Advice from the Righteous

The cautions and advices of the righteous are reflections from the climes of the Quran and the words of the Prophet.

The righteous servants of the Lord, who have attained to an excellence of conduct by virtue of perfecting exoteric and the esoteric knowledge on the Sufi path, are those who are privileged with the good fortune of receiving the honor of being ‘the inheritors of prophets’. They are embodiments of the prophetic perfection of conduct and guidance spread over the course of time. In other words, they are tangible guides for those who have not been fortunate enough to live in the times of the Blessed Prophet –upon him blessings and peace- and his Companions.  The hadith states:

“Scholars (with inner and outer perfection) are the inheritors of prophets.” (Abu Dawud, Ilm, 1)

Being the recipients of an intense manifestation of the Divine names Merciful and Compassionate, mercy and compassion become part of their original nature. Having unshackled themselves from an egoism that considers and values nobody other than the self, these matured believers attain to a lifelong selflessness, where they rather think of everyone apart from themselves. Their lives, devoted exclusively to guiding others, thus continue beyond their mortal bodies. Consequent upon their taming of their egos, they utilize their spirits as bridges that deliver not only themselves to the Lord but also the rest of the ummah, for whose eternal salvation they strive. They are teachers for masses awaiting rescue, heroes who carry on in their consciences the responsibility of the masses towards their Creator.

The cautions and advices of the righteous are reflections from the words of the Prophet –upon him blessings and peace-; for he is the hub of spiritual benefit. Their speeches, cautions and advices, imbued with spiritual vigor, are all glimmers reflecting from that hub. It is therefore vital to seize the assemblies of the righteous as god-sent; since they reenact for the ummah the twenty-three year prophethood of the Beloved Messenger –upon him blessings and peace-, in their words, actions and emotions.

A saint sheds his willpower in the love of the Lord, like a moth spinning uncontrollably around a flame, whereby the Lord, henceforth, becomes his eyes that see and ears that hear. As he stands under the manifestation of the Lord’s love and affection, his egoistic tendencies burn to crisp, like a paper under a sunlit lens. Thereby, he becomes a spiritual center of attraction loved, intentionally or unintentionally, by others, whose sympathies flow towards him. His cautions and advices act as relieving cures for injured spirits.

The cautions and guiding words of advice uttered by righteous saints, who have attained to his horizon and spiritual command, are of greater value and influence in sending a wakeup call to ignorant hearts, compared to advices of those who do not practice what they preach. One must therefore cherish their enlightening advices like a lost treasure and devote himself to their enlightening words, with love and sincerity. Below are only a handful of examples from the advices of the righteous, which shed precious light on the eternal path of happiness:

Hasan Basri –May Allah sanctify his secret- (642-728)

Son of Man! A true believer wakes in the morning with fear, even if he be a man of ihsan. This is befitting for him, in any case. A believer makes it to the next night, again, with fear. He is always tremors amid the fear of two things:

1. Past sins: He can never be sure how the Almighty will treat him over these.

2. Future life: How is he to live and how will he end up dying? He continuously reflects over the answers to these questions he can never foretell.

Men! Realize this truth and offer righteous deeds: Allah and His Messenger see all things you do and there will come a day when you shall be returned to Allah, who knows the hidden and the open. And that day, you will be informed of all things that you had done.

Beware of your hearts. Renew them with through a constant remembrance of the Lord, for they are quick to rust. Tame your egos, as they are wild. Should you fail to curb the evil desires of your ego, it will only be a matter of time before it rolls you down a terrifying abyss.

You will not attain a perfected faith, as long as you continue to condemn others over their faults when you have your own faults waiting there unresolved. Take a look at your own faults before you ever set your eyes on the faults of others; begin by correcting them!

Men! The Quran is a cure for believers, a guide for the pious. Whoever follows it will be lead to guidance and the right path. Whoever turns away from it will end up a wretched destined for disaster.

Son of Man! Alone you shall die, alone you shall be resurrected and alone you shall be called into account!

Malik ibn Dinar –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d. 748)

No longer is there pleasure on Earth, except for two things:

1. Meeting and conversing with brethren.

2. Waking up for the prayer of tahajjud and being occupied with Divine remembrance and reciting the Quran at that inspirational time of night.

Jafar-i Sadiq – May Allah sanctify his secret- (699-766)

Keep a righteous deed you offer a secret and let it lose value in your sight; for if you consider it worthless, it may not lead you to conceit. And if you keep it a secret, it will make up for its shortcomings and increase its virtue. By hastening to offer a righteous deed, you will have reached it without delay. Otherwise, your ego may fall weak and make you postpone it; or worse still, abandon it.

If you hear something unpleasant about your brother, persevere to convince yourself that he might have an excuse.  If you fail to find one, then assume that the excuse is of a nature you cannot understand and strive to conceal his fault!

Sufyan-i Sawri –May Allah sanctify his secret- (713-777)

Seeking knowledge should be with the purpose of attaining piety for Allah, fulfilling His commands and fearing Him. The superiority of knowledge comes from its ability to endow one with these supreme emotions. Had this been lacking, knowledge, too, would have been on level par with all things else.

Going to Khorasan to preach is better than living in the vicinity of Mecca.

The first condition of knowledge is to look for ways of attaining it. Once it is found and attained, practice comes next…and then silence and contemplation…and after that observing the universe through the gaze of wisdom.

Junayd Baghdadi –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d.909)

Sohbah with Allah, that is being with Him, comes through beautiful conduct and a continuation of a solemn and contemplative mindset.

Sohbah with the Messenger of Allah –upon him blessings and peace- comes through adhering to his Sunnah.

Sohbah with saints comes through respect and service.

Sohbah with the family comes through beautiful morals.

Sohbah with the brethren comes through a constant smile and cheering them up.

And sohbah with the public comes through prayer and mercy.

Imam Ghazzali –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d.1111)

Keep your heart awake upon these three deeds of worship, son; do not let your heart and mind stray elsewhere: whilst reciting the Quran, whilst remembering your Lord and whilst offering ritual prayer. When occupied with these three deeds, do not lend your heart and mind to any other, even if for a moment. Do not forget being in the presence of Allah! The value of what you do will diminish, should you let your mind wander while your face is turned towards the qiblah. Turn your face to the Kaaba, the first temple from which Islam was born, and fasten your heart to Allah, glory unto Him. And if you want to join the ranks of the wise, fill your silence with contemplation, reserve your gaze for taking lesson and let your wishes be to worship. These three traits are the signs of the wise.

Abstain, son, from breaching the rights of others! A penny of debt steals the rewards of many an accepted act of worship! The Prophet –upon him blessings and peace- never used to offer the funeral prayers of those who had died with unsettled debts. His purpose was to cast mercy in the hearts of the rich, so that they would withdraw their claim over the debt. But Allah most certainly helps one, who borrows a loan out of need with the intention of paying it back. Even if he ends up dying whilst striving to pay the loan back without quite making it, Allah will aid him in the Hereafter.

One must thank the Lord for tribulations; for apart from disbelief and sin, there is never a tribulation which does not come with a goodness of which you do not know. Allah knows what is better for you, more than you can ever know for yourself! There are many things you suppose to be evil which are in fact good for you. And there are many things you deem to be good which are in fact bad for you. The safest way is to rest content with Divine destiny and to offer thanks no matter what the situation may be.

Son…If there was ever a thing you needed to be wary of, it would be to watch out for who you befriend. Know that a basketful of fresh apples cannot turn a single rotten apple into a fresh one; yet a single rotten apple can rot the rest away. Therefore, always accompany the righteous!

A good friend is like a person who sells rose oil; you will either you buy some from him or he will offers some to you, or at least, the fragrance will rub off on you so long as you remain by his side. One is with whom he loves. You shall be resurrected in the Hereafter with whoever you had loved and befriended on earth. Persist, therefore, to accompany the scholars and the righteous, who put their knowledge to practice!

Everything in life, son, is through the allocation of Allah. Allah has made some wealthy and others poor, some healthy and others disabled, some knowledgeable and others ignorant. This is the only way to maintain the order of the world. On seeing people lower than you, do not become arrogant and despise them! You could have been in their shoes and they could have been in yours. Think of this and befriend the poor! Always try to be humble towards them! Protect the dignity of being a human and a Muslim! This is the only way to happiness. If you want peace in both worlds, do not break anyone’s heart! When you see someone younger, say to yourself, ‘he has fewer sins than I’; and upon seeing someone older, say, ‘he has more rewards than I and is more virtuous than I in ways I do not know’. Look at them with these thoughts! When you see a scholar, think to yourself that ‘he has knowledge which shall save him’; and upon coming across an ignorant, think that ‘he will be forgiven for he does not know’! Even when you stumble upon a nonbeliever, think that ‘all his sins will be forgiven should Allah grant him guidance and that he may reach the presence of the Lord as innocent as a dove…but who knows in what condition I shall breathe my last?’ And thereby reflect on your own finale! The more you know yourself and the greater you look down upon yourself, the higher your rank will be in the sight of the Lord.

See to the needs of your brethren of religion, son, to the best of your ability; for the Honorable Prophet –upon him blessings and peace- has said:

“Whosoever takes care of the need of his brother in religion, Allah will take care of a need of his.” (Bukhari, Mazalim, 3)

And in another hadith, the Honorable Prophet –upon him blessings and peace- has stated: “Whosoever takes conceals the flaw of a Muslim, Allah will take conceal a flaw of his both Here and in the Hereafter.” (Muslim, Birr, 72)

A wise man ought to say to himself: The only capital I have is my life; I have no other. This capital is so precious that each breath exhaled is gone forever, never to return. Breaths are numbered and they decrease by the moment. Capitalize, therefore, on each breath and act as if you will be dead by tomorrow. Protect your each limb from sin and clutch onto piety!

My Lord…End our lives with happiness! Make us attain to Your pleasure and Splendid Countenance (jamal)! Do not detach us from wellbeing, day or night! Make piety our fodder and direct our trust and hope towards You! Keep us firm on the path of truth! Only You are worthy to be worshipped! I glorify You from all deficiencies! I am among those who have wronged themselves, for being unable serve you as befits Your Majesty!

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds; and salute and peace to Muhammad Mustafa, the pride and joy of the universe!

Abdulqadir Jilani –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1077-1166)

Son! Piety is what you need. Strive to fulfill the terms of piety so that your heart is cleansed of inner conflicts and bad habits…and becomes bound for the good.

While earning the goods of the world, son, do not be like he who collects wood in the dark of night without knowing for sure what he is collecting. Be cautious as to whether it is permissible or impermissible, legitimate or illegitimate. Allow the sun of tawhid and piety to shine a light upon all your deeds.

Putting the Quran to practice, son, will elevate you to the status of the Quran; raise you onto its throne. Practicing the Sunnah, on the other hand, will draw you closer to the Messenger of Allah –upon him blessings and peace-, whose spiritual aid will thereby ensure that you will not be banished from heart-worlds of saints even for a moment. It is him who beautifies the hearts of saints.

Haram food kills the heart, son, while halal revives it. There morsels that will keep you occupied with the world and there are others that will keep you occupied with the Hereafter. Again, there are morsels that direct your interest to the Creator of both worlds.

Son…Become friends with him who helps you in the struggles against your ego! Be in his company! Do not befriend him who fans the flames of the desires of your ego! First, occupy yourself with your own ego; benefit yourself and set your ego straight…and then occupy yourself with others. Do not be like the candle which lights up its surroundings only to melt away!

O he who wishes to offer righteous deeds in the way of Allah! Be sincere! Otherwise, you will have tired yourself for nothing.

Not by words are people enlightened; but by a genuine belief and eagerness in the heart. All this is attained solely through seclusion, worship, Divine remembrance, abstinence and contemplation. They are otherwise not the consequences of certain ceremonial deeds which never go beyond an external show and infiltrate the spirit. The tongue and heart, the words and essence and the inner and the outer of a wayfarer on the path to the Lord must therefore be one and speak in one voice.

Ahmed ar-Rifai –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1118-1182)

Friends…Try and gain a closeness to the saints of the Lord; for to love a saint is to love the Lord and to be hostile to him is to be hostile to the Lord.

Continue your dhikr of the Lord; for dhikr is a magnet that pulls towards reuniting with Him, a strong rope that binds to His closeness. Those who continue their Divine remembrance are on good terms with the Lord; and whosoever is on good terms with the Lord has effectively reunited with Him. Dhikr settles in the heart through the blessings of sohbah, as a person shares the same path as his friend and is lead to wherever that path shall take him.

Contemplation was the very first deed of the Noble Prophet –upon him blessings and peace-. Before there were ever any obligatory deeds, his worship consisted of reflecting on the creation and blessings of Allah. So hold a firm grip on contemplation and render it a means of self-improvement.

Be careful not to be like a sieve that sifts out the fine part of the flour only to be left with its dregs. Do not let your hearts be filled with deceit and malice while words of wisdom roll of your tongues, lest the ayah “So do you enjoin men to be good and neglect your own souls?” (al-Baqarah, 44) acts as your prosecutor.

Clean your hearts thoroughly, as a cleanliness of heart is much more important than a cleanliness of clothes. Besides, Allah gazes directly at one’s heart, not at his clothes. Observe the boundaries of uprightness and do not desire anyone else than Allah.

Friends…The door opens for he who knocks on it humbly and with poise; and he is allowed inside. He who enters dejected shall be hosted with honor.

Abdulkhaliq Gujdawani –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d.1189)

Son…My will for you is that you let yourself be guided by knowledge, upright conduct and piety under all circumstances! Read the works of people bygone and pursue the path of Ahl-i Sunnah wa’l-Jamaah! Learn the law (fiqh) and hadith and take flight from the ignorant and crude! Make sure to offer your ritual prayers in congregation! Abstain from fame as much as your strength allows; for fame comes with catastrophe. Do not eye ranks of authority and always keep a low-key! Do not take on a duty beyond your power! Do not interfere with public affairs which do not concern you in the least! Do not associate with perverse officials! Maintain a balance in all affairs! Do not disrupt that balance and lend unnecessary ear to beautiful voices, for they darken the spirit and give birth to hypocrisy! Still, do not reject a beautiful voice altogether, for a call to prayer and a read of the Quran made with it, revives the spirit.

Eat little, speak little and sleep little; and flee the ignorant like a gazelle flees a lion! Seek solitude in times of tribulation and keep your distance from jurists who pass legal judgments to protect only their own interests and in so doing bring about a trifling with religion, from the supercilious wealthy and from the ignorant! Eat only halal, abstain from things doubtful and make piety your primary criteria in marriage! Otherwise, you will become attached to the world and ruin yourself for it!

Do not laugh a lot; especially be careful not to chuckle! Laughing in lots kills the heart. But do not ever abandon a smile.

Look upon everyone with mercy; do not look down on anyone. Do not go to great lengths to prettify your outward appearance, for an outer gloss hides an inner destruction. Do not get into arguments. Do not ask anything from anyone; rest content and let contentment be your riches. Protect your dignity!

Stay loyal to those who have contributed to your development and training. Serve them with your wealth and life and share their pains! Their detractors shall never find peace! Do not lean towards the world and the ignorant who strive for it!

Your heart should always be delicate and somber, your body resilient for the duty of servanthood and your eyes tearful. May your deeds be genuine, your prayers be of seeking refuge, your clothes be of modesty, the righteous be your companions, exoteric and esoteric knowledge be your capital and your house be a mosque!

Fariduddin Attar –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1119-1220)

Accept the apologies of those who hurt you. Allah does not like one who hurts the public. Such a trait is unbefitting for a religious man. Wounding another heart with tyranny is to wound your own heart. He who is able to see his own faults acquires a certain strength in his spirit.

The signs of foolishness are to search for others’ faults without noticing one’s personal faults…and to expect generosity whilst having sowed the seeds of miserliness in one’s own heart.

He who does not please others through his moral conduct has no value in the sight of the Lord.

Visit the ill, for it is the way of the Prophet. If it is within your power, quench the thirsty in water. Serve the public in assemblies. Inquire the states of orphans so that Allah will grant you honor. Know that the cry of an orphan, even if it be for a split second, shakes the Throne. A tyrant who reduces an orphan to tears becomes wood for Hellfire. One who gives joy to an orphan opens the door of Heaven ajar for himself.

Whatever you give in the way of Allah is your true property. For the rest, you shall be called into account.

Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1165-1240)

If you accustom your heart to the remembrance of Allah, then your heart will surely be enlightened by the light dhikr shall grant you. It is that light opens the eye of your heart.

Treat the servants of Allah with mercy and compassion. Scatter your mercy unto entire creation. Do not say, ‘this is simply weed, lifeless and without benefit’. They truly harbor benefits you may not appreciate. Leave the created alone and have mercy for it, with the mercy of its Creator.

Do not turn anyone away empty-handed. Console them even if it be with a kind word and act pleasantly. Think that you will one day meet the Lord.

Do not allow anyone to enslave you for a piece of worldly dazzle. You are a servant only of Allah, who has accepted you as servant.

Show love to the faithful servants of Allah by feeding them and taking care of their needs. Know that, in their unity, the entire believers are like one person, one body.

Accustom yourself to congregation. Try and shed tears from a fear of Allah. Grab hold of the rope of Allah and tend towards things that please Him.

Mawlana Rumi –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1207-1273)

Allah the Almighty has sent messengers and saints to the world as mercy. For that reason, they persistently and tirelessly counsel the public. For those who block their ears to their counseling, they plea, ‘Have mercy on them, o Lord, and do not shut the gate of mercy on their faces!’

Get your act together and pay attention to the advices of saints! Listen to them, so that you are saved from fear; and that you attain to spiritual peace and security!

Before letting the opportunity slip and without hesitation, seize the robes of a perfected man who has cast off the deceit of this fleeting world and has utterly surrendered himself to the Real, so that you are rescued from the tribulations of these bad times, the troubles of this final hour!

The words of saints are like a pure, crystal-clear river brimming with the font of life. While you still have the opportunity at hand, drink from it to your heart’s content, so that the flowers of spirituality blossom therein.

Know that spiritual propriety is like the spirit that dwells inside the body. For saints, it is the light of the eye and the heart. If you wish to crush the head of the devil, know that this is the weapon you need.

Open your eyes and throw a gaze at the Quran, the word of Allah, from head to toe! Each of its verses teaches and trains one in spiritual propriety.

Give all you have, your body, soul and riches in return for a mended heart! Mend a heart so that it shed lights upon you in the pitch dark of the grave.

A moment’s company with a righteous saint is worth a lifetime. A hair that falls from him is as precious as a gem. But there are such hardhearted people, the saints’ total opposites that, rather than speaking and spending a moment with them, keeping a distance from them is more precious than the entire riches of the world.

I said to my heart, “Do not desire to be at the forefront; and instead act as a balm of generosity. Do not be the thorn that spikes. If you wish never to be inflicted with harm by anyone, then do not be a person who speaks, thinks and teaches evil. Strive for righteous deeds, no matter which mood you may come under.

Ibrahim Dasuki –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d.1277)

What you need, son, is the prayer of saints; the desire to come under their spiritual aid for the sake of your own wellbeing.

You, who has read and memorized the Quran, do not be proud that you have done so! Instead, look at yourself: Are you able to sufficiently put it to practice or not?

Son! Become a man of silence and refrain from indulging in the futile, like the arts of argumentation and glittery words! Choose sincerity and do not listen to your ego while offering righteous deeds with that purpose!

Hang around with him, who has combined the law (shariah) and the truth (haqiqah) in his essence. Never forget that it will be such persons that will offer you the greatest help on this path!

I would wish for you, son, that you practice in line with the Sunnah at all times and observe the spiritual propriety so essential in this way!

You must be brave! Do not be a coward who shirks even from his own shadow! No trouble, no matter how great, should knock you out with the first blow!

Become filled with the love of the Lord; be with him, even, in a state of ecstasy.

Should you ever search for people to backbite, let them be your parents; for they are more deserving than anyone to take away the rewards of your good deeds.

Allah the Almighty gazes at the hearts of His servants seventy-two times in a single day and night. So keep your heart clean and bright; for it is the precinct of the Divine gaze.

Do not fool yourself, brother, in thinking you have achieved something by yourself! When you fast, it is Allah who has made you fast; and when you offer prayer, it is Allah who has made you do so. So is the case with the rest of your deeds. If you have attained to the level of piety or if you have obtained anything, spiritual or material, it is only because Allah has privileged you with it.

Refrain from saying ‘I’, my dear, even if you have amassed deeds of goodness equivalent to that of entire men and jinn! For Allah consigns the self-important who stake a claim to I-ness to humiliation! It will diminish your material-spiritual rank…Always keep that in mind!

Bahaaddin Naqshiband –may Allah sanctify his secret- (1318-1389)

Our path is the path of salvation shown by Allah the Almighty; as much as it is the path of adhering to the Sunnah and following the Companions. Our path hence offers great revenue in little time.

Our path is that of sohbah and love, as was the path of the Companions. Goodness and blessings lie in company and company is achieved through sohbah. Seclusion comes with the danger of fame; and fame is catastrophe.

Those who journey on our path must take of three things:

First is propriety towards Allah the Almighty; that is he must be immersed in servanthood, inside and out. He must fulfill all the commands of Allah and keep away from what He has prohibited; and removing all else other than Allah from the heart, he must mobilize all his means in His path.

Second is propriety towards the Beloved Messenger –upon him blessings and peace-. This is none other than to follow him, lovingly, in all affairs and behavior.

Third is propriety towards the righteous man who has enlightened you.

Nothing good comes through food prepared or obtained ignorantly, unwillingly or with anger; for the devil and the ego have found their way inside of it. If eaten, it will surely come with consequences disruptive of spiritual inspiration and peace. Good comes from food prepared and eaten free of ignorance and with the thought of Allah. The reason as to why people cannot gather enough energy to do good and offer righteous deeds is because they are not careful enough in observing the haram, the doubtful and the rights of others in eating and drinking. No matter what the circumstances may be, attaining peace and concentration in ritual prayer, to offer it with pleasure and tears, depends on eating halal, preparing it as if preparing it in the presence of Allah and eating in a like mindset. A body nourished with the haram can find no pleasure in ritual prayer.

The Prophet’s –upon him blessings and peace- words, “Salat is a believer’s ascension” (Suyuti, Sharhu Ibn Majah, I, 313) alludes to the levels of proper ritual prayer. While chanting the opening takbir of the prayer, one must be in a state of concentration, overcome in Divine presence, by thinking of the splendor and the majesty of the Almighty. He must improve this mindset to the point of losing control (istighraq). The peak of it is exemplified by the Beloved Prophet –upon him blessings and peace-.

The truth of saying ‘there is no god but Allah’ is to not let anything other than Allah become idolized in the heart. Executing the order of Islam, that is, to fulfill its commands and refrain from its prohibitions, is to abandon the haram, the doubtful and even a majority of the licit; it is to keep a distance from permits (rukhsah) allowed under stringent circumstances and to make use of the licit only as far as they are necessary. Now, not only is that light and purity, it is also a vehicle that elevates one to the ranks of sainthood; ranks which are attained by these means. The entirety of those who fail to attain to these ranks, fail only because they fail to observe these and acquiesce in their desires that people are kept off limits to these ranks. Otherwise, inspiration from the Lord comes by the minute.

Mawlana Khalid Baghdadi –May Allah sanctify his secret- (d. 1826)

I advise you with a constant worship of Allah and piety, not to cause anyone harm wherever you may be and to be attentive especially to the Two Sacred Precincts (Haramayn-i Sharifayn).

Do not backbite, even if you are backbitten. Do not seize anyone’s property. Take only that which the Law has decreed permissible and spend it in the way of good. Do not spend money to appease your desires, when your brethren are hungry and needy. Do not lie, ever. Do not look down upon anyone. Do not ever think yourself to be superior to others.

Exert all your power in offering deeds of worship, both physical and spiritual. But at the same time, convince your ego of never having done anything of worth; for the spirit of all deeds of worship is intention and a sound intention may only come about through sincerity. How can you not need sincerity, when those superior to you needed it? I pledge by Allah that I personally do not believe that I have offered any deed of worth, since the day I was born, that has been accepted in the sight of the Lord, so as to keep me exempt from being called to account.

If you do not see yourself bankrupt in all deeds of goodness, then know that you are in the lowest end of ignorance. But should you know that you are bankrupt, do not despair the mercy of Allah the Almighty.

Musa Effendi –May Allah sanctify his secret- (1918-1999)

The heart-world and spiritual perfection of a believer is exhibited in his behavior. Among the foremost signs of this admirable behavior are:

Being down-to-earth at all times, having an awareness of the value of each moment and breath and not letting them go to waste, loving the servants of Allah and keeping amicable relations, treating another according to his religious depth, concealing faults, being cautious of the halal and the haram and regarding as a great sin a thing considered by others as trivial; for trivializing a sin is to –Allah forbid- trivialize the Almighty.

Compliant with the pleasure of our Lord, let’s adorn our dawns with prayer and Divine remembrance. Let’s lend our services, first and foremost to our families and elders. Let’s reduce the times we spend with the lovers of the world and accompany instead the righteous. Let’s offer an equal share of our services to our relatives and the needy. Most importantly, let’s be meticulous in observing the halal and the haram. Let’s also be diligent in our social relations so that we do not slack off from our essential duty of servanthood.

Error, forgetfulness and instability come only in moments when we are absentminded from dhikr. Those who perpetuate the spiritual state of dhikr are unaffected by the grief and sorrow of the world; they do not even have more worldly joy than needed. A constant state of spiritual presence, generosity and mercy towards the created fill that gap. In other words, love; love of a continual kind. Allah the Almighty dips a servant besotted with Him in the ocean of love. After that, the person loves only those who deserve to be loved; and that, as much as the Lord allows.

One must consider it a valuable duty to properly serve the community he is a member of, for the sake of the Divine. One who works to better the social life, order and prosperity of a community, holds a precious existence in that community; and corresponding will be his rewards in the Hereafter. It is stated in the hadith that:

سَيِّدُ الْقَوْمِ خَادِمُهُمْ

“He who serves people is their noblest.” (Daylami, Musnad, II, 324)

Many, who despite the abundant deeds of worship they offer, neglect embodying the trait ‘sattaru’l-uyub’, the Divine Attribute of concealing the faults of others. And for that reason, they cannot progress spiritually as much as they would wish. Yet, forgiving and hiding others’ faults is one of the most important features of good morals. Just as Allah the Almighty conceals and forgives innumerable faults committed by us His servants, we must also be forgiving. Only those touched by Divine Love may know how to forgive.

All skill lies in the ability to be with the Real, amid the turmoil of the world and daily activities; a wonderful state, which is a blessing, an award given by the Lord. If only we can properly reflect on the important duty awaiting us, we could restrain ourselves from being duped by the toys the world has to momentarily offer.

One of the greatest gifts the Lord can give his servant is to convince him of his own helplessness. Perhaps the greatest gain I ever acquired on the path of spirituality was to be able to see my own faults. I realized my bankruptcy towards my Lord, through which I no longer had the power to see and fiddle with the faults of anybody else. I can only thank Allah that I am ever so grateful for that…

O Lord! Give us a share of the fire of love burning in the hearts of Your beloved servants! Grant us the ability to give ourselves direction through the inspirational cautions and advices of the saints by whose spiritual aids we are trained!

Amin…