English translation of Maktubat Imam Rabbani (selective 100) | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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This letter, written to Naqib and Sayyid Shaikh Farid 'quddisa sirruh', explains the advantages and disadvantages of the body and soul, and recommends enduring the nuisances and pains inflicted on the body.
May Allahu ta'ala protect you against every kind of problem! For the sake of the Master of this and the next worlds ('alaihi wa ala alihissalawatu wattaslimat) may He let you attain the blessings of this and the next worlds!
Worldly pleasures and pains are of two sorts: those of the body and those of the soul. Everything that gives pleasure to the body, gives pain to the soul. Everything that hurts the body, tastes sweet to the soul. It is understood that the soul and the body are opposites of each other. In this world, however, the soul has fallen down to the grade of the body, united with the body and given itself up to the body. The soul, taking the shape of the body, has begun to take pleasure from the things that give pleasure to the body, and to feel pain at the things that are painful to the body. Common people are in this state. The ayat "We then demoted it (the soul) to the lowest grade" in Surat-u-Wat-teen indicates their state. If a person's soul does not get rid of this slavery, this dependence, if it does not go back up to its own grade and reach its own native land, shame upon him thousands of times!
Of all creatures, man is in the highest rank
But he also remains deprived of it, to be frank;
If he doesn't turn back and follow the road hinted.
Who else could ever be more disappointed?
Thus one of the illnesses of the soul is that it supposes the things that harm it to be a blessing and the things that aid it to be a disadvantage. This state of the soul is similar to that of a person with a sick stomach; this person tastes what is sweet as bitter because his bile is unhealthy. At is it necessary to cure this person, so it is necessary to save the soul from this disease. The soul, being cured, should take pleasure from the inconveniences and pain given to the body.
To attain this pleasure and delight
Until you die, work hard day and night.
By thinking and observing well, it can be understood that were it not for the cares and disasters in the world, the world would have no value. Tragic events and misfortunes do away with the darkness and dullness of the world. The bitterness of cares and sorrows is like the bitterness of useful medicine that will cure a disease. I, this poor person, understand that at some banquets given with wicked intentions or for ostentation or for some advantages, the offense given to the host by finding fault with the food or through some other annoyance, does away with the obscurity and the sin in the food that originates from an evil intention, thereby causing it to be accepted. If it were not for the guests' complaints and insults that offended the host, the food would be unprofitable and not blessed, and so it would not be accepted. The hurt in the heart causes acceptance. Then, we, who always think of our physical comfort and pleasures, and who always run toward this purpose, are in a very difficult situation. Allahu ta'ala declares in the fifty-sixth ayat al- karima of Surat-u-Wa-z-ariyat: "I created human beings and genies only so that they will worship Me." Worships are designed to break the heart and to enable it to understand its lowness. Man's creation is intended so that he will despise and humble himself. This world is like a dungeon when compared to the Muslims' life after death, the blessings of Paradise. It is unreasonable for Muslims to seek pleasure and dissipation in this dungeon. Then, it is necessary to get used to sufferings, torments and trouble in this world. There is no other way than putting up with the afflictions here (in this world). May Allahu ta'ala, for the sake of your blessed ancestor (Rasulullah), bless us, His weak born servants, with walking in this way!
[In the book Rashahat, Hadrat Ubaidullah-i ahrar 'rahmatullahi ta'ala alaih' says, "Man is created to worship Allah. The point and the essence of 'ibadat (worship) is to make the qalb (heart) become aware of Allahu ta'ala at all times."]