English translation of Mabda-o-Ma-ad | Mujaddid Alf sani | Sheikh Ahmad sirhindi
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Translation: Sufi Irshad Alam
For the wayfarer whose journey (sayr) of that wayfarer (salik) who has fallen into the divine names and the attributes in a differentiated manner, his path towards the divine person has been blocked. It is because the names and the attributes have no end, such that the wayfarer can cross them and reach his intended place at the farthest end (maqsud-i aqsa). The masters have commented on this station that the levels where you reach have no end.
It is so because the perfections of the Beloved (kamalat-i mahbub) are endless. And reaching this point means reaching the names and the attributes. He is felicitious whose wayfaring in the the names and the attributes takes place in an undifferentiated manner (ijmal) so that he reaches the divine person of God quickly.
Truly, those who have reached the end of the ends must return to invite people towards God (da`wat). Not returning from that homestead [that is the end of the ends] cannot be conceived.
However, this statement contradicts those sufis who have only progressed to the realm that is midway (mutawastan) [along the sufi path of wayfaring, who have realized some measure of perfection although they have not reached the zenith of perfection] ― they do not consider it imperative to return after reaching the end that their aptitude will allow them to reach (isti`adadi). It may be that they may return or it may be that they prefer to remain there.
Therefore, those who reach the end point (muntihiyan) complete all the levels that are to be reached (maratib-i wusul) [and reach perfection], instead it is imperative for them to do so. [However, they complete those levels in an undifferentiated or ijmal manner.] But there is no end point for those who journey (rafteh and) in the names and the attributes (asma va sifat) in a differentiated manner (tafsil). [So they never reach perfection.]
This is an elect knowledge [that has been given] to me. It is Allah who knows all that there is to know!
The Mujaddid teaches us on the station of good-pleasure.
The station of good-pleasure (maqam-i ridha) is higher than all the [other] stations of friendness (walayat). This exalted station (maqam-i `ala) is attained only after the completion of [both of the segments of the sufi path, the segment of the path that lies in the world of empirical things, which is traversed by] the suluk-method and [the other segment of the sufi path that lies in the world of command, which is traversed by] the jadhba-method.
Question: It is obligatory (wajib) to be well-pleased (ridha) towards the person of the Haqq (SWT), His attributes (sifat) and His act(s) (af`al). Indeed, it is an integral part of our faith (iman) [to be so well-pleased]. Therefore, the common faithful must possess this [good-pleasure]. So what do you mean when you say that [good-pleasure] is attained only after the completion of [the sufi path by] the suluk-method and jadhba-method?
Answer: Good-pleasure has both an outer form (surat) and an inner reality (haqiqat), as it is for every other element (arkan) of the faith (iman). In the beginning, the outer form is realized and in the end, the inner reality is realized. When someone appears to be well-pleased towards God, then the external aspects of the sharia rules that he has attained good-pleasure. This is analogous to attestation by the heart (tasdiq-i qalbi). When you do not observe anything contrary to that attestation [of the faith] in someone, then you may rule that he has attested [faith].
However, what we are talking about is attaining the inner reality (haqiqat) of good-pleasure, not its outer form. [And the sufi realizes that inner reality of good-pleasure only after he has perfected himself through the sufi path].
Exalted Allah knows the best!
The Mujaddid exhorts us to follow the sunna and avoid deviations.
Make efforts so that you may follow the sunna and avoid deviations (bid`at). Especially it is critical to discard such deviations that eliminate the sunna. The Blessed Prophet (slm) said, Reject him who will add any newly introduced practice to our religion [Man ahdatha fi dinina hadha fa-hua raddun].
I am amazed at them who add newly introduced things (ihdathat) to the religion (din) when that religion is already perfect and complete, and who seek to perfect that religion by these newly introduced things. Aren't they at all worried that the sunna would be eliminated (God forbid!) by these inventions?
For example, take the case of the tail of the turban. It is a sunna to suspend the tail of the turban along the centerline of the back. However, many people have chosen to suspend it along the left-side of the back. By this practice, they seek to imitate the dead [― the tail of the turban in the burial shroud is along the left side of the back.] Many people are following them in this practice. However, they do not know that this practice eliminates the sunna. And takes one from the sunna to its deviations (bid`at). And if they continue on the same course of action [in which they are not following the sunna,] they will soon reach the forbidden (haram). Following whom is better? Our Blessed Prophet Muhammad (slm)? Or the dead? Our blessed Prophet Muhammad (slm) has been honored by a death that is before death [that the ascended masters who are the God-realized Sufis also experience]. Some people want to establish a relationship with the dead but they should instead establish to relate to our blessed Prophet Muhammad (slm).
Surprising! In the burial shroud, a turban in itself is a deviation! What can you say about the tail? Some ulama of the later times consider adding a turban to the burial shroud of someone from the ulama to be a good practice (mustahsan). However, I believe that adding anything to the burial shroud [beyond what is in the sunna] is like changing the sunna and changing the sunna is like rejecting the sunna.
Allah (SWT) keeps us steadfast on the illuminated sunna of the chosen one and salutation and peace be on its originator [Prophet Muhammad]! Allah shower His mercy on him who will say amin to this prayer!
The Mujaddid describes an unveiling on the jinns.
Once I was shown the condition of the genies (jinn). I had a vision,
“The genies (jinn) are walking on the streets like men. There is an angel over every genie's (jinn) head and out of fear of that angel, the genies (jinn) are neither raising up their heads nor looking towards the left or the right but walking straight. They are like prisoners in shackles powerless to resist. They can do something only when the Haqq permits them to do so. It seemed that the angels in charge have iron clubs in their hands and they are ready to kill any genie (jinn) on the slightest sign of resistance.”
It was like a poet had composed:
It is God who has created evil and calamity
And He has placed the weak at the feet of the mighty.
Khuda’i keh bala’ va past afrid
Zabardast-i har dast dast afrid
Here the Mujaddid comments on an idea of Ibn Arabi that the “seal of the prohets” learns from the “seal of the friends’”.
The Mujaddid claims that
Whatsoever perfection (kamalat) that a friend (wali) attains or whatsoever degree (daraja) that he reaches, he reaches there as the accompanied servant eating the left-over of his master who is his prophet, and through following his prophet (tufayl-i mutaba`at-i nabiyi khod). Had he not possessed the emulation (mutaba`at) of his prophet then he would not have possessed the faith. From where else would he have found the way to climb to a high degree (darajat)?
Therefore if a friend (wali) attains an excellence (fadilat) from the partial excellences (fada’il-i juziyya) that the prophet (nabi) had not attained, or if he attains an elect degree (darajat-i khwass) from the lofty degrees (darajat-i `aliya) that the prophet had not attained; then the prophet fully shares that partial excellence and that elect degree [with that friend.] For [that friend] attains that perfection (kamal) by the medium (bi-wasta-i) of following his prophet and all his perfections (kamalat) is one of the results from the numerous results of following the traditions (sunnat) of that prophet.
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Therefore, necessarily, the prophet (nabi) possesses all those perfections (kamalat) completely. As our [Prophet] (slm) have said, He who establishes a good tradition (sunnat), he will receive its wage and the wages of all who will practice that. [Man sanna sunnatan hasanatan fa-lahu ajruha wa ajru man `amila-biha]. However, the friend is the prior (sabiq, muqaddam) in attaining this perfection and in reaching this degree (darja).
[The ulama] agree that the friend may legitimately possess this type of superiority over the prophet as it [this superiority] is [only] partial (juz’i). [And the friend having that partial superiority over the prophet,] it does not go up against [rule that the prophets are indeed superior] when everything is considered all-together.
The Mujaddid here criticizes Ibn Arabi who wrote that ???????????????
Ibn Arabi, the author of the Fusus [al-Hikam], has written that the “seal of the prophets” (khatm al-nubuwat) (slm) have taken the knowledge (`ilm va ma`rifat) from the “seal of the friends” (khatm al-walayat). I [the Mujaddid] refuse to accept that idea and instead comply with the sharia completely.
The commentators of the Fusus [al-Hikam] have used convoluted logic (takalluf) to justify [the above statement]. They have said, “Actually, the seal of the friends (khatm al-walayat) is the treasurer of the seal of the prophets (khazina-dar-i khatm al-nubuwat). There is nothing wrong when the emperor seeks something from his own treasurer.”
However, the true meaning of the matter is what I have explained to you. The reason why they are using convoluted logic (takalluf) is that they do not know the reality of this inter-action.
Allah (SWT) knows best the reality of every matter, all of them. Allah gives peace and bless our beloved Prophet who is the best of all men and his pure progeny! [Wa ‘l-salawatu wa ‘l-salamu `ala sayyidi ‘l-bashari wa `alihi ‘l-athari.]
Here the Mujaddid criticizes Ibn Arabi’s idea that a friend or saint of Allah (wali) may rise higher than his prophet with respect to his friendness (walayat).
