Understanding The Prophet's Life
From Issue: 967 [Read full issue]
A believer who is active and has performed some extra acts of worship may feel a certain spiritual awakening. Then, he may think that he is able to feel or see the unseen or have the piercing sight about which the Prophet said: "Beware of the piercing sight of the believer, for he sees with the light of God." [Tabarani] Therefore, Ibn Ata warns us by saying: "Attempting to discover the flaws within you is better than attempting to discover the spiritual worlds hidden from you."
If one thinks that he is free from flaws, then surely there is a problem. Flaws are part of the nature of human beings. Only God has the attributes of perfection, glory to Him. And as much perfection as God has, this is the imperfection we have. God is the Generous, while humans are misers. God is Almighty, while humans are weak creatures. God is always Merciful, while humans can be cruel. God is Most Forbearing, while humans have limited patience. God is All-Forgiving, while humans do not forgive easily. God is All-Wise, while humans are prone to hasty judgments. God is the Knower, while humans have very limited knowledge. God is the Just, while humans are often unjust.
In addition to these imperfections, we should strive to discover specific flaws within ourselves. This is much better than trying to discover the spiritual worlds hidden from us. One cannot have true insight into the spiritual world before purifying himself, in any case. Know that a person can never purify himself completely, but he should do as much as he can. Trying to mend one's inner self eventually helps in realising the quality of humbleness. A certain degree of self-purification and humbleness elevate us and bring about divinely bestowed knowledge and spiritual insights.
"A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah" - Jasser Auda