1. The first step of the Mureed in the Path of Sulook is Sidq orbsincerity so that the structure can be erected on a proper foundation. The Mashaa-ikh have said that people have been deprived of Wusool (gaining Diving Proximity) because they have destroyed the Usool (foundations). Thus, the first step is the rectification of belief which exists between Allah and man. Such rectification is obligatory. Belief has necessarily to be free of doubt, suspicion, error, innovation and should be established by means of absolute proofs.
2. Once the Mureed has solidified his belief with Allah Ta’ala, then it devolves upon him to acquire a sufficient amount of knowledge of the Shariah. Such knowledge may be acquired either academically or by enquiring from some Aalim. This is necessary so that one’s duties and obligations be correctly discharged. When confronted by different verdicts of the Fuqahaa, adopt the one in which there is precaution. Always resolve to remain aloof from disputation.
3. It is then essential that the Mureed acquire moral character from some Shaikh. If he has no Ustaad, never will he attain success.
4. When he resolves to enter into the Path of Sulook, then after rendering what has been explained above, it is incumbent upon him to seek forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala for all sins. He has to abstain from all sin, be it zaahiri or baatini and be it sagheerah or kabeerah. Firstly, he must make his peace with those who have rights over him. The Road of Sulook will not open up for the Saalik who has failed to make his peace with the Ahl-e-Muyooq (people who have rights over him).
5. Thereafter he should endeavour to reduce his relationships and worldy acticities because the edifice of Sulook is reared on the peace of the heart. When intending to emerge from relationships, begin with emergence from wealth, for wealth is such an object which diverts one from Allah Ta’ala and inclines one to it. There has never been a Mureed who having entered this Path with worldly associations, remained steadfast. On the contrary, his worldly encumbrances diverted him, separated him from the Path and restored him to former connections
N.B. The meaning of wealth here refers to such wealth which is outside the bounds of the Shariah as well as such wealth in which one is engrossed more than necessary.
6. After emerging from wealth it is incumbent to emerge from jah (name and fame), for jah is a great obstacle along this Path. Nothing will the Mureed gain until acceptance and rejection of him by others do not seem equal. The greatest harm for the Mureed is the desire that people honour and respect him. Jail is a fatal poison for the Mureed.
7. When the Mureed has emerged from maal (wealth) and jah (fame), it is then incumbent on him to make a firm pledge to Allah Ta’ala that he will not oppose any of the advices of his Shaikh. Opposition to the Shaikh is extremely harmful. Among the conditions of this pledge is that the Mureed does not entertain any objection regarding his Shaikh even in his heart.
8. It is then incumbent upon him to conceal his secrets, not revealing it to even his closest associates. But he should not conceal from his Shaikh. If any Mureed conceals even the slightest of his condition, then indeed, he has abused the right of suhbat (companionship) of his Shaikh. If the Mureed realizes, either by himself or by having been reminded by the Shaikh, that he has opposed the Shaikh in anything, he should immediately confess his error to the Shaikh and submit happily to any punishment the Shaikh may prescribe. It is not proper for the Shaikh to overlook the faults of the Mureed. If the Sheikh does so, he will be guilty of destroying the huqooq(rights) of Allah Ta’ala. Overlooking faults here means to refrain from calling the attention of the Mureed to such faults. However, there is no harm in the Shaikh forgiving the Mureed and not punishing him when he (Shaikh) has hope of reforming the Mureed without meting out punishment.
9. As long as the Mureed has not renounced all associations it is not permissible for the Shaikh to prescribe for him any of the special formula of Thikr. It is incumbent upon the Shaikh to first put the Mureed to test. After having tested the Mureed and when the Shaikh’s heart bears testimony in regard to the firmness of the Mureed’s resolution, the Shaikh should stipulate the condition that the Mureed will resign with pleasure to the variety of circumstances produced by fate (Qadhaa) in this Path of Sulook. The Shaikh must take a pledge from the Mureed that he will not turn his face away from this Path regardless of whatever overtakes him, whether it be harm, disgrace, poverty, sickness, pain, etc. Furthermore, the Mureed has to pledge that he will not incline towards the ease advocated by the heart nor will he search for easy ways out at the time of hunger and need. He will nor adopt physical comfort nor will laxity become his way. Concession (rukhsat) and laxity (kasl) in this context refer to those prescribed by indolence or one’s personal opinion. Such concessions and laxity are reprehensible. However, concessions advocated by the Shariah or adopted on the instruction of the Shaikh are not reprehensible.
10. It is extremely harmful for the Mureed to sit in the gatherings of the Fuqaraa and Ashaab-e-Tareeq in the initial stages. However, if some Mureed has indulged in this error then he should adopt the following method and attitude:
He should respect the Shuyookh (plural of Shaikh) and be of service to them. He should desist from contradicting them and he should act in a way which will give them comfort. He should refrain from any attitude which will create a barrier in the heart of the Shaikh for him. In the association with Fuyaraa it is incumbent to give preference to them and not to consider oneself a greater claimant to any right. Consider the right of every one in the group of Fuqaraa to be binding on you. Do not consider that you have any right over any of them. It is incumbent that the Mureed does nor oppose any among the group. If the Mureed discovers that he (i.e. the Mureed himself) is correct, then he should maintain silence. This does not mean association in the baatil (falsehood) of others. It merely means, maintenance of silence after proclaiming the truth and not indulging in disputation. In disputation is the destruction of rime and the clouding of the heart. Do not permit such differences to effect your other social affairs.
A Mureed suffering from the habit of excessive laughter, obstinacy) and arguing will attain no progress in this Path.
11. External abundance of auraad (specific forms of Thikr) is riot among the etiquettes (aadaab) of the Mureed. On the contrary, this group (of Saalikeen) is ever engaged in eliminating from them khatraat (stray and evil thoughts and diversions) and negligence of the heart. Their occupation is purification of character and not abundance of practices. Faraa-idh and Sunan-e-Muakkadah are incumbent on them. They adhere to these rigidly. The heart remaining in a permanent state of Thikr (Thikr Qalbi) is superior than abundance of supererogatory acts of worship (Nafl).
12. After the Mureed has established in himself permanence of Thikr (the heart and tongue perpetually engaging in Thikr) and he has accorded solitude preference over publicit4, he may experience certain supernatural occurrences while sleeping or while awake or in a condition between sleep and awakefulness. For example: he may hear a supernatural voice or he may experience the revelation of some metaphysical reality. If this happens, the Mureed should not pay any attention to it nor should he attach any importance to such events. He should not await or remain in expectation of similar experiences because all such events are diversionary. They divert the Mureed’s attention from Allah Ta’ala. However, it is imperative to notify the Shaikh of all such occurrences and experiences. Relating this to the Shaikh will free the heart from the encumbrance of such experiences.
It is incumbent upon the Shaikh to guard the secrets of the Mureed. The Shaikh shall derogate the importance of such super-natural experiences. In other words, he will explain their insignificance to the Mureed because all such events are trials.
Contentment and pleasure with these supernatural experiences are in fact deception. The Shaikh should, therefore, alert and warn the Mureed about the danger of focussing the attention on such insignificant events. The Shaikh should encourage the Mureed to aspire for heights far loftier than such experiences.
13. Among the ahkaam (rules) of the Mureed is that he migrate to a place where he can be in the association of a Shaikh who happens to be a guide for mureedeen of the age. Such migration is necessary if the Mureed finds no such qualified Shaikh in the place of his residence. The Mureed should then remain in attendance to the Shaikh and not depart until such time that he obtains the permission of the Shaikh.
14. The Mureed should not entertain the idea that the Shaikh is ma’soom (sinless). However, he should hold the Shaikh in high esteem and if occasionally the Mureed witnesses any transgression by the Shaikh, he (Mureed) should not sever his ties with the Shaikh on this account. However, should the Shaikh perpetrate acts of transgression in abundance, the Mureed should end his ties with the Shaikh politely, honourably and with respect. The Shaikh should also not command the Mureed to do such acts which constitute transgression (in the Shariah).
15. Among the gravest of calamities and misfortunes in this Path is companionship with young lads. All the Mashaa’ikh unanimously assert that the one who has become involved in such association (with lads), has in fact been disgraced by Allah Ta’ala.
16. Among the calamities for a Mureed is subtle and concealed hasad (envy) in his nafs for brothers along the Path. He should not envy any of his contemporaries in the Path if they have attained a distinguished rank while he himself has been deprived thereof. He should understand that all affairs have already been predetermined.
17. Among the aadaab of the Mureed is that he should not aspire for leadership nor should he desire that anyone becomes his mureed or student. If the Mureed, prior to the annihilation of the flesh and elimination of’ the calamities, entertains such desires, then in fact he is deprived of reality. His advice and instruction will not benefit anyone.
18. The structure of this Tareeq (Path) revolves on the protection of the Aadaab of the Shariah, on guarding oneself against haraam and mushtabah (doubtful things), on guarding the senses against the prohibitions of the Shariah, preventing one’s moments from negligence and connecting them (one’s moments) to Allah and on nor regarding as halaal even a grain in which there is doubt even in times of need, leave alone times of comfort and prosperity.
The Mureed is required to perpetually struggle in abstaining from lust and lowly desire. He who has complied with his desires has destroyed his acceptance (in this Path). The worst thing which can happen to the Mureed is his return to a lust or desire which he had shunned for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.
19. It is not befitting the rank of the Mureed to accept the politeness of women. This has been the method of all the Saalikeen of this Path. When it is prohibited to even accept the politeness of women then to a far greater degree will its acquisition be forbidden. This has been the way of the Shuyookh. Whoever considers this an insignificant thing will soon be faced with affairs which will bring him to disgrace.
20. It is essential for the Mureed to keep aloof of the seekers of the world because their companionship has been proven to be poison. Allah Ta’ala has said that one should not follow a person whose heart Allah has turned away from Allah’s remembrance. Ahl-e-Zuhd (the people of abstention, i.e. the Saalikeen) are in the quest of Allah’s Proximity and in this endeavour they spend wealth. Ahl-e-Safaa (the purified ones) in their endeavours to acquire the Companionship of Allah expel from their hearts all creation in general, and acquaintances in particular.