Any religion that is not the submission is false. Any deed that is not following the Sunnah is the seed of remorse. The submission is the tree, the Sunnah is its water source, faith is its fruit, and the Real is the one who planted and nurtured it. When the wellspring of the Sunnah takes replenishment, it takes it from divine solicitude. If—refuge in God!—He should take back the solicitude, the wellspring would go dry. The tree would become ineffectual and barren, it would not give the fruit of faith, and it would be on the verge of disappearance and destruction. This is like the group who became apostates and turned away from the submission.
3:85 Whosoever wants a religion other than the submission, it will not be accepted from him.
Again, if the lordly solicitude should go forth and replenish the wellspring of the Sunnah, then the branches of the tree will be made from the goodly word [14:24] and its fruit from pure belief. The heaven of guidance will make the branch into a ladder, and in the state of life and death, its fruit will become constant and never be cut off. This is why the Lord of the Worlds says by way of similitude, “God has struck a similitude: A goodly word is like a goodly tree, its roots fixed, and its branches in heaven. It gives its fruit every season by the leave of its Lord” [14:24-25].
It has also been said that if a similitude is struck for the submission, it is a lamp that has been lit by the Most Tremendous Light, its material and nurture made to appear from the light of the Sunnah. To this is the allusion in His words, “Is he whose breast God has expanded for the submission, so he is upon a light from his Lord […]?” [39:22].
He is saying, “Whenever the Exalted Lord lights the lamp of the submission in a breast, assistance from the light of the Sunnah makes it appear so that the breast may always be adorned and lit. Hence, whenever someone does not have a whiff of the Sunnah, he will have no portion of the submission.
It is narrated from Shāfiʿī that he said, “I saw God in a dream and He said to me, ‘Ask a wish from Me.’ I said, ‘Make me die in the submission.’ He said, ‘Say, “And in the Sunnah.”’
”In other words, when you want the submission, you should want the Sunnah along with it. You should say, “Make me die in the submission and the Sunnah,” for there is no submission without the Sunnah. Any belief that is not with the Sunnah will not be accepted, and any religion whose level is not kept by the Sunnah is not the religion of the Real.
The folk of recognition sees another closeness in the submission. They say that the submission is rightfully due, and surrender [istislām] is the reality. “And everything rightfully due has a reality.” Submission is the Shariah and surrender is the Tariqah. The dwelling place of submission is the breast and the dwelling place of surrender is the heart. Submission is like the body and surrender is like the spirit. Without the spirit, the body is a corpse, and without the body, the spirit is useless.
In religion, submission is the least degree. It is to escape from associationism and to join with faith. Surrender is the greatest degree. It is to escape from self and join with the Real. This is why God says, “Except for those who repent after that and make wholesome” [3:89].
Everyone who escapes from associationism and joins with the submission is one of the repenters. Everyone who escapes from himself and joins with the Real is one of the wholesome. It is these two toward whom God is lovingly kind and whom He forgives.