Be Aware of All Excess: Sufi Wisdom

Sufi Master al-Muhasibi wrote: I’ve found that every affliction which comes over the heart is due to excess. This is fundamentally due to approaching this lowly life in a state of ignorance and forgetting about your true place of return after having known it. Savior from this is through leaving off everything unknown by piety and taking nothing except through certainty.

... I’ve found that the basis’ for excess that move the heart appear to manifest themselves through the listening, sight, speech, food, clothes, and housing.

- Excess in listening leading to heedlessness and forgetfulness

- Excess in sight leading to recklessness and confusion

- Excess in speech leading to unneeded articulacy and unnecessary addition (bi'da)

- Excess in food leading to gluttony and overindulgence

- Excess in clothes leading to pride and pompousness

- Excess in housing leading to wastefulness and conceit

So remember that preserving your limbs is an obligation and leaving off excess is a virtue.


~ Al-Muhasibi, Al-Harith ibn Asad. Risalat al-Mustarshidin. Maktab al-Matbu’at al-Islamiyyah, Beirut. Pp.164-170


al-Muhasibi (781–857) was the founder of the Baghdad School of Islamic philosophy, and a teacher of the Sufi masters Junayd al-Baghdadi and Sari al-Saqti. His full name is Abu Abdullah Harith bin Asad al-Basri. He was born in Basra in 781. Muhasibi means self-inspection/audit. It was his characteristic property. He was a founder of Sufi doctrine, and influenced many subsequent theologians, such as al-Ghazali

* Abu Abdallah al-Harith al-Muhasibi

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Technology of the Heart: Be Aware of All Excess: Sufi Wisdom
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