Allah, the Almighty, said:

{Say: Each works according to his (own) manner...} [al-Isrâ’ 17:84]

قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: "قُلْ كُلٌّ يَعْمَلُ عَلَى شَاكِلَتِه"

Willfulness is one of the principal rules of this knowledge and its foundational structures.365 It concerns the willful response to the call of the Truth.366
It is of three levels:

الْإِرَادَةُ مِنْ قَوَانِينِ هَذَا الْعِلْمِ وَجَوَامِعِ أَبْنِيَتِهِ. وَهِيَ الْإِجَابَةُ لِدَوَاعِي الْحَقِيقَةِ طَوْعًا.
وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is about:

  1. deserting habits by adherence to knowledge367

  2. clinging to the breaths of the travelers with devotion of intent368

  3. barring all distractions from the brothers/sisters and homelands

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى:

  1. ذَهَابٌ عَنِ الْعَادَاتِ بِصُحْبَةِ الْعِلْمِ

  2. وَالتَّعَلُّقُ بِأَنْفَاسِ السَّالِكِينَ، مَعَ صِدْقِ الْقَصْدِ

  3. وَخَلْعُ كُلِّ شَاغِلٍ مِنَ الْإِخْوَانِ وَمُشَتِّتٌ مِنَ الْأَوْطَانِ

The second level is accomplished by:

  1. the company of the ḥâl (spiritual state)369

  2. rejuvenation through uns (comforting intimacy) [with God]

  3. marching between (the states of) contraction and expansion370

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ تُقْطَعُ:

  1. بِصُحْبَةِ الْحَالِ

  2. وَتَرْوِيحِ الْأُنْسِ

  3. وَالسَّيْرِ بَيْنَ الْقَبْضِ وَالْبَسْط

The third level is a stupor with adherence to uprightness and attentiveness to the refinement of character.371

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ ذُهُولٌ مَعَ صُحْبَةِ الِاسْتِقَامَةِ وَمُلَازَمَةِ الرِّعَايَةِ عَلَى تَهْذِيبِ الْأَدَبِ.

365 Willfulness is the principal action of the heart. Therefore, it has a great place in the sciences of Sufism, which focus on the heart and its dispositions and actions.
366 This is about the genuine disposition of the heart. Unlike resolve, where one may compel themselves to behave a certain way, this is about the voluntary desire for the Creator.
367 You desert your own personal and societal preferences and biases and abide by the requirements of the Revelation as soon as you learn them.
368 Keeping the company of the travelers on the path to God while ensuring that your heart is directed towards the same destination.
369 Whatever spiritual imports Allah grants you, do not waste them.
370Those two states of inbisâṭ (ease, comfort, affability) and inqibâḍ (unease, strain, reservation) result from the alternation of hope and fear, proximity and distance, or could be merely caused by Allah to perfect His test, as Ibn ‘Aṭâ’ (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “He expanded you in order to not keep you in contraction; He contracted you in order to not keep you in expansion; and He took you out of both so that you will not belong to anything apart from Him.” A true servant will continue the march between these states without becoming hopeless in the state of contraction or exultant in the state of expansion. Allah said:

{لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ}

{In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you…} (al-Ḥadeed 57:23)
371 This is a stupor that will cause you to be distracted from this world, but not from your Lord. It is a stupor that will not cause you to deviate from propriety and uprightness or fail to observe proper etiquette with the creatures and their Creator.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj