Maroof Karkhi (d. 815 CE) was born in Karkh, now the western half of Baghdad, on the banks of the Tigris. Committed to Unity from his childhood, he was a very pious, simple man, who withdrew from the world but had many followers. Among his teachings are the following:
When one day people asked Maroof Karkhi, “How can we become true believers and be sure that we are worshipping God?” he replied, “Empty your hearts from the attachments of the world. Whatever dwells in your heart is your beloved. Whenever you worship, you worship your beloved. As long as the world remains in your heart, you are not worshipping God, but the world; and when God fills your heart, you are not worshipping the world, but God. So consult your heart, and see who your beloved is and who you worship.”
Someone asked, “How can I find my way to divine obedience?”
Hazrat Maroof answered, “As long as there is even a small attachment in your heart to the world, whenever you pray, you pray for that attachment, since you always prostrate to whatever you are attracted to.”
Maroof Karkhi also said that there are three signs of a true person: to fulfil one’s promises, to praise without a motive, and to give without being asked to give. He taught that if God desires goodness for His servants, Her opens the door to knowledge and closes the door of empty words; uttering words that have no benefit and committing to that which is useless is a sign of ignorance.