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.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Know that if the aspirant, instead of busying his mind with superficial things, concentrates his thoughts and remembrance on God alone, he will achieve the station of true slave-hood. Whoever does so is a true friend of God; and God’s curse is upon those who lie
Do not mention anything besides God, and devote yourselves to God; for whoever devotes themselves to God, God devotes Himself to them. What a joyous state to be in! It is enough that God says:
“Remember me; I will remember you.” (Quran: 2/152)
The Messenger of God (may God bless him and give him peace) related from his Lord, “I am in the company of those who invoke me.”
My master used to say, “We love what we hear being said about you.” Just like this, al-‘Arabi al-Darqawi loves what he hears being said about you, if it is that which destroys the ego and brings life to the hearts; but not vice-versa, for no one but the heedless ignoramus, whose heart has been effaced and whose soul’s candle has been blown out, occupies himself with what brings life to the ego and destroys the heart. Man has but one heart, and if he heads in one direction, he turns his back on the other.
“God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast.” (Quran: 33/4)
(Ibn ‘Ata Illah:) ‘Directing yourself towards God is turning your back on the creation; likewise, directing yourself towards the creation is turning your back on God.’
One of the brethren said to me, ‘I am nothing!’ I said to him, ‘Don’t say “I am nothing”, and don’t say “I am something”. Don’t say “I need something”, or “I don’t need anything”; rather say “Allah!” and you will see wonders.’
One person asked me, “What is the medication for the ego?” I replied, “Forget it, and do not ponder upon it at all; for only the one who forgets his own ego remembers his Lord.”
Don’t conceive that it is the creation that has made us forget our Lord, or that it has placed a barrier between Him and us. It is nothing but our being consumed in our own passions and caprices that has made us forget. If we were only to forget our very selves entirely, we would find the Creator, and we would lose sight of our very existence completely. Likewise, don’t conceive that one can lose sight of the creation whilst he has not even lost sight of his own self yet. I swear by God that can never be so. Peace.
Invoking your Lord is the foundation stone and the aid in traversing the path toward God. Therefore, hold firm to it as you have been ordered, and God will make you strong. We would like you to constantly remind God’s servants of God Himself, and the Sunnah of His Messenger (may God bless him and grant him peace), and warn them of ever falling into disbelief. Teach them humility at all times, and inspire them towards abstinence in this world, so that they suffice themselves with the bare minimum of it, as God has commanded.
One of the first lessons I learnt from my teacher was when he placed two baskets full of berries in my hands. He did not place them on my shoulders like my peers. Even so, it bore down so heavy on my ego that I felt intensely constricted deep inside. I was so disturbed, shaken and felt so indecent that I began to weep. I swear to God, I wept out of the humiliation, abasement and utter wretchedness of the situation, as my ego could not bear to take such a lesson; it would not bow down to the test ever in a thousand years. I was so oblivious of my own arrogance, haughtiness, malignancy and stubbornness. I had previously had no idea whether I was arrogant or not. I had never learnt this lesson from any teacher of jurisprudence throughout all my previous studies; and I had studied with many a teacher.
Whilst in this state, my teacher saw what had come over me because of his deep insight into the hidden secrets, for which he was well-known to all. He came over, took the baskets and placed them right on top of my shoulders just like my peers, who were so much more righteous, and further advanced on the path than me. Then he said, “This is for your own good, in order to chase away some of that arrogance of yours.” Instantly, a door of understanding opened for me, and things became clear. I was now able to distinguish the truth in everything. I could discern the arrogant from the humble, the serious from the lax, those of knowledge from those of ignorance, and those who follow the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of God be upon him) from those of innovation, and those who practice what they preach from those who do not. No one was able to get the better over me after this event, because my teacher had taught me how to distinguish truth from falsehood, may God reward him and protect him, Amen!
I would like Sidi Ahmed ibn ‘Ajiba to encourage the servants of God to practice truth in their speech and actions, and to show caution in all matters. Through this, the fruits of the path are reaped, and ultimate realisation is gained, and God is a witness to what I say. Peace.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007