Monday, February 26, 2007

Words that Pierce the Heart

There is something about words coming from a man who acts according to what he is saying. They come from the heart and so pierce other hearts. It is like they are accompanied by something... whether it is something different in the tone of their voice, or some kind of light that accompanies the words, or whatever it is.. There is definitly something there that makes them "work". This is true wether or not the listeners know if the speaker does in fact act according to his words or not.

"If you want to advise someone, or command him or forbid him, start with yourself first and then with your family, for Umar (r.a.), if he wanted to command or forbid something, would not do it until he began with his own family. Then be soft with whomever you exhort and do not repel him with censure, for a scholar once entered the presence of Harun al-Rashid and said to him: "I came to give you an exhortation so bear with me because I want to be harsh on you", so he said: "Do not, for God sent someone who is better than you to he who is worse than I, and said: "Speak gently to him, that haply he may be mindful or fear." (Qur'an 20:44), and so al-Rashid was more knowledegable than him. And if you were gentle in your speech you would be following the example of the Qur'an and the Sunna, and it is not your responsibility if your command or prohibition do not work, for exhortation is like the wind, in that it brings together the two opposites, for it both extinguishes and flares up. God, exhalted be He, said: "Whenever a Sura is sent down to thee, some of them say, 'Which of you has this increased in faith?' As for the believers, them it has increased in faith, and they are joyful. But as for those in whose heart is sickness, them it has increased in impurity added to their impurity, and they have died while they were unbelievers" (Qur'an 9:124-125).

- Ahmad ibn Idris, Al-Iqd al-Nafees, Dar Jawaami' al-Kalim, pg 61-62.

There was once a slave who went to his owner's friend and said to him, "ask your friend to set me free." So the man began saving money for a period of one year until he was able to purchase a slave and set him free. After this he went to his friend and said to him, "why don't you set your slave free?", and he did. So the slave asked him why he did not say that earlier and he replied, "If I had said that before having done it myself, my words would not have made any influence on him".

- Abd al-Aziz al-Dabbagh (paraphrased)

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."

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

Wednesday, February 14, 2007