O son, my dear beloved guru has invited me for a retreat at our holy space. I cherish each invite from my spiritual father. I recalled my early days with him, how he patiently rubbed off the rusts from me. I did not even know how to correctly hold and count the tasbih (misbahah) then! Alhamdulillah, how can I not love the one who is responsible for my progress, the one who took the responsibility to convert me from one who is ignorant to what I am now; one who always want to ensure my continued advancement on the Path. He had even asked me to write a book on my spiritual retreats - a request which I am not ready to fulfill yet, although he opined that my experiences had surpassed Michaela Ozelsel's 'Forty Days'. His request and kind words are like zam-zam to my spirit. Alhamdulillah. May Allah raise his maqam and be well pleased with him, my beloved guru, my 'Mustafa'.
"A retreat when in distress will be fruitful", he said. "The ruh of one who is in distress will fly to the Lord. Ascension is not for one who is full, satiated and busy enjoying wordly gains." Shaykh Ibn Ata-Illah says the same thing in his Hikam: "May the pain of trial be lightened for you by your knowledge that it is He, be He exalted, who is trying you. The best of your moments is that in which you are aware of your distress and thrown back upon your own helplessness...it may be that in distress you will find benefits that you have been unable to find either in praying or in fasting."
Shaykh ad-Darqawi said "Distress (faqah) is nothing but intensity of need. Now our Master al-Arabi ibn Abdullah, called distress 'incitement' because it incites him who is afflicted to go forward on the way towards his Lord. And our own Master (may God be well pleased with him) said: 'If people knew how many secrets and benefits are to be found in need, they would have no other need than to be in need.'
O son, what can I say, I am having 'the time of my life'! Praise be to Allah in all circumstances! Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal.