Allah, the Almighty, said:

{…look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.} [al-A‘râf 7: 143]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: }انْظُرْ إِلَى الْجَبَلِ فَإِنِ اسْتَقَرَّ مَكَانَهُ فَسَوْفَ تَرَانِي{

Laḥdh (noting) is a stealthy glimpse584. In this respect, it is of three levels:

اللَّحْظُ لَمْحٌ مُسْتَرِقٌ. وَهُوَ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level is noting the antecedence of grace;585 it:

  1. interrupts supplications, except to show humility due to His Lordship586

  2. cultivates joy, except that it is mixed with concern about [His] plots587

  3. motivates gratefulness, except that which is the prerogative of the True One588

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى: مُلَاحَظَةُ الْفَضْلِ سَبْقًا، وَهِيَ:

  1. تَقْطَعُ طَرِيقَ السُّؤَالِ، إِلَّا مَا اسْتَحَقَّتْهُ الرُّبُوبِيَّةُ مِنْ إِظْهَارِ التَّذَلُّلِ لَهَا

  2. وَتُنْبِتُ السُّرُورَ، إِلَّا مَا يَشُوبُهُ مِنْ حَذَرِ الْمَكْرِ

  3. وَتَبْعَثُ عَلَى الشُّكْرِ إِلَّا مَا قَامَ بِهِ الْحَقُّ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مِنْ حَقِّ الصِّفَةِ

The second level is noting the light of disclosure; it:

  1. bolsters the bond589

  2. permits one to taste the [Divine] appearances590

  3. protects one from the flaw of consolation591

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ: مُلَاحَظَةُ نُورِ الْكَشْفِ، وَهِيَ:

  1. تُسْبِلُ لِبَاسَ التَّوَلِّي

  2. وَتُذِيقُ طَعْمَ التَّجَلِّي

  3. وَتَعْصِمُ مِنْ عَوَارِ التَّسَلِّي

The third level is noting the essence of union;592 it:

  1. awakens one to the insignificance of striving,593

  2. rids one from the imprudence of objections594

  3. allows one to behold the beginnings595

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ: مُلَاحَظَةُ عَيْنِ الْجَمْعِ، وَهِيَ:

  1. تُوقِظُ لِاسْتِهَانَةِ الْمُجَاهَدَاتِ

  2. وَتُخَلِّصُ مِنْ رُعُونَةِ الْمُعَارَضَاتِ

  3. وَتُفِيدُ مُطَالَعَةَ الْبِدَايَاتِ

584 This is about the ability of the observant heart to quickly reap the benefits of its observations. Since the ultimate object of one’s observation is the Divine, the glimpses are stealthy out of reverence.
585 His grace precedes any action on our part. He decreed all of the blessings one will be granted before their creation.
586 When one realizes the antecedence of His grace, they will busy themselves with praising Him rather than asking Him, and they will realize that their petitions are not the ultimate cause of the blessings, but His antecedent grace is. The sheikh cautions, though, that we must continue to invoke His blessings as a response to His call and a show of humility. Ibn al-Qayyim elaborates in Madârij on the importance of supplication; he points out that supplication was ordained by Allah to cause its blessings, for He is the Creator of the cause and the effect. He also says that being busy with His praise may at times keep one from asking for their needs. However, this is a transient state, not a permanent station; one mustcontinue to feel their poverty and need for Allah and ask Him for all their needs. The Prophet ﷺ said:

”‏مَنْ لَمْ يَسْأَلِ اللَّهَ يَغْضَبْ عَلَيْهِ.‏ “

“Indeed, [if a person] does not ask Allah, He gets angry with him.” (at-Tirmidhi, from Abu Hurayrah)
587 The joy that is not mixed with concern about the possible reversal of the blessings and deprivation of good is a catalyst of heedlessness and tyranny. Allah said:
{ذَٰلِكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَفْرَحُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَبِمَا كُنتُمْ تَمْرَحُونَ}.

{[The angels will say]: That [punishment] was because you used to exult upon the earth without right and you used to behave insolently.} (Ghâfir 40: 75)
588 No one can show the necessary gratefulness to Allah except Him. Our gratefulness is merely a gift from Him that calls for more gratefulness.
589 The alliance with Allah and being attached to Him, detached from all else.
590 The manifestation of the Divine attributes and actions to the contemplative heart.
591 When one finds consolation in life away from his Beloved, God.
592 Togetherness with the Divine.
593 This could mean that one who reaches that state of togetherness with Allah finds all endeavors for His pleasure easy. It may also mean that those bodily endeavors become secondary to the heart’s conformity to the Divine will and decree. The way this should be understood is that these people recognize the importance of the state of the heart and will not rely mainly on the efforts of the body. However, they will never cease to comply with the commands of their Lord and adhere to the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ, who never abandoned the worship of His Lord by his interior and exterior until certainty came to him, and neither did his Companions. Allah said:
{وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ..}

{And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death).} (al-Ḥijr 15: 99)
Ibn al-Qayyim mentions in Madârij many statements from the masters of the path of taṣawwuf emphasizing the importance of compliance with Shari‘ah and adherence to the Sunnah for all worshipers until their death.
594 One may not object to His creative or prescriptive decrees. The latter is treated with compliance and the first is treated with acceptance. If the creative and prescriptive decrees are in harmony, such as in the case of one who fasts in Ramadan and feeds the orphans, such acts should be commended and supported. If they are not in harmony, such as in the case of one who oppresses the weak and withholds zakât, such acts should be denounced and resisted, for the prescriptive decrees are what we have been commanded to follow.
595 Ibn al-Qayyim suggests in Madârij that this may refer to the antecedence of Allah before all things or the time of the servant first embarking on the path to Allah. This is a time of focus and zeal that is often missed and reminisced about by the seekers during their travel, regardless of their stations.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj