On Getting Closer to Allah
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!
[Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani_Al Futh ul Ghaib_Eighth Discourse]
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