Book of Love

Amr ibn ‘Othman radi allahu anhu on Love

Amr ibn ‘Othman radi allahu anhu stated the following in his Book of Love.

Almighty ALLAH Azzawajal created the hearts seven thousand years before the souls, and He kept them in the Garden of Intimacy. He created the Secrets seven thousand years before the hearts, and kept them in the Degree of Union.

Every day God caused the souls to receive three hundred and sixty glances of Grace and to hear three hundred and sixty words of Love. Every day He manifested to the hearts three hundred and sixty delights of Intimacy. Every day He revealed Beauty three hundred
and sixty times to the Secrets.

So they beheld every thing in the world of being, and saw none more precious than themselves. A vainglory and conceit manifested amongst them.

ALLAH Azzawajal therefore put them to the trial. He imprisoned the Secret in the soul. He confined the soul in the heart. He detained the heart in the body. Then He compounded
in them reason.

ALLAH Azzawajal sent the Prophets Alaihi Sallam with commandments. Then every one of them set about searching for his proper station. God commanded them to pray. So the body went into prayer; the heart attained Love; the soul achieved Propinquity; the Secret was at rest in Union.

Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar

Abo ‘l-Qasem al-Jonaid al-Baghdadi Radi Allahu anhu

Abo ‘l-Qasem al-Jonaid ibn Mohammad al- Khazzaz al-Nehawandi radi allahu anhu, son of a glass-merchant and nephew of Sari al-Saqati radi allahu anhu, close associate of al-Mohasebi radi allahu anhu, was the greatest exponent of the ‘sober’ school of Sufism and elaborated a theosophical doctrine which determined the whole course of orthodox mysticism in Islam. He expounded his theories in his teachings, and in a series of letters written to various contemporaries which have survived. The head of a large and influential school, he died in Baghdad in 298 (910).

Jonaid radi allahu anhu preaches

When Jonaid radi allahu anhu’s tongue was loosened to utter great words, Sari-e Saqati radi allahu anhu urged him that it was his duty to  preach in public. Jonaid radi allahu anhu was hesitant, not desiring to do so.

“While the master is there, it is not seemly for the disciple to preach,” he demurred.

Then one night Jonaid radi allahu anhu saw the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam in a dream.

“Preach,” the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said.

Next morning he arose to go and report to Sari radi allahu anhu, but he found Sari radi allahu anhu standing at the door.

“Hitherto,” Sari radi allahu anhu told him, “you were inhibited, waiting for others to tell you to preach. Now you must speak, because your words have been made the means of a whole world’s salvation. You would not speak when the disciples asked you to. You did not speak when the shaikhs of Baghdad interceded with you. You did not speak at my urging. Now that the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam has commanded you, you must speak.”

“ALLAH Azzawajal forgive me,” Jonaid radi allahu anhu replied. “How did you know that I saw the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam in a dream?”

“I saw ALLAH Azzawajal in a dream,” Sari radi allahu anhu explained. “ALLAH Azzawajal said,

‘I have sent the Messenger Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam to tell Jonaid radi allahu anhu to preach from the pulpit.’ “

“I will preach then,” consented Jonaid radi allahu anhu. “Only on one condition, that it be to no more than forty persons.”

One day Jonaid radi allahu anhu was preaching, and forty persons were present. Of these eighteen expired, and twentytwo fell to the ground unconscious. They were lifted up and carried to their homes.

Another day Jonaid was preaching in the cathedral. In the congregation there was a Christian lad, but no one knew that he was a Christian. He approached Jonaid radi allahu anhu and said, “According to the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam’s saying, ‘Beware of the insight of the believer, for he sees by the light of ALLAH Azzawajal.’ “

“The pronouncement is,” replied Jonaid radi allahu anhu, “that you should become a Muslim and cut your Christian girdle, for this is the time of Muslimdom.”

The boy immediately became a Muslim.

After Jonaid radi allahu anhu had preached a number of times, the people cried out against him. He gave up preaching, and retired to his room. For all that he was urged to resume, he would not do so.

“I am content,” he replied. ‘I cannot contrive my own destruction.”

Some time later he mounted the pulpit and began to preach without any prompting.

“What was the inner wisdom in this?” he was asked.

“I came upon a Tradition,” he replied, “according to which the Prophet Salla Allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said, ‘In the last days the spokesman of the people will be he that is the worst of them. He will preach to them.’ I know that I am the worst of the people. I am preaching because of what the Prophet Salla allahu ta’ala’alayhi wa sallam said, so that I may not oppose his words.”

Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints)
by Farid al-Din Attar

Abu Hafs al-Haddad Radi Allahu anhu

Abu Hafs ‘Amr ibn Salama al-Haddad radi allahu anhu, a blacksmith of Nishapur, visited Baghdad and met al- Jonaid radi allahu anhu who admired his devotion; he also encountered al-Shebli radi allahu anhu and other mystics of the Baghdad school. Returning to Nishapur, he resumed his trade and died there in 265 (879).

Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu and Shebli radi allahu anhu

Shebli radi allahu anhu gave hospitality to Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu for four months. Every day he produced a different kind of dish and several sorts of sweetmeat.

When Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu came to bid him farewell, he said,“Shebli radi allahu anhu, when you come to Nishapur I will teach youtrue entertainment and generosity.”

“Why, what have I done, Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu?” asked Shebli radi allahu anhu.“You took too great pains. Extravagance is not the same as generosity,” said Abu Hafs. radi allahu anhu “One should treat a guest exactly as oneself. That way, his coming will not be a burden to you, and his departure will not be an occasion of gladness. When you go to extravagant lengths, his coming is burdensome to you and his departure a relief. No man who feels like that towards a guest is truly generous.”

When Shebli radi allahu anhu came to Nishapur he stayed with Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu.  Forty persons were in the party, and at night Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu lit forty-one lamps.

“Did you not say one should not act extravagantly?” remarked Shebli radi allahu anhu.

“Then get up and put them out,” answered Abu Hafs radi allahu anhu.

Shebli radi allahu anhu got up, but for all his efforts he could not extinguish more than one lamp.

“Shaikh, how is this?” he asked.

“You were forty persons, emissaries of ALLAH Azzawajal. For the guest is an emissary of ALLAH Azzawajal. Naturally I lit a lamp in the name of each one, for the sake of ALLAH Azzawajal, and one for myself. Those forty which I lit for Allah Azzawajal you were unable to put out, but the one lit for myself you extin- guished. All that you did in Baghdad you did for my sake; I did what I did for ALLAH Azzawajal’s sake. So the former was extravagance, the latter not.”

Tadhkirat al-Auliya’

(Memorial of the Saints)

by Farid al-Din Attar

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