Irfan-e-Nafs (Knowledge of the Inner Self)
Khud-Shanasi (Self Realization)
Haqeeqat-e-Insan (Reality of Man)
Since the very beginning of the planet earth when the human being stepped on it, the questions like, as given below, have always been arising in his mind.
- Who am I?
- What is my origin?
- What is my end?
- What is my reality?
- What is my identity?
- If there exists a creator who has created me, who is He and how would I recognize Him?
- What is the purpose of my life
Whenever man strived to find the answers of these questions, Allah sent His prophets and messengers to guide him in every age and part of the world, who have been answering these questions. However, when the advancement took place and the progress of the world reached the stage that communication became faster and easier, Allah sent His beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam, the reason for the creation of the universe. Allah, through his Prophethood sent His ultimate message and provided an absolute guidance to mankind in the form of the Holy Quran, the complete code of life. Hazrat Muhammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam is the guide for all human beings till the Doomsday. Allah says about his Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam that he does not say anything on his own will. So, the Quran along with Hadith-e-Qudsi (the saying of Allah stated by the Holy Prophet) and Hadith-e-Nabawi (the statements of the Holy Prophet) have been preserved till the Day of Judgment for the guidance of the men of Allah. The fortunate one who returned to this code of life attained to the true guidance and found the purpose of his life.
Allah tells the purpose of the human being’s life and creation in the following Qudsi hadith:
Meaning: I was a Hidden treasure, I desired to be known, so I created the Universe.
So, it is obvious by the above mentioned hadith that the purpose of the creation of man is to get the knowledge and recognition of Allah. Now the question arises, how will man attain to the recognition of Allah? The method of gaining recognition of Allah is told in the following hadith:
Meaning: Whoever, recognized his self, undoubtedly, recognized his Rub (Allah).
The explanation of this hadith is that Allah created the sacred soul of Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam from His Own Divine Light and the souls of all the rest of creation from the soul of Muhammad Mustafa Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam in Alam-e-Lahut (the Divine Realm). At this stage, the soul of humans is called “Ruh-e-Qudsi” (the Holy Soul) and this is the same state of the soul about which, Allah expressed “man is My secret and I am his secret”. The souls were absorbed in the Vision of Allah at this stage because at that time, there was no veil between the souls and Allah, so they were submerged in seeing the Divine Beauty. Neither was there earth nor heavens, so they were not attracted by the pleasures of the material world or the Paradise. At the same stage, the pledge of the human spirits “The Bala” () was taken.It is mentioned in the surah Al A’raf, Allah says
Allama Iqbal says,
- Some of the mystics and sufies named the spiritual being of the human being as “the esoteric self”, Batin, “inner man”, “Ruh”, “Inward Self” “spiritual man” or “the esoteric being of man”.
- In some of the Hadiths, the mystics called the soul as ‘Qalb’, ‘Dil’ (heart) or ‘Mun’. The heart or qalb of man is not that piece of flesh which is placed at the left side of the chest. This piece of flesh is also present in the chests of animals and the deceased and can be seen with the physical eye. How can it have the knowledge of the ‘inner world’? As, it is the thing which can be seen with the physical eye, so it is related to the physical world and has to decay with the other physical parts of the body after death. In fact, the soul is technically entitled with the name “Qalb”.
- Iqbal Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh entitled the soul or the inner being of man as “Khudi” and he calls the intrinsic knowledge of the inner self (Irfan-e-Nafs) as the “recognition of Khudi” or Khud Shanasi (Self realization). Most of the interpreters of Iqbal have blundered by misinterpreting “Khudi” as “Ego” instead of “Soul”. Perhaps, they could not understand that “the ego” (pride or vanity) leads the man away from Allah and the soul brings him close to Allah. However, Iqbal has used the terms “Mun”, “Dil”, and “Ruh” as well.
- A lay man terms the inner being or soul as “conscience”. When a person does anything wrong or commits a sin, it is the soul which regrets and repents, because sin is not inherent in its nature, so the man exclaims, “my conscience is pricking me”. The recognition of Ruh-e-Qudsi (the Holy Soul) is actually called Khud Shanasi (self realization), Haqeeqat-e-Insan (Reality of Man) or Irfan-e-Nafs (the intrinsic knowledge of inner self) and same is the meaning of ‘Deen’ or the True Faith.
Meaning: And I am within your selves. So do you not notice? (Surah Adh-Dhariyat-21)
Meaning: And I am nearer to the man than his jugular vein. (Surah Qaf-16)
Meaning: Have you seen him who has made his desires (of nafs, lower inner self) his god. (Surah al-Jathiya-23)
Meaning: Have they not meditated within themselves. (Surah ar-Rum-8)
Allah has turned our attention towards the inner self, in this Holy Hadith:
Meaning: Neither earth can possess Me nor the skies but only the heart of Momin (the true believer) can.
The Holy Prophet Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam has also frequently referred to the esoteric self in his sayings:
- No doubt! Allah neither sees your faces nor your actions, rather, He checks your intentions and hearts. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Meaning: Acts depend upon your intentions.
Meaning: The heart of Momin (the true believer) is Allah’s Throne.
There are several such verses and hadiths in which human attention is drawn towards the heart and the inner self, which are the center of imagination and contemplation. And in this very heart or soul is placed the faith, as Allah says:
Meaning: In their hearts (qalb, soul) Allah has inscribed faith. (Surah Al-mujadala-22)
Even the cursed satan creates the misconceptions and wrong beliefs in the same esoteric self, as said in Quran.
Meaning: (I seek refuge of Allah from the cursed Satan) who creates false illusions into the hearts of the mankind. (Surah an-Nas-5)
Whenever in the world a true philosopher, a recognizer of the Reality or a saint familiar to the Divine secret is born, he definitely unveiled this reality that the real awareness is gained through the intrinsic knowledge of the inner self, and has also revealed the Quranic reality that, not only Allah and His created world but the whole universe (rather all the worlds) are present in the human heart in a quite delicate and subtle form. This is not merely a philosophical rule which is fabricated for the intellectual enjoyment or for the satisfaction of the mental exercise, rather, this is the reality of life which is strongly based on the teachings and experiences of the Prophets and the perfect mystics along with the teachings of the Quran and Hadith.
- Maulana Rome Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says to man while unveiling this reality that:
Meaning: You are a little world by appearance but in reality you are a great world.
He further says:
Meaning: Although the human body is worthless regarding his physical being yet, a man possesses a “large realm” within his esoteric self.
- Khawaja Hafiz Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
Meaning: Oh Hafiz! My beloved is with me day and night, just like life is within my veins and muscles.
- Hazrat Bu Ali Shah Qalander Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh tells us:
Meaning: Your Beloved (Allah) is within you, why are you so oblivious.
- Imam Ghazali explains the verseas:
“Oh man! nearest to you is your very own entity. So, if you do not know yourself, how can you recognize others? Merely to know, “these are my hands, these are my feet, these are my bones and this is my body” is not the recognition of your real entity. This much recognition is possessed even by other animals. Neither, it is merely to know that you have to eat something if hungry, quarrel when angry, have sex when overpowered by lust. All these things are equally found in animals as well. Then, how are you better and nobler than them? The requirement of the gnosis and recognition of your own self is to know your real inner self and your true identity as, what you are actually and where have you come from, where would you go from this world? If you have come in this world, what is the purpose of your being here? Why have you been given birth? What is the aim of your life? What are your virtues and good fortune and in which things do these exist? What is your misfortune and what is its source? Among the qualities, collected in yourself, some are bestial and brutal, some are devilish and demoniac but some of them are celestial and angelic too. Just ponder over it, to find which among them are your virtuous possessions? Which are nearer to your reality? Which qualities have poor, exotic or temporary status in your inner self? Unless, you do not recognize these facts, you will remain deprived of your identification. You will never find your good fortune because each one of them has different virtue and nourishment to grow in yourself.
The nourishment and virtue of animals are to eat, drink, sleep and to indulge in having sex. If you are the same too, then struggle day and night to fill your stomach and satisfy your appetite. The nourishment and virtue of beasts are in fighting, killing, brutality and violence. The nourishment and virtue of devils are in evil, maliciousness, wickedness and cunningness. If you are one of them, then adopt their nature to attain to your so called required pleasures and good fortune.
The nourishment and virtue of angels are in glorification and Tawaf (circumambulation) of Allah. Whereas, the nourishment and virtue of man, lies in the nearness to Allah and witnessing the Anwar-e-Jamal (Divine Lights of Beauty). If you are a human being, try to have the recognition of Zaat (The Essence) of Allah. So you can have the observation of the Divine Lights and Beauty and so you can rid yourself of bestial anger and appetite. If you seek something, seek only The One, The Unique, so you come to know, who is the Creator of your internal bestial and wild qualities? And, you may also be enlightened of the reality that if the Creator has created such qualities within you, does it mean, they should overpower and imprison you and become victorious over you? Or, rather, they are for you to imprison and enslave them and become the conqueror. By overpowering them, you can convert some of these slaves and captives into a horse of your journey (towards Allah) and use some of them as your weapons (to fight with satan). So, a few days that you have to stay in this mortal world, you may use these slaves to get the seed of your good fortune. When you get the seed of your good fortune, just trample over your slaves to enter the eternal calm and tranquil place which is called Hazoor-e-Haq (Divine Presence) by the virtuous persons. You must know these facts, the one who does not know them remains far away from Deen (the True Faith). Certainly, the reality of the True Faith is veiled for him. (Keemiya-e-Sa’adat)
- Shaikh Akber Mohiyuddin Ibn-e-Arabi Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says:
“Oh seeker! Recognize your essence; what are you and what is your reality? What is your relation to Allah? On what basis are you called Haq (the Truth) and on what basis are you called Alam (the world). (Fasoos al-Hakam Wal Aiqan)
Teachings of Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo
About The Reality of Man
Like all Arifeen (the knowers of Allah) and Saints Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh exhorts man to peep through his heart and to ponder over his existence. As, Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh possesses a great status among the mystics and is appointed at the rank of Sultan-ul-Faqr, so his style is also different and unique among all of them.
All the teachings of Sultan-ul-Faqr Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh, whether in prose or poetry, are a beautiful illustration of the Quran and Hadith. He refers to the verse of the Quran that “Allah is nearer to him than his jugular vein” and states that it is essential to get access to one’s inner self first, to find The Real Essence (Allah). He asserts the presence of Allah within our inner selves and says that the very word ‘nearer’ is also unsuitable, as this word represents aloofness and duality, rather, Allah is actually our Being and our Reality. He says:
Allah tells the purpose of the human being’s life and creation in the following Qudsi hadith:
Meaning: Allah is nearer than the jugular vein but you are blind to his unparalleled Beauty so the Union with Allah is not your destiny. (Deewan-e-Bahoo)
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh explains the verse as below;
Get to know, that the food and power of Nafs-e-Ammarah (the depraved self) are sins, rather it should be said that the profession of Nafs-e-Ammarah is only to commit sins. If a man remains involved in slavery of Allah and always obeys His orders like establishing prayers, fasting and staying at night prayers etc. even then, the depraved self does not abstain from committing sins, as depravity is in its nature. A person whether remains busy in studying the Islamic laws or continues mystic exercises, reciting the Quran, Hadith and religious text, the depraved self does not refrain from committing sins, as, it is a friend of the satan. Whether a person continues doing Tawaf (circumambulations) of the Holy Kaba for performing Hajj or killing the enemies of Islam in a religious battle or becomes Ghaus and Qutb (mystic of highest rank) by passing the stages of invocation, contemplation, meditation, accountability or get the power of seeing inside the graves and hearts of other people, even then the depraved self does not abstain from committing sins but ever remains inclined towards sins and evils because it is ever looking for deadly evils.
Though, when the flame of the Light of Allah’s nearness and Union flares up in his heart due to Tasawur-e-Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the contemplation of the Personal Name of Allah), he reaches at the highest station of Arif Billah Fana Fillah (a knower of Allah, annihilated in Allah) by being immersed in the river of Wahdaniyat-e-Noor-e-Hazoor (Oneness and the Divine Light of Eternal Presence). At this stage, the depraved self, being fed up, quits committing sins and it is ordained by the Divine Nature through voiceless revelations as, “Oh depraved self! Shame on you, be modest and decent”. On hearing these revelations of the Divinity, the depraved self becomes repentant and penitent. Thus, it converts into a Muslim by reciting the Kalma Tayyab by true admittance and verification of the heart and turns into Nafs-e-Mutmaina (the satisfied self) by repenting on its sins. Then, the person becomes a fast friend of Allah by accepting the actual Mohammadan Faith to seek the true path. At this extreme stage of Marifat-e-Elahi (intimate knowledge of Allah), he recognizes his self, according to the verse and he attains to the recognition of Allah by the sign that he starts getting Divine revelations, because on approaching this point of Gnosis, there is no more sensuality and devilishness left in the nafs. After that, even if all the houries, blessings of the Paradise and all the luxuries of the world are gathered around his nafs, it does not opt for any of them. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
- Prophet Mohammad Sall’Allahu Alayhi Wa’alihi Wasallam says;
Meaning: Whoever, recognized his self, undoubtedly recognized his Rub (Allah).
This is addressed to the Mohammadan Ummah, so that, a person comes to know his inner and spiritual status, then his nafs and heart become absolutely disgusted of lust, sensual appetites and sins. Man is created for the total submission to Allah. Without the servility to Allah, the entire life of man is merely a disgrace and embarrassment. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
The heart in a human body is a vast and magnificent lustrous essence and a mirror to The Divine Reality. When it is enlightened by the Personal Light of Allah, the entire Universe is seen into it, equal to a mustard seed.
Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh opines that such a state occurs in the heart due to the Gnosis of Allah due to which all the (inward and outward) states of both the worlds are contained in the heart and the person with insight can have its clear view with his inner eyes. An ardent lover of Allah always remains attentive towards his heart.
- The heart is such a vast and grand kingdom and a great domain which possesses both the realms along with their creatures. Although, the heart cannot be encompassed by both the realms. (Fazalul-Laqa)
Meaning: Every book of the world is like a dot in the book of heart, as the book of the heart has encompassed countless books of the Truth. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh says while explaining the reality of the heart i.e. the inner self:
- What is the reality of the heart and Qalb?
Get to know, that the vastness of the earth is just a drop as compared to the vastness of the sky. All the skies are just a drop as compared to the height and expansion of the Lauh (the inscribed or guarded Tablet upon which the Supreme Pen writes the destinies of all the creation).
Lauh is merely a drop in comparison to Qalam (the Supreme Pen). There are a number of turrets of the Arsh-e-Akbar (The Empyrean or supreme exalted Throne of Allah). The Kalma Tayyab is inscribed on each turret. A lamp is hanging over every turret. On every lamp, fourteen layers of earth and sky are piled up by the Divine Nature. Eighteen thousands realms of creatures are living in every layer. Each creature is reciting in its own respective language. The Arsh-e-Akbar (Supreme Throne) and all the lamps are just a drop, equal to a seed of wild rue, in comparison to the heart.
Listen oh dear, oh sensible! When a person annoys or tortures a true follower of Islam and knower of Allah, it creates an upheaval, not only among the entire creation of the eighteen thousand realms but also among all the creations of the Arsh (The Empyrean) and Kursi (the Throne of Allah) and Allah asks, “oh dwellers of the Arsh and the Kursi! Why are you in a state of restlessness? They reply that somebody has annoyed a Momin and we, the Arsh and the Kursi are shaking, overwhelmed by anger. Then the wrath of Allah starts descending upon the tormentor. I seek Allah’s shelter against it. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
- Get to know, to earn magnificence through Zikr (invocation), Fikr (meditation), Muraqbah (concentration), Muhasbah (self accountability), Mukashfa (unveiling) and through Khalwat-e-hujra (one’s secluded room), is the status of worthless people because, the secluded closet of the heart is better than the closet of dust, as the closet of dust is inferior to the one of the heart.
Whoever, found the secret of the Truth, found it, from within his heart and the one who has discovered the secret of the Truth through his heart, has released himself from the seclusion of dusty closet. (Mehek-ul-Faqr Kalan)
- The Qalb (heart) which is once awakened, is ever longing, suffering and attentive like an ardent and crazy lover to be immersed in the Vision of Allah. (Qurb-e-Deedar)
The path to reality goes through the human Qalb (heart) and this is the place within the human body where the Vision of The Essence is found. If the rust and the veils over the human heart are removed, it becomes crystal clear, then the person reaches The Reality by means of the Qalb. Hence, the heart is the center of the spiritual states of man. If it is at righteousness then all the acts done by the physical body would be right but if this center becomes dark and depraved, the spiritual values are ruined. It is only the heart in the human body in which Zaat-e-Haq (Allah) manifests. The Essence, Allah is hidden within the man as it is said by Allah in a Hadith-e-Qudsi:
Meaning: Man is My secret and I am the secret of man.
