riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Living in the Name of...

Following is a lesson that I found really helpful in my life and of great benefit. Everytime something is not going well, I remember this lesson, and say Bismillaah ar-Rahmaan ar-Raheem, and everything starts to go right again! But it should not be an automatic bismillah without thought, but one in which you think about the following lesson and trust in it. It always works, wal-hamdu Lillahi Rabb il-aalameen




Bismillah is the start of all good things, so we shall start with it. This blessed phrase is a mark of Islam, one constantly recited by all creatures through their tongues of disposition. If you want to perceive its inexhaustible source of strength and blessing, consider the following allegory:

Travelers in Arabian deserts must travel under a tribal chief's name and protection, or else they will be bothered by bandits and unable to acquire what they need for the journey. Two people, one humble and the other arrogant, set out on a journey. The humble one obtained the name of a tribal chief; the arrogant one did not. The former traveled everywhere in safety. Whenever he met a bandit, he said: "I am travelling in the name of this chief," and so was left alone. He was treated with respect in every tent he entered. In contrast, the arrogant one suffered disaster and constant fear, for he had to struggle and beg for every need. He became base and vile.

O arrogant soul! You are that traveler, and this world is the desert. Your weakness and poverty are endless, and the enemies and privations to which you are exposed are beyond number. Given this, invoke the name of the Eternal Owner and the Everlasting Ruler of the world, for only this can deliver you from such begging and fear.

Bismillah is a blessed treasure. It transforms your boundless weakness and poverty, by binding you to the Omnipotent and Merciful One's infinite Power and Mercy, into the most heeded intercessor at His Exalted Court. When you say bismillah, you act in His name. You are like a soldier acting in the state's name, fearing no one, doing all things in the name of the law and the state, and persisting against all odds.


- Bedi'uzzaman Said Nursi, Humanity's Encounter with the Divine Series: Humanity, Belief, and Islam, pg 3-5.

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