The path is long. The obstacles are many. As Westerners we are not used to admitting that we need help.
Yet, to know God. To truly come to be sitting a the feet of the Divine Presence, you need help. You need to find someone who knows the way, who knows how to overcome the obstacles that loom in the path. You need a Shaykh, someone knowledgeable in the way to God.
Growing up as a Christian, in the south, I had no idea about this concept. Even today, Christianity really has no understanding of such an idea.
It has been said by the Sufi’s, that Christianity ends where the Sufi path starts. This has been my experience. Growning up as a Christian, a campus minister, I longs to have the deep peace described in the bible, the peace that passes all understanding. Yet, no real road map existed to reach such a goal.
In Sufism, a road map exists. It is real. It starts with the outer law, the Shariah. Knowing and following the outer laws of God is essential. You cannot reach God if you do not follow the outer law. But my Shaykh, Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal writes that, “the outer law in itself cannot carry you to Allah.” You need to know the inner way, the way that can only be revealed through the hands of a real Shaykh, a real knower of God, who knows how to steer the boat through difficult waters. You need someone who has reached the other shore.
In order to find the peace that passes all understanding you need a Shaykh who can guide you, teach you what you never would know on your own.
Shaykh Noorodin Durkee says (and I’m paraphrasing from one of his CD’s, Allah forgive me if I error), “that if you’ve been walking with a teacher and haven’t noticed a profound change in your life, then perhaps your teacher isn’t for you.”
By this I believe he means that your teacher may not be a “knower of God.”
For years, I was looking for a way to know God, to have the real knowing. After Allah brought me to Islam, and to the Sufi path, this longing has been satisfied.
Thanks be to God, often I feel the peace that passes all understanding. I am astonished. I am unbelievably thankful.
All that can be said is: “Glory be to Allah, the Compassionate, The Merciful.”
(I ask Allah to forgive me if I have shared what should be kept personal.)