Third Section - Kitab Sirr al-Asrar wa Mazhar al-Anwar

11 April 2012

Third Section

The shops of the spirit in the body.

The shop [hanut] of the physical spirit consists of the breast, together with the external limbs and organs of the body. Its merchandise is the Sacred Law, and its business is performance of the duties Allah has commanded, by observing the external rules and without attributing partners to Him. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And let him give no one any share at all
wa la yushrik
in the worship due unto his Lord.
bi-'ibadati Rabbi-hi ahada. (18:110)

Allah is Single, and He loves that which is single. That is to say, He loves work that is sincerely devoted to Him, without hypocritical display and the pursuit of fame.

The profit [from this business] in this world consists of sainthood, mystic disclosure and direct vision in the realm of Dominion [Mulk], from the ground underfoot to heaven above. It may take the form of charismatic marvels, like walking on water, flying through the air, covering great distance with a single stride, hearing from afar, seeing
what is hidden inside the body, and so on.

As for its profit in the Hereafter, it consists of the gardens, the houries, the palaces, the manservants, the drinks, and all the bounties in the first Garden, which is the Garden of Shelter [Jannat al-Ma'wa].

The shop of the freely moving spirit is the heart. Its merchandise is knowledge of the Spiritual Path, and its business is its preoccupation with the first four Names [of Allah]. These are among the twelve roots of the Names, which have no pronunciation and no alphabetic spelling. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Say: "Cry to Allah, or cry to the All-Merciful.
quli 'd'u 'llaha awi 'd'u 'r-Rahman:
To whichever you cry,
ayyam-ma tad'u
His are the Most Beautiful Names."
fa-la-hu 'l-Asma'u 'l-Husna. (17:110)

To Allah belong the Most Beautiful Names,
wa li'llahi 'l-Asma'u 'l-Husna
so invoke Him by them.
fa-'d'u-hu bi-ha. (7:180)

These are indications that the Names are central to the main preoccupation, which is knowledge of the inner being. Direct knowledge is the product of the Names of Oneness. The Prophet (peace be upon him)

Allah (Exalted is He) has ninety-nine Names. Anyone who counts them will enter the Garden of Paradise.

He also said (peace be upon him):

The lesson is one, and the repetition is a thousand.

What is meant by "counting" the Names is that one should come to be characterized by them, and molded by their qualities.

These twelve Names are the roots of the Names of Allah (Exalted is He), based on the number of the Arabic letters in la ilaha illa 'llah [There is no god but Allah]. The letters of this sentence are twelve [in the Arabic script].4 For each letter, Allah has thus established one Name in the layers of the heart, three Names in each realm. Allah has thereby confirmed the hearts of the lovers. As Allah (Exalted is
He) has said:

Allah confirms those who believe,
yuthabbitu 'llahu 'lladhina amanu
with the Word that stands firm,
bi'l-qawli 'th-thabiti
in the life of this world and in the Hereafter.
fi 'l-hayati 'd-dunya wa fi 'l-akhira. (14:27)

Allah has sent down upon them the tranquillity of intimate friendship, and Allah has firmly established the tree of the affirmation of Oneness. The root of that tree is firmly planted in the seventh [level of the] earth, in the very ground beneath us, and its branches spread in the heaven above, extending beyond the Throne. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Do you not see how Allah coins a similitude:
a-lam tara kaifa daraba 'llahu mathalan
A good saying, like a good tree,
kalimatan tayyibatan ka-shajaratin tayyibatin
its roots set firm,
aslu-ha thabitun
and its branches reaching into heaven?
wa far'u-ha fi 's-sama'. (14:24)

The profit of this shop is the life of the heart. The freely moving spirit enjoys direct vision in the realm of Sovereignty [Malakut], where it witnesses the Gardens, their radiant lights and their angels. Its speech is the speech of the inner being, and it considers the inner Names without sound or spelling. Its abode in the Hereafter is in the second Garden, which is the Garden of Bliss.

The shop of the royal spirit is the heart's core. Its merchandise is direct knowledge, and its business is constant attention to the four Names, expressed in the language of the heart. As the Prophet (peace be upon him) once said:

Knowledge ['ilm] is twofold: knowledge conveyed by the tongue, that being Allah's testimony to His servants, and knowledge conveyed by the heart, that being the knowledge that is useful, because knowledge provides benefits in this sphere.

He also said (peace be upon him):

The Qur'an has an outer meaning and an inner meaning.

-and he said (peace be upon him):

Allah sent down the Qur'an in ten successive layers of inner meaning. Each inner meaning is more useful and more profitable than the one before, because it is a marrow [mukhkh].

These Names are comparable to the twelve springs that gushed forth when Moses (peace be upon him) struck the rock with his staff. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And when Moses asked for water for his people,
wa idhi 'stasqa Musa li-qawmi-hi
We said: "Smite the rock with your staff."
fa-qulna 'drib bi-'asa-ka 'l-hajar:
And there gushed out from it twelve springs.
fa-'nfajarat min-hu 'thnata 'ashrata 'aina:
Each tribe knew their drinking-place.
qad 'alima kullu unasin mashraba-hum. (2:60)

Exoteric knowledge is like spasmodic rain, while esoteric knowledge is more useful, since it is like an inexhaustible fountain. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And a sign to them is the dead earth.
wa ayatun la-humu 'l-ardu 'l-maita:
We revive it, and We bring forth from it grain
ahyaina-ha wa akhrajna min-ha habban
so that they eat thereof.
fa-min-hu ya'kulun. (36:33)

Allah (Exalted is He) brought forth the horizons from the earth, as a grain that is the strength of the animal natures. He also brought forth from the earth the personal identities [of human beings], as a grain that is the strength of the spiritual spirits [arwah ruhaniyya]. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

If someone is sincerely devoted to Allah (Exalted is He) for forty mornings, the fountains of wisdom will flow from his heart to his tongue.

As for the profit of this shop, it is the vision of the reflection of Allah's Beauty (Exalted is He). Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

One of mighty power has taught him,
'allama-hu Shadidu 'l-quwwa:
One of great vigor; and he grew clear to view,
Dhu mirra: fa-'stawa
when he was on the highest horizon.
wa huwa bi'l-ufuqi 'l-a'la
Then he drew near and came down,
thumma dana fa-tadalla
till he was two bows' length or nearer,
fa-kana qaba qawsaini aw adna
and He revealed to His servant that which He revealed.
fa-awha ila 'abdi-hi ma awha.
The heart in no way falsified what he saw.
ma kadhaba 'l-fu'adu ma ra'a. (53:5-11)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The faithful is the mirror of the Faithful [al-mu'minu mir'atu 'l-Mu'min].

The first "faithful" is the heart of the faithful servant, while the second is Allah (Exalted is He). Allah has described Himself (Exalted is He) as:

The Faithful, the Guardian....
[u] 'l-Mu'minu 'l-Muhaiminu.... (59:23)

The final abode of this group is in the third Garden, which is Paradise [Firdaws].

The shop of the holy spirit is inside the secret being. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

The human being is My secret and I am his secret.

Its merchandise is the knowledge of Reality [Haqiqa], that being the knowledge of Oneness. Its business is the constant repetition of the Names of Oneness, they being the last four, with a speechless tongue. Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And if you speak aloud,
wa in tajhar bi'l-qawli
He surely knows the secret
fa-inna-hu ya'lamu 's-sirra
and that which is yet more deeply hidden.
wa akhfa. (20:7)

-so no one is aware of it, other than Allah (Exalted is He).

As for the profit of this shop, it is the emergence of the child of inner meanings, its direct witnessing and vision, and its lawful contemplation of Allah's countenance (Exalted is He) with the eye of the secret being:

That day will faces be resplendent,
wujuhun yawma'idhin nadira:
looking toward their Lord.
ila Rabbi-ha nazira. (75:22,23)

-without "how?", without qualification and without comparison. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

There is nothing like unto Him,
laisa ka-mithli-hi shai':
and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.
wa Huwa 's-Sami'u 'l-Basir. (42:11)

When the human being reaches his goal, minds become constricted, hearts become perplexed and tongues become exhausted. He cannot give any account of that experience, because Allah (Exalted is He) is exempt from all likenesses. When such accounts do reach the scholars, they must therefore base their understanding on the various levels of knowledge, seek to grasp their real meanings, and turn their attention toward the highest heights. They must strive to attain to knowledge of the Divine Presence and understanding of the Singular Essence, without rejecting and denying the explanation we have given.

The number of the sciences ['ulum].

Explanation of the Sacred Law [Shari'a], the Spiritual Path [Tariqa], Direct Knowledge [Ma'rifa] and Reality [Haqiqa].

Exoteric science [al-'ilm az-zahir] consists of twelve branches, and esoteric science [al-'ilm al-batin] likewise has twelve branches. These branches are divided among the common folk and the special élite, in proportion to their capability.

The sciences ['ulum] are grouped in four sections:

1. The outer aspect of the Sacred Law [Shari'a], meaning the commandments, prohibitions, and other rules and regulations.

2. The inner aspect of the Sacred Law, which I have called the Science of the Inner and the Spiritual Path [Tariqa].

3. Esotericism, which I have called the Science of Direct Knowledge [Ma'rifa].

4. The innermost of inner factors, which I have called the Science of Reality [Haqiqa].

It is essential to acquire knowledge of all these sciences, for, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

The Sacred Law is a tree, the Spiritual Path is its branches, Direct Knowledge is its leaves, and Reality is its fruit.

The Qur'an contains them all, explicitly and by implication, by commentary or by interpretation. According to the author of al-Majma': "Commentary [tafsir] is for the common folk, while interpretation [ta'wil] is for the élite, because they are the scholars who are rooted [rasikhun] in knowledge. The meaning of 'rootedness [rusukh]' is 'firmness, establishment and commitment' to knowledge, just as the root of the palm tree is firmly established in the earth, while its branches reach up into the sky. This rootedness is the result of the profession [that there is no god except Allah] that is planted in the core of the heart after purification. [In the following Qur'anic verse] Allah (Exalted is He) has referred to 'those who are rooted in knowledge' immediately after His saying (Almighty and Glorious is He) 'except Allah [illa 'llah]':

He it is who has sent down to you the Book
Huwa 'lladhi anzala 'alai-ka 'l-Kitaba
wherein are clear signs-they are the
min-hu ayatun muhkamatun hunna
substance of the Book-and others allegorical.
Ummu 'l-Kitabi wa ukharu mutashabihat:
But those in whose hearts is doubt
fa-amma 'lladhina fi qulubi-him zaighun
pursue that which is allegorical,
fa-yattabi'una ma tashabaha
seeking dissension by seeking its interpretation.
min-hu 'btigha'a 'l-fitnati wa 'btigha'a ta'wili-h:
None knows its interpretation except Allah.
wa ma ya'lamu ta'wila-hu illa 'llah:
And those who are rooted in knowledge say:
wa 'r-rasikhuna fi 'l-'ilmi yaquluna
We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord.'
amanna bi-hi kullun min 'indi Rabbi-na:
But only men of understanding really heed.
wa ma yadhdhakkaru illa ulu 'l-albab. (3:7)"

According to the author of at-Tafsir al-Kabir [The Great Commentary]: "If this door were opened, the doors of the inner mysteries would open too."

The servant is also commanded to observe the commandment and the prohibition, and to oppose the lower self [nafs] in each of the four spheres. In the sphere of the Sacred Law, the lower self insinuates contradictions. In the sphere of the Spiritual Path, it insinuates deceptive conformities, like the claim to Prophethood and sainthood. In the sphere of Direct Knowledge, it insinuates concealed polytheism [shirk khafi] in the guise of luminous revelations, like the claim to Lordship. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

Have you seen him who chooses
a-ra'aita mani 'ttakhadha
for his god his own lust?
ilaha-hu hawa-h. (25:43)

As for the sphere of Reality, the devil has no access to it, nor does the lower self, nor do the angels, because anyone other than Allah is (Exalted is He) is burned to ashes therein. As Gabriel (peace be upon him) said: "If I had drawn nearer by a fingertip, I would surely have burned to ashes." [In this sphere] the servant is therefore uninfluenced by two opponents [the devil and his own lower self], and he is sincerely devoted [to Allah]. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

[Satan] said: "Then, by Your might,
qala fa-bi'Izzati-ka
I shall surely beguile them every one,
la-ughwiyanna-hum ajma'in.
except Your sincerely devoted servants among them."
illa 'ibada-ka min-humu 'l-mukhlasin. (38:82,83)

So long as he has not attained to Reality, the servant cannot be sincerely devout, because the disloyal human attributes will only be annihilated by the manifestion of the Divine Essence, and ignorance will only be removed by direct knowledge of the Divine Essence (Glory be to Him and Exalted is He). Allah (Exalted is He) will teach him an esoteric knowledge from His Presence, without intermediary, so he will come to know Him through His instruction, and worship Him through His teaching, as in the case of al-Khidr (peace be upon him).

Once he has reached this stage, the servant will witness the holy spirits. He will come to know his Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), who will tell him about everything from the beginning to the end, and all the other Prophets will give him glad tidings of the eternal communion. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger,
wa man yuti'i 'llaha
they are in the company of those
wa 'r-rasula fa-ula'ika ma'a 'lladhina
to whom Allah has granted gracious favor-
an'ama 'llahu 'alai-him
the Prophets, the champions of truth, the martyrs
mina 'n-nabiyyina wa 's-siddiqina wa 'sh-shuhada'i
and the righteous-and the best of company are they!"
wa 's-salihin: wa hasuna ula'ika rafiqa. (4:69)

If someone has not acquired this knowledge, he is not a scholar in reality, even if he has read a million books. Inasmuch as he does not reach the spiritual level, though he performs physical work in accordance with the outer aspects of the sciences, his recompense will be the Garden of Paradise, and that alone. Only the reflection of the [Divine] attributes will be manifest there. The scholar does not gain access, by exoteric knowledge alone, to the Holy Sanctuary and nearness [to the Lord], because that is the realm of flight, and birds do not fly without wings.

If the servant acts in accordance with both exoteric and esoteric knowledge, he will reach that realm. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said in the Sacred Tradition [Hadith Qudsi]:

O My servant, if you wish to enter My sanctuary, you must pay no attention to the dominion [of this world], the realm of Sovereignty [Malakut] and the realm of Omnipotence [Jabarut], because the dominion [of this world] is the devil of the scholar, the realm of Sovereignty is the devil of the direct knower, and the realm of Omnipotence is the devil of the overseer.

If someone takes notice of any one of these temptations, he is an outcast in the sight of Allah (Exalted is He), meaning an outcast from nearness, not an outcast from the abode. Such are those who seek nearness, but fail to reach it, because they are distracted by desire, and because they only have one wing.

As for the people of nearness, they receive that which no eye has ever seen, of which no ear has ever heard, and which has never occurred to a human heart. That is the Garden of Nearness, in which there are no houries and no palaces.

The human being needs to recognize his true value, and he must not claim for himself what is not his right and proper due. It was 'Ali (may Allah ennoble his countenance) who said: "May Allah have mercy on a man who knows his own worth, who does not go beyond his limit, who guards his tongue, and who does not waste his life."

The scholar must therefore comprehend the meaning of the reality of the human being, called the child of inner meanings. He must train that child to practice constant affirmation of the Names of Oneness, and to leave the realm of physicality for the realm of spirituality, which is the realm of mystery, where there are no abodes except Allah. That realm is like a desert of light, to which there is no end. The child of inner meanings flies over it, and beholds its strange and marvelous wonders, but they are impossible to describe. It is the place of those affirmers of Oneness who lost their own identity in the eye of Singularity. The sight of Allah's Beauty left them with no existence in the meantime, just as staring at the sun makes everything else invisible. Without a doubt, the human being cannot see himself at the same time as Allah's Beauty, because of the overwhelming astonishment and fascination.

As Jesus (peace be upon him) said: "The human being does not enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, unless he is born twice, as the birds are born twice." This refers to the birth of the child of spiritual meanings from the reality of human capability. That is the secret of the human being. It is conceived and born from the union of the science of the Sacred Law and the science of Reality, just as the ordinary child results from the union of the two sperms from the man and the woman. As Allah (Exalted is He) has said:

We created the human being from a sperm-drop,
inna khalaqna 'l-insana min nutfatin
a mingling, in order to try him;
amshajin nabtali-h:
and We made him hearing, seeing.
fa-ja'alna-hu sami'an basira. (76:2)

After the manifestation of this inner meaning, it becomes a simple matter to pass from the surface of the oceans of creation to the depths of the commandment. In comparison with the realm of the spirit, every other realm is like a drop of water. After that [manifestation], the spiritual and esoteric sciences are communicated without a letter [of the alphabet] and without a sound.

Source :
* Osmanli Naksibendi Order - A great site dedicated to the Naksibendi Tariqat guided by Shaikh Abdul Kerim

* Mind, Body, Soul - Blog of the Webmaster/Maintainer of this site
* Masud Ahmad Khan's Homepage - Great site for information on traditional Islam
* Thoughts & Readings - Quotes and documents from famous scholars
* Saqwari Qaderi Silsila - A great site dedicated to the Saqwari Qaderi Silsla