WHAT THE SEEKER NEEDS - 6

By Muhiyy ad-Din Ibn 'Arabi

If you wish to find the truth and have Allah's pleasure and support in it, then avoid being negative and control your temper and anger. If you cannot stop anger, at least do not show it. When you do this, you will please Allah and disappoint the devil. You will begin to educate your ego and straighten and shorten your path. Anger is a result and a sign of the ego not being under control, like a mean wild animal untied and uncaged. As you hold your temper, it is as if you put a bridle on its head and barriers around it. You begin then to tame it, teach it how to behave, to obey, so that it cannot hurt others or itself (because it is a part of you).

When this discipline reflects from you, revealing someone who can control his temper and hold his anger, your adversary will be calmed. You will not be reacting to his provocations. You will not be punishing him or responding to his negativity, but ignoring it. This is more effective than punishing him. He may be led to see the reality of his acts, to realize what is fair, and to confess his faults.

Give heed to this advice and make it a habit. If you do, you certainly will see the positive result and the rewards here and in the hereafter. You will be the winner on the day when your deeds will be weighed. That is the greatest reward and the greatest grace that you will receive. For if you hold your temper, the All Just will also hold back His punishment for your sins, which are punishable by His divine wrath. Your forgiving will be rewarded by His forgiving you. What better benefit may one expect for effort in bearing hardship caused by your brothers and sisters in faith?

Allah will treat you the way He has ordered you to treat others. So try to assume the good qualities of being just, peaceful, helpful, gentle, and loving. Persist in these qualities; act with them. You will see that this character will spread from you to others around you, creating harmony, mutual love, and respect. The Beloved of Allah, our master the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), orders us to love each other, to be in a continuous loving state. He repeats this in so many ways, in so many statements. To leave anger, to replace it with bearing hardship, with forgiving, with caring for the one who causes the hardship, is one of the cornerstones of the foundation of love.

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Open your heart in order to receive divine benevolence. A benevolent heart becomes the mirror in which Allah's favors are manifest. When the divine favors manifest and come through you, when you feel His presence, you will feel shame at your improper actions. This will cause both you and others to have conscience. Thus your benevolence will protect you and others from sin.

When the archangel Gabriel asked our master the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), "What is divine benevolence?" The Last of the Prophets answered, "To pray and glorify Allah as if you are in His presence, as if you see Him." Reverence reflects in the heart of a believer who has reached the level of praying as if he sees Allah.

Then our master the Prophet continued, "For if you are unable to see Him, He certainly sees you." The one who has reached that level of realization of divine benevolence will have conscience. He will feel that gaze of Allah upon him and will be ashamed to sin. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Conscience is total good." If a believer has conscience, he is aware of what he is doing and he cannot do wrong; Men a heart is filled with conscience, the possessor of that heart encounters no harm either in this world or in the Hereafter. The sign of a man with conscience is his lack of arrogance and self-importance. He never oppresses or tries to dominate others. May you also reach the level of benevolence and have conscience, and may you have the strength and foresight to try to attain it.

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Wake before sunrise, remember Allah, and repent. When repentance follows sin, it erases it The sin disappears as if it never happened. When repentance follows a benevolent action or prayer, it is like light upon light, grace upon grace. To remember Allah and to praise Him unifies the heart when it is scattered all around - like a mirror broken into a thousand pieces - and mends it, makes it into one, and turns it towards the One. Then all trouble leaves the heart, and it is filled with the joy of the One whom it remembers.

When your heart is filled to the brim with remembrance, then read the Holy Qur'an. When you read, reflect upon the meaning of what you have read. When verses remind you of His oneness and of His being without likeness and free from all defect, praise Him. When you read verses describing His blessings, bounties, generosity, and love or His wrath and punishment, take refuge from Him in Him and beg for His mercy. When you hear the parables about past prophets and their people, take heed and draw lessons from what happened to them. There are infinite meanings within the verses of the Holy Qur'an, within every word - changing with your states and levels, knowledge and understanding. Therefore you cannot possibly be tired, weary, or bored in reading them.

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Part 7