From Music of the Soul
by Sidi al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i ash-Shadhili
“The guide, who shows you the way, is your brother. You cannot see the way if you do not know what you feel or what you are when you follow. You are the way of the truth. To walk in the way is very difficult because you meet with darkness and many troubles. You need to have the guide to help you and to take your hand. If you do not follow the guide who knows the way well, you will not know. How can you reach God if you do not follow the person who has reached God? He has walked the way before you, and has reached the highest station. He knows how to walk, and how to cut through difficulties and troubles. He knows what is good and what is bad and the right and wrong ways of this world.
It is necessary for you to search for the guide. When you find him, follow him. How will you know him? The guide carries all the qualities of God. You can know him by watching the way he walks. You will find his way to be courteous. He gives mercy and love, and he is not only loving, but he is like a sea filled with love. All the knowledge of God is in this sea. It is never-ending. Every ship can sail on this sea because this sea can carry all their ships. He is full of strength and his self is from the self of God. His soul is the soul of God and his heart is the house of God. He loves everyone and he gives love to anyone. He works all the time in the way and he does not sleep much and does not waste time. His time is filled with teaching and he gives everything to his students. He opens his heart to everyone. His own life is not important to him. He makes peace between people and teaches the family of God to be polite. He spends all his time working in the way because there is no time for him, only for God.
He does not make a difference between black and white or men and women, but everyone is the face of God. He is like the moon giving his light to anyone without distinction. He is like the candle giving light, and he is the wick to change the student from station to station. This is his wish. Like the moon, he stands distinctly among the stars because the light of the stars is from his light. He lives all the time only to help those who live outside to change every quality to live inside. Most of his life he has little money and he lives a simple life, like the poor because he is a servant for his God. He gives everything to those who are needy and helps the poor. He feels sad for those who are sick and helps them. You find him spending time in prisons, visiting and giving these people mercy and teaching. He helps the widows and orphans. He feels the pain and the suffering of the whole world but sees with a special eye. This eye sees inside everything. He knows everything before it becomes manifest because he sees with the eye of God. If you see him and know him, why not follow him?
He is the complete person because he has walked from station to station, all the way to reach the last station. There is no end to the walking as he continues all his time. He remembers the name of God and prays and sings all his time and all his songs are praying.
At last, and there is not last, it is necessary for you to know your guide well and to follow him because you need him. You cannot reach the complete truth if you do not follow him. He knows all the stations of the world on the crude outside (al-kathif) and he knows all the stations on the subtle inside (al-latif). You need him to clean you from the outside to the inside, to reach what he has reached because you want to change yourself from the darkness to the light. He is the father of the light and you are the son or daughter. Every son or daughter needs the father. Listen to every word he says and be like him because everything in him is very holy. Give him everything because he wants to give you everything. When you give yourself, then there is no difference between his face and your face. You can see his reflection in you and you can see the face of God in anyone of the family of God.
How can you see the face of God if you do not give everything? How can you reach Him and how can you know Him if you refuse any order He has given you? Do not refuse anything. If you refuse what he says and what he wants, then you refuse the order of God. Be polite with him when you site near him and especially when you speak with him, be quite and listen to what he says. Do not speak with anyone when he speaks. Find every meaning in every word he speaks. It is necessary for you to open your heart and to open your eye. Be like him in every quality. I want anyone to be with the guide in everything because he knows everything. Then you will know who the guide is. Do not change and do not follow another person who says he is the guide. If he does not have these qualities, then he is not the guide. I want you to stay with yourself and know everything. This is the guide. When you find the guide, you must open your heart and the guide must open his heart. This heart is like a flower full of beautiful fragrance. This perfume is for anyone to smell. This fragrance is the love of God and it has no beginning and no end. If the mercy is in your heart, why not give it to another, for everyone is waiting for it. This is the real message of the prophets.
God says, “Be My reflection in everything that you do. I have given you Myself and you can see Me in every human being. Give anyone love and mercy, if that is what he wants, and know you are giving it to Me.” When you find the love, you find yourself. The secret of God is in the love. If you want to go beyond all that you have been to find the secret of God, then I am your brother to take your hand and guide you from the darkness to the light and to the garden.”