Allah, the Almighty, said:

{Had Allah known any good in them, He would have made them hear…} [al-Anfâl 8:23]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: "وَلَوْ عَلِمَ اللَّهُ فِيهِمْ خَيْرًا لَّأَسْمَعَهُمْ"

The heart of this matter is the realization of full attention. It is of three levels:

نُكْتَةُ السَّمَاعِ حَقِيقَةُ الانْتِبَاهِ
وَهُوَ عَلى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The hearing of the public, which has three parts:

  1. responding to the deterring threats with keenness112

  2. responding to the enticing invitation with resolve

  3. the insightful beholding of favors113

سَمَاعُ الْعَامَّةِ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْيَاء

  1. إِجَابَةُ زَجْرِ الْوَعِيدِ رَغْبَةً

  2. وَإجَابَةُ دَعْوَةِ الْوَعْدِجَهْدًا

  3. وَبُلُوغُ مُشَاهَدَةِ الْمِنَّةِ اسْتِبْصَارًا

The hearing of the select few is of three parts:

  1. beholding the intended (God) in all symbols114

  2. beholding the purpose of all living things

  3. riddance from enjoying dispersion115

وَسَمَاعُ الْخَاصَّةِ ثَلَاثَةُ أَشْيَاء

  1. شُهُودُ الْمَقْصُودِ فِي كُلِّ رَمْزٍ

  2. وَالْوُقُوفُ على الْغَايَةِ فِي كُلِّ حَيٍّ

  3. والخَلاصُ مِنَ التَّلَذُّذِ بالتَّفَرُّقِ

The hearing of the topmost:

  1. eliminates all the faults of disclosure116

  2. joins al-abad (eternity without end) to al-azal (eternity without beginning)

  3. returns the endings to the beginning 117

وَسَمَاعُ خَاصَّةِ الْخَاصَّةِ

  1. سَمَاعٌ يَغْسِلُ الْعِلَلَ عَن الْكَشْفِ

  2. ويَصِلُ الْأَبَدَ بِالأزَلِ

  3. وَيرُدُّ النِّهاياتِ إِلَى الأوِّلِ

112 While being fearful of the threats, one is still keen on earning His pleasure.
113 The recognition that whatever one was allowed to hear is from the favors of Allah.
114 God is the intended, and beholding Him in all signs pointing to Him is the quality of the select few. They also hear from Him (by listening attentively to His Book), by Him (by removing the ego and biases from the middle and beseeching His guidance), and for Him (by removing all intentions other than seeking His pleasure).
115 One may benefit from learning the different thoughts, views, opinions, and angles of approach to the Word of God, but one may not allow these to cloud his or her intents so that they become desirable for themselves; they may in this case distract the heart from reaping the benefits of His words.
116 The essence of what is heard may be subject to adulteration and frustration by misconceptions and interferences from the mediums through which they are transmitted. Once the pure disclosure touches the receptive heart, it results in the desired effect.
117 Joining al-abad to al-azal and the ends to the beginning is the fruit of the realization that what happens in al-abad has been known to Him since al-azal, and what was decreed in al-azal will come to pass in al-abad, thus to Him they are like one point. One who realizes this will be seeking only al-azali (the One without beginning), since all the ḥawâdith (existences with beginnings) are dependent on Him and in need of Him.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj