My dear Children, there are only two steps. If you could take them you will reach to Truth. If you could take a step with your heart and with your soul away from the world, and even away from your aspirations for the hereafter, and if you would take a step with your physical being away from the people and what they represent., you will arrive to the Truth. But you will arrive to the beginning of the Truth. If you take those two steps and arrive to the beginning, Allah, the Generous One, will give you to whole Truth.
But this is not done lying in your feather bed, closing your doors and your window to the outside, doing nothing. You must get out, declare to the world your wish to work and strive and find yourself the best work fit for you.
Your must build and realize that a building built on strong foundations is permanent, if not it will soon collapse. Your actions, your life, must be built on Allah’s laws of the Shariah. If your life is dependent on Allah’s wishes and pleasure, no one and nothing can disturb it.
Don’t talk to others about God and the ways to come close to Him. You don’t have the right to do that. Very few are given the permission to speak to others about God. The seeker should keep quiet and rather think and listen. The ones who are permitted to speak often do not wish to speak. It is hard and painful for them to talk about Truth which they have not experiences. But, for them who are permitted to speak about Truth, sooner or later the Truth becomes visible. Only to those who could say, like our master, Imam Ali r.a., “If the veils will be lifted to show me all of Truth, nothing will be added to the certainty and security of my faith. He also said that he would not worship a God whom he cannot see and said, “My heart showed me my Lord.”
Knowledge is learned from those who know. But it also depends on you. It depends on seeking those peoples company with an intention to receive knowledge and wisdom from them with a firm decision not to oppose, doubt or question their declarations and to sit respectfully in their presence and be conscious. Any other intention and behavior will render you blind and deaf to any teaching.
The one who knows his Lord, in every moment comes closer to Him than he was the moment before. The future is not invisible to him, neither unknown, so he is not in fear of the future, he rather fears the present. The future brings him closer the the knowledge of his Lord. Whoever comes closer to Allah and knows Him, his physical self, his nature, his body, his habits, his customary state becomes paralyzed, speechless. On the other hand, his essence, his heart, his inner state, his spiritual level become very much alive and active. They speak, but not with words, and those who are close to Him come to know themselves. The manifestation of this self knowledge is their humbleness. One’s self, the ego, is a veil between man and his Lord. The one who truly knows himself is wary of it, is humbled by it and thankful to his Lord for showing his ego to him and in this feeling of smallness, and thankfulness to his Lord, which made him know himself, he comes to know his Lord. That is why it is said that he who knows himself, knows his Lord. The one who knows his Lord does all to express his thankfulness to his Lord, while his inner life is preoccupied in praising his Lord. This makes his exterior image very high and impressive, while his inner life is being gathered together and unified. His exterior appears to be sad, his joy is within. That is how Allah hides the state of those who are close to Him. The one who knows himself appears to be different from the other believers. The faithful Muslim appears to be in a particular state, but that particular state changes from day to day, while the knower of God is fixed at a level and that level does not change. That is why this fixed state of the ones close to Allah seems strange to the ones who change. To the ones who change, the ones who are fixed seem to be changing, while they are fixed.
Hadrat Hasan ul Basri, k.s., addresses us saying: “If you would ever see someone close to his Lord, you would think that he is insane. And if they would see you, they would think that you did not believe for one moment that God existed.”
Amongst the faithful there are some amongst the devout who try to separate themselves from the rest of the world and hide, while a believer who goes out into the world and helps people to do what is right and prevents them from doing wrong are a thousand times worthier than the devout who are in seclusion. The ones who seek to isolate themselves, mostly believe that they are better than the rest of the world and wish to protect themselves from them. Even the few amongst them who know themselves seek seclusion to prevent their egos from making others suffer as it makes themselves suffer. But they believe that in seclusion the problem of the malefficient influence of their egos is solved, thus, they stop fighting their egos which is a dangerous situation because the enemy is still there unless they have been able to convince and enforce upon their egos the rights of their essence and soul. Those are the ones who have reached the level of “Nafsi Mutmainah,” the self- satisfied self, when the desires of the flesh are reduced to what Allah has ordained and selected for you and your ego orders you to do what your heart and soul tell you to do and your ego forbids you what Allah forbids.
Allah speaks to you in your language in the Holy Quran. That is your connection with Him, the only way to reach Him. Behave in accordance with what it says, act in accordance with and assume the character of the true Muslim and the true human being as indicated in it. Respect it; don’t think of it as a created thing, for it is not. It is Allah’s word from the time before the before and will exist through eternity. Allah, Himself, says in it that it is His words. Imam Shafi and Imam Hanbali said, “Indeed the pen, the ink and the paper are created, but the pen writes on the paper in the Quran is not created. The one who memorizes the Quran, his mind, his memory is created, but what he has memorized is not created.
Are you holding onto anything? Do you stand for something? Is your Islam firm? Islam is the foundation upon which everything is built. When you say, “La illahe ilallah,” there is no god but Allah, your heart opposes it, for in it are many gods. You fear those gods more than you fear Allah: the bank, the police, government, your boss, your husband, your wife. Those are your gods. Then there is your confidence in your work, in your income, in your strength, in your eye in your ear, more than you believe in Allah. They too are your gods. Yet, you still believe that when you say “La illahe Ilallah,” it makes you a believer and a Muslim. Even if you repeated it a million times, you will receive nothing for it. As long as the heart is filled with dirt, as long as you have thousands of gods, as long as you are in a thousand pieces yourself, you are a toy for the devil. Only unity and oneness can overcome the evil. The essence, the true existence of words and actions and attributes is sincerity. Without sincerity everything is like a shell, empty of anything worthy or useful. A shell would make good kindling; that is what it is for.
Your thousand selves, shells without anything inside, all claim divinity. They are arrogant against your Creator. They want other than what Allah wants and gives. They don’t love Him nor even recognize Him. On the contrary, they feel whatever is against Allah, the devils, are their allies. And when their destiny falls upon them, they are shocked, they fight against it, they don’t know what patience is. They have no idea what is the truth of Islam.
That is what you depend on, your many gods, what you fear. You have forgotten Allah, but you will soon find that all that you depend on will soon leave you, for only Allah brings things into existence and moves them, gives them and takes them, but you do not see that. Haven’t you heard that angels do not enter a house where there are idols. How do you expect angels to enter your heart.
Oh the servant of the world, listen well. Oh the servant of the hereafter, you also listen. The one who doesn’t know his own Lord, his own Creator, Allah, doesn’t know the hereafter or this world. It is what you imagine to be the world and your false hopes for the hereafter, that is who your gods are. All your hopes depend on people like you. You expect everything from them. Your parents, your husbands, your wives, your children, your boss, your sheikh, your love and fear is also to and from them. They also are your gods.
Then there is money. Like the Bani Israil at the time of Moses who worshiped the golden calf, money is the golden calf of the people of today.
Allah ordered this world of yours to be a tyrannical lord over you and to use you as a lowly slave, if you take the world as your Lord. He ordered the world to be a docile obedient servant to the ones who know their true Lord.
Your personal devil, who leads you astray is your ego. As long as you are on its side, as long as you obey it and feed it with everything it asks of you, you are under its command. You must fight it but you cannot kill it, for you will die with it. In your fight with it you must give what is due to it, but not give in to its insatiable lust for luxury, fun and games and, above all, its not caring about others in order to obtain what it wants. His rights, what is due to him, is to feed yourself with lawful food and not to eat before you are hungry and stop eating before you are full, to clothe yourself, to protect yourself from the elements and to appear decent and pleasant to the ones you are with and to have a roof over your head. This is the rightful due of you ego. You must refuse it the excessive fun and recreation, the desires of the flesh, luxury and excess in food, clothing and belongings. When you restrict your appetites, your ambition for fame and wealth, your ego will fall under your command. In your present state and circumstance, the best action is to oppose what you want.
Neither do you know with whom you really are because as long as you look with the eyes if your ego you cannot recognize the people with whom you are. In any case, as long as you are with people and under their influence you will never know the truth. Allah says on the subject of opposing the demands of your ego and of the opinions of people around you:
“As to the people who struggle for Our sake, We lead them to the straight path.” [Ankebut 29:69]
And that straight path is the Shariah, the way Allah wants us to live. When you follow the Shariah, pray, fast, pay your zekat, be humble and generous, forgiving and considerate to others, that will further weaken your ego, but not kill it. Allah says:
“Do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is most compassionate.”
Service for Allah’s sake is also a means of educating your ego. Allah says:
“If you help Allah’s religion, He will help you.” [Muhammed 47:7]
By teaching yourself patience, you will teach your ego patience. Especially, show patience in following Allah’s orders and in avoiding Allah’s prohibitions. With patience you will find satisfaction with what you have and avoid ambition. You will find humbleness and save yourself from arrogance. You will opt for the right and against the wrong. You will not see ugliness; everything will become beautiful. Things you regretted before will become objects of thankfulness to Allah. From being distant you will come close to your Lord. Instead of running partners to Allah and worshiping a thousand idols, you will find unity in yourself and will know only Allah. There would be no opposites in you. All directions will be one. And the people will neither bring you benefit nor loss, but certainly you will be beneficent to them.
But, your patience will end, finally, because the period of patience has its limits. When the period of patience ends then the period of gathering rewards for your patience will start and that has no end.
Hold on to reality. Yes! It presents trouble, dangers and difficulties, while you like things easy. Imagination is easy and that is how your ego satisfies you, to imagine yourself a king, while you are a pauper. That is how it keeps you under its hand and it will be so until your ego becomes your servant instead of your master. You need allies in your fight against your evil commanding self. Seek friends who will help you in your battle against your ego. But you prefer friends with whom you have fun, who encourage and strengthen the desires of your ego. Even when you seek a spiritual teacher, you find a sheikh who has many faces, a hypocrite, ignorant, who uses big words without meaning, who himself is under the command of his ego, seeking money, fame and fun and games.
You say that you study, you read, you learn and certainly you talk a lot, but you don’t act upon what you claim to know and you are not ashamed to talk in front of Truth, while you should stay silent until permission comes for you to speak. Only then will your words be worth listening to, because it will not be from you, but from Truth.
Don’t you see what is a veil between your Lord and you is you, yourself. Remove yourself, then you will see the Truth. The way to remove yourself is to oppose your ego, close your ears to his demands of pleasures and certainly not help him to realize his insatiable lust. And when he is weakened, teach him that what he wants will lead to the destruction of both of you, that the salvation of both of you depends upon putting a limit upon his desires. Perchance you will succeed and your evil commanding ego will be transformed into the “self satisfied self” who is ready to accept the Truth and who now has a different soul, the soul of the mind.
There are two kinds of death. One is what everyone knows, the physical death, the end of your worldly life, but the other, which is known by the chosen, is death of one’s worldliness, the death of desires, the death of one’s blind nature, the death of one’s bad habits and customs and acquired character. This is the state of dying before dying, this is the elimination of the veil between you and your :Lord. It is after that death that your heart will truly become alive and that you will truly start living an eternal life of truth, and then your destiny will be in your hand and you can turn it which ever way you desire.
The One who created you will recreate you after you shed all negativity, imagination and heedless actions from your existence. First He will make you disappear, then He will return you to an eternal life. Hadrat Bayazid Bistam said: “I dreamt of my Lord and asked Him, ‘teach me how to reach you, my Lord.’ and Allah said: ‘leave yourself and come.’ And, like a snake sheds its skin, I left my ego and reached Him.” The intelligent one passes his trials of the day of last judgement while he is here. So learn to shed tears before the trial and the pain comes.
The idea of destiny bothers you. Even if you can convince yourself to believe in it, then it leads you into laziness or misconduct, even to violence and crime. Then all you have to say is, what can one do, this is my destiny. Allah says:
“Allah is not responsible for what He does, while men will
be held responsible for what they do.” [Enbiya 21:23]
Man is to take the middle road, work and spend effort in what he believes to be right and then leave it in the hand of Allah to turn it which ever way He wishes. When things go right, we believe either that we did right or that the One in whose hand is our destiny considers us close to Him, and we become proud and slack in our efforts. Beware, whoever wrote that favorable destiny is also able to erase it. So, walk on tip-toe with fear and care and obedience through this life until the time comes that you will find true security in the hereafter and come to know truly what your destiny is. Allah says in one of the books he sent: “I am Allah, there is no other worthy of worship but I. Whoever submits to my will, whoever shows patience to tribulations which I cause, whoever is thankful to the gifts which I bestow, I count him amongst My most sincere servants and they belong to Me. Whoever does not submit, accept what comes from Me, whether good or bad and is not thankful to me is not with me and should look for another god other than me.” Whatever will come to you will come to you; whatever is destined for someone else will never come to you no matter how hard you try. When you don’t accept this or show patience when trouble comes and be thankful for the good things which come your way. Go find yourself another god accept Allah, but there is no other god but Him.
