Allah, the Almighty, said:

{And he turned away from them and said: Oh, my sorrow over Yoosuf.}674 [Yoosuf 12: 84]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: }وَتَوَلَّى عَنْهُمْ وَقَالَ يَاأَسَفَى عَلَى يُوسُفَ{

The absence675 that is referenced in this matter is of three levels:

الْغَيْبَةُ الَّتِي يُشَارُ إِلَيْهَا فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level is the absence of the seeker in rescuing the intent from the grab of attachments and the seizure of hindrances, to pursue the truths.676

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى غَيْبَةُ الْمُرِيدِ فِي تَخَلُّصِ الْقَصْدِ عَنْ أَيْدِي الْعَلَائِقِ، وَدَرْكِ الْعَوَائِقِ لِالْتِمَاسِ الْحَقَائِقِ

The second level is the absence of the traveler from the technicalities of knowledge,677 the defects of service678, and the concessions of lethargy.679

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ غَيْبَةُ السَّالِكِ عَنْ رُسُومِ الْعِلْمِ وَعِلَلِ السَّعْيِ وَرُخَصِ الْفُتُورِ

The third level is the absence of the knower from the beholding of the states, manifestations, and levels [finding shelter] in the fortress of union.680

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ غَيْبَةُ الْعَارِفِ عَنْ عُيُونِ الْأَحْوَالِ وَالشَّوَاهِدِ وَالدَّرَجَاتِ فِي حِصْنِ الْجَمْعِ

674 His longing for Yoosuf and grief over his loss made him seem absent from the fresh incident of losing his other son.
675 This is about being consumed in a pursuit to the point of being absent from all others. If a mother is sitting in the middle of a gathering while concerned about the safety of her faraway child, she will be present in form, but absent in spirit.
676 When the seeker embarks on the path of seeking the truths, they will be trying to purify their intentions, free themselves from any attachment to anything that will slow them down on their journey, and move as fast as possible to not be caught and seized by the hindrances. This will make the seeker absent from all other concerns and pursuits.
677 The knowledge that is not accompanied by ḥâl is not beneficial. The outer knowledge of the tongue will come to be refined by the inner knowledge of the heart. When others care about the intricacies and minutiae of knowledge, he or she cares about its fruits.
678 The worst of which is seeing one’s service as one’s own achievement, not as Allah’s gift.
679 The one who is carried by their ḥâl will not seek those concessions, because they do not experience lassitude.
680 His or her togetherness with the One obliterates from his/her vision and concern all states, forms, and indicants: both internal and external.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj