Discussed in Two Chapters
Know that the wayfarer to Allah has, according to his existential growths [nasha'āt-i wujūdiyyah], certain places, each of which has its particular disciplines. The sālik have to know them before attaining the Salat of the people of knowledge.
The first is the natural growth and the apparent mundane stage, and its place is the earth of nature. The Messenger of Allah (s) said: “The earth is made for me a place for prostration and a purifier.”1
The sālik's discipline [adab] at this stage is to make his heart understand that his descending from the invisible growth [nash'ah] and the coming down of the soul from its high and lofty place to the lowest earth of nature and his being reduced from “the best stature” [ahsan-i taqwīm] to the lowest of the low are for the voluntary journey to Allah and the ascension to the mi'rāj of Proximity and reaching the Court of Allah and the Threshold of His Lordship, which is the objective of creation and the final end of the people of Allah. “May Allah have mercy upon one who knows where he has come from, where he is and where he is going.”2
The sālik must realize that he has come from the house of Allah's munificence [karāmat], and is now in the house of worshipping Allah, and will go to the house of Allah's recompense. The gnositc says: “From Allah, in Allah and to Allah.” So, the sālik must tell himself, and his spirit, that the house of nature is a mosque for worshipping Allah, and that he has been brought to this world for this purpose, as Allah, the Almighty and Glorified, says:
“And I have not created the jīnn and the ins [mankind] except that they should worship Me.”3
After realizing that the house of nature is the mosque for worship, and finding himself in seclusion [mu'takif] in it, he is to observe the relevant disciplines and abstain from remembering other than Allah. He is not to leave the mosque of worship, unless there is a need, such as for relieving himself, and then to return, and not to be familiar except with Allah, nor to have any affiliation with others, as these are contrary to the disciplines of cleaving to the door of Allah.
In this stage the knower of Allah will have certain moods [hālāt] which cannot be written down, and as the writer is out of “the innate disposition of humanity” [fitrat-i insāniyyat], indulging in the overflowing darkened sea of nature, void of truth and reality, as well as of all the stations of the sāliks and of the gnostics, the best thing for him is not to disgrace himself in the Presence of Allah, the Almighty, and his close friends, but to go past this stage and take his complaint against the evil-commanding soul to the Sacred Threshold of the Lord of Majesty, as perhaps He would extend to him a helping hand out of His general kindness and all-embracing mercy, and thus he would compensate during the rest of his life for what has passed:
“Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves, and if you forgive us not and have not mercy on us, we shall certainly be of the losers.”4
The second stage is the state of the external and internal powers, which are the visible and invisible soldiers of the soul, whose place is the ground (earth = 'ard) of man's nature, i.e., his structure and body. The sālik's discipline in this respect is to inform the inmost of the heart that the ground ('ard) of his nature is the mosque of divinity and the place for the prostration of the soldiers of the Beneficent [ar-Rahmān].
Therefore, the mosque should not be smeared with the filths or Iblīs' intrusion, and the divine soldiers should not be put under the influence of Iblīs, so that the ground ['ard] of the nature is illuminated with the Lord's light, and be freed from the darkness and the impurity of being away from the Court of the Lord.
So, let him believe that his visible and invisible powers are in seclusion in the mosque of the body, and he is to treat his body as he treats a mosque, and to look at his powers as being in seclusion in the Court of Allah. In this stage, the obligations of the sālik are more, because it is his own responsibility to undertake cleaning and purifying the mosque, as he also is to observe the disciplines of seclusion on the part of those (visible and invisible powers) that are in seclusion in this mosque.
The third stage is the sālik's cordial invisible growth [nash'ah], whose place is the invisible barzakhian body of the soul, which is created and developed by the soul itself. The sālik's discipline, in this instance, is to make himself realize that this stage greatly differs from other ones, and to preserve it is of the sālik's important duties, because the heart is the leader of those in seclusion in the Court (of Allah), and with its corruption all of them will be corrupted: “If the scholar is corrupt, the world will be corrupted.”5
The heart of a scholar is a small world, while the scholar is the heart of the big world. In this stage the sālik's duties increase, because the building of the mosque is also added to his responsibilities and it maybe that God forbid! His mosque will be a mosque of harm [dirār], disbelief and disunity of the Muslims. In such a mosque it is not allowed to worship Allah, and it must be pulled down.
Having established the divine invisible mosque with the hand of the Beneficent and of the guardianship, and purified it from all impurities and satanic intrusions, and begun his seclusion therein, the sālik is to strive to take himself out of his seclusion in the mosque in order to seclude in the Court of the Owner of the mosque.
And, after purging himself from self-love and getting out of his own fetters, he himself will become the house of Allah, or better to say, he will become the mosque of the Lord, and Allah will glorify Himself through Manifestation of Action, then of Names and of Essence in that mosque, and this glorification is the Salat of the Lord, saying: Subbūhun quddūs, rabb 'ul-malā'ikati war-rūh (All-Glorious, All-Holy, the Lord of the angels and the spirit).6
The traveler to Allah has, in all the stages of the journey, another duty to perform, neglecting which is not permissible at all, for actually it is the core of the cores and the objective of the sulūk. This duty is not to forget to remember Allah in any situation or stage, and to seek to know Allah from all rituals and worships, and to see Him in all phenomena, and not to let the blessings and munificence prevent him from the company [suhbat] and privacy, as this is a kind of istidrāj (being engaged in other than the Haqq).
In short, he is to take the spirit and the interior [bātin] of the worships and rituals to be knowing Allah, and to look into them for the Beloved so that the attachment of loving and being loved becomes fixed in his heart, and he may be favored with hidden graces and secret associations.
It is stated in Misbāh ash-Sharī'ah that Imām as-Sādiq ('a) said: “When you arrive at the door of the mosque, know that you have come to the door of a great King. No one may walk into His Courtyard save the purified, and no one is admitted to His Company [mujālasah] but the truthful. So, attach reverence to your coming to the ground of serving the King, as you would be exposed to a great danger if you were negligent.7
Know that He is capable of doing what He likes of justice and grace with you and by you. So, if He were kind to you with His mercy and favor, He would accept from you little worship and give you much reward for it. But if He demanded from you a share of truth and sincerity, to be just with you, He would block you and reject your worship, even if it is much. He is the doer of what He wants. Confess to His Presence your inability, shortcoming, humility and poverty, as you have come to Him to worship and to get His Intimacy [mu'ānasah].
Expose your secrets to Him, knowing that nothing, covert and overt, of the entire universe, is hidden from Him. Before Him, be the poorest of His servants. Empty your heart of all occupants that keep you away from your Lord, as He does not accept except the pure (st) and the (most) sincere. Find out in which register your name is recorded. If you tasted the sweetness of supplication and the delight of addressing Him, and drank from the cup of His mercy and generosity out of His good reception of you and response to you, then you would become suitable for His service.
So, enter, as you will have permission and protection. Otherwise, stop, like the one whose rope has snapped, whose hope has come short, and time has got the better of him. So, if Allah found in your heart true recourse to Him, He would look at you with the eye of kindness, mercy and leniency, and cause you to be successful in attaining what He likes and is pleased with, since He is generous and loves generosity for His servants who distressfully resort to Him and burn out at His door for the want of His pleasure. Allah, the Most High, says:
“Or, who answers the distressed one, when he calls upon Him, and removes the evil…?”8
I have related the complete text of this noble speech because it is a comprehensive set of instructions for the people of knowledge and the wayfarers to Allah, who, by contemplating on it may acquire a different state.
Having understood the stages of the place according to his states and existential growths [nasha'āt], the sālik is to exert his effort, in respect with the cordial disciplines of their permissibility, so that his Salat may come out of the usurping intrusions of the evil Iblīs. In the first stage he is to perform the formal disciplines of worship and servitude, and to fulfill his former promises of the world of pre-existence and the Day of Covenant, cutting Satan's intruding hand from the kingdom of his nature.
So as to establish amicable relations with the Owner of the House, and his actions [tasarrufāt] in the world of nature may not be usurping. Some of the people of good aptitude say that the inner meaning of the noble āyah,
“O you who believe! Fulfill the obligations. The cattle quadruped are allowed to you,”9
Is that allowing the cattle quadruped is conditioned by the fulfillment of the guardianship obligation. Noble Hadiths relate that all land is the Imām's, and that other than the Shī'ahs are its usurpers.10 People of knowledge regard the walī al-amr (the religiously legal authority) as the owner of all kingdoms of the existence, and the stages of the visible and the invisible, and regard using them without the Imām's permission to be wrong.
The writer says: The accursed lblīs is the enemy of Allah, and his conducts and all the satanic intrusions in the world of nature are tyrannical and usurping. So, if the wayfarer to Allah could bring himself out of the control of that wicked one, his conduct would be divine, and his place, clothing, food, and matrimony would be permissible and clean. And as much as he remains under Satan's control, his permissibilities become less, and satanic polytheism [shirk] will affect them.
So, if man's external organs become under Satan's control, they will be Satanic organs, usurping Allah's kingdom, as the seclusion of the invisible powers in the mosque of the body can only be permissible and right when those powers are of the soldiers of Allah, in which case Iblīs' soldiers will not have the right to intrude into the kingdom of the human body, which is the property of Allah, the Exalted.
Having cut the intruding hand of Satan short off the kingdom of the heart, which is the private residence of Allah, and cleared his heart for Allah's manifestation, and excluded other than Allah, such as Iblīs, from it, the external and internal mosques and the visible and invisible places become permissible for him, and his Salats become like those of the people of knowledge, and consequently, the purity of the mosque is realized, too.