Disciplining the Nafs - ibn AtaAllah as-Sakandari

Discussion in 'Tasawwuf / Adab / Akhlaq' started by Unbeknown, Sep 18, 2018.

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  1. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

  2. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator


    From the margins of Fatawa-al-Fiqhiyyah (aka, Fatawa al-kubra) of Imam ibn-ul-hajar haythami al shafi'i (may Allah ta'ala elevate his ranks)
    Nur al Anwar likes this.
  3. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    it is sayyiduna Ubayy ibn Ka'ab (raDiyAllahuanhu)
  4. how can constant dhikr be achieved?

    Read the Hadith on the story of Abu Darda and Salman Farsi (Allah be pleased with Them) after they were joined in a bond of brotherhood by the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon Him). Allah has a right over you, your family have a right over you. So everything in due proportion.
  5. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    something like this:

  6. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    Ans: It is best to actually make a dua after reciting durud that with the barakah of this recitation Allah ta'ala may forgive your sins.

    Ans: If the sharait (conditions) of a sharayi tawbah are not fulfilled then reciting durud shareef will not be counted as tawbah.

    answer awaited....

  7. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator


    Can the durud shareef be recited *in place of istighfar* and with the niyyah of istighfar? Say, seventy times in lieu of the sunnah of seeking forgiveness seventy times? Or after having committed any deed which makes tawbah wajib? Also, the hadith in which sayyiduna Salamh Farisi (raDiyAllahuanhu) resolved to dedicate his entire supplication-time to durud-shareef, how is that to be understood? Or is it the case of, "for every person is a goal.."?

    how can constant dhikr be achieved? Does dhikr in the mind such as when one reads a book/writes while articulating the words in his mind count as dhikr? If yes, then how does one do it whilst reading/writing mundane things? I mean how does one achieve mental multitasking without losing on the efficiency of the work at hand? I have heard that speed readers don't articulate words in their minds - can anyone confirm this? And if one's learning/analysing some piece of text how can not-articulating/speed-reading be beneficial?

  8. jamsheed

    jamsheed New Member

    [When a believer sins, he has fallen in a great quagmire. So you must treat him like you would do to your errant son - outwardly, you are displeased with him but you feel sorry for him and feel kindness in your heart. And you pray for him in his absence.]

    SubhanAllah, what a beautiful thought. Indeed the pious ulema are the true inheritors of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam.

    May Allah pardon our sins for the sake of this shyakh – Amin.

    I remember reading on sunni dawet-e-islami site, that Darood-e-taj was composed by Sh. Abul hasan Shadhulli, who is the grand shyakh of ibn AtaAllah as-Sakandari. Sh. Nuh follows the same Shadulli tariqa.

  9. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Wisdom is like a prison. If you imprison your nafs, it will cease from harm – and if you let it loose, it causes havoc and turns fearsome. Its similitude is like that of a lunatic in your house – who breaks everything and tears his clothes [in general, a danger to others.] If you lock him up, you will spare yourself from harm. If you let him loose, the damage goes unchecked.

    O old man! Your entire life has been spent; will you not salvage what is left of it? You are wearing white – that is you have turned old and grey – but that does not conceal the dirt, the filth [that covers you.]

    The heart is like a mirror, and the nafs is like your breath. If you blow on the mirror, it turns foggy [and you cannot see anything in it.] The heart of a sinner is like the mirror of an old hag, who does not have the desire to look into it, looks in it sparingly, but yet it is not clean or shiny. And the heart of righteous people, the gnostics, is like the mirror of a bride – who looks into it every day, and yet it is clean and shiny.


    The recluse endeavors assiduously in amassing plentiful deeds; and the gnostic endeavors in the emendment of these four states which help in illuminating the heart: remembering Allāh, maintaining a lengthy silence, solitude and being frugal in eating and drinking. [himmatu’z zāhidīn fī kathrati’l aámāl; wa himmatu’l áārifīn fī taşĥīĥi’l aĥwāl al-arbáh]

    When the heedless people [ahlu’l ghaflah] wake up in the morning, they fret about their wealth; and when the people of worship and reclusion [ahl az-zuhd wa’l íbādah] wake up, they worry about their states. And the people of knowledge [ahlu’l maárifah] worry about their hearts in the presence of their Lord Almighty Allāh ázza wa jall.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2006
  10. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    You are similar to that person who wants to do a supererogatory Hajj [nafl] and if he is asked to give away that money in charity, he finds it very difficult. Because his nafs has a share in it. The deed of doing Hajj is tangible and can be seen, but giving in charity is not apparent and once given it will be soon forgotten. The nafs does not enjoy this.

    Such is also your learning [when it is not for Allāh;] you will spend the whole night reading, and you do not seem to tire of it – rather, you feel good about it. But if you are asked to pray two rakáh in the night – they seem to weigh hard on you. Because these two rakáh that you pray are only between you and your Lord, your nafs doesn’t enjoy anything from it. Similarly is reciting, reading and learning – your nafs enjoys these; because, these can be displayed and the people can recognize them, therefore such things are easier to do.

    aH: the shaykh means that we find it difficult to perform deeds which are intangible, compared to those which are obvious and can be seen by others. in doing the latter kind of deeds, the nafs or ego enjoys it, finds pleasure. and that which is pleasurable to the nafs/ego is easy to do. do you not see those who risk their lives in adventure sports? the nafs enjoys it, so such dangerous and arduous actions become easier.

    how many nights have we spent poring over books, searching for proofs – without feeling tired – when we argue and we try to refute? and we feel put-off when reading books that reprimand us, that seek to discipline our nafs! because, in the first kind of reading, the nafs is involved and enjoys the attention and adulation that is showered on us. and the second kind of reading – seeks to check the nafs, which is anyway anathema to it. and hence the firar or running away from it.

    may Allāh help us and remedy our state.
  11. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Those people who are invited to adorned palaces will not wish to sit upon the garbage dump. Whatever good deeds you do for Allāh’s sake, do them in secret, such that nobody knows about them. Make this an investment, a treasure with Allāh which you will find [and be rewarded] on Judgement day. This is because your nafs [ego] feels blissful when your good deeds are mentioned [in public.]

    A great shaykh fasted for forty years and people in his own household did not know about this. Do not waste your breath in things that are not in obedience to Allāh. Do not look at how short a breath is, but look at how many such breaths are there [wasted or worthwhile] and are granted by Allāh táālā.

    These breaths [anfās; sing.nafas] are gems; have you seen anyone [sensible] scattering gems on a dunghill? Why do you remedy and decorate your outward and keep wrecking and dirtying your innards? Your example is like that of a leper who wears new clothes, but inside, they are smeared with pus and discharge from festering wounds.

    You mend and reform that which people see, but you do not care to mend your heart which your Lord sees?
  12. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    you may want to reproduce this piece hence:

    obedient not obeidient

    great post sidi. jazakAllahu khairan fid darain
  13. :s1:

    Thank you for that effort. It is really wonderful to read and hits home hard.
    Jazak Allahu khayran.
  14. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    the wisdom of saying durud

    He who has reached the end of his time and wishes to redeem that which he has lost must remember and do dhikr that is inclusive. If he does so, even the little remnant of his life will become a very lengthy one. For example he may say this litany: ‘Glory be to Allāh, the Greatest and all praise unto Him, as much as His creation is, and as much as He pleases, as much as it decorates His Throne and as much as the ink that may write His words.’ [subĥnallāhi’l ážīmi wa bi ĥamdihi ádada khalqihi wa riđā nafsihi wa zinata árshihi wa midāda kalimātih]

    And the prayer and fasting that he has lapsed upon [nawāfil], he can make up by saying plenty of şalawāt on RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam. Because if you spent your whole life serving Allāh [by prayer, fasting and charity] and Allāh sent şalawāt [blessings] upon you once, that single blessing shall outweigh all your worship and good deeds. Because you pray as much as it is possible for you, and He sends şalawāt [blessings] that befits His Lordship.

    This is the case of one blessing, how can you measure it when he sends ten blessings whenever you send one şalawāt upon RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam as it has been reported from an authentic [şaĥiĥ] ĥadīth. Your remaining life becomes beautiful and worthy if you worship Allāh by remembering Him [dhikr] or by sending şalawāt on RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam.

    It is reported that a game is not hunted nor a tree is felled except because of its negligence [ghaflah] in remembering Allāh. Because a thief does not rob a house when its occupants are awake; rather he steals when they are asleep or inattentive.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2006
  15. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    If you are asked: Who is a believer? Say: He who is informed about the flaws of his self; he, who cannot see flaws in others. If they ask you, who is the disgraced one? Say: He who finds flaws in others and considers himself free from fault.

    Among the extreme lenience we see in the people of our age is that they are undisturbed, affable and amiable with those who sin [openly.] If they would have shown their displeasure and conveyed that they were offended, it would serve as a reprimand to the sinners.

    If the door of excellence was really opened for you, you would not have repeatedly returned to despicable and odious deeds. Do you not see that someone who has been invited to a palace will not [wish to] return to the garbage dump? If the door of solace [uns] with Him was opened for you, you would not have asked for company and comfort [of others.] If He had chosen you, you would not be broken away from Him. If you were honored by Him, you would not be looking for honor elsewhere.

    If the love of everyone in this world [makhlūq] fades away from your heart, be happy. Because this is a great boon granted to you. And do not sin, because only humiliation accompanies it – do you choose sin [and disgrace] after He has given you honor?


    Certainly honor is linked with obeidience and disgrace with sin. Obeidience to Him is radiance and lifts the veils [between you and your Lord] and its opposite, sinning is darkness and humiliation and a great veil between you and your Lord. Nay, nothing prevents you from achieving the lofty state of witnessing your Lord, except your transgression and indulgence in this world [wa lākin mā manáka mina’sh shuhūd illā ádami wuqūfika maál ĥudūd wa’shtighālika bi hādha’l wujūd]

    If your son is disobeidient, discipline him but do not disown him; just be stern with him so that he abstains from his bad ways. Among the many miseries a believer faces when he sins is that others may mock him or denigrate him. If they do so, they have surely lost their way! When a believer sins, he has fallen in a great quagmire. So you must treat him like you would do to your errant son - outwardly, you are displeased with him but you feel sorry for him and feel kindness in your heart. And you pray for him in his absence.

    It is great ignorance to be jealous of people in this world upon that which they have been given [material pleasures.] And your craving for that which is not given to you is phenomenal callowness and outright stupidity. Because they are indulgent in that which they have been given, and you [poor soul!] indulge yourself in that which you have NOT been given!

    If there is an inflammation in your eye, you try to cure it. This is because your eye has tasted the sweetness of this world, its beauty and you do not want to risk losing it. But your insight, your perspicacity [başīrah] has been suffering for forty years and you do not care for it?

    Know that an early part of your life is already spent, and a very little of it now remains. Like a woman who has ten sons and nine of them have died; does she not pour all her attention and her love to this remaining one? Most of your life has been wasted, try to salvage what is left of it – and there is not much of it, though.

    By Allāh! your life did not start when you were born. It began when you recognized Allāh táālā.

    There is a great difference between the blessed ones and the wretched. When the blessed folk see a person caught in a vice, they reject it and reproach him outwardly; but privately they pray for his emendment, for his pardon. And the wretched reproach him to satisfy their own urges, to vent their frustration. Sometimes they go as far as to flay his honor. A believer is he who advises his brother secretly, hiding his flaws from the public. And the wretched ones are the opposite. If they see a person caught in a sin or a vice, they close the doors on him and humiliate him because of his sin.

    These are a people whose eyes are bereft of light, and are far away from the grace of Allāh táālā.

    If you wish to estimate the intellect of a person, watch what he says when someone is mentioned. If he says, ‘Oh, him? He is such and such and he did such and such,’ so much that he keeps talking ill of him, then know that his inside is rotten. He has no knowledge. But, if he speaks good of him and if he finds an excuse for his vice saying: ‘probably he had forgotten’ or ‘he must have an excuse we do not know’ and so forth, then know that his inside is sturdy. A believer strives hard to safeguard the honor of his brother.
  16. You'll like this:


    Thanks for the translation. It is beautiful advice, eloquently given. I see more clearly now
    your point about how you prefer reading to listening to speeches.

    Even a stone heart like me is moved when reading this.
  17. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    Bismillāhi’r Raĥmāni’r Raĥīm

    Arabic Title : Tāj al-Árūs al-Ĥāwī li Tahdhībi’n Nufūs

    English Title : The crown of [befitting] a bride – covering the matter of disciplining the lower-self, the ego, the nafs.

    Author : Imām Tājuddin Aĥmed ibn Áţā’allāh as-Sakandari [d. ]

    Pages : 67

    A brief booklet describing why and how one should discipline one’s self or nafs. At times, the tone is mildly reprimanding but always full of beautiful analogies encouraging a murīd [seeker] to be steadfast and heedful in disciplining the nafs.

    O slave! [of Allāh] Seek tawbah [penitence] from Allāh every moment because Allāh táālā has made it a desirable thing for you as He says: ‘And repent towards Allāh, all of you, O believers; mayhap ye be successful’ [Sūrah An-Nūr, v.31] and He has said: ‘Verily Allāh loves the repentant [tawwābīn] and those who seek cleanliness’ [Sūrah Al-Baqarah, v.222]

    And RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam said: ‘Verily, my heart is obscured [la yughānu] and verily I do seek pardon [istighfār] seventy times a day’

    If you wish to attain tawbah, it is important that you are introspective as long as you live. Think about what you have done in the day. If you have done good deeds, then thank Allāh. And if you have sinned, reproach your self and seek Allāh’s pardon and repent because there is no better deed that benefits you [at this time] than when you reproach yourself. And do not reproach yourself laughingly or in a trifling manner; reprimand yourself truthfully, and with a sadness and humility arising from the realization of your disobeidience. If you do so Allāh táālā will change your sadness [because of sin] to happiness; and your humiliation to honor; the darkness [arising of sin] to light and the veils [of distance] will be lifted.

    Shaykh Makīnuddīn al-Asmar raĥimahullāh who was one among the seven Abdāl [of his time] says: “When I was a beginner, I was a tailor and I would earn from that profession. I would count my words in the day and in the evening I would account for those words and tried to speak very little. If I found anything good that I had spoken, I thanked Allāh and if I found anything otherwise [bad or pointless] I did tawbah and istighfār.[penitence and seeking pardon.]”

    He kept doing this until he reached the state of being a Badal [plural is Abdāl, and it is a high state among the friends of Allāh]

    Know that if you had an agent who was honest and always kept a check on himself truthfully, you would not verify him or his account. However, if you had an agent who was not sincere or whose honesty was suspect, you would always verify his figures and infact, be extra careful in verifying his account. Thus it should be with Allāh concerning your deeds so that they are purely for the sake of Allāh. You should not think that whatever you do, Allāh táālā will not call you to account, nor inspect your claim. When a man sins, he has fallen into darkness. The sin is like fire and its darkness is like the smoke. Do you not see that a fire that burns unabatedly in a place for seventy years, blackens that place?

    Thus is a heart darkened by sin, and nothing but tawbah will clean it. Disgrace, darkness and a veil are the companions of sin. If you repent, the signs of sin shall dissolve. Negligence would not get into you, if you were not careless whilst following RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam. Because no one rises in rank near Allāh táālā except by following RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam.

    Following – mutābiáh of – RasūlAllāh is of two kinds: the manifest and the concealed. Among the manifest following [mutābiáh al-jaliyyah] are actions such as prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, holy-war, etc. [şalah, şiyām, zakāh, ĥajj, jihād] and the concealed is that you are attentive and diligent in prayer and reflect upon what you recite from the Qur’ān. If you pray and recite the Qur’ān but you cannot find attentiveness or the ability to reflect [tadabbur] upon the verses of the Qur’ān, know that there is a disease deep within you – a malady caused by haughtiness, conceit or other things like that. Allāh táālā says: ‘And they go away from my signs [verses] – those who are arrogant and proud in this earth, without any reason’ [Sūrah Al-Aárāf, v.146]. You are like that feverish person [maĥmūm] who even finds sugar as bitter to taste [because of his illness and insipid mouth.]

    A sin that is accompanied with humility and [realization of] poverty is better than those good deeds that are accompanied with [love of] glory and arrogance. [al-maáşiyatu má’dh dhulli wa’l iftiqār khayrun mina’t ţāáti má’al ízzi wa’l istikbār] Allāh táālā tells us what Ibrāhim Khalil said – álayhi wa ála nabiyyinā Muĥammad afđalu’s şalatu wa atam as-salām – ‘And those who follow me are mine’ [Sūrah Ibrāhīm, v.36] that is those who do not follow him do not belong to him. And Allāh táālā tells us what Nūh said – álayhi wa ála nabiyyinā al-muşţafā azka’s şalatu wa’s salām – ‘Verily, my son is from my household’ [Sūrah Hūd, v.45] and Allāh táālā replied: ‘And He said, O Nūh! Certainly, he is not from your household; his deeds are not righteous’ [Sūrah Hūd, v.46]

    Following someone makes a follower a part of the leader even if he is a stranger. Like Salman al-Fārasi, when RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam said: ‘Salmān is one of us from the household’ [ahl al-bayt] Everybody knows that Salmān is a Persian, but because of his following RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam he was told the above. Just as following RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam strengthens your relation with him [ittişāl], so also does its opposite weakens or severes the relationship. Allāh táālā has put everything that is good in a house and made the obedience and following RasūlAllāh as the keys of that house.

    So follow him by being content with what Allāh táālā has given you [razaqakAllāh] withdrawing from worldly pleasures, limiting enjoyment in this world and renouncing that which does not concern you whether in words or action. Whosoever opens this door of following [RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam], he has found the way towards the love of Allāh, as He says: ‘Say, if you love Allāh, then follow me. Allāh will love you.’ [Sūrah Āl-Ímrān, v.31] And if you find this goodness, then say:

    ‘O Allāh, I ask you to make me a [dutiful] follower of RasūlAllāh şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam in every word I say and everything I do. [allāhumma innī as-aluka’l mutābiáta li rasūlika şallAllāhu álayhi wa sallam fi’l aqwāli wa’l afáāl]. Whosoever wishes to attain this must renounce oppressing the slaves of Allāh [other people] or hurt their honor or their relations. If people abstained from oppressing one another, they would have all walked towards Allāh, but they are constrained like a debtor is afraid of those whom he owes.

    Suppose a king considers you special and favors you. If someone comes demanding that which you owe him in the king’s presence, you will feel embarrassed, even if the loan is a small one. How then would it be, on Judgement day, a million people or more come to you demanding their due? Of wealth that you took from them [unjustly or loans you did not return knowingly] or disgraced them, hurt their honor and other such things. What will happen to you on that day? A criminal caught in a great misfortune, ensnared by his sins and desires so much that you will be left threadbare. You will suffer torment for that whose taste and desire is long gone; and that which went down the drain. Would anyone want to please his wife with that?

    Alas! Were it that pleasures of this world were from permissible means!

    The first step in this direction [to attain salvation] is tawbah. Nothing you do will be acceptable unless this milestone has been touched. The example of a person who sins, is like a man who lights a fire under a pan for an hour, and it turns dark and dour. If he washes the pan right away, it becomes clean and shiny again. But if you keep cooking again and again [lighting the fire below] without washing it, the blackness adheres firmly and thickly and there is no use washing it anymore.

    Tawbah is that purifier which cleans your heart from the blackness of sin. Hurry and endow it with the perfume of good deeds and acceptance. Always, seek Allāh táālā to grant you the gift of tawbah. If you succeed in achieving it, your time has been put to good use because it is a great gift that Allāh táālā gives to whomsoever among his slaves. Therefore bondsmen may succeed instead of their masters; a woman succeeds instead of her husband; a young man might succeed instead of an old man. If you achieve this, certainly Allāh táālā loves you because He has said: ‘Verily Allāh loves the repentant [tawwābīn] and those who seek cleanliness’ [Sūrah Al-Baqarah, v.222]

    Certainly, only those who know its value will crave it or envy those who have it. What use would it be if you threw the finest pearls in front of cattle, they wish it was grain instead.

    Do you see which group you belong to? If you have done tawbah, you are among the loved ones; and if you did not, you are among the vile ones. Because Allāh táālā has said: ‘Those who do not repent; certainly they are the oppressors’ [Sūrah Al-Ĥujurāt, v.11]

    He who repents prospers and those who did not are losers. [man tāba žafar; wa man lam yatub khasar] Do not say: ‘How many times have I repented and reneged?’ Because a sick man keeps clinging to hope [and medicine] as long as there is life left in him.

    [pages 5-8]
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
    azharimiyan and Ibn.ali like this.

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