It was in the schoolhouse, in the early morning of Friday, the 29th of Shawwal, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:
O my people! Be aware of Allah and do not be ignorant of Him. Obey Allah and do not rebel against Him. Comply with His wishes and do not oppose Him. Accept His decision gladly and do not quarrel with Him. Recognize the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) by His handiwork. He is the Creator [al-Khaliq], the Sustainer [ar-Razzaq], the First [al-Awwal], the Last [al-Akhir], and the Outer [az-Zahir] and the Inner [al-Batin]. He is the First from All Eternity [al-Qadim al-Awwal], the Endlessly Everlasting [ad-Da’im al-Abadi], the Doer [al-Fa”al] of whatever He will.
He shall not be questioned as to what He does, but they shall be questioned. (21:23)
He is the Enricher [al-Mughni]. He is the Impoverisher [al-Mufqir]. He is the Benefactor [an-Nafi’], the Giver of Life [al-Muhyi], the Giver of Death [al-Mumit], the Punisher [al-Mu’aqib], the Feared [al-Makhuf] and the Hoped [al-Marjuw]. Fear Him and fear none other than Him. Look to Him in hope, and have no hope of any but Him. Move in the orbit of His power and His wisdom, until the power and the wisdom prevail. Make it your practice to stay with the black-on-white [i.e., the letter of the sacred law] until something arises to prevent you from doing so, then you will be preserved from infringing the sacred law [shar’].
We are speaking here in terms of spiritual significance [ma’na], not of outer form [sura]. Only a few righteous individuals [ahad as-salihin] get to this point. There is nothing we need that goes outside the sphere of the sacred law. This subject is familiar only to those who have experience of it, so it is not something you can recognize from the bare description. In all your affairs you should be in the presence of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), ready with girded loins to obey his commands and prohibitions and to follow him, until the King summons you to Himself. Then take your leave of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and enter His presence.
The Abdal [spiritual deputies] are so called only because they exert no willpower [la yuriduna irada] beside the Will of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and exercise no preference [la yakhtaruna ikhtiyaran] beside His preference. They apply the external regulations and perform the proper external deeds. Then they attend to the special tasks assigned to them individually. As they progress to higher degrees [darajat] and stages [manazil], they come under more and more commands and prohibitions, until they reach a stage [manzil] at which there is neither command nor prohibition, but where the orders of the sacred law are carried out spontaneously on their behalf and are credited to them, while they are personally in a state of detachment [ma’zil]. Their normal condition is that of absence [ghaiba] with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and they are present only when the moment comes for a commandment or prohibition to be observed. Thus they are careful not to violate any of the rules of the sacred law, because nonobservance of obligatory acts of worship [‘ibadat mafrudat] constitutes heresy [zandaqa], while the perpetration of things forbidden [mahzurat] is a sin of disobedience [ma’siya]. The obligatory religious duties [fara’id] never cease to be incumbent upon anyone under any circumstances.
O young man! Act in conformity with His ordinance [hukm] and His knowledge, and do not go beyond what is prudent. Do not forget the covenant [‘ahd]. Struggle with your lower self, your passions, your devils, your natural impulses and your [attachment to] this world. Never despair of the helpful support [nusra] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), because it will come to you with your steady perseverance. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:
Surely Allah is with those who are patient. (2:153)
The party [hizb] of Allah, surely they will be the victors. (5:56)
As for those who strive in Our cause, surely We shall guide them to Our paths. (29:69)
Restrain the tongue of your lower self from its tendency to complain to fellow creatures. Be an adversary for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) against it and against all creatures. You must command them to obey Him and forbid them to sin against Him. You should prevent them from going astray, introducing heretical innovations [ibtida’], following the passions and indulging the lower self. You should instruct them to follow the Book of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the Sunna of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).
O my people! Respect the Book of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and take it as the guide to your behavior. It is the link between you and Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Do not consider it to be a thing created [makhluq]. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) says: “This is My speech [kalam],” and you are saying “No!” Anyone who contradicts Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and maintains that the Qur’an is a created object, is guilty of unbelief [kufr] in Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and this Qur’an is quit of him. This Qur’an which is recited, which is read, which is heard, which is seen, which is written down in copied texts [masahif], this is His speech (Almighty and Glorious is He). Imam ash-Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] (may Allah be well pleased with them both) maintain that the pen [al-qalam] is created, but what is written with it is uncreated, and that the heart [qalb] is created, but what is learned by heart is uncreated [ghayr makhluq].
O my people! Prove the sincerity of your respect for the Qur’an by putting its teachings into practice, not by arguing about it. Firm belief [i’tiqad] is a matter of few words and many deeds. You must have faith in it. Accept its truth in your hearts, and act upon it with your physical limbs and organs. Concentrate on what is beneficial to you. Pay no attention to defective and inferior intellects.
O my people! That which is handed down by tradition [manqul] cannot be arrived at by mental deduction, and the received text [nass] cannot be superseded by analogical reasoning [qiyas]. Do not pass over the clear evidence [bayyina] and settle for the unsubstantiated claim. People’s property is not confiscated on the strength of a claim for which there is no proof. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:
If people had only to make their claims to have them accepted, one group would claim the blood and property of another. But the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff, and the oath on the one who denies [the claim].
It is useless to have a learned tongue but an ignorant heart. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:
There is nothing I am more afraid of for my Community [umma] than a hypocrite with a learned tongue.
O learned ones! O ignoramuses! O you who are present and you who are absent! Feel a sense of shame before Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Pay attention to Him with your hearts. Humbly submit to Him. Let yourselves be forged beneath the hammers of His decree. Be constantly thankful for His blessings. Shed light on the darkness in obedience to Him. Then, when this has become real as far as you are concerned, you will receive the grace [karama] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), His honor and His Paradise in this world and the hereafter.
O young man! Try hard to make sure that nothing remains in this world that you still love. When this is fully accomplished as far as you are concerned, you will not be left to your own devices for the twinkling of an eye. If you become forgetful, you will be reminded, and if you become careless you will be brought to your senses. He will not allow you to take notice of anything whatsoever apart from Himself. Those who have tasted this will know all about it from experience. Members of this category are a few unique individuals who do not accept reliance upon creatures.
O hypocrites! Misfortunes and afflictions are uppermost in your hearts. Whenever the [Lord’s] people look with the eyes of their hearts at anything other than the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), they are being hypocritical. Their salvation [salama] lies in placing their trust in Him, throwing themselves down before Him, blinding themselves to His creation, and preventing their tongues from raising objections against Him. Then the days and nights may roll by them, and the months turn into years, but their condition will be one and the same, as they remain unchanging with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). They are the most intelligent of all the creatures of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). If you were to see them, you would call them lunatics [majanin], and if they saw you they would say: “These folk do not believe in the Day of Judgment [yawm ad-din].” They are sad and broken-hearted in the presence of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and they are always fearful and apprehensive. Whenever the veil is lifted to reveal His Majesty and His Splendor to their hearts, their fear grows all the greater. Their hearts almost stop beating and their joints nearly come apart. Then, when He sees them in this condition, He opens up to them the gates of His Mercy [rahma], His Beauty [jamal] and His Grace [lutf], giving them hope, so that their feelings are reassured.
The only people I like to look after are seekers of the hereafter and seekers of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). As for the seeker of this world, of creatures and self and desire, what can I do with him? Of course I would like to give him treatment, because he is sick, but only a physician has the patience to treat the sick.
Woe unto you! You are trying to keep your condition hidden from me, but it will not be concealed. You represent yourself to me as a seeker of the hereafter, although you are actually a seeker of this world. This delusion in your heart is written on your forehead. Your secret is public knowledge. That dinar [gold coin] in your hand is a fake; it has a tiny fraction of gold, but the rest is silver. You cannot palm it off on me, because I have seen a lot just like it. Hand it over and let me keep it, so that I can melt it down, extract the gold it contains, and throw the rest away. A little bit of good stuff is better than a load of rubbish. Let me take charge of your dinar, because I am a coin-minter and I have the right tools for the job.
Repent your showy pretense [riya’] and hypocrisy [nifaq], and do not hesitate to confess yourself guilty of it. The majority of sincere people [mukhlisun] have been hypocrites in their time. This is why a certain wise man (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) said: “Only the hypocrite [mura’i] really knows the meaning of sincerity [ikhlas].” Rarest of the rare is one who is sincere from the first stage of his career through to the last. Youngsters at an early stage are given to telling lies and playing with mud and dirt. They get themselves into dangerous predicaments, steal from their fathers and their mothers, and spread scandalous rumors around. Gradually, as their intelligence develops, they give up one thing and then another, learning correct behavior from their parents and their teachers.
If Allah wishes a person well, he will learn to behave properly and give up his bad habits, but if Allah wishes him ill, he will go on living in the old same way, and so be a loser in this world and the hereafter. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has created the remedy [dawa’] as well as the disease [da’]. Disobedience is a disease, and obedience is a remedy. Tyranny [zulm] is a disease, and justice [‘adl] is a remedy. Going wrong [khata’] is a disease, and going straight [sawab] is a remedy. Opposing the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is a disease, and repenting the intoxication of sins is a remedy.
Your cure will be completely effected only when you detach your heart from creatures, connect it to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and raise it toward Him, to dwell in heaven while your spirit and your physical frame are still here on earth. As far as your heart is concerned, you will be secluded with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) because of what it knows. But you will participate with fellow creatures in acting according to the rule of law [al-hukm], not differing from them in any detail of this, so that neither He nor they will have any case against you. You will be alone with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) in your inner being, while outwardly you will be in the company of fellow creatures.
Do not allow your lower self [nafs] to rear its head. Either you ride it, or it will ride you. Either you pin it down, or it will pin you down. If it does not obey you when you wish to obey Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), chastise it with the whips of hunger, thirst, humiliation, nakedness, and seclusion in a place devoid of any human companion. Do not lay these whips aside from it until it becomes tame, and obeys Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. Even when it is tame, you must not stop chiding it: “Have you not done such and such, and such and such?” Apply the appropriate punishment to keep it permanently subdued.
For help in all of this, you must seek the will of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), comply with His wishes and refrain from disobeying Him. Your outer and your inner should be as one. There should be compliance with no resistance, obedience with no rebellion, thankfulness with no ingratitude, mindfulness with no forgetfulness, and goodness with no evil. Your heart will have no salvation [falah] as long as it contains anyone other than Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). If you were to bow down in prostration before Him for a thousand years, on hot coals, but turning in your heart toward someone other than Him, this would not benefit you at all. Nothing will come to the heart while it loves any other than its Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). You will not be blessed with His love until you blot out everything else. What good can it do you to abstain from things while you are attached to them in your heart? Do you not know that Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) knows what is contained within the breasts of all mankind? Are you not ashamed to say with your tongue: “I have placed all my trust in Allah [tawakkaltu ‘ala’llah],” when others apart from Him are within your heart?
O young man! Do not be deceived by the gentle forbearance [hilm] with which Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is treating you, for the force of His wrath [batsh] is terrible. Do not be deceived by these learned men who are ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). All their learning counts against them, not in their favor. They are learned in the laws [hukm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), but ignorant of Allah Himself (Almighty and Glorious is He). They give people orders which they themselves do not carry out, and forbid them to do things from which they themselves do not abstain. They summon others to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), but they flee from Him. They rebel and sin against Him flagrantly. I have their names recorded, written down and listed.
O Allah, relent toward me and toward them. Present us all to your Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and to our father Abraham (peace be upon him). O Allah, do not make us tyrants to one another. Make us benefactors to one another, and include us all in Your mercy. Amin.