Tuesday, 5 December 2006

A Brief Discourse On The Technicalities and Spiritual Aspects Of Sufism - Good & Bad

Suluk means - Walking the Path of Sufism

In Suluk, a Saalik (person walking the path of Sufism) experiences two feelings:

a) Bast
b) Qabz

Bast is an Arabic word literally meaning "expansion". In the terminology of Sufism, it refers to the positive feeling in the heart to perform abundant Ibadat, Solat, Tilawat, Zikr, etc.

Qabz is also an Arabic word literally meaning "contraction". In theterminology of Sufism, it refers to the negative feeling in the heart to perform any or abundant Ibadat, Tilawat, Zikr, etc.

Bast is desired as it assists in attaining the purpose of Ibadat. However, it is not purposeful itself as the positive feeling is not the object of worship. Regarding the desired feeling as purposeful can be detrimental especially when one loses or decreases the condition of Bast.

Regarding the Bast as only a means of abundant worship, upon the feeling being decreased or even suppressed, one will place the purpose ahead of himself /herself and continue with the Ibadat, Solat, Tilawat, Zikr etc. albeit without positive feelings.

Qabz is not desired as one feels negative and empty within the heart. However, it is not Mazmum (bad) either. Since we do not worship feelings,we should concentrate on accomplishing what is purposeful, Ibadat, Solat, Tilawat, Zikr etc.

According to the Mutasawwifeen (Sufis), since the condition of Qabz requires one to make more sacrifice in accomplishing his/her responsibility, the rewards are greater. Furthermore, in Bast there is a possibility of Iejaab (ostentatiousness) which is condemned.

In Qabz, due to the humility and humbleness, one attains close proximity to Allah which is the ultimate aim and objective.

The above is a very brief explanation of an extremely extensive subject which can be understood easily by undertaking the journey of Suluk itself.

As a final ground rule - the understanding in attaining the objective and aligning the effort to attain that objective will be achieved InshaAllah through the application of these four qualities:

1. Ikhlas - To do something only for the sake of Allah, solely
2. Istikhlas - Single-mindedness
3. Itminan - With due importance and punctuality, in difficulties as well as in ease
4. Istiqamah - Consistency and persistency
5. Istighfaar - To ask from Allah forgiveness at the start, middle and end of all sessions of Ibadah.

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