Chapter 2: Concerning The Stages Of Purification
Know that as long as man is in the world of nature and in the abode of the primary [hayūlānī] matter, he is under the rule of the divine soldiers and the satanic soldiers. The divine soldiers are the soldiers of mercy, safety, happiness, light, purity, and perfection. The soldiers of Iblīs are on the opposite side. But as the divine aspects have mastery over the satanic aspects, at the beginning, man's disposition possesses natural divine light, safety and happiness, as is openly stated in the noble Hadiths and hinted at in the noble divine Book.1
As long as man is in this world, he can, on his own free will, put himself at the disposal of either of the two. So, if from the beginning of the God-given disposition till the end, Satan had no way of intruding, man would be divine, luminous from head to foot with purity and happiness, his heart being the light of Allah, observing nothing but Allah.
His inward and outward powers would be luminous and pure, and no one would use them but Allah, and Satan would have no share in them, nor would his soldiers be able to control him. Such an honorable being is absolute purity and pure light, and his past faults and the future ones are forgiven.2
He is an absolute conqueror, enjoying the station of original “great infallibility” ['ismat-i kubrā], and the other infallibles have the same station as the followers of that sacred essence. He is the Seal of the Prophets and possesses the station of absolute perfection. His vicegerents, though of separate substance, join him in disposition and completely follow him in absolute infallibility.
As to some of the infallible prophets and holy men [awliyā'] ('a), they have no absolute infallibility and are not protected against Satan's intrusion, such as Adam's act with respect to the “tree,” which was one of the intrusions of the great Iblīs, the chief of the Iblīses, and despite the fact that the “tree” was a paradisiac divine tree, yet it was marked by a multiplicity of names, which is contrary to the state of complete humanity. This is one of the meanings, or of the ranks, of “the forbidden tree”.
If the light of the divine disposition was polluted with the formal and spiritual impurities, it would be at a distance from the court of the Proximity and “the Presence of Love” [hadrat-i uns] in proportion to its pollution, until the light of disposition completely goes out, and the kingdom becomes altogether Satanic, and its inside and outside, secret and open, are put at the disposal of Satan.
Thus, Satan becomes its heart, ear (hearing), eye (seeing), hand, and leg, and all his other organs become Satanic. If somebody reaches this stage take refuge in Allah from it he becomes absolutely wretched and will never see the face of happiness. Between these two limits there are so many stages which only Allah, the Exalted, knows. Whoever is nearer to the horizon of prophethood, is of “those on the right hand” [ashāb-i yamīn], and whoever is nearer to the satanic horizon, is of “those on the left hand” [ashāb-i yasār].
It should be noted, however, that even after the pollution of the inborn disposition, it is possible to purify it. As long as man is still in this world he can get out of Satan's domain and can easily join the party of Allah's angels, who are the soldiers of the divine mercy.
The reality of jihād-i nafs [self-struggle] which, according to the Messenger of Allah (s), is more meritorious than struggling against the enemies of the religion, and is the greater jihād 3 is this getting out of Satan's domain and entering the domain of Allah's soldiers.
So, the first stage of purity is the observance of divine laws and the obedience to Allah's commands.
The second stage is to be adorned with virtuous morals and faculties.
The third stage is the purity of the heart, which means submitting the heart to Allah, after which the heart becomes luminous, or rather it becomes of the world of light and a degree of divine light. The luminosity of the heart flows to other organs and inner powers, and the whole kingdom turns into light, and light upon light, till the heart becomes divine and godly and the Divinity [hadrat-i lāhūt] manifests in all the inner and outer stages.
In this case, servitude completely vanishes and is annihilated, and Lordship explicitly appears, in which case, the heart of the sālik is overcome by a state of tranquility and familiarity, and he loves the whole world, and experiences divine trances, and the sins and faults become forgivable to him, and will be covered by the shelter of “love manifestations” [tajalliyāt-i hubbī, and primary holiness [wilāyat] begins to appear in him, and he becomes worthy of attending “the Presence of Intimacy” [mahdar-i uns]. Then, there are other stages, mentioning which does not suit these papers.
- 1. For example, the noble verse: “So set your face to the religion, as a man of pure faith Allah's nature upon which He originated mankind.” (Sūrah ar-Rūm 30:30). See the hadīths in Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 3, p. 276; vol. 64, p. 130, and in At-Tawhīd, ch. 53, p. 321.
- 2. A hint at the noble verse: “…That Allah may forgive your past faults and those to come.” (Sūrah al-Fath 48:2).
- 3. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 67, p. 65; vol. 19, p. 182.