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QUOTES ABOUT

IRF N
irf n.

Let us hear from some well-known authorities about spirituality and

WHAT IS THE GOAL?


THE GOAL IS ALLAH
Shaykh Ansari Hamadani: On account of spiritual struggle that is within the legislated shar ah, a person may reach a stage that he becomes the complete mirror of the Divine attributes, and this (reality), its pleasure can neither be tasted not can it be described. (Irfane Islami, Ayat. Misbah Yazdi)

AND NOT MIRACLES OR SPIRITUAL REWARDS.


Allamah Tabatabai: He warned those of his students who were undertaking sayr and suluk and undergoing spiritual exercises and were naturally seeing results [in the form of karamaat (visions or miraculous powers)]: Do not be fooled by such karamaat, and do not let them become a barrier for you .Treat these karamaat like the butt of a cigarette is treated, how people just walk over it and don t pay attention to it just step over these miraculous powers and pass by. (Kayhan, v. 234-235, page 19) Sayyid Qadi Tabatabai: Once he was asked to perform miraculous acts. He said, Just look around you the natural world is filled with acts of a miraculous nature. Ustadh Muhammad Taqi Ja afari: The blinding lights and joys the mystic experiences in his spiritual states can also be inhibiting. Some mystics drown in such pleasing states, thinking they are at the peak of perfection; these states, however, serve merely to encourage and activate the mystic on his path. (Positive Mysticism) Ustadh Muhammad Taqi Ja afari: Other things that may hinder a mystic s progress are the activation of amazing powers such as knowing what goes on in people s minds, awareness of the unseen, past and future, and the ability to influence others lives both physically and mentally. The mystic should remember that his goal is reaching God, not God s favors. Reaching God is much more difficult than discovering amazing God-given powers. (Positive Mysticism) Allamah Tabatabai: Such super-natural things as to know what others think, to walk on fire or water, to narrate the past events or to foretell the future, are not a sign of anybody s being a favorite of Allah. The performance of such things becomes possible at the beginning of spiritual vision, but the stage of proximity to Allah is far away from this stage. No one can be a preceptor in the true sense unless and until he receives the light of the glory of Divine essence. (Light within Me, p. 109) Allamah Tabatabai: In response to the question: Some of the Sunni Dervishes consider themselves the people of Truth and do extraordinary feats such as eating fire or glass and consider this as evidence of the truth of their sect. Are these kinds of feats a sign of them being on the truth? Allamah answered: Eating fire, or glass, or entering a sword in to the stomach and taking it out from the back, none of these are a sign of being on the truth In Mashhad one of the Dervishes came to me and had some things to say. Amongst the things he said was: It is 30 years that water has not touched my body. I said: Don t

you do wudhu? He replied: We have passed these things. Is this taqwa?..Extraordinary feats can be obtained through magic and the rare sciences, and through disciplining of the self, and through worshipping (Dar Mahzar-e-Allama Tabatabai, p.417) Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: There is no correlation of any kind between the kernel of irf n -which is the knowledge of Allah through inner witnessing and the exposition of technical problems of mysticism or performing super-natural actions. Knowledge of irf ni concepts and issues, or carrying out miraculous acts is not a proof that one has realized within himself the essence of `irfan. Similarly, not being acquainted with the technical terms of irf n or not producing super-natural acts does not prove that a person has no share of intuitive knowledge of Allah. (Dar justujuy-i `irfan-i islami, pg.318) Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: We have among the Shiite `ulama personalities like Muqaddas Ardabili, Shaykh Ansari and Shaykh Ja`far Kashif al-Ghita who are not known amidst us for their spiritual disclosures (kashf) or super-natural acts (karamat), but based on the evidences in hand we can dare say that their mystical stations and nearness (qurb) to Allah are much higher than even of those who have become known in history as mystics and sufis Therefore, a person cannot be considered an rif by just performing supra-natural actions or because he is good in presenting profound irf ni stuffs. (Dar justujuy-i `irfan-i islami , pg.45-49) Ayatullah Ansari Hamadani: One day I suddenly felt that I had come to possess infinite knowledge and power, and I witnessed that everything was under my control. Immediately I sought forgiveness (istighfar) and said, O Allah! I do not want these things. They are obstacles on my way, and I only want You. I said this and suddenly I noticed that all those powers were immediately withdrawn from me. Ayatullah Shaykh Muhamamd Bahari (one of the outstanding and distinguished students of Mullah Husayn Quli Hamadani): I was full of joy when I went to see Mulla Husayn Quli. But as I entered into his presence, he did not pay heed to me and turned me down contemptuously. I came out from there and the only thing I felt I could say was [the statement] There is no power and strength except with Allah, the Most High, the Great . When I reached the Wadi al-Salam cemetery in Najaf, there I witnessed that that which I have attained [of the spiritual power] is being possessed by the whole world and [therefore] it is not a credit for me. So I went back to my teacher and this time he welcomed me with open arms.

AN `ARIF INVITES OTHERS TO GODNOT HIMSELF!


Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: Accordingly, name, fame and outer appearance of a person are not the criteria for judging whether he is an `arif or not, or at which spiritual level is he standing. What is important is his recognition (ma`rifah) of Allah through the witnessing of the heart. It is not important for a person to be really `arif that he should be given the title of `arif or he should be considered as a gnostic in the history of mysticism. Rather, what is of significance here and constitutes the spirit of true irf n is whether a person

has seen Allah through the eyes of his heart or not. It is worthy of note that those people who have attained the true essence of irf n never show off and are not behind name and fame, as they are drowned in the pleasure of intimacy with their Beloved from within. (Dar justujuy-i `irfan-i islami , pg.45-49) Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: A true rif does not see any need to create a commotion. He is not man of pretension and is not after declaring to the whole world under any pretext- that he has attained recognition of Allah and has become an rif. To be an rif does not need one to have a particular outward appearance, behavior, clothing or gesture. He can be in any attire; he might be a cobbler in your area or city who has not any claim and you may not even know him, whereas in reality he might be one of the friends (awliy ) of Allah and among those who have attained special proximity (qurb) in the divine vicinity. (Dar justujuy-i `irfan-i islami , pg. 321-322) Sayyid Vazirifard: An Aarif who calls to himself is entangled in the greatest barrier (in the path towards Allah). He is in the opposite direction of irf n. Ayatullah Behjat: There were awliy who had miracles, but they would never call anyone towards themselves; rather, they would call people to the Cause of all causes. They had miracles, but even their disciples and family did not know about it, as if they didn t even possess any miracles, and after their death it came to light. They were busy with the same lessons which are studied in the Hawzah and with this same fiqh and usul. With this state they reached such levels and such miracles, not through any other way. (Zamzam-e-Irfan, p.143)

ABOUT THE NEED FOR A TEACHER


Imam Khumayni: How did it happen that the fields of jurisprudence (fiqh) and (usul) require a teacher, studying and discussion for every science and skill in the world a teacher is necessary, and no one becomes a jurist or teacher in a specific field spontaneously and on his own but when it comes to the spiritual and behavioral (akhlaqi) sciences, which are the goal behind the appointment of the Prophets and are among the most subtle and meticulous of sciences, learning and teaching is not considered necessary, and they can [supposedly] be grasped on one s own without a teacher? (Jihade Akbar (The Greater Jihad) page 23) Imam Khumayni: In this journey if any bit of self-love of the wayfarer remains, a devil that lies in his heart will appear under the guise of being his lord it is because of this that those who belong to this path are of the belief that the wayfarer has no choice but to have a teacher and guide who can direct him on the path of wayfaring. (Misbahul Hidayah, p. 209) Ayatullah Shaykh Ali Sa adat Parwar: It is not hidden to any thinking individual that without a teacher it is not possible to gain awareness of any of the sciences, whether they be material (necessary for the sustenance of life in this world) or immaterial. Spiritual wayfaring (sayr wa suluk) and arriving at elevated positions of humanity, which is loftier than any science and more difficult than any skill, cannot be pursued to completion without a teacher or guide! Therefore, those that seek to follow this path must first and

foremost choose a teacher and guide; one who is of pure practice, versed in the foundations of Islam, and who himself has seen a teacher, so that he can, by following his instructions, proceed on the dangerous, yet exalted, Divine path. Allamah Tabataba i: He was once asked, Scholars of behavior and teachers of marifat, for the rearing and discipline of the souls of their students in the path of spiritual wayfaring, prescribe recitations and supplications. Is it possible that others without the prescription of a teacher can partake in those recitations? Allamah Tabataba i said in reply, No, it is not possible, because the recitation of those supplications is prescribed according to the conditions and states of their students. However those very recitations can be like a grenade in the hands of others, and may cause them grave danger. He was then asked, If those recitations are so dangerous, then how can teachers prescribe them to their students without it being dangerous for them? Allamah Tabatabai said in reply, The special attention and effort of the teacher alongside the recitation, neutralizes their danger. (Sharh Hadith Unwan al-Basri, p. 73-74) Allamah Tehrani: There are individuals who undertake spiritual exercises without a teacher or [religious] proof, and try to travel the spiritual path in a self-appointed manner by performing supererogatory prayers, fasting continuously, staying away from meat and meat products, reciting liturgies, and self-appointed meditation. They derive such exercises from reading books or following a teacher who is not complete. Such individuals will never be able to travel the path away from the lower world, because firstly, this world is very enticing and beautiful, and uprooting the heart from it and traveling away from it is difficult. Secondly, traveling away from it requires becoming a sacrificial lamb for the sake of God. Now how can a soul be ready to offer itself as a sacrificial lamb? (Rooh-eMujarrad, page 429)

