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On Removing the Cares of the Heart – Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jilānī

The Shaykh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said:
Step out of your own self and keep your distance from it. Practice detachment from your possessiveness, and surrender everything to Allah. Become His doorman at the door of your heart, obeying His command by admitting those He instructs you to admit, and respecting His prohibition by shutting out those He instructs you to turn away, so that you do not let passion back into your heart once it has been evicted. Passion is expelled from the heart by resistance to it and refusal to follow its urges, whatever the circumstances, while compliance and acquiescence allow it to gain entry. So do not exert any will apart from His will, for anything else is your own desire, and that is the Vale of Folly, where death and destruction await you, and falling from His sight and becoming secluded from Him. Always keep His commandments, always respect His prohibitions, and always submit to what He has decreed. Do not associate Him with any part of His creation. Your will, your passions and your carnal appetites all belong to His creation, so refrain from indulging any of them lest you become a polytheist. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer in the worship due unto his Lord. (18:110)

Polytheism [shirk] is not merely the worship of idols. It is also polytheism to yield to your own passionate desire, and to equate with your Lord anything whatsoever besides Him, be it of this world and its contents or of the Hereafter and what is contained therein. What is besides Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) is other than He, so when you rely on anything other than Him you are associating something else with Him (Almighty and Glorious is He). Therefore be wary and do not relax your guard, be fearful and do not develop a sense of security, and keep your wits about you so that you do not become careless and complacent.

Do not attribute any state or station to yourself, and have no pretensions to such things. If you are granted a special state, or elevated to some station, do not become identified with that in any way at all, for Allah is every day about some business, effecting change and transformation. He may intervene between a man and his heart, thereby separating you from what you had professed to be your own, and making you different from what you had imagined to be your fixed and permanent condition. You will then be embarrassed in the presence of those to whom you made such claims, so you had better keep these things to yourself and not convey them to others. If something does prove stable and lasting, acknowledge it as a gift, pray for the grace to be thankful, and keep it out of sight. But even if it turns out otherwise, it will still bring progress in knowledge and understanding, enlightenment, alertness and discipline. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We replace with one better or as good. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things? (2:106)

So do not underestimate the extent of Allah’s power, have no misgivings about His planning and His management, and never doubt His promise. Take as your model the fine example set by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). He experienced the abrogation of verses and chapters revealed to him, adopted in practice, recited in the niches [of the mosques], and written down in books; as they were withdrawn and changed and replaced by others, the blessed Prophet was moved to accept the new revelations. This applies to the external dispensation of the law. As for the inner aspect, the knowledge and spiritual state experienced in his own relationship with Allah, he used to say: “My heart gets coated with rust, so I beg Allah’s forgiveness seventy times each day” (“a hundred times,” according to another report).

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be moved from one state of being to another, and made to traverse the stations of divine proximity and the spheres of the unseen. The robes of light conferred upon him were changed as he progressed, so that each new stage would make the previous one seem dark, marred by shortcomings and inadequate observance of the guidelines. Thus he was trained to practice praying for forgiveness, because that is the best state for a servant, and constant repentance, because this involves acknowledgment of sin and shortcoming–properties of human nature inherited from Adam (peace be upon him), the father of mankind.

When the purity of Adam’s spiritual state was stained by forgetfulness of the promise and covenant, he wished to dwell forever in the abode of peace, in the vicinity of the All-Merciful and Beneficent Friend, visited by the noble angels with greeting and salutation, but his self-will had come to be associated with the will of the Truth. That will of his was therefore broken, that state disappeared, that intimacy became remote, that station was degraded, those lights were dimmed, and that purity was spoiled. Then this chosen one of the All-Merciful recovered his awareness and was reminded. After being instructed in the acknowledgment of sin and forgetfulness, and trained in confession, he said:

“Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You do not forgive us, and have mercy on us, we shall surely be among the lost!” (7:23).

Then came to him the light of guidance, the knowledge and inner understanding of repentance and its hidden benefits, but for which something formerly mysterious would not have become manifest. That old will was replaced by a different one, and the original state by another. He received the supreme consecration, and repose in this world and then in the hereafter, for this world became a home for him and his offspring, and the hereafter their refuge and eternal resting place. In Allah’s Messenger and favorite friend, therefore, as in his father Adam, the Chosen of Allah, ancestor of all dear and loving friends, you have an example to follow in confessing faults and praying for forgiveness under all circumstances.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jilānī, Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of The Unseen)

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On The Benefits of The Month of Ramadan – Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jilānī

O young man, the word Ramadan consists of five letters, ra‘, meem, dhad, alif, noon. The ra‘ is derived from rahma (mercy), the meem from mujazat (recompense), mahabba (love) & minna (favour), the dhad from dhaman lilthawab (assurance of reward), the alif from ulfa (affinity) and qurb (nearness) & the noon from nur (light) and nawal [the receiving (of grace)]

If you give this month its due and act properly during it, these things will come to you from the True One (‘Azza wa Jall). They will come to you in this world as strengthening and enlightening for your hearts, and as favour and receiving of grace, outwardly and inwardly. In the hereafter there will come to you what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard & has never occurred to any human heart.

Most of you are out of touch with Ramadan. Respect for a command comes in proportion to the respect shown to the commander. As for anyone out of touch with Allah (‘Azza wa Jall), His Messenger, His Prophets & the righteous among servants (Peace & Blessings Upon Them), then how can he be in touch with this month?

Most of you have seen their fathers, mothers and neighbours fast, so they joined them in fasting as a matter of habit not worship. They think that fasting is merely abstaining from food and drink, so they do not fulfil its conditions & requirements.

O People give up habitual practice and keep to worship. Fast for the sake of Allah (‘Azza wa Jall). Do not get bored of fasting and worshipping in this month. Do righteous deeds, during it, and make sure that you act with sincerity. Make a regular practice of the prayers of taraweeh. Illuminate the mosques, for this will be a light for you on the Day of Resurrection.

If you obey and respect Allah (‘Azza wa Jall) in this month, it will be an intercessor on your behalf in the presence of your Lord (‘Azza wa Jall) on the Day of Resurrection. It will beg Him to grant you a share of His favour, His Generosity, His Blessings, His Grace, His Graciousness, His Subtle Kindness and His Safekeeping.

Woe unto you! What Benefit would you derive from fasting if you break it on unlawful food and sleep during these noble nights having committed acts of disobedience? You fast out of dissimulation and hypocrisy as long as you are among creatures, and once you are on you own you break your fast! Then you come out & say: “I am keeping the fast”, while throughout the day you are involved in verbal abuse, levelling defamatory accusations, swearing false oaths & taking people’s money by way of defrauding, trickery and exaction. This sort of behaviour makes you no good at all and does not count as a fast.

The Prophet (Salla Allah ta’ala ‘alayhi wa sallam) said:

“There are so many people who fast yet get nothing out of their fasting other than hunger and thirst and there are so many people who spend the night in worshipful acts yet earn nothing out of their worship other than fatigue and vigil”

There are among you those who are Muslims outwardly but like idol-worshippers inwardly. Woe unto you! Renew your Islam, your repentance, your apology & your sincerity in order that your Master (‘Azza wa Jall) will accept you and pardon your past sins. O You, who are fasting, thank your Lord (‘Azza wa Jall) for preparing you for fasting and enabling you to keep it! When one of you fasts, let his ears, his sights, his hands, his legs, his limbs and organs and his heart all fast.

When you fast, give up lying, giving false witness, backbiting, defaming people and embezzling their properties. In principle, you fast in order to purify yourselves of your sins and keep away from them, so what benefit could you derive from your fasting if you commit, these sins yet again?

Have you not heard the Prophet (Salla Allah ta’ala ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“Fasting is a suit of armour [junna]”,

for it protects and covers the person who wears it. This is why the shield is called mijanna, as it protects its owner and prevents the arrows from striking him, and the person who is out of his mind is called majnun, as his mind has been covered up. The fast is a suite of armour for anyone who fasts with pious restraint, fear of Allah and sincerity, for in this cause it will prevent the tribulations of this world and the hereafter from striking him.

O you, who are fasting, comfort the poor and the needy with a share of your food at the time of breaking fast for it increases your reward and it is a sign of acceptance of your fast.

At the time of breaking your fast, all this will disappear and nothing will remain other than that which you do in preparation for yourselves in the hereafter. Therefore, do such preparations as long as you are able to prepare.

On the Day of Resurrection, you will be gathered hungry, thirsty, naked, afraid, ashamed and terrified. The person who feeds the poor and the needy in this world will be fed on that Day. The person who provides clothing for the poor and the needy in this world will be supplied with clothes on that Day. The person who is afraid and feels ashamed before the True One (‘Azza wa Jall) in this world will be made to feel safe on that Day. As for the person who is merciful to others in this world, Allah (‘Azza wa Jall) will be merciful to him on that Day.

In this month, there is a night that is the greatest night of the year, which is Laylat al-Qadr. This night has signs that the righteous can recognize. Among the servants of Allah (‘Azza wa Jall) there are those who have the veil removed from their eyes so they see the lights of divinity that is held in the hands of the angels, the light of their faces, the light of the doors of heaven and the light of the countenance of the True One (‘Azza wa Jall) because on that Night He manifests Himself to the people of the earth.

O People do not make obtaining your food your concern because it is a low concern. You have been put to test through eating and drinking, but you have been saved the trouble of securing sustenance, so do not have any concern about it. Glory be to the Self – Sustained One who never eats, drinks or sleeps. Your greedy keenness has increased, while your pious restraint and faith have decreased. Woe unto you! This world lasts only one hour, so spend it in obedience.

source: Jila’ al-Khatir