Shaikh Muhyi’din ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani
The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said:
Nothing blocks you from direct receiving of Allah’s grace and favor except your reliance upon people and connections, on good turns and handouts. Thus creatures are your obstacle to gaining a proper livelihood, in keeping with the exemplary practice of the Prophet. As long as you continue to depend on fellow creatures, hoping for their gifts and favors, going from door to door with your requests, you are associating His creation with Allah. He will therefore punish you with deprivation of that proper livelihood, namely the lawful earnings of this world.
Then, when you have renounced the habit of depending on people and associating them with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and have resorted to earning your own livelihood, you get to rely on this earning power and become complacent about it, forgetting the gracious favor of your Lord. You are once again behaving like a polytheist [mushrik], only now the polytheism [shirk] is concealed, of a subtler nature than the previous kind. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will therefore punish you by depriving you of His favor and of direct access to Him.
When you turn from this in repentance, ceasing to allow the encroachment of polytheism, and forsaking reliance on your own earning power and abilities, you will see that Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is the Provider. It is He who supplies the means, the facilities and the energy one needs to make a living, and He is the One who enables all good results to be achieved. All sustenance is in His hand. At times He may supply it to you by way of other people, through your appealing to them while in distress or trying straits, or in response to your appeal to Him (Almighty and Glorious is He), sometimes by way of earned remuneration, and at still other times by His spontaneous favor, in such a way that you do not see the intervening cause and means.
You have turned again to Him, casting yourself down before Him, and He has lifted the veil between you and His favor. He has made Himself accessible to you, and graciously ministers to all your needs in the measure appropriate to your condition, acting like a kind and tactful physician who is also a friend to the patient. As a precaution on His part, and to purge you of any attachment to anyone but Him, He satisfies you with His favor.
Once your heart has been detached from all self-will, all lust and indulgence, craving and desire, there is nothing left in your heart except His will (Almighty and Glorious is He). So when He wishes to send you your allotted share (which you are bound to receive and which is not earmarked for any of His creatures apart from you), He will cause a desire for that share to arise within you, and will dispatch it to you so that it reaches you when you need it. Then He will help you to recognize that it comes from Him and to acknowledge Him with conscious gratitude as the sender and supplier of what you have received. As this moves you further away from attachment to creatures, from involvement with people, your inner being is emptied of all besides Him (Almighty and Glorious is He).
Then, when your knowledge and conviction have been fortified, when your feelings have been expanded and your heart has been enlightened, and your nearness to your Lord and your standing in His sight have thereby increased, as well your competence for the guarding of secrets, you will be allowed to know beforehand when you are to receive your allotted share. This privilege will be granted in your honor, to exalt your dignity, as a gracious favor and guidance from Him. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:
And We appointed from among them leaders guiding by Our command, when they endured patiently, and had sure faith in Our signs. (32:24)
Allah (Exalted is He) also says:
As for those who strive in Our cause, We surely guide them in Our ways. (29:69)
And the Exalted One says:
Observe your duty to Allah. Allah will teach you. (2:282)
Then He will invest you with creative power, which you may exercise with clear and unambiguous permission, with tokens brilliant as the radiant sun, with His sweet words far sweeter than all sweetness, with inspiration true and unequivocal, untainted by the promptings of the self and the whisperings of Satan the accursed. Allah (Exalted is He) has said in one of His scriptures:
O son of Adam, I am Allah. There is none worthy of worship but I alone. I say to a thing, “Be,” and it comes into being. Obey Me and I will make you such that you say to a thing, “Be,” and it will come into being.
Thus He has dealt with many of His Prophets, His saints, and His special favorites among the children of Adam.