Chapter 1
Ideology of the Sufi Nation [0]
Know that the elders of Sufi Nation, May Allah has Mercy upon their souls, have based their entire beliefs upon the sound foundation of Tawhid (Oneness) and their intentions were devoid of any inventiveness and inherited what was left from the People of Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet) that which has no ambiguities nor impurities. They discovered the nature of the Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient) and they discerned the attributes of Being from the Adam (Nonbeing) and because of this Jonaid the erudite of this Tariqat (Sufism) has said, “Tawhid (Oneness) is the discernment of Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient) from Mohdath (Transient with Cause & Temporal)”[1]. Abu Mohammad Jorairi said, “Whoever did not reach the realm of Tawhid (Oneness) his step shall slip and fall into his (spiritual) death”. In other words, if the person imitates the faith blindly and seeks not the truth by himself and reasons not towards the Tawhid (Oneness), shall not find the path of salvation.
What follows are my summarized recollection of fundamental teachings of the elders of Sufism.
Shebly has been quoted saying, “It is boundless and beyond words and even these words are invalid since Its essence infinite and Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient) and words incapable of Its description”.
Rowaym was asked, “What was the primary Divine Precept for creation”, replied, “To know ‘It’, since Allah has said, “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me” (Koran [51:56]). Ibn Abbas said, “(created them) So that they know Me”. (All things were created so they would come to know, respect and adore the Beloved Creator)
Jonaid said, “The first thing the slave is in need of, is the recognition of his Creator, and to understand the Mohdath (Transient & Temporal causal universe) so that he would discern from the Sifaat (Attributes) of the creation the Sifaat of the Creator by extrapolating from Mohdath (by means of reversing the assumptions) telling apart the Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient) from Mohdath. (And once this is accomplished) Whereupon recognizes the acquiescence and obedience to the Creator as a must, since if one does not understand this then no way can realize the regality of the king over the subjects”.
Abu Tayyib Maraqi said, “Mind works on the basis of reasoning and wisdom works on the basis of the Isharaat (Metaphors, paradigms, hints) and Ma’refat (Divine Cognizance) works on the basis of the witness of the spirits. The mind guides towards something and wisdom points at something and Ma’refat (Divine Cognizance) bears witness that: Worship is not purified unless by the purification of the Tawhid (Oneness)”.  (Bearing Witness is when you HAVE SEEN something for certain and you stand to announce, under the watchful Divine Vision, the truth of that observation you have been granted and such is the nature of Ma’refat)
Jonaid was asked what is Tawhid (Oneness) and said, “It is when the slave becomes one with the truth of the Tawhid (Oneness) of his Lord, thus the perfection of Oneness: It is only One the Nonpareil begat no one and no one begat It. And once the slave comprehends this shall deny all other associations with his Lord e.g. children, partners, similarities, shape, form and examples, “there is nothing whatever like unto It, and It is the One that hears and sees (all things).” (Koran [42:11]).
Abu-Bakr Zahed-Abadi was asked about Ma’refat (Divine Cognizance) and replied, “Ma’refat is a name and it means aggrandizement and exaltation of the Lord within the heart that prevents you from similitude, abrogation or annulment of the Lord (denying God all attributes)”.
Abul-Hasan Bu-Shanjeh said, “Tawhid (Oneness) is to be cognizant that It is not similar to any Zhaat (Essence) but It has Sifaat (Attributes)”.
Hussein Ben Mansoor said, “Observe the necessity of causation and transience for all things (except for It) since It is Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient)”.
