Be aware that this spiritual journey and faithful ascension cannot be made with this broken leg, ruptured reins, blind eyes and lightless heart:
“And whomever Allah has not given light, for him there is no light” – (Surah Nur, 24:40).
Therefore, in setting off upon this spiritual road and ascending to this gnostic mi'rāj, it is a must to adhere to the spiritual state of the guides along the ways of knowledge [ma'rifat] and the lights [anwār] of the road of guidance, who are the devotees and the attainers to Allah. If anybody tries, depending on his selfishness and without clinging to their guardianship, to tread upon this road, his journey will be to Satan and to the pit (of hell) [hāwiyah].
Scientifically speaking, to connect between the novel [hādith] and the Eternal [qadīm], the changing and the Unchanging, there should be an intermediate, a connector, with the characteristic of being unchanging and changing, eternal and novel. Without such an intermediate, the Emanation of the Eternal and the Unchanging would not pass to the changing and the novel in the divine law, and the universal and existential connection would not take place.
As regards the connector between these two, the scientific opinions of the experts in the evidential knowledge ['ulūm-i burhānī] are diverse, as the gnostic taste is different, to give the details of which is out of the scope of these papers. In the gnostic taste, the connector is the Sacred Emanation [fayd-i muqaddas], the Expansive Existence [wujūd-i munbasit], which has the position [maqām] of the big isthmus [barzakhiyyat-i kubrā] and the great intermediate [wasatiyyat-i 'uzmā], and it is the very position of the spirituality and the guardianship of the Seal of the Prophets, which is united with the position of 'Alī's General Guardianship [wilāyat-i mutlaq-i 'Alawiyyah].
The relevant details are stated in the Misbāh al-Hidāyah by the writer.1
Similarly, in the ascending spiritual connection which is the opposite of the descending existential connection, or in other words, it is “the contraction of existence” [qabd-i wujūd] and returning to the Beginning there is need for an intermediate, without which it does not take place, and the connection of the imperfect and the chained hearts, and of the limited descending spirits, with the Complete, Super Complete and the Absolute from all aspects, is not implemented without the spiritual intermediates and the invisible connectors.
If somebody thinks that Allah, the Exalted, is self-subsisting [qayyūm] with each being and encompassing each of the entities [akwān] without the intermediation of the intermediates, as is referred to in the noble āyah:
“There is no living creature but He holds it by the forelock,”2
He is mixing up the states [maqāmāt] and is making a mistake in the status [i'tibārāt], mingling the state of the multiplicity of the stages of existence with the vanishing [fanā'] of the individuations [ta'ayyunāt]. This discussion, however, is not so much connected to this paper, and, actually, what has already been said was caused by the overflowing of the pen.
In short, adhering to the masters of graces [awliyā'-i ni'am] who have themselves found the way of ascension to ma'ārij and completed their journey to Allah is a must for the travelers to Allah, as is frequently mentioned in the noble Hadiths, such that in Wasā'il (Wasā'il ash-Shī'ah) there is a chapter concerning the invalidity of worship without adhering to the guardianship of the Imāms (the 12 Imāms) and believing in their Imamate.
In Wasā'il it is quoted from the noble al-Kāfī, on the authority of its writer quoting Muhammad ibn Muslim who said: “I was told by Imām Baqīr al-'Ulūm (the fifth Imām) ('a) who said: “Know, O Muhammad, that the leaders of despotism and their followers are isolated from Allah's religion. They are misleading and misled. So, their deeds are like the ashes at which a violent wind blows on a windy day and it disperses them.”3
In another narrative from Imām al-Bāqir, he said: “If a man spent his nights performing the Salat, spent his days fasting, gave out all his wealth in charity, and went to hajj every year of his life, yet he did not know the guardianship of Allah's friend to follow him and return to him in all his deeds, he would have no right to ask Allah, the Glorious and Almighty, for any reward, nor would he be of the people of faith.”4
Shaykh as-Sadūq, quoting Abū Hamza ath-Thumālī, says that he said: “Imām 'Alī ibn al-Husayn ('a) asked us: “Which spot is most preferred?” We said “Allah, His Messenger and the son of His Messenger know better.” He said: “The best of spots for us is that which is situated between the rukn and the maqām (two places in the Ka'bah). If some one lives as long as the life of Nūh who lived among his people for a thousand years less fifty and spends it in fasting in daytime and in worshipping at nights in that spot, and then goes to meet Allah without accepting our guardianship, he will not be benefited by it whatsoever.”5
The narratives on this topic are too many to be contained in this summary.
The discipline of testifying to the Messengership is to convey to the heart the testimony of the Messenger's being sent by Allah, as well as the greatness of the state of the Messengership, especially that of the Last Messenger, since the whole circle of existence, the invisible and visible worlds, from the viewpoints of creation, legislation, existence, and guidance, are living on the crumbs of his table.
That great man is the means of Allah's Emanation and the connection between Allah and the creatures. Had it not been for his spiritual status [maqām] and absolute guardianship, no existing being could have been worthy of being benefited by the state of the Invisible Oneness [ghayb-i ahadī], and Allah's grace would not have passed over to any being, and the light of guidance would not have shone onto anyone of the internal and external worlds. He is the light mentioned in the āyah of Nūr (Light):
“Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.”6
When the greatness of the legislator of the religion and of the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds enters a man's heart, the importance of his precepts and rules enter the heart, too. Then, when the heart has comprehended that greatness, the other visible and invisible powers would submit to it, and the sacred sharī'ah would be observed in the entire human kingdom. The sign of the truthfulness of the testimony is that its effects will appear in all the invisible and visible powers, and they will keep adherent to it, as has already been stated.
From what has so far been stated, the reason of testifying to the Messengership in the adhān, the iqāmah and the Salat has become clear, for the traveler on this spiritual road is in need of adhering to that sacred being, so that he may accompany him and have his helping guidance in performing this spiritual ascension.
Another aspect of this testimony is the announcement to the mundane and heavenly powers that the Salat, which is the reality of the ascension [mi'rāj] of the believers and the source of the knowledge of the people of gnosticism and of faith, is the result of the complete revelation [kashf] of Muhammad (s), who, with his spiritual journey, divine attractions and the embers of the Beneficent, attained a position
“At the distance of two bows or closer still,”7
Revealing its truth, following the Essential, Nominal and Attributive manifestations and intimate inspirations in the Invisible Oneness. In fact, this is a souvenir, a gift that he brought from his moral and spiritual journey for his ummah, which is the best of the ummahs, and by that he favored them and overwhelmed them with blessings.
When this belief sets inside the heart and is fixed by repetition, the sālik will, as a matter of course, understand the greatness of the state and the place, and will proceed, with fear and hope, to cover this stage, and it is hoped, inshā' Allāh (Allah willing), if he does his best to perform it, that master will assist him and lead him to the state of “the Proximity of the One” [qurb-i ahadiyy], which is the original innate objective. In the divine sciences it has been proved that the return of all beings is implemented by means of the Perfect Man:
“As He brought you forth in the beginning, so shall you also return.”8
“With you Allah started and with you He will end, and the return of the creatures is up to you.”9
In the honorable hadīth in 'Ilal ash-Sharā'i', which gives details about the Salat of the mi'rāj and describes it, it is said that when the Messenger of Allah (s) mounted on the mount of light, which had been sent down by the Lord of Might, and ascended accompanied by Gabriel, and reached the third heaven, the angels ran away, bowed and glorified Allah.
Gabriel said: “I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The angels gathered and greeted the Messenger of Allah, and asked him about Amīr al-Mu'minīn ('Alī). The doors of the heavens opened and the Messenger ascended to the fourth heaven. There, the angels of Allah said nothing. Then the doors of the heaven opened, and the angels gathered, and Gabriel finished reciting the iqāmah…” 10 etc.
Al-'Ayyāshī, in his exegesis of the Qur'an, relates almost the same context.
From this hadīth one may gather that the angels of each of the heavens were incapable of enduring to see the Ahmadian Beauty, and they fell bowing at seeing his sacred light, and dispersed, thinking it was the light of Allah. Then, as they heard the chapters of the adhān and the iqāmah they came back to his intimacy, the doors of the heavens opened and the veils were lifted.
Hence, the sālik is to come out from these veils by means of the said testimonies by testifying to the Messengership he is to completely come out from the veil of the creational individuality [ta'ayyun-i khalqī], because the position of Messengership which He assigned to the most honorable of the creatures, is the position of absolute annihilation [fanā'] and complete dependence, since the final absolute Messengership is the big divine isthmus khilāfah (vicegerency, succession).
It is a vicegerency [khilāfah] in respect of appearance, manifestation, genesis, and legislation. The vicegerent [khalīfah] is not to be independent nor to have individuality in any way; as otherwise, the vicegerency becomes the principalship itself, which is not possible for any of the beings.
So, the sālik is to convey the great state of the Ahmadian khilāfat to the innermost of his heart and soul, by means of which he is to remove the veil and penetrate the barriers, and to completely come out of the veils of the creational individuation. Then, the doors of all the heavens will open to him and he will attain, unveiled, his objective.
In some unreliable narratives it is stated that after testifying to the Messengership in the adhān one is to say: “I testify that 'Alī is waliyullāh (Allah's friend)” twice. In other narratives, one is to say: “I testify that 'Alī is truly Amīr al-Mu'minīn' twice. In some others, one is to say: “Muhammad and his progeny are the best of people.” Ash-Shaykh as-Sadūq (may Allah have mercy upon him) took these narratives to be invented and he denied them.11
It is well known among the 'ulamā' (may Allah be pleased with them) that these narratives are not reliable. Some narrators regard them among the commendables, due to “the negligence of the proofs of the laws”. This opinion, however, is not far from being true, although if “absolute proximity” [qurbat-i mutlaqah] is intended, reciting it is better and more admired, because after testifying to the Messengership, it is desirable to testify to the guardianship and the leadership of the believers.
In the hadīth of ihtijāj (argumentation) it is said that Qāsim ibn Mu'āwiyah said: “I said to Imām as-Sādiq that the people of the Sunnah relate a hadīth about the mi'rāj, that when the Messenger of Allah was taken on the mi'rāj, he saw upon the 'Arsh: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and Abū Bakr as-Siddīq.” He said: “Glory be to Allah! They changed everything even this!” He said: “Yes”. Then he continued: “When Allah, the Exalted, created the 'Arsh, He wrote upon it: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and 'Alī is the Commander (Leader) of the Faithful.
He ordered these to be written on the water, on the Chair (Throne), on the Tablet, on Isrāfil's forehead, on the two wings of Gabriel, on the shoulders of the heavens and the earth, on the top of the mountains, on the sun and on the moon.” Then the Imām added: “When anyone of you says: “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah,” let him say:”'Alī is the Commander (Leader) of the Faithful.”12
In short, this noble remembrance, after testifying to the Messengership is generally recommendable. In the chapters of the adhān especially, it is probably commendable. Nevertheless, as the notable 'ulamā' have denied those narratives, one may pronounce it by way of precaution and with the general intention of proximity (to Allah), not as a feature of the adhān.
As to the gnostic note concerning “writing these words on all the beings, as from the High 'Arsh to the low earth,” it is that the truth of the khilāfah and wilāyah (successorship and guardianship) is the manifestation of divinity, which is the origin of existence and its perfection. Every being which has a share of existence also has a share of the truth of divinity and its manifestation, which is the truth of the khilāfah and wilāyah, and the divine grace is fixed on the foreheads of all beings all over the universe, as from the invisible worlds to the end of the visible world.
The said divine grace is the truth of “the Expansive Existence” [wujūd-i munbasit], “the Breath of the Beneficent” [nafas ar-rahmān] and “the Created-in Right” [haqq-i makhlūqun bihī], which are the very inside of the Last Successorship and of 'Alī's General Guardianship. On this, the gnostic Shaykh Shāhābādī (may his spirit be sanctified) used to say that the testimony to Messengership implies the testimony to Guardianship, because Guardianship is the inside of Messengership.
The writer says that these two testimonies are both implied in the testimony to His Divinity, and the testimony to Messengership implies the other two testimonies, and also the testimony to Guardianship implies the other two testimonies. Praise be to Allah at the beginning and at the end.
When the wayfarer to Allah has announced by his takbīrs that Allah is greater than any description, and by testifying to His Divinity has exclusively confined all attributes and praise, or, actually, every influence and effect, to Allah, and confessed his incapability of managing the amr, and by the testimony to the Messengership and Guardianship, he has chosen his comrade and company and adhered to the sacred position of successorship and guardianship as it is said: “The companion (first) then the journey”13 then, with quite an explicit tone, he is to prepare his visible and invisible powers for the Salat, announcing the presence to them by saying: ”Hayya 'alā 's-Salat,” (come to the Salat) twice.
Its repetition is intended to complete awakening [tanbīh] and waking up [īqāz], or one is for the inner powers of the kingdom, and the other is for the outer powers of the kingdom, since they also accompany the sālik on his journey, as has already been said, and will follow, too.
