This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)
* O young man, how can your heart acquire knowledge and your innermost being attain purity when you are still associating creatures with Allah? How can you succeed when every night you choose someone to call on to complain to and beg from? How can your heart become pure when it is empty of the belief in the oneness of God, without a single atom of it? The belief in the oneness of God is light, whereas associating partners with Allah is darkness. How can you succeed when your heart is empty of piety, without a single atom of it? You are screened off from the Creator by the creatures. You are screened off by the means from the Creator of all means, screened off by trust in the creatures and having confidence in them. You are a false, trivial claimant. The claims you make will not be accepted without evidence.
* Where do you stand in relation to the belief in the oneness of God, O idolatrous worshipper? Where do you stand in relation to purity, O impure one? Where do you stand in relation to satisfaction, O dissatisfied one? Where do you stand in relation to patience, O you who complain to the creatures? Your current behavior is not the religion of the righteous predecessors. I get angry when I hear someone say “Allah, Allah” while he sees someone other than Him. O you who perform remembrance, remember Allah (mighty and glorified is He) while you are in His presence! Do not remember Him with your tongue while your heart is with someone else. Escape from the creatures to His door. Evict from your heart this world, the hereafter, and anything other than Him, then remember Him with the tongue of your heart, innermost being, and essence, and then with the tongue of your outward.
Woe to you! How often you say “Allah is Greater (Allahu akbar)” while you do not really mean it and you are only telling lies! Bread is greater in your sight, the seasoning of the bread is greater in your sight, meat is greater in your sight, the wealth that you have amassed in your life is greater in your sight, the watchman on your street and the ruler of your town are greater in your sight, and the ruler of your city is greater in your sight. You fear all of those, pin your hopes on them, flatter them, and conceal your real state from them. Your clothes cover you up. Yet you challenge your Lord with all kinds of detestable deeds! You rely on those people in your serious problems and consider them the source of harm and benefit, and giving and withholding. If I investigate you, you will turn out to be bankrupt of religion and will be no more Muslims or believers.
Remoteness from Allah keeps things concealed from the person, whereas nearness to Allah discloses them to him. Things are revealed to the person who has been drawn near, but he conceals them and does not disclose anything unless there is an irresistible necessity. So glory be to the One who conceals the faults of His servants. Glory be to the One who reveals to the elite of His creatures the real states of His servants and then orders them not to expose them.
* O you who are proud of your affluence and purity, soon your purity will turn into impurity, your affluence into poverty, and your ease into hardship! Do not be conceited about whatever state you are in. You must keep on attending sessions of remembrance, thinking well of the practicing shaikhs, listening to them, and accepting their words.
* O young man, in my eyes, you are Satan’s mate and his representative! You have entrusted yourself to him and you have befriended him while he is devouring the flesh of your religion and your piety and wasting your capital, but you have no clue. Woe to you! Ward him off and force him to escape from your vicinity by continuously performing remembrance, for remembrance destroys him, defeats him, and disperses his soldiers. Remember the True One (mighty and glorified is He) with your tongue at one time and with your heart at another. Change your food and drink. Practice pious restraint under all circumstances. Seek help in defeating Satan by saying: “There is no might or strength but by Allah, the High, the Great (lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhi al‑‘Alīyī al‑‘Adhīm). What Allah wills will happen (mā shā’a Allah kāna). There is no god save Allah, the King, the Manifest True One (lā ilāha illā Allah al‑Maliku al‑Ḥaqqu al‑Mubīn). Glory be to Allah and praise be to Him (subḥāna Allah wa biḥamdih). Glory be to Allah, the Great, and praise be to Him (subḥāna Allah al‑‘Adhīm wa biḥamdih)”. This way he will be overthrown, his power will be broken, and his soldiers will be defeated. Satan’s throne is on the sea and he sends his soldiers to the land. The most respected of his soldiers in his sight is the most capable of seducing the son of Adam.
* The Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “These hearts get rusty, and the polish they need is the recitation of the Qur’an and attending sessions of remembrance.” Joining the sessions of practicing knowledgeable scholars polishes, cleanses, and promotes the hearts and removes their hardness. A man complained to Al‑Ḥasan Al‑Baṣrī (may Allah be satisfied with him) about the hardness of his own heart, so he said to him: “Keep on remembering Allah.”
Those who remember Allah, those who are knowledgeable of Him, those who are His saints, are the kings of the truth. They have known the King, so they proceeded toward Him, therefore he made them kings. They have seen the hereafter, so this world lost its significance in their hearts; and they have seen the True One (mighty and glorified is He), so the creatures became of little importance to them. Honor is obtained by obeying Allah (high is He) and giving up all acts of disobedience.
* O disobedient ones, do not despair of the mercy of Allah (mighty and glorified is He)! Never lose hope of Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) clemency. O you who are dead at heart, keep on remembering your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), reciting His Book and the traditions of His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and attending sessions of remembrance. This will quicken your hearts like the earth is revived by the falling rain. When the heart makes remembering Allah (mighty and glorified is He) common practice, it will earn knowingness, Knowledge, belief in the oneness of God, and trust in Him, and it will turn away from anything other than Him. Continued remembrance of Allah is a means for the continuation of good in this world and the hereafter.
As long as you are given to this world and to the creatures, you will continue to be sensitive to both praise and dispraise, because you are living through your lower self, passion, and natural inclination. When your heart attains to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and He takes charge of you, your sensitivity to praise and dispraise will go away, thus you will be relieved of a heavy burden. If you work for this world while relying on your might and strength, you will lose, be torn apart, tire, and be dissatisfied. Similarly, if you work for the hereafter with your strength you will be cut off. If you work for the True One (mighty and glorified is He), open the door to livelihood by the hand of His strength and trust in Him and open the door of the works of obedience by the hand of His guidance. Once you have attained to the spiritual station of seeking Him, ask Him for strength as well as truthfulness in asking for strength and help from Him. Place the feet of your heart and your innermost being firmly in His presence and give up all preoccupations with this world and the hereafter.