Travelling the path to Allah ta’ala requires a shaykh, a gnostic (knower of Allah ta’ala), a traveller who has also been pulled (salik/madjhoub), one who has arrived in His Beloved, he is reaching and has reached, has both transmitted and intellectual knowledge. A knower of Allah ta’ala and himself. One whom is beloved in both seclusion and public times with or through his heart in the realms of seen and unseen.
Every Ummah cannot ascend to al-ihsan save by a Prophet who was sent to them until our encompassing Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him and his family was sent as the Seal of Prophets. All the spiritual stations can be taken from him or from those who took from him. So through this we know the well-known distinction of the Companions who kept his s.a.w companionship.
All the magnificent qualities and noble attributes and lofty stations that the Companions had, they cannot be described with any distinction that is greater than, that they kept the company of Allah’s Messenger s.a.w. In the ahadith dealing with the Companionship, there is an indication of this meaning. Like the saying of the Prophet s.a.w. “a person is upon the religion of his friend” and his striking a parable of a good companion and a bad one to a musk merchant and a blacksmith.
From this we know the importance of seeking a shaykh that our master Imam Al-‘Aydarus discusses in this chapter. He mentioned (earlier) that the spiritual path is not possible without seeking a shaykh who is a gnostic. This is because spiritual realities dwell in a pure heart. A heart radiates with light by facing or juxtaposed to an enlightened heart. Also a person has many subtle affairs within himself that are obscure to him. Similarly whispers and deceptions of Shaytan confuses one. Therefore the person only becomes purified of these by becoming associated/connected to a (genuine) shaykh who is a gnostic and who has become one of the slaves of Ar-Rahman over whom Shaytan has no power.
For this they used to say, “The one who has no shaykh, his shaykh is the Shaytan/Devil.” Our master Imam Ja’far As-Sodiq said, “Indeed the one who does not have a shaykh to guide him is misguided.” Imam al-Haddad said, “It is necessary to have a shaykh who guides this wayfaring to Allah from the people of pure souls from the scholars who are gnostics and if you do not find this then being true is the best vehicle.” This means if you are true (sincere, firmly-resolute etc.) this will lead you to a shaykh.
(Transcript of Habib ‘Umar bin Hafiz’s online lesson 7)
Image courtesy of Nash Dftd
To be continued Insha Allah…