Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Lion and the Fly (Spiritual Tendencies)

The Lion and the Fly

Shaykh Ibn Atā’allāh al-Iskandarī—may Allāh bless his soul—said:

The person who pays too much attention to the life of this world while neglecting to prepare for the life to come is like a man being attacked by a lion. Imagine that the lion is poised to pounce upon him when a fly suddenly lands on his nose. If the man stopped to swat the fly instead of fending off the lion, wouldn’t he be an idiot? He must have lost his sense of reason! If he had a grain of reasoning power, he would certainly pay attention to the imminent onslaught of the lion with its deadly pounce while ignoring the disturbance of a mere fly. If people grow preoccupied with their lives in this world and neglect to prepare for the life to come, it proves that they, too, are idiots. If they had any understanding, insight and reasoning power, they would get ready for the upcoming life after death. That is their ultimate responsibility. For this they will each be held accountable. They should hardly be preoccupied with matters of material provision. Concern for material goods in comparison to concern for spiritual health is like the taking care of the annoying fly instead of the impending pounce of the deadly lion. Idiot!


  1. Asalam Alaykum

    Good stuff !
    Whats the name of the book ? and is it available in english ?

    Dr. AbdulHakim Jackson related this at the knowledge retreat camp.

  2. Wa'alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah Sidi,

    I asked the brother at Spiritual Tendencies where he found this and he mentioned it was in Sh. Ibn 'Ataillah's Book of Illumination. The book is available via and others.

    How was the knowledge retreat? What was covered?

    Shukran for dropping by the blog.


  3. Salamat

    Knowledge Retreat was amazing.Alhamdulillah. I wish it went on for another week atleast .. 3 and a half days.. not enough!

    To summarise
    Sh. Bayyah started with.. the challenges muslims face in west..
    and next few days he answered questions from the audience and that was pretty interesting. Most of the questions were the usual stuff like can we take interest to buya house.. but someone asked how do we explain to ppl the ayah in quran about beating wives & he gave an excellent reply to that.
    later continued with 'how to establish an indvidual muslim house in such a society' where muslims are in minority.
    Someone asked about beards and he said females must take it out.. and everyone just laughed and Shaykh says 'im serious im serious' :)
    Sh.Hamza was translating and he would always forget to translate the questions and Shaykh would remind him and everyone just laugh...

    Sh.Bayyah was the light of the camp.

    Dr.Tariq Suwaidan
    gave a long management lecture (?) on 'How to organize your life' & setting goals and life plan....
    and later he talked about how to open your own firm and not be a slave.

    he said when you hire people ask them two questions:
    1-why did you leave your last job ?
    2-what are your short-comings (bad qualities)
    about jobs.. he said 'ur income should double every 5 years' lol
    i dont remember exactly coz that cracked me up..
    It was interesting and i learned some new stuff :D he told crazy jokes hehe

    Imam Zaid Shakir's lecture was on the rise and fall of islamic civilization.. he presented the Classical ,Orientalist and Salafi explanations. and some ppl didnt like it.. they thought he was 'bashing salafis' .. he cleared that up by saying its history and we have to learn and just deal with it.
    Later on.. he talked about the possibilities of revival and then reviving the islamic civilization.
    During Imam Zaid's lecture the fire alarm sounded -and to cut it short- Imam Zaid said ".....Stop" and it stops :O

    Dr.AbdulHakim Jackson... he was good too.

    Sh.Hamza had just one session.. the last one. he was amazing.

    I can just type n type.. so many good things... overload lol
    anyways i loved it and learned quite alot.. i'll share more details later inshAllah.

    You were at RIS right..why not the camp ? it was amazing

    i found the book. jazakAllah.


  4. Wa'alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah Sidi,

    Jazakum Allahu khayran for taking the time to share parts of your memories from the retreat -- esp. that remark by Sh. Bin Bayyah :) I'm sure the readers of this blog appreciate the glimpses into your time with the shuyukh as much as I do.

    Yes, I was at RIS and wanted to attend the retreat, but was unable to because of school/work and visiting family. I attended the very first RIS Camp with Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui and it was an amazing experience that is still fresh in my mind. Missed him this year. Hope they bring him back for RIS5.

    Glad you found the book...

    Barak Allahu fi kum.