Allah, the Almighty, said—relating from His khaleel (intimate friend), Ibrâheem (peace be upon him):

{So when the night covered him [with darkness], he saw a star. He said: This is my lord…} [al-An‘âm 6:76]

قالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ حَاكيًا عَن خَلِيلِهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: "فَلَمَّا جَنَّ عَلَيْهِ اللَّيْلُ رَأَى كَوْكَبًا قَالَ هَذَا رَبِّي"

‘Thirst’ is a metaphor for the overwhelming craving for a goal. It is of three levels:

الْعَطَشُ كِنَايَةٌ عَنْ غَلَبَةِ وَلُوعٍ بِمَأْمُولٍ، وَهُوَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is the thirst of the seeker for:

  1. a quenching witness 534

  2. a curing allusion535

  3. an empathic gesture to bring them closer536

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى عَطَشُ الْمُرِيدِ إِلَى:

  1. شَاهِدٍ يُرْوِيهِ

  2. أو إِشَارَةٍ تَشْفِيهِ

  3. أَوْ عَطْفَةٍ تُؤْوِيهِ

The second level is the thirst of the traveler for:

  1. a term to be finished537

  2. a day that brings about fulfilment538

  3. a station where they find comfort539

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: عَطَشُ السَّالِكِ إِلَى:

  1. أَجَلٍ يَطْوِيهِ

  2. وَيَوْمٍ يُرِيهِ مَا يُغْنِيهِ

  3. وَمَنْزِلٍ يَسْتَرِيحُ فِيهِ

The third level is the thirst of the lover for:

  1. clarity that is not screened by the clouds of defects,540

  2. and is not covered by the veil of dispersion,541

  3. and before and beyond which there is no quest542

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: عَطَشُ الْمُحِبِّ إِلَى:

  1. جَلْوَةٍ، مَا دُونَهَا سَحَابُ عَلَّةٍ

  2. وَلَا يُغَطِّيهَا حِجَابُ تَفْرِقَةٍ

  3. وَلَا يُعَرَّجُ دُونَهَا عَلَى انْتِظَارٍ

534 Signs that corroborate their faith and assure them about the path they are on and the state they are in.
535 The hints that come to them from a guide or a companion on the path; they find a cure in them from interferences and hesitations that can bewilder the hearts. They may also find those cures in a verse they understand, a ḥadeeth, or a report about those who preceded us on the path of purification.
536 By the Divine, that will bring them closer to Him.
537 A pursuit to be finished by accomplishing its goal, not necessarily the end of their lives.
538 A traveler can find complete fulfillment only in their togetherness with Allah.
539 One of the higher stations where he or she finds solace and uns (comforting intimacy).
540 The darknesses of our faulty nafs obstruct us from beholding the Divine in this life.
541 Being distracted by the multiplicity of things and phenomena from focusing on the True One.
542 The sheikh (may Allah bestow mercy on him) means to say that this is a complete form of shuhood (beholding of the Divine), thus leaving no room for greater awareness of Him. However, the complete beholding of the Divine never happens to us in this life because of our defective nature. Even Moosâ (peace be upon him) was not granted the power to behold Him. In this life, we behold His signs until we reach a point where our recognition of Him by the heart becomes almost like seeing Him.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj