Eighteenth Discourse from Futuh al-Ghaib
On Not Complaining
The Shaikh (may Allah be well pleased with him, and grant him contentment) said:
Let me give you a piece of advice: Never complain to anyone about your luck, whether he be friend or foe, and do not accuse the Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) of treating you badly and making you suffer misfortune. You should rather proclaim your blessings and your gratitude. Better even to tell a lie by expressing gratitude for a benefit you have not received, than to state the plain fact of your situation truthfully but as a complaint. Who is totally without the grace of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He)? Allah (Exalted is He) has said:
And if you count the favor of Allah, you will never add it up. (16:18)
How many blessings you enjoy without acknowledging them for what they are! Do not settle for any mere creature as your confidant and intimate companion, and tell no one about your problems. It is rather with Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) that you should be on intimate and confidential terms, and any complaining you do should be about Him and addressed to Him. Recognize no other party, for none has any power to bring you loss or gain, income or expenditure, honor or disgrace, promotion or demotion, poverty or affluence, movement or rest. All things are the creation of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He). They lie in the hand of Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) and the way they function is at His command and by His leave. Each runs its course until a time appointed, and everything is regulated by Him. There is no advancing what He has postponed, and no putting back what He has brought to the fore. Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said:
If Allah afflicts you with some hurt, none can remove it but He; and if He desires any good for you, none can repel His bounty. He causes it to reach whomsoever He will of His servants. He is the All-Forgiving, the All-Compassionate. (10:107)
If you complain about Him (Almighty and Glorious is He) while you are in good health and already enjoy some blessing, just wanting to get more and shutting your eyes contemptuously to the benefit and well-being you have received from Him, He will be angry with you and deprive you of both. He will give you something real to complain about, doubling your trouble, intensifying the chastisement and detestation and loathing you must suffer, and casting you down out of His sight.
You should be very wary of complaining, even if you were being dissected and having your own flesh clipped away with scissors. Beware, beware, and yet again beware! Allah, Allah, and yet again Allah! Escape, escape! Take care, take care!
Most of the various disasters that afflict a human being are due to his complaints against his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). How can one have any grievance against Him, when He is the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Best of all judges, Wise, Aware, Gracious, Compassionate; when He is Kind to His servants and not a cruel slave-master; when He is like a wise, sympathetic and kindly family doctor?
Would you find fault with a tender-hearted mother? The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Allah is more merciful toward His servant than a mother toward her child.”
Be on your best behavior, you poor wretch! Persevere in the face of misfortune, even if you are incapable of patience. Then be patient even if you are incapable of conforming with good grace. Then conform with good grace if you are there to be found. Then cease to exist if you are nowhere to be found. O philosopher’s stone, where are you, where can you be found and seen? Do you not heed His words (Almighty and Glorious is He):
Fighting is prescribed for you, though it be hateful to you. But it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, and you know not. (2:216)
Knowledge of the reality of things has been kept from you under wraps, and you have been kept from it behind a screen. So do not misbehave yourself, whatever your likes or dislikes. Follow the sacred law in whatever may befall you, if you are in the state of piety [taqwa] which is the first step. Follow direct orders, without exceeding them, if you are in the state of consecration [wilaya] and the extinction of desire [khumud wujud al-hawa], which is the second step. Harmonize gladly with the divine action and become totally absorbed in the state of Badaliyya, Ghawthiyya, Qutbiyya and Siddiqiyya, which are the ultimate stages.
Stand clear of destiny’s path; get out of its way. Give up self and desire. Keep your tongue from complaining. Provided you do this, then if what is meant for you is good, the Lord will grant you extra pleasure, happiness and joy; and if it is bad, He will keep you safe in His obedient service while it runs its course. He will absolve you of blame, and keep you unaffected while it lasts, until it is all over for you and becomes a thing of the past–as night ends with the dawning of the day, and as the chill of winter takes its leave when summer comes around. Here is an example for you, so note the moral well.
There are so many sins and errors and outrages, so many kinds of offenses and faults that cause defilement.
To be worthy of the company of the Noble Lord, one must be purged of the impurities of sins and failings. No one is granted an audience at His court unless he is unstained by the filth of pretentiousness and self-conceit, just as no one is fit for the company of kings without being cleansed of all impurities and every kind of stench and dirt. Misfortunes have an expiatory and purificatory effect. As the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) so truthfully said: “One day’s fever is atonement for a year [of sin].”
‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (K.S.)
Source: Futuh al-Ghaib (Revelations of the Unseen)