Your interior is a Ruin

It was in the schoolhouse, in the late evening of Tuesday, the 19th of Shawwal, A.H. 545, that the Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him) said:

Your asceticism [zuhd] is part of your facade. Your religion [din] is part of your facade. Inwardly, you are a mess. It is like whitewash on the water closet, i.e. the toilet, or a lock on the garbage can. Since this is how you are, Satan has set up camp in your heart and made it a place for him to live in. The pious pretender [mura'i] wears clean clothes, but his heart is filthy. He eats off his religion, and exercises no self-restraint at all. His game may be hidden from the common folk [awamm], but it is not concealed from the Elite [khawass]. His asceticism [zuhd] and obedient worship [ta'a] are all superficial. His external facade is splendidly fashioned, but his interior is a ruin.

Do not allow your lower self [nafs] to rear its head. Either you ride it, or it will ride you. Either you pin it down, or it will pin you down. If it does not obey you when you wish to obey Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), chastise it with the whips of hunger, thirst, humiliation, nakedness, and seclusion in a place devoid of any human companion. Do not lay these whips aside from it until it becomes tame, and obeys Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) under all circumstances. Even when it is tame, you must not stop chiding it: "Have you not done such and such, and such and such?" Apply the appropriate punishment to keep it permanently subdued.

Woe unto you! Obedient service to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is performed by the heart [qalb], not the outer mold [qalab]. All these things are connected with hearts, innermost beings and spiritual qualities [ma'ani]. Strip yourself bare of what you now have on, so that I may get for you from the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) an outfit that will never wear out.  Take off the garment of lust, frivolity, conceit and hypocrisy, of your love of being acceptable to people and having them approach you and bring you gifts. Take off the clothing of this world, and put on the clothing of the hereafter.

Divest yourself of your power, your strength and your very existence [wujud], and throw yourself down before the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) without power, without strength, without attachment to material means [sabab], and without idolatrous worship of any created thing. Then, if you do this, you will see His gracious favors all around you. His mercy will come to join you, and His blessing and benefit will clothe you and enfold you in their embrace. Flee to Him. Dedicate yourself wholly to Him, naked, with no you and no one other than you. 

You must experience the mortification of your lower selves, your desires and your devils, before you die. Experience the special death [al-mawt al-khass] before the common death [al-mawt al-'amm].

O ignorant one, you give up listening to words like these, and sit there in your cell, with only your own self and your passions for company! What you need first is the fellowship of the Shaikhs [shuyukh], and the slaying of the lower self, the natural instincts and everything apart from the Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must stay by the door of their houses, I mean the Shaikhs, and then after that you may go off by yourself, and sit in your cell alone with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). When this has been fully accomplished by you, you will come to be a remedy for the people, a rightly guided guide [hadi mahdi] by permission of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He).

As you are now, your tongue is pious [wari'], but your heart is immoral [fajir]. Your tongue praises Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), while your heart resists Him. Your outer being is a Muslim, but your inner is an unbeliever [kafir]. Your outer is a monotheist [muwahhid], but your inner is a polytheist [mushrik].

The believer starts with the development of his inner being, and then tackles the development of his outer being. Someone who is constructing a house will spend large sums of money on its interior while the gateway is just rubble; he will leave fixing the entrance until after he has completed the main building. One must likewise begin with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and earning His good pleasure [rida], and then pay attention to creatures with His permission. The first stage is to acquire [tahsil] the hereafter, and only then to obtain one's allotted shares [aqsam] in this world.

O young man! Act in conformity with His ordinance [hukm] and His knowledge, and do not go beyond what is prudent. Do not forget the covenant ['ahd]. Struggle with your lower self; your passions, your devils, your natural impulses and you’re [attachment to] this world. Never despair of the helpful support [nusra] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), because it will come to you with your steady perseverance. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:

Surely Allah is with those who are patient. (2:153)

The party [hizb] of Allah, surely they will be the victors. (5:56)

As for those who strive in Our cause, surely We shall guide them to Our paths. (29:69)

Restrain the tongue of your lower self from its tendency to complain to fellow creatures. Be an adversary for the sake of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) against it and against all creatures. You must command them to obey Him and forbid them to sin against Him. You should prevent them from going astray, introducing heretical innovations [ibtida'], following the passions and indulging the lower self. You should instruct them to follow the Book of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the Sunna of Allah's Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace).

O my people! Prove the sincerity of your respect for the Quran by putting its teachings into practice, not by arguing about it. Firm belief [i'tiqad] is a matter of few words and many deeds. You must have faith in it. Accept its truth in your hearts, and act upon it with your physical limbs and organs. Concentrate on what is beneficial to you. Pay no attention to defective and inferior intellects.

Your cure will be completely effected only when you detach your heart from creatures, connect it to your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He), and raise it toward Him, to dwell in heaven while your spirit and your physical frame are still here on earth. As far as your heart is concerned, you will be secluded with the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) because of what it knows. But you will participate with fellow creatures in acting according to the rule of law [al-hukm], not differing from them in any detail of this, so that neither He nor they will have any case against you. You will be alone with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) in your inner being, while outwardly you will be in the company of fellow creatures.

For help in all of this, you must seek the will of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), comply with His wishes and refrain from disobeying Him. Your outer and your inner should be as one. There should be compliance with no resistance, obedience with no rebellion, thankfulness with no ingratitude, mindfulness with no forgetfulness, and goodness with no evil. Your heart will have no salvation [falah] as long as it contains anyone other than Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). If you were to bow down in prostration before Him for a thousand years, on hot coals, but turning in your heart toward someone other than Him, this would not benefit you at all. Nothing will come to the heart while it loves any other than its Master (Almighty and Glorious is He). You will not be blessed with His love until you blot out everything else. What good can it do you to abstain from things while you are attached to them in your heart? Do you not know that Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) knows what is contained within the breasts of all mankind? Are you not ashamed to say with your tongue: "I have placed all my trust in Allah [tawakkaltu 'ala'llah]," when others apart from Him are within your heart?

O young man! Do not be deceived by the gentle forbearance [hilm] with which Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) is treating you, for the force of His wrath [batsh] is terrible. Do not be deceived by these learned men who are ignorant of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). All their learning counts against them, not in their favor. They are learned in the laws [hukm] of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), but ignorant of Allah Himself (Almighty and Glorious is He). They give people orders which they themselves do not carry out, and forbid them to do things from which they themselves do not abstain. They summon others to the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), but they flee from Him. They rebel and sin against Him flagrantly. I have their names recorded, written down and listed.

O my people! Respond to me, for I am the crier of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He), calling you to His door and His obedient service. I am not calling you to myself. The hypocrite does not call the people to Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He); he is a self-promoter. He is looking for favors and acceptance, seeking worldly gain.

O Allah, relent toward me and toward them. Present us all to your Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) and to our father Abraham (peace be upon him). O Allah, do not make us tyrants to one another. Make us benefactors to one another, and include us all in Your mercy. Amin. [Source : Fath ar-Rabbani]