Sheikhs Test You & of the Inspectors of Sheikhs
The most difficult thing in the world is for a person to leave the pursuit of vain fancies and to break he ego’s ingrained bad habits; but it is a sign of a true way that it enables its followers to take such action against the ego.
It is little wonder that materialistic people feel uneasy and their lower selves positively threatened by the Sufi Way, as it demands from its followers even more than mere adherence to the Divine Law. It demands that we leave our ego’s will behind by accepting the leadership of a guide. Satan worshipped Allah for thousands of years but fell from his station in one instant when asked to submit to another creature and to follow him as his guide.
It is most difficult for the ego to obey anyone’s advice, especially when that advice contradicts its own ideas and prevents it from seeking fulfillment of its desires. Whoever is sincerely seeking his Lord’s Love must submit himself to one of his Lord’s beloved servants; he must stop being self-willed in order to do the Will of his Creator.
How can he know what his Creator wants of him? The Creator’s Will is expressed through the will of those beloved servants. Don’t imagine that those servants are serving their egos – no! Saints can only be Saints when their lower selves have been defeated by their souls; then the way is open for the Holy Prophet Muhammed (sal) to impart the Secret of Sainthood. When a Sheikh orders his followers to do something or to abstain from it you must know that those orders come from the Holy Prophet Muhammed (sal), whose will is in total subservience to his Lord’s command.
You must also know that the relationship between Sheikh and follower is a very delicate one that needs to be preserved with great care. It is a serious agreement between Sheikh and follower and involves responsibility on both sides. Yes, at the beginning it is easy to say: “Oh my Sheikh, I am accepting you and making my will subservient to yours.” Then the Sheikh says: “Yes, I accept you.” That is the easy part; but Grandsheikhs have been ordered to try their followers in order to ascertain whether they are trustworthy or not.
For forty years I have been following the Way of my Grandsheikh, trying to submit my will to his but it was so difficult! So many times he tried me, but through his spiritual powers he extended insight to me and kept me from falling. I remember one of the biggest tests of all. One day, near the beginning of my training, I was with Grandsheikh when he said to me: “Oh Sheikh Nazim, if you notice in my actions anything that conflicts with the outward Law or established practices of Islam, please inform me of it in private as soon as you get the chance. This is necessary as I am an unlettered person and you are a learned religious scholar. Therefore, I would appreciate if you would do me this service, as I wish to conform completely to all the laws and practices.”
Quickly Divine Help reached out to me to prevent me from failing this difficult test, and I said: “Oh my Master, I am asking Allah to forgive me. He knows best that I have come here to learn, not to teach. You are my Sheikh, I am not your Sheikh.” Grandsheikh was very pleased with this reply. That was his first trial of me, and an important one.
Are you looking down at your Sheikh, thinking that you can judge his actions? Are you appointing yourself the role of “Inspector of Sheikhs”? As of yet you are all “Inspectors of Sheikhs”, “Guides of Sheikhs” and “Correctors of Sheikhs”. What is the result? You remain at your station and the Sheikh continues on towards his goal in the Divine Presence. This train is moving on: whoever has boarded it may be in connection with the Sheikh, may accompany him through every rank in the Divine Presence. But whoever objects to the train, or its engineer, its conductors, its passengers, its accommodations, etc., may get off and seek a different means of transportation, for this train carries no prisoners: no one is on it by force or against his will. Nor does the engineer permit the train to be hijacked and ordered to veer from its course or to stop on the tracks.
The train arrives at a station. Some people climb aboard and others get off: then the train moves on without delay.