Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: Those who are reluctant

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One does not think that there are any murids who are not concerned about their spiritual status, or, if I can put it in another way, who do not feel deeply about their piety. All of us, perhaps without exception, want to be pious individuals, now or sometime in the future. To many of us, this is a passion, and so we will carry out all instructions with regard to our work. These murids also, spend long periods of time on the prayer mats, especially at night, and with their rosaries. They know that to attain a high spiritual station, one must intensify one’s worship to a maximum degree. They spend whatever time they have counting their beads, reading the Divine scripture, working in the Cause of Allah, or being in prostration. They will eventually become the achievers. And they will eventually be called ‘brother” or “sister” by other sufi shaykhs to indicate their spiritual status.

Loving each other in Allah (ﷻ) is characteristic of those who strive under spiritual guidance and through working in the Cause of Allah (ﷻ). We must all try to understand this and we must all try to think very hard about this and judge our behaviour in terms of it. Perhaps the greatest brotherhood in Islam is the relationship that exists between colleagues within or between different Tariqahs. Their brotherhood stems from their calling on their Lord together, and striving in His Cause together. It is this “togetherness” that is referred to as loving each other in Allah’s (ﷻ). When we are spiritual brothers or sisters our relationship with each other is a deeply religious one, and so we are the first to extend our hand in friendship to each other, and the last to withdraw the hand, the first to greet, and the first to extend one’s arms in embrace. Loving each other in Allah (ﷻ), has these characteristics.

I do not know whether any one of you has seen the relationship between a sufi shaykh and his murid that Allah (ﷻ) has placed in a station near to his or the relationship between two sufi shaykhs when they meet. The brotherhood is amazingly intense. This is Tasawwuf, which expresses itself through brotherhood.

Sometimes, or rather many times, one becomes aware of disrespect shown by some of us to others. People who show disrespect have lost the plot. The others, other than those who are striving very hard, worry one. One worries about them because one wants each one to attain what his or her heart desires. And when one does not see them regularly within our structures and at our functions where, one thinks, the spiritual energy is generated, one worries about them. To attain a high level of spirituality, one must be in consistent attendance and in consistent obedience. Of course this is difficult to do. It is easier not to attend or not to obey. Attendance and obedience requires effort and many of us do not understand, that what they are striving for requires effort. I am writing this letter especially to those who I worry about. When we call on our Lord for special spiritual graces, we must also work hard so that those graces can be sent down to our hearts. Each one of us must work to attain. There is so much that Allah (ﷻ) has for us; a variety of virtues and graces that he has brought into existence just for us and through His immense Generosity He wants to grant to us. One cannot always understand. The human being is a strange creation. His Lord has so much for him, has prepared so much for him, but his lack of effort shows his reluctance to attain.

Many times when one thinks of the Messenger (ﷺ), and one thinks of the reports that he (ﷺ) receives of us, I also think of his (ﷺ) disappointment. Allah (ﷻ) has provided him (ﷺ) as a model of effort and attainment. But our reluctance blinds us to what we can learn from that model. His (ﷺ) disappointment in all of us must be extremely immense.

Not only has Allah (ﷻ) provided us with His Prophet (ﷺ) as a model for our behaviour, but over the centuries, after the demise of the Prophet (ﷺ), He has sent us numerous individuals, His special friends, who try very hard to imitate that Prophet (ﷺ) in all aspects of their behaviour. In a sense, therefore, there are still to be found at most times, and in different places, individuals whose behaviour is a reflection of that of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). Of course, the imitation of his (ﷺ) behaviour is not a complete reflection of how he (ﷺ) behaved. His (ﷺ) behaviour was the Qur’an, and intensely pious people who imitate that behaviour today, only reflect a small portion of how he (ﷺ) was. No one can reach the level of perfection of his (ﷺ) behaviour. But many of the intensely pious have been granted by Allah (ﷻ) aspects of that behaviour to imitate. They have smaller or minor versions of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) behaviour.

These people live amongst us. And they have turned to their Lord through the intensity of all forms of the most excellent human behaviour. They have become the examples we can follow. And so Allah (ﷻ) has not neglected us in this post-Prophetic period. He has still continued to provide us with individuals whose behaviour we can imitate, and through this imitation, we can also attain great spiritual heights.

All over the world today there are so many individuals like these. Some of them are being called inheritors of the Prophets (a.s.), because of the extent that they are walking in the footsteps of such Prophets (a.s.). We have not been neglected. We must just ask Allah (ﷻ) to provide for us intensely pious people to follow and to guide us. We ask our Lord for that, amin.

[Unpublished 2012]


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