Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A lovely excerpt from Imam Muwaffaq al-Din al-Maqdisi's Wasiyya [Advice], a 6th/12th century work on spiritual excellence (ihsan).

[Imam Muwaffaq al-Din al-Maqdisi said:] al-Hasan ibn Ja`far, may Allah have mercy on him, related that his father proclaimed:

“I prayed the `Eid prayer in the desert, then I stayed by myself in a secluded area and I happened across an old woman who was making supplication. She was saying, ‘The people have left my presence, but my heart does not shiver in devotion! Hope is lost! Possessor of all Goodness and Truth! I turn away from the truth, increase me in devotion and longing! Lord! Have mercy on me in my weakness and old age! I go out among the people, but I hope for You! Do not let my hope be lost according to what I am hoping for!’” The man said, “If this is her state, what should I be doing right now?” (From al-Maqdisi, Muwaffaq al-Din, A Word of Advice (Canada: HTS Publications) 2006, 73-74.)


Ryan T. said...

Al-Wasiyyah is excellent and beneficial, mashaAllah. Turath Publishing has a translation by Aisha Bewley (in a book small enough to fit in your pocket).

One part which really struck me was:

You should know that someone in
the middle of the ocean holding onto
a plank and about to drown is no
more in need of Allah or His Tender
Mercy than someone at home with
his family and wealth, but in all
truth, the means that are apparent to
him are in the Hand of Allah. These
means are the same as those
available to the drowning man
mentioned previously. All is in the
Hand of Allah, so if you really
consider this and examine your heart,
then you will depend on Allah the
same as a drowning man would. If
you should depend on Allah the way
the drowning man would, knowing
there is no way of salvation other
than Allah, then you will be

Abū `Abdul-Raḥmān said...

Excellent comment, Sayyidi!