You must strive to ensure that you are wholly obedience, for if you do this, you will come to belong to your Lord in your entirety. Disobedience is maintaining the existence (wujud) of the lower self (nafs) while obedience is causing its nonexistence (fuqdan). Satisfying the desires of the flesh (shahawat) is maintaining the existence of the lower self, while refraining from them is causing its nonexistence. You must refrain from the desires of the flesh and not satisfy them, except in compliance with the decree of Allah, not of your own volition and craving. Accept such objects of desire with the hand of abstinence under compulsion and duress. Let the hand of abstinence drag you to accept the object of desire and convey it to the lower self. Abstinence (zuhd) is an essential necessity prior to knowledge ('ilm) of your condition (hala). Abstinence is appropriate in the darkness, and acceptance and enjoyment in the light. This (present condition of yours) is darkness, so when it departs from you, you will see the light. Power (qudra) is a state of darkness (zulma), while your dependance on the Empowering One (Muqaddir) is a state of light (diya'). Your first stage is a condition of darkness, then when illumination (kashf) comes from Allah and you are firmly established in His presence, you will reach the stage of light. When the radiance of the moon of knowledge (ma'rifa) comes, it will dispel the darkness of the night of destiny (qadar). With the rising of the sun of knowledge ('ilm) of the Lord of Truth, the decrees of destiny (qadar) and the darkness will disappear altogether. You will see clearly what is around you and what is distant from you. As He makes things plain to you, what was previously obscure to you will come to be obvious. He will enable you to distinguish between the bad and the good, between what belongs to others and what belongs to you. You will differentiate between the wish (murad) of creatures and the wish of the Lord of Truth. You will see the door of creatures and the door of the Lord of Truth. There you will see which no eye has ever seen, which no ear has never heard of and which has never occured to any human heart. Your heart will eat the food of direct witnessing (mushahada), drink the wine of intimate friendship (uns) and be invested with the robes of acceptance. Then it will be sent back to the people, for the sake of their welfare and to lead them back from their wandering astray, their desertion of their Lord and their disobedience to Him. It will be sent back together with strong protection, permanent safekeeping and permanent security.
O you who do not understand this and do not believe in it, you are a shell with no kernel, rotten wood that is fit only for the fire, unless you repent, have faith and believe.
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.