The believer is one who parts company with his own self (nafs) and befriends a Shaikh who will train him and teach him. He never stops learning from small until he dies. At the first stage of his education, the Quran teacher (muqri') gets him to memorize the Book of Allah. At the second stage, the scholar teaches him the Sunna of Allah's Messenger and with this he is always accompanied by helpful guidance (tawfiq). He puts into practice the knowldege he acquires, and the practice brings him near to the Lord of Truth. Whenever he puts what he learns into practice, Allah endows him with knowledge of what he did not know. He makes the heart stand upright on its feet and sincerity (ikhlas) moves his step toward the Lord of Truth. If you are practising but you notice that your heart is not close to the Lord of Truth and you do not experience the sweetness of worship and intimate friendship (uns) you should realize that you are not practising correctly and that you are hindered by the defects in your practice. What are those defects? Pretense (riya), hypocrisy (nifaqa) and pride (ujb). O practitioner, you must have sincerity, otherwise do not bother. You must be attentively aware of the Lord of Truth in private and in public. Attentive awareness (muraqaba) in public is for hypocrites, and in private and in public alike for those who are sincere.
Note: Extracts from lectures given by Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in Ramadhan 545 A.H. Reference: The Sublime Revelation (Al-fath ar-Rabbani) Translated from the Arabic by Muhtar Holland.