"After mentioning ALLAH, and the prayer and salutation upon the Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings be upon him), here is some advice for all those seeking advice for themselves, and the advice from the Lord is defined by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: “The deen (religion) is naseehah (advice, sincerity).” We said “To whom?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) responded: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.”
Among this advice, the first is the fear of ALLAH, beside whom there is no Divinity except Him. As Ali (may ALLAH be pleased with him) advised his children with these words: "O my sons, I exhort you to fear ALLAH, The Immense, in secret as in public, to be honest in your speech in satisfaction as in anger, to observe justice towards friends as towards enemies, to be moderate in wealth as in poverty."
Then, it is necessary to take refuge in ALLAH and to rely on Him when afflicted with trials and tribulations, and to attach the heart to ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) as much as possible according to one's rank with ALLAH. One needs to adopt a respectful restraint towards ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted) such as defined in the word of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: "Have a true respectful restraint towards ALLAH". They said: "We have this respectful restraint, praise be to ALLAH". He said: "What you’re saying is not what I mean, for the respectful restraint is to preserve the head and what it contains, to safeguard the belly and what it gathers, to remind oneself of death and trials. One who longs for the hereafter forsakes the ornaments of this world; and whoever achieves all this, has a true respectful restraint towards ALLAH".
This restraint mentioned by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is that of the common people. As for the truthful’s restraint towards ALLAH, the spirit overwhelmed by reverential fear, lowers his head even before that to which it is entitled; as has been said by the Knowers of ALLAH (Arifine billah, those who attained a certain level of knowledge of ALLAH):
"I desire Him ardently, but, when He manifests Himself to me,
With reverence, I lower my head!
Not in fright! But with reverential fear!
And also to safeguard His Beauty!
Thus, I turn away from Him, and endure in patience,
Although I deeply desire, if only the Shadow of His Spectrum!
Undoubtedly in His Withdrawal there is death.
And in His Nearness there is true life."
And as another Knower of ALLAH said:
"Glory be to the One before Whom, even if we were able to prostrate with the eyes
On a bed of thorns and fiery needles
It would not be enough to express gratitude for a hundredth of His blessings!
Nor for a tenth of this hundredth or the thousandth!"
Then he recited more verses and disappeared among the people. In fact, this occured in the gathering of 'Arafat. I questioned people about him; one said that he was Abu 'Ubeda Al Khawwas. Undoubtedly, for forty years, he has not raised his head towards the sky out of decency to ALLAH. Indubitably, that is the decency shown by the 'Arifine.
Then, seeking nearness to ALLAH through destruction of attachment, enduring obstacles, renouncing all that is ambiguous, all kind of negligence and observation to things, all these should be undertaken not for things or by ruse towards ALLAH but to fulfill the requirements of Divine Magnificence and Great Majesty, and also for the Love of His Essence.
However, for each person, this will depend on his station and degree, and as for the one who has been tested by the opposition to one of these criteria, he should return to ALLAH, humiliating himself and beseeching Him, begging for His forgiveness, demeaning himself with humility, while holding himself in contempt, acknowledging his powerlessness and weakness before ALLAH. Then, it is necessary to remain close to ALLAH by adopting an attitude of submission, neediness, extreme destitution and distress, fearing in the depth of his heart the danger of Allah’s Unforseeable Attack and the possible separation from Him resulting from His Hidden Cunning.
In all circumstances, one must observe contentment and submission to ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted), without confusion or disturbance, or desire for change, except when it is the work of one's own ego (nafs); in this case, one should hasten to turn in repentance to ALLAH for any transgression, because persistence in wrongdoing is forbidden. Even if one is not aware that it is a decree of ALLAH, there is no excuse to forsake repentance.
One should devote time to benefit others from what one has acquired. These benefits should be directed towards ALLAH's servants, not all of them, but special ones, and then gradually from one to another according to proximity, without excess or negligence.
Full respect and regard for the rights of the brothers in Tariqa should be observed and the fulfillment of these rights should not be delayed. One should always seek to satisfy them and not shirk them.
Every reasonable person should spend time in isolation with his Lord -these moments should not be delayed or forgotten- and other moments to sit with his brothers in Tariqa for a reminder or a teaching or to acquire new knowledge. This should be done without excess or negligence. Then, he should take advantage of the best periods of time to isolate himself with ALLAH, such as the middle of the night, when people are sleeping, until dawn; the time after the Subh Prayer until Duha; and after 'Asr Prayer until 'Isha Prayer.
He should work in this way, using common sense and his knowledge to reconcile that which he is able to accomplish and the slackening that he needs to grant his ego so as not to generate lassitude, complying with the prophetic word that said: "Religion is ease. If one wants to compete with religion, one will be overcome." And his word: "This religion is unshakeable, seize it gently..." And his word: "Perform the deeds you are able to, for ALLAH does not weary until you are wearied".
He should beware of using meetings and knowledge with an aim to influencing common folk or becoming influential in State affairs. He who uses these practices will succeed neither in this world nor in the hereafter. His only concern (preoccupation) should be preoccupation with his own affairs. And he must not imply that he is teaching his brothers because he is the most worthy of this: on the contrary, he should consider that this moment is essential for him.
When questioned about seeking knowledge, Malek (May ALLAH Be Pleased with him) said: "It is a good thing, but be aware of what you must achieve from morning to evening, and accomplish it". He insisted on individual duty which ALLAH requires and for which He does not authorize to forego. He who uses his search of knowledge as an excuse for turning away from his duties, has ruined his life in this world and the hereafter, and his word is true about that.
You have only ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted), therefore do not turn away from Him for another, or resort to other than Him, nor find excuses to leave His door, nor take refuge in other than Him when faced with by difficulty , distress and misfortune; without relinquishing gratitude for His abundant and continuous blessings. This situation is well reflected in the words of Abbu-l-'Abbas Mursi who said:
"The occasions faced by a servant are divided into four categories and not more which are:
- Either you are in a moment of ease, The Truth requires you to show gratitude
- Or you are in a moment of difficulty, The Truth requires you to show patience.
- Or you are in a moment of disobedience, The Truth requires you to show repentance.
- Or you are in a moment of obedience, The Truth requires you to show hopefulness".
The above classifications are all-inclusive, and this was mentioned in the word of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: "One who receives and shows gratitude, one who is afflicted and shows patience, one who is unfair and begs forgiveness, one who is oppressed and forgives." Then he was silent until some members of the gathering asked: "What about them, O Messenger of ALLAH?" He replied "Those are the ones who reap salvation and who are rightly guided."
By "reaping salvation" The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) means that these people are safe from ALLAH's punishment in the hereafter and they are rightly guided in this world if and only if these actions are done sincerely for ALLAH, solely for ALLAH (The Glorified, The Exalted); and this advice concerns those who are veiled (spiritually) [...]"
Text translated from Jawahirul Maani