Ladder to the Moon and the Ladder from the Moon
It is a very important point that Grandsheikh Abdullah will speak upon tonight. I say that Grandsheikh will speak because the Awliya are living real lives; they are living stars, not dead stars; they are living persons even after their disappearance from bodily life. When they leave this world and go to heavenly life, they leave behind them a deputy whom they cause to speak on their behalf; therefore, when I speak here, my Grandsheikh is speaking through me – making me speak on behalf of him. For this reason, I said that he is going to speak on an important point.
Grandsheikh was saying that a great Wali (saint) and lover of the Prophet, Ibn Omar Es-Safadi, was saying: “If a person leaves everything and abstains from action, saying that he need not act because he trusts in his Lord and that his Lord is sufficient for him and will provide what His servant is in need of, then that person has become an unrighteous and sinful person.” Here Grandsheikh is clarifying the real relationship between the servant and his Lord, saying: “There is a certain distance which servants must advance, and only when that distance has been covered and its limit crossed, that servant may say, ‘From here on I leave everything to my Lord and from this point on I entrust all my affairs to my Lord!’ ” For example, a farmer plows his field and plants corn, then he leaves it and has the right to just wait until the harvest yields, but if a person is not plowing and not planting, but just saying, “I am trusting in my Lord to give me corn at harvest time”, he is indeed far astray in his thinking and actions. You must be aware of your duty and carry it out. You can’t bring rain, you can’t force the corn to grow and bring forth cobs, but you can plan and plow – then you can trust in your Lord to finish what you have begun. This is what true trust in Allah (Tawakkul) is like. This is a very important point, and one often misunderstood, especially in European countries, where people raise objections to Islam, claiming that Islam tells people that they need not work, and should depend only on their Lord’s favours. In the present time even in the Muslim world, the younger generation is saying that Islam is the cause for the backwardness of their countries – but this is the result of wrong understanding. In fact, what Islam tells us is that we may begin a work with our own action, but it is Allah who completes, and that the success of any endeavor is ultimately in His Hands. This is a world of causes. We are in need of causes and must hold on to them in this life, because miraculous doings may occur sometimes for Prophets and Saints, but not for everyone. For that reason we have been ordered by our Prophet Muhammad (sal), to hold to causes so that we may witness effects and obtain results. Allah Almighty says that no one reaches anything in this world without acting – he must act and see the results. So, to act is a command from Allah Almighty and therefore we must not just sit down without movement and without action. Trusting in Allah, or leaving your affairs to Allah, is correct only after we have finished our duty. Sometimes in Tariqats, Sheikhs may try a murid by ordering him to abandon every cause, to not seek his own means of existence. But such cases are only rare exceptions and not the general rule – the general rule is to seek means, as Allah commands. Why was our Grandsheikh speaking upon this point? He is not mentioning it here in the context of worldly works, or actions for this life, but rather he is referring to effort required of us for reaching heavenly stations and Divine Knowledge Oceans. You must strive and do good actions as much as you can, and when you finish, after doing your utmost, Allah Almighty will lift you up. If you are asking for heavenly stations and miraculous powers, you must first struggle and not just say, “Allah may give us,” or, “My action is not sufficient for me to reach such heavenly stations.” A good analogy to illustrate this point is this one: Someone was given a broken pick and spade and was told: “Take these instruments and dig up all seven layers of the Earth until you reach the end where you will find your treasure.” Do you think that it is possible to reach it with a broken pick and spade? - Of course not, but despite this you must dig as best as you can and not give up, saying, “How can I perform this feat?” Your duty is to dig little by little, and your Lord is looking after you so that when He sees that you are firmly believing and working as ordered, He will send His Help just as you have reached the point of exhaustion and can’t do more. At that time He will send a huge machine that will dig up your treasures for you instantly and effortlessly. Because you are a powerless servant carrying out His order, He will bring your treasure up for you with His power, not yours. He is only testing you: are you listening, believing, and obeying? If you begin, He will finish, but if you say, “It is impossible for even the largest machines – so how shall I ever do it?”, you will be banned from the Divine Presence. If you begin your digging in spite of the obvious impossibility of the task, then Allah’s Holy Verse in the Qur’an will apply to you: “Allah does not burden anyone beyond his capabilities.” We are not claiming that we will attain all heavenly stations as a result of our practices; we are only doing what our power enables us to do and, in reality, to reach the goal by means of our practices is like trying to reach the moon with a ladder; even if all the world’s ladders were tied together you couldn’t reach it – its impossible; but we must try anyway, for perhaps one night from the moon there will descend a ladder to meet our ladder, and at that time it may be possible to go up, but for us to build up to the moon – never. We must do our duty. Allah says that doing our duty is the cause of our reaching to Heavens, but you must know that it is not enough. We know that ladders go up, but not to the moon. This is the precise meaning of Tariqat, and we are not cheating people: if one is working with sincerity, our Lord may send a ladder at any time from the moon to take you up, but you must do your work, and trust in your Lord. Many people are reading in books about miraculous happenings, and sometimes our ego asks for us to be one of these ‘miracle-makers’. Tariqat is the way to be able to perform miracles, but we are not working in order to be able to do such things, but only for our Lord’s pleasure. When He is pleased with us, He will also make us pleased with Him, and at that time you won’t be able to even look at or consider miraculous doings; it is only your ego asking to perform such feats. Our Grandsheikh is saying at the end of this lecture: “I am speaking on behalf of the Master of the Time, Seyyedina Al-Mahdi, because he is not yet permitted to appear and address people directly; therefore, I have been given permission in his stead. When he appears you will witness how he speaks.” Grandsheikh continued: “This assembly has the same virtues as the assembly of Seyyedina Al-Mahdi, and holds the same reward. This knowledge is not the result of reading books, but come directly from the heart of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sal). Allah Almighty gives this knowledge to those who trust in Him and keep His orders with full respect.”