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38:1 Ṣād

The word ṣād is the key to His name Self-Sufficient [ṣamad]. The Self-Sufficient is He who is hallowed beyond encompassment by the knowledge of the created thing and incomparable with comprehension by the recognitions.  He is saying, “I am the Self-Sufficient and have no need for anyone. I am the One and have no associate. I am the Compeller, and no one has the color of union with Me. I am the Owner of the kingdom, and no matter what I do, no one has the gall to protest or a way to fight.”

Abu’l-Ḥasan Kharaqānī said, “He cut up the hearts of the sincerely truthful and turned their livers to water through waiting, but He gave Himself to no one.” Whence do water and dust become privy to talk of union with that which has no beginning and no end? What access do the attributes of the newly arrived things have to eternity? How can that which was not, then was, then was not, perceive the majestic presence of the Possessor of Majesty?

It has been said that the Real is the Self-Sufficient, and the meaning of the name is that the servants should lift up their needs to Him, consign their occupations to Him, and entrust themselves to Him;  and He, in His unneediness, will look upon the needs of everyone and be sufficient for their every occupation. When the tawḥīd-voicing, faithful servant has this belief, He will take as his shelter nothing but His threshold and will not disgrace himself at the door of any and paltry thing. “A created thing seeking aid from a created thing is like a prisoner seeking aid from a prisoner.”

It has come in the traditions that tomorrow a man of this community will be brought forward, and many sashes of unbelief will be removed from his waist—means sashes of the heart, not outward sashes, for anyone who attaches his heart to a creature has bound a sash around his heart. O chevalier! There is no mount quicker than the mount of Muḥammad the Arab, and no playing field vaster than his playing field. Heaven and earth were made from the dust beneath his feet, God’s spirit was made to sit like a chamberlain at the edge of his carpet, and the Holy Spirit carried the banner of his sultanate on its shoulders. Despite all the greatness, status, and rank that was his, it was said to him, “O Muḥammad, beat the drum of your own incapacity! Say: ‘I do not own benefit for myself, or harm’ [7:188].

It has also been said that Ṣād is an oath sworn by the limpidness [ṣafāʾ] of the friends’ love: How exalted is the individual and how great the servant by the limpidness of whose love the Exalted Lord swears an oath! This is the broken-hearted and indigence-colored soul before whose indigence all the wealthy of the world are one speck. All the obedient acts of the obedient and all the beautiful deeds of the proximate are ransom to one instant of the burning of his indigence. He has no water on his liver and no utensils in his house; all he has is a burnt heart. His work in this world has not been taken care of, but how will that harm him? For the throne of his good fortune is placed in the garden of proximity, and the majesty of the Unity swears an oath by the limpidness of his love: “Ṣād!”

ʿAbdallāh Bustī was one of the great shaykhs. At the beginning of his desire when he was accepted by this talk, he held many title deeds against the people, but he gave them all back and absolved them of all liability. Then the thought of Mecca occurred to him. He consulted with his pir and asked for counsel. The desirer must have a pir, for it is impossible to walk on the road without a pir. The pir must be such that if the desirer should go ten times a day to the tavern, the pir should have no fear but should go after him and bring him out and be tender to him. When ʿAbdallāh Bustī spoke of his thought about going to Mecca, the pir said, “That’s good, but be careful not to feel secure from your own soul.”

ʿAbdallāh wrote this advice on his heart and set out on foot. He went from his house as far as Kufah, and then his soul wanted lawful fish. He made a pact with his soul that, if he should fulfill this desire, the soul would have no other wish until he reached Mecca. In Kufah there was an animal mill, and a man was sitting there. He said to him, “How much do you pay for this animal?” He said so much. ʿAbdallāh said, “Be a good man and let this animal out for a day and tie me in its place.” He gave himself for the wage of one silver dirham and went into the animal mill and did the work of an animal. He took the dirham, bought bread and fish, and ate. Then he said to his soul, “For every wish you have, you must work one day in an animal mill so that you may have the wish.” You must put all the tools of your ability to work so that incapacity appears. When incapacity appears, all work will itself turn its face to you, for “The incapacity to perceive is perception.”

The Friend who keeps on stirring up the dust of trial! Water is pouring from the springhead of my eyes. He is a fire who burns the spirit and heart, a teacher who teaches nothing but trial and iniquity. His hands are always bloody from killing lovers, for His room is not inside the street of well-being. Wherever He takes up residence, He wants the spirit as a repast. Safety becomes lost in the trial, detachment in preoccupation.

38:35 He said, “My Lord, forgive me and give me a kingdom such as no one after me will have.”

Solomon did not seek the outward kingdom. Rather, he desired only to be king over his own soul, for the king in truth is he who is king over his own soul. Whoever is king over his own soul will not follow his caprice. Solomon said, “Lord God, just as You put the world’s creatures under my hand, so also put this soul under my hand so that I will not be obedient to it and will not go after its caprice. Obeying the soul and obeying the Real are opposites, and opposites do not come together.” That chevalier said it beautifully: “With two kiblahs you can’t walk straight on the road of tawḥīd—either the Friend’s approval or your own caprice.” [DS 488]

Muṣṭafā always used to say, “O God, do not entrust us to our souls for the blink of an eye, or less than that.” All sorts of the trial reached Joseph the Truthful from the well, the prison, and so on, but he never began to lament as he did from the commanding soul, when it was said, “Surely the soul commands to ugliness, except as my Lord has mercy” [12:53]. When Joseph said, “Receive me as a submitter” [12:101], he said so in fear of the commanding soul, not in fear of Satan. For, although Satan is the adversary, he wants disobedience from the person of faith, not unbelief. It is the soul that wants unbelief, so it strives for it and calls him to all sorts of caprice and innovation, trying to pull him into unbelief.

In the Qur’an, the Lord of the Worlds mentions two things without saying what they are. He mentions the soul, but He does not say what it is. He mentions this world, but He does not say what it is. The ulama of the religion explain this world with these words: “What blocks you from your Patron—that is your ‘this world.’” Whatever holds you back from God is this world. If you do not have tonight’s bread but you admire yourself, your self-admiration is this world. If you possess the kingdom of the East and the West and are occupied with God, that is not this world, but rather the afterworld.

He brought forth Moses and the Children of Israel and preserved them such that no one’s skirt became wet. He put Abraham into the fire but it did not burn one thread of his robe. In the same way, He placed the heart, which is the storehouse of recognition, next to the soul. Then He guarded and favored it so that the enemy could not touch it.

It has been narrated that ʿĀmir ibn ʿAbd Qays was one of the most excellent of worshipers. He made obligatory upon himself one thousand cycles of prayer every day. He would stand in prayer at the rising of the sun and keep on standing until late afternoon. Then he would turn away, his legs and feet swollen. He would say, “O soul, you were created either to worship or to command to ugliness. By God, I will not do any deed with you in which a bed takes a share of you.”In his words, “such as no one after me may have,” he did not begrudge it to the prophets but to no one among the kings after me. He asked for a kingdom so as to rule over the people and make them be equitable one to another in order to put into effect the rightful due of God. He did not ask for it because of inclining toward this world. This is like the words of Joseph: “Set me over the storehouses of the earth” [12:55].

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