Excellence 425


Allah, the Almighty, said:

{Is the reward for iḥsân(good) [anything] but iḥsân (good)?} [ar-Raḥmân 55:60]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "هَلْ جَزَاءُ الْإِحْسَانِ إِلَّا الْإِحْسَانُ"

We mentioned in the beginning of the book that iḥsân is a comprehensive prophetic expression that involves all gates of truths. It is to worship Allah as if you see Him.426 It is of three levels:

قَدْ ذَكَرْنَا فِي صَدْرِ الكِتَابِ أنَّ الْإِحْسَانَ اسْمٌ جَامِعٌ نَبَوِيٌّ يَجْمَعُ أَبْوَابَ الْحَقَائِقِ، وَهُوَ أَنْ تَعْبُدَ اللَّهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ.
وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level: excellence in intent by:

  1. refining it with knowledge427

  2. fastening it with resolve428

  3. purifying its (accompanying) states429

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: الْإِحْسَانُ فِي الْقَصْدِ

  1. بِتَهْذِيبِهِ عِلْمًا

  2. وَإِبْرَامِهِ عَزْمًا

  3. وَتَصْفِيَتِهِ حَالًا

The second level: excellence in the (spiritual) states, and it is to:

  1. take care of them protectively430

  2. conceal them with care431

  3. rectify them for full actualization432

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: الْإِحْسَانُ فِي الْأَحْوَالِ، وَهُوَ:

  1. أَنْ تُرَاعِيَهَا غَيْرَةً

  2. وَتَسْتُرَهَا تَظَرُّفًا

  3. وَتُصَحِّحَهَا تَحَقِيقًا

The third level: excellence in managing time, and this is by:

  1. never ceasing to behold (the Divine)

  2. not allowing anyone (else) to be the object of your aspiration

  3. making your migration to the True One everlasting

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: الْإِحْسَانُ فِي الْوَقْتِ، وَهُوَ:

  1. أَنْ لَا تُزَايِلَ الْمُشَاهَدَةَ أَبَدًا

  2. وَلَا تَخْلِطَ بِهِمَّتِكَ أَحَدًا

  3. وَتَجْعَلَ هِجْرَتَكَ إِلَى الْحَقِّ سَرْمَدًا

426 This is part of the long ḥadeeth of Jibreel when he asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about Islam, eemân, and iḥsân. Iḥsân in the context of this ḥadeeth is the ultimate form of excellence. No matter how perfect a deed is, the motive and purpose behind it is what ultimately determines its true value. When the ultimate purpose is the eternal Source of all beauty and excellence, one’s iḥsân will no longer be about ostentation, self-actualization, an inclination to a particular virtue, or an aspiration to any want short of the Divine pleasure: thus being most consistent, resolute, and balanced.
427 Doing that which is right at the right time, place, and circumstance, for the right reason, in accordance with the Divine instruction conveyed by the Messenger ﷺ in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
428 Resolve to act upon the good intentions and to finish what one started in the best way possible.
429 Ensuring that the states of the heart—such as love, fear, hope, anxiety, and intimacy—that one goes through during their service are cleansed of any impurities.
430 Since they may be transient and may be lost if you are not protective of them.
431 A true ‘ârif conceals his/her states more than a person of means would hide their money. They may allow them to be seen only for a necessity.
432 One should always be seeking to further enhance and purify their (spiritual) states.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj