25. Dhul Qadah 1438  Jumu'ah
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In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate
Lord, make it easy and give assistance
O Generous One
Grant us truth for You are the One Who Grants
the Knowing
Transcendent are You
You are indeed the Knowing, the Wise
 
Extract from the ‘Book of Assistance’ by Imam Abdallah Ibn Alawi Al Haddad, translated by Dr Mostaffa Al Badawi printed by The Quilliam Press 1989
 
All Praise belongs to God, the One, the Unique, the Munificent, the Bestower, the Provider, the Solicitous, the Benevolent, Who did send Muhammad , the Seal of His Prophets, with His message to all men and jinn, and revealed to him the Qur’an in which is guidance for the people and clear indications for guidance and discernment, and ordained for him and his Nation that which he had enjoined upon Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and give precedence to his religion over all others, and made him the most honourable of all His creation in His sight, and rendered his nation the best nation brought out for mankind, which believed in God and the Last Day, enjoined good and forbade evil, assisted each other in benevolence and taqwa, refrained from helping each other in sin and aggression, established the ritual prayer, gave the zakat, gave each other counsels of truth and fortitude, and fought in the way of God, fearless of the criticism of those who are devious and forsaken.

For only those in whom God’s words of wretchedness, failure, disgrace and humiliation were fulfilled attempt to drive away people from God and denigrate those who give Him His due. And only those whom God has destined for happiness, safety, triumph and felicity give themselves totally to counseling God’s servants and inviting them to His door. These are the Prophet’s heirs, the leaders of those who have taqwa, the best among believers in the sight of the Lord of the Worlds. They are firmly grounded in knowledge, have experienced the realities of faith, certainty and excellence, and attained, through unveiling and contemplation, to the secret of God’s Mulk and Malakut[2]. They only attained to these merits and achieved such ranks through the excellence of their following in the footsteps of the Leader of Leaders whom God sent as a Mercy to the Worlds, who is God’s slave, His Messenger, and Intimate Friend, our lord Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him and his house. may these blessings be repeated in each instant and perpetuated for as long as God, the Sovereign, the Requiter abides.

To proceed; the poor servant, confessing his shortcomings and limitations[3], hoping for the pardon of his Able Lord, the sharif ‘Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad Ba’-Alawi al-Husayni, may God forgive him and his ancestors, says: This is a treatise which, by God’s Ability and Power, is comprehensive, containing counsels which, by God’s Grace and Mercy, will be beneficial. I was moved to write it by the wish to obey the command of God and that of His Prophet, and the desire for that which has been truthfully promised to those who give guiding directions, invite to goodness and spread knowledge. God the exalted has said: Let there be among you a community who invite to goodness, enjoin right conduct, and forbid evil; those are the successful. (3:104) Summon to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation (21:125) Say: This is my way; I summon to God, clear-sightedly, I and whoever follows me (12:108)
 
The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said:
 
‘Let those who are present inform those who are absent; a carrier of knowledge may carry it to someone who has more knowledge than he, and many men carry knowledge who are not themselves knowledgeable. And: ‘Anyone who summons to guidance will receive the same reward as those who follow him, without this diminishing their reward in any way; and anyone who summons to error will have sinned as much as all those who follow him without this diminishing their sins in any way. ‘And: ‘When the son of Adam dies his works come to an end except for three: a continuous charity, knowledge of which use is made, and a righteous son who prays for him.’ And: ‘The most generous of you after me will be a man who acquires knowledge and spreads it; he will be resurrected on the Day of Rising as a nation by himself.’ And: ‘All creatures pray for the one who teaches goodness, even the fish in the water.’ And: ‘All creatures are the children of God, and the dearest to God are those who are most beneficial to His children.’ And none can be of more benefit to God’s creatures than those who invite them to His door by teaching them the necessary knowledge of Tawhid [Monotheism] and obedience, remind them of His signs and graces, give them tidings of His Mercy and warnings of His wrath which strikes those who exposed themselves to it, whether they be disbelievers or merely transgressors. I was prompted to obey this formidable command and was reinforced in my wish to attain to the generous promise given in the aforementioned verses and hadiths, as well as others which I have not mentioned, by a truthfully aspiring brother, a sayyid who treads the path to felicity, who asked me to write to him with a counsel to which he might firmly adhere. I have answered him through the aforementioned desire to obey His commands, win His reward, and obtain His assistance, hoping that He (Exalted is He) will attend to my needs, as His Messenger, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘Whenever a man attends to the fulfilling of his brother’s need, God shall attend to the fulfilling of his need, and God will assist His servant as long as the servant is assisting his brother.’
 
