Al-Ibriz min Kalam al-Arifbillah Sayyidi Abd al-Aziz ad-Dabbagh ( Pure Gold from the Words of the Knower by Allah my Master Abd al-Aziz Dabbagh) by Sidi Ahmad Ibn al-Mubarak, usually knowm simply as al-Ibriz ,is a famous sufi text from the middle ages. Sidi Abd al-Aziz was a great wali who was granted special knowledge of legal and spiritual matters so his words are always interesting. What follows is an extract from translation of a passage from al-Ibriz dealing with a question that has interested me for a good while now. The Shaykh was asked:

“What is the difference between the Way of al-Shadhili and his followers, and the Way of al-Ghazali and his followers? the first seems to be fully centered around gratitude and joy to the Giver without any exertion or struggle, while the other seems to be focused on spiritual exercises (Riyadah) and hunger and staying awake and tiring acts of exertion, so are they both in congruence on the necessity for Riyada? and Imam al-Shadhili seems to command (his followers) to have gratitude after coming close to Arrival (Wusul) or upon reaching it, or even to have gratitude and joy in Allah from the first moment of the Path. And could both Ways be taken at the same time by one person, or is it that you cannot benefit from one unless you avoid the other? Please give a thorough response…”

Read the full reply here. To read an account of the shaykh’s own illuminatory experience go here.