Allah, the Almighty, said:

{O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him].} [al-Fajr 89:27-28]

He (the Almighty) did not leave any path to Himself for the resentful, and made contentment a condition for the seeker.

قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: "يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ارْجِعِي إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً"
لَمْ يَدَعْ فِي هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ لِلْمُتَسَخِّطِ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا، وَشَرْطُ الْقَاصِدِ الدُّخُولُ فِي الرِّضَا.

Contentment is a name for the sincere compliance of the servant by standing where they are placed, without seeking any advance or retreat and without seeking any increase or recourse (change of states). It is one of the beginning stations of the path of the elite, and one of the hardest for the common people. It is of three levels:

وَالرِّضَا اسْمٌ لِلْوُقُوفِ الصَّادِقِ، حَيْثُمَا وُقِفَ الْعَبْدُ. لَا يَلْتَمِسُ مُتَقَدَّمًا وَلَا مُتَأَخَّرًا، وَلَا يَسْتَزِيدُ مَزِيدًا. وَلَا يَسْتَبْدِلُ حَالًا. وَهُوَ مِنْ أَوَائِلِ مَسَالِكِ أَهْلِ الْخُصُوصِ وَأَشَقِّهَا عَلَى الْعَامَّة.وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level: the riḍâ of the public, which is being pleased with Allah as the Lord, and resenting the worship of anything else. This is the pole of the mill (axis) of Islam. It purifies one from major shirk. It is validated by three conditions:

  1. that Allah is the most beloved thing to the servant

  2. that He is the most glorified thing to him/her

  3. that He is the most deserving of his/her obedience

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: رِضَا الْعَامَّةِ، وَهُوَ الرِّضَا بِاللَّهِ رَبًّا، وَتَسَخُّطُ عِبَادَةِ مَا دُونِهِ، وَهَذَا قُطْبُ رَحَى الْإِسْلَامِ، وَهُوَ يُطَهِّرُ مِنَ الشِّرْكِ الْأَكْبَرِ. وَهُوَ يَصِحُّ بِثَلَاثَةِ شُرُوطٍ:

  1. أَنْ يَكُونَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَحَبَّ الْأَشْيَاءِ إِلَى الْعَبْدِ

  2. وَأَوْلَى الْأَشْيَاءِ بِالتَّعْظِيمِ

  3. وَأَحَقَّ الْأَشْيَاءِ بِالطَّاعَةِ

The second level: being pleased with (the decrees of) Allah. This is the riḍâ that is mentioned in the Revelation. This means to be content with all of the destinies that He has decreed. It is one of the beginning stations on the path of the elite. It is validated by three conditions:

  1. the evenness of all situations in the sight of the servant292

  2. cessation of all disputation with the creations

  3. riddance from demanding and doggedness

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: الرِّضَا عَنِ اللَّهِ. وَبِهَذَا نَطَقَتْ آيَاتُ التَّنْزِيلِ. وَهُوَ الرِّضَا عَنْهُ فِي كُلِّ مَا قَضَى وَقَدَّرَ. وَهَذَا مِنْ أَوَائِلِ مَسَالِكِ أَهْلِ الْخُصُوصِ.
وَيَصِحُّ بِثَلَاثَةِ شَرَائِطَ:

  1. بِاسْتِوَاءِ الْحَالَاتِ عِنْدَ الْعَبْدِ

  2. وَسُقُوطِ الْخُصُومَةِ مَعَ الْخَلْقِ

  3. وَالْخَلَاصِ مِنَ الْمَسْأَلَةِ وَالْإِلْحَاحِ

The third level: being pleased with Allah’s pleasure,293 so the servant is no longer seeing any personal entitlement to pleasure or displeasure, which motivates him/her to:

  1. abandon (the pursuit of) control294

  2. give up choice295

  3. drop all of his/her discernments,296 even if they were led into the fire

الدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: الرِّضَا بِرِضَا اللَّهِ، فَلَا يَرَى الْعَبْدُ لِنَفْسِهِ سُخْطًا، وَلَا رِضًا، فَيَبْعَثُهُ عَلَى:

  1. تَرْكِ التَّحَكُّمِ

  2. وَحَسْمِ الِاخْتِيَارِ

  3. وَإِسْقَاطِ التَّمْيِيزِ، وَلَوْ أُدْخِلَ النَّار

292 Not that they will feel the same to him/her, but they will not distract them, slow them down, or change their direction; and with more riyâḍah (exercise) and tawfeeq (Divine assistance), all events in the dunyâ feel less and less significant.
Additionally, while one should always be accepting of Allah’s decrees and should never question His ultimate wisdom and benevolence, this does not mean that one will not show concern for human suffering. One also should not be content or pleased with injustice or sin. One should not be indifferent to truth and falsehood. There are countless verses and reports indicating that the pinnacle of all virtues, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, was concerned for humanity and was never indifferent to truth and falsehood, virtue and vice, or obedience and sin.
293 For the sheikh (may Allah be pleased with him), the peak of the path is self-annihilation. Thus, he considers this riḍâ the ultimate form of riḍâ, whereby the servant has no riḍâ or discontentment, but rather his/her will vanishes into that of Allah’s. The sanctioned fanâ’ is the complete conformity of one’s will to that of his/her Lord. It is important for the baqâ’ (subsistence) by Allah, with Him, and for Him.
294 Being content with his/her Lord being in control, one seeks not to control.
295 Since he/she is a mufawwiḍ, who has delegated their affairs to their Lord: the Omniscient, Omnipotent, and All-Benevolent.
296 This is not to get rid of the natural perceptions of pain and comfort, but to make all such perceptions irrelevant to their progress and almost unfelt because of their distraction by their ultimate goal, upon which their eyes and hearts are fixated.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj