Islamic Heritage of South Asia

Tasawwuf – Advance Terminology

Advanced Terminology of Tasawwuf (اصتلاحات)

 Shaikh Shah Mohammed Moinuddin Qadri, Hyderabad, Deccan

Haal and Maqaam (حال و مقام)

  • Haal (حال)- It is temporary and is a gift from Allah SWT. There is no role of one’s kasab (كسب) or amal (عمل) in achieving this haal.
  • As the Quran states, Allah SWT chose the  Ambiya. Similarly, he chose Auliya as well. One Hadith states, Allah SWT tells Jibreel, I love so and so so please love that person.
  • Hazrat Isa (AS) spoke as a child as this capability was granted by Allah SWT. Thus, haal (حال) here came before any amal (عمل) .
  • These ahvaal (احوال ) are beyond aql (عقل)
  • Maqaam – Maqaam (مقام) is a permanent state or station and a Salik may transition into a maqam due to the increasing frequency of haal (حال) and his aamaal ( اعمال). Maqam is not perfected until the salik begins to experience the haal of the next level
  • Maqamaat are due to makasib (مكاسب)  and ahval are mawahib ( مواهب). 
  • Wahbi (وهبي) is higher (افضل) than kasabi ( كسبي) as wahbi is the amal of Allah SWT.
  • Maqamaat can be wahbi as well.
  • Saying of Sayyidna Ali (Ra)
  • Ahvaal (احوال ) are ulwi (علوي ) things and maqamaat are paths
  • Ask about the paths to the heavens as I know them better than the paths of duniya.

In summary, haal (حال) is temporary and maqaam (مقام) is permanent.

Maqaams ( مقامات) :

  1. Muhasiba  (مقامِ محاسبه )- Reflect on your zaat and take yourself into account. The Nafs may take over and make you forget your Muhasiba. There is like a yin and yang between Muhasiba and your Nafs. When there is Taufeeq of Allah SWT, the Nafs cannot interfere with your Muhasiba and it becomes your maqam. Haal (حال) is from Allah SWT and your deeds are helpful. Muhasiba is tauba which is the beginning.
  2. Muraqaba (مقامِ مراقبه ) may be defined as doing fikr of Allah SWT by forgetting everything else. After reaching the maqam of Muhasiba, you may get a haal (حال)of Muraqaba. Once the fog of Ghaflat is removed, this haal (حال)turns into maqam of Muraqiba.
  1. Mushahida (مقامِ مشاهده ) – Mushahida is witnessing the tajalliyaat ( تجليات  )of Allah SWT. When you are on the maqam of Muraqaba, you may get a gift of the haal (حال)of Mushahida. As the frequency of this haal (حال)increases, your muraqaba becomes even more strong and you start witnessing the tajalliyaat of Allah SWT and finally transition to the maqam of Mushahida. However, you are still uneasy (bechain) at this maqam. At this level the salik has reached the level of ‘Ayn-ul-Yaqeen’.
  1. Fana (مقامِ فنا) – After the maqam of Mushahida, you may reach the maqam of Fana. You forget yourself and see Him everywhere and everything. It does not nauzubillah mean that you become part of Him but you forget your own existence. Also it doesn’t mean that your body is erased or disappears, it’s just the mental state. You forget (shu’ur, idrak and fahm) consciousness, recognition and understanding of the material world as only see the Tajalli of Haq swt  
  1. Baqa (مقامِ بقا) – As the famous hadith in Bukhari states – I become his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes.

Summary – Become mustahkam or steadfast in your current maqaam (مقام) before thinking about other maqaams (مقامات). Even in zuhd, tawakkal or raza, haal (حال) and maqaams (مقامات) are required.

Zajar (زجر)

Zajar can be defined as a warning in your heart from Allah SWT. Ambiya are masoom and Auliya are mahfooz. Even if a sahgeera sin happens, Auliya are mahfooz as zajar comes to their heart and they immediately do Tauba. In other words, Zajar is the introduction or muqaddamah of Tauba. 

Types of Zajar

  1. Ilm – Knowledge that this was wrong
  2. Aql – Aql says it was wrong
  3. Emaan – One realizes it should not have been done

A salik may experience his nafs overcoming the zajar and if he/she inclines towards the nafs then the feeling of zajar will be lost.

An example, a person may mistreat someone and later realizes that they made a mistake. Nafs might try to justify the treatment by thinking that the other person may have deserved it or they may be inferior to them.

Ta’yun & Aitbaar (تعين واعتبار)

  • Establish  (تَعْيُنْ) – Allah SWT examining or knowing His own Self (ذات). It is of two types
  • Dakhili( داخلي)
  • Ijmali ( اجمالي)
  • Wahdat (وحدت) – Found His own Wujood and said انا
  • Tafseeli ( تفصيلي )
  • Found His own Sifaat (صفات)
  • Khariji (خارجي)
  • Zuhoor ( ظهور )
  • Souls
  • Sifaat
  • Misaal
  • Human life is bain-ul-admain (بين العدمين), between two adams
  • Aalam of Misaal
  • Aalam of Barzakh
  • Some Auliya can know the haal of Barzakh
  • Some non-muslims can get to misaal but cannot access Barzakh
  • Consideration (اعتبار) – Sufia have used this term to define the creation (khalq) as opposite of Haqiqah ( حقيقه ) when it is in the context of ‘Wujud’
  • Anything that is like a shadow (ظِلّي)
  • Anything that is like an illusion (وهم)
  • Anything that is like a metaphor (مجاز)
  • For our understanding, this world can be thought of as a result of the تَخَيٌُلْ of His dhat (zaat).
  • Examples –
  • Consider a chess board and all of it’s pieces made of wax. The pieces and the board are like اعتبار but the reality حقيقه  is wax.
  • Whenever something like a spinning top is spun very fast, one might see circles around it which disappear when the spinning stops. These circles are an example of اعتبار
  • The Quran says (Surah Shura – 31) – وَمَا لَكُم مِّن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ مِن وَلِىٍّ وَلَا نَصِيرٍ
  • In reality only Allah SWT is the Helper and Protector.
  • Water by itself cannot quench thirst without the permission of Allah SWT
  • When you are imagining something, nobody else is involved in that process. You can build our own world – neither fire nor water in this imagined world affects you. The things in this imaginary world do not change or affect you. You did not do Hulool (حُلُولْ) in this world but this world is also connected to you.
  • Your reflection in the mirror does not affect you but is dependent on you.

Works or Acts of Allah SWT (اَفْعَال إِلٰهِ)

Ayah 37:96 – وَاللّٰهُ خَلَقَكُمۡ وَمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ  in the Quran states that it is Allah SWT who created you and what you do.

A person is dependent on Asbab (أسباب) for reaching his/her goals in this world. For example, in order to create a box, a carpenter first creates a mental image of the box and then needs wood, iron and tools to create it. Allah SWT can create without any dependence on Asbab.

Stages or مَرَاتِبْ of Afaal-e-Ilahi

  1. Ibdah (إِبْدأ) – This means originating something. There is no dependence on any Asbab or any previous model to copy. Ayah 2:117 – بَدِيۡعُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ . Allah SWT is the originator of the heavens and the earth.
  2. Khalq (خَلقْ) – Creating something from other things (Asbab) in stages.
  3. Sana’ (سَنَعْ) –  This means industry or converting one form to another with some changes.
  4. Fael (فِعلْ) – This means act where the one doing the action of his own choosing (خُد مُخْتَار)
  5. Amal (عَمَلْ) – This also means to act but the one doing the action is not doing it by choice or is not khud mukhtar. Aamil, the one who is doing the amal is the مُتِيعْ of Fayal who is the one doing the fael.

Types or  اقْسَام of Afaal-e-Ilahi

  1. Zahiri (ظَاهرِي) – Apparent or something that can be perceived by our senses. Also known as Mahsusaat (محسؤسات)
  2. Batini (بَاطِنِي) – Hidden. It is also known as Maqool (معقول)

Just as words have meaning, the Zahiri Afaal also have a Batin. In the Quran, Allah SWT first reminds us of the  Zahir like sun, moon, plants etc and then invites us towards the Batin like the Oneness of Allah SWT. 

To write words, you need letters. Once you learn letters, you need to learn the rules of putting words together till you can access books. A typical person is more inclined towards the Zahir. Allah’s Nemat or gifts are not complete when zahir does not point to Batin. Imaan cannot be complete only through accessing Zahir.

Allah SWT made humans a ‘khalifa’ or vicegerent on this earth. Acts or works are attributed to human beings in Zahir or Majaz (فَاعِل مَجَازِي) but the actual or haqiqi (فَاعِل حَقِيقِي) doer is Allah SWT.

Anfusi (أنْفُسِي) and Aafaqi (آفاقي)

Allah SWT says in the Quran (41:53) – سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ 

Anfusi – This means pertaining to your own self.

Aafaqi – This means pertaining to the universe.

Sair Anfusi ( سير أنْفُسِي) – This means exploring  your own self.

Sair Aafaqi ( سير آفاقي ) –   This means exploring the universe.

The Divine Decree and Predestination ( القضاء والقدر)

Qaza (القضاء) – This literally means decree or final verdict. This is a hukum (حُكُمْ) of Allah SWT. All the kaifiyaat of created things are written in Lahuh-e-Mahfooz.

It is of two types:

  1. Closed or twined (مَبْرُوْمْ) – This cannot be changed.
  2. Pending or suspended (مُعَلَّقْ) – This can be changed by making dua to Allah SWT.

The above two categories only apply to creation (human beings). We should always be making du’a to Allah SWT as we don’t know which things are ‘mabroom’ or ‘moallaq’ in Qaza.

 Qadar (القدر) – This refers to the appointed time and other asbab (things) that come together for the implementation of Qaza or decree. To quote the words of a famous scholar from Hyderabad, Maulana Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui (RA), Qadr is the timetable of this universe.

Wa Allahu ‘Alam (Allah is the Knower).