Solitude and Asceticism

Nothing is more beneficial for the heart than solitude accompanied by contemplation on the Attributes and Bounties of Allah.

Association with people in general and unnecessary association in particular, keeps the focus of the heart on the people. The heart’s gaze is diverted from Khaaliq Ta’ala Shaanhu. Ghaflat (negligence) increases further. In most cases the cause of ghaflat is mingling with people.

When the Saalik takes to solitude, the people are out of his sight. The searcher of Allah then necessarily turns his gaze towards Allah Ta’ala. Hence, for the heart to gain Divine Proximity (Qurb) nothing is more efficacious than solitude. However, it is necessary in this solitude to meditate on the Attributes and Bounties of Allah Ta’ala.

Bury yourself in the field of anonymity. The seed which is not buried underground will not develop and flourish.

The dearest wish of man’s nafs is to be held in honour and esteem by others. Man thus pursues name and fame. This characteristic is a highway robber in the Path leading to Allah. It is absolutely negatory of sincerity and truth. The aim is worshipping and serving Allah. Greatness is the right of only Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, the duty of the bandah is to humble himself and hold himself in contempt in the Divine Court.

Therefore, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that you should bury yourself in anonymity which is like the ground, i.e. make yourself lost, unknown and humble. The seed which is not planted under the soil will not grow and flourish. Similarly, if man does not bury him in the field of anonymity, but remains in the pursuit of name and fame, he will not attain spiritual excellence and perfection. He will remain defective.

Allah has concealed the anwaar of the hearts of his Auliya in the dense veils of their external states so that they remain safe from the disgrace of publicity. He thus saves them from fame.

The hearts of those who are blessed with Divine Proximity and Divine Presence are radiant with innumerable rays of thikr and ibaadat. Their hearts are illumined with these celestial rays. However, Allah Ta’ala has concealed illumination of their hearts with dense veils of materialism, e.g. eating, drinking, walking, sitting, etc.

Externally, He has made them to resemble the masses by their indulgence in worldly activities. Thus, the difference between these Auliya and the masses is indiscernible. These external worldly states act like thick veils which conceal the anwaar (celestial illumination) of Allah’s Auliya from the eyes of men. But those whose baatini (spiritual) gaze is sharp, recognise these anwaar even behind the veils while the general public cannever discern these rays of celestial illumination because their physical vision cannot penetrate these veils. They therefore echo the statement which the kuffaar made to the Nabi:

“You are but a man like us.”

Allah has hidden these anwaar exuding from the Auliya so that their honour is maintained. He has protected them from the disgrace of publicity, for if these anwaar had to become known to the general public, it would have been on the tongues of all and sundry. Such publicity is dishonourable and in conflict with the dignity and honour of Allah Ta’ala. Mentioning in public even the name of a modest, chaste and beautiful lady protected behind her Purdah, is dishonourable on account of her high degree of modesty and honour. This then is the similitude for the anwaar of the Auliya concealed behind dense worldly veils.

If this system of concealment did not exist, these anwaar of the Auliya would have become fully manifest. Their radiation of illumination would have predominated to such a degree that the external material veils would disappear from even the physical vision of worldly people.

Glory unto That Being Who has hidden Divine Mysteries and subtleties behind the veils of human attributes which are manifested. And (Glory unto Him) Who has manifested for His servants the splendour of His Rububiyat (Godhood, Divinity) by revealing the effects (aathaar) of their Uboodiyat (state of worship and slavery).

The meaning of this statement is similar to the aforementioned observation.

Others are unaware of the mysteries and subtleties which Allah Ta’ala reveals to His close servants. This spiritual treasure is concealed from the gaze of the public. The veils of physical attributes have been cast over these anwaar.

Concealing these anwaar is an extremely marvellous act. These anwaar are infinite in number and are of such supreme quality that if even a single spark had to appear on earth, the light of the sun and moon would become dull and the light of this single spark would permeate from east to west. Inspite of their infinity and quality, Allah Ta’ala has concealed this vast, boundless ocean of illumination in a cup. In other words, He has concealed these boundless anwaar in man who is constituted of a handful of sand. There, thus, appears in the physical gaze of man only this handful of sand or its physical effects, viz. its material and mundane attributes and activities such as man’s movement and rest, his eating, sleeping and working. In view of this marvellous act of Allah, the author expresses his wonder and amazement by proclaiming, Subhaanallah! (Glory to Allah!)

His power is indeed wonderful and marvellous. When He desires to display the greatness and splendour of His Divinity (Rububiyat) to His servants, then He does so by revealing the effects of the Uboodiyat (slavery) of His servants. The effects of Uboodiyat are those states of the servants, which draw their attention to Allah Ta’ala. Such states are sickness, poverty, hardships, etc. When the bandah is afflicted with these conditions, he is compelled to turn towards his Creator. He supplicates for the removal of the hardships and he humbles himself. In such circumstances he develops firmness in faith and understands well that he, most certainly, has a Creator Who is All-Powerful.

In the absence of these effects, the greatness of Allah would not have become manifest for His servants, because they would be perpetually dwelling in their personal whims and fancies. The servants of Allah would then have been deprived of this inner knowledge (ma’rifat).

Also, That Pure Being has fixed the same Path which leads to Him as the Path which leads to His Auliya. He leads to His Auliya only those whom He leads to Himself.

Allah Ta’ala conceals His Pure Being (Thaat) from our gaze, behind the veils of His creation. The earth, heavens, the moon, the sun, the stars, the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, man, etc. are His makhluqaat (created things). Inspite of the Thaat of Khaaliq (The Creator) being conspicuously manifest, He is hidden from our sight. In fact, He remains so concealed that some brainless people even deny His existence. Those on whom the grace of Allah settled, acknowledge His Unity and accepted belief in the Messengership (Risaalat) of His Messengers.

Those who are favoured with Allah’s Special Grace, He bestows to them a share of His Ma’rifat. Thus, the medium for the acquisition of Allah’s Ma’rifat and the Path leading to the Divine Court are His Special Grace. There is no other way or method for this attainment.

The author then expresses his amazement saying that He (Allah) is Pure and, in fact, Purity belongs only to Him. The cause of the author’s amazement is the fact that the method which Allah has fixed for His recognition (Ma’rifat), has also been fixed for the recognition of His Auliya. Just as Allah Ta’ala has concealed Himself in the veils of His physical creation, so too has He hidden His Auliya behind the veils of their mundane conditions such as their movement, rest, eating, sleeping, etc. And, just as Allah has fixed His Fadhl-e-Khaas (Special Grace) as the way for attaining Him, has He fixed His Fadhl-e-Khaas as the way of recognising His Auliya. Only those who are favoured with Divine Grace will recognise the Auliya.

Every person is not blessed with Ma’rifat nor is every person guided to the Auliya. Some Auliya even aver that it is more difficult to recognise the Auliya than Allah Ta’ala. In view of Allah’s Beauty (Jamaal) and Splendour (Jalaal) being conspicuously manifest in creation, it is relatively easier to recognise Him than to recognise a Wali. A wali resembles all others in mundane acts and attributes, hence it is difficult to recognise him.

The author then says that Allah leads to His Auliya those whom He leads to Himself. In other words, when Allah Ta’ala desires a man to reach Him, He blesses him with the love, recognition and special companionship of the Auliya. The wisdom underlying this system is that the Auliya are Allah’s beloved. Those who love one’s beloved are also beloved.

Thus, when a person loves the Auliya it indicates that Allah loves him and that He will bestow His Ma’rifat to him.

Source.

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