Submissive Solemnity


Allah, the Almighty, said:

{Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive139 at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth?} [al-Ḥadeed 57:16]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: "أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ"

Khushoo‘ is the inertness of the nafs and docility of the character140before someone glorious or fearsome141. It is of three levels:

الْخُشُوعُ خُمُودُ النَّفْسِ وَهُمُودُ الطِّبَاعِ لِمُتَعَاظِمٍ أَوْ مُفْزِعٍ. وَهُوَ عَلى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level:

  1. showing humble submission to the commands142

  2. surrender to the decrees143

  3. brokenness under the sight of the True One144

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى:

  1. التَّذَلُّلُ لِلْأَمْرِ

  2. وَالِاسْتِسْلَامُ لِلْحُكْمِ

  3. وَالِاتِّضَاعُ لِنَظَرِ الْحَقِ

The second level:

  1. watching the flaws of oneself and one’s actions

  2. observing the virtue of the virtuous above oneself, and their favors145

  3. embracing the soft winds of fanâ’ (self-annihilation)146

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ:

  1. تَرَقُّبُ آفَاتِ النَّفْسِ وَالْعَمَلِ

  2. وَرُؤْيَةُ فَضْلِ كُلِّ ذِي فَضْلٍ عَلَيْكَ

  3. وَتَنَسُّمُ نَسِيمِ الْفَنَاءِ

The third level:

  1. staying respectful during times of disclosure147

  2. freeing one’s time from any pretention148

  3. observing the grace [of God] unhindered149

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ:

  1. الْحُرْمَةِ عِنْدَ الْمُكَاشَفَةِ

  2. وَتَصْفِيَةُ الْوَقْتِ مِنْ مُرَاءَاةِ الْخَلْقِ

  3. وَتَجْرِيدُ رُؤْيَةِ الْفَضْلِ

139 It is the combination of calmness and humility. There are other implications of the word khushoo‘ as well, such as submissiveness, shyness, attentiveness, fear, and reverence.
140 Notice how he mentions the inertness of the nafs (lifelessness of the ego) before the docility of character, because the true khushoo‘ is the one that is rooted in the heart; whatever shows of it in one’s character and exterior is some of its fruits. ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) saw a man bending his neck down. He said to him, “Straighten your neck; khushoo‘ is not about the necks, it is about the hearts.”
141 This is the reward-worthy khushoo‘. Some people naturally have malaise; this should not be mistaken for khushoo‘. There are those who fake khushoo‘ for praise and flattery by people. However, the only khushoo‘ that will earn us the reward of Allah is that which results from His glorification and love and our recognition of our flaws and errors, leading to humility, shyness, and brokenness.
142 So Allah’s demands and prohibitions are met with submissive compliance.
143 Where one accepts His decrees with patience and never shows resentment.
144 Being humbled and broken all the time is only an expected result of our awareness of His watching of us.
145 Feeling that all people are better than you and never underestimating their favors.
146 When one is close to taming their greedy, boastful ego and starts smelling the fragrance of the (virtuous) fanâ’.
147 When you are in your soft conversations with Allah, and you feel that He is disclosing Himself to you, you stay respectful and within your bounds of servitude.
148 Imam Ibn al-Qayyim cautions that at this level, this does not merely mean avoiding riyâ’, because the seekers at this level are above that, but to hide your true khushoo‘out of fear that the flattery of the people may become a distraction or a fitnah for you.
149 You observe His grace while recognizing that it is purely a favor from Him, undeserved by you. You acknowledge no cause for it other than His will and no effect for anyone other than Him.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj