Imam al-Haddad on Vigilance

The following text is taken from the English translation of the book by imam al-Haddad, may Allah sanctify his secret, The Book of Assistance, translated by Mostafa al-Badawi. Below you will find the text of Chapter Three, On Vigilance (pp. 13,14).

“You must, O my brothers, be mindful of God in all your movements and times of stillness, at every moment, with every blink of the eye, with every thought, wish or any other state. Feel His nearness to you! Know that He looks and is Aware of you, that nothing that you conceal is hidden from Him, nothing that weighs so much as an atom is hidden from your Lord, whether on earth or in heaven (1), when you speak aloud He knows your secret [thought] and that which is even more hidden (2). He is with you wherever you are (3), with His knowledge, awareness and power. If you are righteous, He will guide, assist and protect you.

Have modesty before your Lord as you should; make sure that He never sees you in a situation which He has forbidden you, and never misses you where He has commanded you to be; worship Him as if you saw Him, for even if you do not see Him, He sees you. Whenever you notice in your soul any laziness in His worship or inclination to disobedience, remind it that God hears and sees you and knows your secrets and secret conversation. If this reminding does not benefit it because of the inadequacy of its knowledge of the Majesty of God, remind it of the two noble angels who record good and evil deeds, and recite to it: When the two receivers receive, sitting on the right and on the left; he utters no word but there is with him a watcher, ready. [L:17,18] If this reminding does not influence it, remind it of the proximity of death, that it is the nearest of all hidden and awaited things; frighten it of its sudden pouncing, whereby if it does come when it is in an unsatisfactory state it will end up in endless perdition. If this threat is of no use, remind it of the immense reward which God has promised those who obey Him, and the painful torment with which He has threatened those who disobey Him. Say to it: ‘O soul! After death there will be no opportunity to repent, and there will be, after this life, only the Garden or the Fire. Choose, if you will, obedience, the consequence of which is triumph, contentment, immortality in vast gardens, and looking at the Face of God, the Generous, the Beneficent; or else disobedience, the consequence of which is degradation, humiliation, mockery, deprivation, and imprisonment between layers of fire.’ Endeavour to cure your soul with such reminders when it neglects obedience and inclines to rebellion, for they are useful medicines for the heart’s diseases.

If you find emerging in your heart, when you call to mind the fact that God observes you, a shyness that prevents you from disobeying Him and drives you to exert yourself in obeying Him, you are in possession of something of the realities of vigilance [muraqaba].

Know that vigilance is one of the most noble stations, high positions, and lofty degrees. It is the station of excellence [ihsan] indicated in the Prophet’s saying, may blessings and peace be upon him: ‘Excellence is to worship God as if you saw Him, for if you do not see Him, He sees you.’ Each believer has faith that nothing on earth or in heaven is concealed from God, that God is with him wherever he is, and that none of his movements or times of stillness are concealed from Him. But the important thing is that this awareness be permanent and that its results appear, the least of which is that he does nothing, when alone with God, that he would be ashamed of should a man of virtue see him. This is rare, and it eventually leads to that which is rarer still, whereby the servant is totally immersed in God, annihilated in Him and thus rendered unaware of all else, absent from creation through his contemplation of the True King, having arrived at a secure seat in the presence of an Able Sovereign (4).”

———————–

(1) Qur’an 10:61.

(2) Qur’an 20:7.

(3) Qur’an 57:4.

(4) Qur’an 54:55.

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