In a discourse Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi rehmatullahi alayh said:
“Who so ever enters this path (Tasawwuf) and has not attained humility then he is absolutely devoid (of that which is acquired in this path). It is like marrying a woman of worldly honor, and wealth, but she is barren (unable to bear children) because the aim of the marriage was lost. She will lose face in the sight of the husband (despite her worldly wealth and respect). Similarly, to tread this path without perfecting humility in oneself is useless.1
All these things are present, yet they are of no value
Until an angel acquires the status of fana’, he is shaytan*
Malfuzaat Hakeemul Ummat Malfuz # 317 – vol. 1 pg. 244
*The analogy is made to an angel, who does not have the quality of subservience. Such an angel cannot be called an angel since disobedience is a trait of Shaytan.
1. Sufiya’ have given many different analogies to explain this matter. One only needs to see the land around us which takes water from the rain and bring forth vegetation. It is only the lands state of humbleness to the elevations of the clouds that allow it to receive the rain from above. Moreover, look at the land that it tilled, a land where work has been done, some struggle has been done, it is ready to receive the water from the sky and give birth to new life forms. Allah has made this as a natural way. Imagine if the land is not tilled, and is hard as rock, then the even if Allah’s mercy descends water from the sky to this land, it will not accept it and the water will flow away to benefit some other land.
In it there is a sign for those who ponder. Look how Allah blesses some land with water and it chooses not to give away this blessing, hence not producing any crops, vegetation, nor benefiting anyone. That land, which complied with the natural way, not only bore crops and vegetation, but also aided in giving the landscape some beauty. Eyes seek calmness at the sight of such lush vegetation. In contrast is that land which either horded the water or let it simply pass away, both sought to diminish the beauty. One becomes a rocky ground, while the other becomes a swamp.
So listen and learn, a traveler of this path carries an open land within his heart, he needs to humble himself and till this land. Seek towards his shuyukh to rain down the mercy of Allah into this heart. It all starts with humility and humbleness. Let not the heart be a rock or a swamp, lest we fear standing in front of Allah with nothing in our heart but a void. Ponder over the Ibtida’ (beginning) and the Intiha’ (end) of the land; in between lay the struggle. In beginning nothing is visible but the material land, and in the end land annihilates it self to show nothing but the mercy of Allah which was sown into it. So be like the land.