DANGERS OF THE PATH


Sayyid Vazirifard: Awareness comes about when someone perceives something in its essence without any barrier between the one who perceives and the perceived. The special feature of irf n is to remove barriers / curtains. There is a difference however between removing a curtain in the spiritual world than in the physical world. In the physical world you can easily yank a curtain aside and it falls down to reveal what lies behind it. Curtains are on the whole one and the same. However, in the spiritual world, curtains are complicated, numerous, diverse, multi-colored, unknown and unfamiliar. Sometimes you think that something is what lies behind a curtain but in reality it is a curtain. Curtains are called hij b. Everything in this world, or everything but the essence of Allah, can be ahij b. According to some reports there are 70 curtains between a slave and God. Others say 70,000 curtains. It is not the case that you have these many individual curtains, but rather there are 70,000 types of curtains! And each type can have 70 million individual curtains. All these curtains must be drawn aside or else awareness will not be attained. Now once someone goes after the awareness of Allah, the devils will lay down a plethora of curtains in his way. Someone who wants to go after the awareness of Allah has

to try hard, ask for tawfiq from Allah, seek refuge in Allah from the Shaytan, and perhaps he can then draw aside a handful of curtains. On the other hand if one accepts these curtains, wraps himself in them, or pursues them, he becomes unable to draw aside any curtain at all since fundamentally he is not after drawing aside curtains. He is after the curtains themselves. Sayyid Qadi Tabatabai: Ayatullah Hasan Ali Nejabat, a contemporary of Ayatullah Qadhi is reported to have narrated an anecdote which reveals how serious the matter of guidance is: A person sent a letter to Sayyid Ali Qadhi al-Tabataba i, in which he asked him a question saying: It is some time now that I have been busy with such and such [spiritual] exercises. After some time I experienced the state of tajarrud (immaterial state), and witnessed that I have come out from my body. In this state some angels came and surrounded me. One of them said: His ears must be cut ; another one said: His hands must be cut ; the next one said: His legs must be cut and such statements. In short he had written the state of his experience in detail. Thereafter he asked Ayatullah Qadhi al-Tabataba i that since he was in such a state for hours and did not have apparent consciousness what is his duty with regard to the prayers that he missed. Agha Qadhi said: This person had performed incorrect and wrong spiritual exercises and is extremely ignorant. And that which they said to him in that state was to make him understand that he is ignorant and has made a mistake. And the query that he asked me is sufficient as a witness to his ignorance. Rather than asking me what actually was the state he had experienced, and the meaning of the speech of the angels, he asked me about missing prayer in the state of unconsciousness, which he could ask any other person. (http://salehin.com and http://fridaylantern.blogpot.com May, 2009).

NEED FOR ADHERENCE TO THE SHARI`AH


Mulllah Husayn Quli Hamdani: Let it not be hidden from our brothers in faith that the only way to attain proximity to the King of Kings, may He be exalted, is by holding steadfast to the noble shari`ah at all moments, whether moving, being still, speaking, or anything else. does not lead to anything but being distanced [from Allah (swt)]. If someone who takes it upon himself to grow out his moustache and refrain from eating meat, and he has faith in the inerrancy of the Pure Imams (a), he should realize that he will be distanced from the Remembering Allah (swt) with liturgies other than what has been narrated from the Sayyid Inerrant Ones (a) will result in the same. Allamah Tabatabai: That which the Qur an and Sunnah declare about this matter both of which guide the intellect to rule in the same manner is that behind the apparent manifestations of the Shariah are realities which make up its hidden side, and that there is a way of reaching those realities. This way is to perform the outwards acts of the religion in their prescribed manner. There is no other way. It is impossible that there be a hidden dimension that cannot be attained through the outer acts. It is impossible that the

