Allah, the Almighty, said—relating from His prophet, Sulaymân:

{[He said]: Return them to me, and set about striking [their] legs and necks.}507 [Ṣâd 38:33]

قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى - حَاكِيًا عَنْ نَبِيِّهِ سُلَيْمَانَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ – "رُدُّوهَا عَلَيَّ فَطَفِقَ مَسْحًا بِالسُّوقِ وَالْأَعْنَاقِ"

Ghayrah (protectiveness)508 refers to intolerance caused by concern509 and impatience caused by keenness and competitiveness.510 It is of three levels:

الْغَيْرَةُ سُقُوطُ الِاحْتِمَالِ ضَنًّا وَالضِّيقُ عَنِ الصَّبْرِ نَفَاسَةً. وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level is the ghayrah of the servant concerning that which was missed, to:

  1. retrieve it

  2. make up for missing it511

  3. mitigate the consequences of its loss

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: غَيْرَةُ الْعَابِدِ عَلَى ضَائِعٍ:

  1. يَسْتَرِدُّ ضَيَاعَهُ

  2. وَيَسْتَدْرِكُ فَوَاتَهُ

  3. وَيَتَدَارَكُ تُوَاهُ

The second level is the ghayrah of the seeker, and it is concerning time lost.512 It is a lethal ghayrah, for time is:

  1. quick to lapse513

  2. difficult to manage

  3. slow to return514

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: غَيْرَةُ الْمُرِيدِ. وَهِيَ غَيْرَةٌ عَلَى وَقْتٍ فَاتَ. وَهِيَ غَيْرَةٌ قَاتِلَةٌ. فَإِنَّ الْوَقْتَ:

  1. وَحِيُّ الغَضَب

  2. أَبِيُّ الْجَانِبِ

  3. بَطِيُّ الرُّجُوعِ

The third level is a ghayrah of the ‘ârif515 concerning:

  1. eyesight516 covered by a veil

  2. an inner state obscured by a smudge

  3. a breath that clung to hope or looked for prizes517

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: غَيْرَةُ الْعَارِفِ عَلَى:

  1. عَيْنٍ غَطَّاهَا غَيْنٌ

  2. وَسُرٍّ غَشِيَهُ رَيْنٌ

  3. وَنَفَسٍ عَلِقَ بِرَجَاءٍ، أَوِ الْتَفَتَ إِلَى عَطَاءٍ

507 The verse was quoted here by the sheikh because Sulaymân’s protectiveness of his relationship with Allah is what prompted him to sacrifice the horses after he was distracted by their beauty from his service. The other interpretation is that he wiped (not slashed) their legs and necks to show humility and regret before his Lord.
508 Ghayrah is often translated as ‘protective jealousy.’
509 Intolerance of any barriers, distractions, or impediments in the way to Allah.
510 Not allowing oneself to be beaten to Allah by others.
511 The difference between this and the previous point is that sometimes there is no way to make up for certain deeds, so one must compensate in other ways for missing them. The person would also have to compensate for committing sins or improprieties.
512 For the seekers regret not only the deeds missed or inequities committed, but the breaths spent in other than the pursuit of His pleasure.
513 The sheikh said, ‘quick to lapse’ in some manuscripts, but in this manuscript, he said, ‘quick to get angry,’ which means temperamental but would ultimately mean the same thing as ‘quick to lapse.’
514 Not that time would return, but the state that one descended from when he or she lost that time.
515 Could be translated as ‘gnostic’ but due to some negative and irrelevant connotations to this word in English, I prefer to use the Arabic original, which means ‘knower.’ In the terminology of the masters of the path, it means the possessor of the inner knowledge of the heart that is pure, beneficial, and reformative.
516 Some of the truths of faith that were clear to them, like the clarity of eyesight.
517 Whereas its main focus should have been the pleasure of its Lord and His love.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj