Sometimes a person may have a lot of wealth stored away in a bank but he may not have a cent in his immediate possession. This doesn’t mean that he is poor since there is some sort of savings stored away.
Keeping this in mind; sometimes we may feel a bit despondent when it comes to the spiritual aspect of our lives. We may wonder why we should attend our weekly zikr sessions when it could be easily done at home.
Before we expound on the above let us make a reference to the life of Prophet Moses (as). Moses (as) attained a very high status in the sight of Allah. He earned the title Kalimullah – The one who Allah spoke to. Moses (as) brought the law for the Israelites and the other Messengers that were sent to them were followers / upholders of the law. This was emphasized by Jesus (as) when he said “I came not to oppose the law but to uphold it”.
One day Moses (as) delivered a very inspirational and excellent sermon to his people and one of those present remarked that Moses (as) is possibly the most knowledgeable person on the face of the earth. Moses (as) replied in the affirmative and thereafter Allah revealed to him that there was someone far more knowledgeable than Moses (as) and He instructed him to seek out this knowledgeable person called Khidr. During their travels Khidr revealed to Moses (as) that he didn’t possess the capacity to understand / learn from him and this became apparent during the three different situations they encountered (i.e. the boat, the boy and the wall). (Surah Kahf). Moses (as) displayed his impatience and ‘shortsightedness’.
Why mention this? We may feel at times that we know a lot and that we do a lot, and we are yet to see any benefit or results from our efforts. Always bear in mind that Allah is the One Who bestows and withholds. If perchance you achieve too much ‘religious experience’ early on, it can be harmful and detrimental to you. In Islamic Spirituality if you do a lot and see little or no immediate results then this could be a great blessing from Allah.
There are a lot of people who received religious experiences and behaved in an unfortunate manner and as a result they began to deteriorate and suffered. So while you may feel that all your efforts are in vain; always remember the concept of your savings in the bank; you are in fact storing it away, and it will be of immense benefit to you in the latter stages of your life.
Spiritual effort doesn’t warrant immediate beneficial results. Keep striving and Allah will bestow upon you when He sees fit; as He says in His Glorious Words:
‘Allah knows, and you know not’. (16:74)
The Prophet (u.w.b.p) could not experience the true personality of Angel Gabriel when he first came to him at Mount Noor; because the space/time dimension was not able to accommodate the true personality of the angel. Wherever he looked he saw the presence of Gabriel.
It was only when Prophet (u.w.b.p) was outside the dimension of space and time he as able to see the archangel in his true form. The same principle is applicable to our spiritual struggles. Our personality may not be fully mature to experience the spiritual realm. Tassawuf is one avenue of attaining knowledge of the unseen and we need to possess the capacity to deal with it.
However this doesn’t mean you should stop, keep on persevering with patience, for the love and pleasure of Allah. Every time you do a little remember you are getting closer to your Lord.
Take for example the moon. The moon does not generate its own light. Instead it reflects the light of the sun and has the capacity of making bright the dark night. So too, we are tying to brighten up our dark spots by connecting to the light of our Prophet (u.w.b.p).
Just as the medication a person takes needs time to work so too the spiritual exercises we engage in requires patience and discipline; while it will help to improve our personalities. We are aspiring to get closer to Allah but this requires constancy and patience.
Make the effort and let Allah take care of the rest.