One is not always fully aware, as the representative of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim, of the impact that matters of the murids and others are having on one. I had thought that being a “representative” just had to do with performing certain duties with regard to the murids; according to the wishes of Mawlana Shaykh Nazim. The understanding that I had, totally changed one day when my grandson took a photograph of me while I was sitting in my study. When the photograph was examined, there was an unknown man beside me, and it was as if he was swirling. Initial attempts to delete the photograph failed. I submitted the photograph to Shaykh Hisham in America, and he informed me that the “man” represented the burden of the murids on me. This came as a bit of a shock but I was very philosophical about the matter; if it had to be, it had to be. Every time there was something new to learn. Every time there was a new experience on the path. As my understanding grew, I came to realize that there were two types of impacts on me; one type from the murids and the other type from non-murids. And they are miles apart in the nature and duration of their impact. This is according to my experiences.

With regards to the burden of the murids, it is quite clear that what the murid does is a burden on me when, what he does, is spiritually-damaging to him. It cannot be otherwise. If all the murids were performing their tasks efficiently and were only doing what is spiritually of benefit, then there would be no burden on me. So what the murid does, one way or the other, impacts on me. Sometimes the impact is positive because the murid is busy with spiritually-advancing activities. When, however, he is busy with spiritually-damaging activities, the impact on me is negative. I am sure that the person in the photograph represented the negative impacts.

Of course, other than what the murids do, and I am not trying to obtain any sympathy, a lot of the garbage that other people say or do with regard to me also impacts on me. Somehow each one of you must understand that by virtue of what Mawlana has asked me to do, different types of things from the murids and from others impact on me; either positively or negatively, but Alhamdu lillah, it is as Allah (ﷻ) has decreed.

During last Ramadan and this Ramadan  I received two letters from people associated with the Goodwood Mosque. Last year Ramadan the letter, a very rude one, and showing major disrespect, came from the chairman and secretary of the mosque, Mr. M. Safodien and Mr. W. Said, respectively. In the letter I was given immediate dismissal. This, after almost twenty years of service; by lecturing and running Hajj classes. The reason given was that in my Ramadan talks, I was favouring the Naqshbandis. The committee of the mosque rejected their action and demanded that they apologize. This was just a little slap on the wrists for them. They should have been taken off the committee. During this Ramadan I received a similar letter, but this time only from the chairman, “… in his personal capacity …”, as he says, asking me to step down, because of all the mistakes that I make when I speak. Both these letters can easily be construed as being abusive of an elderly person (I am now approaching 80 years), but definitely it showed major disrespect to me. Fortunately, my long years of experience with garbage helped me to overcome this disrespect but it still impacted on me. I am telling you this because I want each one of you to realize the kinds of things that I have to endure because of my position in the Tariqah. Despite what they wrote, the real reason behind the garbage from Goodwood Mosque was my lectures on Tasawwuf. But perhaps that is expected from certain people. Shaytan might be locked up during Ramadan, but his agents on the Dunya roam quite freely. Agents of Shaytan are at their most powerful during the holy month of Ramadan, and their main targets are those working hard for purification within sufi structures. And so during the period when one tries to have a peaceful mind in order to perform one’s ibadat, one is attacked from all sides by satanic agents. I kept most of this away from many of you, because I wanted your Ramadan to be peaceful, but mine was not.

This campaign to get me out of the mosque was not something new. During the time of Imam Umar Abdullah, he received regular visits from one or other religious leader requesting that my lecturing at the mosque be stopped. He ignored these requests and allowed me to continue to lecture on Tasawwuf. Now after Imam’s death, people know that they cannot get the present imam to do this bit of dirty work, and so they are using officials on the mosque committee to drive this campaign.

Why am I telling you all these things? Each one of you should take the responsibility as a murid not to do anything that will in any way impact negatively on me. Always have good adab and always show respect. Don’t decide that you will just do your “own thing”. When some of you do your “own thing” without taking cognisance of matters in the Tariqah, you are showing considerable disrespect to Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and to me, because I am acting under his instructions. Does it not bother some of you when you are saying things you should not be saying or not doing things that you should be doing? Does it not bother some of you that what you are doing or not doing is a burden on me? Are you not concerned that you may be causing me worries, and that this is not good for me at my age?

The difficult part of my job when some of you show disrespect or make me worry, is that I am not allowed to be angry with you and I have to try my best to protect you from yourselves. This protection of murids from themselves is perhaps the most difficult part of my job. I have to be busy all the time through advice, suggestions, encouragements and scoldings to keep some of you on the spiritually “straight and narrow”. While you do what you please, I have to prevent you from doing what you please, because doing what you please is retarding your spiritual progress. You may think I am just having my say, but one of the murids just around the corner from me, did not bother to to come and greet me, prior to leaving on pilgrimage, despite being reminded a number of times. There are some, when they commit what they should not have committed, come back to me and indicate remorse. Others … well! In all of this my major worry is when I see arrogance in some murids; perhaps the most destructive personal characteristic.

I still wish the best for all of us. I still ask Allah Almighty for guidance for us. I would still want all of us to reach high spiritual stations; but what is it that some of us want? We will have to ask our hearts. I still want all of us to be under the banner of the Messenger (ﷺ) on the Last Day; but under whose banner do some of us want to be? We will have to ask our hearts. Do we think that we are not being supplicated for by Mawlana? Do we think he is not raising his hands and appealing to Almighty Allah on behalf of each one of us? Perhaps in the same way that the Messenger (ﷺ) cried in the depths of the night:
“My nation … my nation … my nation,” Mawlana is calling to our Lord: “My murids … my murids … my murids.”

This path we are on with Mawlana, and which stretches back to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (r.a.), is one of the most difficult paths in Islam; but it is one of the richest in spiritual attainment. For this attainment, one must be highly disciplined. There are so many who display maximum discipline all the time. This is most admirable for it is the basis of our striving. We ask Almighty Allah for that for all of us, amin.

[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]

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