Tuesday 24th of May 2022
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Some other degrees of sincerity

One of the stages of sincerity is to purge the act from thinking of deserving a reward. The counterfeit of it is the act blemished with demanding the expected reward. This is not free from a degree of admiring the act, and the salik is to rid himself of it. Assuming deserving reward is caused by the deficiency in one's knowledge of his condition and of the right of Allah, the Exalted. This is also a fruit of the Satanic evil tree, stemming from being proud of oneself, one's act, I-ness and selfishness. How hopeless man is! As long as he is wrapped in the veils of being proud of his acts, believing them to be of his own, and regarding himself the manager of the affairs, he will not be cured from this disease, and will not be able to purge his act and purify his intention. Therefore, the salik is to strive to inform his heart, through cordial austerity and mental and gnostic conduct, that all acts are of Allah's blessings and gifts which He carries out by the hand of His servant. Should the Unity of Acts get fixed in the heart of the salik, he would not regard his acts as to be of himself, therefore he would not demand any reward, and, actually, he would regard the reward to be favour and the blessings to be new beginnings.

This divine delicacy is frequently stated in the words of the pure Imams (AS), especially in As-Sahifatus-Sajjadiyah [a book of invocations and supplications by Imam 'Ali ibn-Husayn, as-Sajjad], a divine and luminous book, which has descended from the gnostic heaven of the knower of Allah, the luminous intellect, Sayyidus-Sajidin [the master of the prostrate worshippers], for the sake of the salvation of the servants of Allah from the prison of nature, demonstrating the discipline of servitude and of being at the service of the Lord. In the thirty-second invocation he says: " ... so praise be to You for Your beginning with great favours, and for Your inspiring gratitude for [Your] benevolence." [263]

He also says, on another occasion:"... since all Your benevolence is favour and every one of Your blessings is a new beginning." [264]

In Misbahush-Shari`ah it is said: " The least limit of sincerity is the servant's doing all his best, then he should not attach to his act [of worship] any value with Allah, by which he would impose on his Lord [to give him] a reward for his act." [265]

Another stage of sincerity is to purge the act from demanding much and being pleased with it and depending on it. This is also one of the important tasks of the salik, lest he should be retained back from joining the caravan of the travelers to Allah, confining himself to the dark dungeon of nature. This is a situation stemming from the vile Satanic tree, and from the selfishness inherited from the legacy of Satan who has said: "You created me of fire and created him of clay." [266] This is but man's ignorance of his own state [maqam] and of the state [maqam] of Allah, the Glorified.

If this wretched "possible [existent]" could only recognize his own state of deficiency, incapability, weakness and helplessness, and realize Allah's state of greatness, grandeur and perfection, he would never boast of his act and of performing an act. Wretched! His act [of worship], which would be worth only a few pence for a whole year, should it prove to be complete and correct, he would ask; for only two of its rak`ats, unlimited expectations. It is this expectation and much-demanding that originate many immoralities and other acts of mischief, which cannot be mentioned here for fear of becoming lengthy.

The noble hadiths frequently refer to this subject, as is in noble al-Kafi, quoting Imam Musa ibn Ja'far (AS) to have said to some of his sons : "My son, you are to be diligent, never to clear yourself from falling short of fully worshipping and obeying Allah, the Most High, for He can never be worshipped as He deserves." [267]

In another hadith, he (AS) said: "Any act you do for Allah, take yourself as to be falling short of it, since all the people, in their acts, between themselves and Allah, are derelict [muqassir], except the one whom Allah, the Exalted, protects against that." [268]

He (AS) is also quoted to have said: "Do not consider plenty the plenty good deeds." [269]

The complete Sahifah, describing the angels, says:" Those who, looking at Hell breathe out to the people of disobedience, say" `Glory to you, O Allah, we have not worshipped You as You deserve to be worshipped. " [270]

O You helpless! When the Messenger of Allah (SA), who was the most knowledgeable among Allah's creatures, and whose act [of worship] was the most luminous and the greatest of all others', admitted his shortcoming and inability, and who says: "We have not known You as You ought to be, and we have not worshipped You as You deserve it," [271] and when the infallible Imams (AS), in the Presence of His Sanctity, display their shortcomings and deficiencies, what can a tiny gnat do? [272] Yes, their status and knowledge urged them to admit the incapability of "the possible existent" and the Greatness and Glory of the "Necessary Existent", Allah, the Exalted, whereas we, the helpless, because of ignorance and diverse veils, arrogantly show off our ostentation and pride in our acts. Glory be to Allah! How right Amirul Mu'minin 'Ali (AS) was when he said: "Man's self-admiration is one of the enviers of his intellect." [273] Is it not irrational that Satan should make obscure for us a necessary matter, and we should not try to intellectually reason it? We ourselves, know, of necessity, that our acts [of worship] and the acts of mankind as a whole, as well as the acts of the angels of Allah, and the spiritual people, cannot be compared with the acts of the Messenger of Allah (SA) and the Imams of guidance (AS), as ours can have no value whatsoever, and cannot be of any regard at all. Yet, those great ones confess their shortcomings and do not conceal their incapability of performing the worship due to Allah, the Exalted, according to so many successive hadiths. These two necessary cases give us to conclude that we should not be pleased with any of our acts. Or even if we spend as long as the life of the world in worshipping and in acts of obedience, we should still be ashamed, abashed and disgraced. Nevertheless, Satan has so deeply established himself in our hearts, and so strongly has his control over our minds and senses, that the states [ahwal] of our hearts have been changed to the contrary, let alone our failure in deriving the necessary conclusions from those preliminaries.

The great man ['Ali ibn Abi Talib], whose strike on the Day of the Trench [274] was more merited than the worship of all jinn and ins [mankind], according to the confirmation of the Messenger of Allah (SA) - and 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, with all his worships and austerities, though known to be the greatest worshipper of all Allah's creatures, shows his inability to attain to his state of worshipping- [274a] declares his shortcoming in this respect more than we do. The Messenger of Allah (SA)-at whose threshold 'Ali al-Murtada and all, other than Allah, are servants and live on the crumblings of his blessed table of knowledge and are the students of his teachings-after receiving the cloak of honour of the Final Prophethood, the complete circulation of perfection and the last brick of knowledge and tauhid, continued, for ten years, to stand on his feet in Hira cave, performing his worshippings in obedience to Allah, until his feet swelled such that Allah revealed: "TA HA, We have not sent down the Qur'an upon you that you should be distressed." [275] i.e.: "O `pure' and `guide'! We did not reveal the Qur'an to you to cause you difficulty. You are pure and you guide the people, and if they disobey you, it is because of their own shortcoming and misfortune, not because of any shortcoming in your conduct or guidance". Nevertheless, he still announces his inability and falling short.

Sayyid Ibn Tawus [may his soul be sanctified] quotes from 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (AS) a hadith which we shall relate to honour our thesis and, although it is a bit lengthy, since it is an explanation of the position of that master, yet the smelling sense of the souls will be scented by it and the palate of the hearts will take a delight in it.

He [may his soul be sanctified], quoting az-Zahri, in Fathul Abwab , says: "I, together with 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (AS), called upon 'Abdul Malik ibn Marwan. 'Abdul Malik, regarding it as magnificent to see the mark of prostration between the two eyes of 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (AS), said: `O Abu Muhammad, perseverance is obvious on your face, and Allah has already been beneficent to you, as you are a part of the Messenger of Allah (SA), a close relative with a firm relation to him, and you have a great favour upon your family and your contemporaries. You have been given such merits, knowledge, godliness and piety that have been given to no one like you or before you, except your past ancestors.' He continued praising and extolling him. 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (AS) said: `All that which you have described is of Allah's favour , support and grace. But how is [my] thanking Him on what He has favoured [me], O Amirul Mu'minin? The Messenger of Allah (SA) used to stand in his salat on his feet till they got swollen, and he remained thirsty during his fasting such that his mouth would dry up. He was asked: `O Messenger of Allah! `Did not Allah forgive what has passed and what is to come of your sins?' He replied: `Am I not to be a thankful servant?' Praise be to Allah for what He has favoured us with and for His testing us, and praise be to Him in the Hereafter and in this world. By Allah, even if my limbs were cut to pieces and my eyeballs ran down my chest just to pay tribute to Allah, the Most Glorified, for just a tenth of one tenth of a single one of all His favours, which no reckoner can reckon, nor the praise of the praisers can pay the tribute due to a single one of them, I could not pay the due tribute to Him. Never, by Allah, unless He grants me that nothing should keep me from praising and remembering Him all days and nights, secretly and publicly. Had I not been under obligations to my family and to other people, in particular and in general, who have rights against me, and which I cannot but fulfill to them as it is possible and as is in my capacity, I would have turned my eye to the heaven, and my heart to Allah, and then I would have never taken them back till He would take my breath-He is the best of judges.' Then he (AS) wept, and so did 'Abdul Malik ... " as the hadith goes. [276]

We forgo mentioning other stages of sincerity which do not suit the position of these papers, lest it should be lengthy and boring.


[263]. As-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyah, invocation No. 32.

[264]. Ibid., invocation No. 12.

[265]. Misbahush-Shari`ah, ch. 76, on "Sincerity".

[266]. Surah al-A'raf: 12. Surah Sad: 76.

[267]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 3, p. 116, "Book of Faith and Disbelief', ch. on "Admitting Shortcomings", hadith No. 1.

[268]. Ibid., hadih No. 4.

[269]. Ibid., vol. 3, p. 394, "Book of Faith and Disbelief', ch. on "Slighting the Sin", hadith No. 2. Also vol. 4, p. 196, ch. on "Reckoning the Deeds", hadith No. 17.

[270]. As-Sahifah as-Sajjadiyyah, invocation No. 3.

[271]. Mir'atul `Uqul vol. 8, p. 146, "Book of Faith and Disbelief', ch. on "Thanking".

[272]. "Where a falcon drops its feathers, What can a tiny gnat do?" Amthal and hikam, by Dehkhuda, vol. 2, p. 579, Poet's name not mentioned.

[273]. Nahjul Balaghah, ed. by Faydul Islam, p. 1172, Maxim 203.

[274]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 39, p. 2, "Tarikh-i Amirul Mu'minin".

[274a]. Ibid., vol. 46, p. 75, "Tarikh-i 'Ali ibn al-Husayn" ch. 5, hadith 65.

[275]. Surah Ta-Ha: 1 and 2.

[276]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 46, p. 57, "Fathul Abwab".


Section Four

Torch One


The Discipline of Reverence

One of the important disciplines of reciting the Divine Book, shared by the gnostic and the common man, and which brings about good results causing luminosity for the heart and the interior life, is to regard it with "reverence", which depends on realizing its greatness and majesty. This, however, is, actually, out of the scope of explanation and beyond the human capacity, because understanding the greatness of a thing depends on understanding its truth, while the truth of the Divine Holy Qur'an, before being sent down to the stages [manazil] of creation and before undergoing practical modes [atwar], is of the affairs [shu'un] of His Essence and of the facts of Knowledge in His Unity [hadrat-i wahidiyat]. It is the truth of a "Self-speech" [kalam-i nafs], which is the "Essential Argument" [muqari`a-i dhatiyah] in His Names. This truth appears to no one, neither by means of formal sciences or cordial knowledge nor by unseen disclosure, except through complete divine revelation to the blessed person of the Final Prophet (SA), in the intimacy of qaba qausayn [at the distance of two bows' length], or even in the secret privacy of au adna [or nearer]. The hand of hope of the human species is short of that, except, that of the sincere of Allah's friends who, according to the spiritual lights and the divine facts, share in the spirituality of the Prophet's sacred essence and, through their complete subordination, they vanished in him. They receive the disclosing knowledge by inheriting it from him, and the truth of the Qur'an may be reflected in their hearts, with the same luminosity and perfection with which it appeared in the heart of that great personality, without its descending to [mundane] stations and taking [mundane] forms. That Qur'an is without change and alteration, and it is of the book of divine revelation. The one capable of carrying this Qur'an is the noble person of the absolute friend of Allah, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS). Others cannot take this fact in, unless it descends from the station of ghayb [the invisible] to the station of visibility and takes the seen form, wearing the apparel of mundane words and letters. This is one of the meanings of "changing" [tahrif] or alteration which has occurred in all Divine Scriptures as well as the Qur'an, changing all the noble ayahs, which, with a change, or rather many changes, according to the stations and stages which continue from His "Names" to the last of the worlds of vision and visibility, are placed within the reach of man. The number of the stages of the change corresponds to the number of the stages of the butun of the Qur'an exactly. The meaning of the change [tahrif] here is the descent from absolute ghayb to absolute visibility, in accordance with the degrees of the worlds, whereas the butun is the return from absolute visibility to absolute ghayb. So, the beginning of the change, and the beginning of the butun are opposed. Whenever a salik attains to a stage of the butun, he gets rid of a degree of the change. When he arrives at the absolute butun, which is the seventh, according to the general classification, he absolutely gets rid of the change [tahrif]. So, it maybe that the Qur'an appears to some to be full of different changes. To another, it may appear with few changes, while to a third it appears with no change at all. It may also appear to somebody changed in some instances and unchanged in some others, or with some sorts of changes in a third instance.

As you know, understanding the greatness of the Qur'an is beyond the capacity of the intellect. Yet, a general hint at the greatness of this Divine Book, which is within the reach of everybody, is of many advantages.

Do know, dear, that the greatness of a speech or a book is derived from the greatness of the speaker and the writer, from the greatness of its contents and objectives, from the greatness of its results and fruits, from the greatness of its intermediate conveyer, from the greatness of its receiver and its carrier, from the greatness of its keeper and protector, from the greatness of its commentator and explainer or from the greatness of the time of its being sent down and how it was sent. Some of these, however, are by nature the causes of greatness, others are indirectly so, and some are proofs of the greatness. All the said matters are contained in this luminous Book in their very best and satisfaction, or, actually they are its distinguished characteristics. No other book shares them with it, or covers all of them comprehensively.

As regards the greatness of the speaker, the composer and its owner, He is the Absolute Great, for all kinds of greatness that can be imagined on the earth and in the heavens, and all powers descending in the visible and the invisible, are but a seepage of the manifestations of the greatness of the act of His Sacred Essence. Allah, the Exalted, would not show Himself to anybody through manifesting His Greatness from behind thousands of veils and curtains, as a hadith says: "Allah has seventy-thousand veils [of light and darkness, if removed away, the lights of His Face would burn everything other than Him.] " [277] To the people of knowledge, this noble Book has issued from Allah, the Exalted, the Origin of all affairs of the Essence, Attributes and Acts, and of all manifestations of Beauty and Majesty. The other divine Books do not enjoy a similar status and position.

As regards the greatness of the contents, objectives and subjects, it requires a separate chapter, or, say separate chapters, sections, a thesis or a book, so that one may relate only a part of that. We shall, nevertheless, generally refer, in a separate chapter, to its universal principles. In the said chapter we shall point out, insha'allah, its greatness in respect of its results and outcome.

As regards the greatness of the messenger and the conveyer of its revelation, he is the Faithful Gabriel, the Great Spirit. After that the noble Messenger of Allah (SA) had quitted the apparel of the nature of the flesh and directed the heart towards His Majesty, he got in touch with that Great Spirit. He is one of the four pillars of the House of Realization, or rather he is the greatest of its pillars and the most honourable of them, since that noble and luminous Archangel is the guardian of knowledge and wisdom, and the conveyer of the spiritual provisions and moral nourishments. From the Book of Allah and the noble hadiths one realizes the greatness of Gabriel and his preference to other angels. [278]

As regards the greatness of its receiver and carrier, it is the pure and pious, Ahmadan single [ahmadi-i ahadi], Muhammadan collective [jam`i-i muhammadi] heart, to which Allah, the Exalted, appeared in all affairs [shu'un] of the Essence, Attributes, Names and Acts. He [the Prophet] is the Seal of prophethood and the absolute guardian, the most generous of all creation, the best of the human beings, the gist [khulasah] of the universe, the essence [jauharah] of existence, the substance [`usarah] of the House of Realization, the last brick and the owner of the big isthmus and great vicegerency [khilafat].

As regards the greatness of its keeper and guardian, He is the Sacred Essence of Allah, the Exalted as He says in the noble ayah: "It is We Who have sent down the Reminder [ the Qur'an] , and verily We are its keeper." [279]

As regards its commentators and explainers, they are the pure infallible ones-beginning with the Messenger of Allah and ending with "the Proof of the Time" [hujjat-i `asr], may Allah enhance his rise-who are the keys of existence, the deposits of dignity, the sources of wisdom and inspiration, the origins of knowledge and learning, and the possessors of the state of collectivity [jam'] and distinctness [tafsil].

As regards the time of revelation, it is laylatul Qadr [The night of the qadr], which is the greatest of nights and "better than a thousand months". It is the most luminous of times. In fact, it is the time of the attainment [wusul] of the General Guardian [waly-i mutlaq] and the Seal of the Prophets (SA).

As regards how it was revealed and its relevant ceremonies, they are beyond the limits of the capacity of these few papers. They require a special chapter, which, owing to its elaboration, will have to be omitted.


[277]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 55, p. 45. This hadith is (also) related by the Sunni sources.

[278]. Look up Surahs ash-Shu'ara: 193, an-Najm: 5-9 and at-Takwir: 19-24. Also Biharul Anwar, vol. 56, p. 258, "Book of the Heaven and the World", chs. on "The Angels" and "Another Chapter on Describing the Favourable Angels", hadith 23 and 24.

[279]. Surah al-Hijr: 9.


Brief Hints at the Objectives, Subjects and Contents of the Glorious Divine Book

Know that the Glorious [Divine] Book, as it declares itself, is a book of guidance, showing the way to human conduct, to educate the souls, to cure the spiritual sicknesses and to throw light on the road to Allah.

Generally speaking, Allah, due to His All-Embracing mercy upon His servants, sent this Glorious Book from His Sacred state of proximity, down, in proportion to the descending worlds until it reached this world of darkness and prison of nature and was put in the dress of words and letters in order to release those imprisoned in this world's dark dungeon and to unite those chained by the fetters of hopes and desires, lifting them from the lowest level of shortcomings, weakness and animality to the peak of perfection, strength and humanity, taking them away from Satan's neighbourhood to the company of heavenly people, and to lead them to the state of "proximity" so as to let them attain to the stage of meeting Allah, which is the highest objective and the want of the people of Allah. So, this is the Book of inviting to Allah and happiness, and explaining how to attain to that stage. Its contents, generally, concern this same journey to Allah, or help the salik and traveller to Allah. In short, one of its important objectives is to invite [mankind] to know Allah, and [another is] to explain divine knowledge concerning the affairs of the Essence, Names, Attributes and Acts. At the top of this is the Unity of Essence, Names and Acts, some of which are explicitly mentioned and some others are only hinted at.

It should be noted that this comprehensive Divine Book deals with the above-mentioned information, from knowing the Essence to knowing the Acts, in such a way that each class of the people comprehends of it according to its capacity. The noble ayahs on tauhid, and on the Unity of Acts in particular, are explained by the literalist scholars, the traditionalists and the faqihs [may Allah be pleased with them] in such a way that their explanations are entirely contrary to the explanations of the people of knowledge and the scholars of the latent meaning of the Qur'an. The writer believes that each of these explanations is correct in its own place, since the Qur'an cures the internal pains, and treats each patient in a certain way: See different noble ayahs, such as: " He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward" [280], "Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth" [281], "And He it is Who in the heaven is God and in the earth is God" [282], "And He is with you" [283], "Wherever you turn there is Allah's face" [284], and many others on the Unity of Essence, and the last ayahs of the surah of al-Hashr and other ones on the Unity of Attributes, and the ayahs "And you threw not when you did throw, but Allah threw," [285] "All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds", [286] and "All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorify Allah," [287] concerning the Unity of Acts. Some of them strictly, and some others more strictly, have gnostic indications. For each class of the external and the internal scholars each of them is the remedy, in a way, for an illness. As, although it is said in the noble al-Kafi [288] that the first ayahs of surah al-Hadid and the blessed surah of Ikhlas [Tauhid] were intended for the deep thinkers of "the End of the Time", yet the people of literalism are also benefited by them all right - a fact which proves the miraculousness and the comprehensiveness of this noble Book.

Of its other objectives and topics is its call for purifying the souls and purging the insides from the impurities of nature, and attaining to happiness. Generally, it shows how to travel to Allah. This noble subject is divided into two important branches: One is taqwa in all its stages, including bewaring of other than Allah, and complete negligence of all other than Him. The other is faith in all its stages and affairs, including devotion to, Allah, and return and repentance to His Sacred Essence. These are of the important objectives of this noble Book, as most of its subjects, directly or indirectly, connote them.

Another subject of this Divine Book is to relate the stories of the prophets, Allah's friends and the wisemen, and how He educated them, and how they educated the people. These stories are of great advantages and cover many instructions. They include so many pieces of divine information, teachings and divine educational instructions, either openly or allegorically that perplex the mind. Glorious is Allah and praise and gratitude are for Him. Just take the story of the creation of Adam (AS), the angels' being ordered to bow down to him, the teaching of the names and the cases of Iblis and Adam (AS) which are repeatedly narrated in the Book of Allah. They offer so many teachings, educational instructions, knowledge and information for "him who has a heart or gives ear and he is a witness" [289] that bewilder man. The stories of the Qur'an, such as the stories of Adam, Moses, Ibrahim and other prophets (AS) are repeatedly stated in order to show that this Book is neither a book of stories nor of history, but a book of journeying to Allah, a book of tauhid, knowledge, admonitions and aphorisms. In such matters repetition is required so as to fix them in the hard-hearted souls and to have effects as an admonition to them. In other words, whoever wants to educate, teach, warn and bring good tidings, has to express his intentions in different styles and diverse ways, such as narrations and tales, or historical stories, and sometimes in quite an explicit way, and sometimes by way of allusion and indirect hints, symbols and examples, so that different souls and scattered hearts can each be benefited by them.

As this noble Book is intended for the happiness of all classes and the human race, and as the human species differ in the condition of their hearts, in their customs, behaviors, time and place, they cannot be attracted in the same way. Many of them may not be prepared to accept the instructions and the original matter in a direct, clear and explicit language, or to be affected by it. They are to be approached in accordance with the construction of their brains in order to make them comprehend what is intended. Some others are not interested in stories, tales and histories, as they are in quest of the cores of the matters and the real aims. They cannot be taken on the same basis with the former ones. Many hearts are fit for being frightened and warned, other hearts are attracted by promises and hopes. Consequently, this noble Book uses different methods, styles and ways for its invitation of the people. Thus, such a Book has inevitably to resort to repetition. Attracting and admonishing, without repetition, would be far from eloquence. The expected effect in the souls cannot be obtained without repetition.

Nevertheless, in this noble Book, the topics are so sweetly related that their repetition never bores the hearers. Furthermore, each repetition of a subject brings fresh details and features that have not formerly been mentioned, or rather in each repetition there is an additional important gnostic or ethical point around which the case revolves. In order to expand upon this, one has to carefully study the stories of the Qur'an, which cannot be contained within the summaries of these papers. This weak person [the writer] has a fixed hope to write, with Allah's help, a book about the stories of the Qur'an, deciphering their puzzles and explaining their teachings and educational qualities, as much as possible, though carrying out this task by somebody like the writer is but a raw desire, or a false fancy.

At any rate, relating the stories of the prophets (AS), describing their conducts and behaviours, how they educated the people, and remembering their advices, admonitions and good arguments are of the largest chapters of knowledge and philosophies, and of the loftiest passages to happiness and instructions which Allah, the Exalted and Most Glorified, opened to His servants. Although the people of knowledge, suluk and austerity have their share plentifully, other people also have their boundless portion, as is stated in the noble ayah: "When the night over-shadowed him, he saw a star. He said: `This is my Lord: But when it set, he said: `I do not love the setting [ones]"' [290] The people of knowledge well understand the spiritual suluk and the conduct of lbrahim (AS). They also learn how to travel to Allah, and perceive the truth of the self's spiritual journey from the farthest [deepest] darkness of nature, expressed in "the night over-shadowed him", till absolutely casting down the egoism and egotism, leaving I-ness and self-worship, attaining to the state of sanctity and joining the meeting of intimacy, which is expressed in: "I have turned my face toward Him Who created the heavens and the earth ... ." [291] Others learn from it the outer journey and how Khalilur-Rahman [the intimate friend of the Beneficent] educated his people. Likewise, there are other stories and tales, such as the stories of Adam, lbrahim, Moses, Yusuf [Joseph], `Isa [Jesus] and the meeting between al-Khidr [Elias] and Moses, by which the people of knowledge, austerity and hardship, and others are benefited differently. In this part included, or in a separate objective, are the aphorisms and the admonitions of His Sacred Essence, Who, on every suitable occasion, has invited the people, with His tongue of Power, to divine knowledge, tauhid and glorification, such as the blessed surah of Ikhlas, the last ayahs of the surah of al-Hashr and the early ayahs of the surah of al-Hadid and other instances in the noble divine Book. The people of heart and of good past enjoy a good share of it. For example, when the people of knowledge recite: "And whoever leaves his house migrating to Allah and His Messenger, then death overtakes him, his reward is, indeed , with Allah ...", [292] they understand from it the proximity of the nafilah [supererogatory act] and faridah [obligatory act] , while, at the same time, other understand from it a bodily migration, say, to Mecca or to al-Madinah, or they understand it to be an invitation to purifying the soul and internal austerity, as in the noble ayah: " He will, indeed, be successful who purifies it, and he will, indeed, be unsuccessful who seduces it," [293] and the like; or it is a call to good deed, as it is obvious; or it is a warning against anyone of these things. This part also includes the aphorisms of Luqman and of other notables and believers which are sporadically mentioned in this divine Book, such as the case of "the people of the Cave".

Another subject of this luminous Book concerns the states of the disbelievers, the deniers and the opposers of the truth and reality, and those who act obstinately towards the prophets and the Imams (AS). It explains their fates and how they were annihilated, such as the episodes of Pharaoh, Korah, Nimrod, Shaddad, the People of the Elephant, and other disbelievers and sinners, in all of which there are admonitions, aphorisms and even knowledge for those who deserve them. This part includes the cases of the accursed Iblis, as well as the expeditions of the Messenger of Allah (SA), [or in a separate part] from which noble subjects are also learnt, such as how the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (SA) used to fight in order to waken. the Muslims from the sleep of negligence, and to incite them to fight for the sake of Allah to uplift the word of truth and to abolish the batil [falsehood].

Another subject dealt with in the Glorious Qur'an is explaining the pure laws of the literal meaning of the Shari ah and the disciplines and divine rules, which are stated in this luminous Book, in a general way, the most important of which is introducing the principal subjects and disciplines, such as the chapters of the salat, zakat, khums, hajj, saum, jihad, marriage , inheritance, penalties, punishments, trading and the like. This section, which is the science of the appearance of the Shari'ah, is a public concern and is for all the classes, and it is intended to build up this world and the Hereafter. All the classes of people can benefit from it according to their individual capacities. This is frequently invited to in the Book of Allah, as well as in the hadiths and narratives, which freely expand upon the characteristics and details. The works and writings of the religious scholars on this section are more and higher than on other sections.

Another topic dealt with in the Glorious Qur'an is the conditions of the ma`ad [Resurrection], arguments proving it, its torments, punishments and rewards, and the details of Paradise, Hell, punishing and of putting in a state of comfort and ease. This section handles matters such as the conditions of the people of happiness and their ranks, like the people of knowledge, the favourites, the people of austerity, the travelers to Allah, the devotees, and the ascetics; as well as the conditions and degrees of the people of wretchedness, such as the infidels, the veiled, the hypocrites, the deniers, the disobedient and the sinners. But that which has more advantages to the conditions of the common people is more expanded upon and is in a more explicit language, whereas that which is more advantageous to a particular class of people is referred to by way of allegories and allusions, such as: "And an approval from Allah is far greater" [294], and other ayahs about meeting Allah, and such as: "Nay, surely they shall on that day be veiled from their Lord" , [295] in respect to another group. In this section, i.e. the section concerning details about the Resurrection and the Return to Allah, countless information and difficult secrets are stated, such that, without a demonstrative conduct [suluk] or a gnostic light, their nature cannot be comprehended.

Another subject of this divine Book is the proofs and evidences which Allah, the Exalted, Himself presents to prove the truthful matters and divine knowledge, like the argument proving [the existence of] Allah and His Oneness, His transcendence, His Knowledge, His Power and His other attributes of perfection. In this section one can sometimes find very refined proofs from which the people of knowledge derive complete benefit, such as: "Allah bears witness that there is no god but He." [296] One also finds proofs which are used by the scholars and philosophers in one way, and by the people of formalism and the common people in another way, such as the ayah: " Had there been in them any gods other than Allah, they both would have been corrupted," [297] and the ayah: "... otherwise each god would have certainly taken away what he had created" [298] and like the first ayahs of the surah of al-Hadid and the blessed surah of at-Tauhid and other ayahs. Also there are arguments proving the Resurrection and the return of the spirits and originating another creation, and the arguments proving the existence of Allah's angels and the great prophets, stated in many occasions in this Glorious Book. These were the arguments of the Sacred Essence Himself, and there are the arguments and the proofs of the prophets and wise men quoted by Allah to prove the divine knowledge, such as the arguments of Ibrahim, the intimate friend of Allah (AS), and other arguments.

These were the important subjects of this Book, though there are many other different subjects, which require considerable time to count.


[280]. Surah al-Hadid: 3.

[281]. Surah: an-Nur: 35.

[282]. Surah az-Zukhruf: 84.

[283]. Surah al-Hadid: 4.

[284]. Surah al-Baqarah: 115.

[285]. Surah al-Anfal: 17.

[286]. Surah al-Fatihah: 2.

[287]. Surah al-Jumu'ah: 1, and Surah at-Taghabun: 1.

[288]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 123, "Book of at-Tauhid" ch. on "Lineage", hadith No. 3.

[289]. Surah Qaf: 37.

[290]. Surah al-An'am: 76.

[291]. Ibid.: 79.

[292]. Surah an-Nisa': 100.

[293]. Surah ash-Shams: 9 and 10.

[294]. Surah at-Taubah: 72.

[295]. Surah al-Mutaffifin: 15.

[296]. Surah Al-i `Imran: 18.

[297]. Surah al-Anbiya': 22.

[298]. Surah al-Mu'minun: 91.


How to be benefited by the Qur'an

Now that you have got acquainted with the subjects and the objectives of the Divine Book [the Qur'an], you will have to take into consideration an important point, as by doing so the door of being benefited by it will be opened to you, and the passage to knowledge and wisdom will be wide open to your heart. This point is to look at this Glorious Book as an educational one, a teaching book by which you should be benefited, regarding it your duty to learn from it. By learning, teaching, benefiting and being benefited we do not mean its different literary syntactical and morphological aspects, nor its eloquence and rhetoric and other stylistic points, nor being interested in its stories, tales and episodes from the historical point of view in order to get information about the past nations. None of these is included in the objectives of the Qur'an , and they are, in fact, far away from the main objective of this divine Book.

The fact that our advantage from this great Book is quite small is because we usually do not take it to be a book of teaching and education. We recite the Qur'an just for its reward. So, we pay attention only to our intonation when reciting it. We want our recitation to be perfect and correct so as to obtain its reward, then we stop at that and feel satisfied with it. Thus, we spend some forty years reciting the Qur'an without being benefited by it, except the reward for reciting it. If we do look at its teaching and educational side, we concern ourselves with its eloquence and syntax and its miraculous aspects, or even somewhat higher, we engage ourselves with its history, the occasions of the revelation of the ayahs, the times of their revelation, which surah or ayah was revealed in Mecca and which in al-Madinah, the differences in recitations and in the exegeses of the Sunnis and the Shiites and other secondary affairs which are outside the main objective and they themselves cause us to be barred from the Qur'an and to neglect remembering Allah. Even our great commentators of the Qur'an are very much concerned about one or another of the said affairs, without opening the door of learning to the people.

The writer believes that so far no "tafsir" [exegesis] has yet been written to the Book of Allah. Generally, to write a "tafsir" for a book means to explain the objectives of the book and to draw the attentions to what its author wants to say. This noble Book, which Allah, the Exalted, testifies to be a book of guidance and teaching, and the light of the road of man's journey, its exegete should find in each one of its stories, or even in each ayah, a directive guiding to the invisible world, so as to show to the learner the road to happiness, to knowledge and to humanity. A "mufassir" [commentator or exegete] is the one who tells us what was the "objective" of the revelation, not the "occasion" of the revelation as is explained in the exegeses. In the very story of Adam and Eve and their affairs with Iblis, from the very moment of their creation till their descent to the earth, which story is repeated by Allah several times in the Qur'an, there are so many overt and covert teachings [ma'arif] and admonitions, and it reminds us of so many of spiritual faults and Satanic characters, as well as many perfections of the soul and human knowledge which it introduces to us, whereas we still disregard them.

In short, the Book of Allah is a book of knowledge and ethics, and an invitation to happiness and perfection. So, its exegesis should also be a book of gnosticism and ethics, explaining the gnostic and ethical points of view, and other aspects of inviting to its happiness [sa`ada]. The commentator who neglects these points, disregards them or attaches no importance to them, is, actually, neglecting the objective of the Qur'an and the main aim of revealing the [divine] books and sending the messengers. This is a grave mistake which has prevented the ummah, for many centuries, from being benefited by the Glorious Qur'an, and it has blocked the road of guidance in their faces. We have to learn the objective of the revelation of the Qur'an -disregarding the intellectual and argumentative aspects, which show us the goal by themselves-from the Qur'an itself. The author of a book knows better his own objective. So, let us have a glance at what the author of this Book Himself says concerning the affairs of the Qur'an. He says: " This is the Book, wherein is no doubt, a guide for the muttaqin [those who fear Allah] ". [299] He describes His Book as being a book of guidance. In a short surah He repeats saying: " We have made the Qur'an easy for remembrance, but is there any one who will mind?" [300] He says: "...We have revealed to you the Remembrance that you may explain to mankind what has been sent down to them and that haply they will reflect," [301] and "A Book We have revealed to you, blessed, that they may ponder over its ayahs and that men of understanding may remember," [302] and many other noble ayahs, to restate which would be lengthy.

This opinion of ours is not intended to criticize the tafsirs, as every one of their authors has taken great pains and striven hard in order to write a noble book, so, may Allah bless them and grant them good reward. We intend just to say that the door must be open before the people to be benefited by this Book, which is the only one leading to Allah and the only one for educating the souls with the divine disciplines and laws, the greatest means of connection between the created and Creator, the strong handle and the firm cord of adhering to the Might of Divinity. Let the scholars and commentators write Persian and Arabic exegeses with the aim of explaining the gnostic and ethical teachings and instructions, showing the way of connecting the created to the Creator, and expounding the migration from Darul Ghurur [the House of Conceit = this world] to the Darus-Surur wal Khulud [the House of Pleasure and Eternity], according to what has been deposited in this noble Book. The author of this Book is not as-Sakkaki or the Shaykh, whose objectives were eloquence and rhetoric, nor is He Sibawayh or al-Khalil, whose objectives were grammar and syntax, nor is He al-Mas'udi or Ibn Khillakan, whose objectives revolved around the history of the world. This Book is not like the stick of Moses or his White Hand, nor is it like the blow of Christ who could raise the dead [by Allah's permission], to have been sent down only as a miracle to prove the true prophethood of the Holy Prophet. This divine Book is, as a matter of fact, a book of enlivening the hearts with the everlasting life of divine knowledge. It is Allah's Book which invites to divine affairs. So, the commentator has to teach these divine affairs to the people, and the people have to refer to his commentary to learn those affairs, so that they may attain its advantage: "And We reveal of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, and it adds only to the perdition of the wrongdoers." [303] Which perdition is graver than that we keep reciting the Divine Book for thirty or forty years and refer to the exegeses, and yet we do not get its real objectives? "Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You do not forgive us and have not mercy upon us, we shall certainly be of the losers." [304]


[299]. Surah al-Baqarah: 2.

[300]. Surah al-Qamar: 17.

[301]. Surah an-Nahl: 44.

[302]. Surah Sad: 29.

[303]. Surah al-Isra': 82.

[304]. Surah al-A'raf: 23.


The obstacles and the barriers preventing being benefited by the Qur'an

Now that the greatness of the Book of Allah has been understood with considering all the required aspects of greatness, and the way of being benefited by it has been opened, it will be necessary for the learner of, and the benefit-deriver [mustafid] from, the Book of Allah to apply a further important discipline in order to get [the best] advantage. It is removing the causes which prevent the advantage, and which we call "the veils" between the benefit-deriver and the Qur'an. These veils are many, to some of which we shall refer presently.

One of these thick veils is self-conceit, through which the learner sees himself, because of this veil, in no need of getting any benefit from the Qur'an. This is one of Satan's important masterpieces, by which he always tries to inspire man with imaginary perfections, telling him to be contented with what he has, and to disregard everything other than that which he already has. For example, he makes the people of tajwid [reciting the Qur'an with intonation] contented with this small knowledge which they have, making it quite big in their eyes, slighting other knowledge to them, and making them compare the carriers of the Qur'an with themselves, causing them to be deprived of understanding the luminous divine Book and of getting any advantage from it. Similarly, he causes the men of letters to be contented with the meaningless from, making them believe that all the Qur'anic affairs are only those which they have. He engages the exegetes, as usual, with the ways of recitation, the different opinions of the linguistics, the times of revelation, the occasions of revelation, whether the ayah was revealed in Mecca or in al-Madinah, the number of the ayahs, their letters and the like. The scholars are also kept indulged in only learning the different aspects of indications, the diverse ways of arguments and the like. Even the philosopher, the wise man and the gnostic are imprisoned by Satan behind the thick veil of terminology, concepts and so on. The benefit-deriver [mustafid] must tear open these veils in order to look at the Qur'an from behind them, taking care not to stay at any one of these veils, so as not to be left behind the caravan of the travelers to Allah, nor be deprived of the sweet divine invitations. The Glorious Qur'an itself instructs that one should not remain still and should not be satisfied with a certain limit. This is frequently referred to in the stories of the Qur'an. Moses (AS), a great prophet as he was, was not contented with that position, nor was he satisfied with his high position of knowledge. He no sooner met that perfect man, al-Khidr, than he addressed him, quite humbly and modestly, saying: "May I follow you that you may teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught?" [305] He kept following him and acquired the knowledge he wanted to learn. Prophet Ibrahim (AS). also was not satisfied with the great state of faith and the special knowledge of the prophets (AS). He asked the Lord: " My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead." [306] He wanted to proceed from the state of cordial faith up to the state of tangible confidence. Higher even than that is when Allah, the Exalted, told the Seal of the Prophets, the most learned person of all Allah's creatures, to say: "... Say: 'O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge". [307] Such instructions of the divine Book and relating the stories of the prophets, are but for us to learn from them, and to bring us to conscience and wake us from our negligent sleep.

Another one of the veils is that of the false ideas, and the batil ways, which are sometimes caused by the inabilities of the person himself, and they are mostly the outcome of subordination and imitation. This veil particularly conceals from us the Qur'anic knowledge. For example, if, by listening to our fathers, mothers, or some ignorant preacher, we got a false idea fixed in our hearts, it would be a veil, a barrier, between us and the noble divine ayahs [of the Qur'an]. Thus, even if there were thousands of ayahs and hadiths defying that idea, we would either dismiss them on the basis of their exoteric meanings, or we would not consider them with the aim of understanding. Regarding beliefs and knowledge there are numerous examples, but I shall abstain from counting them, as I do know that this veil cannot not be torn by the sayings of someone, like me. Nevertheless, just to present a sample, I will refer to one of them, which is somewhat easier to understand: Despite all the ayahs which have been revealed in respect of meeting Allah and knowing Him, all the narratives that were related to the same subject and all the indications and allusions, open and hidden, in the invocations and the supplications of the Imams (AS) , some uninformed and vulgar persons have spread the belief that the way to knowing Allah was completely closed. The door of knowing Allah and discerning the Beauty [of Him] is interpreted to be the same as meditating upon the very Essence of Allah, which is prohibited, or rather impossible. They may even refrain from entering this field and prefer not to acquaint themselves with such knowledge which is the delight of the eyes of the prophets and holy men [auliya']. It is much to be regretted by the people of Allah to see a chapter of knowledge, which can very aptly be described as the goal of sending the prophets and the most cherished demand of the holy men, should be so prohibited to the people that a simple mentioning it would be regarded complete disbelief and mere heresy. These people take the knowledge [ma `arif] of the prophets and the holy men [auliya] to be the same as the knowledge [ma'arif] of the common people and [unlettered old] women about Allah's Essence, Names and Attributes. Sometimes they say even more than that: "So-and-so has good, vulgar beliefs. We wish we kept to the same vulgar belief." This is quite correct, because when this wretched person utters these words, he has already lost his vulgar beliefs, and, at the same time, regards other beliefs, which are the beliefs of the elite and the people of Allah, to be false. This wish is quite similar to the wish of the disbelievers who, as in the noble ayah, say: "... and the disbeliever shall say: `O would that I were dust!' [308] should we want to relate in detail the ayahs and the narratives concerning the meeting with Allah, in order to expose this corrupt belief caused by ignorance and Satanic conceit, we would need to write a separate book. Especially, if we wanted to explain the knowledge which has been neglected due to this thick Satanic veil, it would be clear that this negligence is one of the stages of neglecting and discarding the Qur'an, and it is probably the most regretful stage, as is described in the Qur'an: "And the Messenger said: `O my Lord! My people have treated this Qur'an as a forsaken [thing]." [309] Forsaking the Qur'an has many stages and countless degrees, and we may possess a good number of them.

