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lnner Tradition$ Int€mational
One Park Stleet
Rochester, Vermont 05767
Copyright @1991by Hakim abu-Abdullah Moinuddin al-Chishtiyya
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, includint photocopying, recording, or by any information
storate and ret eval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Moinduddin, abu-Abdullah Ghulam. .
The book of Sufi healing / Moiruddin Chishti.
Reprint. Origrnally published: New York : Inner Tladitions
Intemational, c1985.
inlcudesbibliographical referencesand hdex.
ISBN 0-89281-324-5
1. Sufism. 2. Spiritual healing. 3. Medicine,Arabic.
4.Metaphysics. I.Title
Printed and bound in the United States
Text design by Studio 31
In the name oJ God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be m God, the Chefisher and Sustainer oJ the |Iorlds; Most Gracious,
Most Mercifuli Master oJ the Day oJ Judgment. Thee do we wonhip and
Thine aid we seeh, Show us the st,ruight waJl, the wql oJ those on whom thou
hast bestowed Thy Gtace, those who have not eamed Thine anger and who go
not astray.
Foreword by Abu AneesMuhammad Barkat Ali vii
Shajarah,or Line of Succession,
of Shaykh Moinuddin ix
Notes on the Transliterationand Pronunciationof Arabic Words xiii
Preface 1
Prologue 9
1 What Is Health? 11
2 The Hierarchy of Creation L7
3 The Stationsof the Soul 25
4 Food and Health 39
of the Body 45
5 Akhlat: The Four Essences
6 Foodsof the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) 51
7 Herbal Formulasfor Common Ailments 65
8 Fasting:The Best Medicine 85
9 9alet: The Posturesof the Prophets 9L
10 The Soul of the Rose LLL
11 The Universeof the Breath L23
12 Tacwidh: The Mericiful Prescriptions 131
13 Dhikr: Divine Remembrance L47
14 The Origin of Miracles L49
15 The Keys of the Treasuresof the Heavensand the Earth
16 The InfallibleRemedy 159
I. The IslamicCalendar 165
II. Some Useful Short Srlrahsof the Holy Qur'an 767
III. The Divine Attributes 771
IV. Glossary 179
V. Bibliography 183
Index 187
Therearc t*o *;ra, oJ Knowledge:
the knowledge oJ rcligions and the
hnowledge oJ the body,
d CEoVrbaul
,4 U At^Jl
God has not cteated any illness without
creating ako its curc, except old age,
Bismillah, ir-Rahmdn ir-Aahim
Not eventhe highestdegreeof dedicationto worshipmay earnanybodythe
claim of divine forgivenessor recompensein any other form, yet there is
one thing that everybodyshould make sure of, which shall not go unrequited under any circumstanceby Allah the Almighty, and that is the
selflessserviceto the ailing humanity. There is no other human act more
favorably acceptable to Allah than helping the sick and the suffering
creaturesof His. That is what Shaykh Hakim Abu Abdullah Moinuddin
Chishti has endeavoredto do in presenting this BooLof SufiHealing.
The subject being a difficult and rare one, there are not very many books
in this branchof knowledge.Neverthelessit is most hearteningto note that '
the author has taken great painsin bringingout this commendable
work by
dint of his unshakabletrust in Allah and unswerving will to serve the
humanity. He displaysample evidenceof his vast knowledgein fields of
multifariouskinds-theology, mysticism,IslamicSufism,medicine,hygiene,
astronomy,and modern sciences.
One wonders at the depth and insight of
his knowledge,essentiallythe result of intensiveas well as extensivestudy
in subiectsof diversenature. He takesup different subjectsseparatelyand
then correlatesand coordinatesthem to convergeon a centralpoint, namely
health,be it physicaland mental health or purificationof the soul.This he
has done most logically and methodically.What part do snldt,fasting,tatuidh,
or recitationof the Holy Qur'an or dhilcrof Allah the Almighty in any other
form play in physicaland mental health or purificationof one'snafsTThe
answer is not very far to seek.
The author has also endeavoredto dispeldoubts and misgivingsabout
IslamicSufism,a most misunderstood.subject
in the West.It is a tremendous
effort on the part of the author to vindicalethe causeof Islamand Sufism.
The presentationof additionalinformationin the shapeof illustrations,list
of herbs with their characteristics
and ailmentswith their treatment,glossary of mystical terms, Qur'anic verses aptly quoted, basic information
about s.aldt,fasling, dhikr,and so on, has made the book still more beneficial
for the ordinary reader. Indeed, TheBookof Sufi Healingis a blessing for the
English-readingworld population in general and fellow American and
Muslim brethren of the author in particular.In creatingsucha fine book,
x I ThcBa,kol SufiHnling
the author has rendered a great service to the causeof Islam in the sense
that, as Islam is the most natural faith, adherenceto its tenets and principles
i. lir" o"fy course leading toward human perfection and establishingthe
rule of Aliah the Almighiy on this earth' For Sufism in its purest form is
else but Islam and Islam only.
f *iL the author still more courage and determination to serve the
causeof Islam and betterment of the ailing humanity'
Abu Anees Muhammad Barkat Ali
of Shaykh Hakim Abu Abdullah Moinuddin
r f .
Allah, The Exalted, The AlmightY
Huzw Sat-ilar-i-Ka'indt Mulammail Muglafd
' The Holy Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.)
Attfir al'Mu'minln
Hazrat cAli (r.a.a')
Hazrat Khtttdja Hasan Basti
KhzttdiacAb ilul-Wdhiil
FuilaYl ibn AYad
Ibrahim ibn Adham
Sailiq Mat cashi
llta Namshdrt
Abn Islhq Shami
Abfr A\mail AbilEl Chishti
Muhammail Zahiil Maqbal Chishfi
xii I Tlu Buk S iufi Haling
Abtl YusalChishti
Nasiruililin Chishti
Matoilild Chishtr
Shaif Zinilani
Ktutaja MuclnuilifrnChishti of Ajmer
Khttt Aja Qutbu tlilin Bakhtiy ht K-alci
Shaykh FatTituitiEnMascttil Ganj'i Shakar
Haztat cAl:auititincAIi Atlmail Sdbit ol Kalyar
Hazrat Shamsuililln Turk of Pa,tiqat
Hazrat laldlutlihn Mahrnltil of Panipat
Hazrat Almad cAbilul'Haqq Ranilauli Inkeja
Haztat ShaYkh cAif of Ranilauli
Hazrat ShaYkhMuhammail
cAb ttttl - Quililit s of Gqngoh
Kabit-ul-Aulia Jalhluilitin Farlt{t Thanesar
ShniarehShedl I xlll
N izdmudihn Balkh Rahnumah
Abh Saciil Gangohi
Muhammail Sailiq
Mahammail Daciil
Muhammail Saciil
Saciil Shah Mullammail Sallm
Shah clnayanlldh
Ilafi4 cAbllul-Ralfm
Hazrut Shdh Hassdn
Hafiz Husayn Shah
Muhammail Husayn
Muhammail Murtaza Ahmail
sacid Safdar cAIi Shah Chishti
Haztat Abu Abilullah Ghalam Moinuililin
xiv I ThcBlr,kol Srfi Hulirg
is the record of the line of succession
A shajarah
of a shaykh.It tracesthe
spiritualgenealogyfrom the presentshaykh,backin the line to the Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.),
who first transmittedthe spiritualpossessions.
The Sufi
is from the $dbiriyyahline of the ChishtiyyahOrder
of Sufis, headquarteredat Ajmer, Ralasthan,India.
Ones who carry on the Sufi teachingsare authorized by living shaykhs,
who maintain a living link and authority over those below them. This
authority is granted by meansof formal initiation,and rights of succession
are set forth in a KhildfaFNama,or Letter of Succession,
duly signedand
sealedby the seniorshaykhsof the order. Hazrat Ni46muddinAwliyi'(r.a.)
explainedthe grantingof Khilifat: "Khilafat is the right of him who has no
aspiration in his mind to have it, and who possesses\7) caqlsalim lsound
iudgmentl or maturedknowledgeto judgeall intricatemattersof the world
with strict impartialityand forbearance;(z) who is an accomplished
and (3) whose chestis full of divine love and wisdom."
The shaykh serves as an indirect link with the Divine Power. The
tabarrukdtmuslafawl-the sacredrobes and relics coming down from the line
of Chishti shaykhs-are conveyedto the shaykh upon KhilSfat.
Hazrat Abu Abdullah Moinuddin is the twenty-sixth successorin the
line of Hazrat Khwaia MucinuddinChishu (r.a.)
Notes on the Transliteration and
Pronunciation of Arabic lVords
Arabic consonants are pronounced like English consonants,with the following exceptions.
A simplestop in the breath.
Pronouncedlike f] in tfrrr.
klr Pronounced like rl in Scottish lochor Yiddish challah.
b An h soundedwith a strong outbreath.
dlr Pronounced like tl in tls.
r A slightly rolled r.
g An emphatics soundedwith the tongue at the roof of the mouth.
An emphaticd soundedwith the tongue at the roof of the mouth.
An emphaticf soundedwith the tongue at the roof of the mouth.
4 An emphaticsound betweenz and dh.
f A consonantformed by constrictingthe backof the throat andpushing
the breath outward.
3ft A sound like clearing the throat, or like a French r.
A t soundfrom the backof the throat, like the c rn courtas opposedtoccf.
Arabic vowels are divided into long and short. The short vowels a, i, u are
pronouncedas in cat,fit, andduty.They are not indicatedin transliteration by
any specialmarks. The long vowels are about twice as long ia durationas the
short vowels, and are marked as follows:
-aah as in father
i eeas in seen
'u ooas in vou.
ol SuliHealing
xvi ! TheBook
Arabic has two complex vowels: ay, often pronouncedlike eyebut sometimes as in bay, and aa;,pronounced between cowand bost.
All prayers and sacredphrases have been transliterated accordingto a
specialiormat that may help the readerwith pronunciation.The Namesof
iod are capitalizedso as to be easily recognized.z{llnfrbegins with a letter
*hose sound often vanisheswith elisions.In such casesthe Name is indicated by the capitalizationof its first soundedletter: Ufrh.
Names of ancient shaykhshave been written accordingto Arabic transliteration. Contemporary shaykhs' spellings have not been standardized'
Certainphrasesthat find their derivationor maiorusageinPersian,Turkish,
or Urdu have not been set in Arabic transliteration style. The sameis true
of terms that have becomecommonin English.
Bismi LIdh ir-Rabmdn, ir-Ral.im
Sub@n Alldhi wal-fomdu li-Lhhi wa la ilallu illa LIfth wa Alldhu akba
All thanhs belong to Allah and all praise belong to Allah and
there is tp deiE except Allah and AIIah is Grca&r
(than all tlmt we avfibe to Him).
I wish first to give thanks to Allah, Exalted is He, for the very excellenceof
His creation,and for His mercieswhich exist and are bestowedin abundance
upon His humanity. His benefits are epitomized in the creation, life, and
teachingsof all of His prophets (may His blessingsbe upon them all), and
perfected in the form of His last Prophet, the master of humanity, chief of
both the worlds, Hazrat Muhammad (peaceand blessingsof Allah be upon
To the extent that Allah shouldpermit and inform me, it is my intention
to set forth someof the generaland specificprinciplesof human healthand
well-being as they have evolvedwithin the practicesof the mysticsof Islam,
generallycalledSufis in the West. While it is understoodthat for many
readers this book may constitute their first contact with some of these
ideas,it is sincerelyhoped that even personsof long-standingpracticeof the
way of life called Islam, may find herein confirmation of their faith and
belief.M; sh|' Allah!(As it pleasesAllah the AlmiShty!)
There are two main purposes to this book: to reveal the health and
healing practicesunique to the Sufis, anfto give some general idea of the
stagesand progressionsinvolved in adopting the Sufi life'
Many possibleapproachescould have been taken with the subiectof Sufi
healing, which is being presented in English for the first time. It must be
borne in mind that Sufism is a specializedtopic within the study of Islam,
and the healing practicesof Sufism is an even more refined subiect. Obviously the possiblematters which could be discussedwould run into tens of
thousands of volumes, not one!
Moreover, there is a problem in presenting authentic Sufi practicesto a
2 I TheBook
of iufi Hcoliag
public that has perhaps obtained a distorted view of Sufism up to the
present time. It is hoped that those whose impression of Sufism is merely
some vague perceptionabout "God and goodness"will learn from this book
that it is at once a,specificand practicalset of guidelinesfor achievinga high
state of human evolution. In any event, the contents of this book are
offered as one drop in the divine oceanof knowledge.
Let us try to sort out the many conceptions,definitions, and notions of
the term "Sufi." One who has true knowledgeof the subiecthaspresented
it thusly: There is one immediate condition of the soul (lnl), calledalghanin
Sufi parlance, which refers to the overwhelming ioy and love one feels
when confronted with or granted a glimpse of the very presenceand reality
of God Himself.*One is compelledto shedsweettears.While this condition
no doubt comes and goes, the accounts are not few of pious personalities
who were afflicted with this supreme joy for years on end.
A second meaning of the word afghanrcfers to the sPiritual station
of the soul,characterized
by the one who has achievedtrue purity.
Sucha personcanbe saidto haveextinguishedthe flamesor burning (afisr)of
the variousappetitesof the ego (nals)to suchan extentthat they canneverbe
rekindled.Anyone enjoyingthis statusmay be referred to as a Sufi. More
properly, he or shewould be called a walt(pl.awliyd'),meaning"belovedfriend
of God."
People,particularly in the West, who casually refer to themselvesand
others as Sufis do not realize the exalted Position of those who have
attainedsuchrefinementthrough the graceand blessingsof Almighty God'
In fact, it would constitute a kind of unparalleledarroganceto Presumeto
describeoneselfas at the pinnacleof spiritualperfection.Sincetrue Sufis
it is
would of necessityexhibit the height of humility and selflessness,
difficult to locate one who would admit to such a condition.
The founder of the Chishtiyyah Order of Sufis in India, Hazrat Khwila
Mucinuddin Chishu (r.a.),has spokenof the true Sufi as one who seesno
evil, hears no evil, speaksno evil, and thinks no evil.
Although there are more than 150 orders in Sufism, they are all united
in one fact: that all participants, from novice to supreme master, are conformed in inward thought and outward behavior to the religious iniunctions
of Islam,known as shancat.
Some mistakenlyassert that Sufism is separatefrom Islam, that it is
broad and open-minded,whereas Islam is narrow, static,backward,and oldfashioned. Not only is such a concept ignorant, but it does a tremendous
disservice to those who are sincerely seeking the right way of living, of
guidanceto God. To those who may claim that all paths lead to God, He has
replied: If you don't know where you are going, any path will do.
'The pronoun for God in Arabic has neither male nor female gender. I use the conventional literate form, Hirn, only becausethere is no proper genderlesspronoun in English,
most certainly intending no offense to femininity.
PrelaeI 3
Literally millions of volumes exist which establishbeyondany possibility
of doubt that Sufism took seeddirectly from Islam, was nurtured by Islam,
and has reached maturity in Islam. Sufism, far from being separatefrom
Islam,is the very soul of Islam expressedin a conceptualframework."
The Sufis may be considereda specialclass of teachers within Islam,
whose responsibilityis to maintainand transmit the hidden,deeperknowledge (ciln) contained in the Holy Qur'an. There are the commonly known
and understoodteachingsof the Holy Book-called mulkam1t(sing.muf;kan)which can be understood easily by anyone. Then there are those divine
(sing, mutashibih\
which were revealedby the Holy
ProphetMuhammad(s.a.w.s.)to Hazrat cAli (r.a.a.),who in turn conveyed
this knowledge to others in an oral transmissionwhich has continued up to
the present time through the network of Sufi orders, or silsilas.
The life of the Sufi is the life of the spirit, a life adjustedand regulatedby
the clear guidancefor humanity provided by God Himself in the Holy
Qur'an. Ultimately,the successfulone is granteda personalconfrontation
with, and absorption in, the overwhelming reality of the Creator, Owner,
and Sustainerof existence:Allah.
It is important to note that the word Allah doesnot mean "a" god or a
Muslim god. Even Arabic-speaking
Christiansuse the word Allah for God.
We use the word Allah, first, becauseit has never been used to refer to
anything except the One God. Further benefits attachedto the Arabic
letters and soundswill be elucidatedin this book, in shi'Allah (God willing).
For the Sufis, the supreme object of life is to serve and obey Allah,
thereby earningHis pleasure.Just as the Creator indiscriminatelybestows
sun, rain, and love upon all of His creatures,so too doesthe Sufi strive to
love all of humanity regardlessof caste,creed, age, sex, color, religion, or
The stagesof Sufismrest upon the premisethat by constantrecollection
and remembranceof Allah, one will, through the grace of Allah, eventually
come to be effaced in the One Remembered.
At the headquartersof the Chishti Order in Ajmer, India,there is one
street (more like an alleyway) that mns alongside the dargah,or resting
place,of Hazrat Khwdfa Mucinuddin Chishti (r.a.).Along that street are
sitting perhapsthree dozenmen and women at any given time,and from all
outward appearancesthey are the dutcasts and most despicablebeggarsof
the world. But one look into their eyeswill reveala countenanceof supreme
ioy and peace,of contentment, of complete reliance and trust upon Allah
(tawwakulAllAh) to provide all that they may need.Whether they eat or do
not eat doesnot matter to them.They cannotevenknow if they arecleanor
dirty. Every person who crossestheir path, be he criminal or saint, is given
'lt is beyond the scopeof the present book to deal fully with this issue.The interested
reader is referred to Annemarie Schimmel,MyslicalDimensions
oI Jslara(University of North
Carolina Press),and Dr. Mir Valiuddin, Contenplalioe
in Sufism(London, East-West).
of5$ Huliag
e I ThcBor,k
the samegreeting-an exPressionof unrestricted love for that person and
the deepestprayer that the person may receivethe merciesand blessingsof
Allah. Once this conditionsetsin, there is no end.SlbllinAltah!Sublrafl
It was in this samecondition that the well-known Sufi Hazrat Mawlana
Rnmi (r.a.) found himself after completing the greatestsequenceof mystical
poetry in the world, lhe Masnaoi.To show that he was completely resigned
io the will of Almighty God, and that he lived solely by the permissionand
by the blood of the human body, Mawlind, in the
favor of God and
presence of a large gathering of notables, called for a physician (fakirz)'
When the healer irrived, Mawlene ordered that incisionsbe made through
all of his veins and the cuts be allowed to bleed until all flowing ceased.
When this act was done and no more blood flowed, Mawlane rose up and,
after performing ablutions, entered his rose garden and commencedthe
ecstatic twirling of the sacreddance.Mi shA'AltAhf Al-ftanduli-lJah al'
Hazrat BEbdFarfdGani-i Shakar(r.a.),one of the saintsof the Chishtiyyah, has said that the first stepor stageof Sufismconsistsin knowledgeof
and accessto the 18,000created worlds (cilamtn;sini. talcrn).No doubt. to
arrive at the threshold of such a state requires a commitment and level of
worship that most humanscannot even imagine.
It is relatedthat Almighty Allah has said:"My servantceasesnot to seek
nearnessto Me through specialworship, until I make him My favorite, and
thus I becomethe earswherewith he hears,the eyeswherewith he sees,the
handswherewith he holds,and the feet wherewith he walks."
This "special worship" is taken up in the form of voluntary prayers
during the day, and also extended worship and supplicationsthroughout
the night. The mastersof the true path are unitedin their insistencethat no
progress at all can be madewithout the middle-night superogatoryPrayers
By combining this specialdevotion and obedienceto Allah, the Sufis
unlock the origin of miracles through which they gain accessto the attributes of Allah the Almighty, and reflect these qualities in their own character and actions,to the extent possiblein human beings.
Just as the most prominent characteristicor attribute of Allah is His
compassionfor humanity, so, too, do the Sufis strive to spreadand bestow
this among the people.Of all serviceto humanity, that which is considered
superior is the healing of the sick and suffering. Certainly the great proportion of Sufi shaykhs have been known for their ability to effect results in
the realm of healing various ailments. Of course, it is Allah Who does the
actualhealing,the shaykhbeingonly the agentfor the will of Allah, exalted
is He!
The Chishtiyyah Order of Sufis, one of the four largest in Islam, has
carried on this tradition of serving the downtrodden of humanity-the sick
and ailing-for the pasteight hundredyears,ever sincethe foundingof the
PrcleuI 5
order. A large herbal-medicineclinic is attached to the dargahpremises at
Aimer, and all personscoming there (upward of sixty thousand per day) are
provided whatever treatment they need,free of chargeor obligation.M6 sh6'
If Allah touch theewith affliction,
nonecanremoveit but He. (Qurhn 6:17)
The aboveverse forms the basisof this book, which has been written to
provide specific means to attain a true health of the body, mind, and soul.
For these suggestionsto be put into practice successfullyrequires only the
stateof being known as tawwakul
Allih (trust in Almighty Allah). To inspire
the reader'sconfidencein the suggestionswhich follow, I have cited examplesof various Sufi personages
past and present.All of thesepersonshave
derived their own example and inspiration from that of the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.),
whose life has been aptly describedas "the Qur'an
The physical healing methods of the Sufis derive first from the Qur'an
and secondfrom the traditions and actions of the Prophet Muhammad
Furthermore,there are many men and women of brilliancewho
have developedthe knowledgesof physical medicine in the context of
Islamic societiesand culture. Hakim Ibn Sina, Rhazes,and al-Suyuti are
among thesemedicalauthoritiesfrequently studiedby the Sufis.
I have made little effort to rationalize or otherwise lustify the healing
claims contained in this book, except to identify their source and origin,
which in the end is God. In fact, materialistic ideologies and scientific
theoriescanneverbe sufficientto explainthe divinemysteries.Nonetheless,
these practiceshave proved effective and useful for an untold but very great
number of personsand are in current use among the mysticsof Islam.
At the sametime,it must be noted that what is requiredfor one to attain
to the state of being of a walTor Sufi-and utilizing the healingmethods
herein-is not the same thing as reading this book. One who is sincerely
interested in taking up a formal curriculum of study in Sufi healing must
find an authenticshaykhor masterand wholeheartedlysubmit to the advice
offered. Some say that at least twelve years are required for this training.
The health practices fall into three categories:(1) those for the body,
(2) those for the mind or emotions, arrrd(3) those for the soul. The best and
preferred practicesare those for the soul. However, a person whose mind
and soul are degeneratedor weak, may be unable to act upon or be acted
upon by a purely spiritual practice.In such a case,herbal remedies,food
restrictionssuch as dieting and fasting, and similar modesare employed.
Practicesfor the heart are also employed favorably in such cases,for they
awaken,enliven,and disseminatevarious divine potentialitiesthroughout
the person.
The practices for the soul are highly charged with divine grace and
blessings, and if rightly applied, will never fail to bring results. It is a
6 I Thr Bcr,k
principle of nature that the spiritual always takes Precedenceover the
began in
My own study of the sciencesof Islamic mysticism (taqawwuf\
1968 with a written correspondencewith my shaykh, the late Hazrat
MaulanaSufi WahiduddinBegg(mayAllah grant him the choicestblessings,
as many of such things as there are,imin!).Prior to his demisein Aimer in
February 1979, our exchangeof letters had grown to some four thousand
pages,which form the corpus of his teachingsto me.
During this period it was my good fortune to travel to Afghanistan,
where I took up a formal course of. study of healing sciencesunder the
guidanceof Sufi personages
of that belovedland.While there,I was initiated
into the healing practicesof dream interpretation by Pir Syed Daoud lqbali,
leaderof the NaqshbandiyyahSufis at Dehdadi,near Balkh.
The knowledge of Islamicjurisprudence(/iql) and the scienceof utilizing
various Qur'anic verses in healing (tacwldh)were conveyedby Haiii Shaikhin Afghanistan.
ul-IslamNimayatullahShahrani,alsowhile I wasin residence
ln April 1976, while paying my respects to the leader and supreme
murshid(teacher) of the Chishtiyyah, at the dargahof Hazrat Khw6ia
MucinuddinChishti (r.a.),I experiencedthe first of what was to becomea
There, under the directionof my
continuingsequenceof miracles(karamat\.
shaykh,I was ableto instigatea particularpracficethat halteda sPontaneous
abortion which was being sufferedby my wife in far-off Kabul-an e.'ent
that was later termed a miracleeven by the attendingphysicians.
Consequently,I undertook a vow to devote the balanceof my life to the
duty of serving the humanity, for the sake of Allah Almighty and only for
the sakeof Allah the Almighty. Ma sha'Allah.
In order to make this volume useful to as many as possible,I have
presented wherever I could the original Arabic script as well as the transliterationand translationof variousprayers.The words shouldbe utteredin
Arabic, for reasonsthat will becomeapparent in the following pages'
A specialdebt of gratitude is hereby acknowledgedand expressedfor my
presentshaykh,SyedSafdarAli ShahChishti,of Lahore,Pakistan,who has
shared with me his spiritual possessions,for which honor and favor I could
never adequatelyexpressmy appreciation.
One of the finest examplesand exponentsof the idealsexpressedin this
volume is to be found in the life and personality of Sufi Abu Anees Muhammad Barkat Ali of Dar-ul Ehsan, Pakistan.His miraculous healing
experiencesare legend throughout the world.
While I was involved in preparing the final typescript of this book,
Bernard Glicksbergprovided me with great assistancein the mechanical
production of the text and allowed me to work unhindered by various
external concerns.He proved to be a friend in the truest senseof the word.
The editing of this manuscript was a specialchallenge.Rabia Harris
exerted her knowledge of Arabic in conforming the disparate foreign language elements to one style. And Kendra Crossen discoveredmany opPor-
PtcfutcI 7
tunities to clarify and enhance the text. Both of these gracious people
earned my respectand gratitude.
The Arabic and Persian calligraphy was contributed by Enayatullah
Shahrani, Aishah Holland, Shaykh Shemsuddin Friedlander, and myself.
The illustrations were the inspired work of Angela Werneke. A special
thanksis due to LeslieColket,who managedto masterfullycoordinateall of
the disparateelementsof production.
Abu Anees Muhammad Barkat Ali read the manuscriptfor errors of
intent and reason,and Zafar HussainKhan assistedme by resolvingtechnical matters regardingSufisticterminology.
My wife, Iman, listenedwith love and concernto my ideasand efforts
while I was writinS this book, and I must thank the All-Merciful for her
endlesssupport and forbearance.
Finally, I most sincerelythank my publisher, Ehud C. Sperling,president
of Inner Traditions International, Ltd,, of Rochester,Vermont, for his years
of kind forbearanceand interest to allow me the time and effort to complete
this volume.
May Allah the Merciful reward them all with His choicest blessings!
Wa ikhiru dacwini an al-\amduli-Ll5hirabbil-c6limin!
Wa9-qalituwas-salimucali rasilihil-karim!
Rabbanitaqabbalminni innakaantas-Samic
Subl.rinaRabbukarabbul-cizzaticammi yaqifin.
Wa salimun calal-mursalin.
Wal-lramdu li-Llihi rabb il-celamin!
In the end our claim is that all praise be to Allah, the
Lord of the Worlds,and blessingsand greetingsto the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
Our Lord! AccePt from us this dutY!
Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Hearer, the Knower!
Gloried be thy Lord, the Lord of Majesty,
From that which they attribute (unto Him)!
Peacebe unto His messengers!
Praisebe to Allah the AlmightY,
Lord of the Worlds! Be it so!
Dar-ul Iman
Oxford,New York 13830
The philosophyof Sufism is best summed up in the words of the final
kfufbaft (sermon) of Hazrat Khwrja Mucinud&n Chishu (r.a.), which he
delivered to his followers iust one month before his demise.The great saint
Love all and hate none.
Mere talk of peacewill avail you naught.
Mere talk of God and religion will not take you far.
Bring out all of the latent powers of your being
and reveal the full magnificence
of your immortal self.
Be surchargedwith peaceand ioy,
And scatter them wherever you are
and wherever you go.
Be a blazing fire of truth,
Be a beauteousblossornof love
And be a soothing balm of peace.With your spiritual light,
dispel the darknessof ignorance;
dissolvethe clouds of discord and war
and spreadgoodwill, peace,and harmony among the people.
Never seek any help, charity, or favors
from anybody except God.
Never go to the courts of kings,
but never refuse to bless and help the needy and the poor,
the widow, and the orphan, if they come to your door.
This is your mission, to serve the people.
Carry it out dutifully and courageously,
so that I, as your hr-o-Murshid,
may not be ashamedof any shortiomirtgs on your parr
before the Almighty God and our holy predecessors
in the Sufi order [silsilifi]
on the Day of Judgment.
In the following pages, my own humble effort is offered to fulfill this
pious advice. It is for all people, and constitutes an expression of mv
ao I ThcBook
of SuliHaliry
unyielding love for the life and example of our belovedleader,the Prophet
of Islam and saviorof humanity (s.a.w.s.).
If you find the spiritual sparks herein to become uplifted, all praise,
thanks, and appreciationbelongsto Allah sublhnuwa tacafa,
the All-Merciful,
the All-Compassionate.
If there be mistakesor errors, the responsibilityis entirely my own, and I
ask pardon and forgiveness of my Lord.
What Is Health?
Fot you God nbjectcd all that is in
tbe heavens
And on the eorth, aII Jrcm Him,
Behold! In that are signsJor pople who
Qtr'an 45:18
What is health? When we talk about the human organism existing in a
stateof health,we must first of all understandseveralinterrelatedquestions.
What is a human being? How did it come into existence?How is it
sustainedin existence?And what is the purposeof human life? Without
understandingthe answersto thesequestions(or at leastthe questions),we
can never have a satisfactoryknowledge of the real type of health we should
be seeking.For without any criteria for what constitutesthe proper functioning of a human being,how can we say that it evenmatterswhether we
are ill or well? Just becausesomething feels "good" does not necessarily
mean it is of ultimate benefit to us. And conversely,simply becauseat the
moment we seemto havepain,we cannotdismissthis experienceas"bad,"
unlesswe understandhow and what the result of thesemomenrarysensations will be.
Allah saysin the Qur'an, "There may be a thing decreedfor you that you
do not like that is good for you; and things that you like that are not good
for you." The great Sufi Imam al-Ghazzali(r.a.)expressedthis ideaasfollows:
"lllness is one of the forms of experienceby which humans arrive at a
knowledge of God; as He says,'Illnessesare my servants which I attach to
My chosenfriends."'
Thus, we ought not necessarilyto considerillnessour enemy; rather, we
may see it as an event, a mechanismof the body, that is serving to cleanse,
purify, and balance us on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
planes. Considered from this perspective,a bout of flu, a cold, diarrhea,
even some kinds of agonizing pain are friends, enabling our bodiesto purge
unwanted and potentially harmful toxic by-products of metabolism.
rz I TheBrr,kol 9tfi Haling
Western medicine endeavorsto halt or impede the various eliminative
functions of the body-to stop the urSe to vomit with stomachremedies;to
block diarrhea with potions; to end fever with aspirin and related drugs'
Behind every naturai action of the human body is an inherent wisdom, a
the body to heal itself. In fact, no herb, food, or any
other substanceor procedurecan do anything on its own to heal;it can only
aid and assistthe body in its own self-healingrole. If your finger is cut, it is
not the stitchesor the bandageor the iodinethat causesit to heal;it is the
skin itself that performs this miracle.
When we think of illness,we almost always first think of iniury or acute
pain as the first stage.But today many people-are.realizingthat other
aspectsof our mental world, our feelings and thoughts, can become unbaiancedand causeillnessand suffering,eventhough there may be nothing
clinically "wrong" with a person. This approach to health and diseasehas
come to be Lnown as "holistic."
It is rather easy to understand the physical level The body lets us
know-by rn""rl, oi our sensePerceptions-sight, sound, touch, taste, and
smell-and the vegetative faculties-when something is wrong, and we
take steps to correct the problem. The seat of the vegetativefunction-that
is, the instinctive,life-sustainingwork of the body-is the liver, sometimes
called the Wheel of Life. All of our physical functions are cued by the
functions and enzyrnesof the liver.
In Arabic, nalsis the word for the body and its appetites'Na/smeansall of
the demandsof the body-for food, for warmth, for fame and fortune (all of
these include emotional needsor drives).All physicaldiseasescanbe marked
out by one or more of thesephysicaldimensions.
The word nafshas many meanings: breath, animal life, soul, self, a
and more.In Sufism,the progressionof the soulis described
Ly consideringthe evolution of the nals,which manifestsin human behavior
'fhe nafsiam-marfr
is the
ai one's entire character,personality,and behavior.
commanding soul, which createsinordinate appetites.This the
of the rafs referred to when one occupiesthe station of egotism (maqdm
are meant to control
The behaviorsrecommendedin the Qur'an (sharical)
and subdue these inordinate appetities,leading the nalslo a more refined
status.The soul that has beenentirely purified is callednalsilcrll,meaning
"universal soul," which unites with Allah in the final stage of Sufism
However, even at the latest stagesof Sufi practice,one cannot assume
oneselfto be immune to the blemishesof the soul.
The secondaspectof our existenceis the mind world, or let us say the
emotional and mental world. The mind is not entirely separatefrom the
physical body, but is part of and intimately connected-with physical funclioning. Moods and feelings that originate in the mind frequently have an
effect on the body-emotions such as anger, fear, or extreme ioy When one
Whot Is Hcdth? I 13
or more of these is experienced,the blood pressuremay rise or fall, the body
sweats,tears may come.
Interestingly, some ailments or conditions that we have come to regard
as purely emotional have their origin in physicalimbalances.An exampleis
severe anger. Psychologistswould usually attribute this to a condition of
the mind or emotions. But according to the fibb system of the Persian
physicianAvicenna, severeanger is one of the body'smost effective ways of
dispellingexcessmoisturein the areaof the heart.It is easilycorrectedwith
The realm of the mental world is called/itr in Arabic. In essence,/ilrr
means meditation or deep-thought process.
The third component of our existenceis the soul, calledthe rnfi. The rull
is that which exists after death, which marks the end of both physicaland
mental life.
The interaction of the three realms (or the activation of the physicaland
mental realmsby the soul realm)is carriedout by meansof the spirit.Many
people use the words "spirit" and "soul" to mean the same thing, yet they
are distinctly different and separate.The spirit is what activatesthe physicallevel existence, including thought processes.The word for this spiritactivator is nafas.lt is activated at the point of the breath. The point of the
lips where in-breath and out-breath unite is the link between life and death.
We can live without mental activity and without physical movement.
But without breath, life ceasesin a very short time. There are peoplewho
live without mental existence.Although an electroencephalographshows
that their brain waves are not functioning, they may be kept "alive" by
mechanicalmeans.They are called"brain dead," yet they are still regarded
as living; we do not bury them. This meansthat there is something superior
to this mental existence and physical existence. Such persons still have
something left of life in them, and that something is the breath.
The Sufis considerthat the breath of life existsand continuesby virtue
of the idfia, or permission of God, the One Who has created us all. What
we call the Creator-God, Allah, Yahweh, or whatever-does not matter.
In His ultimately reality, God is one. He gives His permissionfor human life
to exist in the first place,and as long as that permissionremains,we may
draw breath in and out. Regardlessof which systemof healing we may wish
to apply, or how skilled the practitioner, Evenif all the healersof the world
came together, they could not counteract the idhn.When the permissionis
withdrawn, there is no more breath; life ceases.
Interesting casesbear this out. When a child is born, it doesnot breathe
right away.Somesay the shockof the coldair startsit breathing.But not in
every casedoes this happen. The Sufis would say that Allah sendsHis i/lz
for that particular life to commence.If He doesnot send His permission,no
amount of spankingor technologicaleffort can force the baby to breathe.It
will be a stillborn.
ol SuliHaling
rt I ThcBook
On the other hand, sometimes, despite every effort to end a life, the
permission overrides human efforts A recent article in a medical iournal
iold of a couple who had informed their doctor that they did not want to
have children under any circumstances'The doctor suggestedthat the
husband undergo a permanent vasectomy,and so it was performed A few
months later the couplewas back, furious with the doctor, becausethe wife
had becomepregnant. The doctor then offered to perform a free abortion to
terminate the pregnancy. This procedure was done. Another month later,
the couple sued the doctor for malpracticewhen the woman discoveredthat
she was still pregnant!
Despitethe sterilizationand the abortion, the idhnof God was that this
particuiar child would be born. And so it was. Clearly, there is an Authority
against Whom we have no real ability to interfere.
Consider the nonmanifest realms-the world of dreams,of intuition, of
abstract phenomena-and the many casesof people reporting encounters
with UFOs,demons,poltergeists,and the like.No one in the West hasso far
come forward with a fully developedconceptualframework with which to
deal with these"other-worldly" experiences.The Sufis use the term ghnybto
refer to events that transpire in the unseenrealms.This unseenrealm
includesthe actionsof the soul.
The center,or seat,of the soul'sexistenceis the heart' With what do we
associatethe heart and soul? Love, compassion,sympathy, mercy, and all of
our religioussentiments'When someonedies,the grief of the survivorsis
felt in the heart. It is actuallya physicalpain. The heart aches.There is so
much terminology in our languageabout these soul-relatedaspectsof the
heatt. And no one can deny that thesefeelingsof love and compassiondo
exist. No one is without them.
In Arabic, the heart is calledqalb.The heart accordingto the Sufis is not
just a physiologicalpump for dispersingblood about the body. It servestwo
uitil, interrelated functions. One, the heart is the storehouseof divine
and two, it is the seat of manufacture of the rafas-that lifeattributes;
which enters with eachbreath, the breath that activatesall
Thus, when the idhn, or permission of God, is drawn in, it goes immediately to the heart. In some manner, this idhnactivatesall of the divine
attributesin variouscombinations,and thesethen are carriedout into the
ihe Qur'an informs that thesedivine attributes are approximatelyninetynine in number and are what Allah uses as the means of allowing the
human to function and work on the created plane of being.
For example.one of these attributes ls calledal-Ba{r, which means"the
Perceiver." In other words, Allah sees everything at all times; there is
the view of God,not eventhe most intimatethoughts.
nothing that escapes
This bnqirexistsas a potentialitywithin us at all times,storedin the heart.
Whelh Hcslth?lrs
When Allah sendsHis idhnin on a breath,and this is combinedwith certain
sounds we utter, the potentiality will then travel through a semigaseous
network called a humor. The potentiality moves along this network until it
reachesthe moist, crystallinelens of the eye. Once there, the potentiality
uniteswith the physicalpart of the body and becomesthe actualityof sight.
Perception,the total potentialityof al-BaEir,alsoincludessuchthings as
insight, our sensationof maiesty when viewing a panoramicsunset,and
All of theseperceptivecapabilitiesare includedwithin
the potentialityof perception.
All of these ninety-nine divine attributes,then, are stored within the
heart. Thesepotentialitiesmay be activatedby meansof varioussoundswe
utter in combinationto make words.
The three basicsoundsare the long vowel soundsof i, i, and l. Theseare
what the Sufiscall the universalharmonicconstants,and they are similarly
used in all mystic paths that utilize sounds (otherwisecalledmanlrasor
We do not sing or chant these sounds.Rather, they are voicedin the
normal courseof our conversations.
The word All-ah,as an example,is iust
an elongation of the long vowel sound of t, int€rrupted once with the
consonant of the letter l, which makes the shape of the letter i with the
tongue. Even animalsutter various combinationsof these three long vowel
sounds. The owl, for example, says,"Hool" The pronoun for God in Arabic
is Hi, pronouncedexactly the sameway that the owl utters its remembrance
of the divine name.
Allah has informed us, "Every creature in the Heavens and the earth
glorifies His Name." The Sufi, knowing the Arabic tones and namesof God,
is able to attune to a cosmic conversation that is constantly going on
throughout all of existenceas countlesscreaturesutter their variationsof
the divine name.
The use of these three constantsis not arbitrary. The long vowel sound
of d (as in father),as a vibratory tone, travels downward and slightly to the
left from the throat and centers in the heart, thereby stimulating all of the
divine attributes stored within. The long sound of i (asin machine)
moves in
the oppositedirection,up the nasalseptum,and vibratesat the point of the
pinealgland,which is consideredto be a remnant of the third eye, a lightsensitiveorgan.
The long sound of u (as in you)exists when uttered exactly at the point
on the pursed lips, the point of connectionbetween the in- and out-breaths.
It is where our action meetsand intermingleswith the divine permission,
the idhn.
The Sufis use various formulas or combinationsof thesetonesto produce
electrifying effects that are able in and of themselvesto unlock congested
areas within the heart, thereby releasing one or more potentialities. This
alone accountsfor a considerablenumber of miraculous cures.
ol Srli Hcaling
16 I ThcBook
So the very words we use to make conversation are hardly a random
matter. When we say the word " eal" (making the sound of the long i), for
example, we are actually stimulating the endocrine system's pineal gland!
The tineal gland receivesa vibratory signal that causesa seriesof ethereal
shocis which go throughout the body, providing information to all of the
Theseeventsare in coniunctionwith what transpiresthroughoutnature
when the sun sends certain germinative shocks through the soil which
cause the seedto open and send out rootlets. The germinal center of the
seedis activatedby shocksfrorir the.sun.Likewise,variouscenterswithin
the human body are awakenedby the undulations of the vibratory tones in
these universalharmonic constants.The effects upon human health are
This interconnectionbetween the physicaland spiritual realms exists all
through nature, of which humans are a part. One might say that animals
ur" rno." attuned to it; sometimeshorsesand other animalsgive a particular
sound just before they die, and animalsnearbyknow the meaningof this
sound. Animals have greater awarenessof the unseen realms.Humans
should have this knowledge, but they do not seek it. Humans are more
bound to the physical plane.
There must be a knowledge and consideration of the physical,mental,
and spiritual planesof existencefor there to be true health. By understanding eich of these planesof being, we can arrive at the correct modesof
balancing and treating each one. If the subiect of diseaseis looked into
deeplyenough,the origin of all illnesscan be saidto lie in the mind. There
must be a thought or conceptof an illnessin order for it to exist.But what is
the mind? Somesay it is a collectionof cellsthat havemany functionsand
possibilities.But the Sufis attribute a Sreat deal more to the mind, as the
iepository of the intellect,which God has given to humans,thus making
them unique among all of the creation. Before this mind can be adequately
understood,we first have to have a conceptionof the entire universe, from
the most minute bacteriallife up to God. This is known as the hierarchyof
The Hi erarchy
of Creation
God is the One Who eeated tor you
AII that is on the earth.
Moreove4 He tunrcd to tlp heaven and
fashioned seven havens with
He isJull of krcwledge o:f all things.
The hierarchy of creation extends from the most minute forms of terrestrial
life up to Allah. The constructionof this hierarchywas designedby Allah
and is kept in form and balanceby His will. In general terms, the whole of
creationis dividedinto two parts: the known world of our human creation
(insin) and the unseen Qhayb)and generally unknown world of the heavens.
The world below, as it were, is the sublunary world, consisting of four
elementalspheres:the terrestrial,vegetative,animal,and human kingdoms.
These four componentsare arranged in ascendingorder of creation, so that
the human being occupiesthe highest position in the order of the physical
creation.This dimensionis governedby the rules of nature,which is to say
the dominion of growth and decay,of life and death.
Above this created world of human existence lies the realm of the
heavens,which are elevenin number. Eechof theseheavensis occupiedby
angelic forms and ultimately is populated with souls that depart from
human bodiesand earthly existence.
The various realms of earth and the heavenscan be representedin their
entirety in the accompanying
Each of the elemental spheres-the terrestrial, vegetable,animal, and
human kingdoms-is composedof two parts: an elementalsphereand an
interspace,with which it connects to the sphere above its own. Thus, the
terrestrial sphere connects with the second elemental sphere via the in-
20 | ThcBak ol SufiHuling
organicworld. When the elementof water is combinedwith the terrestrial
sphere, the vegetative world is created.
Likewise, the addition of air to earth and water creates fire. When all
these combine-earth, water, air, and fire-the human form is made up.
The human kingdom is the interconnection to the heavenly realms. For
most humans,the first heavenis representedby the moon: We first attain
our strivings for the heavenly realms by viewing the moon. For those who
occupythe dimensionof the first heaven,or moon, the moon is the firmament and the secondheavenrepresentsa higher aspiration-Mercury is
their heaven.And so on, up the hierarchyof the heavens.
Humans occupy the highest placein the realms of createdlife, by virtue
of one reasononly: Humans have been endowed with the faculty of reason,
caql.The caqlis the creative, rational reasoning power of the mind, which
neither plants nor animals nor water has. These lower forms can only obey
their instincts provided by the Creator. They are totally obedient to the
laws of nature.For example,one cannever"reason"with a deer.If one tries
to approachone, it almost invariably bolts instantly and disappears,regardlessof the intent of the approachinghuman.
This holds true even for those animalsthat humans have sought to
control. Dogs, for example, have not taken well to efforts to domesticate
them. The more inbreeding that has occurred in a particular breed, the
more neuroticthe dogsbecome.Despiteefforts to makedogsinto pets,it is
not so infrequent that a dog will for no reason turn wild upon a person or
smallchild and kill him.
usuallylosethe natural dignity of
Animals that have beendomesticated
their species.Animals of all kinds are marvelousin their natural terrain' But
in that element they have intact all of their natural instinctivebehavior,
which is required for their survival. The lion doesnot kill in the wild out of
malice.To be a killer is the positiongiven to the lion in the creation,and the
lion must do it.
Only humans have the capacityfor creativereasoning,for the rational
processby which we decidewhether we are going to do a
thing. This processis sometimescalledfree will. One can inform a human
being that to do somethingdangerouswill kill him; yet the human beingusing his free will-can act contrary to all the evidenceand do it anyway.
Animals have no such choice:A fish must be a fish.
Our mental decisionsare accomplishedby the taql,and it is byvirtue of this
faculty alone that humans have been placedover all of the creation of the
sublunary world.
When we aspire to something beyond the earthly existence,we move
into the realm of the heavens.Most apparentto all are the zodiacalheavens,
which are seven in number.
This is the realm of the planets,the first of which is the moon. Its color is
white and silver, and it is constructedfrom the four elementsmentioned,
olus ether.
The Hientchy ol Crcetbn | 2l
The second zodiacal planet is Mercury, whose color is gray. God said
that He made Mercury with the addition of His own fikr, His own deep
meditative thought.
Venus is the third zodiacalplanet, and its color is yellow. Venus governs
the world of similitudes, of analogiesand metaphors, of poetry. Allah has
informed us that Venus was created with the addition of His khayal,or
The sun, the fourth zodiacal planet, is presided over by Israfil, the
Angel of Resurrection.The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)is reported to have related
that Israfil told him that the Angel of Death scans the faces of seventy
thousand peopleeachday and, from these,choosesthose who will be called
from earthly existence.This planet God made from the light of His own
heart, the fount of God, the absolute of the heart: love.
The fifth planet in the zodiac is Mars. Its color is blood-red.Azrael, the
Angel of Death, presidesover this planet, which is createdfrom God'swafum,
or divine decision.
Jupiter is the sixth planetof the zodiac,presidedover by the archangel
Michaeland formed of the Light of Himmah-the light of Allah'sreflection.
The final zodiacalplanet is Saturn. Its color is black.Saturn, being the
highest in the hierarchy, was the first zodiacalconstellationto be created.
These first seven heavens (presentedin reverse order, from lowest to
highest) are descdptively namedssmi'.The word sami'(heaven)is linked by
sound to samdc,
an Arabic word meaning "ecstaticcontemplation."Each
heavenexists with a relation to both something aboveand something below
Theseheavensare inhabitedby variousbeingsof the creation.There are
disembodiedsouls (having died already to earth life and awaiting the yawm
or Day of Judgment)in one or other of the heavens.All the
angelsexist in all of thesevariousheavens,dependingupon their function
and rank.
In additionto human soulsand angels,Allah alsocreatediinns.Whereas
He createdhumansfrom the four elementsof earth,water, air, and fire, He
made the jinns from "smokelessfire." The iinns, which are describedfully in
the Holy Qur2n, can from time to time assume human form. Generally,
they are harmlessor favorably inclined to humans, but they can be malevolent. They have great effect upon h'uman affairs and frequently cause
imbalancesthat we would identify as disease.A prime example is colic in
infants, who are especiallyprone to the influence of iinns. Certain herbal
and recitationsare usedto dispeljinns.
When the soul is extracted from human life, it begins to ascendthrough
these heavenly realms. So a person would always have consideration of a
prior state, and also something to look forward to. This is the reality of the
heavenlyexistence.Thosewho believein reincarnationhavearrivedat their
conceptsby only partially understanding the entire creation of the heavens.
When we arrive at the highest heaven of the zodiac,we are at the
22 I TheBookof SuliHwling
thresholdof the Throne of Allah, calledthe carsh.This is actuallya metaphoricaistatement,as no one could imaginesitting in or anywherenearthe
seat of Almighty Allah. This eighth heaven constitutesthe limit of the
physicalconfinesof our universe.The universewe study with telescopes,
laser beams,and radio waves reachesits limit at this point of the eighth
heaven.Although sciencehas not arrivedat this barrier yet, it may in time,
Cod willing.
There are 18,000createduniverses,of which we know about only one,
the one we inhabit.The other 77,999exist contiguousto our own and have
other functions that we do not know.aboutand never will. Allah has said
that He did not createhumanswith ihe capacityto totally understandall of
His creation.But at the moment of death, when the veils are torn away,
each person will instantly see the whole nature of the heavensand the
universeand will be astonishedat the ingenuityof God'sdesign.Incidentally,
Allah has said that despitethe complexityof the heavens,He has created
the human body infinitely more complex!But for now we shall have to be
content to know that there is unimaginablevastness.This inspiresus to
acceptthe majestyand power of our Creator,Who has insistedupon many
thousandsof dimensionsof creation;we humans seeonly one drop in this
divine cosmicocean.
The events of the eighth heavenare directedby Allah Himself;in the
lower realms,Allah directsintermediariesto accomplishHis designs.When
events like shooting stars and meteoritesoccur in our zodiac,they are
causedby actionsin this ninth heaven.The regular orbiting of our fixed
planetsin the earthly heavensis regulatedfrom this heaven.
The ninth heavenis the Crystalline,calledthe rarsl,meaningthe Throne
of Allah, the dazzlementof God's glory. This state of existenceis totally
beyondconceptionor description.A great Sufi oncesaid,"He who climbed
over the wall to the tnrsh,no one ever heard of him again."
The tenth heavencontainsno planetsor stars and thus is calledthe
StarlessHeaven.It is where the motions of all the other spheresoriginate,
directly under the commandand decisionof Allah the Almighty.
The eleventhheavenis calledthe Empyrean,or the Heavenof Heavens.
It is wholly luminous, nothing but pure, complete,overwhelminglight.
Mawlana Rimr (r.a.) celebratedthis realm when he wrote: "What do we
carefor the Empyreanand the skies?Our iourney is to the RoseCardenof
Allah has informed us in the Qur'an that when He decidedto makethe
creation,the first thing He made was the soul of prophecy.And, this, He
said, He made from His own light, or anr. In other words, for all of the
prophetsAllah sent to earth with informationfor human beingsabout the
nature of the creation,God made for them one soul only. He put this in
human forms, both maleand female,someknown to the
world, some not. Allah madethis unimaginablyelegantsoul from His nlr,
The Hictatchy of Crution I 29
His own light. That is why the prophetswere able to have such amazing
effect upon the world: Allah gavethem the powersof illuminationover the
Allah further saidthat "lf I had not createdthe soulof prophecy,I would
not have createdthe world." After Allah createdthis soul of prophecy,it
was so brilliant and luminous that it began to perspire.And from this
perspirationof the soul of prophecy,Allah madethe soulof the rose.This is
why the rose has such a magnificentessenceand is calledthe mother of
scents.Anyone who looksat a rosesmilesand is uplifted,and peopleall over
the world honor and caressthe rose instinctively.Indeed,the rose is the
symbol of love itself.
We can see from this chart or pathway of the evolution through the
hierarchy of creation that humans occupy a relativelylow point in it all;
there are many levelsabovethat we cannot reachwith the physicalbody.
After the earthly,terrestriallife, there are many additionalstages,which of
necessitymust be traversedusing the vehicleof the soul.There is a stage
beyond the Heaven of Heavens, past the Empyrean, called oifl, or the
wedding to God Almighty. This alone is the goal of the true Sufi and the
real meaning of U ildha illa Unh-that one is content with nothinS except
the ultimate and final union with the Beloved,the Owner, Creator, and
Sustainer of all the Worlds. Yi f;ayyn!Yn qayynm!
Every scripture and every prophet from the first have said the same
thing: that we are createdby a wise and loving Creator,and that the special
purposeof our existenceis to endeavorto work our way backto Him. Our
objectivein life is to regainunion with God, and everythingin our life is an
immensepageantdesignedto assistus in that lourney.That is why one who
is active on the Sufi path is referred lo as sdlik,the traveler.
Everythingwe considerto be kind, good,and desirablein this life is but
the minutest manifestationof the final, absolute,and incontrovertibleactuality of those things which are owned by Allah and not by anyoneelse.
This final and ultimate knowledgeabout all things is calledhaqiqat(from
When we speakof love and say we want to be loved or to love someone,
what we mean is that we yearn for that absolutelove that will overwhelm
us and burn us to ashesso that we die of love.One human cannotprovide
such maiesticpower of love for anothei. It is only the Divine Belovedwho
can annihilateus. That is what the Sufi seeks,or dies trying to achieve.
The iourney from a confused,earthly person to one united forever with
the Divine Reality is a long, complex, and difficult iourney. Therefore, the
Sufis have elaboratedthe various stageson this path and have developed
various signpostsand measuresthat can be used to identify where one is on
the path. This chart of progressionon the journey to the Belovedis called
the stationsof the soul.
The Stations
of the Soul
In its progression through life, the physical body passesthrough stages,
from infancy to youth, adulthood, and old age. Similarly, the soul palses
through specificevolutionary stagesor stations.
The Arabic word for such a station is maqdm(pl. naqdndt).ltmeansa
s.topqilg or resting place.But it has many other connotations that convey
the full sense of what this stage may be: place of residence,dwelling,
mansion, stay, dignity, office, state, musical tone, question. Indeed, the
occupationof a maqimby the soul is all of these,and sometrmesmore.
The stationsof the soul are enteredinto at the momentof birth, and the
entire period of life is occupiedin one of these stations, although there may
be changesfrom one station to another.Theseare listedin ascendingorder
as follows:
Maqdm an-Nafs:The Station of Egotism
Maqfrm-al-@lbzThe Station of the Heart
Maqdm-ar-Rll1tThe Station of the Pure Spirit
Maqdm as-SirrtThe Station of Divine Secrets
Maqim nlQurbz The Station of Proximity (or Nearness)to Allah
Meqdm al-Wigdl:The Station of Union (sometimes called the Divine
Wedding with the Beloved)
From the moment of birth, we are constantly striving to develop the
soul, and progress in this effort can be marked out and measured bv
referring to thesestages.Obviously,not everyoneattainsall of the stages.
It is important to realizethat it is not the bodv as such that makes this
journey, but rather the rill.
The translationof rul is usually given as "soul." It can also mean the
breath of God, the angel Gabriel, the Qur'an, revelation, or prophecy.
26 I TheBookol SuliHuling
For the Sufis,the rn! is the essence
of life. It is not the physicalbody or
the brain and its thoughts and memories;nor is it the life processes.
The rirlhas
a distinct existenceof its own, which is derived from God and belongs
entirely to God.
When we ask someonewhat a pomegranatetasteslike, he may well say
somethinglike, "lt tasteswhat it tasteslike." That does not seema very
satisfactoryanswer,but becausethe pomegranateis unique,its tastecannot
be related to anything else, hence this curious reply. And so it is with
the rnft.
The rufi,or essence,
canbe shown to existonly in relationto rhythm and
motif. Think of danceas an example.There is sucha thing as dance,but it
doesnot existconcretelyexceptin relationto the form of rhythm and motif.
One can imaginea dancewith the mind, but for the danceto be actual,the
motion and rhythm of dancersare neededto act it out. But the dance
remains the essence.
This is what is meant by essence,
of which the m{r is
perhapsthe supremeexample.
The human soul also requiresthis rhythm and motif to be manifeston
the physicalplane.Rememberthat the rnf, or soul'sessence,
is not the same
thing as the spirit (nafas).The latter is the divine force that activates the
physicalphenomenain the body, including mental processes.
The rn! is
more intimately felt and superior to the spirit.
Imagineall of the things that havethe essence
of fire in them-the sun,
green wood, ashes,and so forth. All have the same essence,but they
possessvery different physicalforms, and each is at a different stageof
evolution,a different maq|m.The absoluteof the essenceof fire is oart of
the rr.rr,or light of Cod.
Every physicalcreatedthing has its unique and characteristic
balancebetweenhot and cold, moist and dry, passivityand activity.We readin the
Qur'an that Allah "has createdeverythingin its correctbalance."For example, the blood is characteristically
warm and moist. Anything that disturbs
or changesthat normal balancedconditionmay leadto disease.
The sameis
true of our emotions.Our moodsare constantlyaffectedby eventscoming
in via our sensoryapparatus.Take the senseof touch. If someoneslapped
you hard, your mood would almostinstantlychange.If you jumpedinto an
icy pool,again,your moodand emotionswould dramaticallychange.Hearing
is another example.Music can produceprofound effects on the state of
mind. Calm, soothingmusic is healing.Loud, raucousmusic can makeone
iittery. Yet these emotionalevents need form and motif in order to cause
thesechanges.The effectof readingmusicalnoteson paperis not the same
as that of listeningto a Breat symphony.
Some sensesare more powerful than others. The physicalsenseconsideredto be the highestis that of smell.Somesay that smell is relatedto
memory. For instance,when walking down the street,one can encountera
scent,such as that of baking bread,and almost immediatelyit reachesthe
of theSoul127
nostrils, one has a flashbackto some childhoodmemory. The scienceof
aromatherapyis basedupon the preeminenceof the senseof smell. Each
flower of naturehasits own rr.rf,or essence.
A pure,naturalfloral oil may be
used for its antisepticeffect on a wound. The Sufis have classifiedflowers
accordingto their effect upon the soul in its evolution toward God.
Eachhuman beinghas a rr.r!,but not everyperson'sruf is the sameasthe
next one's;a sinner is not the sameas a saint. Somesoulsare much more
refined than others.
Every person is born into the maq|mnn-nafs,
or station of egotism.This is
the inevitablefirst stop in life. The infant is entirely preoccupiedwith its
need for physicalsatisfaction.It wants food, or to be pickedup, and will
scream,cry, and spit to make its demandsknown. It is completelyunconcerned about the effects of its own actions.A baby will break an object
considereda pricelesstreasureby an adult,and will laughaboutit, at that!
The body in its earliestdevelopmentcares only to satisfy its animal
desires-for food,affection,stimulationof all kinds.Sincethis isa God-given
condition, and a necessaryone, infants and children are immune from
judgment and punishment.If a small child walks into a supermarketand
knocks over a displayof bottles,no one saysmuch. Someonecleansit up.
But let an adult do it-intentionally, as a childmight-and the policemay be
In the stationof egotism,the facultyof reasonand judgmenthasnot yet
been developed.That comeslater on. As a child grows, its parents,or the
societyat large,generallyimpressupon it variouscodesof conduct.In other
words, the child learnshow to stay on a particulartrack of behavior.One
who deviatesfrom that track will be confronted with various uncomfortable
It may be normal and understandable
for small children to exist in this
state of egotism,but
as they
out of crawling and regurgitating
their food, and developmature bodiesand smoothphysicalactions,so, too,
do we expectthat a person'ssoul will evolveand grow out of egotism.
The Qur'an revealsthe properbehaviorfor conductingthis evolutionary
progressionof the soul. The mode of living spelledout in the Qurhn is
the straight path. For the Sufi, the supremeand
sole obiectof life is to attempt to iourney to God, and to do so in the most
manner,antl the quickestway aswell. Therefore,
reasonableand successful
is actuallya straight line-the shortestdistancebetween
the straight
two points, which measuresthe distancebetweenthe station of egotism
and union with the Beloved,Almighty Allah.
Many peoplegrow into adulthoodand evenold agewithout everdepartan-nafs.Such people never
ing from this initial stage of egotism, the maqfrm
stop demandingtheir own way, the endlesssatisfactionsof the body. Taken
we call
to the extreme,the whole rangeof emotionaland physicaldiseases
chronic and degenerativeis a result of remainingin this station too long.
28 I TheBook
insanity,weepingfor no reason,
depression, paranoia, sexual perversions, and suicide-all are emotional
diseasesconnectedwith the maqiman-nafs,when a person lingers in it into
can sometimes
The physicaldiseasesassociatedwith the maq|man-nafs
ones.But for the
occur concurrentlywith the emotionalor psychological
body, the end result of remainingin the station of egotismincludesdrug
abuse,alcoholism,criminal behavior,obesity,hypoglycemia,blindnessand
other eye problems,jaundice,heart attack, venerealdisease,and cancer.
Theseconditionsresult from the failure to exercisepropercontrolover one
or more of the nalsfunctions,or appetitesof the body. Some readersmay
disagreeand say that they know a very nice personwho had a heart attack.
Understandingthe further stationsin the evolutionof the soul will clarify
this matter fully.
The method of escape-or progress-from the station of egotismis to
train and disciplinethe ego and its drives.This meansdevelopingwillpower,
and courtesy,amongother traits.
When one succeeds
in gettinSsomecontrolover the ralsand leavesits stage,
or station of the heart.
one arrivesat the mnqimal-qalb,
The Arabic word for heart, qalb,refers to a wide rangeof magnificent
meanings:heart, mind, soul, understanding,intellect,kernel,marrow, center, the choicestpart, core,genuine,pure. Even more interestingis that the
word 4albalsomeans"permuting,""transmuting,"or "turning." For the Sufi,
the heart is the meansby which all transformationoccurs
they feel
Thosewho occupythe stationof the hearthavea basicgoodness;
good about themselvesand the world. A person in lhe maqam
say,"l want to do only goodin the world. I lovenaturein all its forms.I accept
everyone.Oh, what a wonderlife is!"Judgingby this exaltedattitudetoward
life, one might imaginethat no diseases
or problemswould troublea person
at this stage.The reality is almostthe contrary.For personsin the stationof
aswell as
the heart are still proneto both emotionaland physicalimbalances
spiritualones.The emotionaland spiritualailmentsincludethe inability to
concentrate,forgetfulness,fear of failure,certaintypesof hypocrisy,excessive emotions such as severeecstasy,depression,ioy, and severeanger,
arrogance,and being inconsiderateof others' feelings.
Despite the positive aspectsof this station, it is still only the second
station of the soul's progress.This stage can be a time of tremendous
emotional upheavals,including divorce or other relationship problems,and
financialdifficulties.This is so becausethe personfeelsa surgeof ecstasy,a
fresh and almost overwhelmingexcitementtoward life. Many who have
been involvedwith the personbefore he or she ascendedto the station of
the heart cannot acceptthe changesthey seein their friend. In fact, lossof
friends is very common in this stage.
There are alsophysicalproblemsaffiliatedwith the stationof the heart.
Thc Stotiontof theSosl 129
While those of the prior state were almost exclusivelyof a degenerative
nature,the diseases
and ailmentsof this stageare chronicand acute.This is
so becausethe body is going through an internal cleansing,a throwing off
of toxicity and superfluousmatters accumulatedin the prior stage.Thus,
diseasesof the station of the heart includeheadache(especially
nausea,diarrhea,achesand painsthroughout the body,irritability, general
toxicity (skin eruptions,scalpproblems),fever, and gallbladderand kidney
Whereasthe diseasesof the station of egotism were severeand often
incurable,the conditionsof the station of the heart are themselvesa kind of
self-treatmentby the body.Almost all are signsof one or more of the kinds
of healingcrisisthe body undergoesin healingitself.This processmay not
be pleasant,but it is beneficial.
It is very difficult to continue to the higher stagesof soul evolution
without a true shaykh.Under his guidance,one may move toward the next
stage, maqdmar-rul1(station of the soul), by following various practicesto
develop the capacitiesof mercy, compassion,consideration,and selfdisciplineto a high pitch of perfection.
No doubt the stationof the soul is a blessedstate,and anyoneoccupying
it would appearto others as a personof great love and spirituality.But at
the sametime, there remainphysicaland emotionalimbalances
that become
part of the mechanismby which the person strives toward God. These
conditions deepenfaith. The emotional problemsof the nraqamar-r ll includ,e
lackof concentration,giddiness,a frivolous,
irreverent attitude to life, and sometimesthe habit of degradingothers.
Note that these are the diseasesof this state, not the behavior of one
existinS in balancein this station. The imbalancesmay occur when the
person has not yet evolvedto the point of being entirely immune to the
appetitesof the nafs.
Once, when the great Sufi cAbdul-QadirJildni (r.a.)was alreadyconsideredto be a great man of spiritualrank, he was approachedby a manifestation that identified itself as Gabriel, the angel of revelation.The
manifestationtold cAbdul Qadir that he could now dispensewith ritual
prayerbecauseof his holiness.cAbdul-Qidir reciteda versefrom the Qur'an
which exposedthe manifestationas a masquerading shayldn
demonstratesthat the further one traVelson the spiritualpath, the more
certain one may be of insinuationsfrom the devil.
Someof the imbalances
of this stationare easyto control,somenot. One
of the more difficult, and offensive,is arrogance.This is the raw, selfreferentkind of egotismthat leadsa personto say,"I am better than others.
I pray all day. I fast. I meditate,and look at all thesegarbagepeoplein the
world. They're sinners!"This may be the truth in someform about certain
people,but it is an injury to them, and it mars one'sown spiritualdevelopment to expressit. It must be appreciated
that eachpersonhas evolvedto a
30 I TheBookol SuliHaling
particularpoint by the decisionof Almighty God. No matter how sunk into
the life of the world peoplemay be, they still have within them the spark of
divinity. They alsocan advance,and it is the duty of a truly spiritualperson
not to condemnthem, but to befriendthem so that they might be led out of
their misery and onto the right path of living.
Some physicalproblemsare associatedwith the station of the soul.
Theseincludeauto-intoxication(from excessive
kinds of nervoustremors, fatigue,corruptedappetite,and fever.
There are two forms of fever. The first, occurring in the stationsof
egotismand the heart, is an intenseleat developedby the body to refine
and processout superfluoustoxic matters.The secondkind of fever,occurring in the later stations,constitutesa deepspiritualcleansing,causing,as
the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)has said,"the sins to fall off like leaves
being shedfrom a tree." Thesefeversburn off impuritieson the soul level.
Evensomeof the prophetswere subiectto frequentfevers.The holy people
who experiencefever at this level are not being correctedfor vile living
habits.As one Sufi said,"In the beginningyou repentfor wrong actionsand
sins;at the end, you repentfor forgetting God even for a second."It is this
latter conditionthat is being treatedin the station of the soul.
It can happenthat personsin the stationof the soul skid off into lunatic
behavior,especiallyif they have no guide. They may fall into the most
destructivekindsof self-illusion.One can never rest at any stageor assume
that one will neverfall back.
When it comesto a spiritual physicianor Sufi treating a person for a
disease,it now becomesclearthat the saint and the persondwellingin the
stationof egotismwould requiredrasticallydifferent modesof treatmenteven though they both may report fever as the main symptom.
The questionmay arisewhether a personmay overlapfrom one station
into the next. This doesnot occur.A stationis a restingplace.As such,once
one enters a station, one will remain until death or until retreating or
advancinginto anotherstation.There are,however,innumerableimmediate
conditionsoccurring in each station, and these conditionsare called!al.
Literally, fril means "change."It is linked by sound to fall, meaning an
untying or unloosing,a dissolving.In this sense,it meanswhen we loseour
senses,such is the extreme fervor of the Sufis during their recitationsof
dhikr,when it is not uncommonto seeone of the membersfall senseless
the ground, having glimpsedsomething o( laqiqah(truth) or macrifa,(ecstasy).
The fourth station is the maq1m
as-sirr,the stationof divine secrets.The
word sirr (pl.asrdr)refersto the greatestmystery,which cannotbe imagined,
and even when experienced,
it cannotbe believed.The word alsohas other
meanings:coition, the middle or best part of anything, richest land, root,
origin, and tomb.
This is the stationreferredto bv Allah when He said,"There arecertain
The Stationtol the Soul | 3l
of my servantswho ceasenot seekingnearnessto me by meansof voluntary
worship,until I becomethe lips with which they speak,the eyeswith which
they see,the earsby which they hear, the hand wherewith they hold, and
the foot by which they step."The fortunate ones in the station of divine
secretscan understandthe mechanismsby which the whole universeis held
in place. They have fully developedpowers of clairaudienceand can read
the thoughts of others. Angels come to them with information from the
"What was
One day someoneaskedthe ProphetMuhammad (s.a.w.s.),
all of this universecreatedfor? How doesit exist?"The Prophetanswered,
"I don't know the answer.I'll have to go ask the angelGabriel."So he went
and askedGabriel,who answered,"l dont know the answerto that, I'll have
to go askAllah." So GabrielaskedAllah, then returnedand said,'Allah said,
'I have createdthe skies and heavenssimply as a beautiful sight and an
entertainmentfor you, and to createwonder and awe of My majestyand
power. I want the blinking stars to uplift and delight you and causeyou to
marvel at My creation."' When Allah was askedhow He did all of this,
Gabriel reported that He said,"I did not createhumans with the mental
capacityto comprehendthe meansand mechanismsby which I have done
this. Even if I told you, you would not understand.But at the instant of
death, when the veils are torn away, you will immediatelyseehow it is
done,and you will be astonishedat My ingenuity.I am the bestof creators.
As complicatedand complexas I have made the heavens,I have madethe
human body infinitely more complex."The Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w.s.)
who most certainly existed in the highest of stations, was able to receive
this kind of information. The average person would never attain to this
exaltedstateand favor of the Almighty God.
, The personsadmitted to the station of divine secretshave passedthe
most excruciatingtestsand are no longer seekingany egotisticalaspectof
human life. They do not desirefame, wealth, or excitinSsensations.
exist only for and by virtue of a very exclusiveand intimate relationship
with the Creator and the celestialpopulation.Nonetheless,they are still
human, and some physicaland emotionaleventsdo occur on this planeas
well. It is not correctto call theseevents"diseases,"reallyl-they are rather
imbalancesor sidetracksthat can causeone to descendfrom this stateor to
languishin this stationand not continuefurther, to reachthe goalof Allah.
The primary imbalancesof the station of divine secretsincludefalseinterpretationof divine phenomena,irrationality,lackof interestin earthly life,
incoherentbabbling,heart pain,and heart burning.
At this point,it shouldbe explainedthat a personin one stationgenerally
cannot leap severalstationsaheador above.A young child may be able to
ride a bicyclewell, but certainlycould not pilot a supersoniciet. This is not
to demeanthe child or glorify the pilot. But a personwho has attaineda
3z I TheBuk ol SufiHuling
particularstationcanfunction in and understandany of the lower stationsiust as the pilot, having riddena bicycleas a child,couldcontinueto do so as
an adult.
The self-deceptionreferred to in this station of divine secretswould be a
condition of this maqdm.
B* a ldl would be the mode in which this selfdeceptionmanifestsitself. Not everyonein this or any other stationwould
experienceall of the lals thal could occur in that station.
The physicaleventsthat occur in the maqdm
as-sirrare fever, a senseof
difficulty in breathing,and sometimesa senseof suffocating.Theseparticular afflictionsoccurbecausearrival at.this stagerequiresyearsof breathing
practices.Imbalancescan occur if these practicesare done incorrectlyor
Moreover,it is not uncommonat this stagethat one is bothered
by eventsof the nonmanifestrealms.Interferencefrom jinns is an example
(althoughthey can bother peopleat any stage,eveninfants).Or one may be
carrying on certain kinds of relationswith disembodiedsoulsand become
affectedby this interchange.In thesecases,variouskinds of spiritualpracticesinvolving breathingwould be employedas remedies.
For the Sufis,the main sourceof breathingpracticesis the Holy Qur'an
itself. The various breath starts and stops are marked in the text of the
Qur'an and employdegreesof difficulty up through elevenlevelsof recitation. The vowels,in particular,are frequentlyelongatedand held for more
than a normal single beat in reciting. Although only a few personsas a
practical matter can recite at the advancedlevels, it is possibleto find
cassettetapesof suchperformancesby shaykhsrecitingthe Holy Qur'an. In
thesephenomenallystirring recordings,one can hear sustainedrecitations
lastingup to two minuteswith one breathexpulsion,andmovementthrough
four and five octaveranges.
Beyondthe station of divine secretsis the maqdm
al-qurb.The definition
of qurbis "nearness,"but it alsoconnotesdrawing near,approach,neighborhood, relationship,and kinship.One in this station indeedenjoysthe view
of the neighborhoodof the Most High-that is, the highest heaven,containing the carsh,or Throne of the Almighty. One occupyingthe statusof
this station has a vantageof this createdworld, but also glimpsesinto the
next world, the world of other createdforms.
At this stage there are very few imbalancesor difficulties,strictly in
terms of healthand disease,but thosethat do exist can be very severe.One
of the conditionsis excessiveecstasy.A personaffectedwith this condition
is calledmajdhitb.
Suchpeoplelosevirtually all interestin or connectionwith
the world. They are in a state of joy at all times and do not care whether
they sleep,eat,or are clothed.They are divinelyintoxicatedand absorbedin
the Beloved.
I met such a man once living out in the pastoral countrysidenear
Paghman,Afghanistan.He was saidby his followersto be about 125 years
Thc Stttionsof thc Soul I 3J
old. As I and my companionsentered the high-walledgarden of his compound,we saw a smallman sitting hunchedover rows of pottedgeraniums.
From time to time, he would pick a few bright red blossomsanJ eat them.
He sharedthesetreats with squirrelsand other smallanimalsthat scurried
around him without fear. Later, upstairs in his room, he behavedin a
manner that would alarm anyoneuninformed about this station.He never
spokeclearlyor directly,but one could catch snatchesof his conversations
addressedto the inhabitantsof the angelicrealms.Birds flew in and out of
the openwindows.As we were leaving,he offeredone of my companionsa
"gift," which he held out like a treasurein his cuppedpalms.The gift turned
out to be a dirt-smeared,half-eatenpeachpit! Suchis the conditionof those
in the station of nearness,who perceivereality on an entirely other plane.
This state is interestingand beautiful in its way, but it is not the goal. In
fact, most shaykhsare of the opinion that it is an inferior and undisirable
Some peoplein this station do not speak.Casesare recordedof some
who went for over twenty yearswithout speaking,being so overwhelmed
that they had no desireor ability to communicate.Other difficultiesinclude
forgetfulnessand genuineinsanity.The personforgets from one moment
to the next what he is sayingor doing. Some of the practices-involving
both breath and mental contemplation-are so profound and intensethat
the personmay lose his mind entirely. This is rare, however.
Remarkablesimilaritiesmay be observedbetweenthe conditionsoccurring in these latter stagesof spiritual evolution and the behaviorof the
mentally ill. In the East, many peopleon the street exhibit such bizarre
behavior that they would immediatelybe locked up if they did the same
thing in the West. Yet a true diagnosisof their condition-wouldrequire
a considerationof the imbalancesof the soul.
A problemnot mentionedyet but commonto all of the stations(andyet
more of a danger in the station of nearnessthan any other) is that of
attributing divinity to oneself, God protect us from such a thing. And,
although it is painful to even think of it, a related imbalance-the most
severe-is disbeliefin God.
The higher and further one risesin the evolutionof the soul,the more
one is tested.Peopleat this level have long sinceextinguishedtheir carnal
desires and egotistic traits. But they frequently are very successfulin
leadingothers to the path of truth and righteousness,and therefore are
constantly being bothered by all of the malevolent forces-shayalin(devils),
jinns, dayoparee(ghosts),and similar troublemakers.
I have heard peoplesay that they themselveslisten to God, or that thev
have receivedguidancedirectly from God. They ought to recall that the
only means Allah has ever used to relate to humans is the angel Gabriel
(with the sole exceptionof Moses,once).There are many warnings about
I The Buk ol S'lfi Hwling
assuming oneself to be adequatearmor against the delusionsof the evil ones,
both human and nonhuman. The great shaykh Junayd (r.a.) said, "He who
takes himself as a teacher has taken Satan as his guide."
or unionwith
One more station exists, and the Sufis call it maqdmal-arb.il,
Allah. Here God is your Beloved and you are the lover, and you are wedded
together in Divine Unity for all time. This station, unlike all of those which
precede it, cannot be attained by effort. Almighty Allah makes the decision
and chooseswhom He will.
The tradition relating the manner of selection for this station is moving.
It is quoted from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)on the authority
of Hazrat Ibn Mascid (r.a.):
Among the creaturesof Allah, there are three hundred peoplewho bear a
specialrelationship with Allah and whose hearts are similar to that of the
prophet Adam, peacebe upon him. And forty whose hearts are similar to
that of the prophet Moses, peace be upon him. Seven are those whose
hearts are similar to that of the prophet Abraham, peacebe upon him. Five
are those whose hearts are similar to that of the archangelGabriel. Three
are those whose hearts are like that of the angel Michael. There is one
servant among the creatures of Allah the Almighty whose heart is like the
angel Isrifil. When one servant dies, Allah choosesone from among the
three to 'replacehim. When one among the three dies, one from among
the five is admitted to his place.When one among the five dies, one from
among the seven is admitted in his place.When any of the sevendies,one
from among the forty is admitted to his place.When any one of the forty dies,
one from amongthe threehundredis admittedto his place.Whenone from
among the three hundred dies, one from among the peoplein generalis
admitted.So, becauseof them; Allah the Almighty administerslife, death,
rainfall,creation,and rids humanity of misfortunes.
All of the three hundred persons would be characteristicallysmiling at all
times and would have no concerns whatsoever of the world. They do not
need to eat, drink, or sleep.They have transcendedhuman bounds and can
they like, on earth and through the heavens.
Only a few in human history have come to this status. lt is impossible to
describe in words. It is the real goal of existence and involves the promise
we each made to our Creator before we came into this life.
These people are termed nnl'i (pl. swlivfr'), meaning "beloved friends of
God." They are the real vicegerents of God on earth. Generally, they are
not known to the world at large. The awliyd'are informed about and have
accessto the mechanisms to control and affect all human events, and it is
they whom Allah uses to unfold the divine plan on earth. The means they
use are with the knowledge of Allah.
Only one who has attained admittance among the three hundred or the
lesser numbers is properly termed a Sufi. All others are rather aspirants to
The St,,tionsof th. SotI I 35
By the time one attains the station of proximity there are no physical
ailments left. The only physical event remaining is the mode by which one
will die. Usually, people at this station do not die from diseaseas such, but
rather they are informed by the Angel of Death of the precisetime for their
departure, and so can make preparations for it. My shaykh wrote me the
exact date of his death one month before it occurred. He worked, fully alert,
up until the morning of his passing. Then, at two P.M.,he lay down and
began reciting the profession of faith (La ilnha illa LLnh,Mulammndun rasilu
Ual) until he expired, just after sunset (which happened on the birthday of
the Prophet, s.a.w.s.).MA sha'Allah.
For such persons, when they pass out of human life, it is a blessedevent,
even a celebration, for they have long since given up relating to the world
with their bodies. Instead, they have soared high into the spiritual realms
with their souls and are able to traverse not only this but the other universes
as well. No one can disturb or contradict them. Even the most determined
criminals or violent armies would be powerless against the Sufi. Such
persons are immune from the difficulties of the world.
Generally, one is not acceptedinto the circles of shaykhs until one has
attained the station of the soul or higher. This acceptanceby the aspirant of
the duties imposed upon the shaykhs is formalized in a specialceremony of
initiation, called baytat (pledge). The founder of the Chishti Order in India,
Hazrat Khwija Mucinuddin (r.a.), has offered an account of his own initiation at the hands of his shaykh, cUthmin Harini (r.a.).This ceremony
transpired in the year A.H.561, after Khwiia Mucinuddin had spent a full
twenty years in training and service with his shaykh. The great saint
described his bat'at thw:
I had the honor of appearingbefore my shaykh, Hazrat cuthm;n, in the
presenceof many other spiritual luminaries. I bowed my head in solemn
reverence.Hazrat cUthmin askedme to offer two ratsnlsof 1alit. I did it. He
then directed me to facethe Kacbahat Mecca.I did it. He then askedme to
recite the Qur'anic chapter Sirat al-Baqarah.I did it. He told me to rePeat
praise and blessingsfor the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)and his family (a.s.)
twenty-one times and to say SubldnAIIah sixty times. I did it.
After that, he stood up, took my hands in his own, and looked toward
the heavens,saying,"Let me presentyou to Allah."After that he cut off my
hair with a scissorsand then put a speciil caplkolahthaharlarkil on my head
and asked me to sit down. He then asked me to rePeatSrirat al-lkhl5g one
thousand times. I did it. He then said,"Among our followers there is only
one day and one night's probation Inuinhqdahl,hence go and do it today."
Accordingly I spent the whole of one day and one night in continuous €alAf
and reappearedbefore him.
He askedme to sit down and repeat Srirat al-lkhlig again one thousand
times. I did so. He then instructed me, "Look toward the heavens."When I
raised my eyes toward the heavens,he inquired, "How far do you see?"I
36 I TheBookol Suli Huling
said, "Up lo al-tqrshal-mucaln"[the Zenith of the Divine Throne]. He then
said,"Look below." I did so. He inquired again,"How far do you see?"1said,
"Down to the tqlllothlhsm"lthe Abyss of Hell].
He then askedme to sit down and repeatSurat al-Ikhlig one thousand
times. I did it. He then told me, "Look toward the heavens."When I did so,
he inquired, "How far do you see now?" I said, "Up io the co4mqt"(the
Dazzlementof God'sClory). He then told me, "Closeyour eyes."I did so,
and after a moment,he told rne,"Open your eyes."I did so.He then heldup
the first two fingers of his right hand and inquired, "What do you see
through them7"I said,"l seethe eighteenthousandworlds."When he heard
this he said,"Now your work isoveri'He then lookedtoward a brick lying
nearby and asked me to pick it up. When I did so, I found some gold coins
under it. He asked me to go and distribute them among the poor and the
needy,which I did. He then instructedme to remain with him for some
Thus with obedienceand the grace of Allah does the soul progress from its
state at inception-of helplessegotism-to the divine unity, if Allah wills it.
The means of passing from lower to higher stations is by opposing and
controlling the appetites of the nafs.And in this endeavor, the Sufis have
received specialpractices thai are designedby Allah Himself to produce the
most sure, rapid, and profound results.
Failure often overwhelms people who desire, or think they desire, to
take up and maintain a spiritual orientation to life. This is so becausethe ego
is the greatest test there is. We may wake up any morning with the firmest
resolve that we will concentrate only on the purest, most blessed, and
highesi thoughts. Yet all it takes is a phone call, telling us that we are
overdrawn at the bank, or that the children have broken a window, and
before we know what has happened,we have lost our concentration. Only
later in the afternoon do we recall our resolution to remember God.
Therefore, one must constantly restate and restart one's intention all
the time. At first, it may be difficult, and failures may occur. But sooner
than one would imagine, the intention leads to a habit, the most positive
habit possible.After a time, you don't forget.
Gradually the aspirant lets go of worldly ambitions and concentrates
solely on the spiritual goals. In India at the headquarters of our Chishti
Order, there is the resting place of our murshid,Hazrat Khwiia Mucinuddin
Chishu (r.a.). Beneath the shrine-the dorgah-are about one hundred small
cells (hujrahs\, which are assigned to shaykhs of the order for use during
visits to Ajmer. These cells exist for the performance of the chilla,a fortyday-and-night seclusion,underground and in darkness, with a minimum of
food and water. This practice constitutes a kind of rehearsal for being in the
grave. The Sufis, realizing the inevitable nature of death, take the opportunity while still living to see what the grave is like, and prepare for this
extended time of seclusion.While in this seclusionfor forty days and nights,
one is under the direction of one's shaykh, who prescribescertain recitations
Th. Srqriont
of rheSoulI cz
and practices,which serveto extinguishthe fires of the nalsand annul the
lower desires.One cannot undergo this ritual alone or accordingto one's
own thinking. The dangersare awesome.This is only one of the important
reasonsone needsa living master to guide one at all times.
If we read the testimony of all of the greatestpeoplewho lived-the
prophets (a.s.)-we find that they were the most fearful of what awaited
them in the grave and in the next life. Thesepeoplewere the most humble,
most righteousand selflesspeoplewho lived; and they all were constantly
aware of their shortcomingsand worried about their ultimate fate before
their Lord. How much more ought ordinarypeopleto expresssuchconcern.
The foregoingdescriptionsof the stationsof the soul'sevolutionare of
necessitygreatly simplified,and many decadesare required under true
teachersand optimum circumstances
to achievemeaningfulresults.There
are schoolsthat teach a person how to fix an automobileengine,which
require two or three years iust to learn the basics.How much more time
and complexityare involvedin learninghow to fix the harsh workings of a
There is a differencebetween a serious seekerwho comes before a
shaykh to find the anchor for life and the person who is the guide.The
difference between these two persons-seeker and sought, discipleand
master,muridandshaykh-isthat the shaykhgivesand the studentreceives.
The studentcomesasking,seeking,demanding-still in need.The transition
occurswhen one no longer remainscrying for breastmilk, for ihe teacher's
aid and attention, but insteadbecomesone who demandsto give. And no
one can stop the giving. It is like going through the midpoint of an hourglass.One who has passedthrough that small and difficult stricture may
not be a teacheryet, but at leastis looking out to the other side.
It's like being a river rushing down the side of a mountain, trying to
reach the ocean. When the ocean is reached,there is a great, tranquil
merging, a new existence.What need is there then to be a little river,
noisily running over the rocks?There are no more barrierswhen one has
reachedthe oceanof divine mercy.
So those who arrive at the final destination-union with Allah-are of
the chosenones,the Sufis.Their statusin the eyesof Allah is one of great
favor, but below that of the prophets(peacebe upon them all).They are not
prophets,nor havethey everclaimedsuchi thing for themselves.
they standas a testamentand inspirationto the heightsthat human beings
may achieve,by sincerelyfollowing the adviceand loving guidanceof the
Great, the Praised,the Glorious, the Holy, the Lord of Angels and the
Spirit, the Exalted,the Glorified Allah the Almighty. Al-fudnduli-Iihi rsbb
lt lal a mln!
Now let us turn to the healthaspectsof the body,the mind, and the soul,
and take noticeof the modesof treatmentemployedby the Sufisin treating
various imbalancesto restorepeopleto full health.
Food and H ealt
The stomach is the home oJ disea*.
Diet is the main medicine.
Prophet Mulnmmad (s.a,w. s.)
kl1il1 Muslim
The worldly life is one of the stagesof the lourney to God, and the body is
the vehicle for this iourney. As such, it behoovesthe traveler to maintain
the body in optimum condition, so that the diversions of discomfort and
pain do not distractone from concentrationupon the goal.
Digestionis the processof taking in nutrients through the mouth and
then refining thoseelementsin the body.When it is saidthat the stomachis
the home of disease,this means that diseaseariseswhen this digestive
"Diet is the main medicine"is taken to mean
that we should first use foods themselves to rebalance and rebuild the
digestiveprocess.The foodsare usedas vehiclesfor conveyingcertainhealing formulas-both herbal and nonphysical-to the body.
The possibleexceptionto this generalrule occurswhen the body and its
organshave been damagedso severelythat there remainsno regenerative
power to rebuildan organ or bodily system.In suchcases,surgeryor other
radical modes might be the treatment of choice.However, if the principles
of health are followed throughout life, from earliest childhood onward, one
need have no more fear of falling ill than being struck by lightning. Indeed,I
have known quite a few men and women (mainly residing in the East)who
have never had a day of illnessin their lives. They had never had so much as
a headacheand never visiteda doctor or a hospital.Perhapshealth is best
definedas that statein which one neverneedbe awareof the body.In other
words, a healthy person receivesno signalsof pain, disturbance,or discomfort-all of which signify some kind of imbalancein the body. Nonetheless,
if we recall the pathways of the soul'sevolution, originating in the station of
egotism, we know that these imbalanceshave developedin many people.
Let us review the processof digestion so as to determine how and why
40 | ThcBuk of9rfi Huling
One characteristicof Sufi shaykhsthat seemsto predominateover all
others is that they are extremelyhospitableand capableof offering someof
the most deliciousand satisfyingmealsimaginable.Many storiesabout the
shaykhs revolve around some aspectof food, not only intake, but also
Once I was visiting near Balkh,Afghanistan,and wanted to go and sit
with a shaykhI had heardof, a descendantof Hazrat Mawlini Rimi (r.a.).
'lhe imam(prayerleader)of the main mosqueat Balkhgaveme directionsto
(compound),in the villageof Esrak,about fifteen
the old shaykh'skhanaqah
kilometersfrom Balkh. After a most interesting journey to the village,I
found the shaykhstandingin the doorway,asthough he had beenexpecting
me. Once inside,I saw a group of old dervishessitting huddledin a circle,
about to commencethe noon meal. The shaykh invited me to join them,
and I sat down. In a few minutes a large wooden bowl was brought and
placedbefore the shaykh.There was one wooden spoonin the bowl. The
shaykh took a portion for himself, replacedthe spoon, and handed the
serving bowl to the man seatedon his right. After a half-dozenmen had
their turns, the bowl came to me. I took a spoonful of a cucumberand
yogurt soup, which was unbelievablydelicious,despiteits simplicity.In all
my memories,I cannot recallany meal being better than that soup shared
with a handful of dervishesperchedatop the world.
One of the great Chishti shaykhs,Hazrat Ni4SmuddinAwliyi' (r.a.),
kept a half-dozenof his nrnridswith him for more than sevenyears,and all
the while preventedthem from eatingto their fill. Frequentlythey were on
the edgeof starvation.One day a disheveledbeggararrivedat the door and
broke an earthen bowl of flour before the eyesof the starving dervishes.
From that day forth, Hazrat NiTimuddin provided the most magnificent
feastsfor the whole city of Delhi up till the end of his life.
Why are shaykhsso involvedin providingfood to their followers?First
of all, it is a good serviceto feed the hungry, if they are genuinelyin need.
But even more important, the shaykhshave a certain knowledgeof the
effectsof food on the body and the stagesof the soul'sevolution,and so
they can frequentlybenefit the studentsand the sickby the choiceof foods
servedat meals.
The serving of food must be conceivedof on the broadest possiblescale.
By this I mean that the person preparing and serving the food-be it
mother, father, servant, or shaykh-must take into account all of the
factorsrelevantto the seasonor time of year, the time of day, the climate,
altitude,distancefrom the sea,any prevalentdiseases
or viruses,unusual
migrationof insects,and so forth. Peoplewho live closeto natureare ableto
observeall of thesefactorsand many others as well.
The conceptionand intention brought to the preparationof a meal are
the most important things that bearon food. In the United States,it seems
that not only do peopleseldomconsciouslythink aboutfood in this way, but
Foo.land Health I 4t
they really do not even take the time to sit down and eat properly, preferring
to have a paper-wrapped clod slapped into their hands as they drive by a
In my family, my wife, Iman, and I are constantly conferring with each
other about what foods ought to be included in the menu. Shell inform me
what small things are going on with our children's health, or what particular
foods are coming onto the market by season.We make adjustments according to the situation. For example, it is a very common notion in the East that
milk and fish should never be consumed together. Biochemicalresearchhas
shown that milk and fish both have a high concentration of a particular
.amino acid. When they are eaten together, the concentration is so great that
it may cause allergic reactions.
Another important consideration is that fruits and vegetables at the
beginning of the growing seasonhave a healing quality, while those at the
end of the growing season can produce disease.This is confirmed with
apples,for example, which are very tart and astringent early in the growing
season. But after the freeze, the sugar content soars and can easily cause
excessivemucus buildup. Flus, colds, and the like may result.
Attention must be given to the selection and buying of foods. Where are
you going to buy your food products? Where do they come from? Are they
treated with chemicals?If so, what chemicals?Most foods should be obtained
from the locale in which you reside. Always buy onions and potatoes grown
locally (or within one day's iourney), because they contain the cure and
antidote for all of the little viruses, bugs, and specialbacterial strains that
occur in your region. One should not forgo onions from one's own neighborhood in favor of those trucked in from a thousand miles away. Of course, if
you live in an area where potatoes and onions are not grown at all, then you
generally should not eat those particular foods. Eskimos seldom, if ever, eat
People who enter a supermarket are often pleased by the sight of the
bonanza of foods, a virtual cornucopia. Yet almost all of the foods, including
fresh fruits and vegetables,have been severely altered with chemical additives and treatments. It may be marvelous that you can obtain Egyptian
mangoes, Bolivian pomegranates, and Mexican bananas ar your corner
grocery, but that does not necessarilymean they will sustain you properly.
Conventional advice about food selettion emphasizes consuming the
main food groups daily. Some people refine the concept somewhat and
suggest choosing whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetablesin season,and so
forth. Others offer analysisof the vitamin, mineral, and nutrient content of
the foods as the key to eating for health. The Sufis view the matter
somewhat differently. Just as they perceive the soul or essenceof the body
as the most important, so, too, do they seek the essenceof food as the most
important element.
Let us assume for the moment that we have selectedthe correct foods
+z I TheBookof iufi Hwlbtg
and have the best intentions in regard to feeding our family and friends.
The next stage is the actual cooking of the food. I have said many times that
the most important hospital in the world is your own kitchen, becauseit is
here that the essenceof the food is extracted, and health gained or lost.
If the food is being prepared correctly-taking sufficient time for each
stage-the first thing that occurs in the kitchen is the most delightful
explosions of scents. When onions are heated in olive oil, for example, the
volatile oils and essenceare driven off into the air. When you add spices
such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and similar aromatic spices,anyone
who comes into the house and gets a whiff of these wonderful scents is
immediately uplifted.
The matter of scents is important, and indeed many today are becoming
interested in the essencesof floral substances(including what we generally
call spices) and their effect on health. The body responds to all of these
smells in various ways. As the nose perceives certain odors of cooking,
information is delivered to the internal organs that a meal is being readied.
The stomach, gallbladder, liver, colon, thyroid gland, and other endocrine
glands-all respond in their own ways. Moreover, the essencesof oils,
driven off by the heating, can themselves alter the temperament of internal
organs and thus affect health greatly. At the very least, cooking fragrances
are responsible for altering the body to conclude the prior meal's digestion.
When people come into the dining room only moments before eating, and
thus are deprived of the intake of scentsprior to the meal (or even throughout the day), some of the most important initial stagesof digestion are lost.
In fact, the process of digestion actually begins at the time of the mental
conception of a meal.
These scented vapors not only affect the bodily functions, including the
skin, but also have a beneficial influence on the eyes. Onions, which make
you cry when you cut them, are the best example of this. Many injurious
toxins are built up as a normal result of the thinking and emotional life.
Particularly since many people think that crying is somehow unmanly or
weak, the tendency to release superfluous matters through the eyes by
crying is suppressed.During cooking, the vapors of onions as well as other
spicesencourage elimination through the eyes. When onions are cut in the
kitchen, it is surely not a mournful matter.
When I cook, I start at noon. To me, preparing meals for others is one of
the most enjoyable and wonderful things a human can do. Cooking is
healing in its essence.I have one dish made of basmati rice with chopped
pistachios,almonds, raisins, and tiny carrots slivered into piecesthe size and
shape of toothpicks. I need about three dozen large carrots to make this dish
for eight or ten people. I always sit down with a sharp knife and spend an
hour or more at this task of slicing, until a huge pile of carrot slivers is
sitting before me.
One day someone helping in the kitchen saw me doing this and informed
andHeslth| +g
me, "l have a great idea.Here, put thosecarrotsin the food processor,and
the iob will be done in lessthan a minute!" I thankedmy assistantfor the
suggestionand then explainedthat the reasonI preferreddoing the iob by
hand was that with eachsliceI madea little prayerthat the food be a healing
influencefor the personwho eatsit. So the thought of desiringwellnessfor
peoplealso needsto be addedto the foods that you preparefor them.
We certainlycan tell the differencebetweenfood eatenin a restaurant
and food preparedproperlyin the home.Too often, the peoplewho work in
public eatingestablishments
haveno concernwhatsoeverfor the food they
which almost alwaysis preparedby machines).In fact, many
peoplehavingjobs in restaurantsare anSryand disgustedthat they haveto
work there in the first place.The mentalvibrationsof suchpeopleinevitably
work their way into the food.
Let us now assumethat we havethe bestfood,preparedaccordingto the
correct methods,and are ready to put it into our mouths. Even beforewe
put the food into the mouth, we haveto think for a second:Wheredoesthis
food comefrom, and what is our purposein consumingit? For the Sufi, the
eating of food is a time of fellowship, a celebrationof life, and a rededication
of life to the highestidealsof human existence.Beforeeating,the Sufi says,
"Bisni Llnhiir-Rnfumdn,
ir-Raftlm:In the name of God, the most merciful,the
most compassionate.
O my Lord!I will eat this foodonly to bea betterservant
of yours. Use this food to uplift me and uplift all of your humanity.r4nrin."
The reasonfor eating is not simply to derive pleasure.It is to maintain
the body, which is the vehiclefor conveyanceof the soul and the meansby
which we improve and give strength and gracefulnessto the soul. Only
after applyingsuchan invocationto the food do we put it into our mouths,
tn gnq .auan.
The refinement,or digestion,of food requiresfrom one to eight hours,
dependingupon the food. Sciencehasdelvedinto the biochemicalstructures
of foodsand the body and derivedsome facts and theoriesthat purport to
explainwhat goeson during digestion.
The most importantconceptrelatingto humanphysicalhealthis centered
on the notions conveyed by two Persian words, sardi and garmi, meaning
"hot" and "cold." Before explainingthis conceptfully, let me say that the
entire processof digestion should be thought of as one of heating, or
cooking, the nutrient substances.The're is a Persian word, pokhta,which
means"cooking,"but also refers to what the body doesin breakingdown
food into its compositenutrients.Pokltameansthat somethingis cookedand
ready to serve.For example,one knows that a curry is pokhtawhen the ghee
or oil is floatinglightly, shimmeringand glittering,on top of the sauce.Until
then, it is not ready to serve,is not fully cooked.
There is a moment of ripenessto everything.We can easilyseewhen a
fruit is unripe, and we would not eat it until it is ripe. The grosscookingof
food leads to a moment of ripeness,and the bodv itself "cooks" the food
e4 I TheBookof SufiHwling
down until it is alsoripenedand readyto assimilateinto the bloodor tissues
or enter into other chemicalinteractions.
In other words, somethingis ripe when it is at the optimum moment of
growth or refinement. In the processingof foods by the body, a seriesof
digestionsoccur,beginningwith the actionof enzymesin the mouth. This
action createsheat, slight though it may be. To this heat is addedthe heat of
friction, causedby the grinding of the food by the teeth. After the food is
swallowedinto the stomach,another cooking occurs-the heat of hydrochloric acid. Eachof theseheatingschangesthe nature of the food. If one
lacks the proper levels of enzymes in the mouth, or fails to chew the food
sufficiently, or if there is a hydrochloric acid deficiency,then digestion will
be impairedfrom the start.
When the digestionin the stomachis finished,the food is a semifluid
mass calledchyme. Exiting from the stomach,the chyme travelsthrough
the small intestine,where further enzymesact upon it. Then it arrivesat
the site of the liver.
Easternand Western medicinehave taken virtually irreconcilable
of digestionfrom this point onward. Western sciencetries to identify each
componentsof the nutrient-vitamins, aminoacids,enzymes,caloricvalues,
proteins,fats, and so forth. Easternmedicinefeelssuch an effort is by and
large useless.This is so becauseeach liver cell containsmore than one
thousandenzymes.Or it should be said rather that Western pathologists
have acknowledgedthat more than a thousandenzymesexist in eachliver
cell, of which they know specificallyhow only about two dozen actually
work in the body!In fact, there may be billionsof enzymesin eachliver cell.
This is not known or unknown as yet. In any case,to baseone'stheorieson
somewhatlessthan three percentof the total possibilitiesis to rely on mere
Easternmedicinetakes a much more interestingview of the digestive
process-a view that can be understoodby anyone,even young children,
and that providesthe basicframework for the selectionof foodsto maintain
or regain health quickly and easily.Theseconceptsare consistentwith all
systemsof medicinein the world-Chinese, Ayurvedic,Hippocratic,Calenic,
Arabic,and Hebraic.In other words,all of the medicaland healthsystemsof
the world have agreedwith theseconceptsfor thousandsof years-except
The key to healthful eatinghabits is in understandingtwo notions:the
four bodily essences,
and the heating and coolingeffects of foods.These
conceptsare so important to human health that the next chapteris devoted
to them.
The Four Essences
of the Body
The four essences
of the physicalbody ariseat the site of the liver and are
or akhlit,(sing.tltill),
part of the processof digestion.Eachof theseessences,
is producedas the food is broken down into ever-smallercomponentsof
nutrients and by-products.The accompanying
chart summarizesthe origin
and fate of eachof the four essences.
Let us now focus upon the four essences:
BlooilEs*nce:Hot and Moisr
PhlegmEs*tru: Cold and Moist
Bilious Esxnce:Hot and Dry
AtrnbiliousEssmce:Cold and Dry
Eachof theseessences
has a characteristictemperamentof heat and moisture associatedwith it. When this temperamentis altered or disturbed,
imbalanceoccurs,frequently leadingto one or more diseaseconditions.(I
Like the other essences
use the term "intemperament"for suchimbalances.)
describedin Sufi healing,the alrfrlnl
do not exist asseparateentities,but only
as a part of the entire processof digestion.When the body no longer
functions.the essences
alsoceaseto exist.
To illustrate how theseessences
function,let us considerin somedetail
the phlegmessence.
th" phl"g- essencecomes into'being as part of the third stage of
digestion,and is formed from the less choicenutrient parts (the choicer
parts having alreadybeenutilizedin the formationof bloodand its essence).
Phlegmis usedin many ways in the body:as a lubricant,as a shieldagainst
foreign matter, includingbacteria,and as a coatingof the internal viscera,
amongother things.Phlegmby nature is somewhatsticky,but it frequently
can be observedto changeits character-to salty, thin, rough, watery, and
so forth. Normal phlegm will always be the result of a cold and moist
essence.When the essencemoves to either a hotter or colderdegree,the
45 | The BookofSuli Hcaling
phlegmitself is altered.Sometimesthis alterationis necessary
aspart of the
The fak'ims,physiciansof the physicaldiseases,have worked out a
codifiedsystem that categorizesall diseasesarising from disturbancesof
this third stageof digestionby the natureof the phlegm.Likewise,all of the
other essences
can alter and produceimbalances,
and specificsymptomsare
with a particularimbalanceof eachessence.
It follows,then, that
the first course of treatment is lo restore
lo itsnaturalbalance.
Now, it is rather easyto arrive at a diagnosis,by first determiningwhich
stageof digestionis affectedand then lookingfor the signsof excessheat or
moisture (or its opposite).Although four factors are associated
with each
essence-heat,cold, moisture,dryness-these can be reducedto two, heat
and cold (garmiand sardiin Persian),becausemoisture is a function of heat,
which drives off moisture.*
Of course,the diagnosisof a complicatedimbalancebelongsin the realm
of an expert physician.However,there existsa completesystemof dietetics
accordingto the foregoing principlesand essences.
This system of food
selectionis basedupon the two factors of heat and cold.
When we say that a food is hot, we do not mean that it is actuallyhot to
the taste,nor do we refer to its caloricvalue.Rather,a hot food is one that
createsa net effect in the body which promotesmetabolism.A food that is
cold in its essence
hasa net effectof loweringmetabolism.In other words,if
we had a thermometerthat measuredtemperaturein billionthsof degrees
rather than tenths, we could observea slight increasein body temperature
whenever a hot food was consumed.And the reversewould be true of
eatinga cold food: The temperaturewould drop slightly.
The single most important factor in this dietetic system is that foods
containsufficientmetabolicheat to allow digestionto be completed.As the
has said,"The main causeof disease
is eating
one mealon top of another."This meansthat the food first consumedis not
fully digestedand assimilatedbefore a new meal is taken.Of courseif one
eats every twenty minutes, such a condition would occur. But what is
meant here is that the food is not fully digestedowing to lackof metabolic
heat. This notion becomesclearerwhen we look at the metabolicvaluesof
many common foods, given in the accompanyingchart (page48).
Although it is beyondthe scopeof this book to presentthe entire system
of medicine(known as Jibb) that has evolvedfrom thesemarvelousprin'The prince of physicians,Hakim Abn cAli ibn Sint, known as Avicenna in the West,
wrote an eighteen-volume encyclopediaof medicine, in which can be found a complete
discussionof the essences
and which diseases
result from which imbalanceof each.I have
published a book, translated from Persian sourcesincluding the works of Avicenna, which
introduces this system of physical medicine for the lay public and natural practitioners:
NaluralMeditine(London: Wildwood House. 1980).
Akhllat:The Four Essences
ol the Body I 47
ciples,it will be useful to presentanother arrangementof evaluatingthe
heatingand coolingpropertiesof foodsand spices,so that one may beginto
make intelligentchoicesabout the foods one consumes.It is hoped,ifl eftr'
AIlAh,that one will seea remarkableimprovementin health.
To facilitatethe use of foods and herts as medicines,all substances
classifiedaccordingto their degreeof heator cold.There are four degreesof
each,making a total of eight possibleclassifications
for eachfood.
Thus a food or herb may be:
the First Degree
the SecondDegree
the Third Degree
the Fourth Deeree
Cold in
Cold in
Cold in
Cold in
the First Degree
the SecondDegree
the Third Degree
the Fourth Degree
48 I ThcBor,kol iufi Haling
Heating (Garmi) Foods
Mcat aru| Eishzlamb, liver, chicken, eggs,goat (male),fish (general)
Dairy Products:.
sheept milk, cream cheese,cream, clarified butter (ghee)
and Beens:beet, radish, onion, mustard greens, red lentils, white
lentils, kidney beans,leek, eggplant, chigk peas,red pepper,green pepper/
carrot seed,squash
Fnrilsr banana, coconut, peaclL plum, orange, lemorL mulberries, red raisins,
green raisins, olive, ripe grapes,purnpkin, all dlied fruits
Sccilsanil Nrls: sesame,almond, pistachio, apricot kernels, walnut, pine
Grcins: thin-grain rice, basmati rice
Oils: sesameoil, corn oil, castor oil, mustard oil
Bcwrags: black tea, coffee
HerEs:cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, celery seed,anise
seed,rue, saffron, garam masala(blend),curry powder (blend)
Ollran honey, rock candy, all sweet things, salt, all modern medicine
Cooling (Sardi) Foods
Mcet: rabbit, goat (female),beef
Dairy Prodwtstcow's milk, mother's milk, goat's milk, butter, buttermilk,
dried cheeses,margarine
Vrytebhs and Beanstlettuce, celery, sprouts (general), zucchini, spinach,
cabbage,okra, cauliflower, broccoli, white potato, sweet potato, carrot,
cucumber,soybeans,tomato, turnip, peas,beans(general)
Frurts melons (general),pear, fi& pomegranate
Scedsend Nrls: none
Grains:brown rice, thick€rain rice
Oils: sunflower oil, coconut oil
Bwmges: green teas
Hcrls: coriander (dry), dill, henna
Olftar refined sugar, vinegar, bitter things, sour things
oflheBodyI 49
We learn from Avicennathat thesedegreehave the following effects:
First Degree:Affectsmetabolism,but not in any way discernedby physical sensation.Slightestaction.
SecondDegree:Acts upon the body, causingmetabolicchange,but in
the end is overwhelmedby the body. All nutrients belongto this category. Among the actionscausedby second-degree
pores,initiating peristalticaction,causingperspiration,and stimulating
Third Degree: Not acted upon by the body, but acts upon the body. All
belongto this category.An exampleis sennapods,
which overwhelm the eliminative powers and force rapid evacuationof
the lower bowel.
Fourth Degree:Causescessationof metabolicfunction. Poisonsare in
this category.Someherbsare usedas medicinesfrom this category,but
only in the most minute amounts and under the strict supervisionof
a physician.
hot substancewould speedup
By way of illustration,a second-degree
cold substance
would slow it down-In
metabolism,whereasa second-degree
the extremefourth degree,a hot herb would causean expangionof metabolism beyond the limits that support life, whereas a fourth-degreecold
herb would slow down metabolismto the point of death.
An exampleof these principlesin action is the commoncaseof people
eatingcurry that is too hot for them. Usually,they reachfor a tall glassof
water. However, this doesnot quenchthe burning, becausewater, in this
system,is neutral. Instead,they should have on hand a small sidedish of
cucumbersand yogurt-two foods that are quite high in their cooling
All elementsof nature can be assigneda value accordingto this system
of heatingand coolingeffects.And the diet can be adiustedaccordingto all
of the factorsmentionedearlier:season,climate,altitude,prevalentillnesses,
and so forth.
These dietary principlesform thg basisof all traditional societiesand
their eatinghabits.In the United States,thoseof Hispanicand African tribal
origin have the vestigesof this system in their diet becauseboth peoples
were at one time part of Islamicculture.
The Sufi shaykhunderstandsthis systemand frequentlymakesrecommendationsto correct a physicalimbalanceby introducing one or more
foods. Each part of the body has its own characteristicdegreeof heat or
cold-just as eachof the four essences
do-and so one can generallyadjust
the diet to raiseor lower the metabolicbalance.
so I ThcBnk ofSufiHuliag
For instance,a man may come before the shaykh complaining of painful
joints-a condition calledarthritis in Western terminology. The shaykh
knows that the proper temperamentof the interior nervesand loint fibers is
somewhat cold and moist in a state of health. By observing the physical
condition of the man, the shaykh will determine whether or not a cold or
hot excesshas createdthe imbalance,and he can prescribean herb or food
to correct the problem. This is similar to what a physiciandoes,but the
shaykh is also taking into account the effect of the nafas,or activator of the
When the breath is drawn in thrgugh the mouth and nostrils, it is
destined to penetrate to the furthest reachesof each organ. True, the
breath may undergo many changesbefore it reachesits goal, but it will
alwayscarry an intention to travel to the furthest reachesof all extremities.
When a constrictionoccursin the pathwaysof thesebreathsof life, disease
conditions developquickly. We could assigna value to the type of imbalance
and peer inside the tissues to see that a particular bacteria thrived in the
atmosphereof imbalanceand grew to a larger than normal population.However, it is first of all necessaryto unblock the constriction of the dispersalof
the nafas-the life force itself. This accountsfor the vast malority of miraculous cures of physicalproblems accomplishedby the Sufis. The methods by
which these blockagesare unlocked will be taken up in a later chapter.
With all of the foregoing as a preface,we can now turn to study some
of the specificknowledge of foods, as related by the master and guide of all
Sufis, the Holy ProphetMuhammad(s.a.w.s.).
Foods of th
And the eatth hath He appointed Jor
His creadnes
Whercin are Jruit and shathed
plm trees,
Husked gruin and rrcated ffi.
Wbicb is it oJ thee Javon oJyow lnrd
tlnt ye deny?
@n'an 55:10-13
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)was once reported to have said,"There
are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of religion and knowledge of the
body." The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)frequently commentedupon the nature and
value of various foods and spices.These comments were noted by his wives
and companions(r.a.)and remain availableto us today.
For the Sufi, the Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
was the embodimentof onewho lived
asperfectlyaspossible,andasthat includeshis eatinghabits.his recommendatio{p on diet form the basisof the Sufis'daily sustenance.At the beginning;frre Sufi aspirantassumesa behaviorknow n asfand'fi shaykfi-effacementYn the shaykh.The periodof following this courseof behaviormay be
short or long. During this time, the muridadoptsas closelyas possiblethe
behavior of the shaykh in all respects.That is, the muriddresseslike the
shaykh (or as the shaykhrequests),eatslhe fdodsof the shaykh,takesup
the practicesadvisedby the shaykh.In short, the nnrid dissolveshimselfin
the imageof the shaykh.The objectiveis for the muridto discontinuehis
prior behaviorand over time adapthimselfto the characterof the shaykh.
The point of this training, on one level,is to harmonizeoutward action
with inward condition.This interactionis eoitomizedin three words: imin.
isldm,and ifisrtn.
Imdnmeansto have true belief and absolutefaith in God.
When one possesses
this requisitefaith, it causesone to follow the com-
52 I TheBookof 9nfiHuling
mandments of God, called sharitat.The one who consciously follows these
laws is said to be living Islam.
When the way of life calledisla-nr
is adheredto with finality, it causesthe
developmentof the interior stations of the soul, known as if;sdn,which
means"blessing."On the Sufi path onecannotattainany of theseconditions
without the other; they are interdependent.As Sufi Abu AneesBarkat Ali
once remarked:"Following the behavior of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)is the
which is the root of Islam.Sufismis the fruit of the tree of Islam,or
the fragranceof its fruit. If there is no root, how can there be any fruit?"
When this period of f an6'f i shaykhis e nded, the muridenters the next
phase,calledfand'fi murshid,adopting the dress, foods, and general and
specificbehaviorof the leaderor murshitl
of the particularorder to which the
muridbelongs.Thus, the practicesare extended,food is lessened
and fasting
increased,and the deepermeaningsof the Qur'an are studied,revealed
through the agencyof the shaykhsof the order.
The next evolution is into that known as fana'fi rasul,in which, in sfia-'
Allah, the murid is effacedin the image of the rasulAllah, the Holy Prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).Ultimately, following this stage,if successful,the
murld.attains the state known as fana'fi LlAh,or total annihilation in the
Becausethe Sufi path is a gradualand reasonableone, fully in accord
with human nature in every regard, the muridat the outset concentrates
upon adopting the correct manner of eating, sleeping,walking, sitting,
praying,and similarbehaviors.At all times,the shaykhholdsswayover the
murld,to offer helpful suggestionsand guidance,and to correctkindly any
actionsthat the murldmay do incorrectly.
In the earlierstagesof Sufism,the struggleis mainlyto subduethe gross
physical appetites of the nafs,and therefore, the following statements and
suggestionsof the ProphetMuhammad (s.a.w.s.),
which also includesome
of the knowledge associatedwith the physiciansof Islam, becomevital for
every aspirantto learn, understand,and apply.
Before presenting a selectionof the Hadith specificallyrelating to health,
it is necessaryto reflect for a moment on the nature of some of these
recommendations.To some pbople, the advice which follows may seem
quaint, old-fashioned,or simply bizarre. Some may feel that a particular
statementhas not been or cannot be confirmed by scientificknowledge.
However, all of the statementsand actionsof the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)are
woven upon the nucleusof divine inspiration,and so do not admit of any
error, inaccuracy,or amendment.A few illustrationswill make this clear.
There is a Hadith that says that if a fly falls into a liquid while one is
preparing to drink it, the person should first dip the fly completely under
the surface of the water and submerge the fly totally before removing it.
This adviceseemsvery strange,if not dangerous.
Medicallyit is known that a fly carriessomepathogenson somepartsof
Fods of theProphd(s,o.w,s,lI Sg
its body (this was mentionedby the Prophet Muhammad [s.a.w.s.]1,400
years ago, when there was practicallyno formal medicalknowledge).But
Allah has said that He createdno diseasewiihout alsocreatingits remedy,
exceptdeath (meaningthe declineof old age).Therefore,in modern times
penicillinhas beendiscovered,which is usedto counteractharmful organismssuchasstaphylococci.
However,Dr. MuhammadM. el-Samahy,
of the Departmentof Hadith at al-Azhar University at Cairo, Egypt, has
written an article revealingthe astute medicalgenius of this apparently
Dr. el-Samahyrelatesthat microbiologists
havediscoveredthat there are
longitudinalcells living as
inside the stomachof the fly. These
yeast cells,as part of their own reproductivecycle,protrude through the
respiratory tubules of the fly. When the fly is dippedcompletelyinto a
liquid, the resultingchangein the osmoticpressurecausesthe cellsto burst.
The contentsof thosecellsis an antidotefor pathogenswhich the fly carries
on its body. Thus, the latest researchin microbiologyconfirms what has
been known from Propheticknowledgefor 1,400years.
Another exampleconcernsthe adviceto take a small amount of salt
before beginning a meal. This in particular seemsto be contradictedby
modern medicalwisdom, which stressesthe harmful effectsof excesssalt
consumption.However, a knowledgeof the metabolismof the body illustrates the wisdom of this suggestionas well.
Salt is composedof two chemicals:sodium and chloride.The chlorides
presentin salt constitutethe only readilyavailablesourceof chlorideswith
which the bodycanmanufacturehydrochloricacid,vital for properdigestion
in the stomach.Thus, taking in a small amount of salt prior to the meal
allows any deficiencyof hydrochloricacid to be madeup just beforeintroducing new food.
It should be addedthat the harmful effectsof excesssalt are primarily
with raisedlevelsof sodium,not chlorides.In fact, personswho
eliminate salt entirely from their diet may be subject to further disease
causedby lack of proper levels of hydrochloric acid.
- Thesetwo examplesprovethat there is indeedintelligentmedicalreasoning for following the recommendations
of theseHadith.It is true that not all
of theseHadith have been submittedto scientificconfirmation.It must be
pointed out, however, that even if scientificexperimentswere done to
confirm eachand every statement,the fact that sciencedid not, or could
not, confirm its value would not negatethe truth of the statement.
For scientificknowledgeis constantlychanging,and too often experiments have been found to be done incorrectly, and even intentionally
falsified.For the Sufi, it is sufficient that God has mentioned,or inspired
His Prophet(s.a.w.s.)to advise,a practice.Human knowledgeor experience
can never contradictor amendthe divineknowledgeand commandments.
