Dust Under Your Feet

1 July 1988

Q: Is it necessary to believe in Wahdatul-Wujud (Oneness of Being) where as Shariat wants us to believe in only the six (6) Article Of Faith? Can you explain and clarify on this?

A: Wahdatul-Wujud is contained in the very first article of faith, that is, “La ilaha ilallah.” When we say there is no God except Allah, we are really required to believe in the true conception of Allah as given in the Quran and Hadis (Shariah). It is not enough to say La ilaha ilallah and leave it at that. The Holy Quran and Hadis are eloquent on what is God, what is His Nature, where is He, what relationship He has with Man and rest of creation. All these realities form an integral part of our belief in God embodied in the first article of Faith call Kalimah Tayyebah.

       Generally, everybody tends to believe that Allah s.w.t is sitting on His Arsh (throne) somewhere in the upper space. This is wrong. It amounts to Kufr (disbelief) as He is directionless, limitless, formless, shapeless, spaceless etc. The correct Islamic concept of Wahdat-al-Wujud is explained in detail in my article in Book 2 of Sufi Path (on “conception of God in Sufism”, readers may visit our website on Sufi publication – www:moon-over-medina). But since the laymen in Islam cannot comprehend all these subtelities of all embracing oneness (unity) of the Divine Being, it is not necessary to force them to believe in it. But an intelligent, educated, pious man or woman devoted to attain His nearness and pleasure has to know and understand what one God of Islam, that is, the cult of Islamic Tawhid stands for.     

     In otherwords, it is for the elite not commoners to go that deep in the questions, I mean as deep as Wahdat-al-Wujud.



Q:  How much effort or work do I have to put in on spiritual works, for example, doing Moraqbah-i-Zat, etc? Is it alright to overdo spiritual works? Can this affect us or our concentration?

A: You should try not to overdo Moraqabah-i-Zat. Do it during the night for one or two hours with full concentration. But you should not exert too much during day time when you are engaged in office work etc. I do not mean to say that you should become altogether ghafil (heedless).What I mean is that you do have a general idea of His presence at all times along with your office work, but do not concentrate or exert too much. It will not decrease or disturb your state of partial Fana which can go side by side with sobriety and worldly activities. I hope you understand what I mean. Let your perpetual state of Allah’s presence and even Fana be normal not concentrated.

      In other words, take it easy and do not go all out with it. The state of Jamiyyat does not mean full intoxication. It means intoxication plus sobriety happily blended together.



Q:  Can you explain how to measure the degree of Allah’s Nearness?

A: Since Zat (Divine Essence) is limitless, shapeless, formless, spaceless, directionless, lenghtless, breathless, colorless, it is not possible to measure either Zat or the journey to Zat and journey in Zat.

      However, you can know the depth or height of your flight by the intensity of His nearness. Fana has two main stages, but many small phases. The two main stages are Fana and Fana-ul-Fana. In Fana you know that you are Fana in Zat, but in Fana-ul-Fana, you don’t know it. You become completely oblivious of yourself like in sleep. This is the stage of Latifa Akhfa, when Zat prevails and nothing else remains. Fana-ul-Fana is followed by Baqa-bi-Allah or the state of descent. It is not like the descent of everybody who finishes Moraqabah-i-Zat and sits down to take meal etc. Real Baqa comes after full Fana to the extent of perfect Fana-ul-Fana, after long time. At that stage, the lover is both in Fana and Baqa (intoxication and sobriety) simultaneously. This is called Jamiyyat, Addiyat and Nazool. Nazool means descent.


Q:  Is it alright to practice suspicion, anticipation and to be alert at all time?

A: There is no sin in suspecting people. In a number of Hadises, the Prophet (s.a.w) has stressed the need of being alert against evil doers. In a Hadis, he said, “A Momin (Muslim) cannot be bitten twice from the same snake-hole”. By snake-hole he meant deceivers. We have a right to safeguard ourselves. Forgiveness and forgetfulness comes in only when you are actually robbed or deceived. In that case you are at liberty to forgive or take back what you lost by going to court etc. But, if you forgive it is better. So, forgiveness does not mean that you remain always complacent and never safeguard your interest.


Q: This is about assigning job to someone and that someone fails to carry out the duties and responsibilities. How should we tackle such situation?

A: The question is not clear. Is it that when you ask a person to do a job and he fails to do it, should you get angry with him? You have not made it clear who is that person. If he is a third person and you request him to do something for you and he fails to oblige you, you have no reason to complain or be angry with him or her. If that person is your subordinate or your servant and fails to carry out his or her duties, you have a reason to complain, but not necessarily be angry. Anger is an evil habit which must be shunned.

      If that person is your wife or son or daughter who fails to carry out your wishes (I do not say “your orders” as you should not treat the members of your family as subordinates), in that case also you need not lose your temper because he or she who could not carry out your wishes, must have some reasons or difficulties in his or her way. If he or she could not do the job due to laziness or negligence, you must realize that you also do fall a victim (guilty) of negligence or laziness sometimes. So, patience is the best course. Your question shows you want to find some excuse for shovering your anger on somebody. Once this sort of question was asked from my Shaikh (Hazrat Syed Muhammad Zauqi Shah (r)  in Medina by a murid. The Shaikh said, “You feel angry with people because you think you are better than them. So, the disease lies in you, which must be cured.”

       A true Sufi / Muslim never think he is better than others. I came across a beautiful saying in one of Muslim Shaikh’s book. He said, “If somebody says you are bad, take it as true.”

       Once one of our Shaikhs was giving a lecture in a big gathering. One of his opponents got up and said in anger, “Sit down, you do not know anything.” The Shaikh immediately sat down and said, “I have already said in the beginning that I do not know anything.”

       Once one of our Mashaikhs, Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham, was going for Haj in a big caravan. When the caravan reached the suburbs of Makka, the Ulama and Mashaikh came to know that Shaikh Ibrahim bin Adham (r) was coming with the caravan. So, all the dignatries of Makka came out to receive him and do him honour. But the Shaikh did not like it. He did not like to be honoured and respected as it would make the Nafs fat. So, he thought out a plan to avoid it. He managed to walk ahead of the caravan. As he was always in rags, the dignatries of Makka did not recognize him, and asked him where this Shaikh was. He said, “What do I know about that scoundrel. I have nothing to do with that rogue.” Hearing that abuse, the dignatries caught hold of him and started beating. In the meantime, the caravan also approached. When they saw the Shaikh being beaten, they raised a great hue and cry saying, “Why are you beating the Shaikh?” When they know that he was the Shaikh, they fell on his feet and apologised. This is how the great and sincere Friends of God kill their Nafs.

        Once Shaikh Abu Yazid Bistami (r) arrived back from Haj and was received by thousands of people all kissing his hands. It was the month of Ramazan. At this (kissing of hands), he found his Nafs happily saying, “I am the shaikh of the time.” In order to punish his Nafs, he took a loaf of bread from his pocket and started eating it. When the crowds saw that he was eating during the Ramazan, they left him in disdain and went away. Now he turned to his Nafs and said. “You rogue, you felt happy when people kissed your hands. Now you realize how I have insulted you and brought down your pride.” The people did not know that he was returning from a long journey and had no fast that day. Nor did he tell them about it, because he wanted to punish himself for a little bit of self-love caused by his hands being kissed.



Q: Is Latifa Akhfa included in Latifa Khafi? Can you explain the difference between these two Latifas and the spiritual experience a seeker (salik) feels and experiences while traversing the spiritual journey to Allah s.w.t.

A: It is not included in Latifa Khafi, but is over and above it. It is at Akhfa lie at its activation, rejuvenation (illumination) that one reaches the stage of Fana-ul-Fana, and forgets himself completely like in sleep. This latifa is the place of Absoluteness of Zat (called Tanzih) which means pure essence or absolute being. There is no word in english or any language to explain it. It is beyond description, definition or explanation. Human language is incapable of describing it. You can only feel and experience it, but cannot say what it is or how it is. But mind you, you should not try to concentrate on Khafi prematurely by focusing your attention on it. It gets automatically activated (illuminated) by Shagl Sepaya, Shagl-i-Hawa and Shagl-i-Ya Zahiro,Ya Batino.



Q:  What do you mean by Real and Perfect Fana? It is a real wonderful experience to receive Faizan (spiritual blessings) from one’s own Shaikh. Please enlighten me on this.

A: I know you are getting faizan from your shaikh. Actually it is Allah’s faizan coming through the medium of shaikh.

     But mind you, real and perfect Fana in shaikh or in Allah comes only when one is perfectly and completely obliterates or negates himself. Perfect negation (nafi of self) comes only when you have no love for money, wealth and even self love. Not only that if you are put in a situation you feel happy if you are abused, insulted or kicked. You have seen how our shaikh Hazrat Ibrahim bin Adham loved to be insulted, kicked and beaten. It is absolute self-negation that enables the seekers to reach the stage of absolute being called Tanzih which no words or language can explain, but which can be experienced with intense force.


Q: What are the policies and goal of our Chistiya Silsala?                        

A: Our goal is Allah Himself. Our only intention (niyyat) is worshipping Allah and winning His pleasure. Our policies are:


1.  Preferring sobriety over intoxication. 

2.  In our silsala miracles are deprecated (not encouraged).

     - Our Mashaikh try to kindle or enlarge the spark already in the murid’s heart, and then his own fire works wonders.

     - Our Mashaikh do not allow the murids to get lost in the charms (i.e. miracles and physical beauties etc.) of the spiritual journey.
3. In our silsala, our Mashaikh do not allow dancing, crying or moving about in Qawwali sessions, Halqa Zikr etc. because if one is overpowered by ecstasies, faizan (spiritual blessings) stops coming. We want the murids to bear everything, calmly and firmly, while in some silsala getting up and dancing is encouraged as progress. We regard it as weakness. So, overall position is that our way is closer to the Prophet’s way of patience, tolerance and courage.


Q: Can you explain the qualities a reformer should have? Does he first have to be kind, persuasive and loving to his family members?

A: What I told you was that you should not be too hard on your family members, pirbrothers and general Muslims for petty shortcomings and try to reform them by kind care, persuasion and love like a Doctor who must be kind to the patients and should not be harsh to them because they committed mistakes and got ill.

        Harshness breeds harshness and hardness breeds hardness in the opposite party. A reformer has to be a psychologist as well. Sa’adi, a famous saint, says, “You can easily pull an elephant with a thin and feeble thread in his nose, if you are kind and nice to him.” But you cannot pull a small kid by force.

        Our great Prophet (s.a.w) has been called Rahmatallil Alamin because he (s.a.w) was so kind, nice and gentle to the people including friends and foes. He attacked only when he was attacked.


Q:  I have a good non-muslim friend in my workplace who shows interest in Islam. What is a good method of dakwa (propagating Islam) to Mankind?

A: As regards telling him (any person – muslims or non-muslims) about merits of Shariah, I think you should not press him too much as he is coming round slowly and gradually on his own accord. Too much pressure or arguements on your or my part might cause boredom or adverse reaction. However, since he is facing obstacles from his wife and relatives, you might invite them to dinner frequently and show them nice Islamic behavior which is bound to change their attitude in favour of Islam in the long run. But do not try to overdo it and spoil the whole thing. Always avoid making direct attack on anybody’s religion. The approach should be oblique and subtle, not direct. In the initial meetings, you need not discuss religion at all, but show them with practical behavior what Islam is. I have won many people by going with them (i.e. agreeing with them) for some distance, and then going my own way without allowing them to notice it so that in the end they reach your destination. This is psychology.


Q:  Islam without spirituality is a mere skeleton.Can you comment on this.

A:  I am glad to see that Malaysian Government is now beginning to recognize tariqat and Sufism as genuine institutions of Islam namely Qadriya silsala, Chistiya Silsala, Naqshabandiya silsala and others. Actually, this is real Islam.

         Islam without spirituality is a mere skeleton, a dead body without soul. The truth of Tariqa is dawning upon the world. It is Sufism which can save the World from destruction.


Q: Muslims nowadays do not observe Islamic code of dress (aurat), free mixing, etc. What is the cause for this things happening now?

A: Do not worry about short skirts, bare heads, free mixing, etc, etc. This is a wide spread disease caused by Western civilisation and the only remedy is for us to become spiritually powerful to overpower westernism. This is a long journey but it is the only way. So, we are working in that direction by Allah’s grace.