31— FIRST VOLUME, 61st LETTER
This letter, written to Sayyid Mahmûd, states that it is necessary to find a perfect master and to avoid ignorant shaikhs:
May Allâhu ta’âlâ increase the desire to look for Him! May He bless us with the fortune of avoiding the things that prevent us from attaining Him! The valuable letter, which is a favour of yours, has arrived. It is very pleasant because it indicates that you have been seeking Allâhu ta’âlâ, that you have been consumed with love for Him. Wishing is the harbinger of attaining. Being consumed with love is a sort of beginning for attaining. One of our superiors says: “If He would not give, He would not have given the wish.” One should appreciate the value of the blessing of wishing and avoid the things that will cause it to be lost. One must be careful lest the wish becomes slack or the fervour chilled. What helps most lest this blessing is lost is to thank (Allâhu ta’âlâ) for it. He declares in the seventh âyat of Sûra-i Ibrâhîm: “If you thank Me for My favours, I will certainly increase them.” It is necessary both to thank Him and to entrust oneself to Him and to weep and beg Him lest one will love or wish for something else. If one does not feel like weeping, begging, one should force oneself to do so. “If you do not weep make yourself weep,” has been said. Until you find an exalted person who is kâmil and mukammil, [that is, who has reached perfection and who is able to make others reach perfection also,] one should preserve this wish with all its fervour in one’s heart. When such an exalted person is found, all wishes and desires should be delivered into his hands, one being like a corpse on a bench under a washer’s hands. Fanâ – fi-sh-shaikh is first. This fanâ will then turn into fillah. [That is, when you find an exalted person who has reached the end of the way of Tasawwuf and who is back in order to make others attain it also and who therefore looks like any ordinary person, you should surrender yourself to him. First, you should annihilate yourself in him; that is, you should obey not yourself but him. A person who does so will gradually be annihilated in Allâhu ta’âlâ. That is, his own desires being annihilated, he will act in accord with Allâhu ta’âlâ’s will. He will no longer have any will of his own.] An exalted person who will take from Allâhu ta’âlâ and give to men should be two-dimensional. Because man is very mean and evil-natured, he cannot have a relationship with Allâhu ta’âlâ. A two-dimensional intermediary is necessary, and this intermediary is an insân-i kâmil (perfect man).
The worst thing which slackens a tâlib’s wish and which extinguishes his fervour is his surrendering himself to a nâqis person who has not reached the end of the way. A nâqis person is one who has not completed his way through sulûk and jadhba but calls himself a shaikh, a murshid. A group of nâqis shaikhs is called a samm-i qâtil. He who surrenders himself to them ends up in perdition. Such groups undermine the high tendency, the inclination of a tâlib. For example, if a patient takes the medicine of a doctor who is not specialized, who does not even have a diploma, he will, let alone become well, get sick all the more. He will even lose the tendency to heal. That medicine may reduce his aches in the beginning. But the aches are not felt because it disturbs, harms the nerves. This case is not a service, but a disservice. If this patient goes to a real doctor, this doctor will first try to do away with the harm of that medicine. Then he will begin to cure the disease.
The way of our superiors ‘rahmatullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ is based on sohbat. Nothing is obtained by memorizing or by uttering a few words of the great men of Tasawwuf. On the contrary, it slackens the wish of the tâlib. Hadrat Shaikh Tâj ‘quddisa sirruh’, who is an owner of ma’rifats, lives close to you. His blessed presence is a great favour for the Muslims there. You have been remiss in your relationship with him. And rare visits bring no benefits. If you occasionally write about your state, we will not hesitate to answer. Thus, the chain of love and ikhlâs will be stirred.