Al-Matbūlī’s Counsel

While working through Shaykh Muḥammad Nanawī al-Jāwī’s commentary on his Naqāwat al-ʿaqīdah, there were a few quotes from Imām al-Shaʿrānī that I remember from his commentary on Shaykh Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm al-Matbūlī’s counsel – even though I haven’t read from the book since the early 90s. Al-Matbūlī’s counsel (not the commentary) is one of the first things I ever tried translating – even before Etiquette with the Quran or Infamies of the Soul. Perhaps this is why it came to mind almost 20 years later. So I pulled it from the shelves, scanned it so I can read it without damaging it more than necessary. The commentary is not long and I remember it being practical and gentle. Perhaps Allah will give me success in adding it to a future Musa’s Islamic Book Bundle. Until then, here’s a quick translation of the counsel…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of Allah the Most Merciful and Compassionate

عليك أيها الأخ بالاستقامة في التوبة

It is incumbent upon you, O brother, to be upright in your repentance.

واترك المباحات طلبا لترقي المقامات العيلة

Leave that which is merely permissible out of seeking ascending to the lofty stations.

واحذر من دقائق الرياء

Be wary of the subtleties of showing off.

ومن أذى الخلق

And ‹be wary of› harming creatures

ومن أكل غير الحلال

And ‹be wary of› eating the unlawful.

ومن الحياء الطبيعي وهو أن يستحي الشخص أن يذكر الله تعالى برفع الصوت

And ‹be wary of› natural shyness, which is the individual being embarrassed to mention Allah Most High with a raised voice.

ومن غش الحرفة

And ‹be wary of› fraud in one’s trade.

وجاهد نفسك بالجوع وإتعابها في الأعمال الشاقة

Struggle against your ego [nafs] through hunger and tiring it out with difficult acts.

وقل النوم ما أمكنك

Reduce your sleep as much as you are able.

الزم العزلة

Maintain seclusion.


And ‹maintain› silence.

ولا تترك قيام الليل، وليكن في بيتك بعض انقضاء النصف الأول

Do not forsake voluntary night prayer [qiyām al-layl], with it being in your house after the first half of the night has passed.

وصلاة الجماعة

And ‹do nor forsake› congregational prayer.

وتباعد عن الوقوع في مظالم العباد

Keep far from the possibility of injustice to other servants.

وأكثر من الاستغفار

Frequently seek forgiveness.

والزم الحياء

Maintain shyness.


And ‹maintain› good behavior.

ولا تغفل عن ذكر الله تعالى ولو مع الغفلة، فإنه عمدة الطريق وأكبر من الصلاة، ومنسوب الولاية، وأسرع في الفتح من سائر العبادات، ولا يصل أحد إلى الحضرة إلا به، ولا يحصل الكشف والإخلاص إلا به، فإن به تنزل الرحمة، ويزوم الغم، ولا تشرك معه غيره، بقوة في جماعة، مع التعظيم.

Do not become mindless of remembrance of Allah Most High – even with mindlessness, for it is the path’s mainstay and greater than prayer, it is an indicator of wilāyah; faster in bringing about spiritual openings than all other forms for worship. No one reaches the Divine Presence except through it. Veils do not get lifted ‹for anyone› nor ‹complete› sincerity except through it. And mercy descends with it, and troubles are removed. And ‹during remembrance› do not associate anyone with Him. And ‹do remembrance› with strength, in a group, and with veneration.


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