Accueil English pages Articles written The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 5- The spiritual station of Sincerity (al-Ikhlās)
The Contemporary Sufi Heritage of Shaykh Ahmad Ibn Mustafa al-‘Alawī : The Seven Spiritual Stages of the Sufi Path - 5- The spiritual station of Sincerity (al-Ikhlās)
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)
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5- The spiritual station of Sincerity (al-Ikhlās)

Al-ikhlās comes from the verb akhlaṣa which means to choose and al-Mukhlas is the one whom God chooses and purifies from filth.136 Al-Kāshānī explains according to the Sufi language that al-ikhlas at its initial stage means not to associate anyone in worship with God. The next level has to do with purifying the intention in doing any action to be solely for God''s sake without seeking worldly fame or claiming temporary social prestige. On higher levels of ikhlās, the wayfarer should nither see the action he performs nor ask for a reward for it. He also has to feel dissatisfied with the quality of his action and doubting the acceptability of the action performed. The highest level of ikhlas is to realize that the zeal to worship and to good acts comes solely out of God''s grace and bounty.137

Ibn ‘Arabī in his Futūhāt explains that the one who is sincere in worship is the one who worships God for Himself. In this universe all creatures have an implicit claim of lordship as all creatures have a combination of benefit and harm in them which yields to humiliating oneself to gain its benefit or prevent its harm. Therefore as honorable as man is among all other creatures due to his deputyship on earth, we would find him in need to drink a medicine which he hates its taste due to its curing benefits. In other words, he implicitly worshipped this medicine without even realizing it and if the medicine brings pleasure and has a good taste for the patient, he equally falls in worshipping it voluntarily and out of love. This idea of the need to bring benefits and prevent harm led the weak souls to worship things other than God. At this point the stage of sincerity gains a great importance because sincerity in worship necessitates that the servant does not see anyone but God as He is the Creator of the reasons of benefit and harm so one should turn to God to bring benefits and prevent harm without putting much weight on reasons as they are merely tools in God''s hands.138

Al-Qushairī in his Risala started his definition of sincerity with mentioning an authentic tradition of Prophet Muhammad which was related on the authority of Gabriel who in turn related about God that He said, "Sincerity is a secret taken from My secret. I have placed it as a trust in the hearts of servants that I love". Abu Ya''qūb al-Sūsi (d. 330 H.), who lived at the time of al-Junayd, commented on the issue of sincerity for the wayfarers saying that "When they perceive sincerity in their sincerity, their sincerity is in need of sincerity."139

Ibn ''Attaillah emphasized on the vitality of sincerity in one of his aphorisms in which he said: "Actions are lifeless forms (ṣuwar qāimah) but the presence of an inner reality of sincerity (sir al-ikhlāṣ) within them is what endows them with life- giving Spirit 140 Ibn ‘Ajība commented on this aphorism by indicating that deeds are like ghosts or hollow bodies and their life giving souls are represented by sincerity. The importance of sincerity lies in that deeds are not accepted by God except through sincerity as He is too rich to have any partners or associates. Therefore if the servant during performing any deed associated any partnership to God, the deed becomes unworthy of God''s acceptance. 141

This degree was iterated by Shaykh al-Harawī in his Manāzil in which he said that the wayfarer needs to extract himself from witnessing the act of obedience which he performed and cease to ask for a compensation for it and feel dissatisfied with his act and consider it insufficient as his sole purpose is gaining knowledge of God. Afīf al-Dīn al-Tilmisanī commented further on this degree saying that the wayfarer should never be proud of any act of obedience he performs and not to think that he deserves any kind of reward in reciprocity because his good deed was granted by God in the first place so how can he ask for a compensation for something he did not perform? 142

Similarly in the Manāzil of al-Harawī, he iterated the same meaning and considered feeling ashamed of the act of obedience and thinking of it as inadequate though the wayfarer exerted all his effort in performing it, is the second category of sincerity. Afīf al-Dīn al-Tilmisanī defined the meaning of shame of the act of obedience to mean concealing it from being seen by any witnesses and resort the act to its original Doer. This makes the wayfarer feels ashamed of attributing the act to himself regardless of the amount of effort he exerted in it.143

This meaning was echoed in one of the aphorisms of Ibn ''Attaillah in which he said: "Do not seek a recompense for a deed whose doer (fā''il) was not you. It suffices you as recompense for the deed that He accepts it."144

Al-Qushairī stated that Dhū-l- Nūn al-Miṣrī mentioned three signs of sincerity: one sees praise and blame from men as being equal, one loses the awareness of doing works while doing them, and one forgets the claim of being rewarded in the afterlife for good works. Abu Bakr al-Daqqāq asserted that a major defect in sincerity for the wayfarer is his own awareness of his sincerity. Therefore, if God wishes to purify the wayfarer from hypocrisy, He strips him of being aware of his sincerity and in this case he becomes sincere by God mukhlaṣ instead of being sincere on his part mukhliṣ.145

Shaykh al-Harawī in his Manāzil referred to the third and highest degree of sincerity which is breaking loose and gaining freedom from witnessing the trails of people and the tracks of their existence. Although they are seen as the manifestations of God''s power, they still form a veil which blocks the wayfarer from witnessing God.146

Ibn ''Attāillah warned against this type by saying: "Travel not from creature to creature, otherwise you will be like a donkey at the mill: roundabout he turns, his goal the same as his departure. Rather go from creatures (al-akwān) to the creator (al-mukawwin) {and the final end is unto thy Lord} (53:42)"147

Shaykh Ibn ‘Ajība commented on this aphorism explaining that the donkey in a mill simply goes in rounds and reaches the exact point where he left off thinking to himself that he actually walked to the destination he has been asked to reach. Shaykh Abu al-Hassan al-Shadhilī said: "you should stand at the doorstep of one door not seeking doors to open for you and it will, and submit yourself to only one master not seeking the submission of others to you and they will". 148

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