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By Sheikh Ahmed Zarruq
Sheikh Ahmed Zarruq (may Allah show him mercy) said: There are five things that define our path: 1. Fearing Allah in privacy and in public 2. Following Prophetic practice in action and speech 3. Turning away from creation whether they oppose or support you 4. Satisfaction with Allah for little and much 5. Returning to Allah in felicity and hardship Fear (piety/taqwa) is realised with caution and uprightness. The realisation of following the Sunna is by mindfulness and excellent character. Shunning creation by patience and reliance. The realisation of satisfaction is by contentment and surrender. The realisation of returning to Allah is with praise, gratitude in felicity and seeking refuge with Him in hardship.
The principles of all these five are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Lofty aspirations Abstaining from prohibitions Excellent service (to others) Effective determination Magnifying blessings.
Whoever has lofty aspirations increases his rank; whoever guards the sanctity of Allah, Allah guards his sanctity; whoever perfects his service, necessitates honour; whoever is effective in his determination is always receiving, whoever magnifies blessings is grateful; whoever is grateful necessitates increase in blessings according to the promise of the truthful (Allah the Exalted).
The Principles of Conduct are five: 1. Seeking knowledge to establish this matter. 2. Accompanying scholars and brothers (to gain) insight. 3. Leaving dispensations and interpretation for memorisation. 4. Organising time for Awrad for presence (of heart) 5. Accuse the self for anything comes out of its passions; free from perdition and error. Seeking knowledge is ruined by company of those elderly, unintelligent or lowly; from that which does not return to a source or ruling. The ruination of companionship is from delusion and encroachment. The destruction of leaving dispensations and interpretations is in the self pity of the soul. The destruction of organising time is seeing expansion in knowledge for the sake of achieving virtue. The destruction of accusing your human self with good condition and uprightness; Allah has stated, “Though they offer every compensation it will not be accepted.” (6:70) The noble son of a noble (prophet) Yusuf ibn Yaqub said, “Surely, man‟s inner self often incites to evil, unless my Lord shows mercy.” (12:53).
Principles that cure the defects of the soul are five: 1. Lessening the food in the stomach 2. Take refuge in Allah (the Exalted) from what appears as obstacles 3. Fleeing from the places in fear of situations that could occur.
4. Constantly seeking repentance with invocation upon the Prophet (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings) in seclusion and openly. 5. Companionship of he who indicates to Allah or to the affair of Allah; and he (this person) does not exist. Abu l‟Hassan As-Shadhli (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “My beloved (the Prophet (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him)) advised me.” He said, "Do not move your feet, except to where you hope for Allah's reward; do not sit, where you believe that you could become overcome, by disobeying Allah; and not align yourself, except to he who increases you in certainty. And how few in number they are." Or words to that effect. (Iyqad Al-Himam fi Sharh Al-Hikam by Ibn „Ajibah page 114). He also said (may Allah be pleased with him), “Whoever indicates you to the world has cheated you; whoever indicates you to action has fatigued you and whoever guides to Allah has given sincere advice.” He (may Allah be pleased with him) also said, “Make piety your homeland; do not harm yourself with joy of yourself what you not content of errors or becoming sins; or losing the fear of Allah from the unseen.” I say, “These the principles are pretexts, calamities and tribulations.”
You will see the seekers of Allah (Fuqara) in tribulation of five things: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Preferring ignorance over knowledge Deluded by every person. Complacency in all affairs. Pride in the path Seeking an opening without its condition.
Afflicted by five things: 1. Preferring innovation over Sunna. 2. Following the people of falsehood not the truth.
3. Acting upon the passions in all affairs or displaying haste in all affairs. 4. Seeking vanity over reality 5. Manifesting claims without (being) truthful.
The manifestation of this is in five things: 1. Whispering in acts of worship. 2. Persistence in habitual acts 3. Hearing and gathering in most of the time 4. Turning their faces towards (those in) position 5. Accompanying the people of the world even women and children. They are deluded by occurrences of the people in this and mention their states. If they realised this then they would know that this is a cause of weakness. The station of this is according to the need without excess. Do not persist upon it because you distance yourself from Allah. Listening is a dispensation that changes or gives total relief. It diminishes the means to the Real (Allah) if it has the condition of its people in its position and etiquette. Whispering is innovation as is source of ignorance towards the Sunna or confounding the intellect. If it is directed to accepting creation, it has caused you to turn your back from the Real (Allah), especially the reciter who adulates, the heedless oppressor or the ignorant Sufi, the company of those of dark speech, knower‟s of the world and religion, know that their acceptance of their companionship is dangerous. As Sheikh Abu Madyan (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Speech from him who is not on your path is not accepted even if it‟s from a ninety year old.” I say, “From he who is not affirmed in a state and accepts all that he receives so becomes infused by it; Most of whom we found in this are offspring of petty sects in sought gatherings, avoid them as much as you can.”
Anyone who calls to state with Allah then one of these appears from him is a lair or a failure 1. His limbs move to disobey Allah. 2. Feigns obedience to Allah. 3. Desires the creation of Allah 4. Incidents with the people of Allah 5. Lack of respect to the Muslims in regard to what Allah has commanded. How few seal an end with Islam.
Conditions that the Sheikh who accepts students should have himself are five:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Actual experience Sound knowledge High aspiration Happy condition Piercing insight
Five things that make him unworthy to be Sheikh (spiritual leader) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ignorance of the religion Abandoning the sacredness of the Muslims Interfering in what does not concern him Following his passions in every thing Bad character without heed
Etiquette of the student with his Sheikh and his brothers are five 1. Following a matter even if he disagrees 2. Avoiding prohibitions when hidden 3. Maintaining admiration if he is present, away, living or dead. 4. Establishing his rights according to ability without constraint. 5. Dismiss his intellect, his action and his leadership except that which is in compliance to his Sheikh. This is sufficient fairness and advice for the conduct of the brothers. If they do not have a Guiding Sheikh or find deficiency in one of the five conditions; rely on what is perfect in them and on your brothers for the remainder. This completes the five principles by the praise of Allah, his support and good success. He (may Allah show him mercy) said, “It is necessary for you to read this once or twice a day, if not then every Friday, until the meanings are imprinted on your soul, as it refers to its necessities. It contains the richness of many books and advices. It was stated whoever neglects these principles does not arrive. Whoever ponders over what we said should know then remain upon this intent on this agreement to make remembrance and only success is from Allah.” May peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad, upon his family and his companions. Praise is for he; your Lord; Lord of magnificence; free from what they attribute and may peace upon the Messengers; All praise belongs to Allah; Lord of the universe. And may Allah forgive his unworthy and sinful servant Arfan Shah (Sheikhy Notes).