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On Ramaḍān – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

Strive to make your acts of goodness and benevolence as abundant as you can in Ramaḍān, for it is a blessed time when wages are multiplied, reward is abundant, and good works are made easy. As for the multiplication of wages, it has been transmitted that a supererogatory devotion in Ramaḍān attracts a rewards equal to that of an obligatory one [of the same kind] at other time, while an obligatory devotion equals seventy such devotions performed at other times. Why should one miss such profit and be too lazy to seize the opportunity of such a transaction, one that can never lose?

As for good works being made easy, it is because the soul that incites to evil is imprisoned by hunger and thirst, and the devils that discourage people from good works and place obstacles before them are shackled, unable to spread corruption. Therefore, nothing stands between one and good works, no barriers exist, save for those who are overcome by their wretchedness and misfortune—may God protect us! For such people Ramaḍān is similar to any other time. They are ever forgetful of God. Some may even become more forgetful and distracted in Ramaḍān.

Just as believer should intensify his good works in this month and show diligence, so should he be extremely careful to avoid transgressions and maintain himself at a distant from them, for sins committed during the blessed times are much worse and deserving of much more severe punishment, as a counterpart for the multiplication of rewards for good works at those times.

It has been transmitted that the Prophet—may God’s blessings and peace be upon him—used to intensify his efforts in Ramaḍān, then intensify them even more in the last ten days and nights. I say: This is because of the superior merit of the last ten days and nights, and his instructions—may God’s blessings and peace be upon him—to seek Laylat’ul-Qadr in them. Scholars have stated further that it is more likely to be one of the odd nights.

In brief, the sagacious believer should be ready for Laylat’ul-Qadr every Ramaḍān night. He must remain watchful and constantly engaged in good works. The important thing is that when it does come it finds him absorbed in his good works, remembering God the Exalted, neither distracted, heedless, nor absorbed in frivolity. It is unimportant whether he actually witnesses Laylat’ul-Qadr or not, for the works of he who is absorbed in devotions during it will be equivalent to the works of a thousand months, whether he is aware or not which specific night it is. We say: He should watch for it and be prepared every night of the month, because much disagreement exists between scholars as to which night it is. Some have gone so far as to say that it is hidden and can be any night in the month; also that it shifts and is not the same night every year. I am inclined to accept this last opinion. I believe it can occur in other than the last ten nights, but more frequently does in them. This is also the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

In this noble month one should increase one’s charities, assistance and comfort to the poor, and inquire after the widows and the orphans. It has been transmitted that the Prophet—may God’s blessings and peace be upon him—was always more openhanded with donations than a whirlwind, but was more so than ever in Ramaḍān (Sahih Bukhari: 6021 & Sahih Muslim: 4268).

One should increase one’s recitations and studying of the Qur’an, secluding oneself in mosques (I’tikaf), especially during the last ten days, which is the time when the Prophet—may God’s blessings and peace be upon him—used to seclude himself.

Imām ‘Abdallāh al-Haddād; extracted from Counsels of Religion (translated by Moṣṭafā al-Badawī from the kitāb Al-Naṣā’ih al-Dīniyya wa’l-Waṣāyā’l-Īmāniyya)

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On Fasting – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

Increase your good works, especially in Ramadan, for the reward of a supererogatory act performed during it equals that of an obligatory act performed at any other time. Ramadan is also a time when good works are rendered easy and one has much more energy for them than during any other month. This is because the soul, lazy when it: comes to good works, is then imprisoned by hunger and thirst, the devils who hinder it are shackled, the gates of the Fire are shut, the gates of the Garden are open, and the herald calls every night at God’s command: ‘O you who wish for goodness, hasten! And O you who wish for evil, halt!’

You should work only for the hereafter in this noble month, and embark on something worldly only when absolutely necessary. Arrange your life before Ramadan in a manner which will render you free for worship when it arrives. Be intent on devotions and approach God more surely, especially during the last ten days. If you are able not to leave the mosque, except when strictly necessary, during those last ten days then do so. Be careful to perform the Tarawih prayers during every Ramadan night.

