Book of Wisdoms - al-Hikam al-‘Ata'iyyaNuh Ha Mim Keller
Infinitude is the native land from whence Allah has created the soul, thensummoned it again upon the tongue of His messengers (Allah bless them andgive them peace) from its exile. This is the first of a series of articles theinterpreter has been asked to write on "traditional Islamic spirituality," a sciencethat deals with answering this summons, lifting the heart from the narrowness of the self to the limitlessness of the knowledge and love of the Divine.People have spoken and written much about Sufism, as the discipline is known, but these articles shall endeavor to understand it in its own context by translating, Allah willing, Ibn ‘Ata' Illah’s famous Book of Wisdoms (al-Hikamal-‘Ata'iyya), a classical manual of spiritual development, together with somecommentary on it. One either has a tariqa and a sheikh or one does not, and Ibn‘Ata' Illah is writing without apology for those who do, although the insights heraises may interest many others.The interpreter conveys this knowledge by the authorization of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri, from Muhammad Sa‘id al-Kurdi, from Muhammad al-Hashimi, from Ahmad al-‘Alawi, from Muhammad al-Buzidi, from MuhammadQaddur al-Wakili, from Abu Ya‘za al-Mahaji and Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Qadir,from al-Arabi al-Darqawi, from ‘Ali al-Jamal, from al-‘Arabi ibn ‘Abdullah, from Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah, from Qasim al-Khassasi, from Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah,from ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Fasi, from Yusuf al-Fasi, from ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Majdhub, from ‘Ali al-Sanhaji al-Dawwar, from Ibrahim al-Fahham, from AhmadZarruq, from Ahmad al-Hadrami, from Yahya al-Qadiri, from ‘Ali ibn Wafa, fromMuhammad Wafa Bahr al-Safa, from Dawud al-Bakhili, from Ibn ‘Ata' Illah al-Iskandari the author of the work (Allah be well pleased with them all of them), who says:1. One of the signs of relying on deeds is loss of hope when a misstep occurs.The sheikh begins his book with this key aphorism because it is of the adab or"proper way" of travelling the spiritual path to focus upon tawhid or the "DivineOneness," in this context meaning to rely upon Allah, not on works, since"Allah created you and that which you do" (Qur’an 37:96).The method of the spiritual ascent is threefold, consisting of knowledge (‘ilm),practice (‘amal), and the resultant state (hal) bestowed by Allah. Knowledge heremeans everything conveyed to us by the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and givehim peace), which is the content of the Sacred Law or shari‘a. The practice of thisknowledge, inwardly and outwardly, with heart and limbs, is the spiritual path ortariqa. The resultant state, Allah’s drawing near to the heart that thus draws nearto Him, is the dawning of the Divine Presence upon the soul, termed by Sufis"ultimate reality" or haqiqa.