The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba):
English - Articles written
Écrit par Omneya Nabil Muhammad Ayad   
Jeudi, 22 Mai 2014 00:00
Index de l'article
The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path
Chapter 1 : Introduction
Literature Review
Martin Lings'' Work on Shaykh al-‘Alawī
Thesis purpose
Primary Sources
Historical brief on the French Colonialism in Algeria (1830-1900) and the role of the Sufi orders in Algeria
Brief Biography on Shaykh al-‘Alawī
A comprehensive list of all the written books of Shaykh al-‘Alawī
History of the al-‘Alawī Sufi Order
Chapter Two : The Historical Background of the Sufi Spiritual Stages in Major Works
The History of the Development of the Spiritual Stages in Major Sufi Works
1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba):
2- The Spiritual Station of Satisfaction and Submission (al-Riḍa wa-l- Taslīm)
3- The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)
4- The spiritual station of Poverty (al-Faqr):
5- The spiritual station of Sincerity (al-Ikhlās)
6- The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
7- The Spiritual Station of Oneness (al-Tawhīd)
Chapter 3 : The Sufi Spiritual Stages in the Work of Shaykh al-‘Alawī
1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba)
2-The Spiritual Station of Satisfaction and Submission (al-Rida wa-l- Taslīm)
3-The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)
4-The spiritual station of Poverty (al-Faqr)
5-The spiritual station of Sincerity (Ikhlās)
6-The Spiritual Station of Love (Hubb)
7-The Spiritual Station of Oneness (al Tawhīd)
Toutes les pages

1- The Spiritual Stage of Fear and Vigilant Awareness of God (al-Khashya wa-l- Murāqaba):

Before delving into the spiritual stage of al-Khashya, it would be of benefit to explore its linguistic origin and meaning in the Arabic language. In the dictionary of Lisān al-‘Arab, the verb khashya means to fear something or someone.83 As for al-murāqaba, when it is associated with God it indicates fear of Him.84 In the Sufi language, al-Kāshānī explains that the term fear indicates at its initial level the fear of death before repentance. The second level of fear is the fear of losing the pleasure of the divine company and the weakness of willingness. The last level of fear for Sufis is the fear of squashing before the presence of God''s majesty and total annihilation in awe and fear of God''s divine supremacy.85 As for al-murāqaba, al-Kāshānī defines this state in Sufi terms to be the stage of constant watchfulness to God by the heart while treading the divine path accompanied with ultimate glorification and unwavering motivation to keep the wayfarer on the divine path.86

For Shaykh al-Harawī in his Manāzīl, he categorized the stage of fear and vigilant awareness of God into three stages. The first stage combines between awe and longing for proximity; this combination leads to a unique feeling of inner pleasure for the wayfarer. Shaykh al-Tilmisānī (845H. 1441CE)87 in his commentary said that awe occurs out of veneration and reverence for the majesty and glory of God Most High whereas all else are merely insignificant dependent creatures.88

In this regard al-Junayd (d. 298 H. 910 CE)89 said that whoever is in a state of constant watchfulness of God only fears missing his share of divine rewards because of the slightest diversion of his heart. 90

Al-Qushairī in his Risāla iterated the same meaning when he commented on the hadīth of Ihsān in which Prophet Muhammad said "for if you are unable to see Him, He surely sees you". This part of the hadīth summarizes the issue of constant and vigilant awareness of God. For al-Qushairī this state is preceded with a state of self accountability for every action performed or word uttered, otherwise the wayfarer would be far away from reaching his ultimate destination of communicating with God.

Ibn ''Arabī in al-Futūhāt al-Makkiyya explored the stage of fear and identified it as the stage of godly men and saints due to the contradicting feelings that are combined in their hearts at this stage. They fear both from the veil of separation and from lifting it alike. They fear the veil because of their ignorance about what the veil hides or what lies beneath it and equally they fear lifting the veil due to their fear of being squashed in God''s majesty so they lose the pleasure of witnessing His absolute beauty. Therefore, for Ibn ''Arabī the stage of fear is a stage of confusion as the saints are unable to prefer one option over the other.91

Shaykh al-Harawī considered the wayfarer''s watchfulness of God''s vigilant awareness of his servant as the second stage in this spiritual station. In this stage the wayfarer has to desert any sort of rejection or discontentment towards God''s actions or unseen destiny. Deserting rejection extends towards not only God''s actions but also attributes. Also vigilant awareness of God yields getting rid of the wayfarer''s inner thoughts or feelings of self existence which may block the wayfarer''s connection to God and form a veil of separation.92

Shaykh Abū ''Uthmān al-Maghribī (d.373 H.) who was one of the leading Sufi saints in the 4th Hijri century elaborated on the vitality of purifying the heart by saying that a Sufi saint once advised him that whenever people gather around him seeking knowledge, he has to be vigilant of his own heart as people watch what is apparent and God watches what is concealed.93

Dhū-l- Nūn al-Maṣrī (d. 246 H. 861 CE)94 defined the issue of vigilant awareness of God in practical terms through indicating signs, he said: "The sign of vigilant awareness is choosing what God Most High chooses, making great what God Most High makes great and belittling what God Most High belittles."95

Ibn ''Attāillah confirmed the importance of the two types of preservation in one of his aphorisms in which he said: "When He makes you submissive to His command and provides you with resignation to His power inwardly, then he has enhanced the greatness of the favor accorded to you."96

Shaykh Ibn ‘Ajība commented on this aphorism by stating that submitting to God''s commandments in the world of outward manifestations is a proof of perfection of the revealed law al-sharī''ah and realization of servitude. On the other hand surrendering to God''s divine power is a proof of the perfection of the path and reaching the ultimate truth. The combination of both states earns the wayfarer a state of utter perfection because God relieved the wayfarer from the distress of disobedience outwardly and the burden of resentment and discontent inwardly.97

Shaykh al-Harawī in the third stage of vigilant awareness of God eloquently mentioned the necessity of getting rid of the state of vigilant awareness. He explained that vigilant awareness is tightly connected with the feelings of self existence of the wayfarer and acts as an indication of his remaining; a fact which goes against the ultimate aim of the wayfarer which is self annihilation in God, a state in which the wayfarer does not need to resort to vigilant awareness because he is simply not aware of his own existence anymore.98

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