By Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani
“If we present the medicine to the patient in a form that makes it easier to swallow or taste better, should we be blamed? Is eating iron fillings the only way to get iron into one’s system? The holy Prophet said: ‘I have been sent to approach people tactfully.’ The meaning of the hadith is that there is no wisdom in meeting people’s prejudices head on. Don’t seek confrontation, but be wise like the ship’s pilot who, when faced with a headwind does not set bow to it and let it push him back, but wisely takes an indirect diagonal course that may be three times as long as the direct one, but can be pursued even in the face of such an unfavorable breeze, a course which will set him towards his goal.
The holy Prophet never used the word ‘No’, but we are so busy pointing the finger and saying: ‘This is forbidden, that won’t do.’ That is not our way, neither was it the way of the Prophet, nor of the great Sufi Masters of history. Some Islamic scholars blame Sufis and call us ‘innovators’, claiming that our methods have no basis in the example set by the holy Prophet. When a seed is newly planted and the first leaves spring forth, these leaves may look somewhat different than the ones that grow later. But we must not cut the later sprouting leaves, saying: ‘These leaves must be from a different seed.’
Show me a plant that remains the same throughout its life, and I will show you a plastic plant. Islam was still a sapling in the Prophet’s time, and through history has matured into a huge tree whose branches reach from East to West. And even if there are thousands of branches spreading over all peoples and times, they are connected to the root and the main trunk.
Then after some years, a tree develops flowers and fruits as well as leaves. At that point shall we look askance at the whole of mankind as it imbibes the fragrance of the flowers of our tree and as men nourish themselves from the sweet fruits of our tree? Shall we reject fruits and flowers, clinging to a ‘leaves only’ mentality, advocating the destruction of flowers and fruits as innovations? True Islam is not like a hedge that requires a gardener’s clippers to keep it square, but like a miraculously expansive and fruit bearing tree. a shelter for all and a source of every delicious fruit.”
Source: In The Mystic Footsteps Of Saints, Volume 1 (2002), pages 71-72.