Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, Alhamdulillahi wa solatu wasalaamu ‘ala Rasulillahi wa aalihi wa sohbihi ajma’in…
Here is an excerpt from the book, ‘The Darqawi Way’, a series of letters of Shaykh Mawlay al ‘Arabi al Darqawi radiyallahuanhu. May we derive benefit from it. Amin.
Know, may Allah have mercy on you! that the first benefit that I had from my master, may Allah be pleased with him, is that he took two baskets filled with excrement and put them in my hands. He did not put them on my back like my fellows. It was very hard for my self (ego) and so difficult that I became terribly constricted by it. I was violently shaken and alarmed. I was put into very great turmoil so that I nearly wept because of it.
By Allah I wept because of my humiliation, absement, and degradation since myself rejected what was happening and had never accepted it. I was not aware of its pride, arrogance. malignancy, and pigheadedness. I did not know whether it was proud or not. No scholar of the outward sciences had given me any understanding about it, not among all of those with whom I studied Qur’an – and I studied Qur’an with a lot of people.
While we were in that bewilderment and distress, suddenly a shaykh from the people of great unveiling ( ahlul kasyaf) and clear secrets was there before me. My pride was unveiled to him as well as my bewilderment and distress. He came to me and took the two baskets from my hands and put them on my back like my fellows who had a better exterior and a better state than me. They were not concerned with themselves, and they were not proud, arrogant or malignant. When he put it on my back, he said to me, “This is a good measure so that you can expel something of pride.”
At that, the door (of inner knowledge and understanding) was open to me and I was guided to correctness by it. I recognised the people of pride from the people of humility, the people of earnestness from the people of jest, the people of knowledge from the people of ignorance, the people of sunnah from the people of bid’ah/innovation, and the people of knowledge and action from the people of knowledge without action.
End of Excerpt.
Indeed, the genuine shaykhs possess the spiritual insight with which they know the spiritual state of their students and then they provide the remedy by commanding certain acts. Some students are made to serve people, while others are made to clean public toilets and baths. And these training can go on for years depending on how sick the heart is with diseases such as pride etc. The seeker will then gain futuhat/openings inner understanding just like in the story above.
May Allah aid us all. Amin!