The Veils of Light and Darkness
Allah says: Whoever is blind in this world, he will be blind in the hereafter. (Sura Bani Isra’il, 72) It is not the blindness of the eyes in one’s head but the blindness of the eyes of one’s heart that will prevent one from seeing the light of the hereafter. As Allah says: For surely it it not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts. (Sura Hajj, 46) The only cause of the heart becoming blind is heedlessness, which makes one forget Allah and one’s function, one’s purpose, one’s promise to Him, while one is in this world. The principal cause of heedlessness is ignorance of the reality of the divine laws and orders. What keeps one in this stage of ignorance is a darkness that covers one from the outside and fully invades one’s inner being. Some of the properties of this darkness are arrogance, pride, envy, miserliness, vengeance, lying, gossiping, backbiting and so many other hateful traits. It is these traits that reduce the best creation of Allah to the lowest of the low.
To rid oneself of these evils one has to cleanse and shine the mirror of the heart. This cleansing is done by acquiring knowledge, by acting upon this knowledge, by effort and valor, fighting against one’s ego within and without oneself, by ridding oneself of one’s multiplicity of being, by achieving unity. This struggle will continue until the heart becomes alive with the light of unity — and with that light of unity, the eye of the clean heart will see the reality of Allah’s attributes around and in it.
Only then will you remember the true home from which you come. Then you will have the yearning and longing to return to the true home, and when the time comes, with the help of the Most Compassionate, that spirit which is pure in you will go to join Him.
When the attributes of darkness lift, light takes its place, and the one with the eye of the soul sees. He recognizes what he sees with the light of the names of divine attributes. Then he himself is flooded by light and becomes light. These lights are still veils hiding the light of the divine Essence, but the time comes when they too are drawn back, leaving only the light of the Essence itself.
The heart has two eyes, one lesser, the other greater. With the lesser eye, one may see the manifestation of Allah’s attributes and Names. This vision continues all through one’s spiritual evolution. The greater eye sees only that which is rendered visible by the light of unity and oneness. Only when one comes to the regions of Allah’s intimacy does it see, in the ultimate realm of the manifestation of Allah’s Essence, the unity of the Absolute.
In order to reach these levels on this earth in this life you must cleanse yourself from your worldly attributes, which are egoistic and egotistical. The distance you must travel in your ascent towards these levels depends on the distance that you have put between yourself and the low desires of your flesh and your ego.
Your attainment of the goal you wish for is not like a material thing’s arriving at a material place. Neither is it like knowledge leading one to a thing that becomes known, nor like reason obtaining that which is rational, nor like the imagination joining with that which it fancies. The goal that you wish to attain is the realization of your emptiness of all else except the Essence of Allah. This attainment is a becoming. There is no distance, nor closeness nor farness, nor reaching, not measure, nor direction,
He is All-glorious, all praise is due to Him, He is Most Merciful. He becomes visible in what He hides from you. He manifests Himself as He puts veils between Himself and you. His being known is hidden in His not being known.
If any of you reach that light which is suggested in this book while you are here in this world, try to balance your book of deeds. It is only under light that you can see what you have done, what you are doing; do your accounting, make it balance. You will have to read your book in front of your Lord on the day of Last Judgement. That is final. You will not then have the chance to balance it. If you do that here, while you have the time, you will be one of those who are saved. Otherwise pain and disaster is your lot in this world and in the hereafter. This life will end. There is the pain of the grave, there is the day of Last Judgement, there is the balance that will weigh the smallest sin and the tiniest of good deeds. Then there is the test of that bridge, thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword, at the end of which is the Garden, under which is the Fire and so much hardship, and for so long, when this short life ends.
– The Secret of Secrets, Ch. 10