This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
* Woe to you! Hypocrisy has become firmly stuck to your heart, so you need Islam, repentance, and cutting the waistband [which Christians wear]. Be sensible! You will see when the dust has cleared whether you are riding a horse or donkey: “And you will know its tidings after a while” (38.88). The person who listens to my words, puts them into practice, and acts with sincerity will be one of those who are drawn near because these are words from the kernel with no shell.
* As for the hypocrite, he has a clever tongue but a clumsy heart. All his knowledge is in his tongue. This is why the Prophet (prayer and peace be on him and on his family) has said: “The most that I fear for my nation is a hypocrite with a clever tongue.”
* O hypocrite, you will not succeed in this business through your hypocrisy and pretence! You can see your cunningness, you can see your acceptance by the hearts of people, but you cannot see what lies in front of you! You are a source of misfortune to yourself in this world and in the hereafter, and to those whom you teach and order to follow you. You are a dissimulator, impostor, and swindler in relation to people’s property. No doubt, you will not have a prayer answered or a place in the hearts of the truthful. You have gone astray from Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) way with His knowledge. You will see when the dust has cleared whether you are riding a horse or donkey. When the dust has cleared, you will see the men of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) riding horses and thoroughbreds, whereas you are on a broken donkey behind them and the demons and devils will grasp you. The people of Allah attain to a state in which they have no prayer of supplication and make no requests. They do not ask for benefits to be brought or harms to be repelled. Their supplication will come to be at the command of their hearts, sometimes for themselves and sometimes for the creatures, so they utter the prayer of supplication while being unaware of what they are doing. O Allah, grant us ultimate politeness with You under all circumstances and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”
* It is the habit of the believer to reflect first and then speak, whereas the hypocrite speaks first and then reflects. The tongue of the believer is behind his mind and heart, whereas the tongue of the hypocrite is in front of his mind and heart. O Allah, include us among the believers, do not include us with the hypocrites, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”
* May Allah confer no blessing on you, O hypocrites! How many you are! Your efforts are totally dedicated to cultivating your relationships with the creatures and undermining your relationships with the Creator. If you treat me as your enemy, this means that you are treating Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him and on his family) as your enemies because I support them. Do not overstep the mark for “Allah has full control over His affair” (from 12.21).
Joseph’s (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) brothers tried hard to kill him but without success. How could they have succeeded when he is a king in the sight of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), one of His prophets, and one of the truthful elite, and when He had preordained that benefits would flow to the creatures through his hands? Similarly, the Jews tried to kill Jesus, the son of Mary (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them), because they became envious of him as a result of the marvelous signs and miracles that he performed, so Allah Almighty revealed to him that he must leave their country for Egypt. He left it, and this happened when he was thirteen years old. It was one of his relatives who took him and helped him to escape. Then his influence increased and he became well‑known throughout that country, so a group of people decided to kill him but they failed for “Allah has full control over His affair.” You are doing the same, O hypocrites of this age! You wish to kill me. You are unworthy of respect! You will be kept well short of that.
Force yourselves to perform works of obedience and refrain from acts of disobedience and reprehensible deeds and then this forcing will turn into a natural inclination. Try to understand the words of your Lord, put them into practice, and act sincerely in accordance with them. Our Lord (mighty and glorified is He) speaks a speech that can be heard and understood. In this world, Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) and Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) heard His words. In the hereafter, the believers among His creatures will hear His speech. Our Lord can be seen. We shall see Him on the Day of Resurrection as we now see the sun and moon. We have no doubt about this today and we shall have no doubt about it tomorrow [at the Resurrection]. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has servants who are willing to sell Paradise and its contents for a glance [of Him]. Once He has established the truthfulness of their intentions and that they are irrevocably ready to trade Paradise for a single glimpse, He will make glimpses available to them indefinitely. He will make their nearness permanent. He will compensate them for the pleasures of Paradise with His nearness.
O you who are ignorant of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and His men! Woe to you! Advance one step with the feet of your hearts to the food of the favor of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Can you not see how I am putting it in front of you? Anyone of you who accuses me of telling lies will himself be called a liar by his clothes, his house, and the angels who surround him. I do not care about the accusation of telling lies that you level at me, O hypocrite, O impostor!
* I can see that the majority of you make public any bad thing they come across and conceal any good thing that they see. Do not do that. You are not in charge of people. Leave people under Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) veil. Release people from your hands for their reckoning is a matter for their Lord. If you have known Allah (mighty and glorified is He), you will have shown mercy to His creatures and left their shortcomings undisclosed. If you have known Him, you will have ignored anyone other than Him and you will have known the others through Him. If you deal with Him, you will resent dealing with others. If you have known His door, your hearts will have turned away from the doors of others. If you have seen the favors to have come from Him, you will have thanked Him and forgotten thanking others. Ask Him to provide for your needs and do not ask others. Believe in His oneness and then you will be unified. The person who believes in His oneness will be unified. The person who seeks [Him] will find [Him]. The person who surrenders and submits [to Him] will be saved. The person who complies with His will will be granted success. The person who disputes with destiny will be destroyed.
* O hypocrite, it is natural that you do not understand what I have to say because you disbelieve my words. If you want to comprehend and understand what I say, repent from your hypocrisy, act with sincerity, and renounce your worldly interests and anything other than your Master. The first stage of this business is declaring that “there is no God save Allah (lā ilāha illā Allah) (from 47.19), Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (Muhammadun rasūlu Allah)” (from 48.29), and its last stage is seeing stones and clay as equal. I mean by “stone” the gold which is the beloved of the creatures and the thing they seek.
* Suppose that you have succeeded in concealing your reality from the people of the Law, how can you hide yourself from the people of Knowledge who can see by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and are able to know the creatures by their marks? In the sight of the common people, you are one who performs the prayer, keeps the fast, is obedient, pays the obligatory alms, makes the pilgrimage, practices pious restraint, is pious, and is an ascetic. In the eyes of the people of Knowledge, however, you are a hypocrite, impostor, and inhabitant of hell. When you come into their presence, they see the ruins of your house and of the house of your religion. They see the traces of hypocrisy on your face. They know you from your marks but they do not utter a word. The nearness to the True One (mighty and glorified is He) has sealed their mouths, His covering has held their tongues, and the tongue of His generosity and patience has prevented them from speaking. Otherwise, their secrets would have become public.
O hypocrites, fulfill the requirements of Islam so that you acquire faith, certitude, knowingness, private conversation, direct speech, and discourse. Be sensible, do not be satisfied with the appearances and neglect the substance. Work and act with sincerity and then you will be saved. Serve the practicing knowledgeable scholars. The person who serves will himself be served. The person who acts with humility will be elevated. Give service and then you will become a master. Have you not heard this saying: “The master of the people is their servant”? You serve very well yourself, your wife, and your son but you hide your money away from the poor and spend it in satisfying your passions and purposes. Your wealth will soon vanish.
You are afraid of the watchman on your street and the ruler of your town more than you fear your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). You treat them with veneration and present them with gifts because they know that your home is in ruins and are aware of your scandals. Woe to you! Soon, your wealth will disappear and your friends, who are evil companions, will abandon you and become your enemies. The watchman on your street and the ruler of your town will spread the word about your disgrace because you do not pay them anymore. How would Allah (mighty and glorified is He) bless you when you are spending His favors on acts of disobedience to Him? Soon, you will start to beg but no one will give you a handout and the garbage dumps and sewage places will be your abode. It is also possible that the Angel of Death will come to you while you are in this situation and thus you will move from one misery to another. Be sensible and feel ashamed in the presence of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). This world will not last forever but the hereafter will. The lustful desires of this world do not last but the pleasures of the hereafter do. The believer sells this world for the hereafter and the creatures for the Creator.
* O hypocrite, your time is being spent on nothing. O backslider, your time is being wasted and your capital is melting away, so no doubt you will make no profit. Your capital is your religion, and since you are using your capital to consume worldly things, you are in effect consuming your religion, so it is diminishing and vanishing. It vanishes through your work for the sake of the creatures and your quest for fame, the gold coin, the silver coin, social prestige, and acceptance [by the creatures]. You are the enemy of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). You are hated by Him, by the hearts of the truthful among His servants, and by His angels. The angels curse you, the earth under you curses you, the sky above you curses you, and your clothes curse you. So you are cursed by the Creator and by the creatures. Have you not known that the hypocrite is “in the lowest depths of the Fire” (from 4.145)? Surrender (become a Muslim) and then repent. Do something before death surprises you, before you are suddenly overtaken and end up in regret when regret is useless. I know you but I cannot point at you. We are commanded in the Law to leave you and others unexposed. But I speak out, however, without mentioning names. I refer to you indirectly, without pointing to you explicitly. As the saying goes: “My words are aimed at you, so listen to what I am going to say to my neighbor.” The slave may need to be beaten with a stick but a nod should be enough for a freeman.
The True One (high is He) looks at the private and public lives of the creatures and also at their hearts. He does not accept from them other than what they offer to Him and do for the sake of His face. Do not put on a show, do not cheat, and do not try to conceal your faults for “He knows the secret and what is yet more hidden” (from 20.7),and “He knows the treachery of the eyes and what the breasts conceal” (40.19).
* How much I call on you but you do not hear me, and when you hear you pretend to be deaf and do not answer! How far you are! You are being called from a distant place. Your voice comes from the depths of the earth not from the castle of nearness and the shore of the sea of favor. Your whole concern is with your bellies, genitals, bodies, and amassing worldly goods. This is poison. Hunger is the food with which Allah (mighty and glorified is He) satisfies the stomachs of the truthful on earth. O you who are afraid of poverty, the real poverty is the fear of poverty, and the real affluence is being satisfied with Allah (mighty and glorified is He) not with the silver and gold coins! O young man, make yourself live the experience of the Resurrection [before it has come]! Enter with the feet of your reasoning to the Fire and Paradise and look at what is there with the eyes of your faith and certitude. The believer continues to work until both of his reasoning and sight come to be sound. After achieving this, he puts himself through the experience of the Resurrection. He stands in the presence of His Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and reads the scrolls of his works. He sees in them his good and bad deeds. He can see that his bad works have outnumbered his good ones and that because of his bad works he will fall into the Fire. He wishes to cross over the ṣirāṭ1 so he will step on it, poised between fear and hope, between falling to his death and crossing safely. While he is in this situation, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will reach out to him with His mercy, giving the order for him to be brought back, widening the ṣirāṭbeneath his feet, and extinguishing with the water of His mercy the flames of the fire so that the fire will say to him: “Pass through, O believer, for your light has put out my flames!” The believer reflects on all of this, imagines it graphically, and believes in it as a fact. He keeps his belief in it until it becomes a matter of certainty for him.
* One of the righteous is reported to have said: “The hypocrite remains in one and the same state for forty years, whereas the truthful person changes forty times every day.” The hypocrite is involved with his lower self, passion, natural inclination, devil, and worldly interests. He never leaves their service. He never expresses an opinion that is different from theirs. He never says anything that contradicts what they say. His whole concern is with eating, drinking, dressing up, having sex, and amassing wealth. He does not care in what way he gets all that. He ensures the prosperity of his body and worldly affairs but ruins his heart and religion. He pleases the creatures but dissatisfies the Creator. The longer his hypocrisy lasts, the harder and darker his heart becomes, so he becomes more unmoved and undisturbed by any admonition, unable to learn a lesson from any advice, and incapable of remembering when he is given a reminder. No doubt, therefore, he remains in one and the same state for forty years. The truthful person, on the other hand, does not remain in one state because he is involved with the Transformer of hearts, submerged in the sea of His power, with one wave raising him up and another sending him down. With respect to the True One’s (mighty and glorified is He) management of affairs, he is like a feather in the desert, like a stalk in the farmer’s field, like the corpse in the hands of the washer of the dead, like the child on the lap of the nursing mother, and like the ball in front of the polo player’s mallet. He has surrendered his outward and inward to Him and he is satisfied with His management of his affairs and His looking after him. He is not concerned with his eating, sleep, and lustful desires, but the whole of his concern is with the service of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and His satisfaction with him. This is why a righteous man has said: “As for the people of Allah, their eating is like that of the sick, their sleep is like that of the drowned, and their speech is only uttered out of necessity.” How could not they be like this when they have seen with their hearts what no one else has ever seen? They have forgotten everything other than their Lord (mighty and glorified is He). They have become unconscious as far as this world, the hereafter, and anything other than Him are concerned. They have camped at His door. They used compliance as their pillow at His doorstep, and content and satisfaction as their quilt, while the divine decree and destiny serve them, kiss them on the forehead, and carry them on their heads.
1 A narrow bridge that every person will have to cross on the Day of Resurrection.