Sayyidina Abu Al-Sa’oud Ibn Abu Al-‘Asha`ir

(His tomb lies at the foot of al-Muqattam mountain near the tomb of Ibn ‘Ata`ullah)

He is one of the sheikhs of Egypt and a founder of a sect whose mission aimed at refining manners and instructing disciples.

He was born in al-Wasit in Iraq and died in Cairo in 644 AH.

Abu al-Sa’oud Ibn Abu al-‘Asha`ir did not advocate living in hunger, poverty, and isolation from the world but was rather interested in lawful earnings or the purification of food which, he maintained, purifies the body.

His views differed from the well-known Sufi teachings. He maintained that the self must receive the food and drink it needs and at the same time deprived of excessiveness. This is because it is a trust from Allah and the mount on which a person travels [in this world]. Consequently, its oppression is not only tantamount to oppressing another human but is greater due to what was mentioned on the eternal punishment of one who commits suicide as opposed to one who commits murder.

On the other hand, the self must not be allowed to indulge in its whims and caprices because once it conquers the heart, it enslaves and dominates it.  In spite of this, the seeker must not fight against it for it hinders whoever fights it and dominates whoever neglects it. He must trick it by gradually decreasing its gratification. It antagonizes and dominates whoever stifles it and follows whoever seizes it and refrains from following its whims and caprices.

The aphorisms of Abu al-Sa’oud Ibn Abu al-‘Asha`ir  include:

How can a person worship Allah wholeheartedly when he is not aware of his self’s faults? [How can he worship Allah] when caprice it its soul, Satan its servant, and polytheism is at the heart of its nature? [How can he worship Allah] when the self is molded with resistance and objection to truth? How can he worship Allah] when it is characterized by thinking ill of others the result of which is pride and irreverence and when its lifeblood is love for fame? How then can a slave approach his Lord in its presence and dominance?