Al Hikam of Ibn Ata ‘Illah: Part 1

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A feeling of discouragement when you slip up,

is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

Your desire to withdraw from everything

when Allah has involved you in the world of means

is a hidden appetite.

Your desire for involvement with the world of means

when Allah has withdrawn you from it

is a fall from high aspiration.

Aspiration which rushes on ahead

cannot break through the walls of destiny.

Give yourself a rest from managing!

When Someone Else is doing it for you,

don’t you start doing it for yourself!

Your striving for what is absolutely guaranteed to you

and your laxness in what is required of you

are evidence that your inner eye is dull.

If you make intense supplication

and the timing of the answer is delayed,

do not despair of it.

His reply to you is guaranteed;

but in the way He chooses,

not the way you choose,

and at the moment He desires,

not the moment you desire.

If something that is promised does not happen

even though the time for it is set,

do not doubt the promise!

If you do, that will dim your inner eye

and put out the light of your secret.

When He opens a way for you and makes Himself known to you,

then do not worry about your lack of deeds.

He only opened the way for you

because He desired to make Himself known to you.

Do you not see that while He grants gnosis of Himself to you,

you have only deeds to offer Him?

What He brings you –

What you bring Him –

What a difference there is between them!

Different states have different outcomes.

This accounts for the variety of types of action.

Actions are merely propped-up shapes.

Their life-breath is the presence of the secret of sincerity in them.

Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity.

If something sprouts before it is buried,

its fruits will never ripen.

Withdraw the heart into the arena of reflection

– nothing helps the heart more than that!

If the forms of phenomenal beings

are embedded in the mirror of the heart,

how can it be illuminated?

If it is fettered by its appetities,

how can it travel to Allah?

If it is not purified of the great impurity of its heedlessness,

how can it aspire to enter the presence of Allah?

If it has not turned away in regret from its lapses,

how can it hope to grasp the subtleties of secret knowledge?

Phenomenal beings is utter and total darkness.

It is only the manifestation of the Real in it that gives it light.

When you see a phenomenal being and do not see Him

in it, with it, before it or after it,

then you are truly in need of light.

You are veiled from the suns of gnoses

by the clouds of secondary traces.

One way He shows you the existence of His overwhelming power

is by veiling you from Him

by that which cannot exist alongside Him.

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is the One who is manifest by everything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is the One who is made manifest in everything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is the One who is manifest to everything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He was the One who was Manifest before there was anything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is more manifest than anything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is the One with whom there is nothing else?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when He is the One who is nearer to you than anything?

How can you imagine that something else veils Him

when if it had not been for Him, there would not have been anything

A marvel!

See how existence becomes manifest in non-existence!

How the in-time holds firm alongside Him whose attribute is eternal!

Ibn Ata’illah as-Sakandari

Continues in Part 2.

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