Who Is the Guide Who Carries the Truth
bismi‘llah ir-rahman ir-rahim
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
I am like the sea;
many ships sail across the sea,
but who knows the depth of the sea?
When I move through the streets,
I watch the sons of truth pass me by;
I do not say anything,
but I open my heart,
and they enter.
Beloved, know in whose presence you sit; know who whispers these words into the ear of your heart. If you hear me, know me; if you would know me, you must enter. All of these words are in the way of metaphors. With what voice shall I call you but the voice of your own quest? You will see me with the eye of your deepest yearning, if you see me at all. And if you are searching for me, it is because I am searching for you. If you understand what I mean, then let us meet face to face, hand to hand, and soul to soul.
If you want to go to Damascus, you must find someone who has traveled that way and who knows all the subtleties, the difficulties, and the detours in the road; who has reached the destination and knows every inn along the way. I am the way to Damascus. I am the way. Where do you want to go? When I say that I am the way, understand well who it is who is speaking to you. The way is ancient and everlasting. All who are of the way are possessed by the way and carried by the way, even while they carry the way.
When I offer you my hand, look within this hand to see who touches you, who holds you and who moves you. Know that I and my Father are one, and all who have come before me and spoken in this way, in spirit and in truth, speak to you now and offer you the hand of holy union. This is a vow of the deepest marriage and before you can commit yourself, you must know whom you face.
How would you know the guide for whom you have been searching if he stood before you and spoke with you? Look within and without for the source of this voice. From where does it come? Watch the way in which he moves and by what is he moved? By what light is he guided? Whose work does he accomplish? If he comes in the name of the holy tree, taste the fruit to know what the tree is. Listen to the heart of the message in every action of the life of the guide. If it is al-Warith al-Muhammadi, al-Insan al-Kamil, the perfected one, whom you see, he spends all his time working in the way because he has no time; the time is God’s. In his religion, there is no separation between people, male or female, white or black, of any nation or of any race. In all this, in every form there is no reality but the reality of God. In the face of everyone, he sees the face of his beloved Allah. He loves the poor and he is a prince of the poor (al-fuqara). He himself is the poorest of the poor, and at the same time he sits on the throne of infinite richness. There is no existence in him to veil the existence of God. His cup is always empty, but filled with the light of God and overflowing with His mercy. He is moved by the order of God to go wherever His mercy is needed, to the sick, the prisoners, orphans, widows, and to all who quest after the water of truth.
All this movement of the slave of God is merely a sign from God of the depth of His caring for His creation. Every surah, every picture or chapter in the Qur’an begins with bismi‘llah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim, in the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. The guide is the Qur’an embodied. Read the holy text in the unfoldment of his life and you can see that his every picture, every action, and gesture begins in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. There is no other meaning to the action of his life but that the Creator wishes to manifest His mercy directly on the earth, and to this end He moves His slave.
Know that the perfect slave is one with his Lord, and he is like one immersed in a great sea who doesn’t swim through the sea by his own effort or intention, but is borne with the sea and is one with the sea. Many fathomless currents and hidden pearls are contained within the depth of the sea; so vast and limitless is the heart of the guide, because at once he is in the sea and the sea is in him. When you look into the face of the guide, what do you see? You see yourself. If you come to the ocean with a cup, you drink by the cupful. If you come with a teaspoon your spoon will be filled. If you enter and dissolve in the presence (al-fana`-fi-shaykh), then you see truly, without limit, beyond form, who you are facing and who you are whom he faces.
By means of a metaphor, a dream which is an awakening, see with the eyes of the student (al-murid) who sees through the veil. I am traveling through a remote village, on a long journey, when I hear that it just so happens that my shaykh is in town and receiving visitors. I go to a special area of the town where he is supposed to be sitting and see there, the mat he is accustomed to sitting on. I sit in my place on one side of the mat facing him and, although no body is visible, I am sure I feel his spiritual presence facing me. Then I see clearly that he is looking at me. His eyes are dark and beautiful, filled with mercy and light, like the eyes of his body; but these are the eyes of his soul, and there is no face but the vastness of space. Two times the eyes open and close. The first time, they cast an immense shadow over the mat and myself and the ground behind me. Then I can see behind me, through the back of my head, the ancient stone domes of Jerusalem. The second time the eyes of the soul of the guide open and close, through them pours a vast sea, which enters into my heart and soul, flooding all my being with love. Then he holds me with the arms of his soul and gives me the teaching with the tongue of his soul.
Beloved, know that the guide is the holy bride who wants to wed you, but only her Beloved within you can truly embrace her. The bride is your own original truth, which remains virgin and undefiled beneath the veil of every presence. You cannot know the guide who sits before you, if you do not know the guide who is within you and is your own true being. Know yourself; call this holy being into existence if you wish to know who sits before you and instructs you in the form of the pretext of the guide.
How do you become or realize the holy being that you are, for whom the guide has manifest to reflect? Search about yourself, my beloved, and know yourself well. What you truly long for, ask for, so that you may receive it. Call to me from your inner depth, so that I may meet you in that depth from which you call. Again I say, drink and surrender; you take from this sea what you give to this sea. Beloved, I await you. I put my heart, the truth, under every foot. Know by what you are supported, by what you are carried, on what ground you stand, and on what path you travel. Beloved in the hajj, remember, you are walking on my heart. Then be full of care with every step.