If we bound this divine Book in a nice and valuable cover, and we kissed it and put it on our eyes whenever we wanted to recite it or to take an istikharah [ consulting the Qur'an to do, or not to do, something ] with it , would it mean that we did not forsake it?

If we spent most of our lives perfecting our intonation when reciting the Qur'an, and improving our linguistic and rhetorical knowledge of it, would it mean that we brought the Qur'an out of being forsaken?

If we learnt the different ways of reciting the Qur'an and other relevant subjects, would we be declared not guilty of deserting it?

If we took in all the aspects of the miraculousness and the artistic beauties of the Qur'an, would we be excluded from the complaint of the Messenger of Allah? Never ! None of these is intended by the Qur'an and its Great Revealer! The Qur'an is a divine Book, and it contains divine affairs. The Qur'an is the string connecting the creatures to their Creator, and through its instructions there should be a spiritual and invisible tie between the servants of Allah and their Lord. From the Qur'an there should emerge divine sciences and intuitive knowledge. The Messenger of Allah, according to a narrative in the noble al-Kafi, said: "Knowledge is of three kinds: a clear ayah, a fair obligation and a current tradition." [310]

The Glorious Qur'an is the bearer of these sciences. If we could take them in, we would not be deserting the Qur'an. If we accepted the calls of the Qur'an, and learnt from the stories of the prophets (SA) which are full of admonishments, information and philosophies, and if we absorbed the admonitions of Allah, the Exalted, of the prophets and of the wisemen, as stated in the Qur'an, we would not be deserting it, as indulging in the formal picture of the Qur'an is also keeping to the earth, and is of Satan's whisperings, from which one must seek refuge with Allah.

Another veil which prevents us from being benefited by this luminous Book is to believe that except what the exegetes have written or understood, no one has the right to make use of the noble Qur'an. Contemplating and thinking about the noble ayahs are mistakenly regarded to be interpretation, as interpretation according to one's own opinion is not allowed, and thus, because of this false belief and invalid opinion, the Glorious Qur'an was deprived from being utilized in any way and, consequently, it was completely deserted, despite the fact that to utilize it morally, faithfully and gnosticly has nothing to do with exegesis, be it according to opinion or else. For example, suppose some one could get out some lessons from the dialogue between the prophets Moses and al-Khidr (AS), how they talked to one another, how severely Moses, great a prophet as he was, traveled in order to acquire the knowledge which he lacked, and he implored al-Khidr (AS) in the way stated in the noble ayah: "May I follow you that you may teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught?" [311], then al-Khidr's reply, the excuses of Moses (AS), the greatness of the station of knowledge, and how a student should behave toward his tutor, in which there may be twenty disciplines. What connection have all these with exegesis, or exegesis according to opinion? Many advantages of the Qur'an are of this kind. Take, for example, someone, who, in respect of Islamic teachings, understands from Allah's saying: "All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds" that all praise and extolment are exclusively Allah's. He learns from it His Unity of Actions, and says that from the noble ayah he gathers that every perfection, beauty, might and majesty which are in the world-and which the eye of the squint-eyed and the heart of the veiled ascribe to the beings - are Allah's and no being has itself any share of them. Therefore, praise and extolment are solely Allah's, and nobody shares them with Him. But has this anything to do with exegesis, be it according to opinion or not? There are so many other affairs from which many usages can be obtained, though having no connection with exegesis whatsoever. Besides, to exegete according to opinion is still arguable, as probably it does not concern the ayahs about knowledge and the speculative sciences, which conform with the criteria of intellectual proofs, nor the ethical ayahs which have to do with intellect, since such exegeses coincide with the strong intellectual proofs or with explicit rational indications, such that if an exterior does not conform with them, they are to be turned away from that exterior. For example, the noble ayahs: "And your Lord comes, and the angels rank on rank," [312] or "The Beneficent has settled on the Throne," [313] in which the conventional [`urf] understanding contradicts the proof, to refute the exterior and to explain them by proof is not explaining according to opinion, and can never be prohibited.

Therefore, it is possible, or believed, that exegesis according to opinion concerns the ayahs of precepts, of which the hand of opinion and intellect is short, and they must be devotionally and obediently taken from the treasurers of revelation and the descending places of the angels of Allah, as most of the noble hadiths in this respect defy the Sunni jurisprudents who wanted to comprehend Allah's religion by way of their own intellects and by comparisons. Some noble narrative says: "Nothing is farther away from the intellects of men than the exegesis of the Qur'an". [314] Another noble narrative says: "Allah's religion cannot be conceived well by intellects". [315] Such narratives prove that by "Allah's religion" they mean devotional obedience to the religious precepts, or else, proving the Maker, tauhid, Glorification, the Resurrection Day and Prophethood, or rather all sorts of knowledge are within the intellect's lawful right and field of specialty. That which is in the expressions of some notable narrators who said that proving monotheism depends on traditional proof, is strange, or, more aptly, it is one of the disasters from which we must take refuge with Allah. This speech does not need to be condemned and disgraced, but our complaint is to Allah.

Another veil which prevents understanding this heavenly Book and being benefited by its knowledge and admonitions is the veil of disobediences [ma`asi] and the opacity caused by rebellion against the sanctity of the Lord of the worlds. By this veil the heart is prevented from understanding the truths. It must be noted that just as there is a corresponding image for each of the good and bad deeds in the heavenly world, there is a similar one inside the soul, through which the innermost part of the soul gets either luminous and likewise the heart gets purified and luminous, in which case the soul becomes clear and polished like a mirror, prepared to receive the invisible manifestation and the appearance of the truths and knowledge, or the soul gets dark and devilish, in which case the heart becomes like a rusty and tarnished mirror, unable to reflect any divine knowledge and invisible truths. A heart in such a condition will gradually fall under the authority of Satan, and Iblis becomes the possessor of the kingdom of the spirit, and the hearing and seeing, and the other senses and powers, too, become at the disposal of that evil creature. The hearing becomes completely blocked against the divine teachings, and the eyes do not see the splendid divine signs and they become blind to Allah's truth, signs and ayahs. The heart does not become learned in religion, and is deprived of meditating on the clear signs of Allah, His Names and His Attributes, as Allah, the Exalted says: "They have hearts with which they do not understand, and they have eyes with which they do not see, and they have ears with which they do not hear. They are as cattle - nay, they are even worse..." [316] Their look at the world is like the look of the cattle and the animals at it, void of value and deliberation. Their hearts, like the hearts of the animals, lack meditation and remembrance, or rather, the more they think of the ayahs and hear admonitions and instructions, the more their negligence and haughtiness increase. Thus, they are even lower than the beasts and graver in going astray.

Another one of the thick veils, which is a heavy curtain between us and the teachings and admonitions of the Qur'an, is the veil of loving this world, which causes the heart to completely be devoted to it, and the inclination of the heart entirely turns towards mundane matters, neglecting remembering Allah and turning away from both remembrance and the One to be remembered. The more the love for this world and its affairs, the thicker the veil and the curtain on the heart. Sometimes this love so overwhelms the heart, and the power [sultan] of endearing post and position becomes so influential, that the light of the divine nature [fitratullah] in the heart is put off, and the doors of happiness are closed to man's face. It is, however, possible that the locks of the hearts mentioned in the noble ayah: "Will they, then, not meditate on the Qur'an, or are there locks on the hearts?" [317] are those locks of mundane attachments. The one who wants to be benefited by the Qur'anic knowledge and to make use of the divine admonitions, will have to purge the heart from such impurities, and drive away the pollution of cordial sins, which are being engaged with other than Him, because the non-purified [heart] is no place for these secrets. Allah, the Exalted, says: "It is surely a noble Qur'an, in a protected Book; none shall touch it save the purified ones." [318] Just as the touching of the external body of this Book is not allowed for the one whose external body is not purified, by both legislation and obligation, similarly its knowledge, admonitions and secrets are prohibited to the one whose heart is smeared with the filths of the mundane longings. Allah, the Exalted, says: "This is the Book, wherein is no doubt, a guide for those who fear Allah." [319] The one who does not fear Allah and is faithless -according to the God-fearingness and the faith of the common people-is deprived of the formal lights of the admonitions of the Qur'an and of its true beliefs, while the one who does not fear Allah and is faithless- according to other degrees of fearing Allah, which are the fearing of the elite, of the upper elite and of the most upper elite - is deprived of the other degrees of the Qur'an. However, going into the details and relating other ayahs to the same effect would lengthen the subject. Nevertheless, we are going to end this chapter with an honoured ayah, which will be sufficient for the wakeful people, provided that it is well pondered upon.

Allah, the Exalted, says: "...Indeed there has come to you from Allah a light, and a clear Book, with which Allah guides him who seeks His pleasure unto the ways of safety, and brings them out of darkness into the light by His permission, and guides them unto a straight path." [320]

There are many specific points in this noble ayah, and to explain them we would need to write a separate thesis, for which there is no opportunity now.


[305]. Surah al-Kahf: 66.

[306]. Surah al-Baqarah: 260.

[307]. Surah Ta-Ha: 114.

[308]. Surah an-Naba': 40.

[309]. Surah al-Furqan: 30.

[310]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 37, "Book of the Merits of Knowledge", ch. On "The Description of Knowledge and its Merits", hadith 1.

[311]. Surah al-Kahf: 66.

[312]. Surah al-Fajr: 22.

[313]. Surah Ta-Ha: 5.

[314]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 89, p.95, "The Book of the Qur'an", ch. 8, hadith 48. `Ayyashi's Exegesis, vol. 1, p. 12.

[315]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 2, p. 303, "Book of Knowledge", hadith 41. From Ikmalud-din (Completing the Religion).

[316]. Surah al-An'am: 179.

[317]. Surah Muhammad: 24.

[318]. Surah al-Waqi`ah: 77-79.

[319]. Surah al-Baqarah: 2.

[320]. Surah al-Ma'idah: 15-16.




One of the disciplines of reciting the Qur'an is the presence of heart, to which we have already referred in this book, when we discussed the general disciplines of the acts of worship; so, there is no need to repeat it.

Another one of its disciplines is meditation, by which we mean that the reciter of the noble ayahs should look for the destination and the objective. Now as the objective of the Qur'an, as the very luminous Book says, is guiding the people to the ways of safety, bringing them out of the stages of darkness into the world of light, and leading them to the straight path, one must, by way of meditating on the noble ayahs, attain to the stages of safety, from its lowest stage, which belongs to worldly dominion, up to its final stage, which is the realization of a sound heart [qalb-i salim], according to the explanation received from Ahlul Bayt (AS) saying that a sound heart meets Allah when it is occupied by none other than Him. [321] The soundness of the worldly and heavenly powers should be the quest of the reciter of the Qur'an, as he will certainly find it in this heavenly Book if he meditates on it. When the human powers become safe from Satan's intrusion, and when the way to safety is found and followed, man, in each stage of safety, will be saved from a degree of darkness, and the bright light of Allah will inevitably shine in him. If he gets rid of all sorts of darkness, the first one of which is the darkness of the world of nature, with all its affairs, and the last of which is the darkness of being inclined to multiplicity with all its affairs, the absolute light will shine in his heart, leading him to the straight path of humanity, which is, in this instance, the path of the Lord: "Surely my Lord is on a straight path." [322]

Contemplation is very much invited to, praised and applauded in the Glorious Qur'an. Allah, the Exalted, says : "And We have revealed to you the Remembrance that you may explain to mankind what has been sent down to them and that haply they may reflect." [323] In this noble ayah reflection is strongly applauded, because the aim of sending down this great heavenly Book, the great luminous paper, is that "haply they may reflect". This is quite significant that the mere possibility of reflection causes the revelation of this great generosity [karamat]. In another ayah He says: " Therefore, narrate the narratives [qasas] that they may reflect. " [324] There are so many ayahs of this like or almost the like, as well as narratives [riwayat] which invite to reflection. The Messenger of Allah (SA) is quoted to have said, on the revelation of the ayah "Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men of understanding," [325]: "Woe to the one who reads it and does not reflect upon it" [326] An important point in this respect is that one should know what the commended reflection is, as there is no doubt in the fact that it is praiseworthy to think about the Qur'an and the hadiths. The best expression for it is that of the Khajah `Abdullah al-Ansari [ may Allah sanctify his soul]. He says: "Do know that reflection is the insight's attempt to understand the purpose." [327] That is, reflection is a seeking by the "insight" [basirat], which is the eye of the heart, wanting to attain to the aim and the result, which are the utmost perfection. It is quite clear that the destination [maqsad] and the aim [maqsud] are the absolute happiness, attainable through theoretical and practical perfection.

Therefore, it is man's duty to obtain the humane objective and result, being happiness, from the noble ayahs of the divine Book and from its stories and tales. And, since happiness is to attain to absolute safety, the world of light and the straight path, man should find through the honoured Qur'an the ways to safety, the source of the absolute light and the straight path, as was stated in the previously mentioned noble ayah. When the reciter gets the aim, he becomes clear-sighted in getting to it, and the door of being benefited by the Qur'an opens to him, and with it the doors of the mercy of Allah open, too. He, then, would not spend his dear and short years and his capital for obtaining happiness on matters which are not intended by the Message, preventing himself from indulging in useless discussion and talk about such an important subject.

Having directed his heart's eye for some time to this purpose, neglecting other matters, the eye of the heart gets sharp in observing, and meditating on the Qur'an becomes common to him, and the ways of utilization open to him, and there open to him such doors that had not already been open to him, and he obtains from the Qur'an such matters and knowledge that he had never obtained before. At that time he can understand the meaning of the Qur'an being a cure for the spiritual ailment, as is confirmed by the noble ayah: "And We reveal from the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers, and it adds only to the perdition of the wrongdoers," [328] and the meaning of the saying of Imam `Ale (AS): "Learn the Qur'an, for it is the spring [rabi`] of the hearts; and seek cure with its light, since it is the cure for the hearts." [329] He does not seek from the Qur'an the cure of only the physical ailments, but regards the main aim to be the cure of the spiritual ailments, which is the very objective: of the Qur'an. The Qur'an has not been sent down to cure the physical ailments, although such ailments do get cured by it. The prophets (AS), too, did not come to cure physical ailments, although they did cure them. As a matter of fact, they were the doctors for the souls, and the curers of the hearts and the spirits.


[321]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 3, p.26, "The Book of Faith and Disbelief", ch. On "Sincerity", hadith 5.

[322]. Surah Had: 56.

[323]. Surah an-Nahl: 44.

[324]. Surah al-A'raf: 176.

[325]. Surah Al-i'Imran: 190.

[326]. Nuruth-Thaqalayn, vol.l, p.350 (with a slight literal difference).

[327]. Manazilus-Sa'irin, section "The Beginnings", ch. on "Reflection".

[328]. Surah al-Isra': 82.

[329]. Nahjul Balaghah, sermon No. 109 (with some change in the wording).



Application to one's own condition

One of the important disciplines of reciting the Qur'an that causes one to get so many good results and advantages, is "application" [tatbiq]; that is, each ayah which he recites and thinks about, he is to apply its concept to his own condition, to make up for his shortcomings by resorting to it, and to cure his ailments with it. Take, for example, the honoured story of Adam (AS): See what caused Satan to be expelled from the Sacred Threshold of Allah, despite his countless acts of worship and long devoted bowings, so that you may purge yourself from it, because the state of Allah's proximity belongs to the pure ones, and with Satanic conducts and character no one can be admitted to that Sacred Presence. From the noble ayahs one can learn that the reason behind Iblis's refusing to bow down was self-conceit and self-admiration :" I am better than he: You have created me of fire while him You have created of clay." [330] This self-conceit led him to selfishness and ostentation, which is arrogance. This led him to obstinacy, which is independence and disobedience, and hence he was expelled from the Sacred Court. We, from the beginning of the life, call Satan as the accursed and the discarded, and yet we ourselves possess his very vile characteristics. It has not occurred to us that anyone possessing the same reasons, which caused the dismissal of Satan, will be dismissed, too. Satan has no particular specialty, whatever reason expelled him from the threshold of Allah's proximity would never let us into that proximity. I am afraid that the curses which we send to Iblis are to be shared by us, too.

We may further think of the same noble story, and what caused the superiority of Adam (AS) over Allah's angels, so that we ourselves may acquire them, too, as much as possible. The cause was "teaching the names", as the Qur'an says: "And He taught Adam all the names" [331] The high degree of teaching the names is realizing [tahaqquq] the state of Allah's Names, such as the high degree of counting the Names as in the noble hadith: " Allah has ninty-nine names; whoever reckons them enters Paradise" [332] which means realizing [tahaqquq] their truth, by which man obtains the Paradise of the Names.

Man, by way of cordial austerities, can be the manifestation [mazhar] of Allah's Names and the great divine sign, and his existence becomes a divine one, and the hand of the divine Beauty and Majesty manages his kingdom. In another hadith it is also said that: "The connection of a believer's soul to Allah, the Exalted, is stronger than the connection of the sun's ray to it or to its light." [333]

In another correct hadith it is said: "When the servant approaches Me through his supererogatory acts, I love him, and when I love him I become his ears with which he hears, and I become his eyes with which he sees, and I become his tongue with which he speaks, and I become his hand with which he takes." [334]

In a hadith it is said: "'Ali is Allah's eye and hand" [335] and similar ones, as in a hadith: " We are His Most Beautiful Names " [336] In this respect, rational and traditional proofs and plenty.

Generally speaking, whoever wants to get a good share and advantage from the Qur'an, will have to apply each of the noble ayahs to his own condition so that he may get its complete benefit. For example, the noble ayah of the surah al-Anfal says: "The believers are those whose hearts feel fear when Allah is mentioned, and when His ayahs are recited to them they increase them in faith, and in their Lord do they put their confidence." [337] A salik must see whether he falls in line with these three attributes or not: Does mentioning Allah make his heart collapse and fear fall upon him? When the noble divine ayahs are recited to him, will the light of faith increase in his heart? Are his confidence and trust in Allah, the Exalted? Or is he void of any one of these stages and devoid of these attributes? If he wants to know whether he fears Allah and that his heart falls down because of that, let him look at his deeds. The one who fears Allah, would not dare to do an act of pertness, or to violate any divine law in the Presence of His Sacred Majesty. If his faith increase by the divine ayahs, the light of faith flows to his external kingdom, too. It is impossible for the heart to be luminous while the tongue, the speech, the eye, the sight, the ear and the hearing remain in the dark. A luminous person is the one whose entire worldy and heavenly powers are radiant, diffusing light, and, besides guiding him to happiness and the straight path, they throw light on the road for others and guide them along the road to humanity. Likewise is the one who depends upon Allah and puts his trust in Him, in which case he cuts his eye of covetousness off others, and puts down his burden of need and poverty at the threshold of the Absolute Self-sufficient, and regards others as poor and helpless as himself.

So, the duty of the traveller to Allah is to expose himself to the Glorious Qur'an, and, as the criterion to tell a true and valid hadith from a false and invalid one is to expose it to the Book of Allah, and the one which is not in harmony with it is to be judged as false and nonsense, similarly, the criterion for telling straightness from crookedness, and happiness from wretchedness, is that it is to turn out in the Book of Allah to be straight and correct. And, as the character of the Messenger of Allah is the Qur'an , he [the salik] should make his character coincide with the Qur'an, so that it corresponds to that of the perfect friend of Allah. The character which is contrary to the Book of Allah is nonsense and false. Likewise, he is to conform all his [other] knowledge, [ma`arif], condition of heart, internal and external deeds with the Book of Allah, so as to be in harmony with it, and the Qur'an becomes the image of his inside:

You are the clear Book that

By its letters the hidden is exposed. [338]

There are other disciplines in this field, some of which have already been mentioned early in this book under the title "the general discipline of worship", and some others are mentioned here. Going on explaining further disciplines will lengthen our discourse, therefore we relinquish them, and Allah is the Knowing.


Hereunder the translation of some noble narratives are related to complete the advantage and to have the blessings of the sayings of the [Prophet's] pure progeny:

The noble al-Kafi, on the authority of Sa'd, quotes Imam al-Baqir (AS) to have said: " O Sa`d, learn the Qur'an, for it comes on the Resurrection Day in the best of forms, " then he added to the same effect, saying that it would pass through each rank of the masses of the believers, the martyrs, the prophets and the ranks of the angels, and all of them say: `This is brighter than us', until the Messenger of Allah (SA) introduces it ... as the hadith goes. [339]

Imam as-Sadiq (AS) is quoted to have said: "When Allah, the Exalted, gathers all the first and the last peoples, they suddenly see a person proceeding, having an image the better of which has never been seen before." [340]

There are many other hadiths of similar content which prove the sayings of the people of knowledge to the effect that for each being in this world there is a matching image in the Hereafter.

From the hadiths of this chapter it is gathered that the deeds also have their images in that world. The noble al-Kafi, on the authority of Imam al-Baqir (AS), says: "The Messenger of Allah (SA) said: `I, the Book of Allah and my progeny will be the first to come to the Almighty, the Omnipotent, then my ummah will come after us. Then I ask: What did you do with the Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt?"' [341]

In another hadith, the Almighty, the Glorified, says to the Qur'an: "By My Omnipotence and Majesty, and by My High State, I will surely honour him who has honoured you, and I will disdain him who has disdained you." [342]

We must know that if we did not revive the precepts and the teachings of the Qur'an by putting them to practice and understanding their truth, we would not be able to reply the question of Allah's Messenger on that day. Which disdain is worse than discarding its objectives and neglecting its calls? Honouring the Qur'an and its people, who are the infallible Ahlul Bayt, is not done only by kissing its cover or their holy shrines. This is a weak sign of honouring and respecting, which will only be acceptable if done according to its instructions and their teachings. Otherwise they would be more like scorning and sporting. Noble hadiths strongly warn those who recite the Qur'an and then do not practically follow its teachings. In `Iqabul A`mal, by Shaykh as-Saduq [may Allah be pleased with him], quoting the Messenger of Allah (SA), it is stated that he said in a hadith: "The one who teaches the Qur'an and does not act according to it, and loves this world and prefers worldly pleasures to it, is worthy of Allah's wrath and is placed on the same level with the Jews and the Christians who threw the Book of Allah behind their backs. The one who recites the Qur'an with the intention of obtaining reputation [sum`ah] and mundane gains, will meet Allah with a bony, fleshless face, and the Qur'an will slap his nape to push him into the fire and let him join those before him. And the one who recites the Qur'an without following its instructions, will be raised blind on the Resurrection Day. He will ask: 'O my Lord, why have You raised me blind whereas I was a seeing one?' He will reply: `It is so because Our signs came to you but you forgot them, and so you are forgotten this day.' [343] Then he is ordered to be thrown into the Fire. But the one who recites the Qur'an for the pleasure of Allah and for learning the features of the religion, his will be a reward, the equal of the reward given to all the angels and the prophets and Messengers (AS)"

"The one who learns the Qur'an to show off, seeking reputation by way of arguing with the fools, take pride in his knowledge against the scholars and seek with it mundane matters, Allah, on the Resurrection Day, will separate all his bones from one another, and there will be no torture in the Fire severer than his, and there will be no sort of torment unless he is subjected to it, owing to Allah's strong anger and displeasure."

"If the one who learns the Qur'an is humble with his knowledge, teaches the servants of Allah and asks Allah for whatever reward there is with Him, there will be in Paradise no one whose reward is more than his, and there will be in Paradise no high rank and lofty state unless his share of the rank is higher and of the state is loftier. [344]

Concerning meditating on the meaning of the Qur'an, learning lessons from it and being affected by it there are many narratives, such as the hadith in the noble al-Kafi, on the authority of Imam as-Sadiq (AS), that he said: "It is in this Qur'an the stand of the guiding light and the torches for tae dark nights. So, let the scrutinizer roam with his wide open eyes to see clearly, because thinking is the life of the discerning heart, like the enlightened one who walks with light in the dark" [345] The Imam means that as man needs common light to see his way in the dark so as not to fall over in a precipice, with the Qur'an, which is the light that guides and the torch which lights the road of gnosticism and faith, he is to advance on the dark road to the Hereafter and to Allah so as not to tumble down into devastating precipices.

In Ma`aniyul Akhbar there is a hadith from Imam 'Ali (AS) saying that: "The true jurisprudent is the one who would not leave the Qur'an reluctantly and turning to something else. Beware that there is no good in a knowledge without understanding, there is no good in the reciting without contemplation and there is no good in a worship without deep knowledge of it." [346]

In al-Khisal and Ma' aniyul Akhbar, the Messenger of Allah (SA) is quoted to have said: "The bearers of the Qur'an are the informed ones [`urafa] among the people of Paradise." [347] It is obvious what is meant by "the bearers" of the Qur'an. It means the bearers of the Qur'anic knowledge and teachings, the result of which in the Hereafter is to regard them among the learned and the people of heart. To merely bear the external form of the Qur'an, without getting its lessons and being benefited by its teachings, and convey its knowledge and admonitions, without putting its precepts and laws into application, would be like that which is said by Allah, the Exalted: "The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Torah, yet they apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books. " [62:5]

Noble hadiths on the Glorious Qur'an, its affairs and disciplines are too many to be contained in this small book. Peace be upon Muhammad and his progeny.


[330]. Surah al-A`raf: 12.

[331]. Surah al-Baqarah: 31.

[332]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 4, pp. 186 - 7.

[333]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 3, p. 242, "The Book of Faith and Disbelief' ch. on "The Believers' Brotherhood to One Another", hadith No. 4.

[334]. Usulul Kafi vol. 4, p.53, "The Book of Faith and Disbelief', ch. on "The One Who Hurts the Muslims and Slights Them", hadith No. 7.

[335]. In a sermon by Imam 'Ali (AS), it is said: "I am Allah's eye and His truthful tongue and His hand." Ma`aniyul Akhbar, p. 17, hadith 14. At-Tauhid, p. 65, ch. 22, hadith 2.

[336]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 196, "The Book of at-Tauhid", ch. on "Wonders", hadith 4.

[337]. Surah al-Anfal: 2.

