Ibn Ata’illah: A feeling of discouragement

In these verses from his Book of Wisdom, the 13th c. CE Alexandrine Sufi and poet Ibn Ata’illah advises us that our spiritual progress is not necessarily in our hands. For more about Ibn Ata’illah, see this earlier post.

A feeling of discouragement when you slip up
     is a sure sign that you put your faith in deeds.

Your desire to withdraw from everything
     when Allah has involved you in the world of means
          is a hidden appetite.

Your desire for involvement with the world of means
     when Allah has withdrawn you from it
          is a fall from high aspiration.

Aspiration which rushes on ahead
cannot break through the walls of destiny.

Give yourself a rest from managing!
     When Someone Else is doing it for you,
          don’t you start doing it for yourself!

Translation Victor Danner

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