Shaykh Abdul Qadir Geylani
The Lovers of Allah Walk on One of the Three Paths
Bismillah er Rahman er Rahim
- Path of Ahyar (virtuous people): The wayfarers of this path want to reach Allah by praying much, making tasbih (praying with prayer beads), fasting, and going to Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). For these people it takes a long time to reach Allah.
- Path of Abrar (righteous people): The ones in this category fight against their nafs (egoistic or animalistic nature). They try to convert their bad manners into good manners by dieting. There are more people who reach Allah this way than by the path of Ahyar. The people who follow the path of Abrar want to tame their nafs and rule their souls.
- Path of Shattariya (distinct people): The people on this path neither concentrate
on dieting, nor converse much with the awam (general people). They have no business
but joy, thankfulness, and zikr (remembrance; the Sufi practice of repeating the Names of Allah). There are more people who reach Allah this way than through Ahyar and Abrar. The wayfarers (saliks*) on this path are busy burning their nafs, cleaning their hearts, and polishing their ruhs* (souls):
- Tazkiyay-i-nafs (burning the nafs): To save nafs from bad habits, e.g., lying, lust, gossip, greed, passion, abusive behavior, and so on.
- Tasviyay-i-qalb (heart being pure): Cleaning the heart so that the light of the truth enters there. The person can then see Haqq's (Truth; Allah) wisdom.
- Tajliyay-i-ruh (shining of the soul): Shining of the ruh with the divine light. The people who are on this path do not pay attention to karama (miracles). They have no direction other than to "die before you die."
The Qadiri path is the Shattariya path. It is divided into ten sections.
The Ten Sections of Shattariya
- Tawba (repentance): To leave desires, as in the state of death, because they look to other than Allah and create duality in the heart. The people who are closer to Haqq stay away from bad deeds. When a person wants to repent, he has to remove the intention of sinning from his nafs, and then he must wipe the sin off his heart. The repentance of the innocent is superior to others' repentance, because they do not sin, and yet at the same time they repent.
- Zuhd (highest asceticism): As it is visualized in the state of death, to distance yourself from the world, the love of the world, the material of the world, and lust.
- Tawakkul (trust in Allah, giving oneself over to His care): As in the state of death, to ignore seemingly worldly causes and reasons, and be with Allah. You must not say this was like this and that was like that, but know that all is from Haqq.
- Kana'a (contentment): As in the state of death, to distance yourself from the lust and pleasure of the world, and be happy with your situation, whether you have less or more. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) says, "Kana'a is a treasure that cannot be depleted."
- Uzlat (devotional seclusion): As in the state of death, to cut your relation with the created, and, living in seclusion, to find wahdet (oneness) in the outpost of kasret (multiplicity). It is contemplating Haqq with your inner self, and being with the created with your outer self.
- Tawajjuh (turning towards): As in the state of death, to turn your face to Allah, leaving other than Allah behind you. It is to fall in love with Haqq and His messenger, and to be annihilated in Allah. Whoever turns to the Messenger (pbuh) will be happy in both worlds.
- Sabur (patience): To be patient against the desires and pleasures of nafs. To be as in the state of death. In the state of death, a lot of animals and bugs eat a person's corpse, but he does not get up and say, "What are you doing?" He cannot even move, because his soul has cut its relation with his corpse. You have to be patient throughout all adversities and afflictions, as in the state of that corpse. The Prophet Job's (pbuh) patience is an example of this attitude. Allah tests human beings in this world for patience and endurance. To them, and especially the ones whom He loves, He gives loss of property and children. He puts them into a variety of hardships to see if the servant of Allah will say, "Eyvallah, it is all right, these hardships come from Haqq." If a person is patient in the face of all such adversities, he will attain higher degrees.
- Ridza (cheerful acceptance): To leave your nafs, accept Allah's decrees, to surrender to things that have been decided from the beginning, and not to object to Allah's doings.
- Zikr (remembrance of Allah): To distance yourself from mentioning the maasiwa (other than Allah), and to say "Wana hayti qalbi an maasiwallah" ("O my Lord, take maasiwa out of my heart, may my tongue not make zikr of other than You"). Allah The Most High says, "I am closer to the person who makes zikr of Me much." Making zikr of Allah is like a blacksmith shaping iron with a hammer. The only thing is that you have to do it in the proper way.
- Muraqaba (vigilant contemplation): To leave your supposed power, strength, and what you know behind, to be in the presence of the divine, where there is no trace of you in you, and contemplate Haqq, as you are annihilated in It. The state between the archangelic world and the divine world is the state of Haqiqa. Whoever reaches that degree will attain the secret of the universe.
* Throughout this website we have simplified most of the Sufi terminology for first-language English speakers by adding "s" to pluralize many words, rather than burden the reader with additional terminology (however, please note that nafs is a singular word). Many of the correct, standard pluralizations of the original Arabic (or Turkish-Arabic) transliterations can be found in this website's glossary.
O my son! You have to know (the phrase), "May Allah make you and us and all the Muslims successful." First, I advise you to fear Allah and obey Allah as He deserves, hold on to His sharia (body of Islamic religious canons) and protect the limits of right and wrong that he has drawn. My son, "May Allah make you and us and all the Muslims successful." Know that this tariqa (Sufi order; path) of ours is based upon these principles:
- Allah's Book
- The sunna (actions) of the Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah; Prophet Muhammad [pbuh])
- Peace of heart
- Generosity of the hand
- Increasing and spreading the good deed
- Not to abuse or hurt anyone
- To tolerate and overlook our Muslim brothers' and sisters' failings and errors
My son, I advise you to tolerate poverty as well. Because what we mean by poverty is different. It is in not failing to show respect to the shaykhs. On the other hand, being content with little and bearing poverty helps the shaykhs to protect their dignity or respectability, and to strengthen the ways of communicating beautifully with the people, and to strengthen the ties of the brotherhood. In a way, poverty is to advise the younger and to help and serve the elders, and to leave vengeance and enmity. The only exception to this is not loving someone for Allah's sake, and being an enemy of someone for Allah's sake in religious matters.
My son, "May Allah make you and us and all the Muslims successful." Know that the reality of fakr (poverty) is your not being in need of another person like you; the reality of richness is also your staying away from or not needing any person, who is created like you.
Verily, tasawwuf (Sufism) is a hal (state; living situation); people who are chasing after who said what or chasing after words are not in reality following tasawwuf. Nevertheless, when you see a fakir (poor one), do not address him with ilm (knowledge). In other words do not start with knowledge, start with mercy and kindness, because in the first meeting this knowledge might alienate him and make him run away. On the other hand, mercy and kindness tames him and brings him closer.
My son, "May Allah make you and us and all the Muslims successful." Know again that tasawwuf is based on eight virtues:
- Generosity from the heart is Prophet Abraham's (pbuh) virtue.
- To accept and be happy with Allah's decision is Prophet Isaac's (pbuh) virtue.
- To be patient with afflictions and adversities is Prophet Job's (pbuh) virtue.
- To open your door for spiritual signs is Prophet Zakariah's (pbuh) virtue.
- To assume yourself a stranger with other than Allah, to know that the real exile starts when you are away from Allah. Exile is a virtue of Prophet Joseph (pbuh).
- To wear rough wool clothing is a virtue of Prophet John the Baptist (pbuh).
- To travel around the world for divine service is a virtue of Prophet Jesus (pbuh).
- To incline towards fakr (poverty) is a virtue of Allah's Prophet and Messenger, our Master Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh). May Allah honor him and increase his esteem.
My son, befriend the rich as you protect your honor and dignity. Befriend the fakir as you manifest your humility. In all your matters, favor sincerity. Sincerity is forgetting if people are looking or not looking at what you are doing. It is not forgetting that Allah sees whatever you are doing.
Do not blame Allah in the matter of causes and reasons, in every situation; find peace by turning to and leaning on Allah. Do not favor laziness by depending on someone with whom you have some kind of relationship. Keep the following three principles in mind, and do not be lax about serving the poor:
- In their presence, look humble and be humble.
- In their presence, show exemplary manners.
- Clean your nafs from all the dirt, and make it pure. Kill your nafs, so you can find life.
The best of actions is to not favor other than Allah in the matter of servitude, keeping secrecy in mind (do not brag).
When you are with the poor, bid them patience and truth. Two things in the world are enough for you: fellowship with the poor and respecting the elders. My son, know that the fakir is the one who is rich with none but Allah.
My son, your attack on those lower than you shows your weakness; your attack on people who are higher than you shows that you are bragging.
Certainly fakr and tasawwuf are both very serious concepts. Do not bring frivolous matters into them.
And this is my advice to you and to my murids (students; trainees) who can hear it. May Allah increase the number of my murids. May Allah make you and us successful in matters I have explained above. May Allah make us among His servants who follow the right path. May He accept our prayers for the sake of our Master and Prophet and intercessor Muhammad (pbuh). May Allah's peace and blessings upon our Prophet and his family be plentiful and continue until the Judgment Day. Praise belongs to the Lord of the worlds.
— excerpt from Fuyuzat-i Rabbaniye by Abdul Qadir Geylani, translated by Shaykh Taner Ansari