Dust Under Your Feet

14 November 1985

Q: Could you please say more about Zat Allah.

Ans:What can one say about a thing which is nameless, descriptionless, directionless, timeless, spaceless, limitless, colourless, smelless, shapeless, formless and which can never be comprehended by human intellect, human sight and human ears. God is not a material being to be seen through material eyes or understood by material brain. This is Zat of Allah. Sifat of Allah means His qualities, attributes and powers. Now there are two kinds of Lovers of God (Ashiq):

  1. Lovers of Sifat
  2. Lovers of Zat
It is the Lovers of Zat who are considered to be superior than the Lovers of Sifat.When we talk of Fana-fi-Allah, it is both Fana in Sifat Allah as well as Fana in Zat Allah. Fana-fi-Sifat Allah is of lower stage than Fana-fi-Zat Allah. The Hadith of the Noble Prophet (saw) which says:

“ When a servant of Allah tries to come nearer to Allah, Allah loves him so that He becomes his eyes, ears, hands, and feet and he sees by Allah’s eyes, hears by Allah’s ears and does everything by His hands (power).”

This Hadis refers to the stage of Fana-fi-Sifat Allah. Mind you the word “ fi “ means “in” that is to say the seeker (Salik) of the stage of Fana-fi-Sifat Allah is qualified at that stage with the qualities (sifat) of Allah. But when he goes higher than that he reached the stage of Fana-fi-Zat Allah. At Fana-fi-Sifat Allah, the seeker sees unseen things (except those who are blindfolded by the Shaikh and not allowed to see things because he gets entangled with “sight seeing” and cannot progress). Our method is this blindfolding. Some Shaikhs (mostly Naqshahbandis) allow the murids to enjoy sight seeing to begin with to encourage them as Hazrat Ibrahim a.s , the prophet of  Allah, requested Allah Taala to allow him to see miraculous things to strengthen his iman. But it is not the method of our Shaikhs to allow the seekers (novices) to indulge in sight seeing because it causes hindrance in the path of spiritual progress. We take the pilgrim right up to the peak blindfolded, and remove the bandage from his eyes, and he then knows what heights he has traversed. If he is told about the stages of his progress in the middle of the journey, he is misled as he starts thinking too much of himself which acts like poison to him.

The stage of Fana-fi-Sifat (where sights seeing is possible) is an intermediate stage. The final stage is Fana-fi-Allah. The seeker must go in for Fana-fi-Zat. Now because God is limitless, his Zat is also limitless. In other words there is no end to Fana-fi-Zat. The Saliks (seekers) go on and on into Zat but do not reach the other shore of the Ocean since there is no other shore. It is limitless. And the Lovers are never contented with any stage of nearness (Fana). They continue to go on and on till death and after death till Qiyamat and also in paradise they continue to reach the higher and higher stages of nearness of the Divine Beloved, but they are never contented and go on advancing to higher and still higher states of nearness but are never able to exhaust the stages of nearness (Qurb). A Persian poet Saadi has described this state of never-ending longing as follows:

“Neither there is any end to His Beauty Nor is there any end to my love. I go on loving the Divine Beloved like a patient of thirst disease sitting on the river bank who goes on drinking without end and dies, but the rivers (of Divine Beauty) flows on!”
Another poet has expressed the same fondness as follows:

“My dear Beloved! I have been drinking the cups of the wine of Thy love all my life but how cruel Thou art that Thou does not come into my embrace from my embrace.
This “ coming into my embrace from my embrace” explains the never-ending journey of Fana-fi-Allah because there is no end to Zat.

Now after the stage of Fana-fi-Allah there is the stage of Baqa-bi-Allah which is a speciality of the Muslim Saint alone. While the final stage in other religions was Fana-fi-Allah , in Islam the final stage is Baqa-bi-Allah. When the seeker has gone into Fana-fi-Allah to the maximum limit of his abilities and powers, he comes down to his individuality. Now because in Fana he had already been endowed with Divine powers and attributes, when he descends to his individuality (duality) he is crowned as the Vicegerent ( Khalifa ) of the Lord on earth and is deputed or commissioned to lead others through the same path and to the same goal he has reached. While at the stage of Fana there is total intoxication, the stage of Baqa is characterized by sobriety. While the Saints of Christianity, Buddihism and Hinduism, etc always live in seclusion and solitudes of caves and jungles, the Saints of Islam come back to the field of activity among the worldly people and do their duties in various capacities as “Perfect Man” – Insanul Kamil.They marry, have children, do jihad, teach others and so on. But the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist Monks are lost to the people of the world forever. They are good for themselves but no good for mankind. This is the difference between Fana-fi-Allah and Baqa-bi-Allah in brief. But after the Prophet of Islam advent, even Fana has been denied to the followers of other religions.

Q: Please explain “death before death” or when one has died before death and killed his nafs (beastly self) how can he be angry with sinners and criminals and how to correct them?

A: A Muslim Wali Allah (Saint) is not unconcerned with the world like the Monks, Sadhus and Rishis of other religions. A Muslim Saint (Shaikh) being a Vicegerent (Caliph) of God on earth is deputed to educate people, check crimes and establish law and order in God’s Kingdom as His Deputy (Khalifa or Naib). Now, since he is a purified person and has overpowered his beastly self, when he punishes the criminals it is not due to anger, malice or pride, but it is due to his mercifulness, love and kindness both for the criminal and the sufferer that he enforces law and punishes the evil doer. He is kind to the criminal in the sense that when he is punished his sins are forgiven. There is another point of view also. A selfless, purified Wali Allah (who has died in the spiritual sense) is like a government official who has to punish the criminals under the orders of the King and not his own orders because he is nothing himself. Moreover, an officer of the Government who has not died before death and realized God, he is not qualified to understand Divine Law and is unable to award proper punishment. As you said, he is in the dark. He is blind and cannot function as a true reformers of mankind because he is not qualified with the qualities of God. He is misled and deceived by his Nafs and Shaitan. You know story of Hazrat Ali (rz). He was sitting at the chest of a kafir in a battlefield ready to kill him that the kafir spat on his face. So he got up and did not kill the kafir who was surprised and asked the reason. Hazrat Ali (rz) said, before you spat in my face I was killing you for God’s sake and in God’s name. But after spatting I would have killed you on account of my anger, my pride and my vengeance which is wrong. SubhanAllah!!! How refined and Arif these personalities were! Arif means he who understand God’s nature and His commands properly.


Q: Explain “ going in for Allah deeper and deeper.”

A: One must go deeper and deeper into Zat and never be contented at any stage of nearness. One who thinks he has reached the goal and sits down idle, he falls back and his progress is retarded.


Q: Briefly explain the Adab-i-murid.

A: In brief, love, obedience, respect due to a master, submission are chief requirements of a murid. A Shaikh is a representative of God on earth and must be taken as such. You will know more about it later. One has to be with wuzu in the shaikh’s presence.

Q: Explain about adab of visit to the Muslim Saint or their graves (Mazar).

Ans:It is the same as for the living Shaikhs.Take them as alive (Mazar Wali Allah). God says in the Quran that they are not dead, they are alive. In fact more alive than the living. Go in the Shrine with wuzu. Recite Fatiha and sit down in Moraqabah facing the grave with your back to (facing) Kaaba, and imagine that you are sitting before him and he is giving you inspiration. That is all. Sit there with closed eyes for about half an hour and when you feel satisfied get up and go out but do not turn your back to the grave while going out. Walk backwards facing the grave. When you go in say Assalamo alaikum and when you come out do the same. Do not laugh or talk aloud when you are within the Shrine premises. Do not eat or drink.Do not yawn. Do not sleep there or sit leaning against walls. Do not spread your legs while sitting.In fact when you have finished moraqabah and come out, do not speak to any one because this spoils your good spiritual mood. But try to remain in that splendid mood for as long as possible and preserve it. By talking, eating, drinking, laughing you only waste what you gained in the shrine. Do not talk these things to exoteric Ulama. They cannot understand these higher finer and nobler aspects of Islam and not engage in argument and fight. They want to pull you down to their own lower stage of Iman.

Q:As regards kafirs visiting the shrines and asking for doa.

Ans:There is no harm in it. If they are allowed to do it, they will embrace Islam due to the saints inspiration, InshaAllah.I think they are thirsty people and should be allowed to quench their thirst. Why not? But a muslim should never go to the graves of kafirs or churches and temples because God’s curses are always being showered on them and the visitors also get a share in those curses, just as a visitor to the grave of muslim saints get his share of blessings showering there. It is but natural.

Q: As regards seeing snakes, dogs,swines, etc  in dreams.

A: Do not be afraid or worried. These snakes are your nafs and shaitan. You should be thankful to God that they have started appearing to you.You should go on with your zikrs, prayers etc and they will disappear, InshaAllah. Seeing snakes, dogs, swines and wild beast in dreams is seeing the reality of your nafs and mischief of shaitan. Do not worry at all.

Q: Can we ask Allah Almighty to show us miracles as how Nabi Ibrahim (as) did to strenghthen his Iman (Faith)?

A: The best and the greatest miracle for a murid ( salik ) is the change which is taking place in him after he became murid and started doing zikr, etc. What is the use of asking more signs (miracles)? Moreover, miracles are not high things. They occur at lower stages, not at higher stages. Moreover, I told you about the policy in our silsala is leading the murids to higher stages blindfolded. There is a great hikmat (wisdom) in it. Miracles mostly mislead people. Any way you do not need them.