Apr 27, 2012

Reliance of the Traveller Umdat al-Salik - A Pure Heart

A Pure Heart taken 

Reliance of the Traveler (Umdat al-Salik) 

and Tools for the Worshiper 

Edited and Translated by Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Intention, Sincerity, and Being True t1.0
Intention t1.1
Sincerity (Ikhlas ) t1.2
Being True (Sidq) t1.6
A Letter to One of the Brethren t2.0
Surrender to Allah t2.2
Earnestly Entreating Allah t2.3
Thinking the Best of Allah t2.4
Continually Renewed Repentance t2.5
Conclusion t2.6
Counsels and Maxims t3.0
t1.1 (Nawawi:) Allah Most High says,
``Whoever leaves home to emigrate to Allah and His messenger but whom death overtakes: paying
his recompense falls to Allah'' (Koran 4:100).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
``Works are only according to intentions, and man only receives what he intends. Whoever's
emigration was to Allah and His messenger has truly emigrated to Allah and His messenger; and
whoever's emigration was for worldly gain or to wed a woman, his if for that to which he emigrated.''
This is a hadith whose authenticity Bukhari and Muslim agree upon, and there is complete scholarly
consensus on the greatness of its rank and majesty. It is one of the cornerstones, fundamental supports,
and most important integrals of faith. Imam Shafi`i (Allah have mercy on him) said it enters into seventy
chapters of jurisprudence. He also said it constitutes one-third of Sacred Knowledge.
t1.2 Allah Most High says:
(1) ``Nor were they commanded save to worship Him, sincere to Him in their religion'' (Koran 98:5).
(2) ``So worship Allah with sincerity'' (Koran 39:2).
t1.3 The Master Abul Qasim Qushayri (Allah have mercy on Him) said: ``Sincerity is to make Allah
one's sole aim in acts of obedience, meaning to intend by one's obedience to draw nearer to Allah Most
High and nothing else, whether hypocrisy before others, acquiring esteem in their eyes, love of their
praise, or anything besides drawing nearer to Allah. One could say that sincerity is purifying the mind
from paying attention to one's fellow creatures.''
t1.4 Abu `Uthman (Allah have mercy on Him) said, ``Sincerity it to forget to regard men by
continuously regarding their Maker.'' He also said, ``The sincerity of ordinary people is that which is
free of self-interest, while the sincerity of the elect is that which comes over them, not from them, for
acts of worship appear in them from which they are at a remove, and neither observe nor consider'' (al-
Majmu' (y108), 1.16-17).
t1.5 (Nawawi:) Abu Yazid (Allah Most High be well pleased with him) said:;
``For twelve years I was the blacksmith of my soul; for five, the mirror of my heart; for one year I
observed what was between them, and lo, around my waist I found the girdle of unbelief (zunnar ) in
plain view. So I worked for five years at cutting it, seeking a way to dissever it, until at length this was
revealed to me and looking at mankind, I saw them as dead and prayed a fourfold Allahu Akbar over
Sufficient to show the subtlety of the hiddenness of ostentation is the difficulty with which this
master recognized it, who had few equals in this path. As for his remark ``I saw them as dead,'' it is of
the greatest worth and excellence, words that express this meaning being seldom met with outside those
of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). What it signifies is that when he underwent this
spiritual struggle and his lower self became trained and his heart enlightened, when he had mastered the
self, subdued it, taken full possession of it, and made it submit in everything, he looked at all creatures
and found them as if dead, without discoverable trait. They could not harm or benefit, bestow or keep
back, give life or death, join or separate, bring close or make far, save or damn, give sustenance or
withhold it; they possessed neither benefit nor harm to themselves, neither life nor death, nor
resurrection. Now, the dead are dealt with, regarding these things, as deceased, and they are not feared,
nor are hopes placed in them, nor does desire arise for what they have. We do not do anything for their
sake, refrain from anything for their sake, or forgo any act of obedience to Allah for their sake, any more
than we would to win the praise of the dead. They are not shown-off in front of, their favor is not
sought through flattery or compromise of principles, and they do not occupy one's attention. They are
not held in contempt or disparaged; their defects are unmentioned, their shameful points unsought out,
their mistakes uncriticized; though if penalties prescribed by Sacred Law are incurred, we enforce them.
In short, they are as though nonexistent in everything we have mentioned, the decisions of Allah Most
High holding sway over them. Whoever deals with them accordingly has attained to the good of this
world and the next. May Allah Most Generous give us success in realizing it (Bustan al-`afrifin (y104),
t1.6 (Nawawi:) As for being true, Allah Most High says,
``O you who believe, fear Allah, and be with those who are true'' (Koran 9:119).
t1.7 Sahl ibn `Abdullah Tustari said, ``The servant who compromises his principles, for himself or
another, will never catch even a scent of being true.''
t1.8 It is related that Harith al-Muhasibi (Allah have mercy on him) said: ``A person who is true would
not care if his whole value vanished from the hears of men for the sake of bettering his heart. He does
not like people seeing the smallest bit of his good acts, and does not mind their noticing the worst of
