Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O young man, you must work sincerely for Allah (mighty and glorified is He), in your prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, giving obligatory alms, and all of your deeds. Have a pledge with Him before your arrival to Him. This pledge is nothing less than sincerity, belief in the oneness of God, following the Sunna and the Islamic community, patience, thankfulness, entrusting Allah with your affairs, rejecting the creatures and seeking Him, and turning away from anything other than Him and advancing to Him with your heart and your innermost being. No doubt, He will give you in this world nearness to Him, longing for Him, and loving Him, and in the hereafter He will give you of His nearness and favors what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never occurred to any human being.

* O sincere one, run away from the association of partners with Allah to the door of your Lord. Stop at it and do not escape when tribulations come. If you stood at His door and tribulations came to you from your rear, cling to the door, for they will be fended off from you by your belief in the oneness of God and the charisma of your truthfulness. When tribulations come to you, resort to patience and steadfastness and recite these words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “Allah confirms those who believe with the firm word in the life of this world and in the hereafter” (from 14.27); His (high is He) following utterance: “So Allah will suffice you against them; He is the Hearer, the Knower” (from 2.137); and His following words: “Is not Allah sufficient for His servant?” (from 39.36). Say frequently: “There is no might or strength but by Allah, the High, the Great” (lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhi al‑‘Alīyī al‑‘Adhīm), and frequently ask for forgiveness and glorify the Lord. Remember the True One (mighty and glorified is He). By truthfulness you will be protected from the army of tribulations and the army of the lower self, passion, and Satan. How well I know you, and how little you know me!

He whom Allah guides is rightly guided” (from 18.17).And he whom Allah guides will have none to mislead him” (from 39.37). “He whom Allah sends astray there is no guide for him” (from 7.186). Our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) used to love and wish that those who had gone astray would accept guidance, so Allah revealed this to him: “You do not guide whom you like but it is Allah who guides whom He wills” (from 28.56). So he (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) said: “I have been sent with guidance, but guidance is not under my control. And Satan tempts people, yet temptation is not under his control.”

The belief of the followers of the Book and the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is that the sword does not cut because of its nature, but it is rather Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who cuts with it; that the fire does not burn because of its nature, but it is rather Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who burns with it; that food does not satisfy hunger because of its nature, but it is rather Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who satisfies hunger with it; and that water does not quench thirst because of its nature, but it is rather Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who quenches thirst with it. The same applies to all things of all kinds; it is Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who uses them to produce their effects while they are only instruments in His hand with which He does whatever He wills. When Abraham the Intimate (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) was cast into the fire and the True One (mighty and glorified is He) wanted that the fire would not burn him, He made it “coolness and safety” (from 21.69) to him. It is rightly reported that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the Fire will say: ‘Pass through, O believer, for your light has put out my flames’”! The slave may need to be beaten with the stick, whereas a sign is sufficient for the freeman to understand.

* O you who worship with an absent heart, your likeness is as the likeness of a donkey that has its eyes blindfolded while turning the mill! It thinks that it has walked many miles when in fact it has not left its place. Woe to you! You stand up and sit down in your prayer, and suffer hunger and thirst in your fasting, yet without having a single atom of sincerity and belief in the oneness of God; what benefit would you derive from this? What would you earn other than weariness? You pray and fast while the eye of your heart is on what other people have in their houses, in their pockets, and on their plates. You look at them in the hope that they may present you with gifts, you show them your worship acts, and let them know of your fast and strife.

O you who have made the creatures as partners to Allah, what you have are worthless! Turn back from your attribution of partners to Allah. O hypocrite, O dissimulator, O you who have turned away from the attributes of the truthful, spiritual, godly ones! Have you not realized that I scrutinize you, have authority over you, and ask you for evidence on your claims? The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “If the claims of people were to be accepted without evidence, some people would claim the blood and property of others. But the evidence must be provided by the claimant and the oath is required of the person who denies it.”

How much you talk and how little you act! Reverse your actions in order to succeed. When someone comes to know Allah (mighty and glorified is He), his tongue will stop moving, his heart will start to speak, his innermost being will become pure and serene, and his status will raise in His sight. He will feel intimacy and find comfort with Him and he will find Him sufficient for all his needs, to the exclusion of everyone else.

O fire of the hearts, be coolness and safety! O hearts, get ready for the day on which the mountains will be removed and the earth will be made to appear in full view. The real man is one who, on that day, will stand steadfast on the feet of his faith in his Lord, his trust in his Lord, his love for his Lord, and his longing for his Lord; on the feet of his knowingness of Him in this world before the hereafter. The mountains of the means and the creatures will be removed, whereas the mountains of the Creator of all means will remain in place. The mountains of the kings of the outward and the images will be removed and vanish, whereas the mountains of the kings of the inward will appear and stand firm. The Day of Resurrection is the day of change and replacement. These mountains at whose strength, hardness, and great size you marvel will become like carded wool and will be uprooted. Their hardness will vanish and they will be made to move faster than the clouds. The sky will become like “muhl” (from 70.8), which is molten copper. The nature of the earth and the sky will totally change. The bout of this world will be over — that is the bout of the Law, the bout of deeds, the bout of planting, the bout of duties. The bout of the hereafter will come — that is the bout of destiny, the bout of rewarding according to deeds, the bout of the harvest, the bout of rest from duties, the bout of giving every rightful owner what he has the right to, the bout of giving everyone who deserves favors his entitlement. O Allah, grant our hearts and our limbs and senses steadfastness on that day and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* You have to practice sincerity. Pray for the sake of Allah not for the sake of His creatures. Fast for the sake of Allah not for the sake of His creatures. Live in this world for His sake not for the sake of His creatures or for the sake of yourselves. When performing any act of obedience, be devoted to Allah not to His creatures.

You will not be able to perform righteous deeds with sincerity unless you practice the curtailment of hopes. You will be able to curtail hopes only by remembering death. You will not be able to remember death unless you see the ruined graves and reflect on their dwellers and what they were involved in. Sit at the destroyed graves and say to yourselves: “Those used to eat, drink, have sexual intercourse, dress up, and amass worldly things. What is their state of affairs now? What benefit would all of that bring them? They do not have with them other than whatever good deeds they did.”

There are among you, O people of this town, those who do not believe in the raising of the dead on the Day of Resurrection, adopting the doctrine of dahriyya,1 but they hide their belief in fear of being killed. I know a group of them, but I view you by the Law of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and conceal what I know about you for the sake of the Knowledge of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). I view you one by one but turn a blind eye to you. O Allah, draw a veil over our shortcomings, forgive us, and grant us guidance, sufficiency, and care! Amen.

Footnotes

1 The term dahriyya is derived from the Arabic word dahr which means “long period of time.” The dahriyya believe there is no Creator for this world and that it is the passage of time that causes people to die. Consequently, they do not believe in the Resurrection. This group of disbelievers is mentioned in the Qur’an: “And they say: ‘There is nothing but our life in this world; we die and live, and nothing destroys us but time.’ They merely conjecture” (45.24).

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

*O servants of Allah, be truthful and then you will succeed! The truthful person never backslides. The person who is truthful in his belief in the oneness of Allah (high is He) never backslides on the advice of his lower self, passion, or devil. The truthful person never listens to blame and never allows it to enter his ears. The person who is truthful in his love of Allah, His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and His righteous servants never turns back as a result of listening to the words of someone who is hypocritical, hated, and disappointed. The truthful person does not know other than the truthful person and the liar does not know other than the liar. The aspiration of the truthful person is high in the sky. He cannot be harmed by anyone’s words. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has full power over His affairs. If He wants you for a certain purpose, He prepares you for it.

* If the truthful person meets all creatures he would not like to look at anyone other than his Beloved. This world does not seem significant to the eyes of his head, the hereafter does not seem significant to the eyes of his heart, and nothing seems significant to the eyes of his innermost being other than the Master. The shouting of the hypocrite comes from his tongue and head, whereas the shouting of the truthful person springs from his heart and innermost being. His heart is at the door of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and his innermost being has entered into His presence. It keeps on shouting at the door until it enters the house.

* O liars, the truthful person never tells lies. The truthful person never turns back! The truthful person has no back. He is a front with no back, truthfulness with no telling of lies. He is words and action, claim and evidence. He never turns back from his Beloved because of arrows that come to him from Him, but he rather receives them with his breast. Your love for something blinds and deafens you. When one knows what he is seeking, he sees whatever he has to do to be as insignificant. The lover who is truthful in his love always plunges into dangers in the quest for his Beloved. If he faces an inferno, he throws himself right into it. He swoops at what others would not even dare approaching. It is his truthfulness that urges him to do this. It is his love and impatience with being distant from his Beloved that make behave like this. Afflictions reveal the truthful person and the liar and distinguish between them. How excellent this piece of poetry by one of them is:

It is at times of dissatisfaction not at times of satisfaction
that the lover becomes identifiable from the hater.1 

Footnotes

1 This poetry is by the Sufi shaikh ‘Ali Bin Wafā AshShādhilī (13591405).

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Woe to you! You want to get something in return for nothing? This will never happen to you. Pay the price of something and then take it. One who enjoys himself will never find ultimate happiness, whereas one who exerts efforts will find ultimate happiness. Endure with patience the care and sorrow of this world in order to experience the delight of the hereafter. Your Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was in permanent sorrow and continuous reflection. He (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was given to frequent worship though he had his faults forgiven — both past ones and those that he had yet to commit. He (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) used to reflect on the creatures, in one time, and on the Creator, in another. He (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) used to reflect on what will happen to his nation after him.

When Al‑Ḥasan Al‑Baṣrī (may Allah show mercy to him) would leave his house, he would look as if he had been dug out of his tomb, with sorrowfulness and sadness showing on his face. Sorrowfulness remains characteristic of the believer under all circumstances until he meets his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). The people of Allah adhere to a state of muteness until they are granted permission to speak to people. They and the righteous seekers are brought together to speak to them and about them and guide them to the One whom they seek, so they develop perfect speech. If their hearts incline toward the creatures, the hand of jealousy pulls in their reins. It closes the door until they apologize and repent. Once their repentance is confirmed, it reopens the door to them and brings their hearts near.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* Do not be dissatisfied with what destiny brings. No one can turn it back or prevent it from taking place. Everything will come to pass regardless of who is satisfied and who is not. Your involvement in this world requires the right intention, otherwise you will be hated. In all your affairs say: “There is no might or strength but by Allah, the High, the Great (lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhi al‑‘Alīyī al‑‘Adhīm)”. Appoint one hour for this world, one hour for the hereafter, one hour for yourself, one hour for your family, and all of the remaining hours for your Lord.

* O poor ones, O you who are tested with afflictions, remember death and what is after it and then you will find that your poverty and afflictions have lost their importance to you and that detachment from this world has become easy! Accept this advice from me for I have experienced this path and have followed it. The people of Allah do not wish for anything apart from the face of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). They have given up sleep to stand in the presence of the Creator of sleep. “Their sides shun their beds” in their quest for His face and satisfaction. Their hearts have been detached from their property. The commandment of their Lord came to them, closed their shops, and made them live in the deserts and unpopulated areas, with no fixed place to settle in. Neither their night is an ordinary night nor is their day an ordinary one: “Their sides shun their beds.” Their hearts become like grains in a hot pan, trying to pop out and run away from it. Their hearts are grains on the frying pan of the reflection on the reckoning, interrogation, and trial [of the Day of Resurrection]. They are the sensible ones; the intelligent ones; the astute ones, ones who have known this world, its people, its schemes, its bewitching, its perfidy, and its slaughter of its sons. Their hearts were called upon, so their hearts shunned their beds. Their essences heard [the call] after their bodies. The birds heard [the call] as did the cages. They heard what the True One (mighty and glorified is He) revealed in one of His utterances: “The person who claims to love Me yet goes to sleep once the night has set is a liar.” They felt a sense of embarrassment and shame in this company so they stood in His presence in the darkness of the night, lining up their feet in His presence, and letting their tears run down their cheeks. They spoke to Him through their tears, entered into His presence with the feet of their hearts, and stood in front of Him on the feet of fear and hope: fear of rejection and hope for the safety of acceptance.

O people, serve the manifest Law! Act according to the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). Be sincere in your deeds and then look what you will see of His subtle favors, generosity, and the loveliness of His private conversation.

O deprived ones, O runaway slaves, O backsliders, come forward, O you escapers! Come back and do not run away from the arrows of tribulations for this is nothing other than a testing illusion. Stand firm and then you will be protected from their effect and evil. Stand steadfast for nothing that is destined for others will come your way. Their shield is the breasts of the truthful. You are not the kind of people who know how to treat them. They are not for you and you are not for them. You are peoplewhowatchthebattlefrom a distance, without taking part in it. You are thoughtless followers. You frequent the gatherings of common people, and anyone who frequents gatherings of common people is one of them.

* O You who have wishes, make every effort to come to have none! One of the people of Allah was once asked: “What do you long for?” He replied: “To long for nothing.” Everything depends on being satisfied with the divine decree, giving up the very act of wanting, and casting down the heart in the hands of its Transformer. O Allah, include us among the Muslims who have thrown themselves prostrate in the hand of Your destiny and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* How little your belief in the oneness of God is! How little your satisfaction with Allah (high is He) is! There is no home, except those excluded by Allah, in which disputation and dissatisfaction do not exist. How frequent you associate the means and creatures with God! You have taken this and that as gods instead of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). You consider them the source of harm and benefit, and giving and withholding. Do not do that. Return to your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Empty your hearts for Him, supplicate to Him, and ask Him to provide for your needs. Turn to Him in all of your serious problems. You do not have another place [to turn to], you do not have another door [to knock at]. All doors are locked except His. Go to unpopulated places to be alone with Him and speak and talk to Him with the tongues of your faith. When the family of each of you has gone to sleep and the creatures’ voices have fallen silent, let him purify himself and place his forehead on the ground, draw near [to Allah], repent, apologize, confess his sins, beg for His favor, ask Him for his needs, and complain to Him about everything that is causing him grief. It is He your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), not someone else. It is He your God, not someone else. It is He your King, not someone else. Do not escape from Him because of the arrows of His tribulations. He has treated all your predecessors with affliction, adversity, hardship, and prosperity so that they may come to know Him, thank Him, be patient with Him, and repent to Him. Punishments are for the common people; expiations for the pious believers; and the spiritual degrees for the righteous, the certain, the seekers, the truthful.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O you who have a noble pedigree! Forget about your pedigree and come here. The truly noble pedigree is that of piety. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was asked: “Who are your family, O Muhammad?” He (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) replied: “Every pious person belongs to the lineage of Muhammad.”

Do not come to me on the feet of your pedigree but come to me on the feet of your piety. Be sensible, you will not get what Allah has by virtue of your ancestral pedigree, but only when you deserve the pedigree of piety. The Invincible One has said: “The noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious to Allah of you” (from 49.13).

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O young man, do not occupy yourself with washing the clothes of your body while leaving the clothes of your heart dirty! Wash the heart first and then wash the clothes. Combine both acts of washing, both acts of purification. Wash your clothes clean of dirt and wash your heart clean of sins. Do not be overconfident about anything, for your Lord is a “doer of what He wills.”

It has been reported that one of the righteous people once paid a visit to his brother in Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and said to him: “O my brother, let’s weep over the foreknowledge of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) about us!” How excellent the words of this righteous man are! He was a knower of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and had heard the following words of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “One of you may act as the people of Paradise act until nothing remains between him and between it other than the distance of a cubit or a span, then the divine decree comes to pass and he acts as the people of the Fire do and therefore enters it. One of you may act as the people of the Fire act until nothing remains between him and between it other than the distance of a cubit or a span, then the divine decree comes to pass so he acts as the people of Paradise do and therefore enters it.”

O young man! The foreknowledge of Allah about you will be unveiled to you if you return to Him with all your heart and your aspiration; stay at the door of His mercy; build a barrier of iron between yourself and lustful desires; keep the grave and death under the eyes of your head and heart; be watchful of the gazes of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) at you, His foreknowledge about you, and His presence near you; feel content with poverty; be satisfied with bankruptcy; and be content with little while adhere to the limits of the Law, which means to abide by the commandments, observe the prohibitions, and endure with patience whatever destiny sends your way. If you keep to this you will meet your Lord and enter with your innermost being into His presence. At this point, things will be unveiled to you.

* The people of Allah doze off only out of necessity. Among them, there is one who deliberately puts himself to sleep for one hour in the night to be able to keep vigil for the rest of the night. He grants his lower self some of its needs so that it calms down and does not hurt him. One of the righteous people used to force himself to sleep some nights and prepare for sleep without real need for it. When he was asked about this practice he replied: “My heart sees my Lord (mighty and glorified is He)”. He has uttered the truth because the true dream is an inspiration from Allah (mighty and glorified is He). The delight of his eye was in his sleep.

As for the person who is brought near to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), there are angels dedicated to looking after him all the time. When he sleeps they sit at his head and feet to protect him from any danger that may come in front of him or behind him, while Satan stands away from him and does not dare to come near him. He sleeps under His protection, gets up under His protection, and moves and stops under the protection of Allah (high is He). O Allah, put us under Your protection in all circumstances and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* The believer draws satisfaction when his lower self is hurt and says to it: “I have advised you but you did not heed the advice. I have warned you of this, O ignorant one, O disbeliever, O enemy of Allah!” Anyone who does not call his lower self to account, put it to trial, and exhort it will not succeed. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “If the person does not act as a preacher to his lower self, no preacher’s advice will ever benefit him.” The person who seeks success must exhort his lower self, teach it renunciation, and strive against it. Renunciation means giving up what is prohibited, then giving up what is legally dubious, then giving up what is permissible, and then giving up what is absolutely lawful, under all circumstances, until nothing to be given up is left.

* Give up the lustful desires for this leads to healing and the purification of the hearts. Gratifying the desire for lawful things blinds and intoxicates the heart, so what of satisfying the desire for unlawful things? This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “A proper diet is the source of healing, while filling one’s stomach with food and leaving the body to eat what it is used to are the source of disease.” The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has summarized in this saying the science of the human body. Filling the stomach with food puts out the light of intelligence, the lamp of wisdom, and the light of sainthood. As long as you are in this world and among the creatures you must remain on a diet because you are in a hospital. When your heart attains to the True One, your affairs will become His business. He will take charge of you while you are in isolation from yourself. How could not He look after you when you have become genuinely worthy of His company? The Invincible One has said: “My guardian is Allah who sent down the Book, and He guards the righteous” (7.196).

Work on purifying your heart first for this is an obligatory duty and then move on to the acquisition of knowingness, because if you miss the root your engrossment with the branch will not be accepted of you. What benefit would the purity of the limbs and senses have when combined with impurity of the heart? Purify your limbs and senses with the Sunna and your heart by applying the Qur’an. Protect your heart so that your limbs and senses will be protected. Every vessel exudes its contents. Whatever is in your heart will ooze out to your limbs and senses.

* Do not ask for what you will not get. Congratulations to you, if you put into practice this black‑on‑white while you are Muslims. Blessed are you, on the Day of Resurrection be in the company of the Muslims not in the company of the disbelievers. Blessed are we! We sit on the ground of Paradise and at its door and not be with those confined to the depths of Hell.

* No good will come of you, O lad, O young man, O old man, O seeker, if you do not purify your morsel of what is unlawful! Many, in fact most, of you eat food that is contaminated with manifestly unlawful things. When someone eats unlawful food, his heart darkens, and when someone eats dubious food, his heart becomes impure. Your lower selves and passions belittle to your eyes any misgivings you may have about eating unlawful food. The lower self and passion join forces in seeking lustful desires and pleasures and they practice no pious restraint whatsoever in their efforts to obtain them. If you have accustomed your lower self to eating oat bread but it asks you for honey, you must feed it barley bread until its only wish becomes that you return it to eating oat bread. If the lower self does not practice pious restraint in its diet, the likeness of it will be as the likeness of a hen that feeds from the garbage dumps, eating both pure and defiled food. So the person who wants to eat its meat or eggs must isolate it, feed it pure food, and only then eat it. Prevent yourself from eating forbidden food, and feed it pure, lawful food until all its flesh that had grown from unlawful food disappears. Then make it avoid eating forbidden and dubious food, then make it stay away from eating lawful food with passion.

O my sons! When any of you is asked: “Do you wish to die while you are doing this kind of deeds?” he answers: “No.” Yet when he is told: “Then repent and improve your deeds,” he replies: “If Allah (mighty and glorified is He) enables me I will do!” He argues citing destiny when his repentance is concerned but he does not use destiny as an argument when his lustful desires and pleasures are concerned, while standing on the foot of procrastination, hesitating between “yes” and “no.” If death will come to him while he is enjoying his comfortable life and bliss, it will snatch him away from his powerful position and state of honor; it will snatch him away from his shop and earnings. Death will take him by surprise while his will is still unwritten, his accounts are still unregistered, and he has endless hopes.

It is right thinking that makes the righteous move away from inhabited regions and come nearer to unpopulated places, removes their happiness, and perpetuates their sorrow. When a person comes to know Allah (mighty and glorified is He), his sorrow and fear increase. He comes to have a speaker that speaks to him and an engrossment that keeps him busy. He wishes not to hear the speech of any creature and not to meet anyone. He wishes to be freed from his family and his property. He wishes that his allotted worldly shares be transferred to others. He wishes to change his natural inclination and attributes to angelic attributes. Whenever he wants to get rid of all those limitations, the Law prevents him and the Controller restrains him by the foreordination and Knowledge and guards his night and day. He then forsakes this world to be alone with His Lord (mighty and glorified is He), then his knowingness takes him over so He protects him outwardly and inwardly. Al‑Fatḥ Al‑Muṣillī (may Allah show mercy to him) used to say in his private conversation: “O Allah, how much longer will You reject me and imprison me in this world? When will You transfer me to You so that I get relieved from this world and the creatures?”

The likeness of your case is as that when Noah (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on all prophets) said to his son: “O my son, embark with us and do not be with the disbelievers!’ He replied: ‘I shall take refuge in a mountain that will protect me from the water” (from 11.42‑43). The preacher is saying to you: “Come, board with me the ship of salvation,” yet you reply: “I shall take refuge in a mountain that will protect me from the water.” Your mountain is your far‑reaching hopes and your greedy keenness on this world. The Angel of Death will soon come and drown you on your mountain.

Come, O servants of Allah! Leave your homes of ignorance for you have erected the walls of your religion without foundations. You have set your broken religion without a base. This is something that requires demolishing and resetting.

* The people of Allah worship the True One (mighty and glorified is He) day and night, standing on the foot of fear and hope. They are afraid of facing an evil end. They are ignorant of the foreknowledge of Allah about them and their end, so they keep day and night to sorrow, sadness, and weeping, while keeping up the prayer, fasting, making the pilgrimage, and performing all works of obedience. They remember their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) with their hearts and their tongues. Therefore, when they reach the hereafter, they will enter Paradise and Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will direct His bountifulness to them, so they will thank Him and say: “Praise be to Allah who has put sorrow away from us” (from 35.34).

* O young man, take your place in the front row for it is the row of men and the brave! Leave the last row for it is the row of cowards. Put this lower self to work and make it used to observing the strictest laws because the heavier load you put on it the more it can carry. Do not take the stick away from it, otherwise it will fall asleep and throw down the loads. Do not show it the white of your teeth and the white of your eyes because it is a bad servant that will not do its duties unless it gets the stick. Do not satisfy its appetite unless you are sure that this will not make it transgress the limits and that it works in return for having its appetite satisfied. One of the righteous people (may Allah show mercy to him) used to keep on eating until his appetite is fully satisfied, and then he would recite the following piece of poetry before starting a long spell of worship:

Satisfy the appetite of the slave and make him work hard
because the slave is like a donkey.

Someone has said: “I saw Sufyān Ath‑Thawrī eat so much that I disliked him, then I saw him pray and weep so much that I felt compassion for him.” Do not emulate Sufyān in eating so much but emulate him in the plentifulness of his worship, for you are not like Sufyān. Do not satisfy the appetite of your lower self as he used to do to his for you are not in control of yours as he was of his.

Once this heart has become sound, it will become a tree with branches, leaves, and fruits. It will have benefits for the creatures: the human beings, jinn, and angels. If the heart is unsound then it will be like the hearts of animals: an appearance with no essence, a vessel with no water, a tree with no fruit, a stone with no ring, a cage with no bird, a house with no inhabitant, a treasure of gold and silver coins with no one to spend them, and a body with no soul. It will be like the Jewish priests who were transformed into apes and swine, making them an appearance with no essence.

* The lower self is ignorant, so educate it. It lacks polite behavior, so teach it that. It is unable to distinguish between the disease and the medicine, the lawful and the unlawful, and what mends and what ruins. It keeps on disputing with its Lord. Do no feed it even a morsel of lustful desires and pleasures and do not give it more than what it deserves, which is bread alone — that is, with no seasoning. Then when it has got used to that move it to eating green vegetables until returning it to the bread becomes all that it wishes for. Then when it has got used to that, calmed down, and its evil has gone, its allotted worldly shares will come; the seal will come from your Lord: “And do not kill yourselves. Allah is Merciful to you” (from 4.29). Allah has said: “O tranquil soul! Return to your Lord well‑pleased and well‑pleasing” (89.27‑28). Its allotted worldly shares will become clear to it and the foreknowledge will order it to take them. So it will take them while keeping to steadfastness and true renunciation toward them. At this stage, it will not be harmed by taking its allotted worldly shares. Instead, taking them will turn into expansion in the breast and light and purity in the heart.

The case will be like that of a patient whose physician prevents him from eating certain kinds of food and feeds him instead medicines that suit him, be they food or drinks, until he attains good health. After that he orders him to eat food, moving him from one kind of food to another so that eating food becomes a medicine for him and strengthens his body. This is the situation with the ascetic. When he takes his allotted worldly shares after his attainment, they become a source of welfare for his religion and a light in his heart and his innermost being. O Allah, include us among those who renounced everything other than You! Make us seek 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.”

* O people, acquire faith and strike your lower selves with the stick of strife. Hand it over to the trainer of faith. It is an unreliable horse. Your lower selves are untamed, untrained, and full of arrogance and pride. On the way of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) there is no room for saying “I,” “with me,” and “mine.” This way is all about extinction and obliteration. In the beginning, when faith is still weak, [the person says]: “There is no God save Allah (lā ilāha illā Allah)” (from 47.19), but at the end, when faith has become strong, [the person says]: “There is no God save You (lā ilāha illā Anta)” (from 21.87), as he addresses One (mighty and glorified is He) who is present and seen. This is a hidden matter, total secret, one of His favors. Therefore, the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “There are days in your lifetime in which Allah (mighty and glorified is He) confers favors, so avail yourself of them.”

* The believer must strive against his lower self in order to improve his behavior and force it to adhere to good manners. He must also strive to force it to do all required works of obedience, for it has taken arrogance, anger, and abasing people as habitual practices. Strive against it until it calms down. Once it has calmed down, it will become modest and humble, it will become well‑mannered, it will know its status, and it will be patient with others. Before being subjected to striving, the lower self is as arrogant as a Pharaoh.

Blessed is anyone who came to know his lower self, treated it as an enemy, and opposed it in all that it ordered him to do! Make remembering death and what follows it incumbent on it as this humbles it and refines its character. Prevent it from getting what it wants and give it the duties that it must do, so that it will become humble and well‑mannered and come to know its status. By way of contemplation, enter it into the Fire and Paradise to see their contents, as this will humiliate it and amend its behavior. Think of the Day of Resurrection and experience it before it takes place. The Day of Resurrection is a happy day for some people and a sad one for others, celebration for some people and funeral for others. It is the day of the righteous; the day on which they dress up, wear jewels, ride on thoroughbreds, and on which their knowledgeable scholars and eminent ones appear. Their deeds become images whose light appear on their faces.

* Make it binding on your lower selves to behave with humility to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and the believers among his creatures. Order them to fulfill the duties that Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has imposed on them. Interrogate them and call them to account as the righteous people do. When the night has set, ‘Umar bin Al‑Khaṭṭāb (may Allah be satisfied with him) used to say to his lower self: “What have you done for your Lord? What service have you shown to Him?” He would then pick a stick and hit his thighs and interrogate his lower self for everything it did. He would require of his lower self Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) rights and ask it for more service to Him, although he was one of the great truthful, the righteous, those who are drawn near [to God], those who transmitted the sayings of the Prophet, and those who have been granted paradise. The righteous call their lower selves to account despite their righteousness and obedience, yet you do not call yours to account! No doubt, you will not benefit from them. O Allah, give us power over our lower selves, passions, and devils! O Allah, include us among Your party and with Your party! Bring our hearts near to You before death and grant us the special meeting [with You] before the general meeting [at the Resurrection], Amen.

Luqmān the Wise (may Allah show mercy to him) used to say to his son: “O Son, how can a person feel safe from the Fire when he has to pass through it? How can he feel safe in this world when he has to leave it? How can he feel secure from death when he has to die? How can he forget death when death will not forget him?” All of you will have to pass through the Fire and no one will come out unscathed save those who are pious to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Passing through the Fire successfully is a journey that requires piety as provision. It does not seem to me that you have acquired any piety.

* O young man, leave the lower self to this world, the heart to the hereafter, and the innermost being to the Master, and never feel secure in this world. It is an adorned snake that uses its finery to attract people then destroys them. Turn totally away from it. You must be sincere in worshipping your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), accompanying and serving your righteous brothers, and avoiding lustful desires. Believe truly in the oneness of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) until not even a single atom of any creature is left in your heart, until you do not see a house or an inhabitant. Do not have any wish other than the wish to have genuine belief in the oneness of God because it kills off everything else in the heart. The belief in the oneness of God and turning away from the love of this world are the ultimate remedy. There will be no good in you until you come to know your lower self, prevent it from getting what it wants, and allow it only what it deserves. At this point it will feel secure with the heart, the heart will feel secure with the innermost being, and the innermost being will feel secure with the True One (mighty and glorified is He).

Do not take the stick of striving away from your lower selves, do not be deceived by their tricks, do not be fooled by their pretended neglect of you, and do not be taken in by the apparent sleep of the beast, for it gives you the impression that it is asleep when it is in fact waiting to pounce on the prey. Beware of it when it is asleep as you are on your guard when it is awake. Beware of your lower selves. Do not take the arm away from the neck of your lower selves. The lower self puts on an appearance of calmness, humility, modesty, and compliance with what is good, yet it conceals inside the exact opposite. Watch out for what it does after that.

Increase your sorrow and decrease your happiness for this business is based on sorrow and sadness. This is how the preceding prophets, messengers, and righteous persons (Allah’s prayer and peace be on them) were. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was in continuous sorrow and in permanent reflection. He would never laugh but merely smile and he would only ever pretend to be joyful. The sensible person among you will never feel happy with this world, the children, family, property, food, clothing, vehicles, or women. All of this is an illusion. The believer feels happy with the strength of his faith, his certitude, and the attainment of his heart to the door of nearness to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He).

* When the heart of the servant treads the right path, he bids farewell to everything and leaves them behind the back of his heart. He sees the kingdom of this world as totally negligible and that the kingdom of the hereafter is all that matters. He advances to the fire and lions, mixes with the beasts, escapes from the creatures, surrenders his lower self to the thirst and hunger of wildernesses, destroys it, and says: “O Guide of the bewildered ones, guide me to You!”

O young man, make sure that you have only one concern. This comes about only after renouncing the unlawful, then renouncing the permissible, and then renouncing the absolutely lawful. Try your best that you live your night and day without having even a single atom of the creatures in your heart. I can see that you are full of lustful desires, pleasures, interest in the creatures, concerns with this world, and reliance on the means.

* This business [of attaining to God] can come true in one of two ways. First, through striving, suffering, and enduring the heaviest and most arduous burdens. This is the way of the majority of the righteous people. Second, through a gift that requires no effort. This rare way is open only to a few creatures.

* Where do you stand with respect to those whose plentiful worship has been described by Allah (mighty and glorified is He) in His noble Book: “They slept only a small part of the night. And at dawn they prayed for forgiveness” (51.17‑18)? When He recognized their truthfulness in worship He assigned to them someone to wake them up and make them get off their beds. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Allah (mighty and glorified is He) says to Gabriel: ‘O Gabriel, wake up so‑and‑so and put to sleep so‑and‑so’”! When the footsteps of the hearts of the people of Allah have led them to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), they start to see in sleep what they do not see when they are awake. Their hearts and innermost beings see things that they do not see in wakefulness. They fast, perform prayer, strive against their lower selves, practice detachment from worldly matters, and spend the day and night performing all sorts of worship acts until they are given Paradise. But once they have been given Paradise, they get told that this is not the real way, but it is seeking the True One (mighty and glorified is He). Thus, their deeds start to originate from their hearts, and upon reaching Him they grow and become firm in His presence.

When the person comes to know what he is seeking, he will see whatever energy and effort he has to spend in obeying Allah (mighty and glorified is He) as being negligible. The believer remains in tiredness until he meets his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “When a [faithful] man dies, enters his grave, and successfully answers the questions of the angels Munkar and Nakīr, his soul is given the permission to ascend to Him (mighty and glorified is He) and to prostrate to Him with a group of angels. So He receives it, and what had been kept hidden from it is revealed to it. It will then be carried to Paradise where the souls of the righteous are. They will receive it and ask it about its state of affairs and about the affairs of this world. It will answer them with what it knows. They will then ask it: ‘What about so‑and‑so?’ It will say: ‘He died before me.’ They will reply: ‘He did not arrive to us. There is no might or strength but by Allah, the High, the Great! He must have been thrown in the bottomless pit.’ Then the soul will be put inside the craw of a green bird that feeds on the plants of Paradise and resorts to a lamp that is suspended beneath the Throne.” This is the description of the encounter of the majority of believers (Allah’s peace and greetings be on them). O Allah, include us among them and make us live as they live and die as they die! Amen.

* Woe to you! Your lower self is sick, so protect it from the food that is unsuitable for it until it is restored to the good health of nearness by its Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Woe to you! How could you wish for the nearness to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) when prohibited things have infiltrated your body through your food, drink, sex, and all your behavior? How could you wish for the nearness to Allah when your lower self is in charge of you, your passion is guiding and steering you toward lustful desires and pleasures, and the fire of your natural inclination is burning out your piety and religion? Be sensible, this cannot be the behavior of someone who believes in death and is certain of it. This is not the behavior of someone who looks forward to the encounter with the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and fears His calling him to account and His interrogation. You have no reason, no prudence, no piety, no proper thinking, and no repose. You indulge night and day in amassing things from this world, thinking of it, accompanying its people, and paying homage to them. The people of Allah detach themselves from this world, the hereafter, and from emulating the creatures. Each one of them is like a man who has dispatched his trade camels caravan to Khurāsān1 and sat here with horses waiting for the caravan to move and for the leader to come out. His body is present, while all of his heart is occupied with his house. The believer has sent all his property to the hereafter. He has built there a palace with which he is charmed and he has furnished it with all that he needs. All of his heart is occupied with the nearness to the True One (mighty and glorified is He). Therefore the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “This world is the prison of the believer.”

Footnotes

1 Located today in the east of Iran, the north of Afghanistan, and some parts of the former Soviet Union.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* O you who are dead at heart! Keep to 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. Keeping to remembrance is a means for the continuation of good in this world and in the hereafter. When the heart becomes sound, remembrance becomes permanent in it and gets inscribed on its sides and all over it. His eyes will sleep while his heart will continue to remember his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). He inherits this state from his Prophet, Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). One of the righteous (may Allah show mercy to him) had a rosary for performing remembrance. One day, as he was remembering Allah, he felt asleep while the rosary still in his hand. He then woke up to find the rosary still moving in his hand, without him trying to move it, and his tongue remembering Allah.

* 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.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* When the heart acts in accordance with the Book and the Sunna, it draws near. Once it has become close, it will come to know and see its credits and faults, what belongs to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and what belongs to others, and what belongs to the truth and what belongs to falsehood.

* When this heart becomes pure and sound, it will hear the call of the True One from its six directions. It will hear the call of every prophet, messenger, saint, and truthful person (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them). At this stage, it will draw near to Him so that its life will mean nearness to Him and its death will mean remoteness from Him. Its satisfaction will be in having private conversation with Him. It will become totally content with that to the exclusion of anything else. It will not care if this world turned its back to it and will not care about hunger, thirst, nakedness, and all diseases.

* Woe to you! All what you are about and all what you are involved in are illusion within illusion which Allah will pay no attention to. This business is not achieved by deeds of the body but by works of the heart. Our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Renunciation is here, piety is here, sincerity is here,” and he pointed to his breast.

* This heart will not be sound and will not attain success until it gives up every beloved, cuts off every object of attachment, and renounces every creature. Give up and you will be rewarded with much better than what you abandoned. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “When a person gives up something [for the sake of Allah], Allah compensates him with something better.” O Allah, wake our hearts up so that they attend to you, awaken us from our forgetfulness of You, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* When this heart has become sound and planted its feet firm at the door of the True One, it will fall in the wilderness of “be,’ and it is,” in its valleys, and in its sea. It will exist there sometimes with its words, sometimes with its aspiration, and sometimes with its sight. It will start to behave as commanded by Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and it isolates itself from any detachments; it will become in a state of extinction, and only He will remain. Only a minority of you believe in this; the majority do not. Believing in this is sainthood and putting it into practice is attainment. No one denies the spiritual states of the righteous people other than a hypocritical impostor who is riding on his passion.

This business is based on having sound belief and applying the outward of the Law which will cause the person to inherit knowingness of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and Knowledge of Him. The Law will come to be between him and the creatures, whereas Knowledge will be between him and his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). His outward deeds will be as little as an atom in comparison with the mountain of his inward deeds. His limbs and senses will rest but his heart will never do. The eyes in his head may doze off but the eyes of his heart will never sleep. His heart will work unceasingly and remember Allah while he is asleep. When will you know this world so that you give it up and divorce it?

* Wayfaring is the wayfaring of the hearts and attainment is the attainment of the innermost beings. When the innermost beings achieve attainment they become kings and the limbs and senses become followers and an entourage. When the heart arrives at the door it asks for permission for the innermost being to enter. The innermost being enters and then the heart follows.

* O young man, consult the Book and the Sunna in all of your affairs. When you find a certain matter of your religion confusing say: “What do you say about it, O Book of Allah? What do you say about it, O Sunna? What do you say about this problem, O Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him)? What do you say about it, O my shaikh who has shown me the way to the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him)? What do you say about it, O Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) who has shown me the way to the Sender?” If you do this, your problem will be solved and the darkness you are in will disappear. When anything poses a problem for you, ask about it outwardly the people of the Law and inwardly your heart. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) once said to a righteous man: “Consult your heart even if the legal experts have offered you advice.” See what your inward says even though you have sought the opinions of legal experts. See what is in your heart and what it suggests even if the legal experts have offered you their opinions. Seek the advice of the ushers, doorkeepers, and ministers then enter into the presence of the king and see what he has to say. If the heart agreed, this is a welcome agreement, but if it disagreed, follow its ruling and ignore the ruling of anyone else.

* Among the signs of wretchedness of the servant is the hardness of his heart, dryness of his eyes, wideness of his hopes, his niggardliness about his property, giving little importance to the commandments and prohibitions, and his dissatisfaction when tribulations strike. When you see someone of this description, be aware that he is wretched. The person with a hard heart does not show mercy to anyone and his eyes never turn moist with tears at times of happiness or times of sadness, for the dryness of his eyes is due to the hardness of his heart. How could his heart not be hard when it is full of wishes, acts of disobedience, sins, wide hopes, desires to obtain things that are not destined for him, envy for their owners, and stinginess with the obligatory alms? Additionally, he does not pay the dues of expiations, does not fulfill his vows, does not pay attention to the needs of his relatives, does not settle his debts despite his ability to do so, and even tries to delay them in the hope of avoiding payment altogether, and hates to give anything by way of charity or in fulfilling the obligatory duties. All these and the likes are signs of wretchedness. The Invincible One has said: “Has the time not yet come for the hearts of those who believe to submit with humility to the remembrance of Allah and to the truth that has come down?” (from 57.16).

* The heart inside which belief in the oneness of God and nearness has developed grows bigger everyday. As it grows bigger, greater, and higher it will not see any more on the face of the earth and in heaven other than Allah. All creatures will submit to its command and there will be a secret between it and its Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Once it has reached this stage, it will gain access [to Him], attain to Him, and become the absolute ruler of its time. It will become capable while complying with the divine decree, destiny, the Law, and Knowledge. The low ranking angels will serve it. O people, believe the words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and the righteous among His servants! He is truthful because He has said: “And who is truer in speech than Allah?” (from 4.122). The truthfulness of the Messenger and the righteous is derived from His truthfulness.

* When you stand at the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), you will witness something wonderful, or rather many wonders. Forget your food, drink, clothes, existence, and the praise and the dispraise of people. All these are works of the hearts. This heart will then turn into an orchard that contains trees and fruits. It will have deserts and unpopulated spaces, seas, rivers, and mountains. It will become the gathering place of human beings, jinn, angels, and spirits. This is beyond the comprehension of the creatures. O Allah, if what I am talking about is true, confirm it for the seekers, but if it is false, obliterate it! If I am following the truth, erect my edifice, raise it high, and speed up the guidance of the creatures through me. O Allah, raise our hearts to you! How long will this tiredness last? When will the cares of the heart end? When will we enjoy the banquet on the roof of the palace of nearness, looking from its balconies at Your creation? “And Allah strikes parables for people” (from 14.25).

When the heart becomes sound, it forgets everything other than the True One (mighty and glorified is He), the One whose existence has no beginning, the Perpetual One, the Eternal One. Everything else has been created at a certain moment of time. Once this heart has become sound, the words that originate from it will be a truth that no one can refute. The heart will speak to the innermost being, the innermost being to the private life, the private life to the essence, the essence to the kernel, the kernel to the consciousness. At this stage, its speech to the hearts will be like seeds that are sown in a land that is good, soft, and not saline, so they will grow into green plants.

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* The saints of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) have someone who awakens them, a teacher who teaches them. The True One provides for them the means of learning. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Even if a believer was on the top of a mountain, Allah (high is He) will appoint for him a knowledgeable scholar to teach him.”

Do not borrow the good words of Allah, pretend that they are yours, and utter them. Borrowed things cannot be concealed. Clothe yourself from what you have, not from what you have borrowed. Plant the cotton with your hand, water it with your hand, and cultivate it with your effort, then weave the cotton, sew it, and wear it. Do not be happy with someone else’s property and someone else’s clothes. If you borrow someone else’s words and utter them pretending that they are your own, the hearts of the righteous people will detest you.

* Listen, O objectors, O disputers, O you who are ill‑mannered! Listen to me, for I am one of the callers of the nation of prophets and one of their followers and brokers. I adjudicate by the Book and the Sunna and then by the heart. Anyone whose heart has been brought near to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will not fail to recognize what I say. Only a few individuals among the servants of Allah (high is He) renounce the company of the creatures and derive intimacy from reading the Qur’an and the words of the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). No doubt, they will come to have hearts that feel intimacy with the True One (mighty and glorified is He), are close to Him, and with which they see themselves and others. The eyes of their hearts open so nothing of what you are involved in can be concealed from them. They speak about what you think of and tell you what you keep in your homes. Woe to you! Be sensible, do not compete with the people of Allah with your ignorance.

* The believer has three eyes: the eye of the head with which he looks at this world, the eye of the heart with which he looks at the hereafter, and the eye of the innermost being with which he sees the True One (mighty and glorified is He). The eyes of the head expires in this world, the eyes of the heart expires in the hereafter, and the eyes of the innermost being remains with the True One (mighty and glorified is He) in this world and in the hereafter because it is focused on Him in this world and in the hereafter. If the believer who has this quality happens to be in a populated area, he will be a mercy to its people. Were it not for him, that area would have been made to sink into the ground and the buildings would have collapsed on its inhabitants. Accept this and believe it. Do not choose to be with the ignorant people who killed the prophets and messengers (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them). Do not be with those who became enemies of their Lord (mighty and glorified is He), those who have been placed at a distance, screened off, and expelled. O Allah, forgive us and forgive them! Amen.

* When you know the creatures through Allah’s Knowledge and know them through His knowingness, their attributes will disappear from you. Any nature of the human beings, jinn, and angels will vanish from you. Your heart will acquire new attributes and so will your innermost being. The shell of your existence will be removed from you. This is the shell of the habitual practice of the children of Adam (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him). The Law will come and be a garment on your body, so you will become clothed with your own affairs and with the attributes of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and His commandment. Then the Divine, Lordly Knowledge will come and be a garment on your heart and innermost being.

* The reality of Islam is submissiveness. The people of Allah have thrown themselves prostrate before their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and have forgotten asking “why” and “how” and saying “do” and “do not.” They perform all kinds of works of obedience while standing on the foot of fear. This is why the True One (mighty and glorified is He) has described them as follows: “They do what they do while their hearts are full of fear because they will return to their Lord” (3.60). [He means]: “They carry out My commandments and observe My prohibitions. They endure with patience My affliction and offer thanks for My rewards to them. They surrender themselves, their property, their children, and their worldly affairs to the hand of My foreordination, while their hearts are afraid, fearful of Me.”

* O servants of Allah, be sensible and work hard to know the One whom you worship before death comes to you! Ask Him by day and night to supply all your needs. Asking Him for something is an act of worship. Whether He gives you what you ask for or not, do not accuse Him, rush Him, or get bored of asking Him. Ask Him while standing on the feet of humility. If His answer was delayed, do not object to Him for He knows your best interests better than you. Listen to these words, understand them, and act in accordance with them. These are words of a straight way. They are the words of someone who is experienced, an expert. Alas for you that you should die before you know your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Woe to you! How could you come to One whom you have not known or dealt with, whose hospitality you have not enjoyed, and whose remembrance of entertainment you have not eaten from? Do business with Him and you will see that your business has become profitable. Make sure that you will have favor for you with Him before arriving in His presence. Be generous to the poor and the needy and console them with some of your wealth. Thus you will have made sure that you will have favor for you with Him. If you do that, He will confer on you rewards and treat you with kindness in this world and the hereafter.

* When the knower renounces the hereafter he says to it: “Get out of my way for I am seeking the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He). You and this world are one and the same in my eyes. This world used to screen me off from you and you screen me off from my Lord (mighty and glorified is He). You are unworthy of respect as you try to screen me off from Him.” Listen to these words because they are the essence of the Knowledge of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and the kernel of what He wishes from His creatures and wants to happen in His creation. This is the spiritual state of the prophets, messengers, saints, and righteous (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them).

* When Pharaoh disputed destiny and wanted to change Allah’s foreknowledge, He destroyed him, drowned him in the sea, and made Moses and Aaron inherit him. When the mother of Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them) feared the butchers whom Pharaoh appointed to slaughter every newborn child, Allah inspired her to cast him into the sea. She became afraid for his safety, so she was told: “Do not fear or grieve. We shall return him to you and make him one of Our messengers” (from 28.7). [He meant]: “Do not be afraid. Let your heart be assured and your innermost being be at rest. Do not be afraid that he may drown and die. We shall return him to you and turn through him your poverty into affluence.” So she prepared an ark, put him inside it, and threw it into the sea. It floated on the surface of the water until it reached Pharaoh’s house. When it went past it, Pharaoh’s maidservants and Āsyā received it. They opened the ark and found a child inside it. They all loved him, and compassion for him grew in their hearts. They anointed him and changed his underwear and clothing with new ones. He became among the closest creatures to Āsyā and her maidservants. Everyone of Pharaoh’s people who saw him loved him, which is the meaning of His (high is He) words: “And I cast love from Me over you” (from 20.39). It has been said that anyone who looked him in the eye loved him. Then He returned him to his mother and brought him up in Pharaoh’s house against Pharaoh’s will and Pharaoh could not kill him.

How could one whom the Lord created and reared for Himself be killed and slaughtered? How could the water drown him when he is protected and spoken to [by Him]? How could anyone hate one whom the True One (mighty and glorified is He) loves? How could anyone fail one whom He supports? How could anyone impoverish one whom He enriches? How could anyone demote one whom He promotes? How could anyone depose one whom He appoints as a ruler? How could anyone keep remote one whom He brings near? O Allah, open for us the door of Your nearness! Include us among the people who obey You. Include us among your few individuals and soldiers. Give us a seat at the mat where Your favor is served, give us a drink of Your intimacy, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* O young man, be sound in order to be eloquent! Be sound in your private life and then you will be eloquent in your public life. If you are sound in this world you will be eloquent in the hereafter when you will speak in the presence of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). You will be allowed to intercede and you will be asked to intercede on behalf of others. He will cause you to intercede on behalf of whomever He chooses of His creatures. After His permission and issuing the command, He will accept that from you to honor you and reveal your status in His eyes. Be sound in your relation with Him and then you will be eloquent in teaching His creatures. You will become a teacher and an educator who teaches them polite behavior. Woe to you! Having sat in this place to preach to people, how could you laugh with them and tell funny stories? No doubt, neither you nor they will succeed. The preacher is a teacher and an educator who teaches polite behavior, whereas the listeners are like children. The child learns only when treated with roughness and faced with seriousness and frowning. Only a few of them learn without the need for that but through a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He).

O people, this world is ephemeral! This world is mere shackles, sorrows, cares, grieves, and a veil between you and your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Look at it with the eyes of your hearts not the eyes of your heads. The eye of the heart looks at the essence, whereas the eye of the head looks at the appearance.

The believer totally belongs to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). There is not even a single atom of him that belongs to Allah’s creatures. He is with Him in both his outward and inward. He does not move except for His sake and does not come to rest but for His sake. So, he exists in Him, from Him, and for Him. The allotted worldly shares of the believer in Allah come to him and knock at his door while he is forgetful of them. They come to him and stand at his service.

* O people, remember and remind others, for “only those with sound reason remember” (from 13.19)! It is the people of Allah who are the ones with sound reason. They have properly understood this world so they renounced it. Then they understood the hereafter so they entered into it. Once its trees have sprouted for them, its rivers have flowed for them, and they have become in possession of it in wakefulness and sleep, the love of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) came to them, so they abandoned the hereafter, traveled away from it, and left it. They tightened the girdles of their hearts and headed to their Lord (mighty and glorified is He). They became among those who seek His face and wish for nothing other than Him. Seek blessings from these people, seek them out, serve them, get to know them, and behave with ultimate politeness in their company. O Allah, grant us good behavior with You under all circumstance and with the righteous of Your servants and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* Once the wing of Knowledge has grown long, the scissors of the Law clip it. Accept my words and my good advice to you as I teach on account of my belief in the oneness of God and listening to the words of the truthful and the saints. Their words are like revelations from Allah (mighty and glorified is He). They speak on His behalf, and He commands them in a way that is beyond the comprehension of the common man. You are in illusion! You compose your speech from the books and then deliver it. What would you do if your book is lost? What if your books are burned? What if your lamp went out? What if your jar broke and the water inside spilled? Where are your flint, matches, and the fuel that you see with?

* Someone asked: “I want to be one of those who seek His face, for my heart has glanced at the door of nearness and was shown the lovers entering and coming out dressed in clothes that the King has conferred on them. What is the price of entering into it?” We said to him: “Sacrifice the whole of you. Give up your lustful desires and pleasures. Be extinct in Him that you cease to exist to yourself. Bid farewell to Paradise and its contents and leave it. Abandon the lower self, passion, and natural inclination. Give up the lustful desires of this world and the hereafter, bid farewell to everything, leave them behind your back, and then enter, for you will see what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never occurred to any human being.”

O young man, say “Allah.” “Say ‘Allah’ then leave them alone” (from 6.91)! Say: “[He] who created me, so He guides me” (26.78). O you who have renounced this world! When your heart has gone out of it seeking the hereafter, say: “[He] who created me, so He guides me.” And you, O seeker of the True One, who are longing for Him, who have renounced everything apart from Him! When your heart leaves through the door of Paradise seeking its Master, say: “[He] who created me, so He guides me.” Seek His guidance to overcome the rugged parts of the road. O people, answer my call for I am a caller of Allah (mighty and glorified is He)! Return to your Creator with your hearts. All of you will soon be dead. Work to open the door of repentance to Him and forgiveness in His presence. You must watch Him and you must know that He is overseeing, watching, and witnessing you. Have you not heard Allah’s (high is He) following words: “There cannot be a private conversation between three but He makes the fourth, or between five but He makes the sixth, or between fewer or more but He is with them, wherever they may be” (from 58.7)?

Eat from the food of His remembrance and drink from the drink of His intimacy. His nearness should be all that you need. O you who are dead at heart, O you who are seated in dissimulation, stand up before you are paraded! Stand up before you die. O you who are seated in the place of ebb, stand up before the tide reaches you! Stand up for the water has run beneath you. Get up off the ground of your polytheism and move to the ground of your belief in the oneness of God. O our Lord, set us up in a trade that makes You satisfied with us! “Do not make our hearts deviate after You have guided us” (from 3.8). Do not deviate our hearts from the truth. Do not turn them away from following Your Book and the Sunna of Your Messenger Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) and acting in accordance with them. Do not cause us to deviate from following in the footsteps of the prophets, messengers, martyrs, and righteous (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them). Place our souls with their souls. Let us enter the house of Your nearness in this world before the hereafter. Amen.

If, on the Day of Resurrection, the lovers can find a way not to enter Paradise then they will not enter it, because they will say: “What have we to do with made things? We wish for the Maker. What have we to do with Paradise? We wish for the Creator. What have we to do with what is done? We wish for the Doer. What have we to do with things that are new? We want the Old One.” This will be the state of the heart when it becomes sound, so no doubt it will be drawn near to the True One (mighty and glorified is He). If its abandonment of this world and the creatures proves genuine, it will deserve nearness.

Woe to you! I have been standing at the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) from my childhood, whereas you have not seen it at all. Your heart has not seen the door or its Owner. You are in the East and what I am referring to is in the West. Be sensible. I have been educated and so I am teaching now. I have not tried to comprehend everything with my intellect while I am standing at His door with the elite of His servants. Say: “The trustworthy one has spoken the truth,” and suspend your intellect. O friend of Joseph, talk about what you have and talk about what you know! O young man, speak from your heart and truthfulness, otherwise shut up. Spend from your coins, your treasure, and what you have in your home, otherwise do not steal to spend. Feed the people from your plate and let them drink from your spring. The believer who has become a knower gives drinks and drinks from a spring that never runs dry — a spring that he has excavated with the mattocks of his strife and truthfulness.

* The people of Allah have deeds that compare to mountains of goodness, yet they consider them worthless. They behave with humility and force their lower selves into submission. Behave with a similar humility, caution, and fear of the One who must be feared, of the loss of the purity of the innermost being, and of causing strain in it and in the breast. If you continue like that, you will be awarded safety by Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and it will be sealed on your heart and innermost being and be written on the walls of your private life. Your private life and your limbs and senses will come to have signs, languages, glorification, and remembrance of Allah whose wonders your heart will hear yet which your mouth will not utter a word about. Your outward and the creatures will not hear a single word about it. This will be something that will not be revealed for someone else. It will be a favor that you get used to and talk about within yourself: “And of the favor of your Lord do speak” (93.11). [It means]: “O saint, do talk about these inward favors within yourself! And O Prophet, do talk to the creatures about the favors of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and His generosity to you!” It is a condition on the saint to conceal and on the Prophet to disclose. The saint’s disclosure is an action of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). If he discloses his favors he gets afflicted and deprived of his spiritual state. But if his disclosure is caused by Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) action, he does not get subjected to rebuke and reproach because that was not his action. Someone once said to me: “I have noticed that everyone who is given a spiritual state conceals it, yet you disclose it!” I replied: “Woe to you! We have not disclosed anything. It shows up involuntarily, not intentionally. Whenever my basin becomes full I reduce it. But when the flood comes it spills out all around without my choice; what can I do?”

Woe to you! You go into seclusion to receive revelations! What have you to do with the retreat when the creatures have filled your heart? You have to take to the deserts and wildernesses. After you find the treasure of nearness there return to sit with the creatures. At that stage, you will become a medicine for them. May Allah show mercy to anyone who believes in what I say, tastes what I say, and puts what I say into practice in both his private and public lives.

* Among the saints are those who, during their sleep, eat from the food of Paradise, drink from its drinks, and see all its contents. Among them are those who become free of any need for food and drink, retreat from the creatures, become invisible to them, and live on the earth without dying, such as Ilyās and Al‑Khidhr (may Allah be satisfied with both of them). Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has a large number of them on this earth hidden behind a veil. They can see people, but people cannot see them. The saints among them form a majority but the elite represent a minority. They are a few, isolated individuals to whom everyone comes and draws near. It is through their agency that the earth becomes full of plants, rain falls from the sky, and affliction is removed away from the creatures. The food and drink of the angels is the remembrance of Allah, the True One (mighty and glorified is He), glorification, and recitation of “there is no God save Allah (lā ilāha illā Allah)”. There are a few saints for whom this comes to be their food. How much disadvantaged you are, O you who are healthy, you who have free time! The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “Two favors that many people fail to appreciate: good health and free time.”

* Many servants work diligently by night and day in worshipping Allah, yet with ignorance of Knowledge, the divine decree, and destiny. They speak about the truth without making any reference to the Law. No doubt, therefore, they end up as infidels. This is why it has been said: “Every truth that is not supported by the Law is mere infidelity,” meaning that the Law should be perfected first and this will be the foundations on which the edifice should be erected afterward.

* O young man, rely on Allah and get up and have determination! I do not see a beginning or an end for you. You have not been genuine in saying “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 you are not fulfilling its conditions. In addition, you are not one of the elite so that gold and clay would be one and the same in your sight. What are you then exactly? How could we remember you and count you when you do not belong to the former or the latter? You would like me to praise you for something that you do not have so that your lower self would be happy and you would be pleased with me and give me presents! You are unworthy of respect! I speak the truth and do not fear the criticism of anyone. I am in attack and retreat between the creatures and the Creator, between the One who does not forget and those who forget, between the One who acts with precision and those who do not. You are ignorant, what have you to do with me? Do not be my enemy, otherwise you will perish. Do not be one of those who show enmity to what they are ignorant of. You have been ignorant of what I am involved in so you became my enemy. But I do not care at all about you and your enmity.

* Among the people of Allah is one who once he has come to need only Allah (mighty and glorified is He), to the exclusion of all creatures and everything on the earth, He tires him with children and with the task of providing for them to cause him to return to the creatures and accept things from them so that taking from them will be a mercy to them. His poverty will be outward, whereas his affluence will be inward. His affluence will be secret, whereas his poverty will be public. Allah exposes them (these people) to whatever states He wishes while they keep silent, adhering to ultimate politeness. He shows them first the Book and the Sunna, so they put them into practice and become pious. Then He shows them the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) in their dreams who tells them to do this and that and to refrain from doing this and that. They then see their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) in their dreams and He orders them to carry out certain things and refrain from doing others. They are then promoted from one degree to another, from one book to another, from one abode to another, and from one form of remembrance to another.

The believer sees all creatures as one person who is ill, powerless, and unable to bring benefits to himself or drive any harm away from it. He hates those creatures that disobey Him and loves those who obey Him. He complies with His Lord (mighty and glorified is He) in his love and hatred. He does not love the creatures for their giving and does not hate them for their withholding. He does not love and hate for the sake of his lower self and passion. He is detached from his lower self. He does not comply with it except in matters that are works of obedience to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). He keeps this world away from his heart. He is always committed to the religion of His Lord (mighty and glorified is He), observing its laws and supporting it.

* O young man, when the servant knows the True One (mighty and glorified is He), He draws his heart completely near, rewards him with everything, confers on him the ultimate intimacy, and bestows on him the ultimate honor. Once he gets used to these, He takes them away from him, leaves him empty‑handed, sends him back to his lower self, and establishes a veil between Himself and him in order to test him and see how he will respond: Will he escape? Will he deviate or remain steadfast? If he stands firm, He removes the veil from him and returns him to his previous situation. Have you not seen how the father puts his son to the test? He sends him out of his house, locks the door in his face, and waits to see what he does. If he finds that his son kept to the doorstep, did not go to his neighbor, did not complain about him, and did not abandon polite behavior, he reopens the door, allows him in, embraces him, and honors him more than before.

Anyone who does not act with sincerity will not earn a single atom of the nearness to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has said in one of his utterances: “I release the partners that are attributed to Me from all obligations of this partnership. If someone dedicates an action to Me and to a partner that he associated with Me, I leave it for the alleged partner as I do not accept anything other than what was for the sake of My face.” The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The hypocrite will be told on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O perfidious one, O infidel, ask for the reward from whom you have dedicated your work to’”! O worshippers of other than your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), have you not heard His (high is He) following words: “I have not created the jinn and the human beings but to worship Me” (51.56), these words of His (high is He): “And they were commanded to worship one Godonly” (from 9.31), and His (high is He) following saying: “And they were only commanded to worship Allah, devoting religion sincerely to Him” (from 98.5)?

Every servant must worship his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) seeking His face and His satisfaction, not for the sake of a certain purpose or for receiving rewards. Anyone of you who fails to be sincere to Allah in his public life, let him worship privately, so that no eye of a creature will see him and no ear will hear his recitation [of the Holy Qur’an] and his glorification of Allah. Dissimulation is a grave matter. It is reported that one of the people of Allah has said: “If a person prayed in a dark house but was seen by a powerless, poor slave who is unable to do anything whatsoever, it would be as if he performed his prayer to impress the slave and, therefore, he would have performed it without any sincerity.”

O you who refrain from charitable spending! Have you not heard His (mighty and glorified is He) following words: “And [those who] spend of what We have bestowed on them” (from 2.3)? He means spending their money on the family, the children, and the poor. The niggard is deprived, expelled, and distant from the creatures and the Creator. Ask your Lord to provide for you from His favors. Ask Him for help whether He answers you or not, for asking Him for help is in itself an act of worship. Asking Him for help takes the form of calling in the case of remoteness, the form of private conversation in the case of nearness, and the form of silent gesture in the case of love. The person who is at a distance asks for help, crying out: “O King, give me, bring me near!” One who has come close and attained to Him converses with Him privately in a low voice at difficult times for he is near to Him. And one who has sat beside Him is overwhelmed by His majesty so he guards his tongue and speaks only by signs. The Muslim is in a state of remoteness, so he calls out and shouts; the believer who has become a knower is in a state of nearness, so he privately converses with Him with utter politeness; while the beloved, whose heart has arrived at the chamber of nearness, speaks only through silent gesture. May Allah bestow mercy on anyone who comprehends what I am saying, puts it into practice, removes from his heart any doubt about me and about my words, and submits to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) what he does not understand and is beyond his knowledge.

The people of Allah have faith, believe, put their knowledge into practice, work with sincerity, and spend their money in the service of the righteous. In order to spend their money on good causes, they bring forth arguments to silence their objecting lower selves. They spend their money sometimes as obligatory alms, sometimes as a voluntary charitable donation, sometimes altruistically, sometimes in fulfillment of vows, and sometimes by swearing an oath to donate money. They do all this as a means to draw near to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) due to the strength of their hearts and certitude and their subjugation of their lower selves. Some of them are ordered to donate some of what they have, so they obey the command of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), whereas others hand out rewards without being aware of what they are doing. The saints are commanded to give to the poor and needy, whereas the spiritual substitutes have their money taken from their hands while they are completely unaware. It is related that one of the people of Allah was one day praying in a desert when one of a group of passing travelers took his cloak and then put it back on his shoulder. When the man finished his prayer, the traveler who took his cloak said to him: “Forgive my guilt in taking your cloak and annoying you.” The man replied: “By Allah, I did not feel anything when you took it or when you returned it. If you want to take it, go ahead and take it.”

The people of Allah are unaware of anything other than what they are involved in. When they stand in the presence of their Lord (mighty and glorified is He), they become totally unaware of anything other than Him. The essence becomes absent and only the appearance remains present; the heart becomes absent and the body remains present. When one of the people of Allah — Muslim bin Yassar1 (may Allah show mercy to him) — would enter his house, his children used to stop behaving joyfully and become well‑behaved so that no one of them would even laugh. He recognized their state of restraint, so whenever he wanted to pray he used to say to them: “Do what you like and give up your restraint for I will not be aware of what you do.” So, when he starts praying they play, relax, and laugh, while he is totally unaware of what they did. One day he was praying in the mosque when a column of the building and parts of the roof that it supports collapsed beside him but he did not realize what happened. On another occasion, a fire broke out in his house while he was praying, so people gathered and put it out but he did not take notice of what took place.

The people of Allah totally belong to the True One (mighty and glorified is He). They are wholly devoted to helping the creatures, and the Creator supports them. They spend of the worldly property that they have in their hands and of the Knowledge in their hearts. They have found the greatest treasure so this world lost its importance in their eyes. They have seen the greatest kingdom, so the kingdom of this world has become worthless in their view. They have renounced every created thing, so their hearts have been given the favor of “‘be,’ and it is.”

As long as this outward thing is in your hand and your heart is embracing it, you will have nothing of the favor of “‘be,’ and it is.” One of the people of Allah was asked: “Where do you obtain your food from?” He replied: “From the big threshing floor.” It was asked: “What is the big threshing floor?” He replied: “‘be,’ and it is.”

When it comes to worldly matters, look to those who are inferior to you, whereas with matters of the hereafter look up to those who are superior to you. It is reported about one of the people of Allah that on the day of celebration (Eīd) he bought broad beans and sat to eat them. He said: “Could there be anyone in a situation similar to mine, on such a day eating only broad beans without even oil or salt?” He then turned his head just to see someone eating the peels that he was throwing aside. So he wept and apologized to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) about what he said.

* How few those who seek the face of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and His nearness are! Seeing Him is the delight of the eyes of the knowers and the lovers. Seeing Paradise, living in it with the houris, eating, and drinking are consolation for the eyes of the ascetics. What a huge difference there is between the two groups! How far they are from each other! O you who wish for this world, you have wasted your lifetime on nothing! And O you who wish for Paradise, the houris, and the youths of Paradise, you have wished for something other than your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and you have chosen something other than Him! If you had any knowledge you would not have enjoyed being absent from His presence even for a single moment. Woe to you, You do not know! Woe to you! The joy of one look at the True One (mighty and glorified is He) encompasses all of the youths, pleasures, lustful desires, and bliss of Paradise put together, so what of the delight of so many looks for hours?

* Give up your illusion. This business [of attaining to Allah] cannot be achieved by pretense, wishful thinking, and tongue‑wagging. If you are sitting in front of this plate and at this spring, then eat and drink, and feed and offer drink to others. But if you have only heard of it, then keep silent. Do not talk about something you have not seen. Do not invite people to someone else’s party. Do not invite people to an empty house because they would laugh at you. Shoot for us an arrow from your own quiver. Spend on us from your earnings, from what you earn by the sweat of your brow. Do not feed us from the yield that you have stolen from your neighbors. Do not offer us clothes that you have borrowed. We do not accept the gifts from a borrower, usurper. The belief in the oneness of God is a scorching fire. “O fire, be coolness and safety!” (from 21.69). O Allah, grant us the goodness of this day and protect us from its evil, and grant us the same for all nights and days! Amen.

* Do not argue with Him citing His destiny. Work hard, be diligent, dedicate yourselves to Him, ask for His help, weep, ask for intercession, behave with submissiveness, stand firm at the door, and do not run away. All matters are in Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) hand. He is the One who awakens, grants success, and gives warning. He is the One who awakens you, and he is the One who puts you to sleep. When our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) heard the private conversation of the True One (mighty and glorified is He): “O you covered [in the mantle!]. Arise and warn” (74.1‑2), he got up from bed and went out wandering, searching for Him. Similarly, when the believer hears the private conversation of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), he responds to Him, wanders searching for Him, and longs for Him. He awakens the hearts and shows them the way to Him.

When Allah (high is He) wants you to do something, He prepares you for it. This is an inward matter. It is what is referred to by destiny, foreordination, and foreknowledge. We are not allowed to depend on this and use it as an argument against making serious efforts, but we have to work hard, be diligent, do not pretend to be ill, and do not be lazy. O Allah, make us satisfied with Your decree, grant us patience with Your affliction, and enable us to thank You for Your favor! We ask You to give us Your full favor, the permanence of well‑being, and steadfastness in love.

Ibrāhīm ibn Adham2 (may Allah, high is He, show mercy to him) is reported to have said: “Once I stayed up all night praying to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) with all kinds of supplication and was weeping. When the dawn was about to break, my eyelids drooped. While asleep, I saw Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who said: ‘O Ibrahim, you are not praying to Me in the best way! Say: “O Allah, make us satisfied with Your decree, grant us patience with Your affliction, and enable us to thank You for Your favor! We ask You to give us Your full favor, the permanence of well‑being, and steadfastness in love”’. Then I woke up while I was repeating it.”

The servant who has truly accomplished servitude is one who is content with his Lord to the exclusion of all creatures, satisfied with his spiritual state to the exclusion of the spiritual states of others, and content with his Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) to the exclusion of all other prophets (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them). He becomes in need of nothing, whereas things need him. The people of Allah do not ask Allah (mighty and glorified is He) for other than Allah Himself. They ask for the Benefactor not the benefit, the Creator not the creature. They run away from food, drink, clothes, sexual intercourse, and the strife for worldly things. They escape to Him from those things. They worship Him for His sake not for the fodder of their lower selves. They do not worship Him for the abode of the Day of Resurrection. They say: “We do not find happiness in mercy. We do not wish for mercy, but we wish for solitude with the Beloved with no mercy.”

* O young men, do not cut yourselves off from the bliss that I have explained to you by running after your allotted shares of this world! Give up running after them and then they will start chasing you. This is something I have experienced and seen and has been seen by others who followed this path. Do not rush things for nothing that has been allocated to you will miss you. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The soul will not leave this world until it has obtained all its allotted sustenance. So, be pious to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and do not be greedy when you ask Him for what you need.” Stop! Do not be over keen on obtaining what you want. Do not run after things but be steadfast. Be careful when you ask for something, if you really have to ask. If you turn away from the door of the kings, a door that will never be locked will be opened to you. This is the door of the innermost being, the door of the inward which will be opened for you without the intervention of your might, strength, or thinking.

The believer is one who left the house of his lower self, natural inclination, and passion, heading to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). While he is in this state, tribulations that hit him, his family, and his property will obstruct his way. He will first stop in confusion. Then he will look back at his sins and impolite behavior in violating the limits of the Law of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), so he will repent, give up asking “why” and “how,” stop protesting and disputing outwardly and inwardly, surrender, fall prostrate, and refrain from trying to tackle the barrier that is in front of him with only his own effort and toil. He will not seek to remove it with anything other than his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). He will focus completely on remembering Allah, returning to Him, remembering his sins, asking for them to be forgiven, and blaming his lower self. Once he has done all of that, he will refer to the destiny that his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has preordained and say: “The destiny of Allah, His decree, and His foreordination about me will have to pass.” He will then return to submission and reliance by the heart not the tongue. While he is in this state, with his eyes closed in reflection, he will open his eyes suddenly to find that the barrier has gone, the door is open, favors have replaced the tribulations, affluence has replaced hardship, well‑being has replaced illness, and kingship has replaced destruction. All this confirms Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) following saying: “And whoever is pious to Allah He will appoint for him a way out, and He will provide for him from whence he did not expect” (from 65.2‑3).

The true servant continues to respond to the favors with thankfulness and to affliction with compliance, admitting his crimes and sins and blaming the lower self, until the footsteps of his heart lead him to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). He keeps on walking with the steps of good works and repentance from bad deeds until he arrives to the door of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). He continues to step forward with thankfulness on the favors and patience on afflictions until he arrives to the door of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Once he is there, he will face what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never occurred to any human being. When the heart of the servant arrives at the door of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), the bout of good works, bad deeds, thankfulness, patience, tiredness, and hardship comes to an end, like the footsteps of the traveler come to a halt when he arrives to his destination and house. What remains after that is the sitting together, intimacy, conversation, direct seeing, and viewing the secrets. When the lover arrives to his Beloved (mighty and glorified is He), could there still be any tiredness? Tiredness turns into comfort, remoteness into nearness, absence into presence, and the hearing of news into direct seeing. He will come to view His secrets. He will take His servant on a tour in His house and He will open for him His treasures and show him His garden. Can you not comprehend this? “And Allah strikes parables for people” (from 14.25). It is the people of signs who understand the signs.

* When I was a little boy, I used to go alone to unpopulated places where I would sometimes hear a voice without seeing a figure. The voice would utter: “O you who are blessed, you are good and you will meet goodness!” I used to stand and roam the place around me without discovering where the voice was coming from. With all praise due to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), I did enjoy blessings in all of my circumstances.

Among the servants of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) are those who say for something “‘be,’ and it is,” but you cannot see them, and if you see them you would not recognize them and you would lock your doors shut in their faces and tighten your purses and pockets so that you do not give them anything.

* When the believer who has become a knower closes the eyes of his head, the eyes of his heart open wide, so he sees the reality of the creatures. When the eyes of his heart close, the eyes of his innermost being open wide so he sees the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and His management of the creation. When the Creator becomes present, the creatures leave. When the hereafter becomes present, this world leaves. When truthfulness becomes present, the telling of lies leaves. When sincerity becomes present, polytheism leaves. When faith becomes present, hypocrisy leaves. Everything has an opposite.

The sensible person looks at the ultimate consequences and does not look at this world and its adornment for it will soon pass away. This world is continuously changing and is ephemeral. You will pass away and then it will disappear after you. Do not run away from the company of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) because of the tribulations that He subjects you to, for He knows about your best interests far better than you.

* As for the exceptions, they are a few individuals among His creatures. He created them for something that is beyond the limits of the normal. He created them for a purpose that He knows. He created them for His company, deputyship, ambassadorship, and guidance of His creatures to Him. He sends them to the East, West, and sea. They address the creatures in their own languages. He appointed them as His deputies among the creatures. They do not wish for life or death, for they are totally extinct in Him that they have no will of their own. Their wills have died, their lower selves have come to rest, their passions have been broken, the fires of their natural inclinations have died out, their devils have been defeated, and this world has surrendered in submission to them and lost any influence on them. In other words, they have left nothing to be blamed for. These are the rarest of the rare. No love for anyone other than Him is left in their hearts. They are the beloved of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and the ones He chose from His creatures.

* The people of Allah have inherited the spiritual states of the prophets (Allah’s prayer and peace be on them). They have inherited their spiritual stations, not their names and titles. They have inherited the qualities and virtues that they had. The saints and spiritual substitutes are restricted to a certain number that does not increase or decrease. Among them is one who attains his spiritual status early in his life, whereas another attains his spiritual status in the latter part of his life. Before the attainment of the latter, his states continuously change, although he is a confirmed saint of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) in Allah’s (mighty and glorified is He) foreknowledge, for infallibility is not a prerequisite for spiritual substitution and sainthood. There is no infallibility after the time of the prophets as infallibility is one of their unique attributes (Allah’s prayer and peace be on them). It is reported that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “When one of the saints of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) disobeys Allah, the angels (Allah’s prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them) laugh and say to one another: ‘Look at this saint of Allah, see how he is disobeying Allah (mighty and glorified is He)’”! How could not they be astonished at his disobedience, disbelief, remoteness, and hypocrisy when they know that in a few days he will become a beloved saint; one who is drawn near, honored, and purified; an intercessor; a guide; and an heir?

* I have renounced you, my lower self, and my allotted worldly shares. Blessed I am! I do not eat, drink, dress up, have sexual intercourse, or show off. Blessed I am! I have been made to stand aside from you and I have taken advice from signs without the need for verbal instructions. I hate seeing the hypocrites, disobedient ones, and those who associate partners with Allah, but I have to see them. They are ill people and I have been made a healer. The believer who is still a beginner in faith cannot look at anyone of these people or share with him a moment of time. When he happens to see a hypocrite, disobedient person, or polytheist he becomes angry at him and if it was in his power, he would kill him. One of the people of Allah (may Allah show mercy to him) used to become so angry to the point of falling to the ground when he sees a disbeliever. He used to pass out as a result of the enormity of his undivided loyalty to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and his anger for His sake that one of His servants should fail to believe in Him. No doubt, this believer was a novice, because the start is characterized by weakness and the end by strength.

One of the people of Allah (may Allah show mercy to him) is reported to have said: “No one laughs in the face of a hypocrite other than the knower.” The knower recognizes the graveness of the illness of the hypocrite and knows his treatment, so he smiles in his face saying: “Yes, your medicine is with me; so come.” He speaks to him with nice words in order to attract him, make him work with him, and make him feel close to him. Once he has become in charge of him, he cures his illness. He introduces him to Islam and faith and describes them to him. He introduces him to the words of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and guarantees to him reconciliation with Him. Day after day, his disbelief, hypocrisy, and disobedience melt away. The illness of his heart dissolves, his wounds heal, and his lower self is discarded. Both his outward and inward reform, without any quarrel or dispute, without a stab or blow.

Jesus, the son of Mary, and John, the son of Zechariah, (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on them) used to glorify the Lord in the wilderness. When the night sets, John would go to the village of the believers, whereas Jesus would go to the village of the disbelievers. John approached the believers because of the weakness of his spiritual state, whereas Jesus went near to the disbelievers because of the strength of his spiritual state, so that he could preach to them, warn them, and take them by the hand to the door of their Lord (mighty and glorified is He). One liked to pray and fast in the midst of believers, whereas the other liked to summon the people to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and His worship. The knower is a reminder and his worship is to call the creatures to Allah (mighty and glorified is He). His relation with Allah (mighty and glorified is He) remains on this basis. The Muslim is a worker, and the believer is a foreman; the knower is a builder, and the person who is knowledgeable of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is a roads engineer.

* If you are not among the people of Allah, then serve them, accompany them, sit in their presence, draw near to them, make your money available for their use, and follow them by emulating their works, not by quoting, applauding, and expressing astonishment at their words. Make sure that your heart not your clothes is the abode of your righteousness. Dress as common people do but do not do what they do. Monasticism is not to be defined with relation to food, clothing, and sex. Allah (high is He) has said: “And monasticism they invented — We did not ordain for them” (from 57.27). The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “There is no monasticism in Islam.”

As for those who are sincere in their belief in the oneness of God, their cells are their hearts. Their austerity is imposed on their lower selves, passions, and natural inclination. The fruit that they enjoy is loneliness and the visions they see. Their feeling of intimacy with their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) lies in the private conversation with Him. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) informs you about the spiritual state of the righteous through me in order for you to join and emulate them. So do not only hear these words. He uses my tongue to inform you in order for you to inform one another, so pay heed to the good advice. He calls you through me, so respond to His caller. He calls you to purity. He calls you to renounce His creatures and to wish for Him. He calls you to remember Him so that you become remembered in His presence. The servant who is truthful in seeking his Master (mighty and glorified is He) continues to remember Him outwardly and inwardly, in both his private and public lives, by night and day, in hardship and prosperity, in bliss and agony, until he becomes remembered in His presence. He hears his remembrance of Him (mighty and glorified is He) around him and in his heart.

You are in a deep sleep, unaware of the bliss of the people of Allah. O you who are forgetful of the bliss, you are unaware, absent, and unconscious! While you are knowledgeable in dealing with the affairs of this world, you are totally ignorant about the affairs of the hereafter. You are bogged down in mud, so the more you move the more you sink. Stretch out your hands to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) while being truthful in your seeking Him, repentance, and apology so that He will rescue you from your situation.

I am calling on you to stand firm against your lower selves, passions, natural inclinations, and lustful desires and to endure with patience the loss of worldly things. Respond to my call and then you will sooner or later come to see the results. I am calling you to the red death in the name of Allah. Who will attack? Who will advance? Who will dare? Who will take the risk? It is death that is followed by an everlasting life.

Do not escape. Force patience on yourselves when you are still impatient, and when you have become patient, endure with patience. Courage is an hour’s patience. Equip yourselves with the patience required for compliance with your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). When any of you carries the burden of the divine decree with satisfaction, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will relieve him of it and write his name in the record of the brave. Anyone who takes risk with himself will gain certitude. When one knows what he is seeking, he sees whatever he has to do as being insignificant. O servant of God, stand firm in your places and do not rush! Come on the foot of truthfulness to knock at the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and do not leave until the door is opened for you and processions have come out to welcome you. Be impudent when asking Him to provide your needs, for this is better in His eyes than your asking with impertinence your kings, your sultans, and the rich among you. Emulate your predecessors in their quest for their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and their extinction in Him.

O Allah, You are our Lord and their Lord, our Creator and their Creator, our Provider and their Provider, so treat us as You treated them! Bring us out toward You. Make us pin no hopes on the kings and the servants, the sultans and their subjects, the rich and the poor, the elite and common people, the rise and fall of market prices, and abundance and scarcity. Remind us of Your remembrance, be kind to us in Your actions, draw us close to your nearness, and make our hearts feel Your intimacy. Protect us from the evil of Your countries and Your servants, and from the evil of every moving creature that You hold by the forelock.3 Protect us from the evil of the evildoers and from the scheming of the infidels. Include us among Your party who is traveling to You, seeking the way to You, calling others to You, submitting with humility to You, and treating with arrogance those who are arrogant with You and with the believers of Your creatures. Amen.

* If you learn for the sake of this world you will end up working for this world, and if you learn for the sake of the hereafter you will end up working for the hereafter. The branch is an outcome of the root. You will be rewarded according to your behavior. Every vessel exudes its own contents. You fill your vessel with tar, yet you expect rose water to ooze out of it! You are unworthy of respect! You work for this world in this world, yet you wish that the hereafter will be yours tomorrow! You are unworthy of respect! You work for the sake of the creatures, yet you hope that tomorrow you will have the Creator on your side, have His nearness, and enjoy looking at Him! You are unworthy of respect! This is the obvious rule that applies to most people. However, if He wishes to give you His rewards out of His generosity not in return for work you did, then it is up to Him.

Listen to me and comprehend what I have to say, for I am a servant of the predecessors. I serve in their presence, spread out their goods, and call on people to view them. I do not betray them or claim that the goods are mine. I praise their words. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) has qualified me for this through the blessing of my following of the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) and my filial devotion to my father and mother (may Allah, high is He, show mercy to them). My father renounced this world despite his ability to earn a lot in it, and my mother agreed with him on that and was pleased with his action. They were among the people of righteousness, religion, and compassion for the creatures. However, I am not concerned with them or with the creatures. I am only concerned with the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) and the Sender. It is through them that I gain my goodness. My favors are with them and in their presence. I do not wish for anyone of the creatures other than Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), and I do not wish for any lord other than my Lord (mighty and glorified is He).

Footnotes

1 A famous jurist (died 718). He was originally from Mecca but lived in Basra.

2 A well‑known Sufi (ca. 718‑778). He was born in Mecca when his parents came from Khurāsān for pilgrimage.

3 This is a reference to this verse: I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature that crawls but He takes it by the forelock. Certainly, My Lord is on a straight Path” (11.56).

     

Copyright © 2008 Shetha Al-Dargazelli & Louay Fatoohi
All Rights Reserved

Mar 112008
 

This article is from Purification of the Mind (Jila’ Al-Khatir)

* After reading books you got up to the preaching platform to preach to people! After the blackness of the ink has smeared your clothes and your hand, you got up to speak to people! This is a business that requires commanding the outward and inward, and then attaining extinction in Him to the extent of being non‑existent in relation to everything else. O you who are unaware of what will be done to you! Remember the private resurrection and the universal resurrection. The private resurrection is the death of each one of you, whereas the universal resurrection is what is promised by Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Recite and remember these words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “The day when We will gather the pious to Allah as a good delegate and drive the guilty to hell thirsty” (19.85‑86). The good delegate of the pious will be in groups and riding, and the guilty will be brought thirsty. The pious will be gathered together, whereas the criminals will be driven by force. May Allah bestow mercy on any servant who remembers that Day. The person who accompanies the pious today will be gathered with them on that Day. O you who have given up piety! On the Day of Resurrection, the pious will be taken to Him riding in a goodly company while the angels around them giving their deeds various appearances. They will ride on thoroughbreds. The thoroughbred of everyone will be his works; his ornament and turban will be his deeds. The works take on beautiful or ugly appearances [according to their nature].

* The seeker is stationed under the shade of his repentance, whereas the one who is sought after is stationed under the shade of the care of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). The seeker is walking, whereas the one who is sought after is flying. The seeker is at the door, whereas the person who is sought after is inside, in the chamber of nearness. When the seeker works with diligence he becomes sought after. Seeking nearness without working toward that goal is an illusion. This statement applies to the majority of cases not the rare ones. When did Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet, on him, and on all prophets) become near? Was not that after experiencing hardships and strivings? After escaping from Pharaoh’s house and working hard for years tending sheep, he experienced what he experienced. How long it took him before he was brought near! After suffering hunger, thirst, and living in exile, his essence was purified and He married him to the daughter of Shu‘aib. Goodness came to him through his wife, because she was the cause of his serving her sheep. Hunger had hit him hard, yet when he gave water to her sheep, He caused him to withdraw alone under the tree and prevented him from asking for a wage in return for his work. Foreordination guided his action, the divine care enabled him to see, and the glances of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) made him prudent and caused him to ask his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) to provide for his needs so he said: “O My Lord, I am in need of whatever good You send down to me!” (from 28.24).

While he was in that situation, Shu‘aib’s daughter came and took him to her father. Shu‘aib asked him about his circumstances, so he told him everything. Shu‘aib then said: “Do not fear, you have escaped from the wrongdoing people” (from 28.25). He married him to his daughter and employed him to shepherd sheep. Moses then forgot the kingdom of Pharaoh and the affluence that he was in. He put on shepherds’ clothes and spent the night and day with the sheep, with those that do not speak. In the wilderness, he learned renunciation and solitude, so his heart was purified, and he matured in those years. The Pharaoh’s kingdom departed from his heart, and this world and all its contents left his innermost being.

By fulfilling the term that he had agreed with Shu‘aib (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him), Moses fulfilled the obligation on his outward, but his obligation to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and the covenant that He has in his heart and innermost being remained to be fulfilled. Moses bid farewell to Shu‘aib and took his wife with him. After walking for three parasangs1 away from Madian the night set in. At this point, his pregnant wife began to feel the pains of labor. She asked him to provide her with some light so she could see. He tried unsuccessfully to produce a spark with the flint stick. Then the night got even darker and he found himself overwhelmed by confusion. The earth seemed too strait despite its spaciousness. He was left as a stranger and lonely man on an unfamiliar road, with his wife in that distress. So he stood on a high spot and looked right and left, forward and backward, trying to hear a sound or see a fire in the distance. He caught sight of a fire at the side of mountain Ṭūr, so he said to his wife: “Calm down, for I have seen a fire that I might be able to bring you light from, or ask the people who started it about the road.” “So when he came to it, he was called from the right bank of the valley” (from 28.30). When he came close to the fire and wanted to take a firebrand from it, the situation completely changed, as the familiar state of affairs disappeared and reality became manifest. He forgot his family and their welfare, but someone came to his wife, treated her with honor, looked after her, and provided for her needs. He was called by a Caller, addressed by an Addresser, and spoken to by a Speaker, who is the True One (mighty and glorified is He). This happened without any intermediary, “from the right bank of the valley, in the blessed spot from the tree” (from 28.30). The tree came to be in front of him. He said: “O Moses! I am Allah, the Lord of the worlds” (from 28.30). He meant: “I am not an angel, jinn, or human being, but the Lord of the creation. Pharaoh has lied when he said: ‘I am your Lord, the most high’ (from 79.24) and claimed divinity. It is only I, Allah, who is the Lord. Pharaoh and the other creatures — jinn, human beings, angels, and all creatures from beneath the Throne to beneath the surface of the earth; the world of your time and the world of the times to come, until the Day of Resurrection — are all created things.”

Woe to you, O innovator! No one can say “I am Allah” (from 28.30) other than Allah. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) does speak. He is not mute. This is why Allah (mighty and glorified is He) confirmed the verity of His speaking faculty by saying: “And Allah did speak to Moses; He spoke to him” (from 4.164). He (high is He) has speech that can be heard and understood. When Moses heard the words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), his soul almost left his body and he fell on his face as a result of hearing a kind of speech that he had never heard before. The speech fell on the weakness of the human nature so it shattered it. Allah then sent an angel who enabled him to stand on his feet. The angel put one of his hands on Moses’ breast and the other behind his back until he was able to stand and restored his full strength. He caused his heart to be present so that he could comprehend and understand His words. Moses qualified for this after experiencing what seemed to him like his Day of Resurrection and after the earth seemed too strait to him despite its spaciousness.

He was ordered to go to Pharaoh and his people and be a messenger to them, so he said: “O my Lord! ‘And loose the knot of my tongue, that they may understand my words’ (from 20.27‑28) and support me with my brother!” He had a stutter so he was unable to speak fluently. This was because of what happened to him with Pharaoh (may Allah curse him) when he was a little boy. Whenever he wanted to say a word to Pharaoh he stuttered and struggled to pronounce its letters for such a long time that another person would have uttered seventy words. This impediment resulted from what happened to him in Pharaoh’s house when he was a child. Āsyā, Pharaoh’s wife, brought baby Moses to him and said: “He is ‘a delight of the eye for me and you. Do not kill him. May be he will be useful to us or we may take him for a son’” (from 28.9). She brought Moses near to Pharaoh to kiss the baby, but the baby grabbed Pharaoh’s beard, so Pharaoh said: “This is the newborn baby at whose hands my kingdom will be destroyed; he must be killed.” She replied: “This is a young child who does not understand what he is doing.” Then she ordered that a vessel containing red‑hot coals and another containing pearls be brought and put in front of him and said: “Let’s leave both vessels in front of him. If he will know the difference between them and stretch his hand toward the pearls and avoid the fire, put him to death. But if he will not be able to tell the difference between them and will stretch his hand toward the fire, do not kill him.” They agreed to carry out this test and left both vessels in front of the baby. He stretched his hand to the fire, picked up a piece of the red‑hot coal, and put it in his mouth, so he wept. She said: “Did not I tell you that he does not recognize what he is doing? Did not I tell you that he did not do that to you deliberately?” So Pharaoh spared him death. Thus, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) brought him up in Pharaoh’s house. Glory be to Him who prepared for him his affairs and provided for him an outlet and exit from every care, grief, and hardship. The Invincible One has said: “And whoever is pious to Allah He will appoint for him a way out, and He will provide for him from whence he did not expect. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him” (from 65.2‑3).

* O servants of Allah! Observe the five daily prayers at their prescribed times. Perform them with total adherence to their conditions and requirements. Do not perform them while you are absent‑minded. Have you not heard these words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “So woe to those who pray while being unmindful of their prayer” (107.4‑5)? Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allah be satisfied with both of them) has said: “By Allah, they did not abandon the prayers but delayed them to later than their prescribed times.”

Repent, so that Allah will show mercy to you. Satisfy the Forgiver by your repentance. Repent, O disobedient ones! Repent, O you who have delayed the prayers beyond their appointed times! O you who embrace Satan’s justification and deceitful argument, O you who are cheated by his guile! Do not disobey! You will not have salvation from the punishment of the Fire. Do not underestimate the One who punishes in this world with blindness, deafness, disability, poverty with the lack of patience, and the need to the creatures despite the hardness of their hearts; and in the hereafter with the Fire. All this is the result of the evil omen of the acts of disobedience and sins. We seek refuge in Allah from His revenge, punishment, striking, and anger. O Allah, pardon us and treat us with Your patience and Your generosity not Your justice! Give us the sustenance of complying with You. Amen. The Prophet is reported to have said: “Allah will create in Hell myrmidons with whom He will exact revenge on His enemies: the disbelievers. When He wishes to punish a disbeliever, He says to the myrmidons: ‘Seize him,’ whereupon seventy thousand myrmidons immediately move toward him. As soon as he falls in the hand of one of them, he melts like fat does when exposed to fire, so nothing of him remains in the hand of the myrmidon other than the drippings. Then Allah (mighty and glorified is He) re‑creates him and the myrmidons will shackle and fetter him with fetters of fire, tie his head to his legs, and throw him in the Fire.”

* O young man! You will not come close to the True One (mighty and glorified is He) through hypocrisy, fluency, eloquence, turning your face away from people in contempt, ignorance, and patching up your frayed garment. All that comes from your lower self, devil, associating creatures with Allah, and begging for worldly things from them. Think well of others and hold a poor opinion of yourself. Treat yourself with contempt and conceal your status. Maintain this practice until you are told: “Speak about the favor that Allah has conferred on you.” Ibn Sam‘ūn2 (may Allah show mercy to him) used to say about any miracle that occurred through him: “This is a trick from Satan.” He kept this practice up until he was told: “Do not you know who you are and who your father is? Speak about Our favor”.

O lovers, O seekers! Beware of losing the True One (mighty and glorified is He), for if you lose Him, you will have lost everything. Allah (mighty and glorified is He) inspired Jesus (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) with the following: “O Jesus, beware of losing Me, for if you lose Me, you will have lost everything, and if you do not lose Me, you will have lost nothing.” Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) said in the course of his private conversation with his Lord (exalted and high is He): “O my Lord, advise me!” So He (exalted and high is He) said to him: “I advise you to be concerned with Me and to seek Me.” Moses repeated his request four times and every time He gave him the same answer. He said to him: “Do not seek this world or the hereafter.” It is as if He said to him: “I advise you to obey Me and give up disobeying Me. I advise you to seek My nearness. I advise you to believe in My oneness and to work for My sake. I advise you to turn away from everything other than Me.”

* O people, remember death and what is after it! Give up your keenness on collecting the goods of this ephemeral world. Curtail your hopes and decrease your greedy keenness. Having great expectations and greedy keenness is most harmful to you. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “When the son of Adam dies and enters his grave, four angels come to it. One angel stands at his head, one angel to his right, one angel to his left, and one angel at his feet. The one at his head will say: ‘O son of Adam, all property has gone and only the deeds have remained!’ The angle to his right will say: ‘O son of Adam, the appointed times have expired and only the hopes have remained!’ The one to his left will say: ‘O son of Adam, the lustful desires have gone and only their consequences have remained!’ The one at his feet will say: ‘O son of Adam, blessed are you, if you have earned your livelihood lawfully and ended up a righteous one’”! O people, take advice from these exhortations — in particular, the exhortations of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and the exhortations of His messengers (Allah’s prayer and peace be on them). O Allah, bear witness for me that I am trying my best to preach to Your servants, exerting strenuous efforts to reform them!

* O young man! When you firmly establish your faith, you will reach the valley of knowingness, then the valley of Knowledge, then the valley of extinction to yourself and to the creatures, and then the existence only through Him, not through yourself or through them. At this point, your fear will disappear, preservation will be at your service, protection will surround you, guidance will stand in respect before you, angels will walk around you, spirits will come to salute you, the True One (mighty and glorified is He) will commend you to the creatures, and His glances will look after you and draw you to the abode of His nearness, intimacy, and private conversation.

* The heart that has turned away from Allah and disbelieved in him is metamorphosed, which is why Allah likened it to stones, when the Best Speaker said: “Then, your hearts hardened after that and became like stones or even harder still” (from 2.74). When the Children of Israel did not put the Torah into practice, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) turned their hearts into stones and expelled them from His door. The same applies to you, O Muhammadans! If you do not apply the Qur’an and follow its laws to the letter, Allah will metamorphose your hearts and dismiss them from His door. Do not be like those each of “whom Allah has knowingly sent astray” (from 45.23).

If you acquire knowledge for the sake of the creatures you will end up serving them, and if you acquire knowledge for the sake of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) you will serve Him. The deeds of obedience are the work of the people of Paradise and the deeds of disobedience are the work of the people of the Fire. Other than that, it is up to Him whether to reward one of us without good work or to punish one of us without bad work. All that is up to Him: “[He is] One who certainly works His will” (from 11.107) andHe shall not be questioned as to what He does, but they shall be questioned” (21.23).

* O young man, you are nothing other than a lower self, natural inclination, and passion! You spend time with strange women and young boys then you say: “I am not interested in them!” You are a liar. Neither the Law nor reason agree with what you say. You add fire to fire and firewood to firewood, so there is no doubt that the house of your religion and faith will catch fire. The Law’s disapproval of this behavior is universal, exempting no one.

Acquire faith, knowingness of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), and strength of nearness first and then open up a clinic and be a physician for the creatures, acting on behalf of the True One (mighty and glorified is He). Woe to you! How can you touch and handle snakes when you have no expertise in snake handling and have not taken the antidote? You are blind, so how can you cure the eyes of people? You are mute, so how can you teach people? You are ignorant, so how can you practice religion? How can the person who knows no usher bring people to the door of the king? You have no right to utter a single word until you experience a resurrection and witness wonders.

Be sincere in your actions; otherwise, do not lay claims. Once you have cut off all relations and closed the doors and ways, the direction of the True One and His nearness will open to you, the way to Him will be paved for you, and the finest, best, and noblest things will come to you. This world is ephemeral, evanescent, and vanishing. It is the abode of tribulations, afflictions, grieves, and cares. No one will have a perfect life in this world, especially if he is a wise man. As the saying goes, “the wise man who remembers death will never find the delight of his eye in this world.” As for the person who has a lion whose mouth is wide open standing next to him, how can he settle and how can his eyes drop off to sleep? O unaware ones, the mouth of the grave is wide open, the mouths of the lion and the snake of death are wide open! The executioner of the sultan of destiny is carrying the sword in his hand, waiting for the command. Only one in a million is in this state of wisdom — wakeful and free of unawareness. The vigilant person has renounced everything, saying: “O my God, You know what I want! You have favored your creatures with these plates, but I wish for a morsel from the plate of Your nearness. I want something from a thing that belongs to You.”

* The Prophet is reported to have said: “When the believer starts the prayer and his heart enters into the presence of His Lord (mighty and glorified is He), tents of light get erected around him, angels stand around him, righteousness descends on him from heaven, and the True One (mighty and glorified is He) becomes proud of him.” Among the praying people is one whose heart is snatched and taken to the True One (mighty and glorified is He) like the bird is snatched from the cage and like the child is snatched from the arms of his mother. He is taken from what is familiar to him, from what is known to him, and from his abode and is made to become unaware of himself to the extent that if he were to be torn apart and pierced throughout, he would not be aware of that. It has been reported that a righteous man from the honorable people of Allah, who was one of the followers of the companions of the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), namely ‘Aurwa bin Az‑Zubayr bin Al‑‘Aawwām, a nephew of ‘Āisha (may Allah be satisfied with her), had a gangrenous leg and was told that his leg must be amputated or he would die. He said to the physician: “Amputate it after I have started praying.” The physician cut it off while he was in prostration so he did not feel the pain of the operation.

You are in illusion in comparison with those who lived before you. You are words with no action, an appearance with no essence, a scene with no substance. Woe to you! Do not be misled by what people say about you. You know very well what you are involved in and what you are up to. Allah (high is He) has said: “No, the human being will be a proof against himself” (75.14). How good you are in the eyes of the common people and how ugly you are in the sight of the elite! A shaikh said to the seekers who follow him: “If you are wronged, do not do wrong. If you are praised, do not be happy. If you are dispraised do not be saddened. If you are accused of telling lies, do not get angry. If you are entrusted with something, do not show betrayal. If you are saddened, do not be sad.” How good these words are! He ordered them to slay their lower selves and passions. This derives from the Prophet’s (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) following saying: “Gabriel (peace be on him) once came to me and said: ‘The True One (mighty and glorified is He) says to you: “Pardon the person who wrongs you, maintain a connection with the person who cuts you off, and give to the person who deprives you”’”. Reflect on the signs of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), His acts, and His management of His creatures.

* How can you talk about the spiritual states of the righteous people and claim to have attained these states yourself? Do not talk about the spiritual state of someone else and do not spend from the purse of another person. You read books and extract their words which you then use, misleading the audience into believing that these are the fruit of your own thinking and your powerful spiritual state and that they are utterances of your heart. Woe to you! Put their sayings into practice first and then speak so that your speech will be a chick of your deeds and the fruit of the tree of your works. This business is not achieved by merely visiting righteous people and memorizing their words, but by putting what they say into practice, behaving with ultimate politeness in their company, and thinking well of them, in all circumstances. The layperson is rewarded in proportion to the steps he takes with his feet, whereas one of the elite is rewarded in proportion to his spiritual aspiration. When all of the person’s concerns become one single concern, the True One (mighty and glorified is He) will be One for him. If he turns his heart away from anyone other than Him, He (high is He) Himself will guard him. The Invincible One has said in His Book: “My guardian is Allah who sent down the Book, and He guards the righteous” (7.196).

* O young man, while your faith is still weak you have to be concerned with your own affairs. Do not be concerned with your family, your neighbors, and the people of your town and county. When your faith has strengthened, come out to your family and children and then to the creatures. Do not emerge to them before protecting yourself with the armor of piety, covering the head of your heart with the helmet of faith, having in your hand the sword of the oneness of God and in your quiver arrows of answering the Caller, riding the horse of good guidance, and learning the art of attack and retreat, fight and thrust. If you attack the enemies of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) at this point, support and aid will come to you from your six directions: right and left, above and below, and in front and behind. You will snatch creatures from the hands of Satan and carry them to the door of the True One (mighty and glorified is He). The person who attains to this spiritual station will have the veils removed from the eyes of his heart. Whenever he turns to one of his six directions, his sight penetrates the veils and nothing remains screened from it. When he raises the head of his heart, he sees the Throne and the heavens, and when he lowers his head in reflection, he sees the levels of the earth and all its inhabitants of jinn, human beings, and wild beasts. Once you have attained to this spiritual station, you can summon the creatures to the door of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Before this happens, you can achieve nothing. If you call the creatures when you are not at the door of the Creator, your call to them will be disastrous to you. Whenever you move, you go down; whenever you seek promotion, you get demoted. You have no clue about the righteous. You are tongue‑wagging with no heart, an outward with no inward, a public life with no private life, and a tour with no attack. Your sword is made of wood and your arrows are matchsticks. You are a coward with no courage. The smallest arrow can kill you and send you to the Day of Resurrection. O Allah, strengthen our practice of religion, faith, and bodies with your nearness and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* When the servant becomes extinct to his lower self, passion, will, and the creatures, he will be in the hereafter by his essence and in this world only by his body. He will come to be in the Knowledge and grasp of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), swimming in the sea of His power. When the fear of this fearful person intensifies and his heart is about to be torn to pieces by fear, the True One (mighty and glorified is He) will draw him near, make Himself known to him, give him good news, and reassure him. The situation will be similar to how Joseph (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) treated his brother Benjamin. He saw his brothers sitting together behind him, so he invited them to sit and eat in one place, but he gave to Benjamin a seat beside him and ate with him. When they finished eating he confided a secret to him: “I am your brother, Joseph,” so he became very happy. Then Joseph said to him: “I would like to publicly implicate you in a theft and accuse you of stealing, so endure the test with patience.” Benjamin’s brothers were astonished at what happened between him and Joseph and they envied him as they previously envied Joseph. After he made Benjamin’s robbery and disgrace public, Joseph conferred honor on him and drew him close to himself. The same applies to the believer. When Allah (mighty and glorified is He) befriends him He tests him with afflictions and tribulations, so if he endures them with patience, He confers on him honor and nearness.

* O young man, do righteous works and take in return the nearness to the Lord of the worlds. As for the people of Paradise, “they shall be safe in the chambers” (from 34.37). They will be safe from the tribulations of this world, from having to endure poverty with patience, the death of children, illnesses, diseases, grieves, and cares. They will live safe from death, from drinking its glass again, and from the questioning of the angels Munkar and Nakīr. They will enter Paradise and the doors will be locked behind them. They will not leave Paradise, staying there forever. The real comfort of the people of Paradise is entering it.

* If any of you work for the sake of Paradise, he should not count this as work. Work for the sake of the face of Allah. Do not lose your commitment to fasting, praying, and doing all kinds of good works, while being sincere in all. Master this outward matter, for putting it into practice carries you to the valley of Knowledge. Walk to the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) with steps of faith and certitude. Then, you will see what no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and has never occurred to any human being. O hearts, listen! O eloquent ones, listen! O sensible ones, listen! The True One (mighty and glorified is He) did not address the children, but He addressed the mature adults — those with reason. He did not address the lower selves, but He addressed the hearts. The believers listened to His words, whereas the polytheists met His address with deafness. O Allah, awaken us from our sleep and draw a veil over our shortcomings in all circumstances! Draw a veil over our good and evil things. Do not involve us in dealings with anyone other than You, neither in praise nor in scandals; neither at the time of commendation, in which case we would become boastful, nor at the time of a scandal, as our shortcomings would be made public; let it be neither this nor that. Amen.

* The people of Allah sought the neighbor before buying the house, the companion before traveling the way. What is this neighbor? It is drawing near to the True One (mighty and glorified is He), knowing Him, believing in Him, trusting Him, and having confidence in His promise. Their hearts have understood, so they shunned the abode of this world and the abode of the hereafter and stood aside from them. O unaware ones! The thing that I have explained comes about only through action and submerging into it, at times with the limbs and senses and at others with the heart. Speak sometimes, then be silent at others. Work sometimes, but give up action at others. Be embarrassed and close the eye of the heart so that it does not see your deeds. If you achieve this, you will be mobilized by Allah (mighty and glorified is He). It will be said to you: “move, advance, open your eyes, and see with the eyes of your head and the eyes of your heart what has come to you from Allah (mighty and glorified is He), through the hand of His destiny.” The people of Allah always behave with humility and humbleness. They continue to do so until the One for whose sake they have humbled themselves raises them up.

* Acquire knowledge for there is much good in it. Acquire knowledge and put it into practice in order to benefit from it. Knowledge is like the sword and action is like the hand. A sword without a hand cannot cut anything, and a hand without a sword also cannot make any cut. Acquire knowledge outwardly and work sincerely inwardly. You will not be given the smallest reward without sincerity. Listen to the Qur’an and apply it for the True One (mighty and glorified is He) revealed it in order to be used as a means for attaining to Him. It has two ends, one in His hand and one in our hands. If you grab it firmly, He will elevate your hearts to Him. He will snatch your hearts and place them in the abode of His nearness while you are still in this world, before the hereafter. If you wish to attain to Him, renounce this world and the creatures. Renounce yourself, your family, your property, your lustful desires, your dubious things, and the love for receiving praise, applause, and attention from the creatures. When you have genuinely renounced all these things, you will not need them. Your stomach will be fully fed, your belly will have sufficient water, your inward and your private life will prosper, your heart and your innermost being will become lit, and your lower self will calm down. All of this will result from the blessings of your putting the Qur’an into practice. This Qur’an is an illuminating sun so keep it in the houses of your hearts to light for you. Woe to you! If you put out the lamp, how can you see in the darkness of the night what is in front of you?

* As for you, O preachers, you have got up to the position of the prophets (Allah’s prayer and peace be on all of them) without credentials! You have advanced to the first row, yet you do not know the art of attack, retreat, and battle. Get down, learn, work, act with sincerity, and only then get up. This business comes about by striving against the lower self, passion, natural inclination, Satan, this world, and lustful desires; and by giving up any interest in the creatures and not viewing them as the source of harm and benefit. When you have overcome all these and overpowered them by the strength of your faith, certitude, and belief in the oneness of God, the True One will descend on your heart and your innermost being, allow them access to the house of His nearness, give them the authority to command His creatures, and send them back to the creatures. At this stage, you will have learned the art of attack and retreat which you will need when you mix with people and set yourself as an example for them. O Allah, employ us in what pleases You with us and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* O young man, practice pious restraint in relation to this world and the hereafter under all circumstances and then you will succeed. If you practice pious restraint, no argument against you will remain and Allah will be pleased with you. A righteous man was seen in a dream after his death and was asked: “What has Allah done to you?” He replied: “My Lord has forgiven me.” He was asked: “On what account has Allah (mighty and glorified is He) done that to you?” He said: “One day I performed the ablution in a public bath and headed to the mosque. When I approached it I noticed on my leg a spot the size of a sliver coin that had not been touched by the water. So I returned and washed that area. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) said: ‘I have forgiven you for your respect of My Law’”.

Where do you stand in relation to the people whose “sides shun their beds” and who cannot sleep? How could they sleep when fear is disturbing them and wiping sleep from their eyes? They sleep only when they are overwhelmed by sleep while in prostration. So, glory be to Him who sends to them that favor of irresistible sleep so that their bodies can take a moment of rest. “Their sides shun their beds.” Their beds reject their sides, and their sides cannot settle down on their beds — sometimes because of fear, sometimes because of hope, sometimes because of love, and at others because of longing. How little your fear of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) is despite how little your obedience is! How great the fear of the righteous ones is despite how great their obedience to Him (mighty and glorified is He) is! When our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) used to pray, a whizzing in his breast like that of a kettle was heard. As for Abraham (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him), the humming of his breast when he prayed was heard from the distance of a mile, which equals three parasangs. They were in fear despite being truthful, prophets, intimate friends [of Allah], and lovers, and having their prayers answered. Tell me, what is exactly your state of affair? I can see that you have turned away from the middle and left the column, your feeling of intimacy with obedience has decreased and your sense of alienation with it has increased, and you have become content with earning very little good, while much of this world is too little to satisfy you. This is not the behavior of someone who knows that he will die, meet his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), and have his works paraded before him on the Day of Resurrection. This is not the behavior of someone who fears the reckoning and interrogation. This is not the behavior of someone who will descend into his grave having no idea whether it is one of the pits of the Fire or one of the gardens of Paradise.

The people of Allah fast during the day and spend the night in worship. When they feel exhausted they lay on the ground to rest. “Their sides shun their beds” so they wake up and resume their works. “They pray to their Lord in fear and hope” (from 32.16). They are afraid of rejection and hope for acceptance. They say: “O our Lord, our deeds are not righteous. They are imperfect. They are not done with sincerity. They are not devoid of self‑admiration and vanity.” Therefore, they are afraid of rejection and hope that their works be accepted for they know that He is generous, accepts what is little but gives very much. He accepts what is bad and counterfeit yet gives what is good. He accepts little, defective goods yet gives in full measure. Being afraid is a form of observing the strictest laws of religion, whereas being hopeful is a form of resorting to the special concessions. The people of Allah swing between fear and hope, at one time in this, at another in that; at one time with the outward, at another with the inward; at one time in a state of purity, at another in a state of impurity; at one time in a state of honor, at another in humiliation; at one time in a state of being given, at another in a state of having things withheld from them. They continue in this situation until the prescribed term is fulfilled and their hearts attain to their Creator. From then on, they will no more make use of the special concessions or have impurity but instead they will observe the strictest laws of religion and have total purity. The property will follow you to the door, your family will follow you to the grave and then return, whereas your works will accompany you, go down with you to the grave, and will not leave you.

* Serve this King, the Creator, the Provider, the Benefactor, the One who “made the sun for a brightness and the moon a light” (from 10.5) and made the night for stillness. He drew your attention to favors and reckoned them so that you may thank Him for them. Then He said to you after reckoning them: “And if you reckon the favors of Allah you will never count them” (from 14.34). Anyone who comes to know the reality of the favors of Allah will find himself unable to be thankful for all of them and will be stunned by them. This is why Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) said: “O Allah, I thank You through my inability to thank You!” How little your gratitude is and how frequent your protest is! When you come to know Him, your tongues will be silent in His presence and your hearts and your limbs and senses will adhere to ultimate politeness under all circumstances. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “When someone comes to know Allah, his tongue becomes exhausted.” The knower acts as if he were mute and does not disclose the secrets that he knows except with His permission.

O young man, entrust yourself, your limbs and senses, your family, and your property to the True One (mighty and glorified is He) whose trusts are never lost. Move with your heart to Him for you will find with Him all that is good. Pay due respect to the Law, please the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), follow in his footsteps, then enter into the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) on the feet of your Knowledge of Him, then enter into the presence of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) on the feet of your deeds and your knowingness of Him. Accompany the Law until you reach the door. Once you have arrived, stop the Law there, ask it to pray for your safety and good fortune, and then enter to the house of your innermost being and essence. One of the righteous people is reported to have said: “Earning my livelihood by playing the drum and the pipe is closer to my heart than making a living by selling my religion.”

* How diverse your knowledge is, yet how few your works are! You have restricted your share of knowledge to memorizing and relating narratives and biographies. It would not benefit you at all to memorize certain Prophetic sayings and not put a single letter of them into practice. This will be evidence against you not in your favor. He says: “My shaikh is so‑and‑so,” “I have accompanied so‑and‑so,” “I have learned under the supervision of so‑and‑so,” and “I have said such‑as‑such to the learned scholar so‑and‑so.” All of this without action is worthless. The person who is truthful in his deeds bids farewell to the shaikhs, goes past them, and points out to them: “Stay in your place and I will go to the place that you showed me the way to.” The shaikhs are a door, so is it any good that you remain at the door and never enter the house? “And Allah strikes parables for people” (from 14.25).

* O you who claim to possess what you do not have, you will know the consequences of this in a while. You will know sooner or later the punishment for your claim! O learned scholars, O learners, knowledge is not in itself the goal but the aim is its fruit! What use is the tree that does not bear fruit? What is the fruit of knowledge other than works and sincerity? The Book and the Sunna are both tools to be used, so what is to be hoped of a tool if left unused? The workman earns his wage only after he has done his work and exerted efforts. You are not allowed to say anything unless you return from your journey into this world, the universe, and the creatures. When you arrive to Him, He will explain, disclose, and reveal to you. Allah (high is He) has said: “And be pious to Allah and [then] Allah will teach you” (from 2.282). And He (high is He) has said: “And whoever is pious to Allah He will appoint for him a way out, and He will provide for him from whence he did not expect” (from 65.2‑3). Piety is the foundation of every good and the means for the arrival of worldly rewards, wisdom, and various kinds of Knowledge and for acquiring purity of the hearts and innermost beings.

* The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The person who acquires knowledge, puts it into practice, and teaches others will be called ‘great’ in the kingdom of heaven.” Reflect on what you are involved in and what you are up to. If you find that it is pleasing to Allah (mighty and glorified is He), adhere to it, but if you find that it is contrary to His pleasure, give it up. Practice pious restraint with respect to your food, drink, wife, house, speech, action, and inaction.

O young man, conceal the favors that you have. If you had to reveal them because of the intervention of someone else, this would be out of your control, but if it was you who revealed them, you would be punished. Ultimate politeness dictates that the teller should be someone other than you. Among the righteous there is one who sits in privacy, in a cell in the wilderness, on his shore, watching with his head and innermost being the emptiness of his stomach, feeling intimacy with his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). Then a righteous believer from the human beings, jinn, or angels passes by and says to him: “May Allah (mighty and glorified is He) comfort you, may Allah confer intimacy on you, may Allah bless you with His remembrance, O purified one, O preferred one, O pious one, O sincere one, O distinguished one, O favored one!” He will not raise his head to look at him and will not become conceited because of what he heard from him with his heart. He hears those words time after time, yet he behaves as if he never did. Should this man, and anyone like him, return to the creatures, he will become a physician for them in the hospital of this world. His medicines will be beneficial and effective. His medical kohl will stop the running of the tears of the eyes of the hearts and cure their diseases. He is healthy, so good health can be restored by him. He is alive, so life can be given by him. He is a light, so he is sought for illumination. He is food, so hunger can be satisfied by him. He is a drink, so thirst can be quenched by him. He is an intercessor, so his intercession will be accepted. He is a speaker, so his speech will be heard. He is a commander, so his commands will be obeyed. He is one who has the authority to forbid, so His prohibitions will be honored.

The people of Allah conceal what is in their hearts. They keep secret the various kinds of knowingness and Knowledge they have. The doors of their hearts are open in the direction of the house of nearness to their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) by night and day. They enjoy the hospitality of the guest‑house of the hearts. Their hearts and innermost beings remain, by night and day, in the heaven where rewards descend from the True One (mighty and glorified is He). When the heart has become sound, it will become prefect — raises above everything, turns into a jewel, becomes pure, raises above all, becomes the gathering place of all good things, and becomes like the staff of Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) in which all sorts of good things were gathered for him. It has been suggested that Gabriel (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) picked it from the plants of Paradise and handed it to Moses when he escaped from Pharaoh. It has also been suggested that Jacob (peace be on him) handed it to someone and it later reached Moses. Allah made the staff a miracle for the creatures, a source of strengthening and affirmation of the prophethood of Moses, and a means that brings to him various things. When Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) felt tired, the staff carried him and his belongings like a riding animal. When he came up against a river, it turned into a bridge for him to cross over. When an enemy of Moses appeared, it fought the enemy on his behalf. One day Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) was tending his sheep in a desolate wilderness, alone with no intimate companion other than his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), when sleep overcame him. He woke up to find a trace of blood on the end of his staff. Looking around, he found a huge dead serpent. He thanked Allah (high is He) for protecting him from its harm.

When Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) became hungry, the staff immediately turned into a tree and produced fruit for him to eat until he felt satisfied. When he became thirsty, it turned into a river so he drank from it until his thirst was quenched. When the heat of the sun became too intense for him, he placed the staff by his side so its shade protected him. This is what happens to the servant when his heart becomes sound and suitable for his Lord (mighty and glorified is He). It becomes endued with benefits for the creatures in general and for him in particular: general benefits and special benefits. Those that become manifest are for the creatures, whereas the hidden ones are for him. Those that are public are for the creatures, whereas the secret ones are for him.

The onset of this business is [the recitation of] “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 final stage is seeing as equal: praise and dispraise, good and bad, benefit and harm, acceptance and rejection and people’s attention and neglect. Rectify your practice of the first stage so that your practice of the second will become right. If you do not put your foot firm on the first step of the ladder, how can you climb up to the second? The works are judged by their final outcomes. Your declaration that “there is no God save Allah (lā ilāha illā Allah), Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (Muhammadun rasūlu Allah)” is a claim, so where is the evidence [that you do believe in it]? The evidence is the belief in the oneness of God, sincerity, and applying the Law properly and giving it its due.

* Woe to you! Do not attend the sessions of nonpracticing scholars! Do not vomit in their places what you drink in my presence, for that drink will not benefit you. These scholars are like laymen in comparison with those who act on their knowledge. The scholar who does not put his knowledge into practice is a layman, even if he has memorized all kinds of knowledge. Anyone who fails to come to know Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is a layman. Anyone who does not fear Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and does not have hope in Him is a layman. Anyone who is not pious to Him in his private and public lives is a layman. The truth of your spiritual states is as clear to me as this sun. You cannot find the right path. You are young men messing around and seeking to satisfy your lustful desires. You are slaves to the creatures, slaves to their giving and withholding, and slaves to their praise and dispraise. Do not try to conceal your faults from me, for I do not have any doubt. What is inside the door and outside it are one and the same to me. Everything in your hearts has left traces and marks on your faces. Glory be to the One who has placed me in front of you and set for me the test of preaching to you.

* Woe to you! You have not perfected your practice of Islam, so how can you get up to this position and preach and teach the creatures? Get down, otherwise I shall take you down and make you land on your head. Religions differ from one another. The True One (mighty and glorified is He) defends His religion, separates between truth and falsehood, and deposes the hypocrite from his governing position, brings him down from his pulpit, and prevents him from lecturing to people. O hypocrites, have you not known that I have a comprehensive authority and that I am in charge of the affairs of religion? O all you creatures, by virtue of my reliance on Allah (mighty and glorified is He), I do not need you. Wealth is under my command, despite the fact that I do not possess a single atom of this world. If any creature gives me something, I see it as mere prattle for him to claim it to be his favor to me. I accept that thing as given to me from the hand of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). I see it as a favor from Allah not from him and I thank my Lord (mighty and glorified is He). And when I give someone a gift, I see it as a gracious enablement from Allah (mighty and glorified is He), that He has caused that gift to be given by means of my hand, so I see Allah (mighty and glorified is He) as the Giver not myself. You are given gifts in proportion to your aspiration, and gifts are withheld from you also in proportion to your spiritual aspiration. It is for this reason that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Allah (mighty and glorified is He) loves the noblest of things and hates the lowest of things.”

Footnotes

1 An ancient Persian unit of distance that is equal to about 3.5 miles (5.6 km).

2 A famous Sufi Shaikh from Baghdad (912998).

     

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