“For twelve years I was the blacksmith of my soul. I thrust my soul into the furnace of discipline and made it red hot in the flames of arduous endeavour, then I placed it upon the anvil of reproach and hammered it with the hammer of self-blame, till I had fashioned out of my soul a mirror.
For five years I was my own mirror and I polished that mirror with every manner of godly service and obedience. After that I gazed upon my own reflection for a year and I saw about my waist an infidel girdle of delusion and coquetry and self-regard, because I relied upon my own acts of obedience and approved of my own conduct.
For five years further I laboured till that girdle was snapped and I was a Muslim anew. I looked upon all creatures, and saw that they were dead. I said four ‘Allahu akbars’ over them and returning from their funeral rites without the jostling of God’s creatures, by God’s succour, I attained God.”
May God be pleased with him.
‘The Naqshbandi Way – History and Guidebook of the Saints of the Golden Chain’, by Mawlana Shaykh Hisham.
‘Revival of the Religious Sciences’ (‘Ihya Ulum ad-Din’) by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.
‘Muslim Saints and Mystics’ by Farid al-Din Attar, translated by A.J.Arberry.