Monday, December 06, 2010

The nine principles by Sayid Zaynudin ibn Muhammad al-Mi’bari al-Shafi’I

The nine principles to look into before one embarks on a venture as documented in the poem 'Kitabul Adkiya' by Sayid Zaynudin ibn Muhammad al-Mi’bari al-Shafi’I during the ninth century AH.

The example used by the Sayid is that of Tasawuf (The subject of the heart). These nine points are not limited to the subject of Tasawuf but rather for any study or field of work

1. The definition of the subject or endeavour

The subject must be defined. As for the definition of Tasawuf, know that tasawuf is the knowledge that allows one to understand, have insight and know the manners and feelings within a person regarding his good or bad nature. It gives one insight and allows one to know the states of the heart, the good and evil.

2. The object of the study

What is the objective of my study or business? And as for the objective of the study of Tasawuf, it is to study the self ‘Nafs’ and the different states in which one can find the self in. Examples include the self in a state of anger, happiness, sadness, lust, aggression, calmness, tranquillity, satisfaction and so on.

3. What are the fruits of the study?

You must know what the fruits of the subject are. As for this subject of Tasawuf, its fruits are the cleansing of the heart from all negative and lower qualities then filling it with mercy, compassion and its end is vision of the reality.

4. What are the laws of the study?

As for the study of Tasawuf, it is considered ‘wajibun aynun’ obligatory on every ‘mukallaf’ sane and mature Muslim. I say it is compulsory just like he must clean his outer body for the ‘fiqh’ prayer, even more important is that he cleans his inner body before he stands before His Lord.

5. The virtues or highness of the study

Know that the highness and rewards are an encouragement and brings about perseverance and dedication. As for the highness of Tasawuf, it is the highest knowledge within the Law as it brings about purification of the heart and soul and therefore it is placed above all other lists of priorities.

6. What is the subject’s relationship to other knowledge areas?

As for Tasawuf, it is the root of all knowledge and all else (knowledge areas) are its branches. And the relationship of Tasawuf with the inner is like relationship ofFiqh with the outer.

7. Who started this area of knowledge or where did it come from?

Who were the first to write and speak of the subject? As for the knowledge of Tasawuf, this knowledge was documented and taught by the leaders of the Umma and from them are included Junaid al-Baghdadi and al-Muhasabi.

8. Where is the subject and knowledge derived from?

Where did the scholar who wrote on the subject derive his evidence and knowledge from? And as for Tasawuf, it comes from the Words of Allah, the words of the Prophet (saw), those of certainty ‘Auliya’ and the sources are nothing more than the Quran and the Sunnah.

9. What are the main topics discussed in the subject or area of endeavour?

Know that it is of utmost importance to be acquainted with the topics in discussion regarding your subject. As for Tasawuf, the topics include ‘Tawakul’dependence, ‘Khalwa’ seclusion, ‘Raja’ Hope, ‘Rahma’ love and its opposites.

And this is the tradition and ‘adab’ manner before approaching a subject of study and these steps will make it easier for the seeker to master the subject. And you will never master a subject unless you have love for it and to love the subject you need to know its history, founders and its benefits.

Documented by Muhammad Allie Khalfe

Translated by Sh Ahmad Hendricks

from the work Kifayatul Atqiya wa minhajul asfiya 'ala hidayatul adhkiya ila tariq al-auliya by Sayid Bakri Shata from the kitab al-adkiya by al-Mi'bari.

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