Ikmalush Shiyam – Part Eight

CHAPTER ON QABDH AND BAST

He (Allah) kept you in the state of qabdh so that you do not remain in the state of bast, and He brought you into the state of bast so that you are not left in the state of qabdh. He extricated you from both states so that you be devoted to your Master alone.

(Qabdh is a spiritual state of extreme despondency. Bast is the opposite of qabdh. It is the state of spiritual exhilaration.)

Qabdh and bast are two states which settle over the Saalik in alternating order – one after the other. In qabdh such a waarid (spiritual current) of the Divine Attributes of splendour (jalaal) and wrath (qahr) settle on the heart, which displaces the heart’s exhilaration and tranquillity resulting in a shadow of despondency. There remains no serenity in thikr and worship.

In the state of bast, the waarid passing over the heart emanates from the Divine Attributes of beauty and mercy. It results in extreme elation. The exhilaration experienced is beyond the Saalik’s control. In this state he is unable to contain his spiritual happiness.

The Saalik who has progressed ahead of the initial stage of Sulook experiences the conditions of qabdh and bast. In the beginning he experiences khauf (fear) and raja (hope). The difference between qabdh/bast and khauf/raja is that the latter is the product of reflecting on a future event whereas the former is the consequence of the incidence of waaridaat at the present time.

Here the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) explains the wisdom (hikmat) of qabdh and bast. Addressing the Saalik, he says that the purpose of bast is to take the Saalik out of the state of qabdh. If it was not for bast, the Saalik would perpetually remain in the state of qabdh. Bast being the opposite of qabdh, displaces it. One of these states will always be with the Saalik who is in the middle stage of Sulook. Either he will be in qabdh or bast. It is, therefore, necessary to alternate these states, otherwise he will perpetually remain in only one state.

Qabdh is the effect of the Divine Attribute of Jalaal (power, splendour, glory). If the Saalik remains in qabdh, within a few days its effect would become unbearable for him. It will then not be surprising if he is destroyed. In fact, such episodes of self-destruction have happened. It is for this reason that the state of bast is bestowed to him.

The state of qabdh is imposed on the Saalik so that he does not always remain in the state of bast because in this latter condition the nafs derives pleasure. Thus, the state of continuos bast will bring about a reduction in the attribute of ibaadat. The longer this state remains, the graver the danger.

These two states do not occur to the kaamil (the Saalik who has attained perfection). He experiences a condition in between qabdh and bast. Neither state is predominant. Hence, the Saalik is ultimately taken out of these two states so that his attention is focused only on Allah Ta’ala. In the states of qabdh and bast the Saalik’s attention is diverted to his states because in these two states is their dominance (ghalbah) over the Saalik. In the state of qabdh, the Saalik will endeavour to eliminate the impressions of despondency and grief while the heart derives pleasure in the state of bast. Thus, in both states the attention is not towards Allah Ta’ala. The state of the kaamil is equilibrium (i’tidaal). Neither can his state be called qabdh nor bast.

Istiqaamat (steadfastness) and I’tidaal (equilibrium) are achieved by way of qabdh and bast. After the ups and downs of these two states, a state of equilibrium settles on the heart.

In the state of bast, the Aarifeen are more fearful than in the state if qabdh. In bast only a few remain within the confines of adab (respect).

Since the state of bast conforms to the desires of the nafs, the a rifeen in this state are more fearful than in the state of qabdh. In bast the nafs may lose itself in pleasure and proclaim its spiritual conditions and miracles. There is the danger of the Saalik making claims of loftiness. Sometimes when the state of bast becomes intense, the Saalik utters such statements which are in conflict with the lofty state of Allah Ta’ala. It is for this reason that the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that only a few among the Saalikeen succeed in observing the limits of respect (adab).

On the contrary, since qabdh is a state in conflict with the nafs, the attributes of humility, weakness and servitude prevail. The Saalik perceives himself overwhelmed by Divine Wrath and Power.

In the state of bast, the nafs has its share of pleasure, but in the state of qabdh the nafs has no share.

The basis for the previous statement is given here. In the state of bast the limits of adab (respect) are generally not observed because the nafs receives its share of pleasure in the condition of bast. Unmindfulness and forgetfulness are necessary corollaries (lawaazim) of the nafs’s derivation of pleasure. Also, the ego asserts itself. The acquired inspirational knowledge, mysteries, subtleties and stations of elevation are in front of the Saalik. Thus, in the state of bast, he considers himself to be among the elite. These attitudes are negatory of Uboodiyat. On the other hand, the nafs obtains no pleasure in the state of qabdh. It, therefore, remains within the limits of rectitude. Hence, the a rifeen prefer the state of qabdh to the state of bast.

Frequently in the darkness of qabdh you are granted such knowledge and insight which you will not acquire in the brightness of bast. It is, therefore said (in the Qur’aan): ‘You do not know who is more beneficial for you among them. ‘

Qabdh is displeasing to the nafs while bast in pleasurable. The Saalik, therefore, fears the state of qabdh and thinks of it to be a means of distancing him from Divine Proximity while he loves bast and regards it to be a medium for attaining Divine Proximity. The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh), therefore, explains the wisdom of qabdh.

Qabdh is compared to darkness because in this state the Saalik is motionless. The nafs is broken and forlorn, hence it does not move towards its excellences nor does it advance claims of loftiness. In this forlorn and motionless condition it turns in supplication to Allah Ta’ala. The state of bast is described as brightness because the nafs is in motion just as people are in motion during daytime. In this state the nafs is desirous of displaying its knowledge of spiritual realities.

The Saalik is advised not to fear the state of qabdh because sometimes in the state of qabdh the Saalik is granted such transcendental knowledge and mysteries which he does not attain in the state of bast. This is occasioned by the humility and forlornness of the nafs produced by the state of qabdh. Humility is the cause for Allah’s grace and kindness. The treasure of Uloom and Ma-aarif is granted to the Saalik in this state of extreme humility.

The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) then cites the following Qur’aanic aayat:

“You do not know who among them is of greater benefit to you.”

This aayat discusses the issue of inheritance. The instruction is to execute the laws of inheritance as commanded. You do not know which heir is of greater benefit to you. Therefore, do not use your own opinion and fancy in matters pertaining to inheritance. Inspite of a man being able to recognise the people who will be his heirs, he is told that he in reality is not aware of the one who is of greater benefit to him. On the basis of this aayat, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that the Saalik too does not know which of the two states (bast and qabdh) is better for him. In this case his unawareness will be greater than the unawareness regarding heirs (referred to in the aayat) because the state of qabdh and bast are spiritual conditions which cannot be fathomed by the physical senses. It is, therefore, essential that the bandah refrains from his opinion in these states. Allah Ta’ala knows which state is best for him

CHAPTER ON ANWAAR AND THEIR CATEGORIES

The anwaar of ibaadat and riyaadhat are the mounts of the hearts and asraar (spiritual faculties) of the mureedeen.

According to the Sufiyah, qalb (heart) in this context refers to the physical heart and sirr (plural asraar) means the spiritual heart. The people of spirituality (Ahl-e-Baseerat and Ahl-e-Idraak) perceive these spiritual faculties.

The heart is divided into several departments. The rays of illumination (anwaar) which the Saalik acquires from ibaadat and mujaahadah are like the mounts for the zaahir and the baatin of the heart. Mounts deliver travellers to their destination. Similarly, these anwaar take the Saalik to his destination viz. The Divine Presence. Thus, it behoves the Saalik to impose on himself ibaadat and riyaadhat. He should not regard the anwaar and the pleasure he experiences to be the maqsood (goal). Rather, they are the means for the attainment of the goal. Just as the mounts (vehicles) are not the goal of travellers, so too, the anwaar are not the goal.

Just as darkness is the army of the nafs, noor is the army of the heart. When Allah Ta’ala desires to assist any of His servants, He aids them with the army of noor, and He cuts off the aid of aliens and darkness.

In the terminology of Tasawwuf, the propensity or capacity in man to incline to evil is termed the nafs. It stirs man to adopt disgraceful qualities. The qalb (heart) is the substratum (mahal) of the praiseworthy attributes.

The nafs of man is so much absorbed in self-opinion, vanity, ignorance and emotions that it remains oblivious of these evils in itself. Its engrossment in these evils precludes it from perceiving them. Its natural inclination is evil and corruption.

In the heart of the Mu’min is the Divinely Bestowed Noor of Tauheed which draws him towards lofty attributes, worship and obedience.

The meaning of zulmat (darkness) is the attributes of the nafs and noor refers to the illumination of the heart. This zulmat is the army of the nafs, while Noor is the army of the heart. The conflict between these opposites is perpetual. The nafs with its army attacks the qalb preventing it (qalb) from acting according to its demands (of virtue). Meanwhile, the heart endeavours to conquer the nafs by means of its noor. Sometimes the nafs gains the upperhand, leading to the bandah committing sin and abstention from obedience. Sometimes the noor of the qalb asserts its dominance, overwhelming the nafs.

If Allah Ta’ala has decreed fortune for the servant, He aids him with an army of anwaar in his struggle against the nafs. Allah Ta’ala reveals to him the contempibility of this world and its transitory nature. The evils of the nafs are exposed for him and darkness and all alien objects are dispelled from the heart. These foreign bodies which had taken up an abode in the heart and were being supported by the nafs, are deprived of their aid when the anwaar become dominant. Gradually, in stages, the goal is attained.

Allah forbid! If misfortune is decreed for the servant, the zulmat gains in intensity. This intensity is an incremental process resulting in the complete disappearance of the heart’s noor. The world then dominates the person.

When a struggle ensues between the nafs and the qalb, the Saalik should turn his attention to Allah Ta’ala, supplicating for His aid. He should increase his Thikr and repose his trust in Allah. Insha’Allah, the demands of the nafs will be subjugated and the heart’s noor will prevail.

Revelation of haqaa-iq (transcendental realities) and magheebaat (unseen things) is the function of noor. Perception of these realities is the function of the heart’s gaze while advancing or diverging from them is the task of the heart.

The corporeal eye visualises objects with the aid of external light, e.g. the sun’s light or candle light. In the absence of such light, the eye is unable to see. The operation of the heart’s vision is similar. As long as it lacks the aid of noor it is unable to exercise spiritual vision. Noor here means the noor of Yaqeen and Imaan which Allah Ta’ala bestows to his special servants.

By virtue of the noor of Yaqeen, hidden transcendental realities become conspicuous to the heart, e.g. prior to the acquisition of Noor-e-Yaqeen the transitoriness of the world, the perpetuity of a khirah, the advantage of obedience and the destruction of sin were related to awareness and belief, i.e. the servant had their knowledge and believed in them. (These were in his ilm and i’tiqaad.) After the acquisition of Noor-e-Yaqeen this knowledge becomes conspicuous to the vision of the qalb. The certitude gained is just as that of the perception of the physical eyes of physical objects.

This revelation is the result of the Noor which has been acquired. This is like a person who, although having knowledge of the contents in a room, is unable to see them in the darkness on account of the absence of light. When a light is produced, his eyes perceive the objects with great clarity. Thus, the function of noor is to render visible the transcendental objects of knowledge. The heart’s vision then perceives them. If the heart possesses vision, it will perceive, otherwise not.

Once the perception (the heart’s visualisation) is proper, then it is the heart’s function to move in the direction of virtue and to diverge from evil, e.g. the transitoriness of the world and perpetuity of a khirah are revealed. The revelation (inkishaaf) is because of the noor. The perception will be by spiritual vision (idraak-e-baatinah). Advancing towards the a khirah and turning away from the world are the acts of the heart. The physical limbs of the body are subservient to the heart. They will move in consonance with the heart.

He has brightened physical creation with His Aathaar (Impressions), and the spiritual heart with the anwaar of His Ausaaf (Attributes). Therefore, the anwaar of the physical dimension becomes hidden. But the anwaar of the heart’s secrets are not concealed.

The sun, moon, stars and all creation are the aathaar (impressions or effects) of Allah’s attributes of power (qudrat) and wisdom (hikmat). Allah Ta’ala has brightened His physical creation, the heavens and earth, with the noor of the impressions of His perfect attributes, i.e. He brightened the heavens and earth with the light of the sun, moon and stars. We are, therefore, able to see His physical creation and thereby derive benefit from the good things while abstaining from the harms of harmful objects.

He has brightened the spiritual dimension of the heart (the baatin) with the noor of His attributes of beauty (jamaal) and splendour (jalaal). Thus, inspirational knowledge (Uloom) and transcendental realities and truths (Ma-aarif) are revealed to the inner (or spiritual) hearts of the a rifeen. They perceive the inner spiritual attributes and adopt the praiseworthy ones (Aussaf-e-Hameedah) while abandoning the evil ones (Ausaaf-e-Razeelah).

Since the noor of the heavens and earth is temporal, being acquired from the sun and moon, it becomes over-shadowed and recedes into concealment because temporal things undergo changes. On the other hand, the noor of the spiritual heart emanates from the attributes of Allah Ta’ala. Since Allah’s attributes are eternal, this Divine Noor is never over-shadowed, hence it cannot be hidden. However, the perception of this noor diminishes when human qualities assert their domination.

The intelligent man chooses the eternal and abandons the temporal entities which undergo change.

The horizon where anwaar rise is the quloob (hearts) and asraar (spiritual faculties) of the Aarifeen.

The emanation of ma-aarif and uloom is from the baatini hearts of the a rifeen. Their hearts resemble the heaven in which lie the horizons for the rising of the sun and moon. The noor emanating from the hearts of the a rifeen is infinitely superior to the radiance of the sun and moon. It is mentioned in the Hadith that if the noor of the Imaan of the lowest ranking Muslim is manifested, east and west will be lit up and the light of the sun and moon will be eclipsed. When this is the brilliance of the noor of the lowest ranking Muslim, then the noor of the a rifeen is beyond description.

The aid of this Noor-e-Yaqeen which is entrusted in the hearts of the Aarifeen is from that noor which emanates from the treasures of the unseen realms. One noor is the heart’s noor by means of which the aathaar (effects) of the True Cause, Allah Ta’ala, are made manifest. Another noor is the noor which opens up for you His attributes of excellence (kamaal).

The noor of Yaqeen embedded in the hearts of the a rifeen progresses with the aid of the noor which descends from the treasures of the unseen realm (ghaib). The a rif is perpetually in progress. The noor of his Imaan constantly increases. The stages of his Yaqeen rise continuously because such stages are infinite. There is no end to this process of elevation.

The noor emanating from the eternal Divine Attributes develops the Noor-e-Yaqeen of the a rif. Thus the Yaqeen of the a rif is in the process of constant increase.

The noor entrusted to the hearts of the a rifeen is of two kinds. The one kind is the medium for revelation of the aathaar of Allah, the True Cause, i.e. the conditions and circumstances of creation are revealed to him. This type of revelation is called Kashf-e-Soori.

The other kind is the noor by means of which the qualities of Allah’s splendour and beauty are revealed, e.g. Allah’s mercy, wrath, etc. This noor is the emanation of the manifestation (tajalli) of the Divine Attributes. This second kind of revelation is called Kashf-e-Ma’nwi.

One type of noor from the treasures of ghaib reaches only the zaahir of the heart. The other type is commanded to penetrate the centre of the heart.

The anwaar of Divine Knowledge and mysteries which settle in the hearts of the a rifeen from the treasures of ghaib, illumine their hearts. There are two types of these anwaar. The one type settles only on the outer facade of the heart while the second type penetrate into the innermost recess of the heart.

The effect of the noor settling on the outer heart is the perception by the heart of its nafs as well as of Allah Ta’ala. Both this world and the Hereafter are kept in view. The presence of foreign things still remains in the heart. Thus, the Saalik sometimes inclines to his nafs and sometimes to Allah Ta’ala. Sometimes he desires the a khirah and sometimes the world.

The effect of the anwaar which have penetrated the innermost recesses of the heart is the entrenchment of Allah’s remembrance in the heart. Only Allah Ta’ala is in the heart. All other things are expelled from the heart of the Saalik by these anwaar. He is not enslaved to anyone besides Allah.

According to some a rifeen, as long as Imaan is confined to the zaahiri qalb (outer heart), the servant is the lover of both Allah and the world. Such a servant is sometimes in communion with Allah Ta’ala and sometimes in collusion with his nafs. When Imaan enters the interior of the heart, the servant renounces the world.

Sometimes when anwaar settle on you, your heart is loaded with base imaginations. The anwaar thus return to the abode from whence they had arrived. Expel all aliens from your heart and Allah Ta’ala will fill it with ma-aarif and asraar.

The qalb of man is a celestial faculty which has the ability of reflecting Divine Knowledge, mysteries and celestial illumination. But, on account of man’s preoccupation with mundane matters and emotional issues, these things become impressed in his mind. These impressions are then mirrored in the heart resulting in the diminishing of the heart’s inherent ability. It then resembles a mirror on whose surface dust and grime have settled, blurring the images or impeding visionary perception thereof.

When the Saalik engages in thikr and shaghl, adopts solitude, decreases speech, reduces association with people and concentrates on the purification of his heart, then the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala focuses on him. He becomes polished and illumined. He gains the ability for the absorption of Divine Anwaar.

Sometimes the outer heart becomes somewhat illumined. It thus gains the ability to reflect these anwaar. However, when the anwaar reach this heart, they find it engrossed in worldly preoccupations. Such a heart is unable to absorb the anwaar, hence these celestial rays return to their celestial abode from whence they had emanated. It is, therefore, essential for the Saalik to cleanse his heart from all foreign bodies and substances. He should keep the mirror of the heart thoroughly polished and Allah Ta’ala will fill it with Divine Knowledge, mysteries and subtleties.

The value of the anwaar of the asraar (spiritual faculties in man) cannot be known without the realm of the Aakhirah just as the rays of the heavenly stars are not manifested without the universe.

Just as the substratum for the manifestation of the light of the sun, moon and stars is this universe, so too, is the a khirah the abode for the manifestation of the anwaar of man’s spiritual faculties.

Since these anwaar are concealed from the vision of people, their value is neither appreciated nor understood. The intelligent Saalik should not grieve on account of this attitude of people nor should he care because the world is not the substratum for the manifestation of these anwaar. The anwaar of the unknown men of Allah living in renunciation and seclusion will glitter in the a khirah. It is in that abode where their worth and value will be appreciated.

CHAPTER ON NATURAL DISPOSITION AND
DIVINE PROXIMITY

Your reaching Allah is by way of your natural and spiritual disposition and faculties (i.e. with the soul). You reach Him with your gaze of spiritual insight (nathr-e-baseerat). Our Rabb cannot be physically joined by anything. He is beyond such union.

The meaning of wusool (reaching) with Allah is not a physical union as is the fusion of two physical objects. This type of union is a characteristic of material objects. Allah Ta’ala is devoid of physical or material dimensions. The Sufi concept of Wusool is a spiritual union in which the soul visualises Allah Ta’ala with such clarity which negates the need for any proof (daleel). The yaqeen acquired is of such a high degree which excels the confidence an observer gains from his physical visualisation of objects. It is possible for the eye to sometimes err in its vision, but such an error is precluded in ilmul-yaqeen. This exceptionally high degree of spiritual perception is called mushaahadah. It is also referred to as wusool, tajalli and Faidh-e-Rahmaani (Divine Munificence of The Merciful One).

This mushaahadah becomes a permanent inseparable attribute of the heart just as vision is for the eye.

If the only way of reaching Him was by the annihilation of your evils and your claims (of vanity), never would you reach Him. When he desired to bring you to Him, He concealed your attributes in the shadow of His attributes and covered your language in the veil of His language. He then brought you to Him by virtue of His grace which He directed to you. You did not reach Him on account of the deeds you presented to Him.

The Wusool or Mushaahadah described earlier is attained when the nafs becomes lifeless. Every evil quality and demand has been expelled from it. It no longer has any motives and desires. It becomes like a lifeless person in the custody of a living person. The attainment of such a stage is beyond the ability of the bandah.

If Allah Ta’ala had decreed that a bandah cannever reach Him as long as he does not kill his nafs by means of his own efforts of riyaadhat and mujaahadah, then no one would have attained His Proximity because evil is the natural propensity of the nafs. When Allah Ta’ala wishes to favour a bandah with His Proximity, He illuminates the bandah with the rays of His lofty attributes. The bandah’s attributes are then over-shadowed and concealed. Thus, the bandah reaches Allah Ta’ala by virtue of Divine Grace and Mercy. The bandah does not attain Wusool on the strength of his a’maal and mujaahadah. In fact, this is not possible.

The elimination of the natural, despicable qualities of the nafs does not occur, rather these lowly attributes are over-shadowed by the manifestation of the radiance of the Divine Attributes. Despite this, riyaadhat by virtue of Allah Ta’ala directs His grace to the bandah when he initiates the process of effort (mujaahadah). But, the cause of attaining Allah’s proximity is not the Saalik’s effort, but is the fadhl of Allah.

While the Saalik should not relax in his a’maal-e-saalihah and mujaahadah, his trust should be only on the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala. The obstacle blocking the path to Divine Proximity is the Saalik’s reliance on his deeds.

Your qurb with Him is that you perceive His qurb (proximity), otherwise where are you and where is His qurb?

All attributes of excellence and perfection in reality belong exclusively to Allah Ta’ala. Such attributes apply figuratively to the bandah. It is Allah Ta’ala Who in reality has qurb with the bandah. The Qur’aan says:

“When My servant asks you about Me, then (know that) verily, I am near (to him).”

The meaning of the bandah’s qurb with Allah Ta’ala, is that he perceives with his spiritual eyes Allah’s qurb (i.e. the closeness of Allah Ta’ala with him). The effect of such mushaahadah will be that the bandah will observe, every moment, the respects of the Divine Court. He will be firm on the Shariah.

Divine Qurb does not mean physical nearness which is a characteristic of material objects. Similarly, is does not mean Qurb-e-Haqeeqi whose nature and reality are known to only Allah Ta’ala. The bandah cannot aspire to gain Qurb-e-Haqeeqi because this is an attribute exclusive with Allah Ta’ala.

Be connected to the attributes of His Ruboobiyat (Divinity) and remain predicated to your attributes of uboodiyat (serfdom).

The attributes of Ruboobiyat (i.e. being the Rabb) are the perfect and excellent attributes of Allah Ta’ala, e.g. power, splendour, knowledge, wisdom, etc. The attributes of uboodiyat (being a slave of Allah) are, for example, poverty, weakness, disgrace, ignorance, dependence, etc.

Entire creation along with its being and attributes is the impression of Allah’s Sifaat (attributes). Wujood-e-Haqeeqi (True Existence) is the attribute of only Allah Ta’ala. The existence of all other objects is secondary and is the result of Divine Bestowal, e.g. sunlight in reality is the attribute of the sun. The brightness on the wall produced by the sun will figuratively belong to the wall. Thus, truly speaking no object has any inherent quality. There is only a connection with Sifaat-e-Haqeeqiyah (The True Attributes, i.e. the Attributes of Allah Ta’ala), in that all objects are the impressions of the Divine Attributes. But man is oblivious of this reality, thinking that the attributes belong to him. He, therefore, thinks: ‘I have existence. I am an a lim. I am wealthy. I am honourable.’ Little does he understand that only Allah exists. Only he has knowledge. Only He has treasure. Only He has honour.

