I suppose that because of our long life on the Dunya, we have been very fortunate to have accumulated in our memories a large number of experiences, which either we have gone through or others have gone through. Through these experiences, we have been able to draw certain principles that one can use in one’s life. These principles were not derived from book knowledge but from people’s interactions with each other and with the environments in which they live. What it all means is that these principles are derived from the reality of life. There are no assumptions or guesses, because reality tells us what an experience is actually about.
In our short period of time in Tariqah, Allah Almighty has made us experience what we might very humbly call the reality of religious life. We have also gone through other experiences; of marriage, of rearing children, of academic life, and so many more things; too many to mention. And so today one sees in our senior people an accumulated knowledge built on experiences. The religious experience is highly specialized. This, in a sense, makes it very different from other experiences. This is because the religious experience is a process that takes place within the sacred because it is of the sacred. And so each one’s experience in the field of religion is very unique. Sometimes it is tangible but most times it is not. Sometimes it’s an experience that opens doors to other kinds of reality and sometimes it is not like that. Whatever its nature, it is still an experience of the sacred and this makes it very unique.
Of course, because it is an experience of the sacred one can draw valuable lessons for oneself and for others as one engages the sacred. Many of us have had a wide range of experiences as human beings but there is nothing in comparison to the religious experience. And so, when one sometimes gives advice on certain matters in the field of spirituality, such advice is primarily drawn from one’s experience of the sacred. You see, we do not always understand what we are busy with. We are not always aware of the fact that the sacred is of Divine origin and when our Lord grants to us a peep into the reality of the Unseen, we stand or sit bewildered. When we think of the kind of elementary bewilderment that we sometimes go through, what was the kind of bewilderment that Nabi Musa (a.s.) must have had when Allah Almighty exposed a minute ray of His Power on the mountainside? And what was the nature of the bewilderment of our Messenger (ﷺ) when a Messenger from the heavens called out to him: “Read!”? And so there are scales of bewilderment, from the minor to the very intense. Sometimes when one thinks of the variety of minor forms of bewilderment that one has gone through, one can only shake one’s head in amazement. We are not in Tariqah because of these things but we enjoy these experiences because we are just human. We do not need any convincing of the Unseen. Although we believe, we also know to a certain degree. This is perhaps because we are approaching certainty; approaching the certainty of the Unseen.
But I am digressing. Many times when we have special spiritual functions associated with inconvenience, many of the murids are not there. It is too inconvenient. It is either too far or the time is wrong. And so we forget that every function in the field of spirituality is another step in the sacred towards our goal, towards that special spiritual goal that our souls or our hearts desire. And so distance and inconvenient times become a major obstacle to our spiritual goals.
It is extremely important for each one of us to face up to the reality of what we are busy with and what we are trying to achieve. Because the sacred is of Divine origin, we have to, for ourselves, establish the highest forms of human behaviour that we are capable of in our engagement with the sacred. If one only considers all the different aspects of Islam that one has to take into consideration when one wants to recite Qur’an, these Sacred Words of our Lord, then one can understand the levels we have to reach in our overall human behaviour as we engage the sacred on a daily basis. One cannot always understand why we can take our religious responsibilities so lightly when Allah Almighty has honoured us to engage what He has given us. Surely it doesn’t make sense that He grants us sacred approaches to Him through different forms of religious service, and we treat the approaches lightly.
The pre-Fajr programme and all our other religious activities, in combination, form a major approach to Him. This is not for Him. It is for His Sake but it is for us. It is difficult to understand when Allah Almighty grants one a massive religious present through which we take steps nearer to Him, and we prefer to sleep. Does this make sense? Does it make sense to find greater spiritual benefit in sleep than in religious service in the middle of the night? I cannot always understand.
You all know what we are trying to tell you. We have been telling you these things for years but some are not listening. You see, regret is not a substitute for lack of religious service. If the service is not there, the regret means nothing. It is just an emotional waste of time and so one day in the Akhirah many of us are going to lament the long periods of waste of time on earth, because we were not listening. Surely, it is the duty of each murid to take it upon himself or herself the responsibility of attending every function that the organization has. Of course, this is only if it is possible. We are not going into the realms of impossibilities, we are speaking of the realm of possibilities. And so we are appealing, as we have done so many times in the past, to each one of you to carry out your responsibilities regarding the sacred. Look around you and ask yourself whether you want to be part of what is going on in the community or that you rather be part of the processes regarding the sacred. We ask Allah Almighty to guide us, amin.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]