“O children of Adam, only by remembering and
contemplating Me with your whole being are you truly faithful to Me.
Whenever you forget Me, you are unfaithful.”
1. Forgetful of Pre-Existent Knowledge
It is a cardinal Sufi doctrine that the spirit or the
soul bears the imprint of all knowledge from pre-existence, and,
therefore, there is nothing for it to know that it does not already
know. If the kingdom of God is within us, all knowledge is within
us. But the drug of sensuality, the taint of worldliness, has made
the spirit forgetful of its pre-existent knowledge. Purge it, and
that knowledge will come back. Hence, it is said that knowledge is
but recollection. ...
K. Khosla reading Jalâlu d-Dîn Rumi, Mathnawi II,
quoted in The Sufism of Rumi; K. Khosla
2. On the saying "He who knows himself ..."
As to that which as been related concerning the saying
of one of the early mentors that, "He who knows
himself, knows his Lord;"
it means that one cannot know one's
Lord with knowledge of oneself. Thus when he forgets himself, he
knows his Lord.
Sahl ibn `Abdallâh said, "The life of the heart is in the
knowledge of God alone (not of another)."
Abu `Uthmân al-Hîrî and Abu Turâb al-Nakhshabî said, "One who is
ignorant of God's decrees (ahkâm) cannot be one knowledgeable
No one attains true knowledge of God while being ignorant of
God's decrees and commands. How might one who has attained knowledge
of God be ignorant of His decrees and commands?! When one knows his
Lord, knows His decrees and commands, and lives by them to the best
of his ability, he will manifest signs of sincerity and be counted
among the sincere (sâdiqîn). Then, (in time) he will become
firmly established in sincerity and will be subsequently be counted
among the veracious (siddiqîn). ...
From the Stations Of The Righteous, (Mas`alat
darajât as-sâdiqîn fî -tasawwuf) by Abu `Abd ar-Rahmân
3. On Knowing God - Truth
Shaykh Abû al-Hasan
said, "How can the One through whom the gnostic sciences have been
known be Himself known through the gnostic sciences? Or, how can the
One whose existence preceded the existence of all things be known
through any of these things?"
A disciple once asked his shaykh, "O Teacher where is God?" To
which his shaykh replied, "May God crush you! After a vision [of the
Divine] with your own eyes, you seek to know where he is?"
The Truth has thus been veiled from His servants by the
magnificance of His appearance, while their sight has been prevented
from witnessing Him by the very brilliance of His light.
Know that evidence is only provided for those who are seeking the
truth, not for those who have witnessed it.
The Subtle Blessings in the Saintly
Lives of Abul-Abbas al- Mursi And His Master Abû l-Hasan al-
Shâdhilî (Kitab Lata'if al-Minan fi Manaqib Abi'l-Abbas al-Mursi wa
Shaykhihi Abi'l-Hasan) by Ibn Ata' Allah al-Iskandari
4. Concerning the saying: "He who knows himself,
knows his Lord," is this a hadith of the Prophet?
Is (He who knows himself, knows
a hadith of the Prophet? Answer
Imam Sakhawi said in al-Maqasid
"The hadith?: 'Whoever knows themselves knows
Abu al-Mudhaffar ibn al-Sam`ani said....,"It is not established
as a Prophetic hadith. Rather, it is related from Yahya ibn
al-Mu`adh al-Razi - that is, from his words."
This is also what Imam Nawawi said, affirming that, "It is not
established." [Sakhawi, al-Maqasid al-Hasana 1.220]
Imam Saghani considered it a fabricated (mawdu`) hadith.
[Saghani, al-Mawdu`at, 1.2] Other major works on fabricated hadiths
Thus, this would not be permissible to ascribe to the Prophet
peace and blessings be upon him. However, the
words themselves are sound in meaning, and the great masters of the
spiritual path quoted them extensively.
The meaning is also established by clear texts of the Qur'an and
Sunna, such as the words of the Messenger of Allah peace and blessings be upon him, "Be mindful
of Allah, and you'll find Him before you." [Tirmidhi, and
And Allah alone gives success.
5 . On "Whoso Knows Himself ...",
Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn `Arabi
The opening paragraphs from the book
attributed to Shaykh Muhyiddin Ibn
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,
we ask for aid:
Praise be to God [ Allah, may His Majesty be
exalted ] before whose oneness there was not a before, unless
the Before were He, and after whose singleness there is not an
after, except the After be He. He is, and there is with Him no after
nor before, nor above nor below, nor far nor near, nor union nor
division, nor how nor where nor when, nor times nor moment nor age,
nor being nor place. And He is now as He was. He is the One without
oneness, and the Single without singleness. He is not composed of
name and named, for His name is He and His named is He. So there is
no name other than He, nor named. And so He is the Name and the
Named. He is the First without firstness, and the Last without
lastness. He is the Outward without outwardness, and the Inward
without inwardness. I mean that He is the very existence of the
First and the very existence of the Last, and the very existence of
the Outward and the very existence of the Inward. So that there is
no first nor last, nor outward nor inward, except Him, without these
becoming Him or His becoming them.
Understand, therefore, in order that you may not fall into the
error of the Hululis: He is not in a thing nor a thing in Him,
whether entering in or proceeding forth. It is necessary that you
know Him after this fashion, not by knowledge (`ilm), nor by
intellect, nor by understanding, nor by imagination, nor by sense,
nor by the outward eye, nor by the inward eye, nor by perception.
'There' does not see Him, save Himself; nor perceive Him, save
Himself. By Himself He sees Himself, and by Himself He knows
Himself. None sees Him other than He, and none perceives Him other
than He. His Veil is (only a part of) His oneness; nothing veils
other than He. His veil is (only) the concealment of His existence
in His oneness, without any quality. None sees Him other than He -
no sent prophet, nor saint made perfect, nor angel brought nigh
knows Him. His Prophet is He, and His sending is He, and His word is
He. He sent Himself with Himself to Himself. There was no mediator
nor any means other than He. There is no difference between the
Sender and the thing sent, and the person sent and the person to
whom he is sent. The very existence of the prophetic message is His
existence. There is no other, and there is no existence to other,
than He, nor to its ceasing to be (fana`), nor to its name,
nor to its named.
6. You do not know yourself ...
"Tell him, this is a long topic for explanation."
"You do not know yourself, you do not know your own attributes,
nor where your soul is in its essence, nor where it travels. Or,
where do your mind and your understanding go when you sleep?
Ignoramus, you do not even know how the bread you just ate proceeds
Al-Suyuti in his Fatwa on the narration "Whoso knows
notes - hadith 1:"Be mindful of Allah, and Allah
will be mindful of you. Be mindful of Allah, and you'll find Him
before you. And if you ask, ask Allah. If you rely, rely on
Related by Tirmidhi, who deemed it
rigorously authentic (hasan sahih)