This is the fourth part of a series of translations of Habib Umar’s work, Qabs al-Nur al-Mubin, an abridgment of Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din.
This chapter describes the levels of faith and how to achieve certainty.
Purification of the Heart
The objective of all pious acts and deeds of the limbs is purification, cleansing and clearing of the heart. Allah Most High says: “Success is for he who purifies it.” (Sura al-Shams 91:9).
The meaning of its purification is “the obtaining of the lights of faith”. Allah Most High says: “As for the one whom Allah wants to guide, he expands his breast towards Islam.” (Sura al-An’aam 6:125). He the Most High says: “Is the one whom Allah has expanded his breast towards Islam, he is upon the Light from his Lord.”( Sura al-Zumar 39:22)
This clearance and faith is of three levels:
- Faith of the laymen, which is implementation through mere imitation.
- Faith of the theologians, which is blended with logical reasoning.
- Faith of the gnostics, which is clarity through the light of certainty.
An example of this:
Your belief that Zayd is in the house is of 3 levels:
First stage: To be informed about this by a person who you have proved his honesty and not known dishonesty from him, nor have you ever doubted his word. Therefore your heart is tranquil towards him and finds serenity in his information. This is what is referred to as mere imitation, which is the faith of the laymen.
Second stage: To be inside the house and hear Zayd’s words and voice from behind a wall, so it will be a means of proof to you of his presence in the house. As a result, your faith and belief will be stronger than only merely being informed.
Third stage: To enter the house thereafter, and see and witness him with your very own eyes. This is the real understanding and the certain witnessing, similar to the understanding of those drawn near and the truthful servants, because their belief is based on witnessing.
So equip and prepare yourself by purification of the heart, continuous remembrance and blockage of the devil’s entries towards the heart.
He (the Prophet) Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “The unique have advanced.” It was said: “Who are the unique O Messenger of Allah?” He, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Those men and women who remember Allah abundantly.”(Tirmidhi) Another narration says: “Those who absorb themselves in the remembrance of Allah. Those who consistently remember Him.” (Tabarani)
Allah Most High says: “… and those that strive in Our path, We will surely guide them to our path.” (Sura ‘Ankabuut 29:69).
Every wisdom which manifests from the heart after consistent worship, without any seeking of knowledge, arrives by way of inspiration. Allah Most High says: “…and the one who fears Allah, He will create for him a way out.” (Surah al-Talaaq 65:2), meaning from problems and doubt. “…and grants him provision through unperceived means.” (Surah al-Talaaq 65:3). It means that He teaches him Knowledge without studies or though experience and He Most High says: “O you who believe, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion…” (Sura al-Anfaal 8:29). It is said that: It is a light which distinguishes between truth and falsehood, therefore it removes him from doubt.
He, Allah bless him and give him peace, used to frequently supplicate for light by saying: “O Allah illuminate me light, increase me in illumination, illuminate my heart, illuminate my grave, illuminate my hearing, illuminate my sight,” until he says: “a likewise, my hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood and my bones.” This has been mentioned in al-Sahihayn of the Hadith of Ibn Abbas, May Allah be pleased with them both. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Ali, may Allah be Pleased with him and ennoble his face, said: “We don’t have any secrets which the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, confided in us, except that Allah bestows understanding to a servant of his book. (Bukhari, Nasa’i) This is not through studying.”
It has been said regarding the exegesis of Allah Most High saying: “He Provides wisdom to whoever He decrees.” (Sura al-Baqarah 2:269), it refers to an understanding in the book of Allah. (Tirmidhi)
He , Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “Fear the foresight of a believer, for verily he sees by Light from Allah.” (Tirmidhi) al-Hasan narrated from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, that he said: “Knowledge is of two types: Knowledge which is located in the heart which is beneficial knowledge and knowledge which is located on the tongue which is a proof against his creation.(Tirmidhi, al-Hakim)
al-Bukhari narrated it from the hadith of Abu Hurayrah and Muslim from the hadith of ‘Aisha that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: “There were recipients of Divine inspiration among the nations before you. If it happens that there is such an individual among my nation, it must be ‘Umar.”
This is part four of a translation of al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz’s abridgment of Ihya Ulum al-Din by Imam al-Ghazali entitled Acquisition of the Clear Light, not only provides the reader with a concise understanding of the Ihya but also serves as clear guideline to the main themes and focal points within the actual book.
Translator: Abdullah Salih, converted to Islam in 2003 and thereafter, embarked on a journey of seeking knowledge in the Valleys of Hadramouth in the beautiful city of Tarim. He was fortunate enough to sit in the company of Habib Umar, where he studied under him various sciences such as, but not limited to, some of the original works of Ihya as well that of the abridgment. He now resides in Namibia with his family and is engaged in Dawah activities locally as well as internationally.