No one truly knows the greatness of the Earth except he who rides the sea. For if he rode it, and experienced the swaying and dizziness, and became ill without any illness, let alone the great terrors of the strong winds and the like, then he would know the greatness of the Earth.
Our shaykh, sayyidi Abd al-Wahhab at-Tazi rode the sea for forty days. He was asked: How long were you on the sea? He said: 40 years! He made each day a year, and he (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say: “There is nothing good in the sea except one: the attachment of the heart to Allah alone.” And right he was. For the human experiences the cutting off of all attachments except from Allah Most High, so that even if the Sultan was with you on the sea, you do not rely on him. No- he is scared like you, restless. And so the sea, even if in riding it there are terrors, its tribulations are good, a blessing. For the best of tribulation is the one that produces pure tawhid. He who rides the sea is secure from shirk: “But when He saves them and brings them to the land, then they commit shirk.” (Q 29:65)
Whether He really saves them to the land or sends them a mild wind with which they travel, they will commit shirk. “When you are sailing on ships and rejoicing in the favoring wind, a storm arrives.” (Q 10:22) Because they became happy by the wind, not by its Creator, as if it came from themselves, and so He punished them by sending a storm. For the origin of misguidance is happiness in other than Allah. “Thus does Allah lead unbelievers astray. That is because you were wont to rejoice on the earth in other than the haqq.” (Q 40:74-5) And al-Haqq is Allah. “This then is Allah, your Lord, the haqq. So what is there, beyond the haqq, except misguidance?” (Q 10:32)