‘…It will come and go…’

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

“People will live amongst people, for as long as they live,
For without doubt, fortune and goodness will come and go.
The best of people amongst others is a man who,
Upon his hands the needs of others are settled.
Never withhold your assistance from anyone,
As long as you are capable, for fortune tends to come and go.
And give thanks for the bounties of Allah,
If you are the one to settle the needs of others.
Indeed, people have died, and their virtues died too
And some have lived, but they are truly dead among the people.”

- Imam al-Shafi’i

al-Shafi’i: ‘…And in everything there is a Sign…’

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Some translated excerpts from the Diwan of Imam al-Shafi’i…

§-§

يا سميع الدعاء كن عند ظني *** واكفني مَن كفيتهُ الشَّر منّي
وأعنّي على رضاك وخِرْ لي *** في أموري وعافني واعفُ عني
O Hearer of supplications, fulfil my expectations,
And protect me from the evil of he whom You have power over.
And aid me in attaining Your Pleasure, and choose for me
In all my affairs, and grant me well-being, and forgive me.

§-§

يا من تعزز بالدنيا وزينتها *** الدهر يأتي على المبني والباني
ومن يكن عزه الدنيا وزينتها *** فعزه عن قليل زائل فاني
واعلم بأن كنوز الأرض من ذهب *** فاجعل كنوزك من بر وإيمان
O you who seeks glory and strength in this world and its glitter,
Know that time comes over every building and builder.
And whoever’s glory comes from this world and its glitter,
Then soon his glory will fade and will be no longer.
Know that the treasures of the earth lie in riches and gold,
So make your treasure lie in piety and faith.

§-§

لا تأس في الدنيا على فائت *** وعندك الإسلام والعافية
إن فات أمر كنت تسعى له *** ففيهما من فائت كافيه
Never be saddened by what you lose in this world,
When you have Islam and good health with you.
If you lose something that you were rushing towards,
Then the fact that you lost it is sufficient (as a lesson).

§-§

فيا عجبي كيف يعصى الإله *** أم كيف يجحـده الجاحـد
وللـه في كــل تحريكةٍ *** وتسكــينة أبــداً شاهد
وفي كـل شيء لـه آيـة *** تـدل على أنـه واحــد
How surprising that God can be disobeyed!
Or that the unbeliever can deny Him so
When there is a witness for God in every single thing
That moves about or is rested at peace.
And in everything there is truly a Sign
That shows He is indeed One (God).

§-§

إني صحبت أناسا ما لهم عدد *** وكنت أحسب أني قد ملأت يدي
لما بلوت أخلائي وجدتهم *** كالدهر في الغدر لم يبقوا علي أحد
إن غبت عنهم فشر الناس يشتمني *** وإن مرضت فخير الناس لم يعد
وإن رأوني بخير ساءهم فرحي *** وإن رأوني بشر سرهم نكدي
I have accompanied a countless number of people,
And I thought I had more than my share (of them),
But when I tested my friends I found that,
They were treacherous like Time which spares no-one.
If I were absent from them, the worst of them would insult me,
And if I fell ill, the best of them would not visit me.
And if they saw me in a good state, my delight hurt them,
And if they saw me in a bad state, my hardship delighted them.

§-§

قالوا يزورك أحمد وتزوره *** قلت الفصائل لا تفارق منزله
إن زارني فبفضله أو زرته *** فلفضله فالفضل في الحالين له
They said, ‘Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) visits you and you visit him!’
I said, ‘Virtue cannot be separated from his home!
If he visits me, then it’s because of his virtue, and if I visit him
Then it’s due to his virtue, so in both cases virtue belongs to him.’

al-Shafi’i: My soul yearns for Egypt

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Some selections from the Diwan of Imam al-Shafi’i:

إذا حارَ أمرُكَ في مَعْنَيَيْن *** ولم تدرِ فيما الخطا و الصواب
فخَالِفْ هَوَاكَ فإنَّ الهوَى ***  يقودُ النفوسَ إلى ما يعاب

If you are caught in confusion between two matters,
And you don’t know what is right and what is wrong.
At that point, disobey your desires; for indeed desires,
Only lead the soul to what is blameworthy and wrong.

§-§

ما حك جلدك مثل ظفرك *** فتول أنت جميع أمـرك
وإذا قصـدت لـحاجـةٍ *** فاقصد لمعترفٍ بفضلك

Nothing can scratch your skin quite like your own nails,
So take care of all your affairs by yourself.
And if you must seek help for some of your needs,
Then seek out a person who knows well your virtue.

§-§

يريد المرء أن يعطى منـاه *** ويأبـى الله إلا مــا أرادا
يقول المرء فائدتي ومالـي *** وتقوى الله أفضل ما استفادا

A person wants to be given their lot of fate,
But Allah refuses it to be except what He wishes.
A person will say ‘My profits! My wealth!’
But the fear of Allah is the best of all profits.

§-§

كل العداوات قد ترجى مودتها *** إلا عداوة من عاداك من حسدِ

Every type of enmity can be turned into love,
Except the enmity of he who hates you out of envy.

§-§

ولا تعطين الرأي من لا يريده *** فلا أنت محمود ولا الرأي نافعه

Do not give your opinion to one who does not want it,
For neither are you praiseworthy, nor will the opinion benefit him.

§-§

لقد أصبحت نفسي تتوق إلى مصر *** ومن دونها أرض المهامه والقفر
فوالله لا أدري أللفوز والغنى *** أساق إليها أم أساق إلى القبر

My soul has come to yearn for Egypt,
And all other lands are lands of toil and emptiness.
By Allah I do not know; is it towards success and riches,
That I am being driven to, or is it my grave?

[Incredible lines of poetry, since Imam al-Shafi’i actually died in Egypt]

- Diwan al-Shafi’i

From Diwan al-Shafi’i

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

I was reading Imam al-Shafi’i’s book of poetry and came across some thought-provoking entries…

بقَدْرِ الكدِّ تُكتَسَبُ المَعَالي *** ومَنْ طَلبَ العُلا سَهِرَ اللّيالي
ومَنْ رامَ العُلى مِن غَيرِ كَدٍّ *** أضَاعَ العُمرَ في طَلَبِ المُحَالِ
تَرُومُ العِزَّ ثم تَنامُ لَيلاً *** يَغُوصُ البَحْرَ مَن طَلَبَ اللآلي

Loftiness is attained in accordance to one’s struggles
And whoever seeks nobility, remains vigilant by night
Whoever wishes to achieve, without due effort
Will waste their life in seeking the impossible
You search for glory and yet you sleep at night
It is only the seeker of pearls who dives deep into the sea.

§-§

قالوا : سكت و قد خوصمت، قلت لهم: *** ان الجواب لباب الشر مفتاح
الصمت عن جاهل أو أحمق شرف *** و فيه أيضا لصون العرض إصلاح
أما ترى الاسد تُخشى و هي صامتة ؟! *** والكلب يخسى لعمري و هو نباح

They said, ‘You’ve been disputed but yet you keep silent?’
I said, ‘Indeed a response will only be a key to the doors of evil.’
Remaining silent from an ignorant one is indeed a virtue
And in it is also reform and protection of honour
Do you not see how the lion is feared, although he is silent?
And yet dogs are disgraced, but by God do they bark.

§-§

وما أحد من ألسن الناس سالماً *** ولو أنه ذاك النبي المطهرُ
وإن كان سكيتاً يقولون أبكم *** وإن كان منطيقاً يقولون أهدرُ
وإن كان صواماً وبالليل قائماً *** يقولون زرَاقٌ يرائي و يمكرُ

Nobody is safe from the tongues of people
Even if he were to be the Prophet so pure
If one is silent, they say he is voiceless
And if he speaks, they say he talks much
Were he to fast and stand to pray at night
They say he’s blind, he shows off, he deceives.

§-§

أقبل معاذيرَ من يأتيكَ معتذراً *** إنْ يرَّ عندكَ فيما قال أو فجرا
لقد أطاعكَ منْ يرضيك ظاهره *** وقد أجلَّكَ من يعصيكَ مستترا

Accept the apology of he who comes apologising to you
Regardless of what he said: if it was sinful or true
He whose outward character pleases you, has indeed obeyed you
And he who disobeyed you secretly, has in fact honoured you.