Someone said, “The most important is action; words are not important.” I said, “I too would like to find someone who knows what action is and can see, so that I can show him action.” Now, you like words. One can converse with you since you are not a man of action. How could you comprehend what action is? As action you only understand prayers, fasting, reading spiritual texts, pilgrimage, alms, meditation, and devotion. But all these are not action. These are the means to reach true Action. It is possible that when you perform these activities they exert some influence over you and transform you in relation to what you were before. For example, prayer allows one to distance oneself from sin and error. Action, on the other hand, purifies your faults. When you are in a state of impurity you have not accomplished the prayer.
So all these different forms and modes do not constitute Action. Action is the transmutation of the heart, passing from one state to another. Like the seminal liquid and the embryo passing from one state to another in the mother’s womb; first a clot of blood, then a fetus, then the face of a man who is endowed with life, enters the world and grows up. This transformation and growth is action and ascension.
The meaning of Miraj (Mohammad’s journey to heaven) is the same as we have just mentioned. The seeker passes from one internal state to another. The second state is higher than the first; the third is higher than the second, ad infinitum.
Anyone who, in the bazaar of this world – because “This world is the field which is reaped in the other world” – remains two days in the same state suffers a loss. Day by day, second by second, it is necessary to rise and advance. This is the reality of action. Who perceives such action? With the exception of God, no one knows it or can see it. “My saints are under my dome; except I, no one knows them.”
In a word, knowledge is closer to real action than personal effort and corporal practices such as prayer, fasting, and the rest. Since it is possible for knowledge to be separated from action and be rendered useless, it is even more possible that personal effort and corporal practices, since they are further away from real action, are rendered even more useless. Hypocrites perform external practices such as prayer and fasting, but cannot traverse the path of faith and declare the existence of God. If they possessed the knowledge and ability they would not be miscreants. Therefore, everything that was said and indicated concerning the different modes and ways, gestures and devotions that are practiced and recognized are the means of real action, but not action itself.
Iblis (The primary name of Satan in Islam) performed practices of devotion in heaven for thousands of years. If his external practices had been real, he would have behaved differently when God ordered him to prostrate himself before Adam.
Jesus did not perform external acts, but practiced true action in such a way that he was able to evolve from a state of spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. What Jesus declared in the cradle( “Truly I am the servant of God; He has given me the Book and has made me a prophet.” (Sura 19, verse 30, Mohammad achieved it when he was forty years old
Thus, the reality of action resides in your transformation and progress at each instant. When the philosopher’s stone grazes copper, it is the transmutation of copper into gold that constitutes real action. A piece of copper may be hammered, boiled or extended, but it will still remain copper. Those who are not capable of recognizing gold and perceive the external form of practices say, “If gold exists in the world, it is that which has been hammered and has become wide and long.” But he who knows gold examines the metal with the touchstone and will not buy it, even for half a cent, if it is not pure gold.
I, who am God, do not look at your faces, or your behavior or your words, but I set my eyes upon your hearts in order to know the degree of love you have for me.
For a wise man, one indication is sufficient. Or put in other words, “if there is someone home, only one word will suffice.”
from : Kitab al-Ma’ârif (The Skills of Soul Rapture) – a Disclosure of Wisdom for our Time
by Sultan Valad (1226-1312) Son of Jalal ad-Din Rumi
Sultan Valad (1226-1312) was the son of Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Jalal ad-Din Rumi was born in Balkh in Khorasan in 1207. Rumi was himself the son of an eminent teacher, Baha-ud-Din Valad, who was also called “the Sultan of the scholars”. It is in his memory that his grandson, Sultan Valad, was also called Baha-ud-Din.