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Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: The open door

Many of us are only a few steps away from moving ahead into the Akhirah.  Some of us are looking ahead with great expectation and hope that our Lord would honour us when we arrive.  But most of us are seriously worried about ourselves and about our destinations, because we know that the destinations are definitely there.  The reason for our entering into Tariqah is directly linked with these destinations.  We are on this path because Allah Almighty has placed in our hearts a desire for His Satisfaction; a desire which if achieved would mean that we would be honoured in the Hereafter.  Any other reason for entering into Tariqah is just playing games.

Tariqah has to do, very essentially, with the sciences of the Hereafter; the understanding of those branches of knowledge that will grant to us the bliss in the Hereafter.  It is not only the understanding of these sciences but also the application of them in our daily lives.  Understanding who we are and the direction we are going to take in the Hereafter are fundamental teachings of Tasawwuf or of these sciences.  When we talk of Tariqah we are talking of the Hereafter, because it is there where eternity lies, not here.  And so, to put it another way, Tariqah has to do with our eternal existence.  It is a strange thing to say, but it is something that we need to know about.

Those of us who are conscious of our goals, here and in the Hereafter, know that our striving and struggling for spiritual grants by our Lord will eventually have to do with how these grants will profit us in the Hereafter.  The grant of a station in the Dunya is, of course, only worthwhile if that grant allows for us considerable virtues in the Hereafter.  Otherwise, it would only be a temporary period of earthly satisfaction, and this is definitely not one of the characteristics of Divine Grants.  These grants might come in the Dunya but the blessings of these grants occur mainly in the Hereafter.  I hope that I am putting this correctly, but this is how it has come into my mind.  We can thus see that being in Tariqah has to do not only with the sciences of the Hereafter but also with heavenly grants that will give us considerable spiritual advantages in the Hereafter.  We must see the links between all of these, and we must see the dynamics which operate between these factors.

A person in Tariqah is supposed to take his eyes off the Dunya to whatever extent he is able to, and to start focusing on the Akhirah.  This is extremely difficult, because we live here and in many cases enjoy living here, and perhaps in some cases do not easily want to leave living here.  This is what people cannot understand about us.  They cannot understand how it is possible for human beings to live here but to see their living here as a temporary sojourn, and whose eyes are focused on the eternity of the afterlife.  Perhaps that is why they criticise us so much.  They want us to be like them, scratching in the sands for little stones when the people of Tariqah have their hands raised to their Lord seeking Divine gems.  These scratchers in the sand do not understand what we are up to, do not understand the path we are walking on neither our goals.  Perhaps this is what makes people in Tariqah so different, because of the nature of the paths they are walking on and the nature of the goals they are trying to achieve.  And so others see us as “strange” or as “fanatics”.  I am telling you all of this, because there is no greater position for a believer, other than sujud, than to be in a position of having his hands raised to his Lord appealing for small drops of His Mercy Oceans – just small drops; small drops, which to us will be massive oceans of Divine Blessings and Virtue.  We must understand that in sujud we glorify His Name and in supplication we plead for what He can grant.  When we bring together the glorification and the knowledge that only He grants, then we are starting to understand the nature of the sciences of the Hereafter.  These sciences have to do primarily with understanding the relationship between glorification in prostration and pleading for grants with our hands raised to the heavens.  Perhaps I am over simplifying this.  What I want to say is that this relationship is an aspect of the sciences of the Hereafter.

We are all in Tariqah.  We should all understand the gravity of this path and the nature of the goals at the end of the path.  For some the goal is far; for others very near.  Some have even reached the goal but those who have reached are now even in greater glorification and in greater supplication than before, because now this relationship between the glorification and the supplication is underlined by a deep gratitude to one’s Lord for having granted one a special spiritual station.  The striving and struggling never really stops, irrespective of where one is on the path.  It is strange that the nearer one gets to one’s goal the greater is one’s glorification and supplication and this does not stop but it increases when the goal is reached.  Look at our Awliya’.  Allah Almighty granted them Wilayah and then they engaged in their worship to a more intensive degree.  Once they received their grant and reached their goal, they fear not being in a state of remembering Him and so He makes them remember Him even more, despite their achievements, as they say.

I know that the achievement of goals is one of the most difficult things in Islam; that is why so few have achieved.  And this is also perhaps why Allah Almighty gives us an understanding of what we can achieve in the first surah of the Qur’an, when He says that we have to say:

إِهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيْمَ صِرَاطَ الَّذِيْنَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ

Guide us on the right path, the path of those on whom Thou hast placed Thy Blessings (1: 6-7).

This is in Suratul Fatihah.  We recite this so many times everyday, perhaps not with the awareness of what we are asking.  We are asking our Lord that He must place us at the station at which His choicest servants are.  He is telling us to ask Him this.  This means that it is within our reach.  And so He tells all of us, especially those of us in Tariqah, that each one of us has within ourselves the spiritual potential to reach the station at which these servants are.  It is my understanding that this station has gradations or different levels but even if one is at the lowest level, one is still at the station.  You see, I find it extremely difficult to see people wasting their time with inanities when their Lord has opened for them a door to His greatest station.  This is beyond my understanding, totally beyond my understanding.  Allah Almighty has opened a door for us to a station at which His choicest servants are and, in arrogance, most of us turn away.  People in Tariqah are not those who turn away.  They are those who see the open door and who strive with their hands in the hands of an occupant of that station, to help them to go through the door.  We ask Allah Almighty that He must grant all of this to us; to let us see the open door and to let us be guided through it in order to enjoy the company of His most virtuous and most blessed servants, amin.

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

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