Meditation and Concentration
( Tafakkur and Muraqbah )
About meditation( muraqbah) Allah says in the Holy Quran:
اَوَ لَمۡ یَتَفَکَّرُوۡا فِیۡۤ اَنۡفُسِہِمۡ ۟ مَا خَلَقَ اللّٰہُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ مَا بَیۡنَہُمَاۤ اِلَّا بِالۡحَقِّ وَ اَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّی ؕ وَ اِنَّ کَثِیۡرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ بِلِقَآیِٔ رَبِّہِمۡ لَکٰفِرُوۡنَ ﴿۸﴾
Meaning: Have they not meditated within themselves that Allah has not created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between the two except with truth and for a fixed time? And surely, most of the people do not believe in the meeting with their Lord (the vision of Allah). (Ar-Rum 8)
In this verse, Allah has invited man to meditate within himself and ponder over the heavens and the earth. As well as whatever is in them and also upon His all creation. As Truth created everything but for a certain time.
It is the saying of the Holy Prophet:
تَفَکَّرُ وۡ فِیۡ اٰیٰتِہِ وَلَا تَفَکَّرُ وۡ فِیۡ ذَاتِہِ ۔
Meaning: Meditate upon the signs of Allah but do not ponder over His Essence.
تَفَکَّرُ السَّاعَۃِ خیۡرٌ مِّنۡ عِبَادَۃِ الثَّقَلَیۡنِ ۔
Meaning: Concentration of a moment is better than the worship of both the worlds.
اَلذِّ کۡرُ بِلَا فِکۡرِ کَصَوۡتِ الۡکَلۡبِ ۔
Meaning: To invoke (verbally) without reflection is like the barking of a dog.
To learn or to understand the reality of something, we think over it and a kind of curiosity arises 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, 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 its qualities and significance.
All the material and scientific development of today’s world form their bases on 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, or when he reflects on 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. As it is because of contemplation (tasawur) and concentration of certain scientist, thinker or philosopher. Thus, the whole development of the world is by virtue of concentration and meditation.
Importance in Faqr
Similarly, progressing in the way of Faqr which is the way to Allah, demands concentration and meditation of the seeker upon every aspect of nature, religion, physical and spiritual 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 proximity.
Allama Iqbal’s beautiful verses
Allama Iqbal says:
1۔ فقرِ قراں اختلاطِ ذکر و فِکر
فِکر را کامل ندیدیم جز ذکر
2۔ ذکر؟ ذوق و شوق را دادن ادب
کارِ جان است این نہ کارِ کام ولب
3۔ خیزد از وے شعلہ ہاءے سینہ سوز
با مزاج تو نمی سازد ہنوز
The explanation of verses
(1) Faqr of the Quran is the mutual blend of invocation (dhikr / zikr) and reflection. Therefore I never found invocation accomplished without reflection.
Reflection means to concentrate within oneself and to recognize one’s soul. Whereas the invocation means the remembrance of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. When the seeker is attributed with both, he becomes the possessor of Faqr.
(2) What is invocation? It means to teach your passions and eagerness the ways and manners of Divine love and presence before Allah. Important to realize is that it is the job of the soul rather than that of throat and lips.
According to Allama Iqbal, invocation is not which is performed verbally by tongue and lips. Instead it is done by the soul and is the invocation of the Ism-e-Allah Zaat.
(3) By the invocation, the flame of Divine love is lit in the inner being which enlivens the soul. The fire of love, rising from the invocation of Allah, consumes everything other than Allah but you are not yet capable of such invocation. (Javid Nama)
Sayings of Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali
Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali stated:
Meditation and concentration mean to ponder over something to have its knowledge and understanding. The entire material and scientific progress where this world stands today is the result of reflection of scientists upon the material things. This reflection is the base of every invention and discovery. Similarly, Allah invites man to meditate within himself. He says
اَوَلَمْ یَتَفَکَّرُوْا فِیْ اَنْفُسِھِمْ
Meaning: Have they not meditated within themselves.
When a person meditates within himself, he finds the secret mentioned in this Qudsi Hadith:
اَلْاِنْسَانُ سِرِّیْ وَ اَنَا سِرُّہٗ
Meaning: Man is My secret and I am his.
When a person becomes aware of this secret, Allah makes him His confidant. That is why, the Mystics always teach to drown into one’s inward, to peep within the closet of one’s body and to enter one’s inner.
Remember! Meditation is also a kind of reflection and concentration. The initial stage of mediation is to concentrate on Ism-e-Allah Zaat with single minded calmness and closed eyes while the final meditation of the Mystics is viewing everything with open eyes. As it is said by Bayazid Bastami:
“I have been talking to Allah for forty years, people have been misunderstanding that I am talking to them.” (Sultan Mohammad Asghar Ali-Life and Teachings)
An important note
Sultan Bahoo used many terms for reflection in his writings but all these terms actually refer to meditation and concentration.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDITATION AND CONCENTRATION
Meditation is a form of concentration. The only difference between the two is that the former requires seclusion, closed eyes and to be attentive to a single point in the inner. When the concentration matures in this way, the secret upon which the seeker is concentrating unfolds by the Divinity. Although, seclusion or closed eyes are not required for concentration. The seeker is pondering over a single point every moment whether in solitude or in crowd or doing the worldly chores.
Allah Almighty gradually reveals upon him the hidden secrets of that matter. In this way, he views everything with his open eyes and gets aware of the Divine secrets. This level is superior to the closed eye meditation. It can also be stated as; meditation is the initial whereas concentration is the extreme stage. Meditation is in fact the concentration through which a person gains the knowledge of his soul. After gaining this knowledge, he finds the reality of his soul.
Faqr progresses through concentration. Only by concentration, the secrets of this path are gradually disclosed, that is why the seeker of Allah always remains occupied in concentration and every moment he reaches a new waystation of closeness to Allah through reflection upon his spiritual self.
MEDITATION (Meditation with closed eyes in seclusion)
In meditation the state of absorption is apparently similar to that of a dream. Though during a dream there is no vigilance on one’s self but in meditation one remains vigilant and conscious. Therefore, meditation is more powerful and far more dominant than dream.
Actually meditation is the vigilant concentration with all the powers of mind i.e. thinking, imagining and examining, through which the seeker carefully keeps check over himself. During his meditation the seeker observes how Allah manifests both in the cosmos and within himself.
Meditation is the name of a special spiritual state under which the inner of man is guarded. The purpose of every meditation is to keep check that anything other than Allah might not find room in the seeker’s inward. Through meditation, the seeker gets rid of all the sensual and evil thoughts 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 meditation is called observation of Divinity.
Condition of meditation and concentration in words of Sultan Bahoo
Sultan Bahoo expressed:
Although, the states of dream and meditation are almost similar but meditation is stronger and overpowering. A person comes out of the state of dreaming on a loud voice (or sound) but the one immersed in the state of meditation is so much engrossed in observing the light of Oneness of the Divine Essence that if someone beheads him, he will not even realize it. Hence, it is clear that meditation is like death. In the state of deep death like meditation, the seeker gets answer to all his questions spiritually (from the Divine court) while staying vigilant. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)
Real meditation in words of Sultan Bahoo
Real meditation grants gnosis of Allah and takes the seeker to the level of a Mystic blessing him with the Divine light. He becomes a friend of Allah and then Allah is pleased with him and he is pleased with Allah according to the verse:
رَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡہُمۡ وَ رَضُوۡا عَنۡہُ ؕ ذٰلِکَ لِمَنۡ خَشِیَ رَبَّہٗ ٪﴿۸﴾
Meaning: Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. (Al-Baiyyinah 8)
Allah says to him:
ارۡجِعِیۡۤ اِلٰی رَبِّکِ رَاضِیَۃً مَّرۡضِیَّۃً ﴿ۚ۲۸﴾ فَادۡخُلِیۡ فِیۡ عِبٰدِیۡ ﴿ۙ۲۹﴾ وَ ادۡخُلِیۡ جَنَّتِیۡ ﴿٪۳۰﴾
Meaning: Return to your Lord in such a state that He is pleased with you and you are pleased with Him. (He will say to you) So, join My (perfect) servants. And enter the paradise (of My nearness and vision). (Al-Fajr 28-30)
Meditation acquaints the seeker with the Divine secret. The proficient of meditation remains in dreaming state while awakening and remains vigilant while sleeping. He beholds nothing except Allah in his meditation. Such high leveled meditation is conferred only upon the true lovers of Allah who wish nothing but the gnosis, vision and love of Allah and presence of the Mohammadan Assembly. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)
Meditation is to prevent everything to enter the inward other than Allah
Sultan Bahoo said:
Meditation means to guard the inward and prevent everything that is other than Allah to enter the inward such as the evil and satanic distractions and diseases, worries of the world and the worldly desires. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)
Meditation reveals spiritual secrets
During meditation, the spiritual secrets reveal themselves upon the meditator. Therefore he witnesses Divine light and is blessed by the vision of Allah. Then this vision of the Divine Essence and theophanies never end even for a moment. Whether apparently he talks to people or remains busy in the worldly affairs, he ever possesses the eternal Divine presence in his inward.
Meditation leads to the level of ‘death before dying’
Sultan Bahoo stated:
Meditation is the love for Allah which leads to the level of absorption in the Eternally Alive Entity and to the everlasting levels of ‘death before dying’. It grants the seeker the observation of the states of Divine presence and takes him to the highest level of spiritual journey where he is blessed with the secret of Divine secrets and is honoured with presence of the Mohammadan Assembly (Ain-ul-Faqr)
When meditation becomes so strong that one does not need to close his eyes
The method of meditation is to be engaged in the invocation and concentration with closed eyes. It must be the inward invocation and can be of any of the Divine names or holy verses as well as the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. By this manner of invocation, the powers of concentration and contemplation gradually become so strong that the meditator does not need to close his eyes.
Kinds of meditation
Sultan Bahoo said in this context:
Meditation can be of various kinds; the meditation of invocation and reflection, meditation of the Divine presence, meditation of annihilation in the spiritual guide (Murshid / Shaikh), meditation of annihilation in Allah, meditation of annihilation in Hoo ( ھُو ), meditation of annihilation in Faqr, meditation of annihilation in Prophet Mohammad, meditation of annihilation of innerself, meditation of annihilation in the ninety nine beautiful names of Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Method of meditation
Sultan Bahoo stated the method of meditation as;
According to the spiritual researches, the meditation in which the illusions created by the false, evil and worldly thoughts and the incidents of the immortal world do not interrupt and which is perfectly accurate because of invocation, reflection and the glorification of Allah, is that the seeker should become attentive to his spiritual self and contemplate Ism-e-Allah Zaat, then he should start his meditation and recite the following three times each;
What one should recite?
(a) Bismillah Al-Rehman Al-Raheem
بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الَّرحِیۡمِ
Meaning: In the name of Allah the most Merciful the most Beneficent.
(b) Blessings and salutation on the Holy Prophet (Darud)
(c) The Ayat-al-Kursi (255th verse of 2nd sura)
(d) Salamun qaulam mir’r Rab-e-Raheem
سَلَامٌ قَوۡلًا مِّنۡ رَّبٍ رَّ حِیۡمِ
Meaning: Peace, a word from the Merciful Lord (verse 58 of 36th sura).
(e) The four Quls (The four Quls consist of 109, 112, 113 and 114 suras of Quran)
(f) Sura Al-Fatiha (the opening chapter of the Quran)
(g) The creed of glorification (the third kalma)
Subhan Allahi wal Hamdullilahi wa la illaha ilAllahoo waAllahoo Akbar wa la Hawla wa la Quwwata illa billah-al’alii-al Azeem
سُبْحَانَ اللّٰہِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّٰہِ وَ لَآ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہُ وَ اللّٰہُ اَکْبَرْ وَ لَاحَوْلَ وَ لَا قُوَّۃَ اِلَّا بِاللّٰہِ الْعَلِیِّ الْعَظِیْمِ
Meaning: Glory be to Allah and all praise is for Allah and there is none worthy of worship but Allah, Allah is the greatest. There is no might or any power except with Allah, the Exalted, the Great
(h) The Islamic creed (the first kalma: Kalimah Tayyibah)
La illaha ilAllahoo Mohammad-ur-Rasoolullah
لا الہ الا اﷲ محمد رسول ﷲ
Meaning: None is worthy of worship except Allah and Mohammad is His Messenger.
Then he should focus his eyes on Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Ism-e-Mohammad. After this, while keeping his eyes closed, he should make a wish to reach in the assembly of the Prophets and Saints and find the spiritual knowledge of ‘none but Allah’ ( الا اﷲ ). Definitely the perfect spiritual guide would take him to the Assembly in his sacred company. (Majalisa-tul-Nabi- Khurd)
Three stages of meditation
Sultan Bahoo stated three stages of meditation in his book Mahak-ul-Faqr:
The first and basic meditation of the seeker at initial stage is that in which the seeker gains absorption and becomes bright minded. The second is the meditation of the seeker at middle stage in which the absorption touches such a height where the seeker becomes totally oblivious of the physical affairs. The third meditation of the seeker at the extreme stage is that in which he is completely engrossed in the vision of the Divine light of Unity.
Meditation increases love for Allah
When a seeker starts gaining the knowledge of meditation, the love of Allah increases in his inward. This love opens the way to seven Divine assemblies and he meets souls of all the Prophets from Prophet Adam till the last Prophet Mohammad. This is the initial blessing which one receives by having the knowledge of meditation with true belief.
The meditation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat takes the meditator to the station of no station where he observes the Divine Essence. The fools who hold their breath while doing invocation and concentration and consider it a meditation, do not know the value of real meditation. They are ignorant like animals and remain perplexed. Real meditation is like death. When a seeker enters the state of meditation by the contemplation and attention of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, he observes different phases of death, as; seizure of the soul, condition of the grave, cross examination by the Munkar and Nakeer, accountability on the doomsday. Then he crosses the Sirat bridge safely and enters the heaven, there he watches the houris and castles of paradise and is blessed with the vision of Allah. Such meditation blesses the meditator with Divine union at the level of truth of certainty. (Shams-ul-Arifeen)
Four levels of meditation
Sultan Bahoo said:
There are four levels of meditation related with four stations. Meditation of the seeker who is at the level of sharia and follows its rules and practises devotions. This meditation is of the physical world. Whatever he sees in meditation is just limited to this physical world.
Second is the meditation of the seeker who is at the level of realm of angels (alam al-malakut), he is a man of recitals and spiritual practices through which he gains purity like the angels and gets attributed with the angelic qualities. Whatever he sees in his meditation relates to the realm of angels.
Third is the meditation of the seekers who have reached the realm of power (alam al-jabrut). They are the men of invocation of Allah. Whatever they observe in their meditation relates to the realm of power. Here they behold angel Gabriel.
Fourth is the meditation of the seekers who have approached the realm of Divinity (alam al-LaHoot), they are the men of gnosis, whatever they see in their meditation is related with the realm of Divinity. Fifth is the meditation of Divine presence and absorption in the state of annihilation in Allah, this meditation is related to the station of Lordliness. Here the seeker beholds nothing except Allah and Oneness. At this level the seeker views a new grandeur of Allah every day according to the verse;
کُلَّ یَوۡمٍ ھُوَ فِیۡ شَاۡنٍ۔
Meaning: Every moment His glory manifests anew. (Ar-Rahman 29) (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Dive into the ocean of Divinity and find pearls
Sultan Bahoo further said:
If the seeker becomes unconscious of himself during the meditation and drowns in the state of annihilation, and if on coming out of the state of meditation he forgets everything that he had seen during the meditation in a moment then it shows that whatever he saw was from the Divinity and exactly the Essence. That seeker is at the level of a crazy lover who is unconscious of himself and his state is like that of a moth in fire. This is the middle level of meditation. As the seeker has not yet found the blessing of union of Allah. He is imperfect yet and detached to the Reality, that is why he is perplexed. Real meditation is that in which the seeker dives into the ocean of Divinity like an expert diver and brings out pearls. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Meditation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat the best and superior
Sultan Bahoo expressed about meditation in his book Shams-ul-Arifeen that it is in fact observing the Divine Self and knowing the Divine secrets. He calls the meditation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat as the best and the most superior. It is only through this meditation that the seeker reaches the realm of Absolute Unity which is the station of no station and finds the blessing of Miraj and vision of Allah.
Where the mediation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat takes
Sultan Bahoo elaborated:
When a true seeker beholds Ism-e-Allah in his meditation, the Ism-e-Allah takes him to the Divine Essence. He observes the Essence within himself and drowns in the meditation in such a way that he neither remembers invocation, reflection or even breathing nor pleasure, sorrow, hunger and the desires of innerself, neither he remembers the Essence or His closeness and farness nor the destiny, greed or wishes. Hence, what does he remember and where has he reached? He only remembers love and passion. When a lover approaches this stage, all his objectives fulfils. Further he finds it forbidden to invoke and reflect. Whatever he observes is very special. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
A true Fakir is ashamed of these levels
If a person enters heaven during his dream or meditation and eats heavenly food, drinks from the canal of heaven and views the houris and castles of the heaven, then he does not need to drink or eat ever in his life again. His thirst and hunger are satiated forever. He never sleeps for his whole life even if he appears to be sleeping and stays in a single ablution throughout his life. Moreover he finds blessing with such Divine favour to worship Allah that he is always absorbed in prostrating Him and becomes stronger and healthier day by day. He eats merely to show people so that his reality remains hidden from them. It saves him from criticism. For him, winter and summer are the same and he does not enjoy any weather. Though, this level is still an inferior level possessed by an unaccomplished Dervish.
The true Fakir is ashamed to stay at this level because it is far away from the Mohammadan Faqr and belongs to the appetites of innerself. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
What is the final level?
The final level is that the seeker finds the blessing of Divine vision during his dream or meditation which he cannot explain in words or exemplify with anything. Such fire is ablaze in the existence of the seeker due to the gnosis of Divine Oneness, invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and the Divine love that he keeps worshipping Allah and admonishing his innerself (an-nafs) day and night due to their majestic effects. Hence, he covers himself in sharia, follows it perfectly and recites:
تَفَکَّرُوْا فِیْ نِعْمَآءِہٖ وَ لَا تَفَکَّرُوْا فِیْ ذَاتِہٖ
Meaning: Concentrate upon His blessings, not upon His Essence. (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
The seven levels of meditation in Sultan Bahoo’s book Ain-ul-Faqr
In his writing Ain-ul-Faqr, Sultan Bahoo has stated seven levels of meditation:
There are seven levels of meditation; first is the meditation of the ignorant which is like wandering in a jungle. Second is the meditation of heretics and music lovers which is like the deceit of Antichrist (Dajjal). Third is the meditation of invocation in which the invoker observes the stages of invocation and experiences spiritual states. Fourth is the meditation of people of reflection who are the men of spiritual states. The Holy Prophet said about such reflection and concentration:
تَفَکَّرُ السَّاعَۃِ خَیْرٌ مِّنْ عِبَادَۃِ الثَّقَلَیْنِ
Meaning: Concentration for a moment is better than the worship of both the worlds.
Fifth is the perfect meditation of the immortal Mystic in which he gains the Divine knowledge. Sixth is the accomplished meditation of the perfect knower of Allah in which he beholds the sacred souls. Seventh is the meditation of everlasting Faqr about which the Holy Prophet said, “When Faqr is accomplished that is Allah.” It is the meditation of the seeker annihilated in Allah and drowned in the Divine Oneness and one with the Essence. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
What it means to see satanic visuals in meditation
During meditation the seeker observes different visuals abundantly. In this context Sultan Bahoo has elaborated these visuals in his literary work as is given below:
If a seeker sees the infidels in his dream or meditation, it shows that either his inciting innerself has been aroused. Moreover he has not even reached the first stage of the creed (No one is worthy of worship). It also means that it is the Satan who shows him the gathering of infidels daily so that he becomes disappointed and leaves the path of Allah. That seeker should invoke blessings upon the Holy Prophet and recite the prayer for safety from the Satan before sleeping or performing the meditation so that the satanic thoughts and whispers may end and his inward is enlightened. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Special kingly invocation saves from satanic visuals
If someone sees cattle and animals or gold and silver in the meditation, it means that his meditation is of physical world and he is still wandering in the desert of worldly desires. This shows that the invocation of Allah has not affected him yet. Its remedy is that he must leave the worldly desires and pleasures.
If someone sees the orchards, rivers, greenery of spring, castles, houris and palaces of the heaven, it means that his inward is still filthy and rusty. It will purge by the attention of perfect spiritual guide. The satanic whisperer and depraving obsessions have still surrounded his inward which shows that the invocation he has been doing is not the proper and real kingly invocation.
What is the sign of real and special kingly invocation? One who does the special kingly invocation of Allah by the tongue, he only talks about the invocation of Allah, words of Allah, words of the Holy Prophet and sayings of the Saints and discusses nothing else. He does not see the strangers (for him everyone other than Allah is stranger) as it is forbidden by Allah to see the strangers and he feels ashamed of disobeying Allah. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Different kinds of observations in meditation
There are four kinds of observations in the meditation. The person who is outwardly busy in worships, invocation and meditation. Yet inwardly fosters love of the world then whatever he observes in his meditation is related to this physical world. Hence it is fake and transitory like it.
The true seeker of Allah who has devoted his life to Allah is inwardly as well as outwardly engrossed in the intense love of Allah and His invocation and meditation. Whatever he observes esoterically as well as exoterically is just the observation of Divinity. Third kind of observation is of that person who fears Allah physically and spiritually. Whatever he sees in the meditation relates to the paradise. Fourth kind is the observation of the person who does not offer salat and is engrossed in worldly pleasures outwardly and inwardly. Whatever he sees is just a satanic deceit and an illusion created by his cruel inciting innerself which has to decline. The Holy Prophet said:
کُلُّ شَیْءٍ یَرْجِعُ اِلٰی اَصْلِہٖ
Meaning: Everything returns to its origin. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
The power of true meditation
Sultan Bahoo mentioned the status of a seeker who possesses the power of true meditation:
The men of true meditation possess great spiritual ranks as they are on the straight path of righteousness. Moreover it is the esoteric way of Prophet Mohammad since pre-existence. The door to meditation does not open for the seeker unless he starts it through the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. The foundation of the special meditation of the chosen ones is contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Which they conceive by practising invocation and reflection along with glorification. The possessor of meditation holds such a great level that whatever he watches spiritually or in dream grants him gnosis of Allah. Moreover it leads him to the Mohammadan Assembly where he meets the Prophets and Saints.
Whoever does not gain these two blessings from his meditation, his meditation is wrong. Actually he does not even know what the real meditation is. Meditation is a guard against the dangers of innerself, Satan and the world. It takes the seeker to the Mohammadan Assembly, elevating him spiritually step by step and immerses him in Divinity after crossing all the spiritual stations.
The seeker who performs meditation according to this verified method, finds the blessing with the Divine presence whenever he wishes. Meditation of the immortal Mystic ends peacefully and makes his esoteric self replete. Congratulations to him! (Shams-ul-Arifeen)
What the letters of concentration mean?
Sultan Bahoo stated about concentration:
The Arabic word for concentration is Tafakkur which contains four letter. They are ت (T), ف (F), ک (K), ر (R). Letter ت (T) refers to Tark which means renunciation of lust. Whereas letter ف (F) is fana of the inciting innerself and the letter ک (K) stands for Karamat that is the miracle of soul. Moreover the letter ر (R) represents Raz-e-Haq which means the secret of Truth. The concentration by which one is not able to renounce the sensual appetites and the innerself does not annihilate is not concentration. Moreover which concentration cannot illustrate the miracle of soul and the secret of truth is not concentration.
The recognition of the man of concentration is that he concentrates about his Lord through Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Then by its the grace no sin is committed by him. Moreover he always remains firm on the straight path. Another sign of such man is that he always remains engrossed in the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Due to this his inner being liberates of hypocrisy and he purifies spiritually.
Further identity of the man of concentration is that he omits all the features of other than Allah by getting engrossed in the invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. To become a seeker of Allah is very difficult job. (Mahak ul Faqr Kalan)
Attach with Allah and detach from other than Allah inwardly
Other word for Allah in Arabic is Maula / Mawla ( مولیٰ ) which consists of four letters. م (M), و (O), ل (L) and یٰ (A). The seeker of Allah is the man who adopts four things according to these four letters. Firstly he should adopt death (maut) by the letter م (M). The seeker who adopts death in his life becomes immortal. By the letter و (O) he becomes one with Allah annihilated in Him and adopts isolation. The seeker who acquires ل (L) of Maula renounces the curse (lanat) as remembrance of worldliness means to be damned. Moreover the seeker who acquires the letter یٰ (A) attaches with Allah and does not like the friendship of anybody else except Allah. Such a man of concentration is the high grade Saint. The person who attributes with these qualities is the sincere seeker of Allah. Otherwise he is the beast of the wilderness.
Meaning: Knowledge is only a point. (Mahak ul Faqr Kalan)
Trial through concentration
When the spiritual guide grants the concentration of contemplation and invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat to the seeker of Allah the seeker surrenders and submits giving up his own will. When accessories and adornments of both the worlds and paradise are brought to him in the meditation of dream like concentration, he considers the Divine lights of Ism-e-Allah Zaat which come across during the involvement with Allah as the best and takes both the worlds as inferior to them. Here the non-creation Divine light of Ism-e-Allah Zaat attracts the created man towards itself with such a grace that he never returns to other than Allah. Snatching all his authority makes him subservient to the true Authority.
اٰمَنَّا وَ صَدَقْنَا
Meaning: We admit and endorse it.
The man who declines this is the denier of the Oneness of the Lord. (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Nor fear nor grieve
Concentration is the outcome of the Saints’ inculcation. The form of concentration is like the Divine light of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. When the Saints die their form of faith comes out of their bodies and offers their own funeral prayer along with the people. Apart from the Mystics and Saints nobody knows that form of faith. The pure soul having such a form of faith has no fear of accountability of the doomsday. Allah says:
اَلَاۤ اِنَّ اَوۡلِیَآءَ اللّٰہِ لَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ لَا ہُمۡ یَحۡزَنُوۡنَ ﴿ۚۖ۶۲﴾
Meaning: Verily, the Friends of Allah will not have any fear, nor will they grieve. (Yunus 62) (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Worship Allah and not reward of heaven or fear of hell
The Holy Prophet always remained engrossed in meditation and was ever blessed with Miraj in the form of celestial light. This spiritual state of the Prophet is popular among the creation of Allah. Do not suspect on these wonders of the unseen world as it is the result of the path of Prophet Mohammad. Whoever suspects them would be a pagan. May Allah save me from this!
The person who does not believe in the faith and its form which is the Divine light of Ism-e-Allah Zaat only destroys his faith and he is a hypocrite and faithless. Another interpretation of concentration is that when a meditator gets attentive to the extreme concentration of engrossment of the annihilation in Allah he achieves the levels of immortality accompanying Ism-e-Allah Zaat and by his grace both the worlds remain safe. That is why one day Rabia of Basra was going with a bowl of water on one hand and the embers of fire in the other. The people asked her about it. She replied, “I want to burn the heaven with fire and extinguish the hell with water as these have engaged people with themselves and nobody pays attention towards Allah.”
Concentration is that stage of the seeker of Allah about which the Holy Prophet said, “The concentration of a moment is better than the worship of both the worlds.” (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Extreme concentration is hard
To attain the extreme concentration is a very arduous toil. Therefore, to travel the path of concentration hold the hand of such a spiritual guide who is the perfect Fakir. (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Which concentration is better than devotion of both the worlds
According to Sultan Bahoo:
Believe it, when the true seeker and the perfect Fakir spiritual guide who is the man of authority, join together truthfully, the spiritual guide grants the seeker the contemplation and authority over the entire earth from east to west and all the humans, blesses him with the presence of the Mohammadan Assembly and ennobles him with high levels of gnosis and Faqr. Do not consider it strange or wrong as the esoteric blessings are not cannot be gained without the man of esoteric self. However, the seeker ought to be truthful. This is the particular concentration and authority which is better than the devotion of both the worlds, as the Holy prophet said;
تَفَکَّرُ السَّاعَۃِ خَیْرٌ مِّنْ عِبَادَۃِ الثَّقَلَیْنِ
Meaning: Concentration for a moment is better than the worships of both the worlds. (Kaleed ul Tauheed Kalan)
Eternal invocation and perfect concentration
When the possessor of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat finds the blessing of the presence of Mohammadan Assembly by the contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and Islamic creed and starts the meditation with closed eyes, he holds the sword of contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat in his hands and slays all the major and minor sins of his whole life with it. He also kills his inciting innerself, Satan, devilish whispers, depraving obsessions, evil thoughts, rather all his enemies on the earth with this sword. The Holy Prophet said, “Concentration for a moment is better than the worships of both the worlds”.
The Holy Prophet has declared the eternal invocation (of Ism-e-Allah Zaat) and its perfect concentration and meditation as the collection of all the pious deeds according to the holy verses:
اِنَّ الۡحَسَنٰتِ یُذۡہِبۡنَ السَّیِّاٰتِ ؕ ذٰلِکَ ذِکۡرٰی لِلذّٰکِرِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۴﴾ۚ
Meaning: Surely, good actions erase the evil ones. This (reward) is for the true invokers of invocation. (Hud 114) (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
What different types of reflection does?
One must know that the rank of the scholars and exegetists of jurisprudence, Quranic injunctions and Hadiths is different from that of men of recitals, invocations and effective reflection.
Reflection upon the blessings of Allah increases the love of Allah, reflection upon the favours of Allah increases modesty, reflection upon the promises and warnings of Allah increases the fear of Allah, reflection upon the gnosis of Allah enhances the Divine light of Oneness in the inward, reflection upon the knowledge of Quran increases the passion for good deeds in the inward, reflection upon the worldly matters darkens the inward and indulges it in evil plannings.
Nothing is worse than the world and worldly people. Strange are the people who consider this worst thing better than the name of Allah and the faith and Faqr of Prophet Mohammad. True Muslim and believer is the one who fulfills the greatest obligation which is to always consider Allah omnipresent and omnipotent. This is the greatest of all the obligations while the greatest of all the Sunna of Prophet Mohammad is to spend one’s all belongings in the path of Allah. True men of Allah (Fakirs) offer the greatest obligation and Sunna. (Kaleed-ul- Tauheed Kalan)
Sultan Bahoo and Punjabi Quatrain
Sultan Bahoo expresses in his Punjabi quatrain;
ذکر کنوں کر فکر ہمیشاں، ایہہ لفظ تِکھا تلواروں ھو
کڈھن آہیں تے جان جلاون، فکر کرن اسراروں ھو
ذاکر سوئی جیہڑے فکر کماون، ہک پلک ناں فارغ یاروں ھو
فکر دا پھٹیا کوئی نہ جیوے، پٹے ٹڈھ چا پاڑوں ھو
حق دا کلمہ آکھیں باھو، رب رکھے فکر دِی ماروں ھو
Explanation: Practise invocation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and concentrate spiritually because when invocation and reflection get blended, their affectivity becomes sharper than a sword. Only by concentration the Divine secrets are unfolded. The seeker who concentrates when get familiar to the Divine secrets, the painful sighs of sorrow are uttered from his soul which burn the evil whispers and sensual appetites into ashes. The real invokers are those who remain absorbed in the concentration of Ism-e-Allah Zaat and never get free even for a moment. By concentration those secrets are disclosed which are impossible otherwise. Sultan Bahoo advises to always keep telling the word of truth. May Allah keep us safe from the depraving concentration!
Sultan Bahoo explained about the depraving concentration:
- O Dervish! Ponder over it that your reflection and botheration must be for the sake of Allah instead of for your issue or livelihood. Allah says,
وَ مَا مِنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ اِلَّا عَلَی اللّٰہِ رِزۡقُہَا
Meaning: And there is no moving creation (living being) on the earth but (that) its sustenance is (a bountiful obligation) upon Allah. (Hud 6)
ؕ نَحۡنُ قَسَمۡنَا بَیۡنَہُمۡ مَّعِیۡشَتَہُمۡ فِی الۡحَیٰوۃِ الدُّنۡیَا وَ رَفَعۡنَا بَعۡضَہُمۡ فَوۡقَ بَعۡضٍ دَرَجٰتٍ
Meaning: We distribute among them (the resources of) economy in the life of this world, and We alone raise some of them in grades (of wealth and resources) over the others. (Az-Zukhruf 32)
اِنَّ اللّٰہَ ہُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الۡقُوَّۃِ الۡمَتِیۡنُ ﴿۵۸﴾
Meaning: Truly! Allah alone is the Sustainer of everyone, the Lord of great Might, the most Strong. (51:58)
وَ فِی السَّمَآءِ رِزۡقُکُمۡ وَ مَا تُوۡعَدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۲﴾
Meaning: And (also) there is sustenance for you in the heaven and (all that too) which you are promised. (Adh-Dhariyat 22)
وَ کَاَیِّنۡ مِّنۡ دَآبَّۃٍ لَّا تَحۡمِلُ رِزۡقَہَا ٭ۖ اَللّٰہُ یَرۡزُقُہَا وَ اِیَّاکُمۡ ۫ۖ وَ ہُوَ السَّمِیۡعُ الۡعَلِیۡمُ ﴿۶۰﴾
Meaning: And many an animal there is that does not carry its sustenance (with it)! Allah provides for them and for you too. And He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al-Ankabut 60) (Mahak-ul- Faqr Kalan)
Man is engaged day and night in concentrating upon improving his worldly life. Oblivion does not let him adopt the worships of sharia. Those who have adopted them (salat, fast, hajj, zakat and recitation of the Quran) are obsessed with them and do not think to proceed ahead. Though physical worships are the medium to access Allah yet are not the destination. People are satisfied and static at their fixed states and are victims of oblivion. We think only about ourselves, children, wives, families, homes, business, relatives and friends every moment. Have we ever thought about our purpose of life? As the aim of life is to find Allah, one who remains oblivious of this purpose would be unsuccessful and a failure.
It is obvious from the teachings of Sultan Bahoo that meditation and concentration only benefit the seekers who walk the path of self-purification, inward sanctification and enlightenment of soul and secret. Only they achieve the Divine vision during their meditation and concentration. Otherwise, it is a devilish sport for the worldly ones. The meditation and concentration of the veiled people is depraving and in vain.