The Echelons of Sufism

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Abu Yazid al-bastami ( d. 261??)-

Note: ‘Aref means Divine Cognoscenti someone who has internal knowledge within him/her without any learning or prior art, a knowledge that has no opposite i.e. no ignorance, independent of spacetime, independent of his or her own Wujud (Being), fully encapsulated innately deep within his/her Wujud (Being) and only the person himself/herself can mine for and distribute this peculiar form of knowledge. Such a person with such mining ability deep within is called Aref.

Abu Yazid was in the chain of narrators of the following Hadith (Prophetic Narration):

The Messenger of Allah, Peace and blessings upon him, stated: "It is weakness of certainty that leads one to please people by incurring the displeasure of Allah, and to thank people for what Allah (alone)  provides, and to blame people for what Allah (ITself, Himself) did not bestow. The provision of Allah cannot be obtained through the prudence of the thrifty nor can it be repelled through the hatred of the hateful (enemy). Allah in Hu's/His Wisdom and Majesty has placed merriness and happiness in certainty and acceptance, and has placed sorrow and sadness in skepticism and dissatisfaction."

أخبرنا أبو الحسن، مَنْصورُ بنُ عبدِ الله الدِّيَمرْتِىُّ، ببغداد، قال: سأل أبو عمرو، عثمانُ بنُ جَحْدَةَ بن دَرَامَهْمَ، الكازَرُونى، بها ،قال:أخبرنا أبو الفَتْحِ ،أحمدُ بنُ الحَسَنِ بنِ محمَّدِ بن سَهْلٍ، المِصْرِىُّ، المعروفُ بابن الحِمْصِىِّ الواعظُ بالبَصْرة، قال: حدثنا عَلِىُّ بنُ
 جَعْفَر البغدادىُّ، قال: قال أبو موسى الدَّيْبُلِىُّ؛ حدثنا أبو يزيدَ البِسْطامِىُّ؛ حدثنا أبو عبد الرحمن السُّدِّىُّ؛ عن عمرِو بنِ قَيْس المُلائىِّ، عن عَطِيَّةَ العَوْفي؛ عن أبى سعيدٍ الخُدْرىِّ، قال رسول اللهِ صلى اللهُ علَيْه وسلّم:(إِنَّ مِنْ ضَعْف اليَقِين أَنْ تُرْضِىَ النَّاسَ بِسُخْطِ اللهِ، وَأَنْ تَحْمِدَهُمْ عَلَى رِزْقِ اللهِ، وَأَنْ تَذُمَّهُمْ عَلَى مَا لَمْ يُؤْتِكَ اللهُ. إِنَّ رِزْقَ اللهِ لاَ يَجُرُّهُ حِرْصُ حَرِيِصٍ، وَلاَ يَرُدُّهُ كُرْهُ كَارِهٍ.إِنَّ اللهَ، بِحِكْمَتِهِ وَجَلاَلِهِ، جَعَلَ الرَّوْحَ والفَرَحَ في الْيَقِينِ وَالرِّضَا؛ وَجَعَلَ الهَمَّ وَالحُزْنَ في الشَّكِّ والسُّخْط)

Note: The Hadith was reported by Al-Bayhaqi and by Al-Suyuti who classified it as Dai'f ( not meeting criteria for Sound ) for one of several reasons.

Abu Yazid was asked about the rank of the 'Aref; he responded : "There are no ranks; the highest privilege of the 'Aref is the Existence of Hu: The cognizance for Hu".

: سُئِل أبو يَزِيدَ عن دَرَجة العاِرفِ، فقال:"ليس هُناكدرجةٌ. بل أَعْلَى فائدةِ العارِف وَجودُ معروفِه".
Abu Yazid was asked : "What can be helpful in worship ?" He stated : "Allah! if you know Hu/Him"

  وسُئِلَ أبو يَزيدَ:" بماذا يُسْتَعان على العِبادَةِ؟" فقال:"باللهِ! إن كنتَ تَعْرِفُه".
Abu Yazid stated : "The least that a 'Aref must do is to offer Hu/Him everything Hu/He has given him "
- قال، وقال أبو يزيد:" أدنى ما يجب على العارف، ان يهب له ما قد ملَّك

It is reported that Abu Yazid stated: :" Whosoever listens to the wise words in order to speak with people, Allah will bestow upon him an understanding (of the wise words) so that he can speak to people; and whosoever listens to wise words in order that he, in his deeds, deals with Allah, Allah will bestow upon him an understanding with which he can have intimate conversation with his Lord Almighty"

سمعتُ أبا عمرٍو محمَد بنَ أحمدَ بنِ حَمْدان ، يقول: وجدتُ بخط أبِى:" سمعتُ أبا عثمانَ، سعيدَ بنَ إسماعيل، يقول: قال أبو يزيدَ:"مَن سَمِع الكلامَ ليتكلَّم مع الناسِ، رَزَقَهُ اللهُ فَهْماً يُكلِّم به الناسَ؛ ومن سَمِعَه ليُعامِل اللهَ به في فِعْله، رَزَقَهُ الله فَهْماً يُناجى بهِ رَبَّهُ عزَّ وجَلَّ".

Abu Yazid stated : "Allah has intimate Knowledge of the hearts of Hu's/His friends; some Hu/He did not find suited to carry pure Ma'arifa (Divine Gnostics), he busied them with worship "

" قال، وقال أبو يزيد:"اطَّلَعَ اللهُ على قلوبِ أوليائِه، فمِنْهُم من لم يكنْ يصلُحُ لِحَمْلِ المعرفة صِرْفاً، فَشَغَلَهم بالعبادة

Ibrahim al-Harawi reported that, he heard Abu Yazid say: "So intense is my joy with You even as I fear You, what would it be like if I did not fear You?"
He also reported that he had heard Abu Yazid say: "O My Sustainer! Make me understand You for I can only understand You through You".

 سمعتُ أبا نَصْرٍ الهَرَوِىَّ، يقولُ سمعت يعقوبَ بن إسحاق، يقول: سمعتُ إبرهيمَ الهَرَوِىَّ، يقولُ : سمعتُ أبا يزيد يقول:"هذا فَرَحِى بِكَ وأنا أَخَافَك!. فكيف فَرَحِى بك إذا أَمِنْتُك؟!".
-وبهذا الأسنادِ، قال:سمعتُ أبا يزيدَ يقولُ:"يا رَبُّ! أَفْهِمْني عَنْك، فإنِّي لا أفهمُ عَنْك إلا بِكَ".

It was further reported that Abu Yazid stated : "I gained Knowledge of Allah through Allah , and gained Knowledge of what is other than Allah through Hu's/His Nur (Light)"
Abu Yazid was asked : " What is the sign of the 'Aref ?" He responded : " He does not tire of Dhikr (Remembrance) Allah, and does not get bored of giving Hu/Him ITs/His due (rights) and does not find companionship in other than Hu/Him."

-قال، وقال أبو يزيدَ:"عرفْتُ اللهَ باللهِ، وعرفْتُ ما دونَ اللهِ بنورِ اللهِ عزَّ وجَلَّ".
- سمعتُ منصورَ بنَ عبدِ الله، يقول: سمعتُ يعقوبَ بنَ اسحاقَ، يقول: سمعتُ ابرهيم الهرَوىَّ، يقول: سمعتُ أبا يزيدَ البسْطاميِّ- وسُئِل:"ما علامةُ العارِف؟". فقال:"ألا يَفْتُر مِنْ ذِكْره، ولا يَمَلَّ من حقِّه، ولا يستأنِسَ بغيره"

Abu Yazid stated : "Allah Almighty commanded the slaves ( to be/behave in certain ways) and prohibited them (from others), they obeyed Hu/Him. Then, Hu/He bestowed upon them as Hu/He only can bestow, and they became occupied with what Hu/He provided them with; as for me, I want from Allah only Allah"

-قال، وقال أبو يزيدَ:"إنَّ الله تعالى أَمَرَ العِبادَ ونَهاهُم، فأَطاعُوه، فَخَلَعَ عليْهمْ خِلعَه، فاشتَغَلُوا بالخِلَع عنُه، وإني لا أُرِيدُ من اللهِ إلا اللهَ".

Abu Yazid stated further : "In my beginnings, I made four mistakes : I lived with the illusion that I remember Hu/Him ( Dhikr), that I know Hu/Him, that I love Hu/Him and that I seek Hu/Him. When I reached the end, I realized that Hu's/His Remembrance of me preceded my remembrance of Hu/Him, Hu's/His Knowledge of me preceded my knowledge of Hu/Him, that Hu's/His Love for me preceded my Love for Hu/Him, and that Hu/He sought me so that I seek Hu/Him"

-قال، وقال أبو يزيد:"غلِطْتُ في ابتدائي في أربعة أشياء: تَوَهَّمْتُ أَنِّى أَذْكُرُه،وأَعْرِفُه،وأُحِبُّه، وأَطْلُبُه. فلما انتهيتُ،رأَيتُ ذِكْرَه سبق ذِكْرِى، ومعرفَتَه تقدمَتْ مَعرفتي، ومحبَّته أقدمَ مِن محبَّتي، وطلبه لي أولا حتى طلبته".

© 2007-2002, Hind Rifai M.D. , Dara O. Shayda