Thursday 11 October 2012

The Way of the Shadhili by Sh Nooruddeen Durkee

The Way of the Shadhili  by By Shaykh `Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee

The Shaykh Abu-l-'Abbas al-Jami related to me that a certain man asked Sidi Abu-l-Hasan, "Who is your spiritual guide Sidi?" He said to him, "In the beginning it was Sidi Shaykh Abu Muhammad 'Abd as-Salam Ibn Mashish. At present I draw from ten seas, five of the sons of 'Adam and five of spiritual origin. The five 'Adamic are Sayyidina Muhammad and his companions, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali. The five of spiritual origin are Jibril, Mika'il, Israfil, 'Izra'il and ar-Ruh {the Holy Spirit}."

Thus the Way of the Shadhdhuliyyah, though traceable back through Sidi 'Abd as-Salam Ibn Mashish as well as Sidi Muhammad bin Harazim and Sidi Abu-l-Fath al-Wasiti, really has its beginning with our Shaykh, Sidi Ali Abu-l-Hasan.

Sidi Ibn 'Ata 'illah reported on the authority of Sidi Shihab ad-Din Ahmad, the son of our Shaykh, that at the time of his death his father said, "I have brought to this Way {Tariqah} what no one has before me."

Thus the Way of the Shadhdhuliyyah, though it has many areas in common with the various Turuq, may Allah be pleased with them all, is a unique Way unlike any other.

The Shaykh, may Allah preserve his secret, said, "Of all the Ways there are two: the way of travelling {suluk} and the way of attraction {jadhb}. Our Way is the Way of Jadhb. Our beginning is their end. Their beginning is our completion " Shaykh Ibn 'Ata’ illah, whose books greatly aided in the diffusion of the teachings of our Shaykh, says in the Kiatb al Hikm, "He who is illumined in the beginning is illumined in the end." Thus the Way of the Shadhdhuliyyah is firmly based on the reality {haqlqah} that Enlightenment or Illumination {-ishrdq} is both in our beginning mid at our end with the certain knowledge that both our beginning and end are in His Presence and by His Grace." {see 7:172}

Shaykh Ahmad az-Zarruq, commenting on this, said, "The variety in a branch is due to the variety of its origin. The origin of Tasawwuf is in the station of 'Ihsan and it splits into two kinds: 'to worship Allah as though you saw Him' and 'knowing that if you do not see Him, He sees you.' The first is the degree of the Knower; the latter is the degree of the Seeker. The Folk of ash-Shadhdhuli revolve around the first and Folk of al-Ghazali revolve around the other."

Shaykh Ibn 'Ata'illah as-Sakandari said, "Do not think that the 'attracted' {al-majdhub} has no path. He has a path that has been enveloped by the providential solicitude of Allah {' inayatu-llah} so that his way has been speedily expedited Too often we hear that the traveller {as-salik} is more perfect than the attracted due to the traveller's experience of the Path and the Attracted's lack of experience. This is not true. He does not miss it but misses only its hardships and the length." Thus 'attraction' {al-jadhb} was a necessary prerequisite for the Folk {al-qawm} who took the Way of our Shaykh as the Shadhdhuli Way was par excellence that of "witnessing" {mushahddah} Allah at the beginning of the Way which in turn fostered a great concern with 'intuition" {kashf} in contradistinction to the other ways more concerned with 'intellect' {the rational faculty = 'aql } and not The Intellect { al-'aqi} understood as The Existentiating Reality}.

Ibn 'Ata ’illah, to whom we are so indebted for our knowledge of the Way of our Shaykh, made abundantly clear that the Way of Arrival to the knowledge {al-ma'rifah} of Allah by insight, direct witnessing, and tasting at the beginning was the way of the elite who are the chosen of Allah whilst the Way of Arrival to Allah by intellection, reason and proofs was the way of the commoners who have chosen Allah. He indicates that arrival to the knowledge of Allah is not attained by struggle {jihad} with the self {nafs}, neither by obedience nor good deeds, for these are the product of human will {‘irddah} and humans have no will in relation to the Will of Allah. Man cannot reach Allah by his will alone, not by renouncing himself, humiliating himself, or destroying himself for "there is no logical nexus between the transcendent and the contingent." Arrival to the knowledge of Allah stems from the providential solicitude of Allah. Real and ineffable sanctifying grace in conjunction with amorous wisdom. The 'spiritual life' is not so much a question of choice as it is a matter of vocation and an abiding sense of having been chosen in eternity on the day of -Alastu bi-rabbikum?

In his book Kitab fi ‘Isqat at-Tanwir fi 'Isqdt at-Taddblr {Light on the Cessation of Self Direction} he says, "Know that The Truth {al-haqq} has always taken the best of care for you throughout all of your life since He brought you into existence on the Day of the Decree [yawm al-muqadir}, the Day of "Am I not your Lord" and you said, "Yes, we bear witness!" Among the signs of His Care is that He caused you to know Him. He revealed Himself to you and you witnessed Him. It was He who made you speak and inspired you to affirm His Lordship [rububiyyatahu] and so confirm His Oneness."

wa 'idh 'akhadha rabbuka mim banii 'aadama min dhuhurihim dhuriyyatahum wa'ashhadahum'alaa'anfusihim

^alastu bi-rabbikum qalu bala shahidnaa 'an taqulu yawma-l-qiyamati 'inna kunna 'an hadha ghafilin

And when your Lord took from the children of Adam, from their spines, their seed and made them to witness of their selves "Am I not your Lord ?" They said, "Yes! we bear witness." lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, "As for us we were not aware." { 7:172 }

This statement concerning the pre-etemal celestial witnessing is crucial to the understanding that within all human beings there is a part that always has known the Truth both of origin and destination. The whole question of the spiritual path {at-tariqah} is thus not so much a matter of going 'somewhere' as it is an awakening to where one already is and a remembering of who one is, was and will be.

The literalist objection to the sufi doctrine of arrival {wusul} is completely misguided as it is clear that ah origine all humans had direct knowledge and direct witnessing of their Lord and, moreover, directly entered into a covenant of witness with their Lord, in the beginning and at the end. The goal of the path is, simply stated, the return to this realization by the elimination of forgetfulness.

For some it is a lengthy process whereas for others, less mindless {ghaflah} perhaps, it is clearly evident by virtue of insight which is a grant or bestowal of grace from their Lord. The view of our Shaykh was that the cessation of self-direction, in itself a recognition of the necessity of a continual 'Islam {self surrender}, was the means par excellence for the cultivation of insight [kashf}, which best blooms undisturbed by agitation and the sense of 'doing' so much evident in the contemporary world.

Commenting on the saying of one of his contemporaries, "Spiritual knowledge comes from Allah in two ways: one way, the path of the Source of generosity, and one way, the path of enormous self-exertion," our Shaykh said, "Regarding the Source of generosity, it refers to those whom Allah has initiated with His Divine Gift and who by this Gift have attained to obedience unto Him. Concerning the great self-exertion, this refers to those people who, by obedience unto Him, have attained to His Divine Gift." He continued saying, "Certainty {yaqin} is a word pertaining to the apprehension of realities without a doubt and without an intervening veil. Spiritual knowledge {ma'rifah} is a disclosure of the sciences along with the veil. When the veil is removed, we call it certainty. He who has access to the realities [haqd'iq} is carried away in rapture {nashwata-l-tarab}. The one who has spiritual knowledge is drawn by it away from the self {nafs}.

The mystical sciences are gathered treasures and the lights are spiritual insights. Spiritual knowledge is amplitude; unity is truth, wisdom is inspiration, light is clarity." He said, may Allah preserve his secret, "The real knowledge is that which is not overcome by contraries and evidence of likes and equals. He who enters into this knowledge is as one engulfed by the sea. The water closes in over him. What contrary do you meet with, or hear or see?" As an example of his teaching on a particular subject, in this case watchfulness {muraqabah} and its connection to the 'Ceasing of Self-Direction', {'isqat at-taddblr} consider the following drawn from Ibn Sabbagh's book, "The Pearl of Secrets" [Durrat al-Asrdr},

"So, oh voyager on the road of the Hereafter, it is incumbent upon you to accomplish what you have been Ordered concerning your outward conduct. When you have done that, sit upon the carpet of watchfulness {muraqabah} and render sincere {takhlis} your inner life until there remains nothing that He has forbidden. Give the prescribed limitations {huddud} their full due. Diminish your attention to your outer self if you desire the opening of the inner self to the secrets of the Kingdom of your Lord. Whatever thoughts come to hinder you from the object of your desire, be aware, in the first place, of the Nearness {qurb} of your Lord, with a knowledge {'ilm} which sets your heart to work in seeking of Allah those things which are beneficial to you and averting those things which cause you harm.

