Sayyid Ahmed Amiruddin

Researcher of Political Science & Classical Islam. Initiated by the Khwajagan i-Naqshband.

Understanding the Saying of the Masters of Wisdom: “We Cannot Know Allah, But We Do Know You!” By Khwaja Ala’ ad-Din Abizi, Affiliate of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami

Excerpted from: Rashahat ‘Ain al-Hayat [Beads of Dew from the Source of Life: Histories of the Khwajagan: The Masters of Wisdom]. Translated by Muhtar Holland. Al-Baz Publishing. P.194-5, 201-2.

“Mawlana Ala’ ad-Din Abizi was also one of Mawlana Sa’d ad-Din Kashghari’s companions. He came from a village called Abiz in the vicinity of Kuhistan. After the death of the venerable Mawalana Sa’d ad-Din, he continued in the service of the venerable Mawlana Jami, who treated him with great care and attention, and likened his character to fresh and pure soil.

…The venerable Shaikh ‘Abd al-Kabir once asked Mawlana Ala’ ad-Din: “When your Shaikh was ill at ease, what did he say to you?” Mawlana replied: “When you come to my side, you collect yourself and remember Allah. Even if you are far away from me, you must not forget, so that you do not fall apart!”

The Shaikh then asked him: “And how did you respond?” He said: “With silence.” The Shaikh said: “That was very inconsiderate of you! You ought to have said: ‘We cannot know Allah, but we do know you!”

According to the author of the Rashahat:

One of the great saints has said: “The disciple sees himself in his own mirror, but he does not see himself in the mirror of his Shaikh.” In Samarqand, I heard the venerable Khwaja ‘Ubaidu ‘llah say: “Since you have not been able to see Allah while I am still alive, what will you do after I have died?” The saying of Shaikh ‘Abd al-Kabir must also be understood in this sense. What the venerable Shaikh sought to convey is not that one cannot recognize and know Allah from the fundamental standpoint, and that spiritual knowledge of the Divine [ma’rifa Ilahiyya] is of little importance. It is rather intended to show the seeker the method of concentration, and to establish him in this practice. The pilot of those who learn by direct experience, the venerable Amir Husain, says in his works: “The seeker must become annihilated [fani] in his concentration on his spiritual guide, so that inner knowledge may be revealed to him from the countenance of his Shaikh.”

If the seeker strives to reach his goal by ways of the Shaikh alone, he will reach his goal… the seeker must therefore remind himself, the one road to Allah’s good pleasure is the good pleasure of the Shaikh, and he must act accordingly The route to arrival at the Truth, and to contact with the Truth, passes through the heart of the Shaikh. In reality, the heart of the Shaikh is the home of Allah…This means that the wisdom contained in the saying of the venerable Shaikh ‘Abd al-Kabir -“We cannot know Allah, but we know you!”- is also related to this subtlety. It is tantamount to saying: “You are the door that leads to Allah! The house is entered through the door!” It shows the seeker the way to his goal.”

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