Khalq and Khulq

Imam Ghazali (rah) explains in the following passage the spiritual impossibility of adequately overseeing our ‘self’ by oneself alone:

“The words khalq (creation) and khulq (morality) are derived from the same root. One is about the external world and the other is about the internal world.

Khalq is the form that can be known by the senses.

Khulq is hidden and cannot be known by looking at our external existence. The real identity of a person rests in his character, way of life, and his nature. Regardless of how much one hides himself in outer appearances, one day his inner identity will be disclosed.”

As we need a mirror to see our outer appearance, so too we need a mirror for our heart: the help of a friend of Allah who will diagnose and cure our inner world, our character, and our inclinations.

sufi meditation

If one wishes to know whether he is someone loved by Allah or not, he should closely evaluate his inner world: to the extent, he feels Allah in his heart and witnesses his power and kingdom with amazement he is close to Him.

For this reason, one should always be concerned with purifying his soul so that the manifestations of divine light, which will destroy the passions and the desires, can appear in the heart.

The Almighty Creator has said, “Truly, the one who purifies his soul succeeds” (Shams, 9).

Likewise, the Prophet Muhammad 􏰀(may peace and blessing be upon him) also said: “The believer is a mirror of the believer.” According to this hadith, the perfect humans serve as clear mirrors, with no stain on them, for our souls. In other words, seekers may observe the reality of their condition and their essence in the face of these individuals. This is not a material observation. The mirror of the heart goes well beyond the material dimension. In it one may explore the mysteries of the hidden inner worlds. This mirror is not a mirror of the outer world but rather a mirror of the inner world and there are no forms there save the reflections of Allah’s lights. Therefore, those who spiritually seek out and reap rewards from this mirror carry a different kind of beauty and joy in their hearts. They grow to sacrifice themselves. They wish farewell to their ego and consequently reach to the blessing of Allah aiming to become completely absorbed in Him. For this reason, it is necessary to be under the guidance of a perfect master and to internalize his morality. Yunus Emre has said:

“Shariah (religious law) and tariqah (mysticism) are paths for sincere seekers, Yet the Truth and divine knowledge are beyond them.”

One can only reach to the secret mentioned in this couplet by Yunus Emre under the guidance of a perfect master.

-An excerpt from the book, “From the mirror of the heart”



 There are two types of worlds:

[a] Ālam-e-amr

[b] Ālam-e-khalq

[a] Ālam-e-amr: This is the world in which the Creator of the Universe says: ‘KUN’ [BE] and everything ‘fayakun’ – [SO IT BE] comes into existence. There is no need for any physical means or causes to take effect. [asbāb or ‘ilal]. For example the rūh is from the amr of Allāh, subhānahū wa ta’ālā.

[b] ‘Ālam-e-khalq: This is the world of means and causes. Everything in this realm is created by means and causes, contrary to ‘Ālam-e-amr. All humanity came into being through the means, wasīla of Ādam and Hawā’, ‘alayhumā as-salām.

It is determined by Allāh, subhānahū wa ta’ālā, to make things happen through asbāb [sing.Sabab]. The need of means to acquire knowledge by means of a teacher. Upbringing by means of parents. To the extent that even for eating and drinking water in one’s social life, everything is done by means of a wasīla, nothing happens directly. Allāh, the Almighty, Himself states in the Qur’ān;

“O You who believe, fear Allāh and seek wasīla [means] to reach Him.” 

By these Words of the Lord – Allāh, it is clear that when reaching and approaching Allāh by means of a wasīla is fard [compulsory] then what can man – the two legged animal achieve without the wasīla [means]?

Salāh [namāz] is a wasīla [means] of drawing closer to the presence of Allāh the Almighty and wudū being the wasīla [means] for Salāh and water being the wasīla [means] of wudū.

We need to have food for survival, to cook the food we need the means of pans or pots. The Pot receives heat from the fire and thus food is prepared. Without such means for food preparation the world will remain without cooked food. Alas! What would happen if there were a few wanting to enter paradise without the wasīla of the Messenger of Allāh, salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. How is this possible? 

Allāh the Almighty, orders:
“O Believers! Fear Allāh and remain in the company of the truthful.” 

In another statement Allāhsubhānahū wa ta’ālā, says: 
“And on that Day We will call them with their Imāms [Mentors, Shaykhs]. 

From these Words it is evident that Allāh the Almighty orders that you seek means – wasīla. Seek association [suhbah – companionship] of the Truthful and We will call upon you by yourImāms [Shaykhs] whom you followed. Thus we learn that the means and association of a mentor is the best means of gaining closeness to Allāh.


  • Mawlānā Jalāl ud-Dīn, Rūmī (Alaihi Al Rehma) says, “Search for your Shaykh for without a Shaykh this journey is full of tribulation, fear and dangers.”
  • Mawlānā Jalāl ud-Dīn, Rūmī (Alaihi Al Rehma) states in his Masnavi, “Butter cannot be acquired without milk, as recognition of Allah (ilm-e-baatin)cannot be obtained without a spiritual guide or Murshid.” And he further states, “Whoever travels without a guide needs two hundred years for a two day journey.”
  • Regarding the importance of a ShaykhMawlānā Rūmī (Alaihi Al Rehma) says: “Without the shade of the Shaykh one cannot annihilate the self [nafs] thus hold firm to the sleeve of a perfect Pīr if you seek annihilation of the inner base self [nafs].”
  •  Khwājah Bahā’ud-Dīn (Alaihi Al Rehma)  said: “My son, love of Allāh is not obtainable without a perfect Pīr –Kāmil Shaykh paving your way.”
  •  Mawlānā ‘Abd al-Rahmān Jāmī (Alaihi Al Rehma), referring to the author of the famous ‘Mathnawī Sharīf,Mawlānā Jalāl ud-Dīn Rūmī (Alaihi Al Rehma), says: “The Scholar of Rūm could not become a Master up until he became the slave of Shams Tabrez.”
  • Hafiz al-Shirazi (Alaihi Rehma) affirms this advice saying, “Do not take a step on the path of Love without a guide. I have tried it one hundred times and failed.”
  • Sayyidina Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani (Alaihi Rehma) said, “The heart is the plantation for the Aakhira (hereafter). Sow the seeds of Imaan in your heart. Irrigate, fertilise and mature it with regular good deeds. If there is kindness and energy in the heart, it will be fertile and an abundant harvest will result. Should the heart be harsh and contemptuous, the soul becomes infertile, barren and no crop will be able to grow.
    Learn this art of farming by its farmers/experts, the Awliya Allah. Do not think your opinion to be sufficient. Our Prophet ﷺ says, ‘Seek help in every field from an expert in that field.’” [Al-Fathur Rabbani, pg. 202]


When a person gives his hand in the hand of a learned [Kāmil] perfectly accomplished Pīr and makes a pledge [initiate a pact], this connection reaches the Blessed Prophet, salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s, presence – this is because each Pīr or Shaykh has a Pīr – the Seeker has a spiritual relation, a bond with his Mentor [Murshid] who in turn is connected to his Mentor – thus making a chain of succession [silsilah] which finally reaches the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The Murīds heart is fortified by the blessings running through him like currents from the power house. When it is produced it flows through the cables and from the cable to the town, from thereon to the house and from the house into the bulb, thus, illuminating the entire house. Let us consider some examples :

  1. In “Silsilah Owaisi”, the current of ‘faizān’ emerges from Madīnah al-Munawwarah to Yemen and from Yemen to Kāshirā, Kupwārā (Kashmir) and from Kāshirā to each individual home (belonging to Silsilah Owāisi) – consequently illuminating the dark hearts.
  2. In “Silsilah Qadriyya” ,  the current of ‘faizān’ emerges from Madīnah al-Munawwarah to Baghdād and from Baghdād to Ajmer and from Ajmer to each individual home (belonging to Silsila Qadriya) – consequently illuminating the dark hearts.

It is an obligation [Fard] upon every individual to have faith [Īmān] and after Īmān there is a need for action [good deeds]. Thereafter, there is another requirement which is the need for a private Pīr [Shaykh].

Imām  Fakhr  ud- Dīn  Rāzī, rahimahu Allāh, who was one of the great Scholars, author of the popular and monumental commentary [Exegesis] of the Noble Qurān, i.e. Tafsīr al-Kabīr, in which he has written a commentary consisting of 350 pages on Sūrah al-Fātiha alone. One day Imām Fakhr ud-Dīn Rāzī announced, I can adduce 1200 legal cases from the Bismillāh alone. And if I wanted let alone 1200 I could even adduce 12000 legal rulings.” 

When death approached this great Scholar of his time, the accursed Devil – Shaytān came and stood beside his side and began a debate with him on the Tawhīd [Uniqueness – Oneness] of Allāh, subhānahū wa ta’ālā. The accursed devil Satan asked Imām Rāzī as to how he believed that Allāh is One. Imām Rāzī gave the proof but the devil rejected that proof. Imām Rāzī gave further proof but Iblīs rejected that too. Imām Rāzī continued to give evidence after evidence but Shaytān also continued to reject each proof and argument the Imām made to the extent that now the treasures of proofs and evidences began to dry. At the same time, Imām Rāzī’s Spiritual Guide, Shaykh Najm ud-Dīn Kubrā’, sitting thousands of miles away called out to the Imām and said, “O Rāzī! Say that you believe in the Oneness of Allāh without [the need of] proof.” The Shaykh calls out to the Imām, hisMurīd thousands of miles away which reaches him and is repeated by Imām Rāzī. The devil,Iblīs having no answer to this faith rendering answer was silenced and in anger ran away. It is hence established that even after acquiring knowledge of the Dīn [Islām] one still needs to have a Shaykh to protect one’s faith and remain steadfast. In our world, wherever there is a war, the fighting soldiers need a commander, without one there is no war. Whether the war lasts for 2 to 4 days or 4 years, a commander is necessary.

Similarly, man and his war with the devil and with his inner base self [nafs] is not merely for 2 to 4 years rather is at constant war and this is a greater war. Once, upon returning from a battle the Messenger of Allāh, salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said:

“We are setting forth towards a greater Jihād [struggle] from the lesser Jihād”

Meaning: the war – struggle against the wishes of the inner base self [nafs] is a war with the devil. This is a more gruesome war and therefore the commander required for such a gruesome war requires a powerful, wise and able mentor – a Shaykh or Pīr.

Therefore, it is a Sunnah for every Muslim to make a pledge with Allāh in the hands of a perfect Pīr [Shaykh-e-Kāmil] so that he may be guided throughout his life in his struggle to elevate himself, fight his nafs and become a true servant of Allāh, subhānahū wa ta’ālā. A person who does not have a Shaykh, the devil himself is free to become his Pīr, since he has no spiritual guard protecting him from such influence.


Just like the seeker of knowledge is called a student and the provider of knowledge called a teacher likewise, the receiver of spiritual training is called a ‘Murīd seeker or devotee [one who has made intent on living a life in total submission to the will of Allāh] and its provider [Master] is called a Pīr; Spiritual Guide or Shaykh. The Pīr is also referred to as a Murshid; one who guides.

In different regions a Pīr is given variant names according to the local language, also in different era’s the Pīr has been referred by various terms. Sometimes by Hādī [Guide], sometimes Rehbar [also Guide], Bāpū and Bābā’s. In all case these Mashā’ikh have always been connected to the Ahl-e-Sunnat wa’l Jamā’at. In other terms the Friends of Allāh [Awliyā’ Allāh] have no link or affiliation with nulled sects. A Pīr or Walī is and has connection with the Sunnī Jamā’at only. A sect or group in which the Messenger of Allāh, the families of the Prophet; Ahl al-Bayt or the Noble Prophetic Companions, [Sahāba-e-Kirām]salla Allāhu ‘alayhi wa ālihī wa ashābihī wa sallam, are denigrated, the ‘Mashā’ikh-e-‘Izām’ do not exist amidst them.

How to find a Murshid or Sheykh?

Shaykh Al-Sayyid Muhammad al- Alawi al- Maliki (rahmatullah ta’ala alayh) was asked by someone: when you do not have a Shaykh who can guide you to Allah, how do you find a Shaykh? The great Shaykh advised that if someone takes to the Salawat upon the Prophet ﷺ then this is his or her Shaykh. The Salawat will guide him to his Shaykh who will guide him to Allah and will grant him salvation on the day of judgement.


sufi meditation