Begging in the streets and wearing the patched robes are both part of the Order. However, we see many of those who accompany us spending all their time talking about them both more than they talk about God Almighty Himself! The problem is that a lot of them take the litany from us, and then straightaway don the patched robes and go out begging. This is because his only intention after donning the patched robe was to rush out to beg. This was the only intention he had. Therefore, he took the litany and the donning of the patched robe from me as a means to go begging. I said to this man, “Leave the patched robes for it is only a means to prominence for you. Instead, focus on invoking your Lord until your heart is aflame, and your spirit is illumined. Then and only then can you wear the patched robe and go out begging.”
There is no doubt that wearing the patched robe and begging weighs heavy upon the soul; but it can seem easy for some. If you find it easy, leave it; and if you find it burdensome, take it up. Know that sincerity is in the thing that weighs heavy on your ego, naught else; and sincerity is what is needed. Work on yourself, choosing the thing that weighs heavier on the ego, or the thing that tests your sincerity more, until you no longer care what afflicts you in life, and ease and hardship, and praise and criticism are equal, and sincerity is one’s constant state. Then you will be truly free: and one who is free is truly a friend of God.
I pondered upon the one who leaves aside everything related to the attachments of life but begging, which no doubt is the lowest form of seeking means in this world, yet at the same time this, man has not experienced the station of leaving aside the attachments in their entirety, or in fact has not even caught the scent of it. It became plain to me that his inclination towards it was a move towards fulfilling his own desires, and this was all he had actually attained. If he were just to let go of his desires, his angelic nature would become intensely strong, and his human nature would subside. Then he would experience what the men of this path before have experienced.
(Junaid:) “Whoever alludes to God, but his heart is attached to other than Him, will be severely tested and he will be stripped of the fruits of invocation. Then if he realises what he has done and reattaches his heart to God, the tribulation and test will be removed.”
Don’t conceive for one second that the aspirant who has left behind everything will not be in the presence of God Almighty. That is not possible; because one who has aspiration beyond the creation will arrive at the Creator. What is meant by ‘arriving’ here is arriving at knowledge of Him. Withdraw with your utmost determination from that which you have become accustomed to-whatever it may be- and don’t ever find solace in it ever again.
He has failed whoever is content with other than You,
And he is ruined whoever desires someone in Your place.
You can find a replacement for everything you turn away from,
But there is no substitute for God if you turn away from Him,
Say, ‘I have no desire other than Your divine presence,
No image that appears before me or any glance that I may steal.
Sidi Abu Madyan:
“What a difference there is between he who aspires for maidens and palaces, and he who aspires for the removing of the veils, and for God’s constant presence!”
Be extremely cautious of seeking fame and prominence. One of the great benefits of ignoring outward and inward benefits is the vouchsafing of extraordinary acts, true miracles. We believe that God is forever there ready to generously offer them out. Peace.