Saalik

September 27, 2009

Come, come, whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come even though you have broken your vow a thousand times. Come, come yet again, come. Maulana Jelalu’ddin Rumi.

Muhabbah

Allah created certain attractive forces amongst His creation. When this attraction exists between two inanimate objects it is called magnetism, an example of which is gravity. When it exists between two living beings it is called affection, as illustrated by a well-known Arabic proverb:

A being is attracted toward its own.

As this affection intensifies and grows it becomes muhabbah (love). The root of the word muhabbah is hubba, which translates to seed. A seed takes root when planted in the ground and is nourished by sunshine and rain; then fragrant flowers and fruits come forth. In the same way, when the seed of muhabbah is planted in the human heart, it starts to flourish and slowly encompasses the entire being.

Psychologists agree that the word muhabbah applies to the heart’s inclination toward a desired object. Imam al-Ghazali i defined muhabbah as “a human being’s natural inclination towards such an object that gives joy.” Shaykh Mehmood Kashani i said that muhabbah is the inclination of the inner self for the appreciation of beauty. Along the same lines, Shaykh Syed Muhammad Zoki Shah i wrote in his book “Sar-e-Dilbaraan” that muhabbah is a magnetism that pulls one towards another.

This attraction turns to infatuation as desire increases in the heart and the heart becomes restless and uneasy. This restlessness grows until thoughts of the beloved consume the lover’s entire being. Separation from the object of one’s muhabbah becomes unbearable and the heart remains dissatisfied, constantly craving more. The lover’s thoughts become one with the beloved; the beloved’s happiness becomes the lover’s happiness; and the beloved’s wants become the lover’s wants. These are all results of muhabbah.

When explaining the words of the Prophet “Wal Hubba Assasi,” Shaykh Janab Qazi Muhammad Sulaiman Salman Mansurpuri i wrote in his book “Rahmah lil-Alameen,” that muhabbah is strength of heart; muhabbah is nourishment for the soul; muhabbah is coolness of the eyes. Muhabbah is everlasting life – the life of the heart, the success of life, and the extension of that success. Hence muhabbah is everything.

Muhabbah forms the foundation of a community as hearts are drawn to one another. Intentions of the heart and mind strengthen muhabbah and attraction grows so that the lover becomes absorbed in the beloved. A constant burning and want is ignited within the lover and the heart becomes content with handling any anxiety for the sake of his beloved.

As one begins to see the effects of muhabbah, hardship and struggle become easy to handle. The heart becomes preoccupied with thoughts of getting closer to the beloved and thoughts other than those of the beloved melt away. The famous philosopher Ibn Sina explained that muhabbah is entrenched in every aspect of creation – be it elements, minerals, plants or animals.

Many analysts hold the opinion that muhabbah cannot be completely explained because the explanation of muhabbah is muhabbah itself. Muhabbah is an emotion that can only be recognized by intense desire and enthusiasm, and not by the mind. However, the mashaikh[1] have tried to render an explanation for the benefit of salikeen[2].

1) Shaykh Abu Bakr Shibli i was asked, “What is muhabbah?” He replied:

Love is a fire that ignites when it is truly realized within the senses, and captivates the entire being within itself.

2) Hadrat Bayazid Bustami i has said:

Muhabbah is to know that one’s abundant qualities are actually minute, whereas the beloved’s insignificant qualities are actually abundant. For example, Allah loves His creation, He showers them with countless blessings and mercies daily, yet Allah Himself stated in His Book that these blessings are few.

Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world (4:77)

On the other hand, the believers perform an insufficient amount of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) but Allah refers to this as abundant.

Men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise (33:35)

A poet expressed his passion thus:

However minute the reward it is still abundant
Whatever thanks I can give it is still minute.

3) Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi i said:

Muhabbah grows to the extent that the beloved’s characteristics transfer into the lover and the two become indistinguishable.

When a light bulb is lit, one can only the main light source can be seen from afar, and not the surrounding glass. In the same way, the lover loses and forgets himself in the beloved. In the translation of a hadith we are told that the Messenger of Allah said, “If there would be a Prophet after me, it would be Umar ()?.” It is evident from Islamic teachings and history that Hadrat Abu Bakr was in fact much closer to the Prophet. However, our scholars have written that Hadrat Abu Bakr lost himself in the Prophet to such a degree that the two became indistinguishable, and so if a Companion (Sahabi) were to attain the status of a prophet after the Messenger of Allah, it would have been Hadrat Umar.

Majnun’s love for Layla[3] reached a peak and in this state someone said to him, “Layla is coming!” Majnun jumped up and said, “I myself am Layla!” This is the lover completely losing himself in his beloved.

Love and lover are erased and only the beloved remains.

4) Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani i said:

Muhabbah is a veil between lover and beloved, and the lover becomes successful in his muhabbah when he loses himself in the beloved (fana). When a lover starts on this road of muhabbah he must sacrifice both body and soul in order to achieve his goal. He must sacrifice both character and attributes for his beloved.

5) Hadrat Husain bin Mansur Hallaj i stated:

The reality of muhabbah is to abandon one’s qualities to become one with the beloved.

 

6) Imam Siri Shakti i said that true muhabbah does not exist between two people until they say, “I am yours and you are mine.” Allah? will become ours if we surrender our wills to Him, leaving everything, including our futures and hopes, to Him.

7) Hadrat Abu Abdullah Qarshi i said:

The reality of muhabbah is to surrender all of oneself to the beloved, leaving nothing for oneself.

8) Hadrat Abu ‘Ali Rudbari i said:

Muhabbah is to acquire submission and to leave one’s wants.

9) Hadrat Rohim i explained muhabbah as drawing closer to the beloved in every state and situation, whether the beloved is attentive to the lover or not.

10) Shaykh Abu Bakr Kasani i said:

Muhabbah is to leave everything for the sake of achieving the goal, which is the beloved.

11) Imam Khwaja Yahya Ma’az i said:

The reality of muhabbah is that it does not decrease with the non-responsiveness of the beloved. Likewise, it does not increase any more with the close attention of the beloved.

12) Shaykh Shibli i was imprisoned because people considered him insane. Once some people came to visit him and he asked “Who are you?” They replied, “Your friends.” At this he started throwing stones at them and so they ran. Shaykh Shibli i said to them;

If you were really my friends and well wishers you would not run from my punishment.

A true friend wants only good fortune and to run from good fortune is stupidity.

13) A pious elder is known to have said:

Only he whose cup of love is filled can see the Beloved.

Imam Wisal Shirazi i is quoted as saying, “My friend, do whatever you will with me, but I will not leave you.”

14) Hadrat Shibli i further commented that muhabbah means to love everything that the beloved likes, even if the lover himself dislikes it, and to dislike whatever the beloved dislikes, even if the lover himself likes it.

The lover loves only for the sake of the beloved and hates for the same. The lover should negate everything, even himself, and acknowledge only the beloved. Muhabbah is restlessness that does not end until the lover is connected with the beloved; it is a fire that does not cool until the lover realizes his objective.

15) According to this Faqir[4], muhabbah is an extreme anxiety that does not diminish even after the object of love is attained. Muhabbah is a fire that does not cool even after witnessing the beloved. A lover cried out “Fire!” and all the townspeople gathered around, but saw no fire. They asked where the fire was and this lover replied:

(It is) the Fire of Allah kindled (to a blaze), that which does mount to the heart (104: 6-7)

I drank and drank from the wine of love
Neither is the wine finished nor my thirst quenched.

———————————————————————————

[1] Mashaikh is the plural form of shaykh, a spiritual guide on the path of self purification (tasawwuf).

[2] A salik is a seeker on the path of tasawwuf.

[3] Layla and Majnun is a classical love story originally from Arab folklore. The myth has been influential to Middle Eastern poets, especially sufi writers in whose literature the name Layla suggests a reference to their concept of the Beloved.

[4] Faqir literally means “a needy and dependant person.” Here the word is used by the author, Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (db), to depict his own need and helplessness in front of the Creator.

Ishq

The literal definition of the word ishq is the attachment of the heart to something. It is derived from the word ashkah, a plant that dries and yellows after staying green for a certain amount of time. Ishq Pichan is the Hindi name of a parasitic plant that kills everything it encircles, rendering its prey dull and yellow. In Urdu, this same type of plant is called akash bail. In exactly the same way, ishq pales and weakens the body when it enters the heart.

Some believe the word ishq is not derived from any other word but is a root word itself. It has not been used anywhere in the Holy Quran, a possible reason being that the word ishq was slightly unpalatable to the original and pure Arabic. In the book Qamoos, ishq has been defined as a part of madness. Shaykh Muhiuddin ibn Arabi Quds i said that the word ishq has been represented by the word muhabbah (love) in the Holy Quran. Allah said:

But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. (2:165)

When this love becomes engraved in the heart, the lover sees nothing but the beloved. This muhabbah flows like blood through the lover, who now sees the beloved in everything around him.

By Allah, the sun does not rise nor set,
But that You are in my heart and in my thoughts.
I do not sit in the gathering of friends,
But that You are my conversation among the people.
I do not remember You in grief or joy,
But that Your love is woven into my breath.
I do not intend drinking water in thirst,
But Your image I envision in the glass.
If I had the strength to come
I would, dragging my face or walking on my hands.

This condition of the heart is called ishq. People have said ishq is intense love, but Shaykh Ibn Mansur i said the following in his book “Laisan ul-Arab”:

Ishq is the superlative form of muhabbah, extreme preoccupation with the beloved. This preoccupation can be both clean and unclean.

Shaykh Ahmed bin Yahya i was asked which of the two conditions of ishq and muhabbah is more praiseworthy, and he replied:

Muhabbah, because ishq can become excessive.

Hadrat Zoqi Shah Saheb i said that man is the greatest of Allah’s creation. Therefore, ishq has also been connected to man’s nature since it is the greatest form of muhabbah. There is no person who has not felt the emotion of ishq. The lover gains superior strength from the blessings of ishq, and he becomes lost in it.

One leap of ishq widened my horizons,
I used to think that the heavens and earth were limitless.

Ishq is the Sincerity of the Khalil,
Ishq is the patience of Husain
Ishq in the war of life is Badr and Hunain
– Allama Iqbal

Ishq has such power that it makes mere soil a part of history – for example, the mosque in Cordoba and Taj Mahal. Allama Iqbal has written in his famous poem “Masjid-e-Qurtuba”:

Actions of the believer are enhanced through ishq,
Ishq is true life and can never die.

Ishq is the breath of Jibril
Ishq is the heart of Mustafa
Ishq is the Messenger of Allah
Ishq is the Word of Allah
-Allama Iqbal

Intention and belief are strengthened by ishq to such an extent that the lover no longer fears anything, nor does any grief worry him.

The believer is from ishq; ishq is from the believer.
Ishq makes the impossible possible.

Shaykh Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi i wrote the following as his explanation of ishq in his book “Lam’aat”:

“A lover, a believer, believes that everything, all goodness, the believer’s entire being, is only for the remembrance of Allah, and he remains lost in the worship and remembrance of Allah. This remembrance leads to restlessness within the lover, restlessness in getting close to the beloved, which gets stronger with each passing day. This increases to a point that it pains the lover to even take the beloved’s name, and the lover feels as if his spirit will escape if he were to take the beloved’s name.

I tremble in the remembrance of my beloved.
Trembling which I feel in my bones.

Shaykh Abul Qasim Junaid Baghdadi i said:

Ishq is a beautiful desire and gift that Allah has made wajib on living creatures so that they can attain higher pleasures. This pleasure cannot be attained without love, an emotion that is present within the inner self. The possessors of this love are well aware of its tremendous worth. Every person is engulfed in the love of something through which he finds his path and reaches his destination. This is why such people enjoy a higher status than ordinary beings in this world. Hence, these lovers abandon whatever is tangible for the sake of something only heard of in stories (Tadhkirul Suluk).

Imam al-Ghazali i said that the lover should leap into the ocean of ishq., and he who is led ashore by the ocean’s currents will be successful. If he drowns in his quest to get across, however, Allah guarantees him the reward of his ishq. Imam al-Ghazali i further states, “O friend, ishq turns the heart to blood, turns the eye into a river, tears clothes to rags, turns life to soil, and money into waste.” Ishq is madness for Allah.

He who obeys Allah and His Messenger has already attained the highest achievement. (33: 71)

Shaykh Zun Nun Misri i was asked, “What is a true lover (ashiq-sadiq)?” The shaykh replied:

“If you encounter someone with a heavy heart and troubled appearance, oft-crying and seeking death, and despite this, he is courteous and maintains his limits, know that he is a true lover. He is doing all this despite his troubles.”

Many have said that ishq is a fire. However, Shaykh Makhdun Sharfuddin Ahmed i replied that if ishq were a fire, then a lover’s face would not be drowned in tears. Some said that ishq is water, to which Shaykh Sharfuddin i replied that hearts would not be burning if this were so. Still others said that ishq is a poison. If this is true, how is it that thousands of lovers are shouting and crying in desire and not dead?

It has also been said that ishq is hardship, but then, why is it that people are willing to give their lives to buy hardship? On the other hand, if ishq is luxury, then why do hearts burn because of it? In summation, everyone has tried to explain ishq in his or her own way, but no explanation has been able to come close.

To the author, ishq is a strong emotion that overwhelms the lover, and so, he yearns to unite with the beloved, losing himself in the process. If this is only the beginning of this journey, then what is its end? If anyone wants to search for ishq, let him search first for what aches the heart.

Wherever in the world we could find heartache,
We collected it and called it ishq.

– Iraqi

Sh. Zulfiqar Ahmad~ Ishq’Rasul. http://www.tasawwuf.org/writings/love_prophet/defining_muhabbah.htm

Khalq

September 26, 2009

two-monarch-butterflies

North America’s Monarch butterflies use a 24-hour “clock” in their antennae to help navigate the 4,000km to overwinter in Mexico, say scientists.

Every autumn about 100 million Monarch butterflies migrate to the south.

The insects navigate according to the position of the Sun, adjusting their calculations as it appears to move across the sky.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8273069.stm

A paper in the journal Science shows the location of the clock is the antennae rather than the brain.

Scientists say the finding is a surprise as it has always been thought that the butterflies used a 24-hour clock in their brains in conjunction with their “Sun compass” when they migrated.

But some observations from 50 years ago indicated that when the butterflies’ antennae were removed the insects no longer flew in the right direction.

A research team from University of Massachusetts Medical School, US, was also interested in studying the role of the antennae in butterfly social reactions as Monarchs are extremely gregarious when they migrate.

Flight Simulator

They removed the antennae from a group of butterflies and compared the way they flew with a control population in a flight simulator.

The intact butterflies all flew southwest, as normal, but the insects without antennae, although they flew strongly, headed off in random directions.

Co-author, Dr Steven Reppert, told BBC News: “This then perked up our interest more and set up a whole series of experiments, which essentially led us to discovering that the antennae, really we think, are the major site of the circadian clock that compensates for the movement of the Sun.”

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterflies navigate using a molecular “sun compass” and “clock”

The researchers tested the molecular cycles of the circadian clock in the brains of the insects without antennae and discovered that they were still functioning normally.

Dr Reppert said: “So this suggested that: Wow! Maybe there’s a clock in the antennae that’s more important for the time compensated component of the insects’ Sun compass orientation… It was a total surprise.”

What they did next was to show that the molecular control of the clock in the antennae is identical to the way it is in the brain. They also showed that the antennal clock can sense light independently from the brain and can function independently.

Dr Reppert said: “What’s so cool about what we did is it suggests that these clocks have a function that is directly related to the brain itself, that it is really regulating a central brain process.”

In order to prove that the antennae contain both a light sensor and a clock, the scientists painted the antennae of one group of insects with black enamel paint and compared their behaviour with that of a group whose antennae were coated with transparent paint.

Skewed orientation

The group with the black painted antennae all flew together in the wrong direction, while those with the transparent paint were unaffected.

According to Dr Reppert: “This strongly suggested that the timing of the clocks was still apparent but since the antennae were painted black the internal clocks couldn’t adjust their 24-hour oscillation to the prevailing light-dark cycle.

“So that’s why their orientation was skewed. This brought everything together and really pointed towards the antennae as the major source of this time compensation mechanism.”

“I think the take home message is that this really emphasises the importance of this appendage, the antenna of the butterfly.

“I think it’s becoming more and more clear that the antennae have a number of functions that are independent from being odour detectors. They can function as ears, sensing sound and changes in barometric pressure, and now we can add to the list this function as a timepiece.”

The paper also suggests that other insects such as foraging honeybees and ants may use their antennae in a similar way.

You suffice..

September 22, 2009

A Most Exquisite Poem by Imam Al-Haddad, rahimahullah..

Translation :

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

For my du’a and my agonising supplication
is a witness to my poverty.

For this secret (reason) I make supplication
in times of ease and times of difficulty

I am a slave whose pride
is in his poverty and obligation.

O my Lord and my King
You know my state.

And what has settled in my heart
of agonies and preoccupations.

Save me with a gentleness
from You, O Lord of Lords.

Oh save me, Most Generous
before I run out of patience (with myself)

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

O One who is swift in sending aid
I ask for aid that will arrive to me swiftly

It will defeat all difficulty
and it will bring all that I hope for

O Near One Who answers
and All-Knowing and All-Hearing

I have attained realisation through my incapacity,
my submission and my brokenness

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

I am still standing by the door, so please my Lord
have mercy on my standing.

And in the valley of generosity, I am in i’tikaf (solitary retreat)
So, Allah, make my retreat here permanent.

And I’m abiding by good opinion (of You)
For it is my friend and ally.

And it is the one that sits by me and keeps me company
All day and night.

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

There is a need in my soul, O Allah
so please fulfil it, O Best of Fulfillers

And comfort my secret and my heart
from its burning and its shrapnel

In pleasure and in happiness
and as long as You are pleased with me

For joy and expansion is my state
and my motto and my cover.

My Lord’s knowledge has sufficed me
from asking or choosing

(source : http://fazilmunir.com/Qad.html)

ps : thank you again, dearest you.

Ei’id!

September 20, 2009

eid

Mother & Father

September 12, 2009

dhikr

O God,
           bless Muhammad and his Household,
                    as Thou hast ennobled us through him,
          and bless Muhammad and his Household,
                    as Thou hast made incumbent upon us
                     rights toward the creatures because of him!113
5 O God,
          fill me with awe of my parents,
                    the awe one has toward a tyrannical sovereign,
          and let me be devoted to them,
                     with the devotion of a compassionate mother!
          Make my obedience and devotion to them
                     more gladdening to my eyes
                              than sleep to the drowsy
                     and more refreshing to my breast
                              than drink to the thirsty,
                    so that I may prefer their inclination
                              to my inclination,
                     set their satisfaction
                              before my satisfaction,
                    make much of their devotion to me
                               though it be little,
                     and make little of my devotion to them
                              though it be great.
6 O God,
           lower before them my voice,
           make agreeable to them my words,
           make mild before them my temper,
           make tender toward them my heart,
           and turn me into their kind companion,
                     their loving friend!
7 O God,
          thank them for my upbringing,
           reward them for honouring me,
           and guard them as they guarded me in my infancy!
8 O God,
           and whatever harm has touched them from me,
          detested thing has reached them from me,
                     or right of theirs which has been neglected by me,
           allow it to alleviate their sins,
                     raise them in their degrees,
                     and add to their good deeds!
           O He who changes evil deeds into manifold good deeds!114
9 O God,
           whatever word through which they have transgressed against me,
           act through which they have been immoderate with me,
           right of mine which they have left neglected,
                     or obligation toward me in which they have fallen short,
           I grant it to them
                     and bestow it upon them,
           and I beseech Thee
                     to remove from them its ill consequence,
           for I do not accuse them concerning myself,
                     find them slow in their devotion toward me,
                     or dislike the way they have attended to my affairs, my Lord!
10            They have rights against me which are more incumbent,
                     precedence in beneficence toward me that is greater,
                     and kindness toward me that is mightier
           than that I should settle accounts with justice
                     or repay them with equivalents.
          Where then, my God, would be their long occupation
                     with bringing me up?
           Where the hardship of their toil
                     in taking care of me?
          Where the stinting of themselves
                     to provide me with plenty?
11            What an idea!
           I can never discharge their right against me,
                     fulfil my obligations toward them,
                     or accomplish the duty of serving them.
           So bless Muhammad and his Household
                     and help me, O Best of those whose help we seek!
                     Give me success, O Most Guiding of those whom we beseech!
           Place me not among the people of disrespect to fathers and mothers
                     on the day when every soul will be repaid
                               for what it has earned,
                               they shall not be wronged.115
12 O God,
          bless Muhammad, his Household, and his progeny
          and single out my parents for the best
                    which Thou hast singled out
                    for the fathers and mothers of Thy faithful servants,
          O Most Merciful of the merciful!
13 O God,
          let me not forget to remember them after my ritual prayers,
                    at every time throughout my night,
                    and in each of the hours of my day!
14 O God,
          bless Muhammad and his Household,
          forgive me through my supplication for my parents,
          forgive them through their devotion toward me
                    with unfailing forgiveness,
          be well pleased with them through my intercession for them
                    with resolute good pleasure,
          and make them reach through Thy generosity
                    the abodes of safety!
15 O God,
           if Thy forgiveness reaches them first,
                     make them my intercessors,
           and if Thy forgiveness reaches me first,
                     make me their intercessors,
          so that we may gather together through Thy gentleness
                     in the house of Thy generosity
                     and the place of Thy forgiveness and mercy!
           Verily Thou art Possessor of abounding bounty
                     and ancient kindness,
           and Thou art the Most Merciful of the merciful!116

Sahifah Al Kamilah. Psalms of Islam.

Dawud al-Ta’i

September 8, 2009

Abu Sulayman Dawud ibn Nusayr al Kufi al Tai (Allah have mercy upon him) (d. 160 or 165) narrated hadith from a number of the Tabi’un and took fiqh from Abu Hanifa who predicted that he would devote himself entirely to worship. Ibn Ziyad al Lu’lu reported, “Zufar and Dawud al Ta’i al Kufi at first were colleagues, then Dawud left fiqh for asceticism while Zufar combined the two.”

Ibn al Jawzi in Sifat al Safwa narrates that Abu Hanifa said to Dawud: “Abu Sulayman! As for the instrument, we have mastered it.” Dawud said: “What is left?” Abu Hanifa said: “What is left is to put it into practice!” Dawud said: “When i heard this, my soul stirred me to seclusion and solitariness, but i told it: Sit with them for a year and do not raise a peep during that time.” During that year, he said. “A question would come up which made me crave to answer it more than someone parched craves water, but i would not answer.” After one year, he went into seclusion.

Among Dawud’s sayings: “Fear Allah and keep piety with your parents; fast from the world and make death your breakfast; run away from people as you would from a lion, without disparaging them nor leaving their congregation.” “Be satisfied with little from the world together with safety in Religion, just as worldly people are satisfied with the world together with corruption in their Religion.” “Despair is the natural end of our deeds, but our hearts drag us to hope.” “Beware! Lest Allah find you where he forbade you to be; beware lest He not find you were He ordered you to be; be ashamed of His nearness to you and His power over you!” To a student who wished to learn archery: “Archery is fine but your days are counted; look well how you spend them.”

Abu Bakr Muhammed ibn Abi Dawud said he heard Shiduyah ask Dawud: “What do you think of a man who enters upon those [‘Abbasi] princes and commands them good and forbids them from evil?” Dawud said: “I fear he will be lashed.” He said: “What if he endures it?” Dawud replied: “I fear the sword fro him.” He said: What if he endures it?” Dawud replied: “I fear for him the deeply-hidden disease – vanity (al-‘ujb).”

Muhammed ibn “Uthman al-Sayrafi said that Dawud only came out of his house upon hearing the iqama then, when the Imam gave salam, jumped up and returned to his house. His daily diet was bread, salt, and water. One time he ate dates out of craving, after which he swore never to touch dates again. One time his maidservant cooked him a dish but he said: “Take it to So-and-so’s orphans. If i eat it, it will end up in the midden, but if they eat it, it will be stored up in the Divine presence.”

At a funeral one day, Dawud was heard to say: “Whoever fears the Divine threat, all that seems far looms near to him; whoever harbours endless hopes, his deeds are feeble; everything that is going to take place is actually near! Know, my brother, that everything that keeps you away from your Lord is a misfortune for you. Know that the dwellers of the graves are happy for what they sent forth and regret their useless occupations, while the dwellers of the world fight and compete with one another precisely over what the grave-dwellers regret.”

Visitors once said to one another, upon seeing him sitting on the dusty ground: “This is an ascetic (zahid).” He said: “The ascetic is one who first evaluates then leaves!” When Sufyan al Thawri visited him with Abu Khalid al Ahmar the latter was miffed that Dawud did not so much as look at Sufyan, but Sufyan told him: “He is unconcerned by affection; did you not see his eyes? They see other than what we fiddle with.” To another visitor who offered to have the cobwebs in his ceiling swept Dawud said: “Do you not know that he, peace be upon him, detested superfluous gazes?” After that he refused visitors and communicated from behind his door.

Dawud inherited from his parents or his freedwoman twenty pieces of gold which sufficed him for twenty years, after which he would sell the wood of his roof for sustenance until he lived in the last sheltered corner of his house. Hammad [ibn Salama] and / or Abu Yusuf said to him: “Dawud! You are satisfied with so little of this world!” He replied: “Do you know who is satisfied with much less? Those who are happy with all this world in exchange for the hereafter!” To al-Harith ibn Idris who asked him counsel Dawud replied: “The soldiers of death await you.”

Dawud’s frequent prayer: “Allahumma! Your care has piled cares upon me and barred my way to sleep. My desire to see You has tied me up and barred me from pleasures. I am in your jail – O Generous One – under arrest!” The he would repeat a verse of the Qur’an over and over. His neighbour, overhearing, said “It would seem to me as if all the pleasures of this world were summed up in that verse.” Abu Nu’aym [al-Fadl ibn Dukayn] said he saw an ant crawl on Dawud’s face lengthwise and widthwise while Dawud did not even feel it because of his anxiety and sorrow. Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi said he was present at Dawud’s deathbed and he never witnessed a harder agony. Hafs ibn ‘Umar al Ju’fi said the reason for his final illness was that Dawud read a verse that mentioned hellfire that affected him deeply. He repeated it all night long until morning then gave up the ghost, his head resting on a clay brick.

Ibn al-Jawsi said the report that “Dawud al Ta’i was a silk-maker” is probably about Dawud ibn al-Hind alBasri rather than al-Ta’i, who did not have a profession. That report states that for forty years, he left his house with his luncheon which he gave away as alms, then he would go home and eat dinner with his family and they never knew that he was fasting.