Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi (Cipher of the Spirit)

“It is a point of consensus that sending prayers upon our master the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) stands in the place of a Shaykh of spiritual training (tarbiyya). What is the secret contained in sending prayers upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that they should surpass other paths and stand in the place of spiritual guides? This quality is not found in other methods, such as when one invokes one or two of Allah’s names, or when one repeats the formula ‘There is no god but Allah’ by itself without ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’; or when one invokes the Solitary Name [Allah]. The secret is that the lights of the Divine names are scorching and obliterating and give rise to searing heat which the physical body cannot bear unless they [the invocations] are arranged and structured according to the intermediary of the Muhammadan Form, which is expressed through mention of him during those invocations. This, as you have come to learn, is because the human being contains a subtle secret, a mystery cast into him from the sublime handiwork of Allah’s creative power: a subtle essence and dense physical form. The spirit of his essence is the container for the water of Muhammadan Light, and just as his clay form is kneaded and molded with the Prophet’s beautiful light, the very same light also permeates the well-spring of his spirit and flows within the innermost essence of his luminous spirit. For this reason, the existence of every physical form is sustained and established through Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace); he is the foundation and chief element of all things brought into existence. In the vision of ultimate reality, the physical form is like a lush orchard that needs tender care and fresh water, and so Allah gives it copious water from its elemental source that is the Muhammadan Spirit. When the Muhammadan Spirit is stripped from the physical essence, certain ruin befalls the essence. For this reason, whenever a person divests himself of the primordial spirit created by the Real [the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)] in his remembrance—such as the one who repeats ‘There is no god but Allah’ by itself, removed from its encampment of ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,’ he exposes his orchard to ruin, drought, and burning. The same goes for every other formula of remembrance that is divested of prayers upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).”

—Shaykh Muhammad al-Qandusi (Cipher of the Spirit)

[Currently being translated by Sidi Ustadh Abdul Aziz Suraqah]

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