THE EXQUISITE PEARL – Book Sample
ABOUT THE BOOK – THE EXQUISITE PEARL
HERE, THREE ASPECTS OF THE BOOK shall be discussed: its author, its theme, and its translation.
The author is ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Nasir ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Hamad alSa’di, from the tribe of Banii Tamim. He was born on the 12th of Muharram, 1307H/1889CE, in the city of ‘Unayzah, situated in the province of al-Qaim; central Saudi Arabia. He was orphaned at a young age; his mother passing away when he was only four, and his father when he was seven. His older brother, Hamad, was then entrusted with his care and upbringing.
By the age of twelve Shaykh al-Sa’di had completed the memorization of the Qur’an, after which his pursuit for knowledge of the Sacred Law began in earnest. He studied the traditional disciplines at the hands of a number of senior scholars of the land; from them:
1 -Shaykh Ibrahim al-Jasir. Born in 124 lH, he first studied locally, then went to Syria to further his studies. Shaykh Ibrahim was well-known for his good manners, scrupulousness and generosity. He was also blessed with a lengthy life, passing away at the age of ninety-seven…
The book consists of a short, didactic poem – which its author entitled: ‘The Journey to Allah and the Home of the Hereafter, or Afterlife (alsayr il’allah wa’l-dar al-akhirah) – as well as a brief explanation to the poem, which he called: ‘The Exquisite Pearl (al-durrat aljakhirah): The nature and brevity of the book is such that it may be regarded as an introduction, or a primer, to the science of suluk.
The book elucidates the main stations (maqamat or manazil) that the heart is required to embrace as part of its journeying to Allah. What is meant by ‘station’ is a praiseworthy quality – such as sincerity, love, fear, hope, patience, satisfaction or renunciation – which the heart succeeds in acquiring and firmly rooting in itself. When this occurs, the heart is said to have ‘arrived’ at that particular station. If, however, the praiseworthy quality wavers and has not settled in it, then the heart is said to be in a state (hal), not a station (maqam).
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, explained the distinction between states and stations in the following manner:
‘What is correct here is that these occurrences and stations are named so by taking into consideration the particular state for it. So they are glimmerings (lawami’), flashes (bawariq) and external appearances (lawa’ih) at the onset of their occurrence, in the same way that lightening glimmers and flashes from a distance. But when they dawn upon
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