Thursday, August 18, 2011

What the seeker needs – Ibn Arabi

A few books made an impact in my life. One such is “What the seeker needs” by Ibn Arabi. I was introduced to his writing by Prof Syed Osman Bakar. Here is a selection in point form from the book. If you want to read/download the entire book click here

What the seeker Needs

1. This short guide is a response to one who wishes to take the path of faith, hope, and love so that he might become complete and perfect as he was created. It was written to answer his questions about what he should believe in and what he should do in the beginning, before anything else.

2. Fist you must belief the oneness and uniqueness of the one who is before the before and after the after, who created us and everything else, and you must not associate with Him anything unbefitting the purity of His Essence.

3. “At the beginning was Allah, and none with Him”

4. Look upon the whole creation, and above all, mankind, with good will – accepting, approving, forgiving, serving, loving. Make that you nature in your dealing with the world. Listen to your conscience. Cleanse your heart.

5. Do not attribute to yourself virtue, goodness, and graciousness because of your service to the creation. Consider that you owe other people thanks for having humbly accepted your help.

6. Do not spend your life in empty endeavors and your time in idle talk. Instead, reflect and remember Allah, read the Quran, guide the misguided to the enlightened path. Help other leave evil and turn to doing good. Mend broken friendship. Help others to help others.

7. Find the right friend, who will be support for you, a good travelling companion on the path of truth. Faith is a seed. It grown into a tree with the beneficent watering and sunshine of faithful friends.

8. A matter of the greatest importance, one of your greatest needs, is to be sure that the morsel of bread you put in your mouth in lawful. Lawful sustenance, the lawfulness of all you enjoy in this world, is the foundation of your faith. It is upon this foundation that your religion can be built.

9. Neither be freeloader nor let others carry your load. Particularly, don’t accept goods and favors, either for yourself or for others, from people whose hearts are dead, submerged in the sleep of heedlessness.

10. Do not seek comfort and luxury, especially when you have not worked hard for it. Lawful sustenance is obtained by working harder than is demanded of you. A clear sign of the lawfulness of one’s gain is that it will not permit you to be either stingy or a spendthrift

11. Take care, since if the love of this world takes root firmly in your heart, it constricts your heart, and it becomes exceedingly hard to pull it out and throw it away. This world is a trial ground; don’t seek comfort and riches in it. Eat less. That will leave more space in your heart and will increase your desire to pray and be obedient it will make you more active and less lazy.

12. Cleanse and beautify your days and night with worship.

13. Most people complain that this world, their work to secure their sustenance, and their work as householders for their families, take time away from their worship. Know that work done heedfully, with consideration for others, in accordance with proper behavior, for the pleasure of Allah, is also worship.

14. Do not sleep until you are unable to stay awake. Do not eat until you are hungry. Dress only to cover your body and to protect it from cold and from heat.

15. Read loud, but just loud enough that you can hear your own voice.

16. What is essential for you is to be heedful at all times, to be attentive to what comes into your mind and your heart. Think about and analyze there thoughts and feelings.

17. Give value to your time, live in the present moment. Do not live in imagination and throw your time away.

18. Do everything you do in order to come close to your Lord in your worship and prayers. Think that each deed may be your last act, each prayer your last prostration, that you may not have another chance.

19. Keep your body and your inner self clean at all times.

20. Above all, what you need is high morals, good character, proper behavior, you must identify your bad features and rid yourself of them.

21. Treat well those who are dependent upon you: the people who works for you, your children, your wives and husbands, your mothers, sisters, and friends, the animals in your care, the plants in your garden.

22. Show love, compassion, delicacy, generosity, and protection towards those who depend on you – and in fact, to everyone.

23. The very beginning, teach them to bear difficulty, to have patience, to think.

24. Let them get accustomed to good things; break their habits.

25. Do not be satisfied with your spiritual; advance.

26. Learn to give, whether your have plenty or little, whether you are happy or in pain. This is a proof of your faith in Allah. Try to satisfy the needs of the needy.

27. A miser is coward.

28. If you wish to find the truth and have Allah’s pleasure and support in it, then avoid being negative and control your temper and anger.

29. Try to undo the knots of your persistence in sinning. Knot over know ties you up. How are you going to save yourself? You will need the help of the one who ties those knots, your own self.

30. Talk to it, reason with it.

31. This world is not bad – on the contrary, it is the field of the hereafter. What you plant here, you will reap there. This world is the way to eternal bliss and so is good – worth to be cherished and to be praised.

32. “What is worldliness?” he answered, of this world are not harmful in themselves, but only when you let them render your forgetful, disobedient, and unaware of the Lord who has generously offered them to you.

33. Thus to leave the worldly and the worlds does not mean not to do your duties in it.

34. Perhaps what is meant by being worldly is giving yourself up solely to gathering the world’s benefits. The worldly person identifies with what he had gathered and is proud of it. Full of ambition, he devotes himself to amassing the goods of this world without any consideration of whether they are lawful or unlawful, his rightful portion or the portion of others. Worse still is not to see any wrong in all this, to think that it is right away, the only way.

35. But people who take this world as their god have endless wants, and those wants of their that are not appointed to them, they will never receive.

36. The desires of this world are like sea water. The more you drink of them, the more you thirst.