Ahmad ibn Ajiba on Remembrance of God

Peace, one and all…


Beloved Ahmad ibn `Ajiba on the practice of remembrance (dhikr)


‘Invocation (dhikr) is a powerful mainstay of the Sufic path and the most excellent of spiritual practices. God has said: ‘Remember Me; I shall remember you’ (2:152) and also ‘O you who believe, invoke God with abundant remembrance’ (33:41), and ‘abundant remembrance’ is not to forget Him ever…

Indeed, there is no entrance to God except through the door of remembrance, and so a servant’s hours should be immersed in it and therein should he make the utmost effort…

Thus, the aspirant should persevere in [this practice] in every state and not give up invoking with the tongue because his heart lacks concentration during it. Rather, he should invoke God with his tongue even if his heart is distracted, for his ‘neglect of the invocation is far worse than his neglect in the invocation’ [Ibn Ata’illah Hikam], because the former means to leave it totally, while the latter means that he is at least involved in it to some degree. Even if only the tongue is invoking, it still means that at least one of the limbs of the body is being beautified by obedience to God, while if that is lost, it invites transgression. Thus, when one of the Sufis was asked, ‘Why should we invoke God with our tongues if our hearts are distracted?’ He answered, ‘Thank God that He has allowed your tongue to invoke Him, for if He had left it to backbiting instead, what would you do?’

So we should invoke with the tongue until God opens the way toward invocation with the heart. And it may be that He will take you from invocation with negligence to invocation with vigilance, which means He makes you conscious of the meaning of what you are invoking as you invoke, and from invocation with vigilance to invocation with concentration on the One invoked so that [the invocation] becomes inscribed in your imagination such that your heart finds serenity therein and becomes concentrated in perpetual invocation. Such is the invocation of the elect, while the former is the invocation of the generality.

Then, if you persevere in invocation with presence, God will raise you to invocation with the absence of all else except the invoked One, such that light floods your heart. Indeed, it may be that the proximity of the light of the invoked One becomes so strong that you drown in it and pass away from all else. The invoker becomes the Invoked, the seeker becomes what is sought, and the one seeking union is united. And that is not a difficult thing for God: to raise you from the lowest rung to the highest rank where invocation ceases with the tongue and moves to the heart’.

Ahmad ibn `Ajiba, The Book of Ascension to the Essential Truths of Sufism


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s