Monday, 30 July 2018

Sufi Mindfulness: Ibn Arabi - What the Seeker Needs 2

Extracts from a classic text: Book of the Quintessence Concerning What Is Indispensable For the Spiritual Seeker (transl. - Tosun Bayrak) Muhiyy ad-Din Ibn 'Arabi
1-Observe your mind constantly
What is essential for you is to be heedful at all times, to be attentive to what comes into your mind and your heart. Think about and analyze these thoughts and feelings. Try to control them. Beware of the wishes of your ego, settle your accounts with it.

2-Be constantly aware of the divine presence
Have conscience, shame, in front of Allah. That will be a motivation to make you heedful. You will then care about what you are doing or saying or thinking, and the thoughts and feelings that are ugly in the eyes of Allah will be unable to settle in your heart. Your heart will then be safe from wishing acts not in accordance with Allah's pleasure.
3-Be in the now, attentive and focused in all that you do
Give value to your time, live in the present moment. Do not live in imagination and throw your time away. Allah has prescribed a duty, an act, a worship for your every moment. Know what it is and hasten to do it. First perform the actions He has given to you as obligations. Then do what He has given to you to do through the example of His Prophet. Then take on what He has left you as voluntary, acceptable good deeds. Work to serve the ones who are in need.
4-Do all actions with devotion, as if each action was to be the last
Do everything you do in order to come close to your Lord in your worship and prayers. Think that each deed may be your last act, each prayer your last prostration, that you may not have another chance. If you do this, it will be another motivation for becoming heedful and also for becoming sincere and truthful. Allah does not accept good deeds done unconsciously and insincerely as readily as deeds done in consciousness and sincerity.

5-Cultivate cleanliness as a spiritual quality
Cleanliness is an order of Allah. Keep your body and your inner self clean at all times. […]

6-Cultivating high morals is essential
Above all, what you need is high morals, good character, proper behavior; you must identify your bad features and rid yourself of them. Your relationship to whomever you come into contact with must be based on the best of conduct - but what this means may vary with conditions and circumstances.
7-Adapt your behaviour so as to avoid harming others and doing the most good
Whoever neglects a single item of good behavior is considered to have bad character. Men are created different from each other. Their levels are different. Good behavior and character are also in different levels. Behavior is not a form. It is not to act in the same way on every occasion towards everyone. You have to consider each case, each person, in accordance with the circumstance and. the need of the person. A good rule to remember is that if a thing is done to bring salvation, truth, comfort, and peace to others, to oneself, and to as many people as possible, protecting them, eliminating pain and hardship, it is good behavior - on condition that it is not done for personal benefit, but for Allah's sake.[…]
8-Constantly strive to improve your behaviour
Proper behavior is the means by which an intention becomes a good deed. Therefore it is the greatest capital in the hand of the seeker. The proof is the word of the one who was brought with the most beautiful character, the last prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who said, "I have been sent to perfect good behavior."
9-Be forgiving and unselfish
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah[....] (Shura, 40) The religious law says that you may choose to demand your right or you may choose to leave it. Choose to leave that which is due to you and forgive, instead of punishing, so that you will be counted among the compassionate, the peaceful, the righteous, whose rewards are promised by Allah.
10-Avoid getting angry over personal wrongs
It is also within good behavior to be angry and to seek to punish when this is justified by the religious code. Anger and its manifestation are one of the great sins if aroused by wrongs done to you personally.
11-Be compassionate, gentle, and generous in all your interpersonal relations
Treat well those who are dependent upon you: the people who work for you, your children, your wives and husbands, your mothers, sisters, and friends, the animals in your care, the plants in your garden. Allah has given them into your hands to test you. […]Show love, compassion, delicacy, generosity, and protection towards those who depend on you - and in fact, to everyone. If you wish His compassion and protection, remember that you yourself depend on the One, the lord and owner of all and everything.
12-Be cautious with reckless and wild people
Do not seek to be close to the heedless, to the ones who are slaves to the desires of their flesh. They take hearts away from the light of truth and throw them into the dark hole of heedlessness, as they did with their own hearts. If you are placed with them in the same time and space, then face them and advise them. If they turn their backs on you, it is because they do not know their fronts from their backs. Do not stab them in the back. Be the same way to them whether they turn their faces to you or their backs. Then they may like and respect you and perchance they may be attached to you and follow you.
13-Constantly strive to progress spiritually
Do not be satisfied with your spiritual state; advance. Advance ceaselessly, without interruption. With firm intention pray to Allah, the Ultimate Truth, to bring you from the state in which you are to a state beyond it. In every state, in every move, while doing a thing or while being inactive, be sincere and truthful. Be with the Ultimate Truth. Do not ever forget Him. Feel His presence always.
Part 3 

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