Chapter XIV (e)
They are the followers of Abu Yazid Tayfur b. Isa al-Bastami, a great and eminent Sheikh. His doctrine is ghalabah غلبه (rapture) and sukr سكر (intoxication). Rapture here refers to rapturous longing for Allah and intoxication of love does not belong to those things which can be acquired by human efforts. It is futile to claim, and ridiculous to imitate anything that lies beyond the range of acquisition. Intoxication is not an attribute of the sober, and man has no power of drawing it to himself. The intoxicated man is enraptured and pays no heed to created things. It does not happen that he should manifest a quality involving conscious effort. The Sufi Sheikhs are unanimous that one should only follow that man who is steadfast in his states and has passed through its ups and downs. But still there are some who consider it lawful if the way of rapture and intoxication is trodden with effort, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
ابكو فان لم تبكو فتباكوا
“weep, or else appear like them!”
Now, to imitate others for the sake of pretension is clear polytheism, but if one imitates with an intention that Allah may raise him to the rank of those whom he has imitated, is in accordance with the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said,
من تشبه فهو منهم
“whoever makes himself like unto a people is one of them.”
The seeker should fulfill whatever purgation he might come across in this way and keep hope that may Allah opens the doors of the way of Truth to him, as one of the Sheikhs have said,
المشاهدات مواريث امجاهدات
contemplations are the fruitation and result of mortifications.”
My own view is that, mortifications are always excellent, but intoxication and rapture do not belong to the class of achievable by efforts hence, they cannot be induced by mortifications, which in themselves never become a cause of intoxication. Mortifications only take place in the state of sobriety and one who is sober never like to accept intoxication, it is obstinate.
I will now set forth the different opinions of the Sheikhs concerning the true nature of sukr (intoxication) and sahw (sobriety), in order that difficulties may be removed.