Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Internal seclusion (khalwat dar anjuman)


O son, I have been to a certain extent detached from the real world for several years, and today after the second day being thrown among the crowd, my heart weeped!

When I visit Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (InshaAllah), I will ask him to make me capable of maintaining presence with the Lord despite being with people. This would be my only wish from him. For now I can only strive to achieve what we have been taught on this.

Solitude in the crowd is a Naqshbandi practise which originated from Shaykh Abdul Khaliq al-Ghujdawani:

"Internal seclusion (khalwat dar anjuman) means seclusion among people. Therein the heart of the seeker must be present with His Lord and absent from His creation while remaining physically present among them.

It is said the seeker will be so deeply involved in the silent dhikr in the heart that, even if he enters a crowd of people, he will not hear their voices. The state of dhikr overcomes him. The manifestation of the Divine Presence envelops him, making him unaware of all but his Lord. This is the highest state of seclusion, and is considered true seclusion, as mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:
'People whom neither business nor profit distract from the remembrance of God.' (24:37)

This is the way of the Naqshbandi Order. The primary seclusion of the shaykhs of the Naqshbandi Order is internal seclusion. They are with their Lord, and simultaneously, they are with the people. As the Prophet s.a.w said, "I have two sides: one faces my Creator and one faces creation."
It is said that the believer who can mingle with people and carry their difficulties is better than the believer who keeps away from people. On that delicate point, Imam Rabbani said:
It must be known that the seeker at the beginning might use external seclusion to isolate himself from people, worshipping and concentrating on God, Almighty and Exalted, until he reaches a higher state. At that time he will be advised by his shaykh, in the words of Sayyid al-Kharraz, "Perfection is not in exhibitions of miraculous powers but perfection  is to be among people, sell and buy, marry and have children, and yet never leave the presence of God even for one moment."

Classical Islam and the Naqshbandi Sufi Tradition
by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani

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