The Bearers of Wisdom: A Recent Sohbet

Peace one and all…

Here is the text of a recent beautiful sohbet, entitled The Bearers of Wisdom.

May the hearts of the lovers be opened

Imam Ali, The Door to the City of Wisdom:

One day, Imam Ali took Kumayl ibn Ziyad on a walk through the graveyards and out into the desert. After breathing out a long sigh, he said to him, “O Kumayl, hearts are containers the best of which are those that are most aware. So, preserve in your heart what I will say to you.”

“People are of three types; there are those who have divine wisdom, there are those who are seeking wisdom and are upon the path to salvation, and then there are those of the barbaric herd who sway with every wind and follow anyone who shouts out. They have not been illuminated by any wisdom nor have they found refuge in any certain support.”

“O Kumayl, wisdom is better than wealth. Wisdom protects you while you have to protect wealth. Wealth is diminished when you give it to others while wisdom increases in purity when you share it. Whatever is produced by wealth decays as wealth perishes, while the fruits of wisdom abide.”

“O Kumayl, wisdom is a religion to be followed by which a person gains obedience during his life and beautiful remembrance after his death. Wisdom governs while wealth is governed.”

“O Kumayl, the hoarders of wealth perish while still living, while the Gnostics remain present throughout time. Their forms are missing but their examples remain in the heart.”

“Here, here (he pointed to his heart) indeed is a trove of wisdom. I wish I could find those that can bear it. I have found those that can copy it but cannot be entrusted with it. They use the tool of religion for worldly gain, and they would use Allah’s favor to impose themselves upon His servants, and they would use their arguments to dominate over His Friends.”

“I have found those that have no insight who are swayed by the conveyors of Truth. Doubt spreads in their hearts at the appearance of the first uncertainty. So, neither this type nor that is fit to be entrusted with what is in my heart.”

“Neither are those I have found who are consumed by pleasures, easily led by desires, or enamored by accumulation and hoarding, these are not fit to be entrusted with religion. They are more like stray cattle. This is how wisdom dies with the death of its bearers.”

“O My Allah, indeed the earth is never devoid of those who stand for You upon firm proof. They are either well-known or hidden so that Allah’s proofs and evidences shall not end. How many are those and where are they?”

“Those, those by Allah, are the few in number but of the greatest esteem with Allah. Through them Allah preserves His proofs and evidences until they can entrust it to those who are worthy of them, and until they can plant it in the hearts of those that are like them.”

“Wisdom has propelled them to truthful insight until they have reached the Spirit of Certainty. They find easy what the decadent find hard, and they find intimacy in what the ignorant find alienating. They partake of the world with bodies whose spirits are attached to The Most Elevated Station.”

“These are the vicegerents of Allah on His earth and they are the Callers to His religion. Oh, how I long to see them! You may go now, Kumayl if you wish.”

The Travels of Ibrahim in Adham:

In Alexandria, Ibrahim ibn Adham met a Friend of Allah, Aslam ibn Yazid Al Johani, who asked him, “Who are you, son?” Ibrahim answered, “I am a youth from the people of Khurasan.” He asked him, “What prompted you to abandon this world?” Ibrahim said, “To detach from it and in hope of Allah’s favor.” Aslam then told him, “A servant’s hope in Allah’s favor is complete only when he bears his Nafs to patience, the least of which is to train the Nafs to bear what it hates.” Ibn Adham asked, “Then what?” Aslam told him, “Then Allah will bestow upon your heart a light by which you can discern truth from falsehood.” He went on, “Beware if you accompany the chosen ones or speak with the pure ones of angering them, for Allah’s Anger is their anger, and His Contentment is their contentment. O young man, hear from me and understand, bear with me and do not be in haste. With reflection comes gentleness and modesty while with baseness comes transgression and pessimism.”

Ibn Adham’s tears flowed as he said, “By Allah, I did not leave my family and turn away from my wealth except for love of Allah.” Aslam then said, “Beware of miserliness. For the people of the world this means to withhold one’s wealth, but for the people of the other world it means to withhold one’s Nafs from Allah. Verily, if a servant is generous with his Nafs for Allah, He bestows upon his heart guidance and consciousness and he is granted stillness, repose, and complete wisdom. With this, the gates of heaven open for him.”

Aslam continued, “O young man, we benefit you and prepare you and give you wisdom. Do not hope for night vigil while your stomach is full, nor hope for sorrow with plenty of sleep, nor hope for awe of Allah while you wish for the world, nor hope for intimacy with Allah while you seek intimacy with the created, nor hope for the inspiration of wisdom while you abandon God-consciousness, nor hope for rightness of your matters while you align with oppression, nor hope for love of Allah while you love wealth and status, nor hope for softness of heart while you are harsh towards orphans, widows and the poor, nor hope for refinement while you talk too much, nor hope for Allah’s Compassion while abandoning compassion of the created, nor hope for guidance while abandoning the company of the wise, nor hope for love of Allah while
loving to be praised, nor hope for piety while you are covetous for the world, nor hope for contentment and humility while you lack piety.”

“Not one of us has attained by much fasting and prayer, but rather by generosity of spirit,
wholesomeness of heart, and concern for the community.”

Al Fudhayl Ibn ‘Iyadh

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