Ibn Ajibah on the Sufi secret: I am my worshiped (Ana Ma’budi)
Ahmad ibn ‘Ajibah’s book “Futuhat Ilahiyah” has been translated into English under the name “The Basic Research” by AbdalKhabir Al-Munawwarah and Haj Abdussabur Al-Ustadh, revised and edited by AbdulQadir As-Sufi.
These people are all Darqawi Shazilis, and this book is an explanation of a poem of ibn al-Banna of Saragossa
The Sufi secret: I am my worshiped
P 231 and after we can read:
Then the author mentions the Station of Witnessing and he says:
Then he is obliterated in the absence of witnessing, and he lets out the speech, ‘I am my Worshipped.’ Until he is brought back to himself from it, then he confirms the separation that was not there.
I say that the slave, when in forgetfulness, is afflicted by the vision of himself. He stops with witnessing his sensory, imprisoned by what surrounds him, limited in the container of his essence. If Allah the Exalted wants to remove the veil from him, and to bring him into the presence of the beloved ones, He allows him to meet one of His awliya and he shows him the secret of his election and his choice. He travels with him and breaks the norms of his self and makes him absent from it, and makes him zahid in his money and his kind. If the Shaykh sees that the veil is thin for him, and that he deserves to be among the lovers, he opens the door to him and says to him, ‘Here you are, and here is your Lord’. When he is absorbed in the Presence of Lights, and the veils are removed from him, he denies all of existence and the existence of himself. His existence is obliterated in the existence of his Beloved, and his witnessing is enfolded in the witnessing of the Worshipped. Then he begins to say, ‘I am whom I love, and whom I love is me. I am the lover and the Beloved. There is no second.’ If he is firm in witnessing, and realises the vision of the Light of the Worshipped King, his sobriety is given back to him and he returns to his suluk. He confirms separation in the source of gatheredness fulfilling the functions of wisdom in the source of witnessing the power. Gatheredness is witnessed in his inward, AND SEPARATION ON HIS OUTWARD EXISTS ONLY IN SPEECH, NOT IN REALITY, IN COURTESY WITH LORDSHIP, AND IN FULFILMENT OF THE FUNCTIONS OF SLAVENESS. The gardens of the Kingdom of Unseen Forms are not embellished except by the flowers of the beauty of the Shari’ah of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. I have said in one song about the prayer of Shaykh Ibn al-Mashish, may Allah be pleased with him, in praise of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace,
The meadows of the gardens of gnosis are embellished
by the flowers of beauty from the Shari’ah of Ahmad.
The oceans of generosity overflow by his lights
In every absence and witnessing.
The phrase ‘then he is obliterated in absence of witnessing’ means that his existence is effaced in the existence of the Real. It is said in the Hikam, ‘Beings are confirmed by His confirmation, effaced by the Singularity of His Essence.’ He also said, ‘The gnostic of the indication of Him, is because of the annihilation in His existence and his folding up in His witnessing.’ The phrase ‘and he lets out the speech, “I am my Worshipped” ‘, will not be accepted from him except when he is overpowered and in the State of Attraction. Otherwise, it is as happened to al-Hallaj, who was a true wali of Allah. In that meaning it is said,
Whoever witnesses reality should guard it
Otherwise, he will be killed by spears.
Like al-Hallaj of love, when it was revealed
To him the sun of reality by nearness.
And another one said,
If they reveal the secret, their blood becomes
permissible to spill.
This is how the blood of those who reveal becomes halal.
Ibn al-Khaldun said, ‘Al-Hallaj was killed by the ruling of the people of the outward and the people of the inward, the people of Shari’ah and the people of Haqiqa. Because he revealed the secret, his punishment became necessary. Among those who decided that he should die were al-Junayd and ash-Shibli, because they were jealous of the secret being revealed to people who did not deserve it. It is appropriate to hide the secret, and outwardly to reveal the shari’ah of the Chosen Prophet. May Allah reward ash-Shushtari who said,
Rip the cloth of illusion and make a fence
The toil will be removed from you.
If you are really yearning today,
be annihilated from that and you will rise.
If you realise your Essence
and you finish with your Attributes,
stand on the mountain of your Sinai,
and make ecstasy your life.
Be annihilated by him until you are.
Beware! Do not say, ‘I am’
and take care and do not be other-than-Him.
And the author’s saying, ‘Until he is brought back to himself from it, then he confirms the separation that was not there’ means until he is brought back to himself from witnessing himself by his Lord. Then and there only he confirms separation so that slaveness will appear in the appearance of Lordship. Praise be to the one who hid the secret of election by revealing the attributes of humanness. He appeared by the majesty of Lordship in the appearances of slaveness. So, Lordship without slaveness is a flaw, and slaveness without Lordship is impossible. By this separation responsibility is confirmed.
The Shaykh of our Shaykhs, Sidi ‘Ali al-Jamal al-Imrani, may Allah be pleased with him, said in his book, ‘Know that responsibility is an attribute of the attributes of separation, and non-responsibility is an attribute of the attributes of gatheredness. Separation is slaveness, and it is obliteration, and gatheredness is Lordship and it is true.’ The Real became the speaker and the hearer. That is why, for this precise reason, among those who have taken the journey to Allah the Exalted, are those who mainly witness gatheredness and they are found to be in plentiful expansion and rest from responsibilities. Also among them are those who witness mainly separation, and they are found in contraction and toil and responsibility. May Allah have mercy on alHatimi who said,
The Lord is true and the slave is true,
would that I knew which is the obligated.
If one says, ‘Slave’, the slave is dead, or if one says ‘Lord’, how is he obligated?
Sayyidi ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Fasi, may Allah give us the benefit of all, answered him with his word,
Yes, in respect to the confirmation of the slave
to the attribute of separation with it he is obligated.
The slave is dead without the Lord,
he is obligated by a helping secret from him.
And the author’s saying, ‘Then he confirms the separation that was not there’ means that he acquires a separation which was not separation, but it was confirmed by wisdom, and its confirmation, by Allah, became obligatory. Shari’ah is a courtesy from him to him. Tariqa is trouble from Him to Him. Haqiqa is arrival from Him to Him. To Him return all matters. So worship Him and rely on Him. One of the gnostics has heard the voice of the Real saying, ‘I am Allah, Glory be to Me, how immense is My Worth. I have appeared because My Attributes are hidden, and I am hidden because My Essence is revealed. My Attributes testify to the oneness of My Essence, and My Essence has encompassed all My Attributes, so that the Attributes were obliterated in the Essence and the Essence hidden in the Attributes. So from Me to My Nearness, disconnected and purified from My Likeness, there is no god but Me, the King, the Real, the Clear. Everything is perishing except My face. (Alif Lam Mim Kaf Ha Ya Ain Sad Ta Sin Mim Ha Mim Ain Sin Kaf). To whom belongs the Kingdom today? To Allah, the One, the Overpowering.’ And Allah the Exalted knows best.
End of Ibn ‘Ajibah’s words
Ibn Ajibah said: “Gatheredness is witnessed in his inward, AND SEPARATION ON HIS OUTWARD EXISTS ONLY IN SPEECH, NOT IN REALITY, IN COURTESY WITH LORDSHIP, AND IN FULFILMENT OF THE FUNCTIONS OF SLAVENESS”
So for these people separation of Allah from creation is only in speech, not in reality, and they do Taqiyah in courtesy with Allah and courtesy to the Shari’ah. Else if they tell the reality they will be killed like Hallaj. And Hallaj according to the claims of Sufis was not killed because he said wrong things but only because he revealed their secrets, and revealing these secrets is forbidden. They should only be revealed in Zawiyah and Khanqah to specific people. While in Islam, hiding the truth is Haram, but for these people it is an obligation.
In the poem of Shushtari, we have:
Beware! Do not say, ‘I am’
and take care and do not be other-than-Him.
So it means that one should not say “I am Allah”, only to take care, while in reality one should believe this. This has been quoted also from Abul Hasan Ash-Shazili that one should affirm separation on the tongue and unity in the heart. So these people only forbid saying these words in front of people out of Taqiyah, yet they believe in them.
Moreover, ibn Ajibah said:
“And the author’s saying, ‘Then he confirms the separation that was not there’ means that he acquires a separation which was not separation, but it was confirmed by wisdom, and its confirmation, by Allah, became obligatory. Shari’ah is a courtesy from him to him. Tariqa is trouble from Him to Him.”
So for these Sufis, separation in fact does not exist, confirming it upon the tongue has been declared obligatory by Allah. So they say that Allah ordered them to hide the reality and outwardly follow the Shari’ah, that is why they confirm the Shari’ah, not because of belief in it, but because Allah told them, and there is a wisdom in it, as laymen are not able to understand the reality. So like Batinis, they say Shari’ah has only been revealed for laymen and out of wisdom, so people establish justice, while in reality Allah and the creation are one.
So this is the belief of these Sufis in the Shari’ah, it is out of courtesy and wisdom, else the reality should be kept in the heart and there is no separation between Allah and the creation. Allahul Musta’an
Ibn ‘Ajibah and poems of Al-Jili
P 301, ibn ‘Ajibah quotes a poem of Al-Jili:
“If I was, according to the Shari’ah, disobedient,
Then I am, in the judgement of the Haqiqa, obedient.”
P 270, ibn ‘Ajibah quotes another poem of Al-Jili:
“Existence is, for example, nothing but snow
You are its water that gushes out.
Snow is nothing but water in our realization
But in wisdom the Shari’a confirm it.”
So it clearly shows that these Sufis only confirm the Shari’ah as a wisdom, yet they believe that in reality the creation is Allah, is there a Kufr greater than this?
Belief in Nur Muhammadi and the Prophet (saw) knowing Ghayb
“The hadith of the beginning is reported from Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him. He said, ‘I asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, about the first thing that was created. He said, “The Light of your Prophet, 0 Jabir. Allah created it, and every gift from it. Then after that, He created everything else from it. When He created it, He set it up in front of Him in the Station of Nearness. Then He divided it into four categories. From one he created the Throne, and the Footstool from another one, and the Angels that carry the Throne and the guardians of the Footstool from another category, and He set up the fourth category in the Station of Love. Then He divided it into four categories. He created the Pen from the first, the Tablet from the second, and the Garden from the third. He set up the fourth category in the Station of Fear. Then he divided it into four parts. He created the Angels from one part, the sun from the second part, the moon and the stars from the third part. Then he set up the fourth part in the Station of Hope. Then he divided it into four parts. From the first part He created the intellect, and He created knowledge from the second part, and He created immunity and forgiveness from the third part. He set up the fourth part in the Station of Hiddenness. Then Allah glanced at it and the light sweated. From each drop of sweat, which numbered one hundred twenty four thousand, Allah created the spirit of a Prophet or a Messenger, and then the spirits of the Prophets began to breathe, and from their breath Allah the Exalted created the Light of the friends of Allah, the happy ones, the shahids, and the obedient from among the acceptors, until the Day of Rising.” ‘ The hadith goes on beyond this and is very long. Even though this hadith is weak, it has proofs that confirm it. One of them is the hadith of ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, ‘The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said to me, “Do you know who I am? I am the one whose light Allah the Exalted created first. My light prostrated to Him and remained so for seven hundred years. So the first thing that prostrated to Him was my light, and without pride, 0 ‘Umar, do you know who I am? I am the one from whose light was created the Throne, and from my light the Footstool, and from my light the Tablet and the Pen, and from my light the sun and the moon, and from my light the light of sight, and from my light the light of the intellect that is in the heads of creation. and the light of gnosis in the hearts of the acceptors, and I say this without boasting.” ‘
Anwar Tajibi mentioned in the explanation of His saying, be He Exalted, ‘Say: The Merciful had no son, and I am the first of the worshippers,’ (43:81) from Ja’far as-Sadiq, who said, ‘The first thing that Allah the Exalted created was the light of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. And the first one who unified Allah the Exalted in His creation, was Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. The first thing that the Pen wrote was “There is no god, except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace.” ‘ And he said in the explanation of the ayat, ‘There is in it an indication of the Prophet’s firstness, may Allah bless him and give him peace, in slavery to Allah. And in it there is an indication of his beginning, by bringing him from non-existence through the Light of timelessness, and his appearance as the First Manifestation.’ This is what the realised ones of the Sufis follow.
Look at the saying of the gnostic, the great Pole, Shaykh Ibn al-Mashish, may Allah be pleased with him, in his famous prayer, ‘0 Allah, bless the one from whom the secrets have burst and the lights have flooded.’ Then he said, ‘There is nothing that He does not surround, and were it not for the means the end would have escaped us.’ And in the Burda it is said, ‘How can you grasp in this world, the reality of one without whom the reality of this world could not have come out of non-existence.’ He also said in the Burda, ‘From your generosity comes this world, and among your knowledges is the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen.’ Nobody denies this except a veiled kafir, and we seek refuge in Allah from the suffocation of the veil and a bad accounting and terrible punishment. And success is with Allah, and there is no power and no strength except with Allah, the High, the Vast.
Comment: So one can see that these people believe that the Prophet (saw) knows Ghayb and this belief is based on their belief that creation comes from the light of the Prophet (saw) and all such Ahadith are pure fabrications. One can clearly see that these Sufis follow the creed of Batinis and philosophers, and ibn Sina who said that first thing Allah created is ‘Aql (intelligence) and the world was created from its emanation.
The secret of Lordship should be hidden from laymen
“The masses do not acquire it, nor the one who wants a drink. The unique ones win it.
I say that the one who comes seeking a drink does not get the secret, which is to say that not everyone acquires it. It is the secret which is beyond intellect and short reflection. Only the unique ones among men are guided by Allah the Exalted, first to His Friends, the ones who have this secret. He has revealed to them what He has given them of election and His choice. So they hand over to them their selves, and they follow them completely until they say to them, ‘Here you are, and here is your Lord.’ These are the unique ones to whom Allah has revealed His hidden secret and the secrets of His Unseen. If they reveal the secrets openly, it becomes permissible to spill their blood because Allah is jealous as we have seen before. Shaykh Abu Madyan indicated it by saying, In the secret are fine subtle secrets. Our blood would be openly spilled if we declared them.
Comment: This is a lie upon Islam, revealing this religion and teaching it is obligatory and there is nothing hidden in Islam. Also everyone can understand the religion of Islam and it is not beyond intellect.
This problem is difficult to solve.
The finest scholar cannot elucidate it
because this is a strange problem in reality. The answer to it is doubtful.
Rare are those who remedy it and help it,
and rare also are those who deny it, criticise it, and disavow it.
This means that this question, the path of the Sufis is a path of tastes, and it is a difficult question. It is difficult for the excellent scholar to solve because he uses an expression of the tongue, while it is taste and ecstasy. If he indicates it by allusion, the people of outward expression cannot understand him. This matter is difficult anyway, except for the one Allah makes happy and to whom He gives delight in the company of the men of Allah, people of yearning and instruction and state. They express it by speech, then they reach it by taste and state. He who does not keep company with the men of Allah should not hope to arrive at it by speech. It is a strange matter and its people are strangers, and the stranger does not take anyone into his house except a stranger. The stranger understands the state of the stranger. Since it is a strange matter, the reality of its answer is doubtful for the one who tries to express it without tasting and finding. Its reality is distant from the grasp of logical intellect or books of knowledge. May Allah increase Ibn al-Farid who said,
Do not be among those who are confused by their sheets of paper
They liberated his intellect and then occupied it
Behind recorded knowledge there is a knowledge that is
Finer than can be grasped by the soundest
I learned it from me, and from myself I took it.
