Saturday, November 1, 2014

Seven Maqāmāt

 The spiritual journey in Sufism begins with the stage of tabattul (detachment from the world), which is preceded by a state of spiritual awakening (yaqzah) and repentance, and culminates in the stage of fana’ (annihilation). The number of stations on the Path to Truth is unlimited. Some have considered them, from the first to the last, as comprising a hundred, while others have deemed them to be as many as a thousand. In the Kitāb al-luma’, Abu Nasr al-Sarraj al-Tusi defines seven maqāmāt or seven stages on the spiritual transformation. They include:

Repentance (tawbah): Begins with nur-e-ma'rifat (light of Divine Recognition) in the heart that realizes sin is spiritual poison. This induces regret and a yearning to compensate for past shortcomings and determination to avoid them in the future.
Abstention (wara): Pious self-restraint: the highest level of wara' is to eschew anything that might distract one, even briefly, from consciousness of Allah.
Asceticism (zuhd): Doing without what you do not need and making do with little. It is the emptiness of the heart that doesn't know any other commitment than what is in relation to God, or coldness of the heart and dislike of the soul in relation to the world.
Poverty (faqr): Poverty, both material and spiritual. This means denial of the nafs demands for pleasure and power, and dedication to the service of others instead of self-promotion. A dervish is also known as a fakir, literally a poor person. Poverty means lack of attachment to possessions and a heart that is empty of all except the desire for God.
Patience (ṣabr): Essential characteristic for the mystic, sabr literally means enduring, bearing, and resisting pain and difficulty. There are three types: sabr alal amal (consistent in practicing righteous deeds); sabr fil amal (patience in performing a righteous deed); sabr anil amal (patience in abstaining from haram).
Confidence (tawwakul): At this stage we realize everything we have comes from Allah. We rely on Allah instead of this world. The condition for achieving tawakkul is sincere acknowledgement of tauheed (doctrine of Oneness).
Contentment (riḍā’): Submission to qaḍā (fate), showing no rancor or rebellion against misfortune, and accepting all manifestations of Destiny without complaint. According to Dhul-Nun al-Misri, rida means preferring God's wishes over one's own in advance, accepting his Decree without complaint, based on the realization that whatever God wills and does is good. The first state is a physical condition and is not incumbent. The second is an intellectual condition, which is required: results from muhabbat (love for God).

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