You wear robes, strange hats and carry long prayer beads to appeared different from others. Of course, not only different but better. One doesn’t become a Muslim by wearing strange cloths, nor a mystic by putting on a green turban. If you can make your essence, your heart, your inner self wear it, perhaps it would mean something. Purity, love and fear of Allah starts from one’s inner life, then evolves towards one’s exterior: first the feeling and the thought and the intention and the decision, then the outward action. It never works from outside towards inside, like building a house without any plans of what is going to be inside. First you have to put order within the house, then open its door to the outside. There is no outside without inside; there is no creation without Creator.
Before you dress like a Muslim and show your Islam and your devotion with a fanfare, know what Islam means. It means total obedience and submission without any condition or limitation. It means purity and sincerity, selflessness. After knowing this and accepting it and acting as Muslim, you do not need to wear clothes that are different from others cloths. Our actions, which are done to show off, which have no inner support. which is insincere, is like a nut shell with out the fruit, is a dried tree, is a corpse without a soul, is an image without meaning. Act without words. Be sincere without hypocrisy. Do instead of talking about it. And when you act, do it for Allah’s sake, not to show off to people. Be one without partners. If you think that you are a sufi, the word comes from “saf” which means pure, clean, true and real.
If you want to stay on the path to truth, if you want to come close to your Creator, expect to be tested. It is a necessity. If it weren’t for hard tests to pass, anyone who wanted could have claimed to be a saint. In fact one of the saints said, “Extreme trouble and pain is the gate to sainthood. None could arrive to their Lord without passing through that narrow gate.” If only the trouble would clearly come from one’s Lord, but most, if not all, comes through man, which makes it harder to accept, to show patience and to forgive, which are the prerequisite character for someone who has a chance to come close to Allah. If you care to look and to remember, you will realize that you are being tested with the opposite of what you claim to be. If you pretend to be a calm, good natured person, you are tested by situations which push you into extreme anger. If you claim to be valorous, horrors are sent upon you to push you to fear. If you claim to be generous, you are made to be obliged to pay so much that to give becomes a pain And it never ends until the very end when and if you reach that sainthood,, when Allah’s love totally fills your heart, when He will give you all without retaining anything, when you feel totally blessed, a friend of Allah, placed high on a pedestal, recipient of all divine advantages, then He will pull you down, like He did to Job. He will send back the world, your flesh with all the lust that it possesses, your ego, stronger than before. And He places an insurmountable wall between Himself and you. It is much harder for the rich who has been made destitute to show patience, than the poor who has become poorer. Don’t run away from trouble and pain and sickness, because pain if faced with patience is the origin of all good, is the foundation of salvation. Pain and trouble is the source of sincere love and faith, finding the truth, coming close to one’s Lord, of sainthood, of prophethood, but if you do not show patience when you are tested, then there is no foundation for you to build on.
If you are one of those fortunate ones to whom Allah has given free food and drink and health and youth, made you sit at His own table to partake of His feast of gifts, love and care and opened for you all the gates to all the truths. Remember that the payment for all of this is never to be sure that you can keep it. This world, this life, is a place of test, an exile of darkness, the only light which we receive is a lightening with a thunder and the rain follows it.
When the prophet Moses’s troubles reached the extreme, in the darkness of the night and the suffering of his wife, the strength of his faith surfaced showing him the signs of his Lord.:
“When he saw a fire, he said to his people,’stay, I see a fire.’”
What he meant was as a response to the troubles of this world, my essence, my heart, the meaning inside of me saw a light. Whatever was meant for me in eternity, my salvation, has come to me, as a separation from man and beast and closeness to my Lord. To enforce His commandments, what is real came to me. Whatever is superficial has left me. The real Lord came to me. The human lords left me. The fear of Pharoah is gone from me, it went to the heart of the Pharoah and the likes of the Pharoah. Then Moses left his people in the care of his Lord and walked towards that light which was the manifestation of the divine attribute . . . That is how it is with the true believer. When Allah wishes to bring him close to Him and calls him to the door of His friendship, in awe the faithful turns to his right and to his left and looks all around but every dimension is closed to him except the direction to his Lord. Then he turns to himself, to his flesh, to the members of his body, to the needs of his body, to his customs and habits and to whatever and whomever he is attached and says to them, “The reflection of the light of my heart was shown to me and I am made to love it for it comes from my Lord. I must go to it, if I am ever permitted to come back, I will come back to you.” Then the believer takes leave of his worldly life and what it contains. All its problems and pleasures and causes and effects, of all and everything which is created, all and everything which is other than Allah, the Eternal. And whoever takes that voyage to his Creator, whomever and whatever he has left behind will be taken care of by Allah, the Generous-One.
This cannot be done by fasting during the day and praying at night, neither by wearing the garb of the sufi and the mystic while the heart is full of desires. When one’s nature is that of a fauve, even good intentions become ambitions, when one’s mind is dark with ignorance and one’s heart is filled with filth. Nothing will ever be attained this way. The mystery is in the secret of the secret. One has to see the secret as Moses did on the slopes of Mount Sinai. What secret had he seen? Wsith the eyes of his head, a burning bush. With the eye of his heart he saw the manifestation of his Lord in a divine light. With the eyes of his head he saw a passing thing, with the eyes of heart he was shown the eternal truth. And what his heart saw changed all his material being and the material beings around him.
When a servant of Allah becomes one with his Lord, there are some occasions when he is brought to a level where he is given the power to create like the inhabatants of Paradise who will say, “Be,” and whatever they wish will become. But to the select, this power is given in this world. What happened to Moses also happened to Abraham, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon their souls. When Nimrod put Abraham in the catapult to throw him into the fire, Abraham became isolated from everything in this world which could help him and he did not count on anyone but his Lord. That is why his Lord put Nimrod’s fire under the power of Abraham and:
“He said: ‘Oh fire, be coolness and peaceful for Abraham.’”
And the fire turned into a rose garden.
Just remember, nothing comes to anyone by itself and for no reason. A gift is given to someone who is worthy of a gift and on an occaison. To obtain what you hope for, even what is destined for you, you must work hard and spend effort. In order to know, you have to learn, and to know is to act upon your knowledge, to apply it in your life. Learn, know, act upon your knowledge, before you attempt to teach it to others. But you talk of things of which you have no experience, of things you really don’t know, things you have just memorized and are angry that nobody listens. If you truly knew, even if you didn’t speak, knowledge speaks with the tongue of action.
First learn about the physical world and learn about physical life and how to interact with others in this life, in this world. When you know enough, when you live right and behave properly, then cross the bridge to spiritual knowledge. Your actions in this world of matter will carry you to the realms of spirit, of finer matter. The knowledge of this world sheds light upon the affairs of this world, but when you act upon your knowledge you come closer to your Lord and the light of your life in this world sheds light upon the path to the realms of the spirit. The source of all knowledge, our Master , the Prophet, says: “The men of knowledge are the heirs of the prophets.” They are men who come close to their Lord by living in accordance with their knowledge. Bookish knowledge, or knowledge learned through heresay, knowledge with out action, without effect, without experience is a shell, while action is the fruit in it. The shell is for the protection from the loss of the fruit. The fruit is life giving. If there is nothing in the shell, it is worthless, as knowledge which one does not profit from by putting it into action, is worthless. The Prophet says; “Knowledge begs to be used in action. If it is not used, it leaves and goes to someone else.”
All this being said is not understood by the ones who do not act upon their knowledge. They don’t even hear it. Listen; start working. Nothing comes to you by itself. You must go to it. As you spent time and effort to obtain your sustenance, which is due to you, why don’t you spend time and effort to do good deeds and to live as you are meant to live which is your insurance for your peace and salvation in this world and in the hereafter. There is yet another danger. Your actions are not worth anything if they are just forms, images. What makes them acceptable is the sincerity of your intentions and the meaning of the actions. Use your mind. Behave according to logic and be humble. For the little good you do, you don’t only show pride to other people, you are showing off to your Lord. Even if you conquer all the miseries of the world, it has no value for Allah unless you do it for His sake, with sincerity, secretly, not assuming any credit for it. What makes you worthy of Allah’s consideration and gift is truthfulness, sincerity, uprightness, the love and fear of Allah and trust in Him, to be satisfied with your lot and to submit to His will. This is the meaning of Islam. If you don’t act upon what you know, the knowledge will certainly leave you, but what will stay with you is the blame of not having used it. The blame manifests itself with arrogance and self-love for the knowledge which you imagine youstill have. If Allah bestowed upon you the privilege of knowing and living with your knowledge, then pray and beg Allah that He hide this privilige in you because, to publicize what you have between you and your Lord, is asking for certain disaster. Do not even open your mouth to speak before you are sure of its effect on others. In fact, do not speak before you receive permission and orders from your Lord to speak. How can you invite a crowd for dinner if you have nothing in your house to eat. How can you build a house in the air without a foundation. First dig into the ground of your heart deep enough to find the source of wisdom, then using the mortar of sincerity and the bricks of actions with pure intentions, build your foundation. Upon it you will build the palace of conscience, care for others, generosity, kindness and valor, peace and security, then invite people in. Remember that every member of your body, every faculty you have is ill. The medication which will cure these sicknesses is to prevent all your members and faculties from sinning. If you prevent your hand from taking what does not belong to it and from touching what is unlawful and from destroying that which is built or hurting others, that is the medication to cure the sickness of your hand. When your heart is emptied of hatred and envy and love of the pleasures of this world and of the doubt of the beneficence of your Lord, it is on its way to being cured. Your heart is the place of your conscience, a better place to ask for decisions than seeking the advise of other people, even authorities and the decisions made by your intellect. For instance, in sharing your possessions, your mind will say no, the society in fact even the person with which you wish to share will look upon it with suspission. It i only your heart that will tell you that what you own is not yours. It is common property. Your dependents are your partners, your neighbors are your partners, everyone who is in need whom you know, are your partners. Again there will be people who claim to be in need, hypocrites, cheaters who wish to take advantage. Even those who pass religious edicts may say to give to the ones who ask, but this is a test amongst many. Ask your heart for your decision, it may show you not only that these people do not need what they ask for, but their presence is a hinderence for the truly in need to obtain what they need. The reason that you have been given things to share is the desire of Allah, the Sustainer, to make you test yourself to see what you will do. You must solve your own problems with your own efforts. You must reach for your Lord by your own hand, You must pray to and praise Him with your own tongue. Nothing will come to you by itself. You have to go to get it. It is not right to wish to pray and ask from Allah’s generosity and whether you receive or not say that that is your destiny. You must spend the effort for what you wish to have, then, whether you receive it or not is for your Creator to judge, for we know not what is good for us, but He does. This is work for this world and work for the hereafter. You may not see the fruit of your efforts in this world, but someone will surely come to complete it even if you meet your Lord before finishing it. But you will certainly receive the benefit of it in the hereafter.
Fear and love Allah. Even if there were no joy and pain in this world, nor Paradise and Hell in the hereafter, Allah is certainly worthy to be loved to be hoped for and to fear. Obey Him and submit your little will to His greater will, hoping only for His pleasure and satisfaction with you. You should neither think of His gifts and rewards nor of His punishment, but be a true servant, doing what He asks you to do shying away from what He forbids you to do and show patience when His will overshadows your will. Turn to Him and shed tears, not only with the eyes of your head, but with the eyes of your heart. Humble yourself in front of Him. To cry is an expression of humbleness, to cry is repentance, to cry is true worship.
All that you need in this world and in the hereafter is His love. Consider this the most important thing in your life and the sign of His love for you is the love which you feel for Him in your heart. This is the only thing which will bring any benefit to you. All other love which others feel for you or you feel for others is for personal benefit, but only your Lord loves you for yourself and the fear of Him is not the fear of His punishment in this world nor the fire of the