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* تفسير Tafsir al-Tustari

{ مِن شَرِّ ٱلْوَسْوَاسِ ٱلْخَنَّاسِ }

’ In this way in all your affairs he turns you back to people, to the point where it is as if he commands you to humility (tawāḍuʿ) for the sake of attaining fame with people. It was related that there was a man among the devout worshippers (ʿubbād) who never used to get angry, so Satan came to him and said, ‘If you get angry and then show patience your reward will be greater.’ The devout worshipper understood him, and asked, ‘How does anger come about?’ He said, ‘I will bring you something and will say to you “Whose is this?” to which you should say, “It’s mine.” To which I will say, “No it’s not, it’s mine.”’ So, he brought him something and the devout worshipper said: ‘It’s mine!’ to which Satan said: ‘No it’s not, it’s mine!’ But the worshipper said, ‘If it’s yours, then take it away.’ And he did not get angry. Thus did Satan return disappointed and aggrieved. He wished to engage his heart so he could get what he wanted from him, but he [the worshipper] found him out and warded off his deception.Then Sahl said:You must have sincerity (ikhlāṣ) to keep you safe from whispering. Beware of devising and self-management (tadbīr) for it is a sickness of the lower self. Incumbent on you is emulation (iqtidāʾ), for emulation is the basis of [good] works. Beware of conceit (ʿujb) for even before accomplishing its most elementary stage, you will have entered Hell. Incumbent on you are satisfaction (qunūʿ) and contentment (riḍā), for [your] livelihood is in these two. Beware not to conspire against others, apart from yourself, for this will cause you to forget yourself. Incumbentupon you is silence, for you know the [beneficial] states that are within it. Incumbent upon you is the abandonment of lusts, so that you may thereby cut yourself off from the world. Incumbent upon you is the night vigil, so that your self dies to the inclination of its natural disposition (maylat al-ṭabʿ), and your heart comes to life.When you perform the prayer, do it as if you were bidding farewell. Fear God and He will give you security. Aspire towards Him and He will give you hope.

Tafsīr al-Tustarī, trans. Annabel Keeler and Ali Keeler
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