Third Letter from Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawi
(Shaykh Ahmad al-Badawi was the student of Shaykh Moulay al-'Arabi al-Darqawi)
May Allah bless our master Muhammad and his family and Companions and grant them abundant peace.
Following on from that, Allah has filled my heart and your hearts with the belief pattern of our master, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his family regarding the Essence of Allah, may His majesty be exalted, and His attributes and Names and in his belief about himself and his Message and Prophethood, and the Message being sealed by him. May He make our life, our death and our gathering with him so that we see him with our own eyes by His favour.
Be certain with utter certainty as you are certain of the shahada that whoever makes the purity of his tawhid free from doubt and illusion and fills his heart with good belief in everything which is necessary for Allah, may His majesty be exalted, and for His Messengers, peace and blessing be upon them, and what is impossible and what is permitted for them has, by Allah, been provided with the might and wealth of both the worlds and has obtained the divine elixir which transforms the heart and has been endowed with the stations of certainty whose good, light and profit do not end in this world, and on the Day of the Deen, Allah will preserve, by His favour, the purity of their tawhid from evil impulses by the rank of the master of the greatest rank, and all those He admits to the presence of tawhid. So seek refuge in Allah, my lords, from the impulses of Shaytan. Allah Almighty says, "If an evil impulse from Shaytan provokes you, seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who have taqwa, when they are bothered by visitors from Shaytan, they remember and immediately see clearly." (7:200-201)
Seeking refuge with Allah tabaraka wa ta'ala is the source of preservation, of salvation and of a good seal by the mercy of Allah at the time of death. One of the gnostics of Allah, may Allah be pleased with them and help us by them, said, "If I die holding to the word of tawhid, I do not care if I meet Allah with every wrong action committed by all the people on earth." We read in the two Sahih collections, "Everyone who dies testifying, 'There is no god but Allah' will enter the Garden." It is the small card by which his pan of good actions outweighs the pan of all his bad actions [in the scales] - a generous notification!.
All other ayats revealed about tawhid disappear in the oceans and the treasure trove of the words of Allah 'azza wa jalla: "The First and the Last, the Inward and the Outward." So be firm and steady, my masters, may Allah have mercy on you in every breath and glance, in your life and death. The key of the talisman of this immense treasure which contains all the treasures of the Lord lies in turning from this world and its people, being divested of lower desires, appetites and innovations, following the Book and the Sunna and consensus, and having the unique Name, the Name of majesty "Allah" on your tongues.
Say always: "Allah"
Beware of forgetting for the blink of an eye.
Our master and teacher, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "Dhikr of the Unique Name is a path which leads to direct knowledge of Allah." And I say that this is the consensus of all of the shaykhs of teaching, may Allah be pleased with them and help us by them Amin. Their Qutb, Fard and model, the greatest scholar of the community, the Proof of Islam, our master al-Ghazzali, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "We tested it and found it to be like that." May Allah give you success.
Then be certain that if someone is denied arrival, that is due to their being weak where the foundations of the deen are concerned because the haqiqa is hidden in the Shari'a and practices of the Shari'a are the perfection of perfection, just as they are the key to arrival. The end of my advice is, therefore, to hold fast and cling to the great basis of the deen on which all its foundations are built. That is the shahada: the affirmation that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Always call to mind knowledge of it and have the meaning of the secret of the knowledge of certainty of it, the eye of certainty of it and the truth of certainty of it in your heart in every state since it is the first obligation of your deen.
It is an individual obligation for every free believer to repent truthfully and sincerely. That guarantees love and is the ground on which the deen is built. Rectifying wrongs done to others is a duty which Allah insists on and will continue to do so until it has been done. The next thing is to establish the prayer at its time, especially the Subh and 'Isha' prayers. The person who safeguards them, will be more likely to safeguard the other prayers. The person who disregards them, will be more likely to disregard the other prayers. Enough for you on that subject are the words of Allah 'azza wa jalla, "The prayer precludes indecency and wrongdoing" (29:45) and the words of the Messenger, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him: "The five prayers are expiation for what is between them," and: "The only thing standing between Islam and unbelief is the prayer." Anyone who abandons the prayer should be executed by the sword for unbelief according to the school of the hadith scholars. That is why the Messenger, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, said as he was dying, "Fear Allah regarding the prayer."
Delaying the prayer beyond its time is a major wrong action and it is the reason for the removal of baraka from those from whom it is removed. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah does not bless any occupation which diverts one from the prayer." Delaying the prayer of Subh beyond its time causes a person to fall into a massive chasm because Shaytan urinates in his ear, as is related. What do you expect to happen to someone into whose ear shaytan urinates?
It is further essential to thoroughly cleanse yourself of urine, which brings about deliverance from the punishment of the grave, and then to know the rulings of wudu' and purity for the prayer, and beyond that to make sure of the underpinning on which the deen is built, which is being scrupulous about cleanliness: the cleanliness of your bodies, clothes, zawiyyas, places of your worship and your courtyards because, as is reported, the Jews do not keep their courtyards clean. Also vital for you is natural grooming (fitra) which involves cutting the nails, trimming the beard, plucking the armpits and shaving the pubic hair. You should use a lot of water in istinja ' when removing all traces of impurity from the anus after defecation, relaxing the sphincter and wiping it thoroughly. I heard our master, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by them, used to say, "Extravagance is permitted in three things: in the prayer on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in feeding those one loves, and in the water used for doing istinja'."
That also applies to istinja' when repeating sexual intercourse. All instances of the itch, illness, leprosy and other health defects which afflict children is due to lack of istinja' when you have sex more than once on a single occasion. Any madness, lack of modesty or deficiency in the deen that appears in them is due to failure to mention the name of Allah at the beginning of intercourse. You should say before you start: "O Allah, keep Shaytan away from us and keep shaytan away from what You provide us with," and at the end, in the heart but not with the tongue, you should say: "Praise be to Allah who created the human being from water and gave him lineage and in-laws. Your Lord is powerful." Then the child who has been conceived will be protected, wholesome and good. Cleanliness before and after eating is also a blessing, meaning washing the hands.
You should always display good character towards, and have good counsel for, those in your care and be good to the family of the House of the Prophet and your daughters. Always seek refuge from any diminishment of your certainty. That is the source of destruction. Only be close friends with those who elevate your state. All good results from keeping good company and likewise all evil results from keeping bad company.
Anyone who mixes with a perfumer
will smell of his fragrance.
Anyone who mixes with a blacksmith,
will stink of his stench.
No evil or anything disliked comes to my brothers at all except through their keeping close company with the people of evil. The state of such people is as venomous as snake that kills with its first bite.
You should renew your wudu' whenever you break it. Doing that gives access to a treasure whose blessings do not end in this world or the Next. Our master and teacher, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "If someone wants to have the opening of our master 'Abdu'l-Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, should redo wudu' whenever he breaks it and pray two rak'ats and make supplication."
You must also always pay zakat at its specified time without delay or slackness. Allah, 'azza wa 'jalla, says about zakat on crops, "Pay their due on the day of their harvest." (6:142) There is consensus that prayer is not accepted without the payment of zakat. The greatest imam, our master Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, fought those who refused to pay zakat, saying, " By Allah, if they refuse me as much as a she-goat which they used to pay to the Messenger of Allah, I will fight them for it." The punishment of someone who refuses to pay zakat in this world is the destruction of his property, his heart being tested, and his being veiled from his Lord, and in the Next World, it is his disgrace and his being punished by the Fire of Jahannam, as is related. If someone trades with debts and has equivalent in capital, the consensus is that he must pay zakat when the year is complete. Hajj is the monasticism of Islam, as is related. We ask Allah for safety, well-being and firmness in obeying the Shari'a of the deen until certainty comes, Amin.
Beyond this, leave what does not concern you and observe the limits of your Lord wherever you are by adopting scrupulousness. It is a fundamental of the deen and the key to the treasure of the secrets of the stations of certainty. Cling to the sunna of your Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in all your acts of worship and daily affairs. The most important thing of all is hatred for this world and disdaining it and fleeing both with the heart and body from it and its people. Our master Shaykh ash-Shadhili, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, was asked, "We do not see that you do all that much. In what way have you surpassed people causing them to respect you as they do?" He, may Allah be pleased with him, answered, "By one sunna which Allah imposed on His Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. I cling to it. It is turning away from you and from this world of yours."
