Chapter XIV (h)
They are the followers of Abu al-Hasan Ahmad b. Muhammad Nuri who is one of the most eminent and illustrious Sufi Ulama. He is well known amongst the Sufis because of the clarity in wisdom and conclusiveness in proofs. His doctrine about Sufism is laudable and is based on excellent principles. In his doctrine tasawwuf تصوف (mysticism) has superiority over faqr (poverty), and in matters of conduct he is in accord with the doctrine of Junaid.
The peculiarity of his doctrine is that in companionship he prefers his companion’s claim to his own, and considers companionship illegal without preference. He also holds that companionship is obligatory on part of dervishes, and that retirement from the world is not a praiseworthy act. It is obligatory for everyone to prefer his companion to himself. He said:
اياكم والعزلة فان العزلة مقارنة الشيطان وعليكم بالصحبة فان في الصحبة رضا الرحمن
“Beware of solitude! For it is nearness with Satan; and must you join companionship, for therein is the satisfaction of the Merciful Allah.”
Now I will deliberate on the true nature of ithar (preference), and it will be fully explained in the chapter on companionship and solitude in order to make it more generally instructive.