From Music of the Soul
by Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i ash-Shadhili
The tariqa of the Prophet Muhammad is one. It is the same as that of Abraham, Moses or Jesus. If you want to know the way to reach God, then pray five times a day and make dhikr (remembrance of God). This way of ours, the Shadhiliyya is the straight way. You do not need many months or years, but one hour is all that is necessary to know the tariqa and to know God. All of us come as children to Him, so that I must give you the understanding of who you are. You are from the knowers of God (al-arifun). If you are not in the knowing, then you are still at the beginning of the knowing. This is a beginning which the end of most ways has not reached. There is only one way here, and all ways meet here.
Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, is the perfect (insan al-kamil), and through him all the knowledge from Adam to now is our because the truth is within our hearts. This is the way of the Muhammad of the time (Muhammad al-wakt) or the Jesus of the time. He is the prophet of the Holy Light (an-nur al-quddusiya), the Imam al-Huda. So turn back to the way of Muhammad which comes through the Guide; it is the truth.
This way is the way to know God. I knew this after a meeting of only one hour when I met my Shaykh, Sidi Abd ar-Rahman ash-Shadhiliyya. No way is faster than this way and no way contains more knowledge. The Shaykh takes the hand of the murid and says to him, “Now you are facing God, face to face.” And the Shaykh says, “Hu ant; this is who are.” You see that your eye is really the eye of Allah, and that there is really only one eye.
The tariqa ash-Shadhiliyya is the way of the person who forgets all things and returns back to the truth as in the beginning, a child in the presence of Allah. You cannot see more than Him or hear of any other place. You cannot speak without Him or eat without Him. You are with Allah, in Allah, to Allah with the origin of all things. You do not sleep, you are not tired, you watch everything, and so you meet your love to the end which has no end. Then you are together. You are one thing only, without borders, without above or below, without right or left. You are in this station and this station is in you (fana al-mutlak), the start which has no start and the end which has no end.
The stations and steps begin in the first moments with your Shaykh. Your nourishment is the love of politeness (adab) and peace (salam), and the agreement to all the orders without saying why or what. You are always a witness in the garden and the garden is the truth of God, and because you are so near the King of kings, you only speak what He gives you to speak. Allah cares for the people who seek the truth. He takes the hand of the lovers in knowing and takes their hearts to Him always, forever, face to Face.
Pray for Muhammad and his family and companions and the saints (awliya) and the lovers of truth. There is no difference among them as to who they are, where they have come from, and what they are saying. They speak the language of Allah because they are His beloveds and lovers. The Maker of the people teaches them the truth. I ask Allah to open our hearts to Him that all our affairs will be in His Hands. We ask Him that we may not be ashamed when we meet Him. We ask Him that there may be no veil between us and Him, and to make us to be always under His Eyes and Orders, hand to Hand, joining.
All this is from the hidden knowledge of Him, and if you are from the sons of Muhammad, then when you go to give this message from the real to the real, you are as a guide. You will be a light in this sad and weeping world. You will be with the prophets and messengers, and Allah will ask you about this message. If you have received it, you must give it, because you will take the people from the darkness to the light, from death to life, from hating to loving.
Therefore Allah makes you guides of His love, giving His kindness. This is your work, like the work of a candle which is light. With the love of God give light to those whose way is dulled. Then you will live and they will live in the Compassion of Allah and the prayers of Him forever.
You are the people of Him in the reality forever. You are always in the garden. My Master and King, the owner of this world, is always with you because you are His beloveds.