On Regular Devotions

You must fill up your time with acts of worship so that no period of time elapses, whether by night or by day, without being used in some act of goodness. This is how baraka within time is made manifest, the purpose of life fulfilled, and the approach to God the Exalted made constant.

You should allocate specific periods of time for your habitual activities such as eating, drinking, and working for a livelihood.

Know that no state can be sound in the presence of neglect, and no wealth useful in the presence of heedlessness.

The Proof of Islam, may God spread his benefit, said: ‘You should structure your time , arrange your regular devotions [awrad], and assign to each function a set period of time during which it is given first priority but which it does not overstep. For if you abandon yourself to neglect and purposelessness, as the cattle do, and just do anything that may occur to you at any time it happens to occur to you, most of your time will be wasted. Your time is your life, and your life is your capital; it is the basis of your transaction [with God], and the means to attain to everlasting felicity, in the proximity of God the Exalted. Each of your breaths is a priceless (because irreplaceable) jewel, and when it passes it never returns.’

You should not occupy all your time with one wird, even if it be the best, for you would miss the baraka of multiplying and varying your awrad. Each wird has a particular effect on the heart, a light, a flow of assistance [madad], and a effect on the heart, and a rank with God. Furthermore, when you move from one wird to another you escape becoming bored, indolent, impatient, or weary. Ibn `Ata’iLlah al-Shadhili, may God have mercy on him, has said: ‘Because the Real knew of the presence of boredom in you, He created a variety of acts of obedience.’

Know that awrad have a great effect in illuminating the heart and controlling the senses, but these only appear and become established with perseverance and repetition, and their performance at specifically allocated times.

If you are not of those who fill all their night and daytime hours with devotional activities, then assign to yourself some awrad to persevere with at specific times that you make up for if missed, so that your soul becomes accustomed to keeping them; when your soul despairs of your abandoning of them altogether when you miss them, it will hasten to perform them in time. My master, shaykh `Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf, may God be pleased with him, has said: ‘Whoever has no wird is a qird [monkey]!’ Another gnostic has said: ‘ The arrival of blessings depends on the awrad; therefore, the man who outwardly has no wird has no inward aspect [of any consequence].

Be moderate and keep to the middle way in everything. Choose those acts which you are capable of persevering in. The Messenger of God, may blessings and peace be upon him, has said: ‘The acts most pleasing to God are the most constant, even if few.’ And : ‘Choose the acts which you are capable, for God will never grow weary before you.’

It is Satan’s way to entice the seeker [murid] at the beginning of his quest to be excessive in his devotional activities, the purpose being to make him retreat, either by giving up acts of goodness altogether, or performing them incorrectly, and the accursed one does not care with which of these two he afflicts man.

Award usually take the form of supererogatory prayers, Qur’an recitations, the acquisition of knowledge, invocation [dhikr] or reflection [fikr] (…)

(The Book of Assistance, Imam `Abdallah Ibn `Alawi al-Haddad)

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1 Comment

Filed under Hadith, Islam, Religion, Seeking knowledge, Tasawwuf

One response to “On Regular Devotions

  1. shums

    MashAllah! excellent article. Jazzahkhalkhair for sharing it! Shums

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