O hypocrite! Allah is the One who reveals (al-Muzhir) things to any of His servants He wishes. He is the One who invites them (al-Munadi). He is the One who unites (al-Jami') the hearts of creatures with whomever He wishes among His servants. He is the One in charge (al-Musakkhir). You would like to use your hypocrisy to bind people's hearts to you, but nothing will come of this.
O young man! You must leave your desires (shahawat) beneath your feet and turn away from them with all of your heart. Then if any part of them is destined for you in the foreknowledge (sabiqa 'ilm) of Allah, it will come to you in its proper time, when you will be welcome to enjoy it to the full. You will therefore take it with the hand of dignity, not with the hand of degradation. At the same time, you will receive from the presence of Allah the reward for having abstained from it, and He will regard you with respect, because you were not greedy and importunate in seeking it. Whenever you run away from your alloted shares (aqsam), they cling to you and come chasing after you, so it is not really possible to abstain from them. It is nevertheless essential to avoid them before they are due to arrive.
Learn from me about abstinence and acquisition. Do not sit in your corner with your ignorance for company. Apply yourself to study, then go into seclusion. Apply yourself to the study of the law (hukm) of Allah and put it into practice, then isolate yourself from everyone, with the exception of a few individuals who are learned (ulama') in Allah. That you should mingle with them and hear from them is better for you than secluding yourself. When you encounter one of them, you should stick to him and learn from him how to acquire knowledge ('ilm) and experience (ma'rifa) of Allah. You must acquire this learning by hearing it from their mouths. Knowledge is received from the mouths of men, from these men who are learned in the law (hukm) and knowledge ('ilm) of Allah. Once you have accomplished this, you should go into solitary seclusion, without self (nafs), devil (syaitan), passion (hawa), natural inclination (tab'), ordinary habit ('ada) and attention to creatures. When you have truly attained this isolation, you will be surrounded by the angels and the spirits (arwah) of the righteous (salihun) and their noble influences (himam). If you isolate yourself from creatures in this manner, well and good. Otherwise, your isolation is a form of hypocrisy and you are wasting your time for nothing. You will be in hellfire in this world and the hereafter; in this world in the hellfire of misfortunes, and in the hereafter in the hellfire prepared for hypocrites (munafiqun) and unbelievers (kafirun).
O Allah, grant pardon, forgiveness, tolerance, forbearance and renewed grace. Do not expose us to disgrace. Do not chastise us for our sins. O Allah, O Generous One (Karim), You have said: "And He it is who accepts repentance from His servants, and pardons evil deeds." (Quran 42:25) Relent toward us and pardon us! Amin.
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.