Jala' al-Khawatir - Removal of Cares

The Fourty-Fifth Discourse

You must pass through and beyond the marketplace of your fellow creatures. Go in through the gate of your physical body, but come out and away from them with your heart and your intention [niyya]. Be like a solitary bird, neither offering familiarity nor accepting it, neither noticing others nor being noticed by them. Be like this until the script of destiny reaches its final period, and your heart draws near to the doorway of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). Then you will see the hearts of the people [of the Lord] stationed there, and they will turn to greet you, offering you their congratulations and bidding you welcome, as they kiss you on the forehead. Then the hand of gracious favor will reach out to you from inside the door. It will greet you, pick you up, and convey you in solemn procession. It will lavish attention upon you, feeding you, quenching your thirst, and anointing you with perfume. It will seat you at the door, to watch and wait for the questing seekers who will come. As soon as each of these arrives, it will take him by the hand, and place his hand in your hand.

Once you have truly experienced all this, you must come forth and present yourself to your fellow creatures. You must be in their midst like a medical doctor in the midst of the sick, like an intelligent person in the midst of the insane, and like a tenderly loving father in the midst of his children. Before you have reached this stage, however, you are unworthy of respect. You are merely a hypocrite [munafiq] as far as they are concerned, a servant at their beck and call. You imagine that you are providing them with therapy, when you are actually treating them as objects of worship [mushrik bihim]. The therapy you offer them will turn out to be a punishment for you, because it is administered in ignorance and it does more harm than good.

Speak only about things that really concern you, and stop talking about things that are no concern of yours. If you were truly aware of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), your fear of Him would be much greater, and you would do far less talking in His presence. This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has told us:

When someone really knows Allah, his tongue becomes weary.

That is to say, he becomes incapable of speech. The tongue of his lower self [nafs] is dumb, and he can only speak with the tongue of his heart [qalb], his innermost being [sirr], his spiritual content [ma'ani], his true sincerity [sidq], and his pure serenity [safa']. The tongue of his falsehood is dumb, while the tongue of his truthfulness is capable of speech. Dumb is the tongue of his talking about things that are no concern of his, while capable of speech is the tongue of his talking about things that really do concern him. Dumb is the tongue of his quest for his own self-interest, while the tongue of his quest for the Truth [Haqq] is capable of speech.

In the initial stage of acquiring direct knowledge [ma'rifa], the faculty of speech is brought to a halt, and the person's entire existence [wujud] simply melts away. He becomes extinct [fani] to himself and to everything else. Then, if it be so willed by the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), He will resurrect him. If He wishes him to be capable of speech, He will create a tongue for him to use, and He will cause him to speak with it. He will cause him to utter whatever words of wisdom [hikam] and whatever secrets [asrar] He wishes him to utter. That person's speech will then come to be a remedy within a remedy, a light within a light, a truth within a truth, a rightness within a rightness, a purity within a purity, because he will speak only at the behest of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), through the medium of his heart. If he should speak without such a command, he would perish, so he will not speak at all unless he is obliged to do so, because he receives an order and is moved by an irresistibly compelling action. If it comes about in this manner, well, the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is far too Generous [Akram] to find fault with someone who follows an overwhelming motivation, in which there is no element of lower self [nafs], of passionate desire [hawa], of natural inclination [tab'], of satanic influence [shaitan], or of willfulness [irada]. No more would He chastise him for this, than He would take a corpse to task for uttering an articulate sound, or a dreamer for witnessing and experiencing the enactment of a sexual fantasy in his sleep. There have in fact been plenty of cases where spoken words were heard to issue from corpses, well after the time of death.

In case someone should take it upon himself to address his fellow creatures in any fashion other than the one we have just described, it would be far better for him to remain silent than to speak. None but the brave should dare to place himself in the front rank. Anyone who joins the front rank, without having either courage or skill, is doomed to perish.

Woe unto you! You claim to love Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), when you actually love anything but Him. Your false claim will be the cause of your destruction. How can you lay claim to love, when there is no visible sign of it about you? Love [mahabba] is like a fire in a house with neither door nor key; its flames emerge from up on top of the lover [muhibb]. He locks the door of his love and tries to keep it hidden from view, while it reveals itself to him in a language peculiar to him, in a form of speech peculiar to him. He does not wish to share the company of his beloved [mahbub] with anyone else, and this is one of the major signs of his genuine sincerity.

O liar, O jester! You had better hold your tongue, for you are not one of these. You are not a lover. The lover has faith [iman], but he also experiences agitation and disturbance. The beloved has a feeling of calm tranquillity, dwelling in the chamber of grace and sleeping therein. The lover is in a state of exhaustion, while the beloved is in a state of comfortable relaxation. The lover is a learner [muta'allim], while the beloved is a learned scholar ['alim]. The lover is imprisoned, while the beloved is at liberty. The lover is crazy, while the beloved is perfectly sane.

When a little boy catches sight of a snake, he emits a loud scream. When the snake-charmer catches sight of a lion, he emits a loud scream and runs away in terror. As for the lion itself, it plays with the other lions and sleeps alongside them. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Observe your duty to Allah. Allah will teach you. (2:282)

The lover [muhibb] is dutifully devout and well-mannered as he stands in waiting at the door. He must make sure that his heart, as well as the limbs and organs of his physical body, is on its best behavior. Once he has achieved the proper state of refinement, he may enter within through the door of nearness. The law [hukm] refines behavior at the door, and knowledge ['ilm] provides refinement inside the door. If a person behaves correctly at the door of the law, knowledge will accord him a friendly reception, take him into its care, provide him with instruction, supply all his needs, and keep him safe. The law is a communal doorway, while knowledge is a special door. If a person achieves an excellent standard of conduct and worshipful obedience at the communal doorway, he will come to be someone who enjoys a friendly reception behind the special door. He will come to be numbered among the company of the loved ones [mahbubin].

There is nothing really worth talking about, until you can speak at length while sticking closely to the spiritual path [tariq], practicing real servitude ['ubudiyya], and keeping a watch on your own lower self [nafs] with the eye of scorn and disdain. If a person can see and acknowledge his own deficiency, he will come to experience perfection, but if someone admires his own perfection, he will end up with nothing but deficiency. You must therefore turn about and face in the opposite direction, for only then you will hit the mark. You must seek good advice, for only then you will find the right track. You must be patient, for only then will you achieve success, find what you are seeking, and be carried forward to your goal. You must practice patience, for only then you will be treated with patience. You must accept with good grace, for only then will you be accepted with good grace. You must behave correctly, for only then will you be treated correctly. You must offer the greeting of peace, for only then will you be greeted with peace. You must be ready to comply, for only then will you be given helpful guidance. You must serve, for only then will you be served. You must stick close to the door, for only then will it be opened for you. You must not be too hasty, for only then will you obtain results. You must act with generosity, for only then will you be treated generously. You must draw near, for only then will you be drawn near. You must do well, for only then will you be treated well.

When the heart travels on the feet of dedicated efforts and exertions, covers the distance to its Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and finally attains to Him, it becomes firmly established in His presence, and for it there is no longer any question of going back. It moves out of the realm of Divine Wisdom [Hikma] and into the realm of Divine Power [Qudra], out of the realm of instruments [alat] and material means [asbab], and into the realm of the Maker [Sani'] and Originator [Musabbib]. It moves away from its own will [mashi 'a] and toward the Will of its Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He); away from its own movement and rest, and toward the movement and rest of its Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).

O seekers of this world! As long as you are constantly engaged in the search for her, you are doomed to weary labor. This world goes looking for those who try to run away from her. The harder a person runs in the effort to get away from her, the harder she runs after him. Then, if he turns around and gives her his attention, she draws the obvious conclusion from his insincerity. She therefore brings him under her control and puts him to work in her service, then eventually kills him off. If he does not turn around and give her his attention, on the other hand, she draws the obvious conclusion from his genuine sincerity, and so puts herself at his service. In order to derive benefit from this world, you must first become detached from her and actually run away from her. Yes, you must run away from her, for she is an extremely cunning, deceptively enchanting, and utterly lethal witch. You must separate from her with your hearts, before she separates from you. You must become detached from her, before she detaches herself from you. You should not take her as your wife, but if you do marry her, you must not let your religion [din] be stipulated in the contract as her dower [mahr], for if you do so, the marriage will very quickly end in divorce. She will then be entitled to keep your religion, since it was stipulated in the marriage contract that your religion would be her nuptial gift [sadaq]. The religion of the hypocrite [munafiq] is the dower of this world, while the blood of the martyred believer [mu'min shahid] is the dower of the hereafter, and the blood of the lover [muhibb] is the dower of the nearness of the Lord [Mawla].