In some places it is nowadays the custom to make them so short that sometimes some of the obligatory elements of the prayer are omitted, let alone the sunnas. It is well known that our predecessors read the whole Qur’an during this prayer, reciting a part each night so as to complete it on one of the last nights of the month. If you are able to follow suit then this is a great gain; if you are not, then the least that you can do is to observe the obligatory elements of the prayer and its proprieties.

Watch carefully for the Night of Destiny [Laylat’ul-Qadr], which is better than a thousand months. It is the blessed night in which all affairs are wisely decided. The one to whom it is unveiled sees the blazing lights, the open doors of heaven, and the angels ascending and descending, and may witness the whole of creation prostrating before God, its Creator.

Most scholars are of the opinion that it is in the last ten nights of Ramadan, and is more likely to fall in the odd numbered ones. A certain gnostic witnessed it on the night of the seventeenth, and this was also the opinion of al-Hasan al-Basri. Some scholars have said that it is the first night of Ramadan, and a number of great scholars have said that it is not fixed but shifts its position each Ramadan. They have said that the secret wisdom underlying this is that the believer should devote himself completely to God during every night of this month in the hope of coinciding with that night which has been kept obscure from him. And God knows best.

Hasten to break your fast as soon as you are certain that the sun has set. Delay suhur long as you do not fear the break of dawn. Feed those who fast at the time when they break it, even if with some dates or a draught of water, for the one who feeds another at the time of breaking the fast receives as much reward as he without this diminishing the other’s reward in any way.

Strive never to break your fast nor to feed anyone else at such a time except with lawful food. Do not eat much, take whatever lawful food is present ‘ and do not prefer that which is tasty, for the purpose of fasting is to subdue one’s lustful appetite, and eating a large quantity of delicious food will on the contrary arouse and strengthen it.

Fast on the days on which the Law encourages you to fast, such as the day of Arafat for those who are not participating n the pilgrimage, the ninth and tenth [‘Ashura] of Muharram, and the six days of Shawwal, starting with the second day of the Feast, for this is the more effective discipline for the soul. Fast three days in each month, for these equal a perpetual fast. It is better if these are the White Days, for the Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, never omitted to fast them whether he was at home or traveling. Fast often, especially in times of special merit such as the Inviolable Months, and noble days such as Mondays and Thursdays.

Know that fasting is the pillar of discipline and the basis of striving. It has been said that fasting constitutes half of fortitude. The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, said: ‘God the Exalted has said: “All good deeds of the son of Adam are multiplied ten to seven hundredfold, except fasting, for it is Mine, and I shall reward a man for it, for he has left his appetite, his food and drink for My sake!”‘ ‘The one who fasts has two joys, one when breaking his fast, the other when meeting his Lord.’ And; ‘The odour of the fasting man’s mouth is more fragrant to God than that of musk.’

God says the truth and He guides to the way. [XXXIII:4]

Book of Assistance by Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

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Merits of the Month of Ramadan – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

Regarding the merits of the month of Ramadan, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, had said: “Ramadan to Ramadan, and Friday to Friday, and prayer to prayer; (these) are expiations of sins between the two of them if the major sins are abandoned.”

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said regarding the month of Ramadan: “It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is admittance to Paradise.”He said further: “The beginning (of Ramadan) is mercy; the middle, forgiveness; the end, deliverance from the Fire.”

When the first night of the month of Ramadan has arrived, Allah takes notice on the Muslims. If He takes notice of a particular servant of His, it means that He will never cause him to suffer torment. And following that, He pardons them on the last night of the month of Ramadan.

Gabriel peace be upon him said to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:
“Whoever meets the month of Ramadan while he is not forgiven by Allah Most High, verily he would be distanced from Allah’s mercy. Say Ameen! And the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: Ameen!.”

The reason behind it being, in the month of Ramadan it is very much easier to obtain forgiveness as compared to other months. Henceforth, there is no one who is unable to obtain forgiveness in it, unless he has disobeyed Allah Most High in abundance, and his disobedience are very major, thus is the reason he is distanced and chased away from the door of Allah.We ask for refuge and safety from the wrath of Allah Most High and His torment and every disaster from Him.

There is a tradition that mentions that, the gates of the Garden of Paradise are flung open on every month of Ramadan, the gates of the Fire of Hell are shut and locked, and the devils [shayatin] are shackled, tied up tight and thrown into the ocean, so that they will not be able to distract Muslims and interfere with their fasts and night vigils. On every night, there would be a voice that calls: Whoever wants goodness, come! Whoever wants evil, be gone!

Another tradition related: Whoever comes near to Allah Most High with an obligatory prayer in the month of Ramadan, it is equivalent to seventy prayers on other months. Whoever comes near to Allah Most High with a supererogatory prayer (in the month of Ramadan), it is equivalent to an obligatory prayer on other months.

It is thus clear that a supererogatory prayer in the month of Ramadan is equivalent in rank with that of obligatory prayers in other months in terms of its rewards. On top of that, the obligatory prayers have its rewards seventy-fold as compared to that of those performed in other months beside Ramadan.

The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever fasts (in) Ramadan and stand (awake) in the nights (of Ramadan) with complete faith and sincerity, verily he is forgiven of all his past sins.”

An-Nashaaih Ad-Diniyah Wal-Washaaya Al-Imaaniyah by Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

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Sciences: The Priorities – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

If you wish to know which sciences and acts are the most important and beneficial for you, imagine that you are to die the next day and return to God to stand before Him and be asked to account for your knowledge, behavior, and all your affairs and states, subsequently to be taken to either the Garden or the Fire. What you see there as most important and useful to you is precisely what you must now give priority and attachment to; whereas what you find useless, unimportant, frivolous, or simply of no great necessity is what you must neither pursue nor occupy yourself with in this life. Meditate on this matter and reflect well; it is of tremendous benefit to those who have discernment and are concerned about their appointed time, their return to God, their salvation, and their success in the Hereafter, which is better and more enduring (87:17). Success is in the Hand of God, to whom belong all graces, for He bestows them on whomever He wills; and God’s graces are immense!

-Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād, Knowledge and Wisdom (Fusus al-‘ilmiyah wa-al-usul al-hikamiyah)

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Worldly Pleasures – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

In this world, those who possess the utmost comfort and the greatest forms of pleasures and are the most intent on pursuing them are the most troubled, fatigued, endangered, worried, stressed, and sorrowful of all. Such is the plight of the kings and the rich. In contrast, those who possess the fewest comforts and the pleasures, and are the least desirous of them, are the least troubled, fatigued, endangered, apprehensive, and aggrieved. Such are the poor and the destitute. The reason behind this is that the delights, comforts, and passions of the world are in their very essence troubling, disturbing and stressful, since those who jostle, compete, and envy others for them are quite numerous.

To pursue, enjoy, protect, and multiply these things can be extremely exhausting, hazardous, and aggrieving. The more one takes from the world and its pleasures, the more one’s problems, dangers, worries, and sorrows multiply, while the less one desires and pursues the world’s pleasures, the less one’s problems become. One can observe how kings and wealthy people are among the most tired, stressed, aggrieved, and endangered of all people. Some of them hazard their very souls and endanger their hearts in pursuing their desires and passions, or, [having obtained them], in protecting and multiplying them.

This is quite evident to any intelligent observer. As for the poor and the indigent, they demand but little of the world and its passions, either by choice, as do the renouncers, or by necessity, like those people who are weak and do not even entertain such ideas, let alone actively pursue them. Both have fewer worries and fewer sorrows. Know that those who demand from the world the needs of only one day have fewer troubles and worries than those who demand the needs of a week, while those who seek a month’s needs have fewer worries than those who seek the needs of a year.

Those whose desires are confined to themselves have fewer troubles than those who desire for themselves and for others. As demands grow, so do troubles, worries and sorrows, as though the pleasures and comforts that a man finds in the world lay on one side of the scales and hardship, danger, and grief on the other. (They usually balance each other.) There are individual differences, and one side may outweigh the other a little, but not very much. This is what happens to the two different groups in this world. As for the Hereafter, it would take too long to discuss or even simply enumerate the well-known hadiths and other sayings describing what those who run after pleasures and appetites in this world will undergo.

They will be called to account and will be met with chastisement, hardship, and great terror. On the other hand, the poor and the destitute have expectations of happiness, honor, success, and repose. Therefore, if you desire rest in the world, relinquish your quest for rest in it! A wise man was once asked, “To whom does the Hereafter belong?” He replied, “To those who seek it.” Then he was asked, “And to whom does the world belong?” He replied, “To those who forsake it.” When Ibrahim ibn Adham, may God have mercy on him, saw a sorrowful Sufi he said to him, “Worry not nor grieve. Were kings to know what tranquility is ours they would fight for it.”

The cause of his abandoning his worldly position and ephemeral kingship is that he once looked out of his palace window at midday and saw a poor man taking refuge in the shade of the palace. The man took out a flat loaf of bread, ate it, drank some water, and then lay down in the shade and slept. Ibrahim liked what he had seen, envying the man for his peace of mind, so he sent someone with orders to fetch him as soon as he woke up. When the man was brought to Ibrahim, he said to him, “You ate your loaf when you were hungry and were satisfied?” The man said, “Yes!” He said, “Then you slept and were rested?” Again the man answered, “Yes!” And Ibrahim said to himself, “If the soul can be satisfied with as little of the world as that, what have I to do with the world?”

At nightfall he left the palace and all that it contained and devoted himself entirely to God the Exalted. What became of him is well-known. You now know, from what has been said, that the comforts of this world, its pleasures and its passions, are wearisome, perilous, alarming, grievous, and painful. Their increase always comes with an increase of these accompanying [difficulties] and greater vulnerability to them. When pleasures, comforts and passions diminish, so too do weariness, peril, worry, and grief; and one is more at ease. Do not forget the sorry consequences in the life-to-come which await the pleasure-seekers; nor forget the high rank of the pleasure-forsakers, those who left them either by choice or by force of circumstances. This is clear to anyone who reflects on it with an impartial mind.

Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād, Knowledge and Wisdom (Fusul al-‘ilmiyah wal usul al-hikamiyah)

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On One’s Spiritual State – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

Should a man wish to know whether he is rising or falling in religious terms, he should look at how his state and conduct had been a month or a year ago. If he finds that they were better than his present state and conduct, he should know that he is descending into degradation; whereas if he finds that his present state and conduct are better, he should know that he is rising and improving. It has been handed down that “he who finds that his day resembles the previous day has been cheated, and he who finds that his day is worse that the previous day is accursed.”

Accursed here means remote from a particular and specially accorded to mercy. He who is not increasing is diminishing. To explain, if when thinking about previous days, you feel that you then had no desire for the world, were eager for the Hereafter, scrupulously avoided doubtful things, were quick to good actions, quick to obedience, remote from transgressions, and by comparison are now no better or are to any extent worse, then know that you are going down, deteriorating in religion, in your aspiration for God, and in striving for the Hereafter.

You should then feel apprehensive and fearful and then begin to show resolution and exert effort. If, on the other hand, you find that you have more aspiration and eagerness than before, then thank God the Exalted even more, remember His gifts and graciousness, and be ever attentive to them. You should not feel pleased with yourself, nor think that it is due to your own ability and power, for as God the Exalted has said, Had it not been for the favor upon God upon you, and His mercy, not one of you would ever have grown pure; but God purifies whom He wills, and God is all-hearing, all-knowing (24:21)

Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād, Knowledge and Wisdom (Fusus al-’ilmiyah wa-al-usul al-hikamiyah)

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On Ignorance – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

As for ignorance, it is the origin of all evil, the root of every harm. Ignorant folk are included in the Prophet’s saying (may God bless him and grant him peace), “The world is accursed, and accursed is what is in it, except the remembrance of God and the learned and those learning.”

It is sad that when God created ignorance He said to it, “Come!” but it moved away. He said to it, “Go!” but it came. Then He said, “By My might, I have created nothing in creation more hateful to Me than you, and I shall place you amongst the worst of my creation!” ‘Ali, may God honor his countenance, said, “There is no enemy worse than ignorance. A man is the enemy of that which he has no knowledge of.”

Ignorance is blameworthy according to both textual and rational proof, and its [harm] is hardly unknown to anyone. An ignorant man succumbs to neglecting obligations and committing sins, whether he wishes it or not, because one who is ignorant neither knows the obligations God has enjoined upon him nor the misdeeds God has forbidden.

A person can leave the shadows of ignorance only by the light of knowledge. How excellent are the words of Shaykh ‘Ali ibn Abi Bakr when he said, “Ignorance is a fire that burns a man’s religion. And its extinguishing water is knowledge.” So you must learn what God has made incumbent for you to learn. You are not obliged to acquire extensive knowledge, but that without which your faith remains unsound you must learn.

Examples of these are the proper performance of your obligatory rites of worship and how to avoid what is prohibited. This is an immediate duty with regard to immediate [obligations], and for those matters that may be deferred, it is a deferred duty. Malik ibn Dinar, may God have mercy on him, used to say, “He who seeks knowledge for himself, a little will suffice him; but he who seeks knowledge for the people, the people’s needs are numerous.”

Two Treatises (Mutual Reminding & Good Manners) – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād Translated by Mostafa al-Badawi
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Company One Keeps – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

The company one keeps has major effects. It may lead either to benefit and improvement or to harm and corruption, depending on whether the company is that of pure and eminent people or people who are depraved and evil. This effect does not appear suddenly, but is a gradual process that unfolds with time. The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, said, “A man will be with his companions.” And, “A man’s religion is that of his intimates, so let each of you consider who he becomes intimate with.”

He also said: A virtuous companion is like the merchant of musk. Either he will offer you some, you will buy it from him, or you will find him pleasant to smell. But an evil companion is like the bellows-blower, either he will scorch your clothes or you will receive a rotten smell from him. If you wish to know whether those you mix and sit with increase or diminish your faith, religion, and actions, compare your state with regard to good character, praiseworthy intentions, resolution in performing acts of obedience, and goodness before and after their companionship.

If you find that these acts have become stronger and more firmly established and that you have become more desirous of and interested in them, then know that this particular company is of benefit to your religion and your heart, and that if you continue with it you will gain even greater benefits and acquire many more good things, God willing. If, on the other hand, you find that your religion has grown weaker and shakier, know that this company is harmful, that its harm to your religion and your heart is evident, and that if you continue with it it will lead to even greater harm and evil, may God protect us!

You should also compare the bad points you had before and after keeping that company. This is the way to evaluate one’s position vis-a-vis those with whom one mixes and takes for one’s companions. The decisive factor here is whether good or evil is more powerful and predominant. When goodness in that company is more powerful and predominant, then a wicked man who mixes with them may become attracted to goodness and its people; whereas when wickedness prevails and dominates, then it is to be feared that the good people who keep such company may become attracted to wickedness and its people.

These are subtle concepts known to people possessed of discernment and who have experience in such matters. [The Prophet] said, may blessings and peace be upon him, ” A good companion is better that solitude, and solitude is better than a wicked companion.” [The Prophet], may blessings and peace be upon him, was given a comprehensiveness of expression that no other man, whether of ancient or of recent times, was ever given.

al-Fusul al-’Ilmiyya wa’l-Usul al-Hikamiyya (Knowledge and Wisdom) – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

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On Counsel – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

You must be of good counsel to all Muslims. The highest point of this is that you conceal nothing from them which if made known would result in good or preserve from something evil. The Prophet has said, may blessings and peace be upon him: ‘Religion is good counsel.’ Part of this is to support a Muslim in his absence as you would in his presence, and not to give him more verbal signs of affection that you have for him in your heart. It is also part of this that when a Muslim asks you for advice, and you know that the correct course does not lie in that which he is inclined to do, you should tell him so.

The absence of good counsel is indicated by the presence of envy of the favors God has given other Muslims. The origin of such envy is that you find it intolerable that God has granted one of His servants a good thing, whether of religion or of the world. The utmost limit of envy is to wish that he be deprived of it. It has been handed down that ‘envy consumes good deeds just as fire consumes dry wood.’ The envious man is objecting to God’s management of His Dominion, as if he were saying: ‘O Lord! You have put Your favors where they do not belong.’

It is permitted to be envious without rancor, whereby when you see a favor of God bestowed on one of His servants you ask Him, Transcendent is He! To grant you its like. When someone praises you, you must feel dislike for his praises within your heart. If he has praised you for something you truly possess say: ‘Praise belongs to God Who has revealed the good things and concealed the ugly ones.’ And is he praises you for something which you do not possess, say as one of our predecessors has said: ‘O God! Do not call me to account for what they say, forgive me what they do not know, and make me better than they think!’

In your case, do not praise anyone unless you know that your praises will incite him to more good works or unless he is a superior man whose superiority is not well known and you wish to make is so, this being on condition that you are safe from lying and he is safe from conceit. When you wish to give advice to someone regarding any behavior of his that you have come to know about, talk to him privately, be gentle, and do not say explicitly what can be conveyed implicitly.

Should he ask you: ‘Who reported this to you?’ then do not tell him lest you stir up enmity between them. If he accepts [your advice] praise and thank God; if he does not, then blame yourself, and say: ‘O evil soul! It is through you that I was defeated! Think! You may not have fulfilled the conditions and properties of giving advice.’ If you are given something as a trust guard it better than if it were your own. Return that which was entrusted to you and beware of betraying that trust.

The Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘He who cannot keep a trust has no faith.’ And: ‘Three [things] are attached to the Throne: Benefaction, which says: ‘O God! I am by You, therefore let me not be denied!’ Kinship ties, which say: ‘O God! I am by You, therefore let me not be severed!’ and Trust, which says: ‘O God! I am by You, therefore let me not be betrayed!” Speak truthfully and honor your commitments and your promises, for breaching commitments and breaking promises are signs of hypocrisy.

‘The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speak he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, and when he is trusted he betrays that trust.’ [Hadith] And in another version: ‘and when he makes a commitment he breaches it, and when he quarrels he acts corruptly.’ Be wary of argumentation and wrangling, for they cast rancor into the breasts of men, alienate hearts, and lead to enmity and hatred. If anyone argues against you and has right on his side, accept what he says, for truth must always be followed. If, on the other hand, he is wrong, then leave him, for he is ignorant, and God the Exalted has said: And turn away from the ignorant. [VII:199]

Renounce all joking; if very occasionally you do joke to assuage a Muslim’s heart, then speak only the truth. The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘Neither argue with your brother nor quarrel, and do not make a promise and then break it.’ Respect Muslims, especially people of merit such as the scholar, the righteous, the nobleman, and the one whose hair has grayed in Islam. Never frighten or alarm a Muslim; never mock, ridicule, or despise him, for these are part of ominous and blameworthy behavior. The Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘It is sufficient evil for a man that he should despise his brother Muslim.’

Be humble, for humility is the attribute of believers. Beware of pride, for God does not like the proud. Those who humble themselves are raised up by God, and those who are proud are abased by Him. The Prophet, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘The man in whose heart is an atom’s weight of pride will not enter the Garden.’ And: ‘The man who looks at himself with admiration and at others with disdain is proud.’ There are signs which distinguish the humble from the proud; that God may separate the vile from the good. [VIII:37]

Signs of humility include a liking for obscurity, a dislike of fame, to accept truth whether it be from a man of high or low birth, to love the poor, associate with them and keep their company, to fulfill the rights people have upon you as completely as you can, thank those of them who fulfill their duties to you, and excuse those who are remiss. Signs of pride include a liking for sitting in the positions of most dignity when in company or in a public gathering, praising oneself, speaking in a pompous manner, openly displaying haughtiness and arrogance, strutting, neglecting the rights your brothers have upon you while at the same time demanding the rights you have upon them.

Imam ‘AbdAllah ibn ‘Alawi al-Haddad, Book of Assistance

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On Wilaya – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

The scholarly Shaykh, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Khatib Ba-Raja asked him whether the Qutb was the same as the Ghawth, and about the Awtad, the Abdal, and other men of God.

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He answered : Know, my brother, that there are many hadiths attributed to the Messenger of God (may God’s blessings and peace be upon him) concerning this matter, as well as many statements attributed to God the Exalted’s elect. I shall confine myself to one hadith and a few of the other sayings. Al-Yafi i (may God’s mercy be upon him) wrote in “Rawd al-Rayahin” (The Meadows of Fragrant Plants) that accordind to Ibn Mas ‘ud (may God be pleased with him), the Messenger of God (may God’s blessings and peace be upon him) said:

God the Exalted has on His earth three hundred whose hearts resemble the heart of Adam, forty whose hearts resemble the heart of Moses, seven whose heart resembles the heart of Abraham, five whose hearts resemble the heart of Gabriel, three whose heart resembles the heart of Michael, and one whose heart resembles the heart of Seraphiel (Israfail).

Whenever the one dies God replaces him with one of the three, whenever one of the three dies God replaces him with one of the five, whenever one of the five dies God replaces him with one of the seven, whenever one of the seven dies God replaces him with one of the forty, whenever one of the forty dies God replaces him with one of the three hundred and whenever one of the three hundres dies God replaces him with one of the common people.It is through them that God the Exalted relieves this Community’s afflictions”

Imam Al-Yafi i (may God’s mercy be upon him) then said:

“The one who resembles the heart of Israfil is the Qutb, the Ghawth. His position and rank among saints is that of the point at the center of the circle; by him the good functioning of the world is sustained.”

According to al-Khidr (may God’s peace be upon him)

“Three hundred are the saints, seventy are the Nujaba’, forty are the Awtad (pillars) of the earth, ten are the Nuqaba’, seven are the ‘Urafa’, three are the chosen ones and one is the Ghawth.”

According to Shaykh ‘Abdal-Qadir al-Jilani (may God’s mercy be upon him) the Abdal are seven. Shaykh Ahmad al-Rifa ‘i (may God’s mercy be upon him) said that the Awtad were four. And Shaykh Ibn ‘Arabi (may God’s mercy be upon him) said that around the Qutb were two men named the two Imams, one on his right looking towards the invisible world (Malakut) and the other on his left looking towards the visible world (Mulk); when the Qutb dies he is replaced by the one on his left. He also said (may God’s mercy be upon him)

” There are men among the saints termed Afrad, who are not under the Qutb’s jurisdiction, he may even not be aware of them all.”

That is possible, however, the statements of Shaykh Abdal-Qadir al-Jilani (may God’s mercy be upon him) indicate that the Afrad, as well as other saints, are all, by the will of God, under the Ghawth’s authority. The saints of God are not confined to these numbers. It has been said that in the days of Shaykh ‘Abdal-Qadir (may God’s mercy be upon him) they numbered twelve thousand.

“God’s warriors are only known to Him.” [74:31]

As for the Qutb, the Ghawth, there is one in each time. He is the all comprehending Fard, and is known among the people as the Khalifa (vice-regent) and the Perfect Man. He is also given the titles of Sahib al-Siddiqiyya al-Kubra (Possessor of the Degree of Supreme Veracity) and al-Wilaya al-’Uzma (Greatest Sainthood). Some of his attributes and inner experiences were mentioned by Sayyidi ‘Abdal-Qadir (may God’s mercy be upon him), and these were quoted by al-Yafi i inthe last story of “Kitab al-Salikin” (The book of the Travelers) where they can be found.

Poleship (Qutbaniyya) is Lordship (Siyada); that is why the term Qutb is used analogically for whoever possesses lordship over the men of a particular spiritual station (maqam) or state (hal). There is thus a ‘Pole of the People of Reliance’ (Qutb al-mutawakkilin), ‘Pole of the People of Contentment’ (Qutb al-Radin), and so on. The ‘Possessor of the Degree of Supreme Veracity’ is called al-Qutb al-Ghawth to prevent any confusion arising from such analogical use of the term Qutb.

This should be sufficient explanation on this matter. There are differences among the people (al-Qawm) in their descriptions of the titles and numbers of such men, but these prove, on scrutiny, to be no more than differences in terminology.

To elaborate further would require us to mention the inner states of the men of the “Circle of Sainthood” (Da’irat al-Wilaya), their characteristics, the differences within each rank, and other such things, the knowledge of which belongs by right only to the Qutb, the Ghawth who encompasses all their ranks and whose rank and state comprehend every single one of theirs. As for the other saints, they know about those who are of equal or lesser ranks. They are aware of those above them but have no full knowledge of them.

On the whole, these are questions which can be answered satisfactorily only by contemplation (mushahada) and unveiling (kashf) and whoever desire this should discipline his soul, reduce its density with the kind of arduous effort that annihilates the soul’s frivolity and conquers its passions, and embellish it with constant attentiveness to God the Exalted, courtesy, submissiveness, humility, powerlessness, and poverty in the realization of servitude (‘ubudiyya) and the fulfilling of the rights of Lordship (Rububiyya).

Whenever a servant masters these two basic things, effective discipline and perfect presence, the veil over his heart is rent, then he beholds the “Unseen of his Lord’ and sees the saints, in their rank and holy functions, as pure spirits. He then no longer needs descriptions and rises from the trough of having to follow others to the peak of contemplation.

As for us who are veiled, we have to make do with mere descriptions, in this as in similar matters. However, as long as one does not stop there, these will not be insignificant; for love is their result, and from it longing, then seeking, and he who seeks finds.

“News each have their appointed time.” [6:67] “And to each term its written decree.” [13:38]

Taken from The Sublime Treasures translated by Mostafa al-Badawi
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On Remembrance – Imām ‘Abdullāh al-Ḥaddād

Imam Abdullah al Haddad answering questions posed by Shaykh Zubaydi:

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He also asked about the reason why a certain man remembers [God] in abundance yet experiences none of the experiences of remembrance which belong to those who are able to taste them? He answered:

The reason is that the heart is unsound, being neither free from reprehensible attributes nor filled with praiseworthy ones.He fails to expel the thoughts and insinuations his soul entertains during remembrance, he has not severed the outward attachments which distracts him from devoting  himself fully to the remembrance of God the Exalted, he is not being disciplined by a shaykh possessed of the gnosis of God the Exalted and of [knowledge of the] inward and the outward, and there are other reasons.Those who, like us, have failed to fulfill those conditions must remember God the Exalted abundantly with their tongues and strive to achieve presence of the heart; this is how they are to expose themselves to the grants of God the Exalted and it is not unlikely that He will grant them relief from whence they do not expect it.

They should not wonder that they do not experience any of the spiritual experiences that the people of the path find in remembrance, since the conditions leading to them remain unfulfilled.

 

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And he asked him about a man who, as was described by some, experienced the invocation of the tongue together with the heart, then that of the heart while the tongue was silenced, then the heart also lost its ability to invoke but the meaning remained and flowed through his inward and outward parts. This third state, in which both the tongue and the heart are unable to invoke, he found most estranging.He answered:This man should be regarded as subject to the spiritual experiences peculiar to the invoker and that stage which he found estranging is in reality the noblest and highest ranking of the three.He has but one further fourth stage of remembrance to achieve, which is the kernel of the kernels and which is to contemplate the invoked and become lost in Him to himself and all other creatures, and even to his own extinction. This is the ultimate aim and the highest station.This man is in possession of much good, he is advancing on the path of those who remember God and have similar experiences.May God the Exalted grant us and you the realization of the truths of certitude and elevate us to the station excellence (Ihsan) in the wake of our realization of the stations of submission (Islam) and faith (Iman).

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And he also asked him about the state of absence which occurs to the invokers.

He answered:This is to be unaware of all but God the Exalted, even those of one’s self and one’s invocation, having become lost in the contemplation of the Invoked, Exalted is he. Such an absence is the ultimate presence, its occurrence is rare and its persistence rarer still.

Taken from The Sublime Treasures translated by Mostafa al-Badawi