The Mystical Teachings of al-Shadhili from Ibn al-Sabbagh’s Durrat al-Asrar wa Tufat al-Abarar translation by Elmer H. DouglaS
Hizb ul Bahr – Litany of the Sea
The worthy Shaykh Abu al-‘Aza’im Madi ibn Sultan related to me in the city ofTunis, may God the Exalted watch over it, as did also the worthy and blessed Shaykh Sharaf al-Din, son of the Shaykh (al-Shadhili) in the city of Damanhur al-Wahsh of Egypt in the year A.H. 715 that shaykh was on the point of setting out from Cairo to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca a short time after the departure of the pilgrims.
He said, ”I have been divinely ordered to go on pilgrimage this year. So find for us a Nile vessel in which to make the journey by way of Upper Egypt:’ They looked about for a vessel, but found only one belonging to Christians on which was an elderly Christian man with his sons.
He said, "Let us get on board:’ We entered the vessel and set sail from Cairo and traveled for two or three days. Then the wind shifted so that we were sailing into it. So we tied up to the bank of the Nile at an uninhabited spot. We remained there about a week within sight of the hills of Cairo.
One of the pilgrims accompanying us asked, "How is it that the Shaykh says that he was ordered to perform the pilgrimage this year when the time for it has passed? And how long will this journey take? , In the middle of the day the shaykh slept and awoke, and then offered this prayer [known as Litany of the Sea]. "Where is the captain of the vessel?" he inquired.
"Yes" he answered, "here I am:’ "What is your name?" the shaykh asked. "Mismar:’ "O blessed Mismar, unfurl the sail:’ the shaykh ordered. "O my master:’ the captain objected, "[lf I do that], we shall come again to Cairo by sailing before the wind:’ "We shall again become travelers:’ the shaykh replied, "if God wills:’
Again the captain objected, "This wind will drive us back to Cairo before the end of this day, and, furthermore, with the wind as it is, to get the ship under sail will be absolutely impossible:’
"Unfurl the sail;’ the shaykh ordered him, "with the blessing of God:’ So we unfurled the sail, and God [He is exalted] commanded the wind so that it shifted and filled the sail [so quickly that they] were unable to cast off the rope from the stake. They cut it and we departed under a gentle breeze. The captain converted to Islam, both he and his brother. Their father did not cease to lament and say, "I have lost my two sons on, this journey:’ "On the contrary;’ the shaykh said to him, "you have gained them:’ That night the Christian had a vision in which the day of resurrection, as it were, had come, and he was beholding the Garden and the fire. He witnessed the shaykh (al-Shadhili) conducting to the Garden a large crowd of people. Among them were the Christian’s sons. He wanted to follow them, but he was prevented. He was told, "You are not of them until you enter their religion:’
The Christian related that to the shaykh, and he [the Christian] converted to Islam. Then the shaykh told him, "The people whom you saw with me are my companions to the day of resurrection."
We continued our journey easily and successfully with incidents the telling of which would consume a long time. They finished the pilgrimage that year. My master, Madi, related, according to a report from the shaykh, The Christian became one of the great saints of God. Consequently, he sold his vessel and performed the pilgrimage with us, along with his sons. He had a zawiya (worship place) in Upper Egypt and was one of those who were endowed with charismatic powers. This blessed journey was an occasion for the manifestation of such a power. May God have mercy on him and be pleased with him.
The shaykh said, By God, I did not utter it [the Litany of the Sea] except as it came from the Prophet of God, from whose instruction I learned it. "Guard it;’ he said to me, "for it contains the greatest name of God:’
It is not recited in any place without security reigning there. If it had been with the inhabitants of Baghdad, the Tatars would not have taken the city.
Hizb ul Bahr – Litany of the Sea in English
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Blessings of God and peace be upon our master Muhammad and his family. O God, O Exalted One, O Gentle One,
O AII-Knowing One, Thou art my Lord, and Thy knowledge is sufficient for me. What an excellent Iord is my Lord! What a wonderful sufficiency is my sufficiency! Thou plea to Thee is for protection, in movements and moments of rest, in words, desires, and passing thoughts, from doubts, suppositions and fancies-veilings, they, over hearts, occluding sight of the unseen. The faithful were tried; They were severely shaken. Then the hypocrites would say, with those of disease-ridden hearts, "God and His Messenger promised us only delusion. (Q. 33:11-12)
Even so, make us firm, aid US, and subject to us this sea, as Thou did subject the sea to Moses, and the fire to Ibrahim, and the mountains and iron to David, and the wind, the Satans, and the jinn to Solomon. Put in subjection to us every sea of thine in earth and heaven, in this domain and the celestial, the sea of this world and the sea of the next. Render subservient to us every thing, "0 Thou, whose hand holds sovereignty over every thing" (Q. 23:88). Kaf ha’ ya’ ‘ayn sad Kaf ha’ ya’ ‘ayn sad Kaf ha’ ya’ ‘ayn sad
Help us, for Thou art the best of helpers. Open to us the hand of mercy, for Thou art the best of openers. Pardon us, for Thou art the best of pardoners.
Be compassionate toward us, for Thou art the best of those who show compassion.
Sustain us, for Thou art the best of sustainers. Guide us and rescue us from the unjust people.
Send us a gentle breeze, as Thou dost know how to do, and let it blow on us from the storehouses of Thy mercy. Let it bear us along as it by miraculous intervention, with security and well-being, in religion, worldly affairs, and the hereafter.
Thou art powerful over all things. God, facilitate for us our affairs, with ease of mind and body, with security and well-being in religious and worldly matters. Be a companion for us on our journey, and a substitute for our households.
Blot out the countenances of our enemies, and transform them where they stand, disabling them from leaving or coming to US. If We willed, We would blot out their eyes. Yet, they would race forward to the path. But how would they see? If We willed, We should transform them where they stand. Thus, they would be unable to leave or return (Q 36:66-67).
Ya’ sin! By the Wise Qur’ an! Surely thou art one of those sent on a straight path! A revelation sent down by the Mighty, the Merciful, that thou mightest warn a people whose fathers had not been warned. Yet, they do not take heed.
The declaration has been confirmed against the greater part of them. Yet they do not believe. We have circled their necks with chains up to the chin, but they hold their heads high. Before them have We placed a barrier, and behind them a barrier, and We have obscured their vision; so they see not (Q 36:1-8).
May their faces be deformed! May their faces be deformed! May their faces be deformed!
Let their faces be submissive before the Living, the Self-Subsistent, For he who is laden with wrong has already met frustration. Ta’ sin, ha’ mim, ‘ayn sin qaf. (Q 27:1)
He has released the two seas that meet; Yet between them is a barrier [barzakh] that they do not overpass. …(Q 55:19-20) Ha’ mim, ha’ mim, ha’ mim, ha’ mim, ha’ mim, ha’ mim, ha’ mim! (Q 40:1) The affair has been decreed. The triumph has come. Over us they shall not triumph. Ha’ mim! [It is] the sending down of the Scripture from God, The Mighty, the AII-Knowing, Forgiver of sin,
Receiver of penitence, Severe in punishing, Forbearing. No god is there except Him. To Him is the returning. (Q 40:1-3)
In the name of God (bismillah) is our door. May [God] bless our walls. Ya’ sin (Q 36:1) is our ceiling.
Kaf ha’ ya’ ‘ayn sad (Q 19:1) is our sufficiency. Ha’ mim ‘ayn sin qaf (Q 42:1) is our shelter.
So God is sufficient for thee against them, for He hears all, knows all. [Repeat this thrice]
The veil of the throne has been dropped over us, and the eye of God is gazing at us. God is behind them, round about. Indeed, it is a glorious recital [Qur’an], inscribed on a guarded tablet [lawh mahfuz] (Q. 85:20-21). [Repeat this thrice]
My Protector is God, Who revealed the Book (from time to time), and He will choose and befriend the righteous. (Q. 7:196) [Repeat this thrice]
M y sufficiency is God. No god is there except Him. In Him have I put my trust, For He is Lord of the majestic throne (Q. 9:129). [Repeat this thrice] In the name of God, with whose Name nothing in the earth or sky can do harm, for He is the All-Hearer, All-Knower. [Repeat this thrice]
There is no force and no power except with God, the High, the Mighty.