I seek God’s forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in writing this treatise is confined to these good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egoistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbor? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. The ego is an enemy, and an enemy should never be trusted. It is in effect the worst of enemies, as the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘Your worst enemy is your ego which is between your flanks.’ How inspired is the verse of the poet:
 
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief,
The ego is worse than seventy devils.

O God! I seek your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware!

I have begun each chapter in this treatise by saying: ‘You must do such-and-such a thing! This being addressed particularly to my own self, my brother who was the cause for writing the treatise, and generally to every Muslim who reads it. This expression has an effect on the heart of those it is addressed to, and I hope that, having used it, I will escape the reproaches and threats directed against those who say but do not do, and who know but do not act. For if I address myself saying ‘You must do this!’ this indicates that the thing has not yet become reality through my practicing of what I know, and that I am still at the stage of prompting myself to practice what I preach. In this manner, I will neither be deceiving the believers, nor forgetting myself, for this is how God has described those who have no understanding: Do you exhort people to goodness and forget yourselves, and you recite the Book? Have you no understanding? [II:44] and I will thus be saved from the threats directed at those who speak but do not act, as in the words of the Messenger of God, may blessing and peace be upon him: ‘A scholar [‘alim] will be ordered to the Fire; his entrails will spill out and he will drag them along as he moves round the Fire, just like a donkey turning in a mill. The people in the Fire will gather around him and say: “Why does this repudiated man make us suffer more than we do already?” And he will say” This repudiate enjoined good but did not do it, and forbade evil but committed it.” And: ‘When I was made to journey by night I passed by men whose lips were being clipped with scissors of fire, I asked: “who are you?” and they said: “we enjoined good and did not do it, and forbade evil and committed it.”

These threats come true for those who summon to God when their real intention is to acquire the things of this world, and who exhort to good but persistently abandon it, who warn against evil but persistently commit it, who fall into ostentation and wish to make a reputation for themselves. As for those who summon to God’s door while upbraiding their own selves, forbidding them to be neglectful, and exhorting them to show zeal, it is to be hoped that they will be saved. Anyway, the one who knows and teaches [what he knows] but does not practice is in a better way, a wiser way, and has a safer outcome than the one who knows, but neither practices nor teaches.

A man of little understanding may perhaps say: ‘There is already a sufficient abundance of books, there is no benefit in compiling new ones in this age.’ Such a man would be correct insofar as books are indeed abundant and should be sufficient, but not in saying that no benefit is to be gained from compiling further books now. People’s hearts are naturally attracted to everything new, and God gives them at each time knowledge clothed in the form best suited to the age. Books reach distant places and survive the scholar’s death, who receives the merit of spreading knowledge and is accounted by God among the teachers and summoners to Him, even after he has entered his grave. As the Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him has said: ‘The one whose tongue gives life to a virtue that those who come after him practice continue to receive its reward until the Day of Rising’.

I have called the treatise The Book of Assistance, Support, And Encouragement for such Believers as Desire to Follow the Way of the Afterlife.

I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from it and to render my compilation of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

It is now time to begin. Success is from God; I seek His help, depend on Him entirely, and ask Him to grant me success in being correct in my intentions and deeds. He is Guardian of this and Able; He is my sufficiency, and He is the Best of Patrons.



 
[2]   Mulk, the visible world. Malakut, the invisible , subtle worlds
[3]   Please reflect deeply, of our own reckoning in the light of the humbleness shown by Al Qutub