Issue 110 / March - April 2016
Dahsha and Hayman (Amazement and Stupor)
While discussing ecstasy and willful rapture, we have mentioned the states of dahsha (utmost astonishment) and hayman (stupor). A few words will be said here concerning them, although the former is a dimension of hayra (amaze-ment) and was discussed in the first vol-ume of this book together with amazement, and the latter is not a last-ing sta-tion for a trav-el-er on the way to God, but on-ly a tran-si-tion-al halt.
Mean-ing fear and dis-may in the face of a fright-en-ing event or sit-u-a-tion, utmost astonishment is the feel-ing of shock which trav-el-ers to God ex-pe-ri-ence dur-ing their spir-it-u-al jour-ney on com-ing face to face with the man-i-fes-ta-tions of the Beau-ty and Grace of the All-Be-lov-ed. Al-though there is no ex-plicit state-ment touch-ing on it in the Book or in the Sun-na, a re-la-tion with the verse (12:31), whose mean-ing is, When they saw him, they so ad-mired him that they cut their hands, can be es-tab-lished.
Some have de-scribed utmost astonishment as the shock when en-coun-ter-ing an in-ci-dent be-yond on-e‚Äôs un-der-stand-ing and en-dur-ance, and pow-er to ex-plain. This can al-so be de-scribed as ex-pe-ri-encing the truth that the Di-vine man-i-fes-ta-tions ex-ceed the lim-its of rea-son, and that love for God goes be-yond the lim-its of patience; and get-ting in-to a state be-yond on-e‚Äôs ca-pac-i-ty of per-cep-tion.
We add here some fur-ther ex-pla-na-tions about this state:
Trav-el-ers on the way to God feels astonishment when the state in which they find them-selves ex-ceeds the lim-its of their knowl-edge and per-cep-tion, and then they go in-to a state of ec-sta-sy be-yond their en-dur-ance, where God will fa-vor them with spir-it-u-al dis-cov-er-ies dis-pro-por-tion-ate to their ef-forts. One can go in-to ec-sta-sies un-in-ten-tion-al-ly when re-cit-ing the Qur‚Äôan or per-form-ing Prayers, al-though self-pos-ses-sion and a feel-ing of awe are es-sen-tial to both; the heart can go in-to spir-it-u-al ar-rhyth-mia as a re-sult of exces-sive rap-ture, de-stroy-ing the bal-ance and self-con-trol in an in-i-ti-ate; a trav-el-er on the way to God be-haves has-ti-ly and some-times in an un-con-trolled man-ner, un-der the en-rap-tur-ing in-flu-ence of wit-ness-ing God‚Äôs signs, al-though seek-ing God al-ways de-mands loy-al-ty and faith-ful-ness. All of these are caus-es of utmost astonish-ment.
When, un-der the in-flu-ence of the state that the in-i-ti-ates have en-tered up-on, or be-cause of the spir-it-u-al pleas-ure they feel, they see the whole cre-a-tion an-ni-hi-lat-ed in God‚Äôs Ex-is-tence and all time end-ing in eter-ni-ty, and the spir-it wit-ness-ing God‚Äôs signs, then they are swept up in astonish-ment. That is the spir-it-u-al sta-tion where trav-el-ers on the way to God can hear through God‚Äôs Own Hear-ing and see through God‚Äôs Own Sight.1
When the slopes of the heart are un-ex-pect-ed-ly ex-posed to the show-er of gifts from the All-Glo-ri-fied and the Di-vine fa-vors, when the lights of near-ness to God en-vel-op one, and when se-crets are dis-closed to the ex-tent that they re-sult in reach-ing the ho-ri-zon of wor-ship-ping God as if ac-tu-al-ly see-ing Him, astonishment per-vades the whole be-ing of the lov-er of God. The per-son is then lost in the depths of self-an-ni-hi-la-tion and the con-sid-er-a-tions of astonish-ment. The fol-low-ing vers-es of Ged-ai,2ex-press-ing this spir-it-u-al sta-tion, are tru-ly beau-ti-ful:
I did not know my-self as I see me now,
I won-der wheth-er He is me or I am Him?
This is the point where lov-ers lose them-selves;
I have burnt away, so give me wa-ter!
This feel-ing ex-pe-ri-enced by those still on the jour-ney may some-times cause con-fu-sion. For this rea-son, those who do not lead their lives in strict ac-cord-ance with the Qur‚Äôan and the Sun-na and who do not feed their sub-con-scious with the lights that em-a-nate from the sun of Pro-pheth-ood, up-on him be peace and bless-ings, may be de-ceived through the in-flu-ence of these feel-ings and ex-pe-ri-en-ces. Such de-cep-tion may lead them to ut-ter words of pride in-com-pat-i-ble with the rules of Shar-i‚Äėa, words that are ir-rec-on-cil-a-ble with self-pos-ses-sion.
Stu-por (Hay-man) is used to de-note one whose thirst is deep-ened by drink-ing, not quenched or sat-is-fied, and al-so one who is mad with pas-sion-ate love.
In Is-lam-ic Su-fism, stu-por means that an in-i-ti-ate is deep-ly in love with God, and there-fore los-es self-con-trol in great ec-sta-sy, drown-ing in won-der, ap-pre-ci-a-tion, and spir-it-u-al pleas-ures un-der the in-flu-ence of the sur-pris-ing Di-vine gifts and man-i-fes-ta-tions that per-vade the heart dur-ing the jour-ney to God. Since there are no ex-plicit state-ments in the Qur‚Äôan and the Sun-na con-cern-ing stu-por, many ex-act-ing schol-ars have tend-ed to see it, like astonish-ment, as a spir-it-u-al state rath-er than a sta-tion, some-thing tran-sient rath-er than last-ing. Al-though some have at-tempt-ed to re-late it to the verse (7:143), Mo-ses fell down in a faint (as if struck by light-ning), it is ev-i-dent that the sit-u-a-tion of a Messen-ger re-ceiv-ing Di-vine Rev-e-la-tion can-not be rec-on-ciled with a faint. So, I feel that we should ap-proach Mo-ses‚Äô fall-ing down in a faint on Mount Si-nai as his con-scious astonish-ment and shock, an at-ti-tude that he felt was fit-ting for him in the face of God‚Äôs par-tial man-i-fes-ta-tion of His Maj-es-ty in all Its tran-scendence and above all cor-po-re-al-i-ty.
Like astonish-ment, stu-por can al-so be an-a-lyzed in three cat-e-gori-es:
When in-i-ti-ates, aware of their help-less-ness, pov-er-ty and worthless-ness be-fore God, are fa-vored with Di-vine gifts far be-yond their ca-pac-i-ty dur-ing the first sta-ges of their journey, then they‚ÄĒlike Proph-et Job, who en-treat-ed God, say-ing, ‚ÄúI can-not be in-dif-fer-ent to any of Your fa-vors,‚ÄĚ30 ‚ÄĒjoy-ful-ly de-sire more and more gifts. Such an at-ti-tude, when ob-served in those who are on the way, is char-ac-ter-is-tic of those in the first sta-ges.
In the face of abun-dant gifts grant-ed in ad-vance in re-sponse to the sin-cer-i-ty of the initiate and his or her vir-tue that God knows that he or she will ac-quire in the fu-ture, the in-i-ti-ate re-news him or her-self in per-cep-tion, spir-it, and will, and ob-serves with deep pleas-ure the wond-ers and mar-vels, whose doors have been half opened. In the mood ex-pressed in the verse (66:8), Our Lord, complete our light for us!, the per-son, with great de-ter-mi-na-tion and spir-it-u-al ten-sion, longs for and expects what lies be-yond the fa-vors al-ready grant-ed. The coup-let of Ged-ai,
I have dipped my fin-ger in-to the hon-ey of love;
Give me some wa-ter!
very beau-ti-ful-ly ex-press-es this de-gree of stu-por.
In-i-ti-ates at-tain a state where they feel they are stand-ing on the same point as their sight reach-es and careful about where they put their feet, and they be-gin to ob-serve the uni-verse from the ho-ri-zon of an-ni-hi-la-tion and dis-ap-pear-ance. They reach the point where noth-ing oth-er than God ex-ists any more for them and they feel their ex-is-tence an-ni-hi-lat-ed in God‚Äôs Ex-is-tence, which they ex-pe-ri-ence ev-ery mo-ment with a new man-i-fes-ta-tion of Him. They ac-quire an unshak-a-ble cer-tain-ty that God al-ways sees them, that certain-ty be-ing a gift of rec-om-pense for reach-ing the hi-ghest point of ex-cel-lence, and they over-flow with the yearn-ing and zeal to see Him.
We should men-tion here that all these fa-vors come in pro-por-tion to the strength of be-lief, and as long as the in-i-ti-ates can main-tain their re-la-tion with God from the heart and con-tin-ue to lead their life in ut-most loy-al-ty to Him. This de-pends on strict-ly fol-low-ing the mas-ter of the crea-tures, up-on him be peace and bless-ings. Any ex-traor-di-na-riness which aris-es in a state where one does not feel per-fect at-tach-ment and de-vo-tion to him, is like-ly in most cas-es to be de-cep-tive. Those seek-ing the gifts of the Al-mighty must cer-tain-ly en-ter the cir-cle of Mu-ham-mad, up-on him be peace and bless-ings, and the lov-ers of the Al-might-y‚Äôs light must con-form to the rhythm of that cir-cle.
O God! I ask You for use-ful knowl-edge, and seek ref-uge in You from any knowl-edge of no use; and I ask You for ac-cept-a-ble ac-tion. And bestow bless-ings and peace on our mas-ter Mu-ham-mad, and on his Fam-i-ly and Com-pan-ions, all of them.
comments powered by Disqus