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Ch.

31: Concerning the Principles of the (Camel) Riders


(pp. 202-206)


Know, and may God support you, that the principles upon which the Camel
Riders (al-rukbn) are established are many. One of these is the renunciation of
movement once they arise in it. For this reason, they are mounted, motionless on
their mounts, transported by the advance of their riding beasts. They traverse
that which they are enjoined to traverse by [the strength of] another, not by their
own [ability], and thus they arrive free of the toil that movement entails,
divorced of the pretension that motion may engender. Even if they had prided
themselves on crossing those remote tracts in a short time, this pride would have
referred to the mount who had traverse that distance within them and not to
themselves, because they are characterized by renunciation and not by
pretension. Their perpetual invocation is: There is no strength nor power save
in God and their sign is: You did not throw when you threw, but it was God who
threw. Therefore it is said to them: You did not traverse those tracts when you
traversed them, but it was the mounts who had traversed them. They are the
ones who are borne, for the servant has no sway, not [even] by the authority of
his Master; that which belongs to him from himself is submissiveness,
impotence, abasement and weakness. And since they saw that God had indicated
in His Word: To Him belongs that which is motionless that He had reserved for
Himself, they realised that movement comprises pretension, and that
motionlessness, being the negation of movement, could not be marred by such
claim. Thus they say: As God has enjoined us to traverse this spiritual expanse,
then penetrating these perilous deserts is His [concern]. Though we, ourselves,
have traversed them, we cannot give credence to any claim that our selves may
lay with regard to this in the Presence of Union, since the self is naturally
disposed towards frivolity, self-promotion, and pride. Otherwise, we would have
been of the people of lack by virtue of that, which the Supreme Majesty of this
station requires, that we should hold most sacrosanct And they take There is
no strength nor power save in God as a camel, because the camel is more
capable of abstaining from water and fodder than the horse or any other mount;
and the track, being parched and barren, will destroy the mount that treads it,
who does not have the resilience of the camel. It is for this that they take it as a
camel in preference to the other mounts that they may ride. It is impossible that
Praise be to God should traverse this [tract], since the invocation is particular to
attainment; nor God be glorified, since it is particular to unveiling; nor There is
no divinity but God, since it is particular to pretension; nor God is the Greatest,
since it is particular to comparison. The distinctiveness of There is no strength
nor power save in God however, refers specifically to the works, both in action
and speech, exterior and interior, for they have been enjoined to perform the
works. Journeying comprises work that encompasses heart and boy, spirit and
senses, and it is this [work] which is particular to There is no strength nor
power save in God. Thus, it is by it that we affirm There is no divinity but God,
and it is by it that we voice God be glorified, or perform any invocation or
action. Indeed, since motionlessness signifies absence (adam) of motion, non-
existence is their principle So they chose motionlessness in preference to
motion, and this is true evelation.