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.

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