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.

Source.

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