Abū Bakr Kattānī said, “When someone has the opinion that he will arrive without expending effort, he is a wisher, and when someone has the opinion that he will arrive by expending effort, he is a drudge.”
Whoever fancies that he will reach the goal without toiling is a wisher, and “The incapable are those who follow their own caprice and wish for God.” Whoever fancies that he will reach the Sought by toil and by seeking the Sought is a drudge.
Shaykh al-Islām Anṣārī said, “He is not found by seeking, but the seeker finds. Until he finds Him, he will not seek. Whatever can be found by seeking is of little worth. The servant finds the Real before the seeking, but for him seeking is the earliest step. The recognizer finds seeking from finding, not finding from seeking. In the same way, the obedient person finds obedience from self-purification, not self-purification from obedience; he finds the cause from the meaning, not the meaning from the cause. O God, since finding You is before the seeking and the seeker, I am seeking because unsettledness has overpowered me. The seeker is seeking and the Sought is obtained before the seeking. This is a most marvelous business! What is even more marvelous is that finding has become hard cash when seeking has not yet arisen. The Real is seen but the curtain of exaltedness is in place.”
It has also been said that the meaning of the verse is this: “You wish for the station of the masters without traveling in their path, clinging to their conduct, and practicing their practices.” You want the state of the great ones, but you have not gone on the great ones’ road. Your search for the Kaaba of union with eyes that have not undertaken struggle. You see the great good fortune of the friends, but you have not seen their tribulation. “Your trouble is wishing that you could be like those who have taken the trouble.” You fancy that the pen of the covenant was written easily for the passionate, that it wrote the inscription of friendship on their hearts gratis. But they have been wounded in spirit and heart at every moment, and they have tasted a draft laced with poison. But not just anyone is suited for His wounds, and not just anyone is worthy of suffering His pain. May God’s mercy be upon those chevaliers who have made their spirits the target of His trial’s arrow and recognized their hearts as the litter for His pain’s burden! Yes, everyone’s wound is in the measure of his faith, and everyone’s burden is in the measure of his strength. Whenever someone’s strength is greater, his burden is heavier. This is the secret of the verse in which He says,
4:34 The men stand over the women through that with which God has preferred some of them over others and that which they expend of their wealth.
He gave the men more than the women because the burden is all on them, for theirs is the perfection of strength and the eminence of aspiration. They carry burdens in the measure of strength or in the measure of aspiration. “Resolutions are made in the measure of the folk of resoluteness.”