Teachings on the Path of Love: A Recent Sohbet

Peace, one and all…

I wanted to share the text of a beautiful recent sohbet. May the hearts of the lovers be opened, and may all who pass by be blessed.

Teachings on the Path of Love

In a gathering (Majlis) of a Shaikh, one of his Mureeds declared to him, ‘O my Shaikh, you make no mistakes.’ The Shaikh responded by saying, ‘My son, in saying this you deprive me of two great blessings and you inflict two great harms upon yourself.’ He went on to explain, ‘You deprive me of the blessing of forgiveness, for if I were to make no mistakes, I would not seek forgiveness and would not taste the sweetness of returning in humility to my Rabb. And you deprive me of the blessing of following humbly in the footsteps of the best of humankind who was just a man like other men.’ Then he said, ‘As for you, the first harm you bring to yourself is to make an idol of me and separate me from your own humanness. There would be much more intimacy between us if you saw me as one who has faults and makes mistakes and yet you can still open your heart to receive through me what is meant for you. The second harm you inflict upon yourself is in imagining that by ingratiating yourself to me in this way that you will gain something from me. The truth is, that by feeding your ego’s desire you end up depriving yourself of the penetrating power of Truth that can transform your Nafs and elevate you to the Presence of Love.’

The Shaikh then went on to address the circle of Mureeds, “Among us there are three types of Mureeds on this Path of Love. The first type are the Mureeds who come to the path seeking Truth in their innermost heart (Al Sirr). Their entire being is turned towards this quest which emanates from the Source of Love. Their longing is for Truth, their remembrance is for Truth, their service is for Truth, their Qibla is Truth, their prayers are for Truth, their loving and dying is for Truth. Ones such as these will be blessed with nearness, peace, and love beyond reckoning. They are on the path to realizing in themselves the Fana described in the Quranic Ayat, “Say, my prayers, my sacrifices, my living, and my dying are for Allah, Sustainer of the worlds, who is without partner. With this I have been commanded and I am the first to surrender my being” (Quran 6:163-164). And they are destined to find their Baqa’ among the lovers, “Seated in Truthfulness before a Sovereign, most Omnipotent” (Quran 54:55). Such ones are blessed with honesty and sincerity and they bring much Barakah to their Shaikh and the community (Al Qawm). Such Mureeds are recipients of the Divine Promise, “Verily, the pure ones are in bliss” (Quran 82:13). They may be unknown and unseen to their fellow Mureeds. They may be quiet and unassuming, but they are the real helpers and support and strength of the community and they are the true lovers.

The second type are those Mureeds who come to the path unconsciously seeking to fulfill their unmet desires whether it be for acceptance, belonging, favor, attention, status, recognition, or power. They confuse these desires with love. Their inner state is one of confusion. They are driven by deeply rooted patterns (Tibaa’) that feed their egos. They are the living manifestation of, “They appear to be gathered but their hearts are scattered for they are people that do not understand” (Quran 59:14). They project their desires upon their Shaikh imagining that in this way these desires will be fulfilled. They may act as is expected of a Faqir, they may devote themselves to service and the practices of the Path, but their work is contaminated by their affectations (Takkaluf) and exaggerations (Ghuluw). Their actions are the manifestation of, “Those whose striving in this world is misguided, yet they imagine that what they do is beautiful” (Quran 18:104). They are prone to either idealization or resentment of their Shaikh. If it’s idealization, they vie for his attention by various ways of ingratiating themselves with him. If it’s resentment, they withdraw and languish in their frustration or they criticize and blame him since their need for attention and favor remains unfulfilled. Whatever is their inclination, their actions cause division and separation
with other Mureeds and in the ensuing clash of egos the overall Barakah of the community gradually diminishes and it continues to deteriorate as their competing egos increasingly define the environment and container of the work. They are the realization of the Quranic Ayat, “When you see them, their outward appearance pleases you. When they speak, you listen to what they say. But they are like propped-up wood, imagining that every cry they hear is about them. These are the adversaries, beware of them! Allah opposes them, how confounded they are” (Quran 63:4). The remedy for such ones is to turn with sincerity towards their Rabb and seek His support and guidance to tame their Nafs by weaning it away from what it desires. For them there is always the hopeful embrace of the Divine Promise, “O My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excesses, do not despair of Allah’s Rahmah. Verily, Allah forgives all sins, for truly He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Compassionate’ (Quran 39:53).

The third type are those Mureeds who come to the path with sincerity but are not yet firmly oriented in their inmost being towards Truth. They struggle with their egos and they find themselves fluctuating between certainty and confusion as their hearts revolve between the light of Spirit and the darkness of the Nafs. They may find their ardor cooling and doubts setting in their minds about their place on the Path and the effectiveness of their efforts. Such Mureeds are thirsty for knowledge and guidance and, if they are open to the care and love from their Shaikh, they will be able to travel the Path of Love as their honesty and sincerity increases. For such Mureeds, the Shaikh devotes his heart for they represent his solemn responsibility towards his community expressed in the Quranic Ayat, “Do not send away those who call unto their Rabb day and night, seeking His Countenance. You do not determine what is due to them, nor do they determine what is due to you; if you turn them away you would be among the oppressors’ (Quran 6:52). With Allah’s support they will come to know themselves as they truly are and the hold of their egos will gradually diminish as the light of Spirit increases in their hearts. Such Mureeds are the manifestation of, “And others who have acknowledged their wrongs, they mix wholesome acts with
harmful ones. Allah may well accept their repentance, for Allah is most forgiving and merciful’ (Quran 9:102). These Mureeds, in their sincere seeking, perseverance, patience, hope and fear receive much blessing from traveling the Path of Love while upholding the decree of, “O faithful ones! Be patient, persevere, hold together, and be conscious of Allah that you may attain success” (Quran 3:200). Such ones bring much Barakah to their Shaikh and community through the longing of their hearts. For these are the bearers of the Divine Promise, “And for those who strive in Us, We shall surely guide to our paths, for Allah is with those who do what is beautiful’ (Quran 29:69).

Translated from Sabeel Al Abrar Ila Sa’eed Al Assrar, Wa Zalal Al Mureed Fi Tariq Al Tawheed, as transmitted by Abu Muhammad Ibn Issa Ibn Nabawi Al Nishapuri


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