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Chapter 10. Types Of Strangeness

Indeed, the strangeness in the sight of those who have treaded its path is of two types: the apparent and the hidden.


The Apparent:

The strangeness of those who correct themselves and others in the presence of evildoers.

The strangeness of the truthful in front of the people of hypocrisy and those who show off The strangeness of the scholars in the presence of the people who are ignorant and possess bad manners.

The strangeness of the scholars seeking the next life in the presence of the scholars of this worldly life who are those deprived of the fear and humility (of Allah).

And the strangeness of the ascetics in the presence of those who seek what depletes and does not remain.


The Hidden:

The strangeness of one's desires - and it is the strangeness of the ‘Aarifoon amidst the entire creation, even including the scholars, the worshippers and the ascetics, for verily, these (three) stop at where their knowledge, worship and asceticism take them. But these individuals only stop when they reach He whom they worship and their hearts do not swerve away from Him. This is what Abu Sulaymaan Ad-Daaraanee used to say about their attributes: “Their longing is not like the longing of the people, and their desire is for the Hereafter contrary to the desires of the people. Their supplication is not like the supplication of the people."


And he (ra) was once asked concerning what the best of deeds was, so he began to weep and said: “It is that He takes over your heart and so you are not seen wanting from this world or the next one, anything other than Him.”


Yahyaa bin Muadh (ra) said: “The zaahid (ascetic) is the stranger of this world and the ‘aarif is the stranger of the Hereafter.”


He is indicating that the one who abandons the worldly life is a stranger amidst the people of this world, while the one who is aware of Allah is a stranger amidst the people of the Hereafter. Neither the worshippers nor the ascetics will be able to recognize him.


Verily, only those who are similar to him and whose desires are similar to his desires will be able to recognize him. Or perhaps all of these strange qualities or most or some of them will be gathered in the ‘Aarif (one who is aware of Allah). So let no one ask about his strangeness at that point. Thus the ‘Aarifoon are the foremost to the people of this world and the Hereafter.


Yahyaa bin Muadh (ra) said: “The ‘Aabid (worshipper) is well-known (amongst the people), while the ‘Aarif (knowledgeable one) is hidden (unknown)."


And perhaps the condition of the ‘Aarif is hidden from even himself, due to the concealment of his condition and the bad thoughts he holds for himself.


Ibrahim bin Adham (ra) said: “I have not seen this matter except in a man who did not know that about himself nor did the people know him.”


In the hadith of Sa'ad the Prophet said: “Verily, Allah loves the servant who is fearfully submissive of Allah (i.e. has Taqwaa), who is prosperous and who is concealed.”


And in the hadith of Muadh bin Jabal the Prophet said: “Verily, Allah loves the righteous ones, those who possess Taqwaa, those who are concealed. When they are absent, they are not missed. And when they are present, they are not recognized.”


These individuals are the roads of guidance and the lamp posts of knowledge.


Ali bin Abi Taalib said: “Toobaa is for every servant who does not know the people nor do the people know him, yet Allah knows him, being well pleased (with him). These are the stars of guidance. Every darkening evil has been removed from them.”


So these individuals are the most specific (i.e. few) of strangers. They are the ones who flee from trials for the sake of their Religion. They are the ones who extract themselves from their families and who will be resurrected with Isa bin Maryam. And they are in the presence of the inhabitants of the Hereafter, more honorable than flaming torches. So what is their condition amidst the inhabitants of this world? Their condition is for the most part concealed from these two groups (inhabitants of this world and the next)…