Sidi 'Abd al-Qadir al Jilani
tells how Prophet Muhammad (*) taught 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (**)
concerning the remembrance [dhikr] of GOD (Exalted is He).
Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Tadifi al-Hanbali
~ Excerpt from
Qala’id al-Jawahir [Necklaces of gems]
"''Ali ibn Abi
Talib (**) once asked the Prophet (*): "Which of the methods
[Way/Path] is nearest to GOD, easiest for His servants, and most
meritorious in His sight?" The Prophet (*) replied: "O 'Ali, you
must make it your constant practice to remember GOD (Exalted is
He) in private moments and places." 'Ali (**) then went on to
say: "Can such be the merit of remembrance [dhikr], when all the
people are remembering all the time [since they frequently
exclaim 'Allah!']?" "This is no light matter, O 'Ali," said the
Prophet (*), "for the Final Hour will not arise, so long as
there is still someone, somewhere on the face of the earth, who
is saying: 'Allah, Allah!'"
'Ali (may Allah be well pleased with him) to ask: "How should I
practice remembrance?" So the Prophet (*) told him: "Listen to
what I say three times, then you say it three times, while I do
the listening." Then he said (*): "La ilaha illa 'llah [There is
no GOD but Allah]"-three times, closing his eyes and raising his
voice-while 'Ali listened. Then 'Ali (**) said: "La ilaha illa 'llah
[There is no GOD but Allah]"-three times, closing his eyes and
raising his voice-while the Prophet (*) listened in turn.
"'This is therefore
the basic lesson concerning the remembrance of Allah (Exalted is
He), namely: the statement expressing the affirmation of Divine
Oneness [kalimat at-Tawhid]. We beg Allah (Exalted is He) to
enable us to perform it.'"
"The master, Sidi 'Abd
al-Qadir al Jilani (***) once said: 'If a person has not learned
the noble remembrance [dhikr], which consists of the affirmation
of Divine Oneness [tawhid], from a Sidi who is a qualified
instructor [teaching guide], connected by spiritual lineage to
the Prophet Muhammad (*), that person is unlikely to invoke it
when the need for it arises, at the time when death is about to
strike.' This explains why the Sidi 'Abd al-Qadir al Jilani
would often recite the poetic verse:
sweet is the flavor of that repetition and reaffirmation! May it
not desert me when this world bids me farewell! “
“If a man
attempts to develop himself by using his own will, he is
building a structure on something other than its true
someone is not reared by the men [of the spiritual path], and is
not given to drink that milk of theirs, which flows from the
udder of sanctity-
person is a foundling, lacking the bonds of family relationship,
and he will never outdistance any but the sons of his own kind.
If a man
does not take to wearing a garment of pure devotion, at the hand
of a teacher who knows his own self full well-
follies and wiles of the lower selves will see him as a target,
and even that which is screened from him will easily detect him
never experience ecstasy at the hand of an exemplary guide, nor
will the favours of grace protect him, since he does not wear
mystery will be revealed to him from the secret recess of his
being, nor will the cups be displayed to him in the intimate
state of communion.
not improve in form and moral character and competence, nor will
his estate bear fruit through the ripening of his plantation.
my life, is someone deprived of good fortune, a failure, someone
who seeks a path, but only to head in the opposite direction.
principles of our people make this but a rare occurrence, and if
someone comes with false intent, let him go with his own kind! “
(*) = prayers and blessings of GOD be upon
(**) = may GOD be well pleased with him
and ennoble his face.
(***) = may GOD be well pleased with him.