Once these words of adviceare integratedinto dietary habits,one will
ol SufiHuling
sa l TheBook
discoverthat every action is perfectlyin accordwith human nature, and
immensehealthbenefitswill accrueto anyoneapplyingthem with sincerity.
Not only can various recipesbe gleanedfrom the commentariesthat
follow, but also individual foods and herbs are often prescribedas medicines.
It is impossibleto state with finality which food or herb would be given
in a particular case,becausethe person must be present before the healer or
physician,in order for him to make a correct diagnosisof the imbalance.
Nonetheless,the foods discussedin the following sections should be preferred over others,and the suggestionsfor combiningthem adheredto.*
It must be remembered that it is lot simply the eating of one or more
foods that marks the Sufi's behavior.There are many other aspectsof
behaviorthat bear upon health-fasting, prayer,giving of alms,and other
practices-andtheseother factorsmay havea greatertotal impacton health
than any foods.
Before proceedingto the listing of foods, it is worthwhile to provide the
statementsof the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)relating to manners,hygiene,prevention, and similar topics,bearingon health.
Saidthe Prophetof Allah (s.a.w.s.):
Allah did not create any illnesswithout also creatingthe remedy,except
deathlold age].Allah saidthat he who livesaccordingto the Qur'an willhave
a long life.
The origin of every diseaseis cold.So eat when you desireand refrain
when you desire.
The stomachis the home of diseaseand abstinencethe head of everv
remedy.So make this your custom.
In the sight of Allah, the best food is a food sharedby many.
To eat the morning mealaloneis to eat with satan;to eat with one other
personis to eatwith a tyrant, to eatwith two other personsis to eatwith the
prophets(peacebe upon them all).
'ln my judgment, the cuisineof Afghanistan providesthe best recipesfor applying all of
these foods in proper proportion, and in that country, at least,the foods are eaten in light of
availability by season.Unfortunately, there are few easily obtainable books on Afghan
cooking. It is also a fact that the men and women of Afghanistan are probably among the
most vigorous and hearty and pious on earth.
I ss
Allow your food to cool before eating, for in hot food there is no blessing.
When you eat, take your shoesoff, for then indeedyour feet havemore
rest. This is an excellentadvice.
There is blessingin the middleof a dish.So commencefrom the sideand
not from the middle..
There is blessingin three things:in the earlymorning meal,in breadand
ln soup.
Brush your teeth with a miswik[a woodentoothpickusuallymadefrom a
twig of the pelu tree] after a mealand rinse out your mouth. For thesetwo
practicesare a safeguardfor the eyeteethand the wisdom teeth.
for this practicecomes
from cleanliness,
from faith, and faith takesits practitionerto heaven.
The dish pleadsfor mercyfor the onewho takesup the lastmorselIi.e.,do
not be wastefull.
Eat togetherand then disperse,for a blessingresidesin groups.
Lessfood, lesssin.
To horde in thesethings is unlawful: wheat, barley,raisins,millet, fats,
honey,cheese,walnuts, and olives.
Let no one drink while standingup, exceptone who is suffering from
Eat your meal at dawn, for there is blessingin a meal at dawn.
When I was takenup into Heaven,I did not passoneangelwho did not say
to me:"O Muhammad,tell your peopleto makeuseof scarificationIallowing
out a smallamount of blood from an incisionl.The best treatment that you
have is scarification,coriander,and costus[an EastIndian herb].
Whoeveris sickfor sevendays,therebyhe expiatesbeforeAllah the sins
of seventyyears.
There is no pain like pain in the eye,and no worry like the worry of a debt.
When the Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
camebeforea sickperson,he usedto say:"Get
rid of evil delusions.Strength is with Allah the Almighty. Cure and be
cured.There is no healingbut Yours."
*The implication here is that one should exhibit a selflessreserveand
allow another to
obtain the blessing,not hog it for oneself.
s6 I TheBookolSuli Hcolirg
Aniseed (arisfin)-Among its many properties, the seed of anise soothes
internal pains, increasesmenstrual flow, promotes secretionof milk and
semen,and dissolvesintestinalgas.It may be appliedin tea form to the eyes
to strengtheneyesight.ln nature,snakescomingout of winter hibernation
seek out the anise plant and rub their eyesagainstit, becausetheir vision
becomesweak over winter.
Apple(taffih)-Sour applesu..
that applesstrengthenthe heart.
coolingthan sweetones.It is claimed
Asparagus (hiyawn)-Hot and moist, asparagusopens obstructions of the
kidneysand easeschildbirth.It is saidthat asparagus
will kill dogsthat eat it.
Banana (mawz)-Hot in the first degree, banana has little use as a food.
exceptfor peoplewith a very cold intemperament,who should eat it with
Batley (sh{ir)-Barley ranks below only wheat as a desirablefood. It is the
first recommendationfor hot intemperamentdiseases.
Barleyis soakedin
water, which is drunk for coughsand sore throats. The prophet (s.a.w.s.)
always gave a soup made from barley to anyone suffering from the pain oi
Basil,.Sweet\rayfiAn)-smelling basil strengthens the heart. Sleep is pro_
moted by rubbing the headwith basiland water.
Bread,(khubz)-The best bread is madeof the finest whole grain flours and is
bakedin a circular stone oven. Breadshould be allowedi'o cool somewhat
beforebeingeaten,or it will makeone excessively
thirsty. Stalebreadclogs
the bowels.Breadcontainingsubstantialbran is d-igested
quickly,but is veiy
nourishing.The softer the bread,the easierthe digestionanj the greater
the nourishment.Breadcrumbsproducegas.Breadi madefrom Uuj"y u.,a
pea flours are slow to be digestedand must have salt addedto them. Said
the Prophet(s.a.w.s.):
"Do not cut breadwith a knife, but give it due honor
by breakingit with the hands,for Allah has honoredit.,,
Butter (zubfuh)-Butter is mildly hot and moist. Useful to alleviateconstiDation, butter is alsomixed with honeyand datesto makea food that removes
the food cravingsof pregnantwomen.
ol tlu Prophct
G,s,u,s,lI s7
Cauliflower (qunnabil)-This vegetable is hard to digest, and it is said to
harm the vision.
Chamomile (bdbitnajl-Hot in the first degree,chamomile is mild. Its main
use is to promote urination and menstrual flow.
Canol (jaztrl-Sexual urges arise from eating carrot, which is hot in the
seconddegree.It also is usedto increasemenstrualflow and urination.
Coconut @drJil ilay'a'l)-The best type is very white, which is hot and moist.
The natule of coconut is that it increasessexualpowers and relieves pain in
the back
Coffee Bean (qahwahl-Coffee is a corrective for dysentery, relievesthirst,
and is said to producewisdom. It should be usedsparingly
Coriander Seed(habbal-suda)-The most respectedbooksof traditions state
that the Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
said,"Make yours the seedsof coriander,for it is
a cure of all diseases
exceptswelling[cancer],and that is a fatal disease.,,It
also reported that Allah informed the Prophet, "She has been given everything." And then Allah revealedthat "she" is coriander.Corianderalleviates
flatulenceand resolvesfevers.It is effectivein the treatmentof leukoderma.
and it opensthe subtlestnetworksof the veins.Excessmoisturein the body
is dried up by coriander,and it increases
milk flow, urine, and menses.It is
particularly useful when a person has a cold. The oil of coriander is a
treatment for baldnessand scalpproblems,and preventsgray hair. The
smoke of the burning seedsis an insect repellent.
Chicken (dajcj)-Light on the stomachand easyto digest,chickenis the best
of fowl meats.It correctsand balancesall the essences,
is a food that is good
for the brain, and improvesthe complexion.However,overconsumptionof
chickenleadsto gout. The bestchickenis a hen that hasneverlaidan egg.
Cinnamon (darchinil-Cinnamon is hot in the third degree.Its volatile oil is
a great medicinefor indigestion.It forms an ingredientin spiceblendsused
as the basisof cooking in almost three.fourths of the world.
Citron (rfruj)-The Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
is reportedto havesaid,"The citron is
like a true believer:good to tasteand goodto smell."Citron strengthensthe
heart, dispels sadness,removes freckles, satisfies hunger, and slows the
flow of bile. The wife of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)usedto treat blind persons
with citron dippedin honey. Citron is best taken about ten minutes after
the conclusionof meals.
ol SuliHcalhq
sa I ThcBook
Cucumber (qrff)-Ripe cucumbersdispelheat and are diuretic. Eating dates
with green cucumberis said to causeweight gain.
Cumin (kammitn)-Cumin is very hot. It is reported to be the only spiceor
herb that travels through the stomach unaffectedby digestion,until it
reachesthe liver. Cumin soakedin water, which is then drunk, is excellent
for colic.
Dates, Dried (lazr!-The Prophet "(s.a.w.s.)is reported to have said, "A
house without dateshas no food." Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)used to
plant date treeshimself.Dates shouldbe eatenwith almondsto annul any
adverseeffects.Freshdateswere the food eatenby Mary (r.a.),at the time
"He who
of her deliveryof the infant Jesus(a.s.).Saidthe Prophet(s.a.w.s.),
finds a date,let him breakhis fast on that. If he finds no date,let him break
it on water. For verily that is purity."
Eggplant (b:adhinj1n)-Thedark variety of eggplant causesproduction of
bile. Small amounts of it help piles.Eggplant'stendencyto producebile is
correctedby eating it with meat dishes.
EgEs(bayy'rahl-Thebest eggs are those of chickens,eaten soft, not hardboiled. Egg white relievespain of sunburn, aids healing of burns, and
preventsscarring.Eggsare aphrodisiac.
Endive (hindib|)-The effects of endive change according to the season.
Endiveat the earliesttime is best, and at the end of the growing season,
virtually useless.The Hadith states:"Eat endivesand do not belch, for
verily there is not one day that drops of the water of Paradisedo not fall
upon them [endives]."
Fenugreek (hulbahl-lt is reported the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)once said: "If my
peopleknew what there is in fenugreek, they would have bought and paid
its weight in gold." Fenugreekis hot and dry. As a tea it aidsmenstrualflow
and is useful in colicand as a cleansingenema.Fenugreekstrengthensthe
Fig (#z)-Fresh figs are preferred to dried. Although quite nourishing, they
are very hot. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)is reported to have said, "If you say that
any fruit has come from Paradise,then you must mention the fig, for indeed
it is the fruit of Paradise.5o eat of it, for it is a cure for piles and helps gout."
I 59
Fish (sarae&)-Fresh-waterfish are best, and those which feed on plant life,
not mud and effluvia.Uncookedfish is hard to digestandproducesimbalance
of phlegm.
Gatlic (thawm)-Garlic is hot in the third degree. It is used to dispel gas,
promote menses,and expelafterbirth. It is excellentto correctcold intemperament,for dissolvingphlegm,and the oil is usedto treat insectbites.The
eatingof raw garlicand then visiting the mosquehasbeenforbiddenby the
Ghee (clarified butter) (sann)-Ghee is the most fatty of all condiments.It
is to be considereda medicinaladditiveto foods.Mixed with honey,gheeis
said to be an antidoteto poisons.
Ginger (zanjabi[r-Cingeris mentionedin the Holy Qur'an (76:17).It is hot
in the third degree,and is best for softeningphlegm.It also aidsdigestion
and strengthenssexualactivity.
Henna (tinnn')-One Hadith reports that nothing is dearer to Allah than
henna. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)recommendedit for many conditions:
bruises,pain in the legs,infectionof nails,burns, and to beautify the hair.
Henna is noted for its greatheat and its abilityto excitethe passionsof loveThe perfumemadefrom hennaflowers is consideredto be one of the finest
in the world. The dyeing of hands,nails,and feet is a common practicein
the East,especiallyfor weddingsand feasts.
Honey (ccsal)-Allah has said: "There comesforth, from within [the bee], a
beverageof many colors in which there is a healingfor you." Mixed with
hot water, and taken in severalsmall doses,honey is consideredthe best
remedy for diarrhea.
The Prophet(s.a.w.s.)once said,"By Him in whosehand is my soul,eat
honey. For there is no house in which honey is kept for which the angels
will not ask for mercy.If a personeatshoney,a thousandremediesenter his
stomachand a million diseaseswill come out. If a man dies and honev is
found within him, fire will not touch his body {i.e.,he will be immune from
the burning of helfl."The Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
himself usedto drink a glassof
honey and water eachmorning on an empty stomach.
Honey is consideredthe food of foods,the drink of drinks, and the drug
of drugs. It is used for creatingappetite,strengtheningthe stomach,and
eliminatingphlegm;as a meat preservative,hair conditioner,eye salve,and
mouthwash.The besthoney is that producedin the spring;the secondbest
is that of summer,and the leastquality is producedin winter.
oo I Thc Bcokof Suli Hwling
Lentils (cadas)-All lentils producedryness. Small amounts should be eaten,
as a sidedish, for in quantity they are generallybadfor the stomach.Hadith
say that the eatingof lentilsproducesa sympatheticheart,tearsin the eyes,
and removespride.
Lettuce (tftass)-Although cold, lettuce is consideredthe best nourishment
of all vegetables.It softensa hard constitutionand helps thosewho suffer
delirium. It contradictsthe sexualenergy and dries up semen.Excessconsumption of lettuceweakensthe eyesight.
Marjoram, Sweet (mananjfisft)-The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)is reported to have
said that sweet marioram is most excellentfor anyone who has lost the
senseof smell.
Meat (latnr)-Allah has said in the Qur'an (52:zz): "And we will aid them
with fruit and meat, suchas they desire."The Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
said that one who doesnot eat meat for forty consecutivedayswill waste
away,whereasto eat meat for forty consecutivedayswill hardenthe heart.
In other words, one should moderatethe intake of meat.
The most desirableof all meats is mutton, which is hot and moist in
temperament.The best mutton is that of a male yearling;the best cut is a
shoulderroast.Mutton shouldbe cookedin someliquid, or it tends to dry
Beef fat mixed with pepperand cinnamonacts as a tonic medicine.The
meat of pigs is forbiddento eat. The consumptionof horsefleshas a food is
disputed.Avicennasaidthe flesh of camels,horses,and assesare the worst
of all meats. Also prohibited for human consumptionare beastsof prey,
animalsthat possesscanineteeth, and birds with hookedtalons.
"Do not cut up meat with a knife upon the
Said the Prophet (s.a.w.s.):
dish,for that is the way of non-Muslims.But graspit in your fingersand so
it will taste better." And, he said:"One sheepis a blessing;two sheepare
two blessings;three sheepare wealth."
Melon (baffiftfi)-Saidthe Prophet (s.a.w.s.):"Whenever you eat fruit, eat
melon, becauseit is the fruit of Paradiseand containsa thousandblessings
and a thousandmercies.The eatingof it cureseverydisease."
sweeter a melon, the greater its heat. Green varieties tend to be cold;
the yellow, hot. The Prophettook melonswith fresh dates.Melon purifies
the bladderand the stomach,and improvesthe spinal fluid and eyesight.
Melons should not be eaten first in a meal. Said the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)
"None of your women who are pregnantand eat of watermelonwill fail to
produceoffspring who are good in countenanceand good in character."
Foodsol thc Ptophetls.a.w.s.l I 6l
Milk (lalar)-Allah has mentionedmilk to us, saying,"Rivers of milk,the
taste whereof doesnot change"(Qur'an 47:15).And againHe said,"Pire
milk, easyand agreeableto swallow for those who drink" (Qur'an 16:66).
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)is said to have remarked that milk is
and that he himself loved milk.
Milk is composedof fat and water and milk solids(cheese).
thesecomponentsare well suitedto the constitutionof humans.However,
we should not take the milk of animalswhose pregnancylastslonger than
that of humans.The milk of cows is best,for they feedoff grasses.
"Drink milk, for it wipesaway heat from the
Saidthe Prophet(s.a.w.s.):
heart as the finger wipes away sweat from the brow. Furthermore, it
strengthensthe back,increases
the brain,augmentsthe intelligence,
vision,and drivesaway forgetfulness."
A milk diet is the best treatment there is for dropsy;however,anyone
with fever must avoid milk.
Mint (ndnac)-The most subtleand refinedof pot herbs,mint is heatingand
drying. Mint strengthensthe stomach,cureshiccups,and encourages
activity. Placedin milk, mint will prevent it from turning to cheese.
Myrtle (ns)-Cold in the seconddegree,myrtle is mostusedto stemdiarrhea.
Smellingthe oil will cure headachecausedby overheating.Myrtle tea with
quinceaddedis usedfor coughs.
Narcissus(naryis)-OneHadith says,"Smella narcissus,evenif only oncea
day or oncea week or oncea month or oncea year or once a lifetime.For
verily in the heart of man there is the seed of insanity, leprosy, and
leukoderma.And the scentof narcissusdrives them awav "
Olives and Olive Oil (nyt and zsytfinl-The older olive oil is, the hotter it
becomes.Olive oil is an excellenttreatment for the skin and hair, and it
delaysold age.
Allah has said of the olive tree: "And a tree that grows out of Mount
Sinai which producesoil and a condimentfor thosewho eat. For olive oil is
the supremeseasoning."Allah has also'calledit the BlessedTree (Qur'an
Creen olivesare the most nourishing,and counteractautointoxication
Black olives cause the spleen to overproducebile and are hard on the
stomach.Olive leavescan be chewedas treatment for inflammationof the
stomach,skin ulcerations,and eruptionsof herpesand hives.
Onion (bafal)-Quite hot, the onion is a good corrective for all excess
wetness.Onion improvesthe flavor of foods and eliminatesphlegm.Raw
62 | TheBcrkof SuliHuling
onions causeforgetfulness.An excessof cookedonions causesheadache
and forgetfulness.
Parsley (karnfsYA Hadith states that eating parsley just before sleepwill
cause one to awaken with sweet breath and will eliminate or prevent
Peach (kftr'lrfi)-Peaches generate cold, relax the stomach, and soften the
bowels.A good laxative,peaches
shouldbe eatenbefore,rather than after, a
Pistachio (fusfuql-lt is said that to eat the heart of a pistachionut with egg
yolk will make the heart grow strong.The reddishskin stemsdiarrheaand
Pomegranate(rumtnin)-Sweet pomegranatesare preferred over the sour.
The juice stemscoughs.All kinds of pomegranates
settlepalpitationsof the
heart. Hazrat cAli (r.a.)saidthat the light of Allah is in the heart of whoever
It is alsoreportedthat one who eatsthree pomegranates
in the courseof a year will be inoculatedagainstophthalmiafor that year.
Said the Prophet (s.a.w.s.):Pomegranate"cleansesyou of Satan and
from evil aspirationsfor forty days."
Quince (safejal)-lt is said that to eat quince on an empty stomach is good
for the soul.Cold and dry, quinceis astringentto the stomach,and it checks
excessivemenstrual flow. A few seedsplacedin water will, after a few
minutes,form a mucilagewhich is an excellentremedyfor coughand sore
throat, especially
in the young.Quinceis alsoexcellentfor pregnantwomen,
gladdeningtheir hearts.The Holy Prophet(s.a.w.s.)said:"Eat quince,for it
sweetensthe heart.For Allah hassent no prophetasHis messengerwithout
feedinghim on the quinceof Paradise.For quinceincreasesthe strengthup
to that of forty men."
Rhubarb (rfrwanill-Rhubarb is hot and dry, and best when picked fresh. It
opensblockagesof the liver and resolveschronic fever.
Rice (rruzz)-Next to wheat, rice is the most nourishing of whole grain
,,foods. It is saideating rice increasespleasantdreamsand the productionof
semen. Eating rice cooked in fat from sheep'sliver is better and more
effectivethan a maior purging.
Foodsof thcProghel(s.t.tD.s.,I 6s
Satfrcn (zncfarfrn)-Hot and dry, saffron is excellent for the blood and
strengtheningto the soul. It easespains in the joints, but can causegrear
increasein the sex drive of young men.
Salt (nilt)-Hot and dry in the third degree,salt,when takenmoderately,is
beautifying to the skin, giving it a soft glow. Salt causesvomiting when
purging,and stimulatesthe appetite.Excessive
usecausesthe skin to itch.
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)recommendedbeginningand ending eachmeal
with a pinch of salt. He said:"From the one who beginsa meal with salt,
Allah wards off three hundred and thirty kinds of diseases,the least of
which are lunacy, leprosy,bowel troubles,and toothache.The rest is prescribedin the supremeknowledgeof Allah."
Senna(sanii)-The best speciesof henna is that from the blessedcity of
Medina, where it grows plentifully. The chief property of sennais that it
strengthensthe heart without harshness.Its nobility has causedit to be
referred to by the fuakims
as the Glory of Drugs. Its uses are many-in
purgative infusions,decoctions,pills, enemas,and powders.Sennacauses
the bile to flow, and reachesto the very depthsof the joints to balancethe
therein.The most effectiveuse is as a tea,which canbe madeeven
more efficaciousby adding violet blossomsand crushed red raisins.The
Prophet (s.a.w.s.)recommendedsenna most highly, making a statement
similar to the one about coriander:that it curesevery diseaseexceptdeath
Spinach (asfAndkhl-Spinachis cold and moist, causingirritation to the chest
and throat. Still, it softensthe bowels.
Sugar(snktar)-Sugaris coldand moist.It is most of ten usedin combination
with other medicinalherbs,which carry the effectsto the furthest point of
an organ.Eating too much sugar createsdiseaseof moisture.
Thyme (gacfnr)-lnthe time of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.),it was customaryto
fumigatehousesby burning frankincenseand thyme.Thyme is coldand dry
in the third degree.An excellentdigestiw aid to heavyfoods,thyme beautifies the complexion,annuls intestinal gas, and benefits coldnessof the
stomachand liver. When drunk as an infusion,it is saidto kill taDeworms.
Vermicefli (i?iWnh)-This food is hot and excessivelymoist, thus hard to
digest. For those with very strong constitution, it provides excellent
64 I Thc Bookol Suli Hcaling
Vinegar (&/rall)-The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)was reported to have
onceremarkedthat vinegarwas the seasoningof all the prophetswho came
beforehim. Vinegaris both cold and hot, nearlybalancedbetweenthe two.
Mixed with rosewater, it is an excellentremedyfor toothacheandheadache.
Vinegar dissolvesphlegm.Another Hadith statesthat a housecontaining
vinegarwill never suffer from poverty.
Walnut (raaz)-Walnut is the hottest of nuts. Although hard to digest,
when eaten with raisinsit is the best remedy for winter cough.Avicenna
said that walnuts cure the effectsof foisons.Water (rnii')-The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)reportedlysaid:"The bestdrink in this
world and the next is water." Water is moist and, becauseof this, slightly
cooling.It extinguishesthirst and preservesthe innatemoistureof the body.
It assistsdigestionof foods and absorptionof nutrients. Saidthe Prophet
"When you have a thirst, drink lwater] by sipsand do not gulp it
down. . . . Gulping water producessicknessof the liver."
Wheat (hintahl-Wheat is somewhat hot, and balancedbetweendrynessand
moisture. The eating of raw wheat producesintestinal worms and gas.
Wheat flour shouldbe ground during the daytime.
So praise be upon this unlettered Prophet who producedfor us this
marvelousknowledgewhich makesus seeand understandand dazzlesthe
wisest minds. Herein are proofs of God's kindnessand benevolence
His creatures,for He is the most kind and allJoving. May we serve Him
with true vision.
Al-lpmitulr-Uhi Rebbil-Alsminl
So all praisebe to Allah,
Lord of the t.r'Jorldsl
Herbal Forrnulas for
Common Ailments
O manhind! Thete hath come to lou
a direction Jrom your Lord
And a healing Jor the diseases in
your heartsAnd Jor those who believg
a Guidance, and a Mergr.
Qgr'an IO:57
It.is the customof the shaykhsto first of all resort to someform of dietary
advice to effect the cure of simple imbalances.This dietary reform may
includeadiustingthe use of various herbs and spicesin cooking.
The herbal formulasgiven in this chaptermakeuse of the foods,herbs,
and spicespresentedin the foregoing chapters.They are usuallyeasy to
obtain and requirevery little effort to prepare.Theseremediesaie formulated accordingto the qualitiesof heat and coldnessQarmiandsnrli)of each
substanceand work primarily by rebalancingthe temperamentof one or
more of the four essences
of the body.Despitetheir simplicity,theseherbal
formulasare quite effective.
Preparation of Remedies
1. Formulasshouldbe preparedaccordingto instructions.
2. When a formula calls for pouderetherbs,they should be ground to a
fine powder and sievedthrough a muslin cloth or a sieveof 100 mesh
(unlessformula saysa coarsepowder may be used).
3, When herbsare to be madeinto a decoction(boiledin water),as soon
as the water startsto boil, the vesselshouldbe removedfrom the fire
and allowedto sit for five minutes;then the liquid shouldbe strained
and drunk warm.
4. When a formula calls for a liquid to be red.uerl
to half, the vesselshould
be kept on a medium fire until about half the water has evaporated
by boiling.
56 | Thc Bookol Sufi Hwling
Adults (aboveage fifteen) should be given a full dose. Children may be
given the following amountsaccordingto age:
Up to one year
3-4 years
5-6 years
7-9 years
10-15 years
Consult physician
1/6 of adult dose
1/4 of adult dose
1/3 of adult dose
i/2 of
3/4 of adult dose
l tablespoon
1 cup
1 pint
l quart
l gallon
3 teaspoons
8 fluid ounces
2 cups
2 pints
4 quarts
0.34 fluid ounce
3.38fluid ounces
1.06 quarts
2.64 gallons
a teaspoon
l teaspoon
l tablespoon
1 teacup
a few grains
1 dram
4 drams
7 ounces
Sugar, if it is to be added to a formula, should be a fine powder of
pure, raw, unrefined sugar, such as that from Mexico. If unavailable,
use honey in its place.
6. In some cases,the instructions sdy to soak an herb overnight. If this
cannot be done, the herbs may be soakddfor three to four hours, and
then simmeredfive to six hours before using. This method would also
be used in winter.
When instructed to make a "water" (e.g.,ginger water, lime water),
soak one to two ouncesof the herb or other substancein one pint of
pure water for four to six hours. Strain before using.
Herbal Fotmulasfor CommonAilmcnls I 67
8. Formulasthat are to be preservedand used for more than one day
may also be preparedin reducedor lesserquantitiesthan calledfor,
The ratios of eachingredientmust be carefullyadjustedin suchcases.
9. When equalpnrtsof herbs are to be used,eachherb should be equal
by weight or volume. The quantity to be taken should be decidedin
light of the doserecommended
and the number of davsfor which the
formula is to be preparedat one timeStorage
1. Decoctionsare to be preparedfresh for singledoses.Dosesshould
not be madein the morning for eveningconsumption,or viceversa.
2. Do not exposeremediesto direct sunlight, unlessthat is part of the
method of preparation.
3. Containersshouldbe cleanedand dried completelyin the sun before
formulas are stored in them. Never store herbal formulas in open
4. If a formula is to be kept for more than one day, store it in a wellsealedglassbottle.
5. Labelall formulas,
especiallythose that are for externaluse only. Keep
all herbal formulas out of the reach of children. Safetv caos are
advisedfor all bottles.
1 Remediesare usually taken twice daily, unless otherwise stated.
Morning dose should be taken after a light breakfast,and evening
dosebetween4:OOand 6:00 P.M.
2. Remediesto be taken in the morning should be taken on an empty
stomach,immediatelyafter rising and performingtoiletandcleansing.
3. Herb preparationsto be taken after mealsshould be consumedfive
to fifteen minutes after eatinga main meal.
4. Formulasto be taken at bedtimeshouldbe taken two hours after the
5, The quantity indicatedto be "taken as such" is meant to be a single
6. Vehiclessuch as milk, water, soda water, and tea have been mentioned for some formulas. In s"uchcases,the vehicle usually is one
cup, unlessstatedotherwise.
7. Where no vehiclesare mentioned,the remedyshould be taken with
water (in winter, with lukewarm water).
Caution: Some of the formulas use rose petals.Almost all commercially
grown rosesare treated with toxic chemicals.Use onlyorganicallygrown
rosesin these formulas.If in doubt, use another formula
68 I ThcBlr,kol 5uf Hcaling
of whole body,eyes,and fingernailbeds.Swellingof faceand feet,
especiallyin the morning.Generalweakness,giddiness,lossof appetite,and
Instructions: Light diet, with fresh fruits and foods such as chicken soup,
liver extract, beets,carrots, spinach,and fenugreek, is advised.Avoid fatty
6 teaspoonsfennel seeds,crushed
6 teaspoonsred rose petals
Preparation: Boil in 1 112 cupswater and strain.
Dosage: Twice daily.
4 teaspoonsground Indian cinnamon
I teaspoonshoney
I cupspomegranateiuice
Preparation: Dissolve cinnamon and honey in pomegranatejuice.
Dosage:2 teaspoonsin 1i2 cup of water, as needed.
1 teaspoonpurslane
1 teaspoonsweet basil
1 teaspoongum arabic
9 teaspoonsolive oil
1 cup rose water
Preparation: Fry first three ingredients in olive oil for ten minutes.
Remove and soak in rose water for one hour.
Dosage: 1 teaspoonseveral times per day.
Pain in the chest muscles in the area of the heart, due to cold (snrli)
Instructions: Avoid exposure to cold air.
HerbalFotmulasfor Cornmon
Ailfients | 69
1 teaspoonfenugreek
2 teaspoonshoney
Preparation:Boil fenugreekin 7 ll2 cups of water, strain, and
add honey.
Dosage: Twice daily.
1 teaspoonrose oil
4 teaspoonssweet almondoil
Preparation:Thoroughly mix two oils together.
Dosage:Rub on chest,morning and evening.
There is pain and/or stiffness, without swelling, in one or more joints.
Sometimes fever.
Instructions: Avoid sour and spicy (garrni)foods. Take walks in the morning,
but avoid exposure to very cold air.
External Treatment: Rub with oil of amber and frankincense.
1 teaspoon powdered valerian root
1 teaspoonchamomile
1/2 teaspoon hops
1 teaspoon hay saffron
Preparation: Mix first three ingredients in 3 cups water and bring
to boil. Remove from heat at first sign of boiling. Add saffron and
steep for twenty minutes. Strain.
Dosage: 1/2 to 1 cup before bedtime.
6 teaspoonsginger
6 teaspoonscaraway seeds
3 teaspoonsblack pepper
Preparation: Combine into a fine powder and preserve.
Dosage: 1/2 teaspoon with water, twice daily.
70 I Ttu Bookol 9ufi Huling
Asthma occurs in spasmodicattacks of difficult breathing.When experiencing the asthma attack, the person should sit forward with the head
resting on the hands and elbows on the knees.The face turns pale,and
there is a wheezing sound in the breath. After extendedcoughing,the
personusuallyemits a smallamount of phlegm.
Instructions: Avoid exposureto cold air. Avoid cold (sanfi)and sour foods.
External Treatment: Rub chestwith oil of sweet almond.
1 teaspoonground ginger
Preparation:Pour 1 1/2 cupshot water over the ginger.
Dosage One teaspoon,lukewarm,at bedtime.
1i2 teaspoonskunk cabbage
1/2 teaspoonhorehound
1/2 teaspooncayennepepper
1/2 teaspoonbayberrybarL
1/2 teaspoonpowdered valerian root
3 ouncesmolasses
Preparation: Grind all herbs fine and mix with molasses.
Dosage:1 teaspoonin cup of hot tea, as needed.
1 teaspoonpomegranateflowers
1 teaspoonground sesameseeds
1 teaspoongum acacia
1 teaspooncrushedcorianderseeds
Dark brown sugar Qur),as needed
Preparation: Fry coriander seedsin a cast-iron skillet until they
are lightly burned.Mix in other ingredients,exceptbrown sutar,
and make a fine powder. Add brown sugar to equal the amount of
powdered herbs.
Dosage: 1 teaspoonat bedtime.
Herbsl Formulasfor CornmonAil cnts I 7l
ground driedwater chestnut
3 teaspoons
3 teaspoons
raw sugar
Preparation:Make a fine powder of dried water chestnutand
mix with sugar.
Dosage:1 teaspoon,twice daily.
teaspoon cumin
teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon mastic herb
ounces honey
Prepqration: Crind and mix the first three ingredients, add honey,
and mix well.
Dosage: 1 teaspoon, morning and evening.
Breathing is rapid, and there is a hollow sound beneath the ribs while
breathing. Cough, pain, and high fever are often present. Facebecomesred
and nostrilsdilate while breathing.Child becomesrestless.
Instructions: Avoid exposure to cold air. Take liquid diet.
2 teaspoonscut licorice root
2 teaspoonslinseed
12 teaspoonshoney
Preparation: Boil the first two herbs in 7 Ll2 cupswater for ten
minutes.Strain and sweetenwith honey.
Dosage Two to three times per day.
1/8 teaspoonaloe
Preparation: Dissolve in mothert milk or cow's milk.
Dosage: (1) Administer to child as such. (2) Dissolve aloe in
lukewarm water and apply on the chest.
72 I Thc Bookol Stli Hallng
1 teaspoonoil of garlic
3 teaspoonshoney
Preparation: Mix ingredients together.
Dosage: Allow child to lick up a small amount with tongue, three
times per day.
Pomegranate flowers, as needed.
Preparation and Administration:
Grind with water to make a
paste and apply on affected part.
4 teaspoonslime water
4 teaspoonscoconut oil
Preparation and Administration: Combine and rub until mixture
turns white; then apply on affectedparts.
I egg white
Preparation and Administration: Apply to affected parts. Especially effective if blister has appeared.
Acute pain in abdomenand constipation,Abdomenis distended.Flatulence
and gurgling sound are present.
External Treatment: Massagebody with rose oil or sweet almond oil.
RecommendedFoods: Green pea soup, chicken soup.
2 teaspoonswild basil
Preparation and Administration: Grind with water to make a
paste,and apply to abdomen.
Hefiel Formuhslor Commot Ailments I 73
1 drop oil of peppermint
1 teaspoonpeppermint leaves
Preparation: Mix peppermint oil in 6-8 ounceswater; or boil leaves
in 1 cup water for three minutes.
Dosage Drink glassful twice daily.
6 ouncesrosewater, honey water, or fennel water
Dosage: Drink once per day.
Attacksof sneezing,watery dischargefrom nose,headache,
sometimesmild fever.
1 teaspoonviolet flowers
Preparation:Boil for three minutes in 1 cup of water and strain.
Dosage: Twice daily on empty stomach.
1 teaspoonwheat husk
5 black peppercorns
1/6 teaspoonsalt
Preparation: Boil ingredients in 1 cup water for three minutes,
and strain.
Dosage: Twice daily.
1/2 teaspooncinnamonbark, broken into bits
freparation: Boil in 1 1/2 cupswater for ten minutes,strain,and
sweeten with honey.
Dosage: Twice daily.
74 I TheBmkof 1rfi Hcaling
Instructions: Consume leafy green vegetables,fruit iuice. and plenty of
water. Avoid sugar, candies,and all sweets. Avoid straining the bowels.
Establishhabit of going to toilet at regular tirnes.
5 teaspoonsminceddried dates
5 teaspoonsalmond, mashed into a pulp
10 teaspoonshoney
Preparation: Grind the first two ingredients separately,combine,
and add honey.
Dosage: 3 teaspoonstwice daily.
Note: Thrs formula also useful for hemorrhoids and chronic constipation.
senna leaves
ground ginger (dried or fresh)
fennel seeds
rock salt
Preparation: Make a fine powder of all ingredients.
Dosage: I teaspoon with water at bedtime.
1 cup ginger water
2 teaspoonshoney
Preparation: Mix ingredients together.
Dosage: Two or three times per day.
2 teaspoonspoppy seed
3 teaspoonscut licorice root
Preparation: Boil in 1 cup water for ten minutes and strain.
Dosage: Twice daily.
Hrbtl Formuhs for C.ommonAilmcnts | 75
UseFormula2 under'Asthmaheading.
Dosage:1 teaspoon,three or four timesdaily.
Frequentand excessiveurination, excessivethirst, weak appetite,and general debilityare commonsigns.Sugaris presentin the bloodand urine.The
presenceand amount of sugar in the urine should be determinedby a test
administeredby a physician.
Instructions: Avoid sweets and sweet fruits. Avoid such carbohydratesas
white potato,sweet potato,and rice. Mild exerciseis advised.
I teaspoonscrushedcumin seeds
Preparation: Make a fine powder.
Dosage: 1/2 teaspoon,with water, twice daily.
Instructions: Eat a light diet. Avoid chili peppersand spicy foods.
1 teaspoonpowdered ginger
1 teaspoonpowdered cumin
1 teaspoonpowdered cinnamon
Preparation: Combine all three powders, add honey, and mix into
a thick paste.
Dosage 1/2 to 1 teaspoon,three times daily.
3 teaspoonspowdered ginger
5 teaspoonsfennel seed
honey, as needed
Preparation: Grind ginger and fennel into a powder. Add honey
to make thick paste.
Dosage: 1 teaspoonin tea, three times daily and before bedtime.
76 | ThcBookof 1tfi Haliag
6 ouncesMadlool dates
3 teaspoonsmyrrh
rose water, as needed
Preparation: Make a fine powder of first two ingredients, then
mix with rose water to moisten.Make fingernail-sized
Dosage: Two pills, twice daily.
Frequentbowel movements,sometimesmixed with mucusand blood,gripping pain, and pain in abdomen.
Instructions: A diet of yogurt and rice is advised.
10 pomegranateflowers
Preparation: Grind flowers with 1/2 teacup water. Strain.
Dosage: Twice daily.
2 teaspoonsgreen leavesof rose bush
Preparation:Grind with 1/2 teacupof water. Strain.
Dosage: Twice daily.
Headacheis of different types, sometimesfelt in different parts, or all over
the head.Nauseaand vomiting may also be present.
3 teaspoonslavenderflowers
3 teaspoonscorianderseeds
5 black peppercorns
Preparation: Grind all ingredients into fine powder.
Dosage: Take one-half of dose with water, early in the morning,
then rest in bed for thirty minutes.
Hcrbal Formuhs for C.ommonAilmcnts | 77
1 teaspoon
gum myrrh
1 teaspoon
1 teaspooncinnamon
Preparation:Make a fine powder of all ingredients,add a little
water, and mix well into a paste.
Adrninistration: Put the paste onto a piece of clean cotton cloth,
and apply to one or both temples.
6 teaspoonsjasminewater
% teaspoonseasalt
Preparation:Dissolvethe salt in the lasminewater and preserve
in a cleanglassdropperbottle.
Dosage:Two drops in eachnostril, twice a day or as needed.
(for migraine)
1/2 teaspoonblackmustard seeds
Preparation:Grind with 3 tablespoonswater and strain.
Dosage:One or two drops in nostrils.
Constipation,passingof hard stool with blood, burning and irritation in
anus, and discomfortin sitting. Presenceof pile mass in anus. Blood may
oozeout after bowel movement.
Instructions: Exerciselightly. Light diet with green vegetablesis advised.
Avoid hot spices.
External Treatment: Rub anus with rose water or other flower water to
1 teaspoonhenna leaves
Preparation: Crind henna leaves into powder with 1 cup water.
Strain and let sit for twenty minutes.
Dosage:Drink 1/2 cup twice daily.
78 I Thc Bookol Suli Huling
1i8 teaspoon coriander leaves
1i8 teaspoon red clay earth
Preparation: Grind to make a paste and apply to anus.
3 teaspoons marshmallow
3 teaspoons dill
Preparation: Put herbs inside a clean sterile cloth; wet with warm
Application: Apply to anal area for half-hour at a time.
Feeling of heaviness in stomach after eating. Lack of appetite, nausea,
flatulence, and vomiting. This condition is usually due to faulty, irregular
diet, especiallyeating before the previous meal is fully digested.
1 teaspoonfennel seeds
1 teaspooncardamomseeds
Preparation: Make a fine powder of the seeds.
Dosage: 1/6 teaspoonwith water twice daily after meals.
1 teaspoonfennel seed
1 teaspoondried ginger
1 teaspooncloves
Preparation: Grind fennel, ginger, and clovesinto a fine powder.
Add honey to make a thick paste.Preservein a glasslar.
Dosage:1 teaspoonfifteen minutes after eachmeal and at bedtime.
1 teaspoonrock salt
1/2 cup ginger water
1/2 cup lime water
Hefiel Formuloslor CommonAilmmts I 79
Preparation: Mix, preserve in glass bottle, and exposeto sun for
three or four days.
Dosage:Mix 1 teaspoonwith 1/2 cup of water. Take twice daily,
after meals.
1-3 drops peppermintoil
Preparation:Mix 1-3 dropsof peppermintoil with 8 ounceswater.
Dosage: Drink as needed.
Swollen,reddened,painfuI gums. Personmay becomerestlessand agitated
becauseof toothache.
1 cup ginger water
1/2 teaspoonsalt
Preparation:Mix salt with ginger water.
Administration: Apply by dipping finger in water and rubbing
on 8ums.
Oil of clove, as needed
Administration: Apply to gums or aching tooth.
3 teaspoonsvinegar
6 teaspoonsrose water
Preparation:Mix vinegarand rose water in glass.
Administration: Garglewith solution three times per day.
The color of urine and eyesis yellow. Skin is pale.Stoolsmay be white or
grayish.Generallynausea,vomiting, fever, and weakness.
ao I ThcBookol Sufi Haling
1 teaspoonhenna leaves
Preparation:Crush leaves,boil in 1 1/2 cupswater, strain.
Dosage:Take as such in the morning.
1 teaspoonroasted chickory root
Preparation:Soakin l cup water overnight;strain in morning.
Dosage:Drink whole cup in morning.
1 teaspoonchickoryseeds
1 teaspooncut licorice root
1 teaspoonrock salt
Preparation: Make a fine powder of all ingredients.
Dosage:1/2 teaspoonwith water twice daily.
2 cups roots of fig tree
1 quart coconutoil or olive oil
Preparation: Dry out fig roots in shadefor three days.Then crush
roots and immerse in oil for fifteen days. Strain and preserve
in glassbottle.
Administration: Massageon scalpat bedtime.Leaveon overnight.
(to curb excessiveappetite)
1 teaspoonvalerian root
1 teaspoonnutmeg
Preparation: Grind the two herbs into fine powder.
Dosage: 1/6 teaspoon,thirty minutes before meals,with water.
Hcrbtl Form as for Ctmmon Ailmmh | 8l
1 teaspoon
Dosage:Take with 1 cup water in the morningon an empty
This condition is preceded by severe pain in the thighs, pubic region, and
groin. Sometimes heavy nausea and vomiting occur. Usually blood flow is
very scanty.
1 teaspoongum myrrh
1 teaspooniuniper berries
Preparation:Boil in 1 cup of water. Strain.
Dosage:Take in morning for sevento ten daysafter menstrual
period has ended.
1 3/4 teaspoonspowdered rhubarb
Preparation: Dehydrate and make into a fine powder.
Dosage: 1i 8 teaspoonof rhubarb powder with water twice daily,
for one to two weeks following end of period.
1 teaspoonfennel seeds
1 teaspoonwild rue
1 teaspoonwormwood
1 teaspoonrose hips
1 teaspoonchoppedfigs
4 teaspoonshoney
Preparation:Boil all ingredientsin 1 cup water for five minutes.
Strain and preserve.
Dosage: Consume in tablespoondosestwice a day for three days.
Stop for three days.Then repeatdose.
82 | Thc Bookof Sufi Huling
Linseedas needed
Preparation: Grind with water to make a paste.
Administration: Apply to boil (which, after it is drawn out,
shouldbe lanced).
1/2 teaspoonpoppyseeds
1/2 teaspoon
Preparation:Boil in l cupwater, strain,and sweetenwith honey.
Dosage:Twice daily.
1/2 teaspooncinnamonstick
Preparation: Boil in 1 cup water for five minutes, strain, and
sweetenwith honey.
Dosage: Twice daily.
3 drops rose oil
3 drops violet oil
1 ounce sweet almond oil
Preparation: Thoroughly mix the three oils and preserve.
Administration: Apply to scalp, ears and soles of feet before
retiring. A small amount can be applied to the anus as well.
Itching and burning in vagina; burning sensationwhile urinatinS. Restlessness.
Instructions: Avoid close,tight-fitting underwear, especiallymadeof nylon
or other synthetic fabrics. Acute cleanlinessof the vaginal area is required.
Bathe immediatelyafter urinating and after sexualintercourse'
Hrbal Fornths fot Comnon Ailncah I 83
3 teagpoonsfennel seeds
2 teaspoonslily-of-the-valley root
1/2 teaspoonpomegranateflowers
1/2 teaspoonrosehips
Preparation: Pound and grind into powder. Sift.
Dosage: 1 to 2 teaspoonsdaily with buttermilk or a glassof iuiced
green graPes.
1/3 teaspooncamphor herb
6 teaspoonsrose water
Preparation: Grind camphor in rose water.
Administration: Soak a tampon in solution and apply to vagina
for thirty minutes. Repeat as necessary.
The Best Medicinle
Every act oJ the son oJ Adom is Jor him
except Jasting,
It is done Jor My sake, and I will give
as mucA reward Jor it as I lihe.
Allah, the Mojestic and the Exabed
Fastingis the oldestknown form of naturalhealing.The methodsemployed
range from discontinuanceof a single food for a short period of tim",-up
through total abstinencefrom all foods and liquidsfor extendedperiods.'
For many people who have never fasted, the idea seemsstringe, and
some ev€n considerit quite dangerous.These conceptionsare not utterly
unfounded,becauseincorrectlyappliedfastingcanresult in severedisorders
of the body, and evendeath.
The Sufis probably have more experiince .than any other group of
performing fasts. The accounts are legion of'Sufi shaykhs and
\uma.ns in_
discipleswho endured fasts of varying durations,frequently with miraculous
results. As has been noted, the Sufi doesnot take upany physicalprocedure
relating to health for any reason except to earn tle pi""rr." oithe Most
High God. Allah has informed us in the Holy eur,an:,,O ye who believe!
Prescribedunto you is fasting even as it was prescribedunio those before
you, that perhapsyou may becomeGod-conscious,,
a5 I Thc Bookol Suli Healing
All of the creation,exceptman, follows the dictatesof God derivedfrognatural lawsJAnimals do not have to be restrainedfrom overeatingand 't
ldietary abuses.But for humans,the love of materiallife and the temptationsI
iof the physicaldesiresare responsiblefor the vast maiority of illnesses.I
j Therefore,Allah the Most Kind hasprovidedguidanceto control and annul I
appetitesby the mechanismof the fast.
- The
Qur'an statesthat a human cannot attain salvationunlessthe low
desiresare restrained: "And as for him who fears to stand before his Lord
and restrainshimself from low desires,the paradiseis surely the abode"
The exercise of abstaining from things that are ordinarily lawful and
permittedin life, solelyfor the sakeof Allah, strengthensmorality and selfcontrol and deepensawarenessof Allah. This is what distinguishesfasting
in Islam and Sufism from ordinary fasting for health.
The primary fast to be taken up is that generally called Ramadan in
Islam.Ramadanis one of the months of the Islamiccalendar(seeAppendixI
for Islamicmonths)-the month during which the Qur'an, as well as the
Torah, the Psalmsof David, and the New Testament,all were first sent
down from Allah.
The excellenceof fasting is known from these two statements of the
Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
By the one in whosehandis my life, the fragranceof the mouthof a fasting
man is dearerto Allah than the fragranceof musk.
Paradise has a gate named Rayyin. None except a fasting person will enter
Paradise by that gate.
Allah has promiseda vision of Him as reward for fasting.
.- The word rama(andoes not actually mean "fast."fthe technicalterm for \
lfasting is qiyirn,whose root word means"to be at rest." By abstainingfrom I
lfood, drink, and sexualintercourse,thesefunctionsof the body are granted I
frest, and an opportunity to becomerevivified.
The general fast during the month of Ramadanis enloinedupon the
whole humanity; those who actuallydo it are Muslims.Many personswho
have closecontactwith Muslims alsoengagein this form of fast and derive
someof the benefitsfrom it. But there are severalregulationswhich must
be followed for any fast to be valid.
First, one must clearly state the intention to fast. Since Allah has said
that we will be ludged accordingto our intentions, one cannot get the
benefits of good actions which occur entirely by accident.For exampleJiF)
Fie was deprived of food by being lost in the wilderness, this would not I
constitutea formal fast, becauseone would have eatenif the opportunity I
tCJ-.represent.This formal declarationto perform an action is termed riyyat.J
It is preferablystatedin Arabic,but is iust asvalidin any language.One may
Fesring:Tb Brrt Mdkin
I t7
simply state:"l intend to offer fast this day, for the sakeof Allah and only
for the sakeof Allah."
Having entered into this formal pledgewith Allah, having made this
promise, if one intentionally breaks the fast during the avowed period, one
is liableto compensatefor the fast by making up one or more daysGenerally, to perform a fast day the following conditions must all be
L The niyyat,or intention to fast, must be made, aloud or silently.
2. The periodof the fast must extendfrom the time iust beforesunrise
_(foir) until iust after sunset(maghrib)."
f-During the period of the fast, iotal abstinencefrom the following is:
J required:food, drink (includingwater), smoking or consumptionof
I tobacco,sexual intercourse, and any form of negativity, backbiting,
l__ fighting, cursing, arguing, and similar behaviors.
T SJ*"r,-.r,"y ,,oI bu-d"li6"."tely emitted, nor may one deliberateb'
5. Pregnant or lactating women, the seriouslyill, the aged, and the
insaneare exemptedfrom fasting,but in somecasesmay be liableto
make up misseddays.A woman doesnot fast on days when she is
menstruating,but must make up the misseddays.When her period
ends, she must resume fasting. Children under the age of twelve
generally are excludedfrom the fast, but may fast part of the day or
-for some of the days.
. The fast is broken after sunset with a date or a glass of water, ]
I followed bv a modest meal.
There are severaldozensof specialcaseswhich apply to the fasting man or
woman, and the adviceof a practicing Muslim shaykh should be sought to
resolveany question.
T\: specialnature of fasting is that it engendersforbearanceand sacri-fice.lFasting
occursin the mind primarily,and so it is hiddenfrom all human
visibleonly to the Eye of God: it is a secretaction.
During the time from midnight to the beginningof the fast, it was the
to eat a meal, calledsafiir.This may consist
practiceof the Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
broken by eating one or a few dates,
followed by some water, which must be done prior to offering the sunset
prayer. Even though cleaningthe teeth is Permitted,it is more
meritoriousif one doesnot do so after midday.
In addition to these iniunctions,one should be engagedas much as
possiblein reading and reciting the Holy Qur'an, and should distribute as
much charity as one is capableof.
*See Chapter e, "$alit," for cornputing sunrise and sunset correctly.
86 I TheBook
of SufiHuling
All of the creation, except man, follows the dictatesof God derived fro4gnatural lawsJAnimals do not have to be restrainedfrom overeatingand \
ldietary abuses.But for humans,the loveof materiallife and the temptationsI
fof the physicaldesiresare responsiblefor the vast maiority of illnesses.J
{Therefore,Allah the Most Kind hasprovidedguidanceto control and annul I
appetitesby the mechanismof the fast.
-The Qur'an statesthat a human cannot attain salvationunlessthe low
desiresare restrained:"And as for him who fears to stand beforehis Lord
and restrains himself from low desires, the paradiseis surely the abode"
The exerciseof abstainingfrom things that are ordinarily lawful and
permittedin life, solelyfor the sakeof Allah, strengthensmorality and selfcontrol and deepensawarenessof Allah. This is what distinguishesfasting
in Islam and Sufism from ordinary fasting for health.
The primary fast to be taken up is that generally called Ramadan in
Islam.Ramadanis one of the months of the Islamiccalendar(seeAppendixI
for Islamic months)-the month during which the Qur'an, as well as the
Torah, the Psalms of David, and the New Testament, all were first sent
down from Allah.
The excellenceof fasting is known from these two statementsof the
Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
By the onein whosehandis my life, the fragranceof the mouthof a fasting
man is dearerto Allah than the fragranceof musk.
Paradisehasa gatenamedRayyin.Noneexcepta fastingpersonwill enter
by that gate.
Allah has promiseda vision of Him as reward for fasting.
,- The word ramalandoes not actually mean "fast."fhe technicalterm for \
lfasting is 1iyEm,
whoseroot word means"to be at rest." By abstainingfrom I
sexualintercourse,thesefunctionsof the body aregranted I
to becomerevivified.
fast during the month of Ramadanis enjoinedupon the
whole humanity; thosewho actuallydo it are Muslims.Many personswho
have closecontact with Muslims also engagein this form of fast and derive
someof the benefitsfrom it. But there are severalregulationswhich must
be followed for any fast to be valid.
First, one must clearlystate the intention to fast. SinceAllah has said
that we will be iudged accordingto our intentions, one cannot get the
benefits of good actions which occur entirely by accident.For exampleffi
Fie was deprived of food by being lost in the wilderness, this would not I
iconstitute a formal fast, becauseone would have eatenif the opportunity I
present.This formal declarationto perform an action is teried, niyyfi)
It is preferablystatedin Arabic,but is just asvalid in any language.One may
Festing Thc BestlvledicineI 87
simply state: "I intend to offer fast this day, for the sake of Allah and only
for the sake of Allah."
Having entered into this formal pledge with Allah, having made this
promise, if one intentionally breaks the fast during the avowed period, one
is liable to compensate for the fast by making up one or more days.
Generally, to perform a fast day the following conditions must all be
l. The niyyat,or intention to fast, must be made, aloud or silently.
2. The period of the fast must extend from the time iust before sunrise
_Aajr) until lust after sunset (maghrib).'
\3. During the period of the fast, total abstinence from the following is
water), smoking or consumption of
I required: food, drink
any form of negativity, backbiting, '
ts SJ*"n--"y
,roi b"-duli"b".utely emitted, nor may one deliberately'
5, Pregnant or lactating women, the seriously ill, the aged, and the
insane are exempted from fasting, but in some casesmay be liable to
make up missed days. A woman does not fast on days when she is
menstruating, but must make up the missed days. When her period
ends, she must resume fasting. Children under the age of twelve
generally are excluded from the fast, but may fast part of the day or
some of the days.
15,The fast is broken after sunset with a date or a glass of water,)
i followed bv a modest meal.
There are severaldozensof specialcaseswhich applyto the fastingman or
woman, and the adviceof a practicingMuslim shaykh shouldbe sought to
resolveany question.
The specialnature of fasting is that it engendersforbearanceand sacrifice.JFasting
occursin the mind primarily,and so it is hiddenfrom all human
only to the Eye of God: it is a secretaction.
-. During the time from midnight to the beginningof the fast, it was the
practiceof the Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
to eat a meal, calledsalyr.This may consist
of any lawful foods.The fast is usuallybrokenby eatingone or a few dates,
followed by some water, which mustte done prior to offering the sunset
(naghrib)prayer. Even though cleaningthe teeth is permitted, it is more
meritoriousif one doesnot do so after midday.
In addition to these iniunctions,one should be engagedas much as
possiblein reading and reciting the Holy Qur'an, and should distribute as
much charity as one is capableof.
'See Chapter 9, "|alat," for computing sunrise and sunset correctly.
e8 I ThcBook
ol SuliHuling
Such are the minimum regulationsfor fasting. It is the fast of the
general people,and entered into for the purposeof restraining oneselffrom
eatingand drinking and sexualpassions.A higher form of the fast consists
of (in addition to the above)refraining from wrong actions of hands, feet,
sight, and other limbs or organs of the body.
The saints perform the very greatest kind of fast, a fast of the rirind. In
other words, these people do not think of anything except Allah. They
considertheir existencein this world only asa seedfor growth into the next
world. This fast also includesrestrainingthe eyesfrom any evil sight, and
shunning uselesstalk, falsity, slander^obscenity,and hypocrisy.In short,
the fasterskeepsilent,and when they do speak,it is only to rememberGod.
This fast is so strict that one cannot even listen to forbidden speechcoming
from others.One must leavethe presenceof the personwho violatesthese
-Moreover, the Sufis, when they do break the fast, eat only the minimum '
amount required to stem hunger. The correct meal following this fast is I
the one being eaten by the poorest people in one's community.
In additionto the obligatoryfast of the sacredmonth, the Sufis engage
in various optional fasts, which are called nafil fasts. Some of these occur
every year, some every month, and some every week. The accompanying
list summarizesthe entire spectrumof fasts engagedin by the Sufis.
Although the main intention and desiredeffectsof fasting occur in the
realm of the soul and its evolution,it nonethelessremainsa fact that most
peopleachievephysical results of the fast as well.
As discussed
earlier,diseasefrequentlyis attributedto incompletedigestion of the nutrients at one or more stagesof digestion.During a fast, the
ordinary work performed in the digestion of foods is reduced, thereby
allowing the body to eliminatesuperfluousmatters and to repair damage
done by long-term dietary abuses.
When this occurs,the body respondsin specialways. The first action the
body takes, when given the opportunity, is to generatethe strange heat of
fever. This specialkind of heat causesa very rapid processing("cooking"
down) of the excessmatters,regardless
of what they may be.The substances
are thus refined into a form which can be eliminated by the body. The
elimination occurs in one (and sometimes more) of five ways, which are
called the five forms of healing crisis: nosebleed,vomiting, diarrhea, perspiration,and urination.
By sayingthat this eliminationoccursin a healingcrisis,I mean that the
body is putting out the excess,frequently harmful and toxic by-products of
abnormal,incompletedigestion.A healingcrisisby urinationis not the same
thing as normal urination. The volume and frequencymay be as high as five
or more times an hour for severalhours. A healing crisis by diarrhea could
consistof fifteen or more motions in severalhours.
Fat ing: TIE B6t Mdiliw
l g,
Rama{an: The thirty-day fast obligatoryupon all Muslims.
Other Annual Fasts: The daysof cArafet (during the month of Dhul-Hiiiah);
the days of cArshurah; the first ten daysof Dhul-Hiijah; the first ten daysof
the month of Moharram; and as much of the month of Shacbin as possible.
(Note: It is not permitted io fast the three days prior to the beginning of
Ramadan,nor the feastdaysof cid al-Fitr and cld al-Adhe).
Monthly Fasts: The best days to keep fast during any month are the first
day, the middle day, and the last day of every month. In addition, there is
fasting on the ayyim bayid-the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days
of the moon's cycle.
Weekly Fasts: While fasting any week,one shouldendeavorto fast Thursday,
Friday, and Monday, which are the days of excellence.
forbadefastingeveryday.The bestway
Daily Fasts:The Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
to maintain maximum fasting is to fast every other day. The Prophet
said,"The treasuresof the world were presentedto me. I rejected
them and said:I shallremainhungry for one day and takefood on the next.
When I take food I shall praiseThee, and when I remain hungry I shall seek
humility from Thee."And then he said:"There is no better fast than this."
Oddly enough,thesehealingcrisesarepreciselythe eventsthat Western
medicinelabelsasillnessand disease.
Consequently,the efforts to arbitrarily
blockor end thesenormal eliminativefunctionscut short the most effective
inherent health-buildingmechanismsthe body possesses!
The forms of healing crisis are mentioned becauseduring fastingespeciallyfor one who has never taken it up before-one or more of these
are likely to transpireafter the third or fourth days(sometimesevenwithin
perhapsa slightlyelevatedtemperature
a few hours).A poundingheadache,
or fever, sweating,and similar signs show that the body is moving into a
corrective mode. When the diarrhea or vomiting begins, one who is unacquaintedwith the benefitsand effectsof fastingmay concludethat he has
contractedthe flu or a respiratoryproblem,having become"weakened"by
Many people are unwilling to endure any discomfort or unpleasantness
whatsoever, and thus resort to various chemical drugs, which will unfortunatelyput an immediateend to any healingactionsof the body.This may
suffice to get a person back to work, or prop him or her up to attend an
important function; but over yearsand yearsof suppressingtheseelimina-
90 I Thc Bor,kol Sufi Healiag
tions, the toxic matters back up within the system,until organ damage
occurs and there is no hope for a cure, except by the most drastic means.
Even then it is difficult and gruesome.
Effort and disciplineare required to make it through these recommended
fasts. I suggestpersonswith no experiencebegin with iust one day, or part
of a day, and gradually extend it to the desired level of performance.
Muslims have a specialadvantage,for they are strengthenedand helped by
Allah to complete a full thirty days each year. One of the great Sufis was
said to have fasted on alternate days during the last forty years of his life.
And, at that, when he did eat, if he discoveredhe was deriving any pleasure
from the food, he would immediately spit it out half-chewed.He lived to be
ninety-six years old.
Allah the Almighty has promised uncountable rewards for those who
fast. One such reward for the fortunate onesoccursduring the last ten days
of Ramaddn.This is known as Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power).For one
who has performed the fast perfectly and accordingto the strictest criteria,
Allah sendsan angel to personallymeet this person,and any wish whatsoever the person may make is granted. Yfr llayya! Ya Qdyyln!
Fasting is prescribedby the Most High God as a great blessingupon His
humanity. As the Maker of human bodies,He knows the best techniques
and practicesfor maintaining its health. And not only is fasting the best and
safestmeansof protectingthe physicalhealth, but it alsocarriesimmense
spiritual rewards.
One other aspectof physicallife bearssignificantly upon human health.
It is the cornerstoneof all Sufi activities,the galil,which servesas the ladder
by which one may approachGod.
$aldt: The Postures
of the Prophets
The Great and Glorious Gd
does not insist upn the
prJormance of any other devotion
as much as He does on the
perfonnance oJt Faht.
Hazmt Khw6|t Ghafib Nawtu (r.a.)
Snrat al-Fatihah,the Openingof the Holy Qur'an, is in one sensethe most
condensedand concentratedprayer one can utter. It is said that the whole
of the Qur'an is encapsulated
in this openingsitrah."fwo of its versesare a
specialimploring by the servant to God Almighty for His guidance:
$iri! alladhina ancamta
Show us the straight path,
The path of those whom You love and have favored.
Not only as the Most Kind God provided humans with the best possible
invocation to Him, but immediately after He hears this sincere request, He
informs His creatures of the means of attaining it-by revealing the entire
Qur'an for the perfect and total guidance of humankind.
However, in the very first verses of the iecond slral of the Qur'an, Allah
establishesthe only keys that will open the blessingsof this book:
Dhalikal-kitEbu li rayba fih
Hudd lil-muttaqin;
Alladhine yu'minina bilghaybi
wa yuqiminaq-qalita wa mimma
razaqnihum yunfiqin.
92 | TheBookofSufiHwliag
This is the Scripture
wherein there is no doubt,
A guidanceto thosewho shun evil,
Who believein the Unseen,
and establishs-nlat,
spendof that which We
have bestowedupon them.
The word galil in Arabic is translated as prayer or worship, and also supplications for forgiveness, compassion, and mercy. (In Persian, Turkish, and
Urdu, the term is namiz.)
Western scholarshave unfortunately misrepresentedthe true conception
of s.aldtby translating the word simply as "prayer" or "worship." In fact, the
practice of 2nl-at
is very specific and forms the most unique and central
feature of religious life in Islam and Sufism. The Holy Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w.s.)is reported to have said, "The difference between a believer in God
and a disbeliever in Him is the performance of galit."
The great saint Hazrat Khw6ja Gharib Nawdz (r.a.) commented on the
importance of the snlit with the following statements:
qnlalis the climax
Without performinglliil, nonecan approachGod,because
in the processof such approachfor the pious.
sdl;l is the ladderleadingto the proximity lqurblof Cod.
Srlalis a trust committedto human careby Almighty Cod, a secretrelationship existingbetweenthe worshiperand the Worshiped,
The Indian mystic musician Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought some Sufi
ideas to the West in the early part of this century, said, "A person who
never accomplishes[snlnt]has no hope of ever advancing any other way, for
every posture has a wonderful meaning and a particular effect . ' it is to
be prescribed before further sacred teachings. lf he fails to advance in this,
there is no hope for his future."
Sallt is at once an external and an internal practice: a set of physical
and the richest spiritual
exercises(somehave compared them toyoga asanas),
nourishment. By considering each of these aspects in some detail, we can
learn why the Sufis have consideredin many casesthat they would rather die
Ma sha'Allah!
than forgo the\r s.alat.
is performed at five regular intervals throughout the
The practice of
day as a minimum and can be done ai other times accordingto the capacities
of the worshiper. The times of performance are fixed according to the
journey of the sun and planets across the heavens. These times are as
Fajr: Begins approximately forty-five minutes before sunrise and extends
up to the rising of the sun.
$alat:ThePosttresol thcProphctsI 9t
fuhn Begins after the sun has passed the median point in the sky and
has iust begun its downward arc.
cAgr: Begins when the sun has crosseda bisection of the arc made by the
sun, midpoint between noon and the line of the horizon; or when the
body's shadow is equal to two body lengths.
Maghrib'.Begins just after the sun has set below the horizon and no light
is left reflecting off the clouds (i.e., there is no more redness).
clsfti: Begins when night has fully fallen, approximately one hour and
twenty minutes after the time of maghrib,or sunset.
By following these prayer times, one is perfectly attuned to the motions of
the planets, seasonalchanges, and geographic variations. In so doing, one
becomes harmonized with all of the natural cycles of the universe.
There are three aspects to the qalil: thought, word, and action. Before
beginning the qalAt,
one must clean oneself of any physical dirt on the body
or clothing, or on the place where one intends to pray. At this same time,
one must drive out all negative or evil thoughts and cleanse the mind to
concentrate fully upon the glory of Allah the Almighty. This preparation,
calledwufa', consistsof washing the hands, rinsing the mouth (and brushing
teeth if necessary),snuffing water up the nose, wiping the face from brow
to chin and from ear to ear, washing the forearms from the wrists up to the
elbows, wiping over the head and the back of the neck, and, finally, washing
the feet up to the ankle bone. Each of these washings is repeated three
times and must be done in the sequencedescribed.
When these actions have been carefully completed, one goes to the place
of prayer and, assuming a humble attitude, with head down, hands at sides,
and feet evenly spacedbelow the shoulders, utters the intention to offer the
palfrf,as follows:
and facethe qiblah,
I intend to offer fthe obligatory number ofl rn(tatsof s.al-at,
the ExaltedKacbah,for the sakeof Allah andAllah alone.I takerefugewith
Allah from the rejectedand evil satan,and I begin in the Name of Allah,
Most Cracious.Most Merciful.
This invocation may be made in Arabic, but any language will suffice as
well. However, the remainder of the qafit must be recited entirely in Arabic.
(Later chapters discuss the Arabic vowels, sounds, and breath patterns.)
The one offering prayer must be facing in the direction of the city of Mecca,
Saudi Arabia. (In the United States, this would mean facing generally
The qaldtis done by assuming eight separate positions of the b ody (ark-anl,
and reciting various Qur'anic verses with each posture. These postures are
illustrated in turn, and a brief description is given of the benefits ascribedto
94 I Thc Bcrk of Sufi Healing
Bring hands, palms open, up to ears, and place thumbs behind earlobes,as
" All1hu akbar"(God is Great) is uttered.
Nameof Posture:Niyyat
Time to fu Held: 5 szconds
fucitation: Allabu akbar.
Beneficial Effects: Body feels relieved of weight owing to even distribution
on both feet. Straighteningback improvesposture.Mind is brought under
control of intellect.Vision is sharpenedby focusingupon floor, where head
will prostrate.Musclesof upper and lower back are loosened.Higher and
lower centersof brain are united to form singlenessof purpose.
Salct:ThcPwlunsol tlu ProphdsI cs
Placehands,right over left, lust below navel.
Nameof Posture:Qiitm
Durstion: 40-60 seconds
BismiLldh ir-fuhnon ir-Rahin
Al-lnndu li-lJah rabb il-c6lamin.
Ar-Rolnan, ir-Aolin.
Milihi yawn id-Dn.
Iyyakana cbuduwa iyyako nastacin.
rr4 al-mustaqim.
Ghayril-maghlibiolayhin wo )ai.lithn.
(ln the NameoJ A oh, the knefcent,
the Merclful.
All proisebe to Allah, Lord oJ the Workls.
The kneficent, tbe Mercif .
Masterof the Doy of Judgnent.
Theeonly do we worship.
Theeolonewe askfor help.
Showus thestra$ht path.
Thepath of thosewhom Youloneandfavor,
Not he path oJ thosewho haveeamed
Thineanger,not are leodingastray.
k it so.)
Following these words, a short chapter of at least three verses should be
recited from the Holy Qur'an (seeAppendix II for suitable examPles).
Beneficial Effects: Extends concentration,causesfurther relaxation of legs
and back,generatesfeelingsof humility, modesty,and piety. In the recital of
the aboveverses,virtually all of the soundsthat occurin Arabicare uttered,
stimulatingdispersalof all of the ninety-ninedivine attributesin perfectly
controlled degreesthroughout the body, mind, and soul. The sound vibrations of the long vowels i, 1,and i stimulate the heart, thyroid, pineal gland,
pituitary, adrenalglands,and lungs, purifying and uplifting them all.
96 I ThcBookol1rfi Hullry
Bend at waist, placingpalms on kneeswith fingers spread.Backis parallel to
ground,suchthat if a glassof water were on the back,it would not spill.Eyes
are looking down, directly ahead.Do not bend the knees.
Durction:12 seconds
fucitotion:Whllebndiry at
tlrc wdist,reciteAllihu akbar,
Subldna Robbid-cA7in
(Holy h ny Lord,
the Magnifcent)
Beneficial Effects: Fully stretches the muscles of the lower back, thighs,
and calves.Blood is pumpedinto upper torso. Tones musclesof stomach,
abdomen,and kidneys.Over time, this posture improvesthe personality,
generatingsweet kindnessand inner harmony.
Salct:ThcPwturcsol thcProphctsI 97
While rising from the bending position of rukut, recite SamicaLlfrhuli-man
(Allah hears the one who praisesHim; Our
fianidah.Rabbaniwa lakal-fiamd
Lord, Yours is the praise).Then return to standingposition,arms at side.
Duration: 6 seconds
Aecitation:AJnr holdngfor six seconds,
Allahu akbar
and moveto nextposition,
Beneficial Effects: The fresh blood moved irp irtto torso in previous posture
returns to its original state,carrying away toxins. Body regainsrelaxation
and releasestension.
e8 I ThcBuk of iuli Hrr,ltng
Place both hands on knees and lower yourself slowly and easily into a
kneeling position. Then touch the head and hands to the ground. The
following sevenbody parts should be in contact with the ground: forehead,
two palms, two knees, toes of both feet. The end position of this posture is
given below.
Durotion:12 seconds
Sulhina RabbTal-clir
(Glory k to my Lord,
tlv Most Supreme)
Beneficial Effects: Knees forming a right angle allow stomach musclesto
develop and prevents growth of flabbinessin midsection.Increasesflow of
blood into upper regions of body, especiallythe head (including eyesrears,
and nose)and lungs; allows mental toxins to be cleansedby blood. Maintains
proper position of fetus in pregnant women. Reduceshigh blood pressure.
Increaseselasticity of toints. Annihilates egotism and vanity. Increases
patienceand relianceupon God. Increasesspiritual stationsand produces
high psychicenergy throughout body. This posture of supreme submission
and humilitv is the essenceof worship.
Saht: Thc Poshtr* of thc Pmphcts | 99
RecitingAlldhuskbnr,rise from Position5 and assumethe sitting posture
shown here.
Name: Qtcil
Durotion: 6 yconds
Redation: At end oJ 6 seconds,
akbar ond
Puiion 5 exoctly.
Beneficial Effects: For men, the h6el of the right foot is curled up and the
weight of the leg and part of the body rests upon it. This aidsdetoxification
of the liver and stimulates peristaltic action of the large intestine. Women
keep both feet, solesup, underneath their bodies.The body returns to even
greaterrelaxation,and the postureassistsdigestionby forcing the contents
of the stomachdownward.
roo I Thr Bookol Suf Haling
kpeat motionsof
Posture5 exactly.
Then,recitingAllahu akbar,
rctum to sitting as in
Beneficial Effects: Repetition of the deepprostration within a few seconds
cleansesthe respiratory, circulatory, and nervous systems.Gives experience
of lightness of body and emotional happiness.Oxygenation of entire body is
Balancessympatheticand parasympathetic
Solrt ThcPostures
ol lhc PmphctsI lol
From Posture 5, with head in prostration, lift the head away from the floor
and bring the torso backward.Placinghandson knees,reversethe procedure
for going down, and,while againreciting / Ildhuakbqr,return to the standing
position. This completesone rackatof prayer.
1O2I ThcBookofSt!fi H.aling
The galAtis done in either two, three, or four rackats,according to the time
of day:
2 nckah
4 rackah
4 rockah
i rackah
4 llccka/s
At the end of eachtwo units of prayer,the following supplicationis added:
Wa rafrmatuLlihi wa barak5tuhu
calayniwa cali cibidi Llihig-galilrin
Ash-haduan li iliha illaLlih
cabduhuwa rasrlluh.
Wa ash-haduannaMul.rammadan
This supplicationis recited as a re-creationof the celestialconversation
which was held between Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)during the night of the HeavenlyAscent (Mirrij) of the
Prophet. The lines were spoken as follows:
andgoodactsarefrom You,my Lord
Muhammad: All greetings,blessings,
of Allah.
Allah: Greetingsto you, O Prophet,and the mercyandblessings
Muhammad:Peacebe unto us, and unto the righteousservantsof Allah.
I bearwitnessthat thereis no deity exceptAllah.
Allah: And I bearwitnessthat Muhammadis His servantand messenger.
If the required number of ratkatsis but two, the galil would proceedto the
next recitation. Otherwise, one or two more rackatsare due. These are done
exactlyas the first two, exceptthat no recitationsoccurafter that of Srlrat
The recitations of the first two rackatsare done aloud during the €altfof
fajr and maghriband cishs.At other times, all are recited silently.
When the proper number of two, three, or four ratkatsare completed,
another prayer is said silently,praisingand offering greetingsand blessing
upon the prophetsand their families.
Allihumma salli cala sayyidini Mulrammadin
wa cali ili Mulrammadin
kama gallaytacalalbrihima
wa cal; 5li lbrihima
Innaka $amidun Majid.
Allihumma barik cali Mulrammadin
wa caE eli Mulrammadin
wa calaali lbrihima.
lnnaka $amidun Maiid.
ol the ProphctsI tO3
(O Allah, blessour masterMuhammad
and the family of Muhammad
as you have blessedAbraham
and the family of Abraham.
Surely You are the Praiseworthy,the Glorious.
O Allah, be graciousunto Muhammad
and unto the family of Muhammad
as You were gracious unto Abraham
and unto the family of Abraham.
SurelyYou are the Praiseworthy,the Glorious.)
At the end of this recitation, the head is hung low, then turned slowly to full
extension to the right, so that the eyes can glance back over the shoulder,
and one recites:
As-salimu calaykum wa ralrmatu Llah
(Peaceand blessingsof Cod be upon you).
While turning the head to the left, one repeats the phrase:
As-salSmucalaykumwa ralrmatu Llah.
These last statements are addressedto the two recording angels, each of
whom sits poised over the shoulder, recording respectively the good and
wrongful actions. subhanAllah!
Another interesting feature of the qclatis that in the course of assuming
three main positions (qi\dm,rukat, and snjdah),
one makes the physical shapes
of the Arabic letters alif dal, and mim. These letters spell the word,4dam,the
name of the first createdhuman and the first prophet (a.s.).The illustrations
on the following page show the body posture and letter correspondence.
The angels-who were created solely to worship Allah and do so as
their natural behavior-perform all of these postures of worship. All the
prophets of history (peacebe upon them all) also used one or more of these
postures. The prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was granted the grace of
conveying to humanity the synthesis of all of the postures of all the
prophets. Al-fiandu li-Llah il-Hayynil-Qayyn!
Another important point regarding this practice, simply as a physical
activity, is that persons of all ages can dg it. It is smooth, flowing, and easy,
and in time becomes the greatest physical development that is possible.
In the course of one day, the minimum performance consists of seventeen units of prayer, composed of nineteen separate positions during each
ratkat. This is a total of 1le physical postures per day, or 3,570 postures
monthly, or 42,840 postures yearly.
In the average adult lifetime of forty years, 7,773,600 postures are
performed. Anyone so doing is protected and inoculated against a host of
ailments and diseases,such as heart attack and other cardiac problems;
emphysema; arthritis; bladder, kidney, and bowel problems; viral and bac-
na I ThcBaokol S{i Hedtug
SalatTlu Postnrcs
of th. Pmlvt I tos
terial infections; eye diseases;loss of memory and senility; sciaticaand
spinalailments;and many,many others.This practicecan be donevirtually
anywhere,requiresno specialequipment,and costsnothing at all.
For the Sufis, the qalit hasevengreaterimport in their livesbecausethe
carpet at the placeof prayer becomesthe stepping-offpoint for entering
the divine reality, the laqiqat.
The shaykhsgenerallystate that there are four stagesof practicesfor
the aspirants to God: shnricat(law), tariqat(path), f;aqiqat(truth), and mafilat
The first requirementis to adopt and follow the sharit , the divine laws
of human life, which in due courseleadsone onto the €ir|t al-mustaqim,
path. The enterprise of Sufism is frequently referred to as following
tarlqat.This path leadsone to the laqiqat.Let me try to define this complex
term. flaqiqat is the final, incontrovertible and absolute truth of all existence.For example,some peoplebelieveGod exists,some do not. Both
casescannot be true. The haqq(or truth) of this matter is absolute.And we
will all have this matter resolvedwith finality at the time of death. All
hidden knowledgebelongsto the realm of ftaqiqat.
When one attains this
status of insight into the divine truths, there follows the stage called
macrifat-lhe overwhelming ecstasyof being a favored and chosenfriend of
the Beloved,Almighty God.
The performanceof pl6t is required to attain any of these stations
(which are sequential).But merely voicing sounds and standing in one
placewill not producethe desiredeffects.Severalinternal conditionsmust
be present.
One must first of all approachthe prayerwith a senseof humility, with
a recognitionof the dependentpositionof the worshiper in relationto the
Worshiped.Allah has informed us that we were "a thing unremembered,
until I rememberedyou." There is not a singleliving personin the history
of the world who was responsiblefor his or her own conceptionof life. Not
only did we not exist: we did not even knoarthat we did not exist!
We shouldput all thoughts exceptthoseof our merciful Creator out of
our minds as we prepareto addressHim. Worldly affairs must be shoved
aside,with the understandingthat the prayer is the meansof steppinginto
the next world, of drawing near to God. If the mind is alreadyfilled with
mundanethoughts, there will be no spacefor remembranceof God.
Another conditionof prayer is that the meaningof the words uttered
be as completeas possible.Even though they are spokenin Arabic, one
should know the translatedmeaningsin one's own languageand should
contemplatethese meaningsas deeplyand sincerelyas possible.
It is narrated in the Hadith that God said to Moses:"O Moses,when
you want to rememberMe, rememberMe in such a way that your limbs
tremble and that you hold Me dear at the time of remembranceand rest
satisfied.When you standbefore Me, stand before Me with a fearful mind
7O5I TheBook
ofStfi Heoling
Iike the poorest slave,and speakwith Me with the tongue of a truthful
And then God revealedto him: "Tell your disobedientfollowers to
remember Me. I took oath upon Myself that I shall rememberone who
remembersMe. When Abraham stood for prayer, the voice of his heart
was heardfrom a distanceof two miles.An individualwillbe forgivenin the
next world accordingto the qualitiesof his mind, and not of his body."
Somepeoplemay wonder about the suggestionthat we must fear God,
assertinginsteadthat we only need to think of God as kind and allJoving.
A verse in the Holy Qur'an that makes this clear is found in Sirat alBaqarah(z:ttz):
Bali man aslamawajhahuIi-Llahi
wa huwa mu!rsinun
falahu alruhi cindaRabbih
wa la khawfun calayhim
wa li hum ya\zanun.
Nay, but whosoevergivesup his own desires
while serving Allah and doesgood acts,
his reward is with his Lord;
They shall have no fears
And neither shall they grieve.
In other words, if one gives up one's own selfish desiresand serveshumanity
solely for the sake of pleasing Allah, the reward is the totally and unrestricted protection, grace, and favor of Allah. When one has Allah, the
Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the creation, as one's Protecting Friend,
how could one ever be afraid or suffer sadness?
The ailments people experience in the 1alit are mainly concerned with
distractions. These are both physical and mental. One is often distracted
from deep concentration in prayer by room noises, conversations, muffled
sounds from the street, and other goings-on. The medicine to correct this
diseaseof s.slitis to cut off from the source of these distractions.
The Sufis find they can perform their divine services much better in
dark, small, secluded rooms. If this is not possible, one must set apart a
special place for worship and remembrance of Allah. Close the eyes, if
necessary,becausethe eye is the first source of distraction.
The second cause of distraction is the mind itself: As each thought
arises,it leads to another thought. In the early days of Islam, a camel driver
came to Abn Bakr (r.a.), who was a very pious Muslim, and said, "I don't
believe you can make two rackatsof t4lat without thinking of something
other than Allah." Abn Bakr asserted that he believed he could do it. The
driver said that if Abn Bakr could perform two rsckats without a single
Saldt: The Postwesol the Ptophcts I lo7
distractingthought, he would makehim a gift of a camel,and he gesturedto
two camelsnearby,one blackand one brown.
Ab! Bakr commencedhis gldt. When he finished, the camel driver
looked at him anxiously.Abn Bakr, being a scrupulouslyhonest man in"You were right, I couldn'tmakeit through
capableof deception,confessed,
the s.slat.lwas distracted."The cameldriver was relievedthat he had not
lost a preciouscamel.Then the cameldriver curiouslyasked,"But what was
it that distractedyou? What did you think about?"Abi Bakr answered,"l
was trying to decidewhether I would take the black camelor the brown
It is very difficult to cut the root of internalmentaldistractions.The best
method is to concentrateas fully as possibleon the meaningsof what is
beingrecited.If the mind doesbeginto wander,forceit backto the Qur'anic
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)recommendedthat one make2al7tin a room with
no variegatedcolors,pictures,or extensivedesignson the prayer carpet,
and avoid wearing any kind of rings or other jewelry.
The Hadith state that when one stands in prayer, Allah lifts up the
screenbefore Him, so that His servant faceshim. The angelsclimb upon
his two shouldersand pray in unison along with him and sayt4nir at the
end of the prayer. Then they spread virtues out from the top of the
worshiper'shead to the end of the horizon. Then an angel proclaims:"lf
this servant had known Whom he had been invoking, he would not have
looked around, distracted.The doors of heaven are thrown open for a
praying person, and Allah takes pride before His angelsfor him, and the
Face of God comes before his face." This opening of the doors to the
Unseen is calledkashf.
There are unfortunately somepersonsparadingas pseudo-Sufisin the
West,who foolishlyassertthat {rlrt is unnecessary.
They makethe strange
claim that such formal actions as qldt are mere rituals, which the true
spiritual aspirant can dispensewith. Such misguidedpersons give the
examplesof Ibn cArabi (r.a.),MawlSni Rnmi (r.a.),Imam al4hazzali (r.a.),
and Maqs0r al-$allai (r.a.) as examplesof truly liberated,free-thinking
"Sufis." And they disdainanyonewho makesqalilor suggestsits necessity
as a backward-thinking"fundamentalist."I hope that the foregoing presentation of only some of the deepenaspects
of the practiceof qalatwtll
inspire people to learn and practice the yldt to learn its truly marvelous
effects. The great ones mentioned above, such as Rimi and Ibn cArabi,
were in fact the most ardent and sincerefollowersof the pldt.
One December in Konya, Mawldni Rimi (r.a.) had gone into his llujrnh
(meditationcell) to perform his nighttime prayers.When the time for the
/ajr (morning) prayer arrived, he did not appear.His followers became
worried becausein twentv vearsMawlini had never failed to ioin them in
lOB I ThcBcrkol SufiHealing
prayer.As time passedand the narids'alarm8rew, someone
finally decidedto force the door open.Inside,they were startledto find the
Mawlini with his beard frozen to the ground, struggling to set himself
free. In his supplications,he had begun weepingso copiouslythat a pool of
tears had formed, and his prostrationin the coldwas so prolongedthat the
tears froze, trapping him by his beard!
Ma4srir al-$allaj (r.a.)becamefamous in the history of Sufism for his
alleged crime of offending the so-calledorthodox clergy. However, he
actuallywas tried and convictedon the chargeof divulging divine secrets,
on his sister,who was a Sufi
which he had overheardwhile eavgsdropping
saint. The trial lastedover eight years.As Ma4sir al-FJalliisat awaitinghis
executionduring the last week of his life, he passedhis time by punctually
offering h\s qalit,and on the last day of his life he performed5oOratkatsof
The Sufis are the most strenuoussupportersof qalal.There is a story of
Hazrat cAbdul-QadirJilani (r.a.),who one morning was about to miss the
time of the morning prayer.A cat cameover to his sideashe lay asleepand
began nudging him until he awoke. Noticing the latenessof the time,
cAbdul-Qadir(r.a.)quicklyofferedhis two rarlctsof prayer.When he hadfinished,he looked at the cat, and with his spiritual insight, he saw that the
cat was actually a satan.This puzzledthe great saint, as to why a satan
would wake him up for prayer.So he asked,"l can seeyou are a satanbut
why on earth did you wake me up for the fajr prayer?"
The cat answered,"You are just as pious and cleverasmy fellow satans
saidyou were. Sinceyou've discoveredme, I might as well tell you. I knew
that if you missedyour obligatory prayer, you would have offered one
hundred rackstsas compensation,so I woke you up so that you would only
get the benefitsof two."
In the courseof Sufism, the shaykhassignedthe muridmany practices
that extend and enhancethe basicpracticesof Qaldt.First, added to the
obligatory (fnrd)ylht, are the extra prayers that the Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w.s.)used to do. These are calledsunnah,
and add severaldozensmore
to the activitiesof worship of the murids.Later, the posturesare held for
varying periods-up to an hour or more-and versesfrom the Qur'an that
are repletewith mysticalmeaningare recited.
Sdlatis both the first and the final stepfor the true believer.It is the real
meansof uniting one with the whole of humanity, and with Almlghty God.
It is never altered in its essentialfeatures (and never has been for 1,400
years) and thus becomesthe foundation upon which the more refined
spiritual practicesare built. For anyone who desiresto enioy the most
excellenthealth,harmonizingthe physical,mental,emotional,and spiritual
life, there is no better medicinethan the qallt.As Hazrat Khwdia Gharib
Nawiz frequently remarkedto his followers:"Hurry up and perform the
qalit,before the Final Hour passes!"
Sddt:ThePosluruof thcProphds| 1O9
It is incorrect to say, as some do, that when a seeker gains his desires,
worship and devotion are no longer incumbent upon him; for the Chief of
the World, blessingsand peaceof God be upon him, was always prostrating
in worship and devotion before God. Although he had reached the summit
of devotion, he would say, "O Lord, I am ashamed, for I did not worship
You as I ought to have done "
The following chart provides the correct number of obligatory and
optional rackstsfor the five daily prayers of galil.
(First two
rq'kats aloud)
The Soul of the Rose
There are thrce things oJ tbis wo d
that I have been nnde a preJer
pra)rc\ women, and scents,
Prophet M ulmmmad (s.a.w,s. )
The prophet Sulaymin (a.s.)was the one who first learnedthe healing
propertiesof herbsand flowers. One day as he was standingfor prayer in
the mosque,a flower sprang up before him and said, "As-sslsm
Hazrat Sulayminl" Hazrat Sulaymanreturned the greeting and then asked,
"What are you doing here? What are you for?" And the flower answered
him that it was a remedy for such-and-sucha disease.The next day, a
different flower sprangup and told Hazrat Sulaymin the diseasefor which
it was the remedy. Over a course of time, all of the medicinal flowers
appearedand told Hazrat Sulaymdntheir healingproperties.And he was
the first to have this knowledge,which is of divine origin.
The absoluteof the essenceof Allah is called dhAt.We expressthis
unfathomableabsolutewith the pronoun Hn. Our human minds are incapableof conceivingof or expressingthe full reality of Allah. And in
considering the nature of God, we must look to the manifold forms of His
creationand know Him by His signs.
Eachof the divine attributeshas a dh-at,
which is its totality. For example,
is the totality of every kind of mercy that exists,haseverexisted,
and will ever exist, in all forms, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, and
whether we know of it or do not. Allah,tn His mercv, has bestoweduntold
forms of this mercy throughout the human, angelic,and animal creation.
Yet all these untold numbers of manifestationsare still only a small part of
the dhAt,or totality, of Allah's attribute of ar-Rafumdn.
This notion of an absolute essencealso applies to the human being in
relation to the soul (rtl). This intimate relationshipbetweenabsoluteessence
and manifold forms of that essenceis duplicated in all of nature. Each
flower, tree, and shrub has its physical form and also its essence.The seed
of an oak will not produce a willow. All of the specificcharacteristicsof the
ll2 I ThcBook
the height of the
flower are containedwithin the seed,within its essence:
plant, the shapeof leavesand flowers, the plant's periodsof dormancy,
We learnedof someof
color, fragrance,and evenits healingcharacteristics.
these essentialattributeswhen we studiedthe relationshipbetweenfoods
and health.
or soul,is extractedat the momentof
Our own human absoluteessence,
death.Allah has inspiredvariousof His prophets(peacebe upon them all) to
discover the methods of extracting the souls lrrth) from flowers, and this
knowledgehas beenpreservedin Sufism.
A prominent exampleis what is calledruh-iguldb,or soul of the rose.It is
consideredthat the absoluteperfectedessenceof the roseexistswithin the
flower itself,iust as the perfectedessence
or soul of a human existswithin
of flowers are of inestimablevalue in correcting
the body. These essences
imbalancesin the human being.
The symbolof Sufismitself is the rose,becausethis flower is considered
to be the Mother of Scentsand the Queenof the Garden.The placementof
the rare and refinedbeautyand sweetnessof the roseblossoms-at the end
of a long, stern stem full of prickly thorns-aptly symbolizesthe mystic
path to Allah the Almighty.
The 124,000prophetsAllah hassent to the world with His Guidancdhad
different bodiesbut the same soul. Their messageto humanity was the
sameregardlessof the physicalform they had,the colorof their skin,or the
languagethey spoke.
Allah saidthat the first thing He createdin the universewas the soul of
prophecy.He saidthat He madeit from the absoluteof His own light, called
nirr. Allah further stated that if He had not createdthis soul of prophecy,He
woud not have createdthe unrverse.
After Allah the Almighty made this magnificentsoul, it was of such
luminous nature and so burning with light that it beganto sheddrops of
perspiration.And from this sweat of the soul of prophecy,Allah madethe
soul of the rose. This is the actualorigin of the art and scienceof aromatherapy.
Every prophetictradition uses flowers and their oils in healing.If we
considerthe nature of flowers themselves,we realizethat they are stimulated into growth and subsistprimarily by virtue of their relationshipwith
the light rays from the sun, and by meansof the processcalledphotosynthesisgive off the componentsof oxygenand air that we usefor breath.
Flowers require this nourishmentof light, as well as that of the soil and
It is said that peopleused to follow the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.
and collect the drops of his perspiration,finding them to be the very
sweetestsmell and fragranceof all, superior to any flower's scent.The
reason these droplets were of such eleganceis that they containedthe
essenceof his soul.
Thchul oflhc Rox I rt3
That magicalmoment of interconnectionbetweenlife and nonlife-the
moment of birth-is when the soul is activatedwithin the body. Our life
span is measuredbetween the first breath and the last breath. At the
moment of that first breath,one can find the model for all scents,coming
from the skin and breath of infants lust after they are born.
The scentof an infant createsthe deepestand most profound love and
affection in the heart and mind and soul of the person who receivesit.
There is no one who does not appreciatethe intimate fragrance of a
newborn. It is an irreplaceablyunique smell, and one simply cannot get
enoughof it. It is of an absoluteclarity and purity, and it somehowembodies
all of the feelingsof helplesstrust and relianceupon one superior to the
infant, which encapsulates
our whole relationshipwith the Creator,exalted
is He.
Babiesare born pure and sinless,havingwithin them the divinelight and
peace;the very essence
of the soul of prophecyis within them. No doubt,as
they grow into consciousness
of the world, they lose their innocence,and
the scent dwindlesand disappearsas they becomeimmersedin the life of
the world-in the maqiman-nafs.
So it must be rememberedwhen we talk about the essenceof flowers
that they are imitating the superior scentsof the soul of prophecy,from
which they are derived.
The soul of a flower may be extractedin severalways: by pressingthe
oils out of the petals;by distillingwater through the petals;or by bonding
the oil to a baseoil. In all cases,the essenceof the flower is drawn out by
(or oils containingthe essences)
this process.The word for theseessences
In the West, these are calledessentialoils, fragrances,absolutes,and sometimesperfumes.
The additionof alcoholto the essenceof a flower will kill that essence,
and so those oils or remediescontainingalcoholare unsuitablefor Sufi
When applying attars or essentialoils, great care must be exercised
becausethey are in such a concentratedform-not only the activephysical
ingredients,but alsothe essenceis very strong.For this reason,someattars
are diluted beforeuse,in a pure baseoil such asolive,sandalwood,
or sweet
Ideally, one should use the fresh b'lossomsof the rose (or other flower),
and placea few ouncesin a smallbowl of springwater for severalhours at
midday.This will extractthe essence,
andoneneednot worry aboutpurity or
additives.Or one may eat a few of the fresh petalsthemselves,
asthis admits
of the leastalterationof all. But for the sakeof convenience
and availability,
it is sometimesprudentto keepa supplyof a high-qualitypure oil on hand.
Becausethe rose is consideredto have the most refined essenceof all
flowers,it is often usedto absorband convey lhe baraka
of a saint.
Peoplewho visit the resting places(dargahs)
of saintsoften placethe rose
714 I Ttu Bokol SuliHeoling
petalson the tomb itself, then retrieve them for later use in healing.Since
the soul of the saint is living, the roseessence
will imbibethe essence
of the
saint, which can then be consumedand conveyedinto any person with
uniformly positiveresults.
(monasteries)have rose gardensgrowing nearby.
Many Sufi hhanagahs
The Sufis alsorecitevariousversesof the Qur'an over rosepetals,charging
them with even greater healing powers (seefollowing chapters).
Sufi Abu AneesMuhammadBarkatAli (mayAllah be pleasedwith him),
at his spiritualretreatin Pakistan,makeshis own soul remediesaccordingto
the abovemethods.From a nearbyrosegarden,he gathersup fresh petals,
over which constant prayers and remembranceof Allah are carried out.
Thesesamepetalsare dried out in a specialroom in which there are more
than 25o,oO0copiesof the Holy Qurin, as well as one of the four oldest
Qur'ans in existence,dating from the time of Hazrat cUthman (r.a.).The
room, which is calledthe Qur'En Malrall (Houseof the Qur'an), vibrates
with the divine presence.The petalsare laid out and arrangedso as to form
the shape of the word Allah, and various verses are recited over them for
some time, thus maturing them for healing.Even one or two petalsof the
medicinespreparedthus have been demonstratedto effect a cure, as it
Anyone can utilize this method.Take a cleancloth, preferablyof forestgreen color, and if not that, blue or white, of largeenoughsizeto hold the
shape of the word (about three feet by four feet). After reciting Bisni Ll:ah
ir-Raftmin,ir-Raftim(In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful),
spreadout the petals to form the word Allah, following exactly the sequence
shown in the illustration.
After completingthe shapeof the word Allah in the order indicated,
recite over it 786 times, Bisni Lldh ir-Raftmin, ir-Rafiim.If you have the
time and inclination,this formula can be recited any number of times.
After completing this procedure, you may use the petals for healing.
Shapeand sequence
of writing the word AlI6h.
Thc Sorl,lof ahcRcg I 115
I a Fa yyu, v a unv v um : u t ta h s l ta a n ta v a a r\a m R r-ra\tmtn: A mtn: \) tne
Living, O the Everlasting!There is noneexceptYou, O the Most Merciful of
the Merciful! Trninl
Although there are perhapsfifty or sixty thousanddifferent plantsfrom
which essentialoils canbe extracted,the Sufisuseprimarily thosewhich are
recommendedupon divine information.The attarsthat will be discussed
amber,frankincense,myrrh, violet, sandalwood,musk, rose,iasmine,hina,
cud, and jannat al-fardaws.All are pure oils except the last, which is a
It is more important to learn to use a few oils very well than not know
much at all about hundredsof oils. Even just with theseten oils, there are
more than one hundred trillion combinations!
in Persian),or liquid amber,as it is sometimescalled,
Oil of amber (kshrabah
is derived from a speciesof pine tree (Pircnsutdxt'era).
Many peoplehave had
contactwith amberstonesand beads,and it is this samebasicsubstancethat
is used in healing.But the stoneshave hardenedfor severalmillion more
years than the resin,which is used to manufacturethe oil
There are only three localesin the world where authenticambercan be
found. Its color variesanywherefrom a light, translucentpink to a heavy,
dark brown. When we realize that the essentialsap of these trees, to
becomeamber,has been preservedfor one to six million years,we understand that we are tappinginto a very ancienthealingenergy.
Some people use the sap from trees and distill out the essence.But
others,realizingthis ancientenergywithin, prefer to grind down the stones
into powder and then heat it to retrieve the essence.This latter form of
amber is better for healing,but very, very difficult to locate.
Amber has been fossilizedfor so long that we even have no way of
knowing what other life forms were present.But we do know that the
prophets (a.s.)who lived long ago had extraordinarypowers of perception
and healing.It is said,for example,that one prophetwas ableto overheara
conversationof ants,at a distanceof more than ten miles!It is likely that in
additionto beingendowedwith spiritualpowers,they hadhiddenknowledge
of healingplants.Many of thesespeciesare now extinct.
Although the bestambercomesorily from the Near East,Russia,and the
DominicanRepublic,frequently it is taken to other parts of the world for
processingout its essences,
for making it into attar. Amber processedin
Tunis and the Sudanis remarkablypure, clear,and healing.The Sudanese
variety is much hotter than the Tunisian,and thus strongerin effect.It is so
thick that it will not pour and must be heatedto get it out of the bottle.
A cake amber availablefrom Afghanistan is the best in the world, and
not so expensiveif purchasedin that country. Unfortunately,it is difficult
to obtain it at present.
116 | Thc Bookol Stft Heditg
Amber is recommendedspecificallyfor any kind of diseaseor problem
associatedwith the heart. While the rose is consideredthe Mother of
Scents,amber is calledthe Father (or King) of Scents.
Very little use is made of amber in Westernhealingtoday,althoughit
usedto be commonlyprescribedfor heart conditionsby medicaldoctorsin
the 1920s.
An excellentmethod of using amberis to put one drop on the tip of the
finger and apply it to the point of the "Third Eye" (not in the physicaleyes,
of course).This is absorbedby the body and stimulatesthe pineal gland,
which activatesmany of our physiologicalfunctions.
The word inrersecomes from the French enensand originally meant "frankincense,"but it now refers to any kind of fragrant vapor. Frankwas appendedto the word incens,
to add the meaningof "luxurious"or "expensive."
means the very best fragrance.
So, to
The original Latin word for incensewas parfumum,meaning"through
smoke."The burning of the oils is a commonmodeof application,
further refines the essence,releasesit into the air, and makesit easyto
disperseover a wide area.It is an effectivemeansof administeringscentto
the insane,children,or others who cannotor will not participatein smelling
the scents.
When an essenceis taken in its vaporizedform, it travelsinto the body
via the networksof the essences
and reachesits goalmore easily;whereasif
that it will
it is swallowedor rubbedon the skin, there are many possibilities
not arrive at the desireddestination,especiallyif it goesvia the stomach.
Digestivejuicesmay annul the healingeffects,becausealcoholis one of the
of normaldigestion.
Frankincenseis hot in the seconddegree,but is not quite so hot as
amber.It is a little lessdrying, too.
Frankincenseis to this day used in the religious ceremoniesof the
CatholicChurch, and was one of the scentspresentedto the infant Jesus
(a.s.).This is so becausefrankincenseis a verv oowerful cleanserof the aura
and psychicplanes.
Myrrh is hot and drying. lt was one of the oils commandedby Cod to Moses
(a.s.),and alsoto Jesus(a.s.),to be one of the ingredientsin their healingand
holy anointingoil. In ancienttimes it was usedto conveyto peoplea certain
internal esotericteaching,to purify their spiritualenvironmentso that the
teachingswould have a proper soil in which to be planted.
Myrrh is mentionedin the Qur'an as having specifichealingproperties.
Again, there are severalvarieties,but that from Tunis and Moroccoseems
to be of first quality.
Th. Sorl.lof tfu Rolr I r77
Violetis coldandmoistin the first degree,
in its action.Violet leaves,flowers,and oils are featuredin a great number
of healingformulas.
Sandalis cold and dry in the seconddegree.The bestand most famousoil of
sandalcomesfrom Mysore, India. It is usedin many conditions,frequently
for genital and urinary tract infections.Sandalis also usedas the baseoil
into which other oils are extractedor blended.It is a very goodbasebecause
it evaporatesvery slowly and doesnot spoilover time. In fact, agedsandalwood is better than fresh.
Sandalwoodis recommended
wheneverseriousmeditationand soiritual
practicesare being undertaken,becauseit is quieting to all of the egotisms
of the body, especiallythose relating to sexualenergies.
It was reported in the Hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)was
particularly fond of musk oil. True musk oil is derived from the sexual
glandsof a kind of deer,found only in remoteregionsof the world. Musk is
hot and dry. Somepeoplerefuse to use it becausethey objectto using any
animal substance,for anything. Musk, however,doeshave a definiteplace
in medicine,particularlyin healingheart and sexualproblems.
Roseis cold and dry in the seconddegree.There are perhapsthreehundred
different speciesof rosesusedin aromatherapy.The finest is saidby some
to be the attar of Bulgarianrose,which retailsat about $3SOper ounce.Few
peoplestock it. Others considerthat some of the first-pressingrose oils
from India are superiorevento the Bulgarianrose.Their priceis Jout $450
per pound in India. It requires almost 60,000 pounds of rose petals to
produceone kilogram (Z.Zpounds)of first-pressingrose oil.
The Indiansreportedlydiscoveredroseoil at the time of the weddingof
Shah fehan, the one who built the Taj Mahal and Shalimargardensas a
testamentof his unyieldinglove for his wife, Noor Jehan.For the wedding
day, the emperorhad filled the moat surroundinghis castlewith rosewater,
over which the weddingguestswere to be ferried.As the sun beatdown its
heat on the rose water, it causeda natural distillationof the oil, which
separatedoff and floated on top of the rose pond. This was skimmedoff,
and the Indianshave excelledat producingrose oil ever since.
The roseis the most superiorof all scentsin the floral realm.Roseworks
simultaneouslyon the physical,emotional,and spiritual bodies,purifying
and uplifting all three. It is the least toxic oil. One can make a delicious
summer drink by addingone drop of rose oil to a gallonof water. Shakeit
ll8 I Ttu Bookof SufiHwling
up, and then take onedropof that liquid and add it to another fresh gallon of
water. The resulting mixture is highly refreshing. This single drop still
carries the power to scent the water, even though it has been diluted almost
a million times.
is coldanddry. The flowersof jasminearecold,but theessential
is heating. This is an important consideration: that not all substanceswork
in the same way in all forms, just as water and ice are chemically the same
but quite different in their effects. It is also true that flowers and their oils
do not work the same way in humans as they do in animals:what is heating
to a human may be cooling to a fish. This fact makes random experiments
on animals a questionablepracticeat best.Jasmineis the scent favored by the
shaykhs of the famous whirling mystic dancersof Turkey. Its specialquality
is its unparalleled ability to uplift the mood and lessen mental depression.
Hina (pronounced huna) is the oil extracted from the flowers of the henna
plant. Hina is very difficult to obtain in the United States. It is considered
one of the finest and most refined oils in the world, and its price reflects
that. In India, a dram of first-quality hina oil (about a teaspoon)costs about
$100. This is becauseit is usually aged over a long time, and improves with
aging. I have seen cataloguesadvertising it for as much as $1,ooo a pound.
But one can obtain various hina oils that are blended,thus bringing the price
into reach of the average person.
The curious thing about hina (and some of the other oils as well) is that
the liking for its fragrance is an acquired one: many people on first srnelling
it find it repulsive.
The rare and costly oil known as cfrd is taken from the wood of the
aloeswoodtree. The best cird comesfrom India. Its cost can be as high as
$8oo per dram. However,thosefamiliarwith its effectsdo not find the price
a consideration.
It could be statedthat cid is enioyedonly by thoseof the higher evoluof
tions of the soul;indeed,its applicationis usuallyrestrictedto imbalances
the last three stations.
fannat al-Fardaws
Although a blend,jannat al-fardawsis very popularamong the Sufis.It is
said that a Sufi tattir, or perfumer, one day entered the Fardaws-the
Highest Heaven-in his mysticalexertions.Once there, he experienceda
particular fragrance.Upon recoveringhis normal state of mind, he reproducedthis fragrance,thus the name:Gateway to the Highest Heaven.
The Soslof thc Rts I 179
The most commonmethodof usingessentialoils amongthe Sufisis to rub a
smallamount of oil over the extendedright hand, palmsdown. This is the
etiquetteof receivingan oil offeredby a shaykh.Then the oil is rubbedover
the beardor chin, acrossthe front of the shirt, and onto the wrists.
A secondmethod of applying the oil, particulariy when a mental or
emotionalconditionis beingtreated,is the following.Put one or two drops
of the oil onto a pieceof cotton about the sizeof the end of a cotton swab
stick (do not use the stick,however).Then insert the cotton wad into the
ridgelike ledge of the ear, lust above the ear opening (notinsidetheear).The
illustrationshowsthe correctplacementof the oil. This must be donein the
rightear,not the left. In the right ear, at this point of placement,five cranial
nervescometogetherto form a nervemass,or ganglia.This is an important
point in other systemsof medicineas well, such as Chineseacupuncture,
where it is calledsfterwen,one of the important life-regulatingpoints.
Now that we understandsomethingabout oils,we can assignthe oils to
be usedin eachof the stagesof the soul'sevolution-the stagesof egotism,
heart, soul, divine secrets,proximity, and union. Eachof the stations,their
imbalances,and resultingconditionsare given in the next section,with the
proper oil to be used for each
Some readers may wonder why I do not suggest applying the oils
internally for physicaldiseases.Although there is a scienceof utilizing
attars and essentialoils in this way, I presentherethe applications
which are
intendedto affect the emotionaland spiritualcentersbecausethat is where
the diseaseconditions originate.Another book presenting the applicationsof
oils for physicalconditionsis in preparation.
Generallyspeaking,the oils may be simply smelledfor effectin all of the
stationsof the soul and their imbalances.
However,one will find them also
effectivewhen addedto massageoils and rubbed over the entire body, in
the stationsof egotism and the heart. The other stationsrequire simply
inhalationof the fragrance.
Applying oil dropson coltonlo e .
' Yo r
. " to r€ ' ,
. - ' t Xt s 19'
r22 I ThcBmkof SufiHeding
It should be rememberedthat the intended result is not to attack a
disease,but rather to createan irresistibleinvitationof kindnessand sweetnessto the next stageof evolution.
The final thing to remember is that when working with emotions and
spiritualactions,the resultsare in accordwith nature;that is, they work in
conformity with the body's own healing energies,and not abruptly. As a
great Sufi oncesaid,"Patienceis the key to joy."
The Univerce
of the Breath
Anit rememr*r whcn thy Lard said unto
thc angels:
Lol I am creatin| a mortot
out o.f poa'!r" cla! oJ black mud ahered,
So, when I have made him
dnd hare bnathed into him o! My
rpirit . . .
Qgtbn I 5:28-29
The Qur'anic verse above reveals in a very condensedform the-entire
mystic relationshiPbetween Cod and Hir human creation He saysthat He
mide the human beinS out of the elementsand then breathedIife into the
body, The Qur'anic words used here are significant.
AUah usesthe word nnlnsfor His own breath, and He usesthe word rnl
for His own soul. These same wotds are used to mean the human breath
and human soul-confirming the fact that we are oriSinally from Allah, of
Allah, for Allah, and in the end will return to Allah
Of all of the physical realities that have a bearing upon health, that
which is least oftin consideredin medicineand healing is the breath The
breath has the following important relations with health:
1. lt is the agent upon which the divine permission (idln) is borne'
2. Breath i9 responsiblefor conveying the divine attributes from the
heart to the various centers of the mind, body, and soul
3. Breath creates the equilibrium and harmony of the temPeraments
of the body.
4. Breath cat;ies life_supPortingelementsfrom the exterior of the body
to the interior physiological[unctions
12a I The Bookof S'1f Hetling
Breathis not synonymous
with air,norwith oxygen.Breathisthatwhich
emergesfrom the divine origin and has as its essencethe temperamentof
the celestialrealms.Breath is a luminous substance,a ray of light; breath is
the life force of God Himself!
Breath is the regulator of joy, sadness,delight, anger,iealousy,and other
emotions.Both the quantity and quality of breath have a definite and direct
effect upon human health. This i9 so becausevarious physical events can
alter or in a sensecover over the divine essencethat is being conveyedon
the breath. Industrial pollutants,alcoholicbeverages,and various foodscan
all interminglewith the breathand disturbits intendedpurity of action.
All of these actionsare changedby age,climate,and habits.An example
will make this clear. When one experiencesgreat depression,there is a
weakening of the natural powers and a concentrationof the breath. This
concentrationcaugesa violent aggregationof the breath,which consequently
obliteratespart of the natural heat and givesrise to an imbalanceofcoldness.
Depending upon how prolonged the depressionis, the cold imbalancecan
extend into one or many organs of the body, thus producing varying
degreesof disease.
with Sreatand impendThe emotionsof dreadand the effectsassociated
in the
ing dangeralsodissipate
the naturalheat.Angerwill causean increase
the diseases
amountof yellowbileessence
created.If the angeris sustained,
aseociatedwith excessyellow bile will occur.
Therefore, medicinesmust be chosenfor their effect on the breath and
its temperament(or its alteredtemperament).
This is why compoundmedicines are frequently used, to balancenot only the phygicalsymptomsbut
and the
also the underlyingtemperamentsof the physiological
of the breath.
in the form of attars,areso effectivein
This is alsowhy flower essences,
producingcures.It is vitalthat they be givenat the sametime as medicines
that strictlyaffectthe physicalsymptoms.Flowershavethe Sreatest
to rebalance
the breathand the internalessentialtemperaments.
The breath is the nexu6betweenour Creator and ourselves.The healing
methodsof the Sufis have placedmore importanceupon the breath than on
any other factorof life.
In February 1979,I receiveda letter from my old friend Yunus Maharal,
the headof the familieswho attendto the daryalof our Chishtiheadquarterg
at Ajmer. "Man doesnot come to earth to stay forever," he wrote, My heart
was pounding,knowing what was to follow. "HazratMaulana Sufi Darveesh
Wahiduddin Begg completedhis breathing practiceson the 12th of Rabicac
al-Awwal,e.n 1400.It was an aurpicioustime, just after sunset.The day
was more auspiciousstill: it was the birthday of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.).
Although there were many feelings I expeliencedin associationwith the
passingof my shaykh (mayAllah coverhim with mercy),I was struck by the
unique view Yunus Maharaj had expressedto mer that life, consideredfrom
Th. uniw?r.ol th. Bftatt l12s
its beginningto end, is one continuousget of breathint Practices.This is the
view of the Sufis.
The Holy Qur'an, in addition to all else that it may be, is a set of
breathinSpractices.In fact, the very first commandof Almighty God was to
recite the Qur'an. The first versesthat were revealedby Gabriel to Prophet
were as follows;
lqra' bisrniRabbikalladhikhalaq
insinamin calaq
lqra'wa Rabbukal-Akram
'Allamalinsanami lam yaclam.
Recite!ln the nameof Thv Lord
Who createthman from a dropof sensitized
R€citelAnd thy Lord is Most Bounteous,
Who teachethby the pen
Teachethmanthat whichhe kn€w not
The Arabic word i4ra'is lendered here as "recite" becauseit meansto read
from some book, from actual letters. Now, the Prophet (s.a.wg.) was an
Ilrnfli, an unletteredone who could not read or write, so the command
seemedpuzzlinS,even terrifyinS, to him at the time But the Holy ProPhet
was ableto memorizeeachof the versesas it cameto him, and
thus could "read" it from his memory, althouth actual physical written
copieswere producedduring the lifetimeof Muhammad(s.a.w.s.)
One of the Companionsof the Prophet related this comment by Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)on the value of reciting the Qur'an: "Recitint the Qur'an
out of memory catries one thousand degrees of religious merit, while
reading the Qur'an from the Book itself increaseslthe merit] up to two
Thg benefits and effects of Eading the Qulan are like a seed that
eventually 6ends out twi8s, branches,loots, and leaves of 6ustenancein
every dircction. The Hadith state: "Whoever reads the Qu/an and acts
upo; what is contalnedin it, his Parentswill be made to wear a down
on the Day of Judgm€nt, the brilliance of which wil exceedthat of the
sun, if it were brought down into your houses." So, if that is the r€ward
for the palents, what do you think is the leward fo! the Pe$on who
acts upo! it him6€lJ?
The most important considerationregarding the Qur'an is that Allah
statesin the Book that it is not of human origin; it consistsof the actualpreeternal, uncreated speechof Allah Himself As such, no other book exists
which carries the degreeof pedection and balancein its words. Even the
most disinterestedobserver cannot fail to be impressedupon hearing the
Qur'an recited. lt is of surpassingbeauty, melody, and majesty.
Another important point about the Qur'an is that within the first seven
a26 I Th. B@k ol Saf H.alins
lines, virtually all of the sounds that occur in Arabic are uttered. One of
theseletters is grdyfl,which when uttered caugesa kind ofgrowlinS, Suttural
sound in the backof th€ throat. Eachletter sets off a vibratory pattern that
travels in a specificdirection,lasts a specificduration, and producesspecific
physical, mental, and spiritual effects. The sound of the letter 3/rayn(and
also kli', rayr, and others) is usually not madein the English language.This
means that the effects associatedwith such letters are not felt unlessone
recites the Arabic. It is a bit curious that most of the sounds that occur in
Arabic and not in English are associatedwith the sounds of choking in
Even more important, the various combinations of vowels and consonantscombineto stimulate and dispersethe divine attributes throughout
the bodyof the reciterin perfectmeasure.One of the attributesis al-Chofnr
(the Forgiver),which containsthe letter grayn.One who never recitesthis
letter is deprivedof the fr.rllmeasureof forgivenessin his or her own soul.
There are three basicvowel soundsin Arabic: the letters fllil, Dnrr,and rA'.
Name of Vo ,€l Sound
a as t^ fsthtr
i as in machine
, as i^ lou
All languagesutilize these three basiclong vowel sounds,and they can be
thought of as universalharmonicconstants,utterednot only by humans,
but by every being in Creation,Once one has becomeattuned to these
sounds,one can listenin on the conversations
of all of nature!
The vibrationsof these three soundshave differenteffects,The long
vowelsoundof i travelsdownwardand stimulatesthe heart,the repository
of divine attributes.The long i travelsupward and stimulatesthe pineal
gland, which is not fully understood by Western science,but is felt to be
for activationof the life forces.And the long soundof i !esonates on the outer rim of the pursed lips, and intermingleswith the i.lfinof
Allah, as His permissionfor our livesuniteswith our inhaledand exhaled
These soundsare not particularly sunt or spoken,but are expless€din a
specialrecitation, which is achievedcorrectly after some time of readinS
from the Qurhn. ln time, these soundsresonatetheir essencein the tone
box of the soul. This may seema vaguemanner of expresringsuch things,
but until and unlessone experiences
it, suchdescriptions
must suffice,
In addition to the foregoing considerationsof sound and breath, the
Qur'an containsyet another unique feature that transforms it into a full set
of bleathing practices.
ol tralrcloJlhe
thepoifll ol origiflafld direcliotl
ihou ahows
The illustralion
Appearing as punctuation marks in most editions of the Holy Qur'an
(although not in editions for native Arabic speakers,who already know
them) are various marks in the text. One set of thesemarkinSsi9 calleduaqf,
which means "pause"and indicateswhere the reciter must stop and take a
full breath. The main udqlmarl is a smallcircle,as shor/n by an arrow in the
followine line:
a26 I Th. Bookol Stlt H.elint
Mah Waqf Ma*s in Satutal-Fdtihth
As an example,in Sirat al-Fetibah,which opensthe Qur'an, there are seven
of these marls, placedafter each of the sevenayals,or verses One who is
reciting at the elementarystagesn!51gtop wheneve! cominS to this mark.
This pause forces each line to be of a specifiedlength, which is the same
length as it appearedin the original form revealed to the Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w.s.).
However, realizint that somepersonghavegreate! caPacitythan others,
Allah hasallowedseveralforms of recitationof the Qur'an, eachappropriate
to a different capacityfor breath and spiritual evolution. Thus, additional
marks occur, allowing severaloI lhe avaLto be recited without the main
pauses.Thus, the lentth of time of recitation may be as short ae a few
secondsor as long as two minutes,
The correct gevenmain breath pau3esfor the opening sira, are reproducedin the accompanyingillustration. Anyone who is learning the Qur2n
does so by initially following these main breath pauses.
The sEns inside the circlesindicate the numb$ of the 4yaf,The 6a!ks above
the ctcles designatewhich of the stops ale cornpulsory to obey and which can
be gone past. The sign ot latn"olil( I ) meansthat to stop is necessatt although
it canbe optional. When encounteringthis sign, one may continue on past all l4ltalfs, until one affives at the sign of lt ( l. ), which marks the compulsory
Th. Unl,.ttr ol th. Bt.alhI 129
gtop for the second level of reciting Another mode of reciting allows
pr.i the 4i as well, stopping only when the sign '*! i-.l ,'
over the circle Thus, one may recitethe entire 5urat al-!arlr'!an
usingsevenb.eaths,threebreaths,or onebreath ln someof the dyals'these
;;;;lh ou""t allow for recitationslastingalmost two full minutes lt
to hear the Qur'an recitedin thrs
are additional levels of recitation which involve
proionging the breathsand focus upon certain vowels and consonants'One
masteryof the.m-odes
requireyealsto attaincomPlete
would of necessity
recitinBthe Holy Qur'an Personsattainint this.maslery
have committed the entire Qur'an to memory by this stage'
For the Sufi aspirant, the fiist requirement is knowledSeof the correct
of ecstasy
modegof recitinSihe versesof the Holy Qur'an The ascensions
producedtherebycanonly be imaginedThere
*hil" eng"gedin listeningto a recrtation
the Holy Qur'an. ShaykhBayazidBistami
tne call
that it waethe Ereatestmysteryto
to prayer did not die from it
not every Person,particularlya novice' can achievefull
recitationof the Qur'an within a short time ln order to accelerate
of tft" Qurin-in its
reeortto useof the divinenames,whrchcondenseand compressthe elfects
into a brief sPace
-' lonserrecitations
step off into the realm of the divine realities'where
ii i. i"* tf,ut
only true and great faith will sustainone'
The Merciful
We send dowD stage by stage in the
.l'r'an tlut which is a healing and
a mercy to those who believe. . .
The Sufis use four things in their treatment of diseases:prayers, medicines,
practicing certain things, and giving certain things up.
The practicing and giving up of certain things derive from the primary
religious iniunctions of the Holy Qur'an. They include abstaining from pork
and alcohol, performing daily prayers, cleansing the body by ablutions, and
many other things. The use of medicines (including foods and herbs) has
been noted as acceptable,and even encouraged,by the Prophet Muhammad
(s.a.w.s.).Although all of these actions are necessary,even compulsory, for
health, the Sufis consider prayer to be the most superior kind of medicine.
In addition to the various prayers that the Sufis perform daily, they have
knowledge of specific verses of the Qur'an, and the names of various
attributes of God, which are combined in particular ways to effect cures.
This form of healing is called the science of tacnidh.The word is derived from
the verb tidha, "to flee to God for rgfuge."
The science of tstwidh combines all the aspects of prayer, breath, and
sound. The procedures involved in making these formulations may become
complex. The reason these formulas work will be taken up in Chapter 14,
"The Origin of Miracles." But the actual mechanicsof making farzridlrcan be
demonstrated to some extent.
In the writing and utilizing of the sacred tacwidh,numbers often form a
central part of the finished tncwitlh.To the casual observer, these numbers
seem somewhat incomprehensible, without any sequential or other significance.
82 I ThcBlr,kol Stfi Huling
Name and
bg: b
Name and
4A: .Z
ld: t
thi: th
la: I
cql: d
ral: K
dhdl: dh
fa: f
mtm: m
z c :z
stn: s
s.idt q
flun: n
h6: h
oa@: w
To'widh: The Merciful Pftsciptions I l,g3
Affiliatedwith the Arabicalphabetis an elaboratesystemof numerology
through which each letter is assigneda numerical value, thus making
possiblethe expressionof any written statementby a corresponding
or set of numbers. This scienceis calledabiad.The use of numbers has
severalpracticalreasons.Often the verse of the Qur2n intendedfor use
may be so long as to precludeits being written out entirely in longhand.
Second,there may not be time to write it out, if a formulation is needed
within minutes rather than hours or days.A third reasonis that, although
the Sufis disseminatetheir healingmissionsamongall humankindwithout
distinctionsof any kind, the actual text or letters of the Qur'an have a
specialsanctityand deservespecialforms of careand respect.This beingthe
case,one who does not know the specialmodesof respectingthe Qur'an
should not be allowed contact with it. In such cases.numbers can be
substituted for the actual versesof the Qur'an without concern for the
possibilityof lossof or damageto the divine verses.
Thus, the Qur'anic verse BismiLldh ir-Raftman,
ir-Rafulnmay be expressed
as the number 786.The name Allah is representedby the number 66. The
assiSnationof valuesto eachletter is accordingto the accompanying
There are severalways in which these letters may be representedin
transliteration,dependingon the original language,whether Arabic,Turkish, Persian,or whatever.The number valuesare the same,regardlessof
the symbolsusedfor transliteration.
Applying the valuesfor eachindividualletter above,we can now compute the number of Allah as 66 by the method illustratedon the following
It should be noted that somevowel sounds(atftnh,kaqrah,
are nol
written in Arabic script,but are soundedwhen recited.Thesevowel sounds
are not computedin the numericalvalues.
In the realmof healing,someof the full Qur'anicversesare written out
in number form, as are some of the divine attributes.For example,Sfirat
al-Fatifrahis representedby the numericalchart below:
2340 -
Clearly understand that it is not the piece of paper or numbers or
symbolsthat do any healing.Such a conceptis as erroneousas it is dangerous,for it underminesthe exclusiveness
of God. lt is Allah the Almighty
alonewho has conceived,designed,and madetheseformulationsavailable,
and it is by His Permissionalonethat they have effect in human affairs.
734 I The Bookol Sufi Heqling
AJJI !ul"i!'fi'1"*l:#*'o
The number for BismiLlith ir-Rahman,ir-Rallimis computed as follows:
The totals:
Bismt2+ 60+ 40= lo2
MiM siN
A llnh:1-t30 + 3 0 + 5 = 6 6
ir-Rafumdn1 + 30 + 200+ 8 + 40 + 50
: 329
ir-Ralpm 1 + 30 + 2oo + 8 + 10 + 40
= 289
T o ta l :
The formulationsare constructedin severalways: they may be written
on a pieceof paper, voicedas a silent prayer, spokenaloud as a Prayer,
written on glassand the ink washedoff and drunk as medicine,affixed to
some part of the body, or buried in the ground, among other methods.
Sometimesthey are recitedwithin the shaykhand dispersedon his breath,
whence,upon arriving as a vibratory pattern on the breath of the patient,
they have their effect.
As many as severalthousandof theseformulasare in use,and one must
receive specialtraining in the methods of writing and preparing them
coruectly.This specialtraining would include,besidesknowledgeof Arabic,
a solidgroundingin the externalteachingsof the Holy Qur'an,the identities
of the angelicservantswhose duties are particularto healing,the proper
times of prayer, and, of course,an ability to correctly diagnosethe root
T{widh: fic Medful Pretcdttiont I t3S
causeof the diseaseon the spiritual realm so that the remedywill haveits
Not all shaykhspossessthe sameknowledge,Somespecializein one or
severaldiseaseconditions,suchas jaundice,blindness,insanity,or others.A
patient may go to one shaykh for Buidanceand then be referredby him to
another shaykh,one who has the requisiteformulasto heal the person.
The shaykh writing out tactDidh
must be very pious,devoidof miterialistic
intent. The writer must also be maintainedin the state of purity, or wuflu.
The formulasare written in Indiaink, and sometimeswith vegetableinks of
red or green color. Once the tatwidhis prepared,it is placedinsidea metal,
cloth, or leathercontainerand worn on somepart of the bodv. Someof the
ta(widhare for a limited time, while others are worn for years.Once their
effect is achieved,they must be buried in a safeplace.
Becausemany phyiicaldiseases
havetheir origin in emotionalimbalances
or conditions affecting life-style, the tacwidhcover a very wide range of
For example,if a man is sickbecauseof worry over debts,the
healerwould provide the patient with a tatwrdhthat would increaselivelihood, which is the causeof the disease,in the end. Tacwidhalsoexist for
improvingcrop output and honeyproductionof bees,to avert calamities,
annul the plots of enemies,for virtually any disease,
and for satisfactionin
The following pagesreproducesomeauthentic taruidl formulas from the
and ChishtiyyahSufis in Afghanistan.(lt is not permitted
to reveal all of the existing tacwidhor to make the effects availableto the
generalpeople,lest someonemisusethem.)
136 I ThcBookol 9ufi Hcditg
TAcWIDH: The Merciful Prescriptions
TtlL. rttu-'al t .
' u tU 'ajjtt,
affectingentirehead.Worn aroundneck.
For headache
i,( i t * it* 1q i,(
-r' I
Y -.1
=. P
/tlL ,&l!
,rbrt&t! htt
For babieswith measles.Worn on throst.
f rPtl
ir ;t\
For eyepain. Platedooeraflectedeye.
-go t- -rbU
*u _*u
_*u_Pa _*u
-*u _*a -g.bu -rbU
Foreoileyeor jinns. Worn on theouterclothing.
,to 6b /b
alo tb 6b 6 b
6lo 6Lo 6lo 6le
6le 6lo 6l,o 6lo
llp 6[o 6lo 6to
6b /b
6b 6(o 6(o
6b 6 b 6b
6 b 6lo 6(o
6b 6 @ 6b
Wrilten in oegelable
ink, washedoff, and drunk.
For womenwho cannotconceioe.
L Al
i? (2
7r * L
Lttti 7t2
ett L-
? t*L
For inflamedeyes.Written on a s nrly day. Worn sround throat.
,l ? *L
'tt v
t Ltt!
rf QtL-
r a+! 1 t t l
t ?:tL
I u:t tr U4! ta U,tL- 6 att
fi A4L. r O+! v UtL r Utl
L r*
legitimategooddeeds,unknownand incurablediseases.
For ulamities, disasters,
Written on a Friday. Wort aroundneck.
Tacriulh: The Mcrciltl Prc*ilfio.s
I 139
t)$+tSYrttto/,lv'l )t-tsY')!
t {,tr"'J{tt-
I rllln||
I I | | || r'rI
l',t I ll||
| |
rl l |
A pagelrom a bookof tatwldh illustrating seDefldift'elenttacwidhfor physicaldisenses
r4o I Th. Bookof Srfi Hccling
Let us now turn to the most concentrated and condensed healing formula
that exists, the Divine Remembrance, the Celestial Conversation, the Favorite of Allah and the lifeblood and life breath of the Sufis: dfriLr.
Al-fiamilu li-Lldh illeilhi tawd{ a k lu shay'in li'cazmatihi.
Wal-fiamilu li-Llah iileilhi dhalle kullu shay'in li-ciz.zatihi.
W -f;amdu li-Llsh illadht khedacahullu shay'in li'nilkihi'
Wal-f;amilu li-Ll6h illailht astaslamakullu shey'in li-qdmtih.
All praise is due to Allah,
before Whose grii,rdeur everything is humbled.
All praise is due to Allah,
before Whose greatnesseverything is subdueo.
All praise is due to Allah,
before Whose dominion everything is abased.
All praise is due to Allah,
before Whose strength
everything surrenders.
Dhikr: Divine
And men who temember Allah much
and women who remember Allah much,
Allah In rt prepred Jor themJorgivenes
and a vast rcwatd.
Ql,r'an 33:jS
The intimate relationshipbetweenthe Sufi and Allah is containedin the
memorable verse from the Qur'an: "If you remember Me, I will remember
you" (2:1,52).
This form of mutual attractionand devotionbespeaksan ulterior form
of love which says,in effect, I will relinquishevery aspectof my own self
and devote myself wholeheartedly and absolutely exclusively to Your
pleasure.At any rate, this is the conditionin which the Sufi findshimself.
The word used to mean this exclusiveand intimate dwelling upon, is
dlikr (sometimestransliteratedas zilr). Allah has frequentlyusedthis term
when revealingthe superiorforms of worship:
thy Lordmuch,andpraiseHim in the earlyhours
of the night and rnorning.(3:41)
After you have performed the act of worship lsalill, remember
Allah standing,sitting, and lying down. (l:103)
Lo! Even I am Allah. There is no glod
Me. So serve Me and
establishworship for My remembrance.
But verily, remembranceof Allah is more important. (29:45)
O ye who believe!RememberAllah with much remembrance.
There are dozens more verses in the Holy Qurhn that contain similar
testaments to the exalted position in which Allah holds the dhikr.
ofStfi Heeling
ttz I TheBook
Of course,remembrancein one sensesimply could mean any kind of
formal thought processalighting upon Allah or His attributes' However,
men and wJmen of piety approachedthe Prophet Muhammad (s a'w s')
and askedfor a clarificationof the term
after theseu"rr", *"i" descended
It is reported in the pure Hadith that the Prophet (s'a.ws') said:"U
itahaillaLlaiu is the most excellentof all forms of remembranceof Allah the
Almighty." He is also reported to have said that the end of the world will
not airive so long as there is one personleft alive reciting ll ilahailld lJnhu'
One of the great shaykhshas sai4:"The ecstasyproducedin the heart of
the dervishesin their dlritris a kind of turbulence,which is the causeof the
wavesfoaming and breakingupon the shore."
The prophlt Moses (a.s) was told by Allah that dhikr is the most preferred of specialprayers.Becauseof its ability to inculcatedeepsincerityin
the heart of u b"li"tt"., U ilnhs ill| Llihu is also termed the Purification of
This sacred formula is also called the Key to Paradise, becausethe
statedin one of his sermonsthat the gatesof
heaien would open for anyonewho recitedit even once in a lifetime with
true sincerity.The word "gates" in the plural was usedbecausethere are
many gatesin heaven,and this formula is the key to all of them.
tn short, there is nothing greaterin the sight of Allah than this remembranceof Him, exaltedis He: Li ilnhailld Llnhu'
One may conductthis remembrancein thought or word and at any time'
practicesfor this,
However, the Sufis have evolvedcertaincongregational
which have come to mean the sitting in the circleof dhikr'll is perhapsthis
practicethat has gainedmore attentionthan all other activitiesof the Sufis
in various parts of the world.
gavean accountof what transpiresin the congreThe Prophet(s.a.w.s.)
gation of dhikr.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)has said that a Sroup of angelsis given a
specialduty by ell"h to perform a patrol of the entire earth, looking for
of Allah the Almighty, chantingHis
tirosewho are engagedin remembrance
are discovered,the angelsare so amazedand
name.When such assemblies
pleasedthat they call more angelsto join them and, placing their wings
iogetherin embrice,they makea columnthat reachesup into the Heavens'
When the assemblyof dhikrhas ended,theseangelsreturn to Heaven,
and Atlah asks them where they have been. (Even though He is already
aware of what has transpired,He is pleasedto hear of it.)
The angelstell Him that they are returning from an assemblyof persons
engagedin remembranceof Him and that they were glorifyingand praising
Hi;. AUah asks the angels,"Have they seenMe?" The angelsreply, "No,
Lord, they havenot." Allah the Almighty then asksthe angels,"What would
Dhifu: Dbinc Raacmb'l;a,tr I 1.43
those people think if they had seen Me?" The angels reply that in such a
case,they would have been engagingthemselveseven more in His worship.
"What do they ask of Me?" Allah the Almighty then asks..'They long for
Your Paradise,"the angels respond. "Have they seen My Paradise?,'Allah
agk?."No, they have not seenit," the angelsrespond."What would happen
if they had seen it?" Allah inquires of the angels.,.They would lon!-for
it all the more," is their reply.
Then Allah the Almighty asks the angels,"From what were the people
seekingprotection?"The angelsinform Him that the peoplewere seeking
protection from the hell. "Have they seen My hell?" Allah inquires. ,,No,
Lord, they have not," the angelsreply. "What if they had seenMy hell?,'
AIlah the Almighty asksof the angels,who reply that the peoplewould have
even more sought refuge and protection from it.
Then Allah the Almighty commandseachof the angelspresentthat He
has forgiven all of those who were engagedin remembranceof Him. One
angel says to Allah, "But Lord, there was one among them who only
accidentallysat down and did not belongthere" (that is, he was insincere).
Allah the Almighty replies,"Even that one have I forgiven, so exaltedis the
assemblythat even one on the edgeis not deprivedof My reward."
The dhikr assemblytakes many forms and is calleddhiir-fualqah,
simply dhikr. Each Sufi order may have its particular form and sequenceof
performing the dhikr,but these differences are so minor as to be inconsequential. The dhikrceremony of the Chishti is composedof four parts,
each Iasting approximately one hour, although the shaykh pr"r"r,i
extend the ceremony to five or more hours, dependingupon the stations
thosepresent.Pir SyedDaoud Iqbali,leaderof the Naqshbandiyyah
Afghanistan, once remarked that any dhikr that lasts less than lour or five
hours is lust "fooling around."
For anyoneseriouslyinterestedin deriving the ultimate benefitsof the
Sufi dhibr,a true shaykh (or murshid)is an absolutenecessity.As the one of
the great Sufis commented:"He who hasno shavkhand followshimselfhas
taken satanas his guide."
Furthermore,Allah has warned us in the Qur'an that one who has no
marslidbecomestotally lost.
Generally, the dhilcr ceremony is held on Thursday evenin& which the
Sufis consider the beginning of Fridan the day of community prayers in
Islam. Usually the dervishes will arrive for dinner or shortly thereafter and
pray the final night prayer (cishd)together. Then they await the signal from
the shaykh to begin.
The seated dervishes form a circle, and the shaykh begins by reciting
praisesupon the ProphetMuhammad(s.a.w.s.)
and variousother supplications. Then the sacredformula of Ln ilnhailli llAhtlis intoned. This recitation
follows the lead proposed by the shaykh. It may be swift or slow, loud or
144 I ThcBook ol Stfi Heding
soft. In any event,the real objectof the dftikr-intenseas it may be-is not
to get "high" or to becomedisoriented;rather, it is to ascendthe ladderof
stationsof the soul, so that one may arrive ai the Thresholdand attain a
glimpseof the Divine. When this happens(which is by no meansuniformly
achieved),the personmay fall into a state of arajl (ecstasy).As a mark of
respect,all presentrise until this conditiondepartsthe dervish.
The shaykhsignalsthe end of one phaseof the dlitr and the beginningof
the next. In the Chishtiyyah, the initial phase of the tlhikr consistsof
recitationof Ii iliha illaLlahu,with a breathbreakat a particularplace'The
second,third, and fourth parts of thg tlhikrare composedof segmentsof
the sacredformula (illa llahil, nothing except Allalr;Allah, God; and Hi, the
One). Amendments to the dhikr may be made at the discretionof the
shaykh,by addingvariousof the divine attributes(€y'il)at variousplacesin
the dhikr.
After the term of the clhikr,longor short, the shaykh or other dervish
recites from the Holy Qur'an. There then follows extendedsupplications
his family and followers(may Allah
for the ProphetMuhammad (s.a.w.s.),
(a.s.),the piousancestorsin the
order, and others.
The posture and motions of the head are done in a specificmanner by
the Sufi orders and constitutesthe main differencesamong them.
In the Chishtiyyah Order, the dhikr is ordinarily accomplishedin the
following manner:
br ilAhaillALlihu:First one must haveablution.Beginin a sitting posture
as in prayer, the legs foldedunder the body. If the legs are crossedtailorstyle, the vein in the juncture of the left leg behind the knee must be
graspedwith the big toe. This posture dispelsevil insinuationsand also
dissolvesfat around the area of the heart, which is the abode of the
one of the forms of the Devil.
WhilJ reciting, the head is moved in the motion of an arc, starting
with the left cheek resting upon the left shoulder. The head is then
swung downward acrossthe chest, and a pause is made with the face
looking upward. This is done as Ld ilila is uttered. Then, as the syllableill
is voiced, the head is thrown rather forcefully downward in the direction
of the heart. The recitation concludesby raising the head again,looking
upwardas" Allihn" is said.Thesemotionsare summarizedin the accompanying illustrations.
There is no harm if one takes up this practicein moderation-a few
dozentimes-alone. However,the Sufishaveorganizedtheir studentsinto
the tariqats,
so that closesupervisioncan be maintainedover thoseperforming the variouspractices.Whenevermaking recitationof formulasto treat
disease,it is important that the number of recitationsend in zero (e.g.,SO,
60, 1OO,3OO).This is so becausethe desireis for the result to end with
Dhikr: DloineRcmcmbrsnce
I l4S
Initial head position,
Second position,
Third position,
Fourth position,
As blithe as peoplemay wish to be about taking up practiceson their
own, at the least severemental confusionscan result, and at the worst
deathshave occurred.
The reason the dhikr is so effective is that the long vowel soundsof the
words Li ilAha illA IJhhu are primarily resonating in the heart, causing a
l+6 I ThcBook
tremendousdisseminationof divine attributes in a very short time. Moreand condensedin a manner that Seneratesa
over, the breathis comPressed
high degreeof heat, which itself burns out many physicalimpuritiesin the
body. It is commonto seedervishesdrenchedin sweatat the conclusionof
the ceremony.
It is sometimespermitted to conduct short iirlitr ceremonieswithout
having a shaykh present.However, true dervishesalways prefer to have
or divine
one or more shaykhspresent,owing to the channelingof bnrsknh,
blessing,which only the shaykhscan accomplish.
I once attendeda rlhikrin the nortlrern part of Afghanistan.About forty
men were present.This particularSufi order hadconducteddfiikrceremonies
every Thursday evening for almost 1,200yearswithout one interruption.
Ma shn'Allnh.
As we were seatedand beginning the initial recitations,the shaykh
and a loud grinding and whooshingsoundroared
pausedfor a few seconds,
ihro..,gh the adobe room. As I looked up, I perceivedthat a cleft had
appearedin the far wall of the room, which sealedup in an instant.Later,at
tht end of the dhikr,the shaykh spent almost an hour reciting salamsof
greetingto all of the pious soulswho had slippedin through that cleft Yi
The shaykhs also adviseand conduct another form of remembrance,
which utilizes one or more of the ninety-nine divine attributes. These
ninety-nineattributesare reproducedin AppendixIII.
Not all of these attributes are used at all times. In the Chishtiyyah
Order, five of these attributes have specialsignificanceand power. The
specificattributesand the manner of utilizing them cannot be statedhere.
But to recite them in a particularmanner, so many times,will conveythe
following effects: (t) prevent any enemy from doing any harm to one;
(z) brlng any sum of money desired;(g)compeleveryoneto treat one with
kindnessand to do any helpful thing; (4) removeall anxiety from the heart;
and (s) end any disagreementor quarrelbetweentwo people.Suchpowers
clearlymust be guardedand preservedfrom falling into the handsof people
of bad intentions.
driven out from thosewho sat among
I have seenmany seriousdiseases
the circle of dhikr-and these people attempted no other treatment' The
nature of Allah is not one of limitation or sickness,and one who fills the
of Allah will find that all
mind and heart with thought and consciousness
things other than Allah are vanquished.
the following:drivesaway evil forcesand defeats
The dftikraccomplishes
attractslivelihood;makesthe personality
impressiveand prestigious;givesaccessto Allah the Almighty; revivesand
resuscitatesthe heart; banishesflaws and faults; savesthe speechfrom
gossipand backbiting;remediesall ailmentsof the heart; removesall fear
and fright from the heart; prohibitshypocrisy.
Dhibr DioincRcmembrsacc
I \47
Moreover, there exists one corner of the heart (and therefore certain
divine potentialities within) that is not opened except by dhikr.
Dhikr of Allah the Almighty is the touchstone of all mystical practicesof
all Sufi orders. When one arrives at the state of performance of dftikr,with
sincerity, one is at that famous stage when knowledge gleaned from books
is of no further use. Allowed to flourish and unfold, the dlritr leads one, as
He may decide, to the highest stages of human evolution, and one gains
accessto the origin of miracles.
The Origin of Miracles
But His command,
when He intendeth a thing,
is only tlnt He sith unto it:
k! and it is.
Qyr'an j6:82
A miracleis an event that happensoutsideof natural laws and beyondthe
ability of the human mind and reasonto explain it. There are two words
that mean "miracle" in Sufi healing,and the distinctionbetweenthem is
very important to understand.The first word is mutiizah,
which refersto an
intervention directly by God Himself in human and natural laws. The
secondword is kar|mah,which meansthe use of a human as agencyfor a
divine intervention.The distinctionmay seemsubtle.The muciizah
mav be
any action that no human has requestedor has any hand in its doing. For
example,the virgin conceptionby Mary, mothei of Jesus(a.s.),was a
nucjizahof Allah, exaltedis He. An exampleof akardmahwould be the raising
of the dead body by Hazrat Jesuson his own command. However, in &oll
cases,ii is actuallythe power of Allah that causesthesethings to occur.
Abdullah Yusuf Ali (may Allah be pleasedwith him), writing in his
commentaryon the Holy Qur'an, said:,,It is the privilegeof the men of
Allah to seethe sublimestmysteriesof the spiritualworld and instructmen
in righteousness;they warn and shield men againstevil. But nothing can
lesseneach soul's responsibility for its own deJs. Eachone carries hiJ fate
around his neck.Allah'sgifts are for alll but not all receivethe samegifts,
nor are all gifts of equaldignity or excellence.,,
speakingof the type of personwhom Allah
_ The Holy Prophet(s.a.w.s.),
favorswith thesemysteries,said:"Verily, Allah Most High hath a wine that
He prepared for His friends [awliyd'l;when they drink it they are purified,
and.when they are purified they becomenimble, and when they^become
nimble they soar,and when they soarthey reach,andwhen they reachthey
unite, and.when they unite they separate,and when they separaiethey pass
away, and when they pass away they abide,and when ihev abide ihev
of SufiHeding
lso I TheBook
becomekings; then they are in the Assemblyof Truth in the presenceof a
(r.a.)saysof man, "lf he but knew the
The venerableshaykh al-F.Iabib
secretof his mystery,he would sheda tearwith everybreathhe breathed'
Accountsof th" liu"t of Sufis are full of descriptionsof what we would
call miraculousexperiences-travelinto space,raising of the dead,healing
the sick and other phenomena.Of course,the most impressiveaccountis
the ascensioninto heavenby the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w's) During
that visit, he learnedmany divine mysteriesand met with the soulsof many
prophets and holy people, and he received instructions from Allah the
Almighty Himself.
Hazrat Ibn cArabi(r.a.),the great Sufi theologianof someeightcenturies
ago,reportedvisiting the moon and wrote out extensiveaccountsof characteristici of the environment to be found there-all of which was only
recentlyconfirmedby U.S. spaceexplorers.
When he was but a child of six yearsold, Hazrat Mawlana Rnmi (r'a )
terrified his playmatesby leapingup into the sky and disappearingfor an
afternoon,while he was taken on a tour of the zodiacalconstellations'
Suchaccountsmay seemphenomenal,but they haveoccurredwith such
that they cannot be discounted
frequencyand with io many eyewitnesses
simply becausescienceat Presentmay lack understandingof them.
tonslder the existenceof radio waves' For many thousandsof years
such waves have existed,but only in this century has man been able to
identify, measure,and use them. The divine realitiesextendfar beyondthe
capacityof the mind to view them, and humans can only glimpsethese
things when Allah allows it.
However, inTo the averageperson,miraclesseemincomprehensible.
wonder how
effable as miraclesare, they are real. One
or direct miracles of Allah, are not so difficult to underThe mucjizahs,
stand. When we realizethat God createdthe entire universeand a great
deal more, we should not falter in allowing any action to be within His
capacity.However,when we hear of humanseffectingsuchthings,we are
skeptical,Sufi or no! An analogyfrom our presentsocietymay cast some
light on this complexand unfathomablesubject.
We all usethe telephoneto reachacrossvast distances.By meansof this
rather simpledevice,we candiala numberof sevendigitsand reachanother
personin iny part of our city. By addingiust three more digits,we canreach
anyone in the country. And just a few more numbers expandsour reach to
the world. Peopledo this all the time. By using the telephonewith a
computer,the possibilitiesare greatly enlarged,and one can set in motion
vastiy complicaiedprocedures.For example,if one had the knowledgeof the
one could transfer millionsof dollarsfrom one
bank account to another,even accountsthousandsof miles away' Yet, if
vou Dresentedthe same fifteen-digit number to a person who did not
TheOriginofMiradcsI tll
possessthe correctaccesscode,nothing would happen.In a sense,what the
Sufi doesto instigatemiracles,is analogousto the computer'swork.
Allah the Almighty has said that the Qur'an is the Book of Guidance;
moreover,He has said that there nothing is left out of the Qur'an. This
claimmay seemoverdrawnto some,but it is true, on the authority of the
Lord of the Worlds.
The shaykhshave recountedthat eachverse,or ayal,of the Qur'an has
at ieast 18,000meanings.Obviously,the human mind cannot affix 18,OOO
meaningsto eachverse.What this meansis that there are in eachayala vast
number of meanings,which are perceivedon unseenand unknown levelsthe cellular,atomic,and subatomiclevels-in ways that presenttechnology
and insight cannotwitness or measure.
We have reviewed some of the considerationsof vowel sounds and
vibratory effectsin recitingthe Holy Qur'an. But eachletter of the Arabic
alphabetis assigneda relationshipbetweenthe divine realmand the human
world. The following list revealsthe correspondence
betweeneachletter of
the Arabic alphabetand the regionsof the hierarchyof the universe.
alif (a) = 1 = sl-Bdri': the Creator
be (b')= 2= al-caql:Intellect
iim (il = 3 = tn-nafs: Soul
dal (d) = 4 -- al-labi'th: Natve
he (ft) = 5 . fll-Bai'bil-iCafaft:Creator in relation to what is below Him
waw (o) = 6 = El-cAqlbil-idifah: lntellect in relation to what is below it
ze' Q) = 7 = an-nafsbil-i(Afdh:Soul in relation to what is below it
ha (t) = 8 = at-tabi'ahbil-idafah:Nature in relation to what is below it
te (t) = 9 = al-hayitli:Material world, having no relation to anything
below it
ya' tg) = lO = al-ibd|': Plan of the Creator
kaf (k) = 2O = at-talcwln:
Structuie transmitted to the createdrealm
lem (l) = 3O = al-amr:The Divine Commandment(kunfa-yakAn)
mlm (ra) = lO = sl-khalq:The created universe
niin (z) = 5O = al-wujitd:The twofold aspect of being
sin (s) = 50 = The doubledrelation betweenkhalsandtaktnin
cayn (c) = 70 -- nl-tafib:The chain of commandsbeing impressedupon the
r52 I ThcB&kol ilr.frHcal@
qfd (+) = 9o = The tripled relation between amr, khalq,a d takuin
qef (4) = 1.oo-- ijfimal al-jumlahfil-ibdn':The assemblyof all things in the
plan of the Creator
ri (r) = 200 = at-tawhid:Unity,the return of all things to the One, which
is their principle and reason for existence
By assigningthese cosmicvalues to each letter of the word z{llal, it can
now be stated that certain events are being activatedin the unseenrealms,
as follows:
A = The Creator (the absolute Owner of all existence)
L = The divine commandment
H = Creator in relation to what is below Him (the divine essence[dhit]
in relation to His manifestations['asna-'])
To say the word Qur'an sirnilarly invokes overtonesin the divine realms:
A = The Creator (the absolute Ownet of all existence)
L = The divine commandment
Q = The assemblyof all things in the plan of the Creator (the final code
covering and ordering all of eistence)
R = The retum of all things to the One (the divine purpose in creation)
A = Creator,Who by ordering sets in motion the foregoing Intention
N = The twofold aspectof being (the separationfrom the Creator: man
and God)
Thus, for the Sufi when the word Allah is spbken,a sequenceof stirrings
are ignited within the deepestrecessesof his mind and soul, which remind
(dh*r) the remembererof the One remembered.
The very essenceof the human being, when saying the word, Alldh, is
impressedin this manner: the Creator, the Absolute Lord and Master of all
existence,in sending a soul into human li[e, imbues the soul with an inherent
knowledge of and obedienceto the divine commandments.Theseexist and
are interwoven in an inexpressiblyrefined manner within the body/mind/
soul of the human being. Then the Creator issuesthe order to the soul to
inhabit a particular drop of sensitizedblood (ovum), and life begins. From
that moment, human life is nothing except a reflection of the Creator.
A similar soliloquy is suggestedwith the word Qur'an:The Book"al-Kitab.
Thc Origin ol Mbtclr
I l.5g
The Qur'an is the collection of the information of "all things in the plan of
the Creator." Allah has said that nothing hasbeen left out of the eur,ary and
that if all the tlees were pens and all the oceansink, and all of this doubled,
we could not write down the knowledge contained in the Qur'an,
With the utteranceof the first letter of the Qu1an, we are stirring within
the deepestparts of our mental and psychologicalworld. As we continue the
word maldng the sound of the letter rd, our souls are beckonedto the return
of all things to the One." As the first three letters ignite the unimaginably
immense totality of the Plan of the Creator and our purpose in human life,
the fourth lettet, aliJ,stirs again remembranceof the Creator, declaring the
reality of our presentsituation of duality, of separationand absenceof union
with our Lord. Indeed this is the eternalcondition of life. This is not an idea.
The scienceof Sufism is conducted within a closed society, an esoteric,
private Broup. The knowledge possessedby the Sufis is derived from the
deep immersions in the nature of existencereferred to above, Allah has
provided the"accesscodes" to utilize theseknowledgesto effect miracles on
the human plane.
Examples have been given of reciting a particular divine attribute a
particular number of timesf to prevent harm from one's enemy. Other codes
exist to utilize a great many tvats of the Qur'an. (The word ayat,incidentally,
meansboth "verse" and "miracle.") One Sufi practice createsan effect upon
the soul equal to performanceof salattor sevenhundred years.The practice
itself requiresonly about five secondsof recitation,Now, not everyonecould
endure such a practice. For some,it would be like giving a full syringe of
penicillin to a fly suffering from a cold!
By adding practicestogether,the effectsare extendedto a point that they
cannot be expressedeven using mathematicalabstractconcepts.Some Sufis
have accomplishedrecitations of these formulas running into the tens of
millions of times,
One of the problems of expressingconceptsof Sufi healing is that one
who may witness a healing, even a miraculous one, can perceive very little
going on. Someoneappearsbefore the shaykh,the shaykh seemsto mumble
something and blows a breath toward the patient, and the patient is healed
of a crippling disease.Yet one cannot witness the decadesof preparation
required for the shaykh to perform that act. It may have been that the shaykh
sat in seclusionfor thirty years,reciting a formula fifty million times, to be
able to heal that one person. And that healing may have been the shaykh's
main purpose in life.
Some people would like the Sufis to provide a list of diseasesand the
specific formulas that would miraculously cure them. However, it is not the
formula per se but the utilization of the formula by means of the agency of
the purified breath and soul of the shaykh that causesthe effects.The formulas by themselveswould be rather uselessto the lay person.
The human mind and body become clouded and covered over with
ls4 I TheBook
ofStfi Heallng
impurities,making the exerciseof true reasondifficult. In additionto these
impurities, the influence of various societaland familial indoctrinations
ultimately succeedin making a human being a mere shadowof the exalted
and maiesticbeing that the God the Most High granted as eachperson's
It requiresa vast and difficult blendof medicationsto cleansethe conditions of those in statesof imbalance.No two illnessesare exactlythe same,
so the remediesmust be formulated individually for each person, with
attention to harmonizing the treatments for body, mind, and soul. The
obiective of the Sufi shaykh, as physician, is not merely to relieve a person
of some physicalpain or inconvenience,
but to seea total reformation of
each persont life in accord with the Divine Blessingsand plan of the
Creator,exaltedis He.
Sufi Barkat Ali (may Allah grant him the choicestblessings,as many of
suchthingsasthere are)onceremarked:"Only heartscanimpartknowledge
about hearts.And this knowledgeis bestowed,not acquired."
Initially theseassertionsmay haveto be takenon faith. But anyonewho
caresto put them to the test will find that faith transformedinto belief,
tn sna ,nuQn.
The final chapters of this book present several practices that are highly
charged with divine grace and blessings.One of these practiceshas, as only
one of its effects, the protection against any diseasefor the day one performs
it. The second practice is known to cure any disease.
Ya Hayyul Ye Qeyyim!
The Keys
of the Treasures
of the Heavens
and the Earth
lf ye count theJavors of Allah,
Never will ye be able to number them,
Qtr'an 14:33
Some of the conceptsand idealsexpressedin the precedingpagesmay be
difficult for the novice to apply. However, the practice I shall present now
can be done easilyby anyoneand encompasses
all of the materialthat has
thus far. As far as I am aware,this is the first presentation
of this practiceof the Sufis to a generalaudiencein the West.
A prerequisitefor any Sufi healing formula to work is a particular
recitation.Therefore,the following professionis provided,which will open
the gates of the oceansof Mercy of Allah the Almighty, inshaAllah. The
formula is:
Li iliha illd Lldh;Muhammadun
This professionshouldbe recitedoncebeforeattemptingany Sufi practice,
lest malevolentforcesbe brought into play.It is alsowise to utter the verse
that sealsoff any satanicparticipation,as follows:
Acndhubi-Llahimin asli-shay!5n
If you are unacquaintedwith the Arabic language,readthe transliterations
carefullyand try and say the words as best as you can-and hope that you
have said it correctly.
Although there are thousandsof prayers,supplications,and practices
usedby the Sufis,severalareconsideredto be superior.Suchis the one here
presented,calledMaqaladas-Samawatiwal Ard, the Keys of the Treasures
of the Heavensand the Earth.Although it is specificto healing-conveying
protectionagainstany illnessfor the day it is recited-the benefitsattached
ts6 I ThcBook
to its recitationare not limited to physicalhealth,as one can glean for the
following accountfrom the Hadith:
It is ieported that cUthmin ibn cAffin, may Allah be pleasedwith him,
requestedfurther information about Allah's iniunction of the Keys of the
Treasuresof the Heavensand the Earth (mentionedseveraltimes in the
Qur'an). The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)said to him: "You have inquired of me
something which nobody has ever asked me before. The Keys of the
Treasuresof the Heavensand the Earth are as follows":
l t.? ..'
L ./(tttu
) !).t)eJt29!lgt-+''f
| /a
Y,t+ltY 6 uJIaj.ruii':*,1
a t aat . t
.,'.,9[bllr>-)l: cji)lP
. t , t / t t
lt t '
La iliha illS LlEhuwa-Llihu akbar.
Wa subl.rin Allahi wal-hamdu li-Llahi
wastaghfiru Llih alladhi li il5ha illi Hn
wal-Awwalu wal-Akhiru w aq-llhitw wal-Betinu
yulryi wa yumitu wa huwa $ayyan 15yam0tu.
Bi-yadihil-khayr wa huwa cali kulli shay'in Qadir.
There is none worthy of worship except Allah.
Allah the Almighty is the greatest.
Allah is the glorious and praiseworthy
and I ask Allah for forgiveness
There is no power to do good
and no strength to be saved from evil
exceptwith the graceof Allah.
He is the First and the Last'
He is the Apparent and the Hidden.
He is the Ever-Living Who never dies.
He imparts and takes awaY life.
There is blessingwith Allah the Almighty.
He is the Ruler over everything.
The Kcysol the Treasuresof the Hetoms ond thc Ecrth I 157
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)continued: "O cUthmdn! Whoever recites it one
hundred times every day will be rewarded by ten graces. First, all his previous
sins will be forgiven. Second,his suffering from hellfire will be written off.
Third, two angels are appointed to guard him day and night from his
sufferings and diseases.Fourth, he is granted a treasure of blessings.Fifth,
he will reap as much blessing as someone who would have set free one
hundred slaves from the offspring of the prophet Ishmael (a.s.).Sixih, he
would be rewarded of blessings as if he had read the entire Qur'an, the
Psalms, the Torah, and the Bible. Seventh, a house will be constructed for
him in the Heaven. Eighth, he will be married to a pious Heavenly maiden.
Ninth, he will be honored with a crown of honor. Tenth, his recommendation (for forgiveness) of seventy of his relatives will be accepted.
"O cUthmin! If you were strong enough you would not miss this remembrance on any day. You will be one of the successfulones and you will
surpass everybody before and after you."
One of the great contemporary Sufis, Hazrat Abu Anees Barkat Ali of
Dar-ul-Ehsan, Pakistan, has achieved a unique position among the men of
piety by reciting this sacred formula. He has erected a large signpost at the
entranceway of his spiritual sanctuary, upon which the words of this
invaluable formula are inscribed. His own life bears ample testament to the
efficacy of these words, as he has personally adoptedmore than ten thousand
Hindus of the lowest caste and provided them with a complete training and
education in life. Moreover, he maintains a clinic that provides medical care
and that has restored the sight of more than three thousand persons go far,
without charge of any kind. He has written more than three hundred books
on Islam and Sufism, all of which have been distributed free of charge (the
jacket of one reads: "These books are written for ourselves and you to read,
but not for sale. They have already been sold to Him for Whom they were
meant"). A countless stream of devotees arrive at the well-known Dar-ulEhsan sanctuary and receive,by His grace,spiritual instructions from among
the fourteen Sufi orders of which Barkat Ali is a teaching master, or
shaykh. Ma sha'Allah! The qualities and attributes of Sufi Barkat Ali could
be enumerated further, but anyone who views his life with an open mind
must conclude that he has exceededthe usual range of human accomplishments. He is now in his seventy-sixth year.
The formula for the Keys of the Treasures of the Heavens and the Earth
may be recited twenty-one times after each daily prayer and requires not
more than three or four minutes to do so.
As Allah says: "As for those who strive in Us, surely We guide them to
Our paths" (Qur'an 29:69).
633, the great saint Hazrat Khwija
On the night of fifth Raiab,
as usual retired to his meditation cell after the
Mucinuddin Chishti
night prayer (ckha). He closed the door and commenced his practice, as he
had done for the past thirty years, of constant and incessant recitation of
the above verses. The KhwSia instructed his mrrils not to disturb him that
ol SufiHceling
l.ss I ThcBook
night. They stayedaway, but heard through the door a soundexpressing
unparalleledecstasythroughout the night. In the early hours of the morning, this soundceased.When the door of his cell did not openat the time of
morning prayers (ajr\, anxiety was felt by everyone. Ultimately, the door
wus fo.."i open by his students,who, to their astonishment,found that the
soul of the great saint had relinquished his mortal body' The following
sentencewas radiantlyglittering upon his forehead,as light:
Matufi hubbiLlah
He is the belovedof Allah
And he died in Allah's Love.
The Infallible Remedy
Once I saw the lrlost High M
in a drcam.
He asked me, "kyazid,
wlnt do you
I replied, "I want what You want."
The Most High Gd was pleavd
and vid,
"I am yours and you are Mitp."
Slnykh tuyazid
Eisami (r.a.)
The Holy Prophet of Allah the Almighty (s.a.w.s.),
whose virtues are the
most excellent,was the most trustworthy personof all creation.Evenprior
to his mission as Prophet, he was called Amin, the trustworthy, and was
never known to have spoken anything except the truth.
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)said:"ln Snrat al-Fatihahthere is a balm for all
ailments."He went on to providethe specificinstructionsfor utilizing this
most treasured remedy.
The Prophet (s.a.w.s.)
alsosaid:"I tell you of a s-urah
that is the greatest,
the most virtuous, in the Holy Qur'an. It is Sfrrat al-flamd [the opening
sfirah, al-Fitifrahl, which has seven verses. These are the sabcahmsthLni
[the Oft-RepeatedSeven]and representthe Grand Qur'an."
In another Hadith, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)is reported to have said:"By
Him Who is in possessionof my life, a s rah like this one has been revealed
neither in the Torah nor in the Bible, nor even in the rest of the Qur'an."
The accumulatedexperienceof the Sufis confirms that the readingand
reciting of Sirat al-Fatihahwith true faith and sincereconviction,curesall
maladies, whether spiritual or worldly, external or internal. The Sffrat
al-Fatibahenters into the writing of almost all tacwidh;
it is alsowritten in ink
made of saffron and rose water, and consumed.All six books of authentic
Gotill)Hadith report that the Companions(r.a.a.)used to read it for treatment of diseases,
both physicaland mental.
The satanlamented,wept, and tore his hair out on four occasions:
160 I Tlu Bor,kol SufiHmling
Bismi Llih ir-Ralrmin ir-Rahim
ll-hamduli-Llihi rabb il-celamin
Ar-ra!rmin ir-Rahim
Maliki yawm id-din.
Iyyika nacbuduwa iyyika nastacin.
$ira; alladhina ancamta
wa lid-dilin.
1. In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent,the Merciful.
2. Praisebe to Allah, Lord of the Worlds;
3. The Beneficent, the Merciful;
4. Master of the Day of Judgment!
5. Thee only do we worship;
Thee alone we ask for help.
6. Guide us on the straight Path;
7. The path of those whom You love;
Not the path of those who earn Thine anger,
nor of those who go astraY.
ThcInfelliblcRcmdyI r5r
he was cursed,when he was thrown out of Heaven,when Muhammad
(s.a.w.s.)was given Prophethood,and when SUratal-FEtihahwas revealed.
Hazrat Khwdja MucinuddinChishti (r.a.)hassaid,"The incessantrecitation of Sirat al-Fitil,'ahis the infallibleremedy for one'sneeds."
The recitation of Sirat al-Fetihahis among the most frequent of the
practicesof the shaykhsof the path. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)
suggestedthe following mode of recitationand said that this practicewill
succeedin curing any disease.
ReadSirat al-Fatilrahforty-one times for forty consecutive
the interval between the sunnah(optional)and irrl (obligatory)rarfatsof the
/ajr (early-morning)prayer. In this recitation, it is necessaryto onif the
breath pauseusually taken betweenthe first two verses.In other words,
the rrirn of ir-Ralim is loined with the lam of al-fuamdu
li-Llnfti,which then
becomesmil-fiamduli-Lllhi. The rest of the sitrahrnay be done following the
usual breath pauses.
If the person is possessedof madness,or for other reasonscannot
perform the recitation,the words should be recitedand blown on water,
and given to the patient to drink.
We reproduceagainSirat al-Fetilrahon the facingpage,for anyonewho
may wish to make use of its miraculoushealing effects.
For some,eventhis recitationmay proveto be difficult,or impossiblefor
somereasonor another.The mercy of Allah is infinitel If, after trying with
absolutesincerityto learn and applyanythingin this book,one failsto do so,
the following will cure any disease.Simply recite eleventimes: BisniLlAh
ir-Ralyin, ir-Rafiim.This verse is the GreatestAttribute of Allah the Almighty, and whatever endeavorsto intrude upon the absolutesanctityof
His graceis burnt to ashes.
Once Hazrat Abn Bakr (r.a.)was ill. The peoplecameto visit him and
seeinghis obviousdistress,askedhim, "Why don't you callthe doctor?"Abu
Bakr answered,"l alreadycalledthe doctor."His friend asked,"What did the
doctor say?"Abrl Bakr replied,"He said,'I am Mighty in what I intend."'
There is nothing that can defeatthe love of Allah the Almighty for His
beloved friends.
And after this, there remains nothing further that can, or should,be
Allihu aclam!
calaykumoa ralmatt Lllahiua barak&uht!
min al-mulki
tm catlamtanimints'wil il-ahldith
F-eliras+amdtfrtiwal-ar{ f
Anta waliyifid-dunyE
Tawnffanimuslimenwa nlhiqnibi1-s.dlihm.
Ashtuduan fa ilnhailli Llih;
cabihht ua raslhh, ''$nin!
t62 I ThcBookol Srft Hcahng
O mY Lordl
Thou hast given me somethingof sov€reignty
and hast taughl me something
of the interpretationof eventsCreatorof the Heavensand the Earth!
Thou art my protecting Friend
in this world andthe Hereafter.
Make me to die submissiveunto Thee
and ioin me to the righteous.
I bearwitness
that there ii no dtity exceptAllah
and I bear witness
That Muhammadis His servant and Messmger' Be it so!
As-selimucelaykumue ra$matu dhi wa bcraketuhul
May the peaceand blessingsof God be upon you.
The Islamic Calendar
The Muslim year is basedupon a lunar cycleof 3S4days,consistingof 12
months of 29 or 30 days.This calendarcommencedin the year 622 of the
commonera (c.e.),when the ProphetMuhammad (s.a.w.s.)migratedfrom
Meccato Medina. The 12 Islamicmonths are as follows.
Muftarram:The loth of this month is calledcAshurah,commemorating
the martyrdom of Husayn ibn cAli, who died ar Karbalahon the l0rh
Mulrarram 680 c.r.
Rabicsl-Auwal: The 12th of this month is the birthdav of the prophet
Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).
sth-ThAfi: The 11th of this month is the birthday of cAbdul-eidir
fujab: The 27th of this month is the anniversary of the micrij, the
ascensionof the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)to Heaven.The 6th of this month
celebratesthe death anniversary of Hazrat Khwija Mucinuddin Chishti
Shdbin: The 14th-15th of this month is Shab al-Bariht. when the
destiniesfor the comingyear are assigned.
Ramalin: The Sacred Month of Fasting. On either the 23rd, ZSth, or
27th night, the Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power) occurs.During this
month, the Qur'an, as well as all other revealedbooks,first descended
from Allah the Most High.
Shautml: The first day is cld al-Fi1r,the feast celebratingthe breakingof
the fast.
DhilI Qacdah
Dhul-Hiijah: The pilgrimage to Mecca (lal) is completed during this
month. From the lOth to the 1zth, the sacrificeof cld al-A{lrd is celebrated.
As the datesare basedupon lunar cyclesand the sightingsof the new
moon, eachyear the calendarbacksup by approximatelyelevendays.
Some Useful Short Sflrahs
of the Holy Qur'an
Sitrat al-Ikhlis
(The Unity)
Bismi Llah ir-Rafman ir-Rafim.
1. Qul Huwa Llahu Alad;
2. Allahuq-gamad;
3. Lam yalid, wa lam ytrlad;
4. Wa lam yakul lahl kufuwan a[ad.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
l. Say: He is Allah, the One!
2. Allah the etemally besought of all!
3. He begetteth not nor was begotten
4. And there is none comoarable to Him.
168 I 'Ihe Brr,kd Sufi Heoling
Il3: Sirat aI-FaIaq (The DaYbteak)
,tr rfr)
6.+ uq.u
".vErt tfis
6g-6J ri ,,ehlll
l . ,r
o ^r :t!lwu
/3' .' tl
' tt/a.
Bismi Llah ir-Rahmirn ir-Ra[im'
l. Qul a'idhu bi-rabb il-falaq'
2, Min sharri m?rkhalaq'
3. Wa min sharri gh?siqin idha waqab'
4. Wa min sharrin naffithiti ftl-cuqad,
5. Wa min sharri |isidin idha fasad'
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful'
l. Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of Daybreak
2. From the evil of that which He created'
3. From the evil of the darkness when it is intense'
4. And from the evil of malignant witchcraft,
5. And from the evil of the envier when he envieth'
SomcUselul Short S:urehsof thc Holy Qrt'an | 169
114: Srtrut on-Nas (Manhind)
Bismi Llih ir-Rafman ir-Rafim.
l. Qul a'udhy bi-Rabbin-nas,
2. Malikin-nas,
3. Ilahin-nas
4. Min sharr il-waswas il-khannis,
5. Alladh-i yuwaswisu fi gudtuin-n6si,
5. Min al-jinnati wan-nas.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
l. Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
2. The King of mankind,
3. The God of mankind.
4. From the evil of the'Sneaking Whisperer,*
5. Who whispereth in the hearts of mankind,
6. Of the iinn and mankind.
tAn epithet of Satan.
The Divine Attributes
of how we may
Allah the Almighty is, in the end, unknowable.Regardless
try, we areleft with an incompleteand partialunderstandingof Him. Allahu
akEnris the frequentutteranceof the Sufis.It means:"Allah is Greaterthan
all that we ascribeto Him."
So that we may begin to have a mental conceptof Him, Allah has set
forth, in the Holy Qur'an, ninety-nineof His divine attributes.Considered
together, they provide a conceptof His all-encompassing,all-pervading,allpowerful nature. These attributes, called al-asmq'al-husni (The Beautiful
Names),enter into Sufi practicescalledua4ifahs.
r72 | TheBookol SufiHeding
The Keeper of Faith;
The Bestower of SecuritYi
Th€ Faithful
The Gtacious;
The B€neficent;
Th€ Compa$ioBate
The Merciful
qt 4u- .l
L --Lhl
The Cr.eator
12. AL-BARI'
The Protector;
The Guardian
Th€ MakeFout-of-Naoght
l ^%9
The Fashioner
8. AL-cAzlz
Tbe King;
Th€ Sovcreign Lord
The Mighty
tr ll
,L l- If
The Holy
Th€ ComP€ller
The Forgiver
-/s. A5-SALAM
The Peacc
. The Mai6tic;
lre Superb
The subduer;
The Almightyi
The Conque ng
The Dioine Attibutes I 173
Tb€ Bdtower
2!. AL-B,{SIT
Thc Dxtender;
The Enlarger;
The Spreader
The Providcn
The suitainer
22. AL-KHAF|p
The Abarer
27. AL-aASIR
The All-Seeing;
Ihe Perceiver
Thc Op.ner;
The Reliever;
The Judge
23. AR-Rlfrc
The Ex.lter
t9. Al-cALlM
The All-Knowingi
Thc Knower
The Rcitainer;
Thc Withholde'
21. A''-tnuctzz'
The Honorcri
Ihe Streqgthcner
The Judge
Th€ Just;
The Equitable
Th€ Dirbonerer;
The Humiliator
xr, AL-utTfF
The Subtle;
Thc Gracious
va t TheBookol 5tfi Hcaling
a l: | .
, - ^ -l
v, .t
t .]V
The High;
The sublimc
The Aw.re
!- r\
The M.ie6tic
Tbe forbcaring;
The clement
Th€ G€deroug
The CFeat
The Bountiful;
rs. AL-HArl?
t3. ALcA?lM
The Magnificent;
The Trernendou6
The Prc:erver;
Th€ Prot€ctor;
The Guardian
The Fceder;
The Suctainer;
The Str.engthener
lE :,
The Gratcfuli
ThGRcpayer of Cood
Thc Watcher;
The W.tchful
t i- .
14. AL-cHAFiiR
The forgiving
43. AR-nAQIB
The R€sPonsive;
Th€ Hearkener
(to prayet)
The Reckoner
The Vast;
The All-Embiacing;
The Comprehensive
The Dioine Attib
The wir€
The Truth
cs I 175
The Prai6eworthyi
The Laudable
\ 2'
The lrving
The Accountanti
Ihe Counter
The Truttee;
The Advocate;
Th€ Repres€Dtative
The Glorious
5r. AL-QAwl
The Strong
The Originatori
The Producer
The Rairer (from death)
5,1. AL-MAI|N
The Firm;
The. Steady
The Reproducer;
The Reitorcr
The Protecting Friend;
The Patror
The Quickener
726 I TheBnk ol Srfi Heoling
The Ciuser of Deathi
Thc D€stroyer
The Unique
The Promotcr;
The Exp€diter;
fhe BringeFForward
The Ever-Living;
The Alive
The f,tertral;
Thc Self-Subcirting
Thc One
The Defeder;
The Retarder;
The Postponer'
The Fter.nelSupport of Crcation
The fir6t
,r\' -
The lllu6triou.;
The Noble
Thc Gloriour
Th€ Ablei
The Cipablc
ThG Prcvailing;
The Dominant;
Thc Powerful
.J)?. /. \ ).|.
/ ^--\xl
The la.t
?s. AT.?,AHrR
The M.nifcst;
The Ourrvard
Thc Dioin. A,tibutes I 177
t 2l't
76. AL-BAT|N
Th€ Hidden;
The Inrvard
7?. AL-wALi
The Govcrnor
The Equitable
The Avengel
Thc Gatherer;
The Collector
The Pardoner;
Tbe Undulgent;
ThG Mild
|la r. I
-.<-1178. AL-MUTACALI
The High Exalted
The Righteou.
lhe Acceptel of R€p€nt.ncci
The Relenting
8t. AR-RA'OF
The Comp..sionatc;
The Full of Pity
The owner of Sovereignty
The Enricher
The Isrd of M.ie6ty and Bounty
778 I ThcBookof Sufi Hmling
Th€ Withholderi
93. AN-NOR
The Light
a lr l,^ lr ll
a rrD
.4 ..
.- ,
t | -l
el. AD-DAR
The Di.trc66€r
The cuidc
The Heir;
The lnberitor
The Guidc to the Right P.th;
The Dircctor
The Ploliter;
Th€ Prcpitiou6
99. A$-SABIiR
The Patient
Abjad-Also calledjnfr; the scienceof numerical value configurations of the Arabic
AkhlntGing.llill )-Essences;humors; temperaments,
AIIAh-The Arabic proper noun for the One True Cod (ql-ilsh:the Divinity).
il^tn-"Be it so." Recitedat the conclusionof prayers and supplications.
cAql-Creative reasoning;reasoningpower; the mind.
cArsh-The Throne of Allah; the Ninth Heaven.
a.s.-Abbreviation of talayhias-salfim,
"peacebe upon him," the benedictioninvoked
when the name of a prophet is mentioned.
cAsr-The midafternoon obligatory prayer Gllat\.
Atlar-An expressed true oil of a flower, wood, or bark, said to contain the
essenceof its soul.
Bisni LIih ir-Raftnanir-Raftim-"ln the Name of Cod, Most Gracious, Most Merciful"; the opening words of the Qur'an, frequently used as an invocation at the
commencementof any word or action.
Chilla-A secludedroom for spiritual practices;a forty-day retreat.
Dargah-A spiritualshrine or meetingplacefor living Sufi masters.
Qammah-A mark used in the Arabic languageto denote the long vowel sound of r.
Dhikr (also spelledzikr, which signifies the Turkish and Persian pronunciation)"Remembrance";the Sufi ceremoniesof liturgical recitations of sacred formulas
and divine names.
Fajr-The predawn obligatory Islarnicprayer; the time for this prayer.
Fntllah-A mark used in the Arabic languageto denote the long vowel sound of a.
al-trotiftnh('fhe Opening)-The first chapter of the Qur'an, said to concentrate
within iiself the whole Qur'an.
Filrr-The world of thought; deep meditation; remembrance of God by mental
Furjah-The human kingdom; the fourth interspacein the hierarchy of creation.
Garzi (Persian)-"Warm"; term used in referenceto the metabolicvaluesof foods.
al-Ghofur(The Forgiver)-One of the divine attributes.
Ghnyb-The Unseenas describedin the Qur'an; includesthe worlds of jinns, angels,
disembodiedsouls, and other planesof existence.
l8o I TheBookof Sufi Healing
Hadith(or hadithl-A report embodying a sunnshof the Prophet (s.a.w.s.)or of the
early Muslim community.
Hakim-"r{ise"; a physicianwho treats physical,mental, and spiritual illnesses.
(or llaqiqat;from haqq," truth")-One
encein Sufism;the divine reality.
of the four degreesof mystic exPeri-
Himmah-Meditation; concentratedattention.
flujrah-A shaykh'smeditation cell.
If;sin-"Blessing"; the interior or internal conditions that result from performance
of Islamicbehaviors.
in God.
lnshtr-The createdworld; life; human being.
clsha-The nighttime, or fifth, obligatory Islamic prayer of the day.
Islira-"submissio n," "peace"; the way of life contained in the doctrines of the
Qur'an and suggestedin the statements and actions of the Prophet Muhammad
Idhn-The permissionof God.
Jinn-A creation of Allah, made of smokeless fire; regulated by order of the
Kncbqh-The precincts of the Holy House, the first place of worship built by the
prophet Abraharn (a.s.)forworship ofthe one God; locatedat Mecca,SaudiArabia.
miraculousexperienceinstigated by a Sufi shakykh (See alsomucjizah.)
Ko1rah-A mark used in the Arabic languageto denote the short vowel sound of i.
Khnaaqoh-Abuilding used for spiritual retreat and training, usually occupiedby
three classes:peopleof seclusion,peopleof society, and travelers.
Lit iliha illA IJ-ah,Mullammadunrnsiiu Uih-The kolimahot Muslim profession of
faith, translated:"There is no deity exceptAllah (God);Muhammad is the Messenger
of God.
MA shn'Allnh-"May it pleaseAllah"; alternately,"As it pleasesAllah."
Matrilah (or macrit'at)-Oneof the conditions of Sufi experience,in which one is
granted a glimpse of the divine reality; the knowledge that exists is that state.
Majdhirb-One experiencingthe state of divine intoxication.
Mslal-House or level.
Maghrib-The after-sunset obligatory prayer of Islam'
MalE'ikqh (sing. rnalak)-Angels.
Maqdn-Stopping or resting place;station; stage.
Miswik-A type of twig from the pelu tree recommendedfor brushing the teeth and
cleansingthe mouth. (Sometimesa licorice or olive tree twiS is substituted.)
ClossdryI 7al
lllycjizah-A divine miracle, which admits of no human activity or agency;an act
beyondnatural laws and reasoningpower.
Murid-A novice; a student of a shaykh.
Murshid-Cuide; a Sufi shaykh; teacher.
Muslim-One who adopts and follows the way of life of Islam; a believer in God.
Ni/il-Superogatory or optional; distinct from obligatory (/nrd) worship.
Narniz(Persian,Urdu, Turkish)-Salit; prayer; worship.
Niryah (or niyyaf)-lntention; formal declarationto do something.
Nr.rr-The Lieht of Allah.
Na/s-The appetitivedrives of the body, such ashunger, desirefor wealth and fame,
sexualurgings, etc.
Nc/as-The breath of the spirit; pulse.
rUl-An attar or essentialoil made from the wood of the aloeswoodtree.
Qalb-Heart; mind; soul; choicestparti genuine; pure.
Qiblah-The direction faced when offering Islamic prayers; the direction, from
wherever one rnay be, facing the Kacbah at Mecca.
Qiyim-One of the postures of qclil, assumedby standing straight, with hands
either held down at the sidesor folded right hand over left and held just below the
Qlr'cn-"Recitation", ths revealedscripture of the Islamic faith, conveyed by the
angel Gabriel (a.s.)to the Prophet Muhanmad (s.a.w.s.)over a period of twentythree years.
Qrr}-Nearness; proximity; approach;neighborhood.
r.a.-Abbreviation of ra\matu ih alayhi,a phrase meaning "May the blessing of
Allah be upon him," the benedictioninvoked when the nameof any deceasedSufi is
r.a.a.-Abbreviation of raliy Allihu tonhu,"May Allah be pleasedwith him," the
benedictioninvoked when the nameof a Companionof the Prophet is mentioned.
Rackat(or raFah\-One unit of the galif, lslamic prayer.
Ramnlin-An Islamic month, signifying the days when the initial scriptures were
sent down by God, including the Qur'an; the Islamic month of fasting.
RasrlAllAh-The Messengerof God (s.a.w.s.);the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.).
Rn[-The soul; essence;breath of God; revelation.
Rrkr(-One of the posturesof Islamicobligatory prayer, assumedby bendingat the
waist with hands placedupon knees.
$alit-'fhe five-times-per-dayobligatory lslamic prayer.
Sajdah-The posture of prostration in the Islamic prayer.
182 I TheBookol9ufi Heeliag
Samic-Ecst a tic contemplation;audition.
Sardi(Persian\-"Cold"; term used in reference to the metabolic valuesof foods
Shaykh-Sufi master; guide; teacher.
Shajarah-Thelisting of the namesof shaykhs of a silsilah.
(or sharicah\-Thedivine laws and codesfor human life, conveyedby all
prophets,but correctedand completedand sealedin the first of the Last Message,
the Holy Qur'an.
Silsilnft-Lineof transmissionfrom master to master of the spiritual power and
teachingof a {ari4at.
straight path; the path of right guidanceordainedby the
Holy Qur'an.
Sirr-Divine secretsithe greatestmystery;root; origin.
$iynn-A fast,particularlythe Islamicfast conductedduring the month of Rama{in.
Allnh-" All Praisebelongsto Allah."
includingthe reportsof othersregardingIslamic
life) performedby the ProphetMuhammad(s.a.w.s.).
Sirat (or s rah)-One chapter of the Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an is composedof 114
raralrsof varyinglength.
lariqat(from lariq,"path")-The Sufi path;a stageof developmentin Sufism.
Tatuidh-A written or spoken religious amulet containing verses (and sometimes
numbers)from the Holy Qur'an; frequently constructedby shaykhsfor healing
Wnlrr-lmagination; the power of conceivingwhat is not present;the decisionof
A llah.
Wali (pl. nwliya'\-Friendof Cod; saint.
Waqf-A pausefor breath markedin a written copy of the Qur'an.
Wiqil-Union; wedding;unity.
Yi Havyu!Ya Qayy n!-Literally, "O the Living! O the Ever-Lasting!"According to
some Sufis, these two attributes together comprisethe Greatest Narne of Allah.
Yowmal-Qiyomah-TheDay of Judgment.
Abdullah, Mawlawi, and Maulawi Ala'addin(eds.).Mizaa-nl-tibb
(in persian).Bombav:
Haidari Press,n.d.
Al-Ghazzali. The Mysteries
of Fasting.
Lahore: Ashraf Press,1968.
of Purity.Lahore: Ashraf Press,1970.
AIi, A. Yusuf. TheMeaningol theIllustrious
Qur'an.Lahore: Ashraf Press,1967.
Ali, Sufi Abu Anees Muhammad Barkat. Makshoofale-manaznl-e-Ehsan,
vols. I & II
(trans. from Urdu into English by Muhammad lqbal). Dar-ul-Ehsan, Faisalabad,
Balkhi,Sultan UlemaBahauddinWalid.Kitab-ulma'aril.
Manuscript,13th century.
Balkhi, Mawlana jelaluddin Rumi. Masnaoi.Manuscript, 16th cenrury.
Begg,Mirza Wahiduddin.The Big Fiveof Indiain Sufism.Ajmer, India:W. D. Begg,
The Holy Biography
of HazrnfKhwajaMuinud.d.in
Cfiijftfi. Tucson: The Chishti
Order of America,1977.
TheHoly Biography
of HazratKhwnjaMuinuddinClrcfiti (lndian Edition). Aimer,
fndia: W. D. BeBg,7968.
Dehlvi, Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Saeed.Prophetic
Medkol Sdences
Arshad Saeed,1972.
Eaton, Richard M. "The Shrine of Baba Farid in Pakpattan,Multan Suba'." Paper
delivered at Associationfor Asian StudiesConference,Los Angeles,Calif., April 1,
El-Salakawy,Ahmad A. Spotlights
on MedicalTerminology:
Arabic\. 1972.
(in Arabic). Dar al-Maaref, Cairo, Egypt,
of Medkal Terminology
Elgood, Cyril (trans.). Tibb-ul-Nabbi or Medicine of the Prophet, being a Translation of Two Works of the SameName-I. TheTihb-ul-Nabbi
of al-Suyuti.ll.TheTibb-ulNabbiof Mahnud bin Mohomed
wilh Introdudion,
Noles& Glossary
Publication data not available
Ewing, Katherine. "The Sufi as Saint, Curer and Exorcist in Modern Pakistan."
Paper delivered at Association for Asian Studies Conference.Los Angeles, Calif.,
April 1, 1979.
Gohlman,William E. TheLifeof lbn Sina.New York: StateUniversityof New york
Gruner, O. Cameron, M.D. A Trealise
of theFirslBoot.New York: Augustus M. Kelly, 1920.
$a I Th. Bookof Stfi Hcaling
to Psychiatry,
Hashmi, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Jilani. ,4n Inlroduclion
Teachings of the
Quran and
Demonstrationof Curing IncurableMental Diseases
Taif, Saudi
lbn Sina,Qanrns
f i'Llibb,New Delhi: Idarah ta'rikh al-tibb wa'l-tahqiq al-tibbi,
of Islonic Medicine.Cairo: General Egyptian Book
Kamal, Dr. Hassan- Encyclopedia
of Rdigious
Karim, Alhaj MaulanaFazlul.Gazzqali's
Ktran, Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (vans.l. Sahihal-bulJni, vols.1-9. Al-Medina
al-Munauwara, Saudi Arabia: Kazi Publications, Chicago, 1975.Revised 1976.
Khan, Sayed Mohammad Husain. Qornbaadin-e
kabir(in Persian).Bombay: Munshi
Nool, n.d.
Lawrence,BruceB. "HealingRitualsamongNorth IndianChishti Saintsof the Delhi
Sultanate Period." Paper delivered at Conference of the Association for Asian
StudiesConference.Los Angeles,Calif., April L,7979.
ol al-Samarqandi
Levey, Martin, and al-Khaledy. TheMdiel Formulary
EarlyArabk Simples
lo ThoseFoundin The Indigenous
Medicineol lhe NesrEqslandlndiq.
Universityof Pennsylvania
Hwlth Prattilioners
Macey, Ann; Pam Hunte; and Hassian Karniab. Indigcnous
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Pelt, j. M., and J. C. Younos."Plantesmedicinaleset drougesde l'Afghanistan."
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ol Isldn. Chapel Hill: University of North
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I 18s
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Tabibi, Dr. Abdul H. Sirr-i tnssawuf-i
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(Trenton, N.J.),vol. 11, nos. 1 & 2 (April 1980).
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ir Slr/isnr.
London: East-WestPublications
Valiuddin, Dr-Mir. Conlemplatioe
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Delhi; Motilal Banarsidass,
Personality, Sayings, and
Zamani, M. H. Saheb, Ph.D. (ed.). Khali sewwom
Thoughts of Shams-eTabrizi). Tehran: Atai Prcss,7972.
Administration, remedies, 67
A l c o h olism,2S
Allergic reaction, 41
Alphabet, Arabic, 132
ano numerology, rJz-rJ)
a n d reS lons ot un lve rse , l5 l- 15/
Amber, 115-116
Anemia, 68
An g e ls,21
An g e r, 28
Angina pectoris, 66-69
Animals, realm of, 20
AnlSeeo \4/tr5rIr,Jo
Appetite, corrupted, 30
Apple (tuffah),s6
Application,of essentialoils,a79-'122
Arabic alphabet,132 135
and re g i o n got unr v er s e,l5 l -l 5 z
A r t hri ti s,6 9
A s t hma ,7 0
Attars, 113
Azrael,Angel of Death, 21
B abbl i n g ,3 l
Banana (mowz),56
B arley,5 6
Blood essence,
and apperttes\nals),rt- r3
es se n ce s, 43- 47
B oils,8 2
B read ,5 6
Breath (nnlas),
unjverseof, 123-129
Breathing,difficulty in, 32
Breathof life (i,llr), 13-14
broncn r s, l n c nl|or en// 1- lz
Dtl rn s , 1z
Bu t t er,56
Calendar, Islamic, 165
C a n c er,28
O lver,5 T
Ceremony, dhikr, 743-146
Ln a momlt e, ST
L n r cKe n , S/
L n ,fo r e n , o roncntfl s tn, / r-/z
Ch lo r id e s,5 3
Ch ym e , 4 4
!tn n a m o n ,
L OCOn UI,5 /
L o tte e o e a n, J7
Co ld ( a ilm e nt), 73
Cold, food, 4-1, 43-44, 48
Co llc,7 2 - 7 3
Co m m o n col d, 73
Co n ce n tr a tio n, l ack of, 28
Co n stip a tio n , T4
Co r ia n d e r seed, 57
Co u g h ,7 4 - 7 5
L r e a t' o n , n rerarcny or, l / zJ
Cr im in a l b ehavi or, 26
Cr ysta llin e heaven, 22
Cr .r cu m b e r ,58
L Um ln ,5 6
Dates,dried, 58
Devils (slnyalin),33
Dhikr, divine remembrance,
Diarrhea,29,75 76, 8a, A9
L J l V tnaetrrl oute5,l /l
Divine remembrance(,lhikr),141-147
Divine secrets,statlo of (miqanas-sirr),25,
Drug abuse,28
E a rth l yl i fe, l ackof i nteresti n,31
E c s ta s y ,2 S
E g g p l a n t,53
Eg 8 s ,5 6
Egotism,stationof (naqdman-nals),25,
Eighth heaven,22
Elementalspheres,17 20
Enotve, )at
body , 43- s 0
flowerc, 117-122
78A I Thc Bookol Suli Heding
Essentialoils, 113
Eye problems,26
Hina, 118
Holistichealth, 12
r1oney, Jv
Humans, realm of, 20
Hydrochloric acid, 44, 53
Hy poc r is y , 2 6
Failure,fear of, 28
F ast ing(fi yn n ) , 65- 90
F at igu e ,3 0
F enug re e k,58
Fever,2 9 ,3 0,32, A a,E 9
Fig, 58
Fish, 59
t t owe rs ,
m eot c t n a t , r 1 I
e a t ing, 43
and health, 39-43
metabolic values, 48
p re paration ,42 -43
o f P rophet .5l-6 4
s e l ection, 4l
Forgetfulness, 26
F o rmulary,68-8 3
Frankincense, 116
F r i v o l it y, 29
Ca l l b ladder,2 9
Ca rl i c,59
Ch e e , 59
Chosts (,lnyopnree),33
Ci d d i n ess,29
rJrnger, sw
Cu ms, inflammatio n, 79
Hair loss, 80
He a d ache,29,76 -77 , 8 9
crisis, 88 90
O WerSano o r9 tot, L rr Lz t
and food, 39 43
q e neo, rt- ro
Heart (4nlr), 14
a t t a ck, 28
b u rning, 3l
p a i n, 31
station of (maqdmal-qalb),25,2a-29
Heat, food, 43-44, 48
Heavens, 17
a n d E arth, Keys o f Tre asure sof , 155- l5E
rcalrr. of , 2o-zz
n e morrno,os, TT-ltt
He n n a , 59
Herbal formulas
administration, 67
preparation, 65-67
Illness. as cleansinBmechanism, 11-12
Indigestion, TS-79
lnfallible remedy, 159-162
Inflammation of gums and toothache, T9
Intoxication, divine, 32
Irrationality, 31
Israfil, Angel of Resurrection, 21
Itching, vaginal, 62-83
Jannat al-Fardaws, 118
Jasmine, 118
la'r dice,28,79-80
Ji^ s, 27, 32, 33
Jupiter,realm of, 21
to Paradise,142
of Treasuresof Heavensand Earth,
L e n ti l s ,6 0
L e ttu c e ,6 0
Light of Himmah, 21
LUnacy, JU
M aqalad as - S a m a w a t i w a l A r d , 1 5 5 - 1 5 8
Marjoram, sweet,60
Mars, realm of, 21
M eat , 60
Melon, 60
Menstruation, painful, Et
Mental world (fikr), 12-13
Merciful prescriptions, 131-140
M er c ur y , r e a l m o f , 2 1
Metabolic values, foods, 47-49
M et abolis m , 4 6
Michael, archangel, 21
M i8r aine, 29
M ilk , 61
M int , 61
Miracles, origin o(, "149--1,54
Moon, realm of, 2o
M us L, 117
Myrrh, 116
M y r t le, 61
Na r c issus, 6l
Na u s ea, 29
Nearness to Allah, station of (maqam
Ninth heaven, 22
Numerology, and alphabet, 132,135
Obesity, 28, 8O-81
Oils, of flowers, for healing, 112,122
Olive oil, 61
Ol i v e s,6l.
Onions, 41, 42, 67-62
Painful menstruation, 81
P arsley, 62
Pe rs piration,8 6
Phlegm essence,45 46
Pi s t a chio, 62
Planets, realm of, 20-21
Postures, of Prophets, 91-109
Prayers, over rose petals, 114
Preparation, remedies, 65-67
Prescriptions, merciful, 131-140
Proximity to Allah, station ot,25,30-34
Pure spirit, station of, 25,29-30
Qu i n ce, 62
Ra madan,86
Reason (rn4i),20
Reasoning power, of humans, 20
Re i n c arnation ,2l
a d m inistratio n,6 T
infallible, 159 162
preparation, 65-67
s t o r age, 6T
Remembrance, di'rine (ihikr), 741-747
Rhubarb, oz
K r c e , oz
Rose, soul of, 717 722
S a f f ron,63
Saldt, 97-709
S a l t , 53, 63
Ja n o alwooo, r rl
Saturn, realm of, 2L
Sayings, of Prophet, 54-55
DC a l os,T r
Scalp problems, 29
Scent, and cooking, 42
| 789
Secrets, divine, station of,30-32
Self-deception, 29
Self-illusion, 30
Senna, 63
DKrn eruptrons, 29, 6l'
9od (ruh mtrks), 13
esse^ce, 25-27
of rose, 11-l--IZ2
station of lmsqdn ar-ruh\,25-32
Spinac h, 63
Spirit (nafss),-13, 26
Starless heaven, 22
Stations, of solo|,25-37
Storage, remedies,6T
Sublunary world, 17
Suffocating, sense of, 32
Sugar , 63
Sun, realm of, 21
Sur at al- Fa t i h a h , 1 5 9 1 6 2
Ta(t,'i,lh, 13"1-14o
Tent h heav e n , 2 2
Thy m e, 63
Toothache, Tg
Tox ic it y , 29
Treasures of Heavens and Earth, Keys of,
155 15 8
Tr em or s , 30
cud, 118
Ulcers, skin, 82
Union with Allah, station o( (naqan
.|l-wisnl)',25, 34-36
Univ er s e( s ) , 2 2
of breath, 123-129
r egions , a n d A r a b i c d l p h a b e t , 1 5 1 - 1 5 3
Urination, 36
Vaginal itching, 82 83
Vener eal dis e a s e , 2 8
Venus, realm of, 21
Ver m ic elli, 6 3
Vinegar , 64
Violet, 117
Vomiting, 88, 89
W alnut , 64
W at er , 64
Wedding of Cod Almighty (I"ital),23
Weights and measures, 66
W heat , 64
Zodiacal heavens, realm o(, 20-22
The Traditional
A ClassicGuiile to the Meilicine of Avicenna
ByHakim G.M.Chishti,N.D.
theprinciplesandpracticesof Hippltcrltig
Chinese,-AyurvediC, and Persian medicine, and includes the first English
trinslation of oneof the handbooksof Avicenna.Hakim Chishti,author of Tfte
Bookof SufiHuling, draws on rnorethan twenty yearsof experiencein the field
of naturalmedicineto presentthis unifiedview of diet,herbolory,aromatherapy,
and pulsediagnosis.
of healinginto thiscomptehensioe
bak is indispensable
Professorof Clinical Medicine
CaseWestemReserveSchoolof Medicine
. $19.95pb
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On the Path of Sainthood
TheSufi Healing CassettePrcgrum
FromSufiMasterShaikhAbu AbdullahMoinuddin Al-Chishtiyyah
isfor thosewhowishtoleammoreabout
Thissetof two 5o-minutecassettes
the healingpracticesfound in TheBnk of SufiHuling' ShaikhMoinuddin
showsyou how to invoketheDivine healingwisdom found within, to helP
of heart.
you find a new darity of purpose,innerjoy, and peacefulness
To order,pleasesendcheckor moneyorder,including$3.00for shipping
and handling;to: TheChishtiOrder,P.o. Box820 Oxford,NY 13830.