Kennedy school of missions



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sake of leadership.
Ibn 'Umar said, "We have lived a portion of the age and one of us is given faith before the Qur'an and the Surah comes down and he learns its permitted and its forbidden (things) and its commands and its interdictions and that which it is expedient to stop. I have seen men to one of
whom the Qur'an was given before faith. He reads the whole

book from beginning to end, but he does not know what it com-

a t,

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wands him or what it forbids or at what point it is expedient to stop. He casts it away as though he were casting away bad dates."

Then in another tradition (from the Prophet) of similar meaning (we read), "We were companions of the Messenger of Allah,and faith was given to us before the Qtar'an. After you there will come a people to whom the qur'an will be given before faith. They will follow the letter of the law but not the spirit. They will say, 'We read; who is better read than we? We have learned; who is more learned than we?' And that is their fortune," while in a variant reading (this appears), "Those (people) are the evil ones of this nation. 323

"

Somebody said, "Five traits of character which are part of the signs of the other-worldly divines are understood from five verses of the book of Allah: fear, submission, humility, good character, and to prefer the next abode to the present world, which is asceticism."



As for fear, it is from His saying, "Verily, of His servants, the learned fear Allah" (35:25).

As for submission, it is from His saying, "Those who submit to Allah do not sell His signs at a cheap price"(3:198).

As for the humble, it is from His saying, "Lower thy

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wing to the faithful" (15:89).

As for good character, it is from His saying, "Because

322.

of the mercy of Allah you were gentle with them" (3:153)



As for asceticism, it is from His saying, "They who received knowledge said, 'Woe to you. The reward of Allah

is better for one who believes and does good" (28:80).

When the Messenger of Allah recited Allah's saying, "The bosom of one whom Allah shall please to guide will be dilated for the favorable acceptance of Islam" (6:125),

somebody asked him, "What is this 'dilating of the bosom?"'

So he explained, "When the light is thrown into the heart, the bosom becomes dilated to receive it and filled with .oy."

"Is there any sign for that?" somebody asked.

"Yes", he replied, "leaving this deceitful world and turning in penitence toward the eternal world and preparing for death before it happens."

10.(A tenth sign of an other-worldly divine) is that most of his discussion should be about practical knowledge and about what corrupts it and confounds hearts and incites satanic thoughts and stirs up evil; for surely the root of religion is to guard against evil. For that reason somebody said, "I knew evil not

For the sake of evil, but to guard (myself) against it; And the man who does not know evil Will fall into it."

The practical actions (al--a'mal al-fa'llyah) are avail-


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able and the extreme limit, rather the highest of them is to continue to mention Allah with heart and tongue. Truly (the root of) the matter is to know what corrupts and confounds it. It is comprised of that, the ways of which increase and the deriviatives expand. All that is part of

that which pressing need predominated and by which distress is made a common (experience) in traveling the way to the next abode.

As for the worldly divines, they follow the unusual (cases of) the subsidiary branches in giving decisions and judgments, and they exhaust themselves in setting forth forms which never occur, though ages pass.. If they do happen, they happen to others, not to them. And if they should occur, there would be an abundance (of people) to undertake

them, while they forsake what is inseparable from them. In their promptings and satanic suggestions and deeds it is repeated night and day. How far (removed) from happiness is one who trades what is most important for himself for something that is rarely important for another, preferring to draw nigh to reception by people rather than to draw nigh to Allah!

The worst of it is that the worthless sons of the present world call him "excellent verifier, learned in the minutiae (of knowledge)", while his reward from Allah is that he


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will not be benefitted by the way people accept (him). His pleasure fades away because of the misfortunes of the times. Then he returns to the day of judgment bankrupt (of good works) and remorseful, as he sees the gain of those who act and the victory of those who draw nigh (to Allah). And that is a manifest loss.

Of all men al-Hasan al-Basri was most like the prophets in respect to speech, and he was nearest the prophets in respect to guidance. There is common agreement as to his right to that. Most of his speech was about the promptings of hearts and corruption of deeds and satanic suggestions to the souls and secret hidden characteristics of the soul's appetites.

Somebody said to him, "0 father of Sa'id, truly you speak words which one hears from no others. From where did you get this (speech)?"

Somebody said to Hadhifah, "We notice that you speak words which are not heard from others of the companions. From where did you get them?"

He replied, "The Messenger of Allah specially endowed me with them. People were asking him about the good, while I was asking him about evil from fear of falling into it, and I knew that the knowledge of good does not outstrip me."

"From Hadhlfah Bin al-Yaman", he

replied.


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Once he said, "I knew that one who does not know evil does not know good", while in another version (we read), "They were saying, '0 Messenger of Allah, what about one who does this and that?' They were asking him about virtuous deeds, while I was wont to say, '0 Messenger of Allah,

what corrupts this and that?' And when he saw me asking him about the defects of actions, he endowed me with this knowledge."


Hadhifah was also particularly endowed with the knowledge about hypocrites and was set apart in respect to hie recognition of the knowledge of hypocrisy and its causes and the minutiae of allurement.
'Umar and 'Uthman and some of the famous companions used to ask about allurement both in general and in particular.
He used to be questioned about hypocrites. So he was wont to tell the number of those who remained, while he was not wont to tell their names. 'Umar used to inquire about himself and ask whether he knew of any hypocrisy in him,

but he declared him innocent of that. When 'Umar was called to pray at a funeral he used to notice; and, if Hadhifah were present, he would pray; if not, he would leave. So he (Hadhifah) was called "the Possessor of the Conscience"

325 (sahib al-sirr).

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So concern about the stations (magdmat) of the heart and its states (ahwal) was a custom of the other-worldly divines, because the heart is a messenger hastening on its journey to proximity to Allah. (Then) this art became rare and effaced. If a learned person came within reach of any of it, he was considered strange and far from understanding. Someone would say, "This is the embellishment of the exhortere. Where is the verification, for they consider verification lies in the miniitiae of disputations.

He who said these words was right:

";The ways are diverse, and the ways of truth are one;

And the travelers on the way of truth are few.

They are not recognized and their aims are not known;

And they have aims and are walking at their ease.

People are negligent about what is meant by them,

And most of them are asleep in regard to the way of

truth."

In short, most of mankind inclines only to the things which are most convenient and easiest for their natures. Verily truth is bitter, sticking to it is difficult, and (it takes) strenuous (work) to understand it. Its way, especially knowing the qualities of the heart and purifying it from blameworthy characteristics, is arduous; for that always abases the spirit. Its possessor descends to the



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rank of one who drinks (bitter) medicine. In the hope of a cure he is patient about its bitterness. He resembles one who fasts all his life. He endures severities (now) so that he might feast at the time of his death (i.e. in the next abode). When will desire for this way abound? For that reason somebody said, "In Basrah there were one hundred and twenty theologians (concerned) in exhortation and reminding."


Of those who speak about the knowledge of certainty, the states (ahwal) of the heart, and inner qualities, there were only three. They were Sahl al-Tustarl, al-~ubI , and 'Abd al-Rahman (bin Yahya al-Aswad). To the others there were wont to come and sit a countless number of people; whereas to these (three), only a small number, rarely more

than ten; because whatever is very precious and expensive


is for special people only. What is bestowed or, the masses, that matter is easily obtainable.
11. (An eleventh sign of an other-worldy divine ) is

that in regard to his knowledge his dependence should be on his intelligence (baplratihi) and on his understanding with purity of heart, not on pamphlets and books and not on imitation of what he hears from others. For really he (who should be) imitated is the Bringer of the Divine Law ('Iu',ammad) in


that which he commanded and said. One should certainly imi--------------------------- ------------ -

SMZ gives diya' qalbihi

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tate the companions wherever their action proves that they heard from the Messenger of Allah.



Then, if one follows the Bringer of the Divine Law by giving his sayings and his deeds good acceptance, he should be eager to understand his secrets (also). Verily, the

was not called a learned person, if his custom was only to


memorize, not to understand authority and secrets.

which


One from whose heart the veil is lifted and i.t'is lighted
with the light of guidance becomes followed and imitated (himself), and does not need to imitate others. Therefore, Ibn 'Abbaa said, "Except the Messenger of Allah, there is no individual but from whom some of his knowledge is taken and some is left"; and he learned Jurisprudence from Zaid Ibn Thabit and studied the Qur'an under Abu Bin Ka'b. Then he

# reading with SMZ who adds wa kullamma kana 'l-rasul

imitator performs the deed because

Law did so,

and there is no escape

performed had a secret to it,

the Bringer of the Divine that from the ac-t whatever

the Messenger o f Allah is expedient to make a (behind) his deeds and memorize what is said, edge and not a learned say, "So-and-so is one

So it.

serious investigation for the secret sayings. If it were sufficient to one would only be a vessel for knowlperson. On that score, they used to of the vessels of knowledge"; and he



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disagreed with both in jurisprudence and reading.

One of the Fathers said, "What came to us from the Messenger of Allah we received most willingly, what came to us from the companions we partly accept and partly reject, and what came to us from the followers: well, they were men, just as we are."

For the superiority of the companions is (in the fact) that they saw the significance of the Prophet.'s circumstances and (also in) the relationship of their minds to matters apprehended by association (with him), That led them directly to the right in a manner which relating (a tradition) and explanation of meanings could not do, for heshed on them the light of prophecy which guards them in large measure from error. If to depend on what one heard from others was a disliked imitation, then to depend on books and writings is (even) more (disliked). Rather, books and writings are new, of which there were none in the time of the companions and the first followers. They began to appear about the year one hundred and twenty, hijrah, and after the death of all the companions and most of the followers and after the death of Sa'Id Bin al-Musaiyab, al--Ijasan, and the elite of the followers. Rather the first ones used to despise books of hap

penings and the writing ofbooks lest men might occupy themselves selves in them instead.of in memorizing and instead of the

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Qur an and instead of reflection and remembering. They said, "Memorize, just as we usdd to memorize."

Therefore Abu Bakr and moat of the companions disliked to jot the Qur'an down in book form, and they said, "How shall we do something which the Prophet of Allah did not do?" And they feared that people would depend on a written Qur'an (rather than memorize it).

They said, "Let us leave the Qur'an; one will obtain it from another by means of dictation and reciting. Let this. be their work and their concern", until 'Umar and the rest of the companions advised that the Qur'dn be written for fear that people would refrain from helping; and(they feared) their slothfulness and that,should a dispute arise about a doubtful word or reading, no source would be found to which to refer. Abu Bakr's heart was gladdened by that. So he gathered the Qur'an into one book.

Ahmad Bin Hanbal used to disapprove of Malik for com

0

posing al-Muwat~a' and say, "He innovated something which the companions did not do."



It is said, "The first book composed in al-Islam was

the book of Ibn Juraij about Traditions and Letters of Expo326

sitian about Mujahid and'Ata'and the companions of Ibn 'Ab

bas in Mecca. Then (came) the book of Ma'mar Ibn Rashid al


# SNZ gives shakl al-c ur' an f i ' l-ruushaf

331

P

Saghanl in Yaman in ww,ich was compiled traditional usage of the Prophet. Then there was al-Muwatta' of .tialik Bin Anas in al-Mad3nah; then the Jami' of Sufyan al-Thawri. Then in the fourth (Muslim) century there appeared writings on the



ology; and the plunging into disputation and annulling sayings became greatly increased.
Then people inclined to it and to narrations and exhortation. So the knowledge of certainty began to be effaced from that time, After that the knowledge of hearts and the search after the attributes of the soul and the tricks of the Shaitan began to be considered strange. All but a few turned aside from that and the disputative scholastic the
ologian began to be called "learned" ('Rlim), and the storyteller who adorned his speech with rhymed expressions was called "learned". This was because those who listened to them were the masses who did not know how to distinguish true knowledge from something false and their information about the lives and knowledge of the companions was not sufficient to permit them to make a distinction between these others and them. So the name "learned" (al-'ulama') stuck to them; and the children inherited the nickname from their fathers, while knowledge of the next abode became concealed, and except for their specialists the difference between knowl

# reading SMZ; margin gives al-Sariani

332

edge ('ilm) and scholastic theology (kalam) disappeared from among them. If somebody asked them, "Is this man or



that man more learned?" they were accustomed to say, "This

man is greater in respect to knowledge, and that man is greater in respect to theology."

The specialists used to understand the distinction between knowledge and ability in theology. And thus was religion weakened in the former centuries, but what is your opinion about this time of yours? The matter has resulted in an appearance of disavowal which becomes a butt (and casts) itself toward madness (i.e. being possessed by the jinn). The best thing for man is to engage (in directing himself towards Allah) and to be silent.

12. (A twelfth sign of an other-worldly divine) is that

he should be strictly on his guard against new things, even

if a great many should agree on them; and (not to let) people',s agreement on what has happened after the companions deceive him .

Let him be eager to examine the circumstances, conduct, and deeds of the companions as well as that in which their greatest concern lay. fts-.rib in teaching, writing (books), discussion, giving judgments, ruling over and supervising endowments and wills, devouring orphans' wealth, mixing with
I

# reading binafsihi with SMZ instead of linisbatihi

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sultans and treating them affably in companionship, or was



it in fear, sorrow, reflection (on the grace of Allah), wrestling (with the soul), guarding the outer and the Inner life, shunning both the minute and the great sin, craving to understand the hidden lust of the soul and the tricks or

wiles of the Shait,an, and other parts of the mystic sciences?

You should know for a certainty that the most learned people of the time and those who are nearest to the real

are those who most nearly resemble the companions and who are the best informed about the way of the Fathers. From

them religion was taken. On account of that, when somebody asserted that 'Ali had disagreed with so-and-so, he said,

"The best ones among us are those (of us) who follow this religion most."

It is not necessary to mind the disagreement of the people of this age concerning what was suitable for the people of the Prophet's age, for people are apt to consider their present way of living as suitable, because their natures tend towards it. Their souls do not permit them to admit that that is the reason why they are denied the Garden, while they pretend that it is the only way to the Garden.

Therefore al-Hasan said, "Two new types have occurred

in Islam: a) an evil-minded man who asserts that the Garden

is for one who thinks as he does, and b) an effeminate man


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who worships and seeks the present world and who becomes angry and also pleased on account of it. Cast them both away to the Fire. In this present world man has become (placed) between one who is softened by affluence and ease who urges him (to seek) his world and (on the other hand) a possessor of passionate desire who invites him (to follow) his passiondesire. From both of them Allah will certainly defend that one who longs for (the wayof) the virtuous Father (al-salaf al-Va1ih) and who inquires about their deeds and follows in their train. (Such a one) is in line for a great reward. Therefore, be like that kind of person."

In a well-substantiated tradition this is related on the authority of Ibn Mae'ud, "They are, in fact, two: speech and guidance. The best speech is the word of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of the Messenger of Allah. Beware of newly happened events, for the worst part of anything is its newness. Every newly-happened thing is an innovation, and every innovation is error. Is it not(true) that you will not have much time and your hearts will be hardened? Is it not (true) that everything that is coming is near? Is it not (true) that the remote is that which is not coming?"

In an oration of the Messenger of Allah (he said), "Blessed is he whose (own) defect occupies him rather than


335


other people's defects, who spends from wealth which he has gained without disobedience, who associates with the people of jurisprudence and wisdom, and who shuns the people of sin and disobedience. Blessed is he who humbles himself, whose character is good, whose secret life is righteous, and whose evil is removed from people. Blessed is he who acts according to his knowledge, who spends his surplus wealth and restrains his surplus speech, and he whom usage holds and who does not trespass into innovation."

"Ibn Mas'ud used to say, "Good guidance in the last

.days is better than many works", and he also said, "You are living in a time in which your elite are quick in things, while after you there will come a time in which their elite will be firm and hesitant or cautious on account of the abun

He was right, for he who is not cautious in this time and agrees with people in general in what they are (engaged) in, and delves deeply into what they delve deeply into will perish just as they perish.

Hadhifah said, "Stranger than this is the fact that the things which you acknowledge,.:.today are the things which were disacknowledged in the time which has past, while what you disacknowledge today are the things which will be acknowledged in a time which might come. You will continue in good

# reading qad ya' ti with SMZ and al-:.at

dance of doubts."

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as long as you know the real and as long as a learned person 32c

among you is not held in contempt." And he was right.

Most of what is acknowledged in these ages was disavowed in the age of the companions. One of the perils in what is acknowledged in our time is the decorating and beautifying of mosques, spending great wealth in the details of their construction, and furnishing them with fine carpets; while (even) to spread reed mats in the mosques used to considered an innovation. They say that this was something newly-intro

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duced by al-Hajjaj (Ibn Yusuf). The first ones were scarce



ly accustomed to put any hindrance between them and the ground.

Similar to that is the being engaged in the minutiae

of dialectics and debate for the sake of the knowledge of the people of the time; and they assert that it is one of.

the greatest means of approach (to Allah), while it was something that was disapproved among the first ones. Modulating the voice in chanting the Qur'an and the call to worship is in the same category as are also going to the extreme in (regard to) cleanliness, raising scruples about purification, appraising the remote causes about soiling clothes along with laxityy in making food lawful and unlawful, and what is similar to that.

Ibn Mas'ud was right, when he said, "Today you are in
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a time in which desire is a follower of knowledge, and a time will come upon you in which knowledge will be a follower of desire (al-hawa).

"331

Ahmad Bin Hanbal used to say, "They forsook knowledge and rushed after strange things. How small is the amount of their knowledge! Allah is,ihe one from whom we seek help."



Malil~ Bin Anas said, "In past times people were not In the habit of asking about these matters, as people ask today. Nor were the learned wont to say, "Unlawful' and 'lawful;, but I have understood that they used to say, 'the liked'

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and the 'disliked''.

What he meant is that they used to observe the minutiae of what was disliked and what was liked. As for the unlawful, it was what was obviously abominable.

Hisham Bin 'Urwah used to say, "Do not ask them today about what they themselves have done newly, for they have prepared an answer about it; but ask them about the Sunnah,

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for they do not know it."

And Abu Sulaiman a1-Daranl used to say, "It is not necessary for one to whom something good has been revealed to do it until he hears of it in the traditions of the companions. Then he praises Allah, for it agrees with what he is (al

ready) doing. 334

"

He said this because the opinions which had been newly



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introduced had knocked at (the door) of the hearing and


stuck to the hearts or minds. And many a time it confuses the clarity of one's mind. So because of it one imagines that the vain is true. Then he takes precautions concerning it
by having recourse to the testimony of the traditions (athar).
For that reason, when ~.arw n3introduc.ed a platform in
the place of worship during the feast time worship, Abfz Sa'ld 336

al-Khadri stood up to oppose him and said, "0 Marwan, what

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