Adab al-Suluk

As to the involuntary journey, the starting point is the father’s loins (sulb); the second stage is the mother’s womb; the third stage is the physical world; and the fourth stage is that of the grave, which is either a garden out of the gardens of paradise or is a pit out of the pits of hell. The fifth stage is the Day of Resurrection, which is equal to fifty thousand years of this world. After that stage you will reach your eternal home and attain the real abode ‑ that is, the abode of peace (dar al‑salam)and the paradise of security and peace, in case you are among the felicitous and the friends of the Haqq; or your home will be the abode of fire and torture, if, God forbid, you should be among the wretched and the enemies of the Haqq, as Allah has said: “On the Day of Resurrection a group will be in paradise and a group in hell.” Every breath that you take is a step towards the stage of death. Every day of your life is equal to a parsang. Each month is like a stage (marhalah)and each year like a station (manzil). Your journey is like the movement of the sun and the moon ‑ yet you are oblivious of this journey and movement ‑ and in your ignorance and forgetfulness you have failed to make ready and equip yourself properly for the station (manzil)of the grave and the onward journey to the station of the Day of Resurrection and your eternal and real home.

 

But the voluntary journey is of two kinds: one is the journey of the souls and the hearts toward the Almighty and All‑powerful King of the world. The second is a physical journey (safar jismani)in the earth of God. We will devote a separate chapter to each one of these two journeys, so that you receive the required guidance for attaining their goals and are guided in preparing the means, in opening the gates, and in learning the principles (adab), which will be your companion and assistant in matters relating to every good and piety, and so that it assists the people of love (`ishq)and yearning during their journey, and serve insha’ Allah ta’ala, for the compiler as a provision for the Day of Resurrection vis‑a‑vis his Lord (Mawla).

 

O Lord, open the gates of Your grace and mercy to us! O Lord, Who art Bounteous and Magnanimous!

Regarding the Spiritual Journey Towards the Glorious Lord and the Significance of This Journey.

 

O slave of God, know that God, the Exalted, created man only in order to enable his heart or spirit to make the journey towards Him and to attain communion with Him, and to observe His Glory and Beauty, which is the ultimate end of all purposes and goals and the end of all bounties and gifts. The world and whatsoever in it, as well as the other world and whatsoever is in it, have been created for the same purpose. The advent of the prophets and messengers and the revelation of the Qur’an and the other scriptures ‑ all are meant to fulfil the same pur­pose. As God says:

 

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

 

And I did not create the jinn and the human kind except that they should serve (or worship)Me. (51:56)

Ibn `Abbas (May God be pleased with him) said that here li  ya’budun (that they may serve Me) means li ya`rifun (that they may know Me). That is, all have been created in order to know Me. Accord­ing to a sacred tradition (hadith qudsi), God has said:

كنت كنزأ مخفيأ فأحببت أن اعرف قخلقت الخق لمي اعرف

I was a hidden treasure; then I wished to become known. Then I created the creation, so that I may be known.

But as to the meaning of this journey, know that man’s heart is confronted with veils, obstacles and great distances (of separation from God).

There are also for it degrees, stages and stations of proximity to God. If one does not overcome the hurdles of the path, one cannot attain any degree of proximity to God.

The Sacred Lord (Hadrat al‑Quds)will not be revealed until and unless he tears away the veils of the self (hujubal‑nafs). So the first veil, which is the cause of separation from the Almighty Lord (Hadrat al‑`Izzah)is ignorance regarding Him, ascribing of partners to the One (shirk), and doubt in His attributes of Glory and Perfection. All this amounts to the negation (kufr)to God, the Exalted, which is the greatest and the darkest of all veils, as God has said:

 

إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَغْفِرُ أَن يُشْرَكَ بِهِ وَيَغْفِرُ مَا دُونَ ذَلِكَ لِمَن يَشَاء

 

Surely Allah does not forgive that partners should be ascribed to Him. (4: 48, 116)

 

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