By Abdul Qadir Gilani r.a.
An excerpt from an address by Gousul-Asam Muhyuddin Abdul Qadir Gilani, r.a.
from the book The Endowment of Divine Grace and Spread of Divine Mercy [Al-Fathu Rabbani]
translated by Muhammad M. Al-Akili
Child, your yearning for God Almighty is not true, nor do you truly seek Him. One who professes to follow God’s will while he is calling for someone else’s help has refuted his own claim. Amongst the so-called seekers of God, the majority love the world, few love the hereafter, and even fewer consent to God’s will and seek Him.
They are as rare as red sulfur. These are unique individuals who are the rarest of the rare. It is even very rare to meet one of them. They are the select few, the beacons of faith, the pride of the lands, the gems of the earth and the true kings on it. They are God’s providence to the land and its people. They are the pillars of the earth and its protection. They are the leaders of the people and their chancellors. Because of them, people are saved from calamities and because of them, God Almighty makes the skies rain and plants thrive.
At the beginning of their spiritual quest, they ran from one mountain peak to a higher one, seeking seclusion and privacy. They fled from one country to another, from the outskirts of one ruin to another. Once they were discovered to dwell in one place, they moved to another. They left everything behind and surrendered the keys of this world into the hands of its people. They remained resolute until the castle walls of protection were built around them, and rivers flowed towards their hearts until such time that God Almighty assigned guards to protect them.
Each of the heavenly soldiers who surround them have a unique duty to guard. Thus, these elect servants of God Almighty will be honoured, protected, and raised to the station of deputy over the people (wilayah). All these blessings take place beyond their mental fathoming. In that state of being, their return to mingling with people and serving them becomes obligatory (faridha). They become like physicians, and the people become their patients.
O man, you claim to be one of them. Tell me then, how do you recognize their signs? What is the mark of proximity to and kindness of God Almighty? What is your position and station in God’s kingdom? What is your name and title in the upper circle? Tell me, why does the door of your fate close every night? Do you think that whatever food and water you take is unconditionally permissible? Where do you sleep, in the world, the hereafter, or in proximity of your Lord? Who comforts you in your loneliness? Who sits with you in your solitude?
O liar. What comforts you in your privacy are your mind and desire (nafs), satan, passions and contemplation of your world. In public you comfort yourself with the company of the human satans who are the evildoers and the fellows of hearsay. The success illustrated earlier does not come through raving, craziness, or mere chance, nor would your speaking on the subject benefit you. Be in a state of dead-calm and be languorous [lethargic] in the hands of your Lord and thus correct your behaviour.
Beware! Beware! Never look passionately at anything, for such lustful desires will plant the seed of sin in your heart, the results of which are not praiseworthy either in this world or the hereafter.
O ye people! Behave yourselves before God Almighty, and may He have mercy upon you all. If one does not conduct oneself in compliance with the divine laws of shariah, soon the fire of hell will reach him on the day of reckoning.
Whoever enters a place where there is admonition and does not accept these warnings is the most evil of all people. Child, your scorning and belittling of God’s deputies (awliya) are a result of the little knowledge you have of God Almighty Himself. You belligerently accuse them: “Why do they not work like us to earn their livelihood? Why do they not mix with us?” You say it out of the ignorance of who you are. In fact, when you have so little knowledge of yourself, your understanding of people’s worth is less than that. To the limited extent you know about this world and its consequences, you know even less of the hereafter and its worth; and to the limited extent you know about the hereafter, even less do you know God Almighty. O you who are toiling in this world, soon you will discover your losses, and soon you will suffer the agony of regret. These are your manifest signs for both this world and the hereafter. Greater will be your remorse on the day of reckoning, the day of mutual loss and gain, the day of defamation and exposure, the day of disappointment and loss. Judge yourself today, before the hereafter comes.
O ye people! Despair not of God’s endowments and His giving you relief, for He is near to you. Despair not, for the Maker is God. “You never know, perhaps God will soon create a new circumstance.”
Do not try to escape from adversity. Facing one’s trials with patience is the basis of every benefit and the way to triumph. Adversities are the fountainhead of prophethood, the root of the message, the pillar of deputyship (wilaya), gnosis and love. If you do not exercise patience in the face of adversities you have nothing to stand on. No structure can stand upright without a good foundation. Have you ever seen a house standing erect on a trash pile? You are running away from trial and tribulation because you feel no need to receive the trust of deputyship, inner knowledge or to be near to God Almighty. Exercise patience and persevere with good deeds in order to soar with your heart, inner being, and soul to the door of God’s proximity. Those endowed and knowledge (ulama), the gnostics, the representatives and trustees (awliya’) and the deputies (abdal) are the heirs of the prophets. The prophets are the brokers and the heirs are the pitchmen.
A true gnostic who practices what he knows solely for God’s pleasure can be likened to the anvil of a blacksmith. You hammer [away] on it, but it does not say a word. He is like the ground on which you walk, a farm which turns upside down and rotates its crop, yet it remains silent. Such true believers see no-one besides God Almighty. They hearken to no-one other than Him. They have souls but no tongues with which to speak. They are concealed from themselves as well as from others. They thrive in secret. Only if God wills does he unfold them, like the pages of a book, and reveals them to others and make their souls tongues that speak. As though they were intoxicated or numbed, the King carries them unto His divine presence with the hand of His mercy and compassion, reclaims them, restores them, and recreates them for Himself, and no-one else. He reshapes them again to be His servants, just [as] He refashioned Moses, upon whom be peace, when he said unto him: “I made thee for myself (to serve). There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing Lord.”
He will be reborn into tranquility without effort, peace without hindrance, blessings without wrath, joy without hate, sweetness without bitterness, a king without destruction. “And thereat, the sovereignty belongs to God Almighty alone, the Rightful Lord.”
To one who reaches that state, comfort will hasten towards him.
However, in your current condition you cannot experience such tranquility because this world is the abode of distress and plague. Therefore, it is imperative that you walk away and let your heart be free from it. Should your hand not be able to let go of it, then keep holding it, but get it out of your heart. Once you become stronger, then release it from your hand and give to the poor, the needy, and the indigent ones. Make it a gift to all the dependents of God Almighty. Despite that, your share will still come to you. It has to come by divine decree, whether you be rich or poor, renunciative [ascetic self-denial] or desirous. What matters is the correct attitude of your heart and innermost being and their charity. They become pure and clear as you become more knowledgeable, practice what you learn, become sincere in what you do, and become a truthful seeker of God Almighty.
Child, have you not heard the saying: “Learn first then retreat.”
First learn the outer jurisprudence, then retire to contemplate it’s inner meaning. Practice the prescribed law so that your deeds may bring you to comprehend a knowledge of that you were unaware and have not practiced. This outer knowledge is the light of that which is manifest, and inner knowledge is the effulgent light of the innermost reality. It is a light linking you and your Lord and Cherisher. The more you put your knowledge into practice, the shorter your path to your Lord, and the gate becomes more open between you and Him. Your personal door will become wide open and the bar will be removed for you.
“Our Lord, grant us the benefits of a good deed in this world, the reward of a good deed in the hereafter, and protect us externally from the sufferings of hell-fire.”