The True Murid
How the Faqir Sits Between the Hands of his Guide
bismi‘llah ir-rahman ir-rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Beloved, after Allah has revealed to you your guide, in whose passion you would be inflamed, open your heart to see who he is. In the embrace of your father in the spirit, you must be like a newborn child; not only a child of his children, but an eye of his eyes, and this eye is a spring. When you know how he sees through you, you will begin to drink from the spring of the unseen and this is the same well from which your father drinks; it is blessed for him and he wants you to drink from this source to be like him. Because you are, from pre-eternity, his child, his beloved.
This goes back to the time when Allah took a handful of light from His face and said, “Be Muhammad!” And from the being of the light of Muhammad, He brought forth the spirits of the faithful. You are from these people. Allah asked, “Am I not your Lord?” And they answered, “Yes, You are our Lord and we are Your people.”
From that time you have walked, and Allah helps you, to show you the way of the light because He put this light inside you to know Him. Your hand is with Him and He moves you in everything. You see yourself coming and going, but what is the source of your movement? Your Beloved is behind everything. He shows you what you need, not what you think you need, but what He knows you need.
You need to return, beloved. You want to fly. I am the holy rock. Put all that you are inside of me to stand on this rock. It will carry you. I want to hold you, not in my arms, but in my ascension (al-mi’raj). Travel within me through the seven earths and the seven heavens. In the midst of the heavens is the holy throne. If you want to sit on that throne and fly in that sky, you must ascend beyond all that you have experienced and known.
Beloved, I want you to be the eye of my witnessing, to kill yourself in me, to drown in the depth of the ocean and to not return again to the surface. When you drown in me, you begin to fly in me and to make your ascent (al-mi’raj) in every sky. In every sky, Allah gives you a new soul, soul after soul. You travel through the stations of all the prophets until you meet face to face with the soul of your father in the light. To reach the highest plane in which the soul of the Prophet within you returns to its origin in the light of God, you must stand on the holy rock of guidance, which is the presence of the guide and the form of the path (at-tariqa) upon which the follower (al-murid) offers up his life and then plunges into the ocean of the soul of the guide and the path which is beneath the form of the rock.
When the student has plunged, the guide sees him immersed in the sea and the ocean is churning. In the midst of the sea, the student is weeping tears of light and beginning to consume himself. The sea is like fire and the guide pours the oil of his love and wisdom into it, and the winds of the love of Allah move across the waters, making the sea of fire more and more strong. The student in this station is like a woman in the last days who wants to give birth and needs help. Then the guide puts his oil in the fire to make him mad (majnun) with the deep secret knowing, and in this moment, when he is in the garden of the deep secret love (al-’ishq), he eats himself. Then he looks around and there is nothing; and he finds himself flying inside his guide and everything is changed. His guide has given him new clothes of light and gives birth to him again from the heart of his soul.
This is what I mean about the mi’raj – he makes his ascension in the seven heavens of the heart of the soul of his guide. This is called al-fana` fi-shaykh, and as the student is annihilated in his shaykh, the shaykh is also annihilated in the flight of his student. When the student looks to see himself, he has no presence, no body. All he can see is his shaykh. And when the guide wants to see himself, he cannot see himself, but when he looks to his student, he sees himself. There is no separation now; the two become one, and there is no body, no heart, and no self. This is what I mean by “He is she.” When he looks he finds only Allah.
The student listens and the language of speaking stops. He speaks with himself alone, not with his tongue but with the tongue of his soul. He weeps and this weeping is deeper than love, deeper than knowing, deeper than praying. This is like the weeping of Adam when Eve left him (to be born herself), or like Elijah (Ilyas). The student sees his master rising into the sky of God’s grace. The student is standing on a rock (the holy rock) as Elijah, the ever-living, ascends in a flashing chariot. The rock on which he is standing is the teaching, the ground upon which his master stood. Then as the chariot rises, the last gesture of Elijah before he returns to the source is to drop his mantle to his student.
The work of the student is to receive the mantle, the transmission of the way, from his guide as his guide ascends to God. You only truly know the guide when you see him return to God with your own eyes. But he does not leave you empty-handed. He leaves you with his mantle – the path, the tariqa, and the way to follow him and to drink from his cup.
There are three qualities which must be awakened in the beloved through which he is prepared to receive the mantle of his guide. The first is the deep politeness (al-adab). The second is the purity or faultlessness (at-taslim), like the purity and sanctity of Ibrahim as he stands in the garden where he receives the esoteric knowledge through the chain of transmission (al-’irfan) and travels, with all the dimensions of his being purified, to the presence of God. Taslim is the purity of contact between the disciple (al-murid), his guide (al-murshid) and Allah. This is like a passage down a long corridor, doorway within doorway of annihilation in love. The murid walks through the heart of his shaykh into the heart of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, into the heart of his Beloved Allah. That is, when he is annihilated in his shaykh, he finds that his shaykh does not exist but for the existence of the Prophet, and then he is himself annihilated in the presence of the Prophet to see that, in the existence of the Prophet, there is no reality but the reality of Allah.
In every station he sees himself returned to Him, reflected in the mirror of the way as it unfolds before him. He must pass through the mirror into another world. The mirror itself is a veil. Break this glass as Ibrahim breaks the idols. Pass through every mirror and when Allah has brought you through one veil, He reveals another until there are no more veils to cut through. The surrender of at-taslim gives the contact a new heart, the pure heart.
The third quality which must be awakened is righteousness, trueness and integrity (as-sidq). By virtue of this quality, the murid keeps every promise with Allah in his guide. When he arrives at this station, he is to his guide as Isma’il is to his holy father, Ibrahim. What does Isma’il say when his father is preparing to kill him by the order of Allah? He says, “Make what you want.” This is the quality of surrender of the student (al-murid) to his guide (al-murshid) when he comes to kill him by the order of Allah. Like Ibrahim, he takes his son to the holy mountain and puts him on the holy rock. He blindfolds him so he cannot see anything, only his Beloved Allah inside, and begins to kill him. But what does the knife make? It is like wool, and it seems the life of Isma’il is spared. In reality, Ibrahim, with the hand of his soul, holds another knife; this knife is al-Haqq, the Truth. With this he cuts through all the veils and kills the illusion of Isma’il which is his gross body (al-kathif), in order to liberate the true, the real Isma’il. In surrendering to the deep action of his father, without asking why or what, Isma’il realizes the station of Ibrahim. Father and son are one in the depth and totality of their surrender to Allah. Together they live in a special existence (al-wajid), the existence of Allah – the station of I am the Truth (ana al-Haqq), in which one says, “There is nothing inside my coat, only Allah.”
Then the son becomes the holy rock with his father and they begin to build the holy house in Mecca. The holiness is not in the stones of the Ka’ba, but behind the stones is the unity (at-tawhid). Ibrahim sends his voice to all the worlds, to every creature and to every place, and Isma’il also says with his father, “There is no god but God (La ilaha illa‘llah).” Then every soul from the beginning to the end of time, who is one with Ibrahim in his witnessing and who hears his call, sends his voice to join him in the desert. It is not enough to go in body to the Ka’ba, but all who hear the call and reach the knowing of Ibrahim, wherever they are, send their souls to unity with him in remembrance in the holy house which is the heart of Allah.
The relationship of Ibrahim and Isma’il, which is the picture of unity, is a picture of the path on which the guide (al-murshid) and the student (al-murid) travel together to the ultimate union. The murid must listen like Isma’il to Ibrahim’s deep listening to Allah, surrendering all. This is a strong station, but he knows his father loves him, and it is the love of his father which kills him.