Do not abandon Thikr on account of lack of concentration. Abandoning Thikr is worse than lack of concentration while making Thikr. It is not farfetched (to say) that Allah Ta'ala may develop your Thikr-e-Ghaflat (Thikr devoid of concentration) to Thikr-e-Bedaari (Thikr with alertness) and your Thikr-e-Bedaari to Thikr-e-Hudhoori (Thikr in the Divine Presence) and from this Thikr to that (most lofty state of) Thikr in which everything besides Mathkoor-e- Haqeeqi (Allah Ta'ala – The True Object of Remembrance), is annihilated. Nothing is difficult for Allah Ta'ala.
Many Thaakireen (those involved in Thikr) complain of lack of concentration in their Thikr and the incidence of waswasah (stray thoughts). Some even abandon Thikr on this account. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) advising such persons, says that the Thaakir should not abandon Thikr because of lack of concentration. The lack of concentration is only one calamity. But at least the existence of Thikr is with the Thaakir even though it is accompanied by ghaflat. But in the event of abandoning Thikr, it will not be simply Thikr without concentration, but the loss of Thikr itself. This state of having abandoned Thikr is, therefore, extremely grave. Thikr even with ghaflat is far superior than the abandonment of Thikr.
In the former state (i.e. Thikr without concentration) although the heart is negligent, at least the tongue is involved with Thikr. In the second state, both tongue and heart are ghaafil (inert), having abandoned the Thikr of Allah Ta'ala. Even verbal Thikr is a valuable treasure. When the tongue is saved from Jahannum, will the remaining parts of the body not be saved? (Most certainly they will be saved. – Translator.)
Providing encouragement, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) further adds that it is quite possible that Allah Ta'ala may improve the quality of your Thikr. The initial Thikr without concentration can progress to the stage where concentration will be achieved and wasaawis cease. It will then be the Thikr of wakefulness and concentration. In this stage of Thikr, the heart will not drift towards the wasaawis (stray thoughts) of the nafs. The verbal Thikr at this time will keep the heart alert. The Thaakir will then perceive pleasure in his verbal Thikr. The progress will then continue to the stage where the condition of Hudhoori accompanies the Thikr. In Thikr-e-Bêdaari, the achievement is only the heart's attention to the verbal Thikr. The heart is awake and does not incline to wasaawis. In Thikr-e-Hudhoori, Thikr becomes the attribute of the heart just as seeing is the attribute of the eye. Thus, Thikr becomes the permanent attribute of the heart. It becomes inseparable from the heart. However, in this stage, the heart does perceive itself to be in possession of the attribute of Thikr. The Saalik in this state is conscious of his Thikr being with concentration.
It is then not surprising if Allah Ta'ala elevates the Thaakir to a higher stage of Thikr. He may rise in his Thikr from Thikr-e-Hudhoori to such a lofty stage where the heart becomes entirely oblivious of all things besides Mathkoor-e-Haqeeqi – Allah Ta'ala, The True Object of Thikr. Everything else is annihilated. In other words, Thikr predominates the Thaakir to such an extent that his entire being is permeated by لله لله . He has no perception of him being involved in Thikr nor is he aware of his presence in front of Allah Ta'ala. Perception of even such a presence is a kind of ghaflat. Even this perception is an object besides Allah, hence in the highest stage of Thikr, it too perishes and is assigned to the realm of oblivion. It enters the domain of other deities which are negated in the Thikr of لآ اِلھَ اِلاّ لله .
If someone expresses amazement, thinking that such a lofty stage is not attainable (by people of our lowly calibre – Translator), the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) provides the answer for this doubt. He says that the attainment of this stage will be well nigh impossible by one's own efforts. This attainment is the consequence of Allah's Fadhl. It is not difficult on Him to bestow His Fadhl to anyone. Therefore, do not despair. Allah Ta'ala has honoured you in three ways. First, he made you His Thaakir. If it was not for His Fadhl, never would it have been possible for you to involve your tongue and heart in His Thikr. Second, He establishes His relationship with you, thereby making you (the Saalik) the object of remembrance of others. They, therefore, remember you with titles such as Waliullah and Safiullah. Third, by mentioning you (in the celestial realms of the Angels), He has made you His Mathkoor (Object of remembrance). He has, thus completed His Favour for you.
Here the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) is addressing the obedient Thaakir. He says that Allah Ta'ala has conferred on you three honours. These honours collectively constitute a limitless treasure of goodness and excellance for you. Allah's mercy and favour have been thus bestowed to you in perfection. The very first honour He has bestowed to you is the fact that He has enabled you to remember Him, hence you are able to engross yourself in His Thikr. With your tongue, limbs and heart you remember Him. If it was not for His Fadhl, then your tongue and heart would never have been able to render the Thikr of Ahkamul Haakimeen. You would not have been qualified to worship the King of all kings because deficiency, inertia and indolence are inherent in your nature.
Furthermore, there are others more handsome than you in external appearance, yet He chose you. It is nothing other than His mercy and grace that while keeping millions of His creation in ghaflat, He applied you to His Thikr. The second honour which He has conferred on you, is that He has related you to Him – People, therefore, remember you by virtue of this relationship. People regard you as the Wali (Friend) of Allah and as Safiullah (the chosen one of Allah). Indeed, this is a very high honour bestowed to you. If today, some puny worldly king confers a title on a man, he becomes bloated with happiness. His pleasure will be boundless. Now imagine the high state of the honour conferred on one when the True and Eternal King proclaims one to be His friend? The third honour He has conferred on you is that He, Himself remembers you. The Hadith states that Rasulullah ( saws ) said: Allah said: ‘Whoever remembers Me in his heart, I too remember him in My Heart and whoever remembers Me in a gathering, I remember Him in a gathering which is nobler than his gathering (i.e. the gathering of the Angels).” It is learnt from this Hadith, that Allah Ta'ala remembers the Thaakir Bandah. In fact, He says in His Qur'aan: “Remember Me and I shall remember you.” What greater honour can there be? The bandah constituted of a handful of sand is remembered by the True King, the Lord of all lords, the Sovereign of creation! Therefore, O Thaakir, understand that by having conferred on you these three honours, Allah has perfected His Favour for you. Zaahir Thikr does not occur without Baatini Mushaahadah. The ibaadat, taa-at and thikr of the bandah, which become manifest in this world are the consequence of the manifestation of Allah's Unity and perception of realities which Allah Ta'ala had caused his rooh to experience before entering this ephemeral world. The rooh of the bandah had already experienced the ibaadat, taa-at and thikr by way of baatini mushaahadah prior to its entry into this world.
These are, thus, the effects of that earlier spiritual perception even though the bandah is unaware thereof. The reason for this unawareness is the domination of the effects of the physical body over the soul. However, Allah Ta'ala bestows the knowledge of even that spiritual realm to whomever He pleases. He alienates all impediments to this awareness.
From Ikmaalush Shiyam