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Wise advice offered by the Helper

[al-Ghawth], our master
Abd al-Qādir (sanctified be his innermost being),
to his son, Abd ar-Razzāq

The reader should know that our venerable master and our revered Shaikh, the venerable Shaikh Abd ar-Razzaq (may Allah the Exalted sanctify his innermost being) asked his father for advice, and that the venerable Helper [al-Ghawth] (sanctified be his innermost being) responding by saying:

"O my son, may Allāh (Exalted is He) bestow His enabling grace upon us, and upon you and all the Muslims. Āmīn.

"This you must know and understand: I am advising you to practice true devotion [taqwā] to Allāh, and obedience to Him, and adherence to the Sacred Law [Shar ], and careful observance of the limits [hudūd] set by Him.

"O my son, may Allāh (Exalted is He) bestow His enabling grace upon us, and upon you and all the Muslims. You must also know that this Spiritual Path [Tarīqa] of ours is founded upon the Book and the Sunna, and integrity of [the feelings within] the breasts, the generosity of the hand, the giving of liberal donation, abstinence from crudity, endurance of injury, and readiness to pardon the mistakes of our spiritual brethren [ikhwān].

"I am also advising you, O my son, to make a practice of spiritual poverty [faqr], which means preserving the ordinances of the Shaikhs, maintaining good relations with spiritual brethren, giving sincere counsel to juniors and seniors alike, and refraining from argument, except where matters of religion are at stake.

"O my son, may Allāh (Exalted is He) bestow His enabling grace upon us, and upon you. You must also know that the true significance of spiritual poverty [faqr] is that you are not in need of anyone like yourself, while the true significance of spiritual affluence [ghinā] is that you are independent of anyone like yourself. As for spiritual culture [tasawwuf], it is a state that does not belong to anyone who indulges in idle talk and gossip. When you have an opinion to offer, you should not begin by expressing it in terms of knowledgeability. You should rather present it initially as an expression of sympathetic friendliness. This is because knowledgeability tends to alienate the listener, whereas friendliness makes him feel comfortably at ease.

"O my son, may Allāh (Exalted is He) bestow His enabling grace upon us, and upon you and all the Muslims. You must also know that spiritual culture [tasawwuf] is built on eight fundamental qualities, namely:

  1. Liberal generosity [sakhā’]
  2. Contentment [ridā’]
  3. Patience [sabr]
  4. Symbolic instruction [ishāra]
  5. Living away from home [ghurba]
  6. The wearing of wool [sūf]
  7. Wandering travel [siyāha]
  8. Spiritual poverty [faqr]
  • Liberal generosity [sakhā’] is the special virtue of Allāh's Prophet
    Abraham [Ibrāhīm] (peace be upon him).
  • Contentment [ridā’] is the special virtue of Allāh's Prophet Isaac
    [Ishāq] (peace be upon him).
  • Patience [sabr] is the special virtue of Allāh's Prophet Job [Ayyūb]
    (peace be upon him).
  • Symbolic instruction [ishāra] is the special talent of Allāh's Prophet
    Zachariah [Zakariyyā] (peace be upon him).
  • Life in exile [ghurba] is the special characteristic of Allāh's Prophet
    Joseph [Yūsuf] (peace be upon him).
  • The wearing of wool [sūf] is the special property of Allāh's Prophet
    John the Baptist [Yahyā] (peace be upon him).
  • Wandering travel [siyāha] is the special feature of Allāh's Prophet
    Jesus [Īsā] (peace be upon him).
  • Spiritual poverty[faqr] is the special characteristic of Allāh's Prophet
    and Messenger, our dear friend, our chieftain and our intercessor [shafī] the owner of vast respect, Muhammad the Chosen [al-Mustafā] (may Allāh bless him and give him peace, and may He ennoble, honor, glorify and exalt him).

"You must also regard it as your duty, O my son, to maintain a dignified detachment in the company of the rich, and an attitude of humble self-effacement in the company of the poor. You must practice sincere devotion [ikhlās], which means forgetting about the impression you may be making on your fellow creatures [khalq], and paying constant attention to the view of the Creator [Khāliq].

“You must not entertain suspicious doubts about Allāh, where the material means (asbāb) are concerned. You must rely on him with confidence in all circumstances and conditions. You must not entrust your needs to anyone else, on the basis of some connection between you and him, such as kinship, affection and friendship.

"It is incumbent upon you to provide the spiritual paupers with three forms of service. The first of these is modest humility. The second is good moral conduct. The third is a complete lack of selfishness. You must put your lower self [nafs] to death, so that you may come to life. The nearest of all creatures [khalq] to Allāh (Exalted is He) is the one who is richest in good character [khuluq], and the most meritorious of all deeds is the preservation of the innermost being [sirr] from paying attention to anything apart from Allāh.

"It is also incumbent upon you, when you are together with the spiritual paupers [fuqarā’], to engage in the mutual counseling of patience [sabr] and the mutual counseling of truth [haqq]. As far as this world is concerned, two things should be enough for you: the fellowship of a spiritual pauper [faqīr] and the respect of a saint [walī].

"You must also know, O my son, that the spiritual pauper [faqīr] has absolutely no need of anything apart from Allāh (Exalted is He).

"You must also know, O my son, that aggressive behavior toward someone below you is actually a form of weakness, while such behavior toward someone superior to you is a form of boastful pride. Spiritual poverty [faqr] and spiritual culture [tasawwuf] are two very serious matters, so you must not mix them with any kind of frivolity.

"This is my advice to you, and to anyone else among the seekers [murīdīn] who is capable of heeding it. May Allāh (Exalted is He) cause them to multiply, and may He enable you, and us, to succeed in fulfilling all that we have mentioned and explained. May He include us among those who follow in the footsteps of the righteous forebears [salaf], and who follow in their footsteps in honor of our master, our Prophet and our intercessor [shafī] Muhammad. May Allāh bless him, his family and his Companions, and may He grant them abundant peace, until the Day of Judgment [Yawm ad-Dīn]. Praise be to Allāh, Lord of All the Worlds."

Source: As-Sayyid Ismāīl Muhammad Saīd al-Qādirī, Al-Fuyūdāt ar-Rabbāniyya (Emanations of Lordly Grace), translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland, Al-Baz Publishing Inc, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 2000, p. 62-65.

This book can be obtained from: Al-Baz Publishing

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