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).

     

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, O rich one! You must not think that offering thanks for your wealth is to merely say: “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” The real giving of thanks is comforting the poor by giving them some of what you have. You must pay to them the obligatory alms, then you must console them by giving them further as much as you can. You must give them without reminding them that you are doing a favor to them, for this harms the hearts and makes the donation impure. Many of the poor would rather endure the fire of poverty than bear the fire of being reminded of the favor. Give the gift without deliberately reminding the receiver of your present, otherwise do not give at all. Have you not heard the following words of Allah (mighty and glorified is He): “O believers, do not make your alms void by reminding the recipient of your favor and causing harm” (from 2.264)? The nullification of alms means that they merit no reward, so the donor who reminds the recipient of his favor loses his money and reward and his heart becomes tarnished, because the donor’s reminder to the recipient of his favor is an act of associating partners with Allah. The believer gives and does not give a reminder of his favor but he rather offers thanks to Allah (mighty and glorified is He) for enabling him to give alms. He believes that Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is the giver not himself. He believes that He is one with no partner, who takes from him and gives to others. He believes that it is He who gave him what he has and it is He who takes from him and gives to others.

O rich people, O You who have been granted affluence! Do not be misled by your wealth, do not boast of it, and do not use it to show arrogance to the poor, for this will cause your fall into poverty! And you, O young people, do not be misled by your youth and might over the poor, using your youth and might in acts of disobedience to Allah (mighty and glorified is He)! The works of disobedience are poison for the bodies of your religions. They are a beast that devours the flesh of your religions, good health, and wealth. How good this piece of poetry by one of them is:

If you were in a state of favor, take care to maintain it,
for the acts of disobedience remove the favors!1

Come to me while thinking well of me and having no doubts about me. When you go back to your homes, remember this talk and do not forget it. Remember death and what is after it. You must keep up praying during the night and ensure that your mind is focused while you are in His presence. Keep the fast for it enlightens the heart, particularly when you break your fast with lawful food. You will not earn anything without giving something. The men of knowledge and the men of wisdom are agreed that the state of bliss has to come to an end and that the real bliss can be attained only by renouncing bliss. One righteous man is reported to have spent forty years without sleep except when in prostration while praying. His prostration was his mattress, cover, and pillow. This is the state of affairs of someone who has renounced this world, wished for the hereafter, feared death and afflictions, renounced the creatures and what they have, wished for the Creator, knew what He has, and came to know Him, so he worshipped Him and fought against his lower self for His sake. The person who comes to know Allah (mighty and glorified is He) loves Him, and the person who loves Him obeys Him.

* The believer exerts strenuous effort to give charitable donations from his possessions and prefer others to have them, for he knows that these charitable donations will be kept hidden for him should he need them. He exercises pious restraint and does not assume that everything he gets is pure and hence lawful. He, therefore, avoids many things in order to get one thing the root and branch of which he knows well. He tries hard to find reasons for donating anything in his possession to give to charity. He does not touch what he inherits from his father and mother saying to himself that they may have earned them while not exercising pious restraint, so he donates them to the poor and the needy.

* O son of Adam, how stingy you are to yourself! Has He not asked you for a loan yet you refuse to lend Him? Have you not heard His (mighty and glorified is He) following words: “Who is he that will lend to Allah a good loan” (from 2.245)? If you give Him a loan through the hands of the poor, Allah will multiply it for you manifold and will give you, today and on the Day of Resurrection, much more than what you gave. Do business with Him and then you will make profit. Go ahead and do business with Him without putting Him to test first. When Imām Ja‘far Aṣ‑Ṣādiq (peace be on him) would find himself in need of five hundred gold coins while he had only fifty, he would donate the fifty gold coins so that a few days later five hundred gold coins would come his way. If the money would not come, however, he would not have doubts about his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), protest against Him, or accuse Him of niggardliness.

The people of Allah are accustomed to dealing with their Lord (mighty and glorified is He) according to His Book and the Sunna of His Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), with certitude in their hearts. It is reported that one day a righteous man had only three eggs when a beggar came to him asking for help. He said to his maidservant: “Give him those eggs.” However, she gave the beggar only two and hid the third away. An hour later, a friend of the righteous man presented him with twenty eggs, so he turned to his maidservant asking: “How many eggs did you give to the beggar?” She replied: “I gave him two and left one for you to break your fast with.” He said to her: “O you of little certitude, you have made us lose ten eggs!” The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “The person who relies on a created thing like himself is under a curse.”

O miserable one, when a poor person comes asking for a loan, go ahead and lend him and never say: “Who is going to give me?” You must disagree with your lower self and give him a loan, and after a while make it a donation to him. Among the poor is one who disapproves of begging for alms, preferring to ask for a loan, with every intention of paying it back. He has confidence in Allah (mighty and glorified is He), and on the basis on this confidence he borrows. So, if he approaches you for a loan, O wealthy one, lend him and never face him with a request to pay back, for this would further humiliate him. If a long time past without you receiving any repayment, go to see him, ask him to accept that loan as a gift, and absolve him of his obligation. Thus, you will be rewarded for his first joy [when you gave him the loan] and for his second one [when you turned the loan into a gift.] The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.”

Woe to you! How can the beggar not be a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) when he takes from your share in this world to add to your share in the hereafter? He saves for you something that you will find when you need it. The amount that you give him will vanish and disappear anyway, yet on account of giving it to him you will be promoted by several degrees in the eyes of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Woe to you, O servants! Do not you feel ashamed that you worship your Lord so that He gives you Paradise, houris, and young servants? Paradise is the abode, but where is the Neighbor? One who seeks the face of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) is different from one who seeks Paradise, different from one who seeks this world, and different from one who seeks the creatures.

* O people, you have to comfort the poor and give them preference over yourselves! When faith is still weak, you have to prefer them over yourselves. When faith is strong, you have to comfort them and prefer them over yourselves while smiling. Receive the poor with generosity or send them away in the kindest way when you have nothing to give. The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.” Woe to you! You hate Allah’s gift, reject it, and do not accept it? You will soon find out. Poverty will come to you, drive out your affluence, and replace it. Disease will come to you, drive out your good health, and replace it. Do not jeopardize the capital of favors that your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has given you. The believer knows that the True One (mighty and glorified is He) sent the beggar to him so that He will give him from the favors that He has kept for him. He will find out that when he gives him, treats him with respect, and accepts to loan Allah through him, He will reward him with something that is more and better than his gift, both in this world and in the hereafter.

O backslider, you build relations with the sultans, the princes, and the rich seeking power and further worldly things, yet you do not do business with the King of kings, the Wealthiest of the wealthy, the One who never dies, the One who never becomes poor, the One who repays your loan to Him multiplied manifold! He gives you ten silver coins in return for everyone in this world, apart from your reward in the hereafter. He gives you blessings in this world and rewards you in the hereafter. Have you not heard that He (high is He) has said: “And what you spend He replaces it” (from 34.39)? O Allah, grant us [the favor of] working for You! Make it pleasant for us to serve You and stand at Your door among Your servants and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.

* Woe to you! If you shut your doors in the faces of the poor, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will shut things up in your faces, and if you open your doors to them, Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will open up things for you. If you spend your wealth for the sake of the face of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), He will replace them for you, and if you spend them for the sake of the creatures, He will impoverish you. Spend and do not be stingy, for generosity is from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) and niggardliness is from Satan. Allah (high is He) has said: “Satan promises you poverty and orders you to commit indecency” (from 2.268). Allah (high is He) has promised you reimbursement of any expenditure as He (high is He) has said: “And what you spend He replaces it” (from 34.39).

Woe to you! You lay claim to Islam, yet you disagree with the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) and introduce into his religion what your passion desires! You have lied about your embracement of Islam. You are not a follower but an innovator. You are not compliant but discordant. Have you not heard that the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Follow and do not introduce heretical innovations for you have been provided with all that you need” and: “I have left you on a clear, unambiguous way”? You reject his sayings and contradict his words yet claim that you follow him?


* Worshipping is the relinquishment of habitual practice. Worshipping abrogates habitual practice. The Law abrogates habitual practices and removes them. Adhere to the Law of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and give up your habitual practices. The learned person stands on the side of worshipping, whereas the ignorant one stands on the side of habitual practices. Accustom yourselves, your children, and your family members to doing what is good and to continue doing so. Accustom your hands to charitable spending of material things of this world and accustom your hearts to renouncing them. Do not behave with niggardliness, withholding them from those who need them. Do not turn down the request for help, otherwise Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will reject your plea for help. How would not He turn down your request when you have turned down His gift? The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.”

Woe to you! Do not you feel ashamed that you are sure of the poverty and hunger of your neighbor yet you deprive him of your help because of a false assumption? You say: “He has hidden gold but pretends to be poor!” You lay claim to faith, yet you go to sleep while your neighbor is starving, and you have a lot to spare but you do not give him anything! Your wealth will soon be snatched from your hand. Your feast will be taken from your hand. You will be humiliated and impoverished, and this world, which is your beloved darling, will abandon you. Give up this world by your own will not out of coercion.

Look at your allotted worldly shares, not at the shares of others. Be content with as little food as you need for survival and as little clothing as you need to cover your private parts. If anything else was destined for you, it will certainly come your way at the appointed time. This is how the intelligent and experienced people conduct themselves. They have relieved themselves of the burden of greed and humiliation. The ascetics have come to know this world. They have given it up on account of knowingness and experience. They have known that it comes forward then turns its back, gives then takes, enthrones then dethrones, loves then hates, fattens then devours, and raises to the top of the heads then lowers to the ground. Give it up with your hearts and your essences. Never drink from its breast. Never sleep in its lap. Never wish for it because of its ornament, the softness of its skin, its clothes, its nice speech, and the sweetness of its food, for its food is poisonous. It is deadly, charming, cunning, and perfidious. It is not the abode of permanent residence and honor. Look at what happened to those before you who went along with this world and how it treated them. Do not kill yourselves in your attempts to seek more things from this world, for it cannot give you more than your due. Give up seeking more. Hold up your tongue, behave politely, be content, and say: “Allah has spoken the truth concerning His promise, and the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has spoken the truth when he said: ‘Your Lord has completed the creation, the assignment of subsistence, and the appointment of the times of things. The Pen with which He wrote everything that is to happen until the Day of Resurrection has already run dry,’ and in saying: ‘When Allah created the Pen He said to it: “Write!” It said: “What shall I write?” He (high is He) said: “Write down My decree about My creatures until the Day of Resurrection”’”.

Footnotes

1 This poetry is attributed to Muhammad AshShāfi‘ī (766820) who is the founder of one of the major schools of Islamic law.

     

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 retire to your cell in the company of ignorance, for seclusion with ignorance is a total loss. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “Acquire knowledge and then you may retire.” It is not right for you to retire to a cell when you still have on the face of earth anyone whom you fear or pin hopes on. You must have only One whom you fear and only One whom you pin your hopes on: Allah (mighty and glorified is He). Worshipping means the relinquishment of habitual practice until the former replaces the latter. Do not seek attachment to this world, the hereafter, or the creatures, but be rather attached to the True One (mighty and glorified is He).

Do not try to pass off your counterfeit coins for the assayer is an expert. He will not accept any coin from you without testing it first with the touchstone. Throw away any counterfeit coins and consider them worthless. The assayer will not accept from you your metal before it has been put into the bellows and purified of the impurities, so do not think that it is an easy business.

Most of you lay claim to sincerity when in fact they are hypocrites. Were it not for the test, the claims would have been even more. When someone claims to be patient, we test him with exasperation. When someone claims to be generous, we test him with demands. When someone lays claim to something, we test him with its opposite. When the servant detaches himself from this world, the hereafter, and anything other than Allah and places his heart in the abode of His nearness, favor, and subtle kindness, He will not trouble him with providing his food, drink, or clothes or looking after his interests. His heart will be purified of any involvement in that.

* This world is the abode of tribulation, and the greatest tribulations are the lustful desires of the belly and of the genitals. What benefit would the unmarried man derive from breaking his fast during the daytime, wandering in the marketplaces, indulging in lustful desires and pleasures and spending time in the company of human devils, by whom I mean bad mates? It is like starting the fire of lustful desire in the firewood of the lower self. O Allah, strengthen us to strive against our lower selves, grant us sustenance, and guide us so that we guide people! Enlighten our hearts and make us a light from which people seek illumination. Give us the drink of your intimacy so that our thirst will be quenched and anyone who is thirsty will quench his thirst through us. Grant us gifts and satisfaction and inspire us with thankfulness in the state of being given favors and satisfaction in the state of having them withheld and having the doors closed. Confirm our truthfulness and obliterate our lies and falsehood. Amen.

* O young man, retire from kingship if you wish for the permanent company of the King of kings. Kingship is a veil from the King, favor is a veil from the Benefactor, and tribulation is a veil from the One who causes it. Attachment to the creatures, who are made and fashioned, is shackles to the hearts, innermost beings, and essences. When Allah (mighty and glorified is He) wants to confer a lot of good on someone, He fetters him, makes him stand in His presence on the feet of his heart, and provides him with a pair of wings to fly in the air of His Knowledge and then seek refuge in the tower of His nearness. Despite that, He will impose on him fear, the renunciation of any interests, and the abandonment of any sense of conceit as a result of his state. He will fear that the hand of Divine jealousy might clip his wings and screen him off from knowing Him after he has known what is there. As long as the servant is in this world, he must have fear and give up any sense of vanity, regardless of the spiritual state that he attains. This is so because this world is the abode of change and replacement, whereas the hereafter is the abode of permanence wherein no change or replacement takes place.

O young man, pass through the market of the creatures. Enter from one door and leave from another. Move away from them with your heart and intention and be like a lone bird that does not offer intimacy or accept it. Make sure that you do not see others and do not show yourself to them. Be like this until the appointed time comes to pass and your heart draws near to the door of your Lord (mighty and glorified is He). You will see the hearts of the people of Allah there. They will receive you, say to you “congratulations on your safety,” and kiss you on the forehead. The hand of subtle kindness will then come from inside, receive you, carry you, conduct you in a solemn procession, approach you, feed you, quench your thirst, and anoint you with perfume. It will then take you out and seat you at the door, watching and waiting for any questing seeker who will come. You will take him by the hand and hand him to the hand that received you when you arrived. When this has happened to you, come out to the creatures and be among them like the physician among the sick, like a man of reason among the insane, and like a compassionate father among his children. Before this happens, you remain unworthy of respect! You would be a hypocrite with the creatures, a servant for them, and a follower who works for their purposes. You think you are medicating them when in fact you are associating them with Allah. Your treatment of them turns into a form of punishment for you because it is based on ignorance and inexperience. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has said: “The person who worships Allah with ignorance causes more damage than good.

     

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

Mar 112008
 

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

* In the beginning there is discomfort and at the end there is tranquility. Our Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was made to love solitude. One day he heard someone saying: “O Muhammad, O Muhammad!” He ran away from that voice and did not know what it was. This kept happening to him for some time. He then knew what it was so he stood firm. The voice then disappeared, so he became depressed, wandered in the mountains, and was even about to throw himself off.

In the beginning he used to run away, whereas later he started seeking. In the first stage there is discomfort, whereas in the second there is tranquility. The seeker quests, whereas one who is sought after is quested. Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) was a seeker, whereas our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was sought after. Moses remained in the shadow of his own presence and his request to see Him on the mountain of Ṭūr in Sinai. Our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) was one of the sought after, so he was granted the vision without requesting it and he was drawn near without endeavor or request. He was enriched without requesting affluence and he saw what is behind the veil without any quest.

Moses (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) requested the vision, so he was denied it and was made to pay with a proportionate punishment for requesting what was not allotted to him in this world. Our Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) behaved with ultimate politeness, recognized his status, strived, behaved with humility, and never transgressed, so he was given what was not given to anyone else. This happened because of his neglect of anything other than the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and his compliance with Him.

Greed and over keenness are detested. Be content with whatever has been allotted to you by your Lord (mighty and glorified is He); be satisfied with it. The person who endures with patience will achieve attainment. When the person endures with patience, his heart will become rich and his poverty will be removed. You have to resort to solitude so that you can worship with sincerity, for loneliness is better than bad companions.

It is related that a righteous man had a dog about which he was asked: “Why do not you abandon this dog?” He replied: “It is better than a bad companion.” How could not the righteous love solitude when their hearts are filled with intimacy with their Lord (mighty and glorified is He)? How could not they escape from fellow creatures when their hearts do not see their benefit and harm, as they see the True One (mighty and glorified is He) as the source of benefit and harm? The wine of nearness revives them, whereas soberness leaves them dead. The speech of yearning draws them near and the revelation of secrets to them is their Paradise. They are lunatic as far as fellow creatures are concerned, but sensible, wise, and knowledgeable in the sight of Allah (mighty and glorified is He). The person who wishes to be an ascetic must be like this. Otherwise, there is no point in making any effort.

O man of affectation, O man of artificiality, O you who is submerged in prattle! This business cannot be achieved by fasting by day, keeping vigil to worship by night, and practicing austerity in diet and dress, yet with the existence of the lower self, vagaries, natural inclination, wretchedness, ignorance, and interests in the creatures. This business cannot be done without His guidance. Woe to you! Act with sincerity and detach yourself, for there maybe some hidden things that you are not aware of. Be truthful and then you will attain and become near to Him. Lift up your aspiration and then you will rise high. Surrender and then you will be saved. Comply and then you will be granted success. Be satisfied and then you will be satisfied with. Hurry up and act and then the True One (mighty and glorified is He) will complete for you what you set out to do. O Allah, take charge of our affairs in this world and the hereafter, do not assign us to ourselves or to any of your creatures, and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

     

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 claim to be a Sufi, yet you are impure! The Sufi is one whose inward and outward have become pure by following the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him). As his purity increases, he further emerges from the sea of his existence and gives up his will, choice, and volition.

When someone’s heart becomes pure, the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) becomes an ambassador between him and his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), as Gabriel did. The foundation of good is to follow the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) in both his words and works. When the heart of the servant becomes pure, he will see the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), commanding him to do this and prohibiting him from doing that. He will become totally a heart. He will retire with full knowledge. He will become an innermost being with no publicity, purity with no impurity. Clear up everything from the heart. Pulling out the firm mountains requires mattocks of strife and enduring with patience the sufferings and the arrival of tribulations.

     

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

Mar 112008
 

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

* If you continue to behave properly, you will come to see with the eye of certitude and become as the Commander of the Believers ‘Alī bin abī Ṭālib (may Allah be satisfied with him and ennoble his face) has said: “Should the veil be removed, I would not have more certitude.” He was also asked: “Have you seen your Lord?” He replied: “I would not worship a Lord that I have not seen.” A certain righteous man was asked: “Have you seen your Lord?” He answered: “If I have not I would have died.” If then someone would ask: “How can you see Him?” I would say that if the creatures left the servant’s heart and nothing remained in it other than the True One (mighty and glorified is He), he will see Him and draw as near to Him as he likes. He will see Him inwardly as others see Him outwardly. He will see as the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) saw in the night of the Heavenly Ascension, as he likes. His Lord will make such a servant see Him, draw near to Him, and talk to him in his sleep. He may also attract his heart to Him in wakefulness and close the eyes of his existence so the servant sees Him with His eye as He outwardly is. And He will give him another essence with which he sees Him. He will see His attributes, blessings, favors, and beneficence to him. He will see His bounty and protection.

The person whose servitude, servanthood, and knowingness have been realized will not say “show me” or “do not show me,” “give me” or “do not give me.” He will become extinct, fully absorbed. Therefore, a certain righteous person who attained to this spiritual station used to say: “Why would I care about myself?” How good this saying is! He meant: “I am His slave, and the slave has no choice or will in relation to the master.”

A man once bought a slave who was of the people of religion and righteousness. He said: “O slave, what would you like to eat?” The slave replied: “Whatever you feed me.” The master asked: “What kind of clothes would you like to wear?” The slave answered: “Whatever clothes you give me.” The master then asked: “Where would you like to live in my house?” The slave replied: “Wherever you put me.” The master asked: “What kind of work would you like to do?” The slave answered: “Whatever you order me to do.” At this point, the master wept and said: “Blessed are you! If only I am with my Lord (mighty and glorified is He) as you are with me!” The slave then said: “O master, does the slave have any choice and will in the company of his master?” The master said: “You are a free man for the sake of Allah and I want you to stay with me so that I serve you with myself and my wealth.” As for anyone who knows Allah, Allah will not leave for him will or choice, and he will come to say: “Why would I care about myself?” He will not challenge destiny about his affairs or others’ affairs.

* When the heart of the servant becomes connected to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He), He becomes his physician and intimate companion so that no one medicates him other than Him and no one becomes his intimate companion other than Him. David (prayer and peace be on our Prophet and on him) used to say: “O Allah, I have visited all the physicians of Your servants and all of them have referred me to You! O Guide of the bewildered ones, guide me to You!” When someone loves Allah (mighty and glorified is He), his heart becomes a total longing [for Him], total detachment [from anything apart from Him], and total extinction [in Him]. No doubt, all his concerns become one concern.

The reality of unveiling completes only after emerging from the veils. If you wish for attainment to Him, give up this world, the hereafter, and everything from beneath the Throne down to beneath the surface of the earth. Each one of the creatures is a veil except the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him), for he is the door: “And what the Messenger gives you, take; and what he forbids you, abstain from” (from 59.7). Following him is not a veil but rather the means of attainment.

     

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

Mar 112008
 

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

* If the believer is endued with a light by which he sees, how could the same not be true of the truthful person who is drawn near? The believer has a light by which he sees, therefore the Messenger (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) has warned of his sight saying: “Beware of the insight of the believer for he sees by the light of Allah (high is He)”. The knower who is drawn near is also given a light by which he sees his nearness to his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) and the nearness of his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) to his heart. He also sees the spirits of the angels, the souls of the prophets, the hearts and souls of the truthful, and their spiritual states and spiritual stations. All of this happens deep in his heart and in the purity of his innermost being. He is always in happiness with his Lord. He is a mediator, taking from Him and distributing to the creatures. Among them (the people of God) there are those who are knowledgeable with both tongue and heart and there are those whose hearts are knowledgeable but their tongues are inept.

* The ambition of the worshipful ascetic is for miracles in this world and for gardens of Paradise in the hereafter, whereas the ambition of the knower is for his faith to remain intact in this world and for salvation from the Fire in the hereafter. His ambitions and desires will continue to be for these until his heart is told: “What is this? Calm down and be steadfast. Faith is firmly established in you and from you the believers can take a light for their faith. Tomorrow (on the Day of Resurrection) you will be asked to intercede and your word will be accepted. You will be a cause for the salvation from the Fire for many creatures. You will be in the presence of your Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) who is the master of intercessors. So, switch your concern to something else.” This is a sealed assurance of the permanence of faith, knowingness, safety in the hereafter, and walking in the company of the prophets, messengers, and the truthful who are the elite among the creatures.

* The truthful person sees by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), not by the light of his eye or by the light of the sun and the moon. This is the general light from Allah and he is given a special light also. Allah has given him this light after mastering the second light of Knowledge. O Allah, grant us Your Law, Knowledge, and nearness and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire.”

* When someone acquires knowledge and puts it into practice with sincerity, both the flint and the fuel will come to be in his heart. A light from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will come to be in his heart which he and others use for illumination. Turn away, O sons of babble, O sons of pages composed by lower selves and passions! Woe to you! You dispute what is written and predestined? You will lose and perish, whereas His writings will not change. How can the foreordination and foreknowledge be changed by your effort? Be believers, Muslims. Have you not heard His following words: “Those who believed in Our signs and were Muslims” (43.69)?

* O young man, you have not established Islam firmly, so how can you be a believer? You have not perfected faith, so how can you have certitude? You have not established certitude firmly, so how can you be a knower, saint, or spiritual substitute? You have not established knowingness, sainthood, and spiritual substitution firmly, so how can you be a lover and extinct to yourself and existing through Him only? How can you call yourself a Muslim when both the Book and the Sunna have delivered their laws concerning your affairs yet you have not applied these laws or followed them? The person who seeks Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will find Him and the person who strives for His sake will be guided by Him because He said in the manifest verses of His Book: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to Our ways” (from 29.69). He is not a wrongdoer and He does not love wrongdoing. He (high is He) does not wrong the servants. He gives things in return for nothing, so how much more would He give in return for something? The Invincible One has said: “Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness?” (55.60). Whoever does good in this world, Allah will do him good in this world and in the hereafter.

* Worshipping is the closest thing to the believer. Performing prayer is the closest thing to himself. He sits in his house, while his heart waits for the muezzin1 who is the caller of the True One (mighty and glorified is He). When he hears the prayer call, happiness fills his heart and it flies to the mosques and places of prayer. He feels happy when a beggar comes to him, and if he has anything he gives it to him. He does so because he has heard the words of the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him): “A beggar at the door is a gift from Allah (mighty and glorified is He) to his servant.” How could he fail to rejoice when His Lord (mighty and glorified is He) has come asking him for a loan through the hand of the poor man? The Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will say to His faithful servants on the Day of Resurrection: ‘You have preferred this world to the first world and you have preferred worshipping Me to your lustful desires. By My invincibility and exaltation, I have not created Paradise but for you’”. This is what He will say to the former, whereas He will say to the lovers: “You have preferred Me to all My creatures, the first world, and this world, and you have evicted the creatures from your hearts and removed them from your innermost beings. Therefore, My face is for you, My nearness is for you, and My intimacy is for you. You are My true servants.”

* O young man, when someone does good works, they become a light in front of him and a riding animal beneath him. The deeds of his heart appear on his face and his face becomes like the full moon. He becomes like an angel who is drawn near. His heart feels happy because of what he sees of Allah’s generosity to him. His deeds bring him the good tidings of what Allah (high is He) has prepared for him in Paradise. The good works assume a form and say to him: “I am your weeping, patience, piety, faith, certitude, prayer, fasting, striving, longing for your Lord (mighty and glorified is He), knowingness of Him, Knowledge of Him, good action, and good conduct and behavior in His (mighty and glorified is He) presence.” Thus, his burden will be lifted from him, his fear will turn into security, and his hardship into prosperity. As for one who did no righteous works and waged war against his Lord (mighty and glorified is He) with the gravest of sins, he will carry the weight and burden of his acts of disobedience on his back, will have hunger and thirst inside, and fear and humiliation will show on him. The angels will drive him from behind while he crawls and drags himself until he attends the parades of the Resurrection. Then he will be subjected to interrogation and reckoning. He will receive a severe reckoning and then he will be cast into the Fire to be tormented. If he is one of the people who believe in the oneness of God, he will be punished in proportion to his evil deeds and then Allah (mighty and glorified is He) will save him from the Fire by His mercy. But if he is one of the people of disbelief, he will be left forever in the Fire with those of his kind.

* The believer knows the creatures. He is able to recognize signs in them. His heart is sensitive. He can see by the light of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) who placed the light in his heart. The real light is the light of the hearts and the real cleanness is the cleanness of the hearts, innermost beings, and private lives. If your heart and private life are unclean, what would the cleanness of your outward benefit you? Even if you bathed yourself a thousand times each day, nothing of the dirt of your heart will disappear. The acts of disobedience have a nasty smell that is recognizable by those who see by the light of Allah, but they keep what they know about the creatures to themselves and do not expose them.

Woe to you! You are lazy. No doubt you will not achieve anything. Your neighbors, brothers, and relatives traveled and searched so they found treasures. They made a profit of ten or twenty silver coins and returned with their earnings, whereas you have been sitting in your place. The little that you have will soon finish and you will start begging from people. Woe to you! Strive on the way of the True One (mighty and glorified is He) and do not rely on His destiny. Have you not heard His following saying: “And those who strive in Our cause, We will certainly guide them to Our ways” (from 29.69)?

Strive and then guidance will come to you. It will not come to you because of you, yet you have to be involved. It will not come about through you alone. Make a start and others will then come and complete your work for you. Everything is in the hand of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), so do not ask for anything from anyone else. Have you not heard Him say in His Book: “And there is not a thing but with Us are its storehouses; and we send it down only in a known measure” (15.21)? Is there anything else to be said after this verse? O seeker of the gold coin and the silver one, they are nothing! They are both in the hand of Allah (mighty and glorified is He) so do not try to obtain them from the creatures. Do not ask for them with the tongue of your attribution of partners to Allah and your reliance on means. O Allah, O Creator of the creatures, O Creator of all means, save us from the fetters of associating Your creatures and means with You and “give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of the Fire!

* Each one of you will soon remember what he achieved in terms of believing in the oneness of God and attributing partners to Him, in terms of hypocrisy and sincerity. On that day, the Fire of hell will be made visible to those who are sighted. All those who are present at the Resurrection will see it and become terrified of it except a few individuals. When it sees a believer, it dies away and subsides so that he can pass safely through. This is why the Prophet (Allah’s prayer and peace be on him) is reported to have said: “On the Day of Resurrection, the Fire will say: ‘Pass through, O believer, for your light has put out my flames’”! It will call on him before he passes through it: “Hurry up, pass through, do not keep me back from doing my business, for my business is with others, not you.” Passing through it is inevitable for the Muslim and the disbeliever, for the obedient one and the disobedient one. Once the foot of the believer has rested on the path that is stretched across it, the Fire will die away, subside, and say to him: “Pass through. Your light has put out my flames.” Some of the believers will pass through it without even seeing it, so when they enter Paradise they will ask: “Has Allah (mighty and glorified is He) not said: ‘And there is not one who will not come to it’ (from 19.71)? We did not see it!” They will be told: “You passed through it while it was abating.”

* The believer keeps on affirming his faith until he becomes a knower of Allah (mighty and glorified is He), knowledgeable of Him, and near to Him. Once he has reached this stage, he will prefer Him over everything else and distribute his wealth on the entourage who are standing at the door, so entering the house of nearness will become his only concern. He will return the key to his castle in Paradise to its keeper. His innermost being will come to the doors of the gardens of Paradise and lock them up. He will shut the doors of the creatures and existence. He will throw himself at the door of the King, behave as if he was ill, and fall like a piece of motionless meat, waiting for the feet of subtle kindness to pass by and tread on him, waiting for a glimpse from the eye of mercy and for an extension of the hand of generosity and favor. While he is in this state, he will suddenly find himself in the chamber of nearness; on the lap of subtle kindness; in the hands of the Subtly Kind One, the Expert, who will medicate him, restore strength to him, entertain him, confer on him kingship, jewelry, and crowns, feed him from the food of favor, and offer him drinks of intimacy. Mercy will then have arrived at the house of nearness and happiness will have arrived at the balconies of attainment. All creatures will become beneath him, whereas he looks at them with the eye of mercy and graciousness. He will acquire the attributes of the True One (mighty and glorified is He), because the hearts of those who attain to Him become filled with mercy to the creatures. They look at both the Muslims and disbelievers, common people and the elite, with the eye of mercy. They have mercy for all of them, but at the same time they demand from them observing the limits of the Law. They demand outwardly but have mercy inwardly. O servants of Allah, when you meet anyone of these people, serve him and listen to what he has to say for he gives you good advice!

Footnotes

1 The person who proclaims the times of prayer in the mosque.

     

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