Iqazh al-Himam fi Sharh al-Hikam, Chapter Six, Part 2
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is taken from the first chapter of Iqazh al-Himam fi Sharh al-Hikam, a commentary on al-Hikam of Shaykh Taj ad-Din Abu al-Fadhl Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Atha’illah as-Sakandari (q.s.), by Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ajibah (q.s.).
Concerning the obligation to think of wrong action as insignificant, whoever has gnosis of his Lord, finds that his wrong action is insignificant beside His Generosity. Whoever recognises his Lord, withdraws from seeing his wrong action because he is annihilated to himself by witnessing his Lord. If an action issues from him which is contrary to wisdom, witnessing the Blessing dominates him. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
۞ نَبِّئۡ عِبَادِىٓ أَنِّىٓ أَنَا ٱلۡغَفُورُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ (٤٩)
Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful; (Surah al-Hijr:49)
Allah (s.w.t.) also Says:
وَأَنَّ عَذَابِى هُوَ ٱلۡعَذَابُ ٱلۡأَلِيمُ (٥٠)
And that My Penalty will be indeed the most grievous Penalty. (Surah al-Hijr:50)
That is for the person who does not repent. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) said, “If you were to sin until your errors reached the reins of heaven and then repented, Allah would still turn to you. If Allah’s slaves had not committed wrong actions, Allah would have removed them and then brought another people who would commit wrong actions and ask Forgiveness so that He could Forgive him. He is the Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Allah is happier about the repentance of one of His slaves than one of you would be about finding your camel which had strayed away from you in the middle of the desert.”
But nevertheless one must not think that his wrong action is insignificant so that he is deluded by the forbearance of Allah (s.w.t.). Allah (s.w.t.) Revealed to Dawud (a.s.), "Dawud, tell My true slaves that they should not be deluded. I will Implement My Justice, and Punish them without wronging them. Tell my wrongdoing slaves not to despair. No wrong action is so great that I will not Pardon them for it.”
Imam Abu al-Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muhammad al-Baghdadi (q.s.) said, “When a source appears form the Generous, it joins the evildoer to the right doer.”
Shaykh Shahab ad-Din Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Mursi (q.s.) said, in his Hizb, “My Allah, disobeying You calls me to Your obedience, and obeying You calls me to Your disobedience. In which will I fear and in which will I hope? If I profess disobedience, You meet me with Your Favour and do not leave me any fear. If I profess obedience, You meet me with Your Justice and it does not leave me with hope. Would that I knew how I could see my right doing in the face of Your right doing, or how I could remain ignorant of Your Favour in the face of My disobedience.”
The meaning of what the shaykh said is that when a person is committing disobedience, he witnesses the force and immensity of the Real and his own weakness and powerlessness beside Him. Therefore, from disobedience he obtains the contrition and abasement of himself and exaltation and reverence of his Lord. This is the best of the acts of obedience, so the disobedience he was committing has called him to the obedience he obtained from it. When, however, he is in obedience, in it he may witness himself and the aim of his enjoyment and his portion and so he will associate himself with his Lord and show incorrect adab with Him. This is disobedience. So when he is involved in obedience, he is called to this disobedience which he obtains from it. Therefore, he does not know which of them to fear and which of them to hope for.
His words, “If I profess disobedience” means “If I look at the form of disobedience, You meet me with Your Favour, and its name is erased and its trace effaced. If I look at the form of disobedience, You meet me with Your justice, and it disappears and is wiped out and pure hope remains of the Generous Giver who gives without reason and whose forbearance envelops the objection and the rebuke.” Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best.
So the result is that the gnostic does not stop at disobedience, even if it is great, nor with disobedience, even if it is terrible. That is the meaning of his words:
“There is no minor wrong action when you face His justice.
There is no major wrong action when you experience His bounty.”
The minor wrong action is a crime which against which there is no threat in the Qur’an or in hadits, and the major wrong action is the one about which there is the threat of punishment or hadd-punishment in the Qur’an or in the sunnah. Other things are said as well. This is all by an outward regard of the matter. As for what is in the Sight of Allah (s.w.t.) in the unseen and by looking at His Forbearance and injustice, it occurs different to what is supposed. Allah (s.w.t.) Says:
… وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَمۡ يَكُونُواْ يَحۡتَسِبُونَ (٤٧)
… but something will confront them from Allah, which they could never have counted upon! (Surah az-Zumar:47)
So in the case of whoever is already the object of Divine Concern, the crime does not harm him. They are those whose evil deeds Allah (s.w.t.) Transforms into good deeds.
Even if actions are signs, they vary in some stations, and so it is mandatory to have equal hope and fear in some stations and to submit to Allah (s.w.t.) at all times.
وَتَمَّتۡ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدۡقً۬ا وَعَدۡلاً۬ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَـٰتِهِۦۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ (١١٥)
The Word of your Lord does find its fulfilment in truth and in justice: none can change His Words: for He is the One Who Hears and Knows all. (Surah al-An’am:115)
When Allah (s.w.t.) Confronts us with His Justice and Majesty, no minor wrong action remains for us and our minor wrong actions become major ones. When Allah (s.w.t.) Meets us with His Gracious Favour, Generosity, Goodness and Beauty, no major wrong action remains for us and our major wrong actions become minor ones.
Shaykh Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Mu’adz ar-Razi (q.s.) said, “When they obtain His Favour, no evil deed remains for them. When His Justice is Placed on them, no good deed remains for them.” It is said that if the hope and fear of a believer are weighed, neither of them outweighs the other. Rather the believer is like a bird with two wings. Imam Ahmad ibn Ahmad az-Zarruq (q.s.) said something to that effect.
There is the hadits of the man who had ninety-nine scrolls, each scroll stretching as far as the eye could see. Then a card the size of a finger nail was produced which contained, “There is no Allah but Allah.” Those scrolls were light, indicating the Immensity of His Forbearance, Mercy, and the comprehensiveness of His Generosity and Grace. After he mentioned the sign the death of the heart, he mentioned the actions which oblige its life. No deed has more hope of being accepted than the one we do and forget about, thinking it insignificant.
It is as if that the text of the shaykh is addressed to the hearts. That is most likely by the context since all his words are about the life and death of hearts, that is there is no deed which has more hope of reviving hearts than an action which is by Allah (s.w.t.) and for Allah (s.w.t.) in which one is withdrawn from other than Him, without observing its portion and passion in it and in which he is free of his strength and power. When power makes it manifest in him, he is absent to seeing it and the form of its existence is insignificant in his eyes since it is Tajalli of the Immensity of his Master in his heart. So, everything except Him is insignificant in his eyes. The like of this deed gives life to hearts and grants witnessing of the knower of the unseen worlds. It is the spirit of certainty, and it is the life of the hearts of the gnostics.
When Allah (s.w.t.) Wants to Take Charge of His slave, He Raises him to action and makes it seem insignificant in his eyes. So he continues to strive in the actions of the limbs until He moves him to the actions of the hearts and then the limbs have rest from toil, and all that remains is witnessing immensity with adab. Shaykh Abu Ya’qub Ishaq ibn Muhammad an-Nahrajuri (q.s.) said, “One of the signs of Allah taking charge of his states is that he witnesses his deficiency in his sincerity, his heedlessness in his dzikr, his imperfection in his truthfulness, lassitude in his striving and lack of care in his poverty. So all his states are not pleasing and he is increased in poverty and need of Allah for his goal and his journey until he has no need of anything except Him.”
When the heart is alive with gnosis of Allah (s.w.t.), it is a place for the Tajalli of the Divine Waridat. He indicates that He only sent a warid to us so that it would bring us to Him.
The warid is a Divine Light which Allah (s.w.t.) Casts into the heart of those He Loves among His slaves. There are three categories of waridat according to the beginning, the middle and the end. Or, we could say, according to the seekers, the travelers and those who have arrived. The first category is the warid of awakening. It is a light which brings you out of the darkness of heedlessness to the light of certainty. It is for the people of the beginning among the seekers. When he awakens from his sleep and awakens from his heedlessness, and goes straight, seeking his Lord, then He turns to him with his heart and body and concentrates his entire being on Him.
The second category is the warid of the iqbal, advance. It is a Light which Allah (s.w.t.) Casts into the heart of His slave which moves him to remember his Lord and makes him withdraw from other than Him. He continues to be busy with His remembrance, withdrawn from others, until his heart is filled with light and he withdraws from all that is other than the One Invoked. So he only sees Allah (s.w.t.). That brings him out of the prison of others and frees him of the bondage of effects.
The third is the warid of the arrival, which is a Light which overpowers the slave and then overpowers his outward and inward and brings him out of the prison of his nafs and makes him withdraw from witnessing the sensory.
He indicates the first warid, the warid of waking up when he said, "He only Sent", that is He Shone the light of wakefulness and awakening on him. It is the warid by which we come to Him and travel to Him. If this warid had not come to us, we would remain in the land of our heedlessness, slumbering in our intoxication, remaining in our regret.
Then he indicated the second category, which is the warid of the advance, and said, “He Sent a warid to you to deliver you from the control of otherness and to free you from being a slave to effects.”
This means that the warid of the advance comes to make us intimate with the dzikr of Allah (s.w.t.). When we are busy with remembering Him and have withdrawn from other than Him, He Receives us, Saves us from the power of the thieves of others after they had tightened our bonds with the rope of our passion and imprisoned us in the prison of our portion and hopes. He also Frees and Liberates us from the bondage of secondary effects after they had power over us by what they displayed to us of the adornments of delusion. When we are delivered from the authority of others, then we will reach the witnessing of lights. When we are freed from the bondage of effects, then we rise to witnessing the secrets. So the lights are the lights of the attributes and the secrets are the secrets of the Essence. The lights are for the people of annihilation in the Attributes, and the secrets are for the people of annihilation in the Essence.
Then he indicates the third category, which this the warid of arrival: He Sent a warid to us to release us from the prison of our existence and to bring us to the open space of inner witnessing. He Sent to us a warid of arrival after He Gave us the breezes of advance to bring us out of the prison of seeing our existence to open space, the expansiveness of witnessing our Lord and seeing that our existence is an impediment which prevents us witnessing our Lord since it is impossible that we witness Him and witness other than Him with Him. Our existence is a wrong action which cannot be compared to any other wrong action.
Imam Junayd (q.s.) recited, “My existence is that I withdraw from existence by what appears to me of witnessing.”
Annihilation to the self and removing it is harder than annihilation to phenomenal beings and its destruction. Whenever the nafs is removed and destroyed, then phenomenal being is destroyed and has no effect. Phenomenal being may be destroyed while some of it remains in the nafs. That is why the shaykh said that phenomenal beings are the prison of man’s existence, and Allah (s.w.t.) Knows best.