People of Ma‛rifah are shown many effects of one’s statements and actions. They are shown that an advice to do something by a person who himself is void of its practice does not take effect. Similarly they are also shown that the advices given by someone who also practices them take fruitful effect. This is why the Shuyūkh of Sulūk advice that even an ‛Arif should adopt seclusion (khalwah), just like the laity. He is in need of seclusion just like a beginner in the Sulūk needs it.
This seclusion will be of benefit for other Sālikīn who are following this Sheikh. He can gather newer ulūm and bounties in seclusion (khalwah) aside from the bounties which he has already dispensed to the muridīn in open (jalwah). This way the stream will continue to flow.
In our times people are not geared up to focus on actions. Leave aside the laity, even the distinguished ones mostly run after secrets (asrarāt) and pleasures (dhaukiyāt) of sulūk. Hence this topic has become very necessary to tackle. The reason why some Sālikīn may not be inclined towards actions (a’maal) is because there is not much leisure or delight in a’maal in the beginning, while the dhaukiyāt are filled with delight.
An example of action is that of a medication. It is not pleasant to one’s taste in the beginning, but once it becomes an addiction then it starts to give delight like food. This is why those who have reached higher levels in sulūk find more delight in actions. This has been mentioned in Hadīth, “Coolness of my eyes has been placed in the Salah”.
Those seekers who complain that they do not get any pleasure in dhikr, salah or fasting, make me laugh. Has anyone ever complained to a doctor that the medicine does not have a good taste? Then what is the meaning of such a complaint in this case? The dhikr and salah has been given as a medication for the seeker, so should a seeker be worried if there is any delight or taste in this medication? Indeed, once one has made these actions as their habit, the actions start giving pleasures like food as well.
Just like opium and tobacco are medications in essence, once a person’s body makes a habit of it, it becomes pleasurable items. Moreover, if the sheikh gives a way which brings ease in action then that was never his duty, rather it is a good gesture on his part. Hence a doctor is only liable to gives a prescription. The patient does not have the right to demand additional cardamom and pān (beetle leaf delight). If the doctor gives a prescribed medicine as well as some delight thereafter, then that is his generosity.
Some doctors in the past used to have this habit that they would give the medication as well as relaxation in diet. It is known about Maulana Hakeem Mu‛īn ad-dīn rehmatullah alayh that he would allow his patients to eat whatever they wish in front of him but not afterwards. This was because whatever the patient would eat in his presence, he would be considerate of it in the prescription. This is only due to his compassion otherwise the patient has no right to demand such treatment.
Haqeeqat-e-Tasawwuf wa Taqwa, pg 52
Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Rahmatullahi Alayh