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The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 3- The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)
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

3- The Spiritual Station of Reliance on God (al-tawakkul)

In the Arabic language, al-tawakkul originates from God''s divine attribute of al-wakil who is the guardian and the provider for people''s provision and in a literal sense al-wakil becomes the sole independent provider for those who rely on him.115

Al-Kāshānī explains in Sufi terms the different levels of al-tawakkul and defined the initial stage to be related to abandoning regular actions which stem from whims and abiding to actions which are divinely ordained. The next level of tawakkul has to do with believing that there is no strength to do a certain action or prevention from another except by God. On a higher level the wayfarer shies away from al-tawakkul due to his knowledge that all his affairs belong to God and that he has no control over things because originally he owns nothing. This state leads the wayfarer to annihilate himself into God''s actions and be totally oblivious about his own actions as he is totally immersed in his reliance on God to run all his affairs. The ultimate level of tawakkul has to do with witnessing God''s ownership and majesty over all things and the helplessness of all creatures in standing in worship due to their original state of non existence.116

Ibn ‘Arabī in his Futūhāt defined al-tawakkul as the reliance of the heart on God without feeling the tribulation which usually occurs when worldly reasons which people depend on are missing. He stated further that the stage of al-tawakkul is closely tied with faith because God Almighty is not obligated to do anything except that which He obligates himself with. Therefore the servant accepts that God does whatever He wishes due to our faith in Him not solely due to our knowledge about Him. Knowledge alone cannot lead us to utter submission and total surrender to God''s destiny as this is the work of faith.117

He further mentioned that the servant realizes that God has created the world to serve man''s best interests. But the servants do not know what would work for their best interest and thus it is mandatory to rely on the One who knows their best interests and care for their affairs in this world and the next one. From another perspective humans are God''s deputy on earth and He assigned them a great task on earth. God created all creation to praise and glorify Him, each in its own unique way, yet none of His creation was created on His image except human beings. God described himself with concealment from things and drew veils of separation to prevent His creation from recognizing Him, yet sent a deputy to the world to act as a wakīl of God on earth. Therefore there is a mutual reliance or deputyship between man and God.118

Al-Qushairī in his Risala quoted Abū Turāb an-Nakhshabī''s response when he was asked about the condition of trust in God and he said: "Casting down the body in worship, attaching the heart to lordship, and being serene as to the matter of sufficiency. If something is given, he is thankful, and if it is withheld, he is patient."119

Ibn ''Attaillah wrote about the same meaning in one of his aphorisms in which he said: "rest yourself from self direction (tadbīr), for what Someone Else (ghayruk) has carried out on your behalf, do not you yourself undertake to do it". 120

Al-Qushairī quoted the three stages of trust in God mentioned by Abu ''Ali al-Daqqāq who said: "there are three degrees for the one trusting God: trust followed by surrender and finally the assignation of one''s affairs to God." Al-Qushairī commented on these three stages saying that the one who trusts is at peace with God''s promise, the one who surrenders is content with His knowledge and the one who assigns his affairs to God is satisfied with his wisdom.121 Al-Daqqāq went further explaining that the first state suits the believers whereas the second is the quality of the saints and the third is the attribute of those who assert His unity i.e. the elite of the elite. He added that the state of trust is the general state of prophets, the state of surrender belongs to Prophet Abraham whereas the state of assigning one''s affairs to God which is the highest state belongs to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)122

The issue of remembrance and invocation of God took a huge share of the Sufi writings and is largely tied with the issue of reliance on God because for Sufis the real doer of all actions is God and for this reason they would not have had the ability to invoke unless He bestows them with the grace of remembering Him. Ibn ''Attāillah mentioned the prominent state of invocation in one of his aphorisms: "He ennobled you with three charismatic gifts (karamāt): He made you an invoker (dhākir) of Him, and had it not been for His grace, you would not have been worthy of the flow (jarayān) of the invocation of Him in you; He made you remembered by Him (madhkūr bihi) since He confirmed his relationship to you; and He made you remembered by those with Him (madhkūr ''indahu), thereby perfecting His grace upon you".123

The first divine gift as Shaykh Ibn ‘Ajība explained is that God made the wayfarer invoke and remember Him and how can a humiliated servant invoke the name of his renowned master if it weren''t for his master''s grace on him? The second gift is that God remembers the wayfarer due to the wayfarer''s remembrance of Him and this indicates a special position that the wayfarer would have never enjoyed except through God''s divine grace. The third gift is that God made the wayfarer remembered by the angels in heaven.124

Al-Ghazālī in his Iḥyā mentioned the three degrees of tawakkul where he equaled the first degree to trusting the one who handles your affair in case of surety. The second degree is for the wayfarer to be with God like a child with his mother who knows no one else but her and turns to no one else except her nor depends on anyone else save her. The highest degree of all is when the wayfarer becomes with God in his stillness and movement like a dead corpse in the hands of its washer. This means for the wayfarer to realize that even if the child did not turn to his mother and clanged to her, she would still seek him and if he did not cry out asking for her, she will pick him up and comfort him and if he did not ask for food, she would still provide him with it. Once the wayfarer reaches this third degree of tawakkul, he will cease asking for anything or supplicate to gain anything.125

Shaykh al-Harawī talked extensively about the state of al-tafwīḍ or the assignation of one''s affairs to God. He says that once the state of tawakkul with all its degrees is accomplished, it will yield to the state of assignation which is the core of submission to God. Al-Harawī went further explaining the reason why al-tafwīd is a higher state than al-tawakkul because al-tafwīd has a wider meaning than al-tawakkul. In other words, al-tawakkul usually takes place after the occurrence of a certain reason whereas the tafwīd encompasses both states before and after the occurrence of the reason.126

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