Author: Shaykh Ibn 'Ata'illah as Sakandari
Publisher: An-Noor Educational Foundation (May 2010)
Pages: 209 Binding: Paperback
Description from the publisher:
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.
About Ata'Allah IskandariTaj ad-Din Abu’l-Fadl Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abd al-Karim b. Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari, al-Judhami ash-Shadhili, known simply as Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, as his nisbah indicates, about the middle of the seventh/thirteenth century. His family were renowned Maliki scholars from the Banu Judham tribe, originally from Arabia. His grandfather, Abd al-Karim (d. 612 AH/1216 AD) had distinguished himself as an expert infiqh, usul (principles of jurisprudence), and Arabic, having studied under the famous Abu’l-Hasan al-Abyari. He had written several books, among which were al-Bayin wa’t-Taqrib fi Sharh at-Tahdhib, Mukhtasar at-Tahdhib, and Mukhtasar al-Mufassal, and had been very hostile to Suflism.