Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Ibn ‘Arabi says, “No reward that a human being can receive for his achievements can compare with the felicity awarded to whoever shows compassion to humanity.” He also says, “God has entrusted animals to men in order to serve them. Treat them gently. When you use them to carry things, do not overload them. When you ride them, do not sit on them proudly.” According to Ibn ‘Arabi, the essence of morality is compassion. To help us persevere in treating others with kindness, gentleness, and consideration, he suggests that we be heedful and continuously evaluate, not only our actions, but also our feelings and thoughts. He says, “May God, who sees everything, open your inner eye, so that you can see and remember what you have done and thought, felt and said, in your daily life. Remember that you must account for it, and that you will be judged for it on the Day of Reckoning. Do not leave your accounting to that day. This is the time and the place to do it. See yourself, close your accounts. The only way to salvation is to go to the Hereafter clear and clean of all debts. Give heed to the advice of the Messenger of God, who said, “Make your accounting before it is made for you. Weigh your sins before they are weighed for you.” Weigh your transgressions against your good deeds while you still have time. “While you are alive, you are like a collector of benefits from God’s bounties, which come to you from myriads of hands. What you receive is not really yours. You are like a cashier: you must distribute what you have received, but you are responsible for the accounting of it. If you do not do it today, on the Day of Reckoning no one will come to your aid. You will hear the voice of the Absolute Punisher, who will say, “Haven’t I sent you messengers, haven’t I shown you the right way? Havent’t I given you the time within the day and within the night to follow My orders, ro remember Me and to praise Me? Now: Read your book. Your own soul is sufficient as a reckoner against you this day (Surah Bani Isra’il, 14) “if you wait until the last minute, you will receive no good from your regret. If you cannot see what you are doing, know that the veils covering the eye of your heart are thick, and you are rejected from God’s door of mercy. Go and kneel at the sill of that door; shed tears of repentance and beg for entrance. “There are three dangers that may keep you form examining yourself. The first is unconsciousness. The next is the imaginary pleasure you take in deceptions of your ego. The third is being a slave to your habits.” Ibn ‘Arabi practiced the continuous contemplation of his daily life. He mentions that one of his teachers wrote down on a piece of paper everything he did and said during the course of the day. At night he would make an accounting of that day’s words and actions. If he had done wrong, he would repent; if he had done right he would offer thanks to God. Ibn ‘Arabi noted not only what he did and said, but also his thoughts and feelings. He says, “In whatever state you find yourself, even if you are bettern than everyone else, ask God for, and work for, a better state. In everything you do, do not forget God.” According to Ibn ‘Arabi, contemplation and meditation are a means to protect oneself against all evil. In addition, they inspire patience against adversities. He believed in the value of all human beings, and in interacting with them with the best of intentions. He says, “Treat everyone equally, whether they are kings or paupers, old or young. Know that humankind is one body, and individuals are its members. A body is not a whole without its parts. The right of the man of knowledge is respect, the right of the ignorant one is advice, the right of the heedless one is to be awakened, the right of the child is compassion and love.” “Treat well those who are dependent upon you: your wives and husbands; your children; the people who work for you; animals in your care; plants in your garden. God has given them into your hands to test you, and you are in His care. Treat the ones in your care as you want the One in whose care you are to treat you. The Messenger of God says, “All creation are God’s dependents. God has left a few of His dependents in your hands. Show love, compassion, delicacy, generosity, and protection toward those who depend on you, and in fact to everyone.” “Teach your children good behavior with the words of God in His divine book. Secure for them conditions in which they can exercise what you have taught them. From the very beginning, teach them to bear difficulty, to have patience and consideration. Do not place in their heart the love of the world. Teach them to dislike the things of this world that will render them proud: beautiful clothes, delicacies, luxuries, excess of ambition; because all these will be substracted from the good due to them in the Hereafter. Let them not become accustomed to good things – yet beware that this, which may seem austere, should not bring forth in you the ugly character of miserliness toward your children.” “In all the good you do, do not expect any return of favors or of thankfulness. When someone causes you pain, do not retaliate by causing them pain. God considers such response as a sin, while He praises the ones who return kindness to those who have hurt them.” “Consider God’s orders and fear His justice in everything you do, in everything you say. He is tha All-Seeing, the All-Knowing, the Ever-Present. The essence of all religions is to know that although you may not see Him, He sees you. God’s orders are only heard and obeyed by the ones who love and fear Him.” “A miser is a coward because he does not have faith in God the Generous. The accursed Devil whispers in his ear that there is no death, he will live a long time, the world is hostile. If he gives what he has, he will be left destitute, dishonored and alone. He has to look after himself! If this evil imagination captures the heart, it leads to the edge of Hellfire.” “On the other hand, people who give their ears to God will hear Him say: And whoever is saved from the miserliness of his ego, those it is who find salvation (Surah Hashr, 9) Whoever is miserly is miserly to himself (Surah Muhammad, 38) “Because God will: Destroy their riches and harden their hearts (Surah Yunus, 88) “God’s messenger says, “God has next to him two angels who pray every morning: ‘O Lord, increase your bounties upon the generous, and take away from misers what they have.’” “The one who gives from his sustenance receives more from God that he gave. The miser, in addition to the sin of miserliness, is guilty of distrusting the Ultimate Sustainer, and depends on his miserable goods over the generosity of his Lord. Therefore spend from what God has given you and do not fear poverty. God will give you what is destined for you, whether you ask for it or not. No one who has been generous has ever perished in destitution.” “If you wish to find God’s pleasure and support in finding the truth, avoid being negative and control your temper and your anger. If you cannot stop feeling anger, at least do not show it. If you undertake this, you will disappoint the Devil and please God. That is the beginning of the education of your ego.” “Anger is a result and a sign of an ego out of control – left loose like a wild animal, untied and uncaged. When you hold your temper, it is as if you put a bridle on its head and barriers around it. Then you can begin to tame it so that it obeys and behaves, so that it cannot hurt others than itself – because your ego is still a part of you.” “When you can control your temper, your adversary will be calmed, since you are not reacting to his provocations or responding to his negativity. This is more effective than punishing him. He may be led to see the reality of his acts, to realize what is fair, and to confess his fault.” “Give value to your time. Live in the present moment. Do not live in heedlessness and in imagination and throw your time away. God has prescribed a duty, an act, a worship for your every moment. Know what it is and hasten to do it.” “Use your time first to earn your sustenance lawfully. The Messenger of God says, “The one who earns his sustenance lawfully through hs efforts is beloved of God. And , “God likes to see the believer working at his profession.” And, “God like the person who has a craft.” “It is related that one day Hadrat ‘Umar, beloved companion of the Prophet, met a group of people who were sitting around lazily doing nothing. He asked them who they were. “We are of those who put their affairs in the hands of God. We trust in Him,” they replied. “Indeed, you do not!” he heatedly responded. “You are nothing but freeloaders, parasites upon other people’s efforts. For someone who truly trusts in God first plants the seed in the belly of this earth, then hopes and puts his affairs in the hands of God the Sustainer.” “First perform the actions that God has given to you as obligations. Nex do what He has given you to do through the example of His prophets. Then take on what He has left you as voluntary, lawful, acceptable good deeds. And work to serve the ones who are in need.” “Distance yourselves from the heedless, for they are the slaves of their egos and of the desires of their flesh. They take hearts away from the light of truth and throw them into the dark hole of heedlessness, as they did with their own hearts. If you are forced to be with them in the same time and space, then face them and advice them. If they turn their backs on you, it is because they do not know their fronts from their backs. Be kind to them whether they turn their faces to you or their backs; then they may like you and respect you, and perchance they may become attached to you and follow you on the path of truth.” “Learn proper behavior. It is the means by which an intention becomes a good deed. Therefore it is the greatest capital in the hand of the seeker. The proof is in the words of the one who was brought with the most beautiful character, the last prophet, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who said, “I have been sent to perfect good behavior.” (The Tree of Being:Shajarat al-kawn. An Ode to the Perfect Man. Interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti. Archetype Pub. London, 2005)

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