The Path of Proofs and the Path of Illumination (1)
From the servant of His Lord the Sublime, Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi al-Khattabi al-Hasani al-Idrisi, to his brother in Allah...
May peace be upon you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings and His Greetings and His ridwan.
My brother: What is required of us all is the iqama of that for which we were created, like binding oneself to those things that make servanthood a reality (muhaqqiqaat al-uboodiyya), and the avoidance of the disastrous [actions/thoughts] that contest God's Lordship (munaazi'aat al-ruboobiyya), by filling our zahir with manners in the exact following (mutaaba'a) of the actions and sayings of His greatest servant and the most luminous of those that He chose, peace and blessings be upon him. And in the filling of our batin with the awareness/witnessing (muraaqaba) of Allah exalted be He in all our movements and stillnesses, so that we do not do or say except what we know will make Him satisfied with us, and leave all that is other than that. And we purify our religion from unnecessary disturbances and the noticing of others, so that He is before our eyes in every scene in all that is seen and witnessed, and we witness Him in that witnessing until the viewer is lost in the witnessed. You are with the worlds so long as you do not witness the Fashioner of the worlds, but if you witness Him then it is the worlds that are with you.
And the path to that is to bind oneself to obedience, and to hurry to the performance of supererogatory good deeds as done by the Prophet ('alaa sunan al-nabi wal nahj al-Mustafawiyy), as in: "My servant continues to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory acts so that I shall love him. When I love him, I shall be his hearing with which he shall hear, his sight with which he shall see, his hands with which he shall hold, and his feet with which he shall walk. And if he asks something of Me, I shall surely give it to him".
And there is no path to that path except by [either] entering the gate of religious knowledge (al-ilm al-shar'i) in hadith and tafsir and fiqh to the utmost degree upon which were the salaf and was inherited from them by those who came after them, and this is the way of the complete ones, based on evidence (burhaan) and plain sight, and this is the best of the two ways and the most complete of the two groups.
Or by entering from the gate of striving (mujaahada), and undergoing the hardships and sufferings of going against one's desires (mukhalafat al-nufoos), and the tasting of misery, and adhering to doing one's adhkaar during the night and at both ends of the day, until the lights are kindled in the heart of the dhaakir (the one remembering Allah) and his batin and zahir are enlightened by it, as in: "'Light, When it enters the heart, the breast expands for it and enlarges'. It was asked, 'And is there a sign of this, oh Messenger of Allah?', and he said, 'The shunning of the abode of illusions, attending to the abode of permanence, and preparing for death before it comes.'" And he receives learning (al-uloom) from Him, by Him, and for Him, and is no longer in need of a teacher in all that is related to Him, by way of "And have taqwa of Allah, and Allah will teach you" (Qur'an 2:282). And God never takes an unlearned man as a wali except that he teaches him. For knowledge (ilm) is not the abundance of narrations, but a light that God places in the heart of whoever He wishes. And this is the way of illumination (ishraaq).
So choose for yourself which of the two paths you want for reaching God for it is a true path, and do not dare to leave both of them and attempt to travel a path other than them in negligence with those who are unmindful and are engrossed in the created worlds, absentminded. For it was said [by the Prophet]: "He who prostrated while his heart was preoccupied with something then his prostration is to what was in his heart".
And it was also said [by the Prophet]: "He who loves a thing becomes its slave. Wretched is the slave of the Dinar, wretched is the slave of the Dirham, wretched is the slave of embroidered cloak and the silk garment. May such a person perish and relapse, and if he is pierced with a thorn, may it not be removed."
And in the Aphorisms [of Ibn Ata'Allah al-Sakandari]: "When you love something, you are its slave. And He does not like for you to be a slave to other than Him."
And never ask a recompense for your works either sooner or later, or see that there is any influence by you on that action, so that you become one who subscribes partners to the Creator of Power and Destiny. For sincerity has different levels: The level of sincerity for the normal people is to not seek praise or a good reputation, and the level of sincerity for the elect is to not ask for recompense or a high station, and the level of sincerity of the elect of the elect is to disavow having any ability or power, and this is the level of the complete ones among the people of Futuwwa. And above that is the level of the complete ones of the testifiers to the Unity of God (al-muwahhiddeen), for they do not see themselves in these matters of His, recognizing their shrinking in the presence of the One they witness, and their non-existence in their existence. They give everything its due as per the Muhammadan manner, by way of the inheritance of [certain states]. May God grace us with the Prophetic inheritance and the [Muhammadan] gnosis (al-irfan al-Ahmadiyy al-Mustafawiyy). He is capable of that, and is the one worthy of granting that. Wassalam
1. The word iqama means to make something stand, like erecting something. The shaykh of al-Sanusi, Ahmad ibn Idris, explains the word in such a context thus: "And aqeemu the Salaat and give the Zakat...(Qur'an 2:110): [Allah] Exalted be He used the term aqeemu and did not say "pray", and that is because prayer is like the body and khushoo' (the submission, humility and reverence of the heart) is its soul. So if there is khushoo' and presence with al-Haqq then [the prayer] is standing (qaa'ima), for a thing does not stand unless it has a soul, and if it did not have a soul it would be lying there, thrown, with no soul to make it stand, nay it cannot even move." - Ahmad ibn Idris, al-Iqd al-Nafees.
2. "Knowledge is not the abundance of narrations but a light that God places in the heart" is a saying of Imam Malik.
3. The last part of this hadith is in arabic a short clever rhyme, and should therefore not be taken too literally. The point is to understand the general meaning while keeping in mind that the specific words were probably chosen for the rhyme.