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Some words of wisdom from Sheikh Ahmed Zarruq

Posted May 12, 2009

Filed under: Tazkiyah |


Some words of wisdom from Sheikh Ahmed Zarruq (d. in Libya in 1492, a scholar from morocco):



Know; may Allah give you and me success and rectify our worldly and other worldly lives and grant us adherence to the ways of the truth in our journeys and sojourns; that repentance is a key and Taq’wa is vast and uprightness is the source of rectification.


Furthermore a servant is never free of either blunders or shortcomings therefore never be neglectful of Tawbah (repentance) and never turn away from the act of returning to Allah (swt) and never neglect acts that bring you closer to Him.


Indeed every time one of these three occur, repent and return, every time you make a mistake, listen and obey.  Anytime you display shortcomings or show lack of enthusiasm don’t desist in your efforts.  Let your main concern be to remove from your outer states anything that is displeasing and then maintain its outward state through continual counsel.  Continue doing this until you find yourself fleeing from anything outwardly displeasing is second nature and that your avoidance of the boundaries of prohibited things is as if it acts like a protective net that is placed before you.


At this point it is time to turn inwards towards your hearts presence and to its reality with both reflection and remembrance.  Don’t hasten the end result before you have completed the beginning; likewise don’t begin without looking towards the end result because the one who seeks the outset at the end looses beneficial guidance, and the one who seeks the end at the outset loses beneficial care.


Act in accordance with principal and appropriate legal rulings and not in accordance with stories and fantasies; don’t even consider stories of how things went with others except as a tonic to strengthen your resolve; certainly not as a reference based on the outward forms or of what they seem to be telling us.


In all of this depend upon a clear path you can refer to and a foundation that you can depend upon in all of your states.


Do no take from others, words unless it is in accordance with your own path; but submit to their implications if you desire a realisation.


Avoid all forms of vain and foul speech to your absolute utmost; put aside anything that you cannot discern its benefit immediately.


Beware of being extremely hard on yourself before you have obtained a mastery over it; also beware of being to lax with it in anything that concerns sacred rulings.  This is because it is constantly fleeing from moderation in everything and it inches towards extremism in both maters of deviance and guidance (the nature of the self is extremism in both obedience and disobedience).


Seek out a companion to help you out in your affairs and take his counsel concerning matters that occur both in your inward states and your outward affairs. If you do indeed take his companionship; then treat him in a manner that honours his state, and give him of your counsel based upon his inabilities and abilities because the perfected friend is no longer to be found.


Indeed in these times even a suitable companion, who is agreeable, rarely lasts.  Beware of the majority of peoples in matters concerning your religious and worldly states, unless you have ascertained he has some sound relationship with his lord based upon a knowledge that is free of his caprice or love of leadership and a sound intellect free of the pitfalls of hidden agendas.  Do not be heedless of the scheming of others or their hidden states.  Consider these two from both their origin and their actions. A person of character and family distinction rarely affects you with other than good; yet a person with low origins; roots cause him to disregard you when times get tough.


Be extremely vigilant of the dominant qualities of a given people in any given land, and don’t be heedless of the divine wisdom in the creation and notice gentleness and separation.


Organise your time, in a matter appropriate to the times specific needs using gentleness and toleration and be very wary of either harshness or laxity.  This is so because too much laxity concerning permissible maters pulls the heart backwards in its journey; until even a man of resolve ends up like a foolish boy.


Thus do not neglect the externals of your worldly needs, in the meantime don’t be heedless of your end and final resting place.  Be extremely vigilant about avoiding positions of leadership but if you are tried with such matters at least know your limitations.  Be absolutely sincere to Allah with a sincerity of one who knows full well who is placing demands on him.


Surrender completely to His decree with a submission of one who knows he can never overcome him.


Have a firm foundation for all your affairs and you will be safe from their pitfalls. Organise your devotional practices and you will find your time is extended due to the Baraka (blessings) in it.


Never be fanatical about anything, whether it is the truth or whether it is falsehood for your heart will then remain in a state of soundness towards others.


Never claim anything that you are entitled to, not to mention what you are not entitled to and you will be safe from tricks and treachery.  This is so because anyone who claims some rank above their own will fall in humiliation.  Whereas those who claim a rank they warrant will have it stripped from them. While those who claim a station less than their true rank will be elevated to even higher levels then what they deserve.


Never give your companion anything of your state other than what his own state warrants this is so because if you go down to his state, he will show you contempt, whereas if you attempt to raise him up to your level he will abandon you.


Never demand a right from anyone, whether an intimate or a stranger.  The reason for this is: in reality, a stranger owes you nothing; and someone close to you is too precious to direct your blame to him.


Never assume that anyone in this world can really understand your circumstances other than from the perspective of his own circumstances; this is so because in reality everyone sees in accordance to their frame of reference and their personal path.  However where aims, purposes and aspirations are similar, people tend to work together towards a common goal.


Never belittle any talk that involves absent people; even though there is no harm in it due to the possibility of harm entering into it.


Guard your secrets even if you feel safe with someone because the one you divulge your secret to, is not a safer place than from your own heart form once it emanated.


Never leave an atoms weight of your regular devotional practice


Never be lenient with yourself in either in lax times or times of high resolve; indeed should you miss some of your practice in a given time, redress in another time.


If you are not able to do your usual practice, at least occupy yourself with something similar.


Never obey your ego, even for a moment or believe any of its claims; no matter what it tells you.  Be vigilant about your resolve in all your affairs to your utmost.  In fact, should you resolve to do something then do it immediately, before the resolve wanes.


Examine your soul constantly in matters that your are obliged to do, or are needed to be done, anything you are in no need of doing, leave it; even if it’s something recommended.  That means not involving your self in anything other than absolutely necessary things and real discernable needs.


Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated and fulfil to them what is due to them.


As the poet says;


“If you desire to live such that your religion is safe and your portion is full and your honour is sound; guard your tongue and never mention another’s fault, remembering you yourself have faults and others have tongues.



Watch your eyes, should it ever reveal to you the faults of others say to it; “oh my eye other people have eyes too.””


Live treating others well and avoid aggression; should others aggress against you leave them but in the best way.


As the Prophet (saw) said;


“Be vigilant of Allah wherever you are, and follow a misdeed with a good deed and it will remove it.  And treat others with the most excellent of characters.”


Also he (saw) said;


“Every child of Adam makes mistakes and the best of those who make mistakes is the one who seeks to redress them.” (I.a. asks for forgiveness for them (Tawba)).


Again he (saw) says;


“The holy spirit inspired my hearts core; that no soul will die until it fulfils its decreed portion of this world and its appointed time here.  So, be conscious of Allah and make your request with dignity.”


In summation:


The truth is clear and its details are weighty and significant.  The affairs belong to Allah; success is in his hands.

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