Everyone should strive to become a friend of God, for the Lord never rebuffs the seeker of His intimacy. The main reason for attending a center such as this is to prepare yourself to attain that intimacy. No one can become a friend of God without also becoming a friend of His servants. The attainment of that familiarity and sympathy with the souls of His servants is proof of one's approach to sainthood, for it is easy to claim that one is a friend of God, but not so easy to be in harmony with people.
Perhaps now, during your time here at this center, you may feel closeness with your fellow seekers of truth, but when you return to your countries you will certainly find this harder to realize. When you truly attain the station of friend of God, everyone will be your friend. To succeed in attaining this closeness with people is a sign of one's admittance to the Divine Presence. I don't mean that you become physically attractive or attracted to them, this is not a physical attraction we are talking about but an attraction through the hearts.
Our Grandsheikh once told me a tale about a flower of India that grows only in the most inaccessible places and is, furthermore, always surrounded by snakes. That flower has such an overpoweringly beautiful fragrance that whoever wears it will be loved by one and all. I said to my Grandsheikh: "Oh my Master let me go in search of that flower". He replied, "Oh Nazim Efendi, there is no need for you to go there, for as long as you are vigilant with your Lord after midnight even for a short time Allah Almighty will adorn you with an attraction seventy times more powerful than the attraction of that perfume. Even if you just arise during the last watch of the night when every one is asleep, and even if you don't pray, this miracle will occur and you will become as attractive as that perfume.
Whoever arises at that hour will certainly gain the good graces of his Lord, for that is the time when the Lord looks for the repentance of His servants. Therefore, I advise you all to awaken sometime during the last third of the night: even for five minutes. You must, however, be in a state of ritual purity. Then you must address your Lord: "Oh my lord, come to me, as I cannot come to You". That prayer is enough to give you full protection for that day and makes you a friend of God.
People pass their days coming and going, but in the evening everyone returns to his or her darling. The Lord asks you to be with Him Alone, even for just five minutes in an intimate time of the late night. Who turns to his Lord in the night will find Him near, and will be able to rely upon him even in the midst of great and terrible events.
Mawlana Shaykh Nazim Adil Haqqani