Fiery Message of the Sufi Order (71)

In the name of God, the Merciful and Gracious
Glory be to God, the Lord of the Worlds.
To the Merciful and Gracious
To the King of Judgment Day.
You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.
Guide us on a straight Way,
The Way of those whom You have bestowed Blessings (Love),
not those with whom You are angry, nor those who go astray.

1. These are Seven Verses often repeated, which constitute the Opening of the Holy Book and the Prayer. The Seven Verses of the Opening Prayer are a condensed picture of the seven steps of the spiritual Path of the Pilgrim as he climbs to his Creator. Fātiha (Opening) constitutes the seven steps of the path of Wisdom, which in fact is each Sufi Order, and can be compared to the seven steps of the Persian pyramid called ziggurat. Salāt (Prayer) is a sign that these seven phrases constitute a complete and perfect prayer, and the number seven – a symbol of mystical perfection – further indicates the completeness and perfection of these verses as the universal Prayer of every authentic Sufi Order. Every murid (disciple) of the Sufi Way recites, chants or mentally repeats the verses of this Prayer (Salāt) a dozen or even several dozen times every day of his life. Faithful to the spiritual Path revealed by Archangel Gabriel usually chant no less than 17 times a day, partly in a low voice and partly in their thoughts. The Opening Prayer is also a topic for focusing thoughts while traveling or walking. Frequent repetition of the words of Opening in thoughts, in various conditions and circumstances, can be a source of Joy and Ecstasy, a source of Azīm for all who feel unity of heart with the Sufi Order or the Subudh Brotherhood. Fātiha is a way of worshiping and praising God the Creator, a way revealed by the Archangel Gabriel to Abraham and Ishmael, and then again to Muhammad. Discovering how each verse becomes an idea revealing the next step of the path of Wisdom becomes the task of the Pilgrim following the leadership in each of the Sufi orders of mystical life. One cannot make any progress on the spiritual path of Sufi orders without properly establishing and deepening Fātiha in one’s heart and mind. The thoughts and feelings of the adept must first begin to live with this Prayer before the seeker can receive proper spiritual guidance.

2. The often repeated Seven Verses are the essence of the entire Holy Book revealed by Gabriel, and without the concept of Fatiha, no one has yet understood the essence of the Sufi Message. The seven thunders speaking with their voice, which are mentioned in the Apocalypse of John, are the prophecy about the Seven Verses of Salāt, a Prayer also called the Glorious (Hamd) and Delightful (Azīm). The open book of the Apocalypse is also a symbol of our Sufi Prayer, because the Hebrew Fatoah means the ability to Open the inside of man to God the Creator, and anyone who reads Revelation 10.1–3 will understand this prophecy of Gabriel given centuries before the re–revelation of the Prayer to Mohammad. In reciting the Seven Verses, we follow in the footsteps of the prophets sent to all humanity, Abraham, Ishmael and Mohammad. It is a certain direction, certain traces and signs, and certain guidance. Adepts of the Sufi Way of God (Sirāt) cultivate daily deeper consideration of one of the verses of the Prayer in order to discover the heavenly revelation flowing through this channel. If on Sunday, the first day of the Holy Week, we take the first verse, Bismillāh ar–Rahmān ar–Rahīm, as a recitation and topic of meditation, then on Saturday – the last day of the Holy Week, we will reach the seventh verse beginning with the word Sirāt (The Way). It is a way of thinking and meditating, prescribed by authentic guides of the Sufi lineage for adepts taking their first steps in the Sufi Brotherhood or Order. Every authentic Sufi Movement brings the Opening Prayer to the fore as crucial to understanding the Sufi Message. This Surah (Book) is a summary of the Holy Scriptures, illuminates the sublime purpose of creating man and teaches that God’s relationship to man is based on Mercy (Rahmān) and Grace (Rahīm). The first verse of the Prayer should be remembered by the adept at the beginning of his day, meal, work, journey, as well as every good work he does, even lovemaking or a social meeting. Reciting the first verse, preferably three times, should permeate every aspect of the adept’s life as a moment of reflection and concentration.

3. The Seven Verses were also called Healing (Shifa), which means that this Prayer is a cure for all human mental ailments, a medicine against doubts and fears, a medicine that in times of illness becomes a constant cry for help from God the Creator. Calling the Prayer a Charm (Ruqyah) means that it is not only a protection against disease, but also provides protection against Satan and his supporters and strengthens human hearts against the forces of darkness, evil and unbelief. The Seven Verses are a true Treasury (Kaanz), an inexhaustible source of Knowledge from which such great Sufis as Rumi and Gazali continuously drew. All Knowledge that influences the spiritual and moral development of man is contained in these seven verses recited in the original. This means that the first three circles of the Sufi Order achieved through initiation, called Sharia (Moral Law), are based on the implementation of the moral principles contained in the Opening. The Radiant Knowledge, which is a commentary or extension of the Fātiha, is a descriptive explanation of the basic moral principles of the Sufi Way. The Seven Verses are the model, fundamental Prayer of all Sufi adepts, the Prayer with which the practice of the Way begins, the Prayer which the adept never stops. During Sufi retreats it is common to recite the Opening 40 or 70 times a day, so it is truly a collection of the most frequently recited verses in the murid (disciple) community of the Sufi Way. The first verse is, of course, the basis of the whole, becoming the basic everyday way of remembering God’s Mercy and God’s Grace. Unbelieving servants of Satan, these will indeed avoid the Seven Verses and, bypassing their practical, everyday use, we will recognize pseudo–Sufi false organizations.

4. The basic Message of the Sufis that God (Allāh) is Merciful (Rahmān) and Gracious (Rahīm) is repeated twice, which shows the importance of this foundation. Both of these attributes of God (Allāh) derived from the root RAHM mean showing grace and mercy, goodness and mercy, and forgiveness. Rahmān means that Allāh is the source of all goodness and mercy, it means that Allāh is the loving and merciful Father, the Creator of heaven and earth. Rahīm means that God is merciful, gracious and forgiving. Rahmān means grace encompassing the entire universe, and Rahīm means grace shown repeatedly or always at the request of the needy. Both properties mean mutual tenderness and kindness or thoughtfulness. A person who follows the Sufi path of spiritual development and becomes an adept of the Way of God must, above all, acquire both of these properties and consolidate them in his everyday behaviour. The community of the Sufi Order is a community that shows each other tender mercy, kindness, forgiveness and mutual help. Rahmān is all–embracing loving kindness, and Rahīm is forgiving and tender helping those in need. All Sufi disciples can be easily recognized for their daily mutual application of these moral principles in a community of faith and the Way. The number of seven verses, pointing to achieving perfection in transcendence (elevation), also suggests that such two properties, as angelic wings, should be developed to perfection. When we inhale thinking Rahmān, we connect with the One who shows grace generously to every creature regardless of efforts and deeds, and when we exhale thinking Rahīm, we emanate the strength to show mercy, to help and support, to forgive repeatedly and to show all kinds of kindness. Indeed, one who joins the Sufi Order (Din–i–Illai) or the Subudh Brotherhood must unfold the angelic wings of Rahmān (Mercy) and Rahīm (Grace). This means not only repeating the appropriate phrase often with your mouth, but also putting these ideas into action in your own spiritual community, family and surroundings. Putting Dhikr (Repetition) Bismillāh ar–Rahmān ar–Rahīm into practice is truly laying the foundations of the spiritual Path that transforms all life into Paradise.

5. Knowing God (Allāh) as Rabb (Lord, Creator), the one who creates, sustains and develops everything, the one who rules over creation, is the next step to reaching the essence of the Sufi Message. Glory to God, the Lord of the worlds, is a verse that makes us realize who Allah actually is, whom we worship and adore and to whom we submit in Subudh. For a student of the Sufi Way, Rabb is the embodiment of the Master, Creator and Lord, which means that our spiritual Master is ultimately Allah Himself, our Creator and Lord. Rabb is also a term for one who leads gradually to perfection. The seven steps of the Pilgrim leading to knowledge of the Creator are Prayer itself. Rabb indicates a person who has the ability to increase, improve, develop, refine and complete things, to sustain and care for them. What a wonderful character the student has who has developed the quality of Rabb. We cannot imagine a spiritual guide (Shaikh) among the Sufis who did not manifest the qualities of Rabb. Allah, ruling over the various created worlds, is both their Creator and Master. This is the greatest step in life when we accept Allah as our Master and Lord. Realizing the essence of the Creator and his work, creation (alamin) and the relationship between God and the entire creation is truly an important step in the process of spiritual development, without which there is no real spiritual growth. Rabb is the essence of the Creator ruling over the numerous worlds created in the work of creation, and at the same time the Master directing the gradual evolution, i.e. the process of perfecting the consciousness of created beings. The Man of the Way must accept both the truth of the act of creation by Allah and the truth of the process of gradual evolution of the consciousness of created beings (souls). Achieving a state of transcendental awareness (ecstasy), a state of elevation and sublimity, a state of sanctification of the entire life, is a simple first step indicated to us by the Master of creation, and can be achieved in the process of seven steps of Sirāt (Zirat).

6. The experience of God as the King of the day of Judgment or the King of the day of Faith (Māliki yawm id–Dīn) is the achievement of the fourth fundamental attribute on which the Throne of Heaven is maintained. Dīn is the essential experience of every soul consisting in accounting for its entire existence before its heavenly King (Māliki), before Allāh. God is the King of Faith, Religion, and each person is held accountable for following the path of religious faith on the Day of Judgment, which takes place over every soul at the hour of its transition from life in the body to subtle life, the future life. The awareness that every punishment or reward that comes to us in life comes from God, allows every adept to act sensibly and appropriately to the situation. Sufi disciples refrain from judging their sisters and brothers in the Way, for they know that the power to judge belongs to the King of the heavenly kingdom, who rules everything perfectly and knows everything infallibly. Only the 144,000 designated to co–reign and judge have the power of judgment over humanity. Cultivating Dīn is a simple examination of conscience at the end of each day, repentance and a request to Allah to forgive our transgressions and erase our sins. Dīn is living in accordance with the moral principles taught in the Sufi Order, principles that protect against Punishment on the Day of Judgment, on the Day of Reckoning for Faith. We call the Sufi Order Din–i–Illai to emphasize the basis on which it is based, which is the Divine Faith or Religion of God. The Sufi Order protects the sincere Pilgrim from punishment on the Day when the Master judges the soul. Dīn means retribution, punishment or reward, settlement, which means that realizing the law of retribution in life and the need to account for one’s actions to the Creator is at the basis of the very essence of what we call Faith or Religion. The 144,000 servants chosen by the Creator to judge humanity are guardians of the law of retribution and participate in the work of sending punishments and rewards to humanity depending on people’s way of life and intentions. The East calls these chosen ones the Lords of Karma or the Judges of God’s Judgment, and it is easy to calculate that there is one Guardian for just over 40,000 people. It can be said that every Judge is a faithful and truthful witness, testifying about the deeds and desires of people before the King of the Day of Judgment. Every Judge is a guardian of the Faith, a guardian of the true Religion of God. Undoubtedly, this is a group of God’s trusted ones, who constitute a chariot of 144,000 witnesses bearing witness to the state of humanity and the world. Each of these witnesses is also able to be the King of the true Path revealing the light and a guide for people.

7. We know that the Lord of the worlds is the Merciful and Gracious King of the Judgment Day and this is the basic picture of Allah painted for us by the Seven Verses. Therefore, Fātiha, like the entire Holy Scripture, appears as a perfect Book in which there are no doubts, a Book that is a guide for the souls of righteous people. So when we recite saying: ‘Glory to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds, the Merciful and Gracious, the King of the Day of Judgment,’ we become aware of the basic image of God, we invoke the basic, essential knowledge of God, which we will further develop thoroughly and in detail. Is this not guidance without any doubt, guidance that affirms with certainty the nature of God? When we read spiritual Knowledge, the Holy Scriptures, the Quran, the Gospel or the Torah, we must believe that it is a perfect Book in which there is no doubt or contradiction, a Book that is a guide for the righteous who believe in the unseen, observe and who believe in what was revealed to Muhammad and in what was revealed by the prophets who came before Him and who believe in the Hereafter. Happiness will be found by the righteous who follow the guidance of the Book, the essence of which was given to humanity in the Seven Verses. Therefore, it may be unjust to recite Fātiha and difficult to achieve happiness. The Seven Verses are a guide of the Way given to the righteous, and only the righteous among men will be drawn to the Order of Sufis or Subudh. The Way of the Sufis revealed by Archangel Gabriel as a messenger addressed many times by God to humanity is contained in its fullness in the heavenly Holy Book, which Gabriel holds in his hand and seals. All inspired and revealed Sacred Scriptures are portions of God’s heavenly Book, which is the source of wisdom about all things visible and invisible in the universe. Recognizing the guidance of the Holy Book and following its guidance is one of the basic duties of a person who wants to be included in the community of the righteous in the eyes of God.

8. O you people! – says Gabriel (Jibrail) – Honor the Lord who created us and those who came before you (the Prophets, Rasūl), so that you can defend yourself against evil. Worship the Lord, who made the earth your bed, and the sky your roof, and caused water to fall from the clouds, and thus gave you fruits to eat. Therefore, do not establish equals before Allāh, God the Creator, since you are the knowers, for Allāh has the Power to do whatever He wants… The honour given to the Creator and the respect offered to the Prophets of old such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and many others have the power protecting the adept against evil, except for evil committed in the hour of trial. The Creator is the one who gave man fruits as the basic natural food to eat, the food of paradise, which is a symbol of innocence, purity and perfection. Apart from the Creator, there are no spiritual creatures that could be equal to Him in any way, therefore the Creator is the most powerful and highest of all that exists. The One who created us is only one and worshiping any other deity is pure sacrilege. The command to worship the Creator appears to be a fundamental teaching, and the words Al–hamdu li–Llāh, Glory to God, are the basis of all consciously recited prayer and at the same time a command for the spiritual practice of worship and devotion.

9. Archangel Gabriel says: Spread the good news (gospels) to those who believe and do good deeds, because for them there are gardens, below which streams (brooks) flow… The teaching of the Holy Book therefore assumes that in the spiritual community of believers good news that is comfort, gospel for the heart is announced and transmitted. People who believe and do good deeds are the ones who are destined for the gardens of paradise with beautiful streams, and this means that there is no faith without good deeds, nor good deeds without faith. One without the other is dead and does not bring the reward of paradisiac life. Undoubtedly, achieving the happiness of transcendental consciousness is a sign of approaching the gardens of paradise, after all, the word ‘paradise’ itself means delight, joy and happiness. Good news are primarily good and sound spiritual teachings, the proclamation and transmission of which Gabriel recommends to others. The obligation to preach is therefore an obligation that everyone should fulfil, but at the same time looking for people of faith and goodness. In a spiritual community that is a community of faith and goodness, preaching is simply spreading the good news. Gabriel is silent about bad news, which may mean that there is no need to spread bad news, e.g. by slander or gossip.

10. Archangel Gabriel says about the Creator: He created for you everything on earth. Then he turned to the heavens and perfected them as seven heavens. It is He who has perfect knowledge of everything. We learn that the Creator first created one heaven, then created for man everything that is in the material world, and then turned again to the heavens to perfect them and divide them into seven spheres. The Creator, who has perfect knowledge of everything, can give us perfect knowledge of the order of creation. The first man on earth, according to God’s intention, was to be the governor (Khalif) over the entire earthly creation. Hence the order to rule over the creatures of the earth which was addressed by the Creator to Man (Adam). The first Khalif was taught all knowledge of the entire earthly creation, and even the angels envied him this knowledge. Every person has Adam’s knowledge in his soul and can awaken it in himself by becoming an expert of everything created in the material worlds. Khalif Subudh must remember that he is God’s Vicar on earth and represents His royal authority over creation. The Creator ordered the angels (malaks) to submit to His viceroy, but Ibis, one of the spiritual creatures called Jinns, refused because he valued himself too highly. Thus the Ibis became the leader of the infidels among the spiritual creatures of heaven and earth. Later, the fallen angel called Satan behind the Ibis, using the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, caused Chava and Adam to fall from their paradise state of existence and the heavenly dignity of the Vicar (Khalifa) of God on earth. To this day, the people of Ibis are unfaithful and unbelieving. Satan continues to do evil to people to this day, depriving them of their earthly paradise and happiness. The ibis destroys faith (religion) or the spiritual path. Satan destroys earthly happiness, taking away not only paradise, but even hope for improvement. In this way, both evil spirits cooperate to make the earth hell. The Ibis is the evil spirit of doubt, despair, suspicion and disbelief. Ibis does not allow adepts to faithfully follow the spiritual Path. Satan is an evil spirit that misleads and sends all kinds of misfortunes as his reward. Pharmakia – eating fruit from hallucinogenic plants is Satan’s favourite weapon to direct human consciousness to the hell of death and suffering.

