Qoshairi Manifest
Chapter 6
Solitude: Khalwat & Ozlat [1]
Abu Horairah has quoted the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him saying:
The best way for a man to live is to hold his horse’s harness and gallop along the path of Allah going any place where there are calls (for help) or fears, seeking death. Or a man attending the sheep living in a cave or by the river banks, prays regularly and pays alms and worshiping the Lord and when his death comes all bequeathed to people is goodness

Imam said, “Khalwat (Empty Solitude) is the characteristic of the people of Safwat (Sufis or pure folk) and Ozlat (Detached Solitude) is the characteristic of people of Waslat (Seekers of reunion with Beloved). The beginner Morid (Avid Seeker) has no choice but to practice Ozlat (Detached Solitude) and travel towards the end, which is the Khalwat (Empty Solitude). When a slave willfully embarks upon the Ozlat (Detached Solitude) believes that people should be saved and at peace from his Self’s evil however seeks not his own safety from the evil of the people. First, one needs to humiliate the Self (by not defending against the people) and do not prefer himself or consider himself superior (avoiding the harm to people) to belittle his Self to avoid pomp and arrogance, instead be humble”.
A monk was asked what he is and replied, “I am a dog catcher. This Self of mine is a dog amongst the people, I am here to remove it from the crowd so people are safe (from its bites)”.
A man passed by an old sage and the old sage wrapped his gown around himself tight (the old sage wrapped the gown around himself to avoid any contact). The man asked the old sage, “Why did you cover yourself up I am not evil?” The old sage replied, “You are mistaken, my gown is evil, I wrapped up not to touch yours so my evil would not rub upon you”.
Acquisition of knowledge to be righteous is the etiquette for Ozlat (Detached Solitude) so that Dive (Monster, Satan) will not be able to deceive and deviate by whispers. And learn enough Shariah (Divine Law) to build a strong foundation.
Indeed Ozlat (Detached Solitude) is to tear apart from the Self’s shameful characteristics and Ozlat is the transformation of these into praiseworthy characteristics, not to forsake one’s home and daily life in some remote area. Some said Aref (Divine Cognoscenti) is with the people, on the surface of things, and afar within his depth. I heard Abu Ali saying, “Wear that which people wear and eat that which people eat but within your hidden depth be afar from them”.
Again I head from Abu Ali, “Someone came to me saying I have traveled far to reach you and I told him this matter has nothing to do with the distance and travel, step beyond your Nafs (Self) and you have reached the desired destination (in a single step in a single moment)”. (That which you love and has been lost a woman a child… step out of your Self and you will find them eternal with Beloved)
Abu Yazid has been quoted, “I saw Allah in my dream and asked the Royal Highness how to reach It, The Majesty responded: Forsake your Self and come”.
Abu Othmaan Maqrebi (Moroccan) said, “Khalwat (Empty Solitude) is the state wherein all memories have been emptied except the remembrance of the Lord, all élan is emptied except the Divine Elan. If this is not the case, then the solitude is nothing but suffering and destruction”.
Yahyaa Mo-Oz said, “Make sure within your Khalwat (Empty Solitude) you have Ons (Divine Intimacy and Affability) with It. Since if in your Khalwat (Empty Solitude) you are affable and intimate with your Self, when you come out of this solitude you shall find your Self again (defeating the purpose). But if your affability was with It then within this Khalwat (Empty Solitude) all places become the same—desert, mountains, cities…
A man came to visit Abu Bakr Warraq asking for advice and he said, “I found the goodness of this world and the world after within scantiness of Khalwat (Empty Solitude) and I found the evil of this world and the world after in opulence and socialization”.
It has been said dignity, honor and greatness befalls the one embarking upon Ozlat (Detached Solitude).
It has been said that Khalwat (Empty Solitude) becomes easy if one eats Halal (Provision obtained through lawful means) and Halal eating does not come about unless by obedience and politeness towards the Lord.
Zan-noon said, “I have seen nothing to bring about sincerity and purity of intentions better than Khalwat (Empty Solitude)”.
Abu Abdallah Ramly said, “May your friend be Khalwat (Empty Solitude), your food the hunger and your conversations the soliloquies, either you die or shall reach the Lord”.
Zan-noon said, “There is no embarking upon Khalwat (Empty Solitude) away from the people unless one has been veiled against the people by Allah”. (Beloved is his veil against the people)
Jonaid said, “The hardship of Ozlat (Detached Solitude) is far less than suffering caused by mixing with people”.
Mak-hool said, “If in socializing with people there is some good, in Ozlat (Detached Solitude) there is peace away from people”.
Yahyaa Bin Mo-Oz said, “Solitude is the abode of the truthful”.
I heard Abu Ali quoting Shebly, “Warning People! (Impending) Poverty! Poverty!” People asked what is the sign for upcoming poverty? And he responded, “Sign for poverty is intimacy and affability with people”.
Yahyaa Bin Abi Kathir said, “Whomsoever mixes with people must compromise and whomsoever compromises is guilty of Ria (Arabic word for doing good for people’s eyes to admire)”.
Sa’ad came close by Malek Bin Ma’wal’s house in Koofeh (Iraq) and saw him all alone in there and he asked, “Are you not scared all alone?” and Malek replied, “Have never heard anyone scared aloof by their Lord”.
Jonaid said, “Whomsoever wishes his religion to be healthy and at peace, and his heart and body at comfort tell him embark upon Ozlat (Detached Solitude) since these are horrific times and the wise are aloof”.
Bu Ya’Qoob Soosy said, “Solitude is easy for the one with strong Din (religion) but for folk like us it is best to be in the society facing people and conducting affairs”. (Solitude is not for everyone; a person must have strong spiritual standing to embark upon it)
Abul-Abbas DaamQaany said Shebly advised him, “Embark upon Solitude and delete your name from people’s archives, turn your face to a wall and await your death”.
Someone came to Shoaib Bin Harb and he asked, “Why are you here?” the man responded, “To be close with you”. Bin Harb said, “Worship does not mix with Shirk (Associating equals to Almighty) since whomsoever has no Ons (Divine Intimacy and Affability) with the Lord has no Ons with anything else!” (Wow! And hundred times Wow! If you are not in love with Beloved you are not in love anyone else. If you are not close to your Lord you are not affable and close to anyone else)
One of the people of Sufi Nation was asked: “Is there anyone you are intimate and friendly with?” and he replied by holding up the Koran and saying, “This is it”.
Someone asked Zan-noon Al-Masri (Egyption) about the soundness of one’s Ozlat (Detached Solitude) and he replied, “True Solitude is Solitude from one’s own Self”.
Ibn Al-Mobarak was asked, “What is the medicine for the heart?” he replied, “Not seeing the people”.
Sufis have said, “Whenever Allah wishes to elevate someone from the humiliation of sins to greatness of acquiescence and worship, makes the Solitude easy for him enriching him with contentment and give him vision to see his own faults. And whomsoever has these attributes he is given the best of this world and the world after”.
[1] Khalwat and Ozlat both are Arabic words meaning solitude. However the Sufis use these words in different context:
  1. Khalwat (Empty Solitude) is Solitude when there is nothing in the Sufi’s heart and mind except the Beloved Creator
  2. Ozlat (Detached Solitude) is Solitude when the Sufi detaches himself from the people to protect them from his Self’s evil and does not protect himself against people. He does not embark upon Solitude to avoid people’s hurt and be at peace from them, in Sufism it is the other way around: To save people from his Self.
Neither of these two means to sit in a cave meditating for years. Most people including the Middle Easterners as well as the translators confuse the spiritual Solitude with physical one.
© 2004-2002,  Dara O. Shayda