O you who have little knowledge, you must study (tafaqqah) and then seek seclusion. The people (of the Lord) have studied, then secluded themselves from creatures with their hearts (qulub). Their outer selves (zawahir) are in the company of creatures for the sake of improving people, while their inner beings (bawatin) are together with the Lord of Truth in His service and His fellowship. Thus they are both existent (ka'inun) and remote (na'un); existence in the company of creatures in accordance with the law (hukm) but remote from them with their hearts. Their hearts are remote, secluded from things altogether. Their concern in the outer (zahir) is observance of the rules of law (ahkam al-hukm). Whenever their clothes get dirty, they wash them and freshen them with perfume and incense. Whenever they get torn, they patch and stich the holes. They are the heads of the people. An atom of them is like the towering mountains. Their hearts are together with their Lord, prostrate before Him, vigilantly aware of Him, immersed in His knowledge ('ilm).
O Allah, let our nourishment
be Your remembrance
and let our wealth
be Your nearness.
You are dead at heart, and your companions are also the dead at heart. You need those who are alive, the noble ones, the deputies (budala'). You are a tomb, coming to a tomb like you; a corpse, coming to a corpse like you. You are an invalid, led by an invalid like you; a blind man, led by a blind man like you. You must make friends with the believers (mu'minun), the convinced (muqinun), the righteous (salihun). Listen patiently to what they have to say, take instruction from it and put it into practice, then you will prosper. You must hear the words of the Shaikhs and put them into practice. You must have respect for them, if you wish for success (falah). I once had a Shaikh. Whenever I had a problem and it weighed upon my heart, he would talk to me about it without requiring me to say anything. This was due to my respect for him and my good behavior in his company. I never behaved in the company of the Shaikhs with anything but respectfulness and good manners.
The Sufi cannot be stingy, because he has nothing left to be stingy with, since he claims to have renounced everything. If he is given something, he accepts it on behalf of someone else, not on his own behalf. His heart has become pure, free from all things existing (mawjudat) and formed (musawwarat). To be stingy one must have possessions, but where the Sufi is concerned all things have become the property of others, so how can he be stingy with what belongs to someone else? He has neither enemy nor friend and he pays no attention to either praise or blame. He does not recognize giving and witholding, harm and benefit, as being being from any other than Allah. He is not happy about life and he is not sad about death. Death for him is the displeasure of his Lord and life for him is enjoying His good pleasure. Loneliness for him is being in a crowd, while intimate friendship (uns) is being in seclusion. His food is the remembrance (dhikr) of his Lord, and his drink is from the wine of intimate friendship with Him. He certainly cannot be stingy with the vain trifles of this lower world and what it contains, because he has wealth transcending it altogether. "Our Lord, give us in this world good, and good in the hereafter, and guard us against the torment of the fire!" (Quran 2:201)
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.