On drawing near to Allah
The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said: When you are in a particular condition, do not seek to exchange it for another, whether higher or lower. If you are at the gate of the King’s palace, therefore, do not seek admittance to the palace itself until you are obliged to enter, under compulsion and not of your own accord. By compulsion I mean a stern, insistently repeated command. Do not content yourself with mere permission to enter, since this may be just a trick and deception on the King’s part. You should rather wait patiently until you are compelled to go in, so that your entry into the palace will be through sheer coercion and gracious favor from the King. Then, since the action is the King’s own, He will not chastise you for it. If any punishment is meted out to you, it will only be due to your wrong motivation, greed, impatience, uncouthness and discontentment with the situation in which you have been placed. When you do gain an entree to the palace, you must therefore bow your head in silence, keep your eyes modestly downcast and mind your manners as you perform the tasks and services assigned to you, without seeking promotion to the highest summit. Consider the words of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He):Strain not your eyes toward that which We have given for some pairs among them to enjoy–the flower of this world’s life, that We may thereby put them to the test. Your Lord’s provision is better and more lasting. (20:131)
This is an admonition by which He instructs His chosen Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding attention to one’s present state and contentment with gifts received. To paraphrase His words, “Your Lord’s provision is better and more lasting,” He is saying: “What I have given you in the way of good news, prophethood, knowledge, satisfaction, patience, the guardianship of religion and a firm support therein-all this is more fitting and appropriate than anything I have given [to others].”
Thus all good lies in due attention to one’s existing condition, in being content with it and ceasing to hanker after alternatives, for it can only be that something is yours by lot or is destined for another, unless it belongs to nobody and Allah has created it only as a trial. If it is destined for you, it will come to you, like it or not. Any display of unseemly conduct and greed in its pursuit would therefore be improper on your part, with nothing in knowledge or reason to commend it. If it is destined for somebody else, spare yourself the futile effort of chasing something which you cannot get and which will never come your way. If it is only a trial, not destined to belong to anyone at all, how could an intelligent person find it worth his while to pursue such a thing and seek to acquire it for himself? Thus it is proven that all good and safety lie in properly attending to one’s present state.
When you are promoted to the upstairs room, and then to the roof, you must observe all the proprieties of quiet and polite behavior we have already mentioned. In fact you should redouble your efforts in that regard, because you are now closer to the King and nearer to danger. So do not wish for a change of state whether by promotion or demotion, and desire neither permanence and continuity nor alteration in your existing condition. You should have no self-willed option whatsoever, since that would amount to ingratitude for present blessings, and ingratitude brings disgrace upon him who is guilty thereof, in this world and the hereafter.
Let your conduct always be as we have told you, until you are promoted to a position which will become a permanent station for you, from which you will not be removed. You will then recognize it as a gift, self-explanatory and self-evident, so cling to it and do not let go. Ordinary saints [awliya’] have changeable states, while permanent stations belong to the Abdal.
Allah is in charge of your guidance!