11. This is what Malak Gabriel advised: Do not mix truth with falsehood, nor deliberately conceal it. Observe Prayer (Salāt) and give Zakat (Alms). Bow down with those who bow down. Seek help in patience and prayer, although it is truly difficult for all except those who have a humble spirit, who know with certainty that it is they who will meet their Lord and return to Him. We will forgive you your sins and increase those who do good… Mixing truth with falsehood is as evil as eating from the tree of good and evil. When we feed someone with such a mixture, it is as if Satan fed Chava with his poisonous fruit. Observance of Prayer and Almsgiving are the two basic pillars of the spiritual path for truthful people who will not hide the truth. Zakat is more of a contribution donated for purposes such as the development of religious path and support of the poor and needy. Zakat is a donation given in a systematic and regular manner. It is especially recommended that people who make a living from trade should be most generous in offering Zakat. The angel also encourages all forms of spiritual practice, in which the adept bows his head, which is a certain hallmark of the Sufi community. Showing patience and praying is a source of help, because the Creator favours those who are patient and call to Him. Patience and prayer, however, are not easy without developing a humble (submissive) spirit before God. Separating truth from falsehood, observing Prayer and Almsgiving, as well as patience and prayer in general, are a guarantee of our return to God the Creator.

12. Among the numerous pieces of advice in the Book for beginners on the Way, it is recommended to eat herbs, cucumbers, lentils, onions, fruits and other fruits of the earth that the Creator intended for man as food. Just being interested in herbs and herbalism can already be helpful, because herbs help create an atmosphere for spiritual development and growth. It is also advised not to sin against the holiness of the Sabbath day, for the end of those who break the law of rest and sanctification on the Sabbath day is truly terrible. It is said of those who profane the Sabbath day: And they will become despised apes. Truly, says Gabriel, everyone who does evil and is overcome by his own sin is an inhabitant of the Fire (Hell) and will dwell therein, while those who believe and do good deeds are inhabitants of Heaven and will dwell therein. You will not worship anyone except Allah, you will be good to your parents, family, orphans and the poor, you will observe the Prayer and give Zakat. You shall not shed each other’s blood or throw your people out of their homes… This is the hard teaching of the Spirit of Holiness (Rūh al–Quddus), the Angel Gabriel, for humanity. The teaching of the Spirit of Holiness, Gabriel, if put into action and put into practice, opens the gate to Holiness, opens a clean and beaten path called the Way of Saints. People who, being in one community of faith (religion), shed their blood, as Christians did in numerous wars, or throw their people out of their homes onto the pavement, will certainly not inherit the Kingdom of God and will not enter the Gardens of Eden, the thousand–year life.

13. Gabriel said: If anyone is an enemy of Allāh (the Creator) and His angels, His Messengers Gabriel and Michael, then indeed Allāh is an enemy of every such disbeliever… Open hostility towards the Creator and the Messengers of Heaven is caused by one distinct effect which turns such an enemy into a person unbelieving, ungodly and arouses God’s wrath against that person. There are countless ways in which we prove ourselves opposed to God and the Messengers. Gabriel is a source of revelation of mystical and secret matters, as well as guidance and good news for those faithful to their Creator. Gabriel literally means the Great Servant, and Michael means Godlike. By breaking the recommendations established by the Creator and transmitted by the Messengers of Heaven, we undoubtedly turn out to be enemies of God. The enemy is also Satan, and the essence of the opposition in this case was the refusal to follow the Creator’s command. To oppose the laws and rules established by the Creator is to show hostility towards Allah. Various angels of God perform various missions, and in particular the angels of nature guard the laws of nature, the violation of which by man is nothing other than hostility towards these angels and hostility towards the Creator. All nations know this law, which obliges them to obey the laws of nature and live in harmony with Nature. The hostility towards the Holy Scriptures revealed by the Spirit of Holiness, Gabriel, is nothing but hostility towards the spiritual knowledge given by Allāh. We must remember that Gabriel, the Servant of God, is the Holy Spirit of Christianity and the giver of charisms. Anyone upon whom this powerful Archangel focuses his attention will be inspired and will be said to have the Spirit of Holiness (Rūh al–Quddus) working through him. If anyone sins against the Holy Spirit – says the Gospel – it will not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the age to come. Acting contrary to the spiritual teaching of revelation is undoubtedly a sin against Gabriel, the Holy Spirit. Rejection of charisms is also a sin against the Messenger of Heaven and against God the Creator. The person of the Holy Spirit, Gabriel, although powerful in power and wisdom, is in no way equal to God the Creator and is not part of any trinity of gods, which idea is a heresy hostile to God the Creator and coming from evil demons. As the fifth verse of the Prayer says: You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.