Legislator of the religion would be unaware or lackadaisical about some act that is closer [to perfection] than what the outer acts lead to and therefore not prescribe it. (Al-Mizan) Ayatullah Ansari Hamadani: Everything is there in the sacred shar`iah. All the stages of irf n and spiritual wayfaring (sayr wa suluk) until the final stage which is annihilation in Allah (fanaa fillah) have been mentioned in the Book of Allah and the ahadith and narrations of the infallible Imams (a) Imam Khumayni: Know that no path in the divine sciences can be traversed unless one begins with practicing the apparent [precepts] of the shari`ah. So long as a person does not faithfully follow the laws of shari`ah, no beautiful moral trait can be attained by him, and it is not possible that the light of the divine knowledge could manifest in his heart, and the wisdom of the invisible and the secrets of the shari`ah be revealed to him. And after the truth has been unveiled for him and lights of knowledge have manifested in his heart, he would still continue to observe the outward precepts [of the shari`ah]. This falsifies the claim of those who hold that one can attain esoteric wisdom [and inner excellence] by relinquishing the apparent form of the shari`ah, or that after attaining this stage there remains no need for the outward laws. This misconception is born of ignorance of the proponents of this view with regard to the stages of worship and the different levels of human reality. (40 Hadith) Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: Islam never had two programs (for human perfection), one named shari`ah and the other named tariqah . Islam is nothing more than a single program and way of life and its aim is nothing but the progress of mankind and to elevate them to the highest levels of human perfection and proximity of God. (Dar Justajuye Irfan e Islami, page 332)

NOT PRAISING ONESELF


Mulla Sadra: One of the signs of the lovers of God is keeping their love secret, and avoiding claims, and abstaining from openly asserting their presence and their love, in glorification of the Beloved and His exaltation and veneration and in possessiveness of keeping His secret hidden. This is because love is one of the secrets of God in the heart of His servants who are hidden in veils of obscurity from the eyes of the banished people. These servants are described in the tradition narrated from Allah the Exalted: My friends are under My domes, and no one knows them except Me. A mystic has said, The people who are the farthest banished from God, are the ones who refer to Him the most [in their speech]. Such people would try to make mention of Him in every matter and superficially mention Him to everybody. They are hated by the [true] lovers and scholars of exalted God, so are many of the aggressive people of this time and those who pretend to practice Sufism and irf n (Kasr Asnam al-Jahiliyyah p. 115, revised translation from Breaking the Idols of Ignorance, page 75).

CHANGE IS ON THE INSIDE NOT THE OUTSIDE


Shahid Mutahhari: Of course, there are and have always been urafa particularly amongst the Shi ah who bear none of these external signs [of a distinctive chain of ideas and opinions, a special code governing their social intercourse, dress, and even, sometimes, the way they wear their hair and beards, and their living communally] to distinguish them socially from others; yet, at the same time, they have been profoundly involved in the spiritual methodology of irf n (sayr wa suluk). It is these who are the real gnostics; not those who have invented for themselves hundreds of special mannerisms and customs and have brought innovations into being. (Introduction to `Irfan) Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi: We must be attentive to the fact that there are people who claim to have attained the highest station in recognizing Allah whereas in reality they have not even scented ma rifat-allah (the recognition of Allah) and it does not exist in their hearts, as they are just verbally claiming that. We need to be extremely careful so that we are not deceived by such people. Words are not the criterion; that which should be looked into is whether the beliefs, behavior and actions of a person are in accordance with the precepts, principles and teachings of the sacred Shari`ah, or not. We must see whether his words are in concord with his actions or whether there is a contradiction between the two. A true `arif does not see any need to create a commotion. He is not man of pretension and is not after declaring to the whole world under any pretext- that he has attained recognition of Allah and has become an rif. To be an arif does not need one to have a particular outward appearance, behavior, clothing or gesture. He can be in any attire; he might be a cobbler in your area or city who has not any claim and you may not even know him, whereas in reality he might be one of the friends (awliy ) of Allah and among those who have attained special proximity (qurb) in the divine vicinity. (Dar justujuy-i `irfan-i islami, pg.321-322)

SPIRITUAL PATH MUST NOT BE IN CONFLICT WITH THE INTELLECT


Mulla Sadra: Know that in the domain of Irf n it is not possible to have things which are proven impossible by the Intellect. Yes it is possible to have issues in the domain of Irf n such that the Intellect cannot reach them by itself and a person who cannot make a distinction between that which is proven impossible by the Aql and that which is outside the its scope is not worthy of being addressed in an academic discussion and should be left alone with his ignorance. (al-Asfar al Arbaa , vol 2, page 322,323)

BEING CONCERNED WITH THE SOCIETY


Allamah Taqi Jafari: Irf n in which other human beings are ignored is an Irf n where God himself is ignored because Irf n and love of God without paying attention to the flowers and blossoms of his garden and by ignoring the place where he has manifested himself is equal to turning away from God himself. (Irfan e Islami, page 84)