|Discourse on the Poverty
|The Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) chose
poverty and said, “O God, make me
live lowly and die lowly and rise from
the dead amongst lowly!”
Poverty has a high rank in the way of the Truth and the poor are
extremely esteemed, as God hath said, “(Give alms) unto the poor, who
are kept fighting in God’s cause and cannot go to and fro on the earth;
whom the ignorant deem rich forasmuch as they refrain (from begging)”
(Qur'an, 2:273) And again,
“Their sides are lifted from their beds while they call on their
Lord in fear and hope.” (Qur'an, 32:16)
God has exalted poverty and has made it a special distinction of the poor,
who have renounced all things external and internal, and have turned
entirely to the Causer; whose poverty has become their pride, so that
they lamented its going and rejoiced at its coming, and embraced it and
deemed all else contemptible.
|Translated by Reynold
The friends of God live by means of His secret bounties. Worldly wealth
(SAW) has said, “Poverty is glorious to those who are worthy of it.” Its
preserved from base and sinful acts, and his heart from evil and
contaminating thoughts, because his outward parts are absorbed in
(contemplation of) the manifest blessings of God, while his inward parts
are protected by invisible grace, so that his body is spiritual (ruhani) and
his heart divine (rabbani). No relation subsists between him and mankind:
this world and th next weigh less than a gnat’s wing in the scales of his
|Copyright 2010 Jehan-i-Seema. All rights reserved.
All material in this page is original writing of Seema Arif. Using it in any form of publication and
in research papers proper referencing should be used.
Both poverty and wealth are Divine
gifts: wealth is corrupted by
forgetfulness, poverty by
|Shibli has said,
“Poverty is the sea of trouble, and all troubles for His sake are glorious.”
Trouble is changed into glory, and their glory into a spiritual state (waqt), and their spiritual
state into Love, and their Love into contemplation, so that finally the brain of the aspirant
becomes wholly a centre of vision through the predominance of his imagination: he sees
without eye, and hears without ear.
However, some prefer wealth over poverty: God has commanded us to be patient in poverty
and thankful for prosperity. He has made thankfulness the means of increasing our
prosperity; and prosperity is essentially better than adversity.
|Every man is “poor” even though he may be a prince.
Essentially the wealth of Solomon and the poverty of Solomon are one. God said to Job
(Yunus [pbuh]) in the extremity of his patience, and likewise to Solomon in the plentitude
of his dominion: “Good servant that thou art!” (Qur'an: 38:29; 44) When God’s pleasure
accomplished, it made no difference between the poverty and the wealth of Solomon.
Trouble is changed into glory, and their glory into a spiritual state (waqt), and their
spiritual state into Love, and their Love into contemplation, so that finally the brain of the
aspirant becomes wholly a centre of vision through the predominance of his imagination:
he sees without eye, and hears without ear.
However, some prefer wealth over poverty: God has commanded us to be patient in
poverty and thankful for prosperity. He has made thankfulness the means of increasing
our prosperity; and prosperity is essentially better than adversity.
Poverty is annihilation of all stations. Bishar Hafi has said, “The best of ‘stations’ is a
firm resolution to endure poverty continually." The poor man is not he whose hand is
empty of provisions, but he whose nature is empty of desires.
Yahya b. Muad al Razi has said, It is a sign of true poverty that, although one has
reached the perfection of sainthood and contemplation and self-annihilation, and still be
dreading its decline or departure.
Ruwaym has said, “The ‘poor man’s’ heart is protected from selfish cares, his soul is
guarded from contaminations, and that he performs the obligatory duties of religion.”
The “poor man” rests not content with anything except God because he has no other
object of desire.
Junayd has said, “When heart is empty of phenomena he is poor”.
|Poverty consists in never being independent of Poverty.
the next, because for the fruition of anything homogeneity is necessary, but God has no
congener, and for turning away from Him forgetfulness is necessary, but the dervish
The dead (fani) never become live (baqi) so as to be united with him; the living never
become dead, so as to approach His presence. All that his lovers do and suffer is
entirely probation (mihnat). God is above every human attribute and relationship. All
symbolic expressions begin and end in themselves and does not rise above their own
|Poverty is not-being without existence.
The meaning here is not “the not-being of the essence”, but “the not-being of that
which contaminates the essence”; and all human attributes are a source of
contamination: when that is removed the result is annihilation of the attributes. (fana-yi
The expressions “not-being” (adam) and “annihilation” ( fana) as they are used by
Sufis, denote the disappearance of a blameworthy instrument and disapproved attribute
in the course of seeking a praise-worthy attribute; they do not signify the search for
non-reality by means of an instrument which exists.
|Dervishhood is metaphysical poverty
Dervishhood in all its meanings is a metaphysical poverty, and amidst all its subordinate
aspects there is a transcendent principle. The Divine mysteries come and go over the
dervish till he is in acquiring stage and everything may be attributed to him, and his
ideas attached to himself. When he is free from bounds of acquisition, he is no longer a
wayfarer, but he is the way himself. He is the place over which something is passing and
not a wayfarer following his own will.
|Some false pretenders because of their lack of desire for
the reality of poverty seemed to deny the attributes of
its essence. They revert to perverse behavior and they
call by the name of “poverty” and “purity” their failure to
seek Truth and Reality. They seem to affirm their own
fancies and deny everything else due to self-conceit.
Therefore the seeker has but no choice to journey on their path and to traverse their
“stations” and to know their symbolic expressions, in order that he may not be a plebeian
(ammi) among the elect.