This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
* Woe to you! You claim to love Allah, yet you open up your hearts to others! Because Majnūn Layla (the mad lover of Layla) became truthful in his love for Layla, his heart would not accept other than her. One day he came across some people who asked him: “Where have you come from?” He replied: “From being with Layla.” They asked him: “Where are you going?” He answered: “To Layla.”
Once the heart has become truthful in its love for Allah (mighty and glorified is He) it becomes like Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) about whom Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said: “And We had caused him to refuse the wet-nurses”1 (from 28.12). Do not lie; you do not have two hearts but one, so once it is filled with something there is no room for another. Allah (high is He) has said: “Allah has not made for any man two hearts in his breast” (from 33.4) — a heart that loves the Creator and a heart that loves the creatures. There can be no heart in which this world and the hereafter coexist.
* Allah (high is He) has said in one of His utterances: “The person who claims to love Me yet goes to sleep once the night has set is a liar.” If you were one of the lovers of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) you would not wake up from your sleep reluctantly. The lover is tired, whereas the beloved is at rest. The lover is a seeker, whereas the beloved is sought after. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “Allah (mighty and glorified is He) says to Gabriel: ‘O Gabriel, wake up so‑and‑so and put to sleep so‑and‑so’”! There are two ways to interpret this.
[The first interpretation:] “Wake up such and such person who is a lover and put to sleep so‑and‑so who is a beloved. The former has claimed that he loves Me, so make him get up and stand in his right position [to worship Me] so that the leaves of his existence with anyone other than Me will fall. Wake him up in order for him to present evidence of his claim and for his love to be confirmed. And put to sleep so‑and‑so because he is a beloved. He has toiled hard for a long time. Nothing of himself has remained for other than Me. His love has become all for Me. His claim, proof, and adherence to My covenant have been confirmed. His repentance to Me is truthful, and he has kept My covenant. He is a guest, and the guest should not be made to serve or tire. Put him to sleep on the lap of My subtle kindness, give him a seat at the table of My favor, and let him feel intimate with My nearness. His love has become true, and when love becomes true the barriers of formality vanish.”
The other interpretation: “Put to sleep so‑and‑so because he worships Me in order to find favor with the creatures; and wake up so‑and‑so because seeking My favor is the goal of his worshiping Me. Put to sleep so‑and‑so because I hate to hear his voice, and wake that other person up because I love to hear his voice.”
The lover becomes beloved once he has purified his heart of everything other than Allah (mighty and glorified is He), so he will not wish to leave Him for the sake of anyone else. The attainment of the heart to this spiritual station comes about by performing the obligatory worship duties; refraining patiently from prohibited and dubious things; obtaining the permissible and licit things without passion, lustful desire, and engrossment; resorting to curative pious restraint; practicing total renunciation, which is the abandonment of everything other than Allah (mighty and glorified is He); refusing to comply with the lower self, passion, and Satan; and purifying the heart totally of any creature so that praise and dispraise, being given and having things withheld, and gold and clay become all equal. The first stage of this spiritual station 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 gold as worthless as clay.
The person whose heart becomes sound and attached to his Lord will see as equal: gold and clay, praise and dispraise, sickness and good health, affluence and poverty, and good and bad fortune in this world. When this has become true of someone, his lower self and passion will die, the fire of his natural inclinations will die out, and his devil will be humiliated before him. His heart will look down on this world and its lords, then he will turn away from them and advance toward his Lord until a path for his heart will appear in the midst of the creatures which it will follow to reach the Creator. The creatures will step aside to the left and right and clear the way for him. They will run away from the fire of his truthfulness and the charisma of his innermost being. At this stage, he will be called “great” in the heavenly kingdom and all creatures will come to be under the feet of his heart and seek protection under his shadow.
Do not be in illusion. Do not claim ownership of what does not belong to you and what you do not have. Your lower self is in total control of you, and the creatures and this world are in your heart greater than Allah (mighty and glorified is He). You are outside the limit of the people of Allah and you are not counted with them. If you wish to attain to what I have referred to, occupy yourself with purifying your heart from everything.
Woe to you! When you are in need for a bite to eat, lose a trivial thing, or one of your worldly affairs fails, it is the end of the world for you! You turn away from your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), release your anger by battering your wife and children, and insult your religion and Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). If you were sensible and one of the people of wakefulness and watchfulness, you would be silent in the presence of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and you would see all his actions as favors and caring for you.
* The lovers feel no rest in their hearts even if they enter a million Paradises until they see their Beloved. They do not wish for a created thing but they wish for the Creator. They do not want benefits but they want the Benefactor. They wish for the root not the branch. They have given up all their relationships and have become the individuals of the King. The earth seems too strait for them despite its spaciousness. They have something that keeps them busy and distracts them from the creatures. When their hearts see Paradise while awake or asleep they do not look at it even with a twinkling of an eye. They look at it as they look at lions, shackles, and prisons. They say that it is mere veils, care, and torment. They escape from it as the creatures escape from lions, fetters, and prisons.
*When someone loves Allah (mighty and glorified is He) he loses his will with Him, because the lover has no will above the will of his Beloved. This is known for every lover who has experienced the taste of love. The lover is extinct in the presence of his Beloved, like the servant in the presence of his master. The wise servant who is obedient to his master does not disagree with his master or object to him at all. Woe to you! You are neither a lover nor a beloved, and you have neither experienced the taste of love nor that of being loved. The lover is restless and wary, whereas the beloved is calm. The lover is in hardship, whereas the beloved is in comfort.
You lay claim to love, yet you leave your Beloved to go to sleep! Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said in one of His utterances: “The person who claims to love Me yet goes to sleep once the night has set is a liar.” Some of the people of Allah sleep only out of necessity. Such a person does not fall into deep sleep but he merely dozes off. He sleeps while in prostration. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “If the servant falls asleep while in prostration, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) commends him to the angels saying: ‘See how his soul is with Me and his body is practicing obedience to Me in My presence’”. The person who is overwhelmed by sleep while performing his prayer is considered to be still praying, because his intention was to pray when he was overwhelmed by sleep. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) does not look at the appearance but at the intention and the essence.
* O You who claim to be a seeker, your supposed quest will not be sound as long as you have something that screens you off from your Sought After One! You still say “this is mine” and “this is my property”? The lover has no property, no worldly interest, no treasury, no will, and no house in relation to his Beloved. They all belong to his Sought After One, to his Beloved. The lover is owned by his Beloved and is a humble servant in His hands. The servant and all his property belong to his Master. When the surrender of the lover to his Beloved has become complete, the Beloved returns to him what He received from him and puts him in charge of it. The situation is reversed. The slave becomes free; the humiliated one becomes exalted; the remote one becomes near; the lover becomes beloved. When Majnūn Layla remained patient in his love for Layla, love turned to her and Layla became Majnūn and Majnūn became Layla. The person who is patient and truthful in his love for Allah (mighty and glorified is He), does not run away from His door because of the arrows of His tribulations, and receives them with the front of his heart will become beloved, wanted, and sought after. The person who has experienced this knows it very well. It is indescribable. It is beyond the comprehension of all creatures except a few individuals. These are the most intelligent people. They understand by a mere glance, and by the slightest sign they return [to obedience], acquire good manners, and know what is required of them.
* Woe to you! You claim that you love Allah (mighty and glorified is He), yet you do not obey Him! The love of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) comes only after observing the commandments, refraining from the prohibitions, being satisfied with whatever one gets, and being content with the divine decree. Then you love Him for His favors, after that you love Him for nothing in return, and then you yearn for Him. The lover remembers the True One with his tongue, limbs and senses, heart, and innermost being. When he attains extinction in His remembrance, He commends him to His creatures and distinguishes him from them with unfamiliar spiritual states and sayings. He becomes a truth within a truth. He becomes extinct, as only the First One, the Last One, the Outward One, the Inward One remains. O you who claim to love Him yet complain to the creatures about Him, you are a liar in your claim of love! The person who loves Him in the state of affluence yet complains about Him in the state of poverty is a liar. When poverty comes to a raw heart that has not been strengthened by faith and certitude, that person will undoubtedly end up in the company of disbelief.
* There can be no partnership in love. O you who claim to be in love, the lover is the guest of the beloved! Have you ever seen a guest get his food and drink and look after his needs? You claim to be in love, yet you go to sleep! The lover never sleeps. You are either a lover or a beloved; there is no third case. If you were a lover then how can the lover sleep? And if you were a beloved then the lover is your guest!
* An inquirer asked me: “Which one is more intense, the fire of fear or the fire of longing?” [I said:] “The fire of fear for the seeker and the fire of longing for one who is sought after. These are two different things. Which of the two fires do you have, O inquirer?”
O you who are reliant on means,2your Benefactor and Harmer are one and the same! Your King is one, your Sultan is one, your God is one, and your Creator is one. It is He who made you, and what you do with your hands it is in fact He who does it through your hands. He has created, subsisted, harmed, benefited, and guided you. Why do you rely on something that is created, like yourselves? Why do you worship what cannot cause any harm or bring any benefit to itself? Have you not heard that Allah (high is He) has said: “So let the person who hopes for the meeting with his Lord do righteous deeds and associate no partner in the worship due to his Lord” (from 18.110)? O people, if you are not lovers, serve the lovers, draw near to the lovers, love the lovers, and think well of the lovers!
An inquirer asked him: “Is love by compulsion in the beginning and by volition in the end?” He said: “Love comes by compulsion and volition. For some rare individuals, love comes by way of involuntary compulsion. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) looks at them and loves them, so He transfers them in one moment from one state to another. He does not want to love them after years but He loves them in one moment, so they love Him out of necessity, without delay, without introduction, not gradually, and without any passage of time.
As for the majority of people, love comes by way of choice. The lovers choose Allah (high is He) in preference to His creatures. They see the favors that they have as having come from Him not from anyone else. They recognize His subtle favors, His preparations for them, and His rewards for them so they love Him. Then they choose Him in preference to both this world and the hereafter. They give up all prohibited or legally dubious things, reduce the use of the lawful, and be satisfied with whatever they already have. They abandon the bed and blanket, and sleep and rest: ‘Their sides shun their beds’ (from 32.16). Neither their night is an ordinary night nor is their day an ordinary one. They say: ‘Our God, we have left everything behind the backs of our hearts and hastened to You so that You may be pleased.’ They walk to Him sometimes on the feet of their hearts, sometimes on the feet of their innermost beings, sometimes on the feet of their will, sometimes on the feet of their spiritual aspiration, sometimes on the feet of their truthfulness, sometimes on the feet of their love, sometimes on the feet of their yearning, sometimes on the feet of their humility and modesty, sometimes on the feet of their nearness, sometimes on the feet of their fear, and sometimes on the feet of their hope. They do all this in love for Him and longing to meet Him.
O you who ask me, are you of those who love Allah (mighty and glorified is He) through involuntary compulsion or through choice? If the answer is neither then be silent and work on correcting your practice of Islam. O you who ask me, if only your practice of Islam and faith are sound! If only you leave the company of disbelievers and hypocrites today and stay away from them in the future! If only you refrain from attending sessions of those who associate creatures and means with God, those who dispute with the True One (mighty and glorified is He)! Repent and do not approach the treasuries and secrets of the kings. Shaikh Ḥammād Ad‑Dabbās3 (may Allah show mercy to him) used to say: ‘When someone does not know his status, the decrees of destiny show him his status.’ Acknowledging your status is better than denying it, because the ignorant person is ignorant of his own status and that of others. O Allah, do not include us among the pretenders, liars, and those who are ignorant of You and of the elite of Your creatures, and ‘give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire’”.
* Woe to you! You claim to love Allah, yet you love other than Him! Your claim will be a cause for your destruction. How can you lay claim to love when no sign of it can be seen about you? Love is like a fire in a house with no door or key; its flames come out from the top. The lover keeps his love indoors and conceals it until it shows on him. He has a special language and special speech. He does not wish for anything in addition to his Beloved, which is one of the greatest signs of his truthfulness. O liar, O facetious one, keep silent for you are not one of them! You are neither a lover nor beloved. The lover is at the door, whereas the beloved is inside. The lover is in agitation, movement, and disturbance, whereas the beloved is in tranquility, resting on the lap of the Subtly Kind One, sleeping there. The lover is in tiredness, whereas the beloved is at rest; the lover is a learner, whereas the beloved is a learned scholar; the lover is imprisoned, whereas the beloved is free; the lover has gone crazy, whereas the beloved has become sane.
When a child sees a snake he screams and runs away, whereas the snake‑charmer keeps silent at the scene of a snake. When someone sees a lion, he screams and flees in horror, whereas the lion trainer plays with the lions and sleeps with them. Everyone who enters is surprised. Allah (high is He) has said: “And be pious to Allah and [then] Allah will teach you” (from 2.282). The lover is pious. He is taught politeness while he is still at the door. His limbs and senses and his heart are taught good manners. Once he has become well‑mannered, he enters through the door of nearness. The Law refines the behavior at the door, whereas Knowledge refines the behavior inside. Once the person has acquired good manners through the Law, Knowledge will take care of him, give him authority, make him a commander, enrich him, and enable him to judge properly. The Law is a common door, whereas Knowledge is a special door. When someone behaves with ultimate politeness and obedience at the common door, he will be befriended and brought near, in the inside of the special door. He will join the group of loved ones.
You should not utter a word until you have reached your station, while adhering to reflection and deep thinking, fulfilling servitude, and looking at the deficiencies and shortcomings of yourself. When the person looks at his faults, he accomplishes perfection, but when he looks at his perceived perfection, he reaps deficiency. Reverse your actions in order to succeed.
1After being suckled by his mother, baby Moses did not accept the milk of any other woman.
2 The plural Arabic word asbāb, which is translated as “means,” denotes the “apparent” causes of things and events. The Qur’an stresses that it is Allah who is the “real” cause of everything that happens and that all “means” are mere instruments in His hand.
3 Shaikh ‘Abd Al‑Qadir Al‑Jilani accompanied Shaikh Ḥammād Ad‑Dabbās for some time.