CHAPTER ON ISTIDRAAJ (RESPITE)
Be fearful of the daily state of favour (Ihsaan) of Allah Ta’ala despite your disobedience, for this may be a respite for you.
Sometimes Allah Ta’ala does not apprehend the transgressors. Inspite of their rebellion and transgression He gives them time and continues to shower His favours on them. When they completely lose themselves in sin and reach the point of no return, He suddenly apprehends them. The granting of such respite to the transgressors is called Istidraaj which is a matter of utmost gravity.
On the other hand, some servants of Allah are immediately forewarned when they commit any misdeed. As a result, they quickly engage in Thikrullah and abandon the transgression. They banish ghaflat.
Here the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) discusses Istidraaj. He says that Allah’s ihsaan (kindness, favour) settles over you every moment while you persist audaciously in transgression. You are not even being reprimanded. Instead, your wishes are granted. This condition is fearful. You should fear this state, for perhaps it is respite allowed by Allah Ta’ala. Thereafter, He will suddenly apprehend you with His punishment. Proof for this is in the Qur’aan which warns of Allah’s punishment arriving suddenly in the wake of the respite granted to the transgressors. When their transgression exceeds the bounds, His punishment comes swiftly. The period of grace granted (the Istidraaj) should, therefore not be misunderstood. When Allah Ta’ala gives man respite, his ghaflat (negligence) increases in stages, but his hopes and desires are fulfilled. When his ghaflat has thoroughly set in, the Divine Chastisement suddenly overtakes him.
The great foolishness of the mureed is to behave disrespectfully. When there is a delay in the arrival of the punishment, he thinks that if he was in error, then the zaahiri and baatini bounties of Allah would have ceased. Sometimes Divine Aid ceases without one being aware thereof because Allah may block off only the additional (or excess) favours or He may distance the mureed in rank (i.e. depriving him of proximity) without him being aware or sometimes He simply leaves one to dwell in one’s hopes.
The applicability of Ahkaam (Laws) and apprehension (i.e. punishment) are in proportion to one’s proximity (Qurb) to Allah Ta’ala. The closer one is to Allah, the severer is the applicability of the laws. In many aspects the general public is excused and not apprehended for misdeeds. However, the elite (Khawaas – the Auliya) are immediately apprehended (rebuked or punished) for any slips they make. On being Divinely Apprehended, they readily understand the error for which they are being caught.
Sometimes the Thaakir, Saalik, Shaakir utters a disrespectful word regarding Haqq Ta’ala, e.g. a word of complaint slips from his mouth because of some occurrence or he complains to someone about the hardship on him or he criticises someone among the Masha-ikh or he regards a disrespectful act of his as being insignificant because he was not immediately overtaken by punishment. He, therefore, thinks that if his act was truly disrespectful, the physical and spiritual favours (ni’mat) in which he is basking would have ceased. The zaahiri (physical) favours are wealth, children, health, strength and other material comforts. The baatini (spiritual) favours are the rays of spiritual illumination which continuously cascade into the heart of the Saalik from a lam-e-Ghaib (The Unseen or Celestial Realm). The idea that this Divine Aid and favour would have terminated is the result of extreme ignorance. It is not necessary for the Saalik to be aware of the termination of baatini fuyoodh because such cessation can happen in several indiscernible ways. Sometimes this happens by way of the cessation of only further progress and his spiritual station becomes stagnant. This stagnation leads to a gradual development of a barrier between the Saalik and Allah Ta’ala and while he labours under the impression of being on his former pedestal (i.e. of Divine Proximity), a great change has in fact taken place – Nauthubillah minhu (We seek Allah’s protection from it).
Sometimes the Saalik drifts far from Allah’s Qurb (Proximity). However, inspite of him being trapped in this position, he does not realise it. Sometimes the Saalik is left to his whims and fancies. Whereas formerly Allah Ta’ala held the Saalik’s choice and freewill subservient to His Will, now his subservience is eliminated and the Saalik is placed under the domination of his nafs. Allah Ta’ala then withholds His aid.
The mureed should, therefore, live with the utmost respect and control his speech and movement. It should here be understood that this type of disrespect (as mentioned above) is committed by a mureed whose nafs has not attained complete fanaa (annihilation). After attainment of fanaa, the possibility of disrespect is entirely precluded. The question of any barrier (hijaab), therefore, developing between the mureed and Allah does not arise. (However, even after attainment of Fanaa [self-annihilation], the state of an ignorant Sufi who has no shaikh remains precarious. Without a Shaikh-e-Kaamil and lacking in Ilm-e-Deen, he can end up worshipping shaitaan – May Allah Ta’ala protect us – translator.)
CHAPTER ON WIRD, WAZIFAH AND THE ANWAAR WHICH FLOW INTO THE HEART
It is only a jaahil (ignoramus) who regards constancy of a’maal and athkaar as insignificant. Waaridaat-e-Ilaahiyyah (inspirations from Allah Ta’ala) will occur even in the abode of the Aakhirah while auraad (plural of wird) and wazaa-if (plural of wazifah) will end with this world. It is, therefore, of greater importance to maintain something which has no substitute. Your Maula Ta’ala demands wird from you while you expect waarid from Him. What relationship is there between your desire and His demand? (i.e. There is no comparison, your desire being of no significance in relation to His command.)
The Ibaadat-e-Zaahiri (outward acts of worship) such as Nawaafil (Nafl acts), Athkaar, etc. or Ibaadat-e-Baatini (inward or spiritual acts) such as Muraaqabah (meditation) and shaghl of the heart, which one practises voluntarily are called Wird. The anwaar (rays of spiritual illumination) which enters the heart of the bandah involuntarily (without his will and effort) are termed Waarid.
Sometimes the Saalik commits the error of thinking that the ibaadat and thikr which he practises with his own will are not as significant as the waaridat which he receives. The reason for this impression is that everyone practises such acts of worship by their own will and intention. On the other hand waarid is received without one’s will or intention. Furthermore, everyone is not the recipient of waarid. The nafs, therefore, attaches greater importance to waarid. But, this is erroneous.
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) dispels this error, hence he says that it is only the jaahil who regards constancy in a’maal and athkaar as being insignificant. There are two reasons for this misconception. One – The incidence of waaridaat will be even in the a khirat. In fact, the waaridaat will be more in a khirat because here on earth contaminations, human nature and the physical body constitute impediments for Divine Inspirations. But, in the a khirat these impediments will not exist. On the other hand, the auraad and wazaa-if which are rendered with the physical body are possible only here on earth. Thus, after death there is no substitute for ibaadat and auraad whereas waaridaat exist here and will exist in the a khirat as well in even greater measure. Hence, it is of greater importance to guard the ibaadat-e-zaahiri which is called wird. Two – The one who demands wird is Allah Ta’ala while you (the Saalik) is the one who desires waaridaat. There is no comparison between your desire and Allah’s demand. It behoves you to attach much greater importance to His demand. It is, therefore, essential for the Saalik to be constant in the observance of the shaghl and wird which have been imposed on him. He should not regard these to be inferior to waarid because the normal cause of waaridaat is also wird. As a result of the Saalik’s wird, he is blessed with the incidence of waaridaat.
When you observe any bandah exercising constancy in auraad, but you are unable to discern on him the appearance of Aarifeen nor the glitter of ma’rifat, then do not think lowly of this Divine Gift (of his constancy). If it was not for the Divine Rays of illumination (Tajalliyaat), he would not have had the ability to be constant.
The elite (Khaas) servants of Allah Ta’ala are of two kinds: Muqarrabeen and Abraar. The Muqarrabeen are those whose choice and nafsaani desires have been eliminated. Their Sustainment (Baqa) is with the iraadah (will) and ikhtiyaar (choice) of Allah. They worship Allah and discharge His rights by virtue of their enslavement to Him. Their motive is nothing else. They are not concerned with Jannat and Jahannum.
The Abraar are those in whom nafsaani desires and personal intention (iraadah) still exist. They worship Allah for the attainment of Jannat and for salvation from Jahannum. Their gaze is set on the acquisition of lofty stations in Jannat.
The Qur’aan Majeed mentions both types of pious servants, either implicitly or explicitly. In his statement here, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) mentions the Abraar. He says that sometimes one sees a man steadfast on his ibaadat and auraad, and at the same time observes Divine Aid with him (i.e. In fulfilling his ibaadat and devotional acts, there are no obstacles in his path, Allah Ta’ala having freed him of all worldly activities and harnessed him into ibaadat). But, despite this it is observed that the attributes normally to be found in the a rifeen are lacking in him, e.g. he indulges in nafsaani pleasures such as donning high quality garments and eating delicious foods and he also lacks in perpetual Thikr and Hudhoori (state of Divine Perception), nor does there emanate from his face the radiance of the people of Ma’rifat and Muhabbat (Divine Love), then do not regard the treasure of his constancy in his ibaadat as insignificant. Do not entertain the notion of his wird and wazifah being of no value simply on account of the qualities of the a rifeen not being discernible in him. Any such attitude is an act of extreme disrespect. It is not possible to display such steadfastness and determination without Divine Illumination (Tajalliyaat-e-Ilaahiyyah). It is this Tajalli on his heart which sustains and keeps him constant and steadfast in his ibaadat although it is conceded that he lacks the degree of Divine Illumination experienced by the a rifeen whose desires, motives and choice have all been annihilated. But to despise him or to regard his state to be inferior is the result of ignorance, and this attitude is an act of disrespect.
Divine Aid is in proportion to ability and the radiance of anwaar is in proportion to the purity of the Asraar-e-Baatini (the spiritual faculties).
The incidence of anwaar and barakaat on the heart of the bandah is according to his Spiritual ability. His spiritual ability will be in the state of perfection if:
• He is fully steadfast in his auraad, keeping his heart free from aliens (things besides Allah), thoughts and contamination.
• He is also constant and firm in maintaining physical tahaarat (purity).
In proportion to the degree of his spiritual ability, will the waaridaat and anwaar descend on him.
The maqsood (aim – purpose) of waaridaat and barkaat is Yaqeen and ma’rifat of Allah Ta’ala. The radiance of the anwaar of Yaqeen and ma’rifat is according to the degree of purity of the Lataa-if (spiritual faculties), and the purity of the baatin (the spiritual faculties) is dependent on constancy in the zaahiri auraad (acts of ibaadat). It is, therefore, necessary for the bandah to strive diligently to be constant in the observance of his acts of ibaadat.
The difference in the types of a’maal is the consequence of the difference in the states of waaridaat.
A’maal-e-Zaahirah are subservient to the waaridaat of the heart. The external actions of the bandah will be according to the inspirations (waaridaat) entering the heart. It is observed that some Saalikeen have a greater affinity with Nawaafil (optional acts of Salaat), some with Saum (fasting), some with Sadqah, some with Duaa (supplication), some with Hajj while others again have a greater preference for Khalwat (Solitude). These differences are due to differences in the waaridaat which descend on the Saalikeen from Allah Ta’ala.
In view of this reality, it is improper to criticise any one. Everyone is, in fact, constrained to act according to his waaridat. However, there is no doubt in the superiority and excellence of the Saalik in whose spiritual and physical states there is a balance because the balanced way is the method of Rasulullah ( r ). Although the most perfect balanced way is exclusive to Rasulullah ( saws ), whoever acquired some share of it, became the outstanding luminary of the age. But such persons are rare. Among millions, there will be one who has been blessed with the niyaabat (vicegerency) of the Rasool ( saws). There are no extremes in the states of such a man. His states and actions are balanced.
The excellences of a’maal are the result of the beauties of ahwaal (spiritual states). The beauties of ahwaal are the product of firmness in the stations of ma’rifat.
A’maal here refers to the external or physical deeds of virtue. Ahwaal refers to the states and attributes of the heart such as zuhd (abstinence), qana’at (contentment), tawaadhu’ (humility), ikhlaas (sincerity), etc. Maqaamaat-e-Ma’rifat (or the stations of Ma’rifat) are the reflections of Divine Attributes which become impressed in the hearts of the a rifeen.
If the ahwaal are beautiful, i.e. the heart is adorned with Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah (the lofty praiseworthy attributes) and purified of the Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah, the practical deeds will be beautiful. This means that the calamities which are obstacles in the path of acceptance, are non-existent, e.g. the Saalik is devoid of ujub (vanity). Such beautiful deeds will be adorned with hudhoor (the state of Divine Perception) and khushu’ and unplagued by wasaawis (satanic and stray thoughts which enter the mind involuntarily).
If the Saalik is steadfast in the Maqaamaat-e-Ma’rifat, he will then be perfect in his a’maal, e.g. if awe and reverence are predominant in him, the rebellion and pride of the nafs will be defeated and tawaadhu (humility) and zuhd (abstinence) will develop. If love for Allah becomes dominant, the Saalik will love to remain aloof from people.
If the tajalli (Divine Illumination) is not of a high degree, the ahwaal will suffer a proportionate deficiency, and in turn the practical deeds will become correspondingly defective. Thus riya (show) and other spiritual aliments will influence the deeds of the Saalik.
You are blessed with Divine Ma’rifat so that by virtue of it you attain the ability of entering the lofty Divine Court. The waarid is sent to you so that you are released from the claws of aliens and emancipated from enslavement to the desires of the nafs. The purpose of the waarid is to free you from the prison of your existence and deliver you into the vast realm of the mushaahadah of your Master.
The meaning of waarid here is Divine Knowledge, subtleties, mysteries and gifted knowledge which involuntarily enters into the heart of the Saalik. In the aforementioned statement, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) mentions three factors which occasion the incidence of waaridaat.
When the Saalik initially engages in thikr and shaghl, his heart is perplexed. He forcibly applies himself. This state remains for a short period of time. In this state, the heart begins to derive pleasure in thikr. This state progresses higher and the Saalik desires to be perpetually engrossed in thikr. When thikr permeates the heart, the incidence of waaridaat commences, e.g. he perceives with the eyes of the heart that all actions are the creation of Khaaliq. He then no longer attributes any act to any being besides Allah. This is a waarid which enters his heart involuntarily. However, in the beginning it will be somewhat blurred and sometimes it will become manifest.
The purpose of this waarid is to increase in the Saalik enthusiasm for obedience and thikr so that he acquires the ability of admission to the lofty Divine Court. But, even in this state the desires of the nafs remain intact and complete ikhlaas is not yet achieved in ibaadat.
This initial waarid is followed by another waarid which may be the result of progress in the first waarid or it may altogether be a waarid of a different kind. The effect of this waarid will be the emancipation of the Saalik from aliens and nafsaani desires. The Saalik will now be drawn to Allah Ta’ala in ecstasy.
However, even after this second waarid, the Saalik’s gaze is still on his nafs and he reposes a measure of reliance on himself. He also regards himself to be in good stead. Thus, he still remains imprisoned in the narrow confines of existence.
Then follows a third waarid which extricates the Saalik from his existence (wujood), i.e. the nothingness of his existence is in view. In this station the Saalik breaks free from all the chains and fetters of the nafs. He thus reaches the boundless realm of Mushaahadah-e-Haqq. In other words, with the batini eyes he vividly perceives his Maula (Master), Allah Ta’ala with greater perception than the perception of the corporeal eyes of physical objects. The realm in which the Saalik gains entry in this station has been described as boundless (vast or spacious) because as long as there remains any vestige of the nafs, the heart still dwells in a prison and when all vestiges of the nafs have been eliminated, the Saalik then emerges from his prison and steps into a vast boundless realm.
When the Saalik has entered into this lofty realm, he becomes absorbed in Mushaahadah-e-Haqq in all conditions and circumstances. There now remains no trace of anxiety and uncertainty in the Saalik. In all circumstances he is contented, be it sickness or health, adversity or prosperity.
Only those to whom these spiritual conditions occur, understand and perceive the pleasure. Whoever has not tasted, does not know. May Allah Ta’ala bestow to us this lofty bounty.
و م ا ذلك على الله بعزيز
‘And, that is not difficult on Allah.’
Waaridaat-e- I laahiyyah (Divine Inspirat-ions) mostly occur suddenly so that the bandah refrains from claiming this incidence on the basis of his spiritual capability and ability.
It has earlier been mentioned several times that the spiritual mysteries and subtleties inspired into the Saalik’s heart are not the product of his effort and choice. Sometimes the bandah waits in expectation of waarid, but it fails to transpire. In most cases the occurrence of waarid is at a time when it was least expected. The occurrence transpires suddenly and unexpectedly.
The reason underscoring this suddenness is to prevent the Saalik from becoming a claimant of this occurrence. If waaridaat could have been the effects of the Saalik’s volitional (ikhtiyaari) will, he would have suffered from the notion of his own capability and ability and put forward claims. Such self-esteem would then lead to his corruption and destruction. Caught up in ujub (vanity), he would become completely ghaafil (unmindful) of Allah Ta’ala.
Waaridaat are like gifts. Whenever Allah Ta’ala wishes, He directs His fadhl to the bandah and bestows this bounty of waaridaat to his heart.
The Saalik should inform only his Shaikh of his waaridaat and no one else. Should he divulge it to others, its effect will diminish in his heart and it will impede the relationship of truth which he has with Allah Ta’ala.
It is highly inappropriate for the Saalik to divulge the inspirations (waaridaat) of his heart to anyone besides his Shaikh. The nafs derives pleasure when this information is divulged because the Saalik’s holiness, piety and greatness become confirmed in the estimation of others. This pleasure of the nafs (ujub or vanity) provides impetus for the lowly, bestial attributes (Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah). In consequence, the effect of the waarid diminishes. The actual aim of the waarid was to destroy and suppress the rebellion of the nafs. However, when the nafs is strengthened, the effect of the waarid will diminish and the Saalik’s bond of truth with his Rabb will be adversely affected. The bandah’s relationship of truth with his Rabb envisages constant humility and subjection in the Divine Court. The state of slavery (abdiyat) and fear (for Allah) should never be absent. But when the Saalik reveals his waarid to others, he feels pleased with himself since others will think highly of him. He then becomes afflicted with the ailment of vanity. The disposition of Uboodiyat and Khushoo’ (humility and fear) disappears. Truth with Allah Ta’ala, therefore, no longer remains.
At the time of the manifestation of knowledge and realities (by way of inspiration), the waarid is ambiguous. After committing it to memory, its explanation follows. In this regard it is said (in the Qur’aan):
‘When We recite it (the Qur’aanic revelation), then pay attention to its recitation. Then, it is Our responsibility to have it explained.’
When the hearts of the a rifeen are freed from aliens and they emerge from the confines of their personal will, perpetually focusing their gaze on Allah Ta’ala, then haqaa-iq (realities) and spiritual knowledge are bestowed to them in the form of waaridaat cascading into the heart. But, at the time of the manifestation of such knowledge, the Divine Waarid overwhelms the heart and the senses. Thus, the inspirational knowledge acquired is concise (without detailed clarity). The clarity of the meanings of the Waarid is not attained at the precise time of the incidence of the inspiration because the comprehension of knowledge is the function of the senses. However, at the time of the transpiration of the spiritual knowledge all the senses become inoperative. Nevertheless, the concise meaning is impressed in his spiritual heart. Later, after the cessation of the progress of the waarid, the Saalik attains the meanings by virtue of his intelligence, rational and narrational knowledge. He is then able to expound this inspirational knowledge. This is comparable to Wahi (which is exclusive to Ambiyaa). During the incidence of Wahi, Rasulullah ( r ) would recite simultaneously with Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) in an attempt to memorise the revelation. Thereupon the following aayat was revealed:
“When We recite it, follow its recitation. Then, its explanation is Our responsibility.”
The inspirational knowledge of the a rifeen resembles the incidence of Wahi in that at the time of its occurrence its meaning becomes impressed in a concise form in the heart of the Saalik. Its detailed elaboration follows later.
Do not become pleased with a waarid, the effect of which you are unaware. The desired benefit of clouds is not rain, but the growth of fruit.
The actual aim (maqsood-e-asli) of the waaridaat descending on the Saalik is the suppression of the nafs’s rebellion, the elimination of the evil attributes and progress in obedience and attention on Allah Ta’ala. When there occurs such a waarid which produces no such effect, leaving the nafs in its former state, the Saalik should not be happy because the actual aim has not been achieved. There is no benefit in a waarid which leaves the nafs stagnant in its present state without producing any elevation in the Saalik’s humility, fear and uboodiyat.
Many Saalikeen hanker after waaridaat and spiritual states (ahwaal) while being deficient in external deeds of virtue. This is a grave deception.
When the anwaar of waaridaat permeate you and spiritual mysteries are entrusted to you, do not desire their perpetuation because you (O Saalik!) being absorbed in the mushaahadah of Allah should be aloof and independent of all things. Nothing, however, can make you independent of Him.
Frequently, the Saalik deriving pleasure from a waarid on account of it being a new experience, turns his concentration towards it (the waarid). He sometimes gains the erroneous impression that this state (of receiving waaridaat) has become his permanent condition and he derives great pleasure therein. But, when the effect of this state dissipates, he is overtaken by grief. He, therefore, hankers after the acquisition of this condition little realising that he has already achieved the purpose of the waarid and that he still possesses the achievement inspite of the waarid’s effect having disappeared. However, he does not now perceive the existence of the waarid’s benefit because his disposition has already become accustomed to it whereas initially he had derived pleasure since the experience of the waarid was yet new to him. The permeation of his zaahir and baatin with the anwaar of the waarid imposes the condition of uboodiyat on the entire being of the Saalik. He, therefore, does not perceive it since it is no longer a new experience.
It is for this reason that the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) instructs the Saalik: “When the anwaar of the waarid permeate you and your zaahir and baatin become elevated on account of the kayfiyat (state) of uboodiyat produced by the waarid resulting in the progress of Divine Attributes in the heart (i.e. the asraar or mysteries of the waaridaat), then do not desire the perpetuation of the waaridaat. Do not expect the initial state of dominance (ghalbah) to endure endlessly, nor become despondent on account of the dissipation of this initial pleasure.
Engross yourself in the solid state of Hudhoori which you have developed with Allah Ta’ala. The desire for ghalbah-e-haal (a temporary state of a spiritual experience in which the Saalik derives much ecstatic pleasure) and its pleasure is in reality a desire for ghairullah (things besides Allah). You should become absorbed in Divine Perception which will induce in you independence from all things besides Allah Ta’ala. Never permit other things to divert you from Allah Ta’ala, inducing in you an attitude of independence from Him.
There is no benefit for you in the ghalbah (domination) of the waarid. You have already achieved its purpose. Concern yourself with your true occupation, viz., your relationship with Allah Ta’ala.
The incidence of waaridaat will annihilate the foundation of all habits because when a king passes through a place all else becomes overshadowed. Since waarid emanates from the Divine Court of splendour and greatness, it destroys all natural habits and attributes which come in its path. It imposes truth over falsehood, utterly eliminating it.
At this juncture the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) explains the signs of waaridaat to distinguish these (waaridaat) from imagination and personal thought. When waaridaat settle in the heart, they completely annihilate and eradicate the evil and bestial attributes of the nafs and create in the Saalik the lofty angelic qualities of virtue and high states.
Waaridaat are among the armies of Allah Ta’ala. When the royal army descends on a place, it destroys the enemy and overruns the place. Similarly, when waaridaat descend on the nafs, they overwhelm it and establish their domination. The true waarid coming from Allah Ta’ala the Qahhaar (The Wrathful One) is accompanied by the attributes of qahr (wrath) and ghalbah (domination).
Thus human qualities and evil attributes in the path of the waarid are utterly destroyed and uprooted. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’aan:
“We fling the Haqq against the baatil, then suddenly it (falsehood) is destroyed.”
CHAPTER ON THE DIFFERENT STATES OF THE SAALIKEEN REGARDING THE BEGINNING AND END (OF THE SPIRITUAL SOJOURN)
Allah Ta’ala has appointed a group among His Servants for His obedience. He chose another group for His love. Allah Ta’ala aids both groups with His bounties, and the forgiveness of Allah cannot be prevented.
The topic has already been discussed earlier. The servants of Allah consists of two classes, viz. Ubbaad or Zuhhaad (both these refer to one class). They are also called Abraar. The second class is called Muqarrabeen. These two groups are mentioned here.
One group has been appointed by Allah Ta’ala for His worship. They engage in the outward (zaahiri) acts of ibaadat such as Nafl, Wazeefah, Sadqah, Hajj and service to mankind. They are occupied night and day in these acts of worship. Their purpose for executing acts of Ibaadat is admission to Jannat and salvation from Jahannum.
The second group has been selected by Allah Ta’ala for His love and proximity. While their external acts of ibaadat are less then the ibaadat of the first group, their actual deeds are with their hearts. At all times they are concerned with Allah Ta’ala. His remembrance permeates their hearts. There is nothing else besides Allah Ta’ala in their hearts. They are not concerned with Jannat and Jahannum.
Regarding these two group, Allah Ta’ala says:
“Most certainly, We shall aid this group and that group with the bounties of your Rabb. And, the bounties of your Rabb cannot be prevented.”
Before this aayat, Allah Ta’ala mentions two groups. The group whose endeavour is for the a khirah, will attain its goal. The other group strives only for worldly achievement. They will acquire only as much as Allah Ta’ala decrees. Their ultimate destination will be Jahannum. After mentioning these two groups, Allah Ta’ala states that He aids both groups. The group which strives for the a khirah is aided with A’maal-e-Saalihah and obstacles are cleared from their path. The aid for the worldly people consists of the ni’mat (comforts, luxuries, etc.) of the world. Engrossing themselves in worldly pleasures, they forget their Creator and lapse into transgression.
It is then mentioned that the bounties of Allah are not restricted. Whoever desires, should take of His bounties.
Similar are the other two groups (Abraar and Muqarrabeen). He aids the a bideen / Zaahideen according to their quest. They will occupy themselves in ibaadat night and day until they finally acquire their goal. Divine Aid for the Muqarrabeen corresponds to their elevated ranks. Since their goal is only the Thaat of Allah, every vestige of ghairullah has been expunged from their hearts. Therefore, both these groups are the special servants of Allah Ta’ala.
It is not necessary that a person whose exclusive rank is substantiated by way of karaamaat (miracles), is completely free of the calamities of the nafs. Sometimes karaamaat is awarded to even a person whose steadfastness in obedience of the Shariah has not yet reached the stage of perfection.
The masses are awed by the display of miracles. They have much faith in those who demonstrate karaamaat. In fact, they consider karaamaat to be the criterion of wilaayat (sainthood). The true and actual miracle is firmness on the Shariah and purification from evil qualities.
Here the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) dispels this error. It does not follow from the demonstration of miraculous acts that the person has attained complete freedom from the evil attributes of the nafs because sometimes even the imperfect man is awarded the ability to display karaamaat. In fact, similar acts, known as Istidraaj, are displayed by even non-Muslims. Thus, the display of miraculous acts is not the criterion for wilaayat. The criterion is strict adherence to the Shariah and purification of the nafs.
There are two kinds of concealment (i.e. concealing faults). One: Concealing one from the incidence of sins. Two: Concealment after commission of sin. The ordinary people are desirous for concealment of their sins so that their rank does not fall in the estimate of others. The khawaas (elite or the Auliya) seek concealment so that they do not fall in the estimate of their True King, Allah Ta’ala.
The servants of Allah Ta’ala seeking concealment for sins are of two types. The one kind seeks Divine Concealment from the incidence of sin. Inspite of the natural propensity of the nafs to sin and transgress, Allah Ta’ala saves them from the commission of sin. The second type seeks concealment after they have committed the sins. They are motivated to supplicate for forgiveness and concealment (of their misdeeds) to avoid being publicly disgraced. This motive in underlined by their deficiency in Imaan and their ignorance of the reality (Haqeeqat) of Imaan. Also, the perception of people is dominant in them and they have the hope of gaining some benefit from people. They also fear people, hence they supplicate to Allah Ta’ala to conceal their misdeeds.
While the concern of ordinary people is the estimate of others, the elite (khawaas) are concerned with Allah Ta’ala. They desire their nafs to be concealed and saved from sin solely for the sake of Allah Ta’ala. They fear being distanced from His mercy. Their gaze is not on others. They do not concern themselves with the criticism and praise of people. They neither have hope in people nor do they fear them. They have no reliance on people nor do they derive any peace or comfort from them. Their aim is the Pleasure of their Maula (Master), hence they abstain from sin.
Sometimes one of the stations (Maqaamaat) of Yaqeen is explained by a person who has become aware thereof and sometimes by a person who has already reached that station. The difference (between the two) is discerned by only the Ahl-e-Baseerat (the Auliya-e-Kaamileen). Others will be in doubt and uncertainty in this matter.
Maqaamaat-e-Yaqeen (the Stations of Yaqeen) refers to the branches of Imaan, i.e. zuhd (abstinence), wara’ (piety), tawakkul (trust in Allah), qana’at (contentment), etc. When any of these attributes settles in the Saalik, its influence waxes and wanes, rising and falling. For example, the influence of zuhd predominates the heart while at other times this influence wanes. It comes and goes. The state is not constant. This condition of inconsistency of the attributes is termed Haal. When the attribute becomes entrenched, it becomes inseparable from the heart. When it has become a permanent and an integral attribute of the heart, the condition is called Maqaam, e.g. when zuhd becomes a permanent state, it will be called Maqaam-e-Zuhd.
Sometimes a man who has not reached this Station (Maqaam) discusses and explains this concept. He is still in the state known as Haal which is in proximity to Maqaam. For example, he gives a discourse on Tawakkul although he, himself has not achieved excellence in it.
Sometimes the discourse is given by a man who has achieved the Maqaam of the attribute. There is a great difference in the exposition and style of both. But, everyone cannot distinguish the difference. Allah Ta’ala has imbued the people of Baseerat (spiritual insight) with true discernment. By virtue of their special insight they are able to distinguish between the degrees of Sidq (truth of an exceptionally lofty degree) of the speakers.
The one who is deficient, (i.e. the man who has not attained Maqaam) is pleased with the exposition he gives. He feels highly pleased with his research. There is some force and emphasis in his discourse because he has not reached that Station, but speaks as one observing from a distance. These realities, therefore, appear to him wonderful and marvellous. He considers only the knowledge of the attributes to be great. On the other hand, the discourse of the one who has attained the Station, will be a normal talk or discussion devoid of the frills and trappings of rehearsed speeches. This could be better understood by an analogy. When a person sees a city for the first time, the sight and attractions appear to be wonderful whereas these things are normal for the local residents.
The efficacy of the discourses of these two persons will differ. The speech of the one deficient in his spiritual rank will initially attract people, making an impression on them. However, the effect of his speech will soon dissipate. On the other hand, the speech as well as the suhbat (company) of the Kaamil (fully qualified) may initially not be impressive. People may not understand his talks fully in the beginning. Despite this, the effect of his talk will be enduring.
Sometimes a man who has no qualification in either Haal or Maqaam also gives discourses on the topic of Maqaamaat. He studies books and delivers speeches to ensure a following. He endeavours to gain the confidence of people. He simply advertises piety. The sign of such a person is his inability to explain matters of Tasawwuf when questioned. He is able to speak only on the subject which he has swotted off from kitaabs. On the contrary, the Kaamil – the one who has reached the Maqaamaat – will tender convincing answers.
The Majzubs are such persons whose anwaar precede their athkaar. On the contrary, the Saaliks are those whose athkaar precede their anwaar. There is another group whose athkaar and anwaar are simultaneous. There is also a group without athkaar and anwaar – Nauthubillah minthaalik! The one engaged in thikr to illuminate his heart and become a thaakir. He is the Saalik. The other one’s heart became illumined, hence he became a thaakir. He is the Majzub. The third one whose anwaar and athkaar are equal, seeks guidance from his thikr and follows the noor of his heart.
The definitions of Saalik and Majzub have already been presented earlier. Here, further explanation of these two groups as well as of another two groups is given.
The Wusool (attainment of Divine Proximity) of the Majzub is by the inspiration of noor into his heart from the very beginning. By virtue of this inspired noor he gains Divine Proximity and acquires the station of Mushaahadah. Thereafter commences his sojourn towards the Divine Attributes and creation of Allah Ta’ala. Majzubs are such persons whose hearts are illumined with anwaar even before they engage in thikr. They do not first engage in thikr and shaghl. From the very inception Allah Ta’ala illumines their hearts and guides them. After being illumined, they engage in thikr. Thikr is not an onerous task for them. It is their state just as breathing is.
The Saalikeen, on the other hand, first engage in thikr and shaghl. They have to adopt mujaahadah and riyaadhat. They undergo difficulties in these exercises. After these efforts of toil and love, their hearts become illumined. The Noor of Yaqeen then enters their hearts and they attain Wusool Ilallah (Divine Proximity). Thus, the Saalikeen are those persons whose athkaar precede their anwaar.
There are also such persons whose anwaar and athkaar are simultaneous. The anwaar illumine their hearts the very moment they engage in thikr. These anwaar draw them to Allah Ta’ala. The Sulook (the spiritual journey requiring effort) and the Jazb (the magnetic attraction towards Allah Ta’ala) of these persons progress simultaneously.
There is another group of people who are bereft of athaar and anwaar. This group does not obey Allah Ta’ala nor do their hearts incline towards obedience and worship. We seek Allah’s protection!
The purpose of the Saalik’s thikr is to achieve illumination of the heart, hence thikr is first. After thikr, follows the rays of spiritual illumination (anwaar). However, in the case of the Majzub, his heart becomes illumined from the very beginning. As a result of this Noor he is drawn to Allah Ta’ala and he becomes a thaakir without any effort whereas the Saalik initially encounters difficulty in establishing thikr. Those in whom Sulook and Jazb exist simultaneously, in them prevail thikr and noor at the same time. By means of their thikr they attain the Road to Allah Ta’ala because their hearts are imbued with Noor-e-Baseerat (the Light of spiritual wisdom). The Road is, therefore, clear ahead of them. They follow the Noor of their heart and travel along the Path indicated by the Noor of their hearts.
The state of this third group is vastly different from the former two groups, viz. the Saalikeen and the Majzubeen. Initially, the Saalik is bereft of Noor. He engages in only Thikr-e-Lisaani (verbal thikr) or Thikr-e-Qalbi (thikr of the heart). Although he too walks along the Road, he is like a traveller in the darkness of the night without a lamp. He obtains a lamp after traversing the Path, attaining Divine Absorption (Jazb) ultimately Noor-e-Baseerat. Thereafter he follows the direction indicated by the Noor of his heart.
The Majzub whose Jazb is prior, is like a traveller who sees a light in the distance although he is unable to see the road. However, he fixes the light as his beacon and walks ahead ultimately reaching his destination. The one whose Jazb and Sulook are simultaneous, is like a traveller who has a lamp and in the light of the lamp he discerns the road ahead. He moves on and on, guided by the illumination of the lamp.
With His manifestation and the existence of His creation, He guides towards the existence of His Names. With the existence of His Names He guides towards His Attributes of Excellence and with His Attributes He guides towards His Perfect Being (Thaat-e-Kaamilah) because the presence of the Attributes independently is not possible. Thus, the Thaat (Divine Being) is first revealed to the Majzubeen. Thereafter they are diverted to the mushaahadah of the Sifaat (Attributes). Then they are turned towards the relationship of the Divine Names, and finally, they are brought back to His manifestations and creation. The affair of the Saalikeen is the opposite. Thus, the end of the Saalikeen’s sojourn is the beginning of the Road of the Majzubeen whereas the beginning of the Road of the Saalikeen is the end of the Road of the Majzubeen. However, on more occasions than one do the Saalik and the Majzub cross paths – the Saalik on his way up (Urooj) and the Majzub on his way down (Nuzool).
The sun, earth, moon, stars and the entire magnificent creation indicate that the Creator of these objects is mighty, knowledgeable, majestic, wise and a Being Who wills. By contemplating on all these wonders, we are guided to the Divine Names. We realise that the Being Who created these wonders is Qaadir (Powerful), Aleem (One of Knowledge), Hakeem (Wise), Mureed (One Who wills), etc. The recognition of these Names leads us to the conclusion that He is a Being with Sifaat (Attributes) of Excellence (Kamaaliyyah). When He is Qaadir, Aleem and Hakeem, then logically He possesses the attributes of qudrat (power), ilm (knowledge) and hikmat (wisdom). The recognition of these attributes leads us to the conclusion that He is the Being par excellence. The Sifaat without Thaat are not possible. Hence, the necessary conclusion is the existence of the Thaat. This is the state of the Saalikeen who progress from creation to Creator.
The gaze of the Saalikeen first focuses on created objects. This initiates in their hearts the process of logical deduction. Allah Ta’ala fixes their gaze on the Names as long as He desires. They then become absorbed in the journey of the Names, again resorting to the process of logical deduction by which they are guided to the Divine Attributes. Applying the process of logic to the attributes they ultimately reach the Divine Thaat.
On the other hand, the people of Jazb (Majzubeen) attain the revelation of the Holy Thaat from the very inception. As a result of their inherent propensity, they perceive the Divine Sifaat. Then, with their spiritual eyes they recognise the relationship between the Sifaat and the Thaat. They then turn towards the relationship of the Divine Names with creation. This state is followed by their perception of the manifestation of the Names, i.e. the effects of creation are related to the Divine Names.
As mentioned earlier, the Saalik’s state of progress is in the opposite direction. Thus, the end (muntahaa) viz. the Divine Thaat, of the Saalik’s sojourn is the beginning (ibtidaa) of the Majzub, and the beginning of the Saalik’s sojourn, viz. the perception of creation, is the end of the Majzub’s sojourn. However, there is a great difference between the two. It does not mean that the beginning of the Majzubeen is the exact end of the Saalikeen without any difference. In attaining their Goal, viz. Thaat-e-Muqaddasah (The Holy Being), the Saalikeen have to traverse all states and pass through all the valleys of the nafs. Only after considerable toil and struggle do they attain their Goal. Thus, although they acquire Jazb (absorption) on attaining the Goal, it is tempered with a degree of alertness. It is accompanied by perfect obedience and firmness.
On the contrary, although the beginning of the Majzubeen is Thaat-e-Kaamilah (The Perfect Being, viz. Allah Ta’ala), they are completely unaware of the Road. They have no awareness of the tricks and traps of the nafs. It is for this reason that they lack firmness on the Shariah. In fact, sometimes they perpetrate such acts which are repugnant in terms of the Shariah. They even neglect the Fardh and Waajib acts sometimes. But, they are not liable for punishment because the observance of the laws depends on intelligence. Since the anwaar have overwhelmed their Aql, their senses are over-powered. They, therefore, lack the ability of discernment.
Similarly, the beginning (ibtidaa) of the Saalikeen is not the end (muntahaa) of the Majzubeen with exactitude. There is substantial difference. Although the gaze of the Saalikeen in the beginning is on the object of creation, they do not perceive the Names and the Thaat, and although the end of the Majzubeen is the created objects, they do not recognise these as the manifestation of the Names.
The Saalikeen progress by means of thikr, shaghl, ibaadat and righteous deeds. Their way is fanaa (annihilation). Gradually the attributes of the nafs and the nafs as well, are annihilated. Along with this fanaa, they attain baqa (endurance) with the Divine Thaat and Sifaat.
The attributes of the nafs as well as the nafs itself of the Majzubeen are annihilated in the very beginning. They are, therefore, brought down. Their way is baqa. The more they travel (in the spiritual realm), the more they come towards alertness. Hence, sometimes the Saalik in his onward progress from creation to Creator meets the Majzub on his downward journey from Creator to creation. Sometime they meet in the tajalli (illumination) of the Divine Names, i.e. both are illumined by the radiance of the Divine Names, but the Saalik advances by journeying in the Divine Attributes while the Majzub descends into the mushaahadah of created objects.
Sometimes the two meet in the station of the tajalli of the Divine Attributes and the same process of ascent and descent transpires.
The Saalik is superior to the Majzub. People derive benefit from the Saalik. On the contrary, the Majzub cannot benefit people as long as he remains in his state of Jazb (Divine Absorption). He, therefore, cannot be a Shaikh to guide others. However, on the termination of his Nuzool (Descent), he becomes capable of being a Shaikh on condition that he is not dominated by Jazb. In the same way, as long as the Saalik does not attain the stage of Mushaahadah and Tajalli, he does not posses the ability of Mashiekhat (the office of a Shaikh).
There is a great difference between those who adduce the Divine Existence as proof for the existence of things, and those who produce the existence of things as proof for the existence of the Divine Being. He who deducts the existence of things from the existence of Haq Ta’ala, has confirmed Absolute existence (Wujood-e-Waajib), (viz. the existence of Allah Ta’ala) for the Being Who deserves it. He then substantiated the existence of temporal things on the basis of the Absolute existence (viz. the Original and True existence of Allah Ta’ala). He who deducts the existence of Allah Ta’ala on the basis of the existence of temporal things, does so on account of him being deprived of Divine Proximity. When He (Allah Ta’ala) is never absent, what need is there to deduce His existence?
This discusses a condition of the Majzubeen and Saalikeen. Since the Divine Thaat is initially manifested to the Majzubeen, the rest of creation, Divine Names and Attributes are hidden from their gaze of insight (baseerat). After their nuzool (descent) into the lower strata of the Attributes, Names and finally creation, they enter into the mushaahadah of created objects. Now when they emerge from their state of Jazb, they confirm the existence of the created objects on the basis of the existence of Allah Ta’ala. In view of their gaze being on Allah Ta’ala from the very beginning, they prove the existence of creation from the fact of His existence.
The process of deduction of the Saalikeen is the exact opposite. Initially, the preoccupation of the Saalikeen is with creation. From their contemplative study of created objects they ultimately reach the conclusion of Divine Existence.
There is a great difference between these two methods of contemplative deduction. Whoever substantiates the existence of creation on the basis of Divine Existence, confirms existence for the Being Who is deserving of it because true existence belongs only to Him. All other things are in reality non-existing. Their existence is only figurative.
On the other hand, whoever substantiates the existence of Allah Ta’ala on the basis of the existence of temporal things, does so because he is far from the Divine Court and is deprived. He is preoccupied with created objects and has not yet attained Divine Proximity. In reality, creation is non-existent, its existence being only figurative. He thus, makes deductions from non-existent things to substantiate the Divine Existence. He substantiates the conspicuous on the basis of the inconspicuous. He resorts to this process of logic because he is far from the True Existence and the truly conspicuous.
If such a person is not described as being far and deprived, it will lead to the conclusion that Allah Ta’ala is absent when in reality He is never absent (ghaa-ib), hence there is no need for such deduction. He is not far away needing external impressions to deliver us to Him. In fact, He is closer to us than our own lives. He is more conspicuous than the external facades of all things. Thus, this kind of reasoning (istidlaal) is in itself proof of the distance and deprivation of this person.
It should be noted that istidlaal (reasoning, logical deduction) in this context does not refer to rational (aqli) reasoning, or the system of logic employed in academic studies. It refers to inspirational (wijdaani) and dispositional (thauqi) logic (which is the product of contemplation and meditation on creation to arrive at transcendental truths).
The gracious aayat, ‘The people of means should spend from their means.’, refers to the state of those who have attained Divine Proximity, and the gracious aayat, ‘Those whose means are little, should spend from whatever Allah Ta’ala has given them’, refers to those who are in the process of journeying towards Him (i.e. they have not yet attained proximity).
“The people of means should spend from their means and those whose means are little should spend from whatever Allah has given them.”
This Qur’aanic aayat pertains to divorced women who breast-feed their babies after divorce and have to be paid a wage because maintenance of the infant is the father’s responsibility. If the father is a man of means, he should pay generously and if he lacks substantial means, he should give whatever he can afford.
The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) generalises this Qur’aanic verse in substantiation of his view. Although the circumstances which had occasioned the revelation of this verse were specific, the text is general, hence the validity of generalising. Or it could be said the verse is used as the basis for substantiating a view by way of analogical reasoning (Qiyaas). In the Shaikh’s analogy, the first part of this aayat refers to the state of those Saalikeen who have already acquired the treasure of Wusool (attainment of Divine Proximity) and Mushaahadah (Divine Perception). Their hearts have been emancipated from the vision of all things besides Allah Ta’ala. They have arrived in the spacious field of Tauhid and their gaze is limitless. Divine Knowledge and mysteries have unravelled for them.
They have thus acquired a substantial treasure which they should now start sharing by imparting it to others. They should spend as much as they desire. This treasure which they possess will not decrease because the door of limitless knowledge has opened up for them.
The second part of this gracious aayat applies to those who are yet engaged in the journey of Sulook and have not yet reached the station (maqaam) of Mushaahadah. Their hearts have not yet been freed from beings other than Allah Ta’ala, hence they are still confined in the narrow limits of suspicion and baseless ideas. They should share with others whatever knowledge they have acquired from Allah Ta’ala, according to their ability and aid them.
However, they are not free to spend as they please because their capital is very little. They are yet in a very restrictive circle.
Those who journey towards Allah Ta’ala, are guided along by the anwaar of their mujaahadah (striving) and concentration (tawajjuh), and for those who have reached Allah are the anwaar of the Divine Face and Divine Presence. Thus, for the former, the effort is for the anwaar, and for the latter are anwaar without effort because these belong exclusively to Allah Ta’ala. Therefore, say only: “Allah!”, and leave the people to play in their falsehood.”
This statement illustrates the difference in the states of the Saalikeen and Waasileen. (Waasileen are those who have already attained Allah’s Proximity). Those servants of Allah engaging in Sulook and who have not yet reached the station of Mushaahadah and Tajalli, are guided along to Allah Ta’ala by the illumination (anwaar) of their mujaahadah (struggle against the nafs), ibaadat and athkaar. Their concentration is on the anwaar because the attainment of their goal is by virtue of these anwaar.
Those who have already reached the lofty Divine Court, for them there are the anwaar of Allah’s Vision and Presence. Thus, their anwaar are Divine Emanation which is on account of the relationship of nearness and love of Allah they enjoy.
Whereas the first group’s (Saalikeen) efforts are for the achievement of anwaar, illumination cascades on the second group (Waasileen) without their effort. Anwaar are not their goal. Allah Ta’ala has rendered them independent (or uncaring) of anwaar. Their state is reflected in the Qur’aanic verse:
“Say: ‘Allah!’, and leave them to play in their falsehood.”
For them, there is only Allah Ta’ala.
Both the Saalikeen and the Waasileen have been prevented from considering their deeds and from the perception of their states. The Saalikeen have been prevented because they do not see themselves honest with Allah Ta’ala regarding their deeds and states. The Waasileen have been prevented because being lost in Divine Absorption they are detached from their deeds (a’maal) and states (ahwaal).
The difference between the Saalikeen and Waasileen is discussed here from another angle. Allah Ta’ala has diverted the gaze of both groups from their a’maal-e-zaahirah (outward acts of ibaadat) and from their ahwaal-e-baatinah (spiritual states). The reason for this diversion differs for the two groups. Whenever the Saalik’s attention is drawn to any of his acts or states, he does not see truth therein. He discerns some sort of spiritual calamity in his actions, e.g. riya (show), ujub (vanity). This results in a disturbance in his concentration on Allah. After repeated scrutiny of his actions, the Saalik finally refrains from looking at his own deeds and states. He then concludes that his deeds are futile, hence being concerned with them will only increase his problem and agitation. In this way has Allah Ta’ala prevented them from the perception of their own deeds and states.
