The Secret of Secrets

I stumbled upon a book recently, The secret of secrets by Hazrat Abd al-Qadir al-Jiani (Ghous Pak). Brilliantly translated/interpreted by Shaykh Tosun.

The book is a pure joy to read, each sentence containing so much wisdom in itself. Making you pause and reflect. The back cover states “The Secret of Secrets, is considered on of the greatest works of classical Sufi mysticism…” I just wanted to share how amazing this book is, and perhaps encourage others to read it.

Below I have copied the “An Address to the Reader (From a letter by Hazrat Abdul-Qadir  al Jilani” that the book starts with. The very first line hooks you to the book, inviting you to dive deeper in this ocean of wisdom and gather as many secrets as you can. It is now always within reach, every time I read it some new profundity dawns upon me. Hopefully reading the text below will make you want to read the book as well, may Allah kindle the lamp in our hearts.

Dear Friend, Your heart is a polished mirror. You must wipe it clean of the veil of dust which has gathered upon it, because it is destined to reflect the light of divine secrets.

When the light from Allah (Who) is the light of the heavens and the earth… begins to shine upon the regions of your heart, the Lamp of the heart will be lit. The lamp of the heart is in a glass, the glass is as it were a brightly shining star… Then within that heart, the lightning-shaft of divine discoveries strikes. This lightning-shaft will emanate from the thunderclouds of meaning neither of the East not of the West, lit from a blessed olive tree… and throw light upon the tree of discovery, so pure, so transparent that it sheds light though fire does not touch it.[1] Then the lamp of wisdom is lit by itself. How can it remain unlit when the light of Allah’s secrets shines over it?

If only the light of divine secrets shines upon it, the night sky of secrets is lit with a thousand stars… and by the stars (you) find (your) way … [2] It is not the stars that guide us but the divine light. For Allah has .. decked the lower heaven with beauty (in) the stars.[3] If only the lamp of divine secrets be kindled in your inner self the rest will come, either all at once or little by little. Some you already know, some we will tell you here. Read, listen, try to understand. The dark skies of unconsciousness will be lit by divine presence and beauty of the full moon, which will rise from the horizon shedding light upon light, [4] ever rising in the sky, passing through its appointed stages as Allah has …ordained for it Mansions,[5] until it shines in glory in the center of the sky, dispersing the darkness of heedlessness. (I swear) by the night when it is still [6] … By the glorious morning light…[7] your night of unconsciousness will see the brightness of the day. Then you will inhale the perfume of remembrance and repent in the early hours of the morning [8] of unconsciousness and regret your life spent in sleep. You will hear the songs of the morning nightingales and you will hear them say

They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn they (were found) praying for forgiveness. [9]

Allah guides to His light whom He pleases. [10]

Then you will see from the horizon of Divine Reason the sun of inner knowledge rising. It is your private sun, for you are the one whom Allah guides and are on the right path and not the one He leaves in error. [11] And you will understand the secret that

It is not given to the sun to catch up with the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. Each swims along in (its appointed) orbit. [12]

Finally, the knot will be untied in accordance with the parables which Allah sets forth for men, and Allah is the Knower of all things, [13] and the veils will lift and shells will shatter, revealing the fine beneath the coarse; the truth will uncover her face.

All this will begin when the mirror of your heart is cleansed. The light of the divine secrets will fall upon it if you are willing and ask for Him, from Him, with Him

[1] All the above are quoted from the Verse of Light (Surah Nur, 35)
[2] Surah Nahl, 16
[3] Surah Saffat, 6
[4] Surah Nur, 35
[5] Surah Ya Sin, 39
[6] Surah Duha, 2
[7] Surah Duha, 1
[8] Surah Al Imran, 17
[9] Surah Dharriyat, 17-18
[10] Surah Nur, 35
[11] Surah A’raf, 178
[12] Surah Ya Sin, 40
[13] Surah Nur, 35
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6 thoughts on “The Secret of Secrets

  1. On a side note, an interesting thing happened as I was publishing this. Hazrat Abdul Qadir Jilani also known as Ghous Pak is associated with the number 11 or I should say the number 11 is associated with him. Khatam-e-Ghausa a mehfil/gathering for zikr started by him is held on the 11th of each lunar month. This tradition still continues all over the world.

    As I was publishing this post, wordpress displayed a giant notification on the side “You are publishing the 11th post of your blog”, and then I realized today is the 11th as well. Quite fitting i would say 🙂

      • This reminds me of the the story of how Rumi and Shams met (there might be multiple versions out there and the details might differ but the essence is still the same).

        Rumi was sitting at the edge of a stream with his books (the sum of all his knowledge) reading. Shams passed by and asked “What are you doing?”. Rumi the master scholar looked at this vagabound and scoffingly replied “Something you cannot understand!”

        Shams on hearing this threw the entire stack in the water. Rumi trying to save his treasure of knowledge quickly leapt at the books and pulled them out. To his surprise the books were dry. An awe struck Rumi asks Shams “What is this?” and Shams with a smile on his face replies “Something you cannot understand!”.

        And so Rumi left his books and followed this strange man and eventually became the Rumi we know now.

        Regarding your question on where to learn more, I’m sure there are a number of books out there. Specifically about the number 11, I do not really know.

        But if you really want the mirror of your heart to be cleansed you must seek and find a Shams, a Rumi, a guide who has himself made the journey successfully so that he may guide another along the path. May you find such a guide and may your journey be successful!

  2. This is precisely how it happened for me. I wouldn’t have believed before had anyone told me, but it happens. I know this now:

    “The dark skies of unconsciousness will be lit by divine presence and beauty of the full moon, which will rise from the horizon shedding light upon light, [4] ever rising in the sky, passing through its appointed stages as Allah has …ordained for it Mansions,[5] until it shines in glory in the center of the sky, dispersing the darkness of heedlessness. (I swear) by the night when it is still [6] … By the glorious morning light…[7] your night of unconsciousness will see the brightness of the day. Then you will inhale the perfume of remembrance and repent in the early hours of the morning [8] of unconsciousness and regret your life spent in sleep. You will hear the songs of the morning nightingales and you will hear them say

    They were in the habit of sleeping but little by night, and in the hours of early dawn they (were found) praying for forgiveness. [9]

    Allah guides to His light whom He pleases. [10]

    Then you will see from the horizon of Divine Reason the sun of inner knowledge rising. It is your private sun, for you are the one whom Allah guides and are on the right path and not the one He leaves in error. [11] And you will understand the secret that

    It is not given to the sun to catch up with the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. Each swims along in (its appointed) orbit. [12]

    Finally, the know will be untied in accordance with the parables which Allah sets forth for men, and Allah is the Knower of all things, [13] and the veils will lift and shells will shatter, revealing the fine beneath the coarse; the truth will uncover her face.”

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve ordered this book – can’t wait. 🙂

  3. Subhan’Allah…I am at complete awe..May Allah Almighty bless you with more Ilm and Noor within your heart, and increase you in love for the Awliya Allah for His sake and to all those who read this wonderful post. Ameen.

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