Only the Knower or the true seeker of Allah is familiar to this secret.
Hazrat Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh states the reality of the heart in Aqal-e-Baidar as:
- I witnessed the Kaba in my heart and had the Vision of The Reality (Allah) and then I prostrated before Allah.
- The Qalb is a treasure of Allah within one’s existence. The true possessors of the Qalb are Mehmood (laudable).
- Due to the dangers of evil, the heart becomes the abode of the devil but the heart of the knower of Allah is full of the Divine Light.
- The heart is a fine subtle thing and because of its subtlety it meets Allah and it is also the secret of Oneness and immortality.
- The seekers of the world do not possess heart (i.e. they have dead souls), they are utterly immodest, sinners and the embarrassed ones.
- Bahoo! The people who prostrate before the One, Allah and establish their prayers morning to evening, their hearts, breath and souls are unified.
- The heart of a man is like a deep ocean and his body is just a bubble. (Noor-ul-Huda Kalan)
- Get to know! When the heart is enlivened by the treasure of the secrets of The Secret (Allah), the observation of Divine Light of Allah, the remembrance of Allah’s Name and the Knowledge (Gnosis) of Allah, then the inward five senses of the heart start working and those of the outer sensual being stop. (Majalisa-tul-Nabi)
- He states in his poetry:
Meaning: Oh heart! Why do you not try to be enlivened and drink this sweet syrup (life of heart). Once the heart is alive, it never dies and when awakened, it never sleeps. (Majalista-tul-Nabi)
Meaning: Close your external eye while your heart’s eye is open and watch closely the Divine Vision within your physical body. (Taigh-e-Berhna)
- There are three letters in the word qalb (heart) “qaf, laam, ba” () Letter “qaf” () means Qurb-e-Elahi (nearness to Allah) and letter “laam” () means laqa-e-Elahi (meeting, union with Allah), letter “ba” () means Baqa Billah (immortal with Allah). The person who has these attributes, is the man of qalb (heart) otherwise, a man like a kalb (dog). (Qurb-e-Deedar)
Meaning: Your heart is the great Kaba, so purify it from idols (other than Allah), your heart is Bayt-al-Muqaddas (the sacred house of Allah). Do not make it a sculptor’s shop. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
He says in his couplets:
Your heart is the abode of Almighty Allah, just peep through your heart and do not be dependent on Khizer Alayh Salam who has acquired an everlasting life by drinking Aab-e-Hayat (the water of life), instead, you have got the vital water of Ishq-e-Elahi (Divine adoration) within yourself. Enlighten the lamp of Divine Love in your heart, perhaps you may find Amanat-e-Haqeeqi (the True Trust of Allah) which is hidden within yourself since Azal (eternity). The people who have found this secret have died before death, it means they have attained to the eternal life.
Since, the reality of the Batin (inner self) is disclosed to me that my heart is the house of Allah, I am extremely delighted. I have goblets within myself, I take ablution of purity and sanctity of my heart with them. My heart also possess the prayer mat on which I prostrate before the Real Beloved. As my heart possesses Allah, so Kaba and Qibla are also within it, and the reality of is revealed upon me that there is nothing except Allah in the universe. All this is received to me by my Murshid Kamil (The Perfect Spiritual Guide). He is my guardian and the benefactor.
Fuqara (mystics) and Auliya (saints) taught the humans the lesson of self recognition and realization because on recognizing himself, a man can attain to the recognition of Allah. Although, one thing distinguishes Sultan-ul-Arifeen Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh from the other saints that others only urged the man to attain to the recognition of soul, qalb, mun, dil, batin, khudi and conscience and to get the lustrous insight, yet they did not tell about its “key” with which esoteric self can be travelled through. Whereas, Hazrat Sakhi Sultan Bahoo Rehmat-ul-Allah Alayh discussed in all of his writings about this key and its benefits along with its secret and signs. And the key that unlocks the door to the man’s soul and esoteric self, and blesses him with the lustrous insight is the invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat (the Personal Name of Allah), provided, it has been granted by Murshid Kamil Akmal (a Supreme and The Perfect Spiritual Guide) who is Sahib-e-Musamma, Ism-e-Zaat (the possessor of the Essence, and the Personal Name of Allah alongwith all of His attributes).