The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh), admonishing the Mu’min, tells him to keep in mind the connection which he should have with the Divine Attributes. He should banish ignorance, which means abandonment of the personal attributes to which he lays claim. His existence and attributes are merely the impressions of the Divine Attributes. All man’s attributes are subservient to the Divine Attributes and have no independent existence. The Mu’min should engender in him the attributes of uboodiyat (servitude, subjection). He should view his contemptibility in relation to the true honour of Allah Ta’ala, and compare the ghina (sufficiency, wealthiness) of Allah with his own faqr (insufficiency, poverty). He should perceive and recognise his own weakness in relation to Allah’s power, and understand his own ignorance by contemplating True Knowledge, i.e. the Divine Attribute of Knowledge.

It is unlawful for you to claim something which belongs to someone else. How can you render lawful the claim of your attributes while He is the Rabb on entire creation?

This statement is presented as proof for the earlier assertion. It is improper and unlawful to claim something which belongs to another person even though in reality, that person is not the true owner of that object because only Allah Ta’ala owns everything. When it is improper for man to claim ownership of even the property of a person who, in fact, is not even the actual owner (Allah alone being the owner), then how can it be permissible for him to lay claim to the attributes of Ruboobiyat (Divinity or godhood) such as honour, dignity, power, knowledge, etc.? Allah is the Rabb of the entire universe and the attributes of Ruboobiyat belong exclusively to Him. It, therefore, behoves the Mu’min to confine himself to the limits by understanding that all attributes of excellence belong to Allah alone. He should never attempt to even substantiate his own existence so that he remains free from all vestiges of shirk. Thus, will Imaan remain pure.

Be firm in your attributes of uboodiyat and He will aid you with His attributes. Be firm in your contemptibility and He will aid you with His honour. Be firm in your weakness and He will aid you with His power.

In the previous naseehat was the exhortation to free yourself from all your attributes because the nafs has a very strong relationship with its imagined attributes of excellence. It is proud of its honour, strength, power, etc. It remains entrapped in this imagination, deriving pleasure from vain and false hopes. It dreads the very thought of abandoning these baseless desires. Abandonment of desires is like suicide to the nafs. The Mu’min is, therefore, reminded of Divine Aid which he will gain when he renounces vain and false desires.

When the bandah is firm in his condition of uboodiyat, Allah Ta’ala will not abandon him. Prior to the abandonment of desires, the bandah would seek aid from his imagined attributes. In most cases he was unsuccessful. However, after freeing himself from his imagined excellences, Allah Ta’ala aids him with His attributes of reality.

It is only the mushaahadah of the perfect Divine Attributes which can extricate you from the attributes of your nafs.

The attributes of the nafs in this context refer to qualities of excellence which the nafs imagines in itself, e.g. the attribute of greatness, independence, power, knowledge. In fact, the nafs will even regard itself to have independent existence. These are all imaginary ideas of the nafs. As long as man dwells in such fantasy, he will not reach Allah Ta’ala.

The expulsion of these nafsaani attributes cannot be achieved by means of mujaahadah. It is only when Allah Ta’ala directs the illumination of His attributes to the bandah and the nafs then perceives the True Divine attributes, that the imagined attributes of the nafs are displaced. Man has the awareness of the splendour and greatness of Allah Ta’ala. However, this knowledge is not sufficient to displace his pride. Only when the reflection of Allah’s attribute of Kibriyaa’i (greatness) falls on him and he vividly perceives it, will his imagined greatness be eliminated. Similarly is it with all his other imagined attributes.

Thus, only after mushaahadah of Allah’s perfect attributes does the bandah achieve nearness and communion with Allah Ta’ala.

The lowly material world can contain your physical body, but it cannot contain your spiritual being.

Man consists of body and soul. While the physical body belongs to this material world, the soul is a spiritual substance belonging to the unseen celestial realm. But, the rooh (soul) has a relationship with its physical body.

The physical body, for its subsistence, depends on physical provisions, e.g. food, water, etc. On the other hand, the soul being a spiritual substance does not subsist on material nourishment. Its nourishment is thikr and taa’at (obedience to Allah Ta’ala).

Thus, the material world can sustain man’s physical body, but not his spiritual being. There is no affinity between the rooh and the physical world which is a prison for the soul. Therefore, if man fully engrosses himself in this perishable abode, the rooh will initially become terrified and its strength will gradually dissipate. If the effort is only on developing the physical body and the rooh is neglected, it (the rooh) will be rendered impotent.

It is, therefore, necessary that man takes from this material world only sufficient to sustain his body. He should not involve himself in elaborate schemes for the sake of the physical body. Allah Ta’ala, Himself has assumed the responsibility of providing for man. Man should, therefore, apply his undivided attention to the nourishment and development of his rooh and eliminate the pollution which has settled on the rooh as a result of its relationship with the material body. He is to cleanse his rooh from this pollution by means of thikr, taa’at and mujaahdah. In this way will he gain complete freedom from the physical body and be vouchsafed the everlasting life.

The affirmation of khusoosiyat (speciality) does not mean the non-existence of human attributes. Khusoosiyat resembles the light of the day which appears on the horizon. Similarly, the rays of His attributes sometimes shine on the darkness of your existence and sometimes this (illumination) is restrained from you. You are then returned to your original qualities. Thus, the illumination is not inherent in you, but, settles over you from Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala.

The attributes of the Auliya are of several kinds. Some attributes are necessary for them, e.g. being devoid of disgraceful characteristics such as pride, malice, vanity, etc., and being adorned with lofty qualities such as dependence on Allah, humility, sincerity, constancy in thikr, etc. These attributes are with them every moment. Some attributes are the natural human qualities, such as weakness and to be affected by an episode of grief, for example.

When Divine Attributes (of Allah Ta’ala) radiate on the Auliya, all other human attributes are overwhelmed. The Auliya then demonstrate such wonderful feats which are beyond the ability of others, e.g. when the Divine Attribute of knowledge radiates on them, they proclaim such wonderful knowledge which leaves other Ulama dumbstruck.

When there is no radiation (tajalli) of Divine Attributes, the human qualities are conspicuous. The episodes of the Auliya bear testimony to this fact. Sometimes they elaborate on issues of great intricacy, while sometimes they are unaware of even common everyday matters.

The term Khusoosiyat (speciality) here refers to the wonderful impressions (of the Divine Attributes) which are occasionally manifested. The existence of the special attributes does not mean that the human attributes of the Auliya have become non-existent. Human attributes are common to all people, even the illustrious Auliya. The temporary assertion of the Divine Attributes does not eliminate the human attributes. This resembles the sunlight which spreads in the entire horizon. All creation becomes visible and the impression is conveyed that the light is the inherent quality of all objects which have become visible, but in reality this is not so. The rays of Allah’s attributes similarly illuminate the darkness of the material existence of the Auliya. At that time special impressions become manifest.

When the rays of Divine Illumination are withheld, the human attributes of the Auliya become manifest. All human weakness are the again discernible in them. Thus, the radiation of this noor is not inherent in them nor does it form an integral part of their being. They have no control over it and cannot acquire it by choice.

Some people labour under the misconception that Divine Proximity is achieved only when all human attributes are eradicated and the attributes of Ruboobiyat (Divinity) become entrenched in the bandah. This idea is utterly baseless and deceptive. Many people are involved in shirk on account of this misconception. As a result of this fallacy they believe the Auliya to be partners with Allah Ta’ala in His exclusive attributes. Nauthubillah! Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) too was not aware of certain things, e.g. the episode of Ifq (when Sayyidina Aishah –radhiyallahu anha – was maliciously slandered). As a result of extreme hunger he would tie stones on his blessed stomach. At other times he would feed thousands, inform people of far-away happenings and reveal the knowledge of former and later times.

Part Nine: Allah’s Proximity, States of Arifeen, Firaasat

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