The Secret Book of Hu,

Perfection of the Holy Face

From the Realities of Mawlana (Q) as taught by Shaykh Nurjan Mirahmadi.

A’udhu Billahi Minash Shaitanir Rajeem
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I seek refuge in Allah from Satan, the rejected one
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

﴾كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ ﴿٨٨

28:88 – “…kullu shayin halikun illa wajha” (Surat Al-Qasas)

“…Everything (that exists) will perish except His holy Face…” (The Stories, 28:88)

Awliya, Like Treasure Maps, Take Us to Divinely Treasures in Our Heart

The most Distinguished Naqshbandi Sufi Way takes its name from one of the biggest Sufi saints, our Master Muhammad Baha’uddin Shah Naqshband (q), who said, ‘Our way is association, and goodness is with the gathering.’ In the presence of an authorized master, the hearts of seekers are slowly attuned to the Divine Presence. As much as the seeker can maintain the presence of their master, whether physically or spiritually through meditation, that master can affect a change in the condition of the seeker’s heart. God says, ‘I cannot be found in Heaven or on earth, but I can be found in the heart of a person who believes in Me.’

مَا وَسِعَنِيْ لَا سَمَائِيْ ولا اَرْضِيْ وَلَكِنْ وَسِعَنِيْ قَلْبِ عَبْدِيْ اَلْمُؤْمِنْ

“Maa wasi`anee laa Samayee, wa la ardee, laakin wasi’anee qalbi ‘Abdee al Mu’min.”

“Neither My Heavens nor My Earth can contain Me, but the heart of my Believing Servant.” (Hadith Qudsi conveyed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh))

So, the purpose of a spiritual guide is that they are able to change the condition of your heart so that it becomes a source of Divine blessings. The heart of every person is like a treasure chest filled with precious jewels. We all have equal access to the treasure, but most people do not seek a means to open that chest. Every result requires a means – you need a way to achieve that result. Watch any movie about a lost treasure, and you will find the treasure hunters seeking something that others have heard about but have abandoned hope of finding. It is the same in Sufism. Many people have heard of these realities, but they don’t seek them out. Then the treasure hunters seek out a means to find that treasure. And in every movie, they find a treasure map. The map is symbolic of the lives of the saints who have already walked the spiritual path and received their spiritual trusts. When we read about their lives and study their teachings, we are following a map towards heavenly treasure.

“Self-help” is An Illusion –

We Need a Guide to Diagnose & Treat Our Bad Characteristics

Therefore, the entire spiritual path is focused upon perfecting the light that is contained within the heart, and its foundation is the relationship between the student and a perfected spiritual guide who can mentor that student to perfection. This is a particularly important point in the era of the “self-help” mentality. They take that knowledge from the Sufis, because Sufism is an organic form of psychology. But when they brought this knowledge to the West, they took out the concept of a perfected guide and called it “self-help”. Mawlana is teaching us that all of that is a false illusion with no spiritual fruits because it requires the individual to be truthful with him/herself, and the reality is that no one is truthful with themselves.

Generally, when someone is asked what their character defects are, they say, ‘Well, I have a bit of a short temper sometimes, but other than that I’m a great person.’ No one will say, ‘I am a terrible person filled with bad characteristics’ because the ego hides our defects so that we won’t work on ourselves. The wisdom of following a spiritual guide is that they have walked the path and purified themselves of these defects. They know all of the defects, and they know how to treat those defects. Just like a doctor knows how to diagnose and treat a patient, a Sufi master is able to diagnose and treat negative characteristics that you may not be aware of, but which are preventing you from reaching the Divine Presence.

We Are No Different From HellBoy

When we enter Mawlana’s presence for the first time, we are like the character from the movie ‘Hellboy’. Hellboy was a huge red-coloured demon with two horns that he filed down so as to not look so grotesque, and we do exactly the same thing! As Hellboy tries to hide his horns, we try to hide our bad character from others. We perfume ourselves and beautify the outside to mask the fact that our inner core is rotten. But in reality, true and lasting beauty comes from connecting the soul to its Divine source. That is why saints have a beautiful appearance and a beautiful and loving character. They have achieved a station of everlasting beauty by purifying their hearts from material desires.

﴾وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا ﴿٧﴾ فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا ﴿٨﴾ قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن زَكَّاهَا ﴿٩﴾ وَقَدْ خَابَ مَن دَسَّاهَا ﴿١٠

91:7-10 – “Wa nafsinw wa maa sawwaahaa. (7) Fa-alhamahaa fujoorahaa wa taqwaahaa. (8) Qad aflaha man zakkaahaa. (9) Wa qad khaaba man dassaahaa (10)” (Surat Ash-Shams)

“By the soul and the proportion and order given to it, and its inspiration as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it.” (The Sun, 91:7-10)

When we enter the way, however, we are not purified. We are filled with anger and bad character that is making us to be very fiery, like Hellboy. The goal of the spiritual path is to move from that negativity which is represented by Hellboy, towards the perfected image that the Divine created us in, which is represented by the saints, because they are inheriting from the reality of the Prophet Adam (as) when God said, ‘Wa laqad karramna bani adam’ (And We have certainly honored the children of Adam.) What was that honour? We are created in God’s image.

﴾وَلَقَدْ كَرَّ‌مْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ… ﴿٧٠

17:70 – “Wa laqad karramna bani adama…” (Surat Al-Isra)

“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam…” (The Night Journey, 17:70)

Guides Help Us Move From a ‘Hellboy State’ to Our Divine Reality

In reality, however, God does not have an image because He has no form, only an emanation of power which is called Hu. That emanation is reflecting from the Divine essence of ‘Hu’ to the face of Prophet ﷺ, and from Prophet ﷺ to creation, but in reality, it reflects to the saints because we have not yet reached that nobility of purpose that is our Divine inheritance. Therefore, we must seek to follow the guidance of saints. In following that guidance, they will gradually purify us and dress us with a Heavenly dress, so that we move from Hellboy towards our Divine reality.

Be in the Image of Prophets

It means that they will be dressing us from the reality of their holy face, because as God says in the holy Qur’an, ‘Everything will perish except the holy face’.

﴾كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ ﴿٨٨…

28:88 – “…kullu shayin halikun illa wajha” (Surat Al-Qasas)

“…Everything (that exists) will perish except His holy Face…” (The Stories, 28:88)

There is a deep secret to this verse that saints are able to understand through their heart. Because when that spiritual connection is established, inspirations come to the heart and provide insights that normal people would never think of. Mawlana Shaykh is teaching us that for every letter in the holy Qur’an, there are 12,000 oceans of understanding, so there must be a secret here.  

If the Divine is saying that ‘Everything will perish except My face’ (Qur’an, 28:88), it is hinting to us that we must be in that image. To be in that image means to be in the image of the prophets, because God doesn’t have an image. The Creator is outside of creation. God is the Essence which is powering creation, but He does not manifest as something created.

Secret of the Numbers 1 (Ahad) and 2 (Wahid) with a Waw of Love

This is the secret of the numbers 1 and 2, or to use Roman numerals, I and II. The number I is Ahad, meaning ‘one and only’ because there is nothing like the Creator. God has no partner, la sharika lah.

Then the number II is a reflection of I, like a mirror (I + I = II). The II stands for Wahid, meaning ‘unique’. Wahid has the Arabic waw attached to its Ahad. That waw is for Wadud meaning that it is in love with the Ahad. And that love for the Divine is the power behind its manifestation.

There Is Only One Source of Power

The number II is the light of the Prophet ﷺ. It means that the first act of creation was the creation of the light of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ, as evidenced by the phrasla ilaha illAllahu Muhammadun RasulAllah

لَا إِلَهَ إلاَّ اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌا رَسُولْ الله

“La ilaha illallahu Muhammadun Rasulallah”

“There is no diety but Allah, Prophet Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

The first part, la ilaha illAllah, is a negation: ‘there is no God but God’.  It means that there can only be one source of power. In that negation, all that exists is the Creator, there is nothing else. There cannot be two creators in that ocean of negation. Because all that exists is the essence of power and that essence is one.

How is the Divine Known? 

But the Divine says, ‘I was a hidden treasure wanting to be known’.

كُنْت كَنْزاً مخفيا فَأَحْبَبْت أَنْ أُعْرَفَ؛ فَخَلَقْت خَلْقاً فَعَرَّفْتهمْ بِي فَعَرَفُونِي

“Kuntu kanzan makhfiyya, fa ahbabtu an a’rafa, fa khalaqtu khalqan, fa ‘arraftahum bi fa ‘arafonee.” Hadith Qudsi

Allah (AJ) said, “I was a hidden Treasure then I desired to be known, so I created a creation to which I made Myself known; then they knew Me.”

It has to manifest, and that manifestation occurs through Muhammadun Rasulullah . So from one (I) and the Divine’s Ocean of Oneness, comes a reflection of that oneness making two (II) which is now witnessing that oneness. It means that the Divine is known through the creation of the light of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ. That is why Prophet ﷺ said to Sayyidina Jabir (as), ‘Verily, before your Lord made any other thing, He created from His own Light the light of your Prophet (pbuh), and that Light rested where God willed it to rest. And at that time there existed aught else-not the Preserved Tablets, not the Pen, not Heaven nor Hell, not the Angelic Host, not the heavens nor the earth; there was no sun, no moon, no star, no jinn nor man nor angel – none was as yet creation, only this Light.’

عَنْ جَابِرٍ ، قَالَ : قُلْتُ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، ” بِأَبِي أَنْتَ وَأُمِّي ، أَخْبِرْنِي عَنْ أَوَلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ اللَّهُ قَبْلَ الأَشْيَاءِ؟ 

قَالَ رَسُولَ اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: يَا جَابِرُ ، إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ قَبْلَ الأَشْيَاءِ نُورُ نَبِيِّكَ مِنْ نُورِهِ ، فَجَعَلَ ذَلِكَ النُّورِ يَدُورُ بِالْقُدْرَةِ حَيْثُ شَاءَ اللهُ ، وَلَمْ يَكُنْ فِي ذَلِكَ الْوَقْتِ لَوْحٌ وَلَا قَلَمٌ، وَلَا جَنَّةٌ وَلَانَارٌ، وَلَا مُلْكٌ، وِلاسَمَاءٌ وَلَا أرْضٌ، وَلَاشَمْسٌ وَلَا قَمَرٌ، وَلَاإِنْسٌ وَلَا جِنٌّ.  فَلَمَّا أَرَادَ اللهَ تَعَالَى أَنْ يَخْلَقُ الْخَلْقُ قَسَّمَ ذَلِكَ النُّورِ أَرْبَعَةَ أَجْزَاءٍ: فَخَلْقٌ مِنَ الْجُزْءِ الْأَوَّلِ الْقَلَمَ، وَمِنِ الثاني اللَّوْحَ، وَمِنِ الثَّالِثِ الْعَرْشَ،…( وَمِنِ الاربعة كُلَّ شِي ءٍ.”) 

      [رِوَايَةِ عَبْدِ الرَّزَّاقِ فِي مُصَنَّفَةٍ]

‘An Jabir (ra) Qala: Qultu: Ya RasulAllah Sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam, “Bi Abi anta wa Ummi, Akhberni ‘an awwala shayin Khalqahu Allahu qablal ashyayi?” 

Qala (Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa sallam): 

“Ya Jabir, in Allah khalaqa qablal Ashiya e Nooru Nabiyika min Noorehi. Faj’ala dhalikan Noore yadoro bil Qudrati haithu sha Allahu, wa lam yakun fi dhalikal waqti lawhun wa la qalamun, wa la Jannatun wa la Narun,  wa la Mulkun, wa la samaun wa la ardun, wa la Shamsun wa la Qamarun, wa la insun wa la jinnun.

Falama arada Allahu ta’ala an yakhluqal Khalqi qasama dhalikan Nooru arba’a ajza: a: fakhalaqa minal juzil awwalu al Qalamu, wa minath thaniul Lawhu, wa minath thalithul ‘Arshu, [minal Arba’ahu kuli shayin]”

Jabir ibn `Abdallah (as) said to the Prophet (pbuh): 

“O Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, tell me of the first thing Allah created before all things.” 

He (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “O Jabir, the first thing Allah created was the light of your Prophet from His (Allah’s) light, and that light remained (lit/”turned”) in the midst of His Power for as long as He wished, and at that time, there was no Tablet and no Pen, and no  Paradise and no Fire, and no angel, and no heaven and no earth, and no Sun and no Moon, and No Human being and no jinn.

And when Allah wished to create creation, he divided that Light into four parts and from the first made the Pen, from the second the Tablet, from the third the Throne, [and from the fourth everything else]

Two Distinct Oceans – Allah’s Essence & Nur Muhammad ﷺ

la ilaha illAllah, Muhammad Rasulullah ﷺ

So, there are two distinct oceans we are speaking about: the ocean of God’s essence, which is la illaha illAllah, and the ocean of manifestation known as Nur Muhammad or the ‘Muhammadan Reality’. When we speak of the light of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ, we are speaking about all of the prophets because each prophet was carrying that light until the physical arrival of Prophet ﷺ. So, all prophets are represented by the number II, which is the prophetic reality. Prophet ﷺ was created from God’s Essence, and we are created from the light of Prophet ﷺ. We are all drops from the ocean of Prophet’s ﷺ light. So, the Divine is saying, ‘I have created you in My image’, which is the image of the holy face.

 (حديث مرفوع) حَدِيثُ : ” أَنَا مِنَ اللَّهِ ، وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ مِنِّي “

“Anna minallahi wal muminoona minni” [Hadith Marfo’]

The Prophet (pbuh) said:” I am from Allah, and the believers are from me”

&

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: عَنِ النّبِيّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ  قَالَ: “خَلَقَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ آدَمَ على صُورَتِهِ طُولُهُ سِتُّونَ ذِرَاعاً،…”

 [أخرج البخاري ومسلم]

‘An Abi Hurayrah (ra) ‘an anNabi (saws) Qala: “Khalaqa Allahu (AJ) Adama ‘ala suratihi toluhu settona zera’an,….”

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah (AJ) created Adam in His image, and he was sixty cubits tall. …’ [Al-Bukhaari (6227) and Muslim (2841)]

We Must Seek Those Who Seek the Holy Face of the Divine

But due to the circumstances of our existence in this material world, we are pulled towards evilness and bad desires which sicken the physicality and damage the soul, so that our image begins to reflect the excessive materialism of this world, rather than the Heavenly image of our Divine origin. Spiritually, we have assumed the appearance and characteristics of Hellboy.

That is why we must seek out true inheritors of the Prophetic way; those who have left the material world and material desires behind, and who only seek the Holy Face of the Divine.

﴾وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ ﴿٢٨

18:28 – “Wasbir nafsaka ma’al ladheena yad’ona Rabbahum bilghadati wal’ashiyi yureedona Wajhahu, wa la ta’du ‘aynaka ‘anhum tureedu zeenatal hayatid dunya…” (Surat Al-Kahf)

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His Face;. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments/glitter of the worldly life…” (The Cave, 18:28)

All Prophets Practiced Similar Sunnah/Ways

The Prophetic way is based upon the Prophetic sunnah, which refers to the actions, practices and manners of the prophets of God. All of the prophets had strikingly similar sunnahs / ways. For example, all of the prophets had a beard and wore a turban, and most of them carried a walking stick. Furthermore, none of the prophets wore expensive clothes that were symbolic of worldliness. They were ascetics who saw through the illusion of this world and wanted nothing to do with it, and they reflected this state-of-being by wearing loose fitting garments which placed no emphasis on physical beauty or sexual attraction. So, when you turn on the TV and you see someone with a Versace suit and a gold watch, you must know that he is not representing the character of Prophet Jesus (as), who cast-out the money lenders and who was so humble that he washed the feet of common people. 

The Beautiful Character of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Many of the companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ described him as the gentlest, the most tolerant and the most merciful of human beings. God Himself called him ‘kindest and most merciful’.

﴾لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَ‌سُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِ‌يصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَ‌ءُوفٌ رَّ‌حِيمٌ ﴿١٢٨

9:128 – “Laqad jaa akum rasulum min anfusikum ‘azizun ‘alayhi maa ‘anittum harisun ‘alaykum bilmuminina raufun rahim.” (Surat At-Tawbah)

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from amongst/Within yourselves; it grieves him that you should perish; [he is] concerned over you, and to the believers he is most kind and merciful.” (The Repentance, 9:128)

He never kept one dinar or dirham in his house, always making sure that everything he had was given to the poor. So, when you see someone abusing women or blowing themselves up and killing innocent people, astaghfirullah (may God forgive us) , that person is not representing the character of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ!

Awliya Are the Perfect Reflection of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

We are living in a world that is filled with falsehood. That falsehood exists in each of us. But the saints of God are truthful servants of their Lord – there is no falsehood in them, nor is there any deficiency in their worship or their character. 

They have been purified and perfected in the light of Prophet ﷺ, which means that they follow every Prophetic sunnah so that when you look at them you are seeing a perfected reflection of the image of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ. They dress like him, they talk like him, and they act like him. And when you are around them, you begin to feel a tremendous love developing in your heart for them because they have been authorized to carry the light of Sayyidina Prophet ﷺ.

You Can Complete Your Faith Through Awliya

Through them (awliya), you are able to complete your faith. When we say ‘I bear witness that there is no God but God, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God’, it means that you must witness Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ.

أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إلاَّ الله وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًاعَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ 

“Ashhadu an la ilaha illallah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasulu.”

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

Is anyone witnessing him? No. We cannot see him, so that means that we are not even fulfilling the first requirement of the Spiritual way. But for sure the saints can see him, and through them you are developing a tremendous love for Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ and all of the prophets. Because you are witnessing someone who has been authorized to carry that Prophetic light.

Reality of Hu wa Hu – Divinely Light Reflecting to Prophetic Light

That is why God says, ‘Obey God, obey the Prophet ﷺ and obey those charged with authority over you.’

﴾أَطِيعُواللَّه وَأَطِيعُوٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ… ﴿٥٩…

4:59 – “…Atiullaha wa atiur Rasula wa Ulil amre minkum…” (Surat An-Nisa)

“… Obey Allah, Obey the Messenger, and those in authority among you…” (The Women, 4:59)

Seek out those spiritual teachers who have been given authority from Prophet ﷺ. Seek out those who have reached the station of annihilation in the Divine Presence. Those who have reached annihilation will no longer possess the appearance and manners of an ordinary person. Instead, they will possess the perfected reflection of the Prophetic reality.

This is “Spiritual 101” – the reality of HuwaHu; the Hu which is the emanation of the ocean of la ilaha illAllah and is reflecting to the holy face of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ, Muhammadun Rasulullah . From Muhammadun Rasulullah , that light is reflecting to the heart of the 124,000 living saints, and the saints reflect that light towards their followers.

Allah (AJ) Sends His Message in Ways That We Could Hear

At that level of understanding, you begin to see the deep truths contained in movies like Lord of the Rings, Matrix, even Hellboy! Because the Divine doesn’t leave anyone out, everyone must hear the message. If we are not going to hear the message in church or in a religious gathering, the Divine is going to reach us through something that we enjoy, like the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses was seeking his Lord and he was cold, so God showed himself as a burning bush. Of course, God is not a burning bush, but it is something that we can understand and, more importantly, it made Moses (as) to approach because he was in need of warmth.

﴾إِذْ رَأَىٰ نَارًا فَقَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِقَبَسٍ أَوْ أَجِدُ عَلَى النَّارِ هُدًى ﴿١٠

20:10 – “Iz ra aa naaran faqaala li ahlihim kusooo inneee aanastu naaral la’alleee aateekum minhaa biqabasin aw ajidu ‘alan naari hudaa” (Surat Taha)

‘When he saw a fire and said to his family, “Stay here; indeed, I have perceived a fire; perhaps I can bring you a torch or find at the fire some guidance.”’ (Taha, 20:10)

It is the same with modern technology and movies. So, when you watch a movie like Matrix, you see that in reality there is only two characters, Neo and the Agent, and they clone themselves. It means that we all approach looking like clones of Hellboy, and that frequency of light is very negative.

Saints Guide Us to Match and Reflect Our Real Image in Paradise

But as the saints begin to clean us and purify us, they pull from the secret of the ocean of “Rabbana ‘atmim lanaa Nuuranaa waghfir lanaa: innaka ‘alla kulli shay‘in Qadir. ‘Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and grant us Forgiveness, for thou hast power over all things.’

﴾رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴿٨…

66:8 – “…rabbanaaa atmim lanaa nooranaa waghfir lana innaka ‘alaa kulli shai’in qadeer” (Surat At-Tahrim)

“…Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us, and grant us Forgiveness: for Thou hast power over all things.” (The Prohibition, 66:8)

Under the manifestations of that verse, saints are able to perfect our light so that we begin to walk in the Kingdom of Heaven. It means that we will all be matching our real image in paradise, like a mirror.

The Heart of the Seeker is a Kingdom That Belongs to Allah (AJ)

At that time, we will be dressed with the inner meaning of the Quranic verse, ‘To whom belongs the Kingdom on this day? To God, the One, the Irresistible’.

﴾يَوْمَ هُم بَارِزُونَ ۖ لَا يَخْفَىٰ عَلَى اللَّـهِ مِنْهُمْ شَيْءٌ ۚ لِّمَنِ الْمُلْكُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ لِلَّـهِ الْوَاحِدِ الْقَهَّارِ ﴿١٦

40:16 – “Yawma hum baarizoona, laa yakhfaa ‘alal laahi minhum shai; limanil mulkul Yawma, lillaahil Waahidil Qahaar” (Surat Al-Mu’min)

“The Day whereon they will (all) come forth: not a single thing concerning them is hidden from Allah. Whose will be the Kingdom/dominion that Day?” That of Allah, The One The Subduer!” (The Believer, 40:16)

According to the teachings of the famous gnostic, Shaykh Ubayd Allah al-Ahrar (Q), 20th Grandshaykh of the Naqshbandi Spiritual Order, this verse requires us to understand that the ‘kingdom referred to is the heart of the seeker. If God looks at the heart of the seeker with the light of His vision, then He erases the existence of everything except God in his heart. In that state the heart is speaking, the heart from which God has erased everything but Himself.’

God says, ‘I cannot be found on Heavens or earth, but I can be found in the heart of the believer.’

مَا وَسِعَنِيْ لَا سَمَائِيْ ولا اَرْضِيْ وَلَكِنْ وَسِعَنِيْ قَلْبِ عَبْدِيْ اَلْمُؤْمِنْ

“Maa wasi`anee laa Samayee, wa la ardee, laakin wasi’anee qalbi ‘Abdee al Mu’min.”

”Neither My Heavens nor My Earth can contain Me, but the heart of my Believing Servant.” (Hadith Qudsi conveyed by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh))

7 Openings of the Holy Face

However, before we can open the heart, the crown of creation must be in submission. The example of a messenger is in the crown, the head. It means we must ask Mawlana Shaykh to take us towards the reality of HuwaHu and how to perfect the 7 openings of the Holy Face, so that we begin to reflect the face of God and the face of the prophets.

﴾كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ ﴿٨٨…

28:88 – “…kullu shayin halikun illa wajha” (Surat Al-Qasas)

“…Everything (that exists) will perish except His holy Face…” (The Stories, 28:88)

So, when we first come to a spiritual path, we are like Hellboy, filled with bad characteristics, especially anger. That anger made Hellboy to have a red color, very fiery, and like a volcano he could explode at any time. Anger is a very bad character trait because it destroys faith. Those who have attained real faith never get angry. Why? Because they understand in their heart that God is the Originator of all events. But most people are filled with anger, and that anger symbolizes that we are struggling with our faith in the Divine.

So, when the student enters the doors of a Spiritual order, the first thing the Master does is to spark the light of faith in his or her heart. When that light has been sparked, the student can now begin to move towards understanding and opening the levels of the heart, which are 5 levels. These 5 levels of the heart are representing 5 big prophets of the Divine: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all) and Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ.

The Battle of Taming Our Ego to Free Our Soul

We are trying to align our reality with the Divine reality and align our will with God’s will. The more that we are able to align ourselves with that reality, the more we can receive that Heavenly light, which frees the soul from its imprisonment in the physical body. The body is a horse which allows the soul to experience, but for most of us, it is a wild horse which needs to be tamed.

In the first stages of spiritual development, that horse is partnered with the ego and is battling hard against the soul. While the soul is desiring spiritual nourishment and to attend spiritual associations, the ego is making the body to go to Las Vegas and engage in activities that are of no lasting benefit to the soul. So, the first step is to start attending spiritual associations; to sit, to meditate and contemplate and feel the energy of the association, but that takes a tremendous amount of willpower because the ego is going to fight you every step of the way. It doesn’t want to go to those associations.

Body, Mind, Soul – Seek to Tame the Body Before the Mind

That is the reason for the concept of the ‘body, mind and soul’ meditation that a lot of holistic movements talk about. However, many of them use the formula, ‘mind, body and soul’ where they first go after the mind. Spirituality takes a different approach. It seeks to first go after the body and discipline the body. Because we understand that if this physicality doesn’t submit and go onto a spiritual path, then how is it going to benefit the mind and the soul? So then the reality is that if you just take your mind into meditation, but your body is free to do whatever it likes, then that is just a level of illusion where we’re meditating only through the mind and the mind can go in any direction, but has no restriction on the physicality. So, then you see many of them can meditate and do anything with their bodies.

Spirituality comes to teach us energy and a holistic way, that if you discipline the physicality and place some restrictions on the physicality – bring down the power of the ego, and all of these desires instead of being a wild horse, your body becomes a tamed horse that you can use to take you to the Divine Presence. That is one understanding of the story of when Prophet ﷺ rode the buraq, which was a Heavenly horse, on a journey through the seven Heavens and came within ‘two bow lengths or nearer to the Divine’. Your body is your buraq, but first it needs to be tamed.

﴾فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ ﴿٩

53:9 – “Fakana qaaba qawsayni aw adna.” (Surat An-Najm)

“And was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer [to the Divine Presence].” (The Star, 53:9)

We Must Discipline Our Physicality to Bring Down the Ego

Anyone who has watched how they tame wild horses, you know that a wild horse is not going to easily be ridden. It is not going to allow the rider onto a wild horse because it’s not used to letting anything ride it. So, then the concept of breaking in the horse, which is the wild ego that has never been told and never been disciplined.  Means they take these bags on the saddle, fill them with bricks and put this weight onto that wild horse, which makes the horse to buck and kick. Because it is extremely upset at that concept of being weighed down when it was once free to roam as it liked. It means that the horse has to be weighed down.

These disciplines are teaching us that I have to weigh down the physicality. That I have to contemplate on how much to eat and how much to drink and how much to play and how much to give to this physicality. When I start to put these weights onto the physicality and restrict the physicality, it starts to become more tamed and the mind becomes clearer. The bodily desires are no longer controlling the mind, and it is now able to think clearly and understand these realities. Then after the horse has been tamed, the mind is able to gain greater insight into the secrets behind our physical creation and what this body really is. Because the reality is that we are not created for the purpose of endless physical pleasures.

‘Who knows himself will know his Lord’. 

 مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهْ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ

“Man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu” 

“Who knows himself, knows his Lord.” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Our Nobility As Human Beings is Having Access to Heavenly Knowledge

The reality behind this saying is the framework for the entire path of Sufism, where God says, ‘We have honoured the children of Adam’. 

﴾وَلَقَدْ كَرَّ‌مْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ… ﴿٧٠

17:70 – “Wa laqad karramna bani adama…” (Surat Al-Isra)

“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam…” (The Night Journey, 17:70)

Therefore, all of this knowledge is at the first level of the heart, which is the qalb, under the authority of the Prophet Adam (as), because the Prophet Adam (as) is teaching us about ourselves – who we are and why we were created. The nobility of our creation is that we have access to heavenly knowledge.

And the first step in unlocking that knowledge is to understand our physical creation and what it means to be created in the image of the Divine. It means that we must understand the reality of the holy face, and perfect the 7 openings of the face because it is the crown of our creation; it symbolizes that nobility.

The 7 Openings of the Face Must be Perfected, Before the Heart Opens

The Divine said, ‘I have created you in my image’, which means that our face is a reflection of the holy face, ‘Everything will perish except His own Face.’

﴾كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ ﴿٨٨

28:88 – “…kullu shayin halikun illa wajha” (Surat Al-Qasas)

“…Everything (that exists) will perish except His holy Face…” (The Stories, 28:88)

Therefore, the face and the 7 openings of the face, which are the 2 ears, 2 eyes, 2 nostrils and 1 tongue, must be perfected to begin the opening of the heart and the greater perfection of the self. That greater perfection opens the reality of the holy face because all of our 5 senses have a physical and a spiritual reality. It means that we can hear, see, smell, taste and touch from the level of the soul. And that is an eternal gift from the Divine, as mentioned in the hadith qudsi, ‘My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him.’

… وَلَا يَزَالُ عَبْدِي يَتَقَرَّبُ إلَيَّ بِالنَّوَافِلِ حَتَّى أُحِبَّهُ، فَإِذَا أَحْبَبْتُهُ كُنْت سَمْعَهُ الَّذِي يَسْمَعُ بِهِ، وَبَصَرَهُ الَّذِي يُبْصِرُ بِهِ، وَيَدَهُ الَّتِي يَبْطِشُ بِهَا، وَرِجْلَهُ الَّتِي يَمْشِي بِهَا، وَلَئِنْ سَأَلَنِي لَأُعْطِيَنَّهُ،.” [ رَوَاهُ الْبُخَارِيُّ[.

 “…, wa la yazaalu ‘Abdi yataqarrabu ilayya bin nawafile hatta ahebahu, fa idha ahbabtuhu kunta Sam’ahul ladhi yasma’u behi, wa Basarahul ladhi yubsiru behi, wa Yadahul lati yabTeshu beha, wa Rejlahul lati yamshi beha, wa la in sa alani la a’Teyannahu, …”

“…My servant continues to draw near to Me with voluntary acts of worship so that I shall love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him…” Hadith Qudsi (Sahih al-Bukhari, 81:38:2)

We Must Strive to Keep Company of the Saints

That is why ‘the saints don’t pray for Paradise, and don’t fear Hell, but ask only to see the holy face’. And God tells us to find them and frequent their company’ (Quran 9:119) ‘And keep yourself content with those who call on their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His face, and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this life.’

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ ﴿١١٩

9:119 – “Ya ayyuhal ladheena amanoo ittaqollaha wa kono ma’as sadiqeen.” (Surat At-Tawba)

“O you who have believed, have consciousness of Allah and be with those who are truthful/ Pious /sincere (in words and deed).”  (The Repentance, 9:119)

﴾وَاصْبِرْ نَفْسَكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِالْغَدَاةِ وَالْعَشِيِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُ ۖ وَلَا تَعْدُ عَيْنَاكَ عَنْهُمْ تُرِيدُ زِينَةَ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ ﴿٢٨

18:28 – “Wasbir nafsaka ma’al ladheena yad’ona Rabbahum bilghadati wal’ashiyi yureedona Wajhahu, wa la ta’du ‘aynaka ‘anhum tureedu zeenatal hayatid dunya…” (Surat Al-Kahf)

“And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His Face;. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments/glitter of the worldly life…” (The Cave, 18:28)

First Level of the Heart is Knowledge Under Authority of Adam (as)

When we want to open the heart, the first thing we must do is unlock the crown of creation, which is the head. The first level of the heart, the qalb, under the authority of the Prophet Adam (as), is showing us that there is a nobility in this creation and that I have been created by the two hands of the Divine. It means that our heart is connected to the Prophetic heart, which reaches to the Divine Presence.

The nobility in our creation is that we have access to Heavenly knowledge. The angel in charge of this station is Gabriel, because he is in charge of conveying that knowledge.

Two Ears: Doorway to the Soul

The first step in trying to unlock that knowledge is, ‘Do you hear the message?’

﴾سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَاِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيْرُ ﴿٢٨٥

2:285 – “Sam’ina wa ata’na, ghufranaka Rabbana wa ilaykal masir.” (Surat Al-Baqarah)

“…We hear, and we obey: (We seek) Thy forgiveness, our Lord, and to Thee is the end of all journeys.” (The Cow, 2:285)

The highest level of submission is the perfection of hearing. That is what makes a Messenger to be a messenger – their ears are entirely for the Divine. Their faculty of hearing is in complete submission waiting for the Divine order. It means that you have to open the two ears and the power of the two ears because the ears are the door to the soul.

What You Hear Affects Your Soul

As you begin to open the heart to the Divine Presence, the Divine is showing you that your ears are going to be the door to your soul. What you hear is going to affect your soul. If what you hear is good, it’s going to nourish your soul. If what you hear is bad, it’s going to crush the soul. So, the secret to open the soul is going to be found in what we hear and what we do with the ears. In the washing of the ears and the fasting of the ears is a tremendous Prophetic secret. You wash the ears to wash away negative energy. And you fast with the ears to abstain from negative sounds because those sounds will negatively impact your heart.

Gabriel (as) Sends His Light and Inspirations to Our Hearts

Then, are you hearing the message? Are you seeking Heavenly knowledge? That Heavenly knowledge is going to nourish your soul. It is as if the angel Gabriel is going to establish like an agency office in your heart; he’s going to establish his light in your heart. Why? Because then he can send from his Heavenly station to your physical station. He’s going to start sending inspiration. As soon as you clean this body and say, ‘I’m going to develop this temple, this Heavenly being’, Gabriel starts to send his light and like grafting, his light starts to nourish your light.

Then they stand back and watch you to see what you do with what you have been given, because everything in this way is based on trust. Can you be trusted with this knowledge to do the right thing and serve creation?

As that light increases in you then you feel that inspiration becoming very strong because that presence is now very powerful in your heart. And he is able to instantaneously bring information in and dispense that light throughout the kingdom of your soul. Then we realize that there is a tremendous importance in my ears. What I hear is going to affect me when I’m breathing and meditating and contemplating.

Even the Prophets Struggled With Obedience to the Divine

So, the ears must hear the message. Then, the more difficult station is the station of obedience. Even the Prophets struggled in their obedience to the Divine. So we have to know that this is going to be a major battleground. To obey something other than ourselves comes against the selfishness of the ego, and the ego is very upset by this. Because it means that you are saying, ‘O my ego! Your opinion is useless to me.’

That is why very few people are able to seek out spiritual guidance and follow that guidance. It requires a certain level of humility and submission to the Divine. That submission is the ultimate goal of the Spiritual path; that I understood that I must give my will back to God. That free will was the test for me, and the greatest act of love and the greatest gift I can give is to offer it back. As Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer,Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” — The Lord’s Prayer

3 Levels of Obedience – To God, to Prophet ﷺ, and to Saints

Then that opens the reality of the verse, ‘Obey God, obey the Prophet and obey those charged with authority over you.’

﴾أَطِيعُواللَّه وَأَطِيعُوٱلرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ… ﴿٥٩…

4:59 – “…Atiullaha wa atiur Rasula wa Ulil amre minkum…” (Surat An-Nisa)

“… Obey Allah, Obey the Messenger, and those in authority among you…” (The Women, 4:59)

To obey God is impossible. If we were in obedience to God, we wouldn’t sin and we wouldn’t do anything wrong. God knows that to obey Him is extremely difficult, which is why He gives three levels of obedience. The second level is to obey the Prophet ﷺ, but since Prophet ﷺ is not with us we must obey those charged with authority over us – those who are carrying that Prophetic authority. That verse is referring to the saints of God, who are inheriting from the authority of Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ. 

Saints Show Us We Are Servants to Our Ego Like Fir’aun

The saints will train us on obedience and in doing so they will test us to show how much we are still servants of our ego. The ego is like Pharaoh saying, ‘I am the Lord Most High!’

﴾فَقَالَ أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَى ﴿٢٤

79:24  – “Faqala ana rabbukumu al ‘Aala.” (Surat An-Nazi’at)

“And Fir’aun (Pharoah) said, I am your Lord All-Highest!” (Those Who Drag Forth, 79:24)

Beware of Submitting to Your Desires

The ego makes it almost impossible to obey anyone because it sees itself as Lord over you. That is why Mawlana points out that when we say ‘Who knows themselves will know their Lord’, we must recognize which Lord we are speaking about? Because there are degrees of lordship. The term ‘lord’ implies authority and obedience to that authority.

 مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهْ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ

“Man ‘arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa Rabbahu” 

“Who knows himself, knows his Lord.” Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

And the saints are inspiring us towards the realization that the physical desires of our ego are the first lords over all of us – not God. It means that we are only obedient to our ego. That is why God asks in the holy Qur’an, ‘Do you see such a one as takes for his god his own passion (or impulse)?’ (Qur’an, 25:43) and ‘Then do you see such a person as takes as his god his own vain desire? God has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart and put a veil over his eyes.’ (Qur’an, 45:23)

﴾أَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا ﴿٤٣

25:43 – “Ara’aita manit takhaza ilaahahoo hawaahu afa anta takoonu ‘alaihi wakeelaa” (Surat Al-Furqan)

“Have you seen the one who takes as his god his own desire?” (The Criterian, 25:43)

&

﴾أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّـهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ ﴿٢٣

45:23 – “Afara ayta manit takhadha ilaha hu hawahu wa adallahu Allahu ‘ala ‘Ilmin wa khatama ‘ala sam’ihi wa qalbihi, wa ja’ala ‘ala basarihi ghishawatan faman yahdeehi min ba’di Allahi, afala tadhakkaron.” (Surat Al-Jathiyah)

“Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire? And Allah has sent him astray due to knowing (him as such) and has sealed his hearing and his heart and put veil on his vision. So then who will guide him after Allah (has withdrawn Guidance)? Then will you not remember/mention?” (The Crouching, 45:23)

Following Desires Empowers Our Ego & Blocks Our Spiritual Connection

When we follow our physical desires instead of God’s will, we empower the ego and give it lordship over us, and that blocks the spiritual connection with the Divine Presence. The heart is like a satellite dish that is trying to establish a connection with the Heavenly reality, but the ego is like a cloud which disrupts the transmission. That is why God uses the phrase ‘sealed his hearing’ rather than ‘sealed his ears’, because we are trying to open the spiritual faculty of hearing from the face of the Divine, but so long as we are following the ego, that reality cannot appear in us.

So, the job of a spiritual guide is to train us and to guide us towards that obedience. It means that they will give advice and then watch to see how much you are able to follow. Most of us, especially at the beginning, will struggle to follow even the simplest advice from Mawlana Shaykh. And that shows us the true nature of the spiritual battle that is taking place within us.

3 Tests of Naqshbandia – Broken Shovel, Bucket, Go Towards Sustenance

From Mawlana’s teachings and Grandshaykh’s teachings, they say that we should put three nails in our head. These three nails are fundamental to progressing within the Naqshbandi Order. The first nail is that if the teacher gives you a broken shovel and asks you to dig, you dig. The second nail is that if the teacher hands you a bucket and tells you to empty the ocean, you start trying to empty the ocean. The third nail is that if the teacher tells you that your sustenance is in the west and you are in the east, you start walking towards the west.

These examples are trying to emphasize the importance of the faculty of hearing, samina wa atana – ‘we heard and we obeyed’ (Qur’an, 2:285).

Don’t Use the Mind With Saints’ Advice – Nothing is Impossible

Hear the advice and obey it. Don’t try to use your mind. It is not the mind that is their focus, but the heart. So, you must know that their advice is unlikely to make sense to your mind, but still you must try and obey. We are speaking only on advice that is within the Divine Law and is not harmful. We are not talking about something crazy. So, when the teacher tells you to empty the ocean with a bucket, the first thing that goes through your mind is ‘this is impossible.’ Why is it impossible?! If you have faith in your teacher and in God, then it is not impossible.

Quality of Your Hearing Determines Your Ability to Walk This Path

But faith does not come from the mind, it emanates from the heart of the believer. All that the teacher wants to see is whether we will listen and obey, listen and obey, and struggle in that obedience until Divine support comes. Then you see just how important these two ears are in enabling you to walk the spiritual path.

Glory be to God, the Divine shows us physically this spiritual reality because when someone gets vertigo what happens? There is a problem with the inner ear, and suddenly you have trouble walking or even standing. The Divine is showing you that the quality of your hearing is going to determine your ability to walk this path.

Two Eyes: Window to the Soul

Then we move on to the importance of the two eyes, which are the window to the soul. Once you’ve heard that call of the Divine, then the next step in perfecting the face is: are these eyes interested the material world, or are they interested in the Divine Presence? The eyes of the Prophets were always closed to the material world. It means that they had no interest in it; they were not distracted by material concerns because their heart was only for the Divine. And they understood that what their physical eyes saw was not the truth.

This Material World is an Illusion and a Magic Show

The material world is built on falsehood. That is why you turn on the TV and one day they’re telling you it’s black, the next day telling you it’s white. So, the truth of this material world is that it’s like a big magic act – everything in it is an illusion and you will be lost by the magician. That is why Sayydina Isa (as), Jesus (may the blessings of God be upon him) described that in this world it is the blind leading the blind – people are not seeing with the spiritual vision that God has granted to them, they are only seeing with their physical eyes. 

We Are in the “Matrix”

A perfect example is the movie “Matrix”. What we see and experience is not the reality. When Neo reaches a certain station, he begins to see the world of the Matrix in binary code – he sees the reality of the world through his spiritual vision.

The Divine says that we are veiled from the truth so that we cannot see it.

﴾خَتَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ …﴿٧

2:7 – “Khatama Allahu ‘ala qulobihim, wa ‘ala sam’ihim wa ‘ala absarihim ghishawatun…” (Surat Al-Baqarah)

“Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil…” (The Cow, 2:7)

Our Vision is Like a Computer Screen

What is vision? These two pieces of flesh are connected to the brain, which is like a computer screen. If you are looking at a bird, for example, photons of light from that bird are transmitted to the retina in the eye, which then sends an electrical signal to the brain. The brain, already having the image of a bird in its ‘files’ recognizes the pattern and immediately, an image of a bird pops-up on the screen. However, if the brain is not familiar with something, we often fail to see things that are right in front of us.

There is a famous story that when European ships appeared off the Atlantic coast of North America for the first time, the Native Americans did not notice them for many days or weeks because they had never seen ships like them before. The brain had no frame of reference to draw a picture from, and so the conscious mind was completely unaware, or ‘in the dark’.

Control Your Vision, It Might Crush the Hard Drive of Your Heart

The Divine is showing us that ‘don’t place too much emphasis on what you see with these eyes. Try to open the vision of your heart instead’.  This world is dirty and deceptive, and that dirtiness contaminates the heart. God shows us through technology because the heart is like a hard drive, and our eyes are like a digital camera that constantly capturing images all day long. If you allow your computer to capture negative images such as violence, pornography, horror and other vulgar images you are going to crash the hard drive. Those images are saved – once we’ve downloaded them, it is very difficult to forget them. Then you have to format the hard drive with zikr and meditation.

So, when we want to perfect the eyes and open the spiritual vision of the heart, we must close the eyes to this world and spend more time in meditation and contemplation. This is the reason that one of the main principles of the Naqshbandi Order is to watch your steps (nazar bar qadam). It means that the seeker should keep their eyes on their feet because the images of the material world veil the heart.

Nostrils: Unlocking the Divine Breath & Gift of Life

Lungs are the Tree of Life. Then, we must become conscious of the breath because every breath is a pocket of life. So, are you breathing in remembrance of the Divine? And Mawlana Shaykh is teaching that the Naqshbandi way is built on the breath.

That breath is our gift of life, and when put in that context you realize that everything else in life is irrelevant if you can’t take a breath: your money, your spouse, your children, your house, your cars, all of it means nothing if you have no breath. So then go and look at children who are suffering with asthma and every breath they take it is as if they’re dying, and that fear of suffocating is an absolutely horrible feeling. It means the breath is the single most important mercy from God. That is why we call it the Nafas ur Rahma, ‘breath of Mercy’.

Why? Because we are asking so many things in this room; each person upset with the Divine because they didn’t get what they want. But we have to want what we have before we ask for other things. And the biggest and the greatest gift we have is the gift of life. If God at some time becomes upset with us, in one instant, He can make that breath become very difficult to get. And instead of arguing and complaining about all the things we want, we find ourselves just trying to take a single breath without difficulty. God forbid that happen to anyone! May He forgive us and keep such difficulties away from us!

We Must Be Thankful For Every Breath Given

So that is the breath of the Most Merciful. ‘O! My Lord! I am praising You and thanking You for this breath!’ It means that we begin to breathe consciously with remembrance. So, the Shaykhs are teaching that if we are thankful for that mercy, every other mercy opens because we appreciated the gift of life.

﴾لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ﴿٧

14:7 – “…La in shakartum la azeedanakum…” (Surat Ibrahim)

“…If you are grateful and thank Me, I will give you more (favours)…” (Abraham, 14:7)

Then that answers many questions for us. We do not put all these things into the body that are going to contaminate that breath, that are going to poison that breath, that are going to put difficulty onto that breath. We are actually trying to purify the breath, not throw all sorts of pollutants into the breath. We are trying to purify that breath with remembrance, closing our eyes in meditation and breathing in with the zikr of ‘Huuuuu’ from the Divine Essence, and breathing out with ‘Huuuu’.

Saints are Dressed From the Tongue of Truth

So, it means that the Prophets are showing us the importance of the ears, the eyes, and then the most important – the breath. When the ears are submitting, the eyes are submitting and the breath is submitting. Then we begin to open the power of the tongue, which is what makes a messenger to be a Messenger for the Divine. It means the opening of the ‘tongue of truth’. That tongue of truth is flowing from Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ to the saints because the saints speak the truth. At that time, when the holy face is in submission, then the Divine can work through that servant.

Fatiha.

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