The Wealth of the Fuqara

Moussem 1995, Weimar

By Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala says in the Qur’an: “Antum al-fuqara, Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid.”

So when Allah ta’ala says this he refers to all the human creatures: they are fuqara, Allah is the infinitely Rich and the One-Deserving-Praise. So why are we to say that we are fuqara more than anyone else would say they are fuqara? The only difference is that the people who claim this name claim it as an honor, that to be poor is to be poor in the knowledge of the richness of Allah ta’ala – not in terms of the richness of the world but of the richness of Allah ta’ala. The people who say ‘We are fuqara,’ say it in the light of Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid. This has two things: Allah by His Name al-Ghaniyu, Allah by His Name al-Hamid. His Name al-Ghaniyu means that the richness belongs to Him, therefore all that is connected to the outward needs of the human being goes back to the Ghaniyu. We are fuqara and He has the wealth.

What is the wealth or what is part of the wealth that Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has? Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has names to teach us what we can know of Him. Shaykh Muhammad ibn al- Habib, radi Allahu ‘anhu, says in the Diwan: “Praise Allah with what He has described Himself “- with what He has praised Himself.

Now, among the things of the wealth of Allah are His giving life – so the life is from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, the health is from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, the provision is from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. All the needs by which the existent exists come from the Ghaniyu. The Ghaniyu is like the Samad, it is a wealth that has no limit.”Qul Huwa Allahu Ahad, Allahu Samad.”

Now this means that what comes to us in the life does not come by the means. For the one-who-knows, for the people of knowledge who have understood the message of the Qur’an and of the behavior, of the life, of Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, that on which we are dependent comes from Him. Shaykh ibn al- Habib, radi Allahu ‘anhu, says in his Diwan, “Allah is the One who does not have need of anything and everything else has need of Him.”Now this means that what is required has to come not from dunya,it does not come through dunya, it comes by the rizq of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and it is important to understand that, as in the famous phrase, the shocking phrase of Imam al- Ghazzali, there are no secondary causes. This is not to deny the shari’ah, this is not to deny the obligations of behavior under the shari’ah, it is to recognize who is the Provider.

Now the whole of the modern world is based on imagining that we provide by organizing society best, and the more they organize it, the bigger the disasters become, until the ocean is poisoned, the air is poisoned, the earth is poisoned and the people are dying of diseases that have not appeared until this minute. This is based on the ‘successful’ application of man’s illusionary wealth – that they can be the wealthy. Someone said to me today that they were working with the ‘big boys’, the people dealing with billions. But I thought, “Antum al-fuqara, Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid.” So who are the ‘big boys’, who are the rich ones? The rich ones are the awliya of Allah because they are rich in Allah. They have moved, their poverty has become bathed in the wealth that comes from the wealth of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. They have understood where it comes from. This is the famous saying of Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyya, radi Allahu ‘anha, “Do not seek the garden, seek the Gardener.” He is the One who gives these glorious things.

Now “Antum al-fuqara” is a very interesting term because this term is the term used for the people of tariqa. Now the faqir, as I said previously, used to be marked by his staff- it was like the staff of Sayyedina Musa – and the big tasbih and the short djellaba, which was cut short, again all connected to sunna because Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, was against the trailing garment that suggested pride and arrogance, and also was unclean. So they would wear very short djellabas and an enormous tasbih and the staff and even sometimes it was muraqa (patched). Now this was the badge of their poverty.

Now the interesting thing is that today, you see, because people think that they are the providers, they start off not understanding how existence works. Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, said: ” If they only understood, if men only understood, they would be like the birds that go out in the morning hungry and come back at night full .”
This is the statement of the one who gave us the shari’ah. It is not a contradiction of the shari’ah – it is understanding how creation works. What Allah set up, functions. He has made it according to laws. He has made it bil-Haqq and He has made it with wisdom, with Hikmah.

Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has created the world with wisdom. It actually works to laws in the same way that every living thing we see moves and emerges through laws. And one of the signs of losing this knowledge is mentioned right at the beginning of surat al-Baqara, where Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, speaks of the kuffar and of ignorance and He says: ” They will alter creation.”

Now how do you alter creation? You alter creation not by destroying things and burning things because that is part of the process of creation – things emerging and being destroyed. Altering creation means that you take life and you change the form of life, which is what they are now doing with the DNA and the microbiology of the humans. So this is the idea that we can arrange existence. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Look, and look again and your glance will come back to you – you will not have found any flaw in the creation.” This is also why Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, has likened famine to Kufr. Because you would only starve in a massive way if you had lost contact with this knowledge: “Antum al-fuqara, Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid .” And so the rizq comes from the Ghaniyu.

Now also, ” Antum al-fuqara, Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid .” Al-Hamid is the One deserving-of-Praise, The One to be Praised, al hamdu’lillahi Rabbi’l Alamin.” Praise belongs to Allah because He the is Lord of All-the-Worlds, of the Universe, of the cosmos, and also all the unseen worlds. Now this praise is that thing which defines the faqir. His knowledge, his understanding of the world, is based on knowing the name of the Ghaniyu, and the understanding of the hidden things, of the ghayb, of all that is in the zone of Iman, all that which is the invisible, the non-visible, connects to His name the Hamid, because these things can only be understood by hamd. If you do not have the hamd you will not have the opening of the heart to realize the nature of existence, and therefore the nature of yourself. You will imagine, in deviation of the knowledge that is in Qur’an, you will imagine that your existence is something that you have to fight the world for, in order to struggle and make it all come right, so that you can take on and steal this attribute of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, as if you could, of provision. And as you struggle for this then by the wisdom of Allah, He lets you do it until by His wisdom He tries to teach you by His changing the pattern. You see, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said: “I am in My slaves opinion of Me, so have a good opinion of Me.” (Hadith Qudsi)
Now if someone desperately, in this age, goes after the dunya and they fight to get it, they are saying that Allah is not going to give it to them. Do you follow? Therefore, what happens is that it is as if Allah is saying, ‘If that is how you see it, I will not disappoint you. I will give back to you this strange mode of recognizing Me by thinking I would not do it.’

Our relationship with Allah never stops for a second. If He is not manifest by His names of Beauty, He will manifest by His names of Majesty. If He does not come to us with solace, ease, and with the good things, it is because He is coming to us with His names of terrible Majesty. Look at the people of Bosnia, who had lost their deen. All that they had of Islam were their names, some dress habits, and births, marriages, and deaths. But they have had to enter the door of Islam by the funeral prayer. The thing has suddenly become real by this terrible majesty that Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has given to them, and by the funeral prayer, by the Salat al-Janazah, the people of Bosnia are coming back into Islam.

All the disasters of the Arabs have been because they have left the deen of Islam, especially those who declare that they are the renovators of Islam but in fact they have precipitated themselves with a passion towards the deen of the kuffar – and in doing that they lose knowledge and become ignorant. So, this knowledge that Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid, these are the two guiding names for the understanding that you are faqir, it is itself sirat al-mustaqeem. It is sirat al-mustaqeem because you have understood “Laa hawla wa laa quwatta illa billahi al-Aliyyu al- Adheem.”

Now this has no concordance with, or along-sideness with, rationalism, critical analysis, or with exploring the world as if it was yours to take to pieces and put together again.Sovereignty, the hakimiyyah, belongs to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Therefore, the foundation of your life has to be based on something which has an interior certainty about this fact, the Yaqin, of which there are stages: ‘Ilm al-Yaqin, ‘Ayn al-Yaqin and Haqq al-Yaqin.

Now the ‘Ilm al-Yaqin is precisely: “Antum al-fuqara, Huwa al-Ghaniyu al-Hamid.” So the people of zawiyyah, the people of tariqa, the people of dhikr, whatever you want to call them, it does not matter, the people who have put at the center of their lives more-than-what-is-asked, that is itself, all of the deen of Islam, salat, zakat, sawm and hajj,they are people who increase and want increase of knowledge. “Allah increase me in knowledge.”

Knowledge is not information. If knowledge was information we could buy the CD-ROM from the Apple Corporation, stick it in the computer and out it would come. I saw someone from the Peninsula who said to me, “Everything is all right we are going to put all the hadiths into a computer.” I said, “Then will you swallow the computer program? How will you assimilate this? This is not knowledge. You already have all the collections of the hadith.” Everyone has access to all the hadith, we already know what the hadith are. That is not the point. Assimilation is the point. That is not tanwir. That is ignorance.

Shaykh Shadhili al-Naifa, of Tunis, said to me, “I have a hundred hadith,”and he is the biggest ‘alim in Tunis, in fact he is one of the ‘ulema of our school of Madinah. He said “I have 100 hadith, that’s all. I don’t go outside that.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I sat with my shaykh of hadith and he said to me, ‘I had it from shaykh so-and so, who had it from shaykh so and-so, who had if from shaykh so-and-so, who had it from… , and so on and so on and so on, who had it from Bukhari, who had it from this one, who had it from Abu Hurayra, who had it from Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim.’ ” In other words he had face-to-face knowledge in an unbroken chain back to Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim.

Information is not knowledge. Information is not wisdom. You do not live by facts, you live by the moment. And the sitting before the teacher, who passes to you the knowledge, is like taking a photograph. By the light, the image of what is in front of you is implanted in your heart. That is education.

That is why the so-called fundamentalists will achieve absolutely nothing. But it is not because they are bad people, it is because they have taken their fiqh from people who altered the fiqh in order to allow the foundation of banks in Egypt.

So this knowledge and this transmission has always been in the hands of the people who remember Allah, who do dhikr of Allah, because the dhikr of Allah affects the heart, it purifies the heart. The ones who want that, then they say, ‘I am faqir’, and at this point, you have to then say, ‘Am I sincere? This is a test, all right how important is it?’ You see, the Murabitun had three rules. The first was da’wat al-haqq, the second one was radd al-mudhaalim and the third was qat-al-mujariyi, the third one was to remove unjust taxes.

Now this da’wat al-haqq (invitation to the truth) is the commitment of the fuqara, this is their job, this is their duty. I mean you must understand the state people are in, not in some spiritual or intellectual way that the people talk about. It is khusr. People recite this famous surah, again and again and again and simply do not realize that the loss is theirs because they are not following the deen of Islam, because they have not given Allah His due. Allah says in the Qur’an, “They have not measured Allah with His true measure .” This is a tremendous statement.

How do you measure Allah by His true measure? By your disappearance, you will be more and more measuring Him by His true measure. And then if you are to disappear completely then it is possible, by your non-existence. If you diminish you will know more the measure of Allah, you will be nearer the measure of Allah and if you disappear completely you will have measured Him by His true measure because you will not exist. If you do not exist then you have measured Him because there is nothing else to measure. So the increasing of knowledge is the diminishing of the nafs. The real knowledge is your non-existence before His existence.You see, Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, radi Allahu ‘anhu, told me there were two tariqa as-suffiya. One was the tariqa of Harith al-Muhasibi, which was an outward tajrid, tajrid adh-dhahir, of zuhd, of extra prayer, of much dhikr, of much purification, and of much journeying fi sabil lillah. You understand? This way, the way of Harith al-Muhasibi, he said was for very exalted people. So for very high people, this was possible. But the other way was the way of Shaykh Shahdhili, Shaykh ‘Abdalqadir al-Jilani, and Imam Junayd. And this was a tariqa which was not like al-Muhasibi’s. It was that the tajrid was interior, tajrid al-batin, a tajrid which was to remove all that was inside. When the person retires in the dhikr of Ism al Adham and recites the name of Allah, A-L-L-A-H, then they strip off the attributes, the sifaat. They strip off all the sifaat of their consciousness until they diminish and diminish and diminish and diminish.At one point in the khalwa, Shaykh al-Fayturi, raheem Allah, came in and said, “How are you doing? ” and I said, “Well, the dhikr stopped and then I couldn’t say it and then I began to hear the dhikr.” And he said, “Look at this, what is this? There were you looking for the dhikr and here the dhikr came looking for you.”

So this is the diminishing of the self before the Majesty of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and the Highness of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. So if you put this dimension in a person, someone who says, ‘My life is impossible, I cannot pay the money, I haven’t got the something, I need this for my wife, my children are without all these things.’ Shaykh Muhammad ibn al Habib, radi Allahu ‘anhu, says in the Diwan, ” Make all your troubles One,” and put all these troubles to Allah.

Shaykh al-Fayturi, raheem Allah, used to say, “Fuqara, you really do need Allah. Don’t you understand?” He used to sit there and say: “You really do need Allah. What are you doing? What is the matter with you all? Why are you all in such a state? You really do need Allah, and Allah is near, qarib. He is not far, He is near, nearer than the nearness of yourself, of your life-self; of your jugular. You need Allah. You’re faqir but you need al-Ghaniyu, al-Hamid but He’s near. What is the turbulence, why this uncertainty?” Then by the dhikr you reach a point where you have ‘Ayn al-yaqin. ‘Ayn al-yaqin is that you see in the inwardness, and you see in the hiddenness, what is the Certain. And this sureness and this firmness is confirmed inwardly and outwardly, but there is a point at which this confirmation and totality is Haqq al-yaqin. But the Haqq al-yaqin goes to other times in Qur’an when Allah ta’ala speaks of the yaqin and says: ” What is the yaqin? ” Now the yaqin is that you will certainly die, it is mawt. So the people of sufiyya understand that you should ‘ die before you die’. Die in the meaning before you die in the hiss”. Mawt qabla ta’moot”. Die before you die.

Now this is a knowledge which comes by the going towards it. If you go towards it, it comes towards you. If you desire knowledge, knowledge comes to you. “Fear Allah and He will give you knowledge.” What is complete fear is your non-existence. If you appear with majesty before the mouse, the mouse dies of fright. Is that not true? This is the slave before his Lord. Now, this contract of going to Allah, this path for the faqir, is a path of yearning. It is when the slave is pleased to be a slave. At that point, slavehood as we know it changes its character, and the slave, the ‘abd, becomes the beloved, mahbub. So the ‘abd becomes mahbub, so everything that was bitter becomes sweet. Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim said the sign of the mumin is that wuduis sweet for him. So the act of slavery that you must wash before salat becomes this sweet, sweet thing. This is the sign of the mumin.

Now this is tarbiyya, this is development, this is the creating of the free. The only free person is the one who has accepted slavery. That is why the modern Arabs have complaints about everything because they are not content with Allah. Being content with Allah gives you this pleasure.

Allah says in the Qur’an, speaking of the awliya of Allah, ” They are pleased with Him and He is pleased with them . Radi Allahu ‘anhum wa radu ‘anhu.” So wilayat is His, because in their being content with Allah, it reflects back that Allah is content with them.”I am in my slaves opinion of Me, so have a good opinion of Me.” (Hadith Qudsi) If you have a good opinion then Allah does also. If you are content then Allah is content with you and then you have wilayat and wilayat is closeness. Wilayat is qurba, it is closeness. The friend is the one who is near. Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, says in Qur’an, speaking about Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, “He brought him to within two bows lengths”… of the Throne.

Now the two bows lengths, the mufassareen say, in the old days of the Arabs if someone approached a king with a petition they would stretch a bow and another bow and he was allowed then, as a special privilege, to come to the king. That was as near as he could get, beyond that and he was killed. And so salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, in coming to that, it was the highest privilege of the creature in coming near to the King. So that is, in the Arabic language, the most possible nearness to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, by this mithal of the two bows length.

So you see, Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, he opened up a way and in a way, it is macabre that this path that Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, opened up for human beings should have become that thing which the modernists (the so-called fundamentalists) present to the world and call Islam, because it is so distant from it. It’s distant by adab, it’s distant by ‘amal, it’s distant by niyyat and it’s non-existent by dhawq, by experience, by taste.

So the people of the path are those people who gather adab and ‘amal. They gather these things and make them theirs, until they become in themselves those lights which bring the people into Islam.

If only what the modern people presented was Islam, not that they ever do present it to anybody.

Never have I heard one word of da’wa to the Europeans by the leadership of all the Islamic organizations with their fortunes pumped into them from the Middle East. Never has there been a call to the path of Islam. When Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, was attacked, the people who rose up in rage about it were the people who loved the Rasul. But nobody stepped forward. It was a golden opportunity to say, ‘You must know why we want this book destroyed because it is about salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, who said, “I am the first of the sons of Adam and I say it without boast.” ‘ It was the moment to say, ‘Don’t you know who he is? Rasulallah’. Now you start to tell them all of the Shifa and they would say,’My God we did not know, no-one told us this, now you tell me.’ And no-one has told them. They even said that the Muslims don’t like this book because it is blasphemy. But blasphemy is only a thing you can do to God. It is something to us and it’s more serious because you cannot harm Allah.

By the shari’ah, and by the fiqh, and by the orders of Qur’an, we have to defend Rasulallah and his honor, because we love him, because of his nobility as the first of creation. But they don’t recognize the maqam of salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim. They are like Abu Lahab, who when they talk of him, talk of the son of Abdallah and not the Rasul of Allah.

He is that one whom Allah has elevated by putting his name alongside His, as it says in the Shifa of Qadi ‘Ayad, ‘Allah has elevated him and has put his name alongside His Name.’ Ashadu an laa ilaha ill Allah wa ashadu anna Muhammadun Rasulallah. That in itself is the reason why there is this elevation of his being the first of the sons of Adam, and this is without boasting he said, but it is also without shirk.

So what I want to leave you with is that in taking on the work and the pleasure of being faqir and faqirat is that you have taken on the path of knowledge. That knowledge is based on Tawheed – Allah is One and nothing can be associated with Him- and it is based on your acquiring as best you can, in your way, the adab of those people who loved Rasul, salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallim, and therefore copy him. This removes from us the obligation of the rest of the human race to be anxious about our needs.

Allah is the Provider, Allah is the One-who-looks after-and-Guards, al-Hafidhu, He is the Latifu and He is the Hakim.


~ by The Murabit Blog on 12/02/2009.

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