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

No comments: