Sometimes we are deeply concerned about the nature of our hearts, little realizing that those hearts are in a constant state of remembrance of our Lord. It is difficult for us to fathom this, because there is no consciousness of it. We are not aware that the heart, as part of Allah Almighty’s creation, is in a constant state of glorification of its Lord. This is one aspect, but it is not the aspect we are concerned about. We are concerned about the extent that our hearts are instruments of our Lord’s remembrance. It is the heart’s role as an instrument that concerns us, because we know that its glorification of its Lord is inherent in it, and we also know that to become an instrument of remembrance is a long road on which that heart is involved with different forms of ibadat. Allah Almighty mentions in the Holy Qur’an:
اَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوْبُ
In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction (viii: 28).
The words of this verse are not as we understand them in the Arabic or English languages. These words have to do with the extent that that heart, through the remembrance of Allah (ﷻ), becomes saturated with that remembrance. Just like the tongue should be kept moist with different litanies, so the heart becomes saturated with those litanies. It becomes that part of the human personality that, in a sense, is an instrument of our Lord’s remembrance, but also an instrument of our Lord. This is a bit difficult to understand. Can we understand that in our spiritual progress we come to a stage at which our hearts are only for our Lord? And so, in a sense, through being for Him, they become His. If one examines the lives of the intensely pious, or listens to them, or reads about them, then one comes to understand what it means when He says the heart belongs to Him or hearts belong to Him.
You see, the heart as the essential part of our spiritual being has an innate ability to respond to our Lord when our tongues or our minds are busy with remembering Him. The heart knows how to respond, and so, every crevice of that heart, if there are crevices or every part of that heart, if there are parts, has the word “Allah” vibrating through it. Can one imagine a heart so alive with the remembrance of Allah (ﷻ) that the Name Allah becomes almost as if its part of that heart. What an achievement; the Greatest Name of our Lord becomes a presence of our Lord in the heart of the servant. Is this perhaps what is meant when our Lord says He is with us? When our Lord says He is with us, does it perhaps mean that He has put of His Presence through the word “Allah” into our hearts and made it part of the heart? So the heart is not only the receptacle of the Names of our Lord, but those Names, especially the word Allah (ﷻ), becomes part of that heart, and gives the heart an experience of the Presence of our Lord. All of these things are so complicated, but they are there for us to understand. If we should know the large number of different complications that involve our hearts especially when it comes to the Presence of our Lord, if we should know this, what are we going to say?
I have been fortunate to sit in the company of His Friends, and there is no better way to be with one’s Lord than to be in their company. You see, while our hearts have very small deposits of spiritually, their hearts are pregnant with the Presence of their Lord, in ways we do not understand. So, when they speak, it does not always come from them. It sometimes comes from a heavenly domain which even they know little of. And when it does come, it comes as inspiration in the hearts. How can the servant speak about things that are of the heavenly domain, without inspiration from that domain? The Friends of Allah (ﷻ) do this all the time, because there are many times during the day when their links with this domain are so strong and when they speak, it is from that domain.
I have on numerous occasions listened to these Friends. Sometimes they even say that what they are talking about is inspiration. Other times they just verbalise those inspirations and we, the listeners, can just listen in awe at the explanations of and the understanding of matters, which have come into the hearts of these Friends.
Many of us miss out on this, because our feet are buried deeply in the sands of this world. Our aims are for this world and so we never have an experience throughout all our lives of either Divine or angelic inspiration. And then, of course, we condemn what we do not understand. The condemnation doesn’t cause the inspiration to be erased. It continues to come even sometimes contrary to the wishes of the Friends. Sometimes it fills their hearts and they just speak endlessly. Other times it is just short, temporary inspirational bursts. Only Allah Almighty knows what is going on; not us and not the Friend.
Imam Rumi said: “If you wish to be with Allah Almighty, be with His Friends”. These Friends are the only tangible connection that we have with our Lord. They tell us about Him and we have little understanding, because we have little understanding of the spiritual processes through which these Friends go. When our Prophet (ﷺ) reached the height of spiritual development, he could ascend into the heavens with his body. Nothing could stop the spiritual forces that took him from Makkah to Jerusalem to the Heavens. He was functioning in a domain that none of us has any idea of. Similarly, but on a very lesser scale, the Friends of our Lord have experiences of their Lord’s Presence in their hearts which we have no idea of. These beings of great spiritual achievements, such as the Prophets and the Friends of Allah (ﷻ), occupy a very special place in the arrangement of things heavenly.
The more I am granted a small understanding of some of these things, the more I stand in bewilderment of what there is for us to understand, and even sometimes attain. I have said on numerous occasions that while most of humanity is looking for small stones in the dirt, those who are His Friends have attained of His Heavenly Graces, which have no limit. Do we prefer the stones in the sand or in the dirt to Heavenly Graces which have no limits? Although those Graces descend on the Friends on this planet, the real enjoyment of those Graces will be in Paradise. Some of us are going to be shocked the Day when we see what the Friends of our Lord have attained when we see them in the Akhirah. While they are enjoying the bliss of our Lord’s Countenance, some of us are going to struggle just to get over the Sirat. It is the most amazing thing how human beings will spend all of their lives on matters that will be of no significance in the Akhirah. These Friends of our Lord use most of their time on this planet for their Lord and when they come into the Hereafter, others like us, will envy just to have a small particle of the Divine Lights that will be emanating from their faces. We plead to our Lord to let the direction of our lives be of such a nature that when we come in the Hereafter we will be of those with the brightest faces, amin.
[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]