On numerous occasions we have mentioned to you that we are so specially privileged by being in the Naqshbandi Tariqah that came from Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq (r.a.). We are also so specially privileged, because we are the nation of the greatest Messenger (ﷺ), the seal of the Prophets (a.s.). This privilege is intensified even further by the fact that we have, as our guide, perhaps the most pious man on the surface of the earth, a Sultanul Awliya’. And he is accessible. What more can we as murids, ask?
In one of his (ﷺ) descriptions of the Awliya’, a status which our hearts are burning and paining for, he (ﷺ) said: “There are those who love each other in Allah (ﷻ).” This statement tells us how we should start to be with each other, because of what we want to attain. We want one of the greatest honours from our Lord; an honour of Wilayah, which is granted to very few. But we know that our Lord is Most Generous and that He grants. We have all the faith in the world and all the optimism that He will grant that to us. We are asking for a station at which we love each other in Allah (ﷻ). And so, we start consciously to work towards that station, whether it is going to be granted to us or not, by opening our hearts for each other.
This is not easy. In fact there is nothing in Tasawwuf that is easy. Are we able to open our hearts to all fellow murids irrespective of gender, age, social status, level of knowledge and national country of origin? You see, we cannot discriminate when it comes to the opening of hearts, then it’s a false opening. There must be equality when it comes to this. If the person comes from the middle of a township, is extremely poor, knows little about Islam, will we open our hearts to him/her in exactly the same way that we open our hearts to somebody who is just the opposite? Here is the crunch! On the Day of Judgement, Allah Almighty is going to say: “Where are those who love each other through My Honour?” Here Allah Almighty differentiates between those who love Him for His sake and those who do not. Can we be of that group who love each other in Allah (ﷻ) and say: “My heart is open to all my brother- and sister-murids at more or less the same level and to the same extent.” If it is not, then it requires a major revolution in thought and in emotion to bring that about. This is extremely difficult. For our hearts to be more or less the “same” for all the murids, to whatever extent we can, is an extremely difficult thing. And to establish a proper relationship, based on love and respect, with each murid is the Futuwwah that’s supposed to exist between murids.
Let us not pretend (because pretence is hypocrisy) that our hearts open equally for all other murids. The first recognition is that it is not so. One can cure an attitude if it is honestly recognized by one. And so each one of us, knowing our limitations in these relationships, must do first what comes first. And that is to ask Allah Almighty: “O my Lord, I have serious limitations when it comes to the principles of Futuwwah as applicable to the other murids in our Tariqah. I ask Thee to grant me help and support through those whom Thou hast authorized to do so, to overcome this. Thou art my Lord and I depend on Thee.” By making this prayer we are expressing ourselves honestly as servants who need help. There’s no pretence in this. There’s the desire to treat every other murid as a brother/sister, and to develop between the murids a love which later in our lives, if Allah (ﷻ) so wills, will express our spiritual stations.
So now, when murids fight or fall out with each other or gossip about each other, what does it tell us? The more we do this, the further we are away from loving each other in Allah (ﷻ). We must all please understand this. The more antagonism we show each other, we are in fact showing how far removed we are from having our hearts open to each other. This is another crunch but it is a measuring rod of the extent to which we are moving towards loving each other in Allah (ﷻ). All the other principles of Futuwwah that are mentioned that we should apply to our relationships with other murids, have to do with the extent to which we are loving each other in Allah (ﷻ). Everything else is irrelevant. We ask Allah Almighty for support and help, amin.
An aspect of Futuwwah that we have never spoken to you about has to do with our relationships with the opposite gender, because of the work that we do and the way things are organized in this work, there’s constant contact between opposite genders. It is not possible to arrange our structures in such a way that there is no contact. This places an added responsibility on all of us. Always show the maximum deference and respect to those of the opposite gender. Be careful of suggestive language or jokes which may be interpreted in different ways. Always keep those of the opposite gender at a “distance” from you so that there’s no reason for a decline in respect and regard. It is not easy to live in this society and to avoid people of opposite gender coming into your personal space. Be careful. As we always say: “Shaytan is a professional, be careful!”
We ask Allah Almighty to provide for us protection from those things that are haram, from those things that we have doubt about, and from those things that are not important in our lives, amin.