Dust Under Your Feet

2 June 1987

Q: Why should one think during Moraqbah that neither the Universe is there, nor I am there and it is all Allah?

A: Actually the whole Universe including you is the shadow of Divine Being and not reality. Since the Universe is the creation of God, it cannot be considered to have separate existence (Wujud, Being). It is like a book written by an author. The book is the manifestation of the attribute or quality of knowledge of the author. Hence the book does not have a separate existence (wujud), it is included in the existence (wujud) of the author. It is a part of the author. Similarly the creation is a part of the creator and not separate from Him (God). In other words, it is the creator who exists and nothing else exists. If you regard the Universe separate from God, the He no longer remains unlimited. But Islam says God is Unlimited. You must have read the chapter on Wahdatul Wujud in my book “Islamic Sufism” in which it has been proved that the Universe is included in God’s being. If it is separate from God, He no longer remains Unlimited. The Universe is simply the manifestation of Divine Being in various forms and shapes like the ice, waves, bubbles and foam in the ocean. Although ice and waves appeared in different shapes and forms, but actually it is all water. Another example is pots and utensils which are made of clay may appear in different forms and shapes, but they are nothing but clay in reality. You can explain it by saying that God is the ground of everything that exists like the clay which is the ground of all pots. Am I clear?

Q: Why is zikrullah (remembrance of Allah) struck at the heart mentally?

A: This is because the heart gets rejuvenated by such strokes and starts doing zikr by moving. Sometimes sound also is heard.

Q: What is the sign that Latifa Akhfa (one of the six spiritual senses) is illuminated?

A: At Latifa Khafi ( for more details on Lataif-i-Sitta, six spiritual senses, refer my book “Islamic Sufism”, chapter 3 & 10) you know that you are Fana (spiritual experience of losing the self in God)  in Allah, but at Latifa Akhfa one forgets that he (salik, seeker of God) is Fana-fi-Allah. He (salik) loses his consciousness completely. This is known as Fana-al-Fana ( Fana of Fana) when Fana also disappears and Baqa starts taking place (for more details on spiritual journey, refer my book “Islamic Sufism, chapter 4 on The Sufi Path). Fana of Fana is two negatives. You must know that two negatives, mathematically, mean one positive. Positive is Baqa-bi-Allah (the Sufi experience of subsistence or abiding by and in God after dying (Fana) to oneself; the abiding and continuing in God). The Faizan (spiritual inspiration or attention received during spiritual practices, or from Prophets and past Muslim Saints – source of all is from the Main Spring of Allah Himself) at Akhfa is like sleep when one  is completely unconscious. But he (seeker of God) does not fall down.

Q: Does Faizan at these Lataif continue during sleep?

A: Yes it does. When you wake up you feel it. Don’t you?

Q: What is a Mukashfa or Kashf  and Karamat (knowledge through mystical news; spiritual discernment)?

A: It is Divine revelation not based on the law of causality. You cannot get it by effort. Nor should one try to aspire for it, since one gets caught up in site-seeing and cannot progress further. Hadrat  Shaikhul Akhbar Ibn Arabi did indulge in Kashf and Karamat (supernatural deeds) in his early life, but repented it in his later days, saying that by indulging in Kashf and Karamat he has not been able to progress as he could have progressed without it.

Q: How to measure how much spiritual inspiration/blessings we receive from spiritual works, for example, from listening devotional Qawwali?

A: It is difficult to measure it, but Qawwali is a very effective way of purification (Tazkia-i-Nafs) and receiving Faizan. The Shaikhs have said that what cannot be achieved by years of worship can be achieved in moments of Qawwali. This is because it excites love of God. And love of God is real Islam. Why do we bow down in Ruku and sajood? We do so because we love Him. Worship without love is no worship.

Q: Why do one cry out very frequently “ Ya Allah!, Ya Rasoolullah! So much so it becomes so habitual and is done on a daily basis.

A: One calls them frequently because you love them. It is said in a Hadith, “One who loves anything mentions it frequently.” It is uppermost in his mind! It is good!

Q: Why must a salik (seeker of God) do breathing exercise, that is, breathe in “Allah” and exhale “Hu” mentally and not with tongue (words)?

A: When you are doing it mentally you are one with Him. But when you use the tongue you separate yourself from Him, that is, the addressed and the addresser are separated by the word of mouth.

Q: How does the Auliya Allah (Muslim saints) travel spiritually? We hear stories about this. How can the soul leave the body without causing death?

A: You do not seem to know what soul is and what its size and powers are. Soul is not like a bird which leaves the body dead when it flies out of it. The soul is not in the body. The body is in the soul. In fact the whole world, the whole Universe is in the soul. The Holy Prophet has said in the Hadis Qudsi: Allah says: “I cannot be contained by My skies nor by My earth, but I can be contained by the soul (Qalb) of My Abd-al-Momin.” So, you can imagine how great is the soul which can contain the Creator Himself who is Unlimited. Another thing is that there is no time and space. It is just imaginary, like the Univers, as I said above. Time and space came into being after the creation of the sun and earth. Before this there was no time and space, and after the sun and earth are no more, time and space will be no more. Even now it is just our imagination that time and space exist. In fact these are non-existent. They exist only relatively. What you call space is just an empty void (non-existence). The Auliya Allah develop their souls so much that they are no more governed or limited by time and space. So they are everywhere. When they are everywhere, the question of travelling to and from a place does not arise (for more details refer my book “Islamic Sufism” chapter 7, on “Sufi Shrines”). I hope you understand.

Q: Why some very pious people like the Auliya Allah meet tragic death?

A: Nobody is immune from death whether he is a Prophet or a Saint. But the tragic deaths come to elevate them and raise their already high status. Sahadat (martyrdom) is also a tragic death. But many Sahabis (Companions) have been praying for it. Accidental death is called Sahadat-i-Sughra (minor martyrdom), while being killed in Jihad is Sahadat-al-Kubra ( major martyrdom). Many Muslim Saints have been killed in Jihad. Many have been drowned. Many have been hanged by Kings. That is all Allah Almighty’s Will. But you cannot imagine the tremendous blessings and spiritual rewards which are showered on them at such occasions. It is more than ordinary people get who die in accidents. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was himself poisoned by a Jew lady which worked on him slowly. This is how Allah makes Martyrs of them.

Q: How to get spiritual inspiration/blessings (faizan) from Muslim Saints and Prophets in the graves? How to see them?

A: Seeing is no better than getting/receiving spiritual inspiration/blessings. Receiving spiritual inspiration/blessings is superior to seeing. The way to get it is to purifying yourself (Tazkia-i-Nafs) more and more through salat, fasts, Hajj, azkar, muraqabahs, ashghal, charity, vigilance, good deeds, and so on.

Q: How to reach the greatest heights of perfection to be able to guide Mankind?

A: The very niyyat (intention) to reach highest perfection to guide Mankind is wrong. In Islam your niyyat should be nothing except worshipping Allah s.w.t and winning His pleasure (Raza). Every other niyyat is shirk. The desire to reach the highest perfection and the desire to guide Mankind is other than God and is, therefore, shirk. Although this kind of shirk is called shirk-i-khafi (minor shirk), while idol worship is called shirk Jali (open shirk). The Holy Prophet (pbuh) has said there are so many kinds of shirk khafi that it is more difficult to see them than seeing a black ant’s feet on a black rock in a dark night. It is said in the Holy Quran that there are people who have turned their own ambitions into their diety (Ilah). This shows that to be selfish and to run after your ambitions and ignoring the Commands of Allah is also shirk. So, to begin with the object of your niyyat should Allah Himself, that is, to worship Him and win His pleasure (Raza). Then if Allah Almighty assigns to you any duty, you have to fulfill it. I tell you a story. Once a murid of Sheikh Shaqiq of Balkh was going to Haj. His road passed near the town of Sheikh Bayazid of Bustam. The Sheikh told his murid to meet Sheikh Bayazid and convey his salams to him. When the murid reached the place and met Sheikh Bayazid, he said, ‘By the way, what is your sheikh doing?” The murid said, “Sir, the status of my Sheikh is so high that if the earth turns into stone and does not grow anything, and if the skies turn into iron and do not rain a drop of water, my Sheikh Tawakkal  (Trust in God) is not affected.” Hearing this Sheikh Bayazid said, “What a great Mushrik (idol worshipper) he is! Go and tell him that he should beg pieces of bread from the neighbors and say, “Allah! Allah! Allah!” The murid did not go to Haj and went back to deliver the message to his Sheikh. When the Sheikh heard it he fell senseless for seven days. The reason why he was called Mushrik (idol worshipper) was that in being ultra Tawakkal, the Sheikh was unconsciously nursing his ego, that is, “I am not going to beg for food from anyone.” That is why Sheikh Bayazid told him to give up self-worship and begs pieces of bread from the neighbors which was a lesser evil. So,you cannot detect your shirk. Even the renowned Sheikh Shaqiq Balkhi could not detect shirk khafi.

Q: How to attain maximum blessings (faizan) in reciting the Holy Quran?

A: While reciting you should think and realize that it is the word (kalam, speech) of Allah and that you are hearing directly from Him. Fix your attention on Him all the time.

Q: How to give Tawajjuh (spiritual attention) to others?

A: In imagination unite your soul with the soul of other persons and say, “Allah! Allah! Allah!” mentally thinking that you are enforcing Allah’s zikr on him. Simultaneously request (make doa) Allah s.w.t to influence him through your Tawajjuh.