Love and esteem for this world and sitting with its people is a penetrating poison. A little of it kills the heart and veils it from the presence of the Veiled. The most pernicious aspect of it is women and children. Anyone who turns away from it, does not pay attention to it, and is distracted by Allah from it, is successful and wins through. The shaykh of shaykhs, the shaykh of our shaykh, Sidi Ahmad ibn 'Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "A matter about which there is no dispute, from our master Adam until the Final Hour comes, is that the springs of wilaya lie in leaving this world and its people."
His signs are that he does not incline to passion.
So this world is wrapped up and His next world is gathered.
You must absolutely and definitely be on your guard against the ultimate source of all sources of disaster and that is satisfaction with the self and unleashing the tongue too freely in speech. The tongue is a wild beast. If someone unleashes it, it will devour him. A man may utter a single word which he is unconcerned with, but which becomes the cause of his falling seventy years into the Fire of Jahannam. If someone utters one word about his brother believer which he dislikes, it is as if he had committed fornication with his mother in the Ka'ba thirty-three times, as is related. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Good is divided into ten parts. Nine parts are silence and one part is withdrawal." It is said that there are seven thousand types of wisdom in silence. If speech is silver, then silence is gold. So make the important practice of silence one of your wirds. If you restrict your speech to dhikr of Allah and legal necessities which Allah has made obligatory, you will be happy and win the best of both worlds, by Allah.
Beware and again beware of far-reaching hope. I say: If someone decreases his hopes and multiplies his actions, his light is strengthened, his good overflows, his heart is softened and his good character expands. He becomes a refuge and mercy for all the slaves of Allah. And the opposite is also true. Be certain that anything that you put your hopes in, other than death, is a delusion, since it is closer to you than you yourself are. All your worries about provision are the greatest encrustation on your hearts because they come from lack of realisation that you are seeking what is seeking you. All your hopes for your selves are harmful for you and make you neglect your Master and Lord. So be silent, particularly about yourselves and what is other than your Lord, since that is true silence. "All things are passing except His Face." (27:88) "Everything except Allah is false."
There is no action which sets the heart at rest and which aids your meeting with your Lord like leaving this world and its people and restraining your anger and pardoning others: "those who control their rage…" (3:133). Do not get angry, as is related. Dhu'l-Kifl became a Messenger of Allah by refusing to give in to anger. It is enough of a warning about this world that it is more spell-binding than Harut and Marut, as is related. "Do not let the life of this world delude you and do not let the Deluder delude you about Allah." (35:5) Anyone who has this world as his goal, incurs the anger of Allah. If someone has this world for his goal, Allah will dissipate it for him and put poverty in front of him and only what is decreed for him of this world will come to him in any case, as is reported. An intelligent person is one who abandons it before it abandons him and dies to it before it dies to him and calls himself to account before he is called to account. Those are the clever ones who have nobility in this world and honour in the Next World. All who turn away from their desires and this world have the veil lifted from them and will be immersed in the sea of the immensity of the Essence of their Lord, the Noble, Forbearing, All-Giving.
If you live a thousand years, then two thousand after that,
there still must come a day on which you go to the grave.
Anyone who wants to see nothing other than Allah, should not possess anything whose loss he fears. The most extraordinary phenomenon of all is someone who runs from what is absolutely inescapable and chases after what is totally evanescent. "It is not their eyes which are blind, but the hearts in their breasts which are blind." (22:44) So get rid of your desires and innovations before it is too late. Do not go after insights but rather be still and not excited if they come. Do not rely on your strength and do not despair about a state of weakness. What is decreed will come about. Do not say, "I am something." Do not say, "I am nothing." Do not say, "He singled me out for something." Do not say, "He did not single me out for anything." Say "Allah" and you will see wonders. Whoever says, "Allah" annihilates existence whether he is aware of it or not, as was said by our master and teacher, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him. You should abandon socialising, make sure your food is pure, and bar the means to harm, as was said by the Greatest Shaykh, Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him. Prefer safety to stuff. Your weakness is essential [to you].
One aspect of barring the means to harm is to avoid advising and reminding women in private for they are vipers which can kill by a glance. Another is avoiding calling those with wealth and rank to Allah. He is with you in the company of the great and you are with Him in the company of the lowly. Whoever humbles himself to a rich person on account of his wealth loses a third of his deen, as is related. Your counsel to your brothers should originate from a righteous intention. Otherwise it is merely helping the nafs which is a sea of conflicting desires. It says in the Revelation, "You who believe! you are only responsible for yourselves. The misguided cannot harm you as long as you are guided." (5:105)
If you want to point something out about someone do so by censuring or praising the characteristic concerned, not by singling out the person who may have it. Abandon management and do not strive for something which Allah has in any case guaranteed to you. Strive as hard as possible to fulfil all that Allah demands of you. The intellect has no place in what Allah and His Messenger have taken care of so just hear and obey. This applies to the legal rulings of Islam, as was said by the universal Unique Individual, our master Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him.
When your state is constricted, remember Allah. When your state is expanded, remember Allah. In every state, whether it is one of majesty or one of beauty, outward or inward, remember Allah. In fact, my masters, connect all movements and stillness to the remembrance of Allah, 'azza wa jalla, which is the axis round which all blessings, both of the sensory and the meaning, revolve, and the foundation of all types of honour. Any words which are not dhikr are distraction.
Shaytan accompanies a rememberer to the extent that he neglects to remember Allah. "If someone shuts his eyes to the dhikr of the All-Merciful we assign him a shaytan who becomes his bosom friend." (43:36) "O you who believe, do not let your wealth or children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Whoever does that is lost." (63:9) Enough about the excellence of dhikr is the words of Allah, 'azza wa jalla, "And remembrance of Allah is greater still." (29:45) "Remember Me, and I will remember you." (2:151)
In short, the whole thing is a matter experience and true tasting. So to the extent that you remember created things, a state of abasement and obliteration of the inner eye envelops you. To the extent that you remember Allah, 'azza wa jalla, a state of might and opening of the inner eye envelops you. "A man is on the deen of his close friend." "If anyone takes more than what is enough for him, Allah will blind the eye of his heart," as is related. Therefore, my brothers, pay attention to this great possibility of excellence and honour from the Immense, the All-Powerful.
Always strip yourselves of your own power and strength and often recite "There is no power nor strength except by Allah, the High, the Immense," which is a one of the treasures of the Garden, and often recite "What Allah wills. There is no strength except by Allah." Anyone who tastes their reality is always in the presence of his Lord and protected from the bombardments of the evil of the time and its disasters. He is likely to remain in good health and, despite the continuing bombardment, seas and rivers of the secrets will always be flowing over him. Allah, jalla wa 'ala, says, "We desired to show kindness to those who were oppressed in the land and to make them leaders and make them inheritors and establish them firmly in the land." (28:4-5) The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If someone is humble before Allah, Allah elevates him." A sign of someone who possesses this quality is that he always continues to criticise himself and sees himself as being in the wrong and all other creatures of his Lord as being in the right, even if they wrong him, because the truth is that the lower self has as many imperfections as Allah has perfections. True are the words of the one who said most eloquently:
I have all faults, and it is my description.
You have all praise and adulation.
Make your hearts sound. The soundness of the heart is the result and the stamp of good words, actions and sincere pure pleasing states. Have a good opinion of Allah and His slaves. There is no good above that at all. If Allah knows of good in your hearts, He will give you better than what is taken from you. If you do not have a good opinion of Him on account of His attributes, then have a good opinion of Him because of His treatment of you. Has He accustomed you to anything but good? Does He bestow on you anything other than His favour? Make your concern your himma, your din and death which is set before your eyes and remember it often. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Remember the destroyer of pleasures," since all that is coming is near. The business of the Last Hour is only the blink of an eye away, or close to it.
The heightening of his himma is the crown, glory and majesty of the one who aspires to Allah. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The believer does not abase himself." We read in the Revelation, "All might belongs to Allah." (63:8) What Allah wills happens. What He does not will does not. One of the gnostics said, "The help of Allah does not leave the one who clings to Allah," or we could say to the Way of Allah. "Whoever holds fast to Allah has been guided to a straight path." (3:101)
Know, my masters and brothers, that the hated one, the one who is the firewood of Jahannam, is someone whose excuse is not accepted and whose breast is full of rancour. The same applies to anyone who esteems and honours such a person greatly and is passive and submissive before him, like a corpse in the hands of its washer. If you ask for any help whatsoever, addressing him with flattery and the most humble entreaty, he will respond to you with harsh refusal and you rarely hear from him a single word which gladdens you - O Ever-Kind, be kind to us, our Lord. This is the case for everyone like this except for someone who repents because repentance wipes out what happened before it.
This instruction is a reminder and warning against falling into bad character which is inward misfortune and to encourage you to take on those characteristics loved by Allah and to always remember the blessings of Allah. His concern for you is inseparable from you. Do not look at people's actions as if they were lords. Do not judge by the state of the moment. How many a person is on the earth while his heart is in the heavens - and the opposite - because the Real, 'azza wa jalla, says of Himself, "every day He is engaged in some affair" (55:27) regarding the soul. He gives and denies, lowers and raises, exalts and abases, gives life and makes die. So always be humble and abased. Lower your necks and place your cheek on the earth. Say, "O Peace, give peace, O Kind, O Allah." Anyone of you who has his nafs tell him that he is someone who has the truth, should examine himself carefully at a time when he is remembering death and his meeting with his Lord. If it panics and is routed, his claim is baseless. If it remains at peace, tranquil, and without terror, then it is true.
What is being talked about here is what really concerns the awliya'. Allah jalla wa 'azza says, "Say: 'You Jews, if you claim to be the friends to the exclusion of all other people …" (62:6) In respect of their knowledge of the magnificence and true greatness of Allah, they are the people with the greatest fear and strongest hope. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said. "I am the one with the greatest recognition of Allah and have the strongest fear of Him and greatest hope of Him" because his state, may Allah bless him and grant him and family peace, was constant joy and continuous sorrow on account of his witnessing of Allah's majesty, as is said. We read in the Revelation: "They outdid one another in good actions, calling out to Us in yearning and in awe, and humbling themselves to Us." (21:90)
May Allah guide you, I must warn you vigorously and ceaselessly of the bridle of shaytan by means of which he leads those who follow him to zandaqa which is worse than kufr. I mean by that, speaking about pure haqiqa and accompanying its people while not acting by it. The Universal Ghawth, our master and teacher 'Ali al-Jamal, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, used to say, "The knowledge of the haqiqa is sweeter than honey but acting by it is more bitter than colocynth." He used to say, "If anyone articulates the haqiqa but does not act by it, that leads him to zandaqa." May Allah protect you!
None of those who take the path of poverty are safe from this dark shaytanic possibility except for the one on whom Allah has mercy and who is embraced by the concern of the shaykhs, may Allah be pleased with them and help us by them. And in reference to zandaqa the Universal Ghawth, the Imam of the Group, our master, Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "Those destroyed in this Path are more numerous than those who are saved." He, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "Whoever does not die in this knowledge of ours, dies persisting in major wrong actions while he is not aware."
The story of the Greatest Fard, our master 'Abdu'l-Qadir al-Jilani, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, is enough of a notification and warning about that. Allah 'azza wa jalla says, "Recite to them the tale of him to whom We gave Our Signs, but who then cast them to one side and Shaytan caught up with him. He was one of those lured into error." (7:175) There are also the words of our Imam Malik, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, "Whoever follows the reality without the Shari'a will become a zindiq." There is what our master and teacher, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "If someone follows the reality without the Shari'a, his state is the same as the state of Nimrod and Pharaoh." O Kind, show us a kindness which will veil us from others and not veil us from You!
The reason that some groups leave the path is that they are ruled by opinion and supposition. If someone is protected and safe, that comes from following the Sunna and consensus. No morning of any of your days should be devoid of sadaqa, even if you only give a morsel or single date, and you should always recite "Allah is enough for me" seven times. It is related that if someone does that, he is protected during the day and night, even if he is lying. You should observe the Duha prayer and fast three days of every month as well as doing the prescribed regular nafila prayers before and after Dhuhr, before 'Asr, after Maghrib, and after 'Isha', and you should visit the people of Allah, both alive and dead and mention them with respect. There is no action equal to visiting. Whoever is purified loves doing that.
With idhn from us you absolutely must instruct the people of every village among your tribes to give a lot of sadaqa from time to time to the mosque of Allah to feed both the strong and weak so that they will defend you and others will be attracted to you. The present time is not easy for the one who has insight, remembers and considers. Make much supplication for us and for all the slaves of Allah and the lands of Allah, especially for the Sultan, may Allah help him. Begin with yourselves: that is the sunna. Supplication and sadaqa repel the decree both that which has already occurred and that which has not yet happened, as is reported: "Say: 'What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?'" (25:77)
Know, my brothers, that Allah has made the sultanate a matter deserving of great esteem, boasting, and respect on your part because it is the place of your sovereign and represents the Prophetic khalifate and provides protection against the fire of civil war within this Muhammadan community. Only mention your sultan with supplication. Hear and obey. This is the position adopted by the Book, Sunna and consensus. If anyone finds fault with him, even if only in his heart, he is a hypocrite if he does not repent of it immediately. He should not do that because it involves finding fault with something which Allah has exalted. If anyone scorns what Allah has exalted, Allah will scorn him and hate him. "The deen is loyalty," just as "The hajj is 'Arafa."
Know, my brothers, people of al-Faija, that we are delighted to hear of the activation of the people of Tilwan, the children of Bushiha and the children of Sidi Bukil and Ayt Izdak, by their respect for our letters, even to the extent of paying good money for them, and their correspondence with us and coming to visit with their letters. Be guided by them so that death does not find you heedless. The arrival of Divine assistance is according to one's preparation for it and the shining of lights is according to the purity of people's secrets. Allah gives life to those who bring the Path to life. It comes about through love, sitting together, and corresponding. "If you cannot find any water, then do tayammum," (4:43) Otherwise there is just slackness and laziness. May Allah support you and support others by you and make you firm and make others firm by you! May He place the most immense election, which involves hatred of the self, the dropping of lower desires and love of the Master, in you and your descendants until the Day of the Deen. Amen. The end of my advice is to esteem tasawwuf and its paths and shaykhs without differentiating between them at all. Allah jalla wa 'ala says, "We do not differentiate between any of His Messengers." (2:284)
The awliya', may Allah be pleased with them, and help us by them, are the moons, the reflections of the Prophets and their heirs. I testify to you, and Allah is a witness, that I am a slave, a sweeper and the dog of the people of Allah wherever they are, specified and branched out, old and new. I have nothing to meet Allah with except their love, esteem, honour, love and intercession in this world and the Next World. By His favour may Allah make me firm on that Day by their rank and your rank with Him. Amin.
I warn you about hunting for this world, the Next World or rank through your connection with the Path of Allah. That will bring about the loss of this world and the Next and dying with a bad seal except for the one who repents and whom Allah pardons. "So whoever emigrates to gain something of this world or to marry a woman, his emigration is for that to which he emigrated," as is related. Our master and teacher, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him, said, "O Allah, if someone gives us a huge sum for the sake of this world, give him affliction by the rank of the best of creation!"
This is a Jewish characteristic. Allah, jalla wa 'azza says, "O you who believe, many of the rabbis and monks devour people's property under false pretences and bar people from access to the Way of Allah," (9:35) "who listen to lies and consume ill-gotten gains." (5:31) By Allah, because of that it is said that what veils creatures from Allah is their management of themselves and their working for this world. If someone does not work for this world, it will come to him in abundance. If someone is true in his zuhd, this world will come to him in spite of itself. If a cap were to descend from heaven, it would only land on the head on someone who does not want it. "O this world of mine, serve the one who serves Me and exhaust the one who serves you!" "If you were to stop with this world, We would veil you from the Next World. If you were to stop with the Next World, We would veil you from Us. Now you belong to Us alone and your share of both worlds will come to you."
So, my brothers, the gnostic of Allah is unconcerned with either this world or the Next World. This world is for his Next World and his Next World is for his Lord, as was stated by the great shaykh of our shaykhs, our master Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi, may Allah be pleased with him and help us by him. My brothers, in short, it is a question of happiness for an hour followed by punishment for ever or steadfastness for an hour followed by eternal bliss. O Allah, do not make anyone among us or from us or with us wretched or deprived. Make our station like that of Ibrahim the Friend, may peace and blessing be on our Prophet and on him: "All who enter it are safe" (3:97) and that of anyone who loves us and listens to us by Your pure mercy. Amin.
I also caution you vigorously and ceaselessly against duplicity with Allah and with His Messenger and with the believers. It consists of stratagems and anyone employing them is always tired because their goal is never achieved and they will receive "a fitting recompense". (78:26) So such a person is always in toil and abasement. We see some brothers who are very well thought of but whose hearts bubble away with stratagems like a boiling pot and they are like that with their shaykhs and brothers. "Beware of the insight of the believer. He sees by the light of Allah." "Being true to Allah would be better for them." (47:28) It is impossible to deceive Allah. "He knows the eyes' deceit and what people's breasts conceal." (40:19) "Your Lord's Assault is very fierce indeed." (85:12) So, my brothers, divest yourselves completely of deceit as a sheep is stripped of its skin. A two faced man is not honoured by Allah and has no standing with Him. May Allah make you happy and make others happy by you. Amen.
Anyone who desires to have the seal covering the treasure of the secrets of tawhid removed for him, should often recite the words of Allah the Mighty, the Glorious, "And in yourselves as well. Do you not then see?" (51:21) Allah will make his feet firm by His favour.
Beware, and again beware of quarreling with anyone. There is only the action of the One, the Unique. Quarreling breeds conflict and it is one of the greatest wrong actions. Beware of speaking about the ruh. It is from the command of Allah. Beware of the mutashabiha ayats and hadiths, and the ayats which were revealed about the Prophets, may the blessing and peace be upon our Prophet and upon them, and other things whose interpretation is only known by Allah. "Those firmly rooted in knowledge say, 'We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.'" (3:7) We have enough of a model for that in our first Salaf who are the best of the community and our scholars by the testimony of the Messenger, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him and his family, in is his words, "The best of the generations is my generation, and then those who follow them."
Speaking about such things serves no purpose: it is wasting one's life in trying to do the impossible. "Inability to understand is understanding." Inability to understand anything at all is something in itself. It is the greatest support in every matter and the key of the secret and blessing in every single thing. Allah jalla wa 'ala says, "Allah helped you at Badr when you were weak." (3:123) "If they are poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty." (24:32) May Allah inspire you.
One confirmed definite command for you our masters, the people of Tilwan and the sons of Bushiha, is that you should read this glorious letter to them very distinctly (tartil) and with a loud voice and they say after it, al-Latif al-Kabir and His Name, blessed and exalted is He, as-Sattar, as well as a hundred "There is no power nor strength except by Allah, the High, the Immense." They should hold it in great esteem out of thankfulness to Allah 'azza wa jalla since He has deemed them worthy of it. They are the reason it was written.
Then you yourselves should take it to each and every group of them and say after it al-Latif al-Kabir and the rest. It should only be kept by someone who is going to take great care of it because of its great worth and immense importance. It contains the laws of the deen and the basic principles of tasawwuf. If it reaches any of the people who follow us in the desert and elsewhere, read it to them and they should honour it. I think, and Allah knows best, that this precious majestic letter is a letter from one who takes leave of this world and advances to the Next World because all of it deals with fine subtle useful and beneficial knowledges in great detail.
We have interceded for you by the Name by which, when Allah is asked, He answers and when He is requested for something, He gives it. It is a sign of love of Allah and love for His Messenger and our love for you for the sake of Allah and in Allah. All who write well should write out a copy of it without any excuse whatsoever in a large clear script. The writer should be someone with a good knowledge of grammar. It can be kept in his house and can be read time and time again. Whenever a brother in Allah comes to him, he should read it to him so that he seeks benefit and benefits. The little slave of his Lord, Ahmad, guarantees that for him in addition to the help specific to the strength and success of Allah. May Allah give you success and guide by you and make me and you among the elite Afrad by His grace, Amen.
The end we hope for from Allah, 'azza wa jalla, by His pure generosity, is to make the throes of death easy for us after we have made full preparation for it and to grant us a good seal.
You must arm yourselves with jealousy since it is the character of Allah ta'ala and His Messenger, may Allah bless and grant peace to him and his family, as is related, with respect to your wives and daughters and close relatives. Guard them completely and preserve them completely. Jealousy is part of faith, as is related. Gird yourselves with the greatest manliness by being a good companion to your wives and families and being generous with regard to their maintenance and clothing. That means giving in to their appetites because a believer panders to the appetites of his dependants while a hypocrite panders to his own appetites. If someone gives his brother something he loves to eat, he is forgiven before it enters his stomach. Be kind to your wives by pleasing them before intercourse and then have intercourse with them. That is the sunna. If they gain the ascendancy over you from time to time, indulge them because their good for us is great. In this context they only overcome one who is noble, as is related. As a general rule, however, they only overcome a fool.
Another aspect of manliness is liberality regarding the wage of builders, servants, sharecroppers, gardeners, butchers, porters and cuppers. It also involves being very generous to your brothers by giving them all sorts of foods and providing a lot of incense and perfume, and honouring your guests greatly when they come to you. They bring you blessing and forgiveness. When Allah loves a slave, He drives guests to him.
Yet another aspect of manliness is good neighbourliness and love of your neighbours. If something comes to you without effort on your part, begin by sharing it with your neighbours and the weak. There is also the wearing of rough garments and carrying one's provision one's shoulder and walking barefoot sometimes, because lack of pretension is part of faith. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Wear rough clothing, and coarse clothing." So paying a great deal of attention to one's appearance has nothing to do with manliness. All of this is done by the people of Allah in expectation of their reckoning with Allah. It is said that, by Allah, a believer can be recognised by his rough clothing and tasbih.
In short, travel the Path according to whatever knowledge of election comes to you. That comprises the might of this world and the might of the Next World. It involves what no eye has seen, no ear has heard and what has not occurred to the heart of man. As for any knowledge of commonality which comes to you, turn from its path. It involves abasement which has no end in this world or the Next. May Allah make your feet firm by His favour.
Know with the knowledge of certainty that your good lies in keeping company with one another, alive or dead. So hold tight to one another and cling together through thick and thin. Respect those who come and be fair and do not disagree "and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear. And be steadfast."(8:46). When you are like that your strength will flow from one to another and your ascent in Allah will always be rapid and help will never be cut off from you. This last counsel is the counsel above all others. Whoever is given it and does not accept it will ask and not be given. Whoever does not accept good counsel should prepare for disgrace in this world and the Next. May Allah give you success! Send your news, whatever it is, as well as news of our son, Sidi Ahmad, in detail with the first reliable visitor who comes.
Know with absolute certainty that that the good contract and its renewal and strong help and rising in the secrets of the Truth, the Absolute Support, the One, lies in the use of the feet. It is the great wird which contains all the wirds by the consensus of all the noble shaykhs to such an extent that some shaykhs do not have a wird at all except for the idhn to visit him. Provided it is for reasons which lie within the legal parameters of the deen, not out of lower desires, then there should be continual mutual communication. Otherwise it is falsehood and playing with Allah and His Messenger and with the shaykhs, seeking for rank, leadership, passions and appetites by means of Allah's Path. "They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it. There is a sickness in their hearts and Allah has increased their sickness." (2:8-9) "On the Day of Rising you will see those who lied against Allah with their faces blackened. Do not the arrogant have a dwelling place in Hell?" (39:57)
May Allah magnify our reward and your reward by the greatest pillar in the path of Allah, our master, the great master, al-Amtahhar, may Allah give him a noble reward and make his resting-place with the highest Companion, and make it easy for us to travel his path. Death is enough of a warner. Is there anyone who will be admonished? Is there anyone who will be restrained? It is said that there are some people who, even if half of him were to die, the other half would still not be restrained.
Promote the reputation of the most generous of the brothers. Do not promote a miser and do not go near to him and do not look at him. Allah - glory be to Him - hates him, even if he someone who worships a lot. May Allah make us and you among those for whom Allah's concern is preordained so that they are not harmed by wrong action by His grace. Amen.
The most insignificant of the insignificant, the dog of the people of Allah, Ahmad al-Badawi Zawitn, Allah is his protector.
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