Woe unto you! As long as you go on behaving as the servant of this world, she will injure you and do you no good at all. Once the tables are turned, however, so that she is now the one behaving as your servant, she will prove to be quite useful to you, and will cause you no harm. You must drive her out of your heart, for only then will you get to see her good side, the service she can provide, and how humble she can be. She displays herself to the heart of the believer [mu'min] in her most charmingly beautiful form, wearing every kind of adornment, so he asks her: "Who are you?" To this she replies: "I am this world, and you love dirhams and dinars [gold and silver coins]!"

A certain righteous man (may Allah bestow His mercy upon him) is reported as having said: "Once in a dream I saw a very good-looking woman, and when I asked her who she might be, she said to me, "I am this world," so I said to her: "I take refuge with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) from you and your wicked ways." To this she responded by saying: "You must feel a repugnance for dirhams and dinars, then you will be well protected against any wickedness of mine."

O liars! It is one of the essential prerequisites, for anyone who is truly honest [sadiq] about wishing for his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), that he must feel a strong repugnance for everything apart from Him, in both the outer [zahir] and the inner [batin] spheres. The outer sphere is this world with its carnal satisfactions, its sons and all that they possess, the praise and applause of one's fellow creatures, and their approval and acceptance. The inner sphere is the Garden of Paradise and all the blissful joys that it contains. Provided that someone genuinely meets this standard, his wish will be fully realized. His heart will then draw near to his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and, having come to be a participant in His nearness, he will be completely devoted to Him. Once this stage has been reached, along will come this world with its particular nature, and along will come the hereafter with its peculiar character. The former will come with its finery, and the latter with its substance. They will both become maidservants ready to serve him. Their beauty will be for the benefit of the lower self [nafs], not of the heart. The food of this world and the food of the hereafter are for the benefit of the lower self, not of the heart. It is the food of nearness [to the Lord] that is for the benefit of the heart.

This to which I offer an invitation is the Will of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) for His creatures, not that to which you would invite us.

O hypocrites! The sensible person is one who examines the ultimate conclusions, and who is not deceived by the way things appear at the outset. The sensible person is one who merely asks to borrow this world and the hereafter, both of which are handmaidens for the people [of the Lord], whom they serve and whose words they hear and obey. The sensible person fetches the two of them and listens to what they have to say for themselves. He hears how this world describes itself, and he hears how the hereafter describes itself, then he purchases from each of them whatever is useful to him. He takes sparingly from this world, because it is so impermanent, and he turns his back on the hereafter, because it is new-fashioned [muhdatha], a created entity [makhluqa], which acts as a screen between its Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and anyone who goes after it and makes it, rather than Him, the object of his longing. To such a person this world will say: "Do not seek me, and do not take me as a wife, for I keep moving from palace to palace, from king to king. As soon as I get married to someone, I murder him and seize his property. Be on your guard against me, for I am a glutton for short-lived marriages [dhawwaqa], a treacherous killer. I do not fulfill the contract a person makes with me." As for the hereafter, it will say to him: "I am branded with the mark of buying and selling. To put it in the words of my Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He):

Allah has bought from the believers their persons and their goods, Paradise being theirs for the price. (9:111)

--I see upon your face the mark of nearness, so do not purchase me, for Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will not let you stay with me."

Once he has really experienced all this, when he has abandoned both this world and the hereafter, and has turned his back on both of them, preferring to go in search of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), this world will then be restored to him, so that he may enjoy his allotted shares thereof, free from the pressure of need. The hereafter will also be given back to him, so that it may serve him as a lady housekeeper [qahramana].

Listen to this, O seekers! Listen to this, O you who are sick! What I have been explaining to you is a remedy for your ailments, so put it to good use! Whenever someone becomes detached from something, that thing comes looking for him. You must become detached from all objects of creation [makhluqat], so that the Creator [Khaliq] will love you. One who is beloved in the sight of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) may well be compared to an invalid in the clinic of a kind and gentle physician, who takes him into his personal care.

O my people, accept the advice I am offering you! You must detach yourselves from this world, for your fondness and love for it will set up a barrier to keep you from the hereafter, from the nearness of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and from the delight of the eyes of your hearts. Getting stuck with this world will block you off from the hereafter, while getting stuck with the lower self [nafs] will block you off from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

O ignorant ones! Do not consume the fruits of this world at the expense of losing the fruits of the hereafter. The hereafter is a princess [sayyida], for whom this world is a female slave [mamluka], and the slave must follow and obey the owner. The one is lowly, while the other is lofty, and the lowly must follow and obey the lofty. You must not consume the food of this world without first taking the antidote [tiryaq], for it is food that has been poisoned. What is this antidote? It is the practice of abstinence, of detaching yourself from this world and moving on, as far as your heart is concerned, from the ocean of wisdom [hikma] to the ocean of power [qudra], from the medicine [tibb] to the physician [tabib], who will show you how to tell the difference between the part that is poison and the part that is edible meat. Surely you must have heard, or maybe even seen for yourself, how the snake-charmer [hawwa'] grabs hold of the snake [hayya], slaughters it, cooks it, draws the poison out of it, and then finally eats the meaty part of it.

The Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) makes the poison of this world available to the unbelievers [kuffar] who commit sinful offences against Him, and who settle for others apart from Him. As for the believers, how could He fail to treat them favorably, when they are His guests? He behaves with them as the lover would behave in dealing with the beloved. For them He singles out the sweet from the midst of the bitter, the pure from the midst of the contaminated. For those who are sought after [muradun], He provides choice food and drink, clothing, and everything else they may need.

The would-be ascetic [mutazahhid] is still working at his abstinence, and there will be times when he fails to keep it up. There will be times when he makes the effort, and times when he gives up trying. As for the truly practicing abstainer [zahid], for him the business of abstinence has already revealed all its secrets, so he can readily distinguish the pure from the contaminated. That which is pure calls out to identify itself to him, and that which is contaminated calls out to him likewise.

The people [of the Lord] have had all their avenues united, so there is only one direction left for them to take. The avenues still open to their fellow creatures have become too narrow for them to consider, while the direction of the Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) has opened wide for them. They have blocked the avenues of creation [khalq] with the hands of their own truthfulness [sidq], and they have opened up the avenues of the Creator [Khaliq] with the hands of their hearts. The result, of course, is that their hearts have grown wider and greater and more splendid, and that now the force of dignity is stationed at the doorways of their hearts, preventing anyone from entering into them except their Owner [Malik] and Creator. Every single one of these people [of the Lord] is like the sun and the moon in this world. These two are the sources of this world's light, and contact with their surfaces would cause everything on earth to catch fire.

You are dead bodies. Why are you walking about on the face of the earth? You must be sensible, for as long as you have no sense you cannot be one of the men of valor. You cannot recognize the men of valor, the chieftains of the Truth [Haqq] and the great ones among them. The way you talk is a sure sign of what is in your heart. The tongue is the heart's interpreter [al-lisanu tarjumanu 'l-qalb].

When you happen to feel love for one person and hatred for another, you must neither love the former nor hate the latter because of your lower self [nafs] and your natural inclination [tab']. You must rather judge between the two of them on the basis of the Book and the Sunna. Then, if these criteria are favorable to the one whom you have regarded with affection, you must continue to feel that affection, but if they are unfavorable, you must abandon the affectionate feeling. If they prove favorable to the one you disliked, however, you must give up the feeling of hate, while if they are unfavorable you must continue to hate the person.

Woe unto you! You feel hatred for me because I speak the truth, and because I make you face the truth. No one hates me and ignores me unless he is ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), someone who is given to an awful lot of talk, but very little in the way of action! And no one loves me unless he is well aware of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), someone who is given to plenty of action and very little talk! The nearness of the Truth [Haqq] has nourished me so well that I need nothing else. There is so much water all around me, while I am like a frog in a kettle. I say whatever I have to express. I wait for the water to flow through, and I talk. When that happens, you hear the news about you and the news about other people.

When will you ever repent, O you backsliders, O you rebellious sinners? You must become reconciled with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) through the medium of repentance. Were it not for the sense of shame that I feel in the presence of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and of His knowledge ['ilm], I would get up and grab one of you by the hand, and I would say to him: "You have acted like this and you have behaved like that, so now you must turn in repentance toward Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)."

There is no point in talking to you or conversing with you, until your faith [iman] has grown strong, and likewise your certitude [iqan] and your intimate knowledge [ma'rifa] of your Master [Mawla] (Almighty and Glorious is He). Only when you have reached that stage will you have a firm grip on the most secure handle [bi'l-'urwati 'l-wuthqa], which signifies the attainment of your heart to contact with Him. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will then point to you with pride [as a member of his community] in the presence of all the religious communities.

