Allah, the Almighty, said:
{…he said: My Lord, show me [Yourself] that I may look at You…} 743 [al-A‘raf 7:143]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنْظُرْ إِلَيْكَ"

Intoxication744 in this matter is a name that is used in reference to the loss of control during the [state of] excitement.745 It is of the stations of the lovers in particular, because the certainties of fanâ’ (self-annihilation) do not accept it746 and the stations of knowledge do not reach it.747 There are three signs of intoxication:

  1. aversion to occupation with reports, with perfect veneration748

  2. sailing through the middle of the ocean of yearning, with perpetual establishment749

  3. drowning in the sea of bliss, with distraught patience750

السُّكْرُ فِي هَذَا الْبَابِ اسْمٌ يُشَارُ بِهِ إِلَى سُقُوطِ التَّمَالُكِ فِي الطَّرَبِ، وَهَذَا مِنْ مَقَامَاتِ الْمُحِبِّينَ خَاصَّةً، فَإِنَّ عُيُونَ الْفَنَاءِ لَا تَقْبَلُهُ، وَمَنَازِلَ الْعِلْمِ لَا تَبْلُغُهُ. وَلِلسُّكْرِ ثَلَاثُ عَلَامَاتٍ:

  1. الضِّيقُ عَنْ الِاشْتِغَالِ بِالْخَبَرِ، وَالتَّعْظِيمُ قَائِمٌ

  2. وَاقْتِحَامُ لُجَّةِ الشَّوْقِ، وَالتَّمَكُّنُ دَائِمٌ

  3. وَالْغَرَقُ فِي بَحْرِ السُّرُورِ، وَالصَّبْرُ هَائِمٌ

Anything aside from this is mere confusion751 that is ignorantly referred to as intoxication or mystification that is unjustifiably given its name. 752

وَمَا سِوَى هَذَا فَحَيْرَةٌ تُنْحَلُ اسْمَ السُّكْرِ جَهْلًا، أَوْ هَيَمَانًا يُسَمَّى بِاسْمِهِ جَورًا.

Anything aside from this is inconsistent with true insight, such as the intoxication of greed 753,the intoxication of ignorance, and the intoxication of lust.

وَمَا سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَكُلُّهُ يُنَاقِضُ الْبَصَائِرَ، كَسُكْرِ الْحِرْصِ، وَسُكْرِ الْجَهْلِ، وَسُكْرِ الشَّهْوَةِ

743 The imam means to say that Moosâ’s hearing of his Lord put him into such a state of ‘intoxication’ that he asked Him to reveal Himself to him.
744 Imam Ibn al-Qayyim notes in Madârij that such a term is suboptimal. Whenever it was used in the Revelation or by the first community, it carried only negative connotations. Despite that, the meaning Imam al-Harawi speaks of is a noble meaning and the state is a true state, although inferior to the next state of ṣaḥw (sobriety).
745 The excitement that may result from intense spiritual encounters and focus on the Divine to the point of self-dissolution may impair the person’s control, resulting, for instance, in esoteric utterances during such trances. See the discussion on shaṭaḥât in the introduction.
746 Since in the state of fanâ’ (self-annihilation), there is no self-perception to have excitement.
747 Because the knowledge of love is not the same as the state of love. Those who possess the knowledge and are deprived of the state will not experience such lofty stations.
748 Imam Ibn al-Qayyim notes in Madârij that listening to reports from and about one’s Beloved is the joy of the believers, but they may have this aversion if it keeps them from a more noble service to Him or if it comes from pretentious conduits.
749 While they sail through the waves of yearning, they do not forget the requirements of servitude and they adhere to the indications of knowledge, in which they continue to be established.
750 Their yearning depletes their patience and emaciates it.
751 Confusion and incoherence are different from spiritual intoxication.
752 Mystification is a lower station. To the sheikh, intoxication belongs to the higher section of realities.
753 Greed for the pleasures of the dunyâ, including egotistic greed for spiritual fulfillment (or supremacy) without taking proper means to earning God’s pleasure.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


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

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj