The following incident is overflowing with wisdom, and is by far one of my favorite posts from the ‘Mind, Body, Soul‘ website. I thought I’d share.
Habib ibn Muhammad al-Ajami al-Basri [d.120H/737CE] ‘alayhi al-rahmah wa’l-ridwan
Following from Kashf- al-Mahjub “Unveiling of the Enshrouded” by ‘ALI UTHMAN AL-HUJWIRI (Data Sahib) [Source: Kashf al-Mahjub]
His [al-Ajami] conversion (tawbat) was begun by Hasan of Basra. At first he was a usurer and committed all sorts of wickedness, but Allah gave him a sincere repentance, and he learned from Hasan something of the theory and practice of religion. His native tongue was Persian (’ajami) and he could not speak Arabic correctly.
One evening Hasan of Basra passed by the door of his cell. Habib had uttered the call to prayer and was standing, engaged in devotion. Hasan came in, but would not pray under his leadership, because Habib was unable to speak Arabic fluently or recite the Qur’an correctly. The same night, Hasan dreamed that he saw Allah and said to Him: “O Lord, wherein does Thy good pleasure consist?” and that Allah answered: “O Hasan, you found My good pleasure, but did not know its value: if yester-night you had said your prayers after Habib, and if the rightness of his intention had restrained you from taking offense at his pronunciation, I should have been well pleased with you.”
It is common knowledge among Sufis that when Hasan of Basra fled from Hajjaj he entered the cell of Habib. The soldiers came and said to Habib: “Have you seen Hasan anywhere?” Habib said: “Yes.” “Where is he?” “He is in my cell.” They went into the cell, but saw no one there. Thinking that Habib was making fun of them, they abused him and called him a liar. He swore that he had spoken the truth. They returned twice and thrice, but found no one, and at last departed. Hasan immediately came out and said to Habib: “I know it was owing to thy benedictions that Allah did not discover me to these wicked men, but why didst thou tell them I was here?” Habib replied: “O Master, it was not on account of my benedictions that they failed to see thee, but through the blessedness of my speaking the truth. Had I told a lie, we both should have been shamed.”
Habib was asked: “With what thing is Allah pleased?” He answered: “With a heart which is not sullied by hypocrisy,” because hypocrisy (nifaq) is the opposite of concord (wifaq), and the state of being well pleased (rida) is the essence of concord. There is no connection between hypocrisy and love, and love subsists in the state of being well pleased (with whatever is decreed by Allah ). Therefore acquiescence (rida) is a characteristic of Allah’s friends, while hypocrisy is a characteristic of His enemies. This is a very important matter. I will explain it in another place.
Habib al-Ajami passed away in 120 after Hijri, his shrine is in Baghdad.