Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Prophet (s.a.w.) Never Circumcised His Daughters

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Prophet (s.a.w.) never circumcised any of his daughters.  Whoever says it is a sunnah is greatly mistaken.

Hajj Malcolm X (r.a.) on His Credentials

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Hajj Malcolm X (r.a.) said, “I am not educated nor am I an expert in any particular field.  But I am sincere and my sincerity is my credentials.”

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) on True Fasting

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) said, “The fasting prescribed by the religion is to abstain from eating and drinking and sexual intercourse from dawn to sunset, while spiritual fasting is, in addition, to protect all the senses and thoughts from all that is unlawful.  It is to abandon all that is disharmonious, inwardly as well as outwardly.  The slightest breach of that intention breaks the fast.  Religious fasting is limited by time, while spiritual fasting is forever and lasts throughout one’s temporal and eternal life.  This is true fasting.”

Shaykh ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.): Fasting is Negation

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

As Shaykh ibn ‘Arabi (q.s.) wrote, in his Futuhat al-Makiyyah, in reality, fasting is non-action, not action.  The negation of likeness is a negative attribute.  Therefore, the relationship between it and Allah (s.w.t.) is strengthened.  Allah (s.w.t.) Says about Himself:

… there is nothing whatever like unto Him ... (Surah ash-Shura’:11)

He denied that there is anything like Him and so there is nothing like Him by logical proofs and by the shari’ah.  Imam an-Nasa’i (r.a.) related that Abu Umamah (r.a.) said, “I came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) and asked, ‘Give me something that I can take from you.’

He replied, ‘You must fast.  There is nothing like it.’”  He denied that it was like any of the acts of worship which are prescribed for the servants of Allah (s.w.t.).

Anyone who recognises that it is a negative attribute, since it consists of abandoning things which break it, knows absolutely that there is nothing like it since it has no source which is described by understood existence.  This is why Allah (s.w.t.) Said, “The fast is Mine.” In reality, it is neither worship nor action.  It is permissible to apply the name ‘action’ to it, as the application of the expression ‘existent’ can be applied to Allah (s.w.t.).  We understand that it is Allowed although the ascription of existence to He Whose Existence is the same as His Essence is not like the ascription of existence to us.

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.): Perfumes, Incense, Kohl & Enemas Do Not Break the Fast

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) said, “Smelling perfumes does not harm the fast.”  Expanding upon the subject, he says, “As for kohl injections, drops dropped into the urethra, enemas for medicinal purposes, and treatment for brain and stomach injuries, there is some dispute among the scholars.  Some say that none of these break the fast, some say that all except kohl would break the fast, while others say all except the drops break the fast, or that the kohl or drops do not break the fast but that the rest do.”

Shaykh ibn Taymiyyah (r.a.) continued, “The first opinion on this question is preferred.  The most apparent conclusion is that none of them break the fast.  The fast is part of the religion of Islam.  Both the layman and specialist must be knowledgeable about it.  If the preceding actions were forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w.) to the fasting person because they would ruin the fast, then it would have been obligatory upon the Messenger to clarify that fact.  If he had done so, his companions would have known about it and would have passed it on to the rest of the Muslims.  Since no one has related that from the Prophet, neither with an authentic or a weak hadits, nor in mursal or musnad form then it must be the case that such acts do not void,” referring to the fast.

He also said, “If the ruling is one that would affect everyone or everyday matters, then the Prophet (s.a.w.) would have clarified it to a general audience.  It is well-known that kohl was in common use as were oils, washing, incense, and perfume.  If they broke the fast, the Prophet (s.a.w.) would have mentioned them, as he mentioned other things.  Since he did not do so, they belong to the class of perfumes, incense, and dyes.  Incense goes through the nose and enters the head and lands on the body.  Dyes or oils are absorbed by the skin and the body is refreshed by it.  The case of perfumes is similar.  Since these have not been prohibited to the fasting person, it points to the fact that using them is permissible for the fasting person and so is kohl.”

ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.): The Inevitable Does Not Break the Fast

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Those things which one could not protect one’s self from, such as swallowing one’s saliva, the dust of the road, sifting flour and so on are all overlooked.  These are inevitable and unavoidable.  ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) ruled that there is no problem with tasting liquid food or something one wishes to purchase.  This is so since the intention is not to break the fast.

Muslim Organisations Should Not Make a Spectacle of Zakat Distribution

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

When people come to collect the zakat that is rightly due to them, Muslim organisations should not make a show of giving to them what was already their Due by Allah (s.w.t.).  It borders on shirk to have ministers and guests of honour, cameras and an entire event planned to enhance the ones who give and humiliate the ones who receive.

This is what Muslim organisations and groups do every year, especially in Ramadhan.  They give out a pittance, and then they take photographs and plaster it on the media, volunteers put it on their social media accounts, and they all think they have done some good.  When people are in a state of need, would they want the world to know that they are in that state?  This is shameful behaviour.

O ye who believe!  Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury ― like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day.  They are, in parable, like a hard, barren rock, on which is a little soil; on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (just) a bare stone.  They will be able to do nothing with aught they have earned. And Allah guideth not those who reject faith. (Surah al-Baqarah:264)

‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on Giivng Little in Charity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) said, “Do not feel ashamed when giving little for charity; that is because there is always goodness in giving, no matter how little.”

Imam ‘Abdullah al-Haddad (q.s.) on the Key to Sincerity

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ‘Abdullah al-Haddad (q.s.) said, “The key to sincerity is qiyam al-layl, because only the sincere wake and stand when others are lying asleep.”

The Passing of Imam 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (q.s.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam ibn al-Mubarak (q.s.) passed away in Hit, returning from a naval expedition and was buried in Hit in Ramadhan in 181 AH.  Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) said that he was born in 118 AH.  When he was near death, he told Naswr, his servant, “Put my head on the earth.”  Naswr wept.  He asked, “Why do you weep?”

Naswr said, “I remember what you had in it of blessing and now you are dying a stranger and a pauper.”

Imam ibn al-Mubarak (q.s.) told him, “Be quiet.  I asked Allah to Let me live the life of the rich and to Make me die the death of the poor.”  Then he said, “Put me down and do not address me again unless I speak again.  Put me down so that it is my last words.”

‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) on Receiving the Needy

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

‘Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.) said, “When the poor and needy come to you, then know that it is a Gift from your Lord.”

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.): Spending the Treasures of the World

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) said, “If I were given the treasures of the world, I would spend it all on feeding the poor.”

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.): Do Not Turn Away the Beggar

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (q.s.) said, “Comfort the poor with something from your possessions.  Do not turn away a beggar, when you are capable of giving him something, be it a little or much.  Concur with the Lord of Truth in His Love of giving, and be grateful to Him for how He has Equipped you and Enabled you to give.  Woe unto you!  The beggar is the Gift of Allah and you are capable of giving to him, so how can you send the gift back to its Giver?  In my presence, you listen and shed tears, but when the poor person comes along, your heart turns hard.  This goes to show that your tears and your attention were not sincerely for Allah.”

‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) on Zakat

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (k.w.) said, “Of the most meritorious acts of a believer, and one of the most acceptable things to Allah is zakat.  It behooves everyone to give charity, because from amongst the acts of worship, this is the most pleasing to Allah.”

Shaykh Najm ad-Din Kubra’ (q.s.): The 22 Benefits of Fasting

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh Najm ad-Din Kubra’ (q.s.) wrote a booklet, “The Treatise of the Bewildered, Ecstatic Traveller.”  It is a short Sufi text on spiritual practice of which the part dealing with fasting will be shown.  The shaykh made it clear that fasting has 22 benefits.

It is resemblance to spiritual beings, because they eat nothing of what we eat.

