Nouveau Riche

This pejorative term is generally used in relation to financial wealth. Or shall I say to describe the exaggerated behavior of one who suddenly acquires a significant amount of wealth while lacking a sufficient level of culture and education.

Such people usually do excessive spending to draw attention to themselves aiming to have a superior position over others.

But just like one may be nouveau riche, one may also be nouveau enlightened, or a nouveau Sufi! That is, acquiring the knowledge pertaining to the level of the Inspired Self (Nafs-i Mulhima) without undergoing the necessary spiritual training!

One of the fundamental precepts of Sufism is that the aspirant undergoes intense spiritual training under the guidance of his master (murshid). Every master has been trained in a specific way, and so based on these principles, they train the aspirant with whom they’ve been appointed. This is a comprehensive training entailing mannerisms, habitual behavior, food intake, communication and relationships[1].

Sufi aspirants who undergo the necessary training cease to engage in things like gossiping, taking advantage of others or wanting supremacy, as early as the level of the Self-Accusing Self. This applies to both those who are close to them and those who aren’t.

When they reach the level of the Inspired Self, contrary to patronizing others, gossiping and incriminating (as is the case at the level of the Inciting Self) they try to be in service to others to the best of their capacity. For they are fully aware that ‘others’ are various manifestations of the One, and thus to be in service to them is to be in service to the One, and to rumor and gossip about others is to rumor and gossip about the One!

Sadly, however, true Sufi training ceased many years ago, and most of which seems to be in effect today is merely the name and reputation of a particular Sufi school rather than genuine spiritual training. At least, I haven’t seen any!

There are many societies that advocate fear of god and the afterlife, and a craze for paradise, of course! But that’s another story… And so, because of this reality, when enthusiastic beginners who lack the necessary groundwork, because they haven’t undergone genuine spiritual training, acquire more knowledge than they are capable of carrying, they simply clothe their Inciting Self (Nafs-i Ammarah) in the garments of the Inspired Self and become nouveau Sufis!

Just like the truly elite and noble socialites eventually recede from gatherings the nouveau riche begin to populate, genuine Sufis withdraw from societies in which nouveau Sufis seem to be in prominence. They simply retreat and observe in silence…

Those who complain about not getting results even though they have apparently spent so much time and done such and such practice, first need to overcome their Inciting Self!

It’s easy to say “I am” and slay the rest of creation; it’s easy to claim enlightenment and rebuke everyone else!

One who has really reached the level of the Inspired Self will do justice to everything and everyone he encounters, seeing them as a trust from Allah.

If a man, he will do justice to his wife and effectively give her due. If a woman, she will do justice to her husband, family and femininity. Claiming to be in service to Allah without accomplishing these is nothing other than consecrating a delusional god!

Inability to see the One in the face of your spouse or children, and approaching them in respect of their apparent veil, reveals nothing other than your own veil.

[1] Details of how masters act and which techniques they employ can be found in relevant sources. 

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