In Your Beautiful Names all journeys commence
My dearest—May Allah
brim-fill your eyes with light—this Voyage is not
just for anyone. Unnumbered brave travelers traversed the earth and
heavens, yet their endeavor failed them, some failed even to start this
Voyage and most did not reach the destination.
The first step of this Voyage is the most difficult. A Sālek (Traveler)
must start the Voyage from where he or she is at, not from where he or
she wishes to be, not from where other people started theirs. Avoiding
wishful starts and yearning for starting-point of others, are the
Your body’s voyage is the traversal through points of the space-time;
this spiritual Voyage is the traversal from “who you are” to “who Allah
is”, from “your temporal existence” to “Allah’s eternal
Therefore if you do not take ample care to know who you are, then you
would start this voyage from the wrong point and you shall fail beyond
all doubts to reach the destination: Who Allah is.
I have sculpted the marble of who I am not, artfully
Chips of lies strewn upon the earth of loss all over
I have chiseled the marvel of who I am not thoughtfully
Whilst the pearls of sobs strung along the chain of sighs
You may start this voyage by the ever so slight first-step of “who you
really are”—Ethereal yet a monumental achievement indeed. If you embark
upon the Voyage without the actual first-step of “who you are” you
shall reach some destination, for certain farthest away from Allah.
As in the case of traversing any path, the act of voyage manifests
itself vis-à-vis the changes of the surrounding landscape i.e.
moving away from one tree approaching the next, leaving one exit behind
Similarly on this peculiar Path, the essence of your voyage manifests
itself vis-à-vis the changes in your persona’s landscape i.e.
silencing bad words for uttering good words, halting evil deeds by
motioning righteous deeds, forsaking foul behavior favoring refined
behavior. And the latter is the hardest for all Murids: The value of
forsaking one unnoticeable or habitual foul behavior may surpass that
of many years of worship!
A burning candle braving the odious gusts of destiny
A mother giving birth to her own miserable life
Ashes of my Self’s calf dusted upon the insidious Nile
A Moses running from his own Self’s Pharaoh
As on any path if you do not see any changes in the scenery around you,
the logical conclusion would be: I did not move at all. Likewise on
this Path, if you did not observe any changes in your personality, for
sure, you can confidently conclude: I did do many things but I did not
endeavor any spiritual voyage!
The unshakable reality of your space-time traversal is that you voyage
from biological life towards biological death. Correspondingly on this
Path, you voyage from biological life towards non-biological death,
where your existence is no longer and yet your nascent spiritual life
subsists everlastingly upon the absolute existence of Allah—voyaging
from “your existence” towards “Allah’s
My love, the voyage of a tree is through its growth and everything a
tree is all about, found exclusively within its single and tiny seed!
In the same way, your voyage is through your spiritual growth and all
that you need to grow, to bloom with effulgent blossoms, found entirely
within you! As there is nothing outside the seed that is a part of the
tree’s essence, there is nothing outside you that is a part of your
“If everything needed for growth is within” you might ask, “Then what
is the purpose of worship, knowledge,
and so on”, Nasafi has elegantly answered this question:
“Human being has level/stages
as does a tree (for growth). It is most patent what growth stage a tree
is at, at any given moment. So it is the job of the gardener to prepare
the soil, schedule for watering, pruning and cleaning in order for a
tree to reach the completion of its growth, one stage after the other.
Similarly Sālek (Traveler)
is a gardener growing, stage by stage, his or her Humanity towards
Ādamiyat (Human-ness, most innate perfection of being a man) by
exerting efforts and taming the Nafs (Psyche, Self).
All stages of a tree’s growth are
encapsulated within the seed. A competent gardener exerts effort in
order to provide the environment for emergence of each stage of the
growth. The same is true for Sālek (Traveler)
bringing forth the stages of humanity that are all incubated within.
Moreover this spiritual
gardener requires the companionship of the learned man to see to all
stages of the growth to appear.”
Here the gardener could be your parents, you or your sheikh and the
acts of gardening are worship, acquisition of knowledge,
and so on (Don’t forget loving). Some acts you may do privately by
yourself, some in a group and some may be done to you, but at each
moment of time focus your eyes on the prize: Growth, just as a gardener
does with a tree. Someone may draw a tree or may sing a song about a
tree or may dream of a tree, however none does make him a gardener and
suchlike efforts and aspirations will not help the growth of any tree.
So be a gardener not a painter or a singer or a dreamer.
As with someone walking a tight rope, losing the balance and falling is
inevitable. Deviating from the Path and interrupting the Voyage is
inevitable. But my dear there is a sure way to avoid or correct any
deviation, small or large:
Don’t be all into performing
too many prayers, fasting too many days or performing too many Hajj
pilgrimages, do the required and the obligatory. Don’t be all into
learning too many fancy words or strange spiritual tales in order to
gain much wisdom, obtain the average amount necessary.
Push hard to be straight and purify
your Nafs (Psyche,
You must reach a stage wherein, each
moment, pours out of you goodness and ease (for others), even without
you being conscious. Don’t be like those nations from who effuses evil
and suffering each day.
Evil and crookedness is their
essence, let the straightness and goodness be your essence.
Once you are adorned with the
Divine Akhlāq (Behaviors
& Attributes), be good and generous, don’t
make others feel indebted to you rather always feel indebted to others.
The meaning of ‘Bad Nafs (Psyche, Self)’
is to harm people or cause them suffering, now that you know this
meaning please avoid it by all means.
The meaning of ‘Good Nafs (Psyche, Self)’
is to actively seek goodness and comfort for others and each moment try
to comfort them by means of your words, your hands or your wealth.”
So you do not wish to be off the Path? You wish to continue with the
Then be a comfort, a solace:
“Every morning the scholar wakes up and seeks more knowledge, every
morning the Zāhid (Ascetic)
wakes up and seeks more Zuhd (Asceticism),
yet Abul-Hassan wakes up seeking more joy for some brother’s heart.”
(Source: Abul-Hassan Kharqāni’s quotes from Tadh-keratul Auliā by
Every morning wake up and seek a broken leg to be its cane or seek a
blind eye to be its guide or seek a broken heart to be its solace. Know
that the Beautiful One is amongst the broken hearts, not amongst the
Be a cane or be a guide or be a solace and yet be assured that you
shall never deviate from The Voyage, and that as with all things is by
© 2005-2002, Dara O.