Solitude: Khalwat & Ozlat 
Abu Horairah has quoted the
Prophet Peace Be Upon Him
“The best way for a man to live is to hold
harness and gallop along the path of Allah going any place where there
(for help) or fears, seeking death. Or a man attending the sheep living
cave or by the river banks, prays regularly and pays alms and
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
the characteristic of people of Waslat (Seekers of reunion with
beginner Morid (Avid Seeker) has no choice but to practice Ozlat
Solitude) and travel towards the end, which is the Khalwat (Empty
When a slave willfully embarks upon the Ozlat (Detached Solitude)
people should be saved and at peace from his Self’s evil however seeks
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
consider himself superior (avoiding the harm to people) to belittle his
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
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
avoid any contact). The man asked the old sage, “Why did you cover
I am not evil?” The old sage replied, “You are mistaken, my gown is
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
deceive and deviate by whispers. And learn enough Shariah (Divine Law)
a strong foundation.
Indeed Ozlat (Detached
Solitude) is to tear apart from the
Self’s shameful characteristics and Ozlat is the transformation of
praiseworthy characteristics, not to forsake one’s home and daily life
remote area. Some said Aref (Divine Cognoscenti) is with the people, on
surface of things, and afar within his depth. I heard Abu Ali saying,
that which people wear and eat that which people eat but within your
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
distance and travel, step beyond your Nafs (Self) and you have reached
desired destination (in a single step in a single moment)”. (That which
love and has been lost a woman a child… step out of your Self and you
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:
Self and come”.
Abu Othmaan Maqrebi (Moroccan)
said, “Khalwat (Empty
Solitude) is the state wherein all memories have been emptied except
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
Yahyaa Mo-Oz said, “Make sure
within your Khalwat (Empty
Solitude) you have Ons (Divine Intimacy and Affability) with It. Since
your Khalwat (Empty Solitude) you are affable and intimate with your
you come out of this solitude you shall find your Self again (defeating
purpose). But if your affability was with It then within this Khalwat
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
of Khalwat (Empty Solitude) and I found the evil of this world and the
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
does not come about unless by obedience and politeness towards the
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,
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
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
I heard Abu Ali quoting
Shebly, “Warning People! (Impending)
Poverty! Poverty!” People asked what is the sign for upcoming poverty?
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
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
alone?” and Malek replied, “Have never heard anyone scared aloof by
Jonaid said, “Whomsoever
wishes his religion to be healthy
and at peace, and his heart and body at comfort tell him embark upon
(Detached Solitude) since these are horrific times and the wise are
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
facing people and conducting affairs”. (Solitude is not for everyone; a
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,
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
(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
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
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 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,
the Solitude easy for him enriching him with contentment and give him
see his own faults. And whomsoever has these attributes he is given the
this world and the world after”.
and Ozlat both are Arabic words meaning
solitude. However the Sufis use these words in different context:
- Khalwat (Empty Solitude) is Solitude
when there is nothing in the Sufi’s heart and mind except the Beloved
- 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
confuse the spiritual Solitude with physical one.
Dara O. Shayda