"Reflect, 'Allah is powerful over every thing. Whatever Mercy Allah opens to men, none can withhold and what ever He withholds none can loose after Him. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. 0 humans, remember Allah's grace upon you; is there any creator apart from Allah who provides for you from the heavens and the earth ?' {35:2-3} From the earth is your self {nafs} but from heaven is your heart {qalb}. If any thing descends from the heavens to the earth, who is he that will turn it away other than Allah ? ' He knows what penetrates into the earth, and what comes forth from it, what comes down from sky and what goes up in it. He is with you wherever you are and Allah sees what you do.' {57:4}

"Give then watchfulness {muraqabah} its due by continuing in your absolute slavery to His commands and abstain from adherence to lordship with respect to His creations. If anyone contends with Him, he will suffer defeat, since, 'Have they not seen how We destroyed before them many a generation and we had established them in the earth more firmly than we established you: {6:6} and ' If Allah touches you with affliction none can remove it but He; and if He touches you with good. He is powerful over all things. He is Omnipotent over His slaves. He is the All-Wise, the Knower: {6:17-18} How excellent is The Truth {al-haqq}.

What I am saying to you is that there is not one breath of your breathing but that Allah controls it, whether you be one who is resigned or one who is contending. For you desire resignation at one time but Allah refuses everything except contending and you desire contending at another time, but Allah refuses everything except resignation. This is but an indication of His Lordship in all of His doings, especially with the one occupied with guarding the heart for the attainment of His realities {haqaiq}.

"If the matter is as described then give due respect to right action with regard to whatever may come over you, in that you will not testify that any thing pertaining to you is first except through His being The First, or last except through His being The Last, or outward except through His being The Outward or inner except through his being The Inner. For if you attain to the 'firstness' of the First, you are looking at that which is first in respect of anything which you could ever make to be first.

"If there should come over you any stray thought for an action pleasing to the self {nafs} or a hateful action which is not suitable to it from among those things which the Law has not forbidden, then consider what Allah has created in you through the traces {athar} of what occurs to your mind as a stray thought. If you discover some admonition it is for you to believe it to be true, for that is the proper thing to do at the time, and do not have recourse to anything else. But if you do not find the way to believing it to be time, then wait before Him, for that is the proper thing to do at that time. Whenever you turn to someone else you miss your way. If you are not able to do that, then you must trust, be contented and submissive. If you do not find the way to do that, then you must pray for the bestowal of gifts and the averting of harms on the condition of becoming resigned and committing yourself to Allah. I caution you against choosing for your self, for it is an evil with people of insight {kashf}.

"There are four rules of conduct: the rule of assured belief, the rule of waiting, the rule of trust, and the rule of supplication. He who believes {the admonition} to be true is preserved {from the thought form}; he who waits before Him dispenses with making his own choices through the choices of his Lord; he who calls upon Him by way of advancing toward Him and Love, to him will He give a favourable response, as He wishes, according to what is suitable for him, or, as He wishes, withholding that which is not suitable for him.

"Each rule has its extension {bisat} and each dimension has its plane. The first plane is the plane of the dimension of belief. If a thought {khatir} comes over you from other than Him and there are disclosed to you His attributes, then sit within your inner soul for it is forbidden to witness other than Him.

"The second plane is the plane of waiting. If there comes a thought to you from other than Him and if there is disclosed to you His actions, wait here in your innermost soul. For it is forbidden to witness other than His attributes as a witness and with an immediate vision of Reality, for primarily there is the passing away [fana'} of the association {shirk}, since {if you say} you are the conqueror you have not conquered. For if you are a conqueror, then be as you are, for you will never be as you will.

"Your very struggle {ijtihad} is a veritable proof of your extreme ignorance of the workings of Allah. How ugly is an ignorant worker {'amil}? or a corrupt scholar {'alim}? I do not know with what words to describe you, whether with ignorance or with corruption or both together. We take refuge with Allah from the nafs being divested from struggle {mujahadah} and the heart's being empty of witnessing. Idleness {ta'til} nullifies the Law and emptiness nullifies unity {tawhid} and the Judge brought them both together. If you relinquish vying with your Lord you will be a Unitarian {muwahhid}; if you act according to the Law you will be a follower of the Sunnah; if you bring them both together in true union you will a true {muhaqqiq} sufi. 'Is it not sufficient that your Lord is a Witness of all things ?' {41:53}

"So then if there comes to you in your state of watchfulness {muraqabah} a thought of something disapproved of in the Law or desirable {in spite of the Law}, with regard to some past act of yours, consider what you remember by it and be admonished. If you remember Allah by it, then the proper thing for you is to declare His unity on the plane of devotion to Him alone.

"If there is not transmitted to you the vision of His bountifulness in the gifts of His Mercy with which he has covered you, and in obedience to Him with which He has adorned you, in that you have loved Him on the plane of His affection, and you are below this level, not having been there, then the proper thing for you is to see His Bounty in that He has covered you in whatever act of disobedience toward Him you commit, without disclosing your shame to any of His creatures.

"If you have turned aside from this matter and are reminded of your disobedience, and if you have not remembered the preceding three rules of conduct, then dwell upon the rule of supplication, repenting of {your act of disobedience} and of similar acts, and seeking forgiveness for it, just as a confused guilty culprit would seek it. This is relative to the thing disapproved of in respect to the Law.

"But if there comes to you a thought of an act of obedience and you proceed to recall Who has caused you to benefit thereby, let not yourself be consoled by it, but rather by its Author, for if you are consoled by other than Him, you have already fallen from the grade of advanced Tasawwuf {tahqiq}.

"If you are not of this stage, then be in the one following it, that of witnessing the great Bounty of Allah toward you, since He has made you to belong among its possessors, the heritage of which is that you will be provided something good from it; but rather it is one of the tokens which point to the genuineness of it.

"If you are not made to dwell there, but to abide below it, then the proper thing for you to do is to examine minutely this act of obedience and ask, is it really an act of obedience, with you being secure from being called to account for it, or is it the opposite of that, with you being held punishable for it ? We take refuge with Allah from good deeds which become evil deeds, -for there appeared to them things from Allah that they had never reckoned with; {39:48}.

If you descend from this grade to some other, then the proper thing for you is to seek to escape from it with its good and from its evil. Let your flight from your good works be more frequent than your flight from your evil works, if you desire to be one of the righteous.

"As for you, know that if you wish to have some share in what the awliya' of Allah possess, you must shun people altogether, except for those who direct you to Allah with trust worthy counsel and unquestionable conduct which neither the Book nor the Sunnah will render invalid. Shun the world entirely and be not of those who shun it in order to receive something on that account. Further, do it as a slave of Allah who has ordered you to shun his enemy.

"So whenever you bring forth these two good habits, shunning the world and asceticism with regard to the people, practice devotion to Allah with spiritual watchfulness. Take upon your self the duty of turning to Allah {tawbah} with spiritual watchfulness {ri'ayah}, of seeking pardon by repeatedly turning {inabah} and submitting with uprightness to the Law.

"The meaning of these four things is that you remain a slave of Allah in what you perform and what you desist from, and you watch over your heart lest you see in its possession something belonging to another. If this happens the voices {hawatif} of The Truth {al-haqq} will call out to you from the lights of splendour, 'You have lost the Way.'

"You know you have reached that practice of devotion to Allah with certainty that He sees you when you hear His saying -Allah watches over all things: {33:52} Here you are overtaken by a certain politeness which incites you to repentance for what you considered to be nearness to Allah. Repentance with watchfulness of the heart necessarily implies that you do not imagine repentance as coming from you in any case, so that you return from that to that from which you departed If this is genuine on your part the voices will also call out to you from the presence of The Truth. Repentance is not of yourself; turning repeatedly is but from Him.

Your being occupied with what is an attribute of yourself is a hindrance to your real desire, for there you are considering your own attributes and so you are seeking refuge with Allah from them and beginning to implore pardon and to turn back repeatedly. For imploring pardon is seeking forgiveness for your attributes by returning to His Attributes. If you are in this condition, I mean seeking refuge with Allah and turning to Him repeatedly. He will so proclaim to you, "Yield to My Decrees, lay aside contending with Me, comply closely with My Will by putting aside your will. It is only Lordship that has been invested with power over slavery.

Be then a slave possessed having power over nothing. When have I seen you in possession of any power which I have entrusted to you whilst, ' I am the Knower of all things- {2:29}? If you are well grounded in this matter, and if you adhere to it, you have a view of secrets which you will hardly hear from any one of the worlds."

Our Shaykh says concerning the Way:

"The Way is holding steady by four things

He who partakes of all of them is of the Confirmed {siddiqun}, he who partakes of three of them is of the Friends of Allah {awliya'}, he who partakes of two of them is a Witness [shahid} and who partakes of a single one is of the upright Slaves of Allah {'ibad}. The first of these is remembrance {dhikr}, the extension of which is correct religious practice and the fruit of which is illumination {'ishraq}; the second is contemplation {tafkir}, the extension of which is perseverance {sabr} and the fruit of which is knowledge {'ilm}; the third is poverty {faqr}, the extension of which is thankfulness [shukr} and the fruit of which is increase; the fourth is love {mahabbah}, the extension of which is abhorrence of the world and its inhabitants and the fruit of which is arrival [wusul] or attaining the goal of the Beloved."

Our Shaykh was very concerned with the precision of his teachings in the rearing up {tarbiyyah} of his muridun. Unlike some of the Shuyukh of later times and, particularly, of our present time, he was very careful to fully know all the circumstances in the life of the murid, often intimately and in great detail. Additionally many of the muridun lived with him, especially during his time in al-'Iskandariyyah, and he made use of travelling, especially the Hajj, both as a means to know his muridun and also as a means of instructing them. He once said, when visited by some scholars who enquired why a man of his learning and knowledge did not write books, "My companions are my books," referring to his muridun.

Besides speaking extensively on such subjects as Qur'an, Hadith, Shari'ah, Fiqh and 'Aqidah, he taught at great length both by words and, more importantly, by actions, the following subjects: sincerity {al-ikhlas}, returning in repentance to Allah {at-tawbah}, intention {an-niyah}, seclusion {al-khalwah} {especially in the sense of the seclusion of one's self and family from the sources of agitation, confusion, aggravation, illusion and desire as well as the necessity for periods of physical seclusion}, concerted and active struggle {al-jihad} both in its lesser and greater manifestations and specifically in relation to the commanding lower self {an-nafsu-l-ammara}, the necessity for remembrance of Allah {adh-dhikr}, contemplation of Allah {al-fikr} and watchfulness of the decrees of Allah {al-muraqabah}, worship and service of Allah {al-'ubudiyyah} and service of people {al-khidmah}, avoidance of worldliness and its attachments especially to power and leadership unless under the mandate of Allah, worship of Allah {'ibadah} both prescribed {fard } and voluntary {nafl}, obedience {at-td'dt} to the requirements of Allah, the understanding of degrees {ad-darajat} and decrees {al-aqdar} as a means of certification, certainty and proof founded on principle rather than supposition, piety or scrupulousness {wara'}, contentment {ar-rida} with what Allah ordains, love {al-mahabbah} for Allah and that which He loves and those whom He loves and thus makes pure, the necessity for fervent and repeated supplication [ad-du'a }and repetition of spiritual litanies {al-ahzab ].

There can be no doubt that all of the great Shuyukh spoke and often wrote about these subjects, as they form the basis of the universal spiritual path. What distinguished the teaching of our Shaykh, as we said at the outset, was that he approached all of these subjects from above rather than below. This was consonant with his understanding of arrival before departure, of attraction rather than travel and insight rather than intellection.

He was abundantly aware that the path was "not from you to Me but rather from Me to you." It was never with him a matter of getting 'somewhere'; rather it was a question of being. His muridun often used to observe him saddling one of his horses and setting out on a journey.

They asked him, 'Whence, oh Shaykh ?' His reply, as often as not, was, 'Nowhere.' When asked about this he said that it gave him pleasure simply to ride, from time to time, with no destination, sleeping rough at night in the desert, and in general having no purpose other than an apparently circuitous trip from which he would return after a week or so. He used these trips as times of reflection and ongoing contemplation. So in many ways did he view the spiritual 'journey', not so much as going any where, for after all where was there to go, but rather a reflection on Allah and a process of refinement of the self {nafs} until it was capable of fully reflecting the light and sublimity of Allah. A refinement of one's assumed nature whereby one resumed one's original nature. "Surely We created man in the best of forms'". {95:4}

"So set your face to the pure {hanifa} Dm, the original nature of Allah {fitrata-llah} in which He created man:' {30:30} For this reason he also stressed a certain invisibility or transparency in respect to the world. He abjured his muridun from adopting a way of dress which would set them apart from people and specifically taking the patched cloak {muraqqa’ah} so favoured by the darawish that it had become almost a uniform. On the contrary he preferred his muridun to dress well, even elegantly, as a means both of proclaiming 'their contentment with Allah' and harmonizing with the world in which they moved. All of this had very much to do with his teaching of 'transparence' or 'disappearance' which, in essence, held that to the degree the self became transparent to the Self, exactly to that degree, could one exist 'in' the world and not be 'of the world and thus simultaneously enjoy the fruits of both this world and the next.

Our Shaykh recounts, "On a certain night I had been meditating on the realm of the unseen and transcendent knowledge , when Allah bestowed upon me sublime knowledge and I penetrated into the unseen in a delightful manner. I said within myself, 'Is not this better than entering into the affairs of the creatures as compared with the Creator, and being together with Allah more perfect than being in the midst of things belonging to men even though it be permitted according to the Law to be among them ?' Whilst I was thus, I fell asleep and I saw as if there were a torrent surrounding me on every side and carrying along garbage on my right and on my left. I began to wade through it to get out of it but I saw no land on four sides to which I could escape.

So I resigned myself. But I remained standing in the torrent like a post or a firmly rooted palm and said to myself. This is the bounty of Allah that I have stood firmly in this flood without being touched by the least bit of the garbage.' Then suddenly I perceived a handsome person who was saying to me, 'Certainly it is on account of being a Sufi that one becomes exposed to the affairs pertaining to men, the ordaining of which is of The Truth. Whatever Allah decrees you are thankful, whatever he does not ordain you are content. The ordaining of them which obliges you to give thanks is not more perfect than their lack of being ordained which obliges you to be contented.

Allah has taught me knowledge which subsists in the essence of my self {dhat nafsi} leaving it not but adhering to it like the whiteness in white and the blackness in black. He is Allah, there is no deity other than He, The One, The Victorious, Lord of the heavens and the earth and what is between them, The Powerful, the Forgiving {38:66}.

Consider the divinity {uluhiyyah}, uniqueness {fardaniyyah}, unity {wahdaniyyah], victoriousness {qahiriyyah}, lordship, power and pardon, and how all of these are joined together in a single statement. Pardon is a descent upon the person who has mystical knowledge of Allah like the torrent bearing garbage and Allah causes whom He will to stand firm in the midst of it and by means of it {the stream of pardon} no garbage touches him.' I awoke from my sleep having been vouchsafed a great secret."

Thus our Shaykh, though he valued periods of withdrawal {especially the last 10 days of Ramadan} and reflection, advocated a life for his muridun which was lived, often fiercely and always with focused concentration, in the very midst of the flow of life stressing that every event was specially prepared by Allah and offered a means for depthening awareness and understanding. He said, with reference to those who are in the world yet not of it, "They are {al- mukhlisun} those whom Allah has created for the beauty of slavery to Him, the beauty of worshipping Him, and the beauty of contemplating Him.

Of those who worship Him in perfect slavery and adoration they are the most highly favoured due to their sincerity in the declaration of the oneness of His Lordship and for following His Law in so far as He endowed their inner beings with the illuminations of His presence, whose spirits {arwah}

He has provided with the inner meanings of His mystical sciences and with the peculiar manifestation of His concern {'inayah} and whose minds He has caused to contemplate the beneficence of His Greatness, whose souls [nufus} He has purified, guarded and made to emerge from the darkness of ignorance, whom He has guided by the stars of knowledge {'ilm} and the sun of spiritual knowledge {ma'rifah} of Him, whose beliefs He has confirmed by the proofs {barahin} of His Book and Sunnah, whose resolves {'aza'im} He has wiped away through the realization of His overpowering desire {mashi'ah},

whose will [iradah} He has reduced by giving them knowledge of His Will, whom He has bedizened with the adornments of asceticism {zuhd}, the ornaments of trust {tawakkul}, the nobility of scrupulousness {wara'}, the light of sure knowledge and luster of gnosis {ma 'rifah}, whom He has guided by inspiration to His Bounty and abundance {tawl}, whom He has drawn near to Him so that with Him they are made to dispense with other than Him.

Some of them He has appointed to be keys for the hearts of men and springs of the greatest wisdom of which they learn according to the divine law which they communicate secretly and openly to those who are capable. Some of them the decrees {aqdar} have concealed and veiled from others in order that they alone may become the masters of the truth of the hidden mysteries.

They are not at all to be recognized by any distinguishing marks. In their inner self they are with The Truth {al-haqq} while in their outer selves they are with the creatures {al-khalq}. They are they and not they. They are in the realm of being {wujud} characterized by their absence {fana}. They appear to walk in ranks yet in their journeys they take separate roads. Outwardly they are poor; inwardly they are rich."   ….

Taken from
Ref: The school of the Shadhdhuliyyah: Vol. 1 by By Shaykh `Abdullah Nooruddeen Durkee

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