-from Annemarie Schimmel's preface to Ibn 'Abbad of Ronda: Letters on the Sufi Path translated by John Renard, pg. xii-xiii.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"Ibn 'Abbad appears before the modern reader as someone who was always composed and calm.
He never claimed to have even attained dhauq [the immediate "tasting" of spiritual bliss], but was content with what he learned, as he writes modestly, by studying the books of the early masters. His whole thought is center on the purification of man's soul in order to fulfill the obligations of absolute monotheism. He is convinced that exaggerated attempts are good for nothing: even someone who leads an impeccable ascetic life for the sake of asceticism is still in the claws of self-love, the worst quality. For there is only the One one whom man can rely; only One who is responsible for everything created, and that is God, the Creator, Sustainer, and Judge. To serve Him in sincerity is man's duty and privilege. Man can neither rely on himself nor on other creatures - his only source of help is God, and he has to understand and realize that whatever comes from God is good and has to be accepted gratefully. Even to try to fight the nafs by human means is futile - only God can rescue man from its ruses if man gives himself completely into His hands."