It was in the schoolhouse, in the early morning of Friday, the 14th of Dhu’l-Qa’da, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh a]Abdal Qadir(may Allah be well pleased with him) said:
Do not be concerned about your sustenance [rizq], because its search for you is more intense than your search for it. When you have obtained today’s sustenance, stop worrying about tomorrow’s, as you have left yesterday behind. Yesterday is in the past, and as for tomorrow you do not know whether it will come to you or not, so concentrate on your today. If you really knew the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), you would be too preoccupied with Him to go looking for sustenance. His awe-inspiring majesty would prevent you from seeking anything from Him, because when someone really knows Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) his tongue ceases to function. The knower [‘arif] remains dumb and speechless in the presence of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), until He sends him back to attend to the interests of His creatures. Then, when He restores him to them, He removes the paralysis from his tongue and the impediment from his speech. When Moses (peace be upon him) was shepherding the flocks and herds, his tongue was afflicted with stammering, gabbling, mispronunciation and stuttering, so when the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) wished to send him back [to his people], He inspired him [alhamahu] to say:
Untie the knot from my tongue, that they may understand my words. (20:27,28)
It was as if he were saying: “When I was out in the wilderness, shepherding the flocks and herds, I had no need of this, but now I have work to do among the people and I must be able to talk to them, so I need to be rid of the impediment to my speech.” His Lord therefore removed the knot from his tongue. He used a vocabulary of ninety clearly intelligible terms, a small number of words in proportion to those occurring in the speech of others. In his childhood, he had been eager to speak out of turn in the presence of Pharaoh and Asiya, so Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) had made him swallow a live coal.
O young man! I see that you have little real knowledge [ma’rifa] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His Messenger, little real knowledge of the saints [awliya’] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), of the deputies [abdal] of His Prophets, and of His vicegerents [khulafa’] among His creatures. You are devoid of meaningful content. You are a cage without a bird, an empty ruin of a house, a tree whose leaves are all withered and scattered. The edifice of the servant’s heart is constructed through Islam [surrender to the will of Allah], then through the confirmation [tahqiq] thereof in its reality [haqiqa], which is submissive obedience [istislam]. Submit [sallim] the whole of yourself to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and He will make your own self and other people submit to you. You must detach your heart from you and from all creatures, and stand before Him naked of you and of them. Then, when the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) so wishes, He will clothe you and dress you and send you back to His creatures. You must therefore carry out His commandment requiring both you and them to win the good pleasure of the Messenger [rasul] (Allah bless him and give him peace) and Envoy [mursal], then stand and wait for His further orders, complying with everything He may impose upon you. Whenever someone strips himself bare of everything apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and stands before Him on the feet of his heart [qalb] and his innermost being [sirr], he is saying, in the language that needs no words [lisan al-hal], what Moses (peace be upon him) expressed when he said:
I have hastened to You, my Lord, that You might be well pleased. (20:84)
[Meaning:] “I have set aside my interest in this world, my interest in the hereafter, and the whole of creation. I have severed material ties [al-asbab] and cast off influential connections [al-arbab], and I have come to You in haste, that You might be well pleased with me, and forgive me for having been attached to them previously.”
O ignorant one, where do you stand in all this? You are the slave of your own self [nafs], your worldly interests [dunya] and your passions [hawa]. You are the slave of creatures, idolizing them [mushrik bihim] because you regard them as the source of harm and benefit. You are next to the Garden [of Paradise], hoping to enter it, and you are next to the Fire [of Hell], afraid of entering it.
Where are you, all of you, in relation to the Transformer of hearts and eyes [Muqallib al-qulub wa’l-absar], the One who says to a thing “Be!” and it is [kun fa-yakun (2:117)]?
O young man! Do not delude yourself about your obedient worship [ta’a] and pride yourself on it. Beg the Lord of Truth (Glorified and Exalted is He) to accept it, and be wary and fearful lest He transfer you to some other condition. What guarantee do you have that your obedience will not be told to turn into disobedience, and your serenity to turn into confusion? When someone really knows Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), he does not get attached to anything and has no illusions about anything. He does not feel secure until he leaves this world with his religion intact and having preserved his relationship with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He).
O my people! You must activate your hearts and dedicate them sincerely. Perfect sincerity [ikhlas] is that which precludes everything apart from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and direct knowledge [ma’rifa] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is the basic principle [asl]. I see most of you as no more than liars in word and deed, in private and in public. You have no constancy. You have words without deeds, and deeds with neither sincerity nor affirmation of Unity [tawhid]. If you consult the touchstone [mihakk] that is in my hands, and it is favorable to you, what good will this do you? You need to be accepted and approved by the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Your chips must soon be exposed to smelting and the kindling of fire, and it will be said: “This is silver, this is ore, this is brass.” Then the whole lot will be extracted, sorted in preparation for the Day of Judgment [yawm al-qiyam]. The same will be said of all your deeds in the performance of which you behaved hypocritically. Every deed done for the sake of any other than Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is null and void. Let your work, your love, your friendship and your quest be for the One who has told us:
There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. (42:11)
Deny and affirm. Deny the attribution to Him of anything that is unworthy of Him, and affirm as belonging to Him whatever is worthy of Him, namely what He is pleased to attribute to Himself, and what His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) has been pleased to attribute to Him. If you do this, your hearts will be rid of [the heretical extremes of] anthropomorphism [tashbih] and the negation of the divine attributes [ta’til].
Befriend Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His Messenger, then the righteous [as-salihun] among His servants, with reverence, honor and respect. If you wish for salvation [falah], let none of you attend my company without good manners; otherwise you should stay away. You are always going to excess, so curb your excesses during this hour while you are in my presence. Perhaps in the assembled company there is someone who deserves to be treated with respect and good manners beyond your minds and comprehension. The cook knows his dishes, the baker knows his bread, the craftsman knows his work, and one who issues an invitation knows those who are invited to attend.
Your interest in this world has made your hearts blind, so you cannot see anything with them. Beware of it, for it will make itself available to you time after time, until it gets you more and more involved, then it will finally make you its sacrificial victim. It will let you drink its wine and its drugs [banj], then it will cut off your hands and your feet, and gouge out your eyes. When the drug has worn off and consciousness returns, you will see what it has done to you. This is the consequence of loving this world, chasing after it, and being greedy for it and what it has to offer. This is what it does, so beware of it!
O young man! There is no salvation for you as long as you love this world. And as for you, who claim to love the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), there is no salvation or success for you, as long as you love the hereafter or anything whatsoever apart from Him. The lover who really knows [al-‘arif al-muhibb] loves neither the one nor the other, nor anything apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). When his love is complete and fully realized, he will receive his allotted worldly shares to secure his well-being and satisfy his needs. The case will be similar when he arrives in the hereafter, for everything he left behind him he will now see at the gate of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). It will have gone ahead to wait for him there, because he gave it up for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He gives His friends [awliya’] their shares in things while they are keeping their distance from them. The comforts of the heart are internal [batina], and the comforts of the self are external [zahira]. The comforts of the heart come only after the self has been deprived of its comforts, so when the self is deprived, the gates of the heart’s comforts are opened. Then, when the heart has received all the comforts it needs from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), mercy will come to the self. This servant will be told: “Do not kill your own self,” for its share of comforts will then come to it, and it will receive them in a state of meekness [wa-hiya mutma’inna].
Leave the company of those who excite your interest in this world, and seek the company of those who encourage you to turn away from it. Like inclines toward like, each revolving around the other. The lover gravitates toward lovers, until he finds his beloved among them. Those who are lovers of Allah love one another for His sake. He surely loves them and supports them, and they give one another strength. They help one another to summon the people, inviting them to faith [iman], affirmation of Unity [tawhid] and sincerity [ikhlas] in action. They take them by the hand and set them on the path of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). He who serves is served, he who acts well is treated well, and he who gives will receive. If you act to deserve the Fire, the Fire [of Hell] will be yours tomorrow.
As you pay allegiance, so shall you receive allegiance [kama tadinu tudanu]….
According to how you are, so shall authority be conferred upon you.
Your deeds are your agents [a’malukum ‘ummalukum]. You act like people fit for the Fire, yet you hope for Paradise from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). How can you wish for Paradise without doing the work of those to whom Paradise belongs? The masters of the heart [arbab al-qulub] in this world are those who work with their hearts, not with their limbs and organs only. Work without the inner feeling [muwata’a] of the heart, what does it accomplish? The showy pretender [mura’i] works with his physical organs, while the sincere person [mukhlis] works with his heart as well as his physical organs; he works with his heart before his physical organs. The believer [mu’min] is alive, while the hypocrite [munafiq] is dead. The believer works for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), while the hypocrite works for the sake of creatures, and looks to them for praise and reward for his work. The work of the believer is in both his outer and his inner, in both his private and his public life, in good times and in bad. The work of the hypocrite is in his public life only. His work is there when times are good, but when hardship comes along he does no work. He has no friendship for Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He has no faith in Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), His Messengers or His Books. He does not remember the Gathering [hashr], the Resurrection [nashr] and the Reckoning [hisab]. His Islam is to keep his head and his property safe [li-yaslama] in this world, not to keep him safe in the hereafter from the Fire that is the chastisement of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). He keeps the fast [yasumu], performs the prescribed prayers [yusalli], and studies religious knowledge in the presence of people, but when they are not around he reverts to his own business and his unbelief [kufr].
O Allah, we take refuge with You from this condition. We beg You for sincerity in this world and sincerity tomorrow. Amin.
O young man! You must practice sincerity in your actions. Look beyond your work and the expectation of recompense for it from creatures [al-khalq] and Creator [al-Khaliq]. Work for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), not for His blessings. Be one of those who long for His countenance. Seek His countenance until He grants your wish. Then, when He grants you this, you will obtain Paradise in this world and the hereafter: nearness to Him in this world, and in the hereafter the vision of Him. The fulfillment of His promise is a contract and guarantee [bai’ wa-daman].
O young man! Deliver your own self and your property into the hand of His destiny [qadar], His decree [hukm] and His judgment [qada’]. Deliver the purchase [al-mushtara] to the Purchaser [al-mushtari] and tomorrow He will pay you the price.
Servants of Allah! Deliver your own selves to Him, the price and the object of value. Say: “The self, property, Paradise and everything apart from You, all are Yours. We wish for nothing apart from You.” The neighbor [jar] before the house [dar]. The companion [rafiq] before the road [tariq]. O you who desire the Garden [of Paradise], its purchase and cultivation must be today, not tomorrow. Increase its irrigation channels and let water flow in them today, not tomorrow.
O my people! On the Day of Resurrection, hearts and eyes will be turned inside out. On that day when feet will stumble, every one of the believers will stand upon the footing of his faith and his pious devotion [taqwa]. The steadiness of their feet will depend on the degree of their faith. On that day:
The wrong-doer will bite his own hands. (25:27)
[That is,] for having done wrong, and the pervert [mufsid] will bite his own hands for having caused corruption and not having put it right, for having run away from his Master.
O young man! Do not overestimate the value of a deed, for deeds are valued according to their ultimate outcomes. You must beg the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) to make your outcome good, and to restrict you to those actions that He likes best. Beware, then again beware, when you repent, lest you undo your repentance and lapse back into sin. Do not lapse from your repentance because of something someone may say. Do not conform to your lower self [nafs], your passions [hawa] and your natural impulses [tab’], while opposing your Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). The sin is committed today, and tomorrow, since you have disobeyed the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), He will leave you in the lurch and will not help you.
O Allah, help us to be obedient to You, and do not desert us because of disobedience toward You.
Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201)