Chapter XXIII (h)
Rules in Movements
Allah hath said:
وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا
“And the servants of (Allah) the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, `peace`.” (Q 25:63).
The seeker of the Truth should always walk according to his own methods. He should know about his each step, for if it is to gain some self motive he must repent and if it is for Allah he must persevere in it, so that he continues walking on the way to the Truth.
One day Dawud Tai had taken some medicine and he was asked to have some walk in the court of his house, in order that the good result of the medicine might become apparent. He replied, “I feel ashamed that on the Day of Judgment Allah should ask me why I made a few steps for my own selfish pleasure.”
Allah hath said,
وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
and their feet bear witness, to all that they did.” (Q 36:65).
The dervish should walk cautiously, with his head bowed as in meditation. Should keep his eyes straight and avoid looking right and left. If any person happens to fall on the way, he must not draw himself back from him for the sake of saving his dress, for all Muslims are clean, and their clothes too and such an act is mere conceit and self-ostentation. However, if the person is an unbeliever, and manifestly filthy, he may turn away from him, for it is lawful. When he walks with a group of people, he must not attempt to move ahead of them, since that is an excess of pride. Similarly he must not attempt to be at the rear, since that is an excess of humility, and of which if one is conscious is also pride. He must keep his footwear clean by day in order that Allah, through the blessings thereof, may keep his clothes clean by night. And when he is traveling with one or more dervishes or with a group of people, he should not stop on the way to talk with any person, nor should he make any attempt to keep his companions in waiting state. He should walk steadily and must not hurry, for it is the habit of greedy people and he should not walk very slowly, for it is the style of proud and he should place his complete foot on the ground.
The walk of the seeker of path should always be of such description that if anyone asks him whiter he is going he should be able to answer decisively,
إِنِّي ذَاهِبٌ إِلَى رَبِّي
I will go to my Lord!” (Q 37:99).
If his walk is not like this, it will be a curse for the dervish, because right steps proceed from right thoughts. Therefore, if man’s thoughts are concentrated on Allah, his feet will follow his thoughts.
Abu Yazid said:
“The thoughtless walk of a dervish is a sign that he is heedless (of Allah), because all that exists is attained in two steps, one step away from self-interest and the other step firmly planted on the commandments of Allah.”
The walk of the seeker is a sign that he is traversing a certain distance, and since proximity to Allah is not a matter of distance, what can the seeker do but cut off his feet in the abode of rest?