So it is always understood that the people on this path, are called the fuqara. Why are we called the fuqara? Because we are of the poor, we are of the underprivileged, we’re supposed to be – you might not be financially or materially poor – but you supposed to be not of the ruling elite. You are supposed to be of those who are without authority.
The misfortune of any inner tradition is that it succeeds, because at its essence what an inner tradition is trying to do is something very seditious. It’s trying to create the conditions where people can escape the persona which society has given to them. Any inner tradition seeks to do that.
Would you know what you came here for,
And be sure what your destiny is?
His mercy isn’t just about what He gives, it’s not just in this affirming way. His mercy is also about what He withholds. He withholds Himself from us, because if He didn’t, we could not be. He withholds the necessary implication of that which is very small in the face of that which is overwhelmingly vast.
Apart from the fact that the original concept of democracy was conceived in ancient Greece, by a polytheistic society, i.e. a people plunged in ignorance and spiritual darkness (Jahiliyyah), it does not work – not even in the West!
All things that happen, happen with Him, through Him, from Him, to Him – by His Idhn, by His permission. It is not like little parcels of energy are being given out. It is like you are floating in the sea and the sea is Him and all of us are different refractions of that sea and that any power that you have is not your power. All ability to act, all ability to animate, all ability to move is Him.
How is it then that we have an experience of an independent existence because what that suggests is that nothing that happens, nothing is independent of Him. Why do I experience that I have independent power?
One can’t have a sense but end up recognizing that you are pickled, quite literally pickled, in blessing. The interesting thing, of course, is that most of us don’t experience it like that. Most of us don’t experience a sense of security, a sense of fulfilment as our basic condition.
If you truly believed that there is a designing genius, then nothing that can happen to you is outside of the plan. And that you’re always in safe hands. So it is useful to understand just how dangerous how the atheists are. But its also useful to understand, how helpful they are. They objectify for you your own kufr, your own faithlessness.
Shaykh Ebrahim speaks to Saeed Saeed, an Australian writer and journalist currently residing in Abu Dhabi about the importance of silencing our inner dialogue and of doing “inner work.” MSpiration is an online series of interviews with inspiring Muslims from all walks of life.
The qasidah which we sing in dhikr, “aheemu wahdee bi dhikri rabbee,” Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib says, “I’m alone in the remembrance of my Lord. The remembrance of my Lord, it is the cure.”