The Spiritual Pauper

The Spiritual Pauper

by Sayyidi Abd al-Qadir Jilani

The great Qutb, Sayyidi Abd al-Qadir Jilani (Allah sanctify his secret) said:

"What is required of the spiritual pauper [faqir] is that he should be flexible in thinking [fikr] and centered in remembrance [dhikr], courteous in disagreement [munaza'a] and ready to assist in reconciliation [muraja'a]. He must seek nothing from the Lord of Truth but the Truth [Haqq], and he must practice nothing but truthfulness [sidq]. He must be the most tolerant of people, and the most self-effacing. His laughter should be of the cheerful, smiling kind, and his curiosity should be used as an instrument of learning. He should be a reminder to the heedless, and a teacher to the ignorant. He must not hurt those who hurt him, and he must not meddle in things that do not concern him.

"He must give plenty in the way of favors, but little in the way of offense. He must be careful to abstain from things that are unlawful, and stand well clear of things that are of dubious legality [shubuhat]. He must be a helper [ghawth] to the stranger, and a father to the orphan. His joy should be apparent in his face, while his sadness is stored in his heart. He should be engrossed in his contemplation [fikr] and happy in his poverty [faqr]. He must not disclose a secret, nor rend a veil. He must be graceful in movement, bountiful in kindness, charming in outlook, generous in providing benefits, refined in taste, excellent in moral character, and very gentle.

"He should be a precious substance that melts and flows. He should be long on silence [samt], agreeable in manner [na't], forbearing when he is treated foolishly, and very patient with anyone who treats him badly. There should be no freezing [jumud] of the feelings in his presence, and no extinguishing [khumud] of the fire of Truth. He must never be slanderous [nammum], envious [hasud], impetuous ['ajul], or malicious [haqud]. He must treat the elderly with deference, and the young with compassion.

"He must be worthy of trust [amana] and far from betrayal [khiyana]. His habit should be true devotion, and modesty should be his natural disposition. He should always be on the alert, and make vigilance his constant practice. He should take little for granted, and be very long-suffering. He should mean little to himself, but a great deal to his brothers. His behavior should be an example of good conduct [adab], and his speech should be a marvel ['ajab]. He must never gloat over anyone's misfortune, nor speak ill of anyone behind his back.

"He must be dignified and very patient, content and very thankful. He should spend little time in talking, and make a frequent practice of ritual prayer [salat] and fasting. He must be truthful of tongue, and steadfast of heart. He should treat his guests with cordial hospitality, and supply everyone present with whatever food is available. When disasters befall him, his neighbors must not be adversely affected.

"He must not be a verbal abuser [sabbab], a backbiter [mughtab], a slanderer [ghayyab], a calumniator [nammam], or a faultfinder [dhammam]. He must not be impetuous ['ajul], inattentive [ghaful], envious [hasud], irritable [malul], malicious [haqud], or ungrateful [kanud].

"He must have a tongue that is stored away [makhzun], a heart that is grief-stricken [mahzun], a way of speaking that is measured [mawzun], and a way of thinking that travels far and wide, through what has been and what is yet to be [ma yakun]."

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