Manazil al-Sa’irin by Imam al-Harawi

Translated by Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

The following is an abridged translation of Manāzil al-Sāʼirīn by Imām al-Harawī. It is a primer on the spiritual, ethical, and psychological states experienced by worshipers on their journey towards Allah.

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مختصر منازل السائرين

The abridgment of Manāzil al-Sāʼirīn

بِسم الله الرَّحْمَن الرَّحِيم

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

 

Self-accountability المحاسبة

قَالَ الله عز وَجل اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَّا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Fear Allah and let every soul look to what is has put forth for tomorrow.’ (59:18)

وَإِنَّمَا يسْلك طَرِيق المحاسبة بعد الْعَزِيمَة على عقد التَّوْبَة والعزيمة لَهَا ثَلَاثَة أَرْكَان

Indeed, the path of self-accountability is only after his determination to solidify his repentance. Its determination to do so has three pillars.

أَحدهَا أَن تقيس بَين نعْمَته وجنايتك وَهَذَا يشق على من لَيْسَ لَهُ ثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء نور الْحِكْمَة وَسُوء الظَّن بِالنَّفسِ وتمييز النِّعْمَة من الْفِتْنَة

The first pillar is to compare His blessings to your offenses, and this is difficult for one without three things: the light of wisdom, awareness of the evil in his own soul, and the ability to distinguish a blessing from a trial.

وَالثَّانِي تَمْيِيز مَا للحق عَمَّا لَك أَو مِنْك فتعلم أَن الْجِنَايَة عَلَيْك حجَّة وَالطَّاعَة عَلَيْك منَّة وَالْحكم عَلَيْك حجَّة مَا هُوَ لَك معذرة

The second pillar is the ability to distinguish what the Truth has over you or deserves from you, such that you know your offenses are an argument against you, your obedience is a favor upon you, and the judgment is a proof against you. It is your duty to make amends.

وَالثَّالِث أَن تعرف أَن كل طَاعَة رضيتها مِنْك فَهِيَ عَلَيْك وكل مَعْصِيّة عيرت بهَا أَخَاك فَهِيَ إِلَيْك وَلَا تضع ميزَان وقتك من يَديك

The third pillar is that you recognize that every act of obedience pleasing to you is your duty and every act of disobedience for which you self-righteously rebuke your brother is likewise an act of disobedience. Do not waste the amount of time in your hands.

 

Self-discipline الرياضة

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Those who give their charity and their hearts are fearful.’ (23:60)

الرياضة تمرين النَّفس على قبُول الصدْق وَهِي على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Self-discipline is to train himself to accept the truth. It has three levels.

رياضة الْعَامَّة تهذيب الْأَخْلَاق بِالْعلمِ وتصفية الْأَعْمَال بالإخلاص وتوفير الْحُقُوق فِي الْمُعَامَلَة

Self-discipline of the common people is the refinement of character with moral knowledge, the purification of deeds with sincerity, and the fulfilment of rights in conduct with others.

ورياضة الْخَاصَّة حسم التَّفَرُّق وَقطع الِالْتِفَات إِلَى الْمقَام الَّذِي جاوزه وإبقاء الْعلم يجْرِي مجاريه

Self-discipline of the spiritual elite is to prevent his separation from the divine presence, to stop turning back to what has already passed, and to let the path of seeking knowledge run its course.

ورياضة خَاصَّة الْخَاصَّة تجريد الشُّهُود والصعود إِلَى الْجمع ورفض المعارضات والمعاوضات

Self-discipline of the elite of the spiritual elite is to refine his ability to witness the divine presence, to ascend towards union with the will of Allah, and to reject that which opposes and alters this state of union.

 

Reverence الْخُشُوع

قَالَ الله عز وَجل أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Has not the time come for those who have faith to feel reverence in their hearts by the remembrance of Allah and what has been revealed of the truth?’ (57:16)

الْخُشُوع خمود النَّفس وهمود الطباع لمتعاظم أَو مفزع وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Reverence is the subsidence of his soul and yielding in his nature due to encountering something tremendously great or frightening. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى التذلل لِلْأَمْرِ والاستسلام للْحكم والاتضاع لنظر الْحق

The first level is to submit himself to the command of Allah, to surrender himself to the judgment of Allah, and to humble himself before the Truth which observes him.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة ترقب آفَات النَّفس وَالْعَمَل ورؤية فضل كل ذِي فضل عَلَيْك وتنسم نسيم الفناء

The second level is to be mindful of the defects of your soul and deeds, to acknowledge the favor of all those who performed favors for you, and to inhale the breeze of losing yourself in the divine presence.

الدرجَة الثَّالِثَة حفظ الْحُرْمَة عِنْد المكاشفة وتصفية الْوَقْت من مراياة الْخلق وَتَجْرِيد رُؤْيَة الْفضل

The third level is to preserve sanctity at times of spiritual unveiling, to purify his moment from the ostentation of creation, and to refine his perception of the divine favor.

 

Temperance الزّهْد

قَالَ الله عز وَجل بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ

Allah Almighty said, ‘What remains from Allah is best for you.’ (11:86)

الزّهْد إِسْقَاط الرَّغْبَة عَن الشَّيْء بِالْكُلِّيَّةِ وَهُوَ للعامة قربَة وللمريد ضَرُورَة وللخاصة خشية وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Temperance is leaving one’s desire for something entirely. It is an act of worship for the common person, a necessity for the spiritual seeker, and a fear sullying one’s clarity for the spiritual elite. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى الزّهْد فِي الشُّبْهَة بعد ترك الْحَرَام بالحذر من المعتبة والأنفة من المنقصة وَكَرَاهَة مُشَاركَة الْفُسَّاق

The first level is renounce what is doubtful along with avoiding the unlawful, out of caution from what is blameworthy, rejection of what is lacking, and displeasure of sharing in sin.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الزّهْد فِي الفضول وَمَا زَاد على المسكة والبلاغ من الْقُوت باغتنام التفرغ إِلَى عمَارَة الْوَقْت وحسم الجأش والتحلي بحلية الْأَنْبِيَاء وَالصديقين

The second level is to renounce what is superfluous, more than is necessary, and beyond the needs of his livelihood, by taking advantage of free time, disregarding anxiety, and emulating the beautiful characteristics of the prophets and the truthful.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الزّهْد فِي الزّهْد بِثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء باستحقار مَا زهدت فِيهِ واستواء الْحَالَات عنْدك والذهاب عَن شُهُود الِاكْتِسَاب نَاظرا إِلَى وَادي الْحَقَائِق

The third level is to renounce his renouncement by three things: to look down upon what has been renounced of the world, to be indifferent to his worldly circumstances, and to move past the perception that he has earned his good deeds, while looking towards the valleys of the truth.

 

Mindfulness المراقبة

قَالَ الله عز وَجل لَا يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً

Allah Almighty said, ‘They are not mindful of any pact with believers, nor any covenant.’ (9:10)

المراقبة دوَام مُلَاحظَة الْمَقْصُود وَهِي على ثَلَاث

Mindfulness is constant momentary attention to one’s purpose. It has three levels.

دَرَجَات الدرجَة الأولى مراقبة الْحق فِي السّير إِلَيْهِ على الدَّوَام بَين تَعْظِيم مذهل ومداناة حاملة وسرور باعث

The first level is mindfulness of the Truth in his journey towards Him, in a constant state between amazed exaltation, careful approach, and happy motivation.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة مراقبة نظر الْحق إِلَيْك برفض الْمُعَارضَة وبالإعراض عَن الِاعْتِرَاض وَنقض رعونة التَّعَرُّض

The second level is mindfulness of the Truth looking upon you, by rejecting what is in opposition to it, turning away from protestation of it, and breaking down the folly of challenging Him.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة مراقبة الْأَزَل بمطالعة عين السَّبق اسْتِقْبَالًا لعلم التَّوْحِيد ومراقبة ظُهُور إشارات الْأَزَل على أحايين الْأَبَد ومراقبة الْخَلَاص من ربطة المراقبة

The third level is mindfulness of eternity by examining in hindsight, facing the knowledge of divine unity, mindfulness of the phenomena pointing to eternity over the endless ages, and mindfulness which is free from the difficulties of mindfulness.

 

Sincerity الْإِخْلَاص

قَالَ الله عز وَجل أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ

Allah Almighty said, ‘No doubt, for Allah is the sincere religion.’ (39:3)

الْإِخْلَاص تصفية الْعَمَل من كل شوب وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Sincerity is the purification of a deed from any contaminant. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى إِخْرَاج رُؤْيَة الْعَمَل من الْعَمَل والخلاص من طلب الْعِوَض على الْعَمَل وَالنُّزُول عَن الرضى بِالْعَمَلِ

The first level is to remove his perception of the deed from the deed itself, to be free from seeking compensation for the deed, and to lower himself from being satisfied with the deed.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الخجل من الْعَمَل مَعَ بذل المجهود وتوفير الْجهد بالاحتماء من الشُّهُود ورؤية الْعَمَل فِي نور التَّوْفِيق من عين الْجُود

The second level is to feel shame about the deed while expending effort in it, yet to continue supplying effort by not allowing himself to see the deed as his own. Rather, in the light of guidance, the deed is from the divine source of grace.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة إخلاص الْعَمَل بالخلاص من الْعَمَل تَدعه يسير مسير الْعلم وتسير أَنْت مشاهدا للْحكم حرا من رق الرَّسْم

The third level is sincerity in the deed by disassociating from the deed, allowing it to follow its known course, and your proceeding as a witness to the judgment, free from slavery to your self-image.

 

Categories of ethics قسم الْأَخْلَاق

وَأما قسم الْأَخْلَاق فَهُوَ عشرَة أَبْوَاب وَهِي الصَّبْر والرضى وَالشُّكْر وَالْحيَاء والصدق والإيثار والخلق والتواضع والفتوة والانبساط

As for the categories of ethics, they are ten topics: patience, contentment, gratitude, modesty, honesty, altruism, character, humility, chivalry, and sociability.

 

Patience الصَّبْر

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَاصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Be patient, and your patience is not but through Allah.’ (16:127)

الصَّبْر حبس النَّفس على جزع كامن عَن الشكوى وَهُوَ أَيْضا من أصعب الْمنَازل على الْعَامَّة وأوحشها فِي طَرِيق الْمحبَّة وأنكرها فِي طَرِيق التَّوْحِيد وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Patience is to restrain one’s self, while experiencing discomfort, and to do so without complaining. It is also among the most difficult spiritual states for the common person, the harshest on the path of love, and the most punishing on the road to divine unity. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى الصَّبْر عَن الْمعْصِيَة بمطالعة الْوَعيد إبْقَاء على الْإِيمَان وحذرا من الْجَزَاء وَأحسن مِنْهَا الصَّبْر عَن الْمعْصِيَة حَيَاء

The first level is patience from committing acts of disobedience by awareness of the threat of divine punishment, remaining upon faith and cautious of the recompense for deeds. It is even better to be patient from committing acts of disobedience due to shame.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الصَّبْر على الطَّاعَة بالمحافظة عَلَيْهَا دواما وبرعايتها إخلاصا وبتحسينها علما

The second level is patience in performing acts of obedience by constantly guarding them, sincerely caring for them, and deliberately improving them.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الصَّبْر فِي الْبلَاء بملاحظة حسن الْجَزَاء وانتظار روح الْفرج وتهوين البلية بعد أيادي المنن وتذكر سوالف النعم

The third level is patience in trials by expecting the good reward, waiting for the arrival of relief, and easing the misfortune by counting his favors and remembering his blessings in the past.

وَفِي هَذِه الدَّرَجَات الثَّلَاث من الصَّبْر نزلت اصْبِرُوا يَعْنِي فِي الْبلَاء وَصَابِرُوا يَعْنِي عَن الْمعْصِيَة وَرَابطُوا يَعْنِي على الطَّاعَة

In this third level of patience it was revealed, ‘Be patient,’ meaning in trials, and ‘Persevere,’ meaning by avoiding acts of disobedience, and, ‘Keep watch,’ meaning by performing acts of obedience.

وأضعف الصَّبْر الصَّبْر لله وَهُوَ صَبر الْعَامَّة وفوقه الصَّبْر بالله وَهُوَ صَبر المريد وفوقهما الصَّبْر على الله وَهُوَ صَبر السالك

The lowest level of patience is patience for the sake of Allah, which is the patience of the common people. Above it is patience through Allah, which is the patience of the spiritual seeker. And above them both is patience over the decree of Allah, which is the patience of the elite seeker.

 

Contentment الرضى

قَالَ الله عز وَجل ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً

Allah Almighty said, ‘Return to your Lord, pleased and pleasing.’ (89:28)

لم يدع فِي هَذِه الْآيَة للمتسخط إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلا وَشرط للقاصد الدُّخُول فِي الرضى

He did not allow in this verse for those displeased to take a way towards Him, and it is a condition for one with purpose to enter into a state of contentment.

والرضى اسْم للوقوف الصَّادِق حَيْثُ مَا وقف العَبْد لَا يلْتَمس مُتَقَدما وَلَا مُتَأَخِّرًا وَلَا يستزيد مزيدا وَلَا يسْتَبْدل حَالا وَهُوَ من أَوَائِل مسالك أهل الْخُصُوص وأشقها على الْعَامَّة وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Contentment is a term denoting the servant standing truthful wherever he may be, not seeking to move ahead or go back, not seeking more or seeking a change in one’s circumstances. It is among the first of journeys for the spiritual elite and the most difficult for the common people. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى رضى الْعَامَّة وَهُوَ الرضى بِاللَّه رَبًّا بسخط عبَادَة مَا دونه وَهَذَا قطب رحى الْإِسْلَام وَهُوَ يطهر من الشّرك الْأَكْبَر وَهُوَ يَصح بِثَلَاث شَرَائِط أَن يكون الله عز وَجل أحب الْأَشْيَاء إِلَى العَبْد وَأولى الْأَشْيَاء بالتعظيم وأحق الْأَشْيَاء بِالطَّاعَةِ

The first level is the contentment of the common people, which is to be pleased with Allah as Lord and to be displeased to worship any besides Him. This is the firm pillar of Islam, which is to be purified from the greater idolatry. It is sound on three conditions: that Allah Almighty is the most beloved thing to the servant, the highest to be exalted, and the most deserving of obedience.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الرضى عَن الله عز وَجل وَبِهَذَا الرضى نطقت آيَات التَّنْزِيل وَهُوَ الرضى عَنهُ فِي كل مَا قضى وَهَذَا من أَوَائِل مسالك أهل الْخُصُوص وَيصِح بِثَلَاث شَرَائِط باستواء الْحَالَات عِنْد العَبْد وبسقوط الْخُصُومَة مَعَ الْخلق وبالخلاص من الْمَسْأَلَة والإلحاح

The second level is contentment with Allah Almighty, as this contentment has been spoken of in the revealed verses, which is to be pleased with Him in everything that He decrees. This is among the first journeys of the spiritual elite. It is sound on three conditions: that all good or bad circumstances are the same to the servant, that enmity with the creation is abandoned, and that one is free of persistently asking from others.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الرضى برضى الله فَلَا يرى العَبْد لنَفسِهِ سخطا وَلَا رضى فيبعثه على ترك التحكم وحسم الِاخْتِيَار وَإِسْقَاط التَّمْيِيز وَلَو أَدخل النَّار

The third level is contentment with the contentment of Allah, such that the servant does not see himself displeased or pleased, leading him to give up authority, to disregard his preferences, and to abandon any distinction between good or bad situations, even if he were harmed by fire.

 

Gratitude الشُّكْر

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ الشَّكُورُ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Few of My servants are grateful.’ (34:13)

الشُّكْر اسْم لمعْرِفَة النِّعْمَة لِأَنَّهَا السَّبِيل إِلَى معرفَة الْمُنعم وَلِهَذَا الْمَعْنى سمي الله تَعَالَى الْإِسْلَام وَالْإِيمَان فِي الْقُرْآن شكرا

Gratitude is a term denoting recognition of blessings, as it is the way to recognize the One who blesses. For this reason, Allah Almighty referred to Islam and faith in the Quran as ‘gratitude.’

وعاني الشُّكْر ثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء معرفَة النِّعْمَة ثمَّ قبُول النِّعْمَة ثمَّ الثَّنَاء بهَا وَهُوَ أَيْضا من سبل الْعَامَّة وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Gratitude means three things: recognition of his blessings, then acceptance of his blessings, and then praise to Allah for them. It is likewise one of the ways of the common people and it has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى الشُّكْر فِي المحاب وَهَذَا شكر شاركت الْمُسلمين فِيهِ الْيَهُود وَالنَّصَارَى وَالْمَجُوس وَمن سَعَة بر البارئ أَنه عده شكرا ووعد عَلَيْهِ الزِّيَادَة وَأوجب لَهُ المثوبة

The first level is gratitude for his favors, and this gratitude is shared by Muslims, Jews, Christians, and pagans. It is from the vast benevolence of the Creator that He considers it gratitude, promises an increase for it, and necessitates a reward for it.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الشُّكْر فِي المكاره وَهَذَا مِمَّن يستوى عِنْده الْحَالَات إِظْهَار الرضى وَمِمَّنْ يُمَيّز بَين الْأَحْوَال كظم الشكوى ورعاية الْأَدَب وسلوك مَسْلَك الْعلم وَهَذَا الشاكر أول من يدعى إِلَى الْجنَّة

The second level is gratitude for unpleasantness, and this is among those who manifest contentment by considering all good and bad situations to be the same. For those who distinguish between good and bad circumstances, it involves suppressing their complaints, caring for their manners, and traversing the path of knowledge. This grateful person will be among the first to be called to Paradise.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة أَن لَا يشْهد العَبْد إِلَّا الْمُنعم فَإِذا شهد الْمُنعم عبودة استعظم مِنْهُ النِّعْمَة وَإِذا شهده حبا استحلى مِنْهُ الشدَّة وَإِذا شهده تفريدا لم يشْهد مِنْهُ شدَّة وَلَا نعْمَة

The third level is that the servant does not witness anything but the One who blesses. If he witnesses the One who blesses in servitude, he regards the blessings as great. If he witnesses Him in love, he would delight in his own hardship. If he witnesses Him in solitude, he does not experience any hardship or pleasure.

 

Modesty الْحيَاء

قَالَ عز وَجل أَلَمْ يَعْلَم بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَىٰ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Does he not know that Allah sees him?’ (96:14)

الْحيَاء من أَوَائِل مدارج أهل الْخُصُوص يتَوَلَّد من تَعْظِيم مَنُوط بود وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Modesty is among the first degrees of the spiritual elite, born of a great bond of affection. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى حَيَاء يتَوَلَّد من علم العَبْد بِنَظَر الْحق إِلَيْهِ فيجذبه إِلَى تحمل المجاهدة ويحمله على استقباح الْجِنَايَة ويسكته عَن الشكوى

The first level is modesty born of the servant’s knowledge that the Truth is looking upon him, appealing for him to endure the struggle, and compelling him to censure his offenses and silence his complaints.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة حَيَاء يتَوَلَّد من النّظر فِي علم الْقرب فيدعوه إِلَى ركُوب الْمحبَّة ويربطه بِروح الْأنس وَيكرهُ إِلَيْهِ مُلَابسَة الْخلق

The second level is modesty born of examining the knowledge of seeking nearness to Allah, such that it calls him to the vehicle of love, connects him to the spirit of intimacy, and causes mingling with the creation to displease him.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة حَيَاء يتَوَلَّد من شُهُود الحضرة وَهِي الَّتِي تشوبها هَيْبَة وَلَا تقاويها تَفْرِقَة وَلَا يُوقف لَهَا على غَايَة

The third level is modesty born from experiencing the divine presence, that which is mixed with awe, neither diminished by separation from the divine presence nor ceased for any reason.

 

Honesty الصدْق

قَالَ الله عز وَجل فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الْأَمْرُ فَلَوْ صَدَقُوا اللَّهَ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ

Allah Almighty said, ‘When the matter had been determined, had they been true to Allah it would have been better for them.’ (47:21)

الصدْق اسْم لحقيقة الشَّيْء بِعَيْنِه حصولا ووجودا وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Truthfulness is a term denoting an acknowledgement of the reality of something in its specific occurrence and existence. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى صدق الْقَصْد وَبِه يَصح الدُّخُول فِي هَذَا الشَّأْن ويتلافى بِهِ كل تَفْرِيط ويتدارك كل فَائت ويعمر كل خراب وعلامة هَذَا الصَّادِق أَن لَا يحْتَمل دَاعِيَة تَدْعُو إِلَى نقض عهد وَلَا يصبر على صُحْبَة ضد وَلَا يقْعد عَن الْجد بِحَال

The first level is honesty of purpose, which is the right place to begin this matter. Anything squandered may be rectified, any loss may be redressed, and any decay may be revived. The sign of this honesty is that none can compel him to break his promise, he will not endure adversarial company, and he will not retreat from diligence in any situation.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة أَن لَا يتَمَنَّى الْحَيَاة إِلَّا للحق وَلَا يشْهد من نَفسه إِلَّا أثر النُّقْصَان وَلَا يلْتَفت إِلَى ترفيه الرُّخص

The second level is that he does not wish to live except for the Truth. He does not witness anything from himself except traces of deficiency, nor does he involve himself in permissible entertainment.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الصدْق فِي معرفَة الصدْق فَإِن الصدْق لَا يَسْتَقِيم فِي علم الْخُصُوص إِلَّا على حرف وَاحِد وَهُوَ أَن يتَّفق رضى الْحق بِعَمَل العَبْد أَو حَاله أَو وقته وإيقان العَبْد وقصده فَيكون العَبْد رَاضِيا مرضيا فأعماله إِذا مرضية وأحواله صَادِقَة وقصوده مُسْتَقِيمَة وَإِن كَانَ العَبْد كسي ثوبا معارا فَأحْسن أَعماله ذَنْب وأصدق أَحْوَاله زور وأصفى قصوده قعُود

The third level is honesty in recognition of his honesty, for honesty is not upright, according to the knowledge of the spiritual elite, unless in one case, which is that it agrees with the pleasure of the Truth in the deed of the servant, or his circumstance, or his moment, and the certainty of the servant and his purpose. The servant will be pleased and pleasing, such that his deeds become pleasing, his states of being truthful, and his purpose upright. But if he puts on a façade, the best of his deeds will be a sin, the most truthful of his states will be fraudulent, and the best of his intentions will fail.

 

Altruism الإيثار

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَيُؤْثِرُونَ عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَلَوْ كَانَ بِهِمْ خَصَاصَةٌ

Allah Almighty said, ‘They prefer them over their own selves, even though they are in need.’ (59:9)

الإيثار تَخْصِيص وَاخْتِيَار والأثرة تحسن طَوْعًا وَتَصِح كرها وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Altruism is to to give allotment and preference to others. Selfishness might lead to good deeds willingly, yet it is still sound even if good is done unwillingly. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى أَن تُؤثر الْخلق على نَفسك فِيمَا لَا يحرم عَلَيْك دينا وَلَا يقطع عَلَيْك طَرِيقا ولا يفسد عَلَيْك وقتا ويستطاع هَذَا بِثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء بتعظيم الْحُقُوق ومقت الشُّح وَالرَّغْبَة فِي مَكَارِم الْأَخْلَاق

The first level is to prefer creatures over himself in what is not religiously forbidden for himself, nor in what cuts off his means of livelihood, nor in what wastes his time. This is possible by three things: respecting the rights of others, distaste for greed, and aspiring to noble ethics.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة إِيثَار رضى الله تَعَالَى على رضى غَيره وَإِن عظمت فِيهِ المحن وثقلت بِهِ الْمُؤَن وضعفت عَنهُ الطول وَالْبدن ويستطاع هَذَا بِثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء بِطيب الْعود وَحسن الْإِسْلَام وَقُوَّة الصَّبْر

The second level is to prefer the pleasure of Allah Almighty over the pleasure of anyone else, even if his ordeals are great, his burdens are heavy, and his strength and body are weakened. This is possible with three things: good stature, excellence in Islam, and strong patience.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة إِيثَار إِيثَار الله تَعَالَى فَإِن الْخَوْض فِي الإيثار دَعْوَى فِي الْملك ثمَّ ترك شُهُود رؤيتك إِيثَار الله ثمَّ غَيْبَتِك عَن التّرْك

The third level is to prefer the altruism of Allah Almighty done through you, for to embark into altruism otherwise is to claim personal ownership. Then, to abandon the perception of yourself in the altruism of Allah, and then for you to be unaware that you have abandoned your perception.

 

Character الْخلق

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Verily, you are upon great character.’ (68:4)

الْخلق مَا يرجع إِلَيْهِ الْمُتَكَلف من نَعته وَاجْتمعت كلمة الناطقين فِي هَذَا الْعلم أَن التصوف هُوَ الْخلق وجماع الْكَلَام فِيهِ يَدُور على قطب وَاحِد وَهُوَ بذل الْمَعْرُوف وكف الْأَذَى

Character is the repeated traits taken upon one’s self. The agreement among those who speak of this knowledge is that ‘spirituality’ is itself character-building. It can be comprehensively expressed as revolving around a single firm pillar: to offer good and to refrain from harm.

وَإِنَّمَا يدْرك إِمْكَان ذَلِك قي ثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء فِي الْعلم والجود وَالصَّبْر وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Indeed, it is known that this can only occur alongside three things: knowledge, generosity, and patience. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى أَن تعرف مقَام الْخلق أَنهم بأقدارهم مربوطون وَفِي طاقتهم محبوسون وعَلى الحكم موقوفون فتستفيد بِهَذِهِ الْمعرفَة ثَلَاثَة أَشْيَاء أَمن الْخلق مِنْك حَتَّى الْكَلْب ومحبة الْخلق إياك وَنَجَاة الْخلق بك

The first level is to recognize the positions of creatures in the creation, that they are bound by their abilities, they are restricted to their capacities, and they are held in place by the decree. Thus, you can benefit from this recognition in three ways: all creation and even dogs will be safe from you, the creation will love you, and the creation will be saved through you.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة تَحْسِين خلقك مَعَ الْحق وتحسينه مِنْك أَن تعلم أَن كل مَا يَأْتِي مِنْك يُوجب عذرا وكل مَا يَأْتِي من الْحق يُوجب شكرا وَأَن لَا ترى لَهُ من الْوَفَاء بدا

The second level is to improve your character in relation to the Truth, and this improvement from you is that you know everything done by you requires an excuse and everything done by the Truth requires gratitude, and that you do not ever see yourself as properly loyal to Him.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة التخلق بتصفية الْخلق ثمَّ الصعُود عَن تفرق التخلق ثمَّ التخلق بمجاوزة الْأَخْلَاق

The third level is to cultivate his character by purifying it, then rising above separation from the divine presence as a result of this cultivation, and then to cultivate his character beyond ordinary ethics.

 

Humility التَّوَاضُع

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا

Allah Almighty said, ‘The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily.’ (25:63)

التَّوَاضُع أَن يتضع العَبْد لصولة الْحق وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Humility is for the servant to lower himself before the authority of the Truth. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى التَّوَاضُع للدّين وَهُوَ أَن لَا يُعَارض بمعقول مَنْقُولًا وَلَا يتهم على الدّين دَلِيلا وَلَا يرى إِلَى الْخلاف سَبِيلا وَلَا يَصح ذَلِك لَهُ إِلَّا بِأَن يعلم أَن النجَاة فِي البصيرة والاستقامة بعد الثِّقَة وَأَن الْبَيِّنَة وَرَاء الْحجَّة

The first level is humility in religion, which is to not oppose by reason what has been revealed, nor to accuse the religion with an argument, nor to present any type of dissent. This is not sound for him unless he knows that salvation comes from insight, uprightness comes after conviction, and clarity in religion is beyond dispute.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة أَن ترْضى بِمن رضى الْحق لنَفسِهِ عبدا من الْمُسلمين أَخا وَأَن لَا ترد على عَدوك حَقًا وَتقبل من المعتذر معاذيره

The second level is that you are pleased with whomever pleases the Truth, as he himself is a servant among the Muslims and a brother, that you do not forfeit their rights to your enemy, and that you accept excuses from those who apologize.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة أَن تتضع للحق فتنزل عَن رَأْيك فِي الْخدمَة ورؤية حَقك فِي الصُّحْبَة وَعَن رسمك فِي الْمُشَاهدَة

The third level is to humble yourself before the Truth, to relinquish your personal opinion in His service, the perception of your rights in His company, and your self-image in witness to the divine presence.

 

Chivalry الفتوة

قَالَ الله عز وَجل إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى

Allah Almighty said, ‘Verily, they were young chivalrous men who had faith in their Lord and we increased them in guidance.’ (18:13)

نُكتَة الفتوة أَن لَا تشهد لَك فضلا وَلَا ترى لَك حَقًا وَهِي على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

The essence of chivalry is that you do not see yourself as deserving of any favor, nor as deserving of any right. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى ترك الْخُصُومَة والتغافل عَن الزلة ونسيان الأذية

The first level is to abandon argumentation, to overlook the mistakes of others, and to forget the harms committed against you.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة أَن تقرب من يقصيك وتكرم من يُؤْذِيك وتعتذر إِلَى من يجنى عَلَيْك سماحا لَا كظما وبراحا لَا مصابرة

The second level is that you draw near to one who distances themselves from you, that you are generous to those who harm you, that you give excuses to those who offend you, magnanimously and not reluctantly, calmly and not begrudgingly.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة أَن لَا تتَعَلَّق فِي الْمسير بِدَلِيل وَلَا تشوب إجابتك بعوض وَلَا تقف فِي شهودك على رسم

The third level is that you do not depend upon anyone to guide you in the spiritual journey, you do not expect any favor in return, and you do not stop for the sake of your self-image.

وَاعْلَم أَن من أحْوج عدوه إِلَى شَفَاعَة وَلم يخجل من المعذرة إِلَيْهِ لم يشم رَائِحَة الفتوة

Know that whoever obliges his enemy to intercede and he feels no shame in demanding an apology, he has not experienced even the scent of chivalry.

 

Sociability الانبساط

قَالَ الله عز وَجل حاكيا عَن كليمة عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام أَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَّا ۖ إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا فِتْنَتُكَ تُضِلُّ بِهَا مَن تَشَاءُ وَتَهْدِي مَن تَشَاءُ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Would You destroy us for what the foolish among us have done? This is not but Your trial by which You send astray whomever You will and guide whomever You will.’ (7:155)

الانبساط إرْسَال السجية والتحاشي من وَحْشَة الحشمة وَهُوَ السّير مَعَ الجبلة وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Sociability is to present others with one’s natural disposition and to avoid the loneliness of shyness, which is to carry on behaving according to one’s temperament. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى الانبساط مَعَ الْخلق وَهُوَ أَن لَا تعتزلَهُم ضنا على نَفسك أَو شحا على حظك وتسترسل لَهُم فِي فضلك وتسعهم بخلقك وتدعهم يطؤونك وَالْعلم قَائِم وشهودك الْمَعْنى دَائِم

The first level is sociability with the creation, which is that you do not withdraw from them resentfully for yourself or greedily for your fortune. And you continue on with them by your favor, you accommodate them with your character, and you let them tread upon you, in so far as knowledge of the law permits and your proper understanding of sociability remains.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الانبساط مَعَ الْحق وَهُوَ أَن لَا يجنبك خوف وَلَا يحجبك رَجَاء وَلَا يحول بَيْنك وَبَينه آدم وحواء

The second level is sociability with the Truth, which is that fear does not repel you and hope does not blind you, and no man or woman comes between you and Him.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الانبساط فِي الانطواء عَن الانبساط وَهُوَ رحب الهمة لانطواء انبساط العَبْد فِي بسط الْحق جلّ جلالة

The third level is sociability in drifting away from sociability, which is the earnest aspiration of the servant to fold up his sociability within the expanse of the Truth Almighty.

 

Manners الْأَدَب

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللَّهِ

Allah Almighty said, ‘And those who guard the limits of Allah.’ (9:112)

الْأَدَب حفظ الْحَد بَين الغلو والجفاء بِمَعْرِفَة ضَرَر الْعدوان وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Manners is to guard the limits of Allah, between exaggeration and indifference, while recognizing the harms of aggression. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى منع الْخَوْف أَن يتَعَدَّى إِلَى الْإِيَاس وَحبس الرَّجَاء أَن يخرج إِلَى الْأَمْن وَضبط السرُور أَن يضاهي الجرأة

The first level is to stop fear from exceeding into despair, to restrain hope from turning into a sense of invulnerability, and to curb happiness from becoming audacity.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الْخُرُوج من الْخَوْف إِلَى ميدان الْقَبْض والصعود عَن الرَّجَاء إِلَى ميدان الْبسط والترقي عَن السرُور إِلَى ميدان الْمُشَاهدَة

The second level is to proceed from fear of the future to the field of contraction (fear in the moment), to ascend from hope in the future to the field of expansion (hope in the moment), and to be elevated from ordinary happiness to the field of witnessing the divine presence.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة معرفَة الْأَدَب ثمَّ الْغنى عَن التأدب بتأديب الْحق ثمَّ الْخَلَاص من شُهُود أعباء الْأَدَب

The third level is to recognize manners, then to no longer need to acquire manners due to being disciplined by the Truth, then to be free from perceiving the burdens of manners.

 

Certainty الْيَقِين

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَفِي الْأَرْضِ آيَاتٌ لِّلْمُوقِنِينَ

Allah Almighty said, ‘And in the earth are signs for those who are certain.’ (51:20)

الْيَقِين مركب الْآخِذ فِي هَذَا الطَّرِيق وَهُوَ غَايَة دَرَجَات الْعَامَّة وَقيل أول خطْوَة الْخَاصَّة وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Certainty is the means for one who takes this path, which is the purpose of the common people’s spiritual levels. It is said that it is the first step of the spiritual elite. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى علم الْيَقِين وَهُوَ قبُول مَا ظهر من الْحق وَقبُول مَا غَابَ للحق وَالْوُقوف على مَا قَامَ بِالْحَقِّ

The first level is certain knowledge, which is to accept what manifests of the Truth, to accept what is hidden of the Truth, and to stand upon what has been established by the Truth.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة عين الْيَقِين وَهُوَ الْغنى بالاستدراك عَن الِاسْتِدْلَال وَعَن الْخَبَر بالعيان وخرق الشُّهُود حجاب الْعلم

The second level is the eye of certainty, which is to no longer need to refer to personal inference or reports by eyesight, and to tear through the veil of knowledge by witnessing the divine presence.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة حق الْيَقِين وَهُوَ إسفار صبح الْكَشْف ثمَّ الْخَلَاص من كلفة الْيَقِين ثمَّ الفناء فِي حق الْيَقِين

The third level is truth of certainty, which results in the daylight of divine inspiration, then freedom from the effort of certainty, then losing his sense of self in the truth of certainty.

 

Remembrance الذّكر

قَالَ الله عز وَجل وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ

Allah Almighty said, ‘Remember your Lord when you forget.’ (18:24)

وَالذكر هُوَ التَّخَلُّص من الْغَفْلَة وَالنِّسْيَان وَهُوَ على ثَلَاث دَرَجَات

Remembrance is to be rid of inattention and forgetfulness. It has three levels.

الدرجَة الأولى الذّكر الظَّاهِر من ثَنَاء أَو دُعَاء أَو رعاء

The first level is outward remembrance such as praise, or supplication, or observation.

والدرجة الثَّانِيَة الذّكر الْخَفي وَهُوَ الْخَلَاص من الفتور والبقاء مَعَ الشُّهُود وَلُزُوم المسامرة

The second level is inward remembrance, which is to be free from apathy, to remain in witness to the divine presence, and to hold closely to intimate conversation with the divine.

والدرجة الثَّالِثَة الذّكر الْحَقِيقِيّ وَهُوَ شُهُود ذكر الْحق إياك والتخلص من شُهُود ذكرك وَمَعْرِفَة افتراء الذاكر فِي بَقَائِهِ مَعَ ذكره

The third level is true remembrance, which is to witness the Truth remembering you, to rid yourself of witnessing your own remembrance, and to recognize the mirage of one who remains aware of his remembrance.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.