This describes eight abysses.
The First: Some people who embark on spiritual journeying do not conform completely to the Prophet’s (UWBP) practices, and fall into the abyss of preferring sainthood to prophethood. It is proved in the Twenty-Fourth and Thirty-First Words how elevated is prophethood, and how dull sainthood is in relation to it.
The Second: Some of followers of the Sufi path fall into the abyss of preferring extremist saints to the Prophet’s (UWBP) Companions and even of believing those saints to be prophets. It is proved decisively in the Twelfth and Twenty-Seventh Words and in the Addendum on the Companions, that the Companions acquired such qualities through conversation with the Prophet (UWBP) that cannot be attained through sainthood, and that the Companions cannot be surpassed, and that the saints can never reach the degree of the Companions.
The Third: Some of those who are excessively bigoted concerning the Sufi path oppose the practices of the Prophet (UWBP) and give them up because of their preference for the customs, conduct, and recitations of the Sufi way, which they never give up. In this way, they become slack in practising the conduct of the Shari‘a, and fall into that abyss.
As is proved in many of the Words, and as veracious authorities of the Sufi path like Imam Ghazali and Imam-i Rabbani said: “The degree of acceptance gained by following a single of the Prophet’s (UWBP) practices cannot be won through a hundred personal practices and supererogatory acts of worship. And just as a single obligatory act is superior to a thousand acts taken from the Prophet’s practices, so a single of those practices is superior to a thousand practices of Sufism.”
The Fourth: Some extremist Sufis suppose inspiration to be like divine revelation and of similar kind to revelation, and fall into an abyss. It has been proved most definitely in the Twelfth Word and in the Twenty-Fifth Word about the miraculousness of the Qur’an, how elevated, universal, and sacred is divine revelation, and how insignificant and dull inspirations are in comparison.
The Fifth: Some Sufis who do not understand the essence of the Sufi path, in order to strengthen the weak, encourage the slack, and to lighten the hardships and weariness arising from strenuous service, find the lights, illuminations, and wonders, which are not sought but given, to be pleasurable, and they become captivated by them and fall into the abyss of preferring them to worship, acts of service, and recitation of supplications. It is