Allah, the Almighty, said:

{…but they did not observe it [monasticism] with due observance…}200 [al-Ḥadeed 57:27]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: " فَمَا رَعَوْهَا حَقَّ رِعَايَتِهَا"

Caring is about safeguarding [what is precious] through diligence, and it is of three levels. The first level is taking care of the actions. The second level is taking care of the states (aḥwâl). The third level is taking care of the times.

الرِّعَايَةُ صَوْنٌ بِالْعِنَايَةِ. وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ. الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: رِعَايَةُ الْأَعْمَالِ. وَالثَّانِيَةُ: رِعَايَةُ الْأَحْوَالِ. وَالثَّالِثَةُ: رِعَايَةُ الْأَوْقَاتِ.

Taking care of the actions means:

  1. developing them by belittling them201

  2. establishing them without observing them202

  3. performing them in accordance with the knowledge (of their proper conditions), not for self-adornment

فَأَمَّا رِعَايَةُ الْأَعْمَالِ:

  1. فَتَوْفِيرُهَا بِتَحْقِيرِهَا

  2. وَالْقِيَامُ بِهَا مِنْ غَيْرِ نَظَرٍ إِلَيْهَا

  3. وَإِجْرَاؤُهَا عَلَى مَجْرَى الْعِلْمِ، لَا عَلَى التَّزَيُّنِ بِهَا

Taking care of the states (aḥwâl) means that one considers:

  1. their excelling ostentatious

  2. their certainty groundless203

  3. their state (ḥâl) a mere claim204

وَأَمَّا رِعَايَةُ الْأَحْوَالِ فَهُوَ أَنْ يَعُدَّ:

  1. الِاجْتِهَادَ مُرَاءَاةً

  2. وَالْيَقِينَ تَشَبُّعًا

  3. وَالْحَالَ دَعْوَى

Taking care of the times is for one to:

  1. pause with every step,205

  2. then detach from their steps by purifying [the heart] from the ego,206

  3. then refrain from seeing their purity207

وَأَمَّا رِعَايَةُ الْأَوْقَاتِ فَأَنْ:

  1. يَقِفَ مَعَ كُلِّ خُطْوَةٍ

  2. ثُمَّ أَنْ يَغِيبَ عَنْ حُضُورِهِ بِالصَّفَاءِ مِنْ رَسْمِهِ

  3. ثُمَّ أَنْ يَذْهَبَ عَنْ شُهُودِ صَفْوِ صَفْوِهِ

200 Imam Ibn al-Qayyim remarks in Madârij as-Sâlikeen that they were blamed for not taking care of an act they prescribed for themselves. It is worse to not care about an act Allah prescribed for us.
201 As long as you see your acts of worship too small to be befitting of the greatness and generosity of your Lord, they will continue to grow.
202 One should not see the burden, amount, or excellence of their actions, but their sight should be fixated on the Lord to Whom they are devoted. Our actions may be veils obstructing our sight if we do not look through and beyond them.
203 He meant either that they should suspect their certainty and seek to have more, or that the certainty they possess is but a gift from Allah for which they should not claim credit.
204 Whatever state they are in, they must suspect their existence in that ḥâl or maqâm; they may be illusions they wish to believe.
205 To observe one’s intention and correct one’s action and perfect it with iḥsân.
206 After spending time watching the action to perfect it, they must look beyond it so that it will not be a cause of conceit.
207 After one has purified their heart from the dirt of conceit, arrogance, over-confidence, and all other poisons, one must not acknowledge that purity because then they may stumble over that very purity and fail to reach their goal: being with Allah, beholding none but Him.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj