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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Episodes of the Pious: Imam Junayd's student

A student from the Attaining Good Character course on SunniPath, wrote this assignment about one of Junayd's students ( printed with permission from the student):


Alhamdaulillah, there are many lessons one can learn from the pious of the past. The knowledge they had was realized into actions, which in turn transformed their states, which in turn transformed the states of those around him.

One such person we read about recently is Abul Qasim al-Junayd. The following biography is taken from Sections x51 of Reliance of the Traveler ( Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Keller, Revised Edition, 1994, Amana Publications):

Abul Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muhammad ibn al-Junayd, Abu-al-Qasim al Baghdadi. Imam of the Sufis, he comprehensively joined between law and way, outward and inward, one the most renowned mystics of Islamic History and at the same time an outstanding scholar of the Sacred Law in school of Abu Thawr. The historian Ibn al-Athir described him as the “the Imam of the World of his time”. Junayd once defined Sufism as “dissociating the beginingless eternal from that which originates in time (ifrad al-qadim ' an al hadith),”and on another occasion simply as |the experience (al-dhawq),” both of which are typical of his succinctness. Though he left few written works his sayings are preserved among the Sufis yo whom he remains an important authority of the path. He died in Baghdad in 297/910 (Al-A\lam(y136), 2.141; and n).

The following incident relates to one of Junayd's disciples and the impact his teachings had on his students. (Episodes from
Tadhkirat al-Auliya’
(Memorial of the Saints) by Farid al-Din Atta Translated A.J. Arberry, Omphalokepis Publications, Iowa, 2000):

The shaikh Jonaid had a disciple whom he loved above all the others. The other disciples were moved to jealousy, a fact which the shaikh realized by his mystic intuition. “He is superior to you in manners and understanding,”he told them. “That is what I had in view; let us make an experiment, so that you may also realize it.”Jonaid commanded twenty birds to be brought to him. “Each of you take one,” he told his disciples. “In a place where no one can see you kill it, then bring it back.”

All the disciples went off and killed and brought back the birds—all, that is, except that favorite disciple. He brought his bird back alive

Why did you not kill it?” Jonaid asked him.

“Because the master said it must be done in a place where no one can see,” the disciple answered. “Wherever I went, God saw.”

“You see the measure of his understanding!” Jonaid exclaimed. “Compare that with that of the others.”

All the other disciples begged God’s forgiveness.

Alhamdaulillah, we learned in Lesson 4, that we as believers should have sincerity in intentions, words and deeds. The above incident shows how a truthful person knows that, truthful is not only being truthful in front of people, but also being truthful when we are alone. So if we say that we will -or wont -do something, the purpose and aim should not be to do it so others see it but it should be because Allah sees it, regardless whether we are with people or without them.

May Allah make us of those who use this knowledge to improve our actions which in turn inshahAllah raise our states. Allahumma Ameen!

1 comment:

Abdul Latif y An-Nissa said...


Mashallah, we also took this course as well, and this example is perfect to reflect on.

It is also a beautiful blog you have mashallah..

we are the couple from Dominican Republic and we also have a blog we would like for u to check if possible for u...we are just starting with a few things, is in both english and spanish.

May Allah bless us and keep us in the straight path.