4 October, 1966
My dear Sufi Ahmed Murad,
Thank you for that beautiful test! Every or almost so — teacher tests their man by saying or writing what should rightly upset him. Now as for me, I have lost the upset-met, but let me try to respond: All titles that can be expressed in words are shams, but by shams we learn and shams we shall have. I often had to laugh seeing how Hazrat Inayat, a great soul, shammed his Pir-O title and those of his four angels who had received the glorious title of Murshidas. I visited the Grand Murshid of the Mevlevis in Aleppo and saw a humble fellow in the court yard who of course had no title for he was a teacher. These call themselves by all names or no names.
The fanafi-lillah or Fana-fi-alla state is often held by people who have no claim to even interest in learning or teaching. George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln were all Fana-fi-Allahs though they may never have heard that word.
In the sufi communities there have been many teachers titled up to Pir-O-Murshid who were just for the local stage, and in that religious community (Qutubs) then others had a wider range, could accept anybody on this earth, at least, and others again, accepted and held pupils far beyond their own passing into the next world, and from there, accepted new pupils living here and led them successfully toward their goal. Now as for you, glory be that you are taking upon yourself the almost impossible yoke of teaching, constantly, accepted mureeds. Bravo. We need you desperately. As for me, no such path at all. I am the man in the desert. Whomever I meet he will receive my shelter and food for so long as he stays and when he returns, and my answers to his questions, differing as he develops. But essentially he and I walk alone, our different paths. Most people today can only act this way and it is a safe and quite good way.
Many happy years with great triumphs
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