by Hazrat Sheikh Muhyiddin Abdul Qadir Gilani (peace be upon him)
The Seventeenth Discourse
He (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “When you are united with Allah and you attain to His nearness by His attraction and help; and the meaning of Union with Allah is your going out of the creation and desire and purpose, and becoming established in His action and His purpose without there being any movement in you or through you in His creation unless it is with His order and action and command. So this is the state of Fana (annihilation) which is meant Union with Allah. But union with Allah, the Mighty, the Glorious, is not like union with anything in His creation, in an understandable and appointed manner: ‘Nothing is like unto a likeness to Him and He is the Hearing and the Seeing‘ (Holy Quran, 42:11).
The Creator is above being similar to His creatures or bearing any resemblance to anything that He has made. Thus, union with Him is a thing that is well known to people having this experience of union, because of their realization of it. Every one of them has a different experience in this matter which is peculiar to himself and which cannot be shared by any other person.
With everyone among the Rasuls and Messengers and the Awliya of Allah is to be found a secret which cannot be known by any other person, so much so that sometimes it so happens that the Murid (spiritual pupil) holds a secret which is not known to the Sheikh (the spiritual preceptor); and sometimes the Sheikh holds a secret which is not known to the Murid, although the latter may in his spiritual journey have approached the very threshold of the door of the spiritual state of his Sheikh. When the Murid reaches the spiritual state of the Sheikh, he is made to separate himself from the Sheikh and he is cut off from him Allah becomes his guardian and He cuts him off from the creation altogether.
Thus the Sheikh becomes like a wet nurse who has stopped suckling the baby after two years. No connection remains with the creation, after the disappearance of low desires and human purpose. The Sheikh is needed by him so long as he is infested with low desires and purposes which have to be crushed. But after the disappearance of these weaknesses of the flesh, there remains no need for the Sheikh because there remains no stain and no defect in the Murid.
Thus, when you unite with Allah as we have described, you will feel safe forever from whatsoever is beside Him. You will certainly see no existence at all besides His. Either in profit or in loss or the gifts or with their withholding, in fear or in hope, you will only find Him, the Mighty, the Glorious, who is worthy to be feared and worthy to be sought protection from. So you keep on looking at His acts forever and expecting His order and remain engaged in obedience to Him, cut off from the whole of His creation, whether of this world or of the hereafter. Let not your heart be attached to anything in His creation.
Consider the whole creation as a man who has been arrested by a King with a great kingdom, strong command, awe-striking might, and power, then as if the same King has fettered him neck and legs and then crucified him on a pine tree on the bank of a big river, with huge waves and of great width and depth and strong in current, and as if then the same King sits on a big throne of great height which it is difficult to reach and the King is armed heavily with arrows and spears and bows and various kinds of weapons of which a true estimate cannot be made by any but himself; then as if he starts throwing towards the crucified man anything that he likes from among those weapons. Can anyone admire a person who sees all those and then turns away his sight from the King and becomes devoid of fear from him and hope from him and fears instead the man crucified and hopes from him? Will not the man who does this be called in the judgment of intelligence a foolish man, lacking comprehension, a lunatic, and a brute and not a man?
So seek the protection of Allah from being blind after having possessed sight and from being separated after being united and from being taken afar after being near and from going astray after having received guidance and from unbelief after having believed.
“Thus the world is like the great river, flowing onto which we have referred. Everyday its water increases and it is the animal passion of mankind and the enjoyments which come to them from it. As for the arrows and various weapons, they are the trials which destiny brings to them. Thus, the predominant element in the worldly life of man is the trials and hardships and the sufferings and the struggles. And what they get as blessing and enjoyment is also guarded or surrounded by calamities.
When any intelligent man takes a critical view of the matter, if, of course, he possesses a certain knowledge of the reality, he will understand that there is no real life except the life hereafter. Thus, the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) has said, “There is no life except the life of the hereafter.” This is particularly true in the case of a believer. Accordingly, the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) has said, “The world is a prison for the believer and a heaven for the unbeliever.” And he (peace and blessings be upon) also said, “The man of virtue is bridled.”
How can a comfortable life in this world be possible and desired in face of this? Thus, real comfort lies in complete and exclusive contact with Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, and in being in harmony with Him and in throwing oneself in an absolute surrender before Him. When you do this you will be free from this world and then will be lavished on your compassion and comfort and kindness and prosperity and favor of Allah.”