The intimate conversation of the gnostics possesses three roots: fear, hope and love. Fear is the branch of knowledge; hope is the branch of certainty, and love is the branch of gnosis (ma’rifah) . The proof of fear is flight; the proof of hope is quest, and the proof of love is preferring the Beloved over all others.
When knowledge is confirmed in truthfulness, he fears. When fear is genuine, he flees. When he flees, he is saved. When he sees the light of certainty in the heart, he sees overflowing favour. When the vision of overflowing favour is firm, there is hope. When he feels the sweetness of belief in hope, he seeks. When he has success in the quest, he finds. When the light of gnosis is manifested in his heart, the breeze of love stirs, he settles in the shadow of the Beloved, prefers the Beloved over all others, follows His commands and avoids His prohibitions, and chooses them over everything else. When he perseveres towards intimacy with the Beloved while carrying out His commands and avoiding His prohibitions, he has reached the spirit of intimate communion and nearness.
These three roots are like the sanctuary, the mosque, and the Ka’bah: whoever enters the Sacred Precinct is safe from people. If a person enters the mosque, his senses are safe from being used in disobedience, and if a person enters the Ka’bah, his heart is safe from being occupied with anything other than the remembrance of Allah.
Take heed, O believer! If you are in a state in which you are content to meet death, then thank Allah for His grace and protection. If it is other than that, then move from it with sound resolution, and have regret for that part of your life which passed in heedlessness. Seek Allah’s help in purifying your outward nature of wrong actions and cleanse your inward being from faults. Cut the shackles of heedlessness from your heart, and extinguish the fire of desires in your soul.