In connection with this, for a long time a matter preoccupied my mind: at a crucial time I execrated a group of the people of misguidance. Then an awesome collective strength arose in the face of my malediction; it both turned it back on me and prevented me from repeating it.
Then I saw that facilitated by a collective strength in its wrongful activities, that group of the people of misguidance was dragging the people along behind it. It was being successful. This was not due to compulsion alone; rather, since it had combined with a desire aroused by the power of sainthood, some of the believers were being carried away by it; they looked on the group favourably and did not consider it to be too bad.
I took fright when I perceived these two secrets. “Glory be to God!” I exclaimed, “can there be a sainthood other than that of the true way? Would the people of reality support such a terrible current of misguidance?” Then one blessed Day of ‘Arafat, following a praiseworthy Islamic practice, I recited Sura al-Ikhlas hundreds of times and through its blessings, the matter entitled “Answer to an Important Question” was imparted to my impotent heart, together with the following truth, through divine mercy:
As is told in the well-known, meaningful story of Jibali Baba, which dates from the time of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, some saints are in a state of ecstasy while appearing to be rational and reasonable. Others sometimes appear to be sober and in command of their reasoning faculties, and sometimes they enter a state outside this. One class of this sort are confused and cannot distinguish between things. They apply a matter they see while in a state of intoxication to things after they have returned to a state of sobriety. They are then in error but do not realize it. Some ecstatics are preserved by God and do not enter misguidance on their spiritual journeying. But others are not preserved, and may be found in the sects following innovation and misguidance. They have even been held to be unbelievers.
Thus, because they are temporarily or permanently in a state of ecstasy, they resemble “blessed lunatics.” And because they resemble them, they are not responsible. And because they are not responsible, they are not punishable. On their ecstatic sainthood persisting, they come to support the people of misguidance and innovation; they spread their ways to an extent, and inauspiciously cause some believers and people of truth to enter them.