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Fons Vitae

The Book of Illumination

Ibn Ata'illah, Scott Kugle (tr.)

Paperback

9781887752626

 

Kitab al-Tanwir fi Isqat al-Tadbir

Including The Sign of Success on the Spiritual Path

 

Regarding the methodology of overcoming self-preoccupation and fear for ones sustenance, it is hard to imagine that we, of today, could "literally" sit as disciples in the presence of a spiritual giant though he lived nearly 1000 years ago, and hear a saint of such magnitude as Ibn 'Ata'Allah carefully recount the enlightening counsels of his own masters (Abul Hasan al-Shadhili, the "Axial Saint" of the 12th century and Shaykh al-Mursi who continued the lineage) as well as renown Sufis such as Abdul Qadir Jilani and Abu Madyan.

 

Quoting al-Jilani, the Shaykh says, "My brothers and sisters, I did not arrive in union with God by staying awake all night in worship, by staying aware all day fasting, or by staying engrossed learning knowledge! Rather, I arrived at union with God by generosity and humility and letting my breast be at peace." He adds, a Sufi master has said, "How do you expect to enter into God's presence when something behind you is dragging you back..." Then Ibn 'Ata'Allah goes on to present ways in which the "whole heart" is realised fully in one's life and how we shift our attention away from being overly self-preoccupied and endlessly absorbed in self-directed calculation into a state of utter trust.