I was once with one of the brethren, Sidi Ahmed at-Tahir, in the Qarawiyyin. We were both in a strong state of witnessing in those times, but that day I found he had withered, or should we say ‘weakened’, until he had started to fall into idle prattle like anyone else. I scolded him violently, saying: 'If you wish to succeed, then strike your ego and throw it aside.'
I also said to one of the brethren, who had told me that one day he had lashed out at a Jewish man, not for any reason but his own vain-glory, and maliciousness: 'Do not strike anyone, be he Jew, Christian, or Muslim, but rather strike out at your own ego, and continue to do so until it dies.’ This is of the up most importance.
Brethren, you too must leave the idle chatter aside completely. It is the worst of all mischief, and is not befitting of your station, nor does it comply with your state. Do not mention anyone unless you mention him well – ‘Whoever has not been grateful to the people has not been grateful to God.’
We believe, and God knows best, that he who has lost sight of the people has not truly witnessed God in all His glory. The one who is complete is he who is not veiled from the creation by his Creator, or from the Creator by His creation in all its shapes and forms. This is the one who has arrived and is complete. This is the Gnostic; and the opposite of this is the one who is lost and confused; except for the one who has lost his mind out of love for God (al-Majdhūb), for he no longer has the faculty to perceive things, and is therefore not lost and confused. Peace.