Teachers, Moral Guides – Through the Lens of Religious Genius


Know that the door that leads to the attainment of this opportunity and the knowledge of this rare secret is a path that we have taken and learned from the Master of Existence (Sayyid al-Wujūd), [the Prophet Muḥammad], may God bless and preserve him. [The Prophet] said, learning directly (mukhbiran) from Allāh the Almighty: “My servant continues to draw near to me with supererogatory acts so that I love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his sight with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, his tongue with which he speaks, and his leg with which he walks.” He who models himself on this valuable lesson and who patterns himself after [God] the Noble Lord, and obliges himself to knock on the door of eternity will have the veil lifted from him so that he witnesses all things and attains the realization of all realities as they truly are. He will need neither evidence nor proof nor will he need to consult a book; rather, the Sultan of Reality will overwhelm him and he will be prevented from heeding the arguments or words of another, for [another] will not learn what he understands nor will his knowledge encompass it. So fear God so that God will teach you…

[lengthy passage describing various stations and types of love omitted here. The omitted passage is of great interest for the detailed study of love and its various nuances]

God Almighty inspired unto Moses (peace be upon him): “Oh Moses! Be mine as you want me to be yours.” So look into all of the stations [of Love] and you will find that they are included in Love and follow from it. Then God added rewards for the one who is characterized by each station, such as repentance, cleanliness, patience, God-consciousness (taqwā), righteousness, trust in God, and struggle for the sake of God (jihād). All of this is evidence that Love is the most excellent of stations, even including Gnosis (ma‘rifa). The majority believes that Gnosis is preferable to Love, but a group [of Sufis] including Samnūn [“The Lover”][1] and his companions preferred Love to Gnosis. He established a clear proof that God (may He be glorified) is the only one who can realize the station of Love in reality. One who loves God’s Messenger loves him for the sake of God; this is also why scholars of religion are called “heirs to the prophets.” In reality, there can be no beloved other than God alone, for there is no existence in any individual thing other than through God’s existence. God Almighty inspired unto David (peace be upon him): “Oh David! I am your necessary warrant, so make my warrant necessary for you” (anā birruka al-lazim fa-alzim birrī).

[1] Samnūn “The Lover” (he called himself “Samnūn the Liar”) was an important early Sufi of Baghdad. He died sometime after 910 CE.