The Book of Ascension to the Essential Truths of Sufism

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In the Name of God,the All Merciful and Compassionate. P raise be to God Who has affirmed the essential truths. al aq iq and made clear the paths al ar iq May blessings. and salutations be upon our master Mu ammad the first of. creation chosen to receive the extraordinary and miraculous and may. God be well pleased with his Companions by whom His religion was. manifested in the furthest east and the furthest west. The science of Sufism is the foremost of the religious sciences. and both the goal and heart of the Revealed Law And how could it. be otherwise when it is the exposition tafs r of the station of excel. lence maq m al i s n the station of direct perception and vision. in the same way that theology ilm al kal m is the exposition of. the station of faith m n and jurisprudence fiqh is the exposition. of the station of surrender isl m all of which are contained in the. ad th of Gabriel 1, If Sufism is thus then to immerse oneself in this science is the. most excellent way of drawing near to God Most High Indeed it is. a means of realizing gnosis al ma rifa the knowledge which comes. from vision As such Sufism involves rare and strange truths and. 1 The well known ad th reported in Bukh r m n B 37 H 50 vol 1 p. 19 and Muslim m n B 1 H 8 1 vol 1 p 24 describes how the angel. Gabriel came to the Prophet Mu ammad in the form of a traveler and. questioned him about the meaning of surrender isl m faith m n. and excellence or impeccability i s n,the book of ascension. subtle expressions which the Sufis use when speaking of them and. anyone who wants to understand this science needs to understand. these expressions, Therefore I wished through the power and strength of God to. assemble a useful summary of these essential truths and the terms. used to express them in hopes that God might benefit thereby those. who want to understand this science and I have called it The Book. of Ascension to the Essential Truths of Sufism All success is in God. and He is the One Who guides to the right path, For each of these essential truths I will mention what pertains to.
it in the beginning middle and end of the way,1 Sufism al ta awwuf. Sufism al ta awwuf is the science of how to journey into the pres. ence of the King of kings It is to inwardly purify ourselves from. vice and beautify ourselves with virtue to pass away from creation. through consciousness of the Creator and then to return Its begin. ning is knowledge its middle practice and its end a gift from God. The word ta awwuf is said to be derived either from purity af. because it is centered on purification or from attribute ifa because. it leads to the attributes of virtue or from porch uffa that is the. porch outside the Prophet s mosque inasmuch as the Sufis in their. orientation towards God and their devotion resemble the People. of the Porch or from wool al f because the Sufis are wont to. wear this material in their renunciation of the world choosing it. because it is the material from which were made the garments of. God s prophets, Linguistically this last derivation is the most suitable and also most. closely fits the literal meaning of the word Referring to a garment. of wool is an external description based on appearance and thus. simplest and most direct while the others are inner interpretations. Just as we say taqamma a to mean he put on a shirt qam we say. ta awwafa to mean he put on a garment of wool and the person so. garbed is called f, Sahl said The Sufi is one who is pure afiya of turbidity and full. of reflection one who has turned away from human kind in order to. turn towards God For the Sufis gold and pebbles are of equal worth. for they desire nothing else but the Guardian Lord. And al Junayd said The Sufi is like the earth they cast upon it what is. To the Essential Truths of Sufism, vile and there blossoms forth from it what is beautiful and upon it both. the virtuous and the sinners tread The Sufi is like the sky which shades. all and like the rain from which all are given to drink 2. 2 Repentance al tawba, Repentance al tawba is the return from every deed that is ugly to.
one that is beautiful from every trait that is base to one that is noble. or from a mind engrossed in the world to one immersed in conscious. ness of the Divine, Its conditions are that we regret our sin rid ourselves of it and. refuse to persist in it Also if our sin is one that has wronged another. human being we must try to correct that wrong but our repentance. may be accepted without having done so just as repentance for one. sin may be accepted even while another remains, For the generality of believers repentance is from sins for the elect. it is from faults and for the elect of the elect it is from everything that. distracts the soul from the Divine Presence, Every station of the way necessitates repentance In the station of. repentance itself another repentance is needed if the first one lacks. sincerity It is needed in the station of fear al khawf if we begin to. have an illusory sense of security in the station of hope al raj if. we experience feelings of despair in the station of patience al abr if. we grow restless and worried in the station of detachment al zuhd if. we are beset by cravings and desires in the station of scrupulousness. al wara if we start looking for too much license in the Revealed Law. or are beset by covetousness in the station of dependence on God. al tawakkul if we start worrying about the future about our choices. or about the means by which our worldly provision will come to us. in the station of contentment and submission al ri wa l tasl m. when we become bitter and contrary in confronting our destiny in. the station of vigilance al muraqaba for ill behavior s al adab. outwardly and ill thoughts inwardly in the station of self examination. al mu saba for wasting our time with things that do not bring us. closer to God in the station of love al ma abba when our hearts. incline towards other than the Beloved in the station of contemplative. vision al mush hada if our innermost consciousness turns towards. someone or something other than the One Perceived or we become. 2 See also Appendix II 1,the book of ascension, fixed on something in the sensory world or cease our ascent along. the pathways of souls, Thus would the Prophet ask forgiveness from God seventy or a.
hundred times in a single assembly 3, As for sincere repentance tawbatan na an 4 it is comprised of. four things to ask forgiveness for sin with our voices to abstain from. it with our bodies to rid our hearts from any desire to persist in it. and to stay away from bad companions Sufy n al Thawr said The. signs of sincere repentance are four meagerness weakness humility. and solitude 5,3 Conversion al in ba, Conversion al in ba is more particular than repentance It means to. return to God with our pride broken and with a renewed aspiration. for the spiritual journey There are three levels of conversion turning. from sin to repentance turning from heedlessness to vigilance and. turning from separative consciousness farq to unitive consciousness. in God jam al All h,4 Fear al khawf, Fear al khawf is the heart s distress at confronting what it abhors or. losing what is desires Its fruits should be a renewed effort to live in. obedience to God and avoid transgressions Lacking this it is only. pretension, The generality fear punishment or losing some reward in the Next. World the elect fear Divine reproach or that they will cease to draw. nearer to God and the elect of the elect fear being veiled from God. 3 The ad th with the wording By God I ask God for forgiveness and turn. in repentance to Him more than seventy times a day and night appears. in al Bukh r Da w B 3 Istighf r al nab H 6307 vol 8 p 67. 4 This refers to Q 66 8 O you who believe turn to God with a sincere. repentance, 5 This term from the root TWB to turn in repentence occurs in the.
Qur n in verbal and nominative forms approximately ninety times. where it is used both with human beings in the sense of repenting and. God in the sense of turning in forgiveness One of the Ninety Nine. Divine Names is al Taww b al Ra m the Forgiving and Compassionate. One See also Appendix I 1 5 and Appendix II 2,To the Essential Truths of Sufism. by their poor comportment 6,5 Hope al raj, Hope al raj is the tranquility of a heart awaiting the object of its. love along with effort made to accomplish the means which lead to. that object Hope without effort is but vanity and self deception. For the generality of the faithful hope is to reach the best of desti. nations as reward for the elect it is to attain God s pleasure ri w n. and draw near and for the elect of the elect it is to attain stability in. the consciousness of God and progress ever higher in knowledge of. the mysteries of the worshipped Sovereign, Fear and hope in the heart are like the two wings of a bird it cannot. fly except with both However it may be that hope is more prevalent. with the gnostics al rif n and fear with the virtuous al li n 7. 6 Patience al abr, Patience al abr is to keep the heart steady before the order of the. Lord For the generality this means keeping it steady when it is hard to. accomplish acts of obedience or avoid transgressions For the elect it. means to keep the individual self steady in its devotions and spiritual. efforts and to bear the dangers of the way with a heart vigilant in its. concentration on God and its search for the veils to be raised For the. elect of the elect it means keeping the spirit and soul concentrated. in the contemplative and essential vision on going reflection and. sustained concentration 8,7 Gratitude al shukr, Gratitude al shukr is the heart s joy at receiving some benefaction.
using the limbs of the body to obey the Benefactor and humbly. acknowledging that the Benefactor is God, Gratitude thus has three expressions by the tongue in its humble. acknowledgement of God s gifts by the body in its readiness to serve. 6 Forms of the verbal root KhWF to be afraid occur in the Qur n ap. proximately one hundred and twenty times, 7 The root RJW expresses the idea of hoping for something or expecting. something In various forms it occurs in the Qur n about thirty times. 8 Variations of the root BR are found just over a hundred times in the. Qur n and include the Divine Name al ab r the Infinitely Patient. See also Appendix II 3,Arabic Text,The Book of Ascension. to the Essential Truths of Sufism,Mi r j al tashawwuf il aq iq al ta awwuf. All rights reserved,Copyright 2011,Fons Vitae Louisville KY.
of Ascension to the Essential Truths of Sufism All success is in God and He is the One Who guides to the right path For each of these essential truths I will mention what pertains to it in the beginning middle and end of the way 1 Sufism al ta awwuf Sufism al ta awwuf is the science of how to journey into the pres

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