The Refinement of Souls
The Refinement of Souls,
[Taj al-Arus al-Hawi li Tahdhib al-Nufus],
*[A5] Paperback - 118 pages,
by Shaykh ibn Ata Allah 'Sakandari [d.709h],
Transl. by Amjad Mahmood.
Published by Heritage Press.
The Refinement of Souls is a translation of Imam ibn Ata Allah Sakandari's, may Allah be pleased with him, Taj al-Arus al-Hawi li Tahdhib al-Nufus. It is a concise manual consisting of spiritual instructions, aphorisms and private discourses with the Divine from a Sufi Master of the Shadhili Order.
The author has included numerous references to the Qur'an and Sunnah, as well as illuminating stories and similitudes, in the course of explaining religious themes such as repentance, the effects of sin, the nature of the struggle against the lower self, envy, reliance on divine planning and many others.
The work concentrates on the practical steps and the essential states of being for a novice to realise, and as such, serves as a beneficial guide for both Sufis and non-Sufis, both beginners and more advanced students.
Table of Contents :
---His name and lineage and life,
---His school of thought,
---His most prominent students and disciples,
---His acclaimed works,
---What scholars have said about him,
The Refinement of Souls :
---Repentance to Allah,
---Types of emulation,
---Where will you find goodness?
---Repentance gains Allah's love,
---Outer and inner effects of acts of disobedience,
---The struggle against the lower self,
---Warning against disobedience [to Allah],
---Envy is sheer ignorance,
---Whoever realises the immediacy of his departure hastens to acquire provisions,
---The reality of faith,
---Who is a real man?
---The blessing of the gaze from a Friend of Allah (wali),
---Gaining favour with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala,
---The Prophets' alayhim as-Salaam, and Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala's, Friends are the greatest means to Him,
---The triviality of this world (dunya),
---Holding one's self to account,
---The sweetness of faith,
---A persons close companions,
---Is there any buyer for our merchandise?
---Wisdom is the chain of the believer,
---How to cleanse your heart,
---The greatest blessing,
---Part of faith is to witness everything as coming from Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala,
---A guide to Allah is rare,
---The heavens and the earth show courtesy to a Friend of Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, (wali),
---The miracles of the Prophets' salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam, Companions, radi Allahu ta'ala anhu,
---The beneficial prayer,
---The reasons for entry into Paradise and the Hellfire,
---The deficiency is in you and so is the veil,
---Renewal of faith,
---Whoever is honest with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala,
------He will guard him against harm from his enemies,
---Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, is King, you are the shepherd and your limbs are your sheep,
---The manner of keeping company,
---The reality of God-consciousness (taqwa),
---The necessity of isolating and secluding yourself,
---The person praying, is privately conversing with Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, and His Messenger, salla Allahu ta'ala 'alayhi wa Sallam,
---The outer and inner major ritual impurity (janabah),
---Insight and wandering about aimlessly,
---O' slave, flee from this creation to the Creator,
---The intelligent person,
---Beware of attachment to other than Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala,
---The pure heart,
---The people of Allan were through Allah, so Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, was sufficient for them,
---The door to provision is open,
---Relinquishment of planning alongside Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala,
---An exposition for those who benefit from admonishment and seek insight,
---The gnostic has neither this world nor the Hereafter,
---This world is in their hands, not in their hearts,
---The hidden voices of realities (hawatif),
---The author's private discourses (munajat) with his Lord.
Abu al-Fadl Ibn 'Ata' allah al-Iskandari (d.709), may Allah be pleased with him, was born in Alexandria, Egypt. He was one of the great Sufi Imams who was also known as a muhaddith, preacher, and Maliki jurist. He is the author of 'al-Hikam' (Aphorisms), 'Miftah al-falah' (The Key to Success), 'al-Qasd al-mujarrad fi ma'rifat al-ism al-mufrad' (The pure goal concerning knowledge of the Unique Name), amongst others. This pious and extraordinary contemplative figure left behind a spiritual legacy no less impressive than those of his own beloved Shaykh, and the eminent founder Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili, May Allah be pleased with him. All the biographers refer to Ibn 'Ata illah with illustrious titles and reverence and mention how marvellously he spoke and how uplifting his words were. In spite of the fact that he followed the Maliki madhbab, the Shafi'is laid claim to him, most probably because some of his earlier teachers had been Shafi'i scholars, not to mention some of his students.