Previously Asked Questions
Ihsan Questions:

Most of your questions about this subject will be answered by reviewing the Explanatory Notes for Songs 42 and 43 of the Guiding Helper.

> Can you give an explanation of the the following
> excerpts from the Darqawi Letters:
>
>   He should withdraw from following the senses
>   and all habits and appetites. He should not think
>   that unlikely or think it preposterous

The Path must necessarily have sensory deprivation
in it during the first part.  This is mentioned in
footnote 2616 of the Explanatory Notes.

Thus at the beginning of the Path, one turns away from
the things mentioned in footnote 2616.  And at the
end of the Path, one turns back and looks at sensory
phenomenon in a new light as is mentioned in footnote
2687.

The turning away from sensory phenomenon is necessary
to strengthen the ruh.  This is like if you break your
foot and have to walk on crutches, your arm muscles
will become very strong.  Thus, if you deprive yourself
of sensory enjoyment, your ruh will become very strong.

Then at the end of the Path, one may go back to
sensory *lawful* enjoyment, but this time in a new
light and with greater appreciation - which will
last into and be greatly multiplied in the next life.


> Here is a book for the adept to use. It should be
> studied and gone over until it is understood and
> until the promised states and stations of gnosis
> reveal themselves to seeker. This is the meaning
> of the Way and the purpose of the letters. These
> dispatches from the battlefield of the ruh, in
> its war against the self and its ignorance.

Again, you see here, the teachers of Tasawwuf
mention that it necessary to deprive the lower
self of its enjoyment (for a time period) in
order to progress.

We would note here that, there is a danger of
extremity in this practice which will lead the
person to be very depressed and suicidal in
nature.  It is one's teacher's responsibility
to not let such happen.

If one does not have a teacher, then one must
break the exercise and quit the training for
a short period of time until the depression and
suicidal nature goes away.

Now being depressed before the final victory or
"fath" is routine in the Path.  But, this depression
should not cause one to commit unlawful acts such
as suicide or homicide.

> It is filled with the taste as well as the promise
> of victory - and to the Muslims the word victory
> and the word opening - inner opening - are the same.

Fath is the opening or victory spoken of above.

> the first letter of Darqawi:
>
> The self is like the child. If you neglect it it
> grows up based on love of sucking. If you wean it,
> it is weaned
>
> This is what the wali of Allah ta'la , Sayyidi
> al Busayri, may Allah be pleased with him! Said in
> his Burda.

This is again talking about depriving the self
of its sensory *lawful* enjoyment for a period of time
for purpose of strengthening the ruh.

For example, drinking breast milk is very enjoyable
to toddlers (due to its taste and warmth of the mother);
but, the habit must be broken in order for the child
to progress in life.

> It is also as the lofty Shaykh, the wali
> of Allah ta' la Sayyidi Ibn Ata Illah said in his
> Hikam: "Whoever thinks that it is preposterous that
> Allah will rescue him from his appetite and bring
> him out of the heedlessness has considered divine
> power to be powerless. Allah has the power over
> everything".
>

It is possible for Allah to help one in such an
endeavor even in this ultra-modern time where
materialism (which is based on giving values to
sensory phenomenon) has run rampant.

> We think that obligatory things are enough for
> him when they are accompanied by what we mentioned.
> It will enrich him greatly.

As noted in footnote 2614 of the Explanatory Notes,
one is only obliged to perform wajib acts and
avoid unlawful acts.

This is enough.  There is not need to perform
tons of mandub acts and avoid tons of makruh
acts.

> A lot of actions are not
> enough for him if he does not have which we
> mentioned. In spite of this,

Performing many mandub acts and avoiding many makruh
acts will not help one if one does not deprive the
lower self of its enjoyments (completely) for a
period of time - replacing the time for entertainment /
enjoyment with reciting awrad (long arabic verbal
remembrances), such as the Hizb al-Kabir after Subh,
Wadhifah after Subh, and Hizb al-Bahr after each prayer
five times a day.


> we prefer that he perform
> the obligatory actions and the superogatory good deeds
> which are confirmed by the sunna. Allah gives success.

Again, the number of mandub deeds are not important.
However when choosing mandub deeds to perform, the practices
of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace)
should serve as a guide to which mandub acts one choosen. 
You will find that the Prophet encouraged acts, such as
tahajjud (Night Vigil Prayer), ta`allum (learning the din),
sadaqah (charity), and adhkar (verbal remembrances and
the Qur'an)

> The second request is: in the second letter of the Darqawi Way
> that Sayyidi al Arabi b. Abdillah said: If you increase in the sensory,
> you decrease in meaning. If you decrease in the sensory, you increase
> in meaning" I think that he is talking about the outward what also
> can mean fiqh. If I am right than how much fiqh is enough for somebody
> who want to travel the path (The Guiding Helper as you said in the f
> foreword)

Yes.  It can mean fiqh too since fiqh knowledge is sensory.  Too many
questions about derivative branch rulings of fiqh is a great barrier to
attaining ma`rifah.  This is mentioned in the al-Mabahith in verse 304:

   wa l-khawdi fi l-makruhi wa l-mandubi

   And [also among the barriers] is wading extensively through makruh and
   mandub detail.

Now, Ibn `Ajibah in his Sharh explains the verse as:

   wa l-khawdi fi l-makruhi wa l-mahbubi
  
   And [also among the barriers] is being very picky and choosy
   about what one dislikes and what one likes.

Both meanings are correct, but our first meaning is closer to
what the author (Ibn Banna al-Saqusti) intended (we believe
judging from the context - as he mentions the legal rulings
of Halal and Haram right afterwards in verse 305).
And Allah knows best.

Now, to answer your question, we have made the Guiding
Helper detailed enough to teach what is right but have not
delved into many deep branch rulings on purpose for this
exact reason - so that people do not start attaching
importance to hairline details.

> Please can you give me an explanation of the 19. Darqawi Letter.
>
> Resistance to the fuqara, the affiliated with Allah, and to all the
> slaves of Allah comes form great ignorance and dullness since the people
> of beginnings must err. The people of the ends have no protection, let
> alone those who are at the beginning. The Prophets, peace be upon them,
> have protection, peace be upon them. Whoever sees himself among them is
> mistaken, so we should remind him with kindness and gentleness. If he is
> reminded, blessed is Allah! If not, our Lord knows us all better since
> He, the Exalted! Said, "You who believe! Watch out for yourselves. The
> one who is misguided will not harm you if you are guided".

Allah Most High has said in a hadith which is recorded in Ibn Majah
and other collections (e.g., Bukhari):

"... Whoever shows enmity against a friend of Mine, I declare war
against him! ..."

What this means, in upshot, is that if someone makes a friend of Allah
upset (purposely or due to complex ignorance), this person is in BIG
trouble.

And no one has protection from the wrath which Allah unleashes for such
a crime, not the person in the beginning of the Path, nor the person
who has finished the Path (meaning attained full ma`rifah), nor the
person who is in the middle of the Path.  The only people who have
protection from this wrath are the prophets (May Allah bless them and
give them peace) - but none of us are prophets.

Thus, it is very, very dangerous and an act full of foolishness to make
a friend of Allah upset. It is as good as material and spiritual suicide.

This is what al-Darqawi means by "Resitance" or "Opposing" the fuqara'.

But one should also be careful about showing enmity to regular people
(all the slaves of Allah) as some of them may be "friends of Allah in
disguise" just like the honest and sincere fuqara' are.

[For example, if you saw most of the scholars in the Maghrib on
the street, you would not be able to distinguish them from the common
people. Thus, one should not judge by appearances. This
culture of khumul (being hidden) - except for one's students - has many
advantages and in the end leads to people who are more sincere and
more throughly experienced and qualified - as these people can pretend
to be normal in order to learn how the society actually works and what
the people are actually like - as the people will not put on a show
for them - unlike someone dressed like a religious authority in front
of which people will act differently and superficially.]

And only "dullminded" and stupid people can engage in such foolish acts
in which the Powerful Creator declares *war* against them.

Now when he says, "we should remind him with kindness and gentleness",
it means that we should remind the person who is engaging in enmity
with us that "Allah does not like that His friends be dealt with such
bad manners and people who show enmity to them or hurt them are likely
to suffer great trials and punishments in this world, in the interworld,
and in the hereafter."

If the person is reminded and takes heed, then may Allah bless him (as
we have nothing against him personally).

But if he does not cease his attacks, then we entrust his affair to
Allah (i.e. we expect Allah to declare war against him) and we entrust
our affair to Allah also (i.e. Allah knows we are free of the false
accusations that he is hurling at us).

Now, we will mention the context of this letter:

Know that if you travel the Path to Allah with sincerity, you will
gain more tawfiq and blessings than the common man or external scholar
can ever hope for. This causes *some* common people or external scholars
to be jealous of those of the Path. And they hurl accusations (verbal
and physical abuse) at the sincere fuqara'.

This happens every time a man/woman reaches the state of sincerity with
His Lord like a pattern from Allah - as Allah says "And like thus, we
appointed for each prophet enemies from the Shayateen of Ins and Jinn..."
[al-Qur'an 6:112] - hinting at the fact that Allah has a pattern of
appointing "enemies" of His friends - so that His act of Vengence may
have a domain to be carried out in. These enemies become the target
of His Vengence as one of His names is al-Muntaqim (The Avenger).

al-Darqawi is instructing his disciples that when they come across
such attacks, they should first remind the person of the grave act
he is committing and then entrust their affair to Allah (i.e. they
expect Allah to vindicate the fuqara' and deal with this enemy in a
painful manner until he repents).

In the end, the one who is misguided will not harm those that are
guided - rather, it is very likely that the one who is misguided will
incur great harm to himself due to his ignorant attacks on the friends
of Allah.

[This brings us to a needing a definition of a
 friend of Allah "wali" in the hadith.  The
 definition is:

   "al-waliyyu al-muttaqiyyu hasala lahu `ala
    d-dawami l-fana'u fi-l af`ali awi l-fana'u
    fi s-sifati awi l-fana'u fi dh-dhaat. aw
    huwa al-muttaqiyyu fi l-baqa'."

   "The Wali (friend of Allah) is the person who
    Allah has given tawfiq to in obeying Him and
    not disobeying Him (both externally and
    internally) in most circumstances and has given
    tawfiq to always or almost always be in one of
    four states:  (1) annihilation in His actions,
    (2) annihilation in His attributes,(3) annihilation
    in His Entity, or (4) in the state of subsistence
    (which entails constant full ma`rifah coupled with
    non-egocentrism)."

Reference(s):
  This definition is derived from al-`Asqalani,
  Sharh Bukhari, hadith #6021, raqa`iq, tawadu`

  `Asqalani states that the wali is "The person who obeys
   Allah regularly and sincerely worships Him."  Now, it
   is our view that a person cannot become truly *sincere*
   until he gets rid of the "I" in his worship.  And
   such only happens either through fana' or baqa'
   with its various levels. 
  
   One should note here that it is possible to achieve
   fana' fi l-af`aal without a spiritual Path - and this
   is the limit the common man can reach without further
   training.  Thus, people who are not associated with
   a spiritual path can also be awliya' (friends of Allah).

   If the person undergoes some formal training (even if
   self-taught - as long as he is very astute), then he
   can reach fana' fi s-sifaat even without a qualified
   teacher. [This is what Ibn `Ajibah says in his Sharh
   of al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah in the section of taking
   a spiritual teacher.  But, if he does not have a teacher
   and is also not astute (unaware of the pitfalls), then
   Shaytan is likely to become his teacher - and in such a
   case is likely to commit a grave mistake which will
   land him in Allah's punishment either in this world
   or the next.]

   And in order to reach either fana' fi dh-dhaat or
   baqa', the person must have a completed kamil teacher;
   otherwise, the chances are very slim.

And people are of varying degrees in their wilayah.]

> Q4. GH 42:1765-1766 refers to humility. I have read some sufi texts where a Shaykh instructs a murid to go out
> begging, despite the murid having the ability to earn a living (a famous example that is on my mind is the
> methodology of the original Darqawa in the Maghrib). This practice is, apparently, done to eliminate kibr from the
> murid. Due to the fact that we say that Tasawwuf does not oppose the Shariah, how do we explain this sufic practice
> to doubters when presented with the argument that begging is prohibited in the Sunnah unless it is due to necessity,
> such as being too ill or weak to earn a living or because of not having enough food for one day (cf. Reliance of the
> Traveller, pg. 774)? Is there a Shari'i way, as outlined by al-Ulama adh-dhahir, which joins between these two
> apparent contradictions?

There is an outstanding work of tasawwuf which is called al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah written by a non-famous
teacher of the Path named Ibn Banna al-Sarqusti.  Ibn `Ajibah has written a commentary on it called
"Futuhaat al-Ilaahiyyah".

This work covers all major aspects about tasawwuf in a mere ~450 rhymes.  This book coupled with
the al-Hikam al-`Ata'iyyah is a comprehensive explanation of the subject of tasawwuf.
[These texts are available from http://www.guidinghelper.com/otherTexts.html

Chapter three, ruling 8 of al-Mabahith contains a discussion about the practice of begging.
Additionally, the book contains a detailed refutation of all those who oppose tasawwuf.
But not only that, the book contains a detailed refutation of all those false sufis who claim
to practice tasawwuf (but in actuality are nothing but ignoramuses) .  But not only that the
book explains the basis of tasawwuf from a rational and a primary text perspective.  But not
only that the book contains a proof for why the accomplished spirituals are superior
(according to Allah's pleasure and rewards) than others.  But not only that, the book explains
the detailed manner in which a disciple is trained from inception to completion.

Now returning to your question, we would suggest if you know Arabic or are learning Arabic
to obtain a copy of this priceless book (we believe Dar al-Fikr prints it) and it will answer
all such questions and waswasa that you have.

As for resolving the conflict between the practice of begging and the law in the Shari`ah
prohibiting begging except when in dire need, it is (according to the explanation of the
Mabahith):

   a) The original Darqawi teachers instructed the disciples to secretly give away in
       charity (at night) all the handouts that they received during the day.  Thus, the
       begging originally was just a ploy and a trick designed to convince the common
       man in the street that the sufi was a worthless scoundrel.
  b) Now if the disciple was in actuality very poor, then he was allowed to keep the
       small amount that would buy his daily bread.

Now it became famous (among the common folk) in Ahmad al-Darqawi's time that
some one of well-standing would join the Path and Sidi Darqawi would reduce them
to a common beggar.  Thus, common people began to attach great blame to
Sidi Darqawi and all those associated with the Path.  This made Sidi Darqawi
and the disciples very happy as this was their original intent.  And we swear
by Allah, that after studying Muslim history there is not even *one* parallel
in our history to what happened in Morocco 200 years ago.  No one besides
Sidi Darqawi (besides the Prophet himself) was able to produce so
many accomplished `arifin in such a short time.   The average length of
travel became two to five years, which is just astonishing.  Additionally,
there were *at least* 40,000 accomplished disciples (who were authorized
as sheikhs) in Sidi Darqawi's time. 

This great effort and culture was killed by the French invasion in the 1920's
by Allah's will.  Thus, contemporary Morocco is devoid of such large
numbers of spiritually accomplished people.  Nevertheless, the remnants
from this great Darqawi culture remain and true `arifin and teachers of
the Path are still found within Morocco; but, almost all of them have
hidden themselves under the cloak of "normality" learning from the
abuses conducted by the French which led to the fall of the non-hidden
Darqawi culture at that time.

As a side note, we hear many people nowadays claiming that Islam
is dead in Morocco or that no more qualified Shadhili teachers exist
there.  But, this is not true.  What has happened in the last 80 years
is that the protectors of Islam in Morocco have hidden their valuable
spiritual gems behind seventy layers of curtains so that the unworthy
do not try to steal them or misuse them.  Thus, it is very unlikely that
the average tourist or passer-by (or even foreign Islamic student) will
discover the actual gems present in the culture.

As for begging today in Morocco, we would state that most of the people who
practice it are far from the actual intent of the Darqawi teachers (and are devoid
of ma`rifah and spiritual light) since they actually keep the money for monetary
benefit.


> Is there a Mashur opinion on the Hadra in the Maliki school? I have
> heard that the Maliki's tend to be less enthused about it than Shafi'i's.
> This is more a methodological oriented question, as I imagine one
> follows thier Sheikh of Tasawwuf in this matter.

One follows sheikhs of Tasawwuf in this matter.  The ruling for the Hadrah
is really outside of the sphere of scholars who only understand external
movements and sound (the external fuqaha').  The ruling can only be given
by those that understand it inside out.  We believe all the opposition to
the Hadrah voiced in certain Maliki circles is from an over-simplistic
understanding of a narration of Imam Malik that he prohibited singing.  We
have dealt with this matter partially in footnote 2628 of the Explanatory
Notes and have derived the material from [QF: volume 1: page 370:
line(s) 6-10: {book 21, chapter 6, item 12, singing}]

However, it is not the case that external Maliki fuqaha' are the only
ones opposed to it or the most ardently opposed to it.  But, it would
seem that most of the external scholars (e.g., al-Dhahiri, al-Shafi`i,
al-Hanafi, al-Hanbali, etc.) who only understand movement and sound
(and have no real grasp of the spirituality) have issued negative opinions
about the Hadrah.

The ruling for the Hadrah at the end of the matter is summed up by Ibn Banna
al-Sarqusti in his al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah (line 218) :

   And its [hadrah's] ruling according to the best of rulings:
   Is that the opinion of `Iraq is not the opinion of Syria.
  
In other words, no conclusive statement will ever be issued by the
totality of the scholars of our din on this subject.  People who produce
"fatwas" on such subjects (e.g., "little books" that they distribute warning
people of the great misguidance of those associated with tasawwuf) should
really step back and they will realize their close-mindedness and inability
to the grasp the totality of the issue being dealt with.


> quick question two: You had mentioned that some knowledge
> was passed down through Sufi Sheikhs orally. Would Malik
> have been aware of these teachings?

Yes.  He would have been aware of such as he was student of Ja`far
al-Sadiq al-Husayni (who was a qualified tasawwuf sheikh) - and he
probably had other tasawwuf shiekh contacts also.

Reference:
  Notes of Sources for Guiding Helper line 7.

>If so, is there reference to them from his students.

Most of his popular students have only narrated "fiqh"
from him; no substantial tasawwuf has been narrated from him.

For example, the Mudawwanah is confined to quoting
external fiqh laws.  It really has no substantial material on
`aqidah or tasawwuf.

However, there are isolated statements narrated from Imam
Malik that clearly show that he was qualified in tasawwuf
(but perhaps chose not to teach it to his students - perhaps
because other qualified teachers were already around).

An example of such a statement is what the Scholar al-Tata'i
quotes in the Introduction to his commentary to Ibn Rushd's
Muqaddamah metered-verse song (right before verse #1):

  Imam Malik (May Allah have mercy on him) said, "Whoever
  practices tasawwuf but doesn't practice fiqh has become a
  apostate (zindiq).  And whoever practices fiqh but doesn't
  practice tasawwuf will become corrupt [Ahmad Zarruq says
  that "corrupt" means that he will either lean towards hypocrisy
  or become rampantly disobedient].  And whoever practices
  both tasawwuf and fiqh together has reached the reality."

Now, certain individuals have been trying to attack the
authenticity of tasawwuf-backing statements from the scholars of
fiqh and hadith such as Imam Malik; however, the fact that
high-grade scholars such as Ahmad Zarruq and al-Tata'i
have quoted such statements and accepted them as true
shows that they must have some authenticity connected with
them.

Thank you and we pray that you continue to increase in your
knowledge and understanding.


>For clarification, is Ibn 'Ashir saying that we have a *freedom of *choice**
> which is limited (as you mentioned the choices in the car [right, left, forward,
> back etc.]) Even though we have this choice, we only choose it if Allah wills us
> to choose it? Or is it safer to say, we only choose if Allah allows us to choose? In
> other words, if Allah limits our choices, does he give us 'free reign' within those
> limited choices, or can He also compell us not to choose any of them (or one over
> the other.)(I recognize that I may be thinking too chronologically linear here.)

Again on the level of shari`ah, the choices we make are ascribed to us and their
created results are ascribed to Allah.  This is what the great
scholar Abul Hasan al-Shadhili (who was also an `Ash`ari) is recorded to have
said [Reference:  al-Sawanih al-Kamaliyyah `ala Hikam al-Shadhiliyyah].

The perfected man is the one who can balance between shari`ah and haqiqah.
The haqiqah is in his spiritual heart and soul and the shari`ah governs his rational
mind and body.  The haqiqah tells him that Allah is al-Qahhar (the one who forces
people into subjugation) whereas the shari`ah gives him responsibility over the
conscious choices he makes.

>And on the level of haqiqah, one knows that there exists
>none other than Allah so how can a non-existent being be
>given choice or make a choice?]
> I assume that we are saying that Allah creates everything, and nothing exists
> except that it is connected to Allah by His creative act. But it seems that we
> could also say 'how could there be the torture of the grave, since how can a
> non-existant being be tortured.' I am none the less, still terrified of what I might
> find in my grave. Even if see all of my being, thoughts+actions+beliefs etc., as
> being the action of Allah, I still am warned of a painful chastisment and informed
> of Gardens beneath which rivers flow, so that part of *me* will be *experiencing*
> something in the Afterlife, even if it is all merely the action of Allah. I assume
> there's some point I'm missing here...

The Path proceeds from fana` to baqa'. 

At the level of fana', one *experiences* nothing
but Allah; thus, a fani does not distinguish between Heaven and Hell, reward and punishment,
or other multifarious experiences.  If you were to make him stand in front of Hell and Heaven,
he would neither feel any fear nor any hope.  This is because all is from Allah and it
is intrinsically equal in that it is from Allah.  The fani is drowned in the haqiqah.

The baqi has learned to balance between the haqiqah and the shari`ah.  Therefore he gives his
rational mind and physical body their due share.  And he understands that pain is pain and
pleasure is pleasure.  And although Allah creates everything, the physical-body/rational-mind
will still feel pain or pleasure.  The baqi takes his values from the evidences in the primary
texts.  Thus, he gives value to pleasure (in the next life, not this life) and detracts
value from pain (in the next life, not this life).  This is because Allah has praised
pleasure (in the next life, not this life) and put a stigma on pain (in the next life, not this
life).

Reference:
   [Sheikh `Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri's verse book, al-Hada'iq al-Nadiyyah]

One reason people are confused about this matter is that the Qur'an itself quickly switches
from the level of shari`ah to the level of haqiqah and vice versa (often in the same verse).
Thus, they are unable to understand what really is meant since the same event is narrated
from two opposite vantage points.

An example of this in one verse is:

    And these villages We destroyed when they started doing wrong and We had [already]
    appointed for their destruction a fixed date [maw`idan].

   [{Surah Kahf, verse 59}]

Now the beginning part of the verse is talking on the level shari`ah - that Allah brought
punishment on people because of incorrect conscious choices that they were making.
And the second part of the verse is talking on the level of haqiqah - that they were
to be destroyed on a particular date as predestined for them.

An example of this in two verses is:

     "...If good befalls them they say, 'This is from Allah.'  And if bad
       befalls them, they say, 'This is from you [O Prophet].'  Say: All
      is from Allah.  So what is wrong with these people that they almost
      cannot understand [a simple] statement.

      If good befalls you, it is from Allah and if bad befalls you, it is from
      yourself..."

    [{al-Nisa', verse(s) 78-79}]

Now, clearly, if one were think on the same level, the verses above contain
a contradiction - as many unqualified people (mostly non-Muslim) have claimed.
But, such passages in the Qur'an are written for the baqi who has learned  to join
between the haqiqah and the shari`ah.  Thus, he sees the shari`ah part of
"if bad befalls you, it is from yourself" and he sees the haqiqah part of "all is from Allah".

The spiritually immature will not be able to grasp this.

> I also had a question about the rational proofs. Since some of them
> have been articulated in some form prior to Islam, and some by
> philosphers like Al-Kindi, how are we different from Al-Kindi for example?
> Are we quoting what is good from him, and leaving the bad conclusions,
> in the same way as one might quote Ibn Taymiah on a Fiqh point, but ignore
> his position that there's no figurative interpretation in the Quran? Could we
> validly compose a book of Aqida quoting Al-Kindi, Ibn Taymiah, and
> Aristotle, so long as it conformed with the 'Ashari position?

As we said before, logic is logic and humans are humans.  As long as
the argument conforms to the rules given in Islamic logic books
(e.g., al-Sullam al-Munawraqi) and conforms to adab with Allah and
His Messenger, the argument is acceptable.

Thus, you will find that various `Ash`ari scholars use different
methods for reaching the same conclusion.

> Also, is it a safe assumption that since Aristotle saw the popular religion
> of his day to be a sort of remnant that had been altered for human gain,
> that maybe something of his thinking (if not methodology) may have
> been rooted in divine teachings, and therefor not entirely 'pagan knowlege?'
> (in contrast to the Christian treatment of him as being before the time of
> Jesus (alaihi selam) and therefor 'a Pagan' without any hope for salvation.)

This is a safe assumption as the Qur'an tells us that all groups of people
living have had sometime in their history a "warner"/prophet ([35:24]).

Also there is much truth (and also some error) in Socrates' statements as
preserved through the line of his students.

The line of his students was Socrates->Plato->Aristotle->Alexander_the_Great.

Reference:
  [{American Heritage College dictionary, Aristotle}]


> hope you can help, i have been spinning for the past 11 years and just recently
> i began to spin clockwise. i can spin for hours either way and reach euphoria
> opening my heart as wide as the cosmos. the vibration raises. during this time
> of spinning counterclockwise i have been able to bring heaven to earth, clear
> out lower vibrations of both myself and other hence the raising of vibration. it
> seems to me that these lower vibrations become transmuted and that transmuted
> energy then becomes pure light that can be used for healing. i can move within
> the spin as easily as i am breathing right now. All this has shifted a bit as i have
> begun to spin clockwise. it has seemed to me that the divine energy that has
> been flowing through me in a counterclockwise spin now is contained within me.
> can you please help me understand the difference through my mind that my body
> isn't quite able to communicate with me.

You should contact a teacher of the Mevlevi Order as they are the "spin experts".
We are affiliated with the Shadhili Order which is a more intellectual knowledge
based order.

Here is a link to an interview with a Mevlevi teacher:

    http://www.wpo.net/dance/volume1/Hafizullah.html

In this link he seems to indicate that the spin should always be counter-clockwise
with the palm of the right hand up and the palm of the left hand down while the
left foot remains in contact with the floor.

The counter-clockwise spin is in conformity with the actual direction that the
earth spins in around its axis (viewed from the North Pole).  Additionally, the
counter-clockwise spin is in conformity with the actual direction that the earth
revolves around the sun. 

Additionally in our din, we walk around the ka`bah in a counter-clockwise
manner.


> Q. Does envy only devour good deeds if one actually carries out
> forbidden actions that are to the detriment of the envied person? or
> , does the mere fact that one has envy in one's heart mean that bad
> deeds are acquired, in effect devouring one's good deeds because
> one's balance-sheet of deeds might be tipping in an unfavourable
direction?

The hadith you are referring to is found in Abu Dawud (among other
places) #4257:

    Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (May Allah bless him and
    give him peace aid, "Beware of [resentful] envy since [resentful] envy
    eats good deeds as fire eats dry wood"

The standard tafsir of this hadith given in `Awn al-Ma`bud Sharh
Aunan Abu Dawud is:

   Be aware of resentful envy (hasad - wishing that another person lose
   his blessing) in wealth and in worldly status since
   it is blameworthy unlike hoping to get the same blessing without
   taking it away from another person (ghibtah) concerning some
  affair in the next life.

  The meaning of "hasad eats good deed" is that it finishes off and
  lessens the acts of obedience of the person performing hasad
  "as fire eats dry wood".  The reason for this is if that hasad causes
   a person to backbite the person he is envying and perform similar
  unlawful deeds.  So, his good deeds lessen [and are given to the person
  he is envying] for damaging the honor of the person envied.  So the
  person who is envied achieves a blessing after a blessing and the
  person who is envying incurs a loss after a loss.

The above is actually a "fiqh-hy" tafsir as most muhaddithin
were "fiqh-hy" type characters.  The "ihsani" tafsir would
be that the advanced of the ummah take care and control over
their thoughts (and not just their external actions) and they know that
a mere repetitive thought of hasad decreases the value of their
good actions and makes them far from the vision and presence
of Allah (for which they are rewarded much more than for their external
actions).

> When people say that they hear or see a wali
> (who has died) at the wali's grave site, is this really
> the entity of the wali?

No.  According to the teachers of the Path, it is their
"lisan al-hal": their entity in "spirit".  Or in other words,
how they would have looked and talked if they were in
actuality present.  But, no they are not physically present
there.  Rather, they are physically present in the inter-world
which is called the "Barzakh".  It is part of our `aqidah system
that we do not believe in "ghosts".  Rather, we believe that
all people after they die (including the Prophets and awliya')
are confined to the Barzakh (however, this Barzakh world may
be very nice and expansive for good people such as the prophets
and the awliya')).

As for claims of "physically" seeing apparitions of a person
who has already died, it is quite possible it is simply a
jinn imitating the look and form of that person to scare or mislead
simple-minded people.

When a spiritually-oriented person claims to see the form
of a dead person near his grave or some other location, what
in actuality is happening is that his ruh has gained the
ability to communicate with his mind (something which the
non-salik cannot do usually).  Thus, his ruh actually sees
the person in the Barzakh world and communicates this fact
to his mind.  Now, the mind using its "imaginative" faculties
imagines that the person is present in a particular location
in a particular physical form (e.g., wearing a turban or dressed
in white)..
Spiritual people who do not understand this fact can get
confused about this matter and other things they experience.

> Allah says in His book : "Kun fa ya kun". How do i have to unterstand this.
> Because if he would create a thing out of nothing, this would implies that
> there is a "Non Existence" But if the "Non Existence is a thing and not like
> i think only an idea for the human mind, wouldn't this mean there is somthing
> besides Allah, which is for sure impossible. My question now is: How can a
> thing called Non Existence be in the Existence of Allah" You state in the
> explanatory Notes if one thing is true the opposite is not possible" I know
> also that Allah says: "Laisa kamithlihi sha┬┤i"

"Non existence" means "not perceivable".

If something is perceivable (seeable - able to be observed), then
it is known as existent.

If something is not able to be observed, perceived or seen, it
is known as non-existent.

Thus, the way that Allah makes something existent is by
bringing it into the sphere of perception.

And the way that Allah makes something non-existent is
by taking it out of the sphere of perception.

Now perception is of three types.

The first type of perception is called physical sensory
perception.  This is done with the human's eyes, ears,
tongue, skin, and nose - mainly. 

The second type of perception is called metaphysical
perception.  This involves a shift of conscious from the
physical world to the hidden metaphysical world (ghayb)
and can be achieved in various ways, such as "astral projection",
"remote viewing", or as the Prophet (May Allah bless him and
give him peace) was able to do physically in body and soul during
his Isra and Mi`raj (Night Journey and ascension).  Additionally,
people also experience this metaphysical world in terms
of "feelings" which they label as "spiritual" and also in their true
dreams.  And since these last two methods is how most humans
perceive the metaphysical world (while in this life) it is worth
emphasizing that these "spiritual feelings" and "true dreams"
that they have are "perceptions of the metaphysical world".

[Thoughts that occur in the mind can either be grouped
 as belonging to physical perception or metaphysical
 perception - depending on what is involved.]

The third type of perception is called timeless and
spaceless perception.  This is done through the soul
of the human which is able to perceive Allah's Entity
while still in this world (albeit after intensive training).

An example of the first type of perception is your
seeing a full moon in the night sky.  Thus, we can say that
the full moon exists on that night.  And when the night is
that of a new moon, we can say that the full moon does
not exist on that night - as it is not perceivable.

An example of the second type of perception is your
seeing an angel while in a true dream or astral projection.
Thus, any one person who sees this angel provides proof
that this angel in actuality did exist.

The example of the third type of perception is the
`arifin seeing Allah with their souls while still in this
life - or all believers seeing Allah with their eyes while
in the next world.  Thus, any one person who sees Allah
provides proof that this Being actually exists. 

Now we as humans, cannot go around blindly claiming
(without rational proofs) that something does not exist.
This is because our realm of perception is very small
compared to what Allah actually creates.  Thus, our not
seeing a phenomenon is not sufficient cause (without a
rational proof) that this phenomenon does not in actuality
exist.

Thus, from this you see that non-existence is not an entity
along with Allah.  Rather, non-existence is in Allah's
knowledge and is brought about by His *choosing* that something
will not be in the realm of perception.  

Reference(s):
   [QF: volume 1: page(s) 10: line(s) 1-2 {Book 0, chapter 2,
     Allah's knowledge of existent and non-existent things}]


> Al Qushairi said in his Wasiya: "One of the rules for the novice is to
> stay in his place of his irada and not to travel before the path took him,
> because traveling at the beginning of the path would be poison for him".
>

The idea here is that one should just concentrate on one's work (`amal)
in the Path (as outlined in Songs 42 and 43) without worrying to much
about the end result.  The end result will automatically come to you if you
practice the dictates of the Tariqah with sincerity as is noted in footnote
2602 of the Explanatory Notes.

If you try to force the end result (in the beginning without preparation),
you are likely to fail and be unable to handle the "heaviness" of the haqiqah.
This will act like a poison to your suluk (travel).

When you are near the end, Allah Himself will bring you into His presence
(albeit along with the company of a perfected guide - even if the company
lasts for a short time).

Reference(s):
   Sharh of al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah, line 262-264

    "And they did not reveal the haqiqah to the [beginning] disciple.
      Since He hadn't fulfilled all the rights of the Tariqah.

      Rather, they push him towards actions
       because there is much reward [both material and spiritual] in them

      Since the Tariqah is first knowledge and then action.
      Then, after that gifts [of ma`rifah from Allah] are expected."

> And another saying is: "To sit with younger people and to associate with
> them is one of the biggest afflictions of the path".
> Please can you explain me this?

This is a base principle of the Path outlined by the early teachers.

The idea here is if someone is intellectually or spiritually immature,
it is best to avoid his company (except for necessities) as his immaturity
may "rub off" (transfer) to oneself.

And this the idea behind Ibn `Ata'illah's hikma #43:

Do not accompany him whose state does not lift you nor his words guide you to Allah.


> Second question: What is adab (behavior)?

Adab in reality is the way in which  the Prophet (May Allah bless him
and give him peace) went about his daily tasks (worship and dealings
with people).

Thus, all acts which are considered adab must be traceable back to
the Prophet somehow.

For example, the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace)
was a calm and "cool" person who went about his tasks in a dignified
"expert" manner.  Thus, a person who is calm in his words and
actions (and in his heart) has replicated the adab of the Prophet
in this aspect.  And a person who raises his voice (yells and screams)
for minor issues, becomes irritated and upset (angry) at small
things, and uses physical force when it is uncalled for is far from the
adab of the Prophet in this aspect.

Another example, is the way he ate, performed nature's call,

The aspects of his adab are many, which can be learned from his
seerah/hadith and from the scholars of the Path (who are his inheritors
in this).

It is not enough to just learn from written books and it is not enough
to learn from people.  Rather, one must do both and attempt to
practice what one learns in a calm and cool manner.

And one uses the resources one has available at that time.

Reference(s):
   Sharh al-Mabahith al-Asliyyah, line(s) 162-181, section
   on adab, chapter 3, hukm 5

> And how can I learn adab if I am without a teacher? And
> how can I be sure that my manners are getting better?

In reality, to perfect your adab, you will need to both learn
them explicitly via books/lectures and also learn them implicitly
via accompanying the learned scholars.-




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