'..to dispel anxiety…’

Discussion in 'Tasawwuf / Adab / Akhlaq' started by izz al-Din, Apr 4, 2015.

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  1. izz al-Din

    izz al-Din Well-Known Member

    i read this by Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, from his book on akhlaq about 12 years ago, translated by an ikhwani for a dissertation, at exeter university in devon, uk. it was interesting to read how a scholar/politician/aristocrat, made sense of his situation, given life and the fluctuation of time.
    whilst surfing i found the opening quote:

    ‘Dispelling anxiety is a goal upon which all nations agree from the time when the Almighty created the world until the day when this world will pass away and be followed by the Day of Judgment – and their actions are directed to this goal alone, to dispel anxiety…’

    ‘When I had arrived at this great piece of wisdom, when I had discovered this amazing secret, when Allah the Almighty had opened the eyes of my mind [spirit] to see this great treasure, I began to search for the way which would truly enable me to dispel anxiety, that precious goal desired by every kind of person, whether ignorant or scholarly, good or evil. I found it in one place alone, in the action of turning towards God the Almighty and Powerful, in pious works performed with an eye to eternity.

    Thus the only reason that someone chases after riches is to dispel the anguish of poverty. The only reason that someone seeks fame is to dispel the anxiety of seeing someone else outdo him. The only reason that someone chases after pleasures is to dispel the anxiety of missing them. The only reason someone chases after knowledge is to dispel the anxiety of being ignorant about something.

    People enjoy listening to other people’s conversation and gossip only because it dispels the anxiety of being alone and isolated. People eat, drink, make love, wear clothes, play games, build a shelter, mount a horse, go for a walk, only in order to avoid the reverse of all these actions and every other kind of anxiety.

    In all the actions listed here, anyone who pauses to reflect will see that anxieties inevitably occur, such as problems which arise in the course of the action, the impossibility of performing the impossible, the fleeting nature of any achievements, and the inability to enjoy something because of some difficulty. There are also bad consequences which arise from every success: fear of one’s rival, attacks by the jealous, theft by the covetous, loss to an enemy, not to mention criticism, sin and such things. On the other hand, I have found that actions performed with an eye on eternity are free from * every kind of * fault, free from every stain, and a true means of dispelling anxiety. I have found that the man who is striving for eternity may be sorely tested by bad fortune on his way but does not worry; on the contrary, he is glad, because the trial to which he is subjected gives rise to hope, which aids him in his endeavour and sets him the more firmly on the path towards his true desire. I have found that, when he finds his way blocked by an obstacle, he does not worry, because it is not his fault, and he did not choose the actions that he will have to answer for. I have seen such a man be glad, when others have wished evil upon him, and be glad when he has undergone some trial, and be glad when he has suffered on his chosen path, and be glad, always [living] in a permanent state of joy while others are permanently the opposite. You should therefore understand that there is only one objective to strive for, it is to dispel anxiety; and only one path leads to this, and that is the service of Allah, the Most High. Everything else is misguided and absurd.

    Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in (serving) Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation, which your Creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel.

    There is no nobility in anyone who lacks faith. The wise man knows that the only fitting reward for his soul is a place in Paradise.’*


    *Kitab al-Akhlaq
    Abu Fauzi likes this.

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