This is a short book by Imām Aĥmed ibn Áţāyillāh as-Sakandarī.  A concise explanation of a short poem of 22 couplets by the ghawth, Imām Abū Madyan Shuáyb ibn Al-Ĥusayn rađiyAllāhu ánhu on the etiquette of travelling the sufi’s path named: Ādāb at-Ţarīq [The Etiquette of The Path].

Imām Abū Madyan, the ghawth was born in the year 520 AH [1126 CE] in Seville, today’s Spain and passed away in the year 590 AH in Tilimsān according to Al-Dhahabī. He is considered as the shaykh of Muĥiyuddīn Ibn al-Árabī, who has praised him in his verse and has also extended the poem as a takhmīs [adding three lines to the original couplet in the same meter which rhyme with the first or the second couplet].

A stanza from the takhmīs of Ibn al-Árabī [the last two lines in green are by Imām Abū Madyan]:

wa lā takun li úyūbi’n nāsi muntaqidā

wa in yakun žāhiran bayna’l wujūdi badā

wa’nžur bi áyni kamālin lā ta-ýib aĥadā

wa lā tara’l áyba illā fīka mútaqidā

áyban badā bayyinan lākinnahu’statarā

be not a harsh critic of the flaws in men,

even if those flaws are prominent and are well-known

and look at them with an exemplary eye that seeks not flaws

and see not or admit faults except in your own self

and of flaws that are obvious [to you] but hidden [to others]

That is: Know and realize that your attributes are that of an entity that is destitute, weak, feeble, lowly and ignoble. If you realize this and recognize your attributes and witness the myriad flaws in your own self – though hidden from others – it is then, you shall begin to recognize the Attributes of your Lord. As it is said: ‘Glory be to Him who has hidden the secret of the distinction in the manifestation of the human; and manifested the Greatness of His Lordship in the acknowledgement of [the creation’s] humbleness and servitude.’ [sub’ĥāna man satara sirr al-khuşūşiyati fī žuhūri’l bashariyyah; wa žahara bi ážamati’r rubūbiyyati fī ižhāri’l úbūdiyyah]

And through this, understand the saying of Lord Almighty the Exalted: ‘Glory be to Him, who made His slave to ascend…’ [Al-Isrā’a, v.1] Notice, that He did not say: ‘who made His Messenger to ascend’ nor ‘His Prophet to ascend.’ This is an indication towards a lofty meaning that cannot be reached except by one’s acknowledgement of one’s being a slave [of the Lord Almighty].


Name of the book: Unwān at-Tawfīq fī Ādāb at-Ţarīq

Name (English): The Quintessence of Success [is] in [adhering to] the Etiquette of the Path [of the Sufis]

Author: Imām Aĥmed ibn Áţāyillāh as-Sakandarī

Pages: 25

Subject: Taşawwuf