Whoever Opposes His Shaykh Cannot Continue on His Path

            Allah Most High, in the story of Moses (as) and Khidr (as), said, “Moses said to him [Khidr], Shall I follow you so that you will give me good guidance out of what you know?” (Surah Kahf 18:66)

            The Imam al-Qushayri (ks) said: “When Moses wanted the companionship of Khidr, he followed the prescribed behavior. First, he asked permission to keep company with Khidr. Then Khidr specified that Moses should not oppose him in anything, or offer resistance to any decision. When Moses did object to Khidr’s actions, Khidr ignored this the first and second times. Then the third time came, and three is the end of “a little” and the beginning of “a lot,” Khidr insisted that they part company. He said, ‘This is the parting between me and you.’

(Surah Kahf 18:78)”

            I heard Abul-Husayn al-Ahwazi (ra) say, from Anas ibn Malik (ra), that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said:

            “No young man honors an old man [shaykh] in his old age without Allah Most High appointing someone to show him honor in his own old age.”

            I heard Master Abu ‘Ali al-Daqqaq (ra) say: “The beginning of all separation is opposition.”

            By this he meant that whoever opposes his shaykh cannot continue on his path. The bond between them is severed, even though they may come together in the same place. Whoever keeps company with any shaykh and then resists him in his heart has wronged the vow of companionship. Such a person must repent, although the shaykhs have said, “There is no repentance for disobeying teachers.”

            I heard Shaykh Abu ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Sulami (ks) say: “During the lifetime of my shaykh, Master Abu Sahl al-Su’luki (ks), I traveled to the city of Merv. Before I left, he was holding sessions for reading the Qur’an in the mornings between dawn and sunrise. When I came back, I found that he had left that custom. Instead, at the same hour, he was meeting with Abul-‘Affani for singing sessions and audition. I wondered at this, and began saying to myself, ‘How could he want to substitute singing for reading the Qur’an?’ One day he said to me, ‘Tell me, Abu ‘Abdul-Rahman. What are people saying about me?’

‘They are saying, ‘He has given up Qur’an sessions for singing sessions!’ I replied.

‘Whoever asks his teacher ‘Why?’ will never prosper!’ said he.”

            It is well known that Junayd (ks) said, “One day I went to see Sari and he ordered me to do something. I immediately carried out the thing he needed. When I returned, he handed me a slip of paper and said, ‘This belongs to the place where you did what I needed so quickly!’ I read the paper. On it was written:

            ‘I heard a camel-driver urge on his camel in the desert, singing:

            I wept – did you hear what made me weep?

            I wept for fear that you would leave me

            Would cut my halter and not see me again!’”

            It is told that Abul-Hasan al-Hamadani al-‘Alawi (ks) said, “One night I was with Ja’far al-Khuldi (ks) I had ordered a bird to be baked in the oven, and my heart was taken with that. Ja’far said to me, ‘Stay and pray with us tonight!’ but I made some excuse and went back to my house, took the bird out of the oven, and set it before me. Then a dog came in the door, and when no one was paying attention, he carried off the bird! So they brought the pastry that had been baked under the bird, but somehow the hem of the serving woman’s dress got stuck to it, and it fell on the floor.

            “The next morning I went to see Ja’far. When his eyes fell upon me, he said, ‘Those who show no consideration for the hearts of shaykhs have dogs set on them to torment them!’”

            I heard Shaykh Abu `Abdul-Rahman al-Sulami (ks) say ...Umm Bistami (ks) related from her father:  “Shaqiq al-Balkhi (ks) and Abu Turab al‑Nakhshabi (ks) went to visit Abu Yazid (ks). A table was prepared. There was a youth waiting upon Abu Yazid. ‘Come, eat with us, young man!’ the two of them urged.

            ‘I am fasting,’ said he.

             ‘Eat, and you will have the reward of a month’s fast!’ said Abu Turab. The youth refused.

            ‘Eat, and you will have the reward of a year’s fast!’ said Shaqiq. Still he refused.

            ‘Pray for someone who has fallen from Allah’s grace,’ Abu Yazid said to them.”

            Within a year, that young man had begun to steal, and his hand was cut off!

            I heard Master Abu ‘Ali (ks) say: “Sahl ibn `Abdullah (ks) described a certain man as a saint. He was a baker in Basra. Another man heard this from the members of Sahl’s circle, and yearned to meet this holy man. So the man went to Basra and came to the baker’s shop. There he saw the man baking bread. His face was wrapped to protect himself from the fire of the oven, as is the custom of bakers. The traveler said to himself, ‘If this man were really a saint, his hair would not burn, even if he had no protection!’

            He offered the baker greetings and asked him something. The baker said, ‘Since you think so little of me, why should I benefit you with my talk?’ And he refused to speak to him.”

            I heard Sheikh Abu ‘Abdul-Rahman al-Sulami (ks) say: Abdul-Rahman al-Razi (ks) heard Abu ‘Uthman al-Hiri (ks) describe Muhammad ibn al-Fadl al-Balkhi (ks), praising him highly. So he conceived a desire to see him, and went to pay him a visit, but Muhammad ibn al-Fadl did not make the impression on his heart that he had expected. He went back to Abu ‘Uthman and asked him about this.

            ‘How did you find him?’ asked Abu ‘Uthman.

            ‘I did not find him to be what I thought he should be!’ said ‘Abdul-Rahman.

            ‘You did not profit from him because you belittled him,’ said Abu ‘Uthman. ‘When a person thinks little of another person, that person’s special value and usefulness is denied him. Go back to Muhammad ibn al-Fadl with respect.’ So ‘Abdul-Rahman went back, and benefited from his visit.”

            I heard Master Abu ‘Ali al-Daqqaq (ra) say:  “When the people of Balkh threw Muhammad ibn al‑Fadl (ks) out of the city, he prayed against them. “My Allah,’ he prayed, ‘forbid them integrity!’ And no man of real integrity has come out of Balkh since.”

            I heard Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Abiwardi (ks) say:

            If someone’s shaykh is pleased with him, he will not be rewarded for that during his lifetime, lest reverence for the shaykh should leave his heart. But when the shaykh dies, Allah Almighty and Glorious will manifest the reward for having pleased him.

            If someone alienates the heart of his shaykh, that too will not be requited during the lifetime of that shaykh, lest the shaykh have sympathy, for shaykhs are prone to be generous. But when the shaykh dies, then it will be paid for.