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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)

The next spiritual station that Shaykh Abū Madyan draws our attention to is the station of (tawakkul) or reliance on God. Shaykh Al-‘Alawī explained that the essence of (tawakkul) is the trust of the servant in his God and to be sufficed with his divine will and the serenity of the heart to what is destined for it without looking forward to anything beyond it.204

Shaykh al-‘Alawī drew our attention to the issue of exerting efforts (kasb) and that it does not contradict (al-tawakkul). Occupying the heart with what is guaranteed for it in terms of provision contradicts reliance on God as it indicates a lack of trust in God and a dispute over His Divine Rulings. Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shadhilī once said: "self direct yourself not to self direct".205 Therefore Shaykh al-‘Alawī echoed what Ibn ‘Arabī stated regarding (tawakkul) as he said that the attachment to worldly reasons and the tribulation that the heart feels when these reasons are missing goes directly against tawakkul.

Shaykh Abū Madyan pointed out the optimum state of reliance on God which leads the wayfarer to a status in which his remembrance of God supersedes remembering himself. Shaykh al-‘Alawī explained further that this state is not attained unless the remembrance of God is well mixed with the wayfarer''s heart, flesh and blood. If the wayfarer reached this high status, it is a sign of closeness to God because He allowed His Remembrance to be uttered with the wayfarer''s tongue and sprang from his heart naturally without the least effort. 206

So if the wayfarer is not sufficed with God and still keen on seeking the assistance of people and rely on them wholeheartedly, he is eventually doomed because God''s creation are in absolute need of their Creator so how can they be of any benefit to others if they can''t even benefit and suffice themselves ? 207

Shaykh Abū Madyan in his next aphorism defined the true slave of God as the one who cuts off all ties of hope except those that are bound with his Master. Shaykh al-‘Alawī explained this aphorism by indicating that this state is natural for the wayfarer who does not see the existence of creation as all things are dissolved in his eyes. For this reason the wayfarer hardly gets distracted by anything as all his hopes and wishes are tied with God and he does not plead anyone except Him. These are the characteristics of the true slave of God as for the rest of the people, they are slaves to others. Whoever hopes for anything is partially possessed by it and whoever cuts his hopes from everything, is taken care of by God.208

Shaykh Abū Madyan expressed his wonder of how the Gnostics can get distracted away from God and with Him they find all they look and hope for. Shaykh al-‘Alawī added that for the Gnostics they can''t look forward to achieving anything other than God as all they can ever love and hope for exists in Him. In other words, whoever knows God can''t be distracted with others as in Him lies all what the wayfarer needs.209

The Gnostics are so occupied with witnessing the beauty of their Lord that they cannot turn the eyes of their hearts away from Him. For this reason Shaykh Abū Madyan stated in his next aphorism that the Gnostics determination and hopes are ever remaining at God''s door step. Their hearts resided in his Divine presence without the least distraction. Even if the Gnostics tried to see God''s creation, they would see these creations saying: "and wherever you turn, you will see the face of God".210

Therefore, the Gnostics can very well be seen, in appearance, dealing with people, talking and gathering with them, yet their hearts truly remain with God. This noble state is eloquently expressed in poetry by Shaykh ‘Abd-ul- Qadir al-Jilanī when he said: "My heart is residing with my Beloved conversing with Him….and my tongue is with you people".211

Shaykh Abū Madyan ended his bundle of aphorisms in the spiritual station of satisfaction and submission with revealing the end state of this spiritual station which is joy and happiness with God alone. He said that the true slave is the one who feels despair of any joy except the joy that comes from his Master. Shaykh Al-‘Alawī explained that the true wayfarer finds himself withdrawing from any joy coming from others because he fails to see anyone else save God.212

Sufis only recognize the joy which comes from God and therefore they adopted whirling as a way of expressing joy and happiness with their Lord as Shaykh Muhammad b. ''Abdullah, a prominent Sufi mystic explained. He mentioned a story of a jurist who denied whirling for Sufis and one day a Sufi went to visit him in his house and found him whirling so he inquired about his action and the jurist replied that he found some legal juristic manuscripts that he has been searching for a long time so he danced in happiness. The Sufi replied saying: "I wonder how someone can dance in joy because he found something that is easily replaceable and deny dancing in joy for someone who found God and knew Him". This meaning is eloquently explained in prose,213

Don''t you see the bird in its cage oh boy….if it remembered its home, would long for singing… it dances in the cage yearning for meeting…and shakes the people with reason in awe when it sings….same as the souls of the lovers…are shaken with longing for the higher world…can we oblige it to maintain patience when it is yearning…and who can keep his patience while witnessing his Beloved…

It was narrated that a young boy named ‘Utba came over to see Lady Rabi‘a al-‘Adawiyya and he was wearing a new shirt and walking ostentatiously and that was not his habit. So Lady Rabi‘a asked him about the reason behind this new self pride and admiration that she did not see in his character before, and he wisely answered saying: "and who else could be prouder than me that now I have a Master and I became his servant".214

This is the state of those who reached their final destination and resided in the presence of their Divine Beloved and realized the mortal reality of all things so they raised their hopes to the Ever Eternal and attached their joy to Him.215 This state is mentioned in the Quran "Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard."216

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