14. Archangels Jibrail (Gabriel) and Mikhail (Michael) are the most important spiritual, heavenly creatures with whom a man of the Way must become familiar and make friends. The Jews treated Michael as their favourite angel and as the angel of peace, prosperity and the holy Hebrew language, and the angel of rain and herbs. Jews also believed that Michael had a primary connection with sustaining the world. In the Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible, Michael, called the Prince of Peace, is the conqueror and victor of Satan and his demons, he is the angel of effective exorcism and the victor of the forces of evil. Mikhail’s spirit is the spirit of peace and pacification, the spirit of victory in the fight against the forces of opposition and hostility. According to both the Bible and the Quran, Gabriel is an angel whose function is to convey God’s Message to the servants of Allah. The prophet Daniel and the evangelist Luke speak of it, and Mohammad’s account testifies to both. In some Jewish writings, Gabriel is described as the angel of fire and thunder, because he sends unbelievers to the punishment of hell fire, and gives the faithful the grace of baptism by fire, i.e. transformation (transfiguration) amid a voice that thunders like thunder and thunderclap. Gabriel brings spiritual transformation, which is a solar initiation of fire and thunder (voice). Walking in the consciousness of one of these two Messengers of Heaven is indeed part of the canon of Sufi spiritual exercises. Maintaining a sense of the presence of Gabriel on the left and Michael on the right, and saluting both angels at the end of the Prayer, is a similarly common heavenly spiritual practice cultivated in the Sufi Order and the Brotherhood of Subudh. The Arabs consider Gabriel, or the Holy Spirit, to be the most important of the angels.

15. The angel Gabriel said: Whoever dedicates himself to God and does good will receive his reward from the Lord, and no fear will come upon him, nor will he repent… This teaching refers to three stages of perfect justice, the first of which we call Fana, which it means self–annihilation, dissolution or complete submission to God. We call this state complete submission or death to the world, where we mean death of an ego. The second state called Baqa, rebirth, was defined by the words: he is the one who will do good, because the reborn man remains in love with his Creator and is equipped to do every good deed. Baqa is a state of losing oneself in God’s love, in which all earthly plans and desires disappear, a state in which a person receives a new life. The third stage of perfect justice called Liqa, relationship with God, can be called the state of reward, thanks to which there is no fear or regret in us. We can call this last state peace of soul or life for God and serving other people. Therefore, not those who call themselves the chosen nation or only the right religion will enter Heaven, but those who, having devoted themselves to God, did good and finally received God’s reward. Truly Allah, He is Holy and everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to Him, especially all the obedient belong to Him. He gave birth to the heavens and the earth, and when He commands something, He only says to the thing, ‘Become,’ and it becomes.

16. The term ‘son of God’ was used metaphorically in Jewish literature to designate the Prophet, the Messenger of Heaven. The Son of God is therefore Rasūl, God’s beloved servant. Mention is made of many sons of God who were emissaries of Heaven. In Christian literature, this phrase began to be used literally to refer to Jesus, but divine sonship only means being chosen by God the Creator as His Vicar or Representative. The Son of God was Adam, Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Elijah, Moses, Jesus, Mohammad and many others. The strong influence and protection of the Holy Spirit, or Gabriel, is a sign of being adopted by God. Every inspired Sufi Khalif or Shaikh also received the spirit of adoption, that is, he became a son of God. In particular, the five sons of God, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, are the sons and guardians of the eternal religion that we find today in Sufi orders and brotherhoods. Gabriel says to Mohammad: We have sent you with the Truth as a Herald of good news (gospel) and as one who gives warning… And all the previous messengers heard similar words from the mouth of the Holy Spirit.

17. Verily, only the guidance of Allāh (God) is true guidance. Heaven’s messengers, angels and prophets are merely transmitters of God’s guidance. God guides humanity by giving it the Message through his Rasūl, the sons of God, and therefore people should listen to the voice of their prophets and faithfully follow the teachings given by them. God left his message and guidance to humanity in revealed holy books, where we can read His will and counsel. People who do not listen to the guidance of prophets or holy books are certainly not bound to God’s guidance, because each new Messenger knows and is in accordance with previous revelations. God gives man the same ancient religion over and over again, hoping that next time humanity will learn more of the laws and truths of Creation. In this way, the work of spiritual education of humanity has been progressing for millennia, and not a day goes by without the Messenger being sent to all of humanity, although let us remember that with the Creator, one day lasts a thousand earthly years. People who reject the holy books, prophets and guides appointed by God are undoubtedly sons of perdition, for they are alien to the guidance of Allah Himself.

18. Gabriel commanded Abraham and Ishmael, “Purify My House for those who complete the circuits, and those who remain within for worship, and those who bow down and prostrate themselves in Prayer… Indeed, Abraham and Ishmael built the foundations of the House of prayer and begged God to accept it from them. It is said that Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the lofty temple of the Ka’bah, which Adam had built. Gabriel instructed that completing the laps, remaining focused, and prostrating Prayer are the three ways of spiritual practice in the House of God, the Temple. The Arabs circumambulate the sacred sanctuary of the Ka’bah seven times, symbolizing the Seven Verses of the sublime way reflecting the seven established Heavens. The Houses of God organized by Sufi spiritual teachers also serve these three mainly through the activities ordered by the Holy Spirit, Archangel Gabriel, to the prophets. Abraham passed on Din–i–Illai, God’s Faith, to the people and encouraged all his children, both the firstborn Ishmael and Jacob, to follow it. Abraham taught that Allah Himself chose the Eternal Religion for his offspring, but only the firstborn Ishmael fully accepted God’s pure, eternal way.

