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Pathways of the Seekers

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Pathways of the Seekers
by Sidi Aqil Al-Manbiji

 

SidiAqilManbijMosque25Know that there are seventy stations (مَقَامَات) for the seeker on the path to Allah عز وجل, and some say one thousand. What is meant here is that these stations are the Pathways of the Seekers. They include: Spiritual retreat, silence, observation, pondering, piety, feeling sorrow [for the current human condition], self-reckoning, humbleness, submissiveness, compliance with the Divine Commands, experiencing hunger, controlling one’s cravings, self-discipline, abstinence, training one’s carnal-self and forcing it to perform the daily recommended duties, awareness of one’s inner-self and its outer surroundings, to fill one’s time in devotional prayers, contentment, generosity, to have certitude, truthfulness, sincerity, chivalry, to have good character, good behavior, good conduct, to love one’s religion and faith jealously, to guard and protect one’s inner thoughts against deviation from the path, to engage assiduously in daily obligatory ritual and to comply their strict requirements, developing constancy in one’s devotion to Allah عز وجل, recognizing one’s continuous need for the Mercy of his Lord, acknowledge the Divine Oneness, to listen carefully, to have goodwill, to entrust one’s needs to his Lord and to have total reliance on Him for providing one’s provisions, to resign from making personal choices, willingness to obey the Divine commandments, to have good intention, to think positively, to have true recognition of the truth, to acknowledge Allah’s favors, to surrender the value of one’s good deeds and failures to his Lord’s final judgment, to accept the Divine choices, to have reverence for one’s Lord, to fear wrongdoing, to fear humiliation before one’s Lord, to have clean heart, to be a good disciple to one’s teacher and a good friend to people, to have compassion for all people, and to pray for them and to advise them.

The seeker also must consider the ill consequences resulting from jealousy, ostentatiousness, love for fame, vanity, pride, arrogance, haughtiness, cheating, deceiving others, envy, hatred, dislike and fear of poverty, refusing to accept one’s destiny, desire to preside over others, seeking acknowledgment and praise by others, love of fame in this down world, anger, fanaticism, extremism, arrogance, enmity towards others, greed, stinginess, cowardice, avarice, wantonness, fear of what others may say about one’s actions, engaging in evildoing, giving preference to oneself, belittling poor people, love of the pleasures of the world, believing in one’s social importance, competing to rise in social status, to look down on others, to interfere in others’ lives, to be talkative, gossip, swearing, submissiveness to high ranking people, flattery and often complementing others for their worldly achievements, toadying others to gain their acceptance, oft-joking, criticizing others, to dress to attract others’ attention, to love to be praised for something one did not do, to occupy oneself in fault-finding, forgetting Allah’s favors and blessings, feeling free of sorrow for one’s condition, engaging in time passing and amusement, plotting against others, betrayal of people’s trust, cheating, care to accumulate more of worldly gains, stretching one’s hopes and trust in their consequences, to behave arrogantly and tyrannically, excessive self-confidence when one should be humble, attempt to counter the Divine Will, excessive trust in worldly people, love of their company and fear of their rejection, complaining to others, aggressiveness, to behave violently with others, impoliteness, absence of compassion towards others, to feel safe of the Divine reprimand and chastisement for one’s wrongdoing, backbiting, slandering others, lying, pretension, hypocrisy, fear of poverty and shortage of means, besides other ill characters that distance the servant from his Lord. All of these bad qualities among others must be eliminated from the life of the seeker on the path of Allah عز وجل, and one’s heart and being should be cleansed in order to have a praiseworthy character.

To learn how to treat such illnesses, one must purify his heart, follow the above advice, show gratitude towards his Lord for His bounty and continuous favors. One also should learn about the science of the correct perception, the science of the proper evaluation of the state and conditions of one’s own being and that of others. One also must study the tenets of his faith and religion, the Prophetic Traditions, to maintain a state of spiritual purity and physical cleanliness, to comply with the correct conditions of fasting, and how to interact with people and to show kindness to them. One also should perform the Pilgrimage to Mecca (when he has the means to do so), pay the due Zakat alms, learn about the correct way of dealing with contracts and commitments, what is lawful and permissible, and what is unlawful or impermissible, what is dislikeable, the compulsory religious duty, the recommended religious duty, the preferred religious duty, the acceptable religious duty, the correct religious duty, and avoid what is wrong and unacceptable actions.

Many of the seekers recognized the majority of the requirements of religious jurisprudence, but once they adopted the good and beneficial rules, and abstained from what is wrong and abominable, and once they engaged in and lived by what Allah عز وجل has taught them, He further granted them knowledge they could not have perceived otherwise. He then availed to them access to knowledge of the upper realms and that of the lower worlds, as well as He granted them knowledge of current states and changing living conditions, knowledge of future stations and past events. Allah عز وجل hence has acquainted them with what is permissible to know about of the knowledge of the unseen عِلْم الغَيب, as well as He made them aware of the Divine favors and blessings that He reserved for the believers in the hereafter, and they were able to see with their own eyes some of the chastisement which is reserved for others as a result of one’s own doing.

Allah عز وجل also gave the pious believers the necessary access to Superior Knowledge which comprises Knowledge of Allah عز وجل, His beautiful Names and Attributes, and He made them aware of whatever He willed of His Supreme Knowledge and imparted that their awareness, including Knowledge of Manifest Reality علمُ الحَقيقَة and Knowledge of Mystical Reality علمُ البَاطِن. Allah عز وجل also taught them about the secrets of the down world عِلمُ الدُّنيا. He also gave them a taste of Divine Love to drink from, a taste that stripped them of their minds and personal thoughts, and put them into a unique state of a most powerful and indescribable ecstasy that rendered them intoxicated by what they drank. Consequently, they wandered aimlessly in the prairies and wilderness as they became overwhelmed by His extensive bounteous favors and magnificent grace. Such was their spiritual living station and their ever changing states and conditions that engendered them in His magnificent endowments of spiritual gifts. He established them in such station in this down world as a living proof of His Divine Signs and Favors. Therefore, whoever learns about this should pursue such endeavors. Allah knows best.

Translation by al-Faqir Muhammad Al-Akili
Cambridge 4/20/2012
©2012 Zawiya Fellowship
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