Lantern of Guidance  

Chapter 6, Section 1

Definition of Adab

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The Arabic word Arab means refinement of Akhlāq (Behavior) and Tahzib (Cleansing to Improve) for the speech and deeds. Deeds are of two kinds:

1.    Heart’s Deeds: Basically the Niyya (Intention) behind actions
2.    Worldly Deeds: Actions physical, biological and etc.

Akhlāq (Behavior) and Niyya (Intention) deal with the Bāten (Interior) though Tahzib (Cleansing to Improve) for the speech and deeds deals with the Zāhir (Exterior).

Therefore Adib (Person with Adab) who has attained the Kamāl (Perfection) is the person whose Bāten (Interior) & Zāhir (Exterior) are beautified by most refined Akhlāq (Behavior) speech, Niyya (Intention) and deeds. (For the sake of convention we call Adab Etiquette or Morality in English)

This person his Akhlāq (Behavior) is in concordance with his speech, and his Niyya (Intention) in concordance with deeds, his within is what he is manifesting patently and vice-a-versa.

A Seeker is Sādiq (Veracious) if he perpetually maintains concordance between his Bāten (Interior) & Zāhir (Exterior) and Tahzib (Cleansing to Improve) for removing foulness from all he is. And this is the meaning of the Sheikh’s saying: Adab is the Tahzib (Cleansing to Improve) for Bāten (Interior) & Zāhir (Exterior). (I believe the Sheikh is Sahrawardi but not sure)

The person who is constantly after Tahzib (Cleansing to Improve), perpetually examines his Hāla (Momentary State of the Heart) in order to guarantee that his Bāten (Interior) & Zāhir (Exterior) are always in tune i.e. the same.

Serri Saqati was once delivering a lecture on patience, and while speaking a scorpion was repeatedly stinging his foot and yet without interruption or any sign of disturbance the sheikh continued speaking. Some listeners asked Serri why he did not take the scorpion off his foot and the sheikh replied: I was ashamed in presence of Allah Almighty to talk about a circumstance (patience) and yet contradict my own teachings about it.

A Dervish was asked about Faqr (Poverty) and he excused himself and went away for little while and when came back said: Faqr is not to own any object. People asked him about the reason for the short break and he replied: I had in my possession one coin, prior to giving the answer, I had to get rid of it so that my answer will not contradict my actions. 


© 2005-2002,  Dara O. Shayda