Counsel by Shaykh al Alawi (qs)


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Accept none other for thy love but God.

All things apart from Him are pure illusion.

Here is my counsel, if thou canst counsel take.

The rememberers are ever absent in their Beloved,

For none have life save those who are near to Him.

Between such and the Truth there is no veil.

What are the Blessings of Paradise to them?

Passion God’s slaves hath melted; they have drunk,

And still drink, His eternal-treasured Wine,

The draught whereof hath robbed them of themselves.

Would thou couldst take one sip out of their cup!

‘Twould help to bridge the gap twixt thee and me.

A good slave he who saith: ‘I am at Thy service,’

Hearing God’s Call which I address to him.

If God thou seekest, then companion me:

For thee, be very sure, there is no way else.

[translated by Martin Lings in Sufi Saint of Twentieth Century]

The Cup (Shaykh Ahmad al Alawi)

The Cup

Sweet is the Folk’s drink. I tell of its flavour,

And I mean not wine nor mean I honey,

But an Ancient Draught beyond my power to describe,

For words ever fail Beauty’s describer.

Its cup is like it, can also be drunk,

Sufficient unto itself, and needing naught else.

I marvel at this cup that itself quencheth thirst,

And of itself goeth the round, from lover unto lover.

Of its qualities is magic that is graven round its rim:

To gaze on this seal is to be emptied of all strength.

Wondrous that I have not uttered its secret.

Other than me, drinking it, would neither fast nor pray.

If the prayer-leader beheld its beauty’s light

He would bow down to it rather than towards Mecca.

If the learned in mid lesson scented its perfume

They would cease teaching on the instant without delay.

If the pilgrim is full course between Safa and Marwah

Sighted its splendour he would stop, nor go round

The Ancient House, nor kiss the Black Stone.

Nay, the rim of this cup demandeth to be kissed

Where each one seeth, in his mirrored self,

The meaning of his quest. How shall he be restrained

Who thought himself vile and is become full of hounour?

He must needs break all bounds in exultation and joy.

This an ancient wine, most rare to drink;

It inciteth to no harm; fear no bemusedness.

In it is no heat, nor any cold,

Nor cloudeth it the wits, causing them to falter.

Subtle it is, elusive, beyond my powers to describe,

For words ever fail Beauty’s describer.

[From the translation of Martin Lings in Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century]

Shaykh Ibn Abbad ar-Rundi on the Spiritual Guide

Shaykh Ibn Abbad ar-Rundi (ra) was a scholar and the Imam of the Qarrawiyyin University in Fez in the 14th century CE. He was a sufi affiliated to the Shadhili order and is famous for his Letters on the Sufi Path as well as his commentary on the celebrated Hikam of Sidi Ibn Ata’illah (ra). Below is an extract from his letter to the famous Maliki jurist Abu Ishaq as-Shatibi who was seeking advice about the need for a spiritual master for someone aspiring to the Path.

”  The spiritual guide who educates is hard to find these days and “more precious than red sulphur.” So also is the instructing spiritual guide, for many who are associated with this Path and who are both recommended and trusted do not in fact render an accurate account of the meaning of Sufism, nor do they acquaint people with the Mystic Truth, let alone with what is beyond that. I do not know, which of the two calamities is the greater: the disappearance of the spiritual guide with profound understanding, or the lack of sincere disciples. But we belong to God and to Him we return.

 Now the question arises: How does a person who wishes to pursue the Sufi Path make do under these circumstances? Does he occupy himself with the quest of the spiritual guide? Or does he abandon the search and simply wait?  And in either case, does he engage in the activities of the wayfarers, or not, in the meantime?

 I say there is no point in searching for the spiritual guide, whether or not one is actively practicing Sufism. The spiritual guide is a gift from  God Most High. It is His way of directing the aspiring servant who has turned his attention entirely to following the way and is sparing no effort and using all of his capabilities, however humble or grand. It is in this context that God Most High leads the individual to a more excellent state, safe from innovation and error, in which the seeker is secure from the pitfalls that await everyone who relies on the spiritual guide’s solicitude and supervision as a buffer against past and future tribulations.


 It is equally pointless merely to wait for the spiritual guide while postponing the active practice of Sufism. That is a fruitless waste and an inappropriate mode of behavior. Only the fourth option remains: involvement in spiritual activity while one waits for the spiritual guide.  The seeker can attain that goal by purifying his intention through vigilance over the sincerity of his relationship with God Most High. Anyone who desires the presence of God needs complete truthfulness, for God is present to those who are veracious. Sincerity[i] consists in making demands of the lower self and disciplining it for the state of piety required in Sufism. That includes personal prayer, a heart intent on the door of the Master, a positive frame of mind, genuine hope, and an entering into the presence of God Most High with awe, reverence, and humility. As one disciplines himself and brings his lower self into line in these matters, he should ask God Most High to fulfill His promises, and he will arrive at his desired goal.

The Religion of Love

Those who step into this road do not do so for any cause, but rather for love. [......] looking for compensation in the road of obedience is a fatal poison. If you were to walk on this road for a thousand years and your obedience was not accepted, and then it occurred to your mind that it should have been accepted, you would have been a status seeker…you will not be a realizer in this road until you abandon your status with both the Real and creatures.

Someone says, ” I don’t want status with the creatures, I want status at the Threshold.” Do not seek for status either here or there! Bind up your waist and, like a man, find the broom of solitariness and disengagement. A thousand times a day sweep this threshold of your own dreadful existence. If it should happen that you stay at the threshold for a thousand years and then it is said to you, “Go, for you are not worthy of Me,” you will have been given your due.

Shaykh Ahmad Sam’ani (d1140CE)

منقبت حضرت خادم ِمحبت

ہے نور ِعبادت سے چہرہ ضوبار ہمارے راجہ کا
اور عشق کے تیروں سے چھلنی دل افگار ہمارے راجہ کا
ہر سمت سے میکش آ آکر عرفان کے ساغر پیتے ہیں
توحید کا بادہ خانہ ہے دربار ہمارے راجہ کا
اخلاص و وفا کے ہیروں سے بھرپور ہیں اسکی دکانیں
ہے شہر ِ تصوف کی زینت بازار ہمارے راجہ کا
ارباب ِوفا کے ہونٹوں پر ہیں تزکرے انکی عظمت کے
ہر خضر ِ طریقت کرتا ہے پرچار ہمارے راجہ کا
ہر کنج میں نخل ِتازہ ہیں ایمان و سکوں و الفت کے
اک خلدِبریں ہے دنیا میں گلزار ہمارے راجہ کا
وہ حسن کے جلووں میں ڈوبا ابھرا تو مجسم حسن تھا وہ
اک بار کیا جس نے آکر دیدار ہمارے راجہ کا
مشرق سے لے کر مغرب تک ہیں چرچے انکی سیرت کے
بے مثل ہے سارے عالم کردار ہمارے راجہ کا
ہم لوگ کسی بھی حالت میں محکوم نہیں ہیں غیروں کے
ہے راج ہماری دنیا میں اے زار ہمارے ر۱جہ کا

A Du’a of Sayyidi Shaykh al Akbar (ra)

‎”May God place us upon insight in our affairs and not allow us to transgress that which is demanded by our station!….May He preserve us from His deception and not place us amongst the people of imperfection (ahl al-naqs)! May He provide us with increase (mazid) and advance (taraqqi) in this world and the next!”

as-Shaykh al-Akbar, Sayyidi Muhammad Ibn al-Arabi (radhi Allahu anhu)


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