Excerpt from the “Sayings” of Al-Hasan al-Basri

“The lower world is a house whose inmates labor for loss, and only abstention from it makes one happy in it. He who befriends it in desire and love for it will be rendered wretched by it, and his portion with God will be laid waste. It will deliver him to punishment from God for which there is no patience and no enduring. Its worth is small and its pleasure little, and its passing is written upon it. God is the administrator of its legacy, and its people will change for mansions which long ages shall not decay or alter; and the life there shall not pass away or die, and however long their halt there grows, they shall not move on. Then beware this dwelling place, for there is no power and no might to save in God, and remember the future life. Son of Adam, cut away your anxiety of the lower world.” — Hilyat al-Awliya of Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani, “Sayings.”

Al-Hasan al-Basri (642–728 or 737 ) is an Islamic theologian from Persia whose doctrine of human free will helped shape Sufi mysticism. His sayings — among other Islamic mystics — were collected in the ten-volume
Hilyat al-Awliya of Abu Nu’aym al-Isfahani (d.1038), which covers the first and second centuries of Islamic mysticism. One of the purposes of the book was to establish the orthodoxy of the Sufi movement within Islam.

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