On Intense Supplication from the Hikam of ibn Ata’ulla al-Iskandari.

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.

Intense supplication is to repeat a supplication for something needed in the same manner. Supplication is asking, which is accompanied by adab on the carpet of slavedom in the presence of the Lord. That which demands the thing is intrinsic to its existence. Despair cuts off desires. Know that One of His names is al-Qayyum. It is an intensive form derived from establishment (qiyam). Allah undertook the creation of all, from His Throne to His earth. The source of every manifestation has a limited time and known term. Each has a known form and allotted provision.

“When their time comes, they cannot delay it a single hour nor bring it forward.” (7:34)

When your heart is attached to one of the needs of this world and the Next, then return to the promise of Allah and be content with the knowledge of Allah and do not be greedy. There is fatigue and abasement in greediness.

Our shaykh’s shaykh, Moulay al-‘Arabi, said,

“People settle their needs with greed for them in them and yielding to them. We settle our needs by asceticism in them and being distracted by Allah from them, thinking them to be of little importance.”

If you must make supplication, let your supplication be for slavedom, not to seek your portion. If you leave portions, they will come to you. If seeking overwhelms you, and you seek something and then the time of giving is delayed for you, do not suspect Allah’s promise when He says,

“Call on me and I will answer you.” (40:60)

Do not despair of obtaining it. Allah has guaranteed to you that He will grant what He wishes of the good of this world and the good of the Next. His kindness to you may prevent that request since it is not right for you.

Shaykh ash-Shadhili says,

“O Allah, we are unable to avert harm from ourselves when we know what we know, so how can we not be incapable of that when we do not know what we do not know?”

One of the commentators said that

Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills. The choice is not theirs” (28:68)

means that He chooses the matter in which they have choice and He answers you at that time when it is best and most beneficial for you, and then He gives that at the time in which He wishes, not at the time when you want. He may delay that until the Abode of Generosity and Abiding, and it is “better and longer lasting.” (87:17)

In a hadith, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said,

“Someone who makes supplication must be one of three: either his request will be hastened to him, or its reward will be delayed for him or a like evil will be repelled from him.”

Shaykh Abu Muhammad ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz al-Mahdawi said,

The one who does not leave his supplication by his choice with pleasure in the choice of Allah for him is drawn on bit by bit. He is one of those about whom it is said, ‘Fulfil his need, I dislike to hear his voice.’ It is by the choice of Allah, not by his choice for himself that he is answered, even if he is not given to. Actions are according to their seals.”

So what is said about fulfilling the promise and carrying out what is promised is clear to you, but in the manner in which He wills and at the time He wills. In that He commands you to truthfulness and affirmation and forbids you doubt and hesitation to thereby complete the opening of your inner eye and the delight of the lights of your secret.

Transalated by Ayesha Bewley.

One thought on “On Intense Supplication from the Hikam of ibn Ata’ulla al-Iskandari.

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