Sunday, February 10, 2008

On Abu Madyan

By the way, before leaving Ireland for good, I went to London and bought some books. One of them is 'The Way of Abu Madyan' by Vincent J. Cornell. This is the very first book that deals with the works of Abu Madyan. Who is Abu Madyan, anyway?

Well, frankly I also have no idea about this seminal figure of Sufism from Maghreb. I can still remember when I browsed through the small booklet on awrad Bani 'Alawi (given by Ustaz Fauzi Hadrami), I noticed that his name was mentioned inside that green booklet. Most probably because the tariq of Sadah Bani 'Alawi is following the manhaj of Abu Madyan as well.

Abu Madyan Shu'ayb ibn Husayn al-Ansari, known as the 'Ghawth' (Pillar/ Nurturer) of his time was born in Seville in Muslim Spain around year 509/1115. His teachers, Ali ibn Hirzihim and Abul Hasan Ali ibn Khalaf were both Asha'arite and influenced by the teachings and writing of Al-Ghazali and Harith al-Muhasibi. Abu Madyan was especially fond of Ghazali's Ihya, whom he made obligatory for his students to study when he ascended the ladder as a Shaykh himself.

The method of his tariqa is simple.Just like other Sunni tariqa in this world. It is oriented towards 'amal of spiritual praxis. Yes, 'ilm and 'amal. Tasawwuf is not rhetoric like politics (or politicions's mumblings). You can make a big jump in politics if you are a gifted orator. But in tasawwuf, words are not enough. It is 'amal, 'amal and 'amal (with true knowledge, adab and sincerity).

I found priceless gems inside this work of Vincent J. Cornell. I am not sure if the qasidas or ode of Abu Madyan were already translated in Malay language because I never find any.

All of his qasidas were printed in 'Naskh' style and they are really easy to read. The quality of translation is exceptional.This book is just beautiful. Few of his lines are my favourites. An aspirant should read them, ponder on the meanings and use Au Madyan's Hikam as tools to reach God. Below are some good lines for all of us to read.

" The faqir does not attain his goal, except by means of 3 things: his practise must be based on Qur'an, the Sunnah and choice of a teacher".

" The signs of a true faqir is that he opens for himself 4 things and locks for himself 4 things. He opens the gate of lowliness and locks the gate of (worldly) glory. He Opens the gate of mortification (mujahadah) and locks the gate of ease. He opens the gate of poverty and locks the gate of wealth. And he opens the gate of nightly vigils and locks the gate of sleep".

" The sign of true faqir is that he has glory without abasement, wealth without poverty, ease without effort and sleep without exhaustion".

Seriously, this book is worth buying.


M.A.Uswah said...

Assalamualaikum, saya menjemput saudara untuk mengunjungi,

puteri nad said...

bye2 ireland..
selamat bekerja.
letak la gamba convo

zhou said...

Alhamdulillah, your post of abu madyan remind me of the jawi text of hikam being translated/romanized to bahasa malaysia many years ago. We were blessed with attending one lecture or kelas mengaji by ustaz uthman muhammay in kl on this text. But it must be supported by amalan tariqat and berguru, without whcih it become academic exercise. Salik is the one who travels on the path and tasted the dhawq of spiritual battles.

Syukran sidi ayman for your hard work and deep love for our awliya.