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NEWSPRESS: STRUGGLE TO THE GREATER STRUGGLE

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There are three things within which is the servant’s felicity and through which servanthood’s face is bright: the tongue’s occupation with remembering the Real, the heart’s immersion in loving the Real, and the secret core’s filling with the gaze of the Real. Happy is he upon whose secret core God gazes so that his heart is adorned with love and his tongue is kept in remembrance. No remembrance is more exalted than the name God, and no name and remembrance are more exalted than this formula: “In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful.”

Muṣṭafā said, “When any affair of significance is begun without in the name of God, it will be fruitless.” Without the signet of in the name of God, no work will go forward in the empire. Without saying in the name of God, your prayer will not be correct and your whispered secrets will be useless. It has come in the traditions that one of the folks given success recited the Surah of Ikhlāṣ every day one thousand times without saying in the name of God. When he reached the afterworld, he was seen in a dream and asked, “What did God do with you?” He said, “For every time that I recited Say: He is God, One [112:1], He built a palace for me in paradise, but now that I have seen them, I do not find them pleasing, for they are defective.” It was said, “Why are they defective?” He said, “Because in the world I put aside the eminence of in the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Ever-Merciful, from the head of the surahs.” If all the kingdom of the existent things is opened up in your name, be careful not to look at it without the signet of in the name of God, for that has no more worth than a gnat’s wing. If Gabriel and the carriers of the Throne bind their belts, you will not have the status and eminence that you will have if the ruling power of in the name of God places a burning brand in the midst of your spirit. When a spirit is more passionate, it is more quickly made captive; when a heart is more burnt, its bags are more quickly plundered.”

60:1 O you who have faith, take not My enemy and your enemy as friends.

“O you who have faith, who have seen the Messenger as truthful, and who have accepted My message with spirit and soul, do not take My enemy and your enemy as your friend. No enemy of yours is greater than the commanding soul. Beware lest you feel secure from it. Always be on guard against it.” Your worst enemy is the disobedient soul. It always wants that in which is your loss. Anyone who lets the soul have what it wants is planting the seeds of his own remorse. Among the reports from David is this: “O David, be the enemy of your own soul, for no one in the empire contends with Me except it.” 

The soul [nafs] is dust-dwelling, terrestrial, and dark. It is a treacherous and deceiving enemy. Its root is from “rivalry” [tanāfus], and rivalry is the beginning of rancor, envy, hatred, and enmity. Muṣṭafā was not exaggerating when he said, “We have returned from the lesser struggle to the greater struggle.” He called war against Byzantium the smaller war and war against the soul the greater war. For, you can take Byzantium from the emperor with a small army, but you cannot take the soul from someone with all the friends on the face of the earth. This is because an unbeliever in Byzantium struggles face-to-face and shows impudence and wrath against the warriors and calls them to do improper acts. But the soul does not struggle face-to-face. It shows him affection and kindness and calls him to do honorable acts. This is why the men of religion’s road leave aside many of the obedient acts, for they know that those are the decoys of the soul; a hunter catches birds with birds.

Aḥmad Khiḍrūya Balkhī said, “I had severely put down my soul with various sorts of discipline and struggle. One day it became elated by war. I was surprised because the soul does not become elated by obedience. I asked myself what sort of deception was hidden there. Perhaps it could not put up with hunger, for I was always commanding it too fast. It wanted to travel so as to break its fast while traveling. I said to the soul that if I traveled I would not put aside the fasting. The soul said that it accepted that. I thought that perhaps it was not able to put up with standing in prayer all night. It wants to be able to sleep when traveling. I said that I would not decrease my standing in prayer, just as if I were not traveling. The soul said that it accepted that. I thought that perhaps it is because it does not mix with people when not traveling, for I kept it in solitude and seclusion. Its desire was to have companionship with people. I said to the soul that wherever I went in this traveling I would stop at ruined way stations so it would not see any people. It accepted that. I was helpless at its hands. “I wept to God and pleaded with Him to make me aware of its deception. In the end, I brought it to attestation. It said, ‘When not traveling you kill me a thousand times every day with the sword of struggle, going against my desire, but people are not aware of that. At least let me go to war so that I may be killed once and for all. I will be a martyr, and all the world will know that Aḥmad Khiḍrūya was martyred in the war.’

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