|About the Book|
One cannot overestimate the value of Imam Ibn ‘Ata’Illah in preserving the teachings of the Shadhdhuliyyah, since he was the first to write them down. Both Imam Abu’l-Hasan ash-Shadhdhuli and his successor Imam Abu’l ‘Abbas al-Mursi never wrote any books on the Path. When asked why, Abu’l-Hasan replied, “My companions are my books.” Be that as it may, the teachings would not have survived down to this day as they have if Allah had not inspired Ibn ‘Ata’Illah to put them into written form.One of the main reasons why this specific book is so fundamental is that it deals with a cardinal doctrine of the Shadhdhuli teaching, namely, the ceasing of self-direction and management in favor of choosing the management and direction of Allah (isqat at-tadbir). A major subject, to which actually half the book is devoted, is rizq, or provision and daily sustenance.Ibn ‘Ata’Illah deals with the proper approach to acquiring one’s daily provision, the proper manners of withholding it and spending it, and most importantly, how and why one should not waste one’s energy in anxiety over it. In this respect, the Way of the Shadhdhuliyyah, unlike some of the other ways of Sufism, does not call for a life of begging and mendicancy, but rather teaches its adherents to live a life of intense contemplation in the midst of the worldly means of livelihood. In other words, ‘being in the world but not of the world.’ And the importance of this book can also be seen in the method it teaches the reader of how to apply this advice.