When you observe a man answering every question, revealing every spiritual experience and dilating every aspect of knowledge, then understand therefrom his ignorance.
A Sufi or Saalik who answers every question posed to him, never proclaiming his unawareness on any aspect, who reveals to every person his spiritual experiences and who narrates every detail of spiritual knowledge is, in fact, an ignoramus. Only a being whose knowledge encompasses everything has the ability of answering every question. But this attribute / ability belongs exclusively to Allah Ta’ala, the Knower of the visible and invisible. Man’s knowledge is infinitesimal.
It is also necessary for the a lim to take into account the intellectual capacity of the one who poses questions. He should answer only if he discerns ability of comprehension in the one who asks. If he discerns a lack of ability, he should refrain from answering.
When the Saalik reveals the spiritual mysteries and subtleties which he has acquired, he betrays his ignorance, because asraar (spiritual mysteries) and uloom (spiritual knowledge) are the amaanat (trust) of Allah Ta’ala. Revelation or exposure of this amaanat is abuse of trust (Khiyaanat). In addition, people will not understand these mysteries by explanation as these things are comprehended by only baatini perception. The attempt to explain these asraar will only render them more incomprehensible. Words cannot convey their meanings.
The revelation of certain spiritual knowledge is also detrimental and can lead to strife and mischief. Since the true meaning of such knowledge cannot be expressed, the audience will misconstrue the explanation. In such matters the silence of the Saalik is imperative.
To turn towards Allah Ta’ala in the initial stage of Sulook is the sign of success in the final stage of Sulook.
Just as there is a beginning and an end to every science / craft, so too is there a point of initiation in Sulook for the Saalik as well as a goal. The end or goal is known as Wusool and Mushaahadah. When the Saalik in the initial stage of Sulook reposes his total reliance on Allah Ta’ala in every affair, not depending on his own efforts, thikr, meditation, etc., it indicates that he will achieve success in the final stage of Sulook. His attainment of Divine Proximity will be true Wusool Ilallah. He will be accepted into Divine Acceptance.
If in the beginning the Saalik is deceived by his own efforts, believing that he will attain perfection thereby or he hankers after lofty spiritual stations, he will fail to reach the true goal even though he acquires knowledge of the ultimate goal by virtue of his association with a Shaikh. It is, therefore, imperative that the Saalik seeks Allah’s aid in everything. He should at no time consider his efforts of mujaahadah to be significant. His quest should be only Allah Ta’ala. He should not think of his effort as being of any significance or even an act of slight importance. This is a basic principle of Sulook.
If the initial stage of the Saalik’s Sulook is illumined with auraad, his final stage of Sulook will be brightened with anwaar and ma-aarif.
In the beginning the Saalik’s spiritual affairs are connected with deeds, auraad (stipulated acts of worship) and thikr. These acts are related to his physical body. In the final stage these affairs are transferred from the zaahir (physical body) to the baatin (spiritual body – the Rooh). In other words the heart becomes radiant with anwaar and ma-aarif. His spiritual activity is executed by the heart. The Saalik who spends his time constructively in the beginning, adorning his state with obedience and worship and refraining from futility, his final condition in Sulook will be most successful and fruitful. The sun of anwaar and ma-aarif will rise on him. On the other hand, the one who is indolent and lethargic in the beginning, refraining from steadfastness and regularly observing obedience and ibaadat, his end will be shaky and weak. The perfection of the final stage is dependent on the perfection of the initial stage.
The obtainal of the pleasure and sweetness of righteous deeds here on earth, is proof of one’s acceptance in the Aakhirah.
Although the reward and fruit of ibaadat are in reality obtainable in the a khirah, many servants of Allah acquire reward even here on earth. Such reward is in the form of the heart deriving pleasure and sweetness in acts of righteousness. This is proof of the acceptance of their deeds and the obtainal of thawaab in the a khirah. However, pleasure in ibaadat should not be understood to be the maqsood (goal). The pursuit of pleasure in ibaadat is negatory of ikhlaas (sincerity). Ibaadat should be rendered for the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala irrespective of any pleasure or displeasure to the nafs.
The Saalik should render ibaadat in all states and circumstances. He should not feel that in the a khirah there is no reward for an act of ibaadat the sweetness and pleasure of which he does not experience here on earth. The worldly fruit of ibaadat is merely a sign of its acceptance. It is not the shart (condition) nor cause of acceptance. Often an act devoid of pleasure is more acceptable to Allah Ta’ala than an act from which pleasure and sweetness are acquired.
When you wish to discover your worth by Allah, then look at the occupation in which He has involved you.
The bandah who desires to know if Allah has accepted or rejected him and if he is fortunate or unfortunate, should ponder in his own condition. He should look at the activity in which Allah Ta’ala has applied him. If he is involved in noble acts which he executes for the sake of Allah’s pleasure, he should understand that he has been accepted by Allah Ta’ala. He is a man of fortune. If he is involved in disobedience and transgression, then conclude that he stands rejected by Allah Ta’ala. As such, he is most unfortunate.
Inspite of sorrow for lacking in obedience, if one makes no effort in the direction of obedience, it is a sign of being trapped in deception.
Some people grieve much because they lack in obedience and virtues. They even shed tears in profusion. Despite their grief, they do not initiate the process of ibaadat nor do they abstain from sins. Such sorrow is false and the deception of the nafs. True grief and honest regret constrain one to practise virtue and to shun evil.
When Allah Ta’ala keeps you steadfast in a condition and along with this you acquire the benefits (of the goodness rendered), it is a sign that it is Allah Who is sustaining your firmness in this condition.
When Allah Ta’ala grants a bandah firmness in whatever situation he finds himself in, be it a worldly occupation, e.g. trade, farming or employment, or a Deeni state, e.g. Ta’leem, renunciation of the worldly agencies, etc., and the fruits of this state are also experienced, then it is the sign of Allah’s pleasure for the state of the bandah – that Allah loves him to remain in this state, provided that his occupation does not interfere with any Deeni duties. Since Allah Ta’ala sees goodness for the bandah in this condition, He keeps him involved therein. The bandah should, therefore, neither wish to be extricated from his occupation nor should he attempt to withdraw therefrom. He should be grateful to Allah Ta’ala and remain in his occupation.
Diligence in acts of Nafl ibaadat accompanied by lethargy in the fulfilment of Waajib acts is a sign of subservience to the desires of the nafs.
Some people while exhibiting considerable enthusiasm for Nafl ibaadat, e.g. wazifas, optional fasting and Nafl Salaat, are lax in the performance of Waajib duties. They are, for example, lax in paying their debts and fulfilling the rights of others. They do not attach importance to Fardh Haj or they fail to pay Zakaat of the past years or they do not seek pardon from people whom they had molested. This attitude is a deception of the nafs. In such circumstances the enthusiasm for optional acts is subservience to base desires of the nafs. The nafs loves fame which is acquired by indulgence in Nafl worship.
Of what benefit will optional acts be when one is loaded with the liability of compulsory duties? Nafl ibaadat is like the profit in trade while Waajibaat and Faraa-idh are like the capital. Thus, the compulsory acts have priority over the optional acts.
The trust of anwaar and ma-aarif hidden in the hearts displays their effects on the external limbs of the body.
A sign of a man of spiritual accomplishment is that the blessings and impressions of the anwaar and ma-aarif hidden in heart become conspicuous on his face, hands and feet.