It was my self that supplied me with these gifts.
In the hadith, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, ‘There is a knowledge that is hidden. Only the gnostics of Allah have access to it.’ If they speak about it, only the ignorant will deny it. One of the gnostics said, ‘The secrets of Allah are not shown except to the trustworthy among His awliya and the masters of the noble ones, without hearing or studying.’ These secrets are not known except by the elite. If the common hear it they deny it.
He who ignores something becomes its enemy. He who has a sick mouth finds bitterness in water. May Allah have mercy on al-Busayri who said,
The eye refuses to look at the light of the sun because of its sickness.
The mouth denies the taste of the water because of illness.
The Shaykhs of the path say, ‘The one who opposes us is like the eunuch who denies the pleasure of intercourse, or the one who has a cold who denies the fragrance of musk or like the one who has a fever and denies the sweetness of sugar, and so on.’ The poet said about this,
How many a one who defames Layla without seeing her face,
Deprivation says to him ‘What has passed you is enough for you.’
Comment: How these people quote fabricated Hadith to justify their Batinis creed and Batini knowledge that only an elite can understand!!! Rather the Prophet (saw) taught us everything getting us close to Allah.
“The Shaykhs have disagreed about whether knowledge of the secret should be delivered to its people only, or not. The school of Abu’l Hasan an-Nuri say that it should. Others say that it can be given both to its people and to others, but it is extremely difficult for knowledge to come into the hands of those who do not deserve it. This is also the school of the Imam of the group, Imam Abu’l Qasim al-Junayd. It was said to him, ‘How many times have you taught these matters to the common people?’ He replied, ‘But I give discourse to the common people between the hands of Allah.’ I say that in his speech, may Allah be pleased with him, there are hidden meanings. What it means is ‘I give discourse to those among the common who come to me as an appearance of the truth between the hands of Allah.’ I say further that another one who has gone on the path of our Imam Junayd is the Shaykh of our Shaykhs, Sidi ‘Ali al-Jamal al-Imrani, may Allah be pleased with him who was called in his time ‘the squanderer’, indeed this is why you find many people in Fez plunging into the knowledge of the reality without action or taste. The majority, however, follow the school of Abu’l Hasan anNuri. They used not to speak about the reality and the knowledge of the secret except with its people in a deserted place. Sometimes they locked the door because they were jealous about the secret of Lordship, so that it would not be announced.”
Comment: So for ibn ‘Ajibah, even those who disclose this secret in front of laymen do it only by hint and there are hidden meanings in their speech. And majority of Sufis hide it and only disclose this secret in front of specific people.
To lay it down in books is not valid, but it is a treasure treasured by the intellects. Beware! Do not imagine that you can adopt it from a book, or a poem, or a song.
He says, may Allah be pleased with him, that this secret which Allah gave to mankind, is the exemplar of the Lord and cannot be put into books in an open manner. There are two reasons why it is not permissible to put it into books. The first is that expression does not express it. If the knowledge of indication becomes expression it is hidden. An expression can incriminate he who uses it with kufr and innovation and depravity, it can even take him to his death. As some of the sufis have said, The one who understands the indication, let him guard it Otherwise he will be killed by spearheads. Like the Hallaj of love, when the sun of reality appeared to him, By drawing near. Zayn al-‘Abideen, may Allah be pleased with him said, “0 Lord, the Essence of Your knowledge, if I declare it, It will be said that I am among those who worship idols. Muslim men would make my blood permitted, They see the worst they do as excellent.”
The second reason why the secret cannot be put into books is that even though it was shown, no one would grasp its purpose, and it would be a barrier to the murid. It would keep him from realising it, and would bewilder him. No one understands it except the one who knows it and know its meaning. It is like music in sama’. No one is effected by it except the one who has taste and the wine.
Then he says that this secret is a buried treasure in a hidden shell. Only the pure ones can touch it. He says that it is a treasure buried in perfect intellects and pure hearts. Their perfection of these intellects is that they do not expose the secret. As some of the sufis have said, The hearts of free men are the graves of secrets. Another said, No one conceals the secret except one who is trustworthy. Among the best people the secret is concealed. The Shaykh of our Shaykhs, Moulay ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Majdhoub, has said, “Bury your secret. Pound it seventy feet into the earth. Let creation complain until the Day of Rising.”
Comment: The Sahabah and Salaf taught the religion of Islam but none said they worship idols and their blood is permissible. So teaching the truth does not bring any blame, rather Wahdatul Wujud and these heretic creed make the blood permissible.
You know of it only by description. You do not see it, yet it is not hidden.
When he denies that the lordly exemplar of man can be put in books he says how much you can know of it by description. He says that you would know of that exemplar, which is the secret of Lordship enfolded in the timeless wine, only an outward description which can be spoken by the tongue but not seen by the eyes. It is only grasped by inner sight. If you are among the people of inner sight you will grasp it by taste and finding. If you are not of the people of inner sight, then lower your head to them until you taste what they have tasted or you die. The knowledge acquired from books, poems, or songs cannot be seen with the eyes. If the poet tells you everything except Allah is false, or says, ‘There is not anything in the cosmos other than You’, you will not know that, nor will you grasp it by your intellect, though it is apparent. It is only grasped by the people of taste and penetrating inner sight, not by intellects tied to illusory imaginings. This matter is beyond the grasp of intellect and beyond recorded knowledge.
The author’s phrase ‘You do not see it, yet it is not hidden’ means that you cannot see it with your sensory eyes because of the cloak of might and the veil of wisdom, but it is not hidden from people of piercing inner sight. You do not see it because it is inward, but it is not hidden, because it is outward. His name, ‘the Inward’ implies that He cannot be grasped by sensory vision. His name, ‘the Outward’ necessitates the enfoldment of other-than-Allah and His Uniqueness in existence and the appearance of lights. One of the gnostics said, You appeared, and You are not hidden from anyone, except from the blind man who does not see the moon. You have gone inward with what You have appeared with, veiling Yourself. How can the One who is veiled by might be known?
In the Hikam, ‘He manifested everything by His being the Inward. He enfolded the existence of everything by being the Outward.’ So His Name, ‘the Inward’ implies the appearances of things in respect to which He is inward. His name, ‘the Outward’ implies the inwardness of things and their enfoldment because there is no outward except Him. This is also explained in the generous ayat. This is one of the wonders of Lordship which rebuffs intellects and bewilders them, because he is Outward in His Inwardness and Inward in His Outwardness. He is Outward with respect to His Power, and He is Inward with respect to His Wisdom. And Allah the Exalted knows best.
Then the author explains that he will mention some of what your intellect can understand of that description. He said:
Here I explain part of it in accord with your understanding. Be content.
This means that he will explain the secret according to your understanding and grasp. Be content with that, and accept it, because it is not possible to explain everything. It is a hidden secret known only by the Knower of the Unseen. If he expressed to you the essence of the secret he would be exposed to destruction. And Allah the exalted said, ‘Do not kill yourselves, Allah has been Compassionate to you.’
Comment: The matter of Islam is not beyond intellect and recorded knowledge, rather it is according to it. And there is no secret teaching in Islam, secret teachings is only present in the Batini religion…Allahul musta’an
Divinity in human being
You are not from earth. When you are thrown into it, that is not your end.
I say that this man has amazing wonders in him, which cannot be found anywhere else. He is both heavenly and earthly, spiritual and bodily, light and dark, subtle and solid. Know that when Allah, the Glorious and High wanted to make Himself known to man, He put this subtle spirit in his body from the divinity (lahut) contained in a thick vehicle from the humanness (nasut). Whoever’s subtleness overcomes his solidity becomes spiritual and joins those who are spiritual.