19. We believe in Allah and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob and his children, and what was given to Moses and Jesus, and what was given to all the other Prophets from their Lord, and we make no distinction between them. To Him, Allah, we surrender ourselves. We have accepted the religion of Allāh, and who is better than Allāh to teach religion. We only worship Him. He guides whomever He wants on the right path. Everyone has a goal to which they direct their full attention. Therefore, says Gabriel, excel one another in good works, and turn your faces towards the Sacred Mosque, towards the Ka’bah. And fear Allah, that He may perfect His favour upon you, and that you, the people, may be rightly guided. And remember Allah and He will remember you. And give thanks to Allah and do not be ungrateful to Him. O you who believe, seek help through perseverance and Prayer. Allah is with those who patiently persevere. Your God is the One God. There is no deity except Him – the Merciful and Gracious. To those who repent, mend their ways, and speak the truth, God extends forgiveness. Oh you people! Eat of what is rightful and good on the earth. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, for he is your open enemy. It is he who encourages you to do what is evil and disgusting and to say about God what you do not know. O you who believe, eat of the good things We have given you and give thanks to God, if He is indeed the one in whom you believe.

20. Truly righteous is he who believes in God the Creator and the Last Day, in the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and lays down his funds out of pure love for Him for his relatives and orphans and the needy, as well as for those who travel and ask for alms and for the ransom to buy out prisoners. The truly righteous person is one who observes Prayer (Salāt) and offers Zakat (Alms). The righteous are those who keep their promise when they make it, and are patient in poverty and suffering, and persevere in time of war. Such people turn out to be truthful and they are truly God–fearing… This is how Archangel Gabriel outlined the profile of an adept joining the Sufi Order of Faith. Indeed, the Sufi path is for the souls of the righteous, just as Subudh is for the believers.

21. O you who believe! You are commanded to fast (for a certain number of days), as those before you were commanded, so that you may protect yourself from evil. For fasting is good for you, if only you knew it. And fight in God’s way against those who fight against you, but do not sin. Indeed, Allah does not like sinners. Persecution is worse than killing… Fasting in the month of Ramadan for 30 days is the basic protection against all evil. We eat only a modest meal after sunset, and refrain from eating or drinking throughout the day. Ramadan is the ninth month of the lunar year, the month in which Gabriel brought or rather was bringing the revelation of the Book to Muhammad. God’s people can only start fighting when the enemy threatens their life or religion and only when the enemy first begins to act against the religion or spiritual community. Torture, torment or other forms of persecution are not permitted and are sin in the eyes of God. Defeating (surrendering) the enemy ends the fight, and so does the cessation of hostilities.

22. Complete the Pilgrimage to the Holy Place for the cause of Allah. Remember Allah for the appointed number of days. Fear Allah and know that you will all be brought together before Him. O you who believe, surrender all of you and do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is your open enemy. Mankind was one community, but later people became divided among themselves, so Allah raised up Prophets as bearers of good news (gospel) and as givers of warning. In things like wine and gambling there is great sin and harm that is greater than their benefits. Do not marry idolaters (unbelievers) until they believe. For idolaters call for hell fire, but Allah calls for Heaven and forgiveness by the power of His will. It is not lawful for women to abort the foetuses that Allah has created in their wombs, as long as they believe in Allah and the Last Day. Mothers will breastfeed their children for two whole years – this is for those who want to complete the breastfeeding period. Pay attention to the Prayers, especially the Middle (Afternoon) Prayer, and stand before God in submission. If you are in danger, then introduce your Prayer by walking or riding, but when you are safe, remember Allah, for He has taught you what you did not know. Indeed, Allah is Merciful towards people, but most people are ingrates. Fight for the cause of Allah and know that Allah is All–Hearing, All–Knowing. How many times has a small group defeated a large group at the command of Allah! Allah is with the persistent.

23. We have exalted some of the Messengers (Rasūl) above others. Among them are those to whom Allah has spoken. Some of them He exalted in their rank. We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear evidence and strengthened him with the Spirit of Holiness. Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Living, the Self–Subsistent and the All–Sustaining. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything that is in the heavens and on the earth. There is no compulsion in religion. The right path is distinguished from error, so whoever refuses to be guided by sinners and believes in Allah (Elohim), is indeed grasping something certain that will never break. Allah is the friend of those who believe. He brings them out of all darkness into the light. For those who spend their wealth for the cause of Allah and then do not speak of it with contempt, there is a reward with the Lord, and it is they who will not fear or regret. Allah does not guide disbelievers (ungodly people). Witnesses should not refuse when they are called… The knowledge of Messengers elevated above other Prophets makes us aware of the Spiritual Hierarchy in the Kingdom of God. The souls of Moses, Enoch, Elijah and Jesus were undoubtedly elevated above other Messengers. For adepts of the Sufi path, God is a Living Being, he has no beginning or end, because He is Self–Existent. We are drawing closer to the Living, Eternal and All–Sustaining God the Creator. If someone wants to be at least a little like God, let him try to live without sleep and without naps, just as the Creator lives, always aware of everything that exists. Nations also remember the truth that the earth, forests and animals are exclusively the property of God, not man, and all human property rights are sinful theft. Man is at most a tenant of goods created by God, so he should avoid waste and devastation of nature. Forcing religion is a sin in God’s eyes. Rather, God is pleased with souls who turn to Him of their own free will and from the bottom of their hearts. We must believe very strongly that God exists, as well as his angels, prophets and the Last Day or the future life, in order to earn the friendship of our Creator as believers. Only through God will we be led to the Light, to the Spiritual Kingdom, but we must sincerely strive for it ourselves.

24. Indeed, those who believe and do good deeds, complete the Prayer and give Zakat (Alms) will have their reward from the Lord, and neither fear will fall on them nor will they regret. To Allah belongs everything in the heavens and on earth. And it does not matter whether you reveal what is in your minds or leave it hidden, for Allah will call you to account for it. Then He will forgive whom He wills and punish those whom He wills. Allah has the power to do whatever He desires. Allah does not burden any soul beyond its capacity. It will receive the reward it deserves, as well as the punishment it will bring upon itself… Therefore, we recommend to our believers (Muslims) the following prayer as the sigh of their hearts:

“Our Lord, do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us with a responsibility as You burdened those who came before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with what we are not strong enough to carry. Wash away our sins and forgive us and have mercy on us. You are our Lord, so help us against unbelievers.”

This is a good prayer intention to alleviate the effects of the law of retribution, the law of cause and effect, which is the source of punishment and reward. In the consciousness of peoples there is a sense of God’s justice and knowledge of karma (retribution), which gives to everyone equally according to his merits. Understanding this law and accumulating the merit of good fortune is the basic work of every spiritual religious path. Conscious work to change one’s fate and the help of God’s grace in erasing our negative accumulations allows the soul to emerge from the dark pits of demonic humanity. Do good if you want good to be done to you. Do to others what you would like to be done to you, and do not do to others what you would not want done to you. These are the basic principles of the first lesson on the Sufi path, which purify the conditions of human fate and give hope of reward from God.

25. The basic advice regarding the spiritual Path that we find in the message transmitted by Gabriel shows that a spiritual man must be very specific and decisive in the earthly sphere of life. Spirituality and mysticism are not a great journey, as some people imagine, but a firm adherence to the realities of life, where man has numerous duties towards God. Good deeds or merciful support for those in need in the spiritual community certainly require earthly effort and work. The teaching of absolute return of what has been borrowed also teaches spiritual people basic honesty. Some may be surprised by the teachings of the Sharia that regulate divorce matters, but a spiritual person must show honesty in every possible situation in life, even when the bonds of love in an earthly relationship fade away. We should also be aware that all regulations and rules apply primarily to people belonging to the spiritual community in which we find ourselves, and only then extend to outsiders, if possible. If we cannot maintain mutual kindness in a spiritually practicing group, what can we offer to the people of the world? People from the same Sufi Order are not allowed to quarrel or dispute among themselves, let alone engage in any kind of fighting, which is allowed only when the right to life or the existence of the community is threatened. An ancient rule says: Reconcile with your brother in the Way before you come to judgment. Members of the spiritual Brotherhood should live with each other in harmony and friendship, that is, in brotherly love. If they do not fulfil this by bringing the worldly spirit of quarrel, they lose all their spiritual blessings and positions and begin their spiritual training practically all over again. There cannot be any competition for spiritual position or favour, because such an inclination alone shows a person who is not suitable for the spiritual Path.

26. We can consider more deeply the activity of invisible demonic forces led by Ibis or Satan, which destroys spiritual organizations. The latter inspires and fuels all kinds of forces of opposition, rebellion, quarrel and slander. Satan (Greek: Diabolos) is essentially the spirit of opposition, rebellion, dispute, slander and quarrelling. Therefore, if one slanders another and a dispute, quarrel or division arises, this indicates that invisible demonic forces have taken the initiative. When Christianity divided into mutually warring camps, creating a schism, or when Islam divided into opposing Shiites and Sunnis, these groups, hiding mutual hatred, found themselves under the undoubted influence of demonic forces, which in this way gradually take over the spiritual community. Therefore, to prevent this, the prophet Jesus, son of Mariam, ordered absolute unity, and his apostles forbade all kinds of divisions, disputes and quarrels. The ability of the leaders of a spiritual organization to make decisions by consensus, i.e. the informed consent of everyone, only proves their elementary maturity to take the position of spiritual leader. Everyone must first fight in their hearts against satanic tendencies to quarrel, dispute, opposition and division, and if they succumb to temptation, they must be aware that they are bringing demonic forces of Evil to the community. It can be said that the members of the Sufi Order who are at odds with each other are nothing other than people under the influence of Satanic Evil forces, and the mutual hatred nurtured in their hearts is the feeding and worship of Satan, which they mindlessly cultivate. The ancient Sages advised that people sowing such unrest should be removed from the community without the right to return unless they showed signs of absolute improvement.

27. Ibis tries to sow all kinds of doubts and disbelief in potential adepts. When a person tries to join a spiritual community of the Way, such as the Sufi Order or the Subudh Brotherhood, Ibis immediately fears whether the person is in some sect or whether his freedom or the religion to which he previously belonged will be taken away. Many other doubts can be sown by Ibis in order to individually and most effectively dissuade a person from following the spiritual Path. People who sow such or similar doubts in the adept’s heart are demonic people who are servants of Ibis on earth and such people should be avoided as much as the worst demons. Beginners must learn to recognize and overcome the demonic temptations of Ibis in the form of doubt and disbelief, so as not to lose heart for any reason and leave the spiritual Community, Brotherhood or Order. In the modern world, Ibis seems to have an easier task by making many souls fall, because the spiritual development of a person who has fallen away from the Sufi Order or Brotherhood is usually inhibited for a long time or completely stopped. A beginner must be strengthened in faith and faithfulness, so that he will not suffer the misfortune of abandoning the Way of God, nor the hell fire that a fallen soul will undoubtedly experience. Institutional religions often lead people to pretend to worship without genuine faith and sincerity, which is a sign that Ibis has considerable stake and influence in such a religion. Generally, the spiritual vanguard of humanity associated with orders or brotherhoods of the Way of God stays away from institutions contaminated by the influence of Ibis. It is better for souls who want to know God more deeply and actually develop spiritually. When we go higher, to the peaks of the spirit, we should not return to the lowlands, which are closer to the pits of darkness.

