raphy that have developed over the centuries by the great Muslim of calligraphers. There are plenty of talented and refined artisans the world who find themselves astonishing and magnificent' They

think only of their long training and deceive themselves into thinking,,,Iworked so hard, and I did this all 6y myse|f.'' Similarly, one often finds businessmen truly talented and bold in building busi' ness, bur who admire themselves and extol their financial prowess. Undoubtedll, this invites illness to the heart, for it is God who is
the bestower ofsuccess and talent. Imdm al-Bayhaqi relates a statement to the Prophet & in which he said, "God makes evety maker and what he makes-" In reality' God is the creator of the marvels that people admire and attribute

the source ones who produced these marvels. Realizing that God is

ofall blessings Prevents vanity from entering the heart' A person will always find someone with more talent and more the knowledge. And uldmateLyt Above all tbose wbo baue knowledge is

asked if All-l<nowing,that is, God (quneN , rzt76)' Moses S was once "Yes-" he was the most knowledgeable of people, and he answered Moses


was then told that there was a man who had knowledge

that Moses S did not have. This man was Khidr' who wasn't a prophet, but Moses S, without a trace of vanity, became his student. (The story is told in Surat al-Kahf of the Quran-)

YanitycomesfromtheLatinworduank,whichrneansemptJ' implying that the source of our vanity is void of substance and will
vanish. When

a Caesar triumphed tn a 6atde, the Roman leadet

put on avictory parade, in which the genenl of the battle paraded through the street. Behind him on his chariot a slave would hold a "All is vanity," thus vrctory laurel and whisper in rhe general's ear, reminding th e generalof the perils of vanity' It is part of ancient wisdom to remind people rhat all accomplishments people praise and admire will perish unril no one remembers it. charles Lindbergh, the first pilot to successfully


across the Atlantic, was celebrated


he was considfor his famous flight. Within ten years' however' a Nazi the American government because he was
ered a criminal by


How many times have we seen major cities holding sPorts teams' the huge ebrations for the accomplishments of their glorification? How many parades and the hubris tradition of human
and even loss of life? of these celebrations end up in riots, vandalism, before' during' and What about the urban social morass that exists To celebrate in this way is vintage vanity'

massive cel-

after thecelebrations? one has accomThere is foolishness in having vanity over whar when one is thankful to plished, given its ephemeral nature' But as the source of this goodGod and acknowledges and praises Him our earthly lives and the ness, then the accomplishment outlasts memories of PeoPle.

two matters: God Vanity originates from one's ignorance of Blessings and we human alone is the Fashioner and the Giver of anything without God's will beings are incapable of accomplishing let him or her rememblessings. If one accomplishes something'

with haughtiness' For if ber God and be gtatefal,and not swagger us' When men and we do not humble ourselves, God will humble b ealrty they introduce women are blessed with exceptional outward ' a vanity for it' When the Prophet ffi saw ugliness when they have man-he would make refection of himself-and he was a beautiful my crea' supplicationl "O God' as You have made

the following excellent"' So Imam tion most excellent, make my chatacter most (or prevent it from enter' Mawlud says that to rid onesel f of vanity the fact that all blessings ing one's heatt), refr'ectlong and hard on create any benefit nor are entl:;ely from God and that we cannot
harm without His Permission'



PoEM vERSES r28-29 Fraud is to conceal scme fauli or hartn, either reiigious or uolldLy, even iom one wl-o'. p.:rr of a prorcctcd minoriry

or someone who has a treaty lvith Muslims, Otlrers have int.'rpreted [fraudl ro be the embellisl-rment of something
tl-rat lacks airy reai benefit,

Discussion The next disease is fraud Qhisb in Arabic). It is concealing from people some fault or harm, either of a religious or worldly natureOthers have said that fraud is making something useless or defec' tive seem beneficial or perfect, or making something bad appear to be good. The Prophet $ said, "Whoever defrauds us is not one of
us." Sacred Law forbids selling something without pointing out its


seller conceals defects or fails to disclose them inten-

tionally, this is fraud, whether its victim is a believer or not. The Sophists of ancient Greece loved and Practically wor' shipped rhetoric, They were the first historical relativists, in that
they held the theory that right and wrong do not exist in an objective and transcending sense. Whoever makes the most skilled and
persuasive argument is right. The Sophists believed that the most

important thing is to be convincing, whether one is telling che truth or lying, whether one is defending corruption or upholdingjustice.

This is fraud of the tongue. Rhetoric was also an art form in Islamic literary and oratorical history. But to the Muslim, rhetoric was the art of embellishing the truth and presenting ir persuasively-


PoEM vERSES 13O-)7 diseases' As for the swelling ocean of all of these if yJu come to its shore' you'Il see great I--""t



overflowing' So Its waves and everything else about it are say oFir whar you will wirhour constrarnt' altogether It has two treatments: one ofthem removes it other supPresses it should it manifest *lrttoo, trace. The

cure' remember the To be adorned with the ornament of its upon forbearance and humility praise lavished


in Sacred Law,


well as in rhe poetry an'l prose. of the thar all of the prophets have been qualities' depicted as having both


rhat rhere is no one Repel langerl by perceiving ar irs.ons.e.r anything in realiry excePt rhe Aimlgnry; doing
also by performing ablution

with cold water' keeping silent'

lying down (if one is sitting)
pass by doing these and sitting (if one is standing) ' It will by seeking i"fttg" i" God as was mentioned tft-gt,

in the tradition.



it is a "swelling ocean"' Imdm Mawlud says of the next disease that which aPtly comPares He refers to ghaQab, intense anger or wratb' to hold back once it wich a swelling mass of emotion that is difficult if one reflects is unleashed, Anger is truly an amazirLgphenomenon in human life and character' its peril and
on its nature and Presence

According to a hadith' liability, as well as its utility and necessity' "Wh"t is the worst thing that one a man asked the Prophet @, said' "His wrath"' incurs concerning God?" And the Prophet $

The man asked, "How do we avoid it?" The Prophet S said, "Do not become angry." This statement reveals a fascinating reality in which we live and informs a good portion of the Muslim religious perspective: there is a correlation between what a person does and what he receives from God in kind-a correspondence that our allwise Lord has placed in the workings of creation. If one wishes not to incur the wrath of God, then this person should not be wrathful or angry with people unjustly. Similarly, rhe Prophet @ said that whoever makes one's path to knowledge easy, God will make his or her path to Paradise easy. And whoever covers the shortcomings of his brother, God will cover his shortcomings in the Hereafter. God the All-Wis e placed this special reciprocity in this world. A man asked the Prophet fu,"Gir" rne advice." The Prophet @ said, "Do not become angry." The man asked again, and the Prophet


repeated his advice. For a

tion, and the Prophet S repetition of this counsel stresses the importance of the Prophet's @ admonition about anger. Scholars agree, however, that this hadith does not prohibit anger per se, for even the Messenger of God became angty at times, He once said, "I am a human being and
I become angrylike you." The Prophet's

third time, the man asked the quessaid again, "Do not become angry." The


anger could be seen on

his face. But his anger was always in response to an aberration in human chatacter and behavior offensive to God- So anger is not
negative emotion in and of itself.


is part of the human creation as

our flesh and limbs are. Without anger, there are many things that

would not have been achieved. Anger can be a positive motivator, But there is another side to anger that we must guard against.

If it is not guided to something useful, it

can possess, consume,

and ultimateiy destroy a person- How many times have we seen or heard of a person who ruined his or her life because of a rash act or

How many people do we know who are entirely estranged and avoided because oftheir inability to corral their anger? How many times have people been deeply offended

statement made in afrt. of


and unjustly violated by the anger of another? How many people create oppressive environments because of the fear they instill in

others because of irrational and feral anger? (Mawlana Jalaluddin al-Rami locates the wisdom of the Islamic prohibition of alcohol

in the peril of anger. When people drink, even if they are not visibly inebriated, they become easily angered and belligerent. 'What is mercifully veiled in human beings is exposed when alcohol enters the picture.) According to scholars, like Imam al-Nawawi and others, when the Messenger of God @ said, "Do not become angry," he meant do
not allow anger to lord over oneself and cause the loss of one's com-

portment. In other words, do not become anger, its embodiment, such that people only see your rage. Instead, control anger andnever lose control. Scholars have likened anger to a hunting dogr without trainrng, it will never retrieve what its owner needs nor will it point a person in the right direction. So anger is something that needs to be trained, not abolishe d, fot if people completely suppressed their sense of ang er, rr'any of the injustices of the world would not have been opposed and tytanny would have gone unchecked. Without anger, people #ould go around with complete impunity and commit heinous acts without resistance from the people. Corruption
would cover the face of the earth.

Muslim scholars have identified four essential qualities in human beings, which have been identified in earlier traditions as
well, Imdm al-Ghazaft and Fakhruddin al-Razi adopted them,


Imam Raghib al-Isfahani in his book on ethics. The first of them, accorditgto aL-Ghazelt, is quwati'l''ilm, which is known in Western tradition

the rational soul, the human capacity to learn. The next

is quwati'l-gbaQab, which rnay be called the irascible soul, the caPac'

ity that. relates to human emotion and anger. Quwati'l-shabwa is the third element, known as the concupiscent soul, which is related to appetite and desire. The fourth power is quwati'l-'adl, which harmonizes the previous three powers and keeps them in balance so thar


no one capacity oveftakes and suppfesses the others,

In Western tradition, these capacities correspond to what


cardinal virtues, Muslims call rhem ummahat at-faQa'il.They

are wisdom, courage, ternperance, and justice (fuikna, sbajd'a, 'iffa,

and'adal). When the rarional soul is balanced, the resuh is wisdom.

Whoever is given wisdom has been given much good (quneN, zr 269). Wisdom, according to al-Ghazali, is found in one who is balanced, who is neither a simpleton nor a shrewd, tricky person.


there is


deficit in the rational soul, the result is foolishness. When

the rational soul becomes excessive and inordinately dominanr, rhe

result is trickery and rhe employment of the intellect toward the exploitation of others them.

soul-anger-is under control, when a mean is struck between impetuousness (irrational behavior that people ultimately regret) and cowardice, which is marked
Courage is when the irascible

by fear overriding the anger required to courageously respond to exploitation, oppression, personal threars, and wrongdoing. There
is a middle path between these extremes, as the Prophet @ said, namely, a middle way of wisdom and courage. Temperance ('ffa) is abalance within the concupiscent soul, which is related to appetite and desire- The ignorant, when they see the indigent believers, think they are rich because they have this '{fa, this dignity in their soul (qun,o.N, 2t27})t which causes rhem to abstain from trying to attain wealth through ruse and fraud, but also through begging. Attaining things through illicit means is working frorn a posture of imbalance wrth rcgard to one's desire. It is a suspension or retracrion of balance resulting in defrauding people and, ultimately, one's own soul. This is the irony of giving in to one's base desires, which offers some immediate gratifrcation but harms the soul and dampens its spirituality, The topic of anget is usually tteated as a matter of balance and is closely associated with those deeds and habits that either throw one's balance off or guard it. As it is traditionally understood,



help but touch other asPects imbalance in one tealm of hfe cannot for example, "The worst human behavior. The Prophet S said, of

We understand from vessel the son of Adam fills is his scomach." chatacter and consumption' this that there is a relationship between
a dialogue

desperately wants that the modern marketing mentality frll our stomachs for health conus to discount. lt is oppressive to

connection between excessivesiderarions, but also because ofthe damageit brings about in others' ness in one areaand the corollary

have pointed this out and Muslim scholars throughout our history the Prophet S for proof' for have relied on sound statements of easily satisfied' He recomhe pr.ayedagainst a stomach that is not with food' one-third mended that the stomach be 61led. one-third

with water, and one-thir d fteeis required The same ethic applies with sexual aP1etrte'which

desire-ButifonetransgressesandgoesbeyondwhatispermissiPopular culture has placed ble, this is oppression and wrongdoing' and recklessness' making ir an emphasis on illicit sexual inrimacy relationships between unmarseem normal and acceptable. Sexual lives to each other nor feel ned partners, who neither commit their summit of sexual emotional ties' is made to seem the
any necessary


the most just of

who perfected the balAccording to Imam al'Ghazalt'the one Messenger of God @' for he was ancebetween these forces was the in his behavior' men' The more one emulates him

The way of the Prophet @ was the greaterbalance one will achieve. the middle way, the way of moderation' that it is acceptable With regard to anget'Imam al-Gh azahsays
only atthe right time, in the

place' for the right reasons' and God @ never allowed his with the right intensity' The Messenger of in control of himself' secure' anger toget the best of him- He was cettarnty'Out of the chousands and always in the state of spiritual


of the Prophet's life of reports about the minutest details







has anyone related rhar che Prophet


euer did anyching impru-

dent or rash. Never did he apply his intellectual gifts and prophetic status for anything other than guiding humanity arighr.

Al-Qadi Ibn al-'Arabi, in speaking about cotrrage and the larger
issue of balance, said thatafter the Messenger of God@, no one was

more courageous than Abn Bakr. If one were ro ponder the events

during the life of the Proph et &, k was Abu Bakr who continually
showed up in the Prophet's defense and support, He was pafticuLarly fitm and resolute, the one who did not waver when others

wavered, He was the one who accompanied the Prophet @ in his migration to Madinah. Each of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (Khulafa'
,tl-Rashidtn) embodied one of the aforementioned virrues as his domi-

nant character. '{.Jmar ibn al-Khattab is associated with being par-

ticularly sensitive to justice and fairness- 'Uthman ibn 'Affrn's name is defived from the same Arabic root as 'ffa, which according to Qamas of al-Fayrizabadi, does not only refer to moderation but also to one who is abstinent and chaste, a meaning that is frttingfor 'Uthman. The Prophet @ once said that even the angels were shy before'Uthman because of his modesty. In'Ali ibn Abi Talib, there is extraordinary wisdom or L2:ikma,It is true that these great heroes of Islamic civllization embodied in a particular way one of the four virtues, but they also kept abalance that enshrined the rest. The phrase sirat al-mustaqtm, the straight or upright path, is repeated many times each day by the Muslim worshipper. No phrase better epitomizes the way of life of the Muslim. The word mustaqtm suggests balance. If one deviates from this balanced path, he does so in one of two ways: deficiency in fulfilling one's obligations and excessiveness therein- The concept of monkery, for example, does not receive approbation in Islam as a form of practice. The Quran states that the institution of monasticism was not
prescribed by God (qunarv, 57o7). According to rhe commentarors, the people of monasticism became immoderate in practices that

originated from the desire to gain God's good pleasure. But they


its main nature.of excess and fulfill it' which is the worn were unable to it and becornes either cannot keep up with defect,A person of religion' is antithetical to the Path jao"d' ;;; out or altogethet is not merely a merciful of ;;^"t- Balance'then' the straight Path between a Person shortest distance adherents'-but the device for objectivesis and his or her spiritual cannot exceedwhat of th"''ites of worship The objectiu"' rernoved O::":1"
hunger' natural. Sexual attractiorL'like to do one's benefit to try soul; nor is it to
cannot be
so- Celibacy is

not consid-

are' church licit sexual intimacy Islarn. chastity and ered av\rtaein off normal *no *""t so far as to swear of the n;;;' history tells between a were neatly tabooed that sexual relations desires, such activity of mar' an entitely perfunctoty his wife' It became rnan and wife are not only that a husband and fleecedtf riage 'h" ";;;;ent to exPerience' to have but are encouraged entitled A society that

The usual
starts out with indulgence is similar' rt dleway"be
th e b eli


its antithesiso'"*tessiveness is



featsteof the Islamic i' p'iffi " adhereto. The Quran the n"ti ti"' Muslims


may::* t:t: Puritanical ethics level' the O n an individual



faith thar'the"mrd'
itself calls


leads rnoderation' which


that the her life' It is said throughout his or of the that one c^n catryon justice' while the root is based on stern legal tradition whete eve' Judaic is the idea of unflinchingrnercy Christian pt'"to*""" With Islam-the 6nal be forgiven no matterwhat' the rybody should struck suitable for ;"; tt eatth-abalance is abal' heavenly -"'*"'" face of the earth'
the that have spread across complex societies and and stern justice) ance betwee n ghad'ab(wrath

*;;;i;'"'t "'-:.1:: jil?;;ffi :::':.'"::: to a conslsten(


To take

of rhe law, the Sharl' the spirit of tn" 1"*


-""ii' * ^''::'T"::11;::::::il::"I'i::T: aand the f;aEqa' t
a mercy' down the Sltatf a as is mercy- God sent

p and the Prophet

himself is

the mercy


tlte worlds

(quneN' zttoT)'




soul' with There is an inward and outward state in every human and the outward the inward beingiman(the condition of the faith)

When the berngislam (the manifestation or Practice of the faith)' balance two come together inwardly and outwardly ' the resulting

a mubsin' one is a truly beautiful human being, one generally called is the taker of the whose worship and' chatacter are excellent. This

God for each straight path and what we all strive for and Petition Muslims time we stand in Ptayer. According to Ibn al'Taymiyya' They go the way can deviate by way of gbaQab or by way of rabma' the ignorant of the hair-s plitting, tyrannical scholar or the way of that all is one worshipper, as in extreme Sufism, which concludes of one's cteed' and that everybody is going to Paradise, regardless

one'sdisfigurementofGod'srevelations'andone'soutrightfabrications about God and His nature' spirit The balance is to cling outwardly to the law and cary the i' When of Sufism rnwardly,which is the advice of Imam al-Shaf clemMuslims deal with one another, they should incline toward that the former ency and mercf r not wrath and severity' God says (qunnN' 5l is closer to toqwd (God'consciousness) than the latter is to exact justice' 8). It is a more elevated act' to reprieve than it is no need Imam Raghib al'Isfahant said, "When love exists' there is present and for jastice." What he meant by this is that when love isallowedtoovetrid'eone'sanger,thedemandforretributionisquithe first major tri' eted. If we wefe to look at the emotions behind Prophet the Islamic community after the passing away of the
al of


th.re was a deviation from the spirit of love and cooperationBut 'Ali ibn Mu'awiya demanded just ice for themurder of 'Uthman' because Abi Talib, who had great wisdom, demanded forgiveness rip the rLatrorl apaft' he saw that the demand for retribution would
good opinion of Mu'awiya ' contrary of 'A'isha and to the Shiites. We believe his intentions-like those

Muslims, however, maintain


e pur e\y for the attainment ofjustice-' Ah's position' was actually the according to many Muslim historians and scholars'


w er



mercy and clemency- What higher level of Islam, which is rabmaor hazardin inordinate demands we learn here is that there is a hidden seen how this extreme position for jusdce and retribution' We have above. Extremism' in genetal' can lead to injustice, as pointed out Our early history bears this usually results in the opposite extreme. who rebelled against for 'Ah was a victim of injustice by those


him out of their sense of indignation' religion. A generous The cardinal virtues originally stem from because he is not afraid of person gives from his wealth to others all power and wealth are with losing his power or wealth; he knows the cardinal virtues (or matriGod. A11 further virtues erflanatefrom wisdom (bihma)' Metcy, for example' issues from

of virtues). are wronged requires a recog' since forgiving someone when you and the greatet good in nition of the greatet wisdom in remission

a triune brain because it has ation. The human brain is said to be of the brain is not modthree dominant centers' This observation it' The lowesc brain is known ern, forlmam al-Gh azall mentioned to the evolutionary scheme of as the "R'brain (reptilian according e' mainly for food and sex' things), which is associated with appetit ate cerrtered' which includes The midbrain is where the emotion s is known as the new brain or anger-The third Portion of the brain rational facu\ty resides' When the neo-cortex, which is where the in proportion to one anoththese three centers function ptoperly Such being is said to be functioning in equilibrium.



human creremains an essential quality of the

er, thehuman

likeable. persons are stable and immediately everythingis theoThere are people who are efltireLy cerebtalt suPPresses their abstract to them. Their ration al center

andthe physical needs in the Remotions residing in the midbr ain mainly from their so-called stem. And there arepeople who work higher ethics' and a civil reptilian centers, i*i""'ioot to protocol' unusual to hear someone likenassociation with others' It is noc ro9




ing another's behavior to thac ofa snake, a kind ofslinking preda'

tor, entirely selfish and wholly tenacious in acquiring his


Then there are people who are over|y emotional. They are either very happy or very angry, thelatter of which is the more common
There are basically four reasons people get

a gty, One is relat-

ed to primal needs, such as food, shelter, andlife, When these are

threatened, a normal person feels vulnerable and responds with arlger. If someone threatens one's life or family , the person needs

to respond, This anger is not blameworthy. If humans were inca' pable of a response, we would have a society indifferent to crime and transgression. This would spell doom for human civilization. This is part of the wisdom behind the Quranic commandment to enjoin what is right and forbid what is evil. The second reason is related to position, dignity, and protecting one's honor. Human beings are born with sensors that detect when others try to belittle them or when they ate the object of contempt and scorn. The other side of this is when people view themselves with hubris and manufacture delusions of grandeur. They grow
angry whenthey interpret normal and acceptable behavior towards


as beneath

their dignity.

The third cause of anger is related to specific people and their particvlar sense ofvalues. If, for example, a scholar sees that a book
is being abused, he

will become angry. An illiterate farm hand may

not be vexed about the demise of the book, though he may curse
man who breaks a pitchfork-

Finally, the fourth cause is gbTra, commonly translated as jealousy. The Prophet $ said that he himself hadjealousy in the sense of guarding and protecting something important to him. God has placed jealousy as part of human nature. If men did not have jeal'
ousy for their women, relationships would fall into dissolution.


is natural for a man to have this protective sense ofjealousy regard'

ing his wife, as long as it is not expressed in the form of oppressing


her, which unfo rtunately happ ens f r e quent'ly' With regard to these causes of anger' Im5m al'Ghazah says (related to material needs) is healthy if it is not taken

the first one

in order to an extreme, in which case a Person steals from others to dignity) to secure his food and shelter' The second one (related two extremes' is also healthy, with the similar caveat of avoiding said "The haughtiness and' abject humiliation' The Prophet S believer does not humiliate himself"' say According to Sidi Ahmad al'ZatrBq' if ignorant people then ignore something disparaging that does not relate to religion' doing it. One should, not grow angry when there is no benefit in p when faced with so. God the Exalted commanded the Prophet they say' tben part the discourse of ignorant people, Be patient witb what praised a man them graciously (qun.rN, 73to)' The Prophet @

when people spoke named. Abu Damdam who never became afigrY

not only ill of him, for when one speaks ill of another' the speaker transfer to the account acquires misdeeds, but his own good deeds
of the victim.

Tteatment says there As for anger as a disease of the heart' Imam Mawlnd it comes' and are two cures' One of them removes anger when to rememthe second suPPresses or thwarts it. The nrst cure is with forbearance ber the extensive praise and goodness associated
the main rea' and humility. Sidi Ahmad al'Zarraqcontends that with themselves; son people become angry isbecause they are filled

Prophet S' their egos get in the way.Intheir persecution of the did not the Quraysh mocked him like children' But the Prophet @
become arrgry.

The ethic promoted here is simply letting go-not allowing is about keepinsult to Penefiateand manipulate one's emotion' It how much humiling control, feelingsecure. One should remembet praise' that ity and forbearance are praised by the Best of those who




the heavens and the earth is, God the Exalted. When the Maker of

n, race to attain it' commends a certaitbehavior or dispositio by all the Humility and forbeatance are praised in poetry and Islam' The Prophet @ differentsages, even outside the religion of for the sake of God; said that God elevates a Person who is humble him' The Prophet p but whoever tries to exalt himself God debases of people. All the prophets was the most forbearing and forgiving known to be arrowere charactetizedby these qualities' None was
gant or easilY angered. anget by rec' Imdm Mawlud states next that one can control is no nothing takes place without God's leaver there
is a crucible of trial' and power or might excePtwith God' This life when trials come uPon those who are heedless of this react sevetely is not one who can wresthem. The Prophet $ said the strong man when he is angry. tle people, but the man who controls himself angry' he The Prophet @ also advised that if one becomes he should tecline'If nei' should sit down- And if one is sitting' then


therofthesehelp,thenperformtheritualabludon(wuda')andthen the face can alter aper' pray.Theactual act of splashingwater on in theface' which becomes son's mood. Anger often manifests itself before the Prophet red and warm. Once a Person grew very angry face shows extren'e anger ir &, who then noticed how when the said' "I have aword' if sporesembles Satan. The Prophet @ then tefuge in God from Satan ken, will remove it from him. It is"I seek
the accursed."' foments and We know how anger can escalate. When conflict reflexively stand' which becomes heated between two Parties' they to make the parties is the nature of rising temPers' It is important remedies are not sit, which lessens some of the arrger'These simple anger can often tricks; rather, they tevealhow thin the veneer of nothing more than Anger can be entireTy irrational and require

Prophet's couna changeof posture to reconstitute the mind' The reveals insights into the ebb sel is very telling of human rratuLrei he


and flow of human emorions and the ease with which we can alter our emotional condition. It is said that one of the ruses of Satan is

to make what is easy aPpeat difficult or even impossible; he whispers feelings of despair to make us grows despondent of God's mercy arld rhus surrender ourselves to the insidious view that we can never repent.

'Llmar ibn al-Khattlb was known to grow angry' But if we look further at him over the course of his develoPment in Islam, his anger no longer got the best of him. Infact, it was the opposite- He tended to be forgiving and compassionate-especially near the end


his life. But he was also known for being a lion' Once the Prophet women' When they noticed *", teaching a grouP of


Qurayshi .umar was coming, rhe women fed into another room. This that was before the commandment for hijAb was revealed. 'Ljmar came to the Prophet @ and saw that he was amused' 'LJmar asked the "It is Prophet @ about what had amused him' The Prophet @ says' these Qurayshlwomen: when theyseeyou, they flee"'The Prophetp "How is it called back the women, whereupon '{.Jmar asked them, that you flee from me and yov are not shy in front of the Messenger of God? He is more worthy of your shyness!" And they said"'You
are harsher than rhe Messenger of God. He does not become angrY."

And the Prophet @ laughed and said,
one parh, Satan would take another,"

"If you,'Llmar, went down

According to one Islamic model, the soul has three stages- In the first seven yeafs, it is known as rhe appetitive soul. The primary concerns of children in this stage are eatrtrgand wanting attentionThe second stage is the next seven years, the age of anger, when kids react strongly to stimuli and are annoyed easily' The third is the rational stage, when reasoning and discernm ent reach their full capacity- Ali ibn Abi Talib encouraged Parents to play with their children during the frrst stage, to indulge them, for they are discovering the world. They had been in a spiritual realm and have entered

the realm of the sensory. In the second stage, he counseled' parrr3




ents should focus on training and discipline, for in this stage young

people have a heightened capacity to receive and absorb informa'

tion and thus learn new things. In the third stage, parents should befriend rhem, form a relationship that is amicable and full of kindness and companionship- After this, their children, now adults, are
set free,


PoEM vERSEs r38-4o
has Heedlessness is being careless concerning what God one to do and has prohibited' commanded

the Scholars ofthis science consider fheedlessness] to be four source of al1 wrongdoing' Its cure is to be found in deeds, all ofwhich possess rectifying qualities;

from God; visit the righteous; invoke Book' benediciions upon the Prophet &; and recite [God's]
seek forgiveness

is heedlessness, a terrible lack of attention to what is infinitely is more imPortant in one's life than material goods' Heedlessness and is a key concept often discussed in Islamic spiritual treatises (a 9rnreferred to in many Passages of the Quran' Imam al-Junayd that century scholar) said that heedlessness is the one Pathogen compelling. breeds all the diseases of the heart. His argument is easThe Arabic word for a simpleton rs mugbat'fal' a Person who is from ily fooled. In our context, it is a person who is divetted away and what is essential and consequential toward what is ephemeral ultimately pointless. being' According to some linguists, the Arabic word for human

however' human being needs close companionship' Other linguists' rc believe it comes from the Arabic word nasya, which means forget, forgetimplying that one of the characteristics of human beings is

often' fulness, which further implies that we need to be reminded hence the centrality ofrepetition in spiritual practices'

The heedlessness that Imdm Mawlod speaks of here is its accoun!most menacing form: being heedless of divine PurPose' judgment in abilitv, and the resurrection, ultimate standing' and




the Hereafter. The full manifestation of these events are veiled to us now by the thin wall of death, the timing of which is the secret

that hovers above the heads of all men and women. Even though the reality of these things is hidden in the realm of the unseen, what
is expected of us is to receive and accept what the Prophet



This was the duty of all the prophets-to call people to believe in the unseen, to trust what they say, commit to their teachings. There is a well-known allegory of people in a cave, at the entrarlce

of which was a lamp that cast shadows the people in the cave believed to be realities, When one person left the cave and saw the real world-the sun, the stars, and the trees-he raced back in the cave to tell the others that there was much more to their world than what they saw in their cave- But the people feated what he
said, causing them to deny, ridicule, and then physically attack him-

The prophets came to rouse people from their stupor, to take them from delusional lives and heedlessness to awareness. Many of the
prophets were slain, all faced harsh opposition.

In the Quran, you will frndgbafla mentioned several times in different forms, but almost invariabLy referring to unawareness. The Quran uses other words to refer to unawareness- Those who laugh at the Quran are samidun (quneN, y:6r); they are so immersed in
amusement they are oblivious of reality. On the Day of Reckoning,

the heedless will be driven to their chastisement and be told along

the way, "You

were once heedless of tbis. Now We baue removed your veil

[ghiqa'] frorn you, so Jour sigbt tbis day k sbarp!" (qunnr.r, 5otzz). God speaks of the disbelievers impervious to the message of the prophets as having a cover (g;hisbawa) over their eyes (quur'r, z:7).

The ultimate trauma of heedlessness, then, is not seeing things the way they ttuly are, h is choosing a way of living that allows divine signs to pass one up without norice. The Prophet $ supplicated that God the Exalted show him things in their reality, dis' tinguished and clear: "Show me the truth as truth and give me the



abllity to follow it; andshow me falsehood as falsehood and give me the ability to avoid rt." Im'Lm Mawlud says ghafla is also heedless-

or ness of what God has commanded and what He has prohibited,
seeing the differencebetween the two as irrelevant' One of the cures for heedlessness is keeping good and sincere


all traditions and cultures rhar the company one keeps has inroads to one's heart and morality, When someone is surrounded by people who are sincere and

It is recognized in virtually

trustworthy, he only stands to benefit from them' Even when a person errs, good companions remind him and set him right'

Treatment The cure is in four things that possess authentic rectifying quaLi' ties. The first is rePentance and seeking forgiveness' As a matter of regttlar worship, one should ask for forgiveness (istlgbfar) at least teachings' which 70 or roo times a day, accotding to the Prophet's were closely followed by our righteous forbears (salafl' The prac' tice is connected to accounting for one's deeds. At the end of the to day, the merchant looks at his ledger to calculate his earnings' are no less see what,,the scales say," so to speak. The moral scales important, and each of us is a metchant with regatd to what we
lost or gainedwith respect to God's pleasure' When there is loss' which is a frequent occurrence, seeking God's forgiveness balances things out.
Second is visiting (ziyara) righteous people, who enjoy rank


God the Exalted. Classically, the ranking of humanity proceeds as follows, as evinced in the verse of the Quran, (4t6s): prophets (alnabtyytn);


ones (al'5iddrqTn); mattyts (al-sbuhada'); and the

The word 5alif; conveys the notion of soundto ness of hearr and excelle nt character. More specificalLy, it refers one who gives God His due right, who fulfills His commandments' right to and avoids what is prohibited. This is f;aqqal:ibada' God's

excellent be worshipped, which include rites of worship, as well as rr7




does not cheat behavior towards other people' So a righteous Person one should seek out as or lie. He or she is the kind of person whom righteous peocompany. Scholars have always encouraged visiting These people as part ofthe protocol ofthe spiritual ascendancy' goes to Madinah' it ple include the living as well as the dead. If one Muslims and conis recommended to visit the graves of the great visited the grave vey salutations of peace to them' The Prophet $ Prophet @ forbade sites of his fallen Companions' (Early on' the times the visiting of gtaves,but later encouraged it' In pre-Islamic the young comthe visiting of graves was a kind of idolatry' When God purged of that, the Prophet @ was permitted by

munity was to abrogate the previous command') the Visiting graves is a poignant reminder of death and hadith There is a Hereafter.It is an armamentagainst heedlessness' a woman there in which the Prophet $ passed by a grave and saw She rephed' weeping. He said to her, "It is bettet to be patient." afflicted as I not recognizrng the Prophet &, "You haven't been someone had told her have." The Prophet @ then lefthet' When to the Prophet $ that she had spoken to the Prophet @, she went she had spoken to' The and explained that she did not realrze who

a trial first afflicts

one shows Pat'ielce a year after losing praises' So visitsomeone deat, thatis not the Patience the Quran control over emotionsing graves ofrighteous loved ones requires It is excellent to visit the righteous among us who are aLiveOne cannot judge those who are truly righteous and knowledgeable. Muslim countries' another Person by title. In modern times in many "shaykh" as inherited from the rflerr arepresented with the title of who are igno' father. As a result, there are people with that title danger' are chatLarans in this world' and none is more one-


shown when said that true Patience (5abr) isthe patience


rant. There ous than a religious charlatan' the ways A learned man in Fez, Morocco, said' "God has made who uses reliof gaining lawful provision innumerable' Someone


wicked"'This is not gious pretension in order to profit is especially

is wrong' This is to say that earning alivrngby teaching religion scholars (although the very erft.ftely permissible, according to the that changed early forbears of Islam objected to this' a position a living through t'eaching later by scholars who saw that earning
especially as the demand the Quran, for example, was honorable' teachers were in for religious instruction grew exPon entially and Imam Malik was given a good need of a livelihood). We know that to spend freely for the bensum of wealth, but he was also known

as well as judicious and efit of the needy. He was knowledgeable generous with his wealth. outward Islamic sciences One must combine knowledge of the considered ateachet' with inward spiritual experience to be truly a chasm between inward Unfortunately in our age,weoften impose camPs postured against one and outward aspects of Islam-two path of the Prophet fu-the another. There is, though, the middle

best one to take.

benefits one should seek are stantive and not one of idle talk- The of the righteous person' In gaining knowledge and the supplication prayets' for their Prayers fact, ask thatthey remember you in their own' might be more accePtable to God than your

When visiting

should be suba righteous Person' the discourse

to visit the righteous' one Just as one is recommended seek out to visit' strive to be the righteous Person that others that God can take Imlm Ibn'Ata'iltah said, "If you do not believe


His saintly believers you at this moment and make you one of (awttya),then you are ignorant of His Power"' the Prophet $' The chird cure is to invoke benedictions on Himselfi O yoa This is, tn fact, a command from God the Exalted
Prophetl and salutations of peace wbo believe, inuoke benedictrons upon [the

once asked the (quneN, n156), The Companion Ubay ibn Ka'b God (dhikr) Prophet @ how much of his litany of remembering H" said that a fourth should be benedictions on the Prophet &'





than asked' "If you add more' it is better"' Ubay would be good, and good' The Prophet S said it was "And if I wete'o -"tt" ithalf?" than asked' "And if I were "If you add more' it is better"' Ubay and good' and The prophet $ said it was make it three-qua rters?,, co then declared that he would "If youadd more' it is better"' Ubay is good." *"'' the Prophet S said' "Thar make all of his dbrkrtnt' with invoking Prayers of benediction Thereis great light associated said' "If you do Siai Ahmad al'Zarraqonce upon the Prophet @' of blessings spiritual mentor]' then say PraYers
noc have arnurabbrfa

as arnurabbT"' ;;.;;" lroph"t S' *hich acts upon the Prophet t'h^t Prayers of blessings accounted for the f^''t tt.1"::^::tj::tt that soul- (So-" '"to"'mend """ @ purifies the tlmes a it themselves would rePeat 5ooo

Many scholars have

Others 5oo times a day. for the making Ptayers of blessings Imam Malik was always

of prophecic traditions) Prophet p' The *ui*dd'th*(scholars well known for this Practice' is the recitation of the Quran. The fourth to'"'fo'heedlessness plain awakens the heart' But it with tadatbbur(reflection) Reciting recommended


well' LeatnedMuslims have recitation is beneficial as day'If of the Quran |uz') evety aperson recite one'thirtieth that DawnPtayer' Surat Ya Sin (30) aft'et this is difficult, then reciting al-Mulk (os) Sunset Ptayer' and Surat Sorat al-Waqi'a (56) after (New Muslims ld' gteadybenefrt the soul'
after Eveting

read the utmost to learn how to should strive with their to the well-known one is advised to listen the Quran' Meanwhile' t"" agood English translation "::.1 reciters on taPe or tead Quran It is important for one to be regulatly is able to read the Arabic' of the language of God') The actual sounds engaged with the Book medirhythm and words-is like of the Quran-its breathtaking n^



text of

"i'"'gydy""11t:' resonates in order wavelength' A medicine resonance ac a specific Oltumankind' che sounds of the Quran: to cure th" dit""'"' So too wltat is in tbe your Lord counsel andbealingt'or tberebas colne to 9ou from



iu" of

*"tt t":::i:t"


breasts, and a guidance and a flLerc! to tlte believers

(qunaN, rct57). When

one recites the Quran, one moves his or her tongue pronouncing revealedwords ofthe Lord ofthe heavens and the earth, And these words have a sound. People are often amazed when they hear the

Quran for the 6rst time-amazed at the sound. So it is important to know that the beauty of the Quran comprises the meanings as well

the sound,

These are the four cures that Imdm Mawlud offers for heedless' ness. God warns the Prophet @ himself from conforming to those
whose hearts are in the state of heedlessness (quneN, 18:28). People

who turn away from the truth, God increases their heedlessness. What is interesting about heedlessness is that everyone will
eventually be cured of it, no matter the extent of this disease. The challenge is

to be cured in this life, when it 66sn15-q7[en our

obedience in the arena of tests and trials holds out meaning. The moment a person dies, veils are tet down- Even the denizens of

Hellfire will no longer live in the Hell of heedlessness. We were createdto remember God, and if it takes the heat of Hell to remind some, then so be it. We ask God to make us among those who remember Him in this life and amonq those who are saved in the

joEl! YqLSES !4t 44
Rancor-O you who seek its elucidationi. *ft"" th" h""'t is bound to treachery'
knot binding it to the heart betrayal,or some trickery' The is resentful malice' you object ofyour rancor' and Show kindness toward. the also in mind the Keep will cause your enenles tt de'pait' in rhe sound rradition'



promised twice

week on MondaYs and ThursdaYs'

Definition and Treatment

extrefi'Le that is closely relat'edto rtncor' Gbillis afivrladYof the heart which from the same Arabic root from anger, afld malice'Ltcomes n..ean Jok'es which is used in the Quran to the word aghlal onginates' dwells in as if to say that rancor around the neck (quneN' 36:8)' Rancor is a pungent emoaheartbound to marice andtreacheryto the Point extremery arlgry ata person don that is rooted in being of to him' But the ultimate victim that one wishes h"'- to to^e Lord' t'or' carrier' For this reason believers Ptay"'Our

and do not place into our wlto came beJore us in t'arth' giue us and our brethren Lord' You are kind' compassionate" tbose wbo belieue! Our rancor bearts

rancor is its

of Paradise is that God (quneN, 59lo)' One of the grear'blessings of rancor from one's heart will completely remove


"t'y '"-bl""ce

(quneN, 743 and I5t+7)' Imam Mawlud says that


a aPerson feels rancor towatd


that Person good will' By natare' ticular Person, he should show them' to love those who do good to people are naturally inclined the feelings of rancor will fall to And if one shows a Person good' believers fight with one another wavside. Satan rejoices when


ar'd bear negative thoughts. There is an authentic hadith about Mondays and Thursdays being special days on which God forgives people- When the angels come to God and say that two believers

with one another, God the Exalted says, "Leave them until they set things aright between themselves." The implication is that if a person has rancor toward another believer, God shall not forgive that person until he forgives his brother, for rancor is a
are wrangling

serious affliction that festers in one's heart and blocks good things

from coming to one.


Boasting & Arrogance
poEM vERSES r45as

Boasting is counted among rhese peculiarities, your praising yourself for good qualities.


is defined

You slrould decm irs verriginous mountain as insignificant-by which I mearr, of course, arrogance. IDo rhisl ifyou desire rr ro collapse to rhe grounJ. Do that by knowing your Lord and knowing yourself, for whoever knows these two is humbled and feels insignificant


The station ofarrogance negates the station ofgratitude, as humility, by its nature, engenders gratitude.
Avoid and beware of humiliation and lowliness; in fact, display pride with the affluent and arrogant one.

Imam Mawlnd speaks next about fakbr, which is the loathsome practice ofboasting. Exceptionally odious is the practice ofbragging about what one has noc done or exerted any effort toward, like bragging about one's ancestry and borrowing from some past nobility. Boasting is a problematic behavior that universally evokes objection and is considered a spiritual disease. No one likes a boaster, the person who walks with a swank and swagger, the person who cannot be in the company of others without speaking about himself or drawing attention to what he has done. God Himself reveals His dislike of bragging: Cod does not loue tbe arrogant and boasting o74er (euRAN, 3ri t8, 57:4). The Arabs used co shout out, "I am the son of so and so!"
claiming somehow thac one's pedigree suffices as a mark of one's status and privilege, an ethic that loomed latge in pre-Islamic Arab
social structure. Mawlana al-Rumi composed the lines, "Be not con-

tent with stories of those who went before you. Go forth and create yo]ur own story." Strive to be among those whom others speak



of with veneration'

behind the culture of boastImim Mawlnd mentions the force cant"' D e em that mountain insignifi ing, nameiy, ar r o garrce (kib r) "' to the ground." Arrogance comes h" ,"yr, "if yoadesire to sink it mass or signifies growth, either in from the same Arabic roor thar the


to is self-aggran dizingand affogarcce,what is alluded

glorification of the self. history were filled with arrogance The most villainous beings in the opponents of the Prophet @' and false pride; Satan' Pharaoh' The Prophet fuwarned agalnst and many nefarious tytantssince' has an atom's weight one will enter Paradise who


tbose said' I will diuert My signs t'rom arrogancein his heart"' God recom(quneu 7t46)' that is' God ' wbo show arrogance withoutrighf understandby turning them away from penses the arrogant o""'

and His signs placed in the ing His Book, His prophets' upon tbeheatt of also says that He sets a seal and in one's own seli God
euerJ errogant


Exalted of the attributes of God the arrogant(quuN, 'o'4)'One It is not which is reserved for Himself' al'Mutakabbir (the Proud)' heart' any of it' in his or her becoming for anyone to have

He tytant (qun'tN' 4o:35)i and'


not love those wbo wax


to arrogalce' its posfollows evety vice'When it comes Justice Hereaftet; the most abject people in the sessors will end up being them they once thought to be beneath they will envy those *nlhumble were patlent, gratefur, and in honor and status, those who of the Quran and hadith that Passages in this life. There a'"



and kinds Therc ate differentqualities


himself superior type is when a Person deems of atto' dge ate it great'et danget Ghazahsaid, "People of knowle have attained because the knowled ge they

( ,,- ^^ artogance. The first to others' Imam al-


than""yo"" "1t"" of superioritymay leadthem to feelings in a person who shows The second type is l"og^n"displayed

Once contempt and scorn to others125

man saw an old woman calling



manner; the Prophet $ stopped to the Prophet fu in ^boisterous to speak with her, showing no sign of annoyance' When the man saw the Prophet's calm reaction, he said, "Muhammad $ is a man

unlike the kings of other lands." It is a marvel how some people act arrogantly because of their perceived piety, while the Prophet $
humble. himself-"the best of cr eation' -remained The third type of arrogance is related to lineage' In some cultures, if one is aware of his "high birth" he is obliged to behave nobly. The Arabs were that way. If a man was born into a clan known for generosity, it was mandatory for him to be generous' One of the blights of many societies is racism, when people feel and act superior simply because of their race,The Quran lays waste to false claims of superiority and states that the only rank that matters
relates to one's relationship with Godl Indeed, tbe mostbonorable
ot' you

in tbe sigbt of God is tbe most God-fearing of you. Surely, God k all-knowing
all- aw ar e

(eunaN, 49JJ), Many people are honored by havinglineage traceable ro the prophet @ and his family- While this is indeed an honor in itself, it is something to be veneratedwhen one's actions are likewise honorable.


is said,


your actions hold you back, your lineage


not speed you uP." Imam al-Haddad once said, "No Person of any consequence should respect or praise an ignorant man, even if he is ofnoble birth and virtuous ancestry. For to resPect and praise such a person in his presen ce may have an adverse effect on him' Ir may
deceive him concerning God, render him neglectful ofproper behav-

ior, and distract him from gatheringprovision for the Hereaftet."

