Hazrat Ahmad Zarruq (rhu) was a great scholar from Morocco who died in Masaat, Libya. He said that the fragrance of his teachings would disseminate in this world long after his bones were laid to rest and so its one of his karamaat or saintly miracles that his teachings is still affecting us and influencing us . He said (rhu), “Know, that may Allah give you and us success and rectify our worldly and other worldly lives and grant us adherence to the way of the truth in our journeys and our sojourns, that repentance is a key and taqwa is vast and up righteousness is the source of reflection. Furthermore a servant is never free of either blunders or shortcomings or lassitude, therefore, never be neglectful of tawbah (repentance) and never turn away from the act of returning to Allah (swt) and never neglect acts that bring you closer to Allah (swt). Indeed every time one of these three occurs, repent and return. Every time you make a mistake, listen and obey. Anytime you display shortcomings or show lack of enthusiasm, don’t desist in your efforts.
Let your main concern be to remove from your outer state anything that is displeasing and then maintain its outward state through continuous counsel. Continue doing this until you find that you are fleeing from anything outwardly displeasing your second nature and that your avoidance of the boundaries of prohibited things is as it acts like a protective net that is placed before you. At this point it is time to turn inward, toward your hearts presence, and to its reality with both reflection and remembrance.
Don’t hasten the end result before you have completed the beginning but likewise don’t begin without looking towards the end result. This is so, because the one who seeks the outset at the end loses its providential care and the one who seeks the end at the outset loses providential guidance.
Act in accordance with principles and appropriate legal rulings and not in accordance with stories and fantasies. Don’t even consider stories of how things went with others, except as a tonic to strengthen your resolve, certainly not as a reference based upon their outward forms or what they seem to be telling us. In all of this depend upon a clear path you can refer to and a foundation you can depend upon in all of your states. The best of these is the path of Ibn Ata-allah (rhu) given that in it is a clear direction to Allah. Don’t take from others words unless it’s in accordance with your path but submit to their implication if you desire realisation.
Avoid all forms of vain and foul speech to your absolute utmost. Put aside anything you cannot discern its benefit immediately. Beware of being extremely hard on yourself before you have obtained mastery over it, but also beware of being too lax with it in anything that concerns sacred rulings. This is because it is constantly fleeing from moderation in everything and it inclines towards extremism in both matters of deviance and guidance.
[“To repeat ‘this is because it is constantly fleeing from moderation in everything and it inclines towards extremism in both matters of deviance and guidance.’ So just to stop and look, this is extremely important because what the sheikh is telling us is that the nature of the self is extremism and he is telling us to be aware of this in both good deeds and bad deeds, in both obedience to Allah (swt) and disobedience to Allah (swt). So he is telling us, beware of being extremely hard on yourself before you have obtained mastery over it but also beware of being too lax with it in anything that concerns sacred rulings.”]
Seek out a companion to help you out in your affairs and take his counsel concerning matters that occurs from both your inward state and outward affairs. If you do indeed take his companionship then treat him in a manner commensurate with his state and give of your counsel based upon his inabilities and abilities, because the perfected friend is no longer to be found. Indeed in these times even a suitable companion who is agreeable rarely lasts. And beware of the majority of people in matters that concern your religious and worldly states unless you have ascertained he has some sound relationship with your Lord based upon knowledge that he is free of his caprice or love of leadership and a sound intellect, free of pit falls of hidden agendas.
Do not be heedless of the machinations of others or their hidden states, consider those two from both their origins and actions and a person of character and family distinction rarely affects you other than good. And yet a person of low origin roots usually causes him to disregard you when times get tough. Be extremely vigilant of the dominant qualities of given people in any given land and don’t be heedless of the Devine wisdom in the creation and notice gatheredness and separations.
Organise your time in a matte appropriate to time specific needs using gentleness and toleration and be very wary of either harshness or laxity. This is so, because too much laxity concerning permissible matters pulls the heart backwards in its journey until even a man of resolve ends up looking like a foolish boy. Work for this world as if you will live forever but work for your next life as if you die tomorrow. Thus do not neglect the externals of your worldly needs. In the meantime, do not be heedless of your end and final resting place.
Be extremely vigilant about avoiding positions of leadership but should you be tried with such matters at least know your own limitations. Be absolutely sincere to Allah with the sincerity of one who knows full well who is placing demands upon Him. Surrender completely to His decree with the submission of the one who knows he can never overcome Him.
Have firm foundations for all of your affairs and you will be saved from their pit falls. Organise your devotional practices and you will find your time is being extended due to the barakat or blessings in it. Never be fanatical about anything whether it is the truth or whether it is false for your heart will then remain in a state of soundness towards others. Never claim anything that you are entitled to not to mention what you are not entitled to and you will be safe from tricks and treachery. This is so, because if anyone who claims some rank above his own will fall in humiliation; where as the one who claim a rank they weren’t will have it stripped from them; while those who claim a state less than their true rank will be elevated to even higher levels then they actually deserve. Never give your companion anything of your state other than what his own state wants. This is so, because if you go down to his level, he will show contempt whereas if you attempt to raise him to your level, he will abandon you.
Never demand a right from anyone whether an intimate or a stranger. The reason for this is a stranger in reality owes you nothing and someone close to you is too precious to direct your blame to him. Never assume that anyone in this world can really understand your circumstances other then from the perspective of his circumstances. This is so, because in reality everyone sees things in accordance with their forms of reference and their personal path. However, when aims purpose and aspirations are similar people tend to work together toward a common goal. Never belittle any talk that involves absent people even if there is no harm init due to the possibility of harm coming into it. Guard your secrets even if you feel safe with someone because the one you divulge your secrets to, is not a safer place then your own heart from once it emanated.
Never leave an atoms weight of your regular practices, never be lenient with yourself in either lax times or times of high resolve. Indeed should you miss some of your practice in a given time, redress it in another time. If you’re not able to do your usual practice, at least occupy yourself with something similar. Never obey your ego even for a moment, nor believe any of its claims no matter what it tells you. Be vigilant about your resolve in all of your affairs to your utmost. In fact should you resolve to do something then do it immediately before the resolve wanes. Examine your soul constantly in matters that you are obliged to do or are needed to be done. Anything you are in no need of doing, leave it, even if it is something that is recommended. That means not involving yourself in anything other than absolutely necessary things and real discernable needs.
Treat others just as you would want to be treated and fulfil to them what is due to them. All of this is epitomised in words of the poet when he said, ‘If you desire to live such that your religion is safe and your portion is full and your honour is sound’. Guard your tongue and never mention another’s faults remembering that your self have faults of others have tongue. What your eye, should it ever reveal to you the faults of others, say to it, “Oh my eye, other people have eyes too”. Treating others well and avoid aggression and should others aggress against you leave them but in the best way.
The source of these words is in fact nothing other than the words of the traditions of the Prophet (saw) when he said, “Be vigilant of Allah wherever you are and follow a misdeed with a good deed and it will remove it. And treat others with the most excellent character.”
In another He (saw) said, “Every child of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of those who make mistake are those who seek to redress them. Again the Holy Spirit inspired my hearts core that no soul will die until it fulfils it decreed portion of this world and its appointed time here. So be conscious of Allah and make your request with dignity.”
In summation, repentance, awareness of Allah and up righteousness are the foundations of all that is beneficial. The truth is clear and it detail are weighty and significant, the affair belongs only to Allah, success is in His Hands. Assalamualeikum, Peace.