First is the way station of the aware, second the level of the familiar, and third the degree of the friends and the near ones. When at first lightning flashed from the heaven of exaltedness, the servant came to awareness. Then a breeze blew from the garden of gentleness, and the servant found familiarity. Then he found a drink from the cup of friendship and became selfless of selfhood, everything came to be his.
Awareness is the state of the wage-earner, familiarity the attribute of the guest, and friendship the mark of the near ones. The wage-earners have wages, the guests have feasts, and the near ones have mysteries. The wage of the wage-earner befits the wage-earner, the feast of the guest befits the host, and the one who is near is drowned in face-to-face vision.
Whether you show what is in your souls or you hide it, God will bring you to account for it. Great is the work of someone who has business with Him! Majestic is the rebuke of him whose rebuker is He! One must buy reckoning with one’s spirit when the reckoner is He! The measure of this declaration was known by that chevalier of the Tariqah, Shiblī, who said, “O God, what would it matter if You placed all the sins of the world’s folk on Shiblī’s neck? Then, tomorrow in that place of seclusion, You would count out each sin for me, and my talk with You would be drawn out.”
His words “place of seclusion” alludes to the hadith of Muṣṭafā in which he said, “There is none of you to whom your Lord will not speak, without any spokesman between Him and you, nor any veil veiling Him.”
A nomad came and asked Muṣṭafā, “Who will take care of my account tomorrow?” The Messenger said, “God will take care of the servants’ accounts.” The nomad went back in happiness and joy and kept on saying, “So I am saved! When a generous man decides, he forgives.”
God will bring you to account for it. It has been said that this sentence is a tremendous admonishment for him who has brightness in his heart and familiarity in his secret core. Since he knows that tomorrow he will be called to account and interrogated about the why and the wherefore of his words and deeds, today he undertakes his own accounting of himself. He watches over his own movements and rests words and deeds. This is why Muṣṭafā said, “Take an accounting of yourselves before you are brought to account and prepare for the Greatest Exposure.”