The Red Sulphur – Veils

A’uzubillahi minashaitonir Rojeem, Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allahuma Solli wa Salleem ‘ala Sayidina Muhammmadin wa aalihi wa sohbihi…

(This series is a transcript of the online lectures that is still going on by Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz r.a. based on a book written by Imam ‘Abdullah al-‘Aydarus)

Sufi Shaykhs have agreed that the densest of veils between the servant and Allah ta’ala is the nafs-alammarah or the evil commanding self. It is the seat of blameworthy traits. The most opaque of these is vain-glory or pride, love of the world (hubbuddunya), (and) the blackest or darkest (of veils) are envy, backbiting and tale-bearing. Sufi shaykhs have also agreed on the danger of associating with the wicked, companionship of the corrupt and freely interacting with those who are not mahram (women who are marriageable to us by the sharia’)

These veils spoken by the shaykh (Imam al-‘Aydarus) are non-sensory or meanings and they veil from the direction of the servant from Allah ta’ala. (Allah ta’ala is beyond being veil by anything i.e. nothing is capable of hiding Allah ta’ala, Sublime, Majestic is He! Therefore these veils are limitations of the servant themselves their own blameworthy traits are the veils.)

Desiring to be praised or for carnal pleasures or hoping to attain some interest or averting some harm or relying on something other than Allah ta’ala (are also among the veils) that comes between the heart and the light of Gnosis therein . Thus the servant is blocked from receiving his portion of the knowledge of Allah.

The densest of the veils, the most severe enemy is “the nafs (lower self) between thy two flanks”. The enemy from without (or external) is easy to fight when one has true resolve. However, how is one to deal with an enemy which is internal and given that it is an eternal enemy (up until death). The aim is not to sever it entirely but to purify and clarify it and righting and rectifying it so that it can pass from stage to stage. While it is the cause of being stucked in a station, it is also the means by which we travel (in fighting it).

The poet says, “Be wary of your lower self, and be not safe (feel safe) from its harm because it is more vile than 7 devils.” It begins as the ammarah bissu’ (evil commanding), pure goodness is heavy for it. The only thing which is easy for it in acts of goodness/devotions are those which contain its own ulterior motives which is accomplished through this act of devotion/good. This is subtle and is only known by those who are connected to the light of ‘tarbiyah. If there is a hidden ulterior motive of the lower self in acts of obedience then it would be easy for the lower self and it will perform much of this act of devotion or ‘ibadah.

For example in teaching, how does one find in oneself when he is teaching a group of whom he does not know and how does he find himself when he teaches his own family or children. Maybe he finds a difference. He finds that teaching his family is not as easy for him and his lower self will find difficulty in doing so. However, he finds it easier to teach a large group of outsiders. This is because the lower self does not have a portion in teaching his family, it does not become attached to gaining reputation among family members and children of his but it finds having a station/place among people sweet and the lower self contiunes to find those things in which it has a portion, easy.

to be continued…if Allah wills

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