It is the restraining of the ego, which incites towards evil, being, thus the enemy of Allah (s.w.t.).

It is the obtaining of a distinction as, “The fasting is for My Sake and I Reward it.”

It is the receipt of a Recompense without end as:

… “Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!” (Surah az-Zumar:10)

It is the purification of the sins of the ego.

It is the washing away of the dust of the ego from the tablet of the spirit, so that the inscriptions of the inner sciences may appear, as:

Truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it! (Surah ash-Shams:9-10)

It is the ability of no longer seeing by means of the eyes of the heart of roads which imply a detour, because when we get hungry the arrogance, which can be found in the eye of our heart may take a leave.

When we are fasting, we close off the roads to Satan.  These roads are the veins in our body and the demon moves about in the veins and skin.

It provides a shield against the demon and against Hell as “fasting is a shield.”

Our name gets Inscribed in the list of the sincere ones, as fasting is an act of devotion in which hypocrisy and showing off have no place.

It gives us an understanding of the suffering of the hungry and thus being able to treat them with compassion and mercy.

It gives us two joys, as “the one who is fasting has two joys: one when breaking the fast and the other when meeting with one's Lord.”  This means there is one joy when we break the fast, not because of the prospect of eating bread, but because of having fasted for a day for the sake of the Satisfaction of Allah (s.w.t.) so that on the Day of Resurrection He will Offer Provision.  The other joy is the Vision of Allah (s.w.t.) on the Day of Resurrection.

It gives us a healthy body.

It empties the worst of containers, because “there is no worse container than your belly.”

It has to do with deserving of trust, because fasting is the Trust of Allah (s.w.t.) as no one is Aware of the faster except Allah (s.w.t.).

It has to do with keeping our promise, because when we express our intention to fast, then this is a promise we make to Allah (s.w.t.).

It will give us the rank of trust, because if, “you do a voluntary fast, then you are in command of your soul.”

It will give us something good in our account: if we complete the fast then 100 percent good is written in our account and if it is not completed, we still can add 10 percent.

It has been promised by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) that “the intention of the believer is more perfect than his acts”.  If the action is so excellent that when we complete it with sincerity, then we can write 100 percent, nevertheless there is still the danger that when hypocrisy and showing off enter, our fasting will just be in vain.  But with a pure intention, this is not the case, because our intention is an act of our heart.

Angels are unaware hereof.  Other human beings are also unable to perceive our intention.  Thus, there is no room for hypocrisy and showing off.

It helps us to avoid silly and foolish speech.  “A futility is not counted against a faster after his next prayer” is a promise of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).

No matter what, if we are fasting, we receive the Help of Allah (s.w.t.), because:

Nay seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer ... (Surah al-Baqarah:45)


O ye who believe!  Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. (Surah al-Baqarah:153)

Inner Dimensions of Fasting according to the Jistiyyah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh al-Ishraq (q.s.) wrote, “The visionary will understand the implication completely, learning much from a few hints.  He will have patience to be resolute in all matters, the secret of this patience being entrusted to the one who holds the authority to teach the book.  He will be characterised by Nearness to Allah (s.w.t.), a spare diet and little sleep, supplication to Allah (s.w.t.) to Ease the Path for him and a heart made refined by refined thoughts.”

The real fast, according to the Jistiyyah, is the renunciation of all religious and worldly desires.  The desire of Paradise, and of worldly wealth and position should be avoided.  The love of anyone else except Allah (s.w.t.) and the desire for Paradise are the things, which break the fast.  The people who keep the fast abstain from eating and drinking.  But this is not the real fast.  It is an unreal fast.  Such a fast does not imply the renunciation of things other than Allah (s.w.t.).  The idea of self continues to dominate.  Such a fast has this much of utility that an individual comes to realise the pangs of hunger and thirst of other people, thus enabling him to extend his sympathy to the sufferers.

Shah Wali’ullah (q.s.) of Delhi discussed the inner dimensions of the fast.  He told us, ‘When a person tries to subjugate the lower soul and eliminate its bad qualities, his act will take on a sanctified form in the World of Images.  Among the purest of the gnostics is the one who concentrates on this form, for he is furnished with knowledge from the unseen world and achieves union with the Divine Essence because of transcendence and sanctification.  This is the meaning of ‘Fasting is done for My Sake and I Reward it.’’”

Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ath-Tha’i (q.s.) on the Signs of Laylat al-Qadr

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The father of Shaykh ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.), Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ath-Tha’i (q.s.), informed him about special signs by means of which one could recognise the blessed night.  One of these signs is mentioned in the Futuhat al-Makkiyyah: “The dawn at the end of the Night of Power is not from the light of the sun.  It is the light of the Night of Power itself, which manifests in the body of the sun, just as with the light of the moon.”  He continued, “Thus, as the Night of Power effaces the rays of the sun, the sun remains like the moon, shining on things and giving light without rays.”

The shaykh wrote this poem:

“Each moment I behold You is my Night of Power,
While that which for mankind in the month of Ramadhan
Is better than a thousand months.
Verily I, I am better than that without any time!
Its graciousness depends on me, while my own grace
Belongs to Him Who Made me in His Image.”

Shaykh ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.) on Calculating Laylat al-Qadr

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

There is a special night in Ramadhan, a night which is blessed as it is the night of the descending of the Qur’an.  It is called the ‘Night of Power’.  There are different opinions about the exact date of the Night of Power.  Some people point to the 27th of Ramadhan.  Imam Abu Hanifah (r.a.) also referred to a tradition that the Night moves through the year.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) wanted to tell the community about the exact day of the Night of Power, but this knowledge was taken away.  According to the collector of traditions. Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.), the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Seek it on the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan.”

So, it is hidden, like the friend of Allah (s.w.t.) is hidden in order that we respect all people.  It is up to the aspirant to be alert and awake to its coming.  According to Shaykh Sulayman ‘Atha’ (q.s.), a murid of Shaykh Ahmad al-Yasawi (q.s.), we should, “treat everyone you meet as Khidhr (a.s.) and every night as the Night of Power.”

Shaykh ibn al-‘Arabi (q.s.) stated, “If the first of Ramadhan falls on a Monday, then it may be expected on either the 23rd night or the 19th.”  Likewise, he said thus:

1st Ramadhan = Tuesday: 29th or 25th.
1st Ramadhan = Wednesday: 21st or 17th.
1st Ramadhan = Thursday: 27th or 23rd.
1st Ramadhan = Friday: if the first day of any month other than Ramadhan falls on a Friday, then the blessed night will be either the 15th night or the 19th of that month.
1st Ramadhan = Saturday: 25th or 21st.
1st Ramadhan = Sunday: if the first day of any month other than Ramadhan falls on a Sunday, then the blessed night will be either the 17th night or the 13th of that month.

Imam Abu al-Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.) on the Fasting of the Elect

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh Abu al-Layts as-Samarqandi (r.a.) spoke about the fasting of the Elect: “if you want to fast like Jesus (a.s.), then know that he would fast all the time and lived on nothing but barley.”  He continued, “If, however you want to fast as his mother, Mary (a.s.) did, then know that she used to fast for two days at a time and then eat for two days.  The fast of David (a.s.) consisted of fasting one day for 24 hours and breaking it the next day by a day in which he took food and drank.”

Consolation for the Trials of Fasting

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Fasting is at times quite difficult, but a Jisti pir made it clear that it is supposed to be difficult.  This poem may, however, offer some consolation:

“I asked the True God to Guide me,
Because of His Knowledge of me and of Himself,
So once again He Gave me life.
When I am hungry, God Feeds me
And when I am thirsty, He Pours for me
And when I am weak, He Helps me
And when I am ill, He Cures me.”

Shaykh Sharaf ad-Din al-Maniri (q.s.) on Fasting

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh Sharaf ad-Din Ahmad Yahya al-Maniri (q.s.) was known as Makhdum al-Mulk, “Spiritual Master of the Realm”.  When we read his teachings, we immediately notice that he wrote with authority, based on his personal experience.  This Sufi from India had written a letter to his disciple Qadhi Shams ad-Din (q.s.) about fasting, his “The Hundred Letters”:

“In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate!

Brother Shams ad-Din, masters of Truth and Sincerity have said, ‘Bodily strength depends on food and drink, whereas spiritual strength depends on going hungry and thirsty.  In Allah’s (s.w.t.) Domain, hunger is a Divine Food’.  It has been said that one of the qualities of the Almighty is this:

“… And He is that Feedeth but is not fed.” … (Surah al-An’am:14)

If a servant becomes distinguished in this practice, then according to the consensus of the wise, he progresses on the carpet of proximity to Allah (s.w.t.).  He becomes far removed from the human condition.  When somebody fasts in accordance with the order “Make your actions like those of Allah (s.w.t.),” then he or she, too, is able to feed others.  In this manner, he or she will approximate the Qualities of the Beloved.  He or she will dissociate himself or herself from human qualities and become Honoured and Greatly Enriched in Him, just as the Lord of the worlds has said, ‘The one who fasts experiences a twofold joy: the breaking of the fast and the seeing of Allah (s.w.t.).’

What is the delight of breaking the fast?  This body of ours is composed of many dispositions.  The seeker is like a mounted gentleman who is travelling along the road that leads to the Friend.  ‘In order to see Him, fast!’ is the Command that gives the seeker his cue as to how to reach his Lord.  So, he fasts from food and drink, while traversing the distance of:

That to thy Lord is the final Goal; (Surah an-Najm:42)

At the end of the day’s journey, when the time for the evening prayer arrives, the horse is brought to a standstill.  When it receives some alfalfa and water with which to break its fast, then it becomes for the rider the source of his strength.  Such delight is suffused throughout his being that, in comparison to it, all other joys become grief and trouble.

The second delight will never be grasped through explanations.  It is something that has to be experienced: ‘Whoever does not taste something understands nothing about it!’  ‘There are 70,000 curtains that Veil Allah (s.w.t.).  If even one of them is lifted, the rays of His face would consume the intruder.  No eye can see Him!’  In the stage of the veil of light, everything is consumed.  Who can describe it all?  This is the meaning of, ‘It is frivolous to talk about what is obvious!’

A certain Sufi shaykh saw Khwaja Ma’ruf Karkhi (q.s.) engrossed in contemplation.  He was standing beneath the Divine Throne, singing Allah’s (s.w.t.) praise in the abundance of his gratitude.

A Query came from the Lord of the angels, ‘Who is this?’ though He Knew him very well.

One of the angels said, ‘O Allah, this is Your distinguished servant!’

Allah (s.w.t.) Said, ‘My servant, Ma’ruf Karkhi is intoxicated with the wine of My Love.  No one can recuperate from love of Me except by seeing Me!’

This was also the meaning of what the Lord of the Law Said, ‘Make your bellies hungry, your livers thirsty and your bodies hungry, that perhaps you might see Allah (s.w.t.) in this world.’

It is said, ‘He who has seen, has arrived.’  And whosoever has arrived at Allah (s.w.t.) Himself has passed beyond the stage of transience of things and even beyond that of permanence.  He has been consumed in adoration of the Divine Face.

… “Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished ...” (Surah al-Isra’:81)

Every person who has attained this stage and attempts to describe it says, ‘I am simply one of those who have lost their way!’  Whoever in this state casts his glance towards Him will simply be called ‘one of the blind.’  A respected poet has said:

‘A lover disclosed the secret of the Absolute …
And quivered as he proclaimed: ‘I am the Truth.’’

It has been written in the Kashf al-Mahjub, “The Unveiling of the Veiled”, that hunger afflicts the body, purifies the heart, inflames the soul with love, and leads the mind to meet Allah (s.w.t.).  Since:

‘The heart finds purity
The soul love,
And the mind meeting.’

What harm is there if the body must suffer?  The Prophet (s.a.w.) also hinted at this when he said, ‘Every work of man will receive a Reward that gradually increases, until it is seventy-fold.  But a fast that is undertaken for the sake of Allah (s.w.t.) will be Rewarded by Him.’  It has been said that the people of Arabia describe virtues and desire to be possessed of them.  Imagine that someone was told that a dog could not approach the door of this Wealth, let alone be with the King of the world!  The one who fasts, is Promised, ‘You are Mine!’ and, ‘I Am your Reward!’  And again, ‘Your Reward is to see My Face!’  Those slain by love are Promised, ‘Whoever My Love kills, is Ransomed by a Vision of Me!’

O brother, know the value of what happens when the heart is purified from its murky state and transported from brutish darkness to the seven heavens where the secret meeting is effected by means of fasting!

The practice of fasting is highly esteemed by the Sufis.  Whenever they wish to hear the Word of Allah (s.w.t.) in their hearts, they go hungry for forty days.  After thirty days have passed, they clean their teeth.  It is necessary for them to go hungry for ten more days.  Assuredly, the Lord will Speak to them in their hearts, because whatever may be Revealed openly to the prophets can only be Hinted at secretly to the friends of Allah (s.w.t.).

A shaykh has said, ‘A disciple should have three qualities: unless you are overcome by drowsiness, you should not sleep, unless urged by necessity, you should refrain from speaking, and unless you are starving, you should not eat.’  For some, two days and nights are enough; for still others, a week; and some may need a full forty days.

O brother, when you are Filled with His Bounty and a table is laid out with His Grace, then abstention from eating is not to prolong the Pleasure of His Grace, but to find Him in His Treasury, as the Beloved.  The cycle of eating requires preoccupation with the self and anyone who is preoccupied with himself or herself becomes hidden from the Beloved.  Refraining from eating while sitting on the Carpet of the Lord is better than eating in a palace with Him absent or hidden.  In short, a human being should do as much as he or she can.

One Sufi observed, ‘This world is but a day in duration, and what is difficult about fasting for one day?’

Someone else has said, ‘Make a fast from this world and break it with death!’

A human being is the purest of all creatures.  His works are full of secrets.  They cannot be considered trivial.  Heaven and Earth, Throne and Footstool, Paradise and Hell, are simply like uninvited guests accompanying him or her to a feast.  This is their very purpose!  Yet in accordance with the Divine Command, a person should proceed beyond these stages.  When His Glance Falls upon these occurrences, then one will encounter, at each stage, a Gift from His Bounty so that, when the friends arrive, they can take possession of their own good fortune and the share allotted to them.  They say, ‘Stretch out your hand towards the Favour we enjoyed from eternity and towards the Bliss we knew before the time of dust and clay.’

‘O dust and clay!  O casket of profound secrets!  O unclean dust!  O friend and servant, do not imagine that My Saying concerning you is simply for the present moment.  Before the world existed, before even Adam appeared, My Saying Concerning you Existed; it Existed even when you did not!  My link with man is through an ancient Favour I Bestowed upon him.’

One day a man came to the caliph, but the caliph did not recognise him.  He asked, ‘Who are you?’

The man replied, ‘I am the man you honoured in such and such a year.’

The caliph replied, ‘I welcome you, for you have made my favour a link between you and I.’  He commanded that a robe of honour be brought out and presented to that man.

‘If You Water, it is Your own plant that is Nourished!
If You Crush, it is the work of Your Own Hand that Suffers!
I am a servant of the type that You Know Well:
Do not Throw me away, for it is You Who have Sustained me!