FROM THE BOOK AND IT IS PART ON THE COMMANDMENTS
IMAM AL-SHA'RANI'S LAWAQIH AL-ANWAR AL-QUDSIYYAH FI BAYAN AL-'UHUD AL-MUHAMMADIYYAH
COMMANDMENT NO. 1
Sincerity of intention in respect of knowledge and action
We took the general oath of allegiance from the Messenger of Allah (ص), that we wish, by the grace of our Rabb loyalty and that we purify our intention to Allah (ت) in respect of our knowledge and action and in our entire situation. And we purify our all actions from all blemishes, such that from the witnessing of sincerity and the presence of our vindication as a reward over that. And if it had occurred to our mind that the search is a reward we would have had viewed it from the aspect of (Divine) benevolence and favor. It is required of one who intends to act according to this Covenant to tread the path of the qawm (a reference to the sufi community) under the hand of a truthful shaykh who is well-versed in the shara‘i sciences such that he establishes (the veracity) of the madhahib of the four a’immah and others, and knows that their evidences and sources of their opinions and stands (firmly) on the Umm al-Kitab [a reference to the Qur’an] from which emanates every opinion. Thus he seeks to work on one who desires sincerity in respect of his actions by remembering Allah (عج) until the veils of his humanness is thinned out and enters the precinct of perfection (الإحسان - al-ihsan) in which he serves Allah (ت) as though he sees Him. And there he will witness that action in its entirety is the creation of Allah (ت-عج) and there is no involvement for the servant in it, except he being the locus for the manifestation (بروز - buruz) of that action and nothing else. This is because actions are accidents and accidents do not manifest except through body. And there disappears from the servant (qualities like) showing-off (الرياء - al-riya’), arrogance (الكبر - al-kibr), pride (العجب - ‘ujub), and the entire bad qualities (الآفات - al-afat), because these afat occur to the servant from witnessing (the fact that) he being the doer of that action, despite his heedlessness from witnessing the creator of it. And it is known that it is not valid on the servant to have any riya’, kibr or ‘ujub from the doing of those other than him. And what we saw of one who slept till morning and began to show-off, or prides, or arrogates by the action of his neighbor who always kept vigil the whole night, then he knew that the one who did not attain towards entering the precinct of ihsan and witnesses his actions in their entirety are creations of Allah (ت) both in kashf (كشف - unveiling) and yaqin (يقين - certitude) and not zann (ظن - speculation) and takhmin (تخميم - conjecture), then he is at risk (معرض - mu‘rid) of falling into riya’, even if he had memorized two thousand books. Therefore, O, my brother, seek out for a truthful shaykh if you sought progress (or promotion) towards the position of ikhlas (الإخلاص - sincerity), and do not feel bored (تسأم - tas’amm) from prolonging your search for him, for he is more precious (أعز - a‘azz) than the Red Sulfur (الكبريت الأحمر - al-kibrit al-ahmar). For it is indeed, of the least condition is that he (must be) al-tawarru‘ (التورع - cautious / hesitant) in (accepting) the wealth of leaders (الولاة - al-wulat), and that he must not have information (as to the availability) of (wealth) in the Treasury (bayt al-mal), nor (any) prerogative (مسموح - al-masmuh) nor a gift from kashf, nor an Arab shaykh, nor a shaykh from his country, but he will be provided with sustenance by Allah (ت) from where none can fathom, while he seeks to gain benefit for him from the legitimacy of spending in between thus making the haram (prohibited) outmoded and the shubhat (الشبهات - ambiguous) abominable, if not the masters of all the spiritual paths have indeed reached a consensus on that whosoever ate the haram and the shubhat it is not valid for him to have sincerity in respect of action, for he certainly is not pure except if he enters the precinct of ihsan, whereas [none] shall enter the precinct of ihsan except one who is purified from all the exoteric and esoteric impurities. This is because the totality of the people of this precinct are the prophets, angels and the awliya’, of whose condition is that they are preserved and protected from consuming the haram and the shubhat. Therefore every shaykh who is not successful in protecting his self then he is incapable of reaching those other than him towards that precinct. Were it not that the favor bestowed by Allah (ت) on some of the murids (spiritual novice) with jadhb (الجذب - ecstasy) without the suluk (السلوك - deportment) to which one has given allegiance to, then in that case there is no objection from him, So he knew that it is imperative on every seeker of knowledge who did not attain the [status of] sincerity to take for him a shaykh who will teach him the path of reaching the stage of sincerity, as per the dictum: ما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب "that by which the wajib (obligatory) is not completed except by it is in itself a wajib". He (ت) said:
And they were not commanded except to serve Allah, [being] sincere
to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish salah and to give
zakah. And that is the correct religion]. [98:5]
That is, they performing salah [free] from deviation (عوج -‘iwaj) like heedlessness from Allah (ت) during its [performance] and they give away zakat meaning without any cause [i.e. without anticipation of any return].
I heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (رح) saying: Of the lower status of ikhlas is that he being in respect of his actions, like that of the beast of burden that it is exhausted from the heaviness of its load, hanging its head without knowing the preciousness (نفاسة - nafasat) of what its load is nor its vileness (خسة - khissat), nor knowing to whom it [i.e.: the load] belongs, nor to where its load will end, nor does it see for it by [doing] that any merit over other than it of the beasts of burden, and nor does it seek any reward for its [carrying the] load.
I heard him saying: if a servant shows off by his knowledge and his action, his action becomes futile according to the text of the Book and the sunnah. And when his action becomes futile then he is like as though has not done anything at all. Then how will he present himself to the people despite his claim after the futility with painful punishment. Therefore, let the seeker of knowledge be mindful of similar thing.
I said: likewise it is obligatory on the faqir who withdrew himself in a cave or a zawiyah (زاوية - hermitage) in order to introspect his self in respect of its claim of sincerity and devotion exclusively to Allah (t) but if he finds it becoming estranged in leaving the people’s affection towards it and their heedlessness from it, then he is a liar in respect of his claim of exclusive devotion to Allah (تعالى), for the truthful one will be happy if the people neglect him and forget him and did not miss the opportunity to bestow him with gifts or salam, but he feels happy if his disciples, all of them, had turned away from him and convene with another shaykh seeking guidance, as we have elucidated our discussion on that in the book [entitled] عهود المشايخ - ‘Uhud al-Masha’ikh (the Covenant of the Spiritual Mentors). Allah knows best.
And of what the a’immah have narrated in respect of Ikhlas tracing the chain of narrators to the [following] sayings of he (s) [are the following]:
[a] من فارق الدنيا على الإخلاص لله وحده لا شريك له ، وأقام الصلاة ، وآتى الزكاة فارقها والله عنه راض
[a] من فارق الدنيا على الإخلاص لله وحده لا شريك له ، وأقام الصلاة ، وآتى الزكاة فارقها والله عنه راض
"Whosoever leave the world in the state of sincerity towards Allah alone without associating partners to Him, and established the salat and paid up the zakat and he left it (i.e. the earth) and Allah will be pleased with him."Narrated by Ibn Majah and al-Hakim and he said it is a valid tradition according to the conditions of the two shaykhs [Bukhari and Muslim].
[b] Al-Bayhaqi narrates as a Mursal [an incomplete transmission of a hadith resting on a chain of authority that goes no further back than the 2nd generation after the Prophet:
أن رجلا قال : يا رسول الله ما الإيمان ؟ قال الإخلاص ، قال : فما اليقين ؟ قال الصدق
"That a man asked: O, the Messenger of Allah what is Iman? He said Sincerity, He (the man) asked: then what is Yaqin (certitude)? He (the Prophet) replied: Truthfulness."
[c] Al-Hakim narrated by saying that the chain is valid:
أن معاذ ابن جبل قال : يا رسول الله أوصني ، قال: أخلص نيتك يكفيك العمل القليل
"That Mu‘adh b. Jabal said: O, Messenger of Allah do advice me, He (the Prophet) replied: purify your intention, suffice for you is little action".
[d] Al-Bayhaqi narrated from the Prophet as a Marfu‘:
طوبى للمخلصين ، أولئك مصابيح الهدى تنجلي عنهم كل فتنة عظماء
"Blessed are the sincere ones, those who are lights of guidance which dispel every terrible tribulation".
[e] Al-Bayhaqi and al-Bazzar narrated from the Prophet as a Marfu‘:
إن الله تبارك وتعالى يقول : أنا خير شريك ، فمن عمل عملا أشرك فيه غيرى فهو لشريكي وانا منه باري . ياأيها الناس أخلصوا أعمالكم لله فإن الله لا يقبل من الأعمال إلا ماخلص ولا تقولوا هذا لله ولوجوهكم فإنها لوجهكم وليس لله منها شيء
"Certainly Allah the self-blessed and the self-elevated says: I am indeed the best partner. Thus whosoever does an act wherein he took a partner other than me and he is for my partnership whereas I have disengaged from him. O, You people be sincere in you actions towards Allah, for Allah does not accept from your actions except that which is sincere and do not say that this for Allah and for your countenance, then it will be for your countenance and there is nothing from it for Allah."
[f] In a narration attributed to Abu Dawud and others through a good chain as a Marfu‘:
إن الله لا يقبل من العمل إلا ما كان خالصا وابتغي به وجهه
"Certainly Allah will not accept of an action except that which was sincere and in seeking His countenance with it".
[g] Al-Tabarani narrates as a Marfu‘:
الدنيا ملعونة ملعون ما فيها إلا ما ابتغي به وجهه
"The world is a detestable [place that] it curses that which is in it except that which seeks by it the countenance of Allah".
[h] Al-Bayhaqi narrates as a Marfu‘ from ‘Ubadah b. Samit saying:
يجاء بالدنيا يوم القيامة فيقال ميزوا مكان منها لله عز وجل فيمتازوا ويرمى ما عداه في النار
"The [inhabitants of the] world will be produced before the Day of the Judgement then it will be said [to them] segregate from it that which belongs to Allah (عج) then they will separate them and will throw away that which is other than it in the hell fire."
Hafiz al-Mundhiri said: It would have been said that like this would not be said from personal opinion (al-ra’y) and ijtihad, thus its path is the path of marfu‘ (tracing the chain of narration to the Prophet)
[i] Hafiz Razin al-‘Abdari narrates through an incomplete narration that is traced to the Prophet:
من أخلص لله تعالى أربعين يوم ظهرت ينابيع الحكمة من قلبه على لسانه
"Whosoever devotes (himself) to Allah (ت) for forty days the fountain of wisdom will manifest from his heart to his tongue".
Hafiz al-Mundhiri said “I am not acquainted with the valid (sahih) nor good (hasan) chain for this hadith, nor with a(ny) thing mentioning it among the principles collated by Razin. Allah Knows best.
[j] Imam Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi narrate by way of Marfu‘:
قد أفلح من أخلص قلبه للإيمان ، وجعل قلبه سليما ولسانه صادقا ونفسه مطمئنة وخليقته مستقيمة
وجعل أذنه مستمعة وعينه ناظرة
"The successful is indeed one who purifies his heart towards iman and made his heart healthy and his tongue truthful, his self contended, his character upright, and made his ears hearing and his eyes seeing".
[k] The two shaykhs and others have narrated by way of Marfu‘:
إنما الأعمال بالنية < وفي رواية >: بالنيات ، و إنما لكل أمريء مانوى ، فمن كانت هجرته إلى الله ورسوله فهجرته إلى الله ورسوله ، ومن كانت هجرته إلى دنيا يصيبها أوامرأة ينكحها فهجرته إلى ما هاجر إليه
“Certainly actions are judged by intention” whereas in another narration: “by (their) intentions, and indeed every person gets what he intended. Thus whose migration was due to Allah and His Messenger, then his migration will be for Allah and His Messenger, while whose migration is meant for the worldly pursuit or for marrying a woman, then his migration is for what he migrated to".
[l] Ibn Majah narrates through a good chain by way of Marfu‘:
إنما يبعث الناس على نياتهم < وفي رواية > إنما يحشر الناس على نياتهم
“Certainly people will be raised (in the Hereafter) according to their intentions” whereas in another narration “Certainly people will be resurrected according to their intentions”.
[m] Muslim narrate by way of Marfu‘:
إن الله تبارك وتعالى لا ينظر إلى أجسامكم ولا إلى صوركم ولكن ينظر إلى قلوبكم
“Certainly Allah, the Self-Blessed and Self-Elevated, will not look at your bodies nor at your forms, but he will look at your hearts”.
[n] Al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi narrate by way of Marfu‘:
إذا كان آخر الزمان صارت أمتي ثلاث فرق : فرقة يعبدون الله خالصا ، وفرقة يعبدون الله رياء ، وفرقة يعبدون الله تعالى ليستأكيلوا به الناس ، فيقول الله عزوجل للمخلصين اذهبوا بهم إلى الجنة ، ويقول للآخرين أمضوا بهم إلى النار
“If the end of the time (comes) my ummah will be (divided into) three groups: a group serving Allah sincerely, a group serving Allah as show off, and a group serving Allah (ت) thereby seeking to impress (yasta’kilu bi) people by it, then Allah (عج) says to the sincere one, go with them to the heaven and says to other let them spend their life in the hell fire.”
[o] Hafiz Abu Na‘im narrated from (Lady) ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she used to say:
من رأى نفسه من المخلصين كان من المرائين ، ومن رأى نفسه من المرائين كان من المخلصين
“Whosoever considers himself among the sincere ones may perchance be among who are eyeservicers and those whosoever considers himself among the eyeservicer may perchance be among the sincere ones”.
The ahadith in this respect are many and famous. In the beginning of the section on prohibitions there will be a useful part on riya’ and the lack of sincerity in respect of action and knowledge. Therefore refer to it. Allah Knows best.
I said: it has become clear to you that whosoever is not sincere in respect of his action and knowledge is among the losers of (good) deeds. The contextual situation mentioned in the hadiths through their contexts also helps in acknowledging that. All of that which came in respect of the merit of knowledge and action are in fact in respect of those who are sincere in that. Therefore, beware, O, my brother, of mistake, for the critics are watching. In this time the people who did not act according to their knowledge have increased, and when a man challenges them in respect of their verbal claim that we are among the people of knowledge they will deduce it according to what came concerning the merit of seeking knowledge absolutely without the the condition of sincerity, and they will ask to these type of people where are the ayat, akhbar and athar mentioning with regard to one who act without his knowledge and without sincerity? Therefore do not commit mistake, O, my brother and claim of sincerity in respect of your knowledge and action without scrutiny, for it is indeed a deception.
I heard my master ‘Ali al-Khawwas (رح) as saying in respect of the meaning of the hadith:
إن الله ليؤيد هذا الدين بالرجل الفاجر
"Indeed Allah (ت) supports this religion through the sinful person".
This man seeks knowledge for showing off and reputation, and teaches the people concerning their religion and make them ponder over it and watch over them, while helping the religion if any of its aspect is weakened, thereafter Allah will make him enter the hell fire for his lack of sincerity.