Photo: Hajj in the 1880s, Mecca.
A man said: 'O Messenger of God, the revealed laws of faith have become too many for me, so tell me of one thing to hold fast to.' He said: Let your tongue never cease to be moist from the remembrance of God the Almighty.'
(Hadith by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ)
'The Risalah: Principles of Sufism'
By Abu'l Qasim Abd al-Karim bin Hawazin al-Qushayri (Author), Rabia Terri Harris (Translator), Laleh Barkhtiar (Editor)
A Sufi textbook of the highest order where Sufi practices, states and stations, rules of travel, dreams and advice to the spiritual seeker, among other topics are related to Quranic verses, Traditions of the Prophet and sayings of early Sufis. This was a book that Rumi read and recommended to his students as a book popular among Sufis.
Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri was born in July 986 AD (d. 1072 AD) in northwestern Iran in the province of Khurasan, the richest center of eastern Islamic civilization down to the 13th century AD. In spite of his intellectual grounding in the Quran, Quanic exegesis and Traditions, he was dragged from his house by a mob and imprisoned in the citadel of Nishapur because of a letter he had written, "The Complaint of the People of the Sunnah Relating the Persecution that Has Befallen Them" in favor of the Asharites. Friends stormed the citadel and released him. He fled to Baghdad where he taught until 1063 AD., later to return to Khurasan where he died.
The translator of this great work is Rabia Terri Harris, an independent scholar who graduated from Princeton University with the departmental prize in Religion. She received her graduate degree from Columbia University in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures in 1985. She presently works as assistant editor of the bimonthly publication of Fellowship of Reconciliation in Philadelphia. She is a member of the Jerrahi Sufi order and translator of Ibn Arabi's Journey to the Lord of Power.