بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
و الصلاة و السلام على أشرف المرسلين
و على اله و اصحابه أجمعين

What is the spiritual seclusion?

The spiritual seclusion, called khulwa in arabic, is a spiritual retreat made by the disciple to worship Allâh through remembering Him under the guidance of an accomplished master. This form of worship takes roots in the teachings of the prophets and saints. During the khulwa, disciples receive what is called al-ma’rifa, which translates to spiritual or esoteric Knowledge of Allâh. Moreover, this form of knowledge is obtained through Divine light. However, let us focus for now on the roots of khulwa within monotheistic traditions.

The spiritual seclusion is the tradition of prophets

The three main prophets of the monotheistic religions went through this step during their journey. The spiritual seclusion of hadhrat Moses ﷺ is very famous; it’s stated in many instances in the holy books. In the Quran it is stated: “And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights and perfected them by [the addition of] ten; so the term of his Lord was completed as forty nights. And Moses said to his brother Aaron, “Take my place among my people, do right [by them], and do not follow the way of the corrupters.” [1]

Hadhrat Jesus ﷺ was known to have had many of these retreats: in the bible it is said, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.” [2]

Moreover, the Bible has it that hadhrat Jesus ﷺ also retreated into the wilderness, fasting for forty day. It was after this that his ministry began.

Jesus ﷺ invited His disciples to share times of solitude (group solitude) with Him. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” [3]

On the other hand, the Quran relates clearly about the spiritual seclusion of sayida Mary ﷺ: “So her Lord accepted her with a good acceptance and made her grow up a good growing, and gave her into the charge of Zakariya; whenever Zakariya entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found with her food. He said: O Marium! whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allâh. Surely Allâh gives to whom He pleases without measure.” [4]

Finally, every muslim knows or have heard of the spiritual seclusion that sayiduna Muhammad ﷺ did in the cave of Mont-Hiraa during the six months preceding the reception of the revelation of Allâh by hadhrat Gabriel, peace be upon him, umm al-muuminin Aisha, may Allâh be pleased with her, said, “Then He was made to like to stay by Himself, and He used to stay alone in Hira cave, worshipping Allâh there, after He had gone to His family to collect provisions to stay in the cave. He would then return to Khadijah to collect more provisions (to stay in the cave again).” [5]

The Messenger of Allâh, peace be upon Him, used to receive true dreams before he was actually sent as a Prophet to all humankind. Every dream the Messenger of Allâh saw was as clear as the break of dawn. The mother of believers (umm al-muuminin) Aisha, may Allâh be pleased with her, related this, “The divine revelation started to come to the Messenger of Allâh (peace be upon him) in the form of true dreams when he was asleep. Every dream he saw at that time was [very clear] like the break of dawn. Then the Messenger of Allâh was made to love seclusion, so he used to stay by himself in Hira cave, worshipping Allâh there during the night or for many consecutive nights after he had gone to his family to collect provisions for his stay. Then he would return to Khadijah to collect more provisions and return to the cave again. This continued until he, peace be upon Him, suddenly received the truth [Quran] while he was in Hira cave.” [6]

So, now that we know that the spiritual seclusion is the tradition of the main prophets how our beloved Cheikh defines it?

Walking on the footsteps of the prophets and messengers, with our beloved Messenger ﷺ as their leader, the Tariqa Karkariya has as one of its core foundations the performance by the disciple of the Spiritual seclusion (khulwa). In the tariqa Karkariya, the Spiritual Seclusion means leaving your own living tomb (your body), abandoning all your physical senses to be completely immersed in a journey to Allâh having for equipment, only, the remembrance of his Name (Allâh) being in complete seclusion. During this journey, you penetrate into your own spiritual heart and you accede to the Lord’s assembly. The journey will last until the veil is lifted so the Innervision becomes sharp in the face of the Eternal Source (ma’adan al-qidam)…


[1] Surah al-‘Araf, verse 142.
[2] Lamentations 3:25–28.
[3] Mark 6:31–32.
[4] Surah ali-‘Imran, verse 37.
[5] Narrated by al-Bukhari in his Sahih.
[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari in his Sahih.

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