al-Mujahadah, The Great War Within

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is taken from al-Mujahadah: On Walking – The Great Inside War from the teachings of Imam Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.).

Imam Abu al-Hasan ash-Shadzili (q.s.) said, “Beloveds, be with me in everything and listen to my voice.  This is the voice of al-mujahadah, the fight, the battle, the holy war, and it is the means by which you can destroy every quality inside you which is not right, and through it you can change every human quality to be a Quality of Allah.  al-Mujahadah is to die to your existence and to be born into the Existence of Allah.  And know, my beloveds, that this battle is more holy than praying or remembering, because the praying is for yourself and the remembering is for yourself, but the holy war is for Allah especially.

This battle begins with your self, and after you have killed your self, you make the battle with your heart, and you kill in your heart every quality which is not from Allah and which is not for Allah.  Then, when you look into your heart, you cannot find it, but you find Allah.  This is the first battle, and when you win it, you will make the first holy marriage between Him and you.  You cannot make this marriage if you keep anything that is not for Him.  For this marriage, you are given new holy clothes which have the quality of making everything special for Allah, and the quality which destroys everything that is not for Allah.  In this station, you live in the station of the angels, who do not pray for themselves, but only for Allah.

The first battle of al-mujahadah and the first holy marriage are like metaphors because there is still a separation.  But the beloved walks and gives everything he has to reach Allah and to reach the real holy marriage.  He takes off his shoes and he continues walking, after which he begins to fly and to make another holy war, which is greater than the one before.  Now he takes the veil from the picture of the holy marriage, and he begins to fly in the battle of al-’ishq, the deep secret love of Oneness.  Allah now Begins to Reveal His Face to His beloved, and if the beloved gives more, Allah will Give him more.  Now, He does not want him to pray for the sake of praying, but to kill himself in the Essence of His Own Existence.  For this, a deeper battle is needed because there is a strong veil to penetrate.  The student now thinks, ‘I have arrived, and I am especially for Allah, then why do I have to pray because if there is no separation between Him and I; I am He.”

This is a dangerous station, and more dangerous because the beloved thinks that he is special.  He looks around, to the right and to the left, and he can see only himself.  A voice comes from inside his heart, and he says, ‘If this voice comes from inside my heart and not from outside, it is important to listen to it, for it must come from the truth because I have killed everything else inside, and I am flying, so I do not need anything now.’  This is like a dream, and if he remains in this station, he will lose himself.  He begins to see that he has a power, and deep insight, and he begins to say, ‘I have reached further than the prophets, therefore I do not need any help from anybody because I am the help.’

There is great danger in this station, but if the beloved has a complete guide and father of the spirit, and he surrenders everything to him, he will look at the example of his guide, and to the example of the prophets, and they will lead him to the straight path.  He will see that what the voice is saying to him inside is not the message of the prophets, and so he begins to make a holy war with this voice.  Now all the voices of the prophets speak with him, saying, ‘My son, when I reached what you have reached, I listened to the Order of Allah and I sent Shaythan away.’

This is the case of the student with the complete guide who never leaves him.  Only the guide who is complete can lead his students from the perfect annihilation, to the perfect subsistence.  The student surrenders everything to his guide, and refuses every voice from the devil and the material world.  He begins now to make another battle, a real war, to continue on his journey all day and all night, never stopping, not when he sleeps, or when he walks, or when he eats, because he wants to make the second holy marriage to kill the last veil of the soul.

He now becomes like wool in His Hand, or like a branch moving this way and that in the wind of al-’ishq, which Allah has Sent for him to move him, or like the nightingale on the branch which begins to sing with the voice of its Beloved.  In fact, he does not see himself, for he is beginning to die really, and when he comes to the end of his mujahadah, the end of the great battle, he begins to live in the real life.  In this life, his soul has also died, and he lives in the holy essence of the heart of his soul.

If the person in this station asks Allah for anything, Allah will Give it to him, but he does not ask because Allah Gives him everything that he needs without asking and he knows his place well, for he is a slave, not more.  He is a king of the fuqara’, the family of Allah, therefore he does not live for himself, but he lives for the poor.  All the time, he is moving without rest because the only rest for him is between the Arms of his Beloved.  What does he find between the Arms of his Beloved? The essence of al-’ishq, the essence of the great battle, al-mujahadah.  In the deep sleeping, where he is absorbed in Allah, his body does not sleep much, and he wakes throughout the night to sing with his Beloved.

In this station, the language of speaking stops because now he does not speak with his tongue but with his breath, and there is no time for speaking because all his time he is praying and remembering and singing, which become more and more deeply the inside praying, the inside singing, and the essence of the remembering.  When he hears any music now or any voice, he knows Who Speaks and Who Sings. H e loses everything.  Even the light has become a veil.  There is no way in which to describe this station because no one could understand it except the one who has lost his eyes, his heart and his soul, to see only with the essence of the heart of the soul.

Know, my beloved, that you cannot reach this which I speak about if Allah does not help you, because when you reach what I am speaking about, then everything is from Him to Him.  Your life is filled with the deep knowing, which is the secret after the strong war, and only in this way can you realise the station of the warrior.  With the realisation of al-mujahid, it is necessary to pray more and to remember more.  In this station, Shaythan is stronger than before, but the student, with the help of his guide, is stronger than Shaythan.  The remembrance is like a weapon against Shaythan, to go behind and inside to the essence of the prayer.

It is necessary for every student to make holy war.  What you do in the zawiyyah now is the holy war, and when you pray, read, write, and leave everything outside, and fast in Ramadhan, you make the holy war.  When you take off your shoes, and you leave the two worlds from the outside to the inside to Him, this is the holy war.  Travel with me.  Travel to make contact with me every moment.  If you see me as a human being, you cannot know me, and you cannot know what I mean by the holy war of al-mujahadah.  I live in the holy war all the time when I help the people and I teach the people, in the court, in the hospital, in the prison, with the orphans, with the family, and with the fuqara’.  All my life is in the holy war, but this is another station of the great war.  First, you make war with your self, with your heart, with your soul, so that the war is your annihilation in Allah.  Then you must return through al-baqa` to your body and your life here, to carry the message of Allah.

Every prophet, from the moment of his first step, walks with Allah and makes the holy war all his life, and the guide is like the Prophet (s.a.w.), and the student is like his guide; all continue to fight the great war.  There is no traveling without the holy war because in it is all the essence of the adab, mercy, sincerity, faith, and every Quality of Allah.  In this way, the holy war changes you to be Allah walking on the earth.

I am the rose.  When you give me water, I open.  When you cut off my stem, the rose closes.  I take my life from my student.  If he does not open his heart, how can I sing?  My life comes from your life, the real life; and your life from my life.  This is the holy marriage – to be one.  When you return to me, you will see the rose open.  When you give me water, it is returned to you.  There is no life for the guide without his beloved student and no student without his guide.  Few people know about this, but it is the meaning of the holy war.  Start with your brother and sister by killing jealousy, to become your brother and your sister.  Then kill your guide inside you, to become Allah in everything.

Open your eye, the Eye of your beloved Allah Inside you.  You are the Eye of Allah.  Why do you close this Eye?  Why are you lost?  Where are you going?  He has Put you in the perfect place to know Him, so why do you break the glass?  He is the glass and He is the wine; then drink in the way of the holy war.  In your praying, in your singing, surrender first, so that you can give everything.  What can I say about al-mujahadah?  I could speak about it all day and all night because there is no end to this holy war, which in truth is the holy peace.  This is Allah.  What do you need from Him after that?”


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