[338]. This is a line of a poem which begins with: You think you are a small matter While in you is contained the biggest world. The poem is ascribed to Imam 'Ali (AS).

[339]. Usulul Kafi ,vol. 4,p. 394, "Book of the Merits of the Qur'an", ch. 1, hadith 1.

[340]. Ibid.

[341]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 4, p. 400, "Book of the Qur'an's Merits", ch. 1, hadith 4.

[342]. Ibid., hadith 14.

[343]. Surah Ta-Ha: 125-6.

[344]. 'Iqabul A'mal, pp. 332, 337 and 366.

[345]. Usulul Kafi, vol. 4, p.400, "Book on the Merits of the Qur'an", ch. 1, hadith 5.

[346]. Ma'aniyul Akhbar, p. 226, ch. on "The Meaning of the True Jurisprudent", hadith 1.

[347]. Ma `aniyul Akhbar, p. 323, ch. on "The Meaning of the Informed Ones of the People of Paradise", hadith 1. AI-Khisal, vo1.1, p. 28, ch. on "The One", hadith 100.

Torch Two


Degrees of recitation and the groups of the reciters

Know that for the recitation during this spiritual journey and divine ascension there are degrees and stages, and here we shall suffice ourselves with some of them.

First, the reciter is one who pays no attention to other than improving the recitation and bettering the expression. His only care is for the good utterance of these words and correct pronunciation of the letters from their correct outlets so that a duty can be performed and an order be fulfilled. It is well known that the task for such persons is heavy and difficult; their hearts are unwilling and their insides are deviated. These have no share of worship, though they are not punished with the punishment of the deserter [of the salat], unless from the invisible treasure a grace appears and the said chattering receives a beneficence and a favour. It sometimes happens that this group, while their tongues are busy remembering Allah, their hearts are completely away from that, engaged in the mundane multiplicity and worldly matters. As a matter of fact, the people in this group are outwardly in the salat, while inwardly and actually they are busy with this world and worldly desires and whims. Sometimes it also happens that their hearts busy themselves thinking about correcting the formal shape of the salat. In this case they are busy, by both the tongue and the heart, with the form of the salat, and it is acceptable and agreeable from them.

The second group are those who would not be contented with that limit and take the salat to be a means of remembering Allah, and the reciting to be praising and glorifying Him. This group is of many ranks and degrees, the mentioning of which would be lengthy. Probably it is this group to which the following Divine Hadith refers:

"I have divided the salat between Me and My servant, half of it for Me and half of it for My servant. When he says: `In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, The Merciful', Allah will say: 'My servant has remembered Me', and when he says: `All praise is for Allah', Allah says: `My servant has praised and glorified Me,' and this is the meaning of `Allah hears from the one who praises Him'. And when he says: `The Beneficent, the Merciful', Allah says: 'My servant aggrandized Me. And when he says: `Master of the Day of Judgement', Allah says: `My servant glorified Me.' [In another version: `My servant has entrusted himself to Me']. And when he says: `You do we worship and You do we seek help from', Allah says: `This is between Me and My servant'. And when he says: `Guide us to the straight path', Allah says: `My servant has this right, and it is granted to him."' [349]

Now as the salat, according to this noble hadith, is divided between Allah and the servant, the servant has to completely pay what is due to Him, according to the discipline of servitude stated in this noble hadith, so that Allah, the Exalted, may treat him as is becoming of His Lordly graces, since He says: "And fulfil My covenant, I shall fulfil your covenant." [350]

Allah, the Exalted, confined the disciplines of servitude in recitation to four pillars:

The first one is "remembrance" [tadhakkur] which is to happen by " In the Name of Allah , the Beneficent , the Merciful " , and the salik servant should look at the entire "House of Realization" [dar-i tahaqquq] as a name perished in the Named [musamma]. He should teach his heart to be seeking the Haqq and wanting the Haqq in every particle of "the possibles" [mumkinat], and bring the natural disposition of learning the names-which is fixed in the nature of his essence according to the requirement of the universality of the growth [nash'ah] and its being the manifestation of the Great Name of Allah, to which Allah refers by saying: "And He taught Adam all the names," [351] - to the state of actuality and manifestation. Such a state is the result of having privacy with Allah and of deep remembrance and contemplating the divine affairs [shu'un], to the extent that the heart becomes a complete divine servant such that there can be found in every nook of it no name except that of Allah, the Exalted.

This is a stage of perishing in divinity that [even] the relapsed and hard hearts of the deniers cannot deny what of it we have just said, unless their denial be Satanic, for such hearts feel repulsion, by nature, on hearing Allah's name or His remembrance, may God save us from that! If a word of divine knowledge or one of Allah's Names was mentioned, they would feel distressed. They would not open the eyes of their hearts except at the desires of the appetites of the stomach and sex. There are among these people those who admit for the prophets and holy men [auliya] (AS) nothing other than corporeal states and bodily Paradise, i.e. satisfying the animal desire. They take the greatness of the states of the other world to be similar to the greatness of this world, with vast orchards, running rivers and a multitude of houris and youths and palaces. When there is a talk about love, affection and divine attraction, they assault the speaker with vulgar language and ugly words, as if they themselves have been insulted and they were retaliating. These people block the way of humanity and they are the thorns of the road to knowing Allah, and the Satans who deceive men, hindering groups upon groups of the servants of Allah from Allah, His names, His attributes, His remembrance and remembering, and directing their attentions to the animal stomach and sexual desires. They are Satanic agents who sit in ambush on the straight path of Allah according to the ayah: "I shall surely lurk in ambush for them on Your straight path," [352] in order to prevent the servants of Allah from getting familiar with their Lord and from ridding themselves from the darkness of animal desires, including inclination towards houris and palaces. These people may resort to evidences from the invocations of the prophets and the infallible Ahlul Bayt (AS) in which they also demand houris and palaces. But this is due to the shortcomings of this group who recognize no difference between loving Allah's grace, which is loved because it is the gift of the Beloved, in itself being a sign of affection and care, and merely loving the houris and palaces independently, which is within the nature of the animal desire. Loving Allah's gifts is Loving Allah, which consequently covers the favours of Allah and His graces:

I love the whole world, for the whole world is of Him. [353]

The love of the abode did not infatuate me,

But the love of the one who resides therein. [354]

Otherwise, what would, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS) do with houris and palaces? How could that great man be associated with the appetites of the self and the animal desires? The one whose worship is that of a free man, his reward cannot be that of traders. The rein of the pen snapped and I wandered away from the main subject.

In general, the one who is accustomed to reciting divine ayahs and names from the Book of divine genesis and record, his heart will gradually take the form of remembrance and of an ayah, and the interior of his essence will turn out to be Allah's remembrance, His name and His ayah, as they interpret "remembrance" to be the noble Prophet and 'Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), and "The Beautiful Names" to be the Imams of guidance (AS). Ayatullah is also interpreted to be those great men and it is conformed to them. They are the divine ayahs, the Beautiful Names of Allah and the great remembrance of Allah. The state of "remembrance" is such a high one that it is beyond the patience of explanation and the limits of writing and registering. It suffices for the people of knowledge and divine attraction, and the people of affection and love, as in the ayah "Therefore remember Me, I shall remember you". [355]

Allah, the Exalted, tells Moses (SA): "I am the companion of whoever remembers Me." [356] A narrative in al-Kafi says that the Messenger of Allah (SA) said: "Whoever remembers Allah frequently, He will like him." [357]

In Wasa'ilush-Shi`ah, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq is quoted to have said that Allah, the Exalted, said: "O son of Adam, remember Me in yourself, I will remember you in Myself. O son of Adam, remember Me in privacy, I will remember you in privacy. O son of Adam, remember Me in public, I will remember you in a public better than yours." He also said: "No servant remembers Allah in the presence of the people unless Allah remembers him in the presence of the angels." [358]

The second pillar is " praising " Allah [tahmid], as is the musalli's saying: "All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds."

Know that when the musalli attains the state of "remembrance", and regards all the particles of the beings, and the high and low creatures, to be divine names, and when he dismisses from his heart the idea of being self-sufficient, and looks at the beings of the visible and invisible worlds with the eye of dependence, he will be in the stage of "praising", and his heart will confess that all kinds of praising exclusively belong to the Divine Essence, and the others have no share of it, because they have no personal perfection requiring any sort of praising and glorifying. We shall explain in detail this divine grace, in our interpretation of this blessed surah, insha'allah [ Allah willing ].

The third pillar is "magnifying" [ta'zim], which is established by "The beneficent, the Merciful". When the servant traveling to Allah has, under the pillar of "praising", confined all praise to Allah, excluding the existential multiplicities from perfection and praise, he will get nearer to the horizon of Oneness, his eye of plurality will gradually get blind to multiplicity, and the form of Beneficence [rahmaniyat]-which is the expansion of the existence-and the form of Mercifulness [rahimiyat] -which is the expansion of the perfection of the existence, will be manifested to his heart, and he will call Allah by the two names, which are all-embracing and comprehensive, and in which multiplicities are vanished. So, the manifestation of perfection causes the heart to feel awe from the Beauty, and thus, Allah's greatness is implanted in his heart.

As this condition is fixed, he will move to the fourth pillar, which is the state of "sanctifying" [taqdis], and it is actually " glorifying " [tamhid]. In other words, it is entrusting the affairs to Allah, that is, discerning the position of Ownership and Omnipotence of Allah, and the falling down of the dust of plurality [kathrat] and the breaking of the idols of the heart and the appearance of the owner of the house of the heart, and possessing it with no Satanic intruding. In this condition he reaches the stage of privacy, and there will be no veil between the servant and Allah, and "You do we worship and you do we seek help from", takes place in that particular privacy and the meeting of familiarity. For this reason He said: "This is between Me and My servant". And when the everlasting favour encompasses him and awakens him, he will demand consistency of this stage and establishment [tamkin] of His Presence, by requesting: "Guide us to the straight path", in which, "Guide us" is interpreted to mean: "Make us firm, consistent and steady". This is for those who have slipped out of the veil and attained to "the Eternally Wanted" [matlub-i azal]. As to us, the people of the veil, we will have to ask Allah, the Exalted, for guidance with its ordinary concept. This may further be explained in the exegesis of the blessed surah of al-Hamd ,insha'allah [Allah willing].


From the noble Divine hadith [359] [hadith-i qudsi] it appears that the salat is completely divided between Allah and the servant, and only the surah of al-Hamd was given as an example. So, we may add, for example, that the takbirs of the salat, whether the opening takbirs or the other ones which are said during changing states in the salat, are the share of Divinity, the portion of the Sacred Essence. If the servant traveling to Allah performed this duty of servitude and carried out what was due to Divinity as his capacity was capable of, Allah, the Exalted, with His everlasting special favours, would also grant His servant his due share, which is the opening of the door of intimacy and revelation, as is referred to in the noble hadith in Mishahush-Shan`ah : " As you utter the takbir , regard small all creatures in relation to the greatness of Allah", and it adds: "Examine your heart during the salat. If you tasted the sweetness of the salat, and if in your soul you felt pleased and gay by it, and your heart enjoyed the supplication to Allah and conversing with Him, 'stow that Allah has approved your takbirs. Otherwise, without feeling pleasure in supplication, and being deprived of tasting the sweetness of worship, you should know that Allah has denied you and dismissed you from His Threshold." [360]

Consequently, in each one of the acts and states of the salat, there is a share for Allah, and the servant is to perform it, being the disciplines of servitude at that stage. The servant also has his share, which, after performing what the discipline of servitude requires, Allah, out of His covert grace and overt mercy, will bestow upon him His favour. If in these divine times he found himself be deprived of His special favours, he must know that he did not act according to the disciplines of servitude. The relevant sign for the common people is that the heart does not taste the sweetness of supplication and the delicacy of worship, and he is deprived of the cheerfulness, pleasure and devotion to Allah. The worship which is void of delight and pleasure is spiritless, and it will not be useful for the heart.

So, dear, make your heart familiar with the disciplines of servitude, and let your soul [ruh] taste the sweetness of remembering Allah. This divine grace, at the beginning, takes place through intense remembrance and intimacy. During remembrance the heart must not be dead or overcome by negligence. Having taught your heart to be familiar with remembrance, the divine favours will gradually be bestowed upon you, and the heavenly doors will be opened to you, and this is marked by repulsion from this world, by inclination towards the world of eternity, and by preparedness for death before its arrival.

O Allah! Grant us to have a share of tasting the pleasure of supplicating to you and the sweetness of conversing with you. Place us among the remembering group and in the circle of those who are devoted to Your Glorified Sanctity, and bestow upon our dead hearts an everlasting life, and make us break off the others and inclined to be devoted to You, surely You are the Giver of favour and grace.


[348]. Surah al-Jumu'ah: 5.

[349]. Al-Mahajjatul Bayda', vol. , p. 388. Biharul Anwar, vol. 92, p. 226. Muslim's Sahih, vol. 2, p. 92, with differences in expression.

[350]. Surah al-Baqarah: 40.

[351]. Ibid., 31.

[352]. Surah al-A'raf: 16.

[353]. This is the second hemistich of a line from Sa`di's poetry, as below:

By the world I am cheerful as the world is cheerful by Him,

I love the whole world as the whole world is of Him.

[354]. A line from the poetry of Majnun `Amiri (Qays ibn al-Mulawwah al-`Amiri). Jami`ush-Shawahid, p. 220, ch. "W With M".

[355]. Surah al-Baqarah: 152.

[356. Usulul Kafi, vol. 4, p. 255, "Book of Invocation", ch. on "That Which is Obligatory of Remembering Allah," hadith 4.

[357]. Ibid., hadith 3.

[358]. Wasa'ilush-Shi `ah, vol. 4, p. 1185, "Book of the Salat". chs. on "Remembrance", ch. 7, hadith 4.

[359]. Refer to footnote No. 349.

[360]. Misbahush-Shar-iah, ch. 13, "At Ending the Salat". Al-Mahajjatul Bayda', printed by as-Saduq library, vol. 1, p. 385, Mustadrakul Wasa'il, "The Book of as-Salat," chs. on "The Acts of the Salat", ch.2, hadith 9.


Some Disciplines of Isti`adhah

Allah, the Exalted, says: "And when you recite the Qur'an take refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan. He has no authority over those who believe and on their Lord rely. His authority is only over those who befriend him and those who associate partner with Him." [361] Among the important disciplines of recitation, especially the recitation in the salat, which is a spiritual journey to Allah, the real ascension and the ladder to reach the people of Allah, is the isti`adhah, seeking refuge in Allah, from the outcast Satan, who is the thorn of the road to knowledge, and blocks the way of the salik's travel to Allah, as Allah, the Exalted, says through him, in the blessed surah of al-`Araf: "He said: `As You have led me astray, I shall lurk in ambush for them on Your straight path." [362] He has sworn to lurk for the sons of Adam on the straight path to prevent them from entering it. So, the salat, which is the straight path of humanity and the ascension for reaching Allah, cannot take place without isti`adhah from this brigand, and without taking refuge in the fortified fort of Divinity from his evil, there can be no security. This isti'adhah, this taking refuge, cannot be implemented with empty utterances, a lifeless form or a world with no Hereafter. It is observed that there were people who did utter these words for forty or fifty years, yet they were not saved from the evil of this bandit, and, actually, in their conducts and acts, and even in their beliefs they followed Satan and imitated him. Had we really taken refuge from the evils of this wicked one, the Sacred Essence of Allah, the Exalted, Who is the Absolute Gracious, the Omnipotent, the All-Merciful, the All-knowing and Generous, would have granted us His protection, and our faith, moralities and deeds would have been amended. So, we must know that our being left behind the travelers on the road to Allah is due to Satan's temptations and because we have fallen under his control owing to our own shortcomings and inefficiency in applying the spiritual disciplines and acquiring the required conditions of the heart. So, it is because of this that we get nothing of the spiritual results and the external and internal effects of our invocations , supplications and worships. From the noble ayahs of the Qur'an and the noble hadiths of the infallible Imams (SA) many disciplines can be discovered. But to count them all would need a complete scrutinizing research, which prolongs the discussion. It suffices us to mention only a few of them.

One of the important disciplines of isti`adhah is "sincerity", as Allah the Exalted, quotes Satan to have said: "By your Might I will tempt them all, except Your sincere servants from among them" [363] This "sincerity", as is clear from this noble ayah, is something higher than the practical sincerity, whether by the heart or by the limbs, because, it is in the objective case [in its Arabic form = mukhlasin]. Had it been for sincerity in action, it should have been in the nominative case. Therefore, this sincerity is intended to denote the purification of the human personality with all the visible and invisible affairs, of whose emissions is the practical sincerity, although, at the beginning of the suluk, this fact and divine grace would not easily take place except by difficult practical austerities, especially the cordial ones, which are its origin, as is referred to in the well-known hadith: " The one who keeps being sincere to Allah for forty mornings, fountains of wisdom will flow from his heart to his tongue." [364] So, whoever could sincerely devote himself to Allah for forty mornings-which is the period of fermenting [takhmir] the clay [tinat] of which Adam was created, and the connection between these two is well-known to the people of knowledge and of heart-and dedicate his cordial and formal acts sincerely to Allah, his heart will become godly, and the godly heart produces nothing other than fountains of wisdom. Then, his tongue, which is the greatest interpreter of the heart, will speak wisdom. So, at the beginning, sincerity of the act leads to the purification of the heart, and when the heart becomes purified, the lights of Majesty and Beauty-which are deposited by divine fermentation [takhmir] in the human clay-are reflected in the mirror of the heart and become manifest there, and from the inmost of the heart they appear on the external body.

In short, the sincerity, which frees one from the Satanic authority is devoting the identity of the soul [ruh] and the innermost of the heart to Allah, the Exalted. It is a reference to this that Imam 'Ali (AS), in his Sha`baniyah Supplication, says: "O Allah, grant me complete devotion to you." [365] When the heart reaches this stage of sincerity and it is cut off other than Allah, and in the kingdom of his existence there is no admission to other than Allah, Satan-who approaches man by other than Allah's way-will have no power over him, and Allah will admit him into His shelter, and he will be placed in the fortified fortress of divinity, as He says: "The word of `there is no god but Allah' is My fort, so whoever enters My fort is safe from My torture". [366] Entering the fort of "there is no god but Allah" is of several degrees. Likewise, being safe from the torture is also of several degrees. So, the one who, externally, internally, cordially and formally, is admitted to Allah's fortress and under His protection, will be safe from all degrees of torture, including being veiled off Allah's Beauty and being separated from meeting the Beloved, the Most High and Almighty-which veiledness and separation are at the top of the tortures. Imam 'Ali (AS), in the "Kumail Invocation", says: "Suppose that I can patiently bear Your torment, how can I patiently bear separation from You?" Our hand is short of that. The one who could reach that stage would be a real servant of Allah, under the vaults [domes] of divinity, and Allah, the Exalted, would manage his kingdom, getting him out of the Taghut's patronage. This is the dearest state for the men of Allah and the most special degree for the pure, and the others have no share of it. It is most likely that the owners of hard hearts among the deniers and of stiff souls among the obstinate, who are far away from such a state, deny it altogether and regard any talk about it to be false and in vain. Or they rather take such affairs, which are the delight of the holy men [auliya'], and which are frequently mentioned by the Book and the Sunnah, to be - God forbid! - of the fabrications of the sufists and false rumours of the literalists. We, by referring to these states, which are, in fact, the states of the perfect ones, do not claim to have a share of them or look at them covetously, but we do so because to deny them is not agreeable to us, and we believe that mentioning the holy men [auliya'] and their positions is effective in purging, saving and reforming the hearts, because good mention of the people of guardianship and knowledge causes affection, familiarity and close connection. Such connection leads to mutual attraction [tajadhub], which, in its turn leads to co-intercession [tashafu] , whose outward is getting out of the darkness of ignorance to the lights of guidance and knowledge, and its inward is the intercession in the Hereafter, because the intercession of the intercessors would not happen without close connection and inward co-attraction [tajadhub], since it would not be based on guess and batil [falsehood].

However, despite the fact that this stage is not but for the perfect ones among the holy men [auliya] and the chosen ones [asfiya'] (AS), and that the perfect state of this stage is, in the origin [bil'isalah], exclusively for the Seal of the Prophets (SA), the luminous and pure Ahmadian single [ahadi-i ahmadi], Muhammadan collective [jam -i muhammadi] heart, and subordinatively [bittaba iyah], it is for the perfect and pure ones of the Ahlul Bayt, yet the believers and the sincere ones are not to give up hoping for some of its degrees, and to be satisfied with formal and practical sincerity, and the external and juristic purity, because stopping in the stations, is one of the masterpieces of Iblis who is sitting at the entrance of the path of man and humanity, trying every possible means to prevent him from ascending to perfections and reaching higher stages. So, one has to double his vigilance and strengthen his will, so that this divine light and grace may move from the outside to the inside, and from the visible to the invisible. The more stages of sincerity one passes, the better he will be stationed under Allah's protection, and the truth of isti'adhah will be implemented, and the hands of the devilish Satan will be short of reaching him.

Hence, if you devoted the visible human form exclusively to Allah, and if you placed the external mundane armies of the soul, which are the powers dispersed in the kingdom of the body, under the shelter of Allah, and if you purified the seven earthly realms, which are: the eye, the ear, the tongue, the stomach, the sex, the hand and the leg, from the impurities of disobedience and placed them at the disposal of Allah's angels, who are the divine armies, these realms would gradually become divine and under the command of Allah, until they also become Allah's angels, or get like Allah's angels "Who do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded." [367] Hence, the first degree of isti'adhah takes place, and Satan and his soldiers leave the external kingdom and turn to the inside, assaulting the invisible powers of the soul. Thus, the salik's task becomes harder and his suluk stricter. So, his steps should be stronger, and his watchfulness more perfect. He is to take refuge in Allah, the Exalted, from the spiritual destructions, such as self-conceit, hypocrisy, arrogance, pride and the like, and to gradually start purifying his inside from the moral opacities and internal impurities.

In this stage, or rather in all stages, he is to be attentive to Allah's Unity of Acts, and to remind his heart of this divine grace and heavenly table [ma'idah], which are of the important matters of suluk and of the pillars of `uruj. He is also to make his heart taste the fact that Allah, the Exalted, is the owner of the heavens, the earth, the inside, the outside, the visible and the invisible, so that the heart may get accustomed to His Unity in diety and deny any association in management [tasarruf] and be divinely concocted and theistically educated. In this state the heart will find no asylum, refuge, sanctuary and help except with Allah alone, and, consequently and actually, he will seek refuge with Allah, the Sanctified State of Divinity. Unless he cuts off his heart from the others' management, and closes his eye of greed to other creatures, he cannot truthfully turn to get his refuge with Allah, and his claim will be a false one, and according to the method of he people of knowledge he will be regarded among the hypocrites, and ascribed to deceit and treason.

In this fearful valley [wadi] and dangerous deep ocean, if one takes advantage of the sayings of a godly wiseman or a luminous gnostic, whose string of knowledge is connected to the perfect friends of Allah, concerning the Three Unities, it will be a good help to the inner heart. But the condition for taking that advantage is that he should do it regarding it as an ayah, a sign and suluk to Allah, for otherwise it would become a thorn on the road and a veil covering the face of the Beloved. The Messenger of Allah (SA), as it is stated in the noble al-Kafi, calls this knowledge an " indisputable ayah" [ayat-imuhkam ]. [368]

Generally speaking, when the root of Allah's Unity of Acts is strongly implanted in the heart, and irrigated with the water of knowledge accompanied with nice deeds, which knock at the heart's door, its fruit will be remembering the state of divinity, and the heart will gradually become pure and ready for receiving actual manifestation. When the house is free from the traitor, and the nest from the alien, the Owner of the house controls it and Allah's guarding hand brings the invisible and visible powers of the kingdom of the inside and the heart and of the outside kingdom of the body under its rule and authority, and the Satans are completely expelled from this stage, too, and the internal kingdom returns to its independence, which is being under Allah's shelter. This is the second degree of the divine grace, the isti'adhah. After this stage come other stages, such as, the isti`adhah of the spirit and the isti'adhah of the secret, which are out of the scope of these pages. Even what was said was of the overflowing of this servant's pen, or it was written at the command of the pen of the Lord, Most High and Almighty, and to Him is the refuge.

Another discipline and condition of isti'adhah is that which is referred to in the ayah stated at the beginning of this chapter, i.e. "faith" [iman], which is other than knowledge, even though it is proved by means of philosophic proofs: "The legs of the argumentatives are of wood". [369]

Faith is a matter of the heart, and happens through intense remembrance, contemplation, intimacy and privacy with Allah. Despite the fact that Satan had knowledge about the Beginning and the Return, as the Qur'an says, he is counted with the disbelievers. If faith was this argumentative knowledge, those who possess this knowledge must be away from the intrusion of Satan, and the light of guidance of the Qur'an would illuminate their inside, whereas we notice that, despite such marks, there is no sign of faith. So, if we want to be out of Satan's control, and be under the protection of Allah, the Exalted, we must, by intense cordial austerity and continual, or frequent, proximity and privacy, bring the facts of faith to the heart in order to let it be divine. Then, having been so, it will be free from Satan's control, as Allah, the Exalted, says: "Allah is the Guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of darkness into the light." [370] So, the believers, whom Allah, the Exalted is the manager, the guardian of their inside and outside, their secret and their publicity, are free from Satan's control and enter into the Beneficent's kingdom. He brings them out of all degrees of darkness to the absolute light: from the darkness of disobedience and insolence, the darkness of the dirty moral impurities, the darkness of ignorance, disbelief, polytheism, self-deceit, selfishness and self-admiration, to the light of obedience and worship, the light of virtuous characters, the light of knowledge, perfection, faith, monotheism, godliness, piety and friendship with Allah.

Another one of its disciplines is "reliance" [tawakkul] on Allah, which is also part of faith and of the real lights of the grace of faith. It means entrusting the affairs to Allah, which results from the heart's belief in the Unity of Acts, whose details are out of the capacity of this book.

When the salik servant finds no refuge and no shelter other than Allah, and believes that the management of the affairs is exclusively confined to His Sacred Essence, a certain condition of devotion, refuge and trust show up in his heart, and his istiadhah becomes real. So, as he truthfully takes refuge in the strong fortress of the Lordship and divinity, He shall certainly protect him with His most spacious and generous mercy, for He is the possessor of great favour!

Completion and Conclusion

We noted in this chapter that the truth of the istiadhah is a mood or state of mind which is created by a complete evident knowledge of Allah's Unity of Acts, and by believing in that Unity. That is, after he understood, by way of explicit and strong intellectual proofs and traditional evidences, quoted from the Qur'anic texts, and through the signs and the wonders of the Divine Book and noble hadiths, that the Power of Creation and independence of effectiveness, or rather, the very origin of effect, is exclusively confined to the Sacred Divine Essence, and other beings have no share of it, as is proved in its stance, he should convince his heart of it, and, with the pen of intellect, he should write on the page of his heart the truth of "There is no god but Allah, and there is no effecter [mu'aththir] in the [world of] existence except Allah". When the heart takes in this grace of faith and proved fact, there appears in it a state of devotion and exclusivity [to Allah]. Believing that Satan is the highway robber of humanity and its strong enemy, there appears in his heart an apprehensiveness, which is the reality of the isti`adhah. And, as the tongue is the spokesman of the heart, it translates that state of apprehensiveness, with complete need and necessity in words: "I take refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan," which it utters truthfully. If there were no effects of these facts in the heart, and it was under the control of Satan, as well as the other parts of one's existing kingdom, the isti'adhah also takes place, but with the management of Satan, and verbally he does say" "I take refuge in Allah from Satan", but in fact, as it is an act of Satan himself, it is actually taking refuge in Satan from Allah, and the isti'adhah performs its counter function, and Satan mocks at the one who utters the isti'adhah - a mockery whose result is known only after removing the cover and pushing aside the curtain of nature. Such a person, whose isti'adhah is merely verbal, is like the one who wants to take refuge from an endless hostile army in a strong fortress, but instead, he heads to the enemy turning away from the fortress, while he continues saying: "I take refuge in this fortress from the evil of the enemy." Such a person, besides being inflicted with the evil of the enemy, becomes subject to the enemy's mockery, too.


[361]. Surah an-Nahl: 98-100.

[362]. Surah al-A'raf: 16.

[363]. Surah Sad: 82-83.

[364]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 67, p. 242, "Book of Faith and Disbelief', ch. on "Sincerity", hadith 10, quoted from `Uyunu Akhbarir-Rida, vol. 2, p. 69 (with a slight difference). The same subject is referred to in the latter book, p. 249, hadith 25.

[365]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 91, p. 99.

[366]. At-Tauhid p. 25. Biharul Anwar, vol. 3, p. 13, and vol. 90, p. 192.

[367]. Surah at-Tahrim: 6.

[368]. "Knowledge is of three kinds: an indisputable ayah, a fair obligation and a current tradition." Usulul Kafi, vol. 1, p. 37, "Book of the Merit of Knowledge", ch. on "The Description of Knowledge and its Merits", hadith 1.

[369]. The legs of the argumentatives are of wood, Wooden legs are quite shaky. (By Maulawi)

[370]. Surah al-Baqarah: 257.


On the Four Pillars of Isti'adhah

One: al-must'idh [the one who seeks refuge]

Two: al-musta`adhu minhu [that from which refuge is sought]

Three: al-musta`adhu bihi [the one with whom refuge is sought]

Four: al-musta`adhu lahu [that for which refuge is sought]

Do know that there are so much detailed explanations for these pillars which are out of our intention. Yet, we are satisfied to mention a summary of them:

The first pillar is concerning al-musta idh. It is a humanistic truth from the very first stage of the suluk to Allah till the final end of self-annihilation [fans'-i dhati]. "When the absolute annihilation was complete, the Satan would perish and the isti`adhah would take place."

To expand on this summary we may say that as long as man is dwelling in the abode of the self and nature, and has not yet started his spiritual journey and suluk to Allah, and is still under Satan's control in all degrees and affairs, he has not yet understood the truth of isti`adhah, and the mere utterances of his tongue are useless, or rather they fix and strengthen the Satanic authority, unless Allah, the Exalted, grants him His favour. When he gets engaged in his journey and suluk to Allah and starts his spiritual travel, what hinders him on the road and thorns his way, as long as he is continuing his journey and suluk, is his own Satan, whether of the Satanic spiritual forces, or of the jinn or ins, for when the jinn and ins become thorns of the road, they will, actually, be the assistants of Satan and act to his command. Allah, the Exalted, refers to this in the blessed surah of an-Nas: " ... from the evil of the slinking whisperer, who whispers in the breasts of men, from among the jinn and men." If the Satan is from the jinn, it is understood from the noble ayah that the slinking whisperer, i.e. Satan, is originally [bil'isalah] a jinn and subordinatively [bittaba'iyah] an ins. But if Satan is another reality resembling the jinn, it appears from the noble ayah that these two species, i.e. the jinn and the ins, are also Satanic similitudes [tamaththulat] and his manifestations. In another ayah it is said: "... the Satans of ins and jinn". [371] In this blessed Surah the pillars of isti'adhah are mentioned, as we stated before and as it is clear.

In a word, before starting the journey to Allah, man is not a musta`idh. When the gnostic [`arif] comes to the end of the journey, and there remains no trace, at all, of the remnants of servitude, and he reaches the stage of the absolute personal annihilation [fana'-i dhati], there will remain no trace of the isti'adhah, musta`adhun minhu and mustaidh, and in his heart there will be nothing except Allah and His Divine Sovereignty, and he will be unaware of himself and his heart, and "I take refuge in You from You" [372] is also out of this state. When there is a state of wakefulness [sahw], intimacy and return, there still is a trace of isti'adhah, but not the isti`adhah of a salik. For this reason, the Final Messenger of Allah (SA) is also ordered to do the isti'adhah, as Allah, the Exalted, says:

"Say: I take refuge in the Lord of daybreak" [373], and "Say: I take refuge in the Lord of men," [374] and "Say: My Lord! I take refuge in You from the evil suggestions of the Satans, and I take refuge in You, O my Lord! from their presence." [375] So, man in two states is not musta`idh: One is before starting the suluk, which is the state of being completely veiled, at the Satan's disposal and under his control. The other is when the suluk comes to the end, which is the absolute annihilation, in which there is no trace of the musta `idh, musta `adhun minhu, musta `adhun lahu or isti`adhah.

In two states he is a musta`idh: One is in his suluk to Allah, in which he takes refuge from the thorns of the road of attainment [wusul] that are sitting on the straight path, as Satan says in the Qur'an: "As You have led me astray, I shall lurk in ambush for them on Your straight path" [376]. The other is when he is wakeful and returning from the absolute annihilation, in which he does the isti`adhah [takes refuge] from the colouring seclusions [ihtijabat] and others.

The second pillar is concerning al-musta `adhu minhu, which is the accursed Iblis, the outcast Satan, who prevents man from attaining to his goal and implementing his objective, by means of his diverse snares. Some great men of the people of knowledge say that Satan, in his reality, is the entire world in its aspect of being other than Allah. The writer does not agree with this, because this aspect of being other than Allah, which is a fancied form that has no truth and is void of any sort of realization [tahaqquq] and reality, is but one of Iblis's snares in which he gets man engaged. It may be a reference to the point which is said in the ayah: "Rivalry in worldy increase distracts you, until you come to the graves." [377] Or else, Iblis himself is a reality with an abstract ideal, and the reality of universal Iblis, the head of all Iblises, is the universal fancy [wahmul kul], as the universal abstract intellectual fact, the first man [Adam], is the universal intellect [`aqlul kul]. The individual worldly fancies are of the affairs [shu'un] and manifestations [mazahir] of the universal Iblis, as the individual intellects are of the affairs [shu'un] and manifestations [mazahir] of the universal intellect [`aql-i kulli]. A detailed explanation of this subject is out of the capacity of this thesis.

In a word, what becomes a hindrance and a thorn on the road of the divine suluk to Allah is Satan or his manifestations, whose acts are also of Satan's. And what, of the states of the invisible and visible worlds and of the happenings [`awarid] that happen to the soul, and of its different states, becomes a veil on the face of the Beloved [janan], whether of the mundane terrestrial worlds, such as poverty, and richness, soundness and illness, ability and disability, knowledge and ignorance, plagues and defects, etc., or of the invisible, abstract and ideal worlds, such as paradise and hell, and relevant knowledge, even the argumentative intellectual sciences which belong to tauhid and glorifying Allah ... , all of them are of Iblis's snares by which he diverts man from Allah and from having intimacy and privacy with Him. Even diversion through moral [ma`nawi] states and standing [wuquf] in spiritual stages, whose outside is to stand at the path of humanity, and whose inside is to stand at the path of Allah-which is the spiritual bridge of the hell of separation and parting, and which ends in the paradise of meeting, the bridge which is especially for a small group of the people of knowledge and of heart-are also of the big snares of the chief Iblis, from which one must seek refuge in the Sacred Essence of Allah, the Exalted.

In short, whatever diverts you from Allah and secludes you from the Beautiful Beauty of the Beloved, the Glorified, is your Satan, be it in the form of an ins or a jinn. And whatever is used to prevent you from that goal is of Satan's snares, be it of the kinds of positions and ranks or of the types of sciences and perfections, or professions and industries, or luxury and comfort, or hardship and humility, or anything else. These are of the dispraised worldly matters. In other words, when the heart loves something other than Allah, that will be its world, and that is disapproved. It is a Satanic snare from which one should take refuge in Allah. It is quite likely the point to which the Messenger of Allah (SA) referred by his invocation: "I take refuge with Allah's generous face, and with His words, which no pious or impious can pass, from the evil of what descends from the heaven and ascends to it, from the evil of what enters into the earth and what comes out of it, from the evil of the troubles of the night and the day, and from the evil of the knockers at the night and day, except the knocker who brings good." [378] Taking refuge with Allah's face and Allah's words means being drowned in the sea of Beauty and Majesty, and whatever keeps man off it is of the evils and belongs to the world of Satan and his tricks, from which one must take refuge with Allah's face, be it of the perfect heavenly truths or of the earthly imperfect ones, unless it is the knocker that brings good-the divine knocker who invites to Absolute Good, that is, Allah, the Exalted.

The third pillar is concerning al-musta `adhu bihi. Know that the truth of isti'adhah is implemented in the salik to Allah, and attained to through the travel and suluk to Allah. That is, isti`adhah belongs to the salik during the stages of the suluk. Therefore, the truths of isti`adhah, mustaidh, musta`adhun minhu and musta`adhun bihi differ according to the degrees and the stages of the travelers to Allah. A reference to this is probably in the noble surah of an-Nas: "Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men." From the beginning of the suluk till the limits of the state of the heart, the salik takes refuge with the state of the Lordship: It is possible that this Lordship is the Lordship of Act, so as to conform to "I take refuge with the complete words of Allah" [319] And when the journey of the salik ends in the state of the heart, the state of the divine sovereignty appears in the heart, in which case he takes refuge in the state of "The King of men" from the evils of Iblis's cordial intrusion and his despotic inner authority, as he took refuge, in the first state, from the evils of Satan's breast intrusion, as it is said: "... who whispers in the breasts of men" although the "whispering" in the hearts and the spirits is also by the "slinking" Satan. Perhaps this is because it is in the instance of a general introduction and on the basis of an apparent attribute that suits every body. When the salik passes the state of the heart to the state of the spirit, which is of the divine "blowing", and whose connection to Allah is closer than that of the sunlight to the sun, in this stage anxiety, passion, attraction, ardent love, and eagerness, begin to appear, and in it he takes refuge in the "God of men." And when he advances higher than this stage and has before his eyes the Essence without a mirror for the affairs [shu'un], in other words, when he reaches the state of the secret, he will be suited to say: "I take refuge from You in You". [380] There are, in this respect, other details which do not suit this essay.

However, you may know that to take refuge in Allah's Name suits all stages because of its comprehensiveness, as, in fact, it is an absolute isti'adhah, while other isti'adhahs are limited ones.

The fourth pillar is concerning al-musta `adhu lahu, i.e. the aim of the isti`adhah. You may know that what is required essentially [bidhdhat] by the musta`idh person is of the kinds of perfection, happiness and good, which differ in accordance with the degrees and ranks of the saliks. As long as the salik is still within the frame of the soul and the veil of nature, the aim of his journey is to attain to self-perfections and the low natural kinds of happiness. This belongs to the early stages of the suluk. Getting out of the soul's confinement, and having acquired a taste of spiritual states and abstract perfections, his goal will be higher and his aim more perfect, neglecting all personal positions; and his objective will be attaining to cordial perfections and internal happiness. Then, turning the rein of the travel away from this state, and reaching at the door of the house of the spiritual secret, the beginnings of the divine manifestations start appearing in his inside, and the tongue of his inside, at the beginning says: "I direct my face towards Allah's face", and later on: "I direct my face towards Allah's Names or towards Allah," and after that: "I direct my face to Him". Perhaps "I direct my face to the One Who created the heavens and the earth" [381] is related to the first stage because of the creatorship [fatiriyat].

In a word, whichever the salik's stage, his real objective is to attain to essential perfection and happiness. But as with happiness and perfection, in any given stage, there is a Satan with a snare of his snares to prevent him from reaching his objective, the salik will have to take refuge in Allah from that Satan and his evils and tricks, in order to get to his original aim and essential objective. So, the salik's objective of the isti`adhah is, in fact, obtaining the looked-for perfection and wanted happiness. The aim of the aims, and the final want, is Allah, the Glorified, the Almighty. In this stage, or after it, everything vanishes except Allah, the Exalted, and the isti`adhah [taking refuge] from Satan will be a consequent and done in full wakefulness. Praise is Allah's at the beginning and at the end.


[371]. Surah al-An`am: 112..

[372]. An extract from an invocation of the prophet (SA) during his Salat. Furu `ul Kafz, vol. 3, p. 324. Misbahul Mutahajjid wa Silahul Muta `abbid, p. 308.

[373]. Surah al-Falaq: 1.

[374]. Surah an-Nas: 1.

[375]. Surah al-Mu'minun: 97 and 98.

[376]. Surah al-A'raf: 16.

[377]. Surah at-Takathur: 1 and 2.

[378]. Biharul Anwar, vol. 91, p. 215.

[379]. Iqbalul A mal, p. 640, the invocation recited on the first day of the month of Rajab.

[380]. Extracted from an invocation by the Prophet (SA) during his Salat. Furu ul Kafi, vol. 3, p. 324. Misbahul Mutahajjid wa Silahul Muta 'abbid, p. 308.

[381]. Surah al-An'am: 79.


source : Adabus Salat The Disciplines of the Prayer by Imam Khomeini
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