Allah, the Almighty, said:

{…whoever of you should revert from his religion—Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him…} [al-Mâ’idah 5:54]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "مَن يَرْتَدَّ مِنكُمْ عَن دِينِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَهُ"

Love is the exclusive clinging of the heart [to the Beloved] flanked by drive (himmah) and comforting intimacy (uns),497 when given and when deprived.498 It is the beginning of the valleys of fanâ’ (self-annihilation) and the steep pass from which he or she descends into the stations of obliteration.499 It is the last station where the front rows of the masses meet the back rows of the elites. Whatever is beneath it is self-interest in compensation. Love is the hallmark of the community,500 the guide on the path, and the condition of belonging.501 It is of three levels:

الْمَحَبَّةُ : تَعَلُّقُ الْقَلْبِ بَيْنَ الْهِمَّةِ وَالْأُنْسِ في الْبَذْلِ وَالْمَنْعِ عَلَى الإفْرَادِ.وَالْمَحَبَّةُ أَوَّلُ أَوْدِيَةِ الْفَنَاءِ، وَالْعَقَبَةُ الَّتِي يَنْحَدِرُ مِنْهَا عَلَى مَنَازِلِ الْمَحْوِ. وَهِيَ آخِرُ مَنْزِلٍ تَلْتَقِي فِيهِ مُقَدِّمَةُ الْعَامَّةِ، وَسَاقَةُ الْخَاصَّةِ. وَمَا دُونَهَا أَغْرَاضٌ لِأَعْوَاضٍ. وَالْمَحَبَّةُ هِيَ سِمَةُ الطَّائِفَةِ وَعُنْوَانُ الطَّرِيقَةِ وَمَعْقِدُ النِّسْبَةِ.وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level is a love that ends suspicions and whispers,502 sweetens one’s service, and lightens tragedies. It is a love that:

  1. emanates from beholding grace

  2. becomes firm by following the Sunnah

  3. blossoms by responding with brokenness

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: مَحَبَّةٌ تَقْطَعُ الْوَسَاوِسَ وَتُلِذُّ الْخِدْمَةَ وَتُسَلِّي عَنِ الْمَصَائِبِ. وَهِيَ مَحَبَّةٌ:

  1. تَنْبُتُ مِنْ مُطَالَعَةِ الْمِنَّةِ

  2. وَتَثْبُتُ بِاتِّبَاعِ السُّنَّةِ

  3. وَتَنْمُو عَلَى الْإِجَابَةِ بِالْفَاقَةِ

The second level is a love that leads to favoring the True One over all else, keeps the tongue in constant remembrance of Him, and fixates the heart on beholding Him. It is a love that results from:

  1. contemplating the attributes

  2. beholding the signs503

  3. observing the protocols of the stations504

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ مَحَبَّةٌ تَبْعَثُ عَلَى إِيثَارِ الْحَقِّ عَلَى غَيْرِهِ ، وَتُلْهِجُ اللِّسَانَ بِذِكْرِهِ . وَتُعَلِّقَ الْقَلْبَ بِشُهُودِهِ. وَهِيَ مَحَبَّةٌ تَظْهَرُ مِنْ:

  1. مُطَالَعَةِ الصِّفَاتِ

  2. وَالنَّظَرِ إِلَى الْآيَاتِ

  3. وَالِارْتِيَاضِ بِالْمَقَامَاتِ

The third level is a captivating love that voids the expressions, refines the gestures,505and cannot be encompassed by attributes. It is the cornerstone of this matter, and all loves beneath it are [phenomena] spoken of by the tongues, claimed by the creations, and validated by the intellect.506

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: مَحَبَّةٌ خَاطِفَةٌ تَقْطَعُ الْعِبَارَةَ، وَتُدَقِّقُ الْإِشَارَةَ، وَلَا تَنْتَهِي بِالنُّعُوتِ.وَهَذِهِ الْمَحَبَّةُ هِيَ قُطْبُ هَذَا الشَّأْنِ، وَمَا دُونَهَا مَحَابٌّ نَادَتْ عَلَيْهَا الْأَلْسُنُ وَادَّعَتْهَا الْخَلِيقَةُ وَأَوْجَبَتْهَا الْعُقُولُ.

497 The drive of pursuing the Beloved and the comforting intimacy with Him upon His acceptance and reciprocation.
498 This could mean when you are enjoying Allah’s bounties or enduring through hardship. It may also mean that when you give, you give for Him, and when you withhold, you withhold for Him.
499 Many masters argue that subsistence in the station of love is the way of the prophets and greatest seekers, and it is superior to obliteration, intoxication, and all manifestations and realities of self-annihilation.
500 The community of seekers.
501 To that fraternity of seekers.
502 Wasâwis could mean doubts or any thoughts competing with devotion to Allah.
503 ‘Ayât’ refers to both the verses of the Qur’an and universal signs.
504 As in the stations of this book.
505 No explicit speech may describe it, while symbolism may be refined by it.
506 The other types of love fall short of this one. They may be mere claims, and when they have realities, they are limited to the sphere of the intellect, which dictates that one love those who are kind to them.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj