"Writing which men carved in stone to last centuries,
Is for Allah like writing on water"
"... The conference was a source of many blessings. My paper was well-received and I gained a great deal of insight. I met many other beautiful God-conscious thinkers who taught me many things. A very important part of these learnings was how to move towards integrating all the aspects of my life: the practical, professional and spiritual. Indeed the counsel I received was more than welcomed. By that time I had grown very tired of attempting to live my life maintaining the straining separations.
Among the varied experiences of the conference, I also learned about another quite personal and unseen attachment. It had to do with the Mosque of my home town and the old man, the Imam. Somehow I had always felt an allegiance to that particular group and city. During the conference I was speaking about my hopes and concerns to an older Muslim man I had met. He listened, then calmly looked at me and said: 'Don't you see, my brother? Allah has brought you here in order that you may realise that you are a citizen of the planet. Your family is everywhere.'
The words fell on my ears as if I were a deaf man restored to hearing. I had never considered my life so broadly before. With this answer another question came to clarity as well, concerning teachers and Imams (religious leaders). I had viewed the Imam as a kind of Shaikh, or master teacher. Somehow, I felt obliged not to seek another teacher because of my loyalty to him — yet much as I loved him, I knew that what I sought in my heart was not with him. The older seeker clarified the essential issue. He explained that a person can easily be someone's Imam — that is, one's leader in exoteric matters of religious practice — and not necessarily his Shaikh, or spiritual director and guide in more inwardly focused esoteric matters of spiritual purification and growth.
I attributed too much to the Imam because he had been my first formal teacher after Sister Majeed. When I learned that I had done this, I was very much relieved. At the same time, I continued to hold a very special place in my heart for him. The Prophet Muhammad himself, peace be upon him, said: 'Be most humble and respectful to persons from whom you receive knowledge.' Also his companion, AH, may God be pleased with him, said: 'I am a slave to the person who has taught me even a single word. He may sell me or set me free.' And so it was that during the conference many dark, unanswered questions had unexpectedly come to light.
As I reflected on being there and all the many things I learned, I realised more and more about the mercy of God. I truly felt His unseen care. From one side of the world to the other, I looked backwards on my life. I saw that God had loved me even through my foolish days, and that He kept my heart alive. I had been lost it is true, but I never rejected Him, and the inward seeking was always there..."
"The flower fades
but its fragrance lingers in the hearts
of all those who touched it."
... The Writing on the Water, Muhyiddin Shakoor