Generally among the Awliya, there are three different paths or methods employed and used to reach Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. The first one is the longest one. The second one is the Middle Road, the middle path. It is not as long as the first one and it is not very short either. The third path is the one which is the shortest one of all. Inshallah we will go briefly over these three paths.
- The first path is the longest path to reach Allah. This path comprises of trying to reach Allah through involving oneself only in Ibaadaat. To perform Namaz abundantly, not just the Faraidh and the basic Nawafil, but to perform very many Rakaat of Nafl everyday and every night. Similarly, to fast abundantly and not just the normal fasts which people fast but much much more than that. Similarly, to recite the Quran e Kareem abundantly not just one para but much much more than that everyday and other such Ibaadaat. So this is the long road through which we can get to Allah eventually. But it is the long road and it is the difficult one obviously, because when the road is long, then it is difficult as well. It takes longer to reach and there is more danger and risk on this path. Those Awliyaa who reach Allah through this path are known as Akhyaar.
- The second path or the second road to reach Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala is the middle one. It is much shorter than the first one. There is a big difference between the first road and the second one. The second one is much shorter. However, at the same time it is not the shortest path. This is the path where besides performing the normal Ibaadat a person involves himself in Mujaahada and spiritual exercises. In other words, he is making the Mujaahada of removing the Akhlaqe Radhila, evil qualities and spiritual sicknesses which are inside, and he is trying to fill himself up with the Akhlaqe Hamida, beautiful, praiseworthy qualities. He is doing all the Mujaahada required to be able to achieve that. In other words, he is doing all the Mujaahada we have been mentioning from the beginning till now regarding the annihilation, treatment of the spiritual sicknesses, Mujahada of removing them, making Sabr, breaking the Nafs, and shattering the ego. This path is much shorter and quicker than the first one, but it is not the shortest. Majority of people who reach Allah and who get connected to Allah use this road. The second road is the most used road from the three. The Awliyaa who reach Allah and get connected to Allah through this path are called the Abraar.
- The third road, path to reach Allah is the shortest, and quickest of all three and this is known as the Tareeqe Ishq. This is the path of Ishq, love, that is why it is the quickest and fastest way to reach Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. It is to melt everything inside and remove it through an extremely intense flame of Ishq of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Those who are on this path, find it very difficult and suffocating to do all these other excessive spiritual exercises which those on the second path do. For them the Ishq is so high that just that much is enough. They also shy away from mingling with people, Sohbate Khalq. In other words, for them it is very difficult to meet people, and be with people because of the very high level of Ishq they are on. They only do Dhikr, Fikr, Shukr, Dhard and Shauk which this path consists of. They are constantly involved in the remembrance of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Their minds are constantly pondering over the Jamaal, the Jalaal of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, the beauty of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, the Power and the Might of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. The group of Auliya who traverse the third path to Allah are known as the Shattariyyah. Although the third path is the shortest one, the requirements for a person to be on this path are many and difficult to attain because to attain this level of Ishq is not given to everyone.
The Most Widely Used Path to Reach Allah
An intense flame is necessary for this path, because the flame has to be strong enough to burn out everything. Otherwise it will not work. Not everyone manages to reach that intensity (as in the case of the third path). That is why the requirements (of the third path) are difficult. This is the reason why many or most people reach Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala through number two, although number three is shorter and quicker, it takes you to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala much faster. The majority use number two because of the requirements for number three.
Understanding Three Paths From Flight Example
For example, if you want to go somewhere and you have a choice of a direct flight or a flight which has a stopover. Obviously you will reach your destination much faster by taking a direct flight, instead of the flight which has a stopover somewhere. Sometimes the flight with a stopover might take double or triple the time compared to the flight which is direct. Generally, the ticket of a direct flight is more expensive compared to the flight which is going to take you via somewhere thereby taking much longer. So you can understand it in that way: If you want to take the direct flight you must have the money in your pocket otherwise you cannot take the direct flight. That is why most people opt to take flights with a stopover. Although it takes longer but you do reach the destination and you have to pay a bit less.
In the same way, it is obviously ideal and best to reach your destination very quickly by taking the direct flight to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala and this is the flight of Ishq. However, the requirements are more; you need to have the money and this is the flame of Ishq which has to be there to the extent of being allowed to board that particular flight. If it is not to that level then you will be told to take the longer one with a longer stopover, etc. you will reach the next day but you will get there.
That is why most people take the flight with stopovers in other words, path number two.
Why Not The First Path?
Path number one is also difficult in the sense that it takes very long. It is a very long and drawn out process, that is why those who start off on this path get tired in the process. They lose courage, strength, and ability because it is very long and strenuous physically because you have to do a lot of Ibaadat in a certain way. The whole day and night you are in Ibaadat. Generally, people are not going to take this path. As it is today people do not have time for such things. People do not have the time for the Fardh and Sunnat then when are they going to have time for hundred or two hundred Rakaats of Nafl per twenty four hour period, which is basically what is required. You have to be performing Nafl to that level. Today we are weak. Who has got the strength to fast everyday? Therefore, the first path is not the path for weak people like us. In today’s Zamana this path is generally not used because of our Kamzori, weakness and it takes very long. People want quick fixes. When we have been on it for fifty or sixty times, we feel dejected and stop. That is why the first and third path are not normally used, especially the first one. The third one is used by a certain Auliyaa who have that level of Ishq.
The most Munasib for most people is the one which works out for most people and that is why all our discussions, our Majaalis and generally speaking the Majaalis of our Akaabireen are based on the second path.
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala give all of us the Tawfeeq and the ability to get connected to Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. We can also be blessed with the Ne’mat of Usool Illallah.
~Hadhrat Maulana Aarif Umar (Daamat Barakaatuhum)