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Al-Dabbagh was asked the following question:

‘Oh Sayyidi, one of them’, i.e. one of the questions, ‘is that if the novice associates with the perfect shaykh who’s a knower of his Lord and the novice claims the shaykh trains him through his effective will (himma) and yet should the human physicality of the shaykh be absent due to death or travel, the novice feels a weakness in himself as far as his spiritual state, religious knowledge and action-then what’s the meaning of the shaykh’s training him through his spiritual state and effective will and the novice’s deriving benefit from him, given that his benefit from the shaykh grows weak once the shaykh is distant from him?’
He answered-God be pleased with him:

‘The perfect shaykh’s effective will is the light of his faith in God-He is mighty and glorious! By means of it he trains the novice and causes him to advance from one situation to another. If the novice’s love of the shaykh comes from the light of his own faith, the shaykh assists him whether he’s present or absent, nay even if he’s died and a thousand years have elapsed.

This is why the Friends of God of every age receive assistance from the faith of the Prophet-God’s blessings and peace be upon him-and he trains them and causes them to advance-the most excellent blessings and purest peace be upon him-because their love of him is a pure, unadulterated love which comes from their own faith. On the other hand, if the novice’s love of the shaykh comes from the novice’s body and not from his faith, he has benefit from it as long as the shaykh is present. But then if one body is absent from another body,severance takes place.

The sign of the body’s love is that his love of the shaykh is for the sake of benefit or to ward off harm in this world or in the
world to come. And the sign of love based on faith is that it’s solely for the sake of God’s face, and not for any other
purpose. If the novice experiences a decrease in himself during the shaykh’s absence, the fault lies with the novice, not with the shaykh. But God knows best!’

Taken from – Pure Gold from the words of Sayyidi Abdul Aziz ad-Dabbagh

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