I’ve heard a number of shuyukh say when a faqir, when a person on the Path has trouble, then he knows that he’s basically on firm ground. It is when things start going well that the faqir gets worried because then he knows that sooner or later the difficulty is about to hit him.
What does it mean when we say that wherever you turn there is the Face of Allah? This is a very important matter. We must remind ourselves and understand about what it means.
One can describe human endeavour and human effort from the point of view of avoiding suffering and pursuing contentment. It’s imperative that we understand that most of the things that people do under the assumption that this will decrease or alleviate this suffering, actually have the opposite effect.
Whatever they do to you: they can imprison you, break your legs, hang you upside down by your toenails. They can torture you for a hundred years until you die. One freedom they can never take away from you is your right to define the character of the world around you. And that’s all that matters. Because all of us are going to end in the grave, including the Melemas of the world. So what does matter? All that matters is your capacity to affirm the world. Nothing else matters.
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.
Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, meditates and writes on “the gentle power” of gratefulness.
Why do Muslims have an issue with pleasure? Why is it that being Muslim is so punitive that you can’t do things which other people enjoy doing, and which you enjoy doing, that you get pleasure out of? Why is it what we are so restricted and accept and take on this restriction?