The difference between the state of a salik and non-salik

Hakim al-Umma mujadid Shaykh Mawlana Shah Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) said,

‘There two kinds of people.

Those individuals who are not traveling on this path (sulook) and characteristics of yearning and desire (of Allah’s pleasure) have not even developed in them. Their condition is that whenever their hearts are pure and uncluttered they make remembrance of Allah. The awareness of being involved in sinful activities does not stop them from doing good works. This is because they do not care about it (the involvement in sinful).

Then there is the other kind, ones who are traveling on this path and have developed some tastefulness (dhauq). Their state of heart is such, because of their relationship with Allah (ta’luq maAllah), that any tiny bit of change in it due to negligence and involvement in sinful activity  causes them extreme grief. This is to the extent that they become disheartened of being involved in remembrance and good works and do not find the courage to do so in the future. This is not because of being heedless of their Lord, most High. It is due to the acknowledgment that now (with this involvement in sinful) how can I face my Lord and make His remembrance. At the outlook this does not seem to be a good state because it is suspending remembrance (of Allah). However, in some instances even this state is a blessing. This is because, in these instances it will result in that sinful activity not to be carried out ever again.

Hence, having this state is a blessing. However, it is essential to point out that one should not act on the calling of this state. That is, not to stop the remembrance at all. Moreover, it is essential for this individual not to be negligent of remembrance for a second and be despaired. This remembrance (dhikr) should continue irrespective of being involved in millions of sinful activities.  This is because the spiritual darkness that leads to suspension of remembrance (by being involved in sinful) will only be lifted by the remembrance (of Allah) alone. There is no other cleanser to do this. If this is done with consistency then, inshaAllah, one day (eventually) escape from the dreadful condition (of involvement in sinful activity) will be achieved.’

Basair e Hakim ul-Ummat ra, page 528