On the other hand, the Waasileen are completely absorbed in Divine Perception (the mushaahadah of Allah Ta’ala, i.e. seeing Him with the eyes of the heart). This absorption makes them oblivious of their own deeds and stages. They attribute their deeds and states to Allah Ta’ala. They do not regard their deeds as their own volitional commission. In fact, they have abandoned their own will and intention.
Some people live a very long life although its benefits or Divine Aid are less. On the other hand, the life of some people is short, but their benefits or Divine Aid are considerable.
Some people live for a considerable time. The apparent demand of this long life is greater benefit for others. Also, such a person should have a greater accumulation of capital for the Hereafter. But, the opposite is observed. They derive little benefit from their longevity of life and they receive little Divine Aid. Their entire life is squandered in ghaflat (unmindfulness) and in the preoccupation with the fulfilment of nafsaani desires. They are either completely deprived of the great capital (necessary for salvation in the a khirah) or they acquire very little of it.
On the contrary, some people live a very short life, but their benefit and Divine Aid are considerable. They spend their short life in ibaadat, thikrullah and a’maal-e-saalihah. In this is also the significance of the Ummah of Muhammad ( r ) and its rank above the other Ummats, in that the life-span of the members of this Ummah is short while their virtues are more whereas the opposite is true of the other Ummats.
ذلك فضل الله يؤتيهuن يشآء
“That is the grace of Allah which He gives to whomever He wishes.”
The greater part of the life of some people pass by in negligence and towards the end of their life the fadhl of Allah Ta’ala turns towards them. Within a short while the loss of the past life is compensated. In fact, the gain is so great that others are unable to acquire it, inspite of spending a lifetime in abundance of worship. This is so because the pivot of excellence is ikhlaas, not abundance of a’maal. Precisely for this reason is one raka’t of the a rif superior to a hundred thousand raka’ts of others.
When blessings are bestowed to a person, he acquires tremendous grace and spiritual favours from Allah Ta’ala. Words are incapable of expressing the wonder and greatness of such blessings. In fact these barakaat are unimaginable.
The meaning of barkat (blessing) in one’s life is a Divine Bestowal of such alertness and diligence that the Saalik begins to value every moment of life. He treasures every breath, never permitting it to go to waste. He expends his full effort in physical and spiritual acts of ibaadat. Such a person acquires in a short time such wonderful bounties from Allah Ta’ala which are beyond description and on account of their purity and subtlety, they cannot even be detected. For example: Lailatul Qadr, although a single night, ibaadat therein is better than a thousand months.
The fadhl (kindness, grace) of Allah Ta’ala is not based on anyone’s logic nor is it confined to any person or specific time.
This is a line which includes all the states from the beginning to the end of Sulook (some names of Auliya have been recorded here). After hamd (praises) and Salaat (salutation), know that the inception of the Saalik is the mirror of his goal (journey’s end) and the abode of tajalli (illumination). The one who is guided by Allah Ta’ala reaches this destination.
The initial spiritual state of the Saalik is for him like a mirror and a source of illumination of his final state. This means that the state of spiritual elevation which the Saalik will reach at the end of his sojourn will correspond to his initial spiritual condition. The final state could be gauged from the initial condition. If in the beginning the Saalik expends all his endeavours in ibaadat, thikr and riyaadhat, it indicates that a wonderful portal of Allah’s faidh (spiritual blessing) will be opened up for him. Furthermore, this Saalik will quickly reach his goal.
If his initial state is weak, i.e. his ibaadat, etc. is offered defectively, it indicates that his final condition too will be weak and defective.
When the initial state of the Saalik starts off with consciousness of Allah – the Saalik seeking aid from Allah Ta’ala in all his affairs, both worldly and Deeni – his end will be the meeting point with Allah Ta’ala. He will be completely detached from all creation and the means and agencies (asbaab). On the contrary, if in the beginning there is deficiency in his attribute of total dependence on Allah, his reliance being on material agencies and on his own intelligence, its effect will be on the end condition of the Saalik. His tawakkul on Allah will be defective even in the end.
Involvement in only such righteous deeds which you love and towards which you had hastened is worthwhile, and those false desires which you have abandoned for the sake of your true Maula (Master) should be shunned.
When the Saalik abandons worldly occupations and engrosses himself in the remembrance of Allah, then sometimes the nafs motivated by ignorance and worldly love yearns for the occupations which were abandoned. Thus it is said that it is worthwhile to involve oneself in only such deeds of virtue which were loved and quickly adopted for Allah’s sake. However, the nafsaani desires which were abandoned earlier for the sake of Allah Ta’ala, should never again be adopted. It is imperative to steer away from them.
Undoubtedly, whoever has firm faith (Yaqeen) that Allah Ta’ala demands uboodiyat (servitude, worship), he will turn his attention towards Allah Ta’ala with genuine effort and desire. Whoever has realised that all affairs are in the control of Allah Ta’ala, will repose his trust on Him and assign all his concerns and worries to Him.
When man fully understands and believes that Allah Ta’ala expects him to worship Him and to discharge the rights of ibaadat, he will expend all his endeavours in a genuine quest for reaching Allah Ta’ala. He will abandon his nafsaani desires. The deficiency in man’s quest for Allah Ta’ala corresponds to the degree of the deficiency in his yaqeen. The greater the deficiency in yaqeen, the more defective will be the quest of the Saalik. The deficiency is the result of lack of truth in the quest. When the motivation is only Allah’s Pleasure, it indicates that there is truth in the Saalik’s quest. The aim of ibaadat should be only Divine Pleasure.
When man is convinced that everything which happens is in the control and power of Allah Ta’ala, his trust will be fully in Allah. In view if this attitude he will relieve himself of all worries by assigning these to Allah’s Will. The result of this attitude is the abandonment of all worries. Worries, in fact, are the consequence of placing reliance on one’s intelligence and efforts.
The Saalik should be true in his quest and rely on Allah Ta’ala for the attainment of his goal. He should not have trust on his efforts and schemes, neither should he bring on himself worries. Everything should be done calmly. When a person’s reliance is on his own plans and intelligence, Allah Ta’ala assigns him to the machinations of his nafs. Thus, tafweez (to assign to Allah Ta’ala) and tawakkul are indispensable.
Most certainly, the pillars of life will perish and man’s delight will be snatched away. Therefore, the intelligent man is he who gives priority to the everlasting abode over the perishable abode. He is more pleased with the everlasting abode.
Fearing the loss of worldly pleasures, many people do not involve themselves with Sulook. Weak Saaliks are sometimes accosted by this fear. Allaying their fears, the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) says that at some time or the other, the world has to be either given up or the world itself will abandon man. At that time all the delightful things of man will be snatched away. The man of intelligence will, therefore, choose the everlasting abode of the Hereafter. He will be more pleased with the Hereafter. This does not necessarily mean that he does not derive any pleasure whatever from worldly things. Such a condition is beyond human nature. It only means that in relation to this world, his pleasure and yearning for the a khirah are greater.
The noor of disillusionment with this transitory abode kindled in his baatin (spiritual heart) and its glitter illumined his zaahir (physical being). He thus closed his eyes and turned away from this earthly abode. He neither made this world his homeland nor a residence. He lived on earth advancing towards Allah Ta’ala. For his advance he sought Allah’s aid and he pressed on towards Him.
Initially, when the intelligent Saalik musters up courage to abandon the world, its delights and pleasures, he experiences some strain and difficulty. However, after a few days a noor kindles in his heart on account of his disillusionment with this world. The glitter of this noor becomes manifest on his face and body. This is the sign of the acceptance of his endeavours. Therefore, this intelligent Saalik closes his eyes on this ephemeral existence. Thus, he does not regard this world as his abode or home. His heart does not derive peace on earth. Instead, he concentrates on his advance towards Allah’s Proximity. In this endeavour he seeks Allah’s aid. With Divine Aid he continues his advance towards Divine Proximity. He does not rely on his own efforts for achieving the goal.
No one can achieve salvation on the strength of his efforts and deeds. Every gain is because of Allah’s fadhl. The Saalik whose gaze is not on his mujaahadah, riyaadhat, thikr and shaghl, but is focused on Allah’s mercy and kindness, will reach his destination. This is the initial state of the Saalik.
The mount of his resolution (azm) does not rest or halt at any place. It is perpetually on the move until it reaches the Divine Court. That is the place of many spiritual revelations.
A variety of spiritual states draws the Saalik. Among those states are lath-Thaat (pleasure), farah (happiness), suroor (delight), anwaar (spiritual rays of illumination), karaamaat (miracles), mukaashafaat (revelations), haqaa-iq (realities of things), uloom-e-wahbiyyah (Divinely-bestowed knowledge) and asraar (Divine Mysteries).
If the Saalik is attracted to any of these states, he becomes stagnant. His progress comes to a halt. However, if Allah’s fadhl is turned to him and his success is decreed, then the Saalik will leave all these states and continue his journey of progress towards Allah Ta’ala. He will not rest at any station in his spiritual sojourn. He presses onwards until he reaches Allah’s lofty court and the station of love where the heart attains true love and pleasure. This station is called Maqaam-e-Mufaatahah. In this station Divine Blessings and benefit commence their decent on his heart. This is also the station of Muwaajahah, i.e. the state of Allah Ta’ala focusing His Attention of Rahmat to the Saalik. It is also Maqaam-e-Mujaalasat, i.e. the bandah enjoys Divine Presence. It is also Maqaam-e-Muhaadasah, i.e. Allah Ta’ala showers mysteries, secrets and subtle Divine Knowledge on his heart. Maqaam-e-Mushaahadah is the station where the bandah perceives Allah Ta’ala with his spiritual eyes while he is oblivious of his physical senses. Maqaam-e-Mutaala’ah is the station attained when Maqaam-e-Mushaahadah has become entrenched. In this state the bandah is completely absorbed in Divine Cognition, perceiving the Beauty and Splendour of Allah Ta’ala every moment. This is the state known as Wusool, i.e. the Goal where the bandah has reached Allah Ta’ala.
Then that holy Court becomes the nest for the birds of their hearts. This nest is fixed as their home and therein do they find rest.
After attaining Allah’s Proximity, the Holy Court of Allah Ta’ala becomes the home of His servants just as the nests are for the birds. This, the servants of Allah, adopt as their residence wherein they find peace and rest. Just as the birds find rest in their nests after the day’s activity, so too is the condition of the Saalikeen. Ostensibly he associates with people, but his peace and tranquillity are in the station of Mushaahadah. This lofty stage is called Maqaam-e-Fanaa. The various spiritual stations of maximum elevation are all conglomerated in the stage of Fanaa. This station is also called Maqaam-e-Urooj and Maqaam-e-Jama’. It is the ultimate goal of the Saalik. It is the end of Sulook.
When the Saalik descends to the domain of huqooq (the rights of others) and emotional desires, he does so with consent and firmness. Neither is he disrespectful to the huqooq nor does he have the motive of deriving benefit from nafsaani desires. On the contrary, he enters these domains only for the sake of Allah, with Allah’s aid and seeking His succour. Thus, it is said (in the Qur’aan):
“Say: O my Rabb! Cause me to enter an entry of truth and make my exit an exit of truth.”.
By implication the Saalik is saying: When You, O my Rabb, allow me (into Your Presence), let my gaze be only on Your power. When You bring me out, let my obedience and submission be to You. Appoint for me a strong helper who will assist me against my nafs and with me help others. Do not aid my nafs against me. Aid me in the perception of my nafs and annihilate my physical being.
When the Saalik is firmly entrenched in the state of Fanaa, i.e. all things besides Allah are completely erased from his heart, he becomes completely absorbed in the perception (mushaahadah) of Divine Beauty and splendour. His attention is diverted from all things. After having attained this elevated station, if Allah Ta’ala wishes to appoint the Saalik as a Sahib-e-Irshaad (a guide for others), He bestows to him the pedestal (maqaam) of Baqa and Farq. In other words, during the state of Fanaa, the full attention of the Saalik is riveted on Thaat-e-Haqq (The Divine Being of Truth). Everything else is obliterated from his vision. To him, every creation is non-existent.
When this state of Fanaa becomes entrenched, the Saalik is granted the concern (fikr) of creation (i.e. Allah Ta’ala turns the Saalik’s attention towards others who will derive benefit from his association). However, there is a big difference between this concern for people and the earlier concern prior to his embarkation on the journey of Sulook. While the former concern (iltifaat) was in the state of being oblivious of Allah Ta’ala (other motives being the cause of the concern), the present concern is in reality directed to Allah Ta’ala. In this stage the gaze towards creation is like looking in a mirror at the reflection of the Divine Being since the entire creation is the manifestation of His beauty and splendour.
At this juncture, these Saalikeen are the media of spiritual benefit and guidance for others. They, then associate with people. This station is described by the Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) as ‘the heaven of Huqooq’ and ‘the ground of desires’. In this portrayal, the idea of the difficulty of the task of these Saalikeen is presented. The rights which devolve upon them as a result of their association with people are comparable to the heaven. Just as it is difficult and almost impossible to ascend into the heaven, so too is the fulfilment of these Huqooq. It is not within the reach of everyone to do justice to the Huqooq arising from association with people.
The ‘ground of desires’ means their nafsaani desires which were completely erased from their gaze during the state of Fanaa. When these illustrious persons descend from their lofty station to these rights and desires, it is only by the command of Allah Ta’ala. If they had a choice in the matter, they would never prefer to emerge from the state of Fanaa to descend to creation.
This descent occurs after the state of Fanaa has become entrenched. Also, this state of Fanaa is achieved after entrenchment in yaqeen and ma’rifat. Hence, their descent towards the Huqooq is not accompanied by negligence and disrespect. The earlier state, i.e. prior to Fanaa – of unmindfulness of the rights of others – no longer exists. Ghaflat is completely abandoned. They are perpetually alert. If someone persecutes them, they do not seek vengeance because the heart is attached to Allah Ta’ala at all times. They recognise that it is Allah Ta’ala who has imposed on them the persecutor. If someone praises them, they do not forget their nafs. In short, in the fulfilment of their duties and discharge of the rights, there is no carelessness. They execute their obligations with maximum diligence and concern. They are never unmindful of Allah Ta’ala, not even for a moment.
Their descent into the realm of emotion is not for the acquisition of carnal desire and pleasure. It is not for personal benefit. Prior to the state of Fanaa, eating, food, garments and sex were for self-gratification and pleasure. Now after the attainment of the lofty state of Fanaa, their indulgence in these mundane acts is with the aid and consent of Allah Ta’ala and solely for His Sake. The nafs has absolutely no share in these seemingly worldly activities.
When the Saalik enters this stage, he gains greater perfection. This is the second journey of the Saalik. The first journey is called Taraqqi or Urooj (Elevation) and the second journey is termed Nuzool (Descent). The Shaikh (rahmatullah alayh) substantiates both these journeys on the basis of the Qur’aanic aayat:
“Say: O my Rabb! Enter me an entry of truth and make me emerge an exist of truth.”
The ‘entry of truth’ is a reference to the journey of elevation because this journey leads the Saalik into the Divine Court. In this state of Fanaa, he becomes completely dissociated from creation.
The meaning of ‘exit of truth’ is the journey of descent. This journey takes the Saalik towards creation and he passes on his spiritual treasure to people.
In his upward journey of truth (Urooj), the Saalik perceived only the might and power of Allah Ta’ala. He does not attribute any action to himself. In the state of descent (Nuzool), the Saalik is in absolute submission to his Khaaliq (Creator). He is pleased with whatever station to which Allah Ta’ala despatches him. His nafs, therefore displays no desire for remaining in the station of elevation because he has whole-heatedly submitted himself to the duty imposed on him by Allah Ta’ala.
At the end of this subject, the Shaikh offers a supplication for steadfastness (istiqaamat). The Saalik supplicates for Divine Aid. This is the state of the kaamil (the one who has attained perfection) every moment of his life. Allah’s aid descends on him constantly.