O you who believe according to your tongue, how long will it be before you believe with your heart? O you who are a believer [mu'min] according to your public appearance, how long will it be before you are a believer where your private life is concerned? Salvation comes with the faith of the heart. This is the really useful thing. There is no benefit at all in faith of the tongue combined with the unbelief [kufr] of your heart. The faith of the hypocrite [munafiq] is the faith of those who are afraid of the sword.

O servants of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He):

Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. (39:53)

And do not despair of the Spirit of Allah. (12:87)

O you who are dead at heart, you must practice constantly the remembrance of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), the recitation of His Book, the study of the Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and attendance at sessions devoted to divine remembrance [majalis adh-dhikr]. Your hearts will then come back to life, just as the dead earth is brought back to life by the downpour of abundant rain upon it. When the heart is constantly engaged in the remembrance of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), it comes to be endowed with intimate experience [ma'rifa], knowledge ['ilm], the affirmation of Divine Unity [tawhid], absolute trust [tawakkul], and a lack of interest in everything whatsoever apart from Him. The constant practice of remembrance produces good results that are constantly enduring in both this world and the hereafter.

As long as you are still attached to this world and to your fellow creatures, you will continue to be influenced by praise and blame, because your whole existence is bound up with your lower self [nafs], your passions [hawa] and your natural inclinations [tab']. When your heart attains to contact with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and when your whole concern winds up with Him, only then will you cease to be subject to those influences, and you will be relieved of an enormous burden. As long as all your interest is focused on this world, and while your reliance is solely on your own strength and power, you will always feel disjointed and fragmented, exhausted and discontented.

In similar fashion, if you concentrate on the hereafter with all your personal energy, you will never make the connection. But if you devote all your attention to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), the door to all that is needed for worldly life will be opened by the hand of His strength and by total trust in Him, and the door to acts of worshipful obedience will be opened by the hand of His helpful guidance [tawfiq].

Once you have reached the stage of applying to Him, therefore, you must apply to Him for strength and honesty in the quest for His forgiving grace and His assistance. You must plant the feet of your heart and your innermost being [sirr] most firmly in His presence, while in a state of complete detachment from the business of this world and the hereafter.

Woe unto you! Your lower self [nafs] is sick, so you must make it stick to a wholesome diet, until it is restored to good health by its Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).

Woe unto you! How can you seriously aspire to the nearness of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), as long as your lower self [nafs] is in charge of you and your passions [hawa] are leading you along, while you are inclined to go chasing after carnal pleasures and attractions, and while the fire of your natural impulse [tab'] is burning up your devotion to duty[taqwa] and your religion [din]? Be sensible! This is not the behavior of someone who believes in death and is aware of it with certitude. This is not the behavior of someone who is consciously looking forward to the encounter with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), and who dreads the reckoning and interrogation to which He will subject him. You have no clarity of thought. You have no devotion to duty. You never enjoy a moment of calm repose, by night or by day, in the ceaseless process of trying to accumulate the benefits of this world and the hereafter, thinking about them, spending time in the company of people who have expert knowledge of them, and seeking to ingratiate yourself with such people.

As for the people [of the Lord], they attach very little importance to this world and the hereafter, and they are indifferent to the hardships of life in the realm of creation. Any one of them may be compared to a man who has dispatched his laden camel [in a caravan] to Khurasan, having already built a house over there on Mount Juraida. As he watches the progress of his caravan, and sees its commander come out to lead it, his physical body may be present as part of the scene, but his whole heart has gone on ahead to his home. The true believer [mu'min] has dispatched a shipment of goods to the hereafter, having already built a mansion over there. For all its charm, however, his whole heart yearns for the nearness of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has told us:

This world is the believer's prison [ad-dunya sijnu'l-mu'min].

The true believer remains ever true to his faith [iman], so that he comes to be one who is really aware ['arif] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), one who knows Him well ['alim bihi], one who is near to Him, and one who attains to contact with Him. Having reached this stage, he prefers Him over everything else. He presents his belongings to the servants who wait in attendance at the door, all of them longing to be admitted inside the palace of nearness [to the Lord]. He gives the key to his mansion, the one in the Garden of Paradise, back to its custodian. His innermost being [sirr] approaches the gates of the Gardens, but only in order to leave them all shut. He also locks the doors of the realm of creation and worldly existence [wujud]. Then he throws himself at the door of the King, where he acts as if he were sick, and falls as if he had been flung there like a lump of meat. He waits for the feet of Gracious Favor to pass by and trample on him. He waits for a glance from the eye of Mercy, and for the hand of Noble Generosity and Kindness to be extended. Then, as he lies there in this state--lo and behold!--he suddenly finds himself inside the chamber of Nearness, in the room of Gracious Favor, in the presence of the Expert Physician, who proceeds to exercise and train him, to restore his strength and energy, to entertain him, to deck him out in fine attire and jewelry, to feed him with the food of Grace and quench his thirst with the drink of Intimate Friendship. For this is the point at which Mercy has arrived in the Palace of Nearness, and when Joy has arrived on the Balconies of Attainment.

All created entities have now come to be beneath him, and he looks upon them with the eye of gentle sympathy, giving expression to the attributes [akhlaq] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), because the hearts of those who have attained to Him are filled with merciful compassion [rahma] for their fellow creatures. They look with the eye of merciful compassion upon both the Muslims and the unbelievers [kafirin], upon both the common people and the special few. They treat them all with compassion, while at the same time insisting that they must observe the rules of the sacred law [shar']. Outwardly, there is the insistence; inwardly, there is the compassion. O servants of Allah! Whenever you encounter one of these people [of the Lord], you must be ready to serve him. Take note of what I am telling you, for I am giving you sound advice.

O you who idle away your time in your houses or your hermit cells [sawami'], stuck there with nothing to keep you company but the lower self [nafs], the urges of natural disposition [tab'], the passions [hawa], and very little knowledge ['ilm], the company you need to seek is that of the Shaikhs who put their knowledge into actual practice [ash-shuyukh al-'ummal bi'l-'ilm]. You must carry out their instructions and follow in their footsteps. You must act toward them with humility, and endure with patience the harsh treatment they administer, until your passions have ceased to control you, your lower selves have been subdued, and the flames of your natural urges have been snuffed out. Once this stage has been reached, you will recognize this world for what it is, since you will know it through experience. It will then become your maidservant, who must give you what she is obliged to give you. In other words, she will give you your quotas of the allotments she has to distribute. She will bring them to you while you are at the doorway of your nearness to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). Both she and the hereafter are ready to act as maidservants for anyone who serves the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

When the believer's heart is such that the affirmation of Divine Unity [tawhid] has become highly developed within it, the rate of his growth will accelerate with every day that passes. The more he grows, matures, and rises to fresh heights, the less he will pay attention to anything on the face of the earth or in heaven, other than Allah. All created beings will be at his command, while he resides in the privacy of his home and in the presence of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). Once he has reached this stage, he will be empowered by Him and will enjoy direct access to Him, and so he will come to be the executive ruler [sultan] of his age. He will be empowered to make binding decisions, to issue decrees and to govern. The best friends of the King will be ready to serve him, and he will enjoy a close personal relationship with His Majesty.

O my people! You must believe the word of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), the word of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the word of the righteous [salihin] among His creatures. Allah (Exalted is He) is surely Truthful [Sadiq], because He has said:

And who can be more truthful in speech than Allah? (4:122)

As for the Messenger and the righteous, their veracity [sidq] is derived from His veracity.

If your heart adopts a properly respectful stance at the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), you will no longer be guilty of associating partners with Him [shirk], your quest for Him will be over, and the quality of your behavior will be greatly improved. Patience frees one from the influence of carnal appetites. Patience causes bad habits to fade away, severs attachment to material means [asbab], and shakes off dependence on the worldly owners of such means [arbab].

You are so stupid! You are so ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and His Messenger [rasul], His saints [awliya'] and the special few [khawass] among His creatures (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon them all). You claim to be committed to abstinence [zuhd], and yet you are actually longing to satisfy your appetites. Your abstinence is something you practice only when it is convenient. Your real longing is wholly for things belonging to this world and your fellow creatures. You feel no longing for your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). You had better beware of standing in the presence of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He)!

You must improve your attitude of mind and your behavior, so that I may guide you in the direction of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and so that I may acquaint you with the path that leads to Him. You must strip from yourself the garment of arrogant pride, and take to wearing the garment of humility. You must practice self-abasement until you can be truly humble, then conduct yourself with humility so that you may grow in stature. Everything that you are now involved in, everything you are concerned about, all of it is nothing but a delusion wrapped up in yet another delusion!

If you reject the notion [khatir] of the lower self, the notion of the passions, the devil's notion and the notion of this world, the notion of the hereafter will come to you. Then you will receive the angel's notion, then finally the notion of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). This is the ultimate stage.

When your heart is sound, it will pause to ask each notion as it arises: "What kind of notion are you? From what source do you come?" So it will say: "I am the notion of such-and-such...."

The majority of you are governed by a delusion within a delusion, worshipping creatures in your cells [sawami']. This business is not something that comes about merely through sitting in secluded places [khalawat] with ignorance for company.

You must walk forth in search of knowledge ['ilm] and scholars who put their knowledge into practice ['ulama' 'ummal], until you can walk no farther. You must keep walking until your legs will no longer obey you. Then, when you have no strength left, you may sit down. Travel with your outer [zahir], then with your heart and your inner content [ma'na]. When you are utterly exhausted both outwardly and inwardly [batinan] and have to stop, nearness to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and attainment to Him will come to you. When the footsteps of your heart come to a halt, and all your energies have gone into the journey toward Him, this is the sign of your nearness to Him, so at this point you must surrender [sallim] and cast yourself down in submission [istatrih]. He will either build you a cell in the earth and lodge you in the desert wastes, or else He will send you back to civilization, putting this world and the hereafter, jinn, human beings, angels and spirits [arwah] at your service.

When you are standing at last in the doorway of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), you will witness something marvelous -- no, I should say many marvelous things. You must forget about what you have to eat and drink, the clothes you have to wear, the situation in which you find yourself, and the praise and the blame of other people. These things are all functions of our lower selves [a'mal an-nufus], not functions of our hearts [a'mal al-qulub]. This heart should become an orchard [bustan] containing many trees and various kinds of fruit, as well as clearings and open spaces, rivers and mountains. It should have a panoramic view of all human beings, jinn, angels and spirits [arwah] put together. This is something far beyond the grasp of purely mental understanding.

O Allah, if what I am engaged in is something real and true, let the truth and reality of it be made apparent to those who follow the spiritual path [fa-haqqiqhu li's-salikin]. But if it is something false, I beg you to erase it! If I am in the right, then build my edifice high and raise it tall, and expedite the guidance of Your creatures through my agency. Raise our hearts up toward You! How much longer must we endure this weary toil? When will our hearts have taken the final steps on their journey? When will they enjoy the banquet on the roof of the Palace of Nearness, delighting in the view of Your creation from its lofty balconies?

And Allah coins similitudes for the sake of mankind. (14:25)

When the heart is truly sound, it forgets everything apart from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). He is the One who exists from all eternity [al-Qadim], the One who exists to all eternity [al-Azali], the Enduring [ad-Da'im], the Everlasting [al-Abadi], and everything apart from Him is but newly created [muhdath]. When the heart is truly sound, the speech that issues from it will come to be correct and true, so that no one can refute it. Heart will speak to heart, innermost being [sirr] to innermost being, private refuge [khalwa] to private refuge, inner content [ma'na] to inner content, essence [lubb] to essence, conscience [sawab] to conscience. At this stage, therefore, the words that come from it will be for other hearts like seeds that sprout in good soft earth, not salty marshland. When the heart is truly sound, it becomes a tree with branches, leaves and fruit. It comes to contain benefits for all creatures, whether they be humans or jinn or angels.

If you acquire knowledge for the sake of this world, you will work for the sake of this world, and if you acquire knowledge for the sake of the hereafter, you will work for the sake of the hereafter. The branches are based upon the roots. "As you pay allegiance, so shall allegiance be paid to you [kama tadinu tudanu]." Every pot exudes its own contents. You fill your pot with naphtha [naft] and then expect it to exude rose water. You are unworthy of respect. You work for the sake of creatures, yet you wish to have the Creator on your side tomorrow [at the Resurrection], to enjoy nearness to Him and to look upon Him. You are unworthy of respect.

This is the obvious and most probable scenario. But if He grants you His gifts purely as a gracious favor, not for any work you have done, that is up to Him. Worshipful obedience [ta'a] is the work of the Garden [of Paradise], while sinful disobedience [ma'siya] is the work of the Fire [of Hell]. After that, the matter is up to Him. If He so wills, He may reward one of us without reference to work, or He may chastise one of us without reference to work. This is all up to Him.

Listen to me and try to grasp what I have to say, for I am the humble servant [ghulam] of those who have gone on before us. I stand in their presence. I spread out their wares and invite people to examine them. I never cheat in the process, and do not pretend that they are my own property. I begin by quoting what they have said, then I go over it from my own point of view.

Blessed grace [baraka] comes from Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), and Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has bestowed many blessings upon me, such as my obedience to the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and my filial piety [birr] toward my father and my mother. May Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) have mercy upon them both! My father abstained from the pleasures of this world, although he had the power to enjoy them, while my mother went along with him in this and approved of what he did. They were among the people of righteousness [salah], religious devotion [diyana] and compassion for all creatures, but my real concern is not with them, nor with other people. I have come to the Bearer of the Message [ar-Rasul] and the Sender of the Message [al-Mursil], and because of them I prosper. Every benefit and blessing of mine is with them and in their presence. Among creatures I wish for no one apart from Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), and among lords for none but my Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He).

O learned one, your speech comes from your tongue, not from your heart, from your outer form and not from your inner content [ma'na]. The true heart shies away from words that issue from the tongue instead of from the heart, for they sound like a bird in a cage, or like the hypocrite in the mosque [masjid]. If one of the champions of truth [siddiqun] should find himself by accident at a session [majlis] held by one of the hypocritical scholars, his whole aspiration would be to get out of there.

The people [of the Lord] can detect the signs that mark the pretenders [mura'un], the hypocrites [munafiqun], the impostors [dajjalun], the heretical innovators [mubtadi'un], the enemies of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the enemies of His Messenger. These signs are apparent in their faces and in their way of speaking. They flee from the champions of truth as they might flee from a lion, fearful of being scorched by the fire of their hearts. The angels take them away from the champions of truth and the righteous [salihun]. One of them may be great in the eyes of the common folk ['awamm], but in the eyes of the champions of truth he is of no account. To the common folk he is a human being [adami], but to the champions of truth he is a cat [sinnawr]. He carries no weight with them.

O young men! First you must find the physician of the law [tabib al-hukm], for he will provide the treatment you need to cure you of your diseases. You must take the medicine he prescribes, for then you will be protected from harm. You must follow the servant on duty [ghulam], for he will escort you to the master [ustadh]. The law [hukm] is the servant of knowledge ['ilm], so you must follow it, notice the door through which it enters, and go in behind it. You must look for the doorway of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must cultivate good manners in the company of the law, since the law is the servant on duty at the door. If you do not follow the law, you have no way of attaining to knowledge. Surely you must have heard the words of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He):

So whatever the Messenger gives you, take it; and from whatever he forbids you, abstain. (59:7)

Provided that you cultivate well-mannered behavior in the company of the law, once you have reached the door of your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and that you are escorted by the law when you call out to seek admission, He will respond to your call. He will open unto you the door of His nearness, and He will invite you to sit at the table of His gracious favor and His generous hospitality. You will then be treated as His guests. He will converse with your hearts and entertain your innermost beings [asrar], teaching them the knowledge which He teaches only to the special few [khawass] among His creatures. Thus His law will come to be the link between Him and the rest of His creatures, while His knowledge will be between Him and you, because the law is collective in its application [al-hukm mushtarak], whereas knowledge is specific [al-'ilm khass]. The law is a matter of faith, whereas knowledge is a matter of seeing the evidence with one's own eyes [al-hukm iman wa 'l-'ilm 'iyan].

O Allah, grant us knowledge and sincerity [ikhlas] in all our actions. Grant us insight into Your knowledge, and steadiness in our insight, and:

Give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire! (2:201)

Praise be to Allah, by whose gracious favor good works are brought to completion!

This marks the conclusion of the text of Jala 'al-Khawatir [The Removal of Cares], one of the literary works of the Shaikh, the Imam, the learned scholar, the pious abstainer, the dutiful worshipper, the knower by direct experience, the avoider of excess, the solitary Axis [al-Qutb al-fard], the Spiritual Helper [al-Ghawth], the Shaikh of the shaikhs and the saints [Shaikh al-masha'ikh wa 'l-awliya'], our master and our shaikh, Shaikh Muhyi 'd-Din Abu Muhammad 'Abd al-Qadir al-Hasani al-Husaini, son of Abu Salih 'Abdu'llah al-Jili. May Allah the Exalted be well pleased with him, and may He give him reason to be well pleased with us. May we derive benefit from his words, in letter and in spirit [lafzan wa ma'nan], in knowledge and in practice ['ilman wa 'amalan].

 

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