Allah, the Almighty, said:

{…they turned back while their eyes overflowed with tears out of grief…} [Surat at-Tawbah 9:92]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: "تَوَلَّوا وَّأَعْيُنُهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ الدَّمْعِ حَزَنًا"

Grief118 is the feeling of agony over something that was lost or frustration over something that is unattainable, and it is of three levels:

الْحُزْنُ تَوَجُّعٌ لِفَائِتٍ أو تَأَسُّفٌ عَلَى مُمْتَنِعٍ، وَله ثَلَاثُ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is the grief of the public, and this is grief over:

  1. negligence in service

  2. falling into the predicament of aloofness119

  3. loss of days120

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَىحُزْنُالْعَامَّةِ وَهُوَ حُزْنٌ

  1. على التَّفْرِيطِ فِي الْخِدْمَةِ

  2. وعَلَى التَّوَرُّطِ فِي الْجَفَاءِ

  3. وعَلى ضَيَاعِ الْأَيَّامِ

The second level is the grief of the people of resolve, and it is over:

  1. loss of time in dispersion121

  2. occupation with other than shuhood (beholding the One)

  3. distraction from grief122

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَة حُزْنُأهلِ الْإِرَادَةِ وَهُوَ حُزْنٌ عَلَى:

  1. تَعَلُّقِ الْوَقْتِ بالتَّفَرُّقِ

  2. وعَلى اشْتِغَالِ النَّفْسِ عَنِ الشُّهُودِ

  3. وعَلى التَّسَلِّي عَنِ الْحُزْنِ

The elite have nothing to do with the station of grief. However, the third level of ḥuzn (grief) is:

  1. grief because of the alternations of states123, not mere impulses

  2. conflicting pursuits124

  3. objections to the decrees125

وَلَيْسَت الْخَاصَّة من مقَامِ الْحُزْنِ فِي شَيْء وَلَكِن الدَّرَجَةَ الثَّالِثَةَ مِنَ الْحُزْنِ

  1. التَّحَزُّنُ لِلْعَارِضَاتِ دُونَ الْخَوَاطِرِ

  2. وَمُعَارِضَاتُ الْقُصُودِ

  3. وَالاعْتِرَاضَاتُ عَلى الْأَحْكَامِ

118 Ibn al-Qayyim points out in Madârij that grief is a station the seekers are destined to go through, but Allah did not demand it of them, encourage them to seek it, or wish for them to stay in it. In fact, grief is never mentioned in the Qur’an except in the context of being prohibited or dispraised as unbefitting of the believers. Faraḥ (joy) is mentioned in different verses sometimes as something commendable and sometimes as something condemnable, so it is a certain type of joy that Allah wants for us. The seekers, however, are bound in this dunyâ to go through the station of grief, because of its nature as well as their weaknesses, but they must seek Allah’s help to depart from it to the stations of riḍâ (acceptance), ṭuma’neenah (serenity), and suroor (joy).
119 When sins distance them from Allah, or their distantness befalls them in sins and shortcomings.
120 Without the joy of earning His pleasure.
121 Dispersion in the valleys of vanity. The togetherness of the heart will be only with its Maker.
122 When the glamor of the dunyâ overtakes one’s thoughts. It could also be grieving over vanities distracting the person from the praiseworthy grief.
123 When one is in a state of affinity/friendliness with Allah and then a state of reverence overtakes it, or a state of fear overtakes one of hope.
124 When one falls into the quandary of choosing between conflicting pursuits and finds difficulty in ascertaining what is more pleasing to Allah, and determining their impartiality and that they succeeded in escaping from the urges of their ego.
125 These could be the orders of Allah or His universal decrees. The objection to the order at this level is when one is removed from a state (ḥâl) by an order and they feel resistance in their heart to leaving their ḥâl to comply with the order. Here, one must give primacy to the knowledge of the Revelation. Objecting to the universal decrees at this level is by merely desiring otherwise. For some, it could also be the failure of the immediate taking of shelter in the station of riḍâ.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj