h, you who believe! Fear Allah, and seek a means of access to Him, and struggle on His way; perhaps you will succeed! (Koran 5:35) Commentary: … God commands believers to practice the fear of Him. This corresponds to what is called… the "station of repentance" which is the basis of all progress on the Way and the key which permits one to arrive at the "station of realization"… After that God says to us: "And seek a means of access to Him"… The means is a (spiritual) master whose initiatic lineage (nisba) is faultess, who has a veritable knowledge of the Way, of the deficiencies which obstruct it and the illnesses which prevent the arrival at Gnosis; and who possesses a proven science of healing, and of the temperaments and dispositions and their appropriate remedies. There is absolute unanimity among the People of Allah on the fact that, in the Way toward Gnosis, a "means of access", that is to say, a master, is indispensable. Books can in no way take the place of a master, at least from the time that supernatural inspirations (al-waridat), illuminations of theophanies (bawariq al-tajalliyyat) and spiritual events (al-waqi'at) begin. When that happens, it becomes necessary to explain to the disciple what in all that should be accepted or rejected; what is sound and what is tainted. However, at the beginning of the Way he can be satisfied with books which deal with pious behaviour and with spiritual combat in its most general sense. "And sturggle on His Way": this is an order to do battle after having found a master. It is a matter of a special holy war (jihad), which is carried out under the command of the master and according to the rules which he prescribes. One cannot have confidence in a spiritual combat carried on in the absence of the master, except in very exceptional cases… The dispositions of beings are varied, their temperaments are very differnt one from another and something which is profitable for one can be harmful for another.
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