Allah, the Almighty, said:

{When he saw a fire…}574 [Ṭâ-Hâ 20:10]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: "إِذْ رَأَى نَارًا"

Lightning (barq) is an initial spark that invites the servant to set out on this road.575The difference between it and wajd (ecstasy) is that wajd occurs after embarking on the path, while barq occurs before it. Thus, wajd is a sustenance and barq is a permission. It is of three levels:

الْبَرْقُ بَاكُورَةٌ تَلْمَعُ لِلْعَبْدِ، فَتَدْعُوهُ إِلَى الدُّخُولِ فِي هَذا الطَّرِيقِ. وَالْفَرْقُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ الْوَجْدِ أَنَّ الْوَجْدَ يَقَعُ بَعْدَ الدُّخُولِ فِيهِ، وَالْبَرْقُ قَبْلَهُ، فَالْوَجْدُ زَادٌ، وَالْبَرْقُ إِذْنٌ. وَهُوَ ثَلَاثُ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is lightning that glows from promises for the hopeful,576 thereby the servant finds:

  1. little favors plentiful

  2. large burdens light

  3. sour destinies sweet

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: بَرْقٌ يَلْمَعُ مِنْ جَانِبِ الْعِدَةِ فِي عَيْنِ الرَّجَاءِ:

  1. فَيَسْتَكْثِرُ فِيهِ الْعَبْدُ الْقَلِيلَ مِنَ الْعَطَاءِ

  2. وَيَسْتَقِلُّ فِيهِ الْكَثِيرَ مِنَ الْأعباءِ

  3. وَيَسْتَحْلِي فِيهِ مَرَارَةَ الْقَضَاءِ

The second level is lightning that sparks from threats for the vigilant;577 thereby the servant:

  1. finds all hopes short

  2. grows disinterested in people despite their closeness

  3. desires to purify the innermost self

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: بَرْقٌ يَلْمَعُ مِنْ جَانِبِ الْوَعِيدِ فِي عَيْنِ الْحَذَرِ:

  1. فَيَسْتَقْصِرُ فِيهِ الْعَبْدُ الطَّوِيلَ مِنَ الْأَمَلِ

  2. وَيَزْهَدُ فِي الْخَلْقِ عَلَى الْقُرْبِ

  3. وَيَرْغَبُ فِي تَطْهِيرِ السِّرِّ

The third level is lightning that glows from kindness for the broken,578 thereby:

  1. generating clouds of joy

  2. bringing down showers of euphoria

  3. causing the rivers of pride to flow 579

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: بَرْقٌ يَلْمَعُ مِنْ جَانِبِ اللُّطْفِ فِي عَيْنِ الِافْتِقَارِ:

  1. فَيُنْشِئُ سَحَابَ السُّرُورِ

  2. وَيُمْطِرُ قَطْرَ الطَّرَبِ

  3. يُجْرِي نَهْرَ الِافْتِخَارِ

574 This is in reference to the fire seen by Moosâ (peace be upon him) on his way back from Madyan to Egypt. This marked the beginning of his prophethood. The sheikh uses the verse at the beginning of this chapter to say that the lightning (barq) marks the beginning of one’s walâyah (intimate friendship).
575 Every great move in one’s life is induced by a great influence. Taking the road to devotion and purification is inspired by an invitation from Allah. That invitation could be in the form of a transformative experience that enlightens the heart and guides the soul. It could be as brief as lightning. One must be careful not to miss these opportunities. Allah said:

{وَنُقَلِّبُ أَفْئِدَتَهُمْ وَأَبْصَارَهُمْ كَمَا لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا بِهِ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ}

{And We will turn away their hearts and their eyes just as they refused to believe in it the first time…}(al-An‘âm 6:110)
576 This is the diligent servant working for the promised rewards. Their certainty in His promises and their rajâ’ (hope) make them acknowledge all His bounties, belittle all their efforts, and accept all His destinies.
577 This is the servant who fears the approaching of death and punishment and fears that their deeds are not devoted and their hearts are not pure. They are always on alert, hurrying to purify their interiors before the time of meeting their Lord arrives.
578 This is the one who came to the Lord counting on nothing other than their brokenness. When He accepted them, they started to experience His gentleness and graciousness.
579This is not the pride of the arrogant, but the broken. Allah said:
{قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ}

{Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy—in that let them rejoice…} (Yoonus 10:58)

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj