One who seeks guidance must understand that the Sufi way of life is a gift God Most High bestows because of His solicitous predilection for certain of His servants. He opens the door to Sufism and lifts its veil only to one who is authentically convinced of his need for God and who is in an advanced stage of relying on God. Sufis are therefore set apart from their fellow human beings, and have no desire for others to share their life and lodgings. As the spiritual masters have said, "The Sufis dwell in a single house and no one else moves in with them." That is so because when God wants some of his creatures to belong to Him—that is, to exist essentially and absolutely for Him-He casts faith into their hearts and inscribes it there, and supports them with His Spirit. All of that happens without any initiative or merit on their part. Therefore, when God bestows the gift on them and makes them aware of it, He opens for them the door of refuge and of utter need of Him. His creatures in turn see themselves as powerless, capable of almost nothing, and existing at the limit of weakness and indigence.

 

When Cod opens this door to them, He sends them all manner of gifts, blessings, graces, and kindnesses, true to His promise that He will he enough for His servants who dedicate themselves to Him and take refuge in Him. At that very moment the lights of faith are increased and intensified. God Most High arranges their spiritual states and actions in such a way that the lights become visible to them and secrets are manifested to their hearts. They continue to dwell unceasingly at the door of God Most High until they arrive at the station of serving God constantly[i].  There they experience the ultimate vision of God's Oneness and realize fully His Uniqueness. At that moment, the vestiges of their fleshly humanity are effaced; their most mature judgments seem foolish; and in the presence of Existence itself, appearances fade away. "Say: The Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Indeed falsehood is a vanishing thing" (17:81).

 

This is the consummation wayfarers long to experience. Their faithful service of their Lord is brought to completion and they are freed from constant vigilance over their sincerity. That is their sole desire. At that point, "wayfaring" and "being drawn" come together.[ii] The difference is that God brings to this station those who have been "drawn" in a shorter time than He does those who are "wayfaring." In addition, He leads the former type to this station without any exertion or effort on their part. In neither case does God Most High leave them without His protection and custody at any level of the ascent, from beginning to end.  They are acted upon and are not the agents, according to the saying, "The Sufis are children in God's lap."[iii]

 

So you can see how God, to whom be glory, chooses to look after the person He has singled out, so that he is not reduced to searching and pursuing while relying solely on himself. The traveler on the Path must strike out in this direction. For example, he should consider his own state in the light of his understanding of the Sufi Path, taking the eminent status of one who is known to he a Sufi as a paradigm by which he might arrive at a full realization of the Path and its levels. There is no doubt that a thorough comprehension and understanding of that is crucial.  Without it no one would seek out the Path or take care to arrive at it, for a quest for something totally unknown is inconceivable.



[i] “The station of serving God constantly” translates maqam al-Ihsan.

[ii] . Literally, "The majdbub (the one drawn, attracted) among them and the salik (wayfarer) among them arc equal in this respect." See Introduction these two types of mystical experience.

[iii] DS 81 attributes the saying to Abu Yazid al-Bistami.