Struggle without a Shaykh

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Wahhab ibn Ahmad ash-Sha’rani (r.a.) said, “An example of the spiritual battles that I waged without the guidance of a shaykh, was that I would peruse the books of the folk such as Risalah al-Qushayriyyah, ‘Awarif al-Ma’arif, al-Qut of Abu Thalib al-Makki, and al-Ihya’ of al-Ghazali.  I would act in accordance with the understanding shown to me, and after a period of time, I would see things differently, and leave off what I was doing, and go to the next thing.

I was like one who entered a narrow mountain pass, unsure of when it would become expansive.  If he saw it become expansive, he would continue his journey, and if not, he would go back.  If only such a person would seek the counsel of one who is aware of the mountain passes before he undertakes such a journey, he could save him from much fatigue.  This is the similitude of he who has no shaykh.  The benefit of the shaykh is that he condenses, and shortens the path for the spiritual aspirant.  Whoever travels the path without a shaykh is foolish, and he will spend his whole life having not reached his goal because the shaykh is like the guide who leads the pilgrims to Makkah on a dark night.”


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