Allah, the Almighty, said:

{They do not observe toward a believer any pact of kinship or covenant of protection...} [at-Tawbah 9:10]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "لَا يَرْقُبُونَ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ إِلًّا وَلَا ذِمَّةً"

Murâqabah (observance) is the constant watching of the ultimate goal, and it is divided into three levels:

الْمُرَاقَبَةُ دَوَامُ مُلَاحَظَةِ الْمَقْصُودِ. وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is murâqabah of the Truth [Allah] by constantly walking to Him in the midst of:

  1. distracting glorification208

  2. stirring nearness209

  3. reviving joy210

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى مُرَاقَبَةُ الْحَقِّ تَعَالَى فِي السَّيْرِ إِلَيْهِ عَلَى الدَّوَامِ بَيْنَ:

  1. تَعْظِيمٍ مُذْهِلٍ

  2. وَمُدَانَاةٍ حَامِلَةٍ

  3. وَسُرُورٍ بَاعِثٍ

The second level is observing Allah’s observation of you by rejecting all interferences through:

  1. shunning any form of objection211

  2. ending the imprudence of standing in the middle (between oneself and Him)212

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ مُرَاقَبَةُ نَظَرِ الْحَقِّ إلَيْكَ بِرَفْضِ الْمُعَارَضَةِ:

  1. بِالْإِعْرَاضِ عَنْ الِاعْتِرَاضِ

  2. وَنَقْضِ رُعُونَةِ التَّعَرُّضِ

The third level is being observant of the eternity-without-beginning by noting the antecedence (of Allah):

  1. thereby facing the flag of tawḥeed213

  2. observing the materialization of the manifestations of al-azal (eternity-without-beginning) in al-abad (eternity-without-end)214

  3. observing the deliverance from the predicament of observance215

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ مُرَاقَبَةُ الْأَزَلِ، بِمُطَالَعَةِ عَيْنِ السَّبْقِ، :

  1. اسْتِقْبَالًا لِعِلْمِ التَّوْحِيدِ

  2. وَمُرَاقَبَةُ ظُهُورِ إِشَارَاتِ الْأَزَلِ عَلَى أَحَايِينِ الْأَبَدِ

  3. وَمُرَاقِبَةُ الْإِخْلَاصِ مِنْ وَرْطَةِ الْمُرَاقِبَةِ

208 The glorification of Allah distracts the traveler from observing al-ghayr (all else). This glorification of the beloved is necessary for one to stay within the bounds of servitude. Ibn al-Qayyim has said that any love without glorification leads to audaciousness, aloofness, and loss of status with the Beloved.
209 The closer they get to Him, the greater energy they have to get closer.
210 The joy of serving Him and the sweetness of faith the ‘ârifeen taste will revive, rejuvenate, console, and strengthen the heart through this journey.
211 By complete acceptance of His commands through compliance and His decrees through contentment.
212 When one is conscious of their own self, feelings, thoughts, and aspirations, these veils obstruct them from beholding the ultimate goal and seeking it.
213 Because when you realize He existed before the existence, and He was there alone, then all the contingent existences that are dependent on Him for their creation and subsistence become so insignificant in your vision/reckoning (shuhood) that they will never prevent you from seeing the flag of His oneness and walking to it.
214 His pre-eternal knowledge will be manifested for eternity, so whatever happens is what He knew and decreed in al-azal. He transcends time. Time is His creation.
215 While observance is necessary to get here, now it is time to be delivered from all that pertains to the self, including the act of observance, so that one is conscious of nothing but the One. This is the final level of fanâ’ for Sheikh al-Islam al-Harwai. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim comments that the highest maqâm is the (qualified) fanâ’ of your will and desires and the fanâ’ of al-ghayr (all else) in your vision/reckoning (shuhood), and this is when your will conforms to His until it vanishes into it and you desire none but that which He wants. You observe none but Him in your actions as if all the ghayr has vanished as they did not exist in al-azal (eternity-without-beginning) and you subsist (baqâ’) by Him and for Him, observing al-jam‘ (the oneness of the True, the First, the Originator, the Self-Dependent) while in al-farq (the multiplicity of the creations and the created phenomena and your own circumstances). Thus, you pray for His remembrance, show hospitality to your guest for His reward, fast and help those in need for His pleasure, and die for His cause. This is when what you want of Him vanishes into what He wants of you.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj