This extract has been reprinted by permission of the publisher, Al-Baz Publishing
Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir and his own Shaikh, Hammad ad-Dabbas, as well as other Shaikhs of the people of the straight path (may Allah be well pleased with them), have commanded that the spiritual traveler must not seek any personal goal whatsoever, and that he must not pursue any purpose other than the Will of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). It should rather be that His action operates in him, for that is the purpose of the Lord of Truth. They only intended this instruction to apply in those cases where the servant does not know the relevant commandment of Allah and His Messenger. As for the case where he knows what Allah has commanded him to do, it is incumbent on him to make it his purpose and to act accordingly. They have stated this explicitly in more than one instance.
Others hold the erroneous view that the accomplishment of natural volition constitutes perfection, that being “annihilation in the affirmation of the Oneness of Lordship [al-fana’ fi tawhid ar-Rububiyya],” and that, once the spiritual journey has finally reached this limit, when the traveler performs the commandment, he does so for a purpose that is not his own, or that he does not need to perform the commandment. Those incorrect opinions and teachings have been discussed elsewhere.
As for those spiritual travelers who follow the straight path, like the majority of the Shaikhs of the righteous predecessors, such as al-Fudail ibn ‘Iyad, Ibrahim ibn Ad’ham, Abu Sulaiman ad-Darani, Ma’ruf al-Karkhi, as-Sari as-Saqati, al-Junaid ibn Muhammad and others among those of early times, and like Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir, Shaikh Hammad, Shaikh Abu ’l-Bayan and others of later times, they do not permit the spiritual traveler—even if he flies through the air or walks on water—to depart from the commandment and the prohibition prescribed by the Sacred Law. They consider him obliged to do what is commanded and to leave alone what is forbidden, until he dies. This is the Truth, as indicated by the Book, the Sunna and the consensus of the righteous predecessors.
This is frequently mentioned in their speech, as in what Shaikh ‘Abd al-Qadir has to say in the book entitled Futuh al-Ghaib [Revelations of the Unseen]:
“Step out of your own self and keep your distance from it. Practice detachment from your possessiveness, and surrender everything to Allah. Become His doorman at the door of your heart, obeying His command by admitting those He instructs you to admit, and respecting His prohibition by shutting out those He instructs you to turn away, so that you do not let passion back into your heart once it has been evicted. Passion is expelled from the heart by resistance to it and refusal to follow its urges, whatever the circumstances, while compliance and acquiescence allow it to gain entry. So do not exert any will apart from His will, for anything else is your own desire, and
that is the Vale of Folly, where death and destruction await you, and falling from His sight and becoming secluded from Him. Always keep His commandments, always respect His prohibitions, and always submit to what He has decreed. Do not associate Him with any part of His creation. Your will, your passions and your carnal appetites all belong to His creation, so refrain from indulging any of them lest you become a polytheist. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:
Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do righteous work, and make none sharer in the worship due unto his Lord. (18:110)
Polytheism [shirk] is not merely the worship of idols. It is also polytheism to yield to your own passionate desire, and to equate with your Lord anything whatsoever besides Him, be it of this world and its contents or of the Hereafter and what is contained therein. What is besides Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) is other than He, so when you rely on anything other than Him you are associating something else with Him (Almighty and Glorious is He.) Therefore be wary and do not relax your guard, be fearful and do not develop a sense of security, and keep your wits about you so that you do not become careless and complacent. Do not attribute any state or station to yourself, and have no pretensions to such things.”