Allah, the Almighty, said:

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

قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ }قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا{

As-suroor (bliss) is a name for complete cheerfulness (istibshâr)615; it is purer than faraḥ (joy), because faraḥ may be mixed with some grief, and that is why the Qur’an mentions faraḥ on different occasions concerning the joy of this world. However, suroor (bliss) is mentioned on two occasions in the Qur’an in reference to the state of (bliss in) the hereafter. 616In this respect, it is of three levels:

والسُّرُورُ اسْمٌ لِاسْتِبْشَارٍ جَامِعٍ، وَهُوَ أَصْفَى مِنَ الْفَرَحِ، لِأَنَّ الْأَفْرَاحَ رُبَّمَا شَابَهَا الْأَحْزَانُ، وَلِذَلِكَ نَزَلَ الْقُرْآنُ بِاسْمِهِ فِي أَفْرَاحِ الدُّنْيَا فِي مَوَاضِعَ، وَوَرَدَ اسْمُ السُّرُورِ فِي المَوْضِعَيْنِ فِي الْقُرْآنِ فِي حَالِ الْآخِرَةِ. وَهُوَ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَات:

The first level is the bliss of taste (of faith), which removes three types of grief:

  1. that which is brought about by the fear ofdesertion617

  2. that which is stirred by the darkness of ignorance

  3. that which is covered by thelonesomeness of dispersion618

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى سُرُورُ ذَوْقٍ ذَهَبَ بِثَلَاثَةِ أَحْزَانٍ:

  1. حُزْنٌ أَوْرَثَهُ خَوْفُ الِانْقِطَاعِ

  2. وَحُزْنٌ هَاجَتْهُ ظُلْمَةُ الْجَهْلِ

  3. وَحُزْنٌ أَغْشَتْهُ وَحْشَةُ التَّفَرُّقِ

The second level is the bliss of shuhood,619 which:

  1. removes the veil of knowledge620

  2. breaks the shackles of the burdens (of injunctions)621

  3. ends the lowliness of (entertaining) choices622

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ سُرُورُ شُهُودٍ:

  1. كَشَفَ حِجَابَ الْعِلْمِ

  2. وَفَكَّ رِقَّ التَّكْلِيفِ

  3. وَنَفَى صَغَارَ الِاخْتِيَارِ

The third level is the bliss of hearing by the receptive, which:

  1. eliminates the effects of lonesomeness

  2. knocks on the gate of mushâhadah623

  3. prompts the soul to laugh 624

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ سُرُورُ سَمَاعِ الْإِجَابَةِ، وَهُوَ سُرُورٌ:

  1. يَمْحُو آثَارَ الْوَحْشَةِ

  2. وَيَقْرَعُ بَابَ الْمُشَاهَدَةِ

  3. وَيُضْحِكُ الرُّوحَ

615 Istibshâr comes from the same root as bushrâ (glad tiding), so this bliss is mixed with optimism, positivity, and confidence about the future. It is felicity without worries. The source of confidence is our trust in Allah’s graciousness, not our reliance on our deeds.
616 Both faraḥ and suroor are mentioned in negative and positive contexts in the Qur’an.
617 Being left behind the caravan and cut off from God.
618 Wholeness is achieved only in togetherness with the True and Holy One; any separation from Him and distraction by as-siwâ (anything else) causes the fragmentation of the soul and its diaspora.
619 Beholding the Divine acts and graciousness.
620 Knowledge of technicalities that is not accompanied by a good ḥâl can be an obstacle.
621 They are not burdens anymore, but rather sources of joy and energy.
622 In this ranking, one gives up their choice. Allah says:

{وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ…}.

{It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair…} (al-Aḥzâb 33: 36)
623 Unlike the previous level, the beholding here is of the Divine appearance (tajalli) through the manifestation of His names and attributes while in togetherness with Him.
624 The laughing of the soul is an indication of its final and ultimate bliss. Allah said:
{وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُّسْفِرَةٌ — ضَاحِكَةٌ مُّسْتَبْشِرَةٌ}.

{[Some] faces, that day, will be bright—laughing, rejoicing at good news.} (‘Abasa 80: 38-39)

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj