Wednesday, May 31, 2017

"When does the disease of the lower self become its own remedy?"

Al-Junayd said, "I got up one night to keep my period of private night prayer, but I did not experience my usual consolation. I decided to go back to sleep but I could not. So I sat up, but I could not do that either. So I opened the door and went outside, and there was a man wrapped in a woolen cloak lying on the path. 
When he noticed me, he raised his head and said, "O Abū 'l-Qāsim come quickly!' 
'Right away, good sir,' I replied. 
The he said, 'I asked the Inciter of Hearts to arouse your heart.' 
'He has done just that,' I responded. 'What is that you need?'  
He asked me then, 'When does the disease of the lower self become its own remedy?
I replied, 'When the lower self acts against its passions its disease becomes its cure.' 
The man was pensive for a moment and then said, 'Had I given you that answer seven times you would have rejected it. But now you have heard it from al-Junayd, so you have listened to it.' 
Then he turned away from me but I did not know him. [12]
-Ibn 'Abbād of Ronda: Letters on the Sūfī Path. Translation and Introduction by John Renard, S.J. Preface by Annemarie B. Schimmel. (New York: Paulist Press, 1986), pgs. 120-1.