The Deep Connection between Sirat al-Mustaqeem and al-Ikhlas
A Sufi of the Shadhiliyya order sent me this quotation, see http://www.sufimaster.org/,
from the teachings of Sidi Muhammad Sa'id Al Jamal ar-Rifa'a ash Shadhuli
Al-Ikhlas The Highest Courtesy, Trust, Sincerity, Offering, Gift
Bismi'llah ir-rahman ir-rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate Open the eye of your heart to catch a glimpse of His truth. Such a glimpse is more than a dream,to lose yourself in Him,to lose all of the sciences of the earth,to listen only to what the Truth says.When Muhammad, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, was asked about al-ikhlas, he said, " I must ask the angel Jibra'il," and when he asked, Jibra'il said, "I must ask Allah." When he asked Him,Allah said, "It is one of My secrets that I give only to those whom I love among My servants. Even the angels do not know it, and no devil can destroy it."This is the station of the illuminated knowing of the believers who keep Allah in the eye of their heart and in their prayer, and who do His will as if they are beholding Him; for if they are not seeing Him,surely He is seeing them. But, in this case, they have let everything die but the awareness of Him; and so they see Him as He sees them, and they know.
The ikhlas, trust or offering, has three stations of which the deep illumination is the last without end. The first station of trust is of the ordinary person. These people, obeying the law, trust only in their money, themselves, their sons, and to succeed in this. This they ask for in this life and in the next. This is the station of the world, in which all those who have a religion, follow the laws of their religion. They pray to God to gain something, and if they lose they will stop praying.The second station, the middle way of al-ikhlas is al-khawas, the special in which the believers trust in the next life rather than this life, for they prefer the end-life because it is the most perfect to them. It is an end without end, and it exists forever just as Allah exists forever.
Those who want to reach this station must travel to it and leave this material world (ad-dunya) because all of this world of the body will be destroyed, and there is a great distance between the world of the body and that of the soul.Then know beloved, that the third station, al-khawas al-khawas, is the most special of the special in which the offering and trust is to be facing Allah with all your being. You do not care whether you are turned toward the garden or the fire, wishing only to be facing Allah and not another thing, and to see Him, and to do the business of His will, loving and thirsting for this alone, and to know the truth of your praying – to surrender to the Will of God from pre-eternity. This is the only gift for the people in this station. As it is said, "He loves them first, and then they love Him." Thus it is their complete absorption only to manifest His Will.
In this station of the essence of the essence (al-khawas al-khawas), both this world and the next cease to exist. These people have no fear of the fire or desire for the garden, but they yearn only for the deep secret love of Allah, and they are prostrated in the qibla of His love. They do not say why or what, but they live in the essence of the deep love (al-'ishq), and are immersed in the silence of the certainty (al-itqan), sleeping always between His arms.This is not sleeping as people normally sleep, but it is a deep awakening, in which there is no rest but in the arms of the Beloved,the Reality. These people drink only the wine of the truth and eat only the bread of knowing, and this puts them into the ocean of original essence (al-badt). This ocean can be understood by a metaphor. When one is constantly engaged in drinking milk from the Beloved, and when all his life and being are dependent upon the flow of milk from the source, then he cannot live a moment without it, and he cannot stop drinking to talk or to look to the right or the left.He lives only for the milk of the divine truth, and there is nothing in all the worlds that can distract him from this. This state is called absorption in the ocean of al-badt.This is the condition of the essence of the lovers of Allah in the third station of al-ikhlas. These are the nearest to Him, and here the wisdom is la ilaha illa'llah. When He wanted to see Himself in Himself, as in a mirror, Allah came to them in the soul world and asked, "Have I not created you? Are you not My people?" They answered,"Yes, You are our God in truth, and we are Your children. We ask You for courtesy, love and knowing, and to keep us in Your presence because we cannot live without You, and we ask You to give us the remembrance of You with the words of al-ikhlas, la ilaha illa'llah.So know, my beloved, that the offering and trust of these people is to be dying for truth, to kill themselves to live in God, and to be like the wool in His hands until they reach the station of completion, and to be resting face to face with the All-Powerful. The tongue of theirsituation is as Rabi'a's, who says, "Everyone prays to You from fear of the fire, and if You do not put them in the fire, this is their reward. Or they pray to You for the garden full of fruits and flowers,and for them, this is their reward. But I do not pray to You like this, for I am not afraid of the fire and I have no desire for the garden. All I want is the essence of Your love, and to return to be one with You, to become Your face."All this means that the family of God guides people by means of their total absorption in His presence, and by drinking the water of the truth and the milk of wisdom from His lips, from the world of the body, to the world of the soul, to the station of the presence, so that their picture becomes the picture of truth, and their station becomes the station of proximity and union.
As Rabi'a says, "I have hurried to the refuge of Your will to give You my being, so that You may take me into Your being." Then she is completely effaced in His face.After all this, may I be ready, prostrated in the qibla of love, which has no boundaries and which You reveal to all Your lovers as the straight and perfect way of turning to face You; forever bowed before You with no prostration to anyone but to You alone. This prostration is the dearest meaning of knowledge which You give me. This knowledge that You give me is Yourself. When I know the meaning of prostration before You, then I know with certainty that I have come to the real beginning of al-ikhlas, which is loving Your compassionate face.The person who arrives at this station has finished his business with people in the outside sense. He does not look at what they do or what they say, whether they are waking or sleeping, or whether they are here or there because he has returned everything to Allah. He is with Him alone in all his conditions. He has left his body, with the shaitan spirit in it. He has left his thoughts and finished thinking to travel to God with all and everything. He says, "I am traveling to my God; He will guide me." Then Allah takes him, embraces him, and puts him in His heart. With that, he becomes the servant, the slave,and in the perfection of his servitude he becomes one with his Master.Then, when he says to a thing, "Be!," it will be because his voice has become as the voice of Allah, and what he says he says by Allah. What he does he does by Allah. His hearing is as the hearing of Allah, as was mentioned earlier in the supplication, "Listen my beloved, and understand."
One reaches this station by the power of Allah, fearing Him and being polite with Him in everything, watching himself attentively and everything around him, through the eye of his Lord. For the King Whom one serves is, Himself, the source and the completion of courtesy.So you see that the one who trusts, and offers himself, and is honest and far from pretension, nothing can stop him from realizing the will of Allah. He does not regret his mistakes because Allah says, "O My people! If you do not make mistakes, how can you know Me? I am the Forgiver. Return My children, for I want to hear your voices calling for forgiveness, mercy and guidance. The mistake is a gate to righteousness. Through the gate of the mistake, most of My beloveds come to reach Me. First, I put them in the fire of the mistake, then this fire brings them to the deeper fire of My love.
Then I show them My light in the fire, and in a moment they jump and are face to face,the Rabi'a of their time. Do not think that your mistakes forbid you to reach Me. They are the instruments of My will. But learn and repent. Consume the essence of the mistake, so that once having done this and deeply understood, you cannot return to make that mistake again. Offer the essence of the mistake to Me in the fire of your love for Me and My love for you, and do not take it back again."Know, my beloved, that the holy mistake is like a dress. He Who puts this dress on your body does not keep it on your body all the time,but He takes this dress when you are ready to let go of it and gives you another wholly new dress. You see yourself in the morning in the world of al-mistake and then, an hour later, you have returned to the straight way. Know that everything is necessary for you. Allah puts everything in its place, and He knows what you need. So do not let your mistakes keep you from your Beloved, but again and again, wash in the water of forgiveness, the water of His mercy and truth, and offer all that you have and all that you are back to Him who created you,and walk straight to Him, your Beloved, your Lord.Again and again He sends His voice to you. Listen to His voice, my heart. When you truly listen and hear and trust and obey, without asking why or what, then you begin to walk in the station of al-ikhlas.
The station of the trust is a journey from the life of the body to the life of the truth. The life of the body will be merged with the life of the truth in one picture, one life, the life of Muhammad, may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him. The truthful one does not want anything but to be with the Beloved, and his heart is yoked to the hands of Allah. Then his journey will take him from this existence to another existence, and from that existence to the source of existence. This is the sacred moment for him, the moment of his holy birth. If he does not die to be born, and be born to live in the truth of Allah, he loses the jewel which Allah created for him alone. If he loses his jewel, his life and his way, who else can find this jewel?Know, my beloved, that the trust of al-ikhlas, which the lover puts in the hand of his Beloved to carry him through every station of the holy road, is an echo in the valley of existence of the first trust, which God bestowed upon the creature when He brought him to life and to His holy way.