In this stage, the discipline of the sālik is to tell his heart and powers, even the innermost of the heart, that the time of presence is near so as to prepare himself for that, fully observing the formal and the spiritual disciplines. Then he is to announce the general secret and result of the Salat, by the calling: “Hayya 'alā 'l-falāh” and “Hayya 'alā khayr 'il-'amal” (come to the best of deeds) so as to wake up the fitrat (disposition = nature), because prosperity and salvation are absolute happiness, and all the human beings love absolute happiness by nature.
The innate nature [fitrat] is in quest of perfection and comfort. The truth of happiness is the absolute perfection and absolute comfort, and that is brought about in the Salat, which is the best of deeds, cordially, formally, outwardly, and inwardly.
This is because the Salat, according to its form and appearance, is a great and comprehensive remembrance and a praise of the Greatest Name, which encompasses all the divine affairs [shu'ūn]. For this reason, the adhān and the iqāmah open with the word “Allah” and end with it, and Allāhu akbar (Allah is Greater) is repeated in all stages of the Salat, and the three tawhīds (professions of the Unity of Allah), which are the delight of eyes of the holy men, are effected in the Salat, in which the form [sūrat] of absolute annihilation and complete return are mixed.
According to the interior and the truth, it is ascension to the proximity of Allah, the truth of reaching the Beauty of the Absolute Beautiful and vanishing in that Sanctified Essence, dearly loved by the inborn nature [fitrat]. It is by the Salat that the complete calmness, absolute comfort and the complete mental happiness are achieved:
“Surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.”14
Therefore, the absolute perfection, which is attaining to Allah's Court, joining the Necessary Limitless Sea, discerning the Eternal Beauty, and being immersed in the Sea of Absolute Light, is effected in the Salat, in which absolute comfort, complete rest and perfect calmness also appear, bringing about the two corners of happiness.
So, the Salat is perfect prosperity, and it is the best of the deeds. The sālik will have to repeat this divine grace, to remind the heart and to wake up his disposition [fitrat], and after having it in his heart, his inner nature would attach importance to it and observe it, since it looks for perfection and happiness. The same point is true in respect of the repetition.
When the sālik reaches this stage, he announces his presence by saying: “qad qāmati’s-Salat” (The Salat has just started). Then, he is to see himself at the Presence of the Master of the kings of the worlds of existence and the Sultan of the sultans and the Absolute Great, and to inform his heart about the dangers of the Presence, all of which are due to the incapability and the inefficiency of “the possible”, and to feel ashamed of not carrying out the amr, approaching, with the steps of fear and hope, towards the Generous.
He is not to regard himself possessing traveling provisions and company. He is to see his heart empty of safety, not to think his deeds good ones; rather, worth not a penny. Should this state become firm in his heart, he would hope to get Allah's care:
“Or who answers the distressed one, when he calls unto Him, and removes the evil?”15
Muhammad ibn Ya'qūb, quoting Abū 'Abdullāh as-Sādiq ('a), says: “When you recite the adhān and the iqāmah, two rows of angels will perform the Salat behind you, but if you said the iqāmah (only), one row of the angels would perform the Salat behind you.”16 There are many other Hadiths to the same effect, some of which say that the length of each row is as the distance between the east and the west.17
Another hadīth says that when Imām as-Sādiq ('a) was asked about the length of each row, he said: “The length of the shortest row is as the distance between the east and the west, and the length of the longest is as the distance between the heaven and the earth.”18 In some narratives it is said that if he said the iqāmah without the adhān, an angel would stand at his right side and another at his left side19, and other similar narratives.
The difference among the narratives may be due to the difference among the knowledge and the sincerity of the musallīn, as can be inferred from some narratives in this respect, such as the narrative concerning performing the Salat with the adhān and the iqāmah in the desert or wasteland.20
In short, when the sālik sees himself the leader of the Salat for the angels of Allah, and his heart as the leader of his visible and invisible powers, and gathers, with the adhān and the iqāmah, his visible and invisible powers, together with the angels of Allah, he is to regard his heart which is the best of the external and internal powers, and the intercessor for the other powers as an imām.
And, as the heart is liable for the recitings of the ma'mūmīn [musallīn] after its leadership, and as their faults are undertaken by it, the sālik is to be quite keen and a good observant of its presence, and to completely guard the disciplines of the Sacred Presence, making the most of this Sanctified Meeting, admitting the great importance of the attention and the support of the angels of Allah, taking them to be of the favors of the Real Benefactor, and acknowledging his incapability of giving the due thanks to His Sacred Majesty for these great blessings. Surely He is the Benefactor!