Another responsibility is to imitate the close, intimate friends of Allah. The Awliyah and The Divine Gnostics. This means that it is obligatory to spiritually travel towards Allah and to follow those who have reached the station of union and annihilation in Allah.
One must strive to become like those who have decorated themselves with the Divine virtuous traits and etiquette have reached lofty stations of ma’rifah of Allah and arrived to the pinnacles of their spiritual migration to the Almighty. While on this path, the believer must cut himself off from all other individuals in his life other than those who are on this path.
Amongst the scholars of the religion and those who narrate the traditions of the pure and infallible Ahlul Bayt (as) and those who practice what they know with true sincerity, there is a group who through their hard work, have attained the status of the sincere individuals (al-MukhliSun).
It is this group of people who possess complete ma’rifah of Allah, and through spiritual union with Him, have completely annihilated themselves in His Sacred Essence.
It is incumbent upon the true believers to go in search of these people so that through them, the believers are guided. It is through following their direction that one can benefit from the springs of goodness which they possess and through which one may be able to reach the highest goals.
According to the intellect and the traditions, it is obligatory to follow these scholars as they are at the spiritual forefront over all others. These scholars must be sought after throughout the entire Earth and one must be able to identify them and know who they are. Once this is accomplished, one must then strengthen his aspirations and become a disciple of such people.
Through both the inner being and the outer self, one must have full trust in them and not deviate from their path even in the slightest. It is under the shadow of their guidance that a true believer will be able to reach his goal - the lofty levels of spiritual closeness to Allah and purification of the soul.
Through this, one will become a true manifestation of the collection of verses of the Qur`an which start with:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ...
“Surely successful are the true believers...”1
In every era, there are certain individuals who make up the pure tree (Shajaratul Tayyibah) and for the one who is searching for the truth, finding such individuals is:
أَيْسَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ يَسِيرٍ
“Easier than all other easy tasks.”
Those who wish to follow this responsibility must seek to be amongst those whom Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) has spoken in regards to when he said: “I swear by the One who holds my life in His hands.
Verily on the land and its surroundings, there are true believers for whom the entire transient world does not even measure in the worth of the wing of a fly.If the entire material world and all that is within it and upon it was to be turned into gold and was to be put around their neck and was then to fall off of their neck, they would not even feel that something was on their neck nor would they realize that something had fallen off!”
After explaining some of the characteristics of the close, intimate friends of Allah, then Imam went on to say: “Ahh!
How I long to sit and speak with these people and how much grief I have for that which they have - however by sitting with them, my grief would go away! I am looking for these people and when I find them and benefit from their Divinely granted Light, then I too shall be guided. Through them, we will all be successful in this life and in the next.
Such people are more scarce than red sulphur. Their ornament is their prolonged silence, keeping of secrets, establishing the Salat, Zakat, Hajj and Fasting, being in solace, helping their brothers in faith when they have the ability and even when they are in difficulty.
These are their ornaments and things that they love to do. Glad tidings upon these people and what a good return (from Allah) they will have! These are the people who shall be the inheritors of the Firadus wherein they shall abide for eternity.”2
The Noble Prophet had stated: “O’ Usamah! This group of people shall have knowledge of all corners of the Earth. Anytime the Mihrab (place of worship) will not find them within them, they will lament!
Thus, take these people as your treasure and worth it is possible that through them you shall be saved from the difficulties of this transient world and the fears and uncertainties of the Day of Resurrection! Ensure that you follow the path they are on because if you leave their path, then your feet shall definitely tremble and you will slip into the hell-fire.”3
In a tradition from Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) , we read:
حُبُّ اللٌّهِ إِذَا أَضَاءَ عَلى سِرِّ عَبْدٍ أَخْلاَهُ عَنْ كُلِّ شَاغِلٍ وَكُلِّ ذِكْرٍ سِوَى اللٌّهِ عِنْدَ ظُلْمَةٍ وَالْمُحِبُّ أَخْلَصُ النَّاسِ سِرًّا لِلٌّهِ وَأَصْدَقُهُمْ قَوْلاً وَأَوْفَاهُمْ عَهْداً وَأَزْكَاهُمْ عَــمَلاً وَأَصْـفَاهُمْ ذِكْراً وَأَعْـبَدُهُمْ نَفْساً، تَتَبَاهَى الْمَلاَئِكَةُ عِنْدَ مُنَاجَاتِهِ وَتَفْتَخِرُ بِرُؤْيَتِهِ وَ بِهِ يَعْمُرُ اللٌّهُ تَعَالـى بِلاَدَهُ وَبِكَرَامَتِهِ يُكْرِمُ عِبَادَهُ يُعْطِيهِمْ إِذَا سَأَلُوا بِحَقِّهِ وَيَدْفَعُ عَنْهُمُ الْبَلاَيَا بِرَحْمَتِهِ فَلَوْ عَلِمَ الْخَلْقُ مَا مَحَلُّهُ عِنْدَ اللٌّهِ وَمَنْزِلَتُهُ لَدَيْهِ مَا تَقَرَّبُـوا إِلـى اللٌّهِ إلاَّ بِتُرَابِ قَدَمَيهِ
“When the love of Allah illuminates the inner self of a servant, it distracts him from all preoccupations and all thoughts other than Allah. One who loves (Allah) will become the most sincere of all people to Him in secret the most truthful in words; the most faithful in his promise, the purest in deeds, the most earnest in rememberance (of Allah) and the most obedient in worship.
The Angels will be delighted when he whispers (to his Lord) and will feel proud when they see him. It is because of him that Allah makes His lands prosper; and in favour of his honour will Allah honour His servants.
He gives them when they beseech Him in his name, and He wards off misfortunes on account of His mercy (for him). Had the creation known the actual status and standing of such a loving servant with Almighty Allah, they would not have sought nearness to Allah except by the dust of his feet!”4