Allah, the Almighty, said—relating from Moosâ:

{… and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased.} [Ṭâ-Hâ 20:84]

قالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ حَاكيًا عَن مُوْسَى عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: "وَعَجِلْتُ إِلَيْكَ رَبِّ لِتَرْضَى"

Anxiety refers to the stirring of yearning (ash-shawq) by relinquishing patience.525 It is of three levels:

الْقَلَقُ تَحْريكُ الشَّوْقِ بِإِسْقَاطِ الصَّبْرِ، وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is an anxiety that:

  1. makes one’s character difficult526

  2. makes people dislikeable527

  3. makes (the notion of) death delightful

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى قَلَقٌ:

  1. يُضَيِّقُ الْخُلُقَ

  2. وَيُبَغِّضُ الْخَلْقَ

  3. وَيُلَذِّذُ الْمَوْتَ

The second level is an anxiety that:

  1. contends with reason 528

  2. deafens the ears529

  3. overwhelms endurance530

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ قَلَقٌ:

  1. يُغَالِبُ الْعَقْلَ

  2. وَيُخَلِّي السَّمْعَ

  3. وَيُطَاوِلُ الطَّاقَةَ

The third level is an anxiety that:

  1. never shows mercy531

  2. never recognizes limits or terms532

  3. never spares anyone533

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ قَلَقٌ:

  1. لَا يَرْحَمُ أَبَدًا

  2. وَلَا يَقْبَلُ أَمَدًا

  3. وَلَا يُبْقِي أَحَدًا

525 This is a heightened sense of yearning for Allah that will make one anxious, causing him or her to sometimes exhibit the symptoms of that anxiety in their conduct and dealings with people.
526 Because the anxious person will find it hard to be agreeable with people. This may result, at times, in roughness or what may be perceived as such. However, we are instructed to maintain excellent character with people, so the feelings should be tempered by willful compliance with Divine instruction.
527Because the anxious person will not share much in common with them. In his early days, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be pleased with him) would go out to the desert and recite the poem of Laylâ’s lover (but addressing Allah instead):

وَأَخْرُجُ مِنْ بَيْنِ الْبُيُوتِ لَعَلَّنِي ... أُحَدِّثُ عَنْكَ النَّفْسَ بِالسِّرِّ خَالِيًا

"I come out to the wilderness so that I may…talk to myself about you in privacy."
528 Wanting to snatch it away from the reality of his or her worldly existence. It must be said that the best of this nation maintained their awareness of reality and engaged it in a way most pleasing to their Lord, to realize the good of the creation while seeking the ultimate good: devotion to God. Sobriety will always be better than intoxication. Also, intoxication is not a necessary bridge to sobriety in the presence of the Divine.
529 Thus, the anxious one may not hear except that which he or she is longing for.
530 The power of patience cannot calm that anxiety.
531 Which means it is an overpowering, irresistible anxiety that gives the anxious no break.
532 The anxiety cannot be constrained, moderated, mitigated, and it will never cease.
533 All will vanish in the consciousness of the anxious one, including their own self.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj