Poverty and Annihilation
A Selection from the book “Al-Rasa’el: Poverty and Annihilation” 1
By: Hazrat Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, Pir Oveyssi
Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) has said: “Poverty is the land of the unseen.”
Know that poverty is neither possessing nor desiring. It is freedom from the self exercised in patience, obedience, and a heart submitted in trust to the Lord. The key to poverty is seeking and devotion. The treasure of God is poverty and the heart of the poor its treasure-chest. The principal of poverty is affection, and its reality annihilation. Faith is following the Guardianship of the Prophet Mohammad whose beginning is poverty and annihilation, its end unity and salvation. Poverty is the reality of devotion, and the solitude of the poor its treasure of abundance. The way of the poor lies in trust and his words in remembrance of his Lord, his cloak is the concealment of the revealed secrets, and his goal is God. His vehicle is an aware heart, his service is knowledge, and his efforts are in servitude.
The way of the Sufi is hidden and its reality even more so. It has no market and there are no outward returns.
Dualism in meaning refers to two and this means I, and you. The poor have overturned the world of illusion and passed the world of appearance and have striven for self annihilation in union with the Almighty God. The Aref (Sufi) is he who has given his heart to his Lord and his body in service to mankind. The poor is diligent in the discovery of the lights and mounts on the Path to God. The true poor abstains from idleness and the superfluous. He turns his heart from men to God.
Lord Mir Ghotbeddin Mohammad Angha the Pir of the Oveyssi School has said:
“The strengthening and growth of the inner forces and the discovery of the mystery of humanity as prescribed by the enlightened is in keeping solitude, but not in the popular misconception of idleness and laziness. On the contrary, the elevation of the soul, the concentration of thoughts, and the mastering of the senses makes one a worthy individual who gives his services to a needy society without any expectation of reward. In discovering his reality he is then a source of strength and abundance, whose riches like a mine are discovered and used for the benefit of humanity. Separation is restricting oneself from unnecessary actions, and being apart in society mean being alone in the sanctuary of the heart. To be amongst men but not to partake of their bad habits: This has been called solitude by the Orafa (Sufis) which is the opposite of being dispersed while being alone. For, an individual may sit alone but be engaged in numerous thoughts and judgments of good and evil. Such a person is not called solitary.”
Dispersion is involvement with the world and separation from God. Bondage to earthly desires prevents the salek form reaching the states of spiritual truths.
Mohammad-ibn-Tarmadi has said:
“Whoever is ignorant of the requirements of servitude is even more ignorant of the Divine Attributes.
Remember your commitment on the day without beginning, without ending, now is the day of poverty. Rise and make effort in your commitment, Unite from your dispersions. Don’t break the true bond and keep the pure Allegiance.You have been saved from the treacherous self to the Paradise of the Almighty and the Glorious Sun. Awaken and make effort to please the Beloved, and do not heed the temptations of the ignorant rival. Whisper with Him from your Heart, where else will you find rest? Truly He is manifest in the hearts, the unseen, in the depth of the ears and the eyes. Closer to you in He than your jugular vein and all seeing is He to all that is hidden.”
Know that performing ritual and following rites based in personal beliefs and preferences is devoid of truth. It will not benefit you, nor bring you salvation. For the believers who have inwardly discovered the truth and the enlightened Salek, the reality of devotion is in the inward cognition of the Master of the Path. He who knows God is he who makes every effort to obey Him and the Tradition of His Prophet.
The servant of God is he who obeys His commandments without hesitation and obeys them fully. On the subject of mastering the carnal self, the Great Sufi Sheikh-al-Mashayekh Hazrat Seyyed Mohammad Moemen Sabzevari Ghods Allah Rouh-al Aziz has said:
“Recognize the carnal self as the vehicle that contains the human soul; in solouk and in ascetic practices drive it to wisdom so that it will not give way on the soul’s journey to God. If you subject it to harsh ascetic practices in the beginning of solouk it will succumb at the slightest difficulty. Therefore treat it with moderation until the Lord of Love conquers the heart and at such time whatever he commands, so it shall be.”
1. Molana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha, Al-Rasa’el- Poverty and Annihilation (Tehran, Iran: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1975), 11-13.