The friendness of the friend (walayat-i wali) is only a part (juz) among the parts of the friendness of his prophet (slm) (walayat-i nabi-i u). However high rank (darajat) may the friend possesses, that rank will only be a part among the parts of the rank of his prophet (nabi). Whatsoever rank that the part may have, it will be less than the rank of the whole. That “the whole is greater than the part” is a self-evident (badihiya) proposition (qadiya). He is an idiot who imagines that the part is greater than the whole. For all parts belong to the whole.
Note: Ibn Arabi proposed that the friendness of a sufi may be higher than the friendness of his prophet. Friends are focused towards God and the prophets are primarily focused towards men in order to give them guidance, and secondarily to God. And so while the prophet is superior is to the friend in his prophetness, an highly-God-realized friend may be superior to his own prophet with respect to friendness. The Mujaddid is criticizing that proposition.
The unique knowledge about the attributes that the Mujaddid gives us is this ― the attribute of livingness is the most sublime attribute being the sheer reality of God. So he is taking livingness out of the roll of the real attributes, where the ulama has placed it, and instead classifies it as the “sheer reality” of God. However, the rest of the ideas about the real and additional attributes are generally recognized among the entire ulama.
Now the Mujaddid explains to us the mystery of the divine attributes.
The attributes of the Necessary (SWT) (sifat-i wajibi) are of three types. They are,
The Attributes of God
Type of attribute
qualities of the attributes
Additional attributes(sifat-i idhafiya).
Attributes that are connected to the created world
lower level attributes, many in number
creatorness (khaliqiya), provision-giverness (raziqiya) and many others
real attributes (sifat-i haqiqiya). [except the attribute of livingness]
Attributes that relate to the person of God, except the attribute of livingness
higher level, seven in number
knowingness, powerfulness, desiringness, hearingness, seeingness, speakingness engenderingness (`ilm, qudrat, iradat, sam`a, basr, kalam, takwin)
sheer reality (haqiqat-i sirf)
Represents the sheer reality of God
The highest level, one in number
Note: Livingness (hayat) is usually classified as a real attribute, however the Mujaddid creates a new category for it calling it the sheer reality of God.
The most comprehensive of all attributes is the attribute of livingness (hayat), which is God’s sheer reality.
The third type [that is the attribute of livingness] is the most exalted (a`la) of all the three types. It is the most comprehensive (jam`i) of all the types. [The attributes of this third type] are the mothers of [all the other] attributes. The attribute of knowledge (sifat-i `ilm) with all its comprehensiveness (jam`iyat) is subordinate (tabi`) to the attribute of livingness (sifat-i hayat). The circle (da’ira) of the attributes and the modes (sifat va shuyunat) ends on the attribute of livingness (sifat-i hayat).
This attribute of livingness is the door to reach God. It denotes the supreme level of knowledge of God.
Actually, this [attribute of livingness, hayat] is the door to reach the the desired destination (usul be-matlub). It’s because the attribute of livingness (sifat-i hayat) is above the attribute of knowledge (sifat-i `ilm). You may reach that homestead (mawtin) only after traversing [all the different] levels of knowledge. Be it manifest knowledge or nonmanifest knowledge. Or be it knowledge of the sharia or knowledge of the tariqa.
This knowledge on this attribute of livingness is sublime. Few Sufis know about this.
Very few people have entered through that door [i.e. traversed all the levels of knowledge and finally reached the attribute of livingness.] Very few people have also turned their gaze away from myopia and have instead cast their gaze towards this [attribute of livingness.] If I reveal even a single secret of this station [of the attribute of livingness], then I shall be decapitated.
It's not proper to analyze His attributes beyond this
That what is concealed is the most beautiful
Wa min ba`di haza ma yadiqqu sifatuhu
Wa ma katmuhu ahza ladayhi wa ajmalu
Peace be on them who follow good-guidance [Wa ‘l-salamu `ala mani ‘ttaba`a ‘l-huda] (Koran 20:47) and tenaciously follow [prophet Muhammad] the chosen on whom and on whose progeny be peace and blessings.
God does not have any analogy.
Hazrat Haqq (SWT) is not blemished by any analogy (mithal). He has said, Nothing can be His analogy [Laysa ka-mithlihi shay’un] (K42:11) Still, analogies (mithal) are valid (ja’iz). And analogies have been permitted. For He also says, Allah has the most exalted analogies [Wa liLlahi ‘l-mathalu ‘l-a`la]. (K16:60)
Yes! In general, the Sufis ???????????????????????????///
The masters of the wayfaring and the companions of the unveilings (arbab-i suluk va ashab-i kushuf) [i.e. sufi masters, they] attain peace through analogies (mithal) [that they make of God in the worldly things] and receive comfort through imagination (khiyal). They see “without what manner, bi-chun” in the analogy of “what manner, chun”. And they make Necessaryness (wujub) appear resplendent in the form of contingentness.
The Mujaddid and few other Sufis follow the sunna tradition whereas most other Sufis follow deviant traditions, and they are misguided because they reduce God who is unqualifiable to earthly analogies that are qualifiable.
The sufi traveler (salik) [who follows the faction of the Sufis who are deviant, he] considers [worldly] analogy as identical to the creator of the analogy (dhi mithal) [who is God]. And he considers [worldly] form as identical to the creator of the form (dhi surat).
For example, these misguided Sufis bring divine encompassment down to the way one objecy encompasses another object in this contingent world.
[This attitude of theirs has] even reached the point that they see the form of the encompassment of the Haqq (SWT) in the things [of the cosmos. That is, they see God encompassing the cosmos in the same way that a physical object encompasses another physical object].
And the encompassment that they witness in the world [when one physical object encompasses another physical object] ― they think that [that is analogous to] the encompassment when God encompasses the creation. [That is, these misguided Sufis think that God encompassing the creation is like when one physical object encompasses another in this world, and that] is the true meaning (haqiqat) of the encompassment of the Haqq (SWT).
However, it is not at all like that. The divine encompassment is [unqualified, it is] “without what manner” and “without how”. He is far removed from being that which comes within [the compass of] witnessing (shuhud) or unveiling. We believe that the He (SWT) encompasses everything but we do not know “how it is.” Whatever that we know are similitudes or analogies (shabh va mithal) of that encompassment.
In contrast, the encompassment of God is “without what manner” and “without how” (bi-chun va bi-chegun). And He is beyond being witnessed and unveiled (shuhud, makshuf). We believe that He (SWT) encompasses everything. However, we do not know the “how it is” or nature (keh chist) of that encompassment. Whatever [worldly encompassment] that we know are similitudes or analogies (shabh va mithal) of that [divine] encompassment. We will have to interpret the nearness and encompassment of God in such a way that all that [we] witness or are unveiled [to us] (mash-hud va makshuf) from that [divine nearness or encompassment], they are similitudes and analogies (shabh va mithal) [of that divine nearness or encompassment], not the reality [of the divine nearness or encompassment].
We believe that God (SWT) is near (qarib) us and with us (ba ma). However, we do not know what’s the true nature (haqiqat) of that that nearness and encompassment.
The prophet said in a (salam) hadith report, “Your lord will disclose Himself smiling (yatajalla rabbakum dahikan)”[Hadith: unknown origin]. [And that hadith describes God] in an imaginal form (surat-i mithali). For an image of the realization of perfect good-pleasure would be a smiling form (bi-surat-i dahik). And when we talk about God having a hand, face, feet or finger ― they also should be interpreted as imaginal forms.
My lord has taught me such! And Allah chooses whomever He wants! Allah possesses magnificent bounties! Almighty Allah! Bless our leader Muhammad and his progeny and give them peace and blessings!
There may be discrepancies in this book; however, it should be understood that that are sufi experiential knowledges. And they depend on the specific hal that the Mujaddid experienced at that instant of time and also on the context of that matter.
If there is any discrepancy or contradiction in this author’s description of the states, raptures and ideas (ahwal, mawajid, `ulum, ma`arif), then it should be predicated to the difference in times and contexts. It is so because each and every moment has its own state (hal) and ecstasies (mawajid). And for each context, the knowledge (`ulum va ma`arif) is different. Therefore, there is no contradiction or discrepancy.
For example, when an injunction of the sharia is repealed (mansukh) or changed, it seems that it has reversed. However, when we consider that the times and the contexts are different, then that contradiction or discrepancy vanishes.
Exalted Allah has been wise and helpful in this [discrepancy in the author’s description]! Therefore, do not remain a doubter.
Almighty Allah! Bless our leader Muhammad and his progeny and give them peace and blessings!
in noskheh keh mabda’ va ma`ad benam
ze anfas-i nafis-i hazrat-i FaKHR-i kiram
in noskheh keh mabda’ va ma`ad benam
ze anfas-i nafis-i hazrat-i FaKHR-i kiram
mabda’ the origin
ma`ad the return
f-w-q to surpass, excel, overtop
sirat ‘l-mustaqim royal road
fayd energy change effusuin to energy, solitar to solitary
qutb-i Irshad done
ta=till, until, so that,
ban= by that with that
rafa` = remove /here elevation
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