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.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Path of Proofs and the Path of Illumination (2)

[From a letter written by Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi]:

For him who wants our way of proofs (tareeqatnua al-burhaaniyya), we have ordered what our teacher [Ahmad ibn Idris] has ordered all of the brothers: To stick to reading the likes of: Sahih Bukhari and the Muwatta [of Malik] and the Buloogh al-Maraam [of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani] in Hadith. And the Risaala of Ibn Abi Zayd in Fiqh. And reading the seven Sufi treatises, which are[1]: the Raa'iyya [of Abu al-Abbas Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Khalaf al-Qurashi], the Haa'iyya [of al-Ghazali?] and al-Mabaahith al-Asliyya [of Ibn al-Banna al-Sarqasti], which are purely on sulook (travelling the path); al-Fadliyya [of Khidr al-Bilani?], al-Hatimiyya [of Ibn Arabi], al-Raslaniyya [of Raslan al-Dimashqi], and al-Fusus [of Ibn Arabi] which are purely on Gnosis (irfan). And the barzakh between them is the Hikam of Ibn Ata'Allah al-Sakandari... For it is not permissable for anyone to embark upon anything without knowing God's ruling on the matter and its proof. For in the first two are more than 1600 and 1700 sahih hadiths that cover all matters, and in the Risala [of Ibn Abi Zaid] about four thousand hadiths as well, 600 of which in the wording of the Prophet and 3400 in their meaning.... As for the seven books mentioned, they are the quintessence of that which is related to the station of ihsaan and that which leads to it from the two stations that come before "Worship God as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him then He sees you." You will find your share in that according to your capabilities.


And stay away from those who tell you that only little religious knowledge is needed (man yuzhidukum fil ilm), and have no knowledge of what the best of the [Sufis] are like. For they are in two groups: ishraaqiyya and burhaaniyya. As for the former, their habit is that of purifying their souls from disturbances, and guiding them towards al-Haqq so that they are granted gnosis and secrets without learning or studying, in the way of: And have taqwa of Allah and Allah will teach you (Qur'an 2:282). As for the latter, their habit is the following of the commandments and the avoidance of that which is forbidden, and acquiring the four sciences that are: Knowledge of the Essence and the Attributes, Fiqh, Hadith, and the aalaat (the sciences like grammar, logic, and rhetoric that are necessary tools for the other sciences), as is shown by al-Shadhili and Zarruq, may God be pleased with them.

And the tariq of our ustadh (teacher) [Ahmad ibn Idris] may God be pleased with him combines them both. So he who wants the ishraaqiyya travels on its path, and he who wants the burhaaniyya travels upon its path, and it is the one that dominates [our teacher's] states because it is the best of the two paths, in that it was the dominant state of the Prophet peace be upon him and most of his companions.

1. The authors of the works are not mentioned, as they are supposed to be known among the Sufis. If there is a question mark then it is because I am not aware of who wrote it and filled in the blanks based on internet searches.


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April 18, 2008 at 12:39 PM


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