My Grandsheikh Abdullah, may Allah bless him, said that the Holy Prophet Muhammad
(sal) never gained any rank through his devotions or actions. As a proof of this,
Grandsheikh quoted a tradition (Hadith) of the Holy Prophet (sal): “Oh Allah, don’t leave
me to my works, my actions, my devotions even for the time it takes to blink an eye or
less than that.” This hadith indicates that the Prophet (sal) never depended on his own
works and devotions, but always hoped for Allah’s causeless mercy, and that his rank
was not a result of any actions on his part. Grandsheikh added: “Even if Allah Almighty
was going to recompense the Prophet (sal) for his devotions, the Prophet (sal) would
not accept that. How could he, the Prophet (sal), accept a payment when even
members of his Nation (Ummah) of lesser rank than him – Saints and sincere believers
– would never accept any payment or recompense for their acts of worship; in fact, no
real believer would accept anything, because he is worshipping purely to gain his Lord’
s pleasure.”

Grandsheikh says that Allah Almighty has given to each person a nature suitable for a
certain rank (Fitra). For example, you have a competence or aptitude (Ahliyya) for the
Naqshabandi Way; no one can in any way change or alter that competence – it has to
appear. Just as different seeds have different unalterable natures hidden within them,
so each son of Adam has a distinct aptitude granted to him by his Lord, granted
according to the Divine Will alone, and at all times independent of our actions and
devotions. Sooner or later everyone’s aptitude must appear; don’t be hopeless
because those qualities may now yet be hidden, for you must know that at any time
Allah Almighty decrees, those qualities will appear and that appearance will not be
connected in any way to our actions or devotions, but will be purely a grant from Him,
the Almighty. These words lead us to new horizons of understanding and open up vast
areas of inner wisdom to explore – these good tidings should fill us with contentment.

Shah Naqshaband said: “In our view, one’s having the competence for this Tariqat is
more important a fact than his being a muslim or believer.” Why? – Because that
capability which Allah Almighty has granted us is what is important, then, with our
actions Islam and Iman will appear. But that secret capability or aptitude from Allah
Almighty is most important.

You may do all the good actions asked of you by Islam and Iman, but that capability
which you have been granted is more important to Allah; therefore, the Prophet’s (sal)
hadith says: “Allah is not looking to our outward actions, but to our hearts.” With His
looking to our hearts, that worthy – nature is going to be ever more inundated with
Divine Lights – more beautiful and complete. But we are merely doing good actions
with our bodies, while the heart and its movements in relation to its Lord are much more

The importance of that worthy-nature and of our realizing it is expressed in the
following story: Once the Holy Prophet (sal) was addressing his companions after the
night time prayer (Isha) saying: “Oh my companions, it is the same for every one of you
whether he prays and does good actions or not, because the ranks that Allah Almighty
has granted to you are neither going to decrease or increase – the ink of pre-destiny
has dried, and what He has granted you must reach you – no more and no less – no
matter what you do.”

What was the reply of the companions? - They said : “Oh Prophet, if it is like that, why
the do we tire ourselves out and inflict suffering upon ourselves with all these devotions
and good actions? Why do we get up on cold nights and come to the mosque from far
distances in the darkness? Why do we forsake our wives’ loving embraces every
morning to come here? From now on we shall not come here so early to pray but shall
remain with our wives in hot beds; this is very good news for us.” The Prophet (sal)
replied: “You are free to do as you like; come or don’t come – no one is forcing you.”

That night they left the mosque with the intention of staying comfortable in their beds
the next morning. When the last part of the night had begun to show signs of giving
way to the oncoming dawn, Bilal, the Prophet’s (sal) Muezzin, began to recite devotional
poetry from the minaret, as was his habit in the morning before calling for the prayer
(Adhan), in order to awaken people in ample time for coming to the mosque. On this
particular morning, as soon as he started reciting, all of the companions awoke with a
start. They said to themselves, “We told the Prophet (sal) that we won’t be coming this
morning; we must remain in our beds.” However, in spite of themselves, they threw
aside their blankets, sprang from their beds, made ablutions (Wudu) and hurried off to
the prayer.

When the Prophet (sal) entered the mosque that morning, he looked around and saw
that it was full of worshippers, then he said: “Oh people, oh my companions, you
intended something last night, and were firm in your resolve – what happened to you
that made you come when you said that you wouldn’t?” They replied: “We swear to
Allah that when we heard the call to prayer, our beds became like thornbushes or as
beds of nails, and lying in them was like lying on fire – we couldn’t remain there even for
one moment, so we jumped out and hastened to answer the call to prayer.”

The Prophet, Peace be Upon Him, then said: “Every creature may find ease only in
behaving according to his particular competence (Ahliyya). It is that ahliyya, that
worthy-nature which Allah put in your hearts that made you move from your beds
despite the intention to the contrary which you made last night. Everyone is born with
the nature of Islam (Fitra), and in his deepest heart is always yearning to re-discover
that nature; this secret is inside every son of Adam, and this is what made you get up.”

For these reasons, the Prophet (sal) was in no way afraid that his companions would
really leave worship because of having learned those truths. Also, inheritors of the
Prophet (sal) are not afraid to reveal some truths to their followers, because that
hidden nature which Allah put in their hearts will make them do, make them come
despite their desires.

Grandsheikh also says that if the Prophet (sal) declared that his worshipping was as
nothing and that he never could depend upon it – how can we depend upon our
worship? If two prostrations of the Prophet’s (sal) devotions were put in a scale and
weighed up against the combined devotions of the Nations, his two prostrations would
be heavier; and if his declaring the Unity of Allah once (La ilaha illa’llah) was weighed
up against the sins of all the sons of Adam, it would destroy all of those sins. From this
you can understand what the power and rank of our Prophet (sal) is in the Divine

Neither our Prophet (sal) nor any other Prophet is in need of sacrificing himself in the
way the Christians claim that Jesus Christ made himself a sacrificial lamb for Allah or for
the sake of his Nation: this is a shameful thing to say. It is enough to say once ‘ La
ilaha illa’llah’, no need for human sacrifice. When Allah Almighty, desiring to try His
servant, ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son, at the last moment, He withdrew His
order for the slaughter and sent a ram down from the Heavens instead. So how is He
going to make Jesus Christ a lamb, an offering for the sins of the world? This is a very
ugly and unfounded claim.

The Last Prophet (sal) and all Prophets before him were given Divine Powers with
which to guide people to the straight path – no need for them to be lambs for Nations.

Despite the high value of our Prophet’s (sal) devotions, he does not depend upon them
and awaits no payment for them from Allah, but he performs them only for Allah’s good
pleasure – that is his goal. Everyone may ask at this, “What use is our worshipping,
our acting?” No one can do any worship that is suitable for our Majestic Lord. No one
can worship his Lord as He deserves to be worshipped – beside His Greatness all is as
nothing – but we have been ordered, and so we are carrying out those orders.

Then Grandsheikh quoted Sayyidina Ali, who said regarding ladies: “Nothing good
comes from them, but no one can live without them.” Ali’s wife, the Prophet’s (sal)
daughter Fatima, said to Ali: “We are like roses, from time to time you must smell them,
and otherwise you are useless.” “Similarly,” says Grandsheikh, “nothing is coming from
our worship – it is useless – useless, that is, for giving adequate respect to our Majestic
Lord; it is impossible to give absolute respect with such worshiping, but as we have
been ordered, so we must do and whether useless or not, we cannot depend upon it”.

This is a reality that one must be aware of, and when you understand this point it will
prevent you from becoming proud of your devotions, and that is very important, as
whoever becomes proud of his devotions falls down, like Satan. The very worst thing
for a servant is to look at himself and say: “Oh, how good I am, I am such an obedient
servant of my Lord!” and to look at others, saying: “Look at them, they don’t do any
worshipping, but we do!”

We have been ordered to build ladders to the moon – builders of skyscrapers are
puffed up with pride over their accomplishments, and look down with disdain on the
people on the ground, saying : “Oh you lazy people, we have already reached to the
sky while you are still like miserable little ants on the ground.” They may say this, but
no matter how high they build their skyscrapers, even if they pile stone upon stone
eternally, they will never reach the moon in that way – it is impossible. What is
important is to listen to the orders of Allah Almighty and to obey them as best we can,
and although we will never reach the moon, perhaps we may be better than one who
doesn’t try, because we carry out orders, and it is better to try even if we know that
ultimate success is impossible to attain in this manner – we must do it out of respect for
the Lord. In every religion, every Prophet came to teach us this point.

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