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 (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 (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 (Ikhlās)

Shaykh Abū Madyan moved to another spiritual station which is deemed necessary for the wayfarer to pass by in his path to God, it is the station of (al-ikhlās) or sincerity. Shaykh Abū Madyan in his first aphorism in this station asserted that no deed is perfected until it is accompanied with sincerity and vigilant awareness.232

Shaykh Al-‘Alawī commented further on this aphorism by explaining that insincere deeds mount to nothingness (''adam) and are considered nonexistent. Therefore whoever is not sincere while performing the deed is better off not doing the deed as he gains nothing except exhaustion and tiredness. God accepts an atom measure of sincere deeds and rewards for it and refuses tons of mountain measure insincere deeds and utterly rejects them. Shaykh al-‘Alawī then categorized people in the station of sincerity to three categories. The highest of which is the one who considers asking for a reward in reciprocity of doing a good deed lacks sincerity. 233

The degrees of sincerity is further explained through the story of Prophet Jesus as he was wandering around and passed by a group of worshippers who looked like an old rug out of exhaustion from extreme worship, so Jesus asked them: "for what purpose was your worship?" and they replied: "God caused us to fear His hell fire, so we feared it" and Jesus replied: "God will guarantee you safety from what you feared" and he left them. Jesus''s second encounter was with another group of worshippers who practiced even harder worship than the previous group so he asked them about the purpose of their worship and they said: "God caused us to yearn for paradise and its beauty so we hoped to enter it". Jesus said in response: "God will guarantee you what you hoped for" and he passed them by. Jesus last encounter was with a third group of worshippers so he asked them for the purpose of their worship and they said: "We are the lovers of God, we did not worship Him out of fear of hell fire or out of longing for heaven but out of love for Him and glorifying His majesty." So Jesus said: "you are the true Gnostics and with you I am commanded to stay" and he lived among them.234

Abū Hazim al-Medanī, one of the prominent Gnostics, said: " I would feel so shy from God if I worshipped him out of fear of his hellfire because that would make me like an ill- mannered slave who does not work unless he fears the consequences of not working, and equally I would feel shy to worship Him for a reward which would make me like the ill- mannered laborer who does not work if he is not given a compensation for his labor. I am rather worshipping God out of love for Him". 235

Shaykh al-‘Alawī explored the roots of insincerity and resorted it back to the lack of vigilant awareness of God. If the worshipper was aware of God''s watchfulness over him, he would not have lacked sincerity because he witnesses the One in all what he is doing.236 The same meaning was mentioned by Ma''ruf al-Kahrkhī (d. 200 H. 815 CE)237, one of the famous Gnostics, when he was asked about the reason which led him to isolate himself from people and dedicate his life to God, he kept silent. So he was asked: "did you remember death?" and he replied: "and what is the value of death?" so he was asked: "did you remember the grave?" and he replied: " and what is the value of grave?" so he was asked: "was it the fear of hellfire and the desire of heaven?" so he said: "and what is the value of all that, the One who owns all these in His hands if you loved Him, He would make you forget all that and if you had knowledge of Him, he would suffice you all that".238

The summary of the Gnostics'' statements in this spiritual station is that they don''t see of themselves any rank on which they deserve a reward nor they have exerted their efforts in work which would amount to protect them from punishment. Their state is that they have no state with God, their commodity is bankruptcy as they have nothing and deserve nothing. The worshipper is a creation, reward is a creation, punishment is a creation "Isn''t to God belong creation and command?"239 Shaykh al-‘Alawī echoed in this regard what Shaykh al-Harawī stated when he emphasized on the importance of resorting the act to its original Doer. Same meaning was iterated by al-Qushairī when he explained the necessity for the wayfarer to forget any claims of rewards for good deeds.

In a second aphorism Shaykh al-‘Alawī adds to Abū Madyan''s tip which would draw a demarcation between sincerity and hypocrisy. The sign of sincerity is to lose sight of people through your engagement in witnessing the Lord. Shaykh al-‘Alawī added further that once the wayfarer becomes sincere, less acts of worship will suffice him. Some Gnostics said that when the Lord opens up a door of attaining knowledge about Him, the wayfarer does not need to care whether he works hard in worship or not. In other words as long as the wayfarer witnesses people, his work cannot be sincere to God. Equally if the wayfarer is worshipping for the hereafter then he remains insincere because he is a creation works for a creation and where does the Lord fit in all that?240

Explaining further the issue of not being distracted by anything save God, Shaykh ‘Abdul Qadir al-Jilanī said: " invocation of God is a veil, prayer is a veil, fasting is a veil, and all types of worship in itself forms a veil". Shaykh Al-‘Alawī expounded on this by saying that these types of worship only become a veil for those who lean with their hearts towards them and were blocked by worship from witnessing the One whom they seek behind their worship.241

Shaykh Abū Madyan in his next aphorism draws the attention of the wayfarer to the danger of depending on his worship to secure himself a favored place in the divine presence. Shaykh al-‘Alawī warns against seeking God through depending on one''s worship because as long as the servant is aware of his worship, then the door to the divine presence remains closed. Whoever attempts to reach God with something he earned i.e. through worship; this worship will become an obstacle between the wayfarer and God. In other words, no one can reach God except through Him.242

Shaykh al-‘Alawī turned our attention to how acts of worship can form a block which veils us from the Divine whereas Shaykh al-Harawī focused on the importance of breaking loose from witnessing the trails of people and the tracks of their existence as they form a block which prevents the wayfarer from witnessing God.

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