WAKENING ASPIRATION (Iqâdh Al-Himam):
COMMENTARY ON THE HIKAM
by Ibn 'Ajiba
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You have not abandoned ignorance at all
if you want something to take place in any moment
other than what Allah has manifested in it.
Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge, and it is said that it is lack of knowledge of the Goal. There are two categories of it: simple and complex. The simple is that someone is ignorant and knows that he is ignorant. The complex is that he is ignorant of his ignorance. The ugliest type of ignorance is ignorance and denial of Allah after seeking to recognise Him.
Part of the adab of the true gnostic to affirm things where they are and to go with them as they go. Whenever power brings him forth to eye-witnessing, he is in extreme perfection and flawlessness. The author of al-'Ayniyya said about that:
If you ascribe its beauty to everything which is ugly,
the meanings of beauty in it will come to you swiftly.
Its beauty completes the imperfection of the ugly.
So then there is no imperfection and there is nothing ugly.
An-Nuri said, "What Allah desires of His creatures is what they have." When Allah establishes a person in one of the stations, then it is obligatory for the gnostic to remain in it with his heart, whatever it is, even if the Shari'a does nor protect him out of the desire to leave it by policy, and he looks to see what Allah will do. One of them said, "Anyone who deals with creatures by the Shari'a has lengthy disputation with them. Anyone who deals with them by the reality, excuses them." It is mandatory to deal with them by the Shari'a outwardly and to remind them, and by the reality in the inward and so he excuses them. If anyone wants for there to appear in a moment other than what Allah makes appear in himself or in someone else has amassed all ignorance and has not abandoned any of it since He opposes the Decree and contends with the All-Powerful. Allah Almighty says, "Your Lord is the Doer of what He wills." (11:107) If your Lord had willed, they would have done it. If Your Lord had willed, everyone in the earth would have believed. Can you force people to be believers?
In one report, Allah Almighty says, "Whoever is not pleased with My decree and is not patient in My affliction should leave My heaven and take a Lord other than Me." 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud and Ibn 'Abbas said, "I prefer to hold a coal which burns what it burns and leaves what it leaves to saying about anything, 'Would that it were not'! or about something which is not, 'Would that it were!'" Abu 'Uthman said, 'For forty years Allah has not established me in a state which I disliked not moved to another which angered me."
Shaykh 'Ali said in his book, "Whoever recognises the people of the realities of the outward and does not deny them any of their states will obtain what is in their hands and will not be denied any of their good. Whoever recognises the people of the realities of the inward and does not deny them any of their states, will obtain what is in their hands in every case and will not be denied any of their good. The gnostic of Allah combines the good of both groups and keeps company with both of them. Every group takes on its own colour, like the shaykh of our shaykh, Sidi Ahmad al-Yamani. He did not deny any of the states of creation. He studied with people of the outward in their outward matters and handed them over to them and affirmed them in them, and he studied with the people of the inward in their inward matters and handed them over to them and affirmed them in them. So he got the best of both groups by the gnosis and wisdom which Allah had given them. It is said that the perfect wali changes with all levels and fulfils all desires.
If anyone reflects on the hadiths of the Prophet, he will find them to be of this sort because the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the master of the gnostics and the model of the murids. He affirmed people in the wisdom with which Allah had established them and encouraged them in it. That is why we find that there were contradictory hadiths while there is no contraction in reality. If you examine the hadiths about dhikr, you would say there is nothing better than it. If you examine the hadiths about jihad, you would say there is nothing better than it. If you examine the hadiths about the excellence of knowledge, you would say there is nothing better than it. If you examine the hadiths about asceticism, and stripping away the means of this world, you would say there is nothing better than it. If you examine the hadiths about earning and serving the family, the same is true. So the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, encouraged the wisdom in each so that you would say that there is nothing better than it. That was because so that the people of each category would be at rest and so that they would have a clear sign from their Lord in that. He did not command them to move from that since Allah desired that wisdom for them. So he affirmed them in it and encouraged them in it so that someone who listens to the hadiths about it would think that there was nothing better than it. Indeed, there is nothing better than it for its people.
In short, the gnostic does not deny anything and is not ignorant of anything. One of the gnostics said, "There is nothing possible more splendid than what is." Its interpretation is that in the prior knowledge of Allah there is nothing else possible and so there is nothing more splendid than it. That will be discussed, Allah willing and Allah knows best.
Then he mentioned the second adab of the Holy Presence which is abandoning human foolishness and said:
You put off action until you have nothing else to do?
That comes from the foolishness of the lower self.
"Putting off" something is to pass it over. What is meant is that you delay the business so that you do not turn to it until it is easy. Having nothing else to do is to be finished with things. The heart is free when it has nothing to distract it. The limbs are free when they have no work. "Foolishness" is a sort of stupidity.
Part of the adab of the gnostic is that he has full intellect and a penetrating mind. One of the signs of intelligence is to take the opportunity to act and hurry to act without procrastination or wishful thinking since if he misses it, there is not replacement for it, and what is obtained has no value. In a hadith, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "One of the hallmarks of intelligence is to be averse to the abode of delusion and to turn to the abode of eternity, to take provision for dwelling in the grave and to prepare for the Day of Gathering." He also said, "The clever person is one takes account of himself and works for what comes after death. The foolish one is the one who follows his nafs and his passion and has wishful hopes of Allah."
In the Scrolls of Ibrahim, peace be upon him, "The intelligent person, as long as intellect is not overpowered, must have certain hours: one hour in which he converses with his Lord, one hour in which he takes account of himself, one hour in which he reflects about Allah's handiwork, one hour in which he is free of his need for food and drink. The intelligent person should not act except for three things: taking provision for the Hereafter, repairing his livelihood or pleasure which is not forbidden. The intelligent person must have insight in his time, busy himself with its business and guard his tongue. Anyone who considers his words to be part of his actions speaks little except in what concerns him."
So putting off actions and delaying them to another time in which the heart or vessel is unoccupied is a sign of foolishness and stupidity. It is delusion. How will you reach that time since death may attack you from where you do not expect? You assume you will reach that moment, but you are not safe from another business presenting itself to you. Being free of occupation is rare by the words of the Prophet, "There are two blessings in which many people are deceived: health and free time." i.e. many people lack them and desire them since many of them are only busy with this world, or deceived by passion, or ill and afflicted. By this we understand that few people have been provided with health and free time by Allah. When they fill them up with obeying their Lord, they are thankful and obtain great profit. If they lack them, they have suffered a clear loss and they are ungrateful for both blessings and so they should be taken from them. It is also one of the hallmarks of disappointment.
The words of the shaykh regarding disappointment are still to come. The ultimate disappointment is that you have few attachments but still do not advance to Him. The human being must sever his connections and attachments, oppose his passion, set out to serve his Master and not wait for another moment because the faqir is the child of the moment. You only find him occupied with thought, investigation, dhikr, discussion or service of the shaykh which will take him to his Master. I told one of the brothers, "The truthful faqir has no thought or descent except in the Presence or what will bring him to the Presence. Allah knows best.
Then he mentioned the third adab, which is to abide where Allah has made him abide:
Do not ask Him to remove you from one state
in order to use you in another.
If He wanted to,
He could use you without removing you.
Part of the adab of the gnostic is be satisfied with the knowledge of Allah so that he can dispense with other than Him. When Allah establishes him in a state, he does not disdain it and seek to leave it for another state. If Allah had wanted to remove him from that state and to use him in another, He would use him without being asked to remove him. He should remain where the Real has established him until He is the One to remove him as He brought him into it. "Say: 'My Lord, make my entry sincere and make my leaving sincere." (17:80)
The sincere entry is that you enter it by Allah and the sincere exit is that you leave it by Allah. This is understanding from Allah, and it is a sign of realisation of gnosis of Allah. When the gnostic of Allah is a bachelor, he does not wish to marry. If he is married, he does not wish for divorce. If he is poor, he does not wish for wealth. If he is wealthy, he does not wish for poverty. If he is healthy, he does not wish for illness. If he is ill, he does not wish for health. If he is mighty, he does not wish for abasement and if he is abased, he does not wish for might. If he is constricted, he does not wish for expansion, and if he is expanded, he does not wish for contraction. If he is strong, he does not wish for weakness, and if he is weak, he does not wish for strength. If he is resident, he does not wish to travel, and if he travelling, he does not wish to settle. It is the same for the rest of the states. He waits to see what Allah will do and does not look for what he will do by himself to achieve its removal. He is like the corpse in the hands of the washer or like a pen in the fingers, as the author of al-'Ayniyya said:
I see myself as a tool and He moves me.
I am a pen and the decrees are the fingers.
The Almighty says, "Your Lord creates and chooses whatever He wills. The choice is not theirs." (28:68) He says, "But you will not will unless Allah wills." (76:30) Allah revealed to Da'ud, "Da'ud, you will and I will and it is only what I will. If you surrender to Me what I will, I will bring you what you will. If you do not surrender to Me what I will, I will tire you in what you will and it will only be what I will."
The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to Abu Hurayra, "The pen is dry about what you will meet." In another hadith, "The pens are dry and the scrolls are rolled up." The shaykh of our shaykhs, Sidi Ahmad al-Yamani said when he and his companions were asked about the reality of wilaya: "The reality of wilaya is that when a person sits in the shade, he does not desire to sit in the sun, and when he sits in the sun, he does not desire to sit in the shade."
All of this is with choice rather than the necessary matter. We already mentioned what Shaykh Sidi 'Ali said: "One of the attributes of the perfect wali is that he only needs the state in which his Master has established him in the moment," i.e. he has no will except what issued from the element of the power and he does not desire other than it.
When the gnostic receives a tajalli in any of these matters, i.e. moving from one state to another, he should be cautious and patient until he sees that it is from Allah by an outward or inward sign or a physical or spiritual voice. He should attend to voices. Allah addresses him by whatever He will. This is a valid and tried business with the gnostics, so that they only move by permission from Allah and His Messenger since there is no separation for the people of gatheredness. May Allah make us among them. Amen. All of this is when the state in which you are is in keeping with the Shari'a. Otherwise, seek to leave it however possible.
Then he mentioned the fourth adab, which is elevating the himma above being and constant rising through the stations of gnosis:
When the aspiration of the wayfarer desires to halt at what has been unveiled to him.
then the invisible voices of the Reality call out to him.
"What you're looking for is still in front of you!"
When the outward aspect of created things display their beauty to him,
then their inner reality calls out to him,
"We are a trial!
We captivate and tempt you!
Do not disbelieve!"
The himma of the wayfarer is the force which impels him to travel. Halting at a thing is the belief that he has reached is the goal or that it is enough. The invisible voices of the unseen refer to the articulation of the state of unveiling of the source of realisation. The thing displaying itself is its manifestation in a state of adornment with the intention of making one incline to them. The outward aspect of beings is the beauty and wisdom which covers them and their adornment is breaking their normal patterns and obeying His judgement. Their realities are their inward light and it is the manifestation of the meaning in them.
The wayfarer is the one who witnesses the effect. If he witnesses it in himself he is only a wayfarer and is travelling. If he witnesses it by Allah, he is a majdhub wayfarer.
There are three stations which he passes through: annihilation in the Actions, annihilation in the Attributes, and Annihilation in the Essence. You could say, annihilation in the Name, annihilation in the Essence, and annihilation in annihilation, which is the station of baqa'. Then there is rising which has no end.
When the secret of the tawhid of that actions is unveiled to the wayfarer and he tastes its sweetness and his himma wants to stop with that station, the invisible voices of the reality of annihilation in the Attributes call to him, "That which you seek is still ahead of you!" When he rises to the station of annihilation in the Attributes and the secret of the tawhid of the Attributes is unveiled to him, he looks towards the annihilation in the Essence and his himma wants to stop at that station, the invisible voices of the reality of annihilation in the Essence call out to him, "That which you seek is still ahead of you!" When he rises to annihilation in the Essence and the secret of the tawhid of the Essence is unveiled to him and his himma wants to stop at that station, the invisible voices of the reality of annihilation of annihilation or the reality of baqa' call out to him, "That which you seek is still ahead of you!" When he reaches baqa', the invisible voices of unseen knowledges call to him: "Say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge." (20:114) The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "I cannot count Your praises as You praise Yourself."
Or you could say: when the murid is given unveiling of annihilation in the Name, tastes the sweetness of action and dhikr and his himma wants to stop with that, the invisible voices of annihilation in the Essence call out to him, "That which you seek is still ahead of you." When he rises to the station of annihilation in the Essence and tastes its sweetness, but is not firmly fixed and satisfied and his himma wants to stop with that, the invisible voices of the reality of fixity calls out, "That which you seek is still ahead of you!" When he is firm and does not seek further rising, the invisible voices of ascent call to him, "That which you seek is still ahead of you!" It is like that with every station. The one before him calls out to him. "O people of Yathrib, you have no abiding!" (33:13)
When the outward aspects of beings display their beauty to the wayfarer or the gnostic by the breaking of normal patterns, obeying him and allowing him to dispose of them by his himma, like walking on water, flying in the air, water springing up, producing food and the like of physical miracles and the himma of the wayfarer wants to stop with their outward aspects and enjoy their physical sweetness, the invisible voices of the inner meanings call out to him, "We are a trial to test you and see whether you are content with them rather than recognition of their Master and the One who manifested them, or if you will turn from them and pass to the light of their meanings and witness their Master and the One who makes them occur. Do not disbelieve and deny the One who manifested them so that you deny and are among the ignorant."
In al-Bughya, as-Sahili provided a metaphor for these stations and travelling through them. He said, "It is like is like a king who appears at sunrise and sends us messengers with a letter from Him. They read the letter of the King to us and make us yearn intensely for Him by mentioning His generosity and good qualities. Some people turn away from obeying Him and submitting to Him. They are the unbelievers. Some people accept and believe but cannot rise to the presence of the King. They are the common Muslims who have weak love and certainty. Some people yearn for the King and rise to his presence and the messengers tell him, 'We will travel with you and acquaint you with the Path,' and so they go in front of them and travel with them. "The King builds houses and stations where they can stop. Each station is greater than the one before it, and that continues until they arrive at His Presence. When they stop in the first station and see its beauty and splendour, they want to remain there. The Messengers who came from the King tell them, 'What you seek is still ahead of you.' So they get up and leave that station. When they alight at the second, they find it to be greater than the first and so they want to remain there. The Messengers make them travel on to what is beyond it. In this way they pass through the stations one after another until they bring them to the King. They tell them: 'Here you are with your Lord.' So they are relieved of fatigue and enjoy sitting and looking. What is meant by the Messengers are the Prophets whom Allah sent and their khalifs from those who follow in their footsteps among those who combine the reality and the Shari'a. These stages are the stations through which the murid passes."
Ash-Shustari pointed out that one should not stop at these stations and miracles. He said:
When travelling, do not turn to other, and all that is other than Allah
is other. Take His dhikr as a protection.
Do not remain in any station it is a veil.
Strive in travelling and seek help.
Whenever you see of all the ranks which are displayed to you,
leave them. We left their like.
Say: "I have no goal other than Your Essence."
There is no form manifested nor choice item plucked.
Know that these adâb which the shaykh mentioned in this chapter are particular to the gnostic while others may share with him in them. That is because it can be considered in a wide manner so that it is general because the murid may rise to a station, and there remains before him what he needs to complete, and Allah Almighty knows best.
Then he mentioned the fifth adab which is abandoning seeking and making demands inasmuch as he says in what will come which indicates that the adab is to abandon seeking.
If you make demands on Him, you doubt Him.
If you seek Him, you are absent from Him.
If you seek other-than-Him, you are shameless before Him.
If you make demands on other-than-Him, you are distant from Him.
Your making demands on Him is by entreaty and humble prayer; your seeking Him is by investigation and deduction; your seeking other than Him is by disclosing yourself and presentation; and your making demands on other than Him is by flattery and asking. The end result is that there is four: seeking the Real and making demands on Him, and seeking the false and making demands on it. All of them are included according to those with accurate knowledge.
As for making demands on Him, it is by the existence of your doubts of Him because when you ask of Him, it is out of fear that He will neglect you or be ignore you. One wakes up someone for whom dozing in possible and one reminds someone for whom overlooking is possible. "Allah is not unaware of what you do." (2:74) "Is Allah not enough for His slave?" (39:36) The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If anyone is distracted by My dhikr from asking Me, I will give him more than I give to those who ask."
So remaining silent under the passage of the decrees is better for the gnostic than entreaty and humble supplication. The shaykh of our shaykhs, Moulay al-'Arabi said, "The true faqir does not have remain a state in which he seeks. If he must seek, then he should seek gnosis."
When they make supplication, it is pure slaveness and wisdom, not a request for one's allotted portion. That is because what He has allotted you must reach you. If you were to ask Him to deny it to you, He would not answer you. There is disagreement between the Sufis on the issue and whether silence or supplication is more fitting. The fact is that one must look at what is manifested to him and that to which his breast is expanded. That is what is desired of him.
Your seeking Him is evidence of your absence from Him by the existence of Your self. If your heart had been present and you were absent to yourself and illusion, you would not find other than Him.
I see you asking about Najd when you are there,
and about Tihama. This is the action of one with doubts.
Ibn al-Marhal as-Sibti said:
It is extraordinary that I yearn for them
and ask about them out of yearning when they are with me!
My eye weeps and yet they are its eyeball.
My heart complains of distance while they are between my ribs!
They said, "Do you forget the One you love?
I told them, "O people, how can I forget He who is my ruh?
How can I forget Him when things derive their beauty from Him?
It is a marvel that the slave can forget His Master.
He is not absent from me, but I do not see Him."
I said aloud, "Say: 'He is Allah.'"
As for your seeking other than Him, i.e. recognition of other than Him, it is by your lack of shame before Him and lack of your intimacy with Him. The manner of your lack of shame before Him is that He summons you to the Presence while you flee from Him to heedlessness. The metaphor of that is like a person who is in the presence of the King when the King is coming to him, and then he wants to leave and turn to someone else. This indicates his shamelessness and lack of concern for the King. He deserves to be driven to the door or treated like an animal. They said, "Deny the one you know and do not seek to know the one you do not know."
Your lack of intimacy with Him is because if you had been intimate with Him, you would be estranged from His creation and it would then be inconceivable for you to seek to know them and you would flee from them. When you are intimate with Him, He makes you estranged from His creation and the reverse holds true. Intimacy with people is a sign of bankruptcy. Your turning to the Real is turning away from creation, and your turning to creation is your turning from the Real. And they consider one of the principles of the Path to be turning from creation in advancing and retreating.
As for making demands on other than Him, it is by the existence of your distance from Him. If you had realised His nearness to you and He is Generous you would not need to ask anyone who is blameworthy. The Munajat will describe how to ask for others when you do not have the habit of asking favours.
In one of the revealed books, Allah Almighty says, "When My slave has a need and he presents it to Me, I know that is his intention. If the seven heavens and the seven earths were to conspire against him, I would appoint ease and a way out of his business. When My slave has a need and he presents it to other than Me, the earth sinks under him, the heaven falls above him, and the means between him and Me are cut off," or words to that effect.
So adab is being content with Allah's knowledge, full realisation of gnosis of Allah, and being satisfied with Him so that you have no need of other than Him. Allah knows best.
Then he mentioned the sixth adab, which is submission and contentment in what the decree brings. He said:
Every breath you breathe emerges according to a preordained decree.
Breath means a moment of time, the amount of which is the time it takes to exhale and inhale. It is longer than the twinkling of an eye which is longer than an instant, which is the glance of the eye. The decree is the prior knowledge of things before they appear. He knows best their times, loci, amounts, and the number of individuals and their circumstances and the afflictions which befall them.
Human being, when you realise that your breaths are contained by the decree and nothing emerges from you or anyone else except that He knew it before and it proceeds accordingly, then you must be pleased with all that the Decree brings. Your breaths are numbered as are your glances and instants. When the last of your breaths ends, you will travel to the Next World. If the breaths are numbered, then why are you concerned with steps and thoughts and other movements?
The reality of rida (contentment) is to meet destructive matters with a smiling face. The reality of submission is that vengeance and blessing are the same: there is no choice in either of them. This is the station of the people of perfection who have realised vanishing. May Allah give us the benefit of their dhikr and join us to them. Amen.
Then he mentioned the seventh adab which is constant watchfulness and continuous witnessing:
Don't look forward to being quit of others -
that will cut you off from watchful awareness of Him
in the place where He has put you.
Watchfulness is waiting. "Others" designates what changes the heart from its state. It is usually used for changing from the state of perfection to a state of imperfection. The Sufis consider that all that distracts one from the Presence and alters the heart is 'other'. Watchfulness is guarding the heart so that it does not leave the presence of the Lord. What is meant by it in the words of the Shaykh is general guarding, which is watching over the heart, as was already stated. The watchfulness over the ruh is keeping it in constant witnessing and watchfulness over the secret is keeping it in constant rising and adab.
When Allah puts you in a state in which the existence of others dominates you by the dominance of the sensory in that state, as when He puts you outwardly in worldly work which you must have, then strive to keep your heart in the Presence so that heedlessness does not rob you, or strive to keep your ruh in constant witnessing so that the sensory does not rob you, or strive so that your secret seeks gifts and knowledges so that does not bring about laxness. Do not watch, i.e. wait to be free of your work with those others so that the presence of your heart is put off until your work is finished. Thereby you will miss watchfulness in that state in which Allah has put you. That would be bad adab on your part. That would also involve wasting that moment and not dealing with Allah in it. Not making use of moments cannot be made up.
I heard that when Shaykh Moulay al-'Arabi saw his companions working and feared that the sensory would rob them, he called to them in his loudest voice, "You! You!" to alert them and wake up from witnessing the sensory. Ash-Sha'rani mentioned in al-'Uhud that one of the shaykhs was never absent from Allah, even during sexual intercourse. This is the business of the people of divine concern among the gnostics. This is gatheredness of gatheredness. Allah knows best.
Note. This is not repetition in spite of what we said before about "putting off action until you have nothing else to do" because that is about the actions of the limbs and this is about the action of the hearts. That is shown here by his use of "watchful awareness" and its consideration and then referring to actions. The benefit is better than repetition. Success is by Allah.
When you obtain watchfulness or witnessing in the state of others, do not find it strange that you see impurities and you should not deny that. He indicated this:
Don't think that worry and sorrow are out of place
as long as you are in this world.
It only brings forth what its attribute and quality demand.
Thinking something out of place refers to when a thing becomes strange so that it seems extraordinary. Impurities are what affects the self and pains it. What its attribute demands is that with which it should described and its necessary quality is that with which it must be described. One of them said that the attribute describes intrinsic matters and the quality describes non-essentials which are temporary. Intrinsic matters are like whiteness, blackness, height, and shortness, and the non-essentials are like illness and health, joy and sorrow and the like of that. What is meant here by attributes are things which re-occur, like death and illness and what occurs often. Qualities are those which rarely occur normally, like civil war, bloodshed and earthquakes because they said that attributes are intrinsic and attributes are non-essential. It is said that they are the same thing, and that is valid.
Part of the adâb of the gnostic is not to think that any of the tajalliyat of the Real are out of place and not to be surprised at any of them, whatever they are, majestic or beautiful. If overwhelming events, sorrows or majestic others occur in this abode, do not find that out of place because the tajalliyat of this abode are mostly majestic because it is the abode of terrors and the state of separation and departure.
In a hadith the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said in one of his speeches, "People! This abode is the abode of destruction, not the abode of stability, and the station of sorrow, not the station of joy. Whoever knows that does not rejoice in its ease nor is he is saddened at its misery. Allah created this world as the abode of affliction and the Next World as the Abode of the end." So He made this world a reason for the reward of the Next World, and the reward of the Next World as recompense for the afflictions of this world. So He takes to give and afflicts to repay. This world passes away quickly and will soon be upended. So beware of the sweetness of its suckling because of the bitterness of its weaning. Shun its immediate pleasure because of its hateful end. Do not strive to cultivate this abode which Allah will ruin nor strive to obtain it when Allah desires that you avoid it. Then you would expose yourselves to His anger and merit His punishment.
Al-Junayd said, "I do not regard what comes to me of the world as ugly because I have a principle: it is that this abode is the abode of worry, sorrow, affliction and trial. All the world is evil. Part of its judgement is that it brings me all I dislike. If it brings me with what I love, it is bounty. Otherwise, the basis is the first one." It is said about that:
In his intellect, the intelligent person makes a visual image
of his hardships before they occur.
Even if they arrive unexpectedly, they do not alarm him
because of the image in himself.
He sees that the business will lead to another,
and so its end becomes a beginning.
The ignorant person feels that his days are safe
and forgets previous misfortunes.
If the vicissitudes of time surprise him
with some afflictions, he is distressed.
If he has prior resolve, it is by his knowledge
of steadfastness in the face of affliction.
Abu Sulayman ad-Darani said to Ahmad ibn Abi'l-Hawari, "Ahmad, a little hunger, a little nakedness, a little abasement, and a little steadfastness. The days of this world will come to an end for you."
Gnostic, therefore do think that the sorrows which occurs to you and others are out of place as long as you are residing in this abode? What issues in it of the majestic tajalliyat is only what it should be described with and what its quality must be. So do not think anything out of place and do not marvel at anything. Your duty is to recognise Allah in both majesty and beauty, sweetness and bitterness. As for the one who does recognise Him in beauty, that is the action of the common. Recognition in majesty is stillness, adab, pleasure, and submission. So the faqir must be like the rush plant. When the attack of the flash flood comes, it bows its head, and when it goes, it lifts its head.
As you should not find the occurrence of impurities to be out of place, you should not be sad, nor fear, and nor be alarmed. Similarly, do not wonder at the occurrence of joys, which is beauty, so you should not be joyful nor reckless. Majesty is bound to beauty and beauty is bound to majesty and they alternate just as day and night alternate. The gnostic takes on the colour of each of them. He does not find anything out of place nor marvel at anything since all that issues from the element of power is one.
This is the source of the distinction between the sadiq and the siddiq because the siddiq is not amazed at anything and does not hesitate about anything he is promised, which differs from the sadiq. Whenever he sees something unusual, he marvels at it. When he is promised something, he hesitates to obey it.
Allah Almighty described Maryam as siddiqa but did not described Sarah as that because when Sarah was given the good news of the child as a miracle, she thought it odd and said, "This is something extraordinary!" That is why the angels said to her, 'Do you marvel at the command of Allah?" That was not the case with Maryam. She did not think it strange. She only asked a question for information, or ask about the time of that, or how it would be and whether it was a marriage or something else, and Allah knows best.
Then he mentioned the eighth adab, and it is that he spends it by Allah, for Allah, from Allah and to Allah. This is the station of truthfulness which is the core of sincerity and sincerity is the elite of the elite. He said:
A goal you seek by your Lord:
no delay here.
A goal you seek by yourself:
Delay is being held back and difficulty. The goal is what one seeks to achieve.
When you have a need related to this world or the Next and want for it to be satisfied quickly for you, then seek it by Allah and do not seek it by yourself. If you seek it by Allah, it will be easy for you and it will satisfied quickly. If you seek it by yourself, it will be hard to satisfy it and it will be difficult. That which you seek by your Lord is not delayed or withheld, and that which you seek by yourself is not easy or simple. Allah Almighty says, relating from Musa, peace be upon him: "Musa said to his people, 'Seek help in Allah and be steadfast. The earth belongs to Allah. He bequeaths it to any of His slaves He wills. The successful outcome is for the godfearing.'" (7:128) Whoever seeks help by Allah and is steadfast in seeking his need, the successful outcome will be his, and he is one of the godfearing.
Allah Almighty says, "Whoever puts his trust in Allah, He will be enough for him," (65:3) i.e. take care of all that worries him. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, told one of his companions, Suwayd ibn Ghafala, "Do not seek the amirate. If you seek it, you will be entrusted to it. If it comes to you without asking, then you will be helped in it."
The sign of seeking by Allah is asceticism in that matter and being distracted from it by Allah. When its time comes, it is by the permission of Allah. The sign of seeking by the self is avarice and striving for it. When it is hard for him, he is constricted and upset. This is the criterion of the one who seeks by Allah and the one who seeks by himself. If someone seeks his needs by Allah, it is fulfilled in meaning, even if it is not satisfied physically. If someone seeks his needs by himself, his efforts are disappointed and his moment wasted, even if his desire and need are satisfied.
Here is a rule which the people of concern among the people of disappointment and the people of wilaya recognise. Shaykh ash-Shadhili said, "When Allah honours a slave in his movements and stillness, He sets up for him slavedom to Allah and the portions of his nafs are veiled from him in whatever is decreed for him and he does not turn to them. It is as if he were cut off from them. When Allah abases a slave in his movements and stillness, He sets up for him the portions of his nafs and veils him from his slavedom, and so he is tossed about in his appetites. Slavedom to Allah is cut off from him. If any of it occurs for him outwardly, he says, 'This is a door of wilaya and abasement.' As for the greatest siddiqiyya and greatest wilaya, all portions and rights are the same for the one with insight because he is by Allah in whatever he takes or leaves." Shaykh Zarruq quoted this in one of his commentaries.
To conclude, all the actions of the gnostic are by Allah and all the actions of others are by the self. If they had been by Allah, then action by Allah obliges nearness, action for Allah obliges a reward. The one who acts by Allah enters the veil in the witnessing of the lovers. Action for Allah obliges the reward beyond the Door. Action by Allah comes from the people of realisation, and action for Allah comes from the people of legality. Action for Allah comes from the people of the words of Allah, "You alone we worship." Action by Allah comes from the people of His words, "You alone we ask for help."
Shaykh Sidi 'Ali said, "The difference between action by Allah and action for Allah is the difference between the dinar and the dirham." Success is by Allah. Whoever knows by Allah, returns to Him in everything and relies on Him in every state. He indicated this when he said:
A sign of success in the end:
Turning to Allah in the beginning.
Success in a matter is reaching the goal and goals are achieved when they are settled and he obtains what he desires of them. The end of the matter is its achievement and its beginning is the first of it.
Murid, when you direct your himma to seeking something, whatever it is, and want to be successful in it, obtain what you desire, and for its end to be good and outcome praiseworthy, then return to Allah in the beginning of seeking it and strip away your strength and power. Say, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "If it is from Allah, He will perform it." So do not be avaricious for it and do not be concerned with it. Whatever Allah wills will be and whatever our Lord does not will not be. "If men and jinn were to join together to help you with something which Allah had not decreed for you, they would not be able to do that. If they had joined to harm you by anything which Allah had not decreed for you, they would not be able to do that. The pens are dry and the scrolls rolled up."
When you seek something and in it you depend on Allah and entrust the matter to Allah, you will see what was in the prior knowledge of Allah. The sign of that is success in the your end and the achieving of your goal, whether or not it is settled in the sensory, because what you desire is what Allah desires, not what your nafs desires. Your portions have been transformed into rights and you only desire what Allah has decided. Only look at what emerges from Allah and you will be annihilated to your portions and appetites.
If you seek something by yourself, relying on your own strength and power, eager to achieve it and striving to obtain it, that is a sign of lack of achieving it and the disappointment of hope in that whose end is unsuccessful, even if it is achieved in the sensory. You entrusted yourself to that and are fatigued because of it and are not helped in its affairs and goal. All of this is sound and tested by both the common and elite. This is a wisdom which completes what is before it and expands it. Allah knows best.
Then he completes this question by a comprehensive principle which affirms what is before it.
A radiant beginning:
a radiant ending.
The radiance of the beginning is entering into it by Allah , seeking it by Allah and relying on Allah while striving in its means and being concerned with establishing the right of wisdom and showing adab with the Decree. Striving in the means is immense according to the immensity of the goal. The witnessing afterward is according to the striving. "As for those who do jihad in Our Way, We will guide them to Our Paths. Truly Allah is with the good-doers." (29:69) "Allah's mercy is close to the good-doers." (7:56)
Shaykh Sidi 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "Do not reckon it cheap. He sees it. The food of the object of desire is dear. What you harvest in the summer is only by the coolness of the nights. If we see someone diligent in the beginning about seeking Allah and turning away from intimacy with creation, absorbed in the service of his Lord and forgetting his own portions and passion, we know that his end will be radiant, his outcome praiseworthy and his goal obtained. If we see someone negligent in seeking his Lord and not leaving his nafs and passion, then we know that his claim is a lie and his end will be deprivation and his outcome will be disappointment, even if the Generous Giver will tend to him. This is the in the path to reaching the presence of the Real.
As for the radiance of the beginning in seeking the needs of this world, stations, stages or eliteness, for example, it is by asceticism in that, turning away from it and being preoccupied with Allah. One of them said, "The stages are only obtained by asceticism in them." Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan said, "I and a friend of mine were worshipping Allah in a cave. We used to say, 'This month Allah will give us an opening. This week Allah will give us an opening.' A man stopped at the mouth of the cave and said, 'Peace be upon you.' We returned the greeting to him and asked, 'How are you?' He climbed up to us and said, 'What is the state of someone who says, "'This month Allah will give an opening. This week Allah will give an opening"? There is no opening and no success. Did we not worship Allah as He commanded to us? Then He was absent from us.' We understood how we had taken. So we criticised ourselves and Allah gave us an opening." Something similar is mentioned in at-Tanwir.
So anyone who seeks elitedom is the slave of elitedom and misses his portion from Allah until he turns in repentance. Anyone who worships Allah will obtain his portion of slavedom and will obtain elitedom without him turning to it or seeking it. Allah knows best.
Then these matters are radiant at the beginning, and the sign of the radiance of the beginning is that they are inward matters, like reliance on Allah and returning to Him, or great yearning and longing. Their effect, however, must appear in the outward. He indicates this and says:
Everything that is stored away in the warehouse of invisible secrets
has to appear in the visible world of outward manifestation.
Storing away is to put something in a place in order to preserve it. The invisible secrets are the inward, and what is meant by "secrets" are the hearts and spirits. The visible world of outward manifestation is the outward limbs.
Whatever Allah has stored and placed in the hearts of good or evil, light or darkness, knowledge or ignorance, mercy or harshness, miserliness or avarice, generosity and open-handedness, constriction and expansion, wakefulness or negligence, recognition or lack of recognition, or other praiseworthy or blameworthy qualities, the effect of that must appear on the limbs in adab, discipline, stillness, tranquillity, gravity, spending, pardon, levity, anxiety, anger and others states of the hearts and actions of the vessel. Allah Almighty says, "You will know them by their mark," (2:273) and He says, "Their mark is on their faces." (48:29)The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "If someone conceals a secret, Allah will clothe him in its cloak."
The actions of the limbs follow the states of the hearts. Whoever stores recognition of his Master in the secret of his unseen does not seek from anyone else. Whoever stores ignorance of his Lord in the secret of his unseen is connected to what is other than Him. That is how it is with the states of the outward. They follow the states of the inward, as he already said, "Different states have different outcomes. This accounts for the variety of types of action." So the features (asirra) indicate the secret (sarira) and the words describe the speaker. Whatever is in you appears on your mouth. Every vessel leaks that which is in it. What occurs to the heart has its effect on the faces. Allah knows best.
The greatest thing that can be stored in the invisible secrets is gnosis of Allah. It is of two kinds: gnosis of the proof and gnosis of eye-witnessing. He indicated the difference between them and said:
What a difference!
This one is guided by Him.
That one seeks information about Him.
The one guided by Him gains direct knowledge of the Real
and verifies the matter from its actual Source.
Seeking information about Him comes from
not having reached Him.
This must be the case because when was He absent
so as to make it necessary for you to seek information about Him?
When was He distant so that you would need tracks to lead you to Him?
In "what a difference", this form is only used for ideas, not for physical things.
Know that when Allah wanted to manifest the secrets of His Essence and the lights of His Attributes, by His power he manifested a handful of His pre-eternal light. Power demanded the manifestation of its effect and the witnessing of its lights while wisdom demanded the lowering of their veil and manifestation of its curtains. When power completed its light in the places of manifestation in phenomenal being, then wisdom lowered the cloak of protection on them, and all phenomenal being became lights in a concealing veil.
Then Allah divided creation into two categories and separated them into two groups. One group is singled out for His power: He made them the people of His wilaya, opened the door for them and removed the veil for them. So He let them witness the secrets of His Essence and did not veil them from it by the effects of His power. Another group he allotted for His service and He made them the people of His wisdom. He lowered the veil of illusion on them and withdrew from them the light of wisdom and understanding. So they stopped with the outward of shells and did not witness the inward light due to the intensity of the manifestation. Glory be to the One who concealed His secret by His wisdom and manifested His light by His power!
The people of love, who are the people of wilaya and gnosis among the people of witnessing and eye-witnessing, are guided by light to the existence of veils and so they only see light, and they are guided by the Real to the existence of creation and they only find the Real. They are guided by His power to His wisdom, and they find His power to be the source of His wisdom and wisdom the source of His power. So by witnessing the Real, they withdraw from seeing creation since it is impossible to witness Him and witness something else with Him. As for the people of service among the people of wisdom, they seek information by the manifestation of the veils to the existence of light and by creation to the existence of the Real. They are withdrawn from Him in the state of His Presence and they are veiled from Him by the intensity of His manifestation. One of the gnostics said, "Allah Almighty affirmed the creature for common people and so by it they affirmed the Creator. He affirmed Himself to the elite and by Him they affirmed creation."
What a great difference there is between the one who is guided by Him to the manifestation of His effect and the one who seeks information about His existence by the manifestation of His effect! That is because the one who is guided by Him recognises the Real, and it is the real existence which belongs to the One worthy of it, i.e. the One who is worthy of it and deserves it. That is Allah, the Necessary of Existence, the Worshipped King. He affirms the business, which is the timelessness of real existence from the existence of its source, which is the basic timeless pre-eternal Jabarut, i.e. the one who recognises Allah until He becomes necessary in his view, then recognises that existence belongs to Allah and negates the existence of other than Him. He affirms His timelessness first and last. You could say that he recognises the Real, and it is basic existence of the One who deserves it, who is Allah, and affirms the business, which is secondary existence, from the existence of its source, i.e. connects it to its source. Then the branch is connected to the root and all becomes basic Jabarut. It is possible that it means the same, or implies that he recognises real existence for the One who deserves it and to affirms that matter from its source, as when you say, "I recognise this judgement and affirm by it the One who is its source, and Allah knows best.
As for one who seeks information about him, it is because he is far from Him in the state of his nearness to Him and absent from Him in the state of his presence with Him. Illusion had distanced him. His absence is lack of understanding. When was He absent from him so that he would need to seek information about Him, since "He is nearer to you than your jugular vein" (50:16) When was He distant so that illusory tracks are that which lead to Him when "He is with you wherever you are" (57:4) since the effect of power is its source. So the attribute is not separate from the described since it only has substance by it and no manifestation except from it.
It will come later in the Munajat: "My God! How can one seek information about You through something which is in need of You for its own existence? Does other-than-You manifest what You do not have so that it could manifest You? When were You absent so that You would need a proof to indicate You? When were you distant so that traces would lead to You?" Allah knows best.
Then for those who by guided by Allah, Allah expands for them the arena of knowledges and opens for them the storehouses of understanding as opposed to those who seek information about Him. Allah stinted them in the provision of knowledge by the existence of the veil of illusion. He indicated that when he said:
As for those who have reached Him:
"He who has plenty should spend out from his plenty."
As for those who are travelling to Him:
"it is he whose provision is restricted."
As for those who have reached Him, because when their spirits escape from the constriction of phenomenal beings to the space of witnessing and eye-witnessing, or you could say, when their spirits rise from the world of forms to the world of spirits, or from the world to the Mulk to the world of the Malakut, then the arena of the provision of knowledge is expanded for them and the storehouses of understanding are opened to them. They expend jewels of hidden knowledge from the vastness of their wealth and rubies of the protected secret from the storehouses of their treasures. So they have an expanded sphere and ride the steeds of rhetoric and eloquent speech. How swift is wealth comes to the one at whom concern is directed! How immense is the opening of the who attended to! Allah has men such that anyone who looks at them achieves a happiness after which he will never be wretched. They are the people of the secret and the state.
As for those who are travelling to Allah, it is because they remain in the constriction of phenomenal beings and are imprisoned in the world of forms in the prison of the illusion. None of the storehouses of understanding are opened to them. They are busy in the jihad of themselves and the toil of purifying their hearts, constricted in knowledges and restricted in all forms of understanding. If they find in the journey, they arrive and move from the constriction of beings and travel and prance in the meadows of knowledges and they win what they hope for and are enriched after they were weary. They return from the path. Or else they fall short and are ruined and lost.
Note: If you want for the knowledge of tastes to be expanded to you, then disconnect yourself from the business of provisions. As long as you work for the treasure of others, you will never excavate your treasure. So disconnect yourself from the material and be in need of Allah and gifts will overflow on you from Allah. "Sadaqat is for the poor and very poor." (9:60) If you want expansion of gifts to you, then have sound poverty and need.
When opening was delayed for his student Ibn Maymuna, Shaykh ad-Dabbas waited for him and found him reading the Risala of al-Qushayri. He told him, "Cast aside your book and dig in the land of your self and a spring will arise for you. Otherwise leave me." Success is by Allah.
Then he mentioned the reason for the expansion of knowledges for those who arrive rather than the travellers. It is that the travellers have not stopped at the witnessing of lights. They have passed through to the light of lights and that is not the case of the travellers. They stop with the lights and are in need of them and owned by them. He said:
Those travelling to Him
are guided by the light of turning their faces toward Him.
Those who have arrived
have the lights of face-to-face encounter.
The former belong to lights,
but the lights belong to the latter
because they belong to Allah, and are His alone.
then leave them plunging in their games."
The lights of turning the faces are the lights of Islam and faith, and the lights of face-to-face encounter are the lights of ihsan. You could say the lights of turning the faces are the lights of outward and inward obedience and the lights of face-to-face encounter are the lights of reflection and looking. Or the lights of turning are the lights of the Shari'a and Tariqa and the lights of face-to-face encounter are the lights of the Reality. Or you could say that the lights of turning are the lights of striving and endurance and the lights of face-to-face encounter are the lights of witnessing and direct speech.
The clarification of that is that Allah Almighty wants to connect His slave to him first by the light of the sweetness of outward action, which is the station of Islam so that he is guided to action and annihilated in it and tastes its sweetness. Then he turns to Him by the light of the sweetness of inward action, which is the station of faith with sincerity, truthfulness, tranquillity, intimacy with Allah and being alienated from other than Him, and so he is guided to it and annihilated and tastes its sweetness and is firm in watchfulness. This light is greater than the first and more perfect.
Then he turns to Him with the light of the sweetness of witnessing and it is the action of the ruh, and it is the first light of face-to-face encounter. So he is overwhelmed by astonishment, bewilderment and intoxication. When he awakens from his intoxication, becomes sober after his attraction, is firm in witnessing and recognises the Worshipped King and returns to baqa', then he is for Allah and by Allah. He has no need of the light by his witnessing the light of lights because he has become the light itself and has become a master of the lights after he was mastered by them by his need of them before he reached their source. When he arrives, he becomes the slave of Allah, free from what is other than Him. His outward is slavedom and his inward is freedom.
The end result is that as long as the murid continues to travel, he is guided by the lights of turning and needs them so that he can travel by them. When he reaches the station of witnessing, he obtains the lights of face-to-face encounter and so he does not need anything because he is for Allah, not for anything less than him. The travellers, who are those travelling to lights by their need of them, and so they rejoice in them. Those who have arrived have the lights because they are enriched beyond need by Allah. They are for Allah and by Allah, not for anything except Him.
Then the shaykh recited this ayat to the Path of the people of indication (ishara). "Say, 'Allah' with your heart and your ruh and withdraw from other than Him. Then leave people. i.e. 'leave them plunging in their games,'" i.e. plunging into "other", playing with passion. One of the commentators criticised the Sufis by their citing this ayat; and he did not understand what they meant. "All the people knew their drinking place." (2:60) Shaykh Ibn ÔAbbad said, "Do not make the people of the outward an argument against the people of the inward," i.e. because the sight of the people of the inward is fine and their weaving delicate. Only they understand their indication. May Allah give us the benefit of them and join us to them. Amen.
This is the end of Chapter Two and, to sum up, it mentions that the adab and signs of the gnostic. There are eight types of adab. The signs are four: returning to Him in everything, relying on Him in every state, withdrawal into Him from everything, and being guided by Him to everything and the expansion of the provision of knowledges, opening the storehouses of understanding, reaching the face-to-face encounter of lights, and withdrawing from them by witnessing of the One, the Conqueror.
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