WHAT THE SEEKER NEEDS - 9

By Muhiyy ad-Din Ibn 'Arabi

Be chaste; chastity is to be cautious, to try to abstain from all that is unclean and sinful. It is protecting yourself from all that is doubtful and suspicious in and around you. When the Messenger of Allah said: "Leave that which is doubtful and reach for that which is sure," he was speaking of the necessity of abandoning things that render you doubtful and hesitant, that create uncertainty, suspense, and fear in your heart - and of turning towards things that render you secure and peaceful.

It falls upon you to examine each act, each word, each act of worship, each relation with others such as friendship or marriage. You must find whether each thing is good or bad, clean or unclean, right or wrong-in other words, lawful or unlawful. In some cases it is clear; then you must choose the right over the wrong. In some cases it is doubtful; then you must leave it as if it were wrong and seek that which is sure.

Follow the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): Even if you feel in need of that which is doubtful, even if you are unable to get anything else, do not take it; leave it for the sake of Allah. This is chastity. Be sure that Allah will reward the chaste with abundant goods much better than the doubtful thing that was abandoned. But do not expect your reward immediately.

Chastity is the foundation of religion and the path to truth. If you are chaste, all your deeds will be pure and sincere; all you do will end well; you will be in harmony with the divine order. You will be the recipient of divine generosity; all will turn to you. You will be under divine protection. If you are chaste and pious, avoiding the wrong and the doubtful, there is no doubt that you will receive all these blessings. But if you turn your back to chastity and piety, the Absolute Judge will place you in a shameful state - helpless, terrified. He will leave you by yourself in the hands of your ego. Then you will be a toy for the devil, who will find no resistance, no opposition to his tempting you, to his taking you away from truth.

Spend all your effort to stay on the path of piety, and may Allah help you.

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Part 10