Excerpted from Chapter 7 of Essential Sufism, edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager. Published by Castle Books (1998).
Divine breezes from your Lord waft through the days of your life. Listen! Be aware of them.
Would you have me tell you about actions that are better than fasting, prayer, and charity? Bring goodness and high principles between people.
When God desires goodness for a human being, he will discover a voice of wisdom within his own being that shall lead him to the road of goodness.
Success will follow patience, opening will follow hardship, and ease will follow difficulties.
Wish for others whatever you wish for yourself.
Belief [faith] is the knowledge of the heart, the words of the tongue, and the actions of the body.
If your words are beautiful, if you are good-tempered, if you are moderate in taking food, and if you are trustworthy, then you are rich and should not regret the possessions that you may not have. These four qualities are enough possessions and wealth for a wise person.
The signs of misfortune lie in four conditions: eyes that have never experienced tears, a heart that is cruel and hard, long chains of desires that never end, and wishing for an extremely prolonged life.
One who can control himself when in anger, in passion, in fear, and in attraction is safe from the hands of the devil and the fires of hell.
Have pity upon three groups of people: a dear person who has lost his loved ones, a rich person who has lost his wealth, and a learned one who is trapped among the ignorant.
Have mercy on people so you may receive mercy; forgive people so you may be forgiven.
I do not worry about the things that you do not know, but I am cautious in appraising how you apply what you do know.
Avoid three qualities: jealousy, greed, and arrogance. Be pious in your inner self and outer life: if you have behaved badly, then do a good deed right away; do not ask anything from anyone; do not borrow anything from anyone; and do not make yourself a judge between two people.
The first stage of worship is silence.
Do not commit yourself to lengthy discussions of religion—such talk only succeeds in making religion a complex and confused matter. God has made religion easy and simple.
If you want to live more freely, borrow less.
Avoid greed, for greed in itself is poverty.
The most ignorant among you is the one who does not learn from the changes in the world.
The richest among you is the one who is not entrapped by greed.
There is an organ in the body that, if it is righteous, ensures that the whole system will be righteous; and if it is corrupt, the whole body will become corrupt. This organ is the heart.
The strongest among you is the one who controls his anger.
Jealousy destroys good acts just as fire burns wood; charity consumes sin the same way that water quenches fire.
God despises the tyrannical wealthy, the ignorant elderly, and the selfish poor.
Follow truthfulness even if you think it may harm you, for truthfulness never harms but instead saves. Do not lie even if you think it will protect you. Lying never protects, it only destroys.
Protect and honor the earth, for the earth is like your mother.
Value the worth of five things before they are replaced by the other five conditions: value your youthfulness before old age arrives, value health before sickness strikes, value your wealth before you become needy, value peacefulness before hardship comes, and value life before death arrives.
Generations before you were destroyed because they declined to punish the powerful thieves yet were relentless in punishing the small pickpockets.
The cure of ignorance is to ask and learn.
Avoid noise, excessive talking, too many questions, too many answers, and wasting your wealth.
The old are our bounty, and whoever is not compassionate toward our elders and our youth, and whoever does not honor them, does not belong to my people.
Worship God as if you see Him; and remember that even if you see Him not, He still sees you.
There are those who believe that if they study the Koran, and so learn the words of the knowledge of religion, and then go to kings and princes to seek favor from them, that they can keep safe their piety. It is not so. From a thorny tree you will get naught but thorns, and likewise you will get nothing from kings except sins to commit.
Avoid stubbornness, for it begins in ignorance and ends in regret.
Be kind to people whether they deserve your kindness or not. If your kindness reaches the deserving, good for you; if your kindness reaches the undeserving, take joy in your compassion.
Promise me six conditions so that I may promise you Paradise: be truthful, do not break your promises, return whatever you are given to safeguard, keep yourself from impure friendships, keep your eyes from unfair glances, and keep your hands from worthless actions.
Oh God, bring peacefulness among us, bring unity into our hearts; guide us to equilibrium, take us from darkness to light and away from ugliness; bless our ears, our eyes, our hearts, and our families; accept our repentance.
Moderate spending is half the earning; making friends with people is half the wisdom; and asking good questions is half the knowing.
God will not show mercy to him who does not show mercy to others.
The believer is a mirror to the believer.
Trust in God, but tie your camel’s leg.
Envy consumes good deeds as fire consumes wood.
Happy are those whose own faults preoccupy them too much to think of the faults of others.
Heaven lies under the feet of mothers.
None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.
The person who repents is like one who has never sinned.
God exalts the humble and humbles the proud.
True wealth is not abundance in property but a generous heart.
Surely God does not judge you by appearance or property but by [the goodness of your] heart and deeds.
God was asked why creation came into being. “I was a hidden treasure. I longed to be known, so I created all of creation.”
God is beautiful and loves beauty.
There are as many ways to God as there are created souls.
Wealth does not reside in the amount of one’s property, but rather in one’s own needlessness.
An hour of contemplation is better than a year of prayer.
For none of you will faith be rectified unless your hearts be made right,
nor will your hearts be rectified unless your tongues be made right,
nor will your tongues be rectified unless your actions be made right.
Two believers that lend support to each other are like a pair of hands that wash each other clean.
One who suffers oppression and forgives the oppressor is the most favored for aid from God.
Asceticism for the sake of the world brings relief to the body; asceticism for the sake of the hereafter brings relief to the heart; and turning one’s face toward the Divine brings relief to the Spirit.
Whenever God loves a devotee, He subjects him to ordeals. Should he endure patiently, God singles him out; should he be content, God purifies him.