Dust Under Your Feet

20 October 1987

Q: Can you explain who our main enemies are?

A: The main enemies are Nafs (beastly or bodily self) and Shaitan. The main hindrance in reaching the stage of perfect Fana is our Nafs. A seeker has to subdue/ weaken the Nafs through worship, prayers, zikrs, reciting Quran, fast, good deeds, doing regular Moraqabah and others.  Allah s.w.t has given us the strength and power to weaken/ subdue the Nafs. Otherwise God Almighty would not ask us to do this. But Allah s.w.t wills it that the other enemy Shaitan may continue to live because Shaitan has also a purpose to fulfill. The purpose behind creation of Shaitan is that he likes a big wrestler gives you practice by opposing you and makes you strong. If there was no opposition from his side mankind would not have got strength to progress. This is Allah’s Hikmat (wisdom) in creating Shaitan. He is there to oppose you and make you strong! Moreover, the opposition which we face from our enemies, for example, our difficulties / troubles, our diseases, our misfortunes all are meant to serve as opposition to give us strength, and enable us to make progress. That is why Auliya Allah always welcomes hardships.

Hadrat Fakhruddin Iraqi, a great Shaikh of Suharwardi Silsala says:

“O dear Beloved, I wish Thy enemy is not lucky enough to be killed by Thy sword, since the best place for You to try Your swordsmanship is my head.”

Another verse is:

“When I bowed down to sajda (prostration) a voice came from the earth: O hypocrite, you have polluted me by your sajdas of hypocrisy.”

“When I tried to enter the Kaaba, a voice came from the Kaaba: What have you done outside that you want to come inside.”

Q: This is about Qawwali Ghazals. Can you quote some Qawwali Ghazals relating to, or expressing the state of Fana and Baqa and Jamiiyat. I think it is of great enjoyment to read, listen and experience it. Can you entertain me on this?

A: First of all one (seeker, salik) needs love (Ishq) to kindle the fire of love in his heart to take him close to the Beloved. Here are some verses about love to create the storm of fire in the heart:

Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi (r) has said in his world famous Mathnavi:

1.     Long live, O love, O my sweet pain! O, the physician of all my ailments.

2.     Thou art the cure of my arrogance, of my lust for honor and position. Thou art Plato and Glen (Greek philosophers) to me to cure my spiritual diseases.

3.     It is through You, O love that the body made of earth went to Heavens and it is through You that the mountains start dancing.

4.     Love is the flame which once raised burns to ashes everything in the world except the Beloved. That is to say it is love which drives everything other than God out of the lover’s heart.

5.     Love can be described by no word and no tongue.  Love is an ocean which has no shore (limitless).

6.     If I try describing love, a hundred Resurrections will come to pass, but description will remain incomplete.

7.     What is love? It is humility / helplessness of the heart. And no pain is sweeter than the pain of love.

8.     The religion of love is not like other religions. The lovers’ religion is nothing but God Himself.

Says Maulana Fariduddin Attar, another Sufi Saint and lover poet:

1.     Try to achieve pain (of love), because this pain is Thy medicine. There is no medicine in the whole world like this.

2.     Give me, O my Beloved, a bit of Thy pain (of love), for I am dying without it.

3.     Let the kafir enjoy kufr, and the faithful enjoy faith. What I need is a bit of Thy pain.

But since love for human beauty is dangerous, the Auliya Allah (Friends of God) have warned us against it by saying:

1.     He, who is enamored of physical beauty, gets involved in hundreds of calamities (Bala).

2.     Thy body (Nafs) is the love of physical beauty, and Thy soul is the lover of Divine beauty.

3.     Give up love for physical beauty so that the sun of Maarifat (gnosis) dawns on Thee.

4.     Love for physical beauty is the result of Thy blood and flesh. He who has this sort of love is not wise.

5.     He who ties his heart with flesh and blood (physical beauty) gets ill-famed or loses his value.

6.     Love for physical (human) beauty is not love of Maarifat. It is man like, but it is beastly.

Note: There is no harm in loving human beauty to begin with to kindle the flame of love. But when the seeker of God starts entering the domain of Fana, he should give up love for human beauty and go in for Divine Beauty; otherwise he will get earth-bound and will not be able to fly up. When he gets closer to the Divine Beloved, he sees Him in everything. It does not mean you don’t love your family and children. God Almighty asks us to show kindness and love for them. We love them out of love for God. Only thing is that you must know your real goal. Your real goal is God Himself!

Here are some verses on this state of Mushahidat (seeing God “through inner sight”):

1.     O Dear Beloved! Of what kind is Thy Beauty which has filled the whole Universe! And what kind of a Beloved Thou art who is both ‘visible’ and invisible.

2.     Whatever I have seen in the world is nothing except Thee. How can anything be apart from Thee when Thou embrace all!

3.     O Dear Beloved! Thou hast displayed Thy Beauty in all beautiful faces. And then Thou hast come to love Thyself with the eyes of the lovers.

When the lover reaches the state of Fana he gets thoroughly intoxicated and says:

1.     I drank wine from the intoxicating eyes of the Beloved and got intoxicated. Now farewell, O honor and position and goodbye, O reason and intellect!

2.     Now I am the one whose abode is the wine-house, and call of the cup bearer is the call for prayer to me.

Says Khaja Hafiz of Shiraz:

1.     We have seen in the cup of wine a reflection of Divine Beauty. How can he who has not tasted the wine of love, be aware of our eternal intoxication.

2.     He, who is rejuvenated by love, never dies. So our life is eternal and never ending.

When the pilgrim reaches the stage of perfect Fana-fi-Allah, he cries out:

1.     I am the Monarch of the entire Universe with none to share it. I am the gazzel (dear) of the desert of “Hoo” who disdains everything other than Him.

2.     I am the Divine representative on earth, and a model of Divine Attributes.

3.     I am in no place, and I am in every place. I am without dimensions and in dimensions.

4.     I am Adam and was worshipped by angels. I then appeared in the form of Mohammad (pbuh).

5.     It was I who appeared in the form of Idris, Nuh and Yunus. It was I who appeared as Yusuf, Yaqub and Hood.

6.     It was I who appeared as Salih, as Ibrahim, as Ishaq, as Yahaya. It was I who came as Isa, Musa and Daud.

7.     It is I who has been the pearl for all divers of the ocean of love. It is I who is coveted by all lovers in all ages.

Now a few verses on the state of Jamiyyat which combines Fana and Baqa simultaneously:

Says Amir Khisrao, a Chishti Shaikh:

1.     Even when I have died and my bones are reduced to dust, the storm of Thy love, O dear Beloved, still continues to rage in my heart.

Says Shah Niaz Ahmad Brelvi, a Chishti Shaikh of the last century:

1.     Although I am dead and buried under earth, Thy love is still pinching my heart. Thy love has taken my life, but given a new life also.

2.     Although the whole of my body has been burnt into ashes, my heart is still smoldering and giving out smoke.

3.     Although the whole of my caravan of life has crossed the desert of physicality and passed on to the realm of Divinity, my name is still there in the form of footprints.

4.     My wujud (being) is just a dream like the mirage. I am not there at all. It is all imagination and fantasy that you see.

5.     I do not need anybody to come and recite Fatiha over my grave, because my Ishq (love) is enough to say Fatiha for me when I pass away.

Says Maulana-i-Rum on Jamiyyat:

1.     I do not say I am not united. But I am like a patient of thirst disease who is sitting on the river bank and dying with thirst. This is Fana in Baqa and Baqa in Fana.

Says Saadi of Shiraz:

1.     Neither His Beauty knows any end nor is there any end to my love. So I am like patient of thirst disease who dies drinking while the river (of Divine Beauty) flows on.

Says Mirza Bedil on Jamiyyat:

1.     O Dear beloved! I have been drinking the wine of Thy Union but my thirst is not yet over. How cruel Thou art that You don’t come into my embrace from my embrace.

Note: This “not coming into my embrace from my embrace” means that although the lover is enjoying the pleasures of Union with the Divine Beloved, he is never satisfied with any stage of Union and cries for more and more and enjoys the pangs of separation and pleasures of Union simultaneously (at once). This is Jamiyyat!

Q: What is Mushahidah and Mujahidah?

A: Mushahidah is seeing God “through inner sight”, “beholding His Vision – even in this Dunya,” (as a result of Divine Grace) and Mujahidah is the struggle / austerities (purification of the lower self –Nafs). In other words the former is only the result of the latter. The golden rule is, “He who tries finds.” The more you try the greater heights you reach. But you should never be satisfied at any stage of Union (Fana). It is life long journey and needs life long struggle. It continues in the whole life, in the grave, in the paradise till Eternity.


Q:  Is there a danger in becoming a leader of a group or an organization or community or even a nation. What is your advice related to this matter. Will arrogance and pride begin to take root if one becomes a leader of a group, etc? Will he “Fall?”


 A:  A person can become or appointed as a leader on the condition that he does not lose his head and become arrogant. Arrogance is the greatest hurdle in this path. It (arrogance) destroys the seeker as it destroyed Iblis who thought he was better than Adam. Adam was saved by begging Allah’s pardon. Iblis was damned for being arrogant. The Mashaikh have said that the seeker who thinks himself better than a dog never succeeds. One must consider himself worse than dogs, swines, kafirs, mushriks and everything in the world. It is then that he can reach Allah’s presence. Kindness to Allah’s creatures is the greatest source of success in this path.


         A leader who is arrogant, cruel, rude and harm people will never, never succeed! The tyrants never flourish.

         Another piece of my advice in connection with this matter is that Khalafat or Successorship is something extremely high, extremely rare, and extremely difficult to achieve. It is bestowed upon those whom Allah s.w.t, His Prophet (s.a.w) and the Mashaikh-i-Silsala consider to be fit for it.Presiding over the Halqa is just as an ordinary duty to keep the murids together, work together, think together, do zikr together and pray together.

          You should also guard against Satan and Nafs which will try to puff you up and make you arrogant so that you fall down and get condemned. It is Satan’s mission to mislead. So, try to keep firm and do not think for a second that you are something. Satan thought he was something and got damned forever. You should think that you are doing this work as a duty assigned to you and nothing more.

            Hazrat Ali (rz) said, “It is better to be a mazloom (tyranized) than a zalim (tyrant).”

             Do not oppose the Government. Do not offence the Ulamak. Do not engage or involve in arguement with Ulamak over a Syariah matter, etc. Try to have a peaceful sailing and learn and practise as much as possible in order to reach Allah s.w.t presence, nearness and Union. Is that clear to you?