Dear Sidi Ahmad ibn ‘Ajiba and all the brethren in towns and the desert: peace, mercy and blessings be upon you. To proceed: we want you, may Allah love and guide you, to confine yourselves to humble submission; and you should encourage all those near you to cling to it.
You must do this, for it is through it that they came to know the folk of Allah and the good people, and it is through its opposite that all the evil people are known, except, that is, for the person who is overpowered against his will by Divine omnipotence. So hold fast to humble submission, for whosoever lets go of it will not find it if he looks for it again.
This is because it is one of the most tremendous ranks and honourable dwellings. The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) spent his entire blessed life in humble submission, and the most respected people in his eyes were the poor and those of modest status.
You ought, therefore, to do as he did and assume his lofty good manners
such as humble submission, clemency, humility, generosity, veracity, love, glorification and so on and so forth in terms of the traits that befit your situation, may God be well pleased with you. Do not create a schism between knowledge and action.
Let your knowledge be bound to your actions, and do not put your knowledge on one side and your action on another, like someone who sings about sweets but does not eat them. You should rather sing about them, eat them and feed them to others.
I also advise you against keeping the company of meddlesome people, even if they happen to be attached to our chain of spiritual transmission. However, if they repent from their curiosity and occupy themselves with that which is of concern to them, you should go back to them; otherwise do not. This is because keeping the company of meddlesome people corrupts both the heart and the limbs.
Whosoever wants to be continuously humble should completely let go of his
ego, physically and intelligibly, just as the folk of God, may God be well pleased with them, completely let go of their egos. As for him who does not let go of his ego and still thinks that his ego will be humbled, this will never happen because it is inconceivable.
If you want your egos to be humbled, you should divest them of all their vile traits and substitute the latter with praiseworthy traits, especially when any of these vile traits become manifest. For at that moment it is easy to kill the ego in a flash, just as it is easy to give it life in a flash. So be aware of this when it happens in order that you obtain complete nearness to God. May God take charge of our affairs, your affairs and the affairs of all Muslims when our egos are about to take over us.
So free yourselves for God when your egos overpower you, occupy yourselves with God when your egos are occupied with you, and remember God when your egos remember you. This is because remembering God in times of hardship is unlike remembering him in times of ease: there is a great difference between the two.
In times of ease, one gets the impression that many people are making remembrance of God. But in times of hardship only the true saints keep making remembrance of God. You should, therefore, be clement when your egos are angry, deliberate when they are agitated, humble when they are elevated, generous when they are stingy, humiliated when they are arrogant and indigent when they feel independent.
Whosoever controls his ego in this way is one of God’s chosen servants.
I also counsel you not to occupy yourselves with fighting your egos, for this amounts to tremendous heedlessness. You should rather occupy yourselves with God and He will suffice you against their evil and defend you from their might.
When you remember God and forget your egos, the latter disappear and with their disappearance your very existence disappears. When your existence disappears the lights of your spiritual insights will overwhelm your entirety until nothing remains except spiritual insight in the eye, ear, and foot. God says in a ‘holy tradition’:
“My slave keeps drawing unto Me with supererogatory acts until I love him, and when I love him I become his hearing, sight, hand and Helper.”
These supererogatory acts, by means of which this tremendous matter takes place, amount to leaving the traits of your corporeality and assuming the traits of your spirituality. Try and you shall find out for yourselves! I also advise you to acquire, from the things you need, only that which is easy; as for that which is difficult, you should leave it, for there is no good for you in it.
Anyone who wants to fulfil all his needs must be heedless of his Lord and be very conscious of his ego. Had such a person been aware of his Lord he would have forgotten his ego and its needs. Any need that is not very important is a need of the ego.
You should therefore fulfil the most important of your needs and leave the surplus, for it is the share of the ego. One of the brothers asked me: “I need a certain thing. Shall I go and get it or shall I not?” I told him: “Listen and you will benefit! Do not acquire of your needs except that which is very important. And do not proceed to get that which is very important except when it is necessary. And if you proceed to acquire it when necessary, you should move the strings of Divine omnipotence: if it is easy, take it, but if it is a little difficult leave it.
You should act so with all your needs and, as a result, all your needs will be fulfilled. Never lose heart, for the reason for losing heart is going after needs, outwardly and inwardly. But had we forgotten these needs nothing would preoccupy us from God. You should, therefore, occupy yourselves with God and, consequently, all your limbs will be occupied with you.
These needs are far from our reach only because we are remote from our Lord.”
Know also, may God have mercy on you, that if the ego is earthly, abysmal, dark and corporeal, it will try to acquire the maximum of its needs and will not waver whether these needs are fulfilled or not. But when the soul becomes heavenly, lofty, luminous and spiritual, it will try to acquire its needs out of servitude to its Lord, not due to its desires or ulterior motives, and this whether these needs are fulfilled or not; for both are equal due to its independence through God from everything besides Him. This is a genuine sign that the soul has died.
I also counsel you not to put on airs with one another, let alone with your own selves. Affectation is nothing more than heedlessness, whereas what God wants from us is wakefulness. The affectation I am referring to is for a poor person to spend what he does not own. We do not like such a thing, nor does God or His Messenger. The Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said:
“I and the godfearing of my community are exonerated from affectation.”
A true Sufi spends on others when he has the means to spend, but he avoids affectation when he does not. Do not, therefore, put on airs for yourselves or for others, so that you become of the godfearing. Greetings of peace.
The Adab of The True Seeker ( Adab al-Murid al-Sadiq) – Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ahmad al Buzaydi Translated by: Mokrane Guezzou