them, for to be otherwise would show he wants to be more in their eyes, and this is out of character for
those of great faith (siddiqin).''
t1.9 Dhul Nun al-Misri (Allah have mercy on him) said: ``Truth is the sword of Allah. Whatever it is
put to, it cuts'' (al-Majmu` (y108), 1.17).
t2.1 (Ibn `Ata' Illah:) I know of nothing more useful to you than four matters: surrender to Allah, to
humbly entreat Him, to think the best of Him, and to perpetually renew your repentance to Him, even if
you should repeat a sin seventy times in a day.
t2.2 Surrender to Him gives you relief in the present life from having to plan while He does, triumph in
the next life through the supreme favor, and safety from the idolatry of contention, for how should you
contend with Him for something you do not own with Him? Cast yourself amidst His kingdom, meager
in its plentitude and insignificant in its vastness, and He will plan for you as He does for it. Do not leave
the slavehood that is yours for claims to a lordship that you have no claim to. To plan and choose for
oneself are enormities with respect to hearts and inmost souls, as you find it the Book of Allah Most
High where Allah says: ``Your Lord creates whatever He wills and chooses, and they do not have a choice.
Glory be to Allah above what they associate with Him'' (Koran 28:68).
t2.3 As for earnestly entreating Allah, in it lies the coming of increase, lifting of hardships, enwrapment
in mantles of divine gifts, and safety from affliction. One is repaid for it in times of hardship by the
Master's undertaking one's protection, and in times of ease by His seeing to one's gain. It is the greatest
threshold and straightest way. It is effectual despite unbelief, so how could it be ineffectual with faith?
Have you not heard the words of Allah Most High:
``And when you are touched by affliction at sea, those to whom you pray besides Him are lost, but
when He delivers you to shore, you turn away. Surely man is an ingrate'' (Koran 17:67)
-meaning that He answers you. Earnest entreaty is the door Allah Most High has placed between
Himself and His servants. Gifts come to whomever betakes himself to it, and spiritual favors
unceasingly reach whoever stands before it. Whoever enters unto Him by it attains to the reality of
divine assistance. And whenever He release unto you through it, He bestows of every good thin in the
most lavish gift giving, as is found in the Book of Allah Most High where Allah says,
``If only they had earnestly entreated Us when Our vengeance reached them'' (Koran 6:43).
t2.4 As for thinking best of Allah, how tremendous it is for whomever Allah has blessed with it.
Whoever has it does not lace the slightest bit of good, and whoever lacks it will never find any. You
will never have a better excuse to Allah than it, or one more profitable. Nor anything that better leads
you to Allah or is more guidance giving. It informs one what Allah will make of one and gives good
tidings the like of whose words no eye has ever read nor tongue given utterance to. This is found in the
sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), where he says, quoting Allah,
``I am night to what My servant expects of Me.''
t2.5 As for continually renewing one's repentance to Allah, it is the wellspring of every spiritual rank
and station from first to last, inwardly and outwardly. There is no excellence in one who lacks it, and
nothing lacking in one who has it. It is the key to every good, outwardly and inwardly, the very soul of
stations of wisdom, and the reason men are made friends of Allah (awliya). If the repentance of the Axis
of the World (Qutb) were like that of the ordinary righteous person because of equality in station, the
higher of them would not surpass the other for his exaltedness of rank and tremendousness of spiritual
certainty. Allah Most Glorious and Exalted has not made any rank below it except that of wrongdoing,
as Allah Most High says,
``Whoever does not repent, they are the wrongdoers'' (Koran 49:11),
it being required from every messenger and prophet, every great-faithed one (siddiq) and friend of Allah
(wali), every godfearing pious person, misguided profligate, and every doomed unbeliever. You may
find this is the Book of Allah Most High where Allah Glorious and Exalted says,
``O people: fear you Lord'' (Koran 4;1),
Godfearingness being through repentance to Him and regret before Him. The repentance of those who
do evil lies in abandoning it, while the repentance of those who do good lies in not halting with their
good, whether it consists of spiritual effort or its rewards. The repentance of both is the same: not to
stop at it.
``... the faith of your father Ibrahim. He has named you Muslims'' (Koran 22:78).
It was of Ibrahim's faith not to halt with what passes away, or fix his regard on existent things. In
quoting him to us, Allah Most High says,
``I love not things which pass away'' (Koran 6:76).
t2.6 In general, someone's who cannot benefit from a little will not benefit from a lot (A: since a lot of
work does not (A: since a lot of work does not avail without sincerity), and someone who cannot profit
from a hint will not profit from a plain remark. When Allah gives you understanding, Your hearing will
not cease nor you benefiting be restricted to a certain time. May Allah give us and you to understand
Him, give us and you to hear Him, dissever us from everything besides Him, dissever us from everything
besides Him, enter us into His shade and protection, and make us of those to whom He has given
spiritual insight, guidance, and a yearning for His nearness. May He not scatter the intention of our
hearts but rather center our purpose on Him, and remove our cares by bringing us to our destination.
May there be safety for the whole group, and blessing and peace upon the Best of Messengers (al-
Hikam al-Ata'iyya wa al-munajat al-ilahiyya (y56), 103-9).
t3.1 (Muhammad Sa`id Burhani:) Do not limit yourself to deep words and profound spiritual allusions
but make provision for the afterlife before death comes, when fine words will be lost and the rak`as you
prayed by night or day will remain..
t3.2 Give voluntary charity as much as possible, for you owe more than merely the zakat obligatory.
Make provision for the afterlife by giving while you have health and want to cling to your money out of
fear of poverty, seeing life before you. Allah Most High says,
Whoever is watchful against the stinginess of his own soul, those shall be the successful'' (Koran
59:9),meaning they shall be saved.
t3.3 Never obey anyone of Allah's servants, even father or mother, in an act of disobedience to Allah, for
there is no obedience to a creature in disobedience to the Creator.
t3.4 Do not wrong another person, for wrongs done to others are clouds of darkness on the Day of
Judgement. Wronging others includes not doing what Allah has obliged you to do for them.
t3.5 Beware of enmity against anyone who has said, ``La ilaha ill Allah' (There is no god but Allah), for
Allah has honored them with faith, and particularly the righteous of them, for Allah Most High says in a
rigorously authenticated (sahih) hadith,
``He who makes an enemy of a friend of Mine, I declare war against,''
t3.6 Tell the truth when you speak. It is one of the worst betrayals to tell your brother something he
thinks you are being honest about when the matter is otherwise.
t3.7 Be honest in your clothes and dress. It is an outrage against Allah to appear to His servants in the
guise of the righteous while secretly contradicting it with the works of the wicked.
t3.8 Recite the Koran and contemplate its meanings. Reflect while reading it on the qualities Allah has
praised, with which He describes the people He loves. Acquire these qualities yourself and shun those
Allah has condemned. Do your utmost of memorize the Holy Koran by acts as you do by words.
t3.9 Never explain a verse of Holy Koran by your own opinion, but check as to how it has been
understood by the scholars of Sacred Law and men of wisdom who came before you. If you
comprehend something else by it and what you have understood contradicts the Sacred Law, forsake
your wretched opinion and fling it against the wall.
t3.10 Beware lest you ever say anything that does not conform to the Sacred Law. Know that the
highest stage of the perfected ones (rijal) is the Sacred Law of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him
peace). And know that the exoteric that contravenes the exoteric is a fraud.
t3.11 Take care to eat lawful food bought with a lawful income, for the entire body of someone who
eats what is lawful, his hearing, eyesight, hands, and feet, are disposed to obey Allah whether he wishes
to or not; while the whole body of someone who eats the unlawful is disposed to do wrong whether he
wants to or not.
t3.12 Keep the thought of Allah Mighty and Majestic ever before you with respect to what He takes
from you and what He gives. He takes away nothing except that you may show patience and win His
love, for He loves the patient, and when He loves you, He will treat you as a lover does his beloved.
And so too, when He gives to you, He bestows blessings upon you that you may give thanks, for He
loves the thankful.
t3.13 Do not walk a step, take a bite, or make a move without intending thereby to draw nearer to Allah.
t3.14 Perform the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) silently and aloud, in a group and when alone, for Allah
Most High says,``Remember Me: I will remember you'' (Koran 2:152).
It is sufficient as to its worth that Allah is remembering you as long as you are remembering Him.
t31.5 Give frequent utterance to the axiom of Islam ``La ilaha ill Allah'' (There is no god but Allah), for
it is the greatest invocation (dhikr), as is mentioned in the hadith,
``The best thins I or any of the prophets before me have said is `La ilaha ill Allah.'''
And in a hadith qudsi,
``Were the seven heavens and seven earths placed on one side of a balance scale and `La ilaha ill
Allah' placed on the other, the latter would outweigh them all.''
t3.16 Train you children in points of Islamic behavior so they grow up to be Muslims who love Islam
and respect the religion of Islam.
t13.7 Do not seek exaltation on earth, but have humility in whatever degree Allah has raised you to.
For Allah has brought you forth from the earth, you mother, and it is unseemly to exalt yourself above
her. As a hadith says,
``Allah has charged Himself to raise nothing in this world, save that He will lower it again.''
So if you are such a thing, you may expect to be lowered by Allah.
t3.18 Always visit those who are ill, as it helps one reflect and take admonition, for someone ill is close
to Allah. One has only to consider that the sick person has no one to call upon but Allah, nothing to
reflect on but Allah, and his condition reminds one of the blessing of health (al-Hall al-sadid li ma
astashkalahu al-murid (y46), 29-32).

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Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

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