 The author Ostaad Imam said, “Whatever has body/existence eventually is destroyed and whatever time concrescents (makes from parts or particles) eventually time shall scatter its pieces. Whatever is conquered by the mental faculty of imagination, then shapes and forms finds a way towards it. Whatever occupies space ‘where is?’ finds a way towards it. Whatever comes from a genre then ‘what is?’ finds a way towards it. Truly the above does not apply to the Lord who is pure and afar from such attributions and no bounds or limits apply to It. No ‘before’ or ‘after’ allowed and ‘prior to’ impossible for It. Very little can be said about It and It can not be the ensemble of any parts since It is Nonesuch and Unique and has created all the Attributes. Its Sifaat (Attributes) beyond any form of description and no causation for Its actions and no limits for Its being and indeed it is free from the conditions and attributes of creation. It is immiscible with any of Its creation and there is no impedance for Its actions. It is apart from all creation since It is Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent and Ancient) and the creation Mohdath (Causal, Transient and Temporal). When you say ‘when?’ It is before that, when you say ‘what?’ or ‘who?’ It has created them already. If you can assign a place for It, then It destroys that place (no place to contain It). The alphabets are Its signs and Its Being is Its own proof. Its cognizance is Its Tawhid (Oneness) and Its Tawhid is the parting It from Its creation. In other words whatever that forms or takes shapes indeed it is not It. How can something be Its limits when we look beyond that object and again stunned to see It again!? No eyes have gazed upon It and no intellect has ever reached It. Its Benevolence is nearness to It and Its humiliation is the elongated distance from It. Its loftiness is not by the measure of height and Its approach not by means of motion. It is the primal First and the infinitely Last, Most Remarkable Outer-Manifest and beyond the depth of all concealments, closest and furthest indeed Nonesuch the All-Seer and All-Hearer”.
Someone asked Zan-noon Al-Masri to inform him of Tawhid (Oneness) and replied, “It is when you comprehend that the power of the Lord does not commix with anything and there exists no impedance for Its artistry though the cause for all things is Its artistry and definitely no causation for Its artistry and whatsoever within your heart takes shape the Lord is certainly not that.”
Jonaid said, “Tawhid (Oneness) is knowing and bearing witness that the Lord is only One upon Its own Azal (Causeless Sempiternity) and none second to It and no one can duplicate what It can do”.
Abdollah Khafif said, “Faith is to believe in that which Allah has made the person aware of from the realm of Qayb (Divine Transcendental Unseen)”.
Abul-Abbas Sayyari said, “Its Endowment has two kinds, 1) Benevolence 2) Drawing closer by degrees (Istedraaj), that which It leaves with you is Benevolence and that which It removes/destroys is Istedraaj or the act of drawing the slave closer to Itself by degrees. If you need to say your are a Mo’men (Believer) then say By the Grace of Allah”.
Abu-Bakr Waseti said, “Anyone saying he is a Mo’men (Believer), to be fair he should be asked to point out to some endued nobility or some information or news (from heavens) and if he can not provide such indicators indeed his claim is false”. What he meant was that the People of Sunnah (Tradition of the Prophet) required that a person to show a Divine Edict as a proof of his passage into Paradise prior to being called Mo’men (Believer). (This is a stern response to the pompous arrogance of many religious zealots who present themselves as a Mo’men for worldly gains and fame. No true Sufi has such courage to call himself Mo’men) 
Sahl Bin Abdollah said, “The Believers ceaselessly gazing upon their Lord, but not with the head’s eyes nor with the mental comprehension” (They see the Beloved because It wants them to see It deep within and there is no known faculty for such perception)
Abul-Hassan Noory said, “Allah Almighty placed an unparalleled Divine desire within the heart of Mohammad Peace Be Upon Him and honored him with Ascension to Heavens and Divine Vision (to see the Beloved)”.
(I could not figure out the persons) “Oh Mohammad if someone asked you where is your deity what would you say?” he replied, “It is within the state of Azal (Causeless Sempiternity)” and the man again asked, “And if you are asked where is Azal what would you say?” He replied, “It is presently at the state of Azal and there is no spatial attribute for It”. It has no need for any spatial quantity or relations.
Abu Othmaan Maqrebi said, “Creation is an ensemble of molds within which the Divine Commandments fit”.
Waseti said, “Souls and bodies subsist upon the Lord and are created by It not subsisting upon their own essence. The same is for what comes to the hearts and what motions, are both subsisting not upon their own essence but subsist upon It. What the slaves gain or find are also created by the Lord e.g. the jewels are created by It and other than It no one else created the events and destinies”.
Abu-Said Kharraz said, “Whomever thinks that he reaches his goal by means of his own efforts is a dreamer and whomever thinks that can reach the goal with no effort shall suffer”. (You reach your goal by the Grace of Allah in parallel with your efforts)
Waaseti said, “It has portioned many partitions and created the Sifaat (Attributes) and since there are partitions all things can exert energy and move”. (If there are no partitions like the highway signs or irregularities then we cannot sense movement like moving in darkness. Also we move in Sifaat (Attributes) e.g. from Anger to Mercy which is another form of motion for human voyage)
Waaseti was asked about the disbelief in God and he said, “Disbelief & Belief, This world & the world after, are all from the Lord, with the Lord, subsist upon the Lord and are for the Lord. Their beginning is with the Lord and their end is again with the Lord. Fanaa (Evanescence) and Baqaa (Everlastingness) subsist upon the Lord. It is the King of the dominion and its creator”.
Jonaid was asked about Tawhid (Oneness) and replied, “It is certain beyond doubt”. Then again was asked, “How can it be found” and he answered, “Tawhid (Oneness) is to recognize that the movements (actions) of the people as well as when they are still, are exclusively the Divine Actions since there are no partners, associates or helpers alongside with It. If you could comprehend this, then you have met the perquisite of understanding/finding Tawhid (Oneness)”.
Zan-noon Masri had a visitor that asked him, “Pray for me!” he said, “If you are empowered from the realm of the Qayb (Universe of Transcendental Unseen) with true Tawhid (Oneness), therefore a sound invocation for you was accepted. Else scream as loud as you can like a person drowning”. (Scream for the Lord’s help)
Abul-Hussein Noory said, “An intellect that makes Isharaat (pointing towards) the Lord but devoid of any similitude or imagery, that is indeed the Tawhid (Oneness)”. (When you point at the moon you care not about the muscles/bones/nail/skin in your finger nor the person who is guided to view the moon or the celestial structure of moon itself. If you can point to the Lord similarly, then that is Tawhid (Oneness))
Abu-Ali Roodbary said, “Tawhid (Oneness) is the cessation, denial and rejection of similitude (For God). Tawhid (Oneness) is incubated within one word (atomic concept) that no matter what takes shapes through your imagination and passes though your mind is not the Lord and the Lord is not that, since Allah said, “there is nothing whatever like unto It, and It is the One that hears and sees (all things).” Koran [42:11]”
Abul-Qasem Nasr-Abaadi said, “The Paradise subsists upon the Lord’s Everlastingness and the only things that last you continual are Its Mercy and Its love for you which subsists upon Its Everlastingness (i.e. all else fades away)”. There is a huge difference between that which is in need of others and that, which has no need of others, and what was said above by Nasr-Abaadi is on the brink of Tahqiq (Research). And Allah’s Sifaat (Attributes), which are from Its essence being Qadim (Immemorially & Infinitely Preexistent & Ancient) are created and subsist upon Its everlastingness.
Again Nasr-Abaadi said, “You are wavering between the Sifaat (Attributes) of actions and Sifaat of Zhaat (Divine Innate Essence), which both are Its Sifaat after all. Truth is: When you are away and partitioned from It, in this world, you are enjoined with the Sifaat (Attributes) of Its actions. But when you are reunited with It, you reach the Sifaat (Attributes) of Its Zhaat (Divine Essence). (More examples of travel in Sifaat)
Jonaid said, “How can there be any reunion between a Nonesuch Nonpareil Being and someone, e.g. human beings, which has many duplicates and facsimiles? This is done by the Divine power’s bestowal of grace and generosity, which is beyond all comprehension, imagination and potential intellectual faculties. Except via the Isharaat (Metaphors, paradigms) of Certainty (Yaqin) pointing towards It or upon the trueness, sincerity and purity of the faith”. (We can not reach the moon and we are no the moon but we can point at it again and again (Isharaat). We can point again and again with certainty towards a reunion with the Beloved)
Yahya Bin Mo-Oz Ar-Raazi was asked to inform people about the Lord and he replied, “The Lord is only One Deity and a Mighty King”. People asked for more information he said, “Do not ask for more since whatever else is the Sifaat (Attributes) of the creation and what I told you is his definitive Divine Sifaat (Attributes)”.
Ibn Shahin asked from Jonaid the meaning of the Arabic word “Ma’a” meaning ‘to be with’ or ‘together with’ which has been used in conjunction with God e.g. “for I am with you: I hear and see” (Koran [20:46] reference to Moses). Jonaid replied, “In general this word “Ma’a” means to encircle or encompass through Divine Knowledge as was said by Allah, “is not a secret consultation between three, but It makes the fourth among them” (Koran [58:7]). (It knows the secret though It is not with them physically to physically hear. However Its Sifaat (Attributes) both hear and know.)
Zan-Noon Al-Masri was asked about the verse, “((Allah)) Most Gracious is firmly established on the throne (of authority)” (Koran [20:5]) and he interpreted, “It stands firmly upon Its own Zhaat (Divine Essence) and has invalidated the spatial attributes (for Itself). Its existence is upon Its own Zhaat (Divine Essence) and all things are in existence because of Its deliberate and willful commandments.”
Shebly was also asked about the same verse and he said, “Ar-Rahman (Most Beneficent Gracious) was/is eternal but Its throne is transient and this throne established because of Its want and command”.
Ja’far Bin Nasir was also asked about the above verse and he said, “Its knowledge is firmly established about all things and the amplitude of this knowledge does not vary from one object to another”. (Measurements of such things as amplitude are for creation not for the Creator)
A Sufi was asked, “Where is the Lord?” and responded (sarcastically), “Indeed afar! Are you seeking Its nearness by means of the eyes?” (It can be reached within the hearts not by the eyes)
Khar-raaz said, “The truth about the Qorb (Divine Nearness and Imminence) is to cleanse the heart from all things and stay reposed with the Almighty”.
Ibn Ataa said, “When Allah created the Alphabets (languages) It concealed them and when Allah created Adam placed this secret within him and did not inform any of the angels of this secret. The secretive words flow through the Adam’s tongue and Allah created, based upon them, all sorts of shapes, designs and forms.” (Does this explain why we are able to build machines, theories and computation that help us to comprehend and control the universe?)
Jonaid said, “Allah is unique in knowledge of the Qayb (Transcendental Unseen), It knows what there is, and that which It wants comes to be, and that which It does not want (becomes nonbeing) and if something is, It knows how it is”
Ibn Mansoor said, “Whoever found the true Tawhid (Oneness) lost the ‘when’ & ‘why’”. (Sufism’s Lost & Found!)
Jonaid said the noblest gatherings are the discussions about Tawhid (Oneness).
Waaseti said, “The soul is the noblest being that Allah Almighty has created. And It admires this creation”.
I hope this can serve as an apercu, for this book is about the consensus of the Elders of Sufi Nation upon answers to the questions and dealing with problems.
[0] The Human Genome Project clearly showed that human genetics is 50% similar to flies and worms!? And is not that far apart from the rest of the mammals. The Creator has blown the soul into our molecular incubator which makes us not only so different from the rest of the similar creatures but also so different from other humans. As the geneticist in the laboratory maps the DNA sequences within the human Genes, the Elders of Sufi Nation mapped the human soul!
[1] Mohdath is the opposite of Azal (Causeless Sempiternity) i.e. something that has been caused to exist and soon will be nonexistent. Jonaid alludes to this by making an effort to tell apart the Qadim from the Mohdath since what then remains in mind is the Tawhid (Oneness). This is an epitome of Sufi teachings.

© 2004-2002,  Dara Shayda