttony extinguishes perspicacity, the lamp of wisdom, miswbah al-hikmah, and the light of sainthood, nur al-wilayah.  As long as you are still attached to this world and to your fellow creatures, you must keep to the proper diet, because you are in the hospital.  But once your heart has attained to the Lord of Truth, the matter will be in His Hands.  He will Take Charge of you completely, while you will be out of a job.  How could He fail to take you into His Care, when you have become worthy of Him?  As He has Said:

“For my Protector is Allah, Who Revealed the Book, (from time to time) and He will Choose and Befriend the righteous. (Surah al-A’araf:196)


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