28. We may also wonder at seekers who find it difficult to reconcile the teachings of God’s Mercy and Grace with the teachings of Jihad – the sacred struggle waged against the forces that want to destroy the spiritual community. Jihad is the right to defend one’s own life when it is threatened, the right to defend one’s community or country against an external threat. When we promote teachings about the absolute protection of life, it is obvious that we must also protect our rights to life and effectively defend it when it is threatened. When Catholics organized their crusades to destroy the flourishing civilization of Islam, then Muslims had to start a just fight to defend their lives and religion. Such examples could be multiplied indefinitely, and we can mention the Ishmaelite Order, which defended itself against an enemy with more than a hundred times its number of soldiers, which amounts to not only heroism, but also a miracle. Spiritual communities were forbidden to shed brotherly blood, but they were not forbidden to defend their existence in an effective way. For example, Islam follows the religious principle of non–aggression and Muslims have never declared war on anyone in history! However, they repeatedly defended themselves against the aggression of ignorant people, aggression directed against their religion, for example by Catholic rulers, known for their aggressiveness towards dissenters. A person has the right to defend his life and existence, to defend his religious community against external aggression, but he must remember not to multiply suffering, not to use aggressive war, but only to use the right to defend himself. We can take the example of King David, who wisely and cleverly defeated Goliath. Jihad, if waged as a defensive action appropriate to the threat, becomes a holy war waged on earth by God himself.

29. It is difficult to be an adept of the Sufi Order and not follow in the footsteps of great prophets such as Moses or Jesus, Abraham or Muhammad. The souls of prophets live in the heavens and we should befriend them in a similar way as we befriend angels. So we can develop our awareness of the presence of these Messengers and try to live some days in the consciousness of Moses and some days in the consciousness of Ishmael. Maintaining the sense of the presence of the Prophet’s soul close to us for a long period of time brings us much closer to heavenly, spiritual life. This is not why the first Christians were ordered to maintain the awareness of Jesus that he was the only correct divine Messenger, but because maintaining such awareness has a saving power that helps on the spiritual path. It does not matter whether every day you meditate on the spiritual presence of only one of the Prophets, or whether you meditate on all of them or just a few of them.

It is as much a merit to feel the presence of Noah as that of Jesus, Elijah, or Mohammad; the prophets of ancient times such as Rama, Krishna, and Gautama can help us just as much, as can the presence of Zarathushtra, from whose teachings Sufis draw much creative inspiration. Each of them is a Son of God sanctified by Allah with his mission and special graces. We should also be careful not to make the mistake of equating his messengers with God the Creator, because such claims that Jesus is God deny the transcendental truth and distort the image of the Creator, making the followers of such theories fallen rather than pious souls. What can help us if we openly lie against God, turning a humble servant of God like Jesus into someone equal to the Creator of the entire universe? We are also not friends of Heaven if we accept one of the Messengers and reject others, because Heaven is the most perfect spiritual community in which everyone lives and remains in unity of hearts.

30. Man also has the right to wealth, because God is the giver of all goods and wealth. Satan fills man with fear because of poverty and encourages him to do what is disgusting… Man can multiply his wealth, as long as he does it honestly, in accordance with his conscience and God’s commands. Everything created is God’s property anyway, so it is better to develop the attitude of a manager or overseer of the goods entrusted to us by the Creator. Khair, wealth, is also a word meaning any kind of good action. Wealth must therefore be associated with goodness, kindness and charity. Allah promises forgiveness and abundance, for good things come from God. A good ruler of a country whose authority comes from God ensures abundance for his subjects. The evil ruler, whose power comes from Satan, leads his subjects to misery and poverty. We can easily distinguish who is in power in the country if we count the poor and homeless, if we consider poverty growth rates. A righteous ruler will provide everyone with the means to live and develop, because this is the power of God–given authority. Satan only gives rise to corruption, crime, poverty, misery, destitution and all kinds of injustice. Satan causes a few to become rich dishonestly, while those who live honestly become poorer and unable to sustain themselves. The authority that comes from God rules and divides justly, allowing everyone to live honestly and receive fair and just means of securing life. The social service of God’s people on earth must be aimed at the removal of satanic authorities from the earth, and this entire process of struggle between the forces of light and darkness has been called Armageddon. Under Akbar, India flourished and experienced its Golden Age, just as it did under Kaśya. The rule of Christian colonizers led a flourishing and rich country to ruin and poverty, from which it is difficult to recover to this day. Truly, the satanic power threatens its citizens with the spectre of poverty and misery, and this is the surest sign of hellish dominion over the country or nation.

Edited from the Sufi spiritual and esoteric teachings of Shaykh Sharfuddin Maneri, Shams of Tabriz, Master Syriac, Sufi Dhun Nun, Pir Ahmad Ofiel Chishti, and other classics.

Aćaryaćarya Swami LalitaMohan G.K.


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