The Hikam

of Ibn 'Ata'llah


            A feeling of discouragement when you slip up
                  is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

            Your desire to withdraw from everything
             when Allah has involved you in the world of means
                   is a hidden appetite.

            Your desire for involvement with the world of means
              when Allah has withdrawn you from it
                 is a fall from high aspiration.

            Aspiration which rushes on ahead
              cannot break through the walls of destiny.

            Give yourself a rest from managing!
            When Someone Else is doing it for you,
               don't you start doing it for yourself!

            Your striving for what is absolutely guaranteed to you
              and your laxness in what is required of you
                 are evidence that your inner eye is dull.

            If you make intense supplication
            and the timing of the answer is delayed,
             do not despair of it.
            His reply to you is guaranteed;
            but in the way He chooses,
               not the way you choose,
              and at the moment He desires,
               not the moment you desire.

            If something that is promised does not happen
            even though the time for it is set,
               do not doubt the promise!
            If you do, that will dim your inner eye
            and put out the light of your secret.

            When He opens a way for you and makes Himself known to you,
              then do not worry about your lack of deeds.
            He only opened the way for you
            because He desired to make Himself known to you.
            Do you not see that while He grants gnosis of Himself to you,
            you have only deeds to offer Him?
              What He brings you -
            What you bring Him -
            What a difference there is between them!

            Different states have different outcomes.
            This accounts for the variety of types of action.

            Actions are merely propped-up shapes.
            Their life-breath is the presence of the secret of sincerity in them.

            Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity.
              If something sprouts before it is buried,
                  its fruits will never ripen.

            Withdraw the heart into the arena of reflection
            - nothing helps the heart more than that!

            If the forms of phenomenal beings
                  are embedded in the mirror of the heart,
              how can it be illuminated?
            If it is fettered by its appetites,
              how can it travel to Allah?
            If it is not purified of the great impurity of its heedlessness,
            how can it aspire to enter the presence of Allah?
            If it has not turned away in regret from its lapses,
              how can it hope to grasp the subtleties of secret knowledge?

            Phenomenal being is utter and total darkness.
            It is only the manifestation of the Real in it that gives it light.

            When you see phenomenal being and do not see Him
              in it, with it, before it or after it,
              then you are truly in need of light.

            You are veiled from the suns of gnoses
              by the clouds of secondary traces.

            One way He shows you the existence of His overwhelming power
            is by veiling you from Him
            by that which cannot exist alongside Him.

            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
              when He is the One who is manifest by everything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
              when He is the One who is made manifest in everything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
              when He is the One who is manifest to everything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
              when He was the One who was Manifest before there was anything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
            when He is more manifest than anything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
            when He is the One with whom there is nothing else?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
            when He is the One who is nearer to you than anything?
            How can you imagine that something else veils Him
              when if it had not been for Him, there would not have been anything?

            A marvel!
            See how existence becomes manifest in non-existence!
            How the in-time holds firm alongside Him whose attribute is eternal!

Commentary by Ibn 'Ajiba


            You have not abandoned ignorance at all
                     if you want something to take place in any moment
                other than what Allah has manifested in it.

            You put off action until you have nothing else to do?
                That comes from the foolishness of the lower self.

            Don't ask Him to remove you from one state
              in order to use you in another.
            If He wanted to,
            He could use you without removing you.

            When the aspiration of the wayfarer desires to halt
                          at what has been unveiled to him.
            then the invisible voices of the Reality call out to him.
              "What you're looking for is still in front of you!"

            When the outward aspect of created things display their beauty to him,
            then their inner reality calls out to him,
            "We are a trial!
               We captivate and tempt you!
               Do not disbelieve!"

            If you make demands on Him, you doubt Him.
            If you seek Him, you are absent from Him.
            If you seek other-than-Him, you are shameless before Him.
            If you make demands on other-than-Him, you are distant from Him.

            Every breath you breathe emerges according to a preordained decree.

            Don't look forward to being quit of others -
            that will cut you off from watchful awareness of Him
            in the place where He has put you.

            Don't think that worry and sorrow are out of place
                as long as you are in this world.
              It only brings forth what its attribute and quality demand.

            A goal you seek by your Lord:
            no delay here.
            A goal you seek by yourself:
                    not easy.
            A sign of success in the end:
                      turning to Allah in the beginning.
            A radiant beginning:
                a radiant ending.

            Everything that is stored away in the warehouse of invisible secrets
              has to appear in the visible world of outward manifestation.

            What a difference!
                This one is guided by Him.
                That one seeks information about Him.

            The one guided by Him gains direct knowledge of the Real
            and verifies the matter from its actual Source.

            Seeking information about Him comes from
            not having reached Him.

            This must be the case because when was He absent
              so as to make it necessary for you to seek information about Him?
            When was He distant so that you would need tracks to lead you to Him?

            As for those who have reached Him:
              "He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty."
            As for those who are travelling to Him:
              "it is he whose provision is restricted."

            Those travelling to Him
            are guided by the light of turning their faces toward Him.
            Those who have arrived
            have the lights of face-to-face encounter.

            The former belong to lights,
            but the lights belong to the latter
              because they belong to Allah, and are His alone.

            "Say: 'Allah'
              then leave them plunging in their games."

Commentary by Ibn 'Ajiba


            Better to look at the defects hidden within you
              than to look for the unseen worlds that are veiled from you.

            The Real is not veiled
              - it is you that are veiled from seeing Him.
            If there was anything veiling Him
              what veiled Him would cover Him.
            If he was covered,
              His existence would be contained.
            If something contains something else,
            it overpowers it.
            But He is the Conqueror, overcoming His slaves.

            Among the qualities of humanness,
                  get rid of every quality incompatible with your slavehood
              so you can answer when Allah calls and be near His presence.

            The root of every act of rebellion, every appetite
                and every moment of heedlessness
                is satisfaction with one's self.

            The root of every act of obedience, every restraint
                and every moment of wakefulness
                  is lack of satisfaction with one's self.

            Better to keep the company of an ignorant man
                  who is not satisfied with himself
              than a man of knowledge who is satisfied with himself.

            What knowledge does the self-satisifed scholar have?
            What ignorance does the ignorant man who is not self-satisfied have?

            The light of the inner eye lets you see His nearness to you.
            The source of the inner eye lets you see your non-existence by your existence.
            The truth of the inner eye lets you see His existence,
                not your own non-existence or existence.

            "Allah was and there was nothing with Him.
              He is now as He was."

Commentary by Ibn 'Ajiba

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