Allah, the Almighty, said:

{…And when you have resolved, then rely upon Allah…} [‘Âli ‘Imrân 3:159]

بقَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ "فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ"

Resolve is the actualization of the intent (qaṣd), willingly or unwillingly.355 It is of three levels:

الْعَزْمُ هُوَ تَحْقِيقُ الْقَصْدِ طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا؛ وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ

The first level is the rebellion of the ḥâl (spiritual state) against (the limitations of) knowledge;356 and this is for:

  1. beholding the flashes of disclosure357

  2. enjoying the light of comforting intimacy (uns) indefinitely358

  3. pursuing the annihilation of passions (hawâ)

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى إِبَاءُ الْحَالِ عَلَى الْعِلْمِ:

  1. لِشَيْمِ بَرْقِ الْكَشْفِ

  2. وَاسْتِدَامَةِ نُورِ الْأُنْسِ

  3. وَالْإِجَابَةِ لِإِمَاتَةِ الْهَوَى

The second level:

  1. being consumed in the foretastes of mushâhadah (the beholding [of Allah])359

  2. the illumination of the road360

  3. the recruitment of all energies of uprightness361

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ:

  1. الِاسْتِغْرَاقُ فِي لَوَائِحِ الْمُشَاهَدَةِ

  2. وَاسْتِنَارَةُ ضِيَاءِ الطَّرِيقِ

  3. وَاسْتِجْمَاعُ قُوَى الِاسْتِقَامَةِ

The third level:

  1. recognizing the flaws of ‘azm (resolve)362

  2. then resolving to get rid of resolve363

  3. then getting rid of the aftereffect of the disavowal of resolve,364

for nothing resolve can earn its people is better than showing them its flaws.

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ:

  1. مَعْرِفَةُ عِلَّةِ الْعَزْمِ

  2. ثم الْعَزْمُ عَلَى التَّخَلُّصِ مِنَ الْعَزْمِ

  3. ثُمَّ الْخَلَاصُ مِنْ تَكَالِيفِ تَرْكِ الْعَزْمِ

فَإِنَّ الْعَزَائِمَ لَمْ تُوَرِّثْ أَرْبَابَهَا مِيرَاثًا أَكْرَمَ مِنْ وُقُوفِهِمْ عَلَى عِلَلِ الْعَزَائِم.ِ

355When the Muslim army encountered the Romans and their allies in Mu’tah, ‘Abdullâh
ibn Rawâḥah motivated himself by the following lines of poetry:

أَقْسَمْتُ يَا نَفْسُ لَتَنْزِلِنَّهْ لَتَنْزِلِنَّ أَوْ لَتُكْرَهِنَّهْ -- إنْ أَجْلَبَ النَّاسُ وَشَدُّوا الرَّنَّهْ -- مَالِي أَرَاكِ تَكْرَهِينَ الْجَنَّهْ

I swear upon you, O nafs (self), that you shall enter or shall be forced to do so
The people have gathered, and the cries have risen
What is the matter with you? I see that you dislike paradise!
356 That is, not to ignore the Shari‘ah and knowledge of the scriptures. The sheikh is advising us to aspire for more than the requirements of knowledge and not to injudiciously follow concessions and shortcuts or fall into dry technicality or overconfidence in one’s knowledge. There are also cases where knowledge may not be sufficient to guide someone concerning a particular incident. This is where one may need to count on inspiration (ilhâm) and intuitive perception (dhawq), as Imam Ibn Taymiyyah stated, to find guidance. This is not dhawq and ilhâm to counter knowledge, but to complement it.
357 When He discloses to you the way to the various stations, the flaws of your nafs, and most importantly, the meanings of His names and attributes.
358 Because abiding by the technicalities of the knowledge of the intellect will not earn you that comforting intimacy in the presence of your Lord. You will be working hard like a servant, while His friends are welcomed into His presence. This is the condition of those whose hearts are rigid and dry. Their deeds are void of function and purpose. Their prayers do not keep them from lewdness and evil. They abandon food and drink when they fast, but their hearts do not abandon arrogance and rancor.
359 Which bars you from beholding all others (as-siwâالسِّوَى).
360 When you get close enough to your destination, and the lights of the city illuminate your path to it, you see it leading clearly to it while before, you were dependent on the signposts.
361 For now, he/she would have seen the finish line (the gates of the city), so he/she would have all the energy inside him/her recruited to sprint and get to it.
362 That is, ascribing their resolve to themselves.
363 By disavowing the attribution of resolve to oneself and seeing it as a gift from Allah.
364 Continuing to see that you abandoned or disavowed resolve means that you still think you had, at one point, some legitimate claim to it.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj