Friday, January 27, 2006

The Treasures of Prayer

"The third spiritual hell is that of disappointment and failure to reach the real object of existence. Man was intended to mirror forth the light of the knowledge of God, but if he arrives in the next world with his soul thickly coated with the rust of sensual indulgence he will entirely fail of the of object for which he was made. His disappointment may be figured in the following way:

Suppose a man is passing with some companions through a dark wood. Here and there, glimmering on the ground, lie variously colored stones. His companions collect and carry these and advise him to do the same. "For," say they, "we have heard that these stones will fetch a high price in the place whither we are going." He, on the other hand, laughs at them and calls them fools for leading themselves in the vain hope of gain while he walks free and unencumbered. Presently they emerge into the full daylight and find that these colored stones are rubies, emeralds, and other jewels of priceless value. The man's disappointment and chagrin at not having gathered some when so easily within his reach may be more easily imagined than described.

Such will be the remorse of those hereafter, who, while passing through this world, have been at no pains to acquire the jewels of virtue and the treasures of religion."

- Abu Hamid Ghazzali, The Alchemy of Happiness. Knowledge of the Next World, pg 40.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dominion over one's self

The Caliph Harun al Rashid went to Mecca for the pilgrimage and then asked his vizier Fadl b. Rabii' to take him to visit a man of God. Everytime they visited a famous man of God, Harun al-Rashid would ask to meet someone even greater, until they reached Fudayl bin Iyad.

When they touched hands, Fudayl exclaimed, "Alas! never have I felt a softer hand: 'twill be very wonderful if it escape from the Divine torment." Harun began to weep, and wept so violently that he swooned. When he came to himself, he said, "O Fudayl, give me a word of counsel." Fudayl said: "O commander of the Faithful, thy ancestor (Abbas) was the uncle of al-Mustafa. He asked the Prophet to give him dominion over men. The Prophet answered, 'O my uncle, I will give thee dominion for one moment over thyself,' i.e. one moment of thy obedience to God [by having complete dominion over one's self and one's ego] is better than a thousand years of men's obedience to thee, since al-imaarat yawm al-qiyaamat nadaamat (dominion over men brings regret on the Day of Resurrection)."

- Kashful Mahjub, pg 99


"What is the meaning of walayat [sovereignty, sanctity]? Is it that someone should have armies and cities and fortresses? No! Rather, walayat is that someone should have walayat over his own soul, his own states, his own attributes, his own speech, and his own silence. Severity should be in the place of severity, and gentleness in the place of gentleness. He must not start being a predestinarian like the gnostics: "I am helpless, and He is powerful." No, you must have power over all your own attributes, over silence in the place of silence, over response in the place of response, over severity in the place of severity, and over gentleness in the place of gentleness. Otherwise, a person's attributes will be his affliction and chastisement, because he does not rule over them. Rather, they rule over him."

- Shams Tabrizi. Me & Rumi pg 86.

Is it not time to submit to God's commands?

Has not the Time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors. (Qur'an 57:16)

[Abu Ali al-Fudayl b. Iyaad] is one of the paupers (sa3aleek) of the Sufis, and one of their most eminent and celebrated men. At first he was used to practice brigandage between Merv and Baward, but he was always inclined to piety, and invariably showed a generous and magnanimous disposition, so that he would not attack a caravan in which there was a woman, or take the property of anyone whose stock was small; and he let the travellers keep a portion of their property, according to the means of each. One day a merchant set out from Merv. His friends advised him to take an escort, but he said to them: "I have heard that Fudayl is a God-fearing man;" and instead of doing as they wished he hired a Koran-reader and mounted him on a camel in order that he might read the Koran aloud day and night during the journey. When they reached the place where Fudayl was lying in ambush, the reader happened to be reciting: "Is it not time that the hearts of those who believe should be humbled to the remembrance of God?" (Qur'an 57:16). Fudayl's heart was softened. He repented of the business in which he was engaged, and having written a list of those whom he had robbed, he satisfied all their claims upon him. Then he went to Mecca and resided there for some time and became acquainted with certain saints of God. Afterwards he returned to Kufa, where he associated with Abu Hanifa. He has handed down relations (hadiths) which are held in high esteem by Traditionists, and he is the author of lofty sayings concerning the verities of Sufism and Divine Knowledge.

- Kashful Mahjub, pg 97-98

see also Remembrance of the Saints, pg 52

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Brain as reducing valve. How to make Reality slip through.

"Reflecting on my [mescalin] experience, I find myself agreeing with the eminent Cambridge philosopher, Dr. C. D. Broad, "that we should do well to consider much more seriously than we have hitherto been inclined to do the type of theory which Bergson put forward in connection with memory and sense perception. The suggestion is that the function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive. Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful." According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet."

- Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. Pg 23.

"Mescalin inhibits the production of [the enzymes that regulate the supply of glucose to the brain] and thus lowers the amount of glucose available to an organ that is in constant need of sugar. " (Pg 24)

"These effects of mescalin are the sort of effects you could expect the administration of a drug having the power to impair the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve. When the brain runs out of sugar, the undernourished ego grows weak, can't be bothered to undertake the necessary chores, and loses all interest in those spatial and temporal relationships which mean so much to an organism bent on getting on in the world. As Mind at Large seeps past the no longer watertight valve, all kinds of biologically useless things start to happen. In some cases there may be extra-sensory perceptions. Other persons discover a world of visionary beauty. To others again is revealed the glory, the infinite value and meaningfulness of naked existence, of the given, unconceptualized event. In the final stage of egolessness there is an "obscure knowledge" that All is in all- that All is actually each." (Pg 26)

Huxley also describes "two other, less effective aids to visionary experience": carbon dioxide and the stroboscopic lamp (ex. The Dream Machine). As for carbon dioxide, Huxley describes how a mixture of seven parts oxygen and three parts carbon dioxide produces in those who inhale it physical and psychological changes, including brief visionary experience.

He continues,

"In light of these facts it becomes easy to understand the rationale of yogic breathing exercises. Practiced systematically, these exercises result, after a time, in prolonged suspensions of breath. Long suspensions of breath lead to a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood, and this increase in the concentration of CO2 lowers the efficacy of the brain as a reducing valve and permits the entry into consciousness of experiences, visionary or mystical, from 'out there.'

