teachings of sultan ul arifeen

TAFAKKUR AND MURAQBAH: MEDITATION AND CONCENTRATION

Tafakkur and Muraqbah: Meditation and concentration

Meditation and concentration


■   Allah says in the Holy Quran:
Meaning: Do they not meditate within themselves that Allah has created the skies and the earth and whatever is within them, with the Truth and for a fixed time. No doubt, most of the people deny the Divine encounter (the Vision of Allah). (Surah Rome Verse 8)


In this sacred verse, Allah has invited man to ponder over the skies and the earth alongwith whatever is within them, and also upon his own creation, that everything is created from the Truth i.e. The Divine Reality (Allah), but for a certain fixed period.


■   It is the saying of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam:


Meaning: Just meditate upon the Ayats (signs) of Allah but do not ponder over His Essence (Entity).



Meaning: To meditate (upon the signs of Allah) for a moment is better than to worship Him in both the worlds.



Meaning: To invoke (verbally) without meditation is like the barking of a dog. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

To learn or to understand the reality of something, we ponder over it and a kind of curiosity is created in our minds like, why does it exist and what is its use? If we concentrate upon the reality of a minor thing we can find its great importance but if a very important thing, is not considered about, even that becomes trivial and insignificant. By pondering over the reality of a thing we can have deeper knowledge about its attributes. The more we concentrate upon the reality and importance of a particular thing, the more we come to know about it's qualities and significances. All the material and scientific development of today's world is based upon meditating and thinking about the importance of different things and their uses. When a scientist thinks and meditates upon different aspects of a problem, only then he can find a solution to it, or when he ponders over the significance of a thing, only then brings out its qualities and makes it useful for mankind. Same is the case with every invention and discovery that it is based upon contemplation and concentration of certain scientist, thinker or philosopher. So, the whole development of the world is by virtue of concentration and meditation. Similarly, progressing in the way of Faqr i.e. the way to Allah, demands concentration and meditation of the seeker upon every aspect of nature, religion, inward and outward signs of Allah, reality of the soul, its relation with Allah, so on and so forth. Only by meditation, he can come to know about the will of Allah and the ways to please Him and find His Qurb (proximity).


■   Allama Iqbal says:


Meaning:
  1. Faqr of the Quran is the mutual blend of invocation and meditation. I never found Zikr (invocation) accomplished without Fikr (meditation).
    Fikr means to concentrate within yourself and to recognize your soul, whereas, invocation means the Zikr-e-Ism-e-Zaat (invocation of the Personal Name of Allah). When the seeker is attributed with both, he becomes the possessor of Faqr.

  2. What is invocation? It means to teach your passion and eagerness, the ways and manners of Divine Love and presence before Allah, and it is the job of the soul rather than that of throat and lips.
    It means, according to Iqbal, invocation is not which is performed verbally by tongue and lips, instead, it is done by the soul, which is the invocation of the Personal Name of Allah.

  3. By the invocation (of the Personal Name of Allah), flame of an intense love arise in the inner self which enlivens the soul. The fire of love, raising from the invocation of Allah, consumes everything other than Allah but you are not yet capable of such invocation. (Javed Nama)

■   Sultan-ul-Faqr Sixth Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states:
"When we consider something and ponder over it to learn or understand its reality, this is called meditation or concentration. The whole material and scientific development of the world is based on the concentration of scientists upon matter. Behind every invention and discovery, meditation and concentration are hidden. Similarly, Allah invites man to concentrate within himself. It is the Divine saying "Do they never meditate upon their inner selves?" When man concentrates upon his inner self, he finds The Divine Self hidden within him and reaches to the reality of the secret which is mentioned in the Qudsi Hadith "Man is My secret and I am his secret". When man gets aware of this secret then Allah makes him His confidant and secret sharer. Therefore, the Fuqara (saints) always persuade the mankind to drown in their hearts, peep through their body's closet and enter the inward world through recognizing the reality of the soul. In the way of Faqr this meditation of a seeker upon his inner self in a special manner under the supervision of Murshid Kamil (the Perfect Mentor) is known as Muraqbah (concentration). Muraqbah is, in fact, another name of Tafakkar (meditation). The initial and common way of muraqbah is to concentrate on a point in mind by closing eyes. But the muraqbah of Arifeen (the knowers) is to view everything of the inner and outer world with open eyes, as Hazrat BaYazid Bastami Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh expresses "I have been conversing with Allah for forty years and the people have been misunderstanding as if, I am talking to them". (Mujtaba Aakhir Zamani)


Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh used many terms for meditation in his writings but all these terms refer actually to muraqbah (concentration) and tafakkar (meditation).

Difference between Muraqbah (concentration) and Tafakkar (meditation)


Muraqbah is a form of tafakkar, the only difference between muraqbah and tafakkar is that the former requires seclusion, closed eyes and to be attentive to a single point in the heart. When the concentration is mature enough in this way, then that secret is disclosed to the seeker by The Divinity, upon which he was concentrating. Although, the seclusion or the closed eyes are not required for meditation. In it, the seeker is pondering over a single point every moment, in solitude or in crowd or while doing the worldly jobs. Allah Almighty gradually reveals upon him the secrets hidden behind that point. In this way, he views everything with his open eyes and gets aware of the Divine secrets. This level is superior than the closed eye muraqbah. It can also be stated as, muraqbah is the initial, while tafakkar is the extreme stage. Muraqbah or Tafakkar are in fact two names for the same thing i.e. "meditation" through which a person gains the knowledge of his soul. After gaining this knowledge, he finds the reality of his soul. Faqr progresses through tafakkar. Only by tafakkar, the secrets of this path are gradually disclosed, that is why, the seeker of Allah always remains busy in meditation and every moment he reaches a new destination of closeness to Allah through meditation upon the inward.

Muraqba


In it, the condition and state of absorption is apparently similar to that of a dream. But during a dream there is no vigilance on one's self but in muraqbah one remains vigilant and conscious, therefore, muraqbah is more powerful and far more dominant than dream.

■   Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh expresses:

✤   The state in muraqbah and dream is similar, rather muraqbah is deeper and stronger, as the dreamer wakes up by noise. However, when the muraqbah is dominant on someone, he becomes so much absorbed and engrossed in mushahida-e-noor-e-Wahdaniyat-e-Zaat (the vision of the Light of the Essence of Unity) that if, somebody cuts off his head, even then, he does not come out of this state of absorption. So, it is proved that muraqbah is just like death, but the person having muraqbah remains conscious and receives answers with advisibility. By muraqbah the knowers of Allah are exalted with Noor-e-Marifat (the Light of gnosis). Allah remains pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. Muraqbah is the act of meeting with The Truth (Allah). It is infact company of the Beloved, observation of Divine secrets, presence of the Majlis-e-Mohammadi (Assembly of the Holy Prophet) and witnessing the Tajali (Divine disclosure) of Zaat (The Essence). (Shams-ul-Arifeen)

Actually, muraqbah is the vigilant concentration, with all the powers of the mind i.e. thinking, imagining and examining, through which the seeker carefully keeps check over himself. During his muraqbah the seeker observes how Allah manifests both in the cosmos and within himself.

Muraqbah is the name of a special spiritual state, under which the heart of the man is guarded. The purpose of every muraqbah is to always keep check that anything other than Allah might not find room in the seeker's heart. Through muraqbah, the seeker gets rid of all the sensual and devilish dangers which may distract him from his way to the vision and closeness of Allah. It is that special source which takes the seeker to Allah saving him from being depraved. Such a muraqbah is called mushahida (observation of Divinity).

■   Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:

✤   The protection of heart is called muraqbah, it is the guard which does not let the rivals of Allah like the sensual and devilish dangers, the diseases of the inner self which grieves the soul and everything other than Allah, to enter the heart. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)


During muraqbah, the spiritual secrets are revealed upon the man. The person having muraqbah witnesses Noor of Allah (the Divine Light) and finds the Vision of Allah. Then, this Vision of The Divine Essence and Tajaliyat (Self Disclosure) never seize on him, even for a moment. Whether, apparently he talks to the people or remains busy in the worldly affairs, he ever possesses the eternal divine presence in his inward.


■   Sultan-ul-Arifeen states:

✤   Muraqbah is another name for the Love of Allah and it takes the seeker to the station of absorption in The Eternal "Hayyi-o-Qayyum" (Perfectly Alive and Ever Self-Subsisting). Through it, the spiritual station of (die before the death) is gained. Man becomes the possessor of the observations of the spiritual states of divine presence and familiar to the secrets of The Divine Secret. He is graced by the presence of the Majlis-e-Mohammadi (Assembly of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam). (Ain-ul-Faqr)

The method of doing muraqbah is to be engaged in the invocation and meditation with closed eyes. This invocation must be inward i.e. of the soul, and of any of the Divine Names or verses and it can also be the contemplation of the Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah). By this way of invocation, the powers of meditation and contemplation gradually become so strong that the muraqbah holder does not need to close his eyes.


■   Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo says in this context:

✤   Muraqbah can be of various types, for example, muraqbah of Zikr and Fikr, muraqbah of Hazoor Mazkoor (Presence to Allah) muraqbah of Fana Fi-Shaikh (annihilation in the mentor), muraqbah of Fana Fillah (annihilation in Allah), muraqbah of Fana-Fi-Hoo (annihilation in Hoo), muraqbah of Fana-Fi-Faqr (annihilation in Faqr) and of Fana-Fi-Rasool (annihilation in Rasool Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) and of Fana-Fi-Nafs (annihilation in self) and of Nodana (the Ninety nine names of Allah). (Ain-ul-Faqr)
He states the method of doing muraqbah as:

✤   According to the esoteric researches, the muraqbah in which the illusions created by the false devilish and sensual dangers and the incidents of the immortal world do not interrupt, and which is perfectly accurate because of Zikr (invocation of Personal Name of Allah), Fikr (meditation) and the glorification of Names of Allah, is that the seeker should become attentive to his inward and contemplate the Ism-e-Allah Zaat, then he should start his muraqbah. First, he should recite Darood Pak, Ayat-ul-Kursi, , four Quls, Surah Fatiha, Astaghfar, Kalma Tamjeed and Kalma Tayyab all for three times and then fix his eyes on Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Ism-e-Mohammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam. After this, while keeping his eyes closed, he should make wish to reach in the Assembly of the Prophets and saints and find the inward knowledge of . Definitely the perfect mentor would take him to the Assembly in his sacred company. (Majalisa-tul-Nabi- Khurd)

■   He stated three stages of muraqbah in his book Mehek-ul-Faqr:
✤   The first and basic muraqbah of a mubtadi (the seeker at initial stage) is the one in which the absorption is gained and the seeker becomes bright minded, the second is the muraqbah of the seeker at middle stage in which the absorption reaches such height where the seeker becomes totally oblivious of the physical affairs. The third muraqbah of muntahi (the seeker at the extreme stage) is the one in which he is completely engrossed in the Vision of the Divine Light of the Oneness of the Essence.

✤   When somebody starts having the knowledge of muraqbah, first of all, Divine Love arouses in his heart with which the presence in seven majalis (Assemblies) is opened upon him and he spiritually sees the souls of all the Prophets, from the seal of the Prophethood Hazrat Muhammad Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam upto Hazrat Adam Alayh Salam. No doubt! this knowledge is the initial lesson of muraqbah. The muraqbah of Ism-e-Allah Zaat takes the possessor of muraqbah to the Lahut La Makan (the Divine Realm which is beyond time and space) and let him witness Divine manifestation. The ignorant person who thinks that verbal invocation and meditation upon outward and superficial aspects of nature are enough, can never know the value of the real muraqbah. He is perplexed like animals while suffocating himself in his so called muraqbah. Real muraqbah is a death like spiritual state. Whoever adopts such muraqbah by the attention and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, the secrets of death and all its stages are revealed upon him. He views the reality of grave, the quarries of Munkar Nakeer (angels who ask questions in the grave) and the accountability of the Doomsday. After viewing all these stages in muraqbah he crosses the Sirat Bridge (bridge over the hell fire which leads to paradise) and enters the paradise, where he is blessed with the view of the pleasures of the heavenly fairies, castles and most of all, the Vision of Allah. This is the very status of the possessor of the stage of Haq-ul-Yaqeen (experiencing the closeness of Divinity), possessor of such muraqbah is blessed with Divine Union. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

In the path of spiritual journey, when the seeker covers different waystations, he is blessed with different observations of Divinity which are according to his level, as Sultan-ul-Arifeen says:


■   Four kinds of muraqbah happen at four waystations:

  1. Muraqbah of the seeker who is a follower of shariat and obeys all its rules, is related to Nasut (the physical world). During this muraqbah, whatever the seeker views, is related to the physical world.

  2. Second one is the muraqbah of the ascetic (one who does much mystic exercises and recitals) which happens in Malakut or the angelic world, in which, the performer of muraqbah gains the purity like the angels and he is attributed to the angelic qualities. Whatever, he views during this muraqbah, is related to Alam-e-Malakut (the angelic realm), and he views this realm because he possesses the angelic qualities.

  3. The third one is the muraqbah of the seeker who has spiritually reached the station of Jabarut (the world of the All-powerful or the world of invincibility). During which, whatever, that true man of Allah views through the invocation of Personal Name of Allah is related to the world of Jabarut. He views Hazrat Jibrael.

  4. The fourth muraqbah is that of Alam-e-Lahut (the Divine Realm), in which, whatever the knower of Allah watches, is merely the Lahut.

Other than these four muraqbahs, there is a fifth one too, which is at the station of Raboobiat (the Lordliness), it is the muraqbah of absorption in the state of annihilation in Allah and Divine presence. At this station the seeker views nothing except Allah and The Divine Oneness, and here according to the Divine saying (Allah manifests with a new magnificence each day) the seeker of Allah receives a new Grandeur of Allah every day. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

Sultan-ul-Arifeen further says;


■   The person, who undertakes muraqbah, becomes so rapturous, by being absorbed in the state of annihilation that he does not remain aware of himself. Then, if on returning from this state he forgets everything in a moment, then it should be known that he has seen Ain Zaat (Allah) by the Divine blessing. These levels are of that crazy lover who burns in the fire of intense Divine Love by being indifferent to his own self. Even this, is the middle stage of muraqbah as the seeker has still not experienced Wahdat (Oneness). Still, he is detached to Haq (The Reality) and perplexed just like the entangled hair on the shoulder, still, he is incomplete and immature. Muraqbah should be like that diver who takes out pearls from the ocean. (Ain-ul-Faqr)


■   Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo expresses about muraqbah in his book Shams-ul-Arifeen that it is infact observing the Divine Self and knowing the Divine secrets. He calls the muraqbah of Ism-e-Allah Zaat as the best and the most superior one. It is only through this muraqbah that the seeker reaches the Lahut Lamakan (The Realm of Divinity) and is blessed with the Meraj (ascension) and Vision of Allah. He further expresses:

✤   When the seeker of Allah contemplates the Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah) in muraqbah, the Ism-e-Allah takes him to the station of the Ain (Allah) where he finds his Beloved and gets absorbed so much in His vision that neither he remembers his invocation and contemplation nor any of his pleasures and sorrows. Neither he remembers his starvation nor the appetites of his nafs (inner self). Neither he is aware of his state of Divine presence nor of his whereabouts. He becomes indifferent to all the greeds and lusts of this world, as well as, his destiny and fate. Then, at which station does he approach and what does he remember? Only the craze of Divine Love. When the lover approaches this station, all his tasks are completed, so now, Zikr (invocation) and Fikr (meditation) etc are forbidden for him. At this station, whatever he looks is special. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

✤  Get to know, the person who enters the Heaven and eat heavenly food during his dream or muraqbah, and drinks from the heavenly canal and views the houries, then he needs not to eat and drink forever in life. His thirst and hunger are satiated forever. He never sleeps for his whole life, whether he appears to be sleeping apparently. He spends his whole life in a single and same ablution. He is blessed with such Divine favour and power that he is always absorbed in prostration and becomes healthier (inwardly) day by day. He eats, merely to show the people and to hide his reality from them and keep himself safe from their criticism. For him, the winter and the summer are equal as he is indifferent to all the seasons. Though, this level is still an inferior level possessed by an imperfect and unaccomplished dervish. The true Faqeer is ashamed to stay at this level, as it is far away from the Mohammadan Faqr and it belongs to sensual appetites of the nafs (baser self). The extreme status is that the seeker is blessed with the vision of Allah during his dream or muraqbah, which cannot be explained. During such dream or muraqbah, the fire of Allah's Magnificence and Wrath flares up in the being of the person by the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, Divine knowledge of Unity and out of craving of the Divine love, due to which, he burns his nafs (lower self) and always remains busy in prayers. He ever wears the robe of Shariat (Islamic Law) and always struggles to follow the Islamic law and says, "do not contemplate about the Essence of Allah rather ponder over His signs. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)



■   In his writing Ain-ul-Faqr, Sultan-ul-Arifeen states seven levels of muraqbah.


✤   There are seven levels of muraqbah. The first one is the muraqbah of an ignorant person (the one who is ignorant of the Divine Self), this is a false and fake muraqbah. The second one is the muraqbah of the people who take pleasure in making wrong innovations in religion. Their muraqbah is also fake just like deception of Dajaal. The third one is the muraqbah of invocation. In it, the reciter experiences the levels of Zikr (invocation), and a specific spiritual state. The fourth muraqbah is that of the meditator in which, he possesses the power of meditation and experiences different spiritual states, about which, the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam says, "The meditation of a moment is better than the worship in both the realms". The fifth muraqbah is that of an accomplished Arif Billah (knower of Allah) in which he is blessed by the knowledge of Allah. The sixth muraqbah is the accomplished and perfect one which is experienced by the knower of Divine knowledge who possesses a living and powerful soul. The seventh muraqbah is 'Faqr' which is eternal. This muraqbah belongs to the Faqeer annihilated in Allah who is drowned in the Divine Essence of Oneness, about which the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam said "Where Faqr gets accomplished, there is Allah".

■   ultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states the status of the seeker who is the possessor of power of true muraqbah:

✤   The muraqbah holder owns very grand status, as he follows the ancient straight esoteric path of the Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam i.e. meditation of the cave Hira. The muraqbah is not real unless it is not done through the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. The muraqbah of Ism-e-Allah Zaat is the most supreme, as it is based on the true invocation and contemplation and glorification. The status of such muraqbah holder is so great that this traveller of the Divine path experiences the observation of Divine knowledge and the presence in the Majlis-e-Mohammadi (Assembly of Holy Prophet Sall'Allahu Alayhi Wa'alihi Wasallam) in his esoteric dream, where he meets and enjoys the company of the Prophets and Auliya (saints). The one, who does not possess these two witnesses of muraqbah, his muraqbah is wrong, rather he does not even have the knowledge of the real muraqbah. Muraqbah is such a protector and guide which takes the seeker to the Mohammadan Assembly by drowning him in the Divine knowledge of , (there is none other than Allah) by helping him to cover the inward waystations one after the other, keeping him safe from the dangers of the nafs (lower self), satan and the perplexed world. Such a person is blessed with the Divine Presence, through the inward verification, whenever he wants. The muraqbah of the Arif (knower of Allah) is the most accomplished one, as his inward is repleted and is destined to eternal success. Congratulation to him on his success. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)