The Fifth of Seven Discourses on Hubb,
18th August 2007,
Masjid Mahmoud, Constantia, Cape Town, South Africa

We were commenting on the Ten Stages of Love, and we now come to the Fourth of these Ten from Shaykh Nasirud-Din of Delhi. We have covered ‘Ulfa, Sadaqa and Mawadda, and we now come to Hawa. Now that we are almost, as it were, halfway into this designation of our Shaykh from Delhi, I would like to preface this with something that will also help you to understand why our Muslim Community is in the state that it is in.

Tasawwuf has, over the last hundred years, been very savagely and brutally attacked from outside Islam. At the same time it has degenerated inside the Muslim Community among its own proponents and followers. You see, we all say it like a truism, but it is a Hikma that there cannot be Haqiqat without Shari’at. In that sense we could say that all the trouble of the Muslims has come from the abandonment of Shari’at. In these last days, in the last half of this century over, we have seen people try to turn, as it were, the Haqiqat into a kind of Shari’at so that they made the rules that apply to Shari’at as if they applied to Haqiqat. Thus you find, especially in the Subcontinent, but also in Morocco in the Maghrib, that because of the silsila of the Shaykhs, some people claim a kind of Wilayat because they are the grandson or the great-grandson or the great-great-grandson of a real Wali. This is like in Shari’at if there were a descent of family there would be inheritance. But there cannot be an inheritance by family in the Ma’rifa. Or as the Sufis say, the exception proves the rule. For example, we have two father and son Shuyukh in our Tariqa, Sidi ‘Ali Wafa and Sidi Muhammad Wafa, but they are the exceptions, and also the two Fasis. But they are the exceptions which prove the rule.

At the same time, what is strange is that just as the people who are defending Tasawwuf have already betrayed it, the irony, or the inevitable result is that the people who claim that they want Shari’at, have also betrayed the Shari’at. You read about this in all the kafir media which tells you every day that there are these terrible people who want to impose what they call ‘Shari’at Law’, but this is not Deen of Islam. We want Shari’at, but the truth of the matter is that what is law, what carries with it judgment, and what carries with it in certain cases punishment – that is not the whole of the Shari’at. Ad-Deen al-Mu’amalat – The Deen is Behaviour. If you take out character and behaviour, you cannot have Deen, you cannot have Shari’at. We have seen it, because we have seen people who have not got correct behaviour or correct character imposing Hadd punishments on people out of the blue, out of nothing, out of nowhere, and it is a savagery and a cruelty of exceptional dimensions.

In that sense, to have Shari’at you have already admitted the basic and fundamental principle of Haqiqat, which is that Mu’amalat has an outward aspect – because the right action, the good action is visible, and is known and is recorded – but at the same time it has an aspect that is hidden because it cannot spring out of nothing. Otherwise it would be a hypocrisy. Is that not correct? So this is the dilemma in which we find ourselves.

Now, if you then erode the thing further – and this is where we come to something very strange – you find that people today, and I mean ‘Ulama, I mean educated people, certainly from fifty years back, in my time as a Muslim, but probably back a bit further to the beginning of the twentieth century, have somehow accepted the idea – which is ironically not criticised or reformed or challenged by the so-called people who want Shari’at – that the financial system and the financial structures and the financial transactions which are today called Capitalism, are alright. This is something that cannot be explained rationally because if you challenge these people to their face they will nod and say to you, “Certainly, that is absolutely true,” but they will continue in the procedures of that Capitalism which are a denial of the Deen of Islam and what Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, has ordered.

I have written in my writings about a certain change which took place in the world in the middle of the nineteenth century, and I am not the only person to make that observation. Christians have made it, humanists have made it, historians have made it, sociologists have made it – that is that somewhere, in the century before last, there was a kind of split, a crack in consciousness, and it is like, after that, a kind of defeat of the human creatures occurred, and it was done in the high effervescence of something that was called Humanism. But at the very point they were declaring humanism, people became subhuman and in that sense we are all subhuman. What is subhuman? It is that we have gone out of kilter, we have gone out of the pattern which, in the language of our ‘Ulama, is called Deen al-Fitra.

The Fitra of the human being has been totally dislocated because the action of usury, the action of the fundamental motor of this social system actually cracks and breaks the Fitra. So people are no longer able to have the Deen which is Deen al-Fitra. Also, Deen al-Fitra is Deen al-Haqq, so you cannot have the Haqq, you cannot have Tasawwuf if you do not have this pattern of behaviour which means that in the transaction you are honest and act according to what has been commanded in the Book of Allah and by Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and the First Community of Madinah.

It is VERY important that we grasp this because what has to happen and will happen over the coming years of this new century, is there has to awaken a generation of men who want to taste that matter which is the subject of what we have been studying – that is Divine Love and passion and ecstasy for Allah, the Creator of the Universe. Without this, nothing can be achieved.

Properly speaking, the nihilist, suicidal terrorist is the blood brother of the capitalist million and billionaires. They are one. They are the two extremities and they meet. Where do they meet? They meet in having cut themselves off from ANY understanding that they have to obey Allah and obey the Messenger. They do not do this, and they cannot do it by charity, and they cannot do it by screaming Takbirs before they blow themselves up. They are exactly the same. As long as you have the one, you will have the other. They belong together, and they will continue together until a generation comes who wakes up and says, “I have still got some contact with my Fitra and I want to taste this matter.” But when they taste this matter, it becomes the dominant factor of their lives. This is what the subject of Divine Love is that we have been examining.

The truth of the matter is: Islam is the religion of the sciences of Divine Love and Passion. That is true. It is not for a special lot of people, it is not a metaphoric condition – everything that you read about the Battle of Badr is that. It is that. It is everything you read about the Sahaba at the time of Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in Madinah. It is that.

Now we will look at the Fourth Stage which is Hawa – Passionate Desire. It is longing. Longing has to awaken in the Lover. This longing, this passionate desire has five phases. The first is Khudu – Humility. There is a very famous text of Moulay ‘Abdalqadir al-Jilani, radiyallahu ’anhu, in which he wrote about his longing for the Presence of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. The more he tried and the more he struggled, the less successful he was. Then he heard a voice say to him, “Go to the little door of humility.” He said “I went to the little door of humility, and there I found only a few and I was able to enter.”

The second phase is Ita’ati Mahbub – Obedient Devotion. That means that the worship of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, the acts of ‘Ibada become events of great emotional enrichment.

The third phase is Sabr – Patient Endurance. Our Shaykh says, “Patience calms the turbulence.” To that he adds, “Because when water becomes still, it is like a mirror.” So when the inner turbulence calms itself, it means that he is then able to gaze in the mirror and have direct vision.

The fourth phase is Tadarru – Supplication in Humility. This we find in Surat al-‘Araf (7:205):

Remember your Lord in yourself humbly and fearfully,
without loudness of voice, morning and evening.
Do not be one of the unaware.

The fifth phase of this passionate desire is Rida, which is, really, Resignation. This is a journey, this is a path, and in this path the end is always there, it is always present at every stage. What we are looking at is not a progressive thing with stage after stage after stage because these conditions and phases mingle and mix depending on the individual Lover in his search. Inside this turbulence are these conflicting aspects of humility – Endurance and Resignation.

Now we move to the Fifth Stage which is Shaghaf – Violent Affection. We are looking at this love as having a violent, explosive nature and we find this term in Surat Yusuf (12:30), in the famous story of the governor’s wife. Remember that the language of Tasawwuf all comes from Qur’an.

Some city women said, “The governor’s wife solicited her slave.
He’s fired her heart with love.
We see that she’s the one to blame.”

Here we find the term Shaghaf as being this explosive event as told in the story of Sayyiduna Yusuf, ‘alayhi salam. This Shaghaf, this violent affection that cannot be stopped – for once it has happened it is out and there is nothing you can do about it – has five phases. Of course, the first phase, because we are talking about Divine Love, is Obedience to Allah’s Commands. We go to Surat Hudd (11:112):

Go straight as you have been commanded,
and also those who turn with you to Allah,
and do not exceed the bounds.
He sees what you do.

Remember, there is a recurrent aspect of these Ayats of Qur’an that we have found in which Allah reminds us that He is watching us. We are not watching for Allah. Allah is the Watcher, and He sees what you do. “Go straight as you have been commanded.” What has been commanded? For the answer to this we go to Surat al-Muzzammil (73:7):

Remember the Name of your Lord, and devote yourself to Him completely.

This is the whole of Tasawwuf. “Devote yourself to Him completely,” means in your inward and in your outward actions.

The second phase is Guarding the Inward from Turning to Other. For this we go to the Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib, rahimahullah, to the Qasida entitled ‘Withdrawal from All that is Other than Allah’:

My ruh speaks to me and says, “My haqiqat
is the Light of Allah, so look to no-one except Him.
If I were not a light I would be other-than-Him.
Indeed otherness is nothingness so do not be content with it.”

We look also at ‘The Gifts of the Ism al-‘Adham’:

Free yourself from all that is other and you will attain His nearness,
And you will rise to the ranks of the People of every assembly.

This is The Guarding of the Inward from Turning to Other which is the beginning of taking on complete knowledge of Tawhid and to know that there is no ‘other’, that other is an illusion. This is very important because that is the turning point at which the Lover begins to view events differently.

The third phase is Muwafaqa, and we have met it before in the configuration of Imam al-Ghazali – Compatability. Compatability is defined as loving with the love of Allah and hating with the hatred of Allah.

The fourth phase of Shaghaf is Regard for the Friends of Allah. This is defined in the famous Song of Abu Madyan al-Ghawth:

The pleasure of life is only in the company of the fuqara.
They are the Sultans, the masters, the princes.
When will I see them, where will I see them?
When will my ear have news of them?

This is the regard for the friends of Allah. Many commentaries have been written on this Song because of the importance of it. It is in respecting and having a high regard for the People, for the Lovers of Allah, that the Lover advances himself swiftly on the Path.

The fifth phase of this Violent Affection is To Conceal the Matters of Love. We go back to the Diwan, to the Qasida ‘Fana’ fillah’ and the sixth, seventh and eighth couplets:

Do Dhikr of Him with gravity and sincerity in the presence of the slaves of Allah.
Hide (your awareness) when He is manifested to you With lights from the Essence of Allah.
With us, other is impossible, For existence is the Haqq of Allah.

“Other is impossible” – this is the pivotal point at which you view events differently. “Existence is the Haqq of Allah.” When we look at these lines you must bear in mind what you have absorbed and that part of your understanding of this matter is that which I have explained in the series of discourses comprising ‘The Book of Tawhid’. The ignorant and the kuffar think, “Ah, the Sufis are saying that God is the creation!” But we are not saying that, we are not pantheists, we are not saying that God is the creation because we have understood how Allah creates matter bil-Haqq, with the Truth. “With us, other is impossible for existence is the Haqq of Allah.”

Now we come to the Sixth Stage which is Khulla – Exclusive Attachment to the Beloved. This is derived from Takhliya, which is emptying the heart, emptying the heart of all but the Beloved. It has five phases. The first phase is Mu’anada – Enmity. The Lover becomes ill-at-ease, and at a certain stage of his journey he becomes ill at ease with the company he used to keep because it does not measure up to this event which is happening inside him. He becomes afraid of their mockery, or of calling him away from the Path. We find this in Surat al-Hajj (22:52-54): 

We did not send any Messenger or any Prophet before you
without Shaytan insinuating something into his recitation while he was reciting.
But Allah revokes whatever Shaytan insinuates and then Allah confirms His Signs –
Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise –
so that He can make what Shaytan insinuates a trial
for those with sickness in their hearts and for those whose hearts are hard –
the wrongdoers are entrenched in hostility –
and so that those who have been given knowledge will know it is the truth from their Lord
and have Iman in it and their hearts will be humbled to Him.
Allah guides those who have Iman to a straight path.

This is very important. This is very significant. What we find from this is that Shaytan has an anxiety precisely to prevent this love from completing itself in knowledge and wisdom.

The second phase is Sidq – Sincerity. Sidq is the badge of the Lovers. For this we go to Surat az-Zumar (39:33-35):

He who brings the genuine and he who confirms it – those are the people who have Taqwa.
They will have anything they wish for with their Lord.
That is the recompense of the good-doers.
So that Allah may erase from them the worst of what they did
and pay them their wages for the best of what they did.

“They will have anything they wish for with their Lord.” To the people of the Path, this means Ma’rifa. “That is the recompense of the good-doers. So that Allah may erase from them the worst of what they did and pay them their wages for the best of what they did.” This is the whole of the Path.

The third phase is Ishtihar – Making Love Public. This is the opposite of hiding. Earlier there was concealment, now there is a strengthening of the love by his making love public. This is the step beyond egotism. Why? Because it means he does not care about the others. He makes his love public. This is the sign of the great Lovers of Allah. Doing so brings with it difficulties. This is the phase in which difficulties come.

The next phase of this Exclusive Attachment is Shikwa – Complaint. The complaint is the opening to Tawhid. When the Lover complains to Allah, he takes the complaint to Him. The common people give thanks to Allah, and they make complaint about themselves, but the ‘Arif takes his complaint to Allah as he takes his thanks to Allah. So we go to the blessed Ayat in Surat al-Anbiya (21:83):

And Ayyub when he called out to his Lord, “Great harm has afflicted me
and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.”

So Sayyiduna Ayyub, ‘alayhi salam, connects something like the opposite of mercy and gives it back to the Giver, to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, by His Name – The Most Merciful of the merciful.

For Allah’s confirmation of this affair, we go to Surat Sad (38:44), and the second half of the Ayat:

We found him steadfast. What an excellent slave!
He truly turned to his Lord.

So the complaint of Sayyiduna Ayyub was pleasing to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. It was the completion of Ayyub’s Ma’rifa itself because it had to be taken back to Allah so that there was no duality.

The fifth phase of this Khulla is Huzn – Anguish. The Sufis say: “The anguished heart,” the heart that is in anguish for Allah, “is the arena of coming bliss.” That anguish is when the Lover knows that there is a coming bliss that will be the healing of the anguish.

This takes us to the Seventh Stage which is Mahabba – Increase of Affection. It is a sublime station. We find this in Surat al-Ma’ida (5:54):

You who have Iman! if any of you renounce your Deen,
Allah will bring forward a people whom He loves and who love Him,
humble to the muminun, fierce to the kafirun, who do Jihad in the Way of Allah
and do not fear the blame of any censurer.
That is the unbounded favour of Allah which He gives to whomever He wills.
Allah is Boundless, All-Knowing.

We say that this is a sublime station because in this Ayat there is this very important phrase: “Whom He loves and who love Him.” This makes the Shuyukh and the ‘Arifin ask, “In this Ayat, who is the Lover and who is the Beloved?” In this situation they are the same.

Mahabba has five phases. The first phase is Husni Akhlaq – Good Behaviour in Private and Public, in Good Times and Bad. It is about ‘amal, it is about behaviour. The Sufi is someone of a higher quality, he has a texture that brings life to everything around him because of the beauty of his behaviour. It is the stage of being active in the world, but already not of it. So the mark of the Sufi is that he IS active in the world but ‘he’ is not there, or rather, he is present in the world but not of it.

The second phase is Malamat wa Izhari Sukr wa Hayra – Risking Blame in Stages of Intoxication and Bewilderment. Now he is going so far that he is risking being blamed for not being sincere. Of course there is the hadith which relates to that where Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, encourages people to “Do Dhikr until they say you are mad.”

Careless of blame he finally lets himself go into the realm of Ruhani drinking. This means that to reach that, you let yourself flow out and burst over in the singing of the Diwan, and in the Hadra you let yourself lose your self. You let go of the reins. For this we go to Surat al-Isra’ (17:86-87). It is important that you understand that we are talking about risking blame in letting burst out of you your passion for Allah. 

If We wished We could take away what We have revealed to you
and then you would not find any to guard you from Us – but for a mercy from your Lord.
His favour to you is indeed immense.

This is the Divine ruling on the matter of unveiling from Him. What is true for the Prophets is true to a lesser degree for the Awliya and the ‘Arifin. It is a Divine ruling. Again, everything is coming from Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. It is nothing to do with you. Allah’s affair is descending on you. This is the indication on the Prophets, thus on the highest level of illumination, Sayyiduna Musa, ‘alayhi salam, is told in Surat Ta Ha (20:41):

I have chosen you for Myself.

This is the definition of the completion of Love, and of the contract of Love in Ma’rifa: “I have chosen you for Myself.” Then he is warned in the famous Ayat of Surat al-A’raf (7:143):

When Musa came to Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him,
he said, “My Lord, show me Yourself so that I may look at You!”
He said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain.
If it remains firm in its place, then you will see Me.”
But when His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain,
He crushed it flat and Musa fell unconscious to the ground.
When he regained consciousness he said, “Glory be to You!
I make Tawba to You and I am the first of the Muminun!”

At this stage the affair of Ma’rifa is openly shown. From this the Sufis derive the Doctrine of Fana’ fillah. Allah openly reveals the purpose of the human creature. So we go to Surat al-Baqara (2:30). Here Allah reveals the whole event, the whole business of what the human creature is.

When your Lord said to the angels, “I am putting a khalif on the earth,”
they said, “Why put on it one who will cause corruption on it
and shed blood when we glorify You with praise and proclaim Your purity?”
He said, “I know what you do not know.”

That is the instilling into this creature of the Khilafal knowledge. This question that was asked is the question asked by the people who deny this whole dimension which is the truth of Islam – they are in the same position as those Angels who asked this wrong question to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.

The third phase is Mushahida-i Ghayb – Seeing the Unseen. The Shuyukh say that at this stage many heads fall into the dust. Yet Allah grants insights, inspirations and understandings. To remain secure at this stage of the proceedings, the model, as in all matters of Ma’rifa, is the Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We go to Surat an-Najm (53:17-18). Here Allah tells us about the Rasul, in this affair of Divine Knowledge:

His eye did not waver nor did he look away.
He saw some of the Greatest Signs of his Lord.

This is the core of knowledge, as in Surat an-Najm (53:8-10):

Then he drew near and hung suspended.
He was two bow-lengths away or even closer.
Then He revealed to His slave what He revealed.

Look too, at the Qasida in the Diwan of Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib – ‘Withdrawal into the Perception of the Essence’:

The Face of the Beloved appeared
And shone in the early dawn.

His light pervaded my heart,
So I prostrated myself in awe.

He said to me, “Rise! Ask of Me!
You will have whatever you desire.”

I replied, “You. You are enough for me!
Away from You I cannot live!”

He said, “My slave, there is good news for you,
So enjoy the vision.”

On the same theme, we find in the Qur’an, in the first line of Ayat 45 in Surat al-Furqan (25:45):

Have you not seen your Lord, how He extends the shadows?

This is an astonishing Ayat. Whole books have been written by the Awliya on this. By Ishara, the great Sufis have taken the station to be indicated in the following Ayat of Surat al- Kahf (18:16):

“When you have separated yourselves from them
and everything they worship except Allah,
take refuge in the cave and your Lord will unfold His mercy to you
and open the way to the best for you in your situation.”

Now you begin to see these Ayats with a new understanding. You have now learned the meaning of that phrase because we have learned that everything that is masiwallah has no reality. The Haqq is Allah. By Ishara, the Sufis have always read in this Ayat that to “take refuge in the cave” is to go into the heart, to take refuge in the heart, “and your Lord will unfold His mercy to you and open the way to the best for you in your situation.” In other words, this action will produce the Fana’ in Allah AND the Baqa’ – the going-on-in-Allah, because then Allah will put you back in the world and you will be able to deal with everything.

The fourth phase of this is Arzu-i Mulukat – Desire for the Meeting. This is the sign that the Lover is now the property of the Beloved. It is the Musan yearning for Ma’rifa. We look at Surat al-A’raf (7:143). It is the same Ayat we looked at earlier, but we will look at it again. This is becoming familiar to you now, and you see it now with a new understanding.

When Musa came to Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him,
he said, “My Lord, show me Yourself so that I may look at You!”
He said, “You will not see Me, but look at the mountain.
If it remains firm in its place, then you will see Me.”
But when His Lord manifested Himself to the mountain,
He crushed it flat and Musa fell unconscious to the ground.
When he regained consciousness he said, “Glory be to You!
I make Tawba to You and I am the first of the Muminun!”

The fifth phase is Istinas – Desire for Attachment. Desire then comes on the Lover to have this attachment to the Divine Experience. This manifests itself by the breaking of the contracts of Dunya. What that means is that the imposition and the demands and the necessities and the obligations of Dunya no longer matter to the heart of the Lover of Allah. The evidence of this – and this is the sign of the mature, experienced Sufi, the man who is strong on the Path – is that it is the same for him to stay as it is for him to go. It is the same for him to remain in his place or to go elsewhere. If there is a compulsion for him to go, and he says, “No, I am going to stay,” he will do it from this inner state and condition which means that they are the same for him. If they are not the same for him, he will hold back until he has achieved that balance in himself.

The one who says, “No, because I have these important things to do,” is of course blind, ignorant and lost, and only trouble will come on him because that itself is the contract of trouble. The contract of Dunya is the contract of trouble. Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, has given many, many examples of this in famous recorded Hadith about the matter. Thus, being free to go and free to stay, being free to move and being free to be still – this is the mark of the Man. At this point you say that he is Rajul. These are the Rijalallah – those ones to whom these two are the same, because their only concern is what is pleasing to Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala.