Archive for the ‘Tasawwuf’ Category

Eleventh Discourse of the Sublime Revelation
March 4, 2006

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.

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Tenth Discourse of the Sublime Revelation
March 3, 2006

It was in the early morning of Sunday, the 24th of Shawwal, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:

I and the truly devout members of my Community [umma] are free from affectation [takalluf].

One who is truly devout [taqi] does not perform his worship of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) in an affected manner, because it has become quite natural to him, so he worships Allah both outwardly and inwardly without any affectation on his part.

As for the hypocrite [munafiq], he is always pretending, wherever he may be and whatever he may be doing, especially when it comes to the worship of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), which he fakes on the surface and inwardly neglects. He is incapable of experiencing the conduct of the truly devout. Every place has its motto [li-kulli makan maqal], and every job has men who are right for it [li-kulli ‘amal rijal]; for war some men are naturally suited. O hypocrites, repent your hypocrisy! Come back from your fugitive exile! How can you let Satan laugh at you and vent his malice on you? You may perform the salat-prayers and keep the fast, but you do this for the sake of creatures, not for the sake of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and the same is true if you give charity [tasaddaqtum], pay the alms-due [zakkaitum] and go on pilgrimage [hajajtum]. You are: “Toiling, weary” (88:3). Soon you will be exposed to the heat of a scorching fire, if you do not come to your senses, repent and make amends. You must follow [the traditional Islamic practices] without heretical innovation [ibtida’]. You must follow the teachings [madhhab] of the righteous predecessors [as-salaf as-salih]. Walk on the straight highroad [al-jadda al-mustaqima]. No extremes of religious doctrine! [la tashbih wa-la ta’til : lit., no ascription of human characteristics (to Allah), and no denial of all attributes (to Him)]. Just follow the Sunna [exemplary practice] of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) without affectation and artificiality [tatabbu’], without bigotry [tashaddud], without bragging [tamashduq] and intellectual pretentiousness [tama’qul]. You should be capable of what was possible for those who have gone before you.

Woe unto you! You learn the Qur’an by heart, but you do not put it into practice. You memorize the Sunna of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), but you do not practice it. So what do you do this for? You tell other people what they must do, but you do not do it yourself. You tell them what they must not do, but you do not refrain from it. As the Almighty and Glorious One has said:

It is most hateful in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. (61:2)

Why do you say things and then contradict them? Have you no sense of shame? Why do you lay claim to faith, when you do not believe? Faith [al-iman] is the opponent of disasters. It is the patient bearer of our burdens. It is the wrestler. It is the fighter. Faith is the generous distributor of its worldly fortune. Faith behaves generously for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), while desire acts generously for the sake of the devil and for selfish purposes. He who has missed the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) sits at the doors of His creatures. He who has lost the path [tariq] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) and gone astray from it, stays on the path of creatures. When Allah wishes someone well, He shuts the doors of creatures in his face, and cuts him off from their gifts, in order to bring that person back to Himself. He directs him away from the inland creeks toward the river bank. He directs him away from nothing toward something.

Woe unto you! You are happy to be dwelling beside the creeks in [the cool rainy season of] winter, but soon the [fiercely hot] summer will come and your water will all dry up. So you will die, unlike the man who lives on the bank of the great river, because his supply of water is not exhausted in the summer, and in the winter it increases and becomes very plentiful. Be with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), then you will become a rich man [ghani], a noble [‘aziz], a leader [amir], a commander [mu’mir], a guide [dalil]. When someone has no need of anything but Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), everything has need of him. This is something that does not come about through passive resignation [takhalli] and mere wishing [tamanni], but through something that becomes settled in the bosom [fi’s-sudur] and is confirmed by active work [‘amal].

O young man! Let dumb silence be your custom, unobtrusiveness your habit, and fleeing from creatures your whole aim and purpose. If you can dig yourself a den in the earth to hide away in, do it. This should be your regular practice until your faith has matured, your certitude [iqan] has gained a firm footing, the wing of your truthfulness [sidq] has grown all its feathers, and the eyes of your heart have both opened. Then you may rise up from your home in the ground and fly into the air of the knowledge of Allah. You will roam through the East and the West, over land and sea, across the plains and the mountains. You will tour the heavens and the regions of the earth, in the company of the Guide [Dalil], the Guardian [Khafir], the Companion [Rafiq]. So now set your tongue free to speak. Cast off the habit of unobtrusiveness. Stop running away from people, and come out of your den to meet them, since you can be a remedy for them without detriment to yourself. Never mind how few they may happen to be, or how many, and whether they come forward or back away. Be indifferent to their praise and their blame alike. Never mind. Wherever you alight, you will glean what you can [aina saqatta laqatta]. And you are with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).

O my people! Be aware of this Creator, and practice good behavior in His presence. As long as your hearts are remote from Him, you will behave toward Him badly, but when they draw near, your conduct will improve. The pages at the palace gate indulge in foolish banter before the royal procession, but when the king rides by, a dumb silence falls upon them and they start to behave correctly, because they are now close to him. Each of them scurries to his corner.

Paying court to creatures is the very same thing as turning one’s back on the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). You will find no salvation [falah] until you break off relations with people of influence and means, and stop regarding creatures as the source of benefit and loss. You are healthy yet sick, rich yet poor, alive yet dead, existent yet nonexistent. Till when this running away from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) and avoidance of Him? Till when the cultivation of this world and the devastation of the hereafter? Each one of you has but a single heart, so how can he love both worlds with it? How can it contain both the Creator and the creation [al-khaliq wa’l-khalq]? How can this be achieved as a simultaneous condition in a single heart? This is a falsehood, and as the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) says:

Falsehood holds itself aloof from faith [al-kadhibu mujanibu’l-iman].

Each earthenware pot exudes its own contents. Your deeds are clues to the firmness of your belief [i’tiqad]. Your outer is a clue to your inner. This is why a certain wise man said: “The outer is the address of the inner [az-zahir ‘unwan al-batin].” Your inner is outwardly apparent to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) and to His special favorites [khawass] among His servants. If one of these should ever come your way, you must behave decently in his presence. Repent your sins before meeting with him, consider yourself insignificant beside him, and relate to him with humility. If you humble yourself for the sake of the righteous [as-salihun], you are likely to be humble toward Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Humble yourself, therefore, because when a person humbles himself, Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will raise him up high. Be on your best behavior with anyone who is senior to you, because the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:

Blessed grace [baraka] resides in your seniors [akabir].

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not intending to refer to seniority in age alone, but to advanced age combined with pious dedication [taqwa] to fulfilling the commandments and observing the prohibitions [of the sacred law], and constant adherence to the Book and the Sunna [i.e., the Qur’an and the Prophet’s exemplary practice]. Of course not, because there is many an elder [shaikh] who deserves neither respect nor salutation, and in seeing whom there is no blessed grace. The Seniors [al-akabir] are the devout [al-muttaqun], the righteous [as-salihun], the pious [al-mutawarri’un], who put their knowledge into practice [al-‘amiluna bi’l-‘ilm] and who are sincere in their practice [al-mukhlisun fi’l-‘amal]. The Seniors are the pure hearts that turn away from everything apart from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). The Seniors are the wise hearts with experience of Allah [al-‘arifa bi’llah] (Almighty and Glorious is He), that know and are close to Him.

Whenever hearts abound in knowledge, they draw nearer to their Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). Whenever a heart contains love of this world, it is screened from Allah, and whenever a heart contains love of the hereafter, it is barred from nearness to Allah. To the degree of your longing [raghba] for this world, your longing for the hereafter is diminished, and to the degree of your longing for the hereafter, your longing for the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is diminished. Be aware of your degrees, and do not assign yourselves to a level [manzil] on which Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has not placed you. This is why a certain wise man said: “If someone is not aware of his own degree, the decrees of destiny will make him aware of it [man lam ya’rif qadrahu ‘arrafat-hu’l-aqdaru qadrahu].” Do not sit in a place from which you will be made to get up. When you enter a house, do not sit in a place in which the master of the house has not invited you to sit, because you may be told to move. If you refuse, you will be forced to get up, suffer humiliation, and be obliged to leave.

O young man! You have been wasting your life on the study of books and memorizing the knowledge in them without putting it into practice. What good will it do you? As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:

Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will say to the Prophets and the scholars on the Day of Resurrection: “You were the shepherds of the people, so how did you care for your flocks?” And He will say to the kings and the rich folk: “You were the custodians of my treasures. Did you reach out to the poor? Did you educate the orphans? Did you refund My due, which I prescribed to you?”

O my people! Take warning from the admonitions of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and accept what he tells you. Your hearts are so hard! Glory be to the One who has made me capable of putting up with creatures! Whenever I yearn to fly away, along come the scissors of destiny to clip my wings, and yet I find consolation, of course, in the fact that I am residing in the parklands [barah] of the King.

Woe unto you, O hypocrite, you wish I would leave this town. If I did move on, the situation would be altered, the members would split up, and it would be a different story. But I fear the punishment of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) on account of the undue haste. I do not chart my own course; no, I cannot match the skill of destiny, so I comply with His wishes and submit to Him. O Allah, [grant] peace and salvation [salaman wa-tasliman]!”

Woe unto you! You scoff at me while I am standing by the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Summon the people to Him; you will see your response. I build one cubit upward and thousands downward. O hypocrites, you will see the torment of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His punishment in this world and the hereafter. The time is pregnant [hubla]; you will see what comes of it. I am subject to the transformative power [taqlib] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Now He makes me become a mountain, then He turns me into a speck of dust. Now He makes me become an ocean, then He turns me into a drop of water. Now He makes me become a sun, then He turns me into a spark and a flash of lightning. He switches me around, as He switches night and day.

Every day He is about some awesome business. (55:29)

At every moment, indeed. You have all day, while others have this moment.

O young man! If you wish to breathe easy and feel good at heart [in aradta sa’ata’s-sadri wa-tiba’l-qalb: lit., if you wish for expansiveness of the breast and goodness of the heart], do not listen to what people say, and pay no attention to their talk. Surely you know that many of them are neither intelligent nor perceptive, and that they have no faith [la yu’minun], but actually disbelieve and do not accept the truth? Follow the group [qawm] who understand none but the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), who listen to none but Him, and who see none but Him. Suffer with patience the harm done by people, as you seek the good pleasure [rida] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Patiently endure the various trials by which He puts you to the test.

This is the normal practice [da’b] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) in dealing with His humble chosen servants [ma’a ‘ibadihi’l-mustafaina’l-mukhbitin]. He cuts them off from everything, and tests them with various misfortunes, disasters and ordeals. He makes things cramped for them in this world and the hereafter, and everywhere from the heavenly throne [al-‘arsh] to the earth below. Thus He annihilates their existence. Then, when He has annihilated their present existence, He brings them into being for Him and for no other. He makes them reside with Him and not with any other. He produces them as another creation. In His own words (Almighty and Glorious is He):

Then We produced it as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators! (23:14)

The first creation was generic [mushtarak], but this creation is uniquely individual [mufrad]. He makes him distinct from his brethren and all other members of the human race. He changes his former character [ma’na] and replaces it. He makes what was his high point become his low point. He makes him a holy [rabbani: lit., belonging entirely to the Lord], spiritual [ruhani] being, whose heart has no room for contemplating creation, and the door of whose innermost being [sirr] is barred to creatures. He makes this world and the hereafter, the Garden [of Paradise] and the Fire [of Hell], and all created things and entities, appear to him as one single thing. Then He hands this thing over to his innermost being, and he swallows it whole, although there is no sign of his having done so.

Thus He manifests His power, as He manifested it in the staff of Moses (peace be upon him). Glory be to the One who manifests His power in whatever He wishes to whomever He wishes! The staff of Moses swallowed many bulky objects, such as ropes and other things, without any change in its shape and size. The Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) wished to teach them that this was divine power [qudra] at work, not philosophical wisdom [hikma], because what the magicians [sahara] did on that day was philosophy and mechanical engineering [handasa], whereas what was manifested in the staff of Moses (peace be upon him) was power from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), a preter-natural phenomenon [kharq ‘ada] and a miracle [mu’jiza]. This is why the leader of the magicians said to one of his companions: “Take a look at Moses. What condition is he in?” and the man replied: “His complexion seems to have altered, and the staff is doing its work.” Then he said: “This is through the action of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), not of his own doing, because a magician is not afraid of his own magic [sihr] and the craftsman does not fear his own work.” Then he believed in Him, and his companions followed his lead.

O young man! When will you move up from wisdom to power? When will your putting wisdom into practice lead you to the power of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)? When will your sincerity [ikhlas] in your actions lead you to the door of nearness to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He)? When will the sun of direct knowledge [ma’rifa] let you see the faces of the hearts of the common folk [al-‘awamm] and the elite [al-khawass]?

Do not flee from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) on account of His trials. He is only testing you to find out whether or not you will go back to material concerns [as-sabab] and leave His door. Will you revert to the outer or to the inner? To the perceptible or to the imperceptible? To the visible or to the invisible?

O Allah, do not put us to the test! O Allah, bless us with nearness to You without a trial! O Allah, [grant us] nearness and kindness! O Allah, [grant] nearness with no remoteness! We lack the strength to bear remoteness from You, and to suffer tribulation, so bless us with nearness to You, as well as not having to go through the fire of misfortunes. But if there is to be no escape from the fire of misfortunes, let us experience it like the salamander, which is born and bred in the fire, and is neither harmed nor burned by it. Let it be for us like the fire of Abraham, Your special friend [khalil]. Cause herbs to grow all around us, as You caused them to grow around him. Enable us to need nothing at all, as You enabled him. Befriend us and take care of us, as You took care of him, and protect us as You protected him. Amin.

Abraham (peace be upon him) found the companion [rafiq] before the road [tariq], the neighbor [jar] before the house [dar], the close friend [anis] before the loneliness, the healthy diet [himya] before the sickness, patience before the affliction, and cheerful acceptance before the verdict. Learn from your father Abraham (peace be upon him). Take him as your model in his words and his deeds. Glory be to the One who treated him kindly in the sea of his misfortune; the One who set him the task of swimming in the sea of affliction and helped him through it; the One who set him the task of charging against the enemy, while He was by the horse’s head; the One who set him the task of climbing to a lofty spot, while His hand was at his back; the One who set him the task of inviting the people to his meal, while He took care of the expense! This is the inner, hidden kindness.

O young man! Be with Allah in silence at the advent of His decree and His action, so that you may experience many kindnesses from Him. Have you not heard of young Galen the philosopher [Jalinus al-hakim], and how he pretended to be dumb and stupid and speechless, until he became the store of all knowledge? The wisdom of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will not come toward your heart because of your frequent raving, your quarreling and finding fault with Him.

O Allah, bless us with harmony and the abandonment of discord, and:

Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201)

The Tenth Discourse of the Revelations of the Unseen
March 2, 2006

On the self and its states

The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said: There is Allah, and there is your own self [nafsuka], and you must address the situation. The self is the opponent and enemy of Allah. All things are subordinate to Allah, and the self really belongs to Him as a creature and a possession, but the self entertains presumptions and aspirations bound up with carnal appetite and sensual desire. So if you ally yourself with the divine Truth in opposition and hostility toward the self, you will be for Allah’s sake an adversary to your own self. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) said to David (peace be upon him): “O David, I am your indispensable support, so hold fast to your support. True servitude means being an adversary to your own self.”

It is then that your friendship and servitude to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will be confirmed in reality. All that is allotted to you will then come to you for your enjoyment and pleasure. You will be held in honor and esteem, and all things will be ready to serve you with dignity and respect, for they are all subordinate to their Lord and in conformity with Him, since He is their Creator and Originator and they acknowledge their servitude to Him. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

There is not a thing that does not celebrate His praise, and yet you do not understand their celebration. (17:44)

[Then He turned to the heaven when it was smoke] and said to it and to the earth: “Come both of you, willingly or unwillingly.” They said: “We come, obedient.” (41:11)

Thus servitude-all servitude-consists in opposing your own self. Allah (Exalted is He) says:

Follow not desire, lest it lead you astray from Allah’s path. (38:26)

To David (on him be peace) He said:

Renounce your passionate desire, for it is vexatious.

There is also the well-known story of Abu Yazid al-Bistamii (may Allah have mercy upon him). When he saw the Almighty Lord in a dream, he asked Him: “How can I find the way to You?” The Lord said: “Abandon your self and come here!” In response, the Saint tells us: “I shed my self as a snake sloughs off its skin.”

Thus all good lies in waging total war against the self under all circumstances. If you are in a state of true devotion, therefore, you must oppose the self by not getting involved with people, whether their behavior be unlawful, merely dubious or even well-intentioned, not depending or relying on them, neither fearing them nor pinning any hopes on them, and not coveting any worldly advantages they may enjoy. Do not solicit gifts from them in the form of presents, of alms or charity, or of votive offerings. Get rid of all interest in them and in material concerns to the point where, if you had a wealthy relative, you would not want him to die so that you could inherit his wealth. Separate yourself from creatures in all earnestness. Regard them as a door that swings open and shut, or as a tree that sometimes bears fruit and at other times is barren, all in accordance with the action of a Doer and the management of a Planner, namely Allah (Glorious and Exalted is He), so that you may be one who affirms the Unity of the Lord.

At the same time, however, we must not forget the proper role of human endeavor, to avoid subscribing to the fatalistic doctrine of the Jabariyya. Believe that no human action is accomplished without Allah. Do not worship His creatures and forget Allah, and do not maintain that our actions are independent of Allah, for that will make you an unbeliever, a subscriber to the [extreme free-will doctrine of the] Qadariyya.* You should rather assert that our actions belong to Allah in point of creation, and to His servants in point of ‘acquisition’ [kasb], this being the traditional Islamic statement on the subject of requital by reward or punishment.

Obey Allah’s command in dealing with your fellow creatures. Keep from them what is your allotted share by His command, but do not go beyond this limit. Allah’s verdict in this matter will be imposed on you and on them, so do not be the judge yourself. Your being with them is a decree of destiny, and destiny is shrouded in darkness, so expose that darkness to the Lamp, meaning the Book of Allah and the exemplary practice [Sunna] of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). Do not step outside these two. If some idea occurs to you, or if you receive an inspiration, check it against the Book and Sunna.

By this criterion, you may find that your idea or inspired notion is declared unlawful. Suppose, for instance, you have received an indication to commit fornication, to practice usury, to consort with dissolute and immoral characters, or to behave in some other sinful manner. This you must repudiate, renounce, refuse to accept and refrain from acting out. Be convinced that it is from Satan the accursed.

Perhaps what you find there will be a license, such as that granted to normal appetites for food, drink, clothing or matrimony. This you should also refuse and decline to accept, recognizing that the suggestion stems from the lower self and its animal cravings, which you are under orders to oppose and combat.

It may also happen that you find nothing in Book and Sunna to show that what has occurred to you is under either prohibition or license. Maybe it is something you are at a loss to understand, like an urge prompting you to go to such-and-such a place to meet a certain good man, although you have nothing to gain there or from the good person concerned, since your needs are already taken care of through the knowledge and wisdom Allah has graciously bestowed on you. In a case like this, you should pause and not react immediately. Instead of saying, “This is an inspiration from the Truth [al-Haqq] (Glorious and Exalted is He) so I shall act upon it,” prefer to wait for the full potential benefit. The divine Truth works in such a way that the inspiration [ilham] will be clarified through repetition, and you will be told what steps to take. To people with knowledge [‘ilm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), a sign will be revealed, intelligible only to saints of mature understanding and confirmed Abdal.

The reason for not being in great haste to act is that you do not know the consequences and the ultimate purpose of the affair, nor the snares and pitfalls it contains, with cunning tests devised by Allah. So be patient until He is the one at work within you. When the action is absolutely stripped of self, and you are borne toward that destination, you will be carried safely through any trial that may still confront you, because Allah (Exalted is He) will not chastise you for His own doing; no penalty can apply to you unless you get personally involved.

If you are in the state of reality [Haqiqa], which is the state of sainthood [wilaya], you must oppose your passions and obey the commandments in their entirety. Obedience to the commandments is of two kinds:

One kind means taking just enough from this world to supply your genuine personal needs, forsaking extravagant indulgence, performing your religious duties, and making efforts to get rid of your sins, both outwardly and inwardly.

The second kind is obedience to an inner command, one by which the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) orders or forbids His servant to do something. Such commands apply only in the sphere of ‘neutral’ matters, which are not covered by any positive injunction in Islamic law, in the sense that they belong neither to the category of prohibited things, nor to the category of things that are obligatory; since they are legally indifferent, the servant being at liberty to handle them according to his own discretion, they are called mubah [neutral/indifferent/permissible]. Rather than taking any initiative in this area, the servant should wait to receive instructions, then obey the order when it comes. He will thus be with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) in all his doings, whether in movement or at rest, through his respect for the rules of sacred law where they apply, and that inner commandment in other cases. At this stage he genuinely belongs among the People of Reality [ahl al-Haqiqa].

In the absence even of this inner commandment, there is nothing for it but spontaneous action in a state of surrender. If you are in touch with the truth of truth, this is the state of obliteration [mahw] and annihilation [fana’], the state of the Abdal who are broken-hearted on account of Him, the state of pure monotheists, men of enlightened wisdom, endowed with knowledge and power of understanding, the commanders-in-chief, the wardens and guardians of mankind, the vicegerents of the All-Merciful, and His intimates and helpers and friends, peace be upon them.

To obey the commandment in such matters means going against your own self, emptied of any power or strength, utterly devoid of all will and ambition for anything of this world or the hereafter. You come to be the servant of the King, not of the Kingdom, of His commandment and not of whim and passion. You come to resemble a babe at his nurse’s breast, a corpse receiving its ritual wash, a patient lying sprawled for treatment by the doctor, in all that is not subject to the injunctions and prohibitions [specified by the sacred law].

Only Allah is All-Knowing!

* Qadariyya should not be confused with the Qadiriyya.For more on the Qadariyya, see the Shaikh’s exposition on the 73 Sects in Volume 1 of Al-Ghunya li-Talibin.

Twenty-Second Discourse of the Sublime Revelation
February 28, 2006

It was in the guesthouse, in the early morning of the last day of Dhu’l-Qa’da, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said, after some discussion, when someone asked: “How can I evict the love of this world from my heart?”:

Notice the world’s fickle treatment of its lords [arbab] and its sons, how it tricks them, plays games with them, and pushes them behind it, then promotes them step by step, in order to raise them above the people and put them in control of them, and in order to display its treasures and its wonders. But while they are enjoying their lofty status, their dominance, their pleasant lifestyle and having the world at their service, this is when it seizes them, binds them, cheats them and throws them headlong down from that elevated position, so that they are dismembered, disintegrated and destroyed, while the world stands there laughing at them with Iblis by its side, laughing along with it. This is what it has done and will do with many of the emperors, kings and rich men, from the time of Adam (peace be upon him) till the Day of Resurrection. It exalts then abases, promotes then sets back, enriches then impoverishes, nurtures then sacrifices. Rare indeed are the few individuals who remain unharmed by it, who master it instead of being dominated by it, who receive help against it and escape its greedy clutches. There is no escape from its greedy clutches unless one knows it really well, and is intensely wary of it and of its cunning tricks.

O questioner, if you observe its faults with the eyes of your heart, you will be able to evict it from your heart. But if you look at it with the eyes in your head, you will be distracted by its charm instead of noticing its faults. You will be unable to evict it from your heart and to abstain from it, and it will kill you as it has killed others. Struggle with your own self [nafs] until it becomes tame. Once it has become tame, it will recognize the faults of this world and abstain from it. Its tameness [tuma’nina] consists in its taking instruction from the heart, complying with the wishes of the innermost being [sirr], obeying both of these in all they may command or forbid, and being satisfied when they give and patient when they withhold. Once it has become tame, it will become attached to the heart and will rely upon it. You will see the crown of pious devotion [taqwa] on its head, and the robes of nearness clothing it.

You must develop faith [iman] and belief [tasdiq], and give up disbelieving the people [of the Lord] and quarreling with them. Do not dispute with them, for they are kings in this world and the hereafter. They possess the nearness of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), so they possess everything that is apart from Him. The Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) has enriched their hearts. He has filled them with His nearness [qurb] and intimate friendship [uns] with Him, and with His radiant lights [anwar] and His gracious favor [karama]. They are not impressed by the power of those who belong to this world and of those who exploit it. They do not pay attention to its beginning, but concentrate on its final outcome [‘aqiba] and its passing away [fana’]. They focus the eyes of their innermost beings [asrar] on the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). They worship neither from fear of destruction [hulk] nor in hope of dominion [mulk]. He has created them for His own sake and to perpetuate His friendly company [suhba], and “He creates that which you do not know” (16:8), for He is “Doer of what He will” (85:16).

“When the hypocrite talks, he lies. When he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he betrays.” If a person is innocent of these vices mentioned by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), he is innocent of hypocrisy [nifaq]. These characteristics are the touchstone and the distinction between the believer [mu’min] and the hypocrite [munafiq]. Take this touchstone and this mirror, and use it to examine the face of your heart. Look to see whether you are a believer or a hypocrite, a monotheist [muwahhid] or a polytheist [mushrik].

Everything in this world is a temptation [fitna] and a distraction, except what is taken with a worthy intention [niyya saliha] for the sake of the hereafter. If one’s intention is worthy in dealing with this world, it becomes otherworldly. Any blessing [ni’ma] that is received without gratitude to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is a curse [niqma]. Secure the blessings of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) by giving thanks to Him. Two things constitute thankfulness to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He): The first is taking advantage of blessings in order to perform acts of obedience [ta’at] and to provide comfort to the poor. The second is acknowledging the Benefactor [al-Mun’im] who supplies them, and giving thanks to the One who bestows them, namely the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

A certain wise man (may the mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported as having said: “Everything that distracts you from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is unlucky [mash’um] for you.” If remembrance [dhikr] of Him distracts you from Him, it is unlucky for you. Prayer [salat], fasting [sawm], pilgrimage [hajj] and all acts of charity–all of this is unlucky for you. If His blessings distract you from Him, then they are unlucky for you. You have repaid His blessings with sins against Him and resorting in important matters to others instead of Him. Falsehood and hypocrisy have gained control of you in action and at rest, of your outer form [sura] and your inner content [ma’na], by night and by day. Satan has cunningly deceived you and has made lying and wicked deeds appear attractive to you. You are lying even in your ritual prayer [salat], because you say: “Allahu Akbar [Allah is Supremely Great]!” But you are lying, because in your heart you have a god [ilah] other than Him. Whatever you rely on is your god. Everything you fear, or look to in hope, is your god. Your heart is not in harmony with your tongue. Your deeds do not match your words. Say “Allahu Akbar” a thousand times with your heart and once with your tongue. Do you not feel ashamed of saying: “La ilaha illa’llah [There is no god but Allah],” when you have a thousand objects of worship [ma’bud] besides Him? Repent to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) for everything you are involved in.

O you who impart knowledge, though you are satisfied with it in name alone, without the practical application, what good can it do you to say, “I am a scholar,” since you are telling a lie? How can you feel at ease with yourself, when you are instructing others to do what you yourself do not practice? As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

Why do you say what you do not do? (61:2)

Woe unto you! You tell people to be honest, while you are false. You tell them to affirm the divine Unity [tawhid], while you are a polytheist [mushrik]. You tell them to be sincere, while you are a hypocrite. You tell them to give up sins, while you are committing them. The sense of shame [haya’] has departed from your sight. If you had any faith, you would feel ashamed. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said:

The sense of shame is part of faith [al-haya’u mina’l-iman].

You have no faith [iman], no conviction [iqan] and no loyalty [imana]. You have betrayed knowledge [‘ilm], so your loyalty has vanished and you been recorded with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) as a traitor. I know of no remedy for you except repentance and persistence therein. When a person has genuine faith in Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His decree, he surrenders all his affairs to Him, and makes no one a partner [sharik] to Him where they are concerned. Do not associate creatures or material means [asbab] with Him, and do not be obliged to them instead of to Him! Once the person has really achieved this, He delivers him from misfortunes in all his spiritual states [ahwal], and he now progresses from faith [iman] to conviction [iqan]. Then saintship [wilaya] will come to him, [then] Badaliyya, and then Ghawthiyya. Perhaps Qutbiyya will come in the last of his spiritual states. The Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) will glory in him [yubahi bihi] in the presence of all His creatures, be they jinn, human beings, angels or spirits [arwah]. He will promote him and draw him near. He will give him authority over His creatures. He will grant him sovereignty and power. He will love him and cause His creatures to love him.

The basis and starting point of all this is faith and belief [tasdiq] in Him and His Messengers. The foundation of this business is Islam, then faith, then putting into practice the Book of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the law [shari’a] of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), then sincerity [ikhlas] in action, together with the heart’s affirmation of Unity [tawhid]. With the perfection of faith, the believer becomes extinct [yafna] to himself, to his work, and to everything apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), so that he performs his deeds while he is in a state of detachment [ma’zil] from them. He continues to struggle with his own self [nafs] and all creatures, on the side of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), until He guides him to His path. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

As for those who strive in Our cause, We surely guide them in Our ways. (29:69)

You must be abstemious in all things, since you are now ready to accept His management [tadbir]. He turns them [His creatures] over and over with the hand of His destiny [qadar], then if they conform to it He transfers them to His power [qudra]. What bliss [ya tuba] for those who comply with destiny, who wait for the action [fi’l] of the Preordainer [al-Muqaddir], who act in accordance with destiny, who travel along with destiny, and who are not ungrateful for the blessing of destiny’s decrees [aqdar] ! The token [aya] of the blessing of the Preordainer is His mercy [rahma], nearness [qurb] to Him, and satisfaction with Him to the exclusion of all His creatures. When the servant’s heart attains to the contact with his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), He makes him so satisfied with Himself that he has no need of creatures. He draws him near, grants him power and sovereignty, and says to him:

You are today in our presence established and worthy of trust.(12:54)

He makes him vicegerent in His kingdom, as the Pharaoh of Egypt made Joseph (peace be upon him) his vicegerent, delegating to him the power to rule his kingdom and its subjects and to administer his dominion and its resources, and appointing him custodian of his treasuries. The experience of the heart is similar. Once it is truly sound, and its nobility and its purity from everything apart from its Master (Almighty and Glorious is He) are clearly apparent, He puts it in charge of His servants and His kingdom, in both worldly and otherworldly spheres, so that it comes to be like the Ka’ba of those who seek and aspire to follow the path to this knowledge [‘ilm] and practice [‘amal] through outer knowledge [al-‘ilm az-zahir].

Do not make a habit of idleness and laziness in obeying the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), because He will inflict chastisement upon you. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:

When the servant is lax in performance, Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) afflicts him with anxiety.

He afflicts him with anxiety over things that have not been allotted to him, with the worry of dependents, family problems, lack of profit in his livelihood, rebelliousness on the part of his children, and a discordant relationship with his wife. All this will affect him, whichever way he may turn, as a punishment for his laxity in obeying his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and for letting himself be distracted from Him by this world and creatures. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

What concern has Allah for your punishment if you are thankful and believe? (4:147)

Nor is it permissible for anyone to argue against Him on the grounds that his conduct and the verdict thereon were subject to His predetermination [qada’] and His predestination [qadar].

He shall not be questioned as to what He does, but they shall be questioned. (21:23)

Woe unto you! How long will you go on being preoccupied with yourself and your family, to the neglect of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He)? A certain wise man (may the mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported as having said: “When your son has learned to gather date-stones, leave him alone and concentrate on your own self together with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).” What he meant by this was that, once the boy has learned that date-stones are useful for some purpose, and that they are worth a price, he has already learned enough to fend for himself, so you should not waste your time and energy on him, since he can manage very well without you.

Teach your children practical skills, and leave yourself free to serve Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), because your wife and children can in no way enable you to dispense with Allah. Accustom yourself, your wife and your children to being satisfied with bare necessities, while you and they devote yourselves to your Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). If an abundance of fortune [rizq] awaits you in the invisible realm [al-ghaib], it will come to you at the time appointed for it in the presence of Allah. You must recognize it as from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and steer clear of idolatrous association [shirk] with creatures. If destiny does not hold such abundance in store for you, however, you can do without things through your abstemiousness [zuhd] and frugality [qana’a].

When a frugal believer has some worldly need, he enters the presence of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) with the feet of his begging, his entreaty, his humble submission and his repentance. Then, if He gives him what he wishes, he thanks Him for His gift, and if He does not grant his request, he concurs with the refusal and patiently accepts His will, with neither protest nor argument. He does not seek enrichment through his religion [din], his pretense [riya’], his hypocrisy [nifaq] and his underhand dealings [tanammus], as you do, O hypocrite [munafiq] ! Pretense, hypocrisy and sins are the cause of poverty, humiliation and dismissal from the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). The hypocritical pretender gets the things of this world through his religion, and by assuming the guise of the righteous [as-salihun] without being worthy of it. He adopts their way of speaking and their style of dress, but he does not behave as they behave. He claims to be related to them, though he is no kin of theirs. Your saying: “There is no god but Allah [la ilaha illa’llah] ” is a mere claim [da’wa]. The hard evidence [bayyina] is your total trust [tawakkul] in Him, your confidence [thiqa] in Him, and your heart’s rejection of any other than Him.

O liars, tell the truth! O fugitives from your Master, return! Direct your hearts toward the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), become reconciled with Him and apologize to Him. In the state of faith [iman], you take from this world by permission of the sacred law [shar’]. In the state of saintship [wilaya] you receive by virtue of the commandment of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), with both of them bearing witness to it, meaning with the testimony [shahada] of both the Book and the Sunna. In the state of Badaliyya and Qutbiyya, you receive through the action [fi’l] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), as you leave things up to Him.

O young man! Have you no sense of shame? Weep for yourself, because you have been deprived of right direction [sawab] and the help you need to succeed [tawfiq]. Are you not ashamed? One day you are obedient, then disobedient the next. One day you are sincere [mukhlis], but the next you are a polytheist [mushrik]. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:

If both days are the same for a person, he is defrauded [maghbun], and if someone’s yesterday was better than his today, he is deprived [mahrum].

O young man! You cannot make something happen, but you must play your part. Exert yourself and help will come from your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). Get moving in this ocean in which you are immersed, then the waves will lift you up and roll you toward the shore. The prayer [du’a’] is from you, and the response is from Him. The effort [ijtihad] is from you, and the aid to success [tawfiq] is from Him. The renunciation [tark] is from you, and the protective zeal [hamiyya] is from Him. Be sincere in your quest and He will show you the entrance to His nearness. You will see the hand of His mercy reaching out toward you, and His kindness [lutf], His generosity [karam] and His love [mahabba] all yearning for you. This is the goal of the quest of the [Lord’s] people.

What am I to do with you, O slaves of the lower selves [nufus], the natural impulses [tiba’], the passions [ahwiya] and the devils [shayatin]? I have nothing at my disposal except a truth within a truth [haqq fi haqq], an understanding within an understanding [lubb fi lubb], a purity within a purity [safa’ fi safa’], a separation [qat’] and a connection [wasl]–a separation from everything apart from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and a connection with Him.

I shall not yield to your deluded folly, O hypocrites, O pretenders, O liars! I am not ashamed to confront you. How can I feel any sense of shame before you, when you have no shame before your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), but behave insolently toward Him, and have so little respect for His care and for His angels appointed as your guardians? I possess a candid sincerity [sidq], with which I shall cut off the head of every unbeliever [kafir] and lying hypocrite [munafiq] who does not repent and return to his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) on the feet of his repentance and his apology. A certain wise man (may the mercy of Allah be upon him) is reported as having said: “Candid sincerity is the sword of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) upon His earth. It cuts through anything on which it is brought to bear.”

Take instruction from me, because I am a true counselor [nasih] for you. I seek you for your own sakes. I am dead to you and alive in the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Those who trust me in friendship will benefit and prosper, but if anyone treats me as a liar and distrusts my friendship, he will be deprived and punished both now and in the future.

The means to real knowledge [ma’rifa] of Him include giving up arguing and remonstrating with Him, and a ready acceptance of His management [tadbir]. This is why Malik ibn Dinar said to one of his pupils: “If you wish for real knowledge of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), you must be happy to accept His management and His ordainment [taqdir], and you must not treat your own self, your desire, your natural impulse and your will [irada] as partners [shuraka’] with Him in these two.”

O you who are sound in body! O you who idly neglect your tasks! What are you missing from your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He)? If your hearts were aware of this, you would feel sorrow and regret. Wake up!

O my people! You will soon be dead. Weep for yourselves, before you are wept over. You have sins crowding an uncertain outcome. Your hearts are sick with love of this world and greed to possess it. Treat them with the medicines of abstinence and renunciation, and by approaching the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Religious integrity [salamatu’d-din] is the capital, and righteous deeds [al-a’mal as-saliha] are the profits. Stop looking for things that make you go to excess, and be content with what is sufficient for you. An intelligent person takes no pleasure in anything if its lawful use must be accounted for [halaluhu hisab], while its unlawful use incurs punishment [haramuhu ‘iqab]. Most of you have forgotten about the punishment and the reckoning.

O young man! If some worldly object is present before you, and you notice that your heart is recoiling from it, you should leave it alone. But you have no heart. You are nothing but self, natural impulse and desire. You must make friends with those who do possess hearts, until you get a heart of your own. You need a wise Shaikh, who practices the law [hukm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), to train you, teach you, and give you good advice.

O you who have sold everything for nothing, and paid everything to buy nothing, you have bought this world at the price of the hereafter, and you have sold the hereafter for this world. You are a delusion within a delusion, a void within a void, ignorance within ignorance. You eat as cattle eat, without investigation, without consideration and without question, without conscious intention [niyya], without [waiting to receive] an [inner] command or action. The believer eats what is allowed by the sacred law [shar’]. The saint [wali] is ordered to eat, or forbidden to do so, as indicated by his heart [qalb]. The Badal does not concern himself with anything; things just work within him, while he is in his absence [ghaiba] with his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and his annihilation [fana’] in Him. Thus the Wali stands by the [inner] commandment, while the Badal is stripped of personal volition [ikhtiyar], and all of this is accompanied by observance of the rules of sacred law [hudud ash-shar’]. One who becomes extinct [fani] to himself and to all creatures still observes the rules of sacred law. Then he is cast adrift in the ocean of divine power [qudra]. Its waves lift him up at one moment, and plunge him down at another. Sometimes they roll him toward the shore, and at other times they let him fall to the depths of the sea. He comes to resemble the Companions of the Cave [Ashab al-Kahf], concerning whom Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

And we turned them over to the right, then over to the left. (18:18)

They had no faculties with which to think or plan or feel. They were in the House of Grace and Nearness, with their eyes closed outwardly [zahiran] and inwardly [batinan]. In like manner, therefore, this nearness will have closed the eyes of his heart to everything apart from his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), so that he sees only for His sake and through Him, and hears only from Him.

O Allah, make us extinct to everything apart from You! Cause us to exist in You, and:

Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201)

The Seventh Discourse of the Revelations of the Unseen
February 27, 2006

On removing the cares of the heart [qalb]The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said:

Step out of your own self and keep your distance from it. Practice detachment from your possessiveness, and surrender everything to Allah. Become His doorman at the door of your heart, obeying His command by admitting those He instructs you to admit, and respecting His prohibition by shutting out those He instructs you to turn away, so that you do not let passion back into your heart once it has been evicted. Passion is expelled from the heart by resistance to it and refusal to follow its urges, whatever the circumstances, while compliance and acquiescence allow it to gain entry. So do not exert any will apart from His will, for anything else is your own desire, and that is the Vale of Folly, where death and destruction await you, and falling from His sight and becoming secluded from Him. Always keep His commandments, always respect His prohibitions, and always submit to what He has decreed. Do not associate Him with any part of His creation. Your will, your passions and your carnal appetites all belong to His creation, so refrain from indulging any of them lest you become a polytheist. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer in the worship due unto his Lord. (18:110)

Polytheism [shirk] is not merely the worship of idols. It is also polytheism to yield to your own passionate desire, and to equate with your Lord anything whatsoever besides Him, be it of this world and its contents or of the Hereafter and what is contained therein. What is besides Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) is other than He, so when you rely on anything other than Him you are associating something else with Him (Almighty and Glorious is He). Therefore be wary and do not relax your guard, be fearful and do not develop a sense of security, and keep your wits about you so that you do not become careless and complacent.

Do not attribute any state or station to yourself, and have no pretensions to such things. If you are granted a special state, or elevated to some station, do not become identified with that in any way at all, for Allah is every day about some business, effecting change and transformation. He may intervene between a man and his heart, thereby separating you from what you had professed to be your own, and making you different from what you had imagined to be your fixed and permanent condition. You will then be embarrassed in the presence of those to whom you made such claims, so you had better keep these things to yourself and not convey them to others. If something does prove stable and lasting, acknowledge it as a gift, pray for the grace to be thankful, and keep it out of sight. But even if it turns out otherwise, it will still bring progress in knowledge and understanding, enlightenment, alertness and discipline. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We replace with one better or as good. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things? (2:106)

So do not underestimate the extent of Allah’s power, have no misgivings about His planning and His management, and never doubt His promise. Take as your model the fine example set by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). He experienced the abrogation of verses and chapters revealed to him, adopted in practice, recited in the niches [of the mosques], and written down in books; as they were withdrawn and changed and replaced by others, the blessed Prophet was moved to accept the new revelations. This applies to the external dispensation of the law. As for the inner aspect, the knowledge and spiritual state experienced in his own relationship with Allah, he used to say: “My heart gets coated with rust, so I beg Allah’s forgiveness seventy times each day” (“a hundred times,” according to another report).

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would be moved from one state of being to another, and made to traverse the stations of divine proximity and the spheres of the unseen. The robes of light conferred upon him were changed as he progressed, so that each new stage would make the previous one seem dark, marred by shortcomings and inadequate observance of the guidelines. Thus he was trained to practice praying for forgiveness, because that is the best state for a servant, and constant repentance, because this involves acknowledgment of sin and shortcoming–properties of human nature inherited from Adam (peace be upon him), the father of mankind.

When the purity of Adam’s spiritual state was stained by forgetfulness of the promise and covenant, he wished to dwell forever in the abode of peace, in the vicinity of the All-Merciful and Beneficent Friend, visited by the noble angels with greeting and salutation, but his self-will had come to be associated with the will of the Truth. That will of his was therefore broken, that state disappeared, that intimacy became remote, that station was degraded, those lights were dimmed, and that purity was spoiled. Then this chosen one of the All-Merciful recovered his awareness and was reminded. After being instructed in the acknowledgment of sin and forgetfulness, and trained in confession, he said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You do not forgive us, and have mercy on us, we shall surely be among the lost!” (7:23).

Then came to him the light of guidance, the knowledge and inner understanding of repentance and its hidden benefits, but for which something formerly mysterious would not have become manifest. That old will was replaced by a different one, and the original state by another. He received the supreme consecration, and repose in this world and then in the hereafter, for this world became a home for him and his offspring, and the hereafter their refuge and eternal resting place.

In Allah’s Messenger and favorite friend, therefore, as in his father Adam, the Chosen of Allah, ancestor of all dear and loving friends, you have an example to follow in confessing faults and praying for forgiveness under all circumstances.

Thirteenth Discourse of the Sublime Revelation
February 26, 2006

It was in the schoolhouse, in the late evening of Tuesday, the 4th of Dhu’l-Qa’da, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:

O young man! Give priority to the hereafter over this world, because you will then gain both of them together. If you give this world priority over the hereafter, you will lose both of them together, as your punishment for having preoccupied yourself with something you were not put in charge of. If you do not concern yourself with this world, Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will assist you to cope with it. He will provide you with the facility [tawfiq] and the opportunity to take from it, and when you do take something from it, it will be with His blessing [baraka].

The believer [mu’min] works for both his worldly and his otherworldly interests. For his worldly efforts he receives to the extent of his need. He is satisfied with the equivalent of a traveler’s provisions; he does not obtain a great deal. The ignorant fool [jahil] is wholly concerned with this world. The ascetic [‘azif] is wholly concerned with the hereafter and then the Master.

If you happen to have acquired a whole loaf of this world, and your lower self [nafs] is fighting for control and your desires are making demands, then is the time to look after those who cannot get even a slice. There is no salvation [falah] for you, until you despise your lower self and take up arms against it on the side of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

The champions of truth [as-siddiqun] can recognize one another. Each one of them picks up the scent of acceptance and truthfulness [sidq] from the another. O you who turn away from the Lord of Truth (Glorious and Exalted is He) and from the champions of truth among His servants, devoting yourselves to fellow creatures and associating with them, how long will your devotion to them last? What good can they do you? They have no power to harm or benefit, to give or to withhold. There is no difference between them and inanimate objects as far as harm and benefit are concerned. The King [al-Malik] is One. The Injurer [ad-Zarr] is One. The Benefactor [an-Nafi’] is One. The Mover [al-Muharrik] and the Bringer-to-Rest [al-Musakkin] is One. The Controller [al-Musallit] is One. The Subjugator [al-Musakhkhir] is One. The Giver [al-Mu’ti] is One. The Withholder [al-Mani’] is One. The Creator [al-Khaliq] and the Sustainer [ar-Raziq] is Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He is the Everlasting from All Eternity to All Eternity [al-Qadim al-Azali al-Abadi]. He is Existent [Mawjud] before the creation, before your fathers and your mothers and your rich folk. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, of all they contain and of what lies between them.

There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. (42:11)

How unfortunate for you, O creatures of Allah, that you do not really know your Creator! If there would be something to my credit with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) at the Resurrection, I would surely bear the burdens of you all, from the first of you to the last of you. O reciter of the Qur’an [muqri’], recite to me alone, away from the people of the heavens and the earth!

Whenever someone puts his knowledge into practice, it becomes a doorway between him and Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), through which his heart enters into His presence. As for you, O learned one, you are preoccupied with idle gossip and accumulating wealth, instead of putting your knowledge into practice, so you will surely possess only the outer form [sura] of it, without the inner content [ma’na]. When Allah (Exalted is He) wishes one of His servants well, He teaches him, then He inspires him [alhamahu] to practice [what he has learned] and to do so with sincere devotion [ikhlas]. He draws him close and brings him near to Himself, informs him and instructs him in the knowledge of the heart and the innermost being, singling him out for special favor. He selects him as He selected Moses (peace be upon him), to whom He said:

I have fashioned you for Myself. (20:41)

“Not for anything other than Me. Not for passions and pleasures and vanities. Not for the earth and not for the heavens. Not for Paradise and not for the Fire [of Hell]. Not for dominion [mulk] and not for damnation [hulk]. Nothing shall keep you from Me. No other interest shall hold your attention apart from Me. No image [sura] shall distract you from Me, and no created object [khaliqa] shall block you off from Me. No desire of the flesh [shahwa] shall satisfy you as a substitute for Me.”

O young man! Do not despair of the mercy of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) because of any sin you have committed, but wash away the dirt from the garment of your religion [din] with the water of repentance [tawba], of sustained and sincere repentance. Then perfume and disinfect that garment with the fragrance of direct experience [ma’rifa]. Beware of this situation you are in at present, because whichever way you turn there are beasts of prey all around you, and harmful influences are at work upon you. Extricate yourself from it, and restore your heart to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Do not live to suit your natural impulses [tab’], your lust [shahwa] and your passion [hawa], but to meet the standards of two impartial witnesses [shahidan ‘adlan], namely the Book [of Allah] and the Sunna [of the Prophet]. Then look for two other witnesses, namely your heart and the working [fi’l] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). If the Book, the Sunna and your heart have given you permission, wait for the fourth, meaning the working of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). Do not be like one who gathers wood at night, who gathers without knowing what he may be picking up. [Wait] for it to be Creator-and-creature [al-Khaliq wa’l-khalq]. This is not something that comes with self-flattery, wishful thinking, affectation and artificiality. Rather is it something that resides within the breast [sadr], and is confirmed by work [‘amal]. Which work? The work that is done for the sake of Allah (Exalted is He).

O young man! Good health lies in giving up the quest for good health. Affluence lies in giving up the quest for affluence. The remedy lies in giving up the quest for the remedy. The whole of the remedy consists in submission [taslim] to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), in cutting material ties [asbab] and repudiating overlords [arbab] as far as your heart is concerned. The remedy lies in affirmation of the Oneness of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) with the heart, not with the tongue alone. The affirmation of Oneness [tawhid] and abstinence [zuhd] are not incumbent on the body and the tongue. The affirmation of Oneness must be in the heart. Abstinence must be in the heart. Pious devotion [taqwa] must be in the heart. Direct experience [ma’rifa] must be in the heart. Knowledge [‘ilm] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) must be in the heart. Love [mahabba] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) must be in the heart, and nearness [qurb] to Him must be in the heart.

Be sensible. Do not be foolish. Do not behave artificially or in an affected manner. Your present condition is one of foolishness, artificiality, affectation, falsehood, pretense and hypocrisy. Your sole concern is getting people to notice you. Do you not realize that every step you take with your heart toward creatures is a step away from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He)? You claim to be a seeker of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), when you are really a seeker of creatures. Your likeness is that of someone who says he wishes to proceed to Mecca, then goes off in the direction of Khurasan and so gets farther away from Mecca. You claim that your heart has become detached from creatures, when you actually fear them and pin your hopes on them. Your outer show [zahir] is abstinence, but your inner reality [batin] is appetite [raghba]. Your outer show is the Truth [al-Haqq], but your inner reality is the creation [al-khalq].

This business is not accomplished by wagging the tongue. This state of being [hala] has no room in it for creatures, for this world or the hereafter, or for anything at all apart from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). He is Single [wahid] and He accepts only what is single. He is Single and accepts no partner, for He is in charge of your business. You must accept what you are told. Creatures are powerless to cause you injury or bring you benefit; in such matters they are merely instruments of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). He may deal with you and with them as He sees fit. The pen has run dry on Allah’s knowledge (Almighty and Glorious is He) of what is due to you and what you owe.

The righteous affirmers of Unity [al-muwahhidun as-salihun] are Allah’s evidence [hujja] against the rest of His creatures. Some of them divest themselves of this world both outwardly and inwardly, while some of them divest themselves of it only insofar as their inner is concerned. The Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) sees no trace of it on their inner beings. These are the pure hearts [al-qulub as-safiya]. When someone is capable of this, he is granted the dominion of creatures. He is the valiant hero [ash-shuja’ al-batal]. The hero is he who purifies his heart of all that is apart from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and stands at His gate with the sword [saif] of the affirmation of Unity and the finely wrought blade [samsama] of the sacred law [shar’], allowing no created thing to enter into His presence. He connects his heart [qalb] to the Transformer of hearts [Muqallib al-qulub].

The sacred law gives training to the outer. The affirmation of Unity and gnosis [ma’rifa] give training to the inner. Hey you there! Nothing comes out of “they said…, and we said…” You say: “This is unlawful [haram],” yet you are committing it. You say: “This is lawful [halal],” yet you neither do it nor apply it. You are stupidity within stupidity. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is reported as having said:

Woe to the ignorant person one time, and to the learned person seven times.

One woe to the ignorant person for not knowing, and woe to this scholar seven times over, because he knows and does not act [‘alima wa-ma ‘amila]. The blessedness [baraka] of knowledge is taken away from him, while its value as evidence [hujja] against him remains. You must study and then practice. Then withdraw into into your private space [khalwa] away from creatures, and devote yourself to the love [mahabba] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). When you have genuinely achieved such solitary devotion and love, He will draw you toward Himself, bring you close to Himself and absorb you into Himself. Then, if Allah so wishes, He will make you famous and put you on public display, and send you back to fulfill your destiny [aqsam]. He will give orders to the wind of His predestination [sabiqa] and His foreknowledge [‘ilm] concerning you, so it will blow against the walls of your private place and throw them down. He will make your business known to His creatures, so you will be among them on His account, not on your own account. You will receive your allotted shares [aqsam] in full, but free from the bad influences of the self [nafs], natural impulse [tab’] and desire [hawa]. He will return you to [the fulfillment of] your destiny so that the principle [qanun] of His foreknowledge concerning you shall not be annulled. You will experience all that has been allotted to you, while your heart remains with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

Hear and become aware, O ignorant ones, of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His saints [awliya’]. O you who disparage the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His saints! The truth is the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and falsehood is you, O creatures. The truth [al-haqq] resides in the hearts [qulub], the innermost beings [asrar] and the spiritual contents [ma’ani], while falsehood [al-batil] resides in the lower selves [nufus], the passions [ahwiya], the natural impulses [tiba’], the habitual modes of behavior [‘adat], the ways of the world and all that is apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

This heart cannot prosper until it is connected to the close presence of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), the Everlasting from All Eternity [al-Qadim al-Azali], the Enduring for All Eternity [ad-Da’im al-Abadi]. Do not try to compete, O hypocrite, for you have nothing better than this. You are the slave [‘abd] of your bread and butter and your candies, of your clothes and your horse and your worldly authority. The sincere heart [al-qalb as-sadiq] travels away from creatures toward the Creator. When it sees things along the way, it salutes them and passes by.

Those men of learning who put their learning into practice [al-‘ulama’ al-‘amiluna bi-‘ilmihim] are the deputies of the venerable forefathers [nuwwab as-salaf]. They are the heirs [waratha] of the Prophets [al-anbiya’] and the remnants of the worthy successors [al-khalaf]. They are paraded before these noble predecessors, who command them to build constructively in the city [madina] of the sacred law [shar’], and forbid them to let it go to ruin. They shall be assembled on the Day of Resurrection, they and the Prophets (peace be upon them) together, to receive their reward in full from their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).

As for the scholar who does not put his knowledge into practice, Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has compared him to a donkey, for He has said:

Their likeness is as the likeness of a donkey carrying tomes. (62:5)

The “tomes” [asfar] are the books of knowledge. Can a donkey derive any benefit from such books? It gets nothing from them but a weary burden and fatigue. When a person acquires more knowledge, he must also acquire more fear of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and greater obedience to Him. O you who lay claim to knowledge, where is your connection with the fear of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)? Where are your caution and your dread? Where is your acknowledgment of your sins? Where is your link with the light in the darkness, through obedience to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)? Where is your self-discipline, your struggle with the self and your hostility against it on the side of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He)? The only things you aspire to are the robe and the turban, food and sexual intercourse, houses and shops, spending time with people and enjoying their company. Turn your attention away from all of these things, because if any share in them is destined for you, it will come to you in its own good time. Meanwhile, your heart can be relieved of the strain of anticipation and the burden of greed, residing with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). So why exhaust yourself over something that requires no effort?

O young man! Your seclusion [from the world] is corrupt, not genuine. It is polluted, not purified. What am I to do with you? In your heart there is no genuine affirmation of Unity [tawhid], no true sincerity [ikhlas]. O sleepy ones who are not sleepily neglected! O rejecters who are not rejected! O forgetful ones who are not forgotten! O abandoners who are not abandoned! O you who are ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and those who came in earlier or later times, you are like sawn-off lengths of wood that are fit for no useful purpose!

Our Lord, give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201)

The Eighth Discourse of the Revelations of the Unseen
February 25, 2006

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!

 

The Lover who read Sonnets to his Mistress
February 24, 2006

*May it be a warning, here follows some very deep words of Tasawwuf by Allamah Rumi, may heavenly light illuminate his grave.*

STORY VI of Book 3

A lover was once admitted to the presence of his mistress, but, instead of embracing her, he pulled out a paper of sonnets and read them to her, describing her perfections and charms and his own love towards her at length. His mistress said to him, “You are now in my presence, and these lover’s sighs and invocations are a waste of time. It is not the part of a true lover to waste his time in this way. It shows that I am not the real object of your affection, but that what you really love is your own effusions and ecstatic raptures. I see, as it were, the water which I have longed for before me, and yet you withhold it. I am, as it were, in Bulgaria, and the object of your love is in Cathay. One who is really loved is the single object of her lover, the Alpha and Omega of his desires. As for you, you are wrapped up in your own amorous raptures, depending on the varying states of your own feelings, instead of being wrapped up in me.”
The true mystic must not stop at mere subjective religious emotions, but seek absolute union with God. *1
Whoso is restricted to religious raptures is but a man;
Sometimes his rapture is excessive, sometimes deficient.
The Sufi is, as it were, the “son of the season,”
But the pure (Safi) is exalted above season and state.
Religious raptures depend on feelings and will,
But the pure one is regenerated by the breath of Jesus.
You are a lover of your own raptures, not of me;
You turn to me only in hope of experiencing raptures.
Whoso is now defective, now perfect,
Is not adored by Abraham; he is “one that sets.”
Because the stars set, and are now up, now down,
He loved them not; “I love not them that set.” *2
Whoso is now pleasing and now unpleasing
Is at one time water, at another fire.
He may be the house of the moon, but not the true moon;
Or as the picture of a mistress, but not the living one.
The mere Sufi is the ” child of the season;”
He clings to seasons as to a father,
But the pure one is drowned in overwhelming love.
A child of any one is never free from season and state.
The pure one is drowned in the light cc that is not begotten,”
“What begets not and is not begotten” is God. *3
Go I seek such love as this, if you are alive;
If not, you are enslaved by varying seasons.
Gaze not on your own pictures, fair or ugly,
Gaze on your love and the object of your desire.
Gaze not at the sight of your own weakness or vileness,
Gaze at object of your desire, O exalted one.
*NOTES:
1. See Gulshan i Raz, I. 850.
2. Quran vi. 77.
3. Quran cxii. 3.