Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu says:
Meaning: How can a person pray Allah, unless he knows and recognizes Him.
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
- A person, who doesn't recognize Allah while addressing Him, is oblivious of the essence of praying Allah.
The engrossment, depth and fear of Allah that is found in prayers after having His glorious Vision (Deedar) and Recognition (Pehchan) can never be found otherwise. Only this is the reason why the prayers were made obligatory thirteen years after the apostleship of Hazrat Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. During this period he Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam taught the intimate knowledge of Gnosis of Allah (Marifat) to his companions. They were set to prayers only after the completion of this spiritual knowledge so that their prayers may not remain soulless.
In the Holy Qur'an Allah says:
Meaning: I have not created humans and jins except for my (true) prayers (Al-Zariyat-56).
In the explanation of this verse Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbas Razi Allahu Ta,ala Anhu says:
Meaning: In this verse (for prayers) exactly and truly means (for my recognition).
For sufis "prayers" infact mean Gnosis (Marifat) and Qurb-e-Elahi; for all the prayers are destined to His Union (Visal) and if not then that is not a prayer. Therefore in the aforementioned verse "
" means the essence of prayers and that is Gnosis (Marifat) and Recognition (Pehchan) of Allah. For prayers Allah had enough angels, He doesn't need fasts and prayers of man. What He really desires from His men is that they seek His proximity (Qurb), Union (Visal) and Gnosis (Marifat) through these prayers. As He says in a Hadith-e-Qudsi:
Meaning: I was a hidden treasure. I desired to be recognized, thus I created all the creatures for my recognition (only).
Truth behind the creation of man and the essence of all the prayers is Recognition (Pehchan) of Allah; one who turns away, goes astray. Neither he fulfils the requirements of religion, nor does he find any peace in this world.
After death, the first question that will be asked in the grave is
"who is your Rub?" What answer could be given by those who have not gained Recognition of Allah? If their answer is that "the Creator and Owner of the whole universe is our Rub", then how could they get the privilege of being the nation (ummah) of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam as the same will be the answer of the Christians and the Jews. The nation (ummah) of Hazrat Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam is the best of all the nations (ummahs) because the doors to Allah's Vision (Deedar) and Union (Visal) have been opened for them, after which they can answer the above question correctly with verification by heart and soul.
In many verses of Holy Qur'an ummah of Hazrat Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam is persuaded to meet Allah (have His Gnosis and Vision).
Meaning: Oh Man! You sustain rigours to reach Allah, ultimately you shall meet him . (Al-Inshiqaq-6)
Meaning: (Will) you sit patiently, while your Allah is looking forward to seeing you . (Al-Furqan-30)
Meaning: One who longs to meet (see) Allah should execute virtuous deeds . (Al-Kahaf-110)
It is just natural that we want to meet and remain close to our loved ones and cannot live without them for long. A man who claims to love Allah but is satisfied with prayers only for his expression of love and doesn't seek His Vision and Union is not true to his claim. Allah says about such persons:
Meaning: Verily those who do not wish to meet (see) Allah and have liked the life of this material world, and are satisfied with it and are neglectful of our signs will be punished by burning them and their earnings (of this world) in the extreme fire of hell . ( Younus-7,8)
Those who deny Allah's Vision are also warned about the consequences:
Meaning: It is those who have denied the signs of Allah and His meeting (glorious Vision) so all their deeds are ruined and I shall not give any weight or (even) any worth to them (and their deeds) on the Day of Rising. (Al-Kahaf-105)
Meaning: No doubt those who denied meeting (seeing) Allah are in a great loss".(Al-Inam-31)
Meaning: Beware! They are in doubt about meeting Allah. Beware! He is the one who encompasses everything . (Ha-Mim As-Sajda-54)
Meaning: And whoever remains blind (to the glorious Vision of Allah) in this (world) will be blind in the hereafter as well. (Bani-Israel-72)
Many Hadiths and sayings of sufis also emphasize upon recognition and Gnosis of Allah through His Vision.
- Hazrat Jareer Bin Abdullah Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu relates that: "the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said that soon you will see your Allah with your own eyes". (Mishkwat)
- Another tradition narrates that "Once we were sharing the company of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. He Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam watched the moon and said you will see Allah as you are seeing this moon and you will have no problem in watching Him". (Al-Fatah Rabbani)
- Hazrat Umar Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu said "I had the glorious Vision of Allah through His resplendent light".
- Hazrat Ali Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu said "I don't pray Allah unless I see Him".
In short, it is the first and foremost demand of Allah's love and the soul of all prayers to acquire His Recognition (Pehchan) and Gnosis (Marifat) through His Vision (Deedar). It is very easy to verify Kalma Tayiba (
) verbally, the foundation of Islam, but this foundation is imperfect unless verified by heart and soul. Heart and soul have a special characteristic that they do not verify anything unless they check and testify it through keen and close observation. So the verification of Tauheed by heart and soul is possible only when oneness of Allah is confirmed through His perfect and proper Recognition after observation. Only then the prayer becomes Accession to Allah (Meraj) when is said after Gnosis (Marifat) and Vision (Deedar) of Allah.
- Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu clearly says in Al-Fatah-Rabbani that "Our Allah is Omnipresent and can be seen". Now the question arises that Allah does not possess any material body and is not restricted to any place. How and where could He be seen?
- Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu says: "For every true believer who recognizes Allah, there are two physical eyes of body and two esoteric internal eyes of soul. With his physical eyes he can see the world and its creatures while with internal eyes he can see the creatures of the outer world. Then all the veils from his soul are removed and he can watch Allah's self without any doubt and material medium. Thus he becomes closest to Allah and His loved one". (Al-Fatah-Rabbani)
Every sensible person is aware of the fact that man is a combination of a physical body that can be seen and an internal being which is named as soul, conscience or qulb which cannot be seen by the common people. This internal and intrinsic being is infact the real person. The physical body is just a cover for this soul in this physical world. This bodily cover is created in this world for physical recognition of a person and when the real being i.e. soul returns to Allah, this cover is left in this world to decay. The one, who came from Allah and has to return to Him and will be answerable to Him, is the True Self and that is our soul (Batin)
(we have come from Allah and to Him only we return). To be exalted to His Vision (Deedar), to Gnosis (Marifat) and to His Recognition (Pehchan) is what this True Self or soul is destined to because it belongs to Allah. As Allah says in Qur'an about the soul that was breathed to the vessel of Adam and all mankind:
Meaning: And then I (Allah) breathed into him my soul.(Al-Hajr-29)
This soul that belongs to Allah is one that is ungratified for not being close to Allah and for not being enlightened to His Vision (Deedar).
It is not the physical eyes that see Allah but that enlightened insight of the soul which is sublimed to His Vision (Deedar) and those who don't see yet, Allah says of those:
Meaning: These (physical) eyes are not blind but the soul inside the body is blind (to Allah's glorious sight). (Al-Hajj-46)
When the soul was with Allah it was engrossed in His Vision (Deedar) but when Allah declined this spiritual self enclosed in a body to this material world for the examination of His recognition (Pehchan) He laid the ethereal veils (Nafs) between Him and Man. Man's trial is to unveil these ethereal personalities of self (Nafs) to attain Allah's Vision (Deedar) and Recognition (Pehchan) by reaching His Sacred Self (Noor-e-Elahi) entrusted in the core of man's being (Qulb). It is the Divine light, entrusted to man's heart of which Allah says:
Meaning: Indeed we offered the trust (of our resplendent light) to the heavens and the earth and the mountains but they declined to bear this and became scared but man took it on. Verily he is ever so wrongdoing (against his own soul), unwise and extremely ignorant (of the consequence of lapse in paying back this trust)". (Al-Ahzab-72)
On the Day of Reckoning man has to return this entrusted refulgent self of Allah (Noor-e-Elahi). This entrusted light within the soul of man can be secured from being damaged by the depraved self (Nafs-e-Ammarah), only when he approaches it by unveiling it entirely, then can he save it. Unless he approaches and recognizes this entrusted light, neither can he evaluate its significance nor can he secure it. That is why the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "one who does not possess fidelity has no belief", because faith infact is the protection of this entrusted refulgent light(Noor-e-Elahi) within man's self. Allah has assured success on the Day of Reckoning only to the soul returned in its original and purest form which was enlightened by Allah's resplendent light.
Meaning: On the doomsday neither worldly assets nor progeny will benefit anyone but only the pure and protected soul (from evil) will help. (Ash-Shuara 88,89)
Therefore Allah's Recognition (Pehchan) and Gnosis (Marifat) are accessed on unveiling the Divine Light hidden in the esoteric self.
Meaning: I am within you, can't you see. (Al-Zariyat-21)
Meaning: I am closer to man than his jugular vein. (Qaf-16)
In Qudsi Hadith Allah says:
Meaning: Neither earth can possess me nor the skies, only the heart of a true believer can possess me.
Meaning: The heart of a true believer is the empyrean (throne) of Allah (where He resides)
To find Allah one has to search inside his soul and by recognizing his true internal self, he can recognize Allah. Allah says in Qudsi Hadith:
Meaning: One who recognized his own internal self undoubtedly recognized Allah.
This recognition (Pehchan) of man's internal self is named by Iqbal as "KHUDI". He persuades the muslim ummah to recognize their true self "Khudi" in order to recognize Allah.
Meaning: Allah is hidden within your own self oh negligent! Search and find Him, only this is the way of your self-improvement.
Alas! Man executes all his powers to satisfy the demands of his physical body and does his best to save this body from any harm or disease but never ever pays even minor attention to his internal real being. Soul that remains restless to meet and see its Creator, becomes ill and weak because of man's dejection and entanglement into the desires of material world and the ethereal personalities of the self (Nafs). Reason for man's anxiety is his negligence towards his soul. When soul becomes weak the depraved self (Nafs-e-Ammarah), which orders man to do wrong, becomes strong and overpowers esoteric self (Batin) hence neither heart nor mind can sustain righteousness thus leading to individual and collective destruction.
- In Risala-Al-Ghausiya Allah says to Hazrat Ghaus-ul-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jillani Razi-Allahu Ta'ala Anhu :"One who restrains oneself travelling towards me inside his internal self (Batin) instead pays heed to one's superficial being, I make him suffer physically through hardships"
i.e. when one does not try to rectify and sanctify his internal self to get proximity (Qurb) of Allah and focuses on what is exoteric (Zahir) than what is esoteric (Batin), then Allah entangles him to worldly hardships.
When our inner self is rectified, our external behaviours are corrected automatically.
It must also be understood that without the invocation and contemplation of The Personal Name of Allah (Zikr and Tasawur Ism-e-Allah Zaat) and contemplation of The Sacred Name of Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam (Tasawur Ism-e-Mohammad) our innerself is neither rectified nor corrected. Infact the invocation (Zikr) and contemplation (Tasawur) of The Personal Name of Allah is the key to the esoteric world, and contemplation (Tasawur) of Sacred Name of Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam leads a devotee to the Assembly of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam (Majlis-e-Mohammdi), but only if this Zikr and Tasawur is given by an accomplished and perfect spiritual guide and mentor.