“He made an inspiration come upon you so as to take you out of the prison of your existence into the unlimited space of your contemplation.” -Shaykh Ibn Ata’illah
Reflection consists of seeking to understand the deeper meaning behind the events and forms that we encounter in the world, and connecting it to the Divine.
I love reading books on Tasawwuf (Sufism/Spirituality), Sufi Poetry and Literature, Comparative Religion, and Religious Philosophy because they contain some of the most compelling and intellectually stimulating knowledge in the universe. I love reading the wisdom/anecdotes and great literary works of our brilliant scholars of the past: Rumi, Ibn Ata’illah, Ibn al Arabi, Al Haddad, Al Ghazali, Hafiz, Attar, Sa’adi, Rabia al Adawiyah, and more.
Some favorite quotes:
“God is the separated beloved whom the human being has to find in everything beautiful, including one’s own heart. The thousands of forms in this world are like thousands of veils across the face of a single Reality. True seekers learn to ignore the appearance (majaz) of whatever they see, and concentrate instead on the unseen, the Reality (haqiqat). In other words, God exists everywhere and those who can see beyond appearance see Him manifest in things as little as a glow-worm and as huge as the Himalaya.” -Khurram Ali Shafique on explaining the philosophy of Iqbal
“Having seen the form, you are unaware of the meaning. If you are wise, pick out the pearl from the shell!” – Shaykh Rumi
“Each of your breaths is a priceless jewel, since each of them is irreplaceable and, once gone, can never be retrieved. Do not be like the deceived fools who are joyous because each day their wealth increases while their life shortens. What good is an increase in wealth when life grows ever shorter? Therefore be joyous only for an increase in knowledge or in good works, for they are your two companions who will accompany you in your grave when your family, wealth, children and friends stay behind.”
“Only when the last tree has died, and the last river poisoned, and the last fish caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.”
–Native American Proverb
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”
–Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
Note: this was his last public speech before his death, said over 1400 years ago, yet only 60 years past in America did people believe that whites were superior to blacks. And then some people have the audacity to insult him (pbuh).
“Great minds discuss ideas,
Average minds discuss events,
Small minds discuss people.”
“I carry a torch in one hand,
And a bucket of water in the other:
With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven,
And put out the flames of Hell,
So that the voyagers to God can rip the veils,
And see the Real Goal.”
-Rabi’ah al Adawiyah
“Sit with those of this world and you become a speck in its sea. Sit with those of God and the world becomes a speck in your sea”.
- Yunus Hamdan
“If you’re in the presence of a king, then watch over your eyes. If you’re in the presence of a scholar, then watch over your tongue. And if you’re in the presence of a saint, then watch over your heart.”
-Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
“The true saint goes in and out amongst the people and eats and sleeps with them and buys and sells in the market and marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment.” –Abu Sa’id Abi’l-Khayr
“A person with an atom’s weight of arrogance will not enter paradise.”
-Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain!”
-Shaykh Saadi Sherazi al-Shadilli
“The soundness of actions is through soundness of hearts. Soundness of hearts is through sound intentions. Whoever strives for purity (safa’) will be granted purity. And whoever mixes motives will be granted mixed states.”
-Mutrif, quoted by Abu Talib al-Makki in Qut al-Qulub
“People who are unhappy with themselves make poor relationship partners. Andrew Wilcox wrote: ‘You love the world best by loving yourself best. You bring the world the most joy by bringing yourself the most joy. You can help no one until you are completely helped. Lead yourself to bliss and the world will follow you there.’”
“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.”