SAMPLE PAGE : Beginning of Chapter Two
Know that Dervishhood (faqr) is an extremely
exalted state in the way of God Almighty, and dervishes are
men of high rank. Says God, The Most Exalted:"Charity is for those who take to contentment
for God's sake and cannot get about in the world (being too
busy in remembering God) but those who are unaware of their
cult, imagine that they are rich." [2:273].
Commentary: Nicholson has translated
faqr as "poverty" which is the literal meaning of
the word, whereas in the language of Sufism it stands for
being rich with God, known as istighna. A near substitute
of this word in English is "asceticism" which is
the life of complete trust (tawakkal) in God and non-dependence
on anything other than God. But actually in Islam, asceticism
or renunciation is purely spiritual or mental, not physical,
which means that an ascetic of Islam need not renounce the
world and sit in seclusion for good. What the Muslim ascetics
do is that they live in the world, attend to its affairs,
earn a livelihood, having full trust in God and believing
that it is not their efforts which bring them bread, but it
is through God's grace and kindness that they get what they
get. In other words their tawakkal (trust in God), or renunciation
is really mental or spiritual not physical, for physically
they are men of the world and do not run away from its duties,
pains and sorrows unlike the ascetics of other religions who
do not face the world and take to seclusion for good.
So in Sufism faqr does not means poverty. It means wealth
and abundance, because a faqir in the real sense, is an extremely
rich person who lives on spiritual and not physical wealth.
That is why the Prophet (s.a.w.) said," Faqr is my Fakhr
(pride)". Persian poetry is very rich on the subject.
One of the saints of Islam has said: "I am the monarch
of the domain of Faqr, enjoying the fruits of Fana (self-negation).
I am the Ghazal (deer) of the realm of Divinity, free from
'otherness' (anything other than God)."