Knowledge – the Meaning of Man

In this time, if men want to know, they must set out in search of men who live to know, and who have freed themselves from the crushing a-culturisation process that makes the product of our universities such zombie-like historical products. Such men are not part of the problem nor are they part of the solution. For it is the current dialectic that is the tyranny of modern society. It is the method itself of this culture that is its madness. Here is another way, and in it man is not endangered – he is liberated and that means life for all those around him. Just as knowledge is not to be found in either social upheaval or in stasis, just as it is not to be found either in esotericism and experimental groups or in power structures, so the seeker must break out of his cultural mould and recognise that knowledge is the property of the poor. If poverty were eliminated, knowledge would be eliminated. It is the only clue we can leave in writing. The way of poverty is the way of knowledge. We write it on the cave wall. We write it on your heart.

From the poor slave, the helpless, the needy,

Abdalqadir as-Sufi.


3 thoughts on “Knowledge – the Meaning of Man”

  1. Thank you Hajji Issa for this writing of the Shaykh. The poor slave, the helpless, the needy…If I am allowed to say so, it is not, although it could be, material poverty, but a state and a station, the station of poverty. Isn’t it?


    1. It is absolutely connected to material poverty and that is what the Shaykh refers to in mentioning its elimination. Poverty is the inescapable reality of man whether he be materially poor or not. The materially poor know Allah in a way that others cannot; they are not shielded from the reality of the human situation by some fantasy of possession, capability or position. When the Rasulullah said that he was only sent on account of the poor it tells us something of their station in relation to humanity in general. Zakah for instance is for the wealthy as well as the poor; both are in need of it; one to pay and one to receive. When the Shaykh refers to himself as poor, it is a claim in the same way that we claim to be Muslim; we do not say we are Mumin or Muhsin because that relates to Allah’s generosity and not ourselves. Any wealth we have; money, position, knowledge, influence are borrowed from, or given, by Allah, so how can any claim be made to them. The majority have always been poor and they are essential for the safety of the wealthy, because the wealthy are the worst people unless they continually give of their wealth and to whom else other than those in need. This is particularly plain to see in modern society, where wealth is hoarded and the poor are milked dry and beyond. Equally important is the elucidation of the Prophet concerning poverty itself when he declared that it was ‘all his glory’ and in the same day that, ‘poverty is next to Kufr’, showing that it is based upon a man’s relation to his poverty that matters, or rather his remembrance of Allah. Poverty is real; other than it is an illusion, so it cannot be a state or station because all men are equally poor; who is poorer; the one with nothing and content or the one with everything and dissatisfied. They are both poor but one is rich in his contentment and the other bereft in his greed. To be poor is one of man’s greatest fears and a major weapon in Shaytan’s arsenal, but when it comes it is a feast day of turning to, and relying on Allah. He said, sallalahu alayhi wa sallim, ‘may I live, die and be raised up among the poor’. To rub shoulders with the poor is to be in the company of the Rasul.

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