When the great friends of Allah are left to themselves no one of them would choose for a public display. That is because they know, that Allah has not created them in the first place for themselves or for the service of some other creature. He only created them for Himself and that is why they occupy themselves with the reason for which they have been created. However, when Allah – without that they choose so for themselves – shows them in public by that what he puts in the hearts of his creatures, then this belongs to His affairs. They do not aim for such a thing. When he, however, hides them and makes them insignificant in the hearts of the people and because of which they are not honoured by the people, then this belongs to His affairs. Thus they do not have a choice of their own next to the choice of Allah. When he clearly leaves the choice to them, then they would choose for being hidden and not to be in the eye of the public. They would prefer to keep themselves solely occupied with Allah. And because it is their station to hide their spiritual rank and even keep it hidden to themselves – not to mention to outsiders! – it is necessary for us to explain something of their station of self-protection.
It belongs to their stations of protection of the self that one who performs his religious duties in a certain society, moves about at that place in the same type of clothing as the local people. And when he mixes with them and visits the mosque for the communal Friday prayers, then he should change his place so that his person is not noticed in the crowd. When he is talking to the people, he is talking to them while seeing Allah as watching all of this. And when he listens to what people say, he listens in the same way. He does not sit often with other people, except when they are his neighbours, so that he does not get noticed. He helps the lowly people and helps widows in their needs. He caresses his children and his wife, so that Allah is pleased with him. He cuts jokes and only speaks the truth.
When he gets known at a certain place he changes his residence. When that is impossible, then he invites the people who know him to his house and then he talks about the needs of the people in such an intense way, that they start to dislike him.
When he has acquired the station of being able to change himself into different outward appearances, then he changes himself – just like the spiritual beings are able to take on different human figures so that people are cannot recognise them as being angels in reality. This was the case with Qadeeb al-ban. Allah does not like these things to become public knowledge…
This group has reached its rank with Allah only because they protect their hearts, so that something outside of Allah cannot enter and they protect their hearts against attachments to something that is created. They only sit with Allah, they only talk with Allah. Because of Allah they exist, in Allah they see, to Allah they travel and to Allah they turn, about Allah they talk, from Allah they receive, in Allah they put their trust and with Allah they live. Nothing is the subject of their knowledge outside of Him, nothing they see outside of Him. They protect their I for their I, so that their I does not recognise them. They are hidden in the depths of that which cannot be perceived by the senses. They are the privileged, chosen friends of Allah. They eat food and walk through the markets with a walk that is hidden and a food that is veiled.