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Prerequisites for the Path

Success in traveling the Path will depend upon a seeker’s ability to fulfill two basic conditions or prerequisites:

One must be sincere with the Master that one has chosen and in one’s aspiration on the Path. If one makes a pretence of submitting to the Master only to learn the secrets of the Path, or to become a shaikh or Master, or to reap benefits in the world or hereafter, one will never get anywhere.

Qushayri in his classic Risala writes, “Know that the disciple’s first step on the Path must be taken with sincerity for his travelling to have a proper foundation. And as many Masters have stressed, those who fail to establish a proper foundation for the Path will be denied union with Him.”

Worship is not in prostrating
with your forehead to the ground.
Bring forth truthfulness, for sincerity
isn’t found in prostration.

Those who seek sincerity from gnosis
will in the end succeed,
While those who seek cleverness from gnosis
will in the end but die.

One must also possess an inherent, inborn attraction to God which manifests in true chivalry and in a genuine quest for god. If this attraction and affection for God is not in one’s nature, one will have little chance of progressing on the Path.

Indeed, if the above two conditions are not met, a seeker will spend years in confusion, without achieving anything spiritually, and end up either rejecting the Path or else making pretentious claims.

If the true nature of a tree
is bitterness,
Even though you plant it
in the very garden of heaven

Where it is watered by the stream
of heaven’s immortality
And its roots fed
with the most honey-sweet ambrosia,

In the end the essence
will emerge
When the fruit is bears
is bitter.

Article taken from Sufi Journal, Issue 51, 2001

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