Prolonged and continuous shouting or singing may produce similar, but less strongly marked, results. Unless they are highly trained, singers tend to breathe out more than they breathe in. Consequently, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the alveolar air and the blood is increased and, the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve being lowered, visionary experience becomes possible. Hence the interminable 'vain repetitions' of magic and religion. The chanting of the curandero, the medicine man, the shaman; the endless psalm singing and sutra intoning of Christian and Buddhist monks; the shouting and howling, hour after hour, of revivalists- under all the diversities of theological belief and aesthetic convention, the psychochemico-physiological intention remains constant. To increase the concentration of CO2 in the lungs and blood so to lower the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve, until it will admit biologically useless material from Mind-at-Large - this, though the shouters, singers and mutterers did not know it, has been at all times the real purpose and point of magic spells, of mantrams, litanies, psalms and sutras."

- Aldous Huxley. Heaven and Hell. Appendix I, Pg 143-145

The Sufis have created what is by far the most efficient and powerful way of all the religious traditions. Instead of relying on continual singing or shouting or mantras in which more breaths are exhaled than inhaled, they simply stand up and continually repeat "Hu! Hu! Hu! Hu!" "Hu" being both a forceful expelling of air and one of the ultimate names of God. This is the fastest and most efficient way to build up more carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood, making the brain (which functions as a reducing valve) less efficient at filtering out all the other material from Mind-at-Large, of "everything that is happening everywhere in the universe", and so Ultimate Reality slips through and visionary experience is attained.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

al-Fitra and Divine Knowledge

Before the Prophet Muhammad's ascension to the Heavens, he had to drink the cup of 'Fitra'.

I mounted [al-Buraq] and came to Bait al-Maqdis. I then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets*. I entered the area of the Mosque and prayed two rak'at in it. I then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk. I chose the milk, and Gabriel said, 'You have chosen al-fitra'.

He then ascended with me into the lower heavens ....

[reported by Muslim]

Abu Hurayrah said,

Allah's Apostle was presented with two cups one containing wine and the other milk on the night of his night journey at Jerusalem. He looked at it and took the milk. Gabriel said, "Thanks to Allah Who guided you to the Fitra; if you had taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray.

[Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 232:]

The Fitra is the "primordial" state/nature in which all humans are born, for Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said,

"No child is born except on Al-Fitra"

[Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 298:]

Thus those who wish to attain Divine Knowledge must "drink the cup of Fitra", as the Prophet (pbuh) did in order to ascend to the Heavens, and God knows best. And how do we return to the fitra? By subduing, or "killing" the ego. We must return to the state of newborns who have no egos. Newborn, until sometime near their first year, do not know that they exist as an independent entity.. they do not know what "I" means. And for a much later time, they still do not have egos like we do. So in order to return to that state, we must go through ego "extinction" and lose our "I-ness", and that is done by spiritual discipline. When one reaches the goal, and becomes a true sufi, he attains Divine Knowledge, or Wisdom. In fact, the numerical value of the arabic word sufi is equal to the numerical value of al-Hikmatul ilahiya (Divine Wisdom)**.

As for the Prophet himself, he was already on the fitra, for he had already subdued his ego, or evil-commanding nafs. When he told the people that they all have their own satan (ego), one person asked, and do you have a satan, O Messenger of Allah? He said , "Yes, but my satan has submitted (aslama, become Muslim)."

The Prophet was known to do and say things in front of the people that did not apply to him, but he said them to teach his followers to follow in his example. For example, he would always repeat in front of people the du'a, "O Turner of hearts, fix my heart on Your religion". This dua was intended for us to hear and emulate, and was not something that the Prophet needed to say himself.

Therefore by "drinking" the cup of fitra, the Prophet (pbuh) was showing the Muslims what they should do in order to obtain divine knowledge: to return to the state of purity, fitra. That is why Gabriel said to him, "if you had taken the wine, your followers would have gone astray". Because we are meant to follow in the Prophet's example. Afterall, the Mu'min (true believer) can have a Mi'raj too, for the Prophet (pbuh) said, "The salaat (prayer) is the Miraj of the believer".

The same truth expressed in other religions:

"To the one who dwells in the non-manifested, all beings manifest themselves... United to the Principle, it is in harmony, through it, with all beings. United to the Principle, it knows all through superior general reasons, and consequently no longer uses its various senses to know in particular and in detail. The true reason of things is invisible, imperceptible, indefinable, indeterminable. Alone, the spirit re-established in its state of perfect simplicity can attain in it deep contemplation."[1]

'Simplicity', an expression of the unification of all the powers of the being, characterizes the return to the 'primordial state' and we see here the whole difference separating the transcendent knowledge of the sage from ordinary and 'profane' knowledge. This 'simplicity' is also designated elsewhere as the state of 'childhood' (in Sanskrit, baalya), naturally understood in the spiritual sense, and is considered in Hindu doctrine as a precondition for the acquisition of knowledge par excellence. This brings to mind similar words found in the Gospels: 'Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it"[2], and "Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes."[3]

'Simplicity' and 'littleness' are here basically equivalents of the 'poverty' that is so often mentioned in the Gospels, and that is generally very much misunderstood: 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'[4] According to Islamic esoterism, this 'poverty' (in Arabic, al-faqru), leads to al-fanaa', that is, to the 'extinction' of the 'ego' [moi][5]; and by this 'extinction' one attains the 'divine station' (al-maqaamul-ilahi), which is the central point where all distinctions inherent in outward points of view are surpassed, where all oppositions have disappeared and are resolved in perfect equilibrium.
] [6]

* This implies that other prophets too have come to the Bait al-Maqdis for their own Mi'raj, and God knows best.
** Guenon, Rene. Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism. Pg 3. Every letter in Arabic (and in Hebrew) has a numerical value. The numerical value of each word is thus the sum of the values of its letters.
1. Lieh Tzu, chap. 4.
2. Luke 18:17
3. Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21
4. Matt. 5:3
5. This 'extinction' is not without analogy, even as to the literal meaning of the term designating it, with the Nirvana of the Hindu doctrine; beyond al-fanaa' there is fanaa' al-fanaa'i, the 'extinction of the extinction', which corresponds similarly to Parinirvana. [footnote by Guenon]
6. Guenon, Rene. Insights into Islamic Esoterism & Taoism. Ch4 Al-Faqr. Pg. 19-20.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Abu Bakr and Divine Contemplation

al-Hujwiri on Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (r.a.):

He is placed by the Sufi Shaykhs at the head of those who have adopted the contemplative life (mushaahadat), on account of the fewness of the stories and traditions which he related; while Umar is placed at the head of those who have adopted the purgative life (mujaahadat), because of his rigour and assiduity in devotion. It is written among the genuine Traditions, and is well known to scholars, that when Abu Bakr prayed at night he used to recite in a low voice, whereas Umar used to recite in a loud voice. The Apostle asked Abu Bakr why he did this. Abu Bakr replied: "He with whom I converse will hear." Umar, in his turn, replied: "I wake the drowsy and drive away the Devil." The one gave a token of contemplation, the other of purgation. Now purgation, compared with contemplation, is like a drop of water in a sea, and for this reason the Apostle said that Umar, the glory of Islam, was only (equivalent to) a single one of the good deeds of Abu Bakr (hal anta illaa hasanatun min hasanaati Abi Bakr).

It is recorded that Abu Bakr said: "Our abode is transitory, our life therein is but a loan, our breaths are numbered, and our indolence is manifest." By this he signified that the world is too worthless to engage our thoughts; for whenever you occupy yourself with what is perishable, you are made blind to that which is eternal: the friends of God turn their backs on the world and the flesh which veil them from Him, and they decline to act as if they were owners of a thing that is really the property of another."

- Kashf al-Mahjub, pg 70

"He is the Imam of the Muslims in general, and of the Sufis in particular"

- pg 72

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ihsan & Angels

"[Ihsan] is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you" - The Prophet

(Hadith of Gabriel, narrated by Muslim)

Hanzala Usayyidi, who was amongst the scribes of Allah's Messenger (pbuh), reported: I met Abu Bakr. He said: Who are you? He (Hanzala) said: Hanzala has turned to be a hypocrite. He (Abu Bakr) said: Hallowed be Allah, what are you saying?

Thereupon he said: I say that when we are in the company of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) we ponder over Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our very eyes and when we are away from Allah's Messenger (pbuh) we attend to our wives, our children, our business; most of these things (pertaining to After-life) slip out of our minds. Abu Bakr said: By Allah, I also experience the same.

So I and Abu Bakr went to Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and said to him : Allah's Messenger, Hanzala has turned to be a hypocrite. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: What has happened to you?

I said: Allah's Messenger, when we are in your company, we are reminded of Hell-Fire and Paradise as if we are seeing them with our own eyes, but whenever we go away from you and attend to our wives, children and business, much of these things go out of our minds.

Thereupon Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said: By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if your state of mind remains the same as it is in my presence and you are always busy in remembrance (of Allah), the Angels will shake hands with you in your beds and in your paths but, Hanzala, time should be devoted (to the worldly affairs) and time (should be devoted to prayer and meditation). He (the Holy Prophet) said this thrice.

- Reported by Muslim, Book 37, Number 6623.

In another version, the Prophet said,

"Hanzala, there is a time for worldly affairs and a time for (worship and devotion), and if your state of mind is always the same as it is at the time of remembrance of Allah, the Angels would shake hands with you and would greet you on the path by saying: As-Salamu-Alaikum."

- Reported by Muslim, Book 37, Number 6624.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Jihad an-Nafs

"But as for him who feared to stand before his Lord and restrained his soul from lust, Lo! The garden will be his home" (Qur'an 79:40-41)

The mujahid is he who makes jihad against his nafs (ego) for the sake of obeying Allah. - The Prophet (pbuh)

-Ibn Hibban (#1624, 2519): Authentic;
- Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut (Commentary on Ibn Hibban): authentic;
- al-Hakim: sahih;
- `Iraqi confirms him;
- it is also in Tirmidhi, Ahmad, and Tabarani;
- Albani included it in the "Sahiha". [1]

"Should I inform you of who the Mu'min (believer) is? It is he from whom people are secure with regards to their wealth and their own selves. The Muslim is he from whose tongue and hand other people are safe. The Mujahid is he who performs Jihad an-Nafs in the obedience of Allah. And the Muhajir (immigrant) is he who abandons error and sin" - The Prophet (pbuh) in his "Farwell Speech"

- Reported by Ahmed, al-Haakim, and at-Tabaraani [2]

"The best Jihad is for one to perform Jihad against his own self and against his desires"

-Reported by Abu Nu'aim [2]

"Jihad against one's own self in the Cause of Allah is the best Jihad"

- Reported by at-Tabaraani [2]

A man asked: "What kind of jihad is better?" The Prophet (pbuh) replied: "A word of truth spoken in front of an oppressive ruler."  (Sunan Al-Nasa'i #4209) [1]

A man asked: "Should I join the jihad?" The Prophet (pbuh) asked, "Do you have parents?" The man said yes. The Prophet said: "Then do jihad by serving them!"  (Sahih Al-Bukhari #5972) [1]

"`A'isha, Allah be well-pleased with her, asked:
'Messenger of Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn't we join it?'  He replied, 'But the best jihad is a perfect Hajj.'" (Sahih Al-Bukhari #2784) [1]

"The strong one is not the one who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his nafs ego" - The Prophet (pbuh)

- Al-Haythami declared it authentic in Majma` al-Zawa'id. [1]

[Compare the above hadith to:

One who overcomes others is strong,
But he who overcomes himself is mighty
- Lao Tzu [4a]


"If one man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors. One's own self conquered is better than all other people conquered." - Buddha [4b]

As for the most famous version, "We have returned from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad (i.e. the struggle against the evil of one's soul)."

According to Ibn Hajar, it is is actually a saying of Ibrahim bin Abi 'Ablah, a tabi'i (i.e. from the generation after the generation of the prophet). It is not a hadith of the Prophet, but is obviously based on the above hadiths of the Prophet that clearly state that it is the greatest jihad. [3]

Jihad of Kuffar MUST be preceeded by Jihad an-Nafs

"The Jihad against one's self and against al-Hawa (desires) constitutes the basis for the Jihad against the Kuffar and and the Munafiqeen, because one is unable to make Jihad against them until he makes Jihad against himself and his Hawa first, so that he can go out to (confront) them" - Ibn Taymiyyah

- Quoted by his student Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya, in Rawdaat-ul-Muhibeen wa Nuzhat-ul-Mushtaqeen

For the next two years Ghazi Mollah proclaimed his message. The Caucasians had not accepted Islam fully, he told them. Their old customary laws, the "adat", which differed from tribe to tribe, must be replaced by the Sharia. In particular, the kanli vendettas must be suppressed, and all injustices dealt with fairly by a proper Islamic court. Finally, the Caucasians must restrain their wild, turbulent egos, and tread the hard path of self-purification. Only by following this prescription, he told them, could they overcome their ancient divisions, and stand united against the Christian menace.  [5]

1. Sunni Path
2. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. Madaarij as-Salikeen
3. Science of Hadith
4a. Tao Te Ching, Ch. 33. [Taken from The Black Pearl, Pg 178]
4b. The Dhammapada, Ch. 8 (The Thousands), quoted in Edwin A. Burtt, The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, New York: New American Library (Mentor), 1955, p. 58. [Taken from The Black Pearl Pg 178]
5. The Murid Wars

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Scholarly clues about Moses

"There has even been speculation (not accepted by most scholars) that Moses was an Egyptian, since his name is of Egyptian, rather than Hebrew, origin. (It means "child" or "son," and occurs as part of the name of several famous pharaohs). [1]

"So We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: 'Suckle him, but when thou hast fears about him, cast him into the river, but fear not nor grieve: for We shall restore him to thee, and We shall make him one of Our messengers.' Then Pharaoh's family picked him up: (It was intended) that he should be to them an adversary and a cause of sorrow: for Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were men of sin. The wife of Pharaoh said: '(Here is) joy of the eye, for me and for thee: slay him not. It may be that he will be use to us, or we may adopt him as a son.' And they perceived not." (Qur'an 28: 7-9)

So here the Qur'an again is shown to be the true word of God, solving the problem with ease. Moses was of Jewish origin as is generally believed, however he was found as a child and raised by Pharaoh as his son, giving us a perfect match for the meaning and origin of his name!


Another piece of evidence:

"We took the children of Israel across the sea. Pharaoh with his hosts pursued them in rebellion and hostility till, when the fact of his drowning overtook him he said: I believe there is no True God except the God in whom the Children of Israel believe. I am of those who submit themselves to Him. (It was said to him) 'Now! Thou has rebelled and caused depravity: This day we save thee in the body so that thou mayest be a sign for those who come after thee' But verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our signs." (Qur'an 10: 90-92)

In June 1975, the Egyptian high authorities very kindly allowed me to examine the parts of the Pharaoh's body that had been covered until then. They also allowed me to take photographs... What may already be derived from this examination is the discovery of multiple lesions of the bones with broad lacunae, some of which may have been mortal although it is not yet possible to ascertain whether some of them occurred before or after the Pharaoh's death. He most probably died either from drowning, according to the scriptural narrations, or from very violent shocks preceding the moment when he was drowned or both at once.

The connection of these lesions with the deterioration whose sources have been mentioned above renders the correct preservation of the mummy of the Pharaoh somewhat problematical, unless precautionary and restorative measures are not taken very soon. These measures should ensure that the only concrete evidence which we still possess today concerning the death of the Pharaoh of the Exodus and the rescue of his body, willed by God; does not disappear with the passage of time. It is always desirable for man to apply himself to the preservation of relics of his history, but here we have something which goes beyond that: it is the material presence of the mummified body of the man who knew Moses, resisted his pleas, pursued him as he took flight and lost his life in the process. His earthly remains were saved by the Will of God from destruction to become a sign to man, as it is written in the Qur'an.

Those who seek among modern data for proof of the veracity of the Holy Scriptures will find a magnificent illustration of the verses of the Qur'an dealing with the Pharaoh's body by visiting the Royal Mummies Room of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo!

- Dr. Maurice Bucaille [2]

1. Hart, Michael H. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. Pg 115
2. Bucaille, Maurice. The Bible, The Qur'an and Science

Active Evolution

There is no way I will believe in "passive evolutionary theory", the one in vogue today: "random mutation combined with natural selection invariably leads to higher forms of life." It's too messy and and it could never explain life as we see it today.

I think the only possible explanation is "active evolution", where the organism actively mutates to suit its needs (instead of waiting for an organism to happen by chance to mutate into a form that is needed)

"...[Sir Karl Popper] prefers "active" Darwinism in which the "idiocyncracies of the individual have a greater influence on evolution than natural selection" and that "the only creative activity in evolution is the activity of the organism."


John Cairns' directed-mutation experiments: "He took bacteria lacking the genes to digest lactose, starved them for several days, then put them into a solution where lactose was the only nutrient. Under these conditions, the bacteria entered a trans-mutable state, and presto! - they were able to develop the genes necessary to digest lactose."

- The Black Pearl, pg. 187

should do more research on how one can change/affect his body with his mind. one possible way for active evolution, altho definitly not the one that worked with those bacteria!


"One day I saw the noble Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) in a dream, and I said, 'Messenger of God, do you consider listening to (religious) music to be bad?' His grace said, 'I don't consider anything about it to be bad, but I will say to the listeners, that the beginning and end of listening to music should be done with the Qur'an."

- Mumshad 'Alu Dinawari (d. 911)*

Ernst, Carl W. Teachings of Sufism. pg 106

* "The Revered" Mumshad Alu Dinawari (Dinoori) was the shaykh of the founder and fountainhead of the Chishti Order, Hazrat Khawaja Abu Ishaq Chishti.

Dancing and Sama3

"I, Ali b. Uthman al-Jullabi [al-Hujwiri], have heard the Shaykh and Imam Abu 'l-Abbaas al-Ashqaani relate that one day, being in an assembly where audition was going on, he saw naked demons dancing among the members of the party and breathing upon them, so that they waxed hot." - Al-Hujwiri [1]

"If you wish to keep your religion safe and to maintain your penitence, do not indulge, while you are young, in the audition which the Sufis practice; and when you grow old, do not let yourself be the cause of guilt in others." - Junayd [2]

"[Some sufis] say: 'Inasmuch as audition is dangerous to the vulgar and their belief is disturbed by our taking part in it, and inasmuch as they are unable to attain to our degree therein and incur guilt through us, we have pity on the vulgar and give sincere advice to the elect and from altruistic motives decline to indulge in audition.' This is a laudable course of action"
- Al-Hujwiri [3]

"I was very assiduous in audition. One night a certain person came to my cell and told me that a number of seekers of God had assembled and were desirous to see me. I went out with him and soon arrived at the place. They received me with extraordinary marks of honour. An old man, round whom they had formed a circle, said to me: 'With thy leave, some poetry will be recited.' I assented, whereupon one of them began to chant verses which the poets had composed on the subject of separation (from the beloved). They all rose in sympathetic ecstasy, uttering melodious cries and making exquisite gestures, while I remained lost in amazement at their behaviour.They continued in this enthusiasm until near daybreak, then the old man said, 'O Shaykh, are not thou curious to learn who am I and who are my companions?'

I answered that the reverence which I felt towards him prevented me from asking that question. 'I myself,' said he, 'was once Azrail and am now Iblis, and all the rest are my children. Two benefits accrue me from such concerts as this: firstly, I bewail my own separation (from God) and remember the days of my prosperity, and secondly, I lead holy men astray and cast them into error.' From that time I have never had the least desire to practice audition."

- Abu 'l-Haarith Bunaani [4]

The above sayings do not say that sama3 is forbidden completely. They say it should be forbidden for anyone who is not a true Sufi master. But it is not forbidden to them. However, since if they engage in it they could cause young aspirants to imitate them and go astray, it is better if they refrain from it altogether. It is also possible that holy men be led astray from sama3, as is shown in the first story. In any case, it was not something the Prophet did, and the Muslim's highest aspiration should be to have the same manners as the Prophet. Although in the hadith below, it is shown that Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, who the resembled the Prophet (pbuh) the most in his manners, danced in joy when he was told that he the one who resembled the Prophet the most in likeness and in manners.

Therefore dancing should be acceptable if it is brought on by a state of ecstasy.

Ali bin Abi Talib said: I visited the Prophet with Ja`far ibn Abi Talib and Zayd ibn Haritha. The Prophet said to Zayd: "You are my freedman" (anta mawlay), whereupon Zayd began to hop on one leg around the prophet (hajala) (out of joy). The Prophet then said to Ja`far: "You resemble me in my creation and my manners" (anta ashbahta khalqi wa khuluqi), whereupon Ja`far began to hop behind Zayd. The Prophet then said to me: "You pertain to me and I pertain to you" (anta minni wa ana minka) whereupon I began to hop behind Ja`far.

-Musnad Imam Ahmad

According to Shams Tabrizi, there are three rulings on sama3:
1. It is necessary and incumbent for the people of states, who are true sincere Muhammedan believers.
2. It is acceptable for the people of ascetic discipline.
3. It is forbidden for anyone else. And in fact, the Prophet was kind to forbid it because any single hypocritical or non-sincere movement during sama3 will lead to Divine chastisement.

"The men of God have more of this disclosure and vision of God in the sama. They have come out of their own existence and the sama brings them out of other worlds, so they reach the encounter with the Real.

In short, there is a sama that is forbidden. In fact, he was kind to say that it is forbidden. A sama like that is unbelief. A hand that is raised without that state (i.e raised on purpose, and not because of a state of ecstasy) will certainly be chastised by the fire of hell, and a hand that is raised with that state will certainly reach paradise.

There is a sama that is allowable, and that is the sama of the folk of ascetic discipline and ascetism, which brings them to tears and tenderness.

There is a sama that is incumbent, and that is the sama of the folk of states, because it is an aid to their life.

If one of the folk of sama has a sama in the east, another possessor of sama will also have a sama in the west, and they will be aware of each other's state." - Shams Tabrizi [5]

"When a sincere man begins to dance, the seven heavens, the earth, and all the creatures begin to dance. If a Muhammadan believer is dancing in the east, and there is a Muhammadan believer in the west, he also will be dancing and joyful." - Shams Tabrizi [6]

"Dancing is a bid`a or innovation which is not countenanced except by one deficient in his mind. It is unfitting for other than women. As for the audition of poetry (sama`) which stirs one towards states of purity (ahwal saniyya) which remind one of the hereafter: there is nothing wrong with it, nay, it is recommended (bal yundabu ilayh) for lukewarm and dry hearts. However, the one who harbors wrong desires in his heart is not allowed to attend the sama`, for the sama` stirs up whatever desire is already in the heart, both the detestable and the desirable."
- Sultan of the Scholars, al-Izz ibn Abd al-Salam [7]

"Dancing and clapping are a bad display resembling the display of women, in which no one indulges except frivolous men or affected liars... whoever apprehends the greatness of Allah, it cannot be imagined that he will start dancing and clapping as these are not performed except by the crassly ignorant, not those who have merit and intelligence, and the proof of their ignorance is that the Shari`a has not cited any evidence for their action in the Qur'an and the Sunna, and none of the Prophets or their notable followers ever did it."
- al-Izz ibn Abd al-Salam [7]

1. Kashf al-Mahjub, pg 412
2. Ibid, pg 412
3. Ibid, pg 412-413
4. Ibid, pg 411-412
5. Me & Rumi , pg 277-278.
6. Ibid, pg 6.
7. Sultan al-`ulama' al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam al-Sulami


The episode of "Ana'l-Haqq":

Abu Ali Farisi (=Fasawi) reported to me [Ibn al-Qarih] and told me: "I saw Hallaj standing, within the halqa of Shibli....saying, 'I am the Truth' and Shibli responding to him: 'do not say "the Truth," but rather, "I come on behalf of the Truth.") What gibbet will you stain with your blood!' But Hallaj, covering his face with his sleeve, recited (the quatrain) Ya sirra (sirri)... For he believed that the wise man vis-a-vis God is in the same position as the ray vis-a-vis the sun from which it draws its light." [11]

"...when Husayn b. Mansur (al-Hallaj) in his rapture broke off all relations with Amr b. Uthman (al-Makki) and came to Junayd, Junayd asked him for what purpose he had come to him. Husayn said: "For the purpose of associating with the Shaykh." Junayd replied: "I do not associate with madmen. Association demands sanity; if that is wanting, the result is such behaviour as yours in regard to Sahl b. Abdallah Tustari and Amr."

Husayn said: "O Shaykh, sobriety and intoxication are two attributes of Man, and Man is veiled from his Lord until his attributes are annihilated."

"O son of Mansur," said Junayd, "you are in error concerning sobriety and intoxication. The former denotes soundness of one's spiritual state in relation to God, while the latter denotes excess of longing and extremity of love, and neither of them can be acquired by human effort. O son of Mansur, in your words I see much foolishness and nonsense." [1]

"If Mansur al-Hallaj had met one of Khwaja 'Abd al-Khaliq [al-Ghujdawani]'s disciples, he would not have gone to the gallows, for he would have received the appropriate training and progressed to a more advanced degree." - Khwaja 'Azizan 'Ali Ramitani, a member of the Khwajagan [2]

"The beauty of the spirit had not yet completely shown itself to Hallaj. Otherwise, how could he have said, "I am the Real"? What does "I" have to do with God? What is this I? What are words? Even if he had been immersed only in the world of the spirit, how could letters fit there? How could "I" fit in? How could "am" fit in? " - Shams Tabrizi [3]

"Who is it that declares the similarity of the One- him and his little prostration and his declaration of similarity! We are two spirits dwelling in one body. This is the declaration of similarity. But, the road to this declaration of similarity is long. There's a great deal of road. And from this declaration of similarity to the world of tawhid is extremely far." - Shams Tabrizi [4]

"Although he arrived at God, he did not arrive at the reality of God. If he had been aware of God's reality, he would not have said I am the Real." - Shams Tabrizi [5]

"The fault was with the great ones, for they spoke words out of infirmity- "I am the Real." They left following. Then things like this fell out of their mouths. Otherwise, what kind of dogs are they to say these things? If the command over them was in my hands- killing, or repentance" - Shams Tabrizi [6]

"The station of `He is the Real' is far above that of `I am the Real' " - Shams Tabrizi [7]

Hallaj met Junayd one day, and said to him, "I am the Truth." "No," Junayd answered him, "it is by means of the Truth that you are! What gibbet will you stain with your blood?" [8]

Once someone asked Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani about Mansur Hallaj, he replied: "His claim extended too far, so the scissors of the Sacred Law (Shari'a) were empowered to clip it."

"Hallaj wrote brilliantly, both allegories and theological and juridical formulations. All his mystical utterances are like the first visions of novices, though some are more powerful, some feebler, some more acceptable, some more improper than others. ...
Hallaj was an ecstatic. He never was confirmed; and what a man says can only be considered authoritative after he has become confirmed." [9]

"One night- it was bright moonlight- I went out to pray (says Ibn Fatik) at the grave where Ibn Hanbal lies in the corner of the Qurayshi Cemetary. And there I saw in the distance a man standing, facing the Direction. He did not notice me as I drew near; but I made out that it was Hallaj, weeping aloud.

I heard him say: [long du'a]
Suddenly, he saw me, and turned, and came smiling towards me. Abu Husayn, said he, I have got no further than the novice's first degree.
How? cried I. First degree? What state could be more exalted than what I have just seen?
No, said he, I was lying. 'Twas scarcely the first step of a simple Believer. It is the first State of Unbelief!
And he cried out, three times, and fell. I saw blood on his lips; but he gestured with his hand that I was to go away. So I left him.
Next morning I saw him in the Mosque of Mansur. He took my hand, and stooped and said: Don't tell people what you saw of me last night." [10]

1. al-Hujwiri, Kashf al-Mahjub tr. Reynold A. Nicholson. pg. 189
2. Mawlana 'Ali Ibn Husain Safi. Beads of Dew from the Source of Life. al-Ghujdawani: perhaps the greatest of the Khwajagan, the Masters of Wisdom.
3. Me & Rumi, Pg 88
4. Ibid, pg 107. Shams criticizing a famous saying of Hallaj.
5. Ibid, pg 93.
6. Ibid, pg 87. i.e. People like Hallaj say these things out of weakness/infirmity. Otherwise, if someone said such a thing while in complete control of himself, he would be a dog and if he did not repent he deserves to die. Shams considers Hallaj one of the greats, but says he left following (mutaba'at of the Prophet ) by acting differently from him.
7. Ibid, pg 274
8. MASSIGNON 1982: 127
11. Massignion, Hallaj: Mystic and Martyr, pg 65-66.
9. Shroeder, Eric. Muhammad's People (pg 522-3)
10. Ibid, pg 537-8

Friday, January 06, 2006

The 3 Levels of Realization

1. He is the Truth/Real

2. I am the Truth/Real (I still dont really accept this).

3. He is the Truth/Real.

Is level 2 fana'? And 3 baqa'?
Are levels 1 and 3 equal or totally different?
"How can ordinary cognition, everyday experience, be compared with Supreme Realization?"[1]

"The station of `He is the Real' is far above that of `I am the Real' " - Shams Tabrizi [2]

"Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge...I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now...I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters." - Ch'ing-yuan [3]

"Before I learned the art a punch was just a punch, a kick was just a kick. When I was studying the art, a punch was no longer just punch, and a kick no longer just a kick. Now that I know the art, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick." - Bruce Lee (hehe ok this is unrelated)

1. Bayman, Henry. The Black Pearl, pg 155.
2. Chittick, Me & Rumi, pg ??
3. Watts, Way of Zen, pg 146. (Taken from The Black Pearl

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dhikr + Heaven

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet said:

"When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them." The Companions asked: "What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?" He replied: "The circles of dhikr. There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely."

Tirmidhi narrated it (hasan gharib) and Ahmad.


On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (PBUH), who said:

Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has angels who rove about seeking out gatherings in which Allah's name is being invoked: they sit with them and fold their wings round each other, fillin that which is between them and between the lowest heaven. When [the people in the gathering] depart, [the angels] ascend and rise up to heaven. Then Allah (mighty and sublime be He) asks them - though He is most knowing about them: From where have you come? And they say: We have come from some servants of Yours on Earth: they were glorifying You (Subhana llah), exalting you (Allahu akbar), witnessing that there is no god but You (La ilaha illa llah), praising You (Al-Hamdu lillah), and asking [favours] of You. He says: And what do they ask of Me? They say: They ask of You Your Paradise. He says: And have they seen My Paradise? They say: No, O Lord. He says: And how would it be were they to have seen My Paradise! They say: And they ask protection of You. He says: From what do they ask protection of Me? They say: From Your Hell-fire, O Lord. He says: And have they seen My Hell-fire? They say: NO. He says: And how would it be were they to have seen My Hell-fire: They say: And they ask for Your forgiveness. Then He says: I have forgiven them and I have bestowed upon them what they have asked for,and I have granted them sanctuary from that from which they asked protection. They say: O Lord, among them is So-and-so, a much sinning servant, who was merely passing by and sat down with them. And He says: And to him [too] I have given forgiveness: he who sits with such people shall not suffer.

It was related by Muslim (also by al-Bukhari, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa'i).


Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying:

He who alleviates the suffering of a believer out of the sufferings of the world, Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Resurrection, and he who finds relief for one who is hard pressed, Allah would make things easy for him in the Hereafter, and he who conceals (the faults) of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in the world and in the Hereafter. Allah aids a servant so long as the servant aids his brother (Muslim), and he who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him, and those persons who assemble in a house among the houses of Allah (mosques) and recite the Book of Allah and they learn and teach the Qur'an (among themselves) there would descend upon them the tranquillity (sakeenah), and mercy (rahmah) would cover them and the angels would surround them and Allah makes a mention of them in the presence of those near Him, and he who is slow-paced in doing good deeds, his (high) descent (or lineage) does not make him go ahead.

It was related by Muslim (book 35: Kitab al-dhikr: Number 6518). Also by Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.

The Heart

Abu Utbah al-Khawlaanee reported that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

‏ إن لله آنية من أهل الأرض وآنية ربكم قلوب عباده الصالحين وأحبها إليه ألينها وأرقها

"Truly, Allaah has vessels from amongst the people of the earth, and the vessels of your Lord are the hearts of his righteous slaves, and the Most beloved of them to Him are the softest and most tender ones"

- Tabarani, ['Kashf al-Khafaa (no. 2256)]

Al-Albani declared it Hasan: ['Silsilah as-Saheehah' (no.1691)]


As for the more famous version:

"Neither My Heaven nor My earth can contain Me, but the soft humble heart of my believing servant can contain Me".
- Reported by al-Ghazali in the Ihya

Al-Haafidh al-Iraaqee (the Shaykh of ibn Hajr) said in his notes to 'al-Ihyaa', "I find no basis for it." And as-Suyutee agreed with him, following az-Zarkashee.

God says, "Neither My heaven nor My earth embraces Me, but the heart of my believing servant does embrace Me." Anyone who says that the heart is this piece of meat is more of an unbeliever and worse than a Christian. He is worse than the one who says that Jesus is the son of God.

- Shams Tabrizi [1]

1. Me & Rumi, pg 126.

The believer is a mirror for the believer

"The believer is a mirror for the believer" - The Prophet (pbuh) [1]

The Prophet created a group of the most amazing men ever witnessed by history. How could it be that so many people can become so great and so pure at the same time? Because their hearts were mirrors reflecting the light of the Prophet (pbuh).

In his youth a certain lovely woman invited [Mohammad] Tirmidhi to take her, but he refused. Then one day the woman, learning that he was in a garden, arrayed herself and proceeded thither. As soon as the shaikh became aware of her approach, he fled. The woman ran after him, screaming that he was after her blood. Tirmidhi took no notice, but climbed a high wall and flung himself over.

One day in his old age Tirmidhi was reviewing his acts and sayings, and remembered that incident. The thought entered his mind, “What would it have mattered if I had gratified that woman’s need? After all, I was young, and I could afterwards have repented.” When he perceived this thought in his mind, he was filled with anguish. “Foul and rebellious soul!” he exclaimed. “Forty years ago, in the first flush of youth, this thought did not occur to you. Now in old age, after so many struggles, whence has come this repining over a sin not committed?” Very sorrowful, for three days he sat in mourning for this thought.

After three days he saw the Prophet in a dream. “Mohammad, do not grieve,” said the Prophet to him. “What happened was not due to a lapse on your part. This thought occurred to you because forty years more had passed since my death. The period of my leaving the world had become that much longer, and I was withdrawn further away. It is no sin of yours, no shortcoming in your spiritual progress. What you experienced was due to the long extension of the period of my departure from the world, not to any deficiency in your character.”

One day, a child's parents brought him to [Abdul Qadir Jilani]. The Child was addicted to candy, and try as they might, they had not been able to cure him of this habit. They had even sought the help of doctors, but to no avail.

Now the Sage happened to have a sweet tooth himself. He told the parents: "Go now, and bring him back a week later."
When the week had passed, the parents brought the child back. The Sage simply told him, "My son, don't eat sweets from now on." The parents were mystified as to why such a simple command had not been issued the week before, but they said nothing.

After some time had passed, the parents came back to thank the Sage. They were both surprised and elated. The child had stopped eating sweets of his own accord. "O Sage, how did you accomplish this?" they asked. "And why didn't you give him the same order when we first brought him to you?"

The Sheikh smiled. "Before I could ask your child to renounce sweets," he said, "I had to do so myself. It was because I dropped my own habit that he was able to abandon his."

"The believers are like one body; if the eye suffers (or is sore), the whole body suffers, and if the head aches, the whole body aches." - The Prophet [4a]

"A believer with respect to another believer is like one building: one part strengthens the other." - The Prophet[4b]

"There are great men who rectify themselves- and others are rectified" - Mencius [5]

"So wherever the Superior Man passes through, people are transformed; the place where he stays is spiritualized and Heaven and Earth blend harmoniously." - Mencius[6]

"If a man is correct in his own person, then there will be obedience even if orders are not given. But if he is not correct in his own person, there will be no obedience even if orders are given." - Confucius [7]

"In the words of Lao Tzu, 'I love quiesence and the people of themselves go straight.' (Tao Te Ching, Ch. 57) And according to Chuang Tzu, the Perfect Man governs the world by rectifying his inner state." [8]

Is this how a Qutb is supposed to keep the world in order? If it's because the people reflect his light and are better, and the world is in harmony.. that I can understand. This might be the explanation I was looking for. But to say that the Qutb actively has power to keep the world in balance, I still cannot believe that or accept it as an Islamic belief.

Miracles secret and open flow from the teacher.
With reason - that's not unusual at all.
And the tiniest of these miracles
is this: everyone near a saint gets drunk with God.
-Rumi [9]

"So find a teacher (...) who extends his light and virtue with equal ease to those who appreciate him and those who don't. Shape yourself in his mold, bathe in his nourishing radiance, and reflect it out to the rest of the world." -Hua Hu Ching 75 [10]

Companionship with the holy makes you one of them.
Though you're rock or marble, you'll become a jewel
when you reach the man of heart. -Rumi [11]

"I have known true alchemists," the alchemist continued. "They locked themselves in their laboratories, and tried to evolve, as gold had. And they found the Philosopher's Stone, because they understood that when something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well." [12]

[NOTE: I once read the following story somewhere. Find it:

A man went to visit a sufi shaikh, and the shaykh asked his followers to go prepare a special dessert for the guest. The guest was astonished, and said, "How did you know that I was craving this dessert right now?" The shaykh replied, "I have subdued my nafs and no longer crave desserts. When I found myself thinking of that dessert, I knew that the mirror of my heart was reflecting that desire from you."]

In that way, it could be said that the sahaba were reflecting the pious thoughts of the Prophet and became straightened themselves. His light was like a fire, and the Muslims were pieces of wood. Some pieces of wood were close enough to the Prophet to become smaller fires themselves, lighting those around them. Others were further away, but became hot, and started changing color, becoming more similar to the fire and acquiring some of the qualities of a burning piece of wood, even if they did not catch fire themselves. When the Prophet (pbuh) passed from his physical existence, his big fire was gone, and all was left were the smaller fires of his great companions, who lit other pieces of wood. When they died, the even smaller fires of the tabi'een generation lit the ones around them, and so on. And so the Muslim ummah degenerated across the centuries.

But every now and then, Allah turns some of his great followers into torches themselves, to light up people around them and create many great people around them, as the Prophet created many great people around him. For example, Najm ad-Din Kubra, who became known as "the Saint maker" for having transformed so many of his disciples into great sufi shaykhs, and al-Shadhili who did the same, etc.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. (Qur'an 24:35)

1. Bukhari in al-Adabul Mufrad (no. 239), Abu Dawud (Eng. Trans. 3/1370/no.4900) and others
2. Attar, Fariduddin. Remembrance of the Saints. Pg 332-333
3. Bayman, Henry. The Black Pearl. Pg 140.
4a. Muslim
4b. Bukhari, Muslim

(5,6,7 )Quotes taken from The Black Pearl. Work Cited:
5. D.C. Lau: Confucius, The Analects, Hardmondsworth: Penguin, 1979. (7A:10)
6. Ibid, (7A:13)
7. Ibid, (13.6)

8. Bayman, Henry. The Black Pearl Pg. 140

9. Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.130.
10. Hua Hu Ching 75, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World's Wisdom. P.170.
11. Mathnawi I, 717, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.126.
12. Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. Pg 144.

Animal Foundations and Charity Stones

"The Ottomans, as sincere Muslims, were so filled with compassion towards all beings that they instituted foundations - not just for the care of the poor and needy, but for the welfare of animals in the wild. In fact, Ottoman society may be characterized as a society of foundations... There were foundations for birds, foundations for wild beasts. There were foundations for leaving carrion in forests so that wolves in the mountains would not go hungry."

- The Black Pearl, pg. 132

"...'charity stones' were erected in the Ottoman empire (some still stand in Istanbul today). A wealthy person wishing to make a donation would leave a sum on top of a stone pillar. Later, a poor and needy person would come by, reach up, and take what he needed from the deposit, without having to suffer the shame of being recognized by the donor." - pg. 46

Superiority of Deeds over Knowledge

"Knowledge (science) is a rind, a husk. Deeds [practice] are the essence, the life-juice. The shell is preserved to protect the essence. And the essence, the seed, is protected for extracting oil. If there is no essence in the shell, what use is it? And what use is the essence if it doesn't contain oil? Knowledge is gone, wasted. Because if one does not act on one's knowledge, that is, when action is gone, knowledge departs too, do doubt about it. This is why the Prophet said: 'Knowledge calls for action which uses that knowledge. If this is done, all is well. If not, knowledge passes away.' " - Abdul Qadir Jilani

- Bayman, Henry. The Black Pearl. Pg 96.

"They're all seeking the benefit of knowledge. You should seek for good deeds, so that you may obtain good from the Companion. This is the kernel, that is the husk." - Shams Tabrizi

- Chittick, Me & Rumi. Pg ??

“One of the most touching cat stories in early Arabic history relates the tale of the Sufi from Baghdad, Abu Bakr al-Shibli (d. 945) who dies and was seen by one of his friends in a dream. On being asked what God had done to him, he said that he had been granted admission to Paradise but was asked by the Lord if he knew the reason for this blessing. Shibli enumerated all his religious duties – fasting and praying, performing the Pilgrimage and giving alms – but none of these acts of piety had saved him. Finally the Lord asked him, ‘Do you remember the cold day in Baghdad when it was snowing and you were walking in your coat when you saw a tiny kitten on a wall shivering with cold, and you took it and put it under your warm coat? For the sake of this kitten We have forgiven you.’”

-Schimmel, Annemarie. Islam and the Wonders of Creation: The Animal Kingdom

"A dervish left the convent and became afilliated with the madrasah . I asked him why he had abandoned dervishhood for the sake of becoming a scholar. He said: ' A dervish tries to rescue his own prayer-rug out of the water. The scholar tries to save other people from being drowned.' "

- Saadi, The Rose Garden (Chapter: The Morals of Dervishes, pg 126)