Treatment As for the cure for arrogance, there are several' aspects' First, we should remember our humble otganic origins- As the Quran reminds us, we are created from a drop of semen (qunex, 7537)' One of the righteous forbears, to dramatize our humbleness, said "A man carries between his two sides feces." In other words, what is


the source of a person's arrogance? God says, Perished

is man! How

ungratefulbe is!Frorn wbat stuff didHe cfeatebim? From a spefm drop He cre' atedbim and apportionedhim? (quneN, 8o116'r9); Let man refectfrom what

was created. He was createdfrom an ejected

fuid tbat

issues Jrombetween tbe

loins and tbe ribs

(qunaN, s6.s'z);

Has there come over man a time wbenbe

was notbingfemembered. We created man from a spefm drop mixed in order to try bim (qunaN,

76*z). These reminders suPPress any uprisings
a reason,

of arrogance and conceit.

In Islam, we have religious heroes for
rbly greatpeople who were bumble, Abu

To study the

personalities of the companions of the Prophet is ro srudy incred-

Hurayrah-the illustrious

repository of prophetic hadith-once sat in the company of another person who immediately moved his feet away frorn Abu Hurayrah out of respect for this august Companion of the Prophet' But Abo

Hurayrah objected: "Why did you move your feet'?" The man said, "Out of deference to you." Abu Hurayrah replied, "For someone like mel I do not see anyone in this gatheingworse than me." A cousin of 'Alt ibn Abi Talib asked him, "Who is better, you or Abn Bakr?" 'Alt answered, "Abu Bakr." And when asked the same question about '(Jmar, he answer ed, "'lJrrrat." He then asked him,

"What rank do you have." 'Ali said, "I am a Muslim among many',' It is astonishing to hear people nowadays, who do not come close to the stature, knowledge, wisdom, andpiety of 'Ali, who nonetheless are so easily offended when they perceive others have slighted them. And acts we perceive as humble today are often attempts at attainingthe mere aPpearance of humility. Ibn Ata'illah said, "If you're aware of your humility, then you are arrogarrt " But scholars say the following, "If you are not like the realpeople, at least mimic them." It is better to simulate humil-

ity thanto be an outright arrogant man. Imrm al'Ghazab says, "If one wishes to master calligraphy, then he must go to a masrer calhgrapher and tepeat what he does." The fourth asPect is arrogance owing to beaury' The cure is to




illusory of things' Social condireahzethat beauty can be the most more that we would admic' But tioning impacts our sense of beauty ty ever be a cause of to ignore this' why should beau
even if we were

of superiority for something one affogarrce'that obnoxious sense He of all' God is the Fashioner; it is had nothing to do with? First beauty wanes' .hi,'g' their shapes and forms' Second' who gives "il are tear down fesh- And what we ah" pr"rr.rres of age and stress ", on in the frrst place' the left with is what we should have focused and our deeds' content ofour character'our beliefs' The aff'uent are notorious The frfth is arrogance due to wealth. not to say those of lesser means' This is

for showing contemPt to There are generous men and that all wealthy people exhibit thisBut and responsibility of wealth' women who recogni ze thesource rhey tend to be the excePtion' strength' A man once came The sixth is arrogance based on him to wrestle' The Prophet up to the Prophet S and challenged threw him to the ground. The fu agreed,and twice the Prophet S p w"' able to do that' "I've man was astounded that the Prophet he said' The man's arrogance never been thrown to the ground"' which he thought none could was rooted in his person"l ,tr"ngth,
a lot of something' like a The seventh is arrogance for having then seeing himself as being bet-

boast of same is true with those who ter than another teacher'The those in so-called high places. having many friends, especially knowledge' This is patticulatly The eight rs atrogancefor having is an honorable matter' A knowlinsidious, given that knowledge to others due may believe himself to be superior edgeable Person

and teacherhaving many students

to the veneration shown to him' sow the seeds of attogance' These ate thevarious causes that it what He has not given to God created humanity and has given and volitional capacities of much of His creation' The intellectual

Ironically' these capacities humankind are grear responsibilities'


to forget that every blessing we have is a gift from God and something that we are responsible for. The Quran states, fGodl bas created deatb and lfe to test you as
have the potential of causing people
to whicb of you is best in deed
e4es, a

(quneN, 67:z)t Haue We

not given

[manl two

tongue, and two lips, and sbown bim tbe two bigbways [of good and euil]?

(qunalr, 9o:8-u). The steep roadhere is spending on the orphan, telieving the distressed, and all good acts that are diffrcult for the affogarlt' ones, who feel their
not attempt the steep road [of good]

wealth, strength, and prestige are born out of their own devices' People rejected the Propher's message nor because they were not convinced. They knew that what the Prophet @ brought was the truth from God Himself. But they tejected him out of atrogance' Many frnd the Muslim Prayer objectionable because of its postures of humility and awe before God. What they struggle with is not merely the postures, but their aversion to submit to God, being

His servant. People have
are " ftee,"

a problem

with that, claiming that they

Astonishingly, these


free" people are in bondage

to their whims and Passions' Imam Mawlad says that the key to avoiding or removing this disease is to know yourself, your origins, and your ultimate return' The Prophet p said, "I amthe best of the children of Adam and I am not boasting." His honor was entirely based on his servitude

to God the Exalted-not wealth, lineage, Power' or authority'
Whoever is humbled for the sake of God, God elevates in rank' Haughtiness and gratirude cannot co-exist in one vessel. Those who
are grarcfuL, God increases in goodness, The station

of arrogance

invites only humiliation. Imam Mawltrd says humility, by nature,leads to gratitude' for when one is humble before God the Exalted, only then does one liars see the vast mercy God bestows uPon His creation, even upon
and disbelievers.

ImdmMawlud'sconclusiontothisdiscussioncouchesupon the Islamic ethic of wasata, that rs, moderation' In itself, humiliry is a




praiseworthy virtae, but when carried out excessively it results in abasement, According to some classical Christian theological paradigms, abasement is praised. But in Islam, it is not- Imam Mawlud

it dbul, not in the

sense in which he starts his poem, where he

with God. In this context, it is abject abasement before people. It is similar to the abasement that God the Exalted affticted upon past communities because of their flagrant rejection of God, their derision of His apostles, and their mockery of His laws. Abject humiliation is disapproved of even in the face of tribuladon. Those who face tests with dignity and patience are praised. A hadith srares, " Abeliever never humiliates himself," Beine humble is different from humiliation. Having dhul wkh respect to God is different from dbul with respect to creation. Imam'Abd al-Qadir al-JaIaE once said, "A1l the doors to God are crowded except for one: the door of humility and humbleness," Havinghumbleness is one of the secrers of success, although it is hard on the soul. It is said, "Among the mosr noble
speaks of dhul as humility required for proper courresy

things of this world is a rich man who is humble,"



Disoleasure with Blame t
POEM VERSES 15O-5+ Displeasure wirh blame is a well-known disease of tl-re heait. Conce.n with people's opinions and desiring therr praise and displeasure ar their criricisms

from achieving the station of excellence in worship. Overcoming that barrier is through the realizatlon
are a barrier

that there is no benefit or harm unless it comes from [God], the Possessor of a1l dominion, Exalted and Majestic is He'
Furthermore, what is prohibited from this disease is what leads co the prohibited, just as Imam al-Ghazali has

The perfection ofsincerity rs that you do not give notice ro any prais. or blame that emanates from people'

Discussion The nexr disease rs the displeasure with blame. Blarne is nor something that we would naturally em6race.It runs against human nature to love it, But the Problem is when the fear of blame is coupled with and approval by others, which is often the urgent desire for

the case- Being concerned with "creatron's opinion" places a barrier between a person and the station of ibsan, excellence in worship. ("Creation" here simply means other people, as oPPosed to being concerned with God's pleasure.) This is considered a disease because the result is guiding one's actions in deference to the Praise of people or in an attemPt to avoid their blame or disapproval, irrespective of the integrity and soundness of one's actions'

What we saw in rhe Companions of the Propher $ was complere loyalty to rhe ethics of Islam' Many rimes they were confronted with decisions that would evoke displeasure among the people and tribes around Madinah; but they still made them in accord'




ance to the teachings of the Prophet @' The more that we worry about how our decisions will be received by men, the thicker the

veil becomes with regard to God and His guidance.

au e

W e made


ou a middle nation, s o

th at 7

ou may


e w itne

ss e s


humanhind (qunaN, z:t43), a nation that enjoins justice and reminds

humanity of God's rights. When people give up enjoining what is right or even admitting that there are absolute and objective values that are not subject to the whims of mankind, then evil spreads. The best of witnesses was the Prophet $, then his Companions,
and then their Successors. Each generation subsequently takes on

although hardLy to the degree exhibited in the early generations. At the end of earthly time, the world will virtually be without witnesses to truth, and truth itself will be scarce.

this office of


No one will defend it- According to Imam al'Biqe'7, one of the signs of the end of time is the giving of the world to the disbelievers, with Muslims abandoning Islam and its claim upon Muslims to defend the truth and censure what is wrong. Sidi Ahmad aI'Zarruqonce
said, the truth has the power to penetrate the hearts of peopleeven those whose hearts have aseal' Humanity has the right to have witnesses living among them, those who are wlLling to defend the

truth no matter how unpopular it may be. Imam Mawlud says that overcoming this fear of blame is through the reahzation that there is no benefit or harm exceptby God's permission and plan. This sounds farniliar, since it is the recommended cure for many of the diseases discussed so far. Two of God's most excellent names are al'Naf' and al'Darr, the Giver of Benefit and the Bringer of Harm. Those are attrlbutes of God that
no one else has in the least.

It is only God who can benefit and only He who can permit harm. If a person is worried about how others receive him, then he is not aligned with reality, The Prophet $ said to Ibn 'Abbas, "Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God- If you seek help, seek help


from God. Know that if the whole nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had akeady prescribed for you- And if [the whole nation] were to gathet together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried," This does not mean that one should be reckless with his or her safety. Nor does it mean that one should not take precaution. The Prophet @ in the Battle of Uhud wore two coats of mail, and none
knew more of God's power and authority than he. Being aware of
God's attributes does not mean that people should stop using their

intellect, for we live in a world of causes, There is room for diplomacy and discretion, particularly of knowing when

it is best to


the truth. This discretion, however, is not informed by the fear


blame, but rather by clarity regarding one's objectives, Wisdom

is completely different. from seeking the approbation of others. The Prophet @ said that it is the highest form of srruggle Qibad) to speak the truth in the face of a tyrant, Imam Mawlud says that the inordinate fear of blame canl.ead a person to engage in prohibited matters or neglect obligations. If one worries about how people will receive him when he practices his faith, this can stop him from performing obligations, The fear of blame interferes with faith. Deeds that are done for the sake of
God cannot share other intentions, narnely, pleasing people or seek-

ing their favor. Doing something for the sake of God is the manifestation of strong faith. Whether someone praises you or not is
entir ely inco




Antipathy Toward Death
PoEM vERsES 155-63
Antipathy toward death is when one flees from it and
becomes annoyed when

it is even mentioned-

if he is completely ignorant of fGod's statement that]

each soul shall taste death.

This is reckoned to be among the diseases ofthe heart. So be content with what God, the Exalted, has decreed'
But ifone detests fdeathj not for its own sake, nor for the loss ofpleasures that it entails,

but rather out of fear of being cut off from preparing for
the Day ofJudgment by obeying God more, [then it is not blameworthy].

if one completely entrusts his affair to his Master, whatever He wills, either causing him to drop dead or giving him respite, it contents him'

Both ofthese attitudes towards death are commendable and praiseworthy. [Either way], disliking the reality of death in no way distances you from its proximiry.

The one who constantly remembers death is ennobled with contentment, with his heart's activities directed toward
obedience, and with prompt repentance [when wrongs occur]' The one who is heedless ofdeath is afflicted with the opposite ofall three.

Definition and Treatment Antipathy toward death is considered a disease of the heart. It
refers to strong aversion to death to the Point that its mere mention causes consternation- Such a Person, ImSm Mawlrd says, is

in denial of the rea\ityt Evuy

soul sball taste deatb

(quneN , 3:ft5);


"Tbe deatb from which you fee will ouertake you' Tbereafter you will return to




Knower of tbe

Seen and (Jnseen'

He will then inform you of alt


you had

leap (quneN, 6z:8). None of this suggests that one should of chasing into the throes of death. It merely disparages the ethic the imminence after the fteetingthings of this world while rebuffing
been doing"

ofdeathandwhatcomesaftertWhendeathismentioned,itisconAnd when it is sidered a morbid topic that is uncouth to discuss. which people are discussed, it is turned into some deadline before The Muslim view supposed to squeeze in all their life's pleasures. is to speak about life is completel y different.To speak about deach before death and the urgerrcy to live a faithful and wholesomelife
overtakes us.

I'ooo reposes for Shaykh Ibn al-Habib said, "In death there are is not a cell in the Muslim. As long as you are in this world' there Once you are your body that does not experience pain and disease' all of that ends"' For the believer' there is com-

out of this world, and trial fort in death. It is being taken from an abode of difficulty the motrrning to one of peaceand unfathomable freedom' In Islam' irony of extendperiod is short and should not be prolonged. The the excessive love of ing the mourning period is that it is rooted in the (theworld). The more one covets this world the greater

sense of loss when a loved one dies'

experience the loss of a loved one' When also praised God' the Prophet @ lost his son Ibrehim, he wept but in God and in the source of life and death' People who believe with calamities the Afterlife handle death well. The same is true Everyone


French physiand tribulations. Maurice Bucaille, the well-known was how North cian, said that what attractedhis interest in Islam disease in France faced death' As a physician exposed to


no! knorving and d.eath, he observed many of his own countrymen how to die or handle death' himThe fear of death is natural' Reflexively' one Protects beings visited self from it. When angels in the form of human he offered them food' When he sa*- rhat Abraham







say that he grew fearfuL scholars not reach for the food' p they did, his life' The Prophet thought ti"' nt --"*to'"k" Abraham $' to make long life for two reasons: believers to d"'l'" a encouraged deeds' or to increase good up for past iniquities cert'ain chatactet' death is ennobled by The one who remembers The lack of covetousness'

to"t""trnent istics. One of them i' that is never exhaust"Contentment is a treasure Prophet p said' sufed." Healso prayed'
6c es



with what "O OtU' provide for my family


and'gr antth em co nten'-:i:

This contentmenf is one that is content'

:::.: ;Jil":lt::il:

is contentmenr knowing any bettet' It from stupidity or not nates its reflection on death and g" that is informed uy r..,o*r"a ^niby

- " ^lt]?"

u, th e r ememb

e r anc o f de ath giv e s :":.:",'Y



gooddeedsrWealthandsonsaretbeornamentsofthel{eofthisworld'wbile andbetter inbope
Lord in reward arebetter wrtb Tout enduringrigbteous deeds (qun,o'N,

Peniten ce rectifreswrong when one slips or errs' with this realizatiort' death' When one.lives the giftof remembering Th-ose."ho seeking God's forgiveness. he or she becomes ;;;l;;;" in doing wrong' slnce have no comPunction are heedless of death Day of They carelessly view the a factor in their lives' death is not

, relefltance -^^)^-. seeking rePefltar death engenders "oolrinq Third, remembrance of action' and that is



some ancient

^ "-" formed:T"'a ::t::#:'ilTf;"i1#:"; in prtmorc nocion



Obliviousness to Blessings
PoBM vERsEs-I!t9ri
Among the faults ofthe soul is obliviousness to blessings' Its rool lies in inattentiveness to fthe statement]'
'Whatever blesings Touhave [it

,*-"-b"ri.tg it i. "td such as,

is t'tom God]' By simply keeping in rnind other verses



then this does not cbange . . . , andlJ 4ou shoxu gratitude" ' ' chronic disease can be excised from you'

Definition and Treatment
The next disease is
obliviousness toblessings, a

lack of understanding and

atev er ble s sing7 o u b au e' acknowledgement, a noxio us d is regard that wb come to us' night and itist'romGod (qunaN, t66)'Theblessings that reminds. These blessings day, arebeyond numeration, as the Quran (by way of material come in all forms-what we can see and touch the like)' as well as what goodsr food, clothing, shelter, wealth, and

and we cannot see (like safety, friendship, love' health' from harm and calamitY)' the name The Quran begins with the phrase translated as' In scholars have said that tbe MerciJul, tbe Mercq'Giuing' Some


of God., while "Merciftll" (na$man) implies the giver of the major blessings' "Mercy'Givi ng" (Raf;tm) implies the giver of subtle blessings that are for example' thounot perceived until they areremoved' We blink' are people' however' sands of tim es a day without thought. There glands do nor who reguire artrflciallubrication because their tear the eYe' let alone function. There are countless blessings related to without of our lives, like our ability to walk in balance
other asPects required to take needing to consciously stimulate dozens of muscles hands u'hat most one steP. Our thumbs permit us to do with our

delicious instead of creatures cannot attemPt' God has made food
Lt /




bland. And He has given us dignity in our nutririon, which is a rre_ mendous blessing, especially when one consid.ers thewav carnivores devour their prey,

While we cannot count our blessings, we
grateful for having themr so
bave poured down water
let man reflect on

are charged



thefoodhe eats. Indeed, we

in sbowers. Then we split the rand in crefts. Tben

We caused


grow grain therein, and grapes andJresh herbage, and olives trees

and date'palms, and dense orchards and fruits and pasture-ail provision for you andfor your cattle (quneN, gorz41z). The fact that the has

been revealed to tell us to reflect on these bressings is in itserfa great


blessing, for the human being cannot on his own figure out how to live with guidance, To deny God,s blessings canlead.to outright disbelief and denial of God the Exalted.
God never changes any blessing He has bestowed upon a people untit tbey



what is in themselves (qunaN, g:53). God

will not take away


blessing unless people show ingratitude. A poet said, ,,If you are in a blessing, guard it, for disobedience shall snatch away.,'Gratitude

to God protecrs one from having blessings removed, There is an interesting concept called istidraj, in which God allows aningrate ro flaunt his blessings, while God d.oes not dimin-

In fact, He may increase it, The person then begins to think that God really loves him, and. the only thing worse than a person who is misguided is the person
is stray but believes himself to be favored by God. As for man, wbenever bis Lord tries him by bonoringhim and bestowingfauors on him, he says, "My Lord bas bonored me." And whenever He tries bim by restrictingbk prouision, be says, "My Lord has humiliated rue,, (qunaN, 89'15.rt-). Scholars

ish the ingrate's blessings in the least_

of Quranic commenrary say that rhis passage shows the confusion of people in the way people interpret the blessings they receive.

When they are the recipients of great wealth, they see themselves as especially pleasing ro God_ And when their provision is restricred, they feel God is debasing rhem. But the reality people often miss is that wealth is a resr: Willits recipientbe generous or miserly? The same


Will applies when wealth is restricted:

a person be

patient and content'

in the short and long There are things that benefit a Person There ge and excellent charactet ' term. Examples of this are knowled the to a Person immediately and in are also things that are harmful things obnoxiousness' Then there ate long run, like ignorance and but the long-term benefits are that offer immediate gratiflcation' overgenerally like this' If a person nil. Carnal desires (sbaltawat) are term' it gtatification; but in the long eats, he experiences immediate cerm may be benefrcial in the long invites health problems. Things a the short- It may be difficult for but somewhat uncomfortable in the longeating uncil he is filled' but person to stoP himself from is also true with sexual intimacyl term benefits are obvious. This even frusmay be uncomfortable and being patient until matlage than any temPorary pleasure tratrrrg,but its benefit i" f^' g'"^'"r attainedin falling into sin' only short-term reliefas a blesslgnorance urges people to see of patienceand temporary discomfort' ing and to ignore the benefits forlong term bene6t' which lasts
and told the children that

desPair andbitterness?

the Knowledge oPens the eyes to on atable researchers lefc cookies out ever. In a study on children' now or they can have either one cookie

who scored bettet on intellitwo later- Consistencly the children these two-cookie oPtion. After following gence tests waited fbr the were opted for the long-term gain children fot 7o yeats,those who were more successful in their better adjusted, betet educated'and


the link between intelligen ce and morality' There that erm gairlfor a long-term benefit willingness to Put off a short-t This kind of intelligence is ultimately rs greater and ever lasting' "we are apeople to whom God conditioned by Islam. 'L]mar said, God but if we seek dignity elseu'here' has given dignity with Islam;
is a necessary




will humiliate us.''

iike branches' The roots are thinEs Blessings ate eithetroots or



iman, IsLam, health, safety , and well-being. The branches are mon-

ey, clothing, shelter, and so on.

It is revealed in the Quran that the Children of Israel disputed with a prophet among them over the choice of Saul (Talat) as their king because he was not a man of

great wealth- But their prophet told them that God has given Saul knowledge and strength (qunaN, z:247), which are blessings greater

than wealth. Once the Prophet @ asked a man"'Do you know what the complerion of a blessing is?" The Prophet $ told him, "Entering Paradise," The best of blessings are those connected with enter-

ing Paradise. Faith, patience, good character, swiftness in doing good, and promptness in worship are blessings of God andthey are everlasting. Islam itself is the completion of God's blessings upon
humanityr Tbis
pleted day,


have pert'ected t'or you


religion, and


bave com'


blessings upon

iou, and I

bave cbosen lslam

for Jou


Tour religion


The ornaments of this life are such things as a house, furnishings, and clothing. The more that one has of these blessings, the more he will be accountable for them. The Prophet S said that the
meat, the dates, and cool water that. we consume are of those things

will be asked about, even the sandals on our feet. To be zabid (ascetic) does not always mean a lack of material possession. There is asceticism of the heart', in which one is not attached ro rhe material world and is indifferenr to it. In other words, a person's character and level of faith will not change if he
loses his wealth. That's the sign of azabid' But if one falls apart and

plunges into despondency when losing something valuable, it shows
an inordinate attachment to

worldly life.



PoEM vERsEs 167-69

used for As for derision, tend to it with the same treatment in lrrog n and with the knowledge that one's purpose ", is to humiliate someone' Iderision]

himself with Yet by doing that, a person actuaLly humiliates God and is iecompensed with misfortune'
has come Also treat it by knowing the severe warning that shlwing contemPt for any Muslim' i, SrUiU Murlii aboot

Definition and Treatment

jest at their The next disease is derision, ridiculing people, making God had commanded them to expense. Musa p told his People that Mnsa p then told sacrifice a cow. They replied ,"Areyoumockingus?" (quneN' z:67)' Mocking them, 'T seek, refuge in Godfrom being ignorant" it is lampooning' people is therefore a form of ignorance' whether are imPortant in calrcatriring, or name calling' Humor andlevity the spiritual heart' human life. But levity as away of life harms the dignity of othAnd laughter and amusement at the expense of is the staple of the comeers is wholly inappropriate, although it dians ofour daY. and prac' Imlm Mawlud says that the cure for the psycholo gy since a Person who tice of mockery is similar to that of arrogance' to his vicdm' Ali mocks another most likely sees himself as superior he may be a saint of ibn Abi Talib said, "Do not belittle anyone' for vomiting in God." Even if one sees a man inebriated and bellicose' does not know whac the street, one should not ridicule him' for one "When he was borving his future hold's- Imlm al-Qurtubr once said' was still beloved down to idols in Makkah, 'umar ibn al'Khaqtab their desrinies' to God." Only God knows the seal of people and of God' for A Moroccan Proverb says, "Never mock any creaclrre




it might be beloved to He who createdit"'Inthe Quran, it is said' O
tbat tbese you who believe, do not let peopte mock' anotber people; t'or it may be be tbat are better then tbem; nor sbould wornen mock' otber women' t'or it may nor insuh eacb otb' tbese are better tban tbem. And do not taunt one another
er with nicknames

(quneN, 49n). God also commanded , Do not revile

of who call upon others apart t'rom God, for theY may tlten revile God out

ignorance(qunaN, 6:ro8). This Quranic ethic guards against inciting people to do things that are sacrilegious and harmful to their own

souls, for if people start to curse God the Exalted, they invite the worse kind of harm. Even in rhe context of triumph, being boastful and exulting is ignoble. The Prophet $ in his victories was never boastful. He was completely magnanimous and grateful to God

the Exalted. when he entered Makkah in the 6nal conquest of his beloved city-whose people tortured, mocked, and reviled him-he entered with his head bowed and granted clemency to its inhabitants. He was entirely beautiful in chatacter and compassionSupplicating God against one's enemies is not forbidden; infact'

it is recommended that people ask for vrctory when under attack'
siege, aggression, or occuPation, Regarding the situation in occupied Palestine, its people are under great stress and awful occupa-

tion. It is their right to ask God to relieve them of the tyrunny that takes away their sons and daughters. But there is a problem tn cre' atingenrnity with worldJewry and fallinginto the habit of cursing them outright and calling them names 'Infact, manyJewish thinkvocifers have condemned rhe occupation and afe among the most
erous critics of Israeli injustice-

The opponents of the Prophet fu wete pattictlarTy vicious against Muslims. Hind bit into the liver of flamza when he was martyred, at the Battle of Badr- But she later becarne Muslim' a Companion of the Propher-a member of that special generation of humanity- She, in fact, narrated hadith that can be found in the well-known compilations. Repentance is a recourse that the Lord
of the Worlds has given humanity- Reflecting on the ethic that the


reveals Quran communicates to us in the aforementioned Passages that there is strength in dealing nobly with people' It is simply a better way to live. The treatment for derision is to rcahze that the peoessence of mockery is to humiliate people' Those who mock ple in this life shall be mocked in the Heteafr.er, for it is a divine

law that God recompenses people with the like of what they have



Comprehensive'I r eatment for the Heart
.._ i-sE14 lLERs-rI 17o-75

A comprehensive treatment plan for the heart's diseases
to deny the self of its desires,

enjoin hunger, keep worship vigilance in the night, silence and meditation in Private;

with good people who possess sincerity, those who are emulated in their states and
also keeping comPany


and,lnally, taking refuge in the One unto whom al1 affairs return, That is the most beneficial treatment for all of the previous diseases. This must be to the point in which you are like
a rnan

drowning or someone lost in a barren desert and sees no source of succor
except from the Guardian, Possessor ofthe greatest power' He is the One who responds to the call of the distressed'

Imam Mawltrd,s approach in offering rhe cures for these diseases is like the story of the Gordian Knot of the kingdom of Phrygia' whose king offered his dominion to whomever was able to unravel the

knot. Many tried and failed. When Alexander the Great was shown the knot, he pulled out his sword and cut through it. Diseases of the heaft arelike the Gordian Knot, and the best way to treat them is to
cut through them. Imam Mawlud comPletes his discussion on the various diseases and turns his attention to a comPrehensive treatment plan for the heart, which focuses on curbing the soul from its own excessive desires, To accomplish this, he states that one must engage in hunger, vigilance during the nights, silence, and medita-

tion in prrvate.The Prophet $ said, "None of you [fully] believes until his desires are rfl accordance with what I have brought"' So


one,s faith is not complere

unril his desires do not conflict with the message the Prophet S *as given. The waY to achieve this alignmenr is to prohibit the soul of all things that are not in accordance with Islam-its law or spirit. one persists in this until the desire
is tamed and complianr
es and

with divine dictares: As for

be wbo transgress'

prefers the life of this world, Hell is [bisl abode. And


he wbo fears

standingbefore his Lord and refrains his soul frorn passions, Paradise



abode (qunaN ,7gli7'+r)' Severing the bonds of slavery to the whims

of rhe soul leads to happiness.

A typicalbookstore will

have many volumes dealing with peo-

ple's addictions and their inability to control themselves. This publishing phenomenon is a response to social realities. In Islam, Prayet
teaches how to become disciplined

with our hours and days. It gives us cleanliness through ablution and a consciousness ofthe passing of hours, Fasting is a universe in itself, a realm in which we learn about discipline in the most direct way with regard to the tongue, stomach, genitals, and eyes. Islam places great emphasis on discipline becaus e there is so much at stake. without discipline, religion
would be impossible. In Christian tradition, thereare"seven deadly sins"l arrogance,

sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust' The last two relate to one's base desires , and they are the chief desires of the soul. Gluttony and lust are founded on natural inclinations of hunger and sexual attraction, The pathology related to them, however,
anger, envy,

pertains ro excessiveness thefein and satisfiring one's urges in a forbidden manner. Imlm al-Gh azalt dealt with these impulses at great length in a section of his ILTya',IJlarn al-Dtn, which has been master-

fully translated by T, J. winteft Islamic Texts Society, t995).

Br eaking tb e T w o

D esires (cambridge:

The stomach is the source of the key impulse of people- If aper' son can learn to control food, other issues of discipline follow, for gluttony is fuel for lust, and Fasting breaks gluttony' The Prophet in order to keep @ advised that unmarried people Fast frequently




their sexual desires in check. Imam al-Qushayr1 said, "For me to raise my hand from my plate while I am still hungry is better than
the whole night in Prayer,"

Spiritual masters traditionally have focused on hunger. The goal is not to create a nation ofanorexics, but to cut the knot that binds
self-discipline. We do things often out of blind conditioning- When

ir comes to food, we have been drilled that three meals are not only normal, but necessary for proper nutritional fulfillment- But this
is not true- The caloric intake of an average American far exceeds

what is physiologically needed. As a result, America is now recog' nized as the most obese nation on earth' accordinq to the National Institutes of Health.

bowl of milk. When he finished drinking it, the Prophet $ asked him if he wanted more. The man said he would. This went on until the man
Once the Prophet


serued a guest from Yemen a

drank seven bowls of milk, which was far more than what he needed- But when this man became a Muslim, the Companions noticed

that he drank only one bowl of milk. The Prophet $ told them, "The disbeliever eats with seven intestines, while the believer eats

with one,"
People eat much more now than ever in history, especially when

it comes to meat, In the past, meat was eaten infrequently

even by

people of means, who ate meat once or twice a week' The poor eat meat once or twice in a year, mainly around times of Eid celebra-

tions, Also, snacking has become so common that many people do not go for more than a few hours without eating something. Convenience stores and vending machines ate all over the place. This abundance was unheard of not too long ago. All of this has virtually turned people rnto grazinganimals, which is an anathema
to spiritual wellness.
Sociologists, in studying eatinghabits, have said that the aver'
age American has zo food contacts a day-

In most traditional cul-

tures, meals are set for specific times, and eating between meals was r+6


not acceptable. Nowadays, having a meal has been dispossessed of formality. Within the famlly, it no longer serves a social PurPoseIndividuals can live in rhe same home and be telated as brothers, sisters, and parents , yetlive virtually apart'There is now a callous relationship between human beings and their meals, an insensitivity to the flesh they eat and the source of their nutrition. The combination of over eatingand a breakdown of meal manners impairs a person's ability to build fortitude' A Muslim begins each meal in tbe name of God. The purpose of this, in addition to sanctrfyrnga mundane act, is to consciously remember the source of the provision. And if one eats alone, he tries to 6nd comPany to share the meal with. When the meal is complete, he praises God. If one is hosted, he thanks the host and offers Prayers'
Ramadan is a time to experience hunger with good cheer and renewed gratitude. It is divorcing oneself from the world and being reminded of our spiritual soul. But a Person can rob Ramadan of

by overeatingat night in order to make up for what was missed during the day, The nights become night-long buffets and worship vigils become secondary (or ignored)'
an important benefit

People who have a problem with eating should start at least by lessening the portion of what they normally eat, which is the begin-

ning of discipline. It is also advise dto eat with other people' for eat' ing with guests would make a person conscious of being a glutton' that sit around a table, rhe greater the blessAlso, the more

in a ings (baraba). Finally, one should decrease the number of meals
d^y. is not surprising that Imrm Mawlad mentions hunger frrsr among the comprehensive treatments for the heatt' Eatinq is one


of the most abused behaviors. We are conditioned to think rhat hunger is sated only when we feel full. One typicaL meal served in afl avef ageAmerican restauranr can feed a family in west Africa. Imam Mawlod mentions next the NightPrayet vigil' If one u'ishin the stillness es to enliven theheart,then give it time with its Lord




is only two rak'dt. Shaykh Maliki says never leave the Night Prayer vigil even for alitde time. What is imporranr about the Night Prayer is consistency (which is true about alL

of the dark, even if


good things).


is better ro rise at night for ten minutes on a regular

basis than to stay up for hours one night and rhe next night sleep' The performance of rhis Prayer on a patchwork basis results in little bene6t. sidi Ahmad al-zarrdqsaid it is like "drilling here and there, never

ndin g w ater anYwher e."

The Prophet @ said, "spread Peace, feed needy people, and pray at. night when others sleep, and you will enter Paradise with ease-" In the Quran, the Prophet's Night Prayer is associated with the elevated rank he shall be granted by Godr And in a portion of tbe l,{ight Prayer-6.n extra act of deuotion for You. It may nigbt, rbe tberein

(quuN' 17:7g)' God the Exalted commends those who deprive their sides from
be tbat your Lord sball raise you to a praisewortby station


their beds, resist sleep (which the body loves), and rise fot Prayer
(qunaN, 3ut6).
is not our tradition to be excessive in our spiritual Practices, such that we deprive ourselves of sleep to the point that we become psychotic or deprive ourselves of food to the point that we damage


our health. what we do is learn to control our soul's desires and not be controlled by them. The Prophet g$ said that our bodies have

rights over us: they are food, drink, and companionshipNot all of the Companions performed the Night Ptayet,blot
many did. For us, what is rational and reasonable is to have some steady practice. It is good to starr with short suras of the Quran

during thePrayer,If one makes a habit of spending a portion of the night in Prayer and happens to oversleep until the time of Dawn Prayer, then it is permissible to ptay the Night Vigil before the

Dawn Prayer, as long as one has enough time to pray the Dawn Prayer comfortably. This is a valid opinion, Thereis a hadith in which the Prophet @ said about 'Abdallah ibn 'Umar that he was an excellent man, "but if only he were to


take from this hadith that spend time in Night Prayet." Scholars the Night p"rron can be excellent even if he does not Practice " be exceptional if he or she Prayer,but that an excellent person would heard the Prophet's fustate' pr^y"d'it. When'Abdallah ibn'Umar Prayer (Qtya*)' Also there menr, he nevef once deserted the Night the Prophet @ used famous hadith of 'A'isha who said that
is the

would swell' She said to to stand inPtayer for so long that his feet long when God has forgiven him, "O Messenger of God, why pray so
the future?" The Prophet everythingyou have done in the past and


said, "should

I not be the grat'efiiservant?" gPrayers ('Isba') is conScholars say that any time after Evenin Some say' however' that one sidered time for the Night Ptayer vigil. say that sleep is not should actaaTly sleep then get' sP' while others what they are capable of doing' For a requirement. People differ in

difficult time waking physiological reasons, some have an especially better to Pny Qyambefore ,rp fo, UYA*.For them, perhaps' it is to rise an hour or two before they sleep. For other people, it is easy heaviest' Imrm Ibn'Ata'illah dawn. Right before dawn, sleep is the the Exalted obliges us to rouse said there is great wisdom chat God The when it is most difficulc: mind over matter'
ourselves from sleep
is very important to us' self-disciplin e gained from this Practice to keep a worshipper in slumber' Satan ties

Prophet S said that when three heavy knots on one's head' The for awakening ("Praise be one wakes up and says the supplication my soul' has restored life to me aft'er He has taken
And when one performs makes ablution, the second knot is undone'

In an attempt

to God who knot is undone' When one and to Him is the resurrection")' one
thePrayer, the third knot is undone' of the third The Prophet $ often tecrted the closing verses very moved by them' sura of the Quran (Al 'Imran) and was Prophet's home to The Prophet's Companion Bilal came to the saw that the Prophet $ nad announce the coming of Prayet'Bilal "You weep while God has forgiven you been weeping and asked him'




for all of your past and your futurei" The prophet @ said to him, "o Bilall Shall I not be a grateful servanr while God has revealed to me rhis night verses [of rhe euran]," that is, the closing verses
of Al 'Imran (3:r9o-zoo), "Woe to him who reads these verses and. does not ponder them!"

The Night Prayer vigil, like other acts of worship, is a gift that
can be taken away when, for example, the worshipper srarts to back-

bite, gossip, slander, consume unlawful food, earn illicit wealth, and so on. A person who has established an excellent regimen ofworship
may suddenly frndhimself unable to continue because of something he had done. When this occurs, the worshipper makes repentance

and resrores his practice.

about someone

A scholar said, "I once said something I should not have said, and I was deprived. of rhe

Night Prayer for 4o days"'A man said that at the end of his life he went bankrupt because decades before he called our ro a man,,,ya

muflii'or "O bankrupt one!"
is recommended that the last prayer be the Witr prayer (the finalPrayer of the evening), It is also preferred that the witr prayer be performed immediately before dawn breaks. This requires that a
person get up for Nighr Prayer, But if


Prayer regimen, then


is acceptable

a Night to pray the Witr before sleepa

person does not have

Shaykh Habib said, "Take the path of ease with yourself in order for you ro progress in your yearnings," Do not push yourself to the point that you frndyour supererogatory vigils a chore insread
of a delight- He then said, "A Prayer performed with love is better than a thousand devoid of ir." Moderarion insures consistency and,

the reaching ofone's destinarion. Imdm Mawlud mentions next the importance of silence. The Prophet @ said, "If a person is given silence, he is given wisdom.,, The tongue is a great temptarion.

as a result,

It is easy to say something that brings ruin upon its speaker. Learninghow to control the tongue is an enormous discipline. Imam al-Sha6'i said that whenever he


was in a gathering and wanted to say something, he would check his soul and be sure that his intentions were Pure and were not to
prove himself or flaunt his knowledge, Imam al-Shaf i was



great intelligence and encyclopedic knowledge, yet he often enjoined silence upon himself. He once said, "I never had adebate with any-

truth appear on the tongue of my opponent so I could submit to it." When the Prophet @ spoke, he always said the truth, even in
one except that I prayed to God that He make the

levity. He disliked verbosity and cautioned his Companions about the tongue and what it earns. If it is words for the sake of words, it
is a waste of time and a sign of bad character.Imarn Malik said about

one of his students, "He's a good man excePt he speaks a month's

worth of words in a day." Imam Mawlud mentions spiritual isolation for the PurPose of reflection, Some remember death through visaalization, using the puissance of imagination for visualizing their bodies washed, wrapped, and lowered inthe grave. Others refr'ect on the attributes
of God the Exalted by methodically pondering the meanings of each

of His divine names that speak of God's awesome power, knowledge, clemency, mercy, creative Powers, and more.

Next in the overall treatrr.ent for the heart, Imam Mawlnd
speaks of the importance of keeping the comPany of good people,

which is God's commandr
truthfulones (qunaN, 9:rr9)'

O you wbo belieue, Jear God and be among tbe


is astonishing how people can influence

others simply by being in each other's comPany, Imam al'Haddad said, "The company one keeps has major effects. It may lead to

either benefit and improvement or harm and corruption, depending on whether the company is that of pure and eminent people or
those who are immoral and evil. This effect does not appear suddenIy, but is a gradual process that unfolds

with time-"

Imlm Ibn'Ata'illah said, "Do not take as a comPanion someone whose state will not elevate you and whose speech does not direct you to God." In the same vein, Sidi Ahmad al'Zarriqsaid that one




Good comPany should befriend people who elevate one's station' they are thankful includes those who are in the state of gratitude;
One takes on for what theyhaveand do not waste time complaining' "Anyone who their excelle nt chatacteristics. Sidl Abn'l-flasan said' Shaykh Ould alyou to indulge in the world is defrauding you"' tells

it is good Khadim says that when it comes to worldly possessions'
they have. When wealthy people oPens a Person uP to coveting wh at

of to associate with people who have lesser means' The company it
with people who comes to the Hereafter,it is better to associate ofit' are superior to you in their desire for and understanding yields two kinds of impacc one that drags

the other that a person down to the compost of the world and that lasts forevet' points toward God the Exalted and an existence this life and A companion who tries to sell the ephemeral stuff of is dragging the makes it the substance of conversation and pursuit to seek out the comsoul earthward. It is better, beyond comPare' who help one achieve contentment with God' When
pany of those ing suffices, is the most Imam Mawlud says that seeking refuge with God Sidl Ibn 'Ashir efficacious treatment for all diseases of the heart' is to go to God with says, "The only real cure for all these diseases unconditional imploring"'What is meant here is urgently complete one is content, little

will suffice' But without contentment' noth-

to seek this as if seeking rcfugein God's Protection and guidance' It is begging' which one were hold'ing onto a thread over acanyon' is honorable' Most converts to Islam have said thac
before God in their lives in before they became Muslims, they reached a point that God which they petidoned with all their hearts and emotion they litthem. In the haze of confusion and spiritual morass'

And afterwards' erally begedfor it: 'Just show me what to do!" is what Imam Mawltd became easy and the path very clear' This act' is suggesting. There is nothing nonchalant in this
Imam Mawlrrd says that one should be like
a Person




in the sea or stranded in


desert without any provision, A moment

of desperation can often be the best thing that ever happens to a person- Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Srevens), the philanthropist and educator, tells in his story that he once was drowning in the Pacific Ocean near Malibu, California.In desperation he called'out to God to save him, and if He would do so, he would seek out His guidance. The very waves and undercurrents of the ocean that nearly killed him were transformed into aforce that propelled him back to
shore. True to his word and promise, Yusuf indeed sought God's

religion and embraced Islam.
Also Ibn AbiJahl was on

boat with Abyssinian Christians. He

fell into the water and was about to drown when he called upon the

idol Hubal. The Christians on the boat said, "Are you calling on an idol in Makkah to help you?" fught then he realized how foolish it
was, The

truth about the oneness of God entered his heart.


Beneficial Actions for PurifringtheHeaft
PoEM vER-ses rl:9-lg
Asforactiontharisbeneficialinptrrifyingtheheart,noneis what is consi-stent' even if it is slight' -o." "if".aiu" than
in the absence ofwitnesses' Includ,e also action that is done for His love or out of awe of His purelv ;;;;;;;;";
majesty. of woddly The purest deed is that done by someone-free one

opposite of this is the deed *"rr,., *tro." "na""uors are ultimately insigni6cant'


of the covetous

of hope are more The actions of those who strive out is


and exalted than one whose striving

compelled bY fear'

Discussion of the heart' it is important co When speaking of the purifrcation an ongoing process' Just know that "purification" is not a state'but about our bodily cleanliness' we as we go through a d'ay careful putity ' for purifrcation and sinmust similarly tend to our spiritual They are not qualities cerity donot survive a passive relationship' attendance' For this reason that areignited and glow on without most beneficial for the purifrca' Imam Mawlad st"tes that what is aredone with consistency' even tion of the heart arechose acts that of the Prophet Sr if theyare smal1. This is based on the statement even rf they are slight"' It's "The best actlons are continuous ones' a few hard strokes and then like silverwarel one may polish it with it rcgalarly so that its shimput it down; or one rnaY gently polish the heart becomes encrusted' mer is malntained' L"ft tt""ct""ded' and take away its purity' But with
Unwholesome deeds accumulate

the heart becomes cleansed consistent work on self-purifrcation' and is kePt that waY.


The Companions of the Prophet fu*et" consistent with their actions once they commenced them. Once a Companion asked the Prophet S to ,eco-mend a fast. The Prophet S said, "Fast three days out of the month," which are the middle days of the month when the moon is the fullest. The frrst thing the Prophec $ recommended was modera te, for theway of the Prophet S was moderation- The Companion said, "I can do more"' So the Prophet


said, "Then fast Mondays and Thursdays-" The Companion indicated that he is able to fast even more- The Prophet $ then recommend ed, "Then fast evety othet dayi' which is the Fast of Dawnd g (David). "And do not exceed this"' So the Companion
srarted to fast every other day and kept it throughour his IiFe' Wherreached old, age, the Companion said that he wished that he


would have taken the Prophet's 6rst recommendation and only fasted three days a month. Scholars have commented that when the Prophet's Companions took on suPererogatoty rites of worship (nawaJal),they did so for the duration of their lives. It was somerhing they embraced as a spiritual Practice' and they did not abandon it' This is not to say that this is an obligation' But if people wish to
climb straight and climb right in their spiritual journey' their acts
of worship should 6e regulat and consistent' The Prophet $ was a universal prophet, which means' among

other things, that he was an example for all people- He Fasted and broke his Fasts- He Prayedand he rested' The Prophet's life exam' ple has something for people of diverse strengths and weaknesses. For some people, God


oPen their hearts to

Night Pral'er'

Others, their hearts will be oPen to recitatron of the Quran' Orhers (rhe con' yer, ir may be generosity in giving charity or making dhikr

sistent remembrance of God). Fasting will be the love and pa:siqn of some people, while others will love and memorize hadrh t"a.h it. There is much in Islam and in the beauriful model oi


that one may take. Very rarely do rve 6nd a Person who encomPasses all (or even most) of the qualities' Bur ii a per'
the Prophet






son sees himself inclined to a certain supererogarory worship rire,

then he should follow it and be consistent. Imam Malik said, "God has opened up for His servants doors of goodnessl fordome He
opens doors of Fasting; for others He opens doors of Charity; oth,

ofknowledge and teaching; andfot others, doors of abstinence and conrentment- And I am pleased with what God has opened up for me in educating people."
ers yet, doors

Imam Mawlod says that one should consciously perform devotional deeds in the absence ofwirnesses. Ifone gives charity openly, this is good, bur in secrer ir is betrer. This protecrs againsr osrenration. Fu{ayl ibn 'Iyad was once walking down a street and someone said, "There goes a man who spends the whole night

in Prayer," Fudayl began to weept"I cannor remember spending one full night
inPrayer, How great God has honored me in making people think I am better than what I know myself to be."

An act of worship done for the love of God is a higher starion than those acts done out of fear of Hellfire. This is a common understanding among scholars throughout the ages, including Imam aIGhazah, This view does not belittle thefear of punishmenr, but ir does assign ahigher station to guiding one's conduct out of awe of God and a heightened sense of His majesty and greatness. The zahid (ascetic) does what he does for no other reason than the pleasure and love of God. This is the highest action. Ascericism in Islam differs from other traditions, In Islam, the essence of asceticism is a lack of want. The ascetic is the one who does not have attachment in his heart for material things. Many Companions of the Prophet $ were weakhy, bur, like'Abd al-Rahman ibn'Awf,
they were also conside red zabid despite their wealrhy.

Imam Mawlud says that striving with the energy of hope is more exalted than being compelled by feat, This is especially true when the benefits of one's acrs touch the lives of others, which is the case with 5adaqa (charity) for the needy. There is so much hope in Islam, its creed and ethos are rife with optimism and buoyancy.


Planting atree from which birds eat reaPs the planter reward so long as that tree stands. Hope is Iight: Indeed, in the Messenger of God
tbere is an excellent model for




hopeful oJ God and tbe Last

Day and remembers God muclc (qunnN, 33:zr).

PoEM vERSES r8o-88
Of particular benefit is that which extends beyond the individual or is difficult for the self-such as a glutton's fast, or the years ofyouth spent in avoiding wrongs and in willing obedience, or the contributions of a miser from the best of his wealth when he is of sound mind,
seeking thereby the pleasure of God

with absolute sincerity. of

of these purify the heart. Moreover, doing a good which one conceals is also purifying; and the best endeavors is one that purifies the heart.

Likewise, the most harmful of wrongs is what hardens the heart and was done with consistency or [the doer] taking joy in doing it. Sages have preferred a wrong that engenders humility to a right that clothes one in a gown of selfrighteous arrogance,

An atom's weight of exalted praiseworthy action from the

heart-like contentment with what

one has, detachment

from worldly things, and reliance fupon


is better in God's sight than high mountains of external

actions Iwithout sincerity].
Indeed, leaving a dollar because it is from a prohibited source is better than giving much in charity and fbetter

than] several pilgrimages'

Particular Acts
The Imdm advises also to seek out acts that arc tryingto rhe soul' The example he gives is Fasting for the glutton, one who has a difficult time controlling his or her food intake, The principle applies

to the miser who is blessed enough to tecognize his shortcoming, that he should bamle his soul by giving chatity, detaching himself from his want of wealth and its hoarding, no matter the internal resistance. The Prophet $ said that the best chariq'is chariq'given




and fears Poverty' when one is in good health and sound condition heart of miserliness; and the So the miser should give to cleanse his from giving' fear of poverty should not prevent him

ImlmMawludmentionsthisincombinationwithyouthwho of guidance' There are' spend their formacwe years in the shade lives doing things they of course, people who spend much of their Some will say that' shouldn't, but turn around when they grow old' in general, their station is not equal to those who were morally throughout their lives' circumspect and diligent in their worship for older people who have lost something of
Repentance is easier is not real' their vigor. This is not to say that their penitence some quarters of An abominable attitude somehow survives in year of responsibility the Muslim world- It basically states that the wills' This is age forty, and that before that age, one may do as he received revelation at t'hat is based on the fact thatthe Prophet @ and vacuous' It is also morage- But this ruling is entirely ignorant And devastating' Who can goaranteelengthy life? Ity ^naspiritually rePentance after years who can guaranteeone will actaally turn to havoc in antictpa' of disobedience? To intentionally wreak moral

tion of repenting late is unrenable' can do are The lmdm says next that the worst things a Person is speaking a lot those acts that harden the heart- One of them not sit in a gathwithout mentioning God' Jesus ffi watned"'Do God is not without mentioning God, for agatheting in which

the tongue is occupied menrioned will harden theheart." The more becomes-imbued with in remembering God, the softer the heart compassion, firercy, and love' of high praiseworImam Mawlud says nex!, "An atom's weight mountains of external thy action from the heart is better than high what Imam Sahnun actions with no heatt'." He then paraphrases has made forbidden is said, "Leaving one Penny from what God berter than going to pilgrimage 7o'ooo times.''



The Root of All Diseases of the Hear'
PoEM vERSEs tgg 2iThe root cause ofal1 ofthese diseases is love ofthe temporal wor1d. This is the opinion of both a1-Hilali and Ibn 'Ashir'

Ibn'Ata'il1ah, on the other hand, considered the root cause
of every disease to be man's self-satisfaction'

Likewise, the root cause ofa1l good qualities is the lack of self-satisfaction. And this conclusion is obvious to because being [dissatisfied with oneself] Prompts you character and to vigilantly avoid what is seek virtuous inappropriate'

The origin ofeither ofthese states relates to the company o." k""!. [from either camp], for a man's character is that
of the company he keePs.

Thus, if a man achieves any state, inevitably his companions


be affected bY


For this reason, Luqman, the full moon of wisdom' of advised his son to keep close comPany with the people knowledge' He compared the effect of the reviving light.of wisdom upon the heart to that ofa lush downpour upon the barren earth'

Discussion Imam The comprehensive root of the heart's diseases, according to oPinion Mawlud, is the love oJ tbe temporal woild, which he cites as the that it was of Imam al-Hilali and Imlm Ibn 'Ashir. Ibn 'Abbas said regarding covetousnes s (;ama'a). There are differences of opinion are the mother cause of diseases of the heart, but theit differences
shades of understanding

rather than alternate paradigms' \\tren ic Imam Ibn 'Ashir says that it is the love of power and authorirr' ald authorir;' comes down to love of the world, what are Power
other than branches of the world?




Imdm Ibn'Aqa'illah (died in 7o9/4o9), who is often quoted in this book and mentioned by name in this Passage of Imam Mawlnd's
poem, was a master of the science of the heart' His book of apho-

risms is one of the most highly rcgarded masterpieces in Islamic "The spiritual tradition. His llth aphorism in that collection reads, source of every disobedience, indifference, and passion is self-satisfaction. The source of every obedience, vigilance, and virtue is
dissatisfaction with one's self- It is better for you to keep comPany with an ignorant man dissatisfied with himself than to keep company

with alearned man satisfied with himself' For what knowl-

edge is there in a self-satisfied scholari And what ignorance is there

in an unlearned man dissatisfied with himselfi" In our day, thereis an urgency to root out the feelingof shame' Thercare self-help books to show how ro excise this out of the soul, But dissadsfaction with oneself is thevery thing that causes people to refect and re-evalttate, which is requisite for spiritual success. Shame and dissatisfaction can be moral lifesavers' (Shame is differentfrom low self-esteem, in which one feels contemPt for himself.)

SidiAhmad'a|.Zattiqsaidthattherearethreesignsofbeing overly content with the soul. First is being sensitive to one's own

indifferent to the rights of others' In Islam, one's responsibilities preponderate over one's rights. The second sign is ignoring one's own faults, as if he has none, while being preoccupied with the faults of others. A poet once said, "A contented eye does not


faults." The third sign is givingoneself too much leniency'

SidiAhmadal.Zarcuqthensaidt'hattherearethreesignsthat someone is nor conrent with himself. First is when a Person checks himself, is self-accusing and wary of his intentions' Joseph p' who was known for his exceprional pvity, said, "I do not declare myself
innocent,but the
soul oJten

commands euil, except upon one whom my Lordhas

(quxtN, Iz:53). One should ask himself, "Am I doing this for

show or for the sake of God?"



The is being cateful of the blemishes of the soul'

me to the soul even Prophet @ supplicat ed',"O God, do not leave for a blink of an eYe," example' Third is forcing the self to do difficult things' for Aba 'Uthmdn said' eatingless and spending money in charity'


not seen the faults sees anything good about himself has
.A',isha was honored in being the wife of the Prophet

of his soul."


brilliant women in history' She was beautiful and one of ihe most all these assets' she said' "I She was from an excellent tamily'With never think Quran would deem myself so insignificant that I would the episode in which be revealed about me"' (This is in regard'to the Exalted revealed her the hypocrites accused her of a sin' God
but she wasn't innocence in the Quran') She was humble'


self-confidence' with low self-esteem, She obviously had scriking

of her knowledge of the She was regularly asked questions because


ing or depletion ofconfidence. age to frnd fault in oneself-

not imply self-loathBeing vigilant about one's own faults does In fact' confidence gives one the cour-

among the faults of A poet once said, "I never saw a fault from of human perfection'" humanity / like the sloth of people capable

is that they One reason talented people become underachievers of any craft is not one are too satisfied. with themselves. A master stops' but one who who achieves a certain level of pro6 ciency and is committed to constant improvement' to seek Imlm Mawlud says that dissatisfaction is a motivator stalled as long as out better character,A human being is spiritually {ooJ and smug with his state' The basis of achieving
he is contenc becomes a\rare a is knowing yourself' When this happens' Person and ashamed of them rn-'t rhe of his imperfections, minor and major'
agreeableness" honpoint he strives to replace them with generosity' traits' esty, reliability, digtity, and other noble

ro de'-:Je upon When the mind is given the responsibilin'




right and wrong it will usually base its judgment subjectively: what
advances or thwarts one's whims? Our understanding of right and

wrong, licit and illicit, needs a judge higher than ourselves and our
whims. We are beings who have been created and, therefore,have Creator who brought us into existence for a reason.
and wrong.


is His pur-

pose and guidance that informs our sensitivity and response to right

ImIm MawlDd states that

diseases and blessings are related to

the company one keeps. The Prophet
neglects Prayer, or


said, "A man takes on the

religion of his companion." The company of

person who delays or

person who abandons payingZakaL or aperson

who is promiscuous drags others into his way of life, Conversely,

the company of a righteous person will pull one upward. As it is said, "If you sit at the door of a tavert:', you will either walk in and partake or rnerely smell the stench of alcohol and drunkards. But if you sit at the door of a perfumer, you will either walk in and wear the scent or at least enjoy the fuagrance," The learned are like rain that quickens a lifeless land. Sitting with esteemed company enlivens the heart and makes it more fertile for the growth of iman. It will take you from six things to six things: doubr to certaintyi ostentation in your acts to sincerity; heedlessness to remembrance; desire for this world to desire for theHereafter; affogance to humbleness; and a bad internal nature to an excellent one. Imtm Ibn 'Ata'illah advised the samer "Do not take as a companion someone whose state will not elevate you and whose speech does not direct you to God-"

Remember God nuch, and know that the Quran is the best of it. This rule excLudes those times when other types fof remembran. e' ha'e been p.e'cribed. Begin by asking for fbrgiveness and benedictions upon [Prophet Muhammad €-;, our gurde to all good things. Have the same reverence ;during remembrance]



guard yourself from an1' you rvould during Prayer and is among rhe prohibirions' Li.prot-,r.tt.i".ions, for that :instance' after the ba tn iin'lt't Whoever adds a long vowel' for to the ingta''tato iIIa'Allah' or adds a 'o*'el *;";;"';; worcl hanrza at the onset of the according to the consensus of has cornmitted a wrong deed God

the righteous people' Furthettt-'o'"' by being disobedient to Hrm'




Ui-""" *fl"." It

b1' serenrty' speech has been illuminated

is ':-".-!:1:'-"ili: orlgrrl in terms ot lls letter be pronounced with precision necessary when,engaged



and linguistic atlributes'
is contempiative The most virtuous form of devotion of the self' ;he best of that is annihilation ,;;;;

""i which is the suPreme statlon'


importance of dhill' the rememImam Mawlud speaks next of the heart the cure of each disease of the brance of God, which is vital to

the exceptional excellence of reciting (and society). He mentions the al-Ikhlas (the rr2th sura of the

Quran. For example

(together known the closing suras of the Quran Quran) along with each' is suras of refu ge") thtee times "cwo as al-lnu'awwadbatan,the one recices while reflecting deepl1' a highly recommended' When iffiafl doors of insight oPen and on.e's on che meaning of che words' grows stronger.




memorization, since driving a car '

Hanbal It is said that Imam Ahmad ::rthem' he asked the Almightl' abou: '-' the Exalted. ln one of near to Him; Which c: :h'::--. "' 's things that d,raw a worshipper r'ir '-ir: ii the recitation of Qu:a::greatest? He was toid it was

ears' (\\-he;r involves the eyes' hands' and obviously the choicerecitation by memonzation is had gg dreams abou: Ct': ibn


The replr't wichout comPrehension?" he asked'


r:'-' --' -':"-::-:i':






of the Quran in this exalted from receiving the blessings does not bar a person from the position is not borrowed practice,The authority of this it is colrabo ratedby proofs offeredby dream of a great*"rr, bo,

Not understanding the


the ages. The many scholars throughout are immediately t'swhen other obligations is not the ptefetred' dbikr

only time when the Quran


Mawlud states that the remembrance of God $ said' "The the spiritual path' The Messenger in taking his Lord and one who doesn't likeness of the one *ho '"t"*bers dead." someone who Lord is rike the living and the

of God is essential

remember his best of is alive and busy with the remembers God has aheartthat of God until hadith' "Make remembrance deeds. Thereis also the a Muslim who man"" If people come across they say,'He is a mad first thing that may remembranc e (dbikr)'the moves his lips in God's The Prophet he is not altogether sanecome to their minds is that of not inform you of the best


Lord and of them ti tn" sight of your your deeds "rrd ttt" po'est for you than in rank' and what is better the most exaltedof 'n"rn your

'Shall said to his Companions'


and better for you than encountering spending gold and silver strike you?" His you strike them and they

enemy in battle, where "It is the "Yes' of course!" He told them' Companions answered' explained how the remembrance remembrance of God.,, scholars dltibr is an end' evenjihadexplaining that

of God exceeds in merit known aggression' It is generally jihad|s a means to removing whtle to means, for we were created the ends are higher than the that the that we do is in order to establish remember God, ""d"^11 else remembrafice' conditions that permic this .}Ie; I will remember 1ou (quneN' ztt5z)' God has said, Rerirerit ber his Lord' states rhat whoever remembers There is also a hadith that

he is enriched u'homever God remembers' God remembers him' and One and is in need of nothingin this world and in the Hereafter

of the 1teatthings

from other acts abost dhikris that it is different


Remembrance is not time of worship, like Pilgrim age andPrayet'

of life, such as meals' getrestricted;it is associated with all aspects even sexual intimacy (for ring dressed, traveling, retiring for sleep' the like' It is said thac which there is a known supplication)' and any affliction that comes when one is in the state of rem embtatce, in the state of remembrance' to him raises his rank, and if one dies one's last words ate"'There is he or she dies as a {rrartyr' Also' if no God but Allah," he enters Heaven. one should Imlm Mawlud says that in making remembrance' (istighfdr) for his or her neglecr' start with seeking God's forgiv eness IstigbJar is the process of asking and misdeeds, past or immediat e' of their ill-effects' One should God to remit our sins and cleanse us times in a day astagbfirull-ah' say, for example, at least one-hundred from God"' One should also begin

which means, "I seek forgiveness with benedictions on the Prophet


th^t is' asking God to bless

have specified him and grant him Peace'Many scholars itis aprayer that ofthe Prophet p as partrculatly effectivebecause In fact' we read' Indeed' God is guaranteed to be answered by God'

and His angels

bless the

Propbet' O 4ou who believe'


him and salute bim

What is meant by the angels with a wortby salutation (qunaN' ))t56)'

supplication blessing the Prophet $ is their constant beloved Messenger' And His send His peace andblessings upon their supplication to God the command to believers also references that He send blessings to the Prophet $. one time' God Prays on that Whoever prays for the Prophet @ said' "Prayet on the Messenger person ten times. The Prophet $ grave' and light on the of God is light in this world' light in the was aware of his sraTraverse [in the Hercafter)"'The Prophet @ in what God has the Seal of the Prophets and he believed

to God to

tion as

life and the next' incluJinE what will be of benefit to them in this as he ha: said' blessing upon him. Such pral'ers' invoking

(ztz85)' He was unabashed in revealedto him, as the Quran states after rhem) his Companions (and all the generacions






shall be a light when we need light the most, in the dark grave and on the Traverse, the bridge that crosses over Hell6re, over which
everyone must cross.


is also light in the heart'

When prayingon the Prophet &, ott" should have the same reverence and comportment that one has when performing other
dbikr,likehaving ablution (wuQu') andfacingthe direction of Makkah (the qibla) when possible. What is recommended for Prayer (Salat) is recommended for dbikr, cleanLiness, perfume, and cleaning the


the siwak, When one says la ilaha illa'Ltah ("there is no God but A11ah"), he negates polytheism and t'dolatty' If one says



("all praise is for God"), he is reminded of the constant blessings that God has bestowed- When one says laf,awla wa la quwata itta billah (" there is no might or Power excePt with God"), he disengages himself of any illusion of having Power, for all of it is with God. When one Prays on rhe Prophet $, it is appropriate to imagine the Prophet futeachingus guidance and the Proper way to worship-essential teachings that we never would have learned had he not taught us. We must also remember God's love for him' ImSm MawlDd srates thar when engaged in remembrance it is important ro pronounce the words well and to avoid incorrect pronunciation, to the best of one's ability. Some mispronunciation can change the meaning of a phrase. sidi'Abdallah ould flajj Ibrahim
said in his book Kbazinat al-Asrar (Storehouse of secrets) that when one

in remembrance he should do so with every letter' One should not drag his tongue lazrly, especially in recitrngthe Quran'
proper pronunciation lends itself to deeper comprehension of what
one is saying. For those who have difficulty in pronouncing some

of the letters, they, of course, can still engage remembrance, doing

their best with macters of pronunciation. To reflect on God's creation is known apracticethat helps a person
see rhe

as agreat act of


signs-those glimpses of the unseen purposely placed in rhe physical world so that we rnay be increased in fairh and cerrirude. This meditative contemplarion,



of devotions' Those Imam Mawlud states, is the most virtuous of understanding and inclined to reflecrion are known as people God whtle standingor sittingor are described as those who remember
tyingon tbeir sides.As

ano they reflect on the creation of the heavens
not created this

to You!" (quneN, 3lr9r)'

a This combines remembrance of God with augments the Power of remembrance' presence of heartand mind that one hour is better than There is a hadith fhat scates, "T o refr'ectfor

the earth, they say, "Our Lord'' Youbave

in uain' Glory


may The objects of refection (tafakkur) atemany.One reflect on the signs of God the verses of the Quran- Another may God, the reward that He in creation or refleat on the promise of and obedient' Such reflection guarantees believers who are patient with its unfathomable creates ardentdesire and hope for Paradise

ayear inworshiP-"

reflect on

and excellent comPany- Likewise' bliss, peace, provision, landscapes' has promised those who choose one refects on the punishment God over guidance' and corruption

wickedness over parity,misguidance the terrors of the grave and che over wholesomeness' Reflecting on that strengthens a Person s horrors of Hell instills the kind of dread of God' When we reflect on all resolve to never stray from the path

the measure of what that God has given us that inftnitely exceeds little is required from us' this we deserve, and then reflecton what affogance and increases gratiextinguishes self-righteousness and tude'
People ask about those who errgage
a gteat deal of remembrance rites of worship as if they have yet neglect or ignore the obligatory This is unmitigated ignorance' transcended the need for these riteson every human being is to garn


The 6rst and foremost obligadon until he has learned s'hat is knowledge. A human being is nothing Withour this' a Delscrn obligatory on every individual (farQ'ayn)'

hasnorankorstandingwithregardtoGod,andnorhingLi1ao:e "':';::: C'rd" to a person other than his or her sranihE

When God created us, He

gave us accountabilin167

a:i;;:e =::::s ;iri



ability to carry otrt our responsibilities. Anyone who does not care to learn the first order of knowledge is living the life of a farm ani' mal. He does nothingbut. graze in this life, which is entirely insuffrcient in God's sight.

Shaykh Ould al-Khadim has mentioned the names of many renowned scholars of the past, who were learned in the outward
and inner sciences, thelattetbeingta5awwuf.These scholars say that

before tasawwuJ, there must be Sacred Law . T asawwuf without Law

will lead orLe astray.
There is a confused sense of spiritaality in which one feels he or she can attain to the Reality without tending to the responsibilities and obligations of the Sbart'a, This is a misleading phenomenon that spreads because of its appeal: spiritual sensation without any moral obligation. A Person on this parh may do as he or

wills and rake solace in pseudo-sensarions. This virulent trend seizes people and whisks them away ftom the truth, although they feel quite content. Islam does not call people to unreasoned faith' It demands that a Person learn authentic knowledge which buttresses true spiritual growth. This real spirituality is protected by fruit. If one removes the husk, the ear is exposed and it begins to rot. A person who tries to attain spirituality without the Sbart'a will eventually destroy his soul and become, in essence, a false Person. There are people who outwardly don the mantle and comportment of spiritual enlightenment, but
the Sbarr'a, jast as a shell Protects its

who are Flled with diseases of the heart. We must remember that if a Person has done wrong his spiritual path is not severed. There is recourse- One seeks rePentance with God. One should not confess or broadcast what he has done' If God has veiled one's wrongdoing, do not tear the veil down. There is

the Prophet @ and said, "I committe d a sin," and he meant adultety. "So punish me"' But the

hadith in which

a man came to

$ turned and walked away' The man Pursued rhe Prophet $

and told him again that he wanted to be punished for his sin. The


prophet fufrnally looked at him and asked him if he made ablucion p andprayed,.He was telling him that Islam purifres. The Propher said, "Whoever does indecency,let him veil his acts with the veiiing of God and let him make tepentance," He also said, "Whoever comes to our faces and admits them, then we will punish chem"' There is no better rreatmenr for the diseases of the heart than remembrance, Most of the other recommended cures either touch
upon or include the remembrance of God as essential. It has been said, "When we are ill, we treat ourselves with Your remembrance.

And when we abandon Your remembrance, we relapse into illness."

The consultative body of 'Umar ibn al-Khafab included



whose cousin insisted on meering with 'umar. when he was given the opportu nity, he demanded from 'Umar , " Give me something

from what God gave you fmeaning money] because you're someone who hasn't given out much, and you do not judge with justice." When 'fJmar heard this, he grew angry' But the man's cousin intervened and cited a verse to 'fJmar, Turn away from the ignorant (quneN, 7,rgg).'Llmar's anger imme diately subsided, even though the man had insulted him, lied, and disrespected Islamic author-

ity. Citingthe verse was the remembrance of God, which caimed
'LJmar down.

Many passages of the Quran encourage or command humanity to remember God as often as possible. The Quran says that in the Messenger of God $ we have an excellent model (qunaN, 33:zr)'The people who benefit most from this model are those who engage in g- The remembrance fteqrendy, which was the way of the Prophet

word tazkr|a in Arabic means to purify oneself; but it also rneais to grow. When God the Exalted says that had it not been f'or H:s favor upon us, no! one of us would have become purified orr'-o'- I

j': :5 have enjoyed growth (quneN, z4:zt). So purification con"ies ;'tra the result of the spiritual work that God the Exalted has i:;;:o-i';
blessed humanity wirh, and remembrance pla;'s a r'ra''-:

r'--: r:- ::-::-




'LJmar once wrote to his governorsr


consider Prayer to be

the most important deed in your life. So whoever guards and is vigilant in his Prayer, he has guarded his religion. And whoever is negligent about his Prayer, he will neglect matters of lesser importance." What is great about this counsel is that it offers clarity about priorities. Remembrance (dhikr) is a practice that is validatedonly by the performance of the obligatory rites of worship, includingPrayer (galat).If a person stays up all night thumbing his beads but sleeps past Dawn Prayer, he has done no service to himself. So the foremost thing a person needs to guard is the Prayer and its requirements, like ablution or wudu'. A Muslim tradition reports that Prophet David gs saw a group of men remembering God and was impressed with them, but it was revealed to him that these men were of no worth in the sighr of God because if a woman had come along and offered herself to any of them, they would have acceptedher offer. The best of worship occurs with the combination of speech and reflection. When practiced for a long time regularly, one achieves what is called fana' in Su6 terminology. Imam allunayd is said to have coined the term, which literally means extinction. When it comes to the world of remembrance, it includes achieving supreme realizations about God the Exalted and His acts. When one reflects deeply, he separates himself from others and even from his own limitations. ImAm al-Junayd says that in spirirual practice there can be profound experiences. One is called abal, which can be a overwhelming spiritual. The scholars of this science differentiatebetweenbal and maqam. Maqam (station) is more or less a fixed condition or state, not a momentary bursr of spiritual epiphany. For example, the maqam of tawba (station of repentance) is one in which one cannot willingly be disobedienr to God- But the hal of repentance is when someone becomes so overwheimed with remorse over what he had done wrong in the pasr, he rushes to God the Exalted and


profoundly seeks His forgiveness with a powerful sense of God's with presence- It is an inrush that comes into the heart', frlling it light and spiritual expansion. It is highest when one is not aware of himself, only of God and His atrributes. This kind of extinction

ofthe soul is caused by one's focus and heightened spiritual experience.

Our objective is not merely to go through these spiritual expeto the nences, but to be frrmly grounded in a path that takes us
pleasure of God and salvation in the Hereafter' If one performs inner remembranc e prope{y and often, things will happen to the But self. These things are studied by scholars of the inner sciences' we're also awarethat Satan canplay games with those who engage

in certain Practices blindly and without knowledge and prioritiza' tion. Thar's the peril of New Age pracrrces and philosophies that them canleadto sensations and experiences in which the one having
cannot distinguish between satanic influences, psychological phenomena, and true spiritual encounters'

What fana'alludes to is altogether different' It is founded on the sources of Islam and the tutelage of learned people who have knowledge of both the Sltarr'a and spiritual matrers. The person who is doiog dhikr with reflection loses awareness of himself- There other are authentic rePorts of the Companions of the Prophet and
righteous people of later generations who, as they stood inPrayer' were completely unarvare of their surroundings' What Muslims recognize is that if a person is sincere in remembering God' then God may bless him or her rvith an " openingi' that is, a deepet
nessing of God Himself.


There is a hadith in rvhich God says, "My servant does not draw is obliganear to Me by ani'thing more beloved to Me than whac

tory upon him, and he will continue to draw near to Me wirh the I love supererogatory acES of rvorship until I love him' And when him I become the e)'e with which he sees, the eat with rvhich he *'ith ri'hich hears, the tongue s'irh which he speaks, and the hand




Me I give him rcfuge with Me' he grasps, and if he seeks refuge in This hadith does not mean that and if he asks of Me, I give him-"

We do not believe in God the Exalted takes on human qualities. But we do believe Divine incarnation or God becoming creation'

state of awareness of that the human being can be in a profound is an act of God and peoGod's action in creation- The whole world witnessing where they see evepLe cango into a state of absolute see otherness and thus rything as being acts of God' They do not this reason' the believer ,h"y ,.rognize the Reality behind it' For afflicdon andttial' in which there is sees good in all things, even in learnpatience' and oPPortun ity to gtow' putr{y oneself' wisdomr an draw near to God. It ma\
be that

you, and. it may be that youlo'te

you distike something thougb it k good t'or (qunaN' zr sometbing tbougb it is bad Jor you

in witnessing God's wisdom in z16). Understanding this is che idea
events of the world'

al-'Arabl said that Satan's foremost objecQadi nUu Bakr Ibn from the rememb rance of tive with the believer is to separate him doing much rememGod the Exalted. But if Satan finds believers away from the remembrance brance,then he will try to turn them and that is taken from the Quran and the supplications

of God

Sidi Ahmad al'Zarrtq formulas stated by the Prophet S himself. that the Prophet p used to said that one should say the litany One should do this before say, especially those that he said oftenother people' It is permissible these supplications composed from


they are knowledgeable readsupplication of others as long as preference (after the words and known for their piety. Even hete' of th" P'ophet ,E) should be given to the words of the Qura., "r,d (Tabi'an)' the Companions and the Successo rs t'aty of the Portion of Here we end the translation and commen that deals wich various diseases of the heart'
Imam Mawltrd's poem previously mentioned The appendices that follow delve into issues but with greater detail'



Appendix One
Taken from the Wird of Imsm Abdallah al-Haddad

and a man of Imam Abdallah al-Haddad was a Yemeni scholar his descendanr was my great spiritual insighr. I am grateful that to begin one's dbikr teachet.I learned from him that it is excellent "In the name of God' with the basmala (Bkmitlabi-rabmani'rabtm or said thac any the Merciful, the Mercy-Giving"). The Prophet $ is severed from goodact thatdoes not begin in the name of God al-Ikhlas three times' The ness. The Imdm then would recite Surat reciting one-third of Prophet @ said that this sura is equivalent to aftet every Ptayer the Quran. The sura should be read preferably concluding two suras and in the morning and evening' Next' the (r13) and Sorat al-Nas of the Quran should be read, Surat al-Falaq should also be (rr4), which give prorect'Lon, by God's ieave' They they should be recited recrted everyday,There is a hadith that says
before going to sleeP'

The erophet

from Saca:-- r::e his evil PromPtlngsi "O God, I seek refuge in You --\1; S'r-r'' --'-'i accursed, from his prompcings, inspirarions.''Also'

arJ $ often prayed for protection from Satan


tbe urgings

of the devils" (qunerv'

2):g;''* -;':-" :-:::

somerh::-i ::-=: :-a isbamazat,which means to goad someone to do end of :i::': -j :---:: :'-'' or she shouldn't do' One of rhe signs of the minds of people will become full of whisperings173

Pa;:-. :--:'- ':e

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