by Ibn 'Ajiba

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The branches of abasement only grow from the seeds of greed.

Growing has to do with height, as Allah says, "Soaring (bâsiqat) date palms." (50:10) Greed is the attachment of the heart to what is in the hands of people and the longing for other than the Lord. It is the root of the tree of abasement. So the branches of the tree of abasement only grow from the cultivation of greed. That is why Shaykh Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi said, "By Allah, I have only seen that might lies in removing aspiration from creatures."

Greed is the root of abasement because a greedy person leaves a mighty Lord to attach himself to a lowly slave and so he becomes low like him. He leaves a noble Lord to attach himself to a poor slave and so he becomes poor like him. He fails to raise his himma to the Rich, Noble One and lowers his himma to what is base and blameworthy. Allah provides for the slave according to his himma. The slave of Allah is free from what is other than Him and then he becomes a slave of creatures and a slave of his nafs and passion because whenever you love something and desire it you are its slave. Whenever you despair of something and remove your himma from it, you are free of it. A poet said:

Desires refuse to smash me.

      I am a slippery slope for them.

A slave is free as long as he does not obey desire.

     The free man is a slave whenever he obeys desire.

We read in at-Tanwir, "O slave, be like Ibrahim! Your father Ibrahim, blessings and peace be upon him, said, 'I do not love what sets.' (6:77) All that is other than Allah sets, either in existence or possibility. The Almighty says, 'The religion of your forefather Ibrahim.' (22:76) Therefore it is obligatory for the believer to follow the religion of Ibrahim. Part of the religion of Ibrahim is to remove any aspirations from creation. On the day when he was shot out of the catapult, Jibril, peace be upon him, came to Ibrahim and asked, 'Do you have a need?' He replied, 'As for you, no. As for Allah, yes.' He said, 'Then ask Him.' He said, 'His knowledge of my state spares me asking.' So look at how Ibrahim removed his aspiration from creation and directed it to the True King. He did not ask Jibril for help nor take the opportunity to ask Allah. He saw that Allah was nearer to Him than Jibril and from his request. That is why He saved him from Nimrod and his punishment, and blessed him with His gift and bounty and singled him out for His acceptance. Part of the religion of Ibrahim is to oppose all that distracts a person from Allah and to direct the himma with love to Allah by the words of the Almighty, 'They are all my enemies – except for the Lord of all the worlds.' (26:77) If you desire direction to the Rich, it lies in despair.

Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili said, "I have despaired of myself benefiting myself, so how should I not despair of other than me benefiting it? I have hopes of Allah for others besides me, so how can I not have hope for myself? This is the alchemy and the elixir by which one obtains wealth with no poverty in it and might with no abasement in it and spending which does not run out. It is the alchemy of the people of understanding of Allah."

Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan also said, "A man kept my company and was burdensome for me. I was frank with him and he was delighted. I said, 'My son, ask what you need and then do not keep my company.' He said, 'Sir, I am told that you know alchemy and so I kept your company to learn from you.' I said to him, 'You spoke the truth and whoever told you spoke the truth, but I suspect that you will not accept.' He replied, 'But I will accept!' I said, 'I have studied creatures and found them to fall into two categories: enemies and lovers. I looked at the enemies and knew that they would not be able to even pierce me with a thorn if Allah did not will that for me. So I ceased to look at them. Then I attached myself to the lovers and I saw that they could not help me with anything which Allah had not willed for me and so I completely despaired of them and attached myself to Allah. I was told, 'You will not reach the reality of this matter until you completely despair of Us as you despaired of other than Us, as We will only give you what was written for you before time.'"

He said another time when he was asked about alchemy, "Expel the creation from your heart and despair of your Lord giving you other than what He has allotted you."

A person's understanding is not indicated by the abundance of his knowledge nor by his persistence in obtaining it. His light and understanding are indicated by his wealth in his Lord, his being gathered to Him with his heart, being on guard about the bondage of greed, and being adorned in the robe of scrupulousness. It is by that that actions are good and states purified. The Almighty says, "We made everything on earth adornment for it so that we could test them to see whose actions are the best." (18:7)

So good actions are understanding from Allah and understanding is what We mentioned of being made rich with Allah, finding Him to be enough, relying on Him, presenting needs to Him, and remaining constantly before Him. All of that is the fruit of understanding from Allah. Lack of the scrupulousness in yourself is greater than your lack of anything else and your purification than of desire for creation. Even if the greedy person had been purified with seven seas, he would only be purified when he despairs of them and removes his aspiration from them.

'Ali came to Basra and entered a mosque and found story-tellers telling stories. He made them get up until he came to al-Hasan al-Basri. He said, "Lad, I will ask you about something, If you answer it, I will let you stay. Otherwise I will remove you as I removed your companions." He saw that he possessed proper behaviour and guidance. Al-Hasan replied, "Ask whatever you wish." He asked, "What is the basic foundation of the deen?" "Scrupulousness," he replied. He asked, "What is the corruption of the deen?" "Greed," he replied. He said, "Sit. Someone like you can speak to people."

I heard our shaykh, Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi, say, "At the beginning of the business I was in Alexandria and went to someone who knew me and bought something I needed from him for half a dirham. I said to myself, 'Perhaps he will not take it from me.' An invisible voice said to me, 'Safety in the deen lies in abandoning greed for creatures.'" I also heard him say, "Someone with greed will never be full. Do you not see that all its letters are hollow? Ta', mim and 'ayn."

So, murid, you must remove your aspirations from creatures and do not abase yourself to them for the sake of provision. Your allotment was already decided before you even existed and its manifestation was already confirmed. Listen to what one of the shaykhs said, "O man, whatever is decreed that you chew must be chewed, so eat it. Woe to you if you have might but do not abase yourself to eat it."

Abu'l-Hasan al-Warraq said, "If anyone feels love for anything of this world in himself has slain it with the sword of greed. If anyone desires something he is abased to him and destroyed by his abasement." Abu Bakr al-Warraq said, "If greed were to be asked, 'Who is your father?' it would say, 'Doubt in what is decreed.' If it were asked, 'What is your craft?' it would reply, 'Earning abasement.' If it were asked, 'What is your end?' it would reply 'Deprivation.'"

They wrote on this meaning:

Humbly entreat Allah and do not entreat people.

      Be content with might. Might lies in despair.

Be independent of need of every relative and kin.

     The wealthy one is the one who is free of need of people.

The cause of the existence of greed is illusion and anxiety. So he mentioned after that:

Nothing leads you on like illusion.

One is led by a thing when it pulls him to it. You lead an animal when you pull it to you. Illusion is the first thought and it is weaker than doubt. What is meant here is what differs from certainty so that one affirms suspicion and doubt. He is saying that nothing leads you on and pulls you to greed for creatures and flattering them and being humble to what is in their possession like illusion. This means that when you imagine that they possess benefit or harm, or giving or withholding, then you desire them, are humble to them, rely on them and fear them.

If you have certainty, their business lies in the hand of Allah and they themselves are in the power of Allah, unable to help themselves, so how can they have the power to help others? You must totally despair from them and remove your aspiration from them and connect your himma to the Lord of Lords and forsake companions and lovers. Or, you could say, nothing guides you more away from the presence of witnessing and eye-witnessing than your illusion that phenomenal beings exist. If the veil of illusion were rent for you, eye-witnessing would occur regarding the absence of sources. When the light of certainty shines, the existence of beings is covered up.

He said in at-Tanwir, "The slaves are prevented from coming to Allah by attractions to other than Allah. Whenever their hearts desire to travel to Allah, that attachment pulls them to what they are attached to and they think of returning to it and turning to it. The presence of Allah is denied to those who are like this and forbidden to the one with this description."

One of the gnostics said, "Do not suppose that you will enter the Divine presence when there is anything behind you attracting you. Understand here the words of Allah, "The Day when neither wealth nor sons will be of any use except to those come to Allah with a sound and flawless hearts." (26:88-89) A sound heart is one which is not attached to anything except Allah. He said, "You have come to Us all alone just as We created you at first." (6:95) It is also understood from that it is not valid that you come to Allah and reach Him except when you are alone and separated from other than Him. He said, "Did He not find you orphaned and shelter you." (93:6) So it is understood that He will not give you shelter unless you are orphaned from other than Him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Allah is odd and loves the odd," i.e. He loves the heart which is not paired with the duality of secondary effects." One of them said, "If I had been obliged to see other than Him, I would not be able to do so and witness it with Him."

In short, illusion is veils the common people and elite from Allah. As for the elite of the elite, nothing veils them from Allah. In the case of the common people, it leads them to being attached to creation and prevents them from travelling to the True King. So they are preoccupied with watching the lovers and enmity towards those who oppose them. So they are led by love of a lover and the watchfulness of a watcher. As for the elite, they are led to thinking that secondary effects are established and stopping with the lights and so they are content with that and do not yearn for what is beyond that. Contentment from Allah is deprivation, and information is not like witnessing. I heard our shaykh say, "People are only veiled from Allah by illusion, and illusion is something which is absolutely without reality."

As for the elite of the elite, nothing veils them from Allah and they have knowledge and understanding from Allah. They have cut through the veil of illusion and obtained knowledge and understanding from Allah. They are not attached to anything and nothing veils them from Allah. May Allah make us among them by His grace and generosity!

Illusion produces greed and greed produces abasement and slavedom. Certainty produces scrupulousness. Scrupulousness produces might and freedom. He called attention to that:

You are free when you despair of it.

You are a slave when you are eager for it.

A human being is free of that of which he despairs since despairing of that thing removes his aspiration from it and then he connects his aspiration to the True King. When he connects his himma to the True King, then the True subjugates all creation to him. So all creatures become slaves to him and subject to his command.

You remain with phenomenal beings as long as you do not witness the Maker of being. When you witness the Maker of being, phenomenal beings are with you. Whoever is a slave of Allah is free from other than Him. Man is a slave to what he desires because desire for a thing demands love for it, submission to it, and following it. Therefore you are subject to its command and prohibition because your love for a thing is blind and dumb. This is the reality of slavedom. Along these lines, it is said, "The slave is free as long as he is content and the free man is a slave as long as he has desires."

How ugly is the person whose Master desires that he be a king and while he wanted to be enslaved, whose Master wants him to be free while he wants to be a slave! His Master created all phenomenal being to serve him when he commands and forbids but then he serves phenomenal being with his self and becomes a slave to the least and basest thing.

In the Tanwir, the author says in conversation with Allah Almighty with invisible voices, "We made your worth sublime, O slave, so that We attend to the business of yourself. Therefore do not lower your worth. You who We have elevated, do not be abased by your transfer to other than Me! You who We have exalted, woe to you! You are too sublime in Our eyes to busy with other than Me. I created you for My presence and I seek you for it, and I attract you to it by the pull of My concern. If you are occupied with yourself, I veil you. If you follow its passion, I drive you away. If you leave it, I bring you near. If you love Me by turning away from other than Me, I love you."

In short, love of things and desire for them is the cause of abasement, humiliation and slavedom to other beings. Despairing of things and not having any aspirations from them is the reason for might, freedom and pride over peers. How excellent is what the speaker said:

I saw that contentment is the capital of wealth

     and so I clung to its coat-tails.

So its might invested me in a robe of honour

    which was not rent over the passage of time.

So I become wealthy without dirhams,

     proud above people as a king is proud.

This is the greatest wealth and the master elixir of all elixirs. In Sufi terminology it is called scrupulousness, and by that I mean the special scrupulousness. It is to completely remove aspirations from others. We read in Lata'if al-Minan:

"Know that the scrupulousness of the elite is only understood by a few. Part of their scrupulousness is their scrupulousness in not relying on other than Allah, inclining with love to other than Him, or their desires extending to other than His favour and good. Part of their scrupulousness is their scrupulousness in not having fear about means and secondary causes and stripping away equals and lords. Part of their scrupulousness is scrupulousness in not stopping with customs and relying on acts of obedience and not depending on the lights of tajalliyat. Part of their scrupulousness is their scrupulousness in not allowing this world to tempt them or settling for the Next World. They are scrupulous regarding this world out of faithfulness and regarding the Next World out of purity."

"Shaykh 'Uthman ibn 'Ashura' said, 'I left Baghdad to go to Mosul and while I was travelling this world presented itself to me with its might, rank and elevation, mounts, garments, adornments and delights, and I turned away from it. Then the Garden presented itself to me with its houris, castles, rivers and fruits and I did not occupy myself with it. I was told, "'Uthman, if you had stopped with the first, We would have veiled you from the second. If you had stopped with the second, we would have veiled from Us. We are for you, and your portion of both worlds will come to you."'

"Shaykh 'Abdu'r-Rahman al-Maghribi, who lived in the eastern part of Alexandria, said, 'One year I made hajj, and when I had finished the hajj, I resolved to return to Alexandria. Then there was a call: "You must be with Us next year." I said to myself, "Since I must be here next year, I will not return to Alexandria." Then it occurred to me to go to Yemen and so I went to Aden. One day I was walking on its coast when I came across some merchants who had brought out their foods and wares. I looked and saw a man who had spread out his carpet on the sea and walked on the water. I said to myself, "I am not fit for this world or the Next." Then it was said, "Whoever is not fit for this world or the Next is proper for Us.'"

"Abu'l-Hasan said, 'Scrupulousness is the best path for the one who wants to hasten his inheritance and sublime reward. Scrupulousness leads them to taking from Allah and by Allah and speaking by Allah and acting for Allah and by Allah with the clear evidence and piercing insight. So in all their moments and states they do not manage, choose, desire, or reflect, look, speak, strike, walk or move except by Allah and for Allah since they know that knowledge will compel them to the reality of the matter. So they are gathered in the source of gatheredness and do not separate in what is higher nor what is lower. as for the lowest of the low, their scrupulousness regarding it is a reward for their scrupulousness in being careful to not contend with the Shari'a. Anyone who inherits nothing from his knowledge or actions is veiled by this world or subject to a false claim. His inheritance is to exalt his character and be proud towards his peers and to direct to Allah by his knowledge. This is the 'clear loss'. We seek refuge with Allah Almighty from that! Those who are clever are scrupulous regarding this scrupulousness and they seek refuge with Allah from it. Whoever is not provided by his knowledge and action with need of his Lord, abasement of himself and humility towards His creation is destroyed. Glory be to the One who cuts off many of the righteous by their righteousness from their benefit, as He cuts off many of the corrupters by their corruption from the One who brought them into existence. So seek refuge with Allah, He is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.'

"So look! May Allah give you understanding of the path of His awliya' and those among His lovers whom you must follow in this scrupulousness which the shaykh mentioned! If he lets you understand it, it will take you to this type of being scrupulous about scrupulousness. Do you not see his words? "Scrupulousness leads them to taking from Allah and by Allah and speaking by Allah and acting for Allah and by Allah with the clear evidence and piercing insight." This is the scrupulousness of the Abdal and Siddiqin, not the scrupulousness of those who are obstinate which is produced by bad opinion and being overpowered by illusion." (pp. 90-92)

This is the scrupulousness which the Shaykh mentioned is the scrupulousness of the elite or the elite of the elite. It is that which is opposite greed as was already mentioned in the words of al-Hasan al-Basri: "The rightness of the deen is scrupulousness and the corruption of the deen is greed." It is not the scrupulousness of the common people, which is to abandon the doubtful and unlawful because that is not the complete opposite of greed. It results in sound certainty, perfect attachment to the Lord of the world, the existence of trust in Him, aspirations being devoted to Him, and the tranquillity of the heart in Him so that he has does not rely on anything other than Him. This is the scrupulousness which is opposed corrupting greed, and through it every action of devotion and fortunate state is sound.

Yahya ibn Mu'adh said, "Scrupulousness has two aspects: outward scrupulousness, which is only moving by Allah, and inward scrupulousness, which is that your heart only enters Allah." It is mentioned that one of them was eager to see to see someone who had this attribute and he began to strive to seek him out and attempt to find him. He therefore took one thing after another from his property and gave it to the poor and wretched. He used to say to the one to whom he gave, "Take, not for you." They used to take and none of them was heard to utter a suitable answer to what he until one day he obtained his desire that day and reached his goal and hope. That was when he said to one of them, "Take, not for you," and he said to him, "I take it not from you."

If the slave looks up to creatures or he looks first to them before or after provision comes to him, in respect of adab this scrupulousness and duty demand that he not give himself anything that comes to him in this state in order to punish his nafs for looking to his fellow human being. That is like the well-known story of Ayyub the Porter with Ahmad ibn Hanbal. It is like what is related about Shaykh Abu Madyan when a porter brought him some wheat and his nafs contended with him and said, "Do you know where this from?" He replied, "I know better where it is from, enemy of Allah!" He ordered one of his companions to give it to one of the poor to punish the nafs since it saw creation before seeing the Real. It is said that the most lawful of the lawful is that which does not occur to one's mind and for which you have not asked any man or woman.

Shaykh 'Abdu'l-'Aziz al-Mahdawi said, "Scrupulousness is that you do not move or be still except that you see Allah in the movements and stillnesses. When he sees Allah, movement and stillness departs and he remains with Allah. Movement is describes the state he is in it. It is as he said, "I did not see anything but that I saw Allah in it.' When you see Allah, you depart." He also said, 'Scholars agree that the absolute halal is what is taken from the hand of Allah without secondary means. This is the station of tawakkul (reliance).' That is why one of them said, 'The halal is that in which Allah is not forgotten.'"

According to the transmission of Ibn 'Abbad, "When Allah desires to exalt His slave and elevate him to this station, he cuts off from him the reins of illusion and anxiety, liberates him from the bondage of greed and leads him to Him with the tenderness of goodness or with the fetters of trial," as he indicates:

Whoever does not advance to Allah by the tenderness of His goodness

      is chained to Him by the fetters of trial.

Allah has divided His slaves into three categories: the people of the left, the people of the right and the forerunners. There is no discussion on the people of the left since they do not turn to Allah at all. The people of the right turn by an aspect but they have no eliteness in that because they are content with the outward Shari'a and do not turn to travelling on the Path or the reality. So they stop with proof and evidence and do not rise to the station of witnessing and divine witnessing. There is also no discussion about them.

As for the forerunners, they turn to Allah and direct themselves to Him, seeking to reach gnosis of Him. They are in two groups on that. One group turn to Allah the tenderness of His goodness and being grateful for His blessing and grace. They are the people of the station of thankfulness. Another group turn to Allah by the fetters of trial and various afflictions and tests. They are the people of steadfastness.

The people of the first station turn to Allah voluntarily and the people of the second station turn to Allah unwillingly. The Almighty says "Everyone in heaven and earth prostrates to Allah prostates the earth, willingly or unwillingly." (13:16) Abu Madyan said, "The custom of Allah is to invite His slaves to obey Him by ample provision and constant preservation so that they return to Him by His blessing, If they do not do it, then He tests them with good and bad times so that hopefully they will return because what is desired is that the slaves return to him, willingly or unwillingly." So for some people Allah expands blessings to them, averts affliction and retribution from them, provides them with health, and supports them with wealth and well-being so that they come to Him. They remove that from their hearts and put it in their hands, and very few are they. Allah says, "But very few of My slaves are thankful." (34:13) A hadith is related about people like them, "This world is an excellent mount for the believer. On it he reaches good and by it he is saved from evil," or words to that effect.

One of our companions said, "The Prophet made this world a mount for the believer so that it can carry him and did not make the believer a mount for it so that he would be responsible for carrying it. This indicates that it is in his possession so that he can use it to help him to travel to his Lord, not that it should be in his heart so that he endures hardship in seeking it, and Allah knows best.

Some people are supported by Allah with blessings and He expands wealth and well-being for them, and averts retribution from them and that distracts them from rising to Him and prevents them from travelling to His Presence. So He divests them of them and strikes them with afflictions and trials and they turn to Allah by the fetters of trials. "Your Lord marvels at a people who are driven to the Garden in chains." Allah the praises the thankful wealthy one and the steadfast poor person with the same praise. Allah Almighty says in respect of Sulayman, peace be upon him, "We gave Da'ud Sulayman. What an excellent slave! He truly turned to his Lord." (38:29) He says about Ayyub, peace be upon him, "We found him steadfast. What an excellent slave! He truly turned to his Lord." (38:43)

One of them said, "I prefer that I be given to and be thankful than to be tested and steadfast." Shaykh Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi said, "The thankful rich person is preferred to the poor steadfast person." That is the school of Ibn 'Ata' and the school of Abu 'Abdullah at-Tirmidhi al-Hakim. He said, "Thankfulness is the attribute of the people of the Garden and poverty is not." He said that in Lata'if al-Minan.

The fact is that poor steadfast is the rich thankful one and vice versa because wealth is by Allah. When the heart is rich by Allah, the person is thankful and wealthy without any care for what is in his possession. The hand may be full and the heart poor, and the heart be rich in Allah and the hand is poor, and the hand may be full while the heart is with Allah, rich, without need of other than Him.

One of the shaykhs said, "There was a man in Morocco who was one of those ascetic in this world and one of the people of seriousness and striving. His livelihood came from what he caught from the sea. He gave away part of his catch as sadaqa and lived on the rest. One of the people of this shaykh wanted to travel to the one of the towns of Morocco and this ascetic told him, 'When you go to such-and-such a town, go to my brother so-and-so and give him my greeting and ask him to make supplication. He is one of the awliya' of Allah.' The man said 'So I travelled to that town and asked about that man and I was directed to a house which is only fit for kings. I was amazed at that and I asked for him and was told that he was with the sultan. My astonishment increased. After a time he arrived on the most sumptuous mount and clothes, riding like a king. My astonishment increased still further than before. I wanted to go back and not meet with him, Then I said, 'I cannot oppose the shaykh.' So I asked permission to enter and he gave it. When I entered, I saw an awesome amount of slaves, servants, and fine appearance. I said to him, 'Your brother so-and-so greets you.' He said to me, 'You have come from him?' 'Yes,' I replied. He said, 'When you return to him, tell him, "How much you are preoccupied with this world! How much you turn to it! When will your desire for it cease?"' I said, 'By Allah, this is more wondrous than the first!' When I returned to the shaykh, he asked, 'Did you meet with our brother?' 'Yes,' I replied. He asked, 'And what did he say to you?' 'Nothing,' I replied. He insisted, 'He must have said something for me.' So I repeated to him what he had said and he wept for a long time and then said, 'My brother spoke the truth. Allah has washed his heart of this world and put it in his hand and on his outward while I have taken it from my hand and I still look towards it!'" That is from the Lata'if al-Minan. (164-165)

So the states of the awliya' are not determined by poverty or wealth because wilaya is a matter of the heart which is only known by the one who has it. Success is by Allah. Whoever advances to Allah by the tenderness of His goodness must be grateful for what he has been given of tender generosity and favour. Otherwise they will vanish because of his disbelief and disobedience. The author indicates that:

Whoever is not grateful for blessings is asking for them to vanish.

Whoever is grateful for them ties them up with their own tether.

The statements of the wise men agree on this concept. Gratitude ties up what exists and catches what is lacking. They also said, "Whoever receives a gift and is not grateful will be stripped of it while he is not aware. Whoever is grateful for the blessings ties them up with their tether. Whoever is ungrateful for them is asking for them to vanish. Allah says, "Allah never changes a people's state until they change what is in themselves," (13:12) i.e. Allah does not change a blessing in a people until they change the thankfulness in themselves, and the change of thankfulness is their preoccupation with acts of disobedience and disbelief. That is why al-Junayd said, "Gratitude is that you do not disobey Allah with His blessings." It is said that gratitude is the joy of the heart with the Blesser, not because of His blessing, until that extends to the limbs and they are expanded to commands and recoil from prohibitions.

We read in Lata'if al-Minan: "There are three categories of thankfulness: thankfulness of the tongue, thankfulness of the limbs and thankfulness of the heart. The thankfulness of the tongue is to speak about Allah's blessings. The Almighty says, 'As for the blessing of your Lord, speak out.' (93:11) The thankfulness of the limbs is to obey Allah. Allah says, 'Work, family of Da'ud, in thankfulness.' (34:13) The thankfulness so the heart is to acknowledge that every blessing to you or to any of the slaves of Allah is from Allah. Allah says, 'Any blessing you have is from Allah.' (16:53)

"Related to the first category are the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "Speaking of blessing is thankfulness.' Part of the second is that the Prophet stood until his feet became swollen. He was asked that: 'Do you oblige yourself to do all that when Allah has forgiven you your past and any future wrong actions?' He replied, 'Am I not a thankful slave?'" (pp. 160-161)

Abu Hazim was asked, "What is the thankfulness of the eyes?" and he answered, "That when you see good with them, you proclaim it. When you see evil with them you conceal it." He said, "What is the thankfulness of the ears?" He replied, "When you hear good with them, you retain it, and when you hear evil with them, you bury it." "What is the thankfulness of the hands?' he asked. He said, "That you do not use them to take what is not yours nor deny any right which Allah is owed in them." "What is the thankfulness of the belly?" he asked. He answered, "That its bottom is steadfastness and its top is knowledge." He said, "And what is the thankfulness of the genitals?" He said, "As Allah Almighty says, 'those who guard their private parts É they are not blameworthy.' (23:4-5) He said, 'What is the thankfulness of the feet?' He said, 'If you see something you are pleased with, you use them. If you see something you hate, you turn them aside.'"

Know that people fall into three levels in thankfulness: the common, the elite, and the elite of the elite. The thankfulness of the common is only for blessings. The thankfulness of the elite is for the blessing and retribution. The thankfulness of the elite of the elite is to withdraw from witnessing the blessing and the retribution into the Blesser.

The blessings for which for which one is thankful fall into three categories: those relating to this world, like health, well-being, lawful wealth; those relating to the deen, like knowledge, action, taqwa and gnosis; and those related to the Next World, like the reward for few actions with an abundant gift.

The most glorious of blessings in the deen for which one must show thanks are the blessings of Islam, faith and gnosis. Thankfulness for them is the belief that they are a gift from Allah without intermediary or by means of one's strength or power. Allah says, "However, Allah given you love of faith and mad it pleasing to your hearts and has made kufr, deviance and disobedience hateful to you." (49:7) Then He says, "A great favour from Allah and a blessing." (49:8) Abu Talib al-Makki said after some words, "If our hearts had been overturned into doubt and misguidance as they are overturned in intentions in actions, what would we do, on what would we rely and in what would be at peace and hope for? So this is one of the great blessings, and acknowledging it is gratitude for the blessing of faith. Ignorance of this is being heedless about the blessing of faith and that makes punishment mandatory. Claiming that faith is an intellectual acquisition or that it is possible to obtain it by capacity and strength is to deny the blessing of faith, and it is feared that the one who is suspected of that will have his faith stripped away because he has exchanged thankfulness for the blessing of faith with ingratitude/disbelief (kufr).

If the slave neglects to be thankful for these blessings but their form remains with them, he should not be deluded. That is in order to lead him on, as he indicates:

Fear that the fact that He is good to you when you are acting badly towards Him

      might be bait to draw you on.

"We shall lead them, step by step, into destruction,

      from where they do not know." (7:182)

Leading on (istadraja) is to conceal affliction in blessing. It is derived from daraja, which is used for a child starting to walk, i.e. beginning to walk little by little, and from the steps (daraj) which one used to ascent upwards. So the one who leads someone on is the one who takes blessing from him little by little while he is unaware of it, as the Almighty says, "We shall lead them, step by step, into destruction from where they do not know," i.e. "We will take away blessings until We drag them to retribution while they are unaware."

Shaykh Zarruq said, "O murid, fear that the constant kindness of Allah to you with health, leisure, vast provision and constant physical or spiritual support while you behave badly with him by heedlessness, falling short, and lack of thankfulness to the Great King is that is being led on by Him. Allah Almighty says, 'We shall lead them, step by step, into destruction from where they do not know.' Sahl ibn 'Abdullah said, "We support them with blessings and make them forget thankfulness for them. Then when they rely on the blessing and it veils them to the Blesser, they are taken.'"

Ibn 'Ata' said, "Whenever they commit an error, We renew blessing for them and make them forget to ask forgiveness for that error. Then Allah says, 'I will give them more time,' (7:183) i.e. support them with well-being and blessings, 'until We suddenly seize them.' Allah Almighty says, 'When they forgot what they had been reminded of, We opened up for them the doors to everything, until, when they were exulting in what they had been given, We suddenly seized them and at once they were in despair.' (6:45) i.e. when they are heedless about what the punishment and penalty they are reminded of then We open up for the doors to blessings and expand physical provision to them until, when they exult in the blessings they have been given and command them, then suddenly seized them with destruction and then they despair of every good."

That is the custom of Allah in His creation: to send to them those who will remind them of Allah and direct them to Allah. When they turn away from him and reject him, then He expands physical blessings to them until they are tranquil and exult in them. Then Allah destroys them suddenly so that that will be a harsher punishment. A poet said, "The thing is greater when it comes suddenly." Allah Almighty says, "Those who disbelieve should not imagine that the extra time We grant to them is good for them. We only allow them more time so that they will increase in evildoing. They will have a humiliating punishment." (3:178)

So it is mandatory for someone who is aware of a physical blessing, inward or outward, or a spiritual blessing, that he should acknowledge its due and hasten to be thankful for it in speech, belief and action. So articulation is praise and thanking with the tongue. Belief is witnessing the Blesser in the blessing and ascribing it to Him and withdrawing from means in the heart while thanking the means on the tongue. "Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah." Your thanking people is your thanking Allah. When you tell him, 'May Allah repay you well," then you have performed its due thankfulness. Thankfulness in action is to direct them to obeying Allah as already stated. If he does not perform this obligation, it is feared that it will stripped from him and he will be led on bit by bit. That is uglier.

In short, thankfulness is adab with the Blesser and whoever brings it to you. If shows bad adab, he is disciplined, and he may be disciplined inwardly while he was not aware, as he indicates:

It is ignorance on the part of the murid if he has bad adab

     to then say when the punishment is delayed,

         "If this were really bad adab,

        He would have cut off help or sent me into exile."

Help can be cut off while one is unaware of it

     - by stopping any increase

     - or by letting you do what you like.

One of the well-established commands for the true murid is that he should observe adab with Allah in everything and cling to exalting Him in every thing and maintain respect for Him in everything. If he fails in any of these matters and has bad adab with his Lord, he should hurry to repent and apologise with abasement and contrition. If he then puts off repentance until another time, help is cut off from him and exile and distancing is obliged for him while he is not aware of that immediately. So he convinces to himself and says, "If this really were bad adab, then help would be cut off from me." This is repulsive ignorance on his part which will lead to ruin if he does not receive concern from the Lord of the lords.

This is ignorance on the part of the murid who is supporting his nafs at the moment when it displays bad adab while he is not aware of his heart's imperfection. If he had known the tricks of the nafs, he would suspect it and not help it. If he had recognised his Lord, he would have been aware of his heart's imperfection. Therefore he combines ignorance and folly. Ignorance is the bad adab which issues from him and folly is his quarrelling with his nafs and his lack of recognition that what he did is bad adab, not to mention his argument that he does not sense any penalty and if it had really been bad adab. he would have felt the cutting of help and the obligation of exile and distance has not arisen. Help may be cut off from him while he is unaware of it. An example of that is the trees which are on the water. When the water is cut off from them, the effect of thirst does not show on them except after a time, and then if that goes on a long time, then they gradually dry up. The heart of the murid is like that. He is not aware of the cutting off of nearness until he drowns in illusion and is burned by the sensory. If he has preordained good, he repents and puts right what he corrupted and so help returns to him, If he does not have it, he returns to his homeland and is made to reside in distance. We ask Allah for security from having His blessing stripped away after He has given it!

If the punishment were only that he is denied increased travelling and arising, that would be enough because if someone is not in increase, then he must be in decrease. If today someone is worse than yesterday, then he is in loss. If this is bad adab, then his words in justification oblige distance and so he is put in the station of distance while he supposes that he is in a place of nearness because the levels of nearness and distance are endless. There is no station in nearness but that the one after it is greater than it and the same applies to the one after that and the one after that. If it had not been for that, that distance would only leave you with what you want and that would be enough exile and distance since leaving distance with passion and appetites is a sign of neglect. The slave emerging from his passion and what he relies on it a sign of concern and turning. When Allah is concerned with the slave and wants to make him reach His presence, he disorders all that his nafs relies on and upsets him, willing or unwilling until He makes him despair of this world and he no longer relies on anything in it. Then He chooses him for His presence and selects him for His love. Then that person has no information about his nafs nor any abiding with other than Allah.

The basis of that is the story of Musa, peace be upon him, when Allah informed of him of his love for his staff and his reliance on it. Allah asked him, "'What is that in your right hand, Musa?' He said, "It is my staff. I lean on it and beat down leaves for my sheep with it and have other uses for it.' He said, 'Throw it down. Musa.' He threw it down and suddenly it was a slithering snake." (20:17-19) When he fled from it and completely despaired of it, He said to him, "Take hold of it and have no fear" because it will not harm you when you return to it by Allah." So it is said to the faqir, "What is that in your right hand, faqir?" He says, "It is this world on which I rely and by which I achieve my hopes." Then he is told, "Cast it from your hand." It is a slithering snake which has bitten him while he was not aware. When he despairs of it and is intimate with Allah and trusts in Him, he is told, "Take hold of it and do not fear because you take it by Allah, not by yourself." Allah knows best.

The areas of adab in which the murid might fall short and for which he would be punished are three: adab with Allah and His Messenger, adab with the shaykh, and adab with the brothers.

Adab with Allah in relation to the common people is to obey His commands and avoid His prohibitions. With His Messenger, it is to follow the Sunna and avoid the people of innovations. When they fall short in the commands and oppose the prohibitions, they are punished sooner physically or later both in the meaning and physically.

In relation to the elite, with Allah it is much dhikr of Him and watchfulness in His presence and preferring His love. Shaykh Zarruq added, "and observing the limits (hudud), fidelity to contracts, clinging to the Loving King, being pleased with what exists, and expending one's effort and power." With His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, it is preferring his Lord, following his guidance and taking on his character. If they fall short in His dhikr, or their hearts wander without presence, or their love inclines to something else or they fall short in any of what was mentioned, or they dissolve one of their contracts with Allah, they are punished by beating, imprisonment, harm by the tongue or in the meaning which is stronger, like having His help cut off, and exile and establishment in the station of distance being obliged.

In respect to the elite of the elite, who are those who have arrived, with Allah it is humbleness in everything, respect for everything, constant recognition of the tajalliyat of majesty and beauty, or with the changing of secondary effects and the changing of stages. With His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, it is by realisation of his worth, respect for his community, and witnessing his light, as Abu'l-'Abbas al-Mursi said to me, "For thirty years the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was not absent from me for the blink of an eye. If he had been absent from me, I would not count myself to be one of the Muslims." When the gnostic falls short in what was mentioned in adab in respect of him or in respect of others, then he is punished in the senses or in the meaning. Generally he wakes up immediately and so he strives to catch what he missed. "As for those who have taqwa, when they are bothered by visitors from Shaytan, they remember and immediately see clearly." (7:201)

This is the total of the adab with Allah for the common, the elite and elite of the elite, or you could say, the seekers, the travellers and those who have arrived, and Allah knows best.

As for the adab with the Shaykh, it concerns eight matters: four are outward and four are inward.

As for the outward adab, the first is to obey his commands, even if he thinks he should oppose something, and avoid his prohibitions, even if it kills him. The error of the shaykh is better than the correctness of the murid.

The second is silence and gravity when sitting in his presence. He should not laugh in his presence, raise his voice to him nor speak unless he invites him to speech or that is understood from the circumstances, as in a discussion. He lowers his voice and speaks kindly and gently. He should not eat with him or in his presence, nor sleep with him or near him. Shaykh Sidi 'Ali said in his book, "Among the adab of the murid with the shaykh is to not to eat with him, sleep with him, laugh in his presence, sleep in his bed, sit where he sits, nor speak in the gathering of the shaykh, even a single word. Speaking in it is bad adab worse than anything. One should avoid all that resembles these qualities which might lead to lack of respect and contempt towards the shaykh. That is clear loss. We seek refuge with Allah from being despoiled after the gift and exile after advancement." They said, "Make your actions salt and your adab flour." A poet said:

"The adab of the slave is abasement

     and the slave should not abandon abasement.

When his humility is perfect,

     he obtains love and draws near."

The third is hastening to serve him as much as possible with one's person, property or words. Serving the men is a reason for reaching the Master of the masters. Sidi 'Abdullah al-Hibti az-Zajali said in his poem on Wayfaring:

The opinion of the servant is beautiful.

    Evidence indicates his success.

He offers himself to the service of the men

    in order to obtain arrival with his Beloved.

The lover is abased in the quest of nearness,

    and a dear one is precious to the people of love.

The child of the houses of nearness is at their gates

    and all their doors are open for him.

Bliss for him! Good news for him which he obtains!

    He has obtained and been granted the blessing of nearness.

Then he said:

Your station, is better known, O servant.

    It is immense and great.

Evening finds you in the vicinity of the One served,

    sharing also in His secret.

Do not be delighted in other than your high position.

    All good is concentrated in you.

The fourth is being constantly present in his gathering. Otherwise, he returns to him as much as it is possible to be near him. The help of the shaykh is like a water wheel or the bucket of water wheel. If the water wheel or the bucket is neglected, it will get holes and the water will go elsewhere. Repeated visits also indicate intense love, and the drink is according to the amount of love. Shaykh al-Majdhub said along these lines:

No love except by the root and no arrival except what is dear.

No drink except what is sealed and no station except the lofty.

Shaykh 'Ali al-Jamal said in his book, "Know that the one who seeks arrival cannot draw near Allah Almighty with anything equal to his sitting with a gnostic of Allah if he finds one." Then he said, "Sitting with a gnostic of Allah is better than retreat, and retreat is better than sitting with the common heedless people. Sitting with a common heedless person is better than sitting with an ignorant faqir. Just as the gnostic joins the murid to his Lord by a look or a word, so the faqir who is ignorant of Allah may remove the murid from his Master with a glance or word or more." May Allah have mercy on Sidi al-Majdhub who said, "Sitting with other than those who are good is base, even if it is pure."

As for inward adab, the first is belief in his perfection and that he is worthy of being a shaykh and teaching by his joining the Shari'a and the reality, jadhb and suluk, and that he is following in the footsteps of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

The second is that one esteems him and respects him, whether absent or present, and cultivates love for him in his heart. That indicates his truthfulness. Realisation is according affirmation. Anyone who has no truthfulness has no travelling, even if he remains with the shaykh for a thousand years.

The third is withdrawal from his intellect, leadership and action except for what comes to him from his shaykh as was done by the shaykh of our tariqa, ash-Shadhili, when he met his shaykh. It is a sunna in his tariqa. So whoever comes to his shaykh in this Shadhili tariqa must wash himself of his knowledge and action before he reaches his shaykh in order to obtain the pure drink from the sea of his ample help.

The fourth concerns moving from him to other than him. In their view, this is the most ugly and abhorrent of things, and it is the reason for the decay of the seed of the will. The tree of the will becomes corrupted by the corruption of its root. All of this is with teaching shaykhs as was stated. As for the shaykhs of the people of the outward, there is no harm in moving from them to the people of the inward if they can be found, and that does not require idhn (permission). Allah knows best.

As for the adab to be shown with the brothers, there are four. The first is maintaining respect for them, absent or present and not slandering or deprecating anyone. One does not say, "The people of Sidi so-and-so are perfect and the people of Sidi so-and-so are deficient," or "so-and-so-is a gnostic" or so-and-so is not a gnostic," or "so-and-so is weak and so-and-so is strong, or similar things. This is slander itself, and it is haram by consensus, especially in respect of the awliya'. Their flesh is deadly poison, as is the flesh of the scholars and righteous. Therefore the murid should be completely on guard against this blameworthy quality and flee from someone who has this nature as he would flee from a lion. Anyone fond of this will never be successful.

So the awliya' are like the Prophets. Whoever differentiates between them is denied their good and is ungrateful for their blessing. One of the Sufis said, "Anyone broken by the fuqara' is not mended by the Shaykh. Anyone broken by the shaykh can be mended by the fuqara'." It is sound and tested because the harm of one wali is not like the harm of many awliya'. Anyone broken by the shaykh has his brothers intercede for him and so the heart of the shaykh is mended. This is not the case with the fuqara'. When they change, mending rarely occurs. Allah knows best.

The second is their counsel by teaching those of them who are ignorant, guiding those who are misguiding and strengthening those who are weak, even if by travelling to them. If among them there are people of the beginning and the end, strong and weak, each is reminded of what befits his station. They should speak to people according to what they understand, as the hadith states.

The third is humility to them and being just with them from yourself and serving them as much as possible. The servant of a people is their master. If someone has work which he cannot finish, then it is obligatory to help him so as to free him for remembering Allah, even if it is little. Allah Almighty says, "Help each other to goodness and taqwa." (5:2) So all that occupies the heart of the faqir should move him to jihad and goodness.

The fourth is witnessing purity in them and believing in their perfection. So he does not deprecate anyone, even if he sees in him something which would demand imperfection outwardly and so the believer must look for excuses. He should look for seventy excuses. If the person continues is that which demands his imperfection, he should witness it in himself. The believer is the mirror of his brother. What the looker sees is manifest in him. The people of purity only witness purity and the people who are mixed only witness mixture. The people of perfection only witness perfection and the people of imperfection only witness imperfection. The hadith was already mentioned in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There is nothing better than two traits: good opinion of Allah and good opinion of the slaves of Allah. There is worse better than two traits: bad opinion of Allah and bad opinion of the slaves of Allah." Success is by Allah.

This is the total of the adab which the faqir must observe and maintain, whether he is a seeker, traveller, or someone who has arrived. At the beginning of the first chapter, eight adâb were already mentioned, some of them for the gnostic and some for the traveller. Refer to them there and act according to them. The path is all adab, so that one of them said, "Make your actions salt and your adab flour." Abu Hafs said, "Tasawwuf is all adab. Every moment has adab. Every state has adab. Every station has adab. Anyone who holds to adab reaches the level of the Men. Anyone who is denied adab is far when he thinks he is near and rejected when he thinks that he is accepted."

One of them said, "Cling to adab outwardly and inwardly. No one has bad adab outwardly but that he is punished outwardly and no one has bad adab inwardly, but that he is punished inwardly." We read in al-Mabahith al-Isliyya:

Outward adab gives eye-witnessing

    of the evidence of a person's inward.

It is also a support for the poor

    and an adornment and mastery for the rich.

It is said that the one who is deprived of adab is far away

     and will not draw near or approach.

It is said that the one imprisoned by lineage

    is set free by adab.

So people are truly masters by adab.

    And it is from it that the People benefit.

Abu Hafs as-Sarraj said, "In adab, people fall into three ranks: the people of this world, the people of the deen and the people of election among the people of the deen. As for the people of this world, most of their adab is in eloquence, reports of kings, and poems of the Arabs. As for the people of the deen, most of their adab is preserving knowledge, disciplining the selves, training the limbs, rectifying nature, maintaining the hudud, abandoning appetites, avoiding doubts and hastening to good actions. As for the people of election among the people of the deen, their adab is preservation of heart, observing secrets, and making and the secret and outward the same. The murids vary in rank by knowledge, those in the middle by adab and the gnostics by their himmas."

Then the shaykh mentioned that ignorance is obliged for the murid who is confined to what he mentioned of self-justification and self defence because in this state he is a person of argumentation, organising premise and conclusion. That is how one understands their statement, "The people of argumentation are only inspired to deny action." If he had admitted his bad behaviour and been fair to himself, that would not be ignorance or folly for it since they said, "If lack of adab brings one to adab, it is adab." Allah knows best.

Part of adab is that one does not despise any station in which Allah Almighty established one of his slaves, whatever it is, as he indicates:

When you see someone whom Allah has made persist in recitation of wirds
   and then continues to help him in that,
  do not despise what his Master has given him
  because you do not discern in him
  the mark of the gnostics or the radiance of the lovers.

No warid, no wird.
       If a warid had not come, there would be no wird.

What the shaykh mentioned here is one of the things which are stressed in this chapter which is all about adab. It is that one should not despise any of the tajalliyat of Allah in any state. He must not contend with the All-Powerful nor oppose the Conqueror nor object to the All-Wise.

When you see that Allah has established a slave with wirds, like a lot of prayer, fasting, dhikr, recitation, and striving, and he is constant in that for long periods, and it is strengthening inwardly and discarding distractions and disturbances outwardly, while at the same time he has not received opening in the science of tastes and the actions of hearts, do not despise his state and what his Master has given him simply because you do not see the signs of the gnostics on him: tranquillity, peace of heart, and rest of the limbs and heart from the gentle breeze of pleasure and submission of the spirits.

Shaykh Zarruq said, "The gnostics have three signs. The first is turning away from what other than the One they recognise in every state and by every aspect. The second is turning to Him by abandoning portions and carrying out rights. The third is pleasure with Him in whatever He decrees."

Do not despise his state simply because you do not see on him the radiance of lovers, which is joy in the Beloved, much dhikr, thankfulness, delight in His love, hastening to what He loves, seeking His pleasure, humility to His immensity, and abasement to His compulsion and might.

Be humble to the One you desire. Passion is not easy.

    If the Beloved is pleased, arrival is proper for you.

Be humble to Him and you win the sight of His beauty.

    There are obligations and voluntary acts for the one who loves.

So how can you despise the One whose service continues and whose wirds are continuous? If it had not been for the existence of the divine warid inwardly, he would not be able to continue in his wirds. If it had not been for the warid, there would be no wird. The warid is from Him to you and the wird is from you to Him. "Were it not for Allah's favour to you and His mercy, not one of you would ever have been purified." (24:21) "If it were not for Allah's favour and to you and His mercy, all but a few of you would have followed Shaytan." (4:82) "He loves them and they love Him." (5:54) "He turned to them so that they might turn to Him." (9:119) So divine concerned preceded, guidance reached them and the entire business in His hand. In truth, there is only prior success and there no strength nor power except by Allah.

Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan ash-Shadhili said, "Honour Muslims, even if they are deviant rebels. Carry out the hadd punishments on them and shun them as a mercy to them. Do not loathe them." Shaykh Zarruq said, "The one ascribed to the Truth must be honoured because of his ascription. If he is lying, then the matter is between him and the One to whom he is ascribed. We are commanded to give him his due since it is incumbent for us, just like the slave of a master who beats his master's son with his permission in order to teach him and does not despise him. Al-Harrani wrote:

Show mercy to all creatures.

    Look at them with an eye of kindness and compassion,

Respect the old and show compassion to the young.

    Give every creature the right of its creation.

Then constantly performing wirds, which is the service of the limbs, is the business of the people of service. They are slaves and ascetics, and moving from it to the support of the hearts is the business of the people of love and gnosis. They are the gnostics. All of them are the slaves of Allah and the people of His concern, and so only someone ignorant or cast aside despises them as he makes clear:

Allah makes some people serve Him

      while He singles out other people for His love.

"We sustain each one, the former and the latter,

     through the generous giving of your Lord

     and the giving of your Lord is not restricted." (17:20)

The slaves singled out for concern fall into two divisions. Allah directs one division to His service and establishes them in it. They have different categories. Some of them are isolated in deserts and the wilderness to pray at night and fast in the day. They are the slaves and ascetics. Allah directs some of them to establish the deen and preserve the laws of the Muslims. They are the scholars and righteous. Allah directs some of them to support the deen and make the word of Allah uppermost. They are those doing jihad in the Way of the Lord of the Worlds. Allah directs some of them to putting the lands in order and soothing people. They are the amirs and sultans. There is a second division which Allah establishes for His love and singles out for His gnosis. They are the perfect gnostics. They travel on the Straight Path and reach the source of realisation.

There is a great difference between them because the people of service are seeking rewards and the people of love have the veils lifted from them. The people of service take their rewards before the door and the people of love speak intimately with the lovers. The people of service have a veil between them and Him and the veil is removed between Him and them is removed from the people of love. The people of service are the people of evidence and proof and the people do love are the people of witnessing and eye-witnessing. The people of service have portions snatched from them and the people of love have portions poured on them. The love of the people of service is divided and the love of the people of love is concentrated.

That is why the people of service are constant in their service and the lovers reach witnessing of their Beloved. If they had abandoned portions and confined their love to one Beloved, they would reach their Beloved and witness Him with vision and certainty and have rest from the toil of their service, but the wisdom of the All-Wise established them in their service and it is obliged to respect them in general. That does not oblige lack of preference for the people of gnosis and love. Look at what Allah Almighty says after that: "Look how We favour some of them over others. But the Next World has higher ranks and greater favours." (17:21) So this indicates that some of them are preferred to others. Nonetheless, all the slaves of the King are respected, and the King does not like for any of His slaves to be despised, even if they vary in His sight, and Allah knows best.

Abu Yazid said, "Allah is aware of the hearts of His awliya'. Some of them are not fit for gnosis and so He makes them busy with worship." Abu'l-'Abbas ad-Dinawari said, "Allah has slaves not fit for His gnosis and so He makes them busy with serving Him. He has slaves not fit for His service and so He prepares them for His love." Yahya ibn Mu'adh said, "The ascetic is caught by the Real in this world and the gnostic is caught by the Real in the Garden." He means that Allah catches the ascetic in this world, takes him and admits him to the Garden. Allah catches the gnostic in the Garden and admits Him to His presence. He catches him in the sensory Garden and put him in the Garden of meaning, which is the Garden of Gnoses.

The shaykh of our shaykh, Sidi 'Ali, said in his book, "Glory be to the One who prepared people for His service and established them in it and Who prepared people for His love and established them in it. Allah gives the people of service a tajalli by the attributes of majesty and awe, and so they become alienated from creation. Their hearts are fixed on what comes to them from the Presence of the Real. Their bodies become emaciated, their colour sallow and their bellies hollow. Their livers melt from yearning and pass through the darkness weeping and sighing. They exchange this world for striving in the deen. They desire the Garden whose breadth is the heavens and the earth, prepared for the godfearing. Allah gives the people of love a tajalli by the attributes of beauty and love. They are intoxicated by the delicious wine of proximity. The One they worship distracts them from being among the slaves or ascetics. They are occupied outwardly and inwardly with Allah, and so they are veiled from every outward and inward thing. They are ascetic in blessing and bliss as they are preoccupied with witnessing the All-Knowing King."

This is the end of Chapter 7. In short, it deals with raising the himma, being grateful for blessing, having good adab in service, and the resolve to move from constant service to love and gnosis. When Allah wants to choose a slave for His gnosis and to move him from the toil of His service, He strengthens him by divine waridat which attract him to the Presence of the Lord. They are gifts, not